What had he done to the fellow, if he might ask, Cairness inquired.Landor explained to them that he was not doing the thinking, that it was their campaign. "You are my guides. You know the country, and I don't." He reminded them again that they had promised to lead him to Indians, and that he was ready to be led. If they thought the hostiles were to be reached by following the trail, he would follow it.The woman called early in the blazing afternoon, appearing clad in silks, waving a gorgeous fan of[Pg 63] plumes, and sinking languidly into a chair. Felipa sat bolt upright on a camp-stool, and before the close of an hour they were at daggers' points. The commandant's wife used cheap French phrases in every other breath, and Felipa retaliated in the end by a long, glib sentence, which was not understood. She seemed absolutely dense and unsmiling about it, but Landor was used to the mask of stolidity. He got up and went to the window to arrange the gray blanket, and hide a smile that came, even though he was perfectly aware of the unwisdom of making an enemy of the C. O.'s wife.
"Why did you do it?"
"Doesn't he, though? Then why doesn't he come around and see me when I'm lying here sick?" He was wrathful and working himself back into a fever very fast.
In the morning, while the cooks were getting breakfast and the steam of ration-Rio mounted as a grateful incense to the pink and yellow daybreak heavens, having bathed in the creek and elaborated his toilet[Pg 235] with a clean neckerchief in celebration of victory, he walked over to the bunch of tepees to see the women captives.
"Why don't you ask him?" said Mrs. Lawton, astutely.[Pg 50]
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.Landor suggested his own experience of close on two decades, and further that he was going to command the whole outfit, or going to go back and drop the thing right there. They assented to the first alternative, with exceedingly bad grace, and with worse grace took the place of advance guard he detailed them to, four hundred yards ahead. "You know the country. You are my guides, and you say you are going to lead me to the Indians. Now do it." There was nothing conciliating in his speech, whatever, and he sat on his horse, pointing them to their positions with arm outstretched, and the frown of an offended Jove. When they had taken it, grumbling, the column moved.It was plain, even to Felipa, how thoroughly he enjoyed being with one who could talk of the past and of the present, from his own point of view. His Coventry had been almost complete since the day that the entire army, impersonated in Crook, had turned disapproving eyes upon him once, and had then looked away from him for good and all. It had been too bitter[Pg 310] a humiliation for him ever to subject himself to the chance of it again.
When Landor had trotted off, and she and the girl were left alone, she went into the house and came back with a pair of field-glasses. Through them she could see her husband riding at the head of the column, along the road, and another figure beside him, mounted on a bony little pinto bronco.
"And inside of a fortnight he and Mrs. Landor went to some Roman Catholic priest in Tombstone and were married. I call that indecent haste."
Felipa sat up in bed, and leaning over to the window beside it drew up the shade and looked out. The cold, gray world of breaking day was battling furiously with a storm of rain. The huddling flowers in the garden bent to the ground before the rush of wind from the mountains across the prairie. The windmill sent out raucous cries as it flew madly around, the great dense clouds, black with rain, dawn-edged, charged through the sky, and the shining-leaved cottonwoods bent their branches almost to the earth. The figures of Cairness and a couple of cow-boys, wrapped in rubber coats, passed, fighting their way through the blur,鈥攙ague, dark shadows in the vague, dark mist.It was.
"Never!" she declared; it was merely because she could not breathe the same air with that creature.On the instant she put her horse to a run and tore off through the gate toward the open country. It was dark, but by the stars she could see the road and its low bushes and big stones that danced by as her horse, with its belly to the ground, sped on. She strained her ears and caught the sound of hoofs. The men were following her, the gleam of her white dress guiding them. She knew they could not catch her. The horse she rode was a thoroughbred, the fastest on the ranch; not even Cairness's own could match it. It stretched out its long black neck and went evenly ahead, almost without[Pg 327] motion, rising over a dog hole now and then, coming down again, and going on, unslacking. She felt the bit steadily and pressed her knee against the hunting horn for purchase, her toe barely touching the stirrup, that she might be the freer in a fall.详情
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