“Well, I’m goin’ to—before ma comes. Dog-gone it! You know how it is tryin’ to explain things to a woman. Wimmin don’t understand them kind of things.”
“I don’t know about that, Lorry.”
Lorry nodded. “I tell you, dad—you kind of set a pace for me. And I figure I don’t want folks to say: ‘There goes Jim Waring’s boy.’ If they’re goin’ to say anything, I want it to be: ’There goes Lorry Waring.’”
Waring knew that kind of pride if he knew anything. He was proud of his son. And Waring’s most difficult task was to keep from influencing him in any way. He wanted the boy to feel free to do as he thought best.
“You were in that fight at Sterling,” said Waring, gesturing toward the south.
“But that was different,” said Lorry. “Them coyotes was pluggin’ at us, and we just nacherally had to let ’em have it. And besides we was workin’ for the law.”
“I understand there wasn’t any law in Sterling About that time.”
“Well, we made some,” asserted Lorry.
“And that’s just what this war means. It’s being fought to make law.”
“Then I’m for the law every time, big or little. I seen enough of that other thing.”
“Think it over, Lorry. Remember, you’re free to do as you want to. I have made my offer. Then there is your mother—and the girl. It looks as though you had your hands full.”
“You bet! Business and war and—and Dorothy is a right big order. I’m gettin’ a headache thinkin’ of it!”
Waring rose. “I’m going to turn in. I have to live pretty close to the clock these days.”
“See you in the mornin’,” said Lorry, giving his hand. “Good-night, dad.”
The High Trail
Black-edged against the silvery light of early dawn the rim of the world lay dotted with far buttes and faint ranges fading into the spaces of the north and south. The light deepened and spread to a great crimson pool, tideless round the bases of magic citadels and mighty towers. Golden minarets thrust their slender, fiery shafts athwart the wide pathway of the ascending sun. The ruddy glow palpitated like a live ember naked to the wind. The nearer buttes grew boldly beautiful. Slowly their molten outlines hardened to rigid bronze. Like ancient castles of some forgotten land, isolated in the vast mesa, empty of life, they seemed to await the coming of a host that would reshape their fallen arches and their wind-worn towers to old-time splendor, and perfect their imageries.
But the marching sun knew no such sentiment. Pitilessly he pierced their enchanted walls, discovering their pretense, burning away their shadowy glory, baring them for what they were—masses of jumbled rock and splintered spires; rain-gutted wraiths of clay, volcanic rock, the tumbled malpais and the tufa of the land.