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.
"Will you go--for my sake?" Like lightning her mood changed and she was close to him again, hands on his, her face white, her whole presence sweetly alluring.
"Nell, I won't disobey Belding," protested Gale. "I won't break my word."
"Dick, it'll not be so bad as that. But--what if it is?...Go, Dick, if not for poor Mercedes's sake, then for mine--to please me. I'll--I'll...you won't lose anything by going. I think I know how Mercedes feels. Just a word from Thorne or about him would save her. Take Blanco Sol and go, Dick. What rebel outfit could ever ride you down on that horse? Why, Dick, if I was up on Sol I wouldn't be afraid of the whole rebel army."