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bore a detestable imprint; and Miss railroad interrogation point on a vast Eastlake was convinced that her lover range of solitude. If she had but recogheld ridiculously obsolete notions about nized it, there was a tranquil beauty in equal suffrage. She even had the tem- the great, evergreen grove, which wore erity to tell him that his ideas ought to the seductive livery of spring through all be relegated to the mists of antiquity,- the varying seasons, and a silent majesty whereupon the usual unreconcilable in the distant mountain ranges that rose quarrel ensued, and each went a sepa- and fell like the chopping waves of a , rate way:
giant sea; but Miss Eastlake had no Since that isolated chapter in romance eye for scenery that was not trivial her life had been the steady grind of a enough to be laid out by a landscape bachelor-girl, who instead of “uselessly, gardener, so after making the practical aimlessly drifting through life,” idly observation that the ground was conwaiting to be somebody's wife, bestirs veniently level to form city lots for the herself to make a respectable livelihood. embryo town, - which she suspected of People had come to regard her as a capa- having few saintly characteristics beble, self-supporting creature, with a ripe yond its name, she cast a scrutinizing scholarship and a strong personality, glance towards a knot of men in front of which engenders the assumption that in- the telegraph office, who were to be her dependence was the keynote to her char- companions during the lonesome drive acter, and that she was chiefly solicitous over the mountain. for the dignity and emoluments of power. It would be difficult to find a more diSecretly, however, she had a weakness verse lot in such a limited number of for love, matrimony, and a companion, people. There was a Mexican monk clad who would regard her as an equal, in- in somber gown, austerely confined at stead of a slave; and she told herself a the waist by a knotted rope ; a Chinalittle wistfully :
man in long quilted silk sack, and baggy “If men had not made such persever- white trousers ; an English tourist with ing efforts to prove marriage a failure, a jaunty smile, and a dress-suit case ; a women would not have found it incum- German, contentedly smoking a long bent to seek a sphere outside of home.” brier-wood pipe; a sombrero-crowned
Maud was honestly tired of her home- Spaniard in doublet and serape ; and less life. Existence in hotels and board- half a dozen men, who were presumably ing-houses never fills the want inherent Americans, as they pored over pieces of in every truly womanly nature; and her yellow paper, - which are currently supretrospective revery had a slightly de- posed to be meaningless to the feminine pressing effect ere she reached Santa intellect; but they would not have been Margarita.
meaningless to Miss Eastlake, who felt Here the Southern Pacific shunted its hungry for the news they were so eagerly passengers off on to a stage line; and discussing. while Miss Eastlake stood on the terminal “ If I were not a woman I might join platform, waiting for the luggage to be them with impunity, and possess myself transferred from the cars to the coach, of the important information without her eyes roved restlessly round, from the causing remarks. Our sex is still a long gay colored equipage with its triple team ways from enjoying every male advanof horses, to the little hamlet, which tage,” she mused with a sense of dislooked like scarcely more than a tiny content.
The thought brought a sigh to her lips, march of the inexorable engraver. “He but she stifled it heroically, and relieved is just as small and homely as ever, and her feelings by adding a touch of irony his complexion has grown darker ; but to her mental soliloquy,
his eyes express a more alert intelligence, “Men do not have to conform to an and time has added keener and finer lines arbitrary social code, for they have no- to his countenance." thing to preserve - neither virtue nor Every woman cherishes a desire to apcaste.''
pear at her best in the presence of the By this time the stage was ready for lover with whom she has quarreled, in occupancy, and she was assisted to a order that he may not have cause to conseat by a short, inconspicuous man,
gratulate himself on a fortunate escape; whose size and build served to remind therefore Miss Eastlake exerted herself her of somebody or something in the dim to be agreeable. She was no mean conpast. As she turned to thank him their versationalist; but her effort was far eyes met, and a disconcerting recognition from a marked success, since Mr. Greytook place. Miss Eastlake was, how- burn deemed it incumbent to evince a ever, too absolutely self-possessed to moderate indifference for her society. show her embarrassment, and extending Therefore he made a child on the oppothe tips of a perfect fitting glove, she site seat the object of playful attentions. said with assumed cordiality,
The infant was accompanied by a glor“I am very glad to see you, Mr. Grey- ious-eyed, girlish-looking woman robed burn."
in widow's weeds, and Miss Eastlake The gentleman responded by grasping suspected that the soft glances of the the proffered hand, and after a conven- young mother accounted for the singutional greeting he took the seat beside lar interest which Mr. Greyburn maniher; but it was more from an imperative fested in the child. sense of politeness than from choice, and Maud did not really care, for she was though both chatted with apparent as certain as a woman can be in such friendliness, each secretly regretted the matters, that she had a pronounced disrencounter.
like to Mr. Greyburn; but she was “ By the Native Bear! I'm booked for annoyed at having her best turned a twelve mile drive with the woman of phrases interrupted and rendered aborall others whom I would prefer not to tive by the absurd “peek-a-boo ” of a meet,” mused the man, as he gave a tiny morsel of humanity. So she revicious twist to his mustache, and cap- venged heself by giving the little one tiously studied the changes which a lapse some chocolates, and had the satisfaction of years had made in his unexpected of seeing both Mr. Greyburn and the companion.
pretty widow thoroughly uncomfortabie “She used to be more sylph-like, and in consequence. there are evidences that the charms of After this diabolical lady ism Miss Eastyouth are waning," was his mental com- lake cast her eyes towards the landscape, ment, to which he presently added, and pretended to be so deeply engaged “But her figure is more superbly devel- in looking at the view, as pot to hear Mr. oped, and her conversation and manner Greyburn's next remark until he had rehave the winning graces of cultivation.” peated it twice.
Meanwhile Miss Eastlake's clear eyes “ This road is violently romantic," he were also detecting indications of the said.
“Oh, I beg your pardon. Do you
Do you zily down the Cuesta grade. The great allude to the scenery, or to incident?” bulk of vehicle made a lullaby motion as she asked, turning an impassive face it moved to and fro on its noiseless towards him.
straps, and yielding to the soporiferous “To occasional encounter."
influence, the child dropped off to sleep. Miss Eastlake would not gratify him by
Miss Eastlake observed Mr. Greyburn asking for an explanation, so she merely wrap a traveling rug tenderly about the fingered a diamond solitaire thoughtfully, tiny form, and some reminiscent spirit and let her glance wander back to the insinuated,region through which they were being “He might be showering caressing atwhirled at a breakneck pace.
tentions upon you, if you had n't quesIt was a scene made up of mountains tioned his Garden-of-Eden birthright to and chasms; for the road had already government." left the level mesa, with its friendly can- Miss Eastlake would have been more opy of oaks, and had begun to manifest or less than a woman if she had not felt a vagrant, lonesome disposition. It a sigh forming in the recesses of her wound back and forth, like a thread of heart, as she ruminated on the “ might tangled brown silk, as if bent upon gets have been.” But the modern maiden is ting lost in the maze of gigantic hills, nothing if not sensible, so she stifled the which it coiled in its zigzag loops. The weakness with the admonition :vagabond disposition of the highway, as “Don't be an idiot,- sentimentalism well as its isolated friendlessness, became is out of date, and no man ever retains more and more apparent as it continued an adoration for the angelic creature who its reckless way, along tortuous shelves consents to marry him. The moment that hovered alarmingly near the verge of he succeeds in pinioning the wings of annihilation. The huge stage swayed his angel, she forfeits her heavenly uneasily as it was swung sharply around attributes, and becomes of the earth, these curves by a cavalcade of dashing earthy." steeds that had periods of appearing to This sage reflection enabled Miss Eastprecipitate themselves into space.
lake to bestow a compassionate glance on The passengers chatted in heedless her rival. unconcern; and the unseen agency on “ Poor thing! Perhaps she may feel the box, whistled the Washington constrained to marry again for the sake Post” as cheerily as if guiding six of support. Every woman ought to be a spirited horses around the edge of sev- bread-winner,- it makes her feel so eral hundred feet of sheer descent were much more self-respecting. I wonder not a hazardous undertaking.
why men prefer to have her remain a As if to render the situation still more sort of legitimate beggar? I should dubious, the sun took an early opportun- think ity to hide behind a projecting cliff ; and “What makes you so quiet?” asked the short November day closed up with Mr. Greyburn, breaking in upon her a sudden snap, leaving them to find
revery their way darkly out of the mountain
“I should not have suspected you of labyrinth.
remarking it," returned Miss Eastlake It was during this uncertain epoch in dryly. travel that the stage climbed over the “Why? Because I am such a dull highest summit, and began spinning diz- companion?"
“On the contrary, because you are
interest, and from an animated discussion such an entertaining one," was the of the issues of the day, with witticisms pointed response.
on the climate and each other, had Mr. Greyburn winced, though he made drifted, as it inevitably was sure to do, a feint of being jocose :
towards the new railroad that San Luis “I have n't a quarter about me; but was travailing in soul to complete. And if you don't mind accepting a cigar, I at the identical moment that Miss East. shall be glad to treat.”
lake's eyes roved involuntarily round, “Thanks, I will on condition that you the English tourist was saying, smoke it for me. 1 dare not aspire to “ The march of improvement is iconothe pleasures which your sex have pre clastic, and when a locomotive wakes empted," she said with a deprecatory the echoes of these wilds, this highway wave of the hand.
will lose its flavor of adventurous ro“I thought the cow-kind of woman mance, and become only a prosaic part was out of date?” he responded satir of civilization." ically.
Stranger, I reckon the utilitarian “ To a certain extent, yes ; but with spirit of the age demands comfort and the lords of creation she will always re convenience more than sentiment,” was main the only popular ideal of female the response of a shrewd-eyed Califorloveliness."
nian, whose long pointed beard gave an "1 beg leave to differ with you,” be added length and slenderness to his visgan Mr. Greyburn; and then made a
age. reflective pause, which lasted so long "That remark, I strongly suspect, that Miss Eastlake thought he had fin bears on the question we were discussished, and was herself on the point of ing," continued Ralph Greyburn in an speaking again, when he added :
aside. “ The new woman was, at first, “Although men in general have not a little above the range of man's comquite reconciled themselves to the wiser prehension, and the violent upheaval of and more helpful woman, who has taken all tradition shocked him. He felt neither the place of the clinging vine, the most sympathy nor admiration for the mannish sagacious of them are beginning to have imitation that threatened to banish re. a dim perception that the new creature finement and delicacy; but common sense may prove an improvement on the old, is coming to the rescue of both sexes, and one likely to lead to beneficial do and an advanced man, as well as an admestic results.”
vanced woman is being evolved from ex: To say that Miss Eastlake was dum- perience that will — founded but faintly expresses the condi Suddenly Mr. Greyburn stopped short, tion of her mind. She could not reconcile and turned a listening ear towards the this broad-minded view of the case with roadside, though nothing more rethe narrow notions Ralph Greyburn had markable was heard than an incisive, cherished less than five years ago ; and “Whoa!” fairly gasping with delight, she gave a It had hardly cut the air, however, ere startled glance around the coach, much the melody on the driver's lips broke off as if she expected that every male pres so abruptly that one might have inferred ent would denounce him as a traitor.
that the “Washington Post” had stuck General conversation had moved in the ground; and if anything were through the usual channels of masculine needed to bear out this theory, it could