Image provided by: University of Oregon Libraries; Eugene, OR
About Daily capital journal. (Salem, Or.) 1903-1919 | View Entire Issue (Feb. 8, 1919)
TKE D4ILY CAPITAL JOURNAL, SALEM, OREGON. SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 8, 1919
(-. m 1?t rx
fiode. He couldn't make !t clear to
the man whose stare was balancing
him why be could not oust Tom Bar
din. . "Is it a personal reason ?" Mar
shall's gaze had returned to his ring
Rlckard admitted it was personal.
"Then I don't accept it. I wouldn't !
be your friend if I didn't advise you !
to disregard the little thing, to take ,
the big thing. Maybe you are going
to be married." He did not wait for
Rielcurd's vigorous negative. "That I
can wait. The river won't. There's
a river running away down yonder,
ruining the valley, ruining the homes
of families men have carried In with
ilieui. I've asked you to save them.
There's a debt of honor to be paid.
My promise. I have asked you to pay
it. There's history being written In
that desert. I've asked you to write
it. And you say 'No '"
"No I I say yes !" !lpped Rlckard.
The Marshall oratory had swept hlin
to his feet.
The dramatic moment was chilled
by their Anglo-Haxon sclf-eonsclous-lii'ss.
An awkward silence hung. Then :
. "When can you go?"
"Today, tomorrow, the first train
' "Good !"
, "Just stop that river!"
"Tim expense?" demanded the engi
neer. "How far can I go."
, t "i) ,n the expense !" cried Tod
Marshall. "Just go ahead."
CHAPTER III. ,
Ths Blessing of Aridity.
When Iticknrd left the main lino at
Imperial Junction the next afternoon
Ids eyes followed the train he was
deserting rather than the one that
was to carry him to his new labors.
IIo felt again the thrill of dctuchmcut
that Invariably preceded his entrance
into a new country. With the pulling
up of the pot ter's green-carpeted stool,
the slamming of the train gates, the
curtain fell on the Tucson set scene.
' The long line of cars wns pushing
fiff with Its linen-covered Pullmans
and diners, steaming , down grade
toward the Sink, the depression which
hnd been primeval sea, and then des
ert, and wus now sea again. . Old
Beach, rrehrlstened Imperial Junction
for railroad convenience, was itself
lower than the ancient sea lino where
once the gulf had reached. Rlckard
knew he could find shells at that des
ert, station should ho look for them.
ll picked up his bag that tho porter
had thrown on the ground and faced
the rung-down curtain.
Its painted scene was a yellow sta
tion house broiling under a desert
sun; a largo water tank beyond, and
In tho distance the InevKiiblo card
hoard mountains, like property scene
uhlfts, flat ntid thin In their unreal
hues of burnished pink and purple. A
: ilusly accommodation train was back
ing and switching, picking up the
vmpty refrigerator cars to carry Into
tho valley for the early melon growers.
Already the valley had asserted Its
Industrial Importance; the Jute ram
page of tho Colorado had made It
spectacular. Those who would pay
little attention to the opening of a
new agricultural district In tho heart
of a dreaded desert opened their ears
to the vagary of the river which had
sportively niado of a part of that des
ert an Inland sea. Scientists were
nulling their speculations Into print;
would the sea dwindle by evaporation,
lis It had done before? Or would tho
overflow maintain the paradoxical
The flood signs were apparent.
There cracks had split tho desert
timid; here water Assures had nien
med the track; and to tho south a
fringe of young willows hid the path
of the Colorado's debouch.
The men crowding- the platform
wore the motley of the new country.
In Tucson the uniform of tho mule
citizens, wild the exception of those
reckless ones who found Inevitably
that lotus Is o liquid, was tho wilted
pretense of a gentle civilization; de
spondent ducks and khakis and limp
collars. Imperial Junction marked the
downfall of the collar', The rest of
the composite costume was Irregular,
badly laundered and torn, faded and
sunburned; tho clothes of the desert
Kuldier. Iticknrd saw buttonless
thlrts, faded overalls, shabby hats
the sombrero of Mexico. The faces
under the broad-brimmed hats made a
leaping impression upon him of youth
and eagerness. He noted a significant
average of Intelligence and nlertnesn.
This was not the Indolent group of
men which makes a pretcuse of occu
pation whenever a train comes In!
"Going In?" asked a voice at his ear.
A piiir of faded eyes set In a young
old face, whether early withered or
well preserved he hud not time to do-
t i-'ii!t!v -Pi'iP'iJL-l' J!UI,k -
- - -h r
mreosat -MSMfl-L ccvwwfr
Ho assured his Interlocutor that he
was going in. His mood isolated the
phrase; Its significance vastly differ
ent from "going on."
"I think not."
"It is a good time to buy." Elckard
suspected a real estate agent. "For
land Is low rock bottom prices on
account of the uneasiness about the
river. People are afraid. They want
to see the company redeem some of
Its promises before they come In; and
the company isn't in much of a
Iiickard asked what company he re
The young-old face with tho faded
eyes looked at him In surprise. "Tha
D. It. company, Desert Iteclauiatlon,
which brought us all here."
"Scamps?" The newcomer's survey
of the long line of naked mountains
and lean lands that formed the neck
of tho valley gave n snub of casual
ness to the question.
"No. Fools !" The answer was as
swift as a bullet. "Though soma
people think them worse than that I
don't go so far; I'm willing to say
thoy'vo tried. I'll say that much. But
they haven't the know-how."
The window gents, Iiickard could
see, were filled before the cars halted,
by the experienced ones who had not
waited for the train to be made up.
In the scrntnble he spied a vacant
window on the sunny sldo nnd made
for It" A stranger dropped Into the
seat beside him.
Every window In the car was open.
Each red velveted, dusty seat was
tilled. A strong desert wind was blow
ing sand into their faces, discoloring
the seats and covering the floor.
Tho engineer turned to his compan
ion, who was coughing,
"Do you mind this window being
"I'd mind If It were not. It's always
bad at the Junction. When we get
Into the cultivated country you. will
seii what tho valley will be like' w hen
jriv it ' ' ) i riiiira
He Wat "Going In."
It Is all planted. The wind Is not
bad when it blows over grain or al
falfa. It Is the desert dust that nags
one." He coughed again. "Going in?"
Iiickard said he was going in.
"Are you going to settle in the val
ley?" The inquisitor was a man of
about fifty, Iiickard decided, with a
desert tan of apparent health. Ills
face was clear cut nnd Intelligent,
"I don't kuow."
"Just looking the country over?"
"You might call It that."
"Go slow," admonished his compan
ion. "Don't let yourself be carried
away. It Is a wonderful country. But
go slow. It's the ones who expect to
mako millions the first year tltut be
come the worst knockers. Qo slow,
I always tell them. Go slow."
"It's not a good timo to buy, then?"
"Not so good as It was tun years
ago 1 But laud Is cheaper than It was
a year back. In some districts you
can buy a good farm for ticket back
home, the farmers are so disparaged.
Cold feet.' The slang sounded oddly
somehow. The man's voice had tho
cultivated precision of the purist.
"Cold feet. The river's chilled them.
The valley's losing faith in the com
pany." "What company?" Inquired Iiickard
"There's but one company to the
valley, tho pno that brought them
here, the D. It. They don't call the
railroad tho company. They won't rcc
ognlr.o that problem I It's had hard
luck from the first, the D. R. "At the
very start the wrong man got hold of
It. Sutltor, the first promoter, was a
fnkera pretty thorough faker. The
company reorganized, but it's been in
bniMur. M:iUuUi& rnNle ever since,"
"Rickard's eyes left the deep cuts" In
the laud made by the ravening waters
and looked at his companion.
"I thought Estrada was the original
promoter?" he inquired.
"Estrada's a recent comer oh, you
mean the general. He started the ball
rolling; that wus all. Bad health, fol
lowing the Bliss complication, tied bis
The man In the seat ahead was lis
tening. Ills bead was leonine, bis
body shriveled. Iiickard could see on
the neck the (indent burns that had
spared the magnificent head. The rest
of the man had been shriveled and
twisted into terrible deformltv. Rlck-
ard found himself puzzling over the
Incident with its . accompanying mir
acle. There was not a scar on the
"Estrada's business methods were
then not different from Sather's and
Hardin's !" It was a deep, rich organ.
"Oh, you can't class Hardin with
Snther," protested Rickard's compan
ion. "Sather used Hardin. Hardin's
honesty cannot be questioned. It's not
money's he's after. His whole heart
is In this reclamation scheme."
"Hardin's a false alarm," growled
the owner of the massive head. "He
makes promises. He never keeps
The older man's smile was tolerant
"Burton," he Indicated, "is the presi
dent of the water companies. 'And If
you want to hear about a rogue nnd a
scoundrel ask the water companies
their opinion of Hardin."
Well, what sort of a hole has he
got us Into?" demanded the other with
"Hardin's in a hole himself.
"No one seems to remember that e
crucified himself to save the vuliey.
lo a great respect for Thomas Har
t!i:i." "Yes?" returned Rlckard, whose lik
ing had been captured by the speaker.
The Impression of distinction sharp
ened. The stranger wore a laundered
pongee silk shirt, open at the neck but
restricted by a brown silk tie; and It
was trimly belted. There were but
two neckties In the entire car, and
they occupied, Iiickard observed, the
"The beginning of the canal sys
tem." Iiickard looked out upon a flat, one
toned country, marked off In rec
tangles by plows and scrapers. Far
ther south these rectangles were edged
by young willows. He funded he
could see, even at that distance, the
gleam of water.'
It was the passing of the desert. A
fpjW miles back he had seen the desert
in its primitive nakedness, which not
even cactus relieved. Ho was pasnlng
over the land which man and horses
were preparing for water. And he
could see the laud where water was.
"That was tho way Riverside looked
when I first say ft," commented the
other man who wore a lie. "Come out
on the rear platform. We can see bet
ter." Ricknrd followed to the back of the
dust-swept, stifling car. The glare on
the platform was Intense. He stood
watching the newly made checkerboard
of a country slip past him. Receding
were the two lines of gleaming steel
rails which connected and sepnrated
hltn from the world outside. He was
"going In." Not In Mexico even had
lie such a feeling of ultimate remote
ness. The mouiitulns, converging per
spectlvely toward tho throat of the
vuliey, looked elusive nud unreal in
their gauze draperies of rose nnd vio
let. The tender hour of duy wus cloth
ing them with mystery, softening their
sharp outlines. They curtained the
world beyond. Rlckard felt tho sus
pense of tho next act.
It, wus u torpid Imagination, he
thought, which would not quicken over
this conquest of the desert. Kast of
the tract men and teams were prepar
ing the newly furrowed ground for the
seed. The curved land knives were
breaking up the rich mold Into ridges
of soft soil as uncohcslve and feathery
as pulverized, chocolate. It was the
dark color of the chocolate of com
merce, this silt which had been pil
fered from tho states through which
the vagrant river wandered. The smell
of tho upturned earth, sweetly dump,
struck against his nostrils. Iiickard
Indulged a minute of whimsical fancy;
this was California territory over
which his train wns passing, but the
soil, that durk earth those blades were
crumbling, was it not the tribute of
other states, of despoiling Wyoming,
of ravishing Colorado and Arizona?
To tho west new squares were being
leveled and outlined. Shrubby rec
tangles were being cleared of their cre
osote bush and tough mesqulte. Com
pared with other countries, the prcpa-,
ration for planting was the simplest.
Horses were dragging over the ground I
a railroad rail bent into a V angle,
which pulled the bushes by the roots
nnd dragged thciu out of tho way. Be
yond, farther west, could be seen the'
untouched desert The surface for
ninny nilles was cracked by water
linos, broken nnd baked Into Irregulur
sand cakes; the mark of sand which
has been imprisoned by water and ,
branded by swift bent. I
Close by men were putting In with
care the seed that was to quicken the
river slit. They were passing a square
where the green tips of the grain
were piercing the ground. Now they
were abreast of a field of matured al
falfa over which the wind raced grate
fully. Desert and grain field; death
and life! The panorama embraced the
Tljoy went back to their seats. After
a few minutes the other leaned over
hla shoulder, his hand waving toward
tho passing mountains. "Those are the
Superstition mountains yon can see,
over yonder. An unusually apt name."
"Why is it good, you mean? That
pile of dark rock stands as a monu
ment to an effete superstition. It is
the gravestone for a gigantic mistake.
Why, it was only the grossest igno
rance that gave to the desert the label
of 'bad l&naV The desert is a con
dition, not a fact. Here yon see the
passing of the condition, the burial of
the superstition. Are you interested in
Rlckard was not given to explain
the degree of interest his profession
involved, for the stranger drew a pain
ful breath, and went on.
"Of course you are, if you are a
western mnn. You are, I think?"
The engineer said he was, by choice.
"Irrigation is the creed of the West.
Gold brought people to this Country;
water, scientifically applied, will keep
them, here. Look at Riverside. And
we are at the primer stag only. We
are way behind the ancients in infor
mation on that subject. I learned at
.school, so did you, that some of the
most glorious civilizations flourished
in spite of the desert which surround
ed them. That was only half a truth.
They were great because of it I Why
did the Incas choose the desert when
their strength gave them the choice of
the continent of South America? Why
did the Aztecs settle in the desert
when they might easily have pre
empted the watered regions? Then
there are the Carthaginians, tho Tol
tecs, the Moors. And one never for
gets Egypt !"
"For protection," Rlckard gave the
slighted question an interested recog
nition. "Was that not what we were
taught at. school? The forest held
foes, animal and human. Those na
tions grew to their strength and
power in the desert by virtue of its
"Superstition!" retorted the man
with the tie. "We are babes at the
breast measured by the wisdom of tha
men who settled Damascus, or com
pared with the Toltecs, or those an
cient tribes who settled In northern
India. 'Kiey recognized the value of
aridity. They knew Its threefold
"An Inherent value?" demanded the
college-bred man, turning from the
"An ipl.erent value," declared the
exponent of aridity.
"Will you tell mo Just what you
"Not In one session! Look yonder.
TJiat's Brawley. When I came through
here ten yenrs ago I could have had
my pick of this land at 25 cents an
acre. They were , working at this
scheme then on paper. I was not
alive to the possibilities then; I had
not yet lived in Utah!"
The train was slowing up by a brtind
new yellow-painted station. There
were several dusty automobiles wait
ing by the track, a few faded surreys
and the Inevitable country hotel bus.
The platform was swarming with
alert, vigorous faces, distinctly of the
The man in the seat beside him
asked Rlckard If he observed the gen
eral average of intelligence In the
faces of the crowd below. Rlckard ac
knowledged that he had been struck
by that, not only here but at Imperial
Junction, where ho had waited for the
"There is a chib In the valley, lately
started, a university club which admits
as members those who have had nt
least two years : of college training.
The list numbers three hundred al
ready. The first meeting wus held last
week In nn empty new store In Impe
rial. If it had not been for the set
ting we might have been nt Ann Arbor
or Palo Alto. The costumes were a
little motley, but the talk sounded like
The dust blowing In through the car
doors brought on another fit of stran
gling. Rlckard turned again to the
window, to the active scene which de
nied the presence of desert beyond.
"The doctors say it will have to be
the desert always for me." The stran
ger tapped his chest significantly.
"But it is exile no longernot in an
irrigated country. For the reason of
Irrigation ! It Is the progressive man,
the man with Ideas, or the man who Is
willing to take them, who comes Into
this desert country. If he has not had
education It is forced upon him. I saw
It worked out in Utah. I was there
several years. Irrigation means co
operation. That Is, to me, the chief
value of aridity."
The wind, though still blowing
through the car and ruffling the train
dust, was carrying less of grit nnd
sand. To the nostrils of Rlckard and
his new acquaintance It brought the
pleasing suggestion of grassy mead
ows, of willow-lined streams and fra
"It Is the accepted Idea that this
valley is attracting a superior class
of men because of its temperance
stand. It is the other way round. The
valley stood for temperance because
of the sort of men who had settled
here, the men of the irrigation type."
The engineer's ear criticized "Irriga
tion type." He began to suspect that
he had picked up a crank.
"The desert offers a man special ad
vantages, social, Industrial and agricul
tural. It is no accident that you find
a certain sort of man here."
"I suppose yon mean that the orave t,ennu'e against tne nam con
struggle necessary to develop such a -""""s or the land It wns Invading,
country, under such stern conditions, K'afd 'ned ' window and
develops of necessity strong men?" look( Dark nn the valley which wns
evolved Rlckard. "Oh. yes, I believe ' dominated by the range now wrapping
that, too." I yound Itself gauzy,, iridescent drap-
"Oh. more than that." It is not so ' ?r,es-
much the struggle as the necessity for I "Tne n"ment pfr-t snper-co-oDeration.
The niiitnni drnondomw rtltlon!" he repeated. "That wasn't
is one of the blessings of aridity."
"One of the blessings of aridity 1
echoed his listener. "You are a philos
opher." He had not yet tpuched the
other's thought atjhe srr!nr. .
You might as we"! call me a social-
1st because I praise irrigation in that
u stanos tor tne small larra unit : or at least a Mexican influence, as
retorted the valley man. "That is one j the towns hugged the border, but it
of its fiats; the small unit It is the was as vividly American as wns Ira
sraall farm that pays. That fact brings 'per'al or Brawley. There was the yil
uinny advantages. What is the charm low-painted station of the Overland
of Riverside? It comes to me always Pacific lines, the water tank, the eager
like the unreal dream of the socialist ' American crowd. Railroad sheds nn
come true. , It is a city of farms, of nounced the terminal of the road,
small farms, where a man may make Backed toward the station was the in
his living off his ten acres of oranges ' evitable hotel bus of the country town,
or lemons; and with all the comforts ji painted .sign hanging over its side
and conveniences of a city within advertising the Dest-rt hotel. Before
reach, his neighbors not ten miles off I
A fnrmer In Riverside or in any Irri
gated community does not have to
postpone living for himself or his fam
ily until he can sell the farm! He
can go to church, can walk there; the
trolley car which passes his door
takes him to a public library or the
opera house. His children ride to
school. His wife does not need to be
a drudge. The bread wagon and the
steam laundry wagon stop . at her
Rlckard observed that perhaps he
did not know anything about Irrigation
after all! He had not thought of it
before in its sociological relation but
merely as It touched his profession.
"Not going Into soil values, for that
is a long story," began the. older man,
"Irrigation is the answer which sci
ence gives to tho agriculturist who Is
'.inpatient of haphazard methods. Irri
gation Is not acomproinise, as so many
believe who know nothing about It It
Is a distinct advantage over the old
"I am one ot those who always
thought it a compromise," admitted
"Better call rain a compromise," re
torte'd the irrlgatlonlst. "The mnn
who Irrigates gives water to the tree
which needs it; rain nourishes one
tree and drowns out another. Irriga
tion is an insurance policy against
drought, a guarantee against floods.
The farmer who has once operated an
Irrigated farm would be ns Impatient
were he again subjected to the caprice
of rain as a housewife would be were
she compelled to wait for rain to fill
her washtub. There Is no irregularity
or caprice about Irrigation."
"Wonder how the old fellow picked
It all up?" mused Rlckard with dis
respect Aloud he said, "You were
speaking of the value of tho soil?"
"Look at the earth those plows are
turning over. See how rich and friable
It Is, how it crumbles? You can dig
for hundreds of feet and still find that
sort of soil, eight hundred feet down !
It is disintegrated rock and leaf mold
brought in here in the ranking of a
delta.. Heavy rainfalls are rare here,
though we have had. them, in spite of
popular opinion. Were we to have
frequent rains the chemical properties
which rain farmers must buy to enrich
their worn-out soils would be leached
out, drained from the soil. I can't
make this comprehensive, but I've a
monograph on desert soil. If you are
Interested I'll send It to you."
"I should like It Immensely," as
sented the engineer, still nmuscd.
"It explains the choice of the Aztecs,
of the Incas, of Carthaginians, the
Moors," observed tho stranger. "They
chose the desert, not In spite of tho
soil but because of it. I doubt If they
were awake to the social advantages
of the system, but It was their co-
"Brandon's My Name."
operative brotherhood that helped
them to their glory. We aro centuries
behind them. I'm getting out here
Imperial. If you come up to Imperial
look me up. Brandon's my name. I've
no card these days !"
"There are several things I want to
henr from you," answered Rlckard,
following brown 'necktie and pointed
beard to the platform. "I'll be sure
to look you up. Mine's Rlckard."
The breeze which was now entering
the car windows had blown over the
clover-leafed fields. Its message was
sweet and fresh. Ricknrd could see
the canals leading off like silver
threads to the homes and farms of the
future; "the socialists' dream come
true !" Willows of two or three years'
irrowth outlined the banks. Here and
there a tent or a rumndn set up a
k bad Idea."
CHAPTER IV. :
The Desert Hotel.
fte left the tntv car with relief
when the twin towns were called."
bad expected to see a Mexican townfc
he reached the step the vehicle was
"Wait gen'lemen, Tm coming back
for a second load," called the darky
who was holding the reins.
"If you wait for the second trip you
won't get a room," suggested a friend
ly voice from the seat above.
Rlckard threvf his bag to the grln
alng negro and swung onto the crowd
Leaving the railroad sheds he ob
served a building which he assumed
was the hotel. It looked promising,
attractive with Its wide encircling ve
randa and the patch of green which
distance gave the dignity of a lawn.
But the darky whipped up his stolid
horses. Rickard's eyes followed the
patch of green. .
The friendly voice from above told
him that that was the office of the
Desert Reclamation company. His
next survey was more personal. He
saw himself entering the play as the
representative of a company that was
distrusted If not Indeed actively hated
by the valley folk. It amused him that
his entrance was so quiet as to be sur
reptitious. It would have been quieter
had Marshall had his way. But he
himsel had stipulated that Hardin
should be told of his coming. He had
seen the telegram before It left tho
Tucson office. He might be assuming
an unfamiliar role In this complicated
drama of river and desert, but It was
not to be as an eavesdropper.
The heavy bus was plowing slowly
through the dust of the street. Rlck
ard was given ample -time to note the
limitations of the new town. They
passed two brick stores of general
merchandise, lemons and woolen
goods, stockings and crackers disport
ing fraternally In their windows. A
board sign swinging from the over
hanging porch of the most pretentious
building announced the post office.
From a small adobe hung a brass
plate advising the stranger of the
Bank of Calexico. The 'dobe pressed
close to another two-storied structure
of the desert typo. The upper floor,
supported by posts, extended over the
sidewalk. ' Netted wire screened away
the desert mosquito and gave the over
hanging gallery the grotesque appear
ance of a huge fencing mask. From
the street could be seen rows of beds,
as in hospital wards. Calexico, it was
seen, slept out of doors.
"Desert hotel," bawled the darky,
reining In his placid team. -
"Yes, sah, Til look out for your bag.
Got your room? The hotel's mighty
sure to be full. Not many women yit
down this a-wny. ... AH the men
mostly lives rlghtheah at the hotel."
Iiickard tnade a dive from a swirl of
dust into the hotel. The long line he
anticipated at the desk was not there.
He stopped to take In a valley innova
tion. One end of the long counter had
been converted into a soda-water bar.
The high swivel stools in front of the
white marbled stand, with its towering
silver fixtures, were crowded with dust
parched occupants ci the bus. A whlte
coated youth was pouring colored
sirups into tall glasses; there was a
clinking of Ice; a sizzling of siphons.
"That's a new one on me," grinned
Rlckard, turning toward the desk
where a complacent proprietor stood
waiting to announce that there was but
one room left. , .
"Bath right across the hall. Only
room left in the house." The proprietor
awarded him the valley stare. "Going
to bo hero long?" He passed the last
key on the rnck to the darky stagger
ing under a motley of bags and suit
cases. Rlckard recognized his, and fol
lowed. "I may get you another room tomor
row," called the proprietor after him
as he climbed the dusty stairs.
The signals of a new town were
waving in the dining room. The ma
jority of tho citizens displayed their
shirt sleeves nnd unblushing suspend
ers. One large table was surrounded
by men in khaki ; the desert soldiers,
engineers. Tho full blown waitresses,
elaborately pompadourqd, were push
ing through the swing-doors, carrying
heavy trays. Coquetry appeared to be
their occupation, rather thnn meal-
serving, the diners accepting both varie
ties of attention with appreciation. The
supremacy of those superior maidens
was menaced only by two other wom
en who sat at a table near the door.
Ricknrd did not see them at first. The
room was as masculine as a restaurant
in a new mining town.
Rlckard left his indoor view to look
through the French windows opening
on a side street He noticed a slender
but regular procession. All the men
passing fell la the same direction.
"Cocktail route," explained one of
his neighbors, bis mouth full of boiled
"Oyster cocktail?" smiled the new
comer. "The real thing ! Calexico's dry, like
the whole valley, that is, the county.
See that ditch? That Is Mexico, on
the other side. Those sheds you can
see are in Mexican, Calexico's twin
sister. That painted adobe is the cus
tom house. Mexican's not dry, even in
summer! You can bet your life on
that. You can ;et all the bad whisky
and stale beer you've the money to
buy. We .work In Cnlrxlco. and rlnk
' in Mexicalt The temperance" plotlge la
kept better In this town than any other
town in the valley. But yon can see
this procession every night."
The Amazon with n handkerchief
apron brought Rlckard his soup. Ha -was
raising his first spoonful to his "
mouth when he saw the face, carefully;
He Saw the Face, Carefully Averted.
averted, of the girl he ha J met at the '
Marshalls' table, Innes Hardin. His
eyes jumped to her companions, the
man a stranger, and then, Gorty
Holmes. At least, Mrs. IIar3in ! Some
how, it surprised hiu to And her pretty.
Sbo bad achieved a variety of dis
tinction, preserviag, moreover, the
c!car-cut babyish chin which had made
its early appeal to him. There was the
same fluffy hair, Its ringlets a bit arti
ficial to his more sophisticated eyes,
tho same well-turned nose. He had
been wondering about this meeting; ha
found that he had been expecting somo
sort of shock who said that the love
of today is the jest of tomorrow? The
discovery that Gerty was not a jest
brought the surprised gratification
which we award a letter or composition
written in our youth. Were we as)
clever as that, so complete at eighteen
or twenty-one? Could we, now, with
all our experience, do any better, of vr
deed as well? That particular sen
tence with wings ! Could wo mnke- it
fly today as it soared yesterday? Rlck
ard was finding that Gerty's more ma
ture charms did not accelerate his
heart-beats, but they were certainly
flattering to his early Judgment. And
he had expected her to be a shock I
He was staring into his plate of
chilled soup. Calf-love! For he had
loved her, or at least he had loved her
chin, her pretty childish way of lifting
it. She was prettier than he had pic
tured her. Queer that a man like Har
din could draw such women for sister
and wife the blood tie was the most
amazing. For when women come t
marry, they make often a queer choice.
It occurred to him that that might
have been Hardin he had not wanted
to stare at them.
That was not Hardin's face. It held
strength and power. The outline was
sharp and distinct, showing the strong
lines, the determined mouth of the pio
neer. There was something else, some
thing which stood for distinction no,
It couldn't be Hardin.
And then, because an outthrust Hp
changed the entire look of the man,
Ricknrd asked his tcble companions,
who was the man with the two ladies,
near the door.
"That, suh," his neighbor from Ala
bama became immediately oratorical,
"that Is a big mnn, suh. If the Im
perial valley ever becomes a reality, a
fixtuuh, it will be because of that one
man, suh. Reclamation Is like a seed
thrown on a rock. Will it stick? Will
't take root? Will It grow? That Is
what we all want to know."
Elckard thought that he had wanted
to know something quite different, and
reminded the gentleman from Alabama
that he had not told him the name. :
"The father of this valley, of the
reclamation of this desert, Thomas
Rlckard tried to reset, without at
tracting their attention, the group of
uis Impressions of the man whose per
sonality had been so obnoxious to hint
In the old Lawrence days. The Hardin
lie had known had also large features,
but of the flaccid irritating order. He
summoned a picture of Ilurdln as he
had shufiled into his own classroom, or
up to the long table where Gerty had
always queened it among her mother's
boarders. lie could see the rough un
polished boots thnt had always offend
ed him as a betrayal of the man's in
ner coarseness; the badly fitting coat,
the long awkward arms, and the satis-
iled, loud-speaking mouth. These fea
tures were more definite. Could time
bring these changes? Had he changed,
like that? Had they seen him? Would
j Gerty. would Hardin remember hlmt
I Wasn't it his place to make himself
known ; wave the flag of old friendship
over an awkward situation?
lie found himself standing In front
of their table, encountering first, the
eyes of Hardin's sister. There was no
surprise, no welcome there for hlra. He
1 6wS 'ffiMW
i felt at once the hostility of the camp.
1 His face was uncomfortably warm.
Then the childish profile turned on him.
A look of bewilderment, flushing Into
greeting the years had been kind to
Gerty Holmes !
j "Do you remember me, Rlckard T '
If Hardin recognized a difficult situa
tion, he did not betray it It was
mnn Rickard did not know who shook
him warmly by the hand, and said that
infWd he had not forgotten hlrij, ...
(Oont-mued next Saturday)