Cairness asked who Bill Lawton might be, and was told that he had been one of the Kirby men, "Big fellow with a big wife. If you was ever there, you'd ought to remember her. She was a Venus and a Cleopatrer rolled into one, you bet." The cow-boy was not devoid of lore for all his lowly station.
"I wish you to read it, John," she said quietly.He glanced over his shoulder at the door. It was closed; so he leaned forward and spoke in a lower voice. "Felipa, are you going to marry Landor, or are you not?"
"After that, as I said before, you may go."[Pg 20]
"They will kill me? Who will kill me, and what for?"Landor himself sat in his tent, upon his mess-chest, and by the light of a candle wrote a despatch which[Pg 8] was to go by courier the next morning. Gila valley mosquitoes were singing around his head, a knot of chattering squaws and naked children were peering into his tent, the air was oven-hot, coyotes were filling the night with their weird bark, and a papoose was bawling somewhere close by. Yet he would have been sufficiently content could he have been let alone鈥攖he one plea of the body military from all time. It was not to be. The declared and standing foes of that body pushed their way through the squaws and children. He knew them already. They were Stone of the Tucson press, sent down to investigate and report, and Barnwell, an Agency high official, who would gladly assist the misrepresentations, so far as in his power lay.Which was what they presently did. She expected it. A long, wrinkled hand reached in, feeling about for the knots of the tape. She stood still with the brush in her hands, watching. Another hand came, and another. She caught up her quirt from the cot, then realizing that the sting of the lash would only prove an exasperation and weaken her authority, if she had any whatever,鈥攁nd she believed that she had,鈥攕he threw it down. The cook was probably in the kitchen tent and did not know what was going on. And she would have died before she would have called for help.
Felipa nodded. "A very little," she said.Landor agreed with him, "I told the citizens so, but they knew better."
"You won't, I don't guess, if it was the citizens' own wish," insisted the indomitable one. "You wouldn't be gone more than two days at the outside. And a big party of us will go with you."
"Nothing much," he told her. He and Taylor could take care of the talking. Her part would be just to stand by and pay attention.
And Foster answered him that there would be thirty or forty."It is not only my business," he said, overlooking the last, and bending more eagerly forward, "it is not[Pg 49] only my business, it is the business of the whole post. You are being talked about, my dear young lady."
"I dare say," Landor agreed; "it is certainly more[Pg 11] charitable to suppose that men who hacked up the bodies of babies, and abused women, and made away with every sort of loot, from a blanket to a string of beads, were mad. It was creditably thorough for madmen, though. And it was the starting-point of all the trouble that it took Crook two years to straighten out."详情
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