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- WOLFVILLE - 30/44 -

to the effect that I'm shorely out thar four hours; an' when Spanish Bill discovers me I'm mighty near froze. Taos nights in November has a heap of things in common with them Artic regions we hears of, where them fur-lined sports goes in pursoot of that North Pole. Bein' froze, an' mebby from an over-dab of nose-paint, I never saveys about this yere Spanish Bill meetin' up with me that a-way ontil later. But by what the barkeep says, he drug me into the Tub of Blood an' allows he's got a maverick.

"'"Fix this yere froze gent up somethin' with teeth," says Spanish Bill to the barkeep. "I don't know his name none, but he's sufferin' an' has got to be recovered if it takes the entire check-rack."

"'Which the barkeep stands in an' brings me to. I comes 'round an' can walk some if Spanish Bill goes along steadyin' of me by the collar. Tharupon said Bill rides herd on me down to the Jackson House an' spreads me on some blankets.

"'It's daylight when I begins to be aware my name's Boggs, an' that I'm a native of Kentucky, an' little personalities like that; an' what wakes me up is this Spanish Bill.

"'"See yere," says this hold-up, "I'm goin' to turn in now, an' it's time you-all is up. Yere's what you do: Thar's five whiskey-checks on the Tub of Blood, which will he'p you to an appetite. Followin' of a s'fficient quantity of fire-water, you will return to the Jackson House an' eat. I pays for it. I won't be outen my blankets by then; but they knows that Spanish Bill makes good, 'cause I impresses it on 'em speshul when I comes in.

"'"You-all don't know me," goes on this Spanish Bill, as I sets up an' blinks at him some foggy an' blurred, "an' I don't know you"-- which we-alls allows, outen p'liteness, is a dead loss to both. "But my name's Spanish Bill, an' I'm turnin' monte in the Bank Exchange. I'll be thar at my table by first-drink time this evenin'; an' if you sa'nters that a-way at that epock, we'll have a drink; an' bein' as you're busted, of course I stakes you moderate on your way."

"'It's this bluff about me not havin' money puts me in mind later that this Bill must have rustled my raiments when he finds me that time when I'm presided over by coyotes while I sleeps. When he says it, however, I merely remarks that while I'm grateful to him as mockin'-birds, money after all ain't no object with me; an', pullin' off my nigh moccasin, I pours some two pounds of specie onto the blankets.

"'"Which I packs this in my boot," I observes, "to put mysc'f in mind I've got a roll big enough to fill a nose-bag over to Howard's store."

"'"An' I'm feelin' the galiest to hear it," says this Spanish Bill; though as I su'gests he acts pained an' amazed, like a gent who's over-looked a bet.

"'Well, that's all thar is to that part. That's where Spanish Bill launches that bread of his'n; an' the way it later turns out it sorter b'ars down on me, an' keeps me rememberin' what that skyscout says at the pra'r-meetin' about the action a gent gets by playin' a good deed to win.

"'It's the middle of January, mebby two months later, when I'm over on the Upper Caliente about fifty miles back of the Spanish Peaks. I'm workin' a bunch of cattle; Cross-K is the brand; y'ear-marks a swallow-fork in the left, with the right y'ear onderhacked.'

"What's the good of a y'ear-mark when thar's a brand?" repeated the Old Cattleman after me, for I had interrupted with the question. "Whatever's the good of y'ear-marks? Why, when mixed cattle is in a bunch, standin' so close you can't see no brands on their sides, an' you-all is ridin' through the outfit cuttin' out, y'ear-marks is what you goes by. Cattle turns to look as you comes ridin' an' pesterin' among 'em, an' their two y'ears p'ints for'ard like fans. You gets their y'ear-marks like printin' on the page of a book. If you was to go over a herd by the brands, you wouldn't cut out a steer an hour. But to trail back after Boggs.

"`It's two months later, an' I'm ridin' down a draw one day,' says this Dan Boggs, 'cussin' the range an' the weather, when my pony goes to havin' symptoms. This yere pony is that sagacious that while it makes not the slightest mention of cattle when they's near, it never comes up on deer, or people in the hills, but it takes to givin' of manifestations. This is so I can squar myse'f for whatever game they opens on us.

"`As I says, me an' this yere wise pony is pushin' out into the Caliente when the pony begins to make signs. I brings him down all cautious where we can look across the valley, an'

[Illustration with caption: "Nacherally I stops an' surveys him careful]

you-all can gamble I'm some astonished to see a gent walkin' along afoot, off mebby a couple hundred yards. He sorter limps an' leans over on one side like he's hurt. Nacherally I stops an' surveys him careful. It's plenty strange he's thar at all; an' stranger still he's afoot. I looks him over for weepons; I wants to note what he's like an' how he's heeled.

"'You saveys as well as me it don't do to go canterin' out to strangers that a-way in the hills; speshully a stranger who's afoot. He might hunger for your pony for one thing, an' open a play on you with his gun, as would leave you afoot an' likewise too dead to know it.

"'I'm allers cautious that a-way, around a party who's lost his hoss. It locoes him an' makes him f'rocious; I s'pose bein' afoot he feels he'pless, an' let out an' crazy. A gent afoot is a heap easier to aggravate, too; an' a mighty sight more likely to lay for you than when he's in a Texas saddle with a pony between his knees.

"'Which is why I remarks, that I stacks up this pedestrian careful an' accurate before I goes after him.

"'As I says, he carries on like he's hurt; an' he's packin' a six- shooter. He seems familiar, too; an' while I looks him over I'm wonderin' where I cuts his trail before.

"'As I has the advantage of a Winchester, I at last rides into the open an' gives a whoopee. The party turns, comes limpin' toward me, an' whoever do you allow it is? Which it's shorely Spanish Bill; an' it's right yere he gets action on that bread on the waters he plays in when he recovers me that time in Taos.

"'To make it brief, Spanish Bill tells me that after I leaves Taos he goes over an' deals monte a bit at Wagon Mound. One night a Mexican comes caperin' in, an' Bill gives him a layout or two. At last he makes an alcy bet of fifty dollars on the queen; what the Greasers calls the "hoss." The Mexican loses; an' instead of takin' it easy like a sport should, he grabs the money.

"'As was his dooty, Spanish Bill bends his six-shooter over the Mexican. Tharupon he searches out a knife; an' this yere so complicates the business, Bill, to simplify things, plugs the Mexican full of holes.

"'This shootin' is on the squar', an' no one takes hostile notice of it. Spanish Bill goes on layin' out his monte same as usual. Two days later, though, he gets a p'inter the Mexicans is fixin' for him. So that night he moves camp--mebby to where it's a hundred an' sixty miles from Wagon Mound, over on the Vermejo.

"'But it looks like the Greasers hangs to the trail; for the day before I tracks up on him a band of 'em hops outen a dry arroya, where they's bush-wackin' for him, an' goes to shootin'. As might be expected, Spanish Bill turns loose, free an' frequent, an' they all shorely has a high, excessive time.

"'The Mexicans downs Spanish Bill's pony, an' a bullet creases Bill's side; which last is what curves him over an' indooces him to limp when I trails up with him.

"'As Spanish Bill goes down, the Mexicans scatter. The game is too high for 'em. They was shy two people, with another plugged deep an' strong; by which you notes that Bill is aimin' low an' good.

"'After the shootin' Spanish Bill crawls over to a ranch, an', gettin' a pony an' saddle, which he easy does, he breaks back into the hills where I encounters him. It's that morning his pony gets tired of the deal, an' bucks him off, an' goes stampedin' back. That's why he's afoot.

"'While he's talkin' all this, I recalls how Spanish Bill rounds me up that night in Taos, so I don't hesitate. I takes him over to my camp. The next mornin' he turns his nose for Texas on my best pony; which is the last I sees or hears of Spanish Bill, onless he's the Bill who's lynched over near Eagle Pass a year later, of which I surmises it's some likely.

"'But whether Bill's lynched or not, it all brings up ag'in what that Gospel-gent says about doin' benev'lences; an' how after many days you dies an' makes a winnin', an' lives on velvet all eternity. An' don't you know this Spanish Bill pickin' me up that night, an' then in less than two months, when he's afoot an' hurt in the hills, gettin' ag'inst me an' drawin' out of the game ahead a saddle, a pony an' safety, makes it seem like that Bible-sharp is right a whole lot?

"'That's how it strikes me,' concloods Boggs. 'An' as I tells you; if so many cattle don't die that spring; an' if I don't give way so frightful in my talk, I'd shorely hunted down a congregation the next June, an' stood in."'



"Whatever's the difference between the East an' the West?" said the Old Cattleman, repeating my question rather for the purpose of consideration than from any failure to understand: "What's the difference between the East an' the West? Which, so far as I notes, to relapse into metaphor, as you-alls says, the big difference is that the East allers shoots from a rest; while the West shoots off hand.

"The West shore learns easy an' is quick to change a system or alter a play. It's plumb swift, the West is; an' what some regards as


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