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the blamed devils jist ketched 'em foul, an' stampeded the'r critters, an' was massacreeing the hull caboodle when the boys got thar. Ye see, we heerd the shootin' an' knowed thar war devilment som’ers. A big buck hed the gal, an’ wuz jest a-goin' to lift her har, when ole Jack's bullet kind o’hinted the boys wuz a-comin'. The gal, so she telled me, seed me when I drawed on him, and knowed as how 'twar ole Jack that saved her skelp.

She wuz powerful sick arter it, but we nussed her through it. The boys all chipped in, an wuz goin' to send her back to whar she belonged, but, Billy, she wouldn't go. She said as how she

, didn't hev nuthin' nor nobuddy any more, an’ she'd ruther stay whar her folks wuz planted. We wuz kind o' dumb-founded, fur this ain't no place fur a born angel like that gal wuz, an' so we telled her, but it didn't make no difference, she'd got her mind sot to stay.

Wall, Joy, thet's the gal, she war raised out whar wimmen is so pesky thick they cain't arn an honest livin' nateral like, an' hev to go to doctorin' 'an' sich like, so ’tain't no way surprisin' thet the gal didn't take to reg'lar wimmen's work, an' larned to make music. She couldn't help it, Billy, no more'n she could bein' pooty an' gittin' all the boys stuck arter her.

Jist keep your fingers movin', old pard, 'tain't ʼzactly like lier, but I feel kind o' easy like when I hear it a-singin'. I'm a-goin' whar she is, afore long, an' she says as how the music is jist a-goin' all day, an’ye don't hev nuthin' to do but jist hear it. Somehow, it don't seem jist right fur an onery cuss like ole Jack to camp with sure-enough angels, but the gal said as how thet's the way

it 'ud be. She wuz sweet an’ lovin' like with us, an’ the parson says as how the Lord is marciful more’n we kin understand.

Joy says as how we're some kind o agents, an' kain't shirk it all off on the boss, but ef a feller don't do nothin' to nobody 'cept what he'd jist as leif they'd do to him, it'll be all right. Pooty near every word that gal said war a sarmon, Billy, an’ we might ’a’ knowed she war only a

makin' this camp a tradin’-post like on her

a

way to the kentry whár the Lord hez his headquarters. I'm powe erful sorry you warn’t here, to git kind o'sanctified, like the rest on us. That's why ye don't hear no more cussin'. It's all along o' the gal. We never reckoned no harm in it till she telled us, an’ we seed it hurt her when she heerd it. Trouble to stop it? Billy, I kain't laugh, but I orter. You never seed the gal. I'll jist 'low ther ain't a boy thet knowed her but what 'ud cut his tongue out by the ruts ef he couldn't make it talk to please her. She's done kivered up in the 'dobe now, but we recommember what she said. Sartain sure, she's a-lookin' at us an'a-hearin' us, every word up ihar, Billy, higher nor the clouds.

Yas, her buddy's in the 'dobe, but she telled me all about afore she went. Joy says as how this yer buddy o ourn ain't nuthin' but a shuck. It's the soul what's inside som'ers that counts. She ’lows thet this yer soul, az they call it, does all the thinkin' an' plannin’ fur a feller, an' it don't never git old, or tired, or sick, like the buddy, which it ain't nuthin' but the shuck that the soul grows in, an' falls off nateral-like when it gits ripe.

'Pears like thar's two musics, Billy. Be you a-makin' 'em? One's kind o’ soft an’ sweet like the gal's, an' one's like yourn. I can't see good. It's a-gittin' time fur the boys, I reckon. They gin’ally 'low to be home 'bout dark. Reckon I'm a-gittin' sleepy, Billy. Jist put Joy's fiddle ’longside o' my cheek, so's I kin feel it. There, that's all-Billy! Oh, yas, that's all right-say, Billy—I'm aheerin' o' the—the music-but Billy—it ain't yourn—it's the gal's, Billy-1-1-see her-she's a-smilin'-oh, so pooty.—Yas, I'm a-comin', leetle gal—I'm a-co

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