"It is not only my business," he said, overlooking the last, and bending more eagerly forward, "it is not[Pg 49] only my business, it is the business of the whole post. You are being talked about, my dear young lady."
Landor went forward again. "Can you, gentlemen, tell me," he demanded a trifle wrathfully, "where I can find Mr. Foster?" They reckoned, after deliberation, that he might be in Bob's saloon. Which might Bob's saloon be? The man pointed, hooking his thumb over his shoulder, and went on with his conversation and his quid. A dozen or more loafers, chiefly Mexicans, had congregated in front of the dry-goods store.
"Are you trying to drive me off?" she said measuredly. "Do you wish me to go away from you? If you do, I will go. I will go, and I will never come back. But I will not go to him—not on my own account. It doesn't matter what happens to me; but on your account and on his, I will never go to him—not while you are alive." She stopped, and every nerve in her body was tense to quivering, her drawn lips worked. "I came here to parley, not to fight," said the general, rather sharply. "What is their disposition?"
Cairness remembered with an anger and disgust with himself he could still feel, that last time he had seen her in the mouth of the cave. That had been two springs ago. Since then there had been no occupation for him as a guide or scout. The country had been at peace. The War Department and the Indian Department were dividing the control of the Agency, with the War Department ranking. Crook had been trying his theories as practice. He had been demonstrating that the Indian can work, with a degree of success that was highly displeasing to the class of politicians whose whole social fabric for the southwest rested on his only being able to kill.
She gave a dry little sob of unutterable glad relief and tried to raise her voice and call to him, the call they used for one another when they rode about the ranch. But the sound was only a weak, low wail. "I say, Major, if he's got any charges to prefer why doesn't he put them on paper and send them in to you, or else shut up his head?" He was losing his temper again.
He grabbed a man at the gate, who happened to be the quartermaster sergeant himself, and asked if his horse had been taken out.