Having no children of her own, she took for prot茅g茅 a small White Mountain, son of a buck who hung about the post most of the time, bought him candy and peanuts at the sutler's store, taught him English, and gathered snatches of his tribe's tongue in return."Then he lied," said the buck, and tucked the scrap back under his head band. "They all lie. I worked for him two weeks. I worked hard. And each night when I asked him for money he would say to me that to-morrow he would pay me. When all his hay was cut he laughed in my face. He would pay me nothing." He seemed resigned enough about it.
It was half because she felt it would prick him, and half in humility, that she answered, "I suppose that is the Indian in me."And the walls around are bare;
Arizona had its full share of murder and sudden death. But New Mexico had more than that. Spring passed on there, with warmth for the snow-wrapped mountains, and blistering heat for the dead plains, and her way was marked with lifeless and mutilated forms.
She was broken to the acceptance of the inevitable now,鈥攈e could see that, any one could see it. She had learned the lesson of the ages鈥攖he futility of struggle of mere man against the advance of men. That it had been a hard lesson was plain. It showed in her face, where patience had given place to unrest, gentleness to the defiance of freedom. She had gained, too, she had gained greatly. She was not only woman now, she was womanly. But Cairness did not need to be told that she was not happy.
The sound shrilled sweetly through the house, through all the empty rooms, and through the thick silence of that one which was not empty, but where a flag was spread over a rough box of boards, and Ellton sat by the window with a little black prayer-book in his hand. He was going over the service for the burial of the dead, because there was no chaplain, and it fell to him to read it. Now and then one of the officers came in alone or with his wife and stood about aimlessly, then went away again. But for the rest, the house was quite forsaken.Cairness was surprised almost into showing his surprise. Felipa had said nothing of it to him. And he[Pg 317] knew well enough that she never forgot a face. He felt that he was in a false position, but he answered "Yes?" non-committally.
The officer-of-the-day put Lawton into the care of the guard and asked Cairness in to have a drink, calling him "my good man." Cairness was properly aware of the condescension involved in being asked into an officer's dining room, but he objected to being condescended to by a man who doubled his negatives, and he refused.
[Pg 100]"Like as not," Cairness agreed.He had gone back.
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A raiding party of hostiles had passed near the fort, and had killed, with particular atrocity, a family of settlers. The man and his wife had been tortured to death, the baby had had its brains beaten out against the trunk of a tree, a very young child had been hung by the wrist tendons to two meat hooks on the walls of the ranch-house, and left there to die. One big boy had had his eyelids and lips and nose cut off, and had been staked down to the ground with his remains of a face lying over a red-ant hole. Only two had [Pg 196]managed to escape,鈥攁 child of ten, who had carried his tiny sister in his arms, twenty miles of ca?ons and hills, to the post.Cairness jumped forward, and his arm went around her, steadying her. For a short moment she leaned against his shoulder. Then she drew away, and her voice was quite steady as she greeted him. He could never have guessed that in that moment she had[Pg 95] learned the meaning of her life, that there had flashed burningly through her brain a wild, unreasoning desire to stand forever backed against that rock of strength, to defy the world and all its restrictions.
And it seems that the dead are there.详情
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