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The Heart of the Desert Kut-Le of the Desert   By: (1880-1940)

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First Page:

THE HEART OF THE DESERT

(Kut Le of the Desert)

by

HONORÉ WILLSIE

Author of "Still Jim"

With Frontispiece in Colors by V. Herbert Dunton

A. L. Burt Company, Publishers 114 120 East Twenty third Street New York Published by Arrangement with Frederick A. Stokes Company

1913

[Frontispiece: Side by side, they rode off into the desert sunset.]

CONTENTS

CHAPTER

I THE VALLEY OF THE PECOS II THE CAUCASIAN WAY III THE INDIAN AND CAUCASIAN IV THE INDIAN WAY V THE PURSUIT VI ENTERING THE DESERT KINDERGARTEN VII THE FIRST LESSON VIII A BROADENING HORIZON IX TOUCH AND GO X A LONG TRAIL XI THE TURN IN THE TRAIL XII THE CROSSING TRAILS XIII AN INTERLUDE XIV THE BEAUTY OF THE WORLD XV AN ESCAPE XVI ADRIFT IN THE DESERT XVII THE HEART'S OWN BITTERNESS XVIII THE FORGOTTEN CITY XIX THE TRAIL AGAIN XX THE RUINED MISSION XXI THE END OF THE TRAIL

The Heart of the Desert

CHAPTER I

THE VALLEY OF THE PECOS

Rhoda hobbled through the sand to the nearest rock. On this she sank with a groan, clasped her slender foot with both hands and looked about her helplessly.

She felt very small, very much alone. The infinite wastes of yellow desert danced in heat waves against the bronze blue sky. The girl saw no sign of living thing save a buzzard that swept lazily across the zenith. She turned dizzily from contemplating the vast emptiness about her to a close scrutiny of her injured foot. She drew off her thin satin house slipper painfully and dropped it unheedingly into a bunch of yucca that crowded against the rock. Her silk stocking followed. Then she sat in helpless misery, eying her blue veined foot.

In spite of her evident invalidism, one could but wonder why she made so little effort to help herself. She sat droopingly on the rock, gazing from her foot to the far lavender line of the mesas. A tiny, impotent atom of life, she sat as if the eternal why which the desert hurls at one overwhelmed her, deprived her of hope, almost of sensation. There was something of nobility in the steadiness with which she gazed at the melting distances, something of pathos in her evident resignation, to her own helplessness and weakness.

The girl was quite unconscious of the fact that a young man was tramping up the desert behind her. He, however, had spied the white gown long before Rhoda had sunk to the rock and had laid his course directly for her. He was a tall fellow, standing well over six feet and he swung through the heavy sand with an easy stride that covered distance with astonishing rapidity. As he drew near enough to perceive Rhoda's yellow head bent above her injured foot, he quickened his pace, swung round the yucca thicket and pulled off his soft felt hat.

"Good morning!" he said. "What's the matter?"

Rhoda started, hastily covered her foot, and looked up at the tall khaki clad figure. She never had seen the young man before, but the desert is not formal.

"A thing like a little crayfish bit my foot," she answered; "and you don't know how it hurts!"

"Ah, but I do!" exclaimed the young man. "A scorpion sting! Let me see it!"

Rhoda flushed.

"Oh, never mind that!" she said. "But if you will go to the Newman ranch house for me and ask them to send the buckboard I'll be very grateful. I I feel dizzy, you know."

"Gee whiz!" exclaimed the young man. "There's no time for me to run about the desert if you have a scorpion sting in your foot!"

"Is a scorpion sting dangerous?" asked Rhoda. Then she added, languidly, "Not that I mind if it is!"

The young man gave her a curious glance. Then he pulled a small case from his pocket, knelt in the sand and lifted Rhoda's foot in one slender, strong, brown hand. The instep already was badly swollen.

"Hold tight a minute!" said the young man.

And before Rhoda could protest he had punctured the red center of the swelling with a little scalpel, had held the cut open and had filled it with a white powder that bit... Continue reading book >>




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