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The Lonesome Trail and Other Stories

B. M. Bower

  E-text prepared by Al Haines




  Author of _Chip of the Flying U_, _The Range Dwellers_,_Her Prairie Knight_, _The Lure of the Dim Trails_,_The Happy Family_, _The Long Shadow_, etc.

  New YorkGrosset & DunlapPublishers












  A man is very much like a horse. Once thoroughly frightened bysomething he meets on the road, he will invariably shy at the sameplace afterwards, until a wisely firm master leads him perforce to thespot and proves beyond all doubt that the danger is of his ownimagining; after which he will throw up his head and deny that he everwas afraid--and be quite amusingly sincere in the denial.

  It is true of every man with high-keyed nature, a decent opinion ofhimself and a healthy pride of power. It was true of Will Davidson, ofthe Flying U--commonly known among his associates, particularly theHappy Family, as "Weary." As to the cause of his shying at a certainobject, that happened long ago. Many miles east of the Bear Paws, inthe town where Weary had minced painfully along the streets on pink,protesting, bare soles before the frost was half out of the ground; hadyelled himself hoarse and run himself lame in the redoubtable base-ballnine which was to make that town some day famous--the nine where theyoften played with seven "men" because the other two had to "bug"potatoes or do some other menial task and where the umpire frequentlyengaged in throwing lumps of dried mud at refractory players,--therehad lived a Girl.

  She might have lived there a century and Weary been none the worse, hadhe not acquired the unfortunate habit of growing up. Even then hemight have escaped injury had he not persisted in growing up and up, astraight six-feet-two of lovable good looks, with the sunniest oftempers and blue eyes that reflected the warm sweetness of that nature,and a smile to tell what the eyes left unsaid.

  Such being the tempting length of him, the Girl saw that he was worthan effort; she took to smoking the chimney of her bedroom lamp, heatingcurling irons, wearing her best hat and best ribbons on a weekday, andinsisting upon crowding number four-and-a-half feet into numberthree-and-a-half shoes and managing to look as if she were perfectlycomfortable. When a girl does all those things, and when she has agood complexion and hair vividly red and long, heavy-lidded blue eyesthat have a fashion of looking side-long at a man, it were well forthat man to travel--if he would keep the lightness of his heart and thesunny look in his eyes and his smile.

  Weary traveled, but the trouble was that he did not go soon enough.When he did go, his eyes were somber instead of sunny, and he smilednot at all. And in his heart he carried a deep-rooted impulse to shyalways at women--and so came to resemble a horse.

  He shied at long, blue eyes and turned his own uncompromisingly away.He never would dance with a woman who had red hair, except inquadrilles where he could not help himself; and then his hand-clasp wasbrief and perfunctory when it came to "Grand right-and-left." Ifcommanded to "Balance-_swing_" the red-haired woman was swung airily bythe finger-tips--; which was not the way in which Weary swung theothers.

  And then came the schoolma'am. The schoolma'am's hair was the darkestbrown and had a shine to it where the light struck at the proper angle,and her eyes were large and came near being round, and they were avelvety brown and also had a shine in them.

  Still Weary shied consistently and systematically.

  At the leap-year ball, given on New Year's night, when the ladies wereinvited to "choose your pardners for the hull dance, regardless of whobrought yuh," the schoolma'am had forsaken Joe Meeker, with whoseparents she boarded, and had deliberately chosen Weary. The HappyFamily had, with one accord, grinned at him in a way that promised manythings and, up to the coming of the Fourth of July, every promise hadbeen conscientiously fulfilled.

  They brought him many friendly messages from the schoolma'am, to whichhe returned unfriendly answers. When he accused them openly of tryingto "load" him; they were shocked and grieved. They told him theschoolma'am said she felt drawn to him--he looked so like her darlingbrother who had spilled his precious blood on San Juan Hill. CalEmmett was exceedingly proud of this invention, since it seemed to "godown" with Weary better than most of the lies they told.

  It was the coming of the Fourth and the celebration of that day whichprovoked further effort to tease Weary.

  "Who are _you_ going to take, Weary?" Cal Emmett lowered his lefteyelid very gently, for the benefit of the others, and drew a matchsharply along the wall just over his head.

  "Myself," answered Weary sweetly, though it was becoming a sore subject.

  "You're sure going in bum company, then," retorted Cal.

  "Who's going to pilot the schoolma'am?" blurted Happy Jack, who wasnever consciously ambiguous.

  "You can search me," said Weary, in a you-make-me-tired tone. "Shesure isn't going with Yours Truly."

  "Ain't she asked yuh yet?" fleered Cal. "That's funny. She told methe other day she was going to take advantage of woman's privilege,this year, and choose her own escort for the dance. Then she asked meif I knew whether you were spoke for, and when I told her yuh wasn't,she wanted to know if I'd bring a note over. But I was in a dickens ofa hurry, and couldn't wait for it; anyhow, I was headed the other way."

  "Not toward Len Adams, were you?" asked Weary sympathetically.

  "Aw, she'll give you an invite, all right," Happy Jack declared."Little Willie ain't going to be forgot, yuh can gamble on that. He'stoo much like Darling Brother--"

  At this point, Happy Jack ducked precipitately and a flapping,four-buckled overshoe, a relic of the winter gone, hurtled past hishead and landed with considerable force upon the unsuspecting stomachof Cal, stretched luxuriously upon his bunk. Cal doubled like athreatened caterpillar and groaned, and Weary, feeling that justice hadnot been defeated even though he had aimed at another culprit, grinnedcomplacently.

  "What horse are you going to take?" asked Chip, to turn the subject.

  "Glory. I'm thinking of putting him up against Bert Rogers' Flopper.Bert's getting altogether too nifty over that cayuse of his. He needsto be walked away from, once; Glory's the little horse that can learn'em things about running, if--"

  "Yeah--_if_!" This from Cal, who had recovered speech. "Have yuh gota written guarantee from Glory, that he'll run?"

  "Aw," croaked Happy Jack, "if he runs at all, it'll likely bebackwards--if it ain't a dancing-bear stunt on his hind feet. You cangamble it'll be what yuh don't expect and ain't got any money on; thatthere's Glory, from the ground up."

  "Oh, I don't know," Weary drawled placidly. "I'm not setting himbefore the public as a twin to Mary's little lamb, but I'm willing torisk him. He's a good little horse--when he feels that way--and he canrun. And darn him, he's _got_ to run!"

  Shorty quit snoring and rolled over. "Betche ten dollars, two to one,he won't run," he said, digging his fists into his eyes like a baby.

  Weary, dead game, took him up, though he knew what desperate chances hewas taking.

  "Betche five dollars, even up, he runs backwards," grinned Happy Jack,and Weary accepted that wager also.

  The rest of the afternoon was filled with Glory--so to speak--and muchcoin was hazarded upon his doing every unseemly thing that a horse canpossibly do at a race, except the one thing which he did do; which goesto prove that Glory was not an ordina
ry cayuse, and that he had areputation to maintain. To the day of his death, it may be said, hemaintained it.

  Dry Lake was nothing if not patriotic. Every legal holiday wasobserved in true Dry Lake manner, to the tune of violins and theswish-swish of slippered feet upon a more-or-less polished floor. TheGlorious Fourth, however, was celebrated with more elaborateamusements. On that day men met, organized and played a matched gameof ball with much shouting and great gusto, and with an umpire whoaimed to please.

  After that they arranged their horseraces over the bar of the saloon,and rode, ran or walked to the quarter-mile stretch of level trailbeyond the stockyards to witness the running; when they would hurryback to settle their bets over the bar where they had drunk to thepreliminaries.

  Bert Rogers came early, riding Flopper. Men hurried from the saloon togather round the horse that held the record of beating a "realrace-horse" the summer before. They felt his legs sagely and wonderedthat anyone should seem anxious to question his ability to beatanything in the country in a straightaway quarter-mile dash.

  When the Flying U boys clattered into town in a bunch, they weregreeted enthusiastically; for old Jim Whitmore's "Happy Family" wasliked to a man. The enthusiasm did not extend to Glory, however. Hewas eyed askance by those who knew him or who had heard of hisexploits. If the Happy Family had not backed him loyally to a man, hewould not have had a dollar risked upon him; and this not because hecould not run.

  Glory was an alien, one of a carload of horses shipped in from Arizonathe summer before. He was a bright sorrel, with the silvery mane andtan and white feet which one so seldom sees--a beauty, none could deny.His temper was not so beautiful.

  Sometimes for days he was lamblike in his obedience, touching in hismuzzling affection till Weary was lulled into unwatchful love for thehorse. Then things would happen.

  Once, Weary walked with a cane for two weeks. Another time he walkedten miles in the rain. Once he did not walk at all, but sat on a rockand smoked cigarettes till his tobacco sack ran empty, waiting forGlory to quit sulking, flat on his side, and get up and carry him home.

  Any man but Weary would have ruined the horse with harshness, but Wearywas really proud of his deviltry and would laugh till the tears camewhile he told of some new and undreamed bit of cussedness in his pet.

  On this day, Glory was behaving beautifully. True, he had nearlysqueezed the life out of Weary that morning when he went to saddle himin the stall, and he had afterwards snatched Cal Emmet's hat off withhis teeth, and had dropped it to the ground and had stood upon it; buton the whole, the Happy Family regarded those trifles as a good sign.

  When Bert Rogers and Weary ambled away down the dusty trail to thestarting point, accompanied by most of the Flying U boys and two orthree from Bert's outfit, the crowd in the grand-stand (which was thetop rail of the stockyard fence) hushed expectantly.

  When a pistol cracked, far down the road, and a faint yell cameshrilling through the quiet sunshine, they craned necks till theirmuscles ached. Like a summer sand-storm they came, and behind themclattered their friends, the dust concealing horse and rider alike.Whooping encouraging words at random, they waited till a black noseshot out from the rushing cloud. That was Flopper. Beside it a whitestreak, a flying, silvery mane--Glory was running! Happy Jack gave araucous yell.

  Lifting reluctantly, the dust gave hazy glimpses of a long, black bodyhugging jealously close to earth, its rider lying low upon thestraining neck--that was Flopper and Bert.

  Close beside, a sheeny glimmer of red, a tossing fringe of white, aleaning, wiry, exultant form above--that was Glory and Weary.

  There were groans as well as shouting when the whirlwind had swept pastand on down the hill toward town, and the reason thereof was plain.Glory had won by a good length of him.

  Bert Rogers said something savage and set his weight upon the bit tillFlopper, snorting and disgusted--for a horse knows when he isbeaten--took shorter leaps, stiffened his front legs and stopped,digging furrows with his feet.

  Glory sailed on down the trail, scattering Mrs. Jenson's chickens andjumping clean over a lumbering, protesting sow. "Come on--he's goingto set up the drinks!" yelled someone, and the crowd leaped from thefence and followed.

  But Glory did not stop. He whipped around the saloon, whirled past theblacksmith shop and was headed for the mouth of the lane before anyoneunderstood. Then Chip, suddenly grasping the situation, dug deep withhis spurs and yelled.

  "He's broken the bit--it's a runaway!"

  Thus began the second race, a free-for-all dash up the lane. At thevery start they knew it was hopeless to attempt overtaking that redstreak, but they galloped a mile for good manners' sake; Cal thenpulled up.

  "No use," he said. "Glory's headed for home and we ain't got thepapers to stop him. He can't hurt Weary--and the dance opens up atsix, and I've got a girl in town."

  "Same here," grinned Bert. "It's after four, now."

  Chip, who at that time hadn't a girl--and didn't want one--let Silverout for another long gallop, seeing it was Weary. Then he, too, gaveup the chase and turned back.

  Glory settled to a long lope and kept steadily on, gleefully rattlingthe broken bit which dangled beneath his jaws. Weary, helpless andamused and triumphant because the race was his, sat unconcernedly inthe saddle and laid imaginary bets with himself on the outcome.Without doubt, Glory was headed for home. Weary figured that, barringaccidents, he could catch up Blazes, in the little pasture, and rideback to Dry Lake by the time the dance was in full swing--for thedancing before dark would be desultory and without much spirit.

  But the gate into the big field was closed and tied securely with arope. Glory comprehended the fact with one roll of his knowing eyes,turned away to the left and took the trail which wound like a snakeinto the foothills. Clinging warily to the level where choice wasgiven him, trotting where the way was rough, mile after mile he coveredtill even Weary's patience showed signs of weakening.

  Just then Glory turned, where a wire gate lay flat upon the ground,crossed a pebbly creek and galloped stiffly up to the very steps of asquat, vine-covered ranch-house where, like the Discontented Pendulumin the fable, he suddenly stopped.

  "Damn you, Glory--I could kill yuh for this!" gritted Weary, and slidreluctantly from the saddle. For while the place seemed deserted, itwas not. There was a girl.

  She lay in a hammock; sprawled would come nearer describing herposition. She had some magazines scattered around upon the porch, andher hair hung down to the floor in a thick, dark braid. She wasdressed in a dark skirt and what, to Weary's untrained, masculine eyes,looked like a pink gunny sack. In reality it was a kimono. Sheappeared to be asleep.

  Weary saw a chance of leading Glory quietly to the corral before shewoke. There he could borrow a bridle and ride back whence he came, andhe could explain about the bridle to Joe Meeker in town. Joe wasalways good about lending things, anyway. He gathered the fragments ofthe bit in one hand and clucked under his breath, in an agony lest hisspurs should jingle.

  Glory turned upon him his beautiful, brown eyes, reproachfullyquestioning.

  Weary pulled steadily. Glory stretched neck and nose obediently, butas to feet, they were down to stay.

  Weary glanced anxiously toward the hammock and perspired, then stoodback and whispered language it would be a sin to repeat. Glory,listening with unruffled calm, stood perfectly still, like a red statuein the sunshine.

  The face of the girl was hidden under one round, loose-sleeved arm.She did not move. A faint breeze, freshening in spasmodic puffs,seized upon the hammock, and set it swaying gently.

  "Oh, damn you, Glory!" whispered Weary through his teeth. But Glory,accustomed to being damned since he was a yearling, displayedabsolutely no interest. Indeed, he seemed inclined to doze there inthe sun.

  Taking his hat--his best hat--from his head, he belabored Gloryviciously over the jaws with it; silently except for the soft thud andslap of felt on flesh. And the mood of him
was as near murder as Wearycould come. Glory had been belabored with worse things than hatsduring his eventful career; he laid back his ears, shut his eyes tightand took it meekly.

  There came a gasping gurgle from the hammock, and Weary's hand stoppedin mid-air. The girl's head was burrowed in a pillow and her slipperstapped the floor while she laughed and laughed.

  Weary delivered a parting whack, put on his hat and looked at heruncertainly; grinned sheepishly when the humor of the thing came to himslowly, and finally sat down upon the porch steps and laughed with her.

  "Oh, gee! It was too funny," gasped the girl, sitting up and wipingher eyes.

  Weary gasped also, though it was a small matter--a common little wordof three letters. In all the messages sent him by the schoolma'am, itwas the precise, school-grammar wording of them which had irritated himmost and impressed him insensibly with the belief that she was too primto be quite human. The Happy Family had felt all along that they wereartists in that line, and they knew that the precise sentences evercarried conviction of their truth. Weary mopped his perspiring faceupon a white silk handkerchief and meditated wonderingly.

  "You aren't a train-robber or a horsethief, or--anything, are you?" sheasked him presently. "You seemed quite upset at seeing the placewasn't deserted; but I'm sure, if you are a robber running away from asheriff, I'd never dream of stopping you. Please don't mind me; justmake yourself at home."

  Weary turned his head and looked straight up at her. "I'm afraid I'llhave to disappoint yuh, Miss Satterly," he said blandly. "I'm just anordinary human, and my name is Davidson--better known as Weary. Youdon't appear to remember me. We've met before."

  She eyed him attentively. "Perhaps we have--it you say so. I'mwretched about remembering strange names and faces. Was it at a dance?I meet so many fellows at dances--" She waved a brown little hand andsmiled deprecatingly.

  "Yes," said Weary laconically, still looking into her face. "It was."

  She stared down at him, her brows puckered. "I know, now. It was atthe Saint Patrick's dance in Dry Lake! How silly of me to forget."

  Weary turned his gaze to the hill beyond the creek, and fanned his hotface with his hat. "It was not. It wasn't at that dance, at all."Funny she didn't remember him! He suspected her of trying to fool him,now that he was actually in her presence, and he refused absolutely tobe fooled.

  He could see that she threw out her hand helplessly. "Well, I may aswell 'fess up. I don't remember you at all. It's horrid of me, whenyou rode up in that lovely, unconventional way. But you see, at dancesone doesn't think of the men as individuals; they're just good or badpartners. It resolves itself, you see, into a question of feet. If Ishould dance with you again,--_did_ I dance with you?"

  Weary shot a quick, eloquent glance in her direction. He did not sayanything.

  Miss Satterly blushed. "I was going to say, if I danced with you againI should no doubt remember you perfectly."

  Weary was betrayed into a smile. "If I could dance in these boots, I'dtake off my spurs and try and identify myself. But I guess I'll haveto ask yuh to take my word for it that we're acquainted."

  "Oh, I will. I meant to, all along. Why aren't you in town,celebrating? I thought I was the only unpatriotic person in thecountry."

  "I just came from town," Weary told her, choosing, his words carefullywhile yet striving to be truthful. No man likes confessing to a womanthat he has been run away with. "I--er--broke my bridle-bit, back afew miles" (it was fifteen, if it were a rod) "and so I rode in here toget one of Joe's. I didn't want to bother anybody, but Glory seemed tothink this was where the trail ended."

  Miss Satterly laughed again. "It certainly was funny--you trying toget him away, and being so still about it. I _heard_ you whisperingswear-words, and I wanted to scream! I just couldn't keep still anylonger. Is he balky?"

  "I don't know what he is--now," said Weary plaintively. "He was, atthat time. He's generally what happens to be the most dev--mean underthe circumstances."

  "Well, maybe he'll consent to being led to the stable; he looks as ifhe had a most unmerciful master!" (Weary, being perfectly innocent,blushed guiltily) "But I'll forgive you riding him like that, and makefor you a pitcher of lemonade and give you some cake while he rests.You certainly must not ride back with him so tired."

  Fresh lemonade sounded tempting, after that ride. And being lecturedwas not at all what he had expected from the schoolma'am--and who canfathom the mind of a man? Weary gave her one complex glance, laid hishand upon the bridle and discovered that Glory, having done whatmischief he could, was disposed to be very meek. At the corral gateWeary looked back.

  "At dances," he mused aloud, "one doesn't consider men asindividuals--it's merely a question of feet. She took me for a trainrobber; and I danced with her about forty times, that night, and tookher over to supper and we whacked up on our chicken salad because therewas only one dish for the two of us--oh, mamma!"

  He pulled off the saddle with a preoccupied air and rubbed Glory downmechanically. After that he went over and sat down on the oats' boxand smoked two cigarettes while he pondered many things.

  He stood up and thoughtfully surveyed himself, brushed sundry brightsorrel hairs from his coat sleeves, stooped and tried to pinch creasesinto the knees of his trousers, which showed symptoms of "bagging." Hetook off his hat and polished it with his sleeve he had just brushed socarefully, pinched four big dimples in the crown, turned it aroundthree times for critical inspection, placed it upon his head at astudiously unstudied angle, felt anxiously at his neck-gear and slappedGlory affectionately upon the rump--and came near getting kicked intoeternity. Then he swung off up the path, softly whistling "In thegood, old summer-time." An old hen, hovering her chicks in the shadeof the hay-rack, eyed him distrustfully and cried "k-r-_r-r-r_" in ashocked tone that sent her chickens burrowing deeper under her feathers.

  Miss Satterly had changed her pink kimono for a white shirt-waist andhad fluffed her hair into a smooth coil on the top of her head. Wearythought she looked very nice. She could make excellent lemonade, hediscovered, and she proved herself altogether different from what themessages she sent him had led him to expect. Weary wondered, until hebecame too interested to think about it.

  Presently, without quite knowing how it came about, he was telling herall about the race. Miss Satterly helped him reckon hiswinnings--which was not easy to do, since he had been offered all sortsof odds and had accepted them all with a recklessness that wasappalling. While her dark head was bent above the piece of paper, andher pencil was setting down figures with precise little jabs, hewatched her. He quite forgot the messages he had received from herthrough the medium of the Happy Family, and he quite forgot that womencould hurt a man.

  "Mr. Davidson," she announced severely, when the figures had all beendabbed upon the paper, "You ought to have lost. It would be a lessonto you. I haven't quite figured all your winnings, these six-to-onesand ten-to-ones and--and all that, take time to unravel. But you,yourself, stood to lose just three hundred and sixty-five dollars.Gee! but you cowboys are reckless."

  There was more that she said, but Weary did not mind. He haddiscovered that he liked to look at the schoolma'am. After that,nothing else was of much importance. He began to wish he might prolonghis opportunity for looking.

  "Say," he said suddenly, "Come on and let's go to the dance."

  The schoolma'am bit at her pencil and looked at him. "It's late--"

  "Oh, there's time enough," urged Weary.


  "Do yuh think we aren't well enough acquainted?"

  "Well we're not exactly old friends," she laughed.

  "We're going to be, so it's all the same," Weary surprised himself bydeclaring with much emphasis. "You'd go, wouldn't you, if I was--well,say your brother?"

  Miss Satterly rested her chin in her palms and regarded himmeasuringly. "I don't know. I never had one--except three or fourthat I--er--adopted, a
t one time or another. I suppose one could go,though--with a brother."

  Weary made a rapid, mental note for the benefit of the HappyFamily--and particularly Cal Emmett. "Darling Brother" was a myth,then; he ought to have known it, all along. And if that were a myth,so probably were all those messages and things that he had hated. Shedidn't care anything about him--and suddenly that struck himunpleasantly, instead of being a relief, as it consistently should havebeen.

  "I wish you'd adopt me, just for to-night, and go;" he said, and hiseyes backed the wish. "You see," he added artfully, "it's a sin towaste all that good music--a real, honest-to-God stringed orchestrafrom Great Falls, and--"

  "Meekers have taken both rigs," objected she, weakly.

  "I noticed a side saddle hanging in the stable," he wheedled, "and I'llgamble I can rustle something to put it on. I--"

  "I should think you'd gambled enough for one day," she quelled. "Butthat chunky little gray in the pasture is the horse I always ride. Iexpect," she sighed, "my new dancing dress would be a sight to beholdwhen I got there--and it won't wash. But what does a mere man care--"

  "Wrap it up in something, and I'll carry it for yuh," Weary advisedeagerly. "You can change at the hotel. It's dead easy." He picked uphis hat from the floor, rose and stood looking anxiously down at her."About how soon," he insinuated, "can you be ready?"

  The schoolma'am looked up at him irresolutely, drew a long breath andthen laughed. "Oh, ten minutes will do," she surrendered. "I shallput my new dress in a box, and go just as I am. Do you _always_ getyour own way, Mr. Davidson?"

  "Always," he lied convincingly over his shoulder, and jumped off theporch without bothering to use the steps.

  She was waiting when he led the little gray up to the house, and shecame down the steps with a large, flat, pasteboard box in her arms.

  "Don't get off," she commanded. "I can mount alone--and you'll have tocarry the box. It's going to be awkward, but you _would_ have me go."

  Weary took the box and prudently remained in the saddle. Glory, havingthe man he did for master, was unused to the flutter of women's skirtsso close, and rolled his eyes till the whites showed all round.Moreover, he was not satisfied with that big, white thing in Weary'sarms.

  He stood quite still, however, until the schoolma'am was settled to herliking in the saddle, and had tucked her skirt down over the toe of herright foot. He watched the proceeding with much interest--as didWeary--and then walked sedately from the yard, through the pebbly creekand up the slope beyond. He heard Weary give a sigh of relief at hisdocility, and straightway thrust his nose between his white front feet,and proceeded to carry out certain little plans of his own. Weary,taken by surprise and encumbered by the box, could not argue the point;he could only, in range parlance, "hang and rattle."

  "Oh," cried Miss Satterly, "if he's going to act like that, give me thebox."

  Weary would like to have done so, but already he was half way to thegate, and his coat was standing straight out behind to prove the speedof his flight. He could not even look back. He just hung tight to thebox and rode.

  The little gray was no racer, but his wind was good; and with urging hekept the fleeing Glory in sight for a mile or so. Then, horse andrider were briefly silhouetted against the sunset as they topped adistant hill, and after that the schoolma'am rode by faith.

  At the gate which led into the big Flying U field she overtook them.Glory, placid as a sheep, was nibbling a frayed end of the rope whichheld the gate shut, and Weary, the big box balanced in front of himacross the saddle, was smoking a cigarette.

  "Well," greeted Miss Satterly breathlessly, and rather tartly, "onlyfor you having my dress, I'd have gone straight back home. Do brothersalways act like this?"

  "Search me," said Weary, shaking his head. "Anyway, yuh better talk toGlory about it. He appears to be running this show. When I rode outto your place, I didn't have any bit in his mouth at all. Coming back,I've got one of Joe Meeker's teething rings, that wouldn't hold a petturkey. But we're going to the dance, Miss Satterly. Don't you worrynone about that."

  Miss Satterly laughed and rode ahead of them. "I'm going," sheannounced firmly. "It's leap year, and I think I can rustle a partnerif you decide to sit and look through that gate all night."

  "You'll need your pretty dress. Glory ain't much used to escortingyoung ladies, but he's a gentleman; we're coming, all right."

  It was strange, perhaps, that Glory should miss the chance of provinghis master a liar, but he nevertheless ambled decorously to Dry Lakeand did nothing more unseemly than nipping occasionally at the neck ofthe little gray.

  That is how Weary learned that large, brown eyes do not look sidelongat a man after the manner of long, heavy-lidded blue ones; and that,also, is how he came to throw up his head and deny to himself and hisworld that he ever was shy of women.