Page:O Henry Prize Stories of 1924.djvu/290

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more . . . will there be a place where I can get away . . . I’d like for to have this last month . . . alone on Guayule, to say good-bye. . . . Then you can take it———”

“You’ll do better than I expect if you live another week!” The aviator’s voice was troubled, perplexed: “I really can’t leave you; it wouldn’t be decent!”

Jem Brown dropped down on the pine branches and stared helplessly in front of him. For a second the narrow window framed a stretch of desert, paved in tawny gold, dotted with sage-brush; through it a camel train wound into the settlement—and his mother was gone.

Followed, then, a shimmer of heat waves above metal rails where great locomotives thundered upon their scheduled way. . . . Soon Jenny’s place knew her no more.

With a feeble gesture of resignation Jem Brown turned toward the stranger: “I guess . . . maybe . . . this is my signal!” he whispered.

Progress had caught up with him.

The end