Rainbow's End eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 328 pages of information about Rainbow's End.

“You say you are going away?” Rosa inquired, breathlessly.  “But why?”

“I’m going partly because of this war, and partly because of—­ something else.  I tried to tell you yesterday, but I couldn’t.  When the revolution started everybody thought it was merely a local uprising, and I wrote my company to that effect; but, bless you, it has spread like fire, and now the whole eastern end of the island is ablaze.”

“Esteban says it will be more terrible than the Ten Years’ War.”

“God forbid!  And yet all the old fighters are back again.  Nobody believed that Maximo Gomez had returned, but it’s true.  And the Maceos are here, too, from Costa Rica.  Antonio has already gained control of most of Santiago Province, and he’s sweeping westward.  Of course the Spaniards minimize the reports of his success, and we, here, don’t understand what’s really going on.  Anyhow, business has stopped, and my employers have ordered me home to find out what’s happened to their profits.  They seem to hold me personally responsible for this insurrection.”

“I see.  And when you have told them the truth you will come back.  Is that it?”

“I—­Perhaps.”

“You said there was something else—­”

O’Reilly’s hesitation became an embarrassed silence.  He tried to laugh it off.

“There is, otherwise I’d stay right here and tell my penurious friends to whistle for their profits.  It seems I’m cursed with a fatal beauty.  You may have noticed it?  No?  Well, perhaps it’s a magnificent business ability that I have.  Anyhow, the president of my company has a notion that I’d make him a good son-in-law.”

“I—­Oh!” cried Rosa.

And at her tone O’Reilly hurried on: 

“These rich men have the most absurd ideas.  I suppose I’ll have to—­”

“Then you are in love, senor?”

The young man nodded vigorously.  “Indeed I am—­with the sweetest girl in Cuba.  That’s the whole trouble.  That’s why I’m hurrying home to resign before I’m fired.”  Not daring to look too long or too deeply into Rosa Varona’s eyes until she had taken in the whole truth, he waited, staring at his feet.  “I’m sort of glad it has come to a show-down and I can speak out.  I’m hoping she’ll miss me.”  After a moment he ventured, “Will she—­er—­will you, Rosa?”

“I?  Miss you?” Rosa lifted her brows in pretended amazement.  Then she tipped her head daintily to one side, as if weighing his question earnestly.  “You are amusing, of course, but—­I won’t have much time to think about you, for I am so soon to be married.”

“Married?  What?” O’Reilly started violently, and the girl exclaimed, with well-feigned concern: 

“Oh, senor!  You have wounded yourself again on that thorn-bush.  This place is growing up to brambles.”

“It wasn’t my finger!  Something pierced me through the heart.  Married?  Nonsense!”

“Indeed!  Do you think I’m so ugly nobody would have me?”

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Project Gutenberg
Rainbow's End from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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