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Braley, Berton (ed.) / The Wisconsin literary magazine
Vol. II, No. 5 (February 1905)

Knowlton, Phillip A.
William Look, stage-driver,   pp. 193-195


Page 194


THE WISCONsnB LITERARY MAGAZINE.
red whiskers. His driving was inimitable. He seemed to
know just the angle at which the vehicle would tip over,
and to approach that angle as a variable approaches a limit,-
always moving toward it but never reaching it. First one
wheel and then another would rise up serenely over the pro-
jecting end of a two-foot log, and then fall back to earth
with a jolt almost sufficient to break the tire. Look thought
it all very funny.
   At last we came to the rail fence, and I glanced triumph-
 antly at my companion. "What you going to do now?" I
 inquired.
   "Bust it," was the grinning answer.
   "But the cows will get out."
   "Damn the cows." He smiled, and threw the rails apart
 with a few mighty strokes of his arms. Then he jumped up,
 took the reins, and drove on as before. All went well until
 we were about fifty yards from the camp, when we stopped.
 Three horses were straining forward, but one was straining
 backward: the brown mare was balking.
   "Never knew old Jess to balk before. Well, we'll fix
her," remarked Mr. Look, good-naturedly. Now the only
time that it is at all justifiable to "lick" a horse is when it
balks from temper. Then, the more muscle, the better.
Mr. Look gave that mare a fearful beating, and the more he
beat the quieter she stood. At length, when her back was
indented with long stripes and her temper was still rising,
the whip broke.
  Mr. Look didn't seem to mind, but said to me, "Nice pile
o' cedar-wood you got over there. Suppose you get some."
  Wonderingly, I complied with his desire. He gathered
twigs in the meantime. Finally I saw his plan when he
piled them under the offending horse, gave me a match,
jumped to his seat, and said "Light up."
  I applied the match. The wood was very dry, and the
twigs were drier; in about ten seconds there was a roaring
flame. In about two seconds more the horse became obedi-
194


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