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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 209 pages of information about Cattle Brands.

She was his sister.

Bass was Northern born, and this sister was the wife of a respectable practicing physician in Indiana.  Womanlike, her love for a wayward brother followed him beyond his disgraceful end.  With her own hands she performed an act that has few equals, as a testimony of love and affection for her own.

For many years afterward she came annually, her timidity having worn away after the generous reception accorded her at the hands of a hospitable people.

VIII

AT COMANCHE FORD

“There’s our ford,” said Juan,—­our half-blood trailer,—­pointing to the slightest sag in a low range of hills distant twenty miles.

We were Texas Rangers.  It was nearly noon of a spring day, and we had halted on sighting our destination,—­Comanche Ford on the Concho River.  Less than three days before, we had been lounging around camp, near Tepee City, one hundred and seventy-five miles northeast of our present destination.  A courier had reached us with an emergency order, which put every man in the saddle within an hour after its receipt.

An outfit with eight hundred cattle had started west up the Concho.  Their destination was believed to be New Mexico.  Suspicion rested on them, as they had failed to take out inspection papers for moving the cattle, and what few people had seen them declared that one half the cattle were brand burnt or blotched beyond recognition.  Besides, they had an outfit of twenty heavily armed men, or twice as many as were required to manage a herd of that size.

Our instructions were to make this crossing with all possible haste, and if our numbers were too few, there to await assistance before dropping down the river to meet the herd.  When these courier orders reached us at Tepee, they found only twelve men in camp, with not an officer above a corporal.  Fortunately we had Dad Root with us, a man whom every man in our company would follow as though he had been our captain.  He had not the advantage in years that his name would indicate, but he was an exceedingly useful man in the service.  He could resight a gun, shoe a horse, or empty a six-shooter into a tree from the back of a running horse with admirable accuracy.  In dressing a gun-shot wound, he had the delicate touch of a woman.  Every man in the company went to him with his petty troubles, and came away delighted.  Therefore there was no question as to who should be our leader on this raid; no one but Dad was even considered.

Sending a brief note to the adjutant-general by this same courier, stating that we had started with twelve men, we broke camp, and in less than an hour were riding southwest.  One thing which played into our hands in making this forced ride was the fact that we had a number of extra horses on hand.  For a few months previous we had captured quite a number of stolen horses, and having no chance to send into the settlements where they belonged, we used them as extra riding horses.  With our pack mules light and these extra saddlers for a change, we covered the country rapidly.  Sixteen hours a day in the saddle makes camp-fires far apart.  Dad, too, could always imagine that a few miles farther on we would find a fine camping spot, and his views were law to us.

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