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"7-bar-k; image
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"Yes," said the old cattleman as he mnnchcd a meditative clove, "there ain't jcuch paw au bellow, head down au tail up business to a cowboy. Speakiu general an not allowin for thern inflcoences which disturba none. he's as passive as a fried fish. "Abont 16 years ago, bef ore I abides in Wolf ville, I was pesterin round Vegas with Bill Lockbridge. who was workin a srnall bunch of '7-bar-k' cattle way overon the Verme jo. We'd been slashiu round the plaza all day, findin fault with the whisky an aruoosin ourselves at our own expense, an along about 5 o'clock in the evenin Bill allows he's sorae sick of sech reveis an concloods he'll pint upamong thedobeys explorin of Oldtowna lot. So we all goes in concert. I wasn't frothin at the mouth none to go myself , uot seein no relaxation pokin abont perrniscus among a pássel of Mexicans, an me loathin of 'em nacheral, but I goes, aimin to sorter ride herd on Bill, which his dispisition is some free an rarious an liable to míx him into trouble. Not that Bill is bad - none whatever - but bein seven or eight driuks ahead of that plaza whisky makes him feel gregar'ous an friendly, an he's cap'ble of goin about a-claimin of acquaintance with people he don't know at all an feelin way hostile when the stranger has symptoms of doubt. "So I goes along, Bill a-warblin 'The Dyin Ranger' in several keys. "The señoras an señoritas a-hearin of the row would look out an smile, an Bill would wave his big hat an whoop from rapture. If he starts toward 'em, aimin for a powwow - which he does frequent, bein a mighty amiable man that away - they gives a squawk immediate au shets the door. Well, Bill goes on then. Maybe he gives the door a kick or two, informin 'em of his discontent, but that's all. All at once, while we're prowlin up one of theru spacious alleys a Mexican thinks is a street, he comes up on a I-talian with an organ which he is grindin. Tais yere organ ain't so bad, an I 've heerd a heap worse strains. As soon as Bill sees him he tries to figger on a dance, bnt no one'll dance with him. " 'In which event, ' says Lockridge, 'I plays a loue hand, ' ■ "So Bill puts up a small dance, like a Navajo, accampanin of hims'f with whoops. But the dago can't play Bill '3 music, so the baile comes to a halt. "'Whatevër is the matter with this yere tune box anyhow?' says Bill. 'Gimme the music for a green corn dance an don't make no delay. ' " 'This yere man can't play no green corn dance, ' I says. " 'He can't, can't he?' says Bill mighty scornful. 'Wait till he tries. I know this man of vore. I meets him two years ago in Druce's, an me an him has quite a time. ' " 'Whatever is his name, then?' I asks. " 'Antonio Marino,' says the dago. " 'Marino,' says Bill, 'that's right. I recalls it because it makes me thiuk fust he's a sheep man, na I gets quite hostile. ' " 'I never see you, ' says the dago. " 'Yes, you did,' says Bill. 'You jest think you didu't see me. Wehas drinks together an goes out an shoots up the town arm an arm like brothers. ' "But theltalian insists he never sees Bill. This makes Bill ngly a lot, an before I can get to stop it he outs with his six shooter an puts a hole into the organ. "'These yere tuues I hears so far, ' says Bill, 'is a heap too frivolous, an I figgers this oughter improve 'em. ' "When Bill shoots, the I-talian man heaves the strap as holds him to the organ over his head an filies. Bill ketches the music box, keepiri it from fallin, an after awhile begins turnin the crank to try it. It plays all right, only ever' now an then there 's a hole into the melody like it had lost a tooth. " 'This yere 's good enough fora dog,' says Bill, a-twistiu away on the organ. 'Where's Merino? Whatever is the matter with him? Why didn't he stand his hand?' "But Merino aiu't here no more, so Bill allow6 it's a shame to let it go that way, an Mexicans suffered for music. So he straps on the tune box and goes round from one doby to another a-turniu of it loóse. " 'How long did this yere Merino turn out his tunes, ' says Bill,' 'before he collects? However, I makes"new rools for the game right yere. I plays these cadenees for flve minutes an then I gits action on 'em for five I splits even with these Mexicans, which is shorely fair. ' "So Bill twists away for five minutes, an me a-timin of him, an then leans the hewgag up agin a doby an starts to collectiu He'd go up to some household a-whirlin his gun like a pin wheel, and at the mere sight of him the members gets that generous they even attempts to negotiate loans an give 'em to Bill, they're that ambitious to dónate. "One time he runs up on a band of towerists, who was sorter trackin round an lookin at things, an they comes up un listens awhile. They was turnin to go away jest before collectin time. " 'Hold on,' says Bill, pickin up his colt ofïen the top of the organ; 'I've seed pëople turn that Jack in chnrch, bnt you bet yóu can 't jump no game of mine that way. So jest you all line up agin the wall until I tucks the blankets in on this yere ontbreak in F flat I'm workin on, an 111 be with you I' "So when Bill winds up he goes along the line of them tremblin towerists an colleots $11. " 'They was aimin to git away with all them nocturnes an 'peggios an arias, an not say nothin, ' says Bill, 'but they can come no twist like that, an me a ridin herd. None whatever !' "Bill carries on thisaway for three hours, an what on splits an what on bets he win he's over f 100 ahead. But at last he's tired anallows he'll quit an cali it a day. So he lugs the old tonitorn down to Franklin's office. Franklin is marshal, an Bill turns over the organ au the money an tells Frankliu to hunt up Merino an give him the whole shootin match. '" 'Where is this yere dago?' says Franklin. " 'However do I kuow?' says Bill. 'Last I sees him he was a-goin up the calle like a jack rabbit. ' "Just then Merino comes in view feelin some pensive an tearful abont that bullet in his organ, but when he gets Bill's donation his feelin's oornmerices to rise a lot. In fact, he begins to regard it as quite a scheme. " 'But you'll have to round up to the alcalde, Bill,1 says Franklin. 'I ain't shore none you ain't been breakin some law ' "Bill grumbles an allows Vegas is getting a heap too reserved for him. " 'It's gettiu so.'says Bill, 'a free American citizen don 't get no enconragement. Here I puts in half a day amassin wealth for a dago as is sittin in bad lnck, an elevatin Mexicans who shorely needs it, an yere I an layed for by the marshal like a felón. ' "Well, we all goes over to Steele's. Franklin an Bill an old Steele, the alcalde, goes pokin about to see whatever crimes Bill's done anyhow. They gits by the capturin the organ an shootin inte its bowels, an standin up the towerists didn't worry 'em none, but the question of the musio itse'f sticks 'em. " 'I'm shorely sorry to say it, Bill,' says Steele, 'bnt you've been a-busin of a ord "nance about playin mnsic on the streets without no license. ' " 'Can 't you beat the game no way?' says Bill. " ' I shorely don 't see how, ' says Steele. " 'Mi también,' says Franklin. " 'Whatever is the matter with tackin them tunes on ter Merino's license?' says Bill. ' 'Can 't do it nohow, ' says Steele. " 'Well, is this yere ord'nance accordin to Hoyle an the Declaration of Independence?' says Bill. 'I don't stand it nono onless. ' " 'Shore,' says Steele. " 'Turn your cards, then,' says Bill. 'I'm a lawabidin citizen, an all I wants is a squar deal f rom the warm deck. ' "So they fines Bill $50 for playin an organ on the streets without license, an


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