Chronicle, and again departed; but had not gone far before

  release time:2023-12-02 10:42:21   i want to comment
Sheneveropenedthedoorintothekitchen.Therewasanotherjustbeyondthesewing-machine,thatgaveanintimateloo 。

She never opened the door into the kitchen. There was another just beyond the sewing-machine, that gave an intimate look into the face of the bluff which formed that side of the coulee wall. There were hollyhocks along the path that led to this door, and stunted rosebushes which were kept alive with much mysterious assistance in the way of water and cultivation. There was a little spring just under the foot of the bluff, where the trail began to climb; and some young alders made a shady nook there which Jean found pleasant on a hot day.

Chronicle, and again departed; but had not gone far before

The rest of the house might be rat-ridden and desolate. The coulee might wear always the look of emptiness; but here, under the bluff by the spring, and in the room Jean called hers, one felt the air of occupancy that gave the lie to all around it.

Chronicle, and again departed; but had not gone far before

When she rode around the bold, out-thrust shoulder of the hill which formed the western rim of the coulee, and went loping up the trail to where the barbed-wire gate stopped her, you would have said that Jean had not a trouble to call her own. She wore her old gray Stetson pretty well over one eye because of the sun- glare, and she was riding on one stirrup and letting the other foot swing free, and she was whirling her quirt round and round, cartwheel fashion, and whistling an air that every one knows,--and putting in certain complicated variations of her own.

Chronicle, and again departed; but had not gone far before

At the gate she dismounted without ever missing a note, gave the warped stake a certain twist and jerk which loosened the wire loop so that she could slip it easily over the post, passed through and dragged the gate with her, dropping it flat upon the ground beside the trail. There was no stock anywhere in the coulee, and she would save a little trouble by leaving the gate open until she came out on her way home. She stepped aside to inspect the meadow lark's nest cunningly hidden under a wild rosebush, and then mounted and went on to the stable, still whistling carelessly.

She turned Pard into the shed where she invariably left him when she came to the Lazy A, and went on up the grass-grown path to the house. She had the preoccupied air of one who meditates deeply upon things apart; as a matter of fact, she had glanced down the coulee to its wide-open mouth, and had thrilled briefly at the wordless beauty of the green spread of the plain and the hazy blue sweep of the mountains, and had come suddenly into the poetic mood. She had even caught a phrase,--"The lazy line of the watchful hills," it was,--and she was trying to fit it into a verse, and to find something beside "rills" that would rhyme with "hills."

She followed the path absent-mindedly to where she would have to turn at the corner of the kitchen and go around to the door of her own room; and until she came to the turn she did not realize what was jarring vaguely and yet insistently upon her mood. Then she knew; and she stopped full and stared down at the loose sand just before the warped kitchen steps. There were footprints in the path,--alien footprints; and they pointed toward that forbidden door into the kitchen of gruesome memory. Jean looked up frowning, and saw that the door had been opened and closed again carelessly. And upon the top step, strange feet had pressed a little caked earth carried from the trail where she stood. There were the small-heeled, pointed prints of a woman's foot, and there were the larger tracks of a man,--a man of the town.

Jean stood with her quirt dangling loosely from her wrist and glanced back toward the stables and down the coulee. She completely forgot that she wanted a rhyme for "hills." What were towns people doing here? And how did they get here? They had not ridden up the coulee; there were no tracks through the gate; and besides, these were not the prints of riding-boots.

She twitched her shoulders and went around to the door leading into her own room. The door stood wide open when it should have been closed. Inside there were evidences of curious inspection. She went hot with an unreasoning anger when she saw the wide-open door into the kitchen; first of all she went over and closed that door, her lips pressed tightly together. To her it was as though some wanton hand had forced up the lid of a coffin where slept her dead. She stood with her back against the door and looked around the room, breathing quickly. She felt the woman's foolish amusement at the old cradle with the rag doll tucked under the patchwork quilt, and at her pitiful attempts at adorning the tawdry walls. Without having seen more than the prints of her shoes in the path, Jean hated the woman who had blundered in here and had looked and laughed. She hated the man who had come with the woman.

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