Under the Lilacs
"I ran away from a circus," began Ben, but got no further, for Bab and Betty gave a
simultaneous bounce of delight, and both cried out at once,--
"We've been to one! It was splendid!"
"You wouldn't think so if you knew as much about it as I do," answered Ben, with a
sudden frown and wriggle, as if he still felt the smart of the blows he had received. "We
don't call it splendid; do we, Sancho?" he added, making a queer noise, which caused the
poodle to growl and bang the floor irefully with his tail, as he lay close to his master's
feet, getting acquainted with the new shoes they wore.
"How came you there?" asked Mrs. Moss, rather disturbed at the news.
"Why, my father was the 'Wild Hunter of the Plains.' Didn't you ever see or hear of him?"
said Ben, as if surprised at her ignorance.
"Bless your heart, child, I haven't been to a circus this ten years, and I'm sure I don't
remember what or who I saw then," answered Mrs. Moss, amused, yet touched by the
son's evident admiration for his father.
"Didn't you see him?" demanded Ben, turning to the little girls.
"We saw Indians and tumbling men, and the Bounding Brothers of Borneo, and a clown
and monkeys, and a little mite of a pony with blue eyes. Was he any of them?" answered
"Pooh! he didn't belong to that lot. He always rode two, four, six, eight horses to oncet,
and I used to ride with him till I got too big. My father was A No. 1, and didn't do any
thing but break horses and ride 'em," said Ben, with as much pride as if his parent had
been a President.
"Is he dead?" asked Mrs. Moss.
"I don't know. Wish I did," -- and poor Ben gave a gulp as if something rose in his throat
and choked him.
"Tell us all about it, dear, and may be we can find out where he is," said Mrs. Moss,
leaning forward to pat the shiny dark head that was suddenly bent over the dog.
"Yes, ma'am. I will, thank y'," and with an effort the boy steadied his voice and plunged
into the middle of his story.