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Bred of the desert


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Title:BredoftheDesert
AHorseandaRomance
Author:MarcusHorton
ReleaseDate:February24,2010[EBook#31380]
Language:English

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BREDOFTHE
DESERT
AHORSEANDAROMANCE

BY

MARCUSHORTON
emblem
NEWYORK

GROSSET&DUNLAP
PUBLISHERS
PublishedbyArrangementwithHarper&Brothers
COPYRIGHT,1915,BYHARPER&BROTHERS


PRINTEDINTHEUNITEDSTATESOFAMERICA
PUBLISHEDAPRIL,1915

TO
A.D.B.S.H.
WHOTAUGHTCONSIDERATIONFORTHEDUMB
THISWORKISLOVINGLYINSCRIBED

CONTENTS
CHAPTER

I.
II.
III.
IV.
V.
VI.
VII.
VIII.
IX.
X.
XI.
XII.
XIII.
XIV.
XV.
XVI.
XVII.


XVIII.
XIX.
XX.
XXI.
XXII.
XXIII.

PAGE

ACOLTISBORN
FELIPECELEBRATES
ASURPRISE
ANEWHOME
LONELINESS
THEFIRSTGREATLESSON
ASTRANGER
FELIPEMAKESADISCOVERY
THESECONDGREATLESSON
THESTRANGERAGAIN
LOVEREJECTED
ADVENTURE
INTHEWASTEPLACES
APICTURE
CHANGEOFMASTERS
PATTURNSTHIEF
ARUNNINGFIGHT
ANENEMY
ANOTHERCHANGEOFMASTERS
FIDELITY
LIFEANDDEATH
QUIESCENCE
THEREUNION

1
15
27
35
47
57
72
85
98
112
126
145
156
172
175
186
199
210
228
240
256
280
285


BREDOFTHEDESERT


CHAPTERI
ACOLTISBORN
Itwashighnooninthedesert,buttherewasnodazzlingsunlight.Overtheearth
hung a twilight, a yellow-pink softness that flushed across the sky like the
approach of a shadow, covering everything yet concealing nothing, creeping
steadilyonward,yetseeminglystill,until,pressinglowovertheearth,ittookon
changing color, from pink to gray, from gray to black–gloom that precedes
tropical showers. Then the wind came–a breeze rising as it were from the hot
earth–forcing the Spanish dagger to dipping acknowledgment, sending dustdevilsswirlingacrosstheslowcurvesofthedesert–andthenthestormburstin
allitsmight.Forthiswasastorm–asand-stormoftheSouthwest.
Downtheslopestothewestbillowedgiantcloudsofsand.Atthebottomthese
clouds tumbled and surged and mounted, and then, resuming their headlong
course,sweptacrosstheflatlandborderingtheriver,hurtledacrosstheswollen
RioGrandeitself,andsoonupthegentleriseofgroundtothetown,wherethey
swungthroughthestreetsinruthlessstrides–bangingsigns,rippinguproofings,
snappingoffbranches–andthenlurchedoutoverthemesatotheeast.Here,asif
in glee over their escape from city confines, they redoubled in fury and tore
down to earth–and enveloped Felipe Montoya, a young and good-looking
Mexican,andhisteamofscrawnyhorsesploddinginalumberrigging,allina
stingingswirl.
“Haya!”criedFelipe,asthefirstofthesand-ladenwindsstruckhim,“Chivos–
chivos!”Andheshotouthiswhip,gavethelashatwistovertheoffmare,and
brought it down with a resounding thwack. “R-run!” he snarled, and again
broughtthewhipdownupontheemaciatedmare.“Youjoostnaturallazy!Thees
storm–we–weget-tin’–”Hisvoicewascarriedawayontheswirlingwinds.
Butthehorsesseemednottoheartheman;nor,inthecaseoftheoffmare,to
feel the bite of his lash. They continued to plod along the beaten trail, heads
drooping, ears flopping, hoofs scuffling disconsolately. Felipe, accompanying
each outburst with a mighty swing of his whip, swore and pleaded and
objurgatedandthreatenedinturn.Butalltonoavail.Thehorsesheldstolidlyto
theirgait,plodding–even,afteratime,droppingintoslowermovement.Whereat


Felipe,abandoningallhope,flungdownreinsandwhip,andleapedoffthereach
oftherigging.Promptwiththeloosenedlinestheteamcametoafullstop;and
Felipe, snatching up a blanket, covered his head and shoulders with it and
squattedinthescantprotectionofaforwardwheel.
Thestormwhippedandhowledpast.Felipelistened,notingeachchangeinits
velocity as told by the sound of raging gusts outside, himself raging. Once he
lifted a corner of the blanket and peered out–only to suffer the sting of a
thousandneedles.Again,hehunchedhisshouldersguardedlyandendeavoredto
rollacigarette;butthetempestuousblastsdiscouragedthisalso,andwithacurse
hedashedthetobaccofromhim.Afterthatheremainedstill,listening,untilhe
heard an agreeable change outside. The screeching sank to a crooning; the
crooning dropped to a low, musical sigh. Flinging off the blanket, he rose and
sweptthedesertwitheyessand-filledandblinking.
The last of the yellow winds was eddying slowly past. All about him the air,
thinningrapidly,pulsatedinthe sun’srays,which,beaming mildlydown upon
the desert, were spreading everywhere in glorious sheen. To the east, the
mountains,steppingforthintheclearingatmosphere,layrevealedinawarmth
of soft purple; while the slopes to the west, over which the storm had broken,
shone in a wealth of dazzling yellow-white light–sunbeams scintillating off
myriads of tiny sand-cubes. The desert was itself again–bright, resplendentgrippedintheclutchofsolitude.
Felipetossedhisblanketbackuponthereachoftherigging.Thenhecaughtup
reinsandwhip,readytogoon.Ashedidsohepausedindismay.
For one of the mares was down! It was the off mare, the slower and the older
mareofthetwo.Shewaslyingproneandshewasbreathingheavily.Coveredas
shewaswithathinlayeroffinesand,andtightlygirdledwithchaoticharness
straps,shewasaspectacleofabjectmisery.
But Felipe did not see this. All he saw, in the blinding rage which suddenly
possessed him, was a horse down, unready for duty, and beside her a horse
standing, ready for duty, but restrained by the other. Stringing out a volley of
oaths,hesteppedtothesideofthemareandjerkedatherhead,butsherefused
stubbornlytogetuponherfeet.
Gripped in dismay deeper than at first, Felipe fell back in mechanical
resignation.
Wasthemaredying?heaskedhimself.Hecouldillaffordtoloseamare.Horses
costsevenandeightdollars,andhedidnotpossesssomuchmoney.Indeed,all


the money he had in the world was three dollars, received for this last load of
wood in town. So, what to do! Cursing the mare had not helped matters; nor
couldheaccusethestorm,fortherehadbeenotherstorms,manyofthem,and
eachhadshesuccessfullyweathered–beenready,withitspassing,togoon!But
notsothisone!She–Huh?Coulditbepossible?Ah!
Helookedatthemarewithnewinterest.Andthelongerhegazedthemorehis
angersubsided,becamefinallydownrightcompassion.Forhewasreviewinga
something he had contemplated at odd times for weeks with many misgivings
andtenaciousunbeliefs.Neverhadheunderstoodit!Neverwouldheunderstand
thatthing!Sowhylosetimeinanefforttounderstanditnow?
Droppingtohisknees,hefelltoworkwithfeverishhasteunbucklingstrapsand
bands.Withtheharnessloose,hedraggeditoffandtossedittooneside.Then,
still moving feverishly, he led the mate to the mare off the trail, turned to the
wagonwithbracingshoulder,backeditclearoftheprostrateanimal,andswung
itoutofthewayoffuturepassingvehicles.Itwasswelteringwork.Whenitwas
done,withthesun,risentoitsfiercezenith,beatingdownuponhimmercilessly,
he strode off the trail, blowing and perspiring, and flung himself down in the
bakingsand,where,thoughirritatedbyparticlesofsandwhichhadsifteddown
closeinsidehisshirt,heneverthelessgavehimselfovertosoberreflections.
He was stalled till the next morning–he knew that. And he was without foodsuppliestocarryhimover.Andhewastenmilesontheonehand,andfiveupcanyon miles on the other, from all source of supplies. But against these
unpleasantfactstherestoodmanypleasantfacts–hewasonthereturnlegofhis
journey,hiswagonwasempty,andhehadinhispossessionthreedollars.Then,
too,therewasanotherpleasantfact.Thetripasatriphadbeenunusual;never
before had he, or any one else, made it under two days–one for loading and
driving into town, and a second for getting rid of the wood and making the
return.Yethehimselfhadbeenoutnowonlytheoneday,andhewasonhisway
home.Hehadwhippedandcrowdedhishorsessincemidnighttojustthisend.
Yetwashenotstallednowtillmorning?Andwouldnotthisdelaysethimback
theonedayhehadgainedoverhisfellow-townsmen?Andwouldnotthesesame
fellow-townsmenrejoiceinthisopportunitytoovertakehim–worse,toleavehim
behind?Theywould!
“Oh, well,” he concluded, philosophically, stretching out upon his back and
drawing his worn and ragged sombrero over his eyes, “soon is comin’ a
potrillo.”Withthishedeliberatelycourtedslumber.
Outofthestillnessrattledawagon.LikeFelipe’s,itwasalumberrigging,and


thedriver,afatMexicanwithbeadyeyes,pulleduphishorsesandgazedatthe
disorder.Itwasbutaperfunctorygaze,however,andrevealedtohimnothingof
the true situation. All he saw was that Felipe was drunk and asleep, and that
beforedroppingbesidethetrailhehadhadtime,andperhapsjustenoughwit,to
unhitch one horse. The other, true to instinct and the law of her underfed and
overworked kind, had lain down. With this conclusion, and out of sheer
exuberanceofalcoholicspirits,hedecidedtoawakenFelipe.Andthishedid–in
trueMexicanfashion.Withacurseofbutfivewords–wordsofgreatscopeand
finest selection, however–he mercilessly raked Felipe’s ancestors for five
generations back; he objurgated Felipe’s holdings–chickens, adobe house,
money,burro,horses,pigs.Heclosed,snarlingnotobscurelyatFelipetheman
andatanyprogenyofhiswhichmightappearinthefuture.Thenhedroppedhis
reinsandsprangoffthereachofhisrigging.
Felipewasdulyawakened.Hegainedhisfeetslowly.
“You know me, eh?” he retorted, advancing toward the other. “All
right–gracios!” And by way of coals of fire he proffered the fellow-townsman
papersandtobacco.
Thenew-comerrevealedsurprise,notaloneatFelipe’ssobriety,thoughthiswas
startling in view of the disorder in the trail, but also at the proffer of cigarette
material.AndhewasabouttospeakwhenFelipeinterruptedhim.
“Youhaft’inkI’mdrunk,eh,Franke?”hesaid.“Sure!Whynot?”Andhewaved
hishandinthedirectionofthetrail.Then,aftertheotherhadrolledacigarette
andreturnedthesackandpapers,helaidafirmhandupontheman’sshoulder.
“Youcoomlook,”heinvited.“Youtellmewhatyout’inkthees!”
They walked to the mare, and Franke gazed a long moment in silence. Felipe
stoodbesidehim,eyinghimsharply,hopingforanexpressionofapproval–even
of congratulation. In this he was doomed to disappointment, for the other
continuedsilent,andinsilencefinallyturnedback,hiswholeattitudethatofone
who saw nothing in the spectacle worthy of comment. Felipe followed him,
nettled, and sat down and himself rolled a cigarette. As he sat smoking it the
other seated himself beside him, and presently touched him on the arm and
began to speak. Felipe listened, with now and again a nod of approval, and,
whenthecompadrewasfinished,acceptedthebrilliantproposition.
“A bet, eh?” he exclaimed. “All right!” And he produced his sheepskin pouch
anddumpedouthisthreedollars.“Allright!Ibetyoufeetycents,Franke,thot
eetdon’be!”


Frank looked his disdain at the amount offered. Also, his eyes blazed and his
roundfacereddened.Heshovedhishandintohisoveralls,broughtforthasilver
dollar,andtosseditdowninthesand.
“Abet!”heyelled.“Mekeetabet!Adolar!”Thenhenarrowedhiseyesinthe
directionofthemare.“Mekeetagoodbet!Youhavechoncetowin,too,Felipe–
youknow!”
Felipe did not respond immediately. Money was his all-absorbing difficulty.
Never plentiful with him, it was less than ever plentiful now, and was wholly
represented in the three dollars before him. A sum little enough in fact, it
dwindled rapidly as he recalled one by one his numerous debts. For he owed
muchmoney.Heowedforfoodinthesettlementstore;heowedforclothinghe
hadboughtintown;andheowedinnumerablegamblingdebts–bigsums,sums
mountingtoheightshedarednotcontemplate.Andallhehadtohisnamewas
the three dollars lying so peacefully before him, with the speculative Franke
hoveringoverthemlikeafatbuzzardoveradeadcoyote.Whattodo!Hecould
not decide. He had ways for this money, other than paying on his debts or
investinginagamblingproposition.Therewastobeabailesoon,andhemust
buy for Margherita (providing her father, a caustic hombre, bitter against all
wood-haulers, permitted him the girl’s society) peanuts in the dance-hall and
candy outside the dance-hall. The candy must be bought in the general store,
where,becauseofhismanydebts,hemustpaycashnow–alwayscash!Sowhat
todo!Allthesethingsmeantmoney.Andmoney,ashewellunderstood,wasa
thinghardtoget.Yetherewasachance,asFrankehadgenerouslyindicated,for
him to win some money. But, against this chance for him to win some money
was the chance also, as conveyed inversely by Franke, of his losing some
money–moneyhecouldillaffordtolose.
“Youafraid?”suddenlycutinFranke,nastily,uponthesereflections.“Idon’see
youdosoomt’ing!”
WhichdecidedFelipeforalltime.“Afraid?”heechoed,disdainfully.“Sure!But
notformyself!Youdon’havemoochmoneytolose!ButImekeetabet–agood
bet!Ibetyoutwodolarsthoteet–thoteetdon’be!”
Itwasnowtheotherwhohesitated.Buthedidnothesitateforlong.Evidently
thespiritofthegamblerwasmoredeeplyrootedinhimthanitwasinFelipe,for,
aftergazingoutinthetrailamoment,theneyingFelipeanothermoment,both
speculatively,heextractedfromhispocketstwomoresilverdollarsandtossed
themdownwiththeothers.ThenhefixedFelipewithamalignantstare.


“Ibetyout’reedolarsthoteetcoomswhatIhafsay!”
Felipe laughed. “All right,” he agreed, readily. “Why not?” He heaped the
moneyunderastone,sankoveruponhisbackwithanaffectedyawn,drewhis
hat over his eyes, and lay still. “We go to sleep now, Franke,” he proposed.
“Eet’slongtime–Ihaft’ink.”
Soonbothweresnoring.
Outinthetrailhungthequietofasick-room.Thelongafternoonwaned.Oncea
wagon appeared from the direction of town, but the driver, evidently grasping
thetruesituation,turnedoutandaroundthemareinrespectfulsilence.Another
timeasinglehorseman,ridingfromthemountains,cantereduponthescene;but
thisman,alsowithalookofunderstanding,turnedoutandaroundthemarein
careful regard for her condition. Then came darkness. Shadows crept in from
nowhere, stealing over the desert more and more darkly, while, with their
coming,birdsoftheair,seekingsafeplacefornightrest,flittedaboutinnervous
uncertainty.Andsuddenlyinthegatheringduskrosethelong-drawnhowlofa
coyote,liftingintothestillnessalugubriousnoteofappeal.Then,closeuponthe
echoofthis,roseanotherappealinthetrailcloseby,theshrillnickerofthemate
tothemare.
ItawokeFelipe.Hesatupquickly,rubbedhiseyesdazedly,andpeeredoutwith
increasingunderstanding.Thenhesprangtohisfeet.
“Coom!”hecalled,kickingtheother.“Wegonow–seewhoiswinnin’thotbet!”
Andhestartedhurriedlyforward.
But the other checked him. “Wait!” he snapped, rising. “You wait! You in too
moochhurry!Youcoomback–Ihavesoomt’ing!”
Felipe turned back, wondering. The other nervously produced material for a
cigarette.Thenheclearedhisthroatwithneedlessprotraction.
“Felipe,”hebegan,evidentlylaboringunderexcitement,“Imekeetabetnow!I
betyou,”hewenton,hisvoicetremblingwithfervor–“Ibetyoumywagon,thee
horses–thee whole shutting-match–against thot wagon and horses yours, and
theeharness–theewholedamnedshutting-match–thotIhafwin!”Heproceeded
tofinishhiscigarette.
Felipe stared at him hard. Surely his ears had deceived him! If they had not
deceivedhim,if,forafact,thehombrehadexpressedawillingnesstobetallhe
had on the outcome of this thing, then Franke, fellow-townsman, compadre,
brother-wood-hauler,wascrazy!Buthedeterminedtofindout.


“Whatyousaid,Franke?”heasked,peeringintotheglowingeyesoftheother.
“Saythotagain,hombre!”
“Ihafsay,”repeatedtheother,withlingeringemphasisuponeachword–“Ihaf
say I bet you everyt’ing–wagon, harness, caballos–everyt’ing!–against thot
wagon,harness,caballosyours–everyt’ing–theewholeshutting-match–thotIhaf
wintheebet!”
Again Felipe lowered his eyes. But now to consider suspicions. He had heard
rightly; Franke really wanted to bet all he had. But he could not but wonder
whether Franke, by any possible chance, knew in advance the outcome of the
affair in the trail. He had heard of such things, though never had he believed
thempossible.YethefoundhimselftroubledwithinsistentreminderthatFranke
had suggested this whole thing. Then suddenly he was gripped in another
unwelcomethought.Coulditbepossiblethatthisscheminghombre,awakingat
atimewhenhehimselfwassoundestasleep,hadgoneoutintothetrailontiptoe
foradvanceinformation?Itwaspossible.Whynot?Butthatwasnotthepoint
exactly.Thepointwas,hadhedoneit?Hadthisbuzzardcircledoutintothetrail
whilehehimselfwasasleep?Hedidnotknow,andhecouldnotdecide!Forthe
thirdtimeintenhours,thoughpuzzledandgroping,tremblingbetweengainand
loss,heplungedonthegambler’schance.
“All right!” he agreed, tensely. “I take thot bet! I bet you thees wagon, thees
caballos, thees harness–everyt’ing–against everyt’ing yours–wagon, horses,
harness–everyt’ing!Wait!”hethundered,fortheothernowwasstridingtoward
the mare. “Wait! You in too mooch hurry yourself now!” Then, as the other
returned:“Iseetabet?Iseetabet?”
Thefellow-townsmannodded.WhereatFelipenoddedapprovalofthenod,and
steppedoutintothetrail,followedbytheother.
Itwasnight,andquiteadarknight.Stretchingawaytoeastandwest,thedimly
outlinedtrailwaslostabruptlyinengulfingdarkness;while,overhead,astarless
sky, low and somber and frowning, pressed close. But, dark though the night
was,itdidnotwhollyconcealtheoutlinesofthemare.Shewasstandingasthey
approached,mildlyencouragingatinysomethingbesideher,awispoflife,her
baby,whowasstrugglingtoinsurecontinuedexistence.Anditwasthissecond
outline,nottheotherandlargeroutline,thatheldthebreathlessattentionofthe
men.NervouslyFelipestruckamatch.Asitflareduphesteppedclose,followed
bytheother,andtherewasamomentoftensesilence.Thenthematchwentout
andFelipestraightenedup.


“Franke,”heburstout,“Ihafwintheebet!Eetisnotamare;eetisali’l’horse!”
He struck his compadre a resounding blow on the back. “I am mooch sorry,
Franke,” he declared–“not!” He turned back to the faint outline of the colt.
“Theespotrillo,” he observed, “he’s bringin’ me mooch good luck! He’s–” He
suddenly interrupted himself, aware that the other was striding away. “Where
you go now, Franke?” he asked, and then, quick to sense approaching trouble:
“Never mind thee big bet, Franke! You can pay me ten dolars soom time! All
right?”
Therewaspainfulsilence.
“Allright!”camethereply,finally,throughthedarkness.
ThenFelipeheardalumberrigginggorattlingoffinthedirectionofthecanyon,
and,suddenlyrememberingthemoneyunderneaththestone,hurriedoffthetrail
inaspasmofalarm.Hekneltinthesandandstruckamatch.
Themoneyhaddisappeared.


CHAPTERII
FELIPECELEBRATES
ItwaswellalonginthemorningwhenFelipepulledupnextdaybeforehislittle
adobehouseinthemountainsettlement.Thejourneyfromthemesabelowhad
been, perforce, slow. The mare was still pitiably weak, and her condition had
necessitatedmanystops,eachoflongduration.Also,onthewayupthecanyon
thecolthaddisplayedfrequentsignsofexhaustion,thoughonlywiththepauses
didheattemptrest.
Butitwasallovernow.Theyweresafelybeforethehouse,withthecoltlyinga
little apart from his mother–regarding her with curious intentness–and with
Felipe bustling about the team and now and again bursting out in song of
questionablemelodyandrhythm.Felipewaspreparingthehorsesforthecorral
attherearofthehouse,andsoonheflungasidetheharnessandseizedeachof
thehorsesbythebridle.
“Well,youli’l’ devil!”he exclaimed,addressingtherecliningcolt.“Youcoom
alongnow!Youliveintheesplacebackhere!Youcoomwit’menow!”Andhe
startedaroundacorneroftheadobe.
The colt hastily rose to his feet. But not at the command of the man. No such
commandwasnecessary,forwhitherwenthismothertherewenthe.Closetoher
side, he moved with her into the inclosure, crowding frantically over the bars,
skinning his knees in the effort, coming to a wide-eyed stand just inside the
entrance,andtheresurveyingwithnervousapprehensionthecorral’soccupants–
aburro,twopigs,aflockofchickens.Butheheldclosetohismother’sside.
Felipedidnotlingerinthecorral.Throwingofftheirbridles,hetossedtheusual
scant supply of alfalfa to the horses, and filled their tub from a near-by well.
Then, after putting up the bars, he set out with determined stride across the
settlement.Hisdirectionwasthegeneralstore,andhisquestwastheloanofa
horse, since his team now was broken, and would be broken for a number of
daystocome.
ThestorewasownedandconductedbyonePedroGarcia.PedroGarciawasthe
mountainShylock.Heloanedmoneyatenormousratesofinterest,andherented


out horses at prohibitive rates per day. Also, being what he was, Pedro had
gained his pounds of flesh–was alarmingly fat, with short legs of giant
circumference.Usuallytheselegswereclothedintight-fittingoveralls,andhis
smallfeetincasedinbootsofhigh-gradeleatherwonderfullyroweled.Yetmany
yearshadpassedsincePedrohadbeenseeninasaddle.Evidentlyheheldtothe
rowels in fond memory of his days of slender youth and coltish gambolings.
Pedrowasseatedinhiscustomaryplaceuponanemptykegontheporch,and
Felipe, ignoring his grunted greeting, plunged at once into the purpose of his
call.
Hehadcometoborrowahorse,Felipeexplained.Oneofhisownwasunfitfor
work,yetthecuttinganddrawingmustgoon.Whilethemarewasrecuperating,
hecarefullypointedout,hehimselfcouldcontinuetoearnmoneytomeetsome
ofhispressingdebts.Anykindofhorsewoulddo,hedeclared,solongasithad
fourlegsandwasabletocarryonthework.Thehorseneednothaveamouth,
even, he added, jocosely, for reasons nobody need explain. After which he sat
downontheporchandawaitedtheaugustdecision.
Pedro remained silent a long time, the while he moistened his lips with fitful
tongue, and gazed across the tiny settlement reflectively. At length he drew a
deepbreath,mixedofdisgustandregret,andproceededtomakeslowreply.
Itwastrue,hebegan,thathehadhorsestorent.Anditwasfurthertrue,hewent
on,deliberately,thathekeptthemforjustthispurpose.But–andhispausewas
fraught with deep significance–it was no less true that Felipe Montoya bore a
badreputation asadriverofhorses–was known,indeed, tokillhorses through
overworkandunderfeed–andthat,therefore,tolendhimahorsewaslikekissing
the horse good-by and hitching up another to the stone-boat. Nevertheless,he
hastenedtoadd,ifFelipewasinurgentneedofahorse,andwaspreparedtopay
thecustomarysmallrateperday,andtopayinadvance–cash–
HerePedropausedandpoppedaccusingeyesatFelipe,inonestrongdramatic
moment before continuing. But he did not continue. Felipe was the check. For
Felipehadleapedtohisfeet,andnowstoodbrandishinganuglyfistunderneath
the proprietor’s nose. Further–and infinitely worse–Felipe was saying
something.
“Pedro Garcia,” he began, shrilly, “I must got a horse! And I have coom for a
horse!AndIhavetheemoneytopayfor ahorse!And ifIkill thot horse,”he
went on, still brandishing his fist–“if thot horse he’s dropping dead in thee
harness–Ipayyouforthothorse!Ihafdrivehorses–”


“Si,si,si!”beganPedro,interrupting.
“Ihafdrivehorsesontheestrailtenyears!”persistedFelipe,yelling,“andinall
thot time, Pedro Garcia, I’m killin’ only seven horses, and all seven of thees
horses is dyin’, Pedro Garcia, when I haf buy them, and I haf buy all seven
horses from you, Pedro Garcia, thief and robber!” He paused to take a breath.
“Andnotonce,PedroGarcia,”hewenton,“doIkeeckaboutthot-ahorseisa
horse!ButIhafcoomtoyoubefore!AndIhafcoomtoyounow!Imustgota
horse quick!AndI bringin’ thot horsebackjoostthee sameasI’mgettin’thot
horse–in good condition–better–because everybody is knowin.’ I feed a horse
betterthanyoufeedahorse–andI’mcleanin’ the horse once in a while, too!”
Whichwasalie,bothastothefeedingandthecleaning,ashewellknew,andas,
indeed,hewellknewPedroknew,who,nevertheless,noddedgraveassent.
“Si,”admittedPedro.“Peroustede–”
“Ahorse!”thunderedFelipe,interrupting,hisneckcordsdangerouslydistended.
“Yougivemeahorse–youhear?Iwantahorse–ahorse!Idon’coomherefor
theetalk!”
Pedrorosehastilyfromthekeg.Also,hegruntedquickconsent.Thenhestepped
inside the store, followed by Felipe, who made several needed purchases, and,
since he had his enemy cowed, and was troubled with thirst created by the
protracted harangue, to say nothing of the strong inclination within him to
celebrate the coming of the colt, he made a purchase that was not needed–a
bottleofvino,coolanddryfromPedro’scellar.Withthesetuckedsecurelyunder
hisarm,hethencalmlyinformedPedroofthetruestateofhisfinances,andleft
the store, returning across the settlement, which lay wrapped in pulsating
noondayquiet.Intheshadeofhisadobehesatupontheground,withhisback
comfortably against the wall. Directly the quiet was broken by two distinct
sounds–thepopofacorkoutoftheneckofabottle,andthegurgleofliquidinto
themouthofaman.
Thus Felipe set out upon a protracted debauch. In this debauch he did nothing
worthwhile.Heusedneithertheborrowedhorsenorhisownsoundone.Each
day saw him redder of eye and more swollen of lip; each day saw him
increasingly heedless of his debts; each day saw him more neglectful of his
duties toward his animals. The one bottle became two bottles, the two bottles
becamethree,eachsecuredonlyafterthreatenedassaultuponthebodyofPedro,
eachaddingitsstoretothealreadydeepconvivialityandrecklessfreedomfrom
allcaresnowFelipe’s.Heforgoteverything–forgotthestolenmoney,forgotthe
colt,forgottheneedsofthemare–allinexhilaratedpursuitofphantoms.


Yetthecoltdidnotsuffer.Becomingevermoreconfidentofhimselfasthedays
passed, he soon revealed pronounced curiosity and an aptitude for play. He
wouldstareatstruttingroosters,gazeafterstraddlinghens,blinkquizzicallyat
the burro, frown upon the grunting pigs, all as if cataloguing these specimens,
listingtheminhisthoughts,somedaytomakegooduseoftheknowledge.But
most of all he showed interest in and playfulness toward his mother and her
doings. He would follow her about untiringly, pausing whenever she paused,
starting off again whenever she started off–seemingly bent upon acquiring the
howandwhyofhereverymovement.
Butitwashisplayfulnessfinallythatbroughthimfirstneedlesssuffering.The
marewasstandingwithhernoseinthefeed-box.Shehadstoodthusmanytimes
duringthepastweek;butusually,before,theboxhadbeenempty,whereasnow
it contained a generous quantity of alfalfa. But this the colt did not know. He
onlyknewthathewasinterestedinthisthing,andsowenttheretoattempt,as
many times before, to reach his nose into the mysterious box. Finding that he
couldnot,hebegan,asneverbefore,tofriskaboutthemare,tossinguphislittle
heels and throwing down his head with all the reckless abandon of a seasoned
“outlaw.”Hecoulddothesethingsbecausehewasararecolt,strongerthanever
coltbeforewasathisage,andforatimethemaresufferedhisanticswithalook
ofpleasedtoleration.Butashekeptitup,andasshewasgettingherfirstreal
sustenancesincethedayofhiscoming,sheatlengthbecamefretfulandsounded
alowwarning.Butthisthecoltdidnotheed.Insteadhewheeledsuddenlyand
plungeddirectlytowardher,buntinghersharply.Nordidthesinglebuntsatisfy
him.Againandagainhe attackedher,plunginginanddartingawayeachtime
with remarkable celerity, until, her patience evidently exhausted, she whisked
her head around and nipped him sharply. Screaming with pain and fright, he
plungedfromher,soughttheoppositesideoftheinclosure,andturneduponher
apairofveryhurtandtroubledeyes.
Yetalltheworldovermothersaremothers.Afteratime–alongtime,asiftolet
herpunishmentsinkin–themaremadeherwayslowlytothecolt,andtherefell
tolickinghim,seemingtotellhimofherlastingforgiveness.Underthislavish
caressing the colt, as if to reveal his own forgiveness for the dreadful hurt,
bestowedsimilarattentionuponher–inthisattention,thoughhedidnotknowit,
softening flesh that had experienced no such consideration in years. Thus they
stood,sidebyside,motherandson,longintotheday,layingthefoundationofa
lovethatneverdies–thatstrengthens,infact,withtheyears,thoughallelsefail–
lovebetweenmotherandheroffspring.


Other things, things of minor consequence, added their mite to his early
development. One morning, while the mare was asleep, the colt, alert and
standing, was startled by the sudden movement of a large rooster. The rooster
hadleftthegroundwithloudflappingofwings,andnowstoodpercheduponthe
corral fence, like a grim and mighty conqueror, ruffling his neck feathers and
twistinghisheadinpre-eminentsatisfaction.Butthecoltdidnotunderstandthis.
Transfixed, he turned frightened eyes upon the cause of the unearthly
commotion. Then suddenly, with another loud flapping of wings, the rooster
utteredadefiantcrow,achallengethatechoedfarthroughthecanyon.Whereat
thecolt,eyeswidewithterror,whirledtohismother,whimperingbabyishly.But
with the mare standing beside him and caressing him reassuringly, all his
nervousnesslefthim,andheagainturnedhiseyesupontheroosterandwatched
himtillthecock,unabletostircombatamonghisneighbors,leftthefencewith
anotherloudflappingofwings,andreturnedtoearth,physicallyandspiritually,
there to set up his customary feigned quest for worms for the ladies. But the
point was this–with this last flapping of wings the colt remained in a state of
perfectcalm.
Thushelearned,andthushecontinuedtolearn,innervousfearonemoment,in
perfect calm the next. And though his hours of life were few indeed, he
nevertheless revealed an intelligence far above the average of his kind. He
learnedtoavoidthemare’swhiskingtail,toshunorremovemolestingflies,to
keepawayfromthemarewhenshewasatthefeed-box.Allofwhichtoldofhis
uncommonstrain,asdidtherapiditywithwhichhegainedstrength,whichlast
told of his tremendous vitality, and which some day would serve him well
againsttrouble.
Yetinitalllurkedthegreatmystery,andFelipe,blusteringtooccasionalnatives
outsidethefenceduringhisweekofdebauch,whilepointingoutwithpridethe
colt’sveryevidentbloodedlineage,yetcouldtellnothingofthatdescent.Allhe
couldpointoutwasthatthemarewaschestnut-brown,andwhennotinharness
waskeptclosewithintheconfinesofthecorral,whileherewasacoltofadarkfawn color which would develop with maturity into coal-black. And there was
notasingleblackhorseinthemountainsformilesandmilesaround.Norwas
thecolta“throw-back,”because–
“Oh, well,” he would conclude, casting bleared eyes in the direction of the
house,wearily,“Igotsoomvinoinside.Youcoomalong now.Wegogettin’ a
drink.”Whichwouldclosethemonologue.
One morning early, Felipe, asleep on a bed that never was made up, heard


suspicioussoundsinthecorraloutside.Hesprangupand,cladonlyinafieryred undershirt, hurried to a window. Cautiously letting down the bars, with a
rope already tied around the colt’s neck, was the mountain Shylock, Pedro
Garcia, intent upon leading off the innocent new-comer. Pedro no doubt had
perceivedanopportunityeithertoforceFelipetomeetsomeofhisdebts,orelse
holdthecoltasaveryacceptablechattel.Also,heevidentlyhadcalculatedupon
early dawn as the time best suited to do this thing, in view of Felipe’s long
debauchuponunpaid-forwine.Atanyrate,therehewas,craftilylettingdown
thebars.Ragingwithindignationandanaturalvenomwhichhefelttowardthe
storekeeper,Felipeflungupthewindow.
“Buenos dias, señor!” he greeted, cheerfully, with effort controlling his anger.
“Theeearlywormhe’stakin’theepotrillo!Howcoomsthot,señor?”heasked,
enjoying the other’s sudden discomfiture. “You takin’ thot li’l’ horse for thee
walk–theeexercise?”Andthen,withoutwaitingforareply,hadtherebeenone
forthcoming,whichtherewasnot,heslammeddownthewindow,leapedtothe
door, flung it open–all levity now gone from him. “Pedro Garcia!” he raged.
“You thief and robber! I’m killin’ you thees time sure!” And, regardless of his
scantattire, and stringing out a volley of oaths, he sprang out of the doorway
afterhisintendedvictim.
ButPedroGarcia,thoughfat,wassurprisinglyquickonhisfeet.Hedroppedthe
rope and burst into a run, heading frantically past the house toward the trail.
And, though Felipe leaped after him, still clad only in fiery-red undershirt, the
storekeepergainedthetrailandsetoutattopspeedacrossthesettlement.Felipe
pursued.Hairaflaunt,shirt-tailwhippinginthebreeze,barefeetpaddlinginthe
dust of the trail, naked legs crossing each other like giant scissors in frenzied
effort, he hurtled forward exactly one leap behind his intended victim. He
strainedtocloseupthegap,buthecouldnotovertaketheequallyspeedyPedro,
whose short legs fairly buzzed in the terror of their owner. Thus they ran,
mountingtheslightrisebeforethegeneralstore,thendescendingintotheheart
of the settlement, with Pedro whipping along frantically, and Felipe still one
whole leap behind, until a derisive shout, a feminine exclamation of shrieking
glee,awokeFelipetothespectaclehewasmakingofhimselfbeforetheeyesof
the community. He stopped; growled disappointed rage; darted back along the
trail.Onceintheprivacyofhishouse,hehurriedlydonnedhisclothesandgave
himself over to deliberations. The result of these deliberations was that he
concludedtoreturntowork.
Afterascantbreakfastofchiliandcoffeehemovedouttothecorral.Heleaned


hisarmsuponthefenceandsurveyedthecoltwithfreshinterest.
“Thotli’l’caballo,”hebegan,“he’sbringin’memoochgoodluck.Thotpotrillo
he’swort’seven–he’swort’–si–eightdolars–thotpotrillo.It’inkIhafsellheem,
too–queek–intown!ButfirstImustgocuttin’theewood!”Withthisheletdown
thebarsandenteredtheinclosure.Thenhisthoughtstookanabruptturn.“Ikeel
thot Pedro Garcia soomtime–bet you’ life! He’s stealin’ fleas off a dog–thot
hombre!”
Felipe drove the borrowed horse out of the inclosure, and then singled out the
mate to the mare. As he harnessed up this horse, the colt, standing close by,
revealedmarkedinterest.Also,asFelipeledthehorseoutofthecorralthecolt
followedtillshutoffbythebars,whichFelipehurriedlyputup.Buttheydidnot
discouragehim.Heremainedveryclosetothem,peeringoutbetweenthewhile
Felipehitchedtheteamtohisemptylumberrigging.Thencamethecrackofa
whip,loudcreakingofgreaselesswheels,thevoiceofFelipeinlustydemand,all
as the outfit set out up the trail toward the timber-slopes. But not till the earth
was still again, the cloud of dust in the trail completely subsided, did the colt
turnawayfromthebarsandseekhismother,andthenwithalookinhissoftblinkingeyesthattoldofconcentratedponderingonthesemysteriesoflife.


CHAPTERIII
ASURPRISE
Nextmorning,havingreturnedfromthetimber-slopes,Felipe,freshandradiant,
appeared outside the corral in holiday attire. Part of this attire was a pair of
brand-new overalls. Indeed, the overalls were so new that they crackled; and
Felipeappearedquiteconsciousoftheirnewness,forheletdownthebarswith
great care, and with even greater care stepped into the inclosure. Then it was
seen,sincehewasaMexicanwhorantruetoform,therewasaflawinallthis
splendor.Forhehaddrawnonthenewoverallsovertheolderpair–worse,had
drawn them on over two older pairs, as revealed at the bottoms, where peered
plaintively two shades of blue–lighter blue of the older pair, very light blue of
theoldestpair–theeffectofexposuretodesertsuns.SoFelipehadonthreepairs
of overalls. Yet this was not all of distinction. Around his brown throat was a
bright red neckerchief, while between the unbuttoned edges of his vest was an
expanseofbrightgreen–thecoloringofatight-fittingsweater.
Therewasreasonforallthis.Felipewasgoingtotown,andhewastakingthe
marealongwithhim,andthemarenaturallywouldtakehercolt;andbecausehe
hadcometoknowthevalueofthecolt,Felipewishedtoappearasprosperousin
the eyes of the Americans in town as he believed the owner of so fine a colt
oughttoappear.
Therefore,stillcarefulofhisoveralls,hesetaboutleisurelytopreparetheteam
forthejourney.Hecrossedtotheshed,hauledouttheharness,tosseditoutinto
theinclosure.Promptlybothhorsessteppedintoposition.Also,theoldermare,
whetherthroughrelieforregret,soundedashrillnicker.Thisbroughtthecoltto
her side, where he fell to licking her affectionately, showing his great love for
her bony frame. And when Felipe led the horses out of the corral he followed
closebesideher,andwhenoutsideheldclosetoherthroughoutthehitching,and
tothepointevenwhenFelipeclamberedtothetopofthehighloadandcaught
upthereinsandthewhip.Thenhesteppedback,wrigglinghisfuzzylittletail
andblinkinghisbigeyescuriously.
“Well, potrillo,” began Felipe, grinning down upon the tiny specimen of life,
“wegoin’nowtotown!Butfirstyoumustbeready!Youready?Allright!We


gonow!”Andhecrackedthewhipovertheteam.
They started forward, slowly at first, the wagon giving off many creaks and
groans,thenfastandfaster,until,wellinthedescentofthehardcanyontrail,the
horseswerejoggingalongquitebriskly.
Thecoltshowedthekeenestinterestanddelight.Foratimehetrottedbesidethe
mare,earscockedforwardexpectantly,eyessweepingthecanyonalertly,hoofs
lifting to ludicrous heights. Then, as the first novelty wore off, and he became
more certain of himself in these swift-changing surroundings, he revealed a
playfulnessthattickledFelipe.Hewouldlagbehindalittle,racemadlyforward,
sometimesrunfaraheadoftheteaminhisgreatjoy.Butheseemedbesttolike
tolag.Hewouldcometoasuddenstopand,motionlessasadogpointingabird,
gaze out across the canyon a long time, like one trying to find himself in a
strangeandwonderfulworld.Or,standingthus,hewouldrevealcuriousinterest
intherocksandstumpsaroundhim,andhewouldstareatthemfixedly,blinking
slowly,alookofgenuinewondermentinhisbig,softeyes.Thenhewouldstrain
himselfmightilytoovertakethewagon.
Onceinaperiodofabsorbedattentionhelostsightoftheoutfitcompletely.This
was due not so much to his distance in the rear as to the fact that the wagon,
havingstruckabendinthetrail,hadturnedfromview.Buthedidnotknowthat.
Sounding a baby outcry of fear, he scurried ahead at breakneck speed, frantic
heelstossinguptinyspurtsofdust,headstretchedforward–andthussooncaught
up. After that he remained close beside his mother until the wagon, rocking
downthemouthofthecanyon,swungoutuponthebroadmesa.Heretheoutfit
couldbeseenformiles,andnowhetooktolaggingbehindagain,andtofrisking
farahead,alwaysreturningatfrequentintervalsforthemotherlyassurancethat
allwaswell.
AspartoftheGreatScheme,allthiswasgoodforhim.Inhisbriefpanicwhen
out of sight of his mother he was taught how very necessary she was to his
existence. In his running back and forth, with now and again breathless
speeding, he developed the muscles of his body, to the end that later he might
welltakeupanindependentfightforlife.Inthecuriousinteresthedisplayedin
allsubjectsabouthimhelentunknowingassistancetoaspiritualdevelopmentas
necessary as physical development. All this prepared him to meet men and
measures as he was destined to meet them–with gentleness, with battle,–with
affection–like for like–as he found it. It was all good for him, this movement,
this change of environment, this quick awakening of interest. It shaped him in
bothbodyandspirittotheGreatPurpose.


Thisinterestseemedunbounded.Wheneverajack-rabbitshotacrossthetrail,or
acoveyofbirdsbrokefromthesand-hills,hewouldcometoaquickpauseand
blinkcuriously,seemingtounderstandandapprove,andtobegrateful,asifall
these things were done for him. Also, with each halt Felipe made with
compadresalongthetrail,friendswhoenteredwithhiminloudbadinageover
the ownership of the colt–an ownership all vigorously denied him–the colt
himselfwouldcockhisearsandfixhiseyes,seeminglyawareofhisimportance
and pleased to be the object of the cutting remarks. And thus the miles from
mountaintotheoutskirtsoftownwerecovered,milespleasurabletohim,every
inch revealing something of fresh interest, every mile finding him more
accustomedtothejourney.
They reached a point on the outskirts where streets appeared, sharply defined
thoroughfares, interlacing one with the other. And as they advanced vehicles
begantoturninuponthetrail,anondescriptcollectionrangingfromanIndian
farm-wagon off the Navajo reservation to the north to a stanhope belonging to
somemoreaffluentAmericaninthesuburbs.Withthemcamealsomanystrange
sounds–Mexican oaths, mild Indian commands, light man-to-man greetings of
theday.Alsotherewasmuchcrackingofwhipsandnickeringofhorsesalong
theline.Andtheresultofallthiswasthatthecoltrevealedsteadilyincreasing
nervousness,aconditionenhancedbythefactthathismother,heldrigidlytoher
dutiesbyFelipe,couldbestowuponheroffspringbutverylittleattention.Buthe
heldclosetoher,andthusmovedintotheheartoftown,whensuddenlyoneby
onethevehiclesaheadcametoadeadstop.Felipe,perchedhigh,sawthatthe
foremost wagons had reached the railroad crossing, and that there was a long
freight-trainpassingthrough.
Team after team came into the congestion and stopped. Cart and wagon and
phaetonclosedinaroundthecolt.Therewasmuchmaneuveringforspace.The
colt’s nervousness increased, and became positive fear. He darted wild eyes
about him. He was completely hedged in. On his right loomed a large horse;
behindhimstoodadrowsingteam;onhisleftwasadirt-cart;whileimmediately
in front, such was his position now, stood his mother. But, though gripped in
fear,heremainedperfectlystilluntilthelocomotive,puffingandwheezingalong
attherearofthetrain,havingreachedthecrossing,soundedapiercingshriek.
Thiswasmorethanhecouldstand.Withoutasoundhedodgedandwhirled.He
plungedtotherearandrammedintothedrowsingteam;dartedtotherightand
intotheteethofthesinglehorse;whirledmadlytotheleft,onlytocaromoffthe
hubofawheel.Butwithallthisdefeathedidnotstop.Hesetupawildseriesof
whirling plunges, and, completely crazed now, darted under the single horse,


underaMexicanwagon,underateamofhorses,andforthintoalittleclearing.
Herehecametoastop,tremblingineverypart,gazingaboutinwildestterror.
Followingitsshrillblast,theenginepuffedacrossthecrossing,thegatesslowly
lifted, and the foremost vehicles began to move. Soon the whole line was
churningupcloudsofdustandrattlingacrosstherailroadtracks.Felipewasof
thiscompany,crackinghiswhipandyellinglustily,enjoyingthecongestionand
thisunexpectedopportunitytobeseenbysomanyAmericaneyesatonceinhis
gorgeous raiment. In the town proper, and carefully avoiding the more rapidly
movingvehicles,heturnedofftheavenueintoanarrowsidestreet,andpulled
upatawater-trough.Ashedroppedthereinsandpreparedtodescend,afriend
of his–and he had many–hailed him from the sidewalk. Hastily clambering
down,heseizedtheman’sarminforcefulgreeting,andindicatedwithajerkof
hisheadanear-bysaloon.
“Wegogettin’soomt’ing,”heinvited.“Ihavemunchgoodlucktotellyou.”
InsidetheestablishmentFelipebecameloquaciousandboasting.Henowwasa
manofcomfortablewealth,hegravelyinformedhisfriend–awizenedindividual
with piercing eyes. Besides winning a bet of fifteen dollars in money, he
explained,healsoheldanoteagainstFrankeGamboaforfiftydollarsmoreon
hisproperty.Butthatwasnotall.Asidefromthenoteandthecashinhand,he
wastheownerofacoltnowofgreatvalue–si–worthatleasttendollars–which,
addedtotheother,madehim,asanybodycouldsee,worthyofrecognition.With
thisheplacedhisemptyglassdownonthebarandswungoverintoEnglish.
“You haf hear about thot?” he asked, drawing the back of his hand across his
mouth. Then, as the other shook his head negatively, “Well, I haf new
one–potrillo–nice li’l’ horse–si!” He cleared his throat and frowned at the
listening bartender. “He’s comin’ couple days before, oop on thee mesa.” He
pickeduptheglass,notedthatitwasempty,placeditdownagain.“I’msellin’
thotpotrilloquick,”hewenton–“betyou’life!Ifeedheemcoupleweeksmore
mebbe–feedheembeerandsoomcheese!”Helaughedraucouslyatthealleged
witticism.“Thot’stheepreencipalt’ing,”hedeclared,soberly.“Youmustfeeda
horse.”Hesaidthisnotasonerecommendingthatahorsebewellfed,butasone
advising that a horse be given something to eat occasionally. “Si! Thot’s thee
preencipalt’ing!Thenhe’smakin’afastgoer–betyou’life!Ihafgiveheem–”
He suddenly interrupted himself and laid firm hold upon the man’s arm. “You
coomwit’me!”heinvited,andbegantodragtheothertowardtheswing-doors.
“Youcoomlookatthotpotrillo!”
They went outside. On the curb, Felipe gazed about him, first with a look of


pride,thenwithanexpressionofblankdismay.Hesteppeddownoffthecurb,
roused the drowsing mare with a vigorous clap, again looked about him
worriedly.Afteralongmomenthelefttheteam,walkingoutintothemiddleof
the street, and strained his eyes in both directions. Then he returned and,
heedless of his new overalls, got down upon his knees, sweeping bleared eyes
underthewagon.Andfinally,withalastdespairinggazeineverydirection,he
satdownuponthecurbandburiedhisfaceinhisarms.
Forthecoltwasgone!


CHAPTERIV
ANEWHOME
With the beginning of the forward movement across the railroad the colt, ears
cockedandeyesalert,movedacrossalso.Closeabouthimsteppedotherhorses,
andoverandaroundhimsurgedalowmurmuring,occasionallybrokenbythe
crackofawhip.Yetthesesoundsdidnotseemtodisturbhim.Hetrottedalong,
crossing the tracks, and when on the opposite side set out straight down the
avenue.Theavenuewasbroad,andinthiswideningareathecongestionrapidly
thinned,andsoonthecoltwasquitealoneintheopen.Buthecontinuedforward,
seeming not to miss his mother, until there suddenly loomed up beside him a
very fat and very matronly appearing horse. Then he hesitated, turning
apprehensiveeyesuponher.Butnotforlong.Evidentlyacceptingthishorseas
his mother, he fell in close beside her and trotted along again in perfect
composure.
Behindthishorsewasaphaeton,andinthephaetonsattwopersons.Theywere
widelydifferentinage.Onewasanelderlyman,broadofshouldersandwitha
ruddy face faintly threaded with purple; the other was a young girl, not more
thanseventeen,hisdaughter,withafacesweetandalert,andamassofchestnut
hair–allimpartingacertainestheticbeauty.Liketheman,thegirlwasruddyof
complexion,thoughherswasthebloomofyouth,whilehiswastolltakenfrom
sunsandwindsofthedesert.Thegirlwasthefirsttodiscoverthecolt.
“Daddy!” she exclaimed, placing a restraining hand upon the other. “Whose
beautifulcoltisthat?”
TheJudgepulleddownhishorseandleanedfaroutovertheside.“Why,Idon’t
know, dear!” he replied, after a moment, then turned his eyes to the rear. “He
mustbelongwithsometeaminthatcrush.”
Thegirlregardedthecoltwithincreasingrapture.“Isn’theaperfectdear!”she
wenton.“Lookathim,daddy!”shesuddenlyurged,delightedly.“He’sdyingto
knowwhywestopped!”Which,indeed,thecoltlookedtobe,sincehehadcome
toastopwiththemareandnowwasregardingthemcuriously.“I’dlovetopet
him!”


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