"Can't we send the hostile away?" he suggested, glancing at the small Apache, who was digging viciously at his head and watching Cairness with beady orbs. Felipa spoke to him, and he went.
He made no pretence of not understanding. "You have no need to be, dear," he said simply.
She laughed at him—the first false laugh that had ever come from her lips. "You had better go now," she said, rising and standing with her arms at her side, and her head very erect.
"He's got Bill right under his thumb," she sneered at her weak spouse. "On his ranch, living on the fat of a lean land, I believe. He's rich, you know. I don't know much about them. I've small use for them. And I used to like Cairness, too. Thought he was way above his job. Those squaw-men lose all sense of honor."
Felipa had taught her horse to make its average gait a run, and she would have started it running now, but that Landor checked her. It was high time, he said, that he should teach her to ride. Now she was more than a little proud of her horsemanship, so she was annoyed as well as surprised.
Brewster was in agony. He reached out and caught her hand. "My darling," he cried, "take care!"
"I do, though," she said perversely, as she bent her[Pg 48] head and tried to put into order the tumbled mass of her hair. "I am going at eleven o'clock."
Nevertheless she decided that it might be best to tell her husband, and she did so as they sat together by the fire after the moon had risen into the small stretch of sky above the mountain peaks. They had bought a live sheep that day from a Mexican herder who had passed along the road, and they were now cutting ribs from the carcass that hung from the branch of a near-by tree, and broiling them on the coals. Felipa finished an unimpassioned account of the afternoon's happenings and of Alchesay's advice, and Landor did not answer at once. He sat thinking. Of a sudden there was a rustle and a step among the pines, and from behind a big rock a figure came out into the half shadow. Felipa was on her feet with a spring, and Landor scrambled up almost as quickly.
The parson had seen.
Then he stopped, with every muscle drawn, for he had seen in her answering, unflinching gaze that he was losing her, surely, irrevocably losing her. He let her go, almost throwing her away, and she caught hold of a ledge of rock to steady herself. He picked up the heavy quirt and held it out to her, with a shaking hand, shame-faced, and defiant, too.
"Are you trying to drive me off?" she said measuredly. "Do you wish me to go away from you? If you do, I will go. I will go, and I will never come back. But I will not go to him—not on my own account. It doesn't matter what happens to me; but on your account and on his, I will never go to him—not while you are alive." She stopped, and every nerve in her body was tense to quivering, her drawn lips worked.