Page:Sawdust & Spangles.djvu/125

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99
THE PRAIRIE FIRE

ever seen upon a man's face. He spoke to me kindly as he placed his candle upon the little table, then drew his chair up close beside me in front of the open, wood fire. Twenty minutes afterward I could have sworn that I had known the man all my life. He was a brilliant talker; and his stock of knowledge regarding men and affairs of that day seemed to be inexhaustible.

"By the way," I said, after we had talked well into the night, "I see Gen. Sam Houston is billed to speak here to-morrow night. I shall certainly go to hear him." He glanced up at me quickly.

"Are you an admirer of him?" he asked. "I will answer that question by saying both yes and no," I replied. "I greatly admire him for his sturdy independence, his political ability, and his apparent hatred for all shams. But there seems to be another side to his character which I do not admire. The manner in which he deserted his Cherokee wife after he had left the nation and returned to civilization, I regard as wholly contemptible. Do you know him?"

"I have seen him," he replied, quietly, smiling the sad smile which had before struck me so forcibly.