This little love story of the prairies is dedicated to all who believe that the defence of the helpless is heroism; that the protection of the home is splendid achievement; and, that the storm, and stress, and patient endurance of the day will bring us at last to the peace of the [Pg viii]purple twilight.
lay glistening in the last light of day, a gap in the bluff letting the reflection from great golden clouds illumine its wave-crumpled surface.
We took hold of hands and started down the long slope together, but our parents called us back. "Playmates already," I heard them saying.
In the gathering evening shadows we all lumbered down the slope to the rock-bottomed ford and up into the little hamlet of Springvale.
That night when I said my prayers to Aunt Candace I cried softly on her shoulder. "Marjie makes me homesick," I sobbed, and Aunt Candace understood then and always afterward.
The very air about Springvale was full of tradition. The town had been from the earliest times a landmark of the old Santa Fé trail. When the freighters and plainsmen left the village and climbed to the top of the slope and set their faces to the west there lay before them only the wilderness wastes. Here Nature, grown miserly, offered not even a stick of timber to mend a broken cart-pole in a