He fixed a changeless, gleaming gaze on the slow descent; but did not seem to look afar.
Suddenly he uttered his strange cry--the one Gale considered involuntary, or else significant of some tribal trait or feeling. It was incomprehensible, but no one could have doubted its potency. Yaqui pointed down the lava slope, pointed with finger and arm and neck and head--his whole body was instinct with direction. His whole being seemed to have been animated and then frozen. His posture could not have been misunderstood, yet his expression had not altered. Gale had never seen the Indian's face change its hard, red-bronze calm. It was the color and the flintiness and the character of the lava at his feet.
"Shore he sees somethin'," said Ladd. "But my eyes are not good."
"I reckon I ain't sure of mine," replied Jim. "I'm bothered by a dim movin' streak down there."
Thorne gazed eagerly down as he stood beside Mercedes, who sat motionless facing the slope. Gale looked and looked till he hurt his eyes. Then he took his glass out of its case on Sol's saddle.
There appeared to be nothing upon the lava but the innumerable dots of choya shining in the sun. Gale swept his glass slowly forward and back. Then into a nearer field of vision crept a long white-and-black line of horses and men. Without a word he handed the glass to Ladd. The ranger used it, muttering to himself.
"They're on the lava fifteen miles down in an air line," he said, presently. "Jim, shore they're twice that an' more accordin' to the trail."
Jim had his look and replied: "I reckon we're a day an' a night in the lead."