At noon that day a cow-boy had ridden from the hills with a rumor that Victorio's people were about. But Kirby had kept it from his wife. It might not be true. And even if it were, the danger was really small. With the hands and the two Englishmen, the quadrangle of log cabins, well stocked with food and ammunition, could withstand any attack. It had been built and planned to that end.One fine afternoon the post was moving along in its usual routine鈥攖hat quiet which is only disturbed by the ever recurring military formalities and the small squabbles of an isolated community. There had been a lull in the war rumors, and hope for the best had sprung up in the wearied hearts of the plains service, much as the sun had that day come out in a scintillating air after an all-night rain-storm.They tore on, away from the noise of the flames, of the falling timber and the shouted commands, around the haystacks so close to the barbed-wire fence that the barbs cut his boot, off by the back of the quarters, and then upon the road that led from the reservation. If the pony could be kept on that road, there was small danger from dog holes. He would run himself out in time. The length of time was what was uncertain, however. A cow-pony can go a good many hours at a stretch.
"Apaches ride badly, don't they?" she said, with calm matter of fact. "If you mean that I am hard on my horse, though, you are right." Her voice was exquisitely sweet, without modulation."Is there anything, then, that I can do for you? the officer asked. His intentions were good; Cairness was bound to realize that, too.
No answer still.
He came out of the rock nook into the half light and spoke her own name.The post talked it over unceasingly, and commented on Landor's attitude. "He stalks around in defiant dignity and makes everybody uncomfortable," they said.
"No," she said shortly. "You had better bet."Cairness put his arm around the big angular shoulders and helped her into the sitting room. She dropped down upon the sofa, and sat there, her head hanging, but in sullenness, not humility."And then, there was the trouble about the cows. They promised us one thousand, and they gave us not quite six hundred. And those鈥攖he Dawn and the Sky hear that what I tell you is true鈥攁nd those were so old we could not use them."
She made it plainer to him by and by, as she went on to advise his course about Brewster. "If I were you, I would ignore his having told me, Jack. I ought to have pretended that I knew it, but I was taken by surprise. He must not think you resent it as though it were an insult, though. As for me, I won't have anything more to do with him; but that is for reasons of my own.""Yes?" said Landor. The inflection was not pleasing. It caused Brewster to answer somewhat weakly, "Yes."
It appeared that Landor was accused of cowardice, and that his name was handled with the delicate sarcasm usual with Western journalism鈥攁s fine and pointed as a Stone-age axe.
Cairness remembered with an anger and disgust with himself he could still feel, that last time he had seen her in the mouth of the cave. That had been two springs ago. Since then there had been no occupation for him as a guide or scout. The country had been at peace. The War Department and the Indian Department were dividing the control of the Agency, with the War Department ranking. Crook had been trying his theories as practice. He had been demonstrating that the Indian can work, with a degree of success that was highly displeasing to the class of politicians whose whole social fabric for the southwest rested on his only being able to kill."How do you know this?"The exceedingly small respectable element of Tombstone hailed their departure with unmixed joy. They had but one wish,鈥攖hat the Toughs might meet the Apaches, and that each might rid the face of the desert of the other. But the only Apaches left to meet were the old and feeble, and the squaws and papooses left at San Carlos. The able-bodied bucks were all in the field, as scouts or hostiles.
"What the devil do you want to know, then?"详情
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