With that he began to pace the court, and his silver spurs jangled musically, and the great gun-sheaths softly brushed against his leather chaps.

"So--it's true--what I heard him say?" Lassiter asked, presently halting before her. "You made love to me--to bind my hands?"

"Yes," confessed Jane. It took all her woman's courage to meet the gray storm of his glance.

"All these days that you've been so friendly an' like a pardner--all these evenin's that have been so bewilderin' to me--your beauty--an'--an' the way you looked an' came close to me--they were woman's tricks to bind my hands?"


"An' your sweetness that seemed so natural, an' your throwin' little Fay an' me so much together--to make me love the child--all that was for the same reason?"


Lassiter flung his arms--a strange gesture for him.

"Mebbe it wasn't much in your Mormon thinkin', for you to play that game. But to ring the child in--that was hellish!"

Jane's passionate, unheeding zeal began to loom darkly.


"Lassiter, whatever my intention in the beginning, Fay loves you dearly-- and I--I've grown to--to like you."

"That's powerful kind of you, now," he said. Sarcasm and scorn made his voice that of a stranger. "An' you sit there an' look me straight in the eyes! You're a wonderful strange woman, Jane Withersteen."

"I'm not ashamed, Lassiter. I told you I'd try to change you."

"Would you mind tellin' me just what you tried?"

"I tried to make you see beauty in me and be softened by it. I wanted you to care for me so that I could influence you. It wasn't easy. At first you were stone-blind. Then I hoped you'd love little Fay, and through that come to feel the horror of making children fatherless."

"Jane Withersteen, either you're a fool or noble beyond my understandin'. Mebbe you're both. I know you're blind. What you meant is one thing--what you did was to make me love you."


"I reckon I'm a human bein', though I never loved any one but my sister, Milly Erne. That was long--"

"Oh, are you Milly's brother?"

"Yes, I was, an' I loved her. There never was any one but her in my life till now. Didn't I tell you that long ago I back-trailed myself from women? I was a Texas ranger till--till Milly left home, an' then I became somethin' else--Lassiter! For years I've been a lonely man set on one thing. I came here an' met you. An' now I'm not the man I was. The change was gradual, an' I took no notice of it. I understand now that never-satisfied longin' to see you, listen to you, watch you, feel you near me. It's plain now why you were never out of my thoughts. I've had no thoughts but of you. I've lived an' breathed for you. An' now when I know what it means--what you've done--I'm burnin' up with hell's fire!"