Part 3 out of 4
"I'm only a sheep dipper," went on Ruff, "but I ain't no fool. A fellar
doesn't have to live East an' wear swell clothes to have sense. Mebbe
you'll learn thet the West is bigger'n you think. A man's a man East or
West. But if your Eastern men stand for such dresses as thet white one
they'd do well to come out West awhile, like your lover, Glenn Kilbourne.
I've been rustlin' round here ten years, an' I never before seen a dress
like yours--an' I never heerd of a girl bein' insulted, either. Mebbe you
think I insulted you. Wal, I didn't. Fer I reckon nothin' could insult you
in thet dress. . . . An' my last hunch is this, Pretty Eyes. You're not
what a hombre like me calls either square or game. Adios."
His bulky figure darkened the doorway, passed out, and the light of the sky
streamed into the cabin again. Carley sat staring. She heard Ruff's spurs
tinkle, then the ring of steel on stirrup, a sodden leathery sound as he
mounted, and after that a rapid pound of hoofs, quickly dying away.
He was gone. She had escaped something raw and violent. Dazedly she
realized it, with unutterable relief. And she sat there slowly gathering
the nervous force that had been shattered. Every word that he had uttered
was stamped in startling characters upon her consciousness. But she was
still under the deadening influence of shock. This raw experience was the
worst the West had yet dealt her. It brought back former states of
revulsion and formed them in one whole irrefutable and damning judgment
that seemed to blot out the vaguely dawning and growing happy
susceptibilities. It was, perhaps, just as well to have her mind reverted
to realistic fact. The presence of Haze Ruff, the astounding truth of the
contact with his huge sheep-defiled hands, had been profanation and
degradation under which she sickened with fear and shame. Yet hovering back
of her shame and rising anger seemed to be a pale, monstrous, and
indefinable thought, insistent and accusing, with which she must sooner or
later reckon. It might have been the voice of the new side of her nature,
but at that moment of outraged womanhood, and of revolt against the West,
she would not listen. It might, too, have been the still small voice of
conscience. But decision of mind and energy coming to her then, she threw
off the burden of emotion and perplexity, and forced herself into composure
before the arrival of Glenn.
The dust had ceased to blow, although the wind had by no means died away.
Sunset marked the west in old rose and gold, a vast flare. Carley espied a
horseman far down the road, and presently recognized both rider and steed.
He was coming fast. She went out and, mounting her mustang, she rode out to
meet Glenn. It did not appeal to her to wait for him at the cabin; besides
hoof tracks other than those made by her mustang might have been noticed by
Glenn. Presently he came up to her and pulled his loping horse.
"Hello! I sure was worried," was his greeting, as his gloved hand went out
to her. "Did you run into that sandstorm?"
"It ran into me, Glenn, and buried me," she laughed.
His fine eyes lingered on her face with glad and warm glance, and the keen,
apprehensive penetration of a lover.
"Well, under all that dust you look scared," he said.
"Scared! I was worse than that. When I first ran into the flying dirt I was
only afraid I'd lose my way--and my complexion. But when the worst of the
storm hit me--then I feared I'd lose my breath."
"Did you face that sand and ride through it all?" he queried.
"No, not all. But enough. I went through the worst of it before I reached
the cabin," she replied.
"Wasn't it great?"
"Yes--great bother and annoyance," she said, laconically.
Whereupon he reached with long, arm and wrapped it round her as they
rocked side by side. Demonstrations of this nature were infrequent with Glenn.
Despite losing one foot out of a stirrup and her seat in the saddle Carley
rather encouraged it. He kissed her dusty face, and then set her back.
"By George! Carley, sometimes I think you've changed since you've been
here," he said, with warmth. "To go through that sandstorm without one
kick--one knock at my West!"
"Glenn, I always think of what Flo says--the worst is yet to come," replied
Carley, trying to hide her unreasonable and tumultuous pleasure at words of
praise from him.
"Carley Burch, you don't know yourself," he declared, enigmatically.
"What woman knows herself? But do you know me?"
"Not I. Yet sometimes I see depths in you--wonderful possibilities-
-submerged under your poise--under your fixed, complacent idle attitude
This seemed for Carley to be dangerously skating near thin ice, but she
could not resist a retort:
"Depths in me? Why I am a shallow, transparent stream like your West Fork!
. . . And as for possibilities-may I ask what of them you imagine you see?"
"As a girl, before you were claimed by the world, you were earnest at
heart. You had big hopes and dreams. And you had intellect, too. But you
have wasted your talents, Carley. Having money, and spending it, living for
pleasure, you have not realized your powers. . . . Now, don't look hurt.
I'm not censuring you, It's just the way of modern life. And most of your
friends have been more careless, thoughtless, useless than you. The aim of
their existence is to be comfortable, free from work, worry, pain. They
want pleasure, luxury. And what a pity it is! The best of you girls regard
marriage as an escape, instead of responsibility. You don't marry to get
your shoulders square against the old wheel of American progress--to help
some man make good--to bring a troop of healthy American kids into the
world. You bare your shoulders to the gaze of the multitude and like it
best if you are strung with pearls."
"Glenn, you distress me when you talk like this, " replied Carley, soberly.
"You did not use to talk so. It seems to me you are bitter against women."
"Oh no, Carley! I am only sad," he said. "I only see where once I was
blind. American women are the finest on earth, but as a race, if they don't
change, they're doomed to extinction."
"How can you say such things?" demanded Carley, with spirit.
"I say them because they are true. Carley, on the level now, tell me how
many of your immediate friends have children."
Put to a test, Carley rapidly went over in mind her circle of friends, with
the result that she was somewhat shocked and amazed to realize how few of
them were even married, and how the babies of her acquaintance were limited
to three. It was not easy to admit this to Glenn.
"My dear," replied he, "if that does not show you the handwriting on the
wall, nothing ever will."
"A girl has to find a husband, doesn't she?" asked Carley, roused to
defense of her sex. "And if she's anybody she has to find one in her set.
Well, husbands are not plentiful. Marriage certainly is not the end of
existence these days. We have to get along somehow. The high cost of living
is no inconsderable factor today. Do you know that most of the better-class
apartment houses in New York will not take children? Women are not all to
blame. Take the speed mania. Men must have automobiles. I know one girl who
wanted a baby, but her husband wanted a car. They couldn't afford both."
"Carley, I'm not blaming women more than men," returned Glenn. "I don't
know that I blame them as a class. But in my own mind I have worked it all
out. Every man or woman who is genuinely American should read the signs of
the times, realize the crisis, and meet it in an American way. Otherwise we
are done as a race. Money is God in the older countries. But it should
never become God in America. If it does we will make the fall of Rome pale
"Glenn, let's put off the argument," appealed Carley. "I'm not--just up to
fighting you today. Oh--you needn't smile. I'm not showing a yellow streak,
as Flo puts it. I'll fight you some other time."
"You're right, Carley," he assented. "Here we are loafing six or seven
miles from home. Let's rustle along."
Riding fast with Glenn was something Carley had only of late added to her
achievements. She had greatest pride in it. So she urged her mustang to
keep pace with Glenn's horse and gave herself up to the thrill of the
motion and feel of wind and sense of flying along. At a good swinging lope
Calico covered ground swiftly and did not tire. Carley rode the two miles
to the rim of the canyon, keeping alongside of Glenn all the way. Indeed,
for one long level stretch she and Glenn held hands. When they arrived at
the descent, which necessitated slow and careful riding, she was hot and
tingling and breathless, worked by the action into an exuberance of
pleasure. Glenn complimented her riding as well as her rosy cheeks. There
was indeed a sweetness in working at a task as she had worked to learn to
ride in Western fashion. Every turn of her mind seemed to confront her with
sobering antitheses of thought. Why had she come to love to ride down a
lonely desert road, through ragged cedars where the wind whipped her face
with fragrant wild breath, if at the same time she hated the West? Could
she hate a country, however barren and rough, if it had saved the health
and happiness of her future husband? Verily there were problems for Carley
Early twilight purple lay low in the hollows and clefts of the canyon. Over
the western rim a pale ghost of the evening star seemed to smile at Carley,
to bid her look and look. Like a strain of distant music, the dreamy hum of
falling water, the murmur and melody of the stream, came again to Carley's
"Do you love this?" asked Glenn, when they reached the green-forested
canyon floor, with the yellow road winding away into the purple shadows.
"Yes, both the ride--and you," flashed Carley, contrarily. She knew he had
meant the deep-walled canyon with its brooding solitude.
"But I want you to love Arizona," he said.
"Glenn, I'm a faithful creature. You should be glad of that. I love New
"Very well, then. Arizona to New York," he said, lightly brushing her cheek
with his lips. And swerving back into his saddle, he spurred his horse and
called back over his shoulder: "That mustang and Flo have beaten me many a
time. Come on."
It was not so much his words as his tone and look that roused Carley. Had
he resented her loyalty to the city of her nativity? Always there was a
little rift in the lute. Had his tone and look meant that Flo might catch
him if Carley could not? Absurd as the idea was, it spurred her to
recklessness. Her mustang did not need any more than to know she wanted him
to run. The road was of soft yellow earth flanked with green foliage and
overspread by pines. In a moment she was racing at a speed she had never
before half attained on a horse. Down the winding road Glenn's big steed
sped, his head low, his stride tremendous, his action beautiful. But Carley
saw the distance between them diminishing. Calico was overtaking the bay.
She cried out in the thrilling excitement of the moment. Glenn saw her
gaining and pressed his mount to greater speed. Still he could not draw
away from Calico. Slowly the little mustang gained. It seemed to Carley
that riding him required no effort at all. And at such fast pace, with the
wind roaring in her ears, the walls of green vague and continuous in her
sight, the sting of pine tips on cheek and neck, the yellow road streaming
toward her, under her, there rose out of the depths of her, out of the
tumult of her breast, a sense of glorious exultation. She closed in on
Glenn. From the flying hoofs of his horse shot up showers of damp sand and
gravel that covered Carley's riding habit and spattered in her face. She
had to hold up a hand before her eyes. Perhaps this caused her to lose
something of her confidence, or her swing in the saddle, for suddenly she
realized she was not riding well. The pace was too fast for her
inexperience. But nothing could have stopped her then. No fear or
awkwardness of hers should be allowed to hamper that thoroughbred mustang.
Carley felt that Calico understood the situation; or at least he knew he
could catch and pass this big bay horse, and he intended to do it. Carley
was hard put to it to hang on and keep the flying sand from blinding her.
When Calico drew alongside the bay horse and brought Carley breast to
breast with Glenn, and then inch by inch forged ahead of him, Carley pealed
out an exultant cry. Either it frightened Calico or inspired him, for he
shot right ahead of Glenn's horse. Then he lost the smooth, wonderful
action. He seemed hurtling through space at the expense of tremendous
muscular action. Carley could feel it. She lost her equilibrium. She seemed
rushing through a blurred green and black aisle of the forest with a gale
in her face. Then, with a sharp jolt, a break, Calico plunged to the sand.
Carley felt herself propelled forward out of the saddle into the air, and
down to strike with a sliding, stunning force that ended in sudden dark
Upon recovering consciousness she first felt a sensation of oppression in
her chest and a dull numbness of her whole body. When she opened her eyes
she saw Glenn bending over her, holding her head on his knee. A wet, cold,
reviving sensation evidently came from the handkerchief with which he was
mopping her face.
"Carley, you can't be hurt--really!" he was ejaculating, in eager hope. "It
was some spill. But you lit on the sand and slid. You can't be hurt."
The look of his eyes, the tone of his voice, the feel of his hands were
such that Carley chose for a moment to pretend to be very badly hurt
indeed. It was worth taking a header to get so much from Glenn Kilbourne.
But she believed she had suffered no more than a severe bruising and
"Glenn--dear, " she whispered, very low and very eloquently. "I think--my
back--is broken. . . . You'll be free--soon."
Glenn gave a terrible start and his face turned a deathly white. He burst
out with quavering, inarticulate speech.
Carley gazed up at him and then closed her eyes. She could not look at him
while carrying on such deceit. Yet the sight of him and the feel of him
then were inexpressibly blissful to her. What she needed most was assurance
of his love. She had it. Beyond doubt, beyond morbid fancy, the truth had
proclaimed itself, filling her heart with joy.
Suddenly she flung her arms up around his neck. "Oh--Glenn! It was too good
a chance to miss! . . . I'm not hurt a bit."
The day came when Carley asked Mrs. Hutter: "Will you please put up a nice
lunch for Glenn and me? I'm going to walk down to his farm where he's
working, and surprise him."
"That's a downright fine idea," declared Mrs. Hutter, and forthwith bustled
away to comply with Carley's request.
So presently Carley found herself carrying a bountiful basket on her arm,
faring forth on an adventure that both thrilled and depressed her. Long
before this hour something about Glenn's work had quickened her pulse and
given rise to an inexplicable admiration. That he was big and strong enough
to do such labor made her proud; that he might want to go on doing it made
her ponder and brood.
The morning resembled one of the rare Eastern days in June, when the air
appeared flooded by rich thick amber light. Only the sun here was hotter
and the shade cooler.
Carley took to the trail below where West Fork emptied its golden-green
waters into Oak Creek. The red walls seemed to dream and wait under the
blaze of the sun; the heat lay like a blanket over the still foliage; the
birds were quiet; only the murmuring stream broke the silence of the
canyon. Never had Carley felt more the isolation and solitude of Oak Creek
Canyon. Far indeed from the madding crowd! Only Carley's stubbornness kept
her from acknowledging the sense of peace that enveloped her-that and the
consciousness of her own discontent. What would it be like to come to this
canyon-to give up to its enchantments? That, like many another disturbing
thought, had to go unanswered, to be driven into the closed chambers of
Carley's mind, there to germinate subconsciously, and stalk forth some day
to overwhelm her.
The trail led along the creek, threading a maze of bowlders, passing into
the shade of cottonwoods, and crossing sun-flecked patches of sand.
Carley's every step seemed to become slower. Regrets were assailing her.
Long indeed had she overstayed her visit to the West. She must not linger
there indefinitely. And mingled with misgiving was a surprise that she had
not tired of Oak Creek. In spite of all, and of the dislike she vaunted to
herself, the truth stared at her--she was not tired.
The long-delayed visit to see Glenn working on his own farm must result in
her talking to him about his work; and in a way not quite clear she
regretted the necessity for it. To disapprove of Glenn! She received faint
intimations of wavering, of uncertainty, of vague doubt. But these were
cried down by the dominant and habitable voice of her personality.
Presently through the shaded and shadowed breadth of the belt of forest she
saw gleams of a sunlit clearing. And crossing this space to the border of
trees she peered forth, hoping to espy Glenn at his labors. She saw an old
shack, and irregular lines of rude fence built of poles of all sizes and
shapes, and several plots of bare yellow ground, leading up toward the west
side of the canyon wall. Could this clearing be Glenn's farm? Surely she
had missed it or had not gone far enough. This was not a farm, but a slash
in the forested level of the canyon floor, bare and somehow hideous. Dead
trees were standing in the lots. They had been ringed deeply at the base by
an ax, to kill them, and so prevent their foliage from shading the soil.
Carley saw a long pile of rocks that evidently had been carried from the
plowed ground. There was no neatness, no regularity, although there was
abundant evidence of toil. To clear that rugged space, to fence it, and
plow it, appeared at once to Carley an extremely strenuous and useless
task. Carley persuaded herself that this must be the plot of ground belonging
to the herder Charley, and she was about to turn on down the creek when
far up under the bluff she espied a man. He was stalking along and bending
down, stalking along and bending down. She recognized Glenn. He was planting
something in the yellow soil.
Curiously Carley watched him, and did not allow her mind to become
concerned with a somewhat painful swell of her heart. What a stride he had!
How vigorous he looked, and earnest! He was as intent upon this job as if
he had been a rustic. He might have been failing to do it well, but he most
certainly was doing it conscientiously. Once he had said to her that a man
should never be judged by the result of his labors, but by the nature of
his effort. A man might strive with all his heart and strength, yet fall.
Carley watched him striding along and bending down, absorbed in his task,
unmindful of the glaring hot sun, and somehow to her singularly detached
from the life wherein he had once moved and to which she yearned to take
him back. Suddenly an unaccountable flashing query assailed her conscience:
How dare she want to take him back? She seemed as shocked as if some
stranger had accosted her. What was this dimming of her eye, this inward
tremulousness; this dammed tide beating at an unknown and riveted gate of
her intelligence? She felt more then than she dared to face. She struggled
against something in herself. The old habit of mind instinctively resisted
the new, the strange. But she did not come off wholly victorious. The
Carley Burch whom she recognized as of old, passionately hated this life
and work of Glenn Kilbourne's, but the rebel self, an unaccountable and
defiant Carley, loved him all the better for them.
Carley drew a long deep breath before she called Glenn. This meeting would
be momentous and she felt no absolute surety of herself.
Manifestly he was surprised to hear her call, and, dropping his sack and
implement, he hurried across the tilled ground, sending up puffs of dust.
He vaulted the rude fence of poles, and upon sight of her called out
lustily. How big and virile he looked! Yet he was gaunt and strained. It
struck Carley that he had not looked so upon her arrival at Oak Creek. Had
she worried him? The query gave her a pang.
"Sir Tiller of the Fields," said Carley, gayly, "see, your dinner! I
brought it and I am going to share it."
"You old darling!" he replied, and gave her an embrace that left her cheek
moist with the sweat of his. He smelled of dust and earth and his body was
hot. "I wish to God it could be true for always!"
His loving, bearish onslaught and his words quite silenced Carley. How at
critical moments he always said the thing that hurt her or inhibited her!
She essayed a smile as she drew back from him.
"It's sure good of you," he said, taking the basket. "I was thinking I'd be
through work sooner today, and was sorry I had not made a date with you.
Come, we'll find a place to sit."
Whereupon he led her back under the trees to a half-sunny, half-shady bench
of rock overhanging the stream. Great pines overshadowed a still, eddying
pool. A number of brown butterflies hovered over the water, and small trout
floated like spotted feathers just under the surface. Drowsy summer
enfolded the sylvan scene.
Glenn knelt at the edge of the brook, and, plunging his hands in, he
splashed like a huge dog and bathed his hot face and head, and then turned
to Carley with gay words and laughter, while he wiped himself dry with a
large red scarf. Carley was not proof against the virility of him then, and
at the moment, no matter what it was that had made him the man he looked,
she loved it.
"I'll sit in the sun," he said, designating a place. "When you're hot you
mustn't rest in the shade, unless you've coat or sweater. But you sit here
in the shade."
"Glenn, that'll put us too far apart," complained Carley. "I'll sit in the
sun with you."
The delightful simplicity and happiness of the ensuing hour was something
Carley believed she would never forget.
"There! we've licked the platter clean," she said. "What starved bears we
were! . . . . I wonder if I shall enjoy eating--when I get home. I used to
be so finnicky and picky."
"Carley, don't talk about home," said Glenn, appealingly.
"You dear old farmer, I'd love to stay here and just dream--forever,"
replied Carley, earnestly. "But I came on purpose to talk seriously."
"Oh, you did! About what?" he returned, with some quick, indefinable change
of tone and expression.
"Well, first about your work. I know I hurt your feelings when I wouldn't
listen. But I wasn't ready. I wanted to--to just be gay with you for a
while. Don't think I wasn't interested. I was. And now, I'm ready to hear
all about it--and everything."
She smiled at him bravely, and she knew that unless some unforeseen shock
upset her composure, she would be able to conceal from him anything which
might hurt his feelings.
"You do look serious," he said, with keen eyes on her.
"Just what are your business relations with Hutter?" she inquired.
"I'm simply working for him," replied Glenn. "My aim is to get an interest
in his sheep, and I expect to, some day. We have some plans. And one of
them is the development of that Deep Lake section. You remember--you were
with us. The day Spillbeans spilled you?"
"Yes, I remember. It was a pretty place," she replied.
Carley did not tell him that for a month past she had owned the Deep Lake
section of six hundred and forty acres. She had, in fact, instructed Hutter
to purchase it, and to keep the transaction a secret for the present.
Carley had never been able to understand the impulse that prompted her to
do it. But as Hutter had assured her it was a remarkably good investment on
very little capital, she had tried to persuade herself of its advantages.
Back of it all had been an irresistible desire to be able some day to
present to Glenn this ranch site he loved. She had concluded he would
never wholly dissociate himself from this West; and as he would visit it
now and then, she had already begun forming plans of her own. She could
stand a month in Arizona at long intervals.
"Hutter and I will go into cattle raising some day," went on Glenn. "And
that Deep Lake place is what I want for myself."
"What work are you doing for Hutter?" asked Carley.
"Anything from building fence to cutting timber," laughed Glenn. "I've not
yet the experience to be a foreman like Lee Stanton. Besides, I have a
little business all my own. I put all my money in that."
"You mean here--this--this farm?"
"Yes. And the stock I'm raisin'. You see I have to feed corn. And believe
me, Carley, those cornfields represent some job."
"I can well believe that," replied Carley. "You--you looked it."
"Oh, the hard work is over. All I have to do now it to plant and keep the
"Glenn, do sheep eat corn?"
"I plant corn to feed my hogs."
"Hogs?" she echoed, vaguely.
"Yes, hogs," he said, with quiet gravity. "The first day you visited my
cabin I told you I raised hogs, and I fried my own ham for your dinner."
"Is that what you--put your money in?"
"Yes. And Hutter says I've done well."
"Hogs!" ejaculated Carley, aghast.
"My dear, are you growin' dull of comprehension?" retorted Glenn.
"H-o-g-s." He spelled the word out. "I'm in the hog-raising business, and
pretty blamed well pleased over my success so far."
Carley caught herself in time to quell outwardly a shock of amaze and
revulsion. She laughed, and exclaimed against her stupidity. The look of
Glenn was no less astounding than the content of his words. He was actually
proud of his work. Moreover, he showed not the least sign that he had any
idea such information might be startlingly obnoxious to his fiancee.
"Glenn! It's so--so queer," she ejaculated. "That you--Glenn Kilbourne-
should ever go in for--for hogs! . . . It's unbelievable. How'd you
ever--ever happen to do it?"
"By Heaven! you're hard on me!" he burst out, in sudden dark, fierce
passion. "How'd I ever happen to do it? . . . What was there left for me? I
gave my soul and heart and body to the government--to fight for my country.
I came home a wreck. What did my government do for me? What did my
employers do for me? What did the people I fought for do for me? . . .
Nothing--so help me God--nothing! . . . I got a ribbon and a bouquet--a
little applause for an hour--and then the sight of me sickened my
countrymen. I was broken and used. I was absolutely forgotten. . . . But my
body, my life, my soul meant all to me. My future was ruined, but I wanted
to live. I had killed men who never harmed me--I was not fit to die. . . .
I tried to live. So I fought out my battle alone. Alone! . . . No one
understood. No one cared. I came West to keep from dying of consumption in sight of the
indifferent mob for whom I had sacrificed myself. I chose to die on my feet away off
alone somewhere. . . . But I got well. And what made me well--and saved my
soul--was the first work that offered. Raising and tending hogs!"
The dead whiteness of Glenn's face, the lightning scorn of his eyes, the
grim, stark strangeness of him then had for Carley a terrible harmony with
this passionate denunciation of her, of her kind, of the America for whom
he had lost all.
"Oh, Glenn!--forgive--me! " she faltered. "I was only--talking. What do I
know? Oh, I am blind--blind and little!"
She could not bear to face him for a moment, and she hung her head. Her
intelligence seemed concentrating swift, wild thoughts round the shock to
her consciousness. By that terrible expression of his face, by those
thundering words of scorn, would she come to realize the mighty truth of
his descent into the abyss and his rise to the heights. Vaguely she began
to see. An awful sense of her deadness, of her soul-blighting selfishness,
began to dawn upon her as something monstrous out of dim, gray obscurity.
She trembled under the reality of thoughts that were not new. How she had
babbled about Glenn and the crippled soldiers! How she had imagined she
sympathized! But she had only been a vain, worldly, complacent, effusive
little fool. She had here the shock of her life, and she sensed a greater
one, impossible to grasp.
"Carley, that was coming to you," said Glenn, presently, with deep, heavy
expulsion of breath.
"I only know I love you--more--more," she cried, wildly, looking up and
wanting desperately to throw herself in his arms.
"I guess you do--a little," he replied. "Sometimes I feel you are a kid.
Then again you represent the world--your world with its age-old custom--its
unalterable. . . . But, Carley, let's get back to my work."
"Yes--yes," exclaimed Carley, gladly. "I'm ready to--to go pet your hogs-
"By George! I'll take you up," he declared. "I'll bet you won't go near one
of my hogpens."
"Lead me to it!" she replied, with a hilarity that was only a nervous
reversion of her state.
"Well, maybe I'd better hedge on the bet," he said, laughing again. "You
have more in you than I suspect. You sure fooled me when you stood for the
sheep-dip. But, come on, I'll take you anyway."
So that was how Carley found herself walking arm in arm with Glenn down the
canyon trail. A few moments of action gave her at least an appearance of
outward composure. And the state of her emotion was so strained and intense
that her slightest show of interest must deceive Glenn into thinking her
eager, responsive, enthusiastic. It certainly appeared to loosen his
tongue. But Carley knew she was farther from normal than ever before in her
life, and that the subtle, inscrutable woman's intuition of her presaged
another shock. Just as she had seemed to change, so had the aspects of the
canyon undergone some illusive transformation. The beauty of green foliage
and amber stream and brown tree trunks and gray rocks and red walls was
there; and the summer drowsiness and languor lay as deep; and the
loneliness and solitude brooded with its same eternal significance. But
some nameless enchantment, perhaps of hope, seemed no longer to encompass
her. A blow had fallen upon her, the nature of which only time could
Glenn led her around the clearing and up to the base of the west wall,
where against a shelving portion of the cliff had been constructed a rude
fence of poles. It formed three sides of a pen, and the fourth side was
solid rock. A bushy cedar tree stood in the center. Water flowed from under
the cliff, which accounted for the boggy condition of the red earth. This
pen was occupied by a huge sow and a litter of pigs.
Carley climbed on the fence and sat there while Glenn leaned over the top
pole and began to wax eloquent on a subject evidently dear to his heart.
Today of all days Carley made an inspiring listener. Even the shiny, muddy,
suspicious old sow in no wise daunted her fictitious courage. That filthy
pen of mud a foot deep, and of odor rancid, had no terrors for her. With an
arm round Glenn's shoulder she watched the rooting and squealing little
pigs, and was amused and interested, as if they were far removed from the
vital issue of the hour. But all the time as she looked and laughed, and
encouraged Glenn to talk, there seemed to be a strange, solemn, oppressive
knocking at her heart. Was it only the beat-beat-beat of blood?
"There were twelve pigs in that litter," Glenn was saying, "and now you see
there are only nine. I've lost three. Mountain lions, bears, coyotes, wild
cats are all likely to steal a pig. And at first I was sure one of these
varmints had been robbing me. But as I could not find any tracks, I knew I
had to lay the blame on something else. So I kept watch pretty closely in
daytime, and at night I shut the pigs up in the corner there, where you see
I've built a pen. Yesterday I heard squealing--and, by George! I saw an
eagle flying off with one of my pigs. Say, I was mad. A great old
bald-headed eagle--the regal bird you see with America's stars and stripes
had degraded himself to the level of a coyote. I ran for my rifle, and I
took some quick shots at him as he flew up. Tried to hit him, too, but I
failed. And the old rascal hung on to my pig. I watched him carry it to
that sharp crag way up there on the rim."
"Poor little piggy!" exclaimed Carley. "To think of our American emblem--our
stately bird of noble warlike mien--our symbol of lonely grandeur and
freedom of the heights--think of him being a robber of pigpens!--Glenn, I
begin to appreciate the many-sidedness of things. Even my hide-bound
narrowness is susceptible to change. It's never too late to learn. This
should apply to the Society for the Preservation of the American Eagle."
Glenn led her along the base of the wall to three other pens, in each of
which was a fat old sow with a litter. And at the last enclosure, that
owing to dry soil was not so dirty, Glenn picked up a little pig and held
it squealing out to Carley as she leaned over the fence. It was fairly
white and clean, a little pink and fuzzy, and certainly cute with its
"Carley Burch, take it in your hands," commanded Glenn.
The feat seemed monstrous and impossible of accomplishment for Carley. Yet
such was her temper at the moment that she would have undertaken anything.
"Why, shore I will, as Flo says," replied Carley, extending her ungloved
hands. "Come here, piggy. I christen you Pinky." And hiding an almost
insupportable squeamishness from Glenn, she took the pig in her hands and
"By George!" exclaimed Glenn, in huge delight. "I wouldn't have believed
it. Carley, I hope you tell your fastidious and immaculate Morrison that
you held one of my pigs in your beautiful hands."
"Wouldn't it please you more to tell him yourself?" asked Carley.
"Yes, it would," declared Glenn, grimly.
This incident inspired Glenn to a Homeric narration of his hog-raising
experience. In spite of herself the content of his talk interested her. And
as for the effect upon her of his singular enthusiasm, it was deep and
compelling. The little-boned Berkshire razorback hogs grew so large and fat
and heavy that their bones broke under their weight. The Duroc jerseys were
the best breed in that latitude, owing to their larger and stronger bones,
that enabled them to stand up under the greatest accumulation of fat.
Glenn told of his droves of pigs running wild in the canyon below. In
summertime they fed upon vegetation, and at other seasons on acorns, roots,
bugs, and grubs. Acorns, particularly, were good and fattening feed. They
ate cedar and juniper berries, and pinyon nuts. And therefore they lived
off the land, at little or no expense to the owner. The only loss was from
beasts and birds of prey. Glenn showed Carley how a profitable business
could soon be established. He meant to fence off side canyons and to
segregate droves of his hogs, and to raise abundance of corn for winter
feed. At that time there was a splendid market for hogs, a condition Hutter
claimed would continue indefinitely in a growing country. In conclusion
Glenn eloquently told how in his necessity he had accepted gratefully the
humblest of labors, to find in the hard pursuit of it a rejuvenation of
body and mind, and a promise of independence and prosperity.
When he had finished, and excused himself to go repair a weak place in the
corral fence, Carley sat silent, wrapped in strange meditation.
Whither had faded the vulgarity and ignominy she had attached to Glenn's
raising of hogs? Gone--like other miasmas of her narrow mind! Partly she
understood him now. She shirked consideration of his sacrifice to his
country. That must wait. But she thought of his work, and the more she
thought the less she wondered.
First he had labored with his hands. What infinite meaning lay unfolding to
her vision! Somewhere out of it all came the conception that man was
intended to earn his bread by the sweat of his brow. But there was more to
it than that. By that toil and sweat, by the friction of horny palms, by
the expansion and contraction of muscle, by the acceleration of blood,
something great and enduring, something physical and spiritual, came to a
man. She understood then why she would have wanted to surrender herself to
a man made manly by toil; she understood how a woman instinctively leaned
toward the protection of a man who had used his hands--who had strength and
red blood and virility who could fight like the progenitors of the race.
Any toil was splendid that served this end for any man. It all went back to
the survival of the fittest. And suddenly Carley thought of Morrison. He
could dance and dangle attendance upon her, and amuse her--but how would he
have acquitted himself in a moment of peril? She had her doubts. Most
assuredly he could not have beaten down for her a ruffian like Haze Ruff.
What then should be the significance of a man for a woman?
Carley's querying and answering mind reverted to Glenn. He had found a
secret in this seeking for something through the labor of hands. All
development of body must come through exercise of muscles. The virility of
cell in tissue and bone depended upon that. Thus he had found in toil the
pleasure and reward athletes had in their desultory training. But when a
man learned this secret the need of work must become permanent. Did this
explain the law of the Persians that every man was required to sweat every
Carley tried to picture to herself Glenn's attitude of mind when he had
first gone to work here in the West. Resolutely she now denied her
shrinking, cowardly sensitiveness. She would go to the root of this matter,
if she had intelligence enough. Crippled, ruined in health, wrecked and
broken by an inexplicable war, soul-blighted by the heartless, callous
neglect of government and public, on the verge of madness at the
insupportable facts, he had yet been wonderful enough, true enough to himself
and God, to fight for life with the instinct of a man, to fight for his
mind with a noble and unquenchable faith. Alone indeed he had been alone!
And by some miracle beyond the power of understanding he had found day by
day in his painful efforts some hope and strength to go on. He could not
have had any illusions. For Glenn Kilbourne the health and happiness and
success most men held so dear must have seemed impossible. His slow, daily,
tragic, and terrible task must have been something he owed himself. Not for
Carley Burch! She like all the others had failed him. How Carley shuddered
in confession of that! Not for the country which had used him and cast him
off! Carley divined now, as if by a flash of lightning, the meaning of
Glenn's strange, cold, scornful, and aloof manner when he had encountered
young men of his station, as capable and as strong as he, who had escaped
the service of the army. For him these men did not exist. They were less
than nothing. They had waxed fat on lucrative jobs; they had basked in the
presence of girls whose brothers and lovers were in the trenches or on the
turbulent sea, exposed to the ceaseless dread and almost ceaseless toil of
war. If Glenn's spirit had lifted him to endurance of war for the sake of
others, how then could it fail him in a precious duty of fidelity to
himself? Carley could see him day by day toiling in his lonely canyon--
plodding to his lonely cabin. He had been playing the game--fighting it out
alone as surely he knew his brothers of like misfortune were fighting.
So Glenn Kilbourne loomed heroically in Carley's transfigured sight. He was
one of Carley's battle-scarred warriors. Out of his travail he had climbed
on stepping-stones of his dead self. Resurqam! That had been his
unquenchable cry. Who had heard it? Only the solitude of his lonely canyon,
only the waiting, dreaming, watching walls, only the silent midnight
shadows, only the white, blinking, passionless stars, only the wild
creatures of his haunts, only the moaning wind in the pines--only these had
been with him in his agony. How near were these things to God?
Carley's heart seemed full to bursting. Not another single moment could her
mounting love abide in a heart that held a double purpose. How bitter the
assurance that she had not come West to help him! It was self, self, all
self that had actuated her. Unworthy indeed was she of the love of this
man. Only a lifetime of devotion to him could acquit her in the eyes of her
better self. Sweetly and madly raced the thrill and tumult of her blood.
There must be only one outcome to her romance. Yet the next instant there
came a dull throbbing-an oppression which was pain--an impondering vague
thought of catastrophe. Only the fearfulness of love perhaps!
She saw him complete his task and wipe his brown moist face and stride
toward her, coming nearer, tall and erect with something added to his
soldierly bearing, with a light in his eyes she could no longer bear.
The moment for which she had waited more than two months had come at last.
"Glenn--when will you go back East?" she asked, tensely and low.
The instant the words were spent upon her lips she realized that he had
always been waiting and prepared for this question that had been so
terrible for her to ask.
"Carley," he replied gently, though his voice rang, "I am never going back
An inward quivering hindered her articulation.
"Never?" she whispered.
"Never to live, or stay any while," he went on. "I might go some time for a
little visit. . . . But never to live."
"Oh--Glenn!" she gasped, and her hands fluttered out to him. The shock was
driving home. No amaze, no incredulity succeeded her reception of the fact.
It was a slow stab. Carley felt the cold blanch of her skin. "Then--this is
it--the something I felt strange between us?"
"Yes, I knew--and you never asked me," he replied.
"That was it? All the time you knew," she whispered, huskily. "You knew. .
. . I'd never--marry you--never live out here?"
"Yes, Carley, I knew you'd never be woman enough--American enough--to help
me reconstruct my broken life out here in the West," he replied, with a sad
and bitter smile.
That flayed her. An insupportable shame and wounded vanity and clamoring
love contended for dominance of her emotions. Love beat down all else.
"Dearest--I beg of you--don't break my heart," she implored.
"I love you, Carley," he answered, steadily, with piercing eyes on hers.
"Then come back--home--home with me."
"No. If you love me you will be my wife."
"Love you! Glenn, I worship you," she broke out, passionately. "But I could
not live here--I could not."
"Carley, did you ever read of the woman who said, 'Whither thou goest,
there will I go' . . ."
"Oh, don't be ruthless! Don't judge me. . . . I never dreamed of this. I
came West to take you back."
"My dear, it was a mistake," he said, gently, softening to her distress.
"I'm sorry I did not write you more plainly. But, Carley, I could not ask
you to share this--this wilderness home with me. I don't ask it now. I
always knew you couldn't do it. Yet you've changed so--that I hoped against
hope. Love makes us blind even to what we see."
"Don't try to spare me. I'm slight and miserable. I stand abased in my own
eyes. I thought I loved you. But I must love best the crowd--people-
-luxury--fashion--the damned round of things I was born to."
"Carley, you will realize their insufficiency too late," he replied,
earnestly. "The things you were born to are love, work, children,
"Don't! don't! . . . they are hollow mockery for me," she cried,
passionately. "Glenn, it is the end. It must come--quickly. . . . You are
"I do not ask to be free. Wait. Go home and look at it again with different
eyes. Think things over. Remember what came to me out of the West. I will
always love you--and I will be here--hoping--"
"I--I cannot listen," she returned, brokenly, and she clenched her hands
tightly to keep from wringing them. "I--I cannot face you. . . . Here
is--your ring. . . . You--are--free. . . . Don't stop me--don't come. . . .
Oh, Glenn, good-by!"
With breaking heart she whirled away from him and hurried down the slope
toward the trail. The shade of the forest enveloped her. Peering back
through the trees, she saw Glenn standing where she had left him, as if
already stricken by the loneliness that must be his lot. A sob broke from
Carley's throat. She hated herself. She was in a terrible state of
conflict. Decision had been wrenched from her, but she sensed unending
strife. She dared not look back again. Stumbling and breathless, she
hurried on. How changed the atmosphere and sunlight and shadow of the
canyon! The looming walls had pitiless eyes for her flight. When she
crossed the mouth of West Fork an almost irresistible force breathed to her
from under the stately pines.
An hour later she had bidden farewell to the weeping Mrs. Hutter, and to
the white-faced Flo, and Lolomi Lodge, and the murmuring waterfall, and the
haunting loneliness of Oak Creek Canyon.
At Flagstaff, where Carley arrived a few minutes before train time, she was
too busily engaged with tickets and baggage to think of herself or of the
significance of leaving Arizona. But as she walked into the Pullman she
overheard a passenger remark, "Regular old Arizona sunset," and that shook
her heart. Suddenly she realized she had come to love the colorful sunsets,
to watch and wait for them. And bitterly she thought how that was her way
to learn the value of something when it was gone.
The jerk and start of the train affected her with singular depressing
shock. She had burned her last bridge behind her. Had she unconsciously
hoped for some incredible reversion of Glenn's mind or of her own? A sense
of irreparable loss flooded over her--the first check to shame and humiliation.
From her window she looked out to the southwest. Somewhere across the cedar
and pine-greened uplands lay Oak Creek Canyon, going to sleep in its purple
and gold shadows of sunset. Banks of broken clouds hung to the horizon,
like continents and islands and reefs set in a turquoise sea. Shafts of
sunlight streaked down through creamy-edged and purple-centered clouds.
Vast flare of gold dominated the sunset background.
When the train rounded a curve Carley's strained vision became filled with
the upheaved bulk of the San Francisco Mountains. Ragged gray grass slopes
and green forests on end, and black fringed sky lines, all pointed to the
sharp clear peaks spearing the sky. And as she watched, the peaks slowly
flushed with sunset hues, and the sky flared golden, and the strength of
the eternal mountains stood out in sculptured sublimity. Every day for two
months and more Carley had watched these peaks, at all hours, in every
mood; and they had unconsciously become a part of her thought. The train
was relentlessly whirling her eastward. Soon they must become a memory.
Tears blurred her sight. Poignant regret seemed added to the anguish she
was suffering. Why had she not learned sooner to see the glory of the
mountains, to appreciate the beauty and solitude? Why had she not
The next day through New Mexico she followed magnificent ranges and
valleys--so different from the country she had seen coming West--so
supremely beautiful that she wondered if she had only acquired the harvest
of a seeing eye.
But it was at sunset of the following clay, when the train was speeding
down the continental slope of prairie land beyond the Rockies, that the
West took its ruthless revenge.
Masses of strange cloud and singular light upon the green prairie, and a
luminosity in the sky, drew Carley to the platform of her car, which was
the last of the train. There she stood, gripping the iron gate, feeling the
wind whip her hair and the iron-tracked ground speed from under her,
spellbound and stricken at the sheer wonder and glory of the firmament, and
the mountain range that it canopied so exquisitely.
A rich and mellow light, singularly clear, seemed to flood out of some
unknown source. For the sun was hidden. The clouds just above Carley hung
low, and they were like thick, heavy smoke, mushrooming, coalescing,
forming and massing, of strange yellow cast of mative. It shaded westward
into heliotrope and this into a purple so royal, so matchless and rare that
Carley understood why the purple of the heavens could never be reproduced
in paint. Here the cloud mass thinned and paled, and a tint of rose began
to flush the billowy, flowery, creamy white. Then came the surpassing
splendor of this cloud pageant-a vast canopy of shell pink, a sun-fired
surface like an opal sea, rippled and webbed, with the exquisite texture of
an Oriental fabric, pure, delicate, lovely--as no work of human hands could
be. It mirrored all the warm, pearly tints of the inside whorl of the
tropic nautilus. And it ended abruptly, a rounded depth of bank, on a broad
stream of clear sky, intensely blue, transparently blue, as if through the
lambent depths shone the infinite firmament. The lower edge of this stream
took the golden lightning of the sunset and was notched for all its
horizon-long length by the wondrous white glistening-peaked range of the
Rockies. Far to the north, standing aloof from the range, loomed up the
grand black bulk and noble white dome of Pikes Peak.
Carley watched the sunset transfiguration of cloud and sky and mountain
until all were cold and gray. And then she returned to her seat, thoughtful
and sad, feeling that the West had mockingly flung at her one of its
transient moments of loveliness.
Nor had the West wholly finished with her. Next day the mellow gold of the
Kansas wheat fields, endless and boundless as a sunny sea, rich, waving in
the wind, stretched away before her aching eyes for hours and hours. Here
was the promise fulfilled, the bountiful harvest of the land, the strength
of the West. The great middle state had a heart of gold.
East of Chicago Carley began to feel that the long days and nights of
riding, the ceaseless turning of the wheels, the constant and wearing
stress of emotion, had removed her an immeasurable distance of miles and
time and feeling from the scene of her catastrophe. Many days seemed to
have passed. Many had been the hours of her bitter regret and anguish.
Indiana and Ohio, with their green pastoral farms, and numberless villages,
and thriving cities, denoted a country far removed and different from the
West, and an approach to the populous East. Carley felt like a wanderer
coming home. She was restlessly and impatiently glad. But her weariness of
body and mind, and the close atmosphere of the car, rendered her extreme
discomfort. Summer had laid its hot hand on the low country east of the
Carley had wired her aunt and two of her intimate friends to meet her at
the Grand Central Station. This reunion soon to come affected Carley in
recurrent emotions of relief, gladness, and shame. She did not sleep well,
and arose early, and when the train reached Albany she felt that she could
hardly endure the tedious hours. The majestic Hudson and the palatial
mansions on the wooded bluffs proclaimed to Carley that she was back in the
East. How long a time seemed to have passed! Either she was not the same or
the aspect of everything had changed. But she believed that as soon as she
got over the ordeal of meeting her friends, and was home again, she would
soon see things rationally.
At last the train sheered away from the broad Hudson and entered the
environs of New York. Carley sat perfectly still, to all outward appearances a calm,
superbly-poised New York woman returning home, but inwardly
raging with contending tides. In her own sight she was a disgraceful
failure, a prodigal sneaking back to the ease and protection of loyal
friends who did not know her truly. Every familiar landmark in the approach
to the city gave her a thrill, yet a vague unsatisfied something lingered
after each sensation.
Then the train with rush and roar crossed the Harlem River to enter New
York City. As one waking from a dream Carley saw the blocks and squares of
gray apartment houses and red buildings, the miles of roofs and chimneys,
the long hot glaring streets full of playing children and cars. Then above
the roar of the train sounded the high notes of a hurdy-gurdy. Indeed she
was home. Next to startle her was the dark tunnel, and then the slowing of
the train to a stop. As she walked behind a porter up the long incline
toward the station gate her legs seemed to be dead.
In the circle of expectant faces beyond the gate she saw her aunt's, eager
and agitated, then the handsome pale face of Eleanor Harmon, and beside her
the sweet thin one of Beatrice Lovell. As they saw her how quick the change
from expectancy to joy! It seemed they all rushed upon her, and embraced
her, and exclaimed over her together. Carley never recalled what she said.
But her heart was full.
"Oh, how perfectly stunning you look!" cried Eleanor, backing away from
Carley and gazing with glad, surprised eyes.
"Carley!" gasped Beatrice. "You wonderful golden-skinned goddess! . . .
You're young again, like you were in our school days."
It was before Aunt Mary's shrewd, penetrating, loving gaze that Carley
"Yes, Carley, you look well-better than I ever saw you, but--but--"
"But I don't look happy," interrupted Carley. "I am happy to get home--to
see you all . . . But--my--my heart is broken!"
A little shocked silence ensued, then Carley found herself being led across
the lower level and up the wide stairway. As she mounted to the vast-domed
cathedral-like chamber of the station a strange sensation pierced her with
a pang. Not the old thrill of leaving New York or returning! Nor was it
welcome sight of the hurrying, well-dressed throng of travelers and
commuters, nor the stately beauty of the station. Carley shut her eyes, and
then she knew. The dim light of vast space above, the looming gray walls,
shadowy with tracery of figures, the lofty dome like the blue sky, brought
back to her the walls of Oak Creek Canyon and the great caverns under the
ramparts. As suddenly as she had shut her eyes Carley opened them to face
"Let me get it over-quickly," she burst out, with hot blood surging to her
face. "I--I hated the West. It was so raw--so violent--so big. I think I
hate it more--now. . . . But it changed me--made me over physically--and
did something to my soul--God knows what. . . . And it has saved Glenn. Oh!
he is wonderful! You would never know him. . . . For long I had not the
courage to tell him I came to bring him back East. I kept putting it off.
And I rode, I climbed, I camped, I lived outdoors. At first it nearly
killed me. Then it grew bearable, and easier, until I forgot. I wouldn't be
honest if I didn't admit now that somehow I had a wonderful time, in spite
of all. . . . Glenn's business is raising hogs. He has a hog ranch. Doesn't
it sound sordid? But things are not always what they sound--or seem. Glenn
is absorbed in his work. I hated it--I expected to ridicule it. But I ended
by infinitely respecting him. I learned through his hog-raising the real
nobility of work. . . . Well, at last I found courage to ask him when he
was coming back to New York. He said 'never!' . . . I realized then my
blindness, my selfishness. I could not be his wife and live there. I could
not. I was too small, too miserable, too comfort-loving--too spoiled. And
all the time he knew this--knew I'd never be big enough to marry him. . . .
That broke my heart. I left him free--and here I am. . . . I beg you--don't
ask me any more--and never to mention it to me--so I can forget."
The tender unspoken sympathy of women who loved her proved comforting in
that trying hour. With the confession ruthlessly made the hard compression
in Carley's breast subsided, and her eyes cleared of a hateful dimness.
When they reached the taxi stand outside the station Carley felt a rush of
hot devitalized air from the street. She seemed not to be able to get air
into her lungs.
"Isn't it dreadfully hot?" she asked.
"This is a cool spell to what we had last week," replied Eleanor.
"Cool!" exclaimed Carley, as she wiped her moist face. "I wonder if you
Easterners know the real significance of words."
Then they entered a taxi, to be whisked away apparently through a
labyrinthine maze of cars and streets, where pedestrians had to run and
jump for their lives. A congestion of traffic at Fifth Avenue and
Forty-second Street halted their taxi for a few moments, and here in the
thick of it Carley had full assurance that she was back in the metropolis.
Her sore heart eased somewhat at sight of the streams of people passing to
and fro. How they rushed! Where were they going? What was their story? And
all the while her aunt held her hand, and Beatrice and Eleanor talked as
fast as their tongues could wag. Then the taxi clattered on up the Avenue,
to turn down a side street and presently stop at Carley's home. It was a
modest three-story brown-stone house. Carley had been so benumbed by
sensations that she did not imagine she could experience a new one. But
peering out of the taxi, she gazed dubiously at the brownish-red stone
steps and front of her home.
"I'm going to have it painted," she muttered, as if to herself.
Her aunt and her friends laughed, glad and relieved to hear such a
practical remark from Carley. How were they to divine that this
brownish-red stone was the color of desert rocks and canyon walls?
In a few more moments Carley was inside the house, feeling a sense of
protection in the familiar rooms that had been her home for seventeen
years. Once in the sanctity of her room, which was exactly as she had left
it, her first action was to look n the mirror at her weary, dusty, heated
face. Neither the brownness of it nor the shadow appeared to harmonize with
the image of her that haunted the mirror.
"Now!" she whispered low. "It's done. I'm home. The old life--or a new life? How to meet
Thus she challenged her spirit. And her intelligence rang at her the
imperative necessity for action, for excitement, for effort that left no
time for rest or memory or wakefulness. She accepted the issue. She was
glad of the stern fight ahead of her. She set her will and steeled her
heart with all the pride and vanity and fury of a woman who had been
defeated but Who scorned defeat. She was what birth and breeding and
circumstance had made her. She would seek what the old life held.
What with unpacking and chatting and telephoning and lunching, the day soon
passed. Carley went to dinner with friends and later to a roof garden. The
color and light, the gayety and music, the news of acquaintances, the humor
of the actors--all, in fact, except the unaccustomed heat and noise, were
most welcome and diverting. That night she slept the sleep of weariness.
Awakening early, she inaugurated a habit of getting up at once, instead of
lolling in bed, and breakfasting there, and reading her mail, as had been
her wont before going West. Then she went over business matters with her
aunt, called on her lawyer and banker, took lunch with Rose Maynard, and
spent the afternoon shopping. Strong as she was, the unaccustomed heat and
the hard pavements and the jostle of shoppers and the continual rush of
sensations wore her out so completely that she did not want any dinner. She
talked to her aunt a while, then went to bed.
Next day Carley motored through Central Park, and out of town into
Westchester County, finding some relief from the seemed to look at the
dusty trees and the worn greens without really seeing them. In the
afternoon she called on friends, and had dinner at home with her aunt, and
then went to a theatre. The musical comedy was good, but the almost
unbearable heat and the vitiated air spoiled her enjoyment. That night upon
arriving home at midnight she stepped out of the taxi, and involuntarily,
without thought, looked up to see the stars. But there were no stars. A
murky yellow-tinged blackness hung low over the city. Carley recollected
that stars, and sunrises and sunsets, and untainted air, and silence were
not for city dwellers. She checked any continuation of the thought.
A few days sufficed to swing her into the old life. Many of Carley's
friends had neither the leisure nor the means to go away from the city
during the summer. Some there were who might have afforded that if they had
seen fit to live in less showy apartments, or to dispense with cars. Other
of her best friends were on their summer outings in the Adirondacks. Carley
decided to go with her aunt to Lake Placid about the first of August.
Meanwhile she would keep going and doing.
She had been a week in town before Morrison telephoned her and added his
welcome. Despite the gay gladness of his voice, it irritated her. Really,
she scarcely wanted to see him. But a meeting was inevitable, and besides,
going out with him was in accordance with the plan she had adopted. So she
made an engagement to meet him at the Plaza for dinner. When with slow and
pondering action she hung up the receiver it occurred to her that she
resented the idea of going to the Plaza. She did not dwell on the reason why.
When Carley went into the reception room of the Plaza that night Morrison
was waiting for her--the same slim, fastidious, elegant, sallow-faced
Morrison whose image she had in mind, yet somehow different. He had what
Carley called the New York masculine face, blase and lined, with eyes that
gleamed, yet had no fire. But at sight of her his face lighted up.
"By Jove I but you've come back a peach!" he exclaimed, clasping her
extended hand. "Eleanor told me you looked great. It's worth missing you to
see you like this."
"Thanks, Larry," she replied. "I must look pretty well to win that
compliment from you. And how are you feeling? You don't seem robust for a
golfer and horseman. But then I'm used to husky Westerners."
"Oh, I'm fagged with the daily grind," he said. "I'll be glad to get up in
the mountains next month. Let's go down to dinner."
They descended the spiral stairway to the grillroom, where an orchestra was
playing jazz, and dancers gyrated on a polished floor, and diners in
evening dress looked on over their cigarettes.
"Well, Carley, are you still finicky about the eats?" he queried,
consulting the menu.
"No. But I prefer plain food," she replied.
"Have a cigarette," he said, holding out his silver monogrammed case.
"Thanks, Larry. I--I guess I'll not take up smoking again. You see, while I
was West I got out of the habit."
"Yes, they told me you had changed," he returned. "How about drinking?"
"Why, I thought New York had gone dry!" she said, forcing a laugh.
"Only on the surface. Underneath it's wetter than ever."
"Well, I'll obey the law."
He ordered a rather elaborate dinner, and then turning his attention to
Carley, gave her closer scrutiny. Carley knew then that he had become
acquainted with the fact of her broken engagement. It was a relief not to
need to tell him.
"How's that big stiff, Kilbourne?" asked Morrison, suddenly. "Is it true he
"Oh--yes! He's fine," replied Carley with eyes cast down. A hot knot seemed
to form deep within her and threatened to break and steal along her veins.
"But if you please--I do not care to talk of him."
"Naturally. But I must tell you that one man's loss is another's gain."
Carley had rather expected renewed courtship from Morrison. She had not,
however, been prepared for the beat of her pulse, the quiver of her nerves,
the uprising of hot resentment at the mere mention of Kilbourne. It was
only natural that Glenn's former rivals should speak of him, and perhaps
disparagingly. But from this man Carley could not bear even a casual
reference. Morrison had escaped the army service. He had been given a
high-salaried post at the ship-yards--the duties of which, if there had
been any, he performed wherever he happened to be. Morrison's father had
made a fortune in leather during the war. And Carley remembered Glenn
telling her he had seen two whole blocks in Paris piled twenty feet deep
with leather army goods that were never used and probably had never been
intended to be used. Morrison represented the not inconsiderable number of
young men in New York who had gained at the expense of the valiant legion
who had lost. But what had Morrison gained? Carley raised her eyes to gaze
steadily at him. He looked well-fed, indolent, rich, effete, and supremely
self-satisfied. She could not we that he had gained anything. She would
rather have been a crippled ruined soldier.
"Larry, I fear gain and loss are mere words, she said. "The thing that
counts with me is what you are."
He stared in well-bred surprise, and presently talked of a new dance which
had lately come into vogue. And from that he passed on to gossip of the
theatres. Once between courses of the dinner he asked Carley to dance, and
she complied. The music would have stimulated an Egyptian mummy, Carley
thought, and the subdued rose lights, the murmur of gay voices, the glide
and grace and distortion of the dancers, were exciting and pleasurable.
Morrison had the suppleness and skill of a dancing-master. But he held
Carley too tightly, and so she told him, and added, "I imbibed some fresh
pure air while I was out West--something you haven't here--and I don't want
it all squeezed out of me."
The latter days of July Carley made busy--so busy that she lost her tan and
appetite, and something of her splendid resistance to the dragging heat and
late hours. Seldom was she without some of her friends. She accepted almost
any kind of an invitation, and went even to Coney Island, to baseball
games, to the motion pictures, which were three forms of amusement not
customary with her. At Coney Island, which she visited with two of her
younger girl friends, she had the best time since her arrival home. What
had put her in accord with ordinary people? The baseball games, likewise
pleased her. The running of the players and the screaming of the spectators
amused and excited her. But she hated the motion pictures with their
salacious and absurd misrepresentations of life, in some cases capably
acted by skillful actors, and in others a silly series of scenes featuring
some doll-faced girl.
But she refused to go horseback riding in Central Park. She refused to go
to the Plaza. And these refusals she made deliberately, without asking
On August 1st she accompanied her aunt and several friends to Lake Placid,
where they established themselves at a hotel. How welcome to Carley's
strained eyes were the green of mountains, the soft gleam of amber water!
How sweet and refreshing a breath of cool pure air! The change from New
York's glare and heat and dirt, and iron-red insulating walls, and
thronging millions of people, and ceaseless roar and rush, was tremendously
relieving to Carley. She had burned the candle at both ends. But the beauty
of the hills and vales, the quiet of the forest, the sight of the stars,
made it harder to forget. She had to rest. And when she rested she could
not always converse, or read, or write.
For the most part her days held variety and pleasure. The place was
beautiful, the weather pleasant, the people congenial. She motored over the
forest roads, she canoed along the margin of the lake, she played golf and
tennis. She wore exquisite gowns to dinner and danced during the evenings.
But she seldom walked anywhere on the trails and, never alone, and she
never climbed the mountains and never rode a horse.
Morrison arrived and added his attentions to those of other men. Carley
neither accepted nor repelled them. She favored the association with
married couples and older people, and rather shunned the pairing off
peculiar to vacationists at summer hotels. She had always loved to play and
romp with children, but here she found herself growing to avoid them,
somehow hurt by sound of pattering feet and joyous laughter. She filled the
days as best she could, and usually earned quick slumber at night. She
staked all on present occupation and the truth of flying time.
The latter part of September Carley returned to New York.
Soon after her arrival she received by letter a formal proposal of marriage
from Elbert Harrington, who had been quietly attentive to her during her
sojourn at Lake Placid. He was a lawyer of distinction, somewhat older than
most of her friends, and a man of means and fine family. Carley was quite
surprised. Harrington was really one of the few of her acquaintances whom
she regarded as somewhat behind the times, and liked him the better for
that. But she could not marry him, and replied to his letter in as kindly a
manner as possible. Then he called personally.
"Carley, I've come to ask you to reconsider," he said, with a smile in his
gray eyes. He was not a tall or handsome man, but he had what women called
a nice strong face.
"Elbert, you embarrass me," she replied, trying to laugh it out. "Indeed I
feel honored, and I thank you. But I can't marry you."
"Why not? he asked, quietly.
"Because I don't love you," she replied.
"I did not expect you to," he said. "I hoped in time you might come to
care. I've known you a good many years, Carley. Forgive me if I tell you I
see you are breaking--wearing yourself down. Maybe it is not a husband you
need so much now, but you do need a home and children. You are wasting your
"All you say may be true, my friend," replied Carley, with a helpless
little upflinging of hands. "Yet it does not alter my feelings."
"But you will marry sooner or later?" he queried, persistently.
This straightforward question struck Carley as singularly as if it was one
she might never have encountered. It forced her to think of things she had
"I don't believe I ever will," she answered, thoughtfully.
"That is nonsense, Carley," he went on. "You'll have to marry. What else
can you do? With all due respect to your feelings--that affair with
Kilbourne is ended--and you're not the wishy-washy heartbreak kind of a
"You can never tell what a woman will do," she said, somewhat coldly.
"Certainly not. That's why I refuse to take no. Carley, be reasonable. You
like me--respect me, do you not?"
"Why, of course I do!"
"I'm only thirty-five, and I could give you all any sensible woman wants,"
he said. "Let's make a real American home. Have you thought at all about
that, Carley? Something is wrong today. Men are not marrying. Wives are not
having children. Of all the friends I have, not one has a real American
home. Why, it is a terrible fact! But, Carley, you are not a
sentimentalist, or a melancholiac. Nor are you a waster. You have fine
qualities. You need something to do some one to care for."
"Pray do not think me ungrateful, Elbert," she replied, "nor insensible to
the truth of what you say. But my answer is no!"
When Harrington had gone Carley went to her room, and precisely as upon her
return from Arizona she faced her m rror skeptically and relentlessly. "I
am such a liar that I'll do well to look at myself," she meditated. "Here I
am again. Now! The world expects me to marry. But what do I expect?"
There was a raw unheated wound in Carley's heart. Seldom had she permitted
herself to think about it, let alone to probe it with hard materialistic
queries. But custom to her was as inexorable as life. If she chose to live
in the world she must conform to its customs. For a woman marriage was the
aim and the end and the all of existence. Nevertheless, for Carley it could
not be without love. Before she had gone West she might have had many of
the conventional modern ideas about women and marriage. But because out
there in the wilds her love and perception had broadened, now her
arraignment of herself and her sex was bigger, sterner, more exacting. The
months she had been home seemed fuller than all the months of her life. She
had tried to forget and enjoy; she had not succeeded; but she had looked
with far-seeing eyes at her world. Glenn Kilbourne's tragic fate had opened
Either the world was all wrong or the people in it were. But if that were
an extravagant and erroneous supposition, there certainly was proof
positive that her own small individual world was wrong. The women did not
do any real work; they did not bear children; they lived on excitement and
luxury. They had no ideals. How greatly were men to blame? Carley doubted
her judgment here. But as men could not live without the smiles and
comradeship and love of women, it was only natural that they should give
the women what they wanted. Indeed, they had no choice. It was give or go
without. How much of real love entered into the marriages among her
acquaintances? Before marriage Carley wanted a girl to be sweet, proud,
aloof, with a heart of golden fire. Not attainable except through love! It
would be better that no children be born at all unless born of such
beautiful love. Perhaps that was why so few children were born. Nature's
balance and revenge! In Arizona Carley had learned something of the
ruthlessness and inevitableness of nature. She was finding out she had
learned this with many other staggering facts.
"I love Glenn still," she whispered, passionately, with trembling lips, as
she faced the tragic-eyed image of herself in the mirror. "I love him more-
-more. Oh, my God! If I were honest I'd cry out the truth! It is terrible.
. . I will always love him. How then could I marry any other man? I would
be a lie, a cheat. If I could only forget him--only kill that love. Then I
might love another man--and if I did love him--no matter what I had felt or
done before, I would be worthy. I could feel worthy. I could give him just
as much. But without such love I'd give only a husk--a body without soul."
Love, then, was the sacred and holy flame of life that sanctioned the
begetting of children. Marriage might be a necessity of modern time, but it
was not the vital issue. Carley's anguish revealed strange and hidden
truths. In some inexplicable way Nature struck a terrible balance--revenged
herself upon a people who had no children, or who brought into the world
children not created by the divinity of love, unyearned for, and therefore
somehow doomed to carry on the blunders and burdens of life.
Carley realized how right and true it might be for her to throw herself
away upon an inferior man, even a fool or a knave, if she loved him with
that great and natural love of woman; likewise it dawned upon her how false
and wrong and sinful it would be to marry the greatest or the richest or
the noblest man unless she had that supreme love to give him, and knew it
"What am I going to do with my life?" she asked, bitterly and aghast. "I
have been--I am a waster. I've lived for nothing but pleasurable sensation.
I'm utterly useless. I do absolutely no good on earth."
Thus she saw how Harrington's words rang true--how they had precipitated a
crisis for which her unconscious brooding had long made preparation.
"Why not give up ideals and be like the rest of my kind?" she soliloquized.
That was one of the things which seemed wrong with modern life. She thrust
the thought from her with passionate scorn. If poor, broken, ruined Glenn
Kilbourne could cling to an ideal and fight for it, could not she, who had
all the world esteemed worth while, be woman enough to do the same? The
direction of her thought seemed to have changed. She had been ready for
rebellion. Three months of the old life had shown her that for her it was
empty, vain, farcical, without one redeeming feature. The naked truth was
brutal, but it cut clean to wholesome consciousness. Such so-called social
life as she had plunged into deliberately to forget her unhappiness had
failed her utterly. If she had been shallow and frivolous it might have
done otherwise. Stripped of all guise, her actions must have been construed
by a penetrating and impartial judge as a mere parading of her decorated
person before a number of males with the purpose of ultimate selection.
"I've got to find some work," she muttered, soberly.
At the moment she heard the postman's whistle outside; and a little later
the servant brought up her mail. The first letter, large, soiled, thick,
bore the postmark Flagstaff, and her address in Glenn Kilbourne's writing.
Carley stared at it. Her heart gave a great leap. Her hand shook. She sat
down suddenly as if the strength of her legs was inadequate to uphold her.
"Glenn has--written me!" she whispered, in slow, halting realization. "For
what? Oh, why?"
The other letters fell off her lap, to lie unnoticed. This big thick
envelope fascinated her. It was one of the stamped envelopes she had seen
in his cabin. It contained a letter that had been written on his rude
table, before the open fire, in the light of the doorway, in that little
log-cabin under the spreading pines of West Ford Canyon. Dared she read it?
The shock to her heart passed; and with mounting swell, seemingly too full
for her breast, it began to beat and throb a wild gladness through all her
being. She tore the envelope apart and read:
I'm surely glad for a good excuse to write you.
Once in a blue moon I get a letter, and today Hutter brought me one from a
soldier pard of mine who was with me in the Argonne. His name is Virgil
Rust--queer name, don't you think?--and he's from Wisconsin. Just a rough-
diamond sort of chap, but fairly well educated. He and I were in some
pretty hot places, and it was he who pulled me out of a shell crater. I'd
"gone west" sure then if it hadn't been for Rust.
Well, he did all sorts of big things during the war. Was down several times
with wounds. He liked to fight and he was a holy terror. We all thought
he'd get medals and promotion. But he didn't get either. These much-desired
things did not always go where they were best deserved.
Rust is now lying in a hospital in Bedford Park. His letter is pretty blue,
All he says about why he's there is that he's knocked out. But he wrote a
heap about his girl. It seems he was in love with a girl in his home town--
a pretty, big-eyed lass whose picture I've seen--and while he was overseas
she married one of the chaps who got out of fighting. Evidently Rust is
deeply hurt. He wrote: "I'd not care so . . . if she'd thrown me down to
marry an old man or a boy who couldn't have gone to war." You see, Carley,
service men feel queer about that sort of thing. It's something we got over
there, and none of us will ever outlive it. Now, the point of this is that
I am asking you to go see Rust, and cheer him up, and do what you can for
the poor devil. It's a good deal to ask of you, I know, especially as Rust
saw your picture many a time and knows you were my girl. But you needn't
tell him that you--we couldn't make a go of it.
And, as I am writing this to you, I see no reason why I shouldn't go on in
behalf of myself.
The fact is, Carley, I miss writing to you more than I miss anything of my
old life. I'll bet you have a trunkful of letters from me--unless you've
destroyed them. I'm not going to say how I miss your letters. But I will
say you wrote the most charming and fascinating letters of anyone I ever
knew, quite aside from any sentiment. You knew, of course, that I had no
other girl correspondent. Well, I got along fairly well before you came
West, but I'd be an awful liar if I denied I didn't get lonely for you and
your letters. It's different now that you've been to Oak Creek. I'm alone
most of the time and I dream a lot, and I'm afraid I see you here in my
cabin, and along the brook, and under the pines, and riding Calico--which
you came to do well--and on my hogpen fence--and, oh, everywhere! I don't
want you to think I'm down in the mouth, for I'm not. I'll take my
medicine. But, Carley, you spoiled me, and I miss hearing from you, and I
don't see why it wouldn't be all right for you to send me a friendly letter
It is autumn now. I wish you could see Arizona canyons in their gorgeous
colors. We have had frost right along and the mornings are great. There's a
broad zigzag belt of gold halfway up the San Francisco peaks, and that is
the aspen thickets taking on their fall coat. Here in the canyon you'd
think there was blazing fire everywhere. The vines and the maples are red,
scarlet, carmine, cerise, magenta, all the hues of flame. The oak leaves
are turning russet gold, and the sycamores are yellow green. Up on the
desert the other day I rode across a patch of asters, lilac and lavender,
almost purple. I had to get off and pluck a handful. And then what do you
think? I dug up the whole bunch, roots and all, and planted them on the
sunny side of my cabin. I rather guess your love of flowers engendered this
remarkable susceptibility in me.
I'm home early most every afternoon now, and I like the couple of hours
loafing around. Guess it's bad for me, though. You know I seldom hunt, and
the trout in the pool here are so tame now they'll almost eat out of my
hand. I haven't the heart to fish for them. The squirrels, too, have grown
tame and friendly. There's a red squirrel that climbs up on my table. And
there's a chipmunk who lives in my cabin and runs over my bed. I've a new
pet--the little pig you christened Pinky. After he had the wonderful good
fortune to be caressed and named by you I couldn't think of letting him
grow up in an ordinary piglike manner. So I fetched him home. My dog, Moze,
was jealous at first and did not like this intrusion, but now they are good
friends and sleep together. Flo has a kitten she's going to give me, and
then, as Hutter says, I'll be "Jake."
My occupation during these leisure hours perhaps would strike my old
friends East as idle, silly, mawkish. But I believe you will understand me.
I have the pleasure of doing nothing, and of catching now and then a
glimpse of supreme joy in the strange state of thinking nothing. Tennyson
came close to this in his "Lotus Eaters." Only to see--only to feel is
Sprawled on the warm sweet pine needles, I breathe through them the breath
of the earth and am somehow no longer lonely. I cannot, of course, see the
sunset, but I watch for its coming on the eastern wall of the canyon. I see
the shadow slowly creep up, driving the gold before it, until at last the
canyon rim and pines are turned to golden fire. I watch the sailing eagles
as they streak across the gold, and swoop up into the blue, and pass out of
sight. I watch the golden flush fade to gray, and then, the canyon slowly
fills with purple shadows. This hour of twilight is the silent and
melancholy one. Seldom is there any sound save the soft rush of the water
over the stones, and that seems to die away. For a moment, perhaps, I am
Hiawatha alone in his forest home, or a more primitive savage, feeling the
great, silent pulse of nature, happy in unconsciousness, like a beast of
the wild. But only for an instant do I ever catch this fleeting state. Next
I am Glenn Kilbourne of West Fork, doomed and haunted by memories of the
past. The great looming walls then become no longer blank. They are vast
pages of the history of my life, with its past and present, and, alas! its
future. Everything time does is written on the stones. And my stream seems
to murmur the sad and ceaseless flow of human life, with its music and its
Then, descending from the sublime to the humdrum and necessary, I heave a
sigh, and pull myself together, and go in to make biscuits and fry ham. But
I should not forget to tell you that before I do go in, very often my
looming, wonderful walls and crags weave in strange shadowy characters the
beautiful and unforgettable face of Carley Burch!
I append what little news Oak Creek affords.
That blamed old bald eagle stole another of my pigs.
I am doing so well with my hog-raising that Hutter wants to come in with
me, giving me an interest in his sheep.
It is rumored some one has bought the Deep Lake section I wanted for a
ranch. I don't know who. Hutter was rather noncommittal.
Charley, the herder, had one of his queer spells the other day, and swore
to me he had a letter from you. He told the blamed lie with a sincere and
placid eye, and even a smile of pride. Queer guy, that Charley!
Flo and Lee Stanton had another quarrel--the worst yet, Lee tells me. Flo
asked a girl friend out from Flag and threw her in Lee's way, so to speak,
and when Lee retaliated by making love to the girl Flo got mad. Funny
creatures, you girls! Flo rode with me from High Falls to West Fork, and
never showed the slightest sign of trouble. In fact she was delightfully
gay. She rode Calico, and beat me bad in a race.
Adios, Carley. Won't you write me?
No sooner had Carley read the letter through to the end than she began it
all over again, and on this second perusal she lingered over passages--only
to reread them. That suggestion of her face sculptured by shadows on the
canyon walls seemed to thrill her very soul.
She leaped up from the reading to cry out something that was unutterable.
All the intervening weeks of shame and anguish and fury and strife and
pathos, and the endless striving to forget, were as if by the magic of a
letter made nothing but vain oblations.
"He loves me still!" she whispered, and pressed her breast with clenching
hands, and laughed in wild exultance, and paced her room like a caged
lioness. It was as if she had just awakened to the assurance she was
beloved. That was the shibboleth--the cry by which she sounded the closed
depths of her love and called to the stricken life of a woman's insatiate
Then she snatched up the letter, to scan it again, and, suddenly grasping
the import of Glenn's request, she hurried to the telephone to find the
number of the hospital in Bedford Park. A nurse informed her that visitors
were received at certain hours and that any attention to disabled soldiers
was most welcome.
Carley motored out there to find the hospital merely a long one-story frame
structure, a barracks hastily thrown up for the care of invalided men of
the service. The chauffeur informed her that it had been used for that
purpose during the training period of the army, and later when injured
soldiers began to arrive from France.
A nurse admitted Carley into a small bare anteroom. Carley made known her
"I'm glad it's Rust you want to see," replied the nurse. "Some of these
boys are going to die. And some will be worse off if they live. But Rust
may get well if he'll only behave. You are a relative--or friend?"
"I don't know him," answered Carley. "But I have a friend who was with him
The nurse led Carley into a long narrow room with a line of single beds
down each side, a stove at each end, and a few chairs. Each bed appeared to
have an occupant and those nearest Carley lay singularly quiet. At the far
end of the room were soldiers on crutches, wearing bandages on their beads,
carrying their arms in slings. Their merry voices contrasted discordantly
with their sad appearance.
Presently Carley stood beside a bed and looked down upon a gaunt, haggard
young man who lay propped up on pillows.
"Rust--a lady to see you," announced the nurse.
Carley had difficulty in introducing herself. Had Glenn ever looked like
this? What a face! It's healed scar only emphasized the pallor and furrows
of pain that assuredly came from present wounds. He had unnaturally bright
dark eyes, and a flush of fever in his hollow cheeks.
"How do!" he said, with a wan smile. "Who're you?"
"I'm Glenn Kilbourne's fiancee," she replied, holding out her hand.
"Say, I ought to've known you," he said, eagerly, and a warmth of light
changed the gray shade of his face. "You're the girl Carley! You're almost
like my--my own girl. By golly! You're some looker! It was good of you to
come. Tell me about Glenn."
Carley took the chair brought by the nurse, and pulling it close to the
bed, she smiled down upon him and said: "I'll be glad to tell you all I
know--presently. But first you tell me about yourself. Are you in pain?
What is your trouble? You must let me do everything I can for you, and
these other men."
Carley spent a poignant and depth-stirring hour at the bedside of Glenn's
comrade. At last she learned from loyal lips the nature of Glenn
Kil bourne's service to his country. How Carley clasped to her sore heart
The praise of the man she loved--the simple proofs of his noble disregard
Of self! Rust said little about his own service to country or to comrade.
But Carley saw enough in his face. He had been like Glenn. By these two
Carley grasped the compelling truth of the spirit and sacrifice of the
legion of boys who had upheld American traditions. Their children and
their children's children, as the years rolled by into the future, would
hold their heads higher and prouder. Some things could never die in the
hearts and the blood of a race. These boys, and the girls who had the
supreme glory of being loved by them, must be the ones to revive the
Americanism of their forefathers. Nature and God would take care of the slackers, the
cowards who cloaked their shame with bland excuses of home service, of disability, and
Carley saw two forces in life--the destructive and constructive. On the one
side greed, selfishness, materialism: on the other generosity, sacrifice,
and idealism. Which of them builded for the future? She saw men as wolves,
sharks, snakes, vermin, and opposed to them men as lions and eagles. She
saw women who did not inspire men to fare forth to seek, to imagine, to
dream, to hope, to work, to fight. She began to have a glimmering of what a
woman might be.
That night she wrote swiftly and feverishly, page after page, to Glenn,
only to destroy what she had written. She could not keep her heart out of
her words, nor a hint of what was becoming a sleepless and eternal regret.
She wrote until a late hour, and at last composed a letter she knew did not
ring true, so stilted and restrained was it in all passages save those
concerning news of Glenn's comrade and of her own friends. "I'll
never-never write him again," she averred with stiff lips, and next moment
could have laughed in mockery at the bitter truth. If she had ever had any
courage, Glenn's letter had destroyed it. But had it not been a kind of
selfish, false courage, roused to hide her hurt, to save her own future?
Courage should have a thought of others. Yet shamed one moment at the
consciousness she would write Glenn again and again, and exultant the next
with the clamouring love, she seemed to have climbed beyond the self that
had striven to forget. She would remember and think though she died of
Carley, like a drowning woman, caught at straws. What a relief and joy to
give up that endless nagging at her mind! For months she had kept
ceaselessly active, by associations which were of no help to her and which
did not make her happy, in her determination to forget. Suddenly then she
gave up to remembrance. She would cease trying to get over her love for
Glenn, and think of him and dream about him as much as memory dictated.
This must constitute the only happiness she could have.
The change from strife to surrender was so novel and sweet that for days
she felt renewed. It was augmented by her visits to the hospital in Bedford
Park. Through her bountiful presence Virgil Rust and his comrades had many
dull hours of pain and weariness alleviated and brightened. Interesting
herself in the condition of the seriously disabled soldiers and possibility
of their future took time and work Carley gave willingly and gladly. At
first she endeavored to get acquaintances with means and leisure to help
the boys, but these overtures met with such little success that she quit
wasting valuable time she could herself devote to their interests.
Thus several weeks swiftly passed by. Several soldiers who had been more
seriously injured than Rust improved to the extent that they were
discharged. But Rust gained little or nothing. The nurse and doctor both
informed Carley that Rust brightened for her, but when she was gone he
lapsed into somber indifference. He did not care whether he ate or not, or
whether he got well or died.
"If I do pull out, where'll I go and what'll I do?" he once asked the
Carley knew that Rust's hurt was more than loss of a leg, and she decided
to talk earnestly to him and try to win him to hope and effort. He had come
to have a sort of reverence for her. So, biding her time, she at length
found opportunity to approach his bed while his comrades were asleep or out
of hearing. He endeavored to laugh her off, and then tried subterfuge, and
lastly he cast off his mask and let her see his naked soul.
"Carley, I don't want your money or that of your kind friends--whoever they
are--you say will help me to get into business," he said. "God knows I
thank you and it warms me inside to find some one who appreciates what I've
given. But I don't want charity. . . . And I guess I'm pretty sick of the
game. I'm sorry the Boches didn't do the job right."
"Rust, that is morbid talk," replied Carley. "You're ill and you just can't
see any hope. You must cheer up--fight yourself; and look at the brighter
side. It's a horrible pity you must be a cripple, but Rust, indeed life can
be worth living if you make it so."
"How could there be a brighter side when a man's only half a man--" he
"You can be just as much a man as ever," persisted Carley, trying to smile
when she wanted to cry.
"Could you care for a man with only one leg?" he asked, deliberately.
"What a question! Why, of course I could!"
"Well, maybe you are different. Glenn always swore even if he was killed no
slacker or no rich guy left at home could ever get you. Maybe you haven't
any idea how much it means to us fellows to know there are true and
faithful girls. But I'll tell you, Carley, we fellows who went across got
to see things strange when we came home. The good old U. S. needs a lot of
faithful girls just now, believe me."
"Indeed that's true," replied Carley. "It's a hard time for everybody, and
particularly you boys who have lost so--so much."
"I lost all, except my life--and I wish to God I'd lost that," he replied,
"Oh, don't talk so!" implored Carley in distress. "Forgive me, Rust, if I
hurt you. But I must tell you--that--that Glenn wrote me--you'd lost your girl.
Oh, I'm sorry! It is dreadful for you now. But if you got well--and went to
work--and took up life where you left it--why soon your pain would grow
easier. And you'd find some happiness yet."
"Never for me in this world."
"But why, Rust, why? You're no--no--Oh! I mean you have intelligence and
courage. Why isn't there anything left for you?"
"Because something here's been killed," he replied, and put his hand to his
"Your faith? Your love of--of everything? Did the war kill it?"
"I'd gotten over that, maybe," he said, drearily, with his somber eyes on
space that seemed lettered for him. "But she half murdered it--and they did
"They? Whom do you mean, Rust?"
"Why, Carley, I mean the people I lost my leg for!" he replied, with
"The British? The French?" she queried, in bewilderment.
"No!" he cried, and turned his face to the wall.
Carley dared not ask him more. She was shocked. How helplessly impotent all
her earnest sympathy! No longer could she feel an impersonal, however
kindly, interest in this man. His last ringing word had linked her also to
his misfortune and his suffering. Suddenly he turned away from the wall.
She saw him swallow laboriously. How tragic that thin, shadowed face of
agony! Carley saw it differently. But for the beautiful softness of light
in his eyes, she would have been unable to endure gazing longer.
"Carley, I'm bitter," he said, "but I'm not rancorous and callous, like some
of the boys. I know if you'd been my girl you'd have stuck to me."
"Yes," Carley whispered.
"That makes a difference," he went on, with a sad smile. "You see, we
soldiers all had feelings. And in one thing we all felt alike. That was we
were going to fight for our homes and our women. I should say women first.
No matter what we read or heard about standing by our allies, fighting for
liberty or civilization, the truth was we all felt the same, even if we
never breathed it. . . . Glenn fought for you. I fought for Nell. . . . We
were not going to let the Huns treat you as they treated French and Belgian
girls. . . . And think! Nell was engaged to me--she loved me--and, by God!
She married a slacker when I lay half dead on the battlefield!"
"She was not worth loving or fighting for," said Carley, with agitation.
"Ah! now you've said something," he declared. "If I can only hold to that
truth! What does one girl amount to? I do not count. It is the sum that
counts. We love America--our homes--our women! . . . Carley, I've had
comfort and strength come to me through you. Glenn will have his reward in
your love. Somehow I seem to share it, a little. Poor Glenn! He got his,
too. Why, Carley, that guy wouldn't let you do what he could do for you. He
was cut to pieces--"
"Please--Rust--don't say any more. I am unstrung," she pleaded.
"Why not? It's due you to know how splendid Glenn was. . . . I tell you,
Carley, all the boys here love you for the way you've stuck to Glenn. Some
of them knew him, and I've told the rest. We thought he'd never pull
through. But he has, and we know how you helped. Going West to see him! He
didn't write it to me, but I know. . . . I'm wise. I'm happy for him--the
lucky dog. Next time you go West--"
"Hush!" cried Carley. She could endure no more. She could no longer be a
"You're white--you're shaking," exclaimed Rust, in concern. "Oh, I--what
did I say? Forgive me--"
"Rust, I am no more worth loving and fighting for than your Nell."
"What!" he ejaculated.
"I have not told you the truth," she said, swiftly. "I have let you believe
a lie. . . . I shall never marry Glenn. I broke my engagement to him."
Slowly Rust sank back upon the pillow, his large luminous eyes piercingly
fixed upon her, as if he would read her soul.
"I went West--yes--" continued Carley. "But it was selfishly. I wanted
Glenn to come back here. . . . He had suffered as you have. He nearly died.
But he fought--he fought--Oh! he went through hell! And after a long, slow,
horrible struggle he began to mend. He worked. He went to raising hogs. He
lived alone. He worked harder and harder. . . . The West and his work saved
him, body and soul . . . . He had learned to love both the West and his
work. I did not blame him. But I could not live out there. He needed me.
But I was too little--too selfish. I could not marry him. I gave him up. .
. . I left--him--alone!"
Carley shrank under the scorn in Rust's eyes.
"And there's another man," he said, "a clean, straight, unscarred fellow
who wouldn't fight!"
"Oh, no-I--I swear there's not," whispered Carley.
"You, too," he replied, thickly. Then slowly he turned that worn dark face
to the wall. His frail breast heaved. And his lean hand made her a slight
gesture of dismissal, significant and imperious.
Carley fled. She could scarcely see to find the car. All her internal being
seemed convulsed, and a deadly faintness made her sick and cold.
Carley's edifice of hopes, dreams, aspirations, and struggles fell in ruins
about her. It had been built upon false sands. It had no ideal for
foundation. It had to fall.
Something inevitable had forced her confession to Rust. Dissimulation had
been a habit of her mind; it was more a habit of her class than sincerity.
But she had reached a point in her mental strife where she could not stand
before Rust and let him believe she was noble and faithful when she knew
she was neither. Would not the next step in this painful metamorphosis of
her character be a fierce and passionate repudiation of herself and all she
She went home and locked herself in her room, deaf to telephone and
servants. There she gave up to her shame. Scorned--despised--dismissed by
that poor crippled flame-spirited Virgil Rust! He had reverenced her, and
the truth had earned his hate. Would she ever forget his look--incredulous--
shocked--bitter--and blazing with unutterable contempt? Carley Burch was
only another Nell--a jilt--a mocker of the manhood of soldiers! Would she
ever cease to shudder at memory of Rust's slight movement of hand? Go! Get
out of my sight! Leave me to my agony as you left Glenn Kilbourne alone to
fight his! Men such as I am do not want the smile of your face, the touch
of your hand! We gave for womanhood! Pass on to lesser men who loved the
fleshpots and who would buy your charms! So Carley interpreted that slight
gesture, and writhed in her abasement.
Rust threw a white, illuminating light upon her desertion of Glenn. She had
betrayed him. She had left him alone. Dwarfed and stunted was her narrow
soul! To a man who had given all for her she had returned nothing. Stone
for bread! Betrayal for love! Cowardice for courage!
The hours of contending passions gave birth to vague, slow-forming revolt.
She became haunted by memory pictures and sounds and smells of Oak Creek
Canyon. As from afar she saw the great sculptured rent in the earth, green
and red and brown, with its shining, flashing ribbons of waterfalls and
streams. The mighty pines stood up magnificent and stately. The walls
loomed high, shadowed under the shelves, gleaming in the sunlight, and they
seemed dreaming, waiting, watching. For what? For her return to their
serene fastnesses--to the little gray log cabin. The thought stormed
Vivid and intense shone the images before her shut eyes. She saw the
winding forest floor, green with grass and fern, colorful with flower and
rock. A thousand aisles, glades, nooks, and caverns called her to come.
Nature was every woman's mother. The populated city was a delusion. Disease
and death and corruption stalked in the shadows of the streets. But her
canyon promised hard work, playful hours, dreaming idleness, beauty,
health, fragrance, loneliness, peace, wisdom, love, children, and long
life. In the hateful shut-in isolation of her room Carley stretched forth
her arms as if to embrace the vision. Pale close walls, gleaming placid
stretches of brook, churning amber and white rapids, mossy banks and
pine-matted ledges, the towers and turrets and ramparts where the eagles
wheeled--she saw them all as beloved images lost to her save in anguished
She heard the murmur of flowing water, soft, low, now loud, and again
lulling, hollow and eager, tinkling over rocks, bellowing into the deep
pools, washing with silky seep of wind-swept waves the hanging willows.
Shrill and piercing and far-aloft pealed the scream of the eagle. And she
seemed to listen to a mocking bird while he mocked her with his melody of
many birds. The bees hummed, the wind moaned, the leaves rustled, the
waterfall murmured. Then came the sharp rare note of a canyon swift, most
mysterious of birds, significant of the heights.
A breath of fragrance seemed to blow with her shifting senses. The dry,
sweet, tangy canyon smells returned to her--of fresh-cut timber, of wood
smoke, of the cabin fire with its steaming pots, of flowers and earth, and
of the wet stones, of the redolent pines and the pungent cedars.
And suddenly, clearly, amazingly, Carley beheld in her mind's sight the
hard features, the bold eyes, the slight smile, the coarse face of Haze
Ruff. She had forgotten him. But he now returned. And with memory of him
flashed a revelation as to his meaning in her life. He had appeared merely
a clout, a ruffian, an animal with man's shape and intelligence. But he was
the embodiment of the raw, crude violence of the West. He was the eyes of
the natural primitive man, believing what he saw. He had seen in Carley
Burch the paraded charm, the unashamed and serene front, the woman seeking
man. Haze Ruff had been neither vile nor base nor unnatural. It had been
her subjection to the decadence of feminine dress that had been unnatural.
But Ruff had found her a lie. She invited what she did not want. And his
scorn had been commensurate with the falsehood of her. So might any man
have been justified in his insult to her, in his rejection of her. Haze
Ruff had found her unfit for his idea of dalliance. Virgil Rust had found
her false to the ideals of womanhood for which he had sacrificed all but
life itself. What then had Glenn Kilbourne found her? He possessed the
greatness of noble love. He had loved her before the dark and changeful
tide of war had come between them. How had he judged her? That last sight
of him standing alone, leaning with head bowed, a solitary figure trenchant
with suggestion of tragic resignation and strength, returned to flay
Carley. He had loved, trusted, and hoped. She saw now what his hope had
been-that she would have instilled into her blood the subtle, red, and
revivifying essence of calling life in the open, the strength of the wives
of earlier years, an emanation from canyon, desert, mountain, forest, of
health, of spirit, of forward-gazing natural love, of the mysterious saving
instinct he had gotten out of the West. And she had been too little too
steeped in the indulgence of luxurious life too slight-natured and
pale-blooded! And suddenly there pierced into the black storm of Carley's
mind a blazing, white-streaked thought--she had left Glenn to the Western
girl, Flo Hutter. Humiliated, and abased in her own sight, Carley fell prey
to a fury of jealousy.
She went back to the old life. But it was in a bitter, restless, critical
spirit, conscious of the fact that she could derive neither forgetfulness
nor pleasure from it, nor see any release from the habit of years.
One afternoon, late in the fall, she motored out to a Long Island club
where the last of the season's golf was being enjoyed by some of her most
intimate friends. Carley did not play. Aimlessly she walked around the
grounds, finding the autumn colors subdued and drab, like her mind. The air
held a promise of early winter. She thought that she would go South before
the cold came. Always trying to escape anything rigorous, hard, painful, or
disagreeable! Later she returned to the clubhouse to find her party assembled
on an inclosed porch, chatting and partaking of refreshment. Morrison
was there. He had not taken kindly to her late habit of denying herself to
During a lull in the idle conversation Morrison addressed Carley pointedly.
"Well, Carley, how's your Arizona hog-raiser?" he queried, with a little
gleam in his usually lusterless eyes.
"I have not heard lately," she replied, coldly.
The assembled company suddenly quieted with a portent inimical to their
leisurely content of the moment. Carley felt them all looking at her, and
underneath the exterior she preserved with extreme difficulty, there burned
so fierce an anger that she seemed to have swelling veins of fire.
"Queer how Kilbourne went into raising hogs," observed Morrison. "Such a
low-down sort of work, you know."
"He had no choice," replied Carley. "Glenn didn't have a father who made
tainted millions out of the war. He had to work. And I must differ with you
about its being low-down. No honest work is that. It is idleness that is
"But so foolish of Glenn when he might have married money," rejoined
"The honor of soldiers is beyond your ken, Mr. Morrison."
He flushed darkly and bit his lip.
"You women make a man sick with this rot about soldiers," he said, the
gleam in his eye growing ugly. "A uniform goes to a woman's head no matter
what's inside it. I don't see where your vaunted honor of soldiers comes
in considering how they accepted the let-down of women during and after the
"How could you see when you stayed comfortably at home?" retorted Carley.
"All I could see was women falling into soldiers' arms," he said, sullenly.
"Certainly. Could an American girl desire any greater happiness--or