The Water Goats and Other Troubles
A Keeper of the Water Goats had been selected with the utmost care, combining in the choice practical politics with a sense of fitness. Timothy Fagan was used to animals--for years he had driven a dumpcart. He was used to children--he had ten or eleven of his own. And he controlled several votes in the Fourth Ward. His elevation from the dump-cart of the street cleaning department to the high office of Keeper of the Water Goats was one that Dugan believed would give general satisfaction.
When the goats arrived in Jeffersonville the two heavy crates were hauled to Alderman Toole's back yard to await the opening of the park, and there Mayor Dugan and Goat Keeper Fagan came to inspect them. Alderman Toole led the way to them with pride, and Mayor Dugan's creased brow almost uncreased as he bent down and peered between the bars of the crates. They were fine goats. Perhaps they looked somewhat more dejected than a goat usually looks--more dirty and down at the heels than a goat o
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In the best of them, "The Water Goats," a misunderstanding about gondolas vs. angoras has the aldermen of an Eastern town trying to teach goats to swim, but it all turns out to be a shaggy goat story. Some readers may be offended by the depiction of the politicians as graft-taking Irish buffoons.
In "Mr. Billings's Pockets," Mr. B. comes home late with pockets full of suspicious articles and some tall tales for his too-savvy wife. And in "Our First Burglar," a skinflint comes up with an unusual way to burglar-proof his house.