Quickly changing her dress for a riding suit of khaki—the skirt sensibly divided—and the morning slippers for stout, tan, laced boots, she stepped into the front room. Ophelia was in her own room dressing to go to town. Carolyn June heard voices in the kitchen. Sing Pete’s shrill chatter mingled with an occasional slow word from the Ramblin’ Kid. Thought of the garter she had lost flashed into her mind. Perhaps the cowboy had not found it. She would run out to the corral and see. Passing quickly out the front way Carolyn June hastened again toward the circular corral. Old Heck and Parker were at the garage getting the car ready for the drive to Eagle Butte; Pedro and Chuck were riding across the valley toward the upper pasture. The other cowboys saddled their horses near the barn.
As she walked, Carolyn June scanned the ground. At the corral she looked carefully where she had been standing. Her search was fruitless. She smiled queerly. Again she glanced at the Gold Dust maverick.
“You darling,” she whispered, “I am going to have you—I am—I absolutely am!”
Turning, her eyes rested on the saddle, chaps and riding gear lying in the shed where the Ramblin’ Kid had slept. Carolyn June stepped close to the outfit.
“I have a notion to—to spit on you!” she said vehemently, “or kick—” but she didn’t finish the sentence. One tan shoe had been drawn back as if to be swung viciously at the inoffensive pile of riding gear; it paused, suspended, then gently, almost caressingly, pushed the leather chaps which suddenly seemed to Carolyn June to look limp and worn and pathetically tired.
As Carolyn June returned to the house Parker drove the car around to the front; Old Heck joined the cowboys, already mounting their bronchos, and with them rode down the lane in the direction of the lower field. Skinny came out of the barn, leading Pie Face and Old Blue. He left the horses standing and at the back-yard gate overtook Carolyn June. As they stepped inside the yard the Ramblin’ Kid appeared at the kitchen door.
“There’s the Ramblin’ Kid now,” Skinny said as they approached. “Hello, Kid,” he continued, “I see you got the filly—Excuse me, I guess you folks ain’t acquainted.”
Haltingly he introduced them.
Without the flicker of an eyelid the Ramblin’ Kid looked into the eyes of Carolyn June. He had seen her coming from the corral and guessed correctly the reason for her second visit to the enclosure. Indeed at that moment his hand was in his pocket toying with the delicate souvenir for which she had gone to search. Yet his face was utterly without emotion as he lifted his hat and stood aside, acknowledging with formal words the introduction. “It’s sure a surprisin’ day an’ pleasant—” he finished, emphasizing “surprisin’” and “pleasant” till Carolyn June could have sworn there was a veiled taunt in the words he spoke.
She was equally calm. Smiling sweetly and with not a hint of a previous meeting she said: “I think I have heard of the Ramblin’ Kid.” Pausing a moment: “It’s always peaceful after a storm!” she added enigmatically. And the Ramblin’ Kid, as Skinny and the girl passed around to the front of the house, knew that Carolyn June had hurled a lance!