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- The Pony Rider Boys in the Rockies - 3/35 -
"That's the idea," agreed Walter.
"Now, all in favor of Mr. Chunky Brown for presiding officer of the first meeting of the Pony Rider Boys manifest it by saying 'Aye.'"
Ned and Walter voted in the affirmative.
"All opposed, say 'Nay.'"
"Nay!" voted Chunky in a loud voice.
"The Ayes have it. Mr. Stacy Chunky Brown has been duly chosen temporary chairman of the Pony Rider Boys. Mr. Chairman, will you please take the chair and call this meeting to order?" invited Ned Rector, escorting Stacy to a chair which had been placed at one end of the tent for the purpose of receiving him.
Chunky sank into the seat, gazing helplessly about him.
"Well?" urged Ned.
"Do something," laughed Walter.
"Yes, but what shall I do?"
"Call the meeting to order, of course. What do you think we elected you for? Not to sit up there and look pretty. Call it to order."
"Help!" pleaded Ned Rector, weakly. "See here, that's not the way to do it. Is this the first time you have presided at a meeting?"
Chunky, by a nod, informed them that it was.
"Humph!" grunted Ned witheringly. "Then say after me, 'I now call the meeting of the Pony Rider Boys to order. What is your pleasure, gentlemen?'"
The chairman haltingly repeated the words.
"Now, that's the way to do it," approved Ned. "I shouldn't be surprised to see you President of the United States some day. I now move, Mr. Chairman, that Tad Butler be made an honorary member of the club, as well as riding master and manager of the live stock."
"Second the motion," added Walter quickly.
The motion was carried with much enthusiasm. Then the club voted to make Chunky Brown its permanent presiding officer, and this in spite of the winner's vigorous objections. Walter was made treasurer because, as Ned expressed it, Walter's father was a bank president. Ned Rector was chosen secretary.
"I now move," proposed Ned Rector, "that this club direct its secretary to write to the uncle of its president, pointing out to him the advisability of providing a pony for said president to ride; said president being so heavy as to make walking to the meetings of this club a burden to himself and to the club members who have to wait for him."
This motion was adopted with a shout of laughter.
After having directed the secretary, at his own suggestion, to notify Tad Butler of his election, the club adjourned to meet on the following morning for field practice. In other words, the club's two ponies, with Walter Perkins and Ned Rector upon them, were to be taken out for exercise about the village and in nearby roads.
The next day being Saturday, Tad Butler found himself too busy to devote much time to brooding over his troubles. As a matter of fact, the boy was little given to this sort of thing; he was too much a man. His was a wholesome, confident nature, and the same indomitable courage and determination that had enabled him to stand next to the head of his class in the high school filled him with a resolution to possess a pony of his own. Nor did he permit the receipt of a letter that morning, informing him of his honorary election to the Pony Riders Club, to cast him down, even though, for want of a pony, he could not enter into full membership.
Instead, with flashing eyes, his clean-cut jaw set more firmly than usual, Tad went about his duties of the day cheerfully, his active mind running over this and that plan through which he might possibly gratify his longings.
Late that same afternoon, on his way driving out to deliver a package of goods to a summer residence just outside the town, he came upon Walter and Ned, returning on their ponies from a short jaunt into the country.
The two boys hailed him joyously.
Tad grinned and waved his hand.
"Hello! Aren't you going to stop to tali with a fellow?" called Ned, as the riders came abreast of the grocery horse and pulled up.
Tad shook his head.
"Oh, come on; hold up a minute."
"Can't. I'm on business, you know," answered the boy, smiling pleasantly. "I am working all day to-day for Mr. Langdon, and I mustn't stop. I have a lot of goods to deliver before night."
"Then what do you say to our riding out and back with him, Walt?" suggested Ned.
"All right. I guess we shall have plenty of time to do that and get back for supper. Tad won't stay long. He's in too big a hurry," answered the banker's son, bringing his pony about, and galloping up beside the wagon, which had continued on its way during the conversation.
This gave Tad an opportunity to gaze admiringly at the sleek ponies on which the boys were mounted, as well as at the nickel trimmings of bridles and saddles, which glistened brightly in the sunlight.
"Wish you had him, don't you?" laughed Ned, noting Tad's gaze fixed on his own well-groomed mount.
To Ned's surprise, Tad shook his head negatively.
"Mean to tell me you don't want a pony like this?"
"I didn't say so, Ned. No, I wouldn't say that, because it isn't true. You asked me if I didn't wish I had him. Of course, I want a pony more than anything else in the world. But I want my own, not yours. That is different, you see. Much as I want one, I don't covet either yours or Walt's."
"Well, you are a funny fellow. I never did understand you," marveled Ned. "But, I guess he's about right, eh, Walter? Don't you think so!"
"Yes. And I have been thinking, since our meeting yesterday, that perhaps it might be fixed. I wasn't going to say anything about it," answered Walter, meditatively.
"Thinking about what?" demanded Ned.
"About Tad's not having a horse, and no way to get one. I tell you, it's mighty tough----"
"Well, he is a member of the club, and as fellow members of the Pony Riders, we are bound to stand by one another."
"That's right," agreed Ned. "That's what we're going to do, too. But what are you getting at, Walt?"
Tad's blue eyes were fixed inquiringly on Walter's face. He, too, was at a loss to understand what it was that his delicate young friend was planning. Still, he would not ask, knowing full well that it was of him they were thinking.
"Simply this. Tad has got to have a pony."
Ned uttered a long-drawn whistle, while the boy on the grocery wagon suddenly straightened up.
"I agree with you there, Walt," Ned remarked. "Yet, how is he going to get one? That's what I should like to know--and it's a question that the Pony Riders will have a hard time in answering. Now, it is different with Chunky. Chunky's uncle has money. He can well afford to buy his nephew a pony. When I went to ask him to-day he said he would see about it. That means Chunky will have one."
"Why do you think that?"
"Because my father is a lawyer, and he says when a fellow doesn't know his own mind, you can make him agree to 'most any old thing," answered Ned with a laugh.
By this time they had reached their destination. Though keenly interested in the conversation of his companions Tad leaped to the ground, tying his horse without an instant's delay, and proceeded to the house to deliver his merchandise.
The boys watched him disappear around the corner of the house before resuming their conversation.
"I'll tell you, now," began Walter. "I didn't want to explain before him. Tad is the best rider in town, you know, Ned----"
"Next to me," added Ned humorously.
"Yes, next ahead. And he is the second best scholar in the high school. Nothing could stop him from heading the class if he had the time to devote to his studies, so Professor Zepplin tells me. I like him, Ned----"
"Since he fished you out of the mill pond, when you fell through the ice there last winter, eh!"
"Yes, partly. But, I liked him just as well before that. Do you know," continued Walter after a moment of silence, "I never told my father that Tad did that for me?"
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