“There’s no law against it,” he said with feeble humor.
“No, but—” With a queer little laugh she glanced across the river toward her former lover. “I don’t think I had better.”
Charlton joined them a few minutes later. He went straight to Roy and offered his hand.
“The feud stuff is off, Mr. Beaudry. Beulah will tell you that I started in to make you trouble. Well, there’s nothing doing in that line. I can’t fight the man who saved my life at the risk of his own.”
“Oh, well!” Roy blushed. “I just threw you a rope.”
“You bogged down some,” Charlton returned dryly. “I’ve known men who would have thought several times before throwing that rope from where you did. They would have hated to lose their boots.”
Beulah’s eyes shone. “Oh, Brad, I’m so glad. I do want you two to be friends.”
“Do you?” As he looked at her, the eyes of the young hillman softened. He guessed pretty accurately the state of her feelings. Beaudry had won and he had lost. Well, he was going to be a good loser this time. “What you want goes with me this time, Boots. The way you yanked me out of the sinks was painful, but thorough. I’ll be a friend to Mr. Beaudry if he is of the same opinion as you. And I’ll dance at his wedding when it comes off.”
She cried out at that, but Charlton noticed that she made no denial. Neither did Roy. He confined his remarks to the previous question, and said that he would be very glad of Charlton’s friendship.
“Good enough. Then I reckon we better light out for camp with the glad news that Beulah has been found. You can tell me all about it on the way,” the hillman suggested.
Beulah dropped from her horse ten minutes later into the arms of Ned Rutherford. Quite unexpectedly to himself, that young man found himself filled with emotion. He caught his sister in his arms and held her as if he never intended to let the sobbing girl go. His own voice was not at all steady.
“Boots—Boots . . . Honey-bug . . . Where you-all been?” he asked, choking up suddenly.
Pat Ryan Evens an Old Score
Dingwell, the coffee-pot in one hand and a tin cup in the other, hailed his partner cheerfully. “Come over here, son, and tell me who you traded yore boots to.”
“You and Brad been taking a mud bath, Mr. Beaudry?” asked one of the Lazy Double D riders.
Roy told them, with reservations, the story of the past twenty-four hours. Dave listened, an indifferent manner covering a quick interest. His young friend had done for himself a good stroke of business. There could no longer be any question of the attitude of the Rutherfords toward him, since he had been of so great service to Beulah. Charlton had renounced his enmity, the ground cut from beneath his feet. Word had reached camp only an hour before of the death of Tighe. This left of Beaudry’s foes only Hart, who did not really count, and Dan Meldrum, at the present moment facing starvation in a prospect hole. On the whole, it had been a surprisingly good twenty-four hours for Roy. His partner saw this, though he did not know the best thing Roy had won out of it.