In the morning Cairness left them together and started for the San Carlos Agency. He was to meet a prospector there, and to begin his new fortunes by locating some mines. Presently she began again, "Well, he wasn't in it at all. Stone wasn't."
"You must get Mrs. Landor into the post to-morrow," Cairness said abruptly; "Victorio's band is about."
"We meet 'neath the blazing heavens,
[Pg 86] "How do I know you're done with me yet?" she snapped.
The Gila River cutting straight across the southern portion of Arizona, from the Alkali flats on the east to the Colorado at Yuma on the west, flowed then its whole course through desolation. Sometimes cottonwoods and sycamore trees rose in the bottom, and there was a patch of green around some irrigated land. But, for the most part, the basin was a waste of glittering sand and white dust, and beyond, the low hills, bare of every plant save a few stunted wild flowers, cacti and sage, greasewood and mesquite, rolled for miles and miles of barrenness. The chicken hawk and crow sailed through the fiercely blue sky, the air waved and quivered with incredible heat. At night malaria rose from the ground, the coyote barked and whined at the light of the brilliant stars, and the polecat prowled deliberately.
He rode beside Mrs. Landor along the road in the ravine bed, and the soldiers followed some twenty yards in the rear. They were making as much haste as was wise at the outset, and Felipa bent forward against the ever rising wind, as her horse loped steadily on.
But he was not to be changed. "I'll take lemon soda," he said to the tender, with an amiability that the cow-boy made the mistake of taking for indecision.
There had been an afternoon in Washington when, on her road to some reception of a half-official kind, she had crossed the opening of an alleyway and had come upon three boys who were torturing a small, blind kitten; and almost without knowing what she did, because her maternal grandfather had done to the children of his enemies as the young civilized savages were doing to the kitten there, she stopped and watched them, not enjoying the sight perhaps, but not recoiling from it either. So intent had she been that she had not heard footsteps crossing the street toward her, and had not known that some one stopped beside her with an exclamation of wrath and dismay. She had turned suddenly and looked up, the pupils of her eyes contracted curiously as they had been when she had watched the tarantula-vinagrone fight years before.