"Your husband is in jail," he said without preface. He had done with the mask of civility. It had served its purpose.
He made no pretence of not understanding. "You have no need to be, dear," he said simply. One had gone mad with loco-weed, and they gored each other's sides until the blood ran, while only a low, moaning bellow came from their dried throats. A cloud of fine dust, that threw back the sun in glitters, hung over them, and a flock of crows, circling above in the steel-blue sky, waited. She explained. "He says he will tell it broadcast," she ended, "but he won't. It wouldn't be safe, and he knows it." Her cool self-possession had its effect on him. He studied her curiously and began to calm down.
Landor explained again, with greater detail, vainly trying to impress the nature of a military order on the civilian brain. "It would not do for me to disobey my[Pg 112] instructions. And besides there are several officers who are to follow trails, out with larger commands. I have no pack-train, and I can't."
Then some bull-teams going to Camp Apache had stopped over night at the Agency. The teamsters had sold the bucks whiskey, and the bucks had grown very drunk. The representatives of the two tribes which were hereditary enemies, and which the special agent of an all-wise Interior Department had, nevertheless, shut up within the confines of the same reservation, therewith fell upon and slew each other, and the survivors went upon the warpath—metal tags and all. So the troops had been called out, and Landor's was at San Carlos.
The post talked it over unceasingly, and commented on Landor's attitude. "He stalks around in defiant dignity and makes everybody uncomfortable," they said.
She put down her work and rose slowly to her feet before him. She could be very regal sometimes. Brewster knew it, and Cairness guessed it; but it was the first time it had come within Landor's experience, and he was a little awed.
"You can go whenever you like now," Cairness told her. She demanded to know where she was to go to, and he answered that that was not his affair, but that he would suggest a safe distance. "Somebody else getting hold of the truth of the Kirby business mightn't be so easy on you as I am."
Whereupon the rancher, his feelings being much injured, and his trust in mankind in general shattered, did as many a wiser man has done before him,—made himself very drunk, and in his cups told all that he knew to two women and a man. "I'd like to know whose affair it is, if it ain't his, the measly sneak. He sicked me on,"—oaths, as the grammars phrase it, "understood." The tears dribbled off his fierce mustache, and the women and the man laughed at him, but they were quite as drunk as he was, and they forgot all about it at once. Lawton did not forget. He thought of it a great deal, and the more he thought, the more he wanted revenge.