As she reached the gate the Clagstone “Six” glided quietly down the grade from the bench and a moment later Ophelia and Parker joined Carolyn June on the porch. The widow’s cheeks were glowing and Parker looked embarrassed and rather upset. His arms were full of bundles.
“Have a good time?” Carolyn June greeted them.
“Fine,” Ophelia replied, “spent oodles of money shopping, saw the minister’s wife, talked with the editor of the paper and we are going to organize a Chapter—I think we shall call it ’The Amazons of Eagle Butte.’”
“Great,” Carolyn June laughed, “you are a hustler, Ophelia! Uncle Josiah will have a fit. Does Parker know?”
“Yes,” the widow answered, her eyes twinkling, as she looked at the sweating foreman of the Quarter Circle KT. “I told him all about it and he is going to give us his moral support.”
“Where is Skinny?” Parker interrupted hastily, looking more uneasy and foolish than ever; “why ain’t he here?”
Carolyn June told of the happenings of the morning.
“My dear, my dear!” Ophelia cried, shuddering when she heard of Carolyn June’s narrow escape from the quicksand. “You must never cross that terrible river again! It’s too horrible to think about!”
“It was just ‘experience,’” Carolyn June said lightly. “I don’t mind it a bit now that it is over. Of course,” she added seriously, “I feel badly about Old Blue—and losing Parker’s saddle.”
“Don’t worry about the saddle, I can get new riding gear lots easier than Old Heck could have got another niece!”
“Carolyn June needs a saddle of her own,” Ophelia suggested.
“I am going to get one; and then I’ll ride the Gold Dust maverick!”
“I doubt if th’ Ramblin’ Kid will let you ride the filly,” Parker said, “he’s funny that way—”
“I think he will,” Carolyn June interposed. “I’ll steal her if no other way!”
“Maybe he will, but it’s doubtful,” Parker continued, “but Old Heck is aiming to get you a saddle. He spoke about it this morning when we were getting the car out to go to town—”
“Dear old uncle,” Carolyn June said warmly, “I love him already—don’t you, Ophelia?”
Parker colored and looked quickly, with a worried expression on his face, at the widow. She flushed also.
“That’s personal, my dear,” she answered, “and rather abrupt!”
Parker went out to put the Clagstone “Six” in the garage.
“Carolyn June,” Ophelia said when they were alone, “I have made a discovery—”
“It is?” questioningly.
“That western Texas is the ‘quickest’ country in the world!” the widow answered.
“Please explain,” Carolyn June said, “although,” demurely, with certain memories fresh in her mind, “I fancy I can almost guess—”
“Yesterday,” Ophelia continued rather breathlessly, “we arrived at the Quarter Circle KT; last night at the supper table I met Mr. Parker for the first time; ten minutes later he kicked me—accidentally, I think—on the shins; I saw him again at breakfast this morning; to-day we drove to Eagle Butte and this afternoon”—she paused and then with a quick, nervous laugh finished—“he asked me to marry him!”