There was no regret in the heart of the Ramblin’ Kid. Instead he felt a strange elation. With his fists and heels he had beaten the giant Greek into a lifeless mass!
“’Ign’rant—savage—stupid—brute!” he muttered as Captain Jack sped from the scene of fight; “I reckon she was pretty near right!”
At gray dawn he swung down from the back of the little stallion at the door of the Indian’s hut.
Old Jake asked no questions.
The Ramblin’ Kid himself volunteered:
“Killed a man—Sabota—got to lay low, Jake—some three, four, five days! Then I go—south—Mexico!”
“The Young Whirlwind had cause?” the Navajo grunted sententiously.
“Sure—plenty!” the Ramblin’ Kid laughed, slipping his hand to his breast pocket and caressing the pink satin garter.
“It is good,” the Indian said. “The Navajo will watch!”
For seven days the Ramblin’ Kid rested, securely, in the lonely hut among the lavas and “pot-holes” of the desert. Then he saddled Captain Jack and when the full shadow of night had settled over the desolation about him mounted the little broncho and turned him to the south, in the direction of the Cimarron, toward the Quarter Circle KT, where the Gold Dust maverick waited, alone, in the corral.
Carolyn June could not sleep. The night was more than half gone and still she sat on the front porch and watched the gradual spread of a misty, silvery sheen over the brow of the bench and the distant peaks of the shadowy Costejo range as the pale moon, in its last half, lifted itself above the sand-hills at the gap through which the Cimarron tumbled out of the valley.
Old Heck and Ophelia had retired hours ago.
The Quarter Circle KT was sleeping. From the meadows the heavy odor of wilted alfalfa hung on the night air as the dew sprinkled the windrows of new-cut hay.
A strange restlessness filled the heart of the girl.
Something seemed to be holding her in a tense, relentless grip. She had no desire to seek her room. Indeed, she felt that the air of the house would stifle her. She arose and strolled idly through the gate, past the bunk-house where Skinny, Pedro and the hay hands snored peacefully, as she wandered aimlessly through the slanting moonlight down to the circular corral.
The Gold Dust maverick seemed to reflect the girl’s own uneasy mood.
The filly moved with quick nervous strides about the corral. As Carolyn June leaned against the bars and stretched out her hand the mare whinnied softly, tossed her head, nosed an instant the white fingers and trotted in a circle around the enclosure.
“What’s the matter, Heart o’ Gold?” Carolyn June laughed sympathetically, “can’t you either?”
In the shed at the side of the corral, on the spot where, that first morning, the Ramblin’ Kid’s saddle had rested and the cowboy slept, Carolyn June’s own riding gear was lying. She glanced at the outfit For a second she fancied she saw again the slender form stretched in the shadow upon the ground while a pair of black inscrutable eyes looked with unfathomable melancholy up into her own.