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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 209 pages of information about Cattle Brands.
To a man, the line broke to the rescue, while the horses of the two lady spectators were carried into the melee in the excitement.  The dogs of war were loosed.  Hell popped.  The smoke of six hundred guns arose in clouds.  There were wolves swimming the river and wolves trotting around amongst the horses, wounded and bewildered.  Ropes swished through the smoke, tying wounded wolves to be dragged to death or trampled under hoof.  Men dismounted and clubbed them with shotguns and carbines,—­anything to administer death.  Horses were powder-burnt and cried with fear, or neighed exultingly.  There was an old man or two who had sense enough to secure the horses of the ladies and lead them out of immediate danger.  Several wolves made their escape, and squads of horsemen were burying cruel rowels in heaving flanks in an endeavor to overtake and either rope or shoot the fleeing animals.

Disordered things as well as ordered ones have an end, and when sanity returned to the mob an inventory was taken of the drive-hunt.  By actual count, the lifeless carcases of twenty-six wolves graced the sand bar, with several precincts to hear from.  The promoters of the hunt thanked the men for their assistance, assuring them that the bounty money would be used to perfect arrangements, so that in other years a banquet would crown future hunts.  Before the hunt dispersed, Edwards and his squad returned to the brink of the cut-bank, and when hailed as to results, he replied, “Why, we only got seven, but they are all muy docil.  We’re going to peel them and will meet you at the ford.”

“Who gets the turkey?” some one asked.

“The question is out of order,” replied Reese.  “The property is not present, because I sent him home by my cook an hour ago.  If any of you have any interest in that gobbler, I’ll invite you to go home with me and help to eat him, for my camp is the only one in the Strip that will have turkey and egg-nog to-night.”

V

A COLLEGE VAGABOND

The ease and apparent willingness with which some men revert to an aimless life can best be accounted for by the savage or barbarian instincts of our natures.  The West has produced many types of the vagabond,—­it might be excusable to say, won them from every condition of society.  From the cultured East, with all the advantages which wealth and educational facilities can give to her sons, they flocked; from the South, with her pride of ancestry, they came; even the British Isles contributed their quota.  There was something in the primitive West of a generation or more ago which satisfied them.  Nowhere else could it be found, and once they adapted themselves to existing conditions, they were loath to return to former associations.

About the middle of the fifties, there graduated from one of our Eastern colleges a young man of wealthy and distinguished family.  His college record was good, but close application to study during the last year had told on his general health.  His ambition, coupled with a laudable desire to succeed, had buoyed up his strength until the final graduation day had passed.

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