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Law and Order

Short Stories


A Bird of Bagdad

A Blackjack Bargainer

A Call Loan

A Chaparral Christmas Gift

A Chaparral Prince

A Comedy in Rubber

A Cosmopolite in a Cafe

A Departmental Case

A Dinner at--------*

A Double-Dyed Deceiver

A Fog in Santone

A Harlem Tragedy

A Lickpenny Lover

A Little Local Colour

A Little Talk about Mobs

A Madison Square Arabian Night

A Matter of Mean Elevation

A Midsummer Knight's Dream

A Midsummer Masquerade

A Municipal Report

A Newspaper Story

A Night in New Arabia

A Philistine in Bohemia

A Poor Rule

A Ramble in Aphasia

A Retrieved Reformation

A Ruler of Men

A Sacrifice Hit

A Service of Love

A Snapshot at the President

A Strange Story

A Technical Error

A Tempered Wind

According to Their Lights

After Twenty Years

An Adjustment of Nature

An Afternoon Miracle

An Apology

An Unfinished Christmas Story

An Unfinished Story

Aristocracy Versus Hash

Art and the Bronco

At Arms With Morpheus

Babes in the Jungle


Between Rounds

Bexar Scrip No. 2692

Blind Man's Holiday

Brickdust Row

Buried Treasure

By Courier

Calloway's Code


Cherchez La Femme

Christmas by Injunction

Compliments of the Season

Confessions of a Humorist

Conscience in Art

Cupid a La Carte

Cupid's Exile Number Two


Dougherty's Eye-Opener

Elsie in New York

Extradited from Bohemia

Fickle Fortune or How Gladys Hustled

Friends in San Rosario

From Each According to His Ability

From the Cabby's Seat

Georgia's Ruling


He Also Serves

Hearts and Crosses

Hearts and Hands

Helping the Other Fellow

Holding Up a Train

Hostages to Momus

Hygeia at the Solito

Innocents of Broadway

Jeff Peters as a Personal Magnet

Jimmy Hayes and Muriel

Law and Order

Let Me Feel Your Pulse

Little Speck in Garnered Fruit

Lord Oakhurst's Curse

Lost on Dress Parade

Madame Bo-Peep, of the Ranches

Makes the Whole World Kin

Mammon and the Archer

Man About Town

Masters of Arts

Memoirs of a Yellow Dog

Modern Rural Sports

Money Maze

Nemesis and the Candy Man

New York by Camp Fire Light

Next to Reading Matter

No Story

October and June

On Behalf of the Management

One Dollar's Worth

One Thousand Dollars

Out of Nazareth

Past One at Rooney's


Proof of the Pudding

Psyche and the Pskyscraper

Queries and Answers

Roads of Destiny

Roses, Ruses and Romance

Rouge et Noir

Round the Circle

Rus in Urbe

Schools and Schools

Seats of the Haughty

Shearing the Wolf



Sisters of the Golden Circle


Sociology in Serge and Straw

Sound and Fury

Springtime a La Carte

Squaring the Circle

Strictly Business

Strictly Business

Suite Homes and Their Romance

Telemachus, Friend

The Admiral

The Adventures of Shamrock Jolnes

The Assessor of Success

The Atavism of John Tom Little Bear

The Badge of Policeman O'Roon

The Brief Debut of Tildy

The Buyer From Cactus City

The Caballero's Way

The Cactus

The Caliph and the Cad

The Caliph, Cupid and the Clock

The Call of the Tame

The Chair of Philanthromathematics

The Champion of the Weather

The Church with an Overshot-Wheel

The City of Dreadful Night

The Clarion Call

The Coming-Out of Maggie

The Complete Life of John Hopkins

The Cop and the Anthem

The Count and the Wedding Guest

The Country of Elusion

The Day Resurgent

The Day We Celebrate

The Defeat of the City

The Detective Detector

The Diamond of Kali

The Discounters of Money

The Dog and the Playlet

The Door of Unrest

The Dream

The Duel

The Duplicity of Hargraves

The Easter of the Soul

The Emancipation of Billy

The Enchanted Kiss

The Enchanted Profile

The Ethics of Pig

The Exact Science of Matrimony

The Ferry of Unfulfilment

The Fifth Wheel

The Flag Paramount

The Fool-Killer

The Foreign Policy of Company 99

The Fourth in Salvador

The Friendly Call

The Furnished Room

The Gift of the Magi

The Girl and the Graft

The Girl and the Habit

The Gold That Glittered

The Greater Coney

The Green Door

The Guardian of the Accolade

The Guilty Party - An East Side Tragedy

The Halberdier of the Little Rheinschloss

The Hand that Riles the World

The Handbook of Hymen

The Harbinger

The Head-Hunter

The Hiding of Black Bill

The Higher Abdication

The Higher Pragmatism

The Hypotheses of Failure

The Indian Summer of Dry Valley Johnson

The Lady Higher Up

The Last Leaf

The Last of the Troubadours

The Lonesome Road

The Lost Blend

The Lotus And The Bottle

The Love-Philtre of Ikey Schoenstein

The Making of a New Yorker

The Man Higher Up

The Marionettes

The Marquis and Miss Sally

The Marry Month of May

The Memento

The Missing Chord

The Moment of Victory

The Octopus Marooned

The Passing of Black Eagle

The Pendulum

The Phonograph and the Graft

The Pimienta Pancakes

The Plutonian Fire

The Poet and the Peasant

The Pride of the Cities

The Princess and the Puma

The Prisoner of Zembla

The Proem

The Purple Dress

The Ransom of Mack

The Ransom of Red Chief

The Rathskeller and the Rose

The Red Roses of Tonia

The Reformation of Calliope

The Remnants of the Code

The Renaissance at Charleroi

The Roads We Take

The Robe of Peace

The Romance of a Busy Broker

The Rose of Dixie

The Rubaiyat of a Scotch Highball

The Rubber Plant's Story

The Shamrock and the Palm

The Shocks of Doom

The Skylight Room

The Sleuths

The Snow Man

The Social Triangle

The Song and the Sergeant

The Sparrows in Madison Square

The Sphinx Apple

The Tale of a Tainted Tenner

The Theory and the Hound

The Thing's the Play

The Third Ingredient

The Trimmed Lamp

The Unknown Quantity

The Unprofitable Servant

The Venturers

The Vitagraphoscope

The Voice of the City

The Whirligig of Life

The World and the Door

Thimble, Thimble


To Him Who Waits

Tobin's Palm

Tommy's Burglar

Tracked to Doom

Transformation of Martin Burney

Transients in Arcadia

Two Recalls

Two Renegades

Two Thanksgiving Day Gentlemen

Ulysses and the Dogman

Vanity and Some Sables

What You Want

While the Auto Waits

Whistling Dick's Christmas Stocking

Witches' Loaves

I found myself in Texas recently, revisiting old places and vistas. At a
sheep ranch where I had sojourned many years ago, I stopped for a week.
And, as all visitors do, I heartily plunged into the business at hand,
which happened to be that of dipping the sheep.

Now, this process is so different from ordinary human baptism that it
deserves a word of itself. A vast iron cauldron with half the fires of
Avernus beneath it is partly filled with water that soon boils furiously.
Into that is cast concentrated lye, lime, and sulphur, which is allowed to
stew and fume until the witches' broth is strong enough to scorch the
third arm of Palladino herself.

Then this concentrated brew is mixed in a long, deep vat with cubic
gallons of hot water, and the sheep are caught by their hind legs and
flung into the compound. After being thoroughly ducked by means of a
forked pole in the hands of a gentleman detailed for that purpose, they
are allowed to clamber up an incline into a corral and dry or die, as the
state of their constitutions may decree. If you ever caught an
able-bodied, two-year-old mutton by the hind legs and felt the 750 volts
of kicking that he can send though your arm seventeen times before you can
hurl him into the vat, you will, of course, hope that he may die instead
of dry.

But this is merely to explain why Bud Oakley and I gladly stretched
ourselves on the bank of the nearby _charco_ after the dipping, glad for
the welcome inanition and pure contact with the earth after our
muscle-racking labours. The flock was a small one, and we finished at
three in the afternoon; so Bud brought from the _morral_ on his saddle
horn, coffee and a coffeepot and a big hunk of bread and some side bacon.
Mr. Mills, the ranch owner and my old friend, rode away to the ranch with
his force of Mexican _trabajadores_.

While the bacon was frizzling nicely, there was the sound of horses' hoofs
behind us. Bud's six-shooter lay in its scabbard ten feet away from his
hand. He paid not the slightest heed to the approaching horseman. This
attitude of a Texas ranchman was so different from the old-time custom
that I marvelled. Instinctively I turned to inspect the possible foe that
menaced us in the rear. I saw a horseman dressed in black, who might have
been a lawyer or a parson or an undertaker, trotting peaceably along the
road by the _arroyo_.

Bud noticed my precautionary movement and smiled sarcastically and

"You've been away too long," said he. "You don't need to look around any
more when anybody gallops up behind you in this state, unless something
hits you in the back; and even then it's liable to be only a bunch of
tracts or a petition to sign against the trusts. I never looked at that
_hombre_ that rode by; but I'll bet a quart of sheep dip that he's some
double-dyed son of a popgun out rounding up prohibition votes."

"Times have changed, Bud," said I, oracularly. "Law and order is the rule
now in the South and the Southwest."

I caught a cold gleam from Bud's pale blue eyes.

"Not that I --" I began, hastily.

"Of course you don't," said Bud warmly. "You know better. You've lived
here before. Law and order, you say? Twenty years ago we had 'em here.
We only had two or three laws, such as against murder before witnesses,
and being caught stealing horses, and voting the Republican ticket. But
how is it now? All we get is orders; and the laws go out of the state.
Them legislators set up there at Austin and don't do nothing but make laws
against kerosene oil and schoolbooks being brought into the state. I re
ckon they was afraid some man would go home some evening after work and
light up and get an education and go to work and make laws to repeal
aforesaid laws. Me, I'm for the old days when law and order meant what
they said. A law was a law, and a order was a order."

"But --" I began.

"I was going on," continued Bud, "while this coffee is boiling, to
describe to you a case of genuine law and order that I knew of once in the
times when cases was decided in the chambers of a six-shooter instead of a
supreme court.

"You've heard of old Ben Kirkman, the cattle king? His ranch run from the
Nueces to the Rio Grande. In them days, as you know, there was cattle
barons and cattle kings. The difference was this: when a cattleman went
to San Antone and bought beer for the newspaper reporters and only give
them the number of cattle he actually owned, they wrote him up for a
baron. When he bought 'em champagne wine and added in the amount of
cattle he had stole, they called him a king.

"Luke Summers was one of his range bosses. And down to the king's ranch
comes one day a bunch of these Oriental people from New York or Kansas
City or thereabouts. Luke was detailed with a squad to ride about with
'em, and see that the rattlesnakes got fair warning when they was coming,
and drive the deer out of their way. Among the bunch was a black-eyed
girl that wore a number two shoe. That's all I noticed about her. But
Luke must have seen more, for he married her one day before the
_caballard_ started back, and went over on Canada Verde and set up a ranch
of his own. I'm skipping over the sentimental stuff on purpose, because I
never saw or wanted to see any of it. And Luke takes me along with him
because we was old friends and I handled cattle to suit him.

"I'm skipping over much what followed, because I never saw or wanted to
see any of it -- but three years afterward there was a boy kid stumbling
and blubbering around the galleries and floors of Luke's ranch. I never
had no use for kids; but it seems they did. And I'm skipping over much
what followed until one day out to the ranch drives in hacks and
buckboards a lot of Mrs. Summers's friends from the East -- a sister or so
and two or three men. One looked like an uncle to somebody; and one
looked like nothing; and the other one had on corkscrew pants and spoke in
a tone of voice. I never liked a man who spoke in a tone of voice.

"I'm skipping over much what followed; but one afternoon when I rides up
to the ranch house to get some orders about a drove of beeves that was to
be shipped, I hears something like a popgun go off. I waits at the
hitching rack, not wishing to intrude on private affairs. In a little
while Luke comes out and gives some orders to some of his Mexican hands,
and they go and hitch up sundry and divers vehicles; and mighty soon out
comes one of the sisters or so and some of the two or three men. But two
of the two or thee men carries between 'em the corkscrew man who spoke in
a tone of voice, and lays him flat down in one of the wagons. And they
all might have been seen wending their way away.

"'Bud,' says Luke to me, 'I want you to fix up a little and go up to San
Antone with me.'

"'Let me get on my Mexican spurs,' says I, 'and I'm your company.'

"One of the sisters or so seems to have stayed at the ranch with Mrs.
Summers and the kid. We rides to Encinal and catches the International,
and hits San Antone in the morning. After breakfast Luke steers me
straight to the office of a lawyer. They go in a room and talk and then
come out.

"'Oh, there won't be any trouble, Mr. Summers,' says the lawyer. 'I'll
acquaint Judge Simmons with the facts to-day; and the matter will be put
through as promptly as possible. Law and order reigns in this state as
swift and sure as any in the country.'

"'I'll wait for the decree if it won't take over half an hour,' says Luke.

"'Tut, tut,' says the lawyer man. 'Law must take its course. Come back
day after to-morrow at half-past nine.'

"At that time me and Luke shows up, and the lawyer hands him a folded
document. And Luke writes him out a check.

"On the sidewalk Luke holds up the paper to me and puts a finger the size
of a kitchen door latch on it and says:

"'Decree of ab-so-lute divorce with cus-to-dy of the child.'

"'Skipping over much what has happened of which I know nothing,' says I,
'it looks to me like a split. Couldn't the lawyer man have made it a
strike for you?'

"'Bud,' says he, in a pained style, 'that child is the one thing I have to
live for. She may go; but the boy is mine! -- think of it -- I have
cus-to-dy of the child.'

"'All right,' says I. 'If it's the law, let's abide by it. But I think,'
says I, 'that Judge Simmons might have used exemplary clemency, or
whatever is the legal term, in our case.'

"You see, I wasn't inveigled much into the desirableness of having infants
around a ranch, except the kind that feed themselves and sell for so much
on the hoof when they grow up. But Luke was struck with that sort of
parental foolishness that I never could understand. All the way riding
from the station back to the ranch, he kept pulling that decree out of his
pocket and laying his finger on the back of it and reading off to me the
sum and substance of it. 'Cus-to-dy of the child, Bud,' says he. 'Don't
forget it -- cus-to-dy of the child.'

"But when we hits the ranch we finds our decree of court obviated, _nolle_
_prossed_, and remanded for trial. Mrs. Summers and the kid was gone.
They tell us that an hour after me and Luke had started for San Antone she
had a team hitched and lit out for the nearest station with her trunks and
the youngster.

"Luke takes out his decree once more and reads off its emoluments.

"'It ain't possible, Bud,' says he, 'for this to be. It's contrary to law
and order. It's wrote as plain as day here -- "Cus-to-dy of the child."'

"'There is what you might call a human leaning,' says I, 'toward smashing
'em both -- not to mention the child.'

"'Judge Simmons,' goes on Luke, 'is a incorporated officer of the law.
She can't take the boy away. He belongs to me by statutes passed and
approved by the state of Texas.'

"'And he's removed from the jurisdiction of mundane mandamuses,' says I,
'by the unearthly statutes of female partiality. Let us praise the Lord
and be thankful for whatever small mercies -- ' I begins; but I see Luke
don't listen to me. Tired as he was, he calls for a fresh horse and
starts back again for the station.

"He come back two weeks afterward, not saying much.

"'We can't get the trail,' says he; 'but we've done all the telegraphing
that the wires'll stand, and we've got these city rangers they call
detectives on the lookout. In the meantime, Bud,' says he, 'we'll round
up them cows on Brush Creek, and wait for the law to take its course.'"

And after that we never alluded to allusions, as you might say.

"Skipping over much what happened in the next twelve years, Luke was made
sheriff of Mojada County. He made me his office deputy. Now, don't get
in your mind no wrong apparitions of a office deputy doing sums in a book
or mashing letters in a cider press. In them days his job was to watch
the back windows so nobody didn't plug the sheriff in the rear while he
was adding up mileage at his desk in front. And in them days I had
qualifications for the job. And there was law and order in Mojada County,
and schoolbooks, and all the whiskey you wanted, and the Government built
its own battleships instead of collecting nickels from the school children
to do it with. And, as I say, there was law and order instead of
enactments and restrictions such as disfigure our umpire state to-day. We
had our office at Bildad, the county seat, from which we emerged forth on
necessary occasions to soothe whatever fracases and unrest that might
occur in our jurisdiction.

"Skipping over much what happened while me and Luke was sheriff, I want to
give you an idea of how the law was respected in them days. Luke was what
you would call one of the most conscious men in the world. He never knew
much book law, but he had the inner emoluments of justice and mercy
inculcated into his system. If a respectable citizen shot a Mexican or
held up a train and cleaned out the safe in the express car, and Luke ever
got hold of him, he'd give the guilty party such a reprimand and a cussin'
out that he'd probable never do it again. But once let somebody steal a
horse (unless it was a Spanish pony), or cut a wire fence, or otherwise
impair the peace and indignity of Mojada County, Luke and me would be on
'em with habeas corpuses and smokeless powder and all the modern
inventions of equity and etiquette.

"We certainly had our county on a basis of lawfulness. I've known persons
of Eastern classification with little spotted caps and buttoned-up shoes
to get off the train at Bildad and eat sandwiches at the railroad station
without being shot at or even roped and drug about by the citizens of the

"Luke had his own ideas of legality and justice. He was kind of training
me to succeed him when he went out of office. He was always looking ahead
to the time when he'd quit sheriffing. What he wanted to do was to build
a yellow house with lattice-work under the porch and have hens scratching
in the yard. The one main thing in his mind seemed to be the yard.

"'Bud,' he says to me, 'by instinct and sentiment I'm a contractor. I
want to be a contractor. That's what I'll be when I get out of office.'

"'What kind of a contractor?' says I. 'It sounds like a kind of a
business to me. You ain't going to haul cement or establish branches or
work on a railroad, are you?'

"'You don't understand,' says Luke. 'I'm tired of space and horizons and
territory and distances and things like that. What I want is reasonable
contraction. I want a yard with a fence around it that you can go out and
set on after supper and listen to whip-poor-wills,' says Luke.

"That's the kind of a man he was. He was home-like, although he'd had bad
luck in such investments. But he never talked about them times on the
ranch. It seemed like he'd forgotten about it. I wondered how, with his
ideas of yards and chickens and notions of lattice-work, he'd seemed to
have got out of his mind that kid of his that had been taken away from
him, unlawful, in spite of his decree of court. But he wasn't a man you
could ask about such things as he didn't refer to in his own conversation.

"I reckon he'd put all his emotions and ideas into being sheriff. I've
read in books about men that was disappointed in these poetic and
fine-haired and high-collared affairs with ladies renouncing truck of that
kind and wrapping themselves up into some occupation like painting
pictures, or herding sheep, or science, or teaching school -- something to
make 'em forget. Well, I guess that was the way with Luke. But, as he
couldn't paint pictures, he took it out in rounding up horse thieves and
in making Mojada County a safe place to sleep in if you was well armed and
not afraid of requisitions or tarantulas.

"One day there passes through Bildad a bunch of these money investors from
the East, and they stopped off there, Bildad being the dinner station on
the I. & G. N. They was just coming back from Mexico looking after
mines and such. There was five of 'em -- four solid parties, with gold
watch chains, that would grade up over two hundred pounds on the hoof, and
one kid about seventeen or eighteen.

"This youngster had on one of them cowboy suits such as tenderfoots bring
West with 'em; and you could see he was aching to wing a couple of Indians
or bag a grizzly or two with the little pearl-handled gun he had buckled
around his waist.

"I walked down to the depot to keep an eye on the outfit and see that they
didn't locate any land or scare the cow ponies hitched in front of
Murchison's store or act otherwise unseemly. Luke was away after a gang
of cattle thieves down on the Frio, and I always looked after the law and
order when he wasn't there.

"After dinner this boy comes out of the dining-room while the train was
waiting, and prances up and down the platform ready to shoot all antelope,
lions, or private citizens that might endeavour to molest or come too near
him. He was a good-looking kid; only he was like all them tenderfoots --
he didn't know a law-and-order town when he saw it.

"By and by along comes Pedro Johnson, the proprietor of the Crystal Palace
_chili-con-carne_ stand in Bildad. Pedro was a man who liked to amuse
himself; so he kind of herd rides this youngster, laughing at him, tickled
to death. I was too far away to hear, but the kid seems to mention some
remarks to Pedro, and Pedro goes up and slaps him about nine feet away,
and laughs harder than ever. And then the boy gets up quicker than he
fell and jerks out his little pearl-handle, and -- bing! bing! bing! Pedro
gets it three times in special and treasured portions of his carcass. I
saw the dust fly off his clothes every time the bullets hit. Sometimes
them little thirty-twos cause worry at close range.

"The engine bell was ringing, and the train starting off slow. I goes up
to the kid and places him under arrest, and takes away his gun. But the
first thing I knew that _caballard_ of capitalists makes a break for the
train. One of 'em hesitates in front of me for a second, and kind of
smiles and shoves his hand up against my chin, and I sort of laid down on
the platform and took a nap. I never was afraid of guns; but I don't want
any person except a barber to take liberties like that with my face again
. When I woke up, the whole outfit -- train, boy, and all -- was gone. I
asked about Pedro, and they told me the doctor said he would recover
provided his wounds didn't turn out to be fatal.

"When Luke got back three days later, and I told him about it, he was mad
all over.

"'Why'n't you telegraph to San Antone,' he asks, 'and have the bunch
arrested there?'

"'Oh, well,' says I, 'I always did admire telegraphy; but astronomy was
what I had took up just then.' That capitalist sure knew how to
gesticulate with his hands.

"Luke got madder and madder. He investigates and finds in the depot a
card one of the men had dropped that gives the address of some _hombre_
called Scudder in New York City.

"'Bud,' says Luke, 'I'm going after that bunch. I'm going there and get
the man or boy, as you say he was, and bring him back. I'm sheriff of
Mojada County, and I shall keep law and order in its precincts while I'm
able to draw a gun. And I want you to go with me. No Eastern Yankee can
shoot up a respectable and well-known citizen of Bildad, 'specially with a
thirty-two calibre, and escape the law. Pedro Johnson,' says Luke, 'is
one of our most prominent citizens and business men. I'll appoint Sam Bel
l acting sheriff with penitentiary powers while I'm away, and you and me
will take the six forty-five northbound to-morrow evening and follow up
this trail.'

"'I'm your company,' says I. 'I never see this New York, but I'd like
to. But, Luke,' says I, 'don't you have to have a dispensation or a
habeas corpus or something from the state, when you reach out that far for
rich men and malefactors?'

"'Did I have a requisition,' says Luke, 'when I went over into the Brazos
bottoms and brought back Bill Grimes and two more for holding up the
International? Did me and you have a search warrant or a posse comitatus
when we rounded up them six Mexican cow thieves down in Hidalgo? It's my
business to keep order in Mojada County.'

"'And it's my business as office deputy,' says I, 'to see that business is
carried on according to law. Between us both we ought to keep things
pretty well cleaned up.'

"So, the next day, Luke packs a blanket and some collars and his mileage
book in a haversack, and him and me hits the breeze for New York. It was
a powerful long ride. The seats in the cars was too short for six-footers
like us to sleep comfortable on; and the conductor had to keep us from
getting off at every town that had five-story houses in it. But we got
there finally; and we seemed to see right away that he was right about it.

"'Luke,' says I, 'as office deputy and from a law standpoint, it don't
look to me like this place is properly and legally in the jurisdiction of
Mojada County, Texas.'

"'From the standpoint of order,' says he, 'it's amenable to answer for its
sins to the properly appointed authorities from Bildad to Jerusalem.'

"'Amen,' says I. 'But let's turn our trick sudden, and ride. I don't
like the looks of this place.'

"'Think of Pedro Johnson,' says Luke, 'a friend of mine and yours shot
down by one of these gilded abolitionists at his very door!'

"'It was at the door of the freight depot,' says I. 'But the law will not
be balked at a quibble like that.'

"We put up at one of them big hotels on Broadway. The next morning I goes
down about two miles of stairsteps to the bottom and hunts for Luke. It
ain't no use. It looks like San Jacinto day in San Antone. There's a
thousand folks milling around in a kind of a roofed-over plaza with marble
pavements and trees growing right out of 'em, and I see no more chance of
finding Luke than if we was hunting each other in the big pear flat down
below Old Fort Ewell. But soon Luke and me runs together in one of the
turns of them marble alleys.

"'It ain't no use, Bud,' says he. 'I can't find no place to eat at. I've
been looking for restaurant signs and smelling for ham all over the camp.
But I'm used to going hungry when I have to. Now,' says he, 'I'm going
out and get a hack and ride down to the address on this Scudder card. You
stay here and try to hustle some grub. But I doubt if you'll find it. I
wish we'd brought along some cornmeal and bacon and beans. I'll be back
when I see this Scudder, if the trail ain't wiped out.'

"So I starts foraging for breakfast. For the honour of old Mojada County
I didn't want to seem green to them abolitionists, so every time I turned
a corner in them marble halls I went up to the first desk or counter I see
and looks around for grub. If I didn't see what I wanted I asked for
something else. In about half an hour I had a dozen cigars, five story
magazines, and seven or eight railroad time-tables in my pockets, and
never a smell of coffee or bacon to point out the trail.

"Once a lady sitting at a table and playing a game kind of like pushpin
told me to go into a closet that she called Number 3. I went in and shut
the door, and the blamed thing lit itself up. I set down on a stool
before a shelf and waited. Thinks I, 'This is a private dining-room.' But
no waiter never came. When I got to sweating good and hard, I goes out

"'Did you get what you wanted?' says she.

"'No, ma'am,' says I. 'Not a bite.'

"'Then there's no charge,' says she.

"'Thanky, ma'am,' says I, and I takes up the trail again.

"By and by I thinks I'll shed etiquette; and I picks up one of them boys
with blue clothes and yellow buttons in front, and he leads me to what he
calls the caffay breakfast room. And the first thing I lays my eyes on
when I go in is that boy that had shot Pedro Johnson. He was setting all
alone at a little table, hitting a egg with a spoon like he was afraid
he'd break it.

"I takes the chair across the table from him; and he looks insulted and
makes a move like he was going to get up.

"'Keep still, son,' says I. 'You're apprehended, arrested, and in charge
of the Texas authorities. Go on and hammer that egg some more if it's the
inside of it you want. Now, what did you shoot Mr. Johnson, of Bildad,

"And may I ask who you are?' says he.

"'You may,' says I. 'Go ahead.'

"'I suppose you're on,' says this kid, without batting his eyes. 'But
what are you eating? Here, waiter!' he calls out, raising his finger.
'Take this gentleman's order.

"'A beefsteak,' says I, 'and some fried eggs and a can of peaches and a
quart of coffee will about suffice.'

"We talk awhile about the sundries of life and then he says:

"'What are you going to do about that shooting? I had a right to shoot
that man,' says he. 'He called me names that I couldn't overlook, and
then he struck me. He carried a gun, too. What else could I do?'

"'We'll have to take you back to Texas,' says I.

"'I'd like to go back,' says the boy, with a kind of a grin -- 'if it
wasn't on an occasion of this kind. It's the life I like. I've always
wanted to ride and shoot and live in the open air ever since I can
remember. '

"'Who was this gang of stout parties you took this trip with?' I asks.

"'My stepfather,' says he, 'and some business partners of his in some
Mexican mining and land schemes.'

"'I saw you shoot Pedro Johnson,' says I, 'and I took that little popgun
away from you that you did it with. And when I did so I noticed three or
four little scars in a row over your right eyebrow. You've been in rookus
before, haven't you?'

"'I've had these scars ever since I can remember,' says he. 'I don't know
how they came there. '

"'Was you ever in Texas before?' says I.

"'Not that I remember of,' says he. 'But I thought I had when we struck
the prairie country. But I guess I hadn't.'

"'Have you got a mother?' I asks.

"'She died five years ago,' says he.

"Skipping over the most of what followed -- when Luke came back I turned
the kid over to him. He had seen Scudder and told him what he wanted; and
it seems that Scudder got active with one of these telephones as soon as
he left. For in about an hour afterward there comes to our hotel some of
these city rangers in everyday clothes that they call detectives, and
marches the whole outfit of us to what they call a magistrate's court.
They accuse Luke of at-tempted kidnapping, and ask him what he has to say.

"'This snipe,' says Luke to the judge, 'shot and wilfully punctured with
malice and forethought one of the most respected and prominent citizens of
the town of Bildad, Texas, Your Honor. And in so doing laid himself
liable to the penitence of law and order. And I hereby make claim and
demand restitution of the State of New York City for the said alleged
criminal; and I know he done it.'

"'Have you the usual and necessary requisition papers from the governor of
your state?' asks the judge.

"'My usual papers,' says Luke, 'was taken away from me at the hotel by
these gentlemen who represent law and order in your city. They was two
Colt's .45's that I've packed for nine years; and if I don't get 'em back,
there'll be more trouble. You can ask anybody in Mojada County about Luke
Summers. I don't usually need any other kind of papers for what I do.'

"I see the judge looks mad, so I steps up and says:

"'Your Honor, the aforesaid defendant, Mr. Luke Summers, sheriff of Mojada
County, Texas, is as fine a man as ever threw a rope or upheld the
statutes and codicils of the greatest state in the Union. But he --'

"The judge hits his table with a wooden hammer and asks who I am.

"Bud Oakley,' says I. 'Office deputy of the sheriff's office of Mojada
County, Texas. Representing,' says I, 'the Law. Luke Summers,' I goes
on, 'represents Order. And if Your Honor will give me about ten minutes
in private talk, I'll explain the whole thing to you, and show you the
equitable and legal requisition papers which I carry in my pocket.'

"The judge kind of half smiles and says he will talk with me in his
private room. In there I put the whole thing up to him in such language
as I had, and when we goes outside, he announces the verdict that the
young man is delivered into the hands of the Texas authorities; and calls
the next case.

"Skipping over much of what happened on the way back, I'll tell you how
the thing wound up in Bildad.

"When we got the prisoner in the sheriff's office, I says to Luke:

"'You, remember that kid of yours -- that two-year old that they stole
away from you when the bust-up come?'

"Luke looks black and angry. He'd never let anybody talk to him about
that business, and he never mentioned it himself.

"'Toe the mark,' says I. 'Do you remember when he was toddling around on
the porch and fell down on a pair of Mexican spurs and cut four little
holes over his right eye? Look at the prisoner,' says I, 'look at his
nose and the shape of his head and -- why, you old fool, don't you know
your own son? -- I knew him,' says I, 'when he perforated Mr. Johnson at
the depot.'

"Luke comes over to me shaking all over. I never saw him lose his nerve

"'Bud,' says he. 'I've never had that boy out of my mind one day or one
night since he was took away. But I never let on. But can we hold him?
-- Can we make him stay? -- I'll make the best man of him that ever put
his foot in a stirrup. Wait a minute,' says he, all excited and out of
his mind -- 'I've got some-thing here in my desk -- I reckon it'll hold
legal yet -- I've looked at it a thousand times -- " Cus-to-dy of the
child," says Luke -- "Cus-to-dy of the child." We can hold him on that,
can't we? Le'me see if I can find that decree.'

"Luke begins to tear his desk to pieces.

"'Hold on,' says I. 'You are Order and I'm Law. You needn't look for
that paper, Luke. It ain't a decree any more. It's requisition papers.
It's on file in that Magistrate's office in New York. I took it along
when we went, because I was office deputy and knew the law.'

"'I've got him back,' says Luke. 'He's mine again. I never thought -- '

"'Wait a minute,' says I. 'We've got to have law and order. You and me
have got to preserve 'em both in Mojada County according to our oath and
conscience. The kid shot Pedro Johnson, one of Bildad's most prominent
and --'

"'Oh, hell!' says Luke. 'That don't amount to anything. That fellow was
half Mexican, anyhow.'"

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