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ANNETTA.

neous.

I.

heavier dump-wagons, their tongues forlornly

aground, added an occasional creak and The wind had been carousing all night, clank to the rattle of harness and stamping and was yet as fresh in the morning as of sober hoofs. morning itself. Not a winter wind, blind At half-past six precisely, a gaunt yet and sodden with rain, but a summer wind, feminine shape appeared in a darkened full of hilarious fancies.

doorway fronting the stable, with the meAs early as dawn the dust of a long chanical suddenness of a figure moved by drought could be seen swirling in broken, clock-work. Uttering a single word, she distorted wreaths, or seething in thick, red- Aashed back out of sight. Brief as the dish-gray clouds, or whirling aloft in irregular briefest military order, and quite as unintellicolumns, only to be sifted downward as if gible, the effect of this word was instantafrom the very zenith.

A human thread was spun hurriedly The grim hopelessness of an unlighted, from the tangle of men and horses and unwarmed ocean had passed into the fog carts, stretching past the barn, and seeming pouring with noiseless swiftness over the to break off when the last man disappeared Twin Peaks. Ridge after ridge possessed, through the same doorway whence all had Pioche's Quarry, standing out a red ragged been summoned. scar against the farther hill-slopes, was The tramp of rough boots, the scraping stealthily fallen upon and turned into a of benches, merged immediately in a clatter looming mystery. The valley, so called as and clash of table utensils. This and the an approach to a specific designation, with guttural hurry of many voices announced its poor, unpainted houses, its fiercely har- the eager discussion of a work-a-day breakried, unpainted windmills, its dreary roads fast at Tom Bartmore's. ending abruptly, as if tired of leading no The “boss" — to use the colloquialism whither, became yet more chill and cheer- under which Tom Bartmore was freely and less. For in the valley, as in a caldron, familiarly spoken of-breakfasted later, at those dim, voluminous vapors, worried by irregular hours. opposing gusts, seemed to boil with sound

The square white house on the corner, less fury, tossing wild, steamy tatters sky- quite a block distant from stables and ward.

“camp,” was his house. The garden, shelAt six o'clock, the only life stirring with tered by a tall board fence and taller eucaany vigor ran bleating on four cloven hoofs, lyptus trees on the north and west, was being bearded and horned for predatory Annetta's garden. raids. True, that with the first blink of re- “For without my working and planning," luctant day, human figures began to detach she was wont to ask, her air at once saucy themselves from low doorways, and to move and conclusive, “who would

ever have about with what distinctness the dusty and thought of it?” foggy atmosphere allowed: but life in these True, Tom Bartmore now and again asforms could not be said to express itself serted himself in a horticultural suggestion, vigorously.

having all the force of a command; true, Soon horses in dangling harness were led old Refugio fairly bristled with notions of forth from a long blackened stable. Carts his own which Annetta oftener humored tilted on end, their shafts stretched stiffly than combated; yet nobody openly disputed heavenward in dumb, inanimate appeal, and Annetta's supreme ownership.

There, then, in the long garden, quite as upon this humble and senile adoration, she early as dawn, something other than tossing moved slowly away. petisporum or nodding Jacqueminot roses From the garden gate where she presently was stirring feebly. A banging shutter, a took her dreamy stand she could gaze across creaking windmill, had invaded old Refugio's a wide sweep of country.

Pioche's Quarry slumbers with presage of disaster. Would asserted its bold, jagged side through the his young locusts withstand those fierce parting fog; but mists still boiled in the flaws?

valley. The dust still rose, blurring now a A very little later than dawn, the front hill, now a hollow, now blearing the very door of the silent house opened. A girl sky; and through this dust, the carts began stepped forth as lightly and as gayly as a

to pass.

At the first familiar creak, Anbird. She stood a moment, her clear eyes netta's dream dissolved.

Her languid posflashing here and there across the flower ture was quickened into pleased expectancy. beds, then uttering a sharp exclamation, ran Slanting her broad hat toward the wind, and forward.

keeping a hand upon its brim, she had a "O, Refugio!"

smile and nod for every poor fellow looking Her ancient henchman looked, and came her way. hobbling.

The line of carts, often broken, seemed "That horrid frame!" scolded the girl. interminable; but Annetta's interest in it "It has blown down, dragging my darling ended suddenly enough. A figure, uncouth fuchsia with it. Alone, the bush would have as the rest to a casual eye, appeared standgrown stout enough to weather any storm. ing up boldly to guide a span of large black Why have you trained it to lean?”

horses. Was there an earnestness, almost passion- Annetta beckoned impulsively. ate, in the query?

One team coming to an unexpected standRefugio thought of nothing but the ac- still, the way was effectually blocked for a companying gesture. Annetta had flung long succession of carts yet invisible. Paaside the espalier.

tient equine noses were thrust inquiringly “No, no!" croaked the willful septuage- over tailboards just ahead. Impatient voices narian.

objurgated the unknown cause of the delay. Annette rose to her feet, possessed by The man whom Annetta had beckoned strange, confused longings. She saw and had leaped from his wagon and was standdid not see the warped back bowed before ing, hat doffed, at the gate. her. She saw and did not see the corrugated “I want your help to-day, Dan,” said Anneck, brown as an adobe, showing between netta. . two parted locks of long scant hair. She Nothing was answered in words. Dan saw and did not see the dark, knotted fin- resumed his wagon and his reins; but only gers digging eagerly into the scarce darker to drive hurriedly aside. earth. Old Refugio was having his way, The rude procession now moving on, setting up the stupid green ladder again; Annetta might have continued to nod and and, having his way, he was as happy as a smile in gracious morning salutation; but child.

between the grinding wheels, from under “Bonita, bonita!” he grunted.

the very hoofs of the stolid horses, somebody “Will it live?" asked Annetta, absently. was puffed, as it were, to the bars of the

Refugio lifted his wrinkled, sapless face high gate. A small man, fearfully and wontoward hers. A meaning sparkle lighted derfully made, yet instinct with the liveliest his purblind eyes. More eagerly still he gallantry. He greeted Annetta cheerily: grunted:

"To me a good morning," he said; "but Bonita, Señorita.

alas!"---- with an exaggerated sigh-"to my Annetta understood now. Smiling faintly poor little one bad, bad, bad.”

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Annetta looked rather than spoke a sym- up those black, hideous barns with gunpathy so beaming that the twisted little powder. Nothing less than a grand explocreature volubly continued:

sion could express my relief at getting rid of “And the moulin-à-vent—to my 'ouse, all them. New buildings should appear magicnight it run, run like a race-’orse. Why did ally in their stead. The men's quarters I not to fasten it? Look at dese so unhappy should be as fresh as well-seasoned lumlegs"-indicating some members terminat- ber and paint could make them. Iron ing in splay-feet. “Could I climb wiz zem?cots should take the place of those miserAlas! I ’ave not ozare. Behold, zis morn- able wooden bunks. That dreadful pond ing ze moulin-à-vent is broken. You will should be drained, and the hollow filled in. speak to Monsieur, your husband?”

Then, Dan, the cruel fever would disappear Annetta laughed, “My brother, sir!" with forever.” genuine amusement.

Dan rose up slowly from the border he “Aha?" cried the tiny Frenchman, "an was weeding, not so much to straighten his angel honly could pardon a meestake so un- back as to relieve his surcharged breast by pardonable!” Having fairly kissed out a long, quivering sigh. these words at the tips of his long yellow “But thim as the faver's took, Miss Bairtfingers, he offered them to Annetta, as upon more,” he said, "cud niver be brought here an improvised salver.

agin.” “You will intercede for me wiz Monsieur, “Ah, Dan, if it might be!" murmured the your brozare?”

girl, her gray eyes quick with compassion. She promised cordially to do so the in- “Forgive me. I did not mean to touch stant he awoke.

upon--- upon anything to remind you-of-” In a very little while after this supplica- She hesitated to be the first to speak the tion was ended, and the withered supplicant name so lately expunged from the lists of had writhed himself away, a figure altogether the living. different from his and from old Refugio's

Her sympathy fell upon that parching stood awaiting Annetta's orders.

heart as dew falls on flowers whence the A figure that would have been kingly in thirsty sun has drunk the sap. But how fine attire, but now, poorly clad, reared itself could Dan answer her soft “Forgive me”? aloft, calmly unconscious of strength or Meeting her lifted gaze, his lip trembled, beauty.

as if feeling after a language fitly to embody “We must begin with that central plat, his thoughts. His blue, dark eyes filled Dan,” Annetta declared, “and never rest slowly. until it is finished.”

“The world wud be a place for the howly Dan at once devoted himself to this ap- angels to live in, Miss, if you cud have your pointed task. Annetta, too, worked on, say.” chatting cheerily.

\Vhat sort of angels, Dan?” laughed “Let me have my way, Dan,” she cried Annetta, eager to help the talk into a livelier presently, in her gay voice, "and you'd be channel. And she shook her gloved finger astonished at the wholesale changes I'd with an engaging air of reproach. bring about."

“Arrah, miss, whin will I ever be afther The girl's energy of utterance brought her gittin' the right twisht to me tongue?” naturally to her feet. She forgot the pinks queried Dan, in deep perplexity. she was tying into decorous clumps of “Soon, very soon!” retorted Annetta. bloom. Using not her fingers--for these “I promise you that. So try again. Now!" were incased in garden-gloves the worse for He tried again, gaining her enthusiastic contact with the moist soil—but the back approval. of her hand she pushed her broad hat off "I shall be proud of my pupil some day," her flushed and happy face: “I'd just blow said she.

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"Indade, an' I hope so”-dubiously. poor, pretty forget-me-nots. I'll be back by

“But you must be more certain of your- the time you have finished here.” self”—showing a little impatience. “Think Casting her more serious fancies behind of the long way you've come by sea and her, Annetta walked briskly toward the land to reach this fair country you'd set house, entering by a rear door. your heart on.

Were there no dangers? A stout-armed, broad-shouldered girl of They could not stop you. How bravely twenty or so was getting breakfast in a you pushed forward! Push on bravely now, kitchen full of odors promising generous Dan, in this new journey toward an honor- morning fare. able place among men.

There's nothing “What, Maggy!" cried the young mistress. can stop you, if only you have a glowing “You're surely not putting in the biscuit wish and an indomitable will to rise.” already? I don't expect to see any signs of

Dan weeded steadily for a while after Tom this hour.” Annetta's buoyant tones were still.

“Howsomever,” returned the other, with “I was determined to come here meseľ, a good-natured quickness, "you'll be afther miss,” he began, at last, "and determined to seein' himsel if you'll shtep intil the office. bring Johnny. We'd heard mighty parables For the matther o’that, he's been askin' for

' of Californy. I cudn't tell yez the half o' yez.” the high hopes we had together. An' where “Tom asking for me?" repeated Annetta, are they all to-day?--wid Johnny in the her countenance not altogether guiltless of ground. Why, miss, I sometimes thinks as anxiety. the stir and the demur”- putting a coarse That room in the Bartmore house which hand against his breast

"inside us is was called the “office” had been recent

Betther to shtay ly added to the main building; an ugly where yez are put, be it in high place or excresence Annetta had in vain protested low."

against. It could be entered directly from “Don't talk so, Dan! You shall not.”

the yard.

To enter it from within one She did not hide from him the pain his must needs cross Bartmore's sleeping-chamwords gave her.

ber. "Don't disappoint me. I can't bear dis- Maggy's information had prepared Annetta appointment. I should stagnate-I should for an empty bed, and use had accustomed die”- looking the very picture of healthful her to the disorder always consequent upon loveliness, despite that transient trouble in her brother's toilet-making. Without pausher wide gray eyes—“without things to help ing now to answer the silent appeal of a me; without interests outside myself: not general disarray, she stepped airily into the mild, general interests, but those both keen adjoining apartment. What if she could and absorbing."

not understand just why Tom should be up Whether or no Dan recognized the truth so early, nor why he had been asking for that the girl's thoughts had traveled away her? No purely speculative anxiety ever from him, he presumed not to answer. So sat heavily on Annetta. There are always Annetta stood whirling her broad hat in one pleasant ways of accounting for the unhand, her uplifted brow grown dreamy. expected. When she came to herself and her surround- The girl had thought to find her brother ings, she said in a matter-of-fact voice, “I alone and absorbed in his morning paper. haven't had a bite of breakfast yet.”

He was not alone. "If you're goin'in, Miss," exclaimed The morning paper lay in a compact, Dan, “shall I be afther hoein' the cinter undisturbed roll upon his desk. when I've weeded this bordher?”

A person whose bearing was extremely “No!" with a little shriek, "I haven't dispirited occupied the merest edge of a forgotten how you once hoed up all my chair near the outer door of the office.

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Bartmore, apparently answering some re- mind—“you see, I've too many big conmonstrance or appeal, was delivering him- tracts on my hands to make sure of rememself of his ideas in loud, overbearing tones. bering odd jobs. However--here, Patsey."

“Well, see here, Patsey, if you can keep This direct summons found Patsey lapsed from making a beast of yourself you may pick into a dumb restlessness of brow and eyes, up your living about the 'camp' for the next which, taken in connection with a protrudday or two. You know what that means. ing jaw, fringed from ear to ear, was fairly I don't grudge a bone to a hungry dog. If simian in its suggestions. a 'boy' should knock off, and you're fit to “Yis, Misther Bairtmore”-springing forstep into his shoes, why, d---n it, I'll give ward as eagerly as before. you one more chance."

“Run to the barn and tell Jerry to keep At the word “beast,” the dispirited figure back three picks and two shovels at noon. had put forth his hand, palm outward, in a They'll be needed to dig a foundation for deprecatory gesture. A hard palm, grimed Mr. -" and calloused, one would think, to the very “Clay," said the stranger. bone. At Bartmore's admission in regard “To be sure—for Mr. Clay; do you hear?” to prospective work, heavily conditioned as “Yis, Misther Bairtmore.” it was, the shock-head: lifted itself eagerly, And Patsey instantly shambled off on his showing a pair of bleared and humid eyes. errand. The stranger merely lingered to

“May the saints reward your ginerosity, touch his hat to Annetta, and nodding careMisther Bairtmore,” was huskily uttered as lessly to Bartmore, went his way.

as the other had ceased speaking. A sudden draught of air, bursting through "Faith, I've see where dhrink'll fetch me, the house, flared the open fire, billowed the an' I've done with it, Misther Bairtmore. curtains, and banged to the office doors. Curse whusky, sir, but it's—"

Brother and sister were now shut in toHe got no farther.

gether. How sad that ever between those “Come, come, man!” interjected Bart- nearest each other in all the world a more, his fine nostrils dilating with moral tête-à-tête should be the last thing desired! indignation, “that will do. Don't you see Sensitive to delicate shades of expression, the lady, sir?"

both facial and vocal, where her brother was The first acknowledgment, this, Bartmore concerned, Annetta had already had her had chosen to yield of his sister's presence. misgivings. Seeing into what lines Bart

Plunged afresh into the deeps of humility, more's countenance hastily fell, she was not Patsey was elaborating a rambling apology, re-assured. addressed by turns to the arm of Bartmore's “There is something wrong,” she thought, chair and to the floor beneath Annetta's quite as if she had been all along gayly comfeet, when he was again interrupted. bating any such idea. “What can it be?” A knock came at the outer door.

Struggling heroically against a conviction “See who's there,” commanded Bartmore, that Tom was not only angry, but angry impersonally.

with her, Annetta grasped at every subject Patsey sprung with clumsy eagerness to likely to be wrath-averting, and hurriedly do this bidding.

presented each. A man was there, whose business Bart- “I told Maggie that you wouldn't be up more seemed to know better than he knew for an hour yet”—an artificial cheeriness in the man himself.

voice and manner. “But breakfast is nearly “Ay, ay, Cap.,” he exclaimed, before the ready, and we have opened that new case of other could do more than touch his hat. tea, and Maggie has steeped some for you.” “I'll try to have that ground broken for you Bartmore paid not the slightest heed. this afternoon.” Then laughingly—for so “Where have you been?” he asked dryly. Bartmore chose sometimes to speak his full "I? Why, at the front gate"-her heart

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