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The Man of the Forest by Zane Grey

Part 9 out of 9

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whispering, frenzied man, ghastly white, with rolling eyes.

Las Vegas's left fist pounded hard on the table.

"GREASER, COME ON!" he thundered.

Then Beasley, with desperate, frantic action, jerked for his


For Helen Rayner that brief, dark period of expulsion from
her home had become a thing of the past, almost forgotten.

Two months had flown by on the wings of love and work and
the joy of finding her place there in the West. All her old
men had been only too glad of the opportunity to come back
to her, and under Dale and Roy Beeman a different and
prosperous order marked the life of the ranch.

Helen had made changes in the house by altering the
arrangement of rooms and adding a new section. Only once had
she ventured into the old dining-room where Las Vegas
Carmichael had sat down to that fatal dinner for Beasley.
She made a store-room of it, and a place she would never
again enter.

Helen was happy, almost too happy, she thought, and
therefore made more than needful of the several bitter drops
in her sweet cup of life. Carmichael had ridden out of Pine,
ostensibly on the trail of the Mexicans who had executed
Beasley's commands. The last seen of him had been reported
from Show Down, where he had appeared red-eyed and
dangerous, like a hound on a scent. Then two months had
flown by without a word.

Dale had shaken his head doubtfully when interrogated about
the cowboy's absence. It would be just like Las Vegas never
to be heard of again. Also it would be more like him to
remain away until all trace of his drunken, savage spell had
departed from him and had been forgotten by his friends. Bo
took his disappearance apparently less to heart than Helen.
But Bo grew more restless, wilder, and more wilful than
ever. Helen thought she guessed Bo's secret; and once she
ventured a hint concerning Carmichael's return.

"If Tom doesn't come back pretty soon I'll marry Milt Dale,"
retorted Bo, tauntingly.

This fired Helen's cheeks with red.

"But, child," she protested, half angry, half grave. "Milt
and I are engaged."

"Sure. Only you're so slow. There's many a slip -- you

"Bo, I tell you Tom will come back," replied Helen,
earnestly. "I feel it. There was something fine in that
cowboy. He understood me better than you or Milt, either. .
. . And he was perfectly wild in love with you."

"Oh! WAS he?"

"Very much more than you deserved, Bo Rayner."

Then occurred one of Bo's sweet, bewildering, unexpected
transformations. Her defiance, resentment, rebelliousness,
vanished from a softly agitated face.

"Oh, Nell, I know that. . . . You just watch me if I ever
get another chance at him! . . . Then -- maybe he'd never
drink again!"

"Bo, be happy -- and be good. Don't ride off any more --
don't tease the boys. It'll all come right in the end."

Bo recovered her equanimity quickly enough.

"Humph! You can afford to be cheerful. You've got a man who
can't live when you're out of his sight. He's like a fish on
dry land. . . . And you -- why, once you were an old

Bo was not to be consoled or changed. Helen could only sigh
and pray that her convictions would be verified.

The first day of July brought an early thunder-storm, just
at sunrise. It roared and flared and rolled away, leaving a
gorgeous golden cloud pageant in the sky and a fresh,
sweetly smelling, glistening green range that delighted
Helen's eye.

Birds were twittering in the arbors and bees were humming in
the flowers. From the fields down along the brook came a
blended song of swamp-blackbird and meadow-lark. A
clarion-voiced burro split the air with his coarse and
homely bray. The sheep were bleating, and a soft baa of
little lambs came sweetly to Helen's ears. She went her
usual rounds with more than usual zest and thrill.
Everywhere was color, activity, life. The wind swept warm
and pine-scented down from the mountain heights, now black
and bold, and the great green slopes seemed to call to her.

At that very moment she came suddenly upon Dale, in his
shirt-sleeves, dusty and hot, standing motionless, gazing at
the distant mountains. Helen's greeting startled him.

"I -- I was just looking away yonder," he said, smiling. She
thrilled at the clear, wonderful light of his eyes.

"So was I -- a moment ago," she replied, wistfully. "Do you
miss the forest -- very much?"

"Nell, I miss nothing. But I'd like to ride with you under
the pines once more."

"We'll go," she cried.

"When?" he asked, eagerly.

"Oh -- soon!" And then with flushed face and downcast eyes
she passed on. For long Helen had cherished a fond hope that
she might be married in Paradise Park, where she had fallen
in love with Dale and had realized herself. But she had kept
that hope secret. Dale's eager tone, his flashing eyes, had
made her feel that her secret was there in her telltale

As she entered the lane leading to the house she encountered
one of the new stable-boys driving a pack-mule.

"Jim, whose pack is that?" she asked.

"Ma'am, I dunno, but I heard him tell Roy he reckoned his
name was mud," replied the boy, smiling.

Helen's heart gave a quick throb. That sounded like Las
Vegas. She hurried on, and upon entering the courtyard she
espied Roy Beeman holding the halter of a beautiful,
wild-looking mustang. There was another horse with another
man, who was in the act of dismounting on the far side. When
he stepped into better view Helen recognized Las Vegas. And
he saw her at the same instant.

Helen did not look up again until she was near the porch.
She had dreaded this meeting, yet she was so glad that she
could have cried aloud.

"Miss Helen, I shore am glad to see you," he said, standing
bareheaded before her, the same young, frank-faced cowboy
she had seen first from the train.

"Tom!" she exclaimed, and offered her hands.

He wrung them hard while he looked at her. The swift woman's
glance Helen gave in return seemed to drive something dark
and doubtful out of her heart. This was the same boy she had
known -- whom she had liked so well -- who had won her
sister's love. Helen imagined facing him thus was like
awakening from a vague nightmare of doubt. Carmichael's face
was clean, fresh, young, with its healthy tan; it wore the
old glad smile, cool, easy, and natural; his eyes were like
Dale's -- penetrating, clear as crystal, without a shadow.
What had evil, drink, blood, to do with the real inherent
nobility of this splendid specimen of Western hardihood?
Wherever he had been, whatever he had done during that long
absence, he had returned long separated from that wild and
savage character she could now forget. Perhaps there would
never again be call for it.

"How's my girl?" he asked, just as naturally as if he had
been gone a few days on some errand of his employer's.

"Bo? Oh, she's well -- fine. I -- I rather think she'll be
glad to see you," replied Helen, warmly.

"An' how's thet big Indian, Dale?" he drawled.

"Well, too -- I'm sure."

"Reckon I got back heah in time to see you-all married?"

"I -- I assure you I -- no one around here has been married
yet," replied Helen, with a blush.

"Thet shore is fine. Was some worried," he said, lazily.
"I've been chasin' wild hosses over in New Mexico, an' I got
after this heah blue roan. He kept me chasin' him fer a
spell. I've fetched him back for Bo."

Helen looked at the mustang Roy was holding, to be instantly
delighted. He was a roan almost blue in color, neither large
nor heavy, but powerfully built, clean-limbed, and racy,
with a long mane and tail, black as coal, and a beautiful
head that made Helen love him at once.

"Well, I'm jealous," declared Helen, archly. "I never did
see such a pony."

"I reckoned you'd never ride any hoss but Ranger," said Las

"No, I never will. But I can be jealous, anyhow, can't I?"

"Shore. An I reckon if you say you're goin' to have him --
wal, Bo 'd be funny," he drawled.

"I reckon she would be funny," retorted Helen. She was so
happy that she imitated his speech. She wanted to hug him.
It was too good to be true -- the return of this cowboy. He
understood her. He had come back with nothing that could
alienate her. He had apparently forgotten the terrible role
he had accepted and the doom he had meted out to her
enemies. That moment was wonderful for Helen in its
revelation of the strange significance of the West as
embodied in this cowboy. He was great. But he did not know

Then the door of the living-room opened, and a sweet, high
voice pealed out:

"Roy! Oh, what a mustang! Whose is he?"

"Wal, Bo, if all I hear is so he belongs to you," replied
Roy with a huge grin.

Bo appeared in the door. She stepped out upon the porch. She
saw the cowboy. The excited flash of her pretty face
vanished as she paled.

"Bo, I shore am glad to see you," drawled Las Vegas, as he
stepped forward, sombrero in hand. Helen could not see any
sign of confusion in him. But, indeed, she saw gladness.
Then she expected to behold Bo run right into the cowboys's
arms. It appeared, however, that she was doomed to

"Tom, I'm glad to see you," she replied.

They shook hands as old friends.

"You're lookin' right fine," he said.

"Oh, I'm well. . . . And how have you been these six
months?" she queried.

"Reckon I though it was longer," he drawled. "Wal, I'm
pretty tip-top now, but I was laid up with heart trouble for
a spell."

"Heart trouble?" she echoed, dubiously.

"Shore. . . . I ate too much over heah in New Mexico."

"It's no news to me -- where your heart's located," laughed
Bo. Then she ran off the porch to see the blue mustang. She
walked round and round him, clasping her hands in sheer

"Bo, he's a plumb dandy," said Roy. "Never seen a prettier
hoss. He'll run like a streak. An' he's got good eyes. He'll
be a pet some day. But I reckon he'll always be spunky."

"Bo ventured to step closer, and at last got a hand on the
mustang, and then another. She smoothed his quivering neck
and called softly to him, until he submitted to her hold.

"What's his name?" she asked.

"Blue somethin' or other," replied Roy.

"Tom, has my new mustang a name?" asked Bo, turning to the


"What then?"

"Wal, I named him Blue-Bo," answered Las Vegas, with a


"Nope. He's named after you. An' I chased him, roped him,
broke him all myself."

"Very well. Blue-Bo he is, then. . . . And he's a wonderful
darling horse. Oh, Nell, just look at him. . . . Tom, I
can't thank you enough."

"Reckon I don't want any thanks," drawled the cowboy. "But
see heah, Bo, you shore got to live up to conditions before
you ride him."

"What!" exclaimed Bo, who was startled by his slow, cool,
meaning tone, of voice.

Helen delighted in looking at Las Vegas then. He had never
appeared to better advantage. So cool, careless, and
assured! He seemed master of a situation in which his terms
must be accepted. Yet he might have been actuated by a
cowboy motive beyond the power of Helen to divine.

"Bo Rayner," drawled Las Vegas, "thet blue mustang will be
yours, an' you can ride him -- when you're MRS. TOM

Never had he spoken a softer, more drawling speech, nor
gazed at Bo more mildly. Roy seemed thunderstruck. Helen
endeavored heroically to restrain her delicious, bursting
glee. Bo's wide eyes stared at her lover -- darkened --
dilated. Suddenly she left the mustang to confront the
cowboy where he lounged on the porch steps.

"Do you mean that?" she cried.

"Shore do."

"Bah! It's only a magnificent bluff," she retorted. "You're
only in fun. It's your -- your darned nerve!"

"Why, Bo," began Las Vegas, reproachfully. "You shore know
I'm not the four-flusher kind. Never got away with a bluff
in my life! An' I'm jest in daid earnest aboot this heah."

All the same, signs were not wanting in his mobile face that
he was almost unable to restrain his mirth.

Helen realized then that Bo saw through the cowboy -- that
the ultimatum was only one of his tricks.

"It IS a bluff and I CALL you!" declared Bo, ringingly.

Las Vegas suddenly awoke to consequences. He essayed to
speak, but she was so wonderful then, so white and
blazing-eyed, that he was stricken mute.

"I'll ride Blue-Bo this afternoon," deliberately stated the

Las Vegas had wit enough to grasp her meaning, and he seemed
about to collapse.

"Very well, you can make me Mrs. Tom Carmichael to-day --
this morning -- just before dinner. . . . Go get a preacher
to marry us -- and make yourself look a more presentable
bridegroom -- UNLESS IT WAS ONLY A BLUFF!"

Her imperiousness changed as the tremendous portent of her
words seemed to make Las Vegas a blank, stone image of a
man. With a wild-rose color suffusing her face, she swiftly
bent over him, kissed him, and flashed away into the house.
Her laugh pealed back, and it thrilled Helen, so deep and
strange was it for the wilful sister, so wild and merry and
full of joy.

It was then that Roy Beeman recovered from his paralysis, to
let out such a roar of mirth as to frighten the horses.
Helen was laughing, and crying, too, but laughing mostly.
Las Vegas Carmichael was a sight for the gods to behold.
Bo's kiss had unclamped what had bound him. The sudden
truth, undeniable, insupportable, glorious, made him a

"Bluff -- she called me -- ride Blue-Bo saf'ternoon!" he
raved, reaching wildly for Helen. "Mrs. -- Tom -- Carmichael
-- before dinner -- preacher -- presentable bridegroom! . .
. Aw! I'm drunk again! I -- who swore off forever!"

"No, Tom, you're just happy," said Helen.

Between her and Roy the cowboy was at length persuaded to
accept the situation and to see his wonderful opportunity.

"Now -- now, Miss Helen -- what'd Bo mean by pre --
presentable bridegroom? . . . Presents? Lord, I'm clean
busted flat!"

"She meant you must dress up in your best, of course,"
replied Helen.

"Where 'n earth will I get a preacher? . . . Show Down's
forty miles. . . . Can't ride there in time. . . . Roy, I've
gotta have a preacher. . . . Life or death deal fer me."

"Wal, old man, if you'll brace up I'll marry you to Bo,"
said Roy, with his glad grin.

"Aw!" gasped Las Vegas, as if at the coming of a sudden
beautiful hope.

"Tom, I'm a preacher," replied Roy, now earnestly. "You
didn't know thet, but I am. An' I can marry you an' Bo as
good as any one, an' tighter 'n most."

Las Vegas reached for his friend as a drowning man might
have reached for solid rock.

"Roy, can you really marry them -- with my Bible -- and the
service of my church?" asked Helen, a happy hope flushing
her face.

"Wal, indeed I can. I've married more 'n one couple whose
religion wasn't mine."

"B-b-before -- d-d-din-ner!" burst out Las Vegas, like a
stuttering idiot.

"I reckon. Come on, now, an' make yourself pre-senttible,"
said Roy. "Miss Helen, you tell Bo thet it's all settled."

He picked up the halter on the blue mustang and turned away
toward the corrals. Las Vegas put the bridle of his horse
over his arm, and seemed to be following in a trance, with
his dazed, rapt face held high.

"Bring Dale," called Helen, softly after them.

So it came about as naturally as it was wonderful that Bo
rode the blue mustang before the afternoon ended.

Las Vegas disobeyed his first orders from Mrs. Tom
Carmichael and rode out after her toward the green-rising
range. Helen seemed impelled to follow. She did not need to
ask Dale the second time. They rode swiftly, but never
caught up with Bo and Las Vegas, whose riding resembled
their happiness.

Dale read Helen's mind, or else his own thoughts were in
harmony with hers, for he always seemed to speak what she
was thinking. And as they rode homeward he asked her in his
quiet way if they could not spare a few days to visit his
old camp.

"And take Bo -- and Tom? Oh, of all things I'd like to'" she

"Yes -- an' Roy, too," added Dale, significantly.

"Of course," said Helen, lightly, as if she had not caught
his meaning. But she turned her eyes away, while her heart
thumped disgracefully and all her body was aglow. "Will Tom
and Bo go?"

"It was Tom who got me to ask you," replied Dale. "John an'
Hal can look after the men while we're gone."

"Oh -- so Tom put it in your head? I guess -- maybe -- I
won't go."

"It is always in my mind, Nell," he said, with his slow
seriousness. "I'm goin' to work all my life for you. But
I'll want to an' need to go back to the woods often. . . .
An' if you ever stoop to marry me -- an' make me the richest
of men -- you'll have to marry me up there where I fell in
love with you."

"Ah! Did Las Vegas Tom Carmichael say that, too?" inquired
Helen, softly.

"Nell, do you want to know what Las Vegas said?"

"By all means."

"He said this -- an' not an hour ago. 'Milt, old hoss, let
me give you a hunch. I'm a man of family now -- an' I've
been a devil with the wimmen in my day. I can see through
'em. Don't marry Nell Rayner in or near the house where I
killed Beasley. She'd remember. An' don't let her remember
thet day. Go off into the woods. Paradise Park! Bo an' me
will go with you."

Helen gave him her hand, while they walked the horses
homeward in the long sunset shadows. In the fullness of that
happy hour she had time for a grateful wonder at the keen
penetration of the cowboy Carmichael. Dale had saved her
life, but it was Las Vegas who had saved her happiness.

Not many days later, when again the afternoon shadows were
slanting low, Helen rode out upon the promontory where the
dim trail zigzagged far above Paradise Park.

Roy was singing as he drove the pack-burros down the slope;
Bo and Las Vegas were trying to ride the trail two abreast,
so they could hold hands; Dale had dismounted to stand
beside Helen's horse, as she gazed down the shaggy black
slopes to the beautiful wild park with its gray meadows and
shining ribbons of brooks.

It was July, and there were no golden-red glorious flames
and blazes of color such as lingered in Helen's memory.
Black spruce slopes and green pines and white streaks of
aspens and lacy waterfall of foam and dark outcroppings of
rock-these colors and forms greeted her gaze with all the
old enchantment. Wildness, beauty, and loneliness were
there, the same as ever, immutable, like the spirit of those

Helen would fain have lingered longer, but the others
called, and Ranger impatiently snorted his sense of the
grass and water far below. And she knew that when she
climbed there again to the wide outlook she would be another

"Nell, come on," said Dale, as he led on. "It's better to
look up."

The sun had just sunk behind the ragged fringe of
mountain-rim when those three strong and efficient men of
the open had pitched camp and had prepared a bountiful
supper. Then Roy Beeman took out the little worn Bible which
Helen had given him to use when he married Bo, and as he
opened it a light changed his dark face.

"Come, Helen an' Dale," he said.

They arose to stand before him. And he married them there
under the great, stately pines, with the fragrant blue smoke
curling upward, and the wind singing through the branches,
while the waterfall murmured its low, soft, dreamy music,
and from the dark slope came the wild, lonely cry of a wolf,
full of the hunger for life and a mate.

"Let us pray," said Roy, as he closed the Bible, and knelt
with them.

"There is only one God, an' Him I beseech in my humble
office for the woman an' man I have just wedded in holy
bonds. Bless them an' watch them an' keep them through all
the comin' years. Bless the sons of this strong man of the
woods an' make them like him, with love an' understandin' of
the source from which life comes. Bless the daughters of
this woman an' send with them more of her love an' soul,
which must be the softenin' an' the salvation of the hard
West. 0 Lord, blaze the dim, dark trail for them through the
unknown forest of life! 0 Lord, lead the way across the
naked range of the future no mortal knows! We ask in Thy
name! Amen."

When the preacher stood up again and raised the couple from
their kneeling posture, it seemed that a grave and solemn
personage had left him. This young man was again the
dark-faced, clear-eyed Roy, droll and dry, with the
enigmatic smile on his lips.

"Mrs. Dale," he said, taking her hands, "I wish you joy. . .
. An' now, after this here, my crownin' service in your
behalf -- I reckon I'll claim a reward."

Then he kissed her. Bo came next with her warm and loving
felicitations, and the cowboy, with characteristic action,
also made at Helen.

"Nell, shore it's the only chance I'll ever have to kiss
you," he drawled. "Because when this heah big Indian once
finds out what kissin' is -- !"

Las Vegas then proved how swift and hearty he could be upon
occasions. All this left Helen red and confused and
unutterably happy. She appreciated Dale's state. His eyes
reflected the precious treasure which manifestly he saw, but
realization of ownership had not yet become demonstrable.

Then with gay speech and happy laugh and silent look these
five partook of the supper. When it was finished Roy made
known his intention to leave. They all protested and coaxed,
but to no avail. He only laughed and went on saddling his

"Roy, please stay," implored Helen. "The day's almost ended.
You're tired."

"Nope. I'll never be no third party when there's only two."

"But there are four of us."

"Didn't I just make you an' Dale one? . . . An', Mrs. Dale,
you forget I've been married more 'n once."

Helen found herself confronted by an unanswerable side of
the argument. Las Vegas rolled on the grass in his mirth.
Dale looked strange.

"Roy, then that's why you're so nice," said Bo, with a
little devil in her eyes. "Do you know I had my mind made up
if Tom hadn't come around I was going to make up to you,
Roy. . . . I sure was. What number wife would I have been?"

It always took Bo to turn the tables on anybody. Roy looked
mightily embarrassed. And the laugh was on him. He did not
face them again until he had mounted.

"Las Vegas, I've done my best for you -- hitched you to thet
blue-eyed girl the best I know how," he declared. "But I
shore ain't guaranteein' nothin'. You'd better build a
corral for her."

"Why, Roy, you shore don't savvy the way to break these wild
ones," drawled Las Vegas. "Bo will be eatin' out of my hand
in about a week."

Bo's blue eyes expressed an eloquent doubt as to this
extraordinary claim.

"Good-by, friends," said Roy, and rode away to disappear in
the spruces.

Thereupon Bo and Las Vegas forgot Roy, and Dale and Helen,
the camp chores to be done, and everything else except
themselves. Helen's first wifely duty was to insist that she
should and could and would help her husband with the work of
cleaning up after the sumptuous supper. Before they had
finished a sound startled them. It came from Roy, evidently
high on the darkening slope, and was a long, mellow pealing
halloo, that rang on the cool air, burst the dreamy silence,
and rapped across from slope to slope and cliff to cliff, to
lose its power and die away hauntingly in the distant

Dale shook his head as if he did not care to attempt a reply
to that beautiful call. Silence once again enfolded the
park, and twilight seemed to be born of the air, drifting

"Nell, do you miss anythin'?" asked Dale.

"No. Nothing in all the world," she murmured. "I am happier
than I ever dared pray to be."

"I don't mean people or things. I mean my pets."

"Ah! I had forgotten. . . . Milt, where are they?"

"Gone back to the wild," he said. "They had to live in my
absence. An' I've been away long."

Just then the brooding silence, with its soft murmur of
falling water and faint sigh of wind in the pines, was
broken by a piercing scream, high, quivering, like that of a
woman in exquisite agony.

"That's Tom!" exclaimed Dale.

"Oh -- I was so -- so frightened!" whispered Helen.

Bo came running, with Las Vegas at her heels.

"Milt, that was your tame cougar," cried Bo, excitedly. "Oh,
I'll never forget him! I'll hear those cries in my dreams!"

"Yes, it was Tom," said Dale, thoughtfully. "But I never
heard him cry just like that."

"Oh, call him in!"

Dale whistled and called, but Tom did not come. Then the
hunter stalked off in the gloom to call from different
points under the slope. After a while be returned without
the cougar. And at that moment, from far up the dark ravine,
drifted down the same wild cry, only changed by distance,
strange and tragic in its meaning.
"He scented us. He remembers. But he'll never come back,"
said Dale.

Helen felt stirred anew with the convictions of Dale's deep
knowledge of life and nature. And her imagination seemed to
have wings. How full and perfect her trust, her happiness in
the realization that her love and her future, her children,
and perhaps grandchildren, would come under the guidance of
such a man! Only a little had she begun to comprehend the
secrets of good and ill in their relation to the laws of
nature. Ages before men had lived on the earth there had
been the creatures of the wilderness, and the holes of the
rocks, and the nests of the trees, and rain, frost, heat,
dew, sunlight and night, storm and calm, the honey of the
wildflower and the instinct of the bee -- all the beautiful
and multiple forms of life with their inscrutable design. To
know something of them and to love them was to be close to
the kingdom of earth -- perhaps to the greater kingdom of
heaven. For whatever breathed and moved was a part of that
creation. The coo of the dove, the lichen on the mossy rock,
the mourn of a hunting wolf, and the murmur of the
waterfall, the ever-green and growing tips of the spruces,
and the thunderbolts along the battlements of the heights --
these one and all must be actuated by the great spirit --
that incalculable thing in the universe which had produced
man and soul.

And there in the starlight, under the wide-gnarled pines,
sighing low with the wind, Helen sat with Dale on the old
stone that an avalanche of a million years past had flung
from the rampart above to serve as camp-table and bench for
lovers in the wilderness; the sweet scent of spruce mingled
with the fragrance of wood-smoke blown in their faces. How
white the stars, and calm and true! How they blazed their
single task! A coyote yelped off on the south slope, dark
now as midnight. A bit of weathered rock rolled and tapped
from shelf to shelf. And the wind moaned. Helen felt all the
sadness and mystery and nobility of this lonely fastness,
and full on her heart rested the supreme consciousness that
all would some day be well with the troubled world beyond.

"Nell, I'll homestead this park," said Dale. "Then it'll
always be ours."

"Homestead! What's that?" murmured Helen, dreamily. The word
sounded sweet.

"The government will give land to men who locate an' build,"
replied Dale. "We'll run up a log cabin."

"And come here often. . . . Paradise Park!" whispered Helen.

Dale's first kisses were on her lips then, hard and cool and
clean, like the life of the man, singularly exalting to her,
completing her woman's strange and unutterable joy of the
hour, and rendering her mute.

Bo's melodious laugh, and her voice with its old mockery of
torment, drifted softly on the night breeze. And the
cowboy's "Aw, Bo," drawling his reproach and longing, was
all that the tranquil, waiting silence needed.

Paradise Park was living again one of its romances. Love was
no stranger to that lonely fastness. Helen heard in the
whisper of the wind through the pine the old-earth story,
beautiful, ever new, and yet eternal. She thrilled to her
depths. The spar-pointed spruces stood up black and clear
against the noble stars. All that vast solitude breathed and
waited, charged full with its secret, ready to reveal itself
to her tremulous soul.

Book of the day:
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