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Sunday, January 4, 2015

The Fourth Man - Chapter 7


More Land for a Horse Ranch
 
Jones moving on up

While I made Jim foreman of the ranch, Jones went about his business without failing to do his job.

He and Jim had a relationship that went back a long time. Jim came to me and said one of the ranchers adjoining our ranch came to him and wanted to sell his ranch. He came to Jim instead of me thinking he might give him a better price for his place but the opposite was probably true.

Jim said he had offered him a price for it and the man took it. He told him I would have to okay the deal but he felt sure I would agree. I did agree and went and looked the place over. It was in need of some repairs but most ranches do.

Jim said he would like to move the cattle that came with the place onto the big ranch and move the mustang project to the new ranch. He said it would be a horse only ranch and be more efficient that way.

I said, “Okay but maybe you could give me more details about how this is to come about.” 

He explained the steps it would take to get it up and running and the cost of new corrals and barns.

I said, “That’s a little expensive but I trust your judgment.”

He said, “Now there is one more thing.  I would like Jones to run the whole thing. He would move into the house here with a couple of hands in the bunk house.

There is one other thing… it’s about this woman he wants to live here with him.

I spoke up and said, “I don’t want him just living with a woman and not be married.”

He said, “I understand, but he can’t marry her because she’s his sister.  Her husband just died and she is destitute. She is a little younger than he is and is still healthy. She could cook and clean for all of them and would earn her keep.”

I said, “Well go ahead but if there is any trouble I expect you to handle it.  I don’t want the ranch hands and her getting together for that will bring about a bad result. It would be better to bring a Chinese man to cook and handle things.”

Jim said, “I’ll make it clear that I won’t tolerate any thing unseemly going on.”

Jones brought his sister by to meet us and I thought she presented herself very well.

Sarah chatted with her after Mai brought them some refreshment.

After they left Sarah told me that woman has been through some tough times.

I asked, “How do you know?”

“I know because I experienced some of the same stuff. She is still of child bearing age so don’t be surprised if someone comes along and wants to wed her.”

I said, “Well that isn’t any of my concern right now and I hope it doesn’t become my concern somehow. By the way does she have a name?”

“Yes her name is Loraine but likes to be called Lorry.”

“Fair enough, Lorry it is.”

Another year passed without any unusual incidents and we were getting ready to start selling our mustang mixed horses.

Jim had been dealing with the procurement officer Colonel Logan. He had been out to the ranch several times watching the horses being saddle broke.  The Bronc riders both rode them and handled them to gentle them down.

Lorry was a fine cook
Colonel Logan also made it a practice to have dinner with Lorry. She enjoyed his company and fed him well. The time came to make a deal with the army.

Jim explained to Colonel Logan that these horses are going to fetch a premium price. The time and effort it took cross breeding them for the rugged range they have to travel over make them worth a great deal more. He finally got a good price and was set to deliver them.

The horses still had to be trained to be Army horses; to walk in parade, and just about march like foot soldiers.

Colonel Logan came to get the horses and wanted to talk to Jones privately. He said as soon as the horses were trained he was heading west to relieve another troop. He said he wanted to take a wife with him since there weren’t any women at the new fort that wasn’t either married or too young for marriage.

He wanted to ask Lorry to marry him but wanted to talk to Jones first.

Jones said, ‘Why her?”

The Colonel said, ‘Well for several reasons. She is about my age and I don’t think the bloom is off the rose yet so we could have children.  She is tough and works real hard around here.  Another thing although there hasn’t been any romance between us and I have grown to care for her.”

Jones said, “Wait here,” and he went into the house for some time. A half hour later he came out and said, ‘She’s willing.”

Logan asked if it would be alright if he went into the house and saw her.

Jones said, “Sure, go ahead she’s waiting for you.”

Man and Wife
They talked for a while and decided to get married on the week end for they were leaving in a month for the new fort.

Jones told Jim about what was going on.  Jim said, “You better go to town and get a new cook… get a Chinese woman so she can cook and do the cleaning.”

Later that week Jones came to the ranch and had a white woman in tow.
He said, “I decided to go ahead and marry Lisa. I have been seeing her for some time and when she heard I needed a cook she said I might as well take her.  For being a wife it would be free but for the cooking for the hands and keeping the place clean she wanted to be paid for her work.”

Jim thought it strange how some things work out, but said, “Okay.  I guess she had a point for she was getting paid where she was working, and didn’t want to work for free just because she got married.”

Colonel Logan and Lorry were married and left for the west. Lisa moved in and took over the duties at the mustang ranch and things are moving along without missing a beat.
To be Continued


 

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