Page:1880. A Tramp Abroad.djvu/242

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230
UNEXPECTED NOTORIETY.

cottages and joined the crowd; the pale boy was petted, and stared at, and commiserated, and water was brought for him to drink, and bathe his bruizes in. And such another clatter of tongues! All who had seen the catastrophe were describing it at once, and each trying to talk louder than his neighbor; and one youth of a superior genius ran a little way up the hill, called attention, tripped, fell, rolled down among us, and thus triumphantly showed exactly how the thing had been done.

Harris and I were included in all the descriptions: how we were coming along; how Hans Gross shouted; how we looked up startled; how we saw Peter coming like a cannon-shot; how judiciously we got out of the way, and let him come; and with what presence of mind we picked him up and brushed him off and set him on a rock when the performance was over. We were as much heroes as anybody else, except Peter, and were so recognized; we were taken with Peter and the populace to Peter's mother's cottage, and there we ate bread and cheese, and drank milk and beer with everybody, and had a most sociable good time; and when we left we had a hand-shake all around, and were receiving and shouting back Leb' wohl's until a turn in the road separated us from our cordial and kindly new friends forever.

We accomplished our undertaking. At half past 8 in the evening we stepped into Oppenau, just eleven hours and a half out from Allerheiligen,—146 miles. This is the distance by pedometer; the guide-book and the Imperial Ordnance maps make it only ten and a quarter,—a surprising blunder, for these two authorities are usually singularly accurate in the matter of distances.