ͣĪɣȿ˾2020-10-20 22:11:59




They caught sight of Felipa, and both drew rein simultaneously. She was leaning against a post of the wire fence. The baby was carried on her hip, tucked under her arm, the sunbonnet was hanging by the strings around her neck, and her head, with its straight loose hair, was uncovered. The little girl stood beside her, clutching the white wrapper which had trailed in[Pg 314] the spring-house acequia, and from under which a muddy red slipper showed. That she was imposing still, said much for the quality of her beauty. She did not hear the tramp of the two horses, sharp as her ears were, for she was too intent upon watching a fight between two steers.[Pg 278]Ellton retaliated with more spirit. "Or guarding a water hole on the border for two or three months, and that's quite as likely to be your fate."

"I couldn't follow more than two days," Landor expostulated hopelessly. "As I tell you, I've no pack-train. The men would have to carry their rations in their saddle pockets."

But the argument was weak. Forbes paid small heed to it. "You've a great deal besides. Every one in the country knows your mines have made you a[Pg 320] rich man. And you are better than that. You are a talented man, though you've frittered away your abilities too long to amount to anything much, now. You ought to get as far off from this kind of thing as you can."

For some days Felipa had noticed a change, indefinable and slight, yet still to be felt, in the manner of the Indians all about. Not that they were ever especially gracious, but now the mothers discouraged the children from playing hide-and-seek with her, and although there were quite as many squaws, fewer bucks came around than before. But Alchesay could always be relied upon to stalk in, at regular intervals, and seat himself near the fire, or the hot ashes thereof.The stars were bright chips of fire in a sky of polished blue. The wind of the day had died at dusk, and the silence was deep, but up among the bare graves the coyotes were barking weirdly. As she looked off across the low hills, there was a quick, hissing rattle at her feet. She moved hastily, but without a start, and glanced down at a rattler not three feet away.

She threw him an indifferent "I am not afraid, not of anything." It was a boast, but he had reason to know that it was one she could make good.He walked away, and Geronimo went back to his rancheria on the hilltop, crestfallen. He had failed of his effect, and had not by any means made his own terms.Brewster mumbled out of a towel that he guessed they were all right, and implied what the dickens did it matter to him how they were.

He had looked down at the broken glass and the stream of water, and then up quite as calmly but a little less smilingly. "If you do that again, I'll shoot," he said. "Give me another pop."It was a civilian with whom he was obliged to share his room. He did not fancy having to share his room at all, in the first place, and this and other things made his temper bad. The civilian, on the other hand, was in good temper, and inclined to be communicative. He tried several ways of opening a conversation, and undaunted by rebuffs tried yet once more. Like Bruce and the spider, it was exactly the seventh time that he succeeded.



"Well," said Cairness, twisting at the small mustache, and levelling his eyes straight as the barrels of a shot-gun—and they gave the journalist a little of the same sensation—"I think, Mr. Stone, that you can get out of the country within the next three days."It was the post-trader, he told Felipa when he came back, and he was asking for help from the officer-of-the-day. Some citizens down at the store were gambling and drinking high, and were becoming uproarious.

When she saw the post surgeon come out from his house and start over to the hospital, she called to him. "May I see your new patient?" she asked.The Chiricahuas might stay there and fire at intervals as long as they listed, killing a few men perhaps. And then they might retreat quite safely, putting the barrier[Pg 277] between themselves and the pursuers. Obviously there were only two courses wherein lay any wisdom,—to retreat, or to cut off their retreat. Landor said so to the major in command.

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