The Girl from Montana (Chapter 7, page 1 of 6)


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Chapter 7

They found rest for the night at the ranch house. The place was wide and
hospitable. The girl looked about her with wonder on the comfortable
arrangements for work. If only her mother had had such a kitchen to work
in, and such a pleasant, happy home, she might have been living yet. There
was a pleasant-faced, sweet-voiced woman with gray hair whom the men
called "mother." She gave the girl a kindly welcome, and made her sit down
to a nice warm supper, and, when it was over, led her to a little room
where her own bed was, and told her she might sleep with her. The girl lay
down in a maze of wonder, but was too weary with the long ride to keep
awake and think about it.

They slept, the two travellers, a sound and dreamless sleep, wherein
seemed peace and moonlight, and a forgetting of sorrows.

Early the next morning the girl awoke. The woman by her side was already
stirring. There was breakfast to get for the men. The woman asked her a
few questions about her journey.

"He's your brother, ain't he, dearie?" asked the woman as she was about to
leave the room.

"No," said the girl.

"O," said the woman, puzzled, "then you and he's goin' to be married in
the town."

"O, no!" said the girl with scarlet cheeks, thinking of the lady in the
automobile.

"Not goin' to be married, dearie? Now that's too bad. Ain't he any kind of
relation to you? Not an uncle nor cousin nor nothin'?"

"No."

"Then how be's you travellin' lone with him? It don't seem just right.
You's a sweet, good girl; an' he's a fine man. But harm's come to more'n
one. Where'd you take up with each other? Be he a neighbor? He looks like
a man from way off, not hereabouts. You sure he ain't deceivin' you,
dearie?"

The girl flashed her eyes in answer.

"Yes, I'm sure. He's a good man. He prays to our Father. No, he's not a
neighbor, nor an uncle, nor a cousin. He's just a man that got lost. We
were both lost on the prairie in the night; and he's from the East, and
got lost from his party of hunters. He had nothing to eat, but I had; so I
gave him some. Then he saved my life when a snake almost stung me. He's
been good to me."

The woman looked relieved.

"And where you goin', dearie, all 'lone? What your folks thinkin' 'bout to
let you go 'lone this way?"

"They're dead," said the girl with great tears in her eyes.

"Dearie me! And you so young! Say, dearie, s'pose you stay here with me.
I'm lonesome, an' there's no women near by here. You could help me and be
comp'ny. The men would like to have a girl round. There's plenty likely
men on this ranch could make a good home fer a girl sometime. Stay here
with me, dearie."

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