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Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesJoe's Luck; Or, Always Wide Awake - Chapter 33. A Startling Tableau
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Joe's Luck; Or, Always Wide Awake - Chapter 33. A Startling Tableau Post by :waytogo-store Category :Long Stories Author :Horatio Alger Date :May 2012 Read :1490

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Joe's Luck; Or, Always Wide Awake - Chapter 33. A Startling Tableau

CHAPTER XXXIII. A STARTLING TABLEAU

Joe finally decided on some mines a hundred miles distant in a southwesterly direction. They were reported to be rich and promising.

"At any rate," said he, "even if they are no better than here, we shall get a little variety and change of scene."

"That'll be good for our appetite."

"I don't think, Mr. Bickford, that either of us need be concerned about his appetite. Mine is remarkably healthy."

"Nothing was ever the matter with mine," said Joshua, "as long as the provisions held out."

They made some few preparations of a necessary character. Their clothing was in rags, and they got a new outfit at the mining store. Each also provided himself with a rifle. The expense of these made some inroads upon their stock of money, but by the time they were ready to start they had eight hundred dollars between them, besides their outfit, and this they considered satisfactory.

Kellogg at first proposed to go with them, but finally he changed his mind.

"I am in a hurry to get home," he said, "and these mines are a sure thing. If I were as young as you, I would take the risk. As it is, I had better not. I've got a wife and child at home, and I want to go back to them as soon as I can."

"You are right," said Joe.

"I've got a girl at home," said Joshua, "but I guess she'll wait for me."

"Suppose she don't," suggested Joe.

"I shan't break my heart," said Mr. Bickford. "There's more than one girl in the world."

"I see you are a philosopher, Mr. Bickford," said his old schoolmaster.

"I don't know about that, but I don't intend to make a fool of myself for any gal. I shall say, 'Sukey, here I am; I've got a little money, and I'm your'n till death if you say so. If you don't want me, I won't commit susancide."

"That's a capital joke, Joshua," said Joe. "Her name is Susan, isn't it?"

"Have I made a joke? Waal, I didn't go to do it."

"It is unconscious wit, Mr. Bickford," said Kellogg.

"Pooty good joke, ain't it?" said Joshua complacently. "Susan-cide, and her name is Susan. Ho! ho! I never thought on't."

And Joshua roared in appreciation of the joke which he had unwittingly perpetrated, for it must be explained that he thought susan-cide the proper form of the word expressing a voluntary severing of the vital cord.

Years afterward, when Joshua found himself the center of a social throng, he was wont to say, "Ever heard that joke I made about Susan?" and then he would cite it amid the plaudits of his friends.

Mr. Bickford and Joe had not disposed of their horses. They had suffered them to forage in the neighborhood of the river, thinking it possible that the time would come when they would require them.

One fine morning they set out from the camp near the banks of the Yuba and set their faces in a southwesterly direction. They had made themselves popular among their comrades, and the miners gave them a hearty cheer as they started.

"Good luck, Joe! Good luck, old man!" they exclaimed heartily.

"The same to you, boy!"

So with mutual good feeling they parted company.

"We ain't leavin' like our friend from Pike County," said Mr. Bickford. "I often think of the poor critter trottin' off with face to the rear."

"I hope we shan't meet him or any of his kind," said Joe.

"So do I. He'd better go and live among the wildcats."

"He is some like them. He lives upon others."

It would only be wearisome to give a detailed account of the journey of the two friends. One incident will suffice.

On the fourth day Joe suddenly exclaimed in excitement:

"Look, Joshua!"

"By gosh!"

The exclamation was a natural one. At the distance of forty rods a man was visible, his hat off, his face wild with fear, and in dangerous proximity a grizzly bear of the largest size doggedly pursuing him.

"It's Hogan!" exclaimed Joe in surprise. "We must save him."

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CHAPTER XXXIV. A GRIZZLY ON THE WAR-PATHIt may surprise some of my young friends to learn that the grizzly bear is to be found in California. Though as the State has increased in population mostly all have been killed off, even now among the mountains they may be found, and occasionally visit the lower slopes and attack men and beasts. Hogan had had the ill-luck to encounter one of these animals. When he first saw the grizzly there was a considerable space between them. If he had concealed himself, he might have escaped the notice of the beast, but
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CHAPTER XXXII. TAKING ACCOUNT OF STOCKThree months passed. They were not eventful. The days were spent in steady and monotonous work; the nights were passed around the camp-fire, telling and hearing, stories and talking of home. Most of their companions gambled and drank, but Mr. Bickford and Joe kept clear of these pitfalls. "Come, man, drink with me," more than once one of his comrades said to Joshua. "No, thank you," said Joshua. "Why not? Ain't I good enough?" asked the other, half offended. "You mean I'm puttin' on airs 'cause I won't drink with you?
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