类型:奇幻地区:莫桑比克剧发布:2020-10-26 00:15:16


Felipa expressed decided approval, and set to work making herself comfortable at once. Within ten minutes she had changed her travelling things for a white wrapper, had brushed the dust from her hair, and left it hanging straight and coarse and dead black, below her waist,鈥攕he was given to loosing it whenever the smallest excuse offered,鈥攁nd had settled herself to rest in a canvas lounging chair."How," he said gruffly.

Chapter 25She told him that they had all scattered some time before, with the hounds in full cry. "I must go," she repeated more firmly now, "they will be looking鈥" She stopped short.

The knife was one he had brought from home, seizing it from the kitchen table at the last minute. It was very sharp and had been Felipa's treasured bread cutter. It came in very well just now, chiefly because of its length.Cairness said "yes" rather half heartedly. That fresh, sweet type was insipid to him now, when there was still so fresh in his memory the beauty of a [Pg 40]black-haired girl, with eagle eyes that did not flinch before the sun's rays at evening or at dawn.

It was plainly the cave. He went and stood in the mouth and looked into the dark, narrowing throat. A[Pg 219] weird silence poured up with the damp, earthy smell. He went farther in, half sliding down the steep bank of soft, powdery, white earth. There was only the uncanny light which comes from reflection from the ground upward. But by it he could see innumerable tiny footprints, coyote, squirrel, prairie-dog, polecat tracks and the like. It took very little imagination to see yellow teeth and eyes gleaming from black shadows also, although he knew there were no dangerous animals in those parts.There were two bodies lying across the trail in front of him. He dismounted, and throwing his reins to the[Pg 136] trumpeter went forward to investigate. It was not a pleasant task. The men had been dead some time and their clothing was beginning to fall away in shreds. Some of their outfit was scattered about, and he could guess from it that they had been prospectors. A few feet away was the claim they had been working. Only their arms had been stolen, otherwise nothing appeared to be missing. There was even in the pockets considerable coin, in gold and silver, which Landor found, when he took a long knife from his saddle bags, and standing as far off as might be, slit the cloth open.

She echoed "To luncheon!" in amazement. "But, Jack, he was a soldier, wasn't he?""Think it over, in any case," urged Forbes; "I am going in, good night."

There he heard of Landor again. This time it was through Barnwell, and the descriptions were picturesque. Brewster encouraged them, paying a good deal more heed to them than to the little complaints of the Indians he had been sent up to investigate. Then he returned to Grant, taking with him in the ambulance an enlisted man returning to receive his discharge.

"Sounds rather like a family magazine novel hero, doesn't it?" Landor said, with a hint of a sneer, then repented, and added that Cairness had been with him as guide, and was really a fine fellow. He turned his eyes slowly, without moving, and looked at Felipa. She was sitting near them in a patch of sun-sifted shade behind the madeira vines, sewing on a pinafore for the little girl who was just then, with her brother, crossing the parade to the post school, as school call sounded. He knew well enough that she must have heard, her ears were so preternaturally sharp. But the only sign she gave was that her lips had set a little. So he waited in considerable uneasiness for what might happen. He understood her no more than he had that first day he had met her riding with the troops from Kansas, when her indifferent manner had chilled him, and it was perhaps because he insisted upon working his reasoning from the basis that her character was complicated, whereas it was absolutely simple. He met constantly with her with much the same sort of mental sensation that one has physically, where one takes a step in the dark, expecting a fall in the ground, and comes down upon a level. The jar always bewildered him. He was never sure what she would do next, though she had never yet, save once, done anything flagrantly unwise. He dreaded, however, the moment when she might chance to meet Cairness face to face.



Landor had come to agree with the major at Grant, that she was an excellent wife for a soldier. Her tastes were simple as those of a hermit. She asked only a tent and a bunk and enough to eat, and she could do without even those if occasion arose. She saw the best of everything, not with the exasperating optimism which insists upon smiling idiotically on the pleasant and the distinctly disagreeable alike, and upon being aggressively delighted over the most annoying mishaps, but with a quiet, common-sense intention of making the objectionable no more so for her own part. There were wives who made their husbands' quarters more dainty and attractive, if not more neat; but in the struggle鈥攆or it was necessarily a struggle鈥攍ost much peace of mind and real comfort. Upon the whole, Landor was very well satisfied, and Felipa was entirely so. She was utterly indifferent to being set down at a three-company post, where her only companion was to be a woman she disliked from the first, openly and without policy, as was her way."We were planting our own corn and melons," said Alchise, "and making our own living. The agent at San Carlos never gave us any rations, but we didn't mind about that. We were taking care of ourselves. One day the agent鈥" He stopped and scowled at a squaw a few yards away, whose papoose was crying lustily. The squaw, having her attention thus called to the uproar of her offspring, drew from somewhere in the folds of her dirty wrappings a nursing-bottle, and putting the nipple in its mouth, hushed its cries. The chief went on: "One day the agent sent up and said that we must give up our own country and our corn patches, and go down there to the Agency to live. He sent Indian soldiers to seize our women and children, and drive us down to the hot land.""'And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.' I wonder how many women who have lived up to every word of the Decalogue have made it all profitless for want of a little charity?"



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