In the morning, while the cooks were getting breakfast and the steam of ration-Rio mounted as a grateful incense to the pink and yellow daybreak heavens, having bathed in the creek and elaborated his toilet[Pg 235] with a clean neckerchief in celebration of victory, he walked over to the bunch of tepees to see the women captives.
"Felipa!" shouted Cairness. He was angry—almost as angry as Forbes had been when he had come upon Mrs. Landor watching the boys and the kitten in the alleyway.
"Say we were to get off at sun-up, then," objected Landor, "they would even in that way have twelve hours' start of us." Felipa, from her place on the couch, smiled lazily, with a light which was not all from the fire in her half-closed eyes. She put out her hand, and he took it in both his own and held it against his cold cheek as he dropped down beside her. She laid her head on his shoulder, and for a while neither of them spoke.
"No, not alone." It was the always expected, the never ceasing. Landor looked at his wife and stroked his mustache with[Pg 75] a shaking hand. His face was yellow, and his hair had grown noticeably grayer.
He himself had never dreamed how it irked her until now. It was many years since he had been in the East, not, indeed, since Felipa had been a small child.[Pg 160] Keeping his promise to Cabot, as he understood it, had left him little for such pleasures as that. But he had done his duty then; he would do it again, and reap once more what seemed to him the inevitable reward, the reward which had been his all through his life,—sheer disappointment, in all he prized most, ashes and dust.
Stone thought not. He had not heard Lawton speak of needing help. But he wrote a very guarded note of recommendation, falling back into the editorial habit, and dashing it off under pressure. Cairness, whose own writing was tiny and clear and black, and who covered whole sheets without apparent labor, but with lightning rapidity, watched and reflected that he spent an amount of time on the flourish of his signature that might have been employed to advantage in the attainment of legibility.