[Pg 209]"Luncheon!" said Cairness, as he smoothed his hair in front of a speckled and wavy mirror, which reflected all of life that came before it, in sickly green, "cabalistic word, bringing before me memories of my wasted youth. There was a chap from home in my troop, until he deserted, and when we were alone we would say luncheon below our breaths. But I haven't eaten anything except dinner for five years."
[Pg 85]She put the baby between them, and it sat looking into the fire in the way she herself so often did, until her husband had called her the High Priestess of the Flames. Then she sank down among the cushions again and stirred her coffee indolently, drowsily, steeped in the contentment of perfect well-being. Cairness followed her movements with sharp pleasure.
He glanced over his shoulder at the door. It was closed; so he leaned forward and spoke in a lower voice. "Felipa, are you going to marry Landor, or are you not?""Thank you," he said; and Cairness walked away.
Of course there were complications following, a long and involved list of them. Of course the Indians only sought the excuse, and very probably would have made it if it had not been made for them. And of course the Interior Department bungled under the guidance of politicians, of whom the best that possibly can be said is that they were stupid tools of corrupt men in the territories, who were willing to turn the blood of innocent settlers into gold for their own pockets.The log cabins were built, five of them, to form a square. The largest contained the sitting room and a bedroom, the three others, bedrooms and a storehouse, and the kitchen and dining room were in the fifth.If it went like this, she thought, she might get to the cross-road first, and beyond. The four men would not matter much then, if she could but stop her husband. Why had he started back alone鈥攁nd carrying money too? It was foolhardy. But then there was so little money, she knew, that he had probably not thought of it as booty. She turned her uncovered head and listened. Her hair had fallen loose and was streaming out in the wind. She could not hear the others now. They must be well behind.
In the morning, while the cooks were getting breakfast and the steam of ration-Rio mounted as a grateful incense to the pink and yellow daybreak heavens, having bathed in the creek and elaborated his toilet[Pg 235] with a clean neckerchief in celebration of victory, he walked over to the bunch of tepees to see the women captives."I don't mind, and neither does Captain Landor." Her guardian had recently gotten his captaincy."Where do you want me to go?" he almost moaned, and finished with an oath.
Landor tried to interpose a suggestion that though the whole effect was undoubtedly good and calculated to melt a heart of iron, the rhetoric was muddled; but the reporter swept on; so he clasped his hands behind his head and leaning back against a tent pole, yawned openly. Stone came to an end at length, and had to mop his head with a very much bordered handkerchief. The temperature was a little high for so much effort. He met Landor's glance challengingly."Alone?"详情
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