Presently she said: "I can't forget. And you can't. As for other people—they don't matter anyway." In her scheme of things other people rarely did matter. She hedged herself round with a barrier of indifference that was very nearly contempt, and encouraged no intimacies—not even with Landor. And he knew it.
Cairness watched how strong and erect and how sure of every muscle she was, and how well the blond little head looked against the dull blackness of the mother's hair. The child was in no way like Felipa, and it had never taken her place in its father's love. He was fond of it and proud, too; but, had he been put to the test, he would have sacrificed its life for that of its mother, with a sort of fanatical joy.
Then stand to your glasses steady, At that moment Felipa herself came up the steps and joined them on the porch. She walked with the gait of a young athlete. Her skirts were short enough to leave her movements unhampered, and she wore on her feet a pair of embroidered moccasins. She seemed to be drawing the very breath of life into her quivering nostrils, and she smiled on them both good-humoredly.
He hesitated with a momentary compunction. She must have suffered pretty well for her sins already; her work-cut, knotty hands and her haggard face and the bend of her erstwhile too straight shoulders—all showed that plainly enough. It were not gallant; it might even be said to be cruel to worry her. But he remembered the dead Englishwoman, with her babies, stiff and dead, too, beside her on the floor of the charred cabin up among the mountains, and his heart was hardened. He raised his eyes now, and they were appealing. "It's an awful lot to ask of you, Jack, even for old sake's sake. I know that. But the little thing is almost white, and I cared for her mother—in a way. I can't let her go back to the tribe." His lips quivered and he bit at them nervously. "I kept meaning to get her away somehow." There was a sort of pity on Landor's face, pity and half contempt. He had heard that from Cabot so often for so many years, "I kept meaning to do this thing or the other, somehow, some day." "But it looks as though you might have to do it now. Will you, lieutenant?" He tugged at the cinchings while he waited.
The heaven of hair, the pride of the brow,
Mrs. Campbell took it as he did, for a matter of course. She wasted no words in expressing admiration for what he had done, but kept to the main issue, making herself useful, as women are rarely content to do when they deal with men, without indulging her taste for the sentimental. "Suppose I were to take her?" she suggested.
"How do you know this?"
He went the next day but one, riding out of the post at daylight. And he saw Felipa once more. She was standing by the creek, drawing an arrow from her quiver and fitting it to her bow. Then she poised the[Pg 32] toe of her left foot lightly upon the ground, bent back, and drew the bow almost to a semicircle. The arrow flew straight up into the shimmering air, straight through the body of a little jay, which came whirling, spinning down among the trees. Felipa gave a quick leap of delight at having made such a shot, then she darted down in search of the bird. And Cairness rode on.
"I can shoot, myself, when it comes to that," suggested Stone.
They went on to tell him that it was all in the Tucson papers, which Brewster knew, however, quite as well as they did themselves. He had made friends among the citizen volunteers of San Tomaso on the night they had camped by the old lake bed, and they had seen that he was kept supplied with cuttings.
They clambered up the mountain side, back to the camp, and Cairness escorted her to the tepee in silence. Then he left her. "Don't try to run away again," he advised. "You can't get far." He started off and turned back. "Speaking of running away, where's the Greaser you lit out with?"