Marah Ellis Martin Ryan.

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for Juanito, I tell you truly, I knew he was coming ! "

" You knew ! " I felt myself go cold at that.

" Night and day / nen>. I seemed to hear the sound


of his horse even in my dreams. I thought of you, also
I wished with all my heart and prayers for Marco ;
yet it was neither of you, but always the steps of that
man I heard. And when he staggered in from the
trail, I was not even surprised. It was as if I had
been waiting a thousand years until he found me there

half naked and ashamed."

I said nothing, but sat down, my head in my hands,
while she paced back and forth restless, in the fresh
dawn of her new day of freedom.

" It is very strange," she said, " and this extra robe

it is as if he too had been waiting this time."

Some men came down the terraces and passed us. I
could see their minds were of their prayer, and made
no salute, she turned to look.

" What do they? " she asked, and I pointed upwards.

" They go for prayer in the ancient place of refuge,"
I said. " It is their high House of the Dawn."

She gave a low cry and stared at me.

"Are all things coming at once?" she asked; "the
things of witchcraft, and the shrines of which his letters
spoke? O Juanito, my heart was in the letters and
his and they are gone and have changed all things

the letters the letters ! "

I strove to comfort her with the thought of her safety
and her freedom, but she shook her head.

" All is changed, Juanito. This girl in the monk s
robe is not the Sancha who rode with you under the
palms out of Mexico. The letters were as the touch
of his hand they led me on! They are gone, and it
is as if the end of a trail had been reached. It is most
strange ! "


Then, after a little she said, pointing upward, " I
want to go there, I want to find such House of the
Dawn as the letters told me of."

But I urged that she wait another time. I strove to
keep near enough to Tristan for service if need be.

" What is it that woman calls him Senor Alca-
traz? " she asked, and I told her Ivava meant " brother "
in Movi s language, and it was all they called him.

" And Tristan who is that? "

" I have heard that a man of that name journeyed
these parts with a priest for whom they had much love.
It may be they confuse the names," I answered. And
already her thoughts were afar, and she was easily sat
isfied, which was well for me.

" Is there anything I might do for him your
Ivava? " she asked, and I thought that when he wakened
he might need to be assured by her own words of her

So, after the dead body of the Indio had been car
ried out, I led her to the rude shelter, and Tristan
opened his eyes to find her there, trembling and staring
at his thin cheeks.

" I owe you much Senor I scarce know how to
speak of it," she said ; " words are not much but if
I may serve you "

He smiled at that wanly enough.

" There is no need of words, Excellencia, I regret I
have no fitting seat to offer or "

" Cease, I beg you ! My own pride has brought
shame to me and has brought you to this ! "

" It is a weakness, no more," he answered her ; " we
lost the way of the water and the days without food


yet the lack of water was worst. But you are safe
and perhaps you will not again disdain the beads I
begged you wear? "

" Never," she said, " never."

The next day he was up from the couch, and eating
the food or broths Movi was ever intent upon. Sancha
was courteous, but ill at ease in his presence ; a strange
and new thing for her. She would wander away rest
lessly towards the terraces, or gather strange desert
blooms to learn their names and uses.

Thus he noted the wretched slashed footgear under
her robe, and sent Movi for rawhide, at which Movi
laughed aloud even while she complied, and her smiles
were ever apparent as she watched him cut the leather
with his knife and fashion small boots of deer skin with
rawhide soles, and all sewn with the glistening sinew
of the deer.

To me Movi laughed.

" It is true," she said. " His lady makes me silent
when I say he is her man but you see ! Each man
of our people makes the boot for his own woman; no
other man must do and you see."

He gave them to me when finished that I might get
them to her, and then he proceeded to mend his worn
raiment, and take note that the horses were getting
rest and food for the trail.

No word had been said of it, for I waited his strength
ere bringing forward new questions, but a trader from
the north a Pima man came in with turquoise and
blankets, and told of trouble with the Apaches, and
of the Castilian colonists who had gone to Santa Fe,
and of a white woman they had left for dead with the


Pimas, but who was still alive. The Pima medicine had
more of virtue than the white magic of the Castilians.

" Anita ! " said Tristan, and the Piman thought that
was like her name.

" In another day we will go," said Tristan turning
to me. " Another day of rest and water for the horses
and we can take the trail my poor little Anita ! "

I did not know that Sancha had walked close and
halted in the shadow when she heard an Indian talking
with us, but when I went to look at the horses I met
her there, and her look was strange.

" Where do you go? " she asked, and I pointed where
the horses grazed.

" Where is the trail you go ? " she persisted " the
trail for his Anita?"

" I think he goes north," I said.

" I do not ! " she decided. " To Kavorka we started,
and there I will go ! "

" Sancha ! " I begged, but she walked away.

" I learn now why he was sleepless on the trail
and why we were made ride in the night it was for
a woman ! " she said.

" It was indeed, Sancha," I answered, " he went
sleepless to guard a woman who disdained the sacri

She halted at that as. though to question me, but I
gave her no chance. Later I told Tristan Sancha had
set her mind on Kavorka.

"With the Haquis thick between?" he said. "I
could find no guard strong enough for that trail these
days. She goes with us."

" But she has set her mind," I ventured doubt-


fully, whereat he laughed with a grimness in which there
was yet sorrow.

" And her mind has, until now, been the rule for all
who came near her," he conceded, " therefore will her
dislike of me be even greater that I am the first to
change that. She goes with us, and I go north."

"To find Anita?"

" Ay : and to find the man who cast her off among
savages ! " and he looked a savage himself as he said
it though his voice did not reach beyond the ramada.

"But Sancha?" and my soul was full of fear be
tween the two tempers of fire.

" Tell her it is no more distance north where there
are white people and priests than it is back to Sinaloa ;
also, the southern trail is fenced now by fighting sav
ages, and in the north I am as with my own people, and
my people will guard my friends."

"And I am to be the one to tell her?" I grumbled
with no liking for the task.

"Why not? Will she not see him Marco
the sooner? "

That seemed a good reason, though his bitter smile
was not comforting, and in truth I found myself for
getting in those days that Marco was in the world.
I could even understand Sancha s word that she hoped
for him, prayed for him, yet ever heard the voice or step
of the other man in her dreams.

So I took to her the boots, and helped her with them
while Movi smiled at us.

" Now she Hopi womans," she said, " good Hopi

Sancha asked no questions, but put them on with



our help, and Movi showed her the fastenings at the

" Good boot for trail much strong good mans,"
approved Movi with her gentle smile, " good trail boot,
me too I go."

Sancha gave little heed to her comment, or its mean
ings, and I preferred to tell her when alone that we
were all to go north.

But when I did, she stared at me in disapproval and
walked away. Her disappointment in me was plain.

" But Sancha! " I argued, " what else is there to do?
He goes north, and this kind Hopi woman goes north.
What is there for you or for me alone in this village?
Also their fighting men are away fighting. If their
enemy is conqueror, who is to say what tribe may cover
the land? Six months may pass before Castilians go
the south trail; and even so, this village is not on the

" He will come Marco. He will find me," she
asserted defiantly. " You know he will come."

" It may happen," I agreed, " and he will find you
tied naked under some other tree, or dead in some other

She pointed to the ruins on the summit.

" I am going there," she said. " In the letters he told
me a House of Dawn was a house of refuge. This is
the first House of Dawn on my path and the angels
know my night has been dark ! "

" You must save your strength for the trail," I called
after her, but she set off across the little plain.

" You are with him, and against my wishes," she re
torted. " Everyone is with him, and I am forgotten."



I could make little of that, for daytime and nighttime
our thoughts were for her good, yet I could do nought
but go back and tell him.

" And she has gone and alone ? " he asked.

" Gone she has to find a place of refuge from us,"
I grinned. " This comes of your teachings. Her heart
is set on finding a sanctuary in which to wait for the
man who wrote the letters ! "

He arose, and took a stout stave for walking.

" It is the better place," he agreed. " I will go up."

I walked beside him, for I feared his weakness, and
we stood and looked as she climbed terrace after terrace
where the young vultures tried their wings.

" She is a child in humors, but she has braveness,"
he said " look at the black wings above her, and she
does not once falter."

I thought it a strange hour to praise her bravery
when it was causing him a climb for which he
was none too fit.

" That height is not a trifle," I warned him, " it is
near a thousand spans, and your strength is not re

" The climb is good to test it," he returned " and
it may be we all need the high places of prayer in these
days. Strange things come to pass in lives. I never
thought to stand beside her at any House of the Dawn."

Beyond that we did not speak, for I could not well
follow his thought. What could he hope to gain in any
prayer place, when she fled there in angry mood?

And there we found her at the very edge of the flat
rock of the height, and between us was the ruin of
slabs and broken pillar.

. " 1 i . - l


Over her head she had drawn the cowl of the robe
when among the great birds. They were settling them
selves in their roosts because of the low sinking sun.

I halted there by the pillars, but he crossed the sum
mit, and his step was so light on the stone floor that
she did not know until he stood beside her.

" May your prayers in the place of dawn bring to
your heart happiness, Excellencia," he said, and so
startled was she that she made a step away, and would
have slipped at the edge but that his hand caught her.

" Your pardon for me ! " he said, as she stood steady,
and he drew his hand away. But she stared at him as if
more afraid of him than of the depths below.

" Are you in league with Indian enchanters ? " she
asked. "How knew you that I made prayers? and
have you hidden wings that you come to this place
without sound? "

" It is a place for prayer, and I know your spirit
though you strive to hide it from me, Excellencia. I
may not bring you the answer to the prayer, but it seems
a good place to speak with you, for in the village it is
not so easy."

" That is true," she agreed ; " down there I can only
see you as you entered staggering, and myself as I
was but how know you that it is hard to talk to
you before the people? You have helped me, but you
make me fear you the thought of you more than
the Indians can do, and that leaves me bewildered.
Who are you, Ivava Alcatraz?"

He did not reply to that at once, and I, beside the
pillar, held my breath and heard my heart thump
would he tell her?


" At least you have called me by the Indio word for
brother, and that is much when two people share a trail,
and it is also gracious of you, Excellencia. But my
name should be written Kahn Alcatraz for Kahn
was the name of my mother."

" It is a strange name," she mused. " Kahn ! Is it

" No, even though Indians have the word, and the
meaning of the word, while it is lost in the older world."

" There," she said suddenly, " it is the things like
that which seem enchantment. You are not old, yet
you know the things of old, and you walk into a tribe
and change their rules, until it seems they too fear you,
Is it wonder I deem it strange? "

" If affairs seem strange to unpleasantness on the
trail, ask and I will change what I can," he said.

" Then you will turn back with me? " and there was
gladness in her voice, " to Kavorka if not to Sinaloa,
you have come to tell me this? "

" I have come to tell you, Excellencia, that we start
north at dawn, and that the next white faces you may
see will be at Santa Fe in New Granada."

" But I told Juanito "

" Yes, you did, but this is a trail Juanito cannot
make plans for. You gave no reason, Excellencia,
and "

" How dared I give the true reason? and why now
do you call me excellencia in that tone?" she de
manded. " Is it in mockery? "

"Mockery of you?" he said, but she was blazing
in quick anger, and the tone of his voice meant nothing.

" You have shamed me more than the garb of grass,"


she persisted. " You came to my rescue, but made me
a laughing stock. You tell these savages that I belong
to you, and now you would drag me north on your
trail because of some woman you were seeking when
you crossed our path. Well, I will not go ! This I did
not tell Juanito, else there would be a day of reckoning
for you, and "

" Would you try, even in your anger, to save me
that day of reckoning?" he asked.

" I must remember you did me service : that I must
remember, even though you did tell them you owned
me, as if I, a Llorente y Rivera, were but a chattel."

At that I stumbled forward, and found my tongue.

" Sancha, Sancha! " I said, " if he is exiled from your
friendship for that, I too must go, for I did likewise ! "

They both stared at me as if I was the Father of

" Ay, did I ! but with no effect, you, Sancha, know
that is true. Did I anger you when I told them you
were mine, of my family? Should I show anger that he
called me his brother and saved me? Arid you
your life he has given back, and from your head to the
tip of your toe he has clothed you, and "

" No ! " she broke in sharply, " you yourself "

" I, myself! " I mocked. " What could I do here but
by his grace? Sancha, you foster a pride that is against
all reason. This is not your life of ceremony in palaces,
it is the Brotherhood of the Desert where men and
women strive for life together, or loyal death together ;
are you above that brotherhood?"

" Boy ! " he said, and put his hand on my arm look
ing at me curiously. I do not know what I appeared


to them, but her face flushed red and went white again
as she stared at me, and I was shaking as I Bung aside
his hand.

" I am no longer a boy she will make old men of
both of us on one summer s journey," I persisted.
" Even now she does not measure aright your sacrifices,
and pou will never speak ! "

" There is nothing to say," he stated looking at me
with a sternness as if in fear I would lose my wits
utterly, and blunder further.

" There is something to say ! " she retorted. " Am I
a fool that I do not know it, and feel it? The very air
is full of the unspoken ; it weighs me down it makes
me afraid. It may be Juanito is right that it makes me
also unjust. But it is not pride, Juanito, it is the fear
of some unknown thing. Even my dreams make me
fear! I come up here above the earth to the House of
the Dawn yet the dawn I do not find."

" It is in your heart you must find the dawn, else
a false dawn may bring its deceptions, Excellencia,"
he said, and I wondered at the steadiness of his voice,
for his eyes were devouring the proud loveliness of her

" If it is so, it will be for the reason that neither you
nor Juanito give me confidences. You make plans as if
for a child ; you keep secrets, and your thoughts are all
for some one else some woman on that north trail."

" If you see her, Excellencia, you perhaps will not
have wonder at that," he said gently, " and some day
you will forgive Juanito and me any harmless secrets
we may have."

" I do not think I will see her. I do not think I will


go," she said pettishly. " Why should I travel deeper
into a desert where there is no comfort ? "

" Have you forgotten so quickly the man you crossed
the sea to find?" I asked with brutal curtness, at least
I was rougher than I meant to be, for she turned away,
and her hands went to her face and she wept despair
ingly. I strove to make excuse, to comfort her, but
she waved me away.

" Go, both of you ! " she said. " You are only men,
and you are without heart, and go north I will not ; why
should I?"

" Because you are mine to save, and I can only
save you by claiming you, and taking you with me,"
he said steadily. " Never fancy it is a journey of
pleasure I am planning for any of us."

At that she ceased weeping, and turned to me.

" Since it is made so plain that it is no pleasure to
take me, I may at least be excused from gratitude,"
she remarked coldly. " I am only carried as extra
baggage for which there is no safe warehouse ! "

He made no reply, but his eyes held all of sadness
as he watched her walk back to the worn trail. Silent
he stood there against the darkling sky, for the blue
haze was covering the mesas of the east. In his still
ness he looked akin to a detached pillar of the ancient
altar. A ray of the afterglow illumined all with a
strange golden green light for an instant, and Sancha
caught my hand.

" He looks as if he had stood there from the begin
ning of the world," she whispered, " and waiting wait
ing for what? He is like no other man on earth." Then
after a little she continued. " My first hour at a shrine


of the dawn is not what I prayed for, but that man ;
Juanito, he makes all things fit his own plans, even
prayers ! "

Between the two of them, I was past asking ques
tions of her meaning, and I got her safely down the
terraces as the dusk came, but the stars were out before
he followed.

My sleep was over light because of my doubts of her
going in willingness, yet she came out of the hut at the
first call of the white dawn, and looked like a most
lovely martyr sacrificed to our selfishness.

We had our three rested horses, and a burro brought
from the hills for Movi, who plainly said she would
prefer to walk. Sancha listened to the argument which
ended in the obedience of the Indian girl, and then
in proud silence she mounted her own animal, and said
her farewells to the old chief and those who had shown
good intent.

" It is a new thing for one of our family to leave
a poor village no richer for a visit, Juanito," she said
with a sort of self pity. " We seem to have fallen into
mean estate in the new land."

Beyond that she favored me with few words, as if to
punish me for what she deemed adherence to his cause.
She showed her disapproval of us both by riding beside
Movi, and that little person was vastly flattered, dis
coursing, on request, concerning her own wonderful
home of the northern desert, and her eagerness to return
to the ancient land of Tusayan.

We were well supplied with all the outfittings of an
Indian camp ground meal, parched maize, and dried
deer meat and with an archer s bow for myself and

.. .,^**ui*+^***i*^*Ki*m*im****mr*+**~mM*+*M********i^^


the arquebus of Tristan, we were fairly provided for
defense. For the first day we followed the river to
the north and east and reached a peaceful village where
we rested for the night, and an Indio guide kept us
company for two days longer, trotting beside the horse
of Tristan as if the leagues were but a holiday run
over the desert, where, to my untaught eyes, there was
no sign of a road. At need we made long days to find
the best water places, and passed from the desert bloom
and giant cactus into valleys where the palo fierro and
aliso trees were things of beauty, and the desert willow
gave its yellow bloom.

At the temper ales the summer ranches by the fields
and water holes the friendly Indians showed us
courtesies in their own way; offerings of mescal roots
and sahauro wine were brought, also fresh killed ante
lope, and brown beans cooked in vessels of burned clay.
All these became things of enjoyment to Sancha until
she seemed ashamed of idle hands, and had much amuse
ment in being taught the ways of primitive women,
until at one place of rest she strove to form a vessel
of clay, and was sweet tempered again, and laughed with
me when I showed her its crooked side.

There were hours when she became gay over trifles,
and wreathed flowers and vines to wear as shade from
the sun, and then there were long moments when she
watched Tristan in converse with Indian friends, as if
in silent query as to the secret of his influence, and
to me she called him " Your Senor Ivava."

Once he heard this, and smiled.

" It is honor, Excellencia, to be given as brother even
to your kinsman," he said.


" Without kindred to the others of the family ! " she
retorted, mockingly. " Juanito, you alone are adopted.
You can expect an Indian naming and baptizing when
we find leisure and find water enough! Movi tells
me the baptism of her people is a headwashing in a
bowl of foam. Have you shared that pagan rite, Senor
Don Kahn Alcatraz?"

" It was my good fortune," he assented, " else Movi
here could not call me brother."

Thus with quiet courtesy he met either her mockery
or her silence, but she regarded him curiously when he
said that.

" And you did not fear it as a pagan enchanting
by which your soul would be dangered? " she asked.

" If ever chance should take you to that people of
peace whose very religion is against angry thoughts
in the heart, you would know their simple ceremony of
baptism could work no ill," he made answer.

" Would the officers of the Holy Brotherhood agree
with you in that? " she asked.

" I shall not return on the trail to make inquiry," he
answered. " None of the officers have ever seen the
peaceful lives of the Hopi people."

" Yet, as a good Christian, you must know there can
be but one baptism," she persisted; and at this speech
of religions and the Holy Office there came back to me
the dread for him, and I begged them to consider more
cheerful things than religion, since we were such weary
leagues from even a chapel.

" Talk not of chapels either, Juanito," she said. " I
would I had waited back there by the chapel with my


She walked away from us, and sat alone under a
mesquite until the saddles were on, and when I went
for her there were tears in her eyes, and she pointed
to a white butterfly drifting over low creeping desert

" He called me that in the letters and I have lost
the letters," she said. " He painted that dream picture
of me in the chapel, and I have wandered into the
deserts away from the chapel. Juanito, that is not all,

that place of the House of the Dawn had witchcraft

I know it ! I have never been the same in my dreams
since that time, and yes, I was weeping because of
it! for never once have I thought of Marco until that
butterfly comes and will not go away. I am frightened
at myself to whom I am a stranger, and my thoughts

are of new and different things. What but a witchcraft

could make that, Juanito? "

" Come, he is waiting," I said, and at that she

" Come, he is waiting ! " she mocked. " All things
in the Desert begin and end with him! You also only
echo what he thinks. We are dragged along on this
trail to some woman whom he seeks, but never makes
discourse of. There is some wrong thing covered in
all this, Juanito. Why should a white woman remain
with others than her own kind?"

I did not answer, and she caught my hand.

" Is it that he loves her? " she asked watching the

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Online LibraryMarah Ellis Martin RyanThe house of the dawn → online text (page 16 of 26)