en-fr  The Pimienta Pancakes by O Henry
Les crêpes au poivre par O. Henry. Alors que nous rassemblions un troupeau de bétail du Triangle-O dans les vallées du Frio une branche en saillie accrocha mon étrier de bois et m'occasionna une foulure à la cheville qui m'immobilisa au camp durant une semaine.

Le troisième jour de mon oisiveté imposée je sortis en rampant jusqu'au chariot à bouffe et m'allongeai sans défense sous le feu roulant de la conversation de Judson Odom, le cuistot du camp. Jud était, par nature, un monologuiste, que le Destin, avec sa maladresse coutumière, avait installé dans une profession où il était privé, la plupart du temps, d'audience.

Par suite, j'étais une manne dans le persistant désert silencieux de Jud.

Très vite, je fus travaillé par d'invalides désirs de nourriture qui n'arrivait pas sous le vocable de "bouffe". J'avais des visions du gare-manger maternel "profond comme un premier amour et sauvage avec tous les regrets" et alors je demandai : — Jud, peux-tu faire des crêpes?

Jud posa son six-coups, avec lequel il s'apprêtait à attendrir un steak d'antilope et se dressa devant moi dans une attitude que je sentis menaçante. Il renforça encore mon impression que son attitude était pleine de ressentiment en me fixant de ses yeux bleu-clair avec un regard de froide suspicion.

— Dis donc, dit-il, avec une mauvaise humeur candide, bien que pas excessive, t'es sincère ou tu essaies de te foutre de moi? Des gars t'ont parlé de moi et de ce trafic de crèpes?

— Non, Jud, répondis-je sincèrement, c'est ce que je voulais dire. Il me semble que j'échangerais mon poney et ma selle pour une pile de crêpes dorées et beurrées avec un peu de sucre de la New Orleans de la première cuvée en chaudron ouvert. Y-a-t-il eu une histoire à propos des crêpes?

Jud s'apaisa tout de suite quand il comprit que je ne faisais pas de sous-entendus.. Il rapporta des sacs mystérieux et des boîtes en fer-blanc du chariot à provisions et les plaça à l'ombre du micocoulier où je m'étais allongé. Je le regardai alors qu'il commençait à les arranger tranquillement et à dénouer leurs nombreuses ficelles.

— Non, pas d'embrouilles, déclara Jud, tout en s'affairant, mais, dans le cas présent, rien qu'des faits véridiques entre moi, c'traîne-savates aux yeux roses de Mired Mule Canada et mamzelle Willella Learight. Ça m'embête pas d'te la raconter.

J'trimais alors pour le vieux Bill Toomey, sur le San Miguel. Un jour, j'suis tenaillé par l'envie de m'enfiler de la boustifaille en conserve qu'a jamais mugi, ni bêlé, ni grogné, ni servi de rations de picotin. Alors, j'enfourche mon canasson et j'trace la route, nez au vent, jusqu'au magasin de Tonton Emsley Telfair, le Pimienta Crossing au bord d'la rivière Nueces

Vers trois heures de l'après-midi, j'ai jeté ma bride sur une branche d'acacia et j'ai fini à pied les vingt derniers mètres jusqu'au magasin de Tonton Emsley. Je me suis assis au comptoir et j'ai dit à Tonton Emsley que des signes indiquaient la dévastation imminente de la production fruitière du monde. En une minute, j'avais un sac de biscuits, une cuillère à long manche et une boîte ouverte d'abricots, une d'ananas, une de cerises et une autre de prunes à côté de moi, l'oncle Emsley occupé à ouvrir à la hachette une boîte de pêches jaunes. Je me sentais comme Adam avant la débandade de la pomme, et je frottais mes éperons sur les parois du comptoir et j'chômais pas avec ma cuillère de vingt-quatre pouces quand, par la f'nêtre, j'ai j'té un œil dans la cour d'la maison de l'oncle Emsley qu'est à côté du magasin.

Y'avait une fille qui s'tenait là — pas une fille du coin, avec tous les attributs qu'y faut — qui batifolait avec un maillet d'croquet et s'amusait en regardant ma façon d'encourager l'industrie des fruits en conserve.

J'ai giclé du comptoir et j'ai r'mis ma pelle à Tonton Emsley.

— C'est ma nièce, i' m'a dit, Mamzelle Willella Learight, arrivée d'Palestine pour une visite. Tu veux que j'fasse les présentations ?

— La « Terre Sainte » je m'suis dit, mes pensées ruaient dans tous les sens alors qu'j'essayais de les faire entrer dans l'corral. Pourquoi pas ? C'est sûr, y'avait des anges en Pales.... Mais, oui, Tonton Emsley, j'dis à voix haute, je s'rais terriblement édifié d'rencontrer Mamzelle Learight.

Alors Tonton Emsley m'emmène dans la cour et annonce nos titres respectifs.

J'ai jamais été timide avec les femmes. J'comprendrais jamais pourquoi certains hommes qui peuvent mater un mustang avant le petit déjeuner et se raser dans l'noir, ont d'un coup deux mains gauches, suent à grosses gouttes et d'mandent pardon quand ils voient un chiffon audacieux drapé autour d'sa propriétaire. En moins d'huit minutes, moi et Mamzelle Willella, on tourneboulait les balles de croquet, copains comme des cousins au s'cond degré. Elle m'a charrié à propos d'la quantité de fruits au sirop qu'j'avais mangée, et j'lui ai rendu la monnaie d'sa pièce, à propos de la façon dont une certaine dame nommée Eve avait commencé à semer la pagaille à propos d'un fruit dans le premier pâturage libre... du côté d'la Palestine, pas vrai ? j'ai dit, aussi facilement qu'pour attraper et ficeler un veau d'un an.

C'est comme ça qu'j'ai obtenu la bienveillance de Mamzelle Willella Learight pour la laisser m'rapprocher d'elle, et, au fil du temps, la disposition a fait qu'augmenter. Elle s'était installée à Pimienta Crossing pour sa santé, qui était très bonne, et pour le climat, qui était de quarante pour cent plus chaud qu'en Palestine. . J'suis allé la voir une fois par semaine pendant un moment; et pis j'ai compris que si j'doublais le nombre de voyages, je la verrais deux fois plus souvent.

Une certaine semaine, je m'suis offert un troisième voyage, et c'est là que les crêpes et l'traîne-savates aux yeux roses ont fait irruption dans le décor.

Ce soir-là, tandis que j'm'installais au comptoir, une pêche et deux quetsches dans la bouche, j'ai d'mandé à Tonton Emsley comment allait Mamzelle Willella.

— Ben, dit Tonton Emsley, elle est partie faire une balade à cheval avec Jackson Bird, le berger de chez Mired Mule Canada.

J'ai avalé le noyau d'la pêche et les deux noyaux d'quetsche. Je suppose que quelqu'un tenait le comptoir par la bride pendant que j'lai dégringolé; et puis j'suis sorti tout droit jusqu'à ce que je bute dans l'acacia où mon rouan était attaché.

— Elle est partie faire une balade à ch'val, j'ai murmuré à l'oreille de mon bronco, avec Birdstone Jack, un bourricot d'berger d'Canada. T'entends ça, mon vieux Galope-à-Poil-Dur ?

Mon bronco, il en a versé des larmes, à sa manière. Il avait été dressé pour attraper les vaches et il s'foutait pas mal des bêlants.

J'suis r'tourné sur mes pas et j'ai d'mandé à Tonton Emsley : T'as bien dit un berger ?

— J'ai dit un berger, i' m'a r'dit Emsley. T'as bien dû entendre parler d'Jackson Bird ? Il a huit secteurs de pâturage et quatre mille têtes des plus beaux Mérinos au sud du cercle polaire.

J'suis sorti et m'suis assis par terre à l'ombre du magasin et m'suis appuyé contre un cactus. J'ai fait couler du sable dans mes bottes d'une main distraite pendant que j'soliloquais un max' à propos de c't oiseau d'Jackson qui portait bien son nom.

J'n'aurais jamais cru qu'un jour j'en voudrais à un berger. J'en ai vu un, un jour, en train de lire une grammaire latine à dos d'cheval : j' l'ai jamais touché ! I'm'ont jamais agacé comme ça l'fait à la plupart des cow-boys. Vous voudriez pas vous échauffer, voyons, et estropier et défigurer des bêleux, s'pas, d'ces bêleux qui mangent à table, qui portent des p'tites chaussures et qui vous font la conversation ? J'les avais toujours laissé circuler, comme on f'rait avec un lapin d'garenne, un p'tit mot poli, une p'tite considération sur l'beau temps, mais pas d'bivouac pour partager nos gamelles. J'ai jamais pensé qu'ça valait la peine de s'prendre la tête avec un bêleux. Et à cause qu'j'avais été indulgent et que j'les avais laissé vivre, y'en avait un qui f'sait un p'tite balade avec Mamzelle Willella Learight!

Une heure après l'coucher du soleil, les v'là qui r'viennent et qui s'arrêtent à la porte de chez Tonton Emsley. L'berger l'a aidée à descendre de selle, et i' sont t'nus là, un bon moment, à s'lancer des p'tits mots pleins d'esprit et d'sagesse. Et p'is c'Jackson à plumes s'envole sur sa selle, soulève la gamelle qu'i porte en guise d'chapeau, et i's'dirige vers son ranch à moutons. A c'moment-là, j'avais r'tiré l'sable de mes bottes et j'm'étais arraché des piquants du cactus, et quand il s'trouve à un demi-mille de Pimienta, j'fais trotter mon bronco et j'm'rapproche du gars.

J'ai dit qu'ce bêleux avait les yeux roses, mais c'était pas vrai. Ses yeux d'lapin blanc étaient plutôt gris, mais ses cils étaient roses et ses ch'veux filasses, ça vous donne un'idée du portrait. Gardien d'moutons ? C'était pas plus qu'un gardien d'agneaux, d'tout'façon... un'p'tite chose avec le cou entortillé par un foulard en soie jaune, et des chaussures attachées par un nœud pap'.

— Bonjour ! lui dis-je. Vous chevauchez en c'moment avec un cavalier qu'on appelle généralement Judson l'As-de-la-Gâchette, à cause d' la façon dont j'tire. Quand j'veux qu'un étranger m'connaisse, je m'présente toujours avant de tirer, parce que j'ai jaimais aimé serrer la main aux fantômes.

— Ah, dit-il, simplement, j'suis content d'vous connaître, M. Judson. J'suis Jackson Bird, du Ranch de Mired Mule.

Au même moment, un d'mes yeux a vu un bip-bip de Californie descendre la colline avec une p'tite tarentule dans l 'bec, et l'autre œil a r'marqué une bête à poules perchée sur un' branche morte d'un orme des marécages. En bon français : Je leur ai tiré dessus, l'un après l'autre, avec mon colt quarante-cing, afin qu'il voie ce dont j'étais capable. — Deux sur trois, j'y dis. Partout où j'vais, les piafs ont comme qui dirait l'malheur d'croiser mon feu.

— Joli carton ! dit le bêleux, sans broncher. — Mais, ça n'vous arrive jamais parfois d'rater le troisième coup ? Bonne p'tite pluie pour la r'pousse qu'on a eue la semaine passée, M'sieur Judson. . i'dit.

— Mon Coco, j'lui dis, en ch'vauchant près d'son palefroi, tes godelureaux d'parents peuvent bien t'avoir r'filé le nom de Jackson, mais t'as sûrement mué en un dindon glougloutant : laissons tomber ces jaseries méteo, et v'nons-z-en à parler de c'qu'est pas dans l'jargon des perroquets. C't un' mauvaise habitude q't'as prise d'monter à ch'val avec des jeunes filles à Pimienta. J'ai connu des z'oziaux, j'ai dit, qu'on a servi sur des tartines pour moins qu'ça.. Mamzelle Willella, j'i'dis, veut plus jamais d'nid en laine de mouton tricoté par un pass'reau d'la branche ornithologique jacksonienne. Maint'nant, tu vas laisser tomber ? ou tu veux vérifier si j'mérite qu'on m'appelle l'As-De-La-Gâchette ? c'qui s'rait bon pour avoir le tien entre deux traits d'union dans le journal à la rubrique nécrologique.

Jackson Bird a un peu rougi et pis i' s'est mis à rigoler.

— Eh ben ! M. Judson, i'dit, z'en avez d'mauvaises idées ! J'me suis rendu chez M'zelle Learight plusieurs fois ; mais pas pou' c'que vous pensez. J'comptais ben me garnir la panse !

—J'pris mon arme.

— Par tous les coyotes, j'dis, mais c'est qu'ça voudrait s'montrer offensant... — Attendez un'minute, m'dit cet emplumé, que j'm'esplique. Qu'est c'que j'ferai d'une femme ? Si tu voyais mon ranch ! J'me fait la tambouille et j'bricole. Manger... c'est tout l'plaisir qu'j'éprouve à élever des moutons. M'sieur Judson, avez-vous déjà goûté les crêpes de Mad'moiselle Learight ?

— Moi ? Non, j'i' dis. On m'a jamais dit qu'elle était dans les manœuvres culinaires.

Elles sont dorées, dit-il, brunies de miel par les feux ambrosiaques d'Épicure. Je donnerais deux ans de ma vie pour obtenir la recette pour faire ces crêpes. C'est pour ça que j'suis allé voir Mad'moiselle Learight, a dit Jackson Bird, mais j'ai pas pu obtenir qu'è m'la donne. C't'une vieille r'cette qu'est dans la famille ed'puis soixante-quinze ans. I's'la transmettent d'une génération à l'autr', mais i' la r'filent pas aux étrangers. Si j'pouvais l'avoir c'tte r'cette, pour que j'puisse en faire des crêpes dans mon ranch, j'serais un homme heureux, a dit Bird.

— T'es sûr, j'lui dis, q'c'est pas la petite main qui les fabrique, les crêpes, q'tu cherches ?

— P'sûr, dit Jackson. — M'zelle Learight est sacrément bel' fille, mais j'peux vous jurer q'mes intentions n'sont q' pour la mangeaille ... mais son regard affûté avait perçu le geste de ma main se posant sur mon étui et il changea d'éventualité ... q'l'envie d'obtenir une copie de la r'cette d'crêpes, conclut-il.

— T'es pas un si mauvais p'tit gars, j'lui dis, pour être juste. — Une idée m'a traversé l'crâne, t'supprimer et rend' tes bêlants orphelins, mais mon bon coeur m'perdra. Mais tu t'en tiens aux crêpes, j'dis, aussi près de celle du milieu de la pile... et n'va pas confondre les sentiments et l'sirop ou quand on chantera dans ton ranch, tu s'ras pas là pour l'entendre.

— Pour t'faire voir q'je suis sincère, dit le bêleux, j'vais te d'mander d'me donner un coup de main. M'zelle Learight et toi, z'êtes des amis proches, elle f'rait p' t'être pour toi c'qu'elle ne f'rait pas pour moi. Si tu m'donnes une copie de cette r'cette de crêpes, j'te donne ma parole d'la laisser tranquille.

— Ça me va, dis-je en lui serrant la main. J'vais t'la trouver si j'peux, content d'te rendre service. Et il obliqua vers le bas de la plaine aux gros cactus sur la Piedra, en direction de Mired Mule et je me dirigeai vers le nord-ouest en direction du ranch du vieux Bill Toomey.

Ce n'est que cinq jour après que j'eus une autre opportunité de chevaucher jusqu'à Pimienta. Miss Willela et moi, on passa une soirée très plaisante chez l'oncle Emsley. Elle chanta un peu et horripila passablement le piano avec des airs d'opéra. Je fis des imitations de serpent à sonnette et lui parlai de la nouvelle façon de Snaky McFee d'écorcher les vaches et je lui racontai le voyage que j'avais fait une fois à Saint Louis. Nous nous entendions de mieux en mieux. Elle pense que, si on peut convaincre Jackson Bird de migrer, je vais gagner. Je me souviens de sa promesse à propos de la recette de crêpe et je crois que je vais l'obtenir de Miss Willela et la lui donner; et alors si j'attrape à nouveau Birdie en dehors de Mired Mule, je le ferai déguerpir.

Donc, à l'approche de dix heures, j'arbore un sourire câlin et je dis à Miss Willela: "Bon, s'il y a une chose que je préfère vraiment à la vue d'un bœuf roux sur l'herbe verte, c'est le goût d'une délicieuse crêpe chaude recouverte de mélasse faite maison.

Miss Willela sursaute légèrement sur son tabouret de piano et me regarde d'un air curieux.

— Oui, elle dit’ elles sont vraiment extras. C’était quoi le nom de cette rue à Saint Louis, M. Odom, où vous avez perdu votre chapeau?

— L’avenue des crêpes, je dis, en faisant un clin d’oeil pour lui montrer que je ne lâchais pas la recette de famille et qu’on ne pouvait pas me parquer à côté du sujet. — Allez maintenant, Miss Willela, j’lui dis, dites comment vous les faites. Les crêpes tourbillonnent dans ma tête exactement comme des roues de wagon. Allez-y maintenant... une livre de farine, huit douzaines d’oeufs et ainsi de suite. De quoi se compose la liste d’ingrédients,

— Excusez-moi un instant, s’il vous plait, dit Miss Willela, et elle me jette un rapide regard en coin et glisse du tabouret. Elle s’en va tranquillement dans l’autre pièce et l’oncle Emsley déboule en manches de chemise avec un pichet d’eau. Il se retourne pour prendre un verr sur la table et j’aperçois un quarante-cinq dans sa poche arrière. — Sacrée tarière ! j’me dis, v’là une famille qui imagine un tas de recettes de cuisine en les protégeant avec des flingues. J’ai connu des types qui n’en faisaient pas autant dans les querelles de famille.

— Avale-moi ça, dit l’oncle Emsley, en me tendant le verre d’eau. T’es allé trop loin aujourd’hui, Jud, et tu t’es trop excité. Essaie de penser à autre chose maintenant.

— Est-ce que vous savez faire ces crêpes, oncle Emsley? j’ai demandé.

Eh bien, j’en connais pas autant sur leur anatomie que certains, dit l’oncle Emsley, mais j’imagine que tu prends un tamis de plâtre de Paris, un peu de pâte, du bicarbonate et de la semoule de maïs, tu les mélanges avec des œufs et du babeurre comme d’habitude. Est-ce que le vieux Bill va encore expédier des bœufs à Kansas City ce printemps, Jud?

Voilà toutes les précisions que j’ai pu obtenir sur les crêpes ce soir-là. J’me suis pas étonné que Jackson Bird ait trouvé ça difficile. Alors je laissai tomber le sujet et discutai un moment avec l’oncle de la maladie des cornes creuses et des cyclones. Puis Miss Willela vint nous souhaiter bonne nuit et je fendis la brise vers le ranch.

Environ une semaine plus tard je rencontrai Jackson Bird qui sortait de Pimienta à cheval alors que j’y entrais et nous nous arrêtâmes sur la route pour échanger quelques frivoles remarques.

T’as eu des détails sur ces crêpes finalement? lui demandai-je.

— Eh bien non, dit Jackson. Je n’ai pas l’impression d’avoir eu du succès dans mes recherches. T’as essayé ?

Oui, je dis, et c’est comme ci j’avais essayé de débusquer un chien de prairie de son terrier avec une cosse de cacahuète. Cette recette de crêpes doit être un truc sensationnel, vu la façon dont ils s’y accrochent.

— Je suis tout à fait prêt à laisser tomber, dit Jackson, tellement découragé dans ses prononciations que je me sentais désolé pour lui; mais je voulais absolument savoir comment faire leurs crêpes pour les manger dans mon ranch isolé, dit-il. J’ai passé des nuits blanches à imaginer comme elles étaient bonnes.

— Continuez à essayer, je lui dis, et j’en ferai autant. L’un de nous va forcément attraper ses cornes au lasso sous peu. Bon, salut Jacky.

— Vous voyez, à ce moment nous étions dans les dispositions les plus pacifiques. Quand je vis qu’il n’était plus après Miss Willela, la vue de ce bellâtre aux cheveux filasse me fut plus supportable. Afin de venir au secours des ambitions de son appétit je persévérai à obtenir cette recette de Miss Willela. Mais chaque fois que je disais le mot « crêpes », son regard devenait vague et fuyant et elle tentait de changer de sujet. Si j’insistais, elle s’esquivait et rameutait l’oncle Emsley avec sa cruche d’eau et son obusier de poche.

Un jour, je galopai jusqu’au magasin avec un joli bouquet de verveine bleue que j’avais coupé dans un troupeau de fleurs sauvages dans la prairie des chemins empoisonnés. Oncle Emsley les regarda en fermant un œil et dit: T’as pas entendu les nouvelles?

— On ramène le bétail ? je demande.

— Willela et Jackson Bird se sont mariés à Palestine hier, dit-il. J’viens juste d’recevoir une lettre ce matin.

Je balançai les fleurs dns un baril de biscuits salés et laissai la nouvelle ruisseler de mes oreilles vers ma poche de chemise gauche et jusqu’à mes pieds.

— Ça vous dérangerait de me répéter ça encore une fois, Oncle Emsley? Dis-je. Peut-être que j’ai mal entendu et que vous avez seulement dit que ces génisses de premier choix valaient 4,80 sur pied ou quelque chose comme ça.

— S’sont mariés hier’ dit Oncle Emsley, sont partis à Waco et aux chutes du Niagara en voyage de noces. Ça alors, tu t’es douté de rien pendant tout ce temps? Jackson Bird à fait sa cour à Willela depuis ce jour où il l’a emmenée faire un tour à cheval.

— Alors, je dis, en poussant un genre de hurlement, c’était quoi tout ce cirque qu’il m’a fait à propos des crêpes ? Dites-moi.

Quand je dis le mot « crêpes », Oncle Emsley fit comme une esquive et recula.

— Quelqu’un m’a distribué les crêpes du dessous de la pile, je dis, et j’vais l’retrouver. Je crois que vous le connaissez. Parle, je dis, ou on va mélanger une casserole de pâte à frire là tout de suite.

Je glissai par dessus le comptoir pour attraper l’oncle Emsley. Il s’empara de son flingue mais il était dans un tiroir et il le manqua de deux pouces. Je l’attrapai par le devant de sa chemise et le poussai dans un coin.

— Parle-moi des crêpes, je dis, ou j’t’applatis comme une crêpe. Est-ce que Miss Willela en fait?

— Elle n’en a jamais fait une seule de toute sa vie et je n’en ai jamais vu une, dit l’oncle Emsley en se calmant. Maintenant calme-toi Jud... calme-toi. Tu t’es énervé et cette blessure à la tête est en train d’infecter ton raisonnement. Essaie de ne pas penser aux crêpes.

— Oncle Emsley, je dis, je n'ai pas de blessure à la tête sauf si mes naturels instincts cognitifs sont réduits à des avortons. Jackson Bird m'a dit qu'il rendait visite à Miss Willella dans le but de découvrir sa méthode de confection de crêpes et il m'a demandé de l'aider à obtenir le connaissement des ingrédients. C'est ce que j'ai fait, avec le résultat que vous voyez. Ai-je été engazonné d'herbe de Johnson par un feignant aux yeux roses, ou quoi?

— Arrête de t'agripper à ma chemise, dit l'oncle Emsley et j'te l'dirai. Eh oui, on dirait que Jackson Bird t'a plutôt raconté des foutaises. Le lendemain du jour où il s'est promené à cheval avec Willela, il est revenu et nous a dit de faire attention à toi chaque fois que tu viendrais nous parler de crêpes. Il a dit que tu étais au camp un jour où ils faisaient des crêpes et qu'un des gars t'avait entaillé la tête avec une poële à frire. Jackson a dit que toutes les fois où tu t'échauffais ou t'excitais cette blessure te faisait mal et te rendait comme fou et que tu commençais à délirer à propos des crêpes. Il nous a qu'il suffisait de t'éloigner du sujet et de te calmer et que tu ne serais pas dangereux. Donc, Willela et moi, on a fait du mieux qu'on a pu. Bon, bon, dit Oncle Emsley, ce Jackson Bird est sans aucun doute une espèce rare de feignant.

Pendant que Jud avançait dans son histoire, il avait lentement mais adroitement combiné diverses portions du contenu de ses sacs et de ses bidons. Vers la fin de l'histoire, il disposa devant moi le produit fini... une paire de crêpes brûlantes et richement colorées sur une assiette en étain. De quelque réserve secrète, il apporta aussi une motte d'excellent beurre et une bouteille de sirop doré.

— Il y a combien de temps que ces choses sont arrivées? lui demandai-je.

— Trois ans, répondit Jud. Maintenant, ils vivent au ranch Mired Mule. Mais je n'ai revu ni l'un ni l'autre depuis. On dit que Jackson Bird a décoré son ranch avec des rocking chairs et des rideaux pendant tout le temps où il me faisait grimper à l'arbre aux crêpes. Oh, je m'en suis remis après quelque temps. Mais les gars ont entretenu la rumeur.

— Avez-vous fait ces crêpes selon la fameuse recette? demandai-je.

— J'tai pas dit qu'il n'y avait pas de recette? dit Jud. Les gars ont braillé pour avoir des crêpes tellement ils en voulaient et j'ai découpé la recette dans un journal. Quel goût a l'produit?

— Elles sont délicieuses, répondis-je. Pourquoi t'en prends pas aussi, Jud?

Je suis sûr d'avoir entendu un soupir.

— Moi? dit Jud J'en mange jamais.
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Therefore, I was manna in the desert of Jud's obmutescence.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year ago
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Some of the boys been telling you about me and that pancake racket?"
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year ago
unit 11
"No, Jud," I said, sincerely, "I meant it.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year ago
unit 13
Was there a story about pancakes?"
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 11 months, 4 weeks ago
unit 14
Jud was mollified at once when he saw that I had not been dealing in allusions.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 11 months, 4 weeks ago
unit 16
I watched him as he began to arrange them leisurely and untie their many strings.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 11 months, 4 weeks ago
unit 18
I don't mind telling you.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 11 months, 4 weeks ago
unit 19
"I was punching then for old Bill Toomey, on the San Miguel.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year ago
unit 27
"I slid off the counter and delivered up my shovel to Uncle Emsley.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year ago
unit 28
unit 29
Do you want that I should make you acquainted?'
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year ago
unit 30
"'The Holy Land,' I says to myself, my thoughts milling some as I tried to run 'em into the corral.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 11 months, 4 weeks ago
unit 31
'Why not?
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year ago
unit 33
"So Uncle Emsley took me out in the yard and gave us each other's entitlements.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year ago
unit 34
"I never was shy about women.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year ago
unit 38
says I, as easy and pat as roping a one-year-old.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 11 months, 4 weeks ago
unit 41
hotter than Palestine.
1 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year ago
unit 46
"I swallowed the peach seed and the two damson seeds.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 11 months, 4 weeks ago
unit 49
Did you get that, old Leather-and-Gallops?'
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year ago
unit 50
"That bronc of mine wept, in his way.
2 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year ago
unit 51
He'd been raised a cow pony and he didn't care for snoozers.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 11 months, 4 weeks ago
unit 52
"I went back and said to Uncle Emsley: 'Did you say a sheep man?'
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 11 months, 4 weeks ago
unit 53
"'I said a sheep man,' says Uncle Emsley again.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year ago
unit 54
'You must have heard tell of Jackson Bird.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year ago
unit 56
"I went out and sat on the ground in the shade of the store and leaned against a prickly pear.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 11 months, 4 weeks ago
unit 58
"I never had believed in harming sheep men.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year ago
unit 59
I see one, one day, reading a Latin grammar on hossback, and I never touched him!
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 11 months, 4 weeks ago
unit 60
They never irritated me like they do most cowmen.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 11 months, 4 weeks ago
unit 63
I never thought it was worth while to be hostile with a snoozer.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year ago
unit 65
"An hour by sun they come loping back, and stopped at Uncle Emsley's gate.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year ago
unit 69
"I said that snoozer was pink-eyed, but he wasn't.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year ago
unit 72
"'Afternoon!'
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year ago
unit 73
says I to him.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year ago
unit 76
"'Ah,' says he, just like that--'Ah, I'm glad to know you, Mr. Judson.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year ago
unit 77
I'm Jackson Bird, from over at Mired Mule Ranch.'
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year ago
unit 79
I popped over one after the other with my forty-five, just to show him.
2 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year ago
unit 80
'Two out of three,' says I.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year ago
unit 81
'Birds just naturally seem to draw my fire wherever I go.'
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year ago
unit 82
"'Nice shooting,' says the sheep man, without a flutter.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 11 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 83
'But don't you sometimes ever miss the third shot?
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 11 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 84
Elegant fine rain that was last week for the young grass, Mr.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 11 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 85
Judson?'
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year ago
unit 86
says he.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year ago
unit 88
That is a bad habit you have got of riding with young ladies over at Pimienta.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year ago
unit 89
I've known birds,' says I, 'to be served on toast for less than that.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year ago
unit 92
"Jackson Bird flushed up some, and then he laughed.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year ago
unit 93
"'Why, Mr. Judson,' says he, 'you've got the wrong idea.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 11 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 94
I've called on Miss Learight a few times; but not for the purpose you imagine.
2 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 11 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 95
My object is purely a gastronomical one.'
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 11 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 96
"I reached for my gun.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year ago
unit 98
What would I do with a wife?
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year ago
unit 99
If you ever saw that ranch of mine!
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year ago
unit 100
I do my own cooking and mending.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year ago
unit 101
Eating--that's all the pleasure I get out of sheep raising.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year ago
unit 102
Mr. Judson, did you ever taste the pancakes that Miss Learight makes?'
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year ago
unit 103
"'Me?
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year ago
unit 104
No,' I told him.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year ago
unit 105
'I never was advised that she was up to any culinary manoeuvres.'
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year ago
unit 106
unit 107
I'd give two years of my life to get the recipe for making them pancakes.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year ago
unit 109
It's an old recipe that's been in the family for seventy-five years.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 12 months ago
unit 110
unit 113
"'Sure,' says Jackson.
2 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 12 months ago
unit 115
"'You ain't such a bad little man,' says I, trying to be fair.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 12 months ago
unit 116
unit 118
"'To convince you that I am sincere,' says the sheep man, 'I'll ask you to help me.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 11 months, 4 weeks ago
unit 120
unit 121
"'That's fair,' I says, and I shook hands with Jackson Bird.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 11 months, 4 weeks ago
unit 122
'I'll get it for you if I can, and glad to oblige.'
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 11 months, 4 weeks ago
unit 124
"It was five days afterward when I got another chance to ride over to Pimienta.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 11 months, 4 weeks ago
unit 125
Miss Willella and me passed a gratifying evening at Uncle Emsley's.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 11 months, 4 weeks ago
unit 126
She sang some, and exasperated the piano quite a lot with quotations from the operas.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 11 months, 4 weeks ago
unit 128
We was getting along in one another's estimations fine.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 11 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 129
Thinks I, if Jackson Bird can now be persuaded to migrate, I win.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 11 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 132
"Miss Willella gives a little jump on the piano stool, and looked at me curious.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 11 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 133
"'Yes,' says she, 'they're real nice.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 11 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 134
What did you say was the name of that street in Saint Louis, Mr. Odom, where you lost your hat?'
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 11 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 136
'Come, now, Miss Willella,' I says; 'let's hear how you make 'em.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 11 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 137
Pancakes is just whirling in my head like wagon wheels.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 11 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 138
Start her off, now--pound of flour, eight dozen eggs, and so on.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 11 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 139
How does the catalogue of constituents run?'
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 11 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 142
He turns around to get a glass on the table, and I see a forty-five in his hip pocket.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 11 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 143
'Great post- holes!'
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 11 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 144
thinks I, 'but here's a family thinks a heap of cooking receipts, protecting it with firearms.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 11 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 145
I've known outfits that wouldn't do that much by a family feud.'
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 11 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 146
"'Drink this here down,' says Uncle Emsley, handing me the glass of water.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 11 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 147
'You've rid too far to-day, Jud, and got yourself over-excited.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 11 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 148
Try to think about something else now.'
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 11 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 149
"'Do you know how to make them pancakes, Uncle Emsley?'
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 11 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 150
I asked.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 11 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 152
Is old Bill going to ship beeves to Kansas City again this spring, Jud?'
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 11 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 153
"That was all the pancake specifications I could get that night.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 11 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 154
I didn't wonder that Jackson Bird found it uphill work.
2 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 11 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 155
So I dropped the subject and talked with Uncle Emsley for a while about hollow-horn and cyclones.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 11 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 156
And then Miss Willella came and said 'Good-night,' and I hit the breeze for the ranch.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 11 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 158
"'Got the bill of particulars for them flapjacks yet?'
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 11 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 159
I asked him.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 11 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 160
"'Well, no,' says Jackson.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 11 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 161
'I don't seem to have any success in getting hold of it.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 11 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 162
Did you try?'
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 11 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 163
"'I did,' says I, 'and 'twas like trying to dig a prairie dog out of his hole with a peanut hull.
2 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 11 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 164
That pancake receipt must be a jookalorum, the way they hold on to it.'
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 11 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 166
'I lie awake at nights thinking how good they are.'
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 11 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 167
"'You keep on trying for it,' I tells him, 'and I'll do the same.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 11 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 168
One of us is bound to get a rope over its horns before long.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 11 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 169
Well, so- long, Jacksy.'
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 11 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 170
"You see, by this time we were on the peacefullest of terms.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 11 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 172
unit 176
Uncle Emsley looked at 'em with one eye shut and says: "'Haven't ye heard the news?'
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 11 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 177
"'Cattle up?'
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 11 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 178
I asks.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 11 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 179
"'Willella and Jackson Bird was married in Palestine yesterday,' says he.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 11 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 180
'Just got a letter this morning.'
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 11 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 182
"'Would you mind saying that over again once more, Uncle Emsley?'
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 11 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 183
says I.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 11 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 185
"'Married yesterday,' says Uncle Emsley, 'and gone to Waco and Niagara Falls on a wedding tour.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 11 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 186
Why, didn't you see none of the signs all along?
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 11 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 187
Jackson Bird has been courting Willella ever since that day he took her out riding.'
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 11 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 188
"'Then,' says I, in a kind of yell, 'what was all this zizzaparoola he gives me about pancakes?
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 11 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 189
Tell me that.'
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 11 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 190
"When I said 'pancakes' Uncle Emsley sort of dodged and stepped back.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 11 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 191
"'Somebody's been dealing me pancakes from the bottom of the deck,' I says, 'and I'll find out.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 11 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 192
I believe you know.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 11 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 193
Talk up,' says I, 'or we'll mix a panful of batter right here.'
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 11 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 194
"I slid over the counter after Uncle Emsley.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 11 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 195
He grabbed at his gun, but it was in a drawer, and he missed it two inches.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 11 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 196
I got him by the front of his shirt and shoved him in a corner.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 11 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 197
"'Talk pancakes,' says I, 'or be made into one.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 11 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 198
Does Miss Willella make 'em?'
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 11 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 199
"'She never made one in her life and I never saw one,' says Uncle Emsley, soothing.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 11 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 200
'Calm down now, Jud--calm down.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 11 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 201
You've got excited, and that wound in your head is contaminating your sense of intelligence.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 11 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 202
Try not to think about pancakes.'
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 11 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 205
I done so, with the results as you see.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 11 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 206
Have I been sodded down with Johnson grass by a pink-eyed snoozer, or what?'
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 11 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 207
"'Slack up your grip in my dress shirt,' says Uncle Emsley, 'and I'll tell you.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 11 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 208
Yes, it looks like Jackson Bird has gone and humbugged you some.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 11 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 212
He told us to just get you worked off of the subject and soothed down, and you wouldn't be dangerous.
2 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity 11 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 213
So, me and Willella done the best by you we knew how.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 11 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 214
Well, well,' says Uncle Emsley, 'that Jackson Bird is sure a seldom kind of a snoozer.'"
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 11 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 217
From some secret hoarding he also brought a lump of excellent butter and a bottle of golden syrup.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 11 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 218
"How long ago did these things happen?"
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 11 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 219
I asked him.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 11 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 220
"Three years," said Jud.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 11 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 221
"They're living on the Mired Mule Ranch now.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 11 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 222
But I haven't seen either of 'em since.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 11 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 224
Oh, I got over it after a while.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 11 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 225
But the boys kept the racket up."
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 11 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 226
"Did you make these cakes by the famous recipe?"
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 11 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 227
I asked.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 11 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 228
"Didn't I tell you there wasn't no receipt?"
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 11 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 229
said Jud.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 11 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 230
"The boys hollered pancakes till they got pancake hungry, and I cut this recipe out of a newspaper.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 11 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 231
How does the truck taste?"
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 11 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 232
"They're delicious," I answered.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 11 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 233
"Why don't you have some, too, Jud?"
2 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 11 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 234
I was sure I heard a sigh.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 11 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 235
"Me?"
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 11 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 236
said Jud.
2 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 11 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 237
"I don't ever eat 'em."
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 11 months, 3 weeks ago
GCHOTEAU • 2259  translated  unit 236  11 months, 3 weeks ago
GCHOTEAU • 2259  translated  unit 236  11 months, 3 weeks ago
GCHOTEAU • 2259  translated  unit 235  11 months, 3 weeks ago
GCHOTEAU • 2259  translated  unit 229  11 months, 3 weeks ago
GCHOTEAU • 2259  translated  unit 227  11 months, 3 weeks ago
Bouchka • 3709  commented on  unit 181  11 months, 3 weeks ago
GCHOTEAU • 2259  translated  unit 189  11 months, 3 weeks ago
GCHOTEAU • 2259  translated  unit 183  11 months, 3 weeks ago
GCHOTEAU • 2259  translated  unit 178  11 months, 3 weeks ago

J'ai traduit "snoozer" par "traîne-savates", ma recherche n'était pas assez approfondie, j'ai, enfin, trouvé que c'était un terme de mépris que les cow-boys (vachers) utilisaient pour désigner les bergers. J'ai proposé ensuite, "bêlant" ou "bêleux" . Qui a mieux ? Le terme revient souvent.

by Oplusse 1 year ago

The Pimienta Pancakes by O Henry

While we were rounding up a bunch of the Triangle-O cattle in the Frio bottoms a projecting branch of a dead mesquite caught my wooden stirrup and gave my ankle a wrench that laid me up in camp for a week.

On the third day of my compulsory idleness I crawled out near the grub wagon, and reclined helpless under the conversational fire of Judson Odom, the camp cook. Jud was a monologist by nature, whom Destiny, with customary blundering, had set in a profession wherein he was bereaved, for the greater portion of his time, of an audience.

Therefore, I was manna in the desert of Jud's obmutescence.

Betimes I was stirred by invalid longings for something to eat that did not come under the caption of "grub." I had visions of the maternal pantry "deep as first love, and wild with all regret," and then I asked:

"Jud, can you make pancakes?"

Jud laid down his six-shooter, with which he was preparing to pound an antelope steak, and stood over me in what I felt to be a menacing attitude. He further endorsed my impression that his pose was resentful by fixing upon me with his light blue eyes a look of cold suspicion.

"Say, you," he said, with candid, though not excessive, choler, "did you mean that straight, or was you trying to throw the gaff into me? Some of the boys been telling you about me and that pancake racket?"

"No, Jud," I said, sincerely, "I meant it. It seems to me I'd swap my pony and saddle for a stack of buttered brown pancakes with some first crop, open kettle, New Orleans sweetening. Was there a story about pancakes?"

Jud was mollified at once when he saw that I had not been dealing in allusions. He brought some mysterious bags and tin boxes from the grub wagon and set them in the shade of the hackberry where I lay reclined. I watched him as he began to arrange them leisurely and untie their many strings.

"No, not a story," said Jud, as he worked, "but just the logical disclosures in the case of me and that pink-eyed snoozer from Mired Mule Canada and Miss Willella Learight. I don't mind telling you.

"I was punching then for old Bill Toomey, on the San Miguel. One day I gets all ensnared up in aspirations for to eat some canned grub that hasn't ever mooed or baaed or grunted or been in peck measures. So, I gets on my bronc and pushes the wind for Uncle Emsley Telfair's store at the Pimienta Crossing on the Nueces.

"About three in the afternoon I throwed my bridle rein over a mesquite limb and walked the last twenty yards into Uncle Emsley's store. I got up on the counter and told Uncle Emsley that the signs pointed to the devastation of the fruit crop of the world. In a minute I had a bag of crackers and a long-handled spoon, with an open can each of apricots and pineapples and cherries and greengages beside of me with Uncle Emsley busy chopping away with the hatchet at the yellow clings. I was feeling like Adam before the apple stampede, and was digging my spurs into the side of the counter and working with my twenty-four-inch spoon when I happened to look out of the window into the yard of Uncle Emsley's house, which was next to the store.

"There was a girl standing there--an imported girl with fixings on-- philandering with a croquet maul and amusing herself by watching my style of encouraging the fruit canning industry.

"I slid off the counter and delivered up my shovel to Uncle Emsley.

"'That's my niece,' says he; 'Miss Willella Learight, down from Palestine on a visit. Do you want that I should make you acquainted?'

"'The Holy Land,' I says to myself, my thoughts milling some as I tried to run 'em into the corral. 'Why not? There was sure angels in Pales--Why, yes, Uncle Emsley,' I says out loud, 'I'd be awful edified to meet Miss Learight.'

"So Uncle Emsley took me out in the yard and gave us each other's entitlements.

"I never was shy about women. I never could understand why some men who can break a mustang before breakfast and shave in the dark, get all left-handed and full of perspiration and excuses when they see a bold of calico draped around what belongs to it. Inside of eight minutes me and Miss Willella was aggravating the croquet balls around as amiable as second cousins. She gave me a dig about the quantity of canned fruit I had eaten, and I got back at her, flat-footed, about how a certain lady named Eve started the fruit trouble in the first free-grass pasture--'Over in Palestine, wasn't it?' says I, as easy and pat as roping a one-year-old.

"That was how I acquired cordiality for the proximities of Miss Willella Learight; and the disposition grew larger as time passed. She was stopping at Pimienta Crossing for her health, which was very good, and for the climate, which was forty per cent. hotter than Palestine. I rode over to see her once every week for a while; and then I figured it out that if I doubled the number of trips I would see her twice as often.

"One week I slipped in a third trip; and that's where the pancakes and the pink-eyed snoozer busted into the game.

"That evening, while I set on the counter with a peach and two damsons in my mouth, I asked Uncle Emsley how Miss Willella was.

"'Why,' says Uncle Emsley, 'she's gone riding with Jackson Bird, the sheep man from over at Mired Mule Canada.'

"I swallowed the peach seed and the two damson seeds. I guess somebody held the counter by the bridle while I got off; and then I walked out straight ahead till I butted against the mesquite where my roan was tied.

"'She's gone riding,' I whisper in my bronc's ear, 'with Birdstone Jack, the hired mule from Sheep Man's Canada. Did you get that, old Leather-and-Gallops?'

"That bronc of mine wept, in his way. He'd been raised a cow pony and he didn't care for snoozers.

"I went back and said to Uncle Emsley: 'Did you say a sheep man?'

"'I said a sheep man,' says Uncle Emsley again. 'You must have heard tell of Jackson Bird. He's got eight sections of grazing and four thousand head of the finest Merinos south of the Arctic Circle.'

"I went out and sat on the ground in the shade of the store and leaned against a prickly pear. I sifted sand into my boots with unthinking hands while I soliloquised a quantity about this bird with the Jackson plumage to his name.

"I never had believed in harming sheep men. I see one, one day, reading a Latin grammar on hossback, and I never touched him! They never irritated me like they do most cowmen. You wouldn't go to work now, and impair and disfigure snoozers, would you, that eat on tables and wear little shoes and speak to you on subjects? I had always let 'em pass, just as you would a jack-rabbit; with a polite word and a guess about the weather, but no stopping to swap canteens. I never thought it was worth while to be hostile with a snoozer. And because I'd been lenient, and let 'em live, here was one going around riding with Miss Willella Learight!

"An hour by sun they come loping back, and stopped at Uncle Emsley's gate. The sheep person helped her off; and they stood throwing each other sentences all sprightful and sagacious for a while. And then this feathered Jackson flies up in his saddle and raises his little stewpot of a hat, and trots off in the direction of his mutton ranch. By this time I had turned the sand out of my boots and unpinned myself from the prickly pear; and by the time he gets half a mile out of Pimienta, I singlefoots up beside him on my bronc.

"I said that snoozer was pink-eyed, but he wasn't. His seeing arrangement was grey enough, but his eye-lashes was pink and his hair was sandy, and that gave you the idea. Sheep man?--he wasn't more than a lamb man, anyhow--a little thing with his neck involved in a yellow silk handkerchief, and shoes tied up in bowknots.

"'Afternoon!' says I to him. 'You now ride with a equestrian who is commonly called Dead-Moral-Certainty Judson, on account of the way I shoot. When I want a stranger to know me I always introduce myself before the draw, for I never did like to shake hands with ghosts.'

"'Ah,' says he, just like that--'Ah, I'm glad to know you, Mr. Judson. I'm Jackson Bird, from over at Mired Mule Ranch.'

"Just then one of my eyes saw a roadrunner skipping down the hill with a young tarantula in his bill, and the other eye noticed a rabbit-hawk sitting on a dead limb in a water-elm. I popped over one after the other with my forty-five, just to show him. 'Two out of three,' says I. 'Birds just naturally seem to draw my fire wherever I go.'

"'Nice shooting,' says the sheep man, without a flutter. 'But don't you sometimes ever miss the third shot? Elegant fine rain that was last week for the young grass, Mr. Judson?' says he.

"'Willie,' says I, riding over close to his palfrey, 'your infatuated parents may have denounced you by the name of Jackson, but you sure moulted into a twittering Willie--let us slough off this here analysis of rain and the elements, and get down to talk that is outside the vocabulary of parrots. That is a bad habit you have got of riding with young ladies over at Pimienta. I've known birds,' says I, 'to be served on toast for less than that. Miss Willella,' says I, 'don't ever want any nest made out of sheep's wool by a tomtit of the Jacksonian branch of ornithology. Now, are you going to quit, or do you wish for to gallop up against this Dead-Moral-Certainty attachment to my name, which is good for two hyphens and at least one set of funeral obsequies?'

"Jackson Bird flushed up some, and then he laughed.

"'Why, Mr. Judson,' says he, 'you've got the wrong idea. I've called on Miss Learight a few times; but not for the purpose you imagine. My object is purely a gastronomical one.'

"I reached for my gun.

"'Any coyote,' says I, 'that would boast of dishonourable--'

"'Wait a minute,' says this Bird, 'till I explain. What would I do with a wife? If you ever saw that ranch of mine! I do my own cooking and mending. Eating--that's all the pleasure I get out of sheep raising. Mr. Judson, did you ever taste the pancakes that Miss Learight makes?'

"'Me? No,' I told him. 'I never was advised that she was up to any culinary manoeuvres.'

"'They're golden sunshine,' says he, 'honey-browned by the ambrosial fires of Epicurus. I'd give two years of my life to get the recipe for making them pancakes. That's what I went to see Miss Learight for,' says Jackson Bird, 'but I haven't been able to get it from her. It's an old recipe that's been in the family for seventy-five years. They hand it down from one generation to another, but they don't give it away to outsiders. If I could get that recipe, so I could make them pancakes for myself on my ranch, I'd be a happy man,' says Bird.

"'Are you sure,' I says to him, 'that it ain't the hand that mixes the pancakes that you're after?'

"'Sure,' says Jackson. 'Miss Learight is a mighty nice girl, but I can assure you my intentions go no further than the gastro--' but he seen my hand going down to my holster and he changed his similitude--'than the desire to procure a copy of the pancake recipe,' he finishes.

"'You ain't such a bad little man,' says I, trying to be fair. 'I was thinking some of making orphans of your sheep, but I'll let you fly away this time. But you stick to pancakes,' says I, 'as close as the middle one of a stack; and don't go and mistake sentiments for syrup, or there'll be singing at your ranch, and you won't hear it.'

"'To convince you that I am sincere,' says the sheep man, 'I'll ask you to help me. Miss Learight and you being closer friends, maybe she would do for you what she wouldn't for me. If you will get me a copy of that pancake recipe, I give you my word that I'll never call upon her again.'

"'That's fair,' I says, and I shook hands with Jackson Bird. 'I'll get it for you if I can, and glad to oblige.' And he turned off down the big pear flat on the Piedra, in the direction of Mired Mule; and I steered northwest for old Bill Toomey's ranch.

"It was five days afterward when I got another chance to ride over to Pimienta. Miss Willella and me passed a gratifying evening at Uncle Emsley's. She sang some, and exasperated the piano quite a lot with quotations from the operas. I gave imitations of a rattlesnake, and told her about Snaky McFee's new way of skinning cows, and described the trip I made to Saint Louis once. We was getting along in one another's estimations fine. Thinks I, if Jackson Bird can now be persuaded to migrate, I win. I recollect his promise about the pancake receipt, and I thinks I will persuade it from Miss Willella and give it to him; and then if I catches Birdie off of Mired Mule again, I'll make him hop the twig.

"So, along about ten o'clock, I put on a wheedling smile and says to Miss Willella: 'Now, if there's anything I do like better than the sight of a red steer on green grass it's the taste of a nice hot pancake smothered in sugar-house molasses.'

"Miss Willella gives a little jump on the piano stool, and looked at me curious.

"'Yes,' says she, 'they're real nice. What did you say was the name of that street in Saint Louis, Mr. Odom, where you lost your hat?'

"'Pancake Avenue,' says I, with a wink, to show her that I was on about the family receipt, and couldn't be side-corralled off of the subject. 'Come, now, Miss Willella,' I says; 'let's hear how you make 'em. Pancakes is just whirling in my head like wagon wheels. Start her off, now--pound of flour, eight dozen eggs, and so on. How does the catalogue of constituents run?'

"'Excuse me for a moment, please,' says Miss Willella, and she gives me a quick kind of sideways look, and slides off the stool. She ambled out into the other room, and directly Uncle Emsley comes in in his shirt sleeves, with a pitcher of water. He turns around to get a glass on the table, and I see a forty-five in his hip pocket. 'Great post- holes!' thinks I, 'but here's a family thinks a heap of cooking receipts, protecting it with firearms. I've known outfits that wouldn't do that much by a family feud.'

"'Drink this here down,' says Uncle Emsley, handing me the glass of water. 'You've rid too far to-day, Jud, and got yourself over-excited. Try to think about something else now.'

"'Do you know how to make them pancakes, Uncle Emsley?' I asked.

"'Well, I'm not as apprised in the anatomy of them as some,' says Uncle Emsley, 'but I reckon you take a sifter of plaster of Paris and a little dough and saleratus and corn meal, and mix 'em with eggs and buttermilk as usual. Is old Bill going to ship beeves to Kansas City again this spring, Jud?'

"That was all the pancake specifications I could get that night. I didn't wonder that Jackson Bird found it uphill work. So I dropped the subject and talked with Uncle Emsley for a while about hollow-horn and cyclones. And then Miss Willella came and said 'Good-night,' and I hit the breeze for the ranch.

"About a week afterward I met Jackson Bird riding out of Pimienta as I rode in, and we stopped on the road for a few frivolous remarks.

"'Got the bill of particulars for them flapjacks yet?' I asked him.

"'Well, no,' says Jackson. 'I don't seem to have any success in getting hold of it. Did you try?'

"'I did,' says I, 'and 'twas like trying to dig a prairie dog out of his hole with a peanut hull. That pancake receipt must be a jookalorum, the way they hold on to it.'

"'I'm most ready to give it up,' says Jackson, so discouraged in his pronunciations that I felt sorry for him; 'but I did want to know how to make them pancakes to eat on my lonely ranch,' says he. 'I lie awake at nights thinking how good they are.'

"'You keep on trying for it,' I tells him, 'and I'll do the same. One of us is bound to get a rope over its horns before long. Well, so- long, Jacksy.'

"You see, by this time we were on the peacefullest of terms. When I saw that he wasn't after Miss Willella, I had more endurable contemplations of that sandy-haired snoozer. In order to help out the ambitions of his appetite I kept on trying to get that receipt from Miss Willella. But every time I would say 'pancakes' she would get sort of remote and fidgety about the eye, and try to change the subject. If I held her to it she would slide out and round up Uncle Emsley with his pitcher of water and hip-pocket howitzer.

"One day I galloped over to the store with a fine bunch of blue verbenas that I cut out of a herd of wild flowers over on Poisoned Dog Prairie. Uncle Emsley looked at 'em with one eye shut and says:

"'Haven't ye heard the news?'

"'Cattle up?' I asks.

"'Willella and Jackson Bird was married in Palestine yesterday,' says he. 'Just got a letter this morning.'

"I dropped them flowers in a cracker-barrel, and let the news trickle in my ears and down toward my upper left-hand shirt pocket until it got to my feet.

"'Would you mind saying that over again once more, Uncle Emsley?' says I. 'Maybe my hearing has got wrong, and you only said that prime heifers was 4.80 on the hoof, or something like that.'

"'Married yesterday,' says Uncle Emsley, 'and gone to Waco and Niagara Falls on a wedding tour. Why, didn't you see none of the signs all along? Jackson Bird has been courting Willella ever since that day he took her out riding.'

"'Then,' says I, in a kind of yell, 'what was all this zizzaparoola he gives me about pancakes? Tell me that.'

"When I said 'pancakes' Uncle Emsley sort of dodged and stepped back.

"'Somebody's been dealing me pancakes from the bottom of the deck,' I says, 'and I'll find out. I believe you know. Talk up,' says I, 'or we'll mix a panful of batter right here.'

"I slid over the counter after Uncle Emsley. He grabbed at his gun, but it was in a drawer, and he missed it two inches. I got him by the front of his shirt and shoved him in a corner.

"'Talk pancakes,' says I, 'or be made into one. Does Miss Willella make 'em?'

"'She never made one in her life and I never saw one,' says Uncle Emsley, soothing. 'Calm down now, Jud--calm down. You've got excited, and that wound in your head is contaminating your sense of intelligence. Try not to think about pancakes.'

"'Uncle Emsley,' says I, 'I'm not wounded in the head except so far as my natural cognitive instincts run to runts. Jackson Bird told me he was calling on Miss Willella for the purpose of finding out her system of producing pancakes, and he asked me to help him get the bill of lading of the ingredients. I done so, with the results as you see. Have I been sodded down with Johnson grass by a pink-eyed snoozer, or what?'

"'Slack up your grip in my dress shirt,' says Uncle Emsley, 'and I'll tell you. Yes, it looks like Jackson Bird has gone and humbugged you some. The day after he went riding with Willella he came back and told me and her to watch out for you whenever you got to talking about pancakes. He said you was in camp once where they was cooking flapjacks, and one of the fellows cut you over the head with a frying pan. Jackson said that whenever you got overhot or excited that wound hurt you and made you kind of crazy, and you went raving about pancakes. He told us to just get you worked off of the subject and soothed down, and you wouldn't be dangerous. So, me and Willella done the best by you we knew how. Well, well,' says Uncle Emsley, 'that Jackson Bird is sure a seldom kind of a snoozer.'"

During the progress of Jud's story he had been slowly but deftly combining certain portions of the contents of his sacks and cans. Toward the close of it he set before me the finished product--a pair of red-hot, rich-hued pancakes on a tin plate. From some secret hoarding he also brought a lump of excellent butter and a bottle of golden syrup.

"How long ago did these things happen?" I asked him.

"Three years," said Jud. "They're living on the Mired Mule Ranch now. But I haven't seen either of 'em since. They say Jackson Bird was fixing his ranch up fine with rocking chairs and window curtains all the time he was putting me up the pancake tree. Oh, I got over it after a while. But the boys kept the racket up."

"Did you make these cakes by the famous recipe?" I asked.

"Didn't I tell you there wasn't no receipt?" said Jud. "The boys hollered pancakes till they got pancake hungry, and I cut this recipe out of a newspaper. How does the truck taste?"

"They're delicious," I answered. "Why don't you have some, too, Jud?"

I was sure I heard a sigh.

"Me?" said Jud. "I don't ever eat 'em."