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Text on one page: Few Medium Many
Richards,
the foreman's wife, a hearty, talkative woman, plied her with milk and
cookies.

"It must be heaven to live here and feed the chickens and cows," the
young girl said one day when Arthur was passing by--quite accidentally.

Mrs. Richards took a seat, wiping her face on her apron.

"Wal, I don't know about that, when it comes to waiting and tendin' on a
mess of 'em; it don't edgicate a feller much. Does it, Art?"

"We don't do it for play, exactly," he replied, taking a seat on the
porch steps and smiling up at Edith. "I can't stand cows; I like horses,
though. Of course, if I were foreman of the dairy, that would be another
thing."

The flowerlike girl looked down at him with a strange glance. Something
rose in her heart which sobered her. She studied the clear brown of his
face and the white of his forehead, where his hat shielded it from the
sun and the wind. The spread of his strong neck, where it rose from his
shoulders, and the clutch of his brown hands attracted her.

"How strong you look!" she said musingly.

He laughed up at her in frank delight.

"Well, I'm not out here for my health exactly, although when I came here
I was pretty tender. I was just out of college, in fact," he said, glad
of the chance to let her know that he was not an ignorant workingman.

She looked surprised and pleased.

"Oh, you're a college man! I have two brothers at Yale. One of them
plays half-back or short-stop, or something. Of course you played?"

"Baseball? Yes, I was pitcher for '88." He heaved a sigh. He could not
think of those blessed days without sorrow.

"Oh, I didn't mean baseball. I meant football."

"We don't play that much in the West. We go in more for baseball. More
science."

"Oh, I like football best, it's so lively. I like to see them when they
get all bunched up, they look so funny, and then when some fellow gets
the ball under his arms and goes shooting around, with the rest all
jumping at him. Oh, oh, it's exciting!"

She smiled, and her teeth shone from her scarlet lips with a more
familiar expression than he had seen on her face before. Some wall of
reserve had melted away, and they chatted on with growing freedom.

"Well, Edith, are you ready?" asked the Major, coming up.

Arthur sprang up as if he suddenly remembered that he was a workingman.

Edith rose also.

"Yes, all ready, uncle."

"Well, we'll be going in a minute.--Mr. Ramsey, do you think that millet
has got water enough?"

"For the present, yes. The ground is not so dry as it looks."

As they talked on about the farm, Mrs. Richards brought out a glass of
milk for the Major.

Arthur, with nice calculation, unhitched the horse and brought it around
while the Major was detained.

"May I help you in, Miss Newell?"

She gave him her hand with a frank gesture, and the Major reached the
cart just as she was taking the lines from Arthur.

"Are you coming?" she gayly cried. "If not, I'll drive home by myself."

"You mean you'll hold the lines."

"No, sir. I can drive if I have a chance."

"That's what the American girl is saying these days. She wants to hold
the lines."

"Well, I'm going to begin right now and drive all the way home."

As they drove off she flashed a roguish glance back at Arthur--a smile
which shadowed swiftly into a look which had a certain appeal in it. He
was very handsome in his working dress.

All the rest of the day that look was with him. He could not understand
it, though her mood while seated upon the porch was perfectly
comprehensible to him.

The following Sunday morning he saddled up one of the horses and went
down to church. He reasoned Edith would attend the Episcopal service,
and he had the pleasure of seeing her pass up the aisle most exquisitely
dressed.

This feeling of pleasure was turned to sadness by sober second thought.
Added to the prostration before his ideal was the feeling that she
belonged to another world--a world of pleasure and wealth, a world
without work or worry. This feeling was strengthened by the atmosphere
of the beautiful little church, fragrant with flowers, delicately
shadowed, tremulous with music.

He rode home in deep meditation. It was curious how subjective he was
becoming. She had not seen him there, and his trip lacked so much of
being a success. Life seemed hardly worth living as he took off his best
suit and went out to feed the horses.

The men soon observed the regularity of these Sunday excursions, and the
word was passed around that Arthur went down to see his girl, and they
set themselves to find out who she was. They did not suspect that he
sought the Major's niece.

It was a keen delight to see her, even at that distance. To get one look
from her, or to see her eyelashes fall over her brown eyes, paid him for
all his trouble, and yet it left him hungrier at heart than before.

Sometimes he got seated in such wise that he could see the fine line of
her cheek and chin. He noticed also her growing color. The free life she
lived in the face of the mountain winds was doing her good.

Sometimes he went at night to the song service, and his rides home alone
on the plain, with the shadowy mountains over there massed in the
starlit sky, were most wonderful experiences.

As he rose and fell on his broncho's steady gallop, he took off his hat
to let the wind stir his hair. Riding thus, exalted thus, one night he
shaped a desperate resolution. He determined to call on her just as he
used to visit the girls at Viroqua with whom he was on the same intimacy
of footing.

He was as good as any class. He was not as good as she was, for he
lacked her sweetness and purity of heart, but merely the fact that she
lived in a great house and wore beautiful garments, did not exclude him
from calling upon her.


IV.

But week after week went by without his daring to make his resolution
good. He determined many times to ask permission to call, but somehow he
never did.

He seemed to see her rather less than at first; and, on her part, there
was a change. She seemed to have lost her first eager and frank
curiosity about him, and did not always smile now when she met him.

Then, again, he could not in working dress ask to call; it would seem so
incongruous to stand before her to make such a request covered with
perspiration and dust. It was hard to be dignified under such
circumstances; he must be washed and dressed properly.

In the meantime, the men had discovered how matters stood, and some of
them made very free with the whole situation. Two of them especially
hated him.

These two men had drifted to the farm from the mines somewhere, and were
rough, hard characters. They would have come to blows with him, only
they knew something of the power lying coiled in his long arms.

One day he overheard one of the men speaking of Edith, and his tone
stopped the blood in Arthur's heart. When he walked among the group of
men his face was white and set.

"You take that back!" he said in a low voice. "You take that back, or
I'll kill you right where you stand!"

"Do him up, Tim!" shouted the other ruffian; but Tim hesitated. "I'll do
him, then," said the other man. "I owe him one myself."

He caught up a strip of board which was lying on the ground near, but
one of the Norwegian workmen put his foot on it, and before he could
command his weapon, Arthur brought a pail which he held in his right
hand down upon his opponent's head.

The man fell as if dead, and the pail shattered into its original
staves. Arthur turned then to face Tim, his hands doubled into mauls;
but the other men interfered, and the encounter was over.

Arthur waited to see if the fallen man could rise, and then turned away
reeling and breathless. For an hour afterward his hands shook so badly
that he could not go on with his work.

At first he determined to go to Richards, the foreman, and demand the
discharge of the two tramps, but as he thought of the explanation
necessary, he gave it up as impossible.

He almost wept with shame and despair at the thought of her name having
been mixed in the tumult. He had meant to kill when he struck, and the
nervous prostration which followed showed him how far he had gone. He
had not had a fight since he was thirteen years of age, and now
everything seemed lost in the light of his murderous rage. It would all
come out sooner or later, and she would despise him.

He went to see the man just before going to supper, and found him in his
barracks, sitting near a pail of cold water from which he was splashing
his head at intervals.

He looked up as Arthur entered, but went on with his ministrations;
after a pause he said:

"That was a terrible lick you give me, young feller--brought the blood
out of my ears."

"I meant to kill you," was Arthur's grim reply.

"I know you did. If that darned Norse hadn't put his foot on that board
_you'd_ be doing this." He lifted a handful of water to his swollen and
aching head.

"What did you go to that board for? Why didn't you stand up like a man?"

"Because you were swinging that bucket."

"Oh, bosh! You were a coward as well as a blackguard."

The man looked up with a gleam in his eye.

"See here, young feller--if this head----"

Arthur's face darkened, and the man stopped short.

"Now listen, Dan Williams, I want to tell you something. I'm not going
to report this. I'm going to let you stay here till you're well, and
then I want this thing settled with Richards looking on; when I get
through with you, then, you'll want a cot in some hospital."

The man's eyes sullenly fell, and Arthur turned toward the door. At the
doorway he turned and a terrible look came into his face.

"And, more than that, if you say another word about--her, I'll brain
you, sick or well!"

As he talked, the old, wild fury returned, and he came back and faced
the wounded man.

"Now, what do you propose to do?" he demanded, his hands clinching.

The other man looked at him, with a curious frown upon his face.

"Think I'm a damned fool!" he curtly answered, and sopped his
handkerchief in the water again.

The rage went out of Arthur's eyes, and he almost smiled, so much did
that familiar phrase convey, with its subtle inflections.



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