The supervisor shook his head. “Take a letter to Collins,” he said.
The stenographer glanced up. “Senator Collins, Mr. Torrance?”
“Yes. And make an extra copy. Mark it confidential. You need not file the copy. I’ll take care of it. And if Mr. Shoop is appointed to my place, he need know nothing about this letter.”
“Because, Evers,” Said Torrance, relaxing from his official manner a bit, “it is going to be rather difficult to get Mr. Shoop appointed here. I want him. I can depend on him. We have had too many theorists in this field. And remember this; stay with Shoop through thick and thin and some day you may land a job as private secretary to a State Senator.”
“All right, sir. I didn’t know that you were going into politics, Mr. Torrance.”
“You’re off the trail a little, Evers. I’ll never run for Senator. I’m with the Service as long as it will have me. But if some clever politician happens to get hold of Shoop, there isn’t a man in this mesa country that could win against him. He’s just the type that the mesa people like. He is all human.—Dear Senator Collins—”
The stenographer bent over his book.
Later, as Torrance closed his desk, he thought of an incident in Shoop’s life with which he had long been familiar. The Airedale, Bondsman, had once been shot wantonly by a stray Apache. Shoop had found the dog as it crawled along the corral fence, trying to get to the cabin. Bud had ridden fifty miles through a winter snowstorm with Bondsman across the saddle. An old Mormon veterinary in St. Johns had saved the dog’s life. Shoop had come close to freezing to death during that tedious ride.
Bud Shoop’s assets in the game of life amounted to a few acres of mesa land, a worn outfit of saddlery, and a small bank account. But his greatest asset, of which he was blissfully unconscious, was a big, homely love for things human and for animals; a love that set him apart from his fellows who looked upon men and horses and dogs as merely useful or otherwise.
The Horse Trade
The following day a young cowboy, mounted upon a singularly noticeable buckskin horse, rode down the main street of Jason and dismounted at the Forestry Office. Torrance was reading a letter when his clerk proffered the young man a chair and notified the supervisor that a Mr. Adams wished to see him.
A few minutes later, Lorry was shown in. The door closed.
Torrance surveyed the strong, young figure with inward approval. “I have your letter. Sit down. I see your letter is postmarked St. Johns.”
“Know anything about the Service?”
“Why do you want to get into it?”
“I thought mebby I’d like the work.”
“Have you any recommendations?”