[Illustration: Turning the proper dingus.]
Finally a man came along who had been brought up among coal stoves, and he put a wet blanket over him and crept up to the stove and turned the proper dingus, and she cooled off, and since that time has been just as comfortable as possible. If you buy a coal stove you got to learn how to engineer it, or you may get roasted.
HIS PA IS DISCOURAGED.
“Say, you leave here mighty quick,” said the grocery man to the bad boy, as he came in, with his arm in a sling, and backed up against the stove to get warm. “Everything has gone wrong since you got to coming here, and I think you are a regular Jonah. I find sand in my sugar, kerosene in the butter, the codfish is all picked off, and there is something wrong every time you come here. Now you leave.”
“I aint no Joner,” said the boy as he wiped his nose on his coat sleeve, and reached into a barrel for a snow apple. “I never swallered no whale. Say, do you believe that story about Joner being in the whale’s belly, all night? I don’t. The minister was telling about it at Sunday school last Sunday, and asked me what I thought Joner was doing while he was in there, and I told him I interpreted the story this way, that the whale was fixed up inside with upper and lower berths, like a sleeping car, and Joner had a lower berth, and the porter made up the berth as soon as Joner came in with his satchel, and Joner pulled off his boots and gave them to the porter to black, and put his watch under the pillow and turned in. The boys in Sunday school all laffed, and the minister said I was a bigger fool than Pa was, and that was useless. If you go back on me, now, I won’t have a friend, except my chum and a dog, and I swear, by my halidom, that I never put no sand in your sugar, or kerosene in your butter. I admit the picking off of the codfish, but you can charge it to Pa, the same as you did the eggs that I pushed my chum over into last summer, though I thought you did wrong in charging Christmas prices for dog days eggs. When my chum’s Ma scraped his pants she said there was not an egg represented on there that was less than two years old. The Sunday school folks have all gone back on me, since I put kyan pepper on the stove, when they were singing ‘Little Drops of Water,’ and they all had to go out doors and air themselves, but I didn’t mean to let the pepper drop on the stove. I was just holding it over the stove to warm it, when my chum hit the funny bone of my elbow. Pa says I am a terror to cats. Every time Pa says anything, it gives me a new idea. I tell you Pa has got a great brain, but sometimes he don’t have it with him. When he said I was a terror to cats I thought what fun there is in cats, and me and my chum went to stealing cats right off, and before night we had eleven cats caged. We had one in a canary bird cage, three in Pa’s old hat boxes, three in Ma’s band box, four in valises, two in a trunk, and the rest in a closet up stairs.