A score of voices answered "Yes." They were all aroused now. Landor went down to meet the man, who had dismounted and was climbing up toward him, leading his horse. It was a courier, sent out from Apache, as Cairness had supposed.
Brewster avoided it, and became absorbed in making the tips of his fingers meet as he pressed his hands together.
"Don't bring them into it," he implored. "If you will not come away, I will tell you now, Felipa, that I love you." He was more in earnest than Landor had been. She felt that herself. His voice broke, and he paled. It occurred to her now for the first time that there was danger for herself, so far in front, so entirely alone. The chances for passing the mesquites were not very good. If the men were already there, and that might be counted upon, they would not let her pass if they could help it. It occasioned her but one fear—that she[Pg 328] could not stop her husband. If she were to turn from the road out into the open, she would lose time, even if the horse did not fall, and time was not to be lost. The captain's lips set.
The Indians and the cow-boys used the insulators to try their marksmanship upon, and occasionally—in much the same spirit that the college man takes gates from their hinges and pulls down street signs—the young bucks cut the wires and tied the ends with rubber bands. Also trees blown down by storms fell crashing across the line, and some scheme for making it a little less tempting and a little more secure was much needed. Landor had long nursed such an one. So a week later he and Felipa, with a detail of twenty men and a six-mule wagon, started across the Gila Valley to the White Mountains. She did not show the enthusiasm he had rather expected. "I dare say it is my bad conscience," she answered with some indifference. "I have a sin to confess."
Cairness took the Reverend Taylor to the door. "You know that is Bill Lawton's wife?" he said. [Pg 285]
He turned and walked beside her. "Don't you believe I know all that I want to. I've only just begun. So that scoundrel knew the whole murderous story, and went on writing lies in his papers and covering you, when you ought to have been hung to the nearest tree, did he?—and for the excellent reason that he wanted to make use of your husband! I worked on the Circle K Ranch and on that other one over in New Mexico, which is supposed to be Lawton's, and it didn't take me long to find out that Stone was the real boss."
But Landor was not aware that there was any. "Cairness is a very decent sort of a fellow," he said[Pg 108] good-humoredly. "And, personally, I am indebted to him for having saved Mrs. Landor's life up Black River way."
"I don't mind," she began; and then her strict truthfulness coming uppermost, she corrected herself: "At least, I don't mind very much, not so much as you thought I would."
"Squaw-man, isn't he?" Brewster asked.
"Where?" the commandant asked.