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.Cairness was surprised almost into showing his surprise. Felipa had said nothing of it to him. And he[Pg 317] knew well enough that she never forgot a face. He felt that he was in a false position, but he answered "Yes?" non-committally.
The next day he left for the Circle K Ranch. Lawton did not appear to need help. But he fired a Greaser, nevertheless, and took Cairness on. He seemed to stand in as abject awe of Stone's note as an Arab might have stood of a bit of the black covering of the Kaabah stone.
"Never!" she declared; it was merely because she could not breathe the same air with that creature."Can't stay," said the adjutant, all breathless. "The line's down between here and the Agency; but a runner has just come in, and there's trouble. The bucks are restless. Want to join Victorio in New Mexico. You've both got to get right over there.""What!" ejaculated the general. He was moved altogether from his imperturbable calm.
"Still," said Felipa, too quietly, "I would rather be the daughter of a drunken private and a Mescalero squaw than the wife of a coward and sneak."
It is only a feeble love in need of stimulants and spicing that craves secrecy. A strong one seeks the open and a chance to fight to the end, whatever that may be, before the judges of earth and heaven. They stood facing each other, challenging across the woman with the look in their eyes that men have worn since long ere ever the warriors of old disputed the captive before the walls of Troy.
[Pg 34]In the middle of the line there was a one-room mud hut. This, with the tents back of it, was her home. Landor had fitted up the hut with Navajo blankets, Indian baskets, dolls, saddle bags, war bonnets, and quivers; with stuffed birds and framed chromos, camp-chairs and some rough quartermaster's furniture. A gray blanket, with a yellow Q. M. D. in the centre, kept the glare out at the window, and the room was cool enough. One advantage of adobe鈥攁nd it has others鈥攊s that it retains all summer the winter cold, and all winter the summer heat.
"No," he said, "I wouldn't like you to, and she wouldn't want it, I reckon." He dropped back into his usual speech. "She ain't any repentant sinner, by a good deal. But as Cairness wants me to keep an eye on her, and as she's sick, I wish you to let her stay in the house, and not to make a rumpus about it. If you really don't like to go near her, though," he finished, "I'll tell you what I'll do, I'll take her in her food myself, and nurse can clean out her room."
She waited, too, made silent by sudden realization of how futile anything that she might say would be. "I am glad to see you again," she faltered; "it is four years since Black River and the cloud-burst." She was angry at her own stupidity and want of resource, and her tone was more casual than she meant it to be.In the corral where the fire had started and was best under way, and in the stall farthest from the gate, a little pinto mustang was jerking at its halter and squealing with fear. It was Cairness's horse. He had been allowed to stable it there, and he himself was not down with his scouts in the ill-smelling camp across the creek, but had a room at the sutler's store, a good three-quarters of a mile from the corrals. As soon as the bugle call awoke him, he started at a run; but the fire was beyond fighting when he got there.详情
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