Ellton stood by the door, with his hands in his pockets, and a countenance that tried hard to maintain the severity of discipline. But he was plainly enjoying it.
But Crook was not dashing, only quiet and steady, and sure as death. Upon parade and occasions of ceremony he wore the gold lace and the stars. To do his life's work he put on an old flannel shirt, tied a kerchief around his neck, and set a pith helmet over those farseeing, keen little eyes. He might have been a [Pg 228]prospector, or a cow-boy, for all the outward seeming of it. His charger was oftenest a little government mule, and he walked, leading it over many and many a trail that even its sure feet could not trust. "I'm a busy man," said Stone, "a very busy man, the busiest man in the territory."
But she was not sure that she thought so. She wanted to know why the woman could not be sent to the hotel, and he explained that Cairness wished a very close watch kept on her until she was able to be up. Curiosity got the better of outraged virtue then. "Why?" she asked, and leaned forward eagerly.
Landor had agreed to trust her to Cairness and an escort of three soldiers. He could ill spare time from the telegraph line, under the circumstances; it might be too imperatively needed at any moment. He mounted his wife quickly. "You are not afraid?" he asked. But he knew so well that she was not, that he did not wait for her answer.
The story of her origin was an open secret now. Landor had never been able to discover who had spread it. The probabilities were, however, that it had been Brewster. He had been suspended for a year after Landor's trial, and driven forth with contempt, but he was back again, with a bold front, and insinuating and toadying himself into public favor, destined by that Providence which sometimes arouses itself to reward and punish before the sight of all men, to be short-lived.
It was the beginning of a self-imposed Coventry. He sent in a demand for a court of inquiry, and Brewster, with much show of reluctance and leniency, preferred charges.