For a little while the old man looked away through the study window at the prairie empire to be found for the looking.
"Do you see that little twist of blue smoke over west?" he queried presently.
"Nothing, only the man huddlin' down round the fire makin' that smoke way down where it's cold and dark, that's the man who--say, Professor!"
Old Bond looked up appealingly, and the pitiful face touched Burgess' heart.
"What is it, Saxon? Be frank now, but be fair, too. Sooner or later, this thing must be run down. Fenneben will do it himself, anyhow, as soon as he's well enough."
"Professor, I have asked you twice if you'd be good to Dennie--"
"Yes, yes; you always come back to that. Anybody would be good to her, and she's a capable girl who does n't need anybody's care, anyhow. Now, go on."
"I will"--it seemed an heroic resolve--"I asked this for Dennie, because my own life is never safe."