The Call of the Canyon (Chapter 6, page 1 of 17)


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Chapter 6

If spring came at all to Oak Creek Canyon it warmed into summer before
Carley had time to languish with the fever characteristic of early June
in the East.

As if by magic it seemed the green grass sprang up, the green buds
opened into leaves, the bluebells and primroses bloomed, the apple and
peach blossoms burst exquisitely white and pink against the blue sky.
Oak Creek fell to a transparent, beautiful brook, leisurely eddying in
the stone walled nooks, hurrying with murmur and babble over the little
falls. The mornings broke clear and fragrantly cool, the noon hours
seemed to lag under a hot sun, the nights fell like dark mantles from
the melancholy star-sown sky.

Carley had stubbornly kept on riding and climbing until she killed her
secret doubt that she was really a thoroughbred, until she satisfied her
own insistent vanity that she could train to a point where this outdoor
life was not too much for her strength. She lost flesh despite increase
of appetite; she lost her pallor for a complexion of gold-brown she knew
her Eastern friends would admire; she wore out the blisters and aches
and pains; she found herself growing firmer of muscle, lither of line,
deeper of chest. And in addition to these physical manifestations there
were subtle intimations of a delight in a freedom of body she had never
before known, of an exhilaration in action that made her hot and made
her breathe, of a sloughing off of numberless petty and fussy and
luxurious little superficialities which she had supposed were necessary
to her happiness. What she had undertaken in vain conquest of Glenn's
pride and Flo Hutter's Western tolerance she had found to be a
boomerang. She had won Glenn's admiration; she had won the Western
girl's recognition. But her passionate, stubborn desire had been
ignoble, and was proved so by the rebound of her achievement, coming
home to her with a sweetness she had not the courage to accept. She
forced it from her. This West with its rawness, its ruggedness, she
hated.

Nevertheless, the June days passed, growing dreamily swift, growing more
incomprehensibly full; and still she had not broached to Glenn the main
object of her visit--to take him back East. Yet a little while
longer! She hated his work and had not talked of that. Yet an honest
consciousness told her that as time flew by she feared more and more to
tell him that he was wasting his life there and that she could not bear
it. Still was he wasting it? Once in a while a timid and unfamiliar
Carley Burch voiced a pregnant query. Perhaps what held Carley back most
was the happiness she achieved in her walks and rides with Glenn. She
lingered because of them. Every day she loved him more, and yet--there
was something. Was it in her or in him? She had a woman's assurance of
his love and sometimes she caught her breath--so sweet and strong was
the tumultuous emotion it stirred. She preferred to enjoy while she
could, to dream instead of think. But it was not possible to hold a
blank, dreamy, lulled consciousness all the time. Thought would return.
And not always could she drive away a feeling that Glenn would never be
her slave. She divined something in his mind that kept him gentle and
kindly, restrained always, sometimes melancholy and aloof, as if he
were an impassive destiny waiting for the iron consequences he knew
inevitably must fall. What was this that he knew which she did not know?
The idea haunted her. Perhaps it was that which compelled her to use all
her woman's wiles and charms on Glenn. Still, though it thrilled her to
see she made him love her more as the days passed, she could not blind
herself to the truth that no softness or allurement of hers changed this
strange restraint in him. How that baffled her! Was it resistance or
knowledge or nobility or doubt?

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