“Firio, don’t mistake your imagination for divination!” Jack warned him.
As Firio did not understand the meaning of this he said nothing. Probably he would have said nothing even if he had understood.
“I’ll show you the nature of the big sadness and that the devil is a joy devil when we harvest our first crop of alfalfa,” Jack concluded. “Then I shall make a holiday! Then I shall be a real rancher and something is going to happen!”
“The trail!” exclaimed Firio, and the soft light in his eyes flashed. “Si! The trail and the big spurs and the revolver in the holster!”
But Firio said “Si”! with the supreme confidence of one who holds that belief in fulfilment will make any wish come true.
A CHANGE OF MIND
It was Sunday afternoon; or, to date it by an epochal event, the day after Jack’s alfalfa crop had fallen before the mower. Mary was seated on the bench under the avenue of umbrella-trees reading a thin edition of Marcus Aurelius bound in flexible leather. Of late she had developed a fondness for the more austere philosophers. Jack, whose mood was entirely to the sonneteers, came softly singing down the avenue of palms and presented himself before her in a romping spirit of interruption.
“O expert in floriculture!” he said, “the humble pupil acting as a Committee of One has failed utterly to agree with himself as to the form of his new flowerbed. There must be a Committee of Two. Will you come?”
“Good! I am weary of Marcus. I can’t help thinking that he too far antedates the Bordeaux mixture!” she answered, springing to her feet with positive enthusiasm.
He rarely met positive enthusiasm in her and everything in him called for it at the moment. He found it so inspiring that the problem of the bed was settled easily by his consent to all her suggestions—a too-ready consent, she told herself.
“After all, it is your flower garden,” she reminded him.
“No, every flower garden in Little Rivers is yours!” he declared.
The way he said this made her frown. She saw him taking a step on the other side of that barrier over which she mounted guard.
“Never make your hyperboles felonious!” she warned him. “Besides, if you are going to be a real Little Riversite you should have opinions of your own.”
“I haven’t any to-day—none except victory!” and he held out his palms, exhibiting their yellowish plates. “Look! Even corns on the joints!”
“Yes, they look quite real,” she admitted, censoriously.
“Haven’t I made good? Do you remember how you stood here on the very site of my house and lectured me? I would not work! I would not—”
“You have worked a little—a little!” she said grudgingly, and showed him as much of the wondrous sparkle in her eyes as he could see out of the corners between the lashes. She never allowed him to look into her eyes if she apprehended any attempt to cross the barrier. But she could see well enough out of the corners to know that his glances had a kind of hungry joy and a promise of some new demonstration in his attitude toward her. She must watch that barrier very shrewdly.