“I’m Steve Brown—cattle and politics. I tell you, Mr. Bartley—”
“Suppose you say just Bartley?”
The Senator chuckled. “Suppose I said ’Green River’?”
“I haven’t an objection in the world,” laughed Bartley.
“Wishful, here, don’t keep liquor,” explained the Senator. “And he’s right about that. Folks that stay at this hotel want to sleep nights.”
The Senator heaved himself out of his chair, stood up, and stretched.
“I reckon you’ll be wantin’ to see all you can of this country. My ranch lays just fifty miles south of the railroad, and not a fence from here to there. Then, there’s them Indians, up north a piece. And over yonder is where they dig up them prehistoric villages. And those buttes over there used to be volcanoes, before they laid off the job. To the west is the petrified forest. I made a motion once, when the Legislature was in session, to have that forest set aside as a buryin’-ground for politicians,—State Senators and the like,—but they voted me down. They said I didn’t specify dead politicians.
“South of my place is the Apache reservation. There’s good huntin’ in that country. ’Course, Arizona ain’t no Garden of Eden to some folks. Two kinds of folks don’t love this State a little bit’—homesteaders and tourists. But when it comes to cattle and sheep and mines, you can’t beat her. She sure is the Tiger Lily of the West. But let’s step over and see Tom. Excuse me a minute. There’s a constituent who has somethin’ on his chest. I’ll meet you at the station.”
The Senator stepped out and talked with his constituent. Meanwhile, Bartley turned to gaze down the street. A string of empty freight wagons, followed by a lazy cloud of dust, rolled slowly toward town. Here and there a bit of red showed in the dun mass of riders that accompanied the wagons. A gay-colored blanket flickered in the sun. The mesas radiated keen dry heat.
Bartley turned and crossed over to the station. He blinked the effects of the white light from his eyes as he entered the telegraph office. The operator, in shirt-sleeves, and smoking a brown-paper cigarette, nodded and handed Bartley a service message stating that his effects would be carried to Los Angeles and held for further orders.
“It’s sure hot,” said the operator. “Did you want to send another wire?”
Bartley shook his head. “Who is that stout man I bumped into trying to catch my train?”
“That’s Senator Steve Brown—State Senator. Thought you knew him.”
“No. I just met him to-day.”
The operator slumped down in his chair.
Bartley strode to the door and blinked in the Arizona sunshine. “By George!” he murmured, “I always thought they wore those big Stetsons for show. But all day in this sun—guess I’ll have to have one.”