Felipa, from her place on the couch, smiled lazily, with a light which was not all from the fire in her half-closed eyes. She put out her hand, and he took it in both his own and held it against his cold cheek as he dropped down beside her. She laid her head on his shoulder, and for a while neither of them spoke. The milk ranch and the stock were unhurt, and there were not even any Indian signs. It was simply another example, on the milkman's part, of the perfection to which the imagination of the frontier settler could be cultivated. Brewster explained that she was visiting Captain Campbell's family.
She told him that she did not know, and tried to coax him back to quietness.
Felipa spent the day, for the most part, in riding about the ranch and in anticipating the night. Her husband had promised to be back soon after moonrise. When it had begun to turn dark, she dressed herself all in white and went out to swing in the hammock until it should be time for her lonely dinner. Cairness rode at a walk round and round the crowding, snorting, restless herd of cattle that was gathered together in the pocket of the foot-hills under the night sky. There were five other cow-boys who also rode round and round, but they were each several hundred yards apart, and he was, to all intents, alone. Now and then he quickened the gait of his bronco and headed off some long-horned steer or heifer, that forced itself out of the huddled, dark mass, making a break for freedom. But for the most part he rode heavily, lopsided in his saddle, resting both hands on the high pommel. He had had time to unlearn the neat horsemanship of the service, and to fall into the slouchy manner of the cow-boy, skilful but unscientific. It was a pitchy night, in spite of the stars, but in the distance, far off across the velvety roll of the hills, there was a forest fire on the top of a range of mountains. It glowed against the sky and lighted the pocket and the prairie below, making strange shadows among the cattle, or bringing into shining relief here and there a pair of mighty horns. A wind, dry and hot, blew down from the flames, and made the herd uneasy.