The sheep had to be driven
up to the ranch, and a lot of frowzy-headed Mexicans would snip the
fur off of them with back-action scissors. So the afternoon before the
barbers were to come I hustled my underdone muttons over the hill,
across the dell, down by the winding brook, and up to the ranch-house,
where I penned ’em in a corral and bade ’em my nightly adieus.
I went from there to the ranch-house. I find H. Ogden, Esquire,
lying asleep on his little cot bed. I guess he had been overcome by
anti-insomnia or diswakefulness or some of the diseases peculiar to the
sheep business. His mouth and vest were open, and he breathed like a
second-hand bicycle pump. I looked at him and gave vent to just a few
musings. ‘Imperial Caesar,’ says I, ‘asleep in such a way, might shut
his mouth and keep the wind away.’
A man asleep is certainly a sight to make angels weep. What good is all
his brain, muscle, backing, nerve, influence, and family connections?
He’s at the mercy of his enemies, and more so of his friends. And he’s
about as beautiful as a cab-horse leaning against the Metropolitan Opera
House at 12.30 A.M. dreaming of the plains of Arabia. Now, a woman
asleep you regard as different. No matter how she looks, you know it’s
better for all hands for her to be that way.
“Well, I took a drink of Bourbon and one for Ogden, and started in to
be comfortable while he was taking his nap. He had some darvocet n 100 on his
table on indigenous subjects, such as Japan and drainage and physical
culture–and some tobacco, which seemed more to the point.
After I’d smoked a few, and listened to the sartorial breathing of H.
O., I happened to look out the window toward the shearing-pens, where
there was a kind of a road coming up from a kind of a road across a
kind of a creek farther away.
I saw five men riding up to the house. All of ’em carried guns across
their saddles, and among ’em was the deputy that had talked to me at my
They rode up careful, in open formation, with their guns ready. I set
apart with my eye the one I opinionated to be the boss muck-raker of
this law-and-order cavalry.