He turned abruptly and went back to his discarded hand. And Greek Conniston, the son of William Conniston, of Wall Street, lay back upon his bunk and thought deeply of many things.
The next day the gates of a new world opened for Greek Conniston. And it was a world which he liked little enough. The cook, rattling his pots and pans and stove-lids, woke him long before it was four o’clock. One by one the men tumbled out, dressed swiftly, washed and combed their hair at the low bench by the door, and then sat about smoking or wandered away to the stable to attend to their horses. At four o’clock the table was set, coffee and biscuits and steaks sending out their odors to float together upon the morning air. Conniston got up with the others and washed at the common basin, contenting himself with running his fingers through his hair rather than to use the one broken-toothed comb. One or two of the boys said a short “Mornin’” to him, but the most of them seemed to see him no more than they had when he had entered the bunk-house last evening. Lonesome Pete nodded to him and, when they all sat down, indicated a chair at his side for him to sit in.
There was a great bruise upon his forehead and a cut where the muzzle of Brayley’s gun had struck him, but he was surprised to find that both dizziness and faintness had passed entirely and that he was feeling little inconvenience from the blow which last night had stretched him out unconscious.
He ate with the others in silence, making no reference to Brayley, noting that they gave no evidence of remembering the trouble of last night. The fare was coarse, and he was not used to such dishes for breakfast any more than he was used to getting up at four o’clock to eat them. But he was hungry, and the coffee and the biscuits were good. After breakfast he found himself outside of the bunk-house with Lonesome Pete.
“When Brayley’s away,” the cowboy was saying, over his cigarette-making, “Rawhide Jones takes his place. An’ Rawhide says you’re to come with me an’ give me a hand over to the cross-fence. I guess we’d better be makin’ a start, huh?”
Conniston went with him to the stable. “We ain’t brought in any extry hosses,” Pete was explaining, as they came into one of the corrals. “You’ll ride your own to-day?”
In one of the stalls Conniston found the horse he had ridden from Indian Creek, with his saddle, bridle, spurs, and chaps hanging upon wooden pegs. And in the next stall he saw the horse Hapgood had ridden.
“Hasn’t Hapgood gone yet?” he asked of Pete.
“I don’t reckon he has. He had supper with the Ol’ Man up to the house las’ night. An’ I guess he’s stayed over to res’ up.”