There is a certain class of persons to whom it is always irritating to find any one reading a book. It rubs them the wrong way instantly. They will frequently argue that their own, and the best, manner of studying life is from nature—an excellent theory in sound, and commonly accepted as unanswerable, but about as practical in fact as the study of music on the instrument alone, without primer or method. Presently she began again, "Well, he wasn't in it at all. Stone wasn't."
It was his habit to go to bed directly after taps when he was officer-of-the-day, and to visit the guard immediately before reveille the next morning. But the requisitions and some troop papers kept him until almost twelve, so that he decided to make his rounds as soon as the clock had struck twelve, and to sleep until sunrise. Felipa had long since gone off to bed. He turned down the lamp, put on his cape and cap, and with his revolver in his pocket and his sabre clicking a monotonous accompaniment went out into the night. Cairness was taciturn. It was some moments before he could control his annoyance, by the main strength of his sense of justice, by telling himself once again that he had no right to blame Felipa for the manifestations of that nature he had known her to possess from the first. It was not she who was changing.
"Well," said Cairness, twisting at the small mustache, and levelling his eyes straight as the barrels of a shot-gun—and they gave the journalist a little of the same sensation—"I think, Mr. Stone, that you can get out of the country within the next three days." Landor expressed pleasure, without loss of words.
Landor went to the tree and cut another rib from[Pg 96] the mutton and threw it on the coals. Then he walked across the clearing to the tent.
She asked for the full particulars of her husband's death, and when Ellton had told her, sat looking straight before her at the wall. "It was very like Jack," she said finally, in a low voice, "his whole life was like that." And then she turned squarely to the lieutenant. "Where is Mr. Cairness? Where did they take him?" She was surprised at herself that she had not thought of that before.
She asked what he had thought of doing about it.
The officer-of-the-day put Lawton into the care of the guard and asked Cairness in to have a drink, calling him "my good man." Cairness was properly aware of the condescension involved in being asked into an officer's dining room, but he objected to being condescended to by a man who doubled his negatives, and he refused.