Landor was the first to find speech. In the harsh light of the pause he saw that it was foolish as well as useless to beg the issue. "Has Mrs. Landor told you that I found your letter to her on the body of the prospector, and delivered it to her?" The words were[Pg 201] sufficiently overbearing, but the manner was unendurable. After she had done that she stood hesitating for just a moment before she threw off all restraint with a toss of her head, and strapped about her waist a leather belt from which there hung a bowie knife and her pistol in its holster. Then slipping on her moccasins, she glided into the darkness. She took the way in the rear of the quarters, skirting the post and making with swift, soundless tread for the river. Her eyes gleamed from under her straight, black brows as she peered about her in quick, darting glances.
"How do you know this?"
Felipa sat up in bed, and leaning over to the window beside it drew up the shade and looked out. The cold, gray world of breaking day was battling furiously with a storm of rain. The huddling flowers in the garden bent to the ground before the rush of wind from the mountains across the prairie. The windmill sent out raucous cries as it flew madly around, the great dense clouds, black with rain, dawn-edged, charged through the sky, and the shining-leaved cottonwoods bent their branches almost to the earth. The figures of Cairness and a couple of cow-boys, wrapped in rubber coats, passed, fighting their way through the blur,—vague, dark shadows in the vague, dark mist.
Chapter 20 "The gentleman who broke them glasses can settle for his part of the fun," he said, as he paid his reckoning. Then he drew Cairness aside and held out the limp wrist to be bound, supporting it with his other hand. And presently they went out from the restaurant, where the powder smoke was added to the other smells, and hung low, in streaks, in the thick atmosphere, to hunt up a surgeon.
It was very short, but he held it a long time before he gave it back.
If he had had any hope, it vanished before her unhesitating, positive, "No; I am not mistaken. Oh, no!"
Down by the river a coyote scudded across her path as she made her way through the willows, and when he was well beyond, rose up on his hind legs and looked after her. At the water's edge she stopped and glanced across to the opposite bank. The restlessness was going, and she meant to return now, before she should be missed—if indeed she were not missed already, as was very probable. Yet still she waited, her hands clasped in front of her, looking down at the stream. Farther out, in the middle, a ripple flashed. But where she stood among the bushes, it was very dark. The water made no sound, there was not a breath of air, yet suddenly there was a murmur, a rustle.
She told him that they had all scattered some time before, with the hounds in full cry. "I must go," she repeated more firmly now, "they will be looking—" She stopped short.