Mr. Stubbs's Brother
by James Otis
CHAPTER II. THE
CHAPTER IV. THE
CHAPTER V. OLD
CHAPTER VI. THE
THE DINNER PARTY
CHAPTER IX. MR.
CHAPTER X. THE
CHANGE OF PLANS
CHAPTER XII. A
THE RESULTS OF
RAISING THE TENT
CHAPTER XVI. A
DRIVING A MONKEY
CHAPTER XIX. THE
SHOW BROKE UP
CHAPTER I. THE SCHEME
Why, we could start a circus jest as easy as a wink, Toby, 'cause
you know all about one an' all you'd have to do would be to tell us
fellers what to do, an' we'd 'tend to the rest.
Yes; but you see we hain't got a tent, or bosses, or wagons, or
nothin', an' I don't see how you could get a circus up that way; and
the speaker hugged his knees as he rocked himself to and fro in a
musing way on the rather sharp point of a large rock, on which he had
seated himself in order to hear what his companions had to say that was
Will you come down with me to Bob Atwood's, an' see what he says
Yes, I'll do that if you'll come out afterwards for a game of I-spy
'round the meetin'-house.
All right; if we can find enough of the other fellers, I will.
Then the boys slipped down from the rocks, found the cows, and drove
them home as the preface to their visit to Bob Atwood's.
The boy who was so anxious to start a circus was a little fellow
with such a wonderful amount of remarkably red hair that he was seldom
called anything but Reddy, although his name was knownby his parents,
at leastto be Walter Grant. His companion was Toby Tyler, a boy who,
a year before, had thought it would be a very pleasant thing to run
away from his Uncle Daniel and the town of Guilford in order to be with
a circus, and who, in ten weeks, was only too glad to run back home as
rapidly as possible.
During the first few months of his return, very many brilliant
offers had been made Toby by his companions to induce him to aid them
in starting an amateur circus; but he had refused to have anything to
do with the schemes, and for several reasons. During the ten weeks he
had been away, he had seen quite as much of a circus life as he cared
to see, without even such a mild dose as would be this amateur show;
and, again, whenever he thought of the matter, the remembrance of the
death of his monkey, Mr. Stubbs, would come upon him so vividly, and
cause him so much sorrow, that he resolutely put the matter from his
Now, however, it had been a year since the monkey was killed; school
had closed during the summer season; and he was rather more disposed to
listen to the requests of his friends.
On this particular night, Reddy Grant had offered to go with him for
the cowsan act of generosity which Toby accounted for only on the
theory that Reddy wanted some of the strawberries which grew so
plentifully in Uncle Daniel's pasture. But when they arrived there the
strawberries were neglected for the circus question, and Toby then
showed he was at least willing to talk about it.
There was no doubt that Bob Atwood knew Reddy was going to try to
induce Toby to help start a circus, and Bob knew, also, that Reddy and
Toby would visit him, although he appeared very much surprised when he
saw them coming up the hill towards his house. He was at home,
evidently waiting for something, at an hour when all the other boys
were out playing; and that, in itself, would have made Toby suspicious
if he had paid much attention to the matter.
Bob was perfectly willing to talk about a circusso willing that,
almost before Toby was aware of it, he was laying plans with the others
for such a show as could be given with the material at hand.
You see we'd have to get a tent the first thing, said Toby, as he
seated himself on the saw-horse as a sort of place of honor, and
proceeded to give his companions the benefit of his experience in the
circus line. I s'pose we could get along without a fat woman, or a
skeleton; but we'd have to have the tent anyway, so's folks couldn't
look right in an' see the show for nothin'.
Reddy had decided some time before how that trifling matter could be
arranged; and, as he went industriously to work making shavings out of
a portion of a shingle, he said:
I've got all that settled, Toby; an' when you say you're willin' to
go ahead an' fix up the show, I'll be on hand with a tent that'll make
your eyes stick out over a foot.
Bob nodded his head to show he was convinced Reddy could do just as
he had promised; but Toby was anxious for more particulars, and
insisted on knowing where this very necessary portion of a circus was
You see a tent is a big thing, he said seriously; an' it would
cost more money than the fellers in this town could raise if they
should pick all the strawberries in Uncle Dan'l's pasture.
Oh, I don't say as the tent Reddy's got his eye on is a reg'lar one
like a real circus has, said Bob slowly and candidly, as he began to
draw on the side of the wood-shed a picture of what he probably
intended should represent a horse; but he knows how he can rig one up
that'll be big enough, an' look stavin'.
With this information Toby was obliged to be satisfied; and with the
view of learning more of the details, in case his companions had
arranged for them, he asked:
Where you goin' to get the companythe folks that ride, an' turn
hand-springs, an' all them things?
Ben Cushing can turn twice as many hand-springs as any feller you
ever saw, an' he can walk on his hands twice round the engine-house. I
guess you couldn't find many circuses that could beat him, an' he's
been practising in his barn all the chance he could get for more'n a
Without intending to do so, Bob had thus let the secret out that the
scheme had already been talked up before Toby was consulted, and then
there was no longer any reason for concealment.
You see we thought we'd kinder get things fixed, said Reddy
quickly, anxious to explain away the seeming deception he had been
guilty of, an' we wouldn't say anything to you till we knew whether we
could get one up or not.
An' we're goin' to ask three cents to come in; an' lots of the
fellers have promised to buy tickets if we'll let 'em do some of the
ridin', or else lead the hosses.
But how are you goin' to get any hosses? asked Toby, thoroughly
surprised at the way in which the scheme had already been developed.
Reddy can get Jack Douglass's blind one, an' we can train him so's
he'll go 'round the ring all right; an' your Uncle Dan'l will let you
have his old white one that's lame, if you ask him. I ain't sure but I
can get one of Chandler Merrill's ponies, continued Bob, now so
excited by his subject that he left his picture while it was yet a
three-legged horse, and stood in front of his friends; an' if we could
sell tickets enough, we could hire one of Rube Rowe's hosses for you to
An' Bob's goin' to be the clown, an' his mother's goin' to make him
a suit of clothes out of one of his grandmother's curtains, added
Reddy, as he snapped an imaginary whip with so many unnecessary
flourishes that he tumbled over the saw-horse, thereby mixing a large
quantity of sawdust in his brilliantly colored hair.
An' Reddy's goin' to be ring-master, explained Bob, as he assisted
his friend to rise, and acted the part of Good Samaritan by trying to
get the sawdust from his hair with a curry-comb. Joe Robinson says
he'll sell tickets, an' 'tend the door, an' hold the hoops for you to
Leander Leighton's goin' to be the band. He's got a pair of
clappers; an' Mrs. Doak's goin' to show him how to play on the
accordion with one finger, so's he'll know how to make an awful lot of
noise, said Reddy, as he gave up the task of extracting the sawdust,
and devoted his entire attention to the scheme.
An' we can have some animals, said Bob, with the air of one who
adds the crowning glory to some brilliant work.
Toby had been surprised at the resources of the town for a circus,
of which he had not even dreamed; and at Bob's last remark he left his
saw-horse seat as if to enable him to hear more distinctly.
Yes, continued Bob, we can get a good many of some kinds. Old
Mrs. Simpson has got a three-legged cat with four kittens, an' Ben
Cushing has got a hen that crows; an' we can take my calf for a grizzly
bear, an' Jack Havener's two lambs for white bears. I've caught six
mice, an' I'll have more'n a dozen before the show comes off; an'
Reddy's goin' to bring his cat that ain't got any tail. Leander
Leighton's goin' to bring four of his rabbits an' make believe they're
wolves; an' Joe Robinson's goin' to catch all the squirrels he
canwe'll have the largest for foxes, an' the smallest for hyenas; an'
Joe'll keep howlin' while he's tendin' the door, so's to make 'em sound
Bob's sister's goin' to show him how to sing a couple of songs, an'
he's goin' to write 'em out on paper so's to have a book to sell,
added Reddy, delighted at the surprise expressed in Toby's face. Nahum
Baker says if we have any kind of a show he'll bring up some lemonade
an' some pies to sell, an' pass 'em 'round jest as they do in a reg'lar
This last information was indeed surprising, for, inasmuch as Nahum
Baker was a man who had an apology for a fruit-store near the wharves,
it lent an air of realism to the plan, this having a grown man
connected with them in the enterprise.
But he mustn't get any of the boys to help him, an' then treat them
as Job Lord did me, said Toby earnestly, the scheme having grown so in
the half-hour that he began to fear it might be too much like the
circus with which he had spent ten of the longest and most dreary weeks
he had ever known.
I'll look out for that, said Bob confidently, If he tries any of
them games we'll make him leave, no matter how good a trade he's
Now, where we goin' to have the show? and from the way Toby asked
the question it was easily seen that he had decided to accept the
position of manager which had been so delicately offered him.
That's jest what we ain't fixed about, said Bob, as if he blamed
himself severely for not having already attended to this portion of the
business. You see, if your Uncle Dan'l would let us have it up by his
barn that would be jest the place, an' I almost know he'd say yes if
you asked him.
Do you s'pose it would be big enough? You know when there's a
circus in town everybody comes from all around to see it, an' it
wouldn't do to have a place where they couldn't all get in, and Toby
spoke as if there could be no doubt as to the crowds that would collect
to see this wonderful show of theirs.
It'll have to be big enough, if we use the tent I'm goin' to get,
said Reddy decidedly; for you see that won't be so awful large, an' it
would make it look kinder small if we put it where the other circuses
Well, then, I s'pose we'll have to make that do, an' we can have
two or three shows if there are too many to come in at one time, said
Toby in a satisfied way that matters could be arranged so easily; and
then, with a big sigh, he added, If only Mr. Stubbs hadn't got killed,
what a show we could have! I never saw him ride; but I know he could
have done better than any one else that ever tried it, if he wanted to,
an' if we had him we could have a reg'lar circus without anybody else.
Then the boys bewailed the untimely fate of Mr. Stubbs, until they
saw that Toby was fast getting into a mood altogether too sad for the
proper transaction of circus business, and Bob proposed that a visit be
paid Ben Cushing, for the purpose of having him give them a private
exhibition of his skill, in order that Toby might see some of the
talent which was to help make their circus a glorious success.
CHAPTER II. THE BLIND HORSE
Reddy had laid his plans so well that all the intending partners
were where they could easily be found on this evening when Toby's
consent was to be won, and Ben Cushing was no exception. On the hard,
uneven floor of his father's barn, with all his clothes discarded save
his trousers and shirt, he was making such heroic efforts in the way of
practice, that while the boys were yet some distance from the building
they could hear the thud of Ben's head or heels as he unexpectedly came
in contact with the floor.
When the three visitors stood at the door and looked in, Ben
professed to be unaware of their presence, and began a series of
hand-springs that might have been wonderful, if he had not
miscalculated the distance, and struck the side of the barn just as he
was getting well into the work.
[Illustration: PLANNING THE CIRCUS]
Then, having lost his opportunity of dazzling them by showing that
even when he was alone he could turn any number of hand-springs simply
in the way of exercise, he suddenly became aware of their presence, and
greeted his friends with the anxiously asked question as to what Toby
had decided to do about entering the circus business.
Bob and Reddy, instead of answering, waited for Toby to speak; it
was a good opportunity to have the important matter settled definitely,
and they listened anxiously for his decision.
I'm goin' into it, said Toby after a pause, during which it
appeared as if he were trying to make up his mind, 'cause it seems as
if you had it almost done now. You know when I got home last summer I
didn't ever want to hear of a circus or see one, for I'd had about
enough of them, an' then I'd think of poor Mr. Stubbs, an' that would
make me feel awful bad. I didn't think, either, that we could get up
such a good show; but now you fellers have got so much done towards it,
I think we'd better go aheadthough I do wish Mr. Stubbs was alive,
an' we had a skeleton an' a fat woman.
Reddy Grant cheered very loudly as a means of showing how delighted
he was at thus having finally enlisted Toby in the scheme, and Bob, as
proof of the high esteem in which all the projectors of the enterprise
held this famous circus-rider, said:
Now you know all about circuses, Toby, an' you shall be the chief
boss of this one, an' we'll do just what you say.
Toby almost blushed as this great honor was actually thrust upon
him, and he hardly knew what reply to make, when Ben ceased his
acrobatic exercises, and, with Bobby and Reddy, stood waiting for him
to give his orders.
I s'pose the first thing to do, he said at length, is to see if
Jack Douglass is willin' for us to have his hoss, an' then find out
what Uncle Dan'l says about it. If we don't get the hoss, it won't be
any use to say anything to Uncle Dan'l.
Reddy was so anxious to have matters settled at once that he offered
to go up to Mr. Douglass's house then, if the others would wait there
for his return, which proposition was at once accepted.
Mr. Douglass was an old colored man who lived fully half a mile from
the village; but Reddy's eagerness caused quick travelling, and in a
surprisingly short time he was back breathless and happy. The coveted
horse was to be theirs for as long a time as they wanted him, provided
they fed him well, and did not attempt to harness him into a wagon.
The owner of the sightless animal had expressed his doubts as to
whether he would ever make much of a circus-horse, owing to his lack of
sight and his extreme age; but he argued that if, as was very probable,
the animal fell while being ridden, he would hurt his rider quite as
much as himself, and therefore the experiment would not be tried so
often as seriously to injure the steed.
It only remained to consult Uncle Daniel on the matter, and of
course that was to be attended to by Toby. He would have waited until a
fitting opportunity presented itself; but his companions insisted so
strongly, that he went home at once to have the case decided.
Uncle Daniel was seated by the window as usual, looking out over the
distant hills as if he were trying to peer in at the gates of that city
where so many loved ones awaited him, and it was some moments before
Toby could make him understand what it was he was trying to say.
So ye didn't get circusin' enough last summer? asked the old
gentleman, when at last he realized what it was the boy was talking
Oh yes, I did! replied Toby, quickly; but you see that was a real
one, an' this of ours is only a little make-believe for three cents. We
want to get you to let us have the lot between the barn an' the road to
put our tent on, an' then lend us old Whitey. We're goin' to have Jack
Douglass's hoss that's blind, an' we've got a three-legged cat, an' one
without any tail, an' lots of things.
It's a kind of a cripples' circus, eh? Well, Toby boy, you can do
as you want to, an' you shall have old Whitey; but it seems to me you'd
better tie her lame leg on, or she'll shake it off when you get to
makin' her cut up antics.
Then Uncle Daniel returned to his reverie, and the show was thus
decided upon, the projectors going again to view the triangular piece
of land so soon to be decorated with their tents and circus belongings.
Each hour that passed after Toby had decided, with Uncle Daniel's
consent, to go into the circus business made him more eager to carry
out the brilliant plan that had been unfolded by Bob Atwood and Reddy
Grant, until his brain was in a perfect whirl when he went to bed that
night. He was sure he could ride as well as when he was under Mr.
Castle's rather severe training, and he thought over and over again how
he would surprise every one who knew him; but he did not stop to think
that there might be a difference between the horse he had ridden in the
circus and the lame one of Uncle Daniel's, or the blind one belonging
to Mr. Douglass. He had an idea that it all depended upon himself, with
very little reference to the animal, and he was sure he had his lesson
Early as he got up the next morning, his partners in the enterprise
were waiting for him just around the corner of the barn, where he found
them as he went for the cows, and they walked to the pasture with him
in order to discuss the matter.
Ben Cushing was in light-marching and acrobatic costume, worn for
the occasion in order to give a full exhibition of his skill; and Reddy
had been up so long that he had had time to procure Mr. Douglass's
wonderful steed, which he had already led to the pasture so that he
could be experimented upon.
I thought I'd get him up there, he said to Toby, so's you could
try him; 'cause if we don't get money enough to hire one of Rube Rowe,
you'll have to ride the blind one or the lame one, an' you'd better
find out which you want. If you try him in the pasture the fellers
won't see you; but if you did it down by your house, every one of 'em
would huddle 'round.
Toby thought the general idea was a good one; but he was just a
trifle uncertain as to how the blind horse would get along on such
uneven ground. However, he said nothing, lest his companions should
think he was afraid to make the attempt; and when Ben and Bob proceeded
to mark out a ring, he advised them as to its size.
The most level piece of ground that could be found was selected as
the place for the trial, but several small mounds prevented it from
being all a circus-rider could ask for.
Bob volunteered to lead the horse around the track several times,
hoping he would become so accustomed to it as to be able to go by
himself after a while; and Toby made his preparations by laying his hat
on the ground with a stone on it, so that he should be sure to find it
when his rehearsal was done.
It was a warm job Bob had undertaken, this leading the blind animal
along the ill-defined line that marked the limits of the ring, for the
sun shone brightly, and there were no friendly trees to lend a shelter;
but he paid no attention to his discomfort because of the fact that he
was doing something towards the enterprise which was to bring them in
both honor and money.
The poor old horse was the least interested of the party, and he
stumbled around the circle in an abused sort of way, as if he
considered it a piece of gross injustice to force him on the weary
round when the grass was so plentiful and tender just under his feet.
Ben was busily engaged in lengthening Mr. Douglass's rather weak and
aged bridle with a small piece of rope, and from time to time he
encouraged the ambitious clown in his labor.
Keep it up, if it is hot! he shouted; an' when we get him so's he
can do it alone, he'll be jest as good a circus-hoss as anybody would
want, for we can stuff him with hay an' grass till he's fat, and Ben
looked at the clearly defined ribs in a critical way, as if trying to
decide how much food would be necessary to cover them with flesh.
Oh, I can keep on as long as the hoss can, said Bob, as he wiped
the perspiration from his face with one hand, and clung firmly to the
forelock of the animal with the other; but we've been round here as
many as six times already, an' he don't seem to know the way any better
than when we started.
Oh yes, he does, cried Reddy, who was practising for his duties as
ring-master, anxious that his education should advance as fast as the
horse's did; he's got so he knows enough to turn out for that second
knoll, though he does stumble a little over the first one.
By this time Ben had the bridle adjusted to suit him, Toby was ready
to make his first attempt at riding since he left the circus, and the
more serious work was begun.
Ben bridled the horse after some difficulty, Reddy drew out from its
hiding-place a whip made by tying a piece of cod-line to an alder
branch, and Toby was about to mount, when Joe Robinson came in sight.
He had been running at full speed, and was nearly breathless; but he
managed to cry out so that he could be understood after considerable
Hold on! don't go to ridin' till after we get some hoops for you to
I guess I won't try any jumpin' till after I see how he goes, said
Toby as he looked rather doubtfully first at the horse's weak legs, and
then at his sharp back; besides, we can't use the hoops till he gets
more used to the ring.
Joe threw himself on the ground as if he felt quite as much
aggrieved because he was thus left out of the programme as the horse
apparently did because he was in it, and Bob consoled him by explaining
that he had no reason to feel slighted, since he, who, as the clown,
was to be the life of the entertainment, could take no other part in
these preparatory steps than to lead a blind horse around a still
Hold him while I get on, said Toby as he clutched the mane and a
portion of the prominent backbone, drawing himself up at some risk of
upsetting the rather shaky steed.
But there was no necessity of his giving this order, for, although
four boys sprang to do his bidding, the weary horse remained as
motionless as a statue, save for his hard breathing which proclaimed
the fact that the heaves had long since singled him out as a victim.
Toby succeeded in getting on the animal's back after some exertion;
but he found standing there an entirely different matter from standing
on the broad saddles that were used in the circus, and the boy and the
horse made a shaky-looking pair.
Shall I start him? asked Bob, while Reddy stood as near the centre
of the ring as he could get, prepared to snap his cod-line whip at the
Toby hesitated a moment; he knew that to attempt to stand upon, or
on either side of, that prominent backbone, after its owner was in
motion, would be simply to invite his own downfall; and he said, as he
seated himself carefully astride the bone:
Let him walk around once till I see how he goes.
Reddy cracked his whip without producing any effect upon the patient
steed, but, after much coaxing, Bob succeeded in starting him again,
while Toby bounced up and down much like a kernel of corn on a griddle,
such a decided motion did the horse have.
He won't ever do for a ridin' hoss, said Toby with much
difficulty, when he was half-way around the circle, 'cause you see his
bones is so sharp that he feels as if he was comin' to pieces every
time he steps.
Jest get him to trottin' once, an' then you can tell what he's good
for, suggested Reddy, anxious to try the effect of his whip; and,
without waiting for the rider's permission, he lashed the unfortunate
animal with the cod-line until he succeeded in rousing him thoroughly.
It was in vain Toby begged him to stop, and Bob shouted that such a
course was not the proper one for a ring-master to pursue. Reddy was
determined the rider should have an opportunity of trying the horse
under full speed, and the result was that the animal broke loose from
Bob's guiding hand, rushing out of the imaginary ring into the centre
of the pasture at a rate of speed that would have surprised and
frightened Mr. Douglass had he been there to see it.
Shaken first up, then down, and from one side to the other, Toby
stretched himself out at full length, clasping the horse around the
neck as the patched bridle broke, and shouting Whoa! at the full
strength of his lungs.
After running fully fifty yards, until it seemed to Toby that his
head and his body had been pounded into one, the horse stopped, leaned
one heel up against the other, and stood as if dreamily asking whether
they wanted any more circus out of him.
Couldn't anybody ride him, he jolts so, said Toby to his partners,
as they came running up to where he stood trying to find out whether or
not his tongue was bleeding, and fearing it was, because his teeth had
been pounded down on it so hard two or three times. You see, in the
circus they had big, wide saddles, an' the hosses didn't go anything
Well, we can fix a saddle, said Bob, thoughtfully; but I don't
know as we could do anything to the hoss.
Perhaps old Whitey'll go better, 'cause she's lame, suggested
Reddy, feeling that considerable credit was due him for having made it
possible to test the animal's qualities in so short a time.
I wouldn't wonder if this one would be all right when he gets a
saddle on an' is trained, said Joe, and then he added, quickly, I
hain't got anything more to do to-day, an' I'll stay up here an' train
The partners were only too glad to accept this offer; and while Joe
led the horse back to the supposed ring, Ben gave a partial exhibition
of his acrobatic feats, omitting the most difficult, owing to the
uneven surface of the land.
Then the partners retired to the shade of some alder bushes, where
they could fight mosquitoes and talk over their plans at the same time,
while Joe was perspiring in his self-imposed task of educating the
CHAPTER III. ABNER BOLTON
Now I'll see about makin' the saddle, said Bob, 'cause I've seen
'em a good many times in a circus, an' I know jest how they're made.
While I'm doin' that you fellers must be fixin' 'bout who else we'll
have in the show. Leander Leighton will come up here to-morrow, so's we
can hear how he plays, an' we must have everything fixed by then.
Why didn't he come to-day? asked Ben, thinking that all the
members of the firm should have been present at this first rehearsal.
Well, you see, he had to split some wood, an' he had to take care
of the baby. I offered to help him with the wood; but he said he
couldn't get away any quicker if I did, for just as soon as the baby
saw another feller waitin' 'round, she'd yell so awful hard he'd have
to stay in all day.
This explanation as to the absence of the band appeared to be
perfectly satisfactory to those present, and they began to discuss the
merits of certain of their companions in order to decide upon the
proper ones to enlist as members, since the number of their performers
was not so large as they thought it should be in a show where an
admission fee of three cents was to be charged.
Just as they were getting well into their discussion, and, of
course, speaking of such matters as managers should keep a profound
secret from the public, Bob cried out:
There comes Abner Bolton! He's always runnin' 'round where he
hain't wanted; an' I wonder how he come to know we was here? I'll send
him off mighty quick now, you see.
The boy who had disturbed Bob so greatly was so near when he was
first discovered that by the time the threat had been uttered he was
close upon them. He was a small boy, not more than eight years old, and
hardly as large as a boy of six should be; he walked on crutches
because of his deformed legs, which hung withered and useless, barely
capable of supporting his slight weight.
Now, what do you want? asked Bob, in an angry tone.
I don't want anything, was the mild reply, as the cripple halted
just outside the shade, as if not daring to come any farther until
invited. I heard you was goin' to get up a circus, an' I thought
perhaps you'd let me watch you, 'cause I wouldn't bother you any.
You would bother us, an' you can't stay 'round here, for we hain't
goin' to have anybody watchin' us. You may come to the show if you can
get three cents.
I don't s'pose I could do that, said the boy, looking longingly
towards the shade, but still standing in the sun. I don't have any
chance to get money, an' I do wish you boys would let me stay where you
are, for it's so awful lonesome out to the poor-farm, an' I can't run
around as you can.
Well, you can't stay here, an' the sooner you go back to the
village the better we'll like it, for we don't want anybody to know
what we're talkin' about.
Toby had attempted to speak once or twice while Bob was engaged with
the cripple from the poor-farm; but he did not get an opportunity until
Abner turned to go away, looking thoroughly sad and disheartened.
Don't go, Abner, but come and set down here where it's cool, an'
perhaps we can fix it for you.
The cripple turned as Toby spoke, and the look which came into his
face went right to the heart of the boy, who for ten long weeks had
known what it was to be almost entirely without a friend.
I don't see what you want him 'round here for, said Bob,
petulantly, as Abner seated himself by Toby's side, thoroughly
exhausted by his long walk. He can't do nothin'; an' if he could, we
don't want no fellers from the poor-farm mixed up with the show.
It don't make any difference if he does live to the poor-farm,
said Toby, as he put his little brown hand on Abner's thin fingers. He
has to stay there 'cause his father and mother's dead, an' perhaps I'd
been there, 'cept for Uncle Dan'l. If I'd thought before about his
bein' lonesome an' not bein' able to play like the rest of us, I'd gone
out to see him; an' now we do know it we'll let him stay with us, an'
perhaps he can do something in the circus.
The fellers will laugh at us, an' say we're runnin' a poorhouse
show, replied Bob, sulkily.
Well, let 'em laugh; we'll feel a good deal better'n they do,
'cause we'll know we're tryin' to let a little feller have some fun
what don't get many chances; and, in his excitement, Toby spoke so
loudly that Joe came running up to see what was the matter.
Let him stay 'round here to-day, 'cause we've got all through
practisin', an' then tell him to keep away, said Ben, thinking this
idea a very generous one.
He can belong to the show jest as well as not; an' if you fellers
will let him, I'll give you my part of all the money we make.
This proposition of Toby's put the matter on a very different basis,
and both Ben and Bob now looked favorably inclined towards it.
Don't you do that, Toby, said Abner, his eyes filling with tears
because of the kindness shown him. I'll go right away, an' I won't
come into the village again to bother you.
You shall come into the village every day, Abner, an' you won't
bother us at all, for you shall go 'long of me everywhere I do, an' I
won't never walk any faster'n you can; and Toby moved his seat nearer
Abner, to show that he took him under his especial care.
He might help tend the door, said Joe, kindly, anxious to please
Toby, an' that'll give me a chance to do more howlin' for the hyenas,
'cause that'll be 'bout all I oughter do if I have to hold the hoops.
Yes, he can do that, and Toby was very eager now, an' we can get
him a stool to sit on, an' he can do jest as much as if he could stand
By this time Bob and Ben had decided that, in consideration of
Toby's offer, Abner should be counted as one of the company, and the
matters under discussion that had been interrupted by the cripple's
coming were again taken up.
Owing to the possible chance that Joe could not succeed in training
the blind horse sufficiently to make him useful in the ring, it was
necessary to know just what animals they could procure, and Bob offered
to see Chandler Merrill for the purpose of securing the services of his
Mexican pony, who had never allowed any one to ride him without first
having a severe battle.
We can train him down all right, said Bob; an' you fellers come
down now while I find out 'bout the pony, so's we can come back here
As it was very important that this matter should be settled as soon
as possible, Bob's advice was acted upon; and as the boys started to
go, Toby said:
Come, Abner, you come home with me an' get some dinner, an' then
you can come back here when I do.
Bob was disposed to make sport of this sudden friendship; but Toby
paid no attention to what he said, and if any of them wanted to talk
with him, they too were obliged to walk with the boy from the
By the time they arrived at Uncle Daniel's, Toby had formed many
plans for making the life of the homeless boy more cheerful than it
ever had been.
CHAPTER IV. THE PONY
Toby's interest in the crippled boy whom he had taken under his
charge was considerably greater than in the contemplated circus; and
both Bob and Ben felt angry and injured when, in the midst of some
brilliant plan for startling those of the good people of Guilford who
should come to their circus, Toby would stop to say something to Abner,
who was hobbling along as fast as possible in order that he might not
oblige the party to wait for him.
For a number of years Toby had known that there was a crippled
orphan at the poor-farm; but it so happened that he had not met him
very often, and even then he had no idea of the lonely life the boy was
obliged to lead.
On the way to the village he had formed several plans by which he
might aid Abner; but none of them could be put into operation until
after he had consulted Uncle Daniel and Aunt Olive.
It was nearly noon, and the understanding was that each one should
get his dinner and go to the pasture again, when it would be known
whether they were to be able to number Chandler Merrill's pony among
the attractions of their show, or be wholly dependent upon the disabled
horses that as yet made up their collection.
You're comin' to get dinner with me, Abner, said Toby, as he
stopped in front of Uncle Daniel's gate, while the little fellow was
continuing on his way to the only place he could call home, there to
get his dinner with the other paupers.
I'm afraid your aunt won't want me, he said, shyly, while it was
plain to be seen that he would be more than well pleased to accept the
Aunt Olive won't care a bit, an' she'll be glad to have you, I
know, 'cause she says it always does her good to see hungry people eat,
though if that's so I must have done her an awful sight of good lots of
times, for it don't seem to me I ever set down to the table in my life
but what I was awful hungry. Come on now, so's we'll have time to get
our hands an' faces washed before the dinner-bell rings.
Abner followed Toby in a hesitating way, much as if he expected each
moment to be ordered back; and when they arrived at the door he stood
on the threshold, not daring to enter until permission had been given.
This is Abner Bolton, Uncle Dan'l, said Toby, as he saw that his
newly made friend would not come in without an invitation from some one
besides himself. He lives out to the poor-farm, an' he don't have any
such nice home as I've got, so I thought you wouldn't care if I brought
him in to dinner.
You've got a good heart, Toby, boy, and the Lord will reward you
for it, said Uncle Daniel, as he stroked the boy's refractory hair;
and then he said to Abner, Come in, my lad, and share Toby's dinner,
nor need you ever hesitate about accepting any such invitation when it
leads you here.
Then Aunt Olive greeted Abner so kindly that the poor boy hardly
knew whether it was reality or a dream, so strange was it all to him.
During the dinner Toby told of the difficulty he had had in getting
his partners to consent to Abner's being one of the company, and Aunt
Olive, who had shown considerable interest in the circus scheme, said:
Why don't you let him keep a stand, and then he can make some money
for himself. I will bake him a lot of doughnuts and ginger-snaps, and
your Uncle Dan'l will lend him money enough to buy lemons an' sugar. It
will be a deal better than to have Nahum Baker there with his pies that
are as heavy as lead, an' doughnuts that have soaked up all the fat in
Toby was delighted with the plan, and Abner's eyes glistened at the
mere idea that it might be possible for him to do, once in his life at
least, as did other and more fortunate boys.
It certainly seemed, when they arrived at the pasture again, as if
everything was conspiring in favor of their circus, for Chandler
Merrill had willingly consented to let them use his pony; but he had
done so with the kindly prophecy that the little animal would kick
their brains out if they were not careful with him.
In order to make sure that the consent would not be withdrawn, and
at the same time to prove that he told the truth, Bob had brought the
pony with him, and, judging from his general appearance as he stood
gazing suspiciously at the Douglass horse, he deserved all that was
said of him regarding his vicious qualities. He was about half the size
of an ordinary horse, and his coat was ragged-looking, owing to its
having been rubbed off in spots, thus giving him the air of just such a
pony as one would suppose willing to join a party of boys in starting a
Now, there's a hoss that hain't either lame or blind, said Bob,
proudly, as he led the pony once around the ring to show his partners
how he stepped. If he was intending to say anything more, he concluded
to defer it while he made some very rapid movements in order to escape
the blow the hoss aimed at him with his hind-feet.
Kicks, don't he? said Toby, in a tone which plainly told he did
not think him very well suited to their purpose.
Well, he did then, and Bob fastened the halter more securely by
putting one end of the rope through the pony's mouth; but you see
that's 'cause he hain't been used much, an' he's tickled 'cause he's
goin' to belong to a circus.
How long before he'll get over bein' tickled? asked Joe. I'm
willin' to train Jack Douglass's hoss; but I don't know 'bout this one
till he gets sorry enough not to kick.
Oh, he'll be all right jest as soon as Toby rides him 'round the
ring a little while.
Do you think I'm goin' to ride him? asked Toby, beginning to
believe his partners expected more of him than ever Mr. Castle did.
Of course; a feller what's been with a circus ought to know how to
ride any hoss that ever lived, replied Bob, with considerable
emphasis, owing to the fact that the pony kicked and plunged so that
his words were jerked out of him, rather than spoken.
I s'pose some fellers can; but I wasn't with the circus long enough
to find out how to ride such hosses as them, and Toby retired to the
shade of the alder bushes, where Abner was sitting to wait until Bob
and the pony had come to terms.
It was quite as much as Bob could do to hold his prize, without
trying to make any arrangements for having him ridden, and he called
Reddy to help him.
Now, as the ring-master of the contemplated circus, Reddy ought to
have known all about horses, and he thought he did until the pony made
one plunge, just as he came up smiling with whip in hand. Then he said,
as he ran towards Toby:
I don't believe I want to be ring-master if we're goin' to have
Here, Joe, you help me, cried Bob, in desperation, growing each
moment more afraid of the steed. I want to get him up by the fence,
where we can hitch him, till we find out what to do with him.
Joe was perfectly willing to assist the unfortunate clown in his
troubles; but, as he started towards him, the pony wheeled and flung
his heels out with a force that showed he would do some damage if he
could, and Joe also joined the party among the bushes.
Bob was thus left alone with his prize, and a most uncomfortable
time he appeared to be having of it, standing there in the hot sun
clinging desperately to the halter, and jumping from one side to the
other when the pony attempted to bite, or strike him with his
Let him go; he hain't any good, shouted Reddy from his secure
If I let go the halter, he'll jump right at me, and there was a
certain ring in Bob's voice that told he was afraid.
Hitch him to the fence, an' then climb over, suggested Joe.
But I can't get him over there, for he won't go a step, and Bob
continued to hold fast to the halter, afraid to do so, but still more
afraid to let go.
He had borrowed the pony; but it certainly seemed as if the animal
had borrowed him, for his fear caused him to cling desperately to the
halter as the only possible means of saving his life.
The boys under the alder bushes were fully alive to the fact that
something should be done although they were undecided as to what that
something should be.
Joe proposed that they all rush out and scare the pony away, but Bob
insisted that he would be the sufferer by such a course. Reddy thought
if Bob should show more spirit, and let the vicious little animal see
that he was not afraid of him, everything would be all right; but when
it was proposed that he try the plan himself, he concluded, perhaps,
there might be serious objections to such a course.
Ben thought if all of them got hold of the halter, they could pull
the pony to the fence, and this plan was looked upon with such favor
that it was adopted at once.
Every one, except Abner, took hold of the halter, after some little
delay in getting there, owing to the readiness of the pony to use his
heels at the slightest provocation; and, just when they were about to
put forth all their strength in pulling, the pony jumped towards them
suddenly, rendering their efforts useless, and starting all, save Bob,
back to the alder bushes in ignominious flight.
Bob still remained at his post, or, more correctly speaking, the
halter, and it was very much against his will that he did so.
I wish Chandler Merrill would come up here an' get his old hoss,
for I don't want him any longer, he said, angrily. He ought to be
prosecuted for lettin' us have such a old tiger.
Bob did not seem to remember that, if he had refused the loan of the
pony, he would have considered Chandler Merrill very selfish; in fact,
he hardly remembered anything save his own desire to get rid of the
animal, and as quickly as possible.
What shall I do? he cried, in desperation. I can't stand here all
day, an' the hoss don't mean to let me get away.
We've got to help Bob, said Toby, decidedly, as he arose to his
feet again, and went towards the unfortunate clown. If you fellers
will try to hold him, I'll get on his back, an' then Bob can get away.
But he'll throw you off, an' hurt you, objected Abner, trying to
prevent his newly made friend from going.
I can stop him from doing that, an' it's the only way I know of to
You get on, Toby, an' then I'll scoot jest as soon as you get hold
of the halter, said Bob, happy at this prospect of being relieved.
Then, when you get a chance, you jump off, an' we'll let somebody else
take him home.
It was a hard task, and they all ran considerable risk of getting
kicked; but at last it was accomplished, so far as mounting was
concerned. Toby was on the pony's back with a firm grasp of the rope
that was made to serve as bridle.
Now, be all ready to run, he said; and there was no disposition to
linger shown by any of his friends.
Let go! he shouted, and at the sound of his voice the boys went
one way and the pony another at full speed.
It was not until the would-be circus managers were within the
shelter of the clump of bushes that they stopped to look for their
partner, and then they saw him at the further end of the pasture, the
pony running and leaping as if doing his best to dislodge his rider.
Even the Douglass horse seemed to be excited by the display of
spirit, for he capered around in a manner very unbecoming one as old
and blind as he.
Only for a few moments could they watch the contest, and then the
distant trees hid Toby Tyler and Chandler Merrill's pony from view.
CHAPTER V. OLD BEN
Some time the boys watched for Toby's return, and just as they were
beginning to think they ought to go in search of him, and fearing lest
he had been hurt by the vicious pony, they saw him coming from among
the trees, alone and on foot.
Well, said Bob, with a sigh of relief, he's got rid of the hoss,
an' that was all we wanted.
Toby's story, when at last, hot and tired, he reached the alder
bushes, was not nearly so exciting as his partners anticipated. He had
clung to the pony until they entered the woods, where he was brushed
off by the branches of the trees as easily as if he had been a fly, and
with as little damage.
How they should get the pony back into its owner's keeping was a
question difficult to answer, and they were all so completely worn out
by their exertions to get rid of him that they did not attempt to come
to any conclusion regarding it.
While they were resting from their labors, and before they had
ceased to congratulate each other that they had succeeded in separating
themselves from the pony, Leander Leighton, his accordion under his arm
and his clappers in his hand, made his appearance.
His struggle with the baby had evidently come to an end sooner than
he had dared hope, and the managers were happy at this speedy prospect
of hearing what their band could do in the way of music.
Boys! shouted Leander, excitedly, while he was some distance away,
there's a real circus comin' here next weekthe same one Toby Tyler
run away withan' the men are pastin' up the bills now, down to the
The boys looked at each other in surprise; it had never entered into
their calculations that they might have a real circus as a rival, and
certainly Toby had never thought he would again see those whom he had
first run away with and then run away from. He was rather disturbed by
the prospect at first, for it seemed certain that Job Lord and Mr.
Castle would try to compel him to go with them; but a moment's thought
convinced him that Uncle Daniel would not allow them to carry him away,
and he grew as eager for more news as any of the others.
Leander knew no more than he had already told; after having been
relieved from his care of the baby, he had started for the pasture, and
had seen the show-bills as he came along. He was certain it was the
same circus Toby had gone with, for the names on the bills were the
same, and he had heard some of the townspeople say so as he came along.
An' I shall see the skeleton an' the fat woman again, said Toby,
delighted at the idea of meeting those kind friends from whom he had
thought himself parted with forever.
Don't you s'pose you could get 'em to leave that show an' come with
ours? asked Bob, thinking perhaps some kind fortune had thrown this
opportunity in their way that they might the better succeed in their
Toby was not sure such a plan could be made to work, for the reason
that they were only intending to give two or three performances, and
Mr. and Mrs. Treat might not think it worth their while to leave the
circus they were with on the strength of such uncertain prospects.
And you shall go to the show, Abner, said Toby, pleased at the
opportunity he would have of making the crippled boy happy for one day
at least; an' I'll take all of you fellers down, an' get the skeleton
to talk at you, so's you can see how nice he is. You shall see his
wife, an' old Ben, an' Ella, an'
But won't you be afraid of Job Lord? interrupted Leander, fearful
lest Toby's dread of meeting his old employer might prevent them from
having all this promised enjoyment.
Uncle Dan'l wouldn't let him take me away, an' now I'm home here I
don't believe old Ben would let him touch me.
There was evidently no probability that they would transact any more
business relative to their own circus that day, so intent were they on
talking about the one that was to come, and it was not until nearly
time to drive the cows home that they remembered the presence of their
Ben proposed that Leander should show them what he could do in the
way of music, so that he need not be at the trouble of bringing his
accordion up into the pasture again, and the boys ceased all
conversation for the purpose of listening to the so-called melody.
After considerable preparation in the way of polishing his clappers
on the cuff of his jacket and fingering the keys of his accordion to
make sure they were in proper working order, Leander extracted with one
finger a few bars of Yankee Doodle from the last-named instrument,
and gave an imitation of a drum with the clappers, in a manner that won
for him no small amount of applause.
Now, we'll go home, said Toby, 'cause Uncle Dan'l will be waitin'
for me an' the cows, an' to-morrow I'll meet you down-town where the
circus pictures be.
Then he helped Abner on to his crutches, and walked beside him all
the way, wishing, oh, so much! that he could save the poor boy from
having to go out to the poor-farm to sleep.
You come in just as early as you can in the mornin', Abner, an' you
shall eat dinner with me, he said, as he parted with the boy at Uncle
Daniel's gate, an' perhaps you'll make so much money at our circus
that you won't ever have to go out to the poor-farm again.
Abner tried to thank his friend for the kindness he had shown him;
but the sobs of gratitude came into his throat so fast that it was
impossible, and he hobbled away towards his dreary home, while Toby ran
into the house to tell the astounding news of the coming of the circus.
So all the people who were so kind to you will be here next week,
will they? said, rather than asked, Aunt Olive. Well, Toby, we'll
kill one of the lambs, an' you shall invite them up here to dinner,
which will kind of encourage them to be good to any other little boy
who may be as foolish as you were.
Toby lay awake a long time that night, thinking of the pleasure he
was to have in seeing Mr. and Mrs. Treat, old Ben and little Ella,
eating dinner in Uncle Daniel's home, and of how good a boy he ought to
be to repay his uncle and aunt for their loving-kindness to him.
Operations were almost entirely suspended by the would-be circus
managers in view of the coming of the real show. It would have been
commercial folly to attempt to enter into competition with it; the real
circus would, without a doubt, prove too strong a rival for them to
contend against; and by waiting until after it had come and gone they
might be able to pick up some useful ideas regarding the show they
proposed to give.
This delay would be to their advantage in a great many other ways.
The band would have so much time for practice that he might learn
another tune, or even be able to play with more than one finger; their
acrobat would have so many rehearsals that he could, perhaps, double
his present allowance of hand-springs, and Joe would be able to bring
his horses to a more perfect state of training.
Mr. Douglass, having no use for his horse, was perfectly willing he
should remain under Joe's tuition, providing it was done in Uncle
Daniel's pasture; but matters were not in so good a condition regarding
Chandler Merrill was anxious to have his property returned to him,
and not willing to go after it. Besides, Mr. Douglass's horse was in
great danger of being kicked to death so long as the vicious little
animal remained in the same pasture.
Very many were the discussions the boys had on the subject; but
nothing could be suggested which promised any relief, after Bob's
brilliant idea of driving the pony out, and letting him find his way
home as best he might, was tried without success. The pony not only
refused to go out, but he actually drove the boys away by the liberal
use he made of his heels.
Slowly the time passed until the day before the one on which the
circus was to arrive, Toby had almost been counting the hours and
Abner, who was to see the interior of a circus tent for the first time
in his life, was quite as excited as he.
The lamb had been killed as Aunt Olive had promised, and a rare
store of good things in the way of apple-pies, cake, doughnuts, and
custards had been prepared, until the pantry looked like a large-sized
baker's shop just opened for inspection.
Everything was ready for the guests, who were to be invited to
dinner next day; and when Toby went to bed that night, it seemed as if
he would never get to sleep for thinking of all the friends he was to
Abner was in quite as sleepless a condition as Toby; Aunt Olive had
invited him to remain overnight, so that he might see everything that
was going on, and as he lay in the soft, geranium-scented bed, his eyes
were kept wide open by his delight with what seemed to him the
magnificence of the room.
It seemed as though each boy in the village considered himself
Toby's particular and intimate friend during the week that preceded the
coming of the circus; and the marbles, balls, and boats that were
showered upon him in the way of gifts would almost have stocked a small
Then, on this day before the circus, all the boys in town were most
anxious to know just where Toby proposed meeting the cavalcade, at what
time he was to start, and other details which showed quite plainly it
was their intention to accompany him if possible.
When Toby went to bed, it was with the express understanding with
Uncle Daniel that he was to be called at daylight, in order that he
might start out to meet the circus when it stopped to prepare for its
entrance into the town. The place where the procession was usually
formed was fully two miles from town, and as Abner could hardly walk
that distance, and certainly could not walk so fast as Toby would want
to go, he had agreed to drive the cows to pasture, after which he was
to go to the tenting-ground, where his friend would introduce him to
all the celebrities.
CHAPTER VI. THE GREAT EVENT
Uncle Daniel seemed quite as anxious as Toby that he should leave
the house in time to meet his circus friends before the entrée was
made, and Aunt Olive afterwards said he didn't sleep a wink after two
o'clock for fear he might not waken in time to rouse the anxious boy.
It was fully an hour before sunrise when Uncle Daniel awakened Toby,
and cautioned him to eat as much of the lunch Aunt Olive had set out as
possible, insisting that what he could not eat he should put into his
pocket, as it would be a long while before he would get his dinner.
The two miles Toby was obliged to walk seemed very short ones, and
at nearly every house on the road one or more boys were watching for
him quite as eagerly as for the show itself, so that by the time he
arrived at the place where two or three of the wagons had drawn up by
the side of the road, he had as many as a hundred boys for an escort,
all of whom were urging him to get the manager to take out a few lions
and tigers for their inspection before starting for the village.
Toby could hold out no promise to them; on the contrary, he insisted
that he hardly knew the manager, save by sight, and explained to them
that they were unwise to come with him on any such errand, since none
of the curiosities could be seen there, and if old Ben were still with
the company he should ride back with him.
But the boys put very little faith in what he said, seeming to have
the idea that he simply wanted to get rid of them, and, instead of
going away, they surrounded him more closely.
Toby watched anxiously as each wagon came up, and he failed to
recognize any of the drivers. For the first time it occurred to him
that perhaps those whom he knew were no longer with this particular
company, and his elation gave way to sadness.
Fully twenty wagons had come, and he had just begun to think his
fears had good foundation, when in the distance he saw the
well-remembered monkey-wagon, with the burly form of old Ben on the
Toby could not wait for that particular team to come up, even though
it was driven at a reasonably rapid speed; but he started towards it as
fast as he could run, and, following him something like the tail of a
comet, were all his friends, who, having come so far, were determined
not to lose sight of him for a single instant, if it could be prevented
by any exertions on their part.
Old Ben was driving in a sleepy sort of way, and paid no attention
to the little fellow who was running towards him, until Toby shouted,
and then the horses were stopped with a jerk that nearly threw them
back on their haunches.
Well, Toby, my son! I declare, I am glad to see you; and old Ben
reached down for the double purpose of shaking hands and helping the
boy on to the seat beside him. Well, well, well, it's been some time
since you've been on this 'ere box, hain't it? I'd kinder forgotten
what town it was we took you from; I knew it was somewhere hereabouts
though, an' I've kept my eye peeled for you ever since we've been in
this part of the country. So you found your Uncle Dan'l all right, did
Yes, Ben, an' he was awful good to me when I got home; but Mr.
Stubbs got shot.
No? you don't tell me! How did that happen?
Then Toby told the story of his pet's death, and, although it had
occurred a year before, he could not keep the tears from his eyes as he
spoke of it.
You mustn't feel bad 'bout it, Toby, said Ben, consolingly, for,
you see, monkeys has got to die jest like folks, an' your Stubbs was
sich a old feller that I reckon he'd died anyhow before long. But I've
got one in the wagon here that looks a good deal like yours, an' I'll
show him to you.
As Ben spoke he drew his wagon, now completely surrounded by boys,
up by the side of the road near the others, and opened the panel in the
top so that Toby could have a view of his passengers.
Curled up in the corner nearest the roof, where Mr. Stubbs had been
in the habit of sitting, Toby saw, as Ben had said, a monkey that
looked remarkably like Mr. Stubbs, save that he was younger and not so
Toby uttered an exclamation of surprise and joy as he pushed his
hand through the bars of the cage, and the monkey shook hands with him
as Mr. Stubbs used to do when greeted in the morning.
Why, I never knew before that Mr. Stubbs had any relations! said
Toby, looking around with joy imprinted on every feature. Do you know
where the rest of the family is, Ben?
There was no reply from the driver for some time; but instead, Toby
heard certain familiar sounds as if the old man were choking, while his
face took on the purplish tinge which had so alarmed the boy when he
saw it for the first time.
No, I don't know where his family is, said Ben, after he had
recovered from his spasm of silent laughter, an' I reckon he don't
know nor care. Say, Toby, you don't really think this one is any
relation to your monkey, do you?
Why, it must be his brother, said Toby, earnestly, 'cause they
look so much alike; but perhaps Mr. Stubbs was only his cousin.
Old Ben relapsed into another spasm, and Toby talked to the monkey,
who chattered back at him, until the boys on the ground were in a
perfect ferment of anxiety to know what was going on.
It was some time before Toby could be persuaded to pay attention to
anything else, so engrossed was he with Mr. Stubbs's brother, as he
persisted in calling the monkey, and the only way Ben could engage him
in conversation was by saying,
You don't seem to be very much afraid of Job Lord now.
You won't let him take me away if he should try, will you? Toby
asked, quickly, alarmed at the very mention of his former employer's
name, even though he had thought he would not be afraid of him,
protected as he now was by Uncle Daniel.
No, Toby, I wouldn't let him if he was to try it on, for you are
just where every boy ought to be, an' that's at home; but Job's where
he can't whip any more boys for some time to come.
He's in jail. About a month after you left he licked his new boy so
bad that they arrested him, an' he got two years for it, 'cause it
pretty nigh made a cripple out of the youngster.
Toby was about to make some reply; but Ben continued unfolding his
budget of news.
Castle stayed with us till the season was over, an' then he went
out West. I don't know whether he got his hair cut trying to show the
Injuns how to ride, or not; but he never come back, an' nobody I ever
saw has heard anything about him.
Are Mr. and Mrs. Treat with the show?
Yes, they're still here; he's a leetle thinner, I believe, an'
she's twenty pound heavier. She says she weighs fifty pounds more'n she
did; but I don't believe that, even if she did strike for five dollars
more a week this season on the strength of it, an' get it. They keep
right on cookin' up dinners, an' invitin' of folks in, an' the skeleton
gets choked about the same as when you was with the show. I don't know
how it is that a feller so thin as Treat is can eat so much.
Uncle Dan'l says it's 'cause he works so hard to get full, said
Toby, quietly, an' I shouldn't wonder if I grew as thin as the
skeleton one of these days, for I eat jest as awful much as I used to.
Well, you look as if you got about all you needed, at any rate,
said Ben, as he mentally compared the plump boy at his side with the
thin, frightened-looking one who had run away from the circus with his
monkey on his shoulder and his bundle under his arm.
Is Ella here? asked Toby, after a pause, during which it seemed as
if he were thinking of much the same thing that Ben was.
Yes, an' she keeps talkin' about what big cards you an' her would
have been if you had only stayed with the show. But I'm glad you had
pluck enough to run away, Toby, for a life like this hain't no fit one
And I was glad to get back to Uncle Dan'l, said Toby, with a great
deal of emphasis. I wouldn't go away without he wanted me to, if I
could go with a circus seven times as large as this. Do you suppose
young Stubbs would act bad if I was to take him for a walk?
Who? asked Ben, looking down at the crowd of boys with no slight
show of perplexity.
Mr. Stubbs's brother, and Toby motioned to the door of the cage.
I'd like to take him up in my arms, 'cause it would seem so much like
it used to before his brother died.
Ben was seized with one of the very worst laughing spasms Toby had
ever seen, and there was every danger that he would roll off the seat
before he could control himself; but he did recover after a time, and
as the purple hue slowly receded from his face, he said:
I'll tell you what we'll do, Toby. You come to the tent when the
afternoon performance is over, an' I'll fix it so's you shall see Mr.
Stubbs's brother as much as you want to.
Just then Toby remembered that Ben was to be his guest for a while
that day, and, after explaining all Aunt Olive had done in the way of
preparing dainties, invited him to dinner.
I'll come, Toby, because it's to see you an' them that has been
good to you, said Ben, slowly, and after quite a long pause: but
there hain't anybody else I know of who could coax me out to dinner;
for, you see, rough fellows like me hain't fit to go around much,
except among our own kind. But say, Toby, your Uncle Dan'l hain't right
on his speech, is he?
Toby looked so puzzled that Ben saw he had not been understood, and
I mean, he don't get up a dinner for the sake of havin' a chance to
make a speech, like the skeleton, does he, eh?
Oh no, Uncle Dan'l don't do that. I know you'll like him when you
And I believe I shall, Toby, said Ben, speaking very seriously;
I'd be sure to, because he's such a good uncle to you.
Just then the conversation was interrupted by the orders to prepare
for the parade; and as the manager drove up to see that everything was
done properly, he stopped to speak with and congratulate Toby on being
home again, a condescension on his part that caused a lively feeling of
envy in the breasts of the other boys, because they had not been so
CHAPTER VII. ATTRACTIONS FOR THE
While he stood there, the wagon in which the skeleton and his wife
travelled rolled past; but Toby knew they were still sleeping, and
would continue to do so until their tent was ready for them to go into.
The carriage in which the women of the company rode also passed him,
and he almost fancied he could see Ella sitting in one of the seats
sleeping with her head on her mother's shoulder, as she had slept on
the stormy night when his head was nearly jerked from his body as he
tried to sleep while sitting upright.
There were but three of the drivers who had been with the circus the
year before, and, after speaking with them, he stood by the side of the
road, and watched the preparations for the entrée with feelings far
different from those with which he had observed such preparations in
that dreary time when he expected each moment to hear Job Lord order
him to attend to his work.
The other boys crowded quite as close to him as they could get, as
if by this means they allied themselves in some way with the show; and
when a drove of ponies were led past, Joe Robinson said, longingly:
There, Toby, if we had one or two of them to train, it would be
different work from what it is to make the Douglass boss remember his
way round the ring.
You wouldn't have to train them any, began Toby; and then he had
no time to say anything more, for Ben, who had been talking with the
manager, called to him.
Has your Uncle Dan'l got plenty of pasturage? asked Ben, when the
boy approached him.
Well, he's got twenty acres up by the stone quarry, an' he keeps
three cows on it, an' Jack Douglass's hoss, that don't count, for he's
only there till we boys have our circus, said Toby, never for a moment
dreaming of the good fortune that was in store for him.
So you're goin' to have a circus of your own, eh? asked Ben, with
a smile that alarmed Toby, because he feared it was a signal for one of
those terrible laughing spells.
We're only goin' to have a little three-cent one, replied Toby,
modestly, noting with satisfaction that Ben's mirth had gone no further
than the smile.
Two of our ponies are about used up, said the manager, and we've
got to leave them somewhere. Ben tells me he is going to see your Uncle
Dan'l this noon, so suppose you take one of these boys and ride them up
to the pasture. Ben will make a bargain with your uncle for their
keeping, and you can use them in your circus if you want to.
Joe Robinson actually jumped for joy as he heard this, and Toby's
delight spread itself all over his face, while Bob Atwood and Ben
Gushing went near the fence, where they stood on their heads as a way
of expressing their elation at thus being able to have real live ponies
in their circus.
A black and a red pony were the ones pointed out for Toby to take
away, and they were not more than twice as large as Newfoundland dogs;
they were, in fact, just exactly what was wanted for a little circus
such as the boys were about to start.
Joe was so puffed up with pride at being allowed to ride one of
these ponies through the village that if his mind could have affected
his body he would not have weighed more than a pound, and he held his
head so high that it seemed a matter of impossibility for him to see
Very much surprised were Uncle Daniel and Aunt Olive at seeing Toby
and Joe dash into the yard astride of these miniature horses, just as
they were sitting down to breakfast; and when the matter had been
explained, Abner appeared quite as much pleased that the boys would
have this attraction in their circus as if he were the sole proprietor
It was with the greatest reluctance that either of the boys left his
pony in the stable-yard and sat down to breakfast, so eager was Joe to
get back to the tenting-ground to see what was going on, and so anxious
was Toby to see the skeleton and his wife as soon as possible. But they
ate because Uncle Daniel insisted that they should do so; and, when
breakfast was over, he advised that the ponies be left in the stable
until Chandler Merrill's pony could be removed from the pasture.
When they started down town again, Abner went with them, and it was
so late in the morning that Toby was sure the skeleton and his wife
would be prepared to receive visitors.
When Toby, Abner, and Joe reached the tenting-ground, everything was
in that delightful state of bustle and confusion which is attendant
upon the exhibition of a circus in a country town, where the company do
not expect that the tent will be more than half filled, and where, in
consequence, the programme will be considerably shortened.
It did not require much search on Toby's part to find the tent
wherein the skeleton and his wife exhibited their contrasting figures,
for the pictures which hung outside were so gaudy, and of such an
unusually large size, that they commanded the attention of every
Now I'm goin' in to see 'em, said Toby, first making sure that the
exhibition had not begun; an' Joe, you take Abner over so's he can see
how Nahum Baker keeps a stand, an' then he'll know what to do when we
have our circus. I'll come back here for you pretty soon.
Then Toby ran around to the rear of the tent, where he knew he would
find a private entrance, thus running less risk of receiving a blow on
the head from some watchful attendant, and in a few moments he stood
before Mr. and Mrs. Treat, who, having just completed their
preparations, were about to announce that the exhibition could be
Why, Toby Tyler, you dear little thing! cried the enormous lady,
in a joyful tone, after she had looked at the boy intently for a
moment, to make sure he was really the one whom she had rescued several
times from Job Lord's brutality; and then she took him in her fat arms,
hugging him much as if he were a lemon and she an unusually large
squeezer. Where did you come from? How have you been? Did you find
your Uncle Daniel?
Her embrace was so vigorous that it was some seconds after she had
released him before he could make any reply; and while he was trying to
get his breath the fleshless Mr. Treat took him solemnly by the hand,
and cleared his throat as if he were determined to take advantage of
the occasion to make one of his famous speeches.
My dear Mr. Tyler, he said, squeezing Toby's hand until it ached,
it is almost impossible for me to express the joy I feel at meeting
you once more. WeLilly and Ihave looked forward to such a moment as
this with a great deal of impatience, and even during our most
prosperous exhibitions we have found time to speak of you.
There, there, Samuel, don't take up so much time with your
long-winded talk, but let me see the dear little fellow myself; and
Mrs. Treat lifted her slim husband into a chair, where he was out of
her way, and again greeted Toby by kissing him on both cheeks with a
resounding smack that rivalled anything Reddy Grant had yet been able
to do in the way of cracking his whip.
Then she fairly overwhelmed him with questions, nor would she allow
her husband to say a word until Toby had answered them all. He was
again obliged to tell the story of Mr. Stubbs's death; of his return
home, and everything connected with his running away from the circus;
while all the time the fat lady alternately kissed and hugged him,
until it seemed as if he would never be able to finish his story.
And, now that you are home again, don't ever think of running away,
even though I must admit that you made a wonderful success in the
ring; and Mr. Treat crossed one leg over the other in a triumphant
way, pleased that he had at last succeeded in getting a chance to
Toby was very emphatic in his assurances that he should never run
away again, for he had had quite as much experience in that way as he
wanted; and, after he had finished, Mrs. Treat, by way of further
showing her joy at meeting him once more, brought out from a large
black trunk fully half a dozen doughnuts, each quite as large among
their kind as she was among women.
Now eat every one of them, she said, as she handed them to Toby,
an' it will do me good to see you, for you always used to be such a
hungry little fellow.
Toby had already had two breakfasts that morning, but he did not
wish to refuse the kindly proffered gift, and he made every effort to
do as she requested, though one of the cakes would have been quite a
feast for him at his hungriest moment.
The food reminded him of the dinner-invitation he was to deliver,
and, as he forced down the rather heavy cake, he said:
Aunt Olive's killed a lamb, an' made an awful lot of things for
dinner to-day, an' Uncle Dan'l says he'd be glad to have you come up.
Ben's coming an' I'm goin' to find Ella, so's to have her come, an'
we'll have a good time.
Lilly an' I will be pleased to see your aunt's lamb, and we shall
be delighted to meet your Uncle Daniel, replied the skeleton, before
his wife could speak, and then a far-away look came into his eyes, as
if he could already taste, or at least smell, the feast in which he was
certain he should take so much pleasure.
That's just the way with Samuel, said Mrs. Treat, as if she would
offer some apology for the almost greedy way in which her husband
accepted the invitation; he's always thinking so much about eating
that I'm afraid he'll begin to fat up, and then I shall have to support
both of us.
Now, my dearand Mr. Treat used a tone of mild reproofwhy
should you have such ideas, and why express them before our friend, Mr.
Tyler? I've eaten considerable, perhaps, at times; but during ten years
you have never seen me grow an ounce the fatter, and surely I have
grown some leaner in that time.
Yes, yes, Sammy, I know it, and you shall eat all you can get, only
try not to show that you think so much about it. Then, turning to
Toby, she said, He's such a trial, Sam is. We'll go to see your uncle,
Toby, and we should be very glad to do so even if we wasn't going for
Ben an' me will come 'round when it's time to go, said Toby, and
then, in a hesitating way, he added, Abner's out herehe's a cripple
that lives out to the poor-farman' he never saw a circus or anything.
Can't I bring him in here a minute before you open the show?
Of course you can, Toby, my dear, and you may bring all your
friends. We'll give an exhibition especially for them. We haven't got a
sword-swallower this year, and the albino children that you used to
know have had to leave the business, because albinos got so plenty they
couldn't earn their salt; but we've got a new snake-charmer, and a man
without legs, and a bearded lady, so
So that our entertainment is quite as morally effective and
instructively entertaining as ever, said Mr. Treat, interrupting his
wife to speak a good word for the exhibition.
Toby ran out quickly, that he might not delay the regular business
any longer than was absolutely necessary; and at the very entrance of
the tent, looking at the pictures in wonder that almost amounted to
awe, he found Abner with his partners, and about a dozen other boys.
Come right in quick, fellers, said Toby, breathlessly, an' you
can see the whole show before it commences.
CHAPTER VIII. THE DINNER PARTY
The invitation was no sooner given than accepted; and in a twinkling
every one of those boys was inside the tent, looking at the skeleton
and the fat woman as though they had been old acquaintances.
Toby had told Mr. and Mrs. Treat of the little circus they were
intending to have, and he introduced to them his partners in the
The fleshy Lilly smiled encouragingly upon them, and the skeleton,
moving his chair slightly to prevent his wife from interrupting him,
I am pleased to meet you, gentlemen, principally, and I might
almost say wholly, because you are the friends of my old friend, Mr.
Tyler. Whatever business relations you may have with him, whether in
the great profession of the circus, or in the humbler walks of life, I
am sure he will honor the connection.
From appearances Mr. Treat would have continued to talk for some
time, but his wife passed around more doughnuts, and the attention of
the visitors was so distracted that he was obliged to stop.
And this is Abner, said Toby, taking advantage of the break in the
skeleton's speech to lead forward his crippled friend.
Abner limped blushingly towards the gigantic lady, and when both she
and her thin husband spoke to him kindly, he was so covered with
confusion at the honor thus showered upon him that he was hardly able
to say a word.
But the time was passing rapidly, and as there were many persons
outside, probably, waiting for an opportunity to pay their money to see
the varied attractions of the show, Mrs. Treat gave the signal for the
snake-charmer to begin the entertainment, which was given as a mark of
respect, as the skeleton explained, to their friend Toby Tyler.
[Illustration: MR. AND MRS. TREAT EXHIBIT PRIVATELY]
This private exhibition lasted about fifteen minutes, and when, at
its close, the doors were thrown open to such of the public as were
willing to pay to come in, the boys were not at all anxious to leave.
Let them stay as long as they want to, Toby, said the skeleton
The boys were only too glad to avail themselves of this permission,
and Toby said to Abner:
I want to see if I can find Ella, an' you stay here till I come
I'll keep him right here by me, said Mrs. Treat, and he'll be
Remembering how she had served Job Lord, Toby had no fears for the
safety of his friend; he went at once, therefore, to deliver the
invitation to the last of Aunt Olive's expected guests.
When, after some little time, Toby returned, the boys had satisfied
their curiosity so far as the side-show was concerned, and all except
Abner had left the tent.
That he had found Ella was evident, as that young lady herself
skipped along by his side in the greatest possible delight at having
met her former riding companion; and that she had accepted his
invitation to dinner was shown by the scrupulous care with which she
It's time to go up to Uncle Dan'l's, Toby whispered to Mrs. Treat,
an' Ben's harnessin' the hosses into your wagon, so's you won't have
to go to the trouble of puttin' on your other clothes.
I don't know as we ought to go up there in this rig, said Mrs.
Treat doubtfully, as she looked down at her show dress, made to
display her arms and neck to the greatest advantage, and then at her
husband's costume, which was as scanty as his body. I wanted to dress
up when we went there; but I don't see how I'll get the chance to do
I wouldn't bother, 'cause Uncle Dan'l will like you jest as well
that way, an' it will take you too long, said Toby impatiently.
The skeleton, on being consulted as to the matter, decided to do as
Toby wished, because by adopting that course they would the sooner get
the dinner about which he had been thinking ever since he had received
But while Mrs. Treat was ready to believe that her costume might be
reasonably fit to wear to a dinner party, she was certain that
something more than tights and a pair of short, red velvet trousers was
necessary for her husband.
Mr. Treat tried to argue with his much larger half, insisting that
Uncle Daniel would understand the matter; but his wife insisted so
strongly, and with such determination to have her own way, that he
compromised by adding to his scanty wardrobe a black frock-coat and a
tall silk hat, which gave him a rather more comical than distinguished
The audience were dismissed as soon as possible; Abner was helped
into the wagon, perfectly delighted at being allowed to ride in a
circus van, and the party started for Uncle Daniel's.
Toby sat on the box with Ben, to show him the way; and when the
gaudily painted cart stopped in front of the farm-house; it was much as
if a peacock had suddenly alighted amid a flock of demure hens.
Uncle Daniel was out in the yard to receive his strangely assorted
guests, and the greeting they received from both him and Aunt Olive was
as hearty as if they had been old acquaintances.
There was a look of calm satisfaction on the skeleton's face as the
odor of roast lamb was mingled with Uncle Daniel's welcome when he
descended from the wagon; and as the company were ushered into the
fore-room, the air of which was pungent with the odors of herbs used
to keep the moths from carpet and furniture, a restful feeling came
over them such as only those whose lives are dreary rounds of
travelling can feel.
Uncle Daniel insisted on taking care of the horses himself, for his
idea of the duties of host would not allow that Ben should help him,
and almost as soon as he had finished this work dinner was ready.
When all the guests were at the table, and Uncle Daniel bowed his
head to invoke a blessing on those who had befriended the fatherless,
the look of general discomfort old Ben had worn from the time he
reached the house passed away, and in its place came the peaceful look
Toby had seen on Sundays after the old driver had come from church.
It seemed to Toby that he had never really known Uncle Daniel
before, so jolly was he in his efforts to entertain his guests; and the
manner in which he portioned out the food, keeping the plates well
filled all the time, was in the highest degree pleasing to Mr. Treat.
Of course very much was said about the time when Toby was an
unwilling member of the circus, and Mrs. Treat and Ben told of the
boy's experiences in a way that brought many a blush to his cheeks. Mr.
Treat was too busy with Aunt Olive's lamb, as he affectionately spoke
of it, to be able to say anything; he was wonderfully fortunate in not
choking himself but once, and that was such a trifling matter that it
was all over in a moment.
Old Ben told Toby that night, however, that Treat would not have got
on so well, if his wife had not trodden on his toes frequently, as a
hint to eat more slowly.
Although Abner had spent several hours in the side-show, it seemed
as if he would never tire of gazing at Mrs. Treat's enormous frame, and
so intently did he look at her that he missed a good chance of getting
a second piece of custard pie, though Toby nudged him several times to
intimate that he could have more as well as not.
Ben told a number of stories of circus life; Mrs. Treat related some
of her experiences in trying to prevent her husband from eating too
fast; Ella told Aunt Olive of the home she and her mother lived in
during winter; and the hour which had been devoted to this visit passed
so pleasantly that every one was sorry when it was ended.
You've got a trim little farm here, said Ben to Uncle Daniel, when
the two went out to harness the horses; an' I reckon that a man who
has got land enough to support him is fixed jest about as well as he
can be. I don't know of anything I'd rather be than a farmer, if I
could only get away from circus life.
Whenever you want to leave that business, said Uncle Daniel
solemnly and earnestly, you come right here, and I'll show you the
chance to become a farmer.
I'd like to, said Ben, with a sigh of regret that the matter
seemed so impossible; but I've been with a circus now, man an' boy,
goin' on forty-one years, an' I s'pose I shall always be with one.
Then he changed the conversation, making an arrangement with Uncle
Daniel for pasturing the ponies that were to be left behind, and by the
time the bargain was completed the horses were at the door.
While Uncle Daniel and old Ben had been at the stables, Mr. Treat
had been showing his liberality by giving Aunt Olive tickets for the
side-show and circus, and inducing her to promise that she and Uncle
Daniel would see both shows. He had also given Toby fully a dozen
circus tickets for distribution among his friends; and then, as Uncle
Daniel entered, he said:
I wish to express thanksboth for myself and my wife Lillyfor
the very kind manner in which you have entertained us to-day.
Before he could say anything more the others came to say good-bye,
and he was disappointed again. Aunt Olive kissed Ella several times,
while the parting with the others was almost as between old friends,
and the guests started for the tent again, more than satisfied with
Now, Toby, you look me up jest after the show is out this
afternoon, an' we'll fix it so's you shall have a chance to talk with
Mr. Stubbs's brother, said Ben, as they were driving along.
As a matter of course Toby promised to be there, and to bring Abner
You said that little cripple had to live at the poor-farm, didn't
you? asked Ben, after quite a long pause.
Yes, an' it's 'cause he hain't got no father or mother, nor no
Uncle Dan'l like I've got, said Toby sadly.
Hain't he got any relations anywhere?
No; Uncle Dan'l said he didn't have a soul that he could go to.
It must be kinder hard for him to live there alone, an' I don't
s'pose he'll ever be able to walk.
Toby was not at all certain whether or not Abner could ever be
cured; but he told the old driver what he knew of the lonely life the
boy led. Ben did not appear to hear what was said, for he was in one of
his deep studies and seemed unconscious of everything except the fact
that his horses were going in the proper direction.
I'll tell you what I'll do, Toby, he said, after remaining silent
until they were nearly at the tent. I hain't got a child or a chick in
the world, an' I'll take care of that boy.
Toby looked up in surprise, as he repeated, in a puzzled way:
You'll take care of him?
I don't mean that I'll take hold an' tote' him 'round; but he shall
have as much as he needs out of every dollar I get. I'll see your Uncle
Dan'l, an' fix it somehow so he'll be taken out of the poorhouse.
Why, Ben, how good you are! and Toby looked up at his friend with
sincere admiration imprinted on his face.
It hain't 'cause I'm good, my lad; but if I didn't help that poor
fellow in some way, I'd see them big eyes an' that pale face of hisn
every night I rode on this box alone; so you see I only do it for the
sake of havin' peace, said Ben, with a forced laugh; and then he
stopped the horses at the rear of Mr. Treat's tent. Now you jump down,
Toby, so's to see the skeleton don't break himself all to pieces
gettin' out, for I'm kinder 'fraid he will some day. I'd rather drive a
hundred monkeys than one sich slim man as him.
Then Ben had a fit of internal laughter caused by his own remark,
and Uncle Daniel's guests were ready to resume their duties at the
CHAPTER IX. MR. STUBBS'S BROTHER
It was so near the time for the circus to begin that Toby was
obliged to hurry considerably in order to distribute among his friends
the tickets the skeleton had given him, and he advised Abner to remain
with Mrs. Treat while he did so, in order to escape the crowd, among
which he might get injured.
Then he gave his tickets to those boys who he knew had no money with
which to buy any, and so generous was he that when he had finished he
had none for himself and Abner.
That he might not be able to witness the performance did not trouble
him very greatly, although it would have been a disappointment not to
see Ella ride; but he blamed himself very much because he had not saved
a ticket for Abner, and he hurried to find Ben that he might arrange
matters for him.
The old driver was easily found, and still more easily persuaded to
grant the favor which permitted Abner to view the wonderful sights
beneath the almost enchanted canvas.
From one menagerie wagon to another Toby led his friend as quickly
as possible, until they stood in front of the monkeys' cage, where Mr.
Stubbs's supposed brother was perched as high as possible, away from
the common herd of monkeys which chatted familiarly with every one who
Toby was in the highest degree excited; it seemed as if his pet that
had been killed was again before him, and he crowded his way up to the
bars of the cage, dragging Abner with him, until he was where he could
have a full view of the noisy prisoners.
Toby called to the monkey as he had been in the habit of calling to
Mr. Stubbs, but now the fellow paid no attention to him whatever; there
were so many spectators that he could not spend his time upon one,
unless he were to derive some benefit in return.
Fortunately, so far as his happiness was concerned, Toby had the
means of inducing the monkey to visit him, for in his pocket yet
remained two of the doughnuts Mrs. Treat had almost forced upon him;
and, remembering how fond Mr. Stubbs had been of such sweet food, he
held a piece out to the supposed brother.
Almost immediately that monkey made up his mind that the
freckle-faced boy with the doughnut was the one particular person whom
he should be acquainted with, and he came down from his perch at a
So long as Toby was willing to feed him with doughnuts he was
willing to remain; but when his companions gathered around in such
numbers that the supply of food was quickly exhausted, he went back to
his lofty perch, much to the boy's regret.
He looks like Mr. Stubbs, and he acts like him, an' it must be his
brother sure, said Toby to himself as Abner hurried him away to look
at the other curiosities. When he was at some distance from the cage he
turned and said, Good-bye, as if he were speaking to his old pet.
During the performance that afternoon Abner was in a delightful
whirl of wonder and amazement; but Toby's attention was divided between
what was going on in the ring and the thought of having Mr. Stubbs's
brother all to himself as soon as the performance should be over.
He did, however, watch the boy who sold peanuts and lemonade, but
this one was much larger than himself, and looked rough enough to
endure the hardships of such a life.
Toby was also attentive when Ella was in the ring, and he was envied
by all his acquaintances when she smiled as she passed the place where
he was sitting.
Abner would have been glad if the performance had been prolonged
until midnight; but Toby, still thinking of Mr. Stubbs's brother, was
pleased when it ended.
He and Abner waited by the animal's cages until the crowd had again
satisfied their curiosity; and as the last visitor was leaving the tent
old Ben came in, followed by Mr. and Mrs. Treat, both in exhibition
Toby was somewhat surprised at seeing them, for he knew their
busiest time was just at the close of the circus, and while he was yet
wondering at their coming he saw Ella approaching from the direction of
He had not much time to spend in speculation, however, for Ben said,
as he came up:
Now, boy, you shall see Mr. Stubbs's brother, and talk to him just
as long as you want to.
The skeleton and his wife and Ella looked at each other and smiled
in a queer way as Ben said this; but Toby was too much excited at the
idea of having the monkey in his arms to pay any attention to what was
going on around him.
Ben, unlocking the door of the cage, succeeded, after considerable
trouble, in catching the particular inmate he wanted, and, handing him
to Toby, said:
Now let's see if he knows you as well as Stubbs did.
Toby took the monkey in his arms with a glad cry of delight, and
fondled him as if he really were the pet he had lost.
Whether it was because the animal knew that the boy was petting him,
or because he had been treated harshly, and was willing to make friends
with the first one who was kind to him, it is difficult to say; certain
it is that as soon as he found himself in Toby's arms he nestled down
with his face by the boy's neck, remaining there as contentedly as if
the two had been friends for years.
There, don't you see he knows me! cried the boy in delight, and
then he sat down upon the ground, caressing the animal, and whispering
all sorts of loving words in his ear.
He does seem to act as if he had been introduced to you, said old
Ben, with a chuckle. It would be kinder nice if you could keep him,
'Deed it would, replied Toby earnestly. I'd give everything I've
got if I could have him, for he does act so much like Mr. Stubbs it
seems as if it must be him.
Then Ella whispered something to the old driver, the skeleton
bestowed a very mysterious wink upon him, the fat woman nodded her head
till her cheeks shook like two balls of very soft butter, and Abner
looked curiously on, wondering what was the matter with Toby's friends.
He soon found out what it was, however, for Ben, after indulging in
one of his laughing spasms, asked:
Whose monkey is that you've got in your arms, Toby?
Why, it belongs to the circus, don't it? And the boy looked up in
No, it don't belong to the circus; it belongs to youthat's who
Me? Mine? Why, Ben
Toby was so completely bewildered as to be unable to say a word, and
just as he was beginning to think it some joke, Ben said:
The skeleton an' his wife, an' Ella and I, bought that monkey this
forenoon, an' we give him to you so's you'll still be able to have a
Mr. Stubbs in the family.
Oh, Ben! was all Toby could say; with the monkey tightly clasped
in his arms, he took the old driver by the hand; but just then the
skeleton stepped forward holding something which glistened.
Mr. Tyler, he said, in his usual speech-making style, when our
friend Ben told us this morning about your having discovered Mr.
Stubbs's brother, we sent out and got this collar for the monkey, and
we take the greatest possible pride in presenting it to you; although,
if it had been something that my Lilly could have made with her own
fair fingers, I should have liked it better.
As he ceased speaking, he handed Toby a very pretty little
dog-collar, on the silver plate of which was inscribed:
| MR. STUBBS'S BROTHER. |
| PRESENTED TO |
| TOBY TYLER |
| BY |
| THE SKELETON, THE FAT WOMAN, |
| OLD BEN, LITTLE ELLA. |
Toby took the collar, and as he fastened it on the monkey's neck he
said, in a voice that trembled considerably with emotion:
You've all of you been awful good to me, an' I don't know what to
say so's you'll know how much I thank you. It seems as if ever since I
started with the circus you've all tried to see how good you could be;
an' now you've given me this monkey that I wanted so much. Some time,
when I'm a man, I'll show you how much I think of all you've done for
The tears of gratitude that were gathering in Toby's eyes prevented
him from saying anything more, and then Mrs. Treat and Ella both kissed
him, while Ben said, in a gruff tone:
Now carry the monkey home, an' get your supper, for you'll want to
come down here this evening, an' you won't have time if you don't go
Ella, after making Toby promise that he would see her again that
night, went with Mr. and Mrs. Treat, while old Ben, as if afraid he
might receive more thanks, walked quickly away towards the
dressing-rooms, and there was nothing else for Toby and Abner to do but
It surely seemed as if every boy in the village knew that Toby Tyler
had remained in the tent after the circus was over, and almost all of
them were waiting around the entrance when the two boys came out with
If Toby had stayed there until each one of his friends had looked at
and handled the monkey as much as he wanted to, he and Abner would have
remained until morning, and Mr. Stubbs's brother would have been made
He waited until his friends had each looked at the monkey, and then
he and Abner started home, escorted by nearly all the boys in town.
The partners in the amateur-circus scheme were nearly as wild with
joy as Toby was, for now their enterprise seemed an assured success,
since they had two real ponies and a live monkey to begin with. They
seemed to consider it their right to go to Uncle Daniel's with Toby;
and when the party reached the corner that marked the centre of the
village, they decided that the others of the escort should go no
farthera decision which relieved Toby of an inconvenient number of
As it was, the party was quite large enough to give Aunt Olive some
uneasiness lest they should track dirt in upon her clean kitchen floor,
and she insisted that both the boys and the monkey should remain in the
Toby had an idea that Mr. Stubbs's brother would be treated as one
of the family; and, had any one hinted that the monkey would not be
allowed to share his bed and eat at the same table with him, he would
have resented it strongly.
But Uncle Daniel soon convinced him that the proper place for his
pet was in the wood-shed, where he could be chained to keep him out of
mischief, and Mr. Stubbs's brother was soon safely secured in as snug a
place as a monkey could ask for.
Not until this was done did the partners return to their homes, or
the centre of attractionthe tenting-groundsnor did Toby find time
to get his supper and go for the cows.
Not once during the afternoon had Toby said anything to Abner of the
good fortune that might come to him through old Ben; but when he got
back from the pasture and met Uncle Daniel in the barn, he told him
what the old driver had said about Abner.
Are you sure you heard him rightly, Toby, boy? asked the old
gentleman as he pushed his glasses up on his forehead, as he always did
when he was surprised or perplexed.
I know he said that; but it seems as if it was too good to be true,
The Lord's ways are not our ways, my boy, and if he sees fit to
work some good to the poor cripple, he can do it as well through a
circus driver as through one of his elect, said Uncle Daniel
reverentially, and then he set about milking the cows in such an
absent-minded way that he worried old Short-horn until she kicked the
pail over when it was nearly half full.
CHAPTER X. THE ACCIDENT
That night Toby and Abner went to the circus grounds with Uncle
Daniel and Aunt Olive; and when old Ben approached the party as they
were nearing the tent, Toby motioned the cripple to come with him, for
he thought it might be better that the boy should not hear the
conversation concerning himself.
It had been decided by Uncle Daniel that the boys should go to the
circus grounds that evening, and stay there until it was nearly dark,
when they were to go home and go to bed; for he never believed it could
do boys any good to be out after dark, while he was certain it was
better for their health if they went to bed early.
Therefore Toby intended to make this visit simply one of farewell,
after Abner should see a little more of the bustle and confusion that
had so fascinated him in the afternoon.
To that end the boys walked around the enclosure, listened to the
men who were loudly crying the wonderful things they had for sale, and
all the while kept a bright lookout in the hope of seeing some of their
It was nearly time for the performance to begin when the boys went
into the skeleton's tent, and said good-bye to the thin man and his fat
Then Toby, anxious to run around to the dressing-rooms to speak with
Ella, and not daring to take Abner with him, said to the boy:
Now you wait here for a minute, an' I'll be right back.
Abner was perfectly contented to wait; it seemed to him that he
would have been willing to stay there all night, provided the
excitement should be continued, and he gazed around him in perfect
delight as he leaned against one of the tent ropes.
Toby found Ella without much difficulty; but both she and her mother
had so much to say to him that it was some time before he could leave
them to go in search of Ben.
The old driver was curled up on his wagon, taking forty winks, as
he called a nap, before starting on the road again.
When Toby awakened him, he explained that he would not have taken
the liberty if it had not been for the purpose of saying good-bye, and
Ben replied, good-naturedly:
That's all right, Toby; I should only have been angry with you if
you had let me sleep. I've fixed it with your uncle about that little
cripple; and now, when I get pitched off and killed some of these dark
nights, there'll be one what'll be sorry I'm gone. Be a good boy, Toby;
don't ever do anything you'd be afraid to tell your Uncle Dan'l of, and
next year I'll see you again.
Toby wanted to say something; but the old driver had spoken his
farewell, and was evidently determined neither to say nor to hear
anything more, for he crawled up on the box of the wagon again, and
appeared to fall asleep instantly.
Toby stood looking at him a moment, as if trying to make out whether
this sudden sleep was real, or only feigned in order to prevent the
parting from being a sad one; and then he said, as he started towards
Well, I thank you over and over again for Mr. Stubbs's brother,
even if you have gone to sleep. Then he went to meet Abner.
When he reached the place where he had left his friend, to his great
surprise he could see nothing of him. There was no possibility that he
could have made any mistake as to the locality, for he had left him
standing just behind the skeleton's tent.
Toby ran quickly around the enclosure, asked some of the attendants
in the dressing-room if they had seen a boy on crutches, and then he
went into Mr. Treat's tent. But he could neither hear nor see anything
of Abner, whose complete disappearance was, to say the least, very
Toby was completely bewildered by this sudden disappearance, and for
some moments he stood looking at the place where he had left his
friend, as if he thought that his eyes must have deceived him, and that
the boy was still there.
There were but few persons around the outside of the tent, those who
had money enough to pay for their admission having gone in, and those
who were penniless having gone home, so that Toby did not find many of
whom to make inquiries. The attachés of the circus were busily engaged
packing the goods for the night's journey, and a number of them had
gathered around one of the wagons a short distance away. But Toby
thought it useless to ask them for tidings of his missing friend, for
he knew by experience how busy every one connected with the circus was
at that hour.
After he had looked at the tent rope against which he had seen Abner
leaning, until he recovered his presence of mind, he went into the tent
again for the purpose of getting Uncle Daniel to help him in the
search. As he was passing the monkey wagon, however, he saw old
Benwhom he had left apparently in a heavy sleepexamining his wagon
to make sure that everything was right, and to him he told the story of
Abner's strange disappearance.
I guess he's gone off with some of the other fellows, said Ben,
thinking the matter of but little importance, but yet going out of the
tent with Toby as he spoke. Boys are just like eels, an' you never
know where to find 'em after you once let 'em slip through your
But Abner promised me he'd stay right here, said Toby.
Well, some other fellows came along, an' he promised to go with
them, I s'pose.
But I don't believe Abner would; he'd keep his promise after he
While they were talking they had gone out of the tent, and Ben
started at once towards the crowd around the wagon, for he knew there
was no reason why so many men should be there when they had work to do
Did you go over there to see what was up? asked the old driver.
No, I thought they were getting ready to start, an' I could see
Abner wasn't there.
Something's the matter, muttered the old man, as he quickened his
pace, and Toby, alarmed by the look on his friend's face, hurried on,
hardly daring to breathe.
One look into the wagon around which the men were gathered was
sufficient to show why it was that Abner had not remained by the tent
as he had promised; for he lay in the bottom of the cart, to all
appearances dead, while two of the party were examining him to learn
the extent of his injuries.
What is the matter? How did this boy get hurt? asked Ben, sternly,
as he leaped upon the wagon, and laid his hand over the injured boy's
He was standing there close by the guy ropes when we were getting
ready to let the canvas down. One of the side poles fell and struck him
on the head, or shoulder, I don't know which, replied a man.
It struck him here on the back of the neck, said one of those who
were examining the boy, as he turned him half over to expose an
ugly-looking wound around which the blood was rapidly settling. It's a
wonder it didn't kill him.
He hain't dead, is he? asked Toby, piteously, as he climbed up on
one of the wheels and looked over in a frightened way at the little
deformed body that lay so still and lifeless.
No, he hain't dead, said Ben, who had detected a faint pulsation
of the heart; but why didn't some of you send for a doctor when it
We did, replied one of the men. Some of the village boys were
here, and we started them right off.
Almost as the man spoke, Dr. Abbott, one of the physicians of the
town, drove up and made his way through the crowd.
Toby, too much alarmed to speak, watched the doctor's every movement
as he made an examination of the wounded boy, and listened to the
accounts the men gave of the way in which the accident had happened.
His injuries are not necessarily fatal, but they are very
dangerous. He lives at the poor-farm, and should be taken there at
once, said the doctor after he had made a slight and almost careless
Toby was anxious that the poor boy should be taken to his home
rather than to the comfortless place the doctor had proposed; but he
did not dare make the suggestion before asking Uncle Daniel's consent
to it. He was about to ask them not to move Abner until he could find
his uncle, when Ben whispered something to the doctor that caused him
to look at the old driver in surprise.
I'll ask Uncle Dan'l to take him home with us, said Toby as he
slipped down from his high perch and started towards the tent.
I'll take care of that, said Ben as he went towards the tent with
him. I had just fixed it with your uncle so's he'd take Abner from the
poor-farm an' board him, an' now there's all the more reason why he
should do it. You go back an' stay with Abner, an' I'll bring your
Uncle Dan'l out.
Then Toby went back to the wagon where the poor little cripple still
lay as one dead, while the blood flowed in a tiny stream from one of
his arms, where the physician had opened a vein.
Not understanding the reason for this blood-letting, and supposing
that the crimson flow was due to the injuries Abner had received, Toby
cried out in his fear; but one of the men explained the case to him,
and then he waited as patiently as possible for the driver's return.
Both Uncle Daniel and Aunt Olive came out with Ben, and within a
very few moments Abner was being carried to the farm-house, in the same
wagon that had taken him there before in company with the skeleton and
his party, for that famous dinner.
It frightened Toby still more to see the unconscious boy carried
into the house by Ben and the doctor as though he were already dead;
and when Aunt Olive led them into the best room, where no one had slept
since Uncle Daniel's sister died, it seemed as if every one believed
Abner could not live, or they would not have carried him there.
Toby hardly knew when Ben went away, or whether he said anything
before he left, or, in fact, anything else, so sad and confused was he.
He did not even think about Mr. Stubbs's brother, but remained in one
corner of the room, almost hidden by one of the flowing chintz
curtains, until Uncle Daniel heard him sobbing, and led him away to his
There is good reason to hope Abner will recover, said the old man
as he stroked Toby's hair; but he is in the keeping of the One who
never errs, and whatsoever He does is good.
Then Uncle Daniel actually kissed the boy, as he told him to go to
bed and go to sleep. Toby went to bed as he was commanded, though it
seemed impossible he should sleep while it might be that Abner was
CHAPTER XI. CHANGE OF PLANS
Toby was thoroughly surprised, when he awoke, to find that it was
morning, and that his slumber had been as sweet as if nothing had
happened. He dressed himself as quickly as possible, and ran
down-stairs, and Uncle Daniel told him the doctor had just left, after
saying he thought Abner would recover.
It was a sad visit Toby paid Mr. Stubbs's brother that morning; and,
as he petted him, the tears came into his eyes when he thought of poor
Abner, until he was obliged to leave the monkey to himself, after
having tied him so that he could take a short run out of doors.
Then he visited the ponies in the stable, and when he returned to
the house he found all his partners in the circus enterprise, as well
as several other boys, waiting to hear an account of the accident.
Dr. Abbott had reported that Abner had been injured; but, as he had
not given any particulars, the villagers were in a state of anxious
uncertainty regarding it.
After Toby had told them all he knew about the matter, and had
allowed them to see the monkey and the ponies, which some of them
seemed to regard as of more importance than the injured boy, Bob asked:
Well, now what about our circus?
Why, we can't do anything on that till Abner gets well, said Toby,
as if surprised that the matter should even be spoken about.
Why not? He wasn't goin' to do any of the ridin', an' now's the
time for us to go ahead while we can remember what they did at the show
yesterday. It don't make any difference 'bout our circus if he did get
hurt, and Bob looked around at the others as if asking whether they
agreed with him or not.
I think we ought to wait till he gets better, said Joe, 'cause he
was goin' in with us, an' it don't seem jest fair to have the show when
he's so sick.
That's foolish, said Ben, with a sneer. If he hadn't come up to
the pasture the other day, you wouldn't thought anything 'bout him, an'
he'd been out to the poor-farm where he belongs.
If he hadn't come up there, said Toby, I'd never known how
lonesome he was, an' I'd gone right on havin' a good time without ever
once thinkin' of him. An' if he hadn't come up there, perhaps he
wouldn't got hurt, an' it seems almost as if I'd done it to him, 'cause
I took him to the circus.
Don't make a fool of yourself, Toby Tyler! and Ben Gushing spoke
almost angrily. You act awful silly 'bout that feller, an' father says
he's only a pauper anyway.
It wouldn't make any difference if he was, 'cause he's a poor
lonesome cripple; but he hain't a pauper, for old Ben's goin' to take
care of him, an' he pays Uncle Dan'l for lettin' him stay here.
This news was indeed surprising to the boys, and as they fully
realized that Abner was under the protection of a circus man, he rose
considerably in their estimation.
They were anxious to know all about the matter, and when Toby told
them all he could, they looked at the case in such an entirely
different light that Ben Gushing even offered to go out in the field,
where he could be seen from the windows of the room in which Abner lay,
and go through his entire acrobatic performance in the hope the sight
might do the invalid some good. Leander Leighton also offered to come
twice each day and play Yankee Doodle with one finger on the
accordion, in order to soothe him.
But Toby thought it best to decline both these generous offers; he
was glad they had been made, but would have been much better pleased if
they had come while it was still believed Abner's only home was at the
When the boys went away, Toby pleaded so hard that Aunt Olive
consented to his sitting in the chamber where Abner lay, with the
agreement that he should make no noise; and there he remained nearly
all the day, as still as any mouse, watching the pale face on which
death seemed already to have set its imprint.
Each day for two weeks Toby remained on watch, leaving the room only
when it was necessary, and he was at last rewarded by hearing Abner
call him by name.
After that, Aunt Olive allowed the two boys to talk a little, and a
few days later Mr. Stubbs's brother was brought in to pay his respects
to the invalid.
Many times during Abner's illness had the boys been up to learn how
he was getting on, and to try to persuade Toby to commence again the
preparations for the circus; but he had steadily refused to proceed
further in the matter until Abner could at least play the part of
Uncle Daniel had had several letters from Ben inquiring about
Abner's condition; and as each one contained money, some of which had
been sent by the skeleton and his wife to Toby Tyler's friend, the
sick boy had wanted for nothing. Ben had also written that he had
gained the consent of the proprietors of the circus to have the ponies
driven for Abner's benefit, and had sent a dainty little carriage and
harnesses so that he could ride out as soon as he was able.
Chandler Merrill had grown tired of waiting for his pony, and had
taken him from the pasture, while Reddy had long since returned the
blind horse to its owner.
But during all these five weeks the work had gone slowly but
steadily on circusward. Leander had become so expert a musician on the
accordion, that he could play Yankee Doodle with all his fingers,
Old Hundred with two; and was fast mastering the intricacies of Old
As to Ben Gushing, it would be hard to say exactly how much progress
he had made, the reports differed so much. He claimed to be able to
turn hand-springs around the largest circus ring that was ever made,
and to stand on his head for a week; but some of the boys who were not
partners in the enterprise flatly contradicted this, and declared that
they could do as many feats in the acrobatic line as he could.
Joe Robinson had practised howling until Reddy insisted that there
was little or no difference between him and the fiercest and
strongest-lunged hyena that ever walked. Bob could sing the two songs
his sister had taught him, and had written out twelve copies of them in
order to have a good stock to sell from; but Leander predicted that he
would not be able to dispose of many, because one was the Suwanee
River, and the other A Poor Wayfaring Man, the words of which any
boy could get by consulting an old music-book.
Reddy had made a remarkably large whip, which he could snap once out
of every three attempts, and not hit himself on the head more than once
out of five.
Thus the circus project was as promising as ever, and Abner, as well
as the other partners, had urged Toby to take hold of it again; but he
had made no promises until the day came when Abner was able to sit up,
and Dr. Abbott said that he could go out for a ride in another week, if
he still continued to improve.
Then it was that Toby told his partners he would meet them on the
first day Abner went out for a ride, and tell them when he would take
up the circus work again, which made every one more anxious than ever
to see the poor-farm boy out of doors.
From the time when the tiny little carriage and the two sets of
harness glistening with silver had come, Toby had been anxious for a
drive with the ponies; but he had resolutely refused to use them until
Abner could go with him, although Uncle Daniel had told him he could
try them whenever he wished. He had waited for his other pleasures
until Abner could join him, and he insisted on waiting for this one.
One day, when Aunt Olive spoke to him about it, he said:
If I was sick, an' had such a team sent to me, I'd feel kinder bad
to have some other boy using it, an' so I'm goin' to let Abner be the
first one to go out with the ponies.
It was hard not even to get into the little carriage that was so
carefully covered with a white cloth in the stable; but Toby resisted
the temptation, and when at last the day did come that Aunt Olive and
Uncle Daniel helped the sick boy down-stairs, and lifted him into the
prettiest little pony carriage ever seen in Guilford, he felt amply
rewarded for his denial.
They drove all over the town, stopping now and then to speak with
some of their friends, or to answer questions as to Abner's health; and
when it was nearly time to return home Toby turned the ponies' heads
towards the pasture, where he knew his partners were waiting for him
according to agreement.
We'll go on with the circus now, he said to Abner, for I can take
you with me in this team, an' you can stay in it all the time we're
practising so's it'll be 'most as good as if you could do something
towards it yourself.
Abner was quietly happy; the tender, thoughtful care that had been
bestowed upon him since his mishap had been such as, in his mind at
least, repaid him for all the pain.
I hope you will have it, he said, earnestly, for, even if I can't
be with you all the time, I won't feel as if I was keepin' you from
Then he put his hand in a loving way on Toby's cheek, and the boss
of the circus felt fully repaid for having waited for his pleasure.
At the pasture all the partners were gathered, for Toby had promised
to tell them when he would begin operations; and as he drove the ponies
up to the bars, he shouted:
Abner an' me will be up here about nine o'clock to-morrow morning,
an' we'll bring Mr. Stubbs's brother with us.
There was a mighty shout, and Ben Cushing stood on his head, when
this announcement was made, and then Toby and Abner drove home as
quickly as their ponies could scamper.
CHAPTER XII. A REHEARSAL
When Toby told Uncle Daniel that night of their intention to go on
with the work of the long-delayed circus, and that Abner was to ride up
to the pasture where he could see everything that was going on, the old
gentleman shook his head doubtingly, as if he feared the consequences
to the invalid, who appeared very much exhausted even by the short ride
he had taken.
Abner, interpreting Uncle Daniel's shake of the head the same way
Toby did, pleaded hard to be allowed to go, insisting that he would be
no more tired sitting in the little carriage than he would in a chair
at home; and Aunt Olive joined in the boys' entreaty, promising to
arrange the pillows in such a manner that Abner could lie down or sit
up, as best suited him.
We'll see what the doctor has to say about it, replied Uncle
Daniel, and, with much anxiety, the boys awaited the physician's
Go? Why, of course he can go, and it will do him good to be
out-of-doors, said the medical gentleman when he made his regular
afternoon visit and Uncle Daniel laid the case before him.
Toby insisted on bringing Mr. Stubbs's brother into the invalid's
room as a signal mark of rejoicing at the victory the doctor had won
for them, and Abner was so delighted with the funny pranks the monkey
played that it would have been difficult to tell by his face that the
morning ride had tired him.
Mr. Stubbs's brother was quite as mischievous as a monkey could be;
he capered around the room, picking at this thing and looking into
that, until Aunt Olive laughed herself tired, and Uncle Daniel declared
that if the other monkey was anything like this one, Toby was right
when he named him Steve Stubbs, so much did he resemble that gentleman
The day had been so exciting to the boy who had been confined to one
room for several weeks, that he was quite ready to go to bed when Aunt
Olive suggested it; and Toby went about his evening's work with a
lighter heart than he had had since the night he found his crippled
friend lying so still and death-like in the circus wagon.
The next morning Toby was up some time before the sun peeped in
through the crevices of Uncle Daniel's barn to awaken the cows, and he
groomed the tiny ponies till their coats shone like satin. The carriage
was washed until every portion of it reflected one's face like a
mirror, and the harnesses with their silver mountings were free from
the slightest suspicion of dirt.
Then after the cows had been driven to the pasture Mr. Stubbs's
brother was treated to a bath, and was brushed and combed until, losing
all patience at such foolishness, he escaped from his too
cleanly-disposed master, taking refuge on the top of the shed, where he
chattered and scolded at a furious rate as he tried to explain that he
had no idea of coming down until the curry-comb and brush had been put
But when the pony team was driven up to the door, and Toby decorated
the bridles of the little horses with some of Aunt Olive's roses, Mr.
Stubbs's brother came down from his high perch, and picked some of the
flowers for himself, putting them over his ears to imitate the ponies;
then he gravely seated himself in the carriage, and Toby had no
difficulty in fastening the cord to his collar again.
Aunt Olive nearly filled the little carriage with pillows so soft
that a very small boy would almost have sunk out of sight in them; and
in the midst of these Abner was placed carefully, looking for all the
world, as Toby said, like a chicken in a nest.
Mr. Stubbs's brother was fastened in the front in such a way that
his head came just above the dash-board, over which he looked in the
most comical manner possible.
Then Toby squeezed in on one side, declaring he had plenty of room,
although there was not more than three square inches of space left on
the seat, and even a portion of that was occupied by a fan and some
other things Aunt Olive had put in for Abner's use.
Both the boys were in the highest possible state of happiness, and
Abner was tucked in until he could hardly have been shaken had he been
in a cart instead of a carriage with springs.
Be sure to keep Abner in the shade, and come home just as soon as
he begins to grow tired, cried Aunt Olive as Toby spoke to the ponies,
and they dashed off like a couple of well-trained Newfoundland dogs.
I'll take care of him like he was wax, cried Toby as they drove
out through the gateway, and Mr. Stubbs's brother screamed and
chattered with delight, while Abner lay back restful and happy.
It was just the kind of a morning for a ride, and Abner appeared to
enjoy it so much that Toby turned the little steeds in the direction of
the village, driving fully a mile before going to the pasture.
When they did arrive at the place where the first rehearsal was to
be held, they found the partners gathered in full force; and, although
it was not even then nine o'clock, they had evidently been there some
Joe Robinson ran to let the bars down, while the ponies pranced into
the field as if they knew they were the objects of admiration from all
that party, and they shook their tiny heads until the petals fell from
the roses in a shower upon the grass.
Mr. Stubbs's brother stood as erect as possible, and was so excited
by the cheers of the boys that he seized the flowers he had tucked over
his ears, and flung them at the party in great glee.
The carriage was driven into the shade cast by the alders; the
ponies were unharnessed, and fastened where they could have a feast of
grass; and Toby was ready for business, or thought he was. But, just as
he was about to consult with his partners, a scream from both Abner and
the monkey caused him to turn towards the carriage quickly.
From the moment they had entered the pasture, Mr. Stubbs's brother
had shown the greatest desire to be free; and when he saw his master
walking away, while he was still a prisoner, he made such efforts to
release himself that he got his body over the dash-board of the
carriage, and, when Toby looked, he was hanging there by the neck as if
he had just committed suicide.
Toby ran quickly to the relief of his pet; and when he had released
him from his uncomfortable position, the other boys pleaded so hard
that Toby gave him his freedom, which he celebrated by scampering
across the pasture on all four paws, with his tail curled up over his
back like a big letter O.
It seemed very much as if Mr. Stubbs's brother would break up the
rehearsal, for he did look so comical as he scampered around that all
the partners neglected their business to watch and laugh at him, until
Toby reminded them that he could not stay there very long because of
Then Bob and Reddy straightened themselves up in a manner befitting
circus proprietors, and began their work.
Leander is goin' to commence the show by playin' 'Yankee Doodle,'
said Bob, as he consulted a few badly written words he had traced on
the back of one of his father's business cards, an' while he's doin'
it Joe'll put in an' howl all he knows how, for that's the way the
hyenas did at the last circus.
The entire programme was evidently to be carried out that morning,
for, as Bob spoke, Leander marched with his accordion and a great deal
of dignity to a rock near where a line representing the ring had been
cut in the turf.
Now you'll see how good he can do it, said Bob, with no small
amount of pride; and Leander, with his head held so high that it was
almost impossible to see his instrument, struck one or two notes as a
prelude, while Joe took his station at a point about as far distant
from the ring as the door of the tent would probably be.
Leander started with the first five or six notes all right, and Joe
began some of the most wonderful howling ever heard, which appeared to
disconcert the band, for he got entirely off the track of his original
tune, and mixed Yankee Doodle with Old Dog Tray in the most
reckless manner, Joe howling louder at every false note.
Almost every one in that pasture, save possibly the performers
themselves, was astonished at the din made by these two small boys; and
Mr. Stubbs's brother, who had hung himself up on a tree by his tail,
dropped to his feet in the greatest alarm, adding his chatter of fear
to the general confusion.
But the two performers were not to be daunted by anything that could
occur; in fact, Joe felt rather proud that his howling was so savage as
to frighten the monkey, and he increased his efforts until his face was
as red as a nicely boiled beet.
For fully five minutes the overture was continued; then the band
stopped and looked around with an air of triumph, while Joe uttered two
or three more howls by way of effect, and to show that he could have
kept it up longer had it been necessary.
There! what do you think of that? asked Reddy, in delight. You
couldn't get much more noise if you had a whole band, could you?
It's a good deal of noise, said Toby, not feeling quite at liberty
to express exactly his views regarding the music; but what was it
Leander was playin'?
I played two tunes, replied Leander, proudly. I can play 'Yankee
Doodle' with the whole of one hand; but I think it sounds better to
play that with my thumb and two fingers, an' 'Old Dog Tray' with the
other two fingers. You see, I can give 'em both tunes at once that
The monkey went back to the tree as soon as the noise had subsided;
but, from the way he looked over his shoulder now and then, one could
fancy he was getting ready to run at the first sign that it was to
Didn't that sound like a whole cageful of hyenas? asked Joe, as he
wiped the perspiration from his face, and came towards his partners. I
can keep that up about as long as Leander can play, only it's awful
Toby had no doubt as to the truth of that statement; but before he
could make any reply, Bob said:
Now, this is where Ben comes in. He starts the show, an' he ends
it, an' I sing right after he gets through turnin' hand-springs this
first time. Now, Leander, you start the music jest as soon as Ben
comes, an' keep it up till he gets through.
Ben was prepared for his portion of the work. His trousers were
belted tightly around his waist by a very narrow leather belt, with an
enormously large buckle, and his shirt-sleeves were rolled up as high
as he could get them, in order to give full play to his arms.
He's been rubbin' goose-grease all over him for as much as two
weeks, an' he can bend almost any way, whispered Reddy to Toby, as Ben
stood swinging his arms at the entrance to the ring, as if limbering
himself for the work to be done.
Leander started Yankee Doodle in slow and solemn strains; Ben
gathered himself for a mighty effort, and began to go around the ring
in a series of hand-springs in true acrobatic style.
CHAPTER XIII. THE RESULTS OF LONG
Mr. Stubbs's brother had been a close observer of all that was going
on, probably to guard against another sudden fright such as the
overture had given him, and the moment Ben commenced to revolve he
leaped from the tree, running with full speed towards the whirling
Toby started to catch him, but the monkey was too quick in his
movements: before any one could prevent him he had caught the revolving
boy by one leg, and for a few seconds it was difficult to tell which
was Ben and which the monkey.
Of course such an interruption as that broke up the performance for
the time being, and Toby was obliged to exert all his authority to
disentangle the monkey from the performer.
I knew it wouldn't do to let him be loose, said Toby, in a
half-apologetic tone. Now I'll set here an' hold him while you
commence over again, Ben.
Well, now, be sure you hold him, said Ben, seriously, for I don't
want him to catch me again when I'm goin' 'round so fast, for it hurts
a feller to tumble the way he made me.
Bob offered to help hold the unruly monkey, and, when he and Toby
had taken a firm grip on the collar, the music was started again, and
Ben recommenced his performance.
This time he got through with it in a highly successful and
creditable manner; he proved to be a really good acrobat, so far as
turning hand-springs and standing on his head were concerned, and Toby
felt certain that this portion of the entertainment would be pleasing.
Bob now went into the ring, and began to sing the Suwanee River in
a manner which he intended should captivate his audience; but he had
neglected to give the band any orders, and the consequence was that,
when he commenced to sing, Leander began to play Old Dog Tray, a
proceeding which mixed the musical matters considerably.
You mustn't do that, Leander, Bob said, sharply, after he had done
his best to sing the band down, and failed in the attempt. It won't do
for you to play one thing while I'm tryin' to sing something else. Now,
you be restin' while I'm doin' my part.
Leander was so deeply interested in the enterprise that he was
perfectly willing to keep on playing without ever thinking of taking a
rest; but in deference to Bob's wishes he ceased his efforts, although
he did venture to remark that he noticed particularly, when the real
circus was there, that the band always played when the clown sang.
Bob got along very well with his portion of the rehearsal after the
first mistake had been rectified; and when he finished he bowed
gracefully in response to the applause bestowed upon him.
Now's the time when you come in, Toby, said Bob; an' if you'll
see how you can ride the ponies, Joe'll run around the ring with 'em.
Toby was willing to do his share of the work, and all the more so
because he could see that Abner, from his cosy seat under the bushes,
was deeply interested in all that was going on.
Joe got one of the ponies while Toby made his preparations; and
after the little horse had been led around the circle two or three
times to show what was expected of him, Toby got on his back. This was
Reddy's opportunity to act the part of ring-master, and he seized his
long whip, standing in the centre of the ring, in what he believed to
be the proper attitude.
Run around with him till I tell you to let go, said Toby, as he
tied the reins together to form a bridle, and then stood on the pony's
back as Mr. Castle had taught him to do.
There was so great a difference between the motion of this horse and
that of the one owned by Mr. Douglass, that Toby began to understand it
might be quite as necessary to train the animal as its rider.
Owing to his lack of practice he was a little clumsy; but after one
or two attempts he went around the ring standing on one foot, almost as
well as he had done it when with Ella.
The boys, who had never seen Toby ride before were thoroughly elated
by the brief exhibition he gave them; and if he had done as they
wanted, he would have tired both himself and the pony completely.
I'll practise some, now Abner can come out, said Toby, as he led
his steed to a spot where he could get more grass, but neglected to
fasten him; an' I wouldn't wonder if I could ride two at once, after a
His partners in the enterprise were more than delighted with their
rider, and they already began to believe they should have such a circus
as would, in some points, eclipse the real one that had lately visited
After the excitement caused by Toby's riding had in a measure died
away, Ben continued with his feats according to the programme, and then
Bob commenced his second song.
The audience of partners were listening to it intently, the more
because it seemed to them that Bob had made a mistake as to the tune,
and they were anxious to see what he was going to do about itwhen the
pony Toby had been riding suddenly dashed into the ring, with what
looked very like a boy on his back.
The partners were amazed at this interruption, and Bob continued to
sound the note he was wrestling with when he first saw the pony coming
towards him, until it ended almost in a shriek.
Who is it? cried Joe, as the pony dashed across the pasture, urged
to full speed by its rider, and in an instant more all saw a long
curling tail, which showed unmistakably who the culprit was.
It's Mr. Stubbs's brother! cried Toby, in alarm, and how shall we
It was, indeed, the monkey, and during the next ten minutes it
seemed to the boys that they ran over every square foot of that
pasture, scaring the cows and tiring themselves, until the frightened
little horse was penned up in one corner, and his disagreeable rider
was taken from him.
This last act of the rehearsal had occupied so much time, and the
monkey was making himself so troublesome, that Toby decided to go home,
the others promising to come to Uncle Daniel's barn that afternoon,
when Reddy was to explain how the tent was to be procured, a matter
which, up to this time, he had kept a profound secret from all but Bob.
Short as the time spent at the rehearsal seemed to the boys, it was
considerably too long for one in Abner's weak condition, as was evident
from his face when Aunt Olive came to the door to help him out of the
He seemed thoroughly exhausted, and, as soon as he got into the
house, asked to be allowed to lie downa confession of weakness that
gave Aunt Olive a great deal of uneasiness, because she considered
herself in a great measure responsible for the ride and its results, as
she had urged Abner to go before the doctor's advice had been heard in
Toby's fears regarding the invalid were always reflections of Aunt
Olive's; but when he saw Abner go to sleep so quickly, he thought she
was alarmed without cause, and believed his friend would be quite
himself so soon as he should awaken.
Dinner-time came and passed, and Abner was still sleeping sweetly.
Therefore Toby could see no reason why he should not join his partners,
whom he saw going into the barn before dinner was over.
The boys have come up to see 'bout the tent, he said to Aunt
Olive, an' I'm goin' out to the barn, where they're waitin' for me.
Will you call me when Abner wakes up?
Aunt Olive promised that he should be informed as soon as the sick
boy could see him, and Toby joined his partners with never a fear but
that Abner would soon be able to participate in all his sports.
That the boys had come to Uncle Daniel's barn on very serious
business was evident from their faces, and the two large packages they
Two rolls of what looked to be sail-cloth were lying on the barn
floor, and around them Bob, Reddy, Joe, Ben, and Leander were seated
with a look on their faces that was very nearly a troubled one.
What's them? asked Toby, in surprise, as he pointed to the
The tent, and Reddy gave a big sigh as he spoke.
What, have you got two? asked Toby, a look of glad surprise
showing itself on his face.
Reddy shook his head.
What's the matter? If there hain't two tents here, what makes the
two bundles? And Toby was almost impatient because he could not
understand the matter.
Well, you see, this is just how it is, said Reddy, as he began to
untie the fastenings from the rolls of canvas. When I told you I could
get a tent, I'd asked Captain Whetmore to lend me two of the sails what
he took off his schooner, an' he told me yes.
An' you've got 'em, haven't you? and Toby looked meaningly at the
Yes, we've got 'em, replied Joe; but now we don't know how to fix
'em, 'cause you see we've got to put 'em up like a roof, an' we hain't
got anything for the ends.
Reddy had planned to use each of the sails as a side to the tent,
fastening them along the top to a ridge-pole; and it had never occurred
to him, in all the time he had had to think the matter over, that as
yet he had nothing with which to form the ends.
It was a question that puzzled the boys greatly, and caused their
faces to grow very long, until Toby said:
I'll tell you how we can fix one end. We can put it right up
against the barn, where the little door is, an' then we can have the
stalls for a dressin'-room.
The faces of the partners lightened at once, and each wondered why
he had not thought of such a plan.
An' I'll tell you how we could fix the other end, said Toby,
quickly, as another happy thought presented itself. If Mr. Mansfield
would lend us his big flag, it would jest do it.
That's the very thing, an' I'll go an' ask him now; and Bob
started out of the barn at full speed, while Reddy, now that the
important question was settled, displayed great alacrity in unrolling
The sails were not in a remarkable state of preservation, or Captain
Whetmore would not have taken them from his vessel; but Reddy explained
that the holes could be closed up by pasting paper over them, or by
each boy borrowing a sheet from his mother and pinning it up
One of the sails was considerably larger than the other; but Reddy
had also thought of this, and proposed to make them look the same size
by tucking one in at the end.
Bob returned before the sails had been thoroughly inspected, and
brought with him the coveted flag, thus showing he had been successful
in his mission.
Now let's put it right up, an' then we can build our ring, an' do
our practisin' there instead of goin' up to the pasture, suggested
Since there was no reason why this should not be done, Bob and Ben
started for the woods to cut some young trees with which to make a
ridge-pole and posts, while the others carried the canvas out-of-doors,
and made calculations as to where and how it should be put up.
When they commenced work, they had no idea but that it would be
completed before supper-time; but when the village clock struck the
hour of five, they had not finished making the necessary poles and
We can't come anywhere near getting it done to-night, said Toby,
surprised at the lateness of the hour, and wondering why Aunt Olive had
not called him as she had promised. Let's put the sails back in the
barn, an' to-morrow mornin' we can begin early, an' have it all done by
There was no hope that they could complete the work that night
Therefore Toby's advice was followed; and when the partners separated,
each promised to be ready for work early the next morning.
CHAPTER XIV. RAISING THE TENT
Toby went into the house, feeling rather uneasy because he had not
been called; but when Aunt Olive told him that Abner had aroused from
his slumber but twice, and then only for a moment, he had no idea of
being worried about his friend, although he did think it a little
singular he should sleep so long.
That evening Dr. Abbot called again, although he had been there once
before that day; and when Toby saw how troubled Uncle Daniel and Aunt
Olive looked after he had gone, he asked;
You don't think Abner is goin' to be sick, do you?
Uncle Daniel made no reply, and Aunt Olive did not speak for some
moments; then she said:
I am afraid he stayed out too long this morning; but the doctor
hopes he will be better to-morrow.
If Toby had not been so busily engaged planning for Abner to see the
work next day, he would have noticed that the sick boy was not left
alone for more than a few moments at a time, and that both Uncle Daniel
and Aunt Olive seemed to have agreed not to say anything discouraging
to him regarding his friend's illness.
When he went to bed that night, he fancied Uncle Daniel's voice
trembled, as he said:
May the good God guard and spare you to me, Toby, boy; but he gave
no particular thought to the matter, and the sandman threw dust in his
eyes very soon after his head was on the pillow.
In the morning his first question was regarding Abner, and then he
was told that his friend was not nearly so well as he had been; Aunt
Olive even said that Toby had better not go into the sick-room, for
fear of disturbing the invalid.
Go on with your play by yourself, Toby, boy, and that will be a
great deal better than trying to have Abner join you, until he is much
better, said Uncle Daniel, kindly.
But hain't he goin' to have a ride this mornin'?
No, he is not well enough to get up. You go on building your tent,
and you will be so near the house that you can be called at any moment,
if Abner asks for you.
Toby was considerably disturbed by the fact that he was not allowed
to see his friend, and by the way Uncle Daniel spoke; but he went out
to the barn where his partners were already waiting for him, feeling
all the more sad now because of his elation the day before.
He had no heart for the work, and, after telling the boys that Abner
was sick again, proposed to postpone operations until he should get
better; but they insisted that as they were so near the house, it would
be as well to go on with the work as to remain idle, and Toby could
offer no argument to the contrary.
Although he did quite as much towards the putting-up of the tent as
the others did, it was plain to be seen that he had lost his interest
in anything of the kind, and at least once every half-hour he ran into
the house to learn how the sick boy was getting on.
All of Aunt Olive's replies were the same: Abner slept a good
portion of the time, and during the few moments he was awake said
nothing, except in answer to questions. He did not complain of any
pain, nor did he appear to take any notice of what was going on around
I think it's because he got all tired out yesterday, an' that he'll
be himself again to-morrow, said Aunt Olive, after Toby had come in
for at least the sixth time, and she saw how worried he was.
This hopeful remark restored Toby to something very near his usual
good spirits; and when he went back to his work after that, his
partners were pleased to see him take more interest in what was going
The tent was up firmly enough to resist any moderate amount of wind,
but it did not look quite so neat as it would have done had it not been
necessary to perform the operation of tucking in one end, which made
that side hang in folds that were by no means a pleasing addition to
the general appearance.
The small door of the barn, over which the tent was placed, served
instead of a curtain to their dressing-room; and at one side of it, on
an upturned barrel, arrangements were made for a band-stand.
Mr. Mansfield's flag covered the one end completely, and all the
boys thought it gave a better appearance to the whole than if they had
made it wholly of canvas.
The ring, which Reddy marked out almost before the tent was up,
occupied nearly the whole of the interior; but since they did not
intend to have any seats for their audience, it was thought there would
be plenty of room for all who would come to see them. The main point
was to have the ring, and to have it as nearly like that of a regular
circus as possible, while the audience could be trusted to take care of
The animals to be exhibited were to be placed in small cages at each
corner. Reddy had at first insisted that each cage should be on a cart
to make it look well; but he gave up that idea when Bob pointed out to
him that six mice or two squirrels would make rather a small show in a
wagon, and that they would be obliged to enlarge their tent if they
carried out that plan, even provided they could get the necessary
number of carts, which was very doubtful.
In the matter of getting sheets from their mothers they had not been
as successful as they had anticipated. No one of the ladies who had
been spoken to on the subject was willing to have her bed-linen
decorating the interior of a circus-tent, even though the show was to
be only a little one for three cents.
Reddy was quite sure he could mend one or two of the largest holes
if he had a darning-needle and some twine; but after he got both from
Aunt Olive, and stuck the needle twice in his own hand, once in Joe
Robinson's, and then broke it, he concluded that it would be just as
well to paste brown paper over the holes.
It was a hard job to dig the ground up in order to make as large a
ring as the boys had marked out, but by persistent work it was
accomplished, as almost everything can be; and then Ben went to
practising, in order that he might, as he expressed it, get the hang
of the thing.
Of course, the fact that a tent had been put up by the side of Uncle
Daniel's barn was soon known to every boy in the village, and the rush
of visitors that afternoon was so great that Joe was obliged to begin
his duties as door-keeper in advance, in order to keep back the crowd.
The number of questions asked by each boy who arrived kept Joe so
busy answering them that, after every one in town knew exactly what was
going on, Reddy hit upon the happy plan of getting a large piece of
paper, and painting on it an announcement of their exhibition.
It was while he was absent in search of the necessary materials with
which to carry out this work that the finishing touches were put on the
interior; and the partners were counting the number of hand-springs Ben
could turn without stopping, when a great shout arose from the visitors
outside, and the circus owners heard a pattering and scratching on the
canvas above their heads.
Mr. Stubbs's brother has got loose, an' he's tearin' 'round on the
tent! shouted Joe, as he poked his head in through a hole in the flag,
and at the same time struggled to keep back a small but bold boy with
Toby, followed by the other proprietors, rushed out at this alarming
bit of news, and, sure enough, there was the monkey dancing around on
the top of the tent like a crazy person, while the rope with which he
had been tied dangled from his neck.
It seemed to Toby that no other monkey could possibly behave half so
badly as did Mr. Stubbs's brother on that occasion. He danced back and
forth from one end of the tent to the other, as if he had been a
tight-rope performer giving a free exhibition; then he would sit down
and try to find out just how large a hole he could tear in the tender
canvas, until it seemed as if the tent would certainly be a wreck
before they could get him down.
Toby coaxed and scolded, and scolded and coaxed, but all to no
purpose. The monkey would clamber down over the end of the tent as if
he were about to allow himself to be made a prisoner, and then, just as
Toby was about to catch the rope, he would spring upon the ridge-pole
again, chattering with joy at the disappointment he had caused.
The visitors fairly roared with delight, and even the proprietors,
whose borrowed property was being destroyed, could not help laughing at
times, although there was not one of them who would not have enjoyed
punishing Mr. Stubbs's brother very severely.
He'll break the whole show up if we don't get him off, said Bob,
as the monkey tore a larger hole than he had yet made, and the crowd
encouraged him in his mischievous work by their wild cheers.
I know it; but how can we get him down? asked Toby, in perplexity,
knowing that it would not be safe for any one of them to climb upon the
decayed canvas, even if there were a chance that the monkey would wait
for them to catch him after they got there.
Get a long pole, an' scrape him off, suggested Joe; but Toby shook
his head, for he knew that to scrape a monkey from such a place would
be an impossibility.
Bob had an idea that if he had a rope long enough to make a lasso,
he could get it around the animal's neck and pull him down; but just as
he set out to find the rope, Mr. Stubbs's brother settled the matter
He had torn one hole fully five inches long, and commenced on
another a short distance from the first, when the thin fabric gave way,
the two rents were made one, and down fell Mr. Monkey, only saved from
falling to the ground by his chin catching on the edges of the cloth.
There he hung, his little round head just showing above the canvas,
with a bewildered, and, at the same time, discouraged look on his face.
Toby knew that it would be but a moment before the monkey would get
his paws out from under the canvas, and thus extricate himself from his
uncomfortable position. Running quickly inside the tent, he seized Mr.
Stubbs's brother by his long tail, pulling him completely through, and
the mischievous pet was again a prisoner.
It was a great disappointment to the boys on the outside when this
portion of the circus was hidden from view; but it was equally as great
a relief to the partners that the destruction of their tent was at last
After the excitement had nearly subsided, and Toby was reading his
pet a lesson on the sin of destructiveness, Reddy arrived with the
materials for making his circus postera sheet of brown paper, a
bottle of ink, and a brush made by chewing the end of a pine stick.
He began his work at once. It was a long task, but was at last
accomplished, and when the partners went to their respective homes that
night, the following placard adorned one side of the tent:
| BiG CiRCUS |
| DOORS OpEn PuTTy SOOn |
| PRiCe 3 CEnTS |
CHAPTER XV. STEALING DUCKS
After Toby had secured Mr. Stubbs's brother so that he could not
liberate himself, he ran into the house to inquire for Abner.
The news this time was more encouraging, for the sick boy had
awakened thoroughly after his long sleep, and had asked how the work on
the tent was getting on. Aunt Olive thought Toby could see him, and,
after promising that he would not remain very long, or allow Abner to
talk much, he went up-stairs.
The crippled boy was lying in the bed bolstered up with pillows,
looking out of the window that commanded a view of the tent, and
evidently puzzled to know whether the large sheet of brown paper which
he saw on one side was there as an ornament, or to serve some useful
Toby explained to him that it was the poster Reddy had made, and
then told him all that had been done that day towards getting ready for
the great exhibition which was to dazzle the good people of Guilford,
as well as to bring in a rich reward, in the way of money, to the
Abner was so interested in the matter, and seemed so bright and
cheerful when he was talking about it, that Toby's fears regarding his
illness were entirely dispelled; he came to the conclusion that Abner
had simply been tired, as Aunt Olive had said, and that he would be
better than ever by morning.
This belief was strengthened by the doctor, who came while Toby was
still with his friend, and who, in answer to a question, said,
Of course he'll be all right; he may not be quite smart enough to
go out to-morrow, but before the week is ended I'll guarantee that
you'll have hard work to keep him in the house.
Toby's heart was light again as he attended to his evening's work;
and when he met Joe, on his way to the pasture, he laid plans for the
coming exhibition with a greater zest than he had displayed since the
matter was first spoken of.
Now that the tent was up, and Abner on the sure and rapid road to
recovery, Toby thought it quite time that Mr. Stubbs's brother should
be taught to take some part in the performance. Joe was of the same
opinion, and they decided to commence the education of the monkey that
very night, giving him two or three lessons each day until he should be
The cows were not exactly hurried on the way home that night; but
they were not allowed to loiter by the roadside when they saw
particularly tempting tufts of grass, and as soon as they were in the
barn Mr. Stubbs's brother was taken to the tent.
He was in anything rather than a good condition for training, for he
evidently remembered his frolic of the afternoon, and was anxious to
repeat it. Toby thought he could be made to leap through hoops as a
beginning of his circus education, and all the energies of the boys
were bent to the accomplishment of this.
But the monkey was either remarkably stupid just then, or determined
to take no part in the show, for although Joe held the hoops until his
arms ached, and Toby coaxed and scolded till he was hoarse, Mr.
Stubbs's brother could not be persuaded even to attempt to leap.
It's no use to try any more to-night, said Toby, impatiently, when
it was nearly dark inside the tent, and his pet was showing signs of
anger. We'll commence the first thing in the mornin', an' I guess
he'll do it.
I'd whip him if I was you, said Joe, who was thoroughly tired, and
angry at the monkey's obstinacy. If you would give him a good
switchin', he'd know he's got to do it.
I wouldn't whip him if he never did anything, said Toby, as he
hugged his pet tightly, almost as if he feared Joe might attempt, as
one of the partners in the enterprise, to whip the unwilling performer.
'Tain't my monkey, so I hain't got nothin' to say about it, and
Joe was impatient now; but if he was mine, I'll bet he'd do what I
told him to.
It seemed almost as if Mr. Stubbs's brother knew what had been said
about him, for he nestled close to Toby, hiding his face on the boy's
neck in a way that would have prevented his master from whipping him
even if he had been disposed so to do.
We'll put him in the shed, an' I guess he'll be good enough
to-morrow, said Toby, cheerfully; and then, after fastening the flag
in the front of the tent in such a way that the wind would be kept out,
if nothing more, he and Joe walked towards the house, discussing the
question of the kind of tickets they should use at the show.
While they were yet some distance from the wood-shed in which Mr.
Stubbs's brother was lodged, Aunt Olive called Toby to come quickly to
You put him in the wood-shed, an' fasten him in snug, said Toby,
as he handed the monkey to Joe, and started for the house at full
Now Joe knew perfectly well where Mr. Stubbs's brother was kept;
but, as he had never seen him put away for the night, he was uncertain
whether he should be tied there, or simply shut in. It hardly seemed to
him that Toby would leave the monkey tied up by the neck all night, so
he set him up comfortably on a bench, and carefully shut the door.
Toby had been called to go to the druggist's for some medicine, and
he came out of the house in such haste, calling to Joe to follow him,
that nothing more was thought of the insecurely prisoned monkey.
When Toby returned, it was so late that Uncle Daniel advised him to
go to bed if he had any desire to be healthy, wealthy, and wise, and
he obeyed at once.
Positive that Abner was on the road to recovery, sure that all his
work had been done, and with nothing to trouble him, it was not very
long that Toby lay awake after he was once in bed.
It seemed to him that he had been sleeping a long while, when he was
awakened by the sound as of some one hunting around in his room; and,
before he had time to call out, the candle was lighted, showing that
the intruder was Uncle Daniel, only partially dressed and in a high
state of excitement.
What is it? What's the matter? asked Toby, in alarm, thinking at
once of Abner, and fearing that something had happened to him.
Hush! said Uncle Daniel, warningly; don't make a noise, for some
one is trying to get into the hen-house, an' I am going to make an
example of him. I suppose it's one of the tramps who went by here
to-day, an' I want to find that gun I saw in here yesterday.
There was such a weapon in Toby's room, or, at least, what had once
been a gun was there, for a hired man whom Uncle Daniel had employed
left it there. It had been an army musket, and appeared to have been
used as a collection of materials to repair others guns with, for the
entire lock, ramrod, and at least four inches of the stock had been
taken away, leaving it a mere wreck of a gun.
It's up there in the corner behind the wash-stand, said Toby,
coming out of the bed as quickly as if he had tumbled out, and alarmed
at the thought of burglars. It hain't no good, Uncle Dan'l, for
there's only a little of it left.
It will do as well for me as a better one, said Uncle Daniel,
grimly. I don't want to shoot anybody, only to give them a severe
fright, and perhaps capture them.
Then what'll you do with 'em? asked Toby in a whisper, almost as
much alarmed by Uncle Daniel's savage way of speaking as by the thought
of the burglars.
I don't know, Toby, boyI don't know. The tramps do trouble me
greatly, an' I'd like to make an example of these; but I suppose they
must be hungry, or else they wouldn't try to get into the hen-house, I
guess if we catch one we'll give him a good breakfast, and try to
persuade him to go to work like an honest man.
Uncle Daniel's anger usually had some such peaceful ending, as Toby
knew; but he did look bloodthirsty as he stood there in his
shirt-sleeves, with one stocking on, and his night-cap covering one ear
and but a small portion of his head, while he handled the invalid gun
By the time he was ready to go in search of the supposed
chicken-thief, Aunt Olive, looking thoroughly frightened, came into the
room with his other stocking and his boots in her hand, insisting that
he should put them on before he ventured out.
It must have been a very tame burglar who would have continued at
his work after the lights had warned him that the inmates of the house
were aroused; but Toby did not think of that. He saw that Aunt Olive
had armed herself with the fire-shovel, that Uncle Daniel kept a firm
hold of the gun even while he was trying to put his boots on, and he
was frightened by the warlike preparations.
Toby put on his trousers and shoes as quickly as possible, and when
Uncle Daniel was ready to start, he stationed himself directly behind
Aunt Olive, a position which he thought would afford him a fair view of
what was going on, and at the same time be safe.
Now be careful of that gun, Dan'l, an' don't go so far that they
can hurt you, for there's no telling what they will do if they find out
you mean to catch them, and Aunt Olive looked quite as badly
frightened as did Toby.
There, there, Olive, don't be alarmed, said Uncle Daniel,
soothingly, they will probably run as soon as they see the gun, and
that will end it. I only hope that I can catch one, and Uncle Daniel
went down the stairs as determined and savage looking a man as ever
started in search of a supposed chicken-thief.
Aunt Olive insisted on carrying the candle, though Uncle Daniel
urged that it would not be possible for him to surprise the burglars if
she held this light as a warning; but she had no idea of allowing him
to go out where there was every probability that he would be in danger,
unless she could see what was going on.
When the party reached the kitchen, the sounds which came from the
hen-house told plainly that the party they were in search of had not
ceased his work because the household had been alarmed. The snapping of
wood could be heard, and if Aunt Olive had not been thoroughly aroused
before, she was then, for laths were being broken, and one of her
choicest broods of ducks was secured only by such frail barriers
against either two or four-legged thieves.
Stop them quick, or all the ducks will be out, she screamed; and,
thus urged, Uncle Daniel made a bold stand.
Get behind me, and hold your hand over the light, he whispered,
and then he shouted, as he brought the gun up to his shoulder in a very
threatening manner, Come out here, and give yourselves up at once.
There was no answer made to this peremptory command, and, strangely
enough, the work of destruction was continued as vigorously as if Uncle
Daniel and his broken gun were a thousand miles away, instead of on the
spot and ready for action.
Come away from there instantly, and save yourself any further
trouble, shouted Uncle Daniel in a louder voice, stamping his foot,
while Aunt Olive brandished the fire-shovel to give emphasis to his
There was silence for a moment, as if the burglar had stopped to
consider the matter, and then the work was continued with greater
energy than before.
Well, I declare! exclaimed Uncle Daniel, as he brought the butt of
his gun down on his own foot with such force that he was obliged to
give immediate attention to the wounded member.
Toby had always had a wholesome dread of a gun; but his fear became
greater than ever when he saw how much mischief could be done with one
as near a total wreck as that was, for Uncle Daniel had seated himself
on the grass, regardless of the dew, and was hugging his foot as if he
feared he should lose it.
CHAPTER XVI. A LOST MONKEY
Even though her husband was wounded, Aunt Olive could not stop to
offer any aid while her precious ducks were in such peril, as the
breaking of the laths proved they were; and she started forward alone
and unarmed, save with the shovel, until a loud quacking indicated that
the robber had made at least one prisoner.
Dropping the shovel, but still clinging to the candle, Aunt Olive
seized the gun, and, dragging it along by the muzzle, she cried:
I'll shoot you if you don't let them ducks alone, and go right
straight away from here!
The loud quacking of another duck proved that she had not alarmed
the burglar; and as she was now quite near the bold robber, by holding
her candle above her head she could discern in the darkness what looked
like a boy, with a duck tightly clutched in each hand.
It's only a boy, she cried to Uncle Daniel, who had given over
attending to his foot, and was coming up; and then, as she ran towards
the thief, she cried, Put down them ducks, you little rascal, or I
will whip you soundly!
The boy did not put the ducks down, nor did he stay for the
whipping; but, with both the noisy prizes held in one hand, he began to
climb the hen-house in a manner surprising in one so small.
By this time both Toby and Uncle Daniel were on the spot, and the
former saw that the supposed boy was using a long tail in his work of
climbing the hen-house.
It's Mr. Stubbs's brother; don't shoot him! he cried, forgetting,
in his excitement, that the gun was dangerous only when dropped on
one's foot; and then he too tried to climb upon the hen-house.
The monkey? cried Uncle Daniel, as he felt on his forehead for his
spectacles to enable him to see better. Aunt Olive made use of almost
the same words; but, instead of feeling for her spectacles, she ran
towards the building, as if she fancied it to be the easiest thing in
the world to catch a mischievous monkey.
Toby knew, if Aunt Olive did not, that it would be the work of some
time to catch Mr. Stubbs's brother, and that no threats would induce
him to come down. Therefore he put forth all his energies in the vain
hope of overtaking him.
Although the monkey was encumbered by the two ducks he had stolen,
he could climb twice as fast as Toby could, and Aunt Olive realized the
fact very soon.
Scare him till he drops the ducks, she cried to Toby; and then, to
do her portion of the scaring, she brandished the fire-shovel, and
cried shoo! in a very energetic manner.
Uncle Daniel waved his arms, and shouted, Come down! come down! as
he ran from one side of the building to the other; but the only reply
to his shout was the quacking of the half-strangled ducks.
Catch him, Toby, catch him, before he kills the ducks, cried Aunt
Olive, in an agony of fear lest these particular inmates of her
poultry-yard should be killed.
That's what I'm tryin' to do, panted Toby, as he chased Mr.
Stubbs's brother from one end of the roof to the other without even a
chance of catching him.
The quacking of the ducks was growing fainter every moment, and,
knowing that something must be done at once, Uncle Daniel hunted around
until he found a long pole, with which he struck at the monkey.
This had the desired effect, for Mr. Stubbs's brother was so nearly
hit two or three times that he dropped the almost dead ducks, curled
his tail over his back, and leaped to the ground. He alighted so near
Aunt Olive that she uttered a loud shriek, nearly falling backward over
the wood-pile; but the monkey was out of sight in an instant, going in
the direction of the road.
As his pet disappeared in the darkness, Toby scrambled down from the
roof of the building and started in pursuit; but before he had gone far
he heard Uncle Daniel calling to him, while at the same time he
realized that pursuit would be useless under the circumstances.
He's run away, an' I won't ever find him again, he said, in so
mournful a tone that Uncle Daniel knew the tears were very near his
He won't go very far, Toby, boy, said Uncle Daniel, consolingly,
and you can soon find him after the sun rises.
He'll be more'n seven miles off by that time, said Toby, as he
choked back his sobs, and tried to speak firmly.
I don't know much about the nature of monkeys, replied Uncle
Daniel, speaking very slowly; but I am inclined to the belief that he
will remain near here, since he has come to consider this his home. But
it will be daylight in less than an hour, and then you can start after
him. I will drive the cows to the pasture, so that you will have
nothing to delay you.
Aunt Olive had caught up the ducks as soon as Mr. Stubbs's brother
had dropped them, and, believing it was yet possible to save their
lives, she had started towards the house for the purpose of applying
It's so near morning that I sha'n't go to bed again, she said,
and I'll get you something to eat, and put up a lunch for you, so you
can stay out until you find him.
This offer on Aunt Olive's part seemed doubly kind, since the monkey
had done so much mischief among her pets, and Toby realized that it
would be ungrateful in him to complain, more especially as Uncle Daniel
and Aunt Olive were willing to do all in their power to enable him to
catch the fugitive.
I'll mend the duck-pen, he said, resolutely putting from his mind
the thought of Mr. Stubbs's brother, who he firmly believed was
trudging up the road in the direction taken by the circus when it left
Uncle Daniel thought it would be just as well to remain up also, and
he dragged the wreck of the gun into the house, putting it carefully
away lest some one should be injured by it, before he commenced to
build the fire.
Mr. Stubbs's brother had labored industriously when he set about
reducing the duck-pen to kindling-wood; and although Toby worked as
fast as possible, it was nearly time for the sun to rise before he
finished the job of repairing it.
By that time Aunt Olive had a nice breakfast ready for him, and a
generous lunch done up neatly in paper.
Abner had not wakened, therefore Toby was obliged to go away without
knowing whether he was better or worse; but Aunt Olive told him that
she thought he need have no fear regarding the invalid, for she felt
certain he would be much better when he awoke.
Toby ate his breakfast very hurriedly, and then started down the
road in the direction of his partners' homes, for he thought there
would be a better chance of capturing the runaway if four or five boys
set out in pursuit than if he went out alone.
Fully two hours were spent in arousing his partners, explaining what
had happened, and waiting for them to get their breakfast; but at the
end of that time every one of the circus managers was ready for the
There was a decided difference of opinion among them as to which
direction they should take, some believing the monkey had gone one way
and some another, and the only plan by which the matter could be
settled was to divide the force into two parties.
Bob, Reddy, and Ben formed one division, and they started into the
woods in a nearly straight line from Uncle Daniel's house. Toby, Joe,
and Leander, making up the other party, went up the road, Toby
insisting on this course because he was sure that Mr. Stubbs's brother
would attempt to follow the circus of which he had once been a member,
although so many weeks had elapsed since it had passed along there.
Leander was of the opinion that they ought to have borrowed a dog,
with which to track the monkey more easily, and even offered to go back
to get one; but Toby thought that would be a waste of valuable time,
more especially as it was by no means certain that Leander could
procure the dog if he did go back.
Joe thought each inch of the road should be examined with a view to
finding tracks of the monkey; but that plan was given up in a very few
moments after it was tried, for the good reason that the boys could not
distinguish even their own footprints, the road was beaten so hard; and
so they could only walk straight ahead, hoping to come up with the
fugitive, or to hear some news of him.
At each house on the road they stopped to ask if a stray monkey had
been seen; but they could hear nothing encouraging until they had
walked nearly three miles, and were just beginning to think it would
have been wiser to remain with the party who went into the woods.
At last, however, a farmer told them that he had seen an animal come
up the main road, just about sunrise, and that it had gone up through
his field into an oak grove. He had had no idea at the time that it was
a monkey, and had intended to take his gun and go in search of it as
soon as he could spare the time.
Toby trembled as the man said this, for Mr. Stubbs's death was too
vivid in his mind for him to think without a shudder of any one going
in search of this monkey with a gun. He started for the grove at full
speed, fearing that some one with more time at his disposal had seen
his pet, and might even now be in pursuit of him.
Of course the boys did not know certainly that the animal the farmer
had seen was Mr. Stubbs's brother, but all were quite sure it was; and,
before they had been in the oak grove ten minutes they saw the monkey
himself, hanging by his tail and one paw from the branch of a tree.
CHAPTER XVII. DRIVING A MONKEY
Toby was so delighted at seeing his pet safe and alive that he set
up a great shout; and the monkey, thus warned that boys who would chain
him down to the drudgery of a circus ring were on his track, started
off at full speed, scolding furiously as he went.
To catch a monkey in the woods was even a harder task than to
scrape him from the tent, or to capture him on the roof of the
hen-house; but he must be caught, and the three boys started after him,
fully aware of the difficult task before them.
To Mr. Stubbs's brother this flight and pursuit was simply the
wildest kind of a frolic, and he fairly screamed with delight as he
leaped from one tree to another, sometimes allowing them almost to
touch him, and then starting off at full speed until nearly out of
For an hour this tantalizing work was continued, and the pursuers
were nearly exhausted. Half the time they had been running at full
speed, and the only chance for rest had been when they were trying to
creep upon Mr. Stubbs's brother unawares, which was just about no rest
Leander, who was naturally a very slow-moving boy, and quite fleshy,
was more quickly tired than the others. When, for at least the
twentieth time, they thought they had the monkey within their grasp,
and he darted to the top of one of the tallest trees, Leander declared
he could not take another step, even though the life of the monkey and
the success of the circus depended upon it.
Of course, it was not to be thought of that they should leave their
band there exhausted and alone, so Toby decided they should rest as
long as Mr. Stubbs's brother remained in the tree, and it was
determined to occupy the time by eating the luncheon Aunt Olive had
During the last ten minutes of the chase, Leander's face had worn a
very gloomy expression; but it lighted wonderfully when the package of
food was opened, and Toby helped him to a very generous slice of bread
Nor was Leander the only one who looked with favor upon the food.
Mr. Stubbs's brother had been a close observer of all that was going on
at the foot of the tree in which he had taken refuge, and he showed
every disposition to make one of the eating party.
Seeing his evident hunger, Toby was sure it would be possible to
capture the monkey by means of the food, and he walked around the trunk
of the tree, holding a piece of ginger-bread temptingly in his fingers.
The monkey came down from branch to branch, as if he had decided to
allow himself to be made a prisoner for the sake of the food; but, just
as Toby was about to seize him, he jumped back with a cry that sounded
much as if he were laughing because of the disappointment he had
Then Joe tried his skill at monkey-catching, coming about as near
success as Toby had done; and Leander was roused to action by the new
phase the chase had assumed. He too held out some food in order to give
Mr. Stubbs's brother the impression that all he had to do was to come
and get it.
In thus trying the coaxing plan, all three of the boys got on one
side of the tree, while the greater part of their provisions was on the
The monkey descended again, first towards one boy and then towards
another, as if it were his purpose to allow all three to catch him, and
all were equally certain they were about to succeed, when Mr. Stubbs's
brother suddenly ran along the branches towards the food. Before it was
possible for any of the boys to intercept him, he had dropped to the
ground, seized two of the very largest pieces of cake, and was up in
the tree again so quickly that but for the cake he had in his paws it
might have been doubted whether or not he had been on the ground at
Now Mr. Stubbs's brother could laugh at his pursuers, if it is
possible for a monkey to laugh; for, without any thanks to them, he had
a trifle more than his share of the provisions, and was still at
It hain't any use, said Joe, in despair, as he threw himself on
the ground and attacked the luncheon savagely, I don't believe we
shall ever get him; an' if we don't, it won't be much use for us to
have our show, for every real circus has a monkey.
We must catch him, replied Toby, mournfully, looking up
into the tree where his pet sat eating the stolen food with the
greatest possible enjoyment. I wouldn't go home an' leave him here if
I had to stay all night.
One might watch here while the others went back to the village an'
got every feller there to come out an' help catch him, suggested
Leander, who was famous for having ideas so brilliant that no one could
carry them into execution.
We're goin' away from home all the time this way, said Toby, after
he had studied the matter carefully, without paying any attention to
the suggestion made by Leander; now let's get a little ways the other
side of the tree, an' when he comes down again he'll have to go towards
home. Even if we can't catch him, perhaps we can drive him into the
Even Leander could see the wisdom of this plan, and the party moved
their luncheon and themselves to the side of the tree opposite to that
on which they had approached it.
Of course there was nothing to do but await Mr. Stubbs's brother's
pleasure in the matter, and he seemed to be in no haste to make a move.
He ate his cake in the most leisurely fashion possible, and then
appeared to be wonderfully interested in the leaves, for he would spend
several minutes pulling one apart, probably to see how it was made.
But he was obliged to come down at last, and he chose the time just
as Leander had settled himself comfortably for a nap, which did not
tend to make the band regard him with additional favor.
As Toby had thought, the monkey started back in the direction they
had come; and, as he was going towards home, they did not make any
effort to hurry him. If they could not catch him, they could at least
drive him, and they were satisfied to let him go as slowly as he
chosea plan which met with hearty approval from Leander.
For some time Mr. Stubbs's brother moved along as if it were his
greatest desire to be back at Uncle Daniel's again, and then Toby saw
him run along swiftly as if he had found something under a tree which
interested him greatly.
Afraid that the monkey had done this simply to avoid being driven,
and that he might dart through the underbrush and get in rear of them
again, Toby ran forward quickly; but before he had taken more than a
dozen steps he heard piercing shrieks, which evidently came from the
monkey, while the commotion among the bushes indicated that a struggle
of some kind was taking place there.
With but one thought, and that for the safety of his pet, Toby ran
ahead regardless of the bushes that tore his clothing and scratched his
face. A struggle was going on, as he saw when he pulled the branches of
the trees away, and Mr. Stubbs's brother was getting decidedly the
worst of it.
A small, prickly ball curled up at the foot of the tree, and the
monkey striking at it savagely with his paws, while porcupine quills
were sticking in his face and body, told the whole story.
The monkey had seen the porcupine, and, much to his discomfort, had
tried to make that animal's acquaintance. As every boy knows, when one
of these animals is attacked it immediately rolls itself up into a
ball, with the quills or spines sticking straight out, and the
attacking party generally gets plentifully supplied with them in a very
It was some moments before Toby could persuade his pet to stop
trying to inflict punishment when he was getting the greater part
himself; but he pulled him away at last, and the porcupine, unrolling
himself with a grunt of satisfaction, trotted away into the bushes.
There was no disposition on the part of Mr. Stubbs's brother to run
away again. He stood there looking as sad and discouraged as a monkey
ought to look who had commenced his day's work by stealing ducks, and
concluded it by fighting a porcupine.
The quills stood out from his face, making him look as if sadly in
need of shaving, while on almost every inch of his body there was one
of these natural weapons, giving him a decidedly comical appearance.
As he stood there holding out his paws to Toby as if asking him to
extract the spines, and squinting down now and then at those in his
face, the boys did not try to restrain their laughter, which appeared
to make the inquisitive monkey very angry.
He screamed and scolded in the shrillest tones until Toby set about
picking out the quills for him, and Joe took a firm hold of his collar,
to make sure he should not escape when he was relieved from the effects
of his introduction to the porcupine.
CHAPTER XVIII. COLLECTING THE
It was quite a task to extract the porcupine quills from Mr.
Stubbs's brother, because the operation was painful, and he danced
about in a way that seriously interfered with the work.
But the last one was out after a time, and the monkey was marched
along between Joe and Toby, looking very repentant now that he was in
his master's power again.
I tell you what it is, said Joe, sagely, after he had walked
awhile in silence as if studying some matter, we'd better get about
six big chains an' fasten Mr. Stubbs's brother to the tent; 'cause if
we keep on tryin' to train him, he'll keep on gettin' loose, an' before
he gets through with it, we sha'n't have any show left.
I think that's the best thing we can do, panted Leander; 'cause
if all hands of us has to start out many times like this, some of the
boys will come up while we're off, an' pull the tent down.
We can tie him in the tent, and have him for a wild man of Borneo,
I guess we won't train him, replied Toby, rather sorry to deprive
his pet of the pleasure of being one of the performers, and yet fearing
the trouble he would cause if they should try to make anything more
than an ordinary monkey out of him.
The pursuit had led the boys farther from home than they had
imagined, and it was noon when, weary and hungry, they arrived at the
tent, where they found the other party, who had given up the search
some time before. They had travelled through the woods without hearing
or seeing anything of the runaway, and had returned in the hope that
the others had been more successful.
Leaving Mr. Stubbs's brother in charge of the partners, who, it was
safe to say, would now take very good care to prevent his escape, Toby
hurried into the house to see Abner.
The sick boy was no better, Aunt Olive said, neither did he appear
to be any worsehe was sleeping then; and, after eating some of his
dinner at the table, and taking the remainder in his hands, Toby went
out to the tent again.
He found his partners indulging in an animated discussion as to when
the performance should be given.
Reddy was in favor of having it within two or three days at
furthest; Bob thought that, as Mr. Stubbs's brother was not to be one
of the performers, there was no reason for delay.
All the others were of the same opinion, but Toby urged them to wait
until Abner could take part in it.
To this Bob had a very reasonable objection: in two weeks more
school would begin, and then, of course, the circus would be out of the
question. If their first exhibition should be a success, as it
undoubtedly would be, they could give a second performance when Abner
should get well enough to attend it; and that would be quite as
pleasing to him as for all the talent to remain idle while waiting for
Toby felt that his partners asked him to do only that which was
fair; the circus scheme had already done Abner more harm than good,
and, as he did not seem to be dangerously sick, it would be unkind to
the others to insist on waiting.
I'd rather Abner was with us when we had the first show, said
Toby; but I s'pose it'll be just as well to go ahead with it, an' then
give another after he can come out.
Then we'll have it Saturday afternoon; an' while Reddy's fixin' up
the tickets, Ben an' I'll get the animals up here, so's to see how
they'll look, an' to let 'em get kinder used to the tent.
Reddy was a boy who did not believe in wasting any time after a
matter was decided upon, and almost as soon as Toby consented to go on
with the show, he went for materials with which to make posters and
His activity aroused the others, and all started out to bring in the
animals, leaving Toby to guard Mr. Stubbs's brother and the tent. The
canvas would take care of itself, so long as it was unmolested, but the
other portion of Toby's charge was not so easily managed. After much
thought, however, he settled the monkey question by tying Mr. Stubbs's
brother to the end pole, with a rope long enough to allow him to climb
nearly to the top, but short enough to keep him at a safe distance from
By the time this was done, Ben arrived with the first instalment of
curiosities. His crowing hen he had under his arm, and Mrs. Simpson's
three-legged cat and four kittens he brought in a basket.
Joe's got a cage 'most built for the hen, an' I'll fix one for the
cat this afternoon, he said, as he seated himself on the basket, and
held the hen in his lap.
You can't fix it if you've got to hold her, said Toby, as he
brought from the barn a bushel-basket, which was converted into a coop
by turning it bottom side up, and putting the hen underneath it.
Ben was about to make a search of the barn for the purpose of
finding some materials with which to build the cat's cage, when a great
noise was heard outside, and the two partners left the tent hurriedly.
It's Bob an' his calf, said Ben, who had got out first, and then
he started towards the newcomers at full speed.
It was Bob and his calf; but the animal should have been mentioned
first, for it seemed very much as if he were bringing his master,
instead of being brought by him. In order to carry his cage of mice and
lead the calf at the same time, Bob had tied the rope that held this
representative of a grizzly bear around his waist, and had taken the
cage under his arm. This plan had worked well enough until just as they
were entering the field that led to the tent, when Bob tripped and
fell, scaring the calf so that he started at full speed for the barn,
of course dragging the unfortunate Bob with him.
Sometimes on his face, sometimes on his back, screaming for help
whenever his mouth was uppermost, and clinging firmly to the cage of
mice, Bob was dragged almost to the door of the tent, where the
frightened animal was finally secured.
Well, I've got him here, an' I hain't lost a single mouse, said
Bob, as he counted his treasures before even scraping the dirt from his
Ben and Toby led the calf into the tent after some difficulty, owing
to the attempts of Mr. Stubbs's brother to frighten him, and then they
did their best to separate the dirt from their partner.
In this good work they had but partially succeeded, when Reddy
arrived with a large package of brown paper, and his cat without a
tail. This startling curiosity he carried in a bag slung over his
shoulder, and from the expression on his face when he came up it seemed
almost certain that the cat's claws had passed through the bag and into
her master's flesh.
There, he exclaimed, with a sigh of relief, as he threw his live
burden at the foot of the post to which Mr. Stubbs's brother was tied,
I've kept shiftin' that cat from one shoulder to the other ever since
I started, an' I tell you she can scratch as well as if she had a tail
as long as the monkey's.
It surely seemed as if the work of building the cages had been too
long neglected, for here were a number of curiosities without anything
in which they could be exhibited, and the audience might be
dissatisfied if asked to pay to see a cat in a bag, or a hen under a
Toby spoke of this, and Bob assured him that it could easily be
arranged as soon as all the partners should arrive.
You see, we've got to carry Mrs. Simpson's cat an' kittens home
every night, 'cause she says the rats are so thick she can spare her
only day-times, an' we don't need a cage for her till the show comes
off, said Bob, as he bustled around again to find materials.
Mr. Stubbs's brother demanded his master's attention about this
time, owing to his attempts to make friends with the calf. From the
time that this peaceful animal, who was to be transformed into a
grizzly bear, had been brought into the tent, the monkey had tried in
every possible way to get at him, and the calf had shown unmistakable
signs of a desire to butt the monkey; but the ropes which held them
both had prevented the meeting. Now, however, Bob detected Mr. Stubbs's
brother in trying to bite his rope in two, and it was considered
necessary to set a guard over him.
Reddy was already busily engaged in painting the posters, despite
the confusion that reigned, and, as his work would keep him inside the
tent, he was chosen to have general care of the animals, a task which
he, without a thought of possible consequences, accepted cheerfully.
Leander and Joe came together, the first bringing his accordion, and
four rabbits in a cage, and the last carrying five striped squirrels in
a paste-board box.
Leander was the only one who had been thoughtful enough to have his
animals ready for exhibition, and the cage in which the long-eared pets
were confined bore the inscription, done in a very fanciful way with
blue and red crayons, Wolves. Keep off!
This cage was placed in the corner near the band-stand, where the
musician could attend to his musical work and have a watchful eye on
his pets at the same time.
Reddy had been busily engaged in painting a notice to be hung up
over the calf; and, as he fastened it to the barn just over the spot
where the animal was to be kept, Bob read, with no small degree of
pride in the thought that he was the fortunate possessor of such a
FROM THE ROCKY MOunTAINS
Then the artist went back to his task of painting posters, while the
others set to work, full of determination to build the necessary number
of cages if there was wood enough in Uncle Daniel's barn.
They found timber enough and to spare; but, as it was not exactly
the kind they wanted, Toby proposed that they should all go over to the
house, explain the matter to Aunt Olive, and ask her to give them as
many empty boxes as she could afford to part with.
As has been said before, Aunt Olive looked upon the circus scheme
with favor, and when she was called upon to aid in the way of
furnishing cages for wild animals, she gave the boys full permission to
take all the boxes they could find in the shed. They found so many that
they were able to select those best suited to the different species of
animals, and yet have quite a stock to fall back upon in case they
should make additions to their menagerie.
Now that the boys had found cages ready made, and needing only some
bars or slats across the front, they did not think it necessary to
hurry. They stayed for some time to talk of Abner, and to test some
doughnuts Aunt Olive was frying. It is very likely that they would have
remained even longer than they did, if the doughnut-frying had not been
completed, and the tempting dainties placed upon a high shelf beyond
their reach, as a gentle intimation that they had had about as many as
they would get that afternoon.
After leaving the house, they walked leisurely towards the barn,
little dreaming what a state of confusion their property was inuntil
Reddy rushed out of the tent, his jacket torn, his face bleeding, and
his general appearance that of a boy who had been having rather a hard
time of it.
CHAPTER XIX. THE SHOW BROKE UP
Why, what's the matter? Why don't you stay an' watch the animals?
asked Bob, in a tone intended to convey reproach and surprise that one
of the projectors of the enterprise should desert his post of duty.
Watch the animals? screamed Reddy, in a rage; you go an' watch
'em awhile instead of eatin' doughnuts, an' see how you like it. Mr.
Stubbs's brother picked a hole in the bag so my cat got out, an' she
jumped on the calf, an' he tore 'round awful till he let the hen an'
Mrs. Simpson's cat loose, an' I got knocked down an' scratched, an' the
whole show's broke up.
Reddy sat down on the ground, and wiped the blood from his face
after he had imparted the painful news; and all the party started for
the tent as rapidly as possible.
It was a scene of ruin which they looked in upon after they had
pulled aside Mr. Mansfield's flag, and one well calculated to
discourage amateur circus proprietors.
Mr. Stubbs's brother was seated amid Reddy's paper and paint,
holding the crowing hen by the head while he picked her wing-feathers
out one by one. Mrs. Simpson's cat and kittens each had one of Bob's
mice in its mouth, while Reddy's cat was chasing one of the squirrels
with a murderous purpose. The calf was no longer an inmate of the tent;
but a large rent in the canvas showed that he had opened a door for
himself when the cat scratched him; and afar in the distance he could
be seen, head down and tail up, as if fleeing from everything that
looked like a circus.
The destruction was as complete as it could well have been made in
so short a time, and the partners were, quite naturally, discouraged.
Toby retained sufficient presence of mind, amid the trouble, to rescue
the crowing hen from the murderous clutches of Mr. Stubbs's brother,
and the monkey scampered up the tent-pole, brandishing two or three of
poor biddy's best and longest wing-feathers, while he screamed with
satisfaction that he had accomplished at least a portion of the work of
stripping the fowl.
The show's broke up, an' that's all there's to it, said Bob,
sorrowfully, as he gazed alternately at the hole in the canvas and his
rapidly vanishing calf.
Are the squirrels all gone? asked Joe, driving the cat from her
intended prey long enough to allow Master Bushy-tail to gain a refuge
under the barn.
Every one, replied Reddy. The calf kicked the box over when he
come towards me, an' it looked as if there was as many as a hundred
come out jest as soon as the cover was off. I could have caught one or
two; but somehow Mrs. Simpson's cat got out of the basket jest then,
an' she flew right on to my face.
The marks on Reddy's cheeks and nose told most eloquently with what
force the cat flew, and search was at once made for that pet of the
Simpson family. She, with her kittens, had taken refuge under the barn
as soon as the boys entered, and thus another trouble was added to the
load the circus managers had to bear, for that cat must be returned to
her mistress by night, or trouble might come of it.
The mice were entirely consumed, two tails alone remaining of what
would have been shown to the good people of Guilford as strange animals
from some far-off country.
The squirrels were gone, the calf had fled, the hen was in a
thoroughly battered condition, and nothing remained of all that vast
and wonderful collection of animals except Mr. Stubbs's brother, and
the rabbits, protected by the cage which their master's thoughtfulness
[Illustration: TOBY RESCUES THE CROWING HEN FROM MR. STUBBS'S
I guess I'll take the rabbits home, said Leander, as he lifted the
box to his shoulder. It wouldn't do to have only them for animals, an'
it hain't very certain how long they'll stay alive while that monkey's
He's broke up the whole show, that's what he's done, and Ben shook
his fist at Mr. Stubbs's brother, while he tried to soothe his
What are we goin' to do? asked Toby, almost in despair.
I know what I'm goin' to do, said Ben, as he again placed the hen
under the basket; I'm goin' to crawl under the barn an' try to catch
that cat, an' then I'm goin' home with my hen.
It seemed to be the desire of all the partners to get home with what
remained of their pets, and as Ben went under the barn on his hands and
knees, Leander started off with his rabbits, Bob went to look for his
calf, Reddy gathered up his bundle of paper, and Joe seized his
pasteboard box, all going away where they could think over the ruin in
But high up on the post the cause of all this trouble chattered and
scolded, while his master sat on the ground, looking at him as if he
wondered whether or not it would ever be possible to reform such a
CHAPTER XX. ABNER'S DEATH
After Toby was left alone in the tent, he remained for some time
looking at the triumphant monkey, and listening to Ben's attempts to
crawl around under the barn as fast as the cat could, when suddenly, as
if such a thought had not occurred to him before, he cried out:
Don't you want me to come an' help you, Ben?
You keep that monkey back, that's all the helpin' I want, Ben
replied, almost sharply, and then the sounds indicated that the cat had
suddenly changed her position to one farther under the barn, while the
boy was trying to frighten her out.
Give it up, Ben, shouted Toby, after waiting some time longer, and
not seeing any sign of success on the part of his friend. If you come
up here about dark you'll have a chance to catch her, for she'll have
to come out for something to eat.
You take the monkey into the house, an' I'll get along all right,
was the almost savage reply. She smells him, an' jest as long as he's
there she'll stay under here.
It seemed to Toby almost cruel to desert his friend and partner just
at a time when he needed assistance; but he could do no less than go
away, since he had been urged so peremptorily to do so, and, catching
his pet without much difficulty, he carried Mr. Stubbs's brother away
from the scene of the ruin he had caused.
Ben's remark, that the monkey had broke the show all up, seemed to
be very near the truth; for the boys would not think of going on with
so small a number of animals; and, even if they decided to do without
the menagerie, Bob's calf had wrecked one side of the tent so
completely that that particular piece of canvas was past mending.
I don't know what we'll do, said Toby, mournfully, after he had
finished telling the story to Aunt Olive. The boys act as if they
blamed me, because Mr. Stubbs's brother is so bad, and Joe's squirrels
an' Bob's mice are all gone. Ben's hen don't look as if she'd ever
'mount to much, an' it don't seem to me that he can get Mrs. Simpson's
cat an' every one of the kittens out from under the barn.
Now don't go to worryin' about that, Toby, said Aunt Olive, as she
patted him on the head, and gave him a large piece of cake at the same
time. You can get a dozen cats for Mrs. Simpson if she wants 'em; and
as for mice, you tell Bob to set his trap out in the granary two or
three times, an' he'll have as many as he can take care of. I'm glad
the squirrels did get away, for it seems such a sin to shut them up in
a cage when they're so happy in the woods.
Toby was cheered by the very philosophical view that Aunt Olive took
of the affair, and came to the conclusion that matters were not more
than half so bad as they might have been.
You be careful that your monkey don't get out again, an' go to
cuttin' up as he did last night, for I shall get provoked with him if
he hurts my ducks any more, and, with this bit of advice, Aunt Olive
went up-stairs to see Abner.
Toby went out to the shed to assure himself that Mr. Stubbs's
brother was tied so that he could not escape, and while he was there
Uncle Daniel came in with an armful of strips of board.
There, Toby, boy, he said, as he laid them on the floor, and
looked around for the hammer and nails, I'm going to build a pen for
your monkey right up here in one corner, so that we sha'n't be called
up again in the night by a false alarm of burglars. Besides, it's
almost time for school to begin again, an' I'm 'most too old to
commence chasing monkeys around the country in case he gets out while
Had it been suggested the day before that Mr. Stubbs's brother was
to be shut up in a cage, Toby would have thought it a very great
hardship for his pet to endure; but the experience he had had in the
last twenty-four hours convinced him that the imprisonment was for the
He helped Uncle Daniel in his labor to such purpose that, when it
was time for him to go to the pasture, the cage was built, and Mr.
Stubbs's brother was in it, looking as if he considered himself a
thoroughly abused monkey, because he was not allowed to play just such
pranks as had roused the household as well as broken up the circus
On his way to the pasture, Toby met Joe, and the two had a long talk
about the disaster of the afternoon. Joe believed that the enterprise
must be abandonedfor that summer at leastas it would take them some
time to repair the damage done, and his short experience in the
business caused him to believe that they could hardly hope to compete
with real circuses until they had more material with which to work.
Joe promised to see the other partners that evening or the next
morning; and, if they were of the same opinion, the tent should be
taken down and returned to its owner.
Perhaps we can fix it all right next year, an' then Abner will be
'round to help, said Toby, as he parted with Joe that night; and thus
was the circus project ended very sensibly, for the chances were that
it would have been a failure if they had attempted to give their
During that afternoon Toby had worried less about Abner than on any
day since he had been sick; he had felt that his friend's recovery was
certain, and a load was lifted from his shoulders when he and Joe had
decided regarding the circus; for, that out of the way, he could devote
all his attention to his sick friend. Surely, with the ponies and the
monkey they could have a great deal of sport during the two weeks that
yet remained before school would begin, and Toby felt thoroughly happy.
But his happiness was changed to alarm very soon after he entered
the house, for the doctor was there again, and, from the look on the
faces of Uncle Daniel and Aunt Olive, he knew Abner must be worse.
What is it, Uncle Dan'l? is Abner any sicker? he asked, with
quivering lip, as he looked up at the wrinkled face that ever wore a
kindly look for him.
Uncle Daniel laid his hand affectionately on the head of the boy,
whom he had cared for with the tenderness of a father since the day he
repented and asked forgiveness for having run away, and his voice
trembled as he said:
It is very likely that the good God will take the crippled boy to
Himself to-night, Toby, and there in the heavenly mansions will he find
relief from all his pain and infirmities. Then the poor-farm boy will
no longer be an orphan or deformed, but, with his Almighty Father, will
enter into such joys as we can have no conception of.
Oh, Uncle Dan'l! must Abner really die? cried Toby, while the
great tears chased each other down his cheeks, and he hid his face on
Uncle Daniel's knee.
He will die here, Toby, boy, but it is simply an awakening into a
perfect, glorious life, to which I pray that both you and I may be
prepared to go when our Father calls us.
For some time there was silence in the room, broken only by Toby's
sobs; and, while Uncle Daniel stroked the weeping boy's head, the great
white-winged messenger of God came into the chamber above, bearing away
with him the spirit of the poor-farm boy.