“No, everything is not the same, not even the ride—not yet!” she admitted. “But time will make it so—time and a sense of humor, which I hope I have.”
SENOR DON’T CARE RECEIVES
Jack lounged in an armchair in the Galway sitting-room with his bandaged leg bolstered on a stool after Dr. Patterson had fished a bit of lead out of the wound. Tribute overflowed from the table to the chairs and from the chairs to the floor; pineapples, their knobby jackets all yellow from ripening in the field, with the full succulency of root-fed and sun-drawn flavor; monstrous navel oranges, leaden with the weight of juice, richer than cloth of gold and velvet soft; and every fruit of the fertile soil and benignant climate; and jellies, pies, and custards. But these were only the edibles. There were flowers in equal abundance. They banked the windows.
“It’s Jasper Ewold’s idea to bring gifts when you call,” explained Jim Galway. “Jasper is always sowing ideas and lots of them have sprung up and flourished.”
Jack had not been in Little Rivers twenty-four hours, and he had played a part in its criminal annals and become subject to all the embarrassment of favors of a royal bride or a prima donna who is about to sail. In a bower, amazed, he was meeting the world of Little Rivers and its wife. Men of all ages; men with foreign accent; men born and bred as farmers; men to whom the effect of indoor occupation clung; men still weak, but with red corpuscles singing a song of returning health in their arteries—strapping, vigorous men, all with hands hardened by manual labor and in their eyes the far distances of the desert, in contrast to the sparkle of oasis intimacy.
Women with the accent of college classrooms; women who made plural nouns the running mates of singular verbs; women who were novices in housework; women drilled in drudgery from childhood—all expanding, all dwelling in a democracy that had begun its life afresh in a new land, and all with the wonder of gardens where there had been only sagebrush in their beings.
There was something at odds with Jack’s experience of desert towns in the picture of a bronzed rancher, his arms loaded with roses, saying, in boyish diffidence:
“Mister, you fit him fair and you sure fixed him good. Just a few roses—they’re so thick over to our place that they’re getting a pest. Thought mebbe they’d be nice for you to look at while you was tied up to a chair nursing Pete’s soovenir!”
One visitor whose bulk filled the doorway, the expansion of his smile spreading over a bounteous rotundity of cheek, impressed himself as a personality who had the distinction in avoirdupois that Jim Galway had in leanness. In his hand he had five or six peonies as large as saucers.
“Every complete community has a fat man, seh!” he announced, with a certain ample bashfulness in keeping with his general amplitude and a musical Southern accent.