Brewster took on an elaborate and entirely unnecessary air of indifference, and yawned to heighten the effect. "What did he want of the child?" he asked negligently.
When Landor came in half an hour later he found her in her riding habit, sitting in front of the fire. She was still alone, and he felt instantly that there was more softness than ever before in the smile she gave him, more womanliness in the clinging of her hand. Altogether in her attitude and manner there was less of the restlessly youthful. He drew a chair beside hers, and settled back comfortably."I told you to go," she repeated, raising her brows.
The Elltons' pretty child was like its mother, [Pg 288]gentler and more caressing. It lay placidly in her arms and patted her lips when she tried to talk, with the tips of its rosy fingers. She caught them between her teeth and mumbled them, and the child chuckled gleefully. But by and by it was taken away to bed, and then Felipa was alone with its father and mother. Through the tiresome evening she felt oppressed and angrily nervous. The Elltons had always affected her so.And so he had to accept it. He rose, with a slight sigh, and returned to the examination of his spoils.
Presently the nurse came, a big, fat Mexican woman, with all her people's love of children showing on her moon face as she put out her arms. She had been with the Taylors since before the baby's birth, and she had more of its affection than the mother.
"Were you catching the tarantula yesterday when I saw you lying upon the ground by the dump heap?""Why did you not tell me you had known Forbes, Felipa?" If it had not been that she was commonly and often unaccountably reticent, there might have been some suspicion in the question. But there was only a slight annoyance. Nor was there hesitation in her reply.
It was not a nice outlook. But he found it did not grow any better for the thought that Felipa might have forgotten all about him, though that would unquestionably have been the best thing that could have happened for all concerned, from the standpoint of common sense. But there were two chances, of a sort, that made it worth while worrying along. One was that Felipa might some day, in the working out of things, come into his life. The other was that he could ferret out the truth of the Kirby massacre. Love and revenge are mighty stimulants.
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.
"Lookin' at my stove-pipe?" asked the Reverend Mr. Taylor. "Only one in these parts, I reckon," and he vouchsafed an explanation of the holes. "Them holes? A feller in Tucson done that for me."And the walls around are bare;详情
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