"He was helping me."
He tried to see if the soldiers were safe, but though they were not a hundred feet away, the trunks and the mist of water hid them. The rain still pounded down, but the rush of the wind was lessening sensibly.
She made it plainer to him by and by, as she went on to advise his course about Brewster. "If I were you, I would ignore his having told me, Jack. I ought to have pretended that I knew it, but I was taken by surprise. He must not think you resent it as though it were an insult, though. As for me, I won't have anything more to do with him; but that is for reasons of my own." He caught her by the arm, exasperated past all civility, and shook her. "Do you hear me, Felipa Cabot? I tell you that I love you."
It was characteristic of Felipa that she forgot him altogether and reread the letter, her breath coming in audible gasps.
She was astonished in her turn. "Killed him! Why, of course I might have killed him," she said blankly, frowning, in a kind of hopeless perplexity over his want of understanding. "I came very near it, I tell you. The ball made shivers of his shoulder. But he was brave," she grew enthusiastic now, "he let the doctor probe and pick, and never moved a muscle. Of course he was half drunk with tizwin, even then." Chapter 20
"Mr. Ellton was here this morning," Felipa told him, "and he will be in again before retreat."
"She may be ill some time. Would it be asking too much of you to look after her?" The bachelor showed in that.
His horse started. He had dug it with the rowels. Then he reined it in with a jerk that made it champ its curb. "Don't dwell on that all the time," he said angrily; "forget it." And then it flashed across him, the irreparable wrong he would be doing her if he taught her to consider the Apache blood a taint.
She drew herself up and grasped her loaded quirt more firmly. There are some natures to which flight from a thing feared is physically impossible. They must not only face danger, they must go up to it. It is a trait, like any other. Felipa took two steps toward him.
"Thank you," said Cabot, and drew his hand from the girths. He cut Landor short when he tried to change him again. "You are losing time," he told him, "and if you stay here from now to next week it won't do any good. I'll foot it to the water hole, if I can. Otherwise—" the feeble laugh once more as his eyes shifted to where a big, gray prairie wolf was going[Pg 6] across the flat, stopping now and then to watch them, then swinging on again.
He made as if to kick the bottle away, but quick as a flash she was on her feet and facing him.