“I’ll be back,” she called over her shoulder.
The pony jumped to a canter at the touch of her Jaeel. She disappeared in a gallop around the bend.
Already the fever of the boy was beginning to pass. He shivered with the chill of night. Billie wrapped around him his own coat, a linsey-woolen one lined with yellow flannel. He packed him up in the two blankets and heated stones for his feet and hands. Presently the boy fell into sound sleep for the first time since he was wounded. He had slept before, but always uneasily and restlessly. Now he did not mutter between clenched teeth nor toss to and fro.
His friend accepted it as a good omen. Since he had not slept a wink himself for forty hours, he lay down before the fire and made himself comfortable His eyes closed almost immediately.
A Friendly Enemy
“Law sakes, Miss Bertie Lee, yo’ suppah done been ready an hour. Hit sure am discommodin’ the way you go gallumphin’ around. Don’t you-all nevah git tired?”
Aunt Becky was large and black and bulgy. To say that she was fat fails entirely of doing her justice. She overflowed from her clothes in waves at all possible points. When she moved she waddled.
Just now she was trying to be cross, but the smile of welcome on the broad face would have its way.
“Set down an’ rest yo’ weary bones, honey. I’ll have yo’ suppah dished up in no time a-tall. Yore paw was axin’ where is you awhile ago.”
“Where’s dad?” asked Miss Bertie Lee Snaith carelessly as she flung her gloves on a chair.
“He done gone down to the store to see if anything been heerd o’ them vilyainous killers of Mr. Webb.”
When Bertie Lee returned from washing her hands and face and giving a touch or two to her hair, she sat down and did justice to the fried chicken and biscuits of Aunt Becky. She had had a long day of it and she ate with the keen appetite of youth.
Her father returned while she was still at the table. He was a big sandy man dressed in a corduroy suit. He was broad of shoulder and his legs were bowed.
“Any news, dad?” she asked.
“Not a thing, Lee. I reckon they’ve made their get-away. They must have slipped off the road somewhere. The wounded one never could have traveled all night. Maybe we’ll git ’em yet.”
“What will you do with them, if you do?”
“Hang ’em to a sour apple tree,” answered Wallace Snaith promptly.
His daughter made no comment. She knew that her father’s resentment was based on no abstract love of law and order. It had back of it no feeling that crime had been committed or justice outraged. The frontier was in its roistering youth, full of such effervescing spirits that life was the cheapest thing it knew. Every few days some unfortunate was buried on Boot Hill, a victim of his own inexpertness