Visiting the guard is dull work, and precisely the same round, night after night, with hardly ever a variation. But to-night there occurred a slight one.[Pg 187] Landor was carrying his sabre in his arm, as he went by the back of the quarters, in order that its jingle might not disturb any sleepers. For the same reason he walked lightly, although, indeed, he was usually soft-footed, and came unheard back of Brewster's yard. Brewster himself was standing in the shadow of the fence, talking to some man. Landor could see that it was a big fellow, and the first thing that flashed into his mind, without any especial reason, was that it was the rancher who had been in trouble down at the sutler's store.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.
The garrison gave a hop in her honor and Landor's. It was quite an affair, as many as five and thirty souls being present, and it was written up in the Army and Navy afterward. The correspondent went into many adjectives over Mrs. Landor, and her fame spread through the land.Cairness asked who Bill Lawton might be, and was told that he had been one of the Kirby men, "Big fellow with a big wife. If you was ever there, you'd ought to remember her. She was a Venus and a Cleopatrer rolled into one, you bet." The cow-boy was not devoid of lore for all his lowly station.
He gave another grunt. "Go away to-morrow. Go to the Fort." He pointed with the hand that held the bit of cigarette in the direction of Apache. "Tell your man."
"You give me what no one else could give鈥攖he best things in life."Presently she said: "I can't forget. And you can't. As for other people鈥攖hey don't matter anyway." In her scheme of things other people rarely did matter. She hedged herself round with a barrier of indifference that was very nearly contempt, and encouraged no intimacies鈥攏ot even with Landor. And he knew it.
Stone was something of a power in Tucson politics, and altogether a great man upon the territorial stump. He was proud of his oratory, and launched into a display of it now, painting luridly the wrongs of the citizen, who, it appeared, was a defenceless, honest, [Pg 10]law-abiding child of peace, yet passed his days in seeing his children slaughtered, his wife tortured, his ranches laid waste, and himself shot down and scalped."That man is going to stay to luncheon," he told her.
Mrs. Taylor was silent. Her pop blue eyes shifted.
The general was neither convinced nor won over. He had Geronimo told that it was a very pretty story, but that there was no reason why forty men should have left the reservation for fear of three. "And if you were afraid of three, what had that to do with the[Pg 299] way you sneaked all over the country, killing innocent people? You promised me in the Sierra Madre that that peace should last. But you lied. When a man has lied to me once, I want better proof than his word to believe him again."
Cairness also thought that they should not, chiefly because they had a tendency to frighten the timid Apaches. But he went on quietly eating his breakfast, and said nothing. He knew that only silence can obtain loquacity from silent natures. He was holding his meat in his fingers, too, and biting it, though he did not drag it like a wild beast yet; and, moreover, he had it upon a piece of bread of his own baking.Because of which Landor, as soon as he was up, went in search of the commanding officer, and found him in the adjutant's office, and the adjutant with him. He demanded an explanation. "If any one has been [Pg 144]saying anything about me, I want to know it. I want to face him. It can't be that newspaper rot. We are all too used to it."
"And you care for him?""Seen the way Landor's been catching it?" they asked.
Kirby, hurrying from the house to learn the cause of the new uproar, was all but knocked down and trodden under the hoofs of all his stock, driven from the enclosure with cracking of whips and with stones. Then a dozen ridden horses crowded over the dropped bars, the woman in the lead astride, as were the men.详情
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