The Man of the Desert (Chapter 4, page 1 of 17)


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Chapter 4

John Brownleigh reached the water-hole at sunset, and while he waited for his horse to drink he meditated on what he would do next. If he intended to go to the fort for dinner he should turn at once sharply to the right and ride hard, unless he was willing to be late. The lady at the fort liked to have her guests on hand promptly, he knew.

The sun was down. It had left long splashes of crimson and gold in the west, and their reflection was shimmering over the muddy water below him so that Billy looked as if he quaffed the richest wine from a golden cup, as he satisfied his thirst contentedly.

But as the missionary watched the painted water and tried to decide his course, suddenly his eye caught a bit of white something floating, half clinging to a twig at the edge of the water, a bit of thin transparentness, with delicate lacy edge. It startled him in that desert place much as the jewel in its golden setting in the sand had startled him that morning.

With an exclamation of surprise he stooped over, picked up the little wet handkerchief and held it out--dainty, white and fine, and in spite of its wet condition sending forth its violet breath to the senses of a man who had been in the wilds of the desert for three years. It spoke of refinement and culture and a world he had left behind him in the East.

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