She drew her horse down to a gallop, and the jar of the changed gait made her moan. There was no haste now. Her own men had come upon the desperadoes and there was a quick volley. And ahead, riding fast toward her from the top of a little rise, was a man on a white horse—her husband, she knew.
He had dreaded a scene, but he was not so sure that this was not worse. "You are the wife for a soldier," he said somewhat feebly; "no tears and fuss and—all that kind of thing."
The Indians who came round talked with her amicably enough, mainly by signs. She played with the children too, and one day there appeared among them her protégé of the post, who thereafter became a camp follower. "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." He considered. "Let me see. For instance, when did Lawton tell him, and why, and exactly what?"
"He's got Bill right under his thumb," she sneered at her weak spouse.
Landor sent for a squad of the guard and went to put them out. It was just one of the small emergencies that go to make up the chances of peace. He might or he might not come back alive; the probabilities in favor of the former, to be sure. But the risks are[Pg 186] about equal whether one fights Indians or citizens drunk with liquor and gaming.
"I don't know anything whatever about it," he answered; "that is none of my affair. I should be surprised if he were, and I must say I am inclined to think he is not."
"No, I am a friend of the soldier. And I am a friend of Chato, who is the enemy of Geronimo. I have no bad thoughts," he added piously.