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Crooked Trails   By: (1861-1909)

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First Page:

[Illustration: 01 TEXAS RANGERS HOLDING UP CHAPPARAL BANDITS]

CROOKED TRAILS

By Frederic Remington

Illustrated By Frederic Remington

Author Of "Pony Tracks"

First published in 1898

CONTENTS

HOW THE LAW GOT INTO THE CHAPARRAL

THE BLUE QUAIL OF THE CACTUS

A SERGEANT OF THE ORPHAN TROOP

THE SPIRIT OF MAHONGUI

THE ESSENTIALS AT FORT ADOBE

MASSAI'S CROOKED TRAIL

JOSHUA GOODENOUGH'S OLD LETTER

CRACKER COWBOYS OF FLORIDA

THE STRANGE DAYS THAT CAME TO JIMMIE FRIDAY

THE SOLEDAD GIRLS

CROOKED TRAILS

HOW THE LAW GOT INTO THE CHAPARRAL

"You have heard about the Texas Rangers?" said the Deacon to me one night in the San Antonio Club. "Yes? Well, come up to my rooms, and I will introduce you to one of the old originals dates 'way back in the 'thirties' there aren't many of them left now and if we can get him to talk, he will tell you stories that will make your eyes hang out on your shirt front."

We entered the Deacon's cosey bachelor apartments, where I was introduced to Colonel "Rip" Ford, of the old time Texas Rangers. I found him a very old man, with a wealth of snow white hair and beard bent, but not withered. As he sunk on his stiffened limbs into the arm chair, we disposed ourselves quietly and almost reverentially, while we lighted cigars. We began the approaches by which we hoped to loosen the history of a wild past from one of the very few tongues which can still wag on the days when the Texans, the Co manches, and the Mexicans chased one another over the plains of Texas, and shot and stabbed to find who should inherit the land.

Through the veil of tobacco smoke the ancient warrior spoke his sentences slowly, at intervals, as his mind gradually separated and arranged the details of countless fights. His head bowed in thought; anon it rose sharply at recollections, and as he breathed, the shouts and lamentations of crushed men the yells and shots the thunder of horses' hoofs the full fury of the desert combats came to the pricking ears of the Deacon and me.

We saw through the smoke the brave young faces of the hosts which poured into Texas to war with the enemies of their race. They were clad in loose hunting frocks, leather leggings, and broad black hats; had powder horns and shot pouches hung about them; were armed with bowie knives, Mississippi rifles, and horse pistols; rode Spanish ponies, and were impelled by Destiny to conquer, like their remote ancestors, "the godless hosts of Pagan" who "came swimming o'er the Northern Sea."

"Rip" Ford had not yet acquired his front name in 1836, when he enlisted in the famous Captain Jack Hayes's company of Rangers, which was fighting the Mexicans in those days, and also trying incidentally to keep from being eaten up by the Comanches.

Said the old Colonel: "A merchant from our country journeyed to New York, and Colonel Colt, who was a friend of his, gave him two five shooters pistols they were, and little things. The merchant in turn presented them to Captain Jack Hayes. The captain liked them so well that he did not rest till every man jack of us had two apiece.

"Directly," mused the ancient one, with a smile of pleasant recollection, "we had a fight with the Comanches up here above San Antonio. Hayes had fifteen men with him he was doubling about the country for Indians. He found 'sign,' and after cutting their trail several times he could see that they were following him. Directly the Indians overtook the Rangers there were seventy five Indians. Captain Hayes bless his memory! said,' They are fixin' to charge us, boys, and we must charge them.' There were never better men in this world than Hayes had with him," went on the Colonel with pardonable pride; "and mind you, he never made a fight without winning.

"We charged, and in the fracas killed thirty five Indians only two of our men were wounded so you see the five shooters were pretty good weapons... Continue reading book >>




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