“Now that is what I call a fair story,” commented the Red Nosed Gentleman approvingly when the Jolly Doctor came to a pause; “only I don’t like that notion of a white man marrying an Indian. It’s apt to keep alive in the children the worst characteristics of both races and none of the virtues of either.” canada goose jacka “Before you give the order,” said the Jolly Doctor, restraining me with a friendly yet semiprofessional gesture, “let me say a word. Let me ask whether you have an intention or even a hope of one day—no matter how distant—quitting alcohol?” Without pausing for my answer, the Jolly Doctor went on. “You are yet a young man; I suppose you have seen thirty years. It has been my experience, albeit I’m but fifteen years your senior and not therefore as old as a hill, that no man uproots a habit after he has reached middle age. While climbing, mentally, physically, nervously, the slope of his years and adding to, not taking from, his strength, a man may so far re-draw himself as to make or break an appetite—the appetite of strong drink—if you will. But let him attain the summit of his strength, reach as it were the crest of his days and begin to travel down the easy long descent toward the grave, and every chance of change has perished beyond his reach. You are thirty; and to make it short, my friend, you must, considering what bottle tendencies lie latent within you, stop now and stop hard, or you are lost forever.”Wah-bee-noh, the medicine man, was glad to hear the offer of Kwa-Sind, for he was a miser an’ thought only how he might add another pony to his herd. Wah-bee-noh told Kwa-Sind he would surely do as he asked, an’ that the Swallow within three moons would be despised among all the Sioux.CHAPTER XXI.—THE LUCK OF COLD-SOBER SIMMS. canada goose jacka
Time and again he came to his rooms stripped of the last dollar. On these harrowing occasions Joe would borrow a round-number stake from me and so return to the legitimate sure harvests of casino, vowing never to lose himself and his money in any quicksands of farobank again.Coming from Old Trinity, still mooting Corn-bury and his smugglings, my thoughts turned to Harris. Also, for the earliest time, I began to consider within myself whether smuggling was not a field of business wherein a pushing man might grow and reap a harvest. The idea came to me to turn “free-trader.” The government had destroyed me; I would make reprisal. I would give my hand to smuggling and spoil the Egyptian.“Which I wants,” says this shorthorn Chepp, “a speciment of every sort o’ the fauna of these yere regions, savin’ an’ exceptin’ polecats. I knows enough of the latter pungent beast from an encounter I has with one, to form notions ag’in ’em over which not even the anxious cry of science can preevail. Polecats is barred from my c’llec-tions. But,” an’ said Chepp imparts this last to Cold-sober as the latter starts for Mitchell’s, “if by any sleight or dexterity you-all accomplishes the capture of a bob-cat, bring the interestin’ creature to me at once. An’ bring him alive so I may observe an’ note his pecooliar traits.”“I’ll have me poipe an’ me mug av beer,” he said, “an’ resht mesilf a bit. It’s loike I’ll feel betther afther a whoile an’ then I’ll take a haand.”“Where’s Jack?”With but one table, whereat I would preside as dealer, I required no multitude to man The Shotgun. I called to my aid three gentlemen of fortune—seedy and in want they were and glad to earn a dollar. One was to be sentinel at the door, one would perch Argus-like on the lookout’s stool, while the third,—an old suspicious camp-follower of Chance,—kept the case. This latter, cautious man! declined my service unless I put steel bars on the only door, and as well on the only window. These he conceived to be some safeguard against invasions. They were not; but I spent money to put them in place to the end that his fluttered nerves be stilled and he won to my standard. And at that, he later pursued his business as case-keeper with an ear on the door and an eye on the small barred window, sitting the while half aloof from the table and pushing the case-buttons as the cards fell from the box with a timid forefinger and as though he proposed no further immersion in current crime than was absolutely demanded by the duties of his place. He sat throughout the games a picture of apprehension.“But how might a party do that soonest?” asked Jim Britt. “I don’t want to camp yere for the balance of my days. Besides, thar’s Samantha.”The padre inquires, an’ the holy-water sharp confesses his guilt. Also, he admits that he hides the gaffs onder the altar cloth doorin’ the recent services so they’ll acquire extra grace an’ power.The next day, when Chicken Bill called on Dead-wood Maggie, he was met with a smothering flight of table furniture and told never to come back.“Say, Jake,” retorts Bill; “I’ll gamble that you an’ your hoss thieves ain’t got the sand to come after me. Come at once if you comes; I despises delays, an’ besides I’ve got to be through with you-all an’ back to the stage station by dark.”For five days Moh-Kwa smoked no kinnikinick; an’ Moh-Kwa got angry because of it an’ roared an’ shouted up an’ down the canyons, an’ to show he did not care, Moh-Kwa smashed his redstone pipe on a rock. But in his stomach Moh-Kwa cared, an’ would have traded Ish-koodah, the Fire, four armsful of dry cedar just to have him light his kinnikinick but once. But Ish-koo-dah, the Fire, was gone out an’ would not come back. canada goose jacka “Let him pla-ay, Mishter Roche,” he said. “Let’s win his money fr-rom him an’ it’ll be a lesson. He’ll not lose much befure he’ll be gla-ad to quit.”“An’ candy!” canada goose jacka “Well,” remarked the Old Cattleman when the Sour Gentleman was done, “I don’t want to say nothin’ to discourage you-all, but if I’d picked up your hand that time I wouldn’t have played it. I shorely would have let that Dutch girl keep her beads. Didn’t the thing ha’nt you afterwards?”As on every evening, I lived on the feather-edge of apprehension, fearing a raid. My eye might be on the thirteen cards and the little fortunes they carried, but my ear was ever alert for a first dull footfall that would tell of destruction on its lowering way.“Why, then,” said Joe, “I’ll do my best to teach you. But it will cost a deal of work. You’ll have to put in hours of practice and curry and groom and train your memory as if it were a horse for a great race. I tell you the more readily—for I could elsewhere easily get the five hundred and for that matter five thousand other dollars to keep it company—since I believe I’ve not many months to live at best”—here, as if in confirmation, a gust of coughing shook him—“and this secret shall be your legacy.” canada goose jacka Nothing is big in the Southwest; transactions of millions are disposed of while one eats a flap-jack. In an hour the stranger had acquired The Flim Flam Murphy interest which was vested in Chicken Bill; in two hours that immoralist was speeding by vague trails to regions new, forty-five thousand dollars in his belt and a soreness in his heart.CHAPTER XXIV.—WHEN THE CAPITOL WAS MOVED.Ugly Elk has no sons or daughters an’ all his squaws are old an’ dead an’ asleep forever in their rawhides, high on pole scaffolds where the wolves can’t come. An’ because Ugly Elk is lonesome an’ would hear good words about his lodge an’ feel that truth is near, he asks his nephew, Running Water, to live with him when now the years grow deep an’ deeper on his head. The nephew is named Running Water because there is no muddiness of lies about him, an’ his life runs clear an’ swift an’ good. Some day Running Water will be chief, an’ then they will call him Kill-Bear, because he once sat down an’ waited until a grizzly came up; an’ when he had come up, Running Water offered him the muzzle of his gun to bite; an’ then as the grizzly took it between his jaws, Running Water blew off his head. An’ for that he was called Kill-Bear, an’ made chief. But that is not for a long time, an’ comes after Ugly Elk has died an’ been given a scaffold of poles with his squaws.“Who doused those glims?”There were no cheatings or tricky illicitisms hidden in Joe’s supremacies of casino. They were works of a wax-like memory which kept the story of the cards as one makes entries in a ledger. When the last hands were out between Joe and an adversary, a glance at his mental entries of cards already played, and another at his own hand, unerringly informed him of what cards his opponent held. This he called “Telling the last four.”Those ten years after quitting Dublin were years of hit or miss. I did everything but preach or steal. Yes, I even fought three prize-fights; and there were warped, distorted moments when, bloody but victorious, I believed it better to be a fighter than to be a bishop.“Play Blue Bells!” and Coburn looked at me hard and as one who held mysterious knowledge.“In fact,” explains the one Cold-sober an’ Peacock finds alive, “it’s our idee that the killin’ an’ skelpin’ an’ pillagin’ of Cold-sober would get layed to Peacock, which would mean safety for us an’ at the same time be a jest on Peacock that would be plumb hard to beat.” That was the plan of these outlaws; an’ the cause of its failure is the followin’ episode, to wit:As the field swung into the homestretch and each jockey picked his route for the run to the wire, Bill Breen was going like a bird, twenty yards to the good if a foot. The swinish one placed the heavy member that had been caressing the watch-chain on my shoulder. He did not wait for any comment from me.