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Thursday, January 22, 2015

The Fourth Man - Chapter14

Country Girl
These country girls

Being finished with the book learning things were heating up back at the ranch.

On some nights Mamie would stay too late to go home in the dark so she would stay over in one of the extra rooms. This caused some gossip even though Billy swore nothing was going on.

Although he would bring up the memory of the time they went swimming and he was wondering how she had changed in the last three years.

Then one day she told him to come to her house and they would go on a picnic and go swimming. That sounded good to Billy for he was caught up with the work.

He picked her up around ten and they rode at a slow pace for they were in no hurry. Billy said I’ll hang the food on a limb to keep the ants out of it and then we can go swimming.

Billy first took off his guns, something he didn’t do very often until he went to bed and then stripped to the skin.

Then he waited for Mamie to do likewise. She took off her dress and had a swim suit underneath. Billy looked as if someone had knocked him in the head with a stick.

She said let’s get in and walked in while saying “Brrr for the water was a bit chilly.”

He went in and had a refreshing time.  He said, “I was expecting… but am surprised… you know about the suit.  It was I was expecting…to just go without clothes on.”

She said, “All the girls wear them all the time and besides… do you remember what I said?”

“Well you talk so much I don’t know what you mean.”

She said, “Yes, you do I can see it in your eyes.  I told you to look me over cause you wouldn’t see me like this again until we are married.”

He said, “Yes I do remember but you didn’t have to keep your word on that one.”

She said, “I’m ready to keep my word if you are ready.”

He said, “Let me think about it, but I don’t want you to be encouraging any of these guys who are coming around just to see you.”

She said, “If I was you I would think fast.”  

Billy went to talk to Mr. Bartlett about something that was beyond his understanding.  He had his ranch doing well with the help of Slim and the hands Slim hired. In another year he will begin to sell the cattle for the eastern market. He had been at it for three years now and Les was happy with the results so far.

But getting back to Billy’s talk with Mr. Bartlett.  He said, “Does it seem to you that these country girls grow up faster than the city ones?”

Bartlett said, “Why would you ask me something like that?”

Billy said, “Well for the last couple of years we have been having trouble keeping Missy from wanting more courting that she should have if you understand what I mean.  

And then there is Mamie… well she is all over me and she wants to get married right away.
I’m afraid that if we don’t go ahead and get hitched she might run off with one of these guys that are sweet talking her when I’m not around.

She has a lot of good arguments on why we should go ahead and get married. We or I have a good ranch that is all fixed up like she wants it. I have enough money and the future looks good for there is a good market for my beef and she keeps saying she is a full grown woman and is ready for a husband.

So what I want to know is; Do country girls mature before the city gals?”

Bartlett said, “You got me, I don’t know, maybe so.”

“Well that don’t help me much but do you have any idea who might help me understand?”

“Well there is one thing you could do and that is; you and her will be sixteen in about three months. Why don’t you tell Mamie that you will marry her in four months and that will give you some time to come up with a better answer if there is one?”

Billy said, “I guess that is the best advice I’ve heard so far and if it doesn’t solve the problem I guess I will be a married man in four months.”

Bartlett said, “She is out riding with Missy but should be back shortly in fact here they come now.”

Billy’s mouth was dry and it was hard to speak. He asked Bartlett if he could help himself to a dipper of water.

After Billy got his water, Bartlett told his wife to come out on the porch. The girls tied their horses up to the hitching rail and came bouncing up on the porch.

Mamie came over and gave Billy a kiss on the mouth. Billy looked at Bartlett who said, “I guess it’s okay go ahead.”

Billy said,  “Well Mamie since you won’t leave me alone I think we should get married in four months, what do you think?”

She said, ‘What do I think? What I think is we should get married next week for you have been wasting a lot of time. You should have asked me four months ago if you wanted to wait four months.”

She looked at her mother and said, “Mom the wedding will be a week from Sunday.”

Bartlett looked at Billy and said, “In answer to your question yes, I guess these country girls do grow up faster than city gals.”

The wedding goes on

Billy was stunned by the sudden change of events. Missy had already rode home and told everybody the news.

Dad has a talk with Billy
When Billy got home everyone was congratulating him. He was in a state of shock. He told his dad he didn’t know if he was ready for this and his dad said, “You don’t have to get ready you just do it and ready comes upon you.
 Maybe I should tell you a few things that will help you and your mother will have some good advice also.”

After what his dad told him he didn’t know if he should talk to his mother. He had always been able to talk to her but this was different.

As it turned out he didn’t have a choice for his mother sat him down and made him feel very uncomfortable, but as it turned out later on he was glad for all the information she gave him.  It was more detailed than what his dad told him.

That night at supper he said, “Now I feel ready, so bring on the bride.”  His folks had to laugh at that one for he had been so reticent before.

The next days were busy for Mamie spent time fixing up the house and making her wedding dress. Actually it was already made she just had to let it out a little for she had grown since she first made it.  She figured if she went ahead and made the dress it might speed things up a little.

After church on Sunday the preacher came out to the ranch and the crowd gathered. It was a big crowd for they knew there was going to be a party afterward with lots of food and drinks.
It was the biggest doings anyone could remember. For Billy and Mamie it was a solemn occasion that they had looked forward to for a long time and the wedding vows were a meaningful experience.

After greeting their many friends Jim drove them to the railroad station and they were off on their honeymoon.
It was going to be almost a day before they were in their room in New York first to Chicago and then on to New York.
They had a compartment for privacy but Billy was too nervous to do anything except kiss and hug Mamie.

For once she wasn’t pushing the issue like she usually did. They arrived at the hotel at four thirty in the afternoon and after getting their room they had supper. When back at the room Mamie started removing her clothes and before putting her gown on she strutted around and asked him if she had changed much from the first time he saw her like this.

He said, “Yes quite a bit. You have filled out nicely and I’m proud to see it.”

It was nearly noon before they got dressed the next day after which they had dinner and ventured out into the byways of the city. It was the first time they had been to a city as big as New York and the whole time was an exciting adventure. Toward the end of the two weeks Billy was anxious to return to their ranch.

As previous arranged Jim met them and took them to their home. The next day Billy hooked up the buck board and they went to Mamie’s folk’s ranch and visited for a few hours.
Her mother wanted to know about everything. Every so often Billy would blush when Mamie would say now mom that part is private and you don’t need to know that and I don’t need you to ask me about that later.

Afterward they went to Billy’s folks and went through a lot of the same things only it was Missy who asked the embarrassing questions.

Mamie said I’ll tell you everything when we’re alone sometime.

Later Billy said, “Don’t tell her everything.” 
Mamie just laughed and said, “After all she is your sister.”
To be Continued

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