“Evidence f’r the State,” the Judge finally managed to stammer, turning to the attorney for the prosecution.
But it never came so far along as that. There was a sound of many footsteps; voices came murmuring, growing louder. The door was pushed open from without, and in came much of the remaining population of Heart’s Desire, so far as it could gain room. The man from Leavenworth was there, his whiskers wagging unintelligibly. McKinney was there, and Doc Tomlinson and Tom Osby, and everybody else; and, pushing through the crowd, there came the Littlest Girl from Kansas, her apron awry, her hair blown, her face flushed, her eyes moist with tears.
“Curly!” cried she as at last her eyes caught sight of him. “Come right on out of here, this minute! Come along!”
What would you have? The Law is the Law; but there are such things as supreme courts. It was useless for Blackman, J. P., to rap and call for order. It had probably been useless for any man to undertake to stop the prisoner at the bar, thus adjured. At any rate he arose and said politely to the jurors, “Fellers, I got to go”—and so went, no man raising hand to restrain him.
As to Dan Anderson, he himself admitted his wish that the case had gone on. “I wanted to cross-examine,” said he.
That night, over by the arroyo, we met Curly and the Littlest Girl walking in the moonlight. Curly was quiet. The Littlest Girl was tremulous, content. Curly, pausing as we approached, mumbled some shamefaced thanks.
“Curly,” said Dan Anderson, his voice queer, “I didn’t do it for pay. I did it—I don’t know why—”
A new mood was upon him. A lassitude as of remorse appeared to relax him, body and mind. An hour later he and I sat in the glorious flood of the light of the moon of Heart’s Desire, and we fell silent, as was the way of men in that place. At length Dan Anderson turned his face to the top of old Carrizo, the restful, the impassive. He gazed long without speaking, as though he plainly saw something there at the mountain top.
“Listen,” he whispered to me, a moment later, and his eyes did not quite keep back the tears. “She’s there—the Goddess. The Law has come to Heart’s Desire. May God forgive me! Why could we not have stayed content?”
But little did Dan Anderson foresee that day how swiftly was to come further ruin for the kingdom of oblivion which we thought that we had found.
“There’ll be women next!” I said to him bitterly; though this was a vague threat of a thing impossible.
His reply was a look more than half frightened.
“Don’t!” he said.
EDEN AT HEART’S DESIRE
This being the Story of a Paradise; also showing the Exceeding Loneliness of Adam