类型:奇幻地区:莫桑比克剧发布:2020-11-28 15:41:08


Six years of fighting, of bloodshed, of heavy loss in blood and treasure to the government, the careers of the incarnate devils Juh, Victorio, and Geronimo鈥攁ll the evils let loose on the southwest from '78 to '85 were traceable primarily to the selling of bad whiskey to a hunting party of Chiricahuas by two storekeepers, greedy of gain.Any other fire鈥攅xcepting always in an ammunition magazine鈥攊s easier to handle than one in a stable. It takes time to blind plunging horses and lead them out singly. And there is no time to take. Hay and straw[Pg 208] and gunny-sacks and the dry wood of the stable go up like tinder. It has burned itself out before you can begin to extinguish it.

He turned his chair and studied her in a kind of hopeless amusement. "Felipa," he said, "if you will insist upon being told, I cut open the pockets of those dead men's clothes with it."The Indians, being wicked, ungrateful, suspicious characters, doubted the promises of the White-eyes. But it is only just to be charitable toward their ignorance. They were children of the wilderness and of the desert places, walking in darkness. Had the lights of the benefits of civilization ever shone in upon them, they would have realized that the government[Pg 226] of these United States, down to its very least official representative, never lies, never even evades.

[Pg 276]The man beside her was an attach茅 of the British legation, who had been one of her greatest admirers to that time, but thereafter he sought her out no more. He had driven the boys off, and taking the kitten, which mewed piteously all the way, had gone with her to her destination and left her.

"Cairness," said the parson, fixing his eyes upon the back of the bent head, as if they were trying to see through into the impenetrable brain beneath, "are you going to spend the rest of your life at this sort of thing?"Cairness said that he would of course have to take chances on that. "You might kill me, or I might kill you. I'm a pretty fair shot. However, it wouldn't pay you to kill me, upon the whole, and you must take everything into consideration." He was still twisting the curled end of his small mustache and half closing his eyes in the way that Stone had long since set down[Pg 261] as asinine. "My friend Mr. Taylor would still be alive. And if you were to hurt him,鈥攈e's a very popular man,鈥攊t might be bad for your standing in the community. It wouldn't hurt me to kill you, particularly, on the other hand. You are not so popular anyway, and I haven't very much to lose."

Ellton filled in the pause that threatened, with a return to the dominant topic. "This not having any pack-train," he opined, "is the very deuce and all. The only transportation the Q. M. can give you is a six-mule team, isn't it?""That is a promise," the Indian insisted, "to pay me dos reales a day if I would cut hay for him."

Felipa started back so violently that she struck against the log she had been sitting upon, and lost her balance.Landor glanced at his wife. She seemed to take it without offence, and was listening intently.

Felipa stood leaning against the gate post, her bare head outlined in bold black and white against the white parasol that hung over her shoulders. She was watching one of the troop herds coming up from water,鈥攖he fine, big horses, trotting, bucking, rearing, kicking, biting at each other with squeals and whinnyings, tossing their manes and whisking their tails. Some of them had rolled in the creek bed, and then in the dust, and were caked with mud from neck to croup. They frisked over to their own picket line, and got into rows for the grooming.[Pg 19]"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."

Cairness mounted, and looked up anxiously at the sky, as he gathered his reins between his fingers. The wind had begun to howl through the branches of the trees. It promised to be a wild ride. "I will be back to-night, Landor, to report," he said; "that is, if the storm doesn't delay us." And they started off down the hill.At six o'clock Kirby knocked the ashes from his pipe, the other two men, who had buried themselves in the last Cornhill and Punch with entire disregard of the rest of the room, put down the magazines, and all of them rose. "We dine at seven," Mrs. Kirby said to Taylor and Cairness as she passed through the door, followed by her husband.



When he looked up again to Brewster's house, there was a chink of faint light showing through a curtain. He got up then and went down to Ellton's quarters.

"Yes," he said, emptying the soap-caked water from the Indian basket wash basin upon the earth floor;[Pg 27] "why?"鈥"I used to know him in '61. He came up to the Mescalero Agency then, not long before the Texans overran the place. I recollect there was a sort of blizzard and it was seventeen below. He came after a kid me and another feller'd been looking after. Pretty little cuss, about four years old. I gave her her first bow'n arrow.""I guess not," said Landor, tolerantly, as he turned[Pg 106] his horse over to his orderly; "but, anyway," he added to Ellton, "we had a picnic鈥攐f a sort."


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