Page:My Life and Loves.djvu/198

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166
MY LIFE AND LOVES.

most . . . . On the fourth day I got twenty troopers from the Fort with Lieutenant Winder and was leading them in a bee-line to our Refuge. We got there in six days; but in the mean time the Indians had been busy.

They cut a way through the scrub-oak brush that we regarded as impassable and stampeded the cattle one morning just at dawn and our men were only able to herd off about six or seven hundred head and protect them in the extreme north corner of the bend. The Indians had all drawn off the day before I arrived with the U. S. Cavalry troopers . . . . Next morning we began the march northwards and I had no difficulty in persuading Lieutenant Winder to give us his escort for the next four or five days . . . .

A week later we reached Wichita where we decided to rest for a couple of days and there we encountered another piece of bad luck. Ever since he had caught syphilis, Charlie seemed to have lost his gay temper: he became gloomy and morose and we could do nothing to cheer him up. The very first night he had to be put to bed at the gambling saloon in Wichita where he had become speechlessly drunk. And next day he was convinced that he had been robbed of his money by the man who kept the bank and went about swearing that he would get even with him at all costs. By the evening he had infected Bent and Jo with his insane determination and finally I went along hoping to save him, if I could, from some disaster.

Already I had asked Bob to get another herdsman and drive the cattle steadily towards Kansas City: he consented and for hours before we went to the saloon, Bob had been trekking north. I intended to rejoin him some five or six miles further on and drive slowly for