But such disgraces are soon lived down, even at ten years, and a great new experience which now came to him possibly helped the boy to forget. This was the theatre, which he had sometimes heard his father speak of. There had once been a theatre in the Boy's Town, when a strolling company came up from Cincinnati, and opened for a season in an empty pork-house.
Before the Hydraulic was opened, the pork-houses were the chief public attraction to the boys, and they haunted them, with a thrilling interest in the mysteries of pork-packing which none of their sensibilities revolted from. Afterwards, the cotton-mills, which were rather small brick factories, though they looked so large to the boys, eclipsed the pork-house in their regard.
There had once been a theatre in the Boy's Town, when a strolling company came up from Cincinnati, and opened for a season in an empty pork-house.
The boy was playing before his door, when a constable came by with his rifle on his shoulder, and asked him if he had seen any unmuzzled dogs about; and partly from pride at being addressed by a constable, partly from a nervous fear of refusing to answer, and partly from a childish curiosity to see what would happen, he said, "Yes; one over there by the pork-house."
One afternoon these brothers quarrelled a long time, and then the sober brother retired to the doorway of a pork-house, where he stood, probably brooding upon his injuries, when the drunkard, who had remained near the tavern, suddenly caught up an axe and flung it; the boys saw it sail across the corner of the Basin, and strike in the door just above his brother's head.
The constable whistled, and the poor little animal, which had got lost from the farmer it had followed to town, came running into sight round the corner of the pork-house, and sat up on its haunches to look about. It was a small red dog, the size of a fox, and the boy always saw it afterwards as it sat there in the gray afternoon, and fascinated him with its deadly peril.