[Pg 100]"Yes, and you don't like the English, I know that perfectly."
But he mistook her silence for dismay, and went on. "It is only what one might expect from the daughter of a drunken private and a Mescalero squaw."
Felipa thought it was not quite so bad as that, and she poured herself another cup of the Rio, strong as lye, with which she saturated her system, to keep off the fever."It is the only one I can live," she said indifferently[Pg 323] enough, stating it as an accepted, incontrovertible fact, "and it's the one you like best."
And things were coming to an end, anyway. He could see it in the looks of the Apaches, and hear it in their whispers. They consented to come in, and even to put themselves at the discretion of the government, but there was a lack of the true ring in their promises. So when, on the third morning, before it was yet daylight, two chiefs came hurrying into camp and awoke the general with bad news, he was not greatly surprised. He had warned Crook of the possibility, for that matter.The better class of citizens did not roam over the country much, and no officers had stopped at his ranch in almost two years, though they had often passed by. And he knew well enough that they would have let their canteens go unfilled, and their horses without fodder, for a long time, rather than have accepted water from his wells or alfalfa from his land. He could understand their feeling, too,鈥攖hat was the worst of it; but though his love and his loyalty toward Felipa never for one moment wavered, he was learning surely day by day that a woman, be she never so much beloved, cannot make up to a man for long for the companionship of his own kind; and, least of all,鈥攈e was forced to admit it in the depths of his consciousness now,鈥攐ne whose interests were circumscribed.
The probable outcome of things at the rate they were going was perfectly apparent. Landor would advance in age, respectability, and rank, and would be retired and settle down on three-fourths pay. He himself would end up in some cow-boy row, degraded and worthless, a tough character very probably, a fine example of nothing save atavism. And Felipa would grow old. That splendid triumphant youth of hers would pass, and she would be a commonplace, subdued, middle-aged woman, in whom a relapse to her nature would be a mere vulgarity.
Then Brewster began to listen.
"And I went outside the post the night after you left, down to the river. Some one will probably tell you about a wounded Sierra Blanca found down among the bushes in the river bottom that same night. I shot him, and then I hacked him up with my knife." He had taken his pipe from his mouth and was looking at her incredulously, perplexed. He did not understand whether it was a joke on her part, or exactly what it was.
"Oh!" said Taylor, and sat looking into the fire.Ellton answered "Very good," and they went out, locking the door.But she was not sure that she thought so. She wanted to know why the woman could not be sent to the hotel, and he explained that Cairness wished a very close watch kept on her until she was able to be up. Curiosity got the better of outraged virtue then. "Why?" she asked, and leaned forward eagerly.
"Cairness never was a squaw-man," corrected Crook."From Cairness?" she faltered, looking up at him[Pg 147] with frightened eyes; "when did it come?" Her voice was as unsteady as her hands. She tore it open and began to read it there before him. He stood and watched her lips quiver and grow gray and fall helplessly open. If she had been under physical torture, she could have kept them pressed together, but not now.详情
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