"True, too," Brewster admitted perforce. "That's all right," Landor said; "are you hunting?"
Felipa expressed decided approval, and set to work making herself comfortable at once. Within ten minutes she had changed her travelling things for a white wrapper, had brushed the dust from her hair, and left it hanging straight and coarse and dead black, below her waist,—she was given to loosing it whenever the smallest excuse offered,—and had settled herself to rest in a canvas lounging chair.
He himself had never dreamed how it irked her until now. It was many years since he had been in the East, not, indeed, since Felipa had been a small child.[Pg 160] Keeping his promise to Cabot, as he understood it, had left him little for such pleasures as that. But he had done his duty then; he would do it again, and reap once more what seemed to him the inevitable reward, the reward which had been his all through his life,—sheer disappointment, in all he prized most, ashes and dust. The Indians who came round talked with her amicably enough, mainly by signs. She played with the children too, and one day there appeared among them her protégé of the post, who thereafter became a camp follower. "Were you catching the tarantula yesterday when I saw you lying upon the ground by the dump heap?"
"The gentleman who broke them glasses can settle for his part of the fun," he said, as he paid his reckoning. Then he drew Cairness aside and held out the limp wrist to be bound, supporting it with his other hand. And presently they went out from the restaurant, where the powder smoke was added to the other smells, and hung low, in streaks, in the thick atmosphere, to hunt up a surgeon.
It rose to a subdued pitch as there came the gradual rattling of wheels and the slow tramp of many feet. A buckboard, from which the seats had been removed, came up the line, and behind it marched the troops and companies, Landor's own troop in advance. They halted in front of his quarters, and four officers came down the steps with the long box between them. The mocking-bird's trill died away to a questioning twitter.
He knew that the stores which should have gone to him were loaded upon wagon-trains and hurried off the reservation in the dead of night; but he did not know why the Apache who was sent to humbly ask the agent about it was put in the guard-house for six months without trial. He knew that his corn patches were trampled down, but not that it was to force him to purchase supplies from the agent and his friends, or else get out. He knew that his reservation—none too large, as it was, for three thousand adults more or less—had been cut down without his consent five different times, and that Mormon settlers were elbowing him out of what space remained. But, being only a savage, it were foolish to expect that he should have seen the reason for these things. He has not yet learned to take kindly to financial dishonesty. Does he owe you two bits, he will travel two hundred miles to pay it. He has still much to absorb concerning civilization.
He told her that he most certainly did, and she went on.
"Who told you he was?" she asked.
"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—to society for that matter—not 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—like most meddlers."