Chapter IV. You'd Better Make it Ninety.
 

Fifteen years of a changing age left few marks on Rubio City. Luxurious overland trains, filled with tourists, now stopped at the depot where, under the pepper trees, sadly civilized Indians sold Kansas City and New Jersey-made curios--stopped and went on again along the rim of The King's Basin, through San Antonio Pass to the great cities on the western edge of the continent. But the town on the banks of the Colorado, in an almost rainless land, had little to build upon. Still on the street mingled the old-timers from desert, mountain and plain; from prospecting trip, mine or ranch; the adventurer, the promoter, the Indian, the Mexican, the frontier business man and the tourist.

But there were few of the citizens of Rubio City now who knew the story of the baby girl whom Jefferson Worth and his party had found in La Palma de la Mano de Dios. For, though Rubio City was changed but little since that day when Texas Joe brought the outfit with the child safely out of the Desert, the people came and went always as is the manner of their moving kind. The few "old-timers" who remained had long ceased to tell the story. No one thought of the young woman, who rode down the street that afternoon, save only as the daughter of Jefferson Worth.

As she passed, the people turned to follow her with their eyes--the "old-timers" with smiles of recognition and picturesque words of admiring comment; the townspeople with cheerful greetings--a wave of the hand or a nod when they caught her eye; the strangers from the East with curious interest and ready kodaks. Here, the visitors told themselves, was the real West.

"How interesting!" gasped a tailor-made woman tourist to her escort. "Look, George, she is wearing a divided skirt and riding a man's saddle! And look! quick! where's your camera? She has a revolver!"

That revolver, a dainty but effective pearl-handled weapon, was a gift to Barbara from her "uncles," Texas and Pat; and though ornamental was not for ornament. The girl often went alone, as she was going to-day, for a long ride out on the Mesa, and the country still harbored many wild and lawless characters.

But the tailored woman tourist did not need to urge George to look. There was something about the girl on the quick-stepping, spirited horse that challenged attention. The khaki-clad figure was so richly alive--there was such a wealth of vitality; such an abundance of young woman's strength; such a glow of red blood expressed in every curved line and revealed in every graceful movement--that the attraction was irresistible. To look at Barbara Worth was a pleasure; to be near her was a delight,

At the Pioneer Bank the girl cheeked her horse and, swinging lightly to the ground, threw the reins over the animal's head, thus tying him in western fashion. As she stood now on the sidewalk laughing and chatting with a group of friends, who had paused in passing to greet her, her beautiful figure lost none of the compelling charm that made her, on horseback, so good to look at. Every movement and gesture expressed perfect health. The firm flesh of her rounded cheeks and full throat was warmly browned and glowing with the abundance of red blood in her veins. Though framed in a mass of waving brown hair under a wide sombrero, her features were not pretty. The mouth was perhaps a bit too large, though it was a good mouth, and, as she laughed with her companions, revealed teeth that were faultless. But something looked out of her brown eyes and made itself felt in every poise and movement that forced one to forget to be critical. It was the wholesome, challenging lure of an unmarred womanhood.

"Oh, Barbara, how could you--how could you miss last Thursday afternoon at Miss Colson's? We had a perfectly lovely time!" cried a vivacious member of the little group.

"Yes indeed, young lady; explanations are in order," added another. "Miss Colson didn't like it a bit. She had an exquisite luncheon, and you know how people depend upon your appreciation of good things to eat!"

"Well, you see," answered Barbara, turning to pat her horse's neck as the animal, edging closer to her side, rubbed his soft muzzle coaxingly against her shoulder, "Pilot and I were out on the Mesa and he said he didn't want to come back. Pilot doesn't care at all for afternoon parties, do you old boy?"--with another pat--"so what could I do? I didn't like to hurt Miss Colson's feelings, of course, but I didn't like to hurt Pilot's feelings either; and the day was so perfect and Pilot was feeling so good and we were having such fun together! I guess it was a case of 'a bird in the hand,' or 'possession being nine points,' you know; or something like that. Only for pity's sake, girls, don't tell Miss Colson I said that."

They all laughed understandingly and the vivacious one said: "I guess it was possession all right. Could anything on earth induce you to give up your horse and your desert, Barbara?"

Inside the bank Jefferson Worth, with his customary careful, exact manner, was explaining to a small rancher that it was impossible to extend the loan secured by a mortgage on the farmer's property. Personally Mr. Worth would be glad to accommodate him. But the loan had already been extended three times and there were good reasons why the bank must call it in. The farmer must remember that a bank's duty to its stockholders and depositors was sacred. It was not a question of the farmer's honesty; it was altogether a question of Good Business.

The farmer was agitated and presented his case desperately. Mr. Worth knew the situation--the unforeseen circumstances that made it impossible for him to pay then. Only two months more were needed-- until his new crop matured. He could not blame Mr. Worth, of course. He understood that it was business, but still--The farmer searched that cold, mask-like face for a ray of hope as a man might hold out his hands for pity to a machine. He was made to feel somehow that the banker was not a man with human blood, but a mechanical something, governed and run by a mighty irresistible power with which it had nothing to do save to obey as a locomotive obeys its steam.

Jefferson Worth began explaining again in exact, precise tones that the loan, wholly for business reasons, was impossible, when Barbara entered the bank. As the girl greeted the teller in front, her voice, full and rich, with the same unconscious power that looked out of her eyes and spoke in every movement of her body, came through the bronze grating at the window and carried down the room. Jefferson Worth paused. With the farmer he faced the open door of his apartment. Every man in the place looked up. The desk-weary clerks smilingly answered her greeting and turned back to their books with renewed energy. The cashier straightened up from his papers and--leaning back in his chair--exchanged a jest with her as she passed.

"Oh, excuse me, father, I thought you were alone. How do you do, Mr. Wheeler? And how is Mrs. Wheeler and that dear little baby?"

The man's face lighted, his form straightened, his voice rang out heartily. "Fine, Miss Barbara, fine, thank you. All we need in the world now is for your father to give me time enough on that blamed note to make a crop."

Barbara Worth was just tall enough to look straight into her father's eyes. As she looked at him now the banker felt a little as he had felt that night in the Desert, when the baby, whose dead mother lay beside the dry water hole, shrank back from him in fear.

"Oh, I'm sure father will be glad to do that," the girl said eagerly. "Won't you father? You know how hard Mr. Wheeler works and what trouble he has had. And I want some money, too," she added; "that's what I came in for."

The farmer laughed loudly. Jefferson Worth smiled.

"But I don't want it for myself," Barbara went on quickly, smiling at them both. "I want it for that poor Mexican family down by the wagon yard--the Garcias. Pablo's leg was broken in the mines, you know, and there is no one to look after his mother and the children. Someone must care for them."

They were interrupted by a clerk who handed a paper to the banker. "This is ready for your signature, sir."

Jefferson Worth's face was again a cold, gray mask. Methodically he affixed his name to the document. Then to the clerk: "You may give Miss Worth whatever money she wants."

The employe smiled as he answered: "Yes, sir," and withdrew.

Barbara turned to follow. "Good-by, Mr. Wheeler. Tell Mrs. Wheeler I'm going to ride out to see her soon. I haven't forgotten that good buttermilk you see."

"Good-by, Miss Barbara, good-by! I'll tell the wife. We're always glad to see you."

The farmer could not have said that Jefferson Worth's face changed or that his voice altered a shade in tone as they turned again to the business in hand. "I guess we can fix you out this time, Wheeler. Sixty days, you say? You'd better make it ninety so you will not be crowded in marketing your crop."

Quickly the black horse carrying Barbara passed through the streets to the outskirts of the city, where the adobe houses of the earlier days, with tents and shacks of every description, were scattered in careless disorder to the very edge of the barren Mesa. Beyond the wagon yard Barbara turned Pilot toward a whitewashed house that stood by itself on the extreme outskirts. Her approach was announced by the loud barking of a lean dog and the joyful shouts of three half-naked Mexican children; and as the horse stopped a woman appeared in the low doorway.

"Buenas dias, Senorita," she called; then, still in her native tongue: "Manuel, take the lady's horse. You Juanita, drive that dog away. This is not the manner to receive a lady. Come in, come in, Senorita. May God bless you for a good friend to the poor. Come in."

Everything about the place, although showing unmistakable signs of poverty, was clean and orderly, while the manner of the woman, though quietly respectful and warmly grateful, showed a dignified self-respect. In one corner of the room, on a rude bed, lay a young man.

The girl returned the woman's greeting kindly in Spanish and, going to the bedside, spoke, still in the soft, musical tongue of the South, to the man. "How are you to-day, Pablo? Is the leg getting better all right?"

"Si, Senorita, thank you," he replied, his dark face beaming with gladness and gratitude and his eyes looking up at her with an expression of dumb devotion. "Yes, I think it gets better right along. But it is slow and it is hard to lie here doing nothing for the mother and the children. God knows what would become of us if it were not for your goodness. La Senorita is an angel of mercy. We can never repay."

The people were of the better class of industrious poor Mexicans. The father was dead, and Pablo, the eldest son, who was the little family's sole support, had been hurt in the mine some two weeks before. Barbara visited them every few days, caring for their wants as indeed she helped many of Rubio City's worthy poor. For this work Jefferson Worth gave her without question all the money that she asked and often expressed his interest in his own cold way, even telling her of certain cases that came to his notice from time to time. So the banker's daughter was hailed as an angel of mercy and greatly loved by the same class that feared and cursed her father.

For a little while the girl talked to Pablo and his mother cheerfully and encouragingly, with understanding asking after their needs. Then, placing a gold piece in the woman's hand and promising to come again, she bade them--"Adios."

For a short distance Barbara now followed the old San Felipe trail along which, as a baby, she had been brought by her friends to Jefferson Worth's home. But where the old road crosses the railroad tracks, and leads northwest into The King's Basin, the girl turned to the right toward the end of that range of low hills that rims the Desert.

As her horse traveled up the long gradual slope in the easy swinging lope of western saddle stock, the view grew wider and wider. The sun poured its flood of white light down upon the broad Mesa, and away in the distance the ever-widening King's Basin lay, a magic, constantly changing ocean of soft colors. Nearer ahead were the hills, brown and tawny, with blue shadows in the canyons shading to rose and lilac and purple as they stretched their long lengths away toward the lofty, snow-capped sentinels of the Pass. Free from the city with its many odors, the dry air was invigorating like wine and came to her rich with the smell of the sun-burned, wind-swept plains. The girl breathed deeply. Her cheeks glowed--her eyes shone. Even her horse, seeming to catch her spirit, arched his neck and, in sheer joy of living, pretended to be frightened now and then at something that was really nothing at all.

At the foot of the first low, rounded hill Barbara faced Pilot to the northwest and bade him stand still. Motionless now the girl sat in her saddle, looking away over La Palma de la Mano de Dios. It was to this point that Barbara so often came, and as she looked now over the miles and miles of that silent, dreadful land her face grew sad and wistful and in her eyes there was an expression that the Seer sometimes said made him think of the desert.

Gentle Mrs. Worth had lived just long enough to leave an indelible impression of her simple genuineness upon the life of the child, who had come to take in her heart the place left vacant by the death of her own baby girl. Since the loss of her second mother the girl had lived with no woman companion save the Indian woman Ynez, and it was the Seer rather than Jefferson Worth to whom she turned in fullest confidence and trust. The childish instinct that had led the baby to the big engineer's arms that night on the Desert had never wavered through the years when she was growing into womanhood, and the Seer, whose work after the completion of the S. and C. called him to many parts of the West, managed every few months a visit to the girl he loved as his own. To Mr. Worth who, as far as it was possible for him to be, was in all things a father to her, Barbara gave in return a daughter's love, but she had never been able to enter into the life of the banker as she entered into the life of the engineer. So it was the Seer who became, after Mrs. Worth, the dominant influence in forming the character of the motherless girl. His dreams of Reclamation, his plans and efforts to lead the world to recognize the value of that great work, with his failures and disappointments, she shared at an early age with peculiar sympathy, for she had not been kept in ignorance of the tragic part the desert had played in her own life. Particularly did The King's Basin Desert interest her. She felt that, in a way, it belonged to her; that she belonged to it. It was her Desert. Its desolation she shared; its waiting she understood; something of its mystery colored her life; something within her answered to its call. It was her Desert; she feared it; hated it; loved it.

Often as Barbara sat looking over that great basin her heart cried out to know the secret it held. Who was she? Who were her people? What was the name to which she had been born? What was the life from which the desert had taken her? But no answer to her cry had ever come from the awful "Hollow of God's Hand."

Before Barbara had left her home that afternoon a man, walking with long, easy stride, followed the San Felipe trail out from the city on to the Mesa. He was a tall man and of so angular and lean a figure that his body seemed made up mostly of bone somewhat loosely fastened together with sinews almost as hard as the frame-work. His face, thin and rugged, was burned to the color of saddle leather. He was dressed in corduroy trousers, belted and tucked in high-laced boots, a soft gray shirt and slouch hat, and over his square shoulders was the strap of a small canteen. His long legs carried him over the ground at an astonishing rate, so that before Barbara had left the Mexicans the pedestrian had gained the foot of the low hill at the mouth of the canyon.

With remarkable ease the man ascended the rough, steep side of the hill, where, selecting a convenient rock, he seated himself and gave his attention to the wonderful scene that, from his feet, stretched away miles and miles to the purple mountain wall on the west. So still was he and so intent in his study of the landscape, that a horned-toad, which had dodged under the edge of the rock at his approach, crept forth again, venturing quite to the edge of his boot heel; and a lizard, scaling the rock at his back, almost touched his shoulder.

When Barbara had left the San Felipe trail and was riding toward the hills, the man's eyes were attracted by the moving spot on the Mesa and he stirred to take from the pocket of his coat a field glass, while at his movement the horned-toad and the lizard scurried to cover. Adjusting his glass he easily made out the figure of the girl on horseback, who was coming in his direction. He turned again to his study of the landscape, but later, when the horse and rider had drawn nearer, lifted his glass for another look. This time he did not turn away.

Rapidly, as Barbara drew nearer and nearer, the details of her dress and equipment became more distinct until the man with the glass could even make out the fringe on her gauntlets, the contour of her face and the color of her hair. When she stopped and turned to look over the desert below he forgot the scene that had so interested him and continued to gaze at her, until, as the girl turned her face in his direction and apparently looked straight at him, he dropped the glass in embarrassed confusion, forgetting for the instant that at that distance, with his gray and yellow clothing so matching the ground and rock, he would not be noticed. With a low chuckle at his absurd situation he recovered himself and again lifting the glass turned it upon Barbara, who was now riding swiftly toward the mouth of a little canyon that opened behind the hill where he sat.

Suddenly with an exclamation the young man sprang to his feet. The running horse had stumbled and fallen. After a few struggling efforts to rise the animal lay still. The girl did not move. With long, leaping strides the man plunged down the rough, steep side of the hill.

When Barbara slowly opened her eyes she was lying in the shadow of the canyon wall some distance from the spot where her horse had stumbled. Still dazed with the shock of her fall she looked slowly around, striving to collect her scattered senses. She knew the place but could not remember how she came there. And where was her horse-- Pilot? And how came that canteen on the ground by her side? At this she sat up and looked around just in time to see a tall, gaunt, roughly-dressed figure coming toward her from the direction of the canyon mouth.

Instantly the girl reached for her gun. The holster was empty.

The man, quite close now, seeing the suggestive gesture, halted; then, coming nearer, silently held out her own pearl-handled revolver.

Still confused and acting upon the impulse of the moment before, Barbara caught the weapon from the out-stretched hand and in a flash covered the silent stranger.

Very deliberately the fellow drew back a few paces and stretched both hands high above his head.

"Who are you?" asked the girl sharply.

"A white man," he answered whimsically, adding as if it were an afterthought, "and a gentleman."

"But why---What---How did I get here? Where did you come from?"

"I was up on the hill back there. I saw your horse fall and went to you the quickest way. You were unconscious and I carried you here out of the sun."

"I remember now," said Barbara. "We were running and Pilot fell. He must have stepped into a hole." She put up her free hand to her forehead and found it wet. Her eyes fell on the canteen and the color came back into her face with a rush. "But you haven't told me who you are," she said sternly to the man who still stood with hands uplifted.

"I'm a surveyor going south with a party on some preliminary work. We arrived in Rubio City this morning expecting to find the Chief, who wrote me from New York to meet him here with an outfit. He has not arrived and there was nothing to do so I walked out on the Mesa to have another look at this King's Basin country."

Barbara knew that the Seer had been called to New York by some capitalists who had become interested in the financial possibilities of the reclamation work. At the stranger's explanation of his presence she regarded him with excited interest. "Do you mean--Is it the Seer whom you expected to meet? Are you--with him?"

The young man smiled gravely. "I was sure that it was you," he answered. "You are the little girl whom we found in the desert."

"And you"--burst forth Barbara, eagerly--"you must be Abe Lee!"

The surveyor answered whimsically: "Don't you think I might take my hands down now? I'm unarmed you know and you could still shoot me if you thought I needed it."

In her excitement Barbara had forgotten that she still held her weapon pointed straight at him. She dropped the gun with a confused laugh. "I beg your pardon, A--Mr. Lee. I did not realize that I was holding up my"--she hesitated, then finished gravely--"my only brother."

A quick glad light flashed into the sharp blue eyes of the surveyor. "You have not forgotten me then?"

"Forgotten! When father and the Seer and Texas and Pat and you are all the--the family I have in the world." Her lips quivered, but she went on bravely: "The Seer has told me so many things about you and I have thought about you so much. But I did not realize, though, that you were a big, grown-up man. The Seer always speaks of you as a boy and so I have always called you my brother Abe as I call Texas and Pat my uncles. But I think you might have come to see me sometimes. Why didn't you come straight to me this morning instead of tramping 'way out here alone?"

Abe Lee was silent. How could he explain the place in his life that was filled by the little girl whom he had known for the two years that the building of the railroad had kept him with the Seer in Rubio City? How could she understand the poverty and grinding hardship of his boyhood struggle when the only time he could snatch from his work he must spend on his books, while she was growing up in the banker's home? He was more alone in the world than Barbara. Save for the Seer he had no one. Texas and Pat he had met at intervals when they came together on some construction work, and always they had talked about her; while the engineer had often told him of Barbara's interest in her "brother"; and sometimes the Seer even shared with him her letters. But all this had only served to emphasize the distance that lay between them. It was not a distance of miles but of position--of circumstances. The nameless little waif of the desert had become the daughter of Jefferson Worth. The child of the mining camp was--Abe Lee. So when, at last, his work had brought him to Rubio City again he shrank from meeting her and had gone out on to the Mesa to look away over La Palma de la Mano de Dios--to be alone.

Barbara, seeing his embarrassment at her question, guessed a part of the reason and gently sought to relieve the situation. "I think we had better find my horse and start for home now," she said.

The thin, sun-tanned face of the surveyor was filled with sympathy as he replied: "I'm sorry, but your pony is down and out."

"Down and out! Pilot? Oh! you don't mean--You don't---"

Abe explained simply. "His leg was broken and he couldn't get up. There was nothing that could possibly be done for him. He was suffering so that I----It was for that I borrowed your gun."

For a long time she sat very still, and the man, understanding that she wished to be alone, quietly went a little way up the canyon around the jutting edge of the rocky wall. Deliberately he seated himself on a boulder and taking from the pocket of his flannel shirt tobacco and papers, rolled a cigarette. A deep inhalation and the gray cloud rose slowly from his lips and nostrils. Stooping he carefully gathered a handful of sharp pebbles and--one by one-- flipped them idly toward the opposite side of the canyon. Another generous puff of smoke and a second handful of pebbles followed the first. Then rising he dropped the cigarette and went back to her.

"I think we should be going now"--he hesitated--"sister."

She looked up with a smile of understanding. "Thank you--Abe. Can we go back over the hill there, do you think? I--I don't want to see him again."

Together they climbed the low hill at the mouth of the canyon from which he had seen the accident, the girl resolutely keeping her eyes fixed ahead so as not to see the dead horse on the plain below. When the top of the hill was between them and the canyon she made him stop and together they stood looking down and far away over the wide reaches of The King's Basin.

"Isn't it grand? Isn't it awful?" she said in a low, reverent tone. "It fairly hurts. It seems to be calling--calling; waiting--waiting for some one. Sometimes I think it must be for me. I fear it--hate it--love it so." Her voice vibrated with strong passion and the surveyor, looking up, saw her wide-eyed, intense expression and felt as did the Seer that somehow she was like the desert.

"Do you come out here often?" he asked curiously.

"Yes, often," she answered. "I could not get along without my Desert and this is the finest place to see it. The Seer always comes out here with me when he can. Do you think that land will ever be reclaimed?" She faced him with the question.

"Why, no one can say about that, you know," he answered slowly. "There has never been a survey."

"Well," she declared emphatically, "I know. It will be. Listen! Don't you hear it calling? I think it's for that it has been waiting all these ages."

The surveyor smiled as one would humor a child. "Perhaps you are right," he said.

"Now you are laughing at me," she returned quickly. "They all do; father and the Seer and Texas and Pat. But you shall see! I believe, though, that the Seer thinks that I am right, only he always says as you do that there has never been a survey; and sometimes I think that even father--away down in his heart--believes it too."

All the long walk to Barbara's home they talked of the Desert and the Seer's dreams of Reclamation; and Abe told her how at last those "stupid capitalists," as Barbara called them, had opened their eyes. The great James Greenfield himself had read an article of the Seer's on "Reclamation from the Investor's Point of View" and had written him. As a result of their correspondence the engineer had gone to New York; and now a company organized by Greenfield was sending him south to look over a big territory and to report on the possibilities of its development.

When they arrived at Barbara's home they found the Seer himself. The fifteen years had made no perceptible change in the general appearance of the engineer. His form was still strongly erect and vigorous, but his hair was a little gray, and to a close observer, his face in repose revealed a touch of sadness--that indescribable look of one who is beginning to feel less sure of himself, or rather who, from many disappointments, is beginning to question whether he will live to see his most cherished plans carried to completion--not because he has less faith in his visions, but because he has less hope that he will be able to make them clear to others.

When the evening meal was over the surveyor said good-by, for the expedition was to start in the morning and he had some work to do. When he was gone Barbara joined her father and the engineer on the porch. "Here they are," she said. "Haven't I kept them nicely for you?" She was holding toward the Seer a box of cigars.

"Indeed you have," returned the engineer in a pleased tone, helping himself to a cool, moist Havana. "You are a dear, good girl."

Jefferson Worth did not use tobacco, but it was an unwritten law of the household that the Seer, when he came, should always have his evening smoke on the porch and that Barbara should be the keeper of supplies. She liked to see her friend's strong face brought suddenly out of the dusk by the flare of the match and to watch the glow of the cigar end in the dark while they talked.

"And what do you think of your brother Abe, Barbara?" the big engineer asked when his cigar was going nicely. "Didn't he talk you nearly to death?"

The girl laughed. "I guess he didn't have a chance. I always do most of the talking, you know."

The Seer chuckled. "Abe told me once that most of the time he felt like an oyster and the rest of the time he was so mad at himself for being an oyster that he couldn't find words to do the subject justice."

"I think he is splendid!" retorted Barbara, enthusiastically.

"He is," returned the engineer earnestly. "I don't know of a man in the profession whom I would rely upon so wholly in work of a certain kind. You see Abe was born and raised in the wild, uncivilized parts of the country and he has a natural ability for his work that amounts almost to genius. With a knowledge of nature gained through his remarkable powers of observation and deduction, I doubt if Abe Lee to-day has an equal as what might be called a 'surveyor scout.' I believe he is made of iron. Hunger, cold, thirst, heat, wet, seem to make no impression on him. He can out-walk, out-work, outlast and out-guess any man I ever met. He has the instinct of a wild animal for finding his way and the coldest nerve I ever saw. His honesty and loyalty amount almost to fanaticism. But he is diffident and shy as a school girl and as sensitive as a bashful boy. I verily believe he knows more to-day about the great engineering projects in the West than nine-tenths of the school men but I've seen him sit for an hour absolutely dumb, half scared to death, listening to the cheap twaddle of some smart 'yellow-legs' with the ink not dry yet on their diplomas. Put him in the field in charge of a party of that same bunch, though, and he would be boss to the last stake on the line or the last bite of grub in the outfit if he had to kill half of them to do it. I guess you'll think I'm a bit enthusiastic about my right hand man," he finished, with a short, apologetic laugh, "and I am. It's because I know him."

He struck another match and Barbara saw his face for an instant. As the match went out she drew a long breath. "I'm glad you said that," she said softly. "I wanted you to. I'm sure he has earned it."

Then they talked of the Seer's new expedition that would start south at daybreak, and it seemed to Barbara that the very air was electric with the coming of a mighty age when the race would direct its strength to the turning of millions of acres of desolate, barren waste into productive farms and beautiful homes for the people.

At daybreak the girl was up to tell the Seer good-by. "I wish," she said wistfully, as she stood with him a moment at the gate, "I wish it was my Desert that you and Abe were going to survey."

The engineer smilingly answered: "Some day, perhaps, that, too, will come."

"I know it will," she said simply.

And as she stood before him in all the beautiful strength of her young womanhood, the Seer felt that sweet, mysterious power of her personality--felt it with a father's loving pride. "I believe you do know, Barbara," he said; "I believe you do."