In the morning he felt better, and went out by himself to the cliffs where they had been before, and sat down on a hummock covered with short grass, and watched the great unrest of the ocean, and wondered where the Flying U wagons would be camping, that night. Somehow, the wide reach of water reminded him of the prairie; the rolling billows were like many, many cattle milling restlessly in a vast herd and tossing white heads and horns upward. Below him, the pounding surf was to him the bellowing of a thirsty herd corralled.
“This is sure all right,” he approved, rousing a little. “It’s almost as good as sitting up on a pinnacle and looking out over the range. If I had a good hoss, and my riding outfit, and could get out there and go to work cutting-out them white-caps and hazing ’em up here on a run, it wouldn’t be so poor. By gracious, this is worth the trip, all right.” It never occurred to Andy that there was anything strange in the remark, or that he sat there because it dulled the heavy ache that had been his since yesterday—the ache of finding what he had sought, and finding with it disillusionment.
Till hunger drove him away he stayed, and his dreams were of the wide land he had left. When he again walked down Pacific Avenue the hall clock struck four, and after he had eaten he looked up at it and saw that it lacked but fifteen minutes of five.
“I’m supposed to meet her when she quits work,” he remembered, “and Lola and Freddie will go to the plunge with us.” He stopped and stared in at the window of a curio store. “Say, that’s a dandy Navajo blanket,” he murmured. “It would be out-uh-sight for a saddle blanket.” He started on, hesitated and went back. “I’ve got time enough to get it,” he explained to himself. He went in, bought the blanket and two Mexican serapes that caught his fancy, tucked the bundle under his arm and started down the street toward the office where Mary worked. It was just two minutes to five.
He got almost to the door—so near that his toe struck against a corner of the belabelled bulletin board—when a sudden revulsion swept his desires back like a huge wave. He stood a second irresolutely and then turned back. “Aw—hell! What’s the use?” he muttered.
The clock was just on the last stroke of five when he went up to the clerk in his hotel. “Say, when does the next train pull out?—I don’t give a darn in what direction,” he wanted to know. When the clerk told him seven-thirty, he grinned and became undignifiedly loquacious.
“I want to show yuh a couple of dandy serapes I just glommed, down street,” he said, and rolled the bundle open upon the desk. “Ain’t they a couple uh beauts? I got ’em for two uh my friends; they done me a big favor, a month or two ago, and I wanted to kinda square the deal. That’s why I got ’em just alike. Yes, you bet they’re peaches; yuh can’t get ’em like this in Montana. The boys’ll sure appreciate ’em.” He retied the bundle, took his room-key from the hand of the smiling clerk and started up the stairway, humming a tune under his breath as he went.