"Did my father leave me any money?" she asked. "Yes he is. And I put him there." He left her to what he saw was her belief that it was because of the Kirby affair. "You'll see when you get back. And I'll put you there, too, if I care to. The best chance you have is to do as I tell you."
The captain they had elected for themselves was for following; the seven others agreed upon a detour. They had ideas of their own concerning obedience to superiors. They left the trail in spite of the vehement assurance of their captain that they would without doubt get all manner of profanity knocked out of them, and hasten their inevitable journey to Gehenna if they went into the timber.
"Well," she answered, "I think you have done an unspeakable thing, that is all."
And on another morning there lounged into the space in front of the tents, with the indolent swing of a mountain lion, a big Sierra Blanca buck. He was wrapped from neck to moccasins in a red blanket, and carried an elaborate calf's-hide quiver. He stopped in front of Felipa, who was sitting on the ground with her back against the trunk of a fallen tree reading, and held out the quiver to her.
"She's mighty nice looking, ain't she?"
"Because I prefer to ask you, that's why—and to make you answer, too."
"And do you care for him, too?" he asked, looking her straight in the eyes. It was a very calm question, put—he realized it with exasperation—as a father might have put it.
Not far from where those flames were licking up into the heavens, Cairness thought as he watched them, had[Pg 162] been the Circle K Ranch. In among the herd, even now, were Circle K cattle that had not yet been cut out. Those six people of his own race had been all that was left to him of his youth. To be sure, he had seen little of them, but he had known that they were there, ready to receive him in the name of the home they had all left behind.