Jane's intuition told her that Lassiter had never been a father, but if life ever so blessed him he would be a good one. Fay, also, must have found that smile singularly winning. For she edged closer and closer, and then, by way of feminine capitulation, went to Jane, from whose side she bent a beautiful glance upon the rider.
Lassiter only smiled at her.
Jane watched them, and realized that now was the moment she should seize, if she was ever to win this man from his hatred.
But the step was not easy to take. The more she saw of Lassiter the more she respected him, and the greater her respect the harder it became to lend herself to mere coquetry. Yet as she thought of her great motive, of Tull, and of that other whose name she had schooled herself never to think of in connection with Milly Erne's avenger, she suddenly found she had no choice.
And her creed gave her boldness far beyond the limit to which vanity would have led her.
"Lassiter, I see so little of you now," she said, and was conscious of heat in her cheeks.
"I've been riding hard," he replied.
"But you can't live in the saddle. You come in sometimes. Won't you come here to see me--oftener?"
"Is that an order?"
"Nonsense! I simply ask you to come to see me when you find time."
The query once heard was not so embarrassing to Jane as she might have imagined. Moreover, it established in her mind a fact that there existed actually other than selfish reasons for her wanting to see him. And as she had been bold, so she determined to be both honest and brave.
"I've reasons--only one of which I need mention," she answered.
"If it's possible I want to change you toward my people. And on the moment I can conceive of little I wouldn't do to gain that end."
How much better and freer Jane felt after that confession! She meant to show him that there was one Mormon who could play a game or wage a fight in the open.
"I reckon," said Lassiter, and he laughed.
It was the best in her, if the most irritating, that Lassiter always aroused.
"Will you come?" She looked into his eyes, and for the life of her could not quite subdue an imperiousness that rose with her spirit. "I never asked so much of any man--except Bern Venters."
"'Pears to me that you'd run no risk, or Venters, either. But mebbe that doesn't hold good for me."
"You mean it wouldn't be safe for you to be often here? You look for ambush in the cottonwoods?"