The Reverend Taylor sat in silence for a time, reflecting. Then he broke forth again, a little querulously. "What in thunderation do they dine at such an hour for?" Cairness explained that it was an English custom to call supper dinner, and to have it very late.The lieutenant himself did neither, but he argued that his mind was never off it.
"They could kill a good many of us before they died out, if we would sit still and take it," Landor objected.Felipa nodded. "A very little," she said.
"You ain't goin' to try to stop him?" the boy said stupidly. "He was goin' to leave Tombstone at sundown. He'll be to the place before you ken ketch him, sure."
The surgeon, whose lore was not profound, and whose pharmacy exhibited more reptiles in alcohol than drugs, set the bones as best he knew how, which was badly; and, taking a fancy to Taylor, offered him and Cairness lodgings for the night,鈥攖he hospitality of the West being very much, in those times, like that of the days when the preachers of a new Gospel were bidden to enter into a house and there abide until they departed from that place.
And Cairness himself was startled and utterly unprepared when the Reverend Taylor opened the door of the room where he lay and let her pass in. The little parson uttered no word, but there was a look on his face which said that now the questions he had put with no result were answered. It was for this that Cairness had given the best of his life.He sat staring over her head for a moment of silence. "I foresaw it when I told Cabot I'd take her.""I spent a few days with the Kirbys once," he said, and looked straight into her eyes. They shifted, and there was no mistaking her uneasiness. He followed it up instantly on a bold hazard. It had to be done now, before she had time to retreat to the cover of her blank stolidity. "Why did you leave them to[Pg 237] be massacred? What did you have against her and those little children?"
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.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."
"Then he lied," said the buck, and tucked the scrap back under his head band. "They all lie. I worked for him two weeks. I worked hard. And each night when I asked him for money he would say to me that to-morrow he would pay me. When all his hay was cut he laughed in my face. He would pay me nothing." He seemed resigned enough about it.Chapter 22Felipa, lifting her long riding skirt, stepped out from the tent, and stood with hand upraised holding back the flap. A ray of sun, piercing white through the pines, fell full on her face. She had the look of some mysterious priestess of the sun god, and Cairness, standing by the crackling fire, prodding it with a long, charred stick, watched her without a word.
There were two bodies lying across the trail in front of him. He dismounted, and throwing his reins to the[Pg 136] trumpeter went forward to investigate. It was not a pleasant task. The men had been dead some time and their clothing was beginning to fall away in shreds. Some of their outfit was scattered about, and he could guess from it that they had been prospectors. A few feet away was the claim they had been working. Only their arms had been stolen, otherwise nothing appeared to be missing. There was even in the pockets considerable coin, in gold and silver, which Landor found, when he took a long knife from his saddle bags, and standing as far off as might be, slit the cloth open.详情
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