“That there settles it final,” he snorted, when the town came into view in the flat below. “They’ve pushed Casey off’n the grade for the first time and the last time. What pushin’ and crowdin’ and squawkin’ is done from now on, it’ll be Casey Ryan doin’ it! Faint! I’ll learn ’em something to faint about. If it’s Fords goin’ to run horses off’n the trail, you watch how Casey Ryan’ll drive the livin’ tar outa one. Dog-gone ’em, there ain’t no Ford livin’ that can drive Casey off’n the road. I’ll drive ’em till their tongues hang out. I’ll make ’em bawl like a calf, and I’ll pound ’em on the back and make ’em fan it faster.”
So talking to himself and his team he rode into town and up to one of those ubiquitous Ford agencies that write their curly-tailed blue lettering across the continent from the high nose of Maine to the shoulder of Cape Flattery.
“Gimme one of them dog-goned blankety bing-bing Ford auty-mo-biles,” he commanded the garage owner who came to meet Casey amiably in his shirt sleeves. “Here’s four horses I’ll trade yuh, with what’s left of the harness. And up at the third turn you’ll find a good wheel off’n the stage.” He slid down from the sweaty back of his nigh leader and stood slightly bow-legged and very determined before the garage owner, Bill Masters.
“Wel-l—there ain’t much sale for horses, Casey. I ain’t got any place to keep ’em, nor any feed. I’ll sell yuh a Ford on time, and—”
Casey glanced over his shoulder to make sure the horses were standing quiet, dropped the reins and advanced upon Bill.
“You trade,” he stated flatly.
Bill backed a little. “Oh, all right, if that’s the way yuh feel. What yuh askin’ for the four just as they stand?”
“Me? A Ford auty-mo-bile. I told yuh that, Bill. And I want you to put on the biggest horn that’s made; one that can be heard from here to Pinnacle and back when I turn ’er loose. And run the damn thing out here right away and show me how it works, and how often you gotta wind it and when. Lucky I didn’t bring no passengers down—I was runnin’ empty. But I gotta take back a load of Bohunks to the Bluebird this afternoon, and my stage, she’s a total wreck. I’ll sign papers to-night if you got any to sign.”
Thus was the trade effected with much speed and few preliminaries, because Bill knew Casey Ryan very intimately and had seen him in action when his temper was up. Bill adjusted an extra horn which he happened to have in stock. One of those terrific things that go far toward making the life of a pedestrian a nerve-racking succession of startles. Casey tried it out on himself before he would accept it. He walked several doors down the street with the understanding that Bill would honk at him when he was some little distance away. Bill waited until Casey’s attention was drawn to a lady with thick ankles who was crossing the street in a hurry and a stiff breeze. Bill came down on the metal plunger of the horn with all his might, and Casey jumped perceptibly and came back grinning.