Phil Tremont, driving out from Phoenix in a high, red-wheeled cart, paused at the cross-roads, uncertain whether to turn there or keep on to the next section-line.
According to part of the directions given him, this was the turning-place. Still, he had not yet come in sight of Camelback Mountain, which was to serve as a guide-post.
Not a house was near at which he might inquire, and not a living thing in sight except a jack-rabbit, which started up from the roadside, and bounded away at his approach.
Then he caught sight of the little whirl of dust surrounding Mary in her terriﬁed ﬂight, and touched his horse with the whip. In a moment he was alongside of the breathless, bareheaded child.
“Little girl,” he called, “can you tell me if this is the road to Lee’s ranch?” Then, as she turned a dirty, tear-stained face, he exclaimed, in amazement, “Of all people under the sun! The little vicar! Well, you are a sprinter! What are you racing with?”
Mary sank down on the road, so exhausted by her long run that she breathed in quick, gasping sobs. Her relief at seeing a white face instead of a red one was so great that she had no room for surprise in her little brain that the face should be Phil Tremont’s, who was supposed to be far away in California. She recognized him instantly, although he no longer wore his uniform, and the broad-brimmed hat he wore suggested the cowboy of the plains rather than the cadet of the military school.
“What are you racing with?” he repeated, laughingly. “That jack-rabbit that passed me down yonder?”
“A—a—a Indian!” she managed to gasp. “He chased me—all the way—from the schoolhouse!”
“An Indian!” repeated Phil, standing up in the cart to look back down the road. “Oh, it must have been that old fellow I passed half a mile back. He was an ugly-looking specimen, but he couldn’t have chased you; his pony was so stiff and old it couldn’t go out of a walk.”
“He was a-chasing me!” insisted Mary, the tears beginning to roll down her face again. She looked so little and forlorn, sitting there in a heap beside the road, that Phil sprang from the cart, and picked her up in his strong arms.
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