"My name, sir, is Foster."
"Then they all have 'medicine' on," Cairness continued, "redbird and woodpecker feathers, in buckskin bags, or quail heads, or prairie-dog claws. One fellow was making an ornament out of an adobe dollar. Every buck and boy in the band has a couple of cartridge belts and any quantity of ammunition, likewise new shirts and zarapes. They have fitted themselves out one way or another since Crawford got at them in January. I don't think there are any of them particularly anxious to come in."
Felipa was very thoroughly frightened now. She stood in wholesome awe of her husband, and it was the first time she had ever made him really angry, although frequently he was vaguely irritated by her. She had had no idea the thing would infuriate him so, or she would probably have kept it to herself. And she wished now that she had, as she went back to the couch and sat on the edge of it, dejectedly.
Cairness knew that it was true, too true to refute. Brewster told him. "It is Mr. Lawton, of the Circle K Ranch."
"It's her nature," he told his wife. "Underneath she is an Apache, and they burn the wigwams and all the traps of their dead; sometimes even the whole [Pg 287]village he lived in." Mrs. Ellton said that poor Captain Landor had had a good deal to endure.
"Surely," said the minister, "surely." There might have been men who would have remembered that Mrs. Lawton was a tough woman, even for a mining town, and who would in the names of their own wives have refused to let her cross the threshold of their homes. But he saw that she was ill, and he did not so much as hesitate.
"Kiss me," said Felipa.
There were only the bids to be taken out and steamed open. The lowest found, it was simple enough for the favored one to make his own a quarter of a cent less, and to turn it in at the last moment. But one drawback presented itself. Some guileful and wary contractors, making assurance twice sure, kept their bids themselves and only presented them when the officers sat for the final awarding. Certainly Brewster would have been wiser not to have been seen with the big civilian. During the two days that elapsed before the awarding of the contract, Landor thought about it most of the time.
"Is he hurt?" she shook him sharply.
The quiet, observant, capable man, whose fate it was to be always called in for the thankless task of undoing the evil work of others, made every effort to pacify this time, but he failed.