[Pg 257]The fall had knocked the breath from his body. The under dog did not answer.
"He's coming back from Tombstone with some money, ain't he?"
She nodded."Some Sierra Blanca, sir," said the soldier. It was respectful enough, and yet there was somewhere in the man's whole manner an air of equality, even superiority, that exasperated the lieutenant. It was contrary to good order and military discipline that a private should speak without hesitation, or without offence to the English tongue.
[Pg 18]With one accord they strode forward to the support of their somewhat browbeaten brother. What they would do was exactly as they pleased, they told the tyrant. They shook their fists in his face. It was all in the brutal speech of the frontier, mingled with the liquid ripple of argot Spanish, and its vicious, musical oaths. The deep voice of the woman carried above everything, less decent than the men. It was a storm of injury.Her lips parted, and quivered, and closed again. The winds from the wide heavens above the gap whined through the pines, the river roared steadily down below, and the great, irresistible hand of Nature crushed without heeding it the thin, hollow shell of convention. The child of a savage and a black sheep looked straight and long into the face of the child of rovers and criminals. They were man and woman, and in the freemasonry of outlawry made no pretence.
There was a stronger blow at the door, as of a log used by way of a ram. It gave, swayed, and fell crashing in, and the big room swarmed with screaming fiends, their eyes gleaming wildly in the light of the burning hay and the branches piled against the cabin, as they waved their arms over their feathered heads."You better do what I say!" He was plainly spoiling for a fight."You do doubt me. If you did not, it would never occur to you to deny it. You doubt me now, and you will doubt me still more if you don't read it. In justice to me you must."
He came out of the rock nook into the half light and spoke her own name.She bowed gravely, "You are very kind."One morning Brewster met Felipa coming from the hospital and carrying a wide-mouthed bottle. He joined her and asked if the little lady were going to grow flowers in it. The little lady, who was quite as tall as and a good deal more imposing than himself, answered that it was for a vinagrone. He remonstrated. She was surely not going to make a pet of one of those villanous insects. No. She had caught a tarantula, too, and she was going to make them fight.
The captain's lips set.
She explained. "He says he will tell it broadcast," she ended, "but he won't. It wouldn't be safe, and he knows it." Her cool self-possession had its effect on him. He studied her curiously and began to calm down."Done up,鈥攊s it?" he said thoughtfully. His voice was hard because he realized the full ugliness of it. He had seen the thing happen once before.
"Squaw-man, isn't he?" Brewster asked.Cairness smiled. There was, it appeared, a small supply of poetic justice still left in the scheme of things to be meted out. "And then the Apache came down and bore you off like a helpless lamb," he said. "If I'd been the Apache I'd have made it several sorts of Hades for you, but I'd have scalped you afterward. You'd corrupt even a Chiricahua squaw. However, I'm glad you lived until I got you." And he left her.
He rolled his cut and throbbing head over again, and watched the still form. And he was conscious of no satisfaction that now there was nothing in all the world to keep him from Felipa, from the gaining of the wish of many years, but only of a dull sort of pity for Landor and for himself, and of a real and deep regret.详情
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