The child brushed at her cheek and struggled away. "Come, Billy," she called to the brother who had saved her life; and that small, freckle-faced hero, whose nose was badly skinned from a fall, flung his arms around his benefactress's neck perfunctorily and escaped, rejoicing.
"I am far from being sure that that is entirely to be desired, very far," said Cairness, with conviction. He had never ceased to feel a certain annoyance at[Pg 319] the memory of that year and a half of Felipa's life in which he had had no part.
At sunset the camp surrendered. There were seven dead bucks found, but no one ever knew, of course, how many had fallen into ravines, or dragged themselves off to die in nooks. The Apache does not dread death, but he dreads having the White-man know that he has died.
It did not seem to strike the representative of the citizens of San Tomaso that that was much of an argument. He continued to urge. Brewster suggested that he thought Crook had put a stop to those mutilations, but the official shrugged his shoulders.
Early in the morning of the day she was to leave she went to the graveyard alone again. She was beginning to realize more than she had at first that Landor was quite gone. She missed him, in a way. He had been a strong influence in her life, and there was a lack of the pressure now. But despite the form of religion to[Pg 290] which she clung, she had no hope of meeting him in any future life, and no real wish to do so.
"The one who sloped with the Greaser?"
She was drowsy, however, for it was still very early, and she was almost dropping off to sleep when the Chinaman brought the coffee and set it down upon a table near her, with a deference of manner not common to the Celestial when serving the Occidental woman, who, he believes, has lost the right to it directly she shows the inclination to do work herself. But Felipa was a mistress to his taste. As he bowed himself abjectly from her presence, Cairness came in. He had taken off his rubber coat and big hat, and was full of the vigor of life which makes the strong and [Pg 308]healthy-minded so good to look upon at the beginning of a day.
Cairness put the sketch back in the case and stood[Pg 72] up. "Will you tell Captain Landor that I found that I could not wait, after all?" he said, and bowing went out from the ramada.
The face on the pillow lighted quickly, and she put out her hand to him impulsively. "Could we go back, Jack, even before the detail is up?" she said. And yet her life of late had surely been one that women would have thought enviable—most women.
It was impossible to misunderstand, and Brewster was vexed beyond the bounds of all wisdom. "The squaws have their good traits, too, I guess. I hear one had her nose cut off on your account." He should not have said it. He knew it, and he knew that the private knew it, but the man made no reply whatever.