Down the hill, on the far side of the track, she perceived the two men approaching with a horse; then she remembered the fact that she had been thrown, and that it was her horse. She rose to her feet.
"I'm ever so much obliged to you, Mr. Gaylord," she said; "you have done me a great favour by--telling me these things. And thanks for letting them catch the horse. I'm afraid I've put you to a lot of bother."
"Not at all," said Tom, "not at all." He was studying her face. Its expression troubled and moved him strangely, for he was not an analytical person. "I didn't mean to tell you those things when I began," he apologized, "but you wanted to hear them."
"I wanted to hear them," repeated Victoria. She held out her hand to him.
"You're not going to ride home!" he exclaimed. "I'll take you up in my buggy--it's in the station shed."
She smiled, turned and questioned and thanked the men, examined the girths and bridle, and stroked the five-year-old on the neck. He was wet from mane to fetlocks.
"I don't think he'll care to run much farther," she said. "If you'll pull him over to the lumber pile, Mr. Gaylord, I'll mount him."
They performed her bidding in silence, each paying her a tribute in his thoughts. As for the five-year-old, he was quiet enough by this time. When she was in the saddle she held out her hand once more to Tom.