There was but one other resort. The exasperated, impotent press turned to it. "If the emergency should arise, and it now looks as though it may come soon," flowed the editorial ink, "enough resolute and courageous men can be mustered in Tombstone, Globe, Tucson, and other towns and settlements to settle the question, once and forever: to settle it as such questions have often been settled before."But she was not sure that she thought so. She wanted to know why the woman could not be sent to the hotel, and he explained that Cairness wished a very close watch kept on her until she was able to be up. Curiosity got the better of outraged virtue then. "Why?" she asked, and leaned forward eagerly.
The citizens rode off.The major resumed his walk and did not answer.
The buck sat down upon the ground in front of Felipa and considered her. By the etiquette of the tribe she could not ask him his name, but the boy, her prot茅g茅, told her that it was Alchesay. All the afternoon he hung around the camp, taciturn, apparently aimless, while she went about her usual amusements and slept in the tent. Once in a way he spoke to her in Spanish. And for days thereafter, as they moved up along the rough and dangerous road,鈥攚here the wagon upset with monotonous regularity, big and heavy though it was,鈥攈e appeared from time to time."Will you make haste?" cried Felipa, out of patience.He found that it had been father and son come from the Eastern states in search of the wealth that lay in that vague and prosperous, if uneasy, region anywhere west of the Missouri. And among the papers was a letter addressed to Felipa. Landor held it in the flat[Pg 146] of his hand and frowned, perplexed. He knew that it was Cairness's writing. More than once on this last scout he had noticed its peculiarities. They were unmistakable. Why was Cairness writing to Felipa? And why had he not used the mails? The old, never yet justified, distrusts sprang broad awake. But yet he was not the man to brood over them. He remembered immediately that Felipa had never lied to him. And she would not now. So he took the stained letter and went to find her.
The man understood, and was dismayed. It is appalling to feel one's self snatched from the shifting foothold of individuality and whirled on in the current of the Force of Things. Felipa did not understand. And she was annoyed. She crashed in with the discord of a deliberate commonplace, and asked what she could do for him, speaking as to an inferior; and he, with a stiff resentment, answered that he wished to see Captain Landor.Sometimes when she was quite certain of being undisturbed, she took Cairness's one letter from the desk, and read and reread it, and went over every word and look she had had from him. She had forgotten nothing, but though her olive skin would burn and then grow more colorless than ever when she allowed herself to recall, not even a sigh would come from between the lips that had grown a very little set.
"Hombre!" grunted the Indian, puffing at a straw-paper cigarette, "excesivamente peligroso aqui."
But the star of the politician was once more in the ascendant. For two years there had been not one depredation, not one outrage from the Indians, for whose good conduct the general had given his personal word. They were self-supporting, and from the products of their farms they not only kept themselves, but supplied the neighboring towns. It was a state of affairs entirely unsatisfactory to the politician. So he set about correcting it.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.
"What!" ejaculated the general. He was moved altogether from his imperturbable calm.She looked down at him in a somewhat indignant surprise. "Pues porque?" she asked, maintaining the haughtiness of the dominant race, and refusing to acknowledge any indebtedness. "Why should I go away?"
She asked for the full particulars of her husband's death, and when Ellton had told her, sat looking straight before her at the wall. "It was very like Jack," she said finally, in a low voice, "his whole life was like that." And then she turned squarely to the lieutenant. "Where is Mr. Cairness? Where did they take him?" She was surprised at herself that she had not thought of that before.Cairness had groped his way back. He stood watching them. And he, too, was ready to kill. If Landor had raised his hand against her, he would have shot him down.
He was still more exasperated, with himself and with her, that he had allowed himself to think for one moment that she had come on purpose to find him. Where were the others? How did she happen to be here alone? he asked.详情
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