and steering are performed at the will of the distant operator
"Here she comes--let's get to our places first, so mamma can't change Peppajee around," Donny implored, in a whisper; and the group on the porch disappeared with some haste into the kitchen.
Evadna was leisurely in her movements that night. The tea had been poured and handed around the table by the Portuguese girl, Marie, and the sugar-bowl was going after, when she settled herself and her ruffles daintily between Grant and a braided, green-blanketed, dignifiedly loquacious Indian.
The boys signaled each another to attention by kicking surreptitiously under the table, but nothing happened. Evadna bowed a demure acknowledgment when her Aunt Phoebe introduced the two, accepted the sugar-bowl from Grant and the butter from Peppajee, and went composedly about the business of eating her supper. She seemed perfectly at ease; too perfectly at ease, decided Grant, who had an instinct for observation and was covertly watching her. It was unnatural that she should rub elbows with Peppajee without betraying the faintest trace of surprise that he should be sitting at the table with them.
"Long time ago," Peppajee was saying to Peaceful, taking up the conversation where Evadna had evidently interrupted it, "many winters ago, my people all time brave. A]1 time hunt, all time fight, all time heap strong. No drinkum whisky all same now." He flipped a braid back over his shoulder, buttered generously a hot biscuit, and reached for the honey." No brave no more--kay bueno. All time ketchum whisky, get drunk all same likum hog. Heap lazy. No hunt no more, no fight. Lay all time in sun, sleep. No sun come, lay all time in wikiup. Agent, him givum flour, givum meat, givum blanket, you thinkum bueno. He tellum you, kay bueno. Makum Injun lazy. Makum all same wachee-typo" (tramp). "All time eat, all time sleep, playum cards all time, drinkum whisky. Kay bueno. Huh." The grunt stood for disgust of his tribe, always something of an affectation with Peppajee.
"My brother, my brother's wife, my brother's wife's--ah--" He searched his mind, frowning, for an English word, gave it up, and substituted a phrase. "All the folks b'longum my brother's wife, heap lazy all time. Me no likum. Agent one time givum plenty flour, plenty meat, plenty tea. Huh. Them damn' folks no eatum. All time playum cards, drinkum whisky. All time otha fella ketchum flour, ketchum meat, ketchum tea--ketchum all them thing b'longum." In the rhetorical pause he made there, his black eyes wandered inadvertently to Evadna's face. And Evadna, the timid one, actually smiled back.
"Isn't it a shame they should do that," she murmured sympathetically.
"Huh." Peppajee turned his eyes and his attention to Peaceful, as if the opinion and the sympathy of a mere female were not worthy his notice. "Them grub all gone, them Injuns mebbyso ketchum hungry belly." Evadna blushed, and looked studiously at her plate.
"Come my wikiup. Me got plenty flour, plenty meat, plenty tea. Stay all time my wikiup. Sleepum my wikiup. Sun come up"--he pointed a brown, sinewy hand toward the east--"eatum my grub. Sun up there"--his finger indicated the zenith--"eatum some more. Sun go 'way, eatum some more. Then sleepum all time my wikiup. Bimeby, mebbyso my flour all gone, my meat mebbyso gone, mebbyso tea--them folks all time eatum grub, me no ketchum. Me no playum cards, all same otha fella ketchum my grub. Kay bueno. Better me playum cards mebbyso all time.