When the baby began to cry, as it was always quite sure to do sooner or later, and Mrs. Ellton went up to it, Landor spoke. "If I should come for you at any hour to-night, I wish you would hold yourself in readiness to go out with me immediately."
Felipa did not answer. She broke her revolver and looked into the chambers. Two of them were empty,[Pg 326] and she took some cartridges from a desk drawer and slipped them in. The holster was attached to her saddle, and she rarely rode without it.Before dawn Cairness was out, hastening the cook with the breakfast, helping with it himself, indeed, and rather enjoying the revival of the days when he had been one of the best cooks in the troop and forever pottering about the mess chests and the Dutch oven, in the field. As the sun rose,鈥攖hough daybreak was fairly late there in the ca?on,鈥攖he cold, crisp air was redolent of coffee and bacon and broiling fresh meat."But that is sport," she answered carelessly.
There followed one of those general pauses as explosive as a pistol shot.
Landor looked them over and gave them back contemptuously. "Well?" he said, "there's nothing new in all that. It's devilish exasperating, but it's old as Hamilcar. I made an enemy of a fellow from Tucson, reporter named Stone, over at the San Carlos Agency a few years ago. He's been waiting to roast me ever since. There must be something else."It was the usual tale of woe that Geronimo had to tell, much the same that the old buck had recited to[Pg 298] Cairness in the spring of the last year. His particular grievance was the request for his hanging, which he had been told had been put in the papers, and his fear of three White-men who he believed were to arrest him. "I don't want that any more. When a man tries to do right, such stories ought not to be put in the newspapers. What is the matter with you that you do not speak to me? It would be better if you would look with a pleasant face. I should be more satisfied if you would talk to me once in a while." The interpreter translated stolidly. "Why don't you look at me and smile at me? I am the same man. I have the same feet, legs, and hands, and the Sun looks down on me a complete man." There was no doubt about that, at any rate, and perhaps it was not an unmixed good fortune.
The chief Alchise and a half hundred of his kind鈥攐ne so deaf that he held to his savage old ear a civilized speaking-trumpet鈥攕quatted about on the ground, and explained to Crook the nature of their wrongs.
Cairness reddened to the roots of his hair, and the scar on his forehead grew purple. He understood that look now. And it hurt him more than any of the slights and rebuffs he had received since he had married Felipa. He had, like most of those who served under the general, a sort of hero-worship for him, and set great store by his opinion. It was only because of that that he had left Felipa alone upon the ranch. It had been their first separation and almost absurdly hard for two who had lived their roving lives."I ain't put it in yet," he stammered feebly.The parson expressed pity鈥攁nd felt it, which is more.
The Apache in Felipa was full awake now, awake in the bliss of killing, the frenzy of fight, and awake too, in the instinct which told her how, with a deep-drawn breath, a contraction, a sudden drop and writhing, she would be free of the arms of steel. And she was free, but not to turn and run鈥攖o lunge forward, once and again, her breath hissing between her clenched, bared teeth.
Cairness bowed, with no realization of the humor of it. "You are equally fortunate," he said easily, and motioned with his hand to the opening above, where Felipa was going. He might have been under his own roof, and that the door.
"Geronimo does not want that any more. He has[Pg 271] tried to do right. He is not thinking bad. Such stories ought not to be put in the newspapers."
"I don't know how true it was, and I certainly ain't going to look her up in her rancheria to find out."详情
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