The Hospitality Of Travennes
From: Hopalong Cassidy's Rustler Round-up
Mr. Buck Peters rode into Alkaline one bright September morning and
sought refreshment at the Emporium. Mr. Peters had just finished some
business for his employer and felt the satisfaction that comes with
the knowledge of work well done. He expected to remain in Alkaline for
several days, where he was to be joined by two of his friends and
punchers, Mr. Hopalong Cassidy and Mr. Red Connors, both of whom were
at Cactus Springs, seventy miles to the east. Mr. Cassidy and his
friend had just finished a nocturnal tour of Santa Fe and felt
somewhat peevish and dull in consequence, not to mention the sadness
occasioned by the expenditure of the greater part of their combined
capital on such foolishness as faro, roulette and wet-goods.
Mr. Peters and his friends had sought wealth in the Black Hills,
where they had enthusiastically disfigured the earth in the fond
expectation of uncovering vast stores of virgin gold. Their hopes were
of an optimistic brand and had existed until the last canister of
cornmeal flour had been emptied by Mr. Cassidy's burro, which waited
not upon it's master's pleasure nor upon the ethics of the case. When
Mr. Cassidy had returned from exercising the animal and himself over
two miles of rocky hillside in the vain endeavor to give it his
opinion of burros and sundry chastisements, he was requested, as owner
of the beast, to give his counsel as to the best way of securing
Remembering that the animal was headed north when
he last saw it and that it was too old to eat, anyway, he suggested a
plan which had worked successfully at other times for other ends,
namely, poker. Mr. McAllister, an expert at the great American game,
volunteered his service in accordance with the spirit of the occasion
and, half an hour later, he and Mr. Cassidy drifted into Pell's poker
parlors, which were located in the rear of a Chinese laundry, where
they gathered unto themselves the wherewithal for the required
breakfasts. An hour spent in the card room of the "Hurrah" convinced
its proprietor that they had wasted their talents for the past six
weeks in digging for gold. The proof of this permitted the departure
of the outfits with their customary elan.
At Santa Fe the various individuals had gone their respective ways,
to reassemble at the ranch in the near future, and for several days
they had been drifting south in groups of twos and threes and, like
chaff upon a stream, had eddied into Alkaline, where Mr. Peters had
found them arduously engaged in postponing the final journey. After he
had gladdened their hearts and soothed their throats by making several
pithy remarks to the bartender, with whom he established their credit,
he cautioned them against letting any one harm them and, smiling at
the humor of his warning, left abruptly.
Cactus Springs was burdened with a zealous and initiative
organization known as vigilantes, whose duty it was to extend the
courtesies of the land to cattle thieves and the like. This organization
boasted of the name of Travennes' Terrors and of a muster
roll of twenty. There was also a boast that no one had ever escaped
them which, if true, was in many cases unfortunate. Mr. Slim
Travennes, with whom Mr. Cassidy had participated in an extemporaneous
exchange of Colt's courtesies in Santa Fe the year before, was the
head of the organization and was also chairman of the committee on
arrivals, and the two gentlemen of the Bar-20 had not been in town an
hour before he knew of it.
Being anxious to show the strangers every attention and having a keen
recollection of the brand of gun-play commanded by Mr. Cassidy, he
planned a smoother method of procedure and one calculated to permit
him to enjoy the pleasures of a good old age. Mr. Travennes knew that
horse thieves were regarded as social enemies, that the necessary proof
of their guilt was the finding of stolen animals in their possession, that
death was the penalty and that every man, whether directly concerned
or not, regarded, himself as judge, jury and executioner.
He had several acquaintances who were bound to him by his knowledge
of crimes they had committed and would could not refuse his slightest wish.
Even if they had been free agents they were not above causing the death of an
innocent man. Mr. Travennes, feeling very self-satisfied at his cleverness,
arranged to have the proof placed where it would do the most harm
and intended to take care of the rest by himself.
Mr. Connors, feeling much refreshed and very hungry, arose at
daylight the next morning, and dressing quickly, started off to feed
and water the horses. After having several tilts with the landlord
about the bucket he took his departure toward the corral at the rear.
Peering through the gate, he could hardly believe his eyes. He climbed
over it and inspected the animals at close range, and found that those
which he and his friend had ridden for the last two months were not to
be seen, but in their places were two better animals, which concerned
him greatly. Being fair and square himself, he could not understand
the change and sought enlightenment of his more imaginative and
"Hey, Hopalong!" he called, "come out here an' see what th' blazes
Mr. Cassidy stuck his auburn head out of the wounded shutter and
complacently surveyed his companion. Then he saw the horses and looked
"Quit yore foolin', yu old cuss," he remarked pleasantly, as he
groped around behind him with his feet, searching for his boots.
"Anybody would think yu was a little boy with yore fool jokes. Ain't
yu ever goin' to grow up?"
"They've got our bronch," replied Mr. Connors in an injured tone.
Honest, I ain't kiddin' yu," he added for the sake of peace.
"Who has?" Came from the window, followed immediately by, "Yu've got
"I ain't-they're under th' bunk," contradicted and explained Mr.
Connors. Then, turning to the matter in his mind he replied, "I don't
know who's got them. If I did do yu think I'd be holdin' hands with
"Nobody'd accuse yu of anything like that," came from the window,
accompanied by an overdone snicker.
Mr. Connors flushed under his accumulated tan as he remembered the
varied pleasures of Santa Fe, and he regarded the bronchos in anything
but a pleasant state of mind.
Mr. Cassidy slid through the window and approached his friend,
looking as serious as he could.
"Any tracks?" He inquired, as he glanced quickly over the ground to
see for himself.
"Not after that wind we had last night. They might have growed there
for all I can see," growled Mr. Connors.
"I reckon we better hold a pow-wow with th' foreman of this shack
an' find out what he knows," suggested Mr. Cassidy. "This looks too
good to be a swap."
Mr. Connors looked his disgust at the idea and then a light broke in
upon him. "Mebby they was hard pushed an' wanted fresh cayuses," he
said. "A whole lot of people get hard pushed in this country. Anyhow,
we'll prospect th' boss."
They found the proprietor in his stocking feet, getting the
breakfast, and Mr. Cassidy regarded the preparations with open
approval. He counted the tin plates and found only three, and,
thinking that there would be more plates if there were others to feed,
glanced into the landlord's room. Not finding signs of other guests,
on whom to lay the blame for the loss of his horse, he began to ask
"Much trade?" He inquired solicitously.
"Yep," replied the landlord.
Mr. Cassidy looked at the three tins and wondered if there had ever
been any more with which to supply his trade. "Been out this morning?"
"Talks purty nigh as much as Buck," thought Mr. Cassidy, and then
said aloud, "Anybody else here?"
Mr. Cassidy lapsed into a painful and disgusted silence and his
friend tried his hand.
"Who owns a mosaic bronch, Chinee flag on th' near side, Skillet
brand?" asked Mr. Connors.
"Gosh, he can nearly keep still in two lingoes," thought Mr.
"Who owns a bob-tailed pinto, saddle-galled, cast in th' near eye,
Star Diamond brand, white stockin' on th' off front prop, with a habit
of scratchin' itself every other minute?" went on Mr. Connors.
"Slim Travennes," replied the proprietor, flopping a flapjack. Mr.
Cassidy reflectively scratched the back of his hand and looked
innocent, but his mind was working overtime.
"Who's Slim Travennes?" Asked Mr. Connors, never having heard of
that person, owing to the reticence of his friend.
"Captain of th' vigilantes."
"What does he look like on th' general run?" Blandly inquired Mr.
Cassidy, wishing to verify his suspicions. He thought of the trouble
he had with Mr. Travennes up in Santa Fe and of the reputation that
gentleman possessed. Then the fact that Mr. Travennes was the leader
of the local vigilantes came to his assistance and he was sure that
the captain had a hand in the change. All these points existed in
misty groups in his mind, but the next remark of the landlord caused
them to rush together and reveal the plot.
"Good," said the landlord, flopping another flapjack, "and a warnin'
to hoss thieves.
"Ahem," coughed Mr. Cassidy and then continued, "is he a tall,
lanky, yaller-headed son-of-a-gun, with a big nose an' lots of ears?"
"Mebby so," answered the host.
"Urn, slopping over into bad Sioux," thought Mr. Cassidy, and then
said aloud, "How long has he hung around this here layout?" At the
same time passing a warning glance at his companion.
The landlord straightened up. "Look here, stranger, if yu hankers
after his pedigree so all-fired hard yu had best pump him."
"I told yu this here feller wasn't a man what would give away all he
knowed," lied Mr. Connors, turning to his friend and indicating the
host. "He ain't got time for that. Anybody can see that he is a
powerful busy man. An' then he ain't no child."
Mr. Cassidy thought that the landlord could tell all he knew in
about five minutes and then not break any speed records for
conversation, but he looked properly awed and impressed. "Well, yu
needn't go an' get mad about it! I didn't know, did I?"
"Who's gettin' mad?" Pugnaciously asked Mr. Connors. After his
injured feelings had been soothed by Mr. Cassidy's sullen silence he
again turned to the landlord.
"What did this Travennes look like when yu saw him last?" Coaxed Mr.
"Th' same as he does now, as yu can see by lookin' out of th'
window. That's him down th' street," enlightened the host, thawing to
the pleasant Mr. Connors.
Mr. Cassidy adopted the suggestion and frowned. Mr. Travennes and
two companions were walking toward the corral and Mr. Cassidy once
again slid out of the window, his friend going by the door.
Next: Travennes' Discomfiture
Previous: Holding The Claim