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   Chapter 6 No.6

Wolfville Days By Alfred Henry Lewis Characters: 20308

Updated: 2017-11-29 00:04


The Wolfville Daily Coyote.

You-all remembers back," said the Old Cattleman, "that yeretofore I su'gests how at some appropriate epock, I relates about the comin' of Colonel William Greene Sterett an' that advent of Wolfville's great daily paper, the Coyote."

It was evening and sharply in the wake of dinner. We were gathered unto ourselves in my friend's apartments. In excellent mood to hear of Colonel Sterett and his celebrated journal, I eagerly assured him that his promise in said behalf was fresh and fragrant in my memory, and that I trusted he would find present opportunity for its redemption. Thus encouraged, the old gentleman shoved the box of cigars towards me, poured a generous glass, and disposed himself to begin.

"Red Dog in a sperit of vain competition," observed my friend, "starts a paper about the same time Colonel Sterett founds the Coyote; an', son, for a while, them imprints has a lurid life! The Red Dog paper don't last long though; it lacks them elements of longevity which the Coyote possesses, an' it ain't runnin' many weeks before it sort o' rots down all at once, an' the editor jumps the game.

"It's ever been a subject of dissensions between Colonel Sterett an' myse'f as to where impartial jestice should lay the blame of that Red Dog paper's failure. Colonel Sterett charges it onto the editor; but it's my beliefs, an' I'm j'ined tharin by Boggs an' Texas Thompson, that no editor could flourish an' no paper survive in surroundin's so plumb venomous an' p'isen as Red Dog. Moreover, I holds that Colonel Sterett, onintentional no doubt, takes a ja'ndiced view of that brother publisher. But I rides ahead of my tale.

"Thar comes a day when Old Man Enright heads into the Red Light, where we-all is discussin' of eepisodes, an' he packs a letter in his hand.

"'Yere's a matter,' he says, 'of public concern, an' I asks for a full expression of the camp for answer. Yere's a sharp by the name of Colonel William Greene Sterett, who writes me as how he's sufferin' to let go all holts in the States an' start a paper in Wolfville. It shall be, he says, a progressif an' enlightened journal, devoted to the moral, mental an' material upheaval of this yere commoonity, an' he aims to learn our views. Do I hear any remarks on this litteratoor's prop'sition?' "Tell him to come a- runnin', Enright," says Jack Moore; "an' draw it strong. If thar's one want which is slowly but shorely crowdin' Wolfville to the wall, it's a dearth of literatoor; yere's our chance, an' we plays it quick an high."

"I ain't so gala confident of all this," says Dan Boggs. "I'm sort o' allowin' this hamlet's too feeble yet for a paper. Startin' a paper in a small camp this a-way is like givin' a six-shooter to a boy; most likely he shoots himse'f, or mebby busts the neighbor, tharwith."

"Oh, I don't know,' says Doc Peets, who, I wants to say, is as sudden a white man, mental, as I ever sees; "my notion is to bring him along. The mere idee of a paper'll do a heap for the town."

"I'm entertainin' sentiments sim'lar,' says Enright; "an' I guess I'll write this Colonel Sterett that we'll go him once if we lose. I'm assisted to this concloosion by hearin', the last time I'm in Tucson, that Red Dog, which is our rival, is out to start a paper, in which event it behooves Wolfville to split even with 'em at the least."

"That's whatever!" says Moore. "If we allows Red Dog to put it onto us that a-way we might jest as well dissolve Wolfville as a camp, an' reepair to the woods in a body."

"Enright sends Colonel Sterett word, an' in four weeks he comes packin in his layout an' opens up his game. Colonel Sterett, personal, is a broad, thick, fine-seemin' gent, with a smooth, high for'ead, grey eyes, an' a long, honest face like a hoss. The Colonel has a far-off look in his eyes, like he's dreamin' of things sublime, which Doc Peets says is the common look of lit'rary gents that a-way. Texas Thompson, however, allows he witnesses the same distant expression in the eyes of a foogitive from jestice.

"Colonel Sterett makes a good impression. He evolves his journal an' names it the Coyote, a name applauded by us all. I'll read you a few of them earliest items; which I'm able to give these yere notices exact, as I preserves a file of the Coyote complete. I shorely wouldn't be without it; none whatever!

"Miss Faro Nell, Wolfville's beautiful and accomplished society belle, condescended to grace the post of lookout last night for the game presided over by our eminent townsman, Mr. Cherokee Hall.

"Ain't it sweet?" says Faro Nell, when she reads it. "I thinks it's jest lovely. The drinks is on me, barkeep." Then we goes on:

"Mr. Samuel Johnson Enright, a namesake of the great lexicographer, and the Lycurgus of Wolfville, paid a visit to Tucson last week.

"Any person possessing leisure and a stack of chips can adventure the latter under conditions absolutely equitable with that distinguished courtier of fortune, Mr. Cherokee Hall.

"If Mr. John Moore, our efficient Marshal, will refrain from pinning his targets for pistol practice to the exterior of our building, we will bow our gratitude when next we meet. The bullets go right through.

"We were distressed last week to note that Mr. James Hamilton, the gentlemanly and urbane proprietor of Wolfville's temple of terpsichoir (see ad, in another column) had changed whiskeys on us, and was dispensing what seemed to our throat a tincture of the common carpet tack of commerce. It is our hope that Mr. H., on seeing this, will at once restore the statu quo at his justly popular resort.

"A reckless Mexican was parading the street the other night carrying in his hand a monkey wrench. It was dark, and Mr. Daniel Boggs, a leading citizen of Wolfville, who met him, mistaking the wrench for a pistol which the Mexican was carrying for some vile purpose, very properly shot him. Mexicans are far too careless this way.

"The O. K. Restauraw is one of the few superior hostelries of the Territory. Mrs. Rucker, its charming proprietress, is a cook who might outrival even that celebrated chef, now dead, M. Soyer. Her pies are poems, her bread an epic, and her beans a dream, Mrs. Rucker has cooked her way to every heart, and her famed establishment is justly regarded as the bright particular gem in Wolfville's municipal crown.

"It is not needed for us to remind our readers that Wolfville possesses in the person of that celebrated practitioner of medicine, Mr. Cadwallader Peets, M. D., a scientist whose fame is world-wide and whose renown has reached to furthest lands. Doctor Ports has beautifully mounted the skull of that horse-stealing ignobility, Bear Creel. Stanton, who recently suffered the punishment due his many crimes at the hands of our local vigilance committee, a tribunal which under the discerning leadership of President Enright, never fails in the administration of justice. Doctor Peets will be glad to exhibit this memento mori to all who care to call. Doctor Peets, who is eminent as a phrenologist, avers that said skull is remarkable for its thickness, and that its conformation points to the possession by Bear Creek, while he wore it, of the most powerful natural inclinations to crime. From these discoveries of Doctor Peets, the committee which suspended this felon to the windmill is to be congratulated on acting just in time. It seems plain from the contour of this skull that it would not have been long, had not the committee intervened, before Bear Creek would have added murder to horse larceny, and to-day the town might be mourning the death of a valued citizen instead of felicitating itself over the taking-off of a villain whose very bumps indict and convict him with every fair and enlightened intelligence that is brought to their contemplation.

"Our respected friend and subscriber, Mr. David Tutt, and his beautiful and accomplished lady, Mrs. David Tutt, nee Tucson Jennie, have returned from their stay in Silver City. Last night in honor of their coming, and to see their friends, this amiable and popular pair gave an At Home. There was every form of refreshment, and joy and merriment was unconfined. Miss Faro Dell was admittedly the belle of this festive occasion, and Diana would have envied her as, radiant and happy, she led the grand march leaning on the arm of Mr. Cherokee Hall. By request of Mr. Daniel Boggs, the 'Lariat Polka' was added to the programme of dances, as was also the 'Pocatello Reel' at the instance of Mr. Texas Thompson. As the ball progressed, and at the particular desire of those present, Mr. Boggs and Mr. Thompson entertained the company with that difficult and intricate dance known as the 'Mountain Lion Mazourka,' accompanying their efforts with spirited vocalisms meant to imitate the defiant screams of a panther on its native hills. These cries, as well as the dance itself, were highly realistic, and Messrs. B. and T. were made the recipients of many compliments. Mr. and Mrs. Tutt are to be congratulated on the success of the function; to fully describe its many excellent features would exhaust encomium.

"Which we reads the foregoin' with onmixed pleasure, an' thar ain't a gent but who's plumb convinced that a newspaper, that a-way, is the bulwark of civilizations an' corner-stone of American institootions, which it's allowed to be by the voices of them ages.

"'This yere imprint, the Coyote,' says Jack Moore, 'is a howlin' triumph, an' any gent disposed can go an' make a swell bet on it with every certainty of a-killin'. Also, I remembers yereafter about them bullets.'

"Meanwhile, like I states prior, Red Dog has its editor, who whirls loose a paper which he calls the Stingin' Lizard. The Red Dog sheet ain't a marker to Colonel Sterett's Coyote, an' it's the yooniversal idee in Wolfville, after ca'mly comparin' the two papers, that Colonel Sterett as a editor can simply back that Red Dog person plumb off the ground.

"It ain't no time before Colonel Sterett an' the Red Dog editor takes to cirklin' for trouble, an' the frightful names they applies to each other in their

respectif journals, an' the accoosations an' them epithets they hurls, would shore curdle the blood of a grizzly b'ar.

"An' as if to complicate the sityooation for that onhappy sport who's gettin' out the Red Dog Stingin' Lizard, he begins to have trouble local. Thar's a chuck-shop at Red Dog-it's a plumb low j'int; I never knows it to have any grub better than beans, salt pig an' airtights,-which is called the Abe Lincoln House, an' is kept by a party named Pete Bland. Which this yere Bland also owns a goat, the same bein' a gift of a Mexican who's got in the hole to Bland an' squar's accounts that a-way.

"This goat is jest a simple-minded, every-day, common kind of a goat; but he's mighty thorough in his way, allers on the hustle, an' if he ever overlooks a play, no one don't know it. One day, when the Red Dog editor is printin' off his papers, up comes the goat, an' diskyardin' of the tin-can which he's chewin', he begins debauchin' of himse'f with this yere edition of the Stingin' Lizard. It's mighty soon when the editor discovers it an' lays for the goat permiscus; he goes to chunkin' of him up a whole lot. The goat's game an' declar's himse'f, an' thar starts a altercation with the editor an' the goat, of which thar's no tellin' the wind-up, an' which ends only when this yere Bland cuts in, an' the goat's drug Borne. The paper is stopped an' the editor puts in this:

"Our presses are stopped to-day to say that if the weak-minded person who maintains the large, black goat which infests our streets, does not kill the beast, we will. To-day, while engaged in working off our mammoth edition out back of our building, the thievish creature approached unnoticed and consumed seventeen copies of the Stingin' Lizard.

"Which this yere Bland gets incensed at this, an' puts it up the editor can't eat with him no more. But better counsel smooths it over, an' at last this Bland forgives the editor, an' all is forgot. The goat, however, never does; an' he stamps his foot an' prowls 'round for a fracas every tine him an' that editor meets.

"All this yere time Colonel Sterett an' this same Red Dog editor maintains them hostilities. The way they lams loose at each other in their papers is a terror. I allers reckons Colonel Sterett gets a heap the best of this yere mane-chewin'; we-all so regards it, an' so does he, an' he keeps his end up with great sperit an' voylence.

"These yore ink-riots don't go on more'n two months, however, when Colonel Sterett decides that the o'casion calls for somethin' more explicit. As he says, 'Patience ceases to be trumps,' an' so he saddles up a whole lot an' rides over to Red Dog, personal. Colonel Sterett don't impart them plans of his to no one; he simply descends on his foe, sole an' alone, like that game an' chivalrous gent of bell letters which he shorely is; an', son, Colonel Sterett makes a example of that slander-mongerin' Red Dog editor.

"It's about the last drink time in the mornin', an' a passel of them Red Dog sports is convened in front of the Tub of Blood s'loon, when they-all hears a crash an' looks up, an' thar's their editor a- soarin' out of his second-story window. Of course, in a second or so, he hits the ground, an' them Red Dog folks goes over to get the rights of this yere phenomenon. He ain't hurt so but what he gets up an' limps 'round, an' he tells 'em it's the Wolfville editor does it. Next time the Stingin' Lizard comes out, we reads about it:

"The gasconading reptile who is responsible for the slimy life of that prurient sheet, the Coyote, paid us a sneaking visit Saturday. If he had given us notice of his intentions, we would have prepared ourselves and torn his leprous hide from his dehauched and whiskey- poisoned frame, and polluted our fence with it, but he did not. True to his low, currish nature, he crept upon us unawares. Our back was toward him as he entered, perceiving which the cowardly poltroon seized us and threw us through our own window. Having accomplished his fiendish work, the miscreant left, justly fearing our wrath. The Stinging Lizard's exposure of this scoundrel as a drunkard, embezzler, wife-beater, jail-bird, thief, and general all-round blackleg prompted this outrage. Never mind, the creature will hear from us.

"'Which this newspaper business is shorely gettin' some bilious, not to say hectic, a whole lot,' says Dan Boggs, as we reads this. 'I wonder if these yere folks means fight?'

"'Why,' says Enright, 'I don't know as they'd fight none if we-all lets 'em alone, but I don't see how we can. This sort of racket goes on for years in the East, but Wolfville can't stand it. Sech talk as this means blood in Arizona, an' we insists on them traditions that a-way bein' respected. Besides, we owes somethin' to Colonel Sterett.'

"So Enright an' Cherokee hunts up our editor an' asks him whatever he aims to do, an' tells him he's aroused public sentiments to sech heights thar'll be a pop'lar disapp'intment if he don't challenge the Red Dog editor an' beef him. Colonel Sterett allows he's crazy to do it, an' that the Wolfville public can gamble he'll go the distance. So Cherokee an' Jack Moore puts on their guns an' goes over to Red Dog to fix time an' place. The Red Dog editor says he's with 'em, an' they shakes dice for place, an' Cherokee an' Moore wins.

"'Which as evidence of good faith,' says Cherokee, 'we picks Red

Dog. We pulls this thing off on the very scene of the vict'ry of

Colonel Sterett when he hurls your editor through his window that

time. I holds the same to be a mighty proper scheme.'

"'You-all needn't be timid none to come,' says the Red Dog sports. 'You gets a squar' deal from a straight deck; you can gamble on that.'

"'Oh, we ain't apprehensif none,' says Cherokee an' Jack; 'you can shorely look for us.'

"Well, the day's come, an' all Wolfville an' Red Dog turns out to see the trouble. Jack Moore an' Cherokee Hall represents for our editor, an' a brace of Red Dog people shows down for the Stingin' Lizard man. To prevent accidents, Enright an' the Red Dog chief makes every gent but them I names, leave their weepons some'ers else, wherefore thar ain't a gun in what you-all might call the hands of the pop'laces.

"But thar comes a interruption. Jest as them dooelists gets placed, thar's a stoopendous commotion, an' char gin' through the crowd comes that abandoned goat. The presence of so many folks seems like it makes him onusual hostile. Without waitin' to catch his breath even, he lays for the Red Dog editor, who, seein' him comin', bangs away with his '45 an' misses. The goat hits that author in the tail of his coat, an' over he goes; but he keeps on slammin' away with the '45 jest the same.

"Which nacherally everybody scatters fur cover at the first shot, 'cause the editor ain't carin' where he p'ints, an' in a second nobody's in sight but them two journalists an' that goat. I'll say right yere, son, Colonel Sterett an' his fellow editor an' the goat wages the awfullest battle which I ever beholds. Which you shorely oughter heard their expressions. Each of 'em lets go every load he's got, but the goat don't get hit onct.

"When we-all counts twelve shots-six apiece-we goes out an' subdoos the goat by the power of numbers. Of course, the dooel's ended. The Red Dog folks borries a wagon an' takes away their man, who's suffered a heap; an' Peets, he stays over thar an' fusses 'round all night savin' of him. The goat's all right an' goes back to the Abe Lincoln House, where this yere Pete Bland is onreasonable enough to back that shockin conduct of his'n.

"Which it's the last of the Red Dog Stingin' Lizard. That editor allows he won't stay, an' Bland, still adherin' to his goat, allows he won't feed him none if he does. The next issue of the Stingin' Lizard contains this:

"We bid adieu to Red Dog. We will hereafter publish a paper in Tucson; and if we have been weak and mendacious enough to speak in favor of a party of the name of Bland, who misconducts a low beanery which insults an honourable man by stealing his name-we refer to that feed-trough called the Abe Lincoln House-we will correct ourselves in its columns. This person harbours a vile goat, for whose death we will pay 5, and give besides a life-long subscription to our new paper. Last week this mad animal made an unprovoked assault upon us and a professional brother, and beat, butted, wounded, bruised and ill- treated us until we suffer in our whole person. We give notice as we depart, that under no circumstances will we return until this goat is extinct.

"Followin' the onexpected an' thrillin' finish of Colonel Sterett's dooel with the Red Dog editor, an' from which Colonel Sterett emerges onscathed, an' leavin' Peets with his new patient, we all returns in a body to Wolfville. After refreshments in the Red Light, Enright gives his views.

"'Ondoubted,' observes Enright, 'our gent, Colonel Sterett, conducts himse'f in them painful scenes between him an' the goat an' that Red Dog editor in a manner to command respects, an' he returns with honors from them perils. Ther's no more to be done. The affair closes without a stain on the 'scutcheon of Wolfville, or the fair fame of Colonel Sterett; which last may continyoo to promulgate his valyooable paper, shore of our confidence an' upheld by our esteem. It is not incumbent on him to further pursoo this affair.

His name an' honor is satisfied; besides, no gent can afford the recognitions and privileges of the dooello to a party who's sunk so low as to have hostile differences with a goat, an' who persists publicly in followin'em to bitter an voylent concloosions. This Red Dog editor's done put himself outside the pale of any high-sperited gent's consideration by them actions, an' can claim no further notice. Gents, in the name of Wolfville, I tenders congrat'lations to Colonel Sterett on the way in which he meets the dangers of his p'sition, an' the sooperb fashion!!! which he places before us one of the greatest journals of our times. Gents, we drinks to Colonel William Greene Sterett an' the Coyote.'"

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