Worried Mrs. Dale raised a work-scarred hand and pushed back a lock of gray hair that had fallen over one eye. “It’s a forgery,” she said, wretchedly. “I know it’s a forgery. He—he wouldn’t sign such a paper. I know he wouldn’t.”
Molly Dale, all unmindful of Racey Dawson sitting in a chair tilted back against the wall, slipped around the table and slid her arm about her mother’s waist.
“There, there, Ma,” she soothed, pulling her mother’s head against her firm young shoulder. “Don’t you fret. It will come out all right. You’ll see. You mustn’t worry this way. Can’t you believe what Racey says? Try, dear, try.”
But unhappy Mrs. Dale was beyond trying. She saw the home which she had worked to get and slaved to maintain taken from her and herself and her daughter turned out of doors. There was no help for it. There was no hope. The future was pot-black. She broke down and wept.
“Oh, oh,” she sobbed, “if only I’d watched him closer that day. But I was washing, and I sort of forgot about him for a spell, and when I’d got the clothes on the line he wasn’t anywhere in sight, and—and it’s all my fuf-fault.”
This was too much for Racey Dawson. He got up and went out. Savagely he pulled his hat over his eyes and strode to where his horse stood in the shade of a cottonwood. But he did not pick up the trailing reins. For as he reached the animal he saw approaching across the flat the figures of a horse and rider. And the man was Luke Tweezy.
With the sight of Mrs. Dale’s tears fresh in his memory and the rage engendered thereby galvanizing his brain he went to meet Mr. Tweezy.
“Howdy, Racey,” said the lawyer, pulling up.
“Whadda you want?” demanded Racey, halting a scant yard from Luke Tweezy’s left leg.
“I come to see Mrs. Dale,” replied Tweezy, his leathery features wrinkling in a grimace intended to pass for a propitiating smile.
Racey’s stare was venomous. “Tweezy,” he drawled, “I done told you something about admiring to see you put these women off this ranch, didn’t I?”
“Oh, you was just a li’l hasty. I understand. That’s all right. I’ve done forgot all about it.”
“So I see. So I see. I’m reminding you of it. After this, Luke, I’d hobble my memory if I was you, then it won’t go straying off thisaway and get you into trouble.”
Racey did not deign to repeat. He nodded simply.
“I ain’t got no gun,” explained the lawyer.
“Alla more easy for me, then. You can’t shoot back.”
Luke Tweezy choked. Choked and spat. “—— ——” he began in a violent tone of voice.
“Careful, careful,” cautioned Racey, promptly kicking the lawyer’s horse in the ribs. “There’s ladies in the house. You get a-holt of yore tongue.”