“Good night!” Ophelia echoed.
YOU’LL GET YOUR WISH
It was a silent group that gathered in the bunk-house after the dance. Old Heck, Parker, Charley and the other cowboys had been unduly stimulated by the music, the laughter and the bright smiles of Carolyn June and Ophelia. When they stepped out of the house into the cool night these all were left behind. The cow-men quickly sobered down and by the time they reached their sleeping quarters on the faces of all were half-ashamed looks as if they had been playing at a game not quite dignified enough or proper for men of maturity and seriousness.
All were thoughtful and none seemed eager to start conversation.
Skinny was dejected and utterly miserable.
He felt that he had been cruelty treated. Carolyn June had acted all evening as though his only object in living was to stand in the corner and wind up that blamed graphophone, while she openly flirted with the other cowboys. Skinny was grateful to the Ramblin’ Kid who, alone of all the cow-punchers, had decency enough to stay away and not interfere with the original agreement. The Ramblin’ Kid had some sense and was square. He had realized that any fellow officially elected to make love—especially when he didn’t want to do it in the first place—ought to be allowed to go ahead and make it without having a lot of darned buckaroos butting in on the job.
The way the others had acted was a regular disgrace!
Chuck, Bert, Charley and Pedro were nervously happy. In the heart of each was a thrill, caused by the memory of some secret—or what he thought was a secret—manifestation of Carolyn June’s interest. Perhaps it was no more than the brushing of a stray whiff of odorous brown hair against a weather-tanned cheek, the pulsing of a warm breath on the side of a muscular neck, a melting look from a pair of luminous eyes, some low-spoken word or the pressure of a hand, but whatever it was, each of the cowboys was reasonably certain he had been singled out for special favors. Charley was doubly blessed. In addition to Carolyn June’s seductive advances he had the memory, also, of Ophelia’s attentions. His mind was awhirl with the effort to figure out which one, by rights, he ought to consider as a permanent possibility.
Old Heck and Parker were in a quandary.
Neither was sure of his standing with Ophelia although each had reason to believe that he was her favorite. Her interest in Charley added an unexpected and perplexing equation to their problem.
“Gosh,” Chuck finally exclaimed, “that dance sure was some blow out!”
“I should say it was!” Bert Agreed emphatically and with a satisfied grin. “But didn’t that widow act funny for an ‘anti-he’ suffragette?”
Old Heck looked up, startled, as if he had been reminded of a disagreeable subject and one he wished to forget.