When I remonstrated with him afterwards, he told me he had a sure way of knowing whether the girl, Sue, was diseased or not.
I contradicted him and found that this was his infallible test: as soon as he was alone with a girl, he pulled out ten or twenty dollars, as the case might be, and told her to keep the money. "I'll not give you more in any case", he would add: "now tell me, dear, if you are ill and we'll have a last drink and then I'll go. If she's ill, she's sure to tell you—see!" and he laughed triumphantly.
"Suppose she doesn't know she's ill?" I asked: but he replied: "they always know and they'll tell the truth when their greed is not against you".
For some time it looked as if Charlie had enjoyed his Beauty without any evil consequences, but a month or so later he noticed a lump in his right groin and soon afterwards a syphilitic sore showed itself just under the head of his penis. We had already started northwards, but I had to tell Charlie the plain truth.
"Then it's serious", he cried in astonishment, and I replied.
"I'm afraid so, but not if you take it in time and go under a rigorous regimen".
Charlie did everything he was told to do and always bragged that gonorrhea was much worse, as it is certainly more painful, than syphilis; but the disease in time had its revenge.
As he began to get better on the Trail, thanks to the good air, regular exercise and absence of drink, he became obstreperous from time to time and I at any rate forgot about his ailment.
The defection of the Boss made a serious difference to us; Reece and Dell with three or four Mexicans and Peggy went on slowly buying cattle;