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类型:奇幻地区:莫桑比克剧发布:2020-12-05 22:31:17

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Now if one cannot have revenge upon the real malefactor himself, because one is afraid of him, there is still satisfaction to be derived, to a certain extent, from[Pg 204] wreaking it upon the innocent, of whom one is not afraid. Lawton felt, in his simple soul, that Stone was astute with the astuteness of the devil and all his angels. On the other hand, he believed the government to be dull. It was big, but it was stupid. Was not the whole frontier evidence of that fact to him? Clearly, then, the government was the one to be got even with.Then the journalist tried entreaty. He had a wife and children.

It was still early. The mountain echoes had not sung back the tattoo of the trumpets as yet. There was a storm coming on from the snow peak in the west, and the clouds, dark with light edges, were thick in the sky. Lawton was sober enough now. Not so far away in its little pocket among the hills he could see the post, with all its lights twinkling, as though one of the clear starry patches in the heavens were reflected[Pg 205] in a black lake in the valley. And the road stretched out faint and gray before him."Turn the rest loose," cried the woman, and set the example herself.

So the demand and the charges lay before the department commander, and there was a lull, during which Landor came upon further trouble, and worse. He undertook the examination of the papers he had found in the dead men's pockets. They had been buried in earth for two weeks.

As for the Kirby affair, there had been no hint of treachery in the published or verbal accounts of it. The ranch hands who had escaped had told a plain enough tale of having fled at the approach of the Indians, vainly imploring the Kirbys to do the same. It[Pg 166] seemed that the most they could be accused of was cowardice. It had all been set forth in the papers with much circumstance and detail. But Cairness doubted. He remembered their dogged ugliness, and that of the raw-boned Texan woman.The blaze of glory had gone suddenly from the clouds, leaving them lifeless gray, when she turned her eyes back to them; and the outlook across the parade ground was very bare. She went and stood by the fire, leaning her arm on the mantel-shelf and setting her determined lips.

"Yes," she said, "I heard it. But I was not frightened. What was it?" He did not know, he said, and she sent him back to the barracks.

Cairness lay white and still, looking up at her. He was very weak and dazed, and for the instant he could only remember, absurdly enough, the Andromaque he had seen a French actress play once in his very early youth when he had been taken with all the children of the Lyc茅e, where he was then at school, to the theatre on a Thursday afternoon. The Andromaque had been tall and dark and superb, and all in black, like that woman in the doorway there.

"She will shrink, I guess, at first," he admitted. "Women who ain't seen much of life kind of think they ought to draw aside their skirts, and all that. They were taught copy-book morals about touching pitch, I reckon,"鈥攈e was wise concerning women now鈥"and it takes a good deal of hard experience to teach them that it ain't so. But she'll take my word for it."

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The Indian wars of the southwest have been made a very small side issue in our history. The men who have carried them on have gained little glory and little fame. And yet they have accomplished a big task, and accomplished it well. They have subdued an enemy many times their own number. And the enemy has had such enormous advantages, too. He has been armed, since the 70's, even better than the troops. He has been upon his own ground鈥攁 ground that was alone enough to dismay the soldier, and one that gave him food, where it gave the white man death by starvation and thirst. He knew every foot of the country, fastnesses, water holes, creeks, and strongholds over thousands of miles. The best cavalry can travel continuously but twenty-five or thirty miles a day, carrying its own rations. The Apache, stealing his stock and food as he runs, covers his fifty or seventy-five. The troops must find and follow trails that are disguised[Pg 231] with impish craft. The Apache goes where he lists, and that, as a general thing, over country where devils would fear to tread.

They had been doing that for three days. They came down the chimney, made across the floor in a line that never changed direction, nor straggled, nor lessened, up the wall and out a crack in the window. They did no harm, but followed blindly on in the path the first one had taken. And the minister had said they should not be smoked back or thwarted.There was another silence, and this time he broke it.

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