He disposed of one bottle to old Gus Peterson. Gus never paid his debts, and he would only promise fifty cents "on tick" for the bottle, and yet so desperate was Ripley that this quasi sale cheered him up not a little.
As he came down the road, tired, dusty and hungry, he climbed over the fence in order to avoid seeing that sign on the barn, and slunk into the house without looking back.
He couldn't have felt meaner about it if he had allowed a Democratic poster to be pasted there.
The evening passed in grim silence, and in sleep he saw that sign wriggling across the side of the barn like boa-constrictors hung on rails. He tried to paint them out, but every time he tried it the man seemed to come back with a sheriff, and savagely warned him to let it stay till the year was up. In some mysterious way the agent seemed to know every time he brought out the paint-pot, and he was no longer the pleasant-voiced individual who drove the calico ponies.
As he stepped out in
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