A Mountain Woman and Other Stories
A Mountain Woman
IF Leroy Brainard had not had such a respect for literature, he would have written a book.
As it was, he played at being an architect -- and succeeded in being a charming fellow.
My sister Jessica never lost an opportunity of laughing at his endeavors as an architect.
"You can build an enchanting villa, but what would you do with a cathedral?"
"I shall never have a chance at a cathedral," he would reply. "And, besides, it always
seems to me so material and so impertinent to build a little structure of stone and wood in
which to worship God!"
You see what he was like? He was frivolous, yet one could never tell when he would
become eloquently earnest.
Brainard went off suddenly Westward one day. I suspected that Jessica was at the bottom
of it, but I asked no questions; and I did not hear from him for months. Then I got a letter
"I have married a mountain woman," he wrote. "None of your puny breed of modern
femininity, but a remnant left over from the heroic ages, -- a primitive woman, grand and
vast of spirit, capable of true and steadfast wifehood. No sophistry about her; no
knowledge even that there is sophistry. Heavens! man, do you remember the rondeaux
and triolets I used to write to those pretty creatures back East? It would take a Saga man
of the old Norseland to write for my mountain woman. If I were an artist, I would paint
her with the north star in her locks and her feet on purple cloud. I suppose you are at the
Pier. I know you usually are at this season. At any rate, I shall direct this letter thither,
and will follow close after it. I want my wife to see something of life. And I want her to
meet your sister."
"Dear me!" cried Jessica, when I read the letter to her; "I don't know that I care to meet
anything quite so gigantic as that mountain woman. I'm one of the puny breed of modern
femininity, you know. I don't think my nerves can stand the encounter."
"Why, Jessica!" I protested. She blushed a little.
"Don't think bad of me, Victor. But, you see, I've a little scrap-book of those triolets
upstairs." Then she burst into a peal of irresistible laughter. "I'm not laughing because I
am piqued," she said frankly. "Though any one will admit that it is rather irritating to
have a man who left you in a blasted condition recover with such extraordinary
promptness. As a philanthropist, one of course rejoices, but as a woman, Victor, it must
be admitted that one has a right to feel annoyed. But, honestly, I am not ungenerous, and
I am going to do him a favor. I shall write, and urge him not to bring his wife here. A