“Did you talk to him?” queried Cheyenne.
“Nope. He just come out of his cabin an’ told me to fan it. I wasn’t doin’ nothin’. He said it was against the law to be huntin’ up there. Mebby he don’t hunt when he feels like it!”
“Did you tell Uncle Frank?”
“Yep. Wish I hadn’t. He says for me to stay away from the high country—and not to ride by Sneed’s place any more.”
Cheyenne turned to Bartley. “I done made one guess right,” he said.
“You goin’ to kill Sneed?” queried young Jim enthusiastically.
“Nobody’s goin’ to get killed. But I aim to git my hosses.”
Cheyenne turned to Jimmy. “You ride over and tell Uncle Frank and Aunt Jane that me and Mr. Bartley’ll be over after we eat.”
“Will you sing that ‘Git Along’ song for me, dad?”
“But why don’t you come over and eat to our place? You always stop by, every time you ride down this way,” said Jimmy.
“You ride right along, like I told you, or you’ll be late for your supper.”
Little Jim climbed into the saddle, and, turning to cast a lingering and hopeful glance at Bartley,—a glance which suggested the possibilities of further practice with the Luger gun,—he rode away, a manful figure, despite his size.
“They’re bringin’ my kid up right,” said Cheyenne, as though in explanation of something about which he did not care to talk.
AT AUNT JANE’S
Aunt Jane Lawrence was popular with the young folks of the district, not alone because she was a good cook, but because she was a sort of foster mother to the entire community. The young ladies of the community brought to Aunt Jane their old hats and dresses, along with their love affairs, petty quarrels, and youthful longings. A clever woman at needlework, she was often able to remodel the hats and “turn” the dresses so that they would serve a second season or maybe a third.
The love affairs, petty quarrels, and youthful longings were not always so easy to remodel, even when they needed it: but Aunt Jane managed well. She had much patience and sympathy. She knew the community, and so was often able to help her young friends without conflicting with paternal or maternal views. Hat-trimming and dressmaking were really only incidental to her real purpose in life, which was to help young folks realize their ideals, when such ideals did not lead too far from everyday responsibilities.
Yet, with all her capabilities, her gentle wisdom, and her unobtrusive sympathy, she was unable to influence her Brother Jim—known by every one as “Cheyenne”—toward a settled habit of life. So it became her fondest desire to see that Cheyenne’s boy, Little Jim, should be brought up in a home that he would always cherish and respect. Aunt Jane’s husband Frank Lawrence, had no patience with Cheyenne’s aimless meanderings. Frank Lawrence was a hard-working, silent nonentity. Aunt Jane was the real manager of the ranch, and incidentally of Little Jim, and her husband was more than content that it should be so.