“Bless your heart, I should think not!” Here the student indulged in a chuckle of mirth. “That coon was the fun and bane of my life. No fear of my being dull while I had him! I had him as a present, when he was only a cub, from a man out here who is my special chum among woodsmen, Herb Heal, the guide in whose company we’re going to explore for moose, and the soundest fellow in wind, limb, and temper that ever I had the luck to meet. I guess you English boys will say the same when you know him.
“Well! when my friend Herb bestowed upon me that baby raccoon, I called the little innocent ‘Zip,’ and kept him in-doors, letting him roam at will. But after he grew to manhood, I was obliged to banish him to our yard and chain him up; and there his piteous, sky-piercing calls, which seemed to come from the roof of a house near him, first showed me what a ventriloquist the animal can be.”
“Why on earth did you banish him?” asked Neal.
“Because his plan of campaign, when loose, was to follow me about like a devoted cat, climbing over me whenever he got the chance, with slobbery fondness. But as soon as I was out of the way he’d steal every mortal thing I possessed, from my most precious instruments to my latest tie and handkerchiefs. I never saw anything to equal his ingenuity in ferreting out such articles, and his incorrigible mischief in destroying them. I chained him in the yard after he had torn my father’s silk hat into shreds, and made off with his favorite spectacles. Whether he wore them or not I don’t know; he chewed up the case; the glasses no man thereafter saw. I couldn’t endure his piteous cries for reconciliation while he was in banishment, so I gave him away to a friend who was suffering from an imaginary ailment, and needed rousing.
“Talking of fathers, boys, reminds me that I feel responsible to Francis Farrar, Esq., for the welfare of his lusty sons. Neal had a pretty tiring time last night, and only about two hours’ sleep since. I don’t suppose any of us are outrageously hungry, seeing that we had some kind of breakfast at an unearthly hour. Here we are at camp! I propose that we turn in, and try to sleep until noon. What do you say?”
Their leader having wound up his talk, thus, neither of his comrades ventured to oppose his suggestion, though they felt little inclined for slumber.
“Pleasant day-dreams to you, fellows!” said Cyrus three minutes afterwards, flinging off his coat, and throwing himself on his mattress of boughs, while he wiped the steady drip of perspiration from his forehead and cheeks. “This day is going to be too warm for any more rushing. Our variable climate occasionally gives us these hot spells up to the middle of October; but they don’t last. So much the better for us! We don’t want sizzling days and oppressive nights, with mosquitoes and black flies to make us miserable. October in this country is the camper’s ideal—month”—