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Under the Lilacs

Somebody Gets Lost
Putting all care behind them, the young folks ran down the hill, with a very lively dog
gambolling beside them, and took a delightfully tantalizing survey of the external charms
of the big tent. But people were beginning to go in, and it was impossible to delay when
they came round to the entrance.
Ben felt that now "his foot was on his native heath," and the superb air of indifference
with which he threw down his dollar at the ticket-office, carelessly swept up the change,
and strolled into the tent with his hands in his pockets, was so impressive that even big
Sam repressed his excitement and meekly followed their leader, as he led them from cage
to cage, doing the honors as if he owned the whole concern. Bab held tight to the flap of
his jacket, staring about her with round eyes, and listening with little gasps of
astonishment or delight to the roaring of lions, the snarling of tigers, the chatter of the
monkeys, the groaning of camels, and the music of the very brass band shut up in a red
bin.
Five elephants were tossing their hay about in the middle of the menagerie, and Billy's
legs shook under him as he looked up at the big beasts whose long noses and small,
sagacious eyes filled him with awe. Sam was so tickled by the droll monkeys that the
others left him before the cage and went on to see the zebra, "striped just like Ma's muslin
gown," Bab declared. But the next minute she forgot all about him in her raptures over
the ponies and their tiny colts; especially one mite of a thing who lay asleep on the hay,
such a miniature copy of its little mouse-colored mamma that one could hardly believe it
was alive.
"Oh, Ben, I must feel of it! -- the cunning baby horse!" and down went Bab inside the
rope to pat and admire the pretty creature, while its mother smelt suspiciously at the
brown hat, and baby lazily opened one eye to see what was going on.
"Come out of that, it isn't allowed" commanded Ben, longing to do the same thing, but
mindful of the proprieties and his own dignity.
Bab reluctantly tore herself away to find consolation in watching the young lions, who
looked so like big puppies, and the tigers washing their faces just as puss did.
"If I stroked 'em, wouldn't they purr?" she asked, bent on enjoying herself, while Ben
held her skirts lest she should try the experiment.
"You'd better not go to patting them, or you'll get your hands clawed up. Tigers do purr
like fun when they are happy, but these fellers never are, and you'll only see 'em spit and
snarl," said Ben, leading the way to the humpy carrels, who were peacefully chewing
their cud and longing for the desert, with a dreamy, far-away look in their mournful eyes.
 
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