On going around to the wood-pile they saw Keyser holding a terrier dog backed close up against a log. The dog’s tail was lying across the log, and another man had the axe uplifted. A second later the axe descended and cut the tail off close to the dog, and while Keyser restrained the frantic animal, the other man touched the bleeding stump with caustic. As they let the dog go Potts was amazed to see that the chopper was the wretched suicide. He was amazed, but before he could ask any questions Peter stepped up to him and said, “Hush-sh-sh! Don’t say anything about that matter. I thought better of it. The pistol looked so blamed dangerous when I cocked it that I changed my mind and came over here to Keyser’s to stay all night. I’m going to live just to spite that Brown girl.”
[Illustration: A CURTAILMENT]
Then the coroner said that he didn’t consider he had been treated like a gentleman, and he had half a notion to give Mr. Lamb a pounding. But they all drove home in the wagon, and just as Mrs. Lamb got done hugging Peter a letter was handed him containing the sonnet he had sent Julia. She returned it with the remark that it was the most dreadful nonsense she ever read, and that she knew he hadn’t courage enough to kill himself. Then Peter went back to the store, and was surprised to find that his employers had so little emotion as to dock him for half a day’s absence. What he wants now is to ascertain if he cannot compel Potts to give up that watch. Potts says he has too much respect for the memory of his unfortunate friend to part with it, but he is really sorry now that he ordered that tombstone. On the first of May, Peter’s bleeding heart had been so far stanched as to enable him to begin skirmishing around the affections of a girl named Smith; and if she refuses him, he thinks that tombstone may yet come into play. But we all have our doubts about it.
MR. FOGG AS A SPORTSMAN AND A SPOUSE.
Game was so plenty about our neighborhood last fall that Mr. Fogg determined to become a sportsman. He bought a double-barrel gun, and after trying it a few times by firing it at a mark, he loaded it and placed it behind the hall door until he should want it. A few days later he made up his mind to go out and shoot a rabbit or two, so he shouldered his gun and strode off toward the open country. A mile or two from the town he saw a rabbit; and taking aim, he pulled the trigger. The gun failed to go off. Then he pulled the other trigger, and again the cap snapped. Mr. Fogg used a strong expression of disgust, and then, taking a pin, he picked the nipples of the gun, primed them with a little powder and made a fresh start. Presently he saw another rabbit. He took good aim, but both caps snapped. The rabbit did not see Mr. Fogg, so he put on more caps, and they snapped too.