But presently she stood up to go away, and her eyes caught the lowering, glazed ones of the Indian. Half involuntarily she made a motion of striking with a knife. Neither the doctor nor the steward caught it, but he did, and showed by a sudden start that he understood."No, no; it's a good deal, but it ain't too much. Not that it could be more, very well," he added, and he glanced furtively at the woman within, who had stretched out on the lounge with her face to the wall. Mrs. Taylor was fanning her.
[Pg 3][Pg 107]
Cairness, talking to one of the other men, who was mending a halter, watched him, and recalled the youth in spotless white whom he had last seen lounging on the deck of an Oriental liner and refusing to join the sports committee in any such hard labor as getting up a cricket match. It was cooler here in the Arizona mountains, to be sure; but it was an open question if life were as well worth living.As he had made Mrs. Campbell his confidante from the first, he told her about this too, now, and finished with the half-helpless, half-amused query as to what he should do. "It may be any length of time before she decides that she is old enough, and it never seems to occur to her that this state of things can't go on forever, that she is imposing upon you." "And the most serious part of it," he added after a while, "is that she does not love me."
Landor interrupted by taking the slipper from Felipa's foot and killing with it a centipede that crawled up the wall of the abode. "That's the second," he said, as he put the shoe on again. "I killed one yesterday; the third will come to-morrow." Then he went back to his chair and to the discussion, and before long he was called to the adjutant's office."I do," she answered, blinking lazily.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.
Felipa turned from them and waited, clasping her hands and smiling up at Brewster. He, misinterpreting, felt encouraged and begged her to leave the disgusting insects. He had something very different to talk about. She said that she did not want to hear it, and would he bet on the tarantula or the vinagrone?"I dare say," he answered carelessly. "Come and meet him. You'll like him."
When the moon rose, Barnwell and Stone went away and left Landor again with the peeping squaws and the wailing papooses, the mosquitoes and the legacy of their enduring enmity,鈥攁n enmity not to be lightly despised, for it could be as annoying and far more serious than the stings of the river-bottom mosquitoes. As they walked across the gleaming dust, their bodies throwing long black shadows, two naked Indian boys followed them, creeping forward unperceived, dropping on the ground now and then, and wriggling along like snakes. They were practising for the future.
"Say we were to get off at sun-up, then," objected Landor, "they would even in that way have twelve hours' start of us."If he had not sprung forward, with his arms outstretched to catch her, she would have fallen, face downward in the dust. It was three times now he had so saved her.
"You know he's the man Landor lost his life saving upon the malpais in New Mexico?""I have thought it over," said Cairness; "good night."But he knew that she did not love him. She was grateful. It was sometimes an Apache trait. He realized that it was his curse and hers that he could not for an instant forget the strain. He read her character by it, half unconsciously. He saw it in her honesty, her sinewy grace, her features, her fearlessness, her kindness with children,鈥攖hey were all Apache characteristics; and they were all repellent. From his youth on, he had associated the race with cruelty and every ghastly sight he had come upon, on the plains and in the mountains. It was a prejudice with more than the force of a heritage. He went on with his study of her, as she sat there. He was always studying her.[Pg 54] But he could not decide whether it was that she lacked sensitiveness and was really not greatly disturbed, or a savage sort of pride in concealing emotions.
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