The Elltons' pretty child was like its mother, [Pg 288]gentler and more caressing. It lay placidly in her arms and patted her lips when she tried to talk, with the tips of its rosy fingers. She caught them between her teeth and mumbled them, and the child chuckled gleefully. But by and by it was taken away to bed, and then Felipa was alone with its father and mother. Through the tiresome evening she felt oppressed and angrily nervous. The Elltons had always affected her so.
The ill-smelling room filled, and various games, chiefly faro and monte, began. At one table two men were playing out a poker game that was already of a week's duration. The reek of bad liquor mingled with the smell of worse tobacco and of Mexican-cured leather—like which there is no odor known to the senses, so pungent and permeating and all-pervading it[Pg 42] is. Several of the bracket lamps were sending up thin streams of smoke. The heaven of hair, the pride of the brow,
"I didn't see the telegram, but it was in effect that he had no knowledge of anything of the sort, and put no faith in it." Felipa smiled again. "I might be happy," she went on, "but I probably should not live very long. I have Indian blood in my veins; and we die easily in a too much civilization."
The blaze of glory had gone suddenly from the clouds, leaving them lifeless gray, when she turned her eyes back to them; and the outlook across the parade ground was very bare. She went and stood by the fire, leaning her arm on the mantel-shelf and setting her determined lips.