By day Felipa was left in camp with the cook, while Landor and the men worked on ahead, returning at sundown. At times she went with them, but as a rule she wandered among the trees and rocks, shooting with pistol and bow, but always keeping close to the tents. She had no intention of disobeying her [Pg 88]husband again. Sometimes, too, she read, and sometimes cooked biscuits and game over the campfire in the Dutch oven. Her strength began to return almost from the first, and she had gone back, for comfort's sake, to the short skirts of her girlhood.
The general smiled. He treated Cairness as nearly like an equal as possible always, and got his advice and comment whenever he could.Another of her pets was a little fawn a soldier had caught and given to her. It followed her tamely about the post.The major told him a little reluctantly. "Well, it's this, then: Brewster will not, or cannot, defend your conduct in the matter of the San Tomaso volunteers."
They were.Breakfast call sounded. At the first shrill note she started violently. She was very thoroughly unnerved, and he decided that an hour of thinking would make her worse so. He told her that he would see her after breakfast, and raising his hat again left her to the anticipation, and to helping the Mexican captives cook their meal of mescal root and rations.Then Brewster began to listen.
Which happened upon the following day. And he was there to see it all, so that the question he had not cared to ask was answered forever beyond the possibility[Pg 198] of a misunderstanding. It was stable time, and she walked down to the corrals with him. He left her for a moment by the gate of the quartermaster's corral while he went over to the picket line. The bright clear air of a mountain afternoon hummed with the swish click-clock, swish click-clock of the curry-combs and brushes, and the busy scraping of the stable brooms in the stalls.Landor stopped behind, looking at Cairness undecidedly for a moment longer. "It is well for you that I can believe her implicitly," he said. It had been a relapse to the Stone Age, but the rebound to the nineteenth century was as quick.
It is one thing to be sacrificed to a cause, even if it is only by filling up the ditch that others may cross to victory; it is quite another to be sacrificed in a cause, to die unavailingly without profit or glory of any kind, to be even an obstacle thrown across the way. And that was the end which looked Cabot in the face. He stood and considered his horse where it lay in the white dust, with its bloodshot eyes turned up to a sky that burned like a great blue flame. Its tongue, all black and swollen, hung out upon the sand, its flanks were sunken, and its forelegs limp.He passed an officer who had a smoking six-shooter in his hand, and yelled in his ear, "Why are you doing that?" He had forgotten that it was by no means his place to question.
The defenceless women and children were safe, however: a captain, ranking Landor, reported to that effect when he met them some dozen miles outside San Tomaso. He reported further that he had a pack-train for Landor and orders to absorb his troop. Landor protested at having to retrace their trail at once. His men and his stock were in no state to travel. The men were footsore and blistered. They had led their horses, for the most part, up and down rough hills for two days. But the trail was too hot and too large to be abandoned. They unsaddled, and partaking together of coffee and bacon and biscuits, mounted and went off once more. Their bones ached, and the feet of many of them bled; but the citizens had gone their way to their homes in the valley, and they felt that, on the whole, they had reason to be glad.Another of her pets was a little fawn a soldier had caught and given to her. It followed her tamely about the post.It was not quite an all-summer campaign. The United States government drove the hostiles over the border into the provinces of the Mexican government, which understood the problem rather better than ourselves, and hunted the Apache, as we the coyote, with a bounty upon his scalp.
He went in through the gate, and was once more upon that reservation he had been commanded by the overbearing tyrant representative of the military to leave, several weeks before. As he trudged along, tattoo went. In the clear silence, beneath the sounding-boards of the low clouds, he heard the voice of one of the sergeants. He shook his fist in the direction. Tattoo being over, some of the lights were put out, but there were still plenty to guide him. He did not want to get there too early, so he walked more slowly, and when he came to the edge of the garrison, he hesitated.
Landor interrupted by taking the slipper from Felipa's foot and killing with it a centipede that crawled up the wall of the abode. "That's the second," he said, as he put the shoe on again. "I killed one yesterday; the third will come to-morrow." Then he went back to his chair and to the discussion, and before long he was called to the adjutant's office.
Another officer came up, and Cairness dropped from the twisted bow and walked away.详情
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