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Thursday, August 28, 2014

OUTSIDE AUSTIN - CHAPTER 3



 
 
Early the next morning we walked to the hunting grounds and off in the distance there was a herd of buffalo.

Rosin said we will only take one horse to carry our ammo and guns and a little jerky and water. When we reached about 200 yards from the herd he stopped and unloaded the ammo and the Sharps.

He said to look down the sights and see if you can sight the buffalo alright.

I said, “I can see them clearly in my sights but can’t hold the gun still for it is very heavy.”

He went over and cut a small sapling with a fork in it and said lay the gun in the fork to stabilize it.  Then he gave me some shells and said, “These are expensive to make so I expect a buffalo for each shell used so don’t miss.”

Rosin asked Blue Eyes if she had sharpened her knife like he said and she answered, “Yes it is very sharp.”

He said, “That’s good for in an hour you will be using it.”

Before the morning kill he told me we needed to fire together and kill as many as we could before they scattered and ran off. We dropped thirty head and then it was over.

In a matter of minutes Rosin had skinned the first buff and showed us how it was done.  By dark we were finished and had our hides ready to dry in the hot sun.

Blue Eyes had taken some large chunks of meat and it was cooked by the time we got to camp.

The old hunter said we did good just like seasoned hunters.  He said we could sell the hides we got today for over a hundred dollars. I thought we were going to be rich at this rate.

It went like this for a month when the old man said we were going to town and sell our goods for the wagon was as full as it could be. He went into town alone and the next day he returned.

He had bought us some town clothes so we would blend in some better. He said anyone in buckskins would draw attention to them-selves and would become targets for any scoundrels.

He gave us half of the money in gold and suggested we keep a 20 dollar gold piece and find a place to bury the rest like he did. We took his advice and buried our stash in a place that would be easy to remember.

Later that night some friends of the old man came and they were drinking and telling stories.

They noticed Blue Eyes and told the old man they wanted her either to take her with them or just for the night.

I loaded my Sharps and said, “It ain’t going to happen. If they wanted a woman then go to town where there were plenty of them.”

They got mad and started after Blue Eyes.

She had her skinning knife and threatened them with it.

The old man tried to stop them but they pushed him aside.

I cracked the first one over the head with the barrel of the Sharps and he never moved with a split skull. The old man pulled his pistol and shot two of them and I shot the other one with my Sharps.

A moment later it was still. As still as it could be except for the fire making a crackling sound as it burned.

I was breathing hard and Blue Eyes was just staring at the dead men.

The old man was calm and looked as if what happened never happened at all.

He said, “I seen a deep ditch near here. We’ll throw them in there and cover them over with some dirt and stones, but first let’s go through their pockets and see if they have anything worth keeping.”

They must have just sold their hides for they had plenty of money. The old man said we might as well take it for they wouldn’t be able to spend it where they were going.

He told us to go back to the hunting grounds and wait at a cabin we had seen nearby. He said he would get our supplies and meet us in three days. He also told us to turn the dead men’s horses loose when we reached the hunting grounds. Just keep the saddles and bridles.

We did as he said but I wished I had the chance to spend some of my 20 dollar gold piece.  When Rosin, returned he had a wagon load of goods.

He also bought me a pistol and holster and said I probably would need it if Selma stayed with me. (He started calling Blue Eyes Selma for her name Blue Eyes drew too much attention to her).

There was a small creek near the cabin and Selma (Blue Eyes) and I went down and took a bath each day.  Rosin said he never bathe for he felt it was unhealthy.

While we were cavorting in the water I couldn’t help but noticed she was changing almost before my eyes. Then one day she stopped taking a bath with me and said she would bathe alone from now on.

I never thought much about it at the time, but I thought she might be mad about something.

Rosin said it was probably her womanly thing for she was about the right age. After he told me that I was as confused as ever.

A few months passed and Rosin said the weather is fast changing so we needed to lay in enough wood for the winter.  

The cabin needed some repairs to get us through the cold months.  We had a lot of skins to sell so while he went to town we prepared for the cold winter.
 
 
 
He came back a week later with a wagon load of supplies.  He told us to keep our saddles and gear for he was going to board the horses in town at the livery barn. He gave us our share of the hunt and said hide it away until you decide what you want to do with it.

He said was going to stay in town but he would see us in after the spring thaw started and bring more supplies.

Rosin said the next year would be the last year for sure cause the buffalo was getting too thin. He said he saw them when there were millions of them but no more. He said that when we first met but I guess it was hard to give up that way of life and we had no place to go.

He left the next morning as the snow began to fall.
To be Continued
 
 
 

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