Page:My Life and Loves.djvu/163

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LIFE ON THE TRAIL.

only Bob of the whole party possessed the same instinct. Bob explained it by muttering "No Americano!" The instinct itself which has stood me in good stead more times than I can count, is in essence inexplicable: I feel the direction; but the vague feeling is strengthened by observing the path of the sun and the way the halms of grass lean, and the bushes grow. But it made me a valuable member of the outfit instead of a mere parasite midway between master and man, and it was the first step to Bob's liking which taught me more than all the other haps of my early life. I had bought a shotgun and and a Winchester rifle and revolver in Kansas City and Reece had taught me how to get weapons that would fit me and this fact helped to make me a fair shot almost at once. But soon to my grief I found that I would never be a great shot; for Bob and Charlie and even Dell could see things far beyond my range of vision. I was shortsighted in fact through astimatism and even glasses I discovered later, could not clear my blurred sight.

It was the second or third disappointment of my life the others being the conviction of my personal ugliness and the fact that I should always be too short and small to be a great fighter or athlete.

As I went on in life I discovered more serious disabilities but they only strengthened my deep-seated resolve to make the most of any qualities I might possess and meanwhile the life was divinely new and strange and pleasureful.

After breakfast, about five o'clock in the morning, I would ride away from the wagon till it was out of sight and then abandon myself to the joy of solitude, with no boundary between plain and sky. The air was brisk and dry, as exhilarating as champagne and even when the sun reached the zenith and