"I spent a few days with the Kirbys once," he said, and looked straight into her eyes. They shifted, and there was no mistaking her uneasiness. He followed it up instantly on a bold hazard. It had to be done now, before she had time to retreat to the cover of her blank stolidity. "Why did you leave them to[Pg 237] be massacred? What did you have against her and those little children?""Sixty of Victorio's hostiles have been at the Agency, and are on their way back to New Mexico. Will probably cross your camp," the captain read aloud to the men, who crowded as near as was compatible with discipline.It was his intention to go to Crook and to warn him if he needed warning, which was not probable, since he was never napping. He would then offer his services as a scout. He was sincerely attached to the general, and felt his own career in a way involved with that of the officer, because he had been with him, in one capacity or another, in every campaign he had made in the southwest.
"And you think there will be trouble?" He knew that the buck had come there for nothing but to inform."No," she said, "I told the Campbells I would not go to them."
Cairness tied his cow-pony to a post in front of a low calcimined adobe, and going across the patch of trodden earth knocked at the door. The little parson's own high voice called to him, and he went in."Did my father leave me any money?" she asked.
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.
Cairness, talking to one of the other men, who was mending a halter, watched him, and recalled the youth in spotless white whom he had last seen lounging on the deck of an Oriental liner and refusing to join the sports committee in any such hard labor as getting up a cricket match. It was cooler here in the Arizona mountains, to be sure; but it was an open question if life were as well worth living.Landor sent for a squad of the guard and went to put them out. It was just one of the small emergencies that go to make up the chances of peace. He might or he might not come back alive; the probabilities in favor of the former, to be sure. But the risks are[Pg 186] about equal whether one fights Indians or citizens drunk with liquor and gaming.
He shook his head. "It is not a whim. It is the same with every one. Of course Brewster has lost his head, but that argues nothing. The endearing quality seems to be lacking in her."The Reverend Taylor stood there with his son in his arms. The mocking-bird trilled out a laugh to the evening air. It was irresistible, so droll that even a bird must know it,鈥攖he likeness between the little father and the little son. There was the same big head and the big ears and the big eyes and the body[Pg 247] that was too small for them all, a little, thin body, active and quivering with energy. There were the very same wrinkles about the baby's lids, crinkles of good humor and kindly tolerance, and the very same tufts of hair running the wrong way and sticking out at the temples.
And Foster answered him that there would be thirty or forty.
He found that it had been father and son come from the Eastern states in search of the wealth that lay in that vague and prosperous, if uneasy, region anywhere west of the Missouri. And among the papers was a letter addressed to Felipa. Landor held it in the flat[Pg 146] of his hand and frowned, perplexed. He knew that it was Cairness's writing. More than once on this last scout he had noticed its peculiarities. They were unmistakable. Why was Cairness writing to Felipa? And why had he not used the mails? The old, never yet justified, distrusts sprang broad awake. But yet he was not the man to brood over them. He remembered immediately that Felipa had never lied to him. And she would not now. So he took the stained letter and went to find her.
He found Felipa curled on the blanket in front of a great fire, and reading by the glare of the flames, which licked and roared up the wide chimney, a history of the Jesuit missionaries. It was in French, and she must have already known it by heart, for it seemed to be almost the only book she cared about. She had become possessed of its three volumes from a French priest who had passed through the post in the early winter and had held services there. He had been charmed with Felipa and with her knowledge of his own tongue. It was a truly remarkable knowledge, considering that it had been gained at a boarding-school.
She was silent, but the stubbornness was going fast. She broke off a bunch of little pink blossoms and rolled it in her hands.详情
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