She drew herself up and grasped her loaded quirt more firmly. There are some natures to which flight from a thing feared is physically impossible. They must not only face danger, they must go up to it. It is a trait, like any other. Felipa took two steps toward him."I have the ranch; how could I get away?" Cairness opposed.
"You better do what I say!" He was plainly spoiling for a fight."Cairness never was a squaw-man," corrected Crook.The buck sat down upon the ground in front of Felipa and considered her. By the etiquette of the tribe she could not ask him his name, but the boy, her prot茅g茅, told her that it was Alchesay. All the afternoon he hung around the camp, taciturn, apparently aimless, while she went about her usual amusements and slept in the tent. Once in a way he spoke to her in Spanish. And for days thereafter, as they moved up along the rough and dangerous road,鈥攚here the wagon upset with monotonous regularity, big and heavy though it was,鈥攈e appeared from time to time.
"Some Sierra Blanca, sir," said the soldier. It was respectful enough, and yet there was somewhere in the man's whole manner an air of equality, even superiority, that exasperated the lieutenant. It was contrary to good order and military discipline that a private should speak without hesitation, or without offence to the English tongue."Well?" said he, questioningly, setting his mouth. It answered to the duellist's "On guard!" She had seen him set his mouth before, and she knew that it meant that he was not to be opposed. Nevertheless there was a principle involved now. It must be fought for. And it would be the first fight of their marriage, too. As he had told Cairness once, she was very amiable.
"Good Lord! no," Cairness's smile was rueful. "I've lost all ambition of that sort years since. I'm too old. I've knocked about too long, and I dare say I may as well knock about to the end."Crook closed up the portfolio and turned to him. "I didn't know you were married, Mr. Cairness, when I sent for you."
Chapter 23They came around him and offered him their horses, dismounting even, and forcing the reins into his hands. "You don't know what you are doing," a corporal urged. "You'll never get out alive. If it ain't Indians, it'll be thirst." Then he looked into Cabot's face and saw that he did know, that he knew very well. And so they left him at last, with more of the tepid alkali water than they well could spare from their canteens, with two days' rations and an extra cartridge belt, and trotted on once more across the plain.
Cairness called to four of his scouts as he ran. They joined him, and he told them to help him search. In half an hour they found her, cowering in a cranny of rocks and manzanita. He dismissed the Indians, and then spoke to her. "Now you sit on that stone there and listen to me," he said, and taking her by the shoulder put her down and stood over her.
One morning, shortly before dinner call, she sat under the ramada, the deer at her feet, asleep, the little Apache squatted beside her, amusing himself with a collection of gorgeous pictorial labels, soaked from commissary fruit and vegetable cans. The camp was absolutely silent, even the drowsy scraping of the brooms of the police party having stopped some time before. Landor was asleep in his tent, and presently she herself began to doze. She was awakened by the sound of footsteps on the gravel in front of the[Pg 65] ramada, and in another moment a tall figure stood in the opening, dark against the glare. Instantly she knew it was the man with whom she had come face to face long before on the parade ground at Grant, though from then until now she had not thought of him once, nor remembered his existence.Felipa stood up and told the truth shortly. "It[Pg 224] was my fault, if it was any one's," she ended. "You may kill me, if you like. But if you hurt him, I will kill myself." It was she who was threatening now, and she never said more than she meant. She turned almost disdainfully from them, and went up and out of the cave.
"And you think there will be trouble?" He knew that the buck had come there for nothing but to inform.She had been sufficiently ashamed of herself thereafter, and totally unable to understand her own evil[Pg 312] impulse. As she lay swinging in the hammock, she remembered this and many other things connected with that abhorred period of compulsory civilization and of success. The hot, close, dead, sweet smell of the petunias, wilting in the August sun, and the surface-baked earth came up to her. It made her vaguely heartsick and depressed. The mood was unusual with her. She wished intensely that her husband would come back.详情
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