THE LUCK OF ROARING CAMP. 21
candle-box half curiously, the child turned, and, in
a spasm of pain, caught at his groping finger, and
held it fast for a moment. Kentuck looked foolish
and embarrassed. Something like a blush tried to
assert itself in his weather-beaten cheek. "The
d—d little cuss! " he said, as he extricated his
finger, with, perhaps, more tenderness and care than
he might have been deemed capable of showing.
He held that finger a little apart from its fellows as
he went out, and examined it curiously. The
examination provoked the same original remark in
regard to the child. In fact, he seemed to enjoy
repeating it. "He rastled with my finger," he
remarked to Tipton, holding up the member, " the
d—d little cuss 1 "
It was four o'clock before the camp sought repose.
A light burnt in the cabin where the watchers sat,
for Stumpy did not go to bed that night. Nor did
Kentuck. He drank quite freely, and related with
great gusto his experience, invariably ending with
his characteristic condemnation of the new-comer.
It seemed to relieve him of any unjust implication
of sentiment, and Kentuck had the weaknesses of
the nobler sex. When everybody else had gone to
bed, he walked down to the river, and whistled
reflectingly. Then he walked up the gulch, past
the cabin, still whistling with demonstrative uncon¬
cern. At a large red-wood tree he paused and