In Old Kentucky eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 235 pages of information about In Old Kentucky.

“Only this,” he said, and slowly read:  “’Queen Bess is still the favorite for the Ashland Oaks.  The report that she was injured in the fire by which her stable was burned, proves to be a canard.  Her owner declares her to be unhurt and in fine condition.’”

The Colonel nodded his approval.  “That’s what I’ve telegraphed the Dyer brothers.  I’m sure they won’t refuse to take her when they know the facts in the case.  It was a close shave, though.  If it hadn’t been for that little thoroughbred from the mountains—­”

“When she rushed into the flames, last night, wasn’t she magnificent!” said Frank, flushing with enthusiasm.  “And when she came out, leading Queen Bess to safety, she looked like an angel!”

The Colonel coughed in deprecation.  “The simile’s off, a little bit, ain’t it?  Angels are not supposed to come out of the flames.”

“At least, Colonel, you’ll admit that she’s the best and bravest little girl you ever knew.”

The Colonel smiled.  “Yes; but, my boy, this enthusiasm is alarming.”  He laughed outright.  “It seems to indicate another conflagration, with Cupid as the incendiary.”

The youth colored.  “Oh, nonsense!”

“Be more careful, Frank,” his friend urged, becoming serious.  “She’s a dear, simple little thing, not used to the ways of the world.  Don’t let her get too fond of you.”

“What do you mean?”

“See here, my boy.  I know you young fellows don’t want an old fool, like me, interfering with your affairs, but I’ve taken that little girl right to my heart.  I tell you, Frank, she’s too brave and true to be trifled with.  She’s not that kind.”

Layson flushed hotly.  The intimation, even from the Colonel, was more than he could bear with patience.  “Stop!” he cried.  “You’ve said enough.  What you mean to insinuate is false!”

The Colonel rose, embarrassed.  The youth’s earnestness astonished him.  Could it be possible that this scion of an ancient bluegrass family, this leader of the younger set in one of the most exclusive circles in Kentucky, could really be thinking seriously of that untutored mountain-girl?  “My boy, forgive me!” he exclaimed.  “I—­I didn’t understand.  I never dreamed there could be anything—­er—­serious.  I thought, of course—­”

Frank paced the floor with nervous tread.  Other things than the impending contest for the Ashland Oaks had been worrying him of late.  Since he had left the mountains there had scarcely been a moment, waking or sleeping, when the face of the sweet mountain girl who had fascinated him among her rocks and forests, and had come down to the bluegrass to save not only his life but the life of his beloved mare, had not been vividly before him.  Untutored she might be, uncouth of speech, unlearned in all those things, in fact, which the women he had known had ever held most valuable, but her compensating virtues had begun to take upon themselves their actual values—­values so overwhelming in their magnitude that her few lackings grew to seem continually less important in his mind.

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In Old Kentucky from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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