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About bab. Gus would have liked a little rest, but he knew Captain Scull too well to expect to get any while their felonious foe was still ahead of them. Gus McCrae was always making puzzling comments and then forgetting to provide any explanation. His damn beard's nothing but a sheet of brown ice, but the fool keeps spitting tobacco juice right into this wind. Gus was overtalkative, and always had been.
objeto de deseo que causa tormento - English Translation - Word Magic Spanish-English Dictionary
Unless in violent combat, he was rarely silent for more than two minutes at a stretch, besides which, he felt free to criticize everything from the Captain's way with tobacco to Call's haircuts. It was true, though, that Captain Scull was in the habit of spitting his tobacco juice directly in front of him, regardless of wind speed or direction, the result being that his garments were often stained with tobacco juice to an extent that shocked most ladies and even offended some men.
In fact, the wife of Governor E. Pease had recently caused something of a scandal by fuming Captain Scull back at her door, just before a banquet, on account of his poor appearance. Go clean yourself up," Mrs. Pease told the Captain -- it was considered a bold thing to say to the man who was generally regarded as the most competent Texas Ranger ever to take the field. It was even said that he was a graduate of Harvard College; Woodrow Call, for one, believed it, for the Captain was very particular in his speech and invariably read books around the campfire, on the nights when he was disposed to allow a campfire.
His wife, Inez, a Birmingham belle, was so beautiful at forty that no man in the troop, or, for that matter, in Austin, could resist stealing glances at her. He could not see Captain Scull at all, though he had been attempting to follow directly behind him.
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Fortunately, though, he could hear Captain Scull's great warhorse, Hector, an animal that stood a full eighteen hands high and weighed more than any two of the other horses in the troop. Hector was just ahead, crunching steadily through the sleet. In the winter Hector's coat grew so long and shaggy that the Indians called him the Buffalo Horse, both because of his shagginess and because of his great strength. So far as Call knew, Hector was the most powerful animal in Texas a match in strength for bull, bear, or buffalo.
Weather meant nothing to him: often on freezing mornings they would see Captain Scull rubbing his hands together in front of Hector's nose, warning them on his hot breath.
Hector was slow and heavy, of course -- many a horse could run off and leave him. Even mules could outrun him -- but then, sooner or dater, the mule or the pony would tire and Hector would keep coming, his big feet crunching grass, or splashing through mud, or churning up clouds of snow. On some long pursuits the men would change mounts two or three times, but Hector was the Captain's only horse.
Twice he had been hit by arrows and once shot in the flank by Ahumado, a felonious foe more hated by Captain Scull than either Kicking Wolf or Buffalo Hump. Ahumado, known as the Black Vaquero, was a master of ambush; he had shot down at the Captain from a tiny pocket of a cave, in a sheer cliff in Mexico. Though Ahumado had hit the Captain in the shoulder, causing him to bleed profusely, Captain Scull had insisted that Hector be looked at first. Once recovered, Inish Scull's ire was such that he had tried to persuade Governor Pease to redeclare war on Mexico; or, failing that, to let him drag a brace of cannon over a thousand miles of desert to blast Ahumado out of his stronghold in the Yellow Cliffs.
McMurtry knows how to deploy his most suspenseful episodes for maximum effect.
- At His Command (Mills & Boon Intrigue) (To Protect and Serve, Book 1).
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Kilpatrick, Library Journal.
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