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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 159 pages of information about The Uphill Climb.

Jim looked as if he would like to ask what Ford meant to do, but he refrained.  There was something besides preoccupation in Ford’s face, and it did not make for easy questioning.  Jim did yield to his curiosity to the extent of watching through a window, when Ford went out, to see where he was going; and when he saw Ford had the jug, and that he took the path which led across the little bridge and so to the house, he drew back and said “Whee-e-e!” under his breath.  Then he remarked to the recumbent Mose, who was not in a condition either to hear or understand:  “I’ll bet you Dick’s got all he wants, right now, without any postscript.”  After which Jim hunted up a clean apron and proceeded, with his spurs on his heels, his hat on the back of his head, and a smile upon his lips, to sweep out the broken dishes so that he might walk without hearing them crunch unpleasantly under his boots.  “I’ll take wildcats in mine, please,” he remarked once irrelevantly aloud, and smiled again.

CHAPTER XIV

The Feminine Point of View

When Ford stepped upon the porch with the jug in his hand, he gave every indication of having definitely made up his mind.  When he glimpsed Josephine’s worried face behind the lace curtain in the window, he dropped the jug lower and held it against his leg in such a way as to indicate that he hoped she could not see it, but otherwise he gave no sign of perturbation.  He walked along the porch to the door of his own room, went in, locked the door after him, and put the jug down on a chair.  He could hear faint sounds of dishes being placed upon the table in the dining-room, which was next to his own, and he knew that dinner was half an hour late; which was unusual in Mrs. Kate’s orderly domain.  Mrs. Kate was one of those excellent women whose house is always immaculate, whose meals are ever placed before one when the clock points to a certain hour, and whose table never lacks a salad and a dessert—­though how those feats are accomplished upon a cattle ranch must ever remain a mystery.  Ford was therefore justified in taking the second look at his watch and in holding it up to his ear, and also in lifting his eyebrows when all was done.  Fifteen minutes by the watch it was before he heard the silvery tinkle of the tea bell, which was one of the ties which bound Mrs. Kate to civilization, and which announced that he might enter the dining-room.

He went in as clean and fresh and straight-backed and quiet as ever he had done, and when he saw that the room was empty save for Buddy, perched upon his long-legged chair with his heels hooked over the top round and a napkin tucked expectantly inside the collar of his blue blouse, he took in the situation and sat down without waiting for the women.  The very first glance told him that Mrs. Kate had never prepared that meal.  It was, putting it bluntly, a scrappy affair hastily gathered from various shelves in the pantry and hurriedly arranged haphazard upon the table.

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