The Heart of the Desert (Chapter 5, page 1 of 12)


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Chapter 5

As twilight deepened, Katherine lay in the hammock thankful for the soothing effect of the darkness on her aching eyes. She felt a little troubled about Kut-le. She was very fond of the young Indian. She understood him as did no one else, perhaps, and had the utmost faith in his honor and loyalty. She suspected that Rhoda had had much to do with the young Indian's sudden departure and she felt irritated with the girl, though at the same time she acknowledged that Rhoda had done only what she, Katherine, had advised--had treated Kut-le as if he had been a white man!

She watched the trail for Rhoda's return but darkness came and there was no sign of the frail figure. A little disturbed, she walked to the corral bars and looked down to the lights of the cowboys' quarters. If only John DeWitt and Jack would return! But she did not expect them before midnight. She returned to the house and telephoned to the ranch foreman.

"Don't you worry, ma'am," he answered cheerily. "No harm could come to her! She just walked till it got dark and is just starting for home now, I bet! She can't have got out of sight of the ranch lights."

"But she may have! You can't tell what she's done, she's such a tenderfoot," insisted Katherine nervously. "She may have been hurt!"

It was well that Katherine could not see the foreman's face during the conversation. It had a decided scowl of apprehension, but he managed a cheerful laugh.

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