The Adventures of a Frisky Fox Terrier
Frances Trego Montgomery
Author of BILLY WHISKERS
Illustrated by Violet Moore Higgins
The Saalfield Publishing Company Chicago Akron, Ohio New York
Copyright, 1917 By The Saalfield Publishing Company
This story appeared serially in the Detroit News Tribune
I In Which Zip is Introduced to the Reader 9
II Zip's Exciting News 17
III Zip Unearths the Stolen Silver 25
IV Zip's Disastrous Jump 31
V Zip is Stuck in the Stovepipe 39
VI Zip and Peter-Kins 47
VII Zip, Peter-Kins and the Turkey Gobbler 53
VIII Zip at the Candy Pull 59
IX Zip and Peter-Kins Have a Fight 67
X Zip's Curiosity is His Undoing 73
As he dug, spoons, knives, forks and sugar-bowl lids began to fly out Frontispiece
There, sure enough, were five or six little boys and girls having a picnic 20
Peter-Kins leaped onto a turkey gobbler that was strutting around the yard all swelled out with pride 50
The monkey was trying to hit him with the empty dipper 68
The Adventures of a Frisky Fox Terrier
IN WHICH ZIP IS INTRODUCED TO THE READER
Zip belongs to Dr. Elsworth, who lives in the big, white house with the green blinds on the edge of the village of Maplewood. And at the present minute he is asleep on the front porch on a soft cushion in an old-fashioned rocking-chair that is swaying gently to and fro, dreaming of the days when he was a puppy chasing the white spot on the end of his tail, thinking it was something following him. And how he would bark at it and run around and around after it until he was so dizzy he would fall over! Then when the ground stopped spinning round, he would get up and go after it again, barking all the time for it to stop following him. Silly little puppy that he was, not to know it was his own tail he was chasing! Often he would bark so loudly in his sleep that it would awaken him, but he would soon fall asleep again and go on dreaming. Sometimes he would be chasing cows, holding on to their long tails; at others, squawking, cackling chickens or anything else that happened to be in the road.
One day when thus dreaming, he was just about to pull a mouthful of tail feathers out of Parson Higgins' pet rooster when the latch on the front gate clicked. Zip was awake in a minute, sitting up on the cushion with ears sticking straight up and every nerve alert to see who was coming in the doctor's yard.
The first look showed him a ragged tramp with battered hat, unshaven face and a bundle of clothes tied up in a dirty, faded red handkerchief strung on a cane over his shoulder. That one look was enough, for if there was one thing Zip despised and detested more than any other, it was a tramp. And for this one to dare to try to come in the front gate—the gate he never allowed anyone to enter unless they were well dressed—was more than he could stand, and he flew at the fellow as if he were the size of a lion and was going to devour him on the spot.
As for the tramp, he hated dogs as much as they hated him. It had been his experience that little dogs had just as sharp teeth as big ones and were much harder to drive off, as they were so quick they could get around and snap a piece out of one's shins before one could help himself. So when he saw Zip bound off the chair and come running toward him with bristles raised and teeth showing, he slammed the gate and started off down the road.
But here he did a silly thing. Instead of going off about his business, he stooped, picked up a stone and threw it at Zip, hitting him squarely on the side and hurting him dreadfully, as the stone was large and sharp. This was too much. He, Zip, would have a piece of that tramp's leg or he would know the reason why! The tramp thought he was safe in hitting the dog as the gate was shut and the fence high. But whoever yet has succeeded in shutting a little dog in a yard by a high fence? Not many people, I am sure, for the dog will always find a hole to crawl through or a pale off where he can squeeze through, or, not finding these, he will dig a hole under the fence. And this is what Zip had done many weeks before, for he found it necessary to have some place he could get through in a hurry to go after the school children who delighted in teasing him. So now quick as a flash he ran for this hole, which was well hidden by a big lilac bush, and before the tramp even knew he was coming, Zip was through the hole and had his little, sharp teeth buried in his shin. With a cry of surprise and pain, the tramp turned to see what had hurt him. When he saw the little dog, he raised his cane to strike him, but as it came down Zip let go his hold and grabbed the bundle that was on the end of the cane and made off with it. This infuriated the tramp and he hobbled after Zip, calling him all sorts of bad names as he came. This Zip did not mind in the least, but kept right on dragging the bundle along with him as he ran down the road.
Now this bundle was round and heavy, and hard for such a small dog to carry, and it kept tripping him up and rolling him over. But he hung on with the tenacity of a bulldog until he saw the tramp was going to overtake him. Then he decided not to try to carry it to the hole in the fence, but to jump the ditch and drop it in the frog pond. The tramp was almost upon him now and had his cane raised to hit him, but when it came down, it hit the earth, not the dog, for just at that moment Zip had made a flying leap over the ditch, taking the bundle with him.
Once there, he dragged it along or held it up off the ground by stretching his neck up high until he came to the edge of the frog pond. Then he let go and watched it disappear under the water.
By this time the tramp was simply furious and was threatening to catch and kill him, while all the time the saucy little dog barked back, "Better catch me before you kill me!"
Splash! went a big stone in the water, and if it had hit Zip, it certainly would have killed him as it was so big, but he jumped aside just in time. Then what did this mischievous, daring little dog do but stand perfectly still and watch the tramp come after him, wading through the tall, wet marsh grass, stumbling as he came. He was within five feet of Zip and was just thinking, "One more step and I can reach him!" when the long tangle grass caught one foot and threw him face down in the soft, oozy mud.
Zip barked a bark that sounded more like a laugh than a bark, making the tramp more determined than ever to kill him, even if he had to fall forty times before he caught him.
Had the tramp stopped to think, he might have known that the dog was going to play some trick on him, for who ever heard of a dog standing still while a man with a big, heavy cane was bearing down on him to brain him? But the tramp was far too angry to reason. All he thought of was to kill the dog that had bitten him and then ran off with his clothes. He picked himself up as best he could, and made a spring at Zip, bringing his cane down at the same time. But as before, when the cane came down there was no dog under it. Zip had jumped into the frog pond and was quietly swimming to the opposite shore.
When he saw this the tramp tore his hair with rage, threw clods of mud at him and fairly yelled with fury, while Zip walked out of the water as if no one were near, shook himself dry and trotted off home down the other side of the pond, leaving the tramp lying on his stomach trying to fish his bundle of clothes out of the water.
Suddenly Zip stopped short, pricked up his ears and listened. Yes, he was right! He had heard the doctor's low, peculiar, penetrating whistle. That meant he was about to start on his rounds to see his patients. He never went without Zip sitting up on the seat beside him in his old-fashioned buggy.
Zip loved these daily trips, for he was a most active, nervous, curious, little dog, and always wanted to know what was going on throughout the village, and these rides gave him a splendid opportunity to find out. While the doctor was in visiting his patients, Zip would jump out of the buggy and go around to the back of the house to call on the family's cat or dog, whichever it happened to be. And though you may not know it, these animals in every household know what is going on in the home from garret to cellar, as well as all the family secrets and neighborhood gossip. So you see Zip was a regular news-gatherer, and he not only gathered the news in that way, but he spread it as he went along with the doctor from house to house, so that anyone hearing Zip talk did not need to read the newspaper to find out all the village gossip. He knew of all the births, weddings and funerals as well as the lovers' quarrels long before anyone else, for generally he was on the spot when they happened. Neither did he mind listening when he saw two young people of the opposite sex strolling down some shady lane, or hanging over a garden gate. And like all gossips, he was never happy until he had told someone all the latest news he had gathered.
The one to whom he enjoyed telling things the most was the big, yellow cat that lived at the doctor's and was the special pet of the cook. The cat's name was Tabby, and she was a big, comfortable, good-natured cat who stayed at home and minded her own business. She was also a good listener, which Zip considered one of her best qualities. Like all talkative people, he would rather do the talking and have someone else do the listening. Consequently Tabby just suited him. After he had come back with the doctor from making his last call for the day, Zip and Tabby would curl up on the front porch or on a garden seat and he would talk away into the night or until time for him to make the rounds of the place. This as a watch dog he felt it his duty to do once or twice during the night, while Tabby went to the barn to catch mice.
His especial bit of gossip this night was that two storks had brought twins to Mrs. Brown's home the night before and that the sudden surprise of two babies coming to her house in the middle of the night had made her ill and she had taken to her bed and called the doctor.
"Just like Mrs. Brown to do a thing like that—throw up her hands and give up instead of hustling around heating some milk for the poor little things who must have been hungry after their long journey down from the clouds," sputtered Zip.
To which sage remark Tabby assented.
Another bit of news was that the ladies of the Episcopal Church were going to give a strawberry festival in the Sunday School rooms on Wednesday evening, and all were cordially invited to attend and to bring their friends. Admission, twenty-five cents each.
"This will be nice for us," remarked Zip, "for while Martha is away, we can steal into the milk cellar and lick the cream off the pans. Of course in the morning she will wonder why old Bess, the red cow, did not give as rich milk as usual. But she will think that the chore boy did not feed her enough bran, for she would never suspect Tabby, her pet, of doing such a mean thing!"
And of her own accord, Tabby never would, had not Zip put her up to it.
The next was that Sophie Hooper and James Steadman were going to be married at last. And he was glad of it, for one, for he had seen them courting on the little bridge that crossed the creek in the valley for the last year!
Another was that Mr. Stubbins had a new dog, a red setter hunting dog, which he believed he was going to hate as it had barked at him from its kennel when he ran around the house to see their white cat and pass the time of day with her while the doctor was making a call across the street.
"And really, Tabby, from the way that dog barked and pulled on his chain, I am sure he would have eaten me up could he have gotten at me! But just wait until he finds who I am, and I guess he will quiet down!"
ZIP'S EXCITING NEWS
"Why, Zip Elsworth! Where in the world have you been? You look all fagged out and you are spattered with mud from head to foot! The doctor has been whistling for you for half an hour, and I just heard him tell Martha to save you a good dinner for you would be mighty hungry when you came in, as you would have to come a good ten miles if you got left at the last place he called, for it was away over at Mapleville. He said he never noticed you were not in the buggy until he was nearly home, and then he thought you must be running on behind, as you sometimes do so you can chase chickens, dogs and cows that are in the road, just for the fun of it."
"Tabby, don't talk to me until I have had a drink. I don't want anything to eat. I am too excited to taste a morsel and it would stick in my throat if I tried to swallow it."
"Gracious, goodness, me! It must be something awful if it excites you this way, for you generally love excitement and it doesn't tire you a bit."
"Come with me until I get a drink and take a swim in the watering trough to get off this mud, and then I will tell you my news. And be prepared for a big surprise."
"Land sakes!" exclaimed Tabby. "Who has gone and hung himself to the rafters of his barn? Or has someone's house burned down with them in it?"
"No, it is neither of those things, and you might as well stop guessing and prepare to listen to what I tell you, for you will never know it otherwise, as I am the only one in the whole village who knows all the ins and outs of the thing."
While they were talking, Zip was running from one end of the watering trough to the other, trying to wash the mud off his white coat. Tabby thought he never would get clean, he stayed in so long, and she was nearly bursting with curiosity to hear what he had to tell.
At last he was through and, jumping out and giving himself a good shake, they sought a sunny spot in the back garden where they would not be disturbed, and Zip began his story.
"In the first place, have you heard the doctor or anyone else talking about the burglars that got in Judge Perkins' house last night, and stole all the silver knives, forks, spoons and other things they could lay their hands on, besides eating up the pies and the cold chicken that were on the pantry shelf?"
"Oh, do tell me about it! I'm all excitement! I just love to hear about burglars! It is so exciting it makes me feel all creepy! Just like I make the mice feel when they smell me sitting outside their holes waiting for them to come out so I may pounce upon them. Begin and tell me all about it! Don't leave a thing out that you know. I want it all! How many were there? How did they get in? What did they take, and have they been caught?"
"Go slow, Tabby! One question at a time, if you please. And now if you will keep still, I'll tell you all I know from the very beginning. Do you remember my telling you about a tramp I bit the other day—the one whose bundle of clothes I dropped in the frog pond?"
"Oh, bother the tramp! Who wants to hear about him now? I only want to hear of the burglars," replied impatient Tabby.
"Well, I have to tell you about this tramp to tell you the story, and if you don't keep still and listen, I won't tell it at all."
And Tabby, knowing he would keep his word, curled her tail more tightly around her legs and sat up stiffly, prepared to listen.
"To begin at the beginning," said Zip, "when the doctor and I got up town this morning, he went into the drug store to get some medicines, and I followed. When we were inside we heard a lot of excited men talking about the burglars who had gotten in Judge Perkins' house and made off with the silver without being caught. The Judge was in the midst of them, telling all he knew, so I listened and got the news first-hand. And this is what he said.
"His wife awoke and thought she heard someone moving around downstairs. Then she wakened the Judge and they both listened. Yes, there surely was someone moving cautiously around under them, in the dining-room! Next they heard whoever it was move to the hall door and begin to mount the stairs. As the Judge had no fire-arms, he said he picked up a chair and tiptoed to the head of the stairs, intending to bring it down on the burglar's head when he came within hitting distance. The hall was as black as your hat and he could hear nothing now but his wife's frightened whispers, begging him to come back or the burglar would kill him. Then he heard the burglar's soft step on the stairs. He had reached the first landing, for the Judge could tell by the sound of his steps just where he must be. Then a loud howl rent the air. The burglar had stepped on their pet cat, who always sleeps on the stair landing!
"This surprised the burglar so that he stepped back, lost his balance and fell bumpety-bump to the bottom. The Judge rushed back into the bedroom, lit a candle and, holding it high over his head, hurried down the stairs. His wife followed behind with a big umbrella clasped in her hand, while the Judge was armed with a big, black briarwood cane with a silver knob on the end. And the Judge said that if he ever got a crack at that burglar with that cane it would split his head open. When they reached the dining-room, they heard the burglar stumbling down the cellar stairs. They followed him, but were too late, for as they reached the foot of the stairs the burglar was just climbing out of a window, the way he had gotten in, propping it open with an old cane that had a bundle of clothes tied on the end of it, all done up in a dirty, red handkerchief.
"The minute the Judge got to this part of his story, I left, for at the mention of the bundle done up in a dirty, red handkerchief on the end of a cane, I thought of the tramp I had bitten yesterday. I felt sure it was he that was the burglar. So I determined not to lose any time, but to go over there and nose around and see if I could not track him by the scent of his footsteps, even if I should not be fortunate enough to get a smell at the bundle he had left behind, for I should know the dirty smell of that man's shins and his old bundle anywhere."
"And is that where you have been, chasing that tramp? Did you find him?" asked Tabby.
"Tabby, will you keep still and stop asking questions? You throw me all off my story! If you will only keep quiet and let me stop long enough to get my breath, I'll tell you all. But mind, it is going to be in my own way!"
"Very well, then; I will keep still, but I am so excited, I feel I must ask a question now and then or blow up!"
So once again Tabby wrapped her tail tightly around her legs to keep from tapping the end of it in her nervousness. And Zip proceeded with his story.
"Well, when I got out of the drug store, I ran just as fast as I could to Judge Perkins' house across lots, through mud puddles and down lanes."
"And you looked it when you got here!" broke in Tabby.
To which remark Zip paid no attention, but went right on with his story.
"When I reached the Judge's, I made straight for the cellar window, hoping to find the cane with the bundle of clothes still on it propping up the window.
"Was it there? Was it there?" interrupted Tabby.
"Yes, it was there, and I went up and smelt of it and no mistaking the odor, it was the same dirty bundle I had dropped in the frog pond! I paid no more attention to it, but began to look for footprints and smell around on the ground by the window. Just as I thought, it was the same tramp! I started on his scent, which was easy to follow, as his feet were big and the scent strong. They led me down through the garden, past the barn and into a thick clump of trees by the stone wall at the end of the Judge's place. Here the fellow had stopped, dug a hole and buried the silver! He had done it hurriedly and with his hands, for I could see finger marks on the ground and the handle of one spoon sticking out. I waited for no more, but ran along the wall trying to find a place to get through, but I could not until I reached the gate. Then I crawled under and then ran back to where the tramp had climbed the wall and dropped down on the other side. Here I picked up his trail again and followed it to the railroad track where the freight trains stand on a siding. I lost it here, so I think he must have jumped on a freight and escaped that way. Now what do you think of that for a story?"
"I think you are a very clever dog. But isn't it too bad that they will never find their silver and there it will be all the time buried in their own back yard!"
"Of course they will find it!" exclaimed Zip.
"I would like to know how! For they won't be digging in that part of the garden."
"Well, they just will, for I am going to lead them to it!" Zip said.
"How are you going to do that when you can't talk, I should like to know?"
"No, I can't talk, but I can bark and make such a fuss that they will follow me to the place and then I will scratch around and reveal the silver."
"My, but I should like to be there and see their faces when the first spoon comes flying out of the earth when you scratch!"
"You can be. I will tell you when I am going and you may go ahead and be sitting on the fence when I bring them to the spot."
"You are a dear, Zip! And I'll give you all the meat they give me for dinner for three days!"
"All right; it's a bargain."
"When are you going?"
"Right away, for I want to be there when the Judge gets home. Come ahead and let's start!"
And five minutes later you could have seen a little, spotted dog and a big, yellow cat running side by side across lots and down lanes in the direction of Judge Perkins' home.
ZIP UNEARTHS THE STOLEN SILVER
"Listen, Tabby! I hear the sound of wheels and of horses' feet on the road," and stopping to look and listen, Zip spied the Judge's fat, white horse trotting down the road toward home. And he also recognized the village constable sitting beside the Judge.
"See, Tabby, he has brought the constable along with him to help get a clue to the burglar. Let us hurry along and we can get there first by going across lots."
This they did, so when the Judge arrived home and went to show the constable the window where the burglar got in, he found Zip sitting demurely beside it.
"Hello, Zip! What are you doing here?" he asked.
You may think it strange the Judge knew Zip's name, but not so in a little village. Generally everyone knows the name of all the dogs and cats and call them by name when they chance to meet them in any unlooked-for place, as now.
"Did you hear them talking of my burglar in town and come to see for yourself where he got in?" asked the Judge.
Zip stopped the Judge's questions by jumping up and down on the window sill, smelling the bundle of clothes, jumping up and down, nosing around the tracks and then running with nose to the ground, barking as he went.
"What in the dickens does the dog mean by such behavior?" said the Judge.
"Looks as if he were following the scent of some person," replied the constable.
"Perhaps he is!" from the Judge.
"See, he is jumping upon the stone wall as if trying to get over it."
"That would appear as if the person whose track he is on had climbed the wall at that point."
Here Zip came back with head up.
"Well, what do you want, Zip?" asked the Judge, for Zip had caught his trouser leg in his teeth and was trying to pull him after him.
"I think he is trying to tell us to follow him," said the constable.
At this Zip let go the Judge's trousers, jumped up and down on the constable as much as to say, "That is just what I mean!" and then darted off down the path again. Seeing the men did not follow him, he came back and jumped up and down on the Judge and then ran down the path once more.
"Surely that is what he wants," agreed the Judge, and so the two walked just behind, following the dog until he stopped and began to scratch the dirt away from the roots of a clump of trees. And as he dug spoons, knives, forks and sugar-bowl lids began to fly out from under his feet. When a big tablespoon landed at the Judge's feet, he exclaimed, "By all that is wonderful, see this spoon! That dog has discovered where the burglar hid my silver. Pretty clever work for a little dog!"
"One would think he was a police dog and had been trained to hunt down thieves," said the constable.
"Well, Zip, you shall have a silver collar for this, made out of one of my solid silver spoons," promised the Judge, as the men went to the hole Zip was digging and helped push away the earth. Soon they counted the pieces, and found they had recovered all that had been missing.
"Hello!" exclaimed the constable. "Whose cat are you? I never saw such a large cat in my life!"
"Where is any cat?" asked the Judge.
"Up there on the wall," replied the constable, pointing his finger at Tabby, who was quietly sitting on top of the wall enjoying the unearthing of the stolen property.
"Oh, that is Zip's playfellow! I have often seen them playing together when I have been at the doctor's," said the Judge.
"Just like a smart dog to select a cat as a chum instead of another dog. And I tell you what, I should like to own that dog myself, but I suppose the doctor would not sell him at any price."
"I should say not!" replied the Judge. "That little dog has been his constant companion for three years when visiting his patients. Be the day ever so hot or cold, it is never too hot, never too cold for Zip to go along. In winter he sits up beside the doctor wrapped to the chin in a big, warm robe, and in summer in a light one to keep the flies from biting him.
"Here comes my wife down the garden path. She must have heard us drive in and our not coming to the house has aroused her curiosity and now she's coming to see what we are doing. Won't she be surprised and delighted when she sees we have found her silver?"
And she surely was, but even more surprised at the way they had found it than at the discovery. She looked around to pet Zip and take him to the house and give him some cake and milk, of which he was very fond, but he and Tabby had both disappeared.
The next day it all came out in the Maplewood daily paper, telling how Zip, Dr. Elsworth's little fox terrier, had tracked the burglar to the spot where he had buried his booty, and that they had recovered it all, not losing so much as a spoon. It also recounted how the Judge had ordered the jeweler to make a solid silver collar for Zip with his name engraved on it and what he had done to deserve this honor.
When Zip and Tabby came trotting up the front path on their return from the Judge's, the doctor was sitting on his front porch, reading the afternoon paper. On seeing Zip, he put it down and exclaimed,
"Well, you rascal, where have you been all this time? And what do you mean by making me take all my rides alone? You look all draggled and dirty and as if you had been in mischief. Perhaps you have been getting Tabby into mischief too, for I see she is with you."
"So you think he has been in mischief, do you?" mewed Tabby in a cross voice, and she avoided his hand when he attempted to stroke her. She thought to herself, "The doctor will feel badly when he reads in tomorrow's paper that Zip, instead of being in mischief, has made himself the hero of the town."
But Zip did not mind. He knew his looks and behavior were against him, but that on the morrow all would be explained and the doctor would be as proud as Punch of him. So he quietly trotted around the corner of the house and went for a swim in the horse trough.
The next day when the doctor drove into town with Zip by his side, everyone wanted to pet him and talk about how clever a dog he had been. And they gave him so much candy, cakes and sweets that he had a high fever the next day. However, he went with the doctor just the same, only instead of running around visiting all the dogs and cats he knew wherever the doctor stopped, he just lay still on the seat and slept.
At last the doctor noticed and said, "Zip, I believe you feel sick today, you are so quiet. Let me feel your nose!"
This is what a doctor does for a dog, just as he feels the pulse in a person. If the nose is hot, the dog is sick; if it is cold, he is all right.
Being a homeopathic physician, Dr. Elsworth opened his case and gave Zip three little sugar pills, or so Zip thought, but they had medicine inside of them, and he swallowed them just as if he had been a sick little boy. Inside of two or three hours he felt better and before he went to bed that night the doctor gave him another dose, so when Zip awoke the next day, he was feeling as frisky as ever.
ZIP'S DISASTROUS JUMP
As the doctor's buggy came to a standstill before Mrs. Mason's house, Zip smelt the delicious spicy odor of freshly baked gingersnaps wafted to his nostrils around the corner of the house from the kitchen.
Knowing Mrs. Mason's cook, Diana, to be considered the best cake and cookie maker in the whole village of Maplewood, he decided to run to the rear of the house and see if she would not give him one. Failing in this, he determined to steal one if he could get it in no other way. So he cautiously crept up the back kitchen steps so he could peek in the open door to see if Diana was alone, but just as he reached the top step he had a surprise, for the Mason's big, spotted cat was curled up asleep under the window. She smelt dog, opened her eyes and without a moment's hesitation bounded on his back. She hated dogs worse than rats, and being nearly the size of Zip, and having long, sharp claws, she was not an enemy to be sneezed at. Consequently it was either fight and arouse the household and so lose his chance of a gingersnap, or get out of her way. He decided on the latter. Seeing a kitchen window open, he gave one bound and jumped through. But, horrors, what had he landed on? Not the kitchen floor, as he thought he would, but on something soft and squashy. Not a pillow either, for it was all soft and gooey, and he was sinking into the soft, white stuff deeper and deeper every second! He tried to jump out, but could not. The stuff was spongy and sticky and clingy, and he had now sunk deep into it up to his stomach.
"What ever shall I do?" he thought to himself, when horrors! the kitchen door opened and Diana, a big, fat darky with a red and yellow spotted turban on her head appeared in the doorway.
On seeing a little head looking at her from the pan of dough, she threw up her hands in fright, turned and fled down the hall, calling, "Mis' Mason! Mis' Mason! Come heah quick! Someone done gone and left a little niggah baby in my bread dough!"
As she ran through the hall, Zip made an extra effort to jump out, but instead of doing so, he upset the pan off the chair, and dog and dough rolled on the kitchen floor together. Shaking off as much of it as he could, Zip raced out the door, leaving a trail of dough behind him. He did not dare get in the doctor's buggy in that mess, so he crawled under the garden fence and ran down to the river, where he might wash himself off before going home.
When the Mason cat saw him disappear under the garden fence, she went into the kitchen to see what he had done to make all the noise he had just before he ran out all covered with the white stuff. As she stood by the pan smelling the dough to discover what it was, Diana and Mrs. Mason came hurrying into the room. Not seeing anyone there but their cat, who was standing right beside the dough, they of course thought it was she that had caused all this trouble. So Diana grabbed up a broom and would have pounded her to a jelly in her anger at spoiling all her nice bread dough, but pussy was too quick for her. She saw what was coming and flew out the door and hid under the currant bushes in the garden, from which place she could hear Diana scolding and talking to herself as she cleaned up the mess.
"I do declar' to goodness, I done goan to kill dat cat some of these days. Just wait till I ketch her, I'll tie a peppah box to her tail!"
"Hark!" said the cat. "I wonder who is giving that long, penetrating whistle. Oh, I know now whose dog that was! It was Zip, Doctor Elsworth's pet fox terrier that everyone thinks so smart and that everyone is talking about in the village these last few days because he found the silver the burglar had stolen from the Judge. If I had known it was he, I would not have pounced on him, but I was only half awake when I saw a dog trying to sneak into our kitchen. It is a law with me to jump on every dog I see before he has time to pounce on me. Now I am awfully sorry about this, for I have been wanting to meet Zip for ever so long, as I think I am the only cat in town who doesn't know him."
When Zip was nearly to the river he heard the voices of children playing on the bank. So he crept carefully forward under the bushes until he came to a place where he could peer through. There, sure enough, were five or six little boys and girls having a picnic. Some were in wading, skirts and trousers rolled up above the knees, while others were just spreading out a tablecloth on the mossy bank preparatory to setting their table for luncheon.
While Zip was looking, one little girl took out of her basket some delicious looking fried chicken, and as she piled the nicely browned pieces on a plate, she put the breasts on top to make it look more tempting. It made Zip's mouth water so for a taste that he decided to keep well hidden and see if they would not leave the table for a moment so he might jump out and steal a piece. As he waited another little girl lifted out of her basket some nut cookies and big, thick slices of angel cake, while a third arranged some stuffed eggs and big dill pickles.
Now all these things Zip adored with the exception of the pickles, so he lay down with nose stretched out in their direction as far as he could without being seen, that he might at least smell the goodies while he waited. But as he waited the bread dough on his back dried and hardened and made his coat stick up in all sorts of queer shapes, though he never once thought of it. He was too much occupied deciding just which piece of chicken he would take when he had the chance, and he was too delighted to move when one of the boys began chasing all the others with his cup full of water. And before he knew it, the boys trying to escape ran straight into the bushes where Zip lay concealed and nearly stepped on him.
One boy looked down, caught sight of a queer looking animal with bright eyes and funny hair that stuck up all over him. He gave one scream and jumped back just in time to get the full cup of water in his face. But he cared not. He just turned and fled, screaming, "A porcupine! A porcupine! Look out or he will fill you full of quills!"
This alarm made the girls jump up and run from their table of goodies in a panic.
The lad who had thrown the water thought the other boy was merely fooling when he peered into the bushes and said he saw a white porcupine and fled.
Now was Zip's chance. Not waiting for them to get out of sight, he boldly rushed out and helped himself to the biggest piece of chicken he saw and gulped it down in his haste to get another piece and to steal some cake before the children should recover from their fright and return.
As they ran, one little girl turned around to see if the porcupine was chasing them. What she saw was some animal eating up their goodies, and she began to cry, for she was terribly hungry and had been thinking of all the good things they had to eat when lo! it was snatched out of their mouths, one might say, for their fright had come so suddenly.
One of the larger boys stopped running and looked back, and as he had once seen a porcupine, he knew this animal now eating their luncheon had too long legs and his nose was too thin to be a porcupine. Having gotten over his first panic, and being very hungry, his courage began to come back, and he called,
"Here, let's stop running away and go back and kill that animal, whatever it is! It won't eat us. It is too small!"
So like frightened sheep, when their leader stopped, the children all halted. "Get long sticks," he commanded, "and we'll drive him away."
This was easily done, for there were lots of long, strong sticks about, and each child got one. Armed with these, they came running back as bravely as they had cowardly run away, all howling like Comanche Indians on the warpath.
Seeing this, Zip grabbed a leg of chicken in his mouth and, running to the river, jumped in and swam to the opposite shore, where he soon disappeared in the thick underbrush.
Once in his safe retreat, he lay down and devoured his bone, then got up and looked at himself. He was a sorry sight, for the quick swim across the creek had not washed the dough off, but had merely softened it and now he was a sticky mass from head to foot.
"Whatever shall I do to get this stuff off?" he said to himself. "I'll try rolling in the mud," which he did. But alas! it was not successful. It only turned the dough black and made it stick all the tighter.
"I see where I shall have to go stand in some water and let it soak off. Guess I'll go home and get Tabby to come and talk to me while I am in the trough, for it is stupid being all alone." So he trotted on home, taking good care not to let anyone see him. And when he reached home, he hid under the big leaves of the rhubarb plants in the garden just the other side of the fence from the watering trough. Here he stayed until the doctor had driven off on his afternoon round of visits to his patients, and everyone else on the place was taking a nap. Then he barked three quick, snappy barks for Tabby, but she did not come. He barked again. Still she did not appear, and he was standing with drooping ears and tail between his legs in a most dejected manner when he was aroused by Tabby saying,
"Why, Zip Elsworth! Where in the world have you been? You are as dirty as a pig, I do declare, and your hair is all sticking up like a porcupine's quills."
At the word porcupine, Zip braced up and said, "Never mind about my looks! If you will sit on the edge of the watering trough while I soak this stuff off, I'll tell you how I got in this mess."
So Tabby obediently jumped up on a board at one end and fixed herself comfortably to hear of Zip's adventure.
"But first I want to tell you that the doctor is very much displeased with you," said Tabby. "I heard him tell Martha, the housekeeper, that he did not know what had gotten into you lately, that you were never around to go with him any more, and if you were here, that you disappeared somewhere on the trip and he had to come back without you. He also said that unless you were around more, he was going to take me."
"He didn't say anything of the kind, I know."
"Indeed he did! Ask Martha!" retorted Tabby.
"You are safe in saying that, for you know I can't ask Martha."
"Well, he did, whether you believe me or not!"
"I shan't give him the chance, for from today I shall be on hand to go with him, and, what is more, I will stay with him and come back when he does. I shall cut my visits short until he forgets all about my neglecting him. Well, do you want to hear what I have been up to or not?"
"I certainly do! Go ahead. I'm all ears," so while Zip walked up and down in the trough to get clean, Tabby sat curled up on the board at the end, purring contentedly as she listened to Zip's account of his morning's doings.
ZIP IS STUCK IN THE STOVEPIPE
The next day at noon, when Zip came home with the doctor from making his morning visits to his patients, he was surprised to see all the furniture moved out into the side yard. At first he thought there must have been a fire, but when he saw Martha with a towel wrapped around her head, and Mrs. Huggins, the scrub-woman of the village, trying to squeeze a wide table through a narrow door, while Noah, their half-witted chore-boy, was beating carpets on the lawn, he knew it was spring house-cleaning.
This the doctor vowed was worse than a fire and as bad as a moving, for Martha never would do one room at a time, but must upset the whole house at once and dump everything outdoors. And from the time the furniture was moved out until it went back, all one could smell or see in the house was soapsuds and bare, wet floors. If one wished to sit down, they had to retire to the yard, and repose on a pile of carpets. If they wished to eat, they had to do so off the kitchen table on the side porch. If they wanted to dress, their clothes were in the yard, under chairs, pictures and bedding, and the task was so trying that finally one did not want to change so much as a collar.
The doctor always groaned when he got the first glimpse of housecleaning, and gave a sigh of relief when it was over. This was one time when he made longer calls on his patients and idled his time away at the drug store.
As for Martha, she went around with a frown on her face, and with a nervous, jerky manner, all the while talking of the terrible amount of hard work there was to do, and grumbling that she had never seen such a dirty house in all her life. But down in her heart she enjoyed it, for she liked nothing better than to scrub and clean. As for the dirty house, a fly would have slipped and broken its neck, the rooms were so clean from cellar to garret, there being only the doctor to keep house for, and no children to clutter up things. But just the same, on the first of May and first of September the house had to be upset from top to bottom and cleaned thoroughly, for Martha was born in New England and lived up to the rules of house-keeping she had learned in her girlhood.
As for Zip, he loved it for it gave him such a chance to nose into everything. And you can rest assured he did it. There was not a bandbox of any kind that he did not push the lid off with his nose and look into it, or a bag of any kind that he did not smell and smell until he discovered what was in it. He got under everyone's feet and nearly tripped them when their arms were full of things and they could not see where they were stepping. He was kicked by Noah, hit with the mop by Martha and had the scrubbing brush thrown at him by the scrub-woman. But these things did not disconcert him in the least. They only added to the excitement.
As for Tabby, she hated it as much as the doctor did, and generally took advantage of these times to go to visit her cousin who lived across the fields a mile and a half away.
Zip had just come from the watering trough where he had been trying to get the dirt and cobwebs off his coat which he had gotten on under the eaves in the attic, and was up on a table nosing around when he thought he smelt mice in a bandbox. He cocked his head to listen and, sure enough, he heard the mice moving around inside. So he cautiously tried to open the lid. It fitted loosely, so slipped off easily, and Zip peered in. What he saw made him smile at the horror it was going to give Martha when she discovered it. There in the crown of her best winter bonnet was a mouse nest, with three tiny little mice in it, and the father and mother scampering around.
At the sight of Zip, the old mice ran for the hole they had gnawed in the side of the box, and tried to escape, but Zip saw them and gave chase. They jumped from the table and tried to hide under a sofa. But Zip was on their track and under he crawled after them. Then they dodged in and out of some boxes and at last jumped into a cracker box, thinking to hide safely under the crackers. But Zip soon scratched the layer of crackers off and again they had to run.
This time they saw a nice big, black hole and into it they scampered, thinking it too small a place for Zip to follow, but they did not know Zip. The hole was black enough inside and out to suit anyone, for it was nothing more or less than a long piece of stovepipe from the kitchen stove which had been put there for Noah to clean out the soot when he was through beating the carpets. It was a pretty tight squeeze for Zip, but he never thought of that until he had himself wedged into it. Neither did he think of his clean white coat. All he thought of was to catch the mice. So in he rushed, but he had to crouch down and literally squeeze himself through. And once or twice he thought he would suffocate from the amount of soot he shook down. He grew so tired creeping with his legs doubled up under him that when he was half way through he gave up and howled for help.
It was a long time before anyone heard him and when they did, they could not for the life of them tell where the sound came from, for the pipe made his howls sound so queer. When at last he heard Martha and Noah talking, he barked and howled most dismally, as when a dog bays at the moon.
They looked everywhere, under boxes and barrels, thinking he might have turned one over on himself, and under piles of carpet and bedding. Still they could not find him.
"The sound seems to come from the earth, right down under my feet," said Martha.
The poor, simple-minded Noah with tears in his eyes, for he was very fond indeed of Zip, replied, "He's done and gone and buried hisself!"
Just then the doctor drove up the lane, and Martha ran to him to tell him that Zip was fast under something somewhere and that they could not find him. When the doctor reached the side yard, where all the household things were piled, he began to look puzzled and moved the things just as the others had done. Martha declared it was no use as they had already looked under all of that stuff.
"Do listen to him now! His cries are growing fainter! He surely is dying!" she wailed, and threw her apron over her head and began to cry.
At this moment the doctor stepped back and accidentally struck his foot against the side of the stovepipe, which brought another howl of agony from Zip. The doctor picked up the pipe and quickly disjointed it in the middle and out fell the dirtiest but most delighted little dog you ever saw, for he was free once more. And everyone was as pleased that he was found as he was that he was rescued, and their tears were turned to smiles at the comical picture he made, all covered with soot.
After trying to jump up on the doctor to lick his hands in thanks for his freedom, he started for his usual bath tub, the watering trough.
"Here, where are you going so fast, Zip? Better stay here until I get a bucket of hot soapsuds to wash you off," called his master, but Zip did not stop, and the doctor followed him. Imagine his surprise when he saw him jump in the trough where he always watered his horses!
"So you are the cause of my finding the water so often dirty and all stirred up, are you? I have been wondering and wondering what caused it. Well, you can just stop riling old Jim's drinking water."
But to Zip's dismay, the soot would not come off as the mud and dough had. It stuck and made him look greasy and black.
"Here, you little rascal, come with me, and I will get soap and towels and give you a good bath."
And that is how it happened that when Tabby came home from her visit to her cousin, the first thing she saw was the doctor sitting on the lower step of the side porch with scrubbing brush in one hand and a cake of soap in the other, scrubbing Zip for all he was worth.
"Well, whatever has happened to you, Zip?" asked Tabby.
"Oh, go lie down and I'll tell you after awhile," barked Zip in a cross voice, for he was not enjoying the scrubbing in the least, as every once in a while a lot of soapsuds would run into his eyes, making them smart dreadfully. But the doctor kept on rubbing, not knowing what was making Zip squirm so. He thought it was just because he hated to be washed in this way. At last Zip could stand it no longer, and he bounded from the doctor's hands and shot out of the yard into the road and deliberately lay down in the softest, dirtiest place he could find, and then rolled and rolled, trying to dry himself. And though the doctor called and called and whistled himself hoarse, Zip did not come back. He waited until it grew dark, and then he sneaked in and jumped into the watering trough again. This time he came out nice and clean, for the soft sand had acted as a scrubbing brush and his coat was all shiny and glossy and clean when he jumped out, and this time he managed to keep it so until the next day.
ZIP AND PETER-KINS
Several days after this Zip was asleep on the seat of the buggy in front of the house of one of the doctor's patients who was so very ill that he had been visiting there each day for a week. Consequently Zip, as usual, had called on every dog and cat in this neighborhood. To-day he thought he would sleep instead of running around to visit and making the doctor wait and whistle for him to come back. But presently he was awakened by hearing the doctor's whistle across the street. He was up in a moment looking in all directions, for though he heard him, he could not see his master. He leaped out of the buggy and ran across the street, from where the sound seemed to come. As he ran the whistle was repeated loud and shrill, but no doctor could Zip see.
"He must be hiding behind that thick bush in the yard," decided Zip. So he crawled under the fence and went nosing around the shrubbery, but the doctor was not there. He sniffed here and there, but could not get so much as a tiny whiff of the doctor's scent. He stood still at last, with ears standing up straight and one foot held off the ground, as he did when listening intently.
Again he heard the doctor whistle right over his head. He looked up to see if the doctor was in an aeroplane, but all he discovered was the clear, blue sky. Then a laugh sounded behind him and, turning quickly, he saw Miss Belinda Simpkin's pet Poll-parrot swinging on the limb of a tree, laughing at him.
This was too much for Zip's dignity. To have a Poll-parrot make a fool of him! So he ran to the tree where she sat and barked furiously up at her. But to make Zip still more angry, Polly kept on whistling and laughing at him. She had heard the doctor whistle for Zip every day and had learned to imitate him perfectly. She really was a very smart bird, and everyone in the village knew of Miss Belinda's parrot and monkey, for they were always doing exceedingly smart, mischievous things, some of which I will tell you about, but now I must finish relating what happened to Zip.
He was still looking angrily at Polly when he heard a queer chattering and squeaking noise up in a tree behind him and, turning to look, he saw a gray object drop from one of the limbs. He looked down at the ground, expecting to see whatever it was drop under the tree, but nothing landed. Still he knew he had seen something start to fall. What could it be that could stop in mid-air, for there was no other branch under the one from which it had dropped on which it could catch. But when he glanced up, what should he discover but Miss Belinda's pet monkey swinging by its tail from the branch on which it had been sitting!
Now Zip hated monkeys as a cat does rats. How as nice a little old maiden lady as Miss Belinda could stand it to live all alone in a house with only a parrot and a monkey for companions was more than he could understand.
Zip ignored the monkey and began barking again at the parrot, telling her just to wait until another day, that he would come back and get even with her yet, and that the next time he left it would be with a mouthful of her tail feathers.
"Help! Help!" screeched Polly. And her voice was so nearly like that of a human that the doctor, hearing it, hurried across the street to see who was calling for aid. As he opened the gate to go into the yard, something tore past him. Looking around to see what it was, he beheld Zip running for all he was worth, with a little gray monkey perched on his back, clinging to his silver collar which the Judge had given to him.
The doctor was about to go to his rescue when Zip dove under the fence, which knocked off the monkey, and he rolled over and over on the ground, dazed for several seconds. He had hit his head on the fence so hard that it had stunned him. The doctor took a step forward to pick him up when again he heard that piercing scream, "Help! Help! Help!" that seemed to come from the upper window of Miss Belinda's cottage.
"Gracious!" exclaimed the doctor. "Someone must be trying to kill Miss Belinda!" and he started for the cottage, intending to break down the door if it should be locked. Before he had gone two steps, the voice he heard before called once more, "Help! Help! Beat it! Beat it!" and then, looking up, he saw Polly.
"You rascal!" said the doctor, shaking his finger in a playful manner at her. "You surely did fool me! But I must go and see if Zip has killed your playfellow."
When he reached the gate, he found the monkey sitting up rubbing his head with his forefoot and running slowly toward home on three legs. Seeing he was all right, the doctor whistled for Zip to come, but no Zip appeared. So after calling him once or twice more, the doctor concluded he did not wish to come back for fear the monkey would get him again and try to take a free ride.
"He probably has trotted home across lots," thought the doctor, "or else he may be waiting for me part way home."
On hearing the doctor whistle, the monkey ran to the side of the road, jumped up on the fence and ran along its top until he reached Miss Belinda's yard. Once there, he ran up a tall tree to a place of safety, where no dogs could reach him, and there the doctor left him, rubbing his head.
As Zip trotted home across lots, he made up his mind that he would go to Miss Belinda's every day until he had a chance to get even not only with Polly, but with the monkey too. For I am sorry to say that Zip was a very revengeful dog, and he never forgot an injury, at least not until he had paid back in like coin anything he had suffered.
"You may rest assured," he said to himself, "that I shall take one at a time, however, and look around well before tackling either one, to see that the other is nowhere about."
Miss Belinda was out when all this happened, so was very much alarmed when she returned to see Peter-Kins hopping around on two legs, holding his head with his hands. And still more so when she took him in her arms and saw that there was a big bump on his forehead the size of a hen's egg, which was still swelling and by this time threatening to close one eye.
"You poor darling little pet! Did you fall out of the tree and bump your head? I is so sorry," and talking such baby talk to him, she carried him off into the house to put witch hazel and a bandage on his head.
All this time Polly kept screaming, "Help! Help! Help!"
"Someone must have thrown a stone and hurt Peter-Kins," decided Miss Belinda, "or Polly would not be calling for help. The next time I go out, I will shut them in the house so nothing can happen to them."
ZIP, PETER-KINS AND THE TURKEY GOBBLER
Promptly at nine-thirty the next morning the doctor's carriage appeared in front of his patient's house opposite Miss Belinda's cottage.
Zip lay quietly on the seat until the doctor had disappeared in the house, and then he quickly jumped out of the buggy, tiptoed across the street and quietly slipped under the fence. Once under, he stood stock-still and listened, eyes up and ears alert to catch any sound or see any movement of his old enemies, the monkey and the parrot. All was quiet in the front yard, and not even Polly's cage was to be seen swinging on its accustomed hook beside the front door. Still Zip listened and looked in every tree and bush, to make sure the monkey was not hiding under the leaves, ready to pounce on him. He had just come to the conclusion that they had been shut in the house when he heard a terrible commotion and cackling going on in the chicken yard, and above it all Polly's voice screaming, "Help! Help! Naughty Peter-Kinks! (This was Polly's name for Peter-Kins.) Spank! Spank! Help! Help!"
Polly had heard Miss Belinda say this so many times that she had learned to imitate her perfectly.
"That monkey is up to some mischief," thought Zip. "I'll run and see what he's up to, and maybe I'll have a chance to get even with him for running his claws into my back when he was taking that ride!"
Soon Zip was at the fence that divided the chicken yard from the lawn, and looking through the pales, this is what he saw:
Peter-Kins ran down the trunk of a big elm tree that shaded part of the chicken yard, then he grabbed up a tiny little fluffy yellow chicken right from under the old hen's very bill, and made off with it up the tree. This made the old hen so angry and frightened that she cackled and carried on just like people do when terrified. Then just when all the rest of the chickens had quieted down a little and the old hen had gathered the rest of her brood under her wings, Peter-Kins threw the little peep at mother hen's head, which killed the little chicken instantly and upset all the rest of the fowls in the barnyard once more.
"I'll just keep hidden, and wait until he comes down," planned Zip, "and then I will pounce out and grab him by the back of his neck and shake him as if he were a rat."
But instead of coming down the trunk as he had before, Peter-Kins ran out on one of the long, slender, drooping limbs that reached nearly to the ground, and when it bent within three feet of the earth, he dropped and lit on the back of a rooster.
Then the fun began, for the poor old rooster was beside himself with fright, and ran around and around the yard, trying to get between the palings of the fence, into holes no larger than his head, into chicken coops and out, in amongst the other fowls, squawking and gurgling as he went. Then all of a sudden he was relieved of his rider, for Peter-Kins leaped from his back onto a turkey gobbler that was strutting around the yard all swelled out with pride, every feather spread out to its fullest extent. Now another race began, the turkey gobbling and the monkey chattering as they made the rounds.
Now while Peter-Kins had been riding the rooster, this very gobbler called out, "You stupid fellow! Stop running round and round! Go under the fence and scratch that beast off your back!"
But alas, for him! He could give advice, but not live up to it himself, for while he was gobbling, Peter-Kins leaped from the rooster's back to his own, and with shrunken feathers, he began running around and around the yard, just as the rooster had done, too frightened to know what he was doing, or to pay attention to his own advice, while all the chickens were now cackling at him, "Run under the fence! Run under the fence and scratch him off!"
"Run under the fence and scratch him off!" quacked the ducks.
"Run under the fence and scratch him off!" hissed the geese.
"Run under the fence and scratch him off!" gobbled his wife, the old turkey hen.
But no; he was deaf to their cries, and with pride gone and feathers clinging to his sides, he was running and jumping around the yard madly and blindly, nearly knocking his head off as first he ran dizzily into this and then into that.
When Zip had watched the excitement as long as he cared to, he thought, "Now is my time to grab Peter-Kins by the tail and pull him off that turkey's back before it kills itself."
So with one bound he was through the fence and had Peter-Kins' tail in his mouth before he ever saw him coming. But the monkey did not drop from the turkey's back as Zip thought he would. He only clung the tighter, and with his arms around the turkey's neck and with his knees digging into the turkey's sides, Zip could not dislodge him.
Zip being too stubborn to let go the monkey's tail, the three queer looking objects went running around and around the barnyard together, under wagons, between coops, across the watering trough. Sometimes running, sometimes jumping or half flying went the long-legged turkey with the bobbing monkey on its back, whose tail was in the little dog's mouth.
This was what Miss Belinda saw when she returned from market and looked into her barnyard to see what was causing all her fowls to make such a fuss.
"Well, I declare, if there isn't a little dog chasing my chickens and turkeys! But what is that on the big gobbler's back? Sure as I live, it is Peter-Kins! Here, you horrid little dog, let go my darling Peter-Kins' tail!" and Miss Belinda picked up a long-handled rake that was leaning against the fence and went after Zip.
All this time Polly had been screeching, "Help! Help! Naughty Peter-Kinks! Spank! Spank!"
Zip held on the monkey's tail until the rake appeared over his head, then he let go quickly, giving an extra bite to the tip, which came off in his mouth. He jumped back just in time to save himself from being hit on the head, for the rake came down with such force that it laid both the turkey and Peter-Kins out flat on their backs, where they lay kicking as if in the throes of death.
Miss Belinda thought she had killed her pets, and began to cry as she picked them up.
As for Zip, he slunk away and ran back to the doctor's buggy just in time to jump in as the doctor started for home. So by the time Miss Belinda had gathered up Peter-Kins and saw that the turkey was more frightened than hurt, Zip was blocks away, laughing to himself at the whack the monkey and turkey had gotten instead of him, and at the funny spectacle the three of them must have made as they ran around and around the yard.
"And won't Tabby laugh when I tell her about it?" he thought.
ZIP AT THE CANDY PULL
That evening the doctor had no calls to make, so Zip was left to amuse himself as best he could. He had finished telling Tabby about the monkey and the turkey and was wondering what to do with himself when he heard children laughing in the back yard of the house opposite. Looking up, he saw that the house was lighted more than was usual, and he knew right away that they must be having a little dance or a children's party of some kind. Just then he thought he got a whiff of boiling molasses. He stuck his nose up in the air and gave a long sniff. Yes, it was molasses he smelled!
"They are having a candy pull. That's what is going on! I'll just go over and stick around until they have refreshments, and then perhaps I can sneak into the kitchen and steal a piece of cake," thought Zip.
But alas! He was so busy gazing up at the lighted windows to see what was going on inside the house, that he neglected to look where he was stepping, and the first thing he knew, he was standing with all four feet in a pan of hot molasses candy. And he found himself sticking fast in an entirely different way than he had meant when he left home. The candy was just in that state of cooling when the top is a little hard and the bottom is soft and sticky. So when he tried to lift his feet, the candy pulled up from the bottom of the pan and made long, stringy ends, but did not leave his feet. Instead it got between his toes and held him still faster. He tried to bite it off, but instead of coming off, it only stuck to his teeth and he found himself sticking to the pan with his mouth as well as his feet. Indeed, he was held securely by the sticky, stringy candy. Just then he thought he heard the children coming to see if their sweets were cool.
Yes, they were surely coming! He could not stand it to have these children he saw every day find him in such a fix. He would never hear the last of it. So he made a frantic effort to loosen himself. In doing this he pulled backwards so far that his feet slipped somehow, and he sat down in the candy. And now he was caught! For his four feet, mouth, one ear and tail were all sticking to the pan of candy. As the children began to come down the back steps, he gave one yelp, doubled himself up and began to roll, so that what the children saw was a big ball of molasses candy rolling down the sloping walk. All they could see in the semi-darkness was the candy, for Zip was too balled up to show a bit of dog sticking out of the soft mess.
The children ran after it, screaming with laughter, but when they caught up to the rolling ball and discovered their well-known, mischievous Zip rolled up so tight he was helpless, they clapped their hands with delight. He looked so crestfallen and funny that they forgave him on the spot for the loss of their candy. How they did shout with laughter as they were trying to get the candy off him!
"I know the best way to get the sticky stuff off," said Helen Hardway, the little girl who was giving the party. "Let's put him in the bath tub and soak it off."
"Just the very thing!" one of the boys replied. "Wait till I get something to wrap him in so I won't get all stuck up with the candy."
On hearing this, Zip began to struggle and squirm, for he had visions of hot water and soapsuds in his eyes, with each one of the children feeling it was their duty to give him an extra scrub.
"Here, you Zip, keep still, or you'll slip out of the apron you're wrapped in and get my best suit all sticky," called the little boy who held him in his arms and was carrying him up to the bathroom.
By squeezing him tightly, the boy managed to get him to the room and was just about to drop him in the tub from the apron when he discovered that the apron was sticking to the candy. One of the boys gave it a jerk to loosen it, but sad to relate, he gave too vigorous a pull and Zip dropped from the boy's arms, not into the tub, but at one side and by a mighty effort he gave himself two rolls which brought him to the head of the stairs. Another roll sent him tumbling bumpety-bump down the long flight that led to the kitchen. On the way he hit a hamper of clothes on the landing, and it joined him and went bumpety-bump, bangety-bang to the bottom and out into the kitchen, hitting the waitress who was carrying a tray of glasses filled with fruit lemonade to the little guests in the parlors who had not joined in the dog hunt.
The sudden appearance of a hamper apparently on legs coming toward her, surprised her, but nothing like the queer thing that was rolling about her feet, and which she could not see for the big tray in her hands. She could not seem to escape it, and finally she stumbled and fell, sending the glasses of delicious lemonade flying in all directions.
Hearing a noise on the back stairs, as if the house was falling, Mrs. Hardway went to see what the trouble was, and opened the kitchen door just in time to receive a full glass of lemonade squarely on the chest.
When the waitress stumbled, she fell on Zip, pinning him under her. In his roll down the stairs, he had lost some of the candy, so that now his mouth and nose were free, though he was minus a tooth and several of his long smeller whiskers. Now he began to howl as if being killed. This brought more of the guests to the spot, and you would have laughed could you have seen their faces when first they peered into the kitchen, which looked as if a cyclone had struck it.
A few feet from the door was the maid, sitting with limbs outspread, too dazed to move, while from under the corner of her skirt rolled a big, sticky ball of some kind that howled as it rolled. Beyond him was an overturned hamper of soiled clothes, with stockings, collars, sheets and petticoats spilling out of it. At the other end of the room stood Mrs. Hardway, wiping the lemonade off her dress, while all over the place were slices of lemon and pieces of fruit and Maraschino cherries. When all the children came from upstairs, they told Mrs. Hardway how it had all come about from Zip getting in their candy and their trying to wash it off his coat.
As Zip was still in a ball and could not extricate himself, the same boy who had carried him to the bathroom before, put the apron around him again and took him back upstairs.
This time they got him in the tub safely and began to turn the water in. The tub was slippery, and so was the candy, and as the water crept up to where Zip was tied, not hand and foot, but worse still, head, nose, ears and all four legs as well as tail, he howled and howled until one could have heard him a block away. He was so afraid of being drowned before the water would soak off the candy and when the children tried to pull it off it nearly killed him with pain, for it took all the little fine hairs of his coat with it.
The window of the bathroom was open and the doctor, coming out on his front porch to look at the sky before retiring, heard Zip howling somewhere across the street. He was crying in such a pitiful, frightened manner that the doctor knew he must be fast somewhere or hurt so he could not get home. Consequently he hurried across the street to see where his pet was, with the worried Tabby close at his heels.
The doctor made the circuit of the house and stable yard but could find no Zip. The howls seemed to come from up in the air somewhere as from the top of the house, so finally the doctor rapped on the Hardway kitchen door to ask the maid if Zip had not slipped in the house and gotten up on the roof. He knocked repeatedly but no one answered. As he still heard Zip howling and several people were talking all at once, he made bold to open the door and step in. What he saw you already know. As by this time the children had started to bathe Zip, the doctor was told to go right upstairs. When he appeared in the door all the children stopped laughing and stepped back to give him a chance to see Zip.
And this is what he saw.
Just one of Zip's eyes stuck out of a hole where the candy had dropped off, and his poor little tail stuck out like a handle on the other side of the ball. That was all that could be seen of Zip at that moment, for in his numerous rolls, the candy had spread all over him until he was no longer a dog with legs but just one round ball of molasses candy.
Seeing the water was fast climbing up to where it would reach Zip's mouth, and knowing it would drown him, the doctor turned off the spigot. The children had never thought that the poor dog could not move his head to keep out of the water. Now the doctor hurriedly took off his coat, rolled up his sleeves, and in a jiffy had Zip and the molasses ball in his hands and was holding it so that the water could not get to Zip's head. Then with one hand he gently threw the water upon the candy until it began to loosen and fall off. First he released the little dog's head, which had been bent down between his fore legs. As the candy began to loosen and drop off, first one black ear stood up and then the other, and last the little legs began to shoot out. All this made the children laugh to see what appeared to be a big ball of candy develop into a little dog. At last when Zip was entirely clean and had been wrapped in a big bath towel to dry, Doctor Elsworth apologized to Helen for his little dog spoiling her candy pull. But she declared that he had given them more fun than if he had not come over, and the molasses had cooled and they had had a regular candy pull.
But when it came to apologizing to Mrs. Hardway for the mess Zip had caused in the kitchen, the doctor did not know what to say, he felt so badly about it. But he could have saved himself all the worry, for Mrs. Hardway was a sensible woman and knew that accidents will happen, and she met with the doctor smilingly. Besides, the doctor had been her family physician for years, and they were all very, very fond of him as well as of Zip. It was hard to think of the doctor without Zip, as they were always together. So when the doctor began to apologize, Mrs. Hardway stopped him short, and told him to drink Zip's health in a glass of freshly made lemonade, and say no more about it. The doctor, thanking her from the bottom of his heart, drank not to Zip's health, but to hers, and thus the exciting evening ended peacefully and everyone was happy, including Zip, as the doctor gave him all the Maraschino cherries in his glass, something he dearly loved, though you may think it was a queer thing for a little dog to like.
ZIP AND PETER-KINS HAVE A FIGHT
For several days after the molasses candy episode, Zip stayed at home and did not go snooking into anybody's back yard. But on the fifth day he felt he needed a little excitement, so he decided to call at Miss Belinda's, and see what Peter-Kins and Polly were doing and incidentally get a snap at Peter-Kins. So about three o'clock in the afternoon when the doctor was taking a little snooze in the hammock under the big maple, Zip sneaked off across the gardens and down the side streets to Miss Belinda's.
When he arrived everything was quiet. Not even a leaf on the trees stirred, or a chicken crowed. The blinds were all down in the house, which showed that Miss Belinda was either taking a nap or gone calling. Polly's cage was nowhere in sight, so she must be indoors, thought Zip. And if Polly was in the house, Peter-Kins was sure to be also, he reasoned.
After making a tour of the garden and barnyard, he was about to return home, when, chancing to raise his eyes to the kitchen window, whom should he see but Peter-Kins perched on the back of a chair, looking out at him.
"So—so!" thought Zip. "Miss Belinda has gone out and for fear something would happen to her pets, she has shut them in the house. Oh, what a chance for some fun if I only could get in!"
As he stood gazing at the monkey, Peter-Kins began making faces at him. You have heard boys call out to one another, "Stop making monkey faces at me!" haven't you? Well, I guess they get the habit from seeing some monkey making faces. At any rate, the horrible faces Peter-Kins made at Zip were enough to drive a boy crazy, much less a little dog with Zip's snappy disposition, and he barked back, "Just you wait until I get hold of you again, and I'll not only snip a piece off your tail, but I'll bite the whole tail right off!"
At this Peter-Kins ran his tongue out at Zip. Then Zip flew at the door and barked and scratched as if he would tear the house down.
Peter-Kins pressed his face close to the window-pane and grinned at him. Right then the grocery boy came and seeing a little dog barking and scratching on the door, thought he belonged there and was trying to get in. So when he opened the door to put the groceries on the kitchen table, he let Zip in, deposited his parcels on the table and left, shutting the door after him, regardless of the fact that Polly was screeching, "Help! Murder! Thieves! Fire!" at the top of her voice, and Peter-Kins was jumping around wildly at the end of the string with which he was tied to a chair.
Zip sat quietly in the middle of the kitchen floor, enjoying their fright until the sound of the grocery wagon had died out down the street. Then he barked, "Ha, ha! I've gotten you now just where I want you, and I am going to bite your tail clear off! I see you have it done up in a white rag with witch hazel on it, for I smell the stuff."
Zip really did not intend to bite his tail off, but only pretended to do so, giving it a good pinch between his teeth.
With a shrill scream of fright, the monkey jumped onto the kitchen table that stood beside his chair, and he pulled so hard that the string broke. Its giving way so suddenly sent him flying off the table onto the floor, but he was up in a minute and leaped to the stove. The fire was out, but the stove was still warm, so he jumped upon the tea kettle. There he perched, hanging to the handle until Zip, seeing there was no fire in the stove, jumped on the hearth and from the hearth up on the stove. As Zip landed there, Peter-Kins ran up the stove pipe, but he kept slipping back, it was so smooth. From there he leaped to the top of the roller towel, but horrors! it began to roll up and when he stuck his claws into the towel, it unwound and took him nearly to the floor. He was afraid to let go and drop to the floor. Still if he held on, Zip could reach him too. He was wondering just where he could go to escape the dog when Zip jumped off the stove and grabbed the end of his long tail. Peter-Kins gave a jerk and tried to run up the towel, leaving his bandage in Zip's mouth. While Zip was trying to get the cloth out of his mouth, Peter-Kins dropped to the floor and climbed up on the kitchen table. Seeing a basket of eggs the grocery boy had left, he began throwing them at Zip, who was having a hard time getting rid of the bandage, for the more he pulled, the tighter it wedged itself between his sharp teeth.
Now Zip was in a pretty fix, for he could not bite with the wad of cotton in his mouth, neither could he run and jump for in trying to get the bandage from between his teeth, he had gotten it twisted around his legs and fast between two of his toes, which made it only possible for him to walk slowly.
And all this time Peter-Kins kept pelting him with the eggs, which broke and ran all over his back and down into his eyes, while Polly shrieked and cried out all the names she had ever been taught without the least knowing what they meant. Every time an egg would hit Zip, she would laugh and call out, "Soak him, Jimmy!"
Then Zip would glare at her and make as if going for her, which would cause her to cry out, "Help! Fire! Murder! Thieves! Buttons! Polly want cup coffee! Naughty boy, spank, spank! Tee-dull, dee-tee-dull-dum! Catchum! Catchum! Crackers, crackers, pretty Polly!" all in a jumble.
At last Zip managed to get his leg loose and he was working on the plug in his mouth and not watching Peter-Kins when he had the surprise of his life by getting a full dipper of water thrown all over him, for the monkey had dipped it from the pail of water on the table.
The sudden twist Zip gave his head when the water hit him full force, loosened the cotton in his mouth, and out it flew. With a bound Zip was now on the chair, then on the table, snapping and barking, while the monkey was trying to hit him with the empty dipper, when the kitchen door unexpectedly opened and in the doorway stood Miss Belinda. Without a second's thought Zip jumped past her and ran for dear life toward home, never stopping to look back even once until he was safe in his own barnyard, standing beside the watering trough preparatory to jumping in and washing the eggs off his coat.
Again his encounter with the monkey had been unsatisfactory, and as for what poor Miss Belinda thought when she saw the mess in her nice clean kitchen it is beyond words to tell.
ZIP'S CURIOSITY IS HIS UNDOING
About a week after Zip's last visit to Miss Belinda's, he was out on one of his midnight prowls, about which the doctor had scolded him time and time again. In fact, he had forbidden him to leave the yard at night, warning him that some day he would be shot while poking around in other people's back yards, or that he would be poisoned by eating some meat that had been prepared purposely for stray cats or dogs. But Zip thought he was smart enough not to get caught, and he did not believe that anyone could put poison on meat and he not be able to smell it.
So this night he went with a rat terrier, a friend of his, down into a poor quarter of the town, where they often went to kill rats, just for the fun of it and to see who could kill the most.
To-night there seemed to be no rats in sight, and while nosing around to get on the track of some, Zip smelt meat and soon came upon a small piece of fresh, juicy beefsteak, which he gobbled down without a thought. As he swallowed the last bit, he thought he detected a queer taste to it, and the thought flashed through his mind, "I have been poisoned! I might have known no one would throw away so good a piece of meat as that without a purpose. That meat was prepared for some cat, dog or rat to eat and die. Oh, my! I am beginning to have fearful pains in my stomach now and I feel myself beginning to swell already! Rats," he called, for that was his friend's nickname, "I've eaten a piece of meat with rat poison on it, and I must get home before I swell up so I can't walk at all. If I am able to get to the doctor, he will help me, I know."
"I thought you had more sense than to eat a piece of meat, cheese or anything else you saw lying around in places where they have lots of rats. You might have known it had rat poison on it!" replied his friend.
"I know, but I did not think. For mercy's sake, don't scold me when I am in such awful pain, but help me get home," wailed Zip.
They made as good headway as they could, though Zip had to roll on the grass every once in a while to relieve his pain, but he did not dare stop often for his stomach was swelling so rapidly that he felt it would burst before he reached his home. At last they reached the doctor's house, but too late to find the doctor still up. He had gone to bed, so Zip told his friend to howl as if he was being killed, and the doctor would hear him and think it was his own dog, and come down to see what was the matter. The rat terrier howled lustily, while Zip dropped down on the door mat and groaned as loudly as he could. Rats barked, howled, and threw himself against the front door, making a terrible noise generally.
Presently the doctor stuck his head out of an upper window and called:
"Zip, for mercy's sake, shut up! What is the matter with you?"
But when in the bright moonlight he saw it was not Zip, but a strange dog instead, with Zip lying at his feet, and when he heard Zip groan, he hurriedly stepped into his bathrobe and slippers and came downstairs. Then he opened the front door, and saw Zip on the mat, all swollen up the size of two pups. He knew at a glance, of course, that his pet had been poisoned, so he picked him up tenderly in his arms and carried him up straight to the bathroom and began pumping out the contents of his stomach. This done, he heated some milk and made Zip drink a lot of it, as milk is a very good thing to take when one has been poisoned. Besides, it was warm and soothing to his poor stomach. Then he rolled him up in a big blanket shawl and carried him to his own room, where he put him on the cushion of a big, cozy rocking-chair, and pulled it up close beside his bed, where he could watch him the rest of the night and give him medicine every once in a while.
"You poor little fellow," said the doctor, "I am awfully sorry you are in such pain, but I hope it will teach you a lesson to stay at home nights and not disobey my orders and go gallivanting off into other people's yards. Why, you are shaking as if you had a chill! Just a second now, and I will get a hot-water bag and put it on your stomach!"
"Oh, my! Oh, my! I believe I am going to die," wailed Zip to himself. "If ever I get well I never will disobey the doctor again! He is so good to me, and I am ashamed to think what a naughty dog I have been. But I do so love to go snooking around and not stay at home nights like Tabby does. I never saw such a good cat as Tabby is. She never goes prowling around, though most cats do. And it isn't because she is not coaxed to go, either, for nearly every night the neighbors' cats come and try to persuade her to go with them to somebody's house or barn."
Just then the doctor came back with a nice warm hot-water bag, which he put close against Zip's stomach, and then he wrapped him up snugly in the shawl once again.
"There, little fellow, you will be all right in the morning. Go to sleep now and forget all your trouble. But if you hadn't gotten to me when you did, you would have been a little angel dog by this time. The poison was working so fast that I could not have saved you had you come twenty minutes later. By the way, that is a smart friend you have, and he has good lungs, I think, by the noise he was making. He must have awakened all our neighbors. If he is around in the morning, I will give him a good hot breakfast. I never would have known you were home and sick if he had not kicked up such a racket, for you were far too ill to make noise enough to awaken me," and patting Zip on the head, the doctor crawled into his bed and was soon fast asleep.
Zip was about to fall into a doze when he heard a noise down on the front porch. Listening intently, the voices of Tabby and his friend, Rats, came floating in the window, and he knew by the soft murmur they made that they were talking in a most friendly manner and not fighting with each other.
"I am glad that Tabby found Rats, for now he can tell her all that has happened to me," thought Zip.
The warm milk and the hot-water bottle were beginning to soothe Zip and make him feel comfortable, and in fifty winks he was fast asleep and snoring.
And so once more Zip's adventures ended happily for him.
THE BILLY WHISKERS SERIES Trade Mark
By FRANCES TREGO MONTGOMERY
The wonderful tale of a wonderful goat. Billy Whiskers is full of pranks and good fun. He makes hosts of friends wherever he goes. Every child knows about his adventures told by Mrs. Montgomery in the popular Billy Whiskers Books.
1. Billy Whiskers 2. Billy Whiskers' Kids 3. Billy Whiskers, Jr. 4. Billy Whiskers' Travels 5. Billy Whiskers at the Circus 6. Billy Whiskers at the Fair 7. Billy Whiskers' Friends 8. Billy Whiskers, Jr. and his Chums 9. Billy Whiskers' Grandchildren 10. Billy Whiskers' Vacation 11. Billy Whiskers Kidnapped 12. Billy Whiskers' Twins 13. Billy Whiskers in an Aeroplane 14. Billy Whiskers in Town 15. Billy Whiskers in Panama 16. Billy Whiskers on the Mississippi 17. Billy Whiskers at the Exposition 18. Billy Whiskers Out West 19. Billy Whiskers in the South
EACH VOLUME A QUARTO, WITH COVERS, JACKET AND SIX FULL PAGE ILLUSTRATIONS IN COLORS, SCORES OF TEXT DRAWINGS. BOUND SUBSTANTIALLY IN BOARDS.
Per Volume $1.00
THE SAALFIELD PUBLISHING CO. AKRON, OHIO
Page 64 Paragraph 1, wrapped corrected to rapped. Page Advertisements Item 11, Kidnaped corrected to Kidnapped.