Madison Lain, riding up beside them again, caught the old man’s final words.
“That’s right, Uncle Joe,” he laughed. He glanced southward as he spoke and the laughter left his lips. “Pull up here, Joe. Wilder’s got a lame horse and this is as good a place as any to spend the night. Yonder come some men, too. Madison, you stay in the wagon till we see what those riders want.” The wagons halted and Uncle Joe climbed stiffly down across the wagon wheel. Madison turned back into the depths of her own wagon. Outside she heard trampling horses approach. “Howdy, boys,” Bob Haskel called. He held a rifle in the crook of his arm. “Salud!” m The answering voice was youthful and ringing, somehow gay. Yet there was in both greetings a certain reticence; a tone midway between welcome and challenge. The gay voice sounded again. “Any objection to our throwin’ down here for the night? Somethin’ besides jerked beef would go real good, just for a change!” “Glad to have you.” Evidently Haskel’s appraisal of the visitors had been a favorable one. Madison peeped out.