The telegraph between Thomas and Apache always gave something to think about. The Indians had learned the use of the White-eye's talking wire very promptly. In the early '70's, when it first came to their notice, they put it to good use. As when an Apache chief sent to a Yuma chief the message that if the Yumas did not hold to a certain promise, the Apaches would go on the war-path and destroy them, root and branch.
Cairness started for the salt lick, then changed his mind and his destination, and merely rode with Forbes around the parts of the ranch which were under more or less cultivation, and to one of the water troughs beneath a knot of live oaks in the direction of the foot-hills. So they returned to the home place earlier than they otherwise would have done, and that, too, by way of the spring-house.
Presently she said: "I can't forget. And you can't. As for other people—they don't matter anyway." In her scheme of things other people rarely did matter. She hedged herself round with a barrier of indifference that was very nearly contempt, and encouraged no intimacies—not even with Landor. And he knew it. "Think it over, in any case," urged Forbes; "I am going in, good night."
Felipa had discarded, long since, the short skirt and moccasins of her girlhood, and had displayed no inconsiderable aptitude in the matter of fashions; but she was given to looseness of draperies and a carelessness of attire in her own home that the picturesqueness of her beauty alone only saved from slatternliness. There was one manifestation of ill taste which she did not give, however, one common enough with the wives of most of the officers. She was never to be found running about the post, or sitting upon the porches, with her husband's cape around her shoulders and his forage-cap over her eyes. Her instinct for the becoming was unfailing. This was a satisfaction to Landor. But it was a secret grievance that she was most contented when in her riding habit, tearing foolhardily over the country. "I didn't. None of your business," she defied him.
Kirby, hurrying from the house to learn the cause of the new uproar, was all but knocked down and trodden under the hoofs of all his stock, driven from the enclosure with cracking of whips and with stones. Then a dozen ridden horses crowded over the dropped bars, the woman in the lead astride, as were the men.
The lieutenant himself did neither, but he argued that his mind was never off it.
She herself lay at full length upon a couch she had devised out of packing cases. It occurred to Landor that she often dropped down to rest now, and that she was sallow and uneasy.