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The Major's Misfortune

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We wero all upon tlie stoop of our hotel. By "we" the Philosophcr alindes to Major Bangs, Dr. Keefe, old Mrs. Garruliiy, Miss Pink, and Colonel Gilfeather, also himself. Master Robert Kobbins was likewise present; and Master Robert Robbins, who has liad seven sunmiers pass over his curly loeks, was peering anxiously down the road. "What are youlooking for, Robbie?" asked the Philosopher. Papa," carne the response. "What do you want him for?" "Ho's gone down to the carpentei's, and he's coming back with a pair of stilts for me." "Can you walk on them?" Robbie confusedlj vowed that he couldn't. But ho added tliat he feit sure that he coiud learn without inueh difficulty. As he' made the assertion. Mr. Kobbins appeared with the stilts. Robbio was all excitemeut right away. "Givo them to me, papa! Hurry!" he pleaded. Mr. Robbins, who is well drillcd in the truth of the American maxim, "Parents, obey jour children," did so. Robbie took the stilts, and, bracing himself up against a feñee, proceeded to mount them - a fence, as all small boysknow, being essential to ruountircg stilts. He got upon them safely. "Nöw start off, " enjoined Mr. Robbins. Robbie did. Alas for him! Stilts like widows are very deceitful. Ono stilt flfiw out one way, stilt number two llew out the other, and Robbie came down to the ground vith a thud. Major Baugs chuokled. "I knew that lie would fall," said the aged veteran. "How did you know?" asked Col. Gilfeatlier. Somehow there always seems to be sorne hitch be.twcen the major and the Colonel. It is rumored that both are payiug attention to old Mrs. Garrulity, who is a widow and possessed of a purse as fat as her person "He did not get on them oorrectly," spoke the major. The Coloneï sneered. "Are you a judge of stiits?" asked he. "I knowhow to walk tlicm, anyway, frigidlv returiied tlic major. "You do?" "Yes, Wheu 1 was a boy 1 was ihe best stilt-walker in iuy coíinty. Frequently have Iwalked twenty or thirty miles on stilts." The Coloncl grinned sarcastically. "What are yon talking about, major?" ntteredne. "í don t believethat yon coukl walk ten íeet pon stilts!" ïhe major grew exeited. "I'm pretty oíd and stiff," he said, "and that bulletthat l'vo got in my leg don't tendto iucroaso my agility, but I'm willing lo bet that 1 can walk stilts yet!" "Do try, major!" put in Miss Pink, who has the most innocent faco and the most misohievous insünclsof anyyoung lady that the Phiiosotjec ever met. "Yes, do!" secondod Dr. Keefe, who is Miss l'ink's blind and adoring slave, and always agrees with her upou every subject. If Miss Pink should state that the time-honor ed assertion rolative to the moon being toado out of green cheese was true, the doctor, who is, by the way, a very j'ouiig doctor, would tight the person wlio denied it. "He don' talare !' declared the Colonel. "Massy, major, you cau't walk stilts!" saidold Mrs. Garxuüty. The major llustered up. "I said that I can walk stitts, and I can!" he started, "What's more Til do it!" The major's determination was greeted with a round ot applause. "Here are llobbie's slills," said "Mr. Robbins, with a sly ivink at the Philosopher. "Now, major try yourluck." "Do!" sweetly pleaded Miss Pink. "Yes, do!" said thefaithful doctor. The major feit that he had gone too f ar to retreat. Slowly he aróse froni his comfortable chair and went down the piazza steps. Robbie surrendered the stilts without amurmur. His fall had laken a good deal of his enthusiasm out of him. The major disdaincc' the aid of a fence. He set the stilts upright upon 4he ground, and, holding the ujjper parts in his hands, attempted to jump on the feet supports. The Philosopher is forced to admit that the altempt was a failure. The major suceeeded in ge.tting olie foot upon one stilt, but the other loot failed to connect. The result was that the major carne down upon the ground betwecn the two, and very ncarly feil over. The Colonel laughed aloud. "1 thought that jou weicn't much of a stilt-walker," he observed, "'Twasn't my fault," growled the major. "Twasn't?" "No." "Poon! Whoselault víis ítr"' "Anybody bi:t a blamed " The major checked himself, and continuad, less aiigrily: "Anjbody ought to bc able to see that the ground is slippery where I was, and uecessarily the stilts slipped.'' "Humpli!" And the way that the Colonel exclaimed showed that )ie did not take much stock in the explanation. "As the ground is slippery, major," soberly said Mr. Robbins, "you botter do as Robbie did - seck the assistance that the fence grants." The major hesitated. He seen-s to think that it would be derogatory to liis pretenses as a stiltperformer tobraceup against the fenceHowever, he concluded that :t would be safer, after al), to do as Mr. llobbins advised. Taking his sdlts, amidst the ironical smiles of the Colonel, bc marehed over to the fence. By placing the stilts al thepruper angels against it and holding thenilirmly, he succeeded in elevatiug Uimself upon them. Mr. Robbinsehipped his hands. "Go!" said he. "Please go!" spoko Miss Pink "Yes, do!" bcgged Dr. Keefe. The major loaned back against the fence to prepare for a start. The major is no light weight - two hundred pounds avoirdnpois is his scale-weight - and the fence was weak. Whoii th'1 major leaned back lie fonnd it ouf. Crack I Urash! Then two top boards of the feiice gave way, and the majortell over bacK'ward. Lockily there was a pile of straw upon the other side of the fence, and upon it the major landed, tlius escaping iuJUI7- The Coloncl was the first to go to his aid. "Any bones broken?" asked he, in pretended solicitada, "You ought to know better. The idea of a man of your ago trying to walk on stilts!" The major slowly rose. His face was very red, and it was evident that in his frame ol miud it vould be very hard work to borrow a dollar trom him. "I ain'tlmi-t at all," said he, eurily; 'and I'll show you whether a man of my ago can walk stilts! Where are the confounded stilts?" ltobbie produced them. With grit in his eye the major climbed over tho broken fence, giving it a vicious kick as he did so, and.grabbing the wooden aft'airs, got on to them successfully. Away ho walked. üld Airs Garrulity tliruw up her hands. "Lord bless us, if the major can't walk, after all!" she exclaimed. "Divinely!" ejaculated Miss Pink. "Yes, divinely!" corroboralod Dr. Keefe. As for the Colonel, he bit his lip. Evidently the majov's star was in the ascendant. It wasfated, though, not to be in the aseendant long. The major, ilushed with suecess, iucreased his pace. The result was, as any of our youthful readers will understand, that the stilts got the better of the major. Ho liad either to keep on going or fall down. Over the yard hesped, trying vainly to change hig direction. He could not He was forced to go right ahead. And ahead, in tho way that he was proceeding, was a pig-pen. He tried hard to stop. The stilts kept on remorselessly uutil thoy encountered the sid of the pen, and then over went the major into the filth of the porcines' liabitaüon. Well, we pioked the major out, and cleaned him ofl as best we could. But his self-pride was badly hurt, and that nighí he left for home, leaving the iield open for the Colonel for Mrs. Garrulity's nffcctions. The Colonel has not niarried her yet, though, and the Philosopher has a shrewd suspieion that ho will uot - at least not very soon - for, as Mrs. Gafrulity remarked, the other night: "Salrss-a-graeious! jou know nobody would mariy me for my beauty : and them that comes snullin' arouad after my money. I doii't keer for."


Ann Arbor Courier
Old News