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The Pretty Sister Of José

written by "Reinhart, Charles Stanley, 1844-1896"," said Pepita. "Never!" And there was not a shade of doubt in her look—nothing but cold indignation at Jovita's ill-humor. "I am not afraid of men. They are all stupid. They think they can have anything they want, and they can have nothing. They have to ask, and it is the girls who can say 'No;' and then they are miserable, and beg and beg until one detests them. If any one said 'No' to me, I would not let them see it hurt me. They should think I did not care." "You will not always say 'No,'" grumbled Jovita. "Wait till the day for 'Yes' comes. You'll say it fast enough. That's the way with women." A bewitching little smile slowly curved Pepita's lips and crept into her eyes. "I am not a woman," she said, looking out at the sun-warmed vineyards. "He said so himself. Felipe said, 'You are not a woman; you are a witch, and no one can touch your heart or conquer you.' I will be a witch." Secretly she had liked those words better than any of the adoring praises she had heard before. She liked the suggestion that she was invincible and safe from all danger—to be a witch—to be free from all this disastrous folly—to be unconquerable. Yes, that pleased her. It was not her fault that they would fall in love with her. What did she do to them? Nothing. She never allowed them to come near her or touch her; she never gave them tender glances or words. She laughed and was Pepita—that was all. Then it was no fault of hers. And yet her little heart was warm enough. She loved Jos passionately; she loved Jo-vita; she loved little children and animals, and they loved her in return; old men and women adored her because of her simple, almost childish kindness and her readiness to help those who needed her young strength and bright spirit. It was only men who made love who were shown no mercy. She did not know that they needed mercy. She did not understand—that was all. It was as Jos had known it wou...

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