"This outlaw, boot-legger, thief, and murderer was a respectable fellow once, the adopted son of a wealthy family back East, who began by spoiling him, lavished money on him, and let him have his own way in everything. He was a gay youngster on the side, given to drinking and fast company. He fell in love with a pretty girl, but when she found him out, she cut him. Then he went to the dogs, blaming her because she had sense enough to throw him over where he belonged. She fell in love--the right kind of love--with another man. And this young fool who had no claim on her at all, swore vengeance. Her family wanted her to marry the young sport because he had money. They were long on money--her father was, anyhow. But she would n't do it."
"Did she marry the one she really cared for?" Burgess asked eagerly.
"No; but that's another story. Meantime this fellow's father died, leaving the boy he, himself, had started on the wrong road, entirely out of his will. The boy went to the devil-- and he's still there."
Saxon paused and looked once more at the tiny wavering smoke column, hardly visible now.
"He's over yonder hiding away from the light of day under the bluffs by the fire that sends that curl of smoke up through the crevices in the rock, an outlaw thief."
Saxon gazed long at the landscape beyond the Walnut. When he spoke again, it was with an effort.
"Professor, this outlaw got a hold on me once when I was drunk, drunk by his making. It would do no good to tell you about that. You could n't help me, nor harm him. You'll trust me in this?"
A picture of Dennie down in the Kickapoo Corral, with the flickering firelight on her rippling hair, the weird, shadowy woodland, and the old Indian legend all came back to the young man now, though why he could not say.