Part 2 out of 4
of you. That you could come West weak and sick, and fight your way to
health, and learn to be self-sufficient! It is a splendid achievement. It
amazes me. I don't grasp it. I want to think. Nevertheless I--"
"What?" he queried, as she hesitated.
"Oh, never mind now," she replied, hastily, averting her eyes.
The day was far spent when Carley returned to the Lodge-and in spite of the
discomfort of cold and sleet, and the bitter wind that beat in her face as
she struggled up the trail--it was a day never to be forgotten. Nothing had
been wanting in Glenn's attention or affection. He had been comrade, lover,
all she craved for. And but for his few singular words about work and
children there had been no serious talk. Only a play day in his canyon and
his cabin! Yet had she appeared at her best? Something vague and perplexing
knocked at the gate of her consciousness.
Two warm sunny days in early May inclined Mr. Hutter to the opinion that
pleasant spring weather was at hand and that it would be a propitious time
to climb up on the desert to look after his sheep interests. Glenn, of
course, would accompany him.
"Carley and I will go too," asserted Flo.
"Reckon that'll be good," said Hutter, with approving nod.
His wife also agreed that it would be fine for Carley to see the beautiful
desert country round Sunset Peak. But Glenn looked dubious.
"Carley, it'll be rather hard," he said. "You're soft, and riding and lying
out will stove you up. You ought to break in gradually."
"I rode ten miles today," rejoined Carley. "And didn't mind it--much." This
was a little deviation from stern veracity.
"Shore Carley's well and strong," protested Flo. "She'll get sore, but that
won't kill her."
Glenn eyed Flo with rather penetrating glance. "I might drive Carley round
about in the car," he said.
"But you can't drive over those lava flats, or go round, either. We'd have
to send horses in some cases miles to meet you. It's horseback if you go at
"Shore we'll go horseback," spoke up Flo. "Carley has got it all over that
Spencer girl who was here last summer."
"I think so, too. I am sure I hope so. Because you remember what the ride
to Long Valley did to Miss Spencer," rejoined Glenn.
"What?" inquired Carley.
"Bad cold, peeled nose, skinned shin, saddle sores. She was in bed two
days. She didn't show much pep the rest of her stay here, and she never got
on another horse."
"Oh, is that all, Glenn?" returned Carley, in feigned surprise. "Why, I
imagined from your tone that Miss Spencer's ride must have occasioned her
discomfort. . . . See here, Glenn. I may be a tenderfoot, but I'm no
"My dear, I surrender," replied Glenn, with a laugh. "Really, I'm
delighted. But if anything happens--don't you blame me. I'm quite sure that
a long horseback ride, in spring, on the desert, will show you a good many
things about yourself."
That was how Carley came to find herself, the afternoon of the next day,
astride a self-willed and unmanageable little mustang, riding in the rear
of her friends, on the way through a cedar forest toward a place called
Carley had not been able yet, during the several hours of their journey, to
take any pleasure in the scenery or in her mount. For in the first place
there was nothing to see but scrubby little gnarled cedars and drab-looking
rocks; and in the second this Indian pony she rode had discovered she was
not an adept horsewoman and had proceeded to take advantage of the fact. It
did not help Carley's predicament to remember that Glenn had decidedly
advised her against riding this particular mustang. To be sure, Flo had
approved of Carley's choice, and Mr. Hutter, with a hearty laugh, had
fallen in line: "Shore. Let her ride one of the broncs, if she wants." So
this animal she bestrode must have been a bronc, for it did not take him
long to elicit from Carley a muttered, "I don't know what bronc means, but
it sounds like this pony acts."
Carley had inquired the animal's name from the young herder who had saddled
him for her.
"Wal, I reckon he ain't got much of a name," replied the lad, with a grin,
as he scratched his head. "For us boys always called him Spillbeans."
"Humph! What a beautiful cognomen!" ejaculated Carley, "But according to
Shakespeare any name will serve. I'll ride him or--or--"
So far there had not really been any necessity for the completion of that
sentence. But five miles of riding up into the cedar forest had convinced
Carley that she might not have much farther to go. Spillbeans had ambled
along well enough until he reached level ground where a long bleached grass
waved in the wind. Here he manifested hunger, then a contrary nature, next
insubordination, and finally direct hostility. Carley had urged, pulled,
and commanded in vain. Then when she gave Spillbeans a kick in the flank he
jumped stiff legged, propelling her up out of the saddle, and while she was
descending he made the queer jump again, coming up to meet her. The jolt
she got seemed to dislocate every bone in her body. Likewise it hurt.
Moreover, along with her idea of what a spectacle she must have presented,
it quickly decided Carley that Spillbeans was a horse that was not to be
opposed. Whenever he wanted a mouthful of grass he stopped to get it.
Therefore Carley was always in the rear, a fact which in itself did not
displease her. Despite his contrariness, however, Spillbeans had apparently
no intention of allowing the other horses to get completely out of sight.
Several times Flo waited for Carley to catch up. "He's loafing on you,
Carley. You ought to have on a spur. Break off a switch and beat him some."
Then she whipped the mustang across the flank with her bridle rein, which
punishment caused Spillbeans meekly to trot on with alacrity. Carley had a
positive belief that he would not do it for her. And after Flo's repeated
efforts, assisted by chastisement from Glenn, had kept Spillbeans in a trot
for a couple of miles Carley began to discover that the trotting of a horse
was the most uncomfortable motion possible to imagine. It grew worse. It
became painful. It gradually got unendurable. But pride made Carley endure
it until suddenly she thought she had been stabbed in the side. This
strange piercing pain must be what Glenn had called a "stitch" in the side,
something common to novices on horseback. Carley could have screamed. She
pulled the mustang to a walk and sagged in her saddle until the pain
subsided. What a blessed relief! Carley had keen sense of the difference
between riding in Central Park and in Arizona. She regretted her choice of
horses. Spillbeans was attractive to look at, but the pleasure of riding
him was a delusion. Flo had said his gait resembled the motion of a rocking
chair. This Western girl, according to Charley, the sheep herder, was not
above playing Arizona jokes. Be that as it might, Spillbeans now manifested
a desire to remain with the other horses, and he broke out of a walk into a
trot. Carley could not keep him from trotting. Hence her state soon wore
into acute distress.
Her left ankle seemed broken. The stirrup was heavy, and as soon as she was
tired she could no longer keep its weight from drawing her foot in. The
inside of her right knee was as sore as a boil. Besides, she had other
pains, just as severe, and she stood momentarily in mortal dread of that
terrible stitch in her side. If it returned she knew she would fall off.
But, fortunately, just when she was growing weak and dizzy, the horses
ahead slowed to a walk on a descent. The road wound down into a wide deep
canyon. Carley had a respite from her severest pains. Never before had she
known what it meant to be so grateful for relief from anything.
The afternoon grew far advanced and the sunset was hazily shrouded in gray.
Hutter did not like the looks of those clouds. "Reckon we're in for
weather," he said. Carley did not care what happened. Weather or anything
else that might make it possible to get off her horse! Glenn rode beside
her, inquiring solicitously as to her pleasure. "Ride of my life!" she lied
heroically. And it helped some to see that she both fooled and pleased him.
Beyond the canyon the cedared desert heaved higher and changed its aspect.
The trees grew larger, bushier, greener, and closer together, with patches
of bleached grass between, and russet-lichened rocks everywhere. Small
cactus plants bristled sparsely in open places; and here and there bright
red flowers--Indian paintbrush, Flo called them--added a touch of color to
the gray. Glenn pointed to where dark banks of cloud had massed around the
mountain peaks. The scene to the west was somber and compelling.
At last the men and the pack-horses ahead came to a halt in a level green
forestland with no high trees. Far ahead a chain of soft gray round hills
led up to the dark heaved mass of mountains. Carley saw the gleam of water
through the trees. Probably her mustang saw or scented it, because he
started to trot. Carley had reached a limit of strength, endurance, and
patience. She hauled him up short. When Spillbeans evinced a stubborn
intention to go on Carley gave him a kick. Then it happened.
She felt the reins jerked out of her hands and the saddle propel her
upward. When she descended it was to meet that before-experienced jolt.
"Look!" cried Flo. "That bronc is going to pitch."
"Hold on, Carley!" yelled Glenn.
Desperately Carley essayed to do just that. But Spillbeans jolted her out
of the saddle. She came down on his rump and began to slide back and down.
Frightened and furious, Carley tried to hang to the saddle with her hands
and to squeeze the mustang with her knees. But another jolt broke her hold,
and then, helpless and bewildered, with her heart in her throat and a
terrible sensation of weakness, she slid back at each upheave of the
muscular rump until she slid off and to the ground in a heap. Whereupon
Spillbeans trotted off toward the water.
Carley sat up before Glenn and Flo reached her. Manifestly they were
concerned about her, but both were ready to burst with laughter. Carley
knew she was not hurt and she was so glad to be off the mustang that, on
the moment, she could almost have laughed herself.
"That beast is well named," she said. "He spilled me, all right. And I
presume I resembled a sack of beans."
"Carley--you're--not hurt?" asked Glenn, choking, as he helped her up.
"Not physically. But my feelings are."
Then Glenn let out a hearty howl of mirth, which was seconded by a loud
guffaw from Hutter. Flo, however, appeared to be able to restrain whatever
she felt. To Carley she looked queer.
"Pitch! You called it that," said Carley.
"Oh, he didn't really pitch. He just humped up a few times," replied Flo,
and then when she saw how Carley was going to take it she burst into a
merry peal of laughter. Charley, the sheep herder was grinning, and some of
the other men turned away with shaking shoulders.
"Laugh, you wild and woolly Westerners!" ejaculated Carley. "It must have
been funny. I hope I can be a good sport. . . . But I bet you I ride him
"Shore you will," replied Flo.
Evidently the little incident drew the party closer together. Carley felt a
warmth of good nature that overcame her first feeling of humiliation. They
expected such things from her, and she should expect them, too, and take
them, if not fearlessly or painlessly, at least without resentment.
Carley walked about to ease her swollen and sore joints, and while doing so
she took stock of the camp ground and what was going on. At second glance
the place had a certain attraction difficult for her to define. She could
see far, and the view north toward those strange gray-colored symmetrical
hills was one that fascinated while it repelled her. Near at hand the
ground sloped down to a large rock-bound lake, perhaps a mile in
circumference. In the distance, along the shore she saw a white conical
tent, and blue smoke, and moving gray objects she took for sheep.
The men unpacked and unsaddled the horses, and, hobbling their forefeet
together, turned them loose. Twilight had fallen and each man appeared to
be briskly set upon his own task. Glenn was cutting around the foot of a
thickly branched cedar where, he told Carley, he would make a bed for her
and Flo. All that Carley could see that could be used for such purpose was
a canvas-covered roll. Presently Glenn untied a rope from round this,
unrolled it, and dragged it under the cedar. Then he spread down the outer
layer of canvas, disclosing a considerable thickness of blankets. From
under the top of these he pulled out two flat little pillows. These he
placed in position, and turned back some of the blankets.
"Carley, you crawl in here, pile the blankets up, and the tarp over them,"
directed Glenn. "If it rains pull the tarp up over your head--and let it
This direction sounded in Glenn's cheery voice a good deal more pleasurable
than the possibilities suggested. Surely that cedar tree could not keep off
rain or snow.
"Glenn, how about--about animals--and crawling things, you know?" queried
"Oh, there are a few tarantulas and centipedes, and sometimes a scorpion.
But these don't crawl around much at night. The only thing to worry about
are the hydrophobia skunks."
"What on earth are they?" asked Carley, quite aghast.
"Skunks are polecats, you know," replied Glenn, cheerfully. "Sometimes one
gets bitten by a coyote that has rabies, and then he's a dangerous
customer. He has no fear and he may run across you and bite you in the
face. Queer how they generally bite your nose. Two men have been bitten
since I've been here. One of them died, and the other had to go to the Pasteur Institute
with a well-developed case of hydrophobia."
"Good heavens!" cried Carley, horrified.
"You needn't be afraid," said Glenn. "I'll tie one of the dogs near your
Carley wondered whether Glenn's casual, easy tone had been adopted for her
benefit or was merely an assimilation from this Western life. Not
improbably Glenn himself might be capable of playing a trick on her. Carley
endeavored to fortify herself against disaster, so that when it befell she
might not be wholly ludicrous.
With the coming of twilight a cold, keen wind moaned through the cedars.
Carley would have hovered close to the fire even if she had not been too
tired to exert herself. Despite her aches, she did justice to the supper.
It amazed her that appetite consumed her to the extent of overcoming a
distaste for this strong, coarse cooking. Before the meal ended darkness
had fallen, a windy raw darkness that enveloped heavily like a blanket.
Presently Carley edged closer to the fire, and there she stayed,
alternately turning back and front to the welcome heat. She seemingly
roasted hands, face, and knees while her back froze. The wind blew the
smoke in all directions. When she groped around with blurred, smarting eyes
to escape the hot smoke, it followed her. The other members of the party
sat comfortably on sacks or rocks, without much notice of the smoke that so
exasperated Carley. Twice Glenn insisted that she take a seat he had fixed
for her, but she preferred to stand and move around a little.
By and by the camp tasks of the men appeared to be ended, and all gathered
near the fire to lounge and smoke and talk. Glenn and Hutter engaged in
interested conversation with two Mexicans, evidently sheep herders. If the
wind and cold had not made Carley so uncomfortable she might have found the
scene picturesque. How black the night! She could scarcely distinguish the
sky at all. The cedar branches swished in the wind, and from the gloom came
a low sound of waves lapping a rocky shore. Presently Glenn held up a hand.
"Listen, Carley!" he said.
Then she heard strange wild yelps, staccato, piercing, somehow infinitely
lonely. They made her shudder.
"Coyotes," said Glenn. "You'll come to love that chorus. Hear the dogs bark
Carley listened with interest, but she was inclined to doubt that she would
ever become enamoured of such wild cries.
"Do coyotes come near camp?" she queried.
"Shore. Sometimes they pull your pillow out from under your head," replied
Carley did not ask any more questions. Natural history was not her favorite
study and she was sure she could dispense with any first-hand knowledge of
desert beasts. She thought, however, she heard one of the men say, "Big
varmint prowlin' round the sheep." To which Hutter replied, "Reckon it was
a bear." And Glenn said, "I saw his fresh track by the lake. Some bear!"
The heat from the fire made Carley so drowsy that she could scarcely hold
up her head. She longed for bed even if it was out there in the open.
Presently Flo called her: "Come. Let's walk a little before turning in."
So Carley permitted herself to be led to and fro down an open aisle between
some cedars. The far end of that aisle, dark, gloomy, with the bushy
secretive cedars all around, caused Carley apprehension she was ashamed to
admit. Flo talked eloquently about the joys of camp life, and how the
harder any outdoor task was and the more endurance and pain it required,
the more pride and pleasure one had in remembering it. Carley was weighing
the import of these words when suddenly Flo clutched her arm. "What's
that?" she whispered, tensely.
Carley stood stockstill. They had reached the furthermost end of that
aisle, but had turned to go back. The flare of the camp fire threw a wan
light into the shadows before them. There came a rustling in the brush, a
snapping of twigs. Cold tremors chased up and down Carley's back.
"Shore it's a varmint, all right. Let's hurry," whispered Flo.
Carley needed no urging. It appeared that Flo was not going to run. She
walked fast, peering back over her shoulder, and, hanging to Carley's arm,
she rounded a large cedar that had obstructed some of the firelight. The
gloom was not so thick here. And on the instant Carley espied a low, moving
object, somehow furry, and gray in color. She gasped. She could not speak.
Her heart gave a mighty throb and seemed to stop.
"What--do you see?" cried Flo, sharply, peering ahead. "Oh! . . . Come,
Flo's cry showed she must nearly be strangled with terror. But Carley was
frozen in her tracks. Her eyes were riveted upon the gray furry object. It
stopped. Then it came faster. It magnified. It was a huge beast. Carley had
no control over mind, heart, voice, or muscle. Her legs gave way. She was
sinking. A terrible panic, icy, sickening, rending, possessed her whole
The huge gray thing came at her. Into the rushing of her ears broke
thudding sounds. The thing leaped up. A horrible petrifaction suddenly made
stone of Carley. Then she saw a gray mantlelike object cast aside to
disclose the dark form of a man. Glenn!
"Carley, dog-gone it! You don't scare worth a cent," he laughingly
She collapsed into his arms. The liberating shock was as great as had been
her terror. She began to tremble violently. Her hands got back a sense of
strength to clutch. Heart and blood seemed released from that ice-banded vise.
"Say, I believe you were scared," went on Glenn, bending over her.
"Scar-ed!" she gasped. "Oh--there's no word--to tell--what I was!"
Flo came running back, giggling with joy. "Glenn, she shore took you for a
bear. Why, I felt her go stiff as a post! . . . Hal Ha! Hal Carley, now how
do you like the wild and woolly?"
"Oh! You put up-a trick on me!" ejaculated Carley. "Glenn, how could you? .
. . Such a terrible trick! I wouldn't have minded something reasonable. But
that! Oh, I'll never forgive you!"
Glenn showed remorse, and kissed her before Flo in a way that made some
little amends. "Maybe I overdid it," he said. "But I thought you'd have a
momentary start, you know, enough to make you yell, and then you'd see
through it. I only had a sheepskin over my shoulders as I crawled on hands
"Glenn, for me you were a prehistoric monster--a dinosaur, or something,"
It developed, upon their return to the campfire circle, that everybody had
been in the joke; and they all derived hearty enjoyment from it.
"Reckon that makes you one of us," said Hutter, genially. "We've all had
Carley wondered if she were not so constituted that such trickery alienated
her. Deep in her heart she resented being made to show her cowardice. But
then she realized that no one had really seen any evidence of her state. It
was fun to them.
Soon after this incident Hutter sounded what he called the roll-call for
bed. Following Flo's instructions, Carley sat on their bed, pulled off her
boots, folded coat and sweater at her head, and slid down under the
blankets. How strange and hard a bed! Yet Carley had the most delicious
sense of relief and rest she had ever experienced. She straightened out on
her back with a feeling that she had never before appreciated the luxury of
Flo cuddled up to her in quite sisterly fashion, saying: "Now don't cover
your head. If it rains I'll wake and pull up the tarp. Good night, Carley."
And almost immediately she seemed to fall asleep.
For Carley, however, sleep did not soon come. She had too many aches; the
aftermath of her shock of fright abided with her; and the blackness of
night, the cold whip of wind over her face, and the unprotected
helplessness she felt in this novel bed, were too entirely new and
disturbing to be overcome at once. So she lay wide eyed, staring at the
dense gray shadow, at the flickering lights upon the cedar. At length her
mind formed a conclusion that this sort of thing might be worth the
hardship once in a lifetime, anyway. What a concession to Glenn's West! In
the secret seclusion of her mind she had to confess that if her vanity had
not been so assaulted and humiliated she might have enjoyed herself more.
It seemed impossible, however, to have thrills and pleasures and
exaltations in the face of discomfort, privation, and an uneasy
half-acknowledged fear. No woman could have either a good or a profitable
time when she was at her worst. Carley thought she would not be averse to
getting Flo Hutter to New York, into an atmosphere wholly strange and
difficult, and see how she met situation after situation unfamiliar to her.
And so Carley's mind drifted on until at last she succumbed to drowsiness.
A voice pierced her dreams of home, of warmth and comfort. Something sharp,
cold, and fragrant was scratching her eyes. She opened them. Glenn stood
over her, pushing a sprig of cedar into her face.
"Carley, the day is far spent," he said, gayly. "We want to roll up your
bedding. Will you get out of it?"
"Hello, Glenn! What time is it?" she replied.
"It's nearly six."
"What! . . . Do you expect me to get up at that ungodly hour?"
"We're all up. Flo's eating breakfast. It's going to be a bad day, I'm
afraid. And we want to get packed and moving before it starts to rain."
"Why do girls leave home?" she asked, tragically.
"To make poor devils happy, of course," he replied, smiling down upon her.
That smile made up to Carley for all the clamoring sensations of stiff,
sore muscles. It made her ashamed that she could not fling herself into
this adventure with all her heart. Carley essayed to sit up. "Oh, I'm
afraid my anatomy has become disconnected! . . . Glenn, do I look a
sight?" She never would have asked him that if she had not known she could
bear inspection at such an inopportune moment.
"You look great," he asserted, heartily. "You've got color. And as for your
hair--I like to see it mussed that way. You were always one to have it
dressed--just so. . . . Come, Carley, rustle now."
Thus adjured, Carley did her best under adverse circumstances. And she was
gritting her teeth and complimenting herself when she arrived at the task
of pulling on her boots. They were damp and her feet appeared to have
swollen. Moreover, her ankles were sore. But she accomplished getting into
them at the expense of much pain and sundry utterances more forcible than
elegant. Glenn brought her warm water, a mitigating circumstance. The
morning was cold and thought of that biting desert water had been trying.
"Shore you're doing fine," was Flo's greeting. "Come and get it before we
throw it out."
Carley made haste to comply with the Western mandate, and was once again
confronted with the singular fact that appetite did not wait upon the
troubles of a tenderfoot. Glenn remarked that at least she would not starve
to death on the trip.
"Come, climb the ridge with me," be invited. "I want you to take a look to
the north and east."
He led her off through the cedars, up a slow red-earth slope, away from the
lake. A green moundlike eminence topped with flat red rock appeared near at
hand and not at all a hard climb. Nevertheless, her eyes deceived her, as
she found to the cost of her breath. It was both far away and high.
"I like this location," said Glenn. "If I had the money I'd buy this
section of land--six hundred and forty acres--and make a ranch of it. Just
under this bluff is a fine open flat bench for a cabin. You could see away
across the desert clear to Sunset Peak. There's a good spring of granite
water. I'd run water from the lake down into the lower flats, and I'd sure
raise some stock."
"What do you call this place?" asked Carley, curiously.
"Deep Lake. It's only a watering place for sheep and cattle. But there's
fine grazing, and it's a wonder to me no one has ever settled here."
Looking down, Carley appreciated his wish to own the place; and immediately
there followed in her a desire to get possession of this tract of land
before anyone else discovered its advantages, and to hold it for Glenn. But
this would surely conflict with her intention of persuading Glenn to go
back East. As quickly as her impulse had been born it died.
Suddenly the scene gripped Carley. She looked from near to far, trying to
grasp the illusive something. Wild lonely Arizona land! She saw ragged
dumpy cedars of gray and green, lines of red earth, and a round space of
water, gleaming pale under the lowering clouds; and in the distance
isolated hills, strangely curved, wandering away to a black uplift of earth
obscured in the sky.
These appeared to be mere steps leading her sight farther and higher to the
cloud-navigated sky, where rosy and golden effulgence betokened the sun and
the east. Carley held her breath. A transformation was going on before her
"Carley, it's a stormy sunrise," said Glenn.
His words explained, but they did not convince. Was this sudden-bursting
glory only the sun rising behind storm clouds? She could see the clouds
moving while they were being colored. The universal gray surrendered under
some magic paint brush. The rifts widened, and the gloom of the pale-gray
world seemed to vanish. Beyond the billowy, rolling, creamy edges of
clouds, white and pink, shone the soft exquisite fresh blue sky. And a
blaze of fire, a burst of molten gold, sheered up from behind the rim of
cloud and suddenly poured a sea of sunlight from east to west. It trans-
figured the round foothills. They seemed bathed in ethereal light, and the
silver mists that overhung them faded while Carley gazed, and a rosy flush
crowned the symmetrical domes. Southward along the horizon line,
down-dropping veils of rain, just touched with the sunrise tint, streamed
in drifting slow movement from cloud to earth. To the north the range of
foothills lifted toward the majestic dome of Sunset Peak, a volcanic
upheaval of red and purple cinders, bare as rock, round as the lower hills,
and wonderful in its color. Full in the blaze of the rising sun it flaunted
an unchangeable front. Carley understood now what had been told her about
this peak. Volcanic fires had thrown up a colossal mound of cinders burned
forever to the hues of the setting sun. In every light and shade of day it
held true to its name. Farther north rose the bold bulk of the San
Francisco Peaks, that, half lost in the clouds, still dominated the desert
scene. Then as Carley gazed the rifts began to close. Another
transformation began, the reverse of what she watched. The golden radiance
of sunrise vanished, and under a gray, lowering) coalescing pall of cloud
the round hills returned to their bleak somberness, and the green desert
took again its cold sheen.
"Wasn't it fine, Carley?" asked Glenn. "But nothing to what you will
experience. I hope you stay till the weather gets warm. I want you to see a
summer dawn on the Painted Desert, and a noon with the great white clouds
rolling up from the horizon, and a sunset of massed purple and gold. If
they do not get you then I'll give up."
Carley murmured something of her appreciation of what she had just seen.
Part of his remark hung on her ear, thought-provoking and disturbing. He
hoped she would stay until summer! That was kind of him. But her visit must
be short and she now intended it to end with his return East with her. If
she did not persuade him to go he might not want to go for a while, as he
had written--"just yet." Carley grew troubled in mind. Such mental
disturbance, however, lasted no longer than her return with Glenn to camp,
where the mustang Spillbeans stood ready for her to mount. He appeared to
put one ear up, the other down, and to look at her with mild surprise, as
if to say: "What--hello--tenderfoot! Are you going to ride me again?"
Carley recalled that she had avowed she would ride him. There was no
alternative, and her misgivings only made matters worse. Nevertheless, once
in the saddle, she imagined she had the hallucination that to ride off so,
with the long open miles ahead, was really thrilling. This remarkable state
of mind lasted until Spillbeans began to trot, and then another day of
misery beckoned to Carley with gray stretches of distance.
She was to learn that misery, as well as bliss, can swallow up the hours.
She saw the monotony of cedar trees, but with blurred eyes; she saw the
ground clearly enough, for she was always looking down, hoping for sandy
places or rocky places where her mustang could not trot.
At noon the cavalcade ahead halted near a cabin and corral, which turned
out to be a sheep ranch belonging to Hutter. Here Glenn was so busy that he
had no time to devote to Carley. And Flo, who was more at home on a horse
than on the ground, rode around everywhere with the men. Most assuredly
Carley could not pass by the chance to get off Spillbeans and to walk a
little. She found, however, that what she wanted most was to rest. The
cabin was deserted, a dark, damp place with a rank odor. She did not stay
Rain and snow began to fall, adding to what Carley felt to be a
disagreeable prospect. The immediate present, however, was cheered by a cup
of hot soup and some bread and butter which the herder Charley brought her.
By and by Glenn and Hutter returned with Flo, and all partook of some
All too soon Carley found herself astride the mustang again. Glenn helped
her don the slicker, an abominable sticky rubber coat that bundled her up
and tangled her feet round the stirrups. She was glad to find, though, that
it served well indeed to protect her from raw wind and rain.
"Where do we go from here?" Carley inquired, ironically.
Glenn laughed in a way which proved to Carley that he knew perfectly well
how she felt. Again his smile caused her self-reproach. Plain indeed was it
that he had really expected more of her in the way of complaint and less of
fortitude. Carley bit her lips.
Thus began the afternoon ride. As it advanced the sky grew more
threatening, the wind rawer, the cold keener, and the rain cut like little
bits of sharp ice. It blew in Carley's face. Enough snow fell to whiten the
open patches of ground. In an hour Carley realized that she had the hardest
task of her life to ride to the end of the day's journey. No one could have
guessed her plight. Glenn complimented her upon her adaptation to such
unpleasant conditions. Flo evidently was on the lookout for the
tenderfoot's troubles. But as Spillbeans, had taken to lagging at a walk,
Carley was enabled to conceal all outward sign of her woes. It rained,
hailed, sleeted, snowed, and grew colder all the time. Carley's feet became
lumps of ice. Every step the mustang took sent acute pains ramifying from
bruised and raw places all over her body.
Once, finding herself behind the others and out of sight in the cedars, she
got off to walk awhile, leading the mustang. This would not do, however,
because she fell too far in the rear. Mounting again, she rode on,
beginning to feet that nothing mattered, that this trip would be the end of
Carley Burch. How she hated that dreary, cold, flat land the road bisected
without end. It felt as if she rode hours to cover a mile. In open
stretches she saw the whole party straggling along, separated from one
another, and each for himself. They certainly could not be enjoying
themselves. Carley shut her eyes, clutched the pommel of the saddle, trying
to support her weight. How could she endure another mile? Alas! there might
be many miles. Suddenly a terrible shock seemed to rack her. But it was
only that Spillbeans had once again taken to a trot. Frantically she pulled
on the bridle. He was not to be thwarted. Opening her eyes, she saw a cabin
far ahead which probably was the destination for the night. Carley knew she
would never reach it, yet she clung on desperately. What she dreaded was
the return of that stablike pain in her side. It came, and life seemed
something abject and monstrous. She rode stiff legged, with her hands
propping her stiffly above the pommel, but the stabbing pain went right on,
and in deeper. When the mustang halted his trot beside the other horses
Carley was in the last extremity. Yet as Glenn came to her, offering a
hand, she still hid her agony. Then Flo called out gayly: "Carley, you've
done twenty-five miles on as rotten a day as I remember. Shore we all hand
it to you. And I'm confessing I didn't think you'd ever stay the ride out.
Spillbeans is the meanest nag we've got and he has the hardest gait."
Later Carley leaned back in a comfortable seat, before a blazing fire that
happily sent its acrid smoke up the chimney, pondering ideas in her mind.
There could be a relation to familiar things that was astounding in its
revelation. To get off a horse that had tortured her, to discover an almost
insatiable appetite, to rest weary, aching body before the genial warmth of
a beautiful fire--these were experiences which Carley found to have been
hitherto unknown delights. It struck her suddenly and strangely that to
know the real truth about anything in life might require infinite
experience and understanding. How could one feel immense gratitude and
relief, or the delight of satisfying acute hunger, or the sweet comfort of
rest, unless there had been circumstances of extreme contrast? She had been
compelled to suffer cruelly on horseback in order to make her appreciate
how good it was to get down on the ground. Otherwise she never would have
known. She wondered, then, how true that principle Plight be in all
experience. It gave strong food for thought. There were things in the world
never before dreamed of in her philosophy.
Carley was wondering if she were narrow and dense to circumstances of life
differing from her own when a remark of Flo's gave pause to her
"Shore the worst is yet to come." Flo had drawled.
Carley wondered if this distressing statement had to do in some way with
the rest of the trip. She stifled her curiosity. Painful knowledge of that
sort would come quickly enough.
"Flo, are you girls going to sleep here in the cabin?" inquired Glenn.
"Shore. It's cold and wet outside," replied Flo.
"Well, Felix, the Mexican herder, told me some Navajos had been bunking
"Navajos? You mean Indians?" interposed Carley, with interest.
"Shore do," said Flo. "I knew that. But don't mind Glenn. He's full of
tricks, Carley. He'd give us a hunch to lie out in the wet "
Hutter burst into his hearty laugh. "Wal, I'd rather get some things anyday
than a bad cold."
"Shore I've had both," replied Flo, in her easy drawl, "and I'd prefer the
cold. But for Carley's sake--"
"Pray don't consider me," said Carley. The rather crude drift of the
conversation affronted her.
"Well, my dear," put in Glenn, "it's a bad night outside. We'll all make
our beds here."
"Glenn, you shore are a nervy fellow," drawled Flo.
Long after everybody was in bed Carley lay awake in the blackness of the
cabin, sensitively fidgeting and quivering over imaginative contact with
creeping things. The fire had died out. A cold air passed through the room.
On the roof pattered gusts of rain. Carley heard a rustling of mice. It did
not seem possible that she could keep awake, yet she strove to do so. But
her pangs of body, her extreme fatigue soon yielded to the quiet and rest
of her bed, engendering a drowsiness that proved irresistible.
Morning brought fair weather and sunshine, which helped to sustain Carley
in her effort to brave out her pains and woes. Another disagreeable day
would have forced her to humiliating defeat. Fortunately for her, the
business of the men was concerned with the immediate neighborhood, in which
they expected to stay all morning.
"Flo, after a while persuade Carley to ride with you to the top of this
first foothill," said Glenn. "It's not far, and it's worth a good deal to
see the Painted Desert from there. The day is clear and the air free from
"Shore. Leave it to me. I want to get out of camp, anyhow. That conceited
hombre, Lee Stanton, will be riding in here," answered Flo, laconically.
The slight knowing smile on Glenn's face and the grinning disbelief on Mr.
Hutter's were facts not lost upon Carley. And when Charley, the herder,
deliberately winked at Carley, she conceived the idea that Flo, like many
women, only ran off to be pursued. In some manner Carley did not seek to
analyze, the purported advent of this Lee Stanton pleased her. But she did
admit to her consciousness that women, herself included, were both as deep
and mysterious as the sea, yet as transparent as an inch of crystal water.
It happened that the expected newcomer rode into camp before anyone left.
Before he dismounted he made a good impression on Carley, and as he stepped
down in lazy, graceful action, a tall lithe figure, she thought him
singularly handsome. He wore black sombrero, flannel shirt, blue jeans
stuffed into high boots, and long, big-roweled spurs.
"How are you-all?" was his greeting.
From the talk that ensued between him and the men, Carley concluded that he
must be overseer of the sheep hands. Carley knew that Hutter and Glenn were
not interested in cattle raising. And in fact they were, especially Hutter,
somewhat inimical to the dominance of the range land by cattle barons of
"When's Ryan goin' to dip?" asked Hutter.
"Today or tomorrow," replied Stanton.
"Reckon we ought to ride over," went on Hutter. "Say, Glenn, do you reckon
Miss Carley could stand a sheep-dip?"
This was spoken in a low tone, scarcely intended for Carley, but she had
keen ears and heard distinctly. Not improbably this sheep-dip was what Flo
meant as the worst to come. Carley adopted a listless posture to hide her
keen desire to hear what Glenn would reply to Hutter.
"I should say not!" whispered Glenn, fiercely.
"Cut out that talk. She'll hear you and want to go."
Whereupon Carley felt mount in her breast an intense and rebellious
determination to see a sheep-dip. She would astonish Glenn. What did he
want, anyway? Had she not withstood the torturing trot of the
hardest-gaited horse on the range? Carley realized she was going to place
considerable store upon that feat. It grew on her.
When the consultation of the men ended, Lee Stanton turned to Flo. And
Carley did not need to see the young man look twice to divine what ailed
him. He was caught in the toils of love. But seeing through Flo Hutter was
entirely another matter.
"Howdy, Lee!" she said, coolly, with her clear eyes on him. A tiny frown
knitted her brow. She did not, at the moment, entirely approve of him.
"Shore am glad to see you, Flo," he said, with rather a heavy expulsion of
breath. He wore a cheerful grin that in no wise deceived Flo, or Carley
either. The young man had a furtive expression of eye.
"Ahuh!" returned Flo.
"I was shore sorry about--about that--" he floundered, in low voice.
"Aw, you know, Flo."
Carley strolled out of hearing, sure of two things--that she felt rather
sorry for Stanton, and that his course of love did not augur well for
smooth running. What queer creatures were women! Carley had seen several
million coquettes, she believed; and assuredly Flo Hutter belonged to the
Upon Carley's return to the cabin she found Stanton and Flo waiting for her
to accompany them on a ride up the foothill. She was so stiff and sore that
she could hardly mount into the saddle; and the first mile of riding was
something like a nightmare. She lagged behind Flo and Stanton, who
apparently forgot her in their quarrel.
The riders soon struck the base of a long incline of rocky ground that led
up to the slope of the foothill. Here rocks and gravel gave place to black
cinders out of which grew a scant bleached grass. This desert verdure was
what lent the soft gray shade to the foothill when seen from a distance.
The slope was gentle, so that the ascent did not entail any hardship.
Carley was amazed at the length of the slope, and also to see how high over
the desert she was getting. She felt lifted out of a monotonous level. A
green-gray leaguelong cedar forest extended down toward Oak Creek. Behind
her the magnificent bulk of the mountains reached up into the stormy
clouds, showing white slopes of snow under the gray pall.
The hoofs of the horses sank in the cinders. A fine choking dust assailed
Carley's nostrils. Presently, when there appeared at least a third of the
ascent still to be accomplished and Flo dismounted to walk, leading their
horses. Carley had no choice but to do likewise. At first walking was a
relief. Soon, however, the soft yielding cinders began to drag at her feet.
At every step she slipped back a few inches, a very annoying feature of
climbing. When her legs seemed to grow dead Carley paused for a little
rest. The last of the ascent, over a few hundred yards of looser cinders,
taxed her remaining strength to the limit. She grew hot and wet and out of
breath. Her heart labored. An unreasonable antipathy seemed to attend her
efforts. Only her ridiculous vanity held her to this task. She wanted to
please Glenn, but not so earnestly that she would have kept on plodding up
this ghastly bare mound of cinders. Carley did not mind being a tenderfoot,
but she hated the thought of these Westerners considering her a weakling.
So she bore the pain of raw blisters and the miserable sensation of
staggering on under a leaden weight.
Several times she noted that Flo and Stanton halted to face each other in
rather heated argument. At least Stanton's red face and forceful gestures
attested to heat on his part. Flo evidently was weary of argument, and in
answer to a sharp reproach she retorted, "Shore I was different after he
came." To which Stanton responded by a quick passionate shrinking as if he
had been stung.
Carley had her own reaction to this speech she could not help hearing; and
inwardly, at least, her feeling must have been similar to Stanton's. She
forgot the object of this climb and looked off to her right at the green
level without really seeing it. A vague sadness weighed upon her soul. Was
there to be a tangle of fates here, a conflict of wills, a crossing of
loves? Flo's terse confession could not be taken lightly. Did she mean that
she loved Glenn? Carley began to fear it. Only another reason why she must
persuade Glenn to go back East! But the closer Carley came to what she
divined must be an ordeal the more she dreaded it. This raw, crude West
might have confronted her with a situation beyond her control. And as she
dragged her weighted feet through the cinders, kicking, up little puffs of
black dust, she felt what she admitted to be an unreasonable resentment
toward these Westerners and their barren, isolated, and boundless world.
"Carley," called Flo, "come--looksee, as the Indians say. Here is Glenn's
Painted Desert, and I reckon it's shore worth seeing."
To Carley's surprise, she found herself upon the knob of the foothill. And
when she looked out across a suddenly distinguish able void she seemed
struck by the immensity of something she was unable to grasp. She dropped
her bridle; she gazed slowly, as if drawn, hearing Flo's voice.
"That thin green line of cottonwoods down there is the Little Colorado
River," Flo was saying. "Reckon it's sixty miles, all down hill. The
Painted Desert begins there and also the Navajo Reservation. You see the
white strips, the red veins, the yellow bars, the black lines. They are all
desert steps leading up and up for miles. That sharp black peak is called
Wildcat. It's about a hundred miles. You see the desert stretching away to
the right, growing dim--lost in distance? We don't know that country. But
that north country we know as landmarks, anyway. Look at that saw-tooth
range. The Indians call it Echo Cliffs. At the far end it drops off into
the Colorado River. Lee's Ferry is there--about one hundred and sixty
miles. That ragged black rent is the Grand Canyon. Looks like a thread,
doesn't it? But Carley, it's some hole, believe me. Away to the left you
see the tremendous wall rising and turning to come this way. That's the
north wall of the Canyon. It ends at the great bluff--Greenland Point. See
the black fringe above the bar of gold. That's a belt of pine trees. It's
about eighty miles across this ragged old stone washboard of a desert.
. . . Now turn and look straight and strain your sight over Wildcat. See
the rim purple dome. You must look hard. I'm glad it's clear and the sun is
shining. We don't often get this view. . . . That purple dome is Navajo
Mountain, two hundred miles and more away!"
Carley yielded to some strange drawing power and slowly walked forward
until she stood at the extreme edge of the summit.
What was it that confounded her sight? Desert slope--down and down--color--
distance--space! The wind that blew in her face seemed to have the openness
of the whole world back of it. Cold, sweet, dry, exhilarating, it breathed
of untainted vastness. Carley's memory pictures of the Adirondacks faded
into pastorals; her vaunted images of European scenery changed to operetta
settings. She had nothing with which to compare this illimitable space.
"Oh!--America!" was her unconscious tribute.
Stanton and Flo had come on to places beside her. The young man laughed.
"Wal, now Miss Carley, you couldn't say more. When I was in camp trainin'
for service overseas I used to remember how this looked. An' it seemed one
of the things I was goin' to fight for. Reckon I didn't the idea of the
Germans havin' my Painted Desert. I didn't get across to fight for it, but
I shore was willin'."
"You see, Carley, this is our America," said Flo, softly.
Carley had never understood the meaning of the word. The immensity of the
West seemed flung at her. What her vision beheld, so far-reaching and
boundless, was only a dot on the map.
"Does any one live--out there?" she asked, with slow sweep of hand.
"A few white traders and some Indian tribes," replied Stanton. "But you can
ride all day an' next day an' never see a livin' soul."
What was the meaning of the gratification in his voice? Did Westerners
court loneliness? Carley wrenched her gaze from the desert void to look at
her companions. Stanton's eyes were narrowed; his expression had changed;
lean and hard and still, his face resembled bronze. The careless humor was
gone, as was the heated flush of his quarrel with Flo. The girl, too, had
subtly changed, had responded to an influence that had subdued and softened
her. She was mute; her eyes held a light, comprehensive and all-embracing;
she was beautiful then. For Carley, quick to read emotion, caught a glimpse
of a strong, steadfast soul that spiritualized the brown freckled face.
Carley wheeled to gaze out and down into this incomprehensible abyss, and
on to the far up-flung heights, white and red and yellow, and so on to the
wonderful mystic haze of distance. The significance of Flo's designation of
miles could not be grasped by Carley. She could not estimate distance. But
she did not need that to realize her perceptions were swallowed up by
magnitude. Hitherto the power of her eyes had been unknown. How splendid to
see afar! She could see--yes--but what did she see? Space first,
annihilating space, dwarfing her preconceived images, and then wondrous
colors! What had she known of color? No wonder artists failed adequately
and truly to paint mountains, let alone the desert space. The toiling
millions of the crowded cities were ignorant of this terrible beauty and
sublimity. Would it have helped them to see? But just to breathe that
untainted air, just to see once the boundless open of colored sand and
rock--to realize what the freedom of eagles meant would not that have
And with the thought there came to Carley's quickened and struggling mind a
conception of freedom. She had not yet watched eagles, but she now gazed
out into their domain. What then must be the effect of such environment on
people whom it encompassed? The idea stunned Carley. Would such people grow
in proportion to the nature with which they were in conflict? Hereditary
influence could not be comparable to such environment in the shaping of
"Shore I could stand here all day," said Flo. "But it's beginning to cloud
over and this high wind is cold. So we'd better go, Carley."
"I don't know what I am, but it's not cold," replied Carley.
"Wal, Miss Carley, I reckon you'll have to come again an' again before you
get a comfortable feelin' here," said Stanton.
It surprised Carley to see that this young Westerner had hit upon the
truth. He understood her. Indeed she was uncomfortable. She was oppressed,
vaguely unhappy. But why? The thing there--the infinitude of open sand and
rock--was beautiful, wonderful, even glorious. She looked again.
Steep black-cindered slope, with its soft gray patches of grass, sheered
down and down, and out in rolling slope to merge upon a cedar-dotted level.
Nothing moved below, but a red-tailed hawk sailed across her vision. How
still-how gray the desert floor as it reached away, losing its black dots,
and gaining bronze spots of stone! By plain and prairie it fell away, each
inch of gray in her sight magnifying into its league-long roll, On and on,
and down across dark lines that were steppes, and at last blocked and
changed by the meandering green thread which was the verdure of a desert
river. Beyond stretched the white sand, where whirlwinds of dust sent aloft
their funnel-shaped spouts; and it led up to the horizon-wide ribs and
ridges of red and walls of yellow and mountains of black, to the dim mound
of purple so ethereal and mystic against the deep-blue cloud-curtained band
And on the moment the sun was obscured and that world of colorful flame
went out, as if a blaze had died.
Deprived of its fire, the desert seemed to retreat, to fade coldly and
gloomily, to lose its great landmarks in dim obscurity. Closer, around to
the north, the canyon country yawned with innumerable gray jaws, ragged and
hard, and the riven earth took on a different character. It had no shadows.
It grew flat and, like the sea, seemed to mirror the vast gray cloud
expanse. The sublime vanished, but the desolate remained. No warmth--no
movement--no life! Dead stone it was, cut into a million ruts by ruthless
ages. Carley felt that she was gazing down into chaos.
At this moment, as before, a hawk had crossed her vision, so now a raven
sailed by, black as coal, uttering a hoarse croak.
"Quoth the raven--" murmured Carley, with a half-bitter laugh, as she
turned away shuddering in spite of an effort of self-control. "Maybe he
meant this wonderful and terrible West is never for such as I. . . . Come,
let us go."
Carley rode all that afternoon in the rear of the caravan, gradually
succumbing to the cold raw wind and the aches and pains to which she had
subjected her flesh. Nevertheless, she finished the day's journey, and,
sorely as she needed Glenn's kindly hand, she got off her horse without
Camp was made at the edge of the devastated timber zone that Carley had
found so dispiriting. A few melancholy pines were standing, and everywhere,
as far as she could see southward, were blackened fallen trees and stumps.
It was a dreary scene. The few cattle grazing on the bleached grass
appeared as melancholy as the pines. The sun shone fitfully at sunset, and
then sank, leaving the land to twilight and shadows.
Once in a comfortable seat beside the camp fire, Carley had no further
desire to move. She was so far exhausted and weary that she could no longer
appreciate the blessing of rest. Appetite, too, failed her this meal time.
Darkness soon settled down. The wind moaned through the pines. She was
indeed glad to crawl into bed, and not even the thought of skunks could
keep her awake.
Morning, disclosed the fact that gray clouds had been blown away. The sun
shone bright upon a white-frosted land. The air was still. Carley labored
at her task of rising, and brushing her hair, and pulling on her boots; and
it appeared her former sufferings were as naught compared with the pangs of
this morning. How she hated the cold, the bleak, denuded forest land, the
emptiness, the roughness, the crudeness! If this sort of feeling grew any
worse she thought she would hate Glenn. Yet she was nonetheless set upon
going on, and seeing the sheep-dip, and riding that fiendish mustang until
the trip was ended.
Getting in the saddle and on the way this morning was an ordeal that made
Carley actually sick. Glenn and Flo both saw how it was with her, and they
left her to herself. Carley was grateful for this understanding. It seemed
to proclaim their respect. She found further matter for satisfaction in the
astonishing circumstance that after the first dreadful quarter of an hour
in the saddle she began to feel easier. And at the end of several hours of
riding she was not suffering any particular pain, though she was weaker.
At length the cut-over land ended in a forest of straggling pines, through
which the road wound southward, and eventually down into a wide shallow
canyon. Through the trees Carley saw a stream of water, open fields of
green, log fences and cabins, and blue smoke. She heard the chug of a
gasoline engine and the baa-baa of sheep. Glenn waited for her to catch up
with him, and he said: "Carley, this is one of Hutter's sheep camps. It's
not a--a very pleasant place. You won't care to see the sheep-dip. So I'm
suggesting you wait here--"
"Nothing doing, Glenn," she interrupted. "I'm going to see what there is to
"But, dear--the men--the way they handle sheep--they'll--really it's no
sight for you," he floundered.
"Why not?" she inquired, eying him.
"Because, Carley--you know how you hate the--the seamy side of things. And
the stench--why, it'll make you sick!"
"Glenn, be on the level," she said. "Suppose it does. Wouldn't you think
more of me if I could stand it?"
"Why, yes," he replied, reluctantly, smiling at her, "I would. But I wanted
to spare you. This trip has been hard. I'm sure proud of you. And, Carley--
you can overdo it. Spunk is not everything. You simply couldn't stand
"Glenn, how little you know a woman!" she exclaimed. "Come along and show
me your old sheep-dip."
They rode out of the woods into an open valley that might have been
picturesque if it had not been despoiled by the work of man. A log fence
ran along the edge of open ground and a mud dam held back a pool of
stagnant water, slimy and green. As Carley rode on the baa-baa of sheep
became so loud that she could scarcely hear Glenn talking.
Several log cabins, rough hewn and gray with age, stood down inside the
inclosure; and beyond there were large corrals. From the other side of
these corrals came sounds of rough voices of men, a trampling of hoofs,
heavy splashes, the beat of an engine, and the incessant baaing of the
At this point the members of Hutter's party dismounted and tied their
horses to the top log of the fence. When Carley essayed to get off Glenn
tried to stop her, saying she could see well enough from there. But Carley
got down and followed Flo. She heard Hutter call to Glenn: "Say, Ryan is
short of men. We'll lend a hand for a couple of hours."
Presently Carley reached Flo's side and the first corral that contained
sheep. They formed a compact woolly mass, rather white in color, with a
tinge of pink. When Flo climbed up on the fence the flock plunged as one
animal and with a trampling roar ran to the far side of the corral. Several
old rams with wide curling horns faced around; and some of the ewes climbed
up on the densely packed mass. Carley rather enjoyed watching them. She
surely could not see anything amiss in this sight.
The next corral held a like number of sheep, and also several Mexicans who
were evidently driving them into a narrow lane that led farther down.
Carley saw the heads of men above other corral fences, and there was also a
thick yellowish smoke rising from somewhere.
"Carley, are you game to see the dip?" asked Flo, with good nature that yet
had a touch of taunt in it.
"That's my middle name," retorted Carley, flippantly.
Both Glenn and this girl seemed to be bent upon bringing out Carley's worst
side, and they were succeeding. Flo laughed. The ready slang pleased her.
She led Carley along that log fence, through a huge open gate, and across a
wide pen to another fence, which she scaled. Carley followed her, not
particularly overanxious to look ahead. Some thick odor had begun to reach
Carley's delicate nostrils. Flo led down a short lane and climbed another
fence, and sat astride the top log. Carley hurried along to clamber up to
her side, but stood erect with her feet on the second log of the fence.
Then a horrible stench struck Carley almost like a blow in the face, and
before her confused sight there appeared to be drifting smoke and active
men and running sheep, all against a background of mud. But at first it was
the odor that caused Carley to close her eyes and press her knees hard
against the upper log to keep from reeling. Never in her life had such a
sickening nausea assailed her. It appeared to attack her whole body. The
forerunning qualm of seasickness was as nothing to this. Carley gave a
gasp, pinched her nose between her fingers so she could not smell, and
opened her eyes.
Directly beneath her was a small pen open at one end into which sheep were
being driven from the larger corral. The drivers were yelling. The sheep in
the rear plunged into those ahead of them, forcing them on. Two men worked
in this small pen. One was a brawny giant in undershirt and overalls that
appeared filthy. He held a cloth in his hand and strode toward the nearest
sheep. Folding the cloth round the neck of the sheep, he dragged it
forward, with an ease which showed great strength, and threw it into a pit
that yawned at the side. Souse went the sheep into a murky, muddy pool and
disappeared. But suddenly its head came up and then its shoulders. And it
began half to walk and half swim down what appeared to be a narrow boxlike
ditch that contained other floundering sheep. Then Carley saw men on each
side of this ditch bending over with poles that had crooks at the end, and
their work was to press and pull the sheep along to the end of the ditch,
and drive them up a boarded incline into another corral where many other
sheep huddled, now a dirty muddy color like the liquid into which they had
been emersed. Souse! Splash! In went sheep after sheep. Occasionally one
did not go under. And then a man would press it under with the crook and
quickly lift its head. The work went on with precision and speed, in spite
of the yells and trampling and baa-baas, and the incessant action that gave
an effect of confusion.
Carley saw a pipe leading from a huge boiler to the ditch. The dark fluid
was running out of it. From a rusty old engine with big smokestack poured
the strangling smoke. A man broke open a sack of yellow powder and dumped
it into the ditch. Then he poured an acid-like liquid after it.
"Sulphur and nicotine," yelled Flo up at Carley. "The dip's poison. If a
sheep opens his mouth he's usually a goner. But sometimes they save one."
Carley wanted to tear herself away from this disgusting spectacle. But it
held her by some fascination. She saw Glenn and Hutter fall in line with
the other men, and work like beavers. These two pacemakers in the small pen
kept the sheep coming so fast that every worker below had a task cut out
for him. Suddenly Flo squealed and pointed.
"There! that sheep didn't come up," she cried. "Shore he opened his mouth."
Then Carley saw Glenn energetically plunge his hooked pole in and out and
around until he had located the submerged sheep. He lifted its head above
the dip. The sheep showed no sign of life. Down on his knees dropped Glenn,
to reach the sheep with strong brown hands, and to haul it up on the
ground, where it flopped inert. Glenn pummeled it and pressed it, and
worked on it much as Carley had seen a life-guard work over a half-drowned
man. But the sheep did not respond to Glenn's active administrations.
"No use, Glenn," yelled Hutter, hoarsely. "That one's a goner."
Carley did not fall to note the state of Glenn's hands and arms and
overalls when he returned to the ditch work. Then back and forth Carley's
gaze went from one end to the other of that scene. And suddenly it was
arrested and held by the huge fellow who handled the sheep so brutally.
Every time he dragged one and threw it into the pit he yelled: "Ho! Ho!"
Carley was impelled to look at his face, and she was amazed to meet the
rawest and boldest stare from evil eyes that had ever been her misfortune
to incite. She felt herself stiffen with a shock that was unfamiliar. This
man was scarcely many years older than Glenn, yet he had grizzled hair, a
seamed and scarred visage, coarse, thick lips, and beetling brows, from
under which peered gleaming light eyes. At every turn he flashed them upon
Carley's face, her neck, the swell of her bosom. It was instinct that
caused her hastily to close her riding coat. She felt as if her flesh had
been burned. Like a snake he fascinated her. The intelligence in his bold
gaze made the beastliness of it all the harder to endure, all the stronger
"Come, Carley, let's rustle out of this stinkin' mess," cried Flo.
Indeed, Carley needed Flo's assistance in clambering down out of the
choking smoke and horrid odor.
"Adios, pretty eyes," called the big man from the pen.
"Well," ejaculated Flo, when they got out, "I'll bet I call Glenn good and
hard for letting you go down there."
"It was--my--fault," panted Carley. "I said I'd stand it."
"Oh, you're game, all right. I didn't mean the dip. . . . That
sheep-slinger is Haze Ruff, the toughest hombre on this range. Shore, now,
wouldn't I like to take a shot at him? . . . I'm going to tell dad and
"Please don't," returned Carley, appealingly.
"I shore am. Dad needs hands these days. That's why he's lenient. But Glenn
will cowhide Ruff and I want to see him do it."
In Flo Hutter then Carley saw another and a different spirit of the West, a
violence unrestrained and fierce that showed in the girl's even voice and
in the piercing light of her eyes.
They went back to the horses, got their lunches from the saddlebags, and,
finding comfortable seats in a sunny, protected place, they ate and talked.
Carley had to force herself to swallow. It seemed that the horrid odor of
dip and sheep had permeated everything. Glenn had known her better than she
had known herself, and he had wished to spare her an unnecessary and
disgusting experience. Yet so stubborn was Carley that she did not regret
going through with it.
"Carley, I don't mind telling you that you've stuck it out better than any
tenderfoot we ever had here," said Flo.
"Thank you. That from a Western girl is a compliment I'll not soon forget,"
"I shore mean it. We've had rotten weather. And to end the little trip at
this sheep-dip hole! Why, Glenn certainly wanted you to stack up against
the real thing!"
"Flo, he did not want me to come on the trip, and especially here,"
"Shore I know. But he let you."
"Neither Glenn nor any other man could prevent me from doing what I wanted
"Well, if you'll excuse me," drawled Flo, "I'll differ with you. I reckon
Glenn Kilbourne is not the man you knew before the war."
"No, he is not. But that does not alter the case."
"Carley, we're not well acquainted," went on Flo, more carefully feeling
her way, "and I'm not your kind. I don't know your Eastern ways. But I know
what the West does to a man. The war ruined your friend--both his body and
mind. . . . How sorry mother and I were for Glenn, those days when it
looked he'd sure 'go west,' for good! . . . Did you know he'd been gassed
and that he had five hemorrhages?"
"Oh! I knew his lungs had been weakened by gas. But he never told me about
"Well, he shore had them. The last one I'll never forget. Every time he'd
cough it would fetch the blood. I could tell! . . . Oh, it was awful. I
begged him not to cough. He smiled--like a ghost smiling--and he whispered,
'I'll quit.' . . . And he did. The doctor came from Flagstaff and packed
him in ice. Glenn sat propped up all night and never moved a muscle. Never
coughed again! And the bleeding stopped. After that we put him out on the
porch where he could breathe fresh air all the time. There's something
wonderfully healing in Arizona air. It's from the dry desert and here it's
full of cedar and pine. Anyway Glenn got well. And I think the West has
cured his mind, too."
"Of what?" queried Carley, in an intense curiosity she could scarcely hide.
"Oh, God only knows!" exclaimed Flo, throwing up her gloved hands. "I never
could understand. But I hated what the war did to him."
Carley leaned back against the log, quite spent. Flo was unwittingly
torturing her. Carley wanted passionately to give in to jealousy of this
Western girl, but she could not do it. Flo Hutter deserved better than
that. And Carley's baser nature seemed in conflict with all that was noble
in her. The victory did not yet go to either side. This was a bad hour for
Carley. Her strength had about played out, and her spirit was at low ebb.
"Carley, you're all in," declared Flo. "You needn't deny it. I'm shore
you've made good with me as a tenderfoot who stayed the limit. But there's
no sense in your killing yourself, nor in me letting you. So I'm going to
tell dad we want to go home."
She left Carley there. The word home had struck strangely into Carley's
mind and remained there. Suddenly she realized what it was to be homesick.
The comfort, the ease, the luxury, the rest, the sweetness, the pleasure,
the cleanliness, the gratification to eye and ear--to all the senses--how
these thoughts came to haunt her! All of Carley's will power had been
needed to sustain her on this trip to keep her from miserably f ailing. She
had not failed. But contact with the West had affronted, disgusted,
shocked, and alienated her. In that moment she could not be fair minded;
she knew it; she did not care.
Carley gazed around her. Only one of the cabins was in sight from this
position. Evidently it was a home for some of these men. On one side the
peaked rough roof had been built out beyond the wall, evidently to serve as
a kind of porch. On that wall hung the motliest assortment of things Carley
had ever seen--utensils, sheep and cow hides, saddles, harness, leather
clothes, ropes, old sombreros, shovels, stove pipe, and many other articles
for which she could find no name. The most striking characteristic manifest
in this collection was that of service. How they had been used! They had
enabled people to live under primitive conditions. Somehow this fact
inhibited Carley's sense of repulsion at their rude and uncouth appearance.
Had any of her forefathers ever been pioneers? Carley did not know, but the
thought was disturbing. It was thought-provoking. Many times at home, when
she was dressing for dinner, she had gazed into the mirror at the graceful
lines of her throat and arms, at the proud poise of her head, at the
alabaster whiteness of her skin, and wonderingly she had asked of her image:
"Can it be possible that I am a descendant of cavemen?" She had never been
able to realize it, yet she knew it was true. Perhaps somewhere not far
back along her line there had been a great-great-grandmother who had lived
some kind of a primitive life, using such implements and necessaries as
hung on this cabin wall, and thereby helped some man to conquer the
wilderness, to live in it, and reproduce his kind. Like flashes Glenn's
words came back to Carley--"Work and children!"
Some interpretation of his meaning and how it related to this hour held
aloof from Carley. If she would ever be big enough to understand it and
broad enough to accept it the time was far distant. Just now she was sore
and sick physically, and therefore certainly not in a receptive state of
mind. Yet how could she have keener impressions than these she was
receiving? It was all a problem. She grew tired of thinking. But even then
her mind pondered on, a stream of consciousness over which she had no
control. This dreary woods was deserted. No birds, no squirrels, no
creatures such as fancy anticipated! In another direction, across the
canyon, she saw cattle, gaunt, ragged, lumbering, and stolid. And on the
moment the scent of sheep came on the breeze. Time seemed to stand still
here, and what Carley wanted most was for the hours and days to fly, so
that she would be home again.
At last Flo returned with the men. One quick glance at Glenn convinced
Carley that Flo had not yet told him about the sheep dipper, Haze Ruff.
"Carley, you're a real sport," declared Glenn, with the rare smile she
loved. "It's a dreadful mess. And to think you stood it! . . . Why, old
Fifth Avenue, if you needed to make another hit with me you've done it!"
His warmth amazed and pleased Carley. She could not quite understand why it
would have made any difference to him whether she had stood the ordeal or
not. But then every day she seemed to drift a little farther from a real
understanding of her lover. His praise gladdened her, and fortified her to
face the rest of this ride back to Oak Creek.
Four hours later, in a twilight so shadowy that no one saw her distress,
Carley half slipped and half fell from her horse and managed somehow to
mount the steps and enter the bright living room. A cheerful red fire
blazed on the hearth; Glenn's hound, Moze, trembled eagerly at sight of her
and looked up with humble dark eyes; the white-clothed dinner table steamed
with savory dishes. Flo stood before the blaze, warming her hands. Lee
Stanton leaned against the mantel, with eyes on her, and every line of his
lean, hard face expressed his devotion to her. Hutter was taking his seat
at the head of the table. "Come an' get it-you-all," he called, heartily.
Mrs. Hutter's face beamed with the spirit of that home. And lastly, Carley
saw Glenn waiting for her, watching her come, true in this very moment to
his stern hope for her and pride in her, as she dragged her weary, spent
body toward him and the bright fire.
By these signs, or the effect of them, Carley vaguely realized that she was
incalculably changing, that this Carley Burch had become a vastly bigger
person in the sight of her friends, and strangely in her own a lesser
If spring came at all to Oak Creek Canyon it warmed into summer before
Carley had time to languish with the fever characteristic of early June in
As if by magic it seemed the green grass sprang up, the green buds opened
into leaves, the bluebells and primroses bloomed, the apple and peach
blossoms burst exquisitely white and pink against the blue sky. Oak Creek
fell to a transparent, beautiful brook, leisurely eddying in the stone
walled nooks, hurrying with murmur and babble over the little falls. The
mornings broke clear and fragrantly cool, the noon hours seemed to lag
under a hot sun, the nights fell like dark mantles from the melancholy
Carley had stubbornly kept on riding and climbing until she killed her
secret doubt that she was really a thoroughbred, until she satisfied her
own insistent vanity that she could train to a point where this outdoor
life was not too much for her strength. She lost flesh despite increase of
appetite; she lost her pallor for a complexion of gold-brown she knew her
Eastern friends would admire; she wore out the blisters and aches and
pains; she found herself growing firmer of muscle, lither of line, deeper
of chest. And in addition to these physical manifestations there were
subtle intimations of a delight in a freedom of body she had never before
known, of an exhilaration in action that made her hot and made her breathe,
of a sloughing off of numberless petty and fussy and luxurious little
superficialities which she had supposed were necessary to her happiness.
What she had undertaken in vain conquest of Glenn's pride and Flo Hutter's
Western tolerance she had found to be a boomerang. She had won Glenn's
admiration; she had won the Western girl's recognition. But her passionate,
stubborn desire had been ignoble, and was proved so by the rebound of her
achievement, coming home to her with a sweetness she had not the courage to
accept. She forced it from her. This West with its rawness, its ruggedness,
Nevertheless, the June days passed, growing dreamily swift, growing more
incomprehensibly full; and still she had not broached to Glenn the main
object of her visit--to take him back East. Yet a little while longer! She
hated his work and had not talked of that. Yet an honest consciousness told
her that as time flew by she feared more and more to tell him that he was
wasting his life there and that she could not bear it. Still was he wasting
it? Once in a while a timid and unfamiliar Carley Burch voiced a pregnant
query. Perhaps what held Carley back most was the happiness she achieved in
her walks and rides with Glenn. She lingered because of them. Every day she
loved him more, and yet--there was something. Was it in her or in him? She
had a woman's assurance of his love and sometimes she caught her breath--so
sweet and strong was the tumultuous emotion it stirred. She preferred to
enjoy while she could, to dream instead of think. But it was not possible
to hold a blank, dreamy, lulled consciousness all the time. Thought would
return. And not always could she drive away a feeling that Glenn would
never be her slave. She divined something in his mind that kept him gentle
and kindly, restrained always, sometimes melancholy and aloof, as if he
were an impassive destiny waiting for the iron consequences he knew
inevitably must fall. What was this that he knew which she did not know?
The idea haunted her. Perhaps it was that which compelled her to use all
her woman's wiles and charms on Glenn. Still, though it thrilled her to see
she made him love her more as the days passed, she could not blind herself
to the truth that no softness or allurement of hers changed this strange
restraint in him. How that baffled her! Was it resistance or knowledge or
nobility or doubt?
Flo Hutter's twentieth birthday came along the middle of June, and all the
neighbors and range hands for miles around were invited to celebrate it.
For the second time during her visit Carley put on the white gown that had
made Flo gasp with delight, and had stunned Mrs. Hutter, and had brought a
reluctant compliment from Glenn. Carley liked to create a sensation. What
were exquisite and expensive gowns for, if not that?
It was twilight on this particular June night when she was ready to go
downstairs, and she tarried a while on the long porch. The evening star, so
lonely and radiant, so cold and passionless in the dusky blue, had become
an object she waited for and watched, the same as she had come to love the
dreaming, murmuring melody of the waterfall. She lingered there. What had
the sights and sounds and smells of this wild canyon come to mean to her?
She could not say. But they had changed immeasurably.
Her soft slippers made no sound on the porch, and as she turned the corner
of the house, where shadows hovered thick, she heard Lee Stanton's voice:
"But, Flo, you loved me before Kilbourne came."
The content, the pathos, of his voice chained Carley to the spot. Some
situations, like fate, were beyond resisting.
"Shore I did," replied Flo, dreamily. This was the voice of a girl who was
being confronted by happy and sad thoughts on her birthday.
"Don't you--love me--still?" he asked, huskily.
"Why, of course, Lee! I don't change," she said.
"But then, why--" There for the moment his utterance or courage failed.
"Lee, do you want the honest to God's truth?"
"I reckon--I do."
"Well, I love you just as I always did," replied Flo, earnestly. "But, Lee,
I love him more than you or anybody."
"My Heaven! Flo--you'll ruin us all!" he exclaimed, hoarsely.
"No, I won't either. You can't say I'm not level headed. I hated to tell
you this, Lee, but you made me."
"Flo, you love me an' him--two men?" queried Stanton, incredulously.
"I shore do," she drawled, with a soft laugh. "And it's no fun."
"Reckon I don't cut much of a figure alongside Kilbourne," said Stanton,
"Lee, you could stand alongside any man," replied Flo, eloquently. "You're
Western, and you're steady and loyal, and you'll--well, some day you'll be
like dad. Could I say more? . . . But, Lee, this man is different. He is
wonderful. I can't explain it, but I feel it. He has been through hell's
fire. Oh! will I ever forget his ravings when he lay so ill? He means more
to me than just one man. He's American. You're American, too, Lee, and you
trained to be a soldier, and you would have made a grand one--if I know old
Arizona. But you were not called to France. . . . Glenn Kilbourne went. God
only knows what that means. But he went. And there's the difference. I saw
the wreck of him. I did a little to save his life and his mind. I wouldn't
be an American girl if I didn't love him. . . . Oh, Lee, can't you
"I reckon so. I'm not begrudging Glenn what--what you care. I'm only afraid
I'll lose you."
"I never promised to marry you, did I?"
"Not in words. But kisses ought to--?"
"Yes, kisses mean a lot," she replied. "And so far I stand committed. I
suppose I'll marry you some day and be blamed lucky. I'll be happy, too--
don't you overlook that hunch. . . . You needn't worry. Glenn is in love
with Carley. She's beautiful, rich--and of his class. How could he ever see
"Flo, you can never tell," replied Stanton, thoughtfully. "I didn't like
her at first. But I'm comin' round. The thing is, Flo, does she love him as
you love him?"
"Oh, I think so--I hope so," answered Flo, as if in distress.
"I'm not so shore. But then I can't savvy her. Lord knows I hope so, too.
If she doesn't--if she goes back East an' leaves him here--I reckon my
"Hush! I know she's out here to take him back. Let's go downstairs now."
"Aw, wait--Flo," he begged. "What's your hurry? . . . Come-give me--"
"There! That's all you get, birthday or no birthday," replied Flo, gayly.
Carley heard the soft kiss and Stanton's deep breath, and then footsteps as
they walked away in the gloom toward the stairway. Carley leaned against
the log wall. She felt the rough wood--smelled the rusty pine rosin. Her
other hand pressed her bosom where her heart beat with unwonted vigor.
Footsteps and voices sounded beneath her. Twilight had deepened into night.
The low murmur of the waterfall and the babble of the brook floated to her
Listeners never heard good of themselves. But Stanton's subtle doubt of any
depth to her, though it hurt, was not so conflicting as the ringing truth
of Flo Hutter's love for Glenn. This unsought knowledge powerfully affected
Carley. She was forewarned and forearmed now. It saddened her, yet did not
lessen her confidence in her hold on Glenn. But it stirred to perplexing
pitch her curiosity in regard to the mystery that seemed to cling round
Glenn's transformation of character. This Western girl really knew more
about Glenn than his fiancee knew. Carley suffered a humiliating shock when
she realized that she had been thinking of herself, of her love, her life,
her needs, her wants instead of Glenn's. It took no keen intelligence or
insight into human nature to see that Glenn needed her more than she needed
Thus unwontedly stirred and upset and flung back upon pride of herself,
Carley went downstairs to meet the assembled company. And never had she
shown to greater contrast, never had circumstance and state of mind
contrived to make her so radiant and gay and unbending. She heard many
remarks not intended for her far-reaching ears. An old grizzled Westerner
remarked to Hutter: "Wall, she's shore an unbroke filly." Another of the
company--a woman--remarked: "Sweet an' pretty as a columbine. But I'd like
her better if she was dressed decent." And a gaunt range rider, who stood
with others at the porch door, looking on, asked a comrade: "Do you reckon
that's style back East?" To which the other replied: "Mebbe, but I'd gamble
they're short on silk back East an' likewise sheriffs."
Carley received some meed of gratification out of the sensation she
created, but she did not carry her craving for it to the point of
overshadowing Flo. On the contrary, she contrived to have Flo share the
attention she received. She taught Flo to dance the fox-trot and got Glenn
to dance with her. Then she taught it to Lee Stanton. And when Lee danced
with Flo, to the infinite wonder and delight of the onlookers, Carley
experienced her first sincere enjoyment of the evening.
Her moment came when she danced with Glenn. It reminded her of days long
past and which she wanted to return again. Despite war tramping and Western
labors Glenn retained something of his old grace and lightness. But just to
dance with him was enough to swell her heart, and for once she grew
oblivious to the spectators.
"Glenn, would you like to go to the Plaza with me again, and dance between
dinner courses, as we used to?" she whispered up to him.
"Sure I would--unless Morrison knew you were to be there," he replied.
"Glenn! . . . I would not even see him."
"Any old time you wouldn't see Morrison!" he exclaimed, half mockingly.
His doubt, his tone grated upon her. Pressing closer to him, she said,
"Come back and I'll prove it."
But he laughed and had no answer for her. At her own daring words Carley's
heart had leaped to her lips. If he had responded, even teasingly, she
could have burst out with her longing to take him back. But silence
inhibited her, and the moment passed.
At the end of that dance Hutter claimed Glenn in the interest of
neighboring sheep men. And Carley, crossing the big living room alone,
passed close to one of the porch doors. Some one, indistinct in the shadow,
spoke to her in low voice: "Hello, pretty eyes!"
Carley felt a little cold shock go tingling through her. But she gave no
sign that she had heard. She recognized the voice and also the epithet.
Passing to the other side of the room and joining the company there, Carley
presently took a casual glance at the door. Several men were lounging
there. One of them was the sheep dipper, Haze Ruff. His bold eyes were on
her now, and his coarse face wore a slight, meaning smile, as if he
understood something about her that was a secret to others. Carley dropped
her eyes. But she could not shake off the feeling that wherever she moved
this man's gaze followed her. The unpleasantness of this incident would
have been nothing to Carley had she at once forgotten it. Most
unaccountably, however, she could not make herself unaware of this
ruffian's attention. It did no good for her to argue that she was merely
the cynosure of all eyes. This Ruff's tone and look possessed something
heretofore unknown to Carley. Once she was tempted to tell Glenn. But that
would only cause a fight, so she kept her counsel. She danced again, and
helped Flo entertain her guests, and passed that door often; and once stood
before it, deliberately, with all the strange and contrary impulse so
inscrutable in a woman, and never for a moment wholly lost the sense of the
man's boldness. It dawned upon her, at length, that the singular thing
about this boldness was its difference from any, which had ever before
affronted her. The fool's smile meant that he thought she saw his
attention, and, understanding it perfectly, had secret delight in it. Many
and various had been the masculine egotisms which had come under her
observation. But quite beyond Carley was this brawny sheep dipper, Haze
Ruff. Once the party broke up and the guests had departed, she instantly
forgot both man and incident.
Next day, late in the afternoon, when Carley came out on the porch, she was
hailed by Flo, who had just ridden in from down the canyon.
"Hey Carley, come down. I shore have something to tell you," she called.
Carley did not use any time pattering down that rude porch stairway. Flo
was dusty and hot, and her chaps carried the unmistakable scent of
"Been over to Ryan's camp an' shore rode hard to beat Glenn home," drawled
"Why?" queried Carley, eagerly.
"Reckon I wanted to tell you something Glenn swore he wouldn't let me tell.
. . . He makes me tired. He thinks you can't stand things."
"Oh! Has he been--hurt?"
"He's skinned an' bruised up some, but I reckon he's not hurt."
"Flo--what happened?" demanded Carley, anxiously.
"Carley, do you know Glenn can fight like the devil?" asked Flo.
"No, I don't. But I remember he used to be athletic. Flo, you make me
nervous. Did Glenn fight?"
"I reckon he did," drawled Flo.
"Nobody else but that big hombre, Haze Ruff."
"Oh!" gasped Carley, with a violent start. "That--that ruffian! Flo, did
you see--were you there?"
"I shore was, an' next to a horse race I like a fight," replied the Western
girl. "Carley, why didn't you tell me Haze Ruff insulted you last night?"
"Why, Flo--he only said, 'Hello, pretty eyes,' and I let it pass!" said
"You never want to let anything pass, out West. Because next time you'll
get worse. This turn your other cheek doesn't go in Arizona. But we shore
thought Ruff said worse than that. Though from him that's aplenty."
"How did you know?"
"Well, Charley told it. He was standing out here by the door last night an'
he heard Ruff speak to you. Charley thinks a heap of you an' I reckon he
hates Ruff. Besides, Charley stretches things. He shore riled Glenn, an' I
want to say, my dear, you missed the best thing that's happened since you
"Hurry--tell me," begged Carley, feeling the blood come to her face.
"I rode over to Ryan's place for dad, an' when I got there I knew nothing
about what Ruff said to you," began Flo, and she took hold of Carley's
hand. "Neither did dad. You see, Glenn hadn't got there yet. Well, just as
the men had finished dipping a bunch of sheep Glenn came riding down,
" 'Now what the hell's wrong with Glenn?' said dad, getting up from where
"Shore I knew Glenn was mad, though I never before saw him that way. He
looked sort of grim an' black. . . . Well, he rode right down on us an'
piled off. Dad yelled at him an' so did I. But Glenn made for the sheep
pen. You know where we watched Haze Ruff an' Lorenzo slinging the sheep
into the dip. Ruff was just about to climb out over the fence when Glenn
leaped up on it."
" 'Say, Ruff,' he said, sort of hard, 'Charley an' Ben tell me they heard
you speak disrespect fully to Miss Burch last night.' "
"Dad an' I ran to the fence, but before we could catch hold of Glenn he'd
jumped down into the pen."
"'I'm not carin' much for what them herders say,' replied Ruff.
"'Do you deny it?' demanded Glenn.
"'I ain't denyin' nothin', Kilbourne,' growled Ruff. 'I might argue against
me bein' disrespectful. That's a matter of opinion.'
"'You'll apologize for speaking to Miss Burch or I'll beat you up an' have
Hutter fire you.'
"'Wal, Kilbourne, I never eat my words,' replied Ruff.
"Then Glenn knocked him flat. You ought to have heard that crack. Sounded
like Charley hitting a steer with a club. Dad yelled: 'Look out, Glenn. He
packs a gun!'--Ruff got up mad clear through I reckon. Then they mixed it.
Ruff got in some swings, but he couldn't reach Glenn's face. An' Glenn
batted him right an' left, every time in his ugly mug. Ruff got all bloody
an' he cussed something awful. Glenn beat him against the fence an' then we
all saw Ruff reach for a gun or knife. All the men yelled. An' shore I
screamed. But Glenn saw as much as we saw. He got fiercer. He beat Ruff
down to his knees an' swung on him hard. Deliberately knocked Ruff into the
dip ditch. What a splash! It wet all of us. Ruff went out of sight. Then he
rolled up like a huge hog. We were all scared now. That dip's rank poison,
you know. Reckon Ruff knew that. He floundered along an' crawled up at the
end. Anyone could see that he had mouth an' eyes tight shut. He began to
grope an' feel around, trying to find the way to the pond. One of the men
led him out. It was great to see him wade in the water an' wallow an' souse
his head under. When he came out the men got in front of him any stopped
him. He shore looked bad. . . . An' Glenn called to him, 'Ruff, that
sheep-dip won't go through your tough hide, but a bullet will!"
Not long after this incident Carley started out on her usual afternoon
ride, having arranged with Glenn to meet her on his return from work.
Toward the end of June Carley had advanced in her horsemanship to a point
where Flo lent her one of her own mustangs. This change might not have had
all to do with a wonderful difference in riding, but it seemed so to
Carley. There was as much difference in horses as in people. This mustang
she had ridden of late was of Navajo stock, but he had been born and raised
and broken at Oak Creek. Carley had not yet discovered any objection on his
part to do as she wanted him to. He liked what she liked, and most of all
he liked to go. His color resembled a pattern of calico, and in accordance
with Western ways his name was therefore Calico. Left to choose his own
gait, Calico always dropped into a gentle pace which was so easy and
comfortable and swinging that Carley never tired of it. Moreover, he did
not shy at things lying in the road or rabbits darting from bushes or at
the upwhirring of birds. Carley had grown attached to Calico before she
realized she was drifting into it; and for Carley to care for anything or
anybody was a serious matter, because it did not happen often and it
lasted. She was exceedingly tenacious of affection.
June had almost passed and summer lay upon the lonely land. Such perfect
and wonderful weather had never before been Carley's experience. The dawns
broke cool, fresh, fragrant, sweet, and rosy, with a breeze that seemed of
heaven rather than earth, and the air seemed tremulously full of the murmur
of falling water and the melody of mocking birds. At the solemn noontides
the great white sun glared down hot--so hot that t burned the skin, yet
strangely was a pleasant burn. The waning afternoons were Carley's especial
torment, when it seemed the sounds and winds of the day were tiring, and
all things were seeking repose, and life must soften to an unthinking
happiness. These hours troubled Carley because she wanted them to last, and
because she knew for her this changing and transforming time could not
last. So long as she did not think she was satisfied.
Maples and sycamores and oaks were in full foliage, and their bright greens
contrasted softly with the dark shine of the pines. Through the spaces
between brown tree trunks and the white-spotted holes of the sycamores
gleamed the amber water of the creek. Always there was murmur of little
rills and the musical dash of little rapids. On the surface of still, shady
pools trout broke to make ever-widening ripples. Indian paintbrush, so
brightly carmine in color, lent touch of fire to the green banks, and under
the oaks, in cool dark nooks where mossy bowlders lined the stream, there
were stately nodding yellow columbines. And high on the rock ledges shot up
the wonderful mescal stalks, beginning to blossom, some with tints of gold
and others with tones of red.
Riding along down the canyon, under its looming walls, Carley wondered that
if unawares to her these physical aspects of Arizona could have become more
significant than she realized. The thought had confronted her before. Here,
as always, she fought it and denied it by the simple defense of
elimination. Yet refusing to think of a thing when it seemed ever present
was not going to do forever. Insensibly and subtly it might get a hold on
her, never to be broken. Yet it was infinitely easier to dream than to
But the thought encroached upon her that it was not a dreamful habit of
mind she had fallen into of late. When she dreamed or mused she lived
vaguely and sweetly over past happy hours or dwelt in enchanted fancy upon
a possible future. Carley had been told by a Columbia professor that she
was a type of the present age--a modern young woman of materialistic mind.
Be that as it might, she knew many things seemed loosening from the
narrowness and tightness of her character, sloughing away like scales,
exposing a new and strange and susceptible softness of fiber. And this
blank habit of mind, when she did not think, and now realized that she was
not dreaming, seemed to be the body of Carley Burch, and her heart and soul
stripped of a shell. Nerve and emotion and spirit received something from
her surroundings. She absorbed her environment. She felt. It was a
delightful state. But when her own consciousness caused it to elude her,
then she both resented and regretted. Anything that approached permanent
attachment to this crude and untenanted West Carley would not tolerate for
a moment. Reluctantly she admitted it had bettered her health, quickened
her blood, and quite relegated Florida and the Adirondacks, to little
"Well, as I told Glenn," soliloquized Carley, "every time I'm almost won
over a little to Arizona she gives me a hard jolt. I'm getting near being
mushy today. Now let's see what I'll get. I suppose that's my pessimism or
materialism. Funny how Glenn keeps saying its the jolts, the hard knocks,
the fights that are best to remember afterward. I don't get that at all."
Five miles below West Fork a road branched off and climbed the left side of
the canyon. It was a rather steep road, long and zigzaging, and full of
rocks and ruts. Carley did not enjoy ascending it, but she preferred the
going up to coming down. It took half an hour to climb.
Once up on the flat cedar-dotted desert she was met, full in the face, by a
hot dusty wind coming from the south. Carley searched her pockets for her
goggles, only to ascertain that she had forgotten them. Nothing, except a
freezing sleety wind, annoyed and punished Carley so much as a hard puffy
wind, full of sand and dust. Somewhere along the first few miles of this
road she was to meet Glenn. If she turned back for any cause he would be
worried, and, what concerned her more vitally, he would think she had not
the courage to face a little dust. So Carley rode on.
The wind appeared to be gusty. It would blow hard awhile, then lull for a
few moments. On the whole, however, it increased in volume and persistence
until she was riding against a gale. She had now come to a bare, flat,
gravelly region, scant of cedars and brush, and far ahead she could see a
dull yellow pall rising high into the sky. It was a duststorm and it was
sweeping down on the wings of that gale. Carley remembered that somewhere
along this flat there was a log cabin which had before provided shelter for
her and Flo when they were caught in a rainstorm. It seemed unlikely that
she had passed by this cabin.
Resolutely she faced the gale and knew she had a task to find that refuge.
If there had been a big rock or bushy cedar to offer shelter she would have
welcomed it. But there was nothing. When the hard dusty gusts hit her, she
found it absolutely necessary to shut her eyes. At intervals less windy she
opened them, and rode on, peering through the yellow gloom for the cabin.
Thus she got her eyes full of dust--an alkali dust that made them sting and
smart. The fiercer puffs of wind carried pebbles large enough to hurt
severely. Then the dust clogged her nose and sand got between her teeth.
Added to these annoyances was a heat like a blast from a furnace. Carley
perspired freely and that caked the dust on her face. She rode on,
gradually growing more uncomfortable and miserable. Yet even then she did
not utterly lose a sort of thrilling zest in being thrown upon her own
responsibility. She could hate an obstacle, yet feel something of pride in
holding her own against it.
Another mile of buffeting this increasing gale so exhausted Carley and
wrought upon her nerves that she became nearly panic-stricken. It grew
harder and harder not to turn back. At last she was about to give up when
right at hand through the flying dust she espied the cabin. Riding behind
it, she dismounted and tied the mustang to a post. Then she ran around to
the door and entered.
What a welcome refuge! She was all right now, and when Glenn came along she
would have added to her already considerable list another feat for which he
would commend her. With aid of her handkerchief, and the tears that flowed
so copiously, Carley presently freed her eyes of the blinding dust. But
when she essayed to remove it from her face she discovered she would need a
towel and soap and hot water.
The cabin appeared to be enveloped in a soft, swishing, hollow sound. It
seeped and rustled. Then the sound lulled, only to rise again. Carley went
to the door, relieved and glad to see that the duststorm was blowing by.
The great sky-high pall of yellow had moved on to the north. Puffs of dust
were whipping along the road, but no longer in one continuous cloud. In the
west, low down the sun was sinking, a dull magenta in hue, quite weird and
"I knew I'd get the jolt all right," soliloquized Carley, wearily, as she
walked to a rude couch of poles and sat down upon it. She had begun to cool
off. And there, feeling dirty and tired, and slowly wearing to the old
depression, she composed herself to wait.
Suddenly she heard the clip-clop of hoofs. "There! that's Glenn," she
cried, gladly, and rising, she ran to the door.
She saw a big bay horse bearing a burly rider. He discovered her at the
same instant, and pulled his horse.
"Ho! Ho! if it ain't Pretty Eyes!" he called out, in gay, coarse voice.
Carley recognized the voice, and then the epithet, before her sight
established the man as Haze Ruff. A singular stultifying shock passed over
"Wal, by all thet's lucky!" he said, dismounting. "I knowed we'd meet some
day. I can't say I just laid fer you, but I kept my eyes open."
Manifestly he knew she was alone, for he did not glance into the cabin.
"I'm waiting for--Glenn," she said, with lips she tried to make stiff.
"Shore I reckoned thet," he replied, genially. "But he won't be along yet
He spoke with a cheerful inflection of tone, as if the fact designated was
one that would please her; and his swarthy, seamy face expanded into a
good-humored, meaning smile. Then without any particular rudeness he pushed
her back from the door, into the cabin, and stepped across the threshold.
"How dare--you!" cried Carley. A hot anger that stirred in her seemed to be
beaten down and smothered by a cold shaking internal commotion, threatening
collapse. This man loomed over her, huge, somehow monstrous in his brawny
uncouth presence. And his knowing smile, and the hard, glinting twinkle of
his light eyes, devilishly intelligent and keen, in no wise lessened the
sheer brutal force of him physically. Sight of his bulk was enough to
"Me! Aw, I'm a darin' hombre an' a devil with the wimmin," he said, with a
Carley could not collect her wits. The instant of his pushing her back into
the cabin and following her had shocked her and almost paralyzed her will.
If she saw him now any the less fearful she could not so quickly rally her
reason to any advantage.
"Let me out of here," she demanded.
"Nope. I'm a-goin' to make a little love to you," he said, and he reached
for her with great hairy hands.
Carley saw in them the strength that had so easily swung the sheep. She
saw, too, that they were dirty, greasy hands. And they made her flesh
"Glenn will kill--you," she panted.
"What fer?" he queried, in real or pretended surprise. "Aw, I know wimmin.
You'll never tell him."
"Yes, I will."
"Wal, mebbe. I reckon you're lyin', Pretty Eyes," he replied, with a grin.
"Anyhow, I'll take a chance."
"I tell you--he'll kill you," repeated Carley, backing away until her weak
knees came against the couch.
"What fer, I ask you?" he demanded.
"For this--this insult."
"Huh! I'd like to know who's insulted you. Can't a man take an invitation
to kiss an' hug a girl--without insultin' her?"
"Invitation! . . . Are you crazy?" queried Carley, bewildered.
"Nope, I'm not crazy, an' I shore said invitation . . . . I meant thet
white shimmy dress you wore the night of Flo's party. Thet's my invitation
to get a little fresh with you, Pretty Eyes!"
Carley could only stare at him. His words seemed to have some peculiar,
"Wal, if it wasn't an invitation, what was it?" he asked, with another step
that brought him within reach of her. He waited for her answer, which was
"Wal, you're gettin' kinda pale around the gills," he went on, derisively.
"I reckoned you was a real sport. . . . Come here."
He fastened one of his great hands in the front of her coat and gave her a
pull. So powerful was it that Carley came hard against him, almost knocking
her breathless. There he held her a moment and then put his other arm round
her. It seemed to crush both breath and sense out of her. Suddenly limp,
she sank strengthless. She seemed reeling in darkness. Then she felt herself thrust away
from him with violence. She sank on the couch and her head and shoulders struck the
"Say, if you're a-goin' to keel over like thet I pass," declared Ruff, in
disgust. "Can't you Eastern wimmin stand nothin?"
Carley's eyes opened and beheld this man in an attitude of supremely
"You look like a sick kitten," he added. "When I get me a sweetheart or
wife I want her to be a wild cat."
His scorn and repudiation of her gave Carley intense relief. She sat up and
endeavored to collect her shattered nerves. Ruff gazed down at her with
great disapproval and even disappointment.
"Say, did you have some fool idee I was a-goin' to kill you?" he queried,
"I'm afraid--I did," faltered Carley. Her relief was a release; it was so
strange that it was gratefulness.
"Wal, I reckon I wouldn't have hurt you. None of these flop-over Janes for
me! . . . An' I'll give you a hunch, Pretty Eyes. You might have run acrost
a fellar thet was no gentleman!"
Of all the amazing statements that had ever been made to Carley, this one
seemed the most remarkable.
"What 'd you wear thet onnatural white dress fer?" he demanded, as if he
had a right to be her judge.
"Unnatural?" echoed Carley.
"Shore. Thet's what I said. Any woman's dress without top or bottom is
onnatural. It's not right. Why, you looked like--like"--here he floundered
for adequate expression--"like one of the devil's angels. An' I want to
hear why you wore it."
"For the same reason I'd wear any dress," she felt forced to reply.
"Pretty Eyes, thet's a lie. An' you know it's a lie. You wore thet white
dress to knock the daylights out of men. Only you ain't honest enough to
say so . . . . Even me or my kind! Even us, who 're dirt under your little
feet. But all the same we're men, an' mebbe better men than you think. If
you had to put that dress on, why didn't you stay in your room? Naw, you
had to come down an' strut around an' show off your beauty. An' I ask you--
if you're a nice girl like Flo Hutter--what 'd you wear it fer?"
Carley not only was mute; she felt rise and burn in her a singular shame