“Do you find any game about here?” asked Claude, who plainly saw that it would not do to talk to Carl about the Indians.

“More than we want. If you are fond of shooting, I can take you where you can shoot a grizzly bear inside of three hours after you leave our house.”

“They are dangerous, are they not?”

“Well, I guess you would think so after you have been in a battle with one. Last week we took a man 杭州的spa是什么 down to the fort, to the hospital, who had his left shoulder all torn out.”

“Have you got any books that are worth the reading?” said Claude, who very soon made up his mind that he didn’t want anything to do with grizzly bears. “You must have lots of time at your disposal——”

Page 198

“Well, no. We have our evenings if we are not on the watch, but then we are too tired to do anything but sit around and talk. We have plenty of books, however, and among them there is one that I always admired—Scott’s ‘Lady of the Lake.’”

“Yes, I believe I have heard of that book. Scott was a robber, was he not?”

“No,” answered Carl indignantly. “He was a Scottish nobleman. But he made one of his heroes an outlaw, and he ran on until he met his lawful monarch and killed him.”

Both the young men remained silent after that. Carl was astonished 杭州哪里有丝袜会所 that his cousin, who was fresh from the city, where everybody 杭州spa足本纪正规么 is supposed to know everything, should be ignorant of little matters which he had at his tongue’s end, and Claude saw that he must be careful what subjects he touched upon to avoid showing how little he knew. By this time they were in sight of the ranch. It is hard to tell just what kind of a looking building Claude had picked out in his imagination for his uncle to live in, but it was plain that his amazement increased when he looked at it. Page 199 He got down out of the wagon and was immediately introduced to Thompson, who gave him a hearty shake, and at the same time he bent his eyes upon him as if he meant to look him through.

“Everything is all right, sir,” said he in response to an inquiry from his employer, “and Carl has had one good, hearty laugh since you went away. The old sorrel threw me three times in succession, 杭州男士spa推荐 and I thought Carl would never get over it. I think you will find everything just as it was.”

Claude was shown into his room, which he had to himself; and Carl, after turning his pony loose, sat down upon the porch to think. To say that he was sadly disappointed in his cousin would not begin to express it. He knew that the man was older than himself, and that he would find it hard work to amuse him; but he did not suppose that there was going to be such a gulf between them.

Claude knew literally nothing outside of billiards and bowling-alleys, and he would have to go a long way from that valley to find them. His thoughts, as he sat on his bed Page 200 gazing idly at the rag carpet on the floor, were very much out of place for one who had just come among relatives he had not seen for a long time, and whom he had tired of 杭州品茶吧 already.

“I was a fool for ever coming out here, but then I did not know that they lived so far from everybody,” said Claude, running his fingers through his hair and acting altogether as if he were very much displeased with himself. “I wish I were back in the Planters’ House, playing a game of billiards with somebody; but now that I am here, I am going to make the most of it. I don’t like my uncle’s looks. He is a pretty hard man to deal with.”

And we may add that these were his reflections during the two years that he remained an unwilling visitor at the ranch. He conquered himself as well as he could, and stayed there because he had nowhere else


to go. If he went to the city he would have to go to work at something, and he thought that living on the ranch was better than going among entire strangers. He tried hard to learn 杭州品茶网 his duties; and being given a sober old horse that Page 201 it was no trouble to ride, and keeping always in company with Carl, he found that he got along better than he otherwise thought he would. But there was one thing that came into Claude’s mind that he would not have his relatives know for anything. Mr. Preston had an office which opened off the dining-room, and every pay-day, and that came once a month, he opened a safe in which Claude had often seen huge piles of greenbacks stowed away. He had not thought about this for some time after he gained an insight into the safe, but of late it had gradually come upon him that if he could get into that safe unbeknown to anybody, he would have enough to keep him in idleness as long as he lived. It scared him at first, but the longer he pondered upon it the more he thought it 杭州品茶师培训 could be done. Besides, his uncle was gradually wasting away from some form of incurable disease, and Claude had schooled himself to look upon his death with the greatest composure. Of course Mr. Preston would not want the money after he was gone; and as to Carl, he would have the stock and ranch left, and that was all he Page 202 needed. If he could not make a living out of that, he deserved to starve.

“I think that is the only way to make money,” said Claude to himself. “It is true I might try Carl after his father is gone, but I don’t have any hopes of making him divide the property with me. He will want it all himself, for he is awful stingy. I’ll keep an eye on that safe, and if he leaves the key in the door, as I have known him to do a hundred times, I’ll just open it and take what I want. But where will I go after I 杭州足疗上门 have performed the deed? Well, that will require some study.”

Every time Claude talked to himself in this way he grew more and more impatient for something to happen. One morning as he was about to mount his horse to go out and attend to the cattle he was approached by a couple of rather seedy-looking men, who inquired for Mr. Preston.

“He is out on the ranch now, but he will be in before long,” said Claude. “Do you want to see him for anything particular?”

“Yes—we want a job at herding stock,” said one of the men, who answered to the Page 203 name of Harding. “We understood that some of his stockmen had left him.”

“They were three men who have got all the stock they want and have gone off somewhere to begin business for themselves. I don’t know whether you could fill their places or not. You don’t look like men who had been 杭州洗浴娱乐休闲场所 in the habit of herding stock.”

And they didn’t, either. One of them, as we have said, was Harding, and the other was Ainsworth, and they looked just what they were—regular squawmen. Claude had been long enough on the plains to tell a stockman when he saw him.

“Perhaps we don’t,” said Harding, “but we have been used to the business all our lives. Is old man Preston out this way? Then we will ride with you until we find him.”

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