Part 3 of 3
Source: Crittenden Record-Press. (Marion, Ky.), May 29, 1913, Edition 1, Image 3 - Chronicling America - The Library of Congress.
(Reported by R. C. Haynes.)
"When the recital of the first stanza of that little poem," continued Dog-Owner No. 3, "instead of being the means of my hoped-for identification, so utterly failed in its mission, owing to the deplorable condition of my voice; that it had, on the contrary, been rather the means of a farther estrangement, I knew it would be useless to recite the second stanza.
"The house stood back some distance from the front gate and, when I had reached the latter, I cried out:
"I had thought it probable that Fluffy would, by this time, catch on to my disguise--or rather want of disguise--as the moon was shining and I could see her gaze fixed upon me.
"'Hello,' she called back, 'what will you have?'
"As this was the first audible sign she had given of my presence on the premises, I took courage. I will act so friendly and natural, I reflected, that Fluffy cannot fail to recognize me.
"'Well,' I replied, after clearing my throat several times, 'I'd like, by George, to have a shelter from the night breeze, a kiss or two, a square meal, a big dose of grip remedy, a good night's sleep and in the morning another square--'
"By this time I was about half-way between the gate and the house and was mentally congratulating myself on my apparent success, when I was suddenly interrupted by a third party on the scene.
"Old Bounce came round the house from the back yard, making toward me in full speed and showing great wrath and indignation at my unholy presence in the yard!
"I don't contemplate having any trouble with old Bounce, I reflected, for dogs are very hard to deceive when it comes to disguises. Therefore, when I saw him coming at me in such fury I paused, put on a bold front and said to him:
"'Come, sir, be civil. Greet your master.'
"When I had uttered these words, addressed to the dog, I heard a giggle behind me and, looking back in that direction, I saw Fluffy standing on the porch laughing--whether at my words or my predicament I could not tell, though most likely, I surmised, at my effort at speech; for, though I spoke as distinctly as I could, it sounded as if I had said to the dog:
"'On, cur, ye devil! Meet your disaster!'
"At all events, the brute's anger seemed to be augmented rather than pacified by my conciliatory measure, and he came on at me with renewed energy and increased rage.
"'Hold up, Bounce!' cried Fluffy, and the dog stopped at once, though he still growled savagely to himself.
"'Now, stranger,' she continued, turning to me and pointing toward the gate, 'rid this yard of your presence at once. I don't know who you are, yet I wouldn't mind giving you something to eat, but Reuben is not here, poor soul, so you will have to mozy on. Besides, I don't like your looks at all. Very likely you have made your escape from the pen or from some institution for the feeble-minded, probably the latter, as your actions are silly, your words are ridiculous and your looks (tee-hee!) are rather more comical than vicious.
"'Anyway,' Fluffy went on, 'you are, it seems to me, an undesirable citizen to have around one's premises. Therefore, the sooner you are off and down the road the safer it will be for you; for, unless you are outside the gate in three shakes, or less time, old Bounce will know the reason why;'
"Well, I shall not be in so great a hurry to leave as all that,' I replied, in a wheezy voice. 'I don't believe in running away from home and leaving one's wife and son and dog to run things about the place. I shall, therefore, go quietly in and proceed to make myself at home. Is supper about--'
"Of the above, I did not know how much Fluffy understood, or how much she misunderstood; but, when I had got thus far, my wife looked at the dog, then pointed with her hand at me. Again the brute came at me in a more savage way than ever!
"I looked around me, but could not find a club or a stone anywhere with which to defend myself. I measured, with my eyes, the distance from myself to the porch and from myself to the gate, and decided I could not gain either point. So I made for the nearest available tree, the dog coming after me in full tilt!
"Though the distance was short, old Bounce gained on me so fast that I decided I could not reach even that harbor of safety. So, choosing the only alternative left me, I grabbed hold of the martin-pole and up I went, hand over hand, and clinging to the pole with my legs. But none too soon; for, as I sprang up the pole, the savage beast made a grab for me, tearing with his sharp teeth a patch of cloth from the back part of my trousers!
"Although I was now beyond the dog's reach, I found it difficult to cling to the smooth surface of the martin-pole, and I reflected that I might, at any moment, lose my grip and fall to the ground and into the jaws of the savage brute!
"With these reflections, I climbed up a little higher, took a firmer grip on the pole and called out to my wife:
"'Oh, Fluffy, Fluffy! Come here to your Reuben!'
"My cold was getting worse all the time and my voice more wheezy and screaky and squeaky and, in trying to talk, I made a more dismal failure than ever. It sounded this way:
"'Old Puffy Puff-up! Come near to your ruin!'
"When I had delivered myself of this little oration Fluffy stepped off the porch and came about half-way to the martin-pole and I had begun to congratulate myself on my success. But I was disappointed; for, instead of driving the dog away and bidding me come down, she cried out:
"I saw Billy stick his head out of the stable door, and then Fluffy again called out:
"'Come her, Billy, old Bounce and I have a crazy man treed up the martin-pole! Bring your gun with you and guard him till Reuben comes!'
"Looking again toward the stable, I saw Billy coming toward the house, carrying his shot gun on his shoulder.
"Finding it extremely difficult to hold on to the pole, I climbed on up until I reached the highest point, then sat down on the martin-box, which was nailed to the top of the pole. Although it was a hazardous thing to do, I found it more comfortable than clinging to the smooth surface of the pole.
"'Well, ma, he's a slick-looking citizen all right,' remarked Billy, after he had taken a good look at me, 'but he doesn't look like he'd hurt anybody. He'd never take the prize at a beauty show, would he, ma?'
"'No, he wouldn't, Billy, (tee-hee!)' replied Fluffy, 'but of course the poor fellow can't help his looks. I think, too, there's something wrong with his head. You and old Bounce can stay here and guard him, Billy, and I will walk down the lane to see if I can't meet your pa coming home. I'm uneasy about Reuben.'
"Fluffy passed through the gate, walked on down the lane and disappeared down the road. The moon was still shining, but her pale light came down through fleecy clouds which chased each other through the sky, casting ghost-like shadows across the land and fields, and, though I myself was unenviably situated, my heart went out to Fluffy, poor thing, in her lonely walk, knowing that she was distressed because of my supposed absence.
"Billy and the dog took their places near the pole to guard me. After sitting there for perhaps half an hour, Billy looked up at me and said:
"'Old fellow, how are you getting along up there? Pa is along time coming, and I'm getting dad gum'd hungry. If you will get down and then light out as fast as you can go, I'll hold the dog until you can get away.'
"I could see no good in my sitting up there on that blamed martin-box all night waiting for some imaginary bewhiskered Reuben to appear, so I accepted Bill's proposition.
"Sliding down the pole, I once more stood on mother earth, Billy holding on to the dog, which was making desperate efforts to get at me.
"'Now, be off as fast as your legs will carry you,' said Billy. 'I don't know how long I'll be able to hold old Bounce.'
"I started down the lane in a run, determined to go to the home of my nearest neighbor, Peter Brown, who, I reflected, would know me, since he was in the barber shop when I was deprived of my whiskers.
"As I was hastening on in full tilt, I saw, through the dim moonlight, the form of Fluffy coming up the lane toward me on her return home. The poor thing looked about down and out, and again I could but feel sorry for her.
"As I approached her, I could see that she recognized me--not as her husband and the father of Billy, but as the man-up-the-martin-pole. Consequently, I didn't have to urge her to give me the right of way to the middle of the road, for she gave me a wide berth and only slightly bowed to me as I rushed by, giving a good-by wave of the hand as I passed.
"When I got to the end of the lane I slackened my speed and walked leisurely down the road toward the home of Peter Brown. It was only a short distance, and when I arrived at the gate I called him out.
"'Peter,' I said, getting down to business at once, 'I want you to accompany me home and identify me to my family.'
"Peter, who was a good neighbor, readily agreed to do so, and we started back to my home at once.
"As we approached the house, I told Peter to take the lead, which he did, the two of us passing through the gate and taking our way up the walk to the house.
"Old Bounce came out, but seeing Peter, went on round to the back yard, we stepped upon the porch and Peter knocked at the door.
"Fluffy came to the door, Peter bowed, inquired as to the health of the family and then said:
"'I have a gentleman here who is introducing a patent churn in this locality and--'
"When we stepped into the room in the bright light of a couple of lamps, Fluffy looked at me as she would at any stranger, then, all at once, I could see from certain expressions of her face, that she recognized me--both as her husband and as the man-up-the-martin-pole!
"Then Fluffy--consarn her!--instead of falling on my neck and asking pardon for the somewhat unwifely reception she had given me, fell back into a rocker and gave vent to great peals of laughter. She would laugh and laugh some more. Billy coming into the room, joined his mother in the jubilee and rolled upon the floor in uncontrollable laughter.
"'Now, Fluff,' I remarked, amid their merriment, "I can't see anything so very hilarious about one's getting a shave; though, of course, if you and Bill want to laugh your fool heads off, just go ahead.'
"'Reuben,' replied Fluffy, 'I have thought of a scheme. You could get a fine job with some circus as a clown--you wouldn't require any make-up.'
"'And take you and Billy along as dog-trainers, I returned.
"Well, we stayed on the farm and my wife and son soon became accustomed to my non-whiskered appearance, but not so old Bellzie and the dog. Though passively reconciled to the new order of things, they seemed to look upon me as an intruder, thinking it likely, no doubt, that their old master had somehow disappeared and that Fluffy had married a second time."
EDITOR'S NOTE--In this department next week Dog-Owner No. 1 will take up and relate his stirring adventure which, it will be remembered was interrupted by the persistency of Dog-Owners Nos. 2 and 3.
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