Hal begged permission to carry the news to Don Ramon, and I never saw a happier boy than he, at the thought of once more being on the road.
About eight o’clock the next morning we again started, passing through the canon, over a fine, natural road. Two hours later saw the ambulance of Don Ramon, with its six white mules and four outriders, approaching from the direction of the fort, at a pace that promised soon to overtake us.
Hal at once took a position beside the carriage, and, during the rest of the day, hardly left it. I did not interfere until we were approaching our camping-ground, when I sent Patsey back, to say that I wished to see him.
The boy returned, saying,—
“He’s a-comin’, but he says, kape yer timper.”
“What did he say?” inquired I, in no little astonishment.
“He said, Yis, he’d come, but kape yer timper; shure, so he did.”
At this moment Hal rode up. I asked him what he meant by sending such an extraordinary message, at the same time telling Patsey to repeat it.
Hal heard it, and burst into a laugh, declaring that he told Patsey to say he would be with me “poko tiempo,”—in a little while—which, as Patsey did not understand Spanish, he had interpreted into “kape yer timper.”
[Illustration: Antelope, Patsey and Ned.]
The night passed quietly, and, just after sunrise we were again on the road, bound for “Dead Man’s Hole,” which was our next camping ground. We reached it quite early in the afternoon, and, shortly afterwards, Ned came to me in great glee, saying that he’d shot an antelope, and wanted Patsey to go and help him bring it in.
Away they rushed, and soon returned, fairly staggering under the weight of a fine fat antelope.
I could fully understand Ned’s feeling of pride, as the men, one after another, examined the game, and complimented him on his success; for Ned was a great favorite in the camp; but, when old Jerry graciously told him that he was more’n twice as old afore he killed an antelope, the boy’s eyes fairly danced with joy.
His greatest triumph, however, was at supper, when he helped Hal to a bountiful supply of the fat, juicy steak. It had been a matter of rivalry between the two, as to which of them would kill the first antelope; and Hal was inclined to feel a little uncomfortable at Ned’s victory, especially before Patsey slyly suggested, that, ef he hadn’t kilt an antichoke, he’d got a dear beyant, and that was betther than a dozen artichokes.
When I made my usual round of the camp, before going to bed, Jerry was not to be found; so I concluded to sit up until his return.
Half an hour later he came in, informing me that “he’d heerd a coyote bark four or five times rather suspiciously nigh camp, and had been out to reconnoitre, thinkin’ p’raps it was an Injun signal; but, havin’ seen more or less of the critters prowlin’ about, he rekconed it was all right.”