Stone held that the affair had been grossly exaggerated, and that the proof thereof lay in the acquittal of all accused of the crime, by a jury of their peers; and Landor said that the sooner that highly discreditable travesty on justice was forgotten, the better for the good fame of the territory. The press representative waxed eloquent once more, until his neck grew violet with suppressed wrath, which sputtered out now and then in profanity. The officer met his finest flights with cold ridicule, and the Agency man improved the opportunity by pouring himself a drink from the flask on the cot. In little it was the reproduction of the whole situation on the frontier鈥攁nd the politician profited.
"From Cairness?" she faltered, looking up at him[Pg 147] with frightened eyes; "when did it come?" Her voice was as unsteady as her hands. She tore it open and began to read it there before him. He stood and watched her lips quiver and grow gray and fall helplessly open. If she had been under physical torture, she could have kept them pressed together, but not now.It was not quite an all-summer campaign. The United States government drove the hostiles over the border into the provinces of the Mexican government, which understood the problem rather better than ourselves, and hunted the Apache, as we the coyote, with a bounty upon his scalp.
She heard, and again her eyes met Forbes's. There was a flash of comprehension in them. She knew what he was thinking very well. But she left the fence, and, pushing the sunbonnet over her head, joined them, not in the least put out, and they dismounted and walked beside her, back to the house.
Her lips parted, and quivered, and closed again. The winds from the wide heavens above the gap whined through the pines, the river roared steadily down below, and the great, irresistible hand of Nature crushed without heeding it the thin, hollow shell of convention. The child of a savage and a black sheep looked straight and long into the face of the child of rovers and criminals. They were man and woman, and in the freemasonry of outlawry made no pretence.
He knew that the stores which should have gone to him were loaded upon wagon-trains and hurried off the reservation in the dead of night; but he did not know why the Apache who was sent to humbly ask the agent about it was put in the guard-house for six months without trial. He knew that his corn patches were trampled down, but not that it was to force him to purchase supplies from the agent and his friends, or else get out. He knew that his reservation鈥攏one too large, as it was, for three thousand adults more or less鈥攈ad been cut down without his consent five different times, and that Mormon settlers were elbowing him out of what space remained. But, being only a savage, it were foolish to expect that he should have seen the reason for these things. He has not yet learned to take kindly to financial dishonesty. Does he owe you two bits, he will travel two hundred miles to pay it. He has still much to absorb concerning civilization.
Being shaved of the thick iron-gray beard, and once again in seemly uniform, and having reported to the commandant, he sat down to talk with his wife.
"Miss McLane will go, I suppose?" asked Felipa.
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She had been sufficiently ashamed of herself thereafter, and totally unable to understand her own evil[Pg 312] impulse. As she lay swinging in the hammock, she remembered this and many other things connected with that abhorred period of compulsory civilization and of success. The hot, close, dead, sweet smell of the petunias, wilting in the August sun, and the surface-baked earth came up to her. It made her vaguely heartsick and depressed. The mood was unusual with her. She wished intensely that her husband would come back.
Felipa did not answer."Begging your pardon, it's not all.""They have their good traits, sir," said the man, civilly, "and chief among them is that they mind their own business."详情
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