Thus the peons complained to the padre while they kept one eye open for the advent of the rowdy cow-punchers, who always wanted to drink, and then to fight with some one, either with fists or pistols. Why should any one fight with them, especially with such things as fists?
“Let them fight among themselves. What have you to do with heretics?” reproved the good padre, who ostracized himself from the pleasant parts of the wide world that he might make easier the life and struggles of his ignorant flock. “God is not hasty—He will punish in His own way when it best suits Him. And perhaps you will profit much if you are more regular to mass instead of wasting the cool hours of the morning in bed. Think well of what I have said, my children.”
But the cow-punchers were not punished and they swore they would not leave the vicinity until they had all the steers they wanted, and at their own price. And one night their herd stampeded and was checked only in time to save it from going over the canyon’s edge. And for some reason Sanchez kept out of the padre’s way and did not go to confess when he should, for the padre spoke plainly and set hard obligations for penance.
The cow-punchers swore that it had been done by some Mexican and said that they would come to town some day soon and kill three Mexicans unless the guilty one was found and brought to them. Then the padre mounted his donkey and went out to them to argue and they finally told him they would wait for two weeks. But the padre was too smart for them—he sent a messenger to find Senor Dick Martin, and in one week Senor Martin came to town. There was no fight. The Gringo rowdies were cowards at heart and Martin could not shoot them down in cold blood, and he could not arrest them, because he was not a policeman or even a sheriff, but only a revenue officer, which was a most foolish law. But he watched them all the time and wanted them to fight—there was no more shooting or drunkenness in town. Nobody wanted to fight Senor Martin, for he was a great man. He even went so far as to talk with them about it and wave his arms, but they were as frightened at him as little children might be.