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Sheets, Geo M. (ed.) / The Wisconsin literary magazine
Vol. VI, No. 1 (October 1908)

D. F.
Propinquity: The engineer and the Mexican girl,   pp. 6-13


Page 7


PROPINQUITY
anon, from a half dollar tin of "Lucky" at his side. Absorbed
in speculation as to when he would be able to retire from the
strenuous life and live comfortably in a bungalow kept spot-
less by the admirable hands of a Mendocino County girl he
knew, he paid small attention to the rambling discourse of Riley,
the big, dry Irishman, and Franklin Blaine Kidd of San Fran-
cisco, commonly called "The Captain" from a certain alleged re-
semblance to his illustrious namesake.
   These two discussed Socialism, and the relative merits of
double-barrel and repeating shot-guns; university education,
and how long the job was going to last; the importance of Santa
Cruz as a summer resort, and the effeteness of the East; Euro-
pean travel, and the lamentable scarcity of prune orchards and
school-ma'ams. And an infinite variety of other topics, but all
in a friendly desultory way, unusual in camp. Animation,
even in talk, was felt to be distinctly out of place.
   Cooney, the levelman, and Jim Morely, officially known as
"Marker," and colloquially as "Stake Artist," lounged
nearby,
reading month old magazines and listening to the flow of words.
Each pleaded guilty to a college education and evaded pointed
inquiries as to what good it had done him.
  Inevitably the conversation drifted to the new cook who had
arrived that morning. She was a dark-eyed, dark-haired, Span-
ish woman, not yet old in years but with the stodgy heaviness
which so soon overtakes the women of that race as a penalty
for their early bloom. It was generally conceded that she was
an improvement on the Chink who had departed the evening
before, a bare yard ahead of the eager toe of the chief's boot,
after some heated words on the sanitary value of cleanliness.
Final judgment, however, was suspended until a more thorough
test had been made. Experience had taught them the folly of
hasty decisions; the new cook had been in camp less than three
hours.
  "How'd you happen to get hold of her ?" inquired Jim of the
Captain. "It was quick work. I was expectin' we'd have to


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