He shook his head. "It is not a whim. It is the same with every one. Of course Brewster has lost his head, but that argues nothing. The endearing quality seems to be lacking in her." "They have their good traits, sir," said the man, civilly, "and chief among them is that they mind their own business."
Just for a moment it hesitated, then started with the bronco spring, jumping the dead mules, shying from right to left and back again, and going out through the gates at a run. Cairness held on with his knees as he had learned to do when he had played at stock-rider around Katawa and Glen Lomond in the days of his boyhood, as he had done since with the recruits at hurdle drill, or when he had chased a fleet heifer across the prairie and had had no time to saddle. He could keep his seat, no fear concerning that, but it was all he could do. The pony was not to be stopped. He had only what was left of the halter shank by way of a bridle, and it was none at all. A Mexican knife bit would hardly have availed.
Landor's sabre stood just within the sitting room, and she went for it and held the glittering blade in front of the snake. Its fangs struck out viciously again and again, and a long fine stream of venom trickled along the steel. Then she raised the sabre and brought it down in one unerring sweep, severing the head from the body. In the morning she would cut off the rattle and add it to the string of close upon fifty that hung over her mirror. But now the night was calling to her, the wild blood was pricking in her veins. Running the sabre into the ground, she cleaned off the venom, and went back to the adobe to put it in its scabbard. When he returned at the end of a couple of hours she was all humility, and she had moreover done something that was rare for her: made capital of her beauty, putting on her most becoming white gown, and piling her hair loosely on the top of her head, with a cap of lace and a ribbon atop of it. Landor liked the little morning caps, probably because they were a sort of badge of civilization, but they were incongruous for all that, and took from the character of her head. His anger was well in leash, and he gave her the mail which had just come in by the stage, quite as though nothing had occurred. "And now," he commenced, when he had glanced over the Eastern papers, "I have seen the C. O.; he wants the line between here and Apache fixed. He will give me the detail if you care to go." He plainly meant to make no further reference to her confession, but she would have been more than woman if she had known when to let a matter drop.
She put the baby between them, and it sat looking into the fire in the way she herself so often did, until her husband had called her the High Priestess of the Flames. Then she sank down among the cushions again and stirred her coffee indolently, drowsily, steeped in the contentment of perfect well-being. Cairness followed her movements with sharp pleasure. Chapter 11
And the Indian may be trusted to know of these. Here where the jacales clustered, there was grass and wood and water that might last indefinitely. The fortifications of Nature had been added to those of Nature's man. It was a stronghold.