he looks large.
When this remarkable man walks from
you, you are impressed with a broadness of
shoulders and strength of neck and loin.
When he walks toward you, you are made
conscious of the coming of great thigh
muscles, and fists, and a lion-like front;
and you would not have any rash impulse
to rush upon him for the fun of a little
combat. Then he has a curious long,
springing stride a sort of dropping and
rising upon his thigh muscles with every
step that suggests power; though I sup-
pose it is mere force of habit, caught in
walking across plowed ground in early
life, and maintained by striding over the
sage brush and loose rocks in Nevada.
Big Jack Small has a head under his
slouched hat, and a face that shows be-
tween his hat-brim and his beard. If
you are not in the habit of looking at
heads and faces for the purpose of form-
ing your own estimate of men, it would
not be worth while to look at Jack. You
might as well pass on. He is of no in-
terest to you. But if you want to look
into a face- where the good-natured
shrewdness of Abraham Lincoln shines
out, smoothed of its rough-carved homeli-
ness, you can accost Jack when you meet
him walking beside his winding train
down the rough canyon or across the dusty
valley, and ask him how the road is over
which He has come. This interrogation,
requiring some length of answer, he will
shout: "Whoa-ooa-ah, ba-a-ck!" Then
drawing down the great iron handle or
lever of the brake on his first wagon, his
team will gradually stop. Now he steps
out into the sage-brush in front of you,
sets the point of his whip-stock carefully
in the fork of a bush, builds his arms one
on top of the other upon the butt of the
stock, shoves his hat to the back of his
head, and says:
"We-e-U, the road's nuther good nor
bad. Hit's about from tollable to mid-
dlin'. Seen wus an' seen better."
"How's the alkali flat?"
"Well, yer know thar's two alkali flats
'tween yer'n Austin. The first one's a lit-
tle waxy, an' t'other'n 's a little waxy,
"Will our horses sink down in the flats
so as to impede that is, so that we can-
not get out ?"
"Oh, h 1, no. Only hard pullin' an'
slow, hot work, sockin' through the stiff
mud. I hed to uncouple an' drop all my
trail-wagons, an' pull an' holler an' punch
round at both o' them flats fer two days,
till my cattle looks like the devil; but you
kin go right along, only slow, though
very slow. The rest o' the road's all
right no trouble."
"You're welcome. But, I say, tell me
I'm out now about two weeks what's
the news? Hev they caught them stage-
"No; they were not caught when we
"D n 'em! Hev ye any newspapers?
I'd like to hev somethin' to read when
I'm campin' out on the road a feller gits
By this time you have hunted out of
your traps all the newspapers and parts
of newspapers, and passed them over to
"Thank ye. Git up, Brigham! Gee,
Beecher!" The loosened lever of the
brake clanks back in its ratchet, the oxen
slowly strain the yokes, the great wagons
groan to the tightening chains.
And the slow dust-cloud moves onward,
musical with the strong voice encouraging
"Beecher" and "Brigham" on the lead to
stiffen their necks under the yoke as a
bright example to the entire train.
You, passing on your way, say to your-
self, or companion : "What a fine face and
head that rough fellow has; with what a
relish that full, wide forehead must take
in a good story, or survey a good dinner ;
what a love for sublime and the ridicu-
lous there must be in the broad, high
crown of that skull, which is so full at
the base ! Why, the fellow has a head
like Shakespeare, and a front like Jove!
What a pity to waste so grand a man in
ignorance among rocks and oxen!" All
of which may be a good and true regret;
but you must not forget that nature
knows how to summer-fallow for her own
You will please to understand that Mr.
Small is his own master, as well as mas-
ter and owner of that long string of wag-
ons and oxen ; and that train, which slow-
ly passes you, is laden with perhaps every
conceivable variety of valuable articles,
worth in the aggregate thousands of dol-
lars, for the safe conveyance whereof, over
a road hundreds of miles long, the
owners have no security but a receipt
signed "John Small." It is safe to say.
that nothing but the "act of God or the
public enemy" will prevent the sure de-
BIG JACK SMALL.
livery of the entire cargo a little slowly,
but very surely.
I do not think you will get a just idea
of Big Jack Small and the men of his
profession, who are very numerous in Ne-
vada, without I tell you that the sage-
brush ox-teamster seldom sleeps in a
house does not often sleep near a house
but under his great wagon, wherever it
may halt, near the valley spring or the
mountain stream. His team is simply
unyoked, and left to feed itself, until
gathered up again to move on, the aver-
age journey being at the rate of eight
miles per day some days more than that,
Twice a day the teamster cooks for
himself, and eats by himself, in the shadow
cast by the box of his wagon. Each even-
ing he climbs the side of his high wagon
very high it sometimes is heaves his
roll of dusty bedding to the earth, tumbles
it under the wagon, unbinds it, unrolls it,
crawls around over it on his hands and
knees to find the uneven places, and punch
them a little with his knuckles or boot-
heel, and and well, his room is ready
and his bed is aired. If it is not yet dark
when all this is done, he gets an old news-
paper or ancient magazine, and, lighting
his pipe, lies upon his back, with feet up,
and laboriously absorbs its meaning. Per-
haps he may have one or more teams in
company. In that case, the leisure time
ip spent smoking around the fire and talk-
ing ox, or playing with greasy cards a
game for fun. But generally the ox-
teamster is alone, or accompanied by a
Shoshone Indian, whose business it is to
pull sage-brush for a fire where pine-wood
is scarce, and drive up the cattle to be
In Jack Small's train there is usually
an Indian, though you may not always see
him, as sometimes, when the team is in
motion, he is off hunting rats, or away
up on top of the wagon asleep; but at
meal-time he is visible, sitting about the
fire, or standing with his legs crossed,
leaning against a wagon wheel.
The early training of Mr. John Small,
having been received while following the
fortunes of his father in that truly West-
ern quest the search after cheap rich
land, had been carried forward under
various commonwealths, as his parent
moved from State to State of our Union
out of Ohio, and into and out of the
intermediate States of Indiana, Illinois,
Iowa until he dragged into the grave,
and ended his pilgrimage in Nebraska,
while waiting for the locomotive of that
great railway which was to make him
rich. A training so obtained has made
Mr. Small something of a politician, with
a keen ear for distinguishing the points
in the reading of a State statute, and a
high appreciation of the importance of
State lines; while the attempts at teach-
ing and the example of his worn-out pious
mother have turned his attention to the
consistencies and inconsistencies of re-
ligious forms; so that Mr. Small's heav-
iest and highest thought dwells upon the
present State where he resides, and the
future state where he is promised a resi-
dence. His greatest intellectual joy he
finds to be a politician or a preacher. Of
course, he has smaller joys of the intel-
lect in talking ox with the other team-
sters, or in "joshing" over a game of cards
but he does not find solid comfort un-
til he strikes a master in politics or a
teacher in religion.
'^What I'd like to be shore of," said he
one day, "is this yere: Kin a American
citizen die, when his time comes, satisfied
that he leaves a republic behind what'll
continue as it was laid out to; an' that
he's goin' to sech a country as his mother
thought she was goin' to. Now, them's
two o' the biggest pints in Ameriky. And
dern my skin ef I hain't get doubts about
'em both! Now, yere's a letter from my
sister in Iowa, an' she says she's sick an'
goin' to die ; but she's happy because she's
goin' where mother's gone, to be happy
feriver and iver. An' yere's her husband
he's a lawyer, an' he's rejoicin', in his
part o' this letter, over Grant's election,
because, he says, that puts the Eepublikin
party onto a sure foundation, an' secures
the support o' Eepublikin principles fer-
iver and iver in Ameriky. Now, you see,
I've knocked round a heap yes, sir,
knocked round a heap, an' seen a good
deal, an' seems to me some people knows a
mighty sight for certain, on powerful slim
proof. ATI' yere, my sister wants me to
be a good Christian, an' my brother-in-
law wants me to be a good Republikin,
when, ef you pan me all out, I'm only a
bull-puncher, an' hain't more'n half
learned the science o' that."
It will be surmised from this hint of
Mr. Small's character, taste and disposi-
tion, that he was highly satisfied when
the Eev. L. F. Sighal said he had been
recommended to come to Mr. Small as a
humane and "intelligent person, and hav-
ing heard that Mr. Small's wagons were
loaded for a long trip to the south-east-
ward, he would very much like to accom-
pany him as an assistant, being willing
to rough it as much as his constitution
"All right!" said Jack. "Heave yer
beddin' right up thar on top o' the wagon
an' come ahead. But, I say, did y'ever
"I have yes, occasionally, at the house
of a friend; never in any public place.
"Did y'ever play bull-billiards, I mean
with this kind of a cue, with a brad in-
to it? Make a run on the high-wheeler
and carom on. the off-leader, yer know?"
"Ah ! you mean have I ever driven
oxen? Well, no, sir, not in that way
though I was brought up on a farm in
Pennsylvania, and have drawn logs with
"All right ! I'll teach yer how to punch
bulls, an' you kin convert me an' the In-
jin. I've been wantin' that Injin con-
verted ever since I hed him. He's heerd
a little about Christ, in a left-handed way,
but we'll go fer him on this trip."
Mr. Small, while making these remarks,
was striding, with long, strong strides,
up and down the road on either side of
his wagons with whip on shoulder, making
all ready for a start; looping up a heavy
chain here, taking up a link there, and
inspecting shortening or lengthening
the draws of brakes, etc. ; while his long
team, strung out and hitched in the order
of march, were some standing and some
lying down under the yoke, on the hard
shard-rock road beneath the hot summer
sun. His Indian, yclept Gov. Nye, was
standing with his legs crossed near the
ankle, stoically watching the preparations,
well satisfied for the present, in the com-
fort of a full stomach and the gorgeous
outfit of a battered black-silk plug hat, a
corporal's military coat with chevrons on
the sleeves and buttoned to the chin, a
pair of red drawers for pantaloons, a red
blanket hanging gracefully from his arm,
and a pair of dilapidated boots on his
Gazing bashfully upon this scene, and
striving to catch a word with Mr. Small,
the Rev. Mr. Sighal turned his hands
each uneasily over the other, and said:
"Mr. Small, I cannot heave my bedding
"Can't! Well, give it yere to me; I'll
h'ist it fer you."
"But I have not brought it yet. It is
just here, almost at my hand, where I
"Well, well, rustle round an' fetch it!
Biz is biz with me now. I must git up an'
dust. Yere, Gov., you go him all same
me he talk. Take this Injin with yer
he'll help yer carry what you've got."
"Thank you. You are very kind, in-
deed," said the reverend, as he marched
off, followed by the gorgeous red man,
down the steep street of the mining town.
While he was gone, Mr. Small, having
all things in readiness, proceeded to
straighten his team so as to tighten the
chains and couplings whereby the great
wagons are made to follow each other, in
order that he might be sure that every-
thing should draw even, strong, and true.
Presently, Mr. Sighal and Gov. came
panting and trotting round the corner, out
of the street into the road, each having
hold of the end of a roll of bedding; the
reverend carrying a black overcoat and
purple scarf on his right arm, and Gov.
having his royal red blanket on his left
Mr. Small, taking the roll poised on
end on his right palm, steadied it with his
left, and shot it to the top of the high
wagon-box as if it had been a ,bag of
"Thar, Gov., heap jump up heap fix
'em little rope no fall off. You sabe ?"
"Yash me heap sabe !" said Gov., toss-
ing his precious blanket to the wagon-top,
and slowly climbing up after it, over the
wheel and side.
"All ready, Parson?" said Mr. Small,
interrogatively, as he picked up his baton
"Yes,". timidly, "I I believe I am!"
Rapidly Mr. Small strode forward,
drawling out in the indescribable rhetoric
BIG JACK SMALL. '
of his profession : "You, Ko-w-dy ! Turk !
Dave ! Gee, Brigham !" then suddenly,
"Who-o-oah ba-a-ack !"
"See yere, Parson! Got anything to
"No, sir. I have presumed I could buy
provisions at the houses where we stop. 77
"Houses, h 1! Oh, excuse me, Par-
son. Thar hain't no houses to speak of,
an 7 ef there was, bull-teams can 7 t hev
nothin' to do with houses, 7 thout they're
whisky-mills. 77 Then shoving up his hat
and scratching his head with a vigorous
rake or two of his hard finger-nails, he
pulled the hat down on his nose, and lean-
ing back, looked at the Eev. Mr. Sighal,
and said: "S 7 yere, Parson, Fll grub ye,
but my grub 7 s lightnin 7 beans, bread,
bacon, coffee, and can-truck. You go into
camp, an 7 buy Ie 7 me see well, buy a
small sack o 7 oatmeal, two papers o 7 pin-
oly, a pound o 7 black tea, an 7 half a dozen
cans o 7 condensed milk. That'll put ye
through. Yer kin easy ketch up to the
team. Gee, Brigham! Git - up, Dave!
You, Eoany! Bally! Htaw thar! Roll
out ! Eoll out ! 77 And the slow line moves
over the rocky road at a snaiFs pace, the
wheels grinding, almost imperceptibly, to
the top of the not large stones, and then
dropping off at the other side with a sud-
den fall and a jar, which, though the fall
be but an inch or two, makes the loading
talk in various voices as it settles more
firmly to its place.
Up, slowly ah, so slowly, so dustily !
up and up the mountain, by the canyon
road, pausing at intervals to breathe the
panting herd, Mr. Small grinds and
crushes out 'a solid shining line, with his
many wheels, in the porphry and granite
dust. The dry mountain summits rise
on either hand, capped with the undaunted
rocks, which have defied the color stood
to witness the shock the rays of the sun
converging upon the head of Big Jack
Small, as he marches stoutly up the side
of his team, to pause for its clicking step,
then up another march, and then pausing
again, lifting the serpent coiled baton
above his head, shouting anon the name of
ome throbbing toiler of the yoke. Thus
he gains the summit, and halts to draw the
"Ah, Parson! H 7 ist them things up
thar to Gov. Gov., you fix 7 em. Now
we 7 re off. Plenty time, though, Parson,
to look at the scenery. You see that round
peak yonder way off ! That's jest eighty-
two miles from yere. Can't see that-a-
way in Pennsylvania, kin ye? Gee, Brig-
ham ! Git-a-a-up !"
More rapidly, and with much clinking
and clanking of yoke-rings, hooks, and
chains, and the loud braying and howling
of the friction of wheel-tire and brake-
block, the team winds down the canyon
of the opposite side of the mountain, the
big wains rocking, reeling, and groaning,
as they crowd each other round the curves
of the declivity ; and above all, the driver's
voice echoing along the canyon the drawl-
ing words of command and encourage-
Mr. Sighal is behind, out of sight;
pausing mayhap upon some bold outcrop
of earth's foundation-stone, to gaze far
around and across the uplifts of the grand
furrows where the forgotten forces have
plowed the field that now lies fallow in
the wisdom of a plan wise beyond all that
is yet written or revealed. servant of
the faith, look well ! It is the aristocracy
of nature upon which you gaze. Sublime
it is in the reposeful grandeur of its dif-
ference to commerce, agriculture or the
petty avenues of human thrift. Locked in
the coffers of the rocks are the wages of
its early days of lahor. Stern and forbid-
ding is the giant land, sad and unsocial;
but rich in the abundance of that which
renders even man unsocial, stern and for-
At the foot of the mountain the team
halts where the water sinks and the dry
valley begins. It is but short work for
Big Jack Small to draw out the bow-pins,
release his cattle, and drop his eight yokes
in a line, with the bright, heavy chains
linking them together in the gravel and
Meanwhile, Mr. Sighal arrives in camp
with each hand full of fragments of vari-
colored stone, he having tired his wits at
prospecting for silver.
"Hullo, Parson! Hev you struck it
rich? 77 interrogated Big Jack, as he let
down the grub box and cooking utensils
from the wagon-top to Gov. Nye. "That's
a bad beginning, Parson!"
"Why so, Mr. Small?"
"'Cause/' said Jack, jumping down
from the wagon and coming up to take a
look at the rocks in the parson's hands,
' 'cause ef you ever git quartz on the
brain, you're a gorner ! That are meetin'-
house in Pennsylvany '11 put crape on the
door-knob shore! an' 'dvertiz for a new
parson. But ye'll not git quartz on the
brain not much s'long's yer don't find
no better stones than these yere," said he,
after examining the collection.
"Ah ! I was merely guessing at the
stones to amuse myself. Are they not
"No, sir-ee," said Jack, as, driving his
axe into a pine log he made the wood fly
in splits and splinters "not much. Them
is iron-stained porphry, greenstone, black
trap, and white carb'nates of lime. Hold
on till we git across the valley an' git
a-goin' up the next mountain, 'n I'll show
yer some good quartz. Some bully float-
rock over thar, but nobody hain't found no
mine yit never will, I reckon; I've hunt-
ed fer the derned thing \twenty times.
Yere, Gov., git a bucket o' water. Parson,
d'ye feel wolfish ?" added Mr. Small, after
he had his fire lighted and was proceed-
"Wolfish?'' exclaimed Mr. Sighal, with
"Yes hungry," explained Jack, as he
sawed with a dull knife at the tough rind
of a side of bacon, cutting down one fat
slice after the other upon the lid of the
grub-box near the firs.
"Not unusually so."
"Hain't et nothin' sense mornin', hev
"No; not since early morning."
"Must do better'n that!" said Jack,
putting the frying pan upon the fire.
"I usually eat but little, for fear of
eating too much."
"Well, s'pose yer heave away them rocks
an' run this fryin'-pan jest fer apper-
tite. Nothin' like facin' an inemy, ef yer
want to git over bein' afraid of him !"
Mr. Sighal immediately complied, and,
squatting by the fire, poised the frying-
pan upon the uneven heap of burning
sticks in his first lesson at camp life.
"I don't allow yer kin eat much this
even in', as we've only traveled half a day,
but to-morrer we've got to cross the valley
through the alkali dust, an' make a long
drive. Git a lot o' that alkali into ye, an'
you'll hanker after fat bacon!"
"Ah!" said Mr. Sighal, carefully bal-
ancing the pan on the fire.
"Yes, sir" with emphasis on the sir.
"Alkali and fat bacon goes together like
a match yoke o' leaders. Does thar seeni
to be any coals a-makin' in that fire, Par-
"The wood seems to burn; I infer
there will be coals."
"Inf errin' won't do, Parson ! We've got
to hev 'em, 'cause I must bake this bread
after supper, fer to-morrer. Allus keep
one bakin' ahead," ejaculated Mr. Small,
as he finished kneading bread in the pan,
and quickly grasped the axe, proceeding to
break up some more wood. "Yer see,
Parson, a bull-puncher hes to be up to a
little of every sort o' work, in the moun;
tains. Gov., you look out fer that coffee-
pot, while I put this wood on the fire.
Drink coffee, Parson? No? Well, then,
make yer some tea in an empty oyster can
hain't got only one pot fer tea an'
"No, Mr. Small, do not make any trou-
ble for me, in that way. I drink water
at the evening meal."
"All right, then ; this hash is ready fer
The Reverend Mr. Sighal, sitting cross-
legged on the ground, received the tin
plate and rusty steel knife and fork into
his lap from the hand of Mr. Small, and
then Mr. Small sat down cross-legged op-
posite him, with the hard loaf of yellow
yeast-powder bread and the sizzling frying
pan between them, surrounded by small
cotton sacks, containing respectively salt,
pepper and sugar.
"Now, Parson," said Mr. Small, "pitch
"One moment, Mr. Small," said the
parson, removing the hat from his own
head, "will you not permit me to ask the
blessing of God upon this frugal repast?"
"Certainly!" assented Mr. Small,
snatching off his hat, and slapping it on
the ground beside him. Then happening
to note quickly the Indian sitting listless-
ly on the other side of the fire, he said:
"Yere, you Injin, take off yer hat ; quick."
"Yash heap take 'em off," said the
"Now, Parson, roll on!"
The reverend, turning his closed eyes
BIG JACK SMALL.
skyward, where the wide red glory of the
setting sun was returning the eternal
thanks, offered the usual mild and meas-
ured form of thanksgiving and prayer for
the Most High's blessing upon the crea-
ture comforts, at the end of which he re-
placed his hat; but Mr. Small, being too
busy with his supper and with cogitation
upon the new style of etiquette, and being
careless about his head-covering in camp,
neglected, or omitted, the replacement of
his hat ; which state of the case bothered
the "untutored savage" as to his own
proper behavior, whereupon, lifting his
cherished "plug" from the earth, he held
it in his hand, brim up, and grunted in-
"Uh, Jack, put um hat on ? No put um
hat on? me no sabe!"
"Yes; put um hat on."
"Uh! yash, me heap put um hat on.
All right all same medisum (medicine)
white-a-man. Heap sabe!" and relapsed
into silent observation.
The parson did not enjoy his supper.
His day had been one of tiresome nervous
preparation for a new kind of life; but
Mr. Small was in hearty sympathy with
all nature, which includes a good appetite
(if it is not founded upon a good appe-
tite), and he ate with a rapid action and
a keen relish, talking as he ate, in a way
to provoke appetite, or if not to provide,
at least raise a sigh of regret for its ab-
"Thar!" said Mr. Small, with sighing
emphasis, "that lets me out on creature
comforts, in the grub line, till to-morrer.
Yer don't waltz in very hearty on this
grub, Parson. All right; I'll bake yer an
oatmeal cake soon's I git done with my
bread, an' mix yer a canteen o' milk for
"Thank you, indeed, Mr. Small."
"Yere, Gov.," said Mr. Small, as he
piled the greased frying-pan full of
broken bread and poured out a tin cup of
coffee, "yere's yer hash!" to which Gov.
responded silently by carrying the pan and
cup to the fire, and then sitting down be-
tween them on the ground, to eat and
drink in his own fashion.
"These yere Injins is curious." said Mr.
Small, in his running commentary on
things in general, as he actively passed
from one point in his culinary duties to
another ; "they wun't eat bacon, but they'll
eat bacon-grease an' bred, or beef an'
bacon-grease; an' they wun't eat cheese,
but they'll eat dead hoss. I b'lieve the
way to conquer Injins would be to load
cannons with Limburg cheese an' blaze
away at 'em !"
"As the Chinese shoot their enemies in
war with pots of abominable smells."
"Yes; I've heard before o' Chinee way
o' makin' war, but reckon 'tain't the smell
Injins keer for it's mighty hard to knock
an Injin with a smell! Injins, leastway
this 3^ere tribe, hain't got no nose fer
posies. They got some kind o' supersti-
tion about milk an' cheese, though I
reckon they must hev drinked milk when
they's little." And Mr. Small chuckled