Was it possible that twenty minutes before he had risen to the histrionic pitch of self-sacrifice of offering her her freedom to marry another man?
Having no children of her own, she took for protégé a small White Mountain, son of a buck who hung about the post most of the time, bought him candy and peanuts at the sutler's store, taught him English, and gathered snatches of his tribe's tongue in return.
It was done before either of them was conscious of doing it. The black throat of the cave was open behind him. Cairness jumped back into it, and she turned away and stood waiting, stiff with fear, not of the man whoever it might prove to be up there, but for the one who had stepped into the unknown dangers of the darkness behind her. 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.
She glared at him, but she stopped short nevertheless, and, flinging down the stone she had been holding, stood up also. "All right, then. You've done with me, I reckon. Now suppose you let me go back to the camp."