"Still," said Felipa, too quietly, "I would rather be the daughter of a drunken private and a Mescalero squaw than the wife of a coward and sneak." "She also said that it would kill her."
Forbes explained their early return, and spoke of the ranch. "It might be a garden, this territory, if[Pg 315] only it had water enough," he said; "it has a future, possibly, but its present is just a little dismal, I think. Are you greatly attached to the life here, Mrs. Cairness?" He was studying her, and she knew it, though his glance swept the outlook comprehensively, and she was watching the mail-carrier riding toward them along the road. It was the brother of the little girl who followed along behind them, and who ran off now to meet him, calling and waving her hand.
Landor had come to agree with the major at Grant, that she was an excellent wife for a soldier. Her tastes were simple as those of a hermit. She asked only a tent and a bunk and enough to eat, and she could do without even those if occasion arose. She saw the best of everything, not with the exasperating optimism which insists upon smiling idiotically on the pleasant and the distinctly disagreeable alike, and upon being aggressively delighted over the most annoying mishaps, but with a quiet, common-sense intention of making the objectionable no more so for her own part. There were wives who made their husbands' quarters more dainty and attractive, if not more neat; but in the struggle—for it was necessarily a struggle—lost much peace of mind and real comfort. Upon the whole, Landor was very well satisfied, and Felipa was entirely so. She was utterly indifferent to being set down at a three-company post, where her only companion was to be a woman she disliked from the first, openly and without policy, as was her way. He told her that she didn't know it, because he was not; and then he explained to her. "What I want of you now is for you to come over with Taylor and me to see Stone." He shook his head. "It is not a whim. It is the same with every one. Of course Brewster has lost his head, but that argues nothing. The endearing quality seems to be lacking in her."