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THE WEDDING-GIFT

BY L. FRANK TOOKER

Author of “Under Rocking Skies,” “The Call of the Sea,” etc.

WITH PICTURES BY CHARLES J. POST

"MY

liddle hacienda iss very becoming his home in the Cape Verd Islands. It

to the Señora Pascala, nicht wahr?was the hour for sentiment. It was Schwartz who spoke. We had We murmured a heartfelt assent to seated ourselves on the wide, tile-paved Schwartz's query, and he, nodding his gallery, Schwartz, Passos, Barzilla, and head, went on: I, ostensibly to watch the gorgeous passing Lieber Gott! does she nodt make it to of the day. The upper air was still lumi- blossom like the rose ? Dere iss no more nous, and high in its white radiance a sin- the loneliness." gle vulture, like a tiny, black scroll, “But when she shall go backward seemed painted on the sky; to the east, the to Pasaquimento, shall it not be of a violet peaks of the Andes rose as insub- loneliness the more sadder ?” suggested stantial as clouds: but the clumps of Passos. greenery below the house looked almost "I t'ink dat also," acquiesced Schwartz. black, and in the hush of the twilight, as Yas, dat iss so. The hacienda shall be she moved about the lawn, the laugh of lonely; but dat picture I shall haf mit the Señora Pascala came up to us like the

me." sound of a silver bell. She wore a crimson gown, with a black mantilla over her hair, and I fancy our interest in the twilight had paled before the charming picture she made.

Somewhere on the lawn below her, screened from us by the shrubbery, were seated her daughter and Captain Miranda, and it was with them that she talked as she moved from flower to flower. Two days before we had driven out from Pasaquimento with Schwartz, and

it was vaguely understood to be our last holiday together before the marriage of Captain Miranda and the Señora Pascala, and their departure on his vessel for

"AND THEN THEY WENT ON IN FULL CRY"

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Drawn by Charles J. Post

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nora.

He moved his head toward the shad- ing that it must have been uncommonly owed lawn, where, at that moment, the scared; but Schwartz was past all levity. Señora Pascala was bending above a tall, “Dose lazy hussies in der kitchen haf white flower like a lily, her face, in the kilt dose hens not till alretty joost now,"

he explained, “und now dey ledt dem slip from der box avay. Dey are running alretty yet.”

Caramba! are they not some hen' to the hacienda ?" exclaimed the se

"Possibly those shall not be so scare'.”

“Efery one roosts in der trees,” explained Schwartz, hopelessly, “und der poys haf gone to der fiesta."

"Aha!" cried the señora, delightedly, “we shall make the hunt for those supper. Tha' 's ver' great pleasure, yas."

Spurred on by her enthusiasm, we set forth, armed with sticks, and speedily came to the region that Schwartz assured us was the roosting-place for his fowl. It was now dark, and we moved about under the trees, followed by a sort of hysterical Greek chorus from the maids, who seemed bent on convincing us that the supper had

itself broken jail: the three hens had flown dusk, like another lily out of the box just as Maria Josefa had there.

gone for a knife; and there was not a hole In upon our mel- in the box that one could put his hand

ancholy contemplation through. Drawn by Charles J. Post

— three of us had been “May St. Lawrence broil me on my own

her lovers—a series gridiron if that is not just as I say," “WITH AN UNERR. ING INSTINCT

of shrieks arose from piously declared Maria Josefa, with her FOR LOST

the rear of the house, hands under her apron. CAUSES” and into our view We heard a smothered squawk, an exul

across the side lawn tant shout from Passos, and we hurried to swept what must have been the entire meet that gentleman as he came toward us staff of the kitchen. There was a huddle out of the dusk, waving a fluttering thing. of Aying skirts bunched together, and then We clustered about him, and I lighted a they went on in full cry, disappearing in match. In the light it cast there came to the dusk amid the shrubbery that screened view a huge cock with a battered comb. the outbuildings from sight. Intermin- Maria Josefa threw her apron over her gled with the treble of feminine voices I head, laughing hysterically. fancied I caught the distracted cries of "It is Chito himself, the great-grandfrightened fowl. For a moment Schwartz father of all the flock,” she explained in stood at gaze, then, with a guttural, “ Lie- Spanish, and the señora obligingly transber Gott!" ponderously took up the chase. lated for me. “Ah, Señores, he is old

For twenty minutes we saw him no older than I, who am 'no chicken. He more, and then, as he came wearily up the would broil like a stone." slope and into the light of the open door, “It is the will of God that we kill not we saw dolor and wrath on his counte- His creatures,” piously exclaimed Carlota. nance. He paused before us.

"Is it not already proved?" "Mein frients," he said brokenly, "der Schwartz turned fiercely upon the chatsupper haf run avay!”

tering maids. There came a smothered giggle from “To the house go alretty!” he stormed. the Señora Pascala, from which I decor- "You have scared all mit der tongue.” ously tried to draw attention by remark- “I, too, shall go to help with those sup

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per," said the Señora Pascala, and hurried whispered, "each to select one. The far up the slope after the maids.

one shall be yours, the most nearer, mine. Barzilla, with the stout man's secret Try not for too much. The greedy hand ambition for agility,

for agility, had somehow sticks in the jar, you know, Señor." mounted into a tree; but, with an unerring We were successful, and with a shout instinct for lost causes, had selected a came to earth, and with the now happy thorny one. For twenty minutes the time Schwartz set out for the house. At the of the entire party was consumed in extri- door of the kitchen the smiling señora cating him, when he retired from the hunt, met us, the eager maids at her shoulders. thoroughly convinced that Carlota was no Caramba! you have succeed’!" she mean prophet.

cried, and leaned forward eagerly. Then Passos meanwhile had again come upon we saw her hands go up to her face; an his first quarry, and being convinced at unmistakable giggle escaped her. Captain last that it was indeed the aged Chito, was Miranda and I glanced down quickly, and only restrained from stamping out the life with a single impulse threw our captives of the creature by the dissuading hand and from us. We had brought in two turkey voice of Captain Miranda.

buzzards. “Do nothing in the anger, Señor," Cap- "'T is the will of God, like Carlota detain Miranda had gently chided. “Even clare'," the señora assured us, solemnly, to the old life is sweet."

though her eyes were dancing. “Yet shall It was growing darker, but coming to you have the nice supper. 'T is prepare'. a bare tree at the edge of the plantation, You all ver' hongry with so ver' hard

working, yas?"

It was indeed a good supper, and though it began in silence, grew gay at the close. Only Schwartz would not be comforted, and when he, Barzilla, and I at last withdrew to the cool gallery, he turned to us gravely, saying:

"It iss not goot for man the house to keep, no. Of dat he knows noddings. But the Señora Pascala! Himmel! dat iss a voman! Alretty haf I said I shall to Chermany return; now I go. But der liddle hacienda shall I gif to the señora. Iss it not becoming to her? Herein shall she remain mit der captain."

Hola! some wedding-gift!" murmured Barzilla.

“Dat iss it, dat iss it,” cried Schwartz -"the vedding-gift! 'T iss petter than to sell for noddings."

“But she goes to the Cape Verd, you know," I suggested, amused at the absurd

ity of a fancy that so patently ignored the Captain Miranda señora's future. and I saw dis- "When?" demanded Barzilla. "Tell tinctly outlined me that, Señor; when? Does not the seagainst the star- ñor capitan bec-ome ver' tiresome bec-ause lighted sky she manufac' so longly the delay? Does bough whereon not his ship wait, so long ready to sail ? half a dozen forms Aha! I shall make the explain: the señora huddled together. is scare' of those sea', yas. With so nice

The captain grip- wedding-gift, she shall say: 'Señor Capi“WE HAD BROUGHT

ped my arm. tan, I will remain by the nice present.

"Together we You going remain also?' Shall he not BUZZARDS" shall ascend,” he un'stand tha' 's ver' wise ? Sure-lee. A

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Drawn by Charles J. Post

IN TWO TURKEY

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