A Bicycle of Cathay (Chapter 10, page 3 of 6)


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Chapter 10

"Of course not," said Mr. Larramie. "And, besides, why should you take
him there? It would be a poor place anyway. They wouldn't keep him
until his owner turned up. They wouldn't have anything to do with him.
What you want to do is to bring your bear here. We have a hay-barn out
in the fields. He could sleep in the hay, and we could give him a long
chain so that he could have a nice range."

The younger members of the family were delighted with this
suggestion. Nothing would please them better than to have a bear on
the place. Each one of them was ready to take entire charge of it, and
Percy declared that he would go into the woods and hunt for wild-bee
honey with which to feed it. Even Mrs. Larramie assured me that if a
bear were well chained, at a suitable distance, she would have no
fears whatever of it.

I accepted the proposition, for I was glad to get rid of the animal in
a way which would please so many people, and after dinner was over,
and I had smoked a cigar with my host and his son Walter, I said that
it was time for me to go and get the bear.

"But you won't go by the main road," said Mr. Larramie. "That makes a
great curve below here to avoid a hill. If I understood you properly,
you left the bear not far from a small house inhabited by three
women?"

"They're the McKenna sisters," added Walter.

"Yes," said the father, "and their house is not more than two miles
from here by a field road. I will go with you."

I exclaimed that I would not put him to so much trouble, but my words
were useless. The Walter son declared that he would go also, that he
would like the walk; the Percy son declared he was going if anybody
went; and Genevieve, the girl with the yellow plait, said that she
wished she were a boy so that she could go too, and she wished she
could go anyway, boy or no boy, and as her father said that there was
no earthly reason why she should not go, she ran for her hat.

Miss Edith looked as if she would like to go, but she did not say so;
and, as for me, I agreed to every proposition. It would certainly be
great fun to do things with this lively household.

We started off without the boy, but it was not long before he came
running after us, and to my horror I perceived that he carried a
rifle.

"What are you going to do with that, Percy?" exclaimed his father.

"I don't expect to do anything with it," the boy replied, "but I
thought it would be a good thing to bring it along--especially as
Genevieve is with us. Nobody knows what might happen."

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