You see the ridges cropping out all through the desert; and there's a good deal of lava oozing over them, too. They probably act as walls, to prevent the sea getting in from the west, or the Colorado leaking in from the east." "In that case," remarked the general, "a little more seismic disturbance might produce a change." "It would have to be more than a little, I suspect," returned Meschines.
Now Melicent abode in the house of Demetrios, whom she had not seen since the morning after he had wedded her. A month had passed. As yet she could not understand the language of her fellow prisoners, but Halaon, a eunuch who had once served a cardinal in Tuscany, informed her the proconsul was in the West Provinces, where an invading force had landed under Ranulph de Meschines.
But what have you been doing with yourself all this time? Why do you come to a place like this?" "Maybe I had a presentiment that... What nonsense we are talking! But what you said reminds me. It's the strangest coincidence!" "What is it?" "Your Professor Meschines " "On the contrary, he is a most matter-of-fact old gentleman." "Do be quiet, and listen to me!
"One of them is a woman," said Meschines. "They look very weary," remarked Freeman. Miriam fixed her eyes on the approaching pair for a moment, and then said, "They are Senor de Mendoza and Grace Parsloe." And so, indeed, they were; and thus, in this lonely spot, all the dramatis personae of this history found themselves united.
You and I are avenged!" "You are just as ridiculous, Meschines, as you were thirty or fifty years ago," said the general, tranquilly. "You declaim for the sake of hearing your own voice. Besides, what you say is un-American. Grace Parsloe, as I was saying, got a place as shop-girl in one of the great New York stores.
"I believe, after all, you're a snob, Meschines," said the general, pensively. "But, as I was about to say, when you interrupted me ten minutes ago, Grace Parsloe is coming on here to make us a visit. She fell ill, and her employers, after doing what could be done for her in the way of medical attendance, made up their minds to give her a change of climate.
"I think I hear the wings of the angel of whom we have been speaking," said the general. "Yes, here he is; and he has got the letters. Let us see! One for you Meschines. And this, I see, is from our friend Miss Parsloe, postmarked Santa Barbara. Why, she'll be here to-morrow, at that rate."
"I see how it is," mumbled Freeman, half to himself. "The earthquake I remember! I got hit somehow. They came from the ranch to hunt me up. But where are the general and Professor Meschines? How long ago was it? And how came Miriam... Could the mirage have had anything to do with it? Here, let me walk," he called out to her, "and you get up and ride."
He told me that he had recently crossed the continent with Professor Meschines, who used to teach geology and botany at Yale College, when he and I were students there. The professor had come over partly for the fun of the thing, and partly to look for specimens in the line of his profession. My friend parted from him at San Francisco: the professor was going farther south."
But, before he could make a reply, Meschines, who scented mischief in the air, and divined that the gentler sex must somehow be at the bottom of it, struck in. "You may consider yourself lucky, Harvey, in making the acquaintance of a gentleman like Senor de Mendoza, who exemplifies the undimmed virtues of Cortez and Torquemada.