【思想如电】与友人登百望山

[Pg 170]

It was a sheer waste of good ammunition, and it might serve as a signal to the Indians as well; Kirby knew it, and yet he emptied his six-shooter into the deep shadows of the trees where they had vanished, toward the south. He handed it over also. After a while Kirby went back to his work, directing several Mexicans, in hopelessly bad Spanish, and laboring with his own hands at about the proportion of three to one.

Mrs. Taylor came to the dining-room door and looked in. "Can I do anything?" she asked. He sat quite still, clinching his teeth and clawing his fingers tensely. In the great crises of life, training and upbringing and education fall away, and a man is governed by two forces, his instincts and his surroundings. And Cairness's instincts were in entire accord with his surroundings; they were of the Stone Age, when men fought with the beasts of the wilderness in their cave homes, and had only the law of sheer strength. He leaned forward, holding his breath, and watched her. Had she seen his horse tied up above, and come here to find him—because he was here?

It was a luxurious place. As much for his own artistic satisfaction as for her, Cairness had planned the interior of the house to be a background in keeping with Felipa, a fit setting for her, and she led the life of an Orient queen behind the walls of sun-baked clay. There was a wide couch almost in front of the roaring fire. She sank down in a heap of cushions, and taking up a book that lay open where her husband had put it down the night before, she tried to read by the flickering of the flame light over the pages.