The Heritage of the Desert (Chapter 8, page 2 of 13)


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Chapter 8

"Because he'll be terribly angry."

"Angry--I don't understand. Why angry?"

The girl did not answer, and looked so forlorn that Hare attempted to take her in his arms. She resisted and broke from him.

"You must never--never do that again."

Hare drew back sharply.

"Why not? What's wrong? You must tell me, Mescal."

"I remembered." She hung her head.

"Remembered--what?"

"I am pledged to marry Father Naab's eldest son."

For a moment Hare did not understand. He stared at her unbelievingly.

"What did you say?" he asked, slowly.

Mescal repeated her words in a whisper.

"But--but Mescal--I love you. You let me kiss you," said Hare stupidly, as if he did not grasp her meaning. "You let me kiss you," he repeated.

"Oh, Jack, I forgot," she wailed. "It was so new, so strange, to have you up here. It was like a kind of dream. And after--after you kissed me I--I found out--"

"What, Mescal?"

Her silence answered him.

"But, Mescal, if you really love me you can't marry any one else," said Hare. It was the simple persistence of a simple swain.

"Oh, you don't know, you don't know. It's impossible!"

"Impossible!" Hare's anger flared up. "You let me believe I had won you. What kind of a girl are you? You were not true. Your actions were lies."

"Not lies," she faltered, and turned her face from him.

With no gentle hand he grasped her arm and forced her to look at him. But the misery in her eyes overcame him, and he roughly threw his arms around her and held her close.

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