Ben slipped into his chair with a grunt.
“O’ course, I didn’t know thet when I was swimmin’,” continued Bud, ‘an’ I thinks I’ve run ercross a new web-footed breed o’ hawgs. When we come ter ther other side I waited fer them ter land, then I turns an’ swims back, ther hawgs follerin’. Back ercross I goes erg’in, an’ ther pork keeps right on my trail.
“Purty soon I see they ain’t swimmin’ so spry, an’ I allow they’re gittin’ some tired. Ther last time over ter our side o’ ther river they come slow, an’ I picks out ther kind o’ pork I likes best, an’ ez they land I nails what I want an’ slits thar throats, an’ I hev my pork. But when ther rest o’ them lands they’s full o’ fight ez ever, an’ I takes ter ther water ag’in, but they won’t foller me. This seems strange, an’ I looks ter see what ther matter is.
“Ther ole boar wuz mighty smart, but he’d overlooked one p’int. He’d fergot thet ther water would melt his balls o’ clay, which it did, an’ they couldn’t swim no more. I jest stood hip high in the water with my Winchester an’ popped erway at them until they got tired an’ run off, leavin’ me enough fresh pork ter start a packin’ house.”
A hollow groan escaped from Ben.
“What’s the use?” he moaned. “You can’t beat him.”
Bud’s bad bronchos.
It was time for the fall round-up, and Stella had written from her uncle’s ranch, in New Mexico, that she and her aunt, Mrs. Graham, were coming North to do their winter shopping in Denver, and would visit the Moon Valley Ranch to take part in the round-up and the festivities which the boys always held at that time.
Her letter did not say when she would be there, but the boys knew her well enough to expect her at any moment following the letter.
Therefore they were not surprised to hear a clear, high imitation of the Moon Valley yell one morning while they were all sitting at the breakfast table.
They did not need to be told that Stella Fosdick had come, and without ado they sprang from the table, overturning chairs in their haste to get out of the house to greet her and her aunt.
“Hello, boys!” she called from the carriage, in which she and Mrs. Graham had driven over from Soldier Butte. “You’re a gallant lot of young fellows not to meet us at the station, particularly when I wrote you that I was coming this morning. I’m real mad.” But her smiling face belied the statement.
“You didn’t say when you were coming,” said big Ben, who was the first to reach the carriage step and was helping Mrs. Graham to descend. “If we had taken your general statement that you were coming, to meet you at the station we would have camped right there forever. Never can tell about your movements, young lady.”
“But I did write that I was coming this morning, and to meet us and take breakfast with us in the Butte.”