But the baby was satisfactory. She amused it by the hour. For the rest, being far from gregarious, and in no way given to spending all the morning on some one else's front porch, and all the afternoon with some one else upon her own, she drew on the post library and read, or else sat and watched the mountains with their sharp, changing shadows by day, and their Indian signal flashes by night,鈥攚hich did not tend to enhance the small degree of popularity she enjoyed among the post women.
So at five o'clock Cairness, coming again into that part of the cabin which his hostess persistently named the drawing-room, found the three Englishmen taking their tea, and a little man in clerical garb observing the rite with considerable uncertainty. He would have no tea himself, and his tone expressed a deep distrust[Pg 37] of the beverage. By the side of his chair stood a tall silk hat. It was in all probability the only one in the territories, or west of the Missouri, for that matter, and it caught Cairness's eye at once, the more especially as it was pierced by two round holes. As he stirred his tea and ate the thin slices of buttered bread, his glance wandered frequently to the hat."You can go whenever you like now," Cairness told her. She demanded to know where she was to go to, and he answered that that was not his affair, but that he would suggest a safe distance. "Somebody else getting hold of the truth of the Kirby business mightn't be so easy on you as I am."Cairness said that he would of course have to take chances on that. "You might kill me, or I might kill you. I'm a pretty fair shot. However, it wouldn't pay you to kill me, upon the whole, and you must take everything into consideration." He was still twisting the curled end of his small mustache and half closing his eyes in the way that Stone had long since set down[Pg 261] as asinine. "My friend Mr. Taylor would still be alive. And if you were to hurt him,鈥攈e's a very popular man,鈥攊t might be bad for your standing in the community. It wouldn't hurt me to kill you, particularly, on the other hand. You are not so popular anyway, and I haven't very much to lose."
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.
If he had had any hope, it vanished before her unhesitating, positive, "No; I am not mistaken. Oh, no!"
She moved away from him and out of the ray of moonlight, into the shadow of the other side of the window, and spoke thoughtfully, with more depth to her voice than usual. "So few people have been as happy as we have. If we went hunting for more happiness somewhere else, we should be throwing away the gifts of the gods, I think."
"I dare say," Landor agreed; "it is certainly more[Pg 11] charitable to suppose that men who hacked up the bodies of babies, and abused women, and made away with every sort of loot, from a blanket to a string of beads, were mad. It was creditably thorough for madmen, though. And it was the starting-point of all the trouble that it took Crook two years to straighten out.""Don't put it in, then. Leave the reservation to-night. You understand me, do you? Now go!"
Brewster avoided it, and became absorbed in making the tips of his fingers meet as he pressed his hands together.
He did not try to discuss her plans for the future with her that night; but two days afterward, when she had disposed of all her household goods and had packed the few things that remained, they sat upon two boxes in the bare hallway, resting; and he broached it.
The Declaration of Independence roused the screeching eagle of freedom in the breasts of all the white men. With the Mexicans it was a slightly different sentiment. At best they could never be relied upon for steady service. A couple of months' pay in their pockets, and they must rest them for at least six. It is always to be taken into consideration when they are hired. They had been paid only the day before. And, moreover, the Greaser follows the Gringo's lead easily鈥攖o his undoing."Then," said the Reverend Taylor, laying down the paper, "you must be scared for yourself."详情
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