“I’ve seen him in the light. I flashed a candle in his face. I saw it. I know him now. He was there at Stonebridge with us, and I never knew him. But I know him now. His name is—”
“For God’s sake don’t tell me who he is!” implored Shefford.
Ignorance was Shefford’s safeguard against himself. To make a name of this heretofore intangible man, to give him an identity apart from the crowd, to be able to recognize him—that for Shefford would be fatal.
“Fay—tell me—no more,” he said, brokenly. “I love you and I will give you my life. Trust me. I swear I’ll save you.”
“Will you take me away soon?”
She appeared satisfied with that and dropped her hands and moved back from him. A light flitted over her white face, and her eyes grew dark and humid, losing their fire in changing, shadowing thought of submission, of trust, of hope.
“I can lead you to Surprise Valley,” she said. “I feel the way. It’s there!” And she pointed to the west.
“Fay, we’ll go—soon. I must plan. I’ll see you to-night. Then we’ll talk. Run home now, before some of the women see you here.”
She said good-by and started away under the cedars, out into the open where her hair shone like gold in the sunlight, and she took the stepping-stones with her old free grace, and strode down the path swift and lithe as an Indian. Once she turned to wave a hand.
Shefford watched her with a torture of pride, love, hope, and fear contending within him.
That morning a Piute rode into the valley.
Shefford recognized him as the brave who had been in love with Glen Naspa. The moment Nas Ta Bega saw this visitor he made a singular motion with his hands—a motion that somehow to Shefford suggested despair—and then he waited, somber and statuesque, for the messenger to come to him. It was the Piute who did all the talking, and that was brief. Then the Navajo stood motionless, with his hands crossed over his breast. Shefford drew near and waited.
“Bi Nai,” said the Navajo, “Nas Ta Bega said his sister would come home some day. . . . Glen Naspa is in the hogan of her grandfather.”
He spoke in his usual slow, guttural voice, and he might have been bronze for all the emotion he expressed; yet Shefford instinctively felt the despair that had been hinted to him, and he put his hand on the Indian’s shoulder.
“If I am the Navajo’s brother, then I am brother to Glen Naspa,” he said. “I will go with you to the hogan of Hosteen Doetin.”
Nas Ta Bega went away into the valley for the horses. Shefford hurried to the village, made his excuses at the school, and then called to explain to Fay that trouble of some kind had come to the Indian.