ened out, and suddenly we saw buried amidst the trees on the farther side of one of our fordings the substantially built, coseylooking house called by my brother the Elkhorn Ranch.
In a letter written to my aunt, Mrs. Gracie, from the ranchhouse I say:
"We are having the most delightful time at the Ranch.
The little house is most cosey and comfortable, and Mrs. Mer
rifield had everything so neat and sweet for us, and as she has
a girl to help her, we really do not have to rough it at all.
We all make our beds and do up our rooms religiously, but even
that they would willingly do for us if we would let them. We
have had three cloudless days, the first of which was occupied
in driving the forty miles down here, and a beautiful pictur
esque drive it is, winding in and out through these strange,
bold Buttes, crossing the `Little Missouri' twenty-three times!
We ladies drove, but the men all rode, and very picturesque
they looked filing across the river. We arrived at the Ranch
house at twelve o'clock and ate a splendid dinner of Mrs. Merrifield's preparing, immediately after which we climbed up a Butte and walked to Prairie Dog town and saw the little prairie dogs. We then mounted horses and took a lovely ride, so you may imagine that we slept well.
"The next day we were all on horseback soon after breakfast, Ferris and Merrifield with us, and off we rode; this time with the intention of seeing Merrifield lasso a steer. When we came to a great bunch of cattle, the practised eyes of the two men at once discovered an unbranded heifer, which they immediately decided to lasso and brand. It was very exciting. Merrifield threw the rope, cleverly catching its legs, and then threw the heifer, which was almost the size of a cow, and then Ferris tied another rope around its neck. The ends of the ropes were slipped over the pommels of two ponies who, in the most sensible way, held the heifer while the two men built a little fire and heated the cinch ring with which they branded the creature. It was all intensely picturesque. In the afternoon, we again