The heritage of the dese.., p.1
The Heritage of the Desert: A Novel, p.1Zane Grey
Produced by Bill Brewer and Rick Fane
THE HERITAGE OF THE DESERT
By Zane Grey
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
IX. ??THE SCENT OF DESERT-WATER
X. ??RIDING THE RANGES
XI. ??THE DESERT-HAWK
XII. ??ECHO CLIFFS
XIII. ??THE SOMBRE LINE
XV. ??DESERT NIGHT
XVI. ??THUNDER RIVER
XVII. ??THE SWOOP OF THE HAWK
XVIII. ????THE HERITAGE OF THE DESERT
XX. ??THE RAGE OF THE OLD LION
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
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
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
Naab's sons had his stature, though not his bulk. They were wiry, rangy
men, young, yet somehow old. The desert had multipl
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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