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“If they look so awful alike in the heavenly gyarden,” the gentle Southerner continued, “I’d just hate to be the folks that has the cuttin’ of ’em out o’ the general herd. And that’s a right quaint notion too,” he added softly. “Them under the chair are Uncle Hughey’s, didn’t you tell me?” And stooping, he lifted the torpid babies and placed them beneath a table. “No, that ain’t thorough,” he murmured. With wonderful dexterity and solicitude for their wellfare, he removed the loose wrap which was around them, and this soon led to an intricate process of exchange. For a moment Mr. McLean had been staring at the Virginian, puzzled. Then, with a joyful yelp of enlightenment, he sprang to abet him.
And while both busied themselves with the shawls and quilts, the unconscious parents went dancing vigorously on, and the small, occasional cries of their progeny did not reach them.
Chapter 11 “You Re Going To Love Me Before We Get Through”
The Swinton barbecue was over. T nike air max 1 red he fiddles were silent, the steer was eaten, the barrel emptied, or largely so, and the tapers extinguished; round the house and sunken fire all movement of guests was quiet; the families were long departed homeward, and after their hospitable turbulence, the Swintons slept.
Mr. and Mrs. Westfall drove through the night, and as they neared their cabin there came from among the bundled wraps a still, small voice.
nike air max 1 leopard “Jim,” said his wife, “I said Alfred would catch cold.”
“Bosh! Lizzie, don’t you fret. He’s a little more than a yearlin’, and of course he’ll snuffle.” And young James took a kiss from his love.
“Well, how you can speak of Alfred that way, calling him a yearling, as if he was a calf, and he just as much your child as mine, I don’t see, James Westfall!”
“Why, what under the sun do you mean?”
“There he goes again! Do hurry up home, Jim. He’s got a real strange cough.”
So they hurried home. Soon the nine miles were finished, and good James was unhitching by his stable lantern, while his wife in the house hastened to commit their offspring to bed. The traces had dropped, and each horse marched forward for further unbuckling, when James heard himself called. Indeed, there was that in his wife’s voice which made him jerk out hi nike air max 1 black s pistol as he ran. But it was no bear or Indian–only two strange children on the bed. His wife was glaring at them.
He sighed with relief and laid down the pistol.
“Put that on again, James Westfall. You’ll need it. Look here!”
“Well, they won’t bite. Whose are they? Where have you stowed ourn?”
“Where have I–” Utterance forsook this mother for a moment. “And you ask me!” she continued. “Ask Lin McLean. Ask him that sets bulls on folks and steals slippers, what he’s done with our innocent lambs, mixing them up with other people’s coughing, unhealthy brats. That’s Charlie Taylor in Alfred’s clothes, and I know Alfred didn’t cough like that, and I said to you it was strange; and the other one that’s been put in Christopher’s new quilts is not even a bub–bub–boy!”
As this crime against society loomed clear to James Westf all’s understanding, he sat down on the nearest piece of furniture, and heedless of his wife’s tears and his exchanged children, broke into unregenerate laughter. Doubtless after his sharp alarm about the bear, he was unstrung. His lady, however, promptly restrung him; and by the time they had repacked the now clamorous changelings, and were rattling on their way to the Taylors’, he began to share her outraged feelings properly, as a husband and a father should; but when he reached the Taylors’ and learned from Miss Wood that at this house a child had been unwrapped whom nobody could at all identify, and that Mr. and Mrs. Taylor were already far on the road to the Swintons’, James Westfall whipped up his horses and grew almost as thirsty for revenge as was his wife.
Where the steer had been roasted, the powdered ashes were now cold white, and Mr. McLean, feeling through his dreams the change of dawn come over the air, sat up cautiously among the outdoor slumberers and waked his neighbor.
“Day will be soon,” he whispered, “and we must light out of this. I never suspicioned yu’ had that much of the devil in you before.”
“I reckon some of the fellows will act haidstrong,” the Virginian murmured luxuriously, among the warmth of his blankets.
“I tell yu’ we must skip,” said Lin, for the second time; and he rubbed the Virginian’s black head, which alone was visible.
“Skip, then, you,” came muffled from within, “and keep you’self mighty sca’ce till they can appreciate our frolic.”
The Southerner withdrew deeper into his bed, and Mr. McLean, informing him that he was a fool, arose and saddled his horse. From the saddle-bag, he brought a parcel, and air max 1 lightly laying this beside Bokay Baldy, he mounted and was gone. When Baldy awoke later, he found the parcel to be a pair of flowery slippers.
In selecting the inert Virginian as the fool, Mr. McLean was scarcely wise; it is the absent who are always guilty.
Before ever Lin could have been a mile in retreat, the rattle of the wheels roused all of them, and here came the Taylors. Before the Taylors’ knocking had brought the Swintons to their door, other wheels sounded, and here were Mr. and Mrs. Carmody, and Uncle Hughey with his wife, and close after them Mr. Dow, alone, who told how his wife had gone into one of her fits–she upon whom Dr. Barker at Drybone had enjoined total abstinence from all excitement. Voices of women and children began to be up lifted; the Westfalls arrived in a lather, and the Thomases; and by sun nike air max 1 ebay rise, what with fathers and mothers and spectators and loud offspring, there was gathered such a meeting as has seldom been before among the generations of speaking men. To-day you can hear legends of it from Texas to Montana; but I am giving you the full particulars.
Of course they pitched upon poor Lin. Here was the Virginian doing his best, holding horses and helping ladies descend, while the name of McLean began to be muttered with threats. Soon a party led by Mr. Dow set forth in search of him, and the Southerner debated a moment if he had better not put them on a wrong track. But he concluded that they might safely go on searching.
Mrs. Westfall found Christopher at once in the green shawl of Anna Maria Dow, but all was not achieved thus in the twinkling of an eye. Mr. McLean had, it appeared, as James Westfall lugub nike air max 1 grey riously pointed out, not merely “swapped the duds; he had shuffled the whole doggone deck;” and they cursed this Satanic invention. The fathers were but of moderate assistance; it was the mothers who did the heavy work; and by ten o’clock some unsolved problems grew so delicate that a ladies’ caucus was organized in a private room,–no admittance for men,–and what was done there I can o cheap nike air max 1 nly surmise.
During its progress the search party returned. It had not found Mr. McLean. It had found a tree with a notice pegged upon it, reading, “God bless our home!” This was captured.
But success attended the caucus; each mother emerged, satisfied that she had received her own, and each sire, now that his family was itself again, began to look at his neighbor sideways. After a man has been angry enough to kill another man, after the fire of righteous slaughter has raged in his heart as it had certainly raged for several hours in the hearts of these fathers, the flame will usually burn itself out. This will be so in a generous nature, unless the cause of the anger is still unchanged. But the children had been identified; none had taken hurt. All had been humanely given their nourishment. The thing was over. The day was beautiful. A tempting feast remained from the barbecue. These Bear Creek fathers could not keep their ire at red heat. Most of them, being as yet more their wives’ lovers than their children’s parents, began to see the mirthful side of the adventure; and they ceased to feel very severely towar cheap air max 1 d Lin McLean.
Not so the women. They cried for vengeance; but they cried in vain, and were met with smiles.
Mrs. Westfall argued long that punishment should be dealt the offender. “Anyway,” she persisted, “it was real defiant of him putting that up on the tree. I might forgive him but for that.”
“Yes,” spoke the Virginian in their midst, “that wasn’t sort o’ right. Especially as I am the man you’re huntin’.”
They sat dumb at his assurance.
“Come and kill me,” he continued, round upon the party. “I’ll not resist.”
But they could not resist the way in which he had looked round upon nike air max 1 sale them. He had chosen the right moment for his confession, as a captain of a horse awaits the proper time for a charge. Some rebukes he did receive; the worst came from the mothers. And all that he could say for himself was, “I am getting off too easy.”
“But what was your point?” said Westfall.
“Blamed if I know any more. I expect it must nike air max 1 have been the whiskey.”
“I would mind it less,” said Mrs. Westfall, “if you looked a bit sorry or ashamed.”
The Virginian shook his head at her penitently. “I’m tryin’ to,” he said.
And thus he sat disarming his accusers until they began to lunch upon the copious remnants of the barbecue. He did not join them at this meal. In telling you that Mrs. Dow was the only lady absent upon this historic morning, I was guilty of an inadvertence. There was one other.
The Virginian rode away sedately through the autumn sunshine; and as he went he asked his Monte horse a question. “Do yu’ reckon she’ll have forgotten you too, you pie-biter?” said he. Instead of the new trousers, the nike air max 1 sale cow-puncher’s leathern chaps were on his legs. But he had the new scarf knotted at his neck. Most men would gladly have equalled him in appearance. “You Monte,” said he, “will she be at home?”
It was Sunday, and no school day, and he found her in her cabin that stood next the Taylors’ house. Her eyes were very bright.
“I’d thought I’d just call,” said he.
“Why, that’s such a pity! Mr. and Mrs. Taylor are away.”
“Yes; they’ve been right busy. That’s why I thought I’d call. Will yu’ come for a ride, ma’am?”
“Dear me! nike air max 1 premium I–”
“You can ride my hawss. He’s gentle.”
“What! And you walk?” ③

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