Elam Storm, The Wolfer Or, The Lost Nugget

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Every coyote on this here ranch, mean and sneaking as he is, is worth forty dollars to the man who can catch him. It aint everybody who can coax one of them smart prowlers to stick his foot in a trap. If that was the case, my neighbors would have had more sheep, and Elam Storm would be worth a bushel of dollars.

Elam Storm, the Wolfer: Or the Lost Nugget

Add to Cart. He found a pot of coffee and a huge chunk of bacon and johnny cake waiting for him on the coals, and as the fire had not had time to burn itself out, they were as warm as when they first were cooked. But by certain signs which he discovered while disposing of the good things the darky had provided for him, he found that he had been asleep longer than he had thought, and that daylight was not far off, and finally the negro started up from an apparently sound sleep, threw aside the blankets with a frantic sweep of his arm, and sat up and looked about him. Has you got plenty? The negro pulled himself entirely out of bed, put on his shoes, and went out and looked about him.

Elam Storm, the wolfer, or, The lost nugget

After looking in vain for several stars which he ought to have found, but could not, he announced that his guest had struck the hour pretty closely. You see, I am not bound for my uncle's house just now. I have to go down to the landing to meet the steamer John Clark there, and get a trifling sum of money that one of the passengers will have ready for me. For that money I must have. Well, you just go ahead and cook me some breakfast and then I'll show you.

If you had lived in these woods as long as I have, you would know that it is an easy matter to cut a tree across some parts of the bayou. Tom washed his hands and face in some muddy water he dipped up from the stream that ran a short distance from the camp, dried them on his handkerchief, and watched the negro as he went about his work. Now and then, when he thought Tom was not looking at him, he would roll up his eyes, taking in at one swift glance all the clothing he wore, from his hat down to his boots. Tom was well enough acquainted with the negro character to know that he had excited his suspicions in some way.

I shall be with him over half an hour longer, and then he can do what he pleases with his suspicions. I'll eat mine out here by this stump. The steaming beverage was placed before him.

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Tom thought of the great world into which he was so soon to enter, and wondered if everybody in it was going to treat him as this obscure darky had done. Texas was a pretty good-sized empire, he had heard them say, and he believed it was made up mostly of men who had gone there to get clear of the law, and who had enough to think of to keep themselves out of trouble; consequently they wouldn't bother their heads about a boy who had been suspected of stealing five thousand dollars. When Tom had reached this point in his meditations, the darky, who had evidently swallowed his breakfast whole and rolled up in a piece of old gunny sack the supply he intended Tom should take with him, handed the bundle to him with one hand, and reached out for the axe with the other.

This was all that passed between them.

Tom got up, pointed out the path he wished the negro to follow in order to reach the narrowest part of the stream, which he had examined the day before, and fell in behind him; and it is a noticeable fact that he kept the black in front of him all the way to the stream. It is true that the man had no weapon but his axe, but with such an article, if he could only get the start with it, he could easily march him before his master, and that was the very place he didn't want to go.

Such things had been done, and Tom did not see why they could not be done again. In a few minutes they reached the bank of the bayou, and when the negro saw it, he leaned on his axe and shook his head. The negro glanced at the top of the tree in order to see which way it would fall, cut a few bushes out of his way, and went to work. A few blows with the axe brought the tree down and it lodged on the opposite bank. Two more trees were cut down and the bridge was completed.

Here's a dollar to pay you for your trouble. Why, man, it's a valiseful. This money is all honest. I can't shake hands with you, either. I would be afraid it would take all the strength out of my arms so't I couldn't split more rails. You stand here on the bank and see me work my way across. I bet you that all the money I have about my clothes will not sink me if I do fall overboard.

As Tom spoke he stepped recklessly upon the bridge. We say "recklessly," because had he taken more pains to examine the fastenings on the opposite bank he would have been more careful. He had nearly crossed the bayou when the log on which he was walking tipped a little, and although Tom made frantic efforts to save himself by seizing all the branches within his reach, it set the whole structure in motion.

There was a "swish" of tree-tops, and in a moment more the bridge and Tom went into the water together. The negro looked, but did not see him come up. He had been guilty, he had never done such a thing before, and he couldn't bear to stand up in that community and have people point at him and whisper: "There goes Tom Mason, the boy that robbed his uncle of five thousand dollars! A Struggle for a Fortune. Frank at Don Carlos' Rancho.