He was but an unlearned and simple savage, and the workings of a War Department were, of course, a mystery to him. He and his people should have believed Crook. The thoughtful government which that much-harassed general represented had done everything possible to instill sweet trustfulness into their minds. But the Apache, as all reports have set forth, is an uncertain quantity. Landor tried another way then, and leaned from his saddle in his earnestness. He put it in the light of a favor to himself. But Cabot's refusal was unanswerable. It was better one than two, he said, and no horse in the command could carry double.
She replied, with still more violent relapse into foul-tongued abuse, that he had gone off with a woman[Pg 244] of his own people. "Got me down into this hell of a country and took every quartillo I had and then skedaddled."
"Why?" she asked, with a quick suspicion of the dreariness she caught in his tone. Then Landor spoke to the commissary officer. "You will oblige me, Mr. Brewster, by returning those bids to the safe and by opening the door for me." He dropped the blanket, drew back his cut hand, warm and wet with blood, and wrapped it in a handkerchief very deliberately, as he waited.
"What do you mean?" asked Cairness, rather more than a trifle coldly. He had all but forgotten the matter of that afternoon. Felipa had redeemed herself through the evening, so that he had reason to be proud of her. 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.
After he had had his tea Kirby got up, went out to the corral, and called to one of the men, who hesitated for a moment, then slouched over, kicking with his heavy booted toe as he passed at the hocks of a horse in one of the stalls. Kirby saw him do it, but he checked his wrath. He had learned to put up with many things. "Don't you think," he suggested, "that it might be a good idea for you and some other man to ride down the road a bit—"