Cairness bowed, with no realization of the humor of it. "You are equally fortunate," he said easily, and motioned with his hand to the opening above, where Felipa was going. He might have been under his own roof, and that the door.
"Yes," said Cairness, examining it, "but this has no meaning."
"I dare say," he answered carelessly. "Come and meet him. You'll like him."
"Take care!" yelled Cairness, as Felipa, dazed and without breath, headed straight for the stream. He bent and snatched at her bridle, and, swerving, started up the sheer side of the hill. She clung to the mane instinctively, but her horse stumbled, struggled, slipped, and scrambled. She had lost all control of it, and the earth and stones gave way beneath its hoofs just as a great wall of water bore down the bed of the river, sweeping trees and rocks away, and making the ground quiver.
"I didn't see the telegram, but it was in effect that he had no knowledge of anything of the sort, and put no faith in it."
"Yes," Cairness called back.
"I have kept near you for a week, to warn you, or to help you if necessary."
"May I take her in?" he said, nodding toward the open door.
Then he stopped, with every muscle drawn, for he had seen in her answering, unflinching gaze that he was losing her, surely, irrevocably losing her. He let her go, almost throwing her away, and she caught hold of a ledge of rock to steady herself. He picked up the heavy quirt and held it out to her, with a shaking hand, shame-faced, and defiant, too.
"Why did you not tell me you had known Forbes, Felipa?" If it had not been that she was commonly and often unaccountably reticent, there might have been some suspicion in the question. But there was only a slight annoyance. Nor was there hesitation in her reply.