True Grit by Charles Portis

True Grit by Charles Portis

Author:Charles Portis
Language: eng
Format: mobi, epub
Tags: Fiction
ISBN: 9781602859371
Publisher: Center Point Pub
Published: 1968-03-01T08:00:00+00:00


Rooster was stirring about the next morning before the sun had cleared the higher mountains to the east. He seemed little worse for the wear despite the hard riding and the drinking excesses and the short sleep. He did insist on having coffee and he made a little fire of oak sticks to boil his water. The fire gave off hardly any smoke, white wisps that were quickly gone, but LaBoeuf called it a foolish indulgence, seeing we were so close to our quarry.

I felt as though I had only just closed my eyes. The water in the canteens was low and they would not let me have any for washing. I got the canvas bucket and put my revolver in it and set off down the hill looking for a spring or a runoff stream.

The slope was gentle at first and then it fell off rather sharply. The brush grew thicker and I checked my descent by grabbing bushes. Down and down I went. As I neared the bottom, dreading the return climb, I heard splashing and blowing noises. My thought was: What on earth! Then I came into the open on a creek bank. On the other side there was a man watering some horses.

The man was none other than Tom Chaney!

You may readily imagine that I registered shock at the sight of that squat assassin. He had not yet seen me, nor heard me either because of the noise made by the horses. His rifle was slung across his back on the cotton plow line. I thought to turn and run but I could not move. I stood there fixed.

Then he saw me. He gave a start and brought the rifle quickly into play. He held the rifle on me and peered across the little stream and studied me.

He said, "Well, now, I know you. Your name is Mattie. You are little Mattie the bookkeeper. Isn't this something." He grinned and took the rifle from play and slung it carelessly over a shoulder.

I said, "Yes, and I know you, Tom Chaney."

He said, "What are you doing here?"

I said, "I came to fetch water."

"What are you doing here in these mountains?"

I reached into the bucket and brought out my dragoon revolver. I dropped the bucket and held the revolver in both hands. I said, "I am here to take you back to Fort Smith."

Chaney laughed and said, "Well, I will not go. How do you like that?"

I said, "There is a posse of officers up on the hill who will force you to go."

"That is interesting news," said he. "How many is up there?"

"Right around fifty. They are all well armed and they mean business. What I want you to do now is leave those horses and come across the creek and walk in front of me up the hill."

He said, "I think I will oblige the officers to come after me." He began to gather the horses together. There were five of them but Papa's horse Judy was not among them.


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