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Tom Barnum Muses Over the Position the Government Will Take in Regard to the Bed of Red River Being Suitable Resting Place for the U.S. Mail.

After having deposited the patent office reports in their watery grave in Red river I met and had an interview with Tom Barnum, one of the owners of the stage line. "Billie, you devil," were his first words to me, "been puttin' the mail in the river, be ye?" I answered, "Yes, sir." "Well," Barnum said, "didn't you take some pretty risky chances when you did this--are you sure you won't get us into some serious trouble?" I told him that I believed that I had just saved his company not less than $5000 by "dumping" that bulky trash. I told him that the company had made complaints to the government about sending the reports into New Mexico and that the Postmaster General had not given us the consideration we deserved and the postmasters had also refused their acceptance after we had "carted" them to destination. It's my firm belief that in using the books in the manner I did they served the United States better than they could have done any other way. I told Mr. Barnum how ex-Governor Harney had befriended me in the matter and that I felt safe to say that no bad effects could grow out of my conduct.

This pacified Tom Barnum and I told him that I wanted his company to give me credit for half the money I had saved them on this book hauling business on the day of settlement. I also told him that I had promised to "deadhead" ex-Governor Harney and family (consisting at that time of wife and one child, a daughter fifteen years old) to the states and when they arrived in Kansas City, Missouri, he was to see that they got a pass over the road to New York City. Barnum wheezed out a little laugh and an exclamation that sounded like "h--l," but finished good naturedly by telling me that he would do it. As our conversation lengthened he said, "Billy, been thinking over this dead-headin' business of yourn,--Billy," again said Mr. Barnum, "you're an accommodatin' devil. I believe if the whole Santa Fe population would jump you for a 'free ride' to Kansas City you would give it to 'em and our company would put on extra stages for their benefit. It don't seem to make any difference to you what the company's orders are, you do things to suit your own little self, 'y bob!" Barnum went on musing, but I kept feeling of my ground and found I was still on "terra firma." "Well," says I, "don't forget all those little points on the day of settlement, especially what I have saved on the book business in the way of 'cartage' and 'storage.'" I told him that I might want to feather a nest some time for a nice little mate and cunning little birdies. This conversation took place at Bent's Old Fort. My next conversation with him took place in Santa Fe, New Mexico.