The Virginian--A Horseman Of The Plainsr
It was for several minutes, I suppose, that I stood drawing these silent morals. No man
occupied himself with me. Quiet voices, and games of chance, and glasses lifted to drink,
continued to be the peaceful order of the night. And into my thoughts broke the voice of
that card-dealer who had already spoken so sagely. He also took his turn at moralizing.
"What did I tell you?" he remarked to the man for whom he continued to deal, and who
continued to lose money to him.
"Tell me when?"
"Didn't I tell you he'd not shoot?" the dealer pursued with complacence. "You got ready
to dodge. You had no call to be concerned. He's not the kind a man need feel anxious
The player looked over at the Virginian, doubtfully. "Well," he said, "I don't know what
you folks call a dangerous man."
"Not him!" exclaimed the dealer with admiration. "He's a brave man. That's different."
The player seemed to follow this reasoning no better than I did.
"It's not a brave man that's dangerous," continued the dealer. "It's the cowards that scare
me." He paused that this might sink home.
"Fello' came in here las' Toosday," he went on. "He got into some misunderstanding
about the drinks. Well, sir, before we could put him out of business, he'd hurt two
perfectly innocent onlookers. They'd no more to do with it than you have," the dealer
explained to me.
"Were they badly hurt?" I asked.
"One of 'em was. He's died since."
"What became of the man?"
"Why, we put him out of business, I told you. He died that night. But there was no
occasion for any of it; and that's why I never like to be around where there's a coward.
You can't tell. He'll always go to shooting before it's necessary, and there's no security
who he'll hit. But a man like that black-headed guy is (the dealer indicated the Virginian)
need never worry you. And there's another point why there's no need to worry about him:
IT'D BE TOO LATE."