e reluctantly agreed that sweet Essie Dade could never sit a horse over ditch or hurdle with the superb grace and unconcern displayed by the daring, dashing girl who had so suddenly become the centre of garrison interest. For the first time in her life Mrs. Bill Hay knew what it was to hold the undivided attention of army society, for every woman at Fort Frayne was wild to know all about the beautiful newcomer, and only one could tell.
Hay, the trader, had prospered in his long years on the frontier, first as trader among the Sioux, later as sutler, and finally, when Congress abolished that title, substituting therefore the euphemism, without material clog upon the perquisites, as post trader at Fort Frayne. No one knew how much he was worth, for while apparently a most open-hearted, whole-souled fellow, Hay was reticence itself when his fortunes or his family were matters of question or comment. He had long been married, and Mrs. Hay, when at the post, was a social sphinx,--kind-hearted, charitable, l
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