Desert Gold (Chapter 7, page 1 of 17)


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Chapter 7

"A crippled Yaqui! Why the hell did you saddle yourself with him?"
roared Belding, as he laid Gale upon the bed.

Belding had grown hard these late, violent weeks.

"Because I chose," whispered Gale, in reply. "Go after him--he dropped
in the trail--across the river--near the first big saguaro."

Belding began to swear as he fumbled with matches and the lamp; but as
the light flared up he stopped short in the middle of a word.

"You said you weren't hurt?" he demanded, in sharp anxiety, as he bent
over Gale.

"I'm only--all in.... Will you go--or send some one--for the Yaqui?"

"Sure, Dick, sure," Belding replied, in softer tones. Then he stalked
out; his heels rang on the flagstones; he opened a door and called:
"Mother--girls, here's Dick back. He's done up.... Now--no, no, he's
not hurt or in bad shape. You women!... Do what you can to make him
comfortable. I've got a little job on hand."

There were quick replies that Gale's dulling ears did not distinguish.
Then it seemed Mrs. Belding was beside his bed, her presence so cool
and soothing and helpful, and Mercedes and Nell, wide-eyed and
white-faced, were fluttering around him. He drank thirstily, but
refused food. He wanted rest. And with their faces drifting away in a
kind of haze, with the feeling of gentle hands about him, he lost
consciousness.

He slept twenty hours. Then he arose, thirsty, hungry, lame, overworn,
and presently went in search of Belding and the business of the day.

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