"No," said Cairness, "he won't. I've met him since. That was a long time ago, and I was smooth shaven.""I used to know Mrs. Cairness in Washington," Forbes went on, undisturbed; "she has probably told you so."
Before they had reached the post, he had learned a good deal about her. The elderly major who had come with her from Kansas told him that a lieutenant by the name of Brewster was insanely in love with her, that the same Brewster was a good deal of an ass,鈥攖he two facts having no connection, however,鈥攖hat she was an excellent travelling companion, always satisfied and always well. What the major did not tell him, but what he gathered almost at once, was that the girl had not endeared herself to any one; she was neither loved nor disliked鈥攖he lieutenant's infatuation was not to be taken as an indication of her character, of course. But then she was beautiful, with her long, intent eyes, and strong brows and features cut on classic lines of perfection. So Landor left the major and cantered ahead to join her, where she rode with Brewster.
He rode beside Mrs. Landor along the road in the ravine bed, and the soldiers followed some twenty yards in the rear. They were making as much haste as was wise at the outset, and Felipa bent forward against the ever rising wind, as her horse loped steadily on.
Landor shrugged his shoulder, but Felipa would not have it so. "You know he is not, Jack," she said a little petulantly, which was noticeably unwonted on her part."A squaw-man?" she asked."Cheese that cussing, do you hear?" he ordered.
"He has caught a lioness and tricked her out in fashionable rags and taught her some capers, and now he thinks he has improved the animal," he said to himself, and raged inwardly, asking the intangible Fate, which was always opposing him, if there was not[Pg 216] enough little doll women in the world that such an one as Felipa must be whittled down to the size.
Chapter 22"Where are they all goin' to?" the Reverend Taylor asked in plaintive dismay. He had risen to his feet because he had seen Cairness do it, and now he sat again because Cairness had dropped back on the couch. He was utterly at sea, but he felt that the safest thing to do would be that which every one else did. He remembered that he had felt very much the same once when he had been obliged to attend a funeral service in a Roman Catholic Church. All the purple and fine[Pg 39] linen of the Scarlet Woman and the pomp and circumstance surrounding her had bewildered him in about this same way.
Cairness said "yes" rather half heartedly. That fresh, sweet type was insipid to him now, when there was still so fresh in his memory the beauty of a [Pg 40]black-haired girl, with eagle eyes that did not flinch before the sun's rays at evening or at dawn.She laughed too, musically, with a bewitching gurgle,[Pg 238] and gave him a swift glance, at once soft and sad. "Ella es muy fea, no es simpatica, la Gringa."
The cow-boy broadened the issue. "You will, and you'll take off that plug, too, or I'll know what for."There was the crunching of heavy feet up above, on the gravel. It came to them both, even to her, that for them to be seen there together would be final. There would be no explaining it away. Cairness thought of her. She thought of her husband. It would ruin him and his life."Who?"详情
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