**** ROTATE **** **** ROTATE **** **** ROTATE **** **** ROTATE ****

Find this Story

Print, a form you can hold

Wireless download to your Amazon Kindle

Look for a summary or analysis of this Story.

Enjoy this? Share it!


Hygeia at the Solito
by [?]

So, then, it was no surprise to the ranchhold when the buckboard spun to the door, and Raidler took up his debile /protege/ like a handful of rags and set him down upon the gallery.

McGuire looked upon things strange to him. The ranch-house was the best in the country. It was built of brick hauled one hundred miles by wagon, but it was of but one story, and its four rooms were completely encircled by a mud floor “gallery.” The miscellaneous setting of horses, dogs, saddles, wagons, guns, and cow-punchers’ paraphernalia oppressed the metropolitan eyes of the wrecked sportsman.

“Well, here we are at home,” said Raidler, cheeringly.

“It’s a h–l of a looking place,” said McGuire promptly, as he rolled upon the gallery floor in a fit of coughing.

“We’ll try to make it comfortable for you, buddy,” said the cattleman gently. “It ain’t fine inside; but it’s the outdoors, anyway, that’ll do you the most good. This’ll be your room, in here. Anything we got, you ask for it.”

He led McGuire into the east room. The floor was bare and clean. White curtains waved in the gulf breeze through the open windows. A big willow rocker, two straight chairs, a long table covered with newspapers, pipes, tobacco, spurs, and cartridges stood in the centre. Some well-mounted heads of deer and one of an enormous black javeli projected from the walls. A wide, cool cot-bed stood in a corner. Nueces County people regarded this guest chamber as fit for a prince. McGuire showed his eyeteeth at it. He took out his nickel and spun it up to the ceiling.

“T’ought I was lyin’ about the money, did ye? Well, you can frisk me if you wanter. Dat’s the last simoleon in the treasury. Who’s goin’ to pay?”

The cattleman’s clear grey eyes looked steadily from under his grizzly brows into the huckleberry optics of his guest. After a little he said simply, and not ungraciously, “I’ll be much obliged to you, son, if you won’t mention money any more. Once was quite a plenty. Folks I ask to my ranch don’t have to pay anything, and they very scarcely ever offers it. Supper’ll be ready in half an hour. There’s water in the pitcher, and some, cooler, to drink, in that red jar hanging on the gallery.”

“Where’s the bell?” asked McGuire, looking about.

“Bell for what?”

“Bell to ring for things. I can’t–see here,” he exploded in a sudden, weak fury, “I never asked you to bring me here. I never held you up for a cent. I never gave you a hard-luck story till you asked me. Here I am fifty miles from a bellboy or a cocktail. I’m sick. I can’t hustle. Gee! but I’m up against it!” McGuire fell upon the cot and sobbed shiveringly.

Raidler went to the door and called. A slender, bright-complexioned Mexican youth about twenty came quickly. Raidler spoke to him in Spanish.

“Ylario, it is in my mind that I promised you the position of /vaquero/ on the San Carlos range at the fall /rodeo/.”

“/Si, senor/, such was your goodness.”

“Listen. This /senorito/ is my friend. He is very sick. Place yourself at his side. Attend to his wants at all times. Have much patience and care with him. And when he is well, or–and when he is well, instead of /vaquero/ I will make you /mayordomo/ of the Rancho de las Piedras. /Esta bueno/?”

“/Si, si–mil gracias, senor/.” Ylario tried to kneel upon the floor in his gratitude, but the cattleman kicked at him benevolently, growling, “None of your opery-house antics, now.”

Ten minutes later Ylario came from McGuire’s room and stood before Raidler.

“The little /senor/,” he announced, “presents his compliments” (Raidler credited Ylario with the preliminary) “and desires some pounded ice, one hot bath, one gin feez-z, that the windows be all closed, toast, one shave, one Newyorkheral’, cigarettes, and to send one telegram.”

Raidler took a quart bottle of whisky from his medicine cabinet. “Here, take him this,” he said.