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Page 166

CHAPTER X - Don Ramon and Dona Carlota

But Dona Carlota had money. She was from Torreon and drew still a good income from the mines.
A mozo came with a note from Don Ramon : might he bring his wife to call on Kate?
Dona Carlota was a thin, gentle, wide-eyed woman, with a slightly startled expression, and soft, brownish hair. She was pure European in extraction, of a Spanish father and French mother: very different from the usual stout, over-powdered, ox-like Mexican matron. Her face was pale, faded, and without any make-up at all. Her thin, eager figure had something Eng= lish about it, but her strange, wide brown eyes were not English. She spoke only Spanish - or French. But her Spanish was so slow and distinct and slightly plaintive, that Kate understood her at once.
The two women understood one another quickly, but were a little nervous of one another. Dona Carlota was delicate and sensitive like a Chihuahua dog, and with the same slightly prominent eyes. Kate felt she had rarely met a woman with such a dog-like finesse of gentleness. And the two women talked. Ramon, large and muted, kept himself in reserve. It was as if the two women rushed together to unite against his silence and his powerful, different significance.
Kate knew at once that Dona Carlota loved him, but with a love that was now nearly all will. She had worshipped him, and she had had to leave off worshipping him. She had had to question him. And she would never now cease from questioning.
So he sat apart, a little constrained, his handsome head hanging a little, and his dark, sensitive hands dangling between his thighs.
`I had such a wonderful time!' Kate said suddenly to him. `I danced a dance round the drum with the Men of Quetzalcoatl.'
`I heard,' he said, with a rather stiff smile.
Dona Carlota understood English, though she would not speak it.
`You danced with the men of Quetzalcoatl!' she said in Spanish, in a pained voice. `But, Senora, why did you do such a thing? Oh why?'
`I was fascinated,' said Kate.

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