“Navajos? You mean Indians?” interposed Carley, with interest.
“Shore do,” said Flo. “I knew that. But don’t mind Glenn. He’s full of tricks, Carley. He’d give us a hunch to lie out in the wet.”
Hutter burst into his hearty laugh. “Wal, I’d rather get some things anyday than a bad cold.”
“Shore I’ve had both,” replied Flo, in her easy drawl, “and I’d prefer the cold. But for Carley’s sake—”
“Pray don’t consider me,” said Carley. The rather crude drift of the conversation affronted her.
“Well, my dear,” put in Glenn, “it’s a bad night outside. We’ll all make our beds here.”
“Glenn, you shore are a nervy fellow,” drawled Flo.
Long after everybody was in bed Carley lay awake in the blackness of the cabin, sensitively fidgeting and quivering over imaginative contact with creeping things. The fire had died out. A cold air passed through the room. On the roof pattered gusts of rain. Carley heard a rustling of mice. It did not seem possible that she could keep awake, yet she strove to do so. But her pangs of body, her extreme fatigue soon yielded to the quiet and rest of her bed, engendering a drowsiness that proved irresistible.
Morning brought fair weather and sunshine, which helped to sustain Carley in her effort to brave out her pains and woes. Another disagreeable day would have forced her to humiliating defeat. Fortunately for her, the business of the men was concerned with the immediate neighborhood, in which they expected to stay all morning.
“Flo, after a while persuade Carley to ride with you to the top of this first foothill,” said Glenn. “It’s not far, and it’s worth a good deal to see the Painted Desert from there. The day is clear and the air free from dust.”
“Shore. Leave it to me. I want to get out of camp, anyhow. That conceited hombre, Lee Stanton, will be riding in here,” answered Flo, laconically.
The slight knowing smile on Glenn’s face and the grinning disbelief on Mr. Hutter’s were facts not lost upon Carley. And when Charley, the herder, deliberately winked at Carley, she conceived the idea that Flo, like many women, only ran off to be pursued. In some manner Carley did not seek to analyze, the purported advent of this Lee Stanton pleased her. But she did admit to her consciousness that women, herself included, were both as deep and mysterious as the sea, yet as transparent as an inch of crystal water.
It happened that the expected newcomer rode into camp before anyone left. Before he dismounted he made a good impression on Carley, and as he stepped down in lazy, graceful action, a tall lithe figure, she thought him singularly handsome. He wore black sombrero, flannel shirt, blue jeans stuffed into high boots, and long, big-roweled spurs.
“How are you-all?” was his greeting.
From the talk that ensued between him and the men, Carley concluded that he must be overseer of the sheep hands. Carley knew that Hutter and Glenn were not interested in cattle raising. And in fact they were, especially Hutter, somewhat inimical to the dominance of the range land by cattle barons of Flagstaff.