“I can’t see anything of them skunks, Ben,” he said.
“I suppose not, Jake. They must be a good deal farther on.”
“Yes, I reckon so. They’ve got the horses to help them, while we’ve got to foot it. It was an awful mean trick they played on us.”
“That’s so, Jake.”
“All I ask is to come up with ’em some of these days.”
“What would you do?”
“I wouldn’t take their lives, for I ain’t no murderer, but I’d tie ’em hand and foot, and give ’em a taste of a horsewhip, or a switch, till they’d think they was schoolboys again.”
“You might not be able to do it. They would be two to one.”
“Not quite, Ben. I’d look for some help from you.”
“I would give you all the help I could,” said Ben.
“I know you mean it, and that you wouldn’t get scared, and desert me, as a cousin of mine did once when I was set upon by robbers.”
“Was that in California?”
“No; in Kentucky. I had a tough job, but I managed to disable one of the rascals, and the other ran away.”
“What did your cousin have to say?”
“He told me, when I caught up with him, that he was goin’ in search of help, but I told him that was too thin. I told him I wouldn’t keep his company any longer, and that he had better go his way and I would go mine. He tried to explain things, but there are some things that ain’t so easily explained, that I wouldn’t hear him. I stick to my friends, and I expect them to stand by me.”
“That’s fair, Jake.”
“That’s the way I look at it. I wonder where them rascals are?”
“You mean Mosely and his friend?”
“Yes. What galls me, Ben, is that they’re likely laughin’ in their shoes at the way they’ve tricked us, and there’s no help for it.”
“Not just now, Jake, but we may overtake them yet. Till we do, we may as well take things as easy as we can.”
“You’re right, Ben. You’mind me of an old man that used to live in the place where I was raised. He never borrered any trouble, but when things was contrary, he waited for ’em to take a turn. When he saw a neighbor frettin’, he used to say, ’Fret not thy gizzard, for it won’t do no good.’”
“That was good advice,” he said.
“I don’t know where he got them words from. Maybe they’re in the Bible.”
“I guess not,” said Ben, smiling. “They don’t sound like it.”
“Perhaps you’re right,” said Bradley, not fully convinced, however. “Seems to me I’ve heard old Parson Brown get off something to that effect.”
“Perhaps it was this-’Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.’”
“Perhaps it was. Is that from the Bible?”
“It might have been made a little stronger,” said Bradley thoughtfully. “The evil of some days is more than sufficient, accordin’ to my notion.”
The two explorers camped out as usual, and the fatigue of their day’s tramp insured them a deep, refreshing sleep. The next day they resumed their journey, and for several days to come no incident worthy of mention varied the monotony of their march. Toward the close of the fourth day they saw from a distance a figure approaching them, who seemed desirous of attracting their attention. Ben was the first to see him.