LOST! TWO HASTY TEMPERS
“One more throw, and then no more until the contest,” Jack announced placatingly, when he spied a lone bull standing just before a thicket of chaparral and staring at them with stupid resentment that his siesta had been disturbed. “A kiss for luck, little one!”
Riata coiled in his hand, Jack rode closer and leaned to the girl, his eyes and his voice caressing, his lips quivering for the kiss he craved. It had come to kisses long before then, and to half promises, when her mood was tender, that she would marry her blue-eyed one—sometime.
Just now her mood was not tender. Jack was not to blame, nor was the pretty Senora Simpson, although Mrs. Jerry was quite innocently and unconsciously the cause. Mrs. Jerry had a headache, that day, and a fit of the blues; and from the first moment when Teresita had entered the cabin she had felt a lack of warmth in the pretty senora’s manner that had piqued her, who had lived upon adoration all her life. Mrs. Jerry had even shown a disposition to shirk keeping her promise anent the new way of doing Teresita’s hair.
She said that she didn’t think she’d go to the fiesta, after all—which was like calmly telling a priest that one does not, after all, feel as if heaven is worth striving for.
Teresita failed to see how the wistfulness was quite submerging the twinkle in Mrs. Jerry’s eyes, and if she had seen, she would never have guessed what put it there; nor would she have understood why Mrs. Jerry might shrink from attending that magnificent festival, perhaps the only gringo woman in all the crowd, and a pitifully shabby gringo woman at that. To her mind, Mrs. Jerry was beautiful and perfect, even in her shapeless brown dress that was always clean. Teresita herself would never have worn that dress at all, yet it did not occur to her that Mrs. Jerry might have some very feminine quality of pride crowded down into some corner of her sweet nature. So Teresita was mightily offended at what she considered a slight from the only gringo woman she had ever known; and she was also bitterly disappointed over the abandonment of the new coiffure.
“Why don’t you wear it just the way it is, honey?” Mrs. Jerry had suggested—and very sensibly, too. “I wouldn’t go and twist it all up and stick pins through it, if I was you. It’s prettier just that way.”
Teresita had understood enough of that, thanks to the teachings of her blue-eyed one, to know that the pretty senora did not mean to keep her promise. She had gone almost immediately to the cabin door to tell Jack that she was ready to go home. And Jack, deep in one of those interminable conversations with Jerry himself, over on the pile of logs that would one day be a stable if Jerry’s hopes reached fruition, had merely waved his hand carelessly when he saw her, and had given all his attention to Jerry again.