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for the cattle they had sold to drivers. In some cases losses were unavoidable— in other cases dishonesty.
The most fortunate ranchers in the increase of herds in those open range days, were, I think, those bordering on the Gulf coast. Cattle drifting from the north before winter storms, could drift no further, and I have often been told that some of the greatest fortunes there were based on drift cattle. The Texas fence law and railroads obliterated the Texas cattle trail, and in its passing there should be no cause for regret. The old-time cow- boy had heroic attributes, was generous, brave and ever ready to alleviate personal suffering, share his last crust, his blanket and often more important, his canteen. He spent his wages freely and not always wisely, and many became an easy prey to gambling and other low resorts. Some among them became leading men in law, art and science even in theology, proving again that it is not in the vocation but in the man, that causes him to blossom and bring a fruitage of goodness, honor and godly living.
This screed is not much of a story of the trail, but you will have enough recitals of hairbreadth escapes from Indians, floods, lightning and accidents, enough of suffering from cold, heat, hunger, thirst and dust, and this variety may be one of the species of your book. You will also hear many amusing incidents for fun and frolic formed a part of the cowboys' life— many pathetic stories, too, for sickness and death followed the trail. But I had seen such before trail days when wearing a soldier's uniform, and I do not care to dwell thereon. Paraphrasing a favorite stanza :