Hewlitt, book agent, seated in his weather beaten top buggy, drove his horse, Irontail, carefully along the rough Iowa hill road that leads from Jefferson to Clarence. The Horse, a rusty gray, tottered in a loose jointed manner from side to side of the road, half asleep in the sun, and was indolent in every muscle of his body, except his tail, which thrashed violently at the flies. Eliph' Hewlitt drove with his hands held high, almost on a level with his sandy whiskers, for he was well acquainted with Irontail. The road seemed to pass through a region of large farms, offering few opportunities for selling books, the houses being so far apart, but Eliph' knew the small settlement of Clarence was a few miles farther on, and he was carrying enlightenment to the benighted. He glowed with missionary zeal. In his eagerness he thoughtlessly slapped the reins on the back of Irontail. Instantly the plump, gray tail of the horse flashed over the rein and clamped it fast. Eliph' Hewlitt leaned over the dashboard of his buggy and grasped the hair of the tail firmly. He pulled it upward with all his strength, but the tail did not yield. Instead, Irontail kicked vigorously. Eliph' Hewlitt, knowing his horse as well as he knew human nature, climbed out of the buggy, and taking the rein close by the bit led Irontail to the side of the road. Then he took from beneath the buggy seat a bulky, oil cloth wrapped parcel and seated himself near the horse's head. There was no safety for a timid driver when Irontail had thus assumed command of the rein. There was no way to get a rein from beneath that tail but to ignore it. In an hour or so Irontail would grow forgetful, carelessly begin flapping flies, and release the rein himself. Eliph' Hewlitt unwrapped the oilcloth from the object in enfolded.