"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.