Judith of the Plains

Marie Manning

Judith Of The Plains by Marie Manning

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Title: Judith Of The Plains
Author: Marie Manning
Release Date: April 2005 [EBook #15573]
Language: American English
Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1

Judith Of The Plains
By Marie Manning
Harper & Brothers Publishers New York And London
Copyright, 1903. By Harper & Brothers
Printed In The United States Of America

[Image: Image #1]
Peter's Hand Sought Hers, And All Her Woman's Fear Of The Vague Terrors Of The Dreadful Night Spoke In Her Answering Pressure--See p. 154.

Contents "Town" The Encounter Leander And His Lady Judith, The Postmistress The Trail Of Sentiment A Daughter Of The Desert Chugg Takes The Ribbons The Rodneys At Home Mrs. Yellett And Her "Gov'ment" On Horse-thief Trail The Cabin In The Valley The Round-up Mary's First Day In Camp Judith Adjusts The Situation The Wolf-hunt In The Land Of The Red Silence Mrs. Yellett Contends With A Cloudburst Foreshadowed "Rocked By A Hempen String" The Ball Credits A Word from Project Gutenberg The Full Project Gutenberg License

Judith Of The Plains

It was June, and a little past sunrise, but there was no hint of early summer freshness in the noxious air of the sleeping-car as it toiled like a snail over the infinity of prairie. From behind the green-striped curtains of the berths, now the sound of restless turning and now a long-drawn sigh signified the uneasy slumber due to stifling air and discomfort.
The only passenger stirring was a girl whose youth drooped under the unfavorable influences of foul air, fatigue, and a strained anxiety to come to the end of this fateful journey. She had been up while it was yet dark, and her hand--luggage, locked, strapped, and as pitifully new at the art of travelling as the girl herself, clustered about the hem of her blue serge skirt like chicks about a hen. The engine shrieked, but its voice sounded weak and far off in that still ocean of space; the girl tightened her grasp on the largest of the satchels and looked at the approaching porter tentatively.
"We're late twenty-fi'e minutes," he reassured her, with the hopeless patience of one who has lost heart in curbing travellers' enthusiasms.
She turned towards the window a pair of shoulders plainly significant of the burdensome last straw.
"Four days and nights in this train"--they were slower in those days--"and now this extra twenty-five minutes!"
Miss Carmichael's famous dimple hid itself in disgust. The demure lines of mouth and chin, that could always be relied upon for special pleading when sentence was about to be passed on the dimple by those who disapproved of dimples, drooped with disappointment. But the light-brown hair continued to curl facetiously--it was the sort of hair whose spontaneous rippling conveys to the seeing eye a sense of humor.
The train plodded across the spacious vacancy that unrolled itself farther and farther in quest of the fugitive horizon. The scrap of view that came within a closer range of vision spun past the car windows like a bit of stage mechanism, a gigantic panorama rotating to simulate a race at breakneck speed. But Miss Carmichael looked with unseeing eyes; the whirling prairie with its golden flecks of cactus bloom was but part of the universal strangeness, and the dull ache of homesickness was in it all.
"My dear! my dear!"--a head in crimpers was thrust from between the curtains of the section opposite--"I've been awake half the night. I was so afraid I wouldn't see you before you got off."
The head was followed, almost instinctively, by a hand travelling furtively to the crimpers that gripped the lady's brow like barnacles clinging to a keel.
Mary expressed a grieved appreciation at the loss of rest in behalf of her early departure, and conspicuously forbore to glance in the direction of the barnacles, that being a first principle as between woman and woman.
"And, oh, my dear, it gets worse and worse. I've looked at it this morning, and it's worse in Wyoming than it was in Colorado. What it 'll be before I reach California, I shudder to think."
"It's bound to improve," suggested Mary, with the easy optimism of one who was leaving it. "It couldn't be any worse than this, could it?"
The neuter pronoun, it might be well to state, signified the prairie; its melancholy personality having penetrated the very marrow of their train existence, they had come to refer to it by the monosyllable, as in certain nether circles the head of the house receives his superlative distinction in "He."
Again the locomotive shrieked,
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