And so he had to accept it. He rose, with a slight sigh, and returned to the examination of his spoils.
Some thirty miles to the southeast was the Mescalero Indian Agency. Landor had consented with the worst possible grace to take her there sometime when the[Pg 184] road should be passable and safe. She had openly resented his disinclination, though she usually appeared not to notice it. "It is very natural I should want to see the place where I was born," she had said, "and I think we should both be more comfortable if you would not persist in being so ashamed of it."The little Reverend had been much interested in them also. He had sat for several hours sucking an empty spool, and observing them narrowly, in perfect silence. His father had great hopes of him as a naturalist.
Then she came forward, holding out her hand in the most matter-of-fact way, if, indeed, any action of a very beautiful woman can be matter of fact.
If it went like this, she thought, she might get to the cross-road first, and beyond. The four men would not matter much then, if she could but stop her husband. Why had he started back alone鈥攁nd carrying money too? It was foolhardy. But then there was so little money, she knew, that he had probably not thought of it as booty. She turned her uncovered head and listened. Her hair had fallen loose and was streaming out in the wind. She could not hear the others now. They must be well behind."We have tea at five," Mrs. Kirby told him, as they finished, and her husband started out to superintend and help with the digging of an acequia.
Mrs. Taylor was silent. Her pop blue eyes shifted.It would have been best so, and she knew it, had[Pg 199] indeed meant to make it like this on her part, but a feeling swept over her that if they did not speak now, they would pass down to their deaths in silence. She reached out her hand to stop him, and spoke.
It was a little pocket, a natural fortress, high up on a commanding peak. Cairness crept forward flat along the rocks, raised his head cautiously and looked down. There in the sunrise light,鈥攖he gorgeous sunrise of the southern mountain peaks where the wind is fresh out of the universe and glitters and quivers with sparks of new life,鈥攖here was the encampment of the hostiles. It was a small Eden of green grass and water and trees high up in the Sierra鈥攖hat strange mountain chain that seems as though it might have been the giant model of the Aztec builders, and that holds the mystery of a[Pg 229] mysterious people locked in its stone and metal breasts, as securely as it does that of the rich, lost mines whose fabled wonders no man can prove to-day.
"Are you joking," he asked, "or what?"
Cairness remembered with an anger and disgust with himself he could still feel, that last time he had seen her in the mouth of the cave. That had been two springs ago. Since then there had been no occupation for him as a guide or scout. The country had been at peace. The War Department and the Indian Department were dividing the control of the Agency, with the War Department ranking. Crook had been trying his theories as practice. He had been demonstrating that the Indian can work, with a degree of success that was highly displeasing to the class of politicians whose whole social fabric for the southwest rested on his only being able to kill.Cairness could not take his own from them, and they stood so for what seemed to them both a dumb and horrible eternity, until Landor came up, and she caught at his arm to steady herself. The parasol whirled around on its stick and fell. Cairness picked it up, knocked off the dust, and handed it to Landor. He could see that he knew, and it was a vast relief.详情
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