The Wrong Woman

Publisher: DigiLibraries.com
ISBN: N/A
Language: English
Published: 1 month ago
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CHAPTER I

Having made final inspection of the knots of her shoe-laces and the fastenings of her skirt, Janet turned toward her "perfectly horrid" oilcoat, which, as usual, had spent the night on the floor. As it would never come off till she had tortured her fingers on the edges of its big rusty buttons, she always parted from it on unpleasant terms, casting it from her; whereupon this masculine garment fell into the most absurd postures, sprawling about on her bedroom floor, or even sitting up, drunkenly, in the corner,—which latter it could easily do, being as stiff as it was yellow. This time it had caught by one arm on the back of a chair, and it came so near standing alone that it seemed to be on the point of getting along without the chair's assistance. As Janet stood considering its case, she turned her eyes toward the window to see what the weather had decided, and now she saw the farmer leading forth her pony. She went to the window and opened it wider.

"Please, Mr. Wanger, make it tight. He always swells himself out when he sees he is going to be saddled. Then, when he has gone a little distance, he lets himself in, and both the girths are hanging loose. That's one of his tricks."

She leaned farther out and made further observation of the weather. As the air was mild and the sky serenely blue (though you can never tell about a Texas Norther), she took Sir Slicker by the nape of his collar-band and dropped him out of the window to be lashed to the saddle; then she turned to the mirror again, and, having done the best she could with the hat, she went to take leave of the farmer's family, who, as she judged by certain sounds, were assembled at the front of the house awaiting her departure. But scarcely had she stepped into the adjoining room and shut the door behind her, when the buxom, blue-eyed Lena, rushing in from the porch, met her with a hug that was more like a welcome than a leave-taking.

"Oh, goo-o-o-bye, Miss Janey. I am so-o-o sorry. I t'ink you are so-o-o sweet and nice."

And then Lena, whose open Swiss nature was either at the summit of happiness or down in the valley of despair, regarded her ruefully for a space, and after one more hug and the shedding of two large healthy tears, accompanied her out to the porch. There the Wangers were waiting and the children standing in line to be kissed—quite as if she were a dear relative, or at least an acquaintance of more than four days' standing. Janet kissed them all; and having done so she proceeded to the hitching-post, followed by the entire family, down to little Jacob, who stationed himself at the very heels of the broncho, and was so far forgotten by them all, in their concern with Janet's affairs, that they did not think to rescue him from his perilous situation till it was everlastingly too late, the horse having by that time moved away. And then Jacob, who had been studying his elders closely, after the manner of his tribe, guessed the meaning of those farewell words which he had not been able to understand; and as she drew away he opened his mouth and bawled....