Then he went off to inspect the stock and the pickets, and to double the sentries. "You had better sleep on your arms," he told the soldiers, and returned to his cot to lie down upon it, dressed, but feigning sleep,[Pg 98] that Felipa might not be uneasy. He need not have resorted to deception. Felipa had not so much as pretended to close her eyes that night.
Someway it had not occurred to him to be any more angry with Cairness than he had been with her. The most he felt was resentful jealousy. There was nothing more underhand about the man than there was about Felipa. Sending the note by the prospectors had not been underhand. He understood that it had been done only that it might make no trouble for her, and give himself no needless pain. Cairness would have been willing to admit to his face that he loved Felipa. That letter must have been written in his own camp.
"You will still keep her then?" Cairness wished to know. "The gentleman who broke them glasses can settle for his part of the fun," he said, as he paid his reckoning. Then he drew Cairness aside and held out the limp wrist to be bound, supporting it with his other hand. And presently they went out from the restaurant, where the powder smoke was added to the other smells, and hung low, in streaks, in the thick atmosphere, to hunt up a surgeon.
He was in front of her, not a hundred feet away; to the left were the mesquites, to the right the ragged arroyo. There could be no turning aside. She threw up her own revolver, and fired, not at the man, but at the head of his horse. It reared and fell, and a moment after her own rose in the air, touched the ground beyond, and went on. It had leapt the fallen one and his rider, and was leaving them behind. He told her that he was going to operate at once, to remove the ball and the shattered bone, but that she might come if she wished. His disapproval was marked, but she went with him, nevertheless, and sat watching while he picked and probed at the wound.
Once when Felipa got out of the ambulance to tramp beside it, in the stinging snow whirls, and to start the thin blood in her veins, she had looked up into his blanket-swathed face, and laughed. "I wonder if you looked like that when you took me through this part of the world twenty years ago," she said.