[Pg 311] "Captain Landor," he corrected urbanely, "pleased to meet you, sir. They have expressed the desire that I should convey to you, sir, their wish to accompany you in the search for hostile Apaches."
One had gone mad with loco-weed, and they gored each other's sides until the blood ran, while only a low, moaning bellow came from their dried throats. A cloud of fine dust, that threw back the sun in glitters, hung over them, and a flock of crows, circling above in the steel-blue sky, waited. "That would depend," she answered with her enigmatical, slow smile; "I could be happy almost anywhere with Mr. Cairness."
She told him that they had all scattered some time before, with the hounds in full cry. "I must go," she repeated more firmly now, "they will be looking—" She stopped short. [Pg 115]
"Sounds rather like a family magazine novel hero, doesn't it?" Landor said, with a hint of a sneer, then repented, and added that Cairness had been with him as guide, and was really a fine fellow. He turned his eyes slowly, without moving, and looked at Felipa. She was sitting near them in a patch of sun-sifted shade behind the madeira vines, sewing on a pinafore for the little girl who was just then, with her brother, crossing the parade to the post school, as school call sounded. He knew well enough that she must have heard, her ears were so preternaturally sharp. But the only sign she gave was that her lips had set a little. So he waited in considerable uneasiness for what might happen. He understood her no more than he had that first day he had met her riding with the troops from Kansas, when her indifferent manner had chilled him, and it was perhaps because he insisted upon working his reasoning from the basis that her character was complicated, whereas it was absolutely simple. He met constantly with her with much the same sort of mental sensation that one has physically, where one takes a step in the dark, expecting a fall in the ground, and comes down upon a level. The jar always bewildered him. He was never sure what she would do next, though she had never yet, save once, done anything flagrantly unwise. He dreaded, however, the moment when she might chance to meet Cairness face to face. "Eh?" the parson was not sure he had heard. They were fighting. "Captain, what do you say to following this trail?" they clamored.
Landor and his lieutenant jumped up and ran down the walk. "What's all this, Dutchy?" they asked.