But Salomy Jane had heard her father’s story before. Even one’s dearest relatives are apt to become tiresome in narration. “I know, dad,” she interrupted; “but this yer man,—this hoss-thief,—did he get clean away without gettin’ hurt at all?”
“He did, and unless he’s fool enough to sell the hoss he kin keep away, too. So ye see, ye can’t ladle out purp stuff about a ‘dyin’ stranger’ to Rube. He won’t swaller it.”
“All the same, dad,” returned the girl cheerfully, “I reckon to say it, and say more; I’ll tell him that ef he manages to get away too, I’ll marry him—there! But ye don’t ketch Rube takin’ any such risks in gettin’ ketched, or in gettin’ away arter!”
Madison Clay smiled grimly, pushed back his chair, rose, dropped a perfunctory kiss on his daughter’s hair, and, taking his shotgun from the corner, departed on a peaceful Samaritan mission to a cow who had dropped a calf in the far pasture. Inclined as he was to Reuben’s wooing from his eligibility as to property, he was conscious that he was sadly deficient in certain qualities inherent in the Clay family. It certainly would be a kind of mesalliance.
Left to herself, Salomy Jane stared a long while at the coffee-pot, and then called the two squaws who assisted her in her household duties, to clear away the things while she went up to her own room to make her bed. Here she was confronted with a possible prospect of that proverbial bed she might be making in her willfulness, and on which she must lie, in the photograph of a somewhat serious young man of refined features—Reuben Waters—stuck in her window-frame. Salomy Jane smiled over her last witticism regarding him and enjoyed it, like your true humorist, and then, catching sight of her own handsome face in the little mirror, smiled again. But wasn’t it funny about that horse-thief getting off after all? Good Lordy! Fancy Reuben hearing he was alive and going round with that kiss of hers set on his lips! She laughed again, a little more abstractedly. And he had returned it like a man, holding her tight and almost breathless, and he going to be hung the next minute! Salomy Jane