And he understood that the shadow must rise always between them. He had never expected it to be otherwise. It was bound to be so, and he bowed his head in unquestioning acceptance.
Then there came a chuckling scream of baby laughter and a soft reproach, spoken in Spanish, from across the hall. She stood up and poured the coffee, but before she took her own she went out of the room and came back in a moment, carrying her small son high upon her shoulder. "I don't know what has been said, Major, but something more than just what's in the papers must have gotten about. That sort of mud-slinging is too common to cause comment, even. It must be some spite work. There's no reason to suppose, surely, that after a quarter of a century of gallant service he's been and shown the white feather. He's awfully cut up, really he is. He's noticed it, of course, and it's too deuced bad, kicking a man when he's down sick and can't help himself." Felipa expressed decided approval, and set to work making herself comfortable at once. Within ten minutes she had changed her travelling things for a white wrapper, had brushed the dust from her hair, and left it hanging straight and coarse and dead black, below her waist,—she was given to loosing it whenever the smallest excuse offered,—and had settled herself to rest in a canvas lounging chair.
"She will shrink, I guess, at first," he admitted. "Women who ain't seen much of life kind of think they ought to draw aside their skirts, and all that. They were taught copy-book morals about touching pitch, I reckon,"—he was wise concerning women now—"and it takes a good deal of hard experience to teach them that it ain't so. But she'll take my word for it."