"How do you know this?"She tried to parry and evade, but he would not have it, and obliged her to admit that she did not. "Not that I dislike her," she explained. "I like to have her round. I dare say it is a whim."When Cairness got him to the post and turned him over to the officer-of-the-day, the fire had burned itself out and quiet was settling down again. Big warm drops were beginning to splash from the clouds.
The general's long silence was making the complete man nervous. Beads of sweat stood out on his forehead, and he twisted his hands together. "The Sun, the Darkness, and the Winds are all listening to what we now say. To prove to you that I am telling the truth, remember that I sent you word that I would come from a place far away to speak to you here, and you see me now. If I were thinking bad, I would never have come here. If it had been my fault, would I have come so far to talk with you?" he whined."Seen the way Landor's been catching it?" they asked.And when the retreat gun boomed in the distance, she stood up, shaking the earth and grasses from her gown, and started to carry out her plans. A storm was blowing up again. Clouds were massing in the sky, and night was rising rather than the sun setting. There was a cold, greenish light above the snow peak, and darkness crept up from the earth and down from the gray clouds that banked upon the northern horizon and spread fast across the heavens. A bleak, whining wind rustled the leaves of the big trees down by the creek, and caught up the dust of the roadway in little eddies and whirls, as Felipa, with a new purpose in her step, swung along it back to the post.
"She's mighty nice looking, ain't she?"She was quite alone, wandering among the trees and bushes in the creek bottom, and her hands were full of wild flowers. She had pinned several long sprays of the little ground blossoms, called "baby-blue eyes," at her throat, and they lay along her white gown prettily.[Pg 274] She stopped and spoke to him, with a note of lifelessness in her high, sweet voice; and while he answered her question as to what he had been doing since she had seen him last, she unpinned the "baby-blue eyes" and held them out to him. "Would you like these?" she asked simply. He took them, and she said "Good-by" and went on.
"Mr. Ellton was here this morning," Felipa told him, "and he will be in again before retreat."When he looked up again to Brewster's house, there was a chink of faint light showing through a curtain. He got up then and went down to Ellton's quarters.
Down by the river a coyote scudded across her path as she made her way through the willows, and when he was well beyond, rose up on his hind legs and looked after her. At the water's edge she stopped and glanced across to the opposite bank. The restlessness was going, and she meant to return now, before she should be missed鈥攊f indeed she were not missed already, as was very probable. Yet still she waited, her hands clasped in front of her, looking down at the stream. Farther out, in the middle, a ripple flashed. But where she stood among the bushes, it was very dark. The water made no sound, there was not a breath of air, yet suddenly there was a murmur, a rustle.
Then he began to come to himself and to listen to all that Felipa had to tell him of the many things she had not put in her short and labored letters. He saw[Pg 140] that she looked more beautiful and less well than when he had left her. There was a shadow of weariness on her face that gave it a soft wistfulness which was altogether becoming. He supposed it was because she had nursed him untiringly, as she had; but it did not occur to him to thank her, because she had done only what was a wife's duty, only what he would have done for her if the case had been reversed. Toward the end of the day he began to wonder that no one had been to see him, and he spoke of it.The log cabin was tidy. There were chintz curtains at the windows, much of the furniture, of ranch manufacture, was chintz covered, the manta of the ceiling was unstained, there were pictures from London Christmas papers on the walls, and photographs of the fair women at "home."
Ellton messed with them regularly, but he was not to go out, because he was acting adjutant. To his intense disgust and considerable mortification鈥攆or he was young and very enthusiastic and burdened with ideals鈥攈e was obliged to appear spick and span in irreproachable undress, beside his superiors in their campaign clothes.It was the eternal old story of the White-man's whiskey. A rancher living some four hundred yards from the boundary line upon the Mexican side had sold it to the Indians. Many of them were dead or fighting drunk. The two sober Indians asked for a squad of soldiers to help them guard the ranchman, and stop him from selling any more mescal. They were right-minded themselves and really desired peace, and their despair was very great.
The lieutenant himself did neither, but he argued that his mind was never off it.He rolled another cigarette, and sat smoking it unmoved. And she went into the mess tent.详情
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