The Fighting Shepherdess (Chapter 4, page 1 of 12)

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Chapter 4

It was the most ambitious affair that had been attempted in Prouty--this function at the Prouty House. The printed invitations had made a deep impression; besides, wild rumors were flying about as to the elaborate costumes that were to be worn by the socially prominent.

It was whispered that Mrs. Abram Pantin, wife of the wealthy capitalist from Keokuk, now "settled in their midst," was to be seen in electric blue silk with real lace collar and cuffs; while Mrs. Sudds, wife of a near-governor, who had moved to Prouty from another part of the state, was to appear in her lansdowne wedding dress. Mrs. Myron Neifkins, too, if report could be believed, was to be gowned in peach-blow satin worked in French knots.

He was a dull clod indeed who could not feel the tremors in the air that momentous Saturday and by night there was not tying space at any hitching rack.

If the ball loomed so large to the townfolks, it may be assumed that Kate's anticipation was no less. As a matter of fact, she could scarcely sleep for thinking of it. She did not know much about God--Mormon Joe was not religious--but she felt vaguely that she must have Him to thank for this wonderful happiness. It was the most important happening since she had run, terrified, from home that black night three years ago.

There had not been a night since Hughie had given her the invitation that she had not lain awake for hours staring at the stars with a smile on her lips as she visualized situations. She saw herself dividing dances as belles did in books, taking her part in lively conversations, the center of merry groups. Oh, no, life would never be the same again; she was certain of it.

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