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HOME > Classical Novels > Dorothy Dale in the West > CHAPTER XVII FLORES
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 “I never want to hear even a baby’s again,” Tavia, after she and Dorothy were alone in their room at the house. “Anything from the rattle of a dry seed in a pod to a load of bricks being dumped on a cement walk, will remind me of that dreadful snake.  
“Why, I had a little stick in my hand, and I it into that crack in the rock to see if there was anything there, and up that rattler’s head!
“Oh, dear, me, Doro! if you hadn’t come as you did, I would have been bitten all to pieces!”
“Nonsense!” laughed Dorothy. “A snake isn’t a bulldog. It wouldn’t have chewed you up. But they are dangerous.”
“Poisonous! And I didn’t have the strength to move, I was so frightened. You’ve always helped me out of messes, Doro Doodlebug! but this time you saved my life,” and Tavia seized her chum in her arms. “I hope I’ll be able to do something big for you some day to pay you up a little, wee !”
 “You poor child!” Dorothy said, tenderly. “Don’t talk such nonsensical stuff. I did no more for you than you would have done for me in like circumstances.”
“I know all about that,” said Tavia, wiping her eyes. “But you’d never get into such a silly scrape, and so give me a chance. I do get into such perfect bunches of trouble, Doro. Life, for me, seems to be just one silly scrape after another!”
By morning, however, Tavia had put the lesson of her adventure into the background. There was so much to do and see on the ranch that she could not really spend the time in thinking of a rattlesnake that was already dead!
The four young folk rode hard with one of the Mexicans that day. Dorothy and Tavia were rather shy of the long, wicked looking horns and the tossing heads and flashing eyes of the cattle, so gave them a wide . Ned and Nat began practising throwing the rope, and displayed a deeper interest in the cattle business than the girls could possibly feel.
Dorothy and Tavia thought the Mexican rather a villainous looking fellow, too—not at all like the handsome José , who had driven them over from Dugonne, so after a while they rode back toward the home corral, leaving Ned and Nat to go on to the second without them.
 The girls had, by this time, no fear of the they bestrode. Both were well broken steeds without any vicious characteristics. As they drew near the end of the first shed, Dorothy’s mount “side-stepped” unexpectedly and the girl was almost thrown.
“Did you see it?” demanded Tavia, hastily.
“I didn’t see anything, but the evidently did,” laughed Dorothy, fearlessly. “What was it, Tavia?”
“That Mexican girl popped right out from behind that shed, and then popped back again. No wonder your pony jumped. She dresses like a Fourth of July celebration. I never did see such gay colors combined in a girl’s dress in all my life.”
“Flores, you mean?”
“Is that her name?” asked Tavia.
“So Mrs. told me,” said Dorothy. “Flores helps the foreman’s wife. She is an . Her parents died of in a squatter’s cabin a few miles out in the desert, last year.”
“Goodness, Doro! how much you know about her already. Is she going to be your next protégée?” demanded Tavia.
“Well,” confessed Dorothy, “I was interested in her at once. And do you know why?”
“Just because you are always interested in everybody and everything, Doro Doodlekins. I never did see such a girl,” repeated Tavia.
“Oh! I had a real reason,” rejoined Dorothy, laughing. “You see, she is not as old as you and I, Tavia, yet I saw her talking very with that Mexican driver, José.”
“Oh, him? Do you blame her?” Tavia. “What wonderfully white teeth he has—and just a love of a mustache!”
Dorothy made a little face at her. “You are , Tavia,” she . “I am interested in Flores, not in that driver.”
“Well, you of him,” insisted Tavia. “I didn’t bring him—and his mustache—into the conversation.”
“I wondered if Flores’ folks—if she had any—approved of her talking with the man,” continued Dorothy, ignoring her chum’s . “And what do you think?”
“She is going to run away with him like Molly did with her young man!” ejaculated the romantic Tavia.
“Do be sensible!” exclaimed Dorothy, with disgust. “Molly Crater is nineteen—she was of age in this state. I wish you’d listen——”
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