But they were returning victorious. The Chiricahuas were subdued. The hazard had turned well. There would be peace; the San Carlos Agency, breeding-grounds of all ills, would be turned over to military supervision. The general who had succeeded鈥攊f he had failed it would have been such a very different story鈥攚ould have power to give his promise to the Apaches and to see that it was kept. The experiment of honesty and of giving the devil his due would have a[Pg 245] fair trial. The voices that had cried loudest abuse after the quiet soldier who, undisturbed, went so calmly on his way, doing the thing which seemed to him right, were silenced; and the soldier himself came back into his own land, crossing the border with his herds and his tribes behind him. There was no flourish of trumpets; no couriers were sent in advance to herald that the all but impossible had been accomplished."Hombre!" grunted the Indian, puffing at a straw-paper cigarette, "excesivamente peligroso aqui."
At sunset the camp surrendered. There were seven dead bucks found, but no one ever knew, of course, how many had fallen into ravines, or dragged themselves off to die in nooks. The Apache does not dread death, but he dreads having the White-man know that he has died.* * * * * * * *
"And so," said Kirby, as he drew a sack of short cut from his pocket and filled his brier, "and so you have chucked up the army? What are you going to do next? Going in for art?"When Cairness got him to the post and turned him over to the officer-of-the-day, the fire had burned itself out and quiet was settling down again. Big warm drops were beginning to splash from the clouds.
He opposed drawbacks. "You can't keep her always.""Suppose you let me call for volunteers," suggested Landor. He was sure of his own men, down to the last recruit.
It did not seem to strike the representative of the citizens of San Tomaso that that was much of an argument. He continued to urge."We'll see," she answered shortly; "it is where the Huachuca road crosses, you are certain?"
Landor came in a few weeks later. He had had an indecisive skirmish in New Mexico with certain bucks who had incurred the displeasure of the paternal government by killing and eating their horses, to the glory of their gods and ancestors, and thereafter working off their enthusiasm by a few excursions beyond the confines of the reservation, with intent to murder and destroy.
Cabot was not an unmerciful man, but if he had had his sabre just then, he would have dug and turned it in the useless carcass. He was beside himself with fear; fear of the death which had come to the cow and the calf whose chalk-white skeletons were at his feet, of the flat desert and the low bare hills, miles upon miles away, rising a little above the level, tawny and dry, giving no hope of shelter or streams or shade. He had foreseen it all when the horse had stumbled in a snake hole, had limped and struggled a few yards farther, and then, as he slipped to the ground, had stood quite still, swaying from side to side, with its legs wide apart, until it fell. He gritted his teeth so that the veins[Pg 2] stood out on his temples, and, going closer, jerked at the bridle and kicked at its belly with the toe of his heavy boot, until the glassy eye lighted with keener pain.
One had gone mad with loco-weed, and they gored each other's sides until the blood ran, while only a low, moaning bellow came from their dried throats. A cloud of fine dust, that threw back the sun in glitters, hung over them, and a flock of crows, circling above in the steel-blue sky, waited.
There was but one other resort. The exasperated, impotent press turned to it. "If the emergency should arise, and it now looks as though it may come soon," flowed the editorial ink, "enough resolute and courageous men can be mustered in Tombstone, Globe, Tucson, and other towns and settlements to settle the question, once and forever: to settle it as such questions have often been settled before."详情
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