PART V. Alexandra
3. CHAPTER III
The next afternoon Carl and Alexandra were walking across the fields
from Mrs. Hiller's. Alexandra had left Lincoln after midnight,
and Carl had met her at the Hanover station early in the morning.
After they reached home, Alexandra had gone over to Mrs. Hiller's
to leave a little present she had bought for her in the city. They
stayed at the old lady's door but a moment, and then came out to
spend the rest of the afternoon in the sunny fields.
Alexandra had taken off her black traveling suit and put on
a white dress; partly because she saw that her black clothes made
Carl uncomfortable and partly because she felt oppressed by them
herself. They seemed a little like the prison where she had worn
them yesterday, and to be out of place in the open fields. Carl
had changed very little. His cheeks were browner and fuller. He
looked less like a tired scholar than when he went away a year ago,
but no one, even now, would have taken him for a man of business.
His soft, lustrous black eyes, his whimsical smile, would be less
against him in the Klondike than on the Divide. There are always
dreamers on the frontier.
Carl and Alexandra had been talking since morning. Her letter had
never reached him. He had first learned of her misfortune from
a San Francisco paper, four weeks old, which he had picked up in
a saloon, and which contained a brief account of Frank Shabata's
trial. When he put down the paper, he had already made up his
mind that he could reach Alexandra as quickly as a letter could;
and ever since he had been on the way; day and night, by the fastest
boats and trains he could catch. His steamer had been held back
two days by rough weather.
As they came out of Mrs. Hiller's garden they took up their talk
again where they had left it.
"But could you come away like that, Carl, without arranging things?
Could you just walk off and leave your business?" Alexandra asked.