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Newspaper Page Text
very slightly as she passed him. EH
mer had no excuse for speaking to
The next time he met her was
when his cattle had strayed near
Wats.on'8 boundary. She was seated
upon the ground in the lush grasses,
almost hidden by them. Elmer's keen
ears had heard her soba before he
saw her. '
He dismpunted from bis horse and
went toward .her awkwardly, and
stood, looking down at her. She
sprang to her feet and faced him;
her face was scarlet and the tears
were still upon her cheeks.
Elmer stretched out his hands and
grasped hers closely. "Mrs. "Watson
forgive me," he said. "It just makes
my blood boil. If ever I can hehi
"No, you cannot help me,"" she
said, turning her face away.
"But you are only a girl," he ex
claimed. "You cannot have been
married long. You have all your life
before you; ypu cannot endure to be
'linked in this hideous way for years.
"You must not say any more, Mr.
Elmer," she answered coldly. "My
troubles are of my own creating. I
must bear them alone. I "
She paused and her face blanched.
She looked round and Elmer's eyes
followed hers. Ten yards distant,
Watson was lying in the grass, re
garding them, a sneer on his face.
Elmer hesitated a moment, and then
He learned something of her story
a few y8 kter from some of the.
townspeople. Emmeline Watson had
been married to her husband six
months before they moved-west from
St. Louis. She was the orphan daugh
ter of a famous1 architect who had
killed himself in shame at Ms Im
pending bankruptcy. Ignorant of the
world, she had fallen a victim to the
coarse, good-looking traveling man
who had told her he loved her. They
were married; six weeks later she
learned that "Watson was- a, drunkard
and an ex-convict. She ba.d prevailed
on him to go West, to make a new
start. For a time he had tried to re
form, but his evil nature had prqxed
dominant and he had shamefully i
abused and ill-treated her. Yet she )
seemed to cling to him all the more
because of it
Watson spread the story of hs
wife's encounter with Elmer through
Westwood. Some day, he boasted, he t
would kill him. But when the men -met
Watson skulked past, or turned
down a side street, pretending not' to
have seen him. Meanwhile Elmer
was deliberating. If he interfered
again he vould take some irrevoc
able step. But he knew that Watson's
insinuations were true; he loved Em
meline Watson, and in a few short
encounters which they had had he
had decerned in her own heart an
answering inclination toward him.
But he knew, alsp, that so long as
Watson lived' she would be true to
He had controlled his rising pas
sion though it went h0rd wth him.
At night, lying In. his lonely cahin,
the thought of Enimeline's beautiful
face and clear eyes, the knowledge of
her truth and honor maddened him.
She was the one woman for him;' so
.long as he lived his love for her
would be an integral part of bis be
ing. His passion drove him fprth to
mounfc his horse and gallop furiously
across the ranges under the stars, re
turning exhausted, hialiorse sweat
ing and foaming, when the sun ap
peared over the Eastern hills.
On one such night he had had a
harder battle than ever before. Evil
thoughts came to him. He would kill
Watson. Everyone knew that Watson
bad threatened to take his life; he
could not be convicted, or even tried.
Why stould he not relieve her from
this fearful chain she wore? Perhaps
she was suffering now; perhaps Wat
son was abusing her, striking her,
even. He turned his horse toward
Watson's cabin, and then, irresolute,
reined Jn upon the-top-of an acclivity,