HOUSTON AND HOUSTONIANS 27
do, for he kept his other three feet on the ground. He kept
that left foot right under our noses for the fraction of a second,
and then he took it down. When he did so he took the dashboard
and nearly all the front part of the buggy with it. There
was nothing dignified or deliberate about the way he got himself
together. There was a high board fence across the street
that some billposter had erected to paste bills on. There was
lots of room on both sides of that billboard, for it was all
vacant land out there then. But that old horse must have gotten
a whiff of the camel's odor, which drove all the little sense
he had left clean out of him, for he actually made three attempts
to climb over that fence.
After the third attempt, he looked over his shoulder and seeing
the camel between him and town, he turned and headed
for the Gulf of Mexico at a frightful speed. I heard an awful
flapping, but could not see anything because the horse raised
such a dense cloud of dust that we could scarcely breathe.
When we struck the hard beach I discovered that he had gotten
his foot through the remnants of the dashboard and that it fitted
his leg like a bracelet. While the horse was trying to climb
the billboard, I got a glimpse at the camel, and as scared as I
was I could not help wondering at the little interest he took in
the performance of our horse. He did not smile nor show the
slightest interest in the performance of our plug, though he
himself was causing all the trouble.
By the most strenuous effort Charley succeeded in turning
the horse just as he reached the water's edge and headed him
down the beach toward Tremont Street. It was Charley's intention
to turn him into Tremont Street, where the sand was very
deep, and thus stop his mad career. There was a big sand fort
that had been erected at the foot of Tremont Street during the
war and this shut off our view in that direction, so we did not
see what was coming. Just as Charley began to work the old
horse round so as to head him into Tremont Street, right there
in front of us and not 50 yards away, two big elephants and
three more camels came waddling out from behind the fort
and headed right for us.
Charley and I abandoned hope at once, but our horse did better
than that, for he abandoned everything. He squatted down
on the ground, coming to a sudden halt, and actually groaned
with terror. When he did that the buggy rolled up on him.
That must have been just what he wanted, for the next moment
he shot all four feet back at us and smashed everything free
from himself. Then he turned and if the Old Boy and all his
fiends had been behind him he could not have gotten away more
Young, Samuel Oliver. True stories of old Houston and Houstonians: historical and personal sketches / by S. O. Young.. Galveston, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth24646/. Accessed July 28, 2014.