"Thar you were!" he cried. "Thar was th' rock -- risin', risin', black! At th' bottom wus th' creek, howlin' day an' night! Lonesome! Gee! No one t' talk to. Of course, th' men. Had some with me always. They didn't talk. It's too -- too quiet t' talk much. They played cards. Curious, but I never played cards. Don't think I'd find it amusin'. No, I worked. Came down here once in six months or three months. Had t' come -- grub-staked th' men, you know. Did you ever eat salt pork?" He turned to Kate suddenly with this question.
"Why, yes; a few times. Did you have it?"
"Nothin' else, much. I used t' think of th' things mother cooked. Mother under- stood cookin', if ever a woman did. I'll never forget th' dinner she gave me th' day I came away. A woman ought t' cook. I hear American women don't go in much for cookin'."
"Oh, I think that's a mistake," Kate hastened to interrupt. "All that I know un- derstand how to serve excellent dinners. Of course, they may not cook them themselves, but I think they could if it were necessary."
"Hum!" He picked up a long glove that had fallen from Kate's lap and fingered it before returning it.
"I make a specialty of salads and sor- bets," smiled Kate. "I guess I could roast meat and make bread; but circumstances have not yet compelled me to do it. But I've a theory that an American woman can do anything she puts her mind to."
The man laughed out loud, -- a laugh quite out of proportion to the mild good humor of the remark; but it was evident that he could no longer conceal his delight at this companionship.
"How about raisin' flowers?" he asked. "Are you strong on that?"