The Loup City northwestern. (Loup City, Neb.) 189?-1917, April 30, 1908, Image 8

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    Tiberius Smith
(Copyright, by Joseph B. Bowles.)
"Tib and I had mapped out a little
scamper over Europe, I wagering a
Broadway supper 1 could take hint
to some spot on the continent he was
not familiar with. If allowed to
make the experiment. 1 reckon 1
would have lost, as I d picked out a
cozy corner in Bulgaria, which I sub
sequently learned he had once sum
mered in. But when we reached Bom
bay we were met by orders troni the
main-spring, asking that we under
take a little African tour, something
with leopards in it This was old
work for Tib and me. and although all
our plans for dodging the guide-book
in Europe were smashed, he displayed
no disappointment as he prepared for
the sail across the Sea of Arabia to
the hunched-up shoulder of Africa,
where we shifted to a south-bound
uuce arrived, no promptly
lained permission to net anythin? on
four legs in the Congo State, we pay
ing a handsome premium on all vic
tims shipped. He also took out li
censes in I'ganda Protectorate and for
the East Africa Protectorate. You'd
suppose those stamping-grounds would
suffice to fill all the menageries under
canvas, yet Tib began to lose all in
terest, in them when we drew near to
the I'ganda border and he heard of
Lake Hango country, which is encom
passed by the big Magli marsh. That
region is under no protectorate, and
although the inhabitants were said to
be replete with disagreeable senti
ments towards strang< is. the old chap
was crazy to visit it. The fact it
was forbidden ground to the blond
race only conjured up in his mind all
sorts of eccentric quadrupedal possi
bilities: and when our head man
shivered in the brazen sunlight and
said Feeney Screws 'gristed solely
to kidnap foolish transients, and add
ed that fugitives from that realm had
related fearsome nursery tales about
man-eating white leopards. I knew the
dice were juggled for our going to
the Bango.
"An anxious inquiry on my part drew
forth the information that Mr. Screws
was probably the most accomplished
assassin in all Africa. ile was so
cruel he ought to have been a dentist.
He was a native chief, the head man
chattered, a professor of unpleasant
"Thus with a very slim entourage w->
drew near Mr. Screws' boma. as the
native village is called, and began
hunting the fever-laden marsh for
white leopards.
“Now that I am out of that busi
ness, I'll explain that much of our
success in trapping the untamed peo
ple of the tanglewood was due to
a powerful ammonia pistol, much like
those used to-day by cyclists in hesi
tating ugly dogs. Tib had improved
the article as ordinarily made until
it would shoot 15 charges of the.
strongest kind of dope, and our em
ployer often utilized it in quieting
caged animals in place of the crude
hot iron. One slug of that stuff, as
prepared by Tib, would send the aver
age striped cat or lion off to slumber
iand for several minutes, and the pa
tient on awaking was usually very
“Well, we made th» east shorp of
Lake Mango, undisturbed, and as the
hunting was as thin as an almshouse
stew we picked up some native lwtats
and crossed to the west side.
“He studied the approaching shore
steadily for a few minutes and then ob
served: 'Too late, my child. I think
our host awaits us: the trees are
alive. To retreat now would mean a
swarm of them upon us. for they have
a few bark ferries on the beach, I
note. Brace up and try to infuse a
little self-respect into our simple fol
lowers, as 1 fear they have forgotten
their ancestral pride and will do us
scant credit.’
“There he is. Billy—the man with
the face like an inflamed nightmare.
Jovial, whole-souled-looking chap, eh?'
and he nodded his head carelessly
toward him we both knew to be Chief
Feeney Scraws.
“ Don’t make a move, Billy,'
warned Tib in a low voice, as with
his free hand he reached in his pocket
and produced his last cigarette and
lighted it.
“The moral effect of this little act
swept the chief off his feet for the
moment, sir. • He lowered his weapon
with a grunt of chagrin, or wonder
and released my patron. It was
lucky thus, as I was unarmed, all our
guns, except our ammonia pistols, be
ing in the boat. And I reckon if 1
had sho^ Feeney, Tib and I soon
would have overtaken him in the
spirit land; for the mob was un
usually demonstrative.
Keep near me ana warn slow, cau
tioned Tib. 'And show of fear means
the emergency ward.’ Then he mopped
his brow and motioned for the chiel
to lead us to some shade. It was
coolly done, and some lone corpuscle
of our host's tainted blood began te
admire the old fellow's nerve, as was
evinced by the swift gleam of his
green eyes. It was fleeting, but we
both caught it, and Tib murmured
over his resolute shoulder: We've gol
him puzzled a bit. Wouldn't he make
an elegant wild boy! Id almost pre
fer him in a cage to a white leopard.
“ ‘I’ll chasten his proud spirit,
grinned Tib. Any millinery displaj
of white feathers will mean an imme
diate clinic. Tread on his heels i
“This command seemed to me tc
lend itself to funereal environments
but I obeyed, and would have beer
brained instanter if Tib had nol
stepped in between and in tht
traders' lingo called a halt. Althougt
the chief stayed his hatchet arm he
jumped enthusiastically up and dowi
several times in an ecstasy of pique
and knocked one of his body-guard
senseless with the flat of his ax. The
fellow would have received the edge,
only the blade caught in an overhang
ing creeper. Tib smiled in approba
tion. and to further show his ap
proval gave the prostrate warrior a
hearty kick.
"But Mr. Scraws did not possess a
reputation for being thoughtfully and
exquisitely cruel for nothing, and
after a short session of storm signals
his merry face was distorted into a
smile and he clapped us both on the
shoulder amiably and indulged in
spasmodic duckings.
" "You've done the trick,’ 1 re
marked admiringly. But the face Tib
turned on me was puckered with ap
"I fear you are in error, my child,'
he protested. 'When Brother Feeney
laughs way down iu his stomach
there's something stirring for the
spectators. We had him dubious at
first: now lie has decided just wliat
he'sgoingtodo and it tickles him. And,
I guess, what agitates his risibles
wouldn't take any prize in a Vermont
parlor entertainment.'
"And hang me. sir. if Feeney's men
weren't all of a shake! The squaws,
too. who ran up to meet us. no sooner
saw their master enjoying his little
joke than they began tearing their
hair and scuttling for cover. Feeney,
choking with mirth, called a warrior
to approach. This man rolled his
eyes in despair and gave a tree a
farewell rap with his head before
obeying. His legs wabbled as he
child, I’ve a touch of th» fever. Him’ j
and now I’ve got ’em. Walk in,
ladies and gentlemen, walk in. One
hour in the big animal tent before the
first act in the triple sawdust arena.
This is Gooseberry, the man-eating
lion. See him—'
" 'Oh. quit.' I cried. 'Can't you see
you're going daffy with swamp sug
gestions?' For my little seance with
the oven heat and shivers «r the dis
ease had left me peevish.
" 'Just as you say. my child.' he re
plied. humbly. 'Maybe old Tib is
| cross-eyed mentally, but hang me if
be doesn't look like a lion. A figment
of the—'
"And great Scott, sir! I turned, and
if there wasn't the bulky, befringed
head of a big male leo in the narrow'
aperture of the tent!
"'Til)!’ I shrieked. ‘It’s real!’
"And at that my patron pealed
forth one resonant roar that caused
the massive beast to snarl and spring
back. Where's the keeper?' he cried,
again going a bit flighty. 'The idea
of letting him out to scare women
and—I forgot. It's real.' Then lie put
to rout his imagination for a moment
and swayed to the opening and
I scowled as he fixed his attention on
I the present. We stand about as
' much of a chance as an old-fashioned
! safe in the hands of a gang of yegg
men.' he mumbled.
"The timid peep 1 stole over his
shoulder, reinforced by the rising
sun, revealed for the first time wliat
those captains of industry had been
doing. During the night they had in
closed us and our villa in a palisade
of young trees and slabs of bark;
while at the other end of the corral
i he tawny form of our recent visitor
walked nervously buck and forth with
slow, gliding step.
, " We're the newer, better break
1 fast food.' explained Tib, as he tried
to wipe the nightmare from his eyes.
Then he gazed on me cunningly and
demanded: 'Don't play it too strong
on tiie old man. Hilly. ! feel doped:
but is that—or is it not—■’
" It is.' I gasped. 'For my sake
come out of it. It's real.'
" 'Enough to scare a scarlatina
germ into being sterilized?' he lisped.
"t 1—^ra^aEsaraaai i if .■ i;n
truth. Did that really happen, or was
it a delusion?'
“ ‘All real,' 1 howled, clutching hia
“ 'i always like to know,' he ex
plained. gravely. Then he cried: 'In
the name of the continental congress
—Don't shoot too quick!'
“For the ibig.'eight-foot male, accom
panied by a four-foot tail, was creep
ing towards us on his belly, while his
pal stood and watched the proceed
ings with morbid curiosity, and as
calmiv as if it were a mail-order busi
“We separated about ten feet and
crouched ready to spring aside, and as
the ammonia repeaters were held in
the palm of the hand. Feeney, shed
ding tears of unrestrained joy, had no
intimation we possessed the masked
" He sane.' I again implored, but
Tib. kneeling with both hands steady
ing his gun. cast me a whimsical
smile and fluttered his head as ii
amused. And the red spots on his
cheeks didn't look good a bit.
“The king of the wild-wood, proba
bly empty of stomach and hungry
enough to eat a whole tribe of white
men, now began knitting his claws
and agitating his tail for a record
breaking jump. He put his head close
to the ground when giving his class
cry. and this caused it to rumble and
reverberate intensely.
" Take him!' cried Tib. and with a
numb heart I squirted a charge of the
soothing-syrup and noted it ruffle his
"And although it did not hit him
fair, it pestered him and weakened
him. and lte at ruck between us anti
whirled undecidedly in a circle. Then
Til) staggered forward and idiotically
made a grab for his highness with
his left hand, while with his right he
tried to send home a settler.
"'Oh. wiji gab!' bellowed the popu
lace, never having seen a lion so mis
used before.
"And their eight-footer, seemingly
oblivious of Tib. began humping him
self in a narrow circle, with me at
the center. If Tib let go and fell 1
knew the beasf would make the cir
cuit and be upon him before he could
(M- it .’am •'!' jva;
• ’ Am
dragged himself forward and kneeled.
His boss lapped him coyly on the pate
with the ax-handle. It seemed to me
the chief ruffled the address longer
than was necessary and was loath to
desist. But with a sigh he finally
lowered his comforter and the sweat
rolled from the crouching figure's
“ 'Why look at the black imp's
eyes!' murmured Tib.
“And Feeney's eyes were blood
" 'Xot what you'd call amiability,' I
suggested, with a shudder.
“ ‘Certainly not the innocent jollity
of childhood.' groaned Tib.
“At this point the chief gave the
warrior some command, and as if re
prieved from death the subject sprang
to his feet- and motioned us to follow
him. The chief, still decorated with
his hideous smile, nodded for us to
obey, and as we were led to a but in
the middle of the glade he kept us
company and bowed us within with
much mock humility.
“ Too intensely polite,' snorted Tib,
once we were alone and the opening
filled up by the backs of two giant
guards. Then he added, thoughtfully,
'But my ancestors weren't Green
Mountain hoys just for notoriety's
sake, and he’d have a run for his
money if 1 had a gun.'
“ ‘They are busy about something,'
I remarked, as the sound of falling
timbers and the guttural cries of the
men beat against the hide sides of our
“ ‘I guess it is something elaborate,'
admitted Tib, trying to peer through
the opening; whereat the guards
pushed him back.
“And as if J didn't have enough to
fret over, Tib began to go light-headed
from a taste of the swamp fever, and
talk rapidly in a hectic-flush kind of a
voice. ‘We don’t know what it is, but
you can anticipate it is very complete
and finished as to detail,' he mumbled,
as the sound of the laborers grew
scant in the coming gray of the
morning. Then. Good-by. My Sweet.’
he began to babble in his clear, seven
story tenor as our guards silently
rose and left us.
“ ‘I say, old chap, don’t,’ I begged.
‘It’s almost sacrilegious.’
“ ‘You silly jade,' he quizzed, the
red spots on his plump cheeks now
glowing as if stamped with a stencil.
'Great Scott!' next he muttered,
while I sat with despairing head en
sconced in my hands. ‘I guess, my
‘And. oh. for the touch of a Maxim
gun and (he sound—'
" We've only our pocketknives.' I
reminded, going so limber I had to
clutch his hysterical shoulder for sup
" Shut up!' he roared. We have
the ammonia guns. Quick! See If
they ar<> loaded!' Then, more slowly.
If that bee would keep out of my
head I'd teach 'em that the spirit of
Spartaeus still loafs about in old New
“ Please be sane.’ I begged, my
head going cool again. ‘A lion is all 1
can stand. My gun's loaded.' And
my heart gave a mighty thump as I
yanked it forth and found its bulb
filled to the limit with Tib's ex-special
brand of dope.
"As he produced his pistol the
fever returned, and he patted the
barrel waggishly, and then mumbled.
I only hope the Hon that eats me
won t ever tight or have any quarrels
with your lion.’
" ' 1 here's only one,' 1 remonstrated,
slapping his shoulder.
" 'Very well,' the old chap assented,
apologetically, 'if he comes one at a
time he can never get through the
"it was a mighty tough combina
tion, you'll admit, sir—the lion and
Tib's erratic delirium. It. was more
trouble than an unmarried man ought
to inherit. Only one, remember. 1
“'.lust as you say. Hilly, but 1 can
see two,’ he insisted, mildly. 'One's
coming towards ns; t’other ain’t.
Which shall we shoot at?'
“And bless you, sir, there were two
lions. I thought at first I'd caught
his hallucinations and half expected
to see a pink giraffe crawling up my
shirt-sleeve. Hut it was real. The
audience, to enliven the scene, had let
loose another tease in the pen.
“One at a time and a huge surprise
for each,' cheered Tib, swerving on
his pins a bit.
"But even this shadowy chance was
eliminated, for as he spoke our hut
vanished. The rascals had fastened a
line to the top and had yanked the
meager shelter over the barrier.
There we were in the open, with u
fringe of black faces mocking us over
the fence.
“Tib stood with his mouth ajar in
astonishment. Then he drew me
aside reproachfully, and whispered:
‘Don't try to humor me. Tell me the
get out of the way. For his every
jump possessed all of the hilarious
energy of a fast-freight train.
" Oh. wagh!" yelled the spectators
as the dizzy pair sped by the second
quarter, with the favorite about to
" Hang on and sprint faster.' I en
couraged, dancing wildly in my h.vs
“ ‘D'ye — think — I'm—trying—to—
throw—this race?' retorted Tib. in
jerks, over his shoulder, as his heels
cuffed only the elevations and his fat
form snapped playfully into a horizon
tal position.
"Then from down the lists came a
roar that re-echoed even above the
hooting of the mob, and I turned t<;
see the other cat. a female, smallei
I and maneless, bounding up the aisle
i This nerved me to jump onto the
race-track and send two shots full intc
■ the mouth of Tib's steed, and as the
mischief-maker rolled over and sighed
sleepily my old patron was flung ai
my feet.
“Number two didn't pause to in
dulge in any funny stunts. Disregard
ing all frills and fancy crouches, she
gave one more bellow, and with hei
four legs flung wide, and the sun's
rays turning her yellowish flanks tc
old gold, sprang for Tib. The old
chap, although panting heavily
calmly planked her twice in mid-aii
and had a third prescription ready
when sM» landed. And as the sleep
germs began to work, the spectators
were simply swept off their feet, sir
to see their ill-advised lady man
killer trip a morris 011 her hind legs
spai at the atmosphere and then come
down with a crash.
i "My head was swimming dizzily
but 1 gave a cheer of defiance and
standing with one foot on the pros1
trate monarch, viewed with pardona
hie pride the paralyzed assemblage
while Tib copied my pose on No. 1.
• 'Habet! habet!' cried Tib. grab
bing me by the hand and leading me
gracefully forward in front of Fee
ney's opera box as if I were the lead
ing lady, and we both bowed easily,
with a bright sparkle in our fickle
fever-lighted eyes; and Tib bowed
even more deeply with all his old
time curtain grace, as Feeney, in pure
resentment, tried to bite his ax.
“Then the galleries began to cheer,
realizing we were the best pages ever
torn from a materia medica. I reckon
at that moment we completely filled
in the foreground, middle distance
and background of all thcfr Joss
dreams, and if it hadn't boon (or Mr.
Scraws they'd have made us a present
of all Africa. You see, we'd done it
so quiet. So noise, no rudeness, just
an inclination on our part, and their
biggest champions were put Ur bet.
We were little tin gods in tlieir eyes,
and tl)eir yelping now took on more
of awe than venom. Hut Feeney
didn't appreciate our growing popu
larity and foamed at the- mouth.
Then he burked an order.
"We were, still scraping a modest
hoof in mild deprecation of the en
core when tiie squaws began bobbing
their heads violently and I was in
quisitive enough to shyly turn and
look over my shoulder.
‘"Atttention!’ I cried, and Til)
wheeled just in time to see our host's
orders had resulted in another rude
cage being unloaded through an open
ing in the paling, and two more
beasts entered
"These started toward us on a can
ter, and to my horror I observed Tib
was frittering away the precious sec
onds in gallantly hissing his moist
digits to a bevy of frenzied valen
tines. presumably the wives of the
"'For my sake!' I had just time to
invoke, when the lion in the lead
turned at an acute angle and got very
close before I could pull the trigger.
I overshot. But Tib, ignoring bis an
noyer and after foolishly chanting
some lines about 'Lions to right of
'em. lions to left of 'em.' pivoted and
raked my villain by a neat snap-shot.
And the next thing I knew I was sail
ing high enough through space to
peep over the top of the inclosure. It
seems 1 was just one jump too slow
in dodging, and the brute managed
to collect the back of my shirt in
.»iy return to earm joiteu ihp
breath from my lungs, and I had to re
cline ami watch Tib fare his fate
alone. 1 knew he must have ducked
when enfilading my footpad, and by
the way the survivor was performing
I realized his second shot had not
been wasted. The snuff-colored dream
vaguely brushed his ample paws
against his muzzle and gave one the
impression of being intoxicated Yet
true to his original design, he gravely
> sauntered towards Tilt and made a
i clumsy leap. But two quirk shots full
I in the yellow eyes announced his exit,
and after 1M gain 1 my feet we both
sank down wearily on his muscular
fla nk.
"Well. sir. I reckon (' uttral Africa
never saw such a perfectly astounded
set of natives as in Feeney .Soraws
and his little ones. There were four
of their king pins quiescent and we
lolling lazily back on the biggest.
We had laid them to rest as easily as
a laughter-loving chauffetu runs
down a crippled beggar with a t»0
horse power smoke-wagon. Naturally
it made the crowd nervous, and the
yowls they let out would have fright
ened a pumping station into hysterics.
■' Will the lions show fight when
they revive?' I panted.
" Will Feeney ring in actors until
we've used up all the dope?' Tib
asked, thoughtfully, in return, me
chanically giving our cushion another
desuetude drop. This anger-killer
won't last forever,” he added, moodily.
Then the swamp-light stole into his
eyes again, and I knew some quaint
conceit was addling his brain.
“ 'All down. Feeney,' he cried,
cheerily, dancing towards the paling.
Set 'em up in the other alley.’
"I pulled him back and tried to
quiet hint, while the aborigines yelped
as if afraid of the round. laughing
man who hushed lions to sleep. The
black hands no longer were shaken at
us in derision, but instead were
pointed in hesitation, and by the ges
ticulations and rolling eyes l knew
the people were petitioning the chief
to hold up his thumb.
” ‘I'd like a nice, coo] drink from
old Champlain.' rambled Tib. playing
carelessly with his lion's whiskers.
‘Old Vermont! Recall those lines—I
remember. 1 remember the house
where I was born? 1 can't, hut 1
could if there had been lions in it.'
“ ‘He's about to play another
card.' 1 warned, giving the nearest
lion another shot.
" 'We've four lions now,’ ruminated
Tib, proudly. Say. Billy, did you
ever try to do a sum in lions? Now,
in adding three columns of lions,
when you have two to carry—'
“ ‘They are opening the barrier
again.' 1 groaned, giving my patron up
as a hopeless slave to purple pipe
“Tib reeled to his feet and tore
open his shirt and peered under a
shaky hand down the line.
’’ ‘More lions,’ he said, simply.
“‘White leopards! Two of 'em!’ I
“ 'Hurrah!' he shouted, and I be
lieved him thoroughly crazy again. ]
He Lost Interest in Things.
They looked leopards to me.' he
cried, but I thought 1 must be fuzzy
again. So I said lions. Hut white
"And he waltzed me around joy
fully. ‘We must have 'em. Isn't this
" Awfully good luck.' I despaired:
for I knew a leopard was as formida
ble as a lion or tiger and harder to
"And the brunettes along the fence
evidently were now determined to
stick to their gods through one more
whirl and, forgetting their recent
fears, began ta shonf exultantly, it
sounded like a Russian college yell,
and Tib tossed back a little circus
talk and dragged me in between the
two sleeping pups nearest the center
of the arena.
"The big cats, wlifte with dark
polka-dots, about five feet in length
and with abnormally long tails, now
saw us. and after a few preliminary
snarls began circling the palisades,
desirous of pouncing upon us from
behind, true to their feline idea of
propriety. f wanted to get my
back against the stockade, but Till,
with less strabismus in his intellect,
restrained me. We'd seen enough of
leopards to realize these beauties had
been kept in a cage and were used to
men, and we believed they had been
starved for just some such purpose as
this. Y’et it was evident they weren't
th--.v ;•
He Jumped Enthusiastically Up and
anxious to come too near our breast
works. Then an old lady, probably
with a local reputation as a witch
doctor. rose behind her boss and
Hunt; her skinny arms aloft and be
stowed a few imprecations upon us.
The cats began to get bold. The
crowd believed it was due to the spell
cast by the lady. Anyway, as we
were like a hot hand-out to a famished
orphan on Christmas eve. the evil
brace were game to try and net us.
"The audience went wild when the
twin spotted ones left the barriers
and dragged themselves towards us.
inch by inch, as if the proceedings
were very secret. It was like betting
money on the home nine when the um
pire is your friend and lives in your
village. And to add to the festivities
the lions began to wriggle and act un
easy. We realized they were about to
“ A yah. jaii!' shrieked the Ro
“ ‘Give 'em another nullifier,' I cried
in Tib's ear. indicating the quartet
of sleei»ers.
" TCxcept this biggest one.' he tele
phoned back. 1 may need him
“And friend Feeney, believing it
was the last act. threw hack his head
and laughed in low gurgles. His
blood-curdling jollity seemed to jerk
the head tabby into radical action,
and a streak of white marked her
“'Missed!' I yelled.
“'Rotten!' cried Tib, as he also
scored a zero, and the target lighted
on our uneasy parapet.
“Then the breastworks cante to
“And say. sir. if the dope had
quieted old Nero so far as we were
concerned, it didn't-preclude his hav
ing a litile argument with puss.
Screeching and roaring they rolled
over and over, while the other cat
looked on in amazement.
" 'Nai! her!' directed Tib.
“And ping! 1 did. at a distance of
20 feet. She whacked her paws
against her nose in vain, for the
aroma would not down, and while
thus engaged Tib ran in and gave her
her conge.
Then we turned to watch the duel,
just in time to sec the cart-wheel of
beasts strike the barriers fairly oppo
site the chief's lookout.
"There was a crash, and the whirl
ing. furry forms bounded out into the
“As the orchestra circle emptied in
flight Feeney, indigo with rage, raised
his ax to hurl at me. who was nearest.
But Tib did a little rainbow stunt
with his gun. and as the gentle shower
feli on Feeney's nose he lost interest
in things, ditto his balance, and top
pled over and down onto the fighting
animals. The leopard promptly re
sented his intrusion with a tap of her
paw. and the lion also found time to
bestow a hearty cuff.
“As the two rolled away in the for
est we enjoyed a good scrutiny of the
now quiet ruler. It didn't need a
medico-legal expert to diagnose he
had cast his last vote.
" ‘Somehow, 1 like hint best this
way,’ murmured Tib. pensively.
“By this ttoue the natives had all
fled, evidently satisfied we were
fairies with evil intentions.
"One old hag. even in her fright,
could not resist the temptation to
turn in her course and hurl a nervous
spear at her prostrate master.
“This simple act of courtesy
cheered me wonderfully, as I didn't
believe the gang would feel much
hurt because Scraws had made his
exit. We were not taking any chances,
however, by loitering. We found our
boys snugly yoked together ready for
a slave jaunt norrh. and with their aid
managed to sling the still Insensible
pussy on a pole. We left the lions,
and with only the cat to show tor our
pains we recrossed the Uango and
picked up our reserve force.
“Since then 1 see the Bango dis
trict has passed under the control of
the Uganda protectorate.
"So. I reckon, our little act in the
arena was productive of some good
outside of furnishing this country an
opportunity to inspect at popular
prices the only prize white leopard in
Political Hypocriay.
The politician who, on the eve of
an election, knocks at the poor man s
door, shakes his hand and kisses the
baby illustrates the maxim that hy
pocrisy Is the homage that vice pays
to virtue.—Toronto Star.
Considerable Portion of Population io
Some Districts Inhabit Homes
Hewn Centuries Ago—Some
Extremely Comfortable.
New York.—Most persons will be
surprised to learn that France is re
carded as a land of troglodytes. But
they are not barbarians or savages
On the contrary, most of them are in
dustrious and thrifty folk who have
utilized most intelligently the special
conditions which enable them to pro
vide comfortable homes for their lam
ilies at a minimum cost.
Cave dwellers form an important
proportion of the population in soar
districts of the center of France This
type of habitation is found hewn out
of the chalk on the French eoas of
the British channel and also in othei
districts of northern France. Bn
these cave dwellings are not to n
compared in numbers with those in
central France, and especially in tic
middle basin of the l>oire. where the
groups of troglodytes are most dense
They are found wherever cliffs of
white limestone, a marked feature in
the geology of this region, rise above
the general level. This limestone, al
most inexhaustible in quantity, is very
compact, but is easily worked and
vast quantities are quarried for build
ing purposes.
Along the middle Loire and especial
l.v on the great inland peninsula be
tween the Loire and its tributary, the
Cher, it rises in escarpments on the
river banks. These walls are pierced
with artificial inhabited grottos The
are innumerable along the Loire front
Gien to Saumur.
At Blois and Amboise and in th"
suburbs of Touts many of the stables
A House at Bourre.
and outhouses of the dwellings are in
the ground.
In the valley of the Cher the cliff
foi over 18 miles, from Chononceaux
to Saint-Aignan. are honeycombed
with subterranean dwellings, most o
the people living in these caves, no
only the poor but also the more pros
perous peasants, and even many of
the bourgeois. The chateaux also use
these caverns as kitchens, chambers
and lunch rooms, and house some of
the live stock in them.
The town of Bourre is a typical vil
lage of cave dwellers. All along the
cliffs the visitor sees the doors and
windows of the cave houses, and their
chimneys rising above the rocks. I n
til recently none of the people here
built houses.
They lived by preference in capa
cious rooms hewn out of the rock
Many of the richer among them now
live in houses on the surface, but the
gieat majority are still faithful to the
cave dwellings which their fathers
There are good reasons for their
choice. The summer sun pours its
scorching intensity upon these valleys,
but the cave dwellings are always
They have the same equable tern
peiature summer and winter. .Many of
them have been utilized for centuries
and nobody is ashamed of them Peo
ple do not speak of their houses, hut
of their caves.
The rooms in the caves are usttallv
on the same level, but if the rock roof
is high enough there is often a second
story supported by posts and reached
by stone steps carved out of the side
What a fortunate fellow is the trog
Iodyte! If more elbow room is needed
as his family grows he has only to
take his pickax and add length or
width to the domicile. If he wants a
little more light or air he knocks an
other hole or two in the front wall.
If the little folks disturb their grand
parents he can dig out a new room
for the old people. His stable is prob
ably next door to the living room, and
the cow. chickens and goats live under
the common rock roof. Sometimes the
dwelling is reached by steps from the
outside, hut frequently a passage cut
through the rock leads to the room.
Usually there are sufficient windows
for light and ventilation, and the liv
ing room lacks no appearance of com
fort. It is light and large.
The cupboard, the oak table, the
kneading trough, a looking glass, a
ehest of drawers and a few prints or
colored pictures are arranged along
the stone walls, and behind curtains
are a bed or two in recesses dug out
of the rock. On one si<Jc is the old
fashioned fireplace and oven where
the cooking is done, and the chimney
affords a most vigorous draught.
One of the most striking character
istics of iltese subterranean dwellings
is the complete lack of humidity on the
walls, in which respect they differ
Horn most natural limestone caverns.
No doubt there are many thousands
of people in crowded cities whose hab
itations cannot compare in comfort
and healthfnlness with the cave dwell
ings of central France.
Extreme Manifestations.
-Is it true that Bugg's mind has be
come affected since they went to live
in the suburbs?"
"Yes. but they did not think so
much of his eccentricities till finally
he got so itad that he tried to run the
mower over his wife's dress."
A Novel Barometer.
It has taken u clever Frenchman to
discover n kind of barometer which
may be safely called unique. An Eng
lish journal says it is nothing more
nor less than the figure of a general,
made of gingerbread. He buys one
t»very year, takes it home, and hangs
It by a string on a nail