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Wolfville Days   By: (1857-1914)

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Wolfville Days

by Alfred Henry Lewis


The Great Wolfville Strike.

"No, sir, even onder spur an' quirt, my mem'ry can only canter back to one uprisin' of labor in Wolfville; that was printers."

At this the Old Cattleman looked unduly sagacious, refreshed himself with a puff or two at his pipe, and all with the air of one who might, did he see fit, consider the grave questions of capital and labor with an ability equal to their solution. His remark was growth of the strike story of some mill workmen, told glaringly in the newspaper he held in his hands.

"Wolfville is not at that time," he continued, "what you all East would call a swirlin' vortex of trade; still she has her marts. Thar's the copper mines, the Bird Cafe Op'ry House, the Red Light, the O. K. Restauraw, the Dance Hall, the New York Store an' sim'lar hives of commerce. Which ondoubted the barkeeps is the hardest worked folks in camp, an' yet none of 'em ever goes on the warpath for shorter hours or longer pay, so far as I has notice. Barkeeps that a way is a light hearted band an' cheerful onder their burdens. Once when Old Monte brings the stage in late because of some boggin' down he does over at a quicksand ford in the foothills, a shorthorn who arrives with him as a passenger comes edgin' into the Red Light. Bein' it's four o'clock in the mornin', the tenderfoot seems amazed at sech activities as faro bank, an' high ball, said devices bein' in full career; to say nothin' of the Dance Hall, which 'Temple of Mirth,' as Hamilton who is proprietor tharof names it, is whoopin' it up across the street.

"'Ain't you open rather late?' says the shorthorn. His tones is apol'getic an' no offence is took.

"That's one of them gratefyin' things about the Southwest. That temperate region don't go pirootin' 'round strivin' to run its brand onto things as insults where none ain't meant. The Southwest ropes only at the intention. You may even go so far as to shoot the wrong gent in a darkened way, an' as long as you pulls off the play in a sperit of honesty, an' the party plugged don't happen to be a pop'lar idol, about the worst you'd get would be a caution from the Stranglers to be more acc'rate in your feuds, sech is the fairmindedness an' toleration of Southwest sentiment.

"As I su'gests, the barkeep, realizin' that the stranger's bluff arises from cur'osity rather than any notion of what booksports calls 'captious criticism,' feels no ombrage.

"'What was you all pleased to remark?' retorts the barkeep as he slams his nose paint where the shorthorn can get action.

"'Nothin',' replies the shorthorn, imbibin' of his forty drops, "only it sort o' looks to my onaccustomed eye like this deadfall is open rather late."

"'Which she is some late,' admits the barkeep, as he softly swabs the counter; 'which it is some late for night before last, but it's jest the shank of the evenin' for to night.'

"But, as I observes a bit back on the trail, I never do hear of any murmur of resentment on the part of the toilin' masses of the town, save in the one instance when that bunch of locoed printers capers out an' defies the editor an' publisher of the Wolfville COYOTE, the same bein' the daily paper of the outfit.

"This yere imprint, the COYOTE, is done owned an' run by Colonel William Greene Sterett. An' I'll pause right yere for the double purpose of takin' a drink an' sympathisin' with you a whole lot in not knowin' the Colonel. You nacherally ain't as acootely aware of the fact as I be, but you can gamble a bloo stack that not knowin' Colonel Sterett borders on a deeprivation. He is shore wise, the Colonel is, an' when it comes to bein' fully informed on every p'int, from the valyoo of queensup before the draw to the political effect of the Declaration of Independence, he's an even break with Doc Peets. An' as I've asserted frequent an' I don't pinch down a chip Doc Peet's is the finest eddicated sharp in Arizona... Continue reading book >>

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