But he was not satisfied. His entry into the post and the cool greeting of the three officers began to come back to him.
The parson said that he could not. "Lawton ain't any use for me. I guess it's because he remembers me, that's why. He'll remember you, too."
Felipa spent the day, for the most part, in riding about the ranch and in anticipating the night. Her husband had promised to be back soon after moonrise. When it had begun to turn dark, she dressed herself all in white and went out to swing in the hammock until it should be time for her lonely dinner.It came to pass in the working out of things that the commandant elected to spend the night before the opening of the bids, in the small town some miles away, where one of the first families was giving a dinner. This left Landor, as next in rank, in temporary command. It had happened often enough before, in one way[Pg 189] or another, but this time the duties of the position seemed to weigh upon him. He was restless and did not care to sleep. He sent Felipa off to bed, and sat watching where her lithe young figure had gone out of the door for some minutes. Then he ran his hand across his mouth contemplatively, stroked his mustache, and finally went out of the house and down to Ellton's quarters.
Before dawn Cairness was out, hastening the cook with the breakfast, helping with it himself, indeed, and rather enjoying the revival of the days when he had been one of the best cooks in the troop and forever pottering about the mess chests and the Dutch oven, in the field. As the sun rose,—though daybreak was fairly late there in the ca?on,—the cold, crisp air was redolent of coffee and bacon and broiling fresh meat.Lawton stopped. To forbid him swearing was to forbid him speech. He shuffled ahead in silence.Now it is a hazardous undertaking to question an Englishman who does not care to be questioned. A person of good judgment would about as lief try to[Pg 30] poke up a cross lion to play. But Brewster persisted, and asked if Cairness would be willing to live among the Apaches.
She sat thinking, with her chin in her palm, and a quite new look of loneliness deep in her eyes. He could see that in the last hour she had grasped almost the fulness of her isolation—almost, but not all; only the years could bring forth the rest. She gave a heavy sigh. "Well, I am glad I love you," she said.
"Truly," said the little thing, and nodded vehemently.Barnwell had told Brewster about him also. "His name is Cairness,—Charles Cairness,—and he's got a lot of fool theories too," he explained. "He goes in for art, makes some pretty good paintings of the Indians, and has picked up some of their lingo. Made himself agreeable to the squaws, I guess. The interpreter says there's one got her nose cut off by her buck, on his account."
It was plain, even to Felipa, how thoroughly he enjoyed being with one who could talk of the past and of the present, from his own point of view. His Coventry had been almost complete since the day that the entire army, impersonated in Crook, had turned disapproving eyes upon him once, and had then looked away from him for good and all. It had been too bitter[Pg 310] a humiliation for him ever to subject himself to the chance of it again.
She did not return to the ramada, but before long her husband came in search of her.
"Where is she now?""Yes," said Cairness, examining it, "but this has no meaning."详情
Copyright © 2020