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The Adventures of Jimmy Skunk by  Thornton W. Burgess
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JIMMY VISITS JOHNNY CHUCK'S OLD HOUSE

[44]

J
IMMY SKUNK was smiling as he ambled towards the old house of Johnny Chuck near the foot of the hill. There was no one near to see him, and this made him smile still more. You see, the odor of that perfume which he had thrown at Reddy Fox just a little while before was very, very strong there, and Jimmy knew that until that had disappeared no one would come near the place because it was so unpleasant for every one. To Jimmy himself it wasn't unpleasant at all, and he couldn't understand why other people disliked it so. He had puzzled over that a great [45] deal. He was glad that it was so, because on account of it every one treated him with respect and took special pains no to quarrel with him.

"I guess it's a good thing that Old Mother Nature didn't make us all alike," said he to himself. "I think there must be something the matter with their noses, and I suppose they think there is something the matter with mine. But there isn't. Not a thing. Hello! There is Johnny Chuck's old house just ahead of me. Now we will see what we shall see."

He walked softly as he drew near to the old house. If Peter was way down inside, it wouldn't matter how he approached. But if Peter should happen to be only just inside the doorway, he might take it into his head to run if he should hear footsteps, particularly if those footsteps were not heavy enough to [46] be those of Reddy or Granny Fox or Old Man Coyote. Jimmy didn't intend to give Peter a chance to do any such thing. If Peter once got outside that old house, his long legs would soon put him beyond Jimmy's reach, and Jimmy knew it. If he was to give Peter the fright that he had made up his mind to give him, he would first have to get him where he couldn't run away. So Jimmy walked as softly as he knew how and approached the old house in such a way as to keep out of sight of Peter, should he happen to be lying so as to look out of the doorway.

At last he reached a position where with one jump he could land right on the doorstep. He waited a few minutes and cocked his head on one side to listen. There wasn't a sound to tell him whether Peter was there or not. Then lightly he jumped over to the doorstep and [47] looked in at the doorway. There was no Peter to be seen.

"If he is here, he is way down inside," thought Jimmy. "I wonder if he really is here. I think I'll look about a bit before I go in."

Now the doorstep was of sand, as Johnny Chuck's doorsteps always are. Almost at once Jimmy chuckled. There were Peter's tracks, and they pointed straight towards the inside of Johnny Chuck's old house. Jimmy looked carefully, but not a single track pointing the other way could he find. Then he chuckled again. "The scamp is here all right," he muttered. "He hid here and watched all that happened and then decided to lie low and wait until he was sure that the way was clear and no one would see him." In this Jimmy was partly right and partly wrong, as you and I know.

[48] He stared down the long dark doorway a minute. The he made up his mind. "I'll go down and make Peter a call, and I won't bother to knock," he chuckled, and poked his head inside the doorway. But that was as far as Jimmy Skunk went. Yes, Sir, that was just as far as Jimmy Skunk went. You see, no sooner did he start to enter that old house of Johnny Chuck's than he was met by a lot of those Yellow Jackets, and they were in a very bad temper.

Jimmy Skunk knows all about Yellow Jackets and the sharp little lances they carry in their tails; he has the greatest respect for them. He backed out in a hurry and actually hurried away to a safe distance. Then he sat down to think. After a little he began to chuckle again. "I know that happened," said he, talking to himself. "Peter Rabbit popped into that door- [49] way doorway. Those Yellow Jackets just naturally got after him. He didn't dare come out for fear of Reddy Fox and me, and so he went on down to Johnny Chuck's old bedroom, and he's down there now, wondering how ever he is to get out without getting stung. I reckon I don't need to scare Peter to pay him for that joke. I reckon he's been punished already."


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