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A Mountain Woman and Other Stories

"I've somethin' to ask," he said, paying no attention to her appeal. "You must answer it. If
we 'a' met long ago, an' you hadn't a husband or -- anythin' -- do you think you'd've loved
me then?"
She felt herself turning white.
"No," she said softly. "I could never have loved you, my dear friend. We are not the
same. Believe me, there is a woman somewhere who will love you; but I am not that
woman -- nor could I have ever been."
The train was starting. The major came bustling in.
"Well, good-by," said Roeder, holding out his hand to Kate.
"Good-by," she cried. "Don't go back up the gulch."
"Oh," he said, reassuringly, "don't you worry about me, my -- don't worry. The gulch is a
nice, quiet place. An' you know what I told you about th' ranks all bein' full. Good-by."
The train was well under way. He sprang off, and stood on the platform waving his
handkerchief.
"Well, Kate," said the major, seating himself down comfortably and adjusting his
travelling cap, "did you find the Western type?"
"I don't quite know," said she, slowly. "But I have made the discovery that a human soul
is much the same wherever you meet it."
"Dear me! You haven't been meeting a soul, have you?" the major said, facetiously,
unbuckling his travelling-bag. "I'll tell Jack."
"No, I'll tell Jack. And he'll feel quite as badly as I do to think that I could do nothing for
its proper adjustment."
The major's face took on a look of comprehension.
"Was that the soul," he asked, "that just came down in the carriage with us?"
"That was it," assented Kate. "It was born; it has had its mortal day; and it has gone back
up the gulch."
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