"I know that. But they don't like it, all the same. And I'll bet them cutaways riles them, too." "I am going to ask the quartermaster to store my things for the present, and of course the first sergeant's wife will look out for the children," she said.
She asked, with the flat Virginia accent of the vowels,[Pg 256] if he would like her to go and embrace the woman, and request her to make their home henceforth her own.
Landor had almost decided that he had made an ungenerous mistake, when Ellton came over with one light spring and, touching him on the shoulder, pointed to the window of the commissary office. A thick, dark blanket had evidently been hung within, but the faintest red flicker showed through a tiny hole.
Landor drew rein and turned upon him with oaths and a purpled face. "What the devil are you trying to do now?" he said. The little Reverend was not to be blandished. He was willing to go because it was his supper time and he knew it, but the big-eyed look of understanding he turned up to the gentle, fat face said plainly enough that he was too wise a creature to be wheedled. He [Pg 249]submitted to be carried in, but he cast a regretful glance at the "chuchu," which sat still in the doorway, and at his father, who was watching the line of flying ants making their way, a stream of red bodies and sizzing white wings, out of the window and across the street.
The entire command volunteered, as a matter of course, and Landor had his pick. He took thirty men and a dozen scouts. Cairness rode up and offered himself. They looked each other full in the face for a moment. "Very well," said Landor, and turned on his heel. Cairness was properly appreciative, despite the incivility. He knew that Landor could have refused as well as not, and that would have annoyed and mortified him. He was a generous enemy, at any rate. The volunteers mounted and trotted off in a cloud of dust that hung above them and back along their trail, to where the road, as Landor had said, entered the malpais.
The Apache in Felipa was full awake now, awake in the bliss of killing, the frenzy of fight, and awake too, in the instinct which told her how, with a deep-drawn breath, a contraction, a sudden drop and writhing, she would be free of the arms of steel. And she was free, but not to turn and run—to lunge forward, once and again, her breath hissing between her clenched, bared teeth.
She drew her horse down to a gallop, and the jar of the changed gait made her moan. There was no haste now. Her own men had come upon the desperadoes and there was a quick volley. And ahead, riding fast toward her from the top of a little rise, was a man on a white horse—her husband, she knew.
The friend swore earnestly that he would take what he was told to.