At first it did not look as though the fat man was going to get any of the milk even for his own consumption. The expressman said gruffly: “I can’t let you open the package. It’s against the rules of the company.”
“Say! I shipped this package to myself. Here’s the receipt,” blustered Mr. Bulson. “I guess I can withdraw it from your care if I like.”
“Guess again, mister,” returned the expressman. “You’ve got three guesses, anyway.”
The fat man was so assertive and over-bearing that it amused the chums from Tillbury to hear him thus flouted.
“I guess you don’t know who I am?” cried the choleric fat man.
“You say your name is Bullhead—”
“Bulson!” roared the other. “Ravell Bulson. I own that milk.”
“So it is condensed milk in that box, Mr. Bulson?” here interposed Mr. Carter, the conductor.
“Yes, it is,” said Bulson, shortly. “I had business up near the Bancroft Creamery, and I stepped in there and bought a case of milk in glass, and shipped it home. I saw it being put aboard the express car of the other train and I had an idea it would be transferred at the Junction to this train. And here it is, and I want it.”
“You’re a public spirited citizen, Mr. Bulson,” the conductor said suavely. “I expect you want to get this milk to divide among your fellow passengers? Especially among the children on the train?”
“What’s that?” exclaimed Bulson, his eyes fairly bulging out with surprise.
“You are going to open the case of canned milk for the benefit of all hands?” said Mr. Carter, sternly.
“Wha—what do you take me for?” blurted out the fat man, indignantly. “Why, that’s my milk! I’m not going to give it to anybody. What do you take me for?” he repeated.
The disgust and indignation with which Mr. Carter eyed him must have plainly shown a less thick-skinned mortal just what the conductor’s opinion was. But Mr. Ravell Bulson, like most utterly selfish men, saw nothing.
“You must think I’m silly,” pursued Bulson. “I shall want but a can or two for myself. Of course they’ll come and plow us out before long. And I promised my wife to send that milk home.”
“Wouldn’t you even give any of that milk to this poor little puppy?” suddenly demanded Bess, whose anger at the fat man had been gradually rising until now, before Nan could stop her, it boiled over.
“Heh? Who are you, Miss, if I may inquire?” snapped the fat man.
“It doesn’t matter who I am,” proclaimed Bess. “I wouldn’t take a drop of that milk from you, anyway. But this poor little puppy is starving.”
“Why, I declare!” interrupted Bulson. “That’s the little dog I shipped to Junior.”
“It’s your own dog, Mr. Bulson,” Bess declared. “And he’s almost starved.”
“And what are you doing with him?” demanded the fat man, rage suddenly narrowing his eyes again. “What kind of actions are these?” and he swung on the members of the train crew once more. “My dog is given to any Tom, Dick, and Harry that comes along, while I can’t get at my own case of milk. Preposterous!”