Page:My Life and Loves.djvu/165

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133
LIFE ON THE TRAIL.

The house and stable were situated on a long billowy rise perhaps three hundred yards away from a good-sized creek which I soon christened Snake-Creek for snakes of all sorts and sizes simply swarmed in the brush and woodland of the banks. The big sitting room of the ranch was decorated with revolvers and rifles of a dozen different kinds and pictures, strange to say, cut out of the illustrated papers: the floor was covered with buffalo and bear rugs and rarer skins of mink and beaver hung here and there on the wooden walls. We got to the ranch late one night and I slept in a room with Dell, he taking the bed while I rolled myself in a rug on the couch. But I slept like a top and next morning was out before sunrise to take stock so to speak. An Indian lad showed me the stable and as luck would have it Blue Devil in a loose box, all to herself and very uneasy.

"What's the matter with her!" I asked, and the Indian told me she had rubbed her ear raw where it joins the head and the flies had got on it and plagued her: I went to the house and got Peggy, the mulatto cook to fill a bucket with warm water and with this bucket and a sponge I entered the loose box: Blue Devil came for me and nipped my shoulder but as soon as I clapped the sponge with warm water on her ear, she stopped biting and we soon became friends. That same afternoon, I led her out in front of the ranch saddled and bridled, got on her and walked her off as quiet as a lamb. "She's yours!" said Reece; "but if she ever gets your foot in her mouth, you'll know what pain is!"

It appeared that that was a little trick she had, to tug and tug at the reins till the rider let them go loose and then at once she would twist her head round, get the rider's toes in her mouth and bite like