And still, those who hated the Apache most鈥攐fficers who had fought them for years, who were laboring under no illusions whatever; the Commanders of the Department of Arizona and of the Division of the Missouri鈥攔eported officially that Victorio and his people had been unjustly dealt with. And these were men, too, who had publicly expressed, time and again, their opinion that the Apaches were idle and worthless [Pg 103]vagabonds, utterly hopeless, squalid, untrustworthy; robbers and thieves by nature. They had none of Crook's so many times unjustified faith in the red savage,鈥攖hat faith which, wantonly betrayed, brought him to defeat and bitter disappointment at the last. Since Crook had gone to the northern plains, in the spring of '75, the unrest among the Apaches had been steadily growing, until five years later it was beyond control, and there began the half decade which opened with Victorio on the war-path, and closed with the closing of the career of the unfortunate general鈥攎ost luckless example of the failing of failure鈥攁nd the subjection of Geronimo.So much for his past. As for his present. His only friends were treacherous savages and some few settlers and cow-boys. They would none of them miss him if he were to be laid under a pile of stones with a board cross at his head anywhere by the roadside, in the plains or among the hills. Some of them were honest men, some were desperadoes; none were his equals, not one understood the things that meant life to him. He had no abode, not so much as the coyote over there on the top of the little swell. He made his living in divers and uncertain ways. Sometimes he sent pictures to the East, studies of the things about him.[Pg 165] They sold well. Sometimes he was a scout or a guide. Sometimes he prospected and located claims with more or less good luck. Sometimes he hired himself out as a cow-boy at round-ups, as he was doing now. On the whole, he was, from the financial standpoint, more of a success than from any other.
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."It was characteristic of Felipa that she forgot him altogether and reread the letter, her breath coming in audible gasps.
The sergeant spent more time upon the oaths with which he embellished the counter-question as to how he should know anything about it, than would have been consumed in a civil explanation."It's not so much that," he evaded, getting up to put a lump of sugar he did not need into his tea, "it's not so much that as it is the everlasting strain of fighting the hands. It would be easier to meet an open rebellion than it is to battle against their sullen ugliness."
In the morning Cairness left them together and started for the San Carlos Agency. He was to meet a prospector there, and to begin his new fortunes by locating some mines.
He failed in the warning. He had barely gotten off the reservation before Geronimo and Nachez and their sympathizers broke out and started to reach again that fastness in the Sierra Madre from which they had been routed two years before. But he succeeded without the least difficulty in obtaining the position of chief of scouts.
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."Shut up," said Brewster, with malicious glee. "They also serve who only stand and wait, you know," he chuckled. "You can serve your admiring and grateful country quite as well in the adjutant's office as summering on the verdant heights of the Mogollons."
Landor came out, putting on his blouse, and went over to the horsemen. One of them dismounted and raised his hat.
They had lived an idyl for two years apast, and he begrudged nothing; yet now that the splendor was fading, as he knew that it was, the future was a little dreary before them both, before him the more, for he meant that, cost him what it might, Felipa should never know that the glamour was going for himself. It would be the easier that she was not subtle of perception, not quick to grasp the unexpressed. As for him, he had wondered from the first what price the gods would put upon the unflawed jewel of their happiness, and had said in himself that none could be too high.
"Indeed, I am not joking," she assured him earnestly. "It is quite true. Ask any one. Only don't let them know it was I who wounded him. They have never so much as suspected it. Fortunately I thought of you and ran home all the way, and was in my tent before it occurred to any one to come for me." She burst into a low laugh at his countenance of wrath and dismay. "Oh! come, Jack dear, it is not so perfectly, unspeakably horrible after all. I was disobedient. But then I am so sorry and promise never, never to do it again."When she lay, one day, with her face, too white and sharp, looking out from the tangle of hair upon the pillow, he asked her almost abruptly if she had rather go back to the West. He could not bring himself to ask if she were longing to be near Cairness. He shrank too much from her frank, unhesitating assent.
"Is it closed?"详情
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