"I reckon we'd better stick here, Tom....Dick, it's some good to see you again. But you seem kinda quiet. Shore you get quieter all the time. Did you see any sign of Jim out Sonoyta way?"
Then Belding led the lame horse toward the watering-trough, while the two rangers went toward the house, Dick was telling Ladd about the affair at Papago Well when they turned the corner under the porch. Nell was sitting in the door. She rose with a little scream and came flying toward them.
"Now I'll get it," whispered Ladd. "The women'll make a baby of me. An' shore I can't help myself."
"Oh, Laddy, you've been hurt!" cried Nell, as with white cheeks and dilating eyes she ran to him and caught his arm.
"Nell, I only run a thorn in my ear."
"Oh, Laddy, don't lie! You've lied before. I know you're hurt. Come in to mother."
"Shore, Nell, it's only a scratch. My bronch throwed me."
"Laddy, no horse every threw you." The girl's words and accusing eyes only hurried the ranger on to further duplicity.