en-de  Hearts and Crosses (1913) Medium
Hearts and Crosses (1913).

O. Henry (William Sidney Porter, 1862-1910).

BALDY WOODS REACHED FOR A DRINK, and got it. When Baldy wanted something, he usually got it. He—but this is not Baldy’s story. Now he took his third drink, which was larger than the first and the second. Baldy had been listening to the troubles of a friend. Now Baldy was going to tell his friend what to do. So the friend was buying him the drinks. This was the right thing for the friend to do.

"An Ihre Stelle würde ich König werden," sagte Baldy. Er sagte es laut und betont.

Webb Yeager moved his wide hat back on his head. He put his fingers in his yellow hair and moved it about. It now looked wilder than before. But this did not help him to think better. And therefore he also got another drink.

“If a man marries a queen, it ought not to make him nothing,” said Webb. Hier lag sein wirkliches Problem.

“Surely not,” said Baldy. “You ought to be a king. But you’re only the queen’s husband. That’s what happens to a man in Europe if he marries the king’s daughter. His wife becomes a queen. Aber, ist er ein König? Nein. His only duty is to appear with the queen in pictures. Und der Vater vom nächsten König sein. Das ist nicht richtig. Ja, Webb, Sie sind nur der Ehemann von der Königin. And if I were you, I’d turn everything upside down and I would be king”.

Baldy trank sein Getränk aus.

“Baldy,” said Webb, “you and I have been cowboys together for years. We’ve been riding the same roads since we were very young. I wouldn’t talk about my family to anyone but you. You were working on the Nopalito Ranch when I married Santa McAllister. I was foreman then. Aber, was bin ich jetzt? Nothing”.

“When old McAllister was the cattle king of West Texas,” continued Baldy, “you were important. You told people what to do. Your commands were as strong as his”.

“That was true,” said Webb, “until he discovered that I wanted to marry Santa. Then he sent me as far away from the ranch house as he could. When the old man died, they started to call Santa the ‘cattle queen’. Now I tell the cattle what to do. That’s all. She takes care of all the business. She takes care of all the money. I can’t sell any cattle—not one animal. Santa is the queen, and I’m nothing”.

“I would be king if I were you,” said Baldy Woods again. “When a man marries a queen he ought to be the same as she is. Plenty of people think it’s strange, Webb. Your words mean nothing on the Nopalito Ranch. Mrs. Yeager is a fine little lady. But a man ought to be head of his own house”.

Webb’s brown face grew long with sadness. With that expression, and his wild yellow hair, and his blue eyes, he looked like a schoolboy who had lost his leadership to another, strong boy. Yet his tall body looked too strong for such a thing to happen to him.

“I’m riding back to the ranch today,” he said. It was easy to see that he did not want to go. “I have to start some cattle on the road to San Antonio tomorrow morning”.

“I’ll go with you as far as Dry Lake,” said Baldy.

The two friends got on their horses and left the little town where they had met that morning.

At Dry Lake, they stopped to say goodbye. They had been riding for miles without talking. But in Texas, talk does not often continue steadily. Many things may happen between words. But when you begin to talk again, you are still talking about the same thing. So now Webb added something to the talk that began ten miles away.

“You remember, Baldy, there was a time when Santa was different. You remember the days when old McAllister kept me away from the ranch house. You remember how she would send me a sign that she wanted to see me? Old McAllister had said he would kill me if I came near enough. You remember the sign she used to send, Baldy? The picture of a heart with a cross inside it?”.

“Me?” cried Baldy. “Sure I remember. Every cowboy on the ranch knew that sign of the heart and the cross. We would see it on things sent out from the ranch. We would see it on anything. It would be on newspapers. On boxes of food. Once I saw it on the back of the shirt of a cook that McAllister sent from the ranch”.

“Santa’s father made her promise that she wouldn’t write to me or send me any word. That heart-and-cross sign was her plan. When she wanted to see me, she would put that mark on something that she knew I would see. And when I saw it, I traveled fast to the ranch that same night. I would meet her outside the house”.

“We all knew it,” said Baldy. “But we never said anything. We wanted you to marry Santa. We knew why you had that fast horse. When we saw the heart and cross on something from the ranch, we always knew your horse was going to go fast that night”.

“The last time Santa sent me the sign,” said Webb, “was when she was sick. When I saw it, I got on my horse and started. It was a forty-mile ride. She wasn’t at our meeting-place. I went to the house. Old McAllister met me at the door. ‘Did you come here to get killed?’, he said. ‘I won’t kill you this time. I was going to send for you. Santa wants you. Go in that room and see her. And then come out here and see me’.

“Santa was lying in bed very sick. But she smiled, and put her hand in mine, and I sat down by the bed—mud and riding clothes and all. ‘I could hear you coming for hours, Webb,’ she said. ‘I was sure you would come. You saw the sign?’ ‘I saw it,’ I said. ‘It’s our sign,’ she said. ‘Hearts and crosses. To love and to suffer—that’s what they mean’.

“And old Doctor Musgrove was there. And Santa goes to sleep and Doctor Musgrove touches her face, and he says to me: ‘You were good for her. But go away now. The little lady will be all right in the morning’.

“Old McAllister was outside her room. ‘She’s sleeping,’ I said. ‘And now you can start killing me. You have plenty of time. I haven’t anything to fight with’.

“Old McAllister laughs, and he says to me: ‘Killing the best foreman in West Texas is not good business. I don’t know where I could get another good foreman. I don’t want you in the family. But I can use you on the Nopalito if you stay away from the ranch house. You go up and sleep, and then we’ll talk.’”.

The two men prepared to separate. They took each other’s hand.

“Goodbye, Baldy,” said Webb. “I’m glad I saw you and had this talk”.

With a sudden rush, the two riders were on their way.

Then Baldy pulled his horse to a stop and shouted.

Webb turned.

“If I were you,” came Baldy’s loud voice, “I would be king!”.

At eight the following morning, Bud Turner got off his horse at the Nopalito ranch house. Bud was the cowboy who was taking the cattle to San Antonio. Mrs. Yeager was outside the house, putting water on some flowers.

In many ways Santa was like her father, “King” McAllister. She was sure about everything. She was afraid of nothing. She was proud. But Santa looked like her mother. She had a strong body and a soft prettiness. Because she was a woman, her manners were womanly. She liked to be queen, as her father had liked to be king.

Webb stood near her, giving orders to two or three cowboys.

“Good morning,” said Bud. “Where do you want the cattle to go? To Barber’s as usual?” The queen always answered such a question. All the business—buying, selling, and banking—had been held in her hands. Care of the cattle was given to her husband. When “King” McAllister was alive, Santa was his secretary and his helper. She had continued her work and her work had been successful. But before she could answer, the queen’s husband spoke: “You drive those cattle to Zimmerman and Nesbit’s. I spoke to Zimmerman about it”.

Bud turned, ready to go.

“Wait!” called Santa quickly. She looked at her husband with surprise in her gray eyes.

“What do you mean, Webb?” she asked. “I never deal with Zimmerman and Nesbit. Barber has bought all the cattle from this ranch for five years. I’m not going to change”.

She said to Bud Turner: “Take those cattle to Barber”.

Bud did not look at either of them. He stood there waiting.

“I want these cattle to go to Zimmerman and Nesbit,” said Webb. There was a cold light in his blue eyes.

“It’s time to start,” said Santa to Bud. “Tell Barber we’ll have more cattle ready in about a month.” Bud allowed his eyes to turn and meet Webb’s.

“You take those cattle,” said Webb, “to—” “Barber,” said Santa quickly. “Let’s say no more about it. What are you waiting for, Bud?”.

“Nothing,” said Bud. But he did not hurry to move away, for man is man’s friend, and he did not like what had happened.

“You heard what she said,” cried Webb. “We do what she commands.” He took off his hat and made a wide movement with it, touching the floor.

“Webb,” said Santa, “what’s wrong with you today?”.
“I’m acting like the queen’s fool,” said Webb. “What can you expect? Let me tell you. I was a man before I married a cattle queen. What am I now? Something for the cowboys to laugh at. But I’m going to be a man again”.

Santa looked at him.

“Be reasonable, Webb,” she said quietly. “There is nothing wrong. You take care of the cattle. I take care of the business. You understand the cattle. I understand the business better than you do. I learned it from my father”.

“I don’t like kings and queens,” said Webb, “unless I’m one of them myself. All right. It’s your ranch. Barber gets the cattle”.

Webb’s horse was tied near the house. He walked into the house and brought out the supplies he took on long rides. These he began to tie on his horse. Santa followed him. Her face had lost some of its color.

Webb got on his horse. There was no expression on his face except a strange light burning in his eyes.

“There are some cattle at the Hondo water-hole,” he said. “They ought to be moved. Wild animals have killed three of them. I did not remember to tell Simms to do it. You tell him”.

Santa put a hand on the horse and looked her husband in the eye.

“Are you going to leave me, Webb?” she asked quietly.

“I am going to be a man again,” he answered.

“I wish you success,” she said, with a sudden coldness. She turned and walked into the house.

Webb Yeager went to the southeast as straight as he could ride. And when he came to the place where sky and earth seem to meet, he was gone. Those at the Nopalito knew nothing more about him.

Days passed, then weeks, then months. But Webb Yeager did not return.

One day, a man named Bartholomew, not an important man, stopped at the Nopalito ranch house. It was noon and he was hungry. He sat down at the dinner table. While he was eating, he talked.

“Mrs. Yeager,” he said, “I saw a man on the Seco Ranch with your name. Webb Yeager. He was foreman there. He was a tall yellow-haired man. Not a talker. Someone of your family?”.
“A husband,” said Santa. “That is fine for the Seco Ranch. Mr. Yeager is the best foreman in the West.” Everything at the Nopalito Ranch had been going well.

For several years they had been working at the Nopalito with a different kind of cattle. These cattle had been brought from England, and they were better than the usual Texas cattle. They had been successful at the Nopalito Ranch, and men on other ranches were interested in them.

As a result, one day a cowboy arrived at the Nopalito Ranch and gave the queen this letter: Mrs. Yeager—The Nopalito Ranch: I have been told by the owners of the Seco Ranch to buy 100 of your English cattle. If you can sell these to the Seco, send them to us in the care of the man who brings this letter. We will then send you the money.

Webb Yeager, Foreman, Seco Ranch.

Business is business to a queen as it is to others. That night the 100 cattle were moved near the ranch house, ready for an early start the next morning.

When night came and the house was quiet, did Santa Yeager cry alone? Did she hold that letter near to her heart? Did she speak the name that she had been too proud to speak for many weeks? Or did she place the letter with other business letters, in her office?

Ask if you will, but there is no answer. What a queen does is something we cannot always know. But this you shall be told: In the middle of the night Santa went quietly out of the ranch house. She was dressed in something dark. She stopped for a moment under a tree. There was moonlight, and a bird was singing, and there was a smell of flowers. Santa turned her face toward the southeast and threw three kisses in that direction, for there was no one to see her.

Then she hurried quietly to a small building. What she did there, we can only guess. But there was the red light of a fire, and a noise as if Cupid might be making his arrows.

Later she came out with some strange iron tool in one hand. In the other hand she carried something that held a small fire. She hurried in the moonlight to the place where the English cattle had been gathered.

Most of the English cattle were a dark red. But among those 100 there was one as white as milk.
And now Santa caught that white animal as cowboys catch cattle. She tried once and failed. Then she tried again, and the animal fell heavily. Santa ran to it, but the animal jumped up.

Again she tried and this time she was successful. The animal fell to earth again. Before it could rise, Santa had tied its feet together.

Then she ran to the fire she had carried here. From it she took that strange iron tool. It was white hot.

There was a loud cry from the animal as the white-hot iron burned its skin. But no one seemed to hear. All on the ranch were quiet. And in the deep night quiet, Santa ran back the ranch house and there fell onto a bed. She let the tears from her eyes, as if queens had hearts like the hearts of ranchmen’s wives; and as if a queen’s husband might become a king, if he would ride back again.

In the morning the young man who had brought the letter started toward the Seco Ranch. He had cowboys with him to help with the English cattle. It was ninety miles, six days’ journey.

The animals arrived at Seco Ranch one evening as the daylight was ending. They were received and counted by the foreman of the ranch.

The next morning at eight a horseman came riding to the Nopalito ranch house. He got down painfully from the horse and walked to the house. His horse took a great breath and let his head hang and closed his eyes.

But do not feel sorry for Belshazzar, the horse. Today he lives happily at Nopalito, where he is given the best care and the best food. No other horse there has ever carried a man for such a ride.

The horseman entered the house. Two arms fell around his neck, and someone cried out in the voice of woman and queen together: “Webb, oh, Webb!” “I was wrong,” said Webb Yeager. “I was a—” and he named a small animal with a bad smell, an animal no one likes.

“Quiet,” said Santa. “Did you see it?” “I saw it,” said Webb.

What were they speaking of? Perhaps you can guess, if you have read the story carefully.

“Be the cattle queen,” said Webb. “Forget what I did, if you can. I was as wrong as—” “Quiet!” said Santa again, putting her fingers upon his mouth. “There’s no queen here. Do you know who I am? I am Santa Yeager, First Lady of the Bedroom. Come here”.

She led him into a room. There stood a low baby’s bed. And in the bed was a baby, a beautiful, laughing baby, talking in words that no one could understand.

“There is no queen on this ranch,” said Santa again. “Look at the king. He has eyes like yours, Webb. Get down on your knees and look at the king”.

There was a sound of steps outside and Bud Turner was there at the door. He asked the same question he had asked almost a year ago.

“Good morning. Shall I drive those cattle to Barber’s, or—” He saw Webb and stopped, with his mouth open.

“Ba-ba-ba-ba-ba-ba!” cried the king, waving his arms.

“You hear what he says, Bud,” said Webb Yeager. “We do what the king commands”.

And that is all, except for one thing. When old man Quinn, owner of the Seco Ranch, went to look at his new English cattle, he asked his new foreman, “What is the Nopalito Ranch’s mark?” “X over Y,” said Wilson.

“I thought so,” said Quinn. “But look at that white animal there. She has another mark—a heart with a cross inside. Whose mark is that?”
unit 1
Hearts and Crosses (1913).
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unit 2
O. Henry (William Sidney Porter, 1862-1910).
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unit 3
BALDY WOODS REACHED FOR A DRINK, and got it.
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unit 4
When Baldy wanted something, he usually got it.
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unit 5
He—but this is not Baldy’s story.
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unit 7
Baldy had been listening to the troubles of a friend.
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unit 8
Now Baldy was going to tell his friend what to do.
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unit 9
So the friend was buying him the drinks.
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unit 10
This was the right thing for the friend to do.
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unit 11
“I would be king if I were you,” said Baldy.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 6 months ago
unit 12
He said it loudly and strongly.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 6 months ago
unit 13
Webb Yeager moved his wide hat back on his head.
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unit 14
He put his fingers in his yellow hair and moved it about.
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unit 15
It now looked wilder than before.
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unit 16
But this did not help him to think better.
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unit 17
And therefore he also got another drink.
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unit 18
unit 19
Here was his real problem.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 6 months ago
unit 20
“Surely not,” said Baldy.
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unit 21
“You ought to be a king.
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unit 22
But you’re only the queen’s husband.
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unit 24
His wife becomes a queen.
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unit 25
But is he a king?
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 6 months ago
unit 26
No.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 6 months ago
unit 27
His only duty is to appear with the queen in pictures.
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unit 28
And be the father of the next king.
2 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 6 months ago
unit 29
That’s not right.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 6 months ago
unit 30
Yes, Webb, you are only the queen’s husband.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 6 months ago
unit 31
unit 32
Baldy finished his drink.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 6 months ago
unit 33
unit 34
We’ve been riding the same roads since we were very young.
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unit 35
I wouldn’t talk about my family to anyone but you.
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unit 36
You were working on the Nopalito Ranch when I married Santa McAllister.
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unit 37
I was foreman then.
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unit 38
But what am I now?
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 6 months ago
unit 39
Nothing”.
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unit 41
You told people what to do.
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unit 42
Your commands were as strong as his”.
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unit 44
Then he sent me as far away from the ranch house as he could.
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unit 45
unit 46
Now I tell the cattle what to do.
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unit 47
That’s all.
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unit 48
She takes care of all the business.
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unit 49
She takes care of all the money.
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unit 50
I can’t sell any cattle—not one animal.
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unit 51
Santa is the queen, and I’m nothing”.
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unit 52
“I would be king if I were you,” said Baldy Woods again.
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unit 53
“When a man marries a queen he ought to be the same as she is.
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unit 54
Plenty of people think it’s strange, Webb.
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unit 55
Your words mean nothing on the Nopalito Ranch.
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unit 56
Mrs. Yeager is a fine little lady.
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unit 57
But a man ought to be head of his own house”.
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unit 58
Webb’s brown face grew long with sadness.
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unit 60
Yet his tall body looked too strong for such a thing to happen to him.
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unit 61
“I’m riding back to the ranch today,” he said.
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unit 62
It was easy to see that he did not want to go.
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unit 64
“I’ll go with you as far as Dry Lake,” said Baldy.
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unit 66
At Dry Lake, they stopped to say goodbye.
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unit 67
They had been riding for miles without talking.
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unit 68
But in Texas, talk does not often continue steadily.
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unit 69
Many things may happen between words.
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unit 71
So now Webb added something to the talk that began ten miles away.
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unit 72
“You remember, Baldy, there was a time when Santa was different.
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unit 73
unit 74
You remember how she would send me a sign that she wanted to see me?
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unit 75
Old McAllister had said he would kill me if I came near enough.
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unit 76
You remember the sign she used to send, Baldy?
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unit 77
The picture of a heart with a cross inside it?”.
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unit 78
“Me?” cried Baldy.
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unit 79
“Sure I remember.
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unit 80
Every cowboy on the ranch knew that sign of the heart and the cross.
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unit 81
We would see it on things sent out from the ranch.
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unit 82
We would see it on anything.
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unit 83
It would be on newspapers.
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unit 84
On boxes of food.
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unit 87
That heart-and-cross sign was her plan.
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unit 89
And when I saw it, I traveled fast to the ranch that same night.
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unit 90
I would meet her outside the house”.
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unit 91
“We all knew it,” said Baldy.
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unit 92
“But we never said anything.
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unit 93
We wanted you to marry Santa.
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unit 94
We knew why you had that fast horse.
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unit 97
When I saw it, I got on my horse and started.
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unit 98
It was a forty-mile ride.
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unit 99
She wasn’t at our meeting-place.
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unit 100
I went to the house.
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unit 101
Old McAllister met me at the door.
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unit 102
‘Did you come here to get killed?’, he said.
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unit 103
‘I won’t kill you this time.
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unit 104
I was going to send for you.
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unit 105
Santa wants you.
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unit 106
Go in that room and see her.
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unit 107
And then come out here and see me’.
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unit 108
“Santa was lying in bed very sick.
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unit 110
‘I could hear you coming for hours, Webb,’ she said.
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unit 111
‘I was sure you would come.
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unit 112
You saw the sign?’ ‘I saw it,’ I said.
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unit 113
‘It’s our sign,’ she said.
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unit 114
‘Hearts and crosses.
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unit 115
To love and to suffer—that’s what they mean’.
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unit 116
“And old Doctor Musgrove was there.
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unit 118
But go away now.
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unit 119
The little lady will be all right in the morning’.
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unit 120
“Old McAllister was outside her room.
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unit 121
‘She’s sleeping,’ I said.
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unit 122
‘And now you can start killing me.
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unit 123
You have plenty of time.
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unit 124
I haven’t anything to fight with’.
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unit 126
I don’t know where I could get another good foreman.
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unit 127
I don’t want you in the family.
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unit 128
But I can use you on the Nopalito if you stay away from the ranch house.
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unit 129
You go up and sleep, and then we’ll talk.’”.
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unit 130
The two men prepared to separate.
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unit 131
They took each other’s hand.
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unit 132
“Goodbye, Baldy,” said Webb.
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unit 133
“I’m glad I saw you and had this talk”.
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unit 134
With a sudden rush, the two riders were on their way.
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unit 135
Then Baldy pulled his horse to a stop and shouted.
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unit 136
Webb turned.
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unit 137
“If I were you,” came Baldy’s loud voice, “I would be king!”.
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unit 139
Bud was the cowboy who was taking the cattle to San Antonio.
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unit 140
Mrs. Yeager was outside the house, putting water on some flowers.
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unit 141
In many ways Santa was like her father, “King” McAllister.
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unit 142
She was sure about everything.
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unit 143
She was afraid of nothing.
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unit 144
She was proud.
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unit 145
But Santa looked like her mother.
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unit 146
She had a strong body and a soft prettiness.
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unit 147
Because she was a woman, her manners were womanly.
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unit 148
She liked to be queen, as her father had liked to be king.
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unit 149
Webb stood near her, giving orders to two or three cowboys.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 150
“Good morning,” said Bud.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 151
“Where do you want the cattle to go?
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 152
To Barber’s as usual?” The queen always answered such a question.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 153
unit 154
Care of the cattle was given to her husband.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 155
unit 156
She had continued her work and her work had been successful.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 158
I spoke to Zimmerman about it”.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 159
Bud turned, ready to go.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 160
“Wait!” called Santa quickly.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 161
She looked at her husband with surprise in her gray eyes.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 162
“What do you mean, Webb?” she asked.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 163
“I never deal with Zimmerman and Nesbit.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 164
Barber has bought all the cattle from this ranch for five years.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 165
I’m not going to change”.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 166
She said to Bud Turner: “Take those cattle to Barber”.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 167
Bud did not look at either of them.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 168
He stood there waiting.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 169
“I want these cattle to go to Zimmerman and Nesbit,” said Webb.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 170
There was a cold light in his blue eyes.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 171
“It’s time to start,” said Santa to Bud.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 174
“Let’s say no more about it.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 175
What are you waiting for, Bud?”.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 176
“Nothing,” said Bud.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 178
“You heard what she said,” cried Webb.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 180
“Webb,” said Santa, “what’s wrong with you today?”.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 181
“I’m acting like the queen’s fool,” said Webb.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 182
“What can you expect?
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 183
Let me tell you.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 184
I was a man before I married a cattle queen.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 185
What am I now?
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 186
Something for the cowboys to laugh at.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 187
But I’m going to be a man again”.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 188
Santa looked at him.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 189
“Be reasonable, Webb,” she said quietly.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 190
“There is nothing wrong.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 191
You take care of the cattle.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 192
I take care of the business.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 193
You understand the cattle.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 194
I understand the business better than you do.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 195
I learned it from my father”.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 197
All right.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 198
It’s your ranch.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 199
Barber gets the cattle”.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 200
Webb’s horse was tied near the house.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 201
unit 202
These he began to tie on his horse.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 203
Santa followed him.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 204
Her face had lost some of its color.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 205
Webb got on his horse.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 207
“There are some cattle at the Hondo water-hole,” he said.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 208
“They ought to be moved.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 209
Wild animals have killed three of them.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 210
I did not remember to tell Simms to do it.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 211
You tell him”.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 212
Santa put a hand on the horse and looked her husband in the eye.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 213
“Are you going to leave me, Webb?” she asked quietly.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 214
“I am going to be a man again,” he answered.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 215
“I wish you success,” she said, with a sudden coldness.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 216
She turned and walked into the house.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 217
Webb Yeager went to the southeast as straight as he could ride.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 218
unit 219
Those at the Nopalito knew nothing more about him.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 220
Days passed, then weeks, then months.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 221
But Webb Yeager did not return.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 223
It was noon and he was hungry.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 224
He sat down at the dinner table.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 225
While he was eating, he talked.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 226
“Mrs.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 227
Yeager,” he said, “I saw a man on the Seco Ranch with your name.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 228
Webb Yeager.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 229
He was foreman there.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 230
He was a tall yellow-haired man.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 231
Not a talker.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 232
Someone of your family?”.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 233
“A husband,” said Santa.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 234
“That is fine for the Seco Ranch.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 241
We will then send you the money.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 242
Webb Yeager, Foreman, Seco Ranch.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 243
Business is business to a queen as it is to others.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 245
When night came and the house was quiet, did Santa Yeager cry alone?
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 246
Did she hold that letter near to her heart?
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 247
unit 248
Or did she place the letter with other business letters, in her office?
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 249
Ask if you will, but there is no answer.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 250
What a queen does is something we cannot always know.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 252
She was dressed in something dark.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 253
She stopped for a moment under a tree.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 254
unit 256
Then she hurried quietly to a small building.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 257
What she did there, we can only guess.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 259
Later she came out with some strange iron tool in one hand.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 260
In the other hand she carried something that held a small fire.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 262
Most of the English cattle were a dark red.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 263
But among those 100 there was one as white as milk.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 264
And now Santa caught that white animal as cowboys catch cattle.
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unit 265
She tried once and failed.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 266
Then she tried again, and the animal fell heavily.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 267
Santa ran to it, but the animal jumped up.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 268
Again she tried and this time she was successful.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 269
The animal fell to earth again.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 270
Before it could rise, Santa had tied its feet together.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 271
Then she ran to the fire she had carried here.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 272
From it she took that strange iron tool.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 273
It was white hot.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 274
unit 275
But no one seemed to hear.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 276
All on the ranch were quiet.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 280
He had cowboys with him to help with the English cattle.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 281
It was ninety miles, six days’ journey.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 282
unit 283
They were received and counted by the foreman of the ranch.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 284
unit 285
He got down painfully from the horse and walked to the house.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 286
His horse took a great breath and let his head hang and closed his eyes.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 287
But do not feel sorry for Belshazzar, the horse.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 289
No other horse there has ever carried a man for such a ride.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 290
The horseman entered the house.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 293
“Quiet,” said Santa.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 294
“Did you see it?” “I saw it,” said Webb.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 295
What were they speaking of?
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 296
Perhaps you can guess, if you have read the story carefully.
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unit 297
“Be the cattle queen,” said Webb.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 298
“Forget what I did, if you can.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 300
“There’s no queen here.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 301
Do you know who I am?
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 302
I am Santa Yeager, First Lady of the Bedroom.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 303
Come here”.
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unit 304
She led him into a room.
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unit 305
There stood a low baby’s bed.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 307
“There is no queen on this ranch,” said Santa again.
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unit 308
“Look at the king.
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unit 309
He has eyes like yours, Webb.
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unit 310
Get down on your knees and look at the king”.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 311
There was a sound of steps outside and Bud Turner was there at the door.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 312
He asked the same question he had asked almost a year ago.
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unit 313
“Good morning.
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unit 315
“Ba-ba-ba-ba-ba-ba!” cried the king, waving his arms.
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unit 316
“You hear what he says, Bud,” said Webb Yeager.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 317
“We do what the king commands”.
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unit 318
And that is all, except for one thing.
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unit 320
“I thought so,” said Quinn.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 321
“But look at that white animal there.
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unit 322
She has another mark—a heart with a cross inside.
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unit 323
Whose mark is that?”
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None

Hearts and Crosses (1913).

O. Henry (William Sidney Porter, 1862-1910).

BALDY WOODS REACHED FOR A DRINK, and got it. When Baldy wanted something, he usually got it. He—but this is not Baldy’s story. Now he took his third drink, which was larger than the first and the second. Baldy had been listening to the troubles of a friend. Now Baldy was going to tell his friend what to do. So the friend was buying him the drinks. This was the right thing for the friend to do.

“I would be king if I were you,” said Baldy. He said it loudly and strongly.

Webb Yeager moved his wide hat back on his head. He put his fingers in his yellow hair and moved it about. It now looked wilder than before. But this did not help him to think better. And therefore he also got another drink.

“If a man marries a queen, it ought not to make him nothing,” said Webb. Here was his real problem.

“Surely not,” said Baldy. “You ought to be a king. But you’re only the queen’s husband. That’s what happens to a man in Europe if he marries the king’s daughter. His wife becomes a queen. But is he a king? No. His only duty is to appear with the queen in pictures. And be the father of the next king. That’s not right. Yes, Webb, you are only the queen’s husband. And if I were you, I’d turn everything upside down and I would be king”.

Baldy finished his drink.

“Baldy,” said Webb, “you and I have been cowboys together for years. We’ve been riding the same roads since we were very young. I wouldn’t talk about my family to anyone but you. You were working on the Nopalito Ranch when I married Santa McAllister. I was foreman then. But what am I now? Nothing”.

“When old McAllister was the cattle king of West Texas,” continued Baldy, “you were important. You told people what to do. Your commands were as strong as his”.

“That was true,” said Webb, “until he discovered that I wanted to marry Santa. Then he sent me as far away from the ranch house as he could. When the old man died, they started to call Santa the ‘cattle queen’. Now I tell the cattle what to do. That’s all. She takes care of all the business. She takes care of all the money. I can’t sell any cattle—not one animal. Santa is the queen, and I’m nothing”.

“I would be king if I were you,” said Baldy Woods again. “When a man marries a queen he ought to be the same as she is. Plenty of people think it’s strange, Webb. Your words mean nothing on the Nopalito Ranch. Mrs. Yeager is a fine little lady. But a man ought to be head of his own house”.

Webb’s brown face grew long with sadness. With that expression, and his wild yellow hair, and his blue eyes, he looked like a schoolboy who had lost his leadership to another, strong boy. Yet his tall body looked too strong for such a thing to happen to him.

“I’m riding back to the ranch today,” he said. It was easy to see that he did not want to go. “I have to start some cattle on the road to San Antonio tomorrow morning”.

“I’ll go with you as far as Dry Lake,” said Baldy.

The two friends got on their horses and left the little town where they had met that morning.

At Dry Lake, they stopped to say goodbye. They had been riding for miles without talking. But in Texas, talk does not often continue steadily. Many things may happen between words. But when you begin to talk again, you are still talking about the same thing. So now Webb added something to the talk that began ten miles away.

“You remember, Baldy, there was a time when Santa was different. You remember the days when old McAllister kept me away from the ranch house. You remember how she would send me a sign that she wanted to see me? Old McAllister had said he would kill me if I came near enough. You remember the sign she used to send, Baldy? The picture of a heart with a cross inside it?”.

“Me?” cried Baldy. “Sure I remember. Every cowboy on the ranch knew that sign of the heart and the cross. We would see it on things sent out from the ranch. We would see it on anything. It would be on newspapers. On boxes of food. Once I saw it on the back of the shirt of a cook that McAllister sent from the ranch”.

“Santa’s father made her promise that she wouldn’t write to me or send me any word. That heart-and-cross sign was her plan. When she wanted to see me, she would put that mark on something that she knew I would see. And when I saw it, I traveled fast to the ranch that same night. I would meet her outside the house”.

“We all knew it,” said Baldy. “But we never said anything. We wanted you to marry Santa. We knew why you had that fast horse. When we saw the heart and cross on something from the ranch, we always knew your horse was going to go fast that night”.

“The last time Santa sent me the sign,” said Webb, “was when she was sick. When I saw it, I got on my horse and started. It was a forty-mile ride. She wasn’t at our meeting-place. I went to the house. Old McAllister met me at the door. ‘Did you come here to get killed?’, he said. ‘I won’t kill you this time. I was going to send for you. Santa wants you. Go in that room and see her. And then come out here and see me’.

“Santa was lying in bed very sick. But she smiled, and put her hand in mine, and I sat down by the bed—mud and riding clothes and all. ‘I could hear you coming for hours, Webb,’ she said. ‘I was sure you would come. You saw the sign?’ ‘I saw it,’ I said. ‘It’s our sign,’ she said. ‘Hearts and crosses. To love and to suffer—that’s what they mean’.

“And old Doctor Musgrove was there. And Santa goes to sleep and Doctor Musgrove touches her face, and he says to me: ‘You were good for her. But go away now. The little lady will be all right in the morning’.

“Old McAllister was outside her room. ‘She’s sleeping,’ I said. ‘And now you can start killing me. You have plenty of time. I haven’t anything to fight with’.

“Old McAllister laughs, and he says to me: ‘Killing the best foreman in West Texas is not good business. I don’t know where I could get another good foreman. I don’t want you in the family. But I can use you on the Nopalito if you stay away from the ranch house. You go up and sleep, and then we’ll talk.’”.

The two men prepared to separate. They took each other’s hand.

“Goodbye, Baldy,” said Webb. “I’m glad I saw you and had this talk”.

With a sudden rush, the two riders were on their way.

Then Baldy pulled his horse to a stop and shouted.

Webb turned.

“If I were you,” came Baldy’s loud voice, “I would be king!”.

At eight the following morning, Bud Turner got off his horse at the Nopalito ranch house. Bud was the cowboy who was taking the cattle to San Antonio. Mrs. Yeager was outside the house, putting water on some flowers.

In many ways Santa was like her father, “King” McAllister. She was sure about everything. She was afraid of nothing. She was proud. But Santa looked like her mother. She had a strong body and a soft prettiness. Because she was a woman, her manners were womanly. She liked to be queen, as her father had liked to be king.

Webb stood near her, giving orders to two or three cowboys.

“Good morning,” said Bud. “Where do you want the cattle to go? To Barber’s as usual?”

The queen always answered such a question. All the business—buying, selling, and banking—had been held in her hands. Care of the cattle was given to her husband. When “King” McAllister was alive, Santa was his secretary and his helper. She had continued her work and her work had been successful. But before she could answer, the queen’s husband spoke:

“You drive those cattle to Zimmerman and Nesbit’s. I spoke to Zimmerman about it”.

Bud turned, ready to go.

“Wait!” called Santa quickly. She looked at her husband with surprise in her gray eyes.

“What do you mean, Webb?” she asked. “I never deal with Zimmerman and Nesbit. Barber has bought all the cattle from this ranch for five years. I’m not going to change”.

She said to Bud Turner: “Take those cattle to Barber”.

Bud did not look at either of them. He stood there waiting.

“I want these cattle to go to Zimmerman and Nesbit,” said Webb. There was a cold light in his blue eyes.

“It’s time to start,” said Santa to Bud. “Tell Barber we’ll have more cattle ready in about a month.”

Bud allowed his eyes to turn and meet Webb’s.

“You take those cattle,” said Webb, “to—”

“Barber,” said Santa quickly. “Let’s say no more about it. What are you waiting for, Bud?”.

“Nothing,” said Bud. But he did not hurry to move away, for man is man’s friend, and he did not like what had happened.

“You heard what she said,” cried Webb. “We do what she commands.” He took off his hat and made a wide movement with it, touching the floor.

“Webb,” said Santa, “what’s wrong with you today?”.
“I’m acting like the queen’s fool,” said Webb. “What can you expect? Let me tell you. I was a man before I married a cattle queen. What am I now? Something for the cowboys to laugh at. But I’m going to be a man again”.

Santa looked at him.

“Be reasonable, Webb,” she said quietly. “There is nothing wrong. You take care of the cattle. I take care of the business. You understand the cattle. I understand the business better than you do. I learned it from my father”.

“I don’t like kings and queens,” said Webb, “unless I’m one of them myself. All right. It’s your ranch. Barber gets the cattle”.

Webb’s horse was tied near the house. He walked into the house and brought out the supplies he took on long rides. These he began to tie on his horse. Santa followed him. Her face had lost some of its color.

Webb got on his horse. There was no expression on his face except a strange light burning in his eyes.

“There are some cattle at the Hondo water-hole,” he said. “They ought to be moved. Wild animals have killed three of them. I did not remember to tell Simms to do it. You tell him”.

Santa put a hand on the horse and looked her husband in the eye.

“Are you going to leave me, Webb?” she asked quietly.

“I am going to be a man again,” he answered.

“I wish you success,” she said, with a sudden coldness. She turned and walked into the house.

Webb Yeager went to the southeast as straight as he could ride. And when he came to the place where sky and earth seem to meet, he was gone. Those at the Nopalito knew nothing more about him.

Days passed, then weeks, then months. But Webb Yeager did not return.

One day, a man named Bartholomew, not an important man, stopped at the Nopalito ranch house. It was noon and he was hungry. He sat down at the dinner table. While he was eating, he talked.

“Mrs. Yeager,” he said, “I saw a man on the Seco Ranch with your name. Webb Yeager. He was foreman there. He was a tall yellow-haired man. Not a talker. Someone of your family?”.
“A husband,” said Santa. “That is fine for the Seco Ranch. Mr. Yeager is the best foreman in the West.”

Everything at the Nopalito Ranch had been going well.

For several years they had been working at the Nopalito with a different kind of cattle. These cattle had been brought from England, and they were better than the usual Texas cattle. They had been successful at the Nopalito Ranch, and men on other ranches were interested in them.

As a result, one day a cowboy arrived at the Nopalito Ranch and gave the queen this letter:

Mrs. Yeager—The Nopalito Ranch:

I have been told by the owners of the Seco Ranch to buy 100 of your English cattle. If you can sell these to the Seco, send them to us in the care of the man who brings this letter. We will then send you the money.

Webb Yeager, Foreman, Seco Ranch.

Business is business to a queen as it is to others. That night the 100 cattle were moved near the ranch house, ready for an early start the next morning.

When night came and the house was quiet, did Santa Yeager cry alone? Did she hold that letter near to her heart? Did she speak the name that she had been too proud to speak for many weeks? Or did she place the letter with other business letters, in her office?

Ask if you will, but there is no answer. What a queen does is something we cannot always know. But this you shall be told:

In the middle of the night Santa went quietly out of the ranch house. She was dressed in something dark. She stopped for a moment under a tree. There was moonlight, and a bird was singing, and there was a smell of flowers. Santa turned her face toward the southeast and threw three kisses in that direction, for there was no one to see her.

Then she hurried quietly to a small building. What she did there, we can only guess. But there was the red light of a fire, and a noise as if Cupid might be making his arrows.

Later she came out with some strange iron tool in one hand. In the other hand she carried something that held a small fire. She hurried in the moonlight to the place where the English cattle had been gathered.

Most of the English cattle were a dark red. But among those 100 there was one as white as milk.
And now Santa caught that white animal as cowboys catch cattle. She tried once and failed. Then she tried again, and the animal fell heavily. Santa ran to it, but the animal jumped up.

Again she tried and this time she was successful. The animal fell to earth again. Before it could rise, Santa had tied its feet together.

Then she ran to the fire she had carried here. From it she took that strange iron tool. It was white hot.

There was a loud cry from the animal as the white-hot iron burned its skin. But no one seemed to hear. All on the ranch were quiet. And in the deep night quiet, Santa ran back the ranch house and there fell onto a bed. She let the tears from her eyes, as if queens had hearts like the hearts of ranchmen’s wives; and as if a queen’s husband might become a king, if he would ride back again.

In the morning the young man who had brought the letter started toward the Seco Ranch. He had cowboys with him to help with the English cattle. It was ninety miles, six days’ journey.

The animals arrived at Seco Ranch one evening as the daylight was ending. They were received and counted by the foreman of the ranch.

The next morning at eight a horseman came riding to the Nopalito ranch house. He got down painfully from the horse and walked to the house. His horse took a great breath and let his head hang and closed his eyes.

But do not feel sorry for Belshazzar, the horse. Today he lives happily at Nopalito, where he is given the best care and the best food. No other horse there has ever carried a man for such a ride.

The horseman entered the house. Two arms fell around his neck, and someone cried out in the voice of woman and queen together: “Webb, oh, Webb!”

“I was wrong,” said Webb Yeager. “I was a—” and he named a small animal with a bad smell, an animal no one likes.

“Quiet,” said Santa. “Did you see it?”

“I saw it,” said Webb.

What were they speaking of? Perhaps you can guess, if you have read the story carefully.

“Be the cattle queen,” said Webb. “Forget what I did, if you can. I was as wrong as—”
“Quiet!” said Santa again, putting her fingers upon his mouth. “There’s no queen here. Do you know who I am? I am Santa Yeager, First Lady of the Bedroom. Come here”.

She led him into a room. There stood a low baby’s bed. And in the bed was a baby, a beautiful, laughing baby, talking in words that no one could understand.

“There is no queen on this ranch,” said Santa again. “Look at the king. He has eyes like yours, Webb. Get down on your knees and look at the king”.

There was a sound of steps outside and Bud Turner was there at the door. He asked the same question he had asked almost a year ago.

“Good morning. Shall I drive those cattle to Barber’s, or—”

He saw Webb and stopped, with his mouth open.

“Ba-ba-ba-ba-ba-ba!” cried the king, waving his arms.

“You hear what he says, Bud,” said Webb Yeager. “We do what the king commands”.

And that is all, except for one thing. When old man Quinn, owner of the Seco Ranch, went to look at his new English cattle, he asked his new foreman, “What is the Nopalito Ranch’s mark?”

“X over Y,” said Wilson.

“I thought so,” said Quinn. “But look at that white animal there. She has another mark—a heart with a cross inside. Whose mark is that?”