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"And he was good, too, at puttin' things into places where they would n't go. 'Ye don't understand the geometry of it,' he would say to Whallen; and then he would take hold of a fancy davenport and slip it through a narrow door in just the way it was willin' to go. 'Never use force on dumb animals,' he would say to Whallen, 'Show them what you want them to do. A davenport,' says he, 'is no better than its driver.'
"Well, ye can see how a thing like that would work out. Movin' is a great trouble and worry to a woman. 'T is because she has n't got confidence in us. When a man like Whallen comes along with his legs under him like a grand piano, the woman feels uneasy. He is so much stronger than the furniture. But when this Buck would come along, the effect on her was entirely different. He would come into the house smilin' as cheerful as a doctor that was goin' to perform an
operation; and by the time he had assumed charge of the place and said a few educated words about it, a woman would see that she might as well leave it all to him. 'T is that that women like.
"And right there is where all the trouble comes in. When a woman has got acquainted and taken a likin' to ye, she is goin' to have you again in six months or a year, accordin' to when her lease runs out. But you won't be that long hearin' from her, for she will tell her sister and Mrs. Jones what an interestin' and goodnatured mover she had and how thoughtful-minded he was about every little thing.
"Where he learnt the style of it I dunno. 'Movin' is a most intimate relationship,' says he. 'If you will treat the bureau and bedstead kindly, the woman is goin' to feel differently toward ye,' says he. 'If ye don't believe in yourself, no one is goin' to have confidence in ye. 'T is all
in the psychology of it. And always keep smilin',' says he. He was full of them queer ideas. And ever since then the women have been in here inquirin' for him."
"I don't see where the trouble comes in. There is no trouble about that," said Axle-grease.
"Wait till I tell ye. Nothin' is trouble till ye make trouble out of it. "T was a sunshiny day in April with no prospects of rain. 'T was a regular movin' day, and it seemed as if the whole of Chicago wanted to be picked
up and carried away at once. We were busy carryin' cookstoves and piannys and barrels of dishes up and down crooked flights of stairs, and all the vans were out. There
was a woman wanted to be moved from Twenty second out
his mornin' bath and throwin' the water all around.
"Ye are a dirty little bird,' says he, 'and I guess I will have to carry you different.'
"So then he let his arm hang over the side of the seat, with his finger through the ring at the top of the cage, so that the water could jibble into the street. And after that he paid it no more attention.
to Fifty-third, f'r she was expectin' company on the train and wanted to be nicely settled. And so we sent Buck and Whallen out on the stake-body dray to tend to the job.
"Well, when they had got the first load on, there was a canary bird in a cage that the woman was awful' particular about, and it had to be moved with care. They could n't pack it in with the load of chairs and beds and flat-irons and things, so the woman handed it to Whallen to carry. And Whallen handed it to Buck to hold in his lap.
"They had n't gone far when the water got to jibblin' out, and Buck saw that his lap was full of a mixture of bird-seed and water and lettuce and cuttle-bone and what not; and then the bird got to takin'
"Well, 't is a long way from Twentysecond out to Fiftythird. And when they got to the end
of the trip and Buck rose up to straighten out his legs after the long drive, he took a look at the cage and discovered that the bird was gone. The tin bottom had dropped off the cage somewhere along the route, and 't was a birdless cage he had been
carryin' so careful' all the time.
"The two of them stood there lookin' at the cage and then down the long street for miles and miles; and they did n't say much to one another except 'The bird is gone,' and ''T is too bad 't is gone,' and 'I wonder where 't is gone,' and things like that. And all the time they were thinkin' of the woman. For the bird's name was Peter, and she thought the world of him.
"Well,' said Buck, climbin' down off the wagon to take what was handed down to him. 'Chicago is a large city.'
"What?" said Whallen, bitin' it off
"Aw, forget it,' said Buck. 'Drop it.' "'Drop it? What do ye mean by that?' "I mean that we will meet the situation when it arises,' said Buck.
"Ye talk foolishness,' said Whallen, climbin' out on top of the load and givin' a jerk at one of the ropes.
"Ye see, Whallen felt awful' responsible about the canary because it was him that the woman had handed it to. So all the time he was workin' around on top of the load and loosenin' the ropes he kept growlin' to himself and sayin' things to Buck and findin' fault.
"It's a wonder,' says he, 'that ye would n't look at what ye 're holdin' in yer hand. A person would think ye 'd have some sense about ye instead of sittin' there and just gawpin'. I suppose ye were thinkin' of the psychology of it.'
"Whallen was startin' to get sarcastical. And 't was bad luck for him when he started anything like that, for Buck had a fine education. And 't is education that counts. 'Never get excited in an emergency,' he used to say. 'It only destroys
JUST LOOK WHAT YOU WENT AND DONE' "
your efficiency.' So he answered Whallen back and kept a-smilin'; and in a little while Whallen was standin' up there on top of the load shakin' his fist at the whole of creation and gettin' hoppin' mad about it.
"Ajax defyin' the lightning,' says Buck. 'And after you have got through givin' your imitations to the public, maybe you will set to work and hand me down that sewin'-basket.'
"This brought Whallen to his senses for a moment, and he began castin' around on top of the load to find the first thing to take off. And then he had the bad luck to plant his foot right into the middle of a paintin' that had been placed on top with the light and fancy stuff.
""T was a paintin' called 'Evenin' in the Catskills.' And when Whallen found himself standin' knee-deep in the painted. water he got mad all over again.
"Whallen has one of them self-feedin' tempers,-ye know the kind I mean,-and now he began to give an imitation of a man swearin' on top of a load of furniture with a gold frame around his leg.
""That's right. Throw yer discretion to the winds,' says Buck, foldin' his arms and waitin'.
"Whallen gave his leg a big jerk to get it out of the paintin'; but his foot caught on something that was under it, and down he went into the scenery again.
"The next time Whallen got his leg up, the edge of the paintin' was hangin' to his foot, and he gave it one big kick that sent it flyin' off the load. And Buck leaped forward and caught it as neat as ye please. 'T was as good a piece of foot ball work as ye 'd want to see. And then he stood with it in his hands lookin' at the mountains and the big hole in the water that the deer was drinkin' out of. 'T was a good-sized paintin', with a frame about three feet wide, and there was a gold plate at the bottom with the name engraved on it. 'Evenin' in the Catskills,' says Buck, thinkin' it over. And then what does he do but hold it up like the circus clown that is holdin' the hoop f'r the lady in the circus. Maybe,' says he to
Whallen, 'ye would now like to jump through it.'
"Whallen was that mad he was now thinkin' of but one thing in the world, and that was to get down on the ground and knock the daylights out of Buck Summers. And he was in such a hurry to do it that he did n't take time to come down at all, but just gave a jump right off the top of the load. And whilst he was in the air Buck held the paintin' so that he went into it feet foremost, and he jerked it up over Whallen's head so that the whole length of him went through it as slick as ye 'd see it done in the circus.
"I thought ye wanted to do it,' says Buck. 'Don't ye think ye could now do a summerset?'
"F'r an instant Whallen was dumfounded with the surprise of it. And then he let out one roar of language and come at Buck as if he was goin' to tear his way right through him.
"What happened next there is nobody knows except Buck. 'T was some kind of foot-ball work. Some says he went right through Whallen's legs, and some say he only pushed his shoulder against Whallen's instep; but whatever 't was, Whallen turned a complete summerset and went over Buck into the gutter. 'T was some kind of a fancy way of fightin' that threw him endways and head over heels like when ye play 'crackin' the whip.'
"Whallen sat f'r an instant in the dirt of the gutter with the breath clean jolted out of him. But I guess it did n't hurt him much, or else he was too mad to notice it, f'r he jumped up again and doubled his fists and come back with a charge that would 'a' thrown a cow off the track. And the same thing happened again as neat as ye please. Only this time. Whallen lit in the middle of the sidewalk; and there he sat.
Whallen went flyin' through the air they turned out sudden toward the street, takin' the front wheel clean off the dray. And down come the whole load of furniture on the sidewalk.
"There was stove-lids and wash-boilers and lookin'-glasses and canned fruit and beddin' and fancy furniture all in one big smash. A tin flour-bin came down right in the middle of the parlor sofa and bursted open and blew its breath all over Whallen; and there was pickles in the bureau drawer. The bird-cage, what there was left of it, was smashed so flat ye could have broiled a steak on it. There was pie-pans and bread-pans and the lids
of kettles, and one iron lid of a kettle ran up the sidewalk on its edges till it got out of breath and started to wobble and run down; and when all the big noise was over, it was off to one side makin' a little noise all by itself.
"By this time Whallen was standin' on the spot where he had been sittin', and his tune had changed entirely.
"Now look what ye went and done!' he said to Buck. Just look what ye went and done!'
"Yes,' says Buck. "This is what happens to little boys that go fishin' on Sunday. Is that some of the tomato on yer face or is it blood?'
"""T is tomato,' said Whallen, wipin' a sample off on his finger and lookin' at the seeds in it. 'Or maybe it is blood, too,' says he, stoopin' down and lookin' hard at the sidewalk. F'r in the place where Whallen fell there come down a big mirror that smashed in dozens of pieces and spread itself out around him; and when he looked he saw himself in about forty lookin'-glasses all at onct. And 't was as if he was surrounded by a whole crowd of Whallens with bloody noses and their shirts tore open. Whallen looked and said nothin', f'r now he had begun to reflect.
"By this time a crowd had gathered, and people were comin' from all directions. Ye could see them comin' out of the side streets and turnin' the corners and lookin' around to see where 't was; and then they would start to run again and holler, 'Fight! fight!' And not a policeman in sight.
"But in a little while there was another noise down the street and a lot more people runnin'. 'T was the patrol-wagon a-comin'. The bell was clangin', and the horses were flyin', and the drivers were turnin' out in all directions to give it the right of way. Some one must have turned in a riot call, f'r the wagon was full of policemen. The wagon backed up to the place, and the officers filed out with their clubs drawn and made their way in.
"What is the matter here?' says the sergint.