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The Lions of the Lord by Harry Leon Wilson

Part 7 out of 7

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"What did you do it for?"

She stood up. "What did I do it for?--what did I do _what_ for?"

But his eyes were searching her and she had to lower her own. Then she
looked up again, and laughed nervously.

"I--I don't know--I couldn't help it." Again she laughed. "And why did
you run? How did you think of coming here?"

"I'll tell you how, now I've caught you." He started toward her, but she
was quickly backing away into the opening of the little park, still

"Look out for that blow-down back of you!" he called. In the second that
she halted to turn and discover his trick he had caught her by the arm.

"There--I caught you fair--_now_ what did you run for?"

"I couldn't help it." Her face was crimson. His own was pale under the
tan. They could hear the beating of both their hearts. But with his
capture made so boldly he was dumb, knowing not what to say.

The faintest pulling of the imprisoned arm aroused him.

"I'd 'a' followed you till Christmas come if you'd kept on. Clear over
the divide and over the whole creation. I never _would_ have given you
up. I'm never _going_ to."

He caught her other wrist and sought to draw her to him.

With head down she came, slowly, yielding yet resisting, with little
shudders of terror that was yet a strange delight, with eyes that dared
give him but one quick little look, half pleading and half fear. But
then after a few tense seconds her struggles were all housed far within
his arms; there was no longer play for the faintest of them; and she was
strained until she felt her heart rush out to him as she had once felt
it go to her dream of a single love,--with the utter abandon of the
falling water beside them.

On the opposite side of the park across the half-acre of waving
bunch-grass, a many-pronged old buck in his thin red summer coat lay at
the edge of the quaking aspens, sunning the velvet of his tender new
horns to harden them against approaching combats. He had shrewdly noted
that the first comer did not see him; but this second was a creature of
action in whose presence it were ill-advised to linger. Noiselessly his
hindquarters raised from the ground, and then with a snort of
indignation and a mighty, crashing rush he was off through the trees and
up the hill. Doubtless the beast cherished a delusion of clever escape
from a dangerous foe; but neither of the pair standing so near saw or
heard him or would have been conscious of him even had he led past them
in wild flight the biggest herd it had ever been his lot to domineer.
For these two were lost to all but the wonder of the moment, pushing
fearfully on into the glory and sweetness of it.

His voice came to her in a dull murmur, and the sound of the running
water came, again like the muffled tinkling of little silver bells in
the distance. Both his arms were strong about her, and now her own hands
rose in rebellion to meet where the kerchief was knotted at the back of
his neck, quite as the hands of the other woman had rebelliously flung
down the scarf from the balcony. Then the brim of his hat came down over
her hair, and her lips felt his kiss.

They stood so a long time, it seemed to them, in the high grass, amid
the white-barked quaking aspens, while a little wind from the dark pines
at their side, lowered now to a yearning softness, played over them.
They were aroused at last by a squirrel that ran half-way down the trunk
of a near-by spruce to bark indignantly at them, believing they menaced
his winter's store of spruce cones piled at the foot of the tree. With
rattle after rattle his alarm came, until he had the satisfaction of
noting an effect.

The young man put the girl away from him to look upon her in the new
light that enveloped them both, still holding her hands.

"There's one good thing about your marriages,--they marry you for
eternity, don't they? That's for ever--only it isn't long enough, even
so--not for me."

"I thought you were never coming."

"But you said"--he saw the futility of it, however, and kissed her

"I was afraid of you all this summer," he said.

"I was afraid of you, too."

"You got over it yesterday all right."


"You kissed me."

"Never--what an awful thing to say!"

"But you did--twice--don't you remember?"

"Oh, well, it doesn't matter. If I did it wasn't at all like--like--"

"Like that--"

"No--I didn't think anything about it."

"And now you'll never leave me, and I'll never leave you."

They sat on the fallen tree.

"And to think of that old--"

"Oh, don't talk of it. That's why I ran off here--so I couldn't hear
anything about it until he went away."

"Why didn't you tell me you were coming?"

"I didn't think you were so stupid."

"How was I to know where you were coming?"

But now she was reminded of something.

"Tell me one thing--did you ever know a little short fat girl, a blonde
that you liked very much?"


"Then what did you talk so much about her for yesterday if you didn't?
You'd speak of her every time."

"I didn't think you were so stupid."

"Well, I can't see--"

"You don't need to--we'll call it even."

And so the talk went until the sun had fallen for an hour and they knew
it was time to go below.

"We will go to the meeting together," she said, "and then father shall
tell Brigham,--tell him--"

"That you're going to marry me. Why don't you say it?"

"That I'm going to marry you, and be your only wife." She nestled under
his arm again.

"For time and eternity--that's the way your Church puts it."

Then, not knowing it, they took their last walk down the pine-hung
glade. Many times he picked her lightly up to carry her over rough
places and was loth to put her down,--having, in truth, to be bribed

At their usual resting-place she put on her hat with the cherry ribbons,
and he, taking off his own, kissed her under it.

And then they were out on the highroad to Amalon, where all was a
glaring dusty gray under the high sun, and the ragged rim of the western
hills quivered and ran in the heat.

He thought on the way down of how the news would be taken by the little
bent man with the fiery eyes. She was thinking how glad she was that
young Ammaron Wright had not kissed her that time he tried to at the
dance--since kisses were like _that_.


_The Rise and Fall of a Bent Little Prophet_

Down in the village the various dinners of ceremony to the visiting
officials were over. An hour had followed of decent rest and informal
chat between the visitors and their hosts, touching impartially on
matters of general interest; on irrigation, the gift of tongues, the
season's crop of peaches, the pouring out of the Spirit abroad, the best
mixture of sheep-dip; on many matters not unpleasing to the
practical-minded Deity reigning over them.

Then the entire populace of Amalon, in its Sunday best of "valley tan"
or store-goods, flocked to the little square and sat expectantly on the
benches under the green roof of the bowery, ready to absorb the
droppings of the sanctuary.

In due time came Brigham, strolling between Elder Wardle and Bishop
Wright, bland, affable, and benignant. On the platform about him sat his
Counsellors, the more distinguished of his suite, and the local
dignitaries of the Church.

Among these came the little bent man with an unwonted colour in his
face, coming in absorbed in thought, shaking hands even with Brigham
with something of abstraction in his manner. Prudence and Follett came
late, finding seats at the back next to a generous row of the Mrs. Seth

The hymn to Joseph Smith was given out, and the congregation rose to

"Unchanged in death, with a Saviour's love,
He pleads their cause in the courts above.

"His home's in the sky, he dwells with the gods,
Far from the rage of furious mobs.

"He died, he died, for those he loved,
He reigns, he reigns, in the realms above.

"Shout, shout, ye Saints! This boon is given,--
We'll meet our martyred seer in heaven."

When they had settled into their seats, the Wild Ram of the Mountains
arose and invoked a blessing on those present and upon those who had
gone behind the veil; adding a petition that Brigham be increased in his
basket and in his store, in wives, flocks, and herds, and in the gifts
of the Holy Spirit.

They sang another hymn, and when that was done, the little bent man
arose and came hesitatingly forward to the baize-covered table that
served as a pulpit. As President of the Stake it was his office to
welcome the visitors, and this he did.

There were whisperings in the audience when his appearance was noted. It
was the first time he had been seen by many of them in weeks. They
whispered that he was failing.

"He ought to be home this minute," was the first Mrs. Wardle's diagnosis
to the fifth Mrs. Wardle, behind her hymn-book, "with his feet in a
mustard bath and a dose of gamboge and a big brewing of catnip tea. I
can tell a fever as far as I can see it."

The words of official welcome spoken, he began his discourse; but in a
timid, shuffling manner so unlike his old self that still others
whispered of his evident illness. Inside he burned with his purpose,
but, with all his resolves, the presence of Brigham left him unnerved.
He began by referring to their many adversities since the day when they
had first knelt to entreat the mercy of God upon the land. Then he spoke
of revelations.

"You must all have had revelations, because they have come even to me.
Perhaps you were deaf to the voice, as I have been. Perhaps you have
trusted too readily in some revelation that came years ago, supposedly
from God--in truth, from the Devil. Perhaps you have been deaf to later
revelations meant to warn you of the other's falseness."

He was still uneasy, hesitating, fearful; but he saw interest here and
there in the faces before him. Even Brigham, though unseen by the
speaker, was looking mildly curious.

"You remember the revelation that came to Joseph in an early day when
there was trouble in raising money to print the Book of Mormon,--'Some
revelations are from God, some from man, and some from the Devil.'
Recalling the many chastenings God has put upon us, may we not have
failed to test all our other revelations by this one?"

Deep within he was angry at himself, for he was not speaking with words
of fire as he had meant to; he was feeling a shameful cowardice in the
presence of the Prophet. He had seen himself once more the Lute of the
Holy Ghost, strong and moving; but now he was a poor, low-spoken,
hesitating rambler. Nervously he went on, skirting about the edge of his
truth as long as he dared, but feeling at last that he must plunge into
its icy depths.

"In short, brethren, the Book of Mormon denounces and forbids our plural

Even this astounding declaration he made without warmth, in tones so low
that many did not hear him. Those on the platform heard, however, and
now began to view his obvious physical weakness in a new light. Yet he
continued, gaining a little in force.

"The declarations on the subject in the Book of Mormon are so worded
that we cannot fail to read them as denouncing and forbidding the
practise of the Old Testament patriarchs in this matter of the family

In rapid succession he cited the passages to which he referred, those
concerning David and Solomon and Noah and Ripkalish, who "did not do
that which was right in the sight of the Lord, for he did have many

There were murmurings and rustlings among the people now, and on his
right he heard Brigham stirring ominously in his chair; but he nerved
himself to keep on his feet, feeling he had that to say which should
make them hail him as a new prophet when they understood.

"But besides these warnings against the sin there are many early
revelations to Joseph himself condemning it."

He cited several of these, feeling the amazement and the alarm grow
about him.

"And now against these plain words, given at many times in many places,
written on the golden plates in letters that cannot lie, or brought to
Joseph by the angel of the Lord, we have only the one revelation on
celestial marriage. Read it now in the light of these other revelations
and see if it does not too plainly convict itself of having been
counterfeited to Joseph by an evil spirit. Such, brethren, has been the
revelation that the Lord has given to me again and again until it burns
within me, and I must cry it out to you. Try to receive it from me."

There was commotion among the people in front, chairs were moved at his
side, and a low voice called to him to sit down. He heard this voice
through the ringing that had been in his ears for many days, like the
beating of a sea against him, and he felt the strength go suddenly from
his knees.

He stumbled weakly back to his chair and sank into it with head bowed,
feeling, rather than seeing, the figure of Brigham rise from its seat
and step forward with deliberate, unruffled majesty.

As the Prophet faced his people they became quite silent, so that the
robins could be heard in the Pettigrew peach-trees across the street. He
poured a glass of water from the pitcher on the table, and drank of it
slowly. Then, leaning a little forward, resting both his big cushiony
hands on the green of the table, the Lion of the Lord began to
roar--very softly at first. Slowly the words came, in tones scarce
audible, marked indeed almost by the hesitation of the first speaker.
But then a difference showed; gradually the tone increased in volume,
the words came faster, fluency succeeding hesitation, and now his voice
was high and searching, while his easy, masterful gestures laid their
old spell upon the people.

"It does not occupy my feelings to curse any individual," he had begun,
awkwardly; "in fact, I feel to render all thanks and praise for the
discourse to which we have just listened, but I couldn't help saying to
myself, 'Oh, dear, Granny! what a long tale our puss has got!'"

An uneasy titter came from the packed square of faces in front of him.
He went on with rising power:

"But it is foretold in the Book of Mormon that the Lord will remove the
bitter branches, and it's a good thing to find out where the bitter
branches are. We can remove them ourselves. We can't expect the Lord to
do _all_ our dirty work. Now hear it once more, you that need to hear
it--and damn all such poor pussyism as sniffles and whines and rejects
it! We don't want that scrubby breed here!--Listen, I say. The celestial
order of marriage is necessary for our exaltation to the fulness of the
Lord's glory in the world eternal. Where much is given much is required.
Understand me,--those that reject polygamy will be damned. Hear it now
once for all. I will give you to know that God, our Father, has many
wives, and so has Jesus Christ, our Elder Brother. Our God and Father in
heaven is _a being of tabernacle_, or, in other words, He has a body of
parts the same as you and I have. And that God and Father of ours was

Again there was a stirring below as if a wind swept the people, and the
little man in his chair cowered for shame of himself. He had meant to do
a great thing; he had thrilled so strongly with it; it had promised to
master others as it had mastered him; and now he was shamed by the one
true Lion of the Lord.

"Hear it now," continued Brigham. "When God, our Father Adam, came into
the garden of Eden, he came into it with a celestial body, and brought
one of his wives with him,--Eve. He made and organised this world. He is
Michael, the Archangel, the Ancient of Days, _about whom holy men have
written and spoken_. He is our Father and our God, and the only God with
whom we have to do. I could tell you much more about this; but were I
to tell you the whole truth, blasphemy would be nothing to it, in the
estimation of the superstitious and over-righteous of mankind. But I
will tell you this, that Jesus, our Elder Brother, was begotten in the
flesh by the same character that was in the garden of Eden, and who is
our Father in Heaven."

A chorus of Amens from the platform greeted this. It was led by the Wild
Ram of the Mountains. In his chair the little bent man now cowered lower
and lower, one moment praying for strength, the next for death; feeling
the blood surge through him like storm waves that would beat him down.
If only Heaven would send him one last moment of power to word this
truth so that it might prevail. But Brigham was continuing.

"And what of this Elder Brother, Jesus? Did he reject the patriarchal
order--like some poor pusillanimous cry-babies among us? No, I say! It
will be borne in mind that once on a time there was a marriage in Cana
of Galilee; and on a careful reading of that transaction it will be
discovered that no less a person than Jesus Christ was married on that
occasion. If he was never married his intimacy with Mary and Martha, and
the other Mary also, whom Jesus loved, must have been highly unbecoming
and improper, to say the best of it. I will venture to say that, if
Jesus Christ was now to pass through the most pious countries in
Christendom, with a train of women such as used to follow Him, fondling
about Him, combing His hair, anointing Him with precious ointments,
washing His feet with tears, and wiping them with the hair of their
heads,--that, unmarried or even married, He would be mobbed, tarred and
feathered, and ridden, not on an ass, but on a rail. Now did He
multiply, and did He see His seed? Others may do as they like, but I
will not charge our Saviour with neglect or transgression in this or any
other duty."

He turned and went to his seat with a last threatening gesture, amid
many little sounds of people relaxing from strained positions.

But then, before another could arise, a wonder came upon them. The
little man stood up and came quickly forward, a strange new life in his
step, a new confidence in his bearing, a curious glow of new strength in
his face. Even his stoop had straightened for the moment. For, as he had
listened to Brigham's last words, the picture of his vision in the
desert had come back,--the cross in the sky, the crucified Saviour upon
it, the head in death-agony fallen over upon the shoulder. And then
before his eyes had come page after page of that New Testament with a
wash of blood across two of them. He felt the new life he had prayed for
pouring into his veins, and with it a fierce anger. The one on the cross
who had been more than man, who had shirked no sacrifice and loved
infinitely, was not thus to be assailed. A panorama of wrong--wrong
thinking and wrong doing--extended before his clearing gaze. For once
he seemed to see truth in a vision and to feel the power to utter it.

There was silence again as he stood in front of the little table, the
faces before him frozen into wonder that he should have either the power
or the temerity to answer Brigham. He spoke, and his voice was again
rough with force, and high and fearless, a voice many of them recalled
from the days when he had not been weak.

"Now I see what we have done. Listen, brethren, for God has not before
so plainly said it to any man, and I know my time is short among you. We
have gone back to the ages of Hebrew barbarism for our God--to the God
of Battles worshipped by a heathen people--a God who loved the reek of
blood and the smell of burning flesh. But you shall not--"

He turned squarely and fiercely to the face of Brigham.

"--you shall not confuse that bloody God of Battles with the true
Christ, nor yet with the true God of Love that this Christ came to tell
us of. Once I believed in Him. I was taught to by your priests. War
seemed a righteous thing, for we had been grievously put upon, and I
believed the God of Israel should avenge our wrongs as He had avenged
those of His older Zion. And hear me now--so long as I believed this, I
was no coward; while you, sir--"

A long forefinger was pointed straight at the amazed Brigham.

"--while you, sir, were a craven, contemptible in your cowardice. I
would have fought in Echo Canon to the end, because I believed. But you
did not believe, and so you were afraid to fight. And for your cowardice
and your wretched lusts your name among all but your ignorant dupes
shall become a hissing and a scorn. For mark it well, unless you forsake
that heathen God of Battles and preach the divine Christ of the New
Testament, you shall come to hold only the ignorant, and them only by
keeping them ignorant."

The commotion among the people in front was now all but a panic. On the
platform the sires of Israel whispered one to another, while Brigham
gazed as if fascinated, driven to admiration for the speaker's power and
audacity. For the feverish, fleeting moment, Joel Rae was that veritable
Lion of the Lord he had prayed to be, putting upon the people his spell
of the old days. Heads were again strained up and forward, and amazed
horror was on most of the faces. Far back, Prudence trembled, feeling
that she must be away at once, until she felt the firm grasp of
Follett's hand. The speaker went on, having turned again to the front.

"Instead of a church you shall become justly hated and despised as a
people who foul their homes and dishonour beyond forgiveness the names
of wife and mother. Then your punishment shall come upon you as it has
already come for this and for other sins. Even now the Gentile is upon
us; and mark this truth that God has but now given me to know: we have
never been persecuted as a church,--but always as a political body
hostile to the government of this nation. Even so, you had no faith.
Believing as I believed, I would have fought that nation and died a
thousand bloody deaths rather than submit. But you had no faith, and you
were so low that you let yourselves be ruled by a coward--and I tell you
God _hates_ a coward."

Now the old pleading music came into his voice,--the music that had made
him the Lute of the Holy Ghost in the Poet's roster of titles.

"O brethren, let me beg you to be good--simply good. Nothing can prevail
against you if you are. If you are not, nothing shall avail you,--the
power of no priesthood, no signs, ordinances, or rituals. Believe me, I
know. Not even the forgiveness of the Father. For I tell you there is a
divinity within each of you that you may some day unwittingly affront;
and then you shall lie always in hell, for if you cannot forgive
yourself, the forgiveness of God will not free you even if it come
seventy times seven. I _know_. For fifteen years I have lain in hell for
the work this Church did at Mountain Meadows. A cross was put there to
the memory of those we slew. Not a day has passed but that cross has
been burned and cut into my living heart with a blade of white heat. Now
I am going to hell; but I am tired and ready to go. Nor do I go as a
coward, as _you_ will go--"

Again the long forefinger was flung out to point at Brigham.

"--but I shall go as a fighter to the end. I have not worshipped Mammon,
and I have conquered my flesh--conquered it after it had once all but
conquered me, so that I had to fight the harder--"

He stopped, waiting as if he were not done, but the spell was broken.
The life, indeed, had in the later moments been slowly dying from his
words; and, as they lost their fire, scattered voices of protest had
been heard; then voices in warning from behind him, and the sound of two
or three rising and pushing back their chairs.

Now that he no longer heard his own voice he stood quivering and
panic-stricken, the fire out and the pained little smile coming to make
his face gentle again. He turned weakly toward Brigham, but the Prophet
had risen from his seat and his broad back was rounded toward the
speaker. He appeared to be consulting a group of those who stood on the
platform, and they who were not of this group had also turned away.

The little bent man tried again to smile, hoping for a friendly glance,
perhaps a hand-clasp without words from some one of them. Seeing that he
was shunned, he stepped down off the platform at the side, twisting his
hat in his long, thin hands in embarrassment. A moment he stood so,
turning to look back at the group of priests and Elders around the
Prophet, seeking for any sign, even for a glance that should be not
unkind. The little pained smile still lighted his face, but no friendly
look came from the others. Seeing only the backs turned toward him, he
at length straightened out his crumpled hat, still smiling, and slowly
put it on his head; as he turned away he pulled the hat farther over his
eyes, and then he was off along the dusty street, looking to neither
side, still with the little smile that made his face gentle.

But when he had come to the end of the street and was on the road up the
hill, the smile died. He seemed all at once to shrink and stoop and
fade,--no longer a Lion of the Lord, but a poor, white-faced, horrified
little man who had meant in his heart to give a great revelation, and
who had succeeded only in uttering blasphemy to the very face of God's

From below, the little groups of excited people along the street looked
up and saw his thin, bent figure alone in the fading sunlight, toiling
resolutely upward.

Other groups back in the square talked among themselves, not a few in
whispers. A listener among them might have heard such expressions as,
"He'll be blood-atoned sure!"--"They'll make a breach upon
him!"--"They'll accomplish his decease!"--"He'll be sent over the rim of
the basin right quick!" One indignant Saint, with a talent for
euphemism, was heard to say, "Brigham will have his spirit disembodied!"

To the priests and Elders on the platform Elder Wardle was saying, "The
trouble with him was he was crazy with fever. Why, I'll bet my best set
of harness his pulse ain't less than a hundred and twenty this minute."

The others looked at Brigham.

"He's a crazy man, sure enough," assented the Prophet, "but my opinion
is he'll stay crazy, and it wouldn't be just the right thing by Israel
to let him go on talking before strangers. You see, it _sounds_ so
almighty sane!"

Back in the crowd Prudence and Follett had lingered a little at the
latter's suggestion, for he had caught the drift of the talk. When he
had comprehended its meaning they set off up the hill, full of alarm.

At the door Christina met them. They saw she had been crying.

"Where is father, Christina?"

"Himself saddle his horse, and say, 'I go to toe some of those marks.'
He say, 'I see you plenty not no more, so good-bye!' He kissed me," she

"Which way did he go?"

"So!" She pointed toward the road that led out of the valley to the

"I'll go after him," said Follett.

"I'll go with you. Saddle Dandy and Kit--and Christina will have
something for you to eat; you've had nothing since morning."

"I reckon I know where we'll have to go," said Follett, as he went for
the saddles.


_The Little Bent Man at the Foot of the Cross_

It was dusk when they rode down the hill together. They followed the
canon road to its meeting with the main highway at the northern edge of
Amalon. Where the roads joined they passed Bishop Wright, who, with his
hat off, turned to stare at them, and to pull at his fringe of whisker
in seeming perplexity.

"He must have been on his way to our house," Prudence called.

"With that hair and whiskers," answered Follett, with some irrelevance,
"he looks like an old buffalo-bull just before shedding-time."

They rode fast until the night fell, scanning the road ahead for a
figure on horseback. When it was quite dark they halted.

"We might pass him," suggested Follett. "He was fairly tuckered out, and
he might fall off any minute."

"Shall we go on slowly?" she asked.

"We might miss him in the dark. But the moon will be up in an hour, and
then we can go at full speed. We better wait."

"Poor little sorry father! I wish we had gone home sooner."

"He certainly's got more spunk in him than I gave him credit for! He had
old Brigham and the rest of them plumb buffaloed for a minute. Oh, he
did crack the old bull-whip over them good!"

"Poor little father! Where could he have gone at this hour?"

"I've got an idea he's set out for that cross he's talked so much
about--that one up here in the Meadows."

"I've seen it,--where the Indians killed those poor people years ago.
But what did he mean by the crime of his Church there?"

"We'll ask him when we find him. And I reckon we'll find him right there
if he holds out to ride that far."

He tied her pony to an oak-bush a little off the road, threw Dandy's
bridle-rein to the ground to make him stand, and on a shelving rock near
by he found her a seat.

"It won't be long, and the horses need a chance to breathe. We've come
along at a right smart clip, and Dandy's been getting a regular
grass-stomach on him back there."

Side by side they sat, and in the dark and stillness their own great
happiness came back to them.

"The first time I liked you very much," she said, after he had kissed
her, "was when I saw you were so kind to your horse."

"That's the only way to treat stock. I can gentle any horse I ever saw.
Are you sure you care enough for me?"

"Oh, yes, yes, _yes_! It must be enough. It's so much I'm frightened

"Will you go away with me?"

"Yes, I want to go away with you."

"Well, you just come out with me,--out of this hole. There's a fine big
country out there you don't know anything about. Our home will reach
from Corpus Christi to Deadwood, and from the Missouri clear over to
Mister Pacific Ocean. We'll have the prairies for our garden, and the
high plains will be our front yard, with the buffalo-grass thicker than
hair on a dog's back. And, say, I don't know about it, but I believe
they have a bigger God out there than you've got in this Salt Lake
Basin. Anyway, He acts more like you'd think God ought to act. He isn't
so particular about your knowing a lot of signs and grips and passwords
and winks. Going to your heaven must be like going into one of those
Free Mason lodges,--a little peek-hole in the door, and God shoving the
cover back to see if you know the signs. I guess God isn't so trifling
as all that,--having, you know, a lot of signs and getting ducked under
water three times and all that business. I don't exactly know what His
way is, but I'll bet it isn't any way that you'd have to laugh at if you
saw it--like as if, now, you saw old man Wright and God making signs to
each other through the door, and Wright saying:--

_'Eeny meeny miny mo!
Cracky feeny finy fo!'_

and God looking in a little book to see if he got all the words right."

"Anyway, I'm glad you weren't baptised, after what Father said to-day."

"You'll be gladder still when you get out there where they got a
full-grown man's God."

They talked on of many things, chiefly of the wonder of their love--that
each should actually be each and the two have come together--until a
full yellow moon came up, seemingly from the farther side of the hill in
front of them. When at last its light flooded the road so that it lay
off to the north like a broad, gray ribbon flung over the black land,
they set out again, galloping side by side mile after mile, scanning
sharply the road ahead and its near sides.

Down out of Pine Valley they went, and over more miles of gray alkali
desert toward a line of hills low and black in the north.

They came to these, followed the road out of the desert through a narrow
gap, and passed into the Mountain Meadows, reining in their horses as
they did so.

Before them the Meadows stretched between two ranges of low, rocky
hills, narrow at first but widening gradually from the gap through
which they had come. But the ground where the long, rich grass had once
grown was now barren, gray and ugly in the moonlight, cut into deep
gullies and naked of all but a scant growth of sage-brush which the moon
was silvering, and a few clumps of shadowy scrub-oak along the base of
the hills on either side.

Instinctively they stopped, speaking in low tones. And then there came
to them out of the night's silence a strange, weird beating; hollow,
muffled, slow, and rhythmic, but penetrating and curiously exciting,
like another pulse cunningly playing upon their own to make them beat
more rapidly. The girl pulled her horse close in by his, but he
reassured her.

"It's Indians--they must be holding the funeral of some chief. But no
matter--these Indians aren't any more account than prairie-dogs."

They rode on slowly, the funeral-drum sounding nearer as they went.

Then far up the meadow by the roadside they could see the hard, square
lines of the cross in the moonlight. Slower still they went, while the
drumbeats became louder, until they seemed to fall upon their own

"Could he have come to this dreadful place?" she asked, almost in a

"We haven't passed him, that's sure; and I've got a notion he did. I've
heard him talk about this cross off and on--it's been a good deal in his
mind--and maybe he was a little out of his head. But we'll soon see."

They walked their horses up a little ascent, and the cross stood out
more clearly against the sky. They approached it slowly, leaning forward
to peer all about it; but the shadows lay heavy at its base, and from a
little distance they could distinguish no outline.

But at last they were close by and could pierce the gloom, and there at
the foot of the cross, beside the cairn of stones that helped to support
it, was a little huddled bit of blackness. It moved as they looked, and
they knew the voice that came from it.

"O God, I am tired and ready! Take me and burn me!"

She was off her horse and quickly at his side. Follett, to let them be
alone, led the horses to the spring below. It was almost gone now, only
the feeblest trickle of a rivulet remaining. The once green meadows had
behaved, indeed, as if a curse were put upon them. Hardly had grass
grown or water run through it since the day that Israel wrought there.
When he had tied the horses he heard Prudence calling him.

"I'm afraid he's delirous," she said, when he reached her side. "He
keeps hearing cries and shots, and sees a woman's hair waving before
him, and he's afraid of something back of him. What can we do?"

At the foot of the cross the little man was again sounding his endless

"Bow me, bend me, break me, for I have been soul-proud. Burn me out--"

She knelt by his side, trying to soothe him.

"Father--it's all right--it's Prudence--"

But at her name he uttered a cry with such terror in it that she
shuddered and was still. Then he began to mutter incoherently, and she
heard her own name repeated many times.

"If that awful beating would only stop," she said to Follett, who had
now brought water in the curled brim of his hat. She tried to have the
little man drink. He swallowed some of the water from the hat-brim,
shivering as he did so.

"We ought to have a fire," she said. Follett began to gather twigs and
sage-brush, and presently had a blaze in front of them.

In the light of the fire the little man could see their faces, and he
became suddenly coherent, smiling at them in the old way.

"Why have you come so far in the night?" he asked Prudence, taking one
of her cool hands between his own that burned.

"But, you poor little father! Why have _you_ come, when you should be
home in bed? You are burning with fever."

"Yes, yes, dear, but it's over now. This is the end. I came here--to be
here--I came to say my last prayer in the body. And they will come to
find me here. You must go before they come."

"Who will find you?"

"They from the Church. I didn't mean to do it, but when I was on my feet
something forced it out of me. I knew what they would do, but I was
ready to die, and I hoped I could awaken some of them."

"But no one shall hurt you."

"Don't tempt me to stay any longer, dear, even if they would let me. Oh,
you don't know, you don't know--and that Devil's drumming over there to
madden me as on that other night. But it's just--my God, how just!"

"Come away, then. Ruel will find your horse, and we'll ride home."

"It's too late--don't ask me to leave my hell now. It would only follow
me. It was this way that night--the night before--the beating got into
my blood and hammered on my brain till I didn't know. Prudence, I must
tell you--everything--"

He glanced at Follett appealingly, as he had looked at the others when
he left the platform that day, beseeching some expression of

"Yes, I must tell you--everything." But his face lighted as Follett
interrupted him.

"You tell her," said Follett, doggedly, "how you saved her that day and
kept her like your own and brought her up to be a good woman--that's
what you tell her." The gratitude in the little man's eyes had grown
with each word.

"Yes, yes, dear, I have loved you like my own little child, but your
father and mother were killed here that day--and I found you and loved
you--such a dear, forlorn little girl--will you hate me now?" he broke
off anxiously. She had both his hands in her own.

"But why, how _could_ I hate you? You are my dear little sorry
father--all I've known. I shall always love you."

"That will be good to take with me," he said, smiling again. "It's all
I've got to take--it's all I've had since the day I found you. You are
good," he said, turning to Follett.

"Oh, shucks!" answered Follett.

A smile of rare contentment played over the little man's face.

In the silence that followed, the funeral-drum came booming in upon them
over the ridge, and once they saw an Indian from the encampment standing
on top of the hill to look down at their fire. Then the little man spoke

"You will go with him," he said to Prudence. "He will take you out of
here and back to your mother's people."

"She's going to marry me," said Follett. The little man smiled at this.

"It is right--the Gentile has come to take you away. The Lord is cunning
in His vengeance. I felt it must be so when I saw you together."

After this he was so quiet for a time that they thought he was sleeping.
But presently he grew restless again, and said to Follett:--

"I want you to have me buried here. Up there to the north, three
hundred yards from here on the right, is a dwarf cedar standing alone.
Straight over the ridge from that and half-way down the other side is
another cedar growing at the foot of a ledge. Below that ledge is a
grave. There are stones piled flat, and a cross cut in the one toward
the cedar. Make a grave beside that one, and put me in it--just as I am.
Remember that--_uncoffined_. It must be that way, remember. There's a
little book here in this pocket. Let it stay with me--but surely
uncoffined, remember, as--as the rest of them were."

"But, father, why talk so? You are going home with us."

"There, dear, it's all right, and you'll feel kind about me always when
you remember me?"

"Don't,--don't talk so."

"If that beating would only stay out of my brain--the thing is crawling
behind me again! Oh, no, not yet--not yet! Say this with me, dear:--

"_'The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want.

"'He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the
still waters.'_"

She said the psalm with him, and he grew quiet again.

"You will go away with your husband, and go at once--" He sat up
suddenly from where he had been lying, the light of a new design in his

"Come,--you will need protection now--I must marry you at once. Surely
that will be an office acceptable in the sight of God. And you will
remember me better for it--and kinder. Come, Prudence; come, Ruel!"

"But, father, you are sick, and so weak--let us wait."

"It will give me such joy to do it--and this is the last."

She looked at Follett questioningly, but gave him her hand silently when
he arose from the ground where he had been sitting.

"He'd like it, and it's what we want,--all simple," he said.

In the light of the fire they stood with hands joined, and the little
man, too, got to his feet, helping himself up by the cairn against which
he had been leaning.

Then, with the unceasing beats of the funeral-drum in their ears, he
made them man and wife.

"Do you, Ruel, take Prudence by the right hand to receive her unto
yourself to be your lawful and wedded wife, and you to be her lawful and
wedded husband for time and eternity--"

Thus far he had followed the formula of his Church, but now he departed
from it with something like defiance coming up in his voice.

"--with a covenant and promise on your part that you will cleave to her
and to none other, so help you God, taking never another wife in spite
of promise or threat of any priesthood whatsoever, cleaving unto her
and her alone with singleness of heart?"

When they had made their responses, and while the drum was beating upon
his heart, he pronounced them man and wife, sealing upon them "the
blessings of the holy resurrection, with power to come forth in the
morning clothed with glory and immortality."

When he had spoken the final words of the ceremony, he seemed to lose
himself from weakness, reaching out his hands for support. They helped
him down on to the saddle-blanket that Follett had brought, and the
latter now went for more wood.

When he came back they were again reciting the psalm that had seemed to
quiet the sufferer.

"_'Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will
fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort

Follett spread the other saddle-blanket over him. He lay on his side,
his face to the fire, one moment saying over the words of the psalm, but
the next listening in abject terror to something the others could not

"I wonder you don't hear their screams," he said, in one of these
moments; "but their blood is not upon you." Then, after a little:--

"See, it is growing light over there. Now they will soon be here. They
will know where I had to come, and they will have a spade." He seemed to
be fainting in his last weakness.

Another hour they sat silently beside him. Slowly the dark over the
eastern hill lightened to a gray. Then the gray paled until a flush of
pink was there, and they could see about them in the chill of the

Then came a silence that startled them all. The drum had stopped, and
the night-long vibrations ceased from their ears.

They looked toward the little man with relief, for the drumming had
tortured him. But his breathing was shallow and irregular now, and from
time to time they could hear a rattle in his throat. His eyes, when he
opened them, were looking far off. He was turning restlessly and
muttering again. She took his hands and found them cold and moist.

"His fever must have broken," she said, hopefully. The little man opened
his eyes to look up at her, and spoke, though absently, and not as if he
saw her.

"They will have a spade with them when they come, never fear. And the
spot must not be forgotten--three hundred yards north to the dwarf
cedar, then straight over the ridge and half-way down, to the other
cedar below the sandstone--and uncoffined, with the book here in this
pocket where I have it. 'Thou preparest a table before me in the
presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup
runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of
my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.'"

He started up in terror of something that seemed to be behind him, but
fell back, and a moment later was rambling off through some sermon of
the bygone year.

"Sometimes, brethren, it has seemed to my inner soul that Christ came
not alone to reveal God to man, but to reveal man to God; taking on that
human form to reconcile the Father to our sins. Sometimes I have thought
He might so well have done this that God would view our sins as we view
the faults of our well-loved little children--loving us through
all--perhaps touched--even more amused than offended, at our childish
stumblings in these blind, twisted paths of right and wrong; knowing at
the last He should save the least of us who have been most awkward. But,
oh, brethren! beware of the sin for which you cannot win forgiveness
from that other God, that spirit of the true Father, fixed forever in
the breast of each of you."

The light was coming swiftly. Already their fire had paled, and the
embers, but a little before glowing red, seemed now to be only white

From over the ridge back of them, whence had come the notes of the
funeral-drum, an Indian now slouched toward them, drawn by curiosity;
stopping to look, then advancing, to stop again.

At length he stood close by them, silent, gazing. Then, as if
understanding, he spoke to Follett.

"Big sick--go get big medicine! Then you give chitcup!"

He ran swiftly back, disappearing over the ridge.

The sick man was now delirious again, muttering disjointed texts and
bits of old sermons with which the Lute of the Holy Ghost, young and
ardent, had once thrilled the Saints.

"'For without shedding of blood there shall be no remission'--'but where
are now your prophets which prophesied unto you, saying the King of
Babylon shall not come against you nor against this land'--'But I say
unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you,
bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use
you.' That is where the stain was,--the bloody stain that held the
leaves together--but I tore them apart and read,--"

The Indian who had come to them first now appeared again over the ridge,
and with him another. The second was accoutered lavishly with a girdle
of brilliant feathers, anklets of shell, and bracelets of silver, his
face barred by alternating streaks of vermilion and yellow, a lank braid
of his black hair hanging either side of his face, and on his head the
horns and painted skull of a buffalo. In one hand was a wand of red-dyed
wood with a beaded and quilled amulet at the end. The other down by his
side held something they did not at first notice.

The little man was growing weaker each moment, but still muttered as he
turned restlessly on the blanket.

"'And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them
likewise.'" His quick ear detecting the light step of the approaching
Indians, he sat up and grasped Follett's arm.

"What do they want? Let no one come now. Death is here and I am going
out to meet it--I am glad to go--so tired!"

Follett, looking up at the two Indians now standing awkwardly by them,
said, in a low tone, with a wave of his free arm:


"Big medicine!" grunted the Indian who had first come to them, pointing
to his companion. In an instant this other was before the sick man,
chanting and making passes with his wand.

Then, before Follett could rise, the Indian's other hand came up, and
they saw, slowly waved before the staring eyes of the little man, a long
mass of yellow hair that writhed and ran in little gleaming waves as if
it lived. It was tied about the wrist of the Indian with strips of
scarlet flannel--tied below a broad silver bracelet that glittered from
the bronzed arm.

The face of the sick man had a moment before been tranquil, almost
smiling; but now his eyes followed the hair with something of
fascination in them. Then a shade of terror darkened the peaceful look,
like the shadow of a cloud hurried by the wind over a fair green garden.

But with its passing there came again into his eyes the light of sanity.
He gazed at the hair, breathless, still in wonder; and then very slowly
there grew over his face the look of an unearthly peace, so that they
who were by him deferred the putting aside of the Indian. With eyes wide
open, full of a calm they could not understand, he looked and smiled,
his wan face flushing again in that last time. Then, reaching suddenly
out, his long white fingers tangled themselves feebly in the golden
skein, and with a little loving uplift of the eyes he drew it to his
breast. A few seconds he held it so, with an eagerness that told of some
sweet and mighty relief come to his soul,--some illumination of grace
that had seemed to be struck by the first sunrays from that hair into
his wondering eyes.

Slowly, then, the little smile faded,--the wistful light of it dying for
the last time. The tired head fell suddenly back and the wan lids closed
over lifeless eyes.

Still the hand clutched the hair to the quiet heart, the yellow strands
curling peacefully through the dead fingers as if in forgiveness. From
the look of rest on the still face it was as if, in his years of service
and sacrifice, the little man had learned how to forgive his own sin in
the flash of those last heart-beats when his soul had rushed out to
welcome Death.

Prudence had arisen before the end came and was standing in front of the
Indian to motion him away. Follett was glad she did not see the eyes
glaze nor the head drop. He leaned forward and gently loosed the limp
fingers from the yellow tangle. Then he sprang quickly up and put his
arm about Prudence. The two Indians backed off in some dismay. The one
who had first come to them spoke again.

"Big medicine! You give some chitcup?"

"No--no! Got no chitcup! _Vamose_!"

They turned silently and trotted back over the ridge.

"Come, sit here close by the fire, dear--no, around this side. It's all
over now."

"Oh! Oh! My poor, sorry little father--he was so good to me!" She threw
herself on the ground, sobbing.

Follett spread a saddle-blanket over the huddled figure at the foot of
the cross. Then he went back to take her in his arms and give her such
comfort as he could.


_The Gentile Carries off his Spoil_

Half an hour later they heard the sound of voices and wheels. Follett
looked up and saw a light wagon with four men in it driving into the
Meadows from the south. The driver was Seth Wright; the man beside him
he knew to be Bishop Snow, the one they called the Entablature of Truth.
The two others he had seen in Amalon, but he did not know their names.

He got up and went forward when the wagon stopped, leaning casually on
the wheel.

"He's already dead, but you can help me bury him as soon as I get my
wife out of the way around that oak-brush--I see you've brought along a

The men in the wagon looked at each other, and then climbed slowly out.

"Now who could 'a' left that there spade in the wagon?" began the Wild
Ram of the Mountains, a look of perplexity clouding his ingenuous face.

The Entablature of Truth was less disposed for idle talk.

"Who did you say you'd get out of the way, young man?"

"My wife, Mrs. Ruel Follett."

"Meaning Prudence Rae?"

"Meaning her that was Prudence Rae."


The ruddy-faced Bishop scanned the horizon with a dreamy, speculative
eye, turning at length to his companions.

"We better get to this burying," he said.

"Wait a minute," said Follett.

They saw him go to Prudence, raise her from the ground, put a
saddle-blanket over his arm, and lead her slowly up the road around a
turn that took them beyond a clump of the oak-brush.

"It won't do!" said Wright, with a meaning glance at the Entablature of
Truth, quite as if he had divined his thought.

"I'd like to know why not?" retorted this good man, aggressively.

"Because times has changed; this ain't '57."

"It'll almost do itself," insisted Snow. "What say, Glines?" and he
turned to one of the others.

"Looks all right," answered the man addressed. "By heck! but that's a
purty saddle he carries!"

"What say, Taggart?"

"For God's sake, no, Bishop! No--I got enough dead faces looking at me
now from this place. I'm ha'nted into hell a'ready, like he said he was
yisterday. By God! I sometimes a'most think I'll have my ears busted
and my eyes put out to git away from the bloody things!"

"Ho! Scared, are you? Well, I'll do it myself. _You_ don't need to

"Better let well enough alone, Brother Warren!" interposed Wright.

"But it _ain't_ well enough! Think of that girl going to a low cuss of a
Gentile when Brigham wants her. Why, think of letting such a critter get
away, even if Brigham didn't want her!"

"You know they got Brother Brigham under indictment for murder now,
account of that Aiken party."

"What of it? He'll get off."

"That he will, but it's because he's Brigham. _You_ ain't. You're just a
south country Bishop. Don't you know he'd throw you to the Gentile
courts as a sop quicker'n a wink if he got a chance,--just like he'll do
with old John D. Lee the minute George A. peters out so the chain will
be broke between Lee and Brigham?"

"And maybe this cuss has got friends," suggested Glines.

"Who'd know but the girl?" Snow insisted. "And Brother Brigham would fix
_her_ all right. Is the household of faith to be spoiled?"

"Well, they got a railroad running through it now," said Wright, "and a
telegraph, and a lot of soldiers. So don't you count on _me_, Brother
Snow, at any stage of it now or afterwards. I got a pretty sizable
family that would hate to lose me. Look out! Here he comes."

Follett now came up, speaking in a cheerful manner that nevertheless
chilled even the enthusiasm of the good Bishop Snow.

"Now, gentlemen, just by way of friendly advice to you,--like as not
I'll be stepping in front of some of you in the next hour. But it isn't
going to worry me any, and I'll tell you why. I'd feel awful sad for you
all if anything was to happen to me,--if the Injuns got me, or I was
took bad with a chill, or a jack-rabbit crept up and bit me to death, or
anything. You see, there's a train of twenty-five big J. Murphy wagons
will be along here over the San Bernardino trail. They are coming out of
their way, almost any time now, on purpose to pick me up. Fact is, my
ears have been pricking up all morning to hear the old bull-whips crack.
There were thirty-one men in the train when they went down, and there
may be more coming back. It's a train of Ezra Calkins, my adopted
father. You see, they know I've been here on special business, and I
sent word the other day I was about due to finish it, and they wasn't to
go through coming back without me. Well, that bull outfit will stop for
me--and they'll _get_ me or get pay for me. That's their orders. And it
isn't a train of women and babies, either. They're such an outrageous
rough lot, quick-tempered and all like that, that they wouldn't believe
the truth that I had an accident--not if you swore it on a stack of
Mormon Bibles topped off by the life of Joe Smith. They'd go right out
and make Amalon look like a whole cavayard of razor-hoofed buffaloes had
raced back and forth over it. And the rest of the two thousand men on
Ezra Calkins's pay-roll would come hanging around pestering you all with
Winchesters. They'd make you scratch gravel, sure!

"Now let's get to work. I see you'll be awful careful and tender with
me. I'll bet I don't get even a sprained ankle. You folks get him, and
I'll show you where he said the place was."

Two hours later Follett came running back to where Prudence lay on the
saddle-blanket in the warm morning sun.

"The wagon-train is coming--hear the whips? Now, look here, why don't we
go right on with it, in one of the big wagons? They're coming back
light, and we can have a J. Murphy that is bigger than a whole lot of
houses in this country. You don't want to go back there, do you?"

She shook her head.

"No, it would hurt me to see it now. I should be expecting to see him at
every turn. Oh, I couldn't stand that--poor sorry little father!"

"Well, then, leave it all; leave the place to the women, and good
riddance, and come off with me. I'll send one of the boys back with a
pack-mule for any plunder you want to bring away, and you needn't ever
see the place again."

She nestled in his arms, feeling in her grief the comfort of his

"Yes, take me away now."

The big whips could be heard plainly, cracking like rifle-shots, and
shortly came the creaking and hollow rumbling of the wagons and the
cries of the teamsters to their six-mule teams. There were shouts and
calls, snatches of song from along the line, then the rattling of
harness, and in a cloud of dust the train was beside them, the teamsters
sitting with rounded shoulders up under the bowed covers of the big

A hail came from the rear of the train, and a bronzed and bearded man in
a leather jacket cantered up on a small pony.

"Hello there, Rool! I'm whoopin' glad to see you!"

He turned to the driver of the foremost wagon.

"All right, boys! We'll make a layby for noon."

Follett shook hands with him heartily, and turned to Prudence.

"This is my wife, Lew. Prudence, this is Lew Steffins, our

"Shoo, now!--you young cub--married? Well, I'm right glad to see Mrs.
Rool Follett--and bless your heart, little girl!"

"Did you stop back there at the settlement?"

"Yes; and they said you'd hit the pike about dark last night, to chase a
crazy man. I told them I'd be back with the whackers if I didn't find
you. I was afraid some trouble was on, and here you're only married to
the sweetest thing that ever--why, she's been crying! Anything wrong?"

"No; never mind now, anyway. We're going on with you, Lew."

"Bully proud to have you. There's that third wagon--"

"Could I ride in that?" asked the girl, looking at the big lumbering
conveyance doubtfully.

"It carried six thousands pounds of freight to Los Angeles, little
woman," answered Steffins, promptly, "and I wouldn't guess you to heft
over one twenty-eight or thirty at the outside. I'll have the box filled
in with spruce boughs and a lot of nice bunch-grass, and put some
comforts over that, and you'll be all snug and tidy. You won't starve,
either, not while there's meat running."

"And say, Lew, she's got some stuff back at that place. Let the extra
hand ride back with a packjack and bring it on. She'll tell him what to

"Sure! Tom Callahan can go."

"And give us some grub, Lew. I've hardly had a bite since yesterday

An hour later, when the train was nearly ready to start, Follett took
his wife to the top of the ridge and showed her, a little way below
them, the cedar at the foot of the sandstone ledge. He stayed back,
thinking she would wish to be there alone. But when she stood by the new
grave she looked up and beckoned to him.

"I wanted you by me," she said, as he reached her side. "I never knew
how much he was to me. He wasn't big and strong like other men, but now
I see that he was very dear and more than I suspected. He was so quiet
and always so kind--I don't remember that he was ever stern with me
once. And though he suffered from some great sorrow and from sickness,
he never complained. He wouldn't even admit he was sick, and he always
tried to smile in that little way he had, so gentle. Poor sorry little
father!--and yesterday not one of them would be his friend. It broke my
heart to see him there so wistful when they turned their backs on him.
Poor little man! And see, here's another grave all grown around with
sage and the stones worn smooth; but there's the cross he spoke of. It
must be some one that he wanted to lie beside. Poor little sorry father!
Oh, you will have to be so much to me!"

The train was under way again. In the box of the big wagon, on a springy
couch of spruce boughs and long bunch-grass, Prudence lay at rest, hurt
by her grief, yet soothed by her love, her thoughts in a whirl about

Follett, mounted on Dandy, rode beside her wagon.

"Better get some sleep yourself, Rool," urged Steffins.

"Can't, Lew. I ain't sleepy. I'm too busy thinking about things, and I
have to watch out for my little girl there. You can't tell what these
cusses might do."

"There's thirty of us watching out for her now, young fellow."

"There'll be thirty-one till we get out of this neighbourhood, Lew."

He lifted up the wagon-cover softly a little later; and found that she
slept. As they rode on, Steffins questioned him.

"Did you make that surround you was going to make, Rool?"

"No, Lew, I couldn't. Two of them was already under, and, honest, I
couldn't have got the other one any more than you could have shot your
kid that day he up-ended the gravy-dish in your lap."


"That's right! I hope I never have to kill any one, Lew, no matter _how_
much I got a right to. I reckon it always leaves uneasy feelings in a
man's mind."

* * * * *

Eight days later a tall, bronzed young man with yellow hair and quick
blue eyes, in what an observant British tourist noted in his journal as
"the not unpicturesque garb of a border-ruffian," helped a dazed but
very pretty young woman on to the rear platform of the Pullman car
attached to the east-bound overland express at Ogden.

As they lingered on the platform before the train started they were
hailed and loudly cheered, averred the journal of this same Briton, "by
a crowd of the outlaw's companions, at least a score and a half of most
disreputable-looking wretches, unshaven, roughly dressed, heavily
booted, slouch-hatted (they swung their hats in a drunken frenzy), and
to this rough ovation the girl, though seemingly a person of some
decency, waved her handkerchief and smiled repeatedly, though her face
had seemed to be sad and there were tears in her eyes at that very

At this response from the girl, the journal went on to say, the ruffians
had redoubled their drunken pandemonium. And as the train pulled away,
to the observant tourist's marked relief, the young outlaw on the
platform had waved his own hat and shouted as a last message to one
"Lew," that he "must not let Dandy get gandered up," nor forget "to tie
him to grass."

Later, as the train shrieked its way through Echo Canon, the observant
tourist, with his double-visored plaid cap well over his face,
pretending to sleep, overheard the same person across the aisle say to
the girl:--

"Now we're on our own property at last. For the next sixty hours we'll
be riding across our own front yard--and there aren't any keys and
passwords and grips here, either--just a plain Almighty God with no
nonsense about Him."

Whereupon had been later added to the journal a note to the effect that
Americans are not only quite as prone to vaunt and brag and tell big
stories as other explorers had asserted, but that in the West they were
ready blasphemers.

Yet the couple minded not the observant tourist, and continued to
enlarge and complicate his views of American life to the very bank of
the Missouri. Unwittingly, however, for they knew him not nor saw him
nor heard him, being occupied with the matter of themselves.

"You'll have to back me up when we get to Springfield," he said to her
one late afternoon, when they neared the end of their exciting journey.
"I've heard that old Grandpa Corson is mighty peppery. He might take you
away from me."

Her eyes came in from the brown rolling of the plain outside to light
him with their love; and then, the lamps having not yet been lighted,
the head of grace nestled suddenly on its pillow of brawn with only a
little tremulous sigh of security for answer.

This brought his arm quickly about her in a protecting clasp, plainly in
the sidelong gaze of the now scandalised but not less observant tourist.


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