At six o'clock Kirby knocked the ashes from his pipe, the other two men, who had buried themselves in the last Cornhill and Punch with entire disregard of the rest of the room, put down the magazines, and all of them rose. "We dine at seven," Mrs. Kirby said to Taylor and Cairness as she passed through the door, followed by her husband.
Cairness rode at a walk round and round the crowding, snorting, restless herd of cattle that was gathered together in the pocket of the foot-hills under the night sky. There were five other cow-boys who also rode round and round, but they were each several hundred yards apart, and he was, to all intents, alone. Now and then he quickened the gait of his bronco and headed off some long-horned steer or heifer, that forced itself out of the huddled, dark mass, making a break for freedom. But for the most part he rode heavily, lopsided in his saddle, resting both hands on the high pommel. He had had time to unlearn the neat horsemanship of the service, and to fall into the slouchy manner of the cow-boy, skilful but unscientific. It was a pitchy night, in spite of the stars, but in the distance, far off across the velvety roll of the hills, there was a forest fire on the top of a range of mountains. It glowed against the sky and lighted the pocket and the prairie below, making strange shadows among the cattle, or bringing into shining relief here and there a pair of mighty horns. A wind, dry and hot, blew down from the flames, and made the herd uneasy. Landor did not know; but she was part Apache, he said, and Harry Cabot's daughter, and it was pretty certain that with that blood in her veins she had the spirit of adventure.