We caught our breath in horror. Although we could plainly see that Tommy was in no degree injured by his short fall, yet we all realized that it was going to be serious to be mixed up with a raging, snarling beast fight of twenty-two members. When the dachshunds should pounce on their natural prey, the medium-size game, poor Tommy would be at the bottom of the heap. Several even started forward to restrain the dogs, but stopped as they realized the impossibilities.
Tommy and the ’coon hit with a thump. The dachshunds took one horrified look; then with the precision of a drilled man[oe]uvre they unanimously turned tail and plunged into the tall grass. From my elevated perch I could see it waving agitatedly as they made their way through it in the direction of the distant ranch.
For a moment there was astounded silence. Then there arose a shriek of delight. The Captain rolled over and over and clutched handfuls of turf in his joy. The General roared great salvos of laughter. Tommy, still seated where he had fallen, leaned weakly against the tree, the tears coursing down his cheeks. The rest of the populace lifted up their voices and howled. Even Uncle Jim, who rarely laughed aloud, although his eyes always smiled, emitted great Ho! ho!’s. Only Mrs. Kitty, dumb with indignation, stared speechless after that wriggling mess of fugitives.
The occasion was too marvellous. We enjoyed it to the full. Whenever the rapture sank somewhat, someone would gasp out a half-remembered bit of Mrs. Kitty’s former defences.
“Their long, sharp noses are like tweezers to seize the game!” declaimed Charley, weakly. [Spasm by the audience.]
“Their spatulate feet are meant for digging,” the Captain took up the tale. [Another spasm.]
“Their bandy legs enabled them to throw the dirt out behind them—as they ran,” suggested Tommy.
“If only they could have had a badger they’d have beaten all records!” we chorused.
And then finally we wiped our eyes and remembered that there used to be a ’coon. At the same time we became conscious of a most unholy row in the offing: the voice of Mithradates Antikamia.
“If you people want your ’coon,” he was remarking in a staccato and exasperated voice, “you’d better come and lend a hand. I can’t manage him alone! The blame thing has bitten me in three places already. Of course, I like to see people have a good time, and I hope you won’t curtail your enjoyment on my account; but if you’ve had quite enough of those made-in-Germany imitations, perhaps you’ll just stroll over and see what one good American-built DOG can do!”
IN SEARCH OF ADVENTURE