“My darling,” she said; “my darling.”
Which is one of the countless variations of the malady which makes the world spin round in one continual and perpetual fit.
Five days running, Geraldine, Duane, and old Miller watched for the big gray boar among the rocky oak ridges under Cloudy Mountain; and though once they saw his huge tracks, they did not see him.
Every night, on their return, Scott jeered them and taunted them until a personal encounter with Duane was absolutely necessary, and they always adjourned to the snowy field of honour to wipe off the score and each other’s faces with the unblemished snow.
Rosalie and a Chow-dog arrived by the middle of the week; Delancy toward the end of it, unencumbered. Duane made a mental note of his own assininity, and let it go at that. He was as glad to see Rosalie as anybody, and just as glad to see Delancy, but he’d have preferred to enjoy the pleasures separately, though it really didn’t matter, after all.
“Sooner or later,” he admitted to himself, “that Delancy man is going to marry her; and it seems to me she’s entitled to another chance in the world. Even our earthly courts are lenient toward first offenders. As for the ethics—puzzle it out, you!” He made a gesture including the world in general, lighted a cigarette, and went out to the gun-room to join Geraldine.
“Rosalie and Delancy want to go shooting with us,” he explained with a shrug.
“Oh, Duane!—and our solitary and very heavenly trips alone together!”
“I know it. I have just telephoned Miller to get Kemp from Westgate for them. Is that all right?”
“Yes”—she hesitated—“I think so.”
“Let Kemp guide them,” he insisted. “They’ll never hold out as far as Cloudy Mountain. All they want is to shoot a boar, no matter how big it is. Miller says the boar are feeding again near the Green Pass. It’s easy enough to send them there.”
“Do you think that is perfectly hospitable? Rosalie and Delancy may find it rather stupid going off alone together with only Kemp to amuse them. I am fond of him,” she added, “but you know what a woman like Rosalie is prone to think of Delancy.”
He glanced at her keenly; she had, evidently, not the slightest notion of the status quo.
“Oh, they’ll get along together, all right,” he said carelessly. “If they choose to remain with us, of course we all can keep on to Cloudy Mountain; but you’ll see them accept Kemp and the Green Pass with grateful alacrity after two miles of snow-shoeing through the brush; and we’ll have the mountain all to ourselves.”
“You’re a shameless deviser of schemes, aren’t you, dear?” she asked, considering him with that faint, intimate smile, which, however, had always in it something of curiosity. “You know perfectly well we could drive those poor people the whole way to Cloudy Mountain.”