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Graeve, Oscar (ed.) / Delineator
Vol. 118, No. 6 (June, 1931)

[Continued articles and works],   pp. 46-58 PDF (8.1 MB)


Page 49

49
J UN E, 1 9 3 1
COURIER OF C
Continued fr
stage had come in early, and Mr. Jenkins had
evidently tired of waiting and found a
pick-up.
When she reached home, the girl was tired.
The guests had come. A fluffy blonde was
already perched on the corral fence, watching
the cattle in the meadow.
From somewhere floated a highly polished
voice, "My dear, this used to be an old stage
stop. Ulysses Grant slept in my bed. Isn't
that precious?" And far below in the south
meadow was a dark spot up a tree, while
below, shaking his head furiously, a bull
tried out his temper. The season had begun!
"I'll go," Dale told Pedro. "You might
lose your temper. Has Mr. Jenkins come?"
MR. JENKINS hadn't, so she took a cow
pony from the corrals and started off on
the first rescue of the season. She rode
slowly. Her pony knew his business. She slid
the cross bar, and he opened the gate and
chased the bull back to his harem. This done,
he loped back to the cottonwood with her,
where the dark spot was untangling himself.
Dale sat her horse and
just looked at him; a mild
looking, youngish man in
a straw hat, which was a
rare phenomenon in this
country. "You can read?"
she asked.
"Well," he said, "my
eyes aren't what they
used to be."
"I hope they improve,"
she told him. "Signs in
this country aren't to keep
guests from stealing wild          4
flowers."
"But I'm not a guest,"
he explained.
"What?"
"I got off the stage and
took this for a short cut."
She stared at him. She
couldn't believe it. This
was the rare piece of at-
mosphere ordered C. 0. 1).
from Powderhorn. A bit
of the old west for which
her guests were willing to
pay two dollars more a day and horses extra!
The new courier of Cripple Creek!
"I told them not to send a greenhorn,"
she wailed. "How dared you come?"
"I'm sorry," he protested. "I hadn't any
idea I'd disturb you like this. I'll go. I'll
go immediately."
Her voice was desperately earnest and sure.
"Oh, no, you won't. I paid your fare clear
down here. You'll stay until I can find
something better. Take off that hat."
He took it off. She looked at him care-
fully. He was tanned, thank heaven. She
looked at the tallness and the slimness. At
least he wasn't pudgy or fat in the middle.
"Come here," she ordered. "Are your
eyes so bad that you can't see that?"
They looked down the mesa where the
Good Eats Auto Camp glared across the hori-
zon, and the new dude ranch proclaimed its
pink and stuccoed birth.
"Even a blind man could see that," he
admitted. "What's the matter with that
sign?  That's a good sign. What's the
matter with that dude outfit. It's new.
I'll bet it has bathtubs and instantaneous
hot water."
"That's just it," she explained quickly.
"People don't come into this country for that.
I've seen these new cheap places, and I've
seen them go. That's why my place has
kept on while they fail; because I've hung on
to the real things."
He opened his mouth and said, "Oh."
"My maids are Indian girls from the
pueblo. The beams in my ceilings are hand-
hewn. My courier has always been an old-
timer who once ran cattle for my father and
drifted back to the range to work for me."
"Gee," he said. "No wonder you got a
blow when you saw my straw hat."
"You'll look better in a sombrero," she
told him calmly. "I'm going to turn you
into a real courier if it kills me. You grew
up with horses. You've rolled your blankets
on the plains."
"Me?" he protested. "I have not."
"Oh, yes you have," she assured him
grimly.  "You've had the sky for your
RIPPLE CREEK
om page 9
roof and you've had a rock for your pillow."
He took this as a joke. "I can't sleep on
anything but goose feathers."
"You spent your youth roping your
father's cattle. You remember that, don't
you?"
"Give me time. MIy memory isn't what
it ought to be."
"I'll refresh it." The girl was positive
about this. "You used to ride in the stam-
pedes, until you broke your leg the last
time on a juggle-head."
"On a which?"
"You're going to do," she said tri-
umphantly. "I can see it. Of course you're
dumb all right, but you'll learn. I'll start
you out, taking the dudes for trips. The
Mexicans can take care of the horses and act
as guides. You can make yourself enter-
taining, and stoop and give the fat lady a
drink out of the brim of your hat. Do you
know how to ride a horse?" she asked.
"Yes, but I can't get a fat lady a drink
without getting off. My bones are too old."
"Can you fish? Can you bait a hook for
a helpless female? Can
you bite buck shot on a
leader?"
"Now look here," he
began.
"Jenkins," she inter-
rupted him, "you're too
literate.  You've never
been to school.    You
drawl.  Remember, you
learned your letters at
your old mother's knee,
back in the little log
cabin."
He gave up. He was
tired anyway.
"Yes, ma'am," he
drawled. "I reckon I do."
Silently they walked
back to the ranch house,
Dale leading her pony.
When they were almost
there the girl said: "I
need you desperately. It
means so much to me.
You will try."
"Yes," he promised,
"I'll try."  She took him into the bunk
house and handed him over to Pedro with
terse instructions for some other clothes.
Then she went in to meet her guests. There
were two school teachers from Seattle. There
was a gentleman from Los Angeles, who was
talking about it already. There were several
single ladies, and two subdued couples on
quiet vacations. There was Mrs. Wellington
Converse. She was sophisticated and tall
and somewhat dazzling.
Through dinner Dale was the perfect
hostess, dispensing the perfect hospitality
of her ranch.
When dinner was over and evening had
come at last, she sought her own small
cabin and shut the door on them all.
She lighted the fire in the old fireplace. She
stretched out on an Indian blanket, and
watched the smoke curl up the chimney. She
wanted James to come back quickly. She
wanted to sell out and go to him forever and
feel the sweet security of his arms.
SHE got up, and went to the door and
looked out upon the hill where her father
lay in the moonlight. Poor, big Jim who had
died in those awful days after the war, after
losing his ranch in a brave but vain effort to
clear his name with the friends who had
stood by him. The first Henry who ob-
tained his lands as a Spanish grant had
stood by his debts thus: I Promis to Pay the
Sum of Fifteen Pounds in Gold or Enough
Beare Skins Well Dressed to Make Any
Common Man a Pare of Ample Briches.
Since then a Henry's word had been good,
and so would hers be.  She would not leave
this place until she could go proudly.
She remembered the new courier. She
walked out to the bunk house to see how he
was getting on.
Jenkins had an old Stetson stuck on the
back of his head. He wore a pair of old
high-heeled boots sticking out of blue denim
pants, and a clean, plain shirt. She had to
admit that he blended nicely with the
atmosphere.
He was rolling a cigaret (Turn to page 50)
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