16 BRET harte's CHOICE BITS.
of her own sex. Dissolute, abandoned, and irre¬
claimable, she was yet suffering a martyrdom hard
enough to bear even when veiled by sympathising
womanhood, but now terrible in her loneliriess.
The primal curse had come to her in that original
isolation which must have made the punishment
of the first transgression so dreadful. It was,
perhaps, part of the expiation of her sin, that, at a
moment when she most lacked her sex's intuitive
tenderness and care, she met only the half-contemp¬
tuous faces of her masculine associates. Yet a few
of the spectators were, I think, touched by her
sufferings. Sandy Tipton thought it was " rough
on Sal," and, in the contemplation of her condition,
for a moment rose superior to the fact that he had
an ace and two bowers in his sleeve.
It will be seen, also, that the situation was novel.
Deaths were by no means uncommon in Roaring
Camp, but a birth was a new thing. People had
been dismissed the camp effectively, finally, and
with no possibility of return ; but this was the first
time that anybody had been introduced ab initio.
Hence the excitement.
" You go in there. Stumpy," said a prominent
citizen known as " Kentuck," addressing one of the
loungers. " Go in there, and see what you kin do.
You've had experience in them things."
Perhaps there was a fitness in the selection.