He took up his brush and went tranquilly to work. Ben Rogers hove in
sight presently--the very boy, of all boys, whose ridicule he had been
dreading. Ben's gait was the hop-skip-and-jump--proof enough that his
heart was light and his anticipations high. He was eating an apple, and
giving a long, melodious whoop, at intervals, followed by a deep-toned
ding-dong-dong, ding-dong-dong, for he was personating a steamboat. As
he drew near, he slackened speed, took the middle of the street, leaned
far over to starboard and rounded to ponderously and with laborious pomp
and circumstance--for he was personating the Big Missouri, and considered
himself to be drawing nine feet of water. He was boat and captain and
engine-bells combined, so he had to imagine himself standing on his own
hurricane-deck giving the orders and executing them:
"Stop her, sir! Ting-a-ling-ling!" The headway ran almost out, and he
drew up slowly toward the sidewalk.
"Ship up to back! Ting-a-ling-ling!" His arms straightened and stiffened
down his sides.
"Set her back on the stabboard! Ting-a-ling-ling! Chow! ch-chow-wow!
Chow!" His right hand, mean-time, describing stately circles--for it was
representing a forty-foot wheel.
"Let her go back on the labboard! Ting-a-ling-ling! Chow-ch-chow-chow!"
The left hand began to describe circles.