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GONE TO TEXAS
F R O M O U R BOYS
MACMILLAN AND CO.
[All rights reserved.']
"Well! Well!! Well!!!" (crescendo) was the
long-drawn-out exclamation of a Northern friend
of ours, when more than four years ago a younger
brother of mine told him that he was just allowing
his eldest son, a boy of eighteen, to start alone for
Texas, there to seek his fortune. Our friend's eyes
opened wider and wider, and filled with pity not
untouched by scorn, as he added "and you call
yourself sane for an Englishman ! "
My brother could only reply by a look of en-
quiry and an interrogative " Well ? "
"G T T," replied our friend, severely empha-
sising each letter, "stands for Gone to Texas.
When we want to say shortly that it's all up with
a fellow, we just say, ' G. T. T.,' just as you'd say
gone to the devil, or the dogs, over here."
My brother could only suggest that our friend
must be thinking of the " Lone Star " State, in the
palmy times of slavery and filibustering, before
the Mexican war ; but his kindly soul refused to
" And then to let the poor boy go in the steer-
age," he remonstrated, in a tone of real pity, some-
what modified when he was assured that the "'poor
boy" had insisted on taking his own passage and
going in the steerage to save his money ; being of
opinion that as he was deliberately going in for
a hard rough life the sooner he began it the better,
and that as for the people in the steerage, "they
So my eldest nephew, Willy, sailed for New
York in the steerage of a Cimard packet, and on
landing went to see our friend Mr. A. Hewitt, M.C.
for that city, as he had been told to do. That
old and valued friend, struck by his youthful ap-
pearance, did all in his power to dissuade him ; or
at any rate to keep him in New York till there
had been time to hear from his cousin, who had
been driving cattle in those parts for some years.
Master Willy was however too resolutely bent
on making his plunge to brook any delay, and so
started for the south-west within twenty-four hours.
He meant to win off his own bat, and was impatient
to be "facing the music."
The opening letter of this volume takes up the
story from the day of his landing in America. It will
however, I think, make what follows a little clearer,
as well as possibly more useful, if I add a few
more words of introduction.
Two years before, in consequence of very serious
losses, my brother had broken up his establish-
ment, and gone with his three boys into a small
four-roomed house in one of the suburbs of London,
sending his only daughter (the writer of Part V)
to live with her grandmother. In this tiny lodging
they had to do everything for themselves, in-
cluding cooking; and the boys, on being told
frankly that their prospects in life were changed,
took to their new surroundings cheerfully, and
with zest. All three were then at public schools ;
the two elder at Marlborough and Cheltenham,
the youngest at Westminster, where he was allowed
to remain, having good hope of a scholarship, which
he gained soon afterwards. The two elder left
their schools at once, and, learned professions being
now out of the question for them, openings of an-
other kind had to be sought. Willy was taken as
his junior clerk by Mr. Allender, the Managing
Director of the Aylesbury Dairy Co., in which
post he got a thorough grounding and drilling in
office and administrative work on a large scale,
and a salary of 50 a-year to start with. In
this capacity he worked hard and well ; his salary
was twice raised in the eighteen months of his
service. During that time he kept his own counsel ;
never spent a penny more than he could help ;
and by the end of it had saved 130. Then,
after consulting his father, he sent in his resigna-
tion, having obtained leave to carry out the pur-
pose he had quietly formed, of going out to the
West to seek his fortune.
I must own myself to having done what I could
to dissuade him, as I found that his employer was
thoroughly satisfied with, and sorry to lose him ;
and that in another year or so he would be in
receipt of a salary of 250, with good prospects
of further promotion. However I quite changed
my mind on finding how resolutely he had been
looking forward to, and preparing for, a pioneer's
life. He asked for no assistance, indeed declined
what I could offer him, having determined to make
his own small savings sufficient to start upon. He
had no illusions whatever about the life he had
chosen ; knew perfectly well that he would have
to live under harder conditions in many respects
than a farm-labourer or navvy in England ; and
that it might be years before these conditions
would be materially altered. But his mind was
made up that the game was worth the candle, that
he could trust himself to go through with his ex-
periment and to play it fairly out in any case. He
was confident however that he would have a good
ranche of his own by the time he was of age.
How far his self-confidence was justified, and his
ambition realised, readers will judge for them-
selves. After taking a short holiday at home to
see friends and relatives, he sailed in Sept. 1878;
and Part I of this volume starts with his first letter
to his father, to whom also all the following letters
in this part are addressed. They chronicle his
first doings and impressions.
By the end of six months he had made a tour
with a sheep-man, to whom he hired himself,
across the Rio Grande and in Southern Texas ; had
visited a number of ranches, and learnt, in his own
opinion and words, " everything almost ploughing
and harrowing and all the rest of it." Part II tells
how he made his first investment in land, and im-
ported some English sheep, in the resolve to teach
the natives how to do their business better in the
future. A longer experience, and contact with the
hard facts of bush and prairie farming, somewhat
modified these views, and taught him that six months'
training does not tell for a great deal in the tough
wrestle with old mother earth. However, he made
light of the falls she gave him, scarcely indeed
allowed his friends at home to know that he had
had a fall at all, and within a year had got a farm
of his own, a one-roomed shanty with a lean-to
to live in, and gear enough of one kind or another
to keep him going and give hope for the future.
In 1879 his youngest brother Harry, called fami-
liarly the Doctor from his taste for natural science,
joined him, throwing up his Westminster scholar-
ship. This sacrifice involved an entire change of
plans and prospects, but it again was deliberately
made, and has not been repented. The long hours
of work by gaslight in Dean's Yard had begun to
tell on his eyesight, so he visited Willy on the
ranche, and there found his eyes rapidly improving.
This decided him, and he stayed with his brother.
His eyes have now become quite strong, and the
use their owner is making of them may be gathered
from his letters.
It was not till some two years later that Gerard,
familiarly known as Chico, made up his mind to
cast in his lot with his elder and younger brother.
For some three years he had been working in the
studio of Mr. G. Watts, R.A., an old family friend,
who with rare kindness had taken him as a pupil
without fee or premium, and devoted much time to
teaching him. I may not be an impartial judge,
but his work latterly seemed to me to show con-
siderable promise, an opinion shared I believe by
his kind instructor. So he too went off to Texas,
as may be read in Part VI of this book, and is now
in partnership with Willy and the Doctor, and quite
content with his prospects.
For some years yet the brothers will have "to put
in all their time " on the ranche, at shearing and
herding, clearing and planting ; but neither of them
has the least idea of giving up his old tastes and
pursuits in the long run. They have already got
their books out of the packing-cases, and in odds
and ends of time, Willy is faithful to his fiddle,
Chico to his pencil, brushes, and palette, and the
Doctor to his science and photography. They
believe that whatever is really essential to the life
of a cultivated gentleman may be had in due time
on a Texas farm, and is quite consistent with hard
labour and rough fare.
I think I am bound to add that neither of them
had the least idea until within the last few months
that their letters home were ever likely to get into
print. Indeed, when the proposal was made to
them, it was not without considerable reluctance
on their part that their consent was obtained. I
am glad that it has been, as I believe that this
little book may be of great use at the present time
to a number of young Englishmen ; very possibly to
some of their own old school-fellows. For every
year it becomes more clear that the openings in
England for young men in our upper and middle
classes are quite insufficient. The learned profes-
sions, the Army and Navy, and the Civil Service
are besieged by candidates, of whom there are a
dozen for every vacancy. It is the same with every
branch of trade and commerce, in which moreover
the intense competition has brought about a con-
dition of things which must, I should think, make
any parent, or otherwise responsible person, pause
before allowing a boy to take his chance of making
an honest living in them.
The pressure of this state of things has been
driving numbers of our boys to the Colonies and
America for some years past, and must do so more
and more in those which are coming. It would be
well I think if the nation took the matter in hand,
and treated colonisation scientifically with a view
to making the most of our splendid material. There
can be no doubt that, with a very moderate amount
of care and foresight, such an effort would pay its
own way almost at once, and its influence on the
future of England the new feeling of loyalty to
the old country which would spring up all round
the world would be of inestimable value. But in
the present state of parties and of Parliament it is
out of the question, and so long as the great work
is left to drift on, and get itself done as best it can,
there can be no more useful help to it than to
furnish trustworthy details of the life which young
emigrants will have to lead in the first years of
And nothing is more difficult to get than such
trustworthy details. There is indeed scarcely a
British colony, or a State of the Union, which has
not an agency in this country, engaged in distri-
buting the most glowing accounts of the unrivalled
riches, above ground and beneath, which are waiting
to be picked up in their respective territories. And
I am far from saying that many of the documents
so circulated are not carefully prepared and their
contents to a great extent justified by the facts.
But they are not what is needed. Not one of them
that ever I saw tells a youngster how he will be
housed and fed, what wages he may hope to earn,
what sort of company he will be thrown amongst.
And this is precisely what the boys' letters will
do. They may be left to the study of their con-
temporaries at home, with this warning however
to young readers. The hopeful and cheery spirit
which runs through them may to some extent
divert the attention of such persons from the hard
facts. These, however, are there plainly enough ;
and foremost amongst them this one stands out,
that the life must be one of very severe phy-
sical labour for years, amidst surroundings which
will try their mettle to the utmost. To those who
will accept these surroundings, and face them in
the same hopeful and cheery spirit, one may say
without fear, Follow their lead. But if any one
has reason to doubt himself on this point if he
has yearnings after the fleshpots in the midst of
which he has grown up, and is only induced to
leave them because he sees no hope at home of
getting an adequate supply let him by all means
stop where he is. The backwoods and prairies are
no place for him ; and he will only bring discredit
on himself and his country by adding one more
to the long roll of young Englishmen who drift
away to the gambling and drinking saloons, which
unhappily are to be found in abundance on the
outskirts of civilisation in every new country under
PROSPECTING IN TEXAS AND MEXICO i
SETTLING DOWN 39
STRIKING ROOTS 99
GAINING GROUND 129
MADGE'S TRIP TO THE RANCHE 159
WILLY'S, THE DOCTOR'S, AND CHICO'S LETTERS . .171
THE PIONEER'S LETTERS.
TEXAS AND MEXICO.
" When all the world is young, lads,
And all the trees are green,
With every goose a swan, lads,
And every lass a queen,
Then, Hey for boot and horse ! lads,
And round the world away,
Young blood will have its course, lads,
And every dog his day."
Sweeny's Hotel, New York,
Sunday, Sept. 15, 1878.
PART I. HERE I am at last, and have just been pitching Sept. 1878
' into bacon and eggs, and stewed tomatoes, and Jan. 1879.
coffee and iced water. We had a splendid passage ;
they say it was the quickest the " Erin " has had.
We got into dock at about 2 o'clock, and after the
saloon passengers had gone off we were barged
down to Castle Garden. What a farce the over-
hauling by U. S. Customs is. Whether because it
is Sunday or not I don't know, but they just
opened a few things, and put a very large signature
on in chalk, and hurried you on. I was hardly sick
at all, and enjoyed the voyage immensely, especially
the awfully barbaric manner in which we were fed!
Very few had plates ; they used the table (or board
with high edges which rejoiced in that name), and
as for spoons never heard of them, "Weren't
hands good enough ! " Half the steerage were
4 GONE TO TEXAS.
PART i. Irish, the rest all sorts of nations. Some of the sept. 1878
Prospecting, j^ ^^ eat< A quart Q f soup) a quart anc l a Jan> ^^
half of potatoes, about 4 Ibs. of meat, and a gallon
of "plum duff" (or pudding) was what some of
them seemed to stow. And at tea it was very
interesting to watch them. I made a special study
of one last night. He was the happy possessor of
a soup plate and large cup, both of which he filled
to overflowing with tea, and then divided his butter
into two (they give you about half-a-pound) and put
one lot in the cup, the other in the plate, and then
divided his bread between them, and mopped it up
with a spoon. What a place this Is ! Nothing but
the jingling of car-bells to be heard. I was very
much struck with the white steamers on the river
with the working contrivance at top. I could see
ten all at once, scudding about between New York
and Jersey City. They guide awfully well. I
cannot say what I am intending to do as yet. I
have read those papers you gave me through, and
fancy sheep-ranching, which they say is most profit-
able, and which I know a lot of young English
fellows have gone in for, will be what I shall strike
at. At all events, whatever it is, I know you can
trust me to put my best foot foremost, and I will
write as soon as I have anything to say. I met
THE START NEW YORK. 5
PART i. an old mountain fellow on board. He comes from Sept. 1878
respecting. Utah, ^^^ j believe, he gardens fruit, but he was Jan. 1879.
very close on all subjects. He was very quaint.
He had been visiting England for a few weeks,
and so, as he had not seen his brother for twenty-
three years, "just looked in for half-an-hour," as he
told me. He explained all about "homesteading"
and "preempting," &c. He became a citizen of
the U. S., but is an Englishman by birth. I asked
him if it were profitable to recant after becoming a
citizen? So he says, "Well, it's just this-wise ;
when ye've once become a 'Merican citizen ye'll
never want to go back again No, Sir ! " He says
England is too " overcrowded for him, Yes, Sir ! "
He was a dumpy and broad little man, with a sort
of wideawake twice as broad as himself, and always
had his hands in his pockets and his legs apart.
I expect my next move will be to San Francisco,
from whence I shall " look round."
Thursday, Sept. 19, 1878.
I seem to be blest with a very small share of
difficulties, and if any block does occur it worries
me to discuss it with any one, as it has always
6 GONE TO TEXAS.
PART I. been an intense pleasure to me to do everything Sept. 1878
Prospecting. for myself w i t hout help. ... Mr. Hewitt was very jan.'iS
kind. I had quite a fight to get away, and I
expect he thought I was too young to go by
myself, and wanted me to go into the country with
him till he could hear where Jem was, which I
suppose would have taken a month or so. My
train starts in twenty-five minutes, so I am off to
get some tea and my bag checked.
Central Hotel, San Antonio,
Sept. 27, 1878.
Here I am at last, after an awfully hot dusty
journey from New York. I stayed a little time in
Philadelphia, and am glad I did so. They are
building some new public buildings there, which
are, I suppose, to answer much the same purpose
as our Law Courts. They are very fine. It is a
tremendous block with a huge court in the middle,
and is built of polished Scotch marble ; and going
into the court quite takes away your breath, it is
so cool. The Quarantine officers were awfully
strict all the way; each large town sent out its
officer to make every one sign and swear they had
not been in any yellow fever district since July soth.
THE RUN DOWN TO TEXAS. 7
31 PART I. They turned out three men at Waller, a small Sept. 1878
s " place between Hempstead and Houston. I have Jan. i8 79 .
since seen two of them, and they say they let them
come on after airing their heels on the platform for
twelve hours. I got a health certificate at St. Louis
without trouble, but every town after satisfied its
conscience by making me sign as well ; sometimes
at night, when I was in the middle of a well, as
sound a sleep as you can get with your head and
body in a lump and your legs somewhere over
the back of another seat. We passed some very
amusing "cities," Log City, and Lairetta City.
They were both in the middle of the prairie, and
all the city was a small pile of logs thrown on the
ground, and a sign-board with the name of the
city on it ; not a house, or an animal, or a human
being anywhere within ten miles ! I went to
Mr. L 's yesterday. He knows Jem intimately,
and has given me the run of his rooms, and I have
been introduced to a Capt. T , an Englishman
with a large ranche, and am going to be introduced
to another man to-morrow. Jem is driving cattle
north, and is not expected back here for some
weeks. It has been awfully hot here lately.
Yesterday it was ninety in a " cool " room. I am in
excellent health and spirits, and do not feel the
8 GONE TO TEXAS.
PART i. heat so much as I did in Spain. The chief amuse- Sept. 1878
s ' ment here seems to be getting up party squabbles Jan. 1879.
of every and any kind, and they say in the papers
"A rare good time may be expected," which
means there will probably be plenty of row. They
never seem to think of the business part of the
concern. . . . One of the things the Yankees do
well is boot-making; they do make comfortable
boots and walking-shoes. Mr. L - is going to
show me a place on the river where I may get a
swim. He is very jolly and amusing. He says he
riles old Jem by making fun of the English and
their way of speaking. Jem is very popular here,
every one in the town knows him.
A Brushwood Prairie,
2 miles from San Antonio,
Oct. 4, 1878.
Here I am, camping out with a lot of sheep.
The brother of the landlord of my hotel intro-
duced me to a man named W , who has been
sheep-raising and selling for ten years, and has
just made enough to live on comfortably. I think
we shall work together very well. There are a
few men in the sheep business who have a name^
and sell their sheep at $5 to $15; whereas men
THE FIRST VIEW OF SHEEP-RAISING. 9
PARTI, like W get only $1 to $ai, and they say, Sept. 1878
g ' " Oh, it's just this a way y'know, they get a name, Jan. 1879.
and then they get big prices, that's where it is!"
They casually admit that they (the big men) had
some good rams from somewhere and improved
their stock ; but they utterly fail to see the con-
nection between this and the "name" they "get."
For next season we are going to have a couple
of rams out from England and just "fix" that
missing link. Will you get all possible particulars
for me as to shipping them in London, freight, &c. ;
and let me know whether they can be shipped to
Galveston or Corpus Christi direct (I shall prob-
ably not be able to get to either place to find
out for some time, and no one knows anything
about anything a yard away from him in this
part of the country).
We came out here the day before yesterday.
W took me to the yard where his " buggy " was.
It is the oddest old rattletrap I ever saw, and he
ties a horse and a mule in. They are not nearly
the same size or colour. All the harness is made
up of old bits of strap and rope, and I don't think
any one could " fix " the horses but himself. He
throws all the harness down by the buggy, and
if a buckle or anything gets lost it don't scare
10 GONE TO TEXAS.
PART I. him ; he says, " Oh, never mind, guess I'll fix it Sept. 1878
Prospecting. some j lows> Well, sir, we started off in this thing Jan. ?8 79 .
right for this place as the crow flies. This is a
large prairie overgrown with tall prickly bushes,
and W , whose ranche is 100 miles away South,
has brought a few thousand sheep here to sell to
the people of San Antonio. If that buggy's wheels
were only a yard or two nearer its body it would
be better. As it is, they get away amongst the
bushes ; you suddenly feel a heave, and see the
two on the left side riding over the top of a bush ;
you cling on to the rail for life, down comes that
side, and the other (a plucky pair they are) sees
if he can't away higher than the first. And then
you find half the harness has unhitched itself
from the crooked nails and things. I have now
been out here two nights, and like it very much.
We shall start for his ranche as soon as all the
sheep are sold, which may be a day or a week.
I am not going to take any wages, but then he
keeps me and feeds me and teaches me, and I
leave when I like, and of course the rams (which
we shall want about next April) will come out at
his expense. The first night we had a run. The
moon went down about n o'clock, and at 11.30
the flock had started off on the rampage towards
SHEEP-MEN. THE TWO CLASSES. 11
PART I. a Mexican flock a mile off, and we were afraid they sept. 1878
ng> would get mixed, so we had a run to round them j a n. 8 79 .
up and get them back before they reached the
others. The next morning the Mexican came over
to breakfast and lassoed a kid, which thirty seconds
afterwards was airing six component parts on trees,
and a seventh in a stew-pot on the fire, and we set
to. We have black coffee, and onions, and bread,
which we bake ourselves, and potatoes and bacon.
W works himself, so I expect to learn lots under
him. Sheep-men here are, for the most part, of
two kinds : the men like W , who work, and who
never make any improvements, and men who
seldom see their ranche and have herders ; and
they could make improvements if they were only
to attend to it themselves. The men who make
it pay are the ones who combine the two kinds
so I guess we look like cutting up smart, anyways
we'll try. It is awfully hot still. I have a bathe
in a creek just here, and am rigged out a la herd-
boy. My coat and pants, which are briar and
water proof, light, and cool, and look like brown silk,
cost $3^ together! and hat, with two-mile brim, $ i.
One ought to come with nothing and get rigged
out here : they know better what is needed, and
one gets just the things one wants. I am awfully
13 GONE TO TEXAS.
PART I. well. I expect I shall work with W some- Sept. 1878
Prospecting. wher under two years . t hen I'll get across to Jan. 1879.
England and get a few rams and come back and
run second to none, or turn toes up. Of course
I am reckoning that I don't get leaded by any of
these shot which (they say) occasionally get about
so thick you can't see the sun. Our camp here
consists of the buggy and pair aforesaid, W 's
boy, a bright lad of twelve, three camp water-barrels,
three stew-pans, which act as ovens, &c., &c., a few
blankets, and a few odds and ends, viz. a knife and
fork or two, and tin boxes of salt and sugar.
P.S. We shall want the rams about the end of
March, and they will have to come to New York.
We should like to know freight. I shall write to
Allender asking prices of rams, and telling him I
want him to get one of his farmer friends to pick
us two next Spring. And if you can get us
freight particulars now, I will get you to start
them from London for us when we want them.
Oct. 10, 1878.
I expect English rams will cost too much for
W - by the time they get here, so I shan't
bother Allender in the matter until I want mine.
A STORM ON THE PRAIRIE. 13
PART i. You might get the price of a good one for me, Sept. 1878
5 ' that I may tell W . I haven't any idea. I Jan. 1879.
suppose though they would come to 25, or more.
W 's boy was taken very feverish a day or two
ago, and I have been taking the flock out. There
are i5 5 and when out feeding they cover half-a-
mile diameter, and they always go on walking, and
by the time you get to the head the tail will have
twiddled round and started. They licked me at
first, but I can manage them now. We had a
storm the night before last. It was lightning half
way round the horizon, and then blew up in
a few minutes and just let us have it. I fixed
up under the wagon. The animals started in
the middle of it, and then it was a case of
mackintosh and top-boots ! Some of the ewes are
dropping lambs, and it's fine to see those kids
trying to get through long grass when they are
half-an-hour old. They jump, and spike themselves,
and fall on their noses, and repeat the process until
they are dog-gone tired, as W would say. I
think his expression is a corruption of something
worse. We get up about 5 o'clock and have
breakfast, then the sheep start at 7 and are out
till 12, then dinner; then start at 1.30 and in at
5.30 ; tea at 6, and " in bed " by 7.30, when W
14 GONE TO TEXAS.
PART i. and I talk ; and he tells me about the time they Sept. 1878
' were " fighting and hoorawing and fussing about Jan. 1879.
here," meaning the war between North and South.
We are very good cooks, and our greatest variation
is in our bread, which we cook in different ways.
It was awfully good this morning a liquid batter
of flour and water and yeast and salt, and a few
eggs, then set some oil boiling in a skillet and pour
the batter in in doses. It makes a sort of crisp
souffle cake. You fry about four at the same time
in a skillet eight inches across, fish them out in
about two minutes and pour four more in. They
are light and wholesome. I ate about 200 or 250
I should say, that's about half a cwt. I am now
a mile away from camp looking after these sheep,
and only started this letter to say that I wanted
you to get me the price of good rams somewhere
about, as I shan't bother Allender at all in the
matter. ^? -
Oct. 24, 1878.
We have not left here yet you see, but W has
sold his sheep, and we expect to start for his ranche
to-morrow. I think the open air suits me to a T.
We slept in a room in town last night, and it
seemed stuffy after sleeping out on the ground, so
A SQUARE MEAL. 15
PART i. we camp out again to-night. The night I took Sept. 1878
'respecting. yQur j ast lettej . to p ost j ^^ & supper, after nine Jan. ^879.
days bacon and flour and kid, and you bet I let
in ! They give you at all the " un-napkin " places
here a grand meal for 25 cents,' about six dishes.
One never gets through them except under special
circumstances, but I got through all mine that
night, and two cups of coffee. I had a steak and
two sorts of vegetables, and two poached eggs and
a dish of stew, and another of mutton and some
stewed prunes, and any amount of bread and
butter! I had a fortnight's herding, and have
mastered that and learnt a good deal about sheep.
I employed my spare time in tarantulizing taran-
tula spiders out of their holes, and throwing stones
at rabbits. I was almost going with the three
fellows who bought the sheep. They were going
to Fort Worth, 200 miles, and neither knew how
to drive properly, so they wanted me to help them;
but they wouldn't give me my fee of 5 dollars
per week besides grub, so I refused. You people
don't know what coffee is over there. We buy it
in the green, and roast and grind it ourselves, and
then boil the powder, which is ground about three
times as coarsely as we used to grind it, so it all
settles to the bottom of the pot and doesn't come
l6 GONE TO TEXAS.
PART I. off when you pour out the liquid, which is partly Sept. 1878
Prospecting. because the S p Out) O r lip rather, is at the top of the Jan. 1879.
pot. I think I see my way to starting a good
thing next spring. I find that the Northern sheep-
men all come South to buy. The central market
is San Antonio, and the Southern breeders bring
their cattle there, and the Northerners (as those
three we sold to) come there to buy. One of the
three told me that some of the sheep they had
just paid i dollar 25 cents for were worth 2 dollars
50 cents up North ; and next spring I think I shall
drive North with a few sheep, if I feel capable.
Please get my cash transferred to L 's here, as
I feel I can trust myself with some capital by the
time that is transferred. I am in no hurry though.
P.S. We start at sunrise to-morrow, so I shan't
see Jem till we return with sheep in a few weeks.
Don't think I want any more than that money of
mine I couldn't do with any more.
Nov. 8, 1878.
I have had tremendous fun since I wrote to
you on 24th Oct. W and his boy, and the
Mexican herder and myself, started next morning
at sunrise for his ranch e, 120 miles South, W
A JOURNEY IN THE BUSH.
and I leading in two-horse wagon with spare Sept. 1878
horse tied behind, and the nigger and boy in Jan. 1879.
buggy and pair with two horses tied behind. It
was tremendously hot all the way. We did it in
three days, the last day starting at 1.30 a.m. and
getting in at 6 p.m. The first day the wagon
nearly upset into a deep gully as we were going
down one of the perpendicular creeks, of which
we crossed thirty or so. Perhaps you know them
dry watercourses about twenty feet deep ; you
go straight down and then straight up. We rushed
down, W putting on the break hard and
throwing the reins into my lap, and the left horse
almost went down the creek on the left. The
second day one of the horses behind the buggy
kicked the other, which one bolted behind a tree,
and as it was tied somewhere under the buggy
it shot the hind part up, and out went the boy,
who was driving, on to the mule's back ; the reins
dropped, and the horse and mule started off, taking
the buggy over the legs and chest of the boy. (He
wasn't hurt.) W and I heard the Mexican
yelling behind, about 300 yards off, and we saw
the buggy dash up in a cloud of dust, and it
didn't stop till the pole had applied itself to the
horse behind the wagon and sent it swinging to
1 8 GONE TO TEXAS.
PART i. the side. No damage was done. After this the Sept. 1878
S ' Mexican funked and took to his horse, and I got Jan. 1879.
into the buggy with the boy to help him. It is
the rottenest old buggy you ever saw. W
bought it second-hand and has had it five years,
and has done the "repairing" himself, so you
can imagine the result. It is all mendings, espe-
cially as to the harness ; and coming down we had
to tie the tires on in several places with strips of
goat-hide. All the wheels were rattling, and the
left one was well, "rolling"; and, as I was just
beside it, I watched it with great interest as we
went down the gullies or through ruts a foot deep.
How it held together I don't know. The worst
gully was an awful one, nearly perpendicular.
The horse, although used to gullies, funked it,
and reared ; so the Mexican went to the head
of the animals and pulled them. When a few
yards down it was too much for him, and he
sprang aside, and down we dashed and up the
other side safely. I was driving, as the boy, like
the horse, had funked, and got out at the top.
For miles and miles we went through burnt and
burning grass. It doesn't flare, but smoulders;
and we passed trees that were still flickering in
places. One night in a forest we could see it
WAIFS IN THE BURNT PRAIRIE. 19
PART I. smoking out west of us, and the wind was blowing Sept. 1878
' our way, but it didn't reach us. On the second Jan. 1879.
day, in the evening, we passed a wagon by the
roadside with two small girls in it, about six
years old. It had camped there the night before
and the horses had stampeded, and the father of
the children had been out since daybreak after
them, and had not returned. We asked them
if they were frightened; "Oh, no," they said.
"Have you any water?" (they were four miles
from any.) " No." " Then what will you do for
it?" "Starve, I guess," said the eldest; as much
as to say, You ought to know that. Their father
now came up after a fruitless search all day. His
boots had been burnt up by the sun, and the soles
were tied on with string. We left them water,
and promised to send the horses back if we found
them ; but we didn't see them. W 's house
is a log hut, with bedroom, and kitchen, and out-
houses ; one for children, of which there are nine,
and others for corn, &c. The first night it rained
hard, and I slept in his room, he and his wife
in one bed, and I in the other. I wanted to sleep
on the floor, but, as he remarked, " the floor gets
covered with water sometimes." The floor, I may
mention, is the earth, and, instead of being raised,
20 GONE TO TEXAS.
PART i. is rather lower than outside, from being trodden Sept. 1878
&> on. We were at his ranche for three days, and Jan. 1879.
then he and I went on in the wagon to a friend's
ranche, to sleep there. The ranche used to belong
to two young Americans, who were murdered by
their "pastores" for plunder. Next day the rest
of the sheep-buying party came up (we are down
South, buying sheep to drive to San Antonio) in
an ambulance belonging to Mr. X , one of the
party. We consist of Mr. X , who was edu-
cated at Yale, is stout and merry ; Judge Y ,
who sings comic songs or tells comic stories all
day, and prefers dabbling in sheep to lawyering ;
Z , a young Northerner, who is in Texas for
pleasure, is pretty rich, I fancy, and has come
out with them for a lark; and W , myself,
and the Mexican. We started at once for X 's
ranche, the luggage and four of us in the am-
bulance, and two on horseback ; stayed there for
a day or two, and then started on down here.
They are very great on card-playing and whiskey-
drinking, and play poker at every stoppage, and
at night, by the light of the moon, till n o'clock
or so. They don't gamble, but bet imaginary
sums, and owe each other thousands of dollars.
We were two and a half days coming down here,
A BUSINESS (AND PLEASURE) TRIP IN MEXICO. 21
and stopped at a small town named Collins for Sept. 1878
stores, and laid in lamp-oil, flour and potatoes, Jan. 1879.
bacon, whiskey, &c. Coming along the oil got
into the flour and potatoes, and the whiskey got
into " the crowd." It is not lawful to sell whiskey
down here, but it is bottled under the name of
" Stomach bitters," and sold in a square glass bottle
with directions, about "two table spoonfuls, &c."
After every drink they get very talkative, and,
as each is a perfect character without it, it is in-
tensely interesting to listen to them. The nigger
pretends not to like it, but says a little makes
him " mucho bravo " ; so it is as well that he takes
some, as it is a pretty rough country down here,
and we all carry arms (about twelve in number)
loaded, and by our sides at night. We are now
camping just outside Conception, a small Mexican
town. W and the nigger are out after some
goats which the former lent a man on shares three
years ago, and has not taken the trouble to look
after (no wonder he doesn't get rich !) ; and the
other three buying sheep in the wagon ; and I am
looking after camp, with the things scattered round
and my coat hanging beside me with a loaded
revolver sticking out of the pocket one feels safer
with one, though it is very seldom required and
22 GONE TO TEXAS.
PART i. for half-an-hour before I began writing I had been Sept. 1878
"'preparing a larded kidney for my dinner, and it Jan. 1879.
is now roasting over some wood coals and tied
up in grass and looks awfully good. Just after
passing Collins, Z , who was riding (and had
had some whiskey), let his six-shooter off by
mistake, and it kicked into his face and cut him.
He comes in for the wars whether tight or sober.
Coming from San Antonio in the ambulance, with
X and the judge, they stuck in a bog (W
and I nearly stuck in the same place when we
came down), and Z being, well, the soberest
of the party, had to get out, and, up to his waist
in mud, unhitch the horses and hitch them to the
back of the wagon, and so pull it out again.
9th Nov. Just off in ambulance for a drive over
country after sheep.
Nov. 19, 1878.
Since I wrote to you we have been a week's
trip after sheep. We camped seventeen miles from
here or more, near a very large waterhole (they are
very scarce here), and we were a mile or two from
any ranche. That was our camp, and from there
we scouted for sheep. We had lots of shooting at
antelope and deer, and wild turkeys, geese, cranes,
SPORT BY THE WAY. 33
PART i. ducks, partridges, &c. We have not bagged any sept. 1878
? ' venison yet. Though I have only had five shots, Jan. 1879.
the first I got a bird, and the second and third
rabbits ; so I thought I was infallible I suppose, as
I shot the last two carelessly and missed. They
were both at a lot of curlews sitting by a pond.
From our camp by the waterhole, we all, except
the Mexican, whom we left in camp, went after
sheep, two of us riding and the other three in the
ambulance. We didn't take any food, or cooking
tricks as they call them, as one expects to be fed
gratis at the few ranches one graces with one's
presence, even though there are five mouths to
feed. The first of the two days we had dinner at
a very clean little ranche off cafe au lait and batter
cakes. That night we got to a wealthy stock-
owner, whose " hall of reception " was a round
space cut out of a thicket. We didn't do any
business with him, but nevertheless, as usual, ate
about a whole goat of his, and made free with his
corn-meal. Next morning we had a light break-
fast of coffee and corn-bread, and started for camp,
getting a little corn-bread and coffee in the middle
of the day at a ranche (the ranches are sometimes
five or six miles apart or more), and when we got
back that evening we were ravenous, and had a
24 GONE TO TEXAS.
TART i. large supper off goat and bread and molasses and Sept. 1878
s ' bacon and coffee this is our larder in full ; and Jan. 1879.
then we started back here next day, stopping that
night at a large horse ranche, where we invaded
the house, and slept in one of the rooms, and
monopolised a detached kitchen. We saw Mexi-
cans breaking in horses, and also cutting off the
manes and tails of some wild ones. They drive
them into a corral, and then lasso them, and tie
their legs together after tripping them. The old
stud horse gave them some trouble, but they at
last lassoed his front legs as he was galloping
round, which sent him on to his nose, and then of
course they were on to him with ropes. When he
got up he just was mad to find he was cropped.
We are now on our old camp ground here, and
haven't got any sheep yet. It is splendid weather,
and as I write (on the -inside of the back of the
ambulance) there is not a cloud to be seen, and
it is as hot as a hot summer day over there ; and it
is cooler now than it was when we left, as there
have been two nights of rain which has filled the
creeks which were dry before. I fancy these
fellows don't mean much business, but I am learn-
ing a lot about stock and the country, and am
having a very jolly time. I have no work to do
THE BOY AS BAKER. 25
PART i. except what all the others do, as the Mexican Sept. i8 7 s
g ' attends to the horses, &c., and the grub is very Jan. 1879.
good for camp, and there's lots of it. Oh, yes ! by
the bye, my special work is baker's. I can bake
better than any of the others, and make better
bread. You bet we have good flour bread little
rolls about as big as a hen's egg, and we have
them hot for breakfast and cold the rest of the
day. I have just hit the dodge for making them
au fai^ or whatever it is. The man who keeps
the store here had confidence enough to sell them
a bottle of gin this morning, and a quarter of an
hour after it appeared in camp those four and the
Mexican had emptied the bottle. At this moment
the only one who is overcome is the Judge, and
he is asleep by the wagon ; the other three are
playing poker as usual. I am picking up Mexican
fast ; every one as far south as this speaks it, and
there are very few Americans here ; I don't think
we have come across one since we left W J s
ranche, and only two Mexicans who have been
able to talk English ; but the three bosses of our
party all speak Mexican.
It is extraordinary the difference between Eng-
lish and the people down here in small expenses.
Our Mexican servant invites any of his friends to
26 GONE TO TEXAS.
PART i. eat with him at his master's expense, and no one Sept. 1878
s ' says anything, and when we were camping near the Jan. 1879.
waterhole, two Mexican herders came twice every
day nearly for food, and just took what they
wanted without being invited. But it is the regular
thing out here to eat at any one else's expense, and
consider it a piece of condescension.
I have gained about 20 Ibs. in weight, I believe,
since I left England, and am in excellent health.
The ranches, or farms, down here are several
miles apart, some of the owners owning as much
as 180,000 acres; this is the case with one or two,
the rest a paltry 500 or upwards ! Some ranches
own, besides other stock; 2000 or more horses, which
roam about the country in herds.
The people about here live very simply; the
richest have only wooden houses, and eat goat or
mutton (very seldom beef), and although plenty of
game can be had for the shooting, they very
seldom take the trouble to kill it. There are
quantities of wild turkey in the woods ; they run
about in flocks, and are so common that if a man
shoots one he generally cooks the breast and
throws away the rest.
ACROSS THE RIO GRANDE. 27
Laredo, Rio Grande,
Dec. 2, 1878.
PART I. The day after I last wrote we bought 600 sheep, Sept. 1878
driving them into a large pen, and then catching Jan. i8 79 .
each one and looking at his teeth, and branding
him with a square tar mark, and chopping his
tail off, and putting him through the gap. I
was catching and bringing to the gap nearly all
the time, and it is tremendous exercise, as some
of the sheep are pretty strong. Next day we met
a buyer, who wanted sheep in a hurry, and so took
ours and paid us what we gave (or rather what
X , W , and Y gave), and $100
besides, which was a very good day's work. We
are now on the American side of Laredo, which
is on both sides of the river, and are going to
start into Mexico to-day or to-morrow, as sheep
are very much cheaper there ; and not only that,
Mexican money is at a discount of 15%, so that
a Mexican dollar, which is at par in Mexico, can
be bought in America for 85 cents. We brought
a box full (two or three thousand I expect) of
Mexican dollars with us safely. We passed some
splendid scenery occasionally. Most of the way
is quite flat, but two days we came upon hills
28 GONE TO TEXAS.
PART I. covered with all sorts of thorny bushes, cacti, etc. Sept. 1878
Prospecting. ^. r - . , - ... to
The scenery for the last five or six miles or more Jan. 1879.
was lovely. A very hard north wind was blowing,
and as we passed the mouths of Canyons we nearly
got blown over, and had to put up the ambulance
cover. This is a very pretty little town ; it has
sprung up within the last thirty years or so ; there
are the inevitable Mexican plazas, and a very well
built church, and the houses are well built and paint-
ed in all sorts of brilliant designs outside lam
speaking of this side of the river, as I haven't
been across yet; the other side seems to be as
large. The river here is as broad as the Thames
at London Bridge, but shallow ; no navigation
comes up as far as this, and the town is built
on a sandy kind of soil and about 20 feet higher
than the river, which is gradually working the
sand away. We are having beautiful weather,
very warm ; I don't think there is a cloud
on the sky at this moment. Yesterday we
washed in the Rio in the morning, and in the
afternoon I went for a stroll along the shore and
saw evening parade at the barracks ; and when
returning saw a blaze in town. It was a large
store on fire, and when I got there the church
bells were being hammered, and Mexicans were
A FIRE IN A MEXICAN TOWN. 29
PART i. rushing along the balcony of the first floor getting Sept. 1878
s ' the furniture out. There is no fire-engine in the Jan. 1879.
place, and we pulled buckets of water up by
ropes on to the balcony at the back, and handed
them up through a trap-door on to the roof, and
got the fire out in about an hour after it began.
The only serious damage done to the things was
from the water, and crazy Mexicans who pulled
down any woodwork they could ; and after the fire
was out there was still one crazy loon trying
vainly to hack the wooden tiles off the roof
with an axe. We have been living like fighting-
cocks, on beef and onions, and pickles, and oranges,
besides the usual bacon and molasses, &c., and
have hired a two-room house with a yard to
it. We inhabit the former, and the five horses
the latter. The atmosphere is so clear here in
the country that, when six miles from Concepcion,
we could hear the drum beating between the gusts
of wind (which was blowing towards the town).
Of course letters are not being forwarded to me
from San Antonia, so do not expect to get answers
to any that may be there, till I strike it again.
30 GONE TO TEXAS.
Dec. 15, 1878.
PART i. Since I wrote last we have been ninety miles Sept. 1878
Prospecting. . nto MexicQ and back> We had a good deal o f Ja
trouble getting a start, as none of the officials on
the Mexican side seem to have any definite ideas
with regard to the laws, and each one fingers
around for a bribe instead of slapping out the law.
We got across the river, wagon and horses, &c., on
a barge, and, after making satisfactory arrange-
ments with the officials in town, started ; on the
outside we were pulled up by another custom-house
and taken back ; " satisfactory arrangements " had
to be gone through again, and a pass given us.
We then rolled out, and on the third day reached
Lampazos, which is a small town amongst moun-
tains ; the latter were plainly visible from the Rio
Grande. Going down we passed only about three
ranches, and crossed a very pretty river (the
Salado). All the Mexicans were very pleasant
and hospitable. Going down we slept near a ranch
each night. When we got into Lampazos we
waited in the main plaza while the boss looked
out for a house. The annual examination was just
taking place; a seedy band was playing outside
the schoolroom door, and some 150 or 200
A MEXICAN TOWN. 31
PART I. girls marched in, in white dresses and red sashes, Sept. 1878
ng * and then a few anxious parents marched in, as if Jan. 1879.
they were taking each other down to dinner, and
all dressed up to the nines. We got a very jolly
house, or stone-room, for storing wool or fodder;
it was empty though, and outside was a yard with
a small stream running through it : the river is
tapped, and runs through nearly every yard in town.
That night I had a bathe in it, while the others
went with a party of cattle-men to see a per-
formance by a strolling company of actors. We
stopped in Lampazos about a week, and I think
the other four cattle-men and ourselves were the
only whites in town. One of the others was an
exact specimen of a Mark Twain hero ; he had
mined of course, and was a lump of wit and good
humour. Some one asked him how much he had
paid to go into the theatre. "Pay!" said he,
" paid nothing. Our pistols were locked up, but
I got hold of one and strapped it over my behind,
and me and Johnson just walked through." The
Mexicans are very funky of Americans if they
have a pistol with them, and it's very seldom they
haven't, and it was a very small piece of French
leave. The other four had been out after cattle
(half the time or more on the spree) for six months,
32 GONE TO TEXAS.
PART i. and they were getting irregular about their meals, Sept. 1878
g ' got anything to eat anywhere, and they used to Jan. 1879.
take us by storm and eat like giants. It is part
of the fun to go and eat at another ranche's ex-
pense, and ask why the there isn't a better
lay out in such a bully-looking crowd ?
I had a tremendous walk one day. Lampazos
is between two mountains. The one on the right
looks as if it is about three miles, or not so much,
away; the other one is nearer; so I thought I'd
walk to the furthest one. I started at 9 o'clock
a.m. to walk, and walked across the prairie, and now
and then the foot of the mountain would seem a
mile off; but when I got there I found myself on
the top of a small hill, with another mile of prairie,
and so on ; but I didn't stop, as I was going
through cacti of all kinds, and various plants I had
never seen before. At last, about 3 o'clock in the
afternoon, I reached the foot of the mountain and
went half-way up. I had a splendid view of an
endless stretch of prairie, and away in the horizon
one could see a stretch of about ten miles of prairie
fire, which smoulders and flares along (this one
burned for days) ; but the sun was rapidly going
down, and I thought the sooner I got back the
better, especially as I had to cross a river a mile
A WALK IN MEXICO. 33
PART L or two from town. So I started back as quickly Sept. 1878
'respecting. ^ o T ^^j^ TV,^ loo* kolf v>;i -roo c/^ fViVV- with Jan. 1879.
cactus I could hardly get along, and when I was
at last started pretty well the sun was disappearing.
Luckily it was a full moon that night, or I should
have had to bunk down and wait till sunrise ; as it
was I had no end of a bother and fun. I struck
the river about a mile higher than where I had
crossed it, and got mixed up in a jungle kind of
a place, and could hardly get through ; at last I
got a place in the river, where I forded it ; it was
only about a foot deep there, and got into some
corn-fields. At last I struck the road, and got
back at 8 P.M., after eleven hours' walking. I
wasn't tired, and only a little stiff next day.
When I asked afterwards how far it was to the
place, I was told fifteen miles ! It is tremendously
deceiving, as the atmosphere is so clear you could
almost see a flea crawl over there. It nearly crazed
two Mexicans when I told them I had been there,
as they never walk more than half-a-mile at a
stretch, and seldom that.
We found out that some large men had been
around getting sheep to stock a ranche, and the
price had gone up to as much as in Texas ; and so
we couldn't buy, as there would be two duties to
34 GONE TO TEXAS.
PART I. pay, one out of the country, and another across the Sept. 1878
Prospecting. R . o Grande __ so we returned. We didn't strike jan. 1 ^.
ranches either of the nights coming back, and so
camped miles away from any one. Going down we
had camped near a ranche each night for safety's
sake. We are now back in Laredo, and, I think,
are going down the bank of the Rio Grande, or
somewhere. I am quickly picking up Mexican.
I go into stores and spout out for something, or
jabber to an old woman who lives in a house
looking on to the same yard that our horses are in.
Yesterday it was cold, but to-day it is hot again,
and hardly a cloud anywhere. I am awfully well,
but getting fat I'm afraid, in spite of riding eight
hours a day. I fancy I shall get on swimmingly
among stock, as I am learning about all the dif-
I shall know pretty well about all south-western
Texas by the time we finish this trip. All the
cattle-men one comes across are the very essence
of good-humour and open-handedness ; the great
failing with them is that they can't keep out of
the bar-rooms, and this is the reason why one
hears such an account of the dangers about here.
If they went about their business in a sober
way, and didn't get into rows in gambling-hells
MEXICAN EARTHENWARE. 35
PART i. and bar-rooms, they wouldn't be always getting Sept. 1878
specting. . to
Killed. Jan. 1879.
The Mexicans have a very good kind of earthen-
ware in which they cook almost entirely. It is red
and thin but tough, and will stand any heat ; but
the handle, although the pot is on the fire, remains
cold. They are used for coffee and frejoles (the
beans they eat so much of), and a pot to hold three
pints costs ii\ cents. They are the best things
for cooking in I ever saw, and are made in all
shapes and sizes.
i6th. Just off to Rio Grande City.
20 miles from anywhere, Texas,
Jan. 2, 1879.
A happy New Year to you all.
Since I wrote, we have been rolling about the
country between Laredo and Rio Grande City,
and no post-office within 20 miles, the nearest
being at Roma (this side of Rio Grande). We
were a few days at Carrizo, and are now between
there and Roma, and 15 miles inland from the
river (Grande). We have got three lots of sheep,
about 1000, and want 2000 or so more, which
I expect we shall soon get. When at Carrizo,
36 GONE TO TEXAS.
PART I. W , and the Judge, and I crossed the river Sept. 18781
Prospecting. aga j n an( j went down to Guerrero, which is a Jan.
picturesque little town on a very beautiful river,
the Salado. The only other American in town
was the American Consul, and so we were objects
of great interest and curiosity. We put up at
a small cafe, and the first night when we entered
the small room (which opens on to the plaza)
we found the bench opposite the table full of
expectant Mexicans, sitting like dolls, evidently
specially invited by our host to see the " curiosi-
ties.'"' When we left Laredo they had small-pox
in town, and were " packing around dead Mexi-
cans considerable," as a cattle-driver informed
me ; but that is the only unhealthy place we
have passed. We have been some days now at
this ranche, which is like all the others, a lot of
small log houses surrounded by a fence, and about
five or six large families, all related in some way,
the men of which saunter about doing nothing
more than shooting a deer occasionally. This
is almost the only meat they eat, as they seldom
kill a sheep, at least on this ranche. They have
no capital except a lot of land and some cattle
which they occasionally sell. They seldom buy
anything but coffee and tobacco, and their cash
CHRISTMAS DAY ON THE RIO GRANDE. 37
PART i. for this is what they receive from passers-by for Sept. 1878
s ' corn and for leave to water at their well. The Jan. 1879.
only work I have seen done since we have been
here was by a party of six, one of whom was
chiselling on a wooden plough and the other five
were looking on ! We shan't strike a post-office
for some days, so to-morrow I intend riding to
Roma to post this, in case you should be getting
at all anxious from my not writing. By the by,
I hope you had a merrier Christmas than we
had. It was most amusing. We had an awful
day, and were out of provisions, and corn, and
everything, and nearly got frozen. I will give
you a list of that day's proceedings : 5 a. m.,
got up from under wagon and found icicles all
about. It was raining, everything was wet, sheep
had stampeded and were at last found in three
different places some miles off, and brought back
by three of the others nearly at night. X
and I started in the middle of the day on horse-
back for the nearest ranche to get corn for the
horses. It was awful cold and raining, and we
thought we had lost our way, but at last we
heard the roosters crowing and got to the ranche,
where we thawed and had coffee and " muscal,"
or brandy made from cactus. Then we started
38 GONE TO TEXAS.
PART I. back and dried the blankets and things as well Sept. 1878
Prospecting. , r r to
as possible in a ram, before a fire enough to roast Jan. 1879,
an ox. We had killed a wild pig, and had in-
tended to have boar's head for Christmas dinner
(only, as some one would remark, it was a sow),
but unfortunately a dog ran off with the head.
That day was the worst we have had, and no
one is a bit the worse for it. It is now warm
again, though it rains pretty often ; but we got
some more sheeting and have a tent fixed from
the wagon, and so keep everything dry.
Jan. 3, 1879.
P. S. I hope my Christmas Day description
don't frighten you ; it exaggerates itself on paper,
and taking all in all, we are having bully weather,
and are as healthy and jolly as pot-boys. I can't
ride to Roma to-day, after all, so this must wait
a day or two, much as I wish to get it off.
WILLY'S AND COUSIN TIM'S
PART II. WHEN we received Willy's letters from San Antonio we Jan. 1879
Settling, j^ man y consultations, and made many enquiries, which May^iSj
resulted in our agreeing to send him out two Oxfordshire
Down rams and four ewes. These were ready to be
shipped by December, and by that time a Cousin, a year
older than Willy, and a chum of his, who had been three
years in a city office, had determined to go to Texas too,
and volunteered to take care of them as far as San Antonio.
As will be seen, he got them there just in time to meet
Willy (whose letters from home had all been accumulating
at Mr. L 's office) on his return to San Antonio from his
trip into Mexico. W. H.
FROM COUSIN TIM.
Smith and M c Neill's Hotel,
Washington St., N. Y.,
Thursday afternoon, Jan. 16, 1879.
I'm afraid you'll think I've been a long time
before writing ; but I have been waiting till I
could report on the sheep. The " England " only
42 GONE TO TEXAS.
PART IT. arrived yesterday, owing to heavy weather, and the Jan. 1879
smashing of the steering apparatus. I went down May, 1879.
to the dock where she's lying this morning, and
saw the sheep : they are real beauties, and are in
splendid health ; indeed they ought to be, for they
finished the last morsel of their grub this morning.
Mr. P - has had them taken to some stables
where they will be well looked after, and will have
them put on board my steamer (the "Rio Grande")
by his own carman on Saturday. I find the run
to Galveston takes about ten days, so I will provide
about as much forage as they had before (I have
got Mr. Howard's letter giving the quantities). I
had a glorious run in the " City of Brussels," eleven
days from Queenstown, terribly rough weather
part of the time, but once I got over the first feel-
ings of qualmishness I enjoyed myself thoroughly,
and my appetite was proverbial. There was a very
rum lot on board, natives of all countries, but a
great many very decent fellows. We divided into
messes after we had been on board a bit ; ours was
the most select of the lot. It was composed of a
'Frisco artist, two diggers, and a Yankee bo'sun
(Jack Slack by name), and a widdy, one of the
steerage belles, and your humble servant. Some-
times after a successful day's foraging in the cook's
A VOYAGE IN THE STEERAGE. 43
PART ii. galley, we'd invite outsiders to supper as a great Jan. 1879
honor, but we were most particular as to their ante- May, i8 79 .
Foraging was one of the chief businesses of
the day : after every cabin meal you'd be sure to
see a dozen or so loafers hanging round the cook's
galley offering to do any small job, such as peeling
potatoes, or washing dishes anything in fact that
came first ; and if it wasn't overdone, two square
meals a day might easily be raised. There was
one woman who excited all our indignation by the
barefaced way she was always beating up our
preserves. Her plan was to pretend she was al-
ways sick, and could only eat a little of something-
delicate. One morning she was seen to eat two
rolls, a basin of porridge, and a lot of ham and
eggs for breakfast, and at dinner time I heard her
tell the chief steward she'd hardly tasted a morsel
for days, and did he think he could get her some-
thing extra ? I could stand it no longer ; up I
jumped, and said, " Well, ma'am, if you call what
you had for breakfast fasting for days, how much
do you get through when you do have a real square
meal ? " She hated me ever after, and took every
opportunity of alluding to her well-behaved children
before me ; but I was amply revenged, for all eyes
44 GONE TO TEXAS.
PART ii. were on her at meals, and if an unusually large Jan. 1879
loaf came on the table, it was always passed down May, 1879.
to the " delicate Lady." We had plenty of exer-
cise, for the second officer used to come to the
steerage every day and ask for volunteers to haul
on ropes, or holystone the decks, or something of
the sort ; if it had been to be keel-hauled I think
we'd have gone, we were so glad of something to
do. For five days we shipped so many big seas,
that it wasn't safe to go on deck. One of them
swept me under a small signal gun, and barked my
shins awfully. We had to have our soup and
everything out of mess, she rolled about so. I was
rather uncomfortable at first, because I had no bed,
but I soon got accustomed to the boards, and slept
as well, in fact better, than most of the others.
Some of them were awful restless beggars, and
would get up at two in the morning and roam
about all night, talking or playing seven up ; the
way they were cussed was highly gratifying to the
disturbed ones. The stewards were the decentest
fellows I ever met ; they were so popular on board,
that we gave them three cheers when we left. I
should never think of going cabin though ; steerage
is far too comfortable and jolly, and we had a deal
more fun than the cabin passengers ever had aft.
STEERAGE AMUSEMENTS. 45
PART ii. They used to come and look on when we were Jan. 1879
dancing, nearly every evening. Our only musical May, 1879.
instrument was a fiddle, which was played by the
bar-keeper splendidly. Some of the fellows dressed
as ladies, and would walk about arm in arm, on
deck, amidst roars of laughter. There was one
very amusing man on board, named Andrew S ;
he was just the shape of a barrel, pointed at each
end ; he was always going for something for his
wife, about whose existence we were slightly scep-
tical ; if there was such a person, her capacity for
beer was something enormous. It's very cold here,
and there's a foot of snow on the ground ; traffic's
almost entirely stopped, except with sleighs, of
which there are any quantity. I like New York
itself very much, and certainly think in time it will
lick London all to nothing. I suppose you have
seen their elevated railroads? They are far nicer
than the Metropolitan Railway, and the carriages
are better furnished, besides being able to go any-
where in the City for 5 cents. I will write again
from Key West, which is the only port we touch
at. There's such a queer crowd here, Texan
drovers, and all sorts of men. The fare to San
Antonio by rail is $75, so it's an immense saving
going by sea.
46 GONE TO TEXAS.
R. M. S. " Rio Grande,"
Off the coast of Florida,
Jan. 24, 1879.
PART II. I am just writing a few lines to report on the j an . 1879
mg * sheep as I promised ; but whether they'll ever May, 1879.
reach you or not I'm very uncertain, as I am
going to entrust them to an old boy on board
who leaves us at Key West. The sheep are all
right so far, and seem to me to be in very fair
condition. They did not take very kindly to the
forage provided for them in New York, as the
American hay is so much coarser than the English,
and they sent no turnips as I told them to do.
However, they are getting used to it now, and eat
it pretty well. The weather here is awfully hot
and sultry, very different to New York ; but the
ship is very well ventilated, so I don't feel it much.
The sheep have been noticed a great deal by
everybody on board, and several of the cabin
passengers have asked for Mr. Howard's address,
as they wanted to get some like them. The
sailors are very fond of them, but seem to have
strange ideas what's good for them in the way
of food. I caught one of them the other day
feeding them with a copy of the " Tribune," which
VOYAGE TO GALVESTON WITH SHEEP. 47
PART ii. he said was the best thing possible for them. Jan. 1879
The carpenter spends half his time playing with May, 1879.
them; but he's under the impression that they
bite, so he's very careful not to put his hands
too near. I am writing this in my shirt sleeves,
and suppose in England you are all shivering in
the wet. A little boat came off from a lighthouse
this morning for papers and vegetables ; there was
only one man in it, and he very nearly upset himself
standing up to take off his hat to the ladies. The
skipper 's been fishing for barracoutas all day, but
I've not seen him catch any yet. We are much
better fed here than on the " City of Brussels"
beefsteaks, potatoes, rolls and coffee every morn-
ing for breakfast, and a very good dinner and tea.
We get into Key West to-night about 8 o'clock, .
and leave again at 10. I believe there's nothing
to be seen but cigars, turtles, and sponges.
Monday evening, Jan. 27, 1879.
P.S. Sheep landed to-day, all in good con-
dition ; are going on by freight-train to-night.
I accompany them in same van. This is an awful
48 GONE TO TEXAS.
Mr. L 's Office, San Antonio, Texas,
Jan. 30, 1879.
PART ii. Just back from our trip. Two of the bosses Jan. 1879
Settling> and self left W and the Mexican 160 or so May!i8 79 .
miles off, to follow with the 1 700 odd sheep, and
we rolled up in the wagon. I am awful fat and
jolly. We got in here about 6.30 to-night, and
after getting a room and some grub, I came round
to the above's office, just in time to catch him
before he went to the theatre, so I have got all
my letters and his office to myself. I have just
got through my letters and will post this to-night,
as owing to our not having struck a post-office
for some weeks, I'm afraid you must have thought
"a Greaser 1 had leaded me," as I see the doctor
says in one of his letters ; tell him though, it's
not more than a 5-cent. business in some cases.
Thanks for all you've done about the sheep. It
all comes in bully if they are all right. I will be
after them and Ted early to-morrow, and will
probably write you then or next day. We
had a bully time up from Mexico, and latterly
awfully hot. We rode in the wagon without
1 " Greaser," the Western equivalent for " a Mexican."
ARRIVAL OF ENGLISH SHEEP. 49
PART ii. coats, and with sleeves tucked up. But more of Jan. 1879
this in the next as it is now considerably after May, 1879.
10 o'clock, and, owing to its coming on to drizzle
at 3 o'clock this morning, we had to turn out and
get bedding, &c., into the wagon, eat breakfast,
and roll out ; especially as we had a 33 mile drive
to make, and horses knocked up a bit, or rather
a good deal.
P.S. I'm awfully glad Tim has come out. I
often thought (lately) of writing to him about it,
only I meant to get a little straight before doing
so, so that it shouldn't be a case of the blind
leading the blind ; but I guess we'll make it
P.S. Seen sheep, apparently in fine condition.
Just off after Tim and Jem.
Jem's Hut, A 's Pasture,
4 miles out of San Antonio,
Feb. 2, 1879.
The sheep are very much admired, and are, appar-
ently, in splendid condition. I do not at present feel
capable of managing sheep on my own hook, and so
have, after a long talk with Jem, seen Capt. T ,
who is an Englishman with a ranche out here. He
has been very kind to me, and has promised to take
care of them till I want them, which will not
50 GONE TO TEXAS.
PART II. be for eight or ten months I expect, that is till Jan. 1879
the season comes on in October. Capt. T- - has May, 1879.,
been very fortunate with his sheep this winter,
not having lost one. These will be safer with
him than anyone else. They will be with his
and receive the same attention therefore, and he
is to use the rams this season if he wants to. I,
in the meantime, shall study up the business on
ranches, &c. I hope, before October, to have
taken up some land with Tim, and to know
what Tm up to. Then these sheep, if they live
(and they will have every chance to), will be ac-
climatized and will give us a fine beginning. No-
thing like " blowing " in this country ! They are
like a flock of sheep, if one man damns or praises
a thing the rest will follow. So you will see
by the paper 1 I send you that I was determined
to get people running in the right direction at
once. They will now be praised higher by each
person who tells another about them, you bet !
Tim and I are living with Jem and his man.
It is quite a small hut, but very comfortable.
We had five or six visitors to-day cattle-men
they are the j oiliest fellows possible. We all have
been sitting in the huts as it has been raining.
1 A San Antonio journal. See extract, infra p. 54.
AN EMIGRANT AGENT. 5 1
PART II. One fellow tried to get Jem's man to dine with Jan. 1879
him, so as to leave Jem to do the cooking, but May, 1879.
he couldn't do it. Yesterday, Tim got some " over-
alls," or coarse brown trousers and coat, and he
is now wearing them. The coat is like an Eton
jacket, so you may imagine what " six foot one "
looks like in it. Our visitors are now gone, and
Jem's man is greasing some saddle leathers, and
Jem, who has just washed the dishes, is reading
a paper, and so is Tim. Jem is looking very
well. This is a most wonderful climate, I think,
and seems to agree with every one. . . . That
emigrant agent will be getting into pretty hot
water very soon, if he hasn't done so already.
Tim met several fellows as he came from New
York, who were cursing him ; and I read in a
newspaper yesterday that he had sold a man
800 acres of land at , which is a place
between Galveston and here, with a railway
restaurant and four houses. He described it as
a growing town, with five hotels and several
good shops, and on one side of the 800 acres was
said to be a stream, "which, although not quite
a river, abounded in several kinds of fish." Well,
the man arrived at with his wife, to find
the town as I describe 'it, and the stream a dry
52 GONE TO TEXAS.
PART ii. creek which never ran in its life, and the 800 Jan. 1879
m ' acres of land in a high state of cultivation to May, 1879.
be a piece of the prairie land, which is all round
the place ; so he went back to Galveston to
wait till he could earn enough to take him back
to England. Every one out here gives "that
Emigrant man" a bad name, and if he came out
I expect he would be shot. For a single man
this country is all he describes it, or nearly so :
but a married man expecting to settle down
and make a living at once is badly sold, unless
he has a lot of capital.
Flirt would be a great pet out here, as all
the dogs are large and ugly, except one sort
which the Mexicans have. They are hideously
ugly, though small, and haven't a bit of hair on
except a sort of narrow ridge of bristles along
their backs. They look as if they had been
shaved, but are really born so.
Cattle-men about here are just as Mark Twain
paints them, and keep one roaring with their
quaint sayings. Our party went up to the ranche
of a fellow they knew as we were returning from
Mexico. He suddenly recognized the Judge, and
roared out his best welcome thus "Well, d
TURKEYS AND TURTLE. 53
PART ii. your old soul, how IN THE H are you, any Jan. 1879
how ? " his whole face beaming with pleasure. May, 1879.
This is the sort of welcome one gets. They are
so glad to see you that they sort of emphasize
We camped one night on the river coming up,
about two weeks ago ; it was awful hot, and we
bathed in one of the pools, for at this time of
year it is a series of pools and doesn't run ; and
then I went out turkey-shooting. I saw a flock
of ten or so run behind a cow about fifteen yards
off; so I stooped down behind a bush till the
cow should go away. The cow thought I was
serenading her and jumped about, and the turke)^s
got away in the brush and I couldn't track 'em.
You bet, I felt inclined to pay that durned cow.
One day we caught a land turtle and baked it,
and ate it and its eleven eggs, which were the
same size as a yolk of an egg, and tasted just
We have very strong north winds here, and
they have blown Jem's hut a foot or two out
of perpendicular. (Here follows a sketch of the
54 GONE TO TEXAS.
PART ii. Half -Column Clipping from the "San Antonio Daily j an. 1879
" of Sunday morning, Feb. 2, 1879, enclosed May, 1879.
in foregoing letter.
"ARRIVAL OF A SUPERIOR BREED OF ENGLISH SHEEP
A FORMIDABLE RIVAL OF THE FAMOUS HAMPSHIRES
" Yesterday a reporter of the was shown by Mr. W.
H a flock of sheep, consisting of two bucks and four
ewes, recently imported by him from England for breeding
purposes. These animals are," &c., &c. (giving all that was
claimed for the sheep by their breeder, Mr. Howard).
" The sheep imported by Mr. H , and to which par-
ticular reference is now made, were purchased directly from
Mr. Howard, and were brought out under the immediate
superintendence of Mr. T. W . They are splendid
animals, and their magnificent fleeces will open the eyes,"
FROM COUSIN TIM.
Jem's Camp, San Antonio,
Monday, Feb. 3, 1879.
You will have heard from Willy before this
that I arrived with the sheep all right. They (i. e.
the sheep), I am glad to say, are in splendid con-
dition, and could not have looked better the day
they were put on board in Liverpool. You can-
not imagine how they've been admired ; every time
CONVEYING SHEEP BY RAIL. 55
PART ii. I pass the stables where they are lying there is a Jan. i8 79
small crowd looking on and asking questions. May, 1879.
It was just the same at Galveston ; everybody
knew all about them half-an-hour after they were
landed. I assure you it would have required a
couple of clerks and a principal to answer half the
enquiries that were made of me. I got just mad
at last and left. I had rather a rough time of it
in the freight train (of course I travelled with the
sheep) coming up to San Antonio. The first
night I slept on the floor of a cattle truck with
half-an-inch of water in it, and the unfeeling brutes
turned me out at four in the morning at a little
out-of-the-way place called Harrisburg, and left
me to wander about on the line looking for some
human habitation. However, I met the watchman,
and he took me in and gave me a chair to sleep on ;
I had to wait there till five in the evening, and it
was just slow I can tell you. That night I was a
little more comfortable as I managed to get a
couple of cushions, so I slept like a top till half-
past four in the morning, when they turned me
out again ; it was just maddening. After abusing
the Company for upwards of an hour, I started in
search of water for the sheep with a lantern and a
bucket, and after a lot of groping about in the
56 GONE TO TEXAS.
PART n. dark found a well, and just as I was getting the Jan. 1879
water a great ugly black dog, a trifle smaller than May, 1879.
a cow, hunted me off the premises. But I did get
some at last out of a cistern, so I was happy.
Freight trains on these lines are about the slowest
things in creation. I frequently used to jump off
and cut cactus leaves for my charges, and catch
her up again before she'd gone a hundred yards.
In fact, I was cautioned about walking too fast in
front in case I lost sight of her altogether. At
any rate here I am at last. I am sorry to say I
was only able to give Willy five guineas change
out of the cheque you sent, but there were a lot
of little expenses that mounted up considerably.
Jem's camp is a jolly place if the chimney would
only draw ; as it is, my eyes are watering so that I
can hardly see to write. I got rather frightened
about the sheep off Key West, which is a regular
West Indian place, populated almost entirely by
Cubans and niggers : the steamer's side was so hot
that you could not bear your hand on it, and they
were all lying gasping for breath ; however, with
plenty of iced water they pulled through. Did I
tell you about the dead fish we passed through off
the coast of Florida? One of the steerage pas-
sengers happened to be looking over the side, and
A HOME FOR THE SHEEP. 57
PART ii. saw something white right ahead, which proved, Jan. 1879
when we got up to it, to be an immense shoal of May, 1879.
dead fish, sixty-five miles long ; in some places it
was thicker than others, but there was always a large
quantity round us for that distance. Somebody
said they were killed by an eruption in the Gulf,
but I have not learnt whether that was the true
reason or not. . . .
P.S. IVe just got a gorgeous pair of top-boots,
with " Hamilton Boot " printed in gold letters in
front of them. I expect they'd create a sensation
in the Row !
Jem's Hut, San Antonio,
Feb. 10, 1879.
My mind is at last easy with regard to the
sheep. I started with them on Wednesday, the
5th, with a man, and a wagon in which we had
the animals. We had a wet norther that night
and next day up to about 2 p.m., when we reached
Capt. T 's ranche. He was very jolly, and
made me stay that night, and in about two weeks
I am going to spend a week or so there. He has
got a lovely place amongst hills, with lots of ever-
58 GONE TO TEXAS.
PART ii. green oaks. He has about 9x6 miles, half of J an - l8 79
which is fenced ; and his house is in the middle May, 1879.
of the fenced part. It stands on a rise above a
small stream, and you cannot see it till within
a few hundred yards. He has several English
fellows there. Tim and I just off down country.
B 's Ranche, near Beeville, Bee Co.,
Feb. 22, 1879.
This just to say that I'm well and flourishing.
Went with Tim to Pleasanton, and for a week
or so since that have been paying visits to several
ranches down here, 100 or so miles from San
Antonio. I ride about, and camp under a tree.
At present I am staying with two English brothers
of the name of B , very jolly fellows. They've
got over 10,000 acres here of the prettiest country
I've seen. I'm pumping everyone about sheep.
Going to start for San Antonio on the 24th, I
think ; and then going to visit Capt. T . It's
awful hot not a drop of rain for weeks.
San Antonio, Texas,
March 4, 1879.
Just back from my rambles down South. I
have been over lots of land, and at lots of ranches,
and have learnt everything almost, ploughing,
PART ii. and harrowing, and all the rest of it. I got the Jan. 1879
quinine all right, thanks : they use it a great deal May, 1879.
out here. Since I have been here, however, I
haven't needed any medicine, and don't feel like
wanting it. Thanks for your advice about sheep.
The best sheep can be bought for $3 J now ; though,
after the losses in the winter, I expect they'll go
up. About half the sheep died, I think. I am just
off up to Capt. T 's, and will write from there.
COUSIN TIM TO HIS BROTHER.
General M 's Ranche, L Springs,
March 4, 1879.
Here I am, settled at last ; and I'm going to
tell you all about it. When I left Jem's camp
near San Antonio, as I told you in my last, I
went straight to Capt. T 's, to see if I could
get on his ranche ; but he was already over-
stocked with hands. However, he recommended
me to try at General M 's : so next morning
I came here, and saw the general's son-in-law,
Major E , and after a little talking, agreed with
him to come and take entire charge of his flock of
Angora goats ; for which he pays me a pound
a month, with board, and a tent to sleep in. Of
60 GONE TO TEXAS.
PART II. course this is not much ; but it's better than Jan. 1879
Settling. not hi n g to start w i t l lj f or y OU see I know nothing May, 1879.
whatever about them, and have to have a good
deal of help at first, and he has promised to give
me something better, if I get on well, after a bit.
My work consists of driving them out to pasture
during the day, and seeing to the kids in the
evening, when I get home. His ranche is about
3000 acres, and I take them pretty well all over
it. This would be pretty hard if I had to walk, as
goats travel very fast; but as I'm allowed two
horses it's not so very difficult, though it's a little
monotonous at times, as I seldom see a soul all
day. I hope you will be able to read this ; but
if you knew the difficulties I've had, you'd excuse
me. First of all I bought a bottle of ink, and got
ready to write to you, three days ago, and when
everything was ready, I discovered that the bottle
had fallen out of my pocket. Next day I bor-
rowed a bottle from the major, and prepared
again, but whilst I was getting ready the cork
slipped out ; so did the ink ; so I was stopped for
that night. To-night I borrowed another bottle,
and then discovered I'd got no pen. I was ashamed
to go up to the house to borrow one, so I caught
an old turkey, and pulled some feathers out of
TIM HIRED AS HERDSMAN. 6 1
PART ii. her tail, and tried to make a pen. Hence the bad J an -^ 8 79
writing. There are three other men employed on Ma ^ l8 79-
the place, all of whom are Mexicans, and the
house-servants are, too, so I hear very little but
Spanish spoken, and am picking up a little. The
Major is a remarkably nice man, and is very good
to me. He does all the real working of the estate ;
the General only coming once a fortnight to see
how things are getting on. My tent, where I am
writing this, is such a snug little place. I've fenced
it all in with brushwood to keep the cows out.
I'm glad to say Fve not got to cook for myself,
but get all my meals up at the house; and very
good ones they are, too, so I'm very comfortable.
There is a good deal of game round here, mostly
deer and turkeys. I had a capital run after the
latter some days ago, but did not succeed in
getting one, as my coat fell off my saddle just
when I was getting near enough for a shot, and
I had to go back for it. The deer are generally
very shy and hard to get at. I got within 70
yards of some yesterday, but I had no fire-arms
with me. The greatest trouble we have here is
the want of water. There is none fit to drink
within two miles, and even then it's as muddy as
pea-soup. There has been no rain for four months,
62 GONE TO TEXAS.
PART II. so all the creeks and waterholes are quite dry. Jan. 1879
Sheep-raising appears to be the most profitable May, 1879.
business in Texas, if they are well looked after.
To start in a small way you want a capital of
about 250. With this, and taking good care of
his sheep, a man ought to do well out here ; better,
I think, than in cattle, as the country is too dry for
them. A number of the sheep-ranchers who come
out here, after they have once got started, leave
their flock entirely to the care of their shepherds,
and they themselves loaf around town, smoking
and drinking, and naturally enough soon lose all
their money. I had intended to make this a long
letter, but it's miserable work writing with this
beastly pen, so I'll say, Good night. . . .
P.S. I'll buy a decent pen next week, and write
a good letter. Old Graphics would be most
WILLY TO MADGE.
Captain T 's,
March 7, 1879.
My sheep are getting on very well ; they run
in the same field as some Cotswold sheep. These
have white faces, and the others scorn them, as
they are very proud of their black faces ; and when
CAMPING ROUND. 63
PART ii. eating out of a trough budge the others away Jan. 1879
Settling. w j t k Disdain, i have just been riding all over the May, 1879.
country on horseback, camping wherever I hap-
pened to be at sundown sometimes under a tree,
sometimes at a ranche, where they always wel-
come one. Once I had an awfully fine camping
place. I had just laid in a nose-bag full of grub
(as I hadn't struck a store for some time), and
was peckish. It was nearly sundown, and I rode
out of the village to find a good tree to enjoy my
repast under. I passed a house where there was
a well and a small enclosure with half a small
haystack in it ; and I went up to the house to
ask if I might draw water. The house was bang
empty ; evidently deserted some time back ; so
I jumped for joy, turned my horse into the en-
closure with the hay, and took possession of the
well (which had very good water) and house ; made
a good hay-bed, and announced that dinner was
ready. Then I let into tinned pigs' feet and bread ;
second course, cheese and bread ; desert, dried
apples ; drink, water ; salt served with each course ;
and had a splendid sleep afterwards. Taking
possession in this way would be rum in England,
but here it's all right ; probably the house will rot
(they are of wood) before anyone uses the land again.
64 GONE TO TEXAS.
WILLY TO HIS FATHER.
Captain T 's,
March 7, 1879.
PART ii. I got here the day before yesterday, and found J an - l8 79
all the sheep in excellent condition, I have very Ma y- l8 79-
sanguine hopes with regard to the offspring when
crossed with some Merino bred sheep, if they can
only stand the heat. In a day or two I am going
up North to look at land. It is healthier up there
than South of San Antonio; and down in the
South it is almost or quite impossible to find
land at a moderate price with good water on it.
Capt. T -'s land is the best watered in the country
I fancy ; he has thirteen springs on his 6000 acres,
and the creek that runs below his house has a
rock bed, and he is building a dam some way
down which will fill the bed of the creek, which
is deep and broad, with water : so he will have
a running lake, about 10 to 20 yards broad by
400 yards long, or more, in front of his house.
Yesterday one of his pupils and I went out hunt-
ing up cattle and horses. I rode one of the best
horses I was ever on ; he never seemed to get
'blown, and just enjoyed running in as much as
I did. He has been trained to it, and is awfully
PREPARATIONS FOR SETTLING DOWN. 65
PART ii. quick. Some of the horses were pretty wild, and Jan. 1879
would dart about all over the place ; but " Pat" (my May, 1879.
horse) seemed to see which way they were going
to go, and sometimes swung round nearly a com-
plete double when going full tilt ; so, of course, if
you don't watch the movements of the horse you're
after pretty closely, " youVe got to swing off/'
Tim tells me that Dick is coming out ; if he is,
will you get him to bring me out a small packet
of the following seeds turnip, mangold wurzel,
clover, and meadow-grass. I want to try them
on a small scale. Also, if Dick can bring it,
" Sheep : their breeds, management, and diseases,"
by William Youatt, published by Simpkin, Mar-
shall, and Co., Stationers' Hall Court, if it is not
out of print. It costs 8^., and I presume that
the half-yearly dividend on the bond which you
speak of will cover this and the seeds. As soon
as I can find a suitable piece of land, I shall buy
it, and grow corn and millet. There is a very
good sale for both. Good land will grow 50 to
100 bushels of corn to an acre, which corn sells
at 45 cts. to $ i per bushel, according to the
market. I shall begin with only enough sheep
for these two bucks, and in a very few years I
shall have a very valuable flock all of one kind,
66 GONE TO TEXAS.
PART ii. which is a great thing. I shall keep fowls, Jan. 1879
pigs, and turkeys ; so all the food I shall have May, 1879,
to buy will be flour and coffee, sugar and salt,
as I shall probably rear a few goats for meat
purposes. All of these can be bought very cheap,
and I can make more money this way than by
working for any one ; and besides, of course my
stock increases and ranche improves, and becomes
more valuable. The only difficulty I see is land.
The $ 500 I have will well cover small stock, and
horses, and wagon, provisions, &c. I have been
carefully into it and know it. Land may cost
me $250; I don't intend that it shall cost me
more, as I can get what I want for this, so that
if would let me lay out 50 or under of the
money you mention in land, it would help me
a good deal. I can begin making money directly
I get started, and would pay this back with five
per cent, interest, as soon as possible. I should
like to know by return if there is really the least
objection to this, as, if there is, I will make ar-
rangements to run my sheep on a ranche and
work there ; but this does not pay so well, as
I should have to work for nothing, for running
my sheep on the ranche-owner's ground.
WHITE ELEPHANTS, AND BUGS. 67
WILLY TO HIS FATHER.
March 13, 1879.
. . . With regard to the Oxfordshire Down sheep Jan. 1879
being a white elephant, you can't upset us any out Ma y. 1879.
here ; you may send a white elephant if you like,
we'll make him pay, grow wool on him if neces-
sary ! Tim is working on a farm and gets awfully
well fed. I went to see him on my way back from
T 's, and caught him up, driving back cattle
from water. He sleeps in a tent, where he has
plenty of company in the shape of well, not fleas ;
they are animals Townsend calls red bugs in one of
his Field letters, in which he says he had to get up
in the middle of the night and go and get a bathe
in a stream, they worried him so. There is a
beetle out here, called the tumble-bug in polite
society, that rolls a ball five times as big as itself.
A green English fellow, just out the other day,
asked "why was that ball pushing that bug
about 1 ?"
P.S. $484 received : as soon as I can find the
land I want, we'll go booming.
1 Tumble-bugs march stem foremost, pushing the lumps with
their hind legs.
68 GONE TO TEXAS.
FROM WILLY TO MADGE.
March 13, 1879.
PART II. I'm trying to sell my pony to-day as he only Jan. 1879
ing> carries me thirty-five miles a-day, which won't suit May, 1879..
yours, &c. Jem starts on the trail in a few days
now ; he is awfully glad, as he says hanging
around puts him out of temper and gets away with
the needful. Tim has a very jolly place and
master looking after cattle, horses, and pigs. He
was herding goats, but they are kidding now, and
so have been put under an experienced man. He
used to employ his time in chasing rabbits into
hollow trees (they don't have holes in the ground)
and then burning them out ; then he took them
home in the evening and ate them. It's a lovely
day, but not too hot, as the wind's blowing.
March 20, 1879.
I'm just watery hot, and I've been rushing about
all day getting my team and baggage, as I've
bought 1 60 acres near B ; it's an awfully hilly
FIRST PURCHASE OF LAND. 69
PART ii. country, but fine grass, and healthy. There is un- Jan. 1879
located land next door to me, not such good land, May, 1879.
which will only cost me under $100 per 640 acres (!),
and I can preempt eighty acres more for a small
fee, and, if I want to fence, have the privilege of
fencing in the 640 which I lay out for the State,
next to my 640 acres. Of course, when the State
can sell the land I have to take my fence off its
640 acres (if I do fence it), but, as all State land is
reserved at $J 50*:., it will be years before this is
bought. I am going to try and get some sheep
"on shares." i.e. I take care of them for the owner,
and we divide profits and increase. Jem started
after cattle yesterday. I met him as I came from
B . A and friend haven't turned up yet ;
when they do I am going to try and get them to
come and help me get ship-shape at my place, as
Tim can't join me till after his month is out, which
is on the 3ist inst. I will tell you more about the
place afterwards, when I have taken stock of it
more. I traded my pony and got a good horse ;
cost me $40 though. His name is "Billy," and he
runs in the wagon with a mare whose name is
"Bet": she cost me $25. They are both large
horses, and about the same size, and go well. Bet
is a grey, and Billy a dun. The $500 covered
70 GONE TO TEXAS.
PART ir. everything; 160 acres, wagon, harness, horses, J an - 18 79
Settling. pi^g^ conlj anc } ^03^ o f coo king things, &c., and May, 1879.
grub for a tremendous time. I am off to collect
the various parcels which are waiting for me.
When the $100 come, I shall locate the 640 acres.
The 1 60 acres tract has a hut on it, and a field,
and more land which can be ploughed ; whereas
the unlocated land is hilly and only good for
stock. I paid (or rather shall pay when I get to
B ) $225 for the 160 acres. I shall be on the
safe side for provisions for over a year, and before
that Tim and I will be making money. The only
provisions we shall have to buy will be coffee,
molasses, sugar, salt flour, and pepper, as we shall
raise vegetables, bacon, meat,, eggs, and honey.
There are two fellows here, one English and one
American, that I know personally, who want to go
into cattle ; so I am going to have a consultation
with some one about the unlocated land, and if
they think it will raise cattle well I shall try and
get one of them to go into it with me, he buying
and owning 100 cows and a bull or two, and I
finding land, houses, winter-fodder, &c., on half
profits. I can fence the 640 acres and pens, &c.
for about ^"ico, and of course raising cattle is a
good thing. Cows can be bought for $5 or $10,
PROSPECTS ON THE RANCHE. 71
PART ii. and their male calves when two years old would be J an - 18 79
worth that. Ma y> 1879.
My address in future will be-
Post Office, B ,
General M 's Ranche,
March 21, 1879.
. . . Willy has bought a place of 160 acres of
good land, lying about fourteen miles from here,
and thirty from San Antonio. A few days ago he
called here and offered me the chance of working
it with him for half the profits, deducting for what
my share of the provisions cost, he supplying
everything in the shape of horses, wagons, farm
implements, &c. I join him at the end of the
month, and we intend to raise corn, fruit, and
vegetables, for all of which there is a good demand.
. . . You needn't have been afraid of troubling the
bankers by sending too many letters to their care.
There are several hundred addressed there every
day, and the partners themselves never see them.
They're put into a large box with pigeon-holes
for each letter in the alphabet, and the owners
72 GONE TO TEXAS.
TART II. simply walk in and take them out. ... I gave up Jan. 1879
minding the goats, after a week of it, to the old May, 1879.
goatherd again, and the Major made me cowboy
instead. My work now consists of hunting for lost
cattle, and taking large herds to the waterholes
about twelve miles from here. I am writing this
lying out in the woods, looking after a lot of fine
bulls, which are too valuable to be left alone, to
turn up some day or another, as is done by all our
neighbours. Some of them simply live in the
saddle, keeping their cattle from going too far.
I have been doing so for the last week, as we lost
no end of animals. One day. sixty goats broke
out of the pen, and got some miles from here. It
took me a whole day to find them, and since then
I've been riding after lost stock nearly every day.
I'm glad to say that I am always fortunate enough
to find them, but it's very tiring work, and knocks
up no end of horses. I have to have two fresh
ones every day, and both are dead beat at night.
However, I've learnt to drive wild cattle, which is
something. The first time I tried I could do
nothing whatever with them, and had to go back
for help, but now I can steer them through another
herd without mixing them, with anyone round
here. It's very exciting when you're driving
DRIVING CATTLE. 73
PART II. twenty or thirty head of cattle through a large Jan. i8 79
herd of the scrub brutes, preventing them from May, 1879.
getting mixed, and cutting them out if they do.
I can tell you it's considerably harder than driving
a quill in Mark Lane, but I wouldn't exchange
lives for a good deal. This ranche is a very fine
one, though it's only 3000 acres. Most of the
land is good, and there's been $12000 spent, in the
last year, in improvements. All the stock is well
bred, from the cows to the very ducks, which are
Muscovy ; but I can't see how the money is to be
returned for years to come, and if the stock can't
stand the climate there will be a great deal lost.
This winter four heifers died, which cost $375
apiece, in Illinois, in the autumn. For the Major's
sake I hope the rest will be able to stand the heat
of the summer, but I should very much doubt it.
I had a narrow shave of being stung by a scorpion
the last time I was at Jem's camp. D and I
were sleeping together in his little shanty, and had
rolled up an overcoat to serve as a pillow, and in
the morning when I woke there was one of the
brutes lying on it, right between our heads. He
had crawled there for warmth, I suppose. If either
of us had turned he must have been nipped.
There are any amount of snakes around here,
74 GONE TO TEXAS.
PART ii. principally the gentlemen with rattles. We killed 1^1879
Settling - one a few days ago six feet long. He had nine- May, 1879.
teen rattles in his tail. I generally use a little
Scotch terrier to kill them. He just seizes them
by the middle of the body and shakes the life out
of them, and then eats 'em. He seems to know as
well as possible that, if he's bitten, it's all up with
him, and goes hopping about, keeping his legs out
of the way till they're dead.
March 30, 1879.
My letters have been so full of small com-
missions, you must almost dread opening them ;
but I think I am straight now. I have been work-
ing like a nigger for the last seven or eight days.
My man and I got here on the 22nd, and we have
nearly cleared three acres of stones (some of which
are as big as a man's body), and we are well on
with tying up grass for thatching. I cut the grass,
which is a kind used here for thatching, in the
creek, not 100 yards from the door. We should
have finished thatching probably, only I wasted
three days in going to San Antonio, to see if that
FIRST DAYS ON THE RANCHE. 75
PART ii. money had arrived, as I am very anxious to secure Jan. i8 79
mg< the 640 acres next me, before anyone else. How- May, i8 79 .
ever I am daily expecting to hear from L of
its arrival, and hope the land will wait for me. A
large creek runs by here, about twenty yards in
front of the door, but the water only runs half the
year or so, during the rainy season. In front of
the house, there are 100 or more yards of level
rock-bed, with steep sides about six feet high, and
I am going to dam this up, and if it holds water,
we shall have a lake. Inquisitive neighbours came
in at first, like grandmothers round a daughter's
first-born, to give all sorts of opinions and advice ;
but they have found out they're not wanted. Tim
joins me on April i. He and I are going into
partnership with regard to all products of the field,
corn, &c. I find land, and tools, and camp neces-
saries, which of course remain my property, and
we each pay our share of the grub-bill. We ought
to make a good thing of it, not only in corn, and
perhaps cotton, but in vegetables. B is cram
full of sick people ; there are three large hotels,
and numbers of boarding houses. In short, it is
only a large consumption hospital : and yet I
haven't seen a fresh vegetable in town ! We are
near enough (5 miles) to run a van in everyday, if
76 GONE TO TEXAS.
PART ii. necessary, and I expect we should sell all we could Jan. 1879
raise. You ought to see me now ; squatted on the May, 1879.
floor, leaning against a plough, barrels of flour and
corn-meal, bags of beans and rice, kegs of molasses,
frying-pans, skillets and coffee pot, spades, &c., &c.,
all around ; chickens just going to roost in the
trees outside, over the waggon. Grub is awful
cheap, I will give you a few items of the only
necessaries. Beef 4 cents and 5 cents per Ib. ;
bacon 8 cents (this one can cure oneself) ; flour
$7 per barrel, or in small quantities $3 per icolbs. ;
beans 35 Ibs. for $i; sugar lolbs. and 12 Ibs. for
$i ; Molasses, $4 per 8 gal. keg; salt, $2 per cvvt. ;
coffee, in the green bean, 6 Ibs. for $i ; rice, 15 Ibs.
for $i. Apropos of coffee, Capt. T tells an
amusing story of himself. When he and Mrs.
T came out, about a year ago, they went
shopping ; and amongst other things, he asked to
be shewn some coffee. The man of course brought
the green beans it is seldom sold anyhow else
here " That's not coffee" says Capt. T ,
"coffee's brown stuff, like snuff, you can't fool
me ! " It has been a standing joke against him
ever since, in San Antonio.
To-day has been almost suffocatingly hot, and
very little breeze for a wonder. I had a bathe,
A STRAY SCOTCHMAN. 77
PART ii. an d couldn't lean against the rock, it was so hot. Jan. 1879
I hadn't much of a bathe though, only a splash : May, 1879.
coming back from town, I came across a splendid
hole and stripped, and was just going in, when I
saw a snake swimming about with his head out of
water. This was enough, I splashed in the shallow
water near the hole. I don't mind bathing where
there may be snakes, as they seldom if ever touch
one, but after seeing one one doesn't exactly like
to take a bath with it. I have got a Scotchman
working with me. He came to me with tears in
his eyes, just before I left San Antonio, and asked
if I knew where he could get a job, as he hadn't
a cent, and had slept and eaten just where he
could for some days ; so I have taken him on for
a short time, till he gets stronger. I left him in
charge here while I returned to San Antonio, and
on my return, found his work well got forward.
He never did manual work before, having tried to
get a school, as he is well educated. He is about
twenty-six or twenty-seven I should say, and came
out five years ago, as his father, who is a Scotch
clergyman, wasn't well off, and had a large family,
of which he is the eldest. He had saved up money
in New York, for a visit home last year, but was
taken ill, and it went to the doctor. He is to be
78 GONE TO TEXAS.
PART ii. pitied, but there are many more like him out here. Jan. 1879
He is getting stronger, and I expect will drop the May, 1879.
idea of a school, and work out of doors, which will
be much better for him. I wish you could see this
place. You ought to come and live here! It is
in a tremendously long valley, and the healthiest
locality in Texas. I must cook our supper now,
FROM COUSIN TIM.
Sunday, April 6, 1879.
Here I am at last, permanently settled, I hope,
for some time to come. I got here last Tuesday
morning, having come straight from the General's
the day my month was up, and found Willy
hard at work thatching the roof, after a fashion
he learned in Mexico. It takes a long while to
do, but makes a capital roof when you do get
it up : we have been hard at work at it ever
since, and it's not finished yet. . . . We are all
in great confusion, and shall be till we get the
roof on and make a table. At present we eat
all our meals sitting on the floor. I tried my
hand at making bread a few days ago, for the
first time, and succeeded to perfection. It just
PART II. rose beautifully, and since then I've always done Jan. i8 79
it, and never had a failure. It's almost exactly May, 1879.
similar to that used in the Irish cabins, except
where we use Indian meal, which is a little cheaper
but not so nice. Our hours at present are from
5 a.m. to 7 p.m., but I expect they will be earlier
after a bit. This is a gloriously healthy place,
and much cooler than farther South. The town
near us is a great resort for invalids in summer :
people are ordered there much the same as they
are to the hills in India. . . . Our stock consists
of three horses, six sheep, twelve hens, and a few
tame turkeys which I bought from our nearest
neighbour, a Cumberland man. . . . I'm afraid
you'd hardly own us if you saw us now : we look
so disreputable in our old canvas trousers and
flannel shirts, and such seedy hats. But nobody
here dresses respectably except the store-keepers.
I meet no end of snakes whilst I'm at work ;
principally harmless ones. I killed four in less
than an hour a few days ago. I just slice off
their heads and bring them home for the chickens,
who are very fond of them. One of the vicious
ones gave me a great start. I was sitting in
the grass, under a bush, and felt something tickling
the back of my neck : at first I took no notice,
8o GONE TO TEXAS.
ii. thinking it was a straw, but after a bit I put J an - 18 79
up my hand to pull it away, and just as I touched Ma y- 18 79-
it a lively snake about three feet long glided over
my shoulder on to my knees. I can tell you I
just jumped and cleared out! Young A ,
with three more young Englishmen, arrived in
San Antonio about a week ago. We have asked
them to come up here for a bit to help with
the clearing and fencing, but we have not had
an answer yet. Probably some of them will turn
up in a day or two. If they do, we shall get
on like wild-fire ; but it will be an awful squash,
as our house is only 12 feet by 9, and at present
it's filled with ploughs, boxes, &c. The next
thing we are going to do is to build a store-
room for them. ... I think we shall have lots
of fruit this summer, principally wild grapes,
which grow in huge quantities here and are very
good eating, and make very fair wine, for which
you get 6s. a gallon in San Antonio.
FROM WILLY TO HIS BROTHERS.
April 8, 1879.
I have at last had the surveyor out, and located
my 640 acres of land ; so I have now 800 acres
of my own, and on one side of me there are
THE CREEK. 8 1
PART ii. 640 acres of school land, and on the other 640 Jan. 1879
acres of State land ; so we shall have plenty of May, 1879.
breathing room. There is over a mile of creek
on my land, which is running now, although
this is an unusually dry season. It does not run
in all parts of the creek, but every hundred
yards or so there is a long hole of running
water; it then sinks under till it comes to the
next hole. . . . We are awfully hilly here, but
it is a good grass country. . . . The last time I
came from San Antonio I started at 2 p.m.,
stopped at Capt. T 's an hour, and over half
an hour in B , seeing the surveyor, and got
home at 9 p.m. Going round by T 's made
the distance 37 miles. This was on Bet, the
mare, who is a very good riding nag. We broke
Tim's horse into the wagon with Billy yesterday.
He bucked at first, but went very well afterwards,
and didn't smash anything. I must go to bed
now, I'm so tired, and it's nearly eight. If you
fellows get tired of England, come on out, and
bring Granny with you. It's an awfully unworry-
ing life, and no weekly bills!
82 GONE TO TEXAS.
FROM WILLY TO THE DOCTOR.
My hut, near B ,
April 9, 1879.
PART ii. You bet ! We don't get too much literature Jan. 1879
Settlin (r ^
out here to think letters are"boshy"; so scrawl May, 1879.
away all you know, and bring yourself out if you
like. This is just the place for you if you get
seedy, as it is awfully healthy. I am just going
into town for our weekly beef, five pounds of which
will cost me twenty-five cents. We are nearly
eaten up with ticks ; it's just awful ; I look as if
I had the measles bad, but the hens are getting
away with a good many I think. They are little
flat red animals, about the size of a ladybird, and
live in the trees ; but if they can get fresh meat
they prefer it.
FROM WILLY TO MADGE.
April 15, 1879.
... I expect my poultry yard will increase rapidly,
as I intend to make all the hens that want to sit
bring out young ones, as they are not likely to
find my 800 acres too small for them for some
time to come. I have a half-tailed rooster ; the
hens pecked the other half off the first day I
THE POULTRY. 83
PART ii. brought him here. He was a very inferior cock Jan. 1879
where he came from, but since he has been here May, 1879.
he has been swaggering around, and sitting on
the fence, and crowing with all his might. He
was the first cock I bought, and has bullied the
second cock out of the yard ; and the latter and
his hens go into the field behind all day, and only
come up at night to roost in the trees. There are
deer and wild turkeys about, but we haven't seen
any yet, as we have hardly left the ranche.
But there are rabbits around. Tim saw four
to-night, and I shot one the other night with
my pistol. I saw him by the creek, so I watched
him, and yelled to Tim for the pistol. I held
out my hands behind my back and Tim shoved
the pistol into them, saying, " Look out, it's
cocked ! " So I upped the pistol at that rabbit
and shot him through the head, and in five minutes
he and his skin had party company, the latter
buried in the garden, and he hanging up outside
the door ; and we stewed him for breakfast, and
wasn't he good, oh my ! . . . I am generally cook,
and turn out some fine concoctions ; but G
and Tim are rapidly learning.
84 GONE TO TEXAS.
FROM WILLY TO HIS FATHER.
April 15, 1879.
PART ii. We are getting along grandly. We have a fence Jan. 1879
about 40 yards by 20 round the hut, and a gate- May, 1879.
way opposite the hut that we put bars across
at night to keep cows, &c., out; and we have
fenced in a garden next us about the same size
as the yard, and have got lettuces, tomatoes,
onions, carrots, radishes, potatoes, and standard
and climbing beans in, and I shall put some melons
in shortly. . . . We have plenty of live stock around
us of our own, not to speak of every one else's
animals, which seem to prefer us to their owners.
The German's cows and pigs pay us visits, also
one of S 's dogs, and his geese come and stay
all day sometimes, and one of his gobblers has
apparently taken up his abode here permanently.
Our greatest worry is our German neighbour.
He is a rummy little old man, who seems to do
nothing all day but hunt for his four oxen which
he turns out every night. He comes by, and asks
if we have seen them, and talks for some time,
and then goes after them ; then, in an hour or
so he comes back and talks again, after saying
that he saw his boy had found the oxen, and was
A GERMAN NEIGHBOUR. 85
PART II. driving them home. His boy is the only one Jan. 1879
who ever finds them, though C - always hunts May, 1879.
too ; and how the boy finds them among these
hills I don't know, unless it is by instinct, as he
has done nothing but hunt those oxen all his life,
I expect. We had a thunderstorm this morning
for about an hour, and it poured like anything,
and part of the time huge hailstones, some nearly
as big as hens eggs, came down. It moistened
the ground a bit, and I think I shall start some
ploughing to-morrow, after I have been to B
for mail matter, which I fetch every Sunday and
FROM COUSIN TIM.
The Log Hut,
April 20, 1879.
. . . I'm working outside all day, cutting down
trees and clearing out roots, or ploughing; and
in the evening there's just time for supper, mend-
ing my clothes, or cooking, and then turn into
bed, for which I'm always ready. We all sleep
on the floor, one rug over, and one under us. I've
got so accustomed to the hard floor that it seems
as comfortable as ever a soft mattress did. The
only one I've slept on since I've been out was
86 GONE TO TEXAS.
PART ii. at Capt. T 's. . . . It's getting to be very hot Jan. i8 79
" ing ' now. When we're working with iron tools we May, 1879.
have to put them in the shade, or they blister
April 27, 1879.
. . . Thank heaven the rain's come at last ;
as Willy says, " oodles of it ! " You can
almost hear the grass growing ; and the creek's
running again for the first time since last July.
Willy's gone into San Antonio to buy some
more grub, and a wagon and horse for hauling
cedar-posts and lumber for the new fence. I've
been left in charge with a man to help me, and
have been trying to plough this morning, but the
rain prevented me from doing much, I'm sorry to
say, though I've managed to get wet to the skin
twice this morning already, and am now steaming
away before a big log fire. This hut just lets the
water in everywhere. It's worse than my tent was
at the Major's, and there it was positively dan-
gerous to go to sleep without a life-buoy, on a
rainy night ! All the fowls keep coming in ; it's
impossible to keep them out. If Willy doesn't
make a door soon, they'll ruin our Brussels carpet !
The beasts have already eaten all my bacon ; so
SLEEPING ARRANGEMENTS. 87
PART ii. I've got nothing to eat till Willy comes back Jan. 1879
in three days' time, but corn bread and beans. May, 1879.
I think I'll slay the ring-leader of the bacon-eaters.
It's very amusing here at night sometimes. The
part of the floor where we sleep slopes in the
middle. Willy and I sleep on either side, and
G - in the centre. He keeps continually rolling
down on to one of us, and whoever he comes down
on drives him back to the other side. I wedged
him up one night with large stones on each side,
but he said they weren't exactly comfortable ! The
Mater told me in her last that you were coming
to the States this summer, and going to bring
Chico and the Doctor with you. You may guess
I was delighted to hear it ; but don't leave those
youngsters in New York; bring 'em on here.
There's a sulphur spring within half-a-mile, and
the Doctor can poison himself as much as he
April 30, 1879.
. . . My finger does not pain me now, but puts
a stop to my work. It began with inflammation,
and I think I made it worse by trying to go on
with the ploughing, and it turned into an abscess.
88 GONE TO TEXAS.
PART II. We have a hard-working young fellow working for Jan. 1879
Settling. . to
us, and have got an acre of corn in, and are May, 1879.
preparing (clearing bushes, roots, &c.) for more.
G - turned lazy, so he had to go, but I pro-
mised to let him work for his board if he hadn't
found anything else in San Antonio when I
went in to haul provisions. He didn't turn up, so
I suppose he has got a clerkship, or something.
There are some rum specimens of British subjects
out here. One of them, in San Antonio, belongs
to a titled family, and I think his name is in the
blue-book. He hasn't a cent, and won't work,
but just gets what he can out of everyone. I
mentioned his name to a fellow the other day, and
he said, "Oh, you know him, do you?" "Yes,"
I said, "I met him to-day." "Did you? How
much did he get out of you?" He has a most
gentlemanly face, but his light London suit is
beginning to look shabby, and matches the dirty
white shirt with no tie or collar, very well. He
got into a scrape in England, I suppose, and got
kicked out. The ticks still rage furiously. (Aunt
M sent Tim a packet of insect powder, telling
him to put it on the bed and sheets !) Tim used
to fill pins with them ; but as we hadn't any
statistics of the number of pins in the U.S., we
STRIKING OLD ACQUAINTANCE. 89
PART ii. gave that up ; and now we crack them with our Jan. 1879
:lmg< front teeth. They are harder than fleas, and won't May, 1879.
be squashed between two nails. Our German
neighbour came round raging the other day to
where we were burning some bushes, and tried to
prevent us, saying we would " set his lant on fire ! "
So we told him to go to the devil. Then there was
a scene of a German in all his majestic fury. He
swore, and stamped, and shouted around ; but we
didn't take any notice of him. He has now
cooled down, and was round here yesterday as
affable as usual. Tim brought a letter for me
to-day, from Momo or the Doctor, I think, and it
blew in the fire before I opened it. I was just
going to enjoy it and my dinner together, so it was
very riling. I hope there wasn't anything of very
great importance in it. ... I met old W - in
San Antonio the other day. He was in buying
a pony, as he was still holding sheep outside town,
and had let someone get away with his two horses
and all his clothes. Since I last saw them, X
has become bankrupt, and the great Z got on
a royal old drunk one night, which cost him $250.
I had a long ride to San Antonio the last time.
My horses were hard at work in the field, so I
rode Tim's pony, and he just knew I couldn't use
90 GONE TO TEXAS.
PART ii. my right hand to lick him, and walked nearly all Jan. 1879
the way. If I dropped the bridle and took up the May, 1879.
rope with my left hand to whack him, he'd go off
at right angles to the left like lightning, so I had
to catch up the bridle again, and pull him straight.
I saw a very good surgeon about my finger in
San Antonio ; he is a Scotchman, just like the
London type of doctor, and not like the man in
B , whom I should probably have addressed
with " Is your master in ?" if someone hadn't pre-
viously told me that " That is Dr. Blank, sir,
standing in his doorway."
WILLY TO THE DOCTOR.
May 5, 1879.
. . . Tim shot a red bird the other day. The
breast is brilliant scarlet, and I was going to send
it you for fish flies, only it got wormy before I had
time to skin it. We will shoot another soon,
probably, and I'll skin him sooner. Some wild
turkeys come on to the field to get the corn, but
we haven't shot any yet. The pigs from the
neighbouring ranches also come and root it up,
and Tim says he shall sleep in the field to-night
and shoot them, but I expect he'll weaken on
sleeping out when it comes to the point.
THE STUD. 91
May 20, 1879.
PART ii. ... Tim is now out, trying to make a contract Jan. 1879
mg * for cedar posts for fencing our thirty acres or so May, 1879.
of pasture. He started yesterday morning, and
was to bring back a cow and calf if possible, so I
expect the cow has been amusing herself at his
expense. I have been into San Antonio two or
three times lately, after shingles for roofing. The
time before last I bought a horse for $13, said to
have worked in a wagon, though from the way
he " worked " I should say he never had. I drove
him and Ted's horse (which we've only had once
or twice in a wagon), and I had just a bother with
them. After I got out of Town I got them into
going order, and they go splendidly now, especially
my $13 animal "Tracy" ; but I had to lead them
all through Town, and whenever I stopped for
anything there was a circus to make them start
again. I had to get a man every time to saw
Tracy's front legs with a rope, and this took some
minutes, by which time a small crowd would
assemble to see the fun. Tim was hauling water
in the wagon the other day and the axle broke,
through a flaw (which of course I had mended for
92 GONE TO TEXAS.
PART ii. nothing), and the forty-eight gallons of water, or Jan. 1879
part of it, gave him a shower-bath. We have had May, 1879.
no rain for some time, and every day is almost
cloudless and very hot, but there is always a cool
gulf breeze blowing. Tim found a wild turkey's
nest with eleven eggs, and I have been vainly
trying to get two hens to sit on them. I'll have
to glue them to 'em I guess. Why don't you
people pack up and come out here right away?
I am going to get a portable two-roomed hut, as
our hut is so full of tools, harness, and grub, that
there would not be room if D came out.
Then, if his family comes, he can have the portable
and build a kitchen off it, and Tim and I can rig
up a box. A neighbour of ours has a raised two-
roomed house, with front verandah and large stone
chimney, which cost him $230, hauling, and build-
ing, and materials and all. . . . People out here are
mighty calm about their land. I went to a lawyer
in San Antonio, about a piece I wanted in B ,
which belonged to him. He said he'd never seen
it, and didn't know when he should be able to,
though he believed it did belong to him. ... I
don't think that I shall ever smoke, as I know it
hurts one's ability to think to a certain extent,
and is also a beastly waste of time. . . . Rasp-
INDOORS AND OUT. 93
PART II. berries, currants, gooseberries, and strawberries are Jan. 1879
almost unheard of here. Think what a sensation May, 1879.
we shall make when we raise them ! I suppose,
even if D hasn't started yet, it would be im-
possible to send a plant or two of each at this
time of year for cuttings ? . . . Yes, I think Texas
horses and ponies are stronger than English ones.
They generally run wild till four or five years old,
so get plenty of exercise. I expect Tim every
minute with a cow. I hope she gives four quarts.
This is about the maximum at a milking here.
Some only give one quart. I have no pigs yet,
as they grub up so. Our neighbours' pigs are quite
FROM COUSIN TIM.
Saturday, some time in May, 1879.
I made a great effort to write last Sunday, but
it was so intensely hot indoors that my ideas
seemed to melt away. It's a curious thing, that as
long as I am out of doors I can do any sort of
work, and don't mind the heat a bit, but the
instant I get inside I'm fit for nothing. Willy,
I'm sorry to say, has had a very bad abscess on
his little finger for the last three weeks, and has
94 GONE TO TEXAS.
PART II. been able to do no work except cooking, so I've Jan. 1879
been pretty busy. We have now got a nice long May, 1879.
straight field of about four acres cleared and
ploughed. Part of it was also planted with corn
and melons, but the wild turkeys ate them all up.
I dusted one gobbler's jacket with a couple of
charges of buck shot, but they've been coming to
it all the same nearly every day since. We are
not going to plant it again with corn. I wish we
had some cabbages ready now, they are worth is.
each at San Antonio, and more still at B .
I expect I shall commence cutting cedar posts
next week, for the fence. The cedar brake is
about fifteen miles from here, so I think 1 shall
have to camp there for one night each load. We
shall, by cutting and hauling ourselves, save three
and a-half cents a post, which will make a great
difference in a two-mile fence. I intend some
time this year to take a few wagon loads to San
Antonio. You can always get fio a hundred for
them there, and sometimes $12, and as it only
costs $ i for the privilege of cutting them, it's
pretty good pay for your three days' work. I
dare say you will have wondered what the en-
closure was. It's a rattlesnake's rattle, that I shot
a few days ago. He was making such a row that
CHICKEN SNAKES. 95
PART ii. I heard him a long way off, and came up and Jan. 1879
killed him. He was only about four feet long, but Ma y. I8 79-
was as thick as your arm. The chicken snakes
are the greatest nuisance of all. They don't leave
us a single egg. One of them ate seventeen out
of a nest one day, and the same brute ate ten
turkey's eggs that the old hen was sitting on. I
will poison an egg or two for them. If I don't we
shall never see the ghost of a chicken.
May 26, 1879.
... I think Chico and the Dr. had better come
straight here, as we have lots for them to help us
in. The water in the creek runs through and over
rock and gravel, and is splendid. It is the water
down South, below San Antonio, that is so bad.
I don't think I tasted any really good water all
that trip. I went to see Capt. T yesterday,
and while I was there one of the ewes dropped a
lamb. This is the first. The Captain sings out,
"Hulloa, Willy! there's another hundred dol-
lars." I have made some pretty good stock pur-
chases lately. I ride about and hear where there
are animals I want, for sale cheap. Yesterday I
96 GONE TO TEXAS.
PART IL bought three milch cows (one with a three week Jan. 1879
Settlin " ^
old calf) for $30. This is the stock that pays here, May, 1879.
and small settlers won't sell a cow except at a
high figure, until they are hard up, which occurs
pretty often, then they come down to a reasonable
figure. . . . The other day we had such a hunt after
those cussed horses. We were three days after
them about the country, as they had a wild fit,
that is, Billy and Tracy had. At last Tim got
them into a high pen the other side of B , but
Billy cleared the gate and Tracy tried to follow,
only Tim had hold of his rope. At last we got
them here, and now they go about crestfallen, with
hobbles round their forelegs, the beggars !
WILLY TO THE DOCTOR.
May 26, 1879.
. . . Horse-doctoring isn't of much use here.
They never seem to be ill. The only ailing out
of the thousands I have seen was a swollen nose,
which was cured by lancing. If a horse does get
ill, it's ten to one it's a $15 one, and the owner
wouldn't pay 50 cts. to cure it. Now sheep doctor-
ing would be useful. They very often die for
want of proper care and knowledge, and raisers
ADVICE FOR THE WAY OUT. 97
PART II. are not nearly careful enough with them. . . . Bring Jan. 1879
a few shirts and socks, and as little else as possible. May. 1879.
Beware of sharpers on trains and at stations. Go
to the Central Hotel in San Antonio. Let me
know when you expect to arrive in San Antonio,
and I will meet you with wagon ; or wire from
thence to B (cost 25 c.) We've plenty of
horses for you. Finger still bad. Dr. in B
said I should lose it if I wasn't careful.
May 30, 1879.
. . . Just off with wagon and two yoke of steers
to fetch the four ewes. The lamb was premature
rather, and died. I had six or seven attempts to
get our first $11 cow and calf here, and at last
had to haul her in the wagon. Will I take a
pupil ? why, yes : and the fee, $ 300 per ann., if
he's a hanger on. If he'll work, and take an in-
terest in what he does, he may stop as long as he
likes for nothing ! Will you get the following book
for me" The Book of the Farm ; detailing the
labours, &c. By H. F. Stephens, F.R.S.E. W.
Blackwood and Sons, 1871." I will pay for it
when you come out. . . .
98 GONE TO TEXAS.
PART II. To THE DOCTOR Jan. 1879
I wish you would bring out my " Enquire within May, 1879.
upon Everything " book. It's in my room. Also,
if you have time to get them made, a one pound
and a half-pound butter print, with a " fleur-de-lis "
on them. Get Chico to draw it carefully on
paper, as the man will want a good copy. This is
my brand. I'll pay you for the prints when
you come out. Bring comb, brush, tooth-brush,
and sponge, of course, and look in my chest of
drawers and bring all the light evening neck-
chokers, if any. They are very useful in the sun.
I mean those things you wear when on your way
to a party at night. You'd better bring the worn-
outest old coat you've got, with the old trowsers,
on board ship, as salt water spoils clothes awful.
WILLY'S AND THE DOCTOR'S
PART III. EARLY in the spring of 1879 I na cl determined to go Dec. 1879
S roots ng t0 the United States > and > before settling in business in New May^iSSo.
York, visit Willy at his ranche. The Doctor's eyes had
given way from work by gas-light, and he had had to
give up his Scholarship, and was to go to his brother for
a year's fallow before studying medicine in New York or
Philadelphia. Chico was to go with us on a three months'
visit to the ranche, but as the Doctor and myself could
not start for America till the 4th July, and as we were
all anxious about Willy's hand, he preceded us, and went
to the ranche by land from New York. We followed in
July, and with us Cousin Dick, Tim's elder brother, and
a young friend, Lennie Windale, both of them intending
to settle in Texas. We went steerage, via New York to
Galveston, where we met Tim on his way back to Ireland
to join another brother there, and go with him to New
Zealand. He brought a better account of Willy's hand,
and told us of Chico's arrival at the ranche in good case.
So we saw him off by the steamer which had brought us
to Galveston, and then went on to San Antonio, where
we were met by Willy, who drove us up to the ranche
in his wagon. There we had a " real good time," and bore
a hand at fence-making, well-digging, and whatever other
work was going on. Dick, who was a good horseman, took
102 GONE TO TEXAS.
PART III. to breaking in ponies on the ranche, and towards the end Dec. 1879
Striking of October, when I was returning to my work in New May, t0 i88o.
York, took up a car-load of them to sell there, and, as
will be seen, returned to the ranche in the following
February to break in and take up another car-load. After
that he settled in New York. Chico returned to his art-
work in London in November, leaving Willy, the Doctor,
and Lennie at the ranche. While we were at the ranche,
Willy bought a flock of 200 ewes of the country, to cross
with the Oxfordshire Downs, the chief care of which was
undertaken by the Doctor. W. H.
FROM WILLY TO HIS GRANDMOTHER.
Dec. 31, 1879.
.... I think it will be pleasanter for you to
have a temporary wooden house on the ranche
till your other house is built. These wooden
houses can be made exceedingly comfortable.
An Englishman near here has one which cost
altogether 60, building and everything
We are having lovely weather. Last night I
slept out on a balcony with only a wagon sheet
over me, and to-night I am in my shirt sleeves
with my shirt open, sitting by an open door
and window, with a warm South wind blowing
THE DOCTOR'S START AS SHEPHERD. 103
PART in. hard at me. If it wasn't for the wind it would Dec. 1*79
root". g be unpleasantly hot. . . . We feed our calves on May, 1880.
cotton seed and sometimes when I go through
the pasture I have a string of twenty or so after
me, expecting to be fed. We salt our sheep
every night, and it is very amusing. I have
been thrown off my legs several times by them,
as a hundred and fifty of them charge me if I
don't fill their troughs quick enough!
FROM THE DOCTOR.
Jan. 8, 1880.
.... I know a great many of the ewes by
name now, and expect I shall have got names
for nearly all before next Spring. There is Ber-
tram, a dark scowling sheep (Rokeby) ; Traddles,
a skeleton of a sheep (Copperfield) ; Joe, a fat
barrel of one (Pickwick) ; and Godiva is very
long-woolled, Bulldog is underhung, Jerky has had
a broken leg, &c., &c.
IC4 GONE TO TEXAS.
Jan. 8, 1880.
PART in We have just had a tremendous rain, Dec. 1879
S roots! g and our 2 i acres of oats are coming up well. May, 1880.
The roads between this and San Antonio are
black land for the most part, and they got as
sticky as " butter-scotch." I passed the stage-
coach as I went down. It had clogged up with
mud, and luckily had only three passengers, all
men, who were in their shirt sleeves out on the road
with sticks, knocking the mud from between the
spokes, as the coach couldn't move! .... I have
not planted out the fruit trees, as I shall leave
them for you to say where they are to be put.
.... The rain has put water into the creek,
and the frogs make a tremendous noise all night,
squealing. I have a muff of a Texan working
for me. He's been hunting for my two work-
oxen for two days now, and hasn't returned.
Just fancy having to hunt one's cattle for miles
and miles round ! It takes more time than any-
thing else almost. . . . We had a plum-pudding
on Christmas-Day. The Doctor made it. It was
a great success, and we bought some whiskey
ROUGH PLOUGHING. 105
PART in. and set the pudding alight in good old style. Dec. 1879
roots! g We didn't do any decorating, as we hadn't any May, 1880.
holly, and mistletoe would have been out of
place among such a lot of old bachelors as we
Jan. 19, 1880.
. . . We are awfully busy now ploughing up the
field. It is exceedingly rich, and we turn furrow
after furrow without turning up a single stone.
There are about ten acres which we haven't got to
clear at all, and after ploughing I shall begin
fencing, to begin to put in cotton in Spring. We
plough with six oxen. I plough, and another man
drives. Sometimes we come upon a root, and all
the chains crink as the oxen strain on them, but
they generally burst it. The field is a mile and
a-quarter from here, and it seems a long walk
coming back at night after ploughing all day. . . .
I sold nearly half my sheep the other day. They
were a lot of sixty that I bought first. I bought
a lot of a hundred afterwards that suited me better
(I got 8j. per head for them, and paid JS. per head
when I bought them); so now I have only the
hundred ewes left, and they are doing very well. . .
We have decorated our hut with pictures from
I0<5 GONE TO TEXAS.
PART in. "The Illustrated," &c., and with a huge map of Dec. 1879
America. I believe we know every name on the May, 1880.
latter almost, as it's just at the head of the table,
and we study it at supper time. . . .
Feb. 3, 1880.
. . . What a dreadful accident that Tay Bridge
seems to have been. We have just had a few days
cold weather, the first since Christmas,, but I think
it is blowing off again now. . . . We have been
feasting lately on a sort of gourd, which some of
the farmers grow here. They are very good eating,
are as large as one's head, with a thin neck. I
hope to grow a good many this year. They are
very easily raised, and keep through the winter.
We had to stop ploughing for a few days, owing to
the " Norther," but we are going at it again now
for some days. . . .
FROM THE DOCTOR.
Feb. 6, 1880.
... I went down to San Antonio on Gipsy last
week, and spent nearly a day and a-half there, but
THE DOCTOR'S EXPERIENCES. 107
PART in. didn't enjoy myself so much as I might have done, Dec. 1879
S roots! S as I h a d to see the dentist. He lives over a cigar May, 1880.
shop, where two lawyers had a duel the other day.
They emptied their revolvers at one another, and
both were slightly wounded; so they were fined
$5 a-piece ! We have just had the longest spell of
cold weather that there has been this winter, and
it has just been bowling stock over like ninepins.
However, it is an ill wind that blows no one any
good the buzzards have got so fat they can hardly
fly. ... I thought before I came out here, that
black-woolled sheep belonged only to nursery
rhymes, but we have got a black lamb in the flock
now, which is coal-black all over (tongue and all),
except the tip of it's tail. We have just got the
paper with the pictures of Portia and Shylock in it,
and Willy has pasted them up, one on each side
of a young lady, who has a cannon fired off on her
back in a circus. We have just got a collie dog
for the sheep, and I have got to train it, but I
expect I shall have rather a tough job, as it is
rather frightened of the sheep. . . . We have got
some wild flowers out already here and there. . . .
1C8 GONE TO TEXAS.
Feb. 15, iS8o.
PART in. . . . We have been working like steam engines Dec. 1879
lately, and things couldn't be going better to my May, i88c.
mind than at present. Our general mode of pro-
ceeding for the past month has been as follows :
The Doctor takes sole care of the sheep, and a
better shepherd I couldn't have if I went all over
the world. The sheep look splendidly. An Eng-
lishman, at whose ranche, south of San Antonio,
I stayed last year, visited us this day week on his
way to his ranche, after a visit to England, and
he said he only wished he could find his sheep
looking as well as ours when he got to the ranche.
Windale is housekeeper, and looks after the horses,
and cows, and calves. To-day I have* turned out
of the pasture, with their mothers, the last seven
or eight calves ; so now we shan't have any milk
at all. We have two young bulls still in the
pasture, and these we feed regularly, with the two
English rams. The four English ewes run out-
side the pasture, and all are doing first-rate. I
have been working on the big field. For the last
few days we have been seven strong. I plough, and
RANCHE RECREATIONS. 109
PART in. another man drives the steers, two men grubbing Dec. 1879
S roots! g out tf 16 bushes that are in the way, another man May, 1880.
getting up stones for the rock fence, and two more
cutting wood on contract. The land is in places
very heavily timbered with live oak. I pay a man
4s. per cord for cutting up the wood, and I am
going to cart it into B , where I can get 9^.
for it. The wood does not hurt for keeping, so
I am having it stacked up in cords to keep, as,
if this year turns out well, wood will probably be
again worth los. and us. per cord; but I am
having it cut now, as labour is cheap. Of course,
if the wood becomes worth los. again, cutting it
will, with everything else, " go up," and probably
cost 6s. or Js. We have been camping on the
field. At the beginning of the week we put two
yoke of steers to the wagon containing provisions,
tools, &c., and one yoke to the water-cart (which
holds 96 gallons), and march up to the field ; then
on Saturday night we come down again. Some-
times some of the "boys" from neighbouring
ranches come up to the camp at night, and
have games and wrestling, and play jokes on
On Friday night they took a green hand
out "quail hunting." They all went into the
110 GONE TO TEXAS.
PART in. brush, about half-a-mile from camp, down the Dec. 1879
S roots ng creek, and set him at the end of a trail or cattle- May,i88o.
path, with an empty sack, which he had to keep
open in front of him, to catch the quail which
they were going to drive up the trail into it.
After sundry questions from him, as to whether
they would bite, what size and color they were,
&c., they came back along the trail to "drive
the quail " ; which consists of going back to the
camp fire and waiting till the fellow with the
sack has had enough of waiting. In half-an-
hour or so the sackman was heard on the top of
a neighbouring hill, about a mile from camp.
From there he saw the camp fire, and struck
out for it.
Another game is "donkey-riding." Two fellows
are tied back to back, and a saddle is put on them
and girthed, and then another fellow gets on the
saddle, and they pitch and pitch until they pitch
Then there is " leg- wrestling." Two fellows lie
on their backs next each other, but the feet of
one at the head of the other; and each clutches
the other one's shoulder with his inside hand;
then each lifts up his inside leg three times while
they count, and the third time they lock their
LEG WRESTLING. Ill
PART in. legs, and one of them turns a sudden somersault Dec. 1879
S roots! g backwards, and he is conquered 1 . It is generally a May, 1880.
very short combat unless they are evenly matched ;
but one or the other, anyhow, ends in going heels
over head backwards.
I have opened the seeds, which are beautifully
packed. Many thanks for them. The grass seeds
I shall put in a spot in the pasture, but I hardly
like to venture with the garden seeds, as my cotton
field will take up all my time. Windale has the
comfreys in hand, and is preparing beds for them.
With regard to silkworms ; there are quantities of
wild mulberries here, but it will be a long time
before I can do anything in that line, I think, as
there are such numberless paying things more
immediately connected with the general ranche
business. . . . We have every prospect of unusually
good prices for our wool this year.
FROM THE DOCTOR.
Feb. 25, 1880.
. . . Dick arrived to-day, having lost his traps,
watch, and ulster by the way ; but he looks very
1 I am bound to say, though used to such matters from my youth
up, that ' leg wrestling ' puzzles me. ED.
112 GONE TO TEXAS.
PART in. well, and hopes that he will get the former back. Dec. 1879
roots! 8 I am as well as I can be, for herding agrees with May, 1880.
me, and exercises me pretty regularly, too, if a
pair of soles a month may be taken as evidence.
. . . The sheep are rapidly recovering from the
effects of the winter, and are beginning to look
quite fat. There are two ewe lambs and a buck
already, two of them Cotswolds, and one (I believe)
an Oxford Down. There is plenty of water all
down the creek, so I haven't to travel the sheep
at all for it. One pool is so big that you can, if
you try, swim six yards without touching bottom.
. . . Your well 1 hasn't hauled dry since the rain;
but it was all but giving out last autumn for want
FROM THE DOCTOR TO MADGE.
March i, 1880.
The 29th has passed, and I haven't been pro-
posed to, so I feel my vanity very much injured.
. . . Dick arrived last Wednesday. He and Willy
have done no end of gardening to-day, putting in
potatoes, seeds, &c. ... I am keeping a sort of
diary now, but I am afraid it wouldn't interest
1 My brother dug a well on his visit to the ranche. ED.
THE DOCTOR'S DOINGS. 113
PART in. you much, as it is almost entirely taken up with Dec. 1879
roots! 5 notes on stock, such as, " Herded on right-hand May, 1880.
hills found Smike's lamb saw a brown heifer,
brand CHK Poke brought bull over," &c., &c. . . .
FROM THE DOCTOR.
March 18, 1880.
. . . There are thirty lambs now ; and they give
me a nice job hunting them up every day ; for
they lie down all day under the bushes, and when-
ever the flock moves away, I have to go round
all the bushes and rout them out. I am quite
a dab now at judging the time of day without the
sun, for sometimes I don't see his face from the time
I leave the pen till when I come back ; but I am
seldom a quarter-of-an-hour wrong. I suppose it
is from practice, for I never used to know the time
in England. Dick has nearly got a carload of
horses, almost all of which are "broken," and
running in Capt. T 's pasture ; but a few are
only "badly cracked," and are up at the ranche
still. The rock fence round the new land is being
fast built, as there are over six men at work on
it, I believe, quarrying, hauling, and building. . . .
114 GONE TO TEXAS.
FROM WILLY TO HIS FATHER.
March 21, 1880.
PART in. Dick will, as you propose, start for New York Dec. 1879
roots! 8 about the 22nd proximo. We've got all the horses May, 1880.
now, including one racer, a mare, from D 's. . . .
To come to an important question straight. I
asked the Doctor the other day how he liked this
life, and whether he would like to stop, and go
halves in the whole concern, and he evidently
thinks it would be just the thing he would like.
He said, " Well, up to the present this life has been
exceedingly fascinating, but of course I must ask
father before giving any answer ; and I think I
would rather wait till I see him, if you don't mind,
instead of writing about it." I fancy from the
interest he takes in everything, that it would suit
him internally and ex-ditto better than sweating
in a city; and as to his health, it couldn't be
better. I can't palaver like K - and Co., but
those are the main facts, and we can study the
question further when you are down here. On the
29th inst. I shall have been here a year, and I
fancy a small change may be noticed, if one looks
closely enough. By the way, Dick says that
A YOUNG HORSE BREAKER. H5
PART in. M C N - used to can tomatoes in Virginia very Dec. i8 79
roots! 2 simply, but used to keep it dark, and make good May, i88o.
cash at it. If you know anyone in a canning
business, could you get the main points, as to the
length of time boiling, whether put into cans hot
or cold, and whether they get all air-tight before
soldering the last hole, &c. I hope Dick makes
a good thing of the horse business this time ; if so,
I'm going to invest in a few promising young
horses, to hold till they mature. . . .
March 28, 1880.
. . . All the horses are doing well ; Dick says
they are a much better lot than last. Windale
is becoming a very good rider ; he has plenty of
pluck. On the 22nd inst. we began to break a big
four-year-old horse. He broke easily, and Windale
rode into B for mail on him on the 26th.
Coming out, his love of news got the better of his
discretion, so, dropping the reins on the neck of
the mustang of five days' riding, he took out the
Illustrated, and began reading ; and so off went the
horse pitching d la mode with head down, and over
his head went Master Windale. He followed him
for a mile or so, and caught him, but led him
Il6 GONE TO TEXAS.
PART in. back! He "went for" that horse, though, on re- Dec. 1879
roots! 8 turning. He put a " bucking stick " on the saddle, May, 1880.
and got on and raced round the field, and the horse
couldn't get him off again. The buckiag stick is
about two feet long, and tied across the horn of
the saddle, just above your legs, and it's next to
impossible for a horse to buck you out. . . .
FROM THE DOCTOR TO MADGE.
March 31, 1880.
.... I had a regular spree on my birthday;
for Willy took the sheep for a day and a half
on purpose that I should. Dick and I started
for the Guadaloupe at 3 p.m. on Saturday on
horseback, and we just reached it by sun-down,
and camped out : all Sunday we were fishing,
and camped out again, and started at about i a.m.
on Monday, and reached home before sun-up.
Since then we have had two very moist days,
which have done the grass a heap of good, but
which I can't say I appreciate as I ought, for
they don't make me grow however wet I get.
I never catch cold though, so I don't mind them
much. . . . We have got sixty lambs in the flock
now, and shall probably have nearly eighty, which
THE DOCTOR'S RECREATIONS. 117
'ART in. i s a very good percentage. When Dick and I were Dec. 1879
roots! g fishing we caught some cat-fish, perch, and some- May, 1880.
thing else, and we had only one rod and reel
between us. ... Birds haven't begun to build
yet, but I expect they will as soon as the foliage
gets a bit thicker. I am soon going to preempt
eighty acres. . . .
FROM THE DOCTOR TO HIS GRANDMOTHER.
April 14, 1880.
.... I have begun leaving the flock, and
during the day am engaged digging rock for
a stone pen, but at present I have to go up once
a day to see that the sheep are all right, and
it splits my work up very much. By the way,
I received quite an insult from a man yesterday.
He told me he "didn't do much herding he
was always at work ! " Happily for him he is
only half-witted, or I might have slaughtered
him ! . . . I thought I had found a nice scorpion
to send home, but it was unfortunately alive, so
I squashed it. Dick has commenced shearing,
but the shears gave out after the first ewe, so
we are going to get a new pair to-morrow.
Il8 GONE TO TEXAS.
. April 23, 1880.
PART in. The sheep herd themselves now, and when I Dec. 1879
root's"' 5 go after them I nearly always find them in a May, 1880.,
bunch facing homewards ; so I hope that soon
it will not be necessary to bring them home at
all. . . , I have forgotten some of my sheep since
they have been shorn, but I remember most of
them in spite of their scare-crowish appearance.
. . . Wool has risen immensely this year (over
10 cents a pound), and the sheep will probably
shear z\ Ibs. all round at least. There are over
seventy lambs now, but I have lost count, and
can't pick it up again, for you might as well
try to count a flight of birds as a bunch of
lambs. . . .
April 25, 1880.
. . . Dick left for New York a week ago with
the horses. There were twenty-one splendid little
animals. Most of them he tamed here himself.
We have been shearing at odd intervals lately,
and have only about thirty more to shear. The
main work has been on the cotton-field. We
are now preparing for planting. . . . Two of the
English ewes have lambed twins, a third has
BEES AND HUMMING BIRDS. 119
PART in. lambed one, and a fourth will lamb shortly, I Dec - 18 79
S roo k tsl g think. . . . To-day, as we were ploughing, a M ^. l880 -
swarm of bees flew across the field and came
all round the Doctor and myself. I thought
they were going to settle on us, but they buzzed
around and then went off. I followed them, but
couldn't keep up with them This spring
seems entirely different from the last one, which
was so unusually dry. Now everything looks
green and nice. A lot of humming birds are
up in the valley behind the field, but I have
never seen their nests. They feed on the honey-
suckle. I never saw any live ones before this
To THE EDITOR.
May i, 1880.
As there is such a thing as scab
amongst sheep here, and it is pretty common, I
didn't like to whistle till I was out of the wood,
and so didn't write about the favorable condition
of the flock before. I'm now glad to be able to
tell you that our sheep are perfectly healthy, and
doing well. We are nearly through with shearing,
and in a few days I hope to take the wool down to
San Antonio. Our lambs, which are from the
120 GONE TO TEXAS.
PART in. English rams, are unusually fine, and as the climate Dec. 1879
seems to suit the thoroughbreds admirably, and as May, 1880,
they grow much heavier fleeces, and the wool is as
valuable as that which is at present grown in the
country, I have decided to go on with the breed,
and hope to make a big thing of it. I have had
several applications for half-bred rams, and I hope
to be able to sell a few next tupping season. . . .
I started without experience, and without anyone
to give me any very reliable advice. As it was, of
course I made a few mistakes at starting ; though
now I feel as if I'd been in the business all my life.
... I am going to divide my business here into
different departments. The Doctor is, and has been,
boss of sheep department. Windale is starting a
market-garden, in which he is to have shares. I
am going to take the farming department on the
Schultz land, which is the best and prettiest piece
of land round here. This, with superintending the
other departments, will take up all my time. I am,
pro tern, (and it may lead to be permanent), in the
horse business with Dick, who has just gone up to
New York with a carload of horses, which he has
been breaking at the ranche, since he returned from
taking up the last carload. ... It is a profitable
business if carefully attended to.
LOOKING AT CATTLE RAISING. 121
PART in. Do you know of one or two fellows with Dec. 1879
roots! 8 2 5 or so between them, who would like to May, 1880,
go into the stock business here, in a small way?
As I said, I want to take up farming properly;
and, if I could get some fellows to run cattle
here, would give up this ranche and range, and
put up another shanty for the Doctor, Win-
dale, and myself, on the Schultz field. There is
a good shanty here, including bed-room, kitchen,
and store-room, with large bins, &c., a fifty-acre
pasture, and a field in which to raise horse feed,
vegetables for own consumption, &c., and a good
well. I have invested about $1100 in the whole
place, including range of 1440 acres ; and I want
some one to put about the same amount into stock
(about 100 odd head), of cows with calves, and
heifers, I taking a quarter of the increase, and he
doing the main work of attending to the stock.
Yearling heifers, which as a rule begin calving at
three years old, cost $5 ; two-year-olds $ 7 50 cents;
three-year-olds (without calves) $9 ; and young
cows (with calves) $12 to $14. There is always a
ready sale for yearling oxen at $5 50 cents (this year
as high as $6 has been paid), and when a cow gets
old, she is allowed to fatten, and fetches $ 10 to $ 12 ;
and as we are near a town, there is always a market
122 GONE TO TEXAS.
PART in. for such. It is a very good opening for a couple of Dec. 1879
roots! 2 fellows who mean business. I said 250 or so, as May, 1880.
this would be the smallest it would be worth any
one's while to invest with any expectation of good
returns ; but there is plenty of room here for stock,
if the amount invested were twice the size, or even
larger; as, besides my own range, there are over
6400 acres held by the State at half-a-dollar per
acre, for the School funds, and this land will not be
sold for many years to come.
THE DOCTOR TO MADGE.
May 2, 1880.
. . . We have been planting cotton, and I have
been helping plough the furrows for planting in.
But I was hunting sheep all Tuesday, as they got
away on Monday night, and yesterday and to-day
I have been shearing. I got through six to-day,
but it was quite as much as I could do, as I was
shearing hard for about six hours without a break,
except to catch the sheep and fold the fleeces.
The cotton is all planted at last, and the rock
fence nearly completed. ... I tried to hunt Gipsy
up the other day on my new mare, but she and the
pony she is running with were too wild, and I had
THE DOCTOR'S MARE. 123
PART in. to give in. I like my new mare better every day, Dec. 1879
S roots! g as s he ' 1S so g en tle and willing, and stops round so May, 1880.
well. All I have to do when I want her, is to go
out of the house and listen for her bell ; then go up
and hook my belt into her bell-strap, climb up, and
ride home. With other horses, you have first to
search a long while, and then put a rope round
their necks, and lead them or drive them. . . .
There are just crowds of wild flowers out all over
the hills, which look better than many cultivated
ones in a garden ; especially some white ones with
five petals, which grow quite thick. I want to get
some clothes mended to-night, as we are going
FROM THE DOCTOR.
May 15, 1880.
... I can do a good lot of work during the day
now, as I have 8| hours to leave the sheep in.
I have just finished shearing the four Oxford
Down ewes, and they are so strong that when
they kick it takes two of us to hold them. The
s'heep are almost entirely in my hands now, so
I begin to feel myself growing heavier, though
whether it is from responsibility or extra flesh
I can't say. Willy is breaking up some more
124 GONE TO TEXAS.
PART in. land, to plant sugar-cane in, so that we may grow Dec. 1879
S roots! g our own molasses this year. I believe the real May, 1880.
reason we appreciate "treacle" so much more here
than in England is, that here we have no butter
or jam, and very little sugar, and it acts for all
three. ... It is extraordinary how much time some
people find on their hands out here, for I cannot
remember a day (except Sundays) for ever so long,
that there was not something to be done, which
had been kept waiting too long already. At
present, I have got fully two months' work cut
out for me; for there are still sixteen sheep to
shear, the pen to quarry and build, the pit for the
dipping vat to dig, the mare to hunt up, &c., &c. ;
but the more the better, as I never do more than
enough in a day, and don't have to worry my head
to keep my hands employed. The five thorough-
bred Oxford Down lambs are going on well, and
growing fast, and the black lamb is so big that I
put the bell on him this evening.
I would rather not have any books out yet, as
they would get so dirty in our hut. As soon as
I can afford to put up a small house I should very
THE RANCHE MAN'S LIKENESS. 125
PART in. much like to have the books out ; but I don't want Dec. 1879
striking to get them spoilt before that. Ma *' l88 -
FROM WILLY TO MADGE.
Col. L , his office,
May 25, 1880.
Col. L wants to know if you don't think the
enclosed l is a good likeness of me ! You want a
photo of me, so I let him send it, especially as he
says he'll pay the postage, and so make me one
letter ahead. Col. L says he wants you to
let him know if it is like me as I was when I left
England. I think you will agree with me that
it exactly resembles the photo I had taken just
before I left!
FROM WILLY TO HIS GRANDMOTHER.
May 27, 1880.
I am so glad to see by the heading of your
letter that you are away from smoky London for
a bit, and to hear that you are going down to
L this summer. . . . Many thanks for your
1 A caricature of Col. L 's, showing the change effected in
personal appearance by twenty months of ranche life.
126 GONE TO TEXAS.
PART in. good wishes, apropos of my coming of age. Father Dec. 1879
w 011 ' 11 be h re on tlle 2 9 tn > k* s Dirt hday, as the May, 1880.
horses are not all sold ; but I expect him and
Dick early in June. Everything here is flourish-
ing. I have just returned from San Antonio,
where I have been with my wool. I have stored
it there, to sell in a week or two, when I expect
prices will be higher. All the crops are coming on
splendidly, and everything promises to be exactly
the reverse of last year. . . . Our bees are working
like anything. My best hive is a box about twenty-
eight inches high by fourteen inches square, and the
upper six inches inside has a floor with two holes
in it, and above each hole is a super. The two
exactly fill the top of the hive above the floor, and
have glass windows, as also has the lower part of
the hive, so one can see the bees working. Both
supers are filled with comb already, and are being
filled with honey very fast. Bees are very plenti-
ful out here, in hollow trees and holes in bluffs ;
and the farmers' sons are very fond of cutting
them out and hiving them, when they find them.
This year they will do splendidly, but last year
the extraordinary drought killed nearly all the
hived bees. One neighbour of ours had thirty-six
hives, and all were killed but four ! . . You can't
A TEXAN SHOWER. 127
PART in. conceive the quantity of wool there is now in San Dec. 1879
roots! 8 Antonio. All the storehouses are almost cram May, 1880.
full, and the marketplaces are daily full of wagon
loads just arrived ; and the roads into town are lined
with wagons-full. My love to Madge, and ask
her if she got that photo, which Col. L - (Jem's
friend) of San Antonio gave me. He is always
fond of his " little joke," and is a very jolly fellow.
I hope Chico managed to get a few days at L
P.S. Many thanks for "Good Words," which
come regularly, and are very welcome.
FROM THE DOCTOR TO MADGE.
May 28, 1880.
. . . Yesterday was very hot, and everything was
quite dry ; but last night we had a " little shower,"
which had a rather curious effect ; for at 8 a.m. this
morning the pump by the creek was disconnected
from both banks, a barrel and tub were half-way
to B , and the water-wagon was careering
gaily down the stream, while a nice little rivulet
trickled out at our front door. This is the
heaviest fall of rain there has been since Willy
128 GONE TO TEXAS.
May 30, 1880.
PART in. We had another good shower last night, and the Dec. 1879
"root"! 5 creek is still running hard, though the water is May, 1880.
very shallow in most places. I bathed in the
deep pool to-day, and had a splendid dive and
swim, as the water in one place is half-way up my
chest, and all the weeds that used to grow on the
bottom have been torn away. Our tub was heard
of to-day, about six miles down the creek, but we
don't know where the barrel is yet. I saw Gypsy
the other day, running with a bunch of mares.
She has got her winter coat off, and looks in very
good condition ; so as soon as possible I will get
her up and give my sorrel mare (Polly) a rest, of
which she stands rather in need. Our best cow,
Gruble, has calved again, so we have plenty of milk
for coffee, &c., though of course none to skim.
WILLY'S AND THE DOCTOR'S
PART IV. I WAS unable to leave my New York business for the Feb. to
Gaining proposed trip with Dick to the ranche, and he found Dec> l88l<
work in New York, which he preferred to breaking and
"shipping" mustangs. In August, 1880, important busi-
ness took me to Tennessee, and detained me there most
of the time for more than a year. In June it had been
settled by correspondence that the Dr. should stick to the
ranche, instead of coming up to New York to study medi-
cine. In December, 1880, Willy came at my desire to
prospect in Tennessee, but found that part of it which
he saw unsuited for sheep-raising, which branch of his
business had gradually become by far the most important.
He had given up the plan of starting a store for the sale
of vegetables in B , and had found some other plans,
referred to in his early letters, also impracticable. Here
I ought to mention that the letters do not show the main
troubles and disappointments met with, such as the failure
of the cotton crop, death of thoroughbred lambs, &c., all
of which were kept to themselves by the boys, lest they
(the letters) should give a gloomier impression of life and
prospects in that part of Texas than would be justified
by facts. The letters were all written to near relatives
of the boys, who were of course anxious about them, and
132 GONE TO TEXAS.
PART IV. it was natural therefore that they should make light of Feb. to
Gaining whatever might from time to time be troubling them. In ec ' x J *
making the extracts I have purposely omitted anything
.referring to the " profit and loss account," my object being
to retain only such parts as show what everyday life is
like on a ranche in Texas, such as theirs ; but it will
be sufficiently apparent that they have in the main
" got on." W. H.
THE DOCTOR TO HIS FATHER IN TENNESSEE.
Feb. 18, 1881.
... I don't know whether Willy is likely to go
up again to Tennessee to prospect, even if we do
sell the ranche, as he seems to think he has seen
all the different kinds of land. . . . We have had
very little bad weather for a long time now, and
have not lost any of the new flock yet, but it has
been touch-and-go with a couple of them. One
got upside down for twenty-four hours, but is re-
covering, though she is as weak as water. Another
got a severe attack of constipation, and I was
hunting her till 10.30 p.m. last Wednesday, in the
rain, but couldn't find her, as she was two miles
from the pen, and it was impossible to see more
than fifty yards ; but we got her home yesterday,
THE SHEPHERD'S JOTTINGS BY THE WAY. 133
PART iv. and I think she will recover, as she managed to Feb. to
Gaining ... r , ., . . , 17 . n , Dec ' l88l>
ground, eat some solid food this morning. Willy has
bought a lot of hay in case we should have any
severe northers ; for " experientia docet," we lost
half a-dozen lambs at least last year, through
having to turn out the flock in a severe norther.
The buck lamb, born before Christmas, has already
grown horns an inch and a-half in length! Don't
you pity his mother? We had one ewe which
allowed another lamb besides her own to suck her,
and, in consequence, her own lamb nearly died of
starvation before we found out what was the
matter ; but the little beggar has picked up since,
and has a belly like a balloon. That darkie Jeff
is still herding, as our Mexican isn't back yet, and
he (Jeff) lost himself in the hills yesterday, and
didn't get back till an hour after sun-down, and I
had to count the sheep by the light of a lamp, as
it was pitch dark. We found a dead deer the
other day, in the big hole by the Schultz field.
It had died of starvation, as it was impossible for
anything to climb out, if it once has the mis-
fortune to get in. I nearly slipped into the hole
once, while trying to get an old toad out on the
end of a stick.
134 GONE TO TEXAS.
Feb. 23, 1881.
PART iv. ... You must keep that newspaper in swing, as Feb. to
ground 8 ! I've got a bet on the June number, which Willy
says will never appear. Such is my faith in your
resources that I have bet my colt against Fox, that
the paper will continue to flourish for four more
months ! ! ! Now you can't say there's no veneration
in your family ! How are you getting along though
really? Shall you be able to give us a sight of
your blessed old face this Spring, or is . . . ? The
lambs will be dropping next week, so this is
probably my last letter for a good long while.
One of our ewes has a bag as big as a cow's (no
humbug), and I expect we shall be able to rear
two or three lambs on her if necessary, as she is
very gentle. I have had rather a long ride to-day,
and have already written one long letter, so ex-
cuse this half sheet.
WILLY TO HIS FATHER IN TENNESSEE.
Feb. 23, 1881.
Dear old Gov.
We are having the most glorious
weather imaginable, in our shirt-sleeves from
A PROMISING SPRING. 135
PART iv. before sunrise to when we go to bed ; but during Feb. to
Gaining 1 .. . Dec. 1881.
ground, the day a delicious south wind. The new grass
has started up three inches, and Spring has evi-
dently set in for good, bar occasional frost
probably. Our oats are doing well, and we set
out several fruit-trees the other day, and all our
early vegetable seeds are in. The comfreys are
doing splendidly, and we are going to plant out
a pretty big patch. Sheep are all doing first-
rate and getting awfully heavy. We have occa-
sional bathes in the creek, which runs as hard as
ever. I am glad you are thinking of giving us
a look up. . . .
WILLY TO HIS GRANDMOTHER IN ENGLAND.
March 7, 1881.
. . . The first Spring I was here was the drought,
when nobody raised anything, which was dis-
couraging. Last year we did fairly for our first
year of farming and sheep ; but this year finds
us well ahead of our business. Our sheep couldn't
be doing better; last year's experience in the
lambing season taught us what it was necessary
to have for the proper management of the lambs.
136 GONE TO TEXAS.
PART iv. These are dropping like hail now (eight to-day !), Feb. to
ground 2 and tne 7 are at once drafted ofY into the pasture,
where they remain for a few days till the ewes
"take" properly to them. Each lamb is marked
with a red spot or line on a part of its body, and
the ewe marked in the same way, so that we
know exactly which lamb belongs to which ewe ;
and a record is kept of the date the lamb is born,
and of its mark, so as to know when it can with
safety be allowed to run with the flock. When
a few days old, and the ewe has taken properly
to the lamb, they are turned into the field, where
the oats are coming up splendidly ; this brings
a flush of milk on the ewe, and gives the lamb
a good start. The last lamb born to-day made
our fiftieth. . . . We have about four acres of oats
as I told you, growing well ; and two days ago
I put in about an acre of corn, and to-day I
hauled up the "camp tricks" to the tent at the
Schultz field, as I am going to camp up there
and plough up for corn. Our spring onions are
coming up splendidly ; and this morning I put
in our seed sweet potatoes, from which grow the
vines which are planted out later on the vines
"produce" the potatoes, so to speak. I have
a seed-bed with beets, cabbages, lettuces, squashes,
A PROMISING SPRING. 337
PART iv. and cauliflowers in it, and some of them are begin- Feb. to
Dec 1 88 1
n * n & to come U P > an< 3 I have a bed of very early corn
in, and I expect we shall be the first round here
to have roasting ears ; and my ground for beans,
melons, tomatoes, &c., is all ploughed, and ready
to be planted, as soon as Spring has regularly set
in, at least as soon as all chance of cold is gone,
for Spring has set in some time ; the grass is
growing up green, and the wild flowers and bushes
are all opening, and the nights are getting quite
warm. We planted out sixteen fruit-trees, apples
and peaches, and they are all doing well ; and
the comfreys have been green for weeks, and we
are planting out a large patch of them this Spring.
You have no idea how useful they are in case of
a sick ewe. I forget whether I told you that
the grass seeds did not come to anything, but
that the clover is all coming up, and looking
well ; I think it is going to prove a very valu-
able addition to the herbage here. We planted
it on about half-an-acre in the pasture, and
have fenced off a little patch to keep off the
sheep and calves, and let it run to seed. We
are still getting plenty of milk from old Gentle,
and within a few weeks we shall have more
milk than we shall know what to do with, unless
138 GONE TO TEXAS.
PART iv. we get a pig, as we have several good cows going Feb. to
The English ewes begin to lamb the day after
to-morrow, and Flora, the collie that Mr. Hewitt
sent me, pups to-morow, and we have two hens
hard at work setting, and the whole boiling of
them are cackling and laying, so we are increasing
to a great extent. And lastly, I forgot old Molly,
the mare, she has gone off to her old range per-
paratory to foaling; and another mare of ours,
who runs between here and B , is also going to
have a foal. Oh ! and then the cat ; she's going
to have kittens. I think I've told you about
We have all had a fit of letter-writing to-night :
at this time of year I'm afraid we neglect it a good
deal. From daylight to late at night we are kept
" a-going," I assure you : first it's cooking break-
fast and milking, and separating newly-born lambs
and their ewes from the flock, then turning out
the flock and drafting the older lambs with their
ewes into the field, and holding refractory ewes
for the lambs to suck ; then there's ploughing
or planting all day ; then the flock comes in, and
more new lambs to " fix," and more suckling and
feeding ; then supper to cook and washing-up to
THEIR SISTER COMING. 139
PART iv. do, and by the time one has finished supper, one Feb. to
fe els as though one could fall to sleep at the
table. It's glorious fun though ; and we enjoy
the life immensely. I have to shave now! It is
my Sunday morning's job generally. The Doctor
is just off (n p.m.) to his tent by the sheep-pen,
where he has his cot, and sleeps every night now.
You've no idea how well he is looking ; you would
hardly know him.
March 17, 1881.
. . . The collie has pupped ; she only had two
puppies, but they are doing well. All the country
is green now, and the grass is everywhere splendid,
and the creeks here and at the Schultz field run-
WILLY TO MADGE IN TENNESSEE.
May 23, 1881.
I suppose you will get to Tennessee before this
letter. I hope you and Granny will have had
a jolly journey. Thanks for your long letter
from O . I think that as you say you shall
come down here if Doctor and I don't go up
140 GONE TO TEXAS.
PART iv. there to see you, we shall just sit still and let Feb. to
ground! you come ; less trouble, you know.
THE DOCTOR TO MADGE IN TENNESSEE.
Sunday, June 5, 1881.
I suppose that you have by this time got settled
down a bit in your new house. I hope you ap-
preciate the wood fires, and wooden fences and
houses, which are far better than coals and bricks.
. . . The flock is in the Schultz field to-day, and
I am down at the house baking, as we find that
we can bake better bread in a stove than in a
skillet. I presume you have everything hand-
some in the " stove and cooking tricks " line,
and have not had to bake in a skillet, nor fry
your bacon on a toasting-fork, nor even been
reduced to boiling your eggs in the coffee ? . . .
All our cows have calved now, including Gentle
(the cow we were milking till March). Our cats
are not so fat as they used to be, so we are
obliged to feed them two or three times a week.
You should just see them after being fed on
beef! The flock is beginning to look fat again,
and the lambs are so big that I have to count
THE DOCTOR PHOTOGRAPHING. 141
PART iv. them all together now, or I should make mis- Feb - to
Gainin Dec> l88l<
ground takes. My red mare will be just the animal for
you to ride when you come down to visit us, as
she is "gentle as a dawg," and both fast and
sure-footed. I rode eighty miles on her in two
days last week, but she played out after seventy
miles of it; and it must have been n p.m. before
I reached camp. Next day I kept losing the
sheep all the morning by dropping off to sleep
unawares. . . .
June 30, 1881.
. . . Are you going to set up by yourself when
you have bought your piece of land, or are you
only going to buy it as a speculation? I have
the right to preempt 80 acres of State land for
nothing ; but I have not done so yet, as I cannot
do it twice, and I may find a piece some day
which cannot be got in any other way, except
by buying it at a dollar an acre. I took a photo
of the ranche last Sunday, and I am going to
mettle up and get some papers prepared for taking
positives next Sunday. If I succeed I'll send you
one. All the stock are doing well, and so are
your affectionate brothers ; but we are dreadfully
142 GONE TO TEXAS.
PART iv. in want of rain. A watery new moon has just Feb. to
ground g come, so I expect there will be a big storm in
a day or two, and I keep one eye on the sky,
and the other on my macintosh to be ready
for it. ...
NOTE. About this time Willy sold his original ranche,
and he and the Doctor went into camp within the rock-
fenced 6o-acre pasture, "the Schultz field" (which had been
planted in part with cotton in 1880), in the centre of their
new purchase. Here they pitched their two tents, and put
up sheds, &c. for the sheep. Lenny Windale had left them,
and his place had been taken by C , a young Pennsyl-
vanian, who went to them to learn the sheep business.
THE DOCTOR TO MADGE IN TENNESSEE.
Central Hotel, San Antonio,
July 12, 1 88 1.
... So I must wait till 8.30 a.m. to-morrow.
I rode down on Billy, and when I reached town
I led him under the shed, and, forgetting how
tall he was, I tried to lead him out the other
side, which is rather low ; the horn of the saddle
caught in the beam supporting the rafters, old
Billy got scared, and put his weight into it, and
sent the beam flying out against my forehead.
It was a 4 in. by 2 in. and 14 feet long, so the
wonder is it didn't hurt me. As it was, it just
THE DOCTOR DISPORTING HIMSELF. 143
PART iv. broke the skin for about half an inch ; but it Feb. to
grouncL scared a lot of "colored ladies" at the other end
of the yard, and they came running down with
a bucket and rags, and insisted on mopping up
my face. The roof supports itself now, as I have
broken away the only beam that held it up, and
can't put it up again without help. I have pur-
chased a lot more paper for positives, and a few
requisite bottles, and shall go to work with re-
newed vigor next Sunday. Everything on the
ranche is doing well, and I am here more for
pleasure than business, though of course I shall
get a lot of things now I am here. If there is
any particular thing (bar live stock) that you
would like a picture of, write to me, and I'll see
if I can take it. .
FROM WILLY TO MADGE.
July 14, 1881.
. . . Have you got your donkey or mule
yet? Thunder! It would be as good as a circus
to see you prancing about on a sprightly pie-
balled mule ; tail cut short, likewise mane ; none
of your lanky good-for-nothing mules, but a fat,
144 GONE TO TEXAS.
PART iv. chirpy chap, ready at a moment's notice to seize Feb. to
the bit in his teeth, and "git from one end of
the avenue to the other before the unsuspecting
rider knew he had started ; one that would take
offence at a neighbouring fence, and kick the last
paling of it into sawdust ; then throw his ears back
somewhere in the neighbourhood of the tip of his
tail, and chaw down the nearest pine-tree. Ad-
mission free ; children in arms half-price ! The
Gov. says that you say there are several things
the Doctor asked about, packed away in the
various packages, otherwise I would not summon
up courage to ask if that small scrap-book of mine
(blue, I believe) is still in the land of the living. . . .
THE DOCTOR TO HIS FATHER IN TENNESSEE.
Sept. 4, 1881.
... I am shearing some of the lambs just
to see how they get on ; for it is a very general
theory that shearing twice a year is better for
sheep. I suppose they never take a "full clip"
so far north as Tennessee, as the winter must set
in before they could grow enough wool ? . . . We
shall have to work like blazes for the next week
EXPERIMENTS IN SHEARING. 145
PART iv. or two, as we have to finish the fence down the Feb. to
ground! middle of the pasture, and several other jobs,
before the middle of this month, and the one who
happens to be herding cannot do much with his
spare time, as he has to keep in sight the flock
even while they are lying down. I take out a
piece of canvas with me, and shear a lamb or two
while they lie down, but that is all. A lamb looks
awfully queer and angular after shearing, but he
feels better. .
THE DOCTOR TO MADGE.
Sept. 9, 1 88 1.
... So I hope that by the time this letter reaches
you, you will be able to read to yourself. . . . While
I was herding to-day, a big shower came down,
and I took shelter in a hollow tree ; but unfortu-
nately for me, it had a small opening on the rainy
side, and a small lake began to creep gradually
in along the floor of my house. For about ten
minutes I kept it out by making a dam of the
loose earth that lay inside the tree, but at last my
materials gave out, and the dam broke, so I had
to stand in two inches of water till the rain stopped.
146 GONE TO TEXAS.
PART iv. ... Our division fence is stretching gradually down Feb. to
grouncL ^ e pasture, but as yet we have not put any boards
on. Willy and I made the water-gate two days
ago, and as there was a tree on only one side of
the creek, I had to cut a forked post for the other.
The tree I cut down to make the post of was
unfortunately so bound up with another one, that,
although I cut it clear through, it refused to fall,
and I had to cut down the other as well ; and as
the other was a dead pecan, very thick and as hard
as rocks, I had a very tough job. When I got my
post cut loose, we found it too heavy to haul, so
I caught my mare, put the rope round the horn
of the saddle, and made her pull it for me, while
I kept the rope from cutting her back. . . . When
you come down here you will have to take up the
photography business, as I really believe I never
shall have time to go in for it much. You can
have " the whole bag of tricks," if you find you
can manage to work them, though I am afraid I
shall be a very poor master.
Sept. 22, 1881.
. . . Our fence is more than half done now,
although there are no boards up, for the post-
setting is far the worst job. On Tuesday we went
ROUGH SURVEYING. 147
PART iv. out surveying our new land, and had a good lot Feb. to
Gaining . . Dec. 1881.
ground, of walking to do, and not a little of it was pretty
tough, as one has to go straight through every-
thing that comes in one's way. Once we came to
a bluff and had to go round, and just guess at the
distance, for, as we were only surveying an old tract,
it didn't matter if we were 30 or 40 feet out, so
long as we found the corners and went straight. We
had an awful lot of trouble finding the corners, as
many of them were in the brush, and several of
them had been destroyed ; however, we found the
, trees (they always "blaze" the nearest tree to
a corner), so we made new ones. Father has
written to say that he still intends to come down
"some time" this Fall. I don't believe he will
come at all if he doesn't make up his mind to
come soon, for winter is not far off now
We are labelling some of our ewes now, and
they (the labels) look quite neat, and don't appear
to rust at all. Our shorn lambs are growing
wool very fast, and eat so much, that they are
broader than they are deep; in fact I am afraid
lest some member of the "Bergh" society will
have us up for "overloading" them! ....
148 GONE TO TEXAS.
WILLY TO MADGE.
Sept. 22, 1881.
PART iv I have just been, for some days past, Feb. to
Gaining , .. Dec. 1881.
ground, blistering up my hands like anything, digging post
holes for our new fence ; but we have nearly
finished it now. I hope the Governor will bring
you down here this Fall, as he says he may be
able to, and that you will be strong enough to
get lots of riding here.
THE DOCTOR TO MADGE.
Oct. 2, 1881.
.... We are making preparations for winter
by buying feed now, and I believe we shall
soon erect a sheep-shed. We have already got
all the fodder and hay we shall need, but have
not got any cotton-seed yet. . . . The acorns
are falling thick and fast now, and the sheep
are very troublesome when they get among them,
as they are so eager about picking them up that
they don't look where they are going, and get
scattered. I opened an acorn to-day which had
PREPARING FOR WINTER. 149
PART iv. eight separate kernels ! I never found one with Feb. to
Gaining Dec - l88l<
ground, more than three before, so I expect it is not
common, and I almost wish I hadn't pitched it
WILLY TO MADGE.
Oct. ii, 1 88 1.
.... I hope you have quite recovered now,
and are getting lots of riding and other exercise.
... I am now down in San Antonio, buying
such little winter clothing and sheep-shed material
as we shall need for winter, as we may get some
cold weather this month, although it doesn't
generally come till November.
THE DOCTOR TO HIS FATHER IN TENNESSEE.
Oct. 14, 1881.
.... I am glad to hear that Madge is getting
so strong and heavy, though 93 Ibs. seems awfully
light. I am beginning to put on my winter coat
of flesh, though I haven't weighed myself lately.
I measured myself the other day and found that
I was 5 ft. 9 ins., which is about what I expected.
We are all thriving, and so are the stock. Rain
150 GONE TO TEXAS.
PART iv. has been so plentiful that the screw- worms have Feb. to
und g g ot into one or two h eac * of stoc k, but nothing
much, and they are soon going to disappear for
the winter. ... C - seems to like the country
pretty well now, but he freely confesses that if
we had been stoveless and big-tentless (as we were
not long before he came), he might have gone
back to Pennsylvania without giving the place
a fair trial. . . . We have had to make a new
sheep-pen on the side of the hill since the rain
commenced, as the old one was too sloshy, and
might have given them foot rot. The new one
must be nearly half an acre, and holds them very
nicely, giving them plenty of room to scatter.
At a pinch it would accommodate over 2000,
but we don't like to crowd them. . . . We are
going to make a house soon, I believe, but as
for 0z//-houses, such an idea has never entered
our heads! It takes one of us all day to herd,
another to cook and do odd jobs, and Willy
is always busy up to his eyes, without any extra
work of that kind. Even the division fence (which
we found we could do without for the present)
remains half finished, and we nearly run out of
fire-wood occasionally. Why don't some of you
come down and help us do work that pays ?
SAN ANTONIO FAIR. 151
THE DOCTOR TO MADGE.
Oct. 26, 1881.
PART iv Willy has bought our winter clothing, Feb. to
ground an d I am supplied with a huge overcoat with a
cape, which completely swallows me up, and the
collar of which touches the rim of my hat when
I put it up. It will be A i for herding in, during
a Norther. Willy has one too, but it doesn't
possess a cape. We have had one or two touches
of north wind lately, but no Northers^ so I hope
we shall not have a very severe winter, as some
of the prophets say. If we do though, you had
better all of you come down here, for it will be
far worse in Tennessee ! . . .
Nov. 6, 1881.
As one of the " events " of our not-too-over-
exciting life has just occurred, I think you would
like to hear all about it. I refer to the San
Antonio fair. I will begin at the beginning by
saying that on Monday last Willy went down
with a buck and ewe of the Oxford Downs, and
five half-breed yearlings. On Wednesday morning
I saddled the mare and rode down myself. I got
152 GONE TO TEXAS.
PART iv. down by 2*30 p.m., and found Willy and the Feb. to
P, . . Dec. 1881,
ground 2 ^^P all right. There were very few sheep on
view except our own, but they were beauties.
All of them belonged to one man, one pen of
Merino bucks, and one of ewes. They were all
wool, from their noses to their hoofs. Alas ! one
cannot say "to the tips of their tails." There
were only five or six goats, but they were like-
wise beauties. The show of pigs was even worse
only four ! I can't say whether they were good
or bad, as I don't know anything about pigs.
Chickens were more numerous, but I am no judge
of them either. There were very few bulls, but
a quantity of cows from the San Antonio dairies
I believe, so they looked rather poor. The best
show was of horses, but there again I am no judge.
. . . There were a great many wagons, farm im-
plements, and produce, on view, but they didn't
interest me much. Next day I came back, so
that is all the adventure.
Nov. 10, 1881.
Having put this away and forgotten to post
it, I will just add that Willy and the sheep
have arrived safe, and everything is going on as
usual. Our next job will be the erection of a
LODGING FOR LADIES. 153
PART iv. kitchen to put the stove in, as it has occasionally Feb. to
grouid g been impossible to light fires out of doors at all.
Willy and C are at present employed
making a cotton quilt. I expect the cold won't
have a chance against us this Fall, as we have
been buying all sorts of overcoats, underclothes,
and bedclothes, and cutting up a lot of wood.
In any case, I hope to survive till you come ! . . .
FROM THE DOCTOR TO HIS FATHER.
Nov. 10, 1881.
.... Willy seems to think that Madge had
better lodge at the S 's, and I am not sure that
(supposing it can be arranged) he isn't right. In
the first place, even if we could put her up in
a room near the tents, it would be pretty difficult to
make things as comfortable for her as they ought
to be ; and after all it would be easy enough for her
to come up every day on horse-back, or for us to
go down in the evenings ; and if, when you come
down, you should wish to arrange it differently,
I reckon Madge could monopolise the kitchen
till we got a new room added on. We are soon
going to build a kitchen, and turn the big tent
154 GONE TO TEXAS.
PART iv. round so that they will join. ... I do hope you Feb. to
ground 5 will really be able to come down this time, as
it is over two years since you left, and it is high
time that we had a spice of civilization in this camp.
Just think of "baching" for two years without
intermission ! The wonder is that we haven't
married !!!... When you come down, you should
bring all the too-awfully disreputable clothing you
can raise, and leave them for the use of the camp ;
but I suppose that you yourself go in rather strong
for that kind of thing, now that you live in the
WILLY TO HIS GRANDMOTHER IN TENNESSEE.
Nov. 12, 1 88 1.
. . . We are having glorious weather, and have
not had a frost yet, so the grass and foliage are
still green, and stock and sheep get lots to eat ;
in fact, the grass is running to seed in many places
through not being eaten down enough. We have
had good rains lately, and I think there is every
promise of lots of grazing during winter. Very
few sheepmen feed an ounce to their sheep during
winter, but as we only have a few (comparatively)
PRIZE TAKING FOR DOWN SHEEP. 155
PART iv. we are able to feed them a little. I gave them Feb. to
ground? some cotton-seed this morning, for the first time
this winter, and I expect to feed them some about
every three days ; this will keep them fat. There
was a fair in San Antonio all last week, and I was
down there all the week. There were classes for
Down buck, Down ewe, and pen of five young
ewes, results of cross between long and fine wools,
all of which classes I entered for, and took down
seven sheep in the wagon accordingly. There
was no competition in either of the classes, so of
course I took all three premiums. There were
some very fine Merino sheep on exhibition, and
also some very fair cattle and horses. . . . We have
just been manufacturing a quilt, and it is the most
gorgeous thing you ever saw. We have two more
to make, and then we shall each have one, and
can defy any cold we may have this winter. I
bought, for the one made, fourteen yards of a
very pretty dark-coloured cotton print, and sewed
three widths together for each side. It's seven
feet long and six wide. We made a frame, and
stretched one side to it ; then laid on seven pounds
of cotton, and then put the lid, or whatever you
call it, on, and then sewed through a piece of
knitting cotton all over it, every four inches, each
156 GONE TO TEXAS.
PART iv. way, and then hemmed the edges ; and it looks ^Feb. to
ground! just as if it had come out of a shop in Bond Street,
only rather better if anything ! We have begun to
feed our two milch cows. We feed them each
half a bucket-full of cotton-seed, night and morn-
ing, so we have enough milk to supply a regiment,
or should have if we took all the milk ; but as we
don't need it, we let the calves have most of it.
Our cows that have heifer calves we let run out,
so that the calves have all the milk ; we sometimes
don't see them for a week or ten days, as they go
some distance off this time of year, and only come
up occasionally for salt. . . .
WILLY TO MADGE.
Dec. 8, 1881.
I suppose you have got your chicken-house,
&c., pretty well finished now. Chickens in this
part of the world are not so luxurious as up there,
but then we don't get such cold weather here, nor
is it continuous. To-day it was 80 in the shade.
Fine Christmas weather isn't it? The sheep are
just doing splendidly. They are herded all day,
and brought within sight of the pen about sundown,
A BRAVE GIRL. 157
PART iv. and then left, and they gradually graze towards Feb -
ground! tne P en > an< ^ g m by themselves when it is dark.
We have been so busy lately that we have only
just begun our sheep-shed ; but I hope we shall
have it up in lots of time before lambing in
February. By the way, mind you don't let the
Guvnor let that trip business fall through. I want
you to see all our stock, &c., and have lots of
riding down here ; so bring your riding dress, or, if
you haven't got one, I'll get you one down here
when you come, as I expect lots of riding will do
you good. We've got six horses, so we'll be able
to make a big turn-out all together. I think it
will be better for you to sleep up at the S 's,
if we can arrange it so, as when we do get a few
days cold weather our camp arrangements are
draughty, and not altogether the place I should
like you to be in. The S 's are within a mile
of here, and one of us can come over every morn-
ing and bring you down here. You're a brave
little girl to want to come and rough it with us,
but you don't know your brothers if you think
they're going to let you. Try and get the Guvnor
to come down as early in January as possible, as
we shall have lots of time to give up to recreation
(comparatively) in January ; but about the loth
158 GONE TO TEXAS.
PART iv. of February we begin lambing, and from the i^th Feb. to
ground! on we sha11 be at it: in earnest, and shall be kept
busy. We have bachelor feasts around here now
and then. Sometimes the chap that bought my
other ranche gives them, and sometimes we give
them. The last was given by him, when we had a
wild turkey that he had shot. He is a very good
cook, and he cooked and stuffed that turkey in a
way that would shame a Soyer. He shot another
last night, and so to-morrow night we go over
there again, and if you want to see a turkey " fly,"
you'd better be there. I hope you will have a
jolly Christmas up there. I suppose people are
beginning to think about preparations now. Our
next bachelor lay-out (after to-morrow) is going to
be spread by this ranche, on Christmas day
plum puddings, &c. . . .
MADGE'S TRIP TO THE RANCHE,
PARFV. IN May, 1881, as may have been gathered from some
of the preceding letters, my mother came to the United
States, bringing Madge with her, and settled in East Ten-
nessee. Chico remained at his art work in London. In
January, 1882, business called me to the South, and I took
Madge with me, leaving her with her brothers while I
went to New Orleans and other places. By this' time
Lenny Windale had left the randhe for another part of
the country, and Willy and the Dr. had C , a young
Pennsylvanian, with them, learning the sheep business.
The boys had engaged lodgings for Madge at a neigh-
bouring farm-house ; but she insisted on roughing it with
them at their camp. W. H.
MY VISIT TO "THE BOYS" IN TEXAS.
We were really starting at last, to pay that long-
promised visit to the boys; and very glad I was
at the prospect of seeing my two brothers again.
Willy I had not seen for over three years, and
the Doctor for two years and a-half. I came out
162 GONE TO TEXAS.
PARTY, with my grandmother last year to live in Ten-
nessee, and as soon as I had recovered my strength,
after a serious illness, which I had soon after our
arrival, my father and I had settled when we should
take our journey to see " our boys." We started
on the 5th of January last, and, after staying a
few days at different places on the route, we ar-
rived at San Antonio at 8 p.m. on the nth. On
the i3th we took places in a lumbering old coach,
with room for six passengers, which was to take
us to B , the little town three and a half miles
from my brother's ranche. The distance was thirty
miles, and we took seven hours and a-half to do
it, for there had been a good deal of rain, which
had made the roads very heavy. The next day
Willy (my eldest brother) came over to town in
his wagon to take us and our luggage to the
ranche. It was drizzling nearly all the way, and
we were rather damp when we alighted just out-
side a rock fence with a small gate in it, and
found ourselves at the long-wished-for goal. The
" house " consisted of a good-sized tent, and a little
board kitchen, which was to be my bedroom
during my stay. This kitchen was just large
enough to hold a small cot bedstead, the stove, a
chair, some shelves, and two rough boards that
MADGE'S EXPERIENCES. 163
PART v. answered as a kitchen table, and also as dressing
table for me. It was very roughly built of boards,
which had shrunk from exposure to the weather,
leaving about half an inch of space between each
board. The roof was by no means weather-tight,
of which I was uncomfortably reminded sometimes,
by waking up to find a steady cold drip coming
into my ear or down my neck. During the day
the cot had to be folded up and carried into the
tent, to make room for the cooking arrangements.
My wardrobe was a small rough wooden box with-
out a lid, and, as it stood just underneath the
kitchen " table," it used often to be the receptacle
of the greasy drops which found their way, from
time to time, between the two boards which com-
posed that article of furniture. The "family"
consisted of five members ; my father, my two
brothers, and myself, and Mr. C , a young man
who had been staying there about six months,
working for his board. The first sound I heard
every morning was a shout from the tent of " Oh
Madge 1 " which, if I did not immediately answer,
was repeated until I was wide awake enough to
reply. I then lit a lamp (for it was generally
before sunrise, or "sun-up" as it is called there),
and hustled on my clothes, and called out that I
164 GONE TO TEXAS.
PART v. was ready. Then the business of the day would
begin. The cot was stowed away in the tent, and
the fire lit, and then breakfast had to be got
ready. On my first morning Willy initiated me
into the mysteries of making " slapjacks." These
flabby, indigestible things are made of flour and
water made into a batter, and fried on skillets in
bacon grease. They are pretty good when hot,
but after they get cold it requires a good deal of
courage to bury one's teeth in them. We had our
meals on a small table in the tent, and as there
was no table-cloth, we used to bring the pots and
pans straight from the fire, and stand them on the
table wherever a corner could be found. I forgot
to say that there was no floor to either kitchen or
tent, but only the bare ground, and one morning,
after a particularly heavy rain, I stepped into half-
an-inch of mud on getting out of bed. Directly
after breakfast, my younger brother, the Doctor,
or Mr. C , whosever turn it was, started off
with the sheep, and was not seen again till tea-
time, at sundown. They never took any dinner
with them, as they said it was more trouble to
carry it than it was worth, as they have to walk
all day during the winter. In summer the sheep
lie down during the heat of the day, and the
A NORTHER. 165
PART v. shepherd has time to go home and get his dinner.
The country in that part of Texas is hilly,
and the grass is green all winter. The principal
trees being live oaks, which are evergreen, takes
away the desolate look in winter, and makes it
almost appear like summer. Three days after our
arrival at the ranche, we had our first experience
of a Texas " Norther." It had been comfortably
warm all day, but looked threatening. We were
hard at work making a quilt, of which there were
already three, when suddenly Willy appeared
at the door, and exclaiming " Here it comes ! "
slammed the door to after him. The next minute
a gale of wind began, which seemed to shrivel us up,
and make us tuck our feet under us, as we hurried
on with the quilt. It rained at the same time, and
during the night the rain froze as it fell on the
tent, and made it as hard as a board before morn-
ing. We went to bed early, after trying in vain
to get warm over the tiny cooking-stove, and after
pinching my feet for some minutes, and putting
every available article of clothing on my bed, I
fell asleep. There were only three cots in the
tent, and, as there were four people to sleep in
them, my two brothers slept together in one, and
I think they had the best of it that night. The
l66 GONE TO TEXAS.
PART v. next morning there was not much washing done, I
am afraid, for the wind and rain still continued,
and all we could do was to try to keep warm.
The poor shepherd had to trudge out as usual,
after being laden with all the great coats he could
I used sometimes to ride with one or other of
my brothers when they went to hunt up the
horses or cattle on the hills. The day after we
arrived Willy and I rode out on two of the
work horses, to see if we could find a little sorrel
mare belonging to the Doctor, who with her colt
had been running out on the hills for some months.
We soon found her, and I dismounted whilst
Willy took off my saddle and put it on Polly,
the mare. I then mounted again, and we con-
tinued our ride, the colt following. As soon as
I wanted to go a little faster than a walk, Polly
set off at a tearing gallop and kept on just as
long as she chose, for I had not the slightest
control over her. Willy enjoyed the way we
were racing across country, and shouted every
now and then at Polly to make her go faster.
I was not much of a rider, having had very little
practice, but by a miracle I kept on, though I
had several narrow escapes as Polly swerved round
A NEW FLOCK. 167
PARTY, corners at a gallop. When I next rode her, I
made Willy put on a strong curb, and with
that I could just manage to stop her when I
Towards the end of our stay at the ranche,
Willy went away for a few days to buy some
more sheep, and came back with a nice flock of
207 very % fine Merino ewes and bucks which he
had bought about 30 miles off. The next day
he, and father, and I, were hard at work cata-
loguing, ear-labelling, and branding them. The
ear-labels are small slips of metal, one of which
is slipped through a hole made in the ear of
each sheep, and then the ends pinched together
to prevent them coming out. Each label had
my brother's name and a number on it ; and as
he labelled each sheep, I wrote down on a piece
of paper the number, age, and quality of wool
of the sheep, and any other particular characteristic,
as he told me them. As each sheep was being
labelled my father branded them with an iron
made on purpose, and dipped in tar. Before be-
ginning to label the sheep, we had driven them
into a good-sized pen, and sprinkled sulphur on
them ; and then we drove them into a very small
pen, where there was just room for them to stand,
168 GONE TO TEXAS.
PART v. so that they could be easily taken hold of. We
finished them at about 3 p.m., after working since
breakfast ; and then the Doctor came home with
the other sheep and had his dinner, as he was
to take the new sheep out in the afternoon.
When Willy and father and I went in to our
dinner, we found that all the food in the house
consisted of a scrap of bacon, a small piece of
bread, and some cold slapjacks and porridge.
There was no fire, so we ate what there was,
and washed it down with cold coffee ; and I don't
think I ever enjoyed a meal more. We never
allowed ourselves more than one plate each at
a meal, to save washing up, so I always con-
sidered carefully, before beginning to eat, which
thing to eat first, so as not to spoil the taste of
those which came after. My brothers had been
so long used to this sort of thing, that they
generally put everything in together, and made
what I considered the most disgusting mixtures,
such as porridge, milk, slapjacks, molasses, and
bacon, all at once.
They had to fetch all their water, except rain-
water, from a creek some distance off; and they
generally took a large barrel in the wagon, and
filled it at the stream, and then brought it to the
DOMESTIC ECONOMY. 169
PART v. camp and set it on a stand, and we drew out the
water as it was wanted. The barrel-full lasted
us about a week ; and once, when we were all
very busy, the water gave out, and we had to
use nothing but rain-water for everything, cooking
included, for several days.
Whenever the weather was warm enough, my
brothers bathed in one of the streams ; in summer
they wash their clothes at the same time ; they
have nothing but shirts and socks to wash, as
sheets, pillow-cases, table-cloths, and such-like
luxuries, they do not indulge in. Their beds
consist of sheep-skins, blankets, and home-made
quilts. They had made me a mattress, and stuffed
it with hay from the stack in the yard, and they
had also made me a pillow filled with wool ; and
Willy had purchased a curtain, piece of carpet,
and two cane chairs, besides the necessary bed-
clothes. There were no chairs before we came,
and the boys sat on boxes set up on end, which
were always tipping over with them, or coming
to pieces. Willy had intended to build me a
small room before our arrival, as I had insisted
on living in camp, but, the roads being so bad,
he could not get anyone to haul the lumber from
San Antonio. It did arrive, however, about two
170 GONE TO TEXAS.
PARTY, days before we left. Willy had begun the room
with a few boards which were already there, and
had finished one end of it, and put a window in
it before we left, but unfortunately he had no
time for more.
The room was finished after we had left, and
is now known as " Madge's room." Our whole
visit only lasted about five weeks, but it showed
me what "roughing it" means; and I was very
sorry indeed to have to leave the ranche.
WILLY'S, THE DOCTOR'S, AND
PART VI. A FEW days after Madge and I had returned to Ten- April, 1882,
nessee from the South, and before I left for New York, juiy^sSs.
Chico turned up at my mother's house, having come
straight through from London. While he was out in 1879
he had made up his mind that ranche work with Willy
would suit him better than art work in London, but had
returned to the latter, to give it a fair trial. When, how-
ever, he had found, in June, 1880, that the Doctor had
decided on sticking to the ranche, his wish to be there
also was strengthened, and confirmed by his experience
in London lodgings, after his grandmother and Madge left
for America, in May, 1881. He declined therefore to give
art a trial in New York, stayed a week or so with us in
Tennessee, and then went on to the ranche. He went
vid Memphis. The Mississippi was in full flood at the
time, and, in going down it and up the St. Francis to a
point at which to strike the railway, he was out of sight
of land for three days ! On his arrival, it was agreed that
he should give the ranche, and the ranche should give
him, a year's trial, before he should conclude to give up
art as his profession. At the end of his year he had no
wish to return to art, and, the Doctor having come of age
in March 1883, they were both taken into partnership by
Willy. W. H.
174 GONE TO TEXAS.
FROM CHICO TO MADGE.
PART vi. ... We began shearing the beginning of last April, 1882,
week, and it lasted three and a half days. There July, 1883.
were seven men at it. I was cooking for the
crowd, which proved rather warm work, especially
as we ran out of water the second day, and I
had to haul it up from the creek in buckets.
We killed a sheep and fed on the fat of the land.
I found it rather difficult to keep ten men in bread,
and was baking all one day from sunrise till a quarter
past twelve at night. We were generally up till
about half past eleven, so you see we had a cheer-
ful time. We began the day by driving up a lot
of sheep from the pasture, where the whole flock
was, and penning them under the shed, in front
of which was the shearing table, about two feet
high, for the shearers to rest the sheep on. By
the time this was done I had breakfast ready, after
which the shearing began. Willy tied up the
fleeces as they were cut, and Doctor stamped them
into the sacks, which were hung up to the rafters
of the shed. Each man was given a card-board
check after he had finished a sheep, and these
TEXAS SHEARERS. 175
PART vi. were counted at the end of the day, as the men April, 1882,
are paid by the number of sheep they shear, and J ul y. l88 3-
not by the day. About mid-day we had dinner,
after which Willy, the Doctor, and I, had another
round up in the pasture, while the men rested a
bit, and then shearing again till dusk. Then supper
was ready, and after that we sat and confabbed
a bit, and at about half past nine or so we took
the tables out of " your room," for the men to
turn in on the floor. The room is finished all
but the end next the kitchen, which is not boarded
up yet. We had meals in it, and the men slept
in it, which was a pretty tight fit I can tell you.
Seven rather large men, one of them pretty fat,
had to lie in a row on the floor. The end man
overhung the edge of the flooring, and rocked
himself to sleep ! However, the room was quite
large enough for feeding purposes, with the two
tables. One of the shearers was very talkative,
and rather monopolised the conversation. He
talked and smoked all day while he was shear-
ing, and all the meal-times, and as I heard some
one perpetually talking, and groaning, and snorting
in his sleep, I put that down to him too. All
the men left before dinner last Thursday, and
probably went straight off to another ranche
176 GONE TO TEXAS.
PART vi. where shearing was going to begin. . . . The April, 1882,
fleas are an awful plague here ; at least they July, 1883.
devour me, though they hardly touch the other
two. They run up from the floor up my legs
by scores, whenever I'm in the tent. I remember
one night they wouldn't let me go to bed. I
had taken off all my clothes and was going to
the head of my bed to get my night shirt, when
I felt two of them bounding up my legs ; so I
had to go back to the lamp on the table to crack
them : then went for the night-shirt again with
the same result. This joke was repeated five
times that night, but I oddsed it at last by climb-
ing up on to the table to kill the fleas, and then
getting to bed over the chairs and barrels without
touching the floor. I don't think they are quite
so plentiful, now that we've tied Dip up in the
corner of the sheep-shed. . . . The kitten is much
tamer than he used to be, and will take food out
of your hand. It's wonderful what a lot of bully-
ing that cat will take from Dip. She could
easily keep out of his way if she liked, now Dip
is tied up ; but she comes up smiling, to be hauled
about by the scruff of the neck. I don't suppose
it hurts though. . . . There will only be one or
two more lambs this year, I fancy. Some of those
LAMBS' GOINGS ON. 177
PART VI. which were born first are so big now, that they April, 1882,
look nearly as big as their mothers, since shearing. July, 1883.
You ought to see them in the evening, when it's
beginning to get cool. They get frisky, and go
tearing about in bunches of about fifty, down the
road as hard as they can pelt, every now and then
giving tremendous sidelong jumps, sending their
hind legs into the air. Sometimes two lots will
charge into each other at full speed, and pile up
on to one another in the middle, quite like a
foot-ball scrimmage. It's a wonder they don't
break any bones. Why, the other day, Doctor
found a lamb down that big hole among the
bushes in front of the tent, which I suppose you
have seen. It must be 18 ft. deep in the shal-
lowest place. Yet this lamb had jumped down,
and hadn't hurt himself a bit. A new-born lamb
is a most clumsy animal, very nearly all leg,
and the essence of stupidity. It was only yes-
terday I saw one trying to suck a wheel-barrow ;
and they will occasionally follow a hen about
in preference to their mother. . . .
178 GONE TO TEXAS.
FROM THE DOCTOR TO MADGE.
April 28, 1882.
PART vi, ... The other night, we had an exceedingly fine April, i88a :
Aurora borealis, which at first looked like the July, 1883.
reflection of a gigantic prairie fire, but soon shot
out in long bright rays, which stretched nearly half
across the sky. . . . The wool is by this time safe in
San Antonio. . . . By the way, wouldn't a letter
look odd if one put headings to each paragraph,
like a newspaper, such as,
News of the Neighbourhood :
Tea-table topics :
Work of the week :
Perils of pastoral life :
Post-prandial peripatetics :
Recent ranche records :
Crude camp calendar :
and Egotistical experiences.
FROM WILLY TO HIS GRANDMOTHER.
May 21, 1882.
. . . We sheared a little over 3,ioolbs. of wool,
and it sold for i6\ cents per Ib. in San Antonio.
MAY FRUITS. 179
ART vi. ... Isn't there a saying, that one " is never so April, 1882,
happy as when working hard " ? It's a very true July, 1883.
one I think, for we enjoy ourselves immensely,
although we put in just about as much work
between daylight and dark, as we can well squeeze
in, and by the time we've eaten supper, we feel
that we've just done as much as it's possible to do.
I'm afraid that suggestion of yours about some one
to cook for us, wouldn't work. We are more in-
dependent you see, as we are, and one of us can
always be spared to do the cooking, which is not
a very scientific affair, in a sheep camp. Bread
is the hardest job ; but Chico has hit that off
splendidly, and turns out "a first class article!"
Dewberries are about over; but San Antonio is
full of the lower country wild plums, a most deli-
cious little fruit, and very soon our hill plums will
be ripe, as also the grapes. The cherry crop will
be short this year I think, but I expect we shall
get lots of fruit without them. ... I gave Dip away
as he was such a nuisance to have to look after, and
was too fond of making playthings of lambs' ears.
l8o GONE TO TEXAS.
June 8, 1882.
PART vi. ... We have not reached our new (rented) range April, 1882
yet. The Doctor and young H - are with the July, 1883^
sheep, about seven miles off, and I have just run
back to the ranche to see that the calves &c. are
all right. We are having some downright camping
out, going up ; a wagon and an 8 feet by 8 feet
tent, are our houses, and we do not pen the sheep
at night, but let them lie down about 100 yards
from the wagon. Sometimes they start off in the
night, and then we have to go out and round them
back. They bleat when they start off, which wakes
us up. . . .
July 18, 1882.
The Doctor and I are just back from our 1 Gua-
daloupe exile, and very glad to get back. The
sheep are looking first-rate, the change having
done them a great deal of good ; and our own
range is looking splendid. We have now lots of
range, and so can make all our arrangements com-
plete, for taking every care of a large flock. . . .
We had a big rain-storm the last night that we
1 The hired ranche was on the Guadaloupe.
A COW EPICURE. l8l
PART VI. had to camp out. We got a thorough soaking all April, 1882,
night, but are none the worse for it. It began to J u] y. 1883.
rain hard just as we were turning in, and it poured
through our blankets, and a stream ran underneath
us. Next morning, the firewood was so wet it
was no use waiting for a fire, so we had bread and
water in a hurry, as the restless sheep wouldn't stay.
. . . We have one cow, with her first calf, that is
very fond of chewing up blankets and things. She
came into the pen to-day, and chawed up an old
shirt that was on the fence. She evidently enjoyed
it, as she stayed around outside all the afternoon,
after being driven away, trying to get in to devour
more shirts I suppose !
FROM THE DOCTOR TO MADGE.
Aug. 5, 1882.
. . . What put it into your head that we live on
bacon and slapjacks all the year round ? Slapjacks
and molasses are all very well in winter, but we
never touch them in summer. Our menu consists
chiefly of beans, porridge, meat, bread and butter,
eggs, bacon, tomatoes, and milk. We have lately
varied it with fish, as Sam, the darkie herder, has
discovered some small perch and cat-fish in our
1 82 GONE TO TEXAS.
PART vi. biggest water-hole. . . . We have become possessors April, i88a
of four of the finest bucks within fifty miles. They July, 1883,
are real beauties, as you may imagine, and if one
touches their skin, one's finger disappears up to the
Aug. 20, 1882.
. . . We can now sympathise with you on the
goat question. We have five of them, regular
brutes. They are always up on the rock fence,
knocking it down. We bought them to eat out
the underbush in the pasture. To-day I caught
and "side-lined" them, i.e. tied the two side legs
of each one together; and I think this will keep
them from being able to jump the fence and get
out, as they have been doing. We still have to
keep ten or fifteen head of cattle in the pasture,
to keep the grass from getting too rank for the
sheep. We have a tremendous amount of work
to get through between now and November, but
one feels able to do lots of work when things go
WILLY'S UPSET. 183
FROM THE DOCTOR TO MADGE.
Aug. 27, 1882.
PART vi. ... We have got a large oat-bin under the shed April, 1882,
next the rock fence, and have 130 bushels or so July, 1883.
in it, besides a hut full of oats in straw ; and we
shall probably put up a great deal of cotton-seed
as soon as the fresh crop comes in, so there will
be no lack of feed this winter, and I expect we
shall not have a pasture full of scarecrows, like
those you saw when you were down here last
Spring. . . . We have got two patches of Bermuda
grass started, and one of them is about the size
of a table already.
FROM CHICO TO MADGE.
Sept. 10, 1882.
... A load of lumber arrived here this morning,
and we shall be moving over the frame house
from the lately-bought land in a few days ; so
you can come and see us as soon as you like.
We have made a new pen, too, for the hay-ricks,
and the place is getting quite a farmy look about
it. I suppose you have heard of Willy's upset
in B the other night. He drove over a cow
184 GONE TO TEXAS.
PART vi. i n the dark, and it got up with the buck- April, 1882,
board on its back, and tilted it right over. The July, 1883.
buckboard is as light as a feather, and is very
useful to get about in. It just holds two people
comfortably, and has plenty of spring in it, as
the fore and hind wheels are only connected by
the flooring of boards, without any iron bar to
stop the springiness.
FROM THE DOCTOR.
Sept. 13, 1882.
. . . The Jones' house is u bein tore downd," and
a large portion of the more fragile parts have
already arrived. The new cow-pen is finished,
all but one string, and we shall have rails enough
cut for it before long. It ranges from 5 ft. 4 in.
to 6 ft. high all round ; and we shall be able to
rope wild stock in it, and brand. If one begins
to rope in the present cow-pen, they break out.
Sept. 23, 1882.
. . . The house we've just moved from the new
range is going up rapidly, and we hope to get
"SHANTIES" AND "HOUSES." 185
PART vi. it finished before the ist of October; and then April, 1882,
we shall be able to get our clothes into a decent July, 1883.
place before winter. Up till now everything has
kicked about on the ground in the tent ; and it
will be a tremendous relief to get into a decent
habitation. Miss plays the piano, and sings.
She has just got a new instrument, and plays
my accompaniments very well, so I have a little
music again occasionally.
FROM THE DOCTOR TO MADGE.
Sept. 30, 1882.
... I don't know how you got into the habit
of it, but you call everything a " shanty" now.
A tent is a tent, and a shanty is a shanty ; but
an 'ouse is an 'ouse, and should be called so.
You have inflicted a deep and ragged wound in
our pride by asking whether we live in the new
shanty yet. . . .
FROM CHICO TO MADGE.
Oct. i, i88a.
. . . The Doctor and I have just come up from
our Sunday bathe. We can't get much of a swim
1 86 GONE TO TEXAS.
PART vi. without barking our knees, but the water flows April, 1882,
quickly, and it's very pleasant to lie and bask July, 1883.
in the shallow water; only take care the sun
doesn't skin you alive! The chief drawback is
the minnows, which come swarming round one,
and nibbling wherever they can find a sore,
which is excessively ill-natured of them to my mind.
Then there are some leeches, which stick on to
one in the most tenacious way; they will pull
out to about a yard in length, and stick on at
both ends. In fact, all the inhabitants of the
water (cray-fish included) seem determined one
shan't bathe in peace ; so we lie on the rock
bed, where the water flows quickest, and flummux
them that way.
I've been going about barefoot for the last
three weeks or so, and I've serious thoughts of
giving up boots altogether as remnants of bar-
barism. You've no notion how comfortable it is,
when there are no thorns about; but my feet
are getting so hard now that even they don't
hurt much. . . .
We had Dick down here, for one night only.
He had come from New York for a car-load
of ponies, which he bought in San Antonio, I
think, and then paid us a flying visit before going
A TROUBLED COOK. 187
PART vi. back. He bought a wonderful chair in San An- April, 1882,
tonio ; it is made entirely of cows' horns, except- July, 1883.
ing the seat I hope. They are very cleverly
fitted together, and seem to sell here as fast
as they can be made. You'd scarcely think
they would be comfortable, but I believe they
are. . . .
We have had a wonderful lot of people here
lately. I shouldn't notice it so much if I wasn't
cook; one seems to be in a perpetual state of
killing the fatted calf. There have been the
two carpenters and the herder of course, regu-
larly, and also the men who hauled the house
over ; and two or three extra are sure to turn up
when you're pretty nearly full already. However
it's rather pleasant to have a crowd now and
then. I spend all my spare time now looking
out of the windows in the new house. It gives
the country quite a new aspect somehow, looking
at it through a window ; and makes one feel re-
spectable, not to say grand. I must really invest
in a top hat now, to be in keeping with the
ranch e. .
1 88 GONE TO TEXAS.
Oct. 8, 1882.
PART vi. . We got our cots into our new room last April, 1882,
night for the first time ; and it seemed quite July, 1883.
strange, after having slept in a tent with no floor
for so long. The house didn't seem to suffer at
all from being moved, very little of the wood
having to be replaced by new stuff. There was
a kitchen behind the house where it stood before,
a sort of small detached room : this we are going
to move down to the creek about half-a-mile from
here, to serve as a shepherd's hut and room to
put cotton-seed in for the sheep.
FROM WILLY TO MADGE.
... I am sorry you have been having bad luck
with your chickens this summer. I wish you were
all down here, so that you could run our chicken
ranche. Ours are all doing splendidly. It's no
good perpetually selling off and buying more,
with a view to getting strong healthy stock. The
way to have it is this : make up your mind as to
what breed you intend to have ; then buy roosters
CHICKEN FIXINGS. 189
PART vi. of that breed, and kill or sell all your present ones. April, 1882,
Then, when your young chickens grow up and July, 1883.
are old enough to lay, kill or sell your roosters
and buy others of the same breed, but if possible,
from a different poultry-yard than that from which
the last came, and continue this rooster renewing
part of the business every time the chickens are
old enough to lay, which of course won't neces-
sitate a selling off of the roosters more than once
a year. You ought to have a few packages of
" Condition powders " for stock and chickens (cost
25 cents each down here), and, once a week regu-
larly, mix a tea-spoonful of the powder to a pint
of corn-meal for every ten chickens , and then put
in water enough to make it as thick as pretty
thick porridge, and feed to the chickens. Follow
all the above instructions, which are not difficult,
and you may blame me if you don't have fine
healthy chickens all the time. Of course, J pre-
sume you feed your chickens regularly every
day. . . .
FROM THE DOCTOR TO MADGE.
Oct. 15, 1882.
.... We have finished changing our little
house from the old place to the creek. It used
190 GONE TO TEXAS.
PART vi. to be the kitchen, but now contains a ton and April, 1882,
a half of cotton-seed. The sheep are camped July, 1883.
there to-night, and I am going down there
presently, to sleep on the cotton-seed.
Nov. 6, 1882.
. . . We are looking forward to the Guvnor's
visit, which we hope will occur in the order of
things, although we don't " bank " very much
on it. " There's always a contingency," as our
friend H said to his son the other day, when
. the latter was averring that a certain steer must
be dead because they'd found its bones ! . . . I had
a most charming parting present from in the
shape of a corn shuck hat. They are the prettiest
hats that are made, to my notion. Shucks are
torn up and plaited, and then sewn up into broad-
brimmed hats. I believe they are very easily made,
and are very becoming, especially on a lady, when
plainly and prettily trimmed.
Nov. 20, 1882.
. . . The two H girls and one of the boys
came down to supper two evenings ago. It was a
BLIND MAN'S BU FF. 191
PART vi. regular bachelors' spread, no table-cloth but plenty April, 1882,
of sausages and soup, and coffee and bread ; and juiy!i88 3 .
afterwards we had some kind of romping game, and
then blind man's buff, in which we pretty nearly
shook the place down, but didn't break anything.
There was nothing to break for that matter, except
the things on the table, which were stowed away in
one corner, the " blind-man " being warned of his
proximity to it by a chorus of " Ware, soup ! " So
you see we've not grown so everlastingly old yet.
FROM THE DOCTOR TO MADGE.
Dec. 6, 1882.
Miss H has mixed a plum pudding for us,
and to-night we all helped stir it, and put it on the
fire, and I've got to keep it boiling till 2 a. m. to-
morrow. I had a real genuine fourpenny bit, which
we have mixed in with the pudding, but not one of
us could raise a wedding-ring, so we had to leave
that part of the ceremony out. I have begun herd-
ing again, and find I am rather out of practice, but
I shall soon get into swing again. Chico and I
each herd four days a week, which sounds im-
possible; but on Wednesday he herds bucks just
to give them a change of grass, and only herds the
193 GONE TO TEXAS.
PART vi. flock three days. Willy has gone to bed in the April, 1882,
cotton-seed house, and Chico has gone to see Miss July, 1883.
H home, so I am quite alone with the pudding,
which would be a frightful temptation if it was only
cooked : but I don't think it would be worth open-
ing in its present state. . . .
NOTE. I had to go South early in December, 1882, and
went for a ten days' visit to the ranche, arriving there about
the 8th. I was duly impressed by the Christmas pudding,
referred to in the last letter, which I found hanging up in its
bag in " Madge's room." While I was there I began digging
a well close to the house, Momo assisting, which has since
been finished, and has proved a great comfort, making it no
longer necessary for the boys to haul water from the creek for
the use of the house. I was much struck by the improved
appearance of the flock, owing to the introduction of new
thoroughbred Merino blood, and the continual culling out of
any of the ewes which had not been considered up to the
mark. W. H.
FROM WILLY TO MADGE.
Dec. 20, 1882.
A merry Christmas and all the rest of it. Thanks
for the socks. They turned up loose at San An-
tonio, the parcel having busted somehow. They
will be very welcome and useful I expect before
winter is over, as, when we do have bad weather, of
course we have to be out in it, and we haven't come
AN INVASION OF WOMANKIND. 193
PART vi. to the extravagance of investing in anything but April, 1882,
cotton socks as yet. The Plymouth Rocks are doing Jui y , t0 i88 3 .
finely, the laying hen having begun to sit after lay-
ing about two dozen eggs.
Jan. i, 1883.
I hope you had a jolly Christmas up there. We
celebrated the day by putting a blast in the well,
which resulted in blowing out what I hope will
prove to be the last of the rock for some time. We
are now on hard clay, which is a tremendous relief
after the rock, although the latter was for only three
feet or so. On Christmas afternoon, or rather at
dinner-time, I went down to K 's and had a
very jolly Christmas dinner with them and the
W 's, who were staying there, preparatory to
going away in the afternoon. In spite of my re-
monstrances, the girls made me go out riding with
them, and not only that, but insisted on coming up
here to "spy out the land" or something, and
" went through " camp as though they were bossing
the lay-out. You should have heard the burst of
applause when they looked into the tent and saw
Chico with sleeves tucked up, washing up some
plates, &c. One exclaimed "Oh how cute!"
194 GONE TO TEXAS.
PART vi. Whether she referred to the dishes, or Chico, April, 1882
or the mess the tent was in, I don t know. We July, 1883.
are now enjoying a bit of a freeze by way of
relieving the monotony, for this is the first really
cold weather we've had. But it isn't disagreeable
as it keeps dry. Any way, it makes one fully
appreciate your socks and mittens. By the way,
many thanks for the latter : I forgot about them
till I turned out the Guv.'s valise, since I last
wrote. Christmas night we had a supper, and the
plum pudding, which turned out to be a decided
success. The two H - girls and their brother
came down, and we had supper first, and then we
filled in the cracks with socks no, songs! My
hand is cold, so my pen has the bulge on it rather.
I started in with the intention of writing about half
a page, so you can credit my correspondence with
CHICO TO MADGE.
Sunday, Jan. 14, 1883.
My dear Madge,
If it's not too late to thank you for the
socks and the cuffs, and to wish you a merry
Christmas and also a happy New Year, and many
happy returns of your birthday, allow me to do
HERDING IN FROST.
> PART vi. so now. Of course I ought to have done so be- April, 1882,
fore, and would be very much ashamed of myself July, 1883
for not doing so, were I not such a hardened
I always feel pretty chirpy now on Sunday, as
it's my first day off herding. Doctor herds from
Sunday till Wednesday, and I from Thursday
till Saturday ; but I get four days a week alto-
gether, as I herd the bucks (about forty) every
Wednesday. It's pretty hard work herding in
such weather as we've had this last week. Last
Sunday, Monday, and I think, Tuesday, it froze
hard, and has been thawing and drizzling ever
since ; but to-day it's beautiful out of doors. The
sheep will travel and scatter so in the bad weather,
that one has to be pounding about all day without
a moment's rest. I remember last Monday night,
I had an overcoat which had been damp, spread
over my bed, and in the night it fell off; but it
was frozen so hard that it stood up on its side
against the bed.
I suppose father has told you we're digging
a well now. WeVe only gone down two or
three feet since he went, but weVe got through
the layer of rock, which was about three
feet thick. Old S is coming again as soon
196 GONE TO TEXAS.
PART vi. as he has got his crops in, some this week I April, 1882
think. There is still a good deal of rock-picking July, i883J
for him to do, as the well tapers off towards the
bottom rather, and he'll have to enlarge it. The
well is nine feet deep at present, and it's nearly as
much as one can do now to pitch the earth out
with a spade ; we shall have to fix a windlass. It
isn't pleasant to pitch up a spade full, and have it
come down on you, and get inside your shirt :
however, on most days, when there's no norther
blowing, it's so warm that I work down the well
with nothing but a pair of breeches on so it
can't. The last time I was working in the well,
I nearly shut myself in. I had shoved the ladder
up to the top, and then picked down about a foot,
and couldn't reach the ladder afterwards, and
nobody was within call ; but I managed to get it
down at last by jumping as high as I could, and
hooking it with the spade. . . .
The H 's were down here on the evening
of Christmas, and after supper we had singing.
I thumped the wall by way of accompaniment,
and we had enough noise to fill the Albert
Hall. The wall of a wooden house, which is
double, and has a space between, makes a first-
rate drum. Our former musician, the nigger-boy
THAT WELL! 197
PART vi. Jeff, is gone. His music used to be rather April. 1882,
trying to the nerves. His instrument was what J ul y I88 3-
he called a mouth organ. You blow into holes
in the top, and it makes a noise something like
a broken-winded concertina. . . . We have still
got our piece of mistletoe hanging to the beams,
but it's beginning to look bilious. I expect it's
rather indignant at the very small amount of
slobbering that was gone through under it. ...
Has Granny painted her house yet ? We've been
talking of painting this one, but it has never been
quite finished yet, as the carpenter has been sick.
. . . We shall be getting lambs now in a short
time, as I hope we're not going to have much
more bad weather. I'm afraid we shall though,
as we've had no winter to speak of yet, and it was
prophesied we were to have a very hard one, I
THE DOCTOR TO MADGE.
Jan. 19, 1883.
. . . The well is getting deep, but not damp,
and we are in rock again, about fifteen or more
feet deep. Old S is reduced to blasting again,
and to-day he put in a blast which went off ap-
198 GONE TO TEXAS.
PART VI. parently without the least effect, and, although April, i88a
the well was filled with smoke, he could not dis- July, 1883.
cover where it came from, till at last he found it
oozing out of a crack in the side of the well,
nearly a third of the way round. ... I am to have
my first day on the roads to-morrow, for I have
never been called out before, so I hope the weather
will continue fine.
WILLY TO MADGE.
Feb. 28, 1883.
The Doctor got all the photos, and we all think
they are great successes, except that of yourself.
You look as though you'd just been told that a
rival photographer had set up in R , and were
in doubt whether to believe it or not. . . We don't
wind up lambing till the beginning of April, but
we're pretty far advanced I think. There are about
eighty lambs or so. Spring has set in I think,
though we need a few more hot days, and then
some rain, before the grass will get as good as I
want it. A few 7 wild flowers are opening, and the
twigs are threatening to. I'm dropping off to
sleep, so good night.
WINTER CASUALTIES. 199
WILLY TO HIS GRANDMOTHER.
April 4, 1883.
PART vi. ... We are well into spring now, and every- April, 1882.
thing is brightening up again. We have come July, 1883.
through a pretty hard winter, which has burst up
a good many sheepmen ; but we came through
about as well as the best, as we had a good shed
and plenty of hay. An Englishman below us bought
900 head last fall ; 700 died during the winter,
and he sold the rest for 85 cts. per head (having
given $2 50 cts. for them). He came off better
than some fellows though. One man went into
winter with 1800 head, and expected about 1000
lambs this spring. He only has 595 grown sheep,
and six lambs now, and is about through with
lambing. He had considerably overstocked his
range. One of our neighbours lost over 300 grown
sheep, and only saved about sixty lambs : he ex-
pected to raise about 350. The losses in cattle
also were heavy. I don't believe we lost more than
one or two head ; but our stock were raised on this
range. . . . We shear on i6th inst. I don't expect
you'll hear much from the boys till then.
300 GONE TO TEXAS.
CHICO TO HIS FATHER IN NEW YORK.
Easter Sunday (I believe), 1883.
PART VI. This being my first loose Sunday this year, April, 1882,
I've taken it into my head to be a good boy for July, 1883.
once in a way, and actually write a letter. . . .
Thank goodness we're about through the winter at
last. We haven't had a norther now for some days,
but, my gracious, we did have one or two stingers !
Food froze almost before we could get it down.
This winter I experienced, for the first time, the
unutterable bliss of getting into a frozen boot in
the mornings. It's scrumptious. One can laugh
at the winter now its back's turned : next year I
hope we'll flummux it with a fireplace.
We've had some pretty good rains lately, and
the well must have several feet, though we haven't
measured it lately. The night before last there
was a thunderstorm, with rain in deluges, and the
wind rocked the house about, so that I lay awake
and considered which window I should make for
if it tipped over. However, she's standing still.
There are two of us with the flock all the time
now. I have been herding for the last few weeks
with young darkie Jeff, and Dr. is herding now
with Jeff's brother. At present I'm trying to
GETTING STRAIGHT. 2OI
PART vi. get things a bit straight about camp. The place April, 1882,
gets confoundedly messed-up during the winter. July, 1883.
However, with the help of a spade and broom,
I've cleared out the tent, and kitchen, and dining-
room, and am now on the pen. We've got a lot
of excellent muck, which would delight your heart.
I'm making a big pile of it, and we shall spread it
on the pasture some time. We put down some of
the pen-clearings on a patch of ground, which we
marked out (shortly before you came) to try the
effect, and now there is twice as much grass there
as there is round about. You can see the square
patch of green quite plainly marked out. I just
put enough stuff down to hide the ground. . .
We haven't put up our books yet, as the carpenter
hasn't come out to fix the shelves; but we shall
soon be pretty straight. Willy has ordered two
more wardrobes like the last, so when you next
come down, by Jove you'll have to come in a
topper and white weskit. The old tent pretty well
came to grief this winter. It all wore away at the
top, and we had to tie it up with rope, but the
fly-sheet kept the rain out pretty well. We had
it full of sheep most of the time, when it was cold.
One night we had some up in the house, which
made a pleasant concert. The lambs are much
202 GONE TO TEXAS.
PART vi. tamer this year than they were last, as we have April, 1882,
had to feed most of them from the bottle. They're July, 1883.
beginning to look fat now, and began to dance a
week ago ; but before that they didn't seem to be
enjoying life much. One has to go through a
winter like the last, to be able to enjoy the spring
properly. The green is coming on finely now, and
the flowers are beginning to show up too ; but it
strikes me everything is much later than it was
last year. Things were looking a good deal greener
when I arrived here, which must have been almost
the beginning of March. Devilish little news to
chronicle at present, as I've been doing nothing
but run after sheep and howl, for the deuce of a
while. I might tell you what I said to the sheep,
but it was not as a rule parliamentary. I tell you,
it just knocks the stuffing out of you, herding in
winter, as the sheep don't get much to eat, and, in
consequence, run like the deuce ; which wouldn't
matter if they all ran the same way but they
don't. However, they're better now, and begin to
lie down for a bit in the middle of the day. I
begin to feel faint. I must drink a glass of water.
I've been writing too many letters lately, I fear,
and it's telling on my constitution ; can't write any
more, or I shall collapse.
THE SPRING SHEARING. 203
THE DOCTOR TO HIS FATHER IN NEW YORK.
Sunday, April 29, 1883.
PART vi. It is with a delightful sense of rest that I sit April,- 1882,
down to write to you to-day. It is, I believe, the jui
first real day of rest I have had since the begin-
ning of January, and feels, in consequence, more
than usually pleasant. It is a lovely day, with
just sufficient cloud to make it cool. ... I started a
letter to you and also one to Granny, out herding,
but being in pencil they both came to untimely
ends, through getting chafed into illegibility.
Willy and Chico have gone down to San An-
tonio with a second load of wool, so I am quite
alone. The clip this year is probably lighter than
last, owing partly to a late spring, and consequent
lack of grease ; but the wool is in greater quantity,
as we have filled thirteen sacks, and have over half-
a-sack of tags besides. This is more than we had
last year, although the number of sheep shorn is
smaller . . .
The fruit-salt arrived all right, and was a very
seasonable gift, as Chico was beginning to be
more than usually irritated by tick and flea
bites, but he is all right now, and one bottle has
nearly disappeared under our frequent attacks.
204 GONE TO TEXAS.
PART vi. I don't think that Texas has been visited by such April, 1882,
severe northers for many years as those we had July, 1883.
last January and February. Old H (the Ger-
man) says he can remember a far worse winter
" before the war " ! ! and Billy A , who was
raised here, cannot remember one at all. Stock
of all kinds suffered fearfully, though not so much
during, as after, the norther. We ourselves came
off remarkably well ; which was mainly owing to
Willy's foresight in weaning the calves (an un-
heard-of thing here), and providing unlimited feed
for the sheep. I don't believe we lost a single
cow, and very few sheep ; but some poor fellows,
who had scabby sheep, and not sufficient shelter
or feed, lost all the way from thirty to seventy-five
per cent, of their sheep ; and Capt. and
others, who started into winter with poor cattle,
lost tremendous quantities of them. Everything
that isn't dead already is now on the fair way to
recovery, as the grass is splendid ; and if the
winter has done nothing else, it has given the old-
method stock-raisers a lesson that will probably
last a considerable time. . . .
Some one's theory concerning Texas northers is,
that they occur on the same day, or very nearly
so, every year ; and as I have on various occasions
SPECULATIONS ON NORTHERS. 205
PART vi. noticed this to be the case, I should like very April, 1882,
much to have additional proof, which I believe July, 1883.
that Madge can supply, as it would be very use-
ful to us if we could put any faith in the idea. I
wish you would ask her to look into her diaries
and old letters, and tell me the dates of
i. The ice-norther which occurred during your
stay here, in January, February, 1883.
ii. The March norther, 1882, in which Willy
and I were reduced to sardines.
iii. The November (?) 1880 norther, when the
icicles hung from the sheep's ears, and we had a
iv. The norther which occurred during Willy's
stay in Tennessee, January 7, 1881.
v. The one which occurred during Dick's stay
with us, in March, 1880, about the middle of the
month, I fancy. Dave was also at the ranche,
If Madge could give me the dates of the above-
mentioned northers, it would, with those I already
know, satisfy me that the theory is or is not to be
relied on. ...
206 GONE TO TEXAS.
WILLY TO HIS GRANDMOTHER.
May i, 1883.
PART vi. I believe the last time I wrote was before shear- April, 1882,
ing. We have now finished that business, and the July, 1883.
wool is all in San Antonio, except four bags, which
I expect to take down in a few days. We had
very fine weather during shearing, only a little
windy. We began with two hands, then a third
came, so, as this was slow going, I sent to
B and got four more (Mexicans) out. That
made seven shearers, so with ourselves and a
herder we were a big crowd here for a few days.
Our Plymouth Rock hen is raising her second lot
of chickens ; she has nine, and they are doing well.
We had a late frost, which killed nearly all the
plums on our only large plum-tree ; but there will
be a tremendous crop of fruit this year, I expect.
The mulberries and dewberries are nearly ripe, and
there will, I think, be lots of wild cherries, and I
believe the peach-crop is all right. We have got
several young calves, but I really don't know how
many, as Tve been so busy with other things that
I have " lost the run " of them.
The people in B - have just begun some im-
POLO IN TEXAS. 207
PART vi. provements there, by mending the road, which April, 1882,
hitherto in rainy weather has been a sort of July, 1883.
mud pond. The citizens subscribed $500 or
$600 I believe, and the last time I was in there,
they were ploughing the sides of the streets from
end to end, preparatory to ditching, I suppose.
Our neighbour S and his family have moved
down to his father's, on the other side of B ,
so the old place I first settled on is now
unoccupied, and again for sale. I brought up
some Bermuda grass from San Antonio yesterday,
and planted it after a very heavy shower, which
came just after I got back, so I hope the grass will
grow. The well still continues to be as full as
ever, so the water-question does not trouble us as
it used to, and the water in the well is very good.
THE DOCTOR TO MADGE.
Sunday, May 27, 1883.
. . . Chico and I went to see the polo-playing
on the i3th. It was rather pretty, though I should
think they have a great deal of room for improve-
ment, as there is hardly one of them who can
carry the ball with him for more than two strokes
without missing it, even when there is no one else
208 GONE TO TEXAS.
PART vi. in the way. We have been having rather a drought April, 1882,
lately, but a timely thunderstorm on Friday made July, 1883.
everything fresh again.
I think I have already told you that I camp
with the herder, on the other side of the creek,
during the greater part of the time. As we
have no stove, we cook all our food on the
ground. I soon found out that it did not pay
to leave things on the fire all night, as some-
thing used to come and eat them ; but it was only
a few days ago that I discovered the thief. It
was a 'possum, and at last got so bold that it used
to come out of the brush, and stand on the other
side of the fire while we were having supper. So
I tried to poison it by leaving little bits of
poisoned bread and bacon for it, next the fire ;
but, though the stuff had always disappeared by
morning, he was always around in the evening as
well as ever, and I had to change my plans and lie
in wait for him with the axe, and jump up and hit
at him when he came close enough. But he was
too quick for me, so, as a last resource, I went for
the shot-gun, which I did'nt much like using, as it
was sure to frighten the sheep. But even then I
missed him, as it was too dark to aim properly,
and I had to fire a bit of paper on the sight the
PART vi. next time, before firing. He is dead now, for I April, 1882,
nearly smashed his head to pieces with the second July, 1883.
cartridge, and we shall be able to cook our beans
at night without any fear of having the lid pulled
off and half of them stolen.
The sheep are doing excellently, and so are
the cattle, and several of the nannie-goats are
going to have kids very soon. There are only
two of the last batch of kids left now, as we
killed all the males to eat. ... I have been en-
gaged lately in making a road between the
mineral spring and the creek, so as to connect the
two camps, as it is awkward having to go right
round by K 's ; but the earth was so dry, and
the rain so sudden and hard, that a great deal of it
was washed away before it had time to get sodden.
The way it is made is, to cut away part of the
bank, and build a little rock wall up on the lower
side of the road, and fill up the gap with the loose
earth and rocks, taken out from the upper part of
the bank. Of course it is only a small portion of
the road that needs making in that way, or the job
would hardly be worth doing. . , .
2 10 GONE TO TEXAS.
WILLY TO MADGE.
June 3, 1883.
PART VI. Many thanks for your letter. Of course I get A P ril - 1882 >
all the news from your letters to the Dr. ; so J ul y l88 3-
it's just as well to write to him, as I know you feel
like unburthening photographic lore when you
write, and I'm not sufficiently initiated in the busi-
ness to understand anything about it. I hope the
photography progresses favorably. The next time
you are here you must bring the machine down,
and " take off" the ranche. ... I had a letter from
C - the other day. They had a pretty tough
time of it through winter, lost 600 head from
death and straying off, and lost a good deal of wool
from the scab, which was pretty bad in their flock,
and had to pay $150 damages for letting some
scabby sheep get on a man's clean range, &c.
C- - says he expects to buy a ranche that
he knows of, and thinks his brother is going to
join him. I hope he will have better luck in
HERDING IN DROUGHT. 211
THE DOCTOR TO HIS GRANDMOTHER.
June 17, 1883.
PART VI. We are having very hot weather now, and April, 1882,
rather a drought, but not enough to hurt the July, 1883.
stock, although people say there will be very little
corn raised in this part of the country. All the
little springs and creeks are dry, and we have to
water the sheep at the cotton-seed house, although
they are at present penned at "the chimney"
(where our house used to be before we moved it),
and, as we do not like to take them over the same
grass more than we can help, we only water them
every two days, but they are doing very well all
the same. They lie down a very long time during
the day now, and have to be turned out very early
and kept out very late, in order to get sufficient
time to feed in ; so I go out at sundown and take
the flock from the herder, and keep them out for a
couple of hours or so, while the herder has supper
(I take mine beforehand), and take a nap during
the day, to make up for it. ... Willy has just
returned from San Antonio with the book-case,
which looks large enough to hold all our books,
and has a large cupboard underneath as well, for
212 GONE TO TEXAS.
PART vi. newspapers, and so on. Now at last we shall be April, 1882,
able to unpack our books and put them where they July, 1883.
can be got at. Willy has traded some muttons
for an old wagon, which is to be made into a
permanent sheep-camp, that is to say, it will be
fitted up instead of a tent, and have all the bed-
clothes, salt, &c., in it, and will be moved when-
ever the flock is. This will be very handy, as it is
not always convenient to use our other wagon,
and it takes a lot of time and trouble to move the
things on a horse. I am afraid you will find this
letter very full of sheep, but I am with them
nearly all the time, and so it comes more natural
to write about them than anything else. ... I am
writing fearfully badly to-day, and, if it isn't the
heat, it must be the want of practice, which is a
judgment on me for not writing oftener. . . .
FROM WILLY TO HIS FATHER.
June 20, 1883.
. . . Stock of all kinds doing finely. So much
biz. on hand to think about, that I shan't give you
any news now ; in fact, I don't think there is any.
Shall be glad to see Dick. He will make himself
PROLIFIC GOATS. 213
PART vi. at home here, and very likely see C , who April, 1882,
expects to go through, en route for San Antonio, July, 1883.
about ist proximo. He had heavy losses last
winter, but says he is " rich in experience," and
means to stick to it. ... Those five goats are kid-
ding again. Four of them had six kids between
them last week. . . .
THE DOCTOR TO HIS GRANDMOTHER.
July 15, 1883.
. . . Dick has been staying with us lately, and
has improved a good deal; he was badly in need
of rest when he arrived. C - turned up almost
the same day, and stayed with us some time also,
before going on to San Antonio. He passed here
again on his way up country, with his younger
brother, but I did not see him, as I was out all
day. Dick and C - went on a fishing excursion
while they were here, and, as they were fishing
with a net, they had to leave their clothes on the
bank ; and the cattle came up and chewed them,
and one of the cows almost destroyed C 's
watch, by chewing at it till the covers were flat
and the glass broken. However, I believe the
works remained uninjured. Dick has arranged a
214 GONE TO TEXAS.
PART vi. partnership with G , and will soon start on a April, 1882,
prospecting tour through New Mexico, where he July, 1883.
expects to buy land and raise cattle.
Our cotton-seed house was getting almost un-
inhabitable, from the quantity of hornets which
infested it, and built their nests on the roof. They
used to drop on the blankets in a semi-torpid
state, and sting as soon as they were touched,
so I cleaned all the nests off with the crook the
other day, and then fled till the excitement was
over, and now I believe they have deserted the
The flock is looking extremely well, and will
not feed much after sun-down, although the moon
is half full, so it shows they get plenty to eat.
I went to get up Molly the other day (the bay
mare that was here when we first came out),
and had no end of a run before I could catch
her. She is a very clever animal, and tried hard
to throw me off her trail by dodging round
the clumps of brush ; but I managed some-
how or other to come round one side just as she
was disappearing round another, and never lost
sight of her till she gave in, and allowed herself
to be caught. She has got a black mule colt this
year, which is a very absurd-looking creature, with
THE SECOND GENERATION TEXAS. 315
PART vi. ears like a thoroughbred jackass, and tremendous April, 1882,
WILLY TO HIS GRANDMOTHER.
July 1 6, 1883.
. . . We only settled in here just in time to secure
a decent ranche. Now, buying land is a far dif-
ferent thing round here to what it was three years
ago, and respectable locations don't go begging
long for a solid business-meaning tenant and
purchaser. Up to quite recently the owners and
purchasers of real estate round here consisted of
the old original settlers (mostly Germans), and
incoming immigrants and their families. Now,
the generation that was born round here, of the
first settlers, is growing up, and marrying and
settling down ; and a very industrious and pros-
perous generation it is too. Having been brought
up sometimes within a few miles of where they
have now settled down, the young farmers go to
work in the way which they have learnt is the
most practical and best, right from the start;
the result of which will be that the annual ad-
vancement and prosperity in these parts will be,
during the next ten years, three times as great
GONE TO TEXAS.
PART vi. as it has been during the last ten. I am moralising April, 1882,
to an extent that I don't often give way to, but it July, 1883.
will shew you that we have a contented and hopeful
view of the future.
About Bermuda grass : the first root generally
mats before sending out shoots to any extent, and
then, after a good rain, when the matted starting-
place is well rooted, it will send out shoots from
three or four sides ; the joints when matured root-
ing in their turn, down into the ground. Perhaps
this will be sufficient for you to be able to satisfy
yourself as to whether your Bermuda has started
or not. Certainly the roots I sent were Bermuda ;
but if they did not start, I will send some more
CHICO TO HIS GRANDMOTHER.
Sunday, July 22, 1883.
. . . We've been quite lively here lately with
visitors. Dick has been staying at the ranche
since he came from New York, except when he
has been in San Antonio; and C - was here
too about a week. He came down from his
ranche, which is about 125 miles off, principally,
I fancy, to go to the B ball on the 4th of
DICK PROSPECTING. 317
PART vi J U 1 7} a nd was very nearly prevented from going April, 1882,
by the rain. However, he rode in enveloped in Juiy,^.
a macintosh of Dick's, and got there at last, after
having been brought back to camp once by the
horse just as he thought he was at his destination ;
it was so dark he couldn't see his horse's head,
and the horse didn't see the force of a three-mile
ride in a deluge. The 4th and 5th were both
miserable days in this country. We had had a
drought for some time previously, and when the
rain did come it came in buckets. It disappointed
a lot of pleasure-seekers, no doubt, but it did a
wonderful lot of good to the country. Our well
was just running dry, we got a quart of gravel
up with each bucket ; but now we have about
three feet of water. . . .
Dick started off two or three days ago for New
Mexico with the two G 's, looking for a good
place to run cattle. They were going all the way
in an ambulance, and will have a very jolly trip if
they have fine weather. Dick brought three dogs
down from New York with him, a Scotch deer-
hound and a couple of fox-terriers, one of which
went mad and ran off as he was walking down from
San Antonio here, when he first arrived the sun
was too much for it, I suppose. The hound he has
2l8 GONE TO TEXAS.
PART vi. taken with him on the trip, and the little fox- April, 1882,
terrier bitch he has left here till he comes back. July, 1883.
It's rather stupid at present, it will sit and look
at rabbits ; however, it's young, and will know
better in time. Dick has grown awfully "high-
toned"" since he's been in New York ; shaves every
week, and so on! He started on the trip fully
equipped. I hope the G 's didn't each take
as much, or I pity the horses. He had a couple
of rifles (one of which fired explosive bullets), a
full-sized shot gun, a gigantic six-shooter, about
a million rounds of ammunition, a handkerchief,
and a pair of socks.
The B polo club returned last week from
their trip to Austin and San Antonio, luckily
only a dollar or two out of pocket ; they had
terribly bad luck. They were to play two or
three days in Austin, and expended hundreds
of dollars in getting the ground (which was full
of weeds) into order, and then it rained inces-
santly, so that I believe they only had one
day's play there ; and at San Antonio they had
the same kind of luck. The 4th and 5th, as
I mentioned before, were flooded, and of course
they would have been their best days had they
been fine, as everybody would have been out
THE POLO CLUB. 219
PART vi. sight-seeing. They are making arrangements to April, 1882,
play at the State fairs of Omaha, and some other juiy/
capitals up North, in September and October,
out of which they'll probably make a good
thing. We've been having such hot weather lately
that we always sleep on the gallery. Last night
it was full moon, and I read in bed for some
time by moonlight, it was so bright. . . . I'm so
glad to hear your 4th July celebration was a
success. Madge says you rode the mare up town :
we shall hear of your breaking in the colt next.
What swells you must be now the floor's var-
nished ; I hope you've put an adequate shoe-scraper
outside. We haven't stained our floor all over
yet ; but there are some good-sized blotches. . . .
We have an Englishman herding for us now, so
we get plenty of time for jobs about camp. I
have been painting all the wagon wheels lately,
and the buckboard I painted all over, as the sun
plays the dickens with them as soon as the paint
wears off. I began writing just now sitting in
a chair like a Christian, but I've gradually sub-
sided on to the floor such is the heat. ...
320 GONE TO TEXAS.
THE DOCTOR TO HIS GRANDMOTHER.
July 22, 1883.
PART vi. ... Whenever I sleep on the ground now I use April, 1882
Chico's Spanish rug instead of a blanket., as it July, 1883;
doesn't pick up any dirt ; but, as it is striped with
all colours of the rainbow, it makes me look like
a Mexican. I believe we shall have another calf
before long, from one of our best milch-cows.
We have had more calves this year than ever
before, and more than half of them are heifers,
which of course are more valuable than bulls.
Several of the calves, whose mothers do not run
near here, are not yet marked, and I am going
to get them up as soon as possible, and mark
them, as it is not safe to run stock out here with
neither mark nor brand. I suppose that both
those barbarous customs are pretty nearly ob-
solete in Tennessee, where there are few cattle.
The only animals here that are left unmarked are
horses, as it disfigures them so ; but several people
mark their mares (my mare is marked) in the less
settled counties. .
ENLARGED VIEWS AND PENS. 221
THE DOCTOR TO MADGE.
July 29, 1883.
PART vi. ... Everything is doing well here, and the crops April, 1882,
are going to turn out pretty fairly after all ; but July. 1883.
we are needing some more rain, as we have had
none since the 4th of the month. Polly cracked
a piece out of her hoof the other day, so we
turned her out of the pasture to give her a rest ;
but she has been so long inside the fence now,
that she wouldn't go away, and just hung round
the gate till we let her in again. I ride the colt
now whenever I need a horse, but he is not fast
enough, nor strong enough yet, to hunt cattle
with. I have just begun to quarry rocks for the
back of the new shed. We intend to build a
large sheep-shed down on the creek, where the
present sheep camp is, and shall make the back
out of rocks ; but I am not quite sure yet what
kind of roof it is to have. It will be a great deal
handier to have a shed down there in winter,
because last winter, whenever there came a big
norther, we had to take the sheep up to the
house; and that interfered with the cattle and
bucks and everything else. It is odd that I should
be writing about winter with the thermometer at
222 GONE TO TEXAS.
PART vi. heaven-knows-where in the shade ; but we always April, 1882,
begin preparing for winter now, so as not to be J ul y. *88
crowded at the last moment. Willy has told
me that I shall probably be able to go up to
you for a short while in September, but of course
nothing can be certain as yet. He and I had
a day's branding last week, near B . There
are six head of cattle out there of ours, that do
not come up to our pen ; so we took the rope
and iron down to a pen near B , and branded
them there. One of them was a large two-year-
old heifer that was very wild, and made our
hands sore by rushing round the pen after she
was roped, and eventually jumped over the side;
but we got the brand on at last in spite of
WHEN the Dr. was staying in Tennessee last month, with
his grandmother and Madge, I suggested that he should
write me a letter summing up the pros and cons of ranche
life in Texas for English public-school men ; and at the
same time I wrote to Willy at the ranche, asking him
if he had anything to add to the selections from his letters,
which I had by his leave made. The following were the
replies. W. H.
New York, Nov. i, 1883.
FROM THE DOCTOR.
Oct. 20, 1883.
Thanks for your letter of the 1 7th ; but why can't
you let me alone on G. T. T. business ? I am perfectly
willing to have all such extracts as you think fit taken
from my letters, but I don't want to stop immigration to
Kendall County, Texas, by stating what I believe to be
the chances of a young fellow (without any capital) who
settles there. You see, unskilled labour is very cheap;
and I know very little about the profits of teaming (which
requires only a small capital), by which most of the young
men seem to make a start in life; and owing to my
224 GONE TO TEXAS.
entire ignorance of all money matters connected with our
own business (except price of sheep, wool, herding, &c.),
I should be a very bad authority even on the very subject
which I ought to know best. I am not quite clear as to
whether your question refers to money-making at all;
but if not, what would you wish me to write about climate,
society, or what? I don't want to be disobliging, but I don't
want to write about that of which I know but little, or to
send you a letter which would be of no use. And I think
a fellow would have to be very steady and economical to
save $100 a year out of his wages as herder or farm hand;
which is scarcely an encouraging prospect. K , who
has worked pretty steadily with us for six months at $15
a month and his grub, and been economical, had saved
about $35 when I left. If you want a climatic, &c., letter,
please say so, and I shall be only too happy to write one.
You know, your question was a little indefinite, " What
can you say about your part of Texas as a country for an
English public-school boy to settle in, assuming, &c. ?"
Ever your affectionate but puzzled son.
NOTE. It seemed to me that this letter would answer my purpose,
so I did not trouble my "puzzled son" for another, especially as he
was getting only a month's holiday after four years' almost continuous
work. Here I may mention that many of the letters were illustrated
by their writers, and thus made more interesting and intelligible to
those to whom they were addressed : should they find a publisher,
and a second and illustrated edition be called for, I make no doubt
that Chico would be able to spare time from his sheep to work the
original sketches, whether his own or those of Willy and the Dr.,
into proper shape. W. H.
Boerne. Kendall Co., Texas,
Nov. 1 2, 1883.
I have just returned from a trip to Kendalia with
Mr. Vogel, who, as you know, is the founder of the new
town by that name which is growing up in the eastern
part of this county; and as you are always interested in
matters appertaining to Texas in general, and this county
in particular, I will give you an account of what was to
me an exceedingly interesting trip.
Kendalia is about 23 miles N.E. of Boerne, on the road
to Austin. We crossed the Guadaloupe about 15 miles
from here, and then, after leaving the cedar brake, had a
very pleasant drive of some miles through a very pretty
piece of country, passing several farms, and through as
good a stock range as can be found anywhere. One of
our most successful sheepmen has his ranche a few miles
east of Kendalia; and horses, cattle, and goats are all
raised in the neighbourhood.
We reached Kendalia about sundown, and so hadn't
any time that evening to see much, as of course the
horses had to be attended to, and we had to look after
getting supper in Mr. Vogel's house, which stands a short
distance from the road on a slight elevation above the
cotton gin and mill, and almost within a stone's throw of
the store and post-office.
It speaks a great deal for the intellectual attainments
226 GONE TO TEXAS.
of the folks in the neighbourhood that they have a de-
bating society in full blast, with weekly meetings at the
schoolhouse : they held a meeting the night we got there ;
the subject, so we were told, being " The relative profits
on sheep and cattle raising ; " but my thirst for the fray
was so far quenched by the drive we had had, and the
.prospective walks and return drive next day, that, acting
upon the precept that discretion is the better part of
valour, I very ignominiously " turned in " to bed. Next
day we heard that the cattle stumpers had routed us poor
sheepmen bag and baggage. Great Scott! where were
the sheepboys ?
Next morning, after a good night's rest and a hearty
breakfast, we sallied forth to " take in " the place and
surroundings, and, running the gauntlet of a host of
Kendalians and others, we went down to the lake, which
is a very beautiful piece of water not far from the town.
Mr. Vogel has stocked it with German carp, and has
ordered two rowing-boats, which he intends to place at
the disposal of pleasure-seekers. The water is in many
places over 14 feet deep and beautifully clear, and I had
the first good plunge that I have had for some years ; as
here in Texas, water that is deep enough to plunge into,
except so far from the edge as to render it impossible
to take a header off the bank, is a scarcity.
After returning to the town, I amused myself examining
the machinery in the mill (which consists of a very fine
engine, the power of which is utilised in running a cotton
gin and press, grist mill and flouring mill), and strolling
out amongst the timber, which is exceedingly fine live
oak, and post oak, and all the other smaller varieties of
trees and shrubs that grow in these parts, including abund-
ance of wild grape-vines, wild cherries, and plums, &c. ;
and admiring the view of the distant mountains, which are
very fine, whilst Mr. Vogel was being besieged by his miller
and fence-builders and other men who had business with
him, and a crowd of others the chief intent of most of
whom seemed to be to become the possessors of town
lots. These, he tells me, he is at present selling at from
$10 to $20 according to location, it being a significant
fact that most of those tackling him for town lots were old
settlers in the neighbourhood, which shews that those
who have the best facilities for judging, have perfect con-
fidence in the future success of the town.
Mr. Vogel watches the growth of the town with an
interest almost akin to enthusiasm, and not (as do so
many of the inaugurators of similar projects) as a specu-
lative venture ; and he is therefore of course always ready
to assist any individual enterprise on the part of the
settlers which may tend towards the general advancement
and prosperity of the town and community. By the way,
Mr. Vogel has so many details to attend to in connection
with Kendalia, and also the " Union Land Register," of
which, I believe you know, he is editor, that he intends to
sell the cotton gin and mill which he built and has been
running himself. So if you know of any one coming to
these parts with some capital, whom such an investment
would suit, send him along to Mr. Vogel at Boerne.
GONE TO TEXAS.
I think it a first-rate opening for an energetic go-ahead
man, standing as it does in the centre of a very good
farming district, the acreage of which is being annually
increased, and in a young town surrounded by a fine
stock-raising country, which, coupled with the farming
interests, ensures for it a steady growth and future suc-
cess. Added to this I think it has a great future as a
health resort, lying as it does at an altitude of 1400 feet
above the sea-level, and having so many varied natural
attractions. Mr. Vogel intends as soon as practicable to
build an hotel there for pleasure and health seekers.
During my trip to and from Kendalia I came across some
very fine specimens of mesquite grass, one of which
I had not noticed before, and which I as usual took speci-
mens of, and have been busy planting out in the pasture
All the stock is doing well, and a good rain last night
promises to help the range immensely.
UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO
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