类型:奇幻地区:莫桑比克剧发布:2020-11-25 09:50:20


There is a majesty about the mountains of the desolate regions which is not in those of more green and fertile lands. Loneliness and endurance are written deep in their clefts and ca?ons and precipices. In the long season of the sun, they look unshrinking back to the glaring sky, with a stern defiance. It is as the very wrath of God, but they will not melt before it. In the season of the rains, black clouds hang low upon them, guarding their sullen gloom. But just as in the sternest heart is here and there a spot of gentleness, so in these forbidding fastnesses there are bits of verdure and soft beauty too."We were planting our own corn and melons," said Alchise, "and making our own living. The agent at San Carlos never gave us any rations, but we didn't mind about that. We were taking care of ourselves. One day the agent鈥" He stopped and scowled at a squaw a few yards away, whose papoose was crying lustily. The squaw, having her attention thus called to the uproar of her offspring, drew from somewhere in the folds of her dirty wrappings a nursing-bottle, and putting the nipple in its mouth, hushed its cries. The chief went on: "One day the agent sent up and said that we must give up our own country and our corn patches, and go down there to the Agency to live. He sent Indian soldiers to seize our women and children, and drive us down to the hot land."It did not seem to strike the representative of the citizens of San Tomaso that that was much of an argument. He continued to urge.

"It's鈥" the boy looked around nervously. "If you'd come into the house鈥" he ventured.He seated himself upon a low branch of sycamore, which grew parallel to the ground, and went on to tell what he had seen on the hilltop in the hostile camp. "They are in capital condition. A lot of them are playing koon-kan. There were some children and one little red-headed Irishman about ten years old with[Pg 295] them. He was captured in New Mexico, and seems quite happy. He enjoys the name of Santiago Mackin鈥攑lain James, originally, I suppose."She was silent, but the stubbornness was going fast. She broke off a bunch of little pink blossoms and rolled it in her hands.

Then stand to your glasses steady,And so he had to accept it. He rose, with a slight sigh, and returned to the examination of his spoils.

Landor's troop was stationed at Stanton, high up among the hills. It had come there from another post down in the southern part of the territory, where anything above the hundreds is average temperature, and had struck a blizzard on its march.Landor pointed to him. "Who is this?" he asked.

"Where is she now?"

He turned on his heel and left her.In the weeks that followed, Landor spent days and some nights鈥攖hose when he sat up to visit the guard, as a rule鈥攁ttempting to decide why his ward repelled him. She seemed to be quite like any other contented and natural young girl. She danced, and courted admiration, within the bounds of propriety; she was fond of dress, and rather above the average in intelligence. Usually she was excellent company, whimsical and sweet-humored. She rode well enough, and learned鈥攖o his intense annoyance鈥攖o shoot with a bow and arrow quite remarkably, so much so that they nicknamed her Diana. He had remonstrated at first, but there was no reason to urge, after all. Archery was quite a feminine sport.

Twenty, yes ten, of those who, as the sound of the firing reached their ears, were making off at a run down the south road for the settlement in the valley, could have saved the fair-haired children and the young mother, who helped in the fruitless fight without a plaint of fear. Ten men could have done it, could have done it easily; but not one man. And Kirby knew it now, as the light of flames began to show through the chinks of the logs, and the weight of heavy bodies thudded against the door.

Under the midnight sky, misty pale and dusted with glittering stars, the little shelter tents of Landor's command shone in white rows. The campfires were dying; the herd, under guard, was turned out half a mile or more away on a low mesa, where there was scant grazing; and the men, come that afternoon into camp, were sleeping heavily, after a march of some forty miles,鈥攁ll save the sentry, who marched up and down, glancing from time to time at the moving shadows of the herd, or taking a sight along his carbine at some lank coyote scudding across the open.



The citizen was still there, still holding the candle and shading it, scared out of the little wits he had at the best of times. He was too frightened as yet to curse Brewster and the wary scoundrel back in Arizona, who had set him on to tampering with the military,[Pg 192] and had put up the funds to that end鈥攁 small risk for a big gain.It was failure, flat failure. The officers knew it, and the general knew it. It was the indefinite prolongation of the troubles. It was the ignominious refutation of all his boasts鈥攂oasts based not so much upon trust in himself, as on belief in the nature of the Apache, whose stanch champion he had always been.

Brewster was silent, but he neither flinched nor cowered, nor yet shifted his eyes.But it was full two hours, in the end, before they did start. Flasks had to be replenished, farewell drinks taken, wives and families parted from, the last behests made, of those going upon an errand of death. Citizens burning with ardor to protect their hearths and stock were routed out of saloons and dance halls, only to slip away again upon one pretext or another.



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