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Emerson Hough
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 265 pages of information about 54-40 or Fight.

“Except Mr. Nicholas Trist!  A beautiful and accomplished lady, I doubt not, in his mind.”

“Yes, all of that, I doubt not.”

“And quite kind with her little gifts.”

“Elisabeth, I can not well explain all that to you.  I can not, on my honor.”

“Do not!” she cried, putting out her hand as though in alarm.  “Do not invoke your honor!” She looked at me again.  I have never seen a look like hers.  She had been calm, cold, and again indignant, all in a moment’s time.  That expression which now showed on her face was one yet worse for me.

Still I would not accept my dismissal, but went on stubbornly:  “But may I not see your father and have my chance again?  I can not let it go this way.  It is the ruin of my life.”

But now she was advancing, dropping down a step at a time, and her face was turned straight ahead.  The pink of her gown was matched by the pink of her cheeks.  I saw the little working of the white throat wherein some sobs seemed stifling.  And so she went away and left me.

CHAPTER XXIII

SUCCESS IN SILK

     As things are, I think women are generally better creatures
     than men.—­S.T.  Coleridge.

It was a part of my duties, when in Washington, to assist my chief in his personal and official correspondence, which necessarily was very heavy.  This work we customarily began about nine of the morning.  On the following day I was on hand earlier than usual.  I was done with Washington now, done with everything, eager only to be off on the far trails once more.  But I almost forgot my own griefs when I saw my chief.  When I found him, already astir in his office, his face was strangely wan and thin, his hands bloodless.  Over him hung an air of utter weariness; yet, shame to my own despair, energy showed in all his actions.  Resolution was written on his face.  He greeted me with a smile which strangely lighted his grim face.

“We have good news of some kind this morning, sir?” I inquired.

In answer, he motioned me to a document which lay open upon his table.  It was familiar enough to me.  I glanced at the bottom.  There were two signatures!

“Texas agrees!” I exclaimed. “The Dona Lucrezia has won Van Zandt’s signature!

I looked at him.  His own eyes were swimming wet!  This, then, was that man of whom it is only remembered that he was a pro-slavery champion.

“It will be a great country,” said he at last.  “This once done, I shall feel that, after all, I have not lived wholly in vain.”

“But the difficulties!  Suppose Van Zandt proves traitorous to us?”

“He dare not.  Texas may know that he bargained with England, but he dare not traffic with Mexico and let that be known.  He would not live a day.”

“But perhaps the Dona Lucrezia herself might some time prove fickle.”

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