Historical Reprints Fiction Busted ExTexan, The

Busted ExTexan, The

Busted ExTexan, The
Catalog # SKU2246
Publisher TGS Publishing
Weight 1.00 lbs
Author Name W. H. H. Murray


Busted ExTexan

And Two other Short Stories

W. H. H. Murray

We were camped amid the foot-hills on the trail which led up to the Kicking Horse Pass. The sun had already passed from sight, beyond the white summits above us, and the shadow of the monstrous mountain range darkened the prairie to the east, to the horizon's rim.

Our bivouac was made in a grove of lofty firs, six or eight in number; and a little rivulet, trickling from the upper slopes, fell, with soft, lapsing sound, within a few feet of our camp-fire. We did not even pitch a tent, for the sky was mild, and above us the monstrous trees lifted their protecting canopy of stems. The hammocks were swung for the ladies, and each gentleman "preëmpted" the claim that suited him best, by depositing his blanket and rifle upon it. The entire party were in the best of spirits, and nature responded to our happiness in its kindest mood.

Laughter sounded pleasantly at intervals from the busy groups, each working at some self-appointed industry. The hum of cheerful conversation mingled with the murmurs of the brook; and now and then the snatch of some sweet song would break from tuneful lips, brief, spirited, melodious as a bobolink's, dashing upward from the clover-heads. And before the mighty shadow lying gloomily on the great prairie plain, which stretched eastward for a thousand miles, had grown to darkness, the active, happy workers had given to the bivouac that look of designed orderliness which a trained party always give to any spot they select in which to make a camp or pass a night.

An hour before, there was nothing to distinguish that grove of trees, or the ground beneath them, from any other spot or hill within the reach of eye. But now it commanded the landscape; and, had you been trailing over the vast plain, the bright firelight, the group of men and women moving to and fro, the picketed horses, the fluttering bits of color here and there, would have caught your gaze ten miles away; and were you tired or hungry, or even lonesome, you would have naturally turned your horse's head toward that camp as toward a cheerful reception and a home; for wherever is happy human life, to it all lonely life is drawn as by a magnet.

And this was demonstrated by our experience then and there. For, scarcely had we done with supper,-and by this time the gloom had grown to darkness, and the half-light of evening held the landscape,-when out of the semi-gloom there came a call,-the call of a man hailing a camp. Indeed, we were not sure he had not hailed several times before we heard him; for, to tell the truth, we were a very merry crowd, and as light of heart as if there was not a worry or care in all the world,-at least for us,-and the smallest spark of a joke exploded us like a battery. Indeed, so rollicking was our mood that our laughter was nearly continuous, and it is quite possible that the stranger may have hailed us more than once without our hearing him. And this was the more likely because the man's voice was not of the loudest, nor was it positive in the energy of its appeal.

Indeed, there was a certain feebleness or timidity in the stranger's hail, as if he was mistrustful that any good fortune could respond to him, and, hence, deprecated the necessity of the resort. But hear him we did at last, and he was greeted with a chorus of voices to "Come in! Come in! You're welcome!" And partly because we had finished our repast, and partly from courtesy and the natural promptings of gentlefolk to give a visitor courteous greeting, we all arose and received him standing. And, certainly, had the kindly act been unusual with us, not one of our group would have regretted the extra condescension bestowed upon him at his coming, after he had entered the circle of our firelight, and we saw the expression of his features.

70+ pages - 8¼ x 5¼ softcover

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