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The Black Cat December 1898

Bumblepuppy on the Range.


A FEELING of desperation pervaded the home ranch of the Three X outfit in South Dakota. Although it was the time of the gathering of the hands for the beef round-up, which was regarded as a mere pleasure excursion up and down the Belle Fourche in the cool days of September, the usually festal occasion seemed to be darkened by the shadow of a great grief. The boys were depressed. They sulked at meal times. They did not tell stories at night. It wasn't because they were underpaid, although this was undoubtedly true. The reason, as Shorty Garr expressed it, was that they were "locoed by the Britisher."

Mr. Horace Peddie, Q. C., the managing director of the Scotch syndicate which owned the Three X, was making his first inspection of the property. Mr. Peddie had examined the company's lands in South Africa, and intended to make a clean job of it by looking over the American ranch also. His coming had been awaited by his hosts with much anticipatory pleasure, hut his actual arrival had been followed by bewilderment and a stinging sense of defeat, and John Heffren, Shorty' Garr, and the bookkeeper talked it over one evening while they smoked their pipes on the cook-house steps.


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