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From Warrior, the Untamed, The Story of an Imaginative Press Agent, by Will Irwin, Illustrations by F. R.Gruger, New York: Doubleday, Page & Company, 1909; pp. 29-47.



The first place Warrior broke into and entered was Steiner’s notion and confectionery store. No beef gruel within smell; but his nose did catch the scent of chocolate peppermints, which the children had taught him to like as a cat likes catnip. Warrior jumped on the showcase with both front feet, broke it, and licked up a box of peppermints from the wreckage. That was putting dessert before soup, but it must have instilled some energy into his poor old bones; for as he came out on the street 30 he was letting loose roars of satisfaction which scattered the rallying populace again. A butcher wagon had just run away. The front wheels had collided with a milestone, scattering meat in every direction, and a fresh side of beef lay out there in the dust. Warrior took that for a good sign. Sides of beef meant to his simple mind the appetizer to beef gruel. He grabbed it and settled himself for a good time.

Jim Nickerson, the village beau and bowling champion, had a new high- power gun which he employed to scare deer on his vacation up in Maine. Jim got his gun and sneaked from the back door of Perkins’s general store, where he ’s employed to crank the soda fountain, and up to Odd Fellows’ Hall on the third floor. Carefully bolting all the doors, he took a rest on the window-sill, 31 drew a bead on the Untamed, and shattered the figurehead over Captain Anderson’s door across the street. Warrior’s frazzled nerves went back on him again. He dropped the side of beef and loped on down the deserted road.

Half a mile from Satuit Harbour is the Miles Standish Inn, a cross between a hotel and a sanitarium. That peaceful morning the old ladies and neurasthenics sat on the piazza playing bridge whist and crocheting and gossiping about the raging lion which was loose in all the newspapers. One of them looked up, and perceived that the lion was in their midst. Business of dropped crocheting and scattered cards and waitresses dragging fainting old ladies up to the second floor, and an heroic proprietor building a barricade of bureaus at the head of the stairs. The Untamed trotted indoors 32 after them, inspected the baby grand piano, licked off some of the shellac, decided that it was neither appetizing nor sustaining, and crawled toward the kitchen. His face must have lit up at that point, and I know that he let out a roar of joy which set the hysterics cackling upstairs like a string of firecrackers.

He ’d smelled beef broth.

Warrior bounded into the kitchen. There it was, on the floor behind the stove — a whole kettle of soup stock. He poked off the lid with his nose and settled down to business.

While the Untamed is licking out the pot, let us return to our hero. The first day I drew sixteen columns of space in Boston territory, and dozens more from the Associated Press — name of the park in every story. The second day it ran up to a cool twenty-seven. By 33 Tuesday morning every man, woman and child in Greater Boston and vicinity knew that Paradise Park was on earth and doing business. At the first blush I nearly lost my job. The boss said that women and children would be afraid to come to a resort where wild animals broke loose. But on Monday — Mon- day, mind you, pretty nearly the poorest day of the week for an amusement park — we took more paid admissions than we ’d taken on any Saturday since we started up. People laid off from their work to see the cage where Warrior, the Untamed, had been confined. You never know how it will jump with the public.

Every country correspondent in New England was my assistant press agent. Citizens were forming posses all along the shore; they were calling on the Governor for militia; they were postponing social 34 events because they were afraid to go out after dark; farmers ploughed with the musket of Bunker Hill beside them in the furrow, like they expected Paul Revere any minute. And every noise they made was a shout for Paradise Park.

Of course, you understand that it was n’t my play to find Warrior until the story of his escape began to run down. Wednesday morning I found I ’d drawn only seven columns; it was time to get busy with a follow-up. The question was: had I better find Warrior or had I better let the story run a day or two more? So far as I was concerned, I had my private feelings; I liked Warrior, and I feared that he might meet someone who could shoot straight. He was n’t worth more than six hundred dollars and he ’d given us six thousand in advertising, but there were my finer instincts. Of course, 35 that ’s leaving out Hattie, which is a long sad story with tremulo music on the G string.

I suppose there comes one time in every man’s life when he hears from fair lips what a low, crawling creature he is. Hattie’s was those lips. She informed me officially that after I found Warrior she ’d never look into my hated face again. There was only one other reptile she esteemed less; and he was telephoning to me every six hours for a weather report. Pete said he ’d found a friend who had lent him a citizen’s outfit, and he had five dollars on him; when could I send him more?

“Have you seen Warrior?” I’d begin and “How about Hattie?” he’d end. And at that point I ’d ring off reassuringly. I got up the nerve to inform Hattie that I ’d heard from Pete. She said:


“You tell him next time he phones that if Warrior ain’t found, this continent ain’t large enough to hold the two of us!”

When, on her casual visits to inquire for news of Warrior and to air her opinions of men as a class and Pete and me as specimens, Hattie’s line of talk ran down a little, I ’d console her by picturing the ceremony which would take place when we found Warrior. I ’d planned to buy off the captors and make it out that we ’d found him ourselves after the whole South Shore had failed. I offered to let her make the capture — bring him back in an automobile photographs at the gate of the Park with Warrior in Hattie’s embrace. That mollified her some. But when I went further and said that I was thinking of making a mystery story of Pete’s disappearance I touched off the human hornet’s nest again.


“That mutt!” says she. “Have him dividing notices with my ol’ petty lamb!”

And right there the Untamed clean disappeared from the face of Nature. For thirty-six hours after he loped away from the Miles Standish Inn, he was lost to view and report. Not even a country correspondent broke the spell. I was afraid that he might have died of loneliness and exposure, and that the story would peter out. I tried to stimulate interest by offering a reward of a hundred dollars for information leading to his capture, alive. I wanted to add “or dead“ but the grieved, sad face of Hattie Russell came between me and them words, and I gazed apprehensively over my shoulder as I wrote.

Thursday afternoon I was sitting alone in the old man’s office speculating on the 38 disappearance of Warrior and holding a ratification meeting with myself over the increased attendance, when a Cardiff giant of an old girl blew into the office. Fifty, if she was a day, but straight as an arrow, nose like the prow of a ship, and eyes — when she turned those spectacles on you it was like you were facing an automobile searchlight.

“Be you the man that’s running this circus?” she asked.

I said I was, and I came pretty near telling the truth. “Waal, I guess I ’ve got a lion up in my house that belongs to you,” said she. “You see, I caught him day before yesterday, and I s’pose I should have come down here before this. But I ’d been beach-plummin’ an’ I ’d got to make jelly right then or those berries would just rot on my hands. As it was, I 39 thought they never would jell, with me runnin’ to the barn every other minute takin’ all kinds of soft vittles to that lion. Say, he ain’t real well, is he? If those plums had n’t a jelled it would have cost you a pretty penny, though.”

She stopped here for breath, and I dove up to the surface.

“ Yes’m,” said I. “ How did you happen to catch him?”

“ Waal, I ’ll tell you. You see, I live by myself, on a little back road, just a piece from Satuit. Kind of lonesome place, but I hate folks callin’ an’ mussin’ up my house. Tuesday mornin’ I was out sweepin’ the walk. Fur ’s I knew, there wa’n’t a soul in sight. All of a sudden I heard the beatin’est catouse back of me. I looked around. There was that lion of yours layin’ in my hollyhocks. Waal, if I wa’n’t mad! Them hollyhocks that I ’ve 40 fussed over every minute of this summer! I ’d read in the newspapers about a lion bein’ loose, but land! I don’t believe half I read in the newspapers, or a quarter. Wa’n’t it just my luck havin’ that beast pick my hollyhocks to lay down on? ‘ Scat, I says. ’ Git out of here!’ Waal, he did n’t make no move to obey me just opened his eyes and looked at me. Mild sort of a beast, ain’t he? But my dander was up. I walked over to him and cuffed him good over the ears with my broom. ‘You git up off them flowers, you lazy beast!’ I says to him. He walked kinder skywollopin’, right toward my barn. The horse was out to pasture and the door was wide open to air. He went straight in. I closed the door after him an’ left him there. He howled — a little irritated, I s’pose. I never did see such a noisy critter!

Black and white illustration by F. R. Gruger: A lady in long black dress with white apron and wielding a broom, is on a sidewalk in front of a house.  She is standing behind and frowning at a lion who is looking glum.

“ ‘You git up off them flowers, you lazy beast.’ I says to him


“Waal, I finished my sweepin’ an’ put my jelly on to bile an’ then the thought came to me that the poor beast must be hungry. I tell you, I ’ve cooked for twenty-five years, but I never met anythin’ so pernickity before. Good beans and brown bread he would n’t touch, nor fishballs nor doughnuts, but my lands, how he took to my blueberry pies! He was so grateful I gave him a whole three. You should have seen what his whiskers looked like when he got through. Put both feet in the dish and broke my best platter. You ’11 hear from that later. But, when all ’s said and done, he liked my Irish stew best of everything. He just lopped it up.

“This mornin’ I red the house up a little and fixed up a lunch for him — a bucket of Irish stew and a dishpan of stewed blueberries — the poor beast did 42 seem to like ’em so! an’ I saw your piece in the paper advertisin’ for him, an’ first I thought I ’d write, an’ then I made up my mind to come right down here an’ tell you myself. I don’t trust the mails more ’n I do the newspapers.”

I ’d been sitting there in a trance, just looking at her. Then a grand idea struck me I was full of them in those days.

“I suppose you know there is a reward coming to you,” said I.

“I guess the Tuckers ain’t got down so low they ’11 take a reward for givin’ folks back their own property!” said she.

I sprang my idea.

“I ’11 do better than a reward by you. How would you like to come down here and exhibit yourself as the lady that tamed a lion single-handed? 43 We ’11 give you a hundred a week for the season.”

She turned those automobile searchlights on me, and for a minute I thought she was going to bite.

“No,“ she said finally; “I ain’t good at that sort of thing, and never was. The Tuckers don’t go much on play-actin’. I never could say a piece in school without bein’ prompted. Besides, I don’t want to begin to wear them — tights, I guess you call them — at my time of life. No, you settle my bill of damages an’ send a wagon for your lion, an’ we ’11 just call it a neighbourly favour.”

“Gladly, madam,” said I. “Will you send me your bill?”

“Oh, I’ve got it right here.“ She began to read from a paper which she took out of her bag. “To hollyhocks a 44 dollar and forty-three cents — that ’s as near as I can cal’ulate. That ’s allowin’ for the seed, an’ my work, an’ it ’s cheap at the price. To one lion’s board and lodging — I ain’t chargin’ no more than the Miles Standish House charges — a dollar and a half. To three blueberry pies — I got to charge you extra for them because I ’d promised them to the Ladies’ Foreign Missionary Fair, an’ seein’ that they did n’t git the pies I ’ve got to give ’em the money — seventy-five cents — ain’t them fairs highway robbery? To one platter — I bought it with tradin’ stamps an’ I can’t exactly figure that out, but let ’s say sixty -five cents. Then it ’s twenty cents for my fare from Satuit to the Junction and twenty back. I ain’t going to charge you for the trolley ride, I enjoyed it so. Total, four dollars, seventy-three. Oh, yes! You can give 45 me back the ten cents it cost to git into your show. I didn’t look at nuthin’. Land of goodness, I b’lieve I ’11 miss that beast, after all!”

I paid it.

Only one more scene remains before we leave our characters to their happiness. It came off next day in Hattie’s quarters out back of the lion cages. I ’d dropped in with my ears back to see if she ’d heard from Pete — he ’d stopped telephoning, and the animal show needed him. I found Hattie in her ring clothes — make-up, silk riding hat and all, just as she came from her act teaching a new stitch in Irish crochet to Miss Tucker. Through the window came a snore like the purring of forty thousand cats. Warrior was sleeping it off.


“ Where ’s —— ” I began. Hattie threw a finger to her lips.

“Sh-h!” she said, “you ’11 wake him!” Then she went on, whispering, in her best society manner:

“Miss Tucker came back with him, and she ’s stopping to have lunch with me. Miss Tucker and I have a great common bond in our love for animals.”

Just then I look over Hattie’s head and observe the back door opening gradual. And by and by in came Pete’s head, followed, when nothing violent happened to it, by the rest of Pete. He was wearing an old, misfit hand-me-down, and he had his red and green ring clothes over his arm.

Hattie’s eyes followed mine.

“Mr. Russell,” says she to her lord and master, “if you have recovered the first figment of your manhood, 47 will you kindly go in and beat the head off that black leopard? He ’s making so much racket that Warrior can’t get any rest!”


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