“That won’t prevent you hoggin’ more’n your share, I’ll bet,” said Potts pleasantly.
“I don’t somehow like wasting the sprouts,” observed the Colonel anxiously. “It’s such a wonderful sight—something growing.” He had cut one pallid slip, and held it tenderly between knife and thumb.
“Waste ’em with scurvy staring us in the face? Should think not. Mix ’em with cold potaters in a salad.”
“No. Make slumgullion,” commanded O’Flynn.
“What’s that?” quoth the Colonel.
“Be the Siven! I only wonder I didn’t think of it befure. Arre ye listening, Kentucky? Ye take lots o’ wathur, an’ if ye want it rich, ye take the wathur ye’ve boiled pitaties or cabbage in—a vegetable stock, ye mind—and ye add a little flour, salt, and pepper, an’ a tomater if ye’re in New York or ’Frisco, and ye boil all that together with a few fish-bones or bacon-rin’s to make it rale tasty.”
“Well, an’ that’s slumgullion.”
“Don’t sound heady enough for a ‘Blow-Out,’” said the Colonel. “We’ll sober up on slumgullion to-morrow.”
“Anyhow, it’s mate I’m wishin’ fur,” sighed O’Flynn, subsiding among the tin-ware. “What’s the good o’ the little divvle and his thramps, if he can’t bring home a burrud, or so much as the scut iv a rabbit furr the soup?”
“Well, he’s contributed a bottle of California apricots, and we’ll have boiled rice.”
“An’ punch, glory be!”
“Y-yes,” answered the Colonel. “I’ve been thinkin’ a good deal about the punch.”
“So’s myself,” said O’Flynn frankly; but Potts looked at the Colonel suspiciously through narrowed eyes.
“There’s very little whiskey left, and I propose to brew a mild bowl—”
“To hell with your mild bowls!”
“A good enough punch, sah, but one that—that—a—well, that the whole kit and boodle of us can drink. Indians and everybody, you know ... Nicholas and Andrew may turn up. I want you two fellas to suppoht me about this. There are reasons foh it, sah”—he had laid a hand on Potts’ shoulder and fixed O’Flynn with his eye—“and”—speaking very solemnly—“yoh neither o’ yoh gentlemen that need mo’ said on the subject.”
Whereupon, having cut the ground from under their feet, he turned decisively, and stirred the mush-pot with a magnificent air and a newly-whittled birch stick.
To give the Big Cabin an aspect of solid luxury, they had spread the Boy’s old buffalo “robe” on the floor, and as the morning wore on Potts and O’Flynn made one or two expeditions to the Little Cabin, bringing back selections out of Mac’s hoard “to decorate the banquet-hall,” as they said. On the last trip Potts refused to accompany his pardner—no, it was no good. Mac evidently wouldn’t be back to see, and the laugh would be on them “takin’ so much trouble for nothin’.” And O’Flynn wasn’t to be long either, for dinner had been absurdly postponed already.