the mass and accordingly the herd-feeling in America is unreasonably strong.
If we were not arguing or telling smutty stories, Bent would be sure to get out cards and the gambling instinct would keep the boys busy till the stars paled in the eastern sky.
One incident I must relate here, for it broke the monotony of the routine in a curious way.
Our fire at night was made up of buffalo "chips" as the dried excrement was called, and Peggy had asked me, as I got up the earliest, always to replenish the fire before riding away. One morning I picked up a chip with my left hand and as luck would have it, disturbed a little prairie rattlesnake that had been attracted probably by the, heat of the camp-fire. As I lifted the chip, the snake struck me on the back of my thumb, then coiled up in a flash and began to rattle. Angered I put my right foot on him and killed him, and at the same moment bit out the place on my thumb where I had been stung, and then, still unsatisfied, rubbed my thumb in the red embers, especially above the wound. I paid little further attention to the matter; it seemed to me that the snake was too small to be very poisonous; but on returning to the wagon to wake Peggy, he cried out and called the Boss and Reece and Dell and was manifestly greatly perturbed and even anxious. Reece too agreed with him that the bite of the little prairie rattlesnake was just as venomous as that of his big brother of the woods.
The Boss produced a glass of whisky and told me to drink it: I didn't want to take it; but he insisted and I drank it off. "Did it burn?" he asked: "No, 'twas just like water!" I replied and noticed that the Boss and Reece exchanged a meaning look.
At once the Boss declared I must walk up and