That very day the doubt had attained the proportions of a certainty. The sight of a Circle K cow had called up the subject of the massacre, and a cow-boy had said, "Them are the property of Bill Lawton, I reckon."Cairness lay white and still, looking up at her. He was very weak and dazed, and for the instant he could only remember, absurdly enough, the Andromaque he had seen a French actress play once in his very early youth when he had been taken with all the children of the Lyc茅e, where he was then at school, to the theatre on a Thursday afternoon. The Andromaque had been tall and dark and superb, and all in black, like that woman in the doorway there.
Lawton stopped. To forbid him swearing was to forbid him speech. He shuffled ahead in silence.When the storm had fairly passed, they found Felipa's gray lodged in the root of a tree some distance down the creek; in no way hurt, oddly enough, but trembling and badly frightened. The saddle, even, was uninjured, though the pigskin was water-soaked and slippery.
"What do you want me to say to Stone?""I'll break your jaws if you don't open them." The jaws opened forthwith, but no sound came, and Lawton struggled feebly.
Yet somehow "timid subterfuges" seemed hardly the words to fit with the hard, unswerving eye and the deep-lined face of the accused. It struck the court so. There were other things that struck the court, notably that Brewster had criticised his captain to civilians and to enlisted men. The Judge Advocate frowned. The frown settled to a permanency when Brewster sought out that honorable personage to complain, unofficially, that his case was being neglected. It was about upon a par with an accusation of bribery against a supreme judge in civil life, and naturally did not do the [Pg 156]plaintiff much good when the Judge Advocate rose, terrible in his indignation, to repeat the complaint officially to the assembled court at the next sitting. The court was resentful. It listened and weighed for six days, and then it acquitted Landor on every charge and specification "most honorably," to make it more strong, and afterward went over, in a body, to his quarters, to congratulate him. The rest of the post followed.Cairness pitied Mrs. Kirby sincerely. But if she felt herself an object of sympathy, she did not show it.
"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."Take care!" yelled Cairness, as Felipa, dazed and without breath, headed straight for the stream. He bent and snatched at her bridle, and, swerving, started up the sheer side of the hill. She clung to the mane instinctively, but her horse stumbled, struggled, slipped, and scrambled. She had lost all control of it, and the earth and stones gave way beneath its hoofs just as a great wall of water bore down the bed of the river, sweeping trees and rocks away, and making the ground quiver.
She was strong, slender as she was, and she freed herself almost without effort. And yet he would not be warned. "Don't you love me?" he insisted, as though she had not already made it plain enough.Then the cow-boy who had touched him on the shoulder suggested that he had better take a man's drink.The last straw was laid on when an Indian policeman arrested a young buck for some small offence. The buck tried to run away, and would not halt when he was told to. The chief of police fired and killed a squaw by mistake; and though he was properly sorry for it, and expressed his regret, the relatives and friends of the deceased squaw caught him a few days later, and cutting off his head, kicked it round, as they had seen the White-eye soldier do with his rubber foot-ball. Then they, aroused and afraid too of punishment, fled from the reservation and began to kill.
About an hour after midnight there came thundering through the quiet of the night the sound of galloping hoofs along the road at the foot of the ravine. Cairness, lying broad awake, was the first to hear it. He sprang up and ran to the opening of the tent. He guessed that it was a courier even before the gallop changed to a trot, and a voice called from the invisible depths below, "Captain Landor?" with a rising intonation of uncertainty.Stone laughed and inquired if he were joking, or just crazy.
The friend swore earnestly that he would take what he was told to.
He shook his head. "It is not a whim. It is the same with every one. Of course Brewster has lost his head, but that argues nothing. The endearing quality seems to be lacking in her."详情
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