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Wednesday, February 4, 2015

The Fourth Man - Chapter 20


Mother and new Daughter in Law
 

Some light on the subject

James was glad to be back home and having his bride with him made it all the better.

The first day home was full of questions about their trip and what sights they had seen.

Later that afternoon Sarah got the two of them alone and asked how everything went or did they have any trouble.

James said everything went fine along the lines you suggested. Sarah said, “Good but if you need any more help just ask me.”

James said, “I will but I think everything is going to be just fine here on out.”

James and Betsy went for a walk down to the corrals to see James’s horses and she asked him, “Am I missing something for I didn’t understand anything Sarah was talking about.”

He said, “I’ll explain it to you tonight.”

He called his horses over and gave them each an apple.  He could tell they had been missing him.

He changed the subject and said, “We have to pick you out a horse, one that you like for your own.”

She said, “I would like one that is gentle and won’t try to buck me off.”

James said, “I think I have the right one in mind. He is one of the quarter mustangs that Billy has. The army turned her down because she was too tame. They wanted horses that were much livelier.”

They took the buggy and went to Billy’s.  He and Mamie wanted to know everything about their trip and if everything went alright.

After being embarrassed for a half an hour James said, “I would like to have that brown horse with a star, you know the one the army rejected.”

Billy said, “Well sure but what do you want with her. I was going to use her for pulling a wagon and a sled in the winter to feed the horses but sure you’re welcome to her.”

They found the horse and tied her behind the buggy and took her home with them.

Betsy said, “Is she really mine?”

James said, “She sure is. We need to get a saddle fitted for you and then you need to get acquainted with each other.”

It was supper time and Mai had the table set for everyone. She was getting quite big and so was Sarah and Mamie. They were all due in a few days.

While they were on their honeymoon Les had James’s room enlarged to twice its size. It was large to start with but now it was almost as big as a house.

That evening Betsy wanted some answers about what Sarah had told him.

He didn’t want to get into that discussion but she was standoffish and was waiting for some answers.

He said, “It is a little embarrassing but here goes.”  He continued, “You know I didn’t know anything about love making - - -.  She interrupted him and said, “I know better than that.”

He said, “Well you don’t understand I didn’t until my folks sat me down and explained how everything worked.”

“You mean Sarah told you all that stuff?”

“Well yes her and my Pa. They didn’t leave much out.”

Betsy said, “I guess not. I thought maybe you had been going down to the house across the tracks with the other cowboys.”

“No I have never done that and don’t intend to.”

She said, “Well I hope not.  I still can’t believe your folks were that open with you… you know my mother would rather die than to talk to me like that. That is the reason I didn’t know anything except what the girls at school told me and most of that was wrong.”

James said, “Does that satisfy you now that you have embarrassed me?”

She said, “I still can’t believe it, but yes it does,” as she snuggled up to James. 

New babies everywhere

Mai was the first one to give birth to her child and next was Mamie.
Finally it was Sarah’s turn.  Betsy decided she should help out since she lived there.

Sarah was having a little trouble and let everyone know about it. She let out a scream with her last push and it scared Betsy for she thought Sarah was dying.

Betsy was profoundly impacted by that experience, so much so she refused to be intimate with James before he went back to school.

He had a big problem with this but on the other hand he understood what she was experiencing.  She told him she wasn’t ever going to become pregnant and have to go through what she witnessed during Sarah giving birth.

Sarah told James that Betsy would get over it, just give her a little time which he decided to do.

With James gone back to school the problem was lessened and Betsy returned to normal.

Betsy and Caroline

Caroline was becoming better acquainted with Betsy and they began going everywhere together. When the family would attend the community dances Betsy would pick out a boy for Caroline to dance with and tell her he would make a good boyfriend for her and stuff like that.

It was a fun thing to do and they both enjoyed it.

Boys kept asking Betsy to dance and finally she began to say yes to their invite.

Les wasn’t too happy about that but Sarah said it can’t do any harm for she needs to have some fun.

One of the more handsome boys invited her out for some fresh air and ended up kissing her.  She pretended to be offended by that but actually enjoyed it a little.

Caroline saw her but didn’t tell Les for she knew he would not hesitate to go after the boy and make a scene.

Caroline had taken to riding Billy’s old horse since he wasn’t riding him. She and Betsy would often ride to town to see her folks and do some shopping.

The banker’s son had just returned from the east and began to notice Betsy. He was known as a ladies man back east and was attracting some attention from several ladies.

He was watching for Betsy when she came to town and made it a point to talk to her.
She liked the attention he was paying to her and was responding more that she should have.

Caroline thought all of this was exciting for he was saying some nice things to her as well.
This went on for a couple of weeks when the girls went to town which was quite often.

The Riley’s never thought anything of it since Betsy was seeing her folks and Caroline was with her.  
 
Then on one trip Caroline saw the man kissing Betsy and she realized this wasn’t right.

She thought it was all in fun before but this was going too far.
 
They didn’t know she was near them and heard the man tell Betsy to get rid of the pest and meet him tomorrow at Indian rock around ten in the morning and they could do what they have been wanting to do.

Caroline slipped away without them knowing she had heard what he said.

She didn’t like being called a pest and she headed for Billy’s place.  She met Billy at the corral and told him what they had been doing. She hesitated at first and then told him about the meeting tomorrow.

Billy said, “I am sorry to hear this and about your part in it. You better not let Les find out about this or he will spank your butt till its red even if you are grown up.”

She said, “You’re not going to tell him are you?”

He said, “No and I hope he doesn’t find out for it would cause him to be disappointed in you and in her.”

Caroline said, “What are you going to do?”

He said, “You never mind for I will handle it.  Just go home and act like nothing is going on and don’t tell Betsy you told me about this.”

What to do

Billy rode over to Jim’s and filled him in and said, “We will get to Indian rock early and wait for them.”

Jim asked, “Are we going to kill him?”

Billy said, “We’ll see what happens.”

Jim said, “We could just take her aside and help her get her head on straight cause she is still a young woman and I hate to see her get messed up with what the outcome of this whole mess will be.”

Billy said, “Maybe you’re right for I hate what this will do to James. He is trying to finish his education and being away from her has been hard on him.  She should be down at the barn by now for Caroline said she was going to stop at her folks for a visit.

Billy sent the cow hand that was cleaning out stalls to the bunk house while he talked to Betsy.  
 
He slipped up behind her and gave her a severe lash on her behind with his whip, and she screamed out loud from the pain.

He was going to lash her again but thought better of it.

He pulled her pants down in back revealing a very painful mark the whip had made and said you better put something on that.

Then he shoved her up against a stall and said if you want to avoid being whipped like this from the shoulders to your ankles then you will never be unfaithful to your husband again do I make myself clear?

She was sobbing and just nodded her head.

“You know what I’m talking about?” And she said a weak, ‘Yes.”

Billy reached over and took another whip with metal embedded in the tip.  He lashed the top board of the stall with the whip and cut it in two.

He said, “This is what I’ll use on you if you ever… do you get my meaning?”

Betsy managed to nod her head while tears still ran down her cheeks.

He said, “Caroline can doctor you and the mark should be gone by the time James comes home to his faithful wife.”

Jim was listening outside and said, ‘Do you think she got the message?”

Billy said, “We’ll see.”

Jim said, “You wouldn’t really use that metal tipped whip on her would you?”

Billy said, “I really don’t know for if she did what I told her not to do then I might lose it for a moment and… I don’t know.  One thing we need to do is meet “The Man” tomorrow so he won’t be disappointed at Betsy not being there.”

A surprise for “The Man”

Billy and Jim were at Indian Rock early and they waited.

They soon were rewarded by the appearance of the lover boy. They watched him for a while as he paced back and forth and was becoming irritated by Betsy being late.

Jim said, “I don’t think we should keep him waiting any longer do you?”

Billy said, “I guess not you come from the other side and grab his horse so he can’t ride off and I’ll come from this side.”

The man didn’t see them until they were right near to him.  Jim had his horse so he wasn’t going anywhere.

Billy said, “The married woman you were meeting couldn’t make it so we decided to come and see what you had in mind.”

The man started to threaten them and swore calling them vile names.

Billy said, ‘Thank you for that outburst just got me in the mood to thrash you.”  

I want to Live
With that he laid the first lash on the man and proceeded to cut him to ribbons.
As he lay on the ground Billy pulled his gun and hit him across his face, smashing his nose flat and made awful cut above his eye.

As the man lay there Billy asked him, “Do you want to die here or live?”

The man writhing in pain whispered out, “Live.”

He and Jim threw him across his horse and took him to town to the doctor’s office.

After awhile, the doctor came out and said the next time you do this save me a lot of trouble by just killing him outright.  Doc asked, “Who is this guy?”

Jim said, ‘The banker’s son.”

“Well I couldn’t recognize him his face is so messed up.”

Billy said, ‘He must have got thrown and dragged.”

The doctor said, ‘Yeah, that must have been what happened.  I’ll try to stop the bleeding and send him to St. Louis to the hospital there.  I don’t think they can do much with his face for it is badly smashed.”

Billy said to Jim, “Let’s do our shopping and head home.
To Be Continued


 

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