"Like as not she does up them boiled shirts and dresses herself, don't you think?" was the minister's awed comment to Cairness, as they went to bed that night in the bare little room.By day Felipa was left in camp with the cook, while Landor and the men worked on ahead, returning at sundown. At times she went with them, but as a rule she wandered among the trees and rocks, shooting with pistol and bow, but always keeping close to the tents. She had no intention of disobeying her [Pg 88]husband again. Sometimes, too, she read, and sometimes cooked biscuits and game over the campfire in the Dutch oven. Her strength began to return almost from the first, and she had gone back, for comfort's sake, to the short skirts of her girlhood.
Kirby finished greasing the nut of a wagon. Then he went to the water trough and washed his hands and face, drying them upon a towel in the harness room. He explained that they didn't make much of a toilet for luncheon.The knowledge was slight and of no plain value; but it might be of use some day. Life had taught Cairness, amongst other things, that it usually proved so. He stored it away with the other gleanings of experience in his mental barns, and went in search of new adventures.
At sunset the camp surrendered. There were seven dead bucks found, but no one ever knew, of course, how many had fallen into ravines, or dragged themselves off to die in nooks. The Apache does not dread death, but he dreads having the White-man know that he has died.
She did not. He had merely told her that her father was his friend and had died on the plains. "She thinks her mother died at Stanton. It is so near the Mescalero Agency that I let it go at that."
The Reverend Taylor and Cairness had managed, with a good deal of adroitness, to keep the identity of their patient a secret. Stone was consequently not at all prepared to have her stride in upon him. But he was not a man to be caught exhibiting emotions. The surprise which he showed and expressed was of a perfectly frank and civil, even of a somewhat pleased, sort. He called her "my dear madam," and placed a chair for her. She sat in it under protest. He kept up the social aspect of it all for quite five minutes, but sociability implies conversation, and Cairness and the minister were silent. So was the woman鈥攔igidly.
He handed it over also.
Then she came forward, holding out her hand in the most matter-of-fact way, if, indeed, any action of a very beautiful woman can be matter of fact.Others of the troops were ordered in, and among them was Landor's. It had gone out for a twenty days' scout, and had been in the field two months. It was ragged and all but barefoot, and its pack-train was in a pitiable way. Weeks of storm in the Mogollons and days of quivering heat on the plains had brought its clothing and blankets to the last stages.
So the demand and the charges lay before the department commander, and there was a lull, during which Landor came upon further trouble, and worse. He undertook the examination of the papers he had found in the dead men's pockets. They had been buried in earth for two weeks.Cairness sat for a long time, smoking and thinking. Then Felipa's voice called to him and he went in to her. She was by the window in a flood of moonlight, herself all in flowing white, with the mantle of black hair upon her shoulders.详情
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