It was more than a mere impertinent question, and she did not pretend to ignore it any longer. She clasped her hands slowly about her knees and looked straight at him.
There was a new treaty, just made to that end. It was the fiercest of all the Apache tribes, the Chiricahuas, that had hidden itself in the fastnesses of the Sierra Madre, two hundred miles south of the boundary line. Geronimo and Juh and Chato, and other chiefs of quite as bloody fame, were with him. To capture them would be very creditable success. To fail to do so would entail dire consequences, international complications perhaps, and of a certainty the scorn and abuse of all the wise men who sat in judgment afar off.
Brewster resented it, and so the next thing he said was calculated to annoy. "He says you are quite one of them." Landor rode up to them and made inquiries for Foster.
"I began to tell you," she resumed directly, "that Mr. Brewster was here, and that he informed me that my mother was a squaw and my father a drunken private."
Cairness sat for a long time, smoking and thinking. Then Felipa's voice called to him and he went in to her. She was by the window in a flood of moonlight, herself all in flowing white, with the mantle of black hair upon her shoulders.
Landor and his lieutenant jumped up and ran down the walk. "What's all this, Dutchy?" they asked.
She was happier than she had been in Washington. Landor saw that, but he refused to see that she was[Pg 181] also better. However much a man may admire, in the abstract, woman as a fine natural animal, unspoiled by social pettiness, he does not fancy the thing in his wife. From the artistic standpoint, a regal barbarian, unconfined, with her virtue and her vices on a big scale, is very well; from the domestic, it is different. She is more suitable in the garb of fashion, with homemade character of parlor-ornament proportions.
Landor saw that his own horse was the best; and it bid very fair to play out soon enough. But until it should do so, his course was plain. He gathered his reins in his hands. "You can mount behind me, Cabot," he said. The man shook his head. It was bad enough that he had come down himself without bringing others down too. He tried to say so, but time was too good a thing to be wasted in argument, where an order would serve. There was a water hole to be reached somewhere to the southwest, over beyond the soft, dun hills, and it had to be reached soon. Minutes spelled death under that white hot sun. Landor changed from the friend to the officer, and Cabot threw himself across the narrow haunches that gave weakly under his weight.
There was but one other resort. The exasperated, impotent press turned to it. "If the emergency should arise, and it now looks as though it may come soon," flowed the editorial ink, "enough resolute and courageous men can be mustered in Tombstone, Globe, Tucson, and other towns and settlements to settle the question, once and forever: to settle it as such questions have often been settled before."
"Look," she said, going up to Landor with a noiseless tread that made him shiver almost visibly. Mrs. Campbell watched them. She was sorry for him.