He set his glass down, and faced Cross. "Come again, boys. What'll you take with me?" But Cross swore suddenly. "Well!" he exclaimed. "Look at what blowed in off of one of them dry-ranch layouts!" McHale smiled blandly, pushing a bottle in his direction. "Beats all how some things drift about all over the country," he observed. "Tumbleweeds and such.
Strong as it was, it failed of accomplishing its will, which would have been to snatch her from the cart and toss her to the horizon in company with the tumbleweeds. It shrieked its despair, the despair of a jealous woman balked of her vengeance, tumultuously wild.
She thought that she was in the old dugout at the little deal table before the dim half-window, outside which the wind sang fitfully, blowing the tumbleweeds hither and thither, near and far, with moans and sighs, and Seth sat by her side. And as of old he talked to her of the beautiful house.
The wind tossed him like a plaything as it tossed the big round tumbleweeds, making the pace for him a little beyond.
Finding it impossible to tear Celia from the tender circling of that arm, it wreaked its vengeance upon the tumbleweeds, broke them fiercely from their stems, and sent them pell-mell over the prairie before the tall blue cart, about it, at the sides of it, a fantastic cortege, airily tumbling, tumbling, tumbling! Yes. The wind was jealous of Celia.
Starr was saddling Rabbit for another long ride, and he was scowling thoughtfully while he did it. Wind came with the sun and went shrieking across the high levels, taking with it clouds of sand and bouncing tumbleweeds that rolled and lodged for a minute against some rock or bush and then went whirling on again in a fresh gust.
And, indeed, there did appear to be some danger; for the wind that had loved Seth from the first was apparently jealous of Celia. It tore at her as though to toss her to unreachable distances in the way it ripped the tumbleweeds from their small brittle stems and tossed them away.
Across the purple prairie, the wondering stars blinking down upon him, the wind tearing at him to know what the matter was, the tumbleweeds tumbling at the heels of his broncho, his heart in his mouth, Seth madly rode in the wild midnight to fetch the weazened old woman who tended the women of the desert, rode as madly back again, leaving the midwife to follow.
Those nation-loved children of theirs compared with the average in our country as the most perfectly cultivated, richly developed roses compare with tumbleweeds. Yet they did not SEEM "cultivated" at all it had all become a natural condition.
Grasses with long human fingers beckoned him to the Unknown, which is always terrible, while great ever-moving tumbleweeds sprang up at him as if from underground, like enormous heads of resurrected giants. And the voice of the wind! As he neared the heart of it, it, too, took on an unknown quantity more terrible than the bugaboo of the shadows and the dark. It howled with the howl of wolves.
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