In March, with the short desert winter over, the days began to grow warm. The noon hours were hot, and seemed to give promise of the white summer blaze and blasting furnace wind soon to come. No word was received from the rangers. But this caused Belding no concern, and it seemed to him that his women folk considered no news good news.
Among the many changes coming to pass in Forlorn River were the installing of post-office service and the building of a mescal drinking-house. Belding had worked hard for the post office, but he did not like the idea of a saloon for Forlorn River. Still, that was an inevitable evil. The Mexicans would have mescal. Belding had kept the little border hamlet free of an establishment for distillation of the fiery cactus drink. A good many Americans drifted into Forlorn River--miners, cowboys, prospectors, outlaws, and others of nondescript character; and these men, of course, made the saloon, which was also an inn, their headquarters. Belding, with Carter and other old residents, saw the need of a sheriff for Forlorn River.
One morning early in this spring month, while Belding was on his way from the house to the corrals, he saw Nell running Blanco Jose' down the road at a gait that amazed him. She did not take the turn of the road to come in by the gate. She put Jose' at a four-foot wire fence, and came clattering into the yard.
"Nell must have another tantrum," said Belding. "She's long past due."
Blanco Jose, like the other white horses, was big of frame and heavy, and thunder rolled from under his great hoofs. Nell pulled him up, and as he pounded and slid to a halt in a cloud of dust she swung lightly down.
It did not take more than half an eye for Belding to see that she was furious.
"Nell, what's come off now?" asked Belding.
"I'm not going to tell you," she replied, and started away, leading Jose toward the corral.