“Three-fifty, an’ two bits extry for feed. It’ll cost you ’bout a dollar a day for feed. At the end of the week I’ll sell that cayuse at auction to pay its bills if you don’t cough up. Got the money?”
“I’ve got a lead slug for you if I can borrow my gun for five minutes!” retorted Fisher, seething double from anger.
“Five dollars more for contempt of court,” pleasantly responded Mr. Townsend. “As Justice of the Peace of this community I must allow no disrespect, no contempt of the sovereign law of this town to go unpunished. That makes it eight-seventy-five.”
“An’ to think I lost my gun!” shouted Fisher, dancing with rage. “I’ll get that cayuse out an’ I won’t pay a cent, not a damned cent! An’ I’ll get you at the same time!”
“Now you dust around for fifteen dollars even an’ stop yore contempt of court an’ threats or I’ll drill you just for luck!” rejoined Mr. Townsend, angrily. “If you keep on working yore mouth like that there won’t be nothing coming to you when I sell that cayuse of yourn. Turn around an’ strike out or I’ll put you with yore ancestors!”
THE STRANGER’S PLAN
Fisher, wild with rage, returned to the Paradise and profanely unfolded the tale of his burning wrongs to the bartender and demanded the loan of his gun, which the bartender promptly refused. The present owner of the gun liked Fisher very much for being such a sport and sympathized with him deeply, but he did not want to have such a pleasing acquaintance killed.
“Now, see here: you cool down an’ I’ll lend you fifteen dollars on that saddle of yourn. You go up an’ get that cayuse out before the price goes up any higher—you don’t know that man like I do,” remarked the man behind the bar earnestly. “That feller Townsend can shoot the eyes out of a small dog at ten miles, purty nigh. Do you savvy my drift?”
“I won’t pay him a cussed cent, an’ when he goes to sell that piebald at auction, I’ll be on hand with a gun; I’ll get one somewhere, all right, even if I have to steal it. Then I’ll shoot out his eyes at ten paces. Why, he’s a two-laigged hold-up! That man would—” he stopped as a stranger entered the room. “Hey, stranger! Don’t you leave that cayuse of yourn outside all alone or that coyote of a marshal will steal it, shore. He’s the biggest thief I ever knowed. He’ll lift yore animal quick as a wink!” Fisher warned, excitedly.
The stranger looked at him in surprise and then smiled. “Is it usual for a marshal to steal cayuses? Somewhat out of line, ain’t it?” he asked Fisher, glancing at the bartender for light.
“I don’t care what’s the rule—that marshal just stole my cayuse; an’ he’ll take yourn, too, if you ain’t careful,” Fisher replied.
“Well,” drawled the stranger, smiling still more, “I reckon I ain’t going to stay out there an’ watch it, an’ I can’t bring it in here. But I reckon it’ll be all right. You see, I carry ‘big medicine’ agin hoss-thieves,” he replied, tapping his holster and smiling as he remembered the time, not long past, when he himself had been accused of being one. “I’ll take a chance if he will—what’ll you all have?”