After he had had his tea Kirby got up, went out to the corral, and called to one of the men, who hesitated for a moment, then slouched over, kicking with his heavy booted toe as he passed at the hocks of a horse in one of the stalls. Kirby saw him do it, but he checked his wrath. He had learned to put up with many things. "Don't you think," he suggested, "that it might be a good idea for you and some other man to ride down the road a bit—"
Landor cursed the malpais and the men who were leading him over it. "How much more of this rough country is there going to be?" he demanded, as they stopped to shoe two horses that had come unshod on the sharp rocks. "Colonel," they made answer with much dignity, "we are more anxious than you to get back to our defenceless women and children." But she was, it appeared, a maiden lady, straight from Virginia. The Reverend Taylor was the first man she had ever loved. "It was right funny how it come about," he confided, self absorbed still. "Her mother keeps the res'rant acrost the street where I take my meals (I used to have a Greaser woman, but I got sick of frijoles and gorditas and chili and all that stuff), and after dinner every afternoon, she and me would put two saucers of fly-paper on a table and we would set and bet on which would catch the most flies before four o'clock. You ain't no idea how interestin' it got to be. The way we watched them flies was certainly intense. Sometimes, I tell you, she'd get that excited she'd scream when they couldn't make up their minds to[Pg 169] light. Once her mother come runnin' in, thinkin' I was tryin' to kiss her." He beamed upon Cairness, and accepted congratulations charmingly, sipping his soda-pop with quite a rakish little air. "What brought you here?" he remembered to ask, at length.
Were the ca?on of the Aravaypa in any other place than Arizona, which, as the intelligent public knows, is all one wide expanse of dry and thirsty country, a parched place in the wilderness, a salt land, and not inhabited; were it in any other place, it would be set forth in railway folders, and there would be camping privileges and a hotel, and stages would make regular trips to it, and one would come upon groups of excursionists on burros, or lunching among its boulders. Already it has been in a small way discovered, and is on the road to being vulgarized by the camera. The lover of Nature, he who loves the soul as well as the face of her, receives when he sees a photograph of a fine bit of scenery he had felt in a way his own property until then, something the blow that the lover of a woman does when he learns that other men than he have known her caresses. [Pg 285]