Now that a Zoo was actually on its way, Gadsby had to call in various groups to talk about what a Zoo should contain. Now, you know that all animals can't find room in this orthographically odd story; so, if you visit Lucy Zoo, you'll miss a customary inhabitant, or two. But you'll find an array worthy of your trip. So a call was put in two big daily journals, asking for bids on animals and birds; and soon, from north, south and criss-cross points, a hunting party or a city with too many zoo animals on hand got in touch with Branton Hills, with proposals for all kinds of animals, from kangaroos to bats; and our Organization had a lot of fun planning how many it could crowd into City Park, without crowding out visitors. Finally a ballot put Lucy's zoological population as follows:—
First, according to Lucy, "an awfully, AWFULLY big hippopotamus, with a pool for its comfort;" a yak, caribou, walrus, (also with a pool,) a long fox-run, bisons, gnus, stags, (it was a stag, you know, that got this zoo plan going!), alligators, mountain lions, African lions, wild cats, wild boars, llamas, gorillas, baboons, orang-outangs, mandrils; and, according to Gadsby’s boys, a “big gang” of that amusing, tiny mimic always found accompanying hand-organs. Also an aviary, containing condors, buzzards, parrots, ibis, macaws, adjutant birds, storks, owls, quail, falcons, tiny humming birds, a sprinkling of hawks, mocking birds, swans, fancy ducks, toucans; and a host of small singing birds; and oh! without fail, an ostrich family; and, last, but most important of all, a big first cousin of old Jumbo! A big glass building would hold boa constrictors, pythons, cobras, lizards, and so forth; and down in back of all this, an outdoor aquarium, full of goldfish, rainbow trout, various fancy fish and blossoming aquatic plants. All in all it would furnish a mighty amusing and popular spot which would draw lots of out-of-town visitors; and visitors, you know, might turn into inhabitants! And so things finally got around to Inauguration Day; and, knowing that no kid could sit still in school on such an occasion, it was put down for a Saturday; and, so many happy, shouting, hopping, jumping kids stood waiting for His Honor to cut a satin ribbon in front of Sarah Young’s Rainbow Arch, that grown folks had to wait, four blocks back. As Gadsby was roaming around with Lucy, to find if things should start moving, old Pat Ryan, from Branton Hills’ railway station, was hunting for him; finally locating him in a lunch room, and rushing in with:—
"Say! That big hop-skip-and-jump artist is down in my trunk room! I got a punch on my jaw, a crack on my snout, and a kick on my shins a-tryin' to calm him down!"
"A kick and a punch? What actions!" said Gadsby. "I don't know of any hop-skip-and-jump artist. How big a man is it?"
"Worra, worra! It ain't no man at all, at all! It's that thing what grows in Australia, and—"
But Lucy saw light right off; and "laughing fit to kill," said:—
"Oh, ho, ho!! I know! It's that boxing kangaroo you bought from Barnum's circus!" and a charming girl was doubling up in a wild storm of giggling, ignoring old Pat's scowls.
"Ah! That's him, all right," said Gadsby. "So, Pat, just put him in a burlap bag and ship him to this zoo."
"Who? I put him in a burlap bag? Say, boss! If I can pick up about six husky guys around that station; and if I can find a canvas, not a burlap, bag; and put on a gas mask, a stomach pad, two shin-guards, and——"
But that crowd at Sarah's Arch was shouting for Gadsby to cut that ribbon so old Pat had to bag that Australian tornado; and in a way that would not hurt him; for kangaroo actors cost good cash, you know.
So that crowd of kids got in, at last! Now zoo animals can think, just as humans can; and it was amusing to watch a pair of boys staring at a pair of orang-outangs; and a pair of orang-outangs staring back at a pair of boys; both thinking, no doubt, what funny things it saw! And, occasionally, both animal and boy won a point! Now if you think that only young folks find any fun in going to a zoo, you probably don't go to zoos much; for many a big, rotund capitalist had to laugh at simian antics, though, probably figuring up just how much satisfaction his cash contribution brought him. Many a family woman forgot such things as a finicky child or burning biscuits. All was happy-go-lucky joy; and, at two o'clock, as Branton Hills' Municipal Band, (a part of Gadsby's Organization of Youth's work, you know) struck up a bright march, not a glum physiognomy was found in all that big park.
Gadsby and Lucy had much curiosity in watching what such crashing music would do to various animals. At first a spirit akin to worry had baboons, gorillas, and such, staring about, as still as so many posts; until, finding that no harm was coming from such sounds, soon took to climbing and swinging again. Stags, yaks and llamas did a bit of high-kicking at first; Gadsby figuring that drums, and not actual music, did it. But a lilting waltzing aria did not worry any part of this big zoo family; in fact, a fox, wolf and jackal, in a quandary at first actually lay down, as though music truly "hath charms to calm a wild bosom."
At Gadsby's big aquarium visitors found not only fun, but opportunity for studying many a kind of fish not ordinarily found in frying pans; and, though in many lands, snails form a popular food, Lucy, Sarah and Virginia put on furious scowls at a group of boys who thought "Snails might go good, with a nut-pick handy." (But boys always will say things to horrify girls, you know.) And upon coming to that big glass building, with its boa constrictors, alligators, lizards and so on, a boy grinningly "got a girl's goat" by wanting to kiss a fifty-foot anaconda; causing Lucy to say, haughtily, that "No boy, wanting to kiss such horrid, wriggly things can kiss us Branton Hills girls." (Good for you, Lucy! I'd pass up a sixty-foot anaconda, any day, for you.)
In following months many a school class was shown through our zoo's fascinating paths, as instructors told of this or that animal's habits and natural haunts; and showing that it was as worthy of sympathy, if ill, as any human. And not only did such pupils obtain kindly thoughts for zoo animals, but cats, dogs and all kinds of farm stock soon found that things had an uncommon look, through a dropping off in scoldings and whippings, and rapidly improving living conditions. But most important of all was word from an ugly, hard-looking woman, who, watching, with an apologizing sniff, a flock of happy birds, said:—
"I'm sorry that I always slap and bawl out my kids so much, for I know, now, that kids or animals won't do as you wish if you snap and growl too much. And I trust that Mayor Gadsby knows what a lot of good all his public works do for us."
Now this is a most satisfactory and important thing to think about, for brutality will not,—cannot,—accomplish what a kindly disposition will; and, if folks could only know how quickly a "balky" child will, through loving and cuddling, grow into a charming, happy youth, much childish gloom and sorrow would vanish; for a man or woman who is ugly to a child is too low to rank as highly as a wild animal; for no animal will stand, for an instant, anything approaching an attack, or any form of harm to its young. But what a lot of tots find slaps, yanks and hard words for conditions which do not call for such harsh tactics! No child is naturally ugly or "cranky." And big, gulping sobs, or sad, unhappy young minds, in a tiny body should not occur in any community of civilization. Adulthood holds many an opportunity for such conditions. Childhood should not.
Now just a word about zoos. Many folks think that animals in a zoo know no comforts; nothing but constant fright from living in captivity. Such folks do not stop to think of a thing or two about an animal's wild condition. Wild animals must not only constantly hunt for food, but invariably fight to kill it and to hold it, too; for, in such a fight, a big antagonist will naturally win from a small individual. Thus, what food is found, is also lost; and hunting must go on, day by day, or night by night until a tragic climax—by thirst or starvation. But in a zoo, food is brought daily, with facility for drinking, and laid right in front of hoofs, paws or bills. For small animals, roofs and thick walls ward off cold winds and rain; and so, days of calm inactivity, daily naps without worrying about attack; and a carting away of all rubbish and filth soon puts a zoo animal in bodily form which has no comparison with its wild condition. Lack of room in which to climb, roam or play, may bring a zoo animal to that condition known as "soft"; but, as it now has no call for vigor, and its fighting passions find no opportunity for display, such an animal is gradually approaching that condition which has brought Man, who is only an animal, anyway, to his lofty point in Natural History, today. Truly, with such tribulations, worry, and hard work as Man puts up with to obtain his food and lodging, a zoo animal, if it could only know of our daily grind, would comfortably yawn, thankful that Man is so kindly looking out for it. With similar animals all around it, and, day by day, just a happy growth from cub-hood to maturity, I almost wish that I was a zoo animal, with no boss to growl about my not showing up, mornings, at a customary hour!