Then might come her ruin. Then might come her fall into black storm. Yet she would rise again, and to the light. God would be merciful to a driven woman who had lost her way.
A week passed. Little Fay played and prattled and pulled at Lassiter's big black guns. The rider came to Withersteen House oftener than ever. Jane saw a change in him, though it did not relate to his kindness and gentleness. He was quieter and more thoughtful. While playing with Fay or conversing with Jane he seemed to be possessed of another self that watched with cool, roving eyes, that listened, listened always as if the murmuring amber stream brought messages, and the moving leaves whispered something. Lassiter never rode Bells into the court any more, nor did he come by the lane or the paths. When he appeared it was suddenly and noiselessly out of the dark shadow of the grove.
"I left Bells out in the sage," he said, one day at the end of that week. "I must carry water to him."
"Why not let him drink at the trough or here?" asked Jane, quickly.
"I reckon it'll be safer for me to slip through the grove. I've been watched when I rode in from the sage."
"Watched? By whom?"
"By a man who thought he was well hid. But my eyes are pretty sharp. An', Jane," he went on, almost in a whisper, "I reckon it'd be a good idea for us to talk low. You're spied on here by your women."
"Lassiter!" she whispered in turn. "That's hard to believe. My women love me."
"What of that?" he asked. "Of course they love you. But they're Mormon women."
Jane's old, rebellious loyalty clashed with her doubt.
"I won't believe it," she replied, stubbornly.
"Well then, just act natural an' talk natural, an' pretty soon--give them time to hear us--pretend to go over there to the table, en' then quick-like make a move for the door en' open it."
"I will," said Jane, with heightened color. Lassiter was right; he never made mistakes; he would not have told her unless he positively knew. Yet Jane was so tenacious of faith that she had to see with her own eyes, and so constituted that to employ even such small deceit toward her women made her ashamed, and angry for her shame as well as theirs. Then a singular thought confronted her that made her hold up this simple ruse-- which hurt her, though it was well justified--against the deceit she had wittingly and eagerly used toward Lassiter. The difference was staggering in its suggestion of that blindness of which he had accused her. Fairness and justice and mercy, that she had imagined were anchor-cables to hold fast her soul to righteousness had not been hers in the strange, biased duty that had so exalted and confounded her.