Felipa Cabot proved to be a lithe creature, who rode beside the ambulance with the officers, and who, in spite of the dust and tan and traces of a hard march, was beautiful. In the reaction of the moment Landor thought her the most beautiful woman he had ever seen. But she froze the consequent warmth of his greeting with a certain indefinable stolidity, and she eyed him with an unabashed intention of determining whether he were satisfactory or not, which changed his position to that of the one upon approbation. If she had been less handsome, it would have been repellent.
The Chiricahuas could see that there was trouble between the officials, both military and civil, and the government. They did not know what it was. They did not understand that the harassed general, whose word—and his alone—had their entire belief, nagged and thwarted, given authority and then prevented from enforcing it, had rebelled at last, had asked to be relieved, and had been refused. But they drew in with delight the air of strife and unrest. It was the one they loved best, there could and can be no doubt about that.
"Helping you to do what?" What had he done with four and thirty years, putting it at the very highest valuation? He had sunk so far below the standard of his youth that he would not be fit for his old companions, even if he had wanted to go back to them, which, except in certain fits of depression, he did not. His own mother cared very little what became of him. At Christmas time she always sent him a letter, which reached him much later, as a rule, and he answered it. His brothers had forgotten him. His sister, of whom he had been very fond once, and for whom he had hoped a great deal, had married well enough and gone to London; but she, too, had forgotten him long since.
"Anywhere you like, my dear chap, so that it's neither in Arizona or New Mexico. I want to stop here myself, and the place isn't big enough for us both. You'll be a valuable acquisition to any community, and you can turn your talent to showing up the life here. You are right on the inside track. Now I won't ask you to promise to go. But I'll be round to see that you do." They had lived an idyl for two years apast, and he begrudged nothing; yet now that the splendor was fading, as he knew that it was, the future was a little dreary before them both, before him the more, for he meant that, cost him what it might, Felipa should never know that the glamour was going for himself. It would be the easier that she was not subtle of perception, not quick to grasp the unexpressed. As for him, he had wondered from the first what price the gods would put upon the unflawed jewel of their happiness, and had said in himself that none could be too high.