They came around him and offered him their horses, dismounting even, and forcing the reins into his hands. "You don't know what you are doing," a corporal urged. "You'll never get out alive. If it ain't Indians, it'll be thirst." Then he looked into Cabot's face and saw that he did know, that he knew very well. And so they left him at last, with more of the tepid alkali water than they well could spare from their canteens, with two days' rations and an extra cartridge belt, and trotted on once more across the plain.
Cairness said that he would of course have to take chances on that. "You might kill me, or I might kill you. I'm a pretty fair shot. However, it wouldn't pay you to kill me, upon the whole, and you must take everything into consideration." He was still twisting the curled end of his small mustache and half closing his eyes in the way that Stone had long since set down[Pg 261] as asinine. "My friend Mr. Taylor would still be alive. And if you were to hurt him,—he's a very popular man,—it might be bad for your standing in the community. It wouldn't hurt me to kill you, particularly, on the other hand. You are not so popular anyway, and I haven't very much to lose."
"I wish Brewster would not come so often," he said. And at another window Felipa also stood looking out into the dusk. There had been a shower in the afternoon, and the clouds it had left behind were like a soft moss of fire floating in the sky. A bright golden light struck slantwise from the sunset. They had all gone away to dine and to dress for the hop; Landor had walked down to the post trader's for the mail, and she was left alone.
"Poor little girl," he said kindly. He could not help it that they were the words of a compassionate friend, rather than of an injured husband. Landor came in a few weeks later. He had had an indecisive skirmish in New Mexico with certain bucks who had incurred the displeasure of the paternal government by killing and eating their horses, to the glory of their gods and ancestors, and thereafter working off their enthusiasm by a few excursions beyond the confines of the reservation, with intent to murder and destroy.