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other Indian, for there was nothing in his dress to distinguish

source:work and rest networkedit:governmenttime:2023-12-02 06:17:53

A steel wasp? Again that misleading description of Mrs. Weguelin St. Michael's, to which, since my early days in Kings Port, my imagination may be said to have been harnessed, came back into my mind. I turned its injustice over and over beneath the light which the total Hortense now shed upon it--or rather, not the total Hortense, but my whole impression of her, as far as I had got; I got a good deal further before we had finished. To the slow, soft accompaniment of these gliding river shores, where all the shadows had changed since morning, so that new loveliness stood revealed at every turn, my thoughts dwelt upon this perfected specimen of the latest American moment--so late that she contained nothing of the past, and a great deal of to-morrow. I basked myself in the memory of her achieved beauty, her achieved dress, her achieved insolence, her luxurious complexity. She was even later than those quite late athletic girls, the Amazons of the links, whose big, hard football faces stare at one from public windows and from public punts, whose giant, manly strides take them over leagues of country and square miles of dance-floor, and whose bursting, blatant, immodest health glares upon sea-beaches and round supper tables. Hortense knew that even now the hour of such is striking, and that the American boy will presently turn with relief to a creature who will more clearly remind him that he is a man and that she is a woman.

other Indian, for there was nothing in his dress to distinguish

But why was the insolence of Hortense offensive, when the insolence of Eliza La Heu was not? Both these extremely feminine beings could exercise that quality in profusion, whenever they so wished; wherein did the difference lie? Perhaps I thought, in the spirit of its exercise; Eliza was merely insolent when she happened to feel like it; and man has always been able to forgive woman for that--whether the angels do or not, but Hortense, the world-wise, was insolent to all people who could not be of use to her; and all I have to say is, that if the angels can forgive them, they're welcome; I can't!

other Indian, for there was nothing in his dress to distinguish

Had I made sure of anything at the landing? Yes; Hortense didn't care for Charley in the least, and never would. A woman can stamp her foot at a man and love him simultaneously; but those two light taps, and the measure that her eyes took of Charley, meant that she must love his possessions very much to be able to bear him at all.

other Indian, for there was nothing in his dress to distinguish

Then, what was her feeling about John Mayrant? As Beverly had said, what could she want him for? He hadn't a thing that she valued or needed. His old-time notions of decency, the clean simplicity of his make, his good Southern position, and his collection of nice old relatives--what did these assets look like from an automobile, or on board the launch of a modern steam yacht? And wouldn't it be amusing if John should grow need- lessly jealous, and have a "difficulty" with Charley? not a mere flinging of torn paper money in the banker's face, but some more decided punishment for the banker's presuming to rest his predatory eyes upon John's affianced lady.

I stared at the now broadening river, where the reappearance of the bridge, and of Kings Port, and the nearer chimneys pouring out their smoke a few miles above the town, betokened that our excursion was drawing to its end. And then from the chimney's neighborhood, from the waterside where their factories stood, there shot out into the smoothness of the stream a launch. It crossed into our course ahead of us, preceded us quickly, growing soon into a dot, went through the bridge, and so was seen no longer; and its occupants must have reached town a good half hour before we did. And now, suddenly, I was stunned with a great discovery. The bride's voice sounded in my ear. "Well, I'll always say you're a prophet, anyhow!"

I looked at her, dull and dazed by the internal commotion the discovery had raised in me.

"You said we wouldn't get stuck in the mud, and we didn't," said the bride.

I pointed to the chimneys. "Are those the phosphate works?"

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