"This is all very beautiful," said Forbes, after a silence.
"'St谩 bajo," she stuck out her cleft chin in the direction of the trail that led out of the pocket down to the flat, far below.Cairness said to himself that she was regal, and acknowledged her most formal welcome with an ease he had fancied among the arts he had long since lost.
He turned her face up to the moonlight, and the head fell heavily back with the weight of hair. The half-closed eyes looked unseeing up to him, and the quiet lips smiled still.Stone made a very creditable fight. A man does not throw up the results of years of work without a strong protest. He treated it lightly, at first, then seriously. Then he threatened. "I've got a good deal of power myself," he told Cairness angrily; "I can roast you in the press so that you can't hold up your head."In the morning, while the cooks were getting breakfast and the steam of ration-Rio mounted as a grateful incense to the pink and yellow daybreak heavens, having bathed in the creek and elaborated his toilet[Pg 235] with a clean neckerchief in celebration of victory, he walked over to the bunch of tepees to see the women captives.
He handed them over.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.
Cairness remembered with an anger and disgust with himself he could still feel, that last time he had seen her in the mouth of the cave. That had been two springs ago. Since then there had been no occupation for him as a guide or scout. The country had been at peace. The War Department and the Indian Department were dividing the control of the Agency, with the War Department ranking. Crook had been trying his theories as practice. He had been demonstrating that the Indian can work, with a degree of success that was highly displeasing to the class of politicians whose whole social fabric for the southwest rested on his only being able to kill.
The defenceless women and children were safe, however: a captain, ranking Landor, reported to that effect when he met them some dozen miles outside San Tomaso. He reported further that he had a pack-train for Landor and orders to absorb his troop. Landor protested at having to retrace their trail at once. His men and his stock were in no state to travel. The men were footsore and blistered. They had led their horses, for the most part, up and down rough hills for two days. But the trail was too hot and too large to be abandoned. They unsaddled, and partaking together of coffee and bacon and biscuits, mounted and went off once more. Their bones ached, and the feet of many of them bled; but the citizens had gone their way to their homes in the valley, and they felt that, on the whole, they had reason to be glad.The general turned his head sharply, and his eyes flashed, but he only asked dryly, "Why?"
"I dare say they are willing to surrender, upon terms to suit them. But they are very much afraid of treachery. They are on the lookout for deception at every turn. In fact, they are not in altogether the most amiable frame of mind, for the greater part. However, you can decide that for yourself when they come over, which will be directly."And later in the day, when the buck had shuffled off again, Cairness brought out his pony,鈥攁 new one now, for the little pinto one had died of a rattlesnake bite, from which no golondrina weed had been able to save it,鈥攁nd saddled it. Then he went again into the cabin. There was but one thing there that he valued,鈥攁 life-size head of Felipa he had done in charcoal. It was in a chest beneath his cot. He locked his chest, and going out locked the door also, and putting both keys upon a ring, mounted and rode off along the trail.
"That's the straight bill. Ask him. He isn't fit to be spoken to."
She did not. She would as lief touch a toad.详情
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