The Man of the Desert (Chapter 1, page 1 of 11)


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Chapter 1

It was morning, high and clear as Arizona counts weather, and around the little railroad station were gathered a crowd of curious onlookers; seven Indians, three women from nearby shacks--drawn thither by the sight of the great private car that the night express had left on a side track--the usual number of loungers, a swarm of children, besides the station agent who had come out to watch proceedings.

All the morning the private car had been an object of deep interest to those who lived within sight, and that was everybody on the plateau; and many and various had been the errands and excuses to go to the station that perchance the occupants of that car might be seen, or a glimpse of the interior of the moving palace; but the silken curtains had remained drawn until after nine o'clock.

Within the last half hour, however, a change had taken place in the silent inscrutable car. The curtains had parted here and there, revealing dim flitting faces, a table spread with a snowy cloth and flowers in a vase, wild flowers they were, too, like those that grew all along the track, just weeds. Strange that one who could afford a private car cared for weeds in a glass on their dining-table, but then perhaps they didn't know.

A fat cook with ebony skin and white linen attire had appeared on the rear platform beating eggs, and half whistling, half singing: "Be my little baby Bumble-bee-- Buzz around, buzz around----"

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