Cairness pitied Mrs. Kirby sincerely. But if she felt herself an object of sympathy, she did not show it.He hesitated. "I have done some shooting. I am always shooting more or less, for that matter."
The woman joined her voice. She had a meat cleaver in her hand, and there was blood on her apron where she had wiped the roast she was now leaving to burn in the stove. "Like as not we'll all be massacred. I told Bill to get off this place two weeks ago, and he's such an infernal loafer he couldn't make up his mind to move hisself." She flourished her cleaver toward the big Texan, her husband, who balanced on the tongue of a wagon, his hands in his pockets, smiling ruefully and apologetically, and chewing with an ardor he never put to any other work. "We been here four years now," she went on raspingly, "and if you all feel like staying here to be treated like slaves by these John Bulls, you can do it. But you bet I know when I've got enough. To-morrow I quits." Her jaws snapped shut, and she stood glaring at them defiantly.
And it seems that the dead are there.Out in the corral the cow-boy was holding forth. The men had stopped work on the instant that Kirby had turned his back. If Kirby could loll on soft cushions and drink tea, as free-born Americans and free-souled Irishmen they might do the same. "It's all right," said the cow-boy, with a running accompaniment of profanity, as he cleaned his brutal Mexican bit. "Johnny Bull don't have to believe in it if he don't like. But all the same, I seen a feller over here[Pg 124] to the 3 C Range, and he told me he seen the military camped over to San Tomaso a week ago, and that there was a lot of stock, hundred head or so, run off from the settlements. You see, them Apaches is making for the southern Chiricahuas over in Sonora to join the Mexican Apaches, and they're going to come this here way. You see!" and he rubbed at the rust vigorously with a piece of soft rawhide."Some Sierra Blanca, sir," said the soldier. It was respectful enough, and yet there was somewhere in the man's whole manner an air of equality, even superiority, that exasperated the lieutenant. It was contrary to good order and military discipline that a private should speak without hesitation, or without offence to the English tongue.
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.
Taylor nodded.Brewster got hunting leave, pending the acceptance of his resignation, and went to the railway. In less than a week he was all but forgotten in a newer interest.
"Come in," said her husband. He was pouring out a drink of whiskey.
Landor did not stop to consider it. It was one of the few impulses of his life, or perhaps only the quickest thinking he had ever done. Cairness was there among the rocks, disabled and in momentary danger of his life. If it had been a soldier, under the same circumstances, Landor might have gone on and have sent another soldier to help him. It was only a chief of scouts, but it was a man of his own kind, for all that鈥攁nd it was his enemy. Instinct dismounted him before reason had time to warn him that the affair of an officer is not to succor his inferiors in the thick of the fighting when there are others who can be better spared to do it. He threw his reins over his horse's head and into the hands of the orderly-trumpeter, and jumped down beside Cairness.
"Your best chance for keeping out of jail, too," he insisted, "is to keep on the right side of me. Sabe? Now what I want to know is, what part Stone has in all this." He did not know what part any one had had in it, as a matter of fact, for he had failed in all attempts to make Lawton talk, in the two days he had had before leaving the post."The one who sloped with the Greaser?"
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"No," she said shortly. "You had better bet."On a day when the mercury registered 120 degrees, Felipa Landor drove into the camp. Her life, since her marriage three years before, had been the usual nomadic[Pg 61] one of the place and circumstances, rarely so much as a twelvemonth in one place, never certain for one day where the next would find her. Recently Landor had been stationed at the headquarters of the Department of Arizona. But Felipa had made no complaint whatever at having to leave the gayest post in the territories for the most God-forsaken, and she refused flatly to go East. "I can stand anything that you can," she told her husband when he suggested it, which was apparently true enough, for now, in a heat that was playing out the very mules, covered as she was with powdery, irritating dust, she was quite cheerful as he helped her from the ambulance.
The Texan woman went back to the kitchen and finished cooking the supper for the hands鈥攁 charred sort of Saturnalian feast. "She can git her own dinner if she wants to," she proclaimed, and was answered by a chorus of approval."I dare say," he answered carelessly. "Come and meet him. You'll like him."详情
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