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we hit the alkali country in Central Texas, we were encamped near a small chain of lakes. Don had ridden farther in advance of us than usual that day. He knew that country, having been over it before and when he rode into camp that evening he reported to Smith that he found very little water in the Brazos country. He said that ten or twelve miles out the trail forked and the prong that the cattle had used this year bore to the West. The other one, the way the cattle had gone the year before, had not been used this year and it was his opinion we would have to follow the west prong for water. Smith said, 'That is the wrong direction, and if you keep turning this outfit from its course you will land us back where we started.' Smith talked loud and I watched for the blue smoke which could be seen on such occasions. It did not come but some of the older hands said that unless he took the advice of the Mexican it would materialize a little later. And it did. We moved the cattle up to the forks of the trail and camped again for the night. Don advised the following of those who went before but Smith said he wanted to take the cattle to Kansas and did not want to keep them in Texas. Dan Smith, to his sorrow, forgot the rule of life that to cope with those who cut across, we must sometimes go around.
"The next morning before starting out every man filled his canteen with black coffee for we could not drink the alkali water as it made us sick. It had rained just a little in the night and Smith was encouraged and said he 'would drive those cattle over the old road or drive them to hell.' So we were off. One day out and no water. Two days out and no water. It was burning hot on the plains and oh, that terrible alkali dust. I put my red cotton handkerchief up under my hat and let it hang down over my face to keep that awful dust out of my nose. Talk about nothing to drink and a dry country, that was surely the place. Three days out and no water. The third night it took all the force we had to hold the