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Monday, February 2, 2015

The Fourth Man - Chapter 19

We decided to Get Married in One Year

Telling her Maw

James and Betsy were better acquainted as they discussed the future and made some tentative plans.

When they arrived at Betsy’s home they went in and her father was there also.

James just came out and said, ‘Betsy and I want to be married in about a year from now if that is alright with you folks.”

Her Pa started to hem and haw when her ma spoke up and said, “That will be just fine.”

Then James headed to the home ranch to tell Les and Sarah about his decision.

Betsy’s pa asked, “How come you are so dirty.”

She laughed and said, “I was just getting engaged.”

He said, “Seems to me you could do that without getting so dirty.  You didn’t get too familiar did you?”

Betsy continued smiling and said, “No Pa, not yet, but you can’t ever tell about him.”

Her dad was still talking as Betsy walked out of the room for she had the future on her mind.

James talks of his future

Instead of going to Billy’s place, James went to Les’s and sat down with his folks and laid out his and Betsy’s plans.

Les asked, “Have you decided to be a rancher.”

James said, ‘Yes, I want to get me a spread and build it up.  I have worked for you for a number of years and I was hoping you might help me get started. I need to have something going before I marry Betsy.”

Les said, “Billy is all set with his ranch and I’ve also given him the ranch Jones is living on so I was hoping you would take over the main ranch here.”

James was stunned by what Les had just said.  It was more that he could ever hope for.  It was in that moment that James really grew up.

The fact that he would be running the Riley spread was more than he could have imagined.

He wanted to talk to Billy and see how he felt about Les giving him control of the big ranch.  His horse was still saddled so he headed for Billy’s spread.

When he arrived, Billy was down at the corral brushing his old horse he had taken for a ride.  Ever so often he would do that for the horse was his since he was four years old.

James said, “I just talked with Dad about getting a place of my own since me and Betsy will be married when I finish school and he said he wanted me to take over the running of the Riley ranch.  I need to know how you feel about that.”

Billy said, “Les and I have discussed that for some time now and decided if you ever decided to become a serious rancher, then we would like for you to have the ranch. Of course you know with all our holdings joining each other it will still be one big ranch in people’s eyes.”

“Then you are not against me having it?”

Billy said, “No I have more that I can handle with what I have. With Jim there and Les isn’t going anywhere they will have your back and I’m always here if you want to discuss anything.  You are going to do fine. You know it will be some time before you actually take over and run the place.”

James said, “Yes I know but I suspect Les wants to be relieved of the responsibility sooner than we might suspect.”

Wedding bells

What he had just learned changed the way James viewed his future.  He felt older having a new responsibility placed on his shoulders and he wanted to get things in order as much as possible.

The next day he went and told Betsy what had happened and she related it to her folks while James went to town.  He went to the general store and picked out a ring.

He came back and told Betsy’s folks the wedding day had been moved up. He told them he had to return to school in a month for his last term but wanted to marry Betsy before he left.

This was news to Betsy but she was all for it.

He said, “They would get married next week and go on a honeymoon like Billy and Mamie did.”

Her father didn’t know what to say but her mother said, "That will be a load off my mind so go ahead with your plans.”

James tried the ring on Betsy’s finger and I fit close enough.  He said they could get another one on their honeymoon if that one didn’t work out.

She told him she would keep the one she was married with as long as she lived.

He said we will live at our ranch after the honeymoon and while I’m at school this term I want Betsy to live there.

James told Sarah he wanted Betsy there so she could watch over her. He didn’t want her at her mother’s home for they weren’t able to keep her as secure as she would be on the Riley ranch.

He said Betsy could continue her studies and be taught by Rene’e.

Les took James aside and explained the how to about married life and said you might as well go talk to your mother for she is waiting for you.

His Ma went over the same stuff she told Billy and added a bit more.

Like it was to Billy this was information he appreciated more as time went along.

The wedding was on Saturday and the party afterward was well attended.

Just before they left Les said there is one more thing you need to know and that is ; women will cry for no reason or a perceived reason and when they do don’t try to make any sense out of it.
Just give them some room and they will get over it and act as if it never happened.

James had a lot of information to digest but felt he was prepared for wedding bliss.

It’s over in ten

The wedding ceremony had been brief and ten minutes later they were man and wife.  James didn’t know what to expect but didn’t feel much different than he did before the I do’s.

After greeting the guests Jim took them to town and they checked in to the hotel. It wasn’t a fancy hotel but it had a lock on the door.
They spent two days at the hotel before heading to Chicago.

Billy had told him about the long trip to New York before he and Mamie had some privacy so James didn’t want that to happen.

After two days they wanted to get out of their town and see some sights other than a cow town. Les gave them each a present, a two shot derringer.

He said you won’t be wearing your six guns so I wanted both of you to have a weapon to defend yourselves and I hope you won’t need them.

Once in Chicago they stayed in a fine hotel and had a good laugh about the small room they had in the hometown. They both were glad they did it the way they did for they thought the long trip would have been unbearable with their passion being as high as it was.

James now fully embraced Betsy whereas before they just desired each other with reservations.

They both now felt a oneness that hadn’t been there before they gave themselves to one another.  

To Be Continued


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