Landor asked eagerly what he had answered.
"They won't be ready. No use making haste, Captain," Cairness suggested at daybreak, as Landor hurried the breakfast and saddling. They knew that the chances were ten to one that it would be a wild goose chase, and the captain already repented him. But at seven the men were mounted, with two days' rations in their saddle bags, and trotting across the flat in the fragrance of the yet unheated day, to the settlement of San Tomaso."Think it over, in any case," urged Forbes; "I am going in, good night.""Did the girl know her own story?" she asked.
Ellton stood by the door, with his hands in his pockets, and a countenance that tried hard to maintain the severity of discipline. But he was plainly enjoying it.
Then it was the first, at any rate. His manner softened.But she was, it appeared, a maiden lady, straight from Virginia. The Reverend Taylor was the first man she had ever loved. "It was right funny how it come about," he confided, self absorbed still. "Her mother keeps the res'rant acrost the street where I take my meals (I used to have a Greaser woman, but I got sick of frijoles and gorditas and chili and all that stuff), and after dinner every afternoon, she and me would put two saucers of fly-paper on a table and we would set and bet on which would catch the most flies before four o'clock. You ain't no idea how interestin' it got to be. The way we watched them flies was certainly intense. Sometimes, I tell you, she'd get that excited she'd scream when they couldn't make up their minds to[Pg 169] light. Once her mother come runnin' in, thinkin' I was tryin' to kiss her." He beamed upon Cairness, and accepted congratulations charmingly, sipping his soda-pop with quite a rakish little air. "What brought you here?" he remembered to ask, at length.
[Pg 66]There was a murmur. They had elected a captain of their own; they were Indian fighters of experience themselves.The silence of the garrison was absolute. Over in[Pg 190] the company clerk's office of one of the infantry barracks there was a light for a time. Then, at about midnight, it too was put out. A cat came creeping from under the board walk and minced across the road. He watched it absently.
The silence, cut by the nervous whispering of the children, became unendurable. "Are you very uneasy about them?" Mrs. Kirby asked.Whereupon the rancher, his feelings being much injured, and his trust in mankind in general shattered, did as many a wiser man has done before him,鈥攎ade himself very drunk, and in his cups told all that he knew to two women and a man. "I'd like to know whose affair it is, if it ain't his, the measly sneak. He sicked me on,"鈥攐aths, as the grammars phrase it, "understood." The tears dribbled off his fierce mustache, and the women and the man laughed at him, but they were quite as drunk as he was, and they forgot all about it at once. Lawton did not forget. He thought of it a great deal, and the more he thought, the more he wanted revenge.
They were high among the mountains, and here and there in the shadows of the rocks and pines were patches of snow, left even yet from the winter. By all the signs the trail was already more than half a day old.
She was strong, slender as she was, and she freed herself almost without effort. And yet he would not be warned. "Don't you love me?" he insisted, as though she had not already made it plain enough.[Pg 143]
"You are not fit to go," Felipa said resignedly, "but that doesn't matter, of course."
Cairness's eyes turned from a little ground owl on the top of a mound and looked him full in the face. "I really can't see, sir," he said, "how it can matter to any one."详情
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