“As near as I can find out,” said Mr. Elmer, “the only difference is that one is owned by a white, and the other by a colored man.”
They found “Brer Steve’s” house without any difficulty, and, sure enough, there they were, as the little girl had said they would be; for “Brer Steve” lived close to the railroad, and the station was on his place.
Mark was delighted with Tallahassee, which he found to be a very pleasant though small city, built on a hill, and surrounded by other hills. Its streets were shaded by magnificent elms and oaks, and these and the hills were grateful to the eye of the Maine boy, who had not yet learned to love the flat country in which his present home stood.
They spent Sunday in Tallahassee, and on Monday started for home before daylight, on horseback and driving a small herd of cattle, which, with two horses, Mr. Elmer had bought on Saturday. As Saturday is the regular market-day, when all the country people from miles around flock into town to sell what they have for sale, and to purchase supplies for the following week, Mark was much amused and interested by what he saw. Although in Tallahassee there are no street auctions as in Key West, there was just as much business done on the sidewalks and in the streets here as there.
It seemed very strange to the Northern boy to see cattle and pigs roaming the streets at will, and he wondered that they were allowed to do so. When he saw one of these street cows place her fore-feet on the wheel of a wagon, and actually climb up until she could reach a bag of sweet-potatoes that lay under the seat, he laughed until he cried. Without knowing or caring how much amusement she was causing, the cow stole a potato from the bag, jumped down, and quietly munched it. This feat was repeated again and again, until finally an end was put to Mark’s and the cow’s enjoyment of the meal, by the arrival of the colored owner of both wagon and potatoes, who indignantly drove the cow away, calling her “a ole good-fo’-nuffin’.”
Mark said that after that he could never again give as an answer to the conundrum, “Why is a cow like an elephant?” “Because she can’t climb a tree;” for he thought this particular cow could climb a tree, and would, if a bag of sweet-potatoes were placed in the top of it where she could see it.
It was late Monday evening before they reached home with their new purchases, and both they and their horses and their cattle were pretty thoroughly tired with their long day’s journey. The next day, when Ruth saw the horses, one of which had but one white spot in his forehead, while the other had two, one over each eye, she immediately named them “Spot” and “Spotter.” Mark said that if there had been another without any spots on his forehead he supposed she would have named him “Spotless.”
HOW THE BOYS CAUGHT AN ALLIGATOR