by David Page)
|notes on the text|
“When it blows five ways at once,” said she, “and makes your horns feel creepy, get away my son. Follow the time-honoured instinct of our tribe, and run.”That night, the wind gets up and it starts to hail; the red steer talks to his yearling neighbour and suggests that they move to the outside of the herd. A white heifer saw them move and assuming the worst, bellowed “Timber wolves!”, and started a stampede.
LIVINGSTONE is a town of two thousand people, and the junction for the little side-line that takes you to the Yellowstone National Park. It lies in a fold of the prairie, and behind it is the Yellowstone River and the gate of the mountains through which the river flows. There is one street in the town, where the cowboy’s pony and the little foal of the brood-mare in the buggy rest contentedly in the blinding sunshine while the cowboy gets himself shaved at the only other barber’s shop, and swaps lies at the bar. I exhausted the town, including the saloons, in ten minutes, and got away on the rolling grass downs where I threw myself to rest. Directly under the hill I was on, swept a drove of horses in charge of two mounted men. That was a picture I shall not soon forget. A light haze of dust went up from the hoof-trodden green, scarcely veiling the unfettered deviltries of three hundred horses who very much wanted to stop and graze. ‘Yow! Yow! Yow!’ yapped the mounted men in chorus like coyotes. The column moved forward at a trot, divided as it met a hillock and scattered into fan shape all among the suburbs of Livingstone. I heard the ‘snick’ of a stock-whip, half a dozen ‘Yow, yows,’ and the mob had come together again, and, with neighing and whickering and squealing and a great deal of kicking on the part of the youngsters, rolled like a wave of brown water toward the uplands.A letter to Prof ‘Aleck’ Hill written in Livingston on 2 July 1889 (Letters, Vol.1, p.327) includes the following:
I was within twenty feet of the leader, a grey stallion—lord of many brood-mares all deeply concerned for the welfare of their fuzzy foals. A cream-coloured beast—I knew him at once for the bad character of the troop—broke back, taking with him some frivolous fillies. I heard the snick of the whips somewhere in the dust, and the fillies came back at a canter, very shocked and indignant. On the heels of the last rode both the stockmen—picturesque ruffians who wanted to know ‘what in hell’ I was doing there, waved their hats, and sped down the slope after their charges.
This place Livingstone is about to celebrate the 4th. All the cowboys are in, and they are at present only shooting fireworks about the street which is composed of wooden buildings.Whilst a letter to Hill’s wife of the same date (Letters, Vol.1, p.328) has:
. . . I’ve been seeing wonderful scenery and am now among the Montana cowboys in a ramshackle building designated by dwellers in smaller towns as an “elegant hotel.” They call it the Albemarle, and just don’t you ever come anigh here.Wachoma Junction
The town is scattered over the rolling prairie and is chiefly occupied in raising the devil and raising horses. They do the former most.