The woman, who was lying motionless and with closed eyes, sprang to her feet in an instant, and as Lynn Taps laid his burden on the blankets, the woman, her every dull feature softened and lighted with motherly tenderness, threw her arms about the astonished Yankee, and then fell sobbing at his feet.
“You’ve brought her the only medicine that’ll do her any good,” said the doctor, giving the baby a gentle dig under the ribs as he picked up his saddle-bags.
Lynn Taps made a hasty escape, and reached the saloon, which had been hurriedly opened as the crowd was heard approaching.
The bearers of the body deposited it gently on the floor, and the crowd filed in quietly.
Lynn Taps walked up to the bar, and rapped upon it.
“Walk up, boys,” said he; “fill high; hats off. Here’s Codago. Maybe he didn’t have a soul, but if he didn’t, souls ain’t needed in this world. Buttoms up, every man.”
The toast was drunk quietly and reverently, and when it was suggested that the Greasers themselves should have participated, they were all summoned, and the same toast was drank again.
The next day, as the body of Codago was being carried to a newly dug grave, on the high ground overlooking the creek, and the Mexicans stood about, as if dumb staring and incessant smoking were the only proprieties to be observed on such occasions, Lynn Taps thoughtfully offered his arm to the weeping widow, and so sorrowful was she throughout the performance of the sad rites, that Lynn Taps was heard to remark that, however it might be with the men, there could be no doubt about Mexican women’s possessing souls. As a few weeks later the widow became Mrs. Lynn Taps, there can be no doubt that her second husband’s final convictions were genuine.
Where they came from no one knew. Among the farmers near the Bend there was ample ability to conduct researches beset by far more difficulties than was that of the origin of the Pikes; but a charge of buckshot which a good-natured Yankee received one evening, soon after putting questions to a venerable Pike, exerted a depressing influence upon the spirit of investigation. They were not bloodthirsty, these Pikes, but they had good reason to suspect all inquirers of being at least deputy sheriffs, if not worse; and a Pike’s hatred of officers of the law is equaled in intensity only by his hatred for manual labor.
But while there was doubt as to the fatherland of the little colony of Pikes at Jagger’s Bend, their every neighbor would willingly make affidavit as to the cause of their locating and remaining at the Bend. When humanitarians and optimists argued that it was because the water was good and convenient, that the Bend itself caught enough drift-wood for fuel, and that the dirt would yield a little gold when manipulated by placer and pan, all farmers and stockowners