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. Landor's troop, with one other, was in the San[Pg 275] Andres Mountains of New Mexico when Cairness joined it. They were on the trail of a large band of renegades, and it led them through the mountains, across the flats, and down to the lava beds.
"You can go whenever you like now," Cairness told her. She demanded to know where she was to go to, and he answered that that was not his affair, but that he would suggest a safe distance. "Somebody else getting hold of the truth of the Kirby business mightn't be so easy on you as I am." "No," said Cairness, "he won't. I've met him since. That was a long time ago, and I was smooth shaven."
The breakfast humor when the thermometer has been a hundred and fifteen in the shade for long months, is pessimistic. "Don't get married then, please," said Felipa, "not for a few days at any rate. I don't want Captain Landor to go off until he gets over these chills and things."
The general's long silence was making the complete man nervous. Beads of sweat stood out on his forehead, and he twisted his hands together. "The Sun, the Darkness, and the Winds are all listening to what we now say. To prove to you that I am telling the truth, remember that I sent you word that I would come from a place far away to speak to you here, and you see me now. If I were thinking bad, I would never have come here. If it had been my fault, would I have come so far to talk with you?" he whined.
"Geronimo does not want that any more. He has[Pg 271] tried to do right. He is not thinking bad. Such stories ought not to be put in the newspapers."
He handed it over also.
At noon that day a cow-boy had ridden from the hills with a rumor that Victorio's people were about. But Kirby had kept it from his wife. It might not be true. And even if it were, the danger was really small. With the hands and the two Englishmen, the quadrangle of log cabins, well stocked with food and ammunition, could withstand any attack. It had been built and planned to that end.
"Thank you," he said; and Cairness walked away.