"When?" was the significant word to me for many a month; her eyes had filled it with meaning.
I've told of this meeting with Miss Vidal at length, because it marked an epoch in my life; it was the first time that love had cast her glamor over me making beauty superlative, intoxicating. The passion rendered it easier for me to resist ordinary temptation, for it taught me there was a whole gorgeous world in Love's Kingdom that I had never imagined, much less explored. I had scarcely a lewd thought of Gloria. It was not till I saw her bared shoulders in evening dress that I stripped her in imagination and went almost wild in uncontrollable desire. Would she ever kiss me? What was she like undressed? My imagination was still untutored: I could picture her breasts better than her sex and I made up my mind to examine the next girl I was lucky enough to see naked, much more precisely.
At the back of my mind was the fixed resolve to get to Chihuahua somehow or other in the near future and meet my charmer again and that resolve in due course shaped my life anew.
In early June, that year, three strangers came to the Hotel, all cattlemen I was told, but of a new sort: Reece and Dell and Ford, the "Boss", as he was called. Reece was a tall dark Englishman or rather Welshman, always dressed in brown leather riding boots, Bedford Cord breeches and dark tweed cutaway coat: he looked a prosperous gentleman farmer; Dell was almost a copy of him in clothes, about middle height and sturdier—in fact an ordinary Englishman. The Boss was fully six feet, taller even than Reece with a hatchet-thin, bronzed face and eagle profile—evidently a Western cattle-man from head to foot. The headwaiter told me about them and as