[Pg 22]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 have seen you before, Mrs. Landor," he said after a while.
It was a long way to the salt lick, and the chances were that the two men would be gone the whole afternoon. The day was very hot, and she had put on a long, white wrapper, letting her heavy hair fall down over her shoulders, as she did upon every excuse now, and always when her husband was out of the way. There was a sunbonnet hanging across the porch railing. She put it on her head and went down the steps, carrying the child.Later, when the sun was well up in the jewel-blue sky, and the world was all ashine, they began the real routine of the day. And it would have been much like that of any of the other days that had gone before it for two years, had not Cairness come in a little before the noon hour, bringing with him a guest. It was an Englishman, whom he presented to Felipa as a friend of his youth, and named Forbes.
"Yes," he persisted, refusing to be thwarted, "once when you were crossing the parade at Grant, at retreat, and two days afterward when you shot a blue jay down by the creek."And then his thoughts shot back to the present with quick pain. She should not have come here, not so soon. He had taken a long, hard trip that had nearly ended in his death, to avoid this very thing, this [Pg 293]meeting, which, just because it made him so terribly happy, seemed a treachery, a sacrilege. Had she less delicacy of feeling than himself? Or had she more love? It was that, he saw it in her beautiful eyes which were growing wide and frightened at his silence. He took his hand from under the sheets and stretched it out to her. She went to him and dropped on her knees beside the bed, and threw her arms about him. He moved his weak head closer to her shoulder, and pressing her fingers to his face gave a choking sob. He was happy, so very happy. And nothing mattered but just this.
"I know it," she whispered, but she took her shaking hand from the dog's head, and, without another word, pointed to the shadow of Landor's figure, thrown distorted by the candle light against the side of the tent.
Cairness and Landor and a detachment of troops that had ridden hard all through the night, following an[Pg 132] appalling trail, but coming too late after all, found them so in the early dawn.[Pg 51]
And it seems that the dead are there.Cairness congratulated him with all solemnity, and asked if she were a widow. He was sure she must be, for the gallantry of the West in those days allowed no woman to pass maturity unwed.
The exceedingly small respectable element of Tombstone hailed their departure with unmixed joy. They had but one wish,鈥攖hat the Toughs might meet the Apaches, and that each might rid the face of the desert of the other. But the only Apaches left to meet were the old and feeble, and the squaws and papooses left at San Carlos. The able-bodied bucks were all in the field, as scouts or hostiles."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.详情
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