It was evident that she had no intention of making herself agreeable. Landor had learned the inadvisability and the futility of trying to change her moods. She was as unaffected about them as a child. So he took up the conversation he and Cairness had left off, concerning the Indian situation, always a reliable topic. It was bad that year and had been growing steadily worse, since the trouble at the time of his marriage, when Arizona politicians had, for reasons related to their own pockets, brought about the moving of the White Mountain band to the San Carlos Agency. The White Mountains had been peaceable for years, and, if not friendly to the government, at least too wise to oppose it. They had cultivated land and were living on it inoffensively. But they were trading across the territorial line into New Mexico, and that lost money to Arizona. So they were persuaded by such gentle methods as the burning of their Agency buildings and the destruction of their property, to move down to San Carlos. The climate there was of a sort fatal to the mountain Apaches,鈥攖he thing had been tried before with all the result that could be desired, in the way of fevers, ague, and blindness,鈥攁nd also the White Mountains were hereditary enemies of the San Carlos tribes. But a government with a policy, three thousand miles away, did not know these things, nor yet seek to know them. Government is like the gods, upon occasions: it[Pg 68] first makes mad, then destroys. And if it is given time enough, it can be very thorough in both.She looked at him in perplexity and surprise. "How could I be? There is no use talking about it."
Then a big cow-boy left the bar and loitering over, with a clink of spurs, touched him on the shoulder. "The drinks are on you," he menaced. The minister chose to ignore the tone. He rose, smiling, and stretching his cramped arms. "All right, my friend, all right," he said, and going with the big fellow to the bar he gave a general invitation.
The officer-of-the-day put Lawton into the care of the guard and asked Cairness in to have a drink, calling him "my good man." Cairness was properly aware of the condescension involved in being asked into an officer's dining room, but he objected to being condescended to by a man who doubled his negatives, and he refused.But he pleaded entire ignorance, and the others were at considerable pains to enlighten him.
"What is this?" he shouted, grabbing at a halter-shank and clinging to it until a knife slashed down on his wrist.
The round-up lasted several days longer, and then the men were paid off, and went their way. The way[Pg 167] of most was toward Tombstone, because the opportunities for a spree were particularly fine there. Not because of these, but because the little parson lived there now, Cairness went also. Moreover, it was as good a place as another to learn more about the massacre. Cow-boys coming from other round-ups and getting drunk might talk.The column halted, and the lieutenant in command rode back. He, too, looked down at the horse, pulling at his mustache with one gauntleted hand. He had played with Cabot when they had been children together, in that green land of peace and plenty which they called the East. They had been schoolmates, and they had the same class sympathies even now, though the barrier of rank was between them, and the dismounted man was a private in Landor's own troop. Landor liked the private for the sake of the old times and for the memory of a youth which had held a better promise for both than manhood had fulfilled."You give your horse a sore back whenever you go far, and you always bring him back in a lather."
"Yes?" said Landor. The inflection was not pleasing. It caused Brewster to answer somewhat weakly, "Yes."Another of her pets was a little fawn a soldier had caught and given to her. It followed her tamely about the post.
"How," answered Felipa, as unconcernedly as though she had not recognized him almost at once for the buck she had last seen in the A tent beside the hospital, with the doctor picking pieces of bone and flesh from his shoulder. Then she took the quiver and examined it. There was a bow as tall as herself, and pliable as fine steel, not a thing for children to play with, but a warrior's arm. Also there were a number of thin, smooth, gayly feathered arrows. "Malas," he told her, touching the heads. "Venadas" and she knew that he meant that they were poisoned by the process of [Pg 89]dipping them in putrid liver, into which a rattler had been made to inject its venom. Even then the sort was becoming rare, though the arrow was still in use as a weapon and not merely as an attraction for tourists."Well?" said he, questioningly, setting his mouth. It answered to the duellist's "On guard!" She had seen him set his mouth before, and she knew that it meant that he was not to be opposed. Nevertheless there was a principle involved now. It must be fought for. And it would be the first fight of their marriage, too. As he had told Cairness once, she was very amiable.
There was now at Grant the prospect of a girl, and for days ahead the bachelors had planned about her. She was Landor's ward,鈥攊t was news to them that he had a ward, for he was not given to confidences,鈥攁nd she was going to visit the wife of his captain, Mrs. Campbell. When they asked questions, Landor said she was eighteen years old, and that her name was Cabot, and that as he had not seen her for ten years he did not know whether she were pretty or not. But the vagueness surrounding her was rather attractive than otherwise, on the whole. It was not even known when she would arrive. There was no railroad to[Pg 14] Arizona. From Kansas she would have to travel by ambulance with the troops which were changing station.And he succeeded in seeing Felipa. It was most unexpected. He had believed her to be in Stanton, a good many hundred miles away. But Landor having been sent at once into the field, she had come on to Grant to visit the Campbells, who were again stationed there. He met her face to face only once, and he measured with one quick look all the changes there were between the girl of ten years before and the woman of to-day. The great, sad pity that rose within him, and seemed to grasp at his throat chokingly, was the best love he had felt for her yet. It wiped out the wrong of the short madness in the cave's mouth.详情
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