“I would rather you’d leave us,” thought Joe, but he merely said: “Very well.”
TWO TRAGIC STORIES
They rode on for about an hour and a half. Joshua’s steed, placated by his good supper, behaved very well. Their ride was still through the canon. Presently it became too dark for them to proceed.
“Ain’t we gone about fur enough for to-night?” asked Joshua.
“Perhaps we have,” answered Joe.
“Here’s a good place to camp,” suggested the man from Pike County, pointing to a small grove of trees to the right.
“Very well; let us dismount,” said Joe. “I think we can pass the night comfortably.”
They dismounted, and tied their beasts together under one of the trees. They then threw themselves down on a patch of greensward near-by.
“I’m gettin’ hungry,” said Joshua. “Ain’t you, Joe?”
“Yes, Mr. Bickford. We may as well take supper.”
Mr. Bickford produced a supper of cold, meat and bread, and placed it between Joe and himself.
“Won’t you share our supper?” said Joe to their companion.
“Thank ye, stranger, I don’t mind if I do,” answered the Pike man, with considerable alacrity. “My fodder give out this mornin’, and I hain’t found any place to stock up.”
He displayed such an appetite that Mr. Bickford regarded him with anxiety. They had no more than sufficient for themselves, and the prospect of such a boarder was truly alarming.
“You have a healthy appetite, my friend,” he said.
“I generally have,” said the Pike man. “You’d orter have some whisky, strangers, to wash it down with.”
“I’d rather have a good cup of coffee sweetened with ’lasses, sech as marm makes to hum,” remarked Mr. Bickford.
“Coffee is for children, whisky for strong men,” said the Roarer.
“I prefer the coffee,” said Joe.
“Are you temperance fellers?” inquired the Pike man contemptuously.
“I am,” said Joe.
“And I, too,” said Joshua.
“Bah!” said the other disdainfully; “I’d as soon drink skim-milk. Good whisky or brandy for me.”
“I wish we was to your restaurant, Joe,” said Joshua. “I kinder hanker after some good baked beans. Baked beans and brown bread are scrumptious. Ever eat ’em, stranger?”
“No,” said the Pike man; “none of your Yankee truck for me.”
“I guess you don’t know what’s good,” said Mr. Bickford. “What’s your favorite vittles?”
“Bacon and hominy, hoe-cakes and whisky.”
“Well,” said Joshua, “it depends on the way a feller is brung up. I go for baked beans and brown bread, and punkin pie—that’s goloptious. Ever eat punkin pie, stranger?”
“I don’t lay much on it.”
Supper was over and other subjects succeeded. The Pike County man became social.