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144 My Brother Theodore Roosevelt

sky-pilot had the slightest cause for his suit, which later was settled in a satisfactory manner, but the conversation was typical of that evening's ranch news by the big wood-fire.

Our day at the round-up was one of the most fascinating days of my life, and I was proud to see that my city-bred brother was as agile and as active in the duties of rounding up the great steers of the plains as were the men brought up from their babyhood to such activities. We lunched at midday with the roundup wagon; rough life, indeed, but wonderfully invigorating, and as we returned in the evening, galloping over the grassy plateaus of the high buttes, I realized fully that the bridle-path would never again have for me the charm it once had had. Nothing in the way of riding has ever been so enchanting, and the curious formation of the Bad Lands, picturesque, indeed, almost grotesque in line, in conjunction with the wonderful climate of that period of the year and the mingling of tints in the sunset sky, resulted in a quality of color and atmosphere the like of which I only remember in Egypt, and made as lasting an impression upon my memory as did the land of the Nile.

During our stay, my original failure to leap, on my arrival, "from the locomotive to the back of a bucking bronco" had more or less been effaced from the memory of the cowboys by subsequent adventures, and the last day that we spent under the cottonwood-trees, by the banks of the Little Missouri, was made significant by the "surprise" gotten up by Merrifield and Sylvane for the special edification of my brother and husband. The surprise took the form of the "wrastling" of a calf by no less a person than myself ! Merrifield had taught me to rope an animal, Sylvane had shown me with praiseworthy regularity the method of throwing a calf, and the great occasion was heralded amongst the other members of the party by an invitation to sit on the fence of the corral at three o'clock, the last afternoon of our visit to Elkhorn, and thus witness the struggle between a young woman of the East and a bovine denizen of

the Western prairies. The corral, a plot of very muddy ground

The Elkhorn Ranch   145

(having been watered by a severe rain the night before), was

walled in by a fence, and generally used when we wished to keep

the ponies from straying. On this occasion, however, it was

emptied of all but the calf, which was to be the object of my ef

forts and prowess. I was then introduced by Merrifield, very

much as the circus rider used to be introduced in the early Bar

num and Bailey days; then followed a most gruelling pantomime;

the calf, which was of an unusually unpleasant size, galloped

around the corral and I, knee-deep in mud, galloped after it,

and finally succeeded in achieving the first necessity, which was

to rope it around the neck. After that, the method of procedure

was as follows: The "wrastler"-on this occasion my unfor

tunate self-was supposed to get close enough to the animal

in question to throw himself or herself across the backk of the

galloping calf, with the purpose of catching the left leg of the

animal, the leg, in fact, farthest away from one's right arm. If

this deed could be accomplished and the leg forcibly bent under

the calf, both calf and rider would go down in an inextricable heap, and the "wrastling" of the calf would be complete.

I can feel now the mud in my boots as I floundered with agonized effort after that energetic animal. I can still sense the strain in every nerve of my body as I finally flung myself across its back, and still, also, as if it were only yesterday, do I remember the jellied sensation within me, as for some torturing minutes I lay across the heifer's spine, before, by a final Herculean effort, I caught that left leg with my right arm. The cries of "stay with him !" from the fence, the loud hand-clapping of the enthusiastic cowboys, the shrieks of laughter of my brother and my husband, all still ring in my ears, and when the deed was finally accomplished, when the calf, with one terrible lurch, actually "wrastled," so to speak, fell over on its head in the mud, all sensation left me and I only remember being lifted up, bruised and encased in an armor of oozing dirt, and being carried triumphantly on the shoulders of the cowboys into the ranchhouse, having redeemed, in their opinion, at least, the reputa-

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