The heritage of the dese.., p.1
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       The Heritage of the Desert: A Novel, p.1
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The Heritage of the Desert: A Novel


  Produced by Bill Brewer and Rick Fane

  THE HERITAGE OF THE DESERT

  A NOVEL

  By Zane Grey

  CONTENTS

  I. ??THE SIGN OF THE SUNSET

  II. ??WHITE SAGE

  III. ??THE TRAIL OF THE RED WALL

  IV. ??THE OASIS

  V. ??BLACK SAGE AND JUNIPER

  VI. ??THE WIND IN THE CEDARS

  VII. ??SILVERMANE

  IX. ??THE SCENT OF DESERT-WATER

  X. ??RIDING THE RANGES

  XI. ??THE DESERT-HAWK

  XII. ??ECHO CLIFFS

  XIII. ??THE SOMBRE LINE

  XIV. ??WOLF

  XV. ??DESERT NIGHT

  XVI. ??THUNDER RIVER

  XVII. ??THE SWOOP OF THE HAWK

  XVIII. ????THE HERITAGE OF THE DESERT

  XIX. ??UNLEASHED

  XX. ??THE RAGE OF THE OLD LION

  XXI. ??MESCAL

  I. THE SIGN OF THE SUNSET

  "BUT the man's almost dead."

  The words stung John Hare's fainting spirit into life. He opened his

  eyes. The desert still stretched before him, the appalling thing that

  had overpowered him with its deceiving purple distance. Near by stood a

  sombre group of men.

  "Leave him here," said one, addressing a gray-bearded giant. "He's the

  fellow sent into southern Utah to spy out the cattle thieves. He's all

  but dead. Dene's outlaws are after him. Don't cross Dene."

  The stately answer might have come from a Scottish Covenanter or a

  follower of Cromwell.

  "Martin Cole, I will not go a hair's-breadth out of my way for Dene or

  any other man. You forget your religion. I see my duty to God."

  "Yes, August Naab, I know," replied the little man, bitterly. "You would

  cast the Scriptures in my teeth, and liken this man to one who went down

  from Jerusalem to Jericho and fell among thieves. But I've suffered

  enough at the hands of Dene."

  The formal speech, the Biblical references, recalled to the reviving

  Hare that he was still in the land of the Mormons. As he lay there the

  strange words of the Mormons linked the hard experience of the last few

  days with the stern reality of the present.

  "Martin Cole, I hold to the spirit of our fathers," replied Naab, like

  one reading from the Old Testament. "They came into this desert land to

  worship and multiply in peace. They conquered the desert; they prospered

  with the years that brought settlers, cattle-men, sheep-herders, all

  hostile to their religion and their livelihood. Nor did they ever fail

  to succor the sick and unfortunate. What are our toils and perils

  compared to theirs? Why should we forsake the path of duty, and turn

  from mercy because of a cut-throat outlaw? I like not the sign of the

  times, but I am a Mormon; I trust in God."

  "August Naab, I am a Mormon too," returned Cole, "but my hands are

  stained with blood. Soon yours will be if you keep your water-holes and

  your cattle. Yes, I know. You're strong, stronger than any of us, far

  off in your desert oasis, hemmed in by walls, cut off by canyons,

  guarded by your Navajo friends. But Holderness is creeping slowly on

  you. He'll ignore your water rights and drive your stock. Soon Dene will

  steal cattle under your very eyes. Don't make them enemies."

  "I can't pass by this helpless man," rolled out August Naab's sonorous

  voice.

  Suddenly, with livid face and shaking hand, Cole pointed westward.

  "There! Dene and his band! See, under the red wall; see the dust, not

  ten miles away. See them?"

  The desert, gray in the foreground, purple in the distance, sloped to

  the west. Eyes keen as those of hawks searched the waste, and followed

  the red mountain rampart, which, sheer in bold height and processional

  in its craggy sweep, shut out the north. Far away little puffs of dust

  rose above the white sage, and creeping specks moved at a snail's pace.

  "See them? Ah! then look, August Naab, look in the heavens above for my

  prophecy," cried Cole, fanatically. "The red sunset--the sign of the

  times--blood!"

  A broad bar of dense black shut out the April sky, except in the extreme

  west, where a strip of pale blue formed background for several clouds of

  striking color and shape. They alone, in all that expanse, were dyed in

  the desert's sunset crimson. The largest projected from behind the dark

  cloud-bank in the shape of a huge fist, and the others, small and round,

  floated below. To Cole it seemed a giant hand, clutching, with

  inexorable strength, a bleeding heart. His terror spread to his

  companions as they stared.

  Then, as light surrendered to shade, the sinister color faded; the

  tracing of the closed hand softened; flush and glow paled, leaving the

  sky purple, as if mirroring the desert floor. One golden shaft shot up,

  to be blotted out by sudden darkening change, and the sun had set.

  "That may be God's will," said August Naab. "So be it. Martin Cole, take

  your men and go."

  There was a word, half oath, half prayer, and then rattle of stirrups,

  the creak of saddles, and clink of spurs, followed by the driving rush

  of fiery horses. Cole and his men disappeared in a pall of yellow dust.

  A wan smile lightened John Hare's face as he spoke weakly: "I fear your-

  -generous act--can't save me... may bring you harm. I'd rather you left

  me--seeing you have women in your party."

  "Don't try to talk yet," said August Naab. "You're faint. Here--drink."

  He stooped to Hare, who was leaning against a sage-bush, and held a

  flask to his lips. Rising, he called to his men: "Make camp, sons. We've

  an hour before the outlaws come up, and if they don't go round the sand-

  dune we'll have longer."

  Hare's flagging senses rallied, and he forgot himself in wonder. While

  the bustle went on, unhitching of wagon-teams, hobbling and feeding of

  horses, unpacking of camp-supplies, Naab appeared to be lost in deep

  meditation or prayer. Not once did he glance backward over the trail on

  which peril was fast approaching. His gaze was fastened on a ridge to

  the east where desert line, fringed by stunted cedars, met the pale-blue

  sky, and for a long time he neither spoke nor stirred. At length he

  turned to the camp-fire; he raked out red coals, and placed the iron

  pots in position, by way of assistance to the women who were preparing

  the evening meal.

  A cool wind blew in from the desert, rustling the sage, sifting the

  sand, fanning the dull coals to burning opals. Twilight failed and night

  fell; one by one great stars shone out, cold and bright. From the zone

  of blackness surrounding the camp burst the short bark, the hungry

  whine, the long-drawn-out wail of desert wolves.

  "Supper, sons," called Naab, as he replenished the fire with an armful

  of grease-wood.

  Naab's sons had his stature, though not his bulk. They were wiry, rangy

  men, young, yet somehow old. The desert had multipl
ied their years. Hare

  could not have told one face from another, the bronze skin and steel eye

  and hard line of each were so alike. The women, one middle-aged, the

  others young, were of comely, serious aspect.

  "Mescal," called the Mormon.

  A slender girl slipped from one of the covered wagons; she was dark,

  supple, straight as an Indian.

  August Naab dropped to his knees, and, as the members of his family

  bowed their heads, he extended
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