Blue Bonnet’s Ranch Party

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BLUE BONNET’S RANCH PARTY


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BLUE BONNET’S
RANCH PARTY

BY
C. E. JACOBS
AND
EDYTH ELLERBECK READ

A SEQUEL TO
A TEXAS BLUE BONNET
BY
C. E. JACOBS

Illustrated by
JOHN GOSS
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THE PAGE COMPANY
BOSTON – – PUBLISHERS
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The
Blue Bonnet Series

By
Lela Horn Richards
and
Caroline E. Jacobs

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Each, one vol., large 12mo, illustrated $1.75
A TEXAS BLUE BONNET
BLUE BONNET’S RANCH PARTY
BLUE BONNET IN BOSTON
BLUE BONNET KEEPS HOUSE
BLUE BONNET—DÉBUTANTE
BLUE BONNET OF THE SEVEN STARS

THE COSY CORNER SERIES
By Caroline E. Jacobs

Each, one vol., small 12mo, illustrated $0.75
BAB’S CHRISTMAS AT STANHOPE
THE CHRISTMAS SURPRISE PARTY
A CHRISTMAS PROMISE
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THE PAGE COMPANY
53 Beacon Street, Boston, Mass.

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First Impression, July, 1912
Second Impression, October, 1912
Third Impression, May, 1913
Fourth Impression, January, 1914
Fifth Impression, April, 1914
Sixth Impression, February, 1915
Seventh Impression, June, 1915
Eighth Impression, July, 1916
Ninth Impression, April, 1917
Tenth Impression, March, 1918
Eleventh Impression, July, 1919
Twelfth Impression, May, 1920
Thirteenth Impression, December, 1921

PRINTED BY C. H. SIMONDS COMPANY
BOSTON, MASS., U. S. A.


CONTENTS

chapterpage
I.The Wanderer1
II.In the Blue Bonnet Country16
III.The Glorious Fourth32
IV.The Round Robin45
V.The Swimming Hole60
VI.An Adventure71
VII.A Falling Out86
VIII.Consequences101
IX.Texas and Massachusetts112
X.Enter Carita124
XI.Camping by the Big Spring142
XII.Poco Tiempo155
XIII.Around the Camp-fire169
XIV.A Falling In183
XV.Sunday200
XVI.The Lost Sheep215
XVII.Secrets230
XVIII.Some Arrivals242
XIX.Blue Bonnet’s Birthday259
XX.Conferences275
XXI.Blue Bonnet Decides290
XXII.Hasta la Vista300

LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS

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“Blue Bonnet . . . watched the sun rise out of the prairie” (See page 303)Frontispiece
“Comanche . . . leaped forward like a cat”41
“‘I believe the only way to learn to swim is to dive in head-first'”96
“They all gathered gypsy-fashion about the fire”187
“It was an exquisite miniature, painted on ivory”261
“Alec surveyed her proud little profile”290


Blue Bonnet’s Ranch Party


CHAPTER I

THE WANDERER

Blue Bonnet put her head out of the car window for the hundredth time that hour, and drew it back with a sigh of utter exasperation.

“Uncle Cliff,” she declared impatiently, “if The Wanderer doesn’t move a little faster I’ll simply have to get out and push!”

“Better blame the engine, Honey,” said Uncle Cliff in his slow, soothing way. “The Wanderer is doing her best. Might as well blame the wagon for not making the horses gallop!”

“I know,” she confessed. “But it seems as if we’d never get to Woodford. This is the longest-seeming journey I ever took—even if it is in a private car.” Then, fearing to appear inappreciative, she added quickly: “But I do think it is mighty good of Mr. Maldon to let us take his very own car. I can just see the We are Sevens’ eyes pop right out when they see this style of travelling.” Blue Bonnet’s own eyes roamed over the luxurious interior of The Wanderer, dwelling with approval on the big, swinging easy chairs, the book-case cunningly set in just over a writing-desk, the buffet shining with cut glass and silver, and the thousand and one details that made the car a veritable palace on wheels.

Blue Bonnet had been spending a few days in New York with her uncle, who had insisted that she should have a little “lark” after her long months in school. Now, in a private car belonging to one of Uncle Cliff’s friends, they were on their way back to Woodford, there to gather up Grandmother Clyde, Alec Trent, and the other six of Blue Bonnet’s “We are Seven” Club, and bear them off to Texas for the summer.

“I reckon Sarah Blake and Kitty Clark aren’t very used to travelling?” suggested Uncle Cliff, more to draw out Blue Bonnet than with any consuming desire for information.

“Used to travelling! Why, Uncle Cliff—” Blue Bonnet shook her head emphatically—”not one of the other We are Sevens has ever so much as seen the inside of a Pullman in all her life!”

Mr. Ashe hid a smile under his moustache. The fact that Blue Bonnet’s own introduction to a Pullman car had occurred just nine months before, seemed to have escaped the young lady’s mind.

“Well, well,” ejaculated Blue Bonnet’s uncle, “they’ve some experiences ahead of them, to be sure!”

“Oh, Uncle,”—Blue Bonnet was struck with a sudden fear,—”do you suppose they will all be ready to go? We’re two whole days earlier than we said we’d be—”

“They’ll be ready, don’t you worry. Your grandmother is not one of the unprepared sort, and the girls don’t need much of a wardrobe for the ranch. Besides, I wired them explicit directions—to meet The Wanderer and be ready to come aboard immediately. We shall have only a few minutes in Woodford.”

Blue Bonnet settled back in her red velvet reclining chair and shut her eyes. Slowly a smile wreathed her lips.

“What’s the joke, Honey?”

Blue Bonnet looked up with dancing eyes. “Benita!” she laughed. “Won’t she be just—petrified, when she sees seven girls instead of one? And can’t you imagine the boys—”

“Benita had better not get petrified this summer,” interrupted Uncle Cliff. “She has to do some tall hustling. I’ve wired Uncle Joe to get extra help while the ranch party is in session. If they can get old Gertrudis from the Lone Star Ranch—she’s the finest cook in the state of Texas. And her granddaughter might wait on table.”

“Oh, I do think a ranch party is the grandest thing in the world,” cried Blue Bonnet. “I’ve read of house parties, but they must be downright tame compared with this kind of a party. And it’s not to last just over a week-end either, but two whole months! Why, Uncle Cliff, any ordinary man would be scared to pieces at the prospect.”

“But I’m not an ordinary man, eh?” Mr. Ashe looked pleased as a boy as he put the question.

“Well, I reckon not! You’re a fairy godfather. You grant my wishes before they’re fairly out of my mouth. And I seem to have plenty of wishes. Just think, Uncle, how many things I’ve wished for since my last birthday!”

“First,” said Uncle Cliff, “you wished to go away from the ranch.”

Blue Bonnet nodded assent. “Because I was—afraid—to ride. Doesn’t it seem ridiculous, now I’m over that silliness? But oh, how I did wish I could get over being afraid! That was about the only wish you couldn’t grant, Uncle Cliff.”

“That wish was never expressed, Honey—don’t forget that. Maybe I could have helped even there,” Mr. Ashe suggested gently.

“I know, it was my own fault. But I was—ashamed, Uncle Cliff. You don’t suppose—” Blue Bonnet’s face clouded, “you don’t think, do you, that the fear will come again when I get back where I saw José—dragged?” She shut her eyes and shuddered.

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