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The butcher furnished the bellows. Jim's robberies grew bolder and more outWhen he came round of a morning we rageous, till finally he walked off one day would get him to cut from the edge of a with the dish itself in his beak, and tried to beefsteak that long, stringy, sinewy strip poke that down his favorite crack in the which we all know so well, and which we walk. Not succeeding in this, he dropped all so love and appreciate as a developer of it down an old post-hole. Luckily I saw our powers of Fletcherization. For our him, fished it out, and nailed it down purpose it was the very thing. One end we where it belonged. Even then he tried to would give to Kartoffel, the other to Jim. pull it up by the roots, as he had Aunt They were worth seeing, our two queer Malvina's geraniums. This rather pleased gladiators there! Kartoffel, braced, and Uncle Caleb. He admired perseverance. growling between her clenched teeth, but "I'd used boiler rivets, if I 'd been you," passive (for still she dare not lift profane he remarked; "you 'll have to, 'fore you 're paw against the Lord's anointed), Jim set- done." tling back on his haunches, pulling like a Kartoffel meanwhile was getting where steam-tug, the beef-steak sinew as taut as she suggested the old geologic theory of a hawser, and hanging over the two a the earth's formation-a thin crust over a “breathless multitude" (some half dozen) molten interior, white hot. Let this bogus of us half-grown boys, cheering our cham- Black Minorca, this brazen sawed-off-beak, pions on. It was truly a Roman holi- beware! Black son of a vampire, what did day, yet quite innocent of butchery or he here, masquerading in the sacred robes ? blood.
Black Minorca, indeed! But she would show For, do our best, Kartoffel still hung him! Did he think he could put one over fire. No feathers flew. Blow as we might, on her, as he had on Aunt Malvina? Kartoffel, although by this time a perfect Jim smiled. Danger? Heaven bless furnace inwardly, refused to flame in any you, no! These little ebullitions were just properly spectacular manner. We had to the spice of the pudding. What was life contrive a kind of substitute climax, lame without these little feminine exhibitions? and impotent enough, and not worth men- But for danger, pshaw! Did n't we untioning, if it had not been for its effect on derstand the female tongue? Sputter was Jim.
the breath of its being. It must sputter or Acting as toreador (the exigency hav- asphyxiate. ing compelled a shifting of the scene), But Billy and I by this time had lost our and armed with our old butcher-knife for nerve. We knew Kartoffel. Her wrath, sword of execution, I would apply the exploding in the open, was bad enough. keen edge of it to the taut hawser, esti- What would happen when it went off now, mating the middle as well as I could, to be battened down in the hold, bolted and rivfair, and the hawser parting, and Jim's eted as it was, under such a tension, we tail-brace likewise giving way, that aston- dared not think. She had grown a fearished bird would execute one or two glori- some thing to see. Several times, at guard ous back somersaults of triumph, as a kind over her tin dish, she knocked Jim sprawlof final sky-rocket to the display, while the ing. Her eyes glowed through the dark curtain was rung down.
fur of her face like the green flame through This was bad for Jim. He had long the doors of a copper furnace. Her growl had a suspicion that he was nearly, if not was the rattle of a coffin-lid. Her tail was quite, the most important wheel in crea- unspeakable. Kartoffel's tail was a martion. The proof was now clinched. It vel. It was long, lithe, and elastic, and was plain to see by his strut, as he made surcharged from tip to base with nervous off with his cantle of the beefsteak, that energy, which escaped at the end in perin his belief the breaking of the ship's cable petual writhings, like steam leaking from was due solely to his own prowess. His an overcharged boiler. The flags of the ignominious somersaults at the finish in weather bureau were not more prognostino wise disconcerted him. They rather
They rather cal. If the motion was slow and gentle, pleased him. They were an index hinting it meant serene weather; if it waved in at his vast hold on the hawser.
wider lashings, it meant a storm was brewNaturally, therefore, matters did not ing; but if this motion, becoming violent, mend at Kartoffel's tin dish. Every day dropped suddenly to a dead calm, with
convulsive little twitches at the tip, then genius with your little squirt-pump of beware! That meant West India hurricane. penny-wise prudence ?
And Jim, too. We had supposed that we knew Jim, but this, we now found, was a
THE TAIL OF KARTOFFEL mistake. He could be, in fact, a dangerous NEVERTHELESS, those old-fashioned inills bird, with an eye like a hawk and a beak of the gods have a way of grinding right like a Fiji spear. (We had hauled him into on, even against the pooh-poohing of sudry-dock after his collision with the rip- perior persons, and in the present instance saw, and dressed the blunt end of it up they were about ready to deliver the grist. with a file, so that it was almost as good One day Kartoffel disappeared. She as new.) He had a jiu-jitsu of his own, was gone for several days. When she retoo; especially a trick, when hard beset, of appeared, it was immediately evident that turning over on his back and presenting something had occurred - kittens! a chevaux-de-frise of beak and claws that Kartoffel was a motherly cat; indeed, was bad for a dog's or a cat's eyes. Old more motherly, and more frequently so man Jones's Bowser, a big, bullying brute, than any other cat I have ever known. could tell you all about that. As Billy put Kartoffel was thin, but fit, and in a very it, “He never poked his nose into Jim's bad temper. She spat fiercely at the mere business a second time; once was enough." swish of Jim's wings in the air above her. It was this affair of Jim's with Bowser that Yet there was about her withal a kind of had "put us wise" to Jim's fighting side. grandeur. The dignity of maternity was
So Roman holidays were declared off. We expostulated with Jim. We drove him She was also very hungry-hungry with away from Kartoffel's tin dish. We tried a sevenfold hunger. She must eat now in a sneaking sort of way to make up to for six besides herself. And there above Kartoffel; but she passed by with dignity her in the air was Jim, his piratical shadow on the other side. No soft-sawder for her! darkening over her tin dish. Her bad temJim laughed at us.
per flamed into indignation, as if the spirit He had arrived, in fact, just at the stage, of her race, the lion in her, rose and stood which most other young fellows reach, of at bay. refusing to recognize any teacher but one, It was a busy season. We were stackto wit, our dear old friend Experience. So ing oats, two teams of our own hauling in he had built his little purgatorial pitfall, from the field, and two besides which just as we all do, had tossed in the lighted were loaned us, with extra help, by neighmatches-two or three boxes of them, in bors who were "swapping work." Uncle fact, so as to make sure—and was now Caleb was on the stack. I was helping dancing joyously about on the roof-beams, him. No time to fool with cats and crows. waiting for them to fall in, while the fire They must fight out their own battles. chuckled quietly below.
I hastily dropped a piece of meat in He was suffering, in truth, like the chil- Kartoffel's dish and scudded for the stack, dren of Israel when they went after the where Uncle Caleb was already calling for abominations of Baal, from excess of pros- me. Aunt Malvina was unluckily absent. perity. He reeked with it. Having es- There was sickness at a neighbor's, and of caped the edge of one buzz-saw, he forgot course they sent for her. Thus did all there
were others. He strutted, he things conspire together against poor Jim. swelled; he had cornered the wheat mar- As Billy put it to the Sunday-school class ket, he was all Wall Street. Remon- the following Sunday (where of course we strances and reasonings alike fell on deaf brought the matter up for adjudication), ears. He simply shed them, smiling down “It looked as if the Lord had it in for Jim. " on us the smile we all know so well — the At any rate, as I looked back from the smile which the superior person bestow's top of the stack a moment later,-it was upon us of the hopelessly mediocre class, as only a few rods from the milk-house, -I much as to say: Yes, yes, my dear boy, I was just in time to see Jim's beak shoot understand that perfectly, and for a fellow out toward Kartoffel's dish. The next of your caliber it is very excellent advice; moment her piece of meat was disappearbut for a man of Napoleonic resource, ing down that nefarious crack in the walk bah! Do you expect to put out the fires of which I have already referred to.
As for Kartoffel, it seemed as though the and wagon stopped altogether. Even very gray of her fur turned white with Uncle Caleb forgot for a moment that anger. Consider her situation. For oats were the most urgent fact in nature, months, now, this thing had been going and, leaning upon his fork, held his breath on, outrage upon outrage. Here now was for the outcome. the culmination, the final straw—the tin Kartoffel never swerved an inch, but dish empty beside her, her maternal foun- even at our distance we could see the green tains likewise dry, and yonder in the hay- fire leap in her eyes. She kept straight on, mow, posterity, helpless posterity, mewling silent, ominous, a vortex of wrath, but as for nutriment! Would it not have put still as oil. Her tail, which had been a backbone of fire in a very worm to rise perfect clothes-line on windy Monday, fell and smite?
as calm as a mill-pond; but its tip was But what could she do? She was help- terrible, snapping, crackling, and corusless. Jim was as strong as she was, even cating as if she were a very keg of gunon her own ground, and he held at com- powder on legs, her tail the lighted fuse. mand a whole wide empire besides, - the She had almost passed when Jim, reckless empire of the air,-over which she was loon that he was, gone clean drunken with powerless, but into which he could spring it, “fairly yellin' for the fool-killer to come• for harbor and refuge at an instant's warn- quick, and be sure not to ferget his ax!" ing. What could she do?
as Uncle Caleb put it, just as the tip of her Helpless, she turned away, and started tail whipped the air in front of his beak, across the garden toward the clover seized it and gave a sharp bite. It was the meadow. Perhaps you think it was to spark of ignition, set off by mistake in the hunt field-mice. Perhaps it was, but I do gasolene-tank. There was a single prenot think so. Field-mice were there, cer- liminary Aash of gray, then cat and crow tainly, and Kartoffel knew it; but I do not exploded together into an indistinguishable think it was field-mice now. No, no.
chaos of feathers and fur. She had far other matters on her mind. There is n't much to tell about the batWhy, I myself, watching from the top of tle. When lightning strikes, there is selthe stack, from that distance even, felt dom much left for the historian but the that I could have clubbed the scoundrel ruins. There is no strategy about a stroke insensible. What then must Kartoffel of lightning. It just hits; and you wake have felt? No; what Kartoffel wanted, in
you do wake up, to wonder what it my belief, was space to express herself in. could have been that struck you. The dooryard ample ordinarily, was at It was so with Jim. He had made the this supreme moment totally insufficient, old fatal error of underrating his foe. Pera mere hen-coop. So she started for the haps you think he did something with his clover meadow.
chevaux-de-frise. Not the first thing. He Then Jim, with an air as if the whole did n't have time. He did n't have time thing rather bored him, but perhaps there even to think chevaux-de-frise. Kartoffel might be a little more fun in it, and, blew up so quickly that his ideas flew fifty the whole, he guessed he would, lifted him- ways, and it took them until the next day self into the air and made over toward the to get together again, which was a little garden in the direction she was taking. late.
late. Anyway, it could n't have been five This brought them within two or three seconds after the first explosion (I rolled rods of the oat-stack.
off the oat-stack, they told me, like a fallBy this time everybody had perceived ing bundle) before I was myself on the that something out of the ordinary was ground, -and none too soon, -had gotten
Even “Mud Turtle" Perkins, who fox-terrier action on the scruff of Kartofhad been falling asleep for old man Jones fel's neck, and had pitched her, a red-hot at fifteen dollars a month "and found” ball of infuriated fur, half-way to the barnever since I could remember, woke up to yard gate. My hands bore the marks of it.
her claws for weeks afterward, the vixen! And when Jim dropped to the ground But who could blame her? a yard or two in front of Kartoffel, and Jim's "Waterloo ?" Well, yes, and with that nonchalant swagger of his "then some.” He was in hospital a full stepped along toward her, work on stack week with it, the entire surgical staff
(Aunt Malvina being surgeon-in-chief pery old girl; considerable force; ou and head-nurse in one) devoting all their pile-driver way with her, in fact, at ti! time and skill to him, his legs dressed, his but no insight; no brains. There wa right wing in splints, his neck swathed and rub. How few were gifted that way! swaddled up like diphtheritic sore throat. of course Jim had n't repeated the perf For two or three days it looked serious.
Why go over the same gro But Uncle Caleb laughed. “Never you twice? Only geniuses of the secondo worry about Jim," he said; "he 'll come
repeat; Jim, and Shakspere, never ! through without a dent on him. Why, But what pleased Jim most was Malviny, you could feed that bird through he had now solved the old problem w a thrashin'-machine and never hurt him a had so troubled him as to the raison d mite. He'd blow out through the straw- of such inharmonious matters as we carrier chirp as a chickadee, declarin' it tanks, rip-saws, and gunpowder-kegs g was the loveliest little glade he'd been in about with lighted fuses. The truth w yet, just the spot he'd been lookin' for." he had it thought out now—that at ti
It was true. Jim was very much sur- Providence had a little too much to t prised (after he'd had time to get ac- about, and at such times needed help. 1 quainted with himself again) at our queer was the truth of it; needed help and notions about that battle. Injured? vice; and Jim would give it to i Pshaw! A scratch or two, a feather here Perched upon the axle-end of creat and there. But why this foolish fuss? which visibly stuck up through our di You 'd 'a' thought he was killed; you ex- yard, high above the roof-tree, he wo pect that of women, but he supposed Billy watch the world go round, so intensely and I had some sense. He had more fea- teresting it was, and from time to time thers than he wanted anyway, dog-days he looked, and found Providence puzz. coming on.
over some difficulty, wondering what And what did I want to interfere for,- earth was to be done about it, Jim, ! idiot!--spoiling his guard? Did I not see ceiving the root of the matter plai what a terrific right wing swing he had would kindly furnish a solution. handed Kartoffel at the climax? Knocked Thus the way of wisdom led on, w her half-way to the barn-yard gate. ing and beautiful, over hill and dale,
Kartoffel? Oh, yes, Kartoffel was all the very prime ministership of hea right in her way; rather interesting, pep- Gifted bird! Well might he be pleas
Commissioner-General of the United States of America to the Roman Art Exposition of 1911
F you can conceive of a valley running races; but Rome is the mother of the
at right angles to the Tiber in the cup world, and when she calls, her children of the hills beyond the Borghesi Gardens, come from every border. As one of the edged with Claude-like stone-pines and impassioned Romans said at a luncheon in bordered by yellow villas; and in the the "Castle of the Cæsars," "Rome is the depth of this valley the pleasure-houses cradle of art, and is jealous of her praise,” which twenty or thirty nations have dedi- and the cradle that has rocked us through cated to the glory of art and of Rome, our infancy holds us in its spell forever. shining white under the azure sky of Italy, with the Sabine Hills as a remote PERHAPS it is thus that through the berampart, then you have an impression of nign agencies of art the races of men are the art exposition made to celebrate fifty in the way to become better acquainted. years of Italian independence.
You would suppose that the globe-trotting In the midst of the group is the Pa- American had made himself pretty well lazzo delle Belle Arti, contributed by known to Europe; but no greater fallacy Rome and to remain a permanent me- ever existed. They know the outside of morial. On the slopes are England, Ja- us, our independence, our liberal purses, pan, Spain, Germany, Hungary, Austria, our dress, and our traveling needs; but the Russia, Belgium, Servia, France; and on reality of us is as far away from them as an eminence looking up and down the en
our shores. tire valley and across to the blue crests of An intelligent-enough Italian lady said the mountains the United States has built she had been three months in America. herself a house such as we in America call Where?” we inquired. a home. It is an adaptation of a house "The Philippine Islands." designed by Carrère & Hastings, and And that we were usually spoken of as while it necessarily loses some native traits “North Americans” leads to a quite merin submitting to the introduction of gal- cantile inference that some of our hustling leries, it is essentially a "tapistry-brick" business men might well draw. The volcountry house, dear to American senti- ume of trade from South America to Eument and to American landscape.
rope makes the distinction very necessary Hardly ever, I suppose, in the history to a Dutchman or an Italian, though, as I of the fine arts has a more general pil- frequently explained, it left us in the categrimage of the nations been made to any gory of the redman. Mecca of art. Paris and Chicago and St. But even the English, our racial couLouis have had their devotees of many sins, are slow enough to grasp us. Said