“Cantonment was a government post about twenty-five miles away, so we rode for it. Our horses were good Spanish stock, and the Indians’ little bench-legged ponies were no match for them. But not satisfied with the wagon and herd falling into their hands, they followed us until we were within sight of the post. As hard luck would have it, the cavalry stationed at this post were off on some escort duty, and the infantry were useless in this case. When the cavalry returned a few days later, they tried to round up those Indians, and the Indian agent used his influence, but the horses were so divided up and scattered that they were never recovered.”
“And did the man lose his horses entirely?” asked Flood, who had anteed up his last bean and joined us.
“He did. There was, I remember, a tin horn lawyer up about Dodge who thought he could recover their value, as these were agency Indians and the government owed them money. But all I got for three months’ wages due me was the horse I got away on.”
McCann had been frozen out during Roundtree’s yarn, and had joined the crowd of story-tellers on the other side of the fire. Forrest was feeling quite gala, and took a special delight in taunting the vanquished as they dropped out.
“Is McCann there?” inquired he, well knowing he was. “I just wanted to ask, would it be any trouble to poach that egg for my breakfast and serve it with a bit of toast; I’m feeling a little bit dainty. You’ll poach it for me, won’t you, please?”
McCann never moved a muscle as he replied, “Will you please go to hell?”
The story-telling continued for some time, and while Fox Quarternight was regaling us with the history of a little black mare that a neighbor of theirs in Kentucky owned, a dispute arose in the card game regarding the rules of discard and draw.
“I’m too old a girl,” said The Rebel, angrily, to Forrest, “to allow a pullet like you to teach me this game. When it’s my deal, I’ll discard just when I please, and it’s none of your business so long as I keep within the rules of the game;” which sounded final, and the game continued.