“The answer’s obvious.”
A dazzling flash of lightning leaped from the mass of somber cloud overhead, and they turned back toward the house, which George and Grant reached soon afterward. Grant said that he must get home before the storm broke, and Grierson brought out his spirited team. It had grown nearly dark; a curious leaden haze obscured the prairie; and when the man was getting into his light, spring-seated wagon, a jagged streak of lightning suddenly reft the gloom and there was a deafening roll of thunder. The horses started. Grant fell backward from the step, dropping the reins; and while the others stood dazzled by the flash, the terrified animals backed the vehicle with a crash against the stable. Then they plunged madly forward toward the fence, with the reins trailing along the ground. Flora had got in before her father, and she was now helpless.
It was too late when Grant got up; Grierson and Edgar were too far away, and the latter stood still, wondering with a thrill of horror what the end would be; he did not think the horses saw the thin wire fence, and the gap in it was narrow. If they struck a post in going through, the vehicle would overturn. Then George, running furiously, sprang at the horses’ heads, and went down, still holding on. He was dragged along a few yards, but the pace slackened, and Edgar ran forward with Grierson behind him. For a few moments there was a savage struggle, but they stopped and held the team, until Grant coolly cleared the reins and flung them to his daughter.
“Stick tight while I get up, and then watch out,” he said to the others.
He was seated in another moment, the girl quietly making room for him; then, to Edgar’s astonishment, he lashed the frantic horses with the whip, and, plunging forward, they swept madly through the opening in the fence, with the wagon jolting from rut to rut. A minute or two afterward they had vanished into the thick obscurity that veiled the waste of grass, and there was a dazzling flash and a stunning roll of thunder. George, flushed and breathless, looked around with a soft laugh.
“Grant has pretty good nerve,” he said.
“That’s so, sir,” Grierson agreed. “Strikes me he’ll take some of the wickedness out of his team before he gets them home. I noticed that Miss Grant didn’t look the least bit afraid.”
Then a deluge of rain drove them into the house, where Edgar sat smoking thoughtfully; for what Flora Grant had said about Sylvia had a disturbing effect on him. It looked as if her selfish regard for her comfort had hampered Marston in his struggle; and though Edgar had never had much faith in Sylvia, this was painful to contemplate. Moreover, George cherished a steadfast regard for her, which complicated things; but Edgar prudently decided that the matter was a delicate one and must be left to the people most concerned. After all, Miss Grant might be mistaken.