He hesitated with a momentary compunction. She must have suffered pretty well for her sins already; her work-cut, knotty hands and her haggard face and the bend of her erstwhile too straight shoulders—all showed that plainly enough. It were not gallant; it might even be said to be cruel to worry her. But he remembered the dead Englishwoman, with her babies, stiff and dead, too, beside her on the floor of the charred cabin up among the mountains, and his heart was hardened.
It did not in the least matter to Brewster, but he was one of those trying people whom Nature has deprived of the instinct for knowing when to stop. A very perceptible sneer twitched his lips. "You seem to be English," he said.
[Pg 171] [Pg 70]
They were fighting. "Captain, what do you say to following this trail?" they clamored. Yet there came a rap at his door directly. It was the McLane's striker, bearing a note from Miss McLane. Brewster knew what was in it before he opened it. But he went back to the window and read it by the fading light. When he looked up it was to see Miss McLane and Ellton going up the walk together, returning from Landor's house.
The general's long silence was making the complete man nervous. Beads of sweat stood out on his forehead, and he twisted his hands together. "The Sun, the Darkness, and the Winds are all listening to what we now say. To prove to you that I am telling the truth, remember that I sent you word that I would come from a place far away to speak to you here, and you see me now. If I were thinking bad, I would never have come here. If it had been my fault, would I have come so far to talk with you?" he whined.