THE arroyo ran back from the river, among the gray hills, clear to the high basin which dammed in the early floods. There it held, deep in the rocky walls that leaned above it, wells of sweet, cool water which a traveler, avoiding the river-way for reasons of his own, found with great profit and relief. Adam was looking for these wells when he came upon Santa Olaya, dry-washing along the arroyo’s upper edges.

He was so close, leaning to gaze at her across the ridge of rock that had hid the arroyo from the deep trail till now, that he thought she must see him or have heard the sound that leaped to his lips at sight of her. But she never lifted her intent gaze from the gyrating dust that shifted rhythmically from her pan at the quiver of her bended wrists, a-top the straight young arms.

Along the slopes rising out of the Agua Caliente, Adam had often come upon the Indian women, in the early mornings when the soft wind of the hills is grown persistent, winnowing their pounded wheat in just that way. But it was pounded gravel Santa Olaya winnowed. She stood at the upper edge of a tanned bullock’s hide, spread on ground that sloped a little; then, poising the pan above her head, she leaned to the current of the wind, and, with that permeating quiver of the wrist that some believe belongs only to the Indian women, sent the dust in heaps of graded fineness across the hide at her feet. Adam knew .she was no Indian maid, although her feet were moccasined, and her hair, parted from brow to nape, hung in two thick braids across her breast, as many an Indian girl in her pride wears hers; she was as lean and supple as he, with clean grace of limb and posture, and her hair was fair with the sun upon it, and under the tan of her cheek and throat and slim bare arms there was the glow of a white girl’s blush. Adam watched her in delight of heart.

The winnowing was nearly over, the last bits of gravel rattled on the edge of the pan and skipped to their place on the hide, the pan swung down, slowly, to her side, and Santa Olaya turned her head and smiled into Adam’s waiting eyes.

“You are looking for the wells, señor ?” she said, in sweet, foreign English. “Follow the trail you are on — it ends there.”

Now Adam knew that, because his canteen clanked empty since the night before and he was looking for those wells, there was nothing for him to say but, “Thank you very kindly,” and go on his way. If he had said anything, it would have been that he had already found the wells he sought. But he did not, he only slipped his pack to the ground and leaned a little further over the ledge and smiled back at Olaya.

“The water there is still deep.” she said. She stood quite still, the pan at her side. She was waiting for him to go on. It roused in Adam a desire to put that rocky ledge from between them, at least. He leaped upon it, lightly, and was about to drop into the arroyo when the girl’s voice stopped him.

“Don’t come down here.”

It was not loud, not frightened at all, but very quiet and sure. Adam, half-way over, caught his balance on the ledge with knee and hand.

“Why?” he said.

“Because I don’t want you here,” said the girl.

“Oh.” Adam stayed on the ledge, but swung his legs over and came to a sitting position.

“I don’t want you there either.”

She did not smile now, but her graveness covered neither anger nor fear.

“Does this belong to you?” Adam asked. He did not smile, either, in deference to her lead. His tone instinctively fitted to her rather quaintly measured one, as one comes to the mood of a child by affecting its speech.

The girl hesitated a moment.

“Yes, it belongs to me.”

“You are not quite sure?”

“It is you who doubt, señor,” she answered quickly. She still looked directly into his eyes, and hers were so deep with unexplored sweetness that Adam’s quivered before them.

“Are the wells — yours, too?” he asked, to regain his self-possession.

“No 舒 the water is free to all.”

“But gold is not?”

The girl’s face changed now. Her glance fell to the heaps of dust at her feet, a smile tugged at the corners of her mouth, fought with its gravity, and conquered it.

&3x8220;That is true, señor. I do not wish to lose the gold.”

“Ah.” Adam dropped into the arroyo. “There is no harm in me,” he cried. “I am not after gold. I was only a thirsty man following the morning track of beasts; but seeing you at your winnowing, think I have already drunk of cool water, sweet from the heart of the rocks.”

He strode down to her, and Olaya’s eyes stayed wide in his. She stirred, the pan rattled to the ground, and her two hands clasped each other.

“You must not come any nearer,” she said, very simply. The hide with its dust heaps was between them.

“No, I will not,” Adam promised just as simply.

“Did you miss the river-way?” she asked. Her eyes had not left his, but Adam felt she knew the whole of him, and it flushed him, cheek and heart.

“No, I kept away from the river settlements — I came this way on purpose.”

“You did not need a hidden way?”

“Yes.” He smiled at the startled trouble of her question.

She turned quickly, then, to where an olla was sunk in wet sand under the shadow of leaning rocks, and dipped up a gourd full of water. “The thing has not driven you hard,” she said, handing it to him. “Why is your canteen empty?”

“I may have been afraid to go where men draw water,” he answered, and she laughed,

“It was not fear of men,” she said straight to him.

“No, it was not fear of men,” he answered back; but how did she know it was not, and what did that wide gaze, fearless itself, and firm and sweet, know of such other fears ? Adam drank the water and she took the gourd from him, and they stood, staring openly at each other. There was no question in the girl’s eyes, just a glad acceptance of his presence and a very girlish satisfaction in the big breadth of his frame and comely accoutrements. But Adam’s eyes sought for an answer, and the persistence of their seeking pierced her unconscious pleasure and sent her, suddenly bashful, to her work. She knelt at the edge of the bullock’s hide, her face a-quiver with the revelation, and began, with a large horn spoon, to scoop up the dust and grains of a certain heap into the pan again. Adam came and knelt beside her.

“Is it pay-dirt?” he asked, and instantly her face was all for serious business.

“Yes — I have shaken it down three times and it is showing clean already. I can wash it through now.”

“Don’t you lose a great quantity this way?”

“Not so much,” she answered speculatively. “I don’t shake it down without a good wind. But if I lose I must — I cannot dig and haul in the mines, so I dry-wash the arroyos that catch the drift from some bed above or cut the ledge and lay it bare for me.” She dipped a gourd of water into the pan and began draining off the refuse. “It is good enough when I find an arroyo like this one,” she added.

“Good enough?” cried Adam, “I should think it would be! Does it come often like this?” He bent over the pan with a more eager face than the girl’s, calculating the weight of the heap of yellow grains.

“Yes — rarely better; but sometimes none at all. Yesterday I could not find where my good luck had hid away. You have brought her back to me, señor.” She smiled at him over the little buckskin bag into which she dropped the gold.

They were very close to each other as they knelt there, and Adam wished to touch her hair, to wind the long braids about her throat, to leave his hand against her cheek. He remembered a Mexican girl washing her linen on the stones of a little creek where he had come one warm, deep-scented day in October, and how the delicate quiver of the flesh just above the hollow of her bending arm had held the pleasure of his eyes until he had stooped and kissed it, not thinking of the girl at all. She had hid her face in a pleased trouble and then suddenly lifted it to his, and he had kissed her and gone on, and laughed to hear her singing as he climbed the hill. But about this girl there hung some essence of herself, like a nebula that shields the starlight. It held his very thought in leash.

He stood up when she did and watched her knot the treasure-bag about her waist.

“What is your name?” said Adam.

“Olaya.”

“You are not Mexican?”

“No.”

“Nor gypsy?”

“No.”

“What then?”

“I do not know,” said Olaya, looking gravely at him.

“It does not matter,” said Adam.

The girl turned away and lifted the crowbar to continue her work.

“I shall help you, Santa Olaya,” said Adam decisively, and he took the crowbar from her. Besides the pan and spoon it was the only tool she used, sharpened at each end, and so light as to be easily handled.

Olaya led the way to the ledge she was working; it had been exposed by a torrent cutting through the gorge in some spring wash-out. She accepted Adam’s help as simply as she had accepted him; showed him how to follow the ledge, scraping the surface carefully; and with her spoon and pan she gathered up the earth he loosened and took it away to pound and prepare for the winnowing. She sang a little in the shade of the mesquite tree that leaned from the edge of the arroyo, and Adam sang, too, sudden bursts of sound, starting up in him like laughter that comes because it must and knows no reason for itself.

But when Olaya had spread the bullock’s hide again and gone to the winnowing, Adam had to watch her. It was so lovely a thing to him, the lithe young grace of her, the buoyant ease and grace of every movement, that made what she did as alluring as the stepping of a young doe. Sometimes she turned to glance at him across her shifting-pan, and smiled with such artless pleasure and comradeship when she found his look upon her, that Adam had to hold himself to keep at work, and not fling it all aside and take Olaya by the hand and go away to where the sun was hot on the hills, and the river shone up to them from its tarrying between the banks of tufting arrow-weed, and the cottonwoods and willows flung their red bursting buds out on its brown flood. For it was spring in the desert, and the cattle left the flats to graze toward the mesas, in search of the first young grass just springing from between the stones. Adam could hear them lowing as they came.

Olaya put down her pan when the sun was straight over them and said, “Now you will eat with me, señor.” And Adam answered, —

“Yes, I shall like to do that very much.”

He had plenty of food in the pack left on the trail, but it was part of his pleasure that Olaya should share her meal with him. It consisted of tortillas with thick slices of bacon between; and there was a generous piece of cheese. Olaya divided it unequally and gave Adam the larger share. When he protested she said, quite seriously, —

“No, that is right;” and he laughed and took it.

She put the gourd full of water between them and they drank from it, turn about.

“I am very well content, Santa Olaya,” said Adam.

”I am content, too,” she said; “but why do you call me Santa Olaya ? I said to you only ‘Olaya.’ ”

“I do not know, Adam said, “only that it comes to me to call you so. Does no one else say ’Santa Olaya’?”

“Yes, Father Bernardino does, but that is all.”

“Who is Father Bernardino?”

“My dear friend and ghostly adviser.”

“The priest of the village where you live — or don’t you live in a village?”

“I live in the settlement below here, and Father Bernardino lives close by the church, farther down the river. He is the priest for the reservations where there are Catholics, and for some of the river camps and settlements. He knows men and is very good to them. He is good even to Mexicans, and I know it is a great cross to him that there are so many in the country he loves. Often, I’m sure, he sets them a soft penance, because it punishes his own carnal desire to be cruel to them,” said Olaya.

“Why is he carnally wishful to be cruel to Mexicans?”

“He is an Indian.”

“I have never heard of an Indian priest.”

“He was raised by white men, and they gave him all a white man has and made him a priest. But they always remembered what they had done for him, so the best of it was gone, and Father Bernardino came to speak of it himself, aloud, when they should have left it a warm, soft thing in his heart.” Olaya hesitated a moment, considering. “Of course,” she went on, “it is a very great thing to be a priest, but Father Bernardino says an untouched Indian is as much a spirit of earth and sky as the wind, and is so judged before God. There is great love and understanding between us,” she added gently.

“And do you wish, too, that they had left him an untouched Indian?”

“‘Ah, he does not wish that, señor. The gratitude, too much spoken of, turns it about in his mind; and when there is the sound of wind in the brush where there is no wind, and the blue herons go up the river, he thinks about it and wonders — that is all. And I could never wish it — no other priest would have kept watch along the banks in high water; for my people came down the river in flood-time and were drowned, and Father Bernardino saw my little white head — he says it was white then” — she smiled tenderness for the little head into Adam’s intent eyes — “ bobbing about in the eddy, and he had no boat. Now this is a miracle, señor, for the padre had never learned to throw a lasso, and he was a baby when he was taken to the cities by white men; but he took the rope from his tethered cow and made the noose very deftly, and then cast it forth from the bank and covered my tiny head. There was never a rough scratch, even, on my baby flesh when he brought me in so safe. It was a great miracle.”

“It was a very beautiful miracle,” said Adam.

“Father Bernardino,” said Olaya, looking thoughtfully at her brown, dusty hands, “says it was no miracle at all, because, from clear back in the beginning, his fathers had thrown the lasso, and he had to, that was all.”

“I think that is the miracle,” said Adam softly.

“Oh,” Santa Olaya whispered, looking a long time into Adam’s eyes and not seeming to know that he was looking into hers, “I think that way, too.” Then she looked off at the hills, her eyes shy and misty with this new discovery.

“And the padre called you Santa Olaya and took care of you, and you are dry-washing the gulches to get gold for his missions?”

“No,” said Olaya hastily, “no, the Señora is my guardian. If I had been a boy he would have kept me, and taught me to be a priest, maybe; but i was a girl, and the Señora and her people took me — I do this work for them. But Father Bernardino had great care of me, always, and taught me.”

“What did he teach you?”

“Oh, to read his books, and the meaning of wind and great stillness, and to know the stars for safety, and the use of herbs, and about the earth, and the difference between good and evil, and the needs of animals, and the knowledge of men.”

“The knowledge — of men?”

“Father Bernardino knows men, and he would have me know them, too, because, it is never to lack in time of need, he says,”

“But it is only a small settlement, Olaya. Whom do you ever see besides — do you see many — men?”

“Yes,” said Olaya gravely, “always I have seen many men. The Senora herself has seven sons; and there are a great many white men and Mexicans — they come and go always, but always, too, there are many of them.” She started up suddenly, with an anxious eye to the sun. “It is time for the work to go on,” she cried, “and I have loitered too long;” then with some wistful apology, “but senor, there are days at a time that I do not speak to living things except the word night and morning — it was your kindness to let me talk.”

They worked again as through the morning, and Adam wondered idly enough what the Señora did with all the gold; for he knew from the pannings of that morning that the little buckskin bag carried, from day to day, what must be wealth in a Mexican village. It did not matter, he thought, but he would like to fancy the use of it so fair a thing to follow upon the beauty of the girl at work, as to bring a very certain delight when he knew it. She looked up at him just then from where she knelt, draining the last pan.

“Olaya,” he said, “why do you take this gold to the Senora ?”

Olaya answered him with the straightforward simplicity that marked everything she said: “Because she and her people cared for me in my little helpless days and have always been very good to me.”

“Yes?”

That was all. She rose from her work with a glance at the canon’s side where the dusk was stealing on.

“It is time you made your camp, señor, before the dark hides it. Just above the wells, you climb along the walls there, do you see?” She came and stood by Adam and sketched his trail for him with outstretched hands. “There is the clump of bisnaga at the base — go just beyond it up the ravine ten steps, and there are two palo verdes on a little shelf — they will give you wood for your fire and’t is clean there and hid away. Once I was afraid to go home and I stayed there all night.”

“I will camp there. Why were you afraid to go home?”

“Oh,” said Olaya indifferently, stowing the tools away under a bush, “I had panned nothing for two days, and there is no beauty in an empty hand.” Then, lifting herself, she unknotted a blue kerchief from about her waist, shook it out, and smoothed it upon her knee, and placed it cornerwise over her head. She caught the ends, fluttering by her ears, and held them under her chin.

“I thank you, señor,” she said, smiling shyly at Adam. “Adios.”

“I am going with you.”

“Oh.” They stood again to stare at each other, Olaya, with protest struggling through desire, and the mastery of Adam’s eyes over her. She turned slowly down the trail. He was at her shoulder.

“It is very far,” she said, turning her head ever so little, “and it will be very dark even before we can get there.”

“That is why i am going,” said Adam.

The trail was narrow and rough, and slippery with loose stones that had been washed free of encompassing earth down the ragged ravines and gulches in many a roaring flood-time. But Olaya’s moccasined feet did not heed them, and she set a swinging pace through the tumble of gray hills, which hurried Adam to keep his post at her shoulder. Against the coming night the brush and stunted chollas of the hillsides were beginning to crouch weirdly.

“Do you often go as late as this ?” said Adam. The flutter of her kerchief was against his cheek.

“When I have found only a little gold it is later — sometimes very late — and the coyotes stand still on the ridges there, against the sky, and watch me — sometimes they howl.”

“Does no one come for you when it is so late?”

“It is better alone,” said Santa Olaya. In a moment she added, “One is not afraid of night and coyotes — but if they howl I shall be glad that you are there behind me.”

“You feel safe with me, Olaya?”

“ Why not ?” she said, turning her wide eyes to him for a second; “a man who is not afraid does not make others fear.”

And Adam pondered on the meaning of it.

They had come through the tumble of gray hills to an open valley close to the river and fed by its overflow, for the arrow-weed grew rank here, and they could hear the cattle chewing their cud under the mesquite trees. Now and again a gaunt steer stood across the trail and only moved on at the slap of Olaya’s hand upon his flank. The air blew in cool off the river, and the smell of damp earth and rotting twigs and pungent marsh things came about them.

“ We are near the river ?” asked Adam.

“Yes, beyond this turn I can see the lights from the houses.” Olaya slowed her pace.

“I will see them, too,” Adam answered.

“It will be such a blackness to make camp in,” she pleaded.

“ I do not mind the blackness.”

“ You will not know the way back.”

“ I can find it,” said Adam. He had accepted the joy of her, in the beginning, without a thought of who she was outside of the golden arroyo. But now his mind was busy about her and gravely troubled. She had told her own story only for the sake of the priest’s miracle. And who was this guardian and her people, who let her work so hard and so late that she must needs scurry through those wild cañons long after nightfall, or stay alone in the weird gorges of the “hidden way,” because she was afraid to go home without gold ? And among those Mexicans — she was of his own blood — Adam knew that —

“There are the lights,” she cried, and stood still. He came beside her, and for a moment they watched the bleared lights from the low jacals of the river-flats. “ There are the lights,” she said again. “You must go back, and I thank you, señor.”

“ Is there no white man’s house in that village?” he asked.

“ No.”

“ Do you live in one of those jacals? ”

“ Yes.”

“ Which one ? ”

She twisted the corners of her kerchief into a knot under her chin. “ Maybe we cannot see its light from here,” she said; “ it is — just one among the rest. Adios, señor.”

“ Olaya, will you come winnowing tomorrow ? ”

“ Yes, but you will be gone early on your hidden trail.”

“ Will you be sorry ? ”

“ Yes.”

“ Sorry to have me gone because I brought your good luck back — is it that, Olaya ? ”

“ No,” said Olaya. She moved along quickly and then stopped, and he waited. “ I think it was because you came and will be gone to-morrow — and — I do not remember if the coyotes howled tonight.”

“ I shall be there to-morrow,” he cried, “ and the next day, and after! ”

“ Oh! ” she stood still a second longer. “ What is your name ? ”

“ Adam.”

“ Adios, Señor Adam,” she called softly, and he heard the flurry of her feet down the trail.

In the days that followed in the arroyo d’ oro— for that was what Adam called it, and Olaya smiled with eyes that tried to elude the import too bold in his— Adam forgot why he had fled from his own world of men and cities to wander up and down in unfrequented places. He even forgot, at whiles, to consider the mystery of Olaya’s life away from their common one in the arroyo. He came down from his camp with the first light each morning and filled the olla among the rocks with fresh water for her, and waited there until she came suddenly out of the hills with no warning of slipping stone or rattling bush, and greeted him. She was never quite sure that he would be there the next morning, and the glad surprise of it was always in her eyes to give Adam fresh bounty for his dallying.

They worked together, he at the digging, she at the grinding and winnowing, and then, when the gold began showing clean, washed it through and murmured together in satisfaction if it were rich, and hopefully explained the reason to each other when it panned thin. At noon they ate tortillas and bacon and cheese together under the mesquite tree, and looked their contentment, one to the other, across the gourd-rim, and talked of whatever Olaya would — of the Indian priest, the river and sky and greening earth, and the secrets of the thorny, desert shrubs — never of her life in the village, or of the Señora and her people. But the omission was so uncontrived that it left in Adam an utter inability to ask a question without a show of most unseemly prying. And although Adam talked, too, and Olaya listened and forgot to look away from his eyes, inquiring, always, in her sweet unconscious longing, for all his meaning, yet it piqued him that never once did she ask a question or show that she thought beyond his wish to tell.

“ It is the Indian training,” he said to himself; it was this Indian training that charmed and baffled him by turns.

It was when night came on, and Olaya was troubled with the slimness of the buckskin bag or elated over its bulk, that Adam’s mind grew busy again with the desire to know what the need could be for so much gold that she should be allowed to come, unthought-of and uncared-for, except for the full bag she brought home, into those lonely cañons, to work at a man’s work — that fair young thing, companionless in those solitary wilds. Adam’s thoughts were very turbulent. This was at night when the shadows were deepening fast, and there was the long trail yet to take, and he fretted at the peril of her nights, and days too, past before he came to her. In the mornings the longing to be with her again reconciled him to anything that brought her, clear-eyed and joyous, back to the golden arroyo.

“ Olaya,” he said suddenly, as they were taking the homeward trail one night, “ does Father Bernardino wish to have you work so hard, away off in these lonely places ? ”

There was a moment’s hesitation before Olaya said, “Father Bernardino is the guardian of my spiritual being.” And then, as though the intimacy of their companionship might have the right to a little confidence, she added, “ If some one who has done you a big kindness remembers it so that it comes to be spoken ever aloud, it cannot just be warm and still in your heart any more, and you must make up that kindness twice over in whatever way you may, señor. If you cannot, your soul will shrivel a little, ever so little, with the thing growing cold in you. Father Bernardino knows this, as I have told you, and he is very glad that the arroyos of the river hold gold that a girl may come by. There are other ways to pay the kindness — ways that might stain one’s soul, too, as well as the hands. Father Bernardino and I have talked of these things,” she ended simply.

Then Adam, given this, was troubled yet a little more, but hopeful, too, and asked no more questions until a little ripple of very girlish laughter came to him across Olaya’s shoulder.

“ What is it, Olaya? ” he begged.

“ When you remember, Señor Adam, what you have done for me, what a woe it will be, and the sweet that will turn brackish — for I can never repay.”

Olaya,” Adam cried, with a sudden emotion, “it is you who have done the big kindness — you have kept me out of hell. i came in terrible need and you wiped out my trouble! ” And straightway, being spoken of, the trouble began buzzing again, very dully, in Adam’s brain.

It was the very next morning that Olaya glanced up from the shifting-pan at Adam, who could never let her winnowing go unwatched, and saw him, standing very still, looking with straining eyes through the rift in the hills to the river. He had forgotten his surroundings, and when he came back to them it was to go restlessly about, plucking here and here at the brush, or to kick a stone down a pathway, following it idly to kick it on again. He worked in sudden bursts of energy all day, but forgot to sing. When they ate their noon-day meal under the mesquite tree, he could not talk, and Olaya, too, was very silent. In the afternoon, as he wandered near where she was pounding gravel, he caught her watching him furtively, with troubled eyes. He laughed, and sat down beside her, and told her he was as restless as a bad devil who had been cinched, and she answered, “ Si, señor,” and they worked silently together.

The next day Adam came late to the arroyo and the olla was unfilled. He was haggard from lack of sleep, and worn with tramping all night long. He sat moodily under the mesquite tree, his elbows on bis knees and his chin on his clenched knuckles. Later, he tried to rouse himself and went to see how much Olaya had panned that day. He had avoided looking at her, having much shame in him, but he could not leave the arroyo, and she had been good to greatness in keeping her eyes off him, not to give him the irritation of being watched. She smiled, with the knowledge of brooding trouble wiped out of her eyes, and held up the pan she had just finished draining.

“ It is the best of all, señor,” she said. It was a rich panning, and the gleam from the tiny grains flashed like a line of fire across the blackness of Adam’s mood. He was on his knees by her in a second. He caught up the yellow grains in his hand, fingering them eagerly, his lips moving in some quick calculation. He did not see that Olaya watched his face with wistful concern. He did not see her at all. When she held open the buckskin bag he dropped the gold in, the leaping fire dying from his eyes as suddenly as it had flashed up. He rose to his feet again, making some further effort to cast off the shadow of the past two days.

“ You have taken many rich pannings from this arroyo, Olaya,” he said idly.

“ Yes, and they doubled with your coming, señor.”

“Is the Señora very well satisfied with what you bring her ? ”

“ Yes.”

“What does she do with it?” The question was out at last, surprising Adam as much as it did Olaya.

She looked straight up at him from where she was getting her next pan ready.

“ I have never asked you why you needed a hidden way,” she said.

Adam started, reddening violently. When he could speak he said, “ Olaya, I knew that was the thing you guarded; I did not mean to force you into chiding me — the gold brought it out. But it is the thing I have most wanted to know — what the Señora and those seven sons do with the gold. It has come to me more and more that it is not a good thing; if it menaces you I’ve got to know it, Olaya.”

She answered him gravely: “ It is not of me, so I have not told it. It is all of them; and it does not menace me, señor. Also it was not fair of me to say that I had not asked you why you came by hidden ways; if I had not known I might have asked you — I do not think so, but I might.”

Adam glanced at her quickly. “ Know why I keep away from the towns, why —how could you?”

“ You have told me very often.”

Adam laughed in some relief. “ How have I told you ? ” he asked.

“Ah, how can I remember — a little word, your mouth; a look — your eyes that have so much in them way behind.” Olaya stood up now and the girlishness slipped away from her — she was a woman, very stern and appealing. “ You looked at me over the ledge that morning with eyes that were glad of what they looked at because — oh, you did not ay it in your head — but because you were forgetting while you looked. It was some wrong to yourself, señor 舒 it was not minder, it was not wrong to a woman, nor any hateful little thing like theft — it was a wrong to yourself that you love so you will not put it by — you will not, señor.”

“ Yes,” said Adam, staring at her.

“ ' Yes,’you say; you could — for you so easy — you could say, ' It is over, there; ’ and make it over; but you love it so you will not, and let it chase you up and down like a coyote, over all the hidden trails. And two days ago I saw that thing steal into this arroyo that — that you have called the arroyo d’oro, for its secret meaning to you and to me, and write its name on your face 7#x8212; I know it! I have seen that thing before! ”

It was still light, but Olaya gathered her tools and hid them away in the brush. She knotted the buckskin bag about her waist and undid the blue kerchief and smoothed it deftly over her knee. Adam watched her. His face was drawn in lank, white lines, like a starched garment.

“ May I —go with you? ” He tried to smile at her, but his lips could not. The thing in his eyes was worse than tears. “ You once said that a man who was not afraid did not make others fear. Now that you know I am afraid, will it be better on the trail alone?”

“ You may always come, señor,” said Olaya.

So they went down through the tumble of gray hills together without a word, passed the cattle, coming up from their night drinking at the river to chew their cud under the mesquite trees, and when they came to the turn of the hill above the village, the lights were beginning to come out in all the squalid jacals of the flats. As they stood there for the moment, together, Adam could have flung himself down and clung about her knees with the whole hateful heart of him poured out to its cleansing. But he did not. He only said, a little too gayly, —

“ Adios, my Saint Olaya,”

“ Is it to drive you out again tomorrow, señor,” she asked timidly, “ Is it for always? ”

“ Yes,” he said, pitching his voice so he could handle it. “ I think it is. You have been very — it has been — the morning I saw you — ”

“ Do not say it,” she cried, in a broken whisper, and then, rallying a little, “ Adios, señor, I thank you.” And she was away like a fleeing deer.

Adam did not go back to his camp, but sat down close to the trail and tried to think what he would do. Above all else he must have Olaya. He knew that the moment she took flight. And then he put his head down on his knees and said to himself that she was right: if he could once say, “ It is over,” it would be; but he would not say it. He told himself, too, that if she had been kind to him he could have thrown off the curse then and there. It was an easy refuge, that thought, “ if she had been kind to him; ” and he stayed in it a long time. When shame dragged him out of it at last, he was up and started along the village road. He did not know just what he was going to do except find Olaya, and there was a dumb sort of prayer in him that he would find her soon. From all the jacals along the outskirts lean dogs ran out to bark at him and snap at his heels and run yelping away. He kicked against a bone or tin can every second or two, and tangled bits of wire caught on his boot and tripped him. He could see the dim outlines of donkeys and hear the thud of their hobbled feet as they nosed about the dooryards for refuse melon-rinds. Everywhere there rose the indescribable smell of a Mexican village.

The lights were very few and dim in the centre of the village. Olaya had said the place in which she lived was only “one among the others,” and Adam wondered where to ask for her. A little back from the road, and shielded along the front by mesquite trees and palo verdes, there was a long adobe building which was not a jacal at all, but which Adam thought might be a store, only it was away from the central traffic of the highway. He went close to it and saw that there was light coming from the chinks in its wooden shutters. He went around this house, wondering how late it was, and if he should knock, and what Olaya would say—how she would look — when he found her. And then his thought lost any shape at all with the throbbing in his throat.

At the far side of the house, against the hills, there was an unshuttered window that drew Adam slowly to its gray light. He went up to it hesitatingly, and peered through. The instant he saw the interior, he was on his knees with his face flattened against the pane and his hands shielding the reflection. The room was low-ceilinged and whitewashed, with kerosene lamps hung at intervals from the rafters and on opposite walls; but what was filling Adam’s eyes was the ten or more smooth, shining tables, the strained, sallow faces above them, the piles of silver, the little heaps of golden nuggets, and the cards. He looked until his eyes were red holes in his head and his lips dragged free of his teeth and his breath whistled in and out.

Some one came down the centre of the room and broke the spell only to fix it deeper. It was a Mexican woman, old and very fat, but with erect, complacent shoulders. A man at a table near-by raised his eyes to her and she went to deal there. Adam could see the man wet his lips with his tongue and glance furtively at his companion. He put his hand up to his own mouth and wiped away the slaver that was smearing it, and then began feeling through his pockets, hurriedly, and spying about the room for the entrance. There was a heavy, roughhewn door at one end, and Adam thought some one leaned against the lintel there; but it was too dark to be sure — it might be a hanging garment. The trouble and flght of the two days past was out of his face now; his eyes were black with a gust of new life. He crept along the wall and around the corner and tapped, ever so lightly; then he leaned against the jamb, for he was trembling.

A firm hand unlatched the door and swung it back quickly, but Adam had time to think that it really must have been some one close to the door that he had seen — almost the hand on the latch waiting for his signal. He drew himself up from the door-jamb, and then caught at it again, checked with such sudden reaction that he leaned there bewildered, for Olaya stood between him and the light of the room beyond. Shame swept over him first, and then understanding came in a great rush, carrying him out of himself, and with that, the full revelation of those days in the golden arroyo.

Olaya’s eyes, scornful and appealing, searched his face.

“ Will you come in — señor? " she said.

“No,” said Adam. He caught hold of her hand. “Come away,”he said, “ come away from this — come,” and he dragged her out of the doorway.

She swung the big door to behind her, and for a second they stood, breathing fast, and each blinking to see the other’s face in the sudden darkness. And then Adam’s hands groped for her and she was in his arms, being hurried, stumbling along, to the road. “Señor Adam! Señor Adam! ” she kept whispering, but it was from out her own clinging arms that soothed him.

“ You! ” he said at last. “ You to come out of a hell like that — you! ”

“ I have not been there much, señor. I dry-wash the arroyos to keep from it; only just now I have been — two or three times.”

“ How could you — how could you — if that harpy made you — ”

“ She did not make me, señor. I feared you would come —1 knew you would come — I had to be there! ”

“ You knew I would come? ”

“ Yes, senor,” she pleaded, and laughed through her pleading because his arms were so close they hurt her. “ Where are you taking me, señor? ”

“ Where is that priest who taught you to know men ? ”

“ Are we going to him ? ” whispered Olaya, turning her face down the river.

“ Yes.”

“ This is the way, señor.”