Read Books Online, for Free
|The Man Who Was Thursday||Gilbert K. Chesterton|
The Pursuit Of The President
|Page 5 of 8||
"After him!" howled Syme. "He can't go astray now. There's no mistaking a fire-engine."
The three cabmen, who had been stunned for a moment, whipped up their horses and slightly decreased the distance between themselves and their disappearing prey. The President acknowledged this proximity by coming to the back of the car, bowing repeatedly, kissing his hand, and finally flinging a neatly-folded note into the bosom of Inspector Ratcliffe. When that gentleman opened it, not without impatience, he found it contained the words:--
"Fly at once. The truth about your trouser-stretchers is known. --A FRIEND."
The fire-engine had struck still farther to the north, into a region that they did not recognise; and as it ran by a line of high railings shadowed with trees, the six friends were startled, but somewhat relieved, to see the President leap from the fire-engine, though whether through another whim or the increasing protest of his entertainers they could not see. Before the three cabs, however, could reach up to the spot, he had gone up the high railings like a huge grey cat, tossed himself over, and vanished in a darkness of leaves.
Syme with a furious gesture stopped his cab, jumped out, and sprang also to the escalade. When he had one leg over the fence and his friends were following, he turned a face on them which shone quite pale in the shadow.
"What place can this be?" he asked. "Can it be the old devil's house? I've heard he has a house in North London."
"All the better," said the Secretary grimly, planting a foot in a foothold, "we shall find him at home."
"No, but it isn't that," said Syme, knitting his brows. "I hear the most horrible noises, like devils laughing and sneezing and blowing their devilish noses!"
"His dogs barking, of course," said the Secretary.
"Why not say his black-beetles barking!" said Syme furiously, "snails barking! geraniums barking! Did you ever hear a dog bark like that?"
He held up his hand, and there came out of the thicket a long growling roar that seemed to get under the skin and freeze the flesh--a low thrilling roar that made a throbbing in the air all about them.
"The dogs of Sunday would be no ordinary dogs," said Gogol, and shuddered.
Syme had jumped down on the other side, but he still stood listening impatiently.
"Well, listen to that," he said, "is that a dog--anybody's dog?"
There broke upon their ear a hoarse screaming as of things protesting and clamouring in sudden pain; and then, far off like an echo, what sounded like a long nasal trumpet.
"Well, his house ought to be hell!" said the Secretary; "and if it is hell, I'm going in!" and he sprang over the tall railings almost with one swing.
The others followed. They broke through a tangle of plants and shrubs, and came out on an open path. Nothing was in sight, but Dr. Bull suddenly struck his hands together.
"Why, you asses," he cried, "it's the Zoo!"
As they were looking round wildly for any trace of their wild quarry, a keeper in uniform came running along the path with a man in plain clothes.
|Who's On Your Reading List?
Read Classic Books Online for Free at
Page by Page Books.TM
|The Man Who Was Thursday
Gilbert K. Chesterton
Home | More Books | About Us | Copyright 2004