Slade had their traveling and camping things folded, bundled and wrapped. Their food was neatly packed into two boxes with the coffee pot and skillet clamped somehow to the outside.
I’m ready too.” Slade answered. “I think we should go down to the dining room for some breakfast and have the hotel bring all of these to the livery where I can see to their positioning in the wagon.
“Wait, I’ll get your things.”
“Remember, the only things I need for the trip are all in the little box and my traveling things are wrapped in the coat. I’ll need to reach those, but nothing else.”
Ellen went to the desk and took up the leather case in which he had replaced her/their money. “I guess I was foolish to demand silver from that shady banker! This is really heavy! I just didn’t trust him! I still don’t, to be really honest!
“I wish you would make arrangements with managing it! I don’t know what to do with it!” She handed the case to Slade. He took it and removed several objects from one of the food boxes to take out a sack and re-place it with the case. The bag of flour he simply stacked on top of the box. He counted what he thought they would need for their supplies and the bills for Mrs. Coulter and the hotel. The pieces he had kept earlier in the coffee bag he placed inside the lining of his belt which had been designed for exactly that purpose. He put the other pieces in his pants pockets. The money was as safe as he could make it.
Slade brought all of Ellen’s things in and put them with the other packs—a surprisingly small pile considering their prospective trip.
They hurried down to eat. The hotel clerk was more than happy to arrange for their things to be taken to the wagon. Ellen and Slade went into the dining room for a good breakfast.
“We must hurry,” Slade told her as he cut his big piece of steak. “It will take a while to get our things packed into that wagon. The poor horses! I have to be sure the load won’t shift. Their work will be hard enough as it is.”
Ellen had been considering the things in a safe box at the bank. The Aguilars had used it to deposit their most valuable things. She should have looked at it before but it had slipped her mind. Now she thought she definitely needed to make sure everything was secure. Their problem with telling an exact time was what brought it to mind. Her father’s pocket watch was stored there and she thought they could use it.
“I hate to hold us up any more, but I must visit the bank briefly before we leave. There is a deposit box there that I forgot to check.
“It will only take a few minutes. I’ll be quick. But remember we will have to wait for
to return anyway. He will be bringing us a report on conditions
at the ranch… Santos
“We may not leave until noon after all!”
Slade shook his head. “Well, we will get going some time today. One thing we have plenty of is time right now. I’ll drop you at the bank and go get the horses hitched and our things packed in the wagon. Then we can go to the general store and collect our purchases when you are finished there.
will be back by then.” Santos
“I think we should settle our bills here at the hotel now; then possibly we won’t need to return for anything” Slade said. “Unless we run too far into the afternoon and have to have a noon meal or maybe, I hope not, have to stay another night!”
“Isn’t it possible to buy a team of horses to use with ours?” Ellen asked. “I know this is a big load. I feel sorry for the horses. I don’t mind the extra time on the road.” She blushed and looked down at her potatoes and spread butter on a biscuit before going on. “Only I don’t like to abuse the animals if we don’t have to. We can always sell the extra horses later or maybe use them some other way.”
“I think we can look at the livery.” Slade looked over at her in surprise. “I believe I saw some mules penned behind the barn over there. Perhaps they are for sale. We only have one set of harness, but we could switch off the pulling animals.
“Good idea! You are thinking like a wife already!” He applied himself to his meat and potatoes while Ellen spooned stewed apples on top of her biscuit for a sweet.
They finished breakfast. Slade settled their bill at the hotel and they hurried down the street to the bank. There Ellen asked for and had the deposit box opened. At least there was no dispute over her right to access it. They spent a few minutes looking over the things stored there. Ellen took a piece of paper from the table where they had the box opened and jotted down a record of the contents. She stowed the list inside her pretty little bag and then held up her father’s watch.
“This is what I’ve been thinking of. Won’t a real time piece come in handy!” She reached over and attached the chain to Slade’s vest button and slid the watch into his pocket! “Now it’s yours. Make sure to set it first chance you get!” She glanced thorough the open door and made sure there was no one close by to watch them.
Then she stood on her tip toes and kissed him quickly. “I am simply going to have to get some shoes with higher heels on them!
“Now, I’m finished. Oh, you were going to leave me here and go after the wagon!”
“I hated to leave you in the lion’s den. There will always be enough time for me to stay with you. And, like you said, we have to wait for
Let’s head out.” He stepped to the door and caught the attention of the clerk. Ellen locked the box and it was returned to its slot before they left the safe.