She smiled. "The chances that she will marry are excellent.""Where is the use of the lip's red charm,Cairness had been standing afar off, with his hands in his pockets, watching with a gleam of enjoyment under his knitted brows, but he began to see that there threatened to be more to this than mere baiting; that the desperado was growing uglier as the parson grew more firmly urbane. He drew near his small travelling companion and took his hands suddenly from his pockets, as the cow-boy whipped out a brace of six-shooters and pointed them at the hat.
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.She rose to her feet, standing slender and erect, the roused fawn on one side and the naked savage on the other. And they faced each other, disconcerted, caught mute in the reverberation, indefinite, quivering, of a chord which had been struck somewhere in the depths of that Nature to which we are willing enough to grant the power of causing the string of an instrument to pulse to the singing of its own note, but whose laws of sympathetic vibration we would fain deny beyond material things.
"You heard what Mrs. Cairness said this afternoon. She was very ill in school when she was a young girl, and still more so in Washington afterward." He shook his head. "No, Forbes, you may think you know something about the Apache, but you don't know him as I do, who have been with him for years. I've seen too much of the melting away of half and quarter breeds. They die without the shadow of an excuse, in civilization."The mesquites were directly ahead. A horseman came out from behind them and placed himself across the road. There was a sheen of moonlight on a revolver barrel and a shouted "Halt there!"
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.Cairness looked over at her in some surprise, but her face was in the shadow. He wondered that she had picked up the phrase. It was a common one with him, a sort of catchword he had the habit of using. But she was not given to philosophy. It was oddly in line with his own previous train of thought."They have their good points," she answered, exactly as he himself had answered Brewster's baiting long ago. Then she fastened her gaze on the roof of the ramada.
And the savage shows, too, in that your Englishman is not gregarious. His house is his castle, his life is to himself, and his sentiments are locked within him. He is a lonely creature, in the midst of his kind, and he loves his loneliness.Felipa did not answer.
"Foster?" one drawled, "he'll be along presently, I reckon."The general refused the withered hand he put out, and looked at him unsmilingly. The feelings of the old chief were hurt. He sat down upon the ground, under the shadows of the cottonwoods and sycamores, and explained his conduct with tears in his bleary eyes. The officers and packers, citizens and interpreters, sat round upon the ground also, with the few Indians who had ventured into the White-man's camp in the background, on the rise of the slope. There was a photographer too, who had followed the command from Tombstone, and who stationed himself afar off and took snap-shots during the conference, which, like most conferences of its sort, was vague enough.It was evident that she had no intention of making herself agreeable. Landor had learned the inadvisability and the futility of trying to change her moods. She was as unaffected about them as a child. So he took up the conversation he and Cairness had left off, concerning the Indian situation, always a reliable topic. It was bad that year and had been growing steadily worse, since the trouble at the time of his marriage, when Arizona politicians had, for reasons related to their own pockets, brought about the moving of the White Mountain band to the San Carlos Agency. The White Mountains had been peaceable for years, and, if not friendly to the government, at least too wise to oppose it. They had cultivated land and were living on it inoffensively. But they were trading across the territorial line into New Mexico, and that lost money to Arizona. So they were persuaded by such gentle methods as the burning of their Agency buildings and the destruction of their property, to move down to San Carlos. The climate there was of a sort fatal to the mountain Apaches,鈥攖he thing had been tried before with all the result that could be desired, in the way of fevers, ague, and blindness,鈥攁nd also the White Mountains were hereditary enemies of the San Carlos tribes. But a government with a policy, three thousand miles away, did not know these things, nor yet seek to know them. Government is like the gods, upon occasions: it[Pg 68] first makes mad, then destroys. And if it is given time enough, it can be very thorough in both.
But he pleaded entire ignorance, and the others were at considerable pains to enlighten him.The horse came down to a walk. She had lost all control of the reins now, and clung to the pommel with both hands, swaying from side to side. She could hear galloping hoofs, behind and in front鈥攐r was it only the blood, the icy cold blood, pounding in her ears?[Pg 34]
There was a long pause. A hawk lighted on a point of rock and twinkled its little eyes at them. Two or three squirrels whisked in and out. Once a scout came by and stood looking at them, then went on, noiselessly, up the mountain side.Landor himself sat in his tent, upon his mess-chest, and by the light of a candle wrote a despatch which[Pg 8] was to go by courier the next morning. Gila valley mosquitoes were singing around his head, a knot of chattering squaws and naked children were peering into his tent, the air was oven-hot, coyotes were filling the night with their weird bark, and a papoose was bawling somewhere close by. Yet he would have been sufficiently content could he have been let alone鈥攖he one plea of the body military from all time. It was not to be. The declared and standing foes of that body pushed their way through the squaws and children. He knew them already. They were Stone of the Tucson press, sent down to investigate and report, and Barnwell, an Agency high official, who would gladly assist the misrepresentations, so far as in his power lay."Yes," he said shortly, "I realize it."
"Shut up!" he commanded, jumping to his feet. "You killed her and you ought to be burned at the stake for it, but you shall not talk about her like that, you devilish old crone."
He rode away at once after they had lunched. And Felipa went to her room, and dropped down shivering beside the little red-hot iron stove, moaning between her clenched teeth.详情
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