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.Brewster nodded. He had seen the same thing himself. The territorial citizen was a known quantity to both of them.
She reloaded for him, and fired from time to time herself, and he moved from the little round hole in the wall to one in the window blind, in the feeble, the faithless hope that the Indians might perhaps be deceived, might fancy that there was more than the one forsaken man fighting with unavailing courage for the quiet woman who stayed close by his side, and for the two children, huddled whimpering in one corner, their little trembling arms clasped round each other's necks.Felipa felt something of this, and it lessened the vague burden of self-reproach she had been carrying. She was almost cheerful when she got back to the post. Through the last breakfast, which the Elltons took for granted must be a sad one, and conscientiously did their best to make so, she had some difficulty in keeping down to their depression.
That was evidently how it was to go into the papers. The officer knew it well enough, but he explained with due solemnity that he was acting under instructions, and was not to follow Indians into the hills. "I am only to camp here to protect the citizens of the valley against possible raids."
The government took neither course.
It was characteristic of Felipa that she forgot him altogether and reread the letter, her breath coming in audible gasps.He would still keep her, yes. But he did not see that it would be in the least necessary to tell his wife the whole of the woman's iniquity. It took quite all his courage, after they had gotten her safely in bed, to remind her that this was the same woman who had gone off with the Mexican.There was nothing for it but to admit that from the day of her father's death she had been utterly Landor's dependant,鈥攁t a cost to him of how many pleasures, she, who knew the inadequacy of a lieutenant's pay, could easily guess.
"Doesn't he, though? Then why doesn't he come around and see me when I'm lying here sick?" He was wrathful and working himself back into a fever very fast."Jack," he said, going up and running his hand in and out underneath the girths. He spoke almost too low to be heard, and the men who were nearest rode a few feet away. "Jack, will you do something for me? Will you鈥攖hat is鈥攖here is a fellow named McDonald up at the Mescalero Agency. He's got a little four-year-old girl he's taking care of." He hurried along, looking away from Landor's puzzled face. "She's the daughter of a half-breed Mescalero woman, who was[Pg 5] killed by the Mexicans. If I don't come out of all this, will you get her? Tell McDonald I told you to. I'm her father."
"You know that I love you?" he said unevenly.
Felipa could be untruthful with an untroubled soul and countenance to those she disliked. In her inherited code, treachery to an enemy was not only excusable, but right. But not even in order to save her husband worry could she tell him a shadow of an untruth. She did her best, which was far from good, to evade, however. The others would probably come, now that he could see them."Yes," said Crook.
Landor's wrath was mighty, but he smiled as he sat balancing a ruler on his fingers and hearing how the citizens of San Tomaso, eager to avenge their wrongs, had met him at early morning, had gone bravely forward, keen on the scent, had implored him to hasten, while he halted on worthless pretexts, and had, towards evening, reluctantly left a hot trail, going from it at right angles, "and camping," said Brewster, regretfully, "as far away as it was possible to get, considering the halts."He had seen a large band heading for the ranch, and[Pg 128] had found a dead white man on the north road, he said, and he gesticulated madly, his voice choked with terror.详情
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