"Just nothing," Cairness laughed shortly, and breaking off one of the treasured geranium blossoms, stuck it in a buttonhole of his flannel shirt.
She sat for a moment without answering. It was less astonishment than that she did not understand. She knitted her brow in a puzzled frown.
He believed that he had no ties now, that friendships, the love of woman, and the kiss of children all had missed him, and that his, thenceforth, must be but vain regret. So far as he knew, Felipa had gone away without ever having received his letter. The man he had intrusted it to had been killed in the Aravaypa Ca?on: that he was certain of; and it never entered his head that his papers might have fallen into other hands, and the note have finally been delivered to her. She was leading the sort of life that would most quickly put him entirely out of her mind. He was taking the Washington papers, and he knew. She had gone away, not even sure that he had given her a thought since the night in the Sierra Blanca when Black River had roared through the stillness, and they had been alone in all the wild world. What a weird, mysterious, unearthly scene it had been, quite outside the probabilities of anything he had imagined or contemplated for a single minute. He had never regretted it, though. He believed in impulses, particularly his own.
Landor drew rein and turned upon him with oaths and a purpled face. "What the devil are you trying to do now?" he said. "Well," she answered, "I think you have done an unspeakable thing, that is all."
"Who told you he was?" she asked.
He was still more exasperated, with himself and with her, that he had allowed himself to think for one moment that she had come on purpose to find him. Where were the others? How did she happen to be here alone? he asked.
"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."
It occurred to Cairness then that with no breath in your lungs and with twelve stone on your chest, speech is difficult. He slid off and knelt beside the rancher, still with the revolver levelled. "Now, why did you do it, eh?" He enforced the "eh" with a shake.
"And you think there will be trouble?" He knew that the buck had come there for nothing but to inform.
"Geronimo does not want that any more. He has[Pg 271] tried to do right. He is not thinking bad. Such stories ought not to be put in the newspapers."
"Where is the use of the lip's red charm,