The Branding Iron (The Two-Bar Brand - Chapter 5 Pierre Becomes Alarmed About his Property, page 1 of 7)


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The next time Holliwell came, he brought the books, and, finding
Pierre at home, he sat with his host after supper and talked men's
talk of the country; of game, of ranching, a little gossip, stories of
travel, humorous experiences, and Joan sat in her place, the books in
her lap, looking and listening.

John Carver had used a phrase, "When you see her eyes lookin' and
lookin' at another man--" and this phrase had stuck in Pierre's
sensitive and jealous memory. What Joan felt for Holliwell was a sort
of ignorant and respectful tenderness, the excitement of an intelligent
child first moved to a knowledge of its own intelligence; the gratitude
of savage loneliness toward the beautiful feet of exploration. A
consciousness of her clean mind, a consciousness of her young, untamed
spirit, had come slowly to life in her since her talk with Holliwell.
Joan was peculiarly a woman--that is, the passive and receptive being.
Pierre had laid his hand on her heart and she had followed him; now
this young parson had put a curious finger on her brain, it followed
him. Her husband saw the admiration, the gratitude, the tender
excitement in her frank eyes, and the poison seed sown by John Carver's
hand shot out roots and tiny, deadly branches.

But Joan and Holliwell were unaware. Pierre smoked rapidly, rolling
cigarette after cigarette; he listened with a courteous air, he told
stories in his soft, slow voice; once he went out to bring in a fresh
log and, coming back on noiseless feet, saw Joan and her instructor
bent over one of the books and Joan's face was almost that of a
stranger, so eager, so flushed, with sparkles in the usually still,
gray eyes.

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