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She asked, with the flat Virginia accent of the vowels,[Pg 256] if he would like her to go and embrace the woman, and request her to make their home henceforth her own. "Miss McLane will go, I suppose?" asked Felipa.

She laughed too, musically, with a bewitching gurgle,[Pg 238] and gave him a swift glance, at once soft and sad. "Ella es muy fea, no es simpatica, la Gringa." She asked him about her father and mother. Going[Pg 53] back to his chair he told her everything that he knew, save only the manner of Cabot's death. "Then I took you to Yuma," he finished, "and from there to the East, via Panama." There was a pause. And then came the question he had most dreaded. It occurred to her now for the first time that there was danger for herself, so far in front, so entirely alone. The chances for passing the mesquites were not very good. If the men were already there, and that might be counted upon, they would not let her pass if they could help it. It occasioned her but one fear—that she[Pg 328] could not stop her husband. If she were to turn from the road out into the open, she would lose time, even if the horse did not fall, and time was not to be lost.

Then they walked up to the corral together. Kirby introduced him to his two partners, Englishmen also, and finished nailing up the boards of a box stall which a stallion had kicked down in the night. After that he threw down his hammer, took two big nails from his mouth, and sat upon the tongue of a wagon to talk long and earnestly, after the manner of men who have shared a regretted past.