“Howdy yourself?” growled Lefferts in answer to Bob’s greeting.
“He seems to be a character!” whispered Prather to Bob, as he smiled at the prospect. “To confess the truth, I am a little saddle sore and tired. I didn’t get much riding in Goldfield. I think I’ll stop and rest and get acquainted.”
“You won’t get much satisfaction but growls.”
“That will be all the more fun for me,” rejoined Prather. “But don’t let me keep you.”
“No. I must be going on. I’ve got some things to look after before nightfall,” said Bob, while Prather, in a humor proof against any hermit cantankerousness, rode into the yard.
When he returned after dark he said, laughingly, that he had enjoyed himself, though the conversation was all on one side. The next morning he decided to take up the plot of land adjoining Jack’s.
“But I shall not be able to begin work for a few weeks,” he said. “I must go to Goldfield to settle up my affairs before I begin my new career.”
“If Jack ever comes back I wonder what he will say to his new neighbor!” Little Rivers wondered.
LOOKING OVER PRECIPICES
To Mary Ewold the pass was a dividing line between two appeals. The Little Rivers side, with the green patch of oasis in the distance, had a message of peaceful enjoyment of what fortune had provided for her. Under its spell she saw herself content to live within garden walls forever in the land that had given her life, grateful for the trickles of intelligence that came by mail from the outside world.
The other side aroused a mighty restlessness. Therefore, she rarely made that short journey which spread another panorama of space before her. But this was one of the afternoons when she welcomed a tumult of any kind as a relief from her depression; and she went on through the V as soon as she reached the summit.
Seated on a flat-topped rock, oblivious of the passage of time, of the dream cities of the Eternal Painter, she was staring far away where the narrowing gray line between the mountain rims met the sky. She was seeing beyond the horizon. She was seeing cities of memory and reality. A great yearning was in her heart. All the monotonous level lap of the heights which seemed without end was a symbol that separated her from her desire.
She imagined herself in a Pullman, flashing by farms and villages; in a shop selecting gowns; viewing from a high window the human stream of Fifth Avenue; taking passage on a steamer; hearing again foreign tongues long ago familiar to her ears; sensing the rustle of great audiences before a curtain rose; glimpsing the Mediterranean from a car window; feeling herself a unit in the throbbing promenade of the life of many streets while her hunger took its fill of a busy world.
“It is hard to do it all in imagination!” she said to herself. “Even imagination needs an occasional nest-egg of reality by way of encouragement.”