In the street Heart’s Desire waited patiently, gazing at the darkened house, at the shaded door. Half an hour passed, an hour. Dan Anderson, without speech to any one, walked slowly up the street and across the arroyo. The light in his own casita flickered briefly and then vanished.
“I told you all along he was game!” said Curly, emerging from the corner of Whiteman’s store and offering everybody a chew from his plug of tobacco. “They ain’t runnin’ him any, I reckon. Huh?”
“Shucks!” remarked Uncle Jim, disgustedly. “From the way that feller Barkley roared around, I shore thought he was a-goin’ to tear up the earth. He’s so yellow that in the mornin’ I’m goin’ to tell him to move on out of town. I’ve always kep’ a respectable house before now, and I never did harbor a man who wouldn’t shoot some!”
“In the mornin’,” added Doc Tomlinson, as the group broke up, “I’m goin’ to take Dan Anderson that saddle of mine that’s layin’ around in my store. Why, what does a man want of a saddle in a drug store? I just want to give the boy something.”
COMMERCE AT HEART’S DESIRE
Showing Wonders of the Thirst of McGinnis, and the Faith of Whiteman the Jew
There was a barber at Heart’s Desire, a patient though forgotten man, who had waited some years in the belief that eventually a patron would come into his shop in search of professional services. No one did come, but still the barber hoped. He was one of those who had clamored most loudly for Eastern Capital. After the town meeting the courage of the barber failed him. He declared himself as at length ready to abandon his faith in Heart’s Desire, and to depart in search of a community offering conditions more encouraging. In this determination he was joined by Billy Hudgens of the Lone Star, a man also patient through long years of adversity, who now admitted that he might be obliged to close up and move to Arizona.
The news of these impending blows fell upon a community already gloomy and despondent. Some vague, intangible change had come over Heart’s Desire. The illusion of the past was destroyed. Men rubbed their eyes, realizing that they had been asleep, that they had been dreaming. There dawned upon them the conviction that perhaps, after all, the old scheme of life had not been sufficient. The lotus plant was robbed of its potency.
It was at this time that McGinnis came to town. His advent was the most fortunate thing that could have happened. Certainly, it was hailed with joy and accepted as an omen; for, as was known of all men over a thousand miles of mining country in the Rockies, McGinnis was the image and emblem of good luck.
Not that this meant prosperity for McGinnis himself, for that gentleman continued in a very even condition as to worldly goods, being steadily and consistently broke,—a sad state of affairs for one who had brought so much happiness to others. History proved to the point of proverb that whenever McGinnis visited a camp,—and he had followed scores of strikes and stampedes in all the corners of the metalliferous world,—that camp was destined to witness a boom at no distant day.