Half a Century eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 294 pages of information about Half a Century.

One day, all the men were in the meadow making hay, and I alone getting dinner.  John McKelvey came with his great dog, Watch.  He went up into the meadow, and Watch staid in the kitchen.  I started to go to the garden for parsley, and found Tom crouched to spring on a cow.  He made the leap, came short of the cow, which ran away bellowing with terror, and Tom had but touched the ground when Watch sprang upon him.  It was a sight for an amphitheatre.  The two great creatures rolled in a struggle, which I knew must be fatal to Watch, but thought he could engage Tom’s attention until I got my hatchet.  I ran back for it, took the dinner-horn and blew a blast that would bring one man, and I did not want a thousand.  Then I ran back to the scene of conflict, horn in one hand, hatchet in the other, and lo! no conflict was there.  No Tom! no dog! nothing but the torn and bloody ground.  Horror of horrors, there was a broken chain!  Tom loose!  Tom free!  Now some one would be murdered.  I turned to look, and there on a log not a rod from me, he stood with head erect and tail drooping, his white throat, jaws and broken chain dripping with blood, and with my first thankfulness that he had not escaped, came admiration for the splendid sight:  the bold, sweeping curves and graceful motion as he turned his head to listen.  Then I learned panthers went by sound, not scent.  I blew another blast on the horn and went toward him, for I must not lose sight of him.  If he attacked me, could I defend myself with the hatchet?  When they found me I would be horrible to look upon, and it would kill Elizabeth.  Will my peas burn?  The flies will get into that pitcher of cream.  If I am killed, they will forget to put parsley in the soup.  Tom changed his weight from one fore-claw to the other, and gnashed his teeth.  “Here, the king and I are standing face and face together; King Tom, how is your majesty, it’s mighty pleasant weather.”

So ran my thoughts in the intense strain of that waiting.  It must be full ten minutes before Tom’s master could get to the house after that first blast, and if he did not hear that, must be too late; but Tom kept his place and my husband rushed by me, carrying the pitchfork with which he had been at work, and I saw no more until Tom was in his cage.  Watch had dragged himself to his master’s feet to die, and I went into the house and finished getting dinner, more than ever afraid of Tom and more than ever at a loss to know how to get rid of him.  Yet he still lived and rattled his chain by the garden path, but it was a year before our next adventure.

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Half a Century from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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