By this I knew that he would, in all likelihood, meet the stage and help Eve to alight at Heart’s Desire. Moreover, I reproached him as having been deliberately a party to this invasion. “You’ve been writing back home to the girl,” I said. “That is not playing the game. That’s violation of the creed. You’re renegade. Then go back home. You don’t belong here!”
“I’m not! I won’t! I didn’t!” he retorted. “I didn’t write—at least only a few times. I tried not to—but I couldn’t help it. Man, I tell you I couldn’t help it.”
EVE AT HEART’S DESIRE
How the Said Eve arrived on the Same Stage with Eastern Capital, to the Interest of All, and the Embarrassment of Some.
The sun drew on across the enchanted valley and began to sink toward the rim of the distant Baxter Peak. The tremendous velvet robes of the purple evening shadows dropped slowly down upon the majestic shoulders of Carrizo, guardian of the valley. A delicious kindness came into the air, sweet, although no flower was in all that land, and soft, though this was far from any sea, unless it were the waters immeasurably deep beneath this sun-dried soil. There was no cloud even at the falling of the sun, but the gun had no harshness in his glow. There was a blue and purple mystery over all the world, and calm and sweetness and strength came down as it were a mantle. Ah, never in all the world was a place like this Eden, this man’s Eden of Heart’s Desire!
A gentle wind sighed up the valley from the narrow canon mouth, as it did every day. There was no variableness. Surprises did not come thither. The world ran always in one pleasant and unchanging groove. But the breeze this evening brought no smile of content to Dan Anderson’s face as he sat waiting for the coming of the new and fateful visitor to our ancient Eden.
“They’ll be about at the Carrizoso Springs now,” said Dan Anderson, “twelve miles away down the trail. Can’t you smell the cold cream?”
This was beyond ken, but he became more explicit. “Cold cream to the eyes and ears,” said he. “To the untutored face, the sun of this heathen district is something sinful; and like enough she never heard of collodion for cracked lips in an alkali country. And a veil—oh, sacred spirits! that veil and its contents is now hatin’ Carrizoso flats and all the inarticulate earth till fare-ye-well! Wrapped up to the topmast in a white veil,—or one of was-white,—gray travelling gown, common-sense boots. Gloves—ah, yes. And hate—hate—why, can’t you feel the simmerin’, boilin’ hatred of that States girl just raisin’ the temperature of this land of Canaan? Hate us? Why, she’ll be poisonous. Ninety miles in the sun, at ninety in the shade. Water once at the Mal Pais, and it alkali.”
I reminded Dan Anderson that in view of his promise to absent himself at the time of the arrival of the Socorro stage, he was not conducting himself with the proper regard either to decorum or historical accuracy.