The Reverend Taylor shook his head. "I may tell you sometime, but not now. In the meanwhile I'm sure you think we had better keep Mrs. Lawton here, don't you now?"
Which was what they presently did. She expected it. A long, wrinkled hand reached in, feeling about for the knots of the tape. She stood still with the brush in her hands, watching. Another hand came, and another. She caught up her quirt from the cot, then realizing that the sting of the lash would only prove an exasperation and weaken her authority, if she had any whatever,鈥攁nd she believed that she had,鈥攕he threw it down. The cook was probably in the kitchen tent and did not know what was going on. And she would have died before she would have called for help."And now," said the Reverend Taylor, fingering the lock of hair over the little Reverend's right ear,[Pg 263] as that wise little owl considered with uncertain approval a whistle rattle Cairness had bought for him, "and now what are you going to do?"Landor glanced at his wife. She seemed to take it without offence, and was listening intently.
She warned them off with a careless "ukishee." But they did not go. Some ten pairs of eyes, full of unmistakable menace, followed her every movement. She let down the tent flaps and tied them together, taking her time about it. She was angry, and growing angrier. It was unendurable to her to be disobeyed, to have her authority put at naught on the few occasions when she chose to exercise it. She could keep her temper over[Pg 91] anything but that. And her temper was of the silent sort, rolling on and on, like a great cold swell at sea, to break finally against the first obstacle with an uncontrollable force. She had never been really angry but twice in her life. Once when she was in school, and when a teacher she liked, judging her by her frequent and unblushing lies to a teacher she disliked, doubted her word upon an occasion when she was really speaking the truth. It was after that that she had written to her guardian that she would run away. The second time had been when Brewster had tried to bully her. She knew that it would soon be a third time, if the Indians went on annoying her. And she was far more afraid of what she might do than of what they might do. But she took off the waist of her gown and began to brush her hair, not being in the least squeamish about letting the Apaches see her fine white arms and neck, if they were to open the flaps again.
Cairness lay white and still, looking up at her. He was very weak and dazed, and for the instant he could only remember, absurdly enough, the Andromaque he had seen a French actress play once in his very early youth when he had been taken with all the children of the Lyc茅e, where he was then at school, to the theatre on a Thursday afternoon. The Andromaque had been tall and dark and superb, and all in black, like that woman in the doorway there.
"Yes?" said Landor. The inflection was not pleasing. It caused Brewster to answer somewhat weakly, "Yes."
He had told her that many times. It had been true; perhaps it was true still.[Pg 322]Mrs. Campbell asked where she proposed running to.
She shook her head. "It is the first you have known of it, Jack," she said; "but I have known it for a long while, and I have not been unhappy."He was not the sort of a man of whom to ask explanations. Ellton said "Very well," and proceeded to talk about the troop's hogs and gardens, both of which were a source of increase to the troop funds.
[Pg 211]Landor stopped behind, looking at Cairness undecidedly for a moment longer. "It is well for you that I can believe her implicitly," he said. It had been a relapse to the Stone Age, but the rebound to the nineteenth century was as quick.
Chapter 14The roll of the drums and the whistle of the fifes died away in the distance. There was a long silence, followed by three volleys of musketry, the salute over the open grave. And then taps was pealed in notes of brass up to the blue sky, a long farewell, a challenge aforetime to the trumpet of the Last Day. They turned and came marching back. The drums and fifes played "Yankee Doodle" in sarcastic relief. The men walked briskly with their guns at carry arms, the black-draped horse curved its neck and pranced until the empty stirrups danced. The incident was over鈥攃losed. The post picked up its life and went on. Two afternoons later the ambulance which had been sent for Felipa came into the post. She stepped out from it in front of the Elltons' quarters so majestic and awe-inspiring in her black garments that Mrs. Ellton was fairly subdued. She felt real grief. It showed in her white face and the nervous quiver of her lips. "I am going out to the graveyard," she told Mrs. Ellton almost at once. Mrs. Ellton prepared to accompany her, but she insisted that she was going alone, and did so, to the universal consternation.详情
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