The little Reverend was not to be blandished. He was willing to go because it was his supper time and he knew it, but the big-eyed look of understanding he turned up to the gentle, fat face said plainly enough that he was too wise a creature to be wheedled. He [Pg 249]submitted to be carried in, but he cast a regretful glance at the "chuchu," which sat still in the doorway, and at his father, who was watching the line of flying ants making their way, a stream of red bodies and sizzing white wings, out of the window and across the street.He knew that his cattle were driven off by the white cow-boys and could not be gotten back, that he was given but one cup of flour every seven days, that beef was so difficult to obtain that it practically formed no part of his diet; but he did not know of the "boys" in Tucson and officials in Washington who were profiting from the sale of Indian supplies to white squatters."Captain Landor," he corrected urbanely, "pleased to meet you, sir. They have expressed the desire that I should convey to you, sir, their wish to accompany you in the search for hostile Apaches."
On a fine Sunday morning in June the triumphant general rode into a supply camp twelve miles north of the line, and spoke to the officer in command. "Nice morning, Colonel," he said. And then his quick eyes spied the most desirable thing in all the camp. It was a tin wash basin set on a potato box. The triumphant general dismounted, and washed his face.
"May I take her in?" he said, nodding toward the open door.
Before dawn Cairness was out, hastening the cook with the breakfast, helping with it himself, indeed, and rather enjoying the revival of the days when he had been one of the best cooks in the troop and forever pottering about the mess chests and the Dutch oven, in the field. As the sun rose,鈥攖hough daybreak was fairly late there in the ca?on,鈥攖he cold, crisp air was redolent of coffee and bacon and broiling fresh meat."It's a lot of infernal lies, and you know it." But she only shook her head and laughed again, shortly."It's six one, and half a dozen the other. They'd be willing enough to die out in peace, if we'd let them. Even they have come to have a vague sort of instinct that that's what it amounts to."
It was tea time at the Circle K Ranch. But no one was enjoying the hour of rest. Kirby sat on the couch and abstractedly ate slice after slice of thin bread and butter, without speaking. Mrs. Kirby made shift to darn the bunch of stockings beside her, but her whole attention was strained to listening. The children did not understand, though they felt the general uneasiness, and whispered together as they looked at the pictures in the illustrated paper, months old.Landor himself sat in his tent, upon his mess-chest, and by the light of a candle wrote a despatch which[Pg 8] was to go by courier the next morning. Gila valley mosquitoes were singing around his head, a knot of chattering squaws and naked children were peering into his tent, the air was oven-hot, coyotes were filling the night with their weird bark, and a papoose was bawling somewhere close by. Yet he would have been sufficiently content could he have been let alone鈥攖he one plea of the body military from all time. It was not to be. The declared and standing foes of that body pushed their way through the squaws and children. He knew them already. They were Stone of the Tucson press, sent down to investigate and report, and Barnwell, an Agency high official, who would gladly assist the misrepresentations, so far as in his power lay.He watched her as she went out of the tent, and the surgeon and steward worked with the shining little instruments.
Cairness himself had speculated upon that subject a good deal, and had noticed with a slight uneasiness the ugly looks of some of the ranch hands. "They are more likely to have trouble in that quarter than with the Indians," he said to himself. For he had seen much, in the ranks, of the ways of the disgruntled, free-born American."No he ain't."Cairness sat across him and held a revolver to his mouth. The life of the plains teaches agility of various sorts, but chiefly in the matter of drawing a six-shooter. "You fired the corrals," Cairness gasped.
Landor jumped up from his chair. "Felipa!" he cried. At first he was more shocked and sorry for her than angry with Brewster.
Then he went off to inspect the stock and the pickets, and to double the sentries. "You had better sleep on your arms," he told the soldiers, and returned to his cot to lie down upon it, dressed, but feigning sleep,[Pg 98] that Felipa might not be uneasy. He need not have resorted to deception. Felipa had not so much as pretended to close her eyes that night.Mrs. Landor was with them. She had a little battered, brass trumpet hanging from her horn, and he knew that they were going to play at hare and hounds. She and the three with her were evidently the hares. They would take a ten minutes' start; then, at the sound of the trumpet, the hounds would follow. The riding was sometimes reckless. A day or two before he had seen Felipa leap an arroyo, the edges of which were crumbling in, and take a fallen tree on very dangerous ground.
There followed one of those general pauses as explosive as a pistol shot.
There had been an afternoon in Washington when, on her road to some reception of a half-official kind, she had crossed the opening of an alleyway and had come upon three boys who were torturing a small, blind kitten; and almost without knowing what she did, because her maternal grandfather had done to the children of his enemies as the young civilized savages were doing to the kitten there, she stopped and watched them, not enjoying the sight perhaps, but not recoiling from it either. So intent had she been that she had not heard footsteps crossing the street toward her, and had not known that some one stopped beside her with an exclamation of wrath and dismay. She had turned suddenly and looked up, the pupils of her eyes contracted curiously as they had been when she had watched the tarantula-vinagrone fight years before.详情
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