“You’re all right, yourself, are you?” Old Heck asked a bit anxiously.
“Of course I’m all right,” was the rather impatient reply. “Don’t be uneasy,” he added with a laugh; “—th’ filly’ll be in th’ race an’ beat old Thunderbolt!”
“Good luck!” Carolyn June cried, as Old Heck turned the car about and started back toward the grandstand.
“Good luck!” the Ramblin’ Kid muttered to himself, watching the car as it whirled away. “Ign’rant, savage, stupid brute!” he repeated bitterly, then with a queer smile in which was a world of tenderness he pulled the pink satin elastic garter he had picked up at the circular corral, from his pocket and looked at it long and wistfully. “Good luck?” he exclaimed again questioningly. “Well, maybe that little jigger’ll bring it!” and he slipped the band back in his pocket.
“Th’ Ramblin’ Kid acts like he’s got the blues this morning,” Skinny said as the Clagstone “Six” rolled away from the stables. “He looks to me like a feller that’s in just the right humor to get on a whale of a drunk—”
“That’s one thing about him you can depend on,” Old Heck broke in, “—he never poisons himself with liquor. That’s why when he says he’ll do anything you can bet all you’ve got he’ll do it!”
“Well, if he ever does break loose,” Skinny retorted, “it’ll be sudden and wild!”
“Probably,” Old Heck replied as though there wasn’t the slightest danger of such an eventuality.
That morning Gyp purposely avoided going as far, with his stock of provisions, as the stall in which were Captain Jack and the Gold Dust maverick. Nor did he come with his lunch tray and tin pot of coffee until nearly one o’clock.
The Ramblin’ Kid had no breakfast. To secure it he would have been required to leave the horses. That he would not do. Of course he might have told Old Heck or Skinny to bring or send him something, but he did not feel inclined to mention, in the presence of Carolyn June and Ophelia, that he was hungry. Anyhow, well, they were having a good time and what was the use of bothering them?
When Gyp finally came with the lunch the Ramblin’ Kid was outside the stall and had walked a little way up the stable street. Captain Jack and the filly were in a compartment at the end of the string of stalls. The one next to it, back toward the grandstand, was unoccupied, and adjoining that was a hay room. Gyp stopped opposite the open door of the compartment in which the bales of hay and straw were piled. He paused a moment and turned as if to go back.
“Hold on there!” the Ramblin’ Kid called to him. “What you tryin’ to do? Starve me to death?”
“D’ last thing I’d want to do, Bo!” Gyp laughed good-naturedly. “Did I miss you this mornin’? Here, come inside where I can set this bloomin’ junk down on a bale of hay for a minute an’ I’ll fix you up!”
The Ramblin’ Kid followed Gyp into the stall.