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“Good evening,” said the Virginian.
“Just come to town?” pursued the drummer.
“Just come to town,” the Virginian suavely assented.
“Cattle business jumping along?” inquired the drummer.
“Oh, fair.” And the Virginian took some more corned beef.
“Gets a move on your appetite, anyway,” suggested the drummer.
The Virginian drank some coffe nike air max 90 e. Presently the pretty woman refilled his cup without his asking her.
“Guess I’ve met you before,” the drummer stated next.
The Virginian glanced at him for a brief moment.
“Haven’t I, now? Ain’t I seen you somewhere? Look at me. You been in Chicago, ain’t you? You look at me well. Remember Ikey’s, don’t you?”
“I don’t reckon I do.”
“See, now! I knowed you’d been in Chicago. Four or five years ago. Or maybe it’s two years. Time’s nothing to me. But I never forget a face. Yes, sir. Him and me’s met at Ikey’s, all right.” This important point the drummer stated to all of us. We were called to witness how well he had proved old acquaintanceship. “Ain’t the world small, though!” he exclaimed complacently. “Meet a man once and you’re sure to run on to him again. That’s straight. That’s no bar-room josh.” And the drummer’s eye nike air max 95 included us all in his confidence. I wondered if he had attained that high perfection when a man believes his own lies.
The Virginian did not seem interested. He placidly attended to his food, while our landlady moved between dining room and kitchen, and the drummer expanded.
“Yes, sir! Ikey’s over by the stock-yards, patronized by all cattle-men that know what’s what. That’s where. Maybe it’s three years. Time never was nothing to me. But faces! Why, I can’t quit ’em. Adults or children, male and female; onced I seen ’em I couldn’t lose one off my memory, not if you were to pay me bounty, five dollars a face. White men, that is. Can’t do nothing with niggers or Chinese. But you’re white, all right.” The drummer suddenly returned to the Virginian with this high compliment. The cow-puncher had taken out a pipe, and was s cheap nike air max lowly rubbing it. The compliment seemed to escape nike air max sale his attention, and the drummer went on.
“I can tell a man when he’s white, put him at Ikey’s or out loose here in the sage-brush.” And he rolled a cigar across to the Virginian’s plate.
“Selling them?” inquired the Virginian.
“Solid goods, my friend. Havana wrappers, the biggest tobacco proposition for five cents got out yet. Take it, try it, light it, watch it burn. Here.” And he held out a bunch of matches.
The Virginian tossed a five-cent piece over to him.
“Oh, no, my friend! Not from you! Not after Ikey’s. I don’t forget you. See? I knowed your face right away. See? That’s straight. I seen you at Chicago all right.”
“Maybe you did,” said the Virginian. “Sometimes I’m mighty careless what I look at.”
“Well, py damn!” now exclaimed the Dutch cheap nike air max drummer, hilariously. “I am ploom disappointed. I vas hoping to sell him somedings myself.”
“Not the same here,” stated the American. “He’s too healthy for me. I gave him up on sight.”
Now it was the American drummer whose bed the Virginian had in his eye. This was a sensible man, and had talked less than his brothers in the trade. I had little doubt who would end by sleeping in his bed; but how the thing would be done interested me more deeply than ever.
The Virginian looked amiably at his intended victim, and made one or two remarks regarding patent medicines. There must be a good deal of money in them, he supposed, with a live man to manage them. The victim was flattered. No other person at the table had been favored cheap nike air max trainers with so much of the tall cow-puncher’s notice. He responded, and they had a pleasant talk. I did not divine that the Virginian’s genius was even then at work, and that all this was part of his satanic strategy. But Steve must have divined it. For while a few of us still sat finishing our supper, that facetious horseman returned from doctoring his horse’s hoofs, put his head into the dining room, took in the way in which the Virginian was engaging his victim in conversation, remarked aloud, “I’ve lost!” and closed the door again.
“What’s he lost?” inquired the Americ nike air max 1 an drummer.
“Oh, you mustn’t mind him,” drawled the Virginian. “He’s one of those box-head jokers goes around openin’ and shuttin’ doors that-a-way. We call him harmless. Well,” he broke off, “I reckon I’ll go smoke. Not allowed in hyeh?” This last he addressed to the landlady, with especial gentleness. She shook her head, and her eyes followed him as he went out.
Left to myself I meditated for some time upon my lodging for the night, and smoked a cigar for consolation as I walked about. It was not a hotel that we had supped in. Hotel at Medicine Bow there appeared to be none. But connected with the eating-house was that place where, according to Steve, the beds were all taken, and there I went to see for myself. Steve had spoken the truth. It was a single apartment containing four or five beds, and nothing else whatever. And when I looked at these beds, my sorrow that I could sleep in none of them grew less. To be alone in one offered no temptation, and as for this courtesy of the country, this doubling up–!
“Well, they have got ahead of us.” This was the Virginian standing at my elbow.
I assented.
“They have staked out their c cheap nike air max trainers laims,” he added.
In this public sleeping room they had done what one does to secure a seat in a railroad train. Upon each bed, as notice of occupancy, lay some article of travel or of dress. As we stood there, the two Jews came in and opened and arranged their valises, and folded and refolded their linen dusters. Then a railroad employee entered and began to go to bed at this hour, before dusk had wholly darkened into night. For him, going to bed meant removing his boots and placing his overalls and waistcoat beneath his pillow. He had no coat. His work began at three in the morning; and even as we still talked he be nike air max 90 sale gan to snore.
“The man that keeps the store is a friend of mine,” said the Virginian; “and you can be pretty near comfortable on his counter. Got any Blankets?”
I had no blankets.
“Looking for a bed?” inquired the American drummer, now arriving.
“Yes, he’s looking for a bed,” answered the voice of Steve behind him.
“Seems a waste of time,” observed the Virginian. He looked thoughtfully from one bed to another. “I cheap nike air max 90 didn’t know I’d have to lay over here. Well, I have sat up before.”
“This one’s mine,” said the drummer, sitting down on it. “Half’s plenty enough room for me.”
“You’re cert’nly mighty kind,” said the cowpuncher. “But I’d not think o’ disconveniencing yu’.”
“That’s nothing. The other half is yours. Turn in right now if you feel like it.”
“No. I don’t reckon I’ll turn in right now. Better keep your bed to yourself.”
“See here,” urged the drummer, “if I take you I’m safe from drawing some party I might not care so much about. This here sleeping proposition is a lottery.”
“Well,” said the Virginian (and his hesitation was truly masterly), “if you put it that way–”
“I do put it that way. Why, you’re clean! You’ve had a shave right now. You turn in when you feel inclined, old man! I ain’t retiring just yet.”
The drummer had s nike air max truck a slightly false note in these last remarks. He should not have said “old man.” Until this I had thought him merely an amiable person who wished to do a favor. But “old man” came in wrong. It had a hateful taint of his profession; the being too soon with everybody, the celluloid good-fellowship that passes for ivory with nine in ten of the city crowd. But not so with the sons of the sagebrush. They live nearer nature, and they know better.
But the Virginian blandly accepted “old man” from his victim: he had a game to play. “Well, I cert’nly thank yu’,” he said. “After a while I’ll take advantage of your kind offer.”
I was surprised. Possession being nine points of the law, it seemed his very chance to intrench himself in the bed. But the cow-puncher had planned a campaign needing no intrenchments. Moreover, going to nike air max classic bed before nine o’clock upon the first evening in many weeks that a town’s resources were open to you, would be a dull proceeding. Our entire company, drummer and all, now walked over to the store, and here my sleeping arrangements were made easily. This store was the cleanest place and the best in Medicine Bow, and would have been a good store anywhere, offering a multitude of things for sale, and kept by a very civil proprietor. He bade me make myself at home, and placed both of his counters at my disposal. Upon the grocery side there stood a cheese too large and strong to sleep near comfortably, and I therefore chose the dry-goods side. Here thick quilts were unrolled for me, to make it soft; and no condition was placed upon me, further than that I should remove my boots, because the quilts were new, and clean, and for cheap nike air max sale. So now my rest was assured. Not an anxiety remained in my thoughts. These therefore turned themselves wholly to the other man’s bed, and how he was going to lose it.
I think that Steve was more curious even than myself. Time was on the wing. His bet must be decided, and the drinks enjoyed. He stood against the grocery counter, contemplating the Virginian. But it was to me that he spoke. The Virginian, however, listened to every word.
“Your first visit to this country?”
I told him yes. ③

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