At length the hour arrived, when our auxiliary, seizing the opportunity of the usher's absence, bolted in, secured the door, and immediately laid hold of the pedant by his collar who bawled out, "Murder, Thieves," with the voice of a Stentor. Though I trembled all over like an aspen leaf, I knew there was no time to be lost, and accordingly got up, and summoned our associates to our assistance.
The sweat already stood in large drops on the pale face of the tavern-keeper, and his limbs trembled like the quivering aspen. "Horrible!" he murmured, closing his eyes, to shut out the scene. "Not half so horrible as the place where I was, just before you came in, Mr. Graves," said Riley in a calmer voice. "And where do you think that was?"
So we drove around again to Los Angeles, Nevada, Utah, and Colorado, where, by the intersection of Interstate-70 and Route 82, he announced that we had arrived at a crossroad: we could continue the search for a home, or we could take a side trip to a posh resort in nearby Aspen. By now the disciples had been out of work for nearly a month, and a few of us were running low on money.
"You half imposed on me, and that is something for you to brag of. You won't kill yourself, Jefferies; you are not the stuff. Give over shaking like an aspen, and look and listen. You are in debt. I've bought up two drafts of yours here they are. Come to me to-morrow, after the wedding, and I will give you them to light your pipe with." "Oh, Mr. Meadows, that would be one load off my mind."
She listened for steps, cries, the noise of the ploughs, and she stopped short, white, and trembling more than the aspen leaves swaying overhead. One morning as she was thus returning, she suddenly thought she saw the long barrel of a carbine that seemed to be aimed at her. It stuck out sideways from the end of a small tub half-buried in the grass on the edge of a ditch.
Aspen, poplar and willow branches were carried to the pond where, as they became waterlogged, they sank to the bottom, there to remain until needed. Lily-pads floating lightly upon the surface of the pond gave promise of white succulent roots which penetrated the ooze beneath. Sweet flag was abundant, and close by grew a clump of dark green, spicy mint.
No definite course through the woods seemed to invite, and yet all was open. Trees, trees, dark, immovable trees everywhere. The violent trembling of poplar and aspen leaves, when all others were so calm, struck her strangely, and the fearful stillness awed her. Drawing a deep breath she started forward up the gently rising ground.
'Pears I couldn't go to Hebin widout you says, 'Yes, Vilet." The man's powerful frame trembled like an aspen; convulsive sobs heaved his breast as he carried the child to the further corner of the yard. At last he buried his face in her neck and whispered, "Yes, Vilet." "Dat's good an' kin' ob you, daddy. You fin' me waitin' and lookin' fer you, shuah."
The Americans rescued Lennon's body, and having strapped it over a pack mule, carried it away to the next camp, where it was buried with Christian services at the foot of an aspen tree. The Americans brought away twenty-four scalps. After the Bloody Tanks affair some of the men engaged in it came into the Pima villages, where I was in camp.
In the sand about the aspen tree to which it had been anchored were coyote tracks. Ignorantly fearless, I set out to track down the miscreant. The trail led down toward a forest, where dense thickets of new-growth lodge-pole pines livened the stark, fire-killed trees.