Dorothy on a Ranch

Publisher: DigiLibraries.com
ISBN: N/A
Language: English
Published: 1 month ago
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CHAPTER I

THE TRIP IN THE ERMINIE

The “Erminie,” private car of “Railway Boss, Dan Ford,” stood side-tracked at Denver, and his guests within it were the happy people whom, some readers may remember, we left keeping a belated Christmas in the old adobe on the mesa, in southern California.

To Dorothy, the trip thus far had been like a wonderful dream.

“Just think, Alfy Babcock, of owning a real car, going and stopping just as you please, same’s riding in a carriage with horses! Even darling Aunt Betty, who’s been ’most everywhere and seen ’most everything, in her long life, never travelled ‘private coaching’ this way before. I hate to think it’s over, that I’ll have to say good-by to her so soon. Seems if I ought not. Seems if she’ll be dreadful lonesome without me all summer. I’m her own folks and I—I believe I shall go home with her after all, ’stead of into the mountains to that ranch with the Gray Lady.”

Alfaretta gave a vigorous tug to the shawl-strap she was fastening about a curious assortment of her personal belongings and answered:

“That’s enough of your ‘seems-if-ing,’ Dolly Doodles! It’s all settled, isn’t it? And when a thing’s fixed—it ought to stay fixed. Mrs. Calvert don’t want either of us. She said so, more ’n once, too. She’s tickled to death to think there’s such a good time comin’ for us. She’s got all that prop’ty that got itself into trouble to look after, and she’s got them ladies, her old friends, that’s been in San Diego all winter, to go home to New York with her. You better stop frettin’ and lookin’ out o’ winder, and pick up your things. You’ve lots more ’n I have and that’s sayin’ consid’able. The way that Mr. Ford moves makes other folks hustle, too! Hurry up, do! He said we was all to go to a big hotel for our dinners and I’m real ready for mine. I am so! Car-cookin’s well enough, but for me—give me a table that won’t go wobblety-wobble all the time.”

Dorothy roused from her idleness and began to collect her own “treasures.” They had accumulated to a surprising degree during this journey from San Diego to Denver; for their genial host had indulged his young guests in all their whims and, at the various stops along the way, they had purchased all sorts of things, from baskets to blankets, horned toads on cards, centipedes in vials of alcohol, Indian dolls and pottery, and other “trash,” as Aunt Betty considered it. In the roomy private car these had given but little trouble; now Alfaretta expressed the thought of both girls as well as of the lad, Leslie, when after a vain effort to pack an especially ugly red-clay “image,” she exclaimed:

“A fool and his money! That’s what I was. Felt as rich as a queen, startin’ out with all them earnin’s and presents in my pocket-book. Now I haven’t got a cent, hardly, and I’d ha’ been better off if I hadn’t a had them! There! that paper’s busted again! Does beat the Dutch the way things act!...