“Loys had a hard time of it until Kyle got so he could travel, and they went up to the Yellowstone with a team for a wedding trip.
“The rest of Loys’s folks was in an unpleasant frame of mind, too. They sent out her brother, and while I’d have took most anything from Loys’s brother, there comes a place where human nature is human nature, and the upshot of it was I planked that young man gently but firmly across my knees. Suffering Ike! But he was one sassy young man! Howsomever, the whole outfit came round in time—all except uncle and me. He used to grit his teeth together till the sparks flew when he saw me. I was afraid he’d bust a blood-vessel in one of them fits, so I quit. I hated to let go of the old ranch, but I’m pretty well fixed—I’m superintendent here. It’s Kyle’s ranch, you know. That’s his brand—the queer-looking thing on the left hip of that critter, over the vented hash-knife. Loys’s invention, that is. She says it’s a cherublim, but we call it the ‘flying flap-jack.’ There’s a right smart lot of beef critters toting that signal around this part of the country. Kyle’s one of the fellers that rises like a setting of bread—quiet and gentle, but steady and sure. He’s going to the State Legislature next year. ’Twon’t do no harm to have one honest man in the outfit.
“Now, perhaps if I’d married some nice woman I might have had 1,000 steers of my own, and a chance to make rules and regulations for my feller-citizens—and then again I might have took to gambling and drinking and raising blazes, and broke my poor wife’s broom-handle with my hard head. So I reckon we’ll let it slide as it is. Now you straddle that cayuse of yours and come along with me and I’ll show you some rattling colts.”
Reddy was on the station platform, walking up and down, looking about him anxiously. We caught sight of each other at the same time.
“Hi, there!” said he and jumped for me. “Gad-dog your little hide!” he cried as he put my right hand in line for a pension. “I thought I was booked to go without saying good-bye to you—you got the note I pinned on your shack?”
“Well, there’s time for a chin before the choo-choo starts—thought I’d be early, not savvying this kind of travelling a great deal. Darned if you ain’t growed since I saw you—getting fat, too! Well, how’s everything? I didn’t say nothing to the other boys about pulling my freight, as I wanted to go sober for once. You explain to ’em that old Red’s head ain’t swelled, will you? Seems kind of dirty to go off that way, but I’m bound for God’s country and the old-time folks, and somehow I feel that I must cut the budge out of it. ’Nother thing is I’m superstitious, as you may or may not have noticed, and I believe if you try the same game twicet you’ll get just as different results as can be the second time—you heard how I hit it