Stories of Rainbow and Lucky, volume 4: Selling Lucky, by Jacob Abbott (NY: Harper & Brothers, Publishers, 1860)
THE LUCKY ESCAPE.
RAINBOW AND LUCKY.
HARPER & BROTHERS, PUBLISHERS,
Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year one thousand eight hundred and fifty-nine, by
HARPER & BROTHERS,
In the Clerk’s Office of the District Court of the Southern District of New York.
RAINBOW AND LUCKY.
ORDER OF THE VOLUMES
THE THREE PINES.
RAINBOW AND LUCKY.
[table of contents]
CHAPTER … PAGE
I. Solomon … 11
II. A Surprise … 20
III. The Stage-coach … 24
IV. Calculations … 30
V. Instructions … 41
VI. The last Feeding … 50
VII. Setting out … 54
VIII. A Dodge … 60
IX. The Compromise … 66
X. Incidents by the Way … 76
XI. Cheap Accommodations … 83
XII. The Two Thieves … 88
XIII. How it turned out … 95
XIV. Prospect of an Offer … 105
XV. A Bargain made … 111
XVI. Narrow Escape … 121
XVII. Lucky takes a Ride … 135
XVIII. Finding the Way in Boston … 150
XIX. At the Stable … 155
XX. An Offer … 169
XXI. Conclusion … 182
[list of engravings]
The lucky Escape … Frontispiece.
Rainbow and Solomon … 15
Trigget and his Company … 38
The fair Match … 68
Mr. Truman’s Politeness … 113
Rainbow and Johnny … 163
Although Rainbow was a colored boy, he was not at all disliked on that account. It is true that strange boys, when they first saw him, were apt to experience some feeling of aversion against him on account of his color and race, yet afterward, when they became acquainted with him, they very seldom failed to make a great favorite of him on account of his intelligence, his good-nature, and his readiness to assist and oblige every body, so far as it lay in his power.
His mother had taught him to depend entirely on the exercise of these good qualities in making his way among other boys. “He must rely wholly,” she used to say, “on his patience, forbearance, and good-humor for his protection from insult and wrong.”
“You can not right yourself by force,” said she, “for you are only one, and they are a great
many. But if, when they injure you, you bear it patiently, and return good for evil, they will be ashamed of themselves in the end, and will treat you better than they otherwise would have done, in order to make up.”
Rainbow was also a very ingenious boy; and while he was at work at Southerton with Handie, repairing Handie’s house, he learned to use carpenters’ tools very well, and could do any common sort of work quite scientifically. When he returned home to his mother’s after that memorable expedition, he used a part of the money which he had earned in purchasing, with his mother’s consent and approval, some common carpenters’ tools, such as a saw, a plane, a hammer, some gimlets, and some chisels. With these he established quite a little shop in a back shed connected with his mother’s house; and when he had got his bench made and his tools arranged, he told his mother that if she would buy him some boards he would build her a new front fence.
His mother liked nothing better than this. She was thrifty and prosperous in her affairs, and had some money laid by—a sum composed partly of her own and partly of Rainbow’s earnings; so she bought the lumber, and Rainbow began to make the fence. It was to be made
of posts hewed square and planed smooth, with bars, to pass from one post to another, of narrow boards, all made of equal length, and nicely planed. Rainbow’s plan was to paint the fence white as soon as it was done. There was also to be a gate. This gate was to be placed opposite to the path which led up the yard to the door.
One day, in the month of October, not a great while after Rainbow returned home, he was at work upon his fence in front of his mother’s house, when, raising his eyes a moment from his work, he saw a boy coming along the road toward him.
“Ah!” said Rainbow to himself; “here comes Solomon. Now I shall have some help.”
Solomon, who lived not far off; liked very much to come to see Rainbow, and whenever he heard the sound of his hammer upon the fence before the house he was almost sure to come. He liked to stand by while Rainbow was at work and hear him talk. He liked also to help him by handing him his tools, or going of little errands for him, or hold up one end of a board while he was nailing the other end. He was depending also on Rainbow’s letting him paint a little, when the time came for painting the fence.
Solomon began to help Rainbow in these and other ways as soon as he came up, and, while the two were at work together in this manner, they fell into conversation as follows:
“Did you have a pretty good time, Rainbow, while you were at Southerton?”
“Yes,” said Rainbow, “I had an excellent time, especially with Lucky.”
“Who is Lucky?” asked Solomon.
“He is a colt,” said Rainbow; “or, rather, a horse, for he is pretty full grown now. He is just about as much of a horse as Mr. Level is of a man.”
“What sort of a horse is he?” asked Solomon.
“Black,” replied Rainbow, “and very smart.”
“How was he smart?” asked Solomon. “What could he do?”
“Why, he used to play bo-peep with me as well as you could.”
“Oh, Rainbow!” exclaimed Solomon, “how can you tell such a fib?”
“He could, upon my word,” said Rainbow. “He would get among the big trees in the pasture, and run around them, first one way and then the other, hiding away from me. When I hid behind a tree, he would come creeping around to find me; and when he saw me and I
RAINBOW AND SOLOMON.
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ran toward him, he would turn round and bound away round to the other side of the tree.”
“Oh, Rainbow!” exclaimed Solomon. “And would he laugh?” he asked.
“No,” replied Rainbow, “he did not exactly laugh, but he would stand sometimes and look me right in the face, and almost laugh. He would play with me so for a long time. And then, when I did not want to play any more, I would say, ‘No play, Lucky,’ and hold out my hand, and then he would stop playing at once and come directly to me.”
“What a horse!” said Solomon.
“I used to make bargains with him sometimes,” said Rainbow. “I could make a bargain with him as well as I could with you.”
“What sort of bargains?” asked Solomon.
“Why, one day,” replied Rainbow, “Mrs. Blooman wanted me to go to mill for her.”
“Who was Mrs. Blooman?” asked Solomon.
“Why, she is the woman that owns Lucky. She lives in a small house next to Mr. Level’s farm.”
“Well,” said Solomon, “go on.”
“She wanted me to go to mill for her,” said Rainbow. “So I measured out the corn, and put it in a bag, and brought it out into the yard
to put it on Lucky’s back. Lucky came up to me as soon as he saw the bag and began to smell of it, and when he found that there was corn in it, he determined that he would not have it put upon his back unless I first gave him some of it.
“He let me put the bridle on without any difficulty, but then, when I took up the bag in order to put it on his back, he would not have it put on. ‘No you don’t,’ says he.”
“Oh, Rainbow!” said Solomon, “now I know you are fibbing, for I’m sure a horse could not speak.”
“Oh, I don’t mean that he spoke out in words,” replied Rainbow. “It was by his actions he said it. He did not run away. He kept close to me, but he would not let me come to his side to throw the bag over. When I tried to get to his side he would wheel round, so as to keep his head toward inc and his back out of my reach; and if I tried to go to the other side, then he would wheel round the other way, and I could not get near any part of him except his head.”
“You ought to have led him up to the fence,” said Solomon.
“I did,” replied Rainbow. “But that did not do any good. He would back off, and sidle
and dodge about so that I could not get near him. he said that he positively would not let me put the corn on his back unless I first gave him some of it to eat. ‘How much must I give you, Lucky?’ says I. ‘Will a small handful do?’ He did not answer, but stood looking at me, and I thought I saw him shaking his head—not much—just a very little. ‘You want a large double handful,’ says I. He looked as if he would like a double handful very much. But I told him, in the end, that I could not give him a double handful, but I would give him a single handful if he would promise positively to let me put the bag on his back. He looked as if, on the whole, he was satisfied with that, and so I gave him a handful of corn. And he held well to his bargain.”
“Did he?” asked Solomon.
“Yes,” said Rainbow, “he did indeed. I untied the bag, and took out a handful of the corn, and put it down on the step of the door for him to eat, and he stood perfectly still while he was eating it, and let me put the bag on his back without making any more difficulty.”
One day, a short time after the conversation between Rainbow and Solomon recorded in the last chapter, Rainbow went to the village, by permission of his mother, to buy some white-lead and some linseed oil, to make paint with for painting his fence. He had mixed these ingredients at the place where he had bought them, and had put them in a little bucket which the man gave him—made of a paint-keg, with a piece of rope for a bail—and was now walking along the street on his way toward home. Just as he was passing the town pump he heard the voice of some one calling to him. He turned in the direction from which the voice proceeded, and he saw Handie coming toward him with an open letter in his hand.
“Rainbow,” said Handie, “I am very glad that I happened to see you. Here is a letter which I have just got from Southerton.”
“There’s no bad news in it, I hope?” said Rainbow.
“No,” said Handle; “the main thing is a plan for you to go off on a long journey. I don’t know whether you will like it very well.”
“If it is with you, I’ll go, wherever it is,” said Rainbow.
“It is not with me,” said Handie, “and that is the worst of it—at least it would be only a part of the way with me. The case is, that Mrs. Blooman has concluded to sell Lucky, and she wants you to take him to Boston and find somebody to buy him.”
“To Boston!” exclaimed Rainbow, in great astonishment. The idea of going to Boston was as much beyond the usual range of any flights which his imagination allowed itself to take as going to the moon would be; and the thought of taking Lucky there, with the responsibility of selling him and bringing home the money, was for the moment perfectly overwhelming.
“Mrs. Blooman says,” continued Handie, “that nobody knows so much about Lucky as you do, or can manage him or show him off so well; and that, if I will give you exact instructions what to do, and how to manage the business, she thinks there is nobody that she would be so willing to trust as you.”
“My soul!” exclaimed Rainbow, in a most emphatic tone. The fact was, his soul was so
filled with amazement and exultation at the grand vista which was thus suddenly opened before him that he scarcely knew what to say. He felt an almost irrepressible desire to begin capering and dancing about the street, and it is very likely that he would have done so if it had not been that he was restrained by the bucket of paint which he held in his hand.
“You can think about it,” said Handie, “and ask your mother what she thinks about it, and come to-morrow and tell me what you conclude upon. If you accept the offer, you will go to Southerton with me the first of next week. So come to-morrow and tell me your decision.”
When Rainbow reached home, he put his little bucket of paint down upon the steps of the door, in a safe place at one side of the entrance, and went in at once to tell his mother the news. His mother was almost as much astonished as he himself had been, and perhaps was quite as much pleased, though she did not feel the same impulse to express her delight by dancing and capering. In respect to the question what it was best to do, she had a very short and easy way of coming to a decision.
“Whatever Mr. Level thinks you can do, I am perfectly willing that you should try,” said she, and this Rainbow very properly consider-
ed as settling the question; so he went out and commenced his work of painting his fence in a state of mental delight and exaltation which caused him to make some of the most extraordinary flourishes with his brush that ever were seen.
On the following day he went to find Handie, and to report to him his mother’s decision. Arrangements were made for him to leave town, in company with Handie, in the stage on the Monday following.
“I am very glad to go,” said he; “but then I shall not know how to go to work to sell Lucky in Boston, when I get there.”
“You’ll have exact instructions,” replied Handie, “so you need not give yourself any uneasiness on that account.”
On Monday, at half past five o’clock in the evening—the stage was to leave at six o’clock—Rainbow arrived at the stage-office with a small bundle in his hand, which contained the clothes that he was going to take with him.
There were several passengers assembled on the piazza of the hotel, in readiness for the stage. Rainbow, however, did not stop here, but, laying his bundle down with the rest of the baggage, he went round into the stable yard to help harness the horses.
Trigget, the driver of the stage, was there. Trigget was not, however, employed in harnessing the horses. The hostlers were doing that. He was just then engaged in paying some money to a farmer of the neighborhood, of whom he had been buying a quantity of oats.
As soon as he saw Rainbow coming his eye brightened up at once.
“Ah! Rainbow,” said he, “I am glad that you are going. In case any accident happens, you’re the handiest fellow I know. You are handier than Handie himself.”
“I want a seat outside with you,” said Rainbow.
“That’s right,” said Trigget. “And now, boys,” he added, turning to the hostlers, “buckle up the straps in double-quick time, for it’s getting toward six o’clock.”
Rainbow assisted the hostlers to finish harnessing the horses, and then, mounting on the box, he drove round to the front side of the tavern. He remained on the box holding the horses while Trigget put the trunks upon the rack behind, and secured there by means of an immense strap. As for Rainbow’s bundle, Trigget tossed it up to Rainbow as he sat in the driver’s seat, and Rainbow put it in a safe place in the boot. The passengers then got in, and Trigget mounted up to his place in front. Rainbow made way for him, and gave him the reins. Trigget remained quietly in his place, holding the reins in his hand, and now and then giving a gentle crack with his whip, as if to keep his horses on the alert, until he heard the first stroke of the great clock on the green beginning to strike six. The instant
that he heard the sound of the clock he drew in the reins, and called aloud to the horses to “come up.” At the same time he cracked his whip twice over the leaders’ heads, and once over the pole horses. The cracks were as loud as the report of a pistol. The horses, which had been waiting for some minutes in expectation of these signals, sprang forward to their work the instant that they heard them, and began trotting along the street through the village at great speed.
Handie was upon the top of the coach too, with Rainbow and Trigget. He liked riding outside, even in the night, better than inside, as Rainbow did also. After leaving the village, and entering upon a smooth and level piece of road, where the horses seemed to take special delight in trotting and cantering along as fast as they could go, Handie introduced conversation with Trigget by remarking that he had a pretty good load of passengers that night.
“Yes,” said Trigget, “and I have got one more to take up on the road about two miles from here—a young collegian. We shall find him as conceited as a peacock.”
“Oh no,” said Handie.
“Wait and see, that’s all,” said Trigget. “I never could find out any good it does to send
boys to college except to make them conceited.”
“But he’ll get inside,” said Handie, “and then we shall have no opportunity of finding out whether he is conceited or not.”
“Not he,” said Trigget; “you never knew a collegian that was willing to ride inside. They always must ride out here with me. They are forever wanting to drive and to talk about horses. It is surprising how much more they all know about horses than I do.”
It was not long before Rainbow, looking on before him, saw a trunk and a carpet bag placed at the front gate of a pretty little farm-house standing near the road. A young man, appearing about eighteen or nineteen years of age, was at the same time coming down the walk from the front door. He was accompanied by several other members of the family, who were shaking hands with him and bidding him good-by as they walked along by his side. Among these was a small boy, who was bringing an umbrella and three canes, all strapped together in a bundle. Collegians have generally a great fancy for canes.
Trigget put the reins in Rainbow’s hands, and got down from his seat in order to put the new passenger’s trunk on the rack behind with the other baggage.
“Is there room for one more on the top?” said the collegian.
“Yes,” said Trigget; “there’s always room for one more on the top.”
The young man climbed up to the top and took his place by the side of Handie, a little back of the seat which was occupied by Trigget and Rainbow. The people at the gate called out again, “Good-by, William.” The boy reached up the umbrella and cane bundle, saying,
“Good-by, William; good-by. I wish I was going with you.”
“So do I,” said William. “There’s plenty of room up here.”
Trigget now, having strapped on the trunk, and having put the carpet bag into the boot, came climbing up the side of the stage, calling out to the horses at the same time to go on. They were all ready for a spring, and by the time that Trigget was ready to take the reins out of Rainbow’s hands they were trotting along the road as rapidly as ever.
William, as they called him, did indeed begin to talk about the horses as soon as he became fairly settled in his seat, and he talked, too, in somewhat of a knowing way, but he proved to be a very good-natured and pleasant young man, and not particularly conceited, after
all. Indeed, I think it may be laid down as a general rule, that if you hear a specially unfavorable account of any person whom you do not know, you will find, when you come to get acquainted with him, that he does not more than half deserve the ill account which was given of him. On the other hand, when you hear any one who is a stranger to you very extravagantly commended for certain excellent qualities which he is supposed to possess, you will find, if you come to know him intimately, that he is, after all, not so remarkable as you had been led to expect. People arc very prone to exaggerate both the faults and the excellencies of those of whom they speak, by way of making what they say more striking and interesting to those who hear it.
After going on a couple of miles beyond the farm-house where Mr. William had been taken up, the party of travelers came to a long hill. Just before coming to the foot of this hill Trigget put the horses to their full speed, and the momentum which they thus acquired carried the coach some way up the ascent. As this momentum was spent the horses gradually slackened their speed, and at length fell into a walk.
Trigget let the reins hang loose upon the horses’ backs, leaned forward in a careless attitude, with his elbows on his knees, and began to whistle a tune.
“I understand, Trigget,” said Handie, “that you’ve been getting married.”
“Yes,” said Trigget, suddenly straightening himself up and looking round to Handie, “and that is not the worst of it. I have been buying me a house.”
“Ah!” said Handie, “have you bought a house?”
“Yes,” said Trigget; “I bought John Winslow’s house, on the lake road.”
“That’s quite a nice little house,” said William.
“I shall have considerable to do to it by-and-by,” said Trigget, “to make a pretty place of it, after I get the mortgage paid off. I bought it for eight hundred dollars. Five hundred I paid down. The rest is on a mortgage.”
Trigget spoke of having paid five hundred dollars down in the purchase of his house with an air of pride and importance, which, if William had manifested it in any thing which he had said about his doings, Trigget would have considered as fully proving what he had said about his self-conceit.
“As soon as I have paid off the mortgage,” continued Trigget, “I mean to spend about one hundred dollars on the property, and that will make it a very pretty place.”
“You need not wait for that,” said Handie; “your credit is good.”
“And I mean to keep it good,” said Trigget. “No,” he added, shaking his head, “I shall not lay out a dollar on the place, unless it is to stop a leak or something of that sort, until it is mine.”
“You got a very good bargain,” said Han-
die, “in buying that house for eight hundred dollars.”
“Yes,” said Trigget, “I got an excellent bargain.”
“And John Winslow did very well, too, to get eight hundred dollars for it, and sure pay.”
“Yes,” said Trigget, “it was a good bargain for him and me too.”
“That is impossible,” said William. “It could not be a good bargain for you both.”
“Why not?” asked Trigget.
“Why not?” repeated William. “For a very clear reason. This is the way I prove it. A man buying a thing makes a good bargain when he gets it for less than it is worth. A man selling a thing makes a good bargain when he sells it for more than it is worth. Now, if you bought the house for less than it is worth, John Winslow could not have sold it for more than it is worth, therefore it could hot have been a good bargain for you both. Quod erat demonstrandum.”
“Quoddy rat what?” said Trigget. “And what sort of a rat is a quoddy rat?”
This question on the part of Trigget produced a general laugh at Mr. William’s expense, in which, however, Mr. William himself had the good sense to join. In fact, he felt
that he deserved to be laughed at for making such a blunder as quoting his college Latin to a stage-driver.
Mr. William was wrong in his logic too, as well as in his taste and discretion in quotations. It is possible for a bargain to be a good one to both parties to it, as will appear more fully in the sequel.
“You may make it out just as you please, with your college reasoning,” said Trigget, after the laugh had subsided, “about what can and what can not be in respect to bargains; all I know is, that this bargain was a first-rate one for John Winslow, and I think it is a good one for me. As for John, he built the house himself, and he says it cost him in all, including a fair allowance for his time at days’ wages, less than seven hundred and fifty dollars, and, as he gets eight hundred for it, he makes a good profit on it, and he can use the money to excellent advantage in building a store that he has contracted for.”
“Is he a carpenter?” asked William.
“Yes,” said Trigget, “he is a carpenter, and a first-rate workman. He gains every way by selling the house to me, and so he makes a good bargain.”
“I allow,” said William, “that he may make
a good bargain, for he sells his house for fifty dollars more than it is worth. But then you can’t make a good bargain in that case, for you, of course, pay fifty dollars more than it is worth.”
“I did not say that eight hundred dollars was fifty dollars more than it was worth,” said Trigget, “but fifty dollars more than it cost him to build it.”
“Which amounts to the same thing,” said William.
“Not at all the same thing,” replied Trigget. “The house cost John Winslow seven hundred and fifty dollars. lt is worth to me more than eight hundred, as I can prove.”
“Let us hear you prove it,” said William.
“Why, the way I calculated was this,” said Trigget: “I can’t hire a house as good as that, for me and my wife to live in—”
“You ought to say for my wife and me,” interrupted William.
“Very well—for Sarah and me, then, for less than seventy-five dollars. But the pleasure of living in your own house, over and above that of living in a hired one, is all of one third greater, if the two houses are themselves the same so that living in this house, if I own it, is about the same to me as one hundred dollars a year.
Now let us see what it costs me. I paid for it five hundred dollars down. That money was out at interest, and it brought me in thirty dollars, and that interest is, of course, now stopped; so there is thirty dollars. Then there is a mortgage on the house of three hundred, for which I pay eighteen dollars interest. That makes forty-eight dollars which the use of the house costs me, instead of one hundred. Isn’t that a fair calculation, Handie?”
“No,” replied Handie, “I don’t think it is.”
“Why not?” asked Trigget.
“Because you have left out several things that ought to be taken into the account.”
“Such as what?” asked Trigget.
“Why, there are the repairs,” said Handie. “When you hire a house the owner pays for the repairs.”
“Nevertheless, it is generally pretty hard to make them do it,” said Trigget.
“Very well,” rejoined Handie; “if they don’t do it then the house runs out of repair, and at last, when the tenant leaves it, they have to lay out a large sum to bring it up again, so that a new tenant will take it.”
“You found your farm at The Three Pines somewhat in that condition,” said Trigget; “did not you?”
“Yes,” said Handie; “and the trustee had to lay out two or three hundred dollars upon it all at once.”
“How much, then, ought I to reckon every year for the repairs of my house, to keep it in good order?”
“Let us see,” said Handie, musing; and then, after a moment’s pause, he added, “say twelve dollars a year.”
“Very well,” said Trigget; “add that to forty-eight dollars, and it is sixty.”
“Then there is the insurance and the taxes,” said Handie, “say five dollars more.”
“No,” said Trigget, “I don’t add any thing for insurance and taxes, for there is as much risk of my losing my money when it is out at interest as there is of the house being burned up, especially with such a careful wife as I have got. And then as to taxes, they tax me for money at interest just as much as they would for the same amount in a house.”
There was some farther conversation between Handie and Trigget upon the question whether the items of insurance and taxes ought to come into the account, but I believe they did not succeed in coming to an absolute agreement on the question. In fact, Handie said that it was not necessary to decide the point, for, even
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TRIGGETT AND HIS COMPANY.
if a proper allowance were made on this account, it would still be clear that Trigget had made an excellent bargain in buying the house, and that, consequently, the operation was an advantageous one on both sides.
Indeed, there is no doubt that Mr. William’s argument, though in form it seemed very logical and complete, was in fact fallacious. The fallacy consists in the ambiguity of the word worth. The worth of a thing is not a fixed and certain element depending solely on the property itself, and, consequently, to be considered the same from whatever point of view it is regarded. On the contrary, it is a very uncertain one, depending greatly on the circumstances and condition of the supposed owner, and the use which he intends making of it. Thus a house may be worth much more to one man than it is to another, and a man who owns it may sell it for more than it is worth to him, while yet he sells it for less than it is worth to the buyer, and so the bargain may be good to both parties.
While Trigget and the others had been holding the conversation just recorded on the top of the stage-coach, Rainbow listened to all that was said with great attention, though he did not attempt to take any part in the debate. He
was satisfied, however, from what he heard, that it was possible that a bargain should be good for both the parties to it, and he said to himself that he hoped, in case he should take Lucky to Boston, and succeed in finding some one to buy him, that the bargain would turn out to be a good one both to Mrs. Blooman and to the purchaser too.
“Now, Rainbow,” said Handie, on the morning of the day after they went to Southerton, “I am going into the village, and I should like to have you go with me, and on the way I will give you your instructions.”
So Rainbow, who was at that time in the barn at work upon Lucky, currying him, and rubbing him down, and getting him ready to make a good appearance on his journey, put his curry-comb and brush away, and went with Handie. When he approached the gate leading out into the road, he went forward and opened it, and he held it open until Handie had passed through. Then he shut the gate, and, running on, he overtook Handie, and began to walk along by his side.
“You are to set out to-morrow,” said Handie.
“Very well,” said Rainbow; “I am ready at any time.”
“We calculate that it will take you four days to reach Boston, and Mrs. Blooman will allow you one dollar a day for yourself and for the
horse, to pay expenses on the way. Out of that you are to give the horse half a peck of oats every day, and as much hay as he can cat, in order to keep him in good condition. As to the rest of the money, you can expend as much of it as you please upon yourself, or as little of it. All that you can lay up of it will be your own.”
“I shall lay up a good deal of it, you may depend,” said Rainbow.
“Besides your expenses,” continued Handie, Mrs. Blooman will allow you fifty cents a day for your time, while you are gone, or she will give you five per cent. on the value of the horse, if you sell him, and nothing if you don’t sell him, at your option.”
“At my option?” said Rainbow.
“That means whichever you please,” said Handie. “You can have two dollars and a half certain—that is, fifty cents a day for five days, four going and one coming home by the railroad; or you can have six dollars and seventy-five cents on condition that you sell the colt for a hundred and twenty-five dollars, or five dollars on condition that you sell him for one hundred dollars, with nothing at all if you do not sell him. You must not sell him unless you can get one hundred dollars for him.”
“Which would you do?” asked Rainbow.
“That depends upon what you think the chances are that you can sell him,” said Handie.
“I am sure I can sell him for one hundred dollars,” said Rainbow. “Any body that wants a horse at all would be glad to give a hundred dollars for Lucky.”
“Then you had better take the commission,” said Handie.
“I will,” said Rainbow.
“But if you decide to take the risk,” said Handie, “for the sake of a larger sum than you could have with the certainty, and you fail to sell, you must carry out the agreement honorably, and not expect Mrs. Blooman to pay you any wages.”
“No,” said Rainbow, “I will not.”
“If you sell the horse,” continued Handie, “you are to come home yourself by the railroad, and Mrs. Blooman will allow money to pay the fare, and fifty cents for your day’s expenses. If you do not sell the horse, then you will come home on horseback, and you will have a dollar a day for expenses for four days: all of that money that you can save to be yours, provided always that you give the horse half a peck of oats or of corn every day, and as much hay as he can eat.”
“Yes,” said Rainbow, “I’ll be very particular to do that.”
“You are not to wait until you get to Boston before you try to sell Lucky,” continued Handie, “but are to offer him for sale all along the road, wherever you find any body disposed to inquire; only you are not to sell him for less than one hundred and twenty-five dollars until you get to Boston.
“When you get to Boston,” continued Handie, “you are to go at once to Mr. Miles. Mr. Miles keeps a livery-stable. Here is a letter for him from one of the stage proprietors. It is a letter of introduction.”
So saying, Handie took out from his pocket what appeared to be two letters. One of them he handed to Rainbow.
“You will tell him,” continued Handie, “that you have Lucky to sell, and, if he does not want him himself, he will help you sell him. You will find Mr. Miles very kind and friendly, and he will do all he can for you.
“This other paper is a certificate,” continued Handie.
“A certificate?” repeated Rainbow, with curiosity.
“Yes,” replied Handie; “it is a certificate to your good character. I got it day before yes-
terday, before we came away from home. It is signed by the selectmen of the town. There are several occasions on which such a certificate may be of great service to you. It is a sort of universal letter of introduction.”
Rainbow did not know what to say to this. The idea of his being the subject of so important and dignified a document as a certificate, and that, too, signed by the selectmen of the town, quite overpowered him.
“I will read the certificate to you,” said Handie.
So saying, he opened the paper, and read as follows:
“This may certify that the bearer of this, commonly called Rainbow, colored boy, is well known to us, and to all the people of this town, and that he is a boy of excellent character. He is honest, truthful, and trustworthy. He speaks the truth and keeps his promises, and he needs no watching. He is accordingly hereby recommended, as a safe and reliable boy, to all who may have any dealings with him.”
This certificate was signed by the names of the three selectmen, and properly dated. When Handie had finished reading it he folded it up,
returned it into its envelope, and put it into Rainbow’s hands.
“Have you got a wallet?” asked Handie.
Rainbow had a wallet, and a very good one too. He had been very much interested in the affair of the wallet which was lost in the stagecoach at the time of his first journey to Southerton with Handie, and had been very much pleased with the wallet himself, which Handie allowed him to inspect freely after he became the owner of it, and he determined to expend the first money he should have of his own in purchasing a good wallet for himself. This he accordingly did, and when Handie asked him if he had a wallet, he answered by drawing a good substantial one from his pocket. It was made of brown morocco, and was fastened by a steel clasp.
“Yes,” said Handie, “that will do very well.” So he folded the two letters double, in order to make them small enough to go into the wallet, and Rainbow put them in. Then, having fastened the wallet with the clasp, he put it back into his pocket.
“So now you understand all the particulars of the agreement between you and Mrs. Blooman,” said Handie.
“Yes, sir,” said Rainbow, “I understand
them, I believe. Shall you make a writing of them?”
Rainbow had often heard Handie say that, as a general rule, it was best to have a memorandum in writing of all important business arrangements, in order to prevent disputes, and it was natural for him to think that that would be the proper course to pursue in this ease.
“No,” said Handie. “That is a good general rule; but I have heard it said that, in dealing with a woman, a witness is better than a writing, in cases where a witness will do. Women are afraid of writings. It puts them all in a trepidation, just the signing of their name to one; so it is better to have a witness, which in law amounts to the same thing. I shall tell you again, in Mrs. Blooman’s hearing, all the particulars of the agreement, and ask her and you if you both agree to the bargain. Then, you see, I shall be a witness of what the agreement was in ease of any dispute.”
“I don’t think there will be any dispute,” said Rainbow.
“No,” replied Handie; “but there would very likely be one, or at least a misunderstanding, if we did not make the bargain in a very distinct and formal manner. If you and Mrs. Blooman were to make the bargain by your-
selves, without any writing or any witness, it would be very likely not to be precise and definite in all points, and there would be great room for misunderstandings and disputes. But now it is all right. You see I am an impartial witness between you. I am not interested on either side.”
Rainbow was somewhat surprised to hear Handie say that he was not interested on either side, for he supposed that Handie felt a strong interest in him, and in his success in the proposed undertaking. But what Handie meant was that he was not interested in a legal sense, that is, in any pecuniary or material way. His interest in Rainbow’s success, which was very strong, was a sort of moral interest only, which did not disqualify him from being a good witness to the terms of agreement.
By this time Handie and Rainbow reached the village, and, after transacting their business, they returned together to Mrs. Blooman’s house. There, in the course of the evening of that day, Handie repeated to Rainbow, in Mrs. Blooman’s presence, the terms of the agreement as he had explained them to Rainbow, and they were assented to by both the contracting parties.
Handie also gave Rainbow some farther in-
structions, and also one or two other papers, which will be more particularly referred to hereafter, and it was then decided that he should set out on his journey early the next morning.
The Last Feeding.
A little before sunset, on the day before Rainbow was going to set out on his journey to Boston, he went out into the barn to give Lucky some oats in order to recruit his strength for the journey. He measured out four quarts of oats at the bin, and then brought them and poured them into the crib. Lucky immediately began to eat them with great voracity. He was astonished at the quantity. He had never in his life had four quarts of oats at a time before. He thought that Rainbow must have made some mistake, and he thought he had better eat the oats up as fast as possible, before there should be any opportunity for him to rectify the error.
Rainbow stood by the side of Lucky in the stall to see him eat the oats. Lucky watched him closely, turning his head that way from time to time when he had his mouth full, and wondering whether Rainbow was going to take any of the oats away.
“This will be the last supper you will ever have in this barn, Lucky,” said Rainbow, “and you had better take as much comfort in it as you can. I don’t know whether you understand that this is the last time, but it is, nevertheless. You and I have had a great many good times together in this barn, and in the one that was burned, but we shall never have any more. To-morrow night you will be twenty-five miles from here at the least, and in three days you will be in Boston. There you are going to be sold, Lucky, and I shall see you no more.”
Lucky made no reply to this touching address, except by turning his head and looking full into Rainbow’s face, with an expression of great satisfaction and gratitude beaming in his countenance.
“I am afraid that you would not look quite so pleased and contented as you do, Lucky,” said Rainbow, “if you only knew what is going to happen to you. You are going to be sold, Lucky. I am sorry for that, if you are not.”
Just at this moment Rainbow heard Handie’s voice calling to him from the yard. He hastily brushed his hand over his eyes, and, leaving Lucky at his supper, went out to see what Handie wanted.
“Have you got every thing ready for your journey?” asked Handie.
Rainbow said in reply that he believed every thing was ready.
“And I have just been giving Lucky his last supper.”
“Yes,” said Handie, “it is his last supper at this crib. I am rather sorry to have him sold, after all.”
“I wish you would buy him, Mr. Level,” added Rainbow. “I am sure he is worth more than a hundred dollars. You could keep him a year and let me train him, and then he would be worth a hundred and seventy-five or two hundred dollars, and I could make him earn his living in the mean time.”
“How could you make him earn his living?” asked Handie.
“In carrying the mail,” said Rainbow. “Trigget says that, if I could get a horse any where, he would hire me to carry the mail up the river. He has to send a mail on horseback up the river about twenty-five miles. It has to go one day and come back the next. If I had a horse he would hire me to do it, and would pay me thirty dollars a month. So, if I had Lucky, I could have that work, and I could make Lucky earn a good deal more than his
living, and not hurt him at all. He would not mind twenty-five miles a day under the saddle, with nothing to carry but me and a light mail, any more than he would cantering about the pasture.”
“That would be an excellent operation,” said Handie. “If I only had the money, I would buy Lucky myself and let you take him for that work.”
“I don’t think that Mrs. Blooman wants the money at present,” said Rainbow.
“No, I suppose not,” replied Handie; “and besides, if she did, I have no doubt that I could borrow it and pay her. But the thing is, I don’t wish to get any more into debt. I have got considerable to do to pay the money I borrowed to buy my time, and I must not load myself too heavily. So I think we shall have to let Lucky go.”
At length the morning came when Rainbow was to set out on his expedition. His plan was to have breakfast at six o’clock, and to set out immediately afterward.
He rose very early, and gave Lucky an excellent breakfast of oats. Lucky was more surprised than ever when he saw Rainbow coming with grain again in the morning. He began to wonder what he had done that people had suddenly become so good to him.
Rainbow put on the saddle, also, before breakfast, and laid a large empty bag across it. The saddle was an old one, and not of much value, and it had been arranged that he was to sell it, with the horse if he could; if not, to bring it back with him by the train.
There was a little pad behind the saddle, with a pair of strings on each side. Rainbow put up his clothes in a long bundle, shaped like a roll, and this he placed upon the pad, and tied it securely there by means of the strings. He called this bundle his valise.
After breakfast he brought the horse round to the door, and then, after bidding Mrs. Blooman and Handie good-by, he mounted him, and set out upon his journey.
Lucky thought that he was only going to the village, or perhaps to some of the farmers’ houses within two or three miles of home, as he had often done before; so he went very willingly. In fact, he rather liked going with Rainbow on these short excursions. He enjoyed the open air and the sight of the green fields, and then he often met other horses on the road that he could neigh to as he went by.
Lucky was confirmed in his idea that Rainbow was only going a short distance by the fact that when he reached the village he stopped at one of the stores, and, after fastening Lucky at the door, took the bag off from the saddle and went in. Presently he came out with the bag half filled with grain, and put it across the saddle, balancing it, as is usually done in such cases, by separating the grain, and causing half of it to fall into each end of the bag.
“Ah!” thought Lucky, when he felt the weight of the bag of grain upon the saddle, “now I know where we are going. We are going to mill.”
Accordingly, as soon as Rainbow had mounted again, Lucky, of his own accord, turned off on the road which led toward the mill.
This, as it happened, was the right road for Boston, and so Rainbow allowed Lucky to go on as he pleased. After proceeding about a mile and a half they came to a bridge leading across a rapid brook, and just beyond the brook was a road leading off up the valley, along the bank of the brook, toward the mill. Lucky took it for granted that he was to turn up this road, and was proceeding to do so, when suddenly he felt Rainbow pulling hard upon the bridle-rein on the other side, to pull him back into the main road.
“No, Lucky,” said Rainbow, “we are not going to mill to-day, though I have got a bag of grain upon the saddle. It is not corn that is in this bag, to be ground at the mill. It is oats for you to eat.”
Lucky could understand some words as spoken by Rainbow, and there were even some short sentences that he could make out, but he could by no means follow out the meaning of such a sentence as this. However, he obeyed the rein and went on in the main road, very much wondering where Rainbow could be meaning to go.
After trotting on about two miles farther he began to be alarmed at the distance that he was going away from home. He tried to turn at every corner and to stop at every farmhouse; and every time, in such cases, when Rainbow pulled the rein on the other side to make him go on, he thought that the next place that he came to would certainly be the one where he was to stop. At length, being continually disappointed in this expectation, he began to be very uneasy in mind.
He determined to see if he could not contrive some means of getting away from Rainbow, and so go galloping back. While he was revolving this subject in his mind, he came to a spot where there was a watering-place for horses on one side of the road, in a brook which had a smooth, sandy bottom, so that horses, even if they were harnessed to chaises or wagons, could be safely driven through it. Lucky was not thirsty, but he pretended that he was, in order to induce Rainbow to let him go through the brook. He had noticed that when he was in the wagon, and went through a brook in that way, Rainbow often got out to let down the bridle-rein in order that he might drink. In such cases Rainbow used to let Lucky go on through the brook alone, while he crossed him-
self by jumping over the stones or going round by the bridge, in order to hook up the rein again before he got into the wagon. Lucky had not a very clear idea of the object of all these manuvres, but he had a certain vague recollection of the fact that in going through a brook in such cases he was usually left for a few minutes quite at liberty, and his plan now was to take advantage of this liberty, should it be allowed him, as he hoped it would be, to spring away and go home on the run, before Rainbow could get hold of him.
He had not noticed, or, if he had noticed, he had forgotten, that it was only when he was drawing the wagon that he was left at liberty in this way when crossing a brook. Indeed, Lucky, though a remarkably smart and intelligent horse for one of his age, was by no means always very clear in respect to such distinctions as these.
Accordingly, when he reached the margin of the water, he stopped in order to let Rainbow dismount before he went into it. But Rainbow said,
“Go on, Lucky. What are you afraid of?”
So Lucky was forced to go on. When he got into the middle of the brook, he was surprised and disappointed to find himself still
under Rainbow’s control, and without any liberty at all. He, however, put his lips down to the water and held them there a minute, pretending to drink, and looking back as well as he could, first with one eye and then with the other, in order to see what Rainbow was about, and why he did not get off.
Rainbow soon observed by the motionless state of Lucky’s throat that h3 was not swallowing water, so, after waiting a moment, he gathered up the reins of the bridle and said,
“Lucky, you don’t want to drink. You are only making a fool of me.”
And so he drove him on. Lucky walked out of the water, and up the ascent which led to the road on the other side, very much chagrined and quite crestfallen. He tried to turn and go over the bridge toward home; Rainbow, however, would not allow him to do any such thing, but made him go on in the direction for continuing the journey.
Things went on much in this way until about twelve o’clock. Rainbow knew when it was pretty near twelve o’clock by the sun. As he rode along he occupied his mind with making some calculations in respect to his expertises.
“I am allowed a dollar a day,” said he, “for myself and Lucky. I have got half a bushel of oats here, and I only paid twenty-five cents for it. It will last four days, if I give Lucky half a peck every day. Then for hay it will not cost much, for I can feed him a good deal upon grass by the road-side, at places where I stop to rest. I will always stop to rest at some place where there is a brook or a spring close by, so that Lucky can have a drink when he has done eating. It is almost time for us to make a halt now, for I think it is full twelve o’clock; so I will look out for a brook, and will stop at the first one we come to.
“Provided always,” he added, after a short
pause, “that there is grass growing near it. There is no grass here— nothing but bushes.”
Rainbow looked at the bushes as he rode along, and found that they were raspberry bushes, and that in many places they were hanging full of raspberries.
“Ah!” said he, “here are plenty of raspberries. Now, if there was grass here too, Lucky and I might both get our dinner by the road-side together.”
He accordingly looked along as he rode on to find some grass, and at length he came to just such a place as he desired. It was a place where the raspberry bushes grew in clumps somewhat separated from each other, and in the intervals between the bushes there was plenty of grass growing.
“Now, Lucky,” said Rainbow, “this is just what we want. I will eat the raspberries and you shall eat the grass, and so we will take our dinner together.”
So saying, Rainbow turned out to the side of the road and dismounted. Then, holding Lucky by the bridle all the time by one hand, he took out a long and strong cord from his pocket with the other.
“It won’t do for me to trust you too much, Lucky,” said he, “for if you should slip away
from me here and make for home, leaving me to walk after you ten or twelve miles, I should feel a good deal like a fool in going into Mrs. Blooman’s to give an account of myself when I got there; so I must look out. You are a pretty slippery fellow. I know you of old.”
Lucky did not pay much attention to this address, for he had begun to be somewhat hungry, and the grass beneath his feet was growing green and luxuriant, and looked very inviting. Accordingly, while Rainbow was at work getting out his cord, and attaching the end of it to the ring at the end of the bits in the bridle, Lucky was intent on cropping and eating the grass.
When at length the cord was securely attached to the bridle by one end, Rainbow took the other end in his hand, and then, after securing the bridle reins so as to prevent their falling down under the horse’s feet, he said,
“There, Lucky, now we are all ready. You may eat the grass and I will eat the raspberries, and we will have an excellent good time together.”
Lucky had not waited for this invitation, but had been eating the grass with the utmost eagerness all the time while Rainbow had been making his preparations. Indeed, Rainbow had
found it somewhat difficult to make him “hold up” long enough to enable him to attach his cord. Now, however, they both went to their work without any hinderance. The grass was plentiful and good, and the raspberries were large and very sweet, and it would be difficult to say which of the two guests at this rural dinner-party was most pleased with the entertainment.
Things went on in this way for about half an hour, at the end of which time Lucky, having in some measure satisfied his appetite, began to think once more of home. He raised his head in the intervals of his eating, and looked around him. There was the road leading in one direction toward home, and in the opposite direction away from it. He had every reason to fear that Rainbow’s intention was to take him farther and farther away.
Under these circumstances, he began to revolve the question in his mind whether it would not be possible to give Rainbow the slip and so return home. It is true that he was tied by a long cord, and that Rainbow kept the end of the cord in his hand, and, for greater security, he had wound it once round his wrist. Had it not been for this, Lucky thought that he could very easily, by a sudden jerk, pull the end of the cord away, and so regain his liberty.
Rainbow sometimes changed the cord from one hand to the other, according as the bushes where the raspberries were thickest were to the right or to the left of Lucky’s grass. Lucky went on quietly feeding until the next time that Rainbow made this change, and then, watching the right instant when Rainbow was shifting the cord from one hand to the other, he suddenly pulled away the end of the cord, wheeled around, and sprang off into the road.
Rainbow sprang after him in an instant, catching up a long stick which lay upon the ground at his feet as he did so; but, though Lucky was quickest in his motions, Rainbow was quickest in his thoughts. Lucky was so intent upon the single idea of regaining his liberty that he did not at the first instance think of the importance of getting into the road on the side toward home. All he thought of was of breaking away from Rainbow and getting into the road somewhere or other. But Rainbow, when Lucky broke loose from him, perceived in an instant that every thing depended on his heading him off from the road toward home, and so he sprang forward toward the road in the right direction to accomplish this. Thus they both reached the road nearly at the same time, but, very unfortunately for Lucky’s
plans, Lucky himself was in the part which led toward Boston, while Rainbow was on the side which led toward home.
Lucky instantly perceived that he had made a great mistake. So he stopped suddenly, turned round toward Rainbow, who was also now in the middle of the road, and there the two stood facing each other, Lucky looking very eagerly on this side and on that, to see whether there was any chance for him to get by.
“Now, Lucky,” said Rainbow, after a moment’s pause, “that was a very clever dodge of yours, and I have not a word to say against it. I admit that it was perfectly fair. If I had not tied you with a cord, but had left you at liberty to feed where you pleased, trusting to your honor, I don’t believe you would have tried to get away. But when I would not trust your honor, but depended on my cord, you had a perfect right to get away if you could, and you have got away.”
Here there was another pause, during which Lucky and Rainbow stood looking at one another in silence, each in the middle of his own part of the road, and both considering what it was best to do next.
“Yes, Lucky,” continued Rainbow, “I know what you are after. You want to go home. You have a perfect right to get away and go home if you can, and I have a perfect right to prevent you if I can. That’s the way I under-
[p. 67 blank]
A FAIR MATCH.
stand it. So there’s nothing in this little tussle that we are going to have to make any ill feeling between us, or to make us break friendship. Whichever way it turns out, there will be no blame on either side. It is a fair match that we have made up.”
Lucky stood looking at Rainbow while he was speaking, and seemed to be listening quite attentively to what he said, but he was really occupied all the time in looking at the stick which Rainbow held in his hand, and considering whether he should dare to brave it by trying to get by. He finally concluded to make the attempt, and so he sprang forward, assuming a most fierce and determined air, in hopes of intimidating Rainbow, and tried first on one side, and then on the other, to force his way by.
But he did not succeed. He was embarrassed very much in his motions by the long cord, which was continually getting under his feet, and thus making a twitching at his mouth which was very disagreeable. Besides this, Rainbow held his ground exceedingly well, and, by running to head Lucky on whichever side he appeared, and brandishing his stick in the air, he stopped him wherever he attempted to pass, and made him wheel rapidly round, and retreat up the road at the top of his speed
to get out of the way of Rainbow and his stick; for, the instant that he turned, Rainbow always followed him up closely, with his stick in the air, and Lucky, of course, scampered off very nimbly, expecting every minute, while Rainbow was near, to feel a tremendous whack coming down upon his back.
At length, in one of the sudden turns and leaps that Lucky made in retreating from Rainbow, the bag of oats which lay across the saddle was thrown over to one side, and, in a moment more, it fell off into the middle of the road, and Lucky cantered away without it. Rainbow advanced to the place where it had fallen, and, watching Lucky all the time to see that he did not seize the opportunity to make a new effort to get by, he dragged it out to a safe place by the side of the road, near a great flat stone which lay there.
Lucky began now to be somewhat tired of his fruitless attempts to pass Rainbow, and, though he was still determined not to give up, he concluded that he would rest a little, so he went out to the side of the road and began cropping the grass again, watching Rainbow all the time, however, sometimes with one eye and sometimes with the other.
Rainbow, who was also somewhat tired, went
and sat down on the flat stone near his bag of grain. He also kept a close watch upon Lucky, and he held the stick in his hand, keeping all the time in a position to spring forward and use it vigorously at a moment’s notice.
While he was in this situation, Lucky, as he went on eating the grass, gradually advanced nearer to the place where Rainbow was sitting.
“Now, Lucky,” said Rainbow, at length, when Lucky came tolerably near, “listen to reason a little. It seems to me that this is a case for a compromise. I admit that it will not be a very easy thing for me to catch you; but then, on the other hand, it will be pretty difficult for you to get by me and go home. I am willing to call it a drawn game, and so come to a compromise. And I will tell you what I’ll do. I have got some oats in this bag here. I bought them for you, though I did not intend to give you any of them until night. But now, if you will give up your plan of going home, and come quietly here, and let me take you again by the bridle, I will give you a double handful of them on the spot.”
So saying, and in order to prove that he was in earnest in making this offer, Rainbow untied the bag. He took out from the mouth of it first a paper parcel which lay among the oats.
“This,” says he, “is a paper of crackers which I bought for myself, but I put them in your bag because I thought that that was a good place to carry them.”
So he laid the paper parcel down upon the grass. He then took out a double handful of the oats and held them up for Lucky to look at.
“See,” said he, “I will give these.”
Lucky stopped eating the grass and looked very intently at the oats, but he did not seem quite ready to accept the offer. Rainbow had laid his stick down by his side; but he was all ready to throw the oats down, seize the stick, and spring in an instant out into the road, in case he should observe the slightest movement on the part of Lucky indicating an intention to try again to run by.
But Lucky stood very still and looked earnestly at the oats.
“You don’t think there are quite enough,” said Rainbow. “Well, I’ll give you one handful more.” So saying, he put the double handful down upon the flat stone, and took out another single handful, which he held out toward Lucky.
“See,” said he, “I’ll give you these into the bargain.”
Lucky came forward a few steps, but still
seemed undecided. Rainbow thought he saw him shaking his head, though it was in an almost imperceptible manner.
“Look, Lucky,” said he; “see how many!”
So saying, he put the single handful of oats down on the stone with those which he had put there before, and then looked up at Lucky to observe what effect it had upon him to see them all together.
Lucky came on a few steps farther, and then halted again. He looked at the oats a moment, and then put his head down and began to eat the grass again.
“Lucky,” said Rainbow, “what should you say if I should give you besides half of one of my crackers?”
So saying, Rainbow opened the paper and took a cracker, which he split in two, and then held out one of the halves toward Lucky.
“There!” said he, “I will give you that and the oats besides.”
Now Lucky was very fond of bread of all kinds, and when he saw the piece of cracker he seemed to think that Rainbow’s offers were beginning to grow quite tempting. He was not quite sure that the piece of cracker was really what it pretended to be, and so he came forward cautiously to smell of it in order to ascer-
tain that fact. As soon as he came sufficiently near, Rainbow put out his hand and took him by the bridle, and thus he was a prisoner again.
“So you say it is a bargain?” said Rainbow. Lucky admitted that that was his understanding of the case by eating the half cracker at a single mouthful, and then immediately beginning upon the oats, which he proceeded to devour in a very greedy manner.
Rainbow quietly took the bridle off from Lucky’s neck and slipped his arm through it, so as to hold it securely.
“Now, Lucky,” said he, “we are all right again; and, to show you that I am disposed to deal fairly and honorably by you in all the bargains I make with you, I am going to give you half a handful of oats more, besides those that I promised you. As for the other half of the cracker, I will eat that myself.”
So Rainbow took out another handful of oats from the bag, and added them to those that Lucky was eating. Then, after putting the paper of crackers into the bag again, he tied up the mouth of it, and put the bag back in its place across the saddle. He also untied the cord from the bridle, shook the dust out of it, coiled it up, and put it in his pocket.
He then threw the bridle over Lucky’s neck
and mounted him. Lucky stood very quiet while he did this, as if willing also, on his part to fulfill the agreement honorably.
“Now, Lucky,” said Rainbow, “we will go on, and we will be just as good friends as if nothing had happened.”
So saying, he turned Lucky’s head in the direction toward Boston, and, taking out the half cracker which he had put into his pocket, he began eating it at his leisure as he rode along.
Incidents by the Way.
Rainbow went on during the remainder of the day without meeting with any very special adventures. People looked at him with a great deal of interest in the little villages that he passed through and scrutinized the horse, as if wondering whose horse it was, and where Rainbow was going with him. Sometimes they would speak to him to ask him questions about himself or the horse. Generally they were civil enough in these inquiries, though sometimes they seemed to be in joke. When it was evident that they were so, Rainbow would answer them in a corresponding manner. When they seemed to be in earnest, Rainbow would answer them in earnest, and give them all the information they desired.
At one time two young men, who pretended to be working on the road, but who were really idling away their time with talk and laughter, paused when they saw Rainbow coming, and looked very earnestly upon him, and, when
they saw that he was a stranger, one of them said, with a countenance of mock anxiety and concern,
“I say, friend, something is the matter with your horse. He is black in the face—he is going into a fit. You had better stop and have him doctored.”
“Oh no,” said the other, very seriously, “nothing is the matter with him. He only looks black in the face to keep his rider in countenance.”
The two young men laughed aloud at this, and declared that Rainbow and his horse were a match, and no mistake; and with that they resumed their work upon the road with tremendous energy.
At another time, a queer-looking man, who had not at all the appearance of a purchaser of a horse, sitting on a stone by the road-side when Rainbow was going by, called out to him,
“Do you want to sell your horse, young man?”
“Do you want to buy him?” retorted Rainbow.
“How much do you ask for him?” rejoined the man.
“You had better make me an offer if you wish to buy him,” said Rainbow. “If you
offer enough, I might be tempted to let him go.”
By this time Rainbow was out of hearing, and the man remained as before, sitting on the stone.
At another time still, a blacksmith, standing with his apron on at the door of his shop, looked earnestly at Lucky as Rainbow came along with him, and, when he was opposite the shop, he called out,
“Where does that horse belong, my boy?”
“He belongs in Southerton,” said Rainbow.
“Is he for sale?” asked the blacksmith.
“Yes, sir,” replied Rainbow.
“Turn up here a moment with him,” said the blacksmith, “and let me look at him.”
So Rainbow turned up to the shop, and the blacksmith examined Lucky in all joints very carefully. He finally asked what the price was. Rainbow said a hundred and twenty-five dollars. The blacksmith, after examining the horse somewhat farther, said that he was well worth that money, and that if he had the money on hand he would buy him on speculation. He recommended to Rainbow to call as he passed at a certain house about two miles farther on, where he said there was a gentleman who wanted to buy a nice horse. Rainbow accord-
ingly called, but the gentleman was away from home, and so this chance ended in nothing.
People were sometimes quite uncivil in accosting Rainbow as he passed. For instance, a large boy, with a gun on his shoulder, who was climbing over the fence to come into the road while Rainbow was going by, stopped for a moment on the top of the fence, and then called out,
“I say, Blacky, is that a horse that you have stolen?”
To such impertinences as these Rainbow returned no answer, but rode on without taking any notice of them whatever.
About five o’clock in the afternoon Rainbow passed a school-house. The school had just been dismissed, and Rainbow met the teacher and some of the scholars going home before he reached the school-house. After he passed it, and had gone on for some distance, he saw, a little way before him, a bridge with a group of children upon it, all crowded together as if something had happened. When Rainbow came near, the children, as if they were afraid of being run over, all hurried together off the bridge, and Rainbow saw that they were carrying one of their number, a small boy, who seemed to be hurt. When Rainbow
came up he heard a boy crying, and he stopped, as he always did when there was any trouble, to ask what was the matter.
“He has cut his foot,” said one of the children.
“He has run a piece of glass in it,” said another.
“Let me see,” said Rainbow.
So Rainbow dismounted, and then, leading Lucky to the side of the road, he fastened him securely to a post. Then he came to see the boy who was hurt.
“He went wading in the brook,” said a girl, who seemed to be the boy’s sister, “and has got some glass in his foot, the naughty boy.”
“You must not scold him,” said Rainbow. “If he has hurt his foot he has got his punishment, and it is never fair for a boy to be scolded and punished too for the same thing.”
So saying, Rainbow looked at the foot, and, though it was wounded and bleeding, he soon satisfied himself there was no glass left in the wound, and this was a very important point. Indeed, there was not any glass at all in the case. It was nothing but the sharp edge of a broken pebble- stone that had hurt the foot.
“No,” said Rainbow, “there is no glass in his foot now, and the cut is not very bad. It
will soon get well; but it will hurt him to walk, and so he may ride home on my horse if he likes.”
The boy was so much delighted with the idea of riding home that he soon ceased crying; and, while Rainbow was untying Lucky and bringing him forward, the boy, leaning on his sister’s arm, hobbled out into the middle of the road, and then Rainbow put him upon the horse. Rainbow then took hold of the bridle and led Lucky along, while the rest of the children accompanied and followed him.
In this way they went on for about a mile, when at length they arrived at the place where the boy lived. The mother of the boy was very much frightened at first when she saw Rainbow lifting him off the horse and bringing him into the house, but he was finally so much pleased with Rainbow for his kindness in bringing him that she insisted on giving both Rainbow and Lucky an excellent supper. Lucky’s supper consisted of Indian meal and water stirred up well together, and plenty of hay to eat with it, and Rainbow’s of a mug of rich milk, and some warm biscuits and butter, with plenty of honey in the comb to spread over the butter.
She even invited Rainbow to stay and spend
the night; but this invitation he declined, as he wished, he said, to go on some miles farther the first day.
Accordingly, after he and Lucky had both finished their supper, he mounted the horse again and rode on.
Rainbow stopped that night at a small tavern in a lonely place, where he thought he could get cheap accommodations.
“At this time of the year,” said he to himself, as he decided to turn up to this house, “they ought to have good hay every where; and, if they have good hay, I shall have a good bed and Lucky will have a good supper, and that is all that we want.”
So saying, Rainbow went up to the end door of the tavern, where there was a man at work splitting wood, and asked if he could be accommodated there for the night.
“I rather think you can,” said the man, and went on splitting his wood.
“Then I’ll go into the barn and put up my horse,” said Rainbow.
“Very well,” said the man; “you’ll find plenty of hay there. Do you want some grain for him?”
“No,” replied Rainbow, “I have got some grain.
“All right,” said the man. As he said these last words; he paused from his work a moment to bite off a piece of tobacco from a coil which he took from his pocket.
During the time while Rainbow was holding this conversation with the young man, whom he took to be the tavern-keeper’s son, he observed two ill-looking men, one with a blazing red waistcoat, sitting under a porch, tilting back their chairs, and smoking pipes and talking together. They seemed to be eying Rainbow and his horse with a sort of ill-boding curiosity, but they said nothing.
Rainbow went on to the barn. He found one or two other horses already there; but there were several empty stalls, and from these he chose one which seemed farthest separated from the rest and most secure, and led Lucky into it. Lucky began at once smelling about the crib and manger so eagerly, to find if there was any thing there for him to eat, that Rainbow could hardly take off the bridle and put on the halter.
“Be patient a bit,” said Rainbow, “and I will go and get you some hay.”
Accordingly, after fastening Lucky to the crib, and taking off the bag of oats and the saddle, and putting them in a safe place, he
went up into the loft, and looked about to find some hay. There was a small quantity lying in one corner, almost over Lucky’s crib.
“Rather short of provisions at this hotel,” said Rainbow; “but, howsoever, there is enough for Lucky and me for one night.”
So he took up a pitchfork which he saw leaning against the side of the barn near by in order to pitch down sonic hay. This he succeeded in doing, although the pitchfork was very much out of order. The handle was loose, and one of the tines was broken. Nevertheless, Rainbow contrived to use it, and went on pitching hay into Lucky’s crib, and crowded it down until he had filled the crib to overflowing.
“There, Lucky,” said he, “that will last you till bedtime, and then I will fill up your crib again, in case you should be hungry in the night.”
He then went down to the barn floor again, and, taking his bag of oats, he brought it up the ladder, and hid it away in a safe place under the hay.
“I expect the people are all honest about here,” said he to himself, “but there is nothing like putting them out of the way of temptation.”
After he had done this he went into the house.
There was a colored woman at work in the kitchen, who seemed very glad to see him when he came in. She gave him a seat near the fire, for the evening was quite cool.
“I am getting supper,” said she, “for a couple of men that have come. You can have your supper with them in the other room, or you can stay and have it here with me.”
“I would rather stay and have it here with you,” said Rainbow.
“And then, after supper, I will make you up a bed,” said the woman.
“No,” replied Rainbow, “I am going to make up a bed for myself out in the barn. It won’t do for me to leave Lucky.”
“Lucky,” rejoined the woman; “who is Lucky?”
“He is my horse,” said Rainbow. “It won’t do for me to leave him. Something might happen to him in the night. And then he would be very lonesome in a strange place if he did not know that I was nearby. Besides, I should be lonesome myself away from Lucky. He is all the friend I have got in the world.”
“All the friend you have got in the world?” repeated the colored woman.
“At least, in this part of the world,” repeated Rainbow.
“Ah!” said the woman, “that’s a different thing. Besides, I am your friend in this part of the world.”
“Yes,” said Rainbow, “so you are, and I ought not to have said that I had not any friend but Lucky. But, at any rate, it is better for me to sleep out in the barn with him, so as to keep him company.”
Accordingly, after supper, Rainbow went out into the barn again. He borrowed a lantern from the kitchen, and by the light of the lantern he gave Lucky his oats, and smoothed down a place upon the hay for a bed for himself. He also opened a big shutter window in the loft, that admitted a certain light from the sky and stars, which, though faint, was sufficient, he thought, for him to go to bed by. Then he took the lantern back into the house and gave it to the woman. He remained talking with the woman for some time, and at length, about half past eight, he went into the barn again, opened his bundle, took out his night-dress, undressed himself, and lay down in the bed, or, rather, in the nest which he had made for himself in the hay. He said his prayers, and then, feeling particularly comfortable, contented, and happy, he began to sing a little tune, but in less than ten minutes he fell asleep.
The Two Thieves.
Rainbow’s bed was pretty close to the opening that led down to Lucky’s crib. He chose that place so as to be as near as possible to Lucky.
“I must look out,” said he to himself, while he was making up his bed, “and be where I can hear him if he should call me in the night.”
He had not been asleep more than twenty minutes before he was awakened by the sound of footsteps and voices. He opened his eyes, and wondered where he was. The sounds seemed to come up through the crib, and Rainbow could see a faint light gleaming there, as if coming from a candle or lamp in the barn below.
It was some minutes before Rainbow could recover his faculties and his recollection enough to know where he was, and how he came there. He listened to the voices below.
“It is a pretty nice horse,” said one of the men.
“Rather young,” said the other.
“True,” said the first, “but none the worse for that. We can come in here by-and-by, and slip him out of the stable, and be off with him without the least danger. We might be twenty miles away over the cross-roads before the black fellow is up.”
“No,” said the other, “that would not do. Now we have shown ourselves in the house, people will know that we are the rogues if the horse is missing in the morning. We can contrive a plan for getting him away from Sambo on the road to-morrow going through the woods. I’ll tell you how we will manage it. But we must not stay here any longer, or they will suspect us.”
The light now suddenly disappeared as if it had been extinguished, and the men, whose voices now gradually died away, were heard moving across the floor to the door, which they opened and shut gently, and then all was still.
A moment afterward Lucky neighed.
“Yes, Lucky,” said Rainbow, “I am here, and it’s all right. Don’t you be in the least uneasy. If those fellows get you away from me, either to-night or to-morrow morning, they are sharper than I think they are. And as to
color, it is my opinion that that sort of fellows are black fellows a great deal more than either you or me.”
Rainbow rose from his bed, went down the ladder from the loft to the barn floor, and then groped his way to the door. There was a double door for wagons and carriages, and this was already fastened, and by the side of it a single door, which was the one by which the men had come in and out. This single door had a button on the outside and a hasp on the inside. The hasp was used to fasten the door on the inside when the men were currying the horses, and were afraid that they might get away. Rainbow felt his way to this door, and put the hasp into the staple. He then groped his way to the double door to ascertain that that was fastened securely too, and when he found that it was, he climbed up into the loft and went to bed again.
“Now, old fellows,” said he to himself, as he covered himself up again in the hay, “I have no doubt you can break in again very easily, but I have considerable doubt whether you can do it without waking me up.”
About midnight Rainbow was waked by Lucky’s neighing.
He opened his eyes and listened a moment.
Lucky neighed again.
“Lucky,” says he, “are they coming?”
Lucky did not answer.
“Hark!” said Rainbow.
Rainbow listened, and Lucky seemed to be listening too, for he did not neigh again. After listening a minute and hearing nothing, Rainbow said,
“No, Lucky, they are not coming, and yon need not give yourself any concern. Besides, if they do come they can’t get in, and if they get in they can’t get you, for I am hero to take care of you; so you may go to sleep again, and give yourself no concern.”
Lucky was reassured by the sound of Rainbow’s voice, though it is not probable that he understood fully what he said. At any rate he was quiet, and very soon afterward Rainbow himself fell asleep again.
About two o’clock Rainbow was awakened by hearing a rattling sound at the door in the barn below. He started up and listened. He could hear the two men endeavoring to open the door, and talking together in a low tone while they did so.
“It is locked,” said one of them.
“Yes,” said the other; “Ephraim must have come out after nine o’clock and locked it.”
“We might pry it open,” said the other.
“That would make too much noise,” said the first. “No, we will wait till to-morrow. You may depend upon it, my plan will succeed.”
So the men crept stealthily away.
The plan which the two thieves formed for getting Lucky away from Rainbow on the road was this: They were to get up very early and go on their journey, and then, after proceeding for some distance on the road, they were to wait for Rainbow at a lonely place where the road passed through the woods for two or three miles. One of the men was to go forward to a place where there was a large white rock by the road-side. The other was to wait at the beginning of the woods, near the foot of a long hill. The man that was to wait at this place was the one that wore the red waistcoat, and his name was Slippy—at least, that was what the other called him.
Slippy was to watch for Rainbow, and when he saw him coming he was to go on, walking slowly up the hill, so as to allow Rainbow to overtake him. He knew that Rainbow would walk his horse up the hill, and that would give him an opportunity to enter into conversation with him ns he walked along by his side.
While walking and talking with him, he was to put his hand upon the horse’s back, behind the saddle, in a careless sort of way, and then, without allowing Rainbow to observe what he was doing, he was to untie the strings that secured Rainbow’s bundle upon the little pad. Then he expected that, as soon as Rainbow reached the top of the hill and began to put his horse upon the trot again, the bundle would fall off. The men supposed that Rainbow would not notice this, but would go on unconcerned until he came to the white rock where the other man was lying in wait for him. This other man was then to accost him, and to call his attention to the fact that he had lost his bundle, and to offer to take care of his horse for him while he went back to find it. In case Rainbow should refuse to leave his horse and walk back, but should insist on riding back to find his bundle, then the man was to detain him, on one pretence or another, in conversation until Slippy should come up, and Slippy was to say that he saw a countryman come along and pick up the bundle, and that the countryman carried it off on a branch road which diverged a little from the main road. Slippy was also to say that it was only a short distance across through the woods to that other road, and that
Rainbow, by leaving his horse and climbing over the fence, could run across in a very few minutes, and so intercept the countryman and recover his bundle. In this way the men hoped to persuade him to give up the horse to their custody, in which case they would immediately make off with it.
This, it must be confessed, was quite an ingenious plot, and every thing was well arranged for the successful execution of it.
How it Turned Out.
The next morning Rainbow rose early, and gave Lucky his breakfast before light. He could just see a faint blush in the eastern sky as he looked out the barn-chamber window after he had finished filling up Lucky’s crib with hay. Then, after adjusting his dress, he kneeled down upon the hay, near the place where he had slept, and said his prayers. It was a great comfort to him, in the lonely situation in which he found himself while traveling in this manner, and bearing the heavy burden of responsibility which rested upon him in having the charge of so valuable a piece of property as Lucky, to commit himself every day to the kind protection and care of Almighty God, and to feel, as he did so, that God was watching over him and keeping him from harm through all the dangers of the way.
After this he went down, unfastened the stable door, and went to the house. The colored woman was up, and was at work building the kitchen fire. Rainbow assisted her at this
work, and brought a pail of water for her from the pump in the yard. Then he sat by the side of the fire and talked with her while she was getting breakfast.
“Who are those two men that are here?” asked Rainbow. He thought that there would be no harm in making inquiries about the men, though he very prudently concluded that he would not say any thing about the conversation which he overheard from them in the stable.
“They are not here,” said the woman; “they have gone away.”
“When did they go away?” asked Rainbow.
“They went on an hour ago,” said the woman, “and I am right glad they are gone.”
“Why are you glad?” asked Rainbow.
“Because I am glad to get rid of them. I don’t like their looks.”
“How could they pay their bill so early in the morning?” asked Rainbow.
“Oh, they paid their bill the night before,” replied the woman. “We always make such tramps as they pay in advance. We never trust them farther than we can see them. If you come across them any where on the road, I advise you to have as little to say to them as possible.”
“My orders are to have as little as possible to say to any strangers that I come across on the road,” said Rainbow.
“Who gave you such orders as that?” asked the woman.
“Handie—Mr. Level,” said Rainbow.
“If that’s the way he talks,” said the woman, “he knows what he is about, I’ll venture to say.”
After breakfast Rainbow paid his bill, which was twenty-four cents; six cents each for the two baitings of hay which Lucky had had, and six cents each for his two meals. He then brought out Lucky, mounted him, bade the colored woman good-by, and betook himself to his journey.
The sun was rising, and the air, though cool, was calm, and Rainbow enjoyed his morning ride exceedingly. He had had an excellent night’s sleep in very comfortable quarters, and he had a capital breakfast that morning; so he was in the best of spirits. Lucky was in fine spirits too, having had a good supply of oats that morning; so he trotted along briskly and with a very good will, and Rainbow amused himself by singing a tune, keeping time with Lucky’s step. He imagined that Lucky was keeping step with his music, though I presume
that was not the case. It was not of much consequence, however, for, since the motion and the time went together, it was of but little moment which it was that controlled the other.
Rainbow went on in this way, perfectly well satisfied with himself and with every thing around him, until he came to the wood, and, just after entering the wood, he reached the foot of the hill. There, close by the road-side, he saw Slippy sitting upon a stone.
Just as Rainbow came opposite to the place, Slippy rose from his seat and came out into the middle of the road.
“Well, youngster,” said Slippy, addressing Rainbow with a bland smile, “you have got an elegant young horse, and you ride him like a general. Might you be traveling very far?”
As he said this the man came up to Lucky, and began walking along by his side.
“I am taking something of a little journey,” said Rainbow.
Rainbow had been instructed by Handie to treat every body civilly that he met on the road, but to be very cautious about forming any intimate acquaintance with strangers, and, above all, against trusting them in any way.
“This is a fine young horse of yours,” said the man. At the same time he put his hand
up upon the horse’s back behind the saddle. He thought that Rainbow would not pay any attention to this motion; but Rainbow did pay very close attention to it, though he did not seem to notice it at all.
“What do you value him at?” asked the man.
“He is not my horse,” said Rainbow, “and I don’t know that I ever set any particular value upon him myself. What should you value him at?”
At this question Slippy began feeling of the horse, and patting him on the back; and while he was doing this he seized every opportunity, in passing his hand to and fro, to proceed with untying the strings of the bundle. Rainbow saw what was going on, though he pretended not to see it, but went on talking with the man, in an apparently careless and unconcerned manner, until he concluded that the strings were nearly or quite untied. Then he suddenly turned in his saddle, as if accidentally, in order to look back down the hill.
“Dear me!” said he, “I came pretty near losing my bundle. It has come untied.”
Then, acting precisely as if he supposed that the strings had become untied of themselves, he took the bundle from the pad behind and
placed it before him on the pommel of the saddle.
Slippy felt quite abashed and crestfallen at this result; but he tried to conceal his mortification, saying to himself;
“It is lucky that he does not suspect any thing.”
He was quite at a loss what to do next. Rainbow’s taking his bundle before him, and continuing to hold it, defeated entirely the plan which the two thieves had formed.
“But perhaps,” said Slippy to himself; “he’ll get tired of carrying his bundle in that way before long, and will tie it on behind again. I’ll walk along with him and see.”
So Slippy continued to walk along by the side of Lucky and Rainbow, talking by the way in a very easy and unconcerned manner. They went on in this way until they began to draw near to the place were the other man was waiting.
The white rock was near the end of a smooth and level piece of road, not far from the top of the hill. When Rainbow arrived at the top he was inclined to set out again upon the trot, and leave Slippy behind. But Slippy kept hold of the stirrup, and continued talking in such a manner that Rainbow could not get
away from him without something like violence. This he thought it not prudent to attempt, as he perceived that the other man was waiting on before him a little way, and might undertake to stop him by force if he were to use any thing like force in trying to get away; so he concealed his fears, and allowed the horse to walk on, while he continued talking with Slippy just as if he felt no suspicion.
When they came near the great rock, Slippy’s comrade rose from his seat at the foot of it, and walked out into the road to join them. He was surprised to see Rainbow carrying his bundle in his hand on the saddle before him, but Slippy gave him a wink, to indicate to him that he was to say nothing. At the same time that he gave him this signal, he accosted him with,
“I say, Prink, this is a nice horse that this young fellow has got.”
“Yes,” replied Prink, “and a nice, handsome young fellow that is riding him.”
The men hoped, as such men almost always do in these cases, to smooth the way toward circumventing Rainbow by the aid of flattery.
“Yes,” said Rainbow, “he is a very nice horse; and, if you would like to buy him, I will
let you see him trot. There is a nice level place back here.”
If Rainbow had proposed to trot his horse on forward of the place where the men were standing, their suspicions would perhaps have been aroused, and they would have prevented him from doing it; but as he proposed to go back, they supposed there was no danger, and they said that they should like to see him trot very much.
So Rainbow turned the house, and trotted back on the road a short distance, and then, wheeling around, he came trotting back toward the men, who stood nearly in the middle of the road to see him come, and also to be ready to stop him in case they should see him attempt to go hy. But Rainbow did not attempt to go by. He reined up Lucky just before he came to the place where the men were standing, and said,
“Now I want you to see him canter.”
“Very well,” said Slippy; “let us see him canter.”
So Rainbow turned round and trotted back again to the end of the straight part of the road. There, after pausing a moment to let Lucky rest it little, he set out to come forward again, though now on a canter. He came very
quietly in this way until he began to approach the place where the two men were standing, when he suddenly leaned forward, pressed his heels against Lucky’s sides, and shouted Hup! Hey—y—y, with a long-drawn and very loud emphasis on the last cry, as he was accustomed to do when he wished to put Lucky forward at the top of his speed. Lucky liked nothing better than one of these runs with Rainbow on his back. Accordingly, the instant that Rainbow gave him the signal, he sprang forward, and began to fly along the road like the very wind. In an instant the two thieves found that he was close upon them, coming with the force and swiftness of a war-horse making a charge.* They barely had time to get out of the way before Rainbow went by like a tornado, and, before they had time to recover from their astonishment, they saw horse and rider going on and disappearing at a turn of the road a quarter of a mile farther off, and going at a speed which put it entirely out of the question for them to think of following in pursuit.
Rainbow went on at this rate for nearly half a mile. Then he began gradually to slacken Lucky’s speed. Then, after going on at a good round trot for about half a mile farther, he cont-
sidered himself entirely out of danger, so he reined Lucky in, and, turning in his saddle, he looked round to see if the men were in sight. From the place where he stopped he could see the road for a long distance back, but there was nobody in view.
“We have got clear of them, Lucky,” said he, “and you did your part well. In fact, I call it a Lucky escape. You are Lucky, and I am lucky, and my bundle is lucky, and we are all lucky together; and so, while you are getting your breath a little, I will tie my bundle on in its place again.”
After pausing a few minutes Rainbow went on again, and, though for an hour or two afterward he very often looked back over the road behind him, he saw the men no more.
Prospect of an Offer.
On the second night of his journey—that is, on the night of the day when he had the adventure with the two thieves described in the last chapter, Rainbow stopped at a pretty large town.
“I have had enough of lonesome places,” said he; “I will keep more among people after this, where I shall not find so many thieves and vagabonds.”
So he stopped that night at a pretty large town, where there was a railroad station. He, however, did not put up at the principal hotel, for he thought it would be too expensive for him there. He went, instead, to a public house which had more the appearance of an ordinary tavern. The house was large, and there seemed to be a great deal of company in and around it; but the company appeared to consist chiefly of plain and unpretending- looking people, and so Rainbow thought it would be a good place for him and Lucky.
In the evening, just about sunset, he went
out into the stable to see how Lucky was coming on, and to give him some oats. There were a good many horses in the stable, and two hostlers to take care of them. These hostlers were busy currying and watering the different horses, putting away harnesses, and doing other such things, and, besides them, there were several other persons standing about the stable or going in and out.
While Rainbow was taking the oats out of his bag to give to Lucky, a mail came in who was smartly dressed, and who had the air of being quite an important personage. He had a massive gold chain hanging across his waistcoat, and he carried a dandyish-looking cane in his hand. He also had a cigar in his mouth.
He came sauntering along through the stable, looking at the horses in the stalls on the sides as he advanced, and on his way he passed by one of the hostlers, who was rubbing down a horse in the middle of the stable floor. The horse’s halter was fastened to a ring in a beam overhead.
“You can’t smoke in the stable, sir,” said the hostler, glancing at him as he went by; “we don’t allow it.”
“I am not smoking,” said the man. “Don’t you see that my cigar is not lighted?”
“You must be careful and not let it get lighted, then,” said the hostler; “that is, not while you are in this stable.”
The man sauntered slowly along until he came to where Rainbow was at work preparing to give Lucky his oats. The man stopped and looked at him.
“You don’t belong to this stable, do you?” said the man.
“No, sir,” replied Rainbow.
“Is this your horse?” said the man, looking at Lucky.
“Yes, sir,” said Rainbow.
“Young, ain’t he?” said the man.
“Yes, sir, very young,” replied Rainbow. “He is not quite four years old.”
“Pretty good-looking colt,” said the man. “I should like to buy about such a colt as that. Who is the owner of him?”
“He is owned in the town of Southerton,” said Rainbow.
In the course of farther conversation with the man, Rainbow made known the fact that he was taking the horse to Boston for sale, but that, in the mean time, he was open to an offer for him on the way.
“What do you ask for him?” inquired the man.
In reply to this question, Rainbow, in accordance with the instructions which he had received from Handie, who had told him it would be safer for him to receive offers rather than to make them, in case he entered into any negotiations on the way, said that he was not prepared to make any offer, but that, if the man himself wished to make one to him, he would consider it, and perhaps take some advice.
“How would a hundred dollars do?” asked the man.
“No,” replied Rainbow, “I could not look at any offer less than one hundred and twenty-five dollars, and I don’t know what I should finally decide if you should offer me that.”
The man, on hearing this, went into the stall by the side of Lucky in order to examine him more closely. He felt of his limbs, looked into his mouth, and patted him on the back.
“Pretty decent sort of a horse,” said he, after completing his examination. “I don’t know but that he may be worth in the neighborhood of one hundred and twenty-five dollars. At any rate, I should like to think of it. Come up and see me in my room this evening about half past eight o’clock, and I will talk with yon about it. I have got a room in the tavern here—Number Four. It is just back of the great
parlor in the second story. My name is Truman. But any body in the house will tell you which is Number Four.”
“Very well; sir,” replied Rainbow; “I will come.”
“And don’t say any thing about it to any body else,” said the man. “If I buy the horse, I have a particular reason for keeping it to myself for a day or two. The fact is, I have got a match for the horse in my eye, and if it should get out that I have bought a black horse, the man who owns the match might hear of it, and so put up his price, or back out altogether.”
“I will not say a word about it,” said Rainbow.
So it was arranged that Rainbow was to go Number Four at half past eight that evening, and then Mr. Truman, as he called himself, turned and went away.
This man was one of a gang of counterfeiters. His plan was to get Lucky and pay Rainbow for him in bad money. The name Truman was not his real name. It was assumed for purposes of concealment and fraud. His story, too, of his having a match for Lucky in his eye was also all a fiction, made up on the spot to prevent Rainbow from speaking on the
subject of the proposed sale to any body at the tavern who might possibly have had some suspicions of Mr. Truman, and might, consequently, have put Rainbow on his guard.
A Bargain Made.
Punctually at half past eight o’clock, Rainbow went out into the tavern and walked up stairs. There were several persons coming and going through the halls and on the staircase, but they paid no attention to Rainbow, and he paid no attention to them. Just as he reached the head of the stairs, however, he saw a girl coming with two candlesticks in her hand, a circumstance which denoted that she was one of the chambermaids. Rainbow asked her where Number Four was, and she directed him to the door.
Rainbow knocked at the door, and a voice from within called out, “Come in.” So Rainbow went in.
It was a cool evening, and Mr. Truman, as he called himself, had a fire. He was sitting by the side of the fire in a large arm-chair. He wore a dressing-gown of gay colors, and he looked very comfortable. He was smoking a cigar, and near him was a table on which
was a decanter of wine and two or three glasses.
Mr. Truman puffed a stream of smoke out of his mouth as Rainbow entered, and then asked Rainbow to come forward and take a seat in a chair which he pointed out to him on the other side of the fire.
“Punctual,” said Mr. Truman, with another puff from his cigar.
“Yes, sir,” said Rainbow, “I thought I ought to be punctual to the hour you named; but perhaps I have come too soon, and have disturbed you.”
“Not in the least,” said Mr. Truman. “I am all ready for you. What may I call your name?”
“Rainbow,” said Rainbow.
“Won’t you take a glass of wine before we begin upon our business?” asked Mr. Truman.
As Mr. Truman said this he waved his hand, with a cigar in it, in a very graceful and grand manner toward the decanter on the table.
“No, I thank you, sir,” said Rainbow.
“I will not insist upon it, if you positively decline,” said Mr. Truman. “And now as to that colt of yours. You say you will sell him for one hundred and twenty-five dollars.”
“No, sir,” said Rainbow, “not exactly that.
MR. TRUMAN’S POLITENESS.
[p. 114 blank]
I said that I should not think of taking less than one hundred and twenty-five dollars.”
“That amounts to the same thing,” replied Mr. Truman. “But what evidence have I that you are authorized to sell the horse at all? You look like an honest young man, but there are so many slippery sort of people about nowadays that honest folks are obliged to be a little cautious who they deal with. If I should pay you one hundred and twenty-five dollars for this young horse, and then, after you have gone off with the money, the owner should appear and say you had no right to sell him, I should be in an unpleasant predicament.”
Rainbow said nothing in reply to this, but gently drew his wallet from his pocket, and from one of the inner compartments of the wallet he took out two papers. One of these papers was the recommendation written by the selectmen of the town, which has already been mentioned, and the other was a written statement authorizing him to sell Lucky, and to give a good and valid bill of sale of him, which statement was signed by Mrs. Blooman as the party granting the authority, and by Handie as witness. Handie’s name was written at full length, Handerson Level.
Rainbow handed these papers to Mr. Truman,
who opened and read them, and appeared to be well satisfied.
“These papers seem to be all right, Mr. Rainbow,” said he. “And now, suppose you should succeed in selling the horse here, should you return immediately to Southerton?”
Rainbow replied that he should return. His plan would be, he said, to take the first train the next day.
“The first train to-morrow morning goes pretty early,” said Mr. Truman; “but there is another train at ten o’clock. Would that answer your purpose?”
“Yes sir,” said Rainbow, “that would do.”
“Very good,” said Mr. Truman. “I think, on the whole, I shall take the horse. You warrant him sound, I suppose?”
“Yes, sir,” said Rainbow, “he is perfectly sound.”
“Then I may as well make up my mind to take him,” said Mr. Truman. “My money is in the bank. I can’t get it very well until about nine o’clock to-morrow morning; but if you will come to the railway station at half past nine, I will meet you there with the money all ready. I will write a bill of sale for you to sign, and have that all ready. We can transact our business there in the waiting-room at
the station, and then you will be all ready to take the train at ten o’clock.”
Rainbow assented to this arrangement, which he said would accommodate him exactly, and so, bidding Mr. Truman good-night, and greatly elated at the idea of having effected a sale of the horse, he went away.
“Poor Lucky!” said he to himself as he went down stairs, “the time for you and me to part is now pretty near.”
What Mr. Truman said about his money being in the bank was, of course, a fabrication. He had his money, such as it was, safe in his valise, under his bed. He spoke about the bank partly in order to give Rainbow a high idea of the character of his money, and partly for the sake of having an excuse for putting off the payment of it until the next morning. He wished to pay the money only a few minutes before Rainbow was to leave town, in order that he might not have any opportunity to examine it much, or to make any inquiries about it before he went away.
As for Rainbow, he did not suspect any treachery, and yet still, on reflecting upon the transaction in its various aspects after he went down stairs, he began to think that perhaps there might be something wrong about the business after all.
“What if he was only making a fool of me,” said he, “and is going to make me go to the station to-morrow just for nothing.”
On reflection, Rainbow thought that this was not at all improbable.
“I don’t believe he will come at all,” said he. “I don’t believe he has any idea of buying Lucky. If he had he would have made me lead him out, and let him see him trot and canter.”
He determined that he would make some inquiries about Mr. Truman that night. The best person, he thought, to give him information was the bar-keeper or clerk of the hotel. So he went into the office, where he found the clerk standing at a desk behind the counter, and tried to get an opportunity to speak with him. But the clerk was very busy talking to persons who were coming in, and seeing them enter their names and assigning them rooms, so that Rainbow could get only very broken and imperfect replies from him, which gave him very little satisfaction.
“Do you know a man by the name of Truman?” said Rainbow, timidly, when he had an opportunity to speak to the clerk.
“I can’t give you a large room immediately, sir,” said the clerk, speaking to another man,
“but I will make you as comfortable as I can for to-night, and to-morrow I can give you a better room.”
“Do you know a man by the name of Truman that puts up here?” said Rainbow again, at the next pause.
“Mr. Truman—yes,” said the clerk, answering in a very prompt and rapid manner, as if in a hurry to answer Rainbow, and have done with him. “Number Four. Thomas!”
Thomas, who was a porter of the hotel, and who was at this time sitting upon a bench near by waiting to be called upon in this manner, immediately started up and came to the counter.
“Show this boy to Mr. Truman’s room—Number Four,” said the clerk. “James, bring down the baggage from Forty-three. Tea is all ready, gentlemen, for those that came by the train.”
“1 don’t wish to go to Mr. Truman’s room,” said Rainbow, again appealing to the clerk. “I only want to make some inquiries about him.”
“Oh, I don’t know any thing about him at all,” said the clerk, “only that his room is Number Four.”
So Thomas went back and took his seat, and Rainbow went away.
“Never mind,” said Rainbow to himself; “I will go to the station, and if he comes and pays me the money for Lucky, well and good; if not, there will be no great harm done.”
Among the other instructions which Rainbow received from Handie before he left Southerton, one was that he must be careful what money he received in payment for Lucky, in case he should sell him. Handie told him that, unless he received the money from a person whom he knew to be a trustworthy man, he must procure some one to receive and count it for him; and he gave him some directions in respect to the proper course for him to pursue in order to accomplish this purpose. The best way would be, he said, in case he sold Lucky on the way, to get the keeper of the hotel or tavern where he stopped at the time of the sale to examine and count the money for him.
Rainbow began to think of this subject after he went to bed. His bed that night was in the tavern itself, and not in the barn; for, as there were a great many horses in the barn besides Lucky, he thought that Lucky would not be lonesome if he left him to himself; so he took
the room which the people of the tavern provided for him, which was a small room, with a cot bed in it, over the kitchen. It was just after Rainbow had got into this bed, which he found an exceedingly comfortable one, that he began to think about this difficulty in respect to the money.
“It will be too late,” said he to himself, “to come back to the tavern and have the money counted here, for the train goes at ten o’clock, and Mr. Truman is not to be there until half past nine.”
After reflecting upon the subject a little, Rainbow conceived the idea of getting the man who kept the ticket-office at the station to examine the money for him.
“He must be a good judge of money,” said Rainbow to himself, “he has to take so much of it in payment for tickets; and he must be an honest an too, or else they would not employ him to take charge of so much money.”
So Rainbow concluded that the best thing that he could do would be to ask the ticket-man to count the money for him.
“I will pay him for his trouble,” said Rainbow to himself; “and I had better do that than to run any risk of getting any bad money.”
Accordingly, the next morning, Rainbow
paid his bill at the tavern immediately after breakfast, and about nine o’clock he took Lucky and rode to the station. He fastened Lucky at a post in the area outside, and then went in.
There was a refreshment room, which had a long table in it, with rows of cups and plates all around the margin of it, ready for the travelers when the trains came in. Rainbow passed through this room out to the platform on the other side of it, and, walking along there, he came to the ticket-office. The little window where people were to get their tickets was shut.
Rainbow was quite disappointed. He began to look this way and that, up and down the platform. Presently he saw a man who seemed to belong to the station, for he was at work moving some boxes and bales of merchandise which were lying there, and so he went to him and asked him if he knew where the man was that sold tickets.
“Will it be Mr. Jones that you mean?” asked the man.
“Yes, if it is Mr. Jones that keeps the ticket-office.”
“He is in the freight-master’s office,” said the man.
So saying, he pointed a little way along the platform to a door leading into a small office, with the words Freight Master over it, in gilt letters on a black sign.
Rainbow went to the door, and, on looking in, he saw two or three men sitting near a table talking together.
“I wanted to see Mr. Jones,” said Rainbow.
“Very well,” said one of the men; “here he is. Proceed with what you have to say.”
“I wanted to get you to do a little business for me,” said Rainbow, “and I am willing to pay you for your trouble.”
“A little business, hey?” said Mr. Jones, with a comical expression of countenance, as if he was somewhat amused at the idea of a colored boy like Rainbow having any business that he could consider worthy the attention of a railroad officer of his rank.
“Yes, sir,” replied Rainbow; “but first I should like to have you look at that paper.”
So Rainbow took from his wallet and handed to Mr. Jones the certificate of character which the selectmen had given him. Mr. Jones took the paper and read it in silence.
The reading of this papers appeared to produce considerable effect on MR. Jones’s mind. At any rate, after reading it, he seemed dis-
posed to treat Rainbow with much greater consideration. He handed the paper to the other men to read, and asked Rainbow to come in and take a seat, and then inquired what the business was which he wished to have him do.
Rainbow accordingly related the circumstances of his case. He gave an account of his having had Lucky put under his charge to be taken to Boston for sale, and his having found a purchaser on the way, and finally of the arrangement which this purchaser had made with him to come and pay him at the station.
“And, as I don’t know much about money myself,” said Rainbow, “and Mr. Level told me I must be careful not to get any but good, I should like to have you look it over for me when he comes to pay me, and see if it is all right.”
“What is the man’s name?” asked Mr. Jones.
“He says his name is Truman,” replied Rainbow.
“Truman—Truman,” said Mr. Jones, in a musing tone of voice, and looking at the same time toward the other men; “I do not know of any body by that name in this town.”
“Nor do I,” said one of the other men.
Mr. Jones then had some conversation with the other men in a very low tone, to that Rain-
bow could not hear. They all looked, however, as if there was some deep mystery in what they were saying.
At length Mr. Jones turned to Rainbow again, and began to question him closely about all the circumstances of his meeting with Mr. Truman, and about all that Mr. Truman said and did. The truth was that some suspicions had been awakened in the community in respect to the gang of counterfeiters, inasmuch as an unusual number of cases of bad money being found in circulation had occurred in that neighborhood within a short time past, and, when Rainbow related his story, all the men were much struck with it as denoting something extraordinary and suspicious. They at once determined to unravel the mystery, and they resolved to take such measures as that, if it should prove that Mr. Truman was really one of the rogues, they could secure him, and put it out of his power to do any farther mischief.
They told Rainbow what their suspicions were, and they gave him full directions how to proceed.
“We must be very careful,” said he, “not to do any thing to alarm hi, or to make him think that he is watched, until he actually passes you the money. If we do, he will make his
escape, or, if we catch him, we shall have no conclusive proof against him. So, when he comes, you are to say nothing, but sign the bill of sale and take the money. Then, when you have got the money in your hands, tell him that you are not much used to counting money, and that I am coming to count if over for you and see that it is all right. I shall be at hand all the time, on the watch, and when you say that, I shall come up. You will have nothing more to do, only, if I tell you that the money is right, then you can take it, and give him up the horse according to your bargain.”
“Very well, sir,” said Rainbow; “that is the way I’ll do.”
So Rainbow went back into the gentlemen’s waiting-room, and took his seat there on a bench at one side of the room. There was a table, with some chairs near it, in the middle of the room. In one corner was a small opening which led to the ticket-seller’s office, and by the side of this opening was a door leading into the office.
In a few minutes after Rainbow took his seat he saw Mr. Jones coming in. He entered by the door which led in from the platform, and was accompanied by another man. Mr. Jones did not appear to take any notice of
Rainbow, but went directly to the door leading to his office, unlocked and opened it, and went in. The other man went in too. Afterward Rainbow could see Mr. Jones through the opening occupied with his tickets and his money, but the man who went in with him disappeared.
It was now about a quarter past nine, and Rainbow waited about fifteen minutes, and then Mr. Truman came.
“Ah!” said Mr. Truman, “you are here, punctual as usual. We can close the business at once. I saw the horse at the post as I came by, and I don’t think I liked the looks of him quite so well as I thought I should, come to see him out in the open day. Still, I always stand to my bargains, and so I have brought you the money.
“Here is the bill of sale, too, which you are to sign. If you will run it over with your eye, I believe you will find it all right.”
As he said this Mr. Truman took from his pocket-book a piece of paper which he gave to Rainbow. He also took out a small pocket inkstand and a pen, and laid them both down upon the table.
While doing these things he cast his eye, somewhat uneasily, once or twice in the direction of the ticket-office; but, as the ticket-seller
seemed to be entirely occupied with his own concerns, and to be paying no attention to what was going on at the table, he proceeded.
Rainbow read the bill of sale, and said that it was all right. Then Mr. Truman took out from his pocket-book a parcel of bills, which he laid down upon the table before Rainbow, saying,
“There! you will find just the figure there, I believe—one hundred and twenty-five dollars.”
Rainbow took the money, and began to count it. As he counted he said,
“I am not much used to counting money myself, and so I have asked Mr. Jones to come and count it over for me.”
“Yes,” said Mr. Jones, calling out from the ticket-office, “I will be out directly.”
Mr. Truman seemed struck with consternation at this announcement. He, however, tried to preserve an air of calmness and composure.
“Let me look at that money a moment,” said he; “I believe there is a ten-dollar bill too much in it. I took ten dollars for myself out of the bank, which I forgot.”
So saying, Mr. Truman took the money again out of Rainbow’s hands without waiting for
Rainbow to give it to him, and began to count it in an agitated and hurried manner.
Then, in a moment, and before he had counted over one half of the parcel, he suddenly rose from his seat and said
“Excuse me one moment. I just saw a gentleman on the platform that I want to speak with. Wait for me here. I’ll be back in five minutes.”
Mr. Truman went at once to the door leading to the platform with the bills in his hand. He was met there by two of the porters belonging to the station, who stopped him at the door.
“Wait a minute, sir,” said one of them.
Just at that instant, Mr. Jones, accompanied by the man whom he had taken with him to the office, came up behind. The man put his hand on Mr. Truman’s shoulder and said,
“Mr. Truman, I am an officer. You are my prisoner.”
Mr. Truman looked this way and that, and appeared frightened and bewildered. For an instant he seemed disposed to make a rush against the man, in a desperate attempt to get away. But the men all gathered round him, and evinced so resolute a bearing that he saw at once that all resistance would be useless.
“You see we are pretty strong-handed, Mr. Truman,” said the officer, “so that there would be no use in your attempting to resist us. It would only make a disturbance, which would be equally unpleasant to you and to me; so you may as well go with me quietly. We have had our eyes upon you for some time.”
“Confound it!” muttered the criminal, as the officer and another man took hold of his arms. Then he went on talking incoherently to himself as his conductors led him away. His countenance was pale and haggard, and wore an expression of bewildered and stupid despair.
Rainbow stood by while all this scene was enacting, almost as astonished and bewildered as Mr. Truman. As soon as he came to himself a little, and reflected on the narrow escape he had made from having to carry home a bundle of counterfeit bills to Mrs. Blooman as the purchase-money of Lucky, he looked for a moment quite aghast, and exclaimed in a low but exceedingly emphatic tone of voice,
“Goodness gracious, Lucky, what a dreadful scrape you came pretty nigh getting me into! But stop; I must go and see if Lucky is safe.”
So saying, Rainbow hurried away into the yard or area where he had left Lucky fastened
to the post. He found him still standing there, safe, though beginning to get a little impatient. Rainbow went up to him and put his arms around his neck in a very affectionate manner.
Lucky,” said he, “you came pretty near being sold. But you have had an escape that would frighten you if you could only know about it. Poor Lucky!
“Well,” he added, with a sigh, “I shall do my duty faithfully, and try to sell you if I can; but if I don’t succeed, and have to take you back to Southerton again, I know of two people that I think won’t be sorry. One is you, Lucky, and I am the other.”
After standing a moment near the post where Lucky was tied, and reflecting on the unexpected posture which his affairs had assumed, Rainbow concluded that there was nothing now to be done but for him to mount the horse and resume his journey toward Boston.
“But first,” said he to himself, “I must go and see the ticket-seller, and pay him for his trouble in helping me, as I said I would.”
He then patted Lucky on the shoulder, told him he was only going away for a few minutes, and would then come back and not leave him again, and then went back into the waiting-room. The ticket-office window was open, and
Mr. Jones was inside. Rainbow went up to the window and asked Mr. Jones how much he should pay him for what he had done for him.
“Nothing at all,” said Mr. Jones.
“I am very willing to pay you,” replied Rainbow, “for you saved me from taking a hundred and twenty-five dollars of counterfeit money.”
“No,” said Mr. Jones, “there is nothing to pay. On the contrary, we ought to pay you something for helping us to detect that rogue, and stop his operations. Which way are you going?”
“I am going to Boston,” said Rainbow.
“With your horse?” asked Mr. Jones.
“Yes, sir,” said Rainbow.
“There is a train going to Boston at half past ten, and if you like I will give you a pass, so that you can go free. That’s the least thing I can do for you.”
Rainbow was exceedingly pleased at this suggestion. But then there was Lucky.
“And what should I do with Lucky?” he asked.
“Oh, Lucky can go too,” replied the man. “There is a horse-box going in the train, and we can put you both down in Boston in two hours. I’ll write a pass for you.”
So saying, Mr. Jones took down a card from a little pigeon-hole before him, and wrote upon it as follows:
“Pass the bearer to Boston”
When he had written thus far, he looked up again at Rainbow and asked,
“Are you going back to Southerton after you have sold your horse?”
“Yes, sir,” said Rainbow.
So Mr. Jones finished his pass, and gave it to Rainbow. It read as follows:
“Pass the bearer to Boston, and back from Boston to Southerton, and give him a good seat.”
“There!” said Mr. Jones; “show that to the conductor when he comes round for the tickets. And if you will come with your horse through the gate, at the end of the platform. about a quarter past ten, I will see about having him put into the box, so that he can go too.”
Lucky Takes a Ride.
“Lucky,” said Rainbow, in a tone of great exultation, when he went back to the post where Lucky was tied, “you are going to have a ride in the cars.
“Do you understand, Lucky,” he added, patting Lucky at the same time on the cheek in a very affectionate manner, “you are going to have a ride in the cars.”
But Lucky did not seem so much moved by this intelligence as might have been expected. He was glad to see Rainbow come back again, however, for he was tired of standing at the post. But Rainbow told him that he must be patient a little while longer, and so left him in order to go and take a short walk in the town until the time should arrive which Mr. Jones had appointed to put him in the horse-box.
When the time arrived, Rainbow unfastened Lucky from the post and led him round to the gate which Mr. Jones had indicated to him. Lucky followed him in a very meek and sub-
missive manner; but he would have resisted very decidedly if he had known what they were going to do with him.
Soon after Rainbow had passed in through the gate, Mr. Jones came to the place, accompanied by another man, whose business it was to put Lucky into his box. His box was a sort of platform-car, with a grating all around it. In fact, it looked more like a cage for confining wild beasts than like a vehicle for the conveyance of so docile and gentle an animal as Lucky.
Lucky looked at the box when they brought him up to the side of it, though he did not notice its resemblance to a cage, having, perhaps, never seen lions, and tigers, and other such beasts in cages. He thought it was a pound—some sort of small pound, such as he had often been shut up in, in his younger days, at Southerton.
Of course, he was very averse to going into it.
However, he had no option; for one man took hold of his bridle, and two others came on crowding and whipping him behind, and, before he had time scarcely to think what was going on, he found himself safe inside the cage, and three strong and heavy bars put up along the side of the compartment which he occupied to keep him in.
As soon as he was fairly shut up in this manner, Lucky forgot about the pound, and thought he was in some sort of a stall. It had looked more like a pound outside, but, now that he was in it, it seemed more to him like a stall, only the bars before him were too large for a manger, and, instead of having a good supply of hay stuffed in behind them, they were all open, and Lucky could look out between them to a great level expanse of ground, covered with an endless and intricate congeries of railroad tracks.
There was a boy standing out on the ground among these tracks, and when he saw Lucky looking out through the bars, he doubled up his fist at him and made a face.
This was really adding insult to injury; but Lucky bore it all very meekly. He remained in this situation for about ten minutes, wondering all the time what had become of Rainbow, when suddenly there was a start, and a low, rumbling sound, and Lucky found that the boy, and the tracks, and the very ground itself were beginning to move away from him. They went on, moving faster and faster, until they seemed actually to fly, which made poor Lucky’s head spin and whirl at such a rate that he became completely giddy. He began to think that he had got into a worse place than any pound.
In the mean time, while Lucky was suffering these hardships, Rainbow, finding that the time was drawing near for the train to start, went to the passenger cars, and ascended the steps leading to the platform of one of them. There were a great many persons—ladies, gentlemen, and children, going in, but Rainbow, not knowing where he was going to sit, was rather afraid to follow them. He concluded that it would be best for him to wait on the platform at the end of the car, and look out for the conductor.
“If I can only see the conductor,” said he to himself, “I will ask him where I shall sit.”
So he looked into the ears on both sides of the platform where he was standing, and he looked, too, on the great platform below, but no conductor was to be seen. In fact, if Rainbow had seen the conductor, he would not have known him. There is no way of knowing the conductor of a railroad train except by the word Conductor, in gilt letters, on his hat-band, or upon some other portion of his dress, and this badge he never puts on until after the train has started. He keeps it in some mysterious receptacle, known only to himself somewhere in the train, and after the train is in motion, and the time has arrived to collect the tickets, he puts it on. Until that time arrives there is
nothing to distinguish him, and he walks about in the crowd just as if he were one of the passengers.
It was accordingly in vain that Rainbow tried to find the conductor. He watched some time, but no conductor appeared, and, in the mean while, a continuous stream of passengers was pouring into the train, until at last all the cars began to get full. Rainbow began to think that there would not be any seat left for him at all, and he became somewhat uneasy. Presently he heard the cry All Aboard from the outer platform. Then there were hurried leave-takings, and the last remaining passengers entered the cars. Finally the bell of the engine was heard to ring, and the whole train began to start forward. At the same instant a brakeman jumped up upon the platform by the side of Rainbow, and took hold of the little round wheel there which controls the brake.
“You had better go inside,” said the brakeman.
“I do not know where I am to sit,” said Rainbow.
“Sit wherever you please,” said the brakeman; “they don’t pay any attention to color on this road, except it be the color of their money. They look out pretty sharp for that, I tell you.”
“Do they?” asked Rainbow.
“They do,” said the brakeman, emphatically. “Why, what do you think they pay a month to brakemen on this line?”
“I don’t know,” said Rainbow. “Is it hard work?”
“Yes,” replied the brakeman, “it is the very hardest kind of work. At every stop that we come to, and we come to one every four or five miles, we have to screw up this wheel, enough to twist a fellow’s shoulders out of joint, in order to brake up the train in time. He don’t give us half notice enough. He allows us just time to do it, working as tight as we can spring. Sometimes, when we have a heavy train, we can’t hold up till we get past the dépôt, and then we have to catch it.
“Then, besides that,” continued the brakeman, “we never have a moment’s peace, even in the intervals between one dépôt and another. We just get started on a long run of fifteen or twenty minutes, and think we are going to have a little rest, when, Whew! whew there comes a double whistle. There’s a cow somewhere within half a mile of the track, or a black stump which the engine-man thinks is a cow, and we have to spring to the brakes for our lives, and screw them up to the very last
notch, as tight as we can screw them. Then, just as we get that done, we get another signal, and have to let all loose again, to go on.”
“It must be a hard life,,’ said Rainbow. “Why don’t you give up your place, and go into some other business?”
“Hoh!” said the brakeman, “I worked a great deal too hard and too long to get this place to give it up so easily. It is no easy thing to get a brakeman’s berth on this line, I can tell you.”
Rainbow’s disposition to commiserate the hardships of the brakeman’s lot was very much diminished by his learning thus how much the place was in demand. The truth is, he only complained, as people often do in such cases, for the pleasure of complaining, and perhaps also from some vague and indefinite idea that his wages might be raised if he could make it generally understood what a hard time he had.
The conversation which has thus been described occupied but a very few minutes, and then the brakeman said again that Rainbow had better go into the car. In fact, it was against the rule for the brakeman to allow any of the passengers to remain on the platform.
So Rainbow went into the car. He looked on the right hand and on the left as he passed
along, but he could not find any seat. There were several seats with only one person in them, but these were generally ladies, who had filled the vacant place by the side of them with bags, or cloaks, or parcels, as if to indicate that they did not wish any body to take them; so Rainbow walked along slowly through the car.
When he reached the middle of the car he came to a place where a young lady had taken possession in this way of four places. She had turned back the seat before her, and had filled it with her parcels, and had also filled the seat by the side of her. In the remaining corner she had established herself very comfortably, and was just finding her place n a novel which she was going to read, without paying any attention to the number of passengers that were going through the car looking for seats.
Rainbow walked on past this young lady, and after going on two or three seats farther he met a gentlemanly and handsome-looking young man, well and fashionably dressed, who had just come in at the opposite door, and was passing through the car as Rainbow was, though in a contrary direction.
As he approached Rainbow he looked at him with a kind and good-natured expression of countenance, which made Rainbow think that
he was the handsomest young man he had ever seen.
“They seem to be all full,” said he.
“Yes, sir,” said Rainbow, “pretty full.”
“Can’t you find a seat?” asked the gentleman.
“No, sir,” said Rainbow, “I have not found any yet; but it is of no consequence. I can stand up by the door.”
“Oh no,” said the gentleman; “come with me, and I will find you a seat. I must find one somewhere for myself, and we will get one together.”
So saying, the gentleman passed by, and beckoned to Rainbow to follow him. He soon came to the place where the young lady was sitting who had taken the four seats.
“Ah said he, “here is a place.”
Then, addressing the young lady in a very polite and respectful manner, he asked if any of her friends were coming to occupy these seats.
The young lady tried to look very sternly at him but it is rather hard for a young lady to look very sternly in the face of an elegant and gentlemanly young man. She shook her head, but the expression of haughtiness which she had attempted to assume all melted away.
“Then we must sit here,” said the gentleman, turning to Rainbow. “I am very sorry to disturb your parcels, but I will put them all up carefully on the rack. It must be exceedingly annoying to a young lady not to be able to keep as many seats as she pleases for herself in traveling by rail, but to have other people come crowding into them just as she gets comfortably settled.”
“Yes,” said the young lady, with a resentful air, “it is indeed.”
“It is all the fault of the management of the railroads in this country,” said the gentleman, still addressing the lady in the politest manner possible. “They manage better in England. There a lady can have as many seats as she pleases, and nobody can interfere with her. She can have a whole compartment to herself if she pleases.”
“A whole compartment!” repeated the lady, surprised.
In fact, Miss Lucinda, for that was the young lady’s name, was beginning to be quite pleased with the person and the manners of the stranger and with his distinguished air, and she was not averse to forming some little acquaintance with him.
“Yes,” said the gentleman, “a whole com-
partment. You understand that the carriages are made differently there. The car is divided into compartments. Each compartment contains six comfortable seats, and a lady, if she is traveling alone, and does not wish to come in contact with the other passengers of the train, can have the whole of one of these carriages to herself by only speaking the word. There was a countess of my acquaintance who was obliged to go up to London to meet her husband, who was sick, and she had only her footman to go with her. The footman went to the ticket-office and engaged the whole carriage for her. Then, when she had taken her seat, the car was locked up, and nobody was allowed to enter it all the way.”
“That must be delightful,” said Lucinda. “And is it without any extra expense?”
“Yes,” said the gentleman, “there is no extra expense at all. You have only to pay for the six seats that you occupy, just the same as any other persons would pay. There is not a sixpence extra.”
“Oh,” said Lucinda, looking a little surprised, “I thought you meant without paying any more than she would for one seat.”
“No,” said the gentleman, “no, I did not mean that. Of course, no lady would like to
takc and occupy any thing more than she pays for. That would be acting like Tom Sykes, the fellow you saw an account of in the papers, I suppose.”
“No, sir,” said the young lady, “I did not see the account.”
“Why, he went into a boot and shoe store to buy a pair of boots. He bought one pair and paid for them; but when he went away he took with him besides these another pair, which another man had bought and paid for. What do you think they did with him?”
“What did they do?” asked Lucinda.
“They sent him to jail,” said the gentleman; “and I think they served him right.”
“I think so too,” said Lucinda.
“And so I think that any gentleman, who has only paid for one seat in a ear, and takes possession of two, so as to keep a lady standing who has paid for the other, is just in the same category with Tom Sykes, and ought to be sent to the same jail.”
The gentleman said this in so good-natured a manner that Lucinda could not help laughing. She said, however, that she did not think that gentlemen ever did such things. To which her new acquaintance replied that she paid his sex a great compliment by saying so, and he
was convinced, he added, that if gentlemen erred in this way less frequently than ladies, it was only because they were more acquainted with business, and so could more readily understand the true nature of such transactions.
After talking thus with the young lady for some time in a manner so polite and respectful that she could not possibly be offended with him, the gentleman apologized for having interrupted her reading.
“You were just beginning to read,” said he, “and we have come and interrupted you. You have not read a line since we took this seat, and you will not be able to read any as long as we stay, unless we turn the seat round, and so leave you in peace; and that is what we will do.”
So saying, the gentleman rose, and motioned to Rainbow to rise too, and they turned the seat. As they were turning it the gentleman asked Rainbow if he liked riding in the ears.
“Yes, sir,” said Rainbow; “I shall like it very much, I am sure, though this is the first time.”
“The first time?” repeated the gentleman; “then you must have the seat next the window, in order to see the prospect. It will make you wonder to see how the trees, and the fences,
and every thing whirl past you. And when another train comes along, it will go by with such a quick, thundering crash that it will quite frighten you.”
By this time the seat was turned, and Rainbow, in accordance with the gentleman’s invitation, took the seat next the window, while the gentleman himself took the one next the passage.
Rainbow liked his seat very much. He could look out at the window, and, although every thing that was near whirled by with such inconceivable velocity that he could scarcely distinguish one object from another. He found that he could see the distant landscape, when there was any distant landscape in view, very well.
He wondered what was the reason of this that is, why the things that were near went by so fast, while those that were at a distance moved comparatively slowly. He had a great mind to ask the gentleman who had been so kind to him to explain this; but, before he had concluded in what shape to put the question, the gentleman rose, and, bowing politely to the young lady, sauntered down the passage-way of the car, and he saw him no more.
In a few minutes the conductor came calling for the tickets. When he came to Rainbow’s
seat, Rainbow gave him his pass. The conductor read it, and then looked at Rainbow.
“You seem to have got a pretty good seat,” said he.
“Yes, sir,” said Rainbow, “I have got an excellent seat. A gentleman gave it to me.”
“A gentleman?” repeated the conductor. “What gentleman?”
“I don’t know his name,” replied Rainbow. “He was sitting here a few minutes ago.”
“You seem to make friends, somehow or other, wherever you go,” said the conductor, looking again at Rainbow’s pass. He then gave back the pass to him and went on.
Rainbow enjoyed his ride very much indeed, and in a few hours he saw by various indications that they were drawing near to the great city. At length he found that they were passing over an immensely long bridge, with a multitude of other bridges and viaducts running in every direction over the water all around them, and soon afterward the train came slowly to a stand in the great dépôt in Boston.
Finding the Way in Boston.
As soon as the train stopped, Rainbow got out of the car with the rest of the passengers, and walked along the platform to see if he could find Lucky. He soon came to Lucky’s car. Lucky was looking out between the gratings, and he neighed aloud with satisfaction and pleasure to see Rainbow coming again.
“Yes, Lucky,” said Rainbow, “here I am. They will come pretty soon and let you out.”
Lucky was, however, very impatient. He looked this way and that, and neighed again louder than before. In fact, he did some good by his neighing, for the sound of his voice attracted the attention of one of the men belonging to the station, who had been at work about the baggage.
“Here is a horse too, Jim,” said he, “to be taken out.”
So Jim and the other man came to take the horse out. Rainbow stood by to see.
“Is this your horse?” asked Jim.
“He is under my care,” said Rainbow.
“Very well,” said Jim, “I’ll take him out of the box, and then the sooner you are off with him the better I shall be pleased.”
So the men took down the bar by which Lucky had been shut into his compartment, and then opened a sort of gate in the side of the car and led Lucky out. Lucky was perfectly willing to come. Rainbow took him by the bridle and led him out through a great gate-way, and then found himself in a wide and busy street, which was so thronged with carts, omnibuses, hacks, trunks, and vehicles of all sorts, that both Rainbow and Lucky were quite bewildered.
“Now,” said Rainbow, “the question is to find my way to Mr. Miles’s stables.”
It was a Mr. Miles, a man who kept a livery-stable in Boston, that Rainbow had a letter to. The stable that he kept was near the Revere House, and Rainbow’s instructions were to inquire for the Revere House, and, when he got there, to inquire for Miles’s stables.
“Because,” said Handie, “every body in Boston knows where the Revere House is, while they might not all know where Miles’s stables are. But, if you once get to the Revere House, the people there will certainly know.”
So Rainbow determined to inquire for the Revere House as soon as he could see any person whom it seemed proper to inquire of; but every body appeared to be in such a hurry that it was some time before he saw any person that he dared to speak to. At length he saw a boy, with newspapers under his arm, leaning against a post. There was another boy standing near him. Rainbow led Lucky up to the place, and asked the boy if he would tell him the way to the Revere House.
The boy with the newspapers looked at Rainbow a moment, surveying bin from head to foot in a somewhat impertinent manner, and then winked to the other boy.
“Yes,” said he, “I’ll tell you the way to the Revere House. You go up this street here a little way, about as far as usual, and then you turn first this way, and then that, and then t’other, until at last you meet a cart coming. Then you turn about and follow the cart as far—”
Rainbow perceived very soon that the boy was only making fun of him, and so he began to walk on, and by the time the boy had got as far as this in his directions, Rainbow was getting out of hearing. So the boy stopped, and in a moment afterward called out, in a loud voice,
“Say, Pompey, how came you both to be so black, you and your horse? Did he catch it of you, or did you catch it of him?”
Rainbow paid no attention to these witticisms, but went on. He led Lucky by the bridle, thinking it safer to do so than to attempt to mount him. After going along a little way, he saw a man standing at the door of what seemed to be a butcher’s shop. Rainbow stopped opposite the place, and asked the man if he could tell him which was the way to the Revere House.
“Yes,” said the man, “I could tell you well enough, but you could not understand if I should tell you—not if you are a stranger in Boston; and you could not remember if you could understand.”
“I am a stranger in Boston,” said Rainbow.
“Then,” said the man, “the best thing for you to do is to learn a part of the way at a time. Go on along this street till you come to the first street to the right; turn into that street, and go on till you get to the end of it; then inquire of somebody else.”
Rainbow followed these directions, and when he reached the point which the man had designated, he inquired again, and thus, in process of time, after making a great many turnings,
and losing his way a little two or three times, he at last came to the Revere House. He expected to have had to inquire there for the stable; but this proved not to be necessary, for, on looking along the street a little way, he saw the sign, and so he went directly to Mr. Miles’s without any farther trouble.
At the Stable.
Rainbow went into the stable, leading Lucky. It was the largest stable that he had ever seen in his life. There were rows of stalls on both sides, all filled with elegant horses, and in different places, up and down the stable, grooms and hostlers were at work watering horses, or rubbing them down, or harnessing them into elegant carriages of the most light and graceful forms.
“Is Mr Miles here?” asked Rainbow, speaking to one of the hostlers, who was currying a horse.
“Mr. Miles!” shouted out the hostler, in a loud voice, without stopping from his currying.
In a moment a well-dressed and very respectable-looking man came out from a small office in a comer of the stable, and approached Rainbow with a look of interest and curiosity. Rainbow said nothing, but drew from his pocket the letter which he had for Mr. Miles, and handed it to him.
Mr. Miles opened the letter and began to
read it. After reading on a little way, he looked up, and, addressing the hostler, said,
“Take this horse, Patrick, and put him up. Then looking at Rainbow, he said,
“Your name is Rainbow, I see.”
“Yes, sir,” said Rainbow.
“Come with me into the office,” said he.
So Rainbow followed Mr. Miles into the office. Mr. Miles took his seat by a desk, and he motioned to Rainbow to sit down upon a sort of settee which extended across the end of the room. Mr. Miles then went on reading his letter.
After he had finished it he looked up to Rainbow again. There was an expression of curiosity, and, at the same time, of satisfaction and pleasure upon his countenance.
“Well, Rainbow,” said he, “they give me a pretty good account of you here, and we will see what we can do about finding a purchaser for your colt. You have just arrived in town, I suppose?”
“Yes, sir,” said Rainbow, “I came in the train.”
He felt quite proud in being able to say that he came in the train.
“In the train!” repeated Mr. Miles. “How came you to take the train?”
Rainbow, in answer to this question, explained to Mr. Miles how he had made a bargain for the sale of Lucky to Mr. Truman, and all about the counterfeit money and the detection of Mr. Truman, and about the ticket-master afterward giving him a free passage in the cars of his own accord. Mr. Miles seemed much interested in hearing this story, and he appeared to like Rainbow better than ever in consequence of it.
“Well, now, Rainbow,” said he at length, “it is time for you to have something to eat. I will show you where to go, and after you have had your dinner you can come back here, and we will get your colt out and take a look at him.”
So Mr. Miles led Rainbow to the stable door, and there told him that he must pass out into the street and turn to the left, and that after passing a few doors he would come to a restaurant.
“Go in there,” said he, “and get what you like. You will find plenty of things spread out upon the counter. Have you got some money?”
“Yes, sir,” said Rainbow, “plenty of it.”
So Rainbow, following the direction which Mr. Miles had given him, went to the restaurant. On entering the place, he saw on one side
a long counter of white marble, with plates, and cups, and saucers in a row near the front edge of it, and high stools before it for the customers to sit upon. On the other side was a row of small tables, with white cloths spread neatly upon them, and chairs on each side.
Rainbow advanced to the counter. Besides the plates, and cups and saucers on the margin of it, the middle of the table was covered with pies, cakes, plates of sandwiches, and cold meats of all kinds, and also apples, pears, peaches, and various other sorts of fruit. Behind the counter was a broad shelf against the wall of the room, where there seemed to be a great many hot dishes, kept hot by sprit-lamps under them. Among other things, there was a large caldron marked “hot coffee,” with another smaller one near it containing hot milk.
There were several customers sitting on the stools by the counter, eating luncheons and dinners, and some at the tables. A young man, who stood behind the counter, was serving them. Rainbow advanced to the counter, and asked this young man if he could have a cup of coffee there.
“Yes,” said the young man, “or any thing else you want, provided you have got money to pay for it.”
So Rainbow took his seat at one of the high stools, and the young man brought him a cup of coffee. Rainbow looked about over the tables to see what else he wanted, and calling for one thing after another, he at length had a most excellent dinner before him.
He remained at the restaurant eating his dinner about half an hour, and then, after paying the bill, which was not high, he went back to the stable. As he entered the stable, he looked up at a clock which was set in the wall of the building over the door to see what time it was.
“My!” said he to himself. “Three o’clock, and I’ve just had dinner. That’s what I call keeping late hours.”
Mr. Miles was in the office when Rainbow came in, and the door was open, so that he saw him coming.
“Ah! Rainbow,” said he, “you have got back. I will come and look at your horse presently.”
So Rainbow walked along down the stable, looking at the horses in the different stalls as he passed, and searching for the stall where Lucky had been put. He found Lucky at last, and was well pleased to see him again. Lucky himself seemed to be equally pleased. He was eating hay, and, although his joy at seeing Rain-
bow again was not sufficient to take away his appetite, for he went on eating all the while, yet he really seemed much pleased, for always, as soon as he bad got his mouth full, he turned round to look at Rainbow, who stood by his side, and to enjoy the pattings which Rainbow gave him on his forehead and on his neck.
In a few minutes a hostler came to take Lucky out of his stall. He said that Mr. Miles wanted to see him. So he led Lucky out toward the front part of the stable, where Mr. Miles was standing with another man.
Mr. Miles examined Lucky with a good deal of attention. He surveyed him on every side, felt of his muscles, looked into his eyes, and inspected his feet.
He then asked Rainbow to mount him, and to take two or three turns round the yard upon his back, and Rainbow at once complied with this request. He took a great deal of pride in showing what Lucky could do.
After going round the yard two or three times he rode up again to the place where Mr. Miles and the others were standing.
“Yes,” said Mr. Miles, “he will make quite a nice little horse by-and-by.”
Rainbow thought that he was a nice little horse already, and not so very little either.
But he thought it not best to express his opinion, so he was silent.
“And they ask a hundred and twenty-five dollars for him,” continued Mr. Miles, speaking to the other man who was near him.
“He is well worth that,” said the man.
“Yes,” replied Mr. Miles, “I think there will be no great difficulty in getting that price for him.”
Just at this moment a chaise came into the yard, containing a gentleman and a small boy. The boy was holding the reins, and making believe drive. His father had given them to him just as they entered the yard, in order to let him drive up to the stable door.
“Oh, what a pretty black horse!” said the child, as soon as he saw Lucky; “let me take a ride on him.”
“Oh no, Johnny,” said his father, “you can’t ride on him. Don’t you see? he has not got any saddle on. You would have to ride bare-back.”
“I want to ride bare-back,” said the child, reaching out his arms toward Rainbow.
“He can ride round the yard with me just as well as not,” said Rainbow. “Lucky is very gentle, and he is used to have me hold boys on before me when I am riding him.”
The gentleman, who in the mean time had stepped down from the chaise, looked up at Rainbow as he said this, and seemed to be pleased with the frank and good-natured expression of his countenance. He immediately lifted his little son cut of the chaise and handed him up to Rainbow, who took him in his arms and placed him on the horse’s shoulders before him.
The child looked up earnestly into Rainbow’s face as he sat there, apparently not knowing whether to be frightened or not at the strange situation in which he found himself placed.
Rainbow waited a moment before beginning the ride, in order to allow Johnny to recover a little from his astonishment at finding himself on the back of the horse and in the hands of a stranger. Very soon Johnny began to feel quite at his ease, and began himself to chirrup to the horse to make him go.
So Rainbow let him go, and Johnny had a good ride twice round the yard. His father stood by looking on, and appearing to be very much pleased.
At length Rainbow came back to the place where the gentlemen were standing, and Mr. Miles took Johnny off the horse. Then Rain-
RAINBOW AND JOHNNY.
[p. 164 blank]
bow dismounted and held Lucky by the bridle.
The strange gentleman, whom Mr. Miles called the colonel, now said something to Mr. Miles in a low tone of voice, and then they both walked a little to one side, talking together in an under tone, while Johnny remained with Rainbow looking at Lucky.
“What boy is this?” asked the colonel of Mr. Miles.
“He is a boy from the country,” replied Mr. Miles. “They have sent him here with this horse to sell.”
“He is a very likely-looking boy,” said the colonel.
“Yes, sir,” replied Mr. Miles, “he must be rather a remarkable boy, judging from his looks and the recommendations that he brings. See!”
So saying, Mr. Miles drew from his pocket the letter of recommendation signed by the selectmen which Rainbow had brought, and also another letter from Mr. James, in both of which Rainbow was spoken of in the highest terms.
“And what do they ask for the horse?” asked the colonel.
“A hundred and twenty-five dollars,” said Mr. Miles.
“And what sort of a horse is it?” asked the colonel.
“Oh, he will make a very nice little horse,” said Mr. Miles, “with proper training. He is very cheap at a hundred and twenty-five dollars.”
“I would buy him myself,” said the colonel, “if I had not more horses now than I know what to do with.”
“Well,” said Mr. Miles, laughing, “I should be glad to have you buy him. The more horses you have, the better it is for me, so long as you let me keep them for you.”
“At any rate, I like the looks of the boy,” said the colonel. “What is he going to do the rest of the day?”
“I hardly know,” said Mr. Miles. “He will have to stay here a day or two, perhaps, while I am looking out a purchaser for the horse. I shall give him a bed here in the stable, in some of my hostlers’ rooms.”
“Let him go home with me,” said the colonel. “My Phebe will be very glad to see him, and she will take very good care of him.”
So saying, the colonel turned round and walked toward the place where Rainbow and Johnny were standing. They had been looking at Lucky and talking about him all the
time while Mr. Miles and the colonel had been conversing together apart.
“Johnny,” said the colonel, “this boy’s name is Rainbow.”
“Rainbow?” repeated Johnny.
“Yes,” said the colonel.
“That’s a pretty name,” said Johnny. “I wish my name was Rainbow.”
“Can you drive, Rainbow?” asked the colonel.
“Yes, sir,” said Rainbow.
“Do you think vou can drive a chaise right, going through the streets of Boston?”
“Yes, sir,” said Rainbow, “I can drive a chaise right any where.”
“But suppose a coach comes up behind you, and the man drives the pole of his carriage right through the panel of the chaise?”
“I could not help that, sir,” said Rainbow, with a smile. “I can’t make other people drive right in the streets of Boston. All I can undertake to do is to drive right myself.”
The colonel laughed, and said that Rainbow was in the right. Then, turning to Johnny, he said,
“Johnny, how should you like to have Rainbow drive you home in the chaise?”
“I should like it very well,” said Johnny.
“And let me go another way?” added the colonel.
“Yes, sir,” said Johnny.
“And can you show him the way home?” said the colonel.
“Yes, sir,” said Johnny, “I know the way home. I could drive the chaise home all by myself.”
“Would you like to go, Rainbow?” asked Mr. Miles.
Rainbow said he should like to go very much indeed.
So he received his directions, which were that he should drive Johnny home and leave him there, and then come back with the chaise to Mr. Miles’s stable.
“And then,” said the colonel, “if Mr. Miles can spare you, and if you remember the way come to my house again, ring at the side door round the corner, and ask for Phebe. They will show you into her room. Tell her that your name is Rainbow, and that I sent you to her, and want her to take care of you.”
Johnny and Rainbow became excellent friends by the time that they had reached the colonel’s house. Johnny directed Rainbow in driving, and Rainbow took particular pains to remember all the corners that he turned, and also to fix in his mind the names and the general appearance of the streets that he passed through. At length they reached the house. It was a large and elegant mansion near the State House.
Rainbow drove up to the door, and then, after first getting out of the chaise himself, he took Johnny out and set him on the steps.
“You must go up the steps yourself, Johnny,” said he, “for I can’t leave the horse.”
“I can go up myself well enough,” said Johnny.
“And how will you get in?” asked Rainbow.
“I will pull the bell,” said Johnny.
So Johnny pulled a little silvered knob by the side of the door, and very soon a quiet but
very respectable-looking man came and opened the door. Johnny turned round and bade Rainbow good-by, and then went in.
Rainbow then got into the chaise again, and, without any difficulty, found his way back to the stable.
He asked Mr. Miles whether he was to go to the colonel’s house as he had been invited. He considered himself under Mr. Miles’s charge, and that he ought not to do my thing without his permission.
“Yes,” said Mr. Miles, “you may go, and I am very glad that he invited you. The colonel is an excellent man. He is very rich, and he does a great deal of good with his money.”
“Does he give a great deal of it away?” asked Rainbow.
“No,” said Mr. Miles, “he has too much sense for that. He finds much better means of doing good with his money than giving it away.”
Rainbow was somewhat puzzled by this reply of Mr. Miles, but he thought it not proper to ask any more questions, and he had no time to think on the subject, for Mr. Miles immediately said to him,
“Perhaps Phebe will invite you to stay at the colonel’s to-night, and if she does you can
stay, and then you can come here and get your bundle. In the mean time; you can leave it in the office.”
So Rainbow went to get his bundle, and put it in a closet which Mr. Miles showed him in a corner of the office. Then he proceeded again to the colonel’s house, going, however, this time on foot. When he arrived, he went to the side door and rang. A boy came to the door, and Rainbow, as he had been directed, inquired for Phebe. The boy led the way, and Rainbow followed, to a little back room, quite comfortably furnished, and all in nice order, where a very respectable-looking colored woman was sitting. She had a pile of linen on the table before her, which she was looking over and putting in order. She looked quite pleased when she saw Rainbow coming in, and said,
“This is Rainbow, I suppose?”
“Yes, ma’am,” said Rainbow.
“The colonel sent me word about you,” said she. “Come in and take a seat.”
Rainbow accordingly took a seat, and Phebe held a long conversation with him, asking him all about the town where he lived, and his mother, and his journey to Boston. Rainbow told her, too, about Handie and Mrs. Blooman, and about Lucky, and how he wished that he
could own Lucky himself; both for the pleasure of owning such a horse, and also because he could earn so much money with him in carrying the mail up the river road from the town where he lived.
After talking with Rainbow in this manner for some time, Phebe asked Rainbow if he would not like to go out into the stable and see the horses.
“Perhaps, too, you can find something to do there,” said she.
So Phebe rang the bell, and the same boy who had conducted Rainbow in to Phebe’s room came again. This boy showed Rainbow the way out to the stable. The stable was small, but was very completely finished, and was provided with every possible convenience for the accommodation of two horses. The rest of the colonel’s horses were boarded out at Mr. Miles’s stable. Rainbow went to work in the stable, helping the man who had charge there. He continued there for more than an hour, and then the boy came and called him in to supper. He found supper ready for him in Phebe’s room. He sat upon one side of the table, and Phebe herself upon the other; and, had it not been that the room and the furniture were comparatively so elegant, he might
have almost imagined that he was at home with his mother.
While Phebe and Rainbow were at supper, the boy came in and said that Colonel Hammond wished to see Phebe in the library in about fifteen minutes. Accordingly, as soon as supper was finished, Phebe went to the library, leaving Rainbow to amuse himself with some books which were contained in a small bookcase that stood in the corner of the room.
In a short time Phebe returned.
“Rainbow,” said she, “it is your turn now. The colonel wants to see you in his library. He has been asking me about you.”
“Ah!” said Rainbow, “what did he ask vou?”
“He asked me what sort of a boy I thought you were,” said Phebe.
“And what did you tell him?” asked Rainbow.
“I told him that I liked you very much,” said Phebe. “But now you must go up and see him. He wishes to talk with you about Lucky.”
So Phebe conducted Rainbow up a stair-case which led from the basement, where her room was, to the principal story of the house, which was above, and there pointed to a door
where she said he was to knock. Rainbow did so, and a voice from within called him to come in. He opened the door and went in. He found himself in a small but beautifully-furnished library-room. There was a great table a the centre covered with books and papers. The colonel was sitting by it in a very comfortable-looking arm-chair. There was another chair on the other side of the table, which the colonel pointed out to Rainbow, and asked him to sit down in it.
“I want to talk with you a little about your horse,” said the colonel. “I have an idea of buying him on speculation.’
“I should be very glad to have you buy him, sir,” said Rainbow.
“You ask a hundred and twenty-five dollars for him?” said the colonel.
“Yes, sir,” said Rainbow; “that is what Mrs. Blooman hoped she should get.”
“He is well worth one hundred and twenty-five dollars,” said the colonel. “I think he is worth more, and if you will sell him for a hundred and twenty-five dollars, I have an idea of buying him in hopes that I can sell him for a hundred and thirty-five, and so make ten dollars by my bargain. And my idea is to sell him to you.”
“To me, sir said Rainbow, quite astonished.
“Yes,” said the colonel. “Phebe tells me that if you had such a horse you could earn good wages by carrying the mail on a branch route near your town.”
“Yes, sir,” replied Rainbow; “but then I have not any money to pay for the horse—nor my mother either—at least not enough.”
“But I propose to sell him to you on credit,” said the colonel. “I will buy the horse, and give you a hundred and twenty-five dollars for you to take home with you to Mrs. Blooman. That will settle with her. Then I sell you the horse on credit, half to be paid in one, and half in two years. You can earn the money to pay for him in that time by carrying the mail. You are to agree either to pay me the money, or else to give me back the horse. Only you will have to pay me a hundred and thirty-five dollars instead of a hundred and twenty-five which I shall pay, because I must make some profit out of the transaction myself; and I don’t think that ten dollars would be too much. Do you?”
“No, sir,” said Rainbow, “not at all too much.”
“Besides that, there would be the interest to pay. You would have to pay the interest on
all the money for the first year, and on half of it for the second year.”
“How much would the interest be?” asked Rainbow.
“It would be—let us see—six dollars for one hundred, and one quarter of six for twenty-five—seven dollars and a half. It would be seven dollars and a half for the first year, and three dollars and seventy-five cents for the second.”
“That is not a great deal,” said Rainbow.
“So, you see the bargain tn would be a good one for me,” said the colonel, “for I should get the interest on my money and a profit on the investment. And I should be secure; for, if any thing should happen so that you could not pay the money, then I am to have the horse.
“It is true, I should not be secure in such a trade with any body who was not perfectly reliable and trustworthy. A rogue might go off with the horse, or sell him away out of the country, and a slack and careless sort of man, or an unfaithful one, would not take good care of him, and he might be spoiled. But I have learned that you are a very industrious and capable young man, and that you are thoroughly trustworthy, and that is what makes it safe for me to make such a bargain with you.”
Rainbow’s heart was filled with joy and
pride at hearing the colonel say such things of him, but he did not know what to say in reply; so he was silent.
At length, after a short pause, the colonel said,
“There is only one thing more to be considered, and that is that something may possibly happen to the horse without your being to blame for it. He may be taken sick and die. Now, to make the transaction a fair one and safe for me, we must provide for that contingency.”
“How can we provide for it?” asked Rainbow.
“You must get his life insured,” said the colonel. “They have companies in some parts of the country to insure the lives of animals used by the farmers; but, to save all trouble, I will insure him myself; if you will pay the premium. I will insure him for a dollar a year.”
Rainbow looked a little puzzled. He did not understand exactly what the colonel proposed.
“What I mean is this,” said the colonel: “you pay me, besides the interest of the money, one dollar over each year, to cover the risk of the horse’s life. Then, if he dies, the loss is
mine. If he lives, as there is very little doubt that he will, then I shall have made two dollars by insuring him.”
Rainbow was very much pleased with this way of providing for the contingency of any thing happening to Lucky during the two years that he was to have for earning the purchase-money, now that he properly understood it; but the whole proposal took him so much by surprise that he was almost bewildered in thinking of it, and he scarcely knew what to say. The colonel, however, relieved him from the immediate embarrassment by saying,
“So now you understand the proposition which I make you. I do not expect you to decide upon it at once. You can think about it. Perhaps there may be some one whom you would like to consult.”
“I should like to consult Mr. Level,” said Rainbow.
“Very well,” said the colonel. “Write him a letter, and tell him about it. Can you write letters?”
“Yes, sir,” said Rainbow. “Mr. Level taught me to write.”
“Very well,” said the colonel; “write to Mr. Level about it, and ask him what he thinks you had better do. You can write to-night.
Phebe will give you paper, and pen and ink. You can send the letter to-morrow, and day after to-morrow, or the day after that, you will get an answer. In the mean time you can stay here. Does Phebe take good care of you?”
“Yes, sir,” said Rainbow, “excellent care.”
“Very well, then; you shall wait here under Phebe’s care till you hear from Mr. Level. And now you can go down to Phebe’s room and write your letter. I will write, too, the exact terms of the bargain which I offer you, and will send it down to you, and you can put it into your letter. That will save you some trouble in writing it all out in full yourself. But first you had better go and see Mr. Miles, and ask him if you may stay here to-night, for I suppose you consider yourself rather under his charge while you are in Boston.”
“Yes, sir,” said Rainbow, “I do.”
So Rainbow went down stairs, and set out to go to Mr. Miles’s. He went thinking of the offer which the colonel had made him all the way.
When he told Mr. Miles about it, Mr. Miles laughed, and said it was exactly like the colonel.
“It will be an excellent thing for you,” he added, “if you can get a contract for carrying the mail.”
“Yes, sir,” said Rainbow, “I am sure it will be a good thing for me. All I am afraid of is that, in some way or other, the colonel will lose something by it.”
“Oh, he won’t care any thing about it if he does,” said Mr. Miles. “He is very rich, and he thinks no more of the price of such a horse as Lucky than your friend Level would of the cost of a sheet of gingerbread for a picnic.”
After having had this and some farther conversation with Mr. Miles, Rainbow returned to the colonel’s to write his letter. Phebe furnished him with writing materials, and gave him a seat at a table in her room, and put a bright lamp there to give him light. Before he was quite ready to begin to write the boy came in with a slip of paper which he said the colonel sent. On it was written as follows:
I propose to sell to Rainbow the horse Lucky for one hundred and thirty-five dollars, payment one half in one, and one half in two years, with interest, and said Rainbow giving me a mortgage of the horse as security for the payment; and he may, at any time within the two years, surrender the horse to me, and be released from all obligation to make payment in money. The horse during the two years is
to be at my risk, in consideration of one dollar a year to be paid to me by said Rainbow.
“Ah!” said Rainbow, when he had read the paper, “I am glad he has written this. It will save me a great deal of trouble, for I should not have known how to express it.”
So Rainbow began to write his letter. He told Handie how he became acquainted with the colonel, and what Mr. Miles had said about the excellence of his character, and about his wealth, and its being as little a thing for him to pay for Lucky as it would be for Handie to buy a sheet of gingerbread for a picnic. It took Rainbow a long time to write this letter, but at length it was finished. Rainbow read it to Phebe after it was all written, and she approved it very highly. Then Rainbow sealed and directed his letter, and Phebe sent it off to the post-office.
Rainbow remained at the colonel’s after this for two days, and at the end of the second day he received a letter from Handie advising him to accept Colonel Hammond’s proposal and take the horse. He had seen Trigget, he said, and Trigget was ready to contract with him for carrying the mail up the river as soon as he should return. So he told Colonel Hammond that he was ready to accept his offer.
Accordingly, on the next morning, he took Lucky from the stable and set out with him on his return to Southerton. He had the money for Mrs. Blooman in his pocket. He also had a bill of sale of Lucky which the colonel gave him; he having, at the same time, given the colonel his note for the money that he was to pay, and the other papers necessary to make the transaction complete.
Rainbow decided to return to Southerton by railroad, as he had a free pass for himself; and he thought that what he would have to pay for Lucky would not be so much as the expenses
would be for him and the horse for three days on the road, in attempting to make the journey by themselves.
So he went to the station at the appointed hour, and set out on the journey. He arrived at Southerton that same afternoon. He paid Mrs. Blooman her money, deducting, of course, his commission. He put Lucky up for that night in his old stall. The next morning he set out for home, where he arrived safely on the evening of the same day. He felt a great deal of pride and pleasure in showing his horse to his mother.
He immediately made an arrangement with Trigget for carrying the mail up the river; and though, at first, he encountered a great many difficulties and met with a variety of strange adventures in his rides through the woods, he succeeded perfectly in performing his functions; and he was so prudent in his expenditures, and took such good care of what he earned, that he had enough to pay for Lucky at the end of the first year.
Some of the difficulties which he encountered, and the adventures which he met with, will be narrated in the next volume of this series, which will be called Up the River.