“Nas Ta Bega! you here, too. I guess the whole country is here. We waited at Kayenta. What kept you so long?”
The Indian, always slow to answer, did not open his lips till he drew Shefford apart from the noisy crowd.
“Bi Nai, there is sorrow in the hogan of Hosteen Doetin,” he said.
“Glen Naspa!” exclaimed Shefford.
“My sister is gone from the home of her brother. She went away alone in the summer.”
“Blue Canyon! She went to the missionary. Nas Ta Bega, I thought I saw her there. But I wasn’t sure. I didn’t want to make sure. I was afraid it might be true.”
“A brave who loved my sister trailed her there.”
“Nas Ta Bega, will you—will we go find her, take her home?”
“No. She will come home some day.”
What bitter sadness and wisdom in his words!
“But, my friend, that damned missionary—” began Shefford, passionately. The Indian had met him at a bad hour.
“Willetts is here. I saw him go in there,” interrupted Nas Ta Bega, and he pointed to the hall.
“Here! He gets around a good deal,” declared Shefford. “Nas Ta Bega, what are you going to do to him?”
The Indian held his peace and there was no telling from his inscrutable face what might be in his mind. He was dark, impassive. He seemed a wise and bitter Indian, beyond any savagery of his tribe, and the suffering Shefford divined was deep.
“He’d better keep out of my sight,” muttered Shefford, more to himself than to his companion.
“The half-breed is here,” said Nas Ta Bega.
“Shadd? Yes, we saw him. There! He’s still with his gang. Nas Ta Bega, what are they up to?”
“They will steal what they can.”
“Withers says Shadd is friendly with the Mormons.”
“Yes, and with the missionary, too.”
“I saw them talk together—strong talk.”
“Strange. But maybe it’s not so strange. Shadd is known well in Monticello and Bluff. He spends money there. They are afraid of him, but he’s welcome just the same. Perhaps everybody knows him. It’d be like him to ride into Kayenta. But, Nas Ta Bega, I’ve got to look out for him, because Withers says he’s after me.”
“Bi Nai wears a scar that is proof,” said the Indian.
“Then it must be he found out long ago I had a little money.”
“It might be. But, Bi Nai, the half-breed has a strange step on your trail.”
“What do you mean?” demanded Shefford.
“Nas Ta Bega cannot tell what he does not know,” replied the Navajo. “Let that be. We shall know some day. Bi Nai, there is sorrow to tell that is not the Indian’s. . . . Sorrow for my brother!”
Shefford lifted his eyes to the Indian’s, and if he did not see sadness there he was much deceived.