Monday morning found all on board the Dolphin feeling well, bright, and ready to enjoy a further examination of the wonders and beauties of the White City beside the lake. As usual the question which of them all should claim attention first, came up for discussion at the breakfast table.
“I for one would like extremely to pay a visit to Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show,” said Walter. “I think my little nephew and niece would enjoy it too, and possibly older folks might find some amusement there also.”
“Oh, what is it, Uncle Walter?” asked Ned eagerly. “I’d like to see some buffaloes.”
“Well, so you will if we go,” replied Walter, “for there’s a herd of them to be seen there. It is outside the Exposition grounds, but worth going to see, I should think. There are rifle experts, bucking ponies, dancing dervishes, athletes, female riders, besides American, German, French, English, Cossack, Mexican, and Arabian cavalry, to say nothing of cowboys, and other attractions too many to mention.”
“Oh!” cried Ned, “I want to go. Can’t I, papa?”
“All alone?” asked his father laughingly. “No, my son, I fear you are rather young for that.”
“Oh, no, papa; I didn’t mean all alone. But won’t you take mamma and Elsie and all the rest, and me too?”
“Yes, if mamma and all the rest want to go.”
“There are two hundred Indians there, Ned. Won’t you be afraid of them?” asked Lucilla.
“No, Lu; not with our papa along to take care of us. If you’re afraid, I s’pose you can stay on the Dolphin here till we come back.”
“Thank you, Ned,” she said laughing; “but I believe I feel quite as safe where papa is as you do. And I think I should like to see that show myself, though I’m neither a baby boy like you, nor a sixteen year old laddie like Walter.”
“No, not a boy at all; only a girl. I’m glad I was made a boy so I can grow up into a man like papa.”
“I’d rather be a woman like mamma and Grandma Elsie,” said his little sister. “But I’d like to see the buffaloes and all the rest of it. Can’t we go, papa?”
“I will go and take my little girl and boy,” replied her father, “and will be glad of the company of anyone else who feels inclined to go with us.”
No one seemed disinclined, and finally all decided to go.
They were well entertained, and, when the exhibition was over, passed out upon the elevated platform at the entrance.
The crowd moved slowly, and as they stood awaiting an opportunity to descend to the street below, there arose a sudden cry of “Fire!” and at the same instant they perceived a flame creeping up within the centre tower of the Cold Storage Building near at hand.