Page:Sawdust & Spangles.djvu/128

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102
SAWDUST AND SPANGLES

thousand times nobler than the beautiful society woman who had ruined his life in early manhood. She loved him passionately, but positively refused to accede to his requests. 'I would only disgrace you,' she said. 'I am not fit to go out into your world.' Finally the husband returned without her—very much against his wishes, remember—and a few months later word reached him that his Indian wife was dead. She had loved him too well to accompany him into his changed life for fear of disgracing him, and had loved him too well to wish to live without him. She was found, said the messenger, at the bottom of a cliff, and the manner of her death was only too apparent. The white wife represented what is popularly called the highest type of civilization and social culture—the poor Indian girl what is best known by the name of savagery. That, young man, is how General Houston came to desert his Indian bride."

I had been deeply interested in the old man's story, and when he had finished I thought that his keen eyes were filled with tears as he sat gazing into the dying embers of our fire. I hastened to assure him that I was glad to be set right regarding General Houston's character. "I shall listen to his speech with re-