“Oh, I never thought!” replied Carley, blankly. “It will be lonely for you. Auntie, I’ll come back in the fall for a few weeks. Glenn will let me.”
“Let you? Ye gods! So you’ve come to that? Imperious Carley Burch! . . . Thank Heaven, you’ll now be satisfied to be let do things.”
“I’d—I’d crawl for him,” breathed Carley.
“Well, child, as you can’t be practical, I’ll have to be,” replied Aunt Mary, seriously. “Fortunately for you I am a woman of quick decision. Listen. I’ll go West with you. I want to see the Grand Canyon. Then I’ll go on to California, where I have old friends I’ve not seen for years. When you get your new home all fixed up I’ll spend awhile with you. And if I want to come back to New York now and then I’ll go to a hotel. It is settled. I think the change will benefit me.”
“Auntie, you make me very happy. I could ask no more,” said Carley.
Swiftly as endless tasks could make them the days passed. But those on the train dragged interminably.
Carley sent her aunt through to the Canyon while she stopped off at Flagstaff to store innumerable trunks and bags. The first news she heard of Glenn and the Hutters was that they had gone to the Tonto Basin to buy hogs and would be absent at least a month. This gave birth to a new plan in Carley’s mind. She would doubly surprise Glenn. Wherefore she took council with some Flagstaff business men and engaged them to set a force of men at work on the Deep Lake property, making the improvements she desired, and hauling lumber, cement, bricks, machinery, supplies—all the necessaries for building construction. Also she instructed them to throw up a tent house for her to live in during the work, and to engage a reliable Mexican man with his wife for servants. When she left for the Canyon she was happier than ever before in her life.
It was near the coming of sunset when Carley first looked down into the Grand Canyon. She had forgotten Glenn’s tribute to this place. In her rapturous excitement of preparation and travel the Canyon had been merely a name. But now she saw it and she was stunned.
What a stupendous chasm, gorgeous in sunset color on the heights, purpling into mystic shadows in the depths! There was a wonderful brightness of all the millions of red and yellow and gray surfaces still exposed to the sun. Carley did not feel a thrill, because feeling seemed inhibited. She looked and looked, yet was reluctant to keep on looking. She possessed no image in mind with which to compare this grand and mystic spectacle. A transformation of color and shade appeared to be going on swiftly, as if gods were changing the scenes of a Titanic stage. As she gazed the dark fringed line of the north rim turned to burnished gold, and she watched that with fascinated eyes. It turned rose, it lost its fire, it faded to quiet cold gray. The sun had set.
Then the wind blew cool through the pinyons on the rim. There was a sweet tang of cedar and sage on the air and that indefinable fragrance peculiar to the canyon country of Arizona. How it brought back to Carley remembrance of Oak Creek! In the west, across the purple notches of the abyss, a dull gold flare showed where the sun had gone down.