For a moment he stood looking straight into her eyes, yet neither read the other's thoughts. Then he turned away with a baffled half laugh. "Why should it matter to me?" he asked. Of the fruitful earth, like a goblin elf,

She was quite alone, wandering among the trees and bushes in the creek bottom, and her hands were full of wild flowers. She had pinned several long sprays of the little ground blossoms, called "baby-blue eyes," at her throat, and they lay along her white gown prettily.[Pg 274] She stopped and spoke to him, with a note of lifelessness in her high, sweet voice; and while he answered her question as to what he had been doing since she had seen him last, she unpinned the "baby-blue eyes" and held them out to him. "Would you like these?" she asked simply. He took them, and she said "Good-by" and went on. Stone wore his oratory out after a time, and Cairness closed his eyes rather more, to the end that he might look a yet greater ass, and said that he wanted to hire out as a cow-boy or ranch hand of some sort. "Taylor told me you knew a fellow named Lawton, I think it was. Would he be wanting one now?" He took considerable satisfaction in his own histrionic ability, and lapsed into the phraseology of the job-hunter.

It was short and to the point upon Cairness's part, and having finished he stood up.

[Pg 268]