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"I've had ever so much experience in dealing with savages," the colonel said. "I understand that a ransom is required and we are quite willing to pay whatever you ask. Trusting that it will be reasonable, of course, but you seem a reasonable chap to me, my dear man. Didn't I see you last year up in Kansas? I was with Lord T——'s party. Oh, what a gorgeous hunt it was. We killed hundreds of buffaloes, littered the plains with them, all in a sporting manner to be sure, on horseback, none of this long-distance potting. We had the most marvelous tintypes made. I've got one on the wall of my mess. They're enormously envy-making. You've no idea how many officers are planning to come to the colonies to hunt buffaloes."
He went on and on until at last I said, "You shouldn't have come here."
"Dear man, why ever not? I made inquiries of the Army and they told me it was perfectly legal."
"The Indians think there's a treaty."
"But there is no treaty," he said. " Texas retained its public lands after the Mexican War and the treaty is with the United States, so the treaty does not apply to Texas. We are in Texas, are we not? I have as much right to hunt here as these primitives."
He continued with legalistic babble until I walked away and then he began explaining his rights to Curly, who grinned and nodded as if he understood every bit of it and considered it a whopping joke. The fat boy and the blond boy were staring at me with scared eyes.
"What are you going to do with us, mister?" asked the fat boy.
"Me, nothing," I said.
"You're going to let them kill us," the blond boy said.
"You broke the rules," I said.