He heard his wife coming down the stairs, and directly she stood in the doorway. "Will you let me have that knife, Jack dear?" she asked amiably.
Landor sat at the centre table and went over requisition blanks by the light of a green-shaded student lamp. The reflection made him look livid and aging. Felipa had noticed it, and then she had turned to the fire and sat watching, with her soft eyes half closed, the little sputtering sparks from the mesquite knot. She had been immovable in that one position for at least an hour, her hands folded with a weary looseness in her lap. If it had not been that her face was very hard to read, even her husband might have guessed that she was sad. But he was not thinking about her. He went on examining the papers until some one came upon the front porch and knocked at the door. Then he got up and went out.
"I spent a few days with the Kirbys once," he said, and looked straight into her eyes. They shifted, and there was no mistaking her uneasiness. He followed it up instantly on a bold hazard. It had to be done now, before she had time to retreat to the cover of her blank stolidity. "Why did you leave them to[Pg 237] be massacred? What did you have against her and those little children?"
It was a fatal want of tact perhaps, characteristic of the race, but then the characteristic is so fine. "You will do whatever I tell you to do," the voice was low and strained, but not wavering. It reached the group by the harness-room door.
Did she show the squaw? he asked. "Not unless you knew it was there," the officer said tolerantly. Then he went to bed and slept with that peace of mind which comes of a proud consciousness of holding the handle of the whip. In the morning he got the[Pg 28] man's name and address before he went on up to the Agency.
The log cabins were built, five of them, to form a square. The largest contained the sitting room and a bedroom, the three others, bedrooms and a storehouse, and the kitchen and dining room were in the fifth.
"They will kill me? Who will kill me, and what for?"
"Did you, though?"