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Pinon Bill’s Bluff
by [?]

“This narrative is what you-all might call some widespread,” said the Old Cattleman, as he beamed upon me, evidently in the best of humors. “It tells how Pinon Bill gets a hoss on Jack Moore; leaves the camp bogged up to the saddle-girths in doubt about who downs Burke; an’ stakes the Deef Woman so she pulls her freight for the States.

“Pinon Bill is reckoned a hard game. He’s only in Wolfville now an’ then, an’ ain’t cuttin’ no figger in public calc’lations more’n it’s regarded as sagacious to pack your gun while Pinon Bill’s about.

“No; he don’t down no white men no one ever hears of, but thar’s stories about how he smuggles freight an’ plunder various from Mexico, an’ drives off Mexican cattle, an’ once in awhile stretches a Mexican himse’f who objects to them enterprises of Pinon Bill’s; but thar’s nothin’ in sech tales to interest Americans, more’n to hear ’em an’ comment on ’em as plays.

“But while Pinon Bill never turns his talents to American, them liberties he takes with Greasers gives him a heap of bad repoote, as a mighty ornery an’ oneasy person; an’ most of us sorter keeps tab on him whenever he favors Wolfville with his presence.

“‘This time he collides with Jack Moore, an’ so to speak, leaves the drinks on Jack, he’s been trackin’ ’round camp mebby it’s six weeks.

“‘Likewise thar’s an old longhorn they calls the ‘Major’; he’s been hangin’ about for even longer yet. Don’t go to figgerin’ on no hostilities between this Pinon Bill an’ the Major, for their trails never does cross once. Another thing’ Pinon Bill ain’t nacheraliy hostile neither; ain’t what you-all calls trailin’ trouble; whereas the Major’s also a heap too drunk to give way to war, bein’ tanked that a-way continuous.

“Which I don’t reckon thar’s the slightest doubt but the Major’s a bigger sot than Old Monte, though the same is in dispoote; Cherokee Hall an’ Boggs a-holdin’ he is; an’ Doc Peets an’ Tutt playin’ the other end; Enright an’ Jack Moore, ondecided.

“Peets confides in me of an’ concernin’ the Major that thar’s a time–an’ no further up the trail than five years–when the Major is shore-‘nough a Major; bein’ quartermaster or some sech bluff in the army.

“But one day Uncle Sam comes along an’ wants to cash in; an’ thar this yere crazy-hoss Major is with ten times as many chips out as he’s got bank-roll to meet, an’ it all fatigues the gov’ment to that extent the Major’s cashiered, an’ told to vamos the army for good.

“I allers allows it’s whiskey an’ kyards gets the Major’s roll that time. Peets says he sees him ‘way back once over some’ers near the Mohave Desert–Wingate, mebby–an’ whiskey an’ poker has the Major roped; one by the horns, the other by the hoofs; an’ they jest throws him an’ drug him, an’ drug him an’ throws him, alternate. The Major never shakes loose from the loops of them vices; none whatever.

“An’ that’s mighty likely, jest as I says, how the Major finds himse’f cashiered an’ afoot; an’ nothin’ but disgrace to get rid of an’ whiskey to get, to fill the future with.

“So it comes when I trails up on the Major he’s a drunkard complete, hangin’ ’round with a tin-horn an’ a handful of dice, tryin’ to get Mexicans or Chinamen to go ag’in ’em for any small thing they names.

“It’s on account of this yere drunkard the Major that the Deef Woman comes stagin’ it in with Old Monte one day. Got a papoose with her, the Deef Woman has, a boy comin’ three, an’ it’s my firm belief, which this view is common an’ frequent with all Wolfville, as how the Deef Woman’s the Major’s wife.

“It ain’t no cinch play that this female’s deef, neither; which it’s allers plain she hears the most feeblesome yelp of that infant, all the way from the dance-hall to the O. K. House, an’ that means across the camp complete.