s tufts sparser; the streams ran smaller and smaller. Until there came a day when they traveled from dawn until long after sunset before they encountered any water; and this lay lukewarm in hollows of the sandstone, accumulations from rains of long ago. The earth was hard and dry and there were stretches where there was no earth at all, only a rubble of sharp rock fragments radiating heat-waves under the glaring sun.
There was no rollicking about the camp-fires any more. When evening came the men were weary from hurrying their wagons over rugged ground or climbing lofty buttes to look ahead for signs of water. Isham the fiddler left his violin in its case; he never took it from that case again. The oxen had grown gaunt from lack of feed and drink; they wandered about the night camps nibbling disdainfully at what growth there was, low bitter sapless weeds.
The change in the country had come so imperceptibly that they did not realize the presence of the desert until they were confronted by an-appa