The Reverend Taylor was about to go to the coops and close them for the night, when he saw a man and a woman on horseback coming up the street. The woman was bending forward and swaying in her saddle. He stood still and watched. The red sunset[Pg 250] blaze was in his face so that he could not see plainly until they were quite near. Then he knew that it was Cairness and—yes, beyond a doubt—Bill Lawton's runaway wife.
"Poor little girl," he said kindly. He could not help it that they were the words of a compassionate friend, rather than of an injured husband. "Ay que si! You do know," he laughed; "you tell me chula, or I will take you back to the United States with me."
Then he began to come to himself and to listen to all that Felipa had to tell him of the many things she had not put in her short and labored letters. He saw[Pg 140] that she looked more beautiful and less well than when he had left her. There was a shadow of weariness on her face that gave it a soft wistfulness which was altogether becoming. He supposed it was because she had nursed him untiringly, as she had; but it did not occur to him to thank her, because she had done only what was a wife's duty, only what he would have done for her if the case had been reversed. Toward the end of the day he began to wonder that no one had been to see him, and he spoke of it. Landor stopped behind, looking at Cairness undecidedly for a moment longer. "It is well for you that I can believe her implicitly," he said. It had been a relapse to the Stone Age, but the rebound to the nineteenth century was as quick.