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The Ranch Girls and Their Heart's Desire   By: (1876-)

The Ranch Girls and Their Heart's Desire by Margaret Vandercook

First Page:

THE RANCH GIRLS SERIES

The Ranch Girls and Their Heart's Desire

BY MARGARET VANDERCOOK

ILLUSTRATED BY WILSON V. CHAMBERS

THE JOHN C. WINSTON COMPANY PHILADELPHIA

Copyright, 1920, by THE JOHN C. WINSTON CO.

[Illustration: BEFORE LEAVING, SHE EXPLAINED TO THE OLD HALF INDIAN WOMAN THAT SHE WOULD NOT RETURN UNTIL DINNER TIME]

CONTENTS

I. THE BRANCH OF THE TREE 9

II. THE YOUNGER SET 20

III. OLD PASTIMES 32

IV. A FORMER ACQUAINTANCE 47

V. JEAN, OLIVE AND FRIEDA 58

VI. JEAN AND RALPH MERRITT 75

VII. THE TEA PARTY 91

VIII. AN INTERVIEW 104

IX. A YEAR LATER 117

X. A MAIDEN SPEECH 129

XI. THE PROPOSALS 140

XII. A DECISION 152

XIII. THE CAMPAIGN 169

XIV. IN THE THICK OF THE FIGHT 178

XV. CONSEQUENCES 192

XVI. THE ELECTION 204

XVII. THE HEART'S DESIRE 217

ILLUSTRATIONS

BEFORE LEAVING SHE EXPLAINED THAT SHE WOULD NOT RETURN BEFORE DINNER TIME Frontispiece

WITH A SINGLE SWIFT MOTION SHE LIFTED LITTLE PEACE INTO THE SADDLE 72

JACK REINED IN HER HORSE AND SAT STILL, SILHOUETTED AGAINST THE SKY 149

NOT A BOUQUET OF FLOWERS BUT OF EVIL SMELLING WEEDS AND TIED WITH A RAG INSTEAD OF A RIBBON 186

The Ranch Girls and Their Heart's Desire

CHAPTER I

THE BRANCH OF THE TREE

Across a wide prairie a man and woman were riding side by side at an hour approaching twilight on a September afternoon. Moving slowly they appeared to be studying the landscape.

Toward the west the sky was banked with gold and rose and purple clouds, while the earth revealed the same colors in the yellow sand of the desert spaces, the wide fields of purple clover, and the second blooming of the prairie roses.

"Strange to have you living at the old Rainbow ranch again, Jack, and yet under the circumstances perhaps the most natural thing in the world! Long ago when I was a young fellow I learned that when human beings are hurt they follow the instincts of the homing birds who seek the nest. You have always loved the old ranch better than any place in the world, more than the other girls ever loved it, so with the news of your husband's death I knew you would return from England and bring your son with you, Lady Kent, once Jacqueline Ralston of the Rainbow ranch. Somehow I never have learned to think of you, Jack, by your title of Lady Kent."

"No, Jim, and why should you?" the girl answered. "I never learned to think of myself in that fashion. I am going to confide something to you, Jim Colter. I always have confided my secrets to you since I was a little girl. I never learned during the years of my married life in England to feel that I was anything but a stranger there. Yet for my husband's sake I did my best to like England and try to make English people like me. I was never specially successful. I presume I am hopelessly an American and, what may be worse, hopelessly western. At present I feel that I wish to spend all the rest of my life in Wyoming. But one is not often allowed to do what one wishes. This morning I received letters from England, all of them asking when I intended to return and settle down as Dowager Lady Kent at Kent House, to bring up little Jimmie in a manner becoming a future British Lord. The worst of it is I don't want to go back and I don't want to bring up my son as an aristocrat. My husband was an Englishman, but I am an American and have never believed in titles... Continue reading book >>




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