Her gray hair was all in strings about her face. Her eyes and cheeks were puffed with sleep. She had pulled a quilt round her shoulders over her nightdress. Now she gave the quilt a hitch up and sat down in a chair.
“Make me a cup o’ coffee, will you, Molly?” said Mrs. Dale. “My head aches sort of. I hope you didn’t have a fight with Racey Dawson.”
“Well, we didn’t quite agree,” admitted Molly, snapping shut the cover of the coffee-mill and clamping the mill between her knees. “I don’t like him any more, Ma.”
“And after he’s helped us so! I was counting on him to fix up this mortgage business! Whatever’s got into you, Molly?”
“He’s been running round with that awful lookout girl at the Happy Heart.”
“Is that all?” yawned Mrs. Dale, greatly relieved. “I thought it might have been something serious.”
“It is serious! What right has he to—”
“Why hasn’t he? You ain’t engaged to him.”
“I know I’m not, but he—I—you—” Molly began to flounder.
“Has he ever told you he loved you?” Mrs. Dale inquired, shrewdly.
“Not in so many words, but—”
“But you know he does. Well, so do I know he does. I knew it soon as you did—before, most likely. Don’t you fret, Molly, he’ll come back.”
“No, he won’t. Not now. I don’t want him to.”
“Then who’s to fix up this mortgage business with Tweezy, I’d like to know? I declare, I wish I’d taken that lawyer’s offer. We’d have something then, anyhow. Now we’ll have to get out without a nickel. Oh, Molly, what did you quarrel with Racey for?”
Merely because he believed that the well-known all was over between Molly Dale and himself, Racey did not relinquish his plans for the future.
He rode to Marysville as he had intended. That is, he rode to the vicinity of Marysville. For, arriving at a hill five miles outside of town in the broad of an afternoon, he stopped in a hollow under the cedars and waited for night. Daylight was decidedly not appropriate for the act he contemplated.
“I wonder,” he muttered, as he lay with his back braced against a tree and stared at the bulge in his slicker, “I wonder if I ought to use all them sticks at once. I never heard that miner man say how much of an argument a safe needed. I s’pose I better use ’em all.”
Luke Tweezy was a bachelor. His office was in his four-room house, and he did not employ a housekeeper. Further than this, Racey Dawson knew nothing of the lawyer’s establishment. But he believed that his knowledge was sufficient to serve his purpose.
About midnight Racey Dawson removed himself, his horse, and his dynamite from the hollow on the hill to where a lone pine grew almost directly in the rear of and two hundred yards from the residence of Luke Tweezy. He had selected the tall and lonely pine as the best place to leave his horse because, should he be forced to run for it, he would have against the stars a plain landmark to run for. He thoroughly expected to be forced to run. Six sticks of dynamite letting go together would arouse a cemetery. And Marysville was a lively village.