CHAPTER III NEXT morning Donald and Gum started from San Francisco by an early train on their…
NEXT morning Donald and Gum started from San Francisco by an early train on their way to Silver Creek. The appearance of the monkey in the railway carriage created much amusement among the passengers, and Donald had to stand a running fire of questions as to whether it belonged to his great-grandfather or to a barrel-organ. The fun was stopped in a little while by the entrance of the conductor, who demanded Gum's ticket. Gum not having a ticket, an angry discussion arose on the subject of fare; but Donald said he would only pay when the conductor showed him the correct price for a monkey printed in black and white in the official books. There being no special mention in these volumes of monkeys on tour, Donald declined to pay a cent, and the conductor departed, vowing he would put Gum out of the train at the next station. When the next station came, however, Donald and the monkey were entrenched in a corner, the latter tightly grasped in the miner's great arms, and the conductor, after a glance at the situation, decided to wait for a more convenient season. In America the conductor, instead of entering the carriages only when the train stops, moves about all the time from one carriage to another, so that as the station for Silver Creek was still eleven hours' distant, he had little doubt his chance would come.
And come it did. It was a piping hot day, even for California, and late in the afternoon Donald fell asleep. His arms were still clasped round the monkey, and the conductor would never have succeeded in his object but for an accident. It happened that about that time the train was approaching an important junction, and part of every ticket had to be given up at that point. In America a railway ticket is sometimes half a yard in length, and pieces have to be torn off from point to point. To avoid the disturbance caused by this operation, miners, cowboys, and others are in the habit of wearing their tickets slipped into the band of their great wide-awake hats, and Donald was in this inviting position when the conductor came round. He snatched it out of the hat to tear off the necessary piece, when the monkey, thinking a theft was meant, sprang at the man and buried his teeth in his wrist. Roaring with pain, the conductor seized his assailant by the throat, and, before Donald could come to the rescue, tossed him out of the window. The train was dashing round a curve at thirty miles an hour, and when Donald stretched out his neck to find out whether Gum was killed, it was with small hope of ever seeing him more. For two minutes the miner gazed at the receding distance, then, without uttering a word, turned round and felled the conductor to the floor.
Buried His Teeth in the Conductor's Wrist