“What’ll I have to do?” Skinny asked cautiously.
“Just set on the front porch with her at night and make your eyes roll up like a calf’s that’s being branded and kind of sigh heart-broken once in a while,” Bert volunteered. “It’ll be easy when you get used to it—”
“If you know so much about it why don’t you enlist yourself?” Skinny asked irritably. “Some of you fellows go on and volunteer,” he pleaded dolefully.
“I would in a minute,” Chuck chipped in, “if I was good-looking like Skinny and had a white shirt—”
“What’s a white shirt got to do with it?”
“Listen to the innocent child,” Chuck laughed, “as if any darned fool didn’t know that the first thing a professional love-maker has to have is a white shirt!”
“That settles it,” Skinny declared with emphasis, “I won’t wear a white shirt to make love to no blamed woman—”
“Chuck’s locoed,” the Ramblin’ Kid interposed; “you don’t need to have no white shirt—of course it would be better but it ain’t downright necessary—women don’t fall in love with shirts, it’s what’s inside of them.”
“Where did you find out so much about women?” Bert queried.
“I didn’t find out—I’m just guessin’—”
“There ain’t no use arguing,” Old Heck broke in. “Skinny will have to be expert love-maker for that Carolyn June niece of mine—I’ll allow him ten dollars a month more wages while he’s doing it. I ain’t going to have her writing letters to her pa and telling him she didn’t have no conveniences or nothing. Anyhow, she’s young and I reckon it’s sort of necessary.”
“What about th’ other one—Ophelia Cobb or whoever she is?” Bert Lilly asked.
“She’s past the age for it, probably,” Parker said uneasily.
“They don’t pass it,” the Ramblin’ Kid interrupted laconically; “when females get too old to want to be made love to they die—”
“I’d like to know where in hell a juvenile like you got your education about women!” Bert insisted to the Ramblin’ Kid.
“I ain’t got none—I’m just guessing I told you,” the other replied, “but it’s the truth, anyhow.”
“Well, if I’ve got to make love to the young one Old Heck or Parker or somebody’s got to do it for the other one,” Skinny declared positively.
“Ophelia don’t need it,” Old Heck said hastily, “she’s a widow and has done been—”
“Widows are th’ worst,” the Ramblin’ Kid drawled; “they’ve had experience an’ don’t like to give it up.”
“Th’ Ramblin’ Kid’s right,” Chuck broke in. “I read a book once that said that’s the way they are. It’s up to Old Heck or Parker to represent Cupid to the widow—”
“Who the hell’s Cupid?” Skinny asked curiously.
“He’s a dangerous little outlaw that ain’t got no reg’lar range,” the Ramblin’ Kid answered for Chuck.
“I’ll not do it—” Old Heck and Parker spoke at once.
“Then I won’t either,” Skinny declared flatly, “I’ll quit the dog-goned Quarter Circle KT first!”