The decisive turn to her mobile lips and the faint wrinkles of a frown, coming and going in various heraldry, formed a vividly sentient and versatile expression of emotions while she watched his silhouette against the sky as he turned to get his own pony.
“Come, P.D.—come along!” he called.
In answer to his voice an equine face, peculiarly reflective of trail wisdom, bony and large, particularly over the eyes, slowly turned toward its master. P.D. was considering.
“Come along! The trail, P.D.!” And P.D. came, but with democratic independence, taking his time to get into motion. “He is never fast,” Jack explained, “but once he has the motor going, he keeps at it all day. So I call him P.D. without the Q., as he is never quick.”
“Pretty Damn, you mean!” she exclaimed, with a certain spontaneous pride of understanding. Then she flushed in confusion.
“Oh, thank you! It was so human of you to translate it out loud! It isn’t profane. Look at him now. Don’t you think it is a good name for him?” Jack asked, seriously.
She was laughing again, oblivious of the impending tragedy.
JACK RIDES IN COMPANY
Let not the Grundy woman raise an eyebrow of deprecation at the informal introduction of Jack and Mary, or we shall refute her with her own precepts, which make the steps to a throne the steps of the social pyramid. If she wishes a sponsor, we name an impeccable majesty of the very oldest dynasty of all, which is entirely without scandal. We remind her of the ancient rule that people who meet at court, vouched for by royal favor, need no introduction.
These two had met under the roof of the Eternal Painter. His palette is somewhere in the upper ether and his head in the interplanetary spaces. His heavy eyebrows twinkle with star-dust. Dodging occasional flying meteors, which harass him as flies harass a landscapist out of doors on a hot day, he is ever active, this mighty artist of the changing desert sky. So fickle his moods, so versatile his genius, so quick to creation his fancy, that he never knows what his next composition will be till the second that it is begun.
No earthly rival need be jealous of him. He will never clog the galleries. He always paints on the same canvas, scraping off one picture to make room for another. And you do not mind the loss of the old. You live for the new.
His Majesty has no artistic memory. He is as young as he was the day that he flung out his first tentative lunette after chaos. He is the patron saint of all pilgrims from the city’s struggle, where they found no oases of rest. He melts “pasts” and family skeletons and hidden stories of any kind whatsoever into the blue as a background with the abandoned preoccupation of his own brushwork. His lieges, who seek oblivion in the desert, need not worry about the water that will never run over the millwheel again, or dwell in prophecy on floods to come. The omnipotence of the moment transports and soothes them.