Landor took stock of the others. There had been five led horses twenty-four hours before, when they had started on a hot trail after the chief Cochise. But they had taken the places of five others that had dropped in their tracks to feed the vultures that followed always, flying above in the quivering blue. They were a sorry lot, the two score that remained."He's got Bill right under his thumb," she sneered at her weak spouse.
"Why don't you ask him?" said Mrs. Lawton, astutely.They sprang up, with a clatter of dishes and overturning of benches and a simultaneous cry of "Whereabouts?"
She could not help looking at him now, and his eyes held hers through a silence that seemed to them so enduring, so unreasonable, that Landor must wonder at it. But he had seen men put at a disadvantage by her beauty before, and he had grown too used to her lack of conventionality to think much about it, one way or the other.Brewster mumbled out of a towel that he guessed they were all right, and implied what the dickens did it matter to him how they were."I don't believe you can," Cairness said; "but you might try it, if it will give you any pleasure. Only you must make haste, because you've got to get out in three days."
So the troops and the volunteers rode away without him, and a few miles off, among the foot-hills, struck the trail. Here Landor, giving ear to the advice of the citizens, found himself whirled around in a very torrent of conflicting opinions. No two agreed. The liquor had made them ugly. He dismounted the command for rest, and waited, filled with great wrath.She bowed gravely, "You are very kind."
He believed that he had no ties now, that friendships, the love of woman, and the kiss of children all had missed him, and that his, thenceforth, must be but vain regret. So far as he knew, Felipa had gone away without ever having received his letter. The man he had intrusted it to had been killed in the Aravaypa Ca?on: that he was certain of; and it never entered his head that his papers might have fallen into other hands, and the note have finally been delivered to her. She was leading the sort of life that would most quickly put him entirely out of her mind. He was taking the Washington papers, and he knew. She had gone away, not even sure that he had given her a thought since the night in the Sierra Blanca when Black River had roared through the stillness, and they had been alone in all the wild world. What a weird, mysterious, unearthly scene it had been, quite outside the probabilities of anything he had imagined or contemplated for a single minute. He had never regretted it, though. He believed in impulses, particularly his own.
Felipa stood up and told the truth shortly. "It[Pg 224] was my fault, if it was any one's," she ended. "You may kill me, if you like. But if you hurt him, I will kill myself." It was she who was threatening now, and she never said more than she meant. She turned almost disdainfully from them, and went up and out of the cave."And do you care for him, too?" he asked, looking her straight in the eyes. It was a very calm question, put鈥攈e realized it with exasperation鈥攁s a father might have put it.
But that same night he picked two for their reputation of repeating all they knew, and took them into his own rooms and told his story to them. And he met once again with such success that when Landor rode into the post the next day at about guard-mounting, three officers, meeting him, raised their caps and passed on.Landor asked, with a gleam of hope, if they were attached to her.
"To Captain Landor's widow, yes;" he met the unsympathetic eyes squarely. "I came to tell you, general, what I have gathered from the squaws. It may serve you."
"I have thought it over," said Cairness; "good night."Cairness's eyes turned from a little ground owl on the top of a mound and looked him full in the face. "I really can't see, sir," he said, "how it can matter to any one."
"I represent, sir, the citizens of San Tomaso."Felipa smiled again. "I might be happy," she went on, "but I probably should not live very long. I have Indian blood in my veins; and we die easily in a too much civilization."详情
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