of you: this money must go back; but the thousand shall be sent to your mother I promise you:"—
"Not on your life!", cried the dying man, lifting himself up on one elbow: "This is my money: it shan't go back to that oily sneak thief": the effort had exhausted him; even in the dim light we could see that his face was drawn and gray: he must have understood this himself for I could just hear his last words: "Good-bye, boys!" his head fell back, his mouth opened: the brave boyish spirit was gone.
I couldn't control my tears: the phrase came to me: "I better could have lost a better man." for Charlie was at heart a good fellow!
I left Bent to carry back the money and arrange for Charlie's burial, leaving Jo to guard the body: in an hour I was again with Bob and had told him everything. Ten days later we were in Kansas City where I was surprised by unexpected news.
My second brother Willie, six years older than I was, had come out to America and hearing of me in Kansas had located himself in Lawrence as a real-estate agent; he wrote asking me to join him. This quickened my determination to have nothing more to do with cowpunching. Cattle too, we found, had fallen in price and we were lucky to get ten dollars or so a head for our bunch which made a poor showing from the fact that the Indians had netted all the best. There was about six thousand dollars to divide: Jo got five hundred dollars and Bent, Bob, Charlie's mother and myself divided the rest. Bob told me I was a fool: I should keep it all and go down south again; but what had I gained by my two years of cowpunching? I had lost money and caught malarial fever; I had won a certain knowledge of ordinary men and their way of living and had got more than a smattering of economics and of medicine, but I was