Yet he saved money, bought himself good, cheap clothes, and found energy to attend night school where he studied stationary and mechanical engineering. He lived wholly within himself, his mental reactions tinged with morose scorn. He found little comfort either in himself or in the external world, in spite of the fact that he had determined with all his stubborn will to get ahead.
The library he patronized a good deal, but he gave no time to general literature. His reading was of a highly specialized nature. He studied everything that he could find about the oil fields of America.
The stigma of his disgrace continued to raise its head. One of the concrete workers was married to the sister of the woman from whom he rented his room. The quiet, upstanding man who never complained or asked any privileges had been a favorite of hers, but she was a timid, conventional soul. Visions of her roomers departing in a flock when they found out about the man in the second floor back began to haunt her dreams. Perhaps he might rob them all at night. In a moment of nerve tension, summoning all her courage, she asked the killer from the cattle country if he would mind leaving.
He smiled grimly and began to pack. For several days he had seen it coming. When he left, the expressman took his trunk to the station. The ticket which Sanders bought showed Malapi as his destination.
DAVE MEETS TWO FRIENDS AND A FOE
In the early morning Dave turned to rest his cramped limbs. He was in a day coach, and his sleep through the night had been broken. The light coming from the window woke him. He looked out on the opalescent dawn of the desert, and his blood quickened at sight of the enchanted mesa. To him came that joyous thrill of one who comes home to his own after years of exile.
Presently he saw the silvery sheen of the mesquite when the sun is streaming westward. Dust eddies whirled across the barranca. The prickly pear and the palo verde flashed past, green splashes against a background of drab. The pudgy creosote, the buffalo grass, the undulation of sand hills were an old story, but to-day his eyes devoured them hungrily. The wonderful effect of space and light, the cloud skeins drawn out as by some invisible hand, the brown ribbon of road that wandered over the hill: they brought to him an emotion poignant and surprising.
The train slid into a narrow valley bounded by hills freakishly eroded to fantastic shapes. Pinon trees fled to the rear. A sheep corral fenced with brush and twisted roots, in which were long, shallow feed troughs and flat-roofed sheds, leaped out of nowhere, was for a few moments, and vanished like a scene in a moving picture. A dim, gray mass of color on a hillside was agitated like a sea wave. It was a flock of sheep moving toward the corral. For an instant Dave caught a glimpse of a dog circling the huddled pack; then dog and sheep were out of sight together.