“An’ I’m a-goin’, too,” said Buffle. “I’m wanted pretty bad by some that’s East, but I reckon I’m well enough hid by the bar that’s grow’d sence I wuz a boy, an’ dug out from old Varmont. I’ve had a new taste uv decency lately, an’ I’m goin’ to see ef I can’t stan’ it for a stiddy diet. The chap over to the shanty sez he ken git me somethin’ to do, an’ ennythin’s better’n gamblin’, drinkin’, and fightin’.
“It’s agin the law to kerry shootin’-irons there, Buffle,” suggested one.
“Yes, an’ they got a new kind uv a law there, to keep a man from takin’ his bitters,” said another.
“Yes,” said Buffle, “all that’s mighty tough, but ef a feller’s bound fur bed-rock, he might ez well git that all uv a sudden, ef he ken.”
Buffle started toward the door, stopped as if he had something else to say, started again, hesitated, feigned indignation at the baby, flushed the least bit, opened the door, partly closed it again, squeezed himself out and displaying only the tip of his nose, roared:
“This baby’s name is Allan Buffle Berryn—Allen Buffle Berryn!” and then rushed at full speed to leave the baby at home, while the boys clinked glasses melodiously.
At the end of another fortnight there was a procession formed at Fat Pocket Gulch; two horses, one wearing a side-saddle, were brought to the door of Buffle’s old house, and Mrs. Berryn and her husband mounted them; they were soon joined by Buffle and Muggy.
[Illustration: “THIS BABY’S NAME IS ALLAN BUFFLE BERRYN.”]
For months after there was mourning far and wide among owners of mules and horses, for each Gulchite had been out stealing, that he might ride with the escort which was to see the Berryns safely to the crossing. An advance-guard was sent ahead, and the party were about to start, when Buffle suddenly dismounted and entered his old cabin; when he reappeared, a cloud of smoke followed him.
“Thar,” said he, a moment later, as flames were seen bursting through the roof, “no galoot uv a miner don’t live in that shanty after that. Git.”
Away galloped the party, the baby in the arms of its father. The crossing was safely reached, and the stage had room for the whole party, and, after a hearty hand-shaking all around, the stage started. Sandytop threw one of his only two shoes after it for luck.
As the stage was disappearing around a bend, a little way from the crossing, the back curtain was suddenly thrown up, a baby, backed by a white hat and yellow beard, was seen, and a familiar voice was heard to roar, “Allan Buffle Berryn.”