Cairness assured him that he was not. "It is not my mission on earth to straighten out the territories, heaven be praised. This is purely a personal matter, entirely so. You may call it revenge, if you like. Lawton's in jail all safe, as you know. I got him there, and if he gets out anyway, I'll put him back again on this count."There was nothing for it but to admit that from the day of her father's death she had been utterly Landor's dependant,鈥攁t a cost to him of how many pleasures, she, who knew the inadequacy of a lieutenant's pay, could easily guess.
The puppy which had been born the same day as the little Reverend, a beast half coyote, half shepherd, and wholly hideous, came and sat itself down beside them on the sill, looked up with its tongue hanging out to one side, and smiled widely. The beaming good nature of the two Reverends was infectious. The baby squealed gleefully, and kicked until it was set down on the doorstep to pat the dog."I am Captain鈥擟aptain Landor."
"How," answered Felipa, as unconcernedly as though she had not recognized him almost at once for the buck she had last seen in the A tent beside the hospital, with the doctor picking pieces of bone and flesh from his shoulder. Then she took the quiver and examined it. There was a bow as tall as herself, and pliable as fine steel, not a thing for children to play with, but a warrior's arm. Also there were a number of thin, smooth, gayly feathered arrows. "Malas," he told her, touching the heads. "Venadas" and she knew that he meant that they were poisoned by the process of [Pg 89]dipping them in putrid liver, into which a rattler had been made to inject its venom. Even then the sort was becoming rare, though the arrow was still in use as a weapon and not merely as an attraction for tourists."You know that I love you?" he said unevenly.
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."What do you want to know for?" asked the woman, at length.[Pg 94]
He laughed crossly. Evidently he was dropping back into the poetical tendencies of his most callow youth. He would be doing her a sonnet next, forsooth. He had done two or three of them in his school days for Sydney damsels. That was when he had aspired to be ranked in his own country with Gordon. Good Lord! how many aspirations of various sorts he had had. And he was a cow-boy.She shook her head. "It is the first you have known of it, Jack," she said; "but I have known it for a long while, and I have not been unhappy."
"And I went outside the post the night after you left, down to the river. Some one will probably tell you about a wounded Sierra Blanca found down among the bushes in the river bottom that same night. I shot him, and then I hacked him up with my knife." He had taken his pipe from his mouth and was looking at her incredulously, perplexed. He did not understand whether it was a joke on her part, or exactly what it was."Do you still want me to marry you?" she asked him.His contentment was not to last for long, however. The quartermaster broke in upon it rudely as he sat on the porch one morning after guard-mounting, "Have you seen the man who came up with the scouts from Grant?"
Lawton moved ahead a few steps; then he began to cry, loudly, blubbering, his nerves gone all to shreds. He implored and pleaded and wailed. He hadn't known what he was doing. He had been drunk. They had treated him badly about the beef contract. Stone had gone back on him. The oaths that he sobbed forth were not new to Cairness, but they were very ugly."You are too good for it."
The murmurs in the corral rose louder. It was not that Kirby and his partners underpaid, underfed, or overworked the American citizens. It was that their language was decent and moderate; and the lash of the slave driver would have stung less than the sight of the black coats and the seven o'clock dinner. In the midst of white savages and red, the four clung to the forms of civilization with that dogged persistence in the unessential, that worship of the memory of a forsaken home, for which the Englishman, time and again, lays down his life without hesitation. That was the grievance.Taylor realized from the Benedict's greater knowledge that it was asking a great deal, but still not[Pg 252] too much. He assured Cairness that she should be cared for.The Agency man thought a question would not commit him. He had not been round at that time, and he asked for information. The lieutenant gave it to him.
Then taps sounded, ringing its brazen dirge to the night in a long, last note. It ended once, but the bugler went to the other side of the parade and began again. Lawton repeated the shaking of his fist. He was growing impatient, and also scared. A little more of that shrill music, and his nerves would go into a thousand quivering shreds鈥攈e would be useless. Would the cursed, the many times cursed military never get to bed? He waited in the shadow of the corrals, leaning against the low wall, gathering his forces. The sentry evidently did not see him. The post grew more and more still, the clouds more and more thick.Ellton answered "Very good," and they went out, locking the door.The Powers said that a party of Indians had killed two American citizens, and had thereby offended against their sacred laws. To be sure the Americans had sold the Indians poisonous whiskey, so they had broken the laws, too. But there is, as any one should be able to see, a difference between a law-breaking Chiricahua and a law-breaking territorial politician. Cairness refused to see it. He said things that would have been seditious, if he had been of any importance in the scheme of things. As it was, the Great Powers did not heed them, preferring to take advice from men who did not know an Apache from a Sioux鈥攐r either from the creation of the shilling shocker.详情
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