类型:奇幻地区:ԭע¡发布:2020-09-19 20:30:43


"Not exactly, no. But you were an accessory after the fact."The log cabin was tidy. There were chintz curtains at the windows, much of the furniture, of ranch manufacture, was chintz covered, the manta of the ceiling was unstained, there were pictures from London Christmas papers on the walls, and photographs of the fair women at "home."

They had lived an idyl for two years apast, and he begrudged nothing; yet now that the splendor was fading, as he knew that it was, the future was a little dreary before them both, before him the more, for he meant that, cost him what it might, Felipa should never know that the glamour was going for himself. It would be the easier that she was not subtle of perception, not quick to grasp the unexpressed. As for him, he had wondered from the first what price the gods would put upon the unflawed jewel of their happiness, and had said in himself that none could be too high.

"There will be trouble with Geronimo's people soon."

He himself had never dreamed how it irked her until now. It was many years since he had been in the East, not, indeed, since Felipa had been a small child.[Pg 160] Keeping his promise to Cabot, as he understood it, had left him little for such pleasures as that. But he had done his duty then; he would do it again, and reap once more what seemed to him the inevitable reward, the reward which had been his all through his life,—sheer disappointment, in all he prized most, ashes and dust.

Landor and the adjutant came by, and she called to them. The adjutant backed the vinagrone with a bag of sutler's candy, and Felipa took the tarantula. It was mainly legless trunk, but still furious. Landor studied her. She was quiet, but her eyes had grown narrow, and they gleamed curiously at the sight of the torn legs and feelers scattering around the bottle, wriggling and writhing. She was at her very worst.Ellton was going with her to the railroad. They were to travel with a mounted escort, as she had come, on account of the uncertain state of the country. And they must cross, as she had done in coming also, the road over the malpais, where Landor had fallen. As the hoofs of the mules and the tires of the wheels began to slip and screech on the smooth-worn lava, and the ambulance rattled and creaked up the incline, Ellton leaned forward and pointed silently to a hollow in the gray rock a few yards away. It was where Landor had pitched forward over the body of the mounted chief of scouts. Felipa nodded gravely, but she did not speak, nor yet weep. Ellton, already thrown back upon himself by her persistent silence with regard to her [Pg 292]intentions, recoiled even more. He thought her hard beyond all his previous experience of women.

"And do you care for him, too?" he asked, looking her straight in the eyes. It was a very calm question, put—he realized it with exasperation—as a father might have put it.Cairness was surprised almost into showing his surprise. Felipa had said nothing of it to him. And he[Pg 317] knew well enough that she never forgot a face. He felt that he was in a false position, but he answered "Yes?" non-committally."You remember that woman," Cairness went on, making and rolling adroitly a straw-paper cigarette, "the one who was cook on the ranch for so long? She could tell us what it is, and I'll bet on it."

She would not be induced to go near her own house that night. When Ellton suggested it, she turned white and horrified. It had not occurred to him before that a woman so fearless of everything in the known world might be in abject terror of the unknown."I shall be in and out all night, more or less," he told Felipa. She reached her hands from the bedclothes and stroked the deep lines on his forehead, the lines she had had most to do with putting there. But she did not ask for confidences. She never did. It was not her way. He kissed her and went out into the night again, to sit upon his porch at a spot where, through the cottonwood branches, he commanded a view of Brewster's front door and of the windows of the commissary office.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.



Cairness asked who Bill Lawton might be, and was told that he had been one of the Kirby men, "Big fellow with a big wife. If you was ever there, you'd ought to remember her. She was a Venus and a Cleopatrer rolled into one, you bet." The cow-boy was not devoid of lore for all his lowly station.Ellton fairly leaped in the air. "Brewster! So it's Brewster! The in—" Then he recollected that Brewster was going to be the major's son-in-law, and he stopped short. "No wonder he keeps away from there," he simmered down.He was in a manner forgetting Felipa. He had forced himself to try to do so. But once in a way he remembered her vividly, so that the blood would burn in his heart and head, and he would start up and beat off the[Pg 267] thought, as if it were a visible thing. It was happening less and less often, however. For two years he had not seen her and had heard of her directly only once. An officer who came into the Agency had been with her, but having no reason to suppose that a scout could be interested in the details of the private life of an officer's wife, he had merely said that she had been very ill, but was better now. He had not seen fit to add that it was said in the garrison—which observed all things with a microscopic eye—that she was very unhappy with Landor, and that the sympathy was not all with her.

"I am Captain—Captain Landor."


Copyright © 2020