The blacksmith turned his serene face and smiled at Farr.
“I appeal to thy good judgment, sir. Would thee, after talking with me, even if I do wear iron outside my wool garments, send me to an asylum?”
“No,” acknowledged Farr, “I don’t believe I would send you to an asylum.”
“Thank thee! I believe thee can speak quite generally for the average man.”
“But the armor scheme—it’s a little risky, Friend Chick.”
“But it has been the trade-mark of unselfishness ever since the days of the Crusaders,” declared Mr. Chick. “Why shouldn’t its significance be revived in these modern times? At any rate,” he added, with Yankee shrewdness, “it’s necessary to give the world quite a jump these days before it will stop, look, and listen.”
“Some advertising concern will make you an offer that will pull you into camp your second day out, if you’re not careful. You’ve certainly got a good idea of the business.”
“I am sincere. I am not trifling. I have pondered on this for a long time. I shall be misjudged—but I shall not be afraid!”
The two marched on, side by side, and Walker Farr, piecing in his mind, from the scraps he had heard, the entire history of the Chick family, indulged the whim of Jared and forgot for a moment the grotesque figure presented by his companion.
“No, I am not afraid!” repeated the new apostle of world harmony.
But it became promptly apparent that Mr. Chick could not communicate his intrepidity to other creatures.
Around the bend of the road came a sleepy horse, stubbing his hoofs into the dust, dragging a wagon in which rode a farmer and his wife.
The horse became wide awake at sight of Mr. Chick.
With head up, eyes goggling, nostrils dilating, and mane erect, the animal stopped short on straddled legs. Then he snorted, whirled, took the wagon around in a circle on two wheels in spite of the farmer’s endeavors, and made off in the opposite direction, the driver pulling hard on the reins, hands above his head, elbows akimbo.
“It occurs to me, Friend Chick,” said his companion, after the outfit had disappeared, “that in planning this pilgrimage of yours you have failed to take everything into account. If that farmer-man and his wife pile into the ditch and break their necks, then all your general mediating in other quarters will hardly make up for the damage you have caused right here.”
“The world is full of problems,” sighed the man in armor. “There seems to be a hitch to about everything!”
After a few moments the farmer came pelting into sight on foot.
“What in the name of bald-headed Nicodemus do you call yourself, and what are you trying to do?” he shouted. “It’s only by luck and chance and because the webbin’s held that me and my wife ain’t laying stiff and stark in the ditch.”