A MICROSCOPIC boy upon a cosmic horse came slowly down the road leading to the town watering trough. The boy was bareheaded, barefooted, and clad in faded and patched blue overalls several sizes too large. The horse had just found release from its day’s labor in heavy harness ; its foam-lathered muzzle was pointed unswervingly toward the cool trough. The boy was riding “ bareback ; ” for any right-minded urchin of his years would scorn to ride otherwise. His stubby legs were stretched perilously far apart over the wide ridge of knotty spine ; but his alert, wiggling toes were clutched against the sweat-slippery side, and his eyes shone with confident courage.

The watering trough is at the curb line of the street, in front of the post office. Uncle Mac is a devoted frequenter of the post office ; the arrival of the mail trains makes the most important part of his daily life, though his average receipts are no more than two or three letters in each week. As the horse and boy drew near, the old man was standing beside me in the shadow of the building ; but he left his place and went to the trough, and as the horse plunged down its greedy lips to drink he stepped from the sidewalk into the road, so that he might put out his hand and caress the rider’s tiny earth-stained foot.

“ Hello, Tommy! ” he said softly. “ Say, I ain’t seen you for two-three days. Where you been ? ”

Tommy grasped one of Uncle Mac’s fingers firmly and drew the caressing hand into his lap, where he detained it with loving pats and strokings. “ Been pullin’ weeds out o’ the ’taters,” he answered, with the air of a man of affairs. “ Foxtail was all tangled up in the ’tater vines, an’ daddy made us kids pull it out. Gee ! Uncle Mac, you oughter seen the fish-worms! Say, why is they always such lots o’ fish-worms just when you don’t need ’em ? ”

The bearded face wrinkled into a sympathetic smile, but the man did not choose to commit himself upon that unanswerable riddle. “ Say, Billy,” he said, turning to me, “ this is Tommy the Indian Killer. Tommy the Indian Killer, — that’s what I call him.” Tommy’s little back straightened stiffly, and his chin went up many degrees. “ He’s learnin’ to be a man an’ ride horseback, so when he’s growed up, him an’ me can go out an’ fight Indians. Ain’t that so, Tommy ? ”

“ You bet! ” Tommy cried, soon forgetful of his difficult dignity. “ We ’re goin’ to do ’em up, ain’t we, Uncle Mac ? You ’re goin’ to show me how, ain’t you ? ”

“That’s what I am,” the old man assured him. “ Tommy an’ me’s got it all fixed up so we ’re goin’ to be pardners. He’s practicin’ now not to be scared o’ nothin’, so when we go out after Indians he won’t be ’feard to stand right up to ’em.”

Tommy’s little figure dilated. “Yes ! ” he cried. “ We ’re goin’ to be pardners, me an’ Uncle Mac, an’ all the Indians we kill, we ’re goin’ to take their scalps an’ their horses an’ sell ’em. Say, Uncle Mac, I ast daddy last night, an’ he said if I’m a good boy till I get growed up, why, he ’ll gimme ten cents apiece for every scalp I get. Won’t that be pretty good ? How many do you reckon I oughter get in a day, Uncle Mac ? A hunderd ? ”

Uncle Mac’s sympathy fought a sharp battle with his colder sense of probability. “I reckon, Tommy,” he laughed, “ if the weather was good, an’ things was just right, some days both of us together might get as many as a hunderd; but not every day, hardly. I would n’t worry about that, though, yet. You just keep on gettin’ strong an’ brave, so’s to be ready for what comes up. That’s the best way.”

“Yes, that’s what I ’m a-doin’, Uncle Mac. Anyway, I ain’t goin’ to be no Big-Governor-Afrakl-of-the-CottomnwoodStump, am I ? ”

“ Well, I should hope not! ”

“ Big-Governor — what ? ” I asked of Tommy.

“ Big-Governor-Afraid-of - the-Cottonwood-Stump. That’s Indian, you know. Ain’t Uncle Mac ever tol’ you about him ? Shucks ! Uncle Mac, tell him ! ” The little treble carried a note of command, and Uncle Mac glanced deprecatingly at me. “ Ain’t you never heerd that ? ” he asked. “ I reckoned everybody in Nebrasky knowed about him.”

“ No. Tell it. I’d like to hear it, and Tommy would n’t mind if he heard it again ; would you, Tommy ? ”

“ Nuh! ” the boy said quickly. “ I don’t never get tired o’ Uncle Mac’s stories, an’ I ’ve heard some of ’em more ’n a thousan’ times. Gwon, Uncle Mac, ’fore I got to go home with Prince.”

Uncle Mac relaxed Ins upright pose, easing his bulky figure against the substantial trough, shifting his broad hat to the back of his head, and hitching up his trousers legs. He meditated upon the matter for a moment, and his face was puckered.

“ Billy, I must be gettin’ old. I don’t feel it, not a mite ; but times when I go to count up how long’t is sence things happened, I know it’s so. Why, that’s doggone near forty-five year !

“Them days Nebrasky was just a young ter’tory ; had n’t been organized but a few year, an’ was just toddlin’ ’round in short pants, you might say. Fed’ral gove’nment seemed to think we needed a guardeen, an’ they never reckoned there was a man out here good enough for the place. Had to be Eastern men, most gener’ly. Eastern fellers has always been slicker in politics than us. Big-Governor, he come from back East somewheres. I ain’t goin’ to tell you where, because I don’t rightly remember where he was growed, an’ I would n’t want to hui’t their feelin’s tellin’ about it, nohow. He was a wonder ! He wa’n’t never act’ly governor ; but he thought he had it all fixed so he was goin’ to be, ’count o’ him havin’ a pull in politics, an’ ’long in the summer there was some o’ the boys got word he was comin’ out here to kind o’ nose ’round some, before he got his papers. He’d wrote to some of ’em that he knowed, up to Omaha, an’ ast ’em if they would n’t meet him when he come, an’ give him a sort of a send-off ; an’ we done it.

“ He come out here, big as life, some time ’long about July or August, an’ a lot of us fellers was hangin’ ’round, waitin’ for him. We knowed right off what kind of a duck he was, soon as he begun to quack about his ‘ idears ’ for runnin’ things. Had n’t more ’n got off the boat, togged out in his long black coat, an’ started up the road with us, till he begun to let off his fool talk that did n’t have no more to do with Nebrasky than it did with the Jerushy Islands. What we was hopin’ for was a wise man to come out here an’ help, an’ we reckoned we’d know him by his keepin’ his mouth shet till he ’d found out a few things ; but when this feller begun to blat whiles he still had one foot on the gangplank, an’ would n’t let none of us hardly say a word, it made me laugh. Makes me laugh yet. But we did n’t care. ’T would n’t make no dif’rence to us how big a fool he was, long as we knowed enough to ’tend to our work, an’ had patience to wait. We could keep on waitin’, easy enough, same as we’d been doin’.

“ Indians had made us a heap o’ trouble that spring an’ summer. They wa’n’t botherin’ us by murderin’ whites so much as they was all balled up with each other. Seemed like every last tribe was on the warpath, most o’ the time, against some other tribe, till’t was ’most as bad as two-three families o’ kinfolks tryin’ to live in the same house together. They did n’t pester the whites much, only when they’d get short o’ rations near some settler’s little patch, an’ then they’d turn in by night an’ steal everythin’ he had they could pack off. Stock wa’n’t none too plenty them days, an’ a man needed all he’d got. Riled us up consider’ble to have a passel o’ them dauby thieves slip up in the dark an’ run off the only horse a feller had to do his ploughin’ with, an’ mebbe the only cow he had to give milk for his kids. Did n’t seem to be no way to stop it, neither, only just as every man kind o’ looked out for hisself a little. Of course there was soldiers, but just little dabs of ’em, scattered ’round here an’ there : what could they do ? Indians had sense enough to keep away from the posts. There wa’n’t no way to help it.

“Well, Big-Governor, he’d kind o’ got an ' idear ’ up his nose that there was some sort of an Indian Question that he’d got to ’tend to out here. Begun to orate an’ tell us about it right off, when we was comin’ up the road with him. ' Kindness,’ he says, ' firm kindness, — that’s my theory o’ dealin’ with the red men,’ he says, an’ he kep’ on till you’d ’a’ thought he was some kind of a William Pennsylvania. But we listened, taggin’ along with him, —except them that dropped out o’ the percession to go off somewheres an’ be sick by theirselves ; an’ we’d say ‘ Yes ’ an’' No,’ when we got a chance to say anythin’, just like we was waxworks doll babies. Time we’d got up to the hotel, I kind o’ ’spicioned there’d be some fun before he ’d got tired an’ gone back home to his folks.

“We stayed with him, though. He was a pretty liberal kind of a chap ; I ’ll say that for him. He knowed somethin’ about drinks, an’ there wa’n’t nothin’ too good for the boys that night. He wa’n’t much of a tank hisself, though, because it had n’t got to be more ’n about ten o’clock till he begun to get all wrinkled up, an’ the sweat stood out on his fat pink face, an’ — talk ! Say, I heerd a woman Populist once, makin’ campaign speeches ; but she was the only thing I ever did hear that come within a thousan’ miles o’ Big-Governor that night. But pretty soon the nigger porter come an* took him off to bed.

“ Well, we set an’ looked at each other for a spell, after he ’d gone, till by an’ by somebody begun to laugh ; an’ then there was consider’ble laughin’ ’round the table ; an’ pretty soon there was a little feller from up north a piece ; he rubbed the tears out of his eyes with the back of his hand, an’ he says, kind o’ blubberin’ with laughin’, he says,

‘ What in the name o’ darnation are we goin’ to do with him, boys?’ Then one chap from out on the Loup somewhers, he reckoned we ’d better keep him till by an’ by, come time when Nebrasky started a zo’logical garden or somethin’; an’ some said this, an’ some that, whiles the whole room was howlin’. There was one great big old rooster that used to ride ’round the prairies them days, kind o’ doctorin’ the women an’ childern, — he’s dead thirty year ago, — an’ he had a voice on him like a cow bawlin’ ; an’ when the boys was raisin’ Cain, he ups an’ hollers out, £ Kindness ! Firm kindness! That’s my theory o’ dealin’ with the little dear ! ’ he says ; an’ then after that I ain’t able to say what did happen.

“ But next mornin’, before breakfast, old Doc an’ me an’ one other feller, — I disremember his name right now, — we run up against each other on the sidewalk, down front o’ the hotel, an’ we put it up then. We did n’t let nobody know; but along some time in the mornin’, after Big-Governor had been ’scorted ’round some, an’ got back to his room, we sent word up by the nigger porter that we wanted to see him, an’ pretty soon we was upstairs.

“ When we went in, he was settin’ there bareheaded. That was one o’ his fool ways, takin’ off his hat every time he got indoors. So Doc, he pulled off his dusty old hat, an’ me an’ the other feller did, too. ‘ Don’t stand, gentlemen,’ Big-Governor says. ‘ ’T ain’t necessary to stand up with me.’ he says. ‘ I’m just a plain man, that wants to feel like one o’ you right from the start. Seddown, please, gentlemen,’ he says. But we would n’t seddown. Doc, he drawed hisself up, — he was six foot an’ better, — an’ he says, ‘ Your Ex’lency,’ he says,

‘ we was very favor’bly impressed with your remarks yeste’day about your way o’ dealin’ kindly t’ wards the Indians. We reckon mebbe that’s been most o’ the trouble; they been pulled an’ hauled ’round, an’ kep’ down, an’ worried pretty nigh plum to death, an’ ain’t had no show nohow,’ he says. ‘ Strikes us that ain’t right,’ he says, ‘ an’ we reckoned we’d come in an’ tell you how glad we was you ’re goin’ to make a new start,’ he says. An’ Big-Governor, he grinned as wide as he could between his side whiskers, an’ he stood up an’ tucked his fingers in his armholes, an’ bowed, till it ’most seemed too bad to fool with him. But Doc, he wa’n’t squeamish. ‘ There’s just one thing,’ he says, 4 that strikes us as a good chance to show the Indians what your feelin’s is t’wards ’em. It’s been on our minds, us fellers, for a good spell; but we ain’t never seen how we could fix it, not havin’ no means of our own, an’ no partic’lar influence. But the way we figured it out,’ he says, 4 seems to us if a thing’s right, an’ fair an’ square, an’ you can see it’s so, why, ’t ain’t goin’ to take no partic’lar influence to get you to do the fair thing,’ he says. An’ Big-Governor, he bows some more ; an’ he says, ‘ Cert’nly not,’ he says. An’ then Doc, he says, ‘ This thing I’m talkin’ about, it’s enough to make a fair-minded man ready to get up an’ leave the ter’tory. It’s about the Pawnees. Mebbe you know, your Ex’lency,’ he says, ‘ that the Pawnees is one o’ the very best Indian families we got, like some families back East that’s old an’ respectable. Trouble is, the Pawnees is poor,’ he says ; ‘ but they ’re devilish proud, so’s they keep their mouths shut about the way they ’re fixed, an’ won’t let on to nobody. But that won’t do,’ he says, ‘ when men like us comes to see how they’re sufferin’. Nowhere ’t is, with winter gettin’ toler’ble close, an’ there’s them poor fellers out there on the prairies not noways half pervided for, come cold weather. I reckon they can make shift to feed theirselves,’ he says,

‘ same as they’ve always done, with beef rations once in a while from the gove’nment; an’ they’ve got blankets an’ tents, so they won’t act’ly freeze to death. But what they do need bad is hats. It’s a burnin’ shame, the way they been let go bareheaded, all kinds o’ weather an’ all seasons. It’s gospel truth, your Ex’lency,’ he says, ‘ there ain’t hardly a weather-tight hat for man, woman, nor child on the whole rese’vation; so they got to go ’round with their blankets drawed up over their heads, to keep from ketchin’ their death o’ cold,’ he says. ‘ ’T ain’t right, your Ex’lency, — it just ain’t right, in a Christian country like this ; an’ that’s why we come to you,’ he says.

“ Big-Governor, he listened, serious as a horse, kind o’ clickin’ his tongue an’ puckerin’ up his mouth, like it did n’t taste good ; an’ then he says, when Doc give him a chance, he says, ‘ You don’t tell me ! My, my ! Shockin’! ’ he says ; an’ then pretty soon he says, ‘I ’ll call it to the attention of the gove’nment at once, gentlemen. — at once.’ But Doc, he looked worried an’ anxious, an’ he says, ‘ Beg pardon, your Ex’lency, but seems to us like there oughter be somethin’ done right off. Fed’ral gove’nrnent’s too slow. Time they get ’round to it, if they ever do, it ’ll be hot weather again. It’s presumin’ a good deal, I reckon,’ he says, ‘ but we did n’t know but you might have some friends o’ your’n back East that would feel like takin’ interest in ’em an’ gettin’ ’em fixed up some kind o’ shape come winter,’ he says. Big-Governor stood an’ studied a minute, an’ then he says, ‘ I reckon mebbe that’s so, gentlemen,’ he says; an’ he says, ‘ Please seddown a minute, gentlemen, till I write a letter.’ So we seddown, holdin’ our hats, an’ lookin’ ’round at the walls, an’ the ceilin’, an’ the furniture, an’ everywhere but each other. We did n’t dast do that. Big-Governor, he drawed his paper in front of him an’ begun to write. He wrote pages an’ pages, stoppin’ every once in a while to look at us, an’ ask some fool question about how many there was of ’em, an’ what kind o’ hats we reckoned they needed, an’ whether mebbe they wa’n’t too proud to take second-hand white folks’ hats. But Doc, he says, ‘ No ; I give you my word they ’ll take it kind, like it’s meant, an’ be real glad to get ’em ; don’t matter if they be old an’ wore some.’ So Big-Governor, he kep’ on writin’ till it looked like a love letter ; an’ then pretty soon he signed his name to it, an’ then he sorted it out an’ started in to read it to us. He’d act’ly wrote the whole dummod story to the head medicine - man of a Methodist church back where he come from, just like Doc told it, only more so, puttin’ in lots o’ little fancy touches that we bad n’t never thought of, an’ makin’ it sound so sorrowful, I swear, if I had n’t been bustin’ with wantin’ to laugh, I’d ’ve cried. An’ then he folded it up, an’ he says, ‘ There, gentlemen, I ’ll send that right back, first mail,’ he says ; an’ then me an’ Doc an’ the other feller, we shook han’s with him, an’ Doc says how thankful we was, an’ then we slid out.

“We never said a word to nobody. There ’s plenty o’ folks can be trusted with ’most anythin’ else, but you never can say who it’s safe to trust a joke with. We went back home, till by an’ by, six weeks or so afterwards, I got a letter from Big-Governor, tellin’ me to come to Omaha ; an’ when I got there, Doc was there, too, at the hotel, with one o’ the same letters, an’ we went together up to see Big-Governor. Seemed like he was powerful glad to see us; an’ he says, proud as a peacock, he says, ‘ You remember, gentlemen, my intercedin’ on behalf o’ the needy Pawnees ? ’ he says; an’ then he pulled a letter out of his pocket, an’ showed it to us, from the preacher he 'd wrote to, callin’ him ‘ dear brother,’ an’ tellin’ him his appeal for them poor sufferin’ Indian critters had been read out in meetin’, an’ then been passed on to other churches in the same town, an’ they’d done the best they could, an’ he was proud to say he was sendin’ along with his letter two boxes of assorted hats, which he hoped the Lord would bless, an’ mebbe put some thoughts into the heads that wore ’em. Big-Governor, he took us down the road a piece, where there was an empty shack, an’ there was the boxes. Billy, I ain’t never seen such big boxes ; no, sir, I never ain’t.

“ Big - Governor, he strutted up an’ down, flappin’ his wings, an’ gettin’ a heap of satisfaction out o’ the. way me an’ Doc was tickled. We was tickled, too, no mistake. Then pretty soon he says, ‘ Well, gentlemen, now that part’s ’tended to, seems to me like you oughter have part o’ the credit, seein’ ’t was your idear,’ he says; ‘so I’m goin’ to turn them boxes over to you,’ he says, ‘ if you can spare the time, an’ I ’ll see there’s a wagon an’ team pervided at expense o’ the ter’tory, to take them hats out an’ kind o’ look after distributin’ ’em ’round. ’T was your idear,’ he says; ‘ an’ besides, you’ve lived out here a good spell, an’ know better what to do,’ he says. Dummed if he did n’t do it, too ! Of course we was agreeable. Crops was mostly all in by then ; so we just set to work an’ ’scorted them hats out to the rese’vation the best style we knowed. Soon as we told the agent, why, he was agreeable, too, an’ the next day or two them greasy Pawnees come in by bunches an’ herds, an’ me an’ Doc, we pried the lids off the boxes an’ turned ’em loose.

“ You’d ’ve died, Billy ! There’s been lots o’ funny things happen in Nebrasky, but I reckon that was about the funniest of ’em all. There was women’s hats an’ men’s, about half an’ half ; an’ the women’s hats was all trigged out with pink roses an’ feathers an’ beads, an’ the men’s was right up in style, too, — shiny plugs, an’ all the rest, like they wore back East them days; an’ when me an’ Doc give the word, them buck Indians just act’ly made the squaws stand back an’ wait till they’d helped theirselves to the feathers an’ flowers an’ things that was meant for the women, an’ then the squaws come in for what was left! Now that’s no lie. Years after that, anybody that went out ’round where the Pawnees was, they used to see them big bucks stalkin’ ’round in their dirty blankets, an’ what was left o’ them fool hats stuck sideways on their frowzy heads, an’ the ragged brims flappin’ down over their ears, till they was just plum tore to tatters. That’s gospel truth, Billy. Ever hear anythin’ like that ? ”

Although usually so chary with his laughter, the old man was gently quaking with mirth, shaking his head and drawing his sleeve across his twinkling eyes. Tommy had leaned forward, openmouthed, through the course of the narrative ; but now he drew himself erect.

“ Uncle Mac ! ” he cried. “ You’ve told the wrong story ! You was goin’ to tell about the cottonwood stump ! ”

Uncle Mac glanced at the boy indulgently. “Yes, I know, honey. That’s what I started out to tell; but my wheels don’t track as good as they used to, an’ I kind o’ wobbled off. But that hat business just goes to show what kind of a hop-toad he was. That about the cottonwood stump was what got him his name, an’ ’t was just about of a piece with that other. ’T was knowed to more folks, though, because there was more mixed in it. Want I should tell it ? ”

“ Surely ! ” I said, and Tommy wriggled with delight over the prospect of two stories in close sequence.

“ Well, ’t wa’n’t but two-three weeks after me an’ Doc had went out o’ the mil’nery business, we heerd there’d been some big stealin’ by a Sioux war party out on the Platte somewheres, hunderd an’ fifty mile or so. Made a big talk, too, because it was about the worst thievin’ they’d done all summer, an’ they’d mistreated some o’ the settlers that had tried to stand ’em off. ’T was mighty aggravatin’.

“ I was up to Omaha right then, kind o’ lookin’ after a little contract I expected to get from the gove’nment, an’ I’d been with Big-Governor a good bit, ’count o’ him bein’ such a comical cuss, an’ it helped to pass the time. I was with him the day this story come I m tellin’ you. Seemed like he’d found things to worry him a heap ever since he struck Nebrasky. He thought he had n’t been treated right an’ respectable, because they had n’t just turned the capital over to him an’ let him run it. There ’d been a lot o’ complainin’ from everywheres about the Indians, that had been tearin’ ’round an’ pawin’ up the dirt, an’ the settlers was fussin’ because it broke up their sleep. When Big - Governor heerd this last story, that day, seemed like’t was the last he could stand, an’ he got right up on his ear. The boys was talkin’ about it down on the street, an’ Big - Governor listened awhile, an’ then he tucked his bands under his coat tails, an’ begun to prance up an’ down the sidewalk, swearin’ some o’ them no’count little popgun cuss - words they learn back East; an’ then pretty soon he stops an’ looks ’round at some of us fellers that was watcliin’ him, an’ lie says, ‘ Why don’t the ’tliorities stop it ? ’ he says. ‘It’s shameful,’ he says, ‘an’ I ain’t goin’ to have no more of it I I ’ll just take hold myself,’ he says, ‘ an’ show you farmers how to handle them critters. You ’re a thin-skinned lot,’ he says, ‘ to put up with it, — that’s just what I think o’ you. If you ’d stood up like men an’ showed these sneakin’ cowards you had backbones in you,’ he says, *’t would ’ve been stopped long ago.’ But we just stood there an’ grinned, an’ not sayin’ nothin’. ’T wa’n’t no ways possible to get mad at him, with his pretty ways. 1 I’m just goin’ to ’tend to it myself now,’ he says, ‘ an’ I ’ll get a chance to see what kind o’ stuff you ’re made of. Now, for instance,’ he says, ‘ how many of you is there that ’ll be willin’ to go out where this last story comes from an’ clear the trouble up, pervidin’ I ’ll lead you myself ? ’ he says.

“ Well, there was a consider’ble bunch of us had got ’round him by then, an’ seemed like it struck us all about the same way, because we all says, why, sure we’d go. O’ course we’d go ! Right on the face of it the thing looked so promisin’, I reckon we’d ’ve agreed to go with him to China in goat wagons, if he’d said so.

“ ‘ There ! ’ he says, kind o’ perkin’ up his head sideways at us, ‘see that?’ he says. ‘ Just as soon as a man o’ decision takes the lead, to show you what to do, why, it brings things right to a head,’ he says; an’ he says, ‘ Now, my idear is to get up just a small party, twenty-five or thirty, an’ have ’em armed right, an’ every man ready to do his duty an’ stand by me. If you ’ll do that,’ he says, ‘ why, we ’ll wind this thing up before the week’s out,’ he says ; an’ then he begun givin’ his orders for outfittin’ us. Sounds durned unlikely, don’t it ? but it’s true as I’m settin’ here. Before night he’d got more ’n twenty of us sinners ’nlisted an’ mostly all equipped to go out with him on the plum foolishest trip that ever growed-up men went on in Nebrasky. That ain’t all, neither. Soon as the story got ’round, why, ’most every able-bodied man in town was just wild to go ’long, an’ offerin’ to pay their own way, if he’d only take ’em. He ’d’ve had two hunderd, if he had n’t put up the bars. ‘ No,’ he says ; ‘’t won’t take many, long as they keep ca’m an’ firm,’ he says. ‘ I’ve got plenty now, an’ I ’ll guarantee after this there won’t be no more trouble in this ter’tory with Indians, long as I ’m here,’ he says. He was fair tickled to death!

“ By noon next day he’d got us all ready. There was some solemn-minded critters ’round town that when they got word of it, they act’ly went to him an’ tried to spoil the whole thing, tollin’ him ’t would n’t do no good, an’ would only make talk. ’T was all true enough ; nobody could n’t’ve denied it; but I never could see the sense in spoilin’ a little bit o’ fun. He would n’t listen to nobody, though ; he never was much of a hand to listen, nohow. No, sir! He’d set his head, an’ he was goin’ to set a mark for all the Indian fighters that come after him. I reckon he did, too, with what help we give him.

“ He had pretty correct notions about pervidin’ for a campaign, though, now I tell you ! Besides horses an’ blankets an’ rifles, there was a giant of a big freight wagon, drawed with four mules ; that was the commissariat wagon, chuck full o’ truck. Big-Governor, he’d ’tended to that hisself, an’ he ’d been used to good tender feedin’. I’m blessed if I know where he ’d picked it all up, because Omaha wa’n’t no partic’lar headquarters for such things them days ; but he’d got it somewheres, — canned stuff that I had n’t never heerd of, an’ things that fair makes me slobber now to think about ’em, an’ liquors, an’ cigars, an’ things like that. He wa’n’t out here but a few months, but the boys learnt they could trust him for pickin’ out liquor.

“ Well, we et dinner in Omaha, whiles the horses an’ commissariat wagon was drawed up in front o’ the hotel, waitin’ for us ; an’ when we come out, seemed like everybody in town that could crawl was there to see us off. Big-Governor, he was up at the head hisself, hollerin’ out his orders to us ; an’ he’d picked up a slim little sword somewheres, an’ got it tied ’round his middle, an’ he ’d got a big wide-brimmed hat on, like the rest of us wore, only bran’ new, an’ with a gilt string ’round it; an’ I swear there wa’n’t never nobody like him ! Pretty soon he got us strung out like he wanted us, an’ then he hollers, ‘ ’Tention ! Forward — March ! ’

“ Well, we kep’ pretty well in line till we got out o’ town; but when we ’d got out on the wagon road there wa’n’t nothin’ could ’ve kep’ us straight. We just picnicked. Could n’t make no kind o’ time, ’count o’ the commissariat wagon : we did n’t want to get away from that. We just acted like a passel o’ colts, till it come near five o’clock, an’ then we hunted a place to camp. We didn’t know where we was goin’, an’ we did n’t care, so long as we made campin’ places reg’lar. We ’d only gone ten - twelve mile since dinner, but we was powerful hungry. Big-Governor, he’d hired a cook to come with us from the hotel, an’ I want to tell you that boy knowed his business ! I ain’t never et a supper that come near to that one out there on the wagon road.

“ When we could n’t eat no more ’t was gettin’t’wards dark, an’ then BigGovernor, he stood up an’ made us a speech, an’ he says, 1 Gentlemen,’ he says, ‘ whiles I don’t begrudge you havin’ a good time, you must remember this here’s a military campaign,’ he says, ‘ an’ must be run right. I ’in goin’ to divide you up in three watches, with fifteen men doin’ sentry duty every night, an’ the rest ’ll take care o’ the horses an’ camp ’quipment. Sentry duty,’ he says, ' will begin at dark, an’ last till sunup, an’ I hope there won’t be no objections,’ he says.

“ Nobody would n’t Ve objected to nothin’. If lie ’d told us to make the campaign in Mother Hubbards, we’d 've done it. You can’t think, Billy, how we felt. We felt just right! I was one o’ the first shift to go on post, an’ we just tucked our rifles up on our shoulders, an’ went a hunderd yards or so from camp an’ hunted ’round till we ’d found a nice easy place, an’ then we seddown to kind o’ study out what we was goin’ to do.

“ Well, pretty soon us fellers out there could hear that things was warmin’ up some in camp. I reckon the liquor had got started ’round consider’ble, an’ they was yellin’ an’ hollerin’ an? laughin’ an’ havin’ a bully time. Got kind o’ lonesome out there in the dark, an’ dry, too, an’ I reckon that helped us to make up our minds. ’Long about ten o’clock we ’d got it fixed, an’ then the rest of the boys scattered out ’round the camp, a good ways apart, an’ I sneaked back t’wards the fire, tryin’ the best I knowed to look plum scared to death ; an’ I went up to Big-Governor an’ touched him on the arm, an’ motioned him off to one side, an’ I says, ‘ Your Ex’lency,’ I says,

' I reckon ’t was a good move, havin’ sentries out. Unless I’m fooled,’ I says,

‘ there ’s an Indian out there now, spyin’ ’round. I wish you’d come out along with me,’ I says, ‘ an’ see what you think, because I can’t be dead sure.’ ‘You don’t tell me !’ he says. ‘I was ’feard of it. You can’t never tell about them sneakin’ critters. Where’s he at ? ’ he says ; an’ then when I p’inted out t’wards the dark, he gets me under the shadder o’ the wagon, an’ then he makes me get down on my hands an’ knees an’ lead him out that way, crawlin’, a plum hunderd yards, to where we’d been settin’, whiles I could fair feel the ground tremble under him.

“There was a cottonwood stump out there, standin’ about six foot high, an’ with vines growed up over it that was shakin’ in the wind. Did n’t look so blamed much unlike an Indian, after all, with his blanket drawed up ’round him. ' There he is ! ’ I says. 1 I could n’t see him that well before. I’m dead sure of it now,’ I says ; ‘ it cert’nly is an Indian, your Ex’lency I ’ He was down flat by then, grippin’ the grass tight an’ gaspin’ for breath. ‘ Oh dear ! ’ he says. ' Oh dear! God save us ! ’ he says. ' What are we goin’ to do ? ’ I never said nothin’, but I’d crep’ up close as I could get beside him, so’s I could smell the whiskey on him, an’ I got my rifle right up alongside his ear an’ whanged away; an’ right quick the feller beyond us on the left, he shoots off his’n, an’ he yells, ' Look out in camp! Indians ! ’ an’ then I yells, ' Run, your Ex’lency ! Run for your life ! ’ an’ the feller over on the right, he lets go with his rifle.

“Billy, I’ve heerd tell there ain’t nobody can run away from his shadder, nor yet step on it ; but I’m tellin’ you the truth : Big-Governor, he done both that night, an’ had lots o’ time to spare besides. Run ! It does beat the world how deceivin’ some folks is in their looks. I’m willin’ to own up I’d misjudged Big-Governor shameful. I had n’t more ’n got up off my belly an’ turned ’round to look at him till he was halfway to camp, jumpin’ high, like an elk, an’ yellin’ twice to each jump. There ain’t nobody need say nothin’ to me about runnin’, after that! An’ just think : that was less ’n fifteen mile out o’ Omaha !

“Well, soon ’s I could I picked myself up an’ loped into camp. The boys was mixed up consider’ble ; an’ that wa’n’t no shame to ’em, for we had made a darnation big racket. But soon’s they seen us fellers comin’ in, an’ got a chance to look at us, par’lyzed with laughin’ like we was, they knowed what was the matter. Most of ’em had done their share o’ drinkin’, so’s they was ready for their part when we told ’em, an’ we begun to look ’round for Big-Governor. But we could n’t find him. No, sir ; high nor low, we could n’t find hide nor hair of him. We yelled an’ hollered for him, but’t wa’n’t no manner o’ use : he was clean gone. We reckoned he’d skinned out for Omaha, so we just seddown to make ourselves to home. The cook, he’d got through an’ gone to bed ; but we hauled him out an’ put him to work. ’T wa’n’t no good to let them victuals get wasted. He ’d got a kettle o’ water on the fire, an’ the rest of us, we was rummagin’ in the wagon, turnin’ things over to find what we wanted most, an’ havin’ a pretty noisy time, I reckon, when pretty soon there was a thin little wet squeal come from somewheres; sounded like a long ways off. ‘ Listen ! ’ somebody says; an’ when we stopped our devilment we heerd it again. ‘ Gentlemen,’ it says, ‘ gentlemen, won’t you please let me out ? ’ ‘ Who in thunder’s that ? ’ one feller answers back ; an’ the squeak says, ‘I’m your leader. Won’t you please help me out ? ’ ‘ Help you

out ? ’ we says. ‘ Why, where in the name o’ God are you ? ’ An’ he says, ‘Down here under the wagon,’ he says. Come to look, Billy, there he was, jammed in between the body an’ the runnin’ gear, tight as a cork in a bottle; an’ I’m dammed if we did n’t have to unload that whole blamed wagonload o’ truck an’ lift the body off before we could get him out! An’ that’s where he got his name.”

Tommy, grinning widely, gathered the halter rope firmly into his grasp. “ Then he went back home, did n’t he, Uncle Mac ? ”

“ Yes, that’s right, Tommy ; then he went back East, where he belonged.”

William R. Lighton.