The ones of us who had started the Society of the Wouldbegoods began, at about this time, to bother.
They said we had not done anything really noble—not worth speaking of, that is—for over a week, and that it was high time to begin again—'with earnest endeavour', Daisy said. So then Oswald said—
'All right; but there ought to be an end to everything. Let's each of us think of one really noble and unselfish act, and the others shall help to work it out, like we did when we were Treasure Seekers. Then when everybody's had their go-in we'll write every single thing down in the Golden Deed book, and we'll draw two lines in red ink at the bottom, like Father does at the end of an account. And after that, if anyone wants to be good they can jolly well be good on our own, if at all.'
The ones who had made the Society did not welcome this wise idea, but Dicky and Oswald were firm.
So they had to agree. When Oswald is really firm, opposingness and obstinacy have to give way.
Dora said, 'It would be a noble action to have all the school-children from the village and give them tea and games in the paddock. They would think it so nice and good of us.'
But Dicky showed her that this would not be OUR good act, but Father's, because he would have to pay for the tea, and he had already stood us the keepsakes for the soldiers, as well as having to stump up heavily over the coal barge. And it is in vain being noble and generous when someone else is paying for it all the time, even if it happens to be your father. Then three others had ideas at the same time and began to explain what they were.
We were all in the dining-room, and perhaps we were making a bit of a row. Anyhow, Oswald for one, does not blame Albert's uncle for opening his door and saying—
'I suppose I must not ask for complete silence. That were too much. But if you could whistle, or stamp with your feet, or shriek or howl—anything to vary the monotony of your well-sustained conversation.'
Oswald said kindly, 'We're awfully sorry. Are you busy?'
'Busy?' said Albert's uncle. 'My heroine is now hesitating on the verge of an act which, for good or ill, must influence her whole subsequent career. You wouldn't like her to decide in the middle of such a row that she can't hear herself think?'
We said, 'No, we wouldn't.'
Then he said, 'If any outdoor amusement should commend itself to you this bright mid-summer day.' So we all went out.
Then Daisy whispered to Dora—they always hang together. Daisy is not nearly so white-micey as she was at first, but she still seems to fear the deadly ordeal of public speaking. Dora said—
'Daisy's idea is a game that'll take us all day. She thinks keeping out of the way when he's making his heroine decide right would be a noble act, and fit to write in the Golden Book; and we might as well be playing something at the same time.'
We all said 'Yes, but what?'
There was a silent interval.
'Speak up, Daisy, my child.' Oswald said; 'fear not to lay bare the utmost thoughts of that faithful heart.'
Daisy giggled. Our own girls never giggle—they laugh right out or hold their tongues. Their kind brothers have taught them this. Then Daisy said—
'If we could have a sort of play to keep us out of the way. I once read a story about an animal race. Everybody had an animal, and they had to go how they liked, and the one that got in first got the prize. There was a tortoise in it, and a rabbit, and a peacock, and sheep, and dogs, and a kitten.'
This proposal left us cold, as Albert's uncle says, because we knew there could not be any prize worth bothering about. And though you may be ever ready and willing to do anything for nothing, yet if there's going to be a prize there must BE a prize and there's an end of it.
Thus the idea was not followed up. Dicky yawned and said, 'Let's go into the barn and make a fort.'
So we did, with straw. It does not hurt straw to be messed about with like it does hay.
The downstairs—I mean down-ladder—part of the barn was fun too, especially for Pincher. There was as good ratting there as you could wish to see. Martha tried it, but she could not help running kindly beside the rat, as if she was in double harness with it. This is the noble bull-dog's gentle and affectionate nature coming out. We all enjoyed the ratting that day, but it ended, as usual, in the girls crying because of the poor rats. Girls cannot help this; we must not be waxy with them on account of it, they have their nature, the same as bull-dogs have, and it is this that makes them so useful in smoothing the pillows of the sick-bed and tending wounded heroes.
However, the forts, and Pincher, and the girls crying, and having to be thumped on the back, passed the time very agreeably till dinner. There was roast mutton with onion sauce, and a roly-poly pudding.
Albert's uncle said we had certainly effaced ourselves effectually, which means we hadn't bothered.
So we determined to do the same during the afternoon, for he told us his heroine was by no means out of the wood yet.
And at first it was easy. Jam roly gives you a peaceful feeling and you do not at first care if you never play any runabout game ever any more. But after a while the torpor begins to pass away. Oswald was the first to recover from his.
He had been lying on his front part in the orchard, but now he turned over on his back and kicked his legs up, and said—
'I say, look here; let's do something.'
Daisy looked thoughtful. She was chewing the soft yellow parts of grass, but I could see she was still thinking about that animal race. So I explained to her that it would be very poor fun without a tortoise and a peacock, and she saw this, though not willingly.
It was H. O. who said—
'Doing anything with animals is prime, if they only will. Let's have a circus!'
At the word the last thought of the pudding faded from Oswald's memory, and he stretched himself, sat up, and said—
'Bully for H. O. Let's!'
The others also threw off the heavy weight of memory, and sat up and said 'Let's!' too.
Never, never in all our lives had we had such a gay galaxy of animals at our command. The rabbits and the guinea-pigs, and even all the bright, glass-eyed, stuffed denizens of our late-lamented jungle paled into insignificance before the number of live things on the farm.
(I hope you do not think that the words I use are getting too long. I know they are the right words. And Albert's uncle says your style is always altered a bit by what you read. And I have been reading the Vicomte de Bragelonne. Nearly all my new words come out of those.)
'The worst of a circus is,' Dora said, 'that you've got to teach the animals things. A circus where the performing creatures hadn't learned performing would be a bit silly. Let's give up a week to teaching them and then have the circus.'
Some people have no idea of the value of time. And Dora is one of those who do not understand that when you want to do a thing you do want to, and not to do something else, and perhaps your own thing, a week later.
Oswald said the first thing was to collect the performing animals.
'Then perhaps,' he said, 'we may find that they have hidden talents hitherto unsuspected by their harsh masters.'
So Denny took a pencil and wrote a list of the animals required. This is it:
LIST OF ANIMALS REQUISITE FOR THE
CIRCUS WE ARE GOING TO HAVE
1 Bull for bull-fight. 1 Horse for ditto (if possible). 1 Goat to do Alpine feats of daring. 1 Donkey to play see-saw. 2 White pigs—one to be Learned, and the other to play with the clown. Turkeys, as many as possible, because they can make a noise that The dogs, for any odd parts. 1 Large black pig—to be the Elephant in the procession. Calves (several) to be camels, and to stand on tubs.
Daisy ought to have been captain because it was partly her idea, but she let Oswald be, because she is of a retiring character. Oswald said—
'The first thing is to get all the creatures together; the paddock at the side of the orchard is the very place, because the hedge is good all round. When we've got the performers all there we'll make a programme, and then dress for our parts. It's a pity there won't be any audience but the turkeys.'
We took the animals in their right order, according to Denny's list. The bull was the first. He is black. He does not live in the cowhouse with the other horned people; he has a house all to himself two fields away. Oswald and Alice went to fetch him. They took a halter to lead the bull by, and a whip, not to hurt the bull with, but just to make him mind.
The others were to try to get one of the horses while we were gone.
Oswald as usual was full of bright ideas.
'I daresay,' he said, 'the bull will be shy at first, and he'll have to be goaded into the arena.'
'But goads hurt,' Alice said.
'They don't hurt the bull,' Oswald said; 'his powerful hide is too thick.'
'Then why does he attend to it,' Alice asked, 'if it doesn't hurt?'
'Properly-brought-up bulls attend because they know they ought,' Oswald said. 'I think I shall ride the bull,' the brave boy went on. 'A bull-fight, where an intrepid rider appears on the bull, sharing its joys and sorrows. It would be something quite new.'
'You can't ride bulls,' Alice said; 'at least, not if their backs are sharp like cows.'
But Oswald thought he could. The bull lives in a house made of wood and prickly furze bushes, and he has a yard to his house. You cannot climb on the roof of his house at all comfortably.
When we got there he was half in his house and half out in his yard, and he was swinging his tail because of the flies which bothered. It was a very hot day.
'You'll see,' Alice said, 'he won't want a goad. He'll be so glad to get out for a walk he'll drop his head in my hand like a tame fawn, and follow me lovingly all the way.'
Oswald called to him. He said, 'Bull! Bull! Bull! Bull!' because we did not know the animal's real name. The bull took no notice; then Oswald picked up a stone and threw it at the bull, not angrily, but just to make it pay attention. But the bull did not pay a farthing's worth of it. So then Oswald leaned over the iron gate of the bull's yard and just flicked the bull with the whiplash. And then the bull DID pay attention. He started when the lash struck him, then suddenly he faced round, uttering a roar like that of the wounded King of Beasts, and putting his head down close to his feet he ran straight at the iron gate where we were standing.
Alice and Oswald mechanically turned away; they did not wish to annoy the bull any more, and they ran as fast as they could across the field so as not to keep the others waiting.
As they ran across the field Oswald had a dream-like fancy that perhaps the bull had rooted up the gate with one paralysing blow, and was now tearing across the field after him and Alice, with the broken gate balanced on its horns. We climbed the stile quickly and looked back; the bull was still on the right side of the gate.
Oswald said, 'I think we'll do without the bull. He did not seem to want to come. We must be kind to dumb animals.'
Alice said, between laughing and crying—
'Oh, Oswald, how can you!' But we did do without the bull, and we did not tell the others how we had hurried to get back. We just said, 'The bull didn't seem to care about coming.'
The others had not been idle. They had got old Clover, the cart-horse, but she would do nothing but graze, so we decided not to use her in the bull-fight, but to let her be the Elephant. The Elephant's is a nice quiet part, and she was quite big enough for a young one. Then the black pig could be Learned, and the other two could be something else. They had also got the goat; he was tethered to a young tree.
The donkey was there. Denny was leading him in the halter. The dogs were there, of course—they always are.
So now we only had to get the turkeys for the applause and the calves and pigs.
The calves were easy to get, because they were in their own house. There were five. And the pigs were in their houses too. We got them out after long and patient toil, and persuaded them that they wanted to go into the paddock, where the circus was to be. This is done by pretending to drive them the other way. A pig only knows two ways—the way you want him to go, and the other. But the turkeys knew thousands of different ways, and tried them all. They made such an awful row, we had to drop all ideas of ever hearing applause from their lips, so we came away and left them.
'Never mind,' H. O. said, 'they'll be sorry enough afterwards, nasty, unobliging things, because now they won't see the circus. I hope the other animals will tell them about it.'
While the turkeys were engaged in baffling the rest of us, Dicky had found three sheep who seemed to wish to join the glad throng, so we let them.
Then we shut the gate of the paddock, and left the dumb circus performers to make friends with each other while we dressed.
Oswald and H. O. were to be clowns. It is quite easy with Albert's uncle's pyjamas, and flour on your hair and face, and the red they do the brick-floors with.
Alice had very short pink and white skirts, and roses in her hair and round her dress. Her dress was the pink calico and white muslin stuff off the dressing-table in the girls' room fastened with pins and tied round the waist with a small bath towel. She was to be the Dauntless Equestrienne, and to give her enhancing act a barebacked daring, riding either a pig or a sheep, whichever we found was freshest and most skittish. Dora was dressed for the Haute ecole, which means a riding-habit and a high hat. She took Dick's topper that he wears with his Etons, and a skirt of Mrs Pettigrew's. Daisy, dressed the same as Alice, taking the muslin from Mrs Pettigrew's dressing-table with-out saying anything beforehand. None of us would have advised this, and indeed we were thinking of trying to put it back, when Denny and Noel, who were wishing to look like highwaymen, with brown-paper top-boots and slouch hats and Turkish towel cloaks, suddenly stopped dressing and gazed out of the window.
'Krikey!' said Dick, 'come on, Oswald!' and he bounded like an antelope from the room.
Oswald and the rest followed, casting a hasty glance through the window. Noel had got brown-paper boots too, and a Turkish towel cloak. H. O. had been waiting for Dora to dress him up for the other clown. He had only his shirt and knickerbockers and his braces on. He came down as he was—as indeed we all did. And no wonder, for in the paddock, where the circus was to be, a blood-thrilling thing had transpired. The dogs were chasing the sheep. And we had now lived long enough in the country to know the fell nature of our dogs' improper conduct.
We all rushed into the paddock, calling to Pincher, and Martha, and Lady. Pincher came almost at once. He is a well-brought-up dog—Oswald trained him. Martha did not seem to hear. She is awfully deaf, but she did not matter so much, because the sheep could walk away from her easily. She has no pace and no wind. But Lady is a deer-hound. She is used to pursuing that fleet and antlered pride of the forest—the stag—and she can go like billyo. She was now far away in a distant region of the paddock, with a fat sheep just before her in full flight. I am sure if ever anybody's eyes did start out of their heads with horror, like in narratives of adventure, ours did then.
There was a moment's pause of speechless horror. We expected to see Lady pull down her quarry, and we know what a lot of money a sheep costs, to say nothing of its own personal feelings.
Then we started to run for all we were worth. It is hard to run swiftly as the arrow from the bow when you happen to be wearing pyjamas belonging to a grown-up person—as I was—but even so I beat Dicky. He said afterwards it was because his brown-paper boots came undone and tripped him up. Alice came in third. She held on the dressing-table muslin and ran jolly well. But ere we reached the fatal spot all was very nearly up with the sheep. We heard a plop; Lady stopped and looked round. She must have heard us bellowing to her as we ran. Then she came towards us, prancing with happiness, but we said 'Down!' and 'Bad dog!' and ran sternly on.
When we came to the brook which forms the northern boundary of the paddock we saw the sheep struggling in the water. It is not very deep, and I believe the sheep could have stood up, and been well in its depth, if it had liked, but it would not try.
It was a steepish bank. Alice and I got down and stuck our legs into the water, and then Dicky came down, and the three of us hauled that sheep up by its shoulders till it could rest on Alice and me as we sat on the bank. It kicked all the time we were hauling. It gave one extra kick at last, that raised it up, and I tell you that sopping wet, heavy, panting, silly donkey of a sheep sat there on our laps like a pet dog; and Dicky got his shoulder under it at the back and heaved constantly to keep it from flumping off into the water again, while the others fetched the shepherd.
When the shepherd came he called us every name you can think of, and then he said—
'Good thing master didn't come along. He would ha' called you some tidy names.'
He got the sheep out, and took it and the others away. And the calves too. He did not seem to care about the other performing animals.
Alice, Oswald and Dick had had almost enough circus for just then, so we sat in the sun and dried ourselves and wrote the programme of the circus. This was it:
1. Startling leap from the lofty precipice by the performing sheep. Real water, and real precipice. The gallant rescue. O. A. and D. Bastable. (We thought we might as well put that in though it was over and had happened accidentally.)
2. Graceful bare-backed equestrienne act on the trained pig, Eliza. A. Bastable. 3. Amusing clown interlude, introducing trained dog, Pincher, and the other white pig. H. O. and O. Bastable.
4. The See-Saw. Trained donkeys. (H. O. said we had only one donkey, so Dicky said H. O. could be the other. When peace was restored we went on to 5.)
5. Elegant equestrian act by D. Bastable. Haute ecole, on Clover, the incomparative trained elephant from the plains of Venezuela.
6. Alpine feat of daring. The climbing of the Andes, by Billy, the well-known acrobatic goat. (We thought we could make the Andes out of hurdles and things, and so we could have but for what always happens. (This is the unexpected. (This is a saying Father told me—but I see I am three deep in brackets so I will close them before I get into any more).).).
7. The Black but Learned Pig. ('I daresay he knows something,' Alice said, 'if we can only find out what.' We DID find out all too soon.)
We could not think of anything else, and our things were nearly dry—all except Dick's brown-paper top-boots, which were mingled with the gurgling waters of the brook.
We went back to the seat of action—which was the iron trough where the sheep have their salt put—and began to dress up the creatures.
We had just tied the Union Jack we made out of Daisy's flannel petticoat and cetera, when we gave the soldiers the baccy, round the waist of the Black and Learned Pig, when we heard screams from the back part of the house, and suddenly we saw that Billy, the acrobatic goat, had got loose from the tree we had tied him to. (He had eaten all the parts of its bark that he could get at, but we did not notice it until next day, when led to the spot by a grown-up.)
The gate of the paddock was open. The gate leading to the bridge that goes over the moat to the back door was open too. We hastily proceeded in the direction of the screams, and, guided by the sound, threaded our way into the kitchen. As we went, Noel, ever fertile in melancholy ideas, said he wondered whether Mrs Pettigrew was being robbed, or only murdered.
In the kitchen we saw that Noel was wrong as usual. It was neither. Mrs Pettigrew, screaming like a steam-siren and waving a broom, occupied the foreground. In the distance the maid was shrieking in a hoarse and monotonous way, and trying to shut herself up inside a clothes-horse on which washing was being aired.
On the dresser—which he had ascended by a chair—was Billy, the acrobatic goat, doing his Alpine daring act. He had found out his Andes for himself, and even as we gazed he turned and tossed his head in a way that showed us some mysterious purpose was hidden beneath his calm exterior. The next moment he put his off-horn neatly behind the end plate of the next to the bottom row, and ran it along against the wall. The plates fell crashing on to the soup tureen and vegetable dishes which adorned the lower range of the Andes.
Mrs Pettigrew's screams were almost drowned in the discarding crash and crackle of the falling avalanche of crockery.
Oswald, though stricken with horror and polite regret, preserved the most dauntless coolness.
Disregarding the mop which Mrs Pettigrew kept on poking at the goat in a timid yet cross way, he sprang forward, crying out to his trusty followers, 'Stand by to catch him!'
But Dick had thought of the same thing, and ere Oswald could carry out his long-cherished and general-like design, Dicky had caught the goat's legs and tripped it up. The goat fell against another row of plates, righted itself hastily in the gloomy ruins of the soup tureen and the sauce-boats, and then fell again, this time towards Dicky. The two fell heavily on the ground together. The trusty followers had been so struck by the daring of Dicky and his lion-hearted brother, that they had not stood by to catch anything.
The goat was not hurt, but Dicky had a sprained thumb and a lump on his head like a black marble door-knob. He had to go to bed.
I will draw a veil and asterisks over what Mrs Pettigrew said. Also Albert's uncle, who was brought to the scene of ruin by her screams. Few words escaped our lips. There are times when it is not wise to argue; however, little what has occurred is really our fault.
When they had said what they deemed enough and we were let go, we all went out. Then Alice said distractedly, in a voice which she vainly strove to render firm—
'Let's give up the circus. Let's put the toys back in the boxes—no, I don't mean that—the creatures in their places—and drop the whole thing. I want to go and read to Dicky.'
Oswald has a spirit that no reverses can depreciate. He hates to be beaten. But he gave in to Alice, as the others said so too, and we went out to collect the performing troop and sort it out into its proper places.
Alas! we came too late. In the interest we had felt about whether Mrs Pettigrew was the abject victim of burglars or not, we had left both gates open again. The old horse—I mean the trained elephant from Venezuela—was there all right enough. The dogs we had beaten and tied up after the first act, when the intrepid sheep bounded, as it says in the programme. The two white pigs were there, but the donkey was gone. We heard his hoofs down the road, growing fainter and fainter, in the direction of the 'Rose and Crown'. And just round the gatepost we saw a flash of red and white and blue and black that told us, with dumb signification, that the pig was off in exactly the opposite direction. Why couldn't they have gone the same way? But no, one was a pig and the other was a donkey, as Denny said afterwards.
Daisy and H. O. started after the donkey; the rest of us, with one accord, pursued the pig—I don't know why. It trotted quietly down the road; it looked very black against the white road, and the ends on the top, where the Union Jack was tied, bobbed brightly as it trotted. At first we thought it would be easy to catch up to it. This was an error.
When we ran faster it ran faster; when we stopped it stopped and looked round at us, and nodded. (I daresay you won't swallow this, but you may safely. It's as true as true, and so's all that about the goat. I give you my sacred word of honour.) I tell you the pig nodded as much as to say—
'Oh, yes. You think you will, but you won't!' and then as soon as we moved again off it went. That pig led us on and on, o'er miles and miles of strange country. One thing, it did keep to the roads. When we met people, which wasn't often, we called out to them to help us, but they only waved their arms and roared with laughter. One chap on a bicycle almost tumbled off his machine, and then he got off it and propped it against a gate and sat down in the hedge to laugh properly. You remember Alice was still dressed up as the gay equestrienne in the dressing-table pink and white, with rosy garlands, now very droopy, and she had no stockings on, only white sand-shoes, because she thought they would be easier than boots for balancing on the pig in the graceful bare-backed act.
Oswald was attired in red paint and flour and pyjamas, for a clown. It is really IMPOSSIBLE to run speedfully in another man's pyjamas, so Oswald had taken them off, and wore his own brown knickerbockers belonging to his Norfolks. He had tied the pyjamas round his neck, to carry them easily. He was afraid to leave them in a ditch, as Alice suggested, because he did not know the roads, and for aught he recked they might have been infested with footpads. If it had been his own pyjamas it would have been different. (I'm going to ask for pyjamas next winter, they are so useful in many ways.)
Noel was a highwayman in brown-paper gaiters and bath towels and a cocked hat of newspaper. I don't know how he kept it on. And the pig was encircled by the dauntless banner of our country. All the same, I think if I had seen a band of youthful travellers in bitter distress about a pig I should have tried to lend a helping hand and not sat roaring in the hedge, no matter how the travellers and the pig might have been dressed.
It was hotter than anyone would believe who has never had occasion to hunt the pig when dressed for quite another part. The flour got out of Oswald's hair into his eyes and his mouth. His brow was wet with what the village blacksmith's was wet with, and not his fair brow alone. It ran down his face and washed the red off in streaks, and when he rubbed his eyes he only made it worse. Alice had to run holding the equestrienne skirts on with both hands, and I think the brown-paper boots bothered Noel from the first. Dora had her skirt over her arm and carried the topper in her hand. It was no use to tell ourselves it was a wild boar hunt—we were long past that.
At last we met a man who took pity on us. He was a kind-hearted man. I think, perhaps, he had a pig of his own—or, perhaps, children. Honour to his name!
He stood in the middle of the road and waved his arms. The pig right-wheeled through a gate into a private garden and cantered up the drive. We followed. What else were we to do, I should like to know?
The Learned Black Pig seemed to know its way. It turned first to the right and then to the left, and emerged on a lawn.
'Now, all together!' cried Oswald, mustering his failing voice to give the word of command. 'Surround him!—cut off his retreat!'
We almost surrounded him. He edged off towards the house.
'Now we've got him!' cried the crafty Oswald, as the pig got on to a bed of yellow pansies close against the red house wall.
All would even then have been well, but Denny, at the last, shrank from meeting the pig face to face in a manly way. He let the pig pass him, and the next moment, with a squeak that said 'There now!' as plain as words, the pig bolted into a French window. The pursuers halted not. This was no time for trivial ceremony. In another moment the pig was a captive. Alice and Oswald had their arms round him under the ruins of a table that had had teacups on it, and around the hunters and their prey stood the startled members of a parish society for making clothes for the poor heathen, that that pig had led us into the very midst of. They were reading a missionary report or something when we ran our quarry to earth under their table. Even as he crossed the threshold I heard something about 'black brothers being already white to the harvest'. All the ladies had been sewing flannel things for the poor blacks while the curate read aloud to them. You think they screamed when they saw the Pig and Us? You are right.
On the whole, I cannot say that the missionary people behaved badly. Oswald explained that it was entirely the pig's doing, and asked pardon quite properly for any alarm the ladies had felt; and Alice said how sorry we were but really it was NOT our fault this time. The curate looked a bit nasty, but the presence of ladies made him keep his hot blood to himself.
When we had explained, we said, 'Might we go?' The curate said, 'The sooner the better.' But the Lady of the House asked for our names and addresses, and said she should write to our Father. (She did, and we heard of it too.) They did not do anything to us, as Oswald at one time believed to be the curate's idea. They let us go.
And we went, after we had asked for a piece of rope to lead the pig by.
'In case it should come back into your nice room,' Alice said. 'And that would be such a pity, wouldn't it?'
A little girl in a starched pinafore was sent for the rope. And as soon as the pig had agreed to let us tie it round his neck we came away. The scene in the drawing-room had not been long. The pig went slowly,
'Like the meandering brook,'
Denny said. Just by the gate the shrubs rustled and opened, and the little girl came out. Her pinafore was full of cake.
'Here,' she said. 'You must be hungry if you've come all that way.
I think they might have given you some tea after all the trouble you've had.' We took the cake with correct thanks.
'I wish I could play at circuses,' she said. 'Tell me about it.'
We told her while we ate the cake; and when we had done she said perhaps it was better to hear about than do, especially the goat's part and Dicky's.
'But I do wish auntie had given you tea,' she said.
We told her not to be too hard on her aunt, because you have to make allowances for grown-up people. When we parted she said she would never forget us, and Oswald gave her his pocket button-hook and corkscrew combined for a keepsake.
Dicky's act with the goat (which is true, and no kid) was the only thing out of that day that was put in the Golden Deed book, and he put that in himself while we were hunting the pig.
Alice and me capturing the pig was never put in. We would scorn to write our own good actions, but I suppose Dicky was dull with us all away; and you must pity the dull, and not blame them.
I will not seek to unfold to you how we got the pig home, or how the donkey was caught (that was poor sport compared to the pig). Nor will I tell you a word of all that was said and done to the intrepid hunters of the Black and Learned. I have told you all the interesting part. Seek not to know the rest. It is better buried in obliquity.