"Hurrah! for the next that dies," thought Landor himself, with a careless cynicism. The barrel of a Winchester gleamed above a point of rock, a little sharp sparkle of sunlight on steel, and a bullet deflected from the big leather hood of his stirrup. He rode on calmly, and his horse's shoes clicked on the lava.Others of the troops were ordered in, and among them was Landor's. It had gone out for a twenty days' scout, and had been in the field two months. It was ragged and all but barefoot, and its pack-train was in a pitiable way. Weeks of storm in the Mogollons and days of quivering heat on the plains had brought its clothing and blankets to the last stages.
The boy explained that it was not that, and she let him go, in relief."Will you make haste?" cried Felipa, out of patience.
The entire command volunteered, as a matter of course, and Landor had his pick. He took thirty men and a dozen scouts. Cairness rode up and offered himself. They looked each other full in the face for a moment. "Very well," said Landor, and turned on his heel. Cairness was properly appreciative, despite the incivility. He knew that Landor could have refused as well as not, and that would have annoyed and mortified him. He was a generous enemy, at any rate. The volunteers mounted and trotted off in a cloud of dust that hung above them and back along their trail, to where the road, as Landor had said, entered the malpais.
Landor humored her, but did not quite approve. "If you begin that, every papoose at the Agency will be brought down to us," he suggested; and once when he had grown a little tired of having the noiseless, naked little savage forever round, he offered him a piece of canned lobster. Whereupon the boy fled wildly, and would not be coaxed back for many days. Felipa seemed really to miss him, so Landor never teased him after that, making only the reasonable request that the youngster be not allowed to scratch his head near him.
She echoed "To luncheon!" in amazement. "But, Jack, he was a soldier, wasn't he?"
Stone glanced at the Lawton woman. She was grinning mirthlessly at his discomfiture. "What have you been stuffing this fellow here with?" he asked her contemptuously.He was accustomed to the gloom by now, but she was not. She could only see that there was some one in the shadow. It flashed through his mind that she[Pg 221] would scream, but the next moment he knew that she would not.Landor recalled the twenty years of all winter campaigns, dry camps, forced marches, short rations, and long vigils and other annoyances that are not put down in the tactics, and smiled again, with a deep cynicism. Barnwell sat silent. He sympathized with Stone because his interests lay that way, but he was somewhat unfortunately placed between the military devil and the political deep sea.
Landor asked what he meant by that. "I'm sick of all this speaking in riddles," he said.
"Have I ever lied to you?" Crook asked them.He asked her angrily why she had ever come at all, and she explained, with a piteous whimper, like a penitent child's, that she had left her horse tied in a little hollow and had come to explore. She had often meant to explore before this.
"No," he said, "I wouldn't like you to, and she wouldn't want it, I reckon." He dropped back into his usual speech. "She ain't any repentant sinner, by a good deal. But as Cairness wants me to keep an eye on her, and as she's sick, I wish you to let her stay in the house, and not to make a rumpus about it. If you really don't like to go near her, though," he finished, "I'll tell you what I'll do, I'll take her in her food myself, and nurse can clean out her room."
"I know it," she whispered, but she took her shaking hand from the dog's head, and, without another word, pointed to the shadow of Landor's figure, thrown distorted by the candle light against the side of the tent.详情
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