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When Dill with much solemnity tore off June from the calendar in the dining room the calendar with Custer's Last Charge rioting redly above the dates Billy, home for a day from the roundup, realized suddenly that time was on the high lope; at least, that is how he put it to Dill. "Say, Dilly, we sure got to jar loose from getting rich long enough to take in that picnic over to Bluebell Grove.

It had occurred to her that there was a chance otherwise of getting caught in a Colonial School roundup, if it was brought to Doctor Plemponi's attention that there appeared to be considerably more students out on the town at the moment than could be properly overlooked. Or even, Trigger thought, if somebody simply happened to have missed Trigger Argee.

"Certainly not; aren't you two here?" Mona could be very pert when she tried. "Jack and I are holding down the ranch just now; the boys are all on roundup, of course. Jack went to town today to see some one. "Um-m-yes, of course." It was Park, still trying to be polite and not commit himself on the subject of Jack.

It was not nice to remember that scene, and he gave his shoulders an impatient hitch and tried to think of something else. Mindful of his vow, he had bought a gun in Billings, but he had not yet learned to hit anything he aimed at; for firearms are hushed in roundup camps, except when dire necessity breeds a law of its own. Range cattle do not take kindly to the popping of pistols.

Gene, thinking blissfully of the tented life, sprawled his long legs toward the snapping blaze and crooned dreamily, while without the blizzard raged more fiercely, a verse from an old camp song: "Out on the roundup, boys, I tell yuh what yuh get Little chunk uh bread and a little chunk uh meat; Little black coffee, boys, chuck full uh alkali, Dust in your throat, boys, and gravel in your eye!

And it was in the performance of this duty that he discovered during the roundup, on the trail leading from the hacienda to Agua Caliente basin, a rectangular piece of paper. It lay, somewhat weather-stained, face up beside the trail, and because it resembled a check, he leaned easily from his horse and picked it up.

It was a novel idea, and it tickled the humor of the Happy Family. The "rough string," as the bad horses were called, was corralled, and the men made merry with the roundup crew. Diamond G men they were, loudly proclaiming their faith in Billy Roberts, and offering bets already against Andy, who listened undisturbed and had very little to say.

Jake Sharp, owner of the corral, stood in the doorway and chatted with the sheriff for a minute. Was it true that a new schoolhouse was going to be built on Bonito? And had the sheriff heard whether McCarty was to be boss of Big Creek roundup? Beaudry answered his questions and turned away. Royal clung to one hand as they walked. The other held the muley gun.

It was quite time for him to return, if he expected to catch the Flying U wagon before it pulled out on the beef roundup. That he should be in town and not ride out with Happy Jack was a bit strange. "Why don't yuh throw it out uh yuh, yuh big, long-jawed croaker?" demanded Pink in a voice queerly soft and girlish.

Get busy, Uncle Peter, and get your outfit together; you've boasted that a roundup can beat the army in getting under way quickly, now let us have a practical demonstration. We want to start by six o'clock all of us, with a cook and four or five men to do the excavating. Bring it to pass!"