"'I'm a pore man, he says, `but if it takes them teams of mine, to the last tire an' the last hoof, I've got to have this agent's ha'r an' y'ears. You camp around the Red Light awhile, Curly, till I go over to the New York Store an' see about more money. I'll be back while you're layin' out another drink.
"Now, Curly," said Franklin, as he took up the questioning again, "please tell us what Juan did after he saw this supposed figure in the ashes." "Why, now, Cap, you know that just as well as I do." "Yes, but I want you to tell these other folks about it." "Well, of course, Juan acted plenty loco you know that." "Very well. Now what, if anything, did you do to this alleged body in the ashes?"
"Shall I get you a mouth organ, or a kite, so you can fly away up to the clouds?" "Neither one," said Curly. "I want a spinning top that I can make go around when I lie down in bed. And I want it to make music and jump around on a plate and slide on a string and all things like that." "All right," said Flop Ear. "I'll try to get it for you."
The camp was at Bull Lake Crossing, where the fork from Bull Lake joins Wind River. Here Lin found some convenient shingle-stones, with dark, deepish water against them, where he plunged his face and energetically washed, and came up with the short curly hair shining upon his round head.
Again there was a stir, and a whispered sound of voices, as if in consultation, from within; and after waiting a few minutes longer which, cold as we were, seemed an age the door was cautiously opened by a handsome, dark-eyed lad of twelve years of age, who was evidently the owner of the curly head that had been sent to reconnoitre us through the window.
She disappeared into the house, and Curly took care of his horse, washed, and sauntered back to the porch. He could smell potatoes frying and could hear the sizzling of ham and eggs. While he ate the girl flitted in and out, soft-footed and graceful, replenishing his plate from time to time.
In another minute she would have melted, in her compassion, and begged him humbly to pardon her. But at that instant Curly emerged from the barn, leading the sorrels; and the devil that lurks behind a woman's tongue spoke for her before she was aware of it. "So you'd rather one of your men took me to Cousin Seth!" It was scarcely out before she regretted it with all her heart.
"Ah, kind of half glad, sir. I ain't altogether broke in to it. You see I'm old for change." As he ended, James Penhallow reappeared. "Got through, John? You look years older. Your aunt will miss those curly locks."
"New shoes!" said Curly contemptuously, selecting the first obviously vulnerable point open to a shaft of insult. "New shoes! Spit on 'em!" He suited the action to the word, and immediately word and act alike were imitated by two or three of his more ardent admirers. "Stop!" said Bob. He did not know what it meant. He backed away from his persecutors. "Aw, stop, eh?" mocked Curly. "Who are you?
But in what tongue is your song, Junker Schopper, and who taught you that?" To which he hastily answered: "A swarthy wench of gipsy race." And she, taking courage, said: "One peradventure whom you erewhile met in the forest here?" Herdegen shook his curly head, and his eye flashed lovingly as he spoke: "No, Ann, and by all the Saints it is not so!