The Heart of the Desert eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 251 pages of information about The Heart of the Desert.


     I the valley of the Pecos
    II the Caucasian way
   III the Indian and Caucasian
    IV the Indian way
     V the pursuit
    VI entering the desert kindergarten
   VII the first lesson
  VIII A broadening horizon
    IX touch and go
     X A long trail
    XI the turn in the trail
   XII the crossing trails
  XIII an interlude
   XIV the beauty of the world
    XV an escape
   XVI adrift in the desert
  XVII the heart’s own bitterness
 XVIII the forgotten City
   XIX the trail again
    XX the ruined mission
   XXI the end of the trail

The Heart of the Desert



Rhoda hobbled through the sand to the nearest rock.  On this she sank with a groan, clasped her slender foot with both hands and looked about her helplessly.

She felt very small, very much alone.  The infinite wastes of yellow desert danced in heat waves against the bronze-blue sky.  The girl saw no sign of living thing save a buzzard that swept lazily across the zenith.  She turned dizzily from contemplating the vast emptiness about her to a close scrutiny of her injured foot.  She drew off her thin satin house slipper painfully and dropped it unheedingly into a bunch of yucca that crowded against the rock.  Her silk stocking followed.  Then she sat in helpless misery, eying her blue-veined foot.

In spite of her evident invalidism, one could but wonder why she made so little effort to help herself.  She sat droopingly on the rock, gazing from her foot to the far lavender line of the mesas.  A tiny, impotent atom of life, she sat as if the eternal why which the desert hurls at one overwhelmed her, deprived her of hope, almost of sensation.  There was something of nobility in the steadiness with which she gazed at the melting distances, something of pathos in her evident resignation, to her own helplessness and weakness.

The girl was quite unconscious of the fact that a young man was tramping up the desert behind her.  He, however, had spied the white gown long before Rhoda had sunk to the rock and had laid his course directly for her.  He was a tall fellow, standing well over six feet and he swung through the heavy sand with an easy stride that covered distance with astonishing rapidity.  As he drew near enough to perceive Rhoda’s yellow head bent above her injured foot, he quickened his pace, swung round the yucca thicket and pulled off his soft felt hat.

“Good-morning!” he said.  “What’s the matter?”

Rhoda started, hastily covered her foot, and looked up at the tall khaki-clad figure.  She never had seen the young man before, but the desert is not formal.

“A thing like a little crayfish bit my foot,” she answered; “and you don’t know how it hurts!”

Project Gutenberg
The Heart of the Desert from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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