“I didn’t know that made any difference,” said Curly. “Besides, how kin you tell?”
“Well, now, maybe there are some things you don’t know, after all, Curly,” said Franklin. “For instance, can you tell me how many boss ribs there are in the hump of a buffalo?”
“Well, no—o,” admitted Curly. “But what’s the difference, so long ez I know they’re all good to eat ?”
“Plainly, a d——d Philistine,” said Battersleigh again, striking a match for his pipe. “But I’m not sure but he had you there, Ned, me boy.”
“I’ll show you,” said Franklin eagerly. “Here it is on the hide. The hump came to here. Here was the knee joint—you can see by the whirl in the muscles as plainly as you could by the curl in the hair there—you can see it under a wolf’s leg, the same way; the hair follows the lines of the muscles, you know. Wait, I could almost make you a dummy out of the clay. Now, look here—”
“You’re a funny sort o’ a feller, Cap,” said Curly, “but if you’re goin’ to tan that hide you’d better finish peggin’ it out, an’ git to work on it.”
PIE AND ETHICS
One morning Battersleigh was at work at his little table, engaged, as he later explained, upon the composition of a letter to the London Times, descriptive of the Agrarian Situation in the United States of America, when he was interrupted by a knock at his door.
“Come in, come in, Ned, me boy,” he exclaimed, as he threw open the door and recognised his visitor. “What’s the news this mornin’?”
“News?” said Franklin gaily, holding his hands behind his back. “I’ve news that you can’t guess—good news.”
“You don’t mean to tell me they’ve moved the land office into Ellisville, do you, Ned?”
“Oh, no, better than that.”
“You’ve not discovered gold on your quarter section, perchance?”
“Guess again—it’s better than that.”
“I’ll give it up. But leave me a look at your hands.”
“Yes,” said Franklin, “I’ll give you a look, and one more guess.” He held up a small bag before Battersleigh’s face.
“It’s not potatoes, Ned?” said Battersleigh in an awed tone of voice. Franklin laughed.
“No; better than that,” he said.
“Ned,” said Battersleigh, “do ye mind if I have a bit smell of that bag?”
“Certainly,” said Franklin, “you may have a smell, if you’ll promise to keep your hands off.”
Battersleigh approached his face to the bag and snuffed at it once, twice, thrice, as though his senses needed confirmation. He straightened up and looked Franklin in the face.
“Ned,” said he, his voice sinking almost to a whisper, “it’s—it’s apples!”
“Right,” said Franklin. “And isn’t that news?”
“The best that could be, and the hardest to believe,” said Battersleigh. “Where’d you get thim, and how?”