"He's coming back from Tombstone with some money, ain't he?"
"I am," announced the soldier.
"Helping you to do what?" [Pg 139]
Landor said that he had put in a requisition for kippered mackerel and anchovy paste, and that the commissary was running down so that one got nothing fit to eat. He was in an unpleasant frame of mind, and his first lieutenant, who messed with him, pulled apart a broiled quail that lay, brown and juicy, on its couch of toast and cress, and asked wherein lay the use of taking thought of what you should eat. "Every prospect is vile, and man is worse, and the sooner heaven sends release the better. What is there in a life like this? Six weeks from the nearest approach to civilization, malaria in the air by night and fire by day. Even Mrs. Landor is showing it." But that same night he picked two for their reputation of repeating all they knew, and took them into his own rooms and told his story to them. And he met once again with such success that when Landor rode into the post the next day at about guard-mounting, three officers, meeting him, raised their caps and passed on.
"And I went outside the post the night after you left, down to the river. Some one will probably tell you about a wounded Sierra Blanca found down among the bushes in the river bottom that same night. I shot him, and then I hacked him up with my knife." He had taken his pipe from his mouth and was looking at her incredulously, perplexed. He did not understand whether it was a joke on her part, or exactly what it was. It was the always expected, the never ceasing. Landor looked at his wife and stroked his mustache with[Pg 75] a shaking hand. His face was yellow, and his hair had grown noticeably grayer.