"No, not yet. He thinks it best not to. We all think so. I'm sorry. Poor Mercedes!"
"I knew it. I tried to coax him to send Laddy or even Yaqui. He wouldn't listen to me. Dick, Mercedes is dying by inches. Can't you see what ails her? It's more than love or fear. It's uncertainty--suspense. Oh, can't we find out for her?"
"Nell, I feel as badly as you about her. I wanted to ride in to Casita. Belding shut me up quick, the last time."
Nell came close to Gale, clasped his arm. There was no color in her face. Her eyes held a dark, eager excitement.
"Dick, will you slip off without Dad's consent? Risk it! Go to Casita and find out what's happened to Thorne--at least if he ever started for Forlorn River?"
She drew away from him with passionate suddenness.
This certainly was not the Nell Burton that Gale knew.
"No, I'm not afraid," Gale replied, a little nettled.