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still face of Tristan.

" I think it is so or has been so," I answered truly,
" for at the last camp he had word that she is on the
way to death, and as you see, he is a troubled man."



r



254 THE HOUSE OF THE DAWN

" I see," she said softly, " death must be a sad thing
where there is love, and love itself is sad enough."

I could not see how love could teach her sadness
since only the shadow love had come to her the mere
dream of a maid, and not the knowledge of truth. Also
I rode beside her with a strangely divided mind at
thought of love and the lessons of love ; for while, as
a Christian, I must pray for the life of poor Anita, I
found myself wishing that if the end was near, it might
come before we reached her abiding place at the north
village, Tuquison.

But this was not to be. Indians with horses came
out to meet us on the trail, for their heralds had seen us
afar, and after spoken words of friendliness for our
care, Tristan accepted a fresh horse and rode on alone
quickly.

Without word to either of us he went, and Sancha,
gazing after him, had a white face of dismay. It was
the first time he had ever ignored her presence, or left
without courtesy to her, and I tried to explain, but
she shook her head.

" You are good, Juanito, you think it is my pride
that is hurt, the pride of a Llorente y Rivera. How it
all dwindles and fades here in the great wilderness.
What is our rank worth here? Would the viceroy him
self have power like this stranger whose word saves
us, and whose hand clothes me? Juanito, when a debt
is heavy as this it weighs, it weighs ! And, cousin mine,
he flings us all this without thought, and rides to find
the other the woman who makes him sad."

It was the first time she had ever betrayed so much,
but I could see that despite her resentment, and moods



THE FINDING OF ANITA 255

of mockery, she did not underrate his importance as
guardian in the wild places. She meant to be just, yet
the woman in her resented what she dared not disdain.

And into that village we rode as in state, for beside
us were his Indio friends with smiles and kind welcome,
and on Sancha in the monk s robe they looked with
wondering eyes, also one of the older men touched a
turquoise pendant on the rosary she wore, and pointed
to himself that we might know the jewel was his gift,
and that it was pledge of friendliness.

A dwelling was given us at the edge of the village,
and there water was brought, and food, but we saw
nothing of Tristan. Sancha asked no question, but
wandered, restless, about the village, or stood looking
north where the heat waves rippled upward, and the
candelabra of the giant cactus made dark lines against
the blue. When she returned, Movi had disappeared
sent for by Ivava, said the wife of the village chief.

Sancha looked at me half accusingly.

" You should have kept her until I came," she said.
"I I have been thinking about that and if the
woman is white "

" Sancha ! Sancha ! " I said, perceiving her struggle,
and knowing her pride. " The Brotherhood of the
Desert asks neither rank nor color when sickness comes,
or death comes."

" But it was Movi he asked, and not me," she per
sisted.

" Have you not thought that he also may have his
pride? " I asked.

She pondered this a moment, troubled, and pale under
all the tan of the sun.



256 THE HOUSE OF THE DAWN

" I have failed in all things," she said at last. " I
resented that woman because he explained nothing, yet
it was no fault of hers. You shall take me to her."

I scarce knew how to do so for Tristan had given me
neither word nor hint of his wishes. It was as if he
left for Fate to finish that which Fate had so strangely
begun.

With the wife of the chief as guide, we went out past
the gardens or little fields to a wattled hut and ramada;
beyond were the pools where women filled their woven
and waxed water vases. As we approached, Movi came
to meet us, and her face was very grave.

" Ivava goes for other water because she asks it,"
she said. " Yes, it is far. He is knowing there is no
use yet she asks. Sometimes the mind is gone away,
and she called for many things but none of the
things can he bring but the water."

Even as she spoke, Tristan appeared beyond the
dwelling with a water vase of the desert, and in the
shadow of the ramada we saw him kneel, and lift up
to drink the woman lying there.

We had not seen her before so still she lay that it
looked like a mere heap of deer skins and a striped
blanket of Indio weave. Her face was very white and
her eyes had the strange glisten which comes before
the end. I had seen it with Don Rodrigo, and thus
I knew.

" Drink, Anita, dear little one," said Tristan in a
voice of tenderness Sancha had never heard. She caught
my hand, and I could feel her tremble.

" It is good," whispered Anita, haltingly, " you have
come far they call you here, Ivava Ivava, and that




The Finding of Anita.



THE FINDING OF ANITA 257

is dear to them ! You will not do him wrong? You will
not?"

" Comfort you, and sleep content, Anita mine," he
said lowly, for even as she spoke, her eyes closed, but
as he drew away his hand, she muttered, " Do not go.
Do not leave me, beloved. I will grow strong a little
rest, and I can ride beside you a little rest, beloved."

" She sleeps, Movi," said Tristan as he arose from be
side her, " guard her again until I come."

He turned away without even sight of Sancha and me
standing close beside the wattled hut. I would have
spoken, but her hand held me with a grip for silence,
and her eyes were fixed on the girl there, and a ring
on her hand. It held an emerald, and was the one
painted into that portrait so admired by Sancha as a
child.

" The ring of Marco ! " she whispered. " See you,
Juanito, it is the ring of Marco she wears! They
have killed Marco these savages he calls friends !
it is the ring of Marco! "

It was, but I tried to lie out of it with some pretext
of a copy made of it or such reasonable thought
but it was a useless effort, for Anita opened her eyes
full on Sancha at the name of Marco.

"Is he come back Marco?" and her thin voice
was sharp with eagerness. " Was it you said his
name? Tell him for God s love tell him to come
quickly. But how is it? and who are you? and why "

Her voice trailed out in weakness, and I moved back
out of her range as Sancha went forward swiftly.

" I am Marquesa de Llorente y Rivera," she said.
" Who are you to wear that ring? "




258 THE HOUSE OF THE DAWN

" How wonderful you are as they said," mur
mured poor Anita, " yet he never gave love to you
never never! With me beside him he rode north,
and left Tristan to write you the letters Tristan, so
dear so good ! But Excellencia he never loved you
never never never ! " Then her eyes closed, and
she lay whispering " Marco Marco."

The face of Sancha was staring white.

"Who is she to say these things?" she demanded,
and put her hand on the shoulder of Anita as if to shake
her into senses again, but I stopped her.

" A poor soul who will soon be no more on earth,
Sancha," I said, " also she has loved much, and been
left behind, is not that enough?"

" No," she said, and flung off my hand. " No it
is not true not true of Marco not " then she
stopped and looked at me.

" The letters ! " she whispered, " did you hear? How
did this creature by the wayside know of letters to
me? And Tristan! who is Tristan?"

" Sancha dear come away ! " I begged of her. " You
might as well ask who is Juan, or Pedro, or Pablo.
Her mind is going, she uses names she does not know."

" She does know," she insisted coldly. " I heard that
name also in the village by the hill of the dawn yes,
I did! Not know? she knows too much of me and
mine to die not telling. Juanito, if you love me, take
yourself out of this matter. Awake girl arouse
and tell me! Who wrote the letters? "

Poor Anita, shocked into life again, lifted her head
and strove.

" Excellencia, he adored you always I think al-



THE FINDING OF ANITA 259

ways! Marco did not know that no he did not
know."

" Tell me of the letters ! "

" It was a jest Excellencia. They tossed dice to
decide which man should write the letters to you, for
Marco had love for none but me, not Dona Perfecta
not you for me only Marco ! Marco ! "

She sank back with his name on her lips, and Sancha
knelt, trembling, looking down in the blue white face.

" It is a lie ! " she said. " It is all a lie ! "

But even as she spoke she fell limp, and when Movi
brought Tristan, he found me between a dead girl, and
one who looked like death.



CHAPTER XVI
IN THE PAINTED DESERT

IT WAS the third time I had seen death on the long
trail the husband of Movi, the warrior Hotaku,
and now the poor little maid who had been all alight
with the sparkle of love when last I had seen her.
What I could, I did, to help Tristan, but his wish was
that I wait upon Sancha, and leave to him, and to Movi,
the last care of little Anita.

To Sancha I gave no sign that my eyes had ever be
fore looked upon the poor waif of love left by the way
side, but when told the grave was ready, she arose and
took my hand.

" Come, Juanito," she said, " she is to us a mystery of
the Desert. Yet you say there is brotherhood here
among men, why not also sisterhood? I think that she
was false, but that is between her own soul and God."

So she stood beside me, and looked in the placid face
of the dead girl, and her voice joined with that of
Tristan in the prayer for the dead, while the Indians,
sad faced, yet curious, ranged at either side and listened.

I felt as if in some strange dream as I watched the
white man and the maid at either side of that grave,
and heard their blended tones in prayer. It was the
unbelieveable thing which had happened it made the
way clear for Marco and happiness, if only chance could

260



LflMJ LSriJlHJ 15 UlH
IN THE PAINTED DESERT 261

wipe the memory of the girl s words from the mind of
Sancha. But to me that grave seemed as the close
of a chapter in those lives. It was the two living
people who filled my thoughts, and not the poor child
on the bed of dry grasses in the shallow trench.

The hands of Anita were folded over her breast and
the ring was there. Sancha looked at it, and at me.

" That is well," she said, " for surely it meant much
to her. If it is duplicate, it is hers, and if it is the true
ring of Marco de Ordono, then he also is hers if alive,
and none of mine. But that I do not believe."

Tristan heard her, but said nothing and motioned
me to take her away as the crude hoes of the Indies
scraped the earth on top of the cover of dry grasses.

" He loved her so that he followed her far," said
Sancha, " yet he weeps not at her going. The love of
men is a curious thing."

" Yet if she loved not him, would a wise man mourn? "
I asked.

" She was fond, that we could overhear, and so was
he," she replied, and so strongly was she sure of his
love for the dead girl that it seemed a safe belief to
encourage her in. I was willing she should think all
things but the truth.

With some of his Indio friends, he ate the evening
meal, and came not to us until the sun had gone. The
Desert was sinking to rest in the blanket of misty blue
greens, and the mountains to the north were against the
sky in faint amethyst. Sancha had stood, as if fascinated
by the beauty of it while it changed through the many
tints of pink and purple, and then blended with the
dusky plain.



262 THE HOUSE OF THE DAWN

Tristan coming slowly towards us, noted her gaze
and turned to look.

" Forests and running streams are beyond there," he
remarked. " For a little journey we will see no desert."

" But from here we go back ! " she said. " I was
looking into the north as a land we will not cross."

" Cross it I must," he replied, " and in safety must
leave you with Governor Otermin of New Granada."

" The Governor of New Granada is a stranger to me,"
she said, " and I feel no call to visit his province, my
wish is to free myself from this endless trail, and go
back to Sinaloa."

For a moment they faced each other in mute battle of
wills, then he smiled slightly.

" Excellencia, when you chose to ignore my rules of
march, and rode your horse out of reach of the guard,
you closed behind you the only gate to Sinaloa this
year. In October you may have chance with the con-
ducta of traders to go south from Sante Fe to El Paso,
and thence to Mexico, but first we must guard you safely
to Sante Fe. We are at the edge of the Apache lands
where only large cavalcades feel safe yet we must
find a way past them. Here you could not remain, the
water alone would kill you."

She looked at him with mutinous, unbelieving eyes.

" You have thought this out for my safety that it
may fit your own will," she said coldly. " I heard her
the girl who died beg you off from some plan
some vengeance perhaps, and it lies on that north trail,
she begged you to do him no wrong."

" But you heard no promise," he reminded her, " and
it will not be wrong I do, but right."



IN THE PAINTED DESERT 263

" Because she followed his trail, how was he to help
that?" she demanded, "and because she died on the
way ere he was found, you would follow for vengeance,
Kahn Alcatraz?"

He only looked at her, letting her think what she
would.

" If she gave him love instead of you, how can ven
geance alter that?" she persisted. "Love goes where
it will, it is not to be bound. Who appoints you judge?
As a Christian you will do the thing she, in dying,
asked of you and you will go back? "

" No, Excellencia," he said with a little sigh as he
looked southward where prison or the stake waited him,
" no, it is not so written. I shall not go back."

" And I must go north beside you whether I wish it
or no ? " she asked frowning.

" So it seems," he said quietly, " there is no other
v/ay. None of us wish it, Excellencia but the way
through the land of the Haquis is closed these days
there is no other way."

" Do you know that the man you go north to reckon
with is the man to whom I am betrothed? " she asked,
and he bowed as though receiving a gracious confidence.

" I would it were another," he said, " but the Fates
often arrange affairs without consulting us."

" To be loyal I announce that I will only ride north
beside you to warn him against your intent," she said,
and again he bent his head.

" That is as must be, and we will lose no time on the
way."

" Never fear that I shall be laggard," she retorted,
" my love will keep pace with your evil intent.






THE HOUSE OF THE DAWN



I rejoice you are so frank even in injustice to him,
and I shall ride north beside you to to learn some
truths," she ended, lamely enough.

" God send you learn all truth of comfort to you in
this world, Excellencia," he said quietly, " and that I
may be your guide on the way."

" I do not know how I may accept guidance or cour
tesies from one who bears him ill," she debated. " I
know nothing of your family, or even if you are nearly
enough to his rank for righting."

" God, the Father, will enlighten us on that when
the time comes," he said, " but of the man you trust,
and the little maid in the grave, we will not speak, and
on your trail to truths the rank of a desert guide will
not be an important thing. We start at dawn."

He bowed to her and walked away, and she turned
to me with appealing outreached hands.

" Juanito, what other thing could the saints send
for my trial of the spirit? " she asked. " How or why
should I do else but hate him? Who is he to set him
self a task against an Ordono? "

" Sancha, when we accept food and shelter by his
courtesy, it ill beseems us to question whence he came,"
I said, " for without him we would both be dead in this
far wilderness. Hate is the last thing we should give
him."

" I do not agree," she answered, " his gifts weigh too
heavily. I tell myself over and over the different ways
I should give him dislike."

" Is it so hard a thing to do that you must school
yourself to the task? " I asked lightly enough, but she
did not take it lightly.







IN THE PAINTED DESERT 265

" You admire him too greatly to be just, and you
are no help to me," she accused. " We should both
remember it is an Ordono he is set against. Have you
no loyalty ? "

" Loyalty? Sancha, we may both have our loyalty
tested on this journey of yours to learn certain truths."
This was as far as I dared go, for she stopped me with
a cry of protest.

" Juanito ! You don t believe it ! That girl was ill to
madness, and yes it is true perhaps that she loved
him, and that strange things were in her mind at the
last, but Juanito, do you not see he could not be to blame
regarding her? Why, it proves itself: she was alone
would he noble as he is have left her alone if there
had been any bond? Never, never in the world! I do
not know who the girl was or how she learned"
then she halted, and I knew she was back again at
thought of the letters.

" Go you to sleep, Juanito," she said, " and be loyal
as you can until the truth is learned."

She did not make clear to what or whom I was to
be loyal, so I gave it my own reading and went to
sleep as she bade me, well content.

She was at least started on the path to the truth,
and if the break came when she met Marco, it could
not be the shock it might have been but for Anita and
her lightning flash of disclosure as to the letters. What
a fool he had been, Marco, to flatter a little peasant s
vanity by telling her how much she excelled the ladies
of rank who waited for him! Yet that was the Marco
I knew, and the Marco Sancha had never heard rec
ord of.



266 THE HOUSE OF THE DAWN

A day further in the journey we learned that the
peaceful Indians of the rancherias had been raided by
their hereditary enemy, the Apache, and a heavy smoke
to the north and east showed us that one of them had
fired the grasses to halt pursuit; that way we could
not go with horses to be fed.

" It must be the trail past Sivanoki the Casa
Grande," decided Tristan, " and you, Movi, will be
the sooner home."

I was not ill pleased at the word that we go through
the land of strange contrasts of which I had heard much
on the trail. Movi had told willingly of the mystic
rites of the Navajo who made prayers in deep canons,
and made wonderful singings of ancient songs to their
gods. These tales of wild chants of the night, and the
strange dwellings of the Divine Ones who once lived
on earth, filled my soul with desires for which my
confessor would have set me a stiff penance, and the
enchantment of it to this day remains in my mind as
do the tales of the Arabians or the romances of the
Crusades.

There, however, at the gate of the province of the
red and jealous warriors, we outfitted in a different
way than when we took departure from Culiacan and
Sinaloa. Shields of bull s-hide carried we, every one,
with lances and knives, and bows and arrows also for
the women. Movi could send an arrow like a man, and
in the village where we were captive Sancha more
than once had entered into the game of archery with
the young savages ; not that she shot well, but her arm
was strong and her eye steady, and all she needed was
practice.




IN THE PAINTED DESERT 267

And well pleased she seemed with the new weapons,
for, as she explained to me, she would not feel so much
the need of being cared for like a child.

Strange enough they looked, those two in the garb
of monks, yet armed with painted shield and good strong
bows. Movi made pleasure for us by reading the pagan
symbols on the shields we carried. Mine had the light
ning, Tristan s had lines of falling rain and a sacred
plant of their priests, while that of Sancha was the
most important it had the Father Sun and the
Mother Moon, and the morning star.

" But it is not a star, it is a cross," said Sancha.

" Morning star," insisted Movi. " Morning Star is the
son of the Mother Moon. He is in the sky when she
goes away, and he calls the Father Sun to come and
smile on the earth for people. He is ever between
them, and is their child."

" There," said Tristan, " Excellencia, on that one
circle of bull s-hide, you have set forth, without words,
the foundation of all religions of man, and their kindred
with the sky."

Sancha made the sign to ward off evil, and looked
away from him.

" Have we not enough of trials on the way without
invitation to heretical thoughts ? " she asked, but he only
smiled at her, and refused to be reproved.

" If you heard it in a poem such as comrade Juanito is
given to recite for your pleasure, you would deem it a
pretty thought," he ventured. " The pagans of Mexico
were only won to faith in the Virgin and her Son be
cause it fitted with their ancient belief of Mother
Moon and the Star which brings in the Day. Also



268 THE HOUSE OF THE DAWN

the star is the child of the great god, the Father Sun;
in no other way can these dark people be made under
stand a king in the heavens. The king of whom the
Christians tell is beyond their sight, but the primitive
sky gods they see daily or nightly."

" Still, they should not use the cross of Christians,"
she insisted.

" Why not, when they used it as a symbol of light
before Christianity had emerged from the mists of
the past? On your shield it stands for the bright son
who is born of the god and goddess of the sky. Who
knows but that some such primitive symbol was not
foundation for the legend of the cross which you regard
differently? "

" Juanito, you must not give ear to such heretical
surmising," she declared, turning her attention to me.
" As you came into this wilderness for my sake, your
soul is my care, and it is my opinion that Movi, as
well, needs some godly teaching."

" Mayhaps, if you were inclined to priestly instruction,
I also might present myself as pupil," said Tristan, and
at that she smiled, though she would not look at him.

" Juanito, tell your friend that the simple faith I
own would seem too slight a thing for notice among
his vast collections," she said.

" Juanito, tell your cousin that if simplicity is the
thing desired, the symbols on the bull s-hide, and their
visible gods of the sky, far outrank us. No matter how
we disguise the same creed with words, or weight it
down by priestly ceremony, they have the better of us,"
said he.

So, as between two fires, I escaped from them both



IN THE PAINTED DESERT 269

to discourse with Movi, who smiled her pleasant smile
on all of us alike, and when she heard those two near
to quarrel, she would look at the shoes of Sancha, and
then at me, and laugh. To her mind there was certain
magic in the boots of white deerskin, and to quarrel with
the man after wearing the boots made by him seemed
to her a useless thing.

For a day after our minds had been given enlighten
ment regarding the symbols on the shields, Sancha had
no word for Tristan, and gave her undivided attention
to Movi, 1 and strove to bring her into the ways of
church, lest evil or death might meet us on the trail and
find her unprepared.

Movi listened with interest to all the beauties of
the heaven in the sky for true believers, and then told
her cheerfully that the Underworld of the Hopi gods
was the place of her preference, for there the melons
were always ripe, and the peaches never failed, and
the Father Sun spent the nights there, and all were
glad of heart.

The dismay of Sancha made Tristan smile.

" She is very honest, Excellencia, she has not learned
as perhaps her grandchildren may to pretend in
fidelity to her pagan faith. Their honesty is the strength
of their clans ; it is a perilous thing to strive to weaken
that, even for a new religion."

" But on my own soul will the blame lie if I strive
not," said Sancha, sore perplexed, and he smiled again.

" You too are honest," he said. " You want credit
for a convert, and do not know you will only make her
unhappy with the old, and incapable of understanding
the new. I need to have little Movi happy on the trail,



270 THE HOUSE OF THE DAWN

for on the friendship of her clan may depend much of
your own safeguarding, so be content with the garb of a
missionary, and let go the preaching, or, as I ventured
to suggest, turn your discourse to me."

" I would if I had hope, for you trouble me much,"
she said soberly; and her tone was so changed that I
could believe, like Movi, in the magic of the footgear
made by him.

We reached the great house called Sivanoki, and
it looked a palace in form after the wattled huts of
the Pima people. Movi ran about it eagerly, looking
for stray beads of the ancients, and told us it had been


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