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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 258 pages of information about The Heart of the Range.

“Then all you got to look out for is to-night.  But I’m telling you you better drag it to-morrow shore.”

Racey smiled slowly.  “If it wasn’t I got business down south I’d admire to stay.  I ain’t leaving a place just because I ain’t popular, not nohow.  I’m over twenty-one.  I got my growth.”

“It don’t matter why you go.  Yo’re a-going.  That’s enough.  It’s a good thing for you you got business, and you can stick a pin in that.”

“I’ll have to do something about them friends of his alla same, before I go,” Racey said, thoughtfully.

“Huh?” Perplexedly.

“Yeah.  If they’re a-honing to bushwhack me for what I did to Nebraska, it ain’t fair for me to go sifting off thisaway and not give ’em some kind of a run for their alley.  Look at it close.  You can see it ain’t.”

“I don’t see nothing—­”

“Shore you do.  It would give ’em too much of a chance to talk.  They might even get to saying they ran me out o’ town.  And the more I think of it the more I’m shore they’ll be saying just that.”

“But you said you was going away.  You said you had business in Arizona.”

“Shore I have, and shore I’m going.  But first I gotta give Nebraska’s friends a chance to draw cards.  A chance, y’ understand.”

“You’ll be killed,” she told him, white-lipped.

“Why, no,” said he.  “Not never a-tall.  Drawing cards is one thing and playing the hand out is a cat with another kind of tail.  I got hopes they won’t get too rough with me.”

“Well, of all the stubborn damn fools I ever saw—­” began the girl, angrily.

At which Racey Dawson laughed aloud.

“That’s all right,” she snapped.  “You can laugh.  Might ‘a’ knowed you would.  A man is such a plumb idjit.  A feller does all she can to show him the right trail out, and does he take it?  He does not.  He laughs.  That’s what he does.  He laughs.  He thinks it’s funny.  You gimme a pain, you do!”

On the instant she jerked her pony round, whirled her quirt cross-handed, and tore down the back-trail at full gallop.

“Aw, hell,” said Racey, looking after the fleeing damsel regretfully.  “I clean forgot to ask her about the rest of Nebraska’s friends.”

CHAPTER IV

THE OLD LADY

“Hope Old Man Dale is home,” said Racey to himself when he saw ahead of him the grove of cottonwoods marking the location of Moccasin Spring.  “But he won’t be,” he added, lugubriously.  “I never did have any luck.”

He passed the grove of trees and opened up the prospect of house and stable and corral with cottonwood and willow-bordered Soogan Creek in the background.

“Changed some since I was here last,” he muttered in wonder.  For nesters as a rule do not go in for flowers and shrubs.  And here, besides a small truck garden, were both—­all giving evidence of much care and attention.

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