"Then I told him that he was working on private land and he'd better get off. He seemed to forget his flirty proclivities in amazement. Then he looked cunning. I read his mind. It was news to him that all the land along the valley had been taken up.
"He said something about not seeing any squatters on the land, and then he shut up tight on that score. But he began to be flirty again. He got hold of Jose's bridle, and before I could catch my breath he said I was a peach, and that he wanted to make a date with me, that his name was Chase, that he owned a gold mine in Mexico. He said a lot more I didn't gather, but when he called me Dearie' I--well, I lost my temper.
"I jerked on the bridle and told him to let go. He held on and rolled his eyes at me. I dare say he imagined he was a gentlemen to be infatuated with. He seemed sure of conquest. One thing certain, he didn't know the least bit about horses. It scared me the way he got in front of Jose. I thanked my stars I wasn't up on Blanco Diablo. Well, Dad, I'm a little ashamed now, but I was mad. I slashed him across the face with my quirt.
Jose jumped and knocked Mr. Chase into the sand. I didn't get the horse under control till I was out of sight of those surveyors, and then I let him run home."
"Nell, I guess you punished the fellow enough. Maybe he's only a conceited softy. But I don't like that sort of thing. It isn't Western. I guess he won't be so smart next time. Any fellow would remember being hit by Blanco Jose. If you'd been up on Diablo we'd have to bury Mr. Chase."
"Thank goodness I wasn't! I'm sorry now, Dad. Perhaps the fellow was hurt. but what could I do? Let's forget all about it, and I'll be careful where I ride in the future....Dad, what does it mean, this surveying around Forlorn River?"
"I don't know, Nell," replied Belding, thoughtfully. "It worries me. It looks good for Forlorn River, but bad for Dick's plan to irrigate the valley. Lord, I'd hate to have some one forestall Dick on that!"
"No, no, we won't let anybody have Dick's rights," declared Nell.