“Nobody—I mean you wouldn’t.”
“No, no, not me,” assented Eddo, shaking his flaxen head.
And there the matter would have ended, if Lucy had not added most unluckily: “’Twas when you were only a baby that you did it, Eddo. You said to the engine, ‘Come here, little choo choo, Eddo won’t hurt oo.’ You didn’t know any better.”
“’Course I knew better,” said Eddo, shaking his head again, but this time with an air of bewilderment. “I didn’t say, ’Come here, little choo choo.’ No, no, not me!”
“Oh, but you did, darling,” persisted Lucy. “You were just a tiny bit of a boy. You stood right on the track, and the engine was coming, ‘puff, puff,’ and you said, ’Come here, little choo choo, Eddo won’t hurt oo!’”
“I didn’t! Oh! Oh! Oh! When’d I say that? Did the engine hurt me? Where did it hurt me? Say, Jimmum, where did the engine hurt me?” putting his hand to his throat, to his ears, to his side.
The more he thought of it, the worse he felt; till appalled by the idea of what he must have suffered he finally fell to sobbing in his mother’s arms, and she soothed his imaginary woes with kisses and cookies. For the remainder of the journey he was in pretty good spirits and found much diversion in watching the gambols of the two dogs following the tallyho. One was a Castle Cliff dog, black and shaggy, named Slam; the other, yellow and smooth, belonged to the “king-ductor” or driver, and was called Bang. Slam and Bang often darted off for a race and Eddo nearly gave them up for lost; but they always came back wagging their tails and capering about as if to say:—
“Hello, Eddo, we ran away just to scare you, and we’ll do it again if we please!”
It was a great day for dogs. Ever so many dogs ran out to meet Slam and Bang. They always bit their ears for a “How d’ye do?” and then trotted along beside them just for company. Eddo found it quite exciting. One was a Mexican dog, without a particle of hair, but he did not seem to be in the least ashamed of his singular appearance.
Edith said it was an “empty country,” and indeed there were few houses; but there must have been more dogs than houses, for the whole journey had a running accompaniment of “bow-wow-wows.”
The farther up hill the road wound the steeper it grew; and Jimmy exclaimed more than once:—
“This coach is standing up straight on its hind feet, papa! Just look! ’Twill spill us all out backward!”
But it did nothing of the sort. It took them straight to Castle Cliff, “nearly six thousand feet above the level of the sea,” and there it stopped, before the front door of the hotel. It was about half-past five o’clock in the afternoon, and Mr. Templeton, who had been looking out for the tallyho, came down the steps to meet his guests.