Puslapio vaizdai
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been too rare in his life to be undervalued; and of course the particular girl made a difference. Dolly was unique: a surprise every day, in that she could be both so childish beyond belief, and so deliciously womanly as almost to bring the tears to his eyes. Most of all he prized his evenings-for then she was all woman on the wan sands where the river's "curmurring" forced them to be silent, or up among the pierced shadows of the poplars, or up again in the solemn, clear light that brooded on the bluffs.

In keeping a brotherly watch over Alan's evenings Philip had lost many an evening of his own; but now and then the sacrifice was richly rewarded. He and Alan began those rides together which the boy had once coveted; miles of twilight country they covered, silent for the most part, Philip, in spirit, with Dolly by his side. He had never yet had the chance to ride with her, and so he was always scheming and dreaming about it. One evening she drove down with her father, and the cañon family dined all together in town. Mr. Norrisson was absent, and Philip did the honors with fastidious recklessness. He had spent the better part of the day elaborating his preparations; he had arranged the flowers in his mother's dressing-room, hers in name, though she had never entered it, heaping roses upon roses wherever roses would go, and choosing with difficult fancy the most beauteous ones for Dolly's bouquet. He knew how she would come, in her little home-made habit, and he exulted in thinking of her dear simplicity in contrast to the stupid braveries of that money-built house. He was at pains to make the contrast as great as possible, that he might gloat upon her difference, which she neither understood nor knew to value.

She had been a full hour in the house, and Philip was wondering what should keep her so unconscionably long up-stairs. Now Dolly had never been in such a splendid room in her life before, so intricately arranged for the gratification of the exterior life of woman, the adornment of her person, and her study of that person when adorned. Never had she seen herself so plenteously, repeatedly reflected in mirrors, long, and wide, and multiple. She was standing in front of one of these, stepping back and forth, smiling in a curious, surprised intimacy with her own full-length figure, when Philip knocked at the door, begging her to make a little haste. "Has papa come?"

"Not yet; but may n't I speak to you? I want to ask you" Dolly opened the door: her cheeks were scarlet, her eyes brilliant yet shy"I want to ask what you think of this room. It was done by a famous decorator who has never seen his work; nor has my mother, for whom it was intended."

"What would my opinion be worth? I have never seen anything but our poor rooms. I am thinking how strange that we should be here! You will never know how strange, that I should be here."

"In the palace of the Beast?" Their eyes, meeting, took away the scoff from the words. "I know more than you think; more perhaps than you know yourself."

"Well, it does n't matter," said Dolly, absently. "We are the changelings of the scheme. What you have I might have had, perhaps; but I never cared-until now. Now I care, sometimes."

"For what do you care?"

Dolly frowned in her way when she was disposed to be very practical.

"Do you know, I think to-day will be a good time for you to put me through my dinner paces."

"What in the world do you mean?" "I don't think you realize quite how provincial I am-what a perfect desert-islander. I have never dined in a fine house in my life, and dinner fashions are always changing; our cañon ways must be far behind. To-day we shall be by ourselves, and I shall not mind your correcting me if I make mistakes. But, perhaps," she hesitated, " of course it will not be a swell dinner for only us."

"Such as you will find it, the house can do no more," Philip assured her, gravely. "The table is in full regalia; Enrique has been commanded to sacrifice to his gods; Wong has every stitch of canvas set; he rustles like a Channel breeze; myself you see in riding-dress, but only to match yourself."

"How nice of you!" cried Dolly. "Then we can have a regular rehearsal - wanting the clothes; but the clothes will not matter. Mind, now, that you watch me!"

"Dolly, you are growing terribly ambitious. You are thinking of that Englishman, confound him! You are preparing to meet the duchess and the masher."

"No," said Dolly, sincerely, with a shade of trouble in her voice; "I am only comparing myself, that ought to be a lady, with ladies who belong in a room like this. If you will believe me, I don't even know what half of these things are for!"

"If by those ladies' you mean my mother," said Philip, forced to be serious though he wanted to catch her in his arms and call her a precious little goose," I can tell you that when she was your age she had no such room as this, which, by the way, she disdains; she was breaking colts, like a young Diana, on the range; and if she had a four-bit hand-glass to do her back hair in, it was as much as she had. And she

was happy then — and, I am told, made others and they talk of nightingales heart-stifled in happy." their dells!"

"But of course she must have wanted all these things, by instinct, before she ever knew what they were."

"Are you afraid you have n't the instincts of a lady? Pity you are such a little savage! My mother wanted, always has wanted, the thing beyond. So do I. Would you like a room like this, Dolly?"

"I certainly should like a few of those acres of wardrobes. I spend my life trying to find places to put things. And I confess there is a fascination in a long mirror."

"I should think there might be― for some persons."

"It is n't altogether vanity. You can't think how awkward it is never to have seen how one's skirts hang. Not that there would be much pleasure in it, for mine hang very badly."

"When you are not in them."

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Why do you say those things? It is n't like you, and I don't enjoy it."

"You must get used to it if you are going to be a society girl."

"There you are unjust. Why should I not wish to know all the ways? You may think I shall never have need of any but my own; but I was not born in a cañon."

“Dolly, my — well, it is useless. Words are useless. You could never understand - I mean, there is but one way to make you. Will you take my arm?"

"Why should I?”

"Because it is supposed to be the thing to

do."

"Oh," said Dolly, meekly, and took it. She was visibly wrought upon by her surroundings in a way that might have amused Philip more, but that the world of things had had such serious meanings for his mother, who was a priestess of bric-a-brac, and studied her surroundings as if the art of life, like that of the stage, largely consisted in how one is costumed and in what chair one shall sit—and he grudged this cult its possible importance in the girl's fresh fate. "There is another thing," she agitated dreamily, as they passed down the wide, thick-carpeted stairs. They had halted on the landing to get the effect of the hall below, and the light of a colored window threw flaming gules and amber and tints of serpent-green on her pale golden hair and dark-clad shoulders.

"What is this other thing? Something wicked and worldly, of course."

"No; only just human. Dancing is the right of every girl that lives and moves, and I can never dance because there is no way to learn. And what shall I do if ever I go where dancing is? My heart would break with the music! Surely it's as bad to be foot-tied as tongue-tied;

"This is very serious," said Philip. "I perfectly agree with you; dancing is more a girl's right than silver-backed brushes and acres of wardrobe. But what's to be done about it?" "Do you know how to dance ?" "I was supposed to once."

"Ah, then could you teach me - I mean, would you?"

"Would I? well, I think I would with some persuasion—' con mil amores," he murmured under his breath, pressing the arm that lay in his against his side.

Dolly pushed herself away from him angrily: "I should like to know what excuse you had to answer me like that."

"You asked if I would teach you-" "And you might have said yes or no, as a gentleman would." "Well?"

"But you answer offensively, in words you could n't say in English.”

"Could n't I! Would you like to hear how they sound in English? I told you the simple truth. Would I teach you to dance, you asked me, and I said I would with a thousand loves —and I will, with a thousand thousand! To dance or to anything else I know and it befits you to know."

"Befits! I have no words- I declare I cannot tell you how I hate the way you treat me! Your insufferable patronage, your air of being always so superior-and then your stupid school-boy freedoms! If I am serious, you make fun of me; if I play, you take advantage. I wish you would do either the one thing or the other."

"Yes," breathed Philip. "Only tell me which."

"Either leave me alone entirely, or treat me treat me like a woman—a person of sense." Dolly sat down in a dolorous heap on the landing-step, and buried her face in her handkerchief; her shoulders shook as if she were crying.

"I will, Dolly." He took the place on the step beside her. "How shall I treat this person of sense?"

"You spoil everything. You are making fun of me now," Dolly sobbed, and by the same impulse began to laugh immoderately.

Philip waited till she became quieter. “If I am to treat you like a woman, dear, I shall have to spoil things more- very much indeed. And things might be a good deal worse between us-worse for me. That is why I have waited."

Dolly, with her face still hidden, shook her head impatiently.

"To be plain with you is one way," he continued. "The other is simply impossible. It's no

use pretending I could live in the same house with you and leave you alone entirely; I'm not 'superior' enough for that. Shall we be serious, then? I know I often hit the wrong note trying to make sounds that mean nothing, because I have to avoid the one note that would go to my soul. Would it spoil things very much if you knew that I love you, dear?"

Dolly would not look up. He could see only a bit of her neck, above the collar, and the curve of one little crimson ear.

"I shall ask for nothing. But please get used to the fact. Come, take my hand! It need not worry you or make any difference; only remember, and forgive me when I blunder. And let us talk and laugh and quarrel as we did before. Why do you hide your face? Am I never to look at you again?"

"Not at dinner," Dolly specified.

66

"Not at dinner, then: but shall we not ride?" Oh, yes," she sighed in a tone of relief. "I wish we were on horseback now."

It was Saturday night, and they rode to the cañon, the three young ones together, Dunsmuir taking the team home alone. Alan rode ahead, and sometimes he sang in his loud, expressionless tenor; and Philip noted that he had a new song, a very tender one-"Aforrado de mi vida." It suited Philip exquisitely; it voiced his aching dream. "Lining of my life"; "slender bit lassie"; soul of the mystic soul of beauty, dear little human comrade without whom the lights and shadows of the world were nothing; foretold to her lover by every hope, withheld by every fear!

She rode with her face to the west; her pale face, her hands, her hair, were as luminous as flowers at evening in a dusk border. Over the west, from horizon to zenith, spread a marvelous copper-pink glow, a light without a shadow, while all the land beneath was dark. Low in that sublimated west Venus shone forth at her setting, the one star in the heavens, though crowds awaited the lifting of twilight's colored curtain. The radiance deepened; it changed to a lurid brassy hue. The sage-green hills turned livid; the aspens shivered and paled against the cold, purple east. The night-wind, creeping down the gulches, breathed its first long sough. They checked their horses, and signed to one another to look at the hills. Slowly the strange refulgence was withdrawn; diffusing, to concentrate later on a lower key, to pause and softly brighten to the tender verge of starlight; and then the wind would blow, and no heart not strong in happiness could bear that senseless riot and rapture, prolonged throughout the night, under wild reaches of midnight sky, under the white stride of the Milky Way; with soundings of the river's stops; with whisperings amidst the poplars' dusky files-cowled shapes VOL. XLIV.—70.

against the dark, closing and parting, with rifts of stars between. As their horses jostled down the sidling trails, often his knee was against her saddle-girth; and once he took her hand, silently, without question, and she let it stay, while she made hurried little speeches about the view, which he did not attempt to answer. His heart was full; he took deep breaths of resolution to be patient,-perhaps even generous,- since, until the work was done, all the cañon days, and most of the evenings, were his in which to win one little girl who had seen no one else (Dolly's chances were not so many that he need have hurried her). But never would he allow her to pass the cañon's bounds without her promise. How would the story of the Sleeping Beauty have ended had the Prince waited to tell his love until the Princess had awakened to more than just himself and the dull old palace of her dreams? If all the world loves a lover, all the world knows that he is selfish.

XIV.

MARGARET felt herself superseded in these days, and thought that the pressure of waiting was nothing to the estrangements of success. Dolly was sweet, sometimes over-sweet, in speech and manner; but she was absent in mind, variable in spirits, inconstant about her work, and less and less with Margaret, as time went on, and more and more with Philip. Matters went often "agley " in the housekeeping. The marketing, which had been Job's business in town, on Wednesdays and Saturdays, was now the business of no one in particular, where everybody was so driven by the work. Mistakes were made, and there were loose expenditures that harrowed Margaret's soul. There was a constant bustle of coming and going, and company not expected, and meals out of season. After the petty routine of years, Margaret had lost the knack of doing things quickly. And Dunsmuir was one who hated explanations. He never listened to them, never gave them if he could help it. Thus he misunderstood many little domestic situations, which he settled offhand, peremptorily and sometimes unjustly, sooner than talk things over, as the women loved to do. But Margaret could no longer count upon Dolly. It goes hard with one lone woman when the child of her arms who once understood understands no longer, or has ceased, perhaps, to care. Once Margaret had had her douce little man every night to comfort her with his wise silence and moderate judgment, but now she saw him only Sundays, in a constrained, unhomelike way; she would not take this time to complain of things too trivial to be saved up; yet they made the sum of a strain which was beginning to tell upon her temper and health and spirits.

was happy then — and, I am told, made others and they talk of nightingales heart happy.'

"But of course she must have wanted all these things, by instinct, before she ever knew what they were."

"Are you afraid you have n't the instincts of a lady? Pity you are such a little savage! My mother wanted, always has wanted, the thing beyond. So do I. Would you like a room like this, Dolly?"

"I certainly should like a few of those acres of wardrobes. I spend my life trying to find places to put things. And I confess there is a fascination in a long mirror."

"I should think there might be- for some persons."

"It is n't altogether vanity. You can't think how awkward it is never to have seen how one's skirts hang. Not that there would be much pleasure in it, for mine hang very badly."

"When you are not in them."

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Why do you say those things? It is n't like you, and I don't enjoy it."

"You must get used to it if you are going to be a society girl."

"There you are unjust. Why should I not wish to know all the ways? You may think I shall never have need of any but my own; but I was not born in a cañon."

"Dolly, my—well, it is useless. Words are useless. You could never understand — I mean, there is but one way to make you. Will you take my arm?"

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