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HOME > Classical Novels > Dorothy Dale in the West > CHAPTER II “HOORAY FOR THE WILD WEST!”
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 The family gathered in the library. Major Dale, Dorothy’s father, sat forward in his armchair, leaning his crossed hands and chin upon his . Joe and Roger, Dorothy’s brothers, fidgetted side by side upon the leather couch.  
Mrs. Winnie White, Major Dale’s sister, and her two big sons, Ned and Nat, occupied chairs at the table. Dorothy and Tavia, their arms about each others’ waists, were on a narrow settee in the fireplace, that was banked with green, odorous Balsam .
“Now, children, I have a great announcement to make—two, in fact,” said Aunt Winnie, playing with her lorgnette and smiling about at the expectant faces. “The Major tells me to ‘go ahead,’ and I am going to do so.
“First of all, the Dale and White families have come in for a considerable increase in this world’s goods. In other words, the Major and I have been left in , the great Hardin and game park, in Colorado.”
11 “Game! Shooting! Wow!” ejaculated Nat.
“Ranch! Cattle! Ah!” added his brother.
“Sounds like a new college yell,” muttered Tavia in Dorothy’s ear.
“I was well aware,” continued Aunt Winnie, “that old Colonel Hardin making the Major a beneficiary of his will. The Colonel was my brother’s companion in arms during the war——”
“And a right good fellow, too,” interposed Dorothy’s father, .
“When Colonel Hardin came East several years ago, he to me about this intended of his estate. He knew he could not live for long. The doctors had already pronounced upon his case, and he had no family, you will remember,” Aunt Winnie said. “I had no idea he proposed making me a legatee, as well. But he has done so. The Hardin property is a great estate—one of the largest in Colorado.”
“Hooray for the Wild West!” murmured Tavia, waving a handkerchief, yet evidently suffering under some emotion beside joy!
“The Hardin property was first of all a quarter section of Government land—one hundred and sixty acres—that the Colonel took up and proved upon when he obtained his discharge from the army. Then he bought up neighboring sections and finally obtained control of a vast, wild park in the foothills adjoining his cattle range.
“Of late years cattle have gone out and farming has come in. All between the Hardin land and Desert City are farms. They need irrigation for their developement.
“Colonel Hardin told me he held the water supply for the whole region in his hands. It would cost a large sum, he said, to make the water available for Desert City and the dry farming lands.”
“How is that, mother?” asked Ned, interested.
“I do not just know?”
“Can’t they dig wells and get water?” demanded Roger Dale.
“It strikes me,” said the Major, , “that in some of those desert lands, they say it is easier to pipe it in fifty miles than to dig for it. It’s just as far under the surface, or overhead, as it is !”
“I suppose it must be something like that,” agreed Aunt Winnie. “I only know that Colonel Hardin said when the City and the farmers could raise the money necessary he stood ready to lease the water rights to them. Such lease would add vastly to the income from his property.
“Now, his lawyers have informed us that the will giving all this great estate to the Major and13 me, has been probated, and that somebody must come out there and look over the property and meet the people who want the water, and all that.”
“And somebody means us, mother?” cried Nat, .
“Us young folks—yes,” said Mrs. White, smiling. “That is my second announcement—and the larger part of the surprise, I warrant. We are going to celebrate Dorothy’s graduation by taking a trip West.
“The Major does not feel equal to the journey, because of his ; I am to take over the property in our names. I shall need you four young people, of course, to advise me,” and she laughed.
“Say! Say! what four young people?” demanded Roger and Joe in chorus.
“Why,” said their Aunt, “you know somebody must remain to look after the Major. That duty, Joe, devolves upon you and Roger. Ned and Nat are going with me, and of course Dorothy can’t go without Tavia.”
“Hold me, somebody!” begged Tavia. “I am going to faint with joy,” and she fell weakly into Dorothy’s arms. “I was afraid I was going to be left out,” she muttered.
Nat ran with an ink bottle in lieu of smelling salts, but Tavia waved him away.
“Keep your distance, sir!” she cried. “This14 is a brand new frock—and they don’t grow on bushes; at least, they don’t in Dalton.”
“You bet they don’t,” commented Ned. “If the present-day girl’s frocks grew in the woods all the wild animals certainly would run wild. The bite of a would give one hydrophobia.”
“Every knock’s a boost,” Tavia, who was very proud indeed of her narrow skirt. “I notice the boys are just as much interested in us as ever, no matter what we wear. Why! Dorothy and I had a scandalous adventure this morning——”
The maid appeared in the at that moment and looked at Mrs. White. “What is it, Marie?” asked the lady.
“A—a gentleman, Madam,” said the maid. “At least, it’s a man, Mrs. White. And he wants to see you particular, so he says. He says he’s come all the way from Colorado about getting some water. I don’t understand what he means.”
“Crickey!” exclaimed the irreverent Nat. “What a long way to come for a drink.”
“It must be about this very thing we are speaking of,” said the Major, starting.
The two girls had risen and gone to a window. They could see out upon the porch.
“Goodness, Doro!” Tavia, grabbing her chum tightly. “That’s the very man we met on the road this morning.”
 We began to get acquainted with Dorothy Dale, and Tavia Travers, and their friends in the first volume of this series, entitled “Dorothy Dale: A Girl of To-day.” At that time Dorothy was more than three years younger than she is to-day. Nevertheless, when her father was taken ill, she undertook the regular publication of his weekly paper, The Dalton , which was the family’s main at that time.
Later the family received an uplift in the world and went to live at the , Aunt Winnie’s beautiful home, while Dorothy and Tavia went to Glenwood School where, through “Dorothy Dale at Glenwood School,” “Dorothy Dale’s Great Secret,” “Dorothy Dale and Her Chums,” “Dorothy Dale’s Queer Holidays,” “Dorothy Dale’s Camping Days” and “Dorothy Dale’s School Rivals” our heroine and her friends enjoyed many pleasures, had adventures galore, worked hard at their studies, had many schoolgirl , troubles, secrets, and learned many things besides what was contained in their textbooks.
In the eighth volume of the series, entitled, “Dorothy Dale in the City,” Dorothy and Tavia spent the holidays with Aunt Winnie and her sons, in New York. Aunt Winnie had taken an apartment in the city, on Riverside Drive, and the girls had many gay times, likewise Mrs. White16 very materially in the untangling of a business matter that had troubled her.
“Dorothy Dale’s Promise,” the volume preceding our present story, deals with Dorothy’s last semester at Glenwood School, and her graduation. Tavia, who is a perfect flyaway, but one with a heart of gold, is close to her chum all the time, and the two inseparables had now, but the week before, bidden the beautiful old school good-bye.
Dorothy Dale was a bright and quick-witted girl; the Tavia was apt to get them both into little scrapes of which Dorothy was usually obliged to find the door of escape.
Now, when the maid announced the black-mustached man, and the boys departed by another door, Tavia drew Dorothy into the embrasure of a curtained window, whispering:
“Let’s wait. I’m crazy to know what has brought such a brigandish looking fellow here.”
“But it is not nice to listen,” objected Dorothy.
“But your aunt doesn’t mind.”
Mrs. White smiled at the two girls as she saw them pop behind the draperies. There was nothing private about the proposed interview.
The Major sat back in his chair while Aunt Winnie arose to meet the stranger as the maid him into the library.

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