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CHAFTIR XlX—Continue —lo— ▼ole® baited them. "Men of the ▼alley.** The audience, swayed ujpiln. listened. **Heor me. The riv er’s running away again down yonder. This la a message from Rickard. It*a broken through the levee. It's started for the ▼alley. Now, who’s going to stop It? Can you? Where's your force, your equipment? Who can rush to that call but the company you are hounding? I gave you Faraday’s mes sage. His hand's on the table. Not another cent from him unless you withdraw those suits. You say you have given me your answer. Black's answer. Now the river plays a trick. It calls your bluff. Shall we stop the river, men of the valley? We can. Will you withdraw your suits? You ran. What Is your answer now. Im perial valley?" The scene broke Into bedlam, lien lumped to their chairs, to the velvet rim of the boxes, all talking, scream ing. gesticulating at once. The Yellow Dragon was never so fearfully visual ised. Out of the chaos of men's voices ratne a woman's* shriek, "For God's wike, save our homes." It pitched the panic noto. "Save the valley! Btop the river I" Marshall's Indian eyes were reading that mass of scared faces as though It were a sheet of typed paper. "Barton." le called through the din. "Where’s dart on?" Two men lifted Barton's puny flg jre upon their shoulders. His vibrant voice rolled shove the shouting. "The /alley withdraws its suits against the company." "Then the company." yelled Mar •ltail's oratory, "the company with draws the river from the valley 1* Pandemonium was loose. There were cheera, ond the sound of women sob »lng. Barton was carried out on the shoulders of his henchmen. Black led • crowd oat haranguing to the street On the street Marshall fell back to Mac Lean. "That was a neat trick the river threw In our hands." His voice Vad dropped from oratory; the 4ft- Gerty Welcomed Her ttlflty. Helming lire was gone from the black ryes. "It's only s break In the levee. Rickard says he can control It; esti mates two weeks or so. It may cost the O. I*, a few thousand dollars, but It saved them half s million. Now well have that game of poker, Mac treat" In the balcony. Hardin was staring •I Brandon. "If that wasn't the devil’s own wchr CHAPTER XX. A heft Nook. tunes traveled, gleefully. In a ca hHiiw. from Hamlin Junction to the 1 leading. She could not atay away a tlajr longer* Never before bad Los Angeles been a discipline. Why had It fretted her. made her restless, home sick? Then she had discovered the reason; history was going on down •onder. Going on. without her. Bhe knew that that was what was pulling her; that only! The exodus of engineers had started merwnrd lu July. Gerty went with Tom. and she had made It distinctly Hear that It was not necessary for In aen to follow them. Ridiculous for two women to coddle a Tom Hardin I Uo- Itm Innes had n special Interest I Her pride had kept her away. But r*»»u did not write; Gerty a tetters were aortal and unsatisfactory; the newspa per reports Inflamed her. The day be fore she had wired Tom that she was earning. She bad to be there at the end I Gerty welcomed her stiffly. Assum ing a conscientious hostess-ship, alia rnaght fire at her waning enthusiasm*. Gerty looked younger and prettier. P»r flush accentuated her childish fea- Hraa which were smiling down Nr hnoeaon over dk uaiavttad vhA "We have all tbn home comforts, haven’t we? Why shouldn’t we he com fortable when we are to be here for months? I’m going to brave It ont—to the bitter end, even If I bake. It is my duty—" Bhe would make her intention perfectly dear 1 "There ought to be at least on# cosy plsce, one soft nook that suggests n woman's presence. We bave tea hers in the afternoon, some times. Mr. Rickard drops In." The last was a delicate stroke. "Afternoon tea? At the Front? Is this modern warfare?" The girl draped her Irony with a smile. Gerty waa stealing a pleased survey In the mirror through the rough door that opened Into the division called her bedroom. The sunburned, uncon scious profile of Innes was close to her own. Pink and golden the head by the dark one. She looked younger even than Innes I Good humor returned to her. "We are going to dine on the Delta tonight" She pinned up a "scolding lock." an ugly misnomer for her sunny clinging curls I The mirror was requi sitioned again. "That’s the name of the new dredge. It was christened three weeks ago, In champagne brought from Yuma." "You said dine on the Delta. Do yon mean they have meals there?" "Yon should see It" cooed Gerty. "It’s simply elegant It's a floating hotel, has every convenience. The camp cook. Ling, has his hands fall." "Going to wear that?" They were standing now by the door of Gerty’s dressing tent Over the bed a white lingerie gown was spread. "I live In them. It's no hot" shrugged Mrs. Hardin. "I*U look Uke your maid, Gerty I" In nee’ exclamation was rueful. "I didn't bring anything but khakis. Oh, yea! I remember throwing In, the last minute, two piques to fill up apace." "Why. we have dances on the Delta, and Sunday evening concerts. Yon knew the work at Laguna dsm Is being Mid up? The government men of the Reclamation Bervtce are down here all the time. But It'a time to M getting ready." Later, Tom fiatly refund to accom pany them. "I thought as much." Oerty shrugged an airy Irresponsibility. Innes could detect no regret. They passed a cot outside the tent. "Who sleeps there!" "Tom." The ayes of the two women did not meet. Inner mode no comment. "Ha finds the tent stuffy." Getty's Ups were prim with reserve. They walked toward the river In alienee. As they reeched the encampment. Gerty recovered her vivacity. That's Mr. Rickard's office, that ramada. Isn't It quaint? And that’s his tent; no. the other one. Madman’s is next; there's Junior, now." Bat his eyes were too fall of Innes to ses Gerty'* dimples. The difference In the quality of his greetings smote Gerty Uke n Mew. And she had never con sidered Tom’s sister attractive, aa a pomlbla rival. Yet after s handshake, she mw that to Mac Lean, Jr, she did not exist Oerty was deeply piqued. Uattl now. the field had been hers. She might per haps have to change her opinion of Tom's sister. Boys, Mm had to con cede. the ysnngsr men, aright find bar attractive, boyishly congenial; older men would fall to see a charm 1 The arrangement at taMe annoyed Gerty. The boas, Mac Lean explained gaily, would not be there for dinner. He might come la later. Two men from the Reclamation Service tried to enter tain Mrs. Hardin. "It isn't a battle." Innee looked around the gay rectangle. "It'a play t" The thought followed her that eve ning. Outside, where the moonlight was silvering the deck, nnd the quiet river lapped the aides of ths dredge, Jose's strings, and hta "aarigo’s" throb blag from s dark corner, made the Il lusion of peace convincing. This was no battle. It was easy to believe her self again at Mare talaad—the Delta a cruiser. Later. Gerty pa mad her. twomtsp ping divinely. Before her partner turned hit head, Innee recognised the stiff back and straight poised head and dancing step of Rickard. 81m admit ted he had distinction, grudgingly. She could not think of him except compara tively ; always antithetically, balanced against her Toro. *Tm tired; let's rest here." Innes drew Into the shadow of the great arm of the dredge. *fhey. watched the danetrs as they passed. Mac Lean play- In t the woman la "Pete's" arms, Oerty wfJi Rickard, two other masculine cote pies. The Usrdlns were the only wom en aboard. It was because of Tom that Innee felt resentment when the uplifted ap pealing chin, the taco ruffles fluttered by. Tom, lying outside an unfriendly tent I It was easy, in that uncertain light, to avoid Rickard's glance of recogni tion. Rat rads, who had come aboard with the manager, sought her out, and then Crothers of the O. P. Again, she saw Rickard dancing with tbs lingerie gowa. There seemed to be no attempt •* cover (tarty's preference; for Rich- C®snHbi, Pshbi Merrill Csmpsnr ard, aha was the only woman there! Because she was Tom’s sister, she had s right to resent It, to refuse to meet his eye. Bmall wonder Tom did not come to the Delta I Going In with Mac Lean, Jr, to the messroom for s glass of water, she met Rickard, on hla way out Bh* man aged to avoid shaking hands with him. She wondered why she had consented to give him the next waits. "He’ll not find me," aha determined. Mac Lean followed her gladly to th® dark corner of the deck where’s Jose's guitar was then syncopating an accom paniment to his "amigo’s" vole*. To her surprise, Rickard penetrated her curtain of shadows. "Our dance. Miss Hardin? Give us *Bobr* Las Oil** again, Jose.** The hand that barely touched his arm was stiff with antagonism. Bhe told herself that bs had to dance with her—politeness, conventionality, de manded It But, Instantly, she forgot her resentment and forgot their awk ward relation. It was bis dancing, not Gerty’s, then, that was “superb." Any body could find skill under the leader ship of that Irresistible step. And then the motion claimed her. Bhe thought of nothing; they moved as one to ths liquid falling beat The music diopped them suddenly, solatlng them at the stern of the deck. The silence was complete. Rickard broke It to ask her what she thought of the camp. Her resentments were recalled. She blundered through her Impression of ths lightness, ths gaysty. "A work camp doss not havo to be solemn. Yoall find all th* grimness yon want If yon look beneath ths sur face." .The guitars were tuning up. "Shall I‘take yon back? I have this dance with your sister." She thought of Tom ■ on his lonely cot outside his tent She forgot that ah® had been asked a question. He was dancing again with Party I If that silly little woman had no scruple* no fine feeling, this man should nt least guard her. If he had beau her lover, he should bo careful; he must see that people were talking of them. She had aeon th* glances that evening! The business relation between ths two Man should suggest tact. If not fiscsucyLit visoflln^M Blck.nl Mood vmltlot to bo file, tnloocd; pmM. Tbroogh th# uncor- Ula llibt, hir oofor com. to him. 80. looked tailor, old,; thee wu ■ In. of accoalnc peeelon la her om it wu hla minute of rorelatloa. Bo that wu what the camp thought 1 The wife of Hardta—Hardin I Why, he’d been only polite to bar—they wore old friends. Whet bod bo mid to call down this nddeo acorn? "During—egmln—• Had bo beea aU kinds of on us? -lly turn. 10a Inner I” demanded Mac Lean, Jr. -on. rn* Oho cried, relief la bar tone. Rickard did not claim his dance with Mrs. Hardin. He stood where the girl had left him. thinking. A few minute# later, Gerty swept by In the arms of Breck. Later, cam® Innes with Junior; the two, thinking them selves unseen, romping through n two step Ilk# two young children. Ho was never shown that side of her. Guy as a young kitten, chatting merrily with Mac Lean I Should bar eyes discover him. she would ho again ths haughty young wooraa! He'd goo® out of hla way to bo po lite to the wife of Hardin. What did he care what they thought? He’d fin ish his Job. end get out A minute later, ho was being rowed beck to camp. CHAPTIR XXI. A Ceuiplsf Camp. / "Complete, Isn't U?" Estrada waa leading Innas Hardin through the en gineers’ quarters. “Yes, It’s complete!" Her Brother had told her at break fast that morning how grandly they had been wasting timet Bb* would not let herself admire the precision of the arrangements, ths showers back af the white men's quarters, the meaqult shaded kitchen, (tarty's elaborate eat tllag was of a piece. It woald sees* with the new management. House keeping. not fighting, then, the new order of things! TOm was afire to get his gats done. She knew what It meant to him; to the valley. The flood waters had to bo controlled. That depended, Tom had .proved to her. on th* gate. And th* men dance and play house, ns If they were children, and every day counting 1 She thought she was keeping her ee cusatloo* to herself, but Estrada was watching her face. "We are here, you know, for a slogs. Thera are months of work ahead, hot months, hard months. The men have got to be kept well and contented. We can't loss any time by el chases " He wanted to add "sad dissensions." Ths spilt camp was painful to him, aa Bp trad*. "Even after we finish the gat* If we do finish It—" She wheeled on hta, her eyes steam ing like deep yellow jewels. "You’ve never thought wo ceuld finish ur IdSKCBR FTKRALD When the Colorado Burst Its Bank* and Flooded the Imperial Valley sf California By EDNAH AIKEN Estrmd. hesitated or«r hi. onnrer. -Ton sr* s friend of Tom's, Mr. Ea> trsda?- "Kurelj I Bat I sm also an admirer of Mr. Rickard, I mean of hla methods. I can never fontet the levee." Bh* had to acknowledge that Rick ard bad scored there. And the horn ing of the machinery had left a wound that ah. still must salve. -Ton have no confidence In the gate?” -The conditions have changed.- nrged Estrada. "You’ve seen the mesa. •he Waved Her Hand Onyty. tent? Aa It waa planned. It wan an right, a hnrry-up defense. Marshall all alone Intended the concrete gate forth. permanent Intake. Have yon semi the gap th. Hardin gate Is to dona? Han yon baud what the lut floods did to It? It's now hundred teat, and Disaster Island, which yonr brother planned to anchor to, swept away I If It can bo dona, It win. yon can mat aeon red. with Rick ard—" ha saw tbs Hardin month than —-and your broth,, seal, nnd tbn strength of the railroad back of ttara.* Ths camp formed a hollow trepa stas. ; th. H.rdlu* tent*, and Mrs. Dowser's, worn Isolated on tbn abort parallel. Rickard's ramada nnd bln tent warn huddled with the engineers*. SCMS, toward tbs river, behind Ling's masgnltea, began eaottar polygen, tbn camp of foramen nnd whit, labor. Boms at tbaaa tents warm empty. -In this Maries, nr tbs Btatesr anted Inns. -Mexico.- Bha wondered why bs halted an abruptly. Sha did not na for the glare In ter tram, a woman's •klrt la tbn ramada ttey approached. Estrada searched an. Ontridu tbn rasasdn. the two women mat. Onrtjls step carried ter pant Ilka a highbred boson. Bor high tenin cat into tbs hard sand. Ttera was a anggnatlan of prance in ter mien. Bha waved bar band gayly at the tares cried. -How hot It let” and paaaad on. Innas saw Rickard nt bln long ptae table asad ter a dank. -I can aa# It on from tern.* Nat far moony woald tbs sister of Tam Har din go In! At table, that evening, ter family board with surprise Orrty'a announce meat that ttey were to eat In the mono teat with the note. It was too bat to cook any longer; this tad bate earn at th* hottest days la tbs year. Bha mpoctrd to tear n pretest to. tta now arrangement from Tom. Bbo resignation. If bo woald accept It ate most not argon. Both slater and broth er knew why It was too warm ta cook any longer. . CHAPTER XXII. A Visit to Maldennda. Mrs. Hardin's daacant on the otßca that afternoon was raccoaafnL bat not satisfactory. Bbo tad found tho man ager brief to curtaaaa. Bbo waa (tote so lines, to linger. She traced Rick ard's manner to the presence at Man j Lraa. and matched at ter cm Bha ! too, coaid bo tnslneeellho and bri atj Her errand wan of brahmas; bar man-’ Rickard had raw ter making straight toward th. ramada. It war not tbn first tins.; ter efforts to Una ter asst bad teratoid Item all and oftm. Bat today, ha waa In a bad kusof. "For tho Lord** rata" ho groaned to MacLeua us sho approached. MacLsan*s grin covtrsd relief. Ho had ■over hoard Rickard eiprras himself ou tho subject before. "Tho dsutf-oet Hardin's wifi* was making at Casey." was ths choice gossip sod speculation ot th* young engineers ou ths Delta. Mhfirißß m hot on on ths out coos®. Ho grinned mere securely. •1 ■■ not going tc spar* My more sari lit —" growled RRtaird. It was sn Inauspicious day for Mrs. Hardin's visit Things had gone wrong. Vex ations were piling up. ▲ tilt with Har din that morning, a telegram from Marshall; he was feeling sore. Des perately they needed labor. Wooster had just reported, venomously. It ap peared to Rickard’s spleen, Increasing drunkenness among the Indians. Gerty’s ruffles swept In. Her dress, the blue mull with the lace medallions, accented the hue of her eyes, and looked deliciously cool that glaring desert day. Her parasol, of pongee, was lined with the same baby hue. Her dainty fairness and childish af fability should have made an oasis In that strenuous day, but Rickard's dis integration of temper was too com plete. He rose stiffly to meet her, and his manner demauded her errand. She told It to him, plaintively. Her eyes were appealing, Infantile. Would It be too much to ask, would Mr. Rickard mind in the least, he must bo perfectly frank and tell her If they would be In the way at all, but while (hi® hot spell lasted, could they, the three of them, eat In the meat tent with the men? "Surely!” Rickard met It heartily. Bhe would find It rough, but If she could stand It, yes, he thought It a good Idea. And then there was nothing for her to do but go. Her retreat waa grace ful, without haste, dignified. She smiled a farewell at Mac Lean, who was watching the approach of Innes Hardin and Estrada. Rickard did not see the aborted entrance of Hardin's sister and the young Mexican. Ho waa Itching to bs st his work. Hs let ont s growl when Mrs. Har din was ont of earshot "Shucks I What in Halifax do wom en corns to s place like this for? There's Hardin—brings In two women to cook for him, and now, pleas* may they all oat with the men?" His secretary subdued a chuckle. Hs was visualising a procession of boxes of choice Havanas—from Bode fsldt, Hamlin and ths rest of the gang. Hs nesd not buy a smoko for a year. Rickard throw himself back In his chair. Take this letter, MacT»ean To MarahalL" Then bis worry diverted him. "Who In thunder Is selling liquor to my Indians?" "Hold on; that letter can wait Too get tho boras* up, Mac Lean, and well ride down to Maldonado's. It’a hla place to stop this liquor business, not mine." A few boars later they were ap proaching the adobe walls of Maldo nado. They found tho gato locked. ▲ woman, whoso beauty bad faded Into a tragic whisper, a ghastly twilight of suggestion, cam* to their knock, and unbarred the gate for the white stranger*. Mystery bung over the In dosnra Uke a pall. Rickard told bis errand. Maldonado ■puttered and swore. By the mother of Mary the Virgin, that thing would bo stopped. Ho showed to the seoor* with pride, bis badge. Hs was s ru ral#; bs was there to uphold tho law. Ho bad caught soma of tboss drunken Indians on tbs road. Ho had brought those bar* Maldonado showsd three men In a tacked ded, deep la drunken stupor. He thought tho liquor was obtained semswbera back In tbo sandhills. Ho would find the place. But the senor must be pattant; bis hands wore so fun. Both men wore glad to get sway from tbo place and Maldonado. Ob viously hs was a bruts; undoubtedly be was a liar. eHArriR xxiii. A Whits Woman and a Brawn. For a few weeks Mr* Hardin found tbo moss tent diverting. Before the Delta bad expended the capacity of tbo camp bar aoft nook had bean over taxed, bar hospitality strained. Ths man of tbo reclamation service, thrown Into temporary Inactivity, were eager ta accept the opportunity created for another. Falling that other, bar seal bed flagged. Croats were moving qitckly st ths braek; Rickard wes ab sorbed. Mr* Herdln told herself the! It was tho hast she wished to escape; i not to bar owe tor did sho whisper that she wes following Rickard, nor •that tbs percolator and chafing «n«h. her shelve® and toy kitchen were e wasted effort. She kept «e good tonus with herself by Ignoring self-coafl 'donee*. I Rickard, the discovery unfolded slowly, took bis meals Irregularly. Hla breakfast waa gulped down before the women appeared; his dinners where be foend them. "No wonder I” reflected Gerty Har din. "Ling's cooking Is so bad." Small wonder tho manager foraged for his Bh* worked ont a mission aa she lay across her bed that hot afternoon. Her duty became so dear that she could no longer Uo stllL Immediately aba must retrieve her weeks of Idle ness; what most Rickard think of her? She buttoned herself thoughtfully Into a frock of pule colored muslin, cream slipping toward canary. White was toe <larlnr on n red Lot dar like th!* Pink was tao hot, Mbs too definite. A parasol of pastel grata, and she looked like e sprig of fragrant mignonette. She found the open space of the trspsslum swarming with strange dark foes* So sUsnt their coming she had not heard the arrival of the tribes. She Isolated the Oocopahs, stately as bronse status* their long hair stream ing, or wound mud-caked under the brilliant headdoth* Foregathering with them were men of other tribes; these must bs ths Yumas and Degui no* tho men needed on the river. These were the men who were to work on the rafts, wsavs ths great mat tress** A squad of short-haired Pi mas with their squaws and babies and their gaudy bundle* gaped at the falr-halrad woman as she passed. The central space was flUlng up with Pi maa and Maricopa* Papa goes, »oo; she knew them collectively by then, sho* hair. These were brash cutters. This, then, meant the beginning of real activity. Tom would at last be satisfied. Hs would no longer sulk and rage alternately at the hold-up of tho work. Before aho reached Rickard’s ra mada she saw that another woman waa there. Bhe caught an Impassioned gesture. Her only surmise rested on Innes. Gerty saw that she was dark; she looked the halfbreed. The brown woman drew back as tho white woman entered. Gerty smiled an airy reas surance. She herself would wait. 8h« did not want to be hurried. Bhe told Rickard that she had plenty of time. "There is something yon want to tell me?" Rickard’s patience was cour teous but firm. He would hear her er rand first. Gerty, remembering the Imploring attitude of the stranger, de termined that the would not bo sent away. "Will you excuse me, senora? Ii will be only a minute." She was to tell her errand, and briefly 1 Gerty swept past the Intruder. "Sit down, Mrs. Hardin." Resenting the Inflection, she said she would stand. Her voice was a little hard, her eyes were veiled, aa she told her mission. Her usual flu ency dragged; she felt a lack of sym pathy. In short, she proposed s com missary department, herself In charge "I’d Ilk* to feel I was of some use," urged Gerty. "My heart Is bound ug In this undertaking; If Tm allowed t• stay, Td Uke to help along. This la the only way I can, ths woman's way.* "Aren't you taking a good deal so yourself, Mr* Hardin?" Then she forgave bis heettmtioa quit* as it was of her ho was think lng. "Not If It helps." Her voles wag low and soft, m If this ware a sacral between them. "Why, of course, anything you want Mr* Hardin." And, remembering hai former position, hs added. "Th* cauap*! yours as much as mine." A glad smile rewarded him. went out, reluctantly. There was a now significance In MacLean** absents from tbo ramada. What could that woman havo to say that Mac Lass most not bear? For tho first time tbs weak tenure on her old lover cams to bar. Not a sign bad bs yet gives of their understanding, of tho piquant situation. Themselves old sweetheart* thrown together In this wilderness What had she bnUt her hopes ou? A word bora, a translated phrase, as magnified glance. She would not bar bor the new worry. Why, It would bg all right. In tbo meantime she would show them all what a woman with executive ability could do. "Sit down, aeoora," raid Rickard ts tho brown woman. Maldonado's wife “Don’t be frightened. We won’t let him hurt you." Rickard vulgarised his CastlUsn to tbo roach of bar rude dialect Familiar as was Rickard with tbo peons' speech In their own sow A Woman Unbarred the Out* try, be could not keep up with has story. Lurid words ran past his sat* Out of the jumble of shoe* of dim and misery be caught a new net* "You ray Maldonado hlnsslf aaDa liquor to tho Indiana?" "Bah, senor!" Someone might hoar himl Bb* looked over a terrified shoulder. That had slipped out the selling of ths liquor. She could have told her story without that; ah# want ed to deny It Relentlessly Rickard mads her repeat It. acknowledging ths truth. "What makes you tall mo now?" Rickard hunted for tho ulcer. Hs knew there was s personal wrong. "What has Maldonado been doing ta you? Has he left your (TO »■ COMTINPBD.) Tbo consumption of newsprint pe> par by tbs dally, weekly and monthly publications of Australis runs abeal 4490 tone a mouth.