"That is what I want to find out." Jean's voice was quiet, but it had a quality which he had never before noticed.
"You'd better," he advised her tritely, "let sleeping dogs lie."
"That's the trouble with sleeping dogs; they do lie, more often than not. These particular dogs have lied for nearly three years. I'm going to stir them up and see if I can't get a yelp of the truth out of them."
"Oh, you are!" Carl laughed ironically. "You'll stir up a lot of unpleasantness for yourself and the rest of us, is what you'll do. The thing's over and done with. Folks are beginning to forget it. You've got a home--"
Jean laughed, and her laugh was extremely unpleasant.
"You get as good as the rest of us get," her uncle reminded her sharply. "I came near going broke myself over the affair, if you want to know; and you stand there and accuse me of cheating you out of something! I don't know what in heaven's name you expect. The Lazy A didn't make me rich, I can tell you that. It just barely helped to tide things over. You've got a home here, and you can come and go as you please. What you ain't got," he added bitterly, "is common gratitude."
He turned away from her and went into the house, and Jean sat down upon the edge of the porch and stared away at the dimming outline of the hills, and wondered what had come over her.
Three years on this ranch, seeing her uncle every day almost, living under the same roof with him, talking with him upon the everyday business of life,--and to- night, for the first time, the forbidden subject had been opened. She had said things that until lately she had not realized were in her mind. She had never liked her uncle, who was so different from her father, but she had never accused him in her mind of unfairness until she had written something of the sort in her ledger. She had never thought of quarrelling,--and yet one could scarcely call this encounter less than a quarrel. And the strange part of it was that she still believed what she had said; she still intended to do the things she declared she would do. Just how she would do them she did not know, but her purpose was hardening and coming clean-cut out of the vague background of her mind.