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Heart of the Sunset   By: (1877-1949)

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HEART OF THE SUNSET

By Rex Beach

Author of "THE SILVER HORDE" "THE SPOILERS" "THE IRON TRAIL" Etc.

CONTENTS

I. THE WATER HOLE

II. THE AMBUSH

III. WHAT HAPPENED AT THE WATER HOLE

IV. AN EVENING AT LAS PALMAS

V. SOMETHING ABOUT HEREDITY

VI. A JOURNEY, AND A DARK MAN

VII. LUIS LONGORIO

VIII. BLAZE JONES'S NEMESIS

IX. A SCOUTING TRIP

X. A RANGER'S HORSE

XI. JUDGE ELLSWORTH EXACTS A PROMISE

XII. LONGORIO MAKES BOLD

XIII. DAVE LAW BECOMES JEALOUS

XIV. JOSE SANCHEZ SWEARS AN OATH

XV. THE TRUTH ABOUT PANFILO

XVI. THE RODEO

XVII. THE GUZMAN INCIDENT

XVIII. ED AUSTIN TURNS AT BAY

XIX. RANGERS

XX. SUPERSTITIONS AND CERTAINTIES

XXI. AN AWAKENING

XXII. WHAT ELLSWORTH HAD TO SAY

XXIII. THE CRASH

XXIV. DAVE LAW COMES HOME

XXV. A WARNING AND A SURPRISE

XXVI. THE WATER CURE

XXVII. LA FERIA

XXVIII. THE DOORS OF PARADISE

XXIX. THE PRIEST FROM MONCLOVA

XXX. THE MAN OF DESTINY

XXXI. A SPANISH WILL

XXXII. THE DAWN

HEART OF THE SUNSET

I

THE WATER HOLE

A fitful breeze played among the mesquite bushes. The naked earth, where it showed between the clumps of grass, was baked plaster hard. It burned like hot slag, and except for a panting lizard here and there, or a dust gray jack rabbit, startled from its covert, nothing animate stirred upon its face. High and motionless in the blinding sky a buzzard poised; long tailed Mexican crows among the thorny branches creaked and whistled, choked and rattled, snored and grunted; a dove mourned inconsolably, and out of the air issued metallic insect cries the direction whence they came as unascertainable as their source was hidden.

Although the sun was half way down the west, its glare remained untempered, and the tantalizing shade of the sparse mesquite was more of a trial than a comfort to the lone woman who, refusing its deceitful invitation, plodded steadily over the waste. Stop, indeed, she dared not. In spite of her fatigue, regardless of the torture from feet and limbs unused to walking, she must, as she constantly assured herself, keep going until strength failed. So far, fortunately, she had kept her head, and she retained sufficient reason to deny the fanciful apprehensions which clamored for audience. If she once allowed herself to become panicky, she knew, she would fare worse far worse and now, if ever, she needed all her faculties. Somewhere to the northward, perhaps a mile, perhaps a league distant, lay the water hole.

But the country was of a deadly and a deceitful sameness, devoid of landmarks and lacking well defined water courses. The unending mesquite with its first spring foliage resembled a limitless peach orchard sown by some careless and unbelievably prodigal hand. Out of these false acres occasional knolls and low stony hills lifted themselves so that one came, now and then, to vantage points where the eye leaped for great distances across imperceptible valleys to horizons so far away that the scattered tree clumps were blended into an unbroken carpet of green. To the woman these outlooks were unutterably depressing, merely serving to reveal the vastness of the desolation about her.

At the crest of such a rise she paused and studied the country carefully, but without avail. She felt dizzily for the desert bag swung from her shoulder, only to find it flat and dry; the galvanized mouthpiece burned her fingers. With a little shock she remembered that she had done this very thing several times before, and her repeated forgetting frightened her, since it seemed to show that her mind had been slightly unbalanced by the heat. That perhaps explained why the distant horizon swam and wavered so.

In all probability a man situated as she was would have spoken aloud, in an endeavor to steady himself; but this woman did nothing of the sort. Seating herself in the densest shade she could find it was really no shade at all she closed her eyes and relaxed no easy thing to do in such a stifling temperature and when her throat was aching with drought... Continue reading book >>




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