"Shall you go with them?" asked Cairness.
Ellton was going with her to the railroad. They were to travel with a mounted escort, as she had come, on account of the uncertain state of the country. And they must cross, as she had done in coming also, the road over the malpais, where Landor had fallen. As the hoofs of the mules and the tires of the wheels began to slip and screech on the smooth-worn lava, and the ambulance rattled and creaked up the incline, Ellton leaned forward and pointed silently to a hollow in the gray rock a few yards away. It was where Landor had pitched forward over the body of the mounted chief of scouts. Felipa nodded gravely, but she did not speak, nor yet weep. Ellton, already thrown back upon himself by her persistent silence with regard to her [Pg 292]intentions, recoiled even more. He thought her hard beyond all his previous experience of women. The face on the pillow lighted quickly, and she put out her hand to him impulsively. "Could we go back, Jack, even before the detail is up?" she said. And yet her life of late had surely been one that women would have thought enviable—most women. "In time, Felipa? In time for what, dear?" but there was no answer.
Cairness smiled. There was, it appeared, a small supply of poetic justice still left in the scheme of things to be meted out. "And then the Apache came down and bore you off like a helpless lamb," he said. "If I'd been the Apache I'd have made it several sorts of Hades for you, but I'd have scalped you afterward. You'd corrupt even a Chiricahua squaw. However, I'm glad you lived until I got you." And he left her. She put down her work and rose slowly to her feet before him. She could be very regal sometimes. Brewster knew it, and Cairness guessed it; but it was the first time it had come within Landor's experience, and he was a little awed.
She sat thinking, with her chin in her palm, and a quite new look of loneliness deep in her eyes. He could see that in the last hour she had grasped almost the fulness of her isolation—almost, but not all; only the years could bring forth the rest. She gave a heavy sigh. "Well, I am glad I love you," she said.