I began to wrap up my enjoyment and send it forth in short gurgles of merriment until Bunch pressed the button and the scene was changed to Greenland’s Icy Mountains.
“Funny, isn’t it?” he sneered; “regular circus, with yours in haste, Bunch Jefferson, to do the grand and lofty tumbling! I’m the Patsy, oh, maybe! It was a fine play, all right, but I didn’t expect you to stack the cards!”
“On the level, Bunch, believe me, it wasn’t my fault,” I spluttered.
“Not your fault,” he snapped back; “then I suppose it was mine! I suppose I fell down the elevator shaft just to please mother, eh? Maybe you think I dropped into the excavation just to pass the time away? Have you an idea that I dove down into the earth because I wanted to get back to the mines? Wasn’t your fault, indeed! Maybe you think I fell in the well simply because I wanted to give an imitation of the old oaken bucket, yes?”
I tried to tell him all about Tacks and the ghost story, but he wouldn’t stand for it.
“You should have been waiting for me on the stairs,” he argued, unreasonably, rubbing one of the bruises in his choice collection, “Didn’t you catch me early in the evening being chased from pillar to post by everything in the neighborhood that had legs long enough to run? When I tried to hide in the corner of a farm over there, a bull dog came up on rubber shoes and bit his initials on some of my personal property before I could crawl through the fence. Every time I showed up on the pike that human accident that breathes like a man and talks like a rabbit chased me eight miles there and back. The first time I tried to approach the infernal house I fell over a grindstone and signed checks in the gravel with my nose. Hereafter, when you want a burglar, pick somebody your own size. I’m going to hunt a hospital and get sewed together again.”
I put on all steam and tried to square myself, but Bunch only shook his head and said I was outlawed.
“You can’t run on my race track,” he exclaimed as he started for the depot; “that last race was crooked and you stood in with the dope mixer.”
I watched him down the hill until he disappeared in the station, then, sad at heart, I trudged back to the old homestead that had caused all my trouble.
It was now broad daylight, but nowhere within my line of vision could I get a peep of the doughty Diggs.
No doubt he was still cutting across lots trying to head off the “maleyfactor.”
JOHN HENRY’S TELEGRAM.
When I reached the cottage I found all the members of my household dressed for the day, and lined up on the piazza, eager for news from the battlefield.
“Gee whiz!” exclaimed Uncle Peter, “the boy is bareheaded! Where’s your hat, John?”
“Mercy! I hope you’re not scalped!” Aunt Martha cried, sympathetically.