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ON THE TRAIL.

"The best in the hull country," he replied, "easy."

"That's only your conceit", I retorted. "The mare I am on right now can give him a hundred yards in a mile."

"You don't want to risk any money on that, do you?" he remarked.

"Oh, yes", I smiled.

"Well, we can try it out one of these days, but here comes your crowd", and indeed, although I had not expected them, in five minutes Bent and Bob and Charlie rode up.

"Get the cattle going", cried Bob, as he came within earshot. "We must go on. The Mexicans have gone back but they will come right after us again. Who is this?" he added, ranging up beside the Texan.

"My name is Locker", said my acquaintance; "and I guess your raiding will set the whole border boiling. Can't you buy cattle decently, like we all have to?"

"How do you know how decently we paid for them?" cried Bent, thrusting forward his brown face like a weasel's, his dog teeth showing.

"I guess Mr. Locker is all right", I cried laughing; "I propose he should help us and take two or three hundred head as payment, or the value of them—"

"Now you're talking", said Locker. "I call that sense. There is a herd of mine about a mile further on; if two or three hundred of your Jose steers join it, I can't hinder 'em; but I'd rather have dollars; cash is scarce!"

"Are they herded?" asked Bob.

"Sure", replied Locker. "I am too near the river to let any cattle run round loose though nobody has interfered with me in the last ten years."

Bob and I began moving the cattle on leaving Bent with Locker to conclude the negotiations. In an hour we had found Locker's herd that must have num-

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