The one man at bay whirled round twice, with a bullet in his heart and an arrow through his neck. "Now!" he made one fierce effort to cry, as he staggered again and dropped on his face, to be trampled under forty feet.
She drew herself up and grasped her loaded quirt more firmly. There are some natures to which flight from a thing feared is physically impossible. They must not only face danger, they must go up to it. It is a trait, like any other. Felipa took two steps toward him.
Breakfast call sounded. At the first shrill note she started violently. She was very thoroughly unnerved, and he decided that an hour of thinking would make her worse so. He told her that he would see her after breakfast, and raising his hat again left her to the anticipation, and to helping the Mexican captives cook their meal of mescal root and rations. The fall had knocked the breath from his body. The under dog did not answer.
Felipa had taught her horse to make its average gait a run, and she would have started it running now, but that Landor checked her. It was high time, he said, that he should teach her to ride. Now she was more than a little proud of her horsemanship, so she was annoyed as well as surprised.
"I dare say," Landor agreed; "it is certainly more[Pg 11] charitable to suppose that men who hacked up the bodies of babies, and abused women, and made away with every sort of loot, from a blanket to a string of beads, were mad. It was creditably thorough for madmen, though. And it was the starting-point of all the trouble that it took Crook two years to straighten out."
She could hear voices confusedly, men hurriedly calling and hallooing as she neared the back of the officers' line and crept into her tent. The door was barely closed when there came a knock, and the voice of the striker asking if she had heard the shot across the river.
It was not a nice outlook. But he found it did not grow any better for the thought that Felipa might have forgotten all about him, though that would unquestionably have been the best thing that could have happened for all concerned, from the standpoint of common sense. But there were two chances, of a sort, that made it worth while worrying along. One was that Felipa might some day, in the working out of things, come into his life. The other was that he could ferret out the truth of the Kirby massacre. Love and revenge are mighty stimulants.