类型:奇幻地区:莫桑比克剧发布:2020-11-25 19:39:31


"Don't bring them into it," he implored. "If you will not come away, I will tell you now, Felipa, that I love you." He was more in earnest than Landor had been. She felt that herself. His voice broke, and he paled.

"Well," said Cairness, twisting at the small mustache, and levelling his eyes straight as the barrels of a shot-gun鈥攁nd they gave the journalist a little of the same sensation鈥"I think, Mr. Stone, that you can get out of the country within the next three days."

It went well enough for a time, and the hills seemed coming a little nearer, to be rougher on the surface. Then the double-loaded horse fagged. Cabot felt that it did, and grasped hard on the burning cantle as he made his resolve. When Landor used his spurs for the first time, he loosed his hold and dropped to the ground.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 went upon the sick report at once, and for three days thereafter raved of crucified women with fair hair, of children lying dead in the ca?on, of the holes in his boot soles, and a missing aparejo, also of certain cursed citizens, and the bad quality of the canned butter.

But he kept a close watch upon her then and during all the hard, tedious march back to the States, when the troops and the scouts had to drag their steps to meet the strength of the women and children; when the rations gave out because there were some four hundred Indians to be provided for, when the command ate mescal root, digging it up from the ground and baking it; and when the presence of a horde of filthy savages made the White-man suffer many things not to be put in print.

Mrs. Landor sat on the top step of her porch. Landor was with her, also his second lieutenant Ellton, and[Pg 104] Brewster, who in the course of events had come into the troop. There had been, largely by Felipa's advice, an unspoken agreement to let the past be. A troop divided against itself cannot stand well on the inspector general's reports. And as Brewster was about to marry the commanding officer's daughter, it was well to give him the benefit of the doubt of his entire sanity when he had been under the influence of what had been a real, if short-lived, passion for Felipa. They were all discussing the feasibility of getting up an impromptu picnic to the foot-hills.Ellton went on, lapsing into the judicial. "In the meantime, anyway, a man's innocent until he's proven guilty. I say, do go round and see him. The others will follow your lead. He's awfully cut up and worried, and he's sick, you know."

No one in the territory was busy. The atmosphere was still too much that of the Mexican possession; but Cairness said it was undoubtedly so, and took his leave,[Pg 173] clanking his spurs, heavy footed, and stooping his long form, in continuance of the r?le of ass. He knew well enough that he had been so summed up. It is a disadvantage the British citizen labors under in the West.It is only a feeble love in need of stimulants and spicing that craves secrecy. A strong one seeks the open and a chance to fight to the end, whatever that may be, before the judges of earth and heaven. They stood facing each other, challenging across the woman with the look in their eyes that men have worn since long ere ever the warriors of old disputed the captive before the walls of Troy."Mrs. Landor is very beautiful," Cairness hazarded. He wanted to talk of her, or to make some one else do it.

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."He has caught a lioness and tricked her out in fashionable rags and taught her some capers, and now he thinks he has improved the animal," he said to himself, and raged inwardly, asking the intangible Fate, which was always opposing him, if there was not[Pg 216] enough little doll women in the world that such an one as Felipa must be whittled down to the size."Well?" said the officer.

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The remainder of the drive Cairness devoted to caring for the broken wing of the hawk, and, during halts, to sketching anything that presented itself,鈥攖he mules, the driver, passing Mexicans, or the cows trying to graze from ground where the alkali formed patches of white scum. He also accomplished a fine caricature of the lieutenant, and derived considerable silent amusement therefrom.And things were coming to an end, anyway. He could see it in the looks of the Apaches, and hear it in their whispers. They consented to come in, and even to put themselves at the discretion of the government, but there was a lack of the true ring in their promises. So when, on the third morning, before it was yet daylight, two chiefs came hurrying into camp and awoke the general with bad news, he was not greatly surprised. He had warned Crook of the possibility, for that matter.



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