The Heart of the Desert (Chapter 2, page 1 of 13)

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Chapter 2

When Rhoda entered the dining-room some of her pallor seemed to have left her. She was dressed in a gown of an elusive pink that gave a rose flush to the marble fineness of her face.

Katherine was chatting with a wiry, middle-aged man whom she introduced to Rhoda as Mr. Porter, an Arizona mining man. Porter stood as if stunned for a moment by Rhoda's delicate loveliness. Then, as was the custom of every man who met Rhoda, he looked vaguely about for something to do for her. Jack Newman forestalled him by taking Rhoda's hand and leading her to the table. Jack's curly blond hair looked almost white in contrast with his tanned face. He was not as tall as either Cartwell or DeWitt but he was strong and clean-cut and had a boyish look despite the heavy responsibilities of his five-thousand-acre ranch.

"There," he said, placing Rhoda beside Porter; "just attach Porter's scalp to your belt with the rest of your collection. It'll be a new experience to him. Don't be afraid, Porter."

Billy Porter was not in the least embarrassed.

"I've come too near to losing my scalp to the Apaches to be scared by Miss Tuttle. Anyhow I gave her my scalp without a yelp the minute I laid eyes on her."

"Here! That's not fair!" cried John DeWitt. "The rest of us had to work to get her to take ours!"

"Our what?" asked Cartwell, entering the room at the last word. He was looking very cool and well groomed in white flannels.

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