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CHAPTER VIII

dismissed, Cal Tandy strode onward through the pine forest, coming out as soon as he could

upon the main road. Within his inexorable limitations he was a natural philosopher, liking the open highway for the reason that it gave his mind a chance to travel far, even though his feet might never follow. He had come from Georgia, and those who come from Georgia always go back to her, drawn by the love of her bare red hills, and longing for a smell of new-mown Georgia hay, cut from grass so high that a standing man can hide in it.

But going back to Georgia often takes a number of years. The secret of content is to accept from an alien land the pleasures of it, and to a person who does not care to be cooped up under a roof those pleasures mostly come, as they mostly go, by way of the open road.

Though the woods had not done so badly that morning! Cal went over the events by himself, remembering every word that had been said, and tingling anew under the excitement of them. They might sound dull enough to an outsider, as “chickery, craney, crow” sound uninspiring to anyone out of the game. The thrill of them belongs only to those who know that sooner or later somebody is going to be tagged for “It,” and the chase started.

A FTER dismissing himself in preference to being

Cal Tandy was willing to chase a girl only in order to satisfy her own fancy for that pastime. He himself acknowledged no necessity for it. Girls were manifestly put in the world for a man to take when he got ready. The law of life placed them among the things that he needed—first a dog, then a gun, then a horse, then a hut, then a wife. Girls were trained to side-step when a man came near, but they quieted down under the rein.

These equine comparisons were introduced to Cal's busy brain by the fact that he was watching the approach of a rider on a very fine horse. The man and his steed-coming with that leisureliness that is required by a thermometer that stands at ninety-eight degrees Fahrenheit—were knit together by the fine bonds of a thorough understanding, and of both owning the marks of a perfect lineage. The horse was a glittering bay, in shining trappings of yellow leather that gave a wealthy creak with every stride, and the young man who rode him was a credit even to such a horse.

Cal Tandy, whose state has sent more good horses and good men into the world than the world generally remembers, eyed the two with proper appreciation. When they came up he gave a brief pull at his cap.

“Howdy, Mr. Roycroft!"

“Morning, Tandy,” said Roycroft heartily, drawing rein. The big bay nodded her head easingly in graceful curves. “How's turpentine?”

“How's oranges ?" After delivering himself of this skillful repartee the Georgian backed up against a con venient pin oak and made the tree help him to stand. In Florida the man who knows how to rest all over lasts longest.

“Oranges are coming on!” said Roycroft cheerily. “Turpentine isn't,” said Cal, stoically enjoying this

repartee by himself. He could not wring from his saturated mind the picture of the enemy and her gun.

"Well, your season's over and mine is beginning," observed the Englishman.

Cal looked up piercingly, then dropped his full lids again. He had almost forgotten that they were talking of turpentine and oranges.

“By the way, Tandy!” said Roycroft, breezily remembering something.

“Yes, sir?” The “sir" came from him, not servilely, but in recognition of the patent fact that there is caste among men. All women were merely women, but there are men and men; for instance, was not he, Tandy, above his laborers? Yet above him was a boss, and that boss in turn knuckled down to a better-dressed boss with more money in the bank. The system was universal; its existence could not be denied except by a fool, and Tandy was no fool.

“Whereabouts is your still, Tandy?” “ 'Bout five mile northeast, to'ds the railroad track."

“Get along with you, Tandy! There's no railroad within twice that. I wish there were! A railroad would make this section the richest in Florida."

"I mean the single spur track laid by the turpentine company. Thinking of paying a visit?”

“Thinking of buying a barrel or so of waste. How much is it?"

“Three dollars."
“Can't shave the price a bit, Tandy?”

This question was so unlike the liberal policy which had won Roycroft his hosts of friends that Cal Tandy gathered something from it.

“Not buying it yourself, Mr. Roycroft?” “No; I'm going to suggest the use of it to my neigh

bor—for her grove. Four or five barrels would be needed. Twelve dollars or more. Humph! what queer things brains are, Tandy; I still have to figure in shillings before I can find out whether a sum is much or little [?? The part of this speech that concerned itself with brains was promptly dismissed by the mountaineer. “Laurie McAllister your neighbors” he asked with a slight drawl. “In Florida we are all neighbors, Tandy. Yes, I meant Miss McAllister. Her grove is in a deplorable condition, though she appears not to realize it. Yet, she may, and is striving to make the best of a discouraging situation. She is a brave girl. I am on my way there now with some news about the fruit situation.” Again Cal sidetracked nonessentials of business. Etiquette had the floor. “Did she give you an invite?” he simply asked. Charles Roycroft smilingly surveyed the horizon in a bit of brief reminiscence, recalling the ardors and rebuffs of his first visit to “McAllister.” “Can’t say that she did,” he admitted, gnawing his lip to restore his gravity. “But, Tandy, when a gentleman feels that he can be of service to a lady he does not wait for an invitation.” Cal relieved the pin oak of his pressure. He could not see where he could be benefited by remaining. Evidently the ways of a gentleman with a lady were the same as the ways of a man with a girl, and the differences between a swell Londoner and the foreman of a Florida turpentine camp were mostly external; the inside male was an absolute quantity, not affected by the number of starched shirts the individual owned. Cal

acknowledged Roycroft's high caste without malice and without a particle of envy. He enjoyed a brief chat with this handsome Brahmin, but grew bored with too much. The speech of the élite was all crust and no meat. Except that he would have cared to own the horse, Cal experienced no desire to change places with Roycroft in the social scale. For one thing he could not have stood hot leather puttees on his legs nor a stuffy tie around his neck. Without doubt, too_since Roycroft always looked cool and clean, regardless of a thermometer and a dust that invariably rose together

- he had to garb himself twice a day. For a real man this would be punishment.

Still, knowing that a girl was just as apt to encourage an imitation man as a real one, especially when the real one had turned his back, Cal threw out a little hint calculated to hasten Roycroft's return to his own preserves.

“An orange grove is mighty like a rabbit; you lose it if you take your eye offen it. I wonder how you can afford to ride around so much.”

“Talking rabbits, was that one you shot at a while back, Tandy?”

"No, sir."
“What then?”
"I wasn't a-shooting.”
“But I heard shots; didn't you?”

Cal glanced reflectively down at one of his big brown hands, the one that had held a knife.

“Yes, I heard 'em, powerful close."

Cal's reticence sprang from magnificent indolence. If the girl was going to inform on him she would save him just so much labor. As for my grove,” went on Roycroft, though he

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