Not once did his eyes leave her face. He did not fire the shot which was to be a signal to the others, because he knew that they could not hear. Soon he would look for the wagon. It would pass closely enough for him to see it, near enough for him to make himself seen. Now he could do alone as much for her as could fifty men, as could any one.
An hour passed, two hours. He had watched the color of life creep back into her face faintly, slowly, but steadily. She had again opened her eyes, had turned them for a puzzled second upon his tense face, had closed them.
Now she seemed to be sleeping.
He had exhausted the contents of one canteen, had gone to his saddle for the other, when far to the south he saw the wagon. He had waved his hat high above his head, standing like a circus-rider in the saddle, and had emptied the cylinder of his revolver into the air. He had seen that the driver had heard him, that he had fired an answering volley, that he had turned westward. And then he had gone back to Argyl.
She had heard the shots. Her eyes were open and turned curiously upon him as he came swiftly to where she lay.
“Will you give me some water?” she whispered.
He lifted her head, and she drank thirstily, looking with reproachful surprise at him when he took the canteen from her lips.
“That is all now, Argyl,” he told her, his voice choking. And then, all power of restraint swept away from him by the joyous, throbbing love which so long he had silenced, he drew her close, closer to him, crying, almost harshly: “Oh, Argyl, thank God! For if you hadn’t come back to me—I love you, love you! Don’t you know how I love you, Argyl?”
Her hand closed weakly upon his.
“Of course, dear,” she answered him, faintly, her poor lips trying to smile. “Of course we love each other. But can’t I have a little water, dear?”
It was the twentieth day of September by the calendar—ten days before the first of October as every man, woman, and child in the Valley measured time.
Conniston came and went superintending every part of the work, and, although he was still the gaunt, tired man he had been two weeks ago, he was no longer tight-lipped and somber-eyed. He smiled often; he laughed readily, like a boy. Argyl, her clean, healthy, resilient young body and spirit having shaken off the effects of the clutch of the desert, was the same Argyl who had raced for the Overland Limited that day when Conniston had first seen her; her laugh was as spontaneous as his, sparkling and free and buoyantly youthful. Mr. Crawford was quiet, saying few words, but the little lines of care had gone from the corners of eyes and mouth. Tommy Garton was the proverbial cricket on the hearth of the Valley’s big family. Brayley looked upon his ditches with the gleam in his eye bespeaking a deep pride like