Already he felt more respectable at the mere prospect of contact with his kind again. He was glad that the unkempt beard was gone, and he was allowing himself to hope, no, he was deliberately hoping, that he would see Felipa.
Were the ca?on of the Aravaypa in any other place than Arizona, which, as the intelligent public knows, is all one wide expanse of dry and thirsty country, a parched place in the wilderness, a salt land, and not inhabited; were it in any other place, it would be set forth in railway folders, and there would be camping privileges and a hotel, and stages would make regular trips to it, and one would come upon groups of excursionists on burros, or lunching among its boulders. Already it has been in a small way discovered, and is on the road to being vulgarized by the camera. The lover of Nature, he who loves the soul as well as the face of her, receives when he sees a photograph of a fine bit of scenery he had felt in a way his own property until then, something the blow that the lover of a woman does when he learns that other men than he have known her caresses."Or the nurse?"
"Yes," answered Forbes, "she was very much admired." He looked a little unhappy. But his mind was evidently made up, and he went on doggedly: "Look here, Morely, old chap, I am going to tell you what I think, and you may do as you jolly well please about it afterward鈥攌ick me off the ranch, if you like. But I can see these things with a clearer eye than yours, because I am not in love, and you are, dreadfully so, you know, not to say infatuated. I came near to being once upon a time, and with your wife, too. I thought her the most beautiful woman I had ever known, and I do yet. I thought, too, that she was a good deal unhappier with Landor than she herself realized; in which I was perfectly right. It's plainer than ever, by contrast. Of course I understand that she is part Indian, though I've only known it recently. And it's because I've seen a good deal of your Apaches of late that I appreciate the injustice you are doing her and Cairness Junior, keeping them here. She is far and away too good for all this," he swept the scene comprehensively with his pipe. "She'd be a sensation, even in London. Do you see what I mean, or are you too vexed to see anything?"
In the spring of '61, when the handful of frontier troops was pressed with enemies red and brown and white, the cavalry was not well mounted.The commandant had sent his orderly with a note.
"And then, there was the trouble about the cows. They promised us one thousand, and they gave us not quite six hundred. And those鈥攖he Dawn and the Sky hear that what I tell you is true鈥攁nd those were so old we could not use them."Felipa could not help the light of relief that came on her face, but realizing it, she was confused."You don't love her, for that matter, either," Mrs. Campbell reminded him. But she advised the inevitable,鈥攖o wait and let it work itself out.
Felipa had taken charge of the two, being the only woman in the place not already provided with children of her own, and had roused herself to an amount of capability her husband had never suspected her of. She belonged to the tribe of unoccupied women, as a rule, not that she was indolent so much as that she appeared to have no sense of time nor of the value of it. Landor, who had always one absorbing interest or another to expend his whole energy upon, even if it were nothing larger than running the troop kitchen, thought her quite aimless, though he never addressed that or any other reproach to her. He was contented at the advent of the hapless orphans for one thing, that they superseded the Ellton baby, which he secretly detested with a kind of unreasonable jealousy.
From thenceforth the elegant creature troubled Felipa as little as the nature of things would permit. She said that Mrs. Landor was une sauvage and so brune; and Mrs. Landor said she was a fool and dyed her hair. She was not given to mincing words. And she had small patience with a woman who lay in bed until the sun was high, and who spent her days lounging under the ramada, displaying tiny, satin-shod feet for the benefit of the enlisted men and the Indians who wandered over from the reservation.
"Miss McLane will go, I suppose?" asked Felipa.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."For a while, yes. And before I came away I made a sign to show him it was I. You should have seen his surprise."
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.
[Pg 197]Then she tried to read, but the whisper of savagery was in the loneliness and the night. She sat with the book open in her lap, staring into a shadowy corner where there leaned an Indian lance, surmounted by a war bonnet. Presently she stood up, and stretched her limbs slowly, as a beast of prey does when it shakes off the lethargy of the day and wakens for the darkness. Then she went out to the back of the tents.详情
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