The Virginian--A Horseman Of The Plainsr
The Game And The Nation--Act Second
"That is the only step I have had to take this whole trip," said the Virginian. He holstered
his pistol with a jerk. "I have been fearing he would force it on me." And he looked at
empty, receding Dakota with disgust. "So nyeh back home!" he muttered.
"Known your friend long?" whispered Scipio to me.
"Fairly," I answered.
Scipio's bleached eyes brightened with admiration as he considered the Southerner's
back. "Well," he stated judicially, "start awful early when yu' go to fool with him, or he'll
make you feel unpunctual."
"I expaict I've had them almost all of three thousand miles," said the Virginian, tilting his
head toward the noise in the caboose. "And I've strove to deliver them back as I received
them. The whole lot. And I would have. But he has spoiled my hopes." The deputy
foreman looked again at Dakota. "It's a disappointment," he added. "You may know what
I had known a little, but not to the very deep, of the man's pride and purpose in this trust.
Scipio gave him sympathy. "There must be quite a balance of 'em left with yu' yet," said
"I had the boys plumb contented," pursued the deputy foreman, hurt into open talk of
himself. "Away along as far as Saynt Paul I had them reconciled to my authority. Then
this news about gold had to strike us."
"And they're a-dreamin' nuggets and Parisian bowleyvards," suggested Scipio.
The Virginian smiled gratefully at him.
"Fortune is shinin' bright and blindin' to their delicate young eyes," he said, regaining his
We all listened a moment to the rejoicings within.
"Energetic, ain't they?" said the Southerner. "But none of 'em was whelped savage
enough to sing himself bloodthirsty. And though they're strainin' mighty earnest not to be
tame, they're goin' back to Sunk Creek with me accordin' to the Judge's awders. Never a
calf of them will desert to Rawhide, for all their dangerousness; nor I ain't goin' to have
any fuss over it. Only one is left now that don't sing. Maybe I will have to make some
arrangements about him. The man I have parted with," he said, with another glance at
Dakota, "was our cook, and I will ask yu' to replace him, Colonel."