He turned back abruptly. "You had better get another. You can't have that one," he answered.
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."What do you want me to say to Stone?"
It was short and to the point upon Cairness's part, and having finished he stood up.The horse stopped, and she reeled blindly in her seat into a pair of strong arms that caught her and drew her down. A voice was saying words she could not hear, but she knew the voice so well. And she smiled and dropped her head down upon her husband's shoulder. "Just鈥攋ust in time," she whispered very low.
"Seen the way Landor's been catching it?" they asked.
"Handsome fellow," went on the quartermaster, "and looks like a gentleman. Glories in the Ouida-esque name of Charles Morely Cairness, and signs it in full."
He made as if to kick the bottle away, but quick as a flash she was on her feet and facing him.Felipa had discarded, long since, the short skirt and moccasins of her girlhood, and had displayed no inconsiderable aptitude in the matter of fashions; but she was given to looseness of draperies and a carelessness of attire in her own home that the picturesqueness of her beauty alone only saved from slatternliness. There was one manifestation of ill taste which she did not give, however, one common enough with the wives of most of the officers. She was never to be found running about the post, or sitting upon the porches, with her husband's cape around her shoulders and his forage-cap over her eyes. Her instinct for the becoming was unfailing. This was a satisfaction to Landor. But it was a secret grievance that she was most contented when in her riding habit, tearing foolhardily over the country.
It was a sheer waste of good ammunition, and it might serve as a signal to the Indians as well; Kirby knew it, and yet he emptied his six-shooter into the deep shadows of the trees where they had vanished, toward the south.
Landor agreed with him, "I told the citizens so, but they knew better.""I am speaking about Mrs. Cairness," Forbes went on earnestly, "because she is more of an argument for you than the child is, which is un-English too, isn't it? But the child is a fine boy, nevertheless, and there will be other children probably. I don't need to paint their future to you, if you let them grow up here. You owe it to them and to your wife and to yourself鈥攖o society for that matter鈥攏ot to retrograde. Oh! I say, I'm out and out lecturing on sociology. You're good-tempered to put up with it, but I mean well鈥攍ike most meddlers."详情
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