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"I didn't know that I had made any complaint," she said equably.

She herself was up before dawn, riding over the hills with her husband, watching the sun rise above the blue mountains on the far-away horizon, and strike with lights of gold and rose the sands and the clumps of sage, visiting the herd where it struggled to graze, under well-armed guard, and gathering the pitiful wild flowers from the baked, lifeless soil. She shot quail and owls, and dressed their skins. She could endure[Pg 64] any amount of fatigue, and she could endure quite as well long stretches of idleness.

He had forgotten that the laws and rites of the Church of Rome had a powerful hold upon her, though she was quite devoid of religious sentiment. He admitted apologetically that he had meant divorce, and she expressed her reproach. In spite of himself and what he felt ought properly to be the tragedy of the affair, he smiled. The humor of her majestic disapproval was irresistible under the circumstances. But she had little sense of humor. "What would you suggest, then, if I may ask?" he said. He had to give up all pathos in the light of her deadly simplicity.

"I reckon you'll know what for, then," beamed Taylor, immovably.

The mesquites were very near. She bent down over the horse's neck and spoke to him. His stride lengthened out yet more. She drew the little revolver, and cocked it, still bending low. If they were to fire at her, the white gown would make a good mark; but she would show as little of it as might be, and she would not waste time answering shots, if it could be helped.

Her face lighted with the relief of a forgiven child, and she went to him and put her arms around his neck.

Mrs. Taylor folded her hands in her lap, and simply looked at him.

There was peace and harmony in the home of the Reverend Taylor. An air of neatness and prosperity was about his four-room adobe house. The mocking-bird that hung in a willow cage against the white wall, by the door, whistled sweet mimicry of the cheep of the little chickens in the back yard, and hopped to and fro and up and down on his perches, pecking at the red chili between the bars. From the corner of his eyes he could peek into the window, and it was bright with potted geraniums, white as the wall, or red as the chili, or pink as the little crumpled palm that patted against the glass to him.

"Do you object to taking her into your house for a short time?"

"I used to know Mrs. Cairness in Washington," Forbes went on, undisturbed; "she has probably told you so."