She had done very well, up to then, but she was at the end of her strength. It had been strained to the snapping for a long while, and now it snapped. Slowly, painfully, a hot, dark flush spread over her face to the black line of her hair. The squaw was manifested in the changed color. It altered her whole face, while it lasted, then it dropped back and left a dead gray pallor. Her lips were quivering and yellow, and her eyes paled oddly, as those of a frightened wild beast do. But still they were not lowered. He opposed drawbacks. "You can't keep her always."
Whereupon the rancher, his feelings being much injured, and his trust in mankind in general shattered, did as many a wiser man has done before him,—made himself very drunk, and in his cups told all that he knew to two women and a man. "I'd like to know whose affair it is, if it ain't his, the measly sneak. He sicked me on,"—oaths, as the grammars phrase it, "understood." The tears dribbled off his fierce mustache, and the women and the man laughed at him, but they were quite as drunk as he was, and they forgot all about it at once. Lawton did not forget. He thought of it a great deal, and the more he thought, the more he wanted revenge. Ellton messed with them regularly, but he was not to go out, because he was acting adjutant. To his intense disgust and considerable mortification—for he was young and very enthusiastic and burdened with ideals—he was obliged to appear spick and span in irreproachable undress, beside his superiors in their campaign clothes.
"And after that?" They were high among the mountains, and here and there in the shadows of the rocks and pines were patches of snow, left even yet from the winter. By all the signs the trail was already more than half a day old.
A long sunset shadow fell across his path, and he looked up. Felipa was walking beside a little white burro, and holding Mrs. Campbell's golden-curled baby upon its back. She carried her head superbly erect, and her step, because of the moccasins, was quite noiseless. The glow of the sunset shone in her unflinching eyes, and lost itself in the dull black mass of her hair. She studied his face calmly, with a perfectly impersonal approval.
"Like as not," Cairness agreed.
She went into the bedroom, half dragging him by the shoulder, and shut the door. "Now!" she said, "make haste."
"But that is sport," she answered carelessly.
"Of course," he laughed tolerantly, "I dare say any wilderness were paradise with him."
When they went into this last, the ranch hands were already at a long oilcloth-covered table. The Kirbys sat at a smaller one, laid with linen, and the lank wife of one of the men served them all, with the help of a Mexican boy.