"You will still keep her then?" Cairness wished to know.Presently she began again, "Well, he wasn't in it at all. Stone wasn't.""How," he said gruffly.
But the Apaches held it for only a day, for all that. They were unprepared and overconfident. Their bucks were for the most part away plundering the hapless Mexican settlements in the desert below. They had thought that no white troops nor Mexicans could follow here, and they had neglected to count with the scouts, who had been hostiles themselves in their day, and who had the thief's advantage in catching a thief. And so while the bucks and children wandered round among the trees or bathed in the creek, while the hobbled[Pg 230] ponies grazed leisurely on the rank grass, and the squaws carried fuel and built fires and began their day of drudgery, they were surprised.
Stone did not understand. He believed that he missed Mr. Cairness's meaning. "I don't think you do," said Cairness; "but I'll make it plainer, anyway. I want you to get out of the country, for the country's good, you know, and for your own. And I give you[Pg 259] three days to do it in, because I don't wish to hurry you to an inconvenient extent."
Then Landor remembered for the first time that there was a back door to Brewster's quarters and to the commissary. He crept over to the commissary and tried the door gently. It was fast locked. Then he went to the window. It was a low one, on a level with his[Pg 191] chest, with wide-apart iron bars. He ran his hand between them now, and, doubling his fist, broke a pane with a sudden blow. As the glass crashed in, he grasped the gray blanket and drew it back. Brewster was standing in front of the open safe, the package of bids in his hands, and the big rancher was beside him holding a candle and shading it with his palm. They had both turned, and were staring, terror-eyed, at the bleeding hand that held back the blanket.
Cairness went on, back to the barracks, and sitting at the troop clerk's desk, made a memory sketch of her. It did not by any means satisfy him, but he kept it nevertheless."Mr. Ellton was here this morning," Felipa told him, "and he will be in again before retreat."
When the barkeeper had served the others, he turned to him. "What'll you take?" he demanded, not too courteously.
But there was no night alarm, and at daybreak it began to be apparent to the troops that they had been led directly away from all chance of one. They made[Pg 121] fires, ate their breakfast, resaddled, and took their way back to the settlements, doubling on their own trail. They came upon signs of a yet larger band, and it was more probable than ever that the valley had been in danger."Yes," whispered the little girl, squirming in Felipa's arms, "I am dlad you's come. Let me doe.""Give me the keys鈥攁ll the keys."
"One thing," muttered Cairness.She denied the idea emphatically.
It was very short, but he held it a long time before he gave it back.Chapter 1
Cairness took the Reverend Taylor to the door. "You know that is Bill Lawton's wife?" he said.Then they walked up to the corral together. Kirby introduced him to his two partners, Englishmen also, and finished nailing up the boards of a box stall which a stallion had kicked down in the night. After that he threw down his hammer, took two big nails from his mouth, and sat upon the tongue of a wagon to talk long and earnestly, after the manner of men who have shared a regretted past.详情
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