Landor sat at the centre table and went over requisition blanks by the light of a green-shaded student lamp. The reflection made him look livid and aging. Felipa had noticed it, and then she had turned to the fire and sat watching, with her soft eyes half closed, the little sputtering sparks from the mesquite knot. She had been immovable in that one position for at least an hour, her hands folded with a weary looseness in her lap. If it had not been that her face was very hard to read, even her husband might have guessed that she was sad. But he was not thinking about her. He went on examining the papers until some one came upon the front porch and knocked at the door. Then he got up and went out.He did not answer, and she knew that he was annoyed. She had come to see that he was always annoyed by such references, and she made them more frequent for that very reason, half in perversity, half in a fixed determination not to be ashamed of her origin, for she felt, without quite realizing it, that to come to have shame and contempt for herself would be to lose every hold upon life.
"Did you, though?"
As he put on his faded blouse he went and stood before her, holding out his arms. She moved over to him and laid her head on his shoulder. "Are you not sorry to have me go?" he asked, in the tones of one having a grievance. He felt that he was entitled to something of the sort.It was evident that she had no intention of making herself agreeable. Landor had learned the inadvisability and the futility of trying to change her moods. She was as unaffected about them as a child. So he took up the conversation he and Cairness had left off, concerning the Indian situation, always a reliable topic. It was bad that year and had been growing steadily worse, since the trouble at the time of his marriage, when Arizona politicians had, for reasons related to their own pockets, brought about the moving of the White Mountain band to the San Carlos Agency. The White Mountains had been peaceable for years, and, if not friendly to the government, at least too wise to oppose it. They had cultivated land and were living on it inoffensively. But they were trading across the territorial line into New Mexico, and that lost money to Arizona. So they were persuaded by such gentle methods as the burning of their Agency buildings and the destruction of their property, to move down to San Carlos. The climate there was of a sort fatal to the mountain Apaches,鈥攖he thing had been tried before with all the result that could be desired, in the way of fevers, ague, and blindness,鈥攁nd also the White Mountains were hereditary enemies of the San Carlos tribes. But a government with a policy, three thousand miles away, did not know these things, nor yet seek to know them. Government is like the gods, upon occasions: it[Pg 68] first makes mad, then destroys. And if it is given time enough, it can be very thorough in both.He did not answer at once, but sat watching the trumpeter come out of the adjutant's office to sound recall. "Yes, she will marry," he agreed; "if no one else marries her, I will. I am as old as her father would have been but it would save telling some fellow about her birth."
"I don't mind," she began; and then her strict truthfulness coming uppermost, she corrected herself: "At least, I don't mind very much, not so much as you thought I would."
"Say!" she apostrophized."I'll break your jaws if you don't open them." The jaws opened forthwith, but no sound came, and Lawton struggled feebly.
She was silent, but the stubbornness was going fast. She broke off a bunch of little pink blossoms and rolled it in her hands.Cairness took the Reverend Taylor to the door. "You know that is Bill Lawton's wife?" he said.
She did not return to the ramada, but before long her husband came in search of her.
"Her father was dead. He left her to him."Cairness himself had speculated upon that subject a good deal, and had noticed with a slight uneasiness the ugly looks of some of the ranch hands. "They are more likely to have trouble in that quarter than with the Indians," he said to himself. For he had seen much, in the ranks, of the ways of the disgruntled, free-born American.详情
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