“Off and on,” Old Heck replied, “when he wants to he does and when he don’t he don’t. He’s a witch with horses and knows he’s always got a job if he wants it, and I reckon that makes him kind of undependable about staying in any one place long at a time. That’s why they call him th’ Ramblin’ Kid—he’s liable to ramble any minute.”
The car curled down the narrow dugway off of the bench and a moment later stopped at the gate in front of the ranch house of the Quarter Circle KT.
“We’re here,” Skinny said, as Sing Pete, the Chinese cook, appeared at the open door.
“They’ve come, Sing Pete,” Old Heck called, climbing out of the car; “this is them! Is dinner ready?”
“All leady—waitee!” the Oriental answered, shuffling out to the car to help with the luggage and twisting and squirming as he kept bowing in greeting.
“This is great!” Carolyn June said, as she stepped on the long cool porch in front of the house and paused a moment before entering the open door, “—it’s cool and pleasant, I’m going to like it,” she added, as she went into the big low-ceilinged room.
The floor was bare of carpet but spotlessly clean; shades, but no curtains, were over the windows; in the center stood a large flat-topped reading table; at one end of the table was a Morris chair upholstered in brown Spanish leather; a wolf-skin rug was thrown on the floor before an old-fashioned Mexican fire-place built into one corner of the room; in another corner was a smaller table on which was a graphophone; a rocker and several chairs were set about the room and against the north wall; between two doors, evidently opening into twin bedrooms, was an upright grand piano—.
“Oh, a piano!” Carolyn June exclaimed delightedly noticing the instrument. “Who plays?”
“Nobody,” Old Heck answered foolishly, “I—I—well, what’s the use of lying?—I bought it one day, before prohibition come, when I was drunk and just had it brought out because I didn’t know what else to do with it—”
“You funny old uncle!” Carolyn June laughed, “I love you already.—Ophelia plays,” she added.
“Not so well or so much as Carolyn June,” Ophelia said.
“Maybe we’ll have some music then some day; that ain’t canned,” Skinny suggested eagerly.
“You women can use them rooms,” Old Heck said, referring to the doors on each side of the piano. “Parker and me did have them but we’ve arranged to sleep in the bunk-house while you are here.”
“Carolyn June and I need but one,” Ophelia said, “it isn’t fair to run you out—”
“You ain’t running us,” Old Heck answered, “we’ve talked it over and would rather.”
After dinner Ophelia and Carolyn June spent their time in settling themselves in their rooms. A small bath closet connected the two—crude a bit and somewhat unfinished; but a hot tub, the water supplied from a tank at the kitchen range, was enjoyed by both.