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I WILDERNESS Î i j ORPHAN" J
¡ The Story Of Chut, ¡
¡I BY ¡
j Dorothy Cottrell
Clint vus «urprUcd1 when tile door closed upon him, surprised wheu Blu Baby was lifted into the forward com poliment; buthc was not alarmée Even when tho cart began to move, h merelv twittered protestingly to indicat that thc. joke had gone far enough.
Blue Baby, however, was terrified. Sh dut ched al the dividing bars with dari frantic little bnnds, and at interval! when the Bwnying of the cart thrci Chut towards her, FIIC plucked agitated ly at his fur. Presently he gave a re assuring chut, and moved closer. Sh strctrhed her arm through the liarB an clutched it about bis wide back.
"Chut!" he snid. " Cliut-ch-cb." I was an admonition that all would li well : that the matter would have hi personal Attention.
They held together for into the rock ing jolting night. But at last Blu Baby lay down to Bleep, pressed clos agninst the bars, one little block ham still held out in Cliut's direction. Chu remained on guard all night, tickinj occasionally with self-importance.
Shorty did not bother with the cap lives, apart from feeding Hnd watcrini them, until they wore established il winter quarters in Sydney. There lu rented an old freight shed and " wen'
His motto wa«; : "Animal trainin ain't hurd. Yon just got to get 'en seared pnoiip'i un' the rest's easy."
O' nurse promiscuous fright woul< not "do. lt was necessary to have cer tain definite sounds which meant "Dan (Ter. Shorty's little bnckjump poniei
trembled and made foolish efforts t< hide behind one another when he gavi a long, low whistle.
He began to tpach the significance ol this same whistle to Chut and BIu< Baby. Jt was very simple. He had chained them both-Chut with stoul trace chain and Blue Baby with a àof chain-the chains fastening at one end to rings in the floor, and being held in place upon the animals themselves by much the same sort of harness that bulldog* wear.
Shorty then took his heavy plaited whip, stepped up just beyond theil ?cncli, whistled and brought down the vliip.
At first they were stupidly confused, 'rn nt ic. They struggled, and stumbled, ?nd fell-Chut in his efforts to get at ''?h tormentor, Blue Baby in her at ' "rn pis to fly. But Shorty was in no
?urry, and he was careful not to do '.hem any damage-long-ridged weals ?one beneath velvet fur, but he didn't 'o use his own wordB, "flick any hide." Ile wasn't going to leave scars which
would excite old ladies.
After a few days, the kangaroos be- nn to get the significance of the whis- tle. They no longer struggled, but Chut would rear up in defiance as soon as he beard it, and Blue Baby would cower, ducking her head between her trembling forepaws. If Chut was near she would make a dart for him, and hold out her arms, twittering for help. Shorty saw the possibility of quite an appealing
trick in that.
By the end of a week they had learn- ed the first lesson-fear. Now they must learn the second-obedience. With additional ropes, and one of his assis- tants, Shorty began to teach them to "Come," going over and over it until they understood his will, then impress- ing upon them with his heavy whip that his will was to be done. And always he preluded a blow with tbe low whistle.
At last he brought them to the point where they understood what he wanted, but would not do it without feeling a pull on the ropes. Presently, they would do it without the ropes, but not until they had tasted the whip. At last they would come whenever he com- manded it-if be followed the com- mand with his low whistle.
For days they rehearsed this, until it was seldom necessary for him to even whistle. Then he began to offer a reward for obedience. When they came promptly he would proffer them a bit of bread and sugar.
Chut invariably refused to touch the sweet, but Blue Baby would chit with timid pleasure at this unexpected treat amid so much unexpected pain. His ears trembled almost continuously DOW and she was terribly nervous-even in her sleep. But she ate the sugared bread, eagerly and hastily, hoping to have it finished before some fresh punishment overtook her. After hav- ing learned to " Come," they learned to "Jump," "Lie Down," to pretend to drink from a bottle and to pretend to sleep. When thc animals' joint edu- cation waB finished. Shorty taught Blue Baby to "Go to Chut'1 and hold his fur, and also io jump through a hoop, n trick which she sometimes per- formed! brilliantly and occasionally failed at because of her old lameness.
Then Shorty began rehearsing Chut'sj
special act-the feature for which he had bought the furred giant.
First he cut Chut's toe-nails down to the quick, and fastened on the big kangaroo's forehands specially made boxing gloves which, when properly fastened, Chut could not remove. Then Shorty went in to " box " with Chut
And in this there was no difficulty. Chut had learned hatred in thc last months, and he tried to kill his tyrant. But because of shorn nails and ham- pering gloves, he was helpless, ad his exhibition of white rape must seem to an audience no more than hilariously funny. His cITorts to hold Shorty McGee-as a kangaroo must hold to get in the full power of his fighting kick had thc semblance of clumsy blows.
Blows, which for all their futility,]
never lost their energy. He had boxed for love willi Tom Henton. Now he bn.veil for hntc.
He tried alf tlie tricks of his boxing n-pertoirr, but they were useless. For, Shorty was quick, and if ever Chut flircntened damage, as occasionally he did, Shorty knocked him off his bal nnce-and they bad to go into a harm-
"Look- out for that fellow-if he erer grows his nails and petB the gloves off!"' warned Shorty's assistant.
"He won't never," said Shorty, and
So Clint "wrestled" every doy, willi a red. shinrne lifrht in his eyes, «nd 1 wfth his grcnt body trembling with
futile fury. Still, the wrestling matches w»rc pood for him. They kept him in
By thc time spring enuc Shorty was
ready *° 'ai¡c nl* nT ïnw 00
H was an instant turres*. The pro- gramme began with thc animals coming lo him for their hrcad and sugar and progressed through a performance of
their mutual tricks; tricks which now Included Blue Baby's jump through a burning hoop-a spectacular feat that the audience liked, as they liked the way Shorty had to whistle to encourage her to do it. Being comfortably re- moved from the sawdust ring, they could not see the pounding of her heart which shook her ribs for an hour after- words.
Then, after the triek-R were done, Chut and Shorty boxed. With seconds in their respective corners, and wet sponges and fanning towels and a bell -and the audience roared with laugh-
And, then, as a pretty finale, Shorty would say: "Well, that's all for today, children," and then give his long hissing whistle, and Blue Baby would dart to Chut and cling to his fur, looking back over her shoulder. It waa very pretty, indeed.
Wherever they went, pictures of that last little embrace got into the illus- trated papers. Also insets of Shorty smiling and Baying: "Well, I guess it's kindness an' patience!" Insets of Chut with the gloves on.,
Altogether., they were a great suoeess. And Chut was sccorded the title of the
Champion of All Boxing Kangaroos. The Press nicknamed him " Step Hight Up," because of the comical way ho danced up to Shorty on rigid toes and tail.
Once Tom Henton, looking rather awkward in his town clothes, **ame and asked to talk to Shorty outside the tent. "Tva come," he said, "to buy back those two 'roos."
Shorty laughed. "Nothin" doin'. You couldn't buy those 'roos for any money."
"I'll make it worth your while," said
Shorty spat. "Nothin' doin':"
"I'll give you double what you gave," said the bushman slowly. "That's about twice what I can afford-so yon needn't think I'll go higher."
"Nope," said 6horty. "Get the idea right out o' your block. I ain't Sellin'." He added: "Would you like to see 'em ? "
Tom shook his head. "No. ßince you won't sell, I guess I'd rather not." He turned away disconsolately, paused. "You're certain you don't want to
sell T "
But Shorty had told the truth. He
would not have sold Chut for less than a small fortune. With the big kanga- roo's aid he was making more money than he had ever made before.
As a result, he drank more. This never kept him from putting on a show, simply making him the more roaringly genial before his public. But it did count against him m his training work, and in the mornings Chut and Baby paid bitterly for his "night befores."
One morning when he was coaching Blue Baby in her burning-loop jump, her old lameness caught her and ehe missed her spring.
"Jump!" roared Shorty. Twice she tried and failed-singeing her fur. Her ears shook with fright. With pathetic, placating haste ehe went through all her other tricks, hoping through their excellence to escape punishment for thc trick she could not do. But they chain- ed her up, and Shorty rained blows upon her. At that she broke. She call- ed shrilly. She scrambled on the floor. Trying to escape, she hurled herself to the concrete-while Chut fought at his chain and frothed at the lips.
The man continued inflicting punish- ment until one of his assistants caught his arm, crying: "HeyI You oughts bo able to see she couldn't 'a' done it!"
But with some frantic effort of her
small strength Blue Baby had broken her dog chain. Blind with fear, she leaped down the long shed, gathering wild epced as she went, dashing with all her strength for escape-straight into the concrete wall at the shed's end. It ?mashed her to the ground in a twisted heap, and when they picked her up she was quite docile again, only her great mild eyes were filled with wonder about what had happened.
She lived for three days, trying to ?tart up now and then from fitful sleep -and falling back helplessly. At times she called for Chut, and he strained con- stantly to reach her, but his chain would not permit it. As she grew weaker he called more and more loudly to her, as if he feared that she was going away. But she did not hear him towards the end. Instead, she lifted her head feebly and chitted, and held up her hands as though for a bit of bread and sugar.
Then she was wracked with trembling and grew still.
Next morning they dragged her away, and Chut thrashed and struggled vio- lently at his chain.
After that Chut became "the whole show," and Shorty worked him harder than ever. And because, after Blue Baby's death, Chut had developed a growing intractibility, the big kanga- roo's punishments were more savage.
And the show was less successful. For one thing, Blue Baby's fawnlike pret- tiness had given it appeal. For another, they had covered most of the remunera- tive towns, and the shaw did not stand
too frequent "repeats." Further, Shorty was drinking BO heavily now that he
sometimes showed that he was drunk during a performance.
Also, he no longer employed assist-
ants. And that meant that, when Shorty was drunk, Chut was not fed or watered properly; he began to lose the gloss of his beauty, and that made him lees attractive to the public.