“Now I thoroughly saveys,” remarked the Old Cattleman reflectively, at a crisis in our conversation when the talk turned on men of small and cowardly measure, “I thoroughly saveys that taste for battle that lurks in the deefiles of folk’s nacher like a wolf in the hills Which I reckons now that I, myse’f, is one of the peacefullest people as ever belts on a weepon; but in my instincts–while I never jestifies or follows his example–I cl’arly apprehends the emotions of a gent who convenes with another gent all sim’lar, an’ expresses his views with his gun. Sech is human nacher onrestrained, an’ the same, while deplorable, is not s’prisin’.
“But this yere Olson I has in my mem’ry don’t have no sech manly feelin’s as goes with a gun play. Olson is that cowardly he’s even furtive; an’ for a low-flung measly game let me tell you-all what Olson does. It’s shorely ornery.
“It all arises years ago, back in Tennessee, an’ gets its first start out of a hawg which is owned by Olson an’ is downed by a gent named Hoskins–Bill Hoskins. It’s this a-way.
“Back in Tennessee in my dream-wreathed yooth, when livestock goes projectin’ about permiscus, a party has to build his fences ‘bull strong, hawg tight, an’ hoss high,’ or he takes results. Which Hoskins don’t make his fences to conform to this yere rool none; leastwise they ain’t hawg tight as is shown by one of Olson’s hawgs.
“The hawg comes pirootin’ about Hoskins’s fence, an’ he goes through easy; an’ the way that invadin’ animal turns Bill’s potatoes bottom up don’t hinder him a bit. He shorely loots Bill’s lot; that’s whatever.
“But Bill, perceivin’ of Olson’s hawg layin’ waste his crop, reaches down a 8-squar’ rifle, 30 to the pound, an’ stretches the hawg. Which this is where Bill falls into error. Layin’ aside them deeficiencies in Bill’s fence, it’s cl’ar at a glance a hawg can’t be held responsible. Hawgs is ignorant an’ tharfore innocent; an’ while hawgs can be what Doc Peets calls a’ CASUS BELLI,’ they can’t be regarded as a foe legitimate.
“Now what Bill oughter done, if he feels like this yore hawg’s done put it all over him, is to go an’ lay for Olson. Sech action by Bill would have been some excessive,–some high so to speak; but it would have been a line shot. Whereas killin’ the hawg is ‘way to one side of the mark; an’ onder.
“However, as I states, Bill bein’ hasty that a-way, an’ oncapable of perhaps refined reasonin’, downs the pig, an’ stands pat, waitin’ for Olson to fill his hand, if he feels so moved.
“It’s at this pinch where the cowardly nacher of this yere Olson begins to shine. He’s ugly as a wolf about Bill copperin’ his hawg that a-way, but he don’t pack the nerve to go after Bill an’ make a round-up of them grievances. An’ he ain’t allowin’ to pass it up none onrevenged neither. Now yere’s what Olson does; he ’sassinates Bill’s pet raccoon.
“That’s right, son, jest massacres a pore, confidin’ raccoon, who don’t no more stand in on that hawg-killin’ of Bill’s, than me an’ you,–don’t even advise it.
“Which I shorely allows you saveys all thar is to know about a raccoon. No? Well, a raccoon’s like this: In the first place he’s plumb easy, an’ ain’t lookin’ for no gent to hold out kyards or ring a cold deck on him. That’s straight; a raccoon is simple-minded that a-way; an’ his impressive trait is, he’s meditative. Besides bein’ nacherally thoughtful, a raccoon is a heap melancholy,–he jest sets thar an’ absorbs melancholy from merely bein’ alive.
“But if a raccoon is melancholy or gets wropped in thought that a- way, it’s after all his own play. It’s to his credit that once when he’s tamed, he’s got mountainous confidence in men, an’ will curl up to sleep where you be an’ shet both eyes. He’s plumb trustful; an’ moreover, no matter how mournful a raccoon feels, or how plumb melancholy he gets, he don’t pester you with no yarns.