but Bob and Bent put a new scheme into my head. Bent was always preaching that the Boss's defection had ruined Reece and that if I would put in, say five thousand dollars, I could be Reece's partner and make a fortune with him. Bob, too, was keen on this and told me incidentally that he could get cattle from the Mexicans for nothing. I had a talk with Reece who said he'd have to be content with buying 3000 head for cattle had gone up in price twofold and the Boss's swindle had crippled him. If I would pay Bent's, Charlie's and Bob's wages, he'd be delighted, he said, to join forces with me: on Bob's advice, I consented and with his help, I managed to secure three thousand head for little more than three thousand dollars. And this is how we managed it.
For some reason or other, perhaps, because I had learnt a few words of Spanish, Bob had taken a fancy to me and was always willing to help me except when he was mad with drink. He now assured me that if I would go with him down the Eio Grande a hundred miles or so, he'd get me a thousand head of cattle for nothing. I consented, for Bent, too, and Charlie, were on Bob's side.
The next morning before sunrise we started out and rode steadily to the southeast. We carried enough food for two or three days. Bob saw to that without any question, but generally he brought us about eight o'clock near some house or other where we could get food and shelter. His knowledge of the whole frontier was as uncanny as his knowledge of cattle.
On the fourth or fifth day about nine in the morning he stopped us by a little wooded height looking over a gorge of the river. To the left the river spread out almost to a shallow lake, and one did not need to be told that a little lower down there must be one or