The Reverend Taylor sat in silence for a time, reflecting. Then he broke forth again, a little querulously. "What in thunderation do they dine at such an hour for?" Cairness explained that it was an English custom to call supper dinner, and to have it very late.
The commandant's wife took Mrs. Landor in, and would have put her to bed with hot drinks and blankets, but that Felipa would have nothing more than some dry clothes and a wrapper in place of her wet habit. The clothes were her own, brought by one of the men, safe in a rubber poncho, but the wrapper belonged to her hostess, who was portly, whereas Felipa was slender. But to Cairness, who had stopped for luncheon, she seemed, in the voluminous dull red draperies, more splendid than ever before.
The last straw was laid on when an Indian policeman arrested a young buck for some small offence. The buck tried to run away, and would not halt when he was told to. The chief of police fired and killed a squaw by mistake; and though he was properly sorry for it, and expressed his regret, the relatives and friends of the deceased squaw caught him a few days later, and cutting off his head, kicked it round, as they had seen the White-eye soldier do with his rubber foot-ball. Then they, aroused and afraid too of punishment, fled from the reservation and began to kill.While the men sat at the long table, shovelling in with knife and three-pronged fork the food of the master their pride forbade them to serve, a horse came at a run, up to the quadrangle, and a cow-boy rushed into the open doorway. "Apaches!" he gasped, clutching at the lintel, wild-eyed, "Apaches!"
Lawton produced a brace of revolvers.
Brewster took on an elaborate and entirely unnecessary air of indifference, and yawned to heighten the effect. "What did he want of the child?" he asked negligently.It ended in victory for the vinagrone, but he died from his wounds an hour later. Felipa told Landor so, as they started for a ride, early in the afternoon. "The vinagrone is dead," she said; "Mr. Brewster didn't like my fighting them." Then she assumed the lofty dignity that contrasted so oddly sometimes with her childish simplicity. "He lacks tact awfully. Think of it! He took the occasion to say that he loved me. As though he had not told me so a dozen times before."
As an attempt at consolation, it failed. Landor fairly sprang into a sitting posture, with a degree of impulsiveness that was most unusual with him. His eyes glistened from the greenish circles around them. "Blow over! Good Lord! do you suppose I'll let it blow over? It's got to be sifted to the bottom. And you know that as well as I do." He lay weakly back again, and Felipa came to the edge of the bed and, sitting upon it, stroked his head with her cool hand.The mesquites were directly ahead. A horseman came out from behind them and placed himself across the road. There was a sheen of moonlight on a revolver barrel and a shouted "Halt there!"He did not try to discuss her plans for the future with her that night; but two days afterward, when she had disposed of all her household goods and had packed the few things that remained, they sat upon two boxes in the bare hallway, resting; and he broached it.
It was short and to the point upon Cairness's part, and having finished he stood up.
Some thirty miles to the southeast was the Mescalero Indian Agency. Landor had consented with the worst possible grace to take her there sometime when the[Pg 184] road should be passable and safe. She had openly resented his disinclination, though she usually appeared not to notice it. "It is very natural I should want to see the place where I was born," she had said, "and I think we should both be more comfortable if you would not persist in being so ashamed of it.""She must be a woman by this time," reflected the civilian. "Is she married to him?"详情
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