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The Rose Of Tuolumne
by [?]

But his daughter had already dismissed the question with her usual directness. “I’ll be down in a few moments, father,” she said after a pause, “but don’t say any thing to him about it–don’t say I was abed.”

Mr. McClosky’s face beamed. “You was allers a good girl, Jinny,” he said, dropping on one knee the better to imprint a respectful kiss on her forehead. But Jenny caught him by the wrists, and for a moment held him captive. “Father,” said she, trying to fix his shy eyes with the clear, steady glance of her own, “all the girls that were there to-night had some one with them. Mame Robinson had her aunt; Lucy Rance had her mother; Kate Pierson had her sister–all, except me, had some other woman. Father dear,” her lip trembled just a little, “I wish mother hadn’t died when I was so small. I wish there was some other woman in the family besides me. I ain’t lonely with you, father dear; but if there was only some one, you know, when the time comes for John and me”–

Her voice here suddenly gave out, but not her brave eyes, that were still fixed earnestly upon his face. Mr. McClosky, apparently tracing out a pattern on the bedquilt, essayed words of comfort.

“Thar ain’t one of them gals ez you’ve named, Jinny, ez could do what you’ve done with a whole Noah’s ark of relations, at their backs! Thar ain’t ‘one ez wouldn’t sacrifice her nearest relation to make the strike that you hev. Ez to mothers, maybe, my dear you’re doin’ better without one.” He rose suddenly, and walked toward the door. When he reached it, he turned, and, in his old deprecating manner, said, “Don’t be long, Jinny,” smiled, and vanished from the head downward, his canvas slippers asserting themselves resolutely to the last.

When Mr. McClosky reached his parlor again, his troublesome guest was not there. The decanter stood on the table untouched; three or four books lay upon the floor; a number of photographic views of the Sierras were scattered over the sofa; two sofa-pillows, a newspaper, and a Mexican blanket, lay on the carpet, as if the late occupant of the room had tried to read in a recumbent position. A French window opening upon a veranda, which never before in the history of the house had been unfastened, now betrayed by its waving lace curtain the way that the fugitive had escaped. Mr. McClosky heaved a sigh of despair. He looked at the gorgeous carpet purchased in Sacramento at a fabulous price, at the crimson satin and rosewood furniture unparalleled in the history of Tuolumne, at the massively-framed pictures on the walls, and looked beyond it, through the open window, to the reckless man, who, fleeing these sybaritic allurements, was smoking a cigar upon the moonlit road. This room, which had so often awed the youth of Tuolumne into filial respect, was evidently a failure. It remained to be seen if the “Rose” herself had lost her fragrance. “I reckon Jinny will fetch him yet,” said Mr. McClosky with parental faith.

He stepped from the window upon the veranda; but he had scarcely done this, before his figure was detected by the stranger, who at once crossed the road. When within a few feet of McClosky, he stopped. “You persistent old plantigrade!” he said in a low voice, audible only to the person addressed, and a face full of affected anxiety, “why don’t you go to bed? Didn’t I tell you to go and leave me here alone? In the name of all that’s idiotic and imbecile, why do you continue to shuffle about here? Or are you trying to drive me crazy with your presence, as you have with that wretched music-box that I’ve just dropped under yonder tree? It’s an hour and a half yet before the stage passes: do you think, do you imagine for a single moment, that I can tolerate you until then, eh? Why don’t you speak? Are you asleep? You don’t mean to say that you have the audacity to add somnambulism to your other weaknesses? you’re not low enough to repeat yourself under any such weak pretext as that, eh?”