“Come, John, we will soon be there. We can’t keep on this way forever and not reach some place. Please come, dear!”
“’He maketh me to lie down in green pastures. He leadeth me beside still waters. He restoreth my soul—’”
“Perhaps there will be water there! O John, dear John, if you love me, come!”
“I don’t love you, little boy! I love Rhoda Tuttle.
“O for a draught of vintage that
Cooled a long age in deep delved earth!”
“Please, John! I’m so sick!”
The man, after two or three attempts, staggered to his feet and stood swaying.
“God help me!” he said. “I can do no more!”
“Yes, you can, John! Yes, you can! Perhaps there is a whole fountain of water there on the mesa!”
The glazed look returned to DeWitt’s eyes.
“‘Or the pitcher be broken at the fountain,’” he muttered, “’or the wheel broken at the cistern—or the pitcher broken at the fountain, or the wheel—’”
Rhoda threw her arm across her eyes.
“Oh, not that, John! I can’t bear that one!”
Again, she stood upon the roof at Chira, looking up into Kut-le’s face. Again the low wailing of the Indian women and the indescribable depth and hunger of those dear black eyes. Again the sense of protection and content in his nearness.
“O Kut-le! Kut-le!” she moaned.
Instantly sanity returned to John’s eyes.
“Why did you say Kut-le?” he demanded thickly.
“Were you thinking of him?”
“Yes,” answered Rhoda simply. “Come on, John!”
DeWitt struggled on bravely to the crest of the next dune.
“I hate that Apache devil!” he muttered. “I am going to kill him!”
Rhoda quickly saw the magic of Kut-le’s name.
“Why should you want to kill Kut-le?” she asked as Dewitt paused at the top of the next dune. Instantly he started on.
“Because I hate him! I hate him, the devil!”
“See how near the mesa is, John! Only a little way! Kut-le would say we were poor stuff!”
“No doubt! Well, I’ll let a gun give him my opinion of him!”
The sand dunes had indeed beaten themselves out against the wall of a giant mesa. Rhoda followed blindly along the wall and stumbled upon a precipitous trail leading upward.
THE FORGOTTEN CITY
Up this tortuous trail Rhoda staggered, closely followed by DeWitt. At a level spot the girl paused.
“Water, John! Water!” she cried.
The two threw themselves down and drank of the bubbling spring until they could hold no more. Then Rhoda lay down on the sun-warmed rocks and sleep overwhelmed her.
She opened her eyes to stare into a yellow moon that floated liquidly above her. Whether she had slept through a night and a day or whether but a few hours had elapsed since she had staggered to the spring beside which she lay, she could not tell. She lay looking up into the sky languidly, but with clear mind. A deep sigh roused her. DeWitt sat on the other side of the spring, rubbing his eyes.