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''Fore I answer I'll hex if tell ye a story, said Uncle Eb. 'I recollec' a man by the name o' Ranney over 'n Vermont he was a pious man. Got into an argyment an' a feller slapped him in the face. Ranney turned t'other side an' then t'other an' the feller kep' a slappin' hot 'n heavy. It was jes' like strappin' a razor fer half a minnit. Then Ranney sailed in gin him the wust lickin' he ever hed.

"Well, when Marse Chan wuz born, dey wuz de grettes' doin's at home you ever did see. De folks all hed holiday, jes' like in de Chris'mas.

"Ef ye'd been jest a mite quicker in drawin', Bas," he declared, ironically, "or jest a mite tardier in throwin' down thet gun I'd hev hed ter kill ye. Now we kin talk some more." The conflict of wills was over and Rowlett's voice changed to a whine as he asked beseechingly: "What proof hev I got ye won't show ther paper ter some outsider afore we fights hit out?"

Well, as it was comin' on to rain I started jest after sundown for home. But it came ter blow, an' ter pour cats and dogs, an' I was nigh washed out o' the buggy, besides losin' my way and gettin' inter ditches and puddles, and I hed to stop at Staples' Half-Way House and put up for the night. In the mornin' I riz up early and goes into the stable yard, and the first thing I sees was the 'ostler.

Seein' their hats off, I knew there wuz a dead body in the box, 'nd I couldn't help feelin' sorry for the poor creetur that hed died in that lonely place uv York Crossin'; but I mought hev felt a heap sorrier for the creeters that hed to live there, for I'll allow that York Crossin' is a leetle the durnedest lonesomest place I ever seen.

I knew then he an' Koleta was in cahoots an' he 'd be headin' this way after the stock. So I come down yere quiet, an' laid fer him to show up." "What then?" "Nuthin' much, till yisterday. I got tergether some cows, herded down river a ways, out o' sight in the bluffs, but hev hed ter keep mighty quiet ter save my hair. Them Cheyennes are sure pisen this year, an' raisin' Cain.

If I hed any boys o' my own," and his voice faltered right there, "I'd sure encourage 'em to jine in with ye. Seein' as I ain't, an' on account o' the good turn ye done me t'other night, boys, I'm goin' to ask a favor o' ye. I ain't got nary a kid to leave my money to when I go; and so I hope ye'll let me pay for fittin' this here Fox Patrol out with uniforms!

An' Willie was tryin' to git a word in to prove he wasn't at home all the day it happened which was true, as I know but Willie couldn't git a word in, an' then Judge Dyer went on layin' down the law. An' all to onct he happened to look down the long room. An' if ever any man turned to stone he was thet man. "Nat'rully I looked back to see what hed acted so powerful strange on the judge.

I hed to learn too, but I wasn't more than eight years old when I got my schoolin'." Harvey regained his seat with aching jaws and a frown. "No good gettin' mad at things, Dad says. It's our own fault ef we can't handle 'em, he says. Le's try here. Manuel 'll give us the water." The "Portugee" was rocking fully a mile away, but when Dan up-ended an oar he waved his left arm three times.

One uv the brothahs I can't re-collect his fust name wuzn't married; but the otheh hed a wife an' a four-year-old boy when they come, an' anotheh child wuz borned to 'em 'bout two weeks befoh thet last Injun raid.

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