Frontier Stories

A Blue-Grass Penelope


Bret Harte

THE WIND and rain had cleared the unfrequented suburb of any observant lounger, and the darkness, lit only by far-spaced, gusty lamps, hid her hastening figure. She had barely crossed the second street when she heard the quick clatter of hoofs behind her; a buggy drove up to the curbstone, and Poindexter leaped out. She entered quickly, but for a moment he still held the reins of the impatient horse. “He’s rather fresh,” he said, eying her keenly: “are you sure you can manage him?”

“Give me the reins,” she said simply.

He placed them in the two firm, well-shaped hands that reached from the depths of the vehicle, and was satisfied. Yet he lingered.

“It’s rough work for a lone woman,” he said, almost curtly, “I can’t go with you, but, speak frankly, is there any man you know whom you can trust well enough to take? It’s not too late yet; think a moment!”

He paused over the buttoning of the leather apron of the vehicle.

“No, there is none,” answered the voice from the interior; “and it’s better so. Is all ready?”

“One moment more.” He had recovered his half bantering manner. “You have a friend and countryman already with you, do you know? Your horse is Blue Grass. Good-night.”

With these words ringing in her ears she began her journey. The horse, as if eager to maintain the reputation which his native district had given his race, as well as the race of the pretty woman behind him, leaped impatiently forward. But pulled together by the fine and firm fingers that seemed to guide rather than check his exuberance, he presently struck into the long, swinging pace of his kind, and kept it throughout without “break” or acceleration. Over the paved streets the light buggy rattled, and the slender shafts danced around his smooth barrel, but when they touched the level high road, horse and vehicle slipped forward through the night, a swift and noiseless phantom. Mrs. Tucker could see his graceful back dimly rising and falling before her with tireless rhythm, and could feel the intelligent pressure of his mouth until it seemed the responsive grasp of a powerful but kindly hand. The faint glow of conquest came to her cold cheek; the slight stirrings of pride moved her preoccupied heart. A soft light filled her hazel eyes. A desolate woman, bereft of husband and home, and flying through storm and night, she knew not where, she still leaned forward towards her horse. “Was he Blue Grass, then, dear old boy?” she gently cooed at him in the darkness. He evidently was, and responded by blowing her an ostentatious equine kiss. “And he would be good to his own forsaken Belle,” she murmured caressingly, “and wouldn’t let any one harm her?” But here, overcome by the lazy witchery of her voice, he shook his head so violently that Mrs. Tucker, after the fashion of her sex, had the double satisfaction of demurely restraining the passion she had evoked.

To avoid the more traveled thoroughfare, while the evening was still early, it had been arranged that she should at first take a less direct but less frequented road. This was a famous pleasure-drive from San Francisco, a graveled and sanded stretch of eight miles to the sea, and an ultimate “cocktail,” in a “stately pleasure-dome decreed” among the surf and rocks of the Pacific shore. It was deserted now, and left to the unobstructed sweep of the wind and rain. Mrs. Tucker would not have chosen this road. With the instinctive jealousy of a bucolic inland race born by great rivers, she did not like the sea; and again, the dim and dreary waste tended to recall the vision connected with her husband’s flight, upon which she had resolutely shut her eyes. But when she had reached it the road suddenly turned, following the trend of the beach, and she was exposed to the full power of its dread fascinations. The combined roar of sea and shore was in her ears. As the direct force of the gale had compelled her to furl the protecting hood of the buggy to keep the light vehicle from oversetting or drifting to leeward, she could no longer shut out the heaving chaos on the right, from which the pallid ghosts of dead and dying breakers dimly rose and sank as if in awful salutation. At times through the darkness a white sheet appeared spread before the path and beneath the wheels of the buggy, which, when withdrawn with a reluctant hiss, seemed striving to drag the exhausted beach seaward with it. But the blind terror of her horse, who swerved at every sweep of the surge, shamed her own half superstitious fears, and with the effort to control his alarm she regained her own self-possession, albeit with eyelashes wet not altogether with the salt spray from the sea. This was followed by a reaction, perhaps stimulated by her victory over the beaten animal, when for a time, she knew not how long, she felt only a mad sense of freedom and power, oblivious of even her sorrows, her lost home and husband, and with intense feminine consciousness she longed to be a man. She was scarcely aware that the track turned again inland until the beat of the horse’s hoofs on the firm ground and an acceleration of speed showed her she had left the beach and the mysterious sea behind her, and she remembered that she was near the end of the first stage of her journey. Half an hour later the twinkling lights of the roadside inn where she was to change horses rose out of the darkness.

Happily for her, the hostler considered the horse, who had a local reputation, of more importance than the unknown muffled figure in the shadow of the unfurled hood, and confined his attention to the animal. After a careful examination of his feet and a few comments addressed solely to the superior creation, he led him away. Mrs. Tucker would have liked to part more affectionately from her four-footed compatriot, and felt a sudden sense of loneliness at the loss of her new friend, but a recollection of certain cautions of Captain Poindexter’s kept her mute. Nevertheless, the hostler’s ostentatious adjuration of “Now then, aren’t you going to bring out that mustang for the Señora?” puzzled her. It was not until the fresh horse was put to, and she had flung a piece of gold into the attendant’s hand, that the “Gracias” of his unmistakable Saxon speech revealed to her the reason of the lawyer’s caution. Poindexter had evidently represented her to these people as a native Californian who did not speak English. In her inconsistency her blood took fire at this first suggestion of deceit, and burned in her face. Why should he try to pass her off as anybody else? Why should she not use her own, her husband’s name? She stopped and bit her lip.

It was but the beginning of an uneasy train of thought. She suddenly found herself thinking of her visitor, Calhoun Weaver, and not pleasantly. He would hear of their ruin to-morrow, perhaps of her own flight. He would remember his visit, and what would he think of her deceitful frivolity? Would he believe that she was then ignorant of the failure? It was her first sense of any accountability to others than herself, but even then it was rather owing to an uneasy consciousness of what her husband must feel if he were subjected to the criticisms of men like Calhoun. She wondered if others knew that he had kept her in ignorance of his flight. Did Poindexter know it, or had he only entrapped her into the admission? Why had she not been clever enough to make him think that she knew it already? For the moment she hated Poindexter for sharing that secret. Yet this was again followed by a new impatience of her husband’s want of insight into her ability to help him. Of course the poor fellow could not bear to worry her, could not bear to face such men as Calhoun, or even Poindexter (she added exultingly to herself), but he might have sent her a line as he fled, only to prepare her to meet and combat the shame alone. It did not occur to her unsophisticated singleness of nature that she was accepting as an error of feeling what the world would call cowardly selfishness.

At midnight the storm lulled and a few stars trembled through the rent clouds. Her eyes had become accustomed to the darkness, and her country instincts, a little overlaid by the urban experiences of the last few years, came again to the surface. She felt the fresh, cool radiation from outlying, upturned fields, the faint, sad odors from dim stretches of pricking grain and quickening leaf, and wondered if at Los Cuervos it might be possible to reproduce the peculiar verdure of her native district. She beguiled her fancy by an ambitious plan of retrieving their fortunes by farming; her comfortable tastes had lately rebelled against the homeless mechanical cultivation of these desolate but teeming Californian acres, and for a moment indulged in a vision of a vine-clad cottage home that in any other woman would have been sentimental. Her cramped limbs aching, she took advantage of the security of the darkness and the familiar contiguity of the fields to get down from the vehicle, gather her skirts together, and run at the head of the mustang, until her chill blood was thawed, night drawing a modest veil over this charming revelation of the nymph and woman. But the sudden shadow of a coyote checked the scouring feet of this swift Camilla, and sent her back precipitately to the buggy. Nevertheless, she was refreshed and able to pursue her journey, until the cold gray of early morning found her at the end of her second stage.

Her route was changed again from the main highway, rendered dangerous by the approach of day and the contiguity of the neighboring rancheros. The road was rough and hilly, her new horse and vehicle in keeping with the rudeness of the route—by far the most difficult of her whole journey. The rare wagon tracks that indicated her road were often scarcely discernible; at times they led her through openings in the half-cleared woods, skirted suspicious morasses, painfully climbed the smooth, domelike hills, or wound along perilous slopes at a dangerous angle. Twice she had to alight and cling to the sliding wheels on one of those treacherous inclines, or drag them from impending ruts or immovable mire. In the growing light she could distinguish the distant, low-lying marshes eaten by encroaching sloughs and insidious channels, and beyond them the faint gray waste of the Lower Bay. A darker peninsula in the marsh she knew to be the extreme boundary of her future home: the Rancho de los Cuervos. In another hour she began to descend to the plain, and once more to approach the main road, which now ran nearly parallel with her track. She scanned it cautiously for any early traveler; it stretched north and south in apparent unending solitude. She struck into it boldly, and urged her horse to the top of his speed, until she reached the cross-road that led to the rancho. But here she paused and allowed the reins to drop idly on the mustang’s back. A singular and unaccountable irresolution seized her. The difficulties of her journey were over; the rancho lay scarcely two miles away; she had achieved the most important part of her task in the appointed time; but she hesitated. What had she come for? She tried to recall Poindexter’s words, even her own enthusiasm, but in vain. She was going to take possession of her husband’s property, she knew, that was all. But the means she had taken seemed now so exaggerated and mysterious for that simple end, that she began to dread an impending something, or some vague danger she had not considered, that she was rushing blindly to meet. Full of this strange feeling, she almost mechanically stopped her horse as she entered the cross-road.

From this momentary hesitation a singular sound aroused her. It seemed at first like the swift hurrying by of some viewless courier of the air, the vague alarm of some invisible flying herald, or like the inarticulate cry that precedes a storm. It seemed to rise and fall around her as if with some changing urgency of purpose. Raising her eyes she suddenly recognized the two far-stretching lines of telegraph wire above her head, and knew the aeolian cry of the morning wind along its vibrating chords. But it brought another and more practical fear to her active brain. Perhaps even now the telegraph might be anticipating her! Had Poindexter thought of that? She hesitated no longer, but laying the whip on the back of her jaded mustang, again hurried forward.

As the level horizon grew more distinct, her attention was attracted by the white sail of a small boat lazily threading the sinuous channel of the slough. It might be Poindexter arriving by the more direct route from the steamboat that occasionally laid off the ancient embarcadero of the Los Cuervos Rancho. But even while watching it her quick ear caught the sound of galloping hoofs behind her. She turned quickly and saw she was followed by a horseman. But her momentary alarm was succeeded by a feeling of relief as she recognized the erect figure and square shoulders of Poindexter. Yet she could not help thinking that he looked more like a militant scout, and less like a cautious legal adviser, than ever.

With unaffected womanliness she rearranged her slightly disordered hair as he drew up beside her. “I thought you were in yonder boat,” she said.

“Not I,” he laughed; “I distanced you by the highroad two hours, and have been reconnoitering, until I saw you hesitate at the cross-roads.”

“But who is in the boat?” asked Mrs. Tucker, partly to hide her embarrassment.

“Only some early Chinese market gardener, I dare say. But you are safe now. You are on your own land. You passed the boundary monument of the rancho five minutes ago. Look! All you see before you is yours from the embarcadero to yonder Coast Range.”

The tone of half raillery did not, however, cheer Mrs. Tucker. She shuddered slightly and cast her eyes over the monotonous sea of tule and meadow.

“It doesn’t look pretty, perhaps,” continued Poindexter, “but it’s the richest land in the State, and the embarcadero will some day be a town. I suppose you’ll call it Blue Grassville. But you seem tired!” he said, suddenly dropping his voice to a tone of half humorous sympathy.

Mrs. Tucker managed to get rid of an impending tear under the pretense of clearing her eyes. “Are we nearly there?” she asked.

“Nearly. You know,” he added, with the same half mischievous, half sympathizing gayety, “it’s not exactly a palace you’re coming to,—hardly. It’s the old casa that has been deserted for years, but I thought it better you should go into possession there than take up your abode at the shanty where your husband’s farm-hands are. No one will know when you take possession of the casa, while the very hour of your arrival at the shanty would be known; and if they should make any trouble”—

“If they should make any trouble?” repeated Mrs. Tucker, lifting her frank, inquiring eyes to Poindexter.

His horse suddenly rearing from an apparently accidental prick of the spur, it was a minute or two before he was able to explain. “I mean if this ever comes up as a matter of evidence, you know. But here we are!”

What had seemed to be an overgrown mound rising like an island out of the dead level of the grassy sea now resolved itself into a collection of adobe walls, eaten and incrusted with shrubs and vines, that bore some resemblance to the usual uninhabited-looking exterior of a Spanish-American dwelling. Apertures that might have been lance-shaped windows or only cracks and fissures in the walls were choked up with weeds and grass, and gave no passing glimpse of the interior. Entering a ruinous corral they came to a second entrance, which proved to be the patio or courtyard. The deserted wooden corridor, with beams, rafters, and floors whitened by the sun and wind, contained a few withered leaves, dryly rotting skins, and thongs of leather, as if undisturbed by human care. But among these scattered débris of former life and habitation there was no noisome or unclean suggestion of decay. A faint spiced odor of desiccation filled the bare walls. There was no slime on stone or sun-dried brick. In place of fungus or discolored moisture the dust of efflorescence whitened in the obscured corners. The elements had picked clean the bones of the old and crumbling tenement ere they should finally absorb it.

A withered old peon woman, who in dress, complexion, and fibrous hair might have been an animated fragment of the débris, rustled out of a low vaulted passage and welcomed them with a feeble crepitation. Following her into the dim interior, Mrs. Tucker was surprised to find some slight attempt at comfort and even adornment in the two or three habitable apartments. They were scrupulously clean and dry, two qualities which in her feminine eyes atoned for poverty of material.

“I could not send anything from San Bruno, the nearest village, without attracting attention,” explained Poindexter; “but if you can manage to picnic here for a day longer, I’ll get one of our Chinese friends here,” he pointed to the slough, “to bring over, for his return cargo from across the bay, any necessaries you may want. There is no danger of his betraying you,” he added, with an ironical smile; “Chinamen and Indians are, by an ingenious provision of the statute of California, incapable of giving evidence against a white person. You can trust your handmaiden perfectly—even if she can’t trust you. That is your sacred privilege under the constitution. And now, as I expect to catch the up boat ten miles from hence. I must say ‘good-by’ until to-morrow night. I hope to bring you then some more definite plans for the future. The worst is over.” He held her hand for a moment, and with a graver voice continued, “You have done it very well—do you know—very well!”

In the slight embarrassment produced by his sudden change of manner she felt that her thanks seemed awkward and restrained. “Don’t thank me,” he laughed, with a prompt return of his former levity; “that’s my trade. I only advised. You have saved yourself like a plucky woman—shall I say like Blue Grass? Good-by!” He mounted his horse, but, as if struck by an after-thought, wheeled and drew up by her side again. “If I were you I wouldn’t see many strangers for a day or two, and listen to as little news as a woman possibly can.” He laughed again, waved her a half gallant, half military salute, and was gone. The question she had been trying to frame, regarding the probability of communication with her husband, remained unasked. At least she had saved her pride before him.

Addressing herself to the care of her narrow household, she mechanically put away the few things she had brought with her, and began to read just the scant furniture. She was a little discomposed at first at the absence of bolts, locks, and even window-fastenings until assured, by Concha’s evident inability to comprehend her concern, that they were quite unknown at Los Cuervos. Her slight knowledge of Spanish was barely sufficient to make her wants known, so that the relief of conversation with her only companion was debarred her, and she was obliged to content herself with the sapless, crackling smiles and withered genuflexions that the old woman dropped like dead leaves in her path. It was staring noon when, the house singing like an empty shell in the monotonous wind, she felt she could stand the solitude no longer, and, crossing the glaring patio and whistling corridor, made her way to the open gateway.

But the view without seemed to intensify her desolation. The broad expanse of the shadowless plain reached apparently to the Coast Range, trackless and unbroken save by one or two clusters of dwarfed oaks, which at that distance were but mossy excrescences on the surface, barely raised above the dead level. On the other side the marsh took up the monotony and carried it, scarcely interrupted by undefined water-courses, to the faintly marked-out horizon line of the remote bay. Scattered and apparently motionless black spots on the meadows that gave a dreary significance to the title of “the Crows” which the rancho bore, and sudden gray clouds of sandpipers on the marshes, that rose and vanished down the wind, were the only signs of life. Even the white sail of the early morning was gone.

She stood there until the aching of her straining eyes and the stiffening of her limbs in the cold wind compelled her to seek the sheltered warmth of the courtyard. Here she endeavored to make friends with a bright-eyed lizard, who was sunning himself in the corridor; a graceful little creature in blue and gold, from whom she felt at other times she might have fled, but whose beauty and harmlessness solitude had made known to her. With misplaced kindness she tempted it with bread-crumbs, with no other effect than to stiffen it into stony astonishment. She wondered if she should become like the prisoners she had read of in books, who poured out their solitary affections on noisome creatures, and she regretted even the mustang, which with the buggy had disappeared under the charge of some unknown retainer on her arrival. Was she not a prisoner? The shutterless windows, yawning doors, and open gate refuted the suggestion, but the encompassing solitude and trackless waste still held her captive. Poindexter had told her it was four miles to the shanty; she might walk there. Why had she given her word that she would remain at the rancho until he returned?

The long day crept monotonously away, and she welcomed the night which shut out the dreary prospect. But it brought no cessation of the harassing wind without, nor surcease of the nervous irritation its perpetual and even activity wrought upon her. It haunted her pillow even in her exhausted sleep, and seemed to impatiently beckon her to rise and follow it. It brought her feverish dreams of her husband, footsore and weary, staggering forward under its pitiless lash and clamorous outcry; she would have gone to his assistance, but when she reached his side and held out her arms to him it hurried her past with merciless power, and, bearing her away, left him hopelessly behind. It was broad day when she awoke. The usual night showers of the waning rainy season had left no trace in sky or meadow; the fervid morning sun had already dried the patio; only the restless, harrying wind remained.

Mrs. Tucker arose with a resolve. She had learned from Concha on the previous evening that a part of the shanty was used as a tienda or shop for the laborers and rancheros. Under the necessity of purchasing some articles, she would go there and for a moment mingle with those people, who would not recognize her. Even if they did, her instinct told her it would be less to be feared than the hopeless uncertainty of another day. As she left the house the wind seemed to seize her as in her dream, and hurry her along with it, until in a few moments the walls of the low casa sank into the earth again and she was alone, but for the breeze on the solitary plain. The level distance glittered in the sharp light, a few crows with slant wings dipped and ran down the wind before her, and a passing gleam on the marsh was explained by the far-off cry of a curlew.

She had walked for an hour, upheld by the stimulus of light and morning air, when the cluster of scrub oaks, which was her destination, opened enough to show two rambling sheds, before one of which was a wooden platform containing a few barrels and bones. As she approached nearer, she could see that one or two horses were tethered under the trees, that their riders were lounging by a horse-trough, and that over an open door the word Tienda was rudely painted on a board, and as rudely illustrated by the wares displayed at door and window. Accustomed as she was to the poverty of frontier architecture, even the crumbling walls of the old hacienda she had just left seemed picturesque to the rigid angles of the thin, blank, unpainted shell before her. One of the loungers, who was reading a newspaper aloud as she advanced, put it aside and stared at her; there was an evident commotion in the shop as she stepped upon the platform, and when she entered, with breathless lips and beating heart, she found herself the object of a dozen curious eyes. Her quick pride resented the scrutiny and recalled her courage, and it was with a slight coldness in her usual lazy indifference that she leaned over the counter and asked for the articles she wanted.

The request was followed by a dead silence. Mrs. Tucker repeated it with some hauteur.

“I reckon you don’t seem to know this store is in the hands of the sheriff,” said one of the loungers.

Mrs. Tucker was not aware of it.

“Well, I don’t know any one who’s a better right to know than Spence Tucker’s wife,” said another with a coarse laugh. The laugh was echoed by the others. Mrs. Tucker saw the pit into which she had deliberately walked, but did not flinch.

“Is there any one to serve here?” she asked, turning her clear eyes full upon the bystanders.

“You’d better ask the sheriff. He was the last one to sarve here. He sarved an attachment,” replied the inevitable humorist of all Californian assemblages.

“Is he here?” asked Mrs. Tucker, disregarding the renewed laughter which followed this subtle witticism.

The loungers at the door made way for one of their party, who was half dragged, half pushed into the shop. “Here he is,” said half a dozen eager voices, in the fond belief that his presence might impart additional humor to the situation. He cast a deprecating glance at Mrs. Tucker and said, “It’s so, madam! This yer place is attached; but if there’s anything you’re wanting, why I reckon, boys,”—he turned half appealingly to the crowd, “we could oblige a lady.” There was a vague sound of angry opposition and remonstrance from the back door of the shop, but the majority, partly overcome by Mrs. Tucker’s beauty, assented. “Only,” continued the officer explanatorily, “ez these yer goods are in the hands of the creditors, they ought to be represented by an equivalent in money. If you’re expecting they should be charged”—

“But I wish to pay for them,” interrupted Mrs. Tucker, with a slight flush of indignation; “I have the money.”

“Oh, I bet you have!” screamed a voice, as, overturning all opposition, the malcontent at the back door, in the shape of an infuriated woman, forced her way into the shop. “I’ll bet you have the money! Look at her, boys! Look at the wife of the thief, with the stolen money in diamonds in her ears and rings on her fingers. She’s got money if we’ve none. She can pay for what she fancies, if we haven’t a cent to redeem the bed that’s stolen from under us. Oh yes, buy it all, Mrs. Spencer Tucker! buy the whole shop, Mrs. Spencer Tucker, do you hear? And if you ain’t satisfied then, buy my clothes, my wedding ring, the only things your husband hasn’t stolen.”

“I don’t understand you,” said Mrs. Tucker coldly, turning towards the door. But with a flying leap across the counter her relentless adversary stood between her and retreat.

“You don’t understand! Perhaps you don’t understand that your husband not only stole the hard labor of these men, but even the little money they brought here and trusted to his thieving hands. Perhaps you don’t know that he stole my husband’s hard earnings, mortgaged these very goods you want to buy, and that he is to-day a convicted thief, a forger, and a runaway coward. Perhaps, if you can’t understand me, you can read the newspaper. Look!” She exultingly opened the paper the sheriff had been reading aloud, and pointed to the displayed headlines. “Look! there are the very words, ‘Forgery, Swindling, Embezzlement!’ Do you see? And perhaps you can’t understand this. Look! ‘Shameful Flight. Abandons his Wife. Runs off with a Notorious’”—

“Easy, old gal, easy now. D—n it! Will you dry up? I say. Stop!”

It was too late! The sheriff had dashed the paper from the woman’s hand, but not until Mrs. Tucker had read a single line, a line such as she had sometimes turned from with weary scorn in her careless perusal of the daily shameful chronicle of domestic infelicity. Then she had coldly wondered if there could be any such men and women. And now! The crowd fell back before her; even the virago was silenced as she looked at her face. The humorist’s face was as white, but not as immobile, as he gasped, “Christ! if I don’t believe she knew nothin’ of it!”

For a moment the full force of such a supposition, with all its poignancy, its dramatic intensity, and its pathos, possessed the crowd. In the momentary clairvoyance of enthusiasm they caught a glimpse of the truth, and by one of the strange reactions of human passion they only waited for a word of appeal or explanation from her lips to throw themselves at her feet. Had she simply told her story they would have believed her; had she cried, fainted, or gone into hysterics, they would have pitied her. She did neither. Perhaps she thought of neither, or indeed of anything that was then before her eyes. She walked erect to the door and turned upon the threshold. “I mean what I say,” she said calmly. “I don’t understand you. But whatever just claims you have upon my husband will be paid by me, or by his lawyer, Captain Poindexter.”

She had lost the sympathy but not the respect of her hearers. They made way for her with sullen deference as she passed out on the platform. But her adversary, profiting by the last opportunity, burst into an ironical laugh.

“Captain Poindexter, is it? Well, perhaps he’s safe to pay your bill; but as for your husband’s”—

“That’s another matter,” interrupted a familiar voice with the greatest cheerfulness; “that’s what you were going to say, wasn’t it? Ha! ha! Well, Mrs. Patterson,” continued Poindexter, stepping from his buggy, “you never spoke a truer word in your life.—One moment, Mrs. Tucker. Let me send you back in the buggy. Don’t mind me. I can get a fresh horse of the sheriff. I’m quite at home here.” Then, turning to one of the bystanders, “I say, Patterson, step a few paces this way, will you? A little further from your wife, please. That will do. You’ve got a claim of five thousand dollars against the property, haven’t you?”


“Well, that woman just driving away is your one solitary chance of getting a cent of it. If your wife insults her again, that chance is gone. And if you do”—


“As sure as there is a God in Israel and a Supreme Court of the State of California, I’ll kill you in your tracks!. . . . Stay!”

Patterson turned. The irrepressible look of humorous tolerance of all human frailty had suffused Poindexter’s black eyes with mischievous moisture. “If you think it quite safe to confide to your wife this prospect of her improvement by widowhood, you may!”

Frontier Stories - Contents    |     A Blue-Grass Penelope - III

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