The Branding Iron (The Two-Bar Brand - Chapter 2 Pierre Lays his Hand on a Heart, page 1 of 8)


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Maud Upper was the first girl of her own age that Joan had ever seen.
Joan went in terror of her and Maud knew this and enjoyed her
ascendancy over an untamed creature twice her size. There was the
crack of a lion-tamer's whip in the tone of her instructions. That was
after a day or two. At first Maud had been horribly afraid of Joan. "A
wild thing like her, livin' off there in the hills with that man, why,
ma, there's no tellin' what she might be doin' to me."

"She won't hurt ye," laughed Mrs. Upper, who had lived in the wilds
herself, having been a frontierman's wife before the days even of this
frontier town and having married the hotel-keeper as a second venture.
She knew that civilization--this rude place being civilization to
Joan--would cow the girl and she knew that Maud's self-assertive
buoyancy would frighten the soul of her. Maud was large-hipped,
high-bosomed, with a small, round waist much compressed. She carried
her head, with its waved brown hair, very high, and shot blue glances
down along a short, broad nose. Her mouth was thin and determined, her
color high. She had a curiously shallow, weak voice that sounded
breathless. She taught Joan impatiently and laughed loudly but not
unkindly at her ways.

"Gee, she's awkward, ain't she?" she would say to the men; "trail like
a bull moose!"

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