The officer-of-the-day agreed. And Cairness, not having a hat to raise, forgot himself and saluted. Then he went back to the sutler's through the already pelting rain. He was glad he had caught Lawton, mainly because of what he hoped to get out of him yet, about the Kirby affair. But he was sorry for the big clumsy fool, too. He had been an easy-going, well-intentioned boss in the days when Cairness had been his hand. And, too, he was sorry, very sorry, about the pony. If it were to fall into the hands of Mexicans or even of some of the Mescalero Indians, his chances of seeing it again would be slight. And he was fond of it, mainly because it had helped him to save Mrs. Landor's life.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?"
One fine afternoon the post was moving along in its usual routine鈥攖hat quiet which is only disturbed by the ever recurring military formalities and the small squabbles of an isolated community. There had been a lull in the war rumors, and hope for the best had sprung up in the wearied hearts of the plains service, much as the sun had that day come out in a scintillating air after an all-night rain-storm.
"I didn't know that I had made any complaint," she said equably.
The curtain-raiser to the tragedy about to come upon the boards was a little comedy.
"'And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.' I wonder how many women who have lived up to every word of the Decalogue have made it all profitless for want of a little charity?"Felipa, from her place on the couch, smiled lazily, with a light which was not all from the fire in her half-closed eyes. She put out her hand, and he took it in both his own and held it against his cold cheek as he dropped down beside her. She laid her head on his shoulder, and for a while neither of them spoke.And before the next morning the picnic that kept the southwest interested for five years had begun. Victorio and two hundred hostiles had left the Mescalero Agency for good and all, killing, burning, torturing, and destroying as they went, and troops from all the garrisons were sent out post haste.
Cairness and Felipa were alone, and he leaned nearer to her. "Do you know," he asked in a low voice, "that there have been all sorts of rumors of trouble among the Indians for some time?""Trouble is," he went on evenly, "trouble is, that, like most women, you've been brought up to take copy-book sentiments about touchin' pitch, and all that, literal. You don't stop to remember that to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man. If she can't do you any harm spiritually, she certainly ain't got the strength to do it physically. I can't say as I'd like to have her about the place all the time unless she was going to reform,鈥攁nd I don't take much stock in change of heart, with her sort,鈥攂ecause she wouldn't be a pleasant companion, and it ain't well to countenance vice. But while she's sick, and it will oblige Cairness, she can have the shelter of my manta. You think so too, now, don't you?" he soothed."Felipa!" he cried, "Felipa!"详情
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