The trail to Chira was long and hard. They reached the little town at dusk and Carlos set out at once in search of his friend, Philip. He found him easily. He was half Mexican, half Pueblo. He and Carlos chatted briskly in hybrid Spanish while the Americans watched the horses wade in the little river. Visitors were so common in Chira that the newcomers attracted little or no attention.
Carlos finally turned from his friend.
“Philip does not know anything about it. He says for us to come to his house while he finds out anything. His wife is a good cook.”
The thought of a hot meal was pleasant to the Americans. They followed gladly to Philip’s adobe rooms. Here the half-breed left them to his wife and disappeared. He was gone perhaps an hour when he returned with a bit of cloth in his hand, which he handed to Carlos with a few rapid sentences. Carlos gave the scrap of cloth to DeWitt, who looked at it eagerly then gave a cry of joy. It was Rhoda’s handkerchief.
“He found a little girl washing her doll with it at the river,” said Carlos. “She said she found it blowing along the street this morning.”
“Come on!” cried Jack, making for the door.
“Come on where?” said Billy. “If they are in the village, you don’t want to get away very far. And if they ain’t, which way are you going?”
“Ask Philip where to go, Carlos,” said DeWitt.
He held the little moist handkerchief in his hand tightly while his heart beat heavily. Once more hope was soaring high.
Philip thought deeply, then he and Carlos talked rapidly together.
“Philip says,” reported Carlos, “that you must go out and watch along the river front so that if they have not gone you can catch them if they try. He and I will go visit every family as if I wanted to buy an outfit.”
Darkness had settled on the little town when the three Americans took up their vigil opposite the open face of the Pueblo along the river. All that night they stood on guard but not a human being crossed their line of patrol.
Late in the afternoon, Rhoda woke. Kut-le stood beside her. His expression was half eager, half tender.
“How do you feel now?” he asked.
“Quite well,” answered Rhoda. “Will you call Marie? I want to dress.”
“You must rest in bed today,” replied the Indian. “Tomorrow will be soon enough for you to get up.”
Rhoda looked at the young man with irritation.
“Can’t you learn that I am not a squaw? That it maddens me to be ordered about? That every time you do you alienate me more, if possible?”
“You do foolish stunts,” said Kut-le calmly, “and I have to put you right.”
“Oh, how long, how long must I endure this! How could they be so stupid as to let you slip through their fingers so!”