“I notice you didn’t tell me.”
“You didn’t ask, you old geezer.”
“Sho! You ain’t such a clam when it comes to pretty girls. You didn’t talk about her, because your haid’s been full of her. It don’t take a mind-reader to know that.”
“You’re ce’tainly a wizard, Steve,” came back his partner dryly.
“I know you and your little ways by this time.”
“So I’m in love, am I?”
“You’re there, or traveling there mighty fast. Course I don’t know about the lady.”
“What don’t you know about her?” asked Dick, who was by way of being both amused and pleased that the subject had been broached.
“How she feels about the proposition. She had you kicked out of the house. That looks kinder as if your show was slim. She did send over right often to see how you was getting along, but I reckon she didn’t want to feel responsible for your turning up your toes. Women are that way, even when they hate a man real thorough.”
“You’re quite an expert. I wonder you know so much about them, and you never married.”
To this sarcastic reminder Steve made philosophic reply. “Mebbe it was because I knew so much about them I never married.”
“You’re surely a wise old rooster. You think she hates me, then?”
Davis covered a grin. He knew from his friend’s tone that the barb had pierced the skin.
“Well, looking at it like a reasonable man, there ain’t any question about it. Soon as you begin to mend she quits taking any interest in you; don’t know you’re on the earth any more. A reasonable man——”
“A reasonable goat!” Dick reined up till the other horse was abreast of his, then dived into his pocket and handed Steve a letter. “She’s quit taking any interest in me, has she? Don’t know I’m on the earth, you old owl? Looks like it, and her sending me a letter this very day.”
Steve turned the square envelope around and weighed it in his hand.
“Am I to read this here billy doo?” he wanted to know.
Gravely the old miner opened and read the following:
“Miss Valdes begs to inform Mr. Gordon that she has reason to fear Mr. Gordon’s life is not safe in the present feeling of the country. Out of regard for her people, whom she would greatly regret to see in trouble, Miss Valdes would recommend Mr. Gordon to cut short his pleasure trip to New Mexico. Otherwise Miss Valdes declines any responsibility for the result.”
“Can’t be called very affectionate, can it?” was Mr. Davis’s comment. “Ain’t it jest a leetle mite—well, like she was writing with a poker down her back?”
“I didn’t say it was affectionate,” snorted the young man.
“Oh, I allowed you thought she was in love with you.”
“I didn’t say or think anything of the kind,” protested Dick indignantly. “I said she hadn’t forgotten me.”