It was thus that the social compact was first set on in the valley of Heart’s Desire.
A vast steaming fragrance arose from the bowl which stood at the head of the table. In the home of the girl from Kansas there was light, warmth, comfort, joy. It was Christmas, after all.
“By the great jumpin’ Jehossophat!” said Tom Osby, “them’s our oysters!”
“And to think,” mused Dan Anderson, softly, as we turned away,—“we fried ours!”
TRANSGRESSION AT HEART’S DESIRE
Beginning the Cause Celebre which arose from Curly’s killing the Pig of the Man from Kansas
A great many abdomens have been injured in the pastime known as the “double roll.” Especially has this been the case with persons not native to the land of Heart’s Desire or the equivalent thereof. Even those born to the manner, and possessed of the freedom of a vast landscape whose every particular was devoted to the behoof of any man seized with a purpose of attaining speed and efficiency with firearms, did not always reach that smoothness and precision in the execution of this personal manoeuvre which alone could render it safe to themselves or impressive to the beholder. The owner of this accomplishment was never apt to find himself much crowded with company, in the way either of participants or spectators. Yet the art was a simple and harmless one, pertaining more especially to youth, enthusiasm, and the fresh air of high altitudes, which did ever evoke saltpetreish manifestations.
The evolution of the “double roll” is executed by taking a six-shooter—let us hope not one of those pitiful toys of the East—upon each forefinger, each weapon so hanging balanced on the trigger-guard and the trigger itself that it shall be ready to turn about the finger as upon a pivot, and shall be ready for instant discharge, the thumb cocking the weapon as it turns; yet so that it shall none the less be discharged only when the muzzle of the weapon is pointed away from the operator’s person and not toward it.
It is best for the ambitious to begin this little sport with an empty weapon. Thus one will readily observe that the click of the hammer is all too often heard before the whirl of the gun is fairly under way, and while the muzzle is pointed midway of the operator’s person; the weight of the heavy gun being commonly sufficient to pull back the trigger and so discharge the piece. When the ambitious soul has learned to do this “roll” with one empty gun, he may try it with two empty guns. If he finds it possible thus to content himself, it will perhaps be all the better for him. To stand upright, with a gun in each hand, even an empty gun, and so revolve the same while its own cylinder is revolving, is not wholly easy, though when one has finally gotten both hemispheres of his brain into accord with his forefingers, he will ever thereafter be able to understand fully the double revolution of the earth upon its axis and around the sun; provided always that he is able to perform the “double roll” without hitch or break, pulling right and left forefinger alternately and rapidly until he has heard what in his tentative case must be a series of six double clicks.