There are a good many difficult things to ride, I find, beside the bicycle and the bucking Mexican plug. Those who have tried to mount and successfully ride a wheelbarrow in the darkness of the stilly night will agree with me.
You come on a wheelbarrow suddenly when it is in a brown study, and you undertake to straddle it, so to speak, and all at once you find the wheelbarrow on top. I may say, I think, safely, that the wheelbarrow is, as a rule, phlegmatic and cool; but when a total stranger startles it, it spreads desolation and destruction on every hand.
This is also true of the perambulator, or baby-carriage. I undertook to evade a child’s phaeton, three years ago last spring, as it stood in the entrance to a hall in Main street. The child was not injured, because it was not in the carriage at the time; but I was not so fortunate. I pulled pieces of perambulator out of myself for two weeks with the hand that was not disabled.
How a sedentary man could fall through a child’s carriage in such a manner as to stab himself with the awning and knock every spoke out of three wheels, is still a mystery to me, but I did it. I can show you the doctor’s bill now.
The other day, however, I discovered a new style of riding animal. The Rev. Mr. Hallelujah was at the depot when I arrived, and was evidently waiting for the same Chicago train that I was in search of. Rev. Mr. Hallelujah had put his valise down near an ordinary baggage-truck which leaned up against the wall of the station building.
He strolled along the platform a few moments, communing with himself and agitating his mind over the subject of Divine Retribution, and then he went up and leaned against the truck. Finally, he somehow got his arms under the handles of the truck as it stood up between his back and the wall. He still continued to think of the plan of Divine Retribution, and you could have seen his lips move if you had been there.
Pretty soon some young ladies came along, rosy in winter air, beautiful beyond compare, frosty crystals in their hair; smiled they on the preacher there.
He returned the smile and bowed low. As he did so, as near as I can figure it out, he stepped back on the iron edge of the truck that the baggageman generally jabs under the rim of an iron-bound sample-trunk when he goes to load it. Anyhow, Mr. Hallelujah’s feet flew toward next spring. The truck started across the platform with him and spilled him over the edge on the track ten feet below. So rapid was the movement that the eye with difficulty followed his evolutions. His valise was carried onward by the same wild avalanche, and “busted” open before it struck the track below.
I was surprised to see some of the articles that shot forth into the broad light of day. Among the rest there was a bran fired new set of ready-made teeth, to be used in case of accident. Up to that moment I didn’t know that Mr. Hallelujah used the common tooth of commerce. These teeth slipped out of the valise with a Sabbath smile and vulcanized rubber gums.
In striking the iron track below, the every-day set which the Rev. Mr. Hallelujah had in use became loosened, and smiled across the road-bed and right of way at the bran fired new array of incisors, cuspids, bi-cuspids and molars that flew out of the valise. Mr. Hallelujah got up and tried to look merry, but he could not smile without his teeth. The back seams of his Newmarket coat were more successful, however.
Mr. Hallelujah’s wardrobe and a small boy were the only objects that dared to smile.