that could cut anything it came against, was still not raised. There aint fifteen. There aint two. Theres one kind. And when I meet it, I respect it. It is not praying nor preaching that has ever caught me and made me ashamed of myself, but one or two people I have knowed that never said a superior word to me They thought more o me than I deserved, and that made me behave better than I naturally wanted to. Made me quit a girl onced in time for her not to lose her good name. And so thats one thing I have never done. And if ever I was to have a son or somebody I set store by, I would wish their lot to be to know one or two good folks mighty well--men or women--women preferred. He had looked away again to the hills behind Sunk Creek ranch, to which our walking horses had now almost brought us.
As for parsons --the gesture of his arm was a disclaiming one--I reckon some parsons have a right to tell yu to be good. The bishop of this hyeh Territory has a right. But Ill tell yu this: a middlin doctor is a pore thing, and a middlin lawyer is a pore thing; but keep me from a middlin man of God. Once again he had reduced it, but I did not laugh this time. I thought there should in truth be heavy damages for malpractice on human souls. But the hot glow of his words, and the vision of his deepest inner man it revealed, faded away abruptly.
What do yu make of the proposition yondeh? As he pointed to the cause of this question he had become again his daily, engaging, saturnine self.
Then I saw over in a fenced meadow, to which we were now close, what he was pleased to call the proposition. Proposition in the West does, in fact, mean whatever you at the moment please,--an offer to sell you a mine, a cloud-burst, a glass of whiskey, a steamboat. This time it meant a stranger clad in black, and of a clerical deportment which would in that atmosphere and to a watchful eye be visible for a mile or two.
I reckoned yu hadnt noticed him, was the Virginians reply to my ejaculation. Yes. He set me goin on the subject a while back. I expect he is another missionary to us pore cow-boys. I seemed from a hundred yards to feel the strangers forceful personality. It was in his walk--I should better say stalk--as he promenaded along the creek. His hands were behind his back, and there was an air of waiting, of displeased waiting, in his movement.
Yes, hell be a missionary, said the Virginian, conclusively; and he took to singing, or rather to whining, with his head tilted at an absurd angle upward at the sky:
About de size of dis chile or praps a little bigger,
By de name of Jim Crow.
Dat what de white folks call him.
If ever I sees hint I tends for to maul him,
Just to let de white folks see
Such an animos as he
Cant walk around the streets and scandalize me.
The lane which was conducting us to the group of ranch buildings now turned a corner of the meadow, and the Virginian went on with his second verse:
Gosh! how could he, when hes never been to scollege?
Neither has I.
But Ise come mighty nigh;
I peaked through de door as I went by.
He was beginning a third stanza, but stopped short; a horse had neighed close behind us.
Trampas, said he, without turning his head, we are home. It looks that way. Some ten yards were between ourselves and Trampas, where he followed.
And Ill trouble yu for my rope yu took this mawnin instead o your own. I dont know as its your rope Ive got. Trampas skilfully spoke this so that a precisely opposite meaning flowed from his words.
If it was discussion he tried for, he failed. The Virginians hand moved, and for one thick, flashing moment my thoughts were evidently also the thoughts of Trampas. But the Virginian only held out to Trampas the rope which he had detached from his saddle.
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