There was a long pause. A hawk lighted on a point of rock and twinkled its little eyes at them. Two or three squirrels whisked in and out. Once a scout came by and stood looking at them, then went on, noiselessly, up the mountain side.Then he stopped, with every muscle drawn, for he had seen in her answering, unflinching gaze that he was losing her, surely, irrevocably losing her. He let her go, almost throwing her away, and she caught hold of a ledge of rock to steady herself. He picked up the heavy quirt and held it out to her, with a shaking hand, shame-faced, and defiant, too.They glanced sideways at the big Englishman, who appeared to be one of themselves, and at the little minister. On him, more especially on his hat, their eyes rested threateningly. They had heard of him before, most of them. They answered his genial greeting surlily, but he was quite unruffled. He beamed upon the room as he seated himself at one of the tables and ordered supper, for which, in obedience to a dirty sign upon the wall, he paid in advance.
And the next day she knew. When she came out in front of her quarters in the morning, rather later than usual, there was a new tent beside the hospital,[Pg 81] and when she asked the reason for it, they told her that a wounded Apache had been found down by the river soon after the shot had been fired the night before. He was badly hurt, with a ball in his shoulder, and he was half drunk with tizwin, as well as being cut in a dozen places.
[Pg 197]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.
The box was laid in the buckboard, and covered with the flag once more. Then the mules started, with a rattle of traces and of the wheels, and the tramp of feet began again. The drums thrummed regularly and slowly, the heart beats of the service, and the fifes took up the dead march in a weird, shrill Banshee wail. They went down the line, the commandant with the surgeon and the officers first, and after them the buckboard, with its bright-draped burden. Then Landor's horse, covered with black cloths, the empty[Pg 284] saddle upon its back. It nosed at the pockets of the man who led it. It had been taught to find sugar in pockets. And then the troops, the cavalry with the yellow plumes of their helmets drooping, and the infantry with the spikes glinting, marching with eyes cast down and muskets reversed. A gap, then the soldiers' urchins from the laundress row, in for anything that might be doing.
She waited, too, made silent by sudden realization of how futile anything that she might say would be. "I am glad to see you again," she faltered; "it is four years since Black River and the cloud-burst." She was angry at her own stupidity and want of resource, and her tone was more casual than she meant it to be.And he succeeded in seeing Felipa. It was most unexpected. He had believed her to be in Stanton, a good many hundred miles away. But Landor having been sent at once into the field, she had come on to Grant to visit the Campbells, who were again stationed there. He met her face to face only once, and he measured with one quick look all the changes there were between the girl of ten years before and the woman of to-day. The great, sad pity that rose within him, and seemed to grasp at his throat chokingly, was the best love he had felt for her yet. It wiped out the wrong of the short madness in the cave's mouth.
The resolute and courageous men, led by a resolute and courageous saloon-keeper, found one old Indian living at peace upon his rancheria. They fired at him and ran away. The women and children of the settlers were left to bear the brunt of the anger of the Apaches. It was too much for even the Tucson journalist. He turned from denunciation of the [Pg 180]military, for one moment, and applied his vigorous adjectives to the Tombstone Toughs.
The woman called early in the blazing afternoon, appearing clad in silks, waving a gorgeous fan of[Pg 63] plumes, and sinking languidly into a chair. Felipa sat bolt upright on a camp-stool, and before the close of an hour they were at daggers' points. The commandant's wife used cheap French phrases in every other breath, and Felipa retaliated in the end by a long, glib sentence, which was not understood. She seemed absolutely dense and unsmiling about it, but Landor was used to the mask of stolidity. He got up and went to the window to arrange the gray blanket, and hide a smile that came, even though he was perfectly aware of the unwisdom of making an enemy of the C. O.'s wife.
"Why?" she asked, with a quick suspicion of the dreariness she caught in his tone.详情
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