He turned his horse about with a sudden twitch of the reins, but, so doing, he noticed how much thinner the gelding was across the shoulders, how much sharper the ridge of the neck. All the sleekness of the pasture fat had evaporated in the labor of lifting his rider from that far-off gleam of water to this upland. Should all that labor be wasted? Besides, if he returned, his friends would look at one another and smile, and say that John Signal’s nerve had failed in the great pinch. They would point out that it had often happened before; the hero of the school yard and the vacant lot and the bunkhouse grew soft of heart when real danger came.
Thinking of the town itself, John Signal was about to rush back in surrender. Thinking of the people in it, he became grimly resolute and turned the gelding back toward the throat of the pass