“’Coon,” he pronounced, after listening to the resultant remarks from within.
And then the same bright idea struck us both.
“Mrs. Kitty here makes good with those angleworms,” Uncle Jim voiced the inspiration.
We blocked up the hole securely; and made rapid time back to the ranch.
THE MEDIUM-SIZE GAME
Against many attacks and accusations of uselessness cast at her dachshunds, Mrs. Kitty had always stoutly opposed the legend of “medium-size game.” The dachshunds may look like bologna sausages on legs, ran the gist of her argument; and they may progress like rather lively measuring worms; and the usefulness of their structure may seem to limit itself to a facility for getting under furniture without stooping, but—Mrs. Kitty’s eloquence always ended by convincing herself, and she became very serious—but that is not the dogs’ fault. Rather it is the fault of their environment to which they have been transplanted. Back in their own native vaterland they were always used for medium-sized game. And what is more they are good at it! Come here, Pete, they shan’t abuse you!
Coyotes and bobcats are medium-size game, someone ventured to point out.
Not at all, medium-size game should live in holes, like badgers. Dachshunds are evidently built for holes. They are long and low, and they have spatulate feet for digging, and their bandy legs enable them to throw the dirt out behind them. Their long, sharp noses are like tweezers to seize upon the medium-size game. In short, by much repetition, a legend had grown up around the dachshunds, a legend of fierceness inhibited only by circumstances, of pathetic deprivation of the sports of their native land. If only we could have a badger, we could almost hear them say to each other in dog language, a strong, morose, savage badger! Alas! we are wasting our days in idleness, our talents rust from disuse! Finally, Uncle Jim remained the only frankly skeptical member.
At this time there visited the ranch two keen sportsmen whom we shall call Charley and Tommy; as also several girls. We burst on the assembled multitude with our news. Immediately a council of war was called. After the praetors and tribunes of the people had uttered their opinions, Uncle Jim arose and spoke as follows:
“Here is your chance to make good,” said he, addressing Mrs. Kitty. “Those badger hounds of yours, according to you, have just been fretting for medium-size game. Well, here’s some. Bring out the whole flock, and let’s see them get busy.”
The proposition was received with a shout of rapture Uncle Jim smiled grimly.
“Well, they’ll do it!” cried Mrs. Kitty, with spirit.
Preparations were immediately under way. In half an hour the army debouched from the ranch and strung out single file across the plain.