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HOME > Classical Novels > Dorothy Dale in the West > CHAPTER XVIII OPHELIA COMES VISITING
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 “Will you please tell me, Doro Doodlekins, just why everything in my trunk is mismates? I believe I have half a pair of everything I own in the world with me, and the other half is at home!”  
Dorothy , deep in the mysteries of her own toilette.
“If I wore spectacles,” pursued the complaining Tavia. “I’d have only half a pair with me. And half a pair of scissors would be my fate if I owned scissors. If I wore false teeth, I’d be able to find only the upper set.”
“You packed the trunk yourself,” Dorothy, with pins in her mouth.
“I never!” denied Tavia. “I was so excited over the of coming West that I just threw the first things that came handy into my trunk. When it was I jumped on the lid to make it lock, and—there you are! At least, it looks as though I did just that when it comes to finding things.”
 “Poor Tavia Trouble-ty-bubble!” cooed Dorothy.
“Yes,” admitted her chum. “Look!” with desperation.
She held up two stockings—they never could have made a pair of “hose,” for one was white while the other was flesh color.
“See what I am reduced to,” continued the irrepressible. “If I wear them with pumps folks will think I’m mismated, too! Whatever shall I do, Doro?”
There was company expected at the Hardin -house and the girls were “dolling up,” as Nat called it, in honor of old Mrs. Petterby and Lance.
“Wear black ones,” answered the practical Dorothy.
“Oh, but black isn’t fashionable—and certainly not with white pumps,” said Tavia, sadly.
“I cannot advise you, then,” said Dorothy. “And, anyway, Tavia, you always talk so fast that nobody ever looks at your feet.”
“But—when I’m silent?” demanded Tavia.
“When is that?” demanded her friend, laughing.
“The unkindest cut of all! But I tell you what I’ll do,” added Tavia, slowly. “I will an emergency bandage around one ankle, and put the flesh colored stocking on that foot. Then it164 will look the same color as the white one. ‘Ah-ha!’ says the . ‘I am ! Down to your , Dalton!’”
And she sat right down on the floor and proceeded to do this, to Dorothy’s vast amusement.
The girls were scarcely dressed when a buckboard, by a pair of half broken , came into view over the break of the , coming from the Dugonne trail.
“Here comes Lance!” exclaimed Tavia.
“And dear old Mrs. Petterby,” agreed Dorothy.
“Hi!” ejaculated Nat, whom the girls had joined on the big front porch. “What has the old lady in her lap, I want to know?”
“Oh!” Dorothy. “How the ponies . And look at the carriage and bounce. She was nearly thrown out that time. I wish Mr. Lance wasn’t so reckless.”
“But she’s hanging to that thing in her lap——”
“It’s Ophelia, of course,” said Tavia. “She’s brought her on a visit, too.”
“Why not?” demanded Dorothy, as the others laughed. “It’s the one thing that connects her with Rand’s Falls, Massachusetts. I expect without Ophelia Mrs. Petterby would be very homesick out here in Colorado.”
Lance drove up with a flourish. Like most people165 out in the Colorado mountains, he seemed to be a very reckless driver. His mother was quite calm, however; she evidently had perfect confidence in her son’s ability to handle the ponies, and at the same time take care of her.
The girls ran down the steps to help Mrs. Petterby out of the buckboard. “So delighted to see you, dear Mrs. Petterby,” cried Dorothy.
“And Ophelia,” giggled Tavia, reaching out her hands for the basket, but making big eyes at the cowboy.
“Howdy! howdy!” Lance was exclaiming, his face very red under Tavia’s wicked . He would not let the girl take the basket, but removed it from his mother’s lap himself. “Don’t you mind, Miss,” he urged. “I’ll take this yere along to the bunkhouse, mother. Yuh don’t want thet thar little hen with you in Miz White’s nice house.”
“Quite right, Lance,” agreed the old lady, out. “But you see that nothing happens to her, son.”
“I’ll take keer of her like she was eggs instead o’ a chicken,” he assured her, and then gave the impatient ponies their heads. They dashed away toward the sheds.
Aunt Winnie appeared at the door to welcome the old lady from Massachusetts, and they bore her into the house and showed her the room she166 was to occupy. Lance would with the , but he was coming up to supper.
As Dorothy came back through the wide central hall a little later, old John Dempsey appeared from the office. He had gotten everything cleaned up in there, and kept it tidy. Mrs. White was now using Colonel Hardin’s old desk as her own.
“Miss Dorothy,” whispered the veteran, “what do you think? That snake in the grass was after me agin yesterday about that old letter.”
Dorothy looked very grave at the mention of Philo . “What does he want now?” she asked.
“He’s after that letter, I tell ye. He offered me sixty dollars for it. He’s the most critter I ever see. I told him I couldn’t sell at no price.”
“Wait, Mr. Dempsey,” said Dorothy. “I wrote father about that letter the day you found it. I expect to hear from him soon.”
“But I wouldn’t sell—if ’tis mine to sell, belike,” said John Dempsey, earnestly.
“It may be worth a lot of money.”
“Sure, an’ I don’t need a lot of money,” declared the old soldier. “I’m contint right as I be—as long as your aunt will let me stay.”
“And you may rest assured that she will let you stay,” said Dorothy, cheerfully. “Why, Mr. Dempsey, she says you are a lot of help around the ranch-house.”
“’Tis kind of her to say so,” said he, grat............
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