The man, still running, dodged from the road and started across country. Cairness wheeled and followed him. It was open ground, with not so much as a scrub oak or a rock in sight. The thick darkness offered the only chance of escape. But Cairness had chased yearlings in nights as black, and had brought them back to the herd. Down by the creek where the trees were thick, there would have been a good chance for escape, almost a certainty indeed, but there was little here. The man dodged again. It was just to that very thing that the pony had been trained. Habit got the better of stampede with it. It, too, dodged sharply.
But she was not sure that she thought so. She wanted to know why the woman could not be sent to the hotel, and he explained that Cairness wished a very close watch kept on her until she was able to be up. Curiosity got the better of outraged virtue then. "Why?" she asked, and leaned forward eagerly. Once in the ?ons which will never unfold their secrets now, when the continent of the Western seas was undreamed of by the sages and the philosophers of the Eastern world, when it was as alone, surrounded by its wide waters, as the planets are alone in their wastes of space, when it was living its own life,—which was to leave no trace upon the scroll of the wisdom of the ages,—the mountains and the bowels of the earth melted before the wrath of that same Lord whose voice shook the wilderness of Jud?a. At His bidding they ran as water, and poured down in waves of seething fire, across the valley of death. Her lips parted, and quivered, and closed again. The winds from the wide heavens above the gap whined through the pines, the river roared steadily down below, and the great, irresistible hand of Nature crushed without heeding it the thin, hollow shell of convention. The child of a savage and a black sheep looked straight and long into the face of the child of rovers and criminals. They were man and woman, and in the freemasonry of outlawry made no pretence.
Cairness slid to the ground, still holding her close, and set her upon her feet at once. He had not so much as tightened the grasp of his arm about her, nor held her one-half second longer than there was absolute need.
The little Reverend had been much interested in them also. He had sat for several hours sucking an empty spool, and observing them narrowly, in perfect silence. His father had great hopes of him as a naturalist. "Can't stay," said the adjutant, all breathless. "The line's down between here and the Agency; but a runner has just come in, and there's trouble. The bucks are restless. Want to join Victorio in New Mexico. You've both got to get right over there."