She asked him about her father and mother. Going[Pg 53] back to his chair he told her everything that he knew, save only the manner of Cabot's death. "Then I took you to Yuma," he finished, "and from there to the East, via Panama." There was a pause. And then came the question he had most dreaded.
There was a mutter of thunder and a far-off roar, a flame of lightning through the trees, and the hills and mountains shook. Just where they rode the ca?on narrowed to hardly more than a deep gulch, and the river ran close beside the road.She bowed gravely, "You are very kind."
Then he began to come to himself and to listen to all that Felipa had to tell him of the many things she had not put in her short and labored letters. He saw[Pg 140] that she looked more beautiful and less well than when he had left her. There was a shadow of weariness on her face that gave it a soft wistfulness which was altogether becoming. He supposed it was because she had nursed him untiringly, as she had; but it did not occur to him to thank her, because she had done only what was a wife's duty, only what he would have done for her if the case had been reversed. Toward the end of the day he began to wonder that no one had been to see him, and he spoke of it.
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.
She came and stood watching, asking no questions, while the woman on the sofa gulped down the raw whiskey and gave back the glass.He flushed angrily, then thought better of it, because after all the question was not impertinent. So he only answered with short severity that he most certainly had not.
She was sitting in her room, sewing. Of late she had become domesticated, and she was fading under it. He had seen it already, and he saw it more plainly than ever just now. She looked up and smiled. Her smile had always been one of her greatest charms, because it was rare and very sweet. "Jack," she greeted him, "what have you done with the bread knife you took with you, dear? I have been lost without it."Felipa felt something of this, and it lessened the vague burden of self-reproach she had been carrying. She was almost cheerful when she got back to the post. Through the last breakfast, which the Elltons took for granted must be a sad one, and conscientiously did their best to make so, she had some difficulty in keeping down to their depression."drop that!" called the cow-boy.
She was looking at them with such absorbed delight that she started violently when close behind her a voice she had not heard in four long, repressed years spoke with the well-remembered intonation: "He had better go to the farrier the first thing in the morning. I can't have him stove-up," and Cairness came out of the gate.
"It smells horribly," she exclaimed, dropping it on the floor, "it smells of hospitals鈥攄isinfectants." But she stooped and picked it up again.The surgeon, whose lore was not profound, and whose pharmacy exhibited more reptiles in alcohol than drugs, set the bones as best he knew how, which was badly; and, taking a fancy to Taylor, offered him and Cairness lodgings for the night,鈥攖he hospitality of the West being very much, in those times, like that of the days when the preachers of a new Gospel were bidden to enter into a house and there abide until they departed from that place.
The all-day fight in the Sierra Madre stronghold was a very uneven one. There were two hundred and fifty of the government forces against some thirty-five bucks. But, after all, the number comes to nothing. You may as well shoot at one enemy as at a thousand, if he is not to be seen anyway, and you cannot hit him."Barnwell tells me," he began, "that you have picked up a good deal of Apache."
"It brought back too much that was unpleasant for me. I did not want to talk about it. He saw that I did not, too, and I can't understand why he should have spoken of it. I should have told you after he had gone." She was not disconcerted in the slightest, only a little vindictive toward Forbes, and he thought it would hardly be worth his while to point out the curious position her silence put him in."I knew," Cairness said, turning to Landor after a very short silence, "that you and Mrs. Landor were somewhere along here. So I left my horse at a rancheria across the hill there," he nodded over his shoulder in the direction of the looming pile just behind, "and walked to where I saw the fire. I saw you for some time before I was near, but I ought to have called out. I really didn't think about startling you."详情
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