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5. Poor Buttercup was not in a very good mood, for she had lately been bereft of her calf, and mourned for the little thing most dismally. Just now she regarded all mankind as her enemies (and I do not blame her); so, when the matadore came prancing toward her with the red handkerchief flying at the end of his lance, she threw up her head and gave a most appropriate "Moo!"
6. Tommy rode gallantly at her, and Toby, recognizing an old friend, was quite willing to approach; but, when the lance came down on her back with a loud whack, both cow and donkey were surprised and disgusted. Toby backed with a bray of remonstrance, and Buttercup lowered her horns angrily.
"At her again, Tom! She's jolly cross, and will do it capitally!" called Dan, coming up behind with another rod, while Jack and Ned followed his example.
7. Seeing herself thus beset, and treated with such disrespect, Buttercup trotted around the field, getting more and more bewildered and excited every moment; for, whichever way she turned, there was a dreadful boy yelling, and brandishing a new and very disagreeable sort of whip. It was great fun for them, but real misery for her; but she soon lost patience, and turned the tables in a most unexpected manner.
8. All at once she wheeled short around and charged full at her old friend Toby, whose conduct cut her to the heart. Poor, slow Toby backed so precipitately that he tripped over a stone, and down went horse, matadore, and all, in one ignominious heap; while distracted Buttercup took a surprising leap over the wall, and galloped wildly out of sight down the road.
9. "Catch her!-stop her!-head her off! Run, boys, run!" shouted Dan, tearing after her at his best pace; for she was Mr. Bhaer's pet Alderney, and, if anything happened to her, Dan feared it would be all over with him. Such a running, and racing, and bawling, and puffing, as there was before she was caught! The fishpoles were left behind. Toby was trotted nearly off his legs in the chase; and every boy was red, breathless, and scared.
10. They found poor Buttercup, at last, in a flowergarden, where she had taken refuge, worn out with the long run. Borrowing a rope for a halter, Dan led her home, followed by a party of very sober young gentlemen; for the cow was in a sad state, having strained her shoulder in jumping, so that she limped, her eyes looked wild, and her glossy coat was wet and muddy.
Louisa M. Alcott.
FOR PREPARATION.-I. Continuation of the story of Dan. Alderney (fine breed of cows). "Măt'-a-dōre" (the man who kills the bull in the bull-fight).
II. Mead'-ōw, mĭs'-chief (-chif), tongue (tŭng), eaught (kawt), seâred, fŏl'-lōwed, dŏn'-key.
III. Make a list of ten name-words in this piece that express more than one object each, and change them so as to express only one (poles, pole, etc.).
IV. Lance, proposed, distrust, admitted, flap, interest, mood, bereft, mourned, dismally, regarded, enemies, blame, prancing, appropriate, gal. lantly, recognizing, willing, approach, whack, bray, remonstrance, capitally, beset, bewildered, disagreeable, misery, patience, unexpected, charged, conduct, precipitately, ignominious, distracted, galloped, pace, refuge, halter, limped.
V. "Lot of fish-poles "- -use a better expression for "lot," and also for "lazy-bones," "haven't got," "fuss-button," "old thing," "jolly cross."
X. THE FOX AND THE CAT.
1. The Fox and the Cat, as they traveled one day, With moral discourses cut shorter the way.
""Tis great," says the Fox, "to make justice our guide." "How godlike is mercy!" Grimalkin replied.
2. While thus they proceeded, a Wolf from the wood, Impatient of hunger and thirsting for blood, Rushed forth-as he saw the dull shepherd asleepAnd seized for his supper an innocent sheep. "In vain, wretched victim, for mercy you bleat; When mutton's at hand," says the Wolf, "I must eat."
3. The Cat was astonished; the Fox stood aghast, To see the fell beast at his bloody repast.
"What a wretch!" says the Cat. ""Tis the vilest of brutes!
Does he feed upon flesh, when there's herbage and roots?"
Cries the Fox: "While our oaks give us acorns so good, What a tyrant is this, to spill innocent blood!"
4. Well, onward they marched, and they moralized still, Till they came where some poultry picked chaff by a mill;
Sly Reynard surveyed them with gluttonous eyes,
A mouse, too, that chanced from her covert to stray,
5. A Spider, that sat in her web on the wall, Perceived the poor victims, and pitied their fall: She cried, "Of such murders how guiltless am I!" Then ran to regale on a new-taken fly.