I've never been so close to a rainstorm, and I hope I never get that close again. The basket on Christian's back was certainly sturdy enough, but what was holding him up? Maybe - just maybe - some questions are better left unanswered. Knowing everything there is to know about a thing might just knock the fun out of it.
I had to hold tight around Christian's neck, as the wind was making sure we didn't think about coming this way again.
"Jolly bit of a nuisance, rain is," Christian said. "Can't tell what sort of mischief we'll find ourselves in if we can't see our way to a proper landing."
He no sooner says it, then the rain stops, and the sun breaks through the clouds, enveloping everything in its path in a golden haze. This was turning out to be one of my better days.
"Now this is more like it," Christian said. "Sunshine being the order of the day, it is our duty to make the most of it. Sixteen gullets due south, thirty-seven more due west, and a smidgen of the carcass to the left, and we'll soon see where that takes us. But if we ain't smilin' when we get there, we make a few more adjustments to the old compass here, and sure as a rocket on the fourth of July, we'll be off!"
The basket I was standing in was a mystery in itself. When it wasn't needed, Christian would press down on it till all that remained was a wicker hoop, which he would sling over his shoulder and carry like a bandolier. It also seemed to be cluttered with everything imaginable, yet it always had room for more.
"And if you dig far enough, lad," he told me. "You'll find a copy of 'Huck Finn,' signed to me personal by the man who writ it hisself, Mr. Mark Twain.
I dug deep and got my hands on what seemed to be a book.
"I found it, Christian,"
"Listen, lad," he said. "Since we've become such good chums, you can call me Dowdy. It's what me mates used to call me, and if you ain't me mate, then I ain't never had one. Now go and read me the inscription in that book so's I can go an pop a few buttons off me vest."
I opened the book and read the following:
'To an astonishing lark finder and friend, and blast those who say he doesn't exist. I've seen him, and his name is Dowdy.'
"Just one of me many admirers, lad. Now, tell me a bit about yourself. Let’s start with your name, than. I hope it's a right proper one. It won't do to be larking about the countryside with an ill suited name. What's yours, than, lad."
"It's Sam," I told him.
"Sam!" he shouted. "Why that's the most properest name that ever was. Did you know that Mr. Mark Twain calls hisself Sam?"
"Isn't Mr.Twain dead?" I asked.
"Dead?" he said. "Sam, some folks won't ever die. They got too much life in 'em. Their souls won't listen to any talk about dying. Would you care to meet him?"
"I sure would," I said.
"Hold tight, then, lad," he said. "There's a storm a brewin' . . ."