And the savage shows, too, in that your Englishman is not gregarious. His house is his castle, his life is to himself, and his sentiments are locked within him. He is a lonely creature, in the midst of his kind, and he loves his loneliness."What do you want to know for?" asked the woman, at length.The quiet, observant, capable man, whose fate it was to be always called in for the thankless task of undoing the evil work of others, made every effort to pacify this time, but he failed.
"Have you an Indian policy?"He sat down cross-legged on the ground, facing her. "I've got plenty of time, my dear woman. I can stop here all day if you can, you know," he assured her. Afterward he made a painting of her as she had sat there, in among the rocks and the scrub growth, aged, bent, malevolent, and in garments that were picturesque because they were rags. He called it the Sibyl of the Sierra Madre. And, like the Trojan, he plied her with[Pg 240] questions鈥攏ot of the future, but of the past. "Well," he said, "are you going to answer me?"Brewster nodded. He had seen the same thing himself. The territorial citizen was a known quantity to both of them.
She was happier than she had been in Washington. Landor saw that, but he refused to see that she was[Pg 181] also better. However much a man may admire, in the abstract, woman as a fine natural animal, unspoiled by social pettiness, he does not fancy the thing in his wife. From the artistic standpoint, a regal barbarian, unconfined, with her virtue and her vices on a big scale, is very well; from the domestic, it is different. She is more suitable in the garb of fashion, with homemade character of parlor-ornament proportions.Landor sent for a squad of the guard and went to put them out. It was just one of the small emergencies that go to make up the chances of peace. He might or he might not come back alive; the probabilities in favor of the former, to be sure. But the risks are[Pg 186] about equal whether one fights Indians or citizens drunk with liquor and gaming.
[Pg 257]The general's long silence was making the complete man nervous. Beads of sweat stood out on his forehead, and he twisted his hands together. "The Sun, the Darkness, and the Winds are all listening to what we now say. To prove to you that I am telling the truth, remember that I sent you word that I would come from a place far away to speak to you here, and you see me now. If I were thinking bad, I would never have come here. If it had been my fault, would I have come so far to talk with you?" he whined.
Later in the day, when the general and the interpreters were engaged in making clear to the bucks, who came straggling in to surrender, the wishes and intentions of the Great Father in Washington as regarded his refractory children in Arizona, he went back to the captives' tepee. The Texan was nowhere to be seen. He called to her and got no answer, then he looked in. She was not there. One of the Mexican women was standing by, and he went up to her and asked for the Gringa.He had told her that many times. It had been true; perhaps it was true still."I fail to see why not. You can wound it."
"Yes," he assured her unmoved, "you are. At least you are going to do that, or go to jail."
"This is all very beautiful," said Forbes, after a silence.
"That you take them to civilization鈥攖he missus and the kid. It's the only salvation for all three of you鈥攆or you as well as them."He whistled more cheerily yet when he saw that small hand. He was a tame mocking-bird, and he had learned to eat dead flies from it. That was one of the greatest treats of his highly satisfactory life. The hand left the window and presently waved from the doorway.
After a time she roused herself and went into the house, and directly she came back with the baby in her arms. The younger of the two children that she had taken under her care at Stanton, the little girl, followed after her.She was looking at them with such absorbed delight that she started violently when close behind her a voice she had not heard in four long, repressed years spoke with the well-remembered intonation: "He had better go to the farrier the first thing in the morning. I can't have him stove-up," and Cairness came out of the gate.If the sentry outside heard, he paid no attention. It was common enough for the horses to take a simultaneous fit of restlessness in the night, startled by some bat flapping through the beams or by a rat scurrying in the grain. In ten minutes more a flame had reached the roof. In another ten minutes the sentry had discharged his carbine three times, fire call had been sounded in quick, alarming notes, and men and officers, half dressed, had come running from the barracks and the line.
The fight began with a shot fired prematurely by one of the scouts, and lasted until nightfall鈥攁fter the desultory manner of Indian mountain fights, where you fire at a tree-trunk or lichened rock, or at some black, red-bound head that shoots up quick as a prairie dog's and is gone again, and where you follow the tactics of the wary Apache in so far as you may. The curious part of it is that you beat him at his own game every time. It is always the troops that lose the least heavily!"We meet 'neath the blazing heavens,详情
Copyright © 2020