“I don’t know that brand. It ain’t registered for this range,” said Curly.
“Well,” said Billy Hudgens, philosophically gazing at the sleeper, “I reckon ‘D. T.’ would be easier to understand, all things considered.”
“If he ever comes to,” said Curly, as he cast away through the open door the contents of the pockets of the King of Gee-Whiz, “we’ll try to get him through the D. T. stage as well as the V. C., whatever that is, and I reckon he’s good for a job on the Carrizoso range. This country can’t afford to be too damned particular about a feller’s past.”
PHILOSOPHY AT HEART’S DESIRE
Showing further the Uncertainty of Human Events, and the Exceeding Resourcefulness of Mr. Thomas Osby
Tom Osby’s freight wagon made not so bad a conveyance after all. The first fifty miles of the journey were passed in comparative silence, Constance and her father for the most part keeping to the shelter of the wagon tilt. Tom Osby grew restless under solitude ere long, and made friendly advances.
“You come up here and set by me on the seat,” said he to Constance, “and let the sun shine on you. The old man can stay back there on the blankets with my kerosene can of whiskey if he still thinks his health ain’t good. Like enough he’ll learn to get the potato off’n the snoot of the can before long.
“You see,” he went on, “I don’t make no extry charge for whiskey or conversation to my patients. Far’s I know, I’m the only railroad that don’t. I got a box of aigs back there in the wagon, too. Ever see ary railroad back in the States that throwed in ham and aigs? I reckon not.”
“Twenty dollars extra!” remarked Ellsworth, “You’ve made the girl laugh.”
“Man, hush!” said Tom Osby. “Go on to sleep, and don’t offer me money, or I’ll make you get out and walk.” This with a twinkle which robbed his threat of terror, though Ellsworth took the advice presently and lay down under the wagon cover.
“Don’t mind him, Miss Constance,” apologized Tom Osby. “He’s only your father, anyhow, if it comes to the worst. But now tell me, what ails you? Say, now, you ain’t sick, are you?” He caught the plaintive droop of the girl’s mouth; but, receiving no answer, he himself evaded the question, and began to point out antelope and wolves, difficult for the uneducated eye to distinguish upon the gray plains that now swept about them. It was an hour before he returned to the subject really upon his mind.
“I was hearin’ a little about Ben Stillson, the sherf, goin’ out with a feller or so of ours after a boy that’s broke jail down below,” he began tentatively. “You folks hustled me out of town so soon, I didn’t have more’n half time enough to git the news.” From the corner of his eye he watched the face of his passenger.
“A great way to do, wasn’t it!” exclaimed Constance, in sudden indignation. “I asked them why they didn’t hire men to do such work.”