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Seats of the Haughty
by [?]

“‘Why, no,’ says I, being ready enough to exchange personalities with this moneyed monument of melancholy. ‘I had this suit tailored from a special line of coatericks, vestures, and pantings in St. Louis. Would you mind putting me sane,’ says I, ‘on this watch-throwing contest? I’ve been used to seeing time-pieces treated with more politeness and esteem–except women’s watches, of course, which by nature they abuse by cracking walnuts with ’em and having ’em taken showing in tintype pictures.’

“‘Me and George,’ he explains, ‘are up from the ranch, having a spell of fun. Up to last month we owned four sections of watered grazing down on the San Miguel. But along comes one of these oil prospectors and begins to bore. He strikes a gusher that flows out twenty thousand –or maybe it was twenty million–barrels of oil a day. And me and George gets one hundred and fifty thousand dollars–seventy-five thousand dollars apiece–for the land. So now and then we saddles up and hits the breeze for Atascosa City for a few days of excitement and damage. Here’s a little bunch of the /dinero/ that I drawed out of the bank this morning,’ says he, and shows a roll of twenties and fifties as big around as a sleeping-car pillow. The yellowbacks glowed like a sunset on the gable end of John D.’s barn. My knees got weak, and I sat down on the edge of the board sidewalk.

“‘You must have knocked around a right smart,’ goes on this oil Grease-us. ‘I shouldn’t be surprised if you have saw towns more livelier than what Atascosa City is. Sometimes it seems to me that there ought to be some more ways of having a good time than there is here, ‘specially when you’ve got plenty of money and don’t mind spending it.’

“Then this Mother Cary’s chick of the desert sits down by me and we hold a conversationfest. It seems that he was money-poor. He’d lived in ranch camps all his life; and he confessed to me that his supreme idea of luxury was to ride into camp, tired out from a round-up, eat a peck of Mexican beans, hobble his brains with a pint of raw whisky, and go to sleep with his boots for a pillow. When this barge-load of unexpected money came to him and his pink but perky partner, George, and they hied themselves to this clump of outhouses called Atascosa City, you know what happened to them. They had money to buy anything they wanted; but they didn’t know what to want. Their ideas of spendthriftiness were limited to three–whisky, saddles, and gold watches. If there was anything else in the world to throw away fortunes on, they had never heard about it. So, when they wanted to have a hot time, they’d ride into town and get a city directory and stand in front of the principal saloon and call up the population alphabetically for free drinks. Then they would order three or four new California saddles from the storekeeper, and play crack-loo on the sidewalk with twenty-dollar gold pieces. Betting who could throw his gold watch the farthest was an inspiration of George’s; but even that was getting to be monotonous.

“Was I on to the opportunity? Listen.

“In thirty minutes I had dashed off a word picture of metropolitan joys that made life in Atascosa City look as dull as a trip to Coney Island with your own wife. In ten minutes more we shook hands on an agreement that I was to act as his guide, interpreter and friend in and to the aforesaid wassail and amenity. And Solomon Mills, which was his name, was to pay all expenses for a month. At the end of that time, if I had made good as director-general of the rowdy life, he was to pay me one thousand dollars. And then, to clinch the bargain, we called the roll of Atascosa City and put all of its citizens except the ladies and minors under the table, except one man named Horace Westervelt St. Clair. Just for that we bought a couple of hatfuls of cheap silver watches and egged him out of town with ’em. We wound up by dragging the harness-maker out of bed and setting him to work on three new saddles; and then we went to sleep across the railroad track at the depot, just to annoy the S.A. & A.P. Think of having seventy- five thousand dollars and trying to avoid the disgrace of dying rich in a town like that!