"Yes; but it happens to be enough for the next few weeks. We are going to camp around San Tomaso to afford the settlers protection. We can't follow any trails, those are our orders, so the pack-train doesn't matter anyway. By that time they will have scared up one.""Alone?"
There were plenty such trails in the Sierra Madre, through which the Apache scouts were guiding him to their hostile brothers. Cairness had come along with his own band of scouts. He had seen rough work in his time, but none equal to this. Eight mules stepped a hand's breadth from the path, and lay hundreds of feet below at the base of the precipice, their backs broken under their aparejos. The boots were torn from the men's feet, their hands were cut with sharp rocks. They marched by night sometimes, sometimes by day, always to the limit of their strength. And upon the fourteenth morning they came upon the Chiricahua stronghold. Without the scouts they could never have found it. The Indian has betrayed the Indian from first to last.The exceedingly small respectable element of Tombstone hailed their departure with unmixed joy. They had but one wish,鈥攖hat the Toughs might meet the Apaches, and that each might rid the face of the desert of the other. But the only Apaches left to meet were the old and feeble, and the squaws and papooses left at San Carlos. The able-bodied bucks were all in the field, as scouts or hostiles.
Cairness did not answer at once. He pushed the tobacco down in his brier and sat looking into the bowl. "No," he said at last, "I'm not too vexed. The fact is, I have seen what you mean for a long time. But what[Pg 318] would you suggest by way of remedy, if I may ask?" They were both talking too low for their voices to reach Felipa through the open window of her bedroom."You could take turns riding behind the men."
At noon that day a cow-boy had ridden from the hills with a rumor that Victorio's people were about. But Kirby had kept it from his wife. It might not be true. And even if it were, the danger was really small. With the hands and the two Englishmen, the quadrangle of log cabins, well stocked with food and ammunition, could withstand any attack. It had been built and planned to that end."Well?" she said peremptorily.It was quite in keeping with everything that had gone before that, the day after a passing Franciscan priest had married them, Landor should have been ordered off upon a scout, and Felipa should have taken it as a matter of course, shedding no tears, and showing no especial emotion beyond a decent regret.
They had been doing that for three days. They came down the chimney, made across the floor in a line that never changed direction, nor straggled, nor lessened, up the wall and out a crack in the window. They did no harm, but followed blindly on in the path the first one had taken. And the minister had said they should not be smoked back or thwarted.
But she only answered that that was unlikely and slipped her arm around his neck, as she added that if anything were to happen to him, she would not have one real friend in the world. There was something pathetic in the quiet realization of her loneliness.He watched her as she went out of the tent, and the surgeon and steward worked with the shining little instruments.
"You might have killed the Indian," he said, in a strained voice. It did not occur to either of them, just then, that it was not the danger she had been in that appalled him."To have brought an abandoned woman into our home."The civilization of the Englishman is only skin deep. And therein lies his strength and his salvation. Beneath that outer surface, tubbed and groomed and prosperous, there is the man, raw and crude from the workshops of Creation. Back of that brain, trained to a nicety of balance and perception and judgment, there are the illogical passions of a savage. An adaptation of the proverb might run that you scratch an Englishman and you find a Briton鈥攐ne of those same Britons who stained themselves blue with woad, who fell upon their foes with clumsy swords and flaming torches, who wore the skins of beasts, and lived in huts of straw, and who burned men and animals together, in sacrifice to their gods.
In pursuance of which the resolute and courageous men arose at the cry of their bleeding land. They have gone down to history (to such history as deigns to concern itself with the reclaiming of the plains of the wilderness, in area an empire of itself) as the Tombstone Toughs.
An eminent student of the sex has somewhere said that women are like monkeys, in that they are imitative. The comparison goes further. There is a certain inability in a monkey to follow out a train of thought, or of action, to its conclusion, which is shared by the major part of womankind. It is a feminine characteristic to spend life and much energy on side issues. The lady forgot almost all about her original premise. She wished especially to know that which no power upon earth would induce her lord to tell.
They shout back our peals of laughter,"But that is sport," she answered carelessly.详情
Copyright © 2020