Dan Morgan told himself he would forget Ann Turner.
He was well rid of her.
He certainly didn't want a wife who was fickle as Ann.
If he had married her, he'd have been asking for trouble.
But all of this was rationalization.
Sometimes he woke up in the middle of the night thinking of Ann, and then could not get back to sleep.
His plans and dreams had revolved around her so much and for so long that now he felt as if he had nothing.
The easiest thing would be to sell out to Al Budd and leave the country, but there was a stubborn streak in him that wouldn't allow it.
The best antidote for the bitterness and disappointment that poisoned him was hard work.
He found that if he was tired enough at night, he went to sleep simply because he was too exhausted to stay awake.
Each day he found himself thinking less often of Ann ; ;
each day the hurt was a little duller, a little less poignant.
He had plenty of work to do.
Because the summer was unusually dry and hot, the spring produced a smaller stream than in ordinary years.
The grass in the meadows came fast, now that the warm weather was here.
He could not afford to lose a drop of the precious water, so he spent most of his waking hours along the ditches in his meadows.
He had no idea how much time Budd would give him.
In any case, he had no intention of being caught asleep, so he carried his revolver in its holster on his hip and he took his Winchester with him and leaned it against the fence.
He stopped every few minutes and leaned on his shovel as he studied the horizon, but nothing happened, each day dragging out with monotonous calm.
When, in late afternoon on the last day in June, he saw two people top the ridge to the south and walk toward the house, he quit work immediately and strode to his rifle.
It could be some kind of trick Budd had thought up.
No one walked in this country, least of all Ed Dow or Dutch Renfro or any of the rest of the Bar B crew.
Morgan watched the two figures for a time, puzzled.
When they were closer and he saw that one was a woman, he was more puzzled than ever.
He cleaned his shovel, left it against the fence, picked up his Winchester, and started downstream.

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