A Bicycle of Cathay (Chapter 8, page 1 of 9)


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Chapter 8

Mrs. Chester and I hurried back to the yard. There was the bear,
sitting calmly on his haunches, but there was no Italian.

"Now that his master is gone," my hostess exclaimed, "I am afraid of
him! I will not go any farther! Can you imagine anything that can be
done with that beast?"

I had no immediate answer to give, and I was still very much amused at
the absurdity of the situation. Had any one ever before paid his bill
in such fashion? At this moment the stable-man approached us from one
of the outbuildings. "This is my hostler," she said. "Perhaps he can
suggest something."

"This is a bad go, ma'am," said he. "The horse was out in the pasture
all night, but this morning when I went to bring him up I couldn't
make him come near the stable. He smells that bear! It seems to drive
him crazy!"

"It's awful!" she said. "What are we going to do, John? Do you think
the animal will become dangerous when he misses his master?"

"Oh, there's nothin' dangerous about him," answered John. "I was
sittin' talkin' to that Dago last night after supper, and he says his
bear's tamer than a cat. He is so mild-tempered that he wouldn't hurt
nobody. The Dago says he sleeps close up to him of cold nights to keep
himself warm. There ain't no trouble about his bein' dangerous, but
you can't bring the horse into the stable while he's about. If anybody
was to drive into this yard without knowin' they'd be a circus, I can
tell you! Horses can't stand bears."

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