The Reveler by B. M. Bower
Happy Jack, coming from Dry Lake where he had been sent for the mail,
rode up to the Flying U camp just at dinner time and dismounted
gloomily and in silence. His horse looked fagged—which was unusual in
Happy's mounts unless there was urgent need of haste or he was out with
the rest of the Family and constrained to adopt their pace, which was
rapid. Happy, when riding alone, loved best to hump forward over the
horn and jog along slowly, half asleep.
"Something's hurting Happy," was Cal Emmett's verdict when he saw the
condition of the horse.
"He's got a burden on his mind as big as a haystack," grinned Jack
Bates. "Watch the way his jaw hangs down, will yuh? Bet yuh
"Most likely it's something he thinks is going to happen," said Pink.
"Happy always makes me think of a play I seen when I was back home; it
starts out with a melancholy cuss coming out and giving a sigh that
near lifts him off his feet, and he says: 'In soo-ooth I know not
why I am so sa-ad.' That's Happy all over."
The Happy Family giggled and went on with their dinner, for Happy Jack
was too close for further comments not intended for his ears. They
waited demurely, but in secret mirth, for him to unburden his mind.
They knew that they would not have long to wait; Happy, bird of ill
omen that he was, enjoyed much the telling of bad news.
"Weary's in town," he announced heavily, coming over and getting
himself a plate and cup.
The Happy Family were secretly a bit disappointed; this promised, after
all, to be tame.
"Did he bring the horses?" asked Chip, glancing up over the brim of his
"I dunno," Happy responded from the stove, where he was trying how much
of everything he could possibly pile upon his plate without spilling
anything. "I didn't see no horses—but the one he was ridin'."
Weary had been sent, two weeks ago, to the upper Marias country after
three saddle horses that had strayed from the home range, and which had
been seen near Shelby. It was quite time for him to return, if he
expected to catch the Flying U wagon before it pulled out on the beef
roundup. That he should be in town and not ride out with Happy Jack
was a bit strange.
"Why don't yuh throw it out uh yuh, yuh big, long-jawed croaker?"
demanded Pink in a voice queerly soft and girlish. It had been a real
grievance to him that he had not been permitted to go with Weary, who
was his particular chum. "What's the matter? Is Weary sick?"
"No," said Happy Jack deliberately, "I guess he ain't what yuh could
"Why didn't he come out with you, then?" asked Chip, sharply. Happy
did get on one's nerves so.
"Well, I ast him t' come—and he took a shot at me for it."
There was an instant's dead silence. Then Jack Bates laughed uneasily.
"Happy, how many horses did yuh ride out to camp?"
Happy Jack had, upon one occasion, looked too long upon the wine—or
whisky, to be more explicit. Afterward, he had insisted that he was
riding two horses home, instead of one. He was not permitted to forget
that defection. The Happy Family had an unpleasant habit of recalling
the incident whenever Happy Jack made a statement which they felt
disinclined to credit—as this last statement was.
Happy Jack whirled on the speaker. "Aw, shut up! I never kidnaped no
girl off'n no train, and—"
Jack Bates colored and got belligerently to his feet. That hit him in
an exceedingly tender place.
"Happy, look here," Chip cut in authoritatively. "What's wrong with
Weary? If he took a shot at you, it's a cinch he had some reason for
Weary was even dearer to the heart of Chip than to Pink.
"Ah—he never! He's takin' shots permisc'us, lemme tell yuh. And he
ain't troublin' about no reason fer what he's doin'. He's plumb
oary-eyed—that's what. He's on a limb that beats any I ever seen.
He's drunk—drunk as a boiled owl, and he don't give a damn. He's lost
his hat, and he's swapped cayuses with somebody—a measly old
bench—and he's shootin' up the town t' beat hell!"
The Happy Family looked at one another dazedly. Weary drunk? Weary?
It was unbelieveable. Such a thing had never been heard of before in
the history of the Happy Family. Even Chip, who had known Weary before
either had known the Flying U, could not remember anything of the sort.
The Happy Family were often hilarious; they had even, on certain
occasions, shot up the town; but they had done it as a family and they
had done it sober. It was an unwritten law among the Flying U boys,
that all riotous conduct should occur when they were together and when
the Family could, as a unit, assume the consequences—if consequences
there were to be.
"I guess Happy must a rode the whole blame saddle-bunch home, this
time," Cal remarked, with stinging sarcasm.
"Ah, yuh can go and see fer yourselves; yuh don't need t' take my
word fer nothing" cried Happy Jack, much grieved that they should doubt
him. "I hain't had but one drink t'day—and that wasn't nothin' but
beer. It's straight goods: Weary's as full as he can git and top a
horse. He's sure enjoyin' himself, too. Dry Lake is all hisn—and the
way he's misusin' the rights uh ownership is plumb scand'l'us. He
makes me think of a cow on the fight in a forty-foot corral; nobody
dast show their noses outside; Dry Lake's holed up in their sullers,
till he quits camp.
"I seen him cut down on the hotel China-cook jest for tryin' t' make a
sneak out t' the ice-house after some meat fer dinner. He like t' got
him, too. Chink dodged behind the board-pile in the back yard, an'
laid down. He was still there when I left town, and the chances is
somebody else 'll have t' cook dinner t'day. Weary was so busy
close-herdin' the Chinaman that I got a chanst t' sneak out the back
door uh Rusty's place, climb on m' horse and take a shoot up around by
the stockyards and pull fer camp. I couldn't git t' the store, so I
didn't bring out no mail."
The Happy Family drew a long breath. This was getting beyond a joke.
"Looks t 'me like you fellows 'd come alive and do something about it,"
hinted Happy, with his mouth full. "Weary'll shoot somebody, er git
shot, if he ain't took care of mighty quick."
"Happy," said Chip bluntly, "I don't grab that yarn. Weary may be in
town, and he may be having a little fun with Dry Lake, but he isn't
drunk. When you try to run a whizzer like that, you can put me down as
being from Missouri."
"Same here," put in Pink, ominously soft as to voice. "Anybody that
tries to make me believe Weary's performing that way has sure got his
work cut out for him. If it was Happy, now—"
"Gee!" cried Jack Bates, laughing as a possible solution came to him.
"I'm willing to bet money he was just stringing Happy. I'll bet he
done it deliberate and with malice aforethought, just to make Happy
sneak out uh town and burn the earth getting here so he could tell it
scarey to the rest of us."
"Yeah, that's about the size of it," assented Cal.
The Family felt that they had a new one on Happy Jack, and showed it in
the smiles they sent toward him.
"By golly, yes!" broke out Slim. "Weary's been layin' for Happy for a
long while to pay off making the tent leak on him, that night; he's
sure played a good one, this time!"
Happy carefully balanced his plate on the wagon-tongue near the
doubletrees, and stood glaring down upon his tormentors.
"Aw, look here!" he began, with his voice very near to tears. Then he
gulped and took a more warlike tone. "I don't set m'self up t' be a
know-it-all—but I guess I can tell when a man's full uh booze. And I
ain't claimin' t' be no Jiujitsu sharp" (with a meaning glance at Pink)
"and I know the chances I'm takin' when I stand up agin the bunch—but
I'm ready, here and now, t' fight any damn man that says I'm a liar, er
that Weary was jest throwin' a load into me. Two or three uh yuh have
licked me mor'n once—but that's all right. I'm willing t' back up
anything I've said, and yuh can wade right in a soon as you're a mind
"I don't back down a darn inch. Weary's in Dry Lake. He is drunk.
And he is shootin' up the town. If yuh don't want t' believe it, I
guess they's no law t' make yuh—but if yuh got any sense, and are any
friends uh Weary's, yuh'll mosey in and fetch him out here if yuh have
t' bring him the way he brung ole Dock that time Patsy took cramps. Go
on in and see fer yourselves, darn yuh! But don't go shootin' off your
faces to me till yuh got a license to."
This, if unassuring, was convincing. The Happy Family stopped smiling,
and looked at one another uncertainly.
"I guess two or three of you better ride in and see what there is to
it," announced Chip, dryly. "If Happy is romancing—" His look was
But Happy Jack, though he stood a good deal in awe of Chip and his
sarcasm, never flinched. He looked him straight in the eye and
maintained the calm of conscious innocence.
"I'll go," said Pink, getting up and throwing his plate and cup into
the dishpan. "Mind yuh, I don't believe a word of it; Happy, if this
is just a sell, so help me Josephine, you'll learn some brand new
Jiujitsu right away quick."
"I'll go along too," Happy boldly retorted, "so if yuh want anything uh
me, after you've saw Weary, yuh won't need t' wait till yuh strike
camp t' git it. Weary loadin' me, was he? Yuh'll find out, all uh
yuh, that it's him that's loaded."
They caught fresh horses and started—Cal, Pink, Jack Bates and Happy
Jack. And Happy stood their jeers throughout the ten-mile ride with an
equanimity that was new to them. For the most part he rode in silence,
and grinned knowingly when they laughed too loudly at the joke Weary
"All right—maybe he is," he flung back, once. "But he sure looks the
part well enough t' keep all Dry Lake indoors—and I never knowed Weary
t' terrorize a hull town before. And where'd he git that horse? and
where's Glory at? and why ain't he comin' on t' camp t' help you chumps
giggle? Ain't he had plenty uh time t' foller me out and enjoy his
little joke? And another thing, he was hard at it when I struck town.
Now, where'd yuh get off at?"
To this argument they offered several explanations—at all of which
Happy grunted in great disdain.
They clattered nonchalantly into Dry Lake, still unconvinced and still
jeering at Happy Jack. The town was very quiet, even for Dry Lake. As
they rounded the blacksmith shop, from where they could see the whole
length of the one street which the place boasted, a yell, shrill,
exultant, familiar, greeted them. A long-legged figure they knew well
dashed down the street to them, a waving six-shooter in one hand, the
reins held aloft in the other. His horse gave evidence of hard usage,
and it was a horse none of them had ever seen before.
"It's him, all right," Jack Bates admitted reluctantly.
"Yip! Cowboys in town!" rang the slogan of the range land. "Come
on and—wake 'em up! OO-oop-ee!" He pulled up so suddenly that
his horse almost sat down in the dust, and reined in beside Pink.
They eyed him in amaze, and avoided meeting one another's eyes. Truly,
he was a strange-looking Weary. His head was bare and disheveled, his
eyes bloodshot and glaring, his cheeks flushed hotly. His
neck-kerchief covered his chest like a bib and he wore no coat; one
shirtsleeve was rent from shoulder to cuff, telling eloquently that
violent hands had sought to lay hold on him. His long legs, clad in
Angora chaps, swung limp to the stirrup. By all these signs and
tokens, they knew that he was drunk—-joyously, unequivocally,
Joe Meeker peered cautiously out of the window of Rusty Brown's place
when they rode up, and Cal Emmett swore aloud at sight of him. Joe
Meeker was the most indefatigable male gossip for fifty miles around,
and the story of Weary's spree would spread far and fast. Worse, it
would reach first of all the ears of Weary's School-ma'am, who lived at
Cal started to get down; he wanted to go in and reason with Joe Meeker.
At all events, Ruby Satterlee must not hear of Weary's defection. It
was all right, maybe, for some men to make fools of themselves in this
fashion; some women would look upon it with lenience. But this was
different; Weary was different, and so was Ruby Satterlee. Cal
meditated upon just what would the most effectually close the mouth of
But Weary spied him as his foot touched the ground. "Oh, yuh can't
sneak off like that, old-timer. Yuh stay right outside and help wake
'em up!" he shouted hoarsely.
Cal turned and looked at him keenly; looked also at the erratic
movements of the gun, and reconsidered his decision. Joe Meeker could
"Better come on out to camp, Weary," he said persuasively. "We're all
of us going, right away. Yuh can ride out with us."
Weary had not yet extracted all the joy there was in the situation. He
did not want to ride out to camp; more, he had no intention of doing
so. He stood up in the stirrups and declaimed loudly his views upon
the subject, and his opinion of any man who proposed such a move, and
punctuated his remarks freely with profanity and bullets.
Under cover of Weary's elocution Pink did a bit of jockeying and got
his horse sidling up against Cal. He leaned carelessly upon the
saddle-horn and fixed his big, innocent eyes upon Weary's flushed face.
"He's pretty cute, if he is full," he murmured discreetly to Cal. "He
won't let his gun get empty—see? Loads after every third shot,
regular. We've got to get him so excited he forgets that little
ceremony. Once his gun's empty, he's all to the bad—we can take him
into camp. We'll try and rush him out uh town anyway, and shoot as we
go. It's our only show—unless we can get him inside and lay him out."
"Yeah, that's what we'll have to do," Cal assented guardedly. "He's
sure tearing it off in large chunks, ain't he? I never knew—"
"Here! What you two gazabos making medicine about?" cried Weary
suspiciously. "Break away, there. I won't stand for no side-talks—"
"We're just wondering if we hadn't all better adjourn and have
something to drink," said Pink musically, straightening up in the
saddle. "Come on—I'm almighty dry."
"Same here," said Jack Bates promptly taking the cue, and threw one leg
over the cantle. He got no further than that.
"You stay right up on your old bench!" Weary commanded threateningly.
"We're the kings uh the prairie, and we'll drink on our thrones. That
so-many-kinds-of-bar-slave can pack out the dope to us. It's what he's
That settled Pink's little plan to get him inside where, lined up to
the bar, they might—if they were quick enough—get his gun away from
him; or, failing that, the warm room and another drink or two would
"lay him out" and render him harmless.
Weary, shoving three cartridges dexterously into the chambers in place
of those just emptied, shouted to Rusty to bring out the "sheepdip."
The four drew together and attempted further consultation, separated
hastily when his eye fell upon them, and waited meekly his further
pleasure. They knew better than to rouse his anger against them.
Weary, displeased because Rusty did not immediately respond to his
call, sent a shot or two through the window by way of hurrying him.
Whereupon Rusty cautiously opened the door, shoved a tray with bottle
and glasses ostentatiously out into the sunlight for a peace offering,
and finding that hostilities ceased, came forth in much fear and served
They drank solemnly.
"Take another one, darn yuh," commanded Weary.
They drank again, more solemnly.
The sun beat harshly down upon the deserted street, and upon the bare,
tousled, brown head of Weary. The four stared at him uneasily; they
had never seen him like this before, and it gave him an odd, unfamiliar
air that worried them more than they would have cared to own.
Only Pink refused to lose heart. "Well, come on—let's wake up these
dead ones," he shouted, drawing his gun and firing into the air. "Get
busy, you sleepers! Yip! Cowboys in town!" He wheeled and darted
off down the street, shooting and yelling, and the others, with Weary
in their midst, followed. At the blacksmith shop, Pink, tacitly the
leader of the rescuers, would have gone straight on out of town. But
Weary whirled and galloped back, firing merrily into the air. A bit
chagrined, Pink wheeled and galloped at his heels, fuming inwardly at
the methodical reloading after every third shot. Cal, on the other
side, glanced across at Pink, shook his head ruefully and shoved more
shells into his smoking gun.
Back and forth from the store at one end of the street to the
blacksmith shop at the other they rode, yelling till their throats
ached and shooting till their gun-barrels were hot; and Weary kept pace
with them and out-yelled and out-shot the most energetic, and never
once forgot the little ceremony of shoving in fresh shells after the
third shot. Drunk, Weary appeared much more cautious than when sober.
Pink grew hot and hoarse, and counted the shots, one, two, three, over
and over till his brain grew sick.
On the seventh trip down the street, a sleek, black head appeared for
an instant over the top of the board-pile in the hotel yard. A pair of
frightened, slant eyes peered out at them. Weary, just about to
reload, caught sight of him and gave a whoop of pure joy.
"Lord, how I do hate a Chink!" he cried, and dropped to the ground the
three shells in his hand that he might fire the two in his gun.
Pink yelled also. "Nab him, Cal!" and caught his gun arm the instant
Weary's last bullet left the barrel.
Cal leaned and caught Weary round the neck in a close hug. Jack Bates
and Happy Jack crowded close, eager to help but finding no place to
"Now, you blame fool, come along home and quit disgracing the whole
community!" cried Cal, half angrily. "Ain't yuh got any sense at all?"
Weary protested; he swore; he threatened. He was not in the least like
his old, sweet-tempered self. He mourned openly because he had no
longer a gun that he might slay and spare not. He insisted that he
would take much pleasure in killing them all off—especially Pink. He
felt that Pink was the greatest traitor in the lot, and said that it
would be a special joy to him to see Pink expire slowly and in great
pain. He remarked that they would be sorry, before they were through
with him, and repeated, many times, the hint that he never forgot a
friend or forgave an enemy—and looked darkly at Pink.
"You're batty," Pink told him sorrowfully, the while they led him out
through the lane. "We're the best friends yuh got—only yuh don't
Weary glared at him through a tangle of brown hair, and remarked
further, in tones that one could hear a mile, upon the subject of
Pink's treachery and the particular kind of death he deserved to die.
Pink shrugged his shoulder and grew sulky; then, old friendship growing
strong within him, he sought to soothe him.
But Weary absolutely declined to be soothed. Cal, serene in his
fancied favoritism, attempted the impossible, and was greeted with
language which no man living had ever before heard from the lips of
Weary the sunny. Jack Bates and Happy Jack, profiting by his
experience, wisely kept silence.
For this, the homeward ride was not the companionable gallop it usually
was. They tried to learn from Weary what he had done with Glory, and
whence came the mud-colored cayuse with the dim, blotched brand, that
he bestrode. They asked also where were the horses he had been sent to
In return, Weary began viciously to dissect their pedigree and general
After that, they gave over trying to question or to reason, and the
last two miles they rode in utter silence. Weary, tiring of venom that
brought no results, subsided gradually into mutterings, and then into
sullen silence, so that, save for his personal appearance, they reached
camp quite decorously.
Chip met them at the bed wagon, where they slipped dispiritedly off
their horses and began to unsaddle—all save Weary; he stared around
him, got cautiously to the ground and walked, with that painfully
circumspect stride sometimes affected by the intoxicated, over to the
"Well," snapped Chip to the others, "For once in his life, Happy was
Weary, still planting his feet primly upon the trampled grass, went
smiling up to the stupefied Patsy.
"Lord, how I do love a big, fat, shiny Dutch cook!" he murmured, and
flung his long arms around him in a hug that caused Patsy to grunt.
"How yuh was, already, Dutchy? Got any pie in this man's cow-camp?"
Patsy scowled and drew haughtily away from his embrace; there was one
thing he would not endure, even from Weary: it was having his
nationality too lightly mentioned. To call him Dutchy was a direct
insult, and the Happy Family never did it to his face—unless the
provocation was very great. To call him Dutchy and in the same breath
to ask for pie—that, indeed, went far beyond the limits of decency.
"Py cosh, you not ged any pie, Weary Davidson. Py cosh, I learns you
not to call names py sober peoples. You not get no grub whiles you iss
too drunk to be decend mit folks."
"Hey? Yuh won't feed a man when he's hungry? Yuh darn Dutch—" Weary
went into details in a way that was surprising.
The Happy Family rushed up and pulled him off Patsy before he had done
any real harm, and held him till the cook had got into the shelter of
his tent and armed himself with a frying pan. Weary was certainly
outdoing himself today. The Happy Family resolved into a peace
"Aw, dig up some pie for him, Patsy," pleaded Cal. "Yuh don't want to
mind anything he says while he's like this; yuh know Weary's a good
friend to yuh when he's sober. Get some strong coffee—that'll
straighten him out."
"Py cosh, I not feed no drunk fools. I not care if it iss Weary. He
hit mine jaw—"
"Aw, gwan! I guess yuh never get that way yourself," put in Happy
Jack, ponderously sarcastic. "I guess yuh never tanked up in roundup,
one time, and left me cook chuck fer the hull outfit—and I guess Weary
never rode all night, and had the dickens of a time, tryin' t' get yuh
a doctor—yuh old heathen. Yuh sure are an ungrateful cuss."
"Give him some good, hot coffee, Patsy, and anything he wants to eat,"
commanded Chip, more sharply than was his habit. "And don't be all day
about it, either."
That settled it, of course; Chip, being foreman, was to be
obeyed—unless Patsy would rather roll his blankets and hunt a new job.
He took to muttering weird German sentences the while he brought out
two pies and poured black coffee into a cup. The reveler drank the
coffee—three cups of it—ate a whole blueberry pie, and was consoled.
He even wanted to embrace Patsy again, but was restrained by the
others. After that he went over and laid down in the shade of the
bed-wagon, and straightway began to snore with much energy and
Chip watched him a minute and then went and sat down on the shady side
of the bed-tent and began gloomily to roll a cigarette. The rest of
the Happy Family silently followed his example; for a long while no one
said a word.
It certainly was a shock to see Weary like that. Not because it is
unusual for a man of the range to get in that condition—for on the
contrary, it is rather commonplace. And the Happy Family had lived the
life too long to judge a man harshly because of an occasional
indiscreet departure from the path virtuous; they knew that the man
might be a good fellow, after all. In the West grows Charity sturdily,
with branches quite broad enough to cover certain defections on the
part of such men as Weary Davidson.
For that, the real shock came in the utter unexpectedness of the
thing—and from the fact that a man, even though prone to indulge in
such riotous conduct, is supposed to forswear such indulgence when he
has other and more important things to do. Weary had been sent afar on
a matter of business; he had ridden Glory, a horse belonging to the
Flying U. His arrival without the strays he had been sent after;
without even the horse he had ridden away—that was the real disaster.
He had broken a trust; he had, apparently, appropriated a horse that
did not belong to him, which was worse. But the Happy Family were
loyal, to a man. They did not condemn him; they were only waiting for
him to sleep himself into a condition to explain the mystery.
"Somebody's doped him," said Pink with decision, after three hours of
shying around the subject. "You'll see; somebody's doped him and
likely took Glory away when they'd got him batty enough not to know the
difference. Yuh mind the queer look in his eyes? And he acts queer.
So help me Josephine! I'd sure like to get next to the man that traded
horses with him."
The Happy Family breathed deeply; they were all, apparently, thinking
the same thing.
"By golly, that's what," spoke Slim, with decision. "He does act like
a man that had been doped."
"Whisky straight wouldn't make that much difference in a man," averred
Jack Bates. "Yuh can't get Weary on the fight, hardly, when he's
sober; and look at the way he was in town—hot to slaughter that
Chinaman that wasn't doing a thing to him, and saying how he hated
Chinks. Weary don't; he always says, when Patsy don't make enough pie
to go round, that if he was running the outfit he'd have a Chink to
"Aw, look at the way he acted t' Rusty—and he thinks a lot uh Rusty,
too," put in Happy Jack, who felt the importance of discovery and was
in an unusually complacent mood. "And he was going t' hang Pink up by
the heels and—"
Pink turned round and looked at him fixedly, and Happy Jack became
suddenly interested in his cigarette.
"Say, he'll sure be sore when he comes to himself, though," observed
Cal. "I don't know how he's going to square himself with his
school-ma'am. Joe Meeker was into Rusty's place while the big setting
comes off; I would uh given him a gentle hint about keeping his face
closed, only Weary wouldn't let me off my horse. Joe'll sure give a
high-colored picture uh the performance."
"Well, if he does, he'll regret it a lot," prophesied Pink. "And
anyway, something sure got wrong with Weary; do yuh suppose he'd give
up Glory deliberately? Not on your life! Glory comes next to the
Schoolma'am in his affections."
"Wonder where he got that dirt-colored cayuse, anyhow," mused Cal.
"I was studying out the brand, a while ago," Pink answered. "It's
blotched pretty bad, but I made it out. It's the Rocking R—they range
down along Milk River, next to the reservation. I've never had
anything to do with the outfit, but I'd gamble on the brand, all right."
"Well, how the deuce would he come by a Rocking R horse? He never got
it around here, anywheres. He must uh got it up on the Marias."
"Then that must be a good long jag he's had—which I don't believe,"
"Somebody," said Pink meaningly, "ought to have gone along with him;
this thing wouldn't uh happened, then."
"Ye-e-s?" Chip felt that the remark applied to him as a foreman,
rather than as one of the Family, and he resented it. "If I'd sent
somebody else with him, the outfit would probably be out two horses,
instead of one—and there'd be two men under the bed-wagon with their
hats and coats missing."
Pink's eyes, under their heavy fringe of curled lashes, turned
ominously purple. "With all due respect to you, Mr. Bennett, I'd like
to have you explain—"
A horseman rode quietly up to them from behind a thicket of
choke-cherry bushes. Pink, catching sight of him first, stopped short
off and stared.
"Hello, boys," greeted the new-comer gaily. "How's everything? Mamma!
it's good to get amongst white folks again."
The Happy Family rose up as one man and stared fixedly; not one of them
spoke, or moved. Pink was the first to recover.
"Yuh sure will, Cadwolloper, if yuh don't let down them pretty lashes
and quit gawping. What the dickens ails you fellows, anyhow? Is—is
my hat on crooked, or—or anything?"
"Weary, by all that's good!" murmured Chip, dazedly.
Weary swung a long leg over the back of Glory and came to earth.
"Say," he began in the sunny, drawly voice that was good to hear,
"what's the joke?"
The Happy Family sat down again and looked queerly at one another.
Happy Jack glanced furtively at a long figure in the grass near by, and
then, unhappily, at Weary.
"It's him, all right," he blurted solemnly. "They're both him!"
The Happy Family snickered hysterically.
Weary took a long step and confronted Happy Jack. "I'm both him, am
I?" he repeated mockingly. "Mamma, but you're a lucid cuss!" He
turned and regarded the stunned Family judicially.
"If there's any of it left," he hinted sweetly, "I wouldn't mind taking
a jolt myself; but from the looks, and the actions, yuh must have got
away with at least two gallons!"
"Oh, we can give you a jolt, I guess," Chip retorted dryly. "Just step
Weary, wondering a bit at the tone of him, followed; at his heels came
the perturbed Happy Family. Chip stooped and turned the sleeping one
over on his back; the sleeper opened his eyes and blinked questioningly
up at the huddle of bent faces.
The astonished, blue eyes of Weary met the quizzical blue eyes of his
other self. He leaned against the wagon wheel.
"Oh, mamma!" he said, weakly.
His other self sat up and looked around, felt for his hat, saw that it
was gone, and reached mechanically for his cigarette material.
"By the Lord! Are punchers so damn scarce in this neck uh the woods,
that yuh've got to shanghai a man in order to make a full crew?" he
demanded of the Happy Family, in the voice of Weary—minus the drawl.
"I've got a string uh cayuses in that darn stockyards, back in
town—and a damn poor town it is!—and I've also got a date with the
Circle roundup for tomorrow night. What yuh going to do about it?
Speak up, for I'm in a hurry to know."
The Happy Family looked at one another and said nothing.
"Say," began Weary, mildly. "Did yuh say your name was Ira Mallory,
and do yuh mind how they used to mix us up in school, when we were both
kids? 'Cause I've got a hunch you're the same irrepressible that has
the honor to be my cousin."
"I didn't say it," retorted his other self, pugnaciously. "But I don't
know as it's worth while denying it. If you're Will Davidson, shake.
What the devil d'yuh want to look so much like me, for? Ain't yuh got
any manners? Yuh always was imitating your betters." He grinned and
got slowly to his feet. "Boys, I don't know yuh, but I've a hazy
recollection that we had one hell of a time shooting up that little
townerine, back there. I don't go on a limb very often, but when I do,
folks are apt to find it out right away."
The Happy Family laughed.
"By golly," said Slim slowly, "that cousin story 's all right—but I
bet yuh you two fellows are twins, at the very least!"
"Guess again, Slim," cried Weary, already in the clutch of old times.
"Run away and play, you kids. Irish and me have got steen things to
talk about, and mustn't be bothered."