War Paint rocked in her saddle, convulsed with mirth. Camilla, unable to control herself, blurted out:
“The beast! His heart’s rotten to the core! No wonder I loathe him!”
At once War Paint’s expression changed.
“What the hell is it to you!” she scowled. Camilla, frightened, spurred her horse forward. War Paint did like-wise and, as she trotted past Camilla, suddenly she reached out, seized the other’s hair and pulled with all her might. Camilla’s horse shied; Camilla, trying to brush her hair back from over her eyes, abandoned the reins. She hesitated, lost her balance and fell in the road, striking her forehead against the stones.
War Paint, weeping with laughter, pressed on with ut-most skill and caught Camilla’s horse.
“Come on, Tenderfoot; here’s a job for you,” Pan-cracio said as he saw Camilla on Demetrio’s saddle, her face covered with blood.
Luis Cervantes hurried toward her with some cotton; but Camilla, choking down her sobs and wiping her eyes, said hoarsely:
“Not from you! If I was dying, I wouldn’t accept any-thing from you . . . not even water.”
In Cuquio Demetrio received a message.
“We’ve got to go back to Tepatitlan, General,” said Luis Cervantes, scanning the dispatch rapidly. “You’ve got to leave the men there while you go to Lagos and take the train over to Aguascalientes.”
There was much heated protest, the men muttering to themselves or even groaning out loud. Some of them, mountaineers, swore that they would not continue with the troop.
Camilla wept all night. On the morrow at dawn, she begged Demetrio to let her return home.
“If you don’t like me, all right,” he answered sullenly.
“That’s not the reason. I care for you a lot, really. But you know how it is. That woman . . .”
“Never mind about her. It’s all right! I’ll send her off to hell today. I had already decided that.”
Camilla dried her tears. . . .
Every horse was saddled; the men were waiting only for orders from the Chief. Demetrio went up to War Paint and said under his breath:
“You’re not coming with us.”
“What!” she gasped.
“You’re going to stay here or go wherever you damn well please, but you’re not coming along with us.”
“What? What’s that you’re saying?” Still she could not catch Demetrio’s meaning. Then the truth dawned upon her. “You want to send me away? By God, I suppose you believe all the filth that bitch . . . "
And War Paint proceeded to insult Camilla, Luis Cer-vantes, Demetrio, and anyone she happened to remem-ber at the moment, with such power and originality that the soldiers listened in wonder to vituperation that trans-cended their wildest dream of profanity and filth. Demetrio waited a long time patiently. Then, as she showed no sign of stopping, he said to a soldier quite calmly: