"But, John," she replied, "I can't clear up till the bureau comes, to put the things away in, and the bedstead. I can't seem to do anything."
"You can grumble, I take notice," he answered. "That's about all you women are good for, anyhow. There was a first-rate raw-hide bedstead in here. If Rothsaker hadn't been such a fool's to let those dogs of Indians carry off all their truck, we might have had that!"
The woman looked at him reproachfully, but did not speak for a moment. Then her cheeks flushed, and seeming unable to repress the speech, she exclaimed, "Well, I'm thankful enough he did let the poor things take their furniture. I'd never have slept a wink an that bedstead, I know, if it had ha' been left here. It's bad enough to take their houses this way!"
"Oh, you shut up your head for a blamed fool, will you!" cried the man. He was half drunk, his worst and most dangerous state. She glanced at him half timorously, half indignantly, and turning to the children, began feeding the baby. At that second the other child looked up, and catching sight of the outline of Alessandro's head, cried out, "There's a man there! There, at the window!"
Alessandro threw himself flat on the ground, and held his breath. Had he imperilled all, brought danger on himself and Ramona, by yielding to this mad impulse to look once more inside the walls of his home? With a fearful oath, the half-drunken man exclaimed, "One of those damned Indians, I expect. I've seen several hangin' round to-day. We'll have to shoot two or three of 'em yet, before we're rid of 'em!" and he took his gun down from the pegs above the fireplace, and went to the door with it in his hand.
"Oh, don't fire, father, don't." cried the woman. "They'll come and murder us all in our sleep if you do! Don't fire!" and she pulled him back by the sleeve.
Shaking her off, with another oath, he stepped across the threshold, and stood listening, and peering into the darkness. Alessandro's heart beat like a hammer in his breast. Except for the thought of Ramona, he would have sprung on the man, seized his gun, and killed him.
"I don't believe it was anybody, after all, father," persisted the woman. "Bud's always seein' things. I don't believe there was anybody there. Come in; supper's gettin' all cold."
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