Grace agreed with him, except that Rose must be told, saying she would find it out even if the attempt were made to conceal it from her, and added: “Jack and Rose are completely absorbed in each other. They will be with each other most of the time. My father is absent all day, and until late at night. My mother is good, and will not much disturb us. I can look in your eyes every day, kiss you sometimes, and feel your presence like a robust spirit near me all the time.” Then, suddenly pausing for an instant, she again broke out with, “Oh, how happy I am; it seems as though my heart would break with its ecstasy!” and, springing up, she ran to the piano, and sang a song which filled the room with melody, and caused a linnet that was asleep on her perch to awaken and join her trills to the song.
Going to Epsom downs.
The next morning early the young couples started for Epsom Downs. Browning had engaged a carriage to take them, and they started a little after daylight. Early as it was, the procession which annually empties London to witness the great race was in motion. There had been a slight shower the previous evening; every bit of herbage was fresh and beautiful; the day was perfect and the ride delicious. When part of the distance had been traveled, Browning, looking back, said: “Grace, I believe I see your destiny coming.”
“In what form?” asked Grace, laughing.
“In a typical cowboy,” said her foster brother.
Then all looked, and sure enough there, two hundred yards away, was the broad hat, the nameless grace, the erect form, the man straight as a line from his head to his stirrups, the Mexican saddle, the woven-hair bridle with Spanish bit; all complete except the horse. That was not a steed of the plains, but a magnificent hunter. The girls clapped their hands in delight, and Grace wished he would “hurry up,” so that they might get a nearer view.
Just then a cry arose in the rear, and a horse attached to a broken vehicle was seen coming, running away in the very desperation of fear.
The carriage was driven to the side of the road, and both men sprang out. A dense crowd of vehicles, many of them containing women and children, were just in front, and the thought of that mad horse dashing among them was sickening. But Sedgwick cried out: “Look, ladies, quick!”
What they saw was the hunter under a dead run, his rider urging him on apparently, and working something in his right hand. The harnessed horse was a good one, but the hunter was gaining upon him, and just as the mad runaway was almost opposite the ladies, the right arm of the rider of the hunter made a quick curve, the looped end of a rope darted out like a bird of prey from the hand; the loop went over the runaway’s head; the hunter was brought almost to a dead stop; the other animal went up into the air, then fell to his knees, then over on his side. Sedgwick and Browning sprang to him, unfastened him from the wreck, got the reins and secured his head, then took off the lariat, let him up, and tied him to the hedge by the roadside.