“She ain’t ready for that yet. When the time comes I’ll dictate the terms of the treaty. Don’t you think it’s about time for us to be heading back home?”
“Then we’ll meet your lady of the ranch quicker, won’t we?” chuckled Davis. “Funny you didn’t think about going back till after she had passed.”
But if Dick had hoped to see her again he was disappointed for that day, at least. They reached Corbett’s with never another glimpse of her; nor was there any sign of her horse in front of the post office and general store.
“Must have taken that lower trail that leads back to the ranch,” hazarded Gordon.
“I reckon,” agreed his friend. “Seems funny, too; her knowing you was on the upper one.”
“Guy me all you like. I can stand it,” returned Dick cheerfully.
For he had scored once in spite of her. He had saved her from a fall, at a place where, to say the least, it would have been dangerous. She had announced herself indifferent to his existence; but the very fact that she had felt called upon to say so gave denial to the statement. She might hate him, and she probably did; at least, she had him on her mind a good deal. The young man was sure of that. He was shrewdly of opinion that his chances were better if she hated him than if she never thought of him at all.
TAMING AN OUTLAW
“Something doing back of the corral, Mr. Gordon.”
Yeager, the horse-wrangler at Corbett’s, stopped in front of the porch, and jerked his head, with a twisted grin, in the direction indicated.
Everything about the little stableman was crooked. From the slope of his legs to the set of his bullet head on the narrow shoulders, he was awry. But he had an instinct about horses that was worth more than the beauty of any slim, tanned vaquero of the lot.
Only one horse had he failed to subdue. That was Teddy, a rakish sorrel that had never yet been ridden. Many had tried it, but none had stuck to the saddle to the finish; and some had been carried from the corral to the hospital.
Dick got up and strolled back, with his hands in his pockets.
A dozen vaqueros and loungers sat and stood around the mouth of the corral, from which a slim young Mexican was leading the sorrel.
“So, it’s you, Master Pedro,” thought the young American. “I didn’t expect to see you here.”
The lad met his eyes quietly as he passed, giving him a sullen nod of greeting; evidently he hoped he had not been recognized as the previous day’s ambusher.
“Is Pedro going to ride the outcast?” Dick asked of Yeager, in surprise.
“He’s going to try. The boy’s slap-up rider, but he ain’t got it in him to break Teddy—no, nor any man in New Mexico ain’t.”
Dick looked the horse over carefully, as it stood there while the boy tightened the girths—feet wide apart, small head low, and red eyes gleaming wickedly. Deep-chested, with mighty shoulders, barrel-bodied like an Indian pony, Teddy showed power in every line of him. It was easy to guess him for the unbroken outlaw he was.