“Here they stripped us of most of our clothes, and made us ride bare-backed until noon, when they stopped for a few minutes. I noticed that, whenever they halted, one of them always rode to the top of the highest hill near, and remained on the lookout there, until we were ready to start again.
“Before we had been long at this last place, the lookout signaled, and, in about an hour, eight more Indians joined us, with Juanita.
“She was very tired and terribly frightened, but when she saw me she just cried for joy, and I tried to comfort her as much as I could; but, while I was talking to her, a great, greasy-looking fellow came up to me, and, taking me by the collar, pulled me away, and, putting the muzzle of my own revolver to my head, made signs that, if I dared to speak “—
Here Patsey came running up, yelling at the top of his voice,—
“The bear’s goned! The bear’s goned!” Hal and Ned jumped to their feet, exclaiming,—“Which way did he go?” and, without waiting for a reply, darted off in search of him.
“I hope they won’t git the critter: he ain’t nothin’ but a cussid nuisance, no how,” said Jerry, as Hal disappeared in the gloaming.
“It’s so dark they won’t be very likely to,” was my reply.
“I ‘spect the Irishman had a hand in startin’ him,” continued Jerry. “He’s owed the critter a grudge ever since he tarred his clo’es so, the other night.”
“How was that, Jerry?” inquired I.
“Why, yer see the boy had been a-proddin’ the critter with a sharp stick; and, arter he got through, he was a-standin’ by the wagon, and the bar made a jump and ketched him right by his trousers-leg. This kind er scart the feller, and he made a leap, and left the biggest part of his breeches in the critter’s mouth. Ned laughed, and told him, that one bar(e) in camp was enough, and he’d better go an’ mend up—thar he is, now,” pointing towards one of the wagons.
I called him, and he came towards me, looking decidedly guilty. I said to him, “Patsey, how did the bear get away?”
“He runned away, sure, sur.”
“Yes; but how did he get loose?”
“He aited the rope aff, I suppose, sure. I seed him goin’, and thought it’d be no harm to spake to the boys, sur.”
“That was all right, Patsey; but you didn’t turn him loose, did you?”
“I turn him loose, sur! Phat would I be doin’ that fur?”
“Well, why didn’t you go out and help find him?”
“I was afraid, sur;” examining the huge rent in his pantaloons.
“Afraid!” said I. “What under the sun was you afraid of? your bare legs?”
“Will, sur, I didn’t know what the quinisquences might be if two bears (bares) happened to mate in the woods.”
Just here Jerry gave one of his peculiar chuckles; and, seeing that I got but little information from the boy, I dismissed him with the remark, that, when we got to Tucson, he should have a suit of clothes.