Desert Gold (Chapter 8, page 1 of 11)


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Chapter 8

The Yaqui's strange dark glance roved over the corral, the swinging
gate with its broken fastenings, the tracks in the road, and then
rested upon Belding.

"Malo," he said, and his Spanish was clear.

"Shore Yaqui, about eight bad men, an' a traitor Indian," said Ladd.

"I think he means my herder," added Belding. "If he does, that settles
any doubt it might be decent to have--Yaqui--malo Papago--Si?"

The Yaqui spread wide his hands. Then he bent over the tracks in the
road. They led everywhither, but gradually he worked out of the thick
net to take the trail that the cowboys had followed down to the river.
Belding and the rangers kept close at his heels. Occasionally Dick lent
a helping hand to the still feeble Indian. He found a trampled spot
where the raiders had left their horses. From this point a deeply
defined narrow trail led across the dry river bed.

Belding asked the Yaqui where the raiders would head for in the Sonora
Desert. For answer the Indian followed the trail across the stream of
sand, through willows and mesquite, up to the level of rock and cactus.
At this point he halted. A sand-filled, almost obliterated trail led
off to the left, and evidently went round to the east of No Name
Mountains. To the right stretched the road toward Papago Well and the
Sonoyta Oasis. The trail of the raiders took a southeasterly course
over untrodden desert. The Yaqui spoke in his own tongue, then in
Spanish.

"Think he means slow march," said Belding. "Laddy, from the looks of
that trail the Greasers are having trouble with the horses."

"Tom, shore a boy could see that," replied Laddy. "Ask Yaqui to tell
us where the raiders are headin', an' if there's water."

It was wonderful to see the Yaqui point. His dark hand stretched, he
sighted over his stretched finger at a low white escarpment in the
distance. Then with a stick he traced a line in the sand, and then at
the end of that another line at right angles. He made crosses and
marks and holes, and as he drew the rude map he talked in Yaqui, in
Spanish; with a word here and there in English. Belding translated as
best he could. The raiders were heading southeast toward the railroad
that ran from Nogales down into Sonora. It was four days' travel, bad
trail, good sure waterhole one day out; then water not sure for two
days. Raiders traveling slow; bothered by too many horses, not looking
for pursuit; were never pursued, could be headed and ambushed that
night at the first waterhole, a natural trap in a valley.

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