They had been four days camping on Black River, a mountain stream rushing between the steep hills, with the roar of a Niagara, hunting deer and small game, fishing with indifferent success,—to the disgust of the Apaches, who would much rather have eaten worms than fish,—and entertaining visitors. There were any[Pg 90] number of these. One party had come out from Fort Apache, another from a camp of troops on the New Mexico road, and some civilians from Boston, who were in search of a favorable route for a projected railway.
He had forgotten that the laws and rites of the Church of Rome had a powerful hold upon her, though she was quite devoid of religious sentiment. He admitted apologetically that he had meant divorce, and she expressed her reproach. In spite of himself and what he felt ought properly to be the tragedy of the affair, he smiled. The humor of her majestic disapproval was irresistible under the circumstances. But she had little sense of humor. "What would you suggest, then, if I may ask?" he said. He had to give up all pathos in the light of her deadly simplicity.
Then he mounted the horse the orderly held for him, and trotted off.
He would still keep her, yes. But he did not see that it would be in the least necessary to tell his wife the whole of the woman's iniquity. It took quite all his courage, after they had gotten her safely in bed, to remind her that this was the same woman who had gone off with the Mexican.
She bowed gravely, "You are very kind."
He saw her, and without the hesitation of an instant raised his slouch hat and kept on. A government scout does not stop to pass the time of day with an officer's wife.
He looked at her uncomfortably. "I am going to get you out of this, up into the mountains somewhere," he said abruptly; "you look peaked."