By Owen Wister

To Messrs. Harper & Bothers and Henry Mills Alden whose friendliness and

fair dealing I am glad of this chance to record

Owen Wister


It's very plain that if a thing's the fashion--

Too much the fashion--if the people leap

To do it, or to be it, in a passion

Of haste and crowding, like a herd of sheep,

Why then that thing becomes through imitation

Vulgar, excessive, obvious, and cheap.

No gentleman desires to be pursuing

What every Tom and Dick and Harry's doing.

Stranger, do you write books? I ask the question,

Because I'm told that everybody writes

That what with scribbling, eating, and digestion,

And proper slumber, all our days and nights

Are wholly filled. It seems an odd suggestion--

But if you do write, stop it, leave the masses,

Read me, and join the small selected classes.

The Jimmyjohn Boss


One day at Nampa, which is in Idaho, a ruddy old massive jovial man

stood by the Silver City stage, patting his beard with his left hand,

and with his right the shoulder of a boy who stood beside him. He had

come with the boy on the branch train from Boise, because he was a

careful German and liked to say everything twice--twice at least when it

was a matter of business. This was a matter of very particular business,

and the German had repeated himself for nineteen miles. Presently the

east-bound on the main line would arrive from Portland; then the Silver

City stage would take the boy south on his new mission, and the man

would journey by the branch train back to Boise. From Boise no one could

say where he might not go, west or east. He was a great and pervasive

cattle man in Oregon, California, and other places. Vogel and Lex--even

to-day you may hear the two ranch partners spoken of. So the veteran

Vogel was now once more going over his notions and commands to his

youthful deputy during the last precious minutes until the east-bound

should arrive.

"Und if only you haf someding like dis," said the old man, as he tapped

his beard and patted the boy, "it would be five hoondert more dollars

salary in your liddle pants."

The boy winked up at his employer. He had a gray, humorous eye; he was

slim and alert, like a sparrow-hawk--the sort of boy his father openly

rejoices in and his mother is secretly in prayer over. Only, this boy

had neither father nor mother. Since the age of twelve he had looked out

for himself, never quite without bread, sometimes attaining champagne,

getting along in his American way variously, on horse or afoot, across

regions of wide plains and mountains, through towns where not a soul

knew his name. He closed one of his gray eyes at his employer, and

beyond this made no remark.

"Vat you mean by dat vink, anyhow?" demanded the elder.

"Say," said the boy, confidentially--"honest now. How about you and me?

Five hundred dollars if I had your beard. You've got a record and I've

got a future. And my bloom's on me rich, without a scratch. How many

dollars you gif me for dat bloom?" The sparrow-hawk sailed into a

freakish imitation of his master.

"You are a liddle rascal!" cried the master, shaking with entertainment.

"Und if der peoples vas to hear you sass old Max Vogel in dis style they

would say, 'Poor old Max, he lose his gr-rip.' But I don't lose it." His

great hand closed suddenly on the boy's shoulder, his voice cut clean

and heavy as an axe, and then no more joking about him. "Haf you

understand that?" he said.

"Yes, sir."

"How old are you, son?"

"Nineteen, sir."

"Oh my, that is offle young for the job I gif you. Some of dose man you

go to boss might be your father. Und how much do you weigh?"

"About a hundred and thirty."

"Too light, too light. Und I haf keep my eye on you in Boise. You are

not so goot a boy as you might be."

"Well, sir, I guess not."

"But you was not so bad a boy as you might be, neider. You don't lie

about it. Now it must be farewell to all that foolishness. Haf you

understand? You go to set an example where one is needed very bad. If

those men see you drink a liddle, they drink a big lot. You forbid them,

they laugh at you. You must not allow one drop of whiskey at the whole

place. Haf you well understand?"

"Yes, sir. Me and whiskey are not necessary to each other's happiness."

"It is not you, it is them. How are you mit your gun?"

Vogel took the boy's pistol from its holster and aimed at an empty

bottle which was sticking in the thin Deceiver snow. "Can you do this?"

he said, carelessly, and fired. The snow struck the bottle, but the

unharming bullet was buried half an inch to the left.

The boy took his pistol with solemnity. "No," he said. "Guess I can't do

that." He fired, and the glass splintered into shapelessness. "Told you

I couldn't miss as close as you did," said he.

"You are a darling," said Mr. Vogel. "Gif me dat lofely weapon."

A fortunate store of bottles lay, leaned, or stood about in the white

snow of Nampa, and Mr. Vogel began at them.

"May I ask if anything is the matter?" inquired a mild voice from the


"Stick that lily head in-doors," shouted Vogel; and the face and

eye-glasses withdrew again into the stage. "The school-teacher he will

be beautifool virtuous company for you at Malheur Agency," continued

Vogel, shooting again; and presently the large old German destroyed a

bottle with a crashing smack. "Ah!" said he, in unison with the smack.

"Ah-ha! No von shall say der old Max lose his gr-rip. I shoot it efry

time now, but the train she whistle. I hear her."

The boy affected to listen earnestly.

"Bah! I tell you I hear de whistle coming."

"Did you say there was a whistle?" ventured the occupant of the stage.

The snow shone white on his glasses as he peered out.

"Nobody whistle for you," returned the robust Vogel. "You listen to me,"

he continued to the boy. "You are offle yoong. But I watch you plenty

this long time. I see you work mit my stock on the Owyhee and the

Malheur; I see you mit my oder men. My men they say always more and

more, 'Yoong Drake he is a goot one,' und I think you are a goot one

mine own self. I am the biggest cattle man on the Pacific slope, und I

am also an old devil. I have think a lot, und I like you."

"I'm obliged to you, sir."

"Shut oop. I like you, und therefore I make you my new sooperintendent

at my Malheur Agency r-ranch, mit a bigger salary as you don't get

before. If you are a sookcess, I r-raise you some more."

"I am satisfied now, sir."

"Bah! Never do you tell any goot business man you are satisfied mit vat

he gif you, for eider he don't believe you or else he think you are a

fool. Und eider ways you go down in his estimation. You make those men

at Malheur Agency behave themselves und I r-raise you. Only I do vish, I

do certainly vish you had some beard on that yoong chin."

The boy glanced at his pistol.

"No, no, no, my son," said the sharp old German. "I don't want gunpowder

in dis affair. You must act kviet und decisif und keep your liddle shirt

on. What you accomplish shootin'? You kill somebody, und then, pop!

somebody kills you. What goot is all that nonsense to me?"

"It would annoy me some, too," retorted the boy, eyeing the capitalist.

"Don't leave me out of the proposition."

"Broposition! Broposition! Now you get hot mit old Max for nothing."

"If you didn't contemplate trouble," pursued the boy, "what was your

point just now in sampling my marksmanship?" He kicked some snow in the

direction of the shattered bottle. "It's understood no whiskey comes on

that ranch. But if no gunpowder goes along with me, either, let's call

the deal off. Buy some other fool."

"You haf not understand, my boy. Und you get very hot because I happen

to make that liddle joke about somebody killing you. Was you thinking

maybe old Max not care what happen to you?"

A moment of silence passed before the answer came: "Suppose we talk


"Very well, very well. Only notice this thing. When oder peoples talk

oop to me like you haf done many times, it is not they who does the

getting hot. It is me--old Max. Und when old Max gets hot he slings them

out of his road anywheres. Some haf been very sorry they get so slung.

You invite me to buy some oder fool? Oh, my boy, I will buy no oder fool

except you, for that was just like me when I was yoong Max!" Again the

ruddy and grizzled magnate put his hand on the shoulder of the boy, who

stood looking away at the bottles, at the railroad track, at anything

save his employer.

The employer proceeded: "I was afraid of nobody und noding in those

days. You are afraid of nobody and noding. But those days was different.

No Pullman sleepers, no railroad at all. We come oop the Columbia in

the steamboat, we travel hoonderts of miles by team, we sleep, we eat

nowheres in particular mit many unexpected interooptions. There was

Indians, there was offle bad white men, und if you was not offle

yourself you vanished quickly. Therefore in those days was Max Vogel

hell und repeat."

The magnate smiled a broad fond smile over the past which he had kicked,

driven, shot, bled, and battled through to present power; and the boy

winked up at him again now.

"I don't propose to vanish, myself," said he.

"Ah-ha! you was no longer mad mit der old Max! Of coorse I care what

happens to you. I was alone in the world myself in those lofely wicked


Reserve again made flinty the boy's face.

"Neider did I talk about my feelings," continued Max Vogel, "but I nefer

show them too quick. If I was injured I wait, and I strike to kill. We

all paddles our own dugout, eh? We ask no favors from nobody; we must

win our spurs! Not so? Now I talk business with you where you interroopt

me. If cow-boys was not so offle scarce in the country, I would long ago

haf bounce the lot of those drunken fellows. But they cannot be spared;

we must get along so. I cannot send Brock, he is needed at Harper's. The

dumb fellow at Alvord Lake is too dumb; he is not quickly courageous.

They would play high jinks mit him. Therefore I send you. Brock he say

to me you haf joodgement. I watch, and I say to myself also, this boy

haf goot joodgement. And when you look at your pistol so quick, I tell

you quick I don't send you to kill men when they are so scarce already!

My boy, it is ever the moral, the say-noding strength what gets

there--mit always the liddle pistol behind, in case--joost in case. Haf

you understand? I ask you to shoot. I see you know how, as Brock told

me. I recommend you to let them see that aggomplishment in a friendly

way. Maybe a shooting-match mit prizes--I pay for them--pretty soon

after you come. Und joodgement--und joodgement. Here comes that train.

Haf you well understand?"

Upon this the two shook hands, looking square friendship in each other's

eyes. The east-bound, long quiet and dark beneath its flowing clots of

smoke, slowed to a halt. A few valises and legs descended, ascended,

herding and hurrying; a few trunks were thrown resoundingly in and out

of the train; a woolly, crooked old man came with a box and a bandanna

bundle from the second-class car; the travellers of a thousand miles

looked torpidly at him through the dim, dusty windows of their Pullman,

and settled again for a thousand miles more. Then the east-bound,

shooting heavier clots of smoke laboriously into the air, drew its slow

length out of Nampa, and away.

"Where's that stage?" shrilled the woolly old man. "That's what I'm


"Why, hello!" shouted Vogel. "Hello, Uncle Pasco! I heard you was dead."

Uncle Pasco blinked his small eyes to see who hailed him. "Oh!" said he,

in his light, crusty voice. "Dutchy Vogel. No, I ain't dead. You guessed

wrong. Not dead. Help me up, Dutchy."

A tolerant smile broadened Vogel's face. "It was ten years since I see

you," said he, carrying the old man's box.

"Shouldn't wonder. Maybe it'll be another ten till you see me next." He

stopped by the stage step, and wheeling nimbly, surveyed his old-time

acquaintance, noting the good hat, the prosperous watch-chain, the big,

well-blacked boots. "Not seen me for ten years. Hee-hee! No. Usen't to

have a cent more than me. Twins in poverty. That's how Dutchy and me

started. If we was buried to-morrow they'd mark him 'Pecunious' and me

'Impecunious.' That's what. Twins in poverty."

"I stick to von business at a time, Uncle," said good-natured,

successful Max.

A flicker of aberration lighted in the old man's eye. "H'm, yes," said

he, pondering. "Stuck to one business. So you did. H'm." Then, suddenly

sly, he chirped: "But I've struck it rich now." He tapped his box.

"Jewelry," he half-whispered. "Miners and cow-boys."

"Yes," said Vogel. "Those poor, deluded fellows, they buy such stuff."

And he laughed at the seedy visionary who had begun frontier life

with him on the bottom rung and would end it there. "Do you play that

concertina yet, Uncle?" he inquired.

"Yes, yes. I always play. It's in here with my tooth-brush and socks."

Uncle Pasco held up the bandanna. "Well, he's getting ready to start. I

guess I'll be climbing inside. Holy Gertrude!"

This shrillcomment was at sight of the school-master, patient within

the stage. "What business are you in?" demanded Uncle Pasco.

"I am in the spelling business," replied the teacher, and smiled,


"Hell!" piped Uncle Pasco. "Take this."

He handed in his bandanna to the traveller, who received it politely.

Max Vogel lifted the box of cheap jewelry; and both he and the boy came

behind to boost the old man up on the stage step. But with a nettled

look he leaped up to evade them, tottered half-way, and then, light as a

husk of grain, got himself to his seat and scowled at the schoolmaster.

After a brief inspection of that pale, spectacled face, "Dutchy," he

called out of the door, "this country is not what it was."

But old Max Vogel was inattentive. He was speaking to the boy, Dean

Drake, and held a flask in his hand. He reached the flask to his new

superintendent. "Drink hearty," said he. "There, son! Don't be shy. Haf

you forgot it is forbidden fruit after now?"

"Kid sworn off?" inquired Uncle Pasco of the school-master.

"I understand," replied this person, "that Mr. Vogel will not allow

his cow-boys at the Malheur Agency to have any whiskey brought there.

Personally, I feel gratified." And Mr. Bolles, the new school-master,

gave his faint smile.

"Oh," muttered Uncle Pasco. "Forbidden to bring whiskey on the ranch?

H'm." His eyes wandered to the jewelry-box. "H'm," said he again; and

becoming thoughtful, he laid back his moth-eaten sly head, and spoke no

further with Mr. Bolles.

Dean Drake climbed into the stage and the vehicle started.

"Goot luck, goot luck, my son!" shouted the hearty Max, and opened and

waved both his big arms at the departing boy: He stood looking after the

stage. "I hope he come back," said he. "I think he come back. If he come

  • obvious [´ɔbviəs] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.明显的;显而易见的   (初中英语单词)
  • slumber [´slʌmbə] 移动到这儿单词发声  v.&n.睡眠;沉睡状态   (初中英语单词)
  • wholly [´həul-li] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.完全,十足;统统   (初中英语单词)
  • presently [´prezəntli] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.不久;目前   (初中英语单词)
  • mission [´miʃən] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.代表团;使馆vt.派遣   (初中英语单词)
  • california [,kæli´fɔ:njə] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.加利福尼亚   (初中英语单词)
  • spoken [´spəukən] 移动到这儿单词发声  speak的过去分词   (初中英语单词)
  • employer [im´plɔiə] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.雇佣者,雇主   (初中英语单词)
  • scratch [skrætʃ] 移动到这儿单词发声  v.&n.抓,搔;抓伤   (初中英语单词)
  • farewell [feə´wel] 移动到这儿单词发声  int.再见 n.&a.告别   (初中英语单词)
  • forbid [fə´bid] 移动到这儿单词发声  vt.禁止,不许,阻止   (初中英语单词)
  • pistol [´pistl] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.手枪 vt.用手枪射击   (初中英语单词)
  • bullet [´bulit] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.子弹   (初中英语单词)
  • fortunate [´fɔ:tʃənət] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.幸运的,侥幸的   (初中英语单词)
  • whistle [´wisəl] 移动到这儿单词发声  v.吹哨 n.口哨;汽笛   (初中英语单词)
  • therefore [´ðeəfɔ:] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.&conj.因此;所以   (初中英语单词)
  • agency [´eidʒənsi] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.代理商;机构;代理   (初中英语单词)
  • behave [bi´heiv] 移动到这儿单词发声  v.举止;表现;举止端正   (初中英语单词)
  • columbia [kə´lʌmbiə] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.哥伦比亚   (初中英语单词)
  • vanish [´væniʃ] 移动到这儿单词发声  vi.消失;消散;消灭   (初中英语单词)
  • scarce [skeəs, skers] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.缺乏的;稀有的   (初中英语单词)
  • drunken [´drʌŋkən] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.喝醉的;常醉的   (初中英语单词)
  • recommend [,rekə´mend] 移动到这儿单词发声  vt.推荐;使受欢迎   (初中英语单词)
  • prosperous [´prɔspərəs] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.繁荣的;顺利的   (初中英语单词)
  • poverty [´pɔvəti] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.贫穷(乏,瘠);不足   (初中英语单词)
  • frontier [´frʌntiə] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.国境;边疆;边界   (初中英语单词)
  • comment [´kɔment] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.&v.评论;评注;注意   (初中英语单词)
  • spelling [´speliŋ] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.拼法;缀字   (初中英语单词)
  • spectacled [´spektəkəld] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.戴眼镜的   (初中英语单词)
  • dealing [´di:liŋ] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.交易;来往   (高中英语单词)
  • excessive [ik´sesiv] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.过分的;极端的   (高中英语单词)
  • massive [´mæsiv] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.厚实的;魁伟的   (高中英语单词)
  • repeated [ri´pi:tid] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.反复的;重复的   (高中英语单词)
  • oregon [´ɔrigən] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.俄勒冈   (高中英语单词)
  • deputy [´depjuti] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.代理人;代表   (高中英语单词)
  • secretly [´si:kritli] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.秘密地;隐蔽地   (高中英语单词)
  • imitation [,imi´teiʃən] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.模仿;仿制品;赝品   (高中英语单词)
  • carelessly [´kɛəlisli] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.粗心地;疏忽地   (高中英语单词)
  • withdrew [wið´dru:] 移动到这儿单词发声  withdraw的过去式   (高中英语单词)
  • pacific [pə´sifik] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.和平的;温和的   (高中英语单词)
  • nonsense [´nɔnsəns] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.胡说 int.胡说!废话   (高中英语单词)
  • contemplate [´kɔntempleit] 移动到这儿单词发声  v.注视;沉思;期待   (高中英语单词)
  • steamboat [´sti:mbəut] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.轮船,汽艇   (高中英语单词)
  • unexpected [ʌniks´pektid] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.突然的;意外的   (高中英语单词)
  • bounce [bauns] 移动到这儿单词发声  v.&n.(使)反弹;拍   (高中英语单词)
  • crooked [´krukid] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.弯曲的;畸形的   (高中英语单词)
  • flicker [´flikə] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.&v.闪烁;忽隐忽现   (高中英语单词)
  • shrill [ʃril] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.(声音)尖锐的   (高中英语单词)
  • jewelry [´dʒu:əlri] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.珠宝(饰物)   (高中英语单词)
  • half-way [´hɑ:fwei] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.半途;几乎   (高中英语单词)
  • inspection [in´spekʃən] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.检查;视察;参观   (高中英语单词)
  • forbidden [fə´bidn] 移动到这儿单词发声  forbid的过去分词   (高中英语单词)
  • thoughtful [´θɔ:tfəl] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.深思的;体贴的   (高中英语单词)
  • hearty [´hɑ:ti] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.热忱的;强健的   (高中英语单词)
  • humorous [´hju:mərəs] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.富于幽默的,诙谐的   (英语四级单词)
  • whiskey [´wiski] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.威士忌酒 =whisky   (英语四级单词)
  • virtuous [´və:tjuəs] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.道德的;善良的   (英语四级单词)
  • occupant [´ɔkjupənt] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.居住者;占有人   (英语四级单词)
  • vehicle [´vi:ikəl] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.车辆;媒介物   (英语四级单词)
  • friendliness [´frendlis] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.友爱,友好,友谊   (英语六级单词)
  • foolishness [´fu:liʃnis] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.愚蠢   (英语六级单词)
  • solemnity [sə´lemniti] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.庄严;(隆重的)仪式   (英语六级单词)
  • unison [´ju:nisən] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.协调,一致;齐唱   (英语六级单词)
  • affected [ə´fektid] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.做作的;假装的   (英语六级单词)
  • robust [rəu´bʌst] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.强建的;茁壮的   (英语六级单词)
  • estimation [,esti´meiʃən] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.估计;评价;判断   (英语六级单词)
  • gunpowder [´gʌn,paudə] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.火药   (英语六级单词)
  • tolerant [´tɔlərənt] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.宽容的,宽大的   (英语六级单词)
  • speaking [´spi:kiŋ] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.说话 a.发言的   (英语六级单词)

  • 上传人 欢乐鱼 分享于 2017-06-26 17:10:53
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