The Log of a Cowboy eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 355 pages of information about The Log of a Cowboy.
brutes and rest for ourselves.  There was lots of singing that night.  “There’s One more River to cross,” and “Roll, Powder, roll,” were wafted out on the night air to the coyotes that howled on our flanks, or to the prairie dogs as they peeped from their burrows at this weird caravan of the night, and the lights which flickered in our front and rear must have been real Jack-o’-lanterns or Will-o’-the-wisps to these occupants of the plain.  Before we had covered half the distance, the herd was strung-out over two miles, and as Flood rode back to the rear every half hour or so, he showed no inclination to check the lead and give the sore-footed rear guard a chance to close up the column; but about an hour before midnight we saw a light low down in our front, which gradually increased until the treetops were distinctly visible, and we knew that our wagon had reached the river.  On sighting this beacon, the long yell went up and down the column, and the herd walked as only long-legged, thirsty Texas cattle can walk when they scent water.  Flood called all the swing men to the rear, and we threw out a half-circle skirmish line covering a mile in width, so far back that only an occasional glimmer of the lead light could be seen.  The trail struck the Powder on an angle, and when within a mile of the river, the swing cattle left the deep-trodden paths and started for the nearest water.

The left flank of our skirmish line encountered the cattle as they reached the river, and prevented them from drifting up the stream.  The point men abandoned the leaders when within a few hundred yards of the river.  Then the rear guard of cripples and sore-footed cattle came up, and the two flanks of horsemen pushed them all across the river until they met, when we turned and galloped into camp, making the night hideous with our yelling.  The longest dry drive of the trip had been successfully made, and we all felt jubilant.  We stripped bridles and saddles from our tired horses, and unrolling our beds, were soon lost in well-earned sleep.

The stars may have twinkled overhead, and sundry voices of the night may have whispered to us as we lay down to sleep, but we were too tired for poetry or sentiment that night.



The tramping of our remuda as they came trotting up to the wagon the next morning, and Honeyman’s calling, “Horses, horses,” brought us to the realization that another day had dawned with its duty.  McCann had stretched the ropes of our corral, for Flood was as dead to the world as any of us were, but the tramping of over a hundred and forty horses and mules, as they crowded inside the ropes, brought him into action as well as the rest of us.  We had had a good five hours’ sleep, while our mounts had been transformed from gaunt animals to round-barreled saddle horses,—­that fought and struggled amongst themselves or artfully dodged the lariat loops

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The Log of a Cowboy from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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