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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 258 pages of information about The Heart of the Range.

“Racey,” interrupted Tom Loudon, who had approached unperceived, “this is a fine way to treat yore friends.”

“What’s bitin’ you?”

“You hadn’t oughta take advantage of Old Salt thisaway.”

“And why not?  What’s wrong with the bet?  Fair bet.  Leave it to anybody.”

“Shore, shore, but alla same, Racey, you’d oughta gone a li’l easy.  Twenty-four hundred dollars—­”

“What’s the dif?  You won’t have to pay it.”

“’Tsall right, but I didn’t think it of you, damfi did.  You know how Old Salt is—­always certain shore he’s right, and you took advantage.”

“Shore I took advantage,” Racey acquiesced, amiably.  “I got sense, I have.  Alla same, he’d never ‘a’ taken me up if you hadn’t slipped in yore li’l piece of advice for him not to.  That was a bad play, Tom.  You might know he’d go dead against you.  But I ain’t complaining, not me.  Nor Swing ain’t, either.  We’ll thank you for yore helping hand to our dying day.”

“I guess you will,” Tom Loudon said, ruefully.  “When you get through here, Racey, you and Swing come on over to the wagon shed.  I wanna sift through this Jack Harpe business once more.”

CHAPTER XVI

THE BAR S

Kind friends, you must pity my horrible tale.  I’m an object of sorrow, I’m looking quite stale.  I gone up my trade selling Pink’s Patent Pills To go hunting gold in the dreary Black Hills.”

“I wish to Gawd you’d stayed there,” said Jimmie, the Bar S cook, pausing in his march past to poke his head in at the bunkhouse doorway.  “Honest, Racey, don’t you ever get tired of yell-bellerin’ thisaway?”

Racey Dawson, standing in front of the mirror, ceased not to adjust his necktie.  The mirror was small and he was not, and it was only by dint of much wriggling that he was succeeding in his purpose.  To Jimmie and his question he paid absolutely no attention.

  “Don’t go away, stay at home if you can,
  Stay away from that city, they call it Cheyenne
.”

“Seemin’ly he don’t get tired,” Jimmie answered the question for himself.  “And what’s more, he don’t ever get tired of dandy-floppin’ himself all up like King Solomon’s pet pony.  Yup,” Jimmie continued with enthusiasm, addressing the world at large, “I can remember when Racey used to ride for the 88 and the Cross-in-a-box how he was a regular two-legged human being.  A handkerchief round his neck was good enough for him always.  If his pants had a rip in ’em anywheres, or they was buttons off his vest, or his shirt was tore, did it matter?  No, it didn’t matter.  It didn’t matter a-tall.  But now he’s gotta buy new pants if his old ones is tore, and a new shirt besides, and he sews the buttons on his vest, and he’s took to wearin’ a necktie.  A necktie!”

Jimmie, words failing him for the moment, paused and hooked one foot comfortably behind the other.  He leaned hipshot against the doorjamb, and spat accurately through a knothole in the bunkhouse floor.

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