"I shall have to go on the morning stage. Will you not please - " to Rand.
"Jo, I do not fear death. It is dishonor that maddens me, for your sake. The snows have come. They are already fitting runners to the stages. The mails and the 'dust' must get through in spite of all. I go out on the first sleigh; this one you must take. This winter I shall vindicate my name, if it is humanly possible to do so." He kissed the end of one long curl of her hair, and was gone.
Some weeks later, during a lull between storms, Rand's face lit up with the feeling which but one woman in the world could inspire, as the stage pulled in to Middle Fork.
"Father is not quite recovered, but I thought it best to get him out before we were snowed in. Rand, Digger Dan came," she added, in a whisper; 'the stage will be stopped today. Yet, it is gathering for a storm. I dare not stay. What shall I do?"
"Come along. I will protect you."
Two miles further, as they topped a hill, Texas, the driver, pulled the laboring six far to the side.
"Cut, there," answered Texas, "an' it's piled high with a drift."
"I've got 'em spotted," muttered Tex.