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"Whoa!" piped a thin voice.

Irene looked up. The Colonel dropped his paper and gazed at her unguardedly. "Whoa!" in a rising note of command. Between the two lines of acacias appeared the head, then in slow succession the rest of a long-legged, long-bodied horse and a high-hung, far-reaching vehicle, on the seat of which was perched a slip of a girl.

"Whoa!" an explosive, final effort of authority.

As if worked by an automatic spring, when the animal reached the gate, he stopped short. The girl leaned forward, and with punctilious care arranged the reins around the dashboard; then selecting a milk-can from a number at her feet, climbed down over the wheel and came up the graveled driveway, one hand extended to balance the heavy weight in the other. Her faded gown, evidently designed for some one much larger, came almost to the ground, and gave to her plump little body the appearance of being years older than the face beneath the flapping brim of the weather-stained man's hat.

"Hello, Mary! Go round!" saluted the Colonel, as she neared the porch.

Instantly eyes, lips, the dimples of her round face flashed him a greeting. A sudden shyness swept this brightness away when she saw he was not alone. She dropped her head and slipped under the arching leaves of a large palm in the direction of the kitchen.

"Mary-go-round?" Irene turned in interrogation towards the Colonel.

"Yes, Mary by her sponsors in baptism; the rest of her cognomen acquired by her own efforts, she being the most methodical and altogether dependable milk distributor on the Coast."

"But, Cousin Tom, the horse: he does not look very dependable," she laughed, pointing to the animal whose every joint seemed about to unhinge and let his body to the ground.

"Old Charlie! Humph! Why, that horse has a pedigree as long as your own, though you do go back to a Revolutionary great-grandfather and an exceedingly exceedingly great Mayflower grandmother. Jim Nichols brought him here from the East; thought he'd got something that would step along faster than anything in the

West. He spent a lot of money on him, and he did go like the wind. I used to watch him when Jim would let him out for a little spurt along the street here. He didn't take anybody's dust, not that season. Then all at once the creature went lame; wasn't worth six bits. Jim sold him for a song to Mary-go-round's grandmother, and the old German woman has doctored him up someway till he can jog around with her milk cart, but the moment he'd strike out into a trot he'd be hobbling on three legs again."

Just at that moment the sleepy animal they were considering showed signs of awakening. He lifted his head, shot forward his ears and turned towards the house two great, expectant eyes. As Mary stepped from beneath the wide-spreading palm, he greeted her with a welcome whinny.

"Mary!" called Irene, and held out a hand of invitation.

Mary stopped; her brisk business air fell away. "Fraulein," she whispered, and came a step nearer, her worshiping eyes fixed on Irene's face.

"Aren't you a very little girl to go round?" Irene asked.

"Ah! the grossmutter. Her back; it so bad; she go no more."

"But aren't you afraid sometimes?"

"Fraid!" Mary shook her head in violent protest. "Fraid! Why, there's Charlie; Charlie un me's. Why, we's jus' pards."


"Yes. Pards is jus' like one person. They-they-they loves each other."

"Not so bad, Mary," commented the Colonel, smoothing his paper out over his knee. "Not altogether a legal definition, but a good, working one."

"Cousin Tom," called the voice of the Lady Mother.

The Colonel with a reluctant look behind him went into the house.

"I think." said Irene slowly, taking a plump brown hand between her two pink palms, "I think it must be lovely having Charlie for a pard." Into the depths of her smiling eyes came a purposeful seriousness. "Come," she exclaimed, springing to her feet and hurrying Mary down the steps. Come, let's make believe I'm a pard, too."

The Colonel returned from his conference in time to see her climbing to the high seat of the milk cart. Surely this was the most incomprehensible as well as adorable of young women.

Mary flapped the reins; Charlie swung his tail to scare off possible disturbers of his peace; Mary flapped again. Charlie rolled one of his big brown eyes around for a cursory glance behind him; communicated to each of his four legs his intention to start. With mechanical deliberation, first one and then another responded; the wheels began to revolve and the wagon moved down the street, but so slowly that not an empty can jangled uncomfortably with its neighbor.

Along the dusty road he plodded, past the houses half-hid by semi-tropical foliage, out where the olive trees made soft patches of light among more vivid greens. Here where the orchards came down around the city and took it lovingly in their embrace, he halted. Life was very pleasant here these spring days. Why hurry it? He bent his head and began comfortably cropping the grass by the roadside.

Irene, gazing off through the hazy air at the purple line which shut in the valley, felt the awakening touch of a soft caress.

"Ah, little pard," she cried, "see, the fairies are nodding to us over there. We will go and play with them."

There is no time limit when with the fairies. Years slipped back. She stood with Mary on the further brink of maidenhood. Joy in the wide expanse of field and sky thrilled her. Sunbeams filtered through the misty clouds laid on her soft, electric fingers. No insistent personality hedged her about, threatened to make her captive, impelled her to flight. She was free. free as the breath of morning air that kissed her cheek.

Into the rippling laughter, ecstatic rills of sound, song notes, the murmur of girlish voices, broke the chug-chug of an automobile.

"Irene, Irene," admonished the Lady Mother's voice, "have you forgotten our trip to Los Gatos? You have kept us waiting half the morning."

The Colonel came wading towards them, the grass tops brushing his knees.

"Ah, you children of the light! You

must pardon us--me. It was impossible *** We prosaic, mundane creatures *** You *** Ah! *** You look like a picture of spring," he exclaimed, taking the armful of flame-colored poppies from her.

"Oh, Cousin Tom, I ought to look like a picture of Contrition." 7-z-zip! Whiz-z-z! whirring of wheels.



"Auf wiedersehn, little pard." A white hand fluttered a farewell.

Mary stood alone, looking at the line of dust at the head of which was the rapidly disappearing monster.

Girlhood has its home in the land of the mirage. What may be, what has been; never the present. The golden light of yesterday still enveloped Mary when the next morning she drove out of the gateway of the ranch.

Very still lay the Santa Clara Valley, so still it might have been part of her dreams. The encircling black line of mountains shut in the wide, level plain. Above the dull, gray sky hung in monotonous arch. In the distance the shadowy outlines of tall buildings marked the place of the sleeping city.

Suddenly, to Mary's half-conscious eyes the towers and spires seemed to tip. Far away great trees swayed. Now they moved more wildly, sweeping the ground with their branches. It was as if a tempest tossed them, a tempest in dreamland, for not a breath reached her. The leaves on the nearby trees hung motionless.


a blade of grass stirred. She felt in an unearthly calm. The long road stretched out before her with the hush of night upon its scattered houses.

A rising sense of danger struck her with chilling force. The half-uttered cry died on her lips. Wide-eyed, motionless, she watched the earth undergoing weird changes, moving towards her in long, flowing waves. As they advanced, they caught at the trees in their course, bowed them back and forth, rocked the ranch houses like ships tossed on an angry sea. monstrous things came nearer, nearer, seized upon her. The whole world tipped and whirled.


Charlie snorted, reeled and plunged wildly. She slipped from the seat and clung desperately to the dashboard. The

earthquake with its unthinkable might held her in its grip. Then through her benumbing feeling of helplessness came a realization that the violence of the motion had subsided. She lifted her head; the breath of relief died on her lips. Another moving wave of earth was coming. The horror was to endure forever. Again the earth rose and fell in mighty swells. She closed her eyes and braced herself on the floor of the wagon. As rapidly as it had come it was over. She started up as from a cramping nightmare, and looked out on a solid, settled plain.

Charlie, dark with sweat and shaking with terror, was staggering helplessly

about the road. Milk cans and broken eggs covered the ground around her. The next instant Charlie gave a bound; she snatched at the reins.

"There, Charlie; good Charlie," she soothed and coaxed.


Her familiar voice penetrated his bewildered senses. Love triumphed fear. Noblesse oblige: was he not of royal blood. His furious plunging came down to a steady gait, but the training of other years and the habit of his daily life, were confused in his frenzied brain. His jaw tightened on the bit; the reins. stretched back straight and taut.

Houses, trees, the landscape, rushed past Mary. The city opened before her. Into it she dashed at a breakneck speed. Back and forth through the cross streets over the old course she flew; around sharp corners she spun on two wheels, a solitary milkcan thumping against the sides of the wagon box, and every bolt and spoke rattling its protest.

Now a wheel grazed along a curb, now a hub barked a tree trunk, and now she was back on the broad street that led into the straight country road. With wilder impetus the excited horse dashed forward. His long body sank, his head stretched level, his legs swept out in far-reaching strides, and his hoofs hit the ground in steady, rhythmic beats.

On the lawn in front of the large white house stood a hushed, agitated group watching the smoke roll up from the flames that were eating into the heart of the stricken city. The awed silence was broken by the rush of Charlie's pounding feet.

"Oh, oh!" cried Irene, "there's Marygo-round. Charlie is running away with her. She'll be killed! she'll be killed !"

"That horse is not running; he's trotting. See him go; see him go!" The Colonel ran excitedly down the graveled walk.

"Oh, Cousin Tom, she'll be killed. Mary I will be killed." Irene was at his elbow. "Get out the auto. We must go after her."

To each there came a vision of the old wagon overthrown and dragging, and Mary dead or dying by the roadside.

With nervous haste the big machine was made ready. Like an arrow from the bow it shot down the long road, but it did not overtake Mary till she was swinging into the ranch gateway, escaping by some marvelous chance the posts.

"Ach, Himmel, Himmel!" The grandmother hobbled towards them. "What can a poor woman do! Look here; look here!" She turned from the bricks of the fallen chimney to the porch torn away from the house. "See there!" She held out her shaking cane towards the line of cowsheds, a mass of useless, broken timbers. "I long time make them. It costs too much; it costs too much. Ach, such troubles! It takes a long time, long time to get moneys."

The Colonel, with Irene at his side, followed her about in speechless sympathy. Suddenly he wheeled and crossed the yard to where Charlie stood patiently waiting to be unharnessed. He ran his hand down his wet flank, opened his mouth, lifted his feet. Over one of these he paused, examining it critically.

"All right?" he asked of the grandmother.

"Yes, yes; it makes no more troubles."

"I'll tell you what I'll do, Mrs. Schmidt -I'll buy Charlie. I'll give you money enough to put your chimney back and your porch in place and set that windmill up again all right, and make you better stables than you ever had before. and leave you money in the bank."


"You do all that? that? Charlie brings money to do that?" Her dim eyes shone. "Ach, you goot man! I no more tired. I young like a girl." She seized his hand and pressed it to her lips. "My words they no come."

With a passionate gesture, Mary threw her arm over Charlie's neck and buried her face in his mane. A sob, a quivering note of woe, wavered out on the still air. "Das Kind, she weep for the horse." The grandmother's voice trembled. "Ach, it hurts, it hurts here." She laid her hand on her breast. Her head shook. "Ich kann nicht; Ich kann nicht," she broke forth vehemently, turning to the Colonel. "Das Kind, es liebt. I'm strong; I work like a man; I put them all back," pointing to the ruined sheds. "I no eat; I no drink, but the horse, him I keep."

"Cousin Tom!"

The Colonel's face flushed. He moved to one side in obedience to the slight touch on his arm.

"Can't something be done?" Irene's swimming eyes were raised to his. "Can't you arrange it? Why, you and Mary could both own the horse, couldn't youa sort of partnership?"

"How's that, Mary? Supposing we're pards, and own Charlie together; how would that suit you?"

There was a deliberating pause. "Be you an' the Fraulein goin' to be pards?" came in tentative, half-smothered voice from out Charlie's mane.

An inspiration sent a sudden courage coursing through the Colonel's blood. His moment had arrived. With possessory grasp his hand closed over Irene's fingers. His eyes met her frank, cousinly gaze with masterful force, beat it down, drove it to


"Cousin Tom-"

"I'll have no more Cousin Toms," he broke in savagely. "It annoys me when you call me Cousin Tom. Tom-just Tom or nothing."


A wild impulse to shout, fling wide his arms, to seize Irene and whirl her away, raced tumultuously through his brain. Mary's tear-wet eyes peering at him over her elbow sobered him. He nodded gravely.

"Yes, Mary," he assured her. "It's all right. The Fraulein and I are pards, pards for life."




Spring overleans the earth with her wings of light,

And the earth gives flower-lips to the kiss of Spring,

And the breath of the kiss has gone abroad, to make bright
The hearts of maidens and men, that they leap and sing-

To me, alas! light songs are a bitter thing,

And the leaping days are lost in a lingering night,
And a woful winter waits in the place of Spring!

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ATURDAY NIGHT, and yet he had not made his appearance! What could be the matter? What could possibly delay him such a long time?"

These were the questions asked among the boys at camp when Otto did not put in his appearance that night. Otto had been sent Wednesday morning to Durango -twenty-five miles from the camp-to procure provisions for the camp, and also bring the mail, which was then received only every two weeks. The team with which he had started was a spirited span of sorrels, well known in camp on account of their endurance. The wagon was an ordinary, but substantial one, such as are usually used to accompany a cowboy camping outfit. So it seemed rather improbable that he had met with the misfortune of a breakdown, even though it was a rough mountain road that he had to traverse. Even though he had had a breakdown, one of the sorrels was broken to ride, and he could have ridden the one while he led the other. He should have been home Friday, and his non-appearance seemed a mystery, as well as a cause for worrying.

What could be done? How were we to ascertain the cause of his tardiness for such a great length of time?

To add to the difficulty of the situation, it began to snow. A snow-storm in the latter part of November in the mountains of Southwestern Colorado usually meant that winter had set in. Oftentimes it snowed three feet before stopping. This necessitated our tending to the cattle, gathering them in from the mountains, separating them into different lots, and feeding them.

Cattle are oftentimes driven south by snow-storms. Nature has endowed them with the instinct of knowing when a storm is approaching, and they drift south where

the snow falls less deeply and the winters are more open.

Horses, on the contrary, seem to lose all common sense when a snow storm approaches, and usually climb the mountains to the summits and stay there, eating what brush and shrubbery they find. When the snow is too deep for them to find feed, they bunch up and chew off each other's tails and manes, and finally die of starvation.

This was the situation with which my brother and I had to cope. That night, as we sat by the fire drying our clothes and thawing out, we discussed the question of Otto's absence pro and con until we finally agreed upon the following plan: We would gather all the cattle and horses from the range the following day, and one of us would start that night and ride to Durango and find what occurred to Otto to cause all this delay and anxiety, while the other would remain and look after the cattle, which was an enormous undertaking for one person.

We groomed and fed our horses exceptionaily well that night, in order that they would be able to endure the terrible strain the following day of driving obstinate. cattle through the deep snow.

We then

laid down for a short night's rest, because we had a lot of work to do before starting. And that demanded our arising very early.

Daylight found us next morning ready to start on our hard day's ride. Both of us had the best saddle horses in camp, which were to be replaced at noon by fresh ones, when we each came in with our respective gatherings of cattle and horses. which were to be placed in the corrals.

We rode continually all day, and in the evening had gathered in the neighborhood of two hundred. It was strenuous work, riding in a rough, mountainous country in a blinding snow storm all day without even taking time to eat a lunch. Quite a

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