Stone considered his dignity as a representative of the press, and decided that he would not be treated with levity. He would resent the attitude of the soldiery; but in his resentment he passed the bounds of courtesy altogether, forgetting whose toddy he had just drunk, and beneath whose tent pole he was seated. He said rude things about the military,—that it was pampered and inefficient and gold laced, and that it thought its mission upon earth fulfilled when it sat back and drew princely pay.
Half a mile beyond, within the same barbed-wire enclosure as the home buildings and corrals, was a spring-house surrounded by cottonwoods, just then the only patch of vivid green on the clay-colored waste. There were benches under the cottonwoods, and the ground was cool, and thither Felipa took her way, in no wise oppressed by the heat. Her step was as firm and as quick as it had been the day she had come so noiselessly along the parade, across the path of the private who was going to the barracks. It was as quiet, too, for she had on a pair of old red satin slippers, badly run down at the heel.
The general kept his own counsel then, but afterward, when it was all over, he confessed,—not to the rejoicing reporter who was making columns out of him for the papers of this, and even of many another, land,—but to the friends who had in some measure understood and believed in him, that the strain and responsibility had all but worn him out. And he was no frail man, this mighty hunter of the plains.