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The Enchanted Canyon
by Honore Willsie Morrow
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The plateau was rough, deep covered with broken rock, but the trail, though faint, held to the edge. At this edge the men paused. The Colorado lay before them.

Fifty feet below them was a wide stretch of sand. Next, the river, smooth brown, slipping rapidly westward. Beyond the water, on the opposite side, a chaos of rocks greater than any Enoch had yet seen, a pile huge as if a mountain had fallen to pieces at the river's edge. Behind the broken rock rose the canyon wall, sheer black, forbidding, two thousand feet into the air. Its top cut straight and sharp across the sky line, the sky line unbroken save where rising behind the wall a mountain peak, snow capped, flecked with scarlet and gold, towered in the sunlight.

"There you are, Curly!" exclaimed Mack. "There's a spring in the cave beneath us. There's drift wood, enough to run a factory with. Have I delivered the goods, or not?"

"Everything is as per advertisement except the gold," replied Curly.

"Oh, well, I don't vouch for the gold!" said Mack. "I just said the Indians claim they get it here. There's some grazing for the critters up here on the plateau, you see, and not a bit below. So we'll drive 'em back up here and leave 'em. With a little feed of oats once in a while, they'll do. Come ahead! It'll be dark in the Canyon inside of two hours."

The cave proved to be a hollow overhang of the plateau ten or fifteen feet deep, and twice as wide. The floor was covered with sand.

"All ready to go to housekeeping!" exclaimed Curly. "Judge, you wrangle firewood while Mack and I just give this placer idea a ten minutes' trial, will you?"

"Go ahead!" said Enoch, "all the gold in the Colorado couldn't tempt me like something to eat. If you aren't ready by the time the fire's going, Mack, I shall start supper."

"Go to it! I can stand it if you can!" returned Mack, who had already unpacked his pan.

From that moment Enoch became the commissary and steward for the expedition. Curly and Mack, whom he had known as mild and jovial companions of many interests and leisurely manners, changed in a twinkling to monomaniacs who during every daylight hour except for the short interim which they snatched for eating, sought for gold. At first Enoch laughed at them and tried to get them to take an occasional half day off in which to explore with him. But they curtly refused to do this, so he fell back on his own resources. And he discovered that the days were all too short. Curly had a gun. There was plenty of ammunition. Quail and cottontails were to be found on the plateau where the stock was grazing. Sometimes on Pablo, sometimes afoot, Enoch with the gun, and sometimes with the black diary rolled in his coat, scoured the surrounding country.

One golden afternoon he edged his way around the shoulder of a gnarled and broken peak, in search of rabbits for supper. Just at the outermost point of the shoulder he came upon a cedar twisting itself about a broad, flat bowlder. Enoch instantly stopped the search for game and dropped upon the rock, his back against the cedar. Lighting his pipe, he gave himself up to contemplation of the view. Below him yawned blue space, flecked with rose colored mists. Beyond this mighty blue chasm lay a mountain of purest gold, banded with white and silhouetted against a sky of palest azure. An eagle dipped lazily across the heavens.

When he had gazed his fill, Enoch put his pipe in his pocket, unrolled the diary and, balancing it oh his knee, began to write:

"Oh, Diana, no wonder you are lovely! No wonder you are serene and pure and reverent!

'And her's shall be the breathing balm And her's the silence and the calm'—

"You remember how it goes, Diana.

"I heard Curly curse yesterday. A thousand echoes sent his words back to him and he looked at the glory of the canyon walls and was ashamed. I saw shame in his eyes.

"It was not cowardice that drove me away for this interval, Diana. Never believe that of me! I was afraid, yes, but of myself, not of the newspapers. If I had stayed on the train, I would have returned at once to Washington and have shot the reporter who wrote the stuff. Perhaps I shall do it yet. But if I do, it will be after the Canyon and I have come to agreement on the subject. I am very sure I shall shoot Brown. Some one should have done it, long ago.

"I wonder what you are doing this afternoon. Somewhere between a hundred and a hundred and fifty miles we are from Bright Angel, Mack says, via the river. And only a handful of explorers, you told me, ever have completed the trip down the Colorado. I would like to try it.

"Diana, you look at me with your gentle, faithful eyes, the corners of your lips a little uncertain as if you want to tell me that I am disappointing you and yet, because you are so gentle, you did not want to hurt me. Diana, don't be troubled about me. I shall go back, long enough at least to discharge my pressing duties. After that, who knows or cares! Oh, Diana! Diana! What is the use? There is nothing left in my life. I am empty—empty!

"Even all this is make believe, for, as soon as you saw that I was beginning to care for you,—beginning is a good word here!—you went away.

"Good-by, Diana."

Enoch's gun made no contribution to the larder that night. Curly uttered loud and bitter comment on the fact.

"You're getting spoiled by high living," said Enoch severely. "What would you have done if I hadn't come along and taken pity on you? Why, you and Mack would have starved to death here in the Canyon, for it's morally certain neither of you would have stopped panning gold long enough to prepare your food."

"Right you are, Judge," replied Curly meekly. "I'm going to try to get Mack to rebate two bits a day on your board, as a token of our appreciation."

"Not when his biscuits have to be broken open with a stone," objected Mack, as he sopped in his coffee one of the gray objects Enoch had served as rolls.

"They say when a woman that's done her own cooking first gets a hired girl, she becomes right picky about her food," rejoined Curly.

"I'd give notice if I had any place to go," said Enoch. "What was the luck to-day, boys?"

"Well, I've about come to the conclusion," replied Mack, "that by working eight hours a day you can just about wash wages out of this sand, and that's all."

"You aren't going to give it up now, are you, Mack?" asked Curly, in alarm.

"No, I'll stay this week out, if you want to, and then move on up to Devil's Canyon."

They were silently smoking around the fire, a little later, when Curly said:

"I have a hunch that you and I're not going to get independent wealth out of this expedition, Mack."

"What would you do with it, if you had it, Curly?" asked Enoch.

"A lot of things!" Curly ruminated darkly for a few moments, then he looked at Enoch long and keenly. "Smith, you're a lawyer, but I believe you're straight. There's something about you a man can't help trusting, and I think you've been successful. You have that way with you. Do you know what I'd do if I was taken suddenly rich? Well, I'd hire you, at your own price, to give all your time to breaking two men, Fowler and Brown."

"Easy now, Curly!" Mack spoke soothingly. "Don't get het up. What's the use?"

"I'm not het up. I want to get the Judge's opinion of the matter."

"Go ahead. I'm much interested," said Enoch.

"By Brown, I mean the fellow that owns the newspapers. When my brother and Fowler were in law together—"

"You should make an explanation right there," interrupted Mack. "You said all lawyers was crooks."

"My brother Harry was straight and I've just given my opinion of Smith here. I never liked Fowler, but he had great personal charm and Harry never would take any of my warnings about him. Brown was a short-legged Eastern college boy who worked on the local paper for his health. How he and Fowler ever met up, I don't know, but they did, and the law office was Brown's chief hang-out. Now all three of 'em were as poor as this desert. Nobody was paying much for law in Arizona in those days. Our guns was our lawyers. But by some fluke, Harry was made trustee of a big estate—a smelting plant that had been left to a kid. After a few years, the courts called for an accounting, and it turned out that my brother was short about a hundred thousand dollars. He seemed totally bewildered when this was discovered, swore he knew nothing about it and was terribly upset. And this devil of a Fowler turns round and says Harry made way with it and produces Brown as a witness. And, by the lord, the court believed them! My brother killed himself." Curly cleared his throat. "It wasn't six months after that that Fowler and Brown, who left the state right after the tragedy, bought a couple of newspapers. They claimed they got the money from some oil wells they'd struck in Mexico."

"How is it the country at large doesn't know of Fowler's association with Brown?" asked Enoch.

"Oh, they didn't stay pardners as far as the public knows, but a few years. They were too clever! They gave out that they'd had a split and they say nobody ever sees them together. All the same, even when they were seeming to ignore him, the Brown papers have been making Fowler."

"And you want to clear your brother's name," said Enoch thoughtfully. "That ought not to be difficult. You could probably do it yourself, if you could give the time, and were clever at sleuthing. The papers in the case should be accessible to you."

"Shucks!" exclaimed Curly. "I wouldn't go at it that way at all. I got something real on Fowler and Brown and I want to use it to make them confess."

"Sounds like blackmail," said Enoch.

"Sure! That's where I need a lawyer! Now, I happen to know a personal weakness of Fowler's—"

"Don't go after him on that!" Enoch's voice was peremptory. "If he's done evil to some one else, throw the light of day on his crime, but if by his weakness you mean only some sin he commits against himself, keep off. A man, even a crook, has a right to that much privacy."

"Did Brown ever have decency toward a man's seclusion?" demanded Curly.

"No!" half shouted Enoch. "But to punish him don't turn yourself into the same kind of a skunk he is. Kill him if you have to. Don't be a filthy scandal monger like Brown!"

"You speak as if you knew the gentleman," grunted Mack.

"I don't know him," retorted Enoch, "except as the world knows him."

"Then you don't know him, or Fowler either," said Curly. "But I happen to have discovered something that both those gentlemen have been mixed up in, in Mexico, something—oh, by Jove, but it's racy!"

"You've managed to keep it to yourself, so far," said Mack.

"Meaning I'd better continue to do so! Only so long as it serves my purpose, Mack. When I get ready to raise hell about Fowler's and Brown's ears, no consideration for decency will stop me. I'll be just as merciful to them as they were to Harry. No more! I'll string their dirty linen from the Atlantic to the Pacific. His and Brown's! But I want money enough to do it right. No little piker splurge they can buy up! I'll have those two birds weeping blood!"

Enoch moistened his lips. "What's the story, Curly?" he asked evenly.

Curly filled and lighted his pipe. But before he could answer Enoch, Mack said;

"Sleep on it, Curly. Mud slinging's bad business. Sleep on it!"

"I've a great contempt for Brown," said Enoch. "I'm a good deal tempted to help you out, that is, if it is to the interest of the public that the story be told."

"It will interest the public. You can bet on that!" Curly laughed sardonically. Then he rose, with a yawn. "But it's late and we'll finish the story to-morrow night. Judge, I have a hunch you're my man! I sabez there's heap devil in you, if we could once get you mad."

Enoch shrugged his shoulders. "Perhaps!" he said, and he unrolled his blankets for bed.

But it was long before he slept. The hand of fate was on him, he told himself. How else could he have been led in all the wide desert to find this man who held Brown's future in his hands? Suddenly Enoch saw himself returning to Washington with power to punish as he had been punished. His feeble protests to Curly were swept away. He felt the blood rush to his temples. And anger that had so far been submerged by pain and shame suddenly claimed its hour. His rage was not only at Brown. Luigi, his mother, most of all this woman who had been his mother, claimed his fury. The bitterness and humiliation of a lifetime burst through the gates of his self-control. He stole from the cave to the sandy shore and there he strode up and down like a madman. He was physically exhausted long before the tempest subsided. But gradually he regained his self-control and slipped back into his blankets. There, with the thought of vengeance sweet on his lips, he fell asleep.

Curly was, of course, entirely engrossed the next day by his mining operations. Enoch had not expected or wished him to be otherwise. He felt that he needed the day alone to get a grip on himself.

That afternoon he climbed up the plateau to the entering trail, up the trail to the desert. He was full of energy. He was conscious of a purposefulness and a keen interest in life to which he had long been a stranger. As he filled the gunny sack which he carried for a game bag with quail and rabbits, he occasionally laughed aloud. He was thinking of the expression that would appear on Curly's face if he learned into whose hands he was putting his dynamite?

The sun was setting when he reached the head of the trail on his way campward. All the world to the west, sky, peaks, mesas, sand and rock had turned to a burning rose color. The plateau edge, near his feet, was green. These were the only two colors in all the world. Enoch stood absorbed by beauty when a sound of voices came faintly from behind him.

His first thought was that Mack and Curly had stolen a march on him. His next was that strangers, who might recognize him, were near at hand. He started down the trail as rapidly as he dared. It was dusk when he reached the foot. For the last half of the trip voices had been floating down to him, as the newcomers threaded their way slowly but steadily. Enoch stood panting at the foot of the trail, listening acutely. A voice called. Another voice answered. Enoch suddenly lost all power to move. The full moon sailed silently over the plateau wall. Enoch, grasping his gun and his game bag, stood waiting.

A mule came swiftly down the last turn of the trail and headed for the spring. The man who was riding him pulled him back on his haunches with a "Whoa, you mule!" that echoed like a cannon shot. Then he flung himself off with another cry.

"Oh, boss! Oh, boss! Here he is, Miss Diana! O dear Lord, here he is! Boss! Boss! How come you to treat me so!"

And Jonas threw his arms around Enoch with a sob that could not be repressed.

Enoch put a shaking hand on Jonas' shoulder. "So you found your bad charge, old man, didn't you?"

"Me find you? No, boss, Miss Diana, she found you. Here she is!"

Diana dropped from her horse, slender and tall in her riding clothes.

"So Jonas' pain is relieved, eh, Mr. Huntingdon! Are you having a good holiday?"

"Great!" replied Enoch huskily.

"I told Jonas it was the most sensible thing a man could do, who was as tired as you are, but he would have it you'd die without him. If you don't want him, I'll take him away."

"You'd have to take me feet first, Miss Diana," said Jonas, with a grin. "Where's that Na-che?"

"Here she comes!" laughed Diana. "Poor Na-che! She hates to hurry! She's got a real grievance against you, Jonas."

Two pack mules lunged down the trail, followed by a squat figure on an Indian pony.

"This is Na-che, Mr. Huntingdon," said Diana.

Enoch shook hands with the Indian woman, whose face was as dark as Jonas' in the moonlight. "Where's your camp, Mr. Huntingdon?" Diana went on.

"Just a moment!" Enoch had recovered his composure. "I am with two miners, Mackay and Field. To them, I am a lawyer named Smith. I would like very much to remain unknown to them during the remaining two weeks of my vacation."

Jonas heaved a great sigh that sounded curiously like an expression of vast and many sided relief. Then he chuckled. "Easy enough for me. You can't never be nothing but Boss to me."

But Diana was troubled. "I thought we'd camp with your outfit to-night. But we'd better not. I'd be sure to make a break. Are you positive that these men don't know you?"

"Positive!" exclaimed Enoch. "Why, just look at me, Miss Allen!"

Diana glanced at boots, overalls and flannel shirt, coming to pause at the fine lion-like head. "Of course, your disguise is very impressive," she laughed. "But I would say that it was impressive in that it accents your own peculiarities."

"That outfit is something fierce, boss. I brung you some riding breeches," exclaimed Jonas.

"I don't want 'em," said Enoch. "Miss Allen, Field calls me Judge. How would that do?"

"Well, I'll try it," agreed Diana reluctantly. "I know both the men, by the way. Mack, especially, is well known among the Indians. What explanation shall we make them?"

"Why not the truth?" asked Enoch. "I mean, tell them that I slipped away from my friends and that Jonas tagged."

"Very well!" Diana and Jonas both nodded.

"And now," Enoch lifted his game bag, "let's get on. My partners are going to be worried. And I'm the cook for the outfit, too."

"Boss," Jonas took the game bag, "you take my mule and go on with Miss Diana and Na-che and I'll come along with the rest of the cattle."

Enoch obediently mounted, Diana fell in beside him, and looked anxiously into his face. "Please, Judge, are you very cross with me for breaking in on you? But poor Jonas was consumed with fear for you."

Enoch put his hand on Diana's as it rested on her knee. "You must know!" he said, and was silent.

"Then it's all right," sighed Diana, after a moment.

"Yes, it's quite all right! How did Jonas find you?"

"It seems that he and Charley concluded that you must have headed toward Bright Angel. Charley went on to Washington to keep things in order there. Jonas went up to El Tovar. I had just outfitted for a trip into the Hopi country when Jonas came to me. He had talked to no one. He is wonderfully circumspect, but he was frantic beneath his calm. He begged me to find you for him and—well, I was a little anxious myself—so I didn't need much urging. We had only been out a week when we met John Red Sun. The rest was easy. If a person sticks to the trails in Arizona it's difficult not to trace them. Look, Judge, your friends have lighted a signal fire."

"Poor chaps! They're starved and worried!" Enoch quickened his mule's pace and Diana fell in behind him.

Mack and Curly were standing beside the blaze at the edge of the plateau. Enoch jumped from the saddle.

"I'm awfully sorry, fellows! But you see, I was detained by a lady!"

"For heaven's sake, Diana!" cried Mack. "Where did you come from?"

"Hello, Mack! Hello, Curly!" Diana dismounted and shook hands. "Well, the Judge gave his friends the slip. Everybody was satisfied but his colored man, Jonas. He was absolutely certain the Judge wouldn't keep his face clean or his feet dry and he so worked on my feelings that I trailed you people. I was going into the Hopi country anyhow."

Curly gave Enoch a knowing glance. "We thought he was putting something over on us. What is he, Diana, a member of the Supreme Bench?"

"Huh! Hardly!"

Everybody laughed at Diana's derisive tone and Curly added, "Anyhow, he's a rotten cook. I was thinking of putting Mack back on his old job."

"Don't intrude, Curly," said Enoch. "I've been out and brought in an assistant who's an expert."

"That's you, I suppose, Diana!" Mack chuckled.

"No, it's Jonas, the colored man. He'll be along with Na-che in a moment. This isn't your camp?"

"Come along, Miss Allen!" exclaimed Enoch. "I'll show you a camp that's run by an expert."

Mack and Curly groaned and followed Enoch and Diana down to the cave, Jonas and Na-che appearing shortly. Jonas, hobbling to the cave opening stood for a moment, gazing at the group around the fire in silent despair. Finally he said:

"When I get back to Washington, if I live to get there, they'll put me out of the Baptist Church as a liar, if I try to tell 'em what I been through. Boss, what you trying to do?"

"Dress these quail," grunted Enoch.

Jonas gave Curly and Mack a withering glance, started to speak, swallowed something and said, "How come you to think you was a butcher, boss? Leave me get my hands on those birds. I should think you done enough, killing 'em."

"No," said Enoch, "I'm the cook for to-night. But, Jonas, old man, if you aren't too knocked up, you might make some biscuit."

"Jonas looks to me," suggested Mack, "like a cup of coffee and a seat by the fire was about his limit to-night. I'll get the rest of the grub, if you'll tend to the quail, Judge. Curly, you go out and unpack for Diana. We'll turn the cave over to you and Na-che to-night, Diana."

Diana, who was sitting on a rock by the fire, long, slender legs crossed, hands clasping one knee, an amused spectator of the scene, looked up at Mack with a smile.

"Indeed you won't, Mack. Na-che and I have our tent. We'll put it up in the sand, as usual. And tomorrow, having delivered our prize package, we'll be on our way."

Enoch looked up quickly. "Don't be selfish, Miss Allen!" he exclaimed.

"That's the idea!" Mack joined in vehemently. Then he added, with a grin, "The Judge has plumb ruined our quiet little expedition anyhow. And after two weeks of him and Curly, I'm darn glad to see you, Diana. How's your Dad?"

"Very well, indeed! If he had had any idea that I was going on this sort of trip, though, I think he'd have insisted on coming with me. Judge, let me finish those birds. You're ruining them."

"Whose quail are these, I'd like to know?" demanded Enoch.

"Yours," replied Diana meekly, "but I had thought that some edible portion besides the pope's nose and the neck ought to be left on them."

Jonas, who had been crouching uneasily on a rock, a disapproving spectator of the scene, groaned audibly. Na-che now came into the glow of the fire. She was a comely-faced woman, of perhaps forty-five, neatly dressed in a denim suit. Her black eyes twinkled as she took in the situation.

"Na-che, you come over here and sit down by me," said Jonas. "If I can't help, neither can you."

Na-che smiled, showing strong white teeth. "You feel sick from the saddle, eh, Jonas?"

"Don't you worry about that, woman! I'll show you I'm as good as any Indian buck that ever lived!"

Na-che grunted incredulously, but sat down beside Jonas nevertheless.

In spite of the gibes, supper was ready eventually and was devoured with approval. When the meal was finished, Na-che and Jonas cleared up, then Jonas took his blanket and retired to a corner of the cave, whence emerged almost immediately the sound of regular snoring. The others sat around the fire only a short time.

"You'll stick around for a little while, won't you, Diana?" said Curly, as he filled his first pipe.

"I really ought to pull out in the morning," replied Diana. "There are some very special pictures I want to get at Oraibai about now."

"There is a cliff dwelling down the river about three miles," said Enoch. "I haven't found the trail into it yet, but I saw the dwelling distinctly from a curve on the top of the Canyon wall. It's a huge construction."

"Is that so?" exclaimed Diana eagerly. "Why, those must be the Gray ruins. I didn't realize we were so close to them. Well, you've tempted me and I've fallen. I really must give a day to those remains. Only one or two whites have ever gone through them."

Enoch smiled complacently.

"How long have you and the Judge known each other, Diana?" asked Curly suddenly.

Diana hesitated but Enoch spoke quickly. "The first time I saw Miss Allen she was a baby of five or six on Bright Angel trail."

Curly whistled. "Then you've got it on the rest of us. I first saw her when she was a sassy miss in school at Tucson."

"Nothing on me!" said Mack. "I held her in my arms when she was ten days old, and my wife was with her mother and Na-che when she was born. You were a red-faced, squalling brat, Diana."

"She was a beautiful baby! She never cried," contradicted Na-che flatly.

Diana laughed and rose. "This is getting too personal. I'm going to bed," she said. The men looked at her, admiration in every face.

"Anything any of us can do for your comfort, Diana?" asked Curly. "Na-che seemed satisfied with the place I put your tent in."

"Everything is fine, thank you," Diana held out her hand, "Good night, Curly. I really think you're handsomer than ever."

"Lots of good that'll do me," retorted Curly.

Diana made a little grimace at him and turned to Mack. "Good night, Mack. I'll bet you're homesick for Mrs. Mack this minute."

"She's a pretty darned fine old woman!" Mack nodded soberly.

"Old!" said Diana scornfully. "You ought to have your ears boxed! Good night, Judge!"

"Good night, Miss Allen!"

The three men watched the tall figure swing out into the moonlight.

"There goes the most beautiful human being I ever hope to see," said Curly, turning to unroll his blankets.

"If I was a painter and wanted to tell what this here country was really like, at its best, I'd paint Diana." Mack's voice was very earnest.

"Shucks!" sniffed Curly, "that isn't saying anything, is it, Judge?"

"It's hard to put her into words," replied Enoch carefully. "Curly, are you too tired to continue our last night's talk?"

"Oh, let's put it over till to-morrow! We've lots of time!" Curly gave a great yawn.

Enoch said nothing more but rolled himself in his blankets, with the full intention of formulating his line of conduct toward Diana before going to sleep. He stretched himself luxuriously in the sand and the next thing he heard was Diana's laugh outside. He opened his eyes in bewilderment. It was dawn without the cave. Jonas was hobbling down toward the river.

"Oh, Jonas, you poor thing! Do let Na-che give you a good rubdown before you try to do anything!"

"No, Miss Diana. If the boss can stand these goings on, I can. How come he ever thought this was sport, I don't know. I'll never live to get him back home!"

"Where are you going, Jonas?" called Curly.

Jonas paused. "I ain't going to turn myself round, unless I have to. What's wanted?"

"I just wanted to warn you that the Colorado's no place for a morning swim," Curly said.

"I'm just going to get the boss's shaving water."

"There's a hint for you, Judge," Curly turned to Enoch. "I hope you plan to give more attention to your toilet after this."

"You go to blazes, Curly," said Enoch amiably. "I haven't got the reputation for pulchritude to live up to that you have."

"Diana's imagination was in working order last night," volunteered Mack. "To my positive knowledge Curly ain't washed or shaved for three days."

"You've drunk of the Hassayampa too, Mack!" Curly ran the comb through his black locks vindictively.

"What's the effect of that draught?" asked Enoch.

"You never tell the truth again," said Curly.

Na-che's voice floated in. "Jonas, you tell the men I got breakfast already for 'em. Tell 'em to bring their own cups and plates."

"Sounds rotten, huh?" Curly sauntered out of the cave.

It was a very pleasant meal. To Enoch it was all a dream. It seemed impossible for him to absorb the fact that he and Diana were together in the Colorado Canyon. When the last of the coffee was gone, Curly looked at his watch, then turned severely to Enoch.

"We're an hour earlier than we've ever been, and all because of women! Aren't you ashamed?"

"Run along and wash dirt," returned Enoch. "For two cents I'd tell how long it took me to get you up yesterday morning."

"What's your program, Diana?" asked Mack.

"Na-che and I are going over to the cliff dwelling. We'll be gone all day."

"I'll act as guide," said Enoch with alacrity.

"It's not necessary!" exclaimed Diana. "I don't want to interrupt your camp routine at all. You just give us directions, Judge. Na-che and I are old hands at this, you know."

"Oh, take him along, Diana! He'll be crying in a minute," sniffed Curly. "Jonas, you'll stay and give us a feed, won't you?"

"I got to look out for the boss," Jonas spoke anxiously.

A shout went up. "Jonas, old boy," said Enoch, "you stay in camp to-day and er—look over my clothes."

"I will, boss," with intense relief, "and I'll make you a stew out of those rabbits nobody'll forget in a hurry."

Mack and Curly hurried off to the river's edge. Na-che and Jonas went into the cave. Enoch looked at Diana. She was standing by the breakfast fire slender and straight in her brown corduroy riding suit, her wide, intelligent eyes studying Enoch's face. There was a glow of crimson in the cream of her cheeks, for the morning air held frost in its touch.

"May I go with you?" repeated Enoch. "I'll be very good!"

Diana did not reply at first. Moonlight and firelight had not permitted her before to read clearly the story of suffering that was in Enoch's face. During breakfast he had been laughing and chatting constantly. But now, as he stood before her, she was appalled by what she saw in the rugged face. There were two straight, deep lines between his brows. The lines from nostril to lip corner were doubly pronounced. The thin, sensitive lips were compressed. The clear, kindly blue eyes were contracted as if Enoch were enduring actual physical pain. Tall and powerful, his dark red hair tossed back from his forehead, his look of trouble did not detract from the peculiar forcefulness of his personality.

"If you hesitate so long," he said, "I shall—"

Diana laughed. "Begin to cry, as Curly said? Oh, don't do that! I shall be very happy to have you with me, but before we start, I think I shall develop some of the films I exposed on the way over. A ten o'clock start will be early enough, won't it? I have a developing machine with me. It may not take me even until ten."

Enoch nodded. "How does the work go?" he asked eagerly. "Did you attend the ceremony Na-che sent word to you about?"

"Yes! Out of a hundred exposures I made there, I think I got one fairly satisfactory picture." Diana sighed. "After all, the camera tells the story no better than words, and words are futile. Look! What medium could one use to tell the world of that?"

She swept her arm to embrace the view before them. The tiny sandy beach was on a curve of the river so sharp that above and below them the rushing waters seemed to drive into blind canyon walls. To the right, the Canyon on both sides was so sheer, the river bed so narrow that nothing but sky was to be seen above and beyond. But to the left, the south canyon wall terraced back at perhaps a thousand feet in a series of magnificent strata, yellow, purple and crimson. Still south of this, lifted great weathered buttes and mesas, fortifications of the gods against time itself. The morning sun had not yet reached the camp, but it shone warm and vivid on the peaks to the south, burning through the drifting mists from the river, in colors that thrilled the heart like music.

Enoch's eyes followed Diana's gesture. "I know," he said, softly. "It's impossible to express it. I've thought of you and your work so often, down here. Somehow, though, you do suggest the unattainable in your pictures. It's what makes them great."

Diana shook her head and turned toward her tent, while Enoch lighted his pipe and began his never-ending task of bringing in drift wood. He paused, a log on his shoulder, before Curly, who was squatting beside his muddy pan.

"Curly," he said, "is that stuff you have on Fowler and Brown, political, financial, or a matter of personal morals?"

"Personal morals and worse!" grunted Curly. "It's some story!"

Enoch turned away without comment. But the lines between his eyes deepened.



CHAPTER IX

THE CLIFF DWELLING

"Love! that which turns the meanest man to a god in some one's eyes! Yet I must not know it! Suppose I cast my responsibility to the winds and . . . and yet that sense of responsibility is all that differentiates me from Minetta Lane."—Enoch's Diary.

Diana began work on her films on a little folding table beside the spring. Enoch, throwing down his log close to the cave opening, paused to watch her. Jonas and Na-che, putting the cave in order, talked quietly to each other. Suddenly from the river, to the right, there rose a man's half choking, agonized shout and around the curve shot a skiff, bottom up, a man clinging to the gunwale. The water was too wild and swift for swimming.

"The rope, Judge, the rope!" cried Mack.

Enoch picked up a coil of rope, used for staking the horses, and ran to Mack who snatched it, twirled it round his head and as the boat rushed by him, the noosed end shot across the gunwale. The man caught it over his wrist and it was the work of but a few moments to pull him ashore.

He was a young man, with a two days' beard on his face, clad in the universal overalls and blue flannel shirt. He lay on the sand, too exhausted to move for perhaps five minutes, while Jonas pulled off his sodden shoes, and Na-che ran to kindle a fire and heat water. After a moment, however the stranger began to talk.

"Almost got me that time! Forgot to put my life preserver on. Don't bother about me. I'm drowned every day. Another boat with the rest of us should be along shortly. Hope they salvaged some of the stuff."

"What in time are you trying to do on the river, anyhow?" demanded Curly. "There's simpler ways of committing suicide."

The young man laughed. "Oh, we're some more fools trying to get from Green River to Needles!"

"On a bet?" asked Mack.

"Hardly! On a job! Geological Survey! Four of us! There they come! Whoo—ee!"

He staggered to his feet, as another boat shot around the curve. But this one came through in proper style, right side up, two men manning the oars and a third with a steering paddle. With an answering shout, they ran quickly up on the shore. They were a rough-bearded, overalled lot, young men, all of them.

"Gee whiz, Harden! We thought you were finished!" exclaimed the tallest of the trio.

"I would have been, but for these folks," replied Harden. "Here, let's make some introductions!"

They were stalwart fellows. Milton, the leader, was sandy-haired and freckled, a University of California man. Agnew was stocky and swarthy, an old Princeton graduate and Forrester, a thin, blonde chap had worked in New York City before he joined the Geological Survey. They were astonished by this meeting in the Canyon, but delighted beyond measure. They had been on the river for seven months and up to this time had met no one except when they went out for supplies.

"We camped up above those rapids, last night," said Milton. "Of course we didn't know of this spot. We really had nothing but a ledge, up there. This morning Harden undertook to patch his boat, with this result." He nodded toward the shivering cast-a-way, who had crowded himself to Na-che's fire. "Have you folks any objection to our stopping here to make repairs?"

"Lord, no! Glad to have you!" said Mack.

Enoch laughed. "Mack, it's no use! You and Curly are doomed to take on guests as surely as a dog takes on fleas. They started out alone, Milton, for a little vacation prospecting trip. I caught them a few days out and made them take me on. Then Miss Allen came along last night, and now your outfit! I'm sorry for you, Mack."

"I'll try to live through it," grinned Mack.

"Did you fellows find any pay gravel, coming down?" asked Curly.

"We didn't look for any," answered Agnew, "But a few years ago, I picked this out of the river bed."

He showed Curly a nugget as large as a pea. "Where the devil did you find that?" exclaimed Curly, eagerly.

"I can show you on our map," replied Agnew.

"I'll go fifty-fifty with you," proffered Curly. "Me to do all the work."

"No, you won't," laughed Agnew. "Say, old man, I put in four years, trying to make money out of the Colorado and I swear, the only real cash I've ever made on it has been the magnificent wages the Secretary of the Interior allows me. I'll keep the nugget. You can have whatever else you find there. Believe me, you'll earn it, before you get it!"

"You're foolish but I'm on! Mack, when shall we move?"

"I want to know a lot more before I break up my happy home." Mack's voice was dry. "In the meantime you fellows make yourselves comfortable. Come on, Curly. Let's get back to work!"

"Mr. Curly," said Jonas, "will you let me see that nugget?"

"Sure, Jonas, here it is!"

Jonas turned it over on his brown palm. "You mean to say you pick up gold like that, down here?"

"That's what I did," replied Agnew.

"Kin any one do it?"

"Yes, sir!"

"How come it everybody ain't down here doing it right now?"

"The going is pretty stiff," said Harden, with a grin, glancing at his steaming legs.

"Boss," Jonas turned the nugget over and over, "let's have a try at these ructions, before we go back!"

"Are you game to take to the boats, Jonas?" asked Enoch.

"No, boss, we'll just go over the hills, like Miss Diana does. For the Lord's sake, who'd want to go back to—"

"Jonas," interrupted Diana. "If you and Na-che will put together a lunch for us, the Judge and I will get started."

"I didn't quite get your name, sir," said Milton to Enoch.

"Just Smith," called Curly, from over his pan of gravel. "Mr. Just Smith! Judge, for short."

"Oh!" Milton continued to stare at Enoch in a puzzled way. "I beg your pardon! Come on, Harden, you're pretty well steamed out. Let's go back and see what we can salvage, while Ag and Forr begin to overhaul the stuff we've already pulled out."

Not a half hour later, Enoch, Diana and Na-che were making their way slowly up the plateau trail, not however, to climb up the old trail to the main land. They turned midway toward their right. There was no trail, but Enoch knew the way by the distant peaks. They traveled afoot, single file, each with a canteen, a little packet of food and Na-che with the camera tripod, while Enoch insisted on toting the camera and the coil of rope. The sun was hot on the plateau and the way very rough. They climbed constantly over ragged boulders, and chaotic rock heaps, or rounded deep fissures that cut the plateau like spider webs. Muscular and in good form as was the trio, frequent rests were necessary. They had one mishap. Na-che, lagging behind, slipped into a fissure. Enoch and Diana blanched at her sudden scream and ran back as she disappeared. Mercifully a great rock had tumbled into the crevice some time before and Na-che landed squarely on this, six feet below the surface. When Diana and Enoch peered over, she was sitting calmly on the rock, still clinging to the tripod.

"I lost my lunch!" she grumbled as she looked up at them.

Diana laughed. "You may have mine! Better no lunch than no Na-che. Give us hold of the end of the tripod, honey, and we'll help you out."

A few moments of strenuous scrambling and pulling and Na-che was on the plateau brushing the sand from her clothes.

"Sit down and get your breath, Na-che," said Enoch.

"I'm fine! I don't need to sit," answered Na-che. "Let's get along." She started on briskly.

"I suppose things like that are of daily occurrence!" exclaimed Enoch. "Miss Allen, don't you think you could be more careful!"

Again Diana laughed. "It wasn't I who slipped into the crevice!"

"No, but I'll wager you've had many an accident."

"That's where part of the fun comes in. Why, only yesterday we had the most thrilling escape. We—"

"Please! I don't want to hear it!" protested Enoch,

"Pshaw! There's no more daily risk here, than there is in the streets of a large city."

Enoch grunted and followed as Diana hurried after Na-che. The course now led along the edge of the plateau which here hung directly above the river. The water twisted far below like a sinuous brown ribbon. The nooning sky was bronze blue and burning hot. The world seemed very huge, to Enoch; the three of them, toiling so carefully over the yellow plateau, very small and insignificant. He did not talk much during the rest intervals. He would light his pipe and smoke as if in physical contentment, but his deep blue eyes were burning and somber as they rested on the vast emptiness about them. Na-che always dozed during the stops. Diana, after she had observed the look in Enoch's eyes, occupied herself in writing up her note book.

It was just noon when they came to an old trail which Enoch believed dropped to the cliff dwelling. Before descending it, they ate their lunch, Enoch and Diana sharing with Na-che. This done, they began to work carefully down the faint old trail. For ten or fifteen minutes, they wormed zig-zag downward, the angle of descent so great that frequently they were obliged to sit down and slide, controlling their speed by clinging to the rocks on either side. They could not see the cliff dwelling; only the river winding so remotely below. But at the end of the fifteen minutes the trail stopped abruptly. So unexpectedly, in fact, that Enoch clung to a rock while his legs dangled over the abyss. He shouted to the others to wait while he peered dizzily below. A great section of the wall had broken away and the trail could not be taken up again until a sheer gap of twenty feet had been bridged.

Diana crept close behind Enoch and peered over his shoulders.

"If we tie the rope to this pointed rock, I think we can lower ourselves, don't you?" he asked.

"Easily!" agreed Diana. "I'll go first."

"Well, hardly! I'll go first and Na-che can bring up the rear, as usual."

They knotted the rope around the rock and Enoch and Diana quickly and easily made the descent. Na-che lowered the camera and tripod to them, then examined, with a sudden exclamation, the rock to which the rope was tied. "That rock will give way any minute," she cried. "Your weight has cracked it."

Even as she spoke, the rock suddenly tilted and slid, then bounded out to the depths below, carrying the rope with it. For a moment no one spoke, then Na-che, her round brown face wrinkled with amusement, said,

"Almost no Na-che, no Diana, no Judge, eh?"

"Jove, what an escape!" breathed Enoch.

"Na-che," said Diana, "you'll just have to return to the camp for another rope. You'd better ride back here. In the meantime, the Judge and I'll explore the dwelling."

Na-che nodded and without another word, disappeared. Diana turned to Enoch. "Lead ahead, Judge!"

The trail now led around a curve in the wall. Enoch edged gingerly beyond this and paused. The trail again was broken, but they were in full view of the cliff dwelling, which was snuggled in an inward curve of the Canyon, filling entirely a gigantic gap in the gray wall.

Diana exclaimed over its mute beauty. "I must see it!" she said. "But we can't bridge this gap without more ropes and more people to help."

"It looks to me," Enoch spoke with a sudden smile, "as though the Lord intended me to have a few moments alone with you!"

Diana smiled in return. "It does, indeed," she agreed.

"Let's try to settle ourselves comfortably here in view of the dwelling. I like to look at it. We can hear Na-che when she calls."

The trail was several feet wide at this point. Diana sat down on a rock, her back to the wall, clasping one knee with her brown fingers. For a little while Enoch stood looking from the dwelling to Diana, then far out to the glowing peaks across the Canyon to the north. Finally, he turned to silent contemplation of the lovely, slender figure against the wall. Diana's dignity, her utter sweetness, the something quieting and steadying in her personality never had seemed more pronounced to Enoch than in this country of magnificent heights and depths.

"Well," said Diana, finally, "after you've finished your inspection, perhaps you'll sit down and talk."

Enoch smiled and established himself beside her. He refilled his pipe, lighted it and laid it down. "Miss Allen," he said abruptly, "you saw the article in the Brown papers?"

"Yes," replied Diana.

"What did you think of it?"

"I thought what others think, that Brown is an unspeakable cur."

"I can't tell you how keenly I feel for you in the matter, Miss Allen. I would have given anything to have saved you from it."

"Would you? I'm not so sure that I would! You see, I'm just enough of a hero worshiper to be proud to have my name coupled in friendship with that of a great man."

"A great man!" repeated Enoch quietly, yet with a bitterness in his voice that wrung Diana's heart.

"Yes, Mr. Huntingdon," Diana's voice broke a little and she turned her head away.

The utter silence of the Canyon enveloped them.

At last Enoch said, "You have a big soul, Miss Allen, but you shall not sacrifice one smallest fragment of—of your perfection for me. If it is necessary for me to kill Brown, I shall do so."

Diana gasped, "Enoch!"

Enoch, at the sound of his name on her lips, touched her hand quickly and softly with his own, and as quickly drew it away, jumped to his feet and began to pace the trail.

"Yes, kill him, the cur! Diana, he did not even leave me a mother in the public mind! He maligned you. The burdens that I have carried for all the years, the horrors that I've wrestled with, the secret shames that I've hidden, he's exposed them all in the open marketplace. And he dragged you into my mire! Diana, each man must be broken in a different way. Some are broken by money, some by physical fear, some by spiritual fear, some—"

Diana interrupted. "Enoch, are you a friend of mine?"

Enoch turned his tortured eyes to hers. "I shall never tell you how much a friend I am to you, Diana. But my friendship is a fact you may draw on all the days of your life, as heavily as you will."

"And I am your friend. Though I know you so little, no friend is as dear to me as you are." She rose and coming to his side, she took his hand in both of hers.

"Dear Enoch, what a man like Brown can say of you in an article or two, has no permanent weight with the public. Scurrilous stories of that type kill themselves by their very scurrility. No matter how eagerly the public may lap up the stuff, it cannot really heed it for, Enoch, America knows you and your service. America loves you. Brown cannot dislodge you by slandering your mother. The real importance and danger of that story lies in its reaction on you. I—I could not help recalling the story of that tormented, red-haired boy who went down Bright Angel trail with my father and I had to come to help him, if I could. O Enoch, if the Canyon could only, once more, wipe Luigi Guiseppi out of your life!"

Enoch watched Diana's wide gray eyes with a look of painful eagerness.

"Nothing matters, nothing can matter, Enoch, except that you find the strength in the Canyon to go back to your work and that you leave Brown alone. That is what I want to demand of your friendship, that you promise me to do those two things."

"I shall go back, of course," replied Enoch, gravely. "I had no thought of doing otherwise. But about Brown, I cannot promise."

"Then will you agree not to go back until you have talked to me again?"

"Again? But I expect to talk to you many times, Diana! You are not going away, are you?"

Diana nodded. "I'm using another person's money and I must get on, to-morrow, with the work I agreed to do. Promise me, Enoch."

"But, Diana—O Diana! Diana! Let me go with you!"

Diana turned to face the dwelling. "The Canyon can do more for you than I can, Enoch. But we'll meet, say at El Tovar before you go back to Washington. Promise me, Enoch."

"Of course, I promise. But, Diana, how can I let you go!"

Enoch put his arm across Diana's shoulders and stood beside her, staring at the silent, deserted dwelling. It seemed to Enoch, standing so, that this was the sweetest and saddest moment of his life; saddest because he felt that in nothing more than friendship must he ever touch her hand with his: sweetest because for the first time in his history he was beginning to understand the depth and beauty that can exist in a friendship between a man and a woman.

"Diana," he said at last, "you may take yourself away from me, but nevertheless, I shall carry with me the thought of your loveliness, like a rod and a staff to sustain me."

When Diana turned to look at him there were tears in her eyes.

"I've always been glad that I was not ugly," she said, "but now,"—smiling through wet lashes—"you make me proud of it, though I can't see how the thought of it can—"

She paused and Enoch went on eagerly: "It's a seamy, rough world, Diana, all higgledy-piggledy. The beautiful souls are misplaced in ugly carcasses and the ugly souls in beautiful. Those who might be friends and lovers too often meet only to grieve that it is too late for their joy. In such a world, when one beholds a body that nature has chiseled and molded and polished to loveliness like yours and discovers that that loveliness is a true index of the intelligence and fineness of the character dwelling in the body—well, Diana, it gives one a new thought about God. It does, indeed!"

"Enoch, I don't deserve it! I truly don't!" looking at him with that curious mingling of tenderness and courtesy and understanding in her wide eyes that made Diana unique.

Enoch only smiled and again silence fell between them. Finally, Enoch said,

"I would like to go down the river with Milton and his crowd."

Diana's voice was startled. "O no, Enoch! It's a frightfully dangerous trip! You risk your life every moment."

"I want to risk my life," returned Enoch. "I want a real man's adventure. I've got a battle inside of me to fight that will rend me unless I have one of equal proportions to fight, externally."

A loud halloo sounded from above. "There's Na-che!" exclaimed Diana. "We'll talk this over later, Enoch."

But Enoch shook his head. "No, Diana, please! I've dreamed all my life of this canyon trip. You mustn't dissuade me. Milton will be starting to-morrow and I'm going to crowd in, somehow."

Na-che called again. Diana turned silently and in silence they returned to the end of the broken trail. Here they explained to Na-che the conditions of the trail beyond and that they had determined to give up the expedition for that day.

"I doubt if I try to investigate it at all, on this trip," said Diana, when they had made the difficult ascent to the plateau. "I really ought to get into the Hopi country. My conscience is troubling me."

Na-che looked disappointed. "That is a good camp, by the river," she said. "But maybe," eagerly, "the Judge and Jonas will come with us."

"You like Jonas, don't you, Na-che?" asked Enoch.

The Indian woman laughed and tossed her head, but did not answer.

It was only four o'clock when they reached camp, but already dusk was settling in the Canyon. A good fire was going in front of the cave and Jonas was guarding his stew which simmered over a smaller blaze near Diana's tent. Na-che lifted the lid of the kettle, sniffed and turned away with a shrug of her shoulders.

"What's troubling you, woman?" demanded Jonas.

"I thought you was making stew," replied Na-che.

"Oh, you did! Well, what do you think now?"

"Oh, I guess you're just boiling the mud out of the river water. You give me the kettle and I'll show you how to make rabbit stew."

"I'll give you a piece of my mind, Miss Na-che, that's what I'll give you. How come you to think you can sass a Washington man, huh, a government man, huh? How come you suppose I don't know women, huh? Why child, I was taking girls to fancy dress balls when you Indians was still wearing nothing but strings. I was—"

"O Jonas!" called Enoch, who had been standing by the cave fire, an amused auditor of Jonas' tirade; "treat Na-che gently. She's leaving to-morrow."

"Leaving? Don't we go, too, boss?" asked Jonas.

"No, I'm going to see if I can go down river with the boats."

Curly, who was cleaning up in the cave, came out, comb in hand.

"You haven't gone crazy, have you, Judge?"

"No more than usual, Curly. How about it, Milton?" as that sturdy personage came up from the river and dropped wearily down by the fire. "Don't you need another man?"

"Yes, Judge, we're two short. One of our fellows broke an arm a week ago and we had to send him out, with another chap to help him."

"Will you let me work my passage as far as Bright Angel?" asked Enoch.

Milton scowled thoughtfully. "It's a god-awful job. You realize that, do you?"

Enoch nodded. Milton turned to Harden and the other two men. "What do you fellows think?"

"We're awful short-handed," replied Harden, cautiously. "Can you swim, Judge?"

"I'm a strong swimmer."

"But gee willikums, Judge, what're we going to do without you?" demanded Mack. "Ain't that just the usual luck? You get a cook trained and off he goes!"

"And how about that deal of ours, Smith?" asked Curly, in a low voice.

"I haven't forgotten it for a moment, Curly," Enoch replied. "I'll talk to you about it, to-night. How about it, Milton?"

"Can you stand rotten hard luck without belly-aching?" asked Agnew.

"Yes, he can!" exclaimed Mack, "but he's a darn fool to think of going. It's as risky as the devil and nobody that's got a family dependent on 'em ought to consider it for a moment."

"I have no one," said Enoch quietly. "And I'm strong and hard as nails."

"What fool ever sent you folks out?" asked Curly.

"It's not a fool trip, really," expostulated Milton. "It's very necessary for a good many reasons that the government have more accurate geographical and geological knowledge of this section."

"What part of the government do you work for?" asked Mack.

"The Geological Survey. It's a bureau in the Department of the Interior."

"Oh, then Huntingdon's your Big Boss!" exclaimed Mack. "Do you know him?"

"Never met him," replied Milton. "He doesn't know the small fry in his department."

"He sits in Washington and gets the glory while you guys do the work, eh!" said Curly.

"I don't think you should put it that way, Curly," protested Mack. "Enoch Huntingdon's a big man and he's done more real solid work for his country than any man in Washington to-day and I'll bet you on it."

"Right you are!" exclaimed Forrester. "My oldest brother was in college with Huntingdon. Says he was a good fellow, a brilliant student and even then he could make a speech that would break your heart. His one vice was gambling. He—"

"My father knew Huntingdon!" Diana spoke quickly. "He knew him when he was a long-legged, red-headed boy of fourteen. My father was his guide down Bright Angel trail. Dad always said that he never met as interesting a human being as that boy."

"Queer thing about personal charm," contributed Agnew. "I heard Huntingdon make one of his great speeches when he was Police Commissioner. I was just a little kid and he was a big, homely, red-headed chap, but I remember how my kid heart warmed to him and how I wished I could get up on the stage and get to know him."

"So he was a gambler, was he?" Curly spoke in a musing voice. "Well, if he was once, he is now. It's a worse vice than drink."

"How come you say that, Mr. Curly?" demanded Jonas.

"In the meantime," interrupted Enoch, gruffly, "how about my trip down the Canyon?"

"Well," replied Milton, "if you go at it with your eyes open, I don't see why you can't try it as far as Grant's Crossing. That's seventy-five miles west of here. Barring accidents, we should reach there in a week, cleaning up the survey as we go along. If you live to reach there, you can either go out or come along, as you wish. But understand that from the time we leave here till we reach Grant's Crossing, there's no way out of the Canyon, at least as far as the maps indicate."

"Say, the placer where I found my nugget is just above Grant's!" exclaimed Harden. "Why don't you placer fans start on west and we'll all try to meet there in a week's time. I couldn't tell Field where it was in a hundred years."

"Suits me!" exclaimed Curly.

"Me too!" echoed Mack.

"Then," said Enoch, "will you take Jonas along as cook, Mack?"

"You bet!" cried Mack.

"Does that suit you, Jonas?" asked Enoch.

"No, boss, it don't suit me. I've gotta go with you. I ain't never going to live through it, but I'll die praying."

A shout went up of laughter and expostulation, but Jonas, though grim with terror, was entirely unmoved. Nothing, not even mortal horror of the Colorado could break his determination never to be separated from Enoch again. His agitation was so deep and so obvious that Enoch and Milton finally gave in to him.

"All right!" said Milton. "A daylight start will about suit us all, I guess. I don't think I can give you much previous instruction, Judge, that will help you. We'll put Jonas in Harden's boat and you in mine. You must wear your life preserver all the time that we are on the water. When we are in the boat, do as I tell you, instantly, and you'll soon pick up what small technique we have. It's mostly horse sense and brute strength that we use. No two rapids are alike and the portages are nearly all difficult beyond words."

"My Gawd!" muttered Jonas.

"You go over to the Hopi country with us," said Na-che, softly.

"I dassen't do it!" groaned Jonas. "You'll have to serve that stew, Na-che. My nerves is just too upset. I gotta go off and sit down somewhere."

"Don't you worry," whispered Na-che, "I'll give you a Navajo charm. You can't drown if you wear it."

Jonas' black face grew less tense. "Honest, Na-che?"

Na-che nodded emphatically.

"Well," said Jonas, "I had a warming of my heart to you the minute I laid eyes on you, up there at the Grand Canyon. Any woman as handsome as you is, Na-che, is bound to be a comfort to a man in his hours of trouble."

Again Na-che nodded and began to dish the stew, which came quite up to Jonas' estimate of it. After supper, the big fire was replenished and Mack produced a deck of cards.

"Who said draw-poker?" he inquired.

"Most any of our crowd will shout," said Agnew.

"Judge?" Mack looked at Enoch, who was sitting before the fire, arms clasped about his knees.

Enoch pulled his pipe out of his mouth to answer. "No!" with a look of repugnance that caused Milton to exclaim, "Got conscientious scruples against cards, Judge?"

"Yes, but don't stop your game for me," replied Enoch, harshly. Then his voice softened. "Miss Allen, the moon is shining, up on the plateau. While these chaps play, will you take a walk with me?"

"I'd like to very much!" Diana spoke quickly.

"Well, don't be gone over an hour, children," said Curly. "Cards don't draw me like a good gab round the fire. And Diana's our best gabber."

"An hour's the bargain then," said Enoch. "Come along, Miss Allen!"

It was, indeed, glorious moonlight on the plateau. The two did not speak until they reached the upper level, then Enoch laughed.

"Jove! This is the greatest luck a game of cards ever brought me! Think, Diana, three days ago I was fighting my despair at the thought that I must never see you again and that you despised me. And here I am, with moonlight and you and a whole hour. Are you a little bit glad, Diana?"

"A little bit! I'd be gladder if I weren't so disturbed at the thought of the trip you are to begin to-morrow!"

"Nonsense, Diana! I'm learning more about my own Department every day. Aren't they a fine lot of fellows? Milton scares me to death. I don't doubt for a moment that if he tells me to dash to destruction in a whirlpool, I shall do so. There's a chap that could exact obedience from a mule. I'll look up his record when I get back to Washington."

"Shall you reveal your identity before you leave them?" asked Diana.

"No, certainly not! Not for worlds would I have them know who I am. And now tell me, Diana, just what are your plans?"

"Oh, nothing at all exciting! I am going to make some studies of Indian children's games. They are picturesque and ethnologically, very interesting. I shall come home across the Painted Desert and take some pictures in color. My adventures will be very mild compared with yours."

"And you and Na-che will be quite alone, out in this trackless country! I shall worry about you, Diana."

Diana laughed. "Enoch, you have no idea of what you are undertaking! You'll have no time to give me a thought. For a week you're going to struggle as you never did before to keep breath in your body."

"Oh, it'll not be that bad!" exclaimed Enoch. "Are you cold, Diana? I thought you shivered. What a strange, ghostlike country it is! It would be horrible up here alone, wouldn't it!"

They paused to gaze out over the fantastic landscape.

In the gray light the strangely weathered mesas were ruined castles, stupendous in bulk; the mighty buttes and crumbled peaks were colossal cities overthrown by the cataclysm of time. It seemed to Enoch, that nowhere else in the world could one behold such epic loneliness. The excitement that had buoyed him up since Diana's arrival suddenly departed, and his life with all its ugly facts was vividly in his consciousness again.

"Diana," he said, abruptly, "when you were talking to me this afternoon, you spoke of the Brown matter in the plural. Was there more than one article about me?"

Diana turned her tender eyes to Enoch's. "Let's not spoil this beautiful evening," she pleaded.

"I don't want to bother you, Diana. Just tell me the facts and we'll drop it."

"I'd rather not talk about it," replied Diana.

"Please, Diana! Whatever fight I have down here, whatever conclusion I reach, I want to work with my eyes open, so that my decisions shall be final. I don't want to have to revamp and revise when I get out."

"As far as I know," said Diana, in a low voice, "there was but one other reference to the matter. The day after the first article appeared, Brown published a photograph of you and me in front of a Johnstown lunch place. There was a long caption, which said that you had always been proud that you were slum-reared and a woman hater. That you had persisted in keeping some of your early habits, perhaps out of bravado. That Miss Allen was an intimate friend, the only woman friend you had made and kept. That was all."

"All!" echoed Enoch. The pale, silver landscape danced in a crimson mist before him. He stood, clenching and unclenching his fists, breathing rapidly.

"Oh, Enoch! Enoch! Since you had to know, it was better for you to know from me than any one else. And as far as I am concerned, as I told you before, I'm only amused. It's only for the reaction on you that I'm troubled."

"You mustn't be troubled, Diana." said Enoch, huskily. "But I'd be less than a man, if I didn't pay that yellow cur up. You see that, don't you?"

"A Dutch family I have heard of has this family motto: 'Eagles do not see flies.'"

Enoch gave a dry, mirthless laugh. For a long time they tramped in silence. Then Diana said, "We've been out half an hour, Enoch."

Enoch turned at once, taking Diana's hand as he did so. He did not release it until they had reached the edge of the trail and the sound of men's voices floated up to them. Then taking off his hat, he lifted the slender fingers to his lips. "This is our real good-by, Diana, for we'll not be alone, again. If anything should happen to me, I want you to have my diary, if they save it. I'll have it with me, on the trip."

Diana's lips quivered. "God keep you, Enoch, and help you." Then she turned and led the way to the cave.



CHAPTER X

THE EXPEDITION BEGINS

"After all, there is a place still untouched by humanity, where skies are unmarred and the way leads through uncharted beauty. When I have earned the right, I shall go there again."—Enoch's Diary.

Before dawn the camp fires were lighted and the various breakfasts were in preparation. When these had been eaten there was light from the pale sky above by which to complete the packing of the boats.

These were strongly built, wooden skiffs with three water tight compartments in each; one amidships, one fore and one aft, with decks flush with the gunwales. There was room between the middle and end compartments for the oarsmen to sit. The man who worked the steersman's oar sat on the rear compartment. In these compartments were packed all the dunnage, clothing, food, tools, surveying and geological instruments and cameras. Each man was allowed about fifty pounds of personal luggage. Everything that water could hurt was packed in rubber bags.

Milton was troubled when he found that Enoch had no change of shoes.

"You'll reach camp each night," said he, "soaked to the skin. You must have warm, dry clothing to change to. Shoes are especially important. Jonas must have them, too."

"How about Indian moccasins, Mr. Milton?" asked Jonas. "I bought three pairs while I was with Miss Diana."

"Well, they're better than nothing," grumbled Milton. "Are you ready, Harden?"

"Aye! Aye! sir!" said Harden, pulling his belt in tightly. "Are you all set, Ag and Jonas?"

"All set, Harden," Agnew picked up his oar. "Are you ready, Matey?" to Jonas, who was saying good-by in a whisper to Na-che.

"I'm as ready as I'll ever be, Mr. Agnew," groaned Jonas. "Good-by, everybody!" stepping gingerly into the boat.

"All aboard then, Judge and Forr," cried Milton. "I'll shove off."

"Good-by, Diana! Good-by, Curly and Mack!" Enoch waved his hand and took his place, and the racing water seized the boats. Hardly had Enoch turned to look once more at the four watching on the beach, when the boats shot round the curving western wall. For the first half hour, the water was smooth and swift, sweeping between walls that were abrupt and verdureless and offered not so much as a finger hold for a landing place.

Enoch, following instruction did not try to row at first. He sat quietly watching the swift changing scenery, feeling awkward and a little helpless in his life preserver.

"We're due, sometime this morning, to strike some pretty stiff cataracts," said Milton, "but the records show that we can shoot most of them. Keep in to the left wall, Forr, I want to squint at that bend in the strata."

They swung across the stream, and as they did so they caught a glimpse of Jonas. He was crouched in the bottom of the boat, his eyes rolling above his life preserver.

"Didn't Na-che give you that Navaho charm, Jonas?" called Forrester.

"It'll take more than a charm to help poor old Jonas," said Enoch. "I really think he'll like it in a day or so. He's got good pluck."

"He's only showing what all of us felt on our maiden trip," chuckled Milton. Then he added, quickly, "Listen, Forr!"

Above the splash of the oars and the swift rush of the river rose a sound like the far roar of street traffic.

"Our little vacation is over," commented Forrester.

"Easy now, Forr! We'll land for observation before we tackle a racket like that. Let the current carry us. Be ready to back water when I shout." He raised his voice. "Harden, don't follow too closely! You know your failing!"

They rounded a curving wall, the current carrying them, Milton said, at least ten miles an hour. A short distance now, and they saw spray breaking high in the middle of the stream.

"We'll land here," said Milton, steering to a great pile of bowlders against the right wall.

Enoch watched with keen interest the preparation for the descent. First sticks were thrown into the water, to catch the trend of the main current. Milton pointed out to Enoch that if the stick were deflected against one wall or another, great care had to be exercised to prevent the boats being dashed against the walls in like manner. But, he said, if the current seemed to run a fairly unobstructed course, it was hopeful that the boats would go through. There were a number of rocks protruding from the water, but the current appeared to round these cleanly and Milton gave the order to proceed. They worked back upstream a short distance so as to catch the current straight prow on, and in a moment they were dashing through a sea of roaring waves that drenched them to the skin.

Forrester and Milton steered a zigzag course about the menacing rocks, grazing and bumping them now and again, but emerging finally, without accident, in quieter waters. Here they hugged the shore and waited for Harden's boat, the Mary, to come down. And come it did, balancing uncannily on the top of the waves, with Jonas' yells sounding even above the uproar of the waters.

"More of it below, Harden," said Milton as the Mary shot alongside.

More indeed! It seemed to Enoch that the first rapid was child's play to the one that followed. The jutting rocks were more frequent. The fall greater. The waves more menacing. But they shot it safely until they reached its foot and there an eddy caught them and carried them back upstream in spite of all that could be done. Enoch seized the oars that were in readiness beside him and pulled with all his might but to no avail. And suddenly the Mary rushed out of the mist striking them fairly amidship. The Ida half turned over, but righted herself and the Mary darted off. Milton shouted hoarsely, Forrester and Enoch obeyed blindly and after what seemed to Enoch an endless struggle, spray and waves suddenly ceased and they found themselves in quieter waters where the Mary awaited them.

Harden and Agnew were laughing. "Thought you knew an eddy when you saw one, Milt!" cried Agnew.

"I don't know anything!" grinned Milton, "except that Jonas is going to be too scared to cook."

"If ever I get to land," retorted Jonas, "I'll cook something for a thanksgiving to the Lord that you all will never forget."

They examined the next fall and passed through it successfully. The Canyon was widening now and an occasional cedar tree could be seen. Enoch was vaguely conscious, too, that the colors of the walls were more brilliant. But the ardors of the rapids gave small opportunity for aesthetic observations.

Curiously enough, after the passage of this last fall the waters did not subside in speed, though the waves disappeared. The spray of another fall was to be seen beyond.

"We mustn't risk shooting her without observation," cried Milton. "Make for that spit of sand with the cedars on it, fellows."

Enoch and Forrester put their backs into their strokes in their endeavor to guide the Ida to the place indicated, which appeared to be the one available landing spot. But the current carried them at such velocity that when within half a dozen feet of the shore it seemed impossible to stop and make the landing.

"Overboard!" shouted Milton.

All three plunged into the water, clinging to the gunwale. The water was waist deep. For a few feet boat and men were dragged onward. Then they found secure foothold on the rocky river bottom and, with huge effort, beached the Ida. Scarcely was this done, when the Mary hove in view and with Milton shouting directions, they rushed once more into the current to help with the landing.

"The cook and the bacon both are in your boat, Harden!" chuckled Milton, "or you'd be getting no such delicate attentions from the Ida."

Jonas crawled stiffly out of his compartment. Enoch began preparation for a fire, white the others busied themselves with notes and observations. It was 90 degrees on the little sandy beach and the wet clothing was not chilling. They ate enormously of Jonas's dinner, then the Survey men scattered to their work for an hour or so, while Enoch explored the region. There was no getting to the top of the walls, so he contented himself with crawling gingerly over the rocks to a point where a little spring bubbled out of a narrow cave opening. Peering through this, Enoch saw that it was dimly lighted, and he crawled through the water.

To his astonishment, he was in a great circular amphitheater, a hundred feet in diameter, domed to an enormous height, with the blue sky showing through a rift at the top. The little spring trickled down the wall, now dropping sheer in spray, now trickling in a delicate, glistening sheet. But the greatest wonder of the cave was in the texture of its walls, which appeared to Enoch to be of purest marble of a deep shell pink and translucent creamy white. Moisture had collected on the walls and each tiny globule of water seemed to hold a miniature rainbow in its heart. There was a holy sort of loveliness about the spot, and before he returned to the rugged adventure outside, Enoch pulled off his hat and christened the place Diana's Chapel. Nor did he, on his arrival at the camp, tell of his find.

Shortly after two o'clock Milton ordered all hands aboard. But before this he had shown them all the map, adding a rough sketch of his own. The next rapid appeared to be no more dangerous than the previous one. But below it the river widened out into a circular bay, a great tureen within which the waters moved with an oil-like smoothness. But when Milton threw a stick into this strange basin, it was whirled the entire circumference of the bay with a velocity that all the men agreed boded ill for any boat that did not cling to the wall. The west end of the bay, where it was all but blocked by the closing in of the Canyon sides, could not be seen from the rocks where the men stood. But the old maps reported a steep fall which must be portaged.

"Cling to the right-hand wall," ordered Milton. "If you steer out, Harden, for the sake of the short cut, you may be lost. The reports show that two other boats were lost here. Cling to the wall! When we reach the mouth we must go ashore again and examine the falls. Be sure your life preservers are strapped securely."

"Mr. Milton," said Jonas, "you better let me get my hands on a oar. If I got to die, I'm going to die fighting."

"Good stuff, Jonas!" exclaimed Harden. "Can you row?"

"Brought up on the Potomac," replied Jonas.

"All right, folks," cried Milton. "We're off."

The Ida would have shot the rapid successfully, but for one important point. It was necessary, in order to land on the right side of the whirlpool, to steer to the right of a tall, finger-like rock, that protruded from the water at the bottom of the rapids. About a boat's length from this rock, however, a sudden wave shot six feet into the air, throwing the Ida off its course, and drenching the crew, so that they entered the churning tureen at a speed of twenty miles an hour and almost at the middle of the stream.

"Pull to the right wall! To the right!" roared Milton. But he might as well have roared to the wind. Enoch and Forrester rose from their seats and threw the whole weight of their bodies on their oars. But the noiseless power of the whirlpool thrust the Ida mercilessly toward the center.

"Harder!" panted Milton, straining with all his might at the steering oar. "Put your back into her, Judge! Bend to it, Forr!"

Enoch's breath came in gasps. His palms, the cords of his wrists felt powerless. His toe muscles cramped in agony. As in a mist he saw the right wall recede, felt the boat twist under his knees like a disobedient horse. Suddenly there was a crack as of a pistol shot behind him. One of Forrester's oars had snapped. Forrester drew in the other and crawled back to add his weight to the steering oar.

"It's up to you, Judge!" cried Milton.

They were in the center of the bay now and the boat began to spin. For one terrible moment it seemed as if an overturn were imminent. Out of the tail of his eyes, Enoch saw the Mary hugging the right wall.

"Judge!" shouted Milton. "If you can back water into that rough spot six feet to your right, I think we can stop the spin."

Enoch was too spent to reply but he gathered every resource in his body to make one more effort. The boat slowly edged into the rough spot and for a moment the spin ceased.

"Now shoot her downstream! We'll have to trust to the Mary to keep us from entering the falls," Milton shouted.

With Enoch giving all that was left in him to the oars, and Forrester and Milton steering with their united strength and skill, the Ida slowly worked toward the narrow opening which marked the head of the falls. The crew of the Mary had landed and Harden stood on the outermost rock at the opening, swinging a coil of rope, while Agnew crawled up behind him with another. Jonas hung onto the Mary's rope.

Perhaps a half dozen boat lengths from the falls the whirling motion of the water ceased, and it leaped ferociously toward the narrow opening. When the Ida felt this straight pull, Milton roared:

"Back her, Judge, back her! Now the rope, Harden! You too, Ag!"

Her prow was beyond the opening before the speed of the Ida was stopped by the ropes. A moment later her crew had dropped flat on the rocks, panting and exhausted.

"Well, Milt, of all the darn fools!" exclaimed Harden. "After telling us to keep to the right, what did you try to do yourself? If you'd gone inside that big finger rock at the end of the rapid you'd have had no trouble."

"I never had a chance to go inside that rock," panted Milton. "A pot-hole spouted a boat's length ahead and threw me clear to the left."

"Say," said Agnew, "we got some crew in our boat now. Jonas, you are some little oarsman!"

"Scared as ever, Jonas?" asked Enoch.

"I wasn't never so much scared, you know, boss, as I was nervous. But this charm is sure a good one. If we can live through this here day, we can live through anything. I want you to wear it, to-morrow, boss. Seems like the head boat needs it more'n us folks."

Jonas' liquid black eyes twinkled. Enoch laughed. "If I hadn't known you were a good sport, Jonas, I'd never have let you come with us. Keep your charm, old man. I don't expect ever to gather together enough strength to get into the boat again!"

"Nobody's going to try to get in to-night," said Milton, without lifting his head from the rocks on which he lay. "We camp right here. It's four o'clock anyhow."

"Then I've something still left to be thankful for!" Enoch closed his eyes with a deep sigh of relief.

When he next opened them it was dusk. Above him, on the narrow canyon top, gleamed the wonder of the desert stars. There was a glow of firelight on the rocks about him. Enoch sat up. It was an inhospitable spot for a camp. The roar of the falls was harsh and menacing. The canyon walls shot two thousand feet into the air on either side of the sliding waters. Enoch was suddenly oppressed by a vague sense of suffocation. He realized, fully, for the first time that the menace of the Canyon was very real; that should a sudden rise of the waters come at this point, there was no climbing out, no going back; that should the boats be lost—— He shook himself, rose stiffly and joined the group around the fire.

"Ship ahoy, Judge!" cried Harden. "Are you still traveling in circles?"

"Humph!" grunted Milton. "The Judge may be a tenderfoot in the Canyon, but he's no tenderfoot in a boat. Ever on a college crew, Judge?"

"Yes, Columbia," replied Enoch.

"I thought you'd raced! Jove, how you did heave the old tub round! Jonas, how about grub for the Judge?"

"How come you to think you have to tell me to look out for my boss, Mr. Milton?" grumbled Jonas, coming up with a pie tin loaded with beans and bacon.

"Hello, Jonas, old man! What do you think of this parlor, bedroom and bath?" asked Enoch.

"I feel like Joseph in the pit, boss! Folks back home wouldn't never believe me if Mr. Agnew hadn't promised to take some pictures of me and my boat. That's an awful good boat, the Mary, boss. She is some boat! Did you see me jerk her round?"

"No, I missed that, Jonas. I was a little preoccupied at the time. Is to-day a fair sample of every day, you fellows?"

"Lately, yes," replied Forrester. "To-morrow'll be a bell ringer too, from the looks of that portage. Need any help on those dishes, Jonas, before I go to bed?"

"All done, thanks," answered Jonas. "Say, Mr. Milton, you know what I was thinking? Mary's no name for a sassy, gritty boat like ours. Let me give her a good name."

"What name, for instance?" demanded Harden.

Jonas cleared his throat. "I was thinking of the Na-che."

"My word!" exclaimed Harden. "Say, Ag, would you want our boat renamed the Na-che?"

"Who'd repaint the name?" asked Agnew carefully. "That's the point with me."

"The trouble with you, Ag," said Harden, "is that you haven't any soul."

"I'd do the painting," Jonas went on eagerly. "I was thinking of getting her all fixed up with that can of paint I see to-day. Red paint, it was."

"Do you think that Na-che would mind our making free with her name?" Milton's tone was serious.

"Mind!" cried Jonas. "Well, if you knew women like I do you'd never ask a question like that! A woman would rather have a boat or a race horse named after her any time than have a baby named for her. I know women!"

"In that case, let's rename the Mary," said Milton. "Everybody ready to turn in?"

"I am, sir," replied Harden. "Jonas, you turn off the lights and put the cat down cellar. Good night, everybody!"

Jonas chuckled and hobbled off to his blankets. It was not seven o'clock when the rude camp was silent and every soul in it in profound slumber.

Enoch was stiff and muscle-sore in the morning but he ate breakfast with a ravenous appetite and with a keen interest in the day's program. In response to his questions Milton said:

"We unload the boats and make the dunnage up into fifty pound loads. Then we look over the trail. Sometimes we have merely to get up on our two legs and walk it. Other times we have to make trail even for ourselves, let alone for the boats. Sometimes we can portage the freight and lower the boats through the water by tow ropes. But for this falls, there's nothing to do but to make trail and drag the boats over it."

"It's no trip for babes!" exclaimed Enoch. "That's certain! Do you like the work, Milton?"

"It's a work no one would do voluntarily without liking it," replied the young man. "I like it. I wouldn't want to give my life to it, but—" he paused to look over toward the others busily unloading the Na-che,—"but nothing will ever do again for me what this experience has."

"And may I ask what that is?" Enoch's voice was eager.

Milton searched Enoch's face carefully, then answered slowly. "Sometime when we are having a rest, I'll tell you, if you really want to know."

"Thanks! And now set me to work, Captain," said Enoch.

The way beside the falls was nothing more than a narrow ledge completely covered with giant bowlders. Beyond the falls, the river hurled itself for a quarter of a mile against broken rocks that made the passage of a boat impossible. It was a long portage. After the bowlder-strewn ledge was passed, however, it was not necessary to make trail, for although the shore was strewn with broken rock and driftwood, the way was fairly open.

After the contents of the boats had been made up into rough packs, both crews attacked the trail-making. It was mid-morning before pick-ax, shovel and crowbar had opened up a way which Jonas claimed was fit only for kangaroos or elephants. Rough as it was, when Milton declared it fit for their purposes, the rest without protest heaved the packs to their shoulders.

It was hot at midday in the Canyon. The thermometer registered 98 degrees in the shade. Enoch, following Milton, dropped his third pack at the end of the quarter mile portage and sat down beside it.

"Old man!" he groaned, "you've got to give me a ten minutes' rest."

Milton grinned and nodded sympathetically. "Take all the time you want, Judge!"

"I'm ashamed," said Enoch, "but don't forget you fellows have had ten months of this, as against my two days."

"I don't forget for a minute, Judge. And just let me tell you that if ever I were on trial for a serious offense of any kind I'd be perfectly satisfied to be tried before a real he-man, like you." And Milton disappeared over the trail, leaving Enoch with a warm glow in his heart, such as he had scarcely felt since his first public speech won the praise of the newspapers.

For a quarter of an hour he sat with his back against a half buried mesquite log smoking, and now eying the magnificent sheer crimson wall which lay across the river, now wondering where Diana was and now contemplating curiously the sense of his own unimportance which the Canyon was thrusting into his consciousness more persistently every hour. Jonas joined him for the last part of his rest, but when Milton announced that they had finished the packing and must now portage the boats, Jonas was on the alert.

"That name isn't dry yet!" he exclaimed. "I got to watch the prow of my boat myself," and he started hurriedly back over the trail, Enoch following him more slowly.

Sometimes lifting, sometimes skidding on drift logs, sometimes dragging by main strength, the six men finally landed the Ida and the Na-che in quiet waters. Jonas and Agnew prepared a simple dinner and immediately after they embarked. For two hours the river flowed swiftly and quietly between sheer walls of stratified granite, white and pale yellow, shot with rose. Now and again a cedar, dwarfed and distorted, found toe hold between the strata and etched its deep green against the white and yellow.

About four o'clock the river widened and the walls were broken by lateral canyons that led back darkly and mysteriously into the bowels of the desert. For half an hour more Milton guided the Ida onward. Then Enoch cried, "Milton, see that brook!" and he pointed to a tumbling little stream that issued from one of the side canyons.

Milton at once called for a landing on the grassy shore beside the brook. Never was there a sweeter spot than this. Willows bent over the brook and long grass mirrored itself within its pebbly depths for a moment before the crystal water joined the muddy Colorado. The Canyon no longer overhung the river suffocatingly, but opened widely, showing behind the fissured white granite peaks, crimson and snow capped and appalling in their bigness.

"Here's where we put in a day, boys!" exclaimed Milton. "I'm sure we can scramble to the top here, somehow, and get a general idea of the country."

His crew cheered this statement enthusiastically. The landing was easily made and the boats were beached and unloaded.

"Never thought I could unload a boat again without bursting into tears," said Enoch, grunting under three bed rolls he was carrying up to the willows, "but here I am, full of enthusiasm!"

"You need a lot of it down here, I can tell you," growled Forrester, who had skinned his chin badly in a fall that morning.

"You look like a goat, Forr," said Harden, sympathetically, as he set a folding table close to the spot where Jonas was kindling a fire.

"I'd rather look like a goat than a jack-ass," returned Forrester with an edge to his voice.

"Forr," said Milton, "don't you want to try your luck at some fish for supper? The salmon ought to be interested in a spot like this."

Forrester's voice cleared at once. "Sure! I'd be glad to," he said, and went off to unload his fishing tackle. When he was out of hearing, Milton said sharply to Harden:

"Why can't you let him alone, Hard! You know how touchy he is when anything's the matter with him."

"I'm sorry," replied Harden shortly.

Enoch glanced with interest from one man to the other, but said nothing, not even when, Milton's back being turned, Harden winked at him. And when Forrester returned with a four-pound river salmon, there was no sign of irritation in his face or manner.

This night, for the first time, they sat around the fire, luxuriating in the thought that for the next twenty-four hours they were free of the terrible demands of the river. Forrester possessed a good tenor voice and sang, Jonas joining with his mellow baritone. Harden, lying close to the flames, read a chapter from "David Harum," the one book of the expedition. Agnew, on request, told a long and involved story of a Chinese laundryman and a San Francisco broker which evoked much laughter. Then Milton, as master of ceremonies, turned to Enoch:

"Now then, Judge, do your duty!"

"I haven't a parlor trick to my name," protested Enoch.

"I like what you call our efforts!" cried Harden. "Hit him for me, Ag! He's closest to you."

"Not after the way he wallops the Ida," grunted Agnew. "Let Milt do it."

"Boss," said Jonas suddenly, "tell 'em that poem about mercy I heard you give at—at that banquet at our house."

Enoch smiled, took his pipe from his lips, and began:

"'The quality of mercy is not strained, It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven, Upon the place beneath—'"

Enoch paused a moment. The words held a new and soul-shattering significance for him. Then as the others waited breathlessly, he went on. His beautiful, mellow voice, his remarkable enunciation, the magnetism of his personality stirred his little audience, just as thousands of greater audiences had been stirred by these same qualities.

When he had finished, there was a profound silence until Milton said:

"That's the only thing I have heard said in the Canyon that didn't sound paltry."

"If any of the rest of us had repeated it, though, it might have sounded so." Harden's tone was dry.

"Shakespeare couldn't sound paltry anywhere!" exclaimed Enoch.

"Hum!" sniffed Agnew. "Depends on what and when you're quoting. Give us another, Judge."

Enoch gazed thoughtfully at the fire for a moment, then slowly and quietly he gave them the prayer of Habakkuk. The liquid phrases rolled from his lips, echoed in the Canyon, then dropped into silence. Enoch sat with his great head bowed, his sensitive mouth compressed as if with pain. His friends stared from him to one another, then one by one slipped away to their blankets. When Enoch looked up, only Milton was left.

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