The Boy Ranchers at Spur Creek by Willard F Baker Page 2 of 152



With a rattle and a clatter the muddy flivver stopped with a squeak of brakes in front of Diamond X ranch house. From the car leaped three boys, one of them carrying a small leather pouch.

"Here's the mail!" yelled this lad - Bud Merkel by name, and his cousins, Nort and Dick Shannon, added the duet of their voices to his as they cried:

"Mail's in! Lots of letters!"

"Any for me?" asked Nell, reaching out her hand toward Bud. "Don't tell me there isn't!" she pleaded.

"Well, I'm sorry, Sis," began Bud, teasingly, "there was one for you, but driving in we ran over a rattler and - - "

"Don't you believe him, Nell!" consoled Nort, who didn't altogether agree with Bud's teasing of his sister. "Your letters are safe in the pouch."

"Oh, there are letters, then, are there - not just one?" cried Nell with shining eyes. "Thanks a whole lot."

"Don't thank me - thank the postmaster - or whoever wrote you the letters!" laughed Nort.

Bud had sat down on a bench outside the ranch house and was opening the mail pouch. His mother came to the door of the kitchen, wiping flour from her hands, for though Mrs. Merkel kept a "hired girl," and though Nell assisted, yet the mother of Bud insisted on doing much of the work herself, and very able she was, too.

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