类型:奇幻地区:莫桑比克剧发布:2020-12-05 07:50:23


"I have seen you before, Mrs. Landor," he said after a while.Landor did not stop to consider it. It was one of the few impulses of his life, or perhaps only the quickest thinking he had ever done. Cairness was there among the rocks, disabled and in momentary danger of his life. If it had been a soldier, under the same circumstances, Landor might have gone on and have sent another soldier to help him. It was only a chief of scouts, but it was a man of his own kind, for all that鈥攁nd it was his enemy. Instinct dismounted him before reason had time to warn him that the affair of an officer is not to succor his inferiors in the thick of the fighting when there are others who can be better spared to do it. He threw his reins over his horse's head and into the hands of the orderly-trumpeter, and jumped down beside Cairness.Landor still rode at the head of his column, but his chin was sunk down on his red silk neckerchief, his face was swollen and distorted under its thick beard, and his eyes were glazed. They stared straight ahead into the sand whirl and the sulphurous glare. He had sent Brewster on ahead some hours before. "You[Pg 138] will want to see Miss McLane as soon as possible," he had said, "and there is no need of both of us here."

The resolute and courageous men, led by a resolute and courageous saloon-keeper, found one old Indian living at peace upon his rancheria. They fired at him and ran away. The women and children of the settlers were left to bear the brunt of the anger of the Apaches. It was too much for even the Tucson journalist. He turned from denunciation of the [Pg 180]military, for one moment, and applied his vigorous adjectives to the Tombstone Toughs.After she had done that she stood hesitating for just a moment before she threw off all restraint with a toss of her head, and strapped about her waist a leather belt from which there hung a bowie knife and her pistol in its holster. Then slipping on her moccasins, she glided into the darkness. She took the way in the rear of the quarters, skirting the post and making with swift, soundless tread for the river. Her eyes gleamed from under her straight, black brows as she peered about her in quick, darting glances.

So the demand and the charges lay before the department commander, and there was a lull, during which Landor came upon further trouble, and worse. He undertook the examination of the papers he had found in the dead men's pockets. They had been buried in earth for two weeks.The Texan woman went back to the kitchen and finished cooking the supper for the hands鈥攁 charred sort of Saturnalian feast. "She can git her own dinner if she wants to," she proclaimed, and was answered by a chorus of approval.

There was a bright I. D. blanket spread on the ground a little way back from the fire, and she threw herself down upon it. All that was picturesque in his memories of history flashed back to Cairness, as he took his place beside Landor on the log and looked at her. Boadicea might have sat so in the depths of the Icenean forests, in the light of the torches of the Druids. So the Babylonian queen might have rested in the midst of her victorious armies, or she of Palmyra, after the lion hunt in the deserts of Syria. Her eyes, red lighted beneath the shadowing lashes, met his. Then she glanced away into the blackness of the pine forest, and calling her dog to lie down beside her, stroked its silky red head.He naturally did not foresee anything serious, and he only said, "Well?" and began to fill his pipe from a[Pg 83] buckskin pouch, cleverly sketched in inks with Indian scenes. "By the way," he interrupted as she started to speak, "what do you think of this?" He held it out to her. "That fellow Cairness, who wouldn't stay to luncheon that day, did it for me. We camped near his place a couple of days. And he sent you a needle-case, or some such concern. It's in my kit." She looked at the pouch carefully before she gave it back; then she clasped her hands under her head again and gazed up at the manta of the ceiling, which sagged and was stained where the last cloud-burst had leaked through the roof.About an hour after midnight there came thundering through the quiet of the night the sound of galloping hoofs along the road at the foot of the ravine. Cairness, lying broad awake, was the first to hear it. He sprang up and ran to the opening of the tent. He guessed that it was a courier even before the gallop changed to a trot, and a voice called from the invisible depths below, "Captain Landor?" with a rising intonation of uncertainty.

"I don't know," Cairness answered, with a lightness that was anything but cheering.

"Shut up," said Brewster, with malicious glee. "They also serve who only stand and wait, you know," he chuckled. "You can serve your admiring and grateful country quite as well in the adjutant's office as summering on the verdant heights of the Mogollons."Landor knew that the scouts had come in the afternoon before, and were in camp across the creek; but he had not seen their chief, and he said so.

She told him that they had all scattered some time before, with the hounds in full cry. "I must go," she repeated more firmly now, "they will be looking鈥" She stopped short.



Cairness watched how strong and erect and how sure of every muscle she was, and how well the blond little head looked against the dull blackness of the mother's hair. The child was in no way like Felipa, and it had never taken her place in its father's love. He was fond of it and proud, too; but, had he been put to the test, he would have sacrificed its life for that of its mother, with a sort of fanatical joy."Well," answered Cairness, "I have been talking to them, chiefly to Geronimo. They have a good place for their rancheria on that hilltop. It is an old lava bed, an extinct crater, and it is a perfect fortress. There are three gulches between us and them, and a thousand men couldn't take the place."



Copyright © 2020