“You see that block of stone just this side of him with the square face towards us? Well, he’s only covered in front, and I’m a-going to shoot against that face and ketch him on the glance.”
“Great, if you could work it!” says I. “But Lord!”
“Well, watch!” says he. Then he squinched down behind his cover, so as not to give the Injun an opening, trained his cannon and pulled the trigger. The old gun opened her mouth and roared like an earthquake, but I didn’t see any dead Injun. Then twice more she spit fire, and still there weren’t any desirable corpses to be had.
“Say, pardner,” says I, “you wouldn’t make many cigars at this game!”
“Now, don’t you get oneasy,” says he. “Just watch!”
“Biff!” says the old gun, and this time, sure enough, the Injun was knocked clear of the rock. I felt all along that he wouldn’t be much of a comfort to his friends afterwards, if that gun did land on him.
Still, he wasn’t so awful dead, for as we jumped for the horses he kind of hitched himself to the rock, and laying the rifle across it, and working the lever with his left hand, he sent a hole plumb through my hat.
“Bully boy!” says I. I snapped at him, and smashed the lock of his rifle to flinders. Then, of course, he was our meat.
As we rode up to him, my pard held dead on him. The Injun stood up straight and tall, and looked us square in the eye—say, he was a man, I tell you, red-skin or no red-skin. The courage just stuck out on him as he stood there, waiting to pass in his checks.
My pardner threw the muzzle of his gun up. “D—n it!” says he, “I can’t do it—he’s game from the heart out! But the Lord have mercy on his sinful soul if he and I run foul of each other on the prairie again!”
Then we shacked along down to Johnson’s and had breakfast.
“What became of Frosthead and his gang?” Oh, they sent out a regiment or two, and gathered him in—’bout twenty-five soldiers to an Injun. No, no harm was done. Me and my pard were the only ones that bucked up against them. Chuck out a cigarette, Kid; my lungs ache for want of a smoke.
“How did I come to get myself disliked down at the Chanta Seechee? Well, I’ll tell you,” said Reddy, the cow-puncher. “The play came up like this. First, they made the Chanta Seechee into a stock company, then the stock company put all their brains in one think, and says they, ’We’ll make this man Jones superintendent, and the ranch is all right at once.’ So out comes Jones from Boston, Massachusetts, and what he didn’t know about running a ranch was common talk in the country, but what he thought he knew about running a ranch was too much for one man to carry around. He wasn’t a bad-hearted feller in some ways, yet on the whole he felt it was an honour to a looking-glass