Cairness, his hand on the butt of his own pistol, wondered, a little angrily, if Taylor were never going to be roused. Felipa had taught her horse to make its average gait a run, and she would have started it running now, but that Landor checked her. It was high time, he said, that he should teach her to ride. Now she was more than a little proud of her horsemanship, so she was annoyed as well as surprised.
"Been hamstrung," the officer bawled back hoarsely.
Cairness, talking to one of the other men, who was mending a halter, watched him, and recalled the youth in spotless white whom he had last seen lounging on the deck of an Oriental liner and refusing to join the sports committee in any such hard labor as getting up a cricket match. It was cooler here in the Arizona mountains, to be sure; but it was an open question if life were as well worth living.
"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.
There was a stronger blow at the door, as of a log used by way of a ram. It gave, swayed, and fell crashing in, and the big room swarmed with screaming fiends, their eyes gleaming wildly in the light of the burning hay and the branches piled against the cabin, as they waved their arms over their feathered heads.
As an attempt at consolation, it failed. Landor fairly sprang into a sitting posture, with a degree of impulsiveness that was most unusual with him. His eyes glistened from the greenish circles around them. "Blow over! Good Lord! do you suppose I'll let it blow over? It's got to be sifted to the bottom. And you know that as well as I do." He lay weakly back again, and Felipa came to the edge of the bed and, sitting upon it, stroked his head with her cool hand.
Presently the front door opened. The commissary officer evidently had all the keys. Landor and Ellton, who were commandant and adjutant as well, went through the close-smelling storeroom, which reeked with codfish and coffee, into the office.