But she did. And he returned to Sunk Creek, not with a detective story, but this time with a Russian novel.

It was almost April when he brought it back to her--and a heavy sleet storm lost them their ride. So he spent his time indoors with her, not speaking a syllable of love. When he came to take his departure, he asked her for some other book by this same Russian. But she had no more.

“I wish you had,” he said. “I’ve never saw a book could tell the truth like that one does.” “Why, what do you like about it?” she exclaimed. To her it had been distasteful.

“Everything,” he answered. “That young come-outer, and his fam’ly that can’t understand him--for he is broad gauge, yu’ see, and they are narro’ gauge.” The Virginian looked at Molly a moment almost shyly. “Do you know,” he said, and a blush spread over his face, “I pretty near cried when that young come-outer was dyin’, and said about himself, ‘I was a giant.’ Life made him broad gauge, yu’ see, and then took his chance away.” Molly liked the Virginian for his blush. It made him very handsome. But she thought that it came from his confession about “pretty near crying.” The deeper cause she failed to divine,--that he, like the dying hero in the novel, felt himself to be a giant whom life had made “broad gauge,” and denied opportunity. Fecund nature begets and squanders thousands of these rich seeds in the wilderness of life.

He took away with him a volume of Shakespeare. “I’ve saw good plays of his,” he remarked.

Kind Mrs. Taylor in her cabin next door watched him ride off in the sleet, bound for the lonely mountain trail.

“If that girl don’t get ready to take him pretty soon,” she observed to her husband, “I’ll give her a piece of my mind.” Taylor was astonished. “Is he thinking of her?” he inquired.

“Lord, Mr. Taylor, and why shouldn’t he?” Mr. Taylor scratched his head and returned to his newspaper.

It was warm--warm and beautiful upon Bear Creek. Snow shone upon the peaks of the Bow Leg range; lower on their slopes the pines were stirring with a gentle song; and flowers bloomed across the wide plains at their feet.

Molly and her Virginian sat at a certain spring where he had often ridden with her. On this day he was bidding her farewell before undertaking the most important trust which Judge Henry had as yet given him. For this journey she had provided him with Sir Walter Scott’s Kenilworth. Shakespeare he had returned to her. He had bought Shakespeare for himself. “As soon as I got used to readin’ it,” he had told her, “I knowed for certain that I liked readin’ for enjoyment” But it was not of books that he had spoken much to-day. He had not spoken at all. He had bade her listen to the meadow-lark, when its song fell upon the silence like beaded drops of music. He had showed her where a covey of young willow-grouse were hiding as their horses passed. And then, without warning, as they sat by the spring, he had spoken potently of his love.

She did not interrupt him. She waited until he was wholly finished.

“I am not the sort of wife you want,” she said, with an attempt of airiness.

He answered roughly, “I am the judge of that.” And his roughness was a pleasure to her, yet it made her afraid of herself. When he was absent from her, and she could sit in her cabin and look at Grandmother Stark, and read home letters, then in imagination she found it easy to play the part which she had arranged to play regarding him--the part of the guide, and superior, and indulgent companion. But when he was by her side, that part became a difficult one. Her woman’s fortress was shaken by a force unknown to her before. Sam Bannett did not have it in him to look as this man could look, when the cold lustre of his eyes grew hot with internal fire. What color they were baffled her still. “Can it possibly change?” she

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