down and each taking an arm they walked me solemnly round and round for half an hour. At the end of that time I was half asleep; the Boss stopped and gave me another jorum of whisky: for a moment it awakened me, then I began to get numb again and deaf. Again they gave me whisky: I revived but in five minutes I sagged down and begged them to let me sleep.
"Sleep be d——d!" cried the Boss, "you'd never wake. Pull yourself together," and again I was given whisky. Then, dimly I began to realise that I must use my will power and so I started to jump about and shake off the overpowering drowsiness. Another two or three drinks of whisky and much frisking about occupied the next couple of hours, when suddenly I became aware of a sharp, intense pang of pain in my left thumb.
"Now you can sleep," said the Boss, "if you're minded to; I guess whisky has wiped out the rattler!"
The pain in my burnt thumb was acute: I found too I had a headache for the first time in my life. But Peggy gave me hot water to drink and the headache soon disappeared. In a day or two I was as well as ever, thanks, to the vigorous regimen of the Boss; in the course of a single year we lost two young men just through the little prairie snakes that seemed so insignificant.
The days passed quickly till we came near the first towns in southern Texas: then every man wanted his arrears of salary from the Boss and proceeded to shave and doll up in wildest excitement. Charlies was like a madman. Half an hour after reaching the chief saloon in the town, everyone of them save Bent was crazy drunk and intent on finding some girl with whom to spend the night. I didn't even go to the saloon with them and begged