The Girl from Montana (Chapter 4, page 1 of 6)


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Chapter 4

"I'm not anybody in particular," he answered, "and I'm not just sure where
I belong. I live in Pennsylvania, but I didn't seem to belong there
exactly, at least not just now, and so I came out here to see if I
belonged anywhere else. I concluded yesterday that I didn't. At least, not
until I came in sight of you. But I suspect I am running away myself. In
fact, that is just what I am doing, running away from a woman!"

He looked at her with his honest hazel eyes, and she liked him. She felt
he was telling her the truth, but it seemed to be a truth he was just
finding out for himself as he talked.

"Why do you run away from a woman? How could a woman hurt you? Can she
shoot?"

He flashed her a look of amusement and pain mingled.

"She uses other weapons," he said. "Her words are darts, and her looks are
swords."

"What a queer woman! Does she ride well?"

"Yes, in an automobile!"

"What is that?" She asked the question shyly as if she feared he might
laugh again; and he looked down, and perceived that he was talking far
above her. In fact, he was talking to himself more than to the girl.

There was a bitter pleasure in speaking of his lost lady to this wild
creature who almost seemed of another kind, more like an intelligent bird
or flower.

"An automobile is a carriage that moves about without horses," he answered
her gravely. "It moves by machinery."

"I should not like it," said the girl decidedly. "Horses are better than
machines. I saw a machine once. It was to cut wheat. It made a noise, and
did not go fast. It frightened me."

"But automobiles go very fast, faster than any horses And they do not all
make a noise."

The girl looked around apprehensively.

"My horse can go very fast. You do not know how fast. If you see her
coming, I will change horses with you. You must ride to the nearest bench
and over, and then turn backward on your tracks. She will never find you
that way. And I am not afraid of a woman."

The man broke into a hearty laugh, loud and long. He laughed until the
tears rolled down his cheeks; and the girl, offended, rode haughtily
beside him. Then all in a moment he grew quite grave.

"Excuse me," he said; "I am not laughing at you now, though it looks that
way. I am laughing out of the bitterness of my soul at the picture you put
before me. Although I am running away from her, the lady will not come out
in her automobile to look for me. She does not want me!"

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