Oh, You Tex!

Oh, You Tex!
Catalog # SKU3726
Publisher Texas National Press
Weight 1.00 lbs
Author Name William Macleod Raine
ISBN 10: 0000000000
ISBN 13: 0000000000000
 
$12.95
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Description

Oh, You Tex!

A Texas Tale

By
William Macleod Raine


Day was breaking in the Panhandle. The line-rider finished his breakfast of buffalo-hump, coffee, and biscuits. He had eaten heartily, for it would be long after sunset before he touched food again. Cheerfully and tunelessly he warbled a cowboy ditty as he packed his supplies and prepared to go.

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Excerpt:

The line-rider swung to the saddle and put his pony at a jog-trot. He topped a hill and looked across the sunlit mesas which rolled in long swells far as the eye could see. The desert flowered gayly with the purple, pink, and scarlet blossoms of the cacti and with the white, lilylike buds of the Spanish bayonet. The yucca and the prickly pear were abloom. He swept the panorama with trained eyes. In the distance a little bunch of antelope was moving down to water in single file. On a slope two miles away grazed a small herd of buffalo. No sign of human habitation was written on that vast solitude of space.

The cowboy swung to the south and held a steady road gait. With an almost uncanny accuracy he recognized all signs that had to do with cattle. Though cows, half hidden in the brush, melted into the color of the hillside, he picked them out unerringly. Brands, at a distance so great that a tenderfoot could have made of them only a blur, were plain as a primer to him.

Cows that carried on their flanks the A T O, he turned and started northward. As he returned, he would gather up these strays and drive them back to their own range. For in those days, before the barbed wire had reached Texas and crisscrossed it with boundary lines, the cowboy was a fence more mobile than the wandering stock.

It was past noon when Roberts dropped into a draw where an immense man was lying sprawled under a bush. The recumbent man was a mountain of flesh; how he ever climbed to a saddle was a miracle; how a little cow-pony carried him was another. Yet there was no better line-rider in the Panhandle than Jumbo Wilkins.

"'Lo, Texas," the fat man greeted.

The young line-rider had won the nickname of "Texas" in New Mexico a year or two before by his aggressive championship of his native State. Somehow the sobriquet had clung to him even after his return to the Panhandle.

"'Lo, Jumbo," returned the other. "How?"

"Fat like a match. I'm sure losin' flesh. Took up another notch in my belt yestiddy."

Roberts shifted in the saddle, resting his weight on the horn and the ball of one foot for ease. He was a slim, brown youth, hard as nails and tough as whipcord. His eyes were quick and wary. In spite of the imps of mischief that just now lighted them, one got an impression of strength. He might or might not be, in the phrase of the country, a "bad hombre," but it was safe to say he was an efficient one.

"Quick consumption, sure," pronounced the younger man promptly. "You don't look to me like you weigh an ounce over three hundred an' fifty pounds. Appetite kind o' gone?"

"You're damn whistlin'. I got an ailment, I tell you, Tex. This mo'nin' I didn't eat but a few slices of bacon an' some lil' steaks an' a pan or two o' flapjacks an' mebbe nine or ten biscuits. Afterward I felt kind o' bloated like. I need some sa'saparilla. Now, if I could make out to get off for a few days-"

"You could get that sarsaparilla across the bar at the Bird Cage, couldn't you, Jumbo?" the boy grinned.

The whale of a man looked at him reproachfully. "You never seen me shootin' up no towns or raisin' hell when I was lit up. I can take a drink or leave it alone."

"That's right too. Nobody lets it alone more than you do when it can't be got. I've noticed that."

"You cayn't devil me, boy. I was punchin' longhorns when yore mammy was paddlin' you for stealin' the sugar. Say, that reminds me. I'm plumb out o' sugar. Can you loan me some till Pedro gits around? I got to have sugar or I begin to fall off right away," the big man whined.

The line-riders chatted casually of the topics that interest men in the land of wide, empty frontiers. Of Indians they had something to say, of their diminishing grub supply more. Jumbo mentioned that he had found an A T O cow dead by a water-hole. They spoke incidentally of the Dinsmore gang, a band of rustlers operating in No Man's Land. They had little news of people, since neither of them had for three weeks seen another human being except Quint Sullivan, the line-rider who fenced the A T O cattle to the east of Roberts.

Presently Roberts nodded a good-bye and passed again into the solitude of empty spaces. The land-waves swallowed him. Once more he followed draws, crossed washes, climbed cow-backed hills, picking up drift-cattle as he rode.

It was late afternoon when he saw a thin spiral of smoke from a rise of ground. Smoke meant that some human being was abroad in the land, and every man on the range called for investigation. The rider moved forward to reconnoiter.




248 pages - 7 x 8½ softcover


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