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|In The Carquinez Woods||Bret Harte|
|Page 3 of 6||
"I thought of going over myself to get the Burnham girls to come to choir-meeting," replied Miss Nellie carelessly, "and he might have been company."
"He'd go now, if he knew you were going," said her father; "but it's just as well he shouldn't be needlessly encouraged. I rather think that Sheriff Dunn is a little jealous of him. By the way, the sheriff is much better. I called to cheer him up to-day" (Mr. Wynn had in fact tumultuously accelerated the sick man's pulse), "and he talked of you, as usual. In fact, he said he had only two things to get well for. One was to catch and hang that woman Teresa, who shot him; the other--can't you guess the other?" he added archly, with a faint suggestion of his other manner.
Miss Nellie coldly could not.
The Rev. Mr. Wynn's archness vanished. "Don't be a fool," he said dryly. "He wants to marry you, and you know it."
"Most of the men here do," responded Miss Nellie, without the least trace of coquetry. "Is the wedding or the hanging to take place first, or together, so he can officiate at both?"
"His share in the Union Ditch is worth a hundred thousand dollars," continued her father; "and if he isn't nominated for district judge this fall, he's bound to go to the legislature, anyway. I don't think a girl with your advantages and education can afford to throw away the chance of shining in Sacramento, San Francisco, or, in good time, perhaps even Washington."
Miss Nellie's eyes did not reflect entire disapproval of this suggestion, although she replied with something of her father's practical quality.
"Mr. Dunn is not out of his bed yet, and they say Teresa's got away to Arizona, so there isn't any particular hurry."
"Perhaps not; but see here, Nellie, I've some important news for you. You know your young friend of the Carquinez Woods--Dorman, the botanist, eh? Well, Brace knows all about him. And what do you think he is?"
Miss Nellie took upon herself a few extra degrees of cold, and didn't know.
"An Injin! Yes, an out-and-out Cherokee. You see he calls himself Dorman--Low Dorman. That's only French for 'Sleeping Water,' his Injin name!--'Low Dorman.'"
"You mean 'L'Eau Dormante,'" said Nellie.
"That's what I said. The chief called him 'Sleeping Water' when he was a boy, and one of them French Canadian trappers translated it into French when he brought him to California to school. But he's an Injin, sure. No wonder he prefers to live in the woods."
"Well?" said Nellie.
"Well," echoed her father impatiently, "he's an Injin, I tell you, and you can't of course have anything to do with him. He mustn't come here again."
"But you forget," said Nellie imperturbably, "that it was you who invited him here, and were so much exercised over him. You remember you introduced him to the Bishop and those Eastern clergymen as a magnificent specimen of a young Californian. You forget what an occasion you made of his coming to church on Sunday, and how you made him come in his buckskin shirt and walk down the street with you after service!"
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