Page:Yule Logs.djvu/417

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401
ON A MEXICAN RANCHE

and excitement, the life in the open air, and the hard exercise, that as soon as he got well enough to take part in it again, he should look for a fresh berth, Don Garcia said to his daughter, "Do you know, last night a scheme occurred to me by which he will better his fortunes without hurting his feelings."

"What is that, father?" she asked eagerly.

"You know that we have been having constant bothers with the new people of the north, and several of our vaqueros have been killed, and I can obtain no redress, for the white cowboys all declare that the vaqueros are the aggressors. This young fellow is accustomed to the work, and I don't think that I could do better than place him in charge of the northern herds, paying him by commission on their increase, giving him say a third. The thing would be mutually advantageous to us. I should let him choose his own hands, and he could either take vaqueros or American cowboys, and I should get rid of a great deal of trouble, while he, in a few years, would have a good chance of making a fortune. I believe there are some 20,000 head of cattle up there, for the most part cows, and the increase, if they were well managed, should be 15,000 a year. Perhaps the best way would be to give him half, and let him pay his own hands."

Isabella's face showed that she heartily approved of the plan, and the next day, when Harry was called into the veranda, Don Garcia proposed it to him. "It will be a mutual accommodation to us, Señor Denham," he said, after unfolding the plan. "I have had continual trouble there for the last three years, and it has lately been getting intolerable. The Americans care nothing for our vaqueros; but if we work cattle on their system with white men or with a mixture of whites and vaqueros, we should have no more trouble. What do you say?"

"I can only say that I gratefully accept your offer, señor; it is a magnificent chance for me, far better than

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