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  ― 301 ―

“An Incident out West”

THE wind is sighing drearily through the trees
As the boundary rider makes his daily round,
And by the waning light he dimly sees
A human form stretched out upon the ground.

The face gleamed pale and haggard as with pain,
The tongue was lolling swollen, dry and red.
He must have crossed full forty miles of plain,
His eyes were almost starting from his head.

The rider gave him water from his bag,
He rubbed his joints to take the stiffness out;
And lifting him he put him on the nag,
And walking by his side they both set out.

'Twas nightfall when they reached the lonely camp,
And after he had hobbled out his horse,
The rider said, while lighting his slush lamp,
“What, in God's name, made you attempt to cross?”

  ― 302 ―
With trembling lips the stranger spoke—You say
I nearly perished on the plain to-night?
A horseman overtook me on the way,
And but for this I should have been all right.

I had a water-bag, both full and good,
And when he said he'd take it to the tree,
I trusted him, and really thought he would
Be good enough to leave it there for me.

Six miles it was, and I was nearly perished
When I got up the rise and to the tree,
The kindest thought I ever knew and cherished
Was gone. He had not left it there for me!

I struggled on across the desert plain,
And saw that now my chances were but few
To ever see a comrade's face again,
And should have died to-night there but for you.

If e'er I get upon that horseman's track
I'll follow while the sky is overhead;
I'll never leave it till I've paid him back,
And left him on the desert lying dead.

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