Landor asked, with a gleam of hope, if they were attached to her."Nothing," she answered; "I can't see why it should make any difference to you, when it hasn't with me." She had altogether regained the self-possession she had been surprised out of, with an added note of reserve.
Cairness did not answer at once. He pushed the tobacco down in his brier and sat looking into the bowl. "No," he said at last, "I'm not too vexed. The fact is, I have seen what you mean for a long time. But what[Pg 318] would you suggest by way of remedy, if I may ask?" They were both talking too low for their voices to reach Felipa through the open window of her bedroom.
He hesitated. "I have done some shooting. I am always shooting more or less, for that matter.""Shut up," said Brewster, with malicious glee. "They also serve who only stand and wait, you know," he chuckled. "You can serve your admiring and grateful country quite as well in the adjutant's office as summering on the verdant heights of the Mogollons."
"Indeed, I am not joking," she assured him earnestly. "It is quite true. Ask any one. Only don't let them know it was I who wounded him. They have never so much as suspected it. Fortunately I thought of you and ran home all the way, and was in my tent before it occurred to any one to come for me." She burst into a low laugh at his countenance of wrath and dismay. "Oh! come, Jack dear, it is not so perfectly, unspeakably horrible after all. I was disobedient. But then I am so sorry and promise never, never to do it again."It would have become the sentiment of the crowd in another moment, but the little codger took up the second glass, and raised it again. Then it fell smashing to the floor. A second bullet had broken his wrist.
"I didn't. None of your business," she defied him."Well?" repeated Landor.
Cairness was still in his dust-grayed outfit, his hair was below where his collar would have been had he been wearing one, and his nose was on its way to at least the twentieth new skin that summer. In all his years of the frontier, he had never become too well tanned to burn. His appearance was not altogether reassuring, Stone thought. He was not only an ass, he[Pg 172] was also tough鈥攖he sort of a fellow with whom it was as well to remember that your six-shooter is beneath the last copy of your paper, on the desk at your elbow.
Brewster nodded. He had seen the same thing himself. The territorial citizen was a known quantity to both of them."Well, they think it's a lot."
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The hero of the episode rode in the ambulance, sitting on the front seat, holding his carbine across his knees, and peering with sharp, far-sighted blue eyes over the alkali flats. Occasionally he took a shot at a jack rabbit and brought it down unfailingly, but the frontiersman has no relish for rabbit meat, and it was left where it dropped, for the crows. He also brought down a sparrow hawk wounded in the wing, and, [Pg 29]having bound up the wound, offered it to Brewster, who took it as an opening to a conversation and tried to draw him out.
Chapter 26"Her father was dead. He left her to him."[Pg 107]详情
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