A Gift And A Purchase





For a week the scene of the round-up lay within riding-distance of

the ranch-house, and Madeline passed most of this time in the saddle,

watching the strenuous labors of the vaqueros and cowboys. She

overestimated her strength, and more than once had to be lifted from her

horse. Stillwell's pleasure in her attendance gave place to concern. He

tried to persuade her to stay away from the round-up, and Florence grew

even more solicitous.



Madeline, however, was not moved by their entreaties. She grasped only

dimly the truth of what it was she was learning--something infinitely

more than the rounding up of cattle by cowboys, and she was loath to

lose an hour of her opportunity.



Her brother looked out for her as much as his duties permitted; but for

several days he never once mentioned her growing fatigue and the strain

of excitement, or suggested that she had better go back to the house

with Florence. Many times she felt the drawing power of his keen blue

eyes on her face. And at these moments she sensed more than brotherly

regard. He was watching her, studying her, weighing her, and the

conviction was vaguely disturbing. It was disquieting for Madeline to

think that Alfred might have guessed her trouble. From time to time

he brought cowboys to her and introduced them, and laughed and jested,

trying to make the ordeal less embarrassing for these men so little used

to women.



Before the week was out, however, Alfred found occasion to tell her that

it would be wiser for her to let the round-up go on without gracing it

further with her presence. He said it laughingly; nevertheless, he was

serious. And when Madeline turned to him in surprise he said, bluntly:



"I don't like the way Don Carlos follows you around. Bill's afraid

that Nels or Ambrose or one of the cowboys will take a fall out of the

Mexican. They're itching for the chance. Of course, dear, it's absurd to

you, but it's true."



Absurd it certainly was, yet it served to show Madeline how intensely

occupied she had been with her own feelings, roused by the tumult and

toil of the round-up. She recalled that Don Carlos had been presented to

her, and that she had not liked his dark, striking face with its bold,

prominent, glittering eyes and sinister lines; and she had not liked his

suave, sweet, insinuating voice or his subtle manner, with its slow

bows and gestures. She had thought he looked handsome and dashing on

the magnificent black horse. However, now that Alfred's words made her

think, she recalled that wherever she had been in the field the noble

horse, with his silver-mounted saddle and his dark rider, had been

always in her vicinity.



"Don Carlos has been after Florence for a long time," said Alfred. "He's

not a young man by any means. He's fifty, Bill says; but you can seldom

tell a Mexican's age from his looks. Don Carlos is well educated and a

man we know very little about. Mexicans of his stamp don't regard women

as we white men do. Now, my dear, beautiful sister from New York, I

haven't much use for Don Carlos; but I don't want Nels or Ambrose to

make a wild throw with a rope and pull the Don off his horse. So you had

better ride up to the house and stay there."



"Alfred, you are joking, teasing me," said Madeline. "Indeed not,"

replied Alfred. "How about it, Flo?" Florence replied that the cowboys

would upon the slightest provocation treat Don Carlos with less ceremony

and gentleness than a roped steer. Old Bill Stillwell came up to be

importuned by Alfred regarding the conduct of cowboys on occasion, and

he not only corroborated the assertion, but added emphasis and evidence

of his own.



"An', Miss Majesty," he concluded, "I reckon if Gene Stewart was ridin'

fer me, thet grinnin' Greaser would hev hed a bump in the dust before

now."



Madeline had been wavering between sobriety and laughter until

Stillwell's mention of his ideal of cowboy chivalry decided in favor of

the laughter.



"I am not convinced, but I surrender," she said. "You have only some

occult motive for driving me away. I am sure that handsome Don Carlos

is being unjustly suspected. But as I have seen a little of cowboys'

singular imagination and gallantry, I am rather inclined to fear their

possibilities. So good-by."



Then she rode with Florence up the long, gray slope to the ranch-house.

That night she suffered from excessive weariness, which she attributed

more to the strange working of her mind than to riding and sitting her

horse. Morning, however, found her in no disposition to rest. It was

not activity that she craved, or excitement, or pleasure. An unerring

instinct, rising dear from the thronging sensations of the last few

days, told her that she had missed something in life. It could not have

been love, for she loved brother, sister, parents, friends; it could not

have been consideration for the poor, the unfortunate, the hapless; she

had expressed her sympathy for these by giving freely; it could not have

been pleasure, culture, travel, society, wealth, position, fame, for

these had been hers all her life. Whatever this something was, she

had baffling intimations of it, hopes that faded on the verge of

realizations, haunting promises that were unfulfilled. Whatever it was,

it had remained hidden and unknown at home, and here in the West it

began to allure and drive her to discovery. Therefore she could not

rest; she wanted to go and see; she was no longer chasing phantoms; it

was a hunt for treasure that held aloof, as intangible as the substance

of dreams.



That morning she spoke a desire to visit the Mexican quarters lying at

the base of the foothills. Florence protested that this was no place to

take Madeline. But Madeline insisted, and it required only a few words

and a persuading smile to win Florence over.



From the porch the cluster of adobe houses added a picturesque touch of

color and contrast to the waste of gray valley. Near at hand they proved

the enchantment lent by distance. They were old, crumbling, broken down,

squalid. A few goats climbed around upon them; a few mangy dogs barked

announcement of visitors; and then a troop of half-naked, dirty,

ragged children ran out. They were very shy, and at first retreated in

affright. But kind words and smiles gained their confidence, and then

they followed in a body, gathering a quota of new children at each

house. Madeline at once conceived the idea of doing something to better

the condition of these poor Mexicans, and with this in mind she decided

to have a look indoors. She fancied she might have been an apparition,

judging from the effect her presence had upon the first woman she

encountered. While Florence exercised what little Spanish she had

command of, trying to get the women to talk, Madeline looked about the

miserable little rooms. And there grew upon her a feeling of sickness,

which increased as she passed from one house to another. She had not

believed such squalor could exist anywhere in America. The huts reeked

with filth; vermin crawled over the dirt floors. There was absolutely no

evidence of water, and she believed what Florence told her--that these

people never bathed. There was little evidence of labor. Idle men and

women smoking cigarettes lolled about, some silent, others jabbering.

They did not resent the visit of the American women, nor did they show

hospitality. They appeared stupid. Disease was rampant in these houses;

when the doors were shut there was no ventilation, and even with the

doors open Madeline felt choked and stifled. A powerful penetrating odor

pervaded the rooms that were less stifling than others, and this odor

Florence explained came from a liquor the Mexicans distilled from

a cactus plant. Here drunkenness was manifest, a terrible inert

drunkenness that made its victims deathlike.



Madeline could not extend her visit to the little mission-house. She saw

a padre, a starved, sad-faced man who, she instinctively felt, was

good. She managed to mount her horse and ride up to the house; but, once

there, she weakened and Florence had almost to carry her in-doors. She

fought off a faintness, only to succumb to it when alone in her room.

Still, she did not entirely lose consciousness, and soon recovered to

the extent that she did not require assistance.



Upon the morning after the end of the round-up, when she went out on

the porch, her brother and Stillwell appeared to be arguing about the

identity of a horse.



"Wal, I reckon it's my old roan," said Stillwell, shading his eyes with

his hand.



"Bill, if that isn't Stewart's horse my eyes are going back on me,"

replied Al. "It's not the color or shape--the distance is too far to

judge by that. It's the motion--the swing."



"Al, mebbe you're right. But they ain't no rider up on thet hoss. Flo,

fetch my glass."



Florence went into the house, while Madeline tried to discover the

object of attention. Presently far up the gray hollow along a foothill

she saw dust, and then the dark, moving figure of a horse. She was

watching when Florence returned with the glass. Bill took a long look,

adjusted the glasses carefully, and tried again.



"Wal, I hate to admit my eyes are gettin' pore. But I guess I'll hev to.

Thet's Gene Stewart's hoss, saddled, an' comin' at a fast clip without

a rider. It's amazin' strange, an' some in keepin' with other things

concernin' Gene."



"Give me the glass," said Al. "Yes, I was right. Bill, the horse is not

frightened. He's coming steadily; he's got something on his mind."



"Thet's a trained hoss, Al. He has more sense than some men I know. Take

a look with the glasses up the hollow. See anybody?"



"No."



"Swing up over the foothills--where the trail leads. Higher--along thet

ridge where the rocks begin. See anybody?"



"By Jove! Bill--two horses! But I can't make out much for dust. They are

climbing fast. One horse gone among the rocks. There--the other's gone.

What do you make of that?"



"Wal, I can't make no more 'n you. But I'll bet we know somethin' soon,

fer Gene's hoss is comin' faster as he nears the ranch."



The wide hollow sloping up into the foothills lay open to unobstructed

view, and less than half a mile distant Madeline saw the riderless

horse coming along the white trail at a rapid canter. She watched him,

recalling the circumstances under which she had first seen him, and then

his wild flight through the dimly lighted streets of El Cajon out into

the black night. She thrilled again and believed she would never think

of that starry night's adventure without a thrill. She watched the horse

and felt more than curiosity. A shrill, piercing whistle pealed in.



"Wal, he's seen us, thet's sure," said Bill.



The horse neared the corrals, disappeared into a lane, and then,

breaking his gait again, thundered into the inclosure and pounded to a

halt some twenty yards from where Stillwell waited for him.



One look at him at close range in the clear light of day was enough

for Madeline to award him a blue ribbon over all horses, even her

prize-winner, White Stockings. The cowboy's great steed was no lithe,

slender-bodied mustang. He was a charger, almost tremendous of build,

with a black coat faintly mottled in gray, and it shone like polished

glass in the sun. Evidently he had been carefully dressed down for this

occasion, for there was no dust on him, nor a kink in his beautiful

mane, nor a mark on his glossy hide.



"Come hyar, you son-of-a-gun," said Stillwell.



The horse dropped his head, snorted, and came obediently up. He was

neither shy nor wild. He poked a friendly nose at Stillwell, and then

looked at Al and the women. Unhooking the stirrups from the pommel,

Stillwell let them fall and began to search the saddle for something

which he evidently expected to find. Presently from somewhere among the

trappings he produced a folded bit of paper, and after scrutinizing it

handed it to Al.



"Addressed to you; an' I'll bet you two bits I know what's in it," he

said.



Alfred unfolded the letter, read it, and then looked at Stillwell.



"Bill, you're a pretty good guesser. Gene's made for the border. He sent

the horse by somebody, no names mentioned, and wants my sister to have

him if she will accept."



"Any mention of Danny Mains?" asked the rancher.



"Not a word."



"Thet's bad. Gene'd know about Danny if anybody did. But he's a

close-mouthed cuss. So he's sure hittin' for Mexico. Wonder if Danny's

goin', too? Wal, there's two of the best cowmen I ever seen gone to hell

an' I'm sorry."



With that he bowed his head and, grumbling to himself, went into the

house. Alfred lifted the reins over the head of the horse and, leading

him to Madeline, slipped the knot over her arm and placed the letter in

her hand.



"Majesty, I'd accept the horse," he said. "Stewart is only a cowboy now,

and as tough as any I've known. But he comes of a good family. He was a

college man and a gentleman once. He went to the bad out here, like so

many fellows go, like I nearly did. Then he had told me about his sister

and mother. He cared a good deal for them. I think he has been a source

of unhappiness to them. It was mostly when he was reminded of this in

some way that he'd get drunk. I have always stuck to him, and I would do

so yet if I had the chance. You can see Bill is heartbroken about Danny

Mains and Stewart. I think he rather hoped to get good news. There's

not much chance of them coming back now, at least not in the case of

Stewart. This giving up his horse means he's going to join the rebel

forces across the border. What wouldn't I give to see that cowboy break

loose on a bunch of Greasers! Oh, damn the luck! I beg your pardon,

Majesty. But I'm upset, too. I'm sorry about Stewart. I liked him

pretty well before he thrashed that coyote of a sheriff, Pat Hawe, and

afterward I guess I liked him more. You read the letter, sister, and

accept the horse."



In silence Madeline bent her gaze from her brother's face to the letter:



Friend Al,--I'm sending my horse down to you because I'm going away and

haven't the nerve to take him where he'd get hurt or fall into strange

hands.



If you think it's all right, why, give him to your sister with my

respects. But if you don't like the idea, Al, or if she won't have him,

then he's for you. I'm not forgetting your kindness to me, even if I

never showed it. And, Al, my horse has never felt a quirt or a spur, and

I'd like to think you'd never hurt him. I'm hoping your sister will take

him. She'll be good to him, and she can afford to take care of him. And,

while I'm waiting to be plugged by a Greaser bullet, if I happen to have

a picture in mind of how she'll look upon my horse, why, man, it's not

going to make any difference to you. She needn't ever know it. Between

you and me, Al, don't let her or Flo ride alone over Don Carlos's way.

If I had time I could tell you something about that slick Greaser. And

tell your sister, if there's ever any reason for her to run away from

anybody when she's up on that roan, just let her lean over and yell in

his ear. She'll find herself riding the wind. So long.



Gene Stewart.





Madeline thoughtfully folded the letter and murmured, "How he must love

his horse!"



"Well, I should say so," replied Alfred. "Flo will tell you. She's the

only person Gene ever let ride that horse, unless, as Bill thinks, the

little Mexican girl, Bonita, rode him out of El Cajon the other night.

Well, sister mine, how about it--will you accept the horse?"



"Assuredly. And very happy indeed am I to get him. Al, you said, I

think, that Mr. Stewart named him after me--saw my nickname in the New

York paper?"



"Yes."



"Well, I will not change his name. But, Al, how shall I ever climb up

on him? He's taller than I am. What a giant of a horse! Oh, look at

him--he's nosing my hand. I really believe he understood what I said.

Al, did you ever see such a splendid head and such beautiful eyes? They

are so large and dark and soft--and human. Oh, I am a fickle woman, for

I am forgetting White Stockings."



"I'll gamble he'll make you forget any other horse," said Alfred.

"You'll have to get on him from the porch."



As Madeline was not dressed for the saddle, she did not attempt to

mount.



"Come, Majesty--how strange that sounds!--we must get acquainted. You

have now a new owner, a very severe young woman who will demand loyalty

from you and obedience, and some day, after a decent period, she will

expect love."



Madeline led the horse to and fro, and was delighted with his

gentleness. She discovered that he did not need to be led. He came at

her call, followed her like a pet dog, rubbed his black muzzle against

her. Sometimes, at the turns in their walk, he lifted his head and with

ears forward looked up the trail by which he had come, and beyond the

foothills. He was looking over the range. Some one was calling to him,

perhaps, from beyond the mountains. Madeline liked him the better for

that memory, and pitied the wayward cowboy who had parted with his only

possession for very love of it.



That afternoon when Alfred lifted Madeline to the back of the big roan

she felt high in the air.



"We'll have a run out to the mesa," said her brother, as he mounted.

"Keep a tight rein on him and ease up when you want him to go faster.

But don't yell in his ear unless you want Florence and me to see you

disappear on the horizon."



He trotted out of the yard, down by the corrals, to come out on the

edge of a gray, open flat that stretched several miles to the slope of a

mesa. Florence led, and Madeline saw that she rode like a cowboy. Alfred

drew on to her side, leaving Madeline in the rear. Then the leading

horses broke into a gallop. They wanted to run, and Madeline felt with a

thrill that she would hardly be able to keep Majesty from running, even

if she wanted to. He sawed on the tight bridle as the others drew away

and broke from pace to gallop. Then Florence put her horse into a run.

Alfred turned and called to Madeline to come along.



"This will never do. They are running away from us," said Madeline, and

she eased up her hold on the bridle. Something happened beneath her just

then; she did not know at first exactly what. As much as she had been on

horseback she had never ridden at a running gait. In New York it was not

decorous or safe. So when Majesty lowered and stretched and changed the

stiff, jolting gallop for a wonderful, smooth, gliding run it required

Madeline some moments to realize what was happening. It did not take

long for her to see the distance diminishing between her and her

companions. Still they had gotten a goodly start and were far advanced.

She felt the steady, even rush of the wind. It amazed her to find how

easily, comfortably she kept to the saddle. The experience was new.

The one fault she had heretofore found with riding was the violent

shaking-up. In this instance she experienced nothing of that kind, no

strain, no necessity to hold on with a desperate awareness of work. She

had never felt the wind in her face, the whip of a horse's mane, the

buoyant, level spring of a tanning gait. It thrilled her, exhilarated

her, fired her blood. Suddenly she found herself alive, throbbing; and,

inspired by she knew not what, she loosened the bridle and, leaning far

forward, she cried, "Oh, you splendid fellow, run!"



She heard from under her a sudden quick clattering roar of hoofs, and

she swayed back with the wonderfully swift increase in Majesty's speed.

The wind stung her face, howled in her ears, tore at her hair. The gray

plain swept by on each side, and in front seemed to be waving toward

her. In her blurred sight Florence and Alfred appeared to be coming

back. But she saw presently, upon nearer view, that Majesty was

overhauling the other horses, was going to pass them. Indeed, he did

pass them, shooting by so as almost to make them appear standing still.

And he ran on, not breaking his gait till he reached the steep side of

the mesa, where he slowed down and stopped.



"Glorious!" exclaimed Madeline. She was all in a blaze, and every muscle

and nerve of her body tingled and quivered. Her hands, as she endeavored

to put up the loosened strands of hair, trembled and failed of

their accustomed dexterity. Then she faced about and waited for her

companions.



Alfred reached her first, laughing, delighted, yet also a little

anxious.



"Holy smoke! But can't he run? Did he bolt on you?"



"No, I called in his ear," replied Madeline.



"So that was it. That's the woman of you, and forbidden fruit. Flo said

she'd do it the minute she was on him. Majesty, you can ride. See if Flo

doesn't say so."



The Western girl came up then with her pleasure bright in her face.



"It was just great to see you. How your hair burned in the wind! Al, she

sure can ride. Oh, I'm so glad! I was a little afraid. And that horse!

Isn't he grand? Can't he run?"



Alfred led the way up the steep, zigzag trail to the top of the mesa.

Madeline saw a beautiful flat surface of short grass, level as a floor.

She uttered a little cry of wonder and enthusiasm.



"Al, what a place for golf! This would be the finest links in the

world."



"Well, I've thought of that myself," he replied. "The only trouble would

be--could anybody stop looking at the scenery long enough to hit a ball?

Majesty, look!"



And then it seemed that Madeline was confronted by a spectacle too

sublime and terrible for her gaze. The immensity of this red-ridged,

deep-gulfed world descending incalculable distances refused to be

grasped, and awed her, shocked her.



"Once, Majesty, when I first came out West, I was down and

out--determined to end it all," said Alfred. "And happened to climb up

here looking for a lonely place to die. When I saw that I changed my

mind."



Madeline was silent. She remained so during the ride around the rim of

the mesa and down the steep trail. This time Alfred and Florence failed

to tempt her into a race. She had been awe-struck; she had been exalted

she had been confounded; and she recovered slowly without divining

exactly what had come to her.



She reached the ranch-house far behind her companions, and at

supper-time was unusually thoughtful. Later, when they assembled on the

porch to watch the sunset, Stillwell's humorous complainings inspired

the inception of an idea which flashed up in her mind swift as

lightning. And then by listening sympathetically she encouraged him to

recite the troubles of a poor cattleman. They were many and long and

interesting, and rather numbing to the life of her inspired idea.



"Mr. Stillwell, could ranching here on a large scale, with up-to-date

methods, be made--well, not profitable, exactly, but to pay--to run

without loss?" she asked, determined to kill her new-born idea at birth

or else give it breath and hope of life.



"Wal, I reckon it could," he replied, with a short laugh. "It'd sure be

a money-maker. Why, with all my bad luck an' poor equipment I've lived

pretty well an' paid my debts an' haven't really lost any money except

the original outlay. I reckon thet's sunk fer good."



"Would you sell--if some one would pay your price?"



"Miss Majesty, I'd jump at the chance. Yet somehow I'd hate to leave

hyar. I'd jest be fool enough to go sink the money in another ranch."



"Would Don Carlos and these other Mexicans sell?"



"They sure would. The Don has been after me fer years, wantin' to sell

thet old rancho of his; an' these herders in the valley with their stray

cattle, they'd fall daid at sight of a little money."



"Please tell me, Mr. Stillwell, exactly what you would do here if you

had unlimited means?" went on Madeline.



"Good Lud!" ejaculated the rancher, and started so he dropped his pipe.

Then with his clumsy huge fingers he refilled it, relighted it, took a

few long pulls, puffed great clouds of smoke, and, squaring round, hands

on his knees, he looked at Madeline with piercing intentness. His hard

face began to relax and soften and wrinkle into a smile.



"Wal, Miss Majesty, it jest makes my old heart warm up to think of sich

a thing. I dreamed a lot when I first come hyar. What would I do if I

hed unlimited money? Listen. I'd buy out Don Carlos an' the Greasers.

I'd give a job to every good cowman in this country. I'd make them

prosper as I prospered myself. I'd buy all the good horses on the

ranges. I'd fence twenty thousand acres of the best grazin'. I'd drill

fer water in the valley. I'd pipe water down from the mountains. I'd dam

up that draw out there. A mile-long dam from hill to hill would give me

a big lake, an' hevin' an eye fer beauty, I'd plant cottonwoods around

it. I'd fill that lake full of fish. I'd put in the biggest field of

alfalfa in the South-west. I'd plant fruit-trees an' garden. I'd tear

down them old corrals an' barns an' bunk-houses to build new ones. I'd

make this old rancho some comfortable an' fine. I'd put in grass an'

flowers all around an' bring young pine-trees down from the mountains.

An' when all thet was done I'd sit in my chair an' smoke an' watch the

cattle stringin' in fer water an' stragglin' back into the valley. An'

I see the cowboys ridin' easy an' heah them singin' in their bunks. An'

thet red sun out there wouldn't set on a happier man in the world than

Bill Stillwell, last of the old cattlemen."



Madeline thanked the rancher, and then rather abruptly retired to her

room, where she felt no restraint to hide the force of that wonderful

idea, now full-grown and tenacious and alluring.



Upon the next day, late in the afternoon, she asked Alfred if it would

be safe for her to ride out to the mesa.



"I'll go with you," he said, gaily.



"Dear fellow, I want to go alone," she replied.



"Ah!" Alfred exclaimed, suddenly serious. He gave her just a quick

glance, then turned away. "Go ahead. I think it's safe. I'll make it

safe by sitting here with my glass and keeping an eye on you. Be careful

coming down the trail. Let the horse pick his way. That's all."



She rode Majesty across the wide flat, up the zigzag trail, across the

beautiful grassy level to the far rim of the mesa, and not till then did

she lift her eyes to face the southwest.



Madeline looked from the gray valley at her feet to the blue Sierra

Madres, gold-tipped in the setting sun. Her vision embraced in that

glance distance and depth and glory hitherto unrevealed to her. The gray

valley sloped and widened to the black sentinel Chiricahuas, and beyond

was lost in a vast corrugated sweep of earth, reddening down to the

west, where a golden blaze lifted the dark, rugged mountains into bold

relief. The scene had infinite beauty. But after Madeline's first swift,

all-embracing flash of enraptured eyes, thought of beauty passed away.

In that darkening desert there was something illimitable. Madeline saw

the hollow of a stupendous hand; she felt a mighty hold upon her heart.

Out of the endless space, out of silence and desolation and mystery and

age, came slow-changing colored shadows, phantoms of peace, and they

whispered to Madeline. They whispered that it was a great, grim,

immutable earth; that time was eternity; that life was fleeting. They

whispered for her to be a woman; to love some one before it was too

late; to love any one, every one; to realize the need of work, and in

doing it to find happiness.



She rode back across the mesa and down the trail, and, once more upon

the flat, she called to the horse and made him run. His spirit seemed to

race with hers. The wind of his speed blew her hair from its fastenings.

When he thundered to a halt at the porch steps Madeline, breathless and

disheveled, alighted with the mass of her hair tumbling around her.



Alfred met her, and his exclamation, and Florence's rapt eyes shining

on her face, and Stillwell's speechlessness made her self-conscious.

Laughing, she tried to put up the mass of hair.



"I must--look a--fright," she panted.



"Wal, you can say what you like," replied the old cattleman, "but I know

what I think."



Madeline strove to attain calmness.



"My hat--and my combs--went on the wind. I thought my hair would go,

too.... There is the evening star.... I think I am very hungry."



And then she gave up trying to be calm, and likewise to fasten up her

hair, which fell again in a golden mass.



"Mr. Stillwell," she began, and paused, strangely aware of a hurried

note, a deeper ring in her voice. "Mr. Stillwell, I want to buy your

ranch--to engage you as my superintendent. I want to buy Don Carlos's

ranch and other property to the extent, say, of fifty thousand acres.

I want you to buy horses and cattle--in short, to make all those

improvements which you said you had so long dreamed of. Then I have

ideas of my own, in the development of which I must have your advice and

Alfred's. I intend to better the condition of those poor Mexicans in the

valley. I intend to make life a little more worth living for them and

for the cowboys of this range. To-morrow we shall talk it all over, plan

all the business details."



Madeline turned from the huge, ever-widening smile that beamed down upon

her and held out her hands to her brother.



"Alfred, strange, is it not, my coming out to you? Nay, don't smile. I

hope I have found myself--my work--my happiness--here under the light of

that western star."





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