The Branding Iron (The Two-Bar Brand - Chapter 3 Two Pictures in the Fire, page 1 of 3)


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The period which followed had a quality of breathless, almost
unearthly happiness. They were young, savage, simple, and their love,
unanalyzed, was as joyous as the loves of animals: joyous with that
clear gravity characteristic of the boy and girl. Pierre had been
terribly alone before Joan came, and the building-up of his ranch had
occupied his mind day and night except, now and again, for dreams. Yet
he was of a passionate nature. Joan felt in him sometimes a savage
possibility of violence. Two incidents of this time blazed themselves
especially on her memory: the one, her father's visit, the other, an
irrelevant enough picture until after events threw back a glare upon
it.

They had been at Pierre's ranch for a fortnight before John Carver
found them. Then, one morning, as Pierre opened the door to go out to
work, Joan saw a thin, red pony tied to the fence and a small figure
walking toward the cabin.

"Pierre, it's Father!" she said. And Pierre stopped in his tracks,
drew himself up and waited, hands on his cartridge belt.

How mean and old and furtive her father looked in contrast to this
beautiful young husband! Joan was entirely unafraid. She leaned
against the side of the door and watched, as silent and unconsulted as
any squaw, while the two men settled their property rights in her.

"So you've took my gel," said John Carver, stopping a foot or two in
front of Pierre, his eyes shifting up and down, one long hand
fingering his lips.

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