Marching Men HTML version

During the days since she had seen McGregor Margaret had thought of him
almost constantly. She weighed and balanced her own inclinations and decided
that if the opportunity came she would marry the man whose force and courage
had so appealed to her. She was half disappointed that the opposition she had
seen in her father's face when she had told him of McGregor and had betrayed
herself by her tears did not become more active. She wanted to fight, to defend
the man she had secretly chosen. When nothing was said of the matter she went
to her mother and tried to explain. "We will have him here," the mother said
quickly. "I am giving a reception next week. I will make him the chief figure. Let
me have his name and address and I will attend to the matter."
Laura arose and went into the house. A shrewd gleam came into her eyes. "He
will act like a fool before our people," she told herself. "He is a brute and will be
made to look like a brute." She could not restrain her impatience and sought out
David. "He is a man to fear," she said; "he would stop at nothing. You must think
of some way to put an end to Margaret's interest in him. Do you know of a better
plan than to have him here where he will look the fool?"
David took the cigar from his lips. He felt annoyed and irritated that an affair
concerning Margaret had been brought forward for discussion. In his heart he
also feared McGregor. "Let it alone," he said sharply. "She is a woman grown
and has more judgment and good sense than any other woman I know." He got
up and threw the cigar over the veranda into the grass. "Women are not
understandable," he half shouted. "They do inexplicable things, have inexplicable
fancies. Why do they not go forward along straight lines like a sane man? I years
ago gave up understanding you and now I am being compelled to give up
understanding Margaret."
* * * * *
At Mrs. Ormsby's reception McGregor appeared arrayed in the black suit he had
purchased for his mother's funeral. His flaming red hair and rude countenance
arrested the attention of all. About him on all sides crackled talk and laughter. As
Margaret had been alarmed and ill at ease in the crowded court room where a
fight for life went on, so he among these people who went about uttering little
broken sentences and laughing foolishly at nothing, felt depressed and uncertain.
In the midst of the company he occupied much the same position as a new and
ferocious animal safely caught and now on caged exhibition. They thought it
clever of Mrs. Ormsby to have him and he was, in not quite the accepted sense,
the lion of the evening. The rumour that he would be there had induced more
than one woman to cut other engagements and come to where she could take
the hand of and talk with this hero of the newspapers, and the men shaking his