"Geronimo," mumbled the Apache, "has prayed to the Dawn and the Darkness and the Sun and the Sky to help him put a stop to those bad stories that people put in the papers about him. He is afraid it will be done as they say." The press of the country was full just then, and had been for some time past, of suggestions that the only good use the much-feared Geronimo could be put to would be hanging, the which he no doubt richly deserved. But if every one in the territories who deserved hanging had been given his dues, the land would have been dotted with blasted trees.So the captain and the first sergeant took up the money and the loose papers, together with a couple of rings from the hands, and wrapping them in a poncho, carried them off to serve as possible means of identification, for it had got beyond all question of features. Then two men moved the bodies from the[Pg 137] trail, with long sticks, and covered them with a pile of stones. Landor found a piece of board by the mouth of the claim and drew on it, with an end of charred stick, a skull and cross bones with a bow and arrow, and stood it up among the stones, in sign to all who might chance to pass thereby that since men had here died at the hands of the Apaches, other men might yet meet a like fate.
"That same. She was part Mescalero, anyway."
He had been in hiding three weeks. Part of the time he had stayed in the town near the post, small, but as frontier towns went, eminently respectable and law-abiding. For the rest he had lain low in a house of very bad name at the exact edge of the military reservation. The poison of the vile liquor he had drunk without ceasing had gotten itself into his brain. He had reached the criminal point, not bold,鈥攈e was never that,鈥攂ut considerably more dangerous, upon the whole. He drank more deeply for two days longer, after he received Stone's letter, and then, when he was quite mad, when his eyes were bleared and fiery and his head was dry and hot and his heart terrible within him, he went out into the black night.
When all his phrases were quite used up, Stone changed the key. What could be done for Mr. Taylor? Mr. Taylor motioned with his usual urbanity that the burden of speech lay with Cairness. What could he do for Mr. Cairness, then?
The major told him a little reluctantly. "Well, it's this, then: Brewster will not, or cannot, defend your conduct in the matter of the San Tomaso volunteers.""But you," said Felipa, wistfully, "you do not want to go back?"
He looked at her uncomfortably. "I am going to get you out of this, up into the mountains somewhere," he said abruptly; "you look peaked.""That," objected the major, testily, "is ancient history. This trouble started the way of most of the troubles of this age鈥攚hiskey." In his agitation he carefully spilled a spoonful of salt on the cloth and scraped it into a little mound with a knife. Then recollecting that spilled salt causes quarrels, he hurriedly threw a pinch of it over his left shoulder. "And鈥攁nd, the worst of the whole business is, old man, that you've got to go. Your troop and one from Apache are ordered out. I'm awfully sorry." He would not look at Felipa at all. But he stared Landor[Pg 57] fairly out of countenance, as he waited for a storm of tears and protestations.
He took up his paper again. "He ain't told me the whole thing yet," he said.Cabot did not answer. The gasping horse on the sand, moving its neck in a weak attempt to get up, was answer enough. He stood with his hands hanging helplessly, looking at it in wrath and desperation.
The government took neither course."I do," she answered, blinking lazily.
"On his ranch, living on the fat of a lean land, I believe. He's rich, you know. I don't know much about them. I've small use for them. And I used to like Cairness, too. Thought he was way above his job. Those squaw-men lose all sense of honor."Before he left with Taylor on the next morning but one, he ventured to warn Kirby. But he was met with a stolid "I was brought up that way," and he knew that argument would be entirely lost.详情
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