"No, Aunt Ri," said the Agent; "I could not have done that; he is only required to doctor such Indians as come here."
"I allow, then, thar ain't any gret use en hevin' him at all," said Aunt Ri; "'pears like thar ain't more'n a harndful uv Injuns raound here. I expect he gits well paid?" and she paused for an answer. None came. The Agent did not feel himself obliged to reveal to Aunt Ri what salary the Government paid the San Bernardino doctor for sending haphazard prescriptions to Indians he never saw.
After a pause Aunt Ri resumed: "Ef it ain't enny offence ter yeow, I allow I'd like ter know jest what 'tis yeow air here ter dew fur these Injuns. I've got my feelin's considdable stirred up, bein' among 'em 'n' knowing this hyar one, thet's ben murdered. Hev ye got enny power to giv' 'em ennything,-- food or sech? They air powerful pore, most on 'em."
"I have had a little fund for buying supplies for them in times of special suffering;" replied the Agent, "a very little; and the Department has appropriated some money for wagons and ploughs; not enough, however, to supply every village; you see these Indians are in the main self-supporting."
"Thet's jest it," persisted Aunt Ri. "Thet's what I've ben seein'; 'n' thet's why I want so bad ter git at what 'tis the Guvvermunt means ter hev yeow dew fur 'em. I allow ef yeow ain't ter feed 'em, an' ef yer can't put folks inter jail fur robbin' 'n' cheatin' 'em, not ter say killin' 'em,-- ef yer can't dew ennythin' more 'n keep 'em from gettin' whiskey, wall, I'm free ter say --" Aunt Ri paused; she did not wish to seem to reflect on the Agent's usefulness, and so concluded her sentence very differently from her first impulse,-- "I'm free ter say I shouldn't like ter stan' in yer shoes."
"You may very well say that, Aunt Ri," laughed the Agent, complacently. "It is the most troublesome Agency in the whole list, and the least satisfactory."
"Wall, I allow it mought be the least satisfyin'," rejoined the indefatigable Aunt Ri; "but I donno whar the trouble comes in, ef so be's thar's no more kin be done than yer wuz er tellin'." And she looked honestly puzzled.
"Look there, Aunt Ri!" said he, triumphantly, pointing to a pile of books and papers. "All those to be gone through with, and a report to be made out every month, and a voucher to be sent for every lead-pencil I buy. I tell you I work harder than I ever did in my life before, and for less pay."