"Now, Mr. Brewster," said Landor, going to the safe and resting his elbow upon it, and leaning forward in his earnestness, "I am going to tell you what you are to do. It would be better for the service and for all concerned if you do it quietly. I think you will agree with me, that any scandal is to be avoided. Come to the opening of the bids to-morrow, at noon, quite as though nothing of this disgraceful sort had happened. I will keep the keys until then. But by retreat to-morrow evening I want your resignation from the service in the hands of the adjutant. If it is not, I shall prefer charges against you the next morning. But I hardly think you will deem it advisable to stand a court-martial." He stopped and stood erect again.
"You heard what Mrs. Cairness said this afternoon. She was very ill in school when she was a young girl, and still more so in Washington afterward." He shook his head. "No, Forbes, you may think you know something about the Apache, but you don't know him as I do, who have been with him for years. I've seen too much of the melting away of half and quarter breeds. They die without the shadow of an excuse, in civilization."
"Yes," said Felipa. "Luncheon!" said Cairness, as he smoothed his hair in front of a speckled and wavy mirror, which reflected all of life that came before it, in sickly green, "cabalistic word, bringing before me memories of my wasted youth. There was a chap from home in my troop, until he deserted, and when we were alone we would say luncheon below our breaths. But I haven't eaten anything except dinner for five years."
"I guess not," said Landor, tolerantly, as he turned[Pg 106] his horse over to his orderly; "but, anyway," he added to Ellton, "we had a picnic—of a sort."
She glared at him, but she stopped short nevertheless, and, flinging down the stone she had been holding, stood up also. "All right, then. You've done with me, I reckon. Now suppose you let me go back to the camp."
She looked up and tried hard to smile again.
"Sixty of Victorio's hostiles have been at the Agency, and are on their way back to New Mexico. Will probably cross your camp," the captain read aloud to the men, who crowded as near as was compatible with discipline.
It was only some one standing at the mouth of the hole, however, a shadow against the shimmering sunlight. And it was a woman—it was Felipa.