Yet somehow "timid subterfuges" seemed hardly the words to fit with the hard, unswerving eye and the deep-lined face of the accused. It struck the court so. There were other things that struck the court, notably that Brewster had criticised his captain to civilians and to enlisted men. The Judge Advocate frowned. The frown settled to a permanency when Brewster sought out that honorable personage to complain, unofficially, that his case was being neglected. It was about upon a par with an accusation of bribery against a supreme judge in civil life, and naturally did not do the [Pg 156]plaintiff much good when the Judge Advocate rose, terrible in his indignation, to repeat the complaint officially to the assembled court at the next sitting. The court was resentful. It listened and weighed for six days, and then it acquitted Landor on every charge and specification "most honorably," to make it more strong, and afterward went over, in a body, to his quarters, to congratulate him. The rest of the post followed.
The captain knitted his thick brows and interposed quickly, talking against time. "If the Tucson ring and the Indian Bureau had one head, I should like the detail of cutting it off." His annoyance seemed to be of an impersonal sort, and the commandant began to feel that he must have handled the thing rather well, after all. He gained in self-esteem and equanimity.
When the baby began to cry, as it was always quite sure to do sooner or later, and Mrs. Ellton went up to it, Landor spoke. "If I should come for you at any hour to-night, I wish you would hold yourself in readiness to go out with me immediately."
He was waking now to his work. But he had enough of horses. He stopped, sheathed his knife, and, feeling in his pockets, drew out a box of matches. A little spluttering flame caught in a pile of straw, and showed a hind foot dragging helplessly. It crept up, and the mule plunged on three legs, dragging the other along. It snorted, and then every animal in that corral, which was the quartermaster's, smelt danger and snorted too, and struck from side to side of its stall. Those in the next corral caught the fear."Shall you go with them?" asked Cairness.
"What did I do? The same as he done unto me. Let the air into his sombrero." He told them that he was studying the flora of the country, and travelling quite alone, with an Indian pony, a pack-mule, and a dog鈥攁 prospector's outfit, in short."They could kill a good many of us before they died out, if we would sit still and take it," Landor objected.
The Indians who came round talked with her amicably enough, mainly by signs. She played with the children too, and one day there appeared among them her prot茅g茅 of the post, who thereafter became a camp follower.It ended in victory for the vinagrone, but he died from his wounds an hour later. Felipa told Landor so, as they started for a ride, early in the afternoon. "The vinagrone is dead," she said; "Mr. Brewster didn't like my fighting them." Then she assumed the lofty dignity that contrasted so oddly sometimes with her childish simplicity. "He lacks tact awfully. Think of it! He took the occasion to say that he loved me. As though he had not told me so a dozen times before."
Cairness, talking to one of the other men, who was mending a halter, watched him, and recalled the youth in spotless white whom he had last seen lounging on the deck of an Oriental liner and refusing to join the sports committee in any such hard labor as getting up a cricket match. It was cooler here in the Arizona mountains, to be sure; but it was an open question if life were as well worth living.And Brewster said he had not.
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She said "Yes" as frankly as she would have said it to the children. It was blighting to any budding romance, but he tried hard nevertheless to save the next question from absolute baldness. He had a resentful sort of feeling that he was entitled to at least a little idealism. As she would not give it, he tried to find it for himself, noting the grace of her long free neck, the wealth of her coarse black hair, and the beauty of her smiling mouth. But the smiling mouth answered his low-spoken "Will you marry me then, dear?" with the same frank assent. "Not for a good while, though," she added. "I am too young." That was all, and in a moment she was telling him some of Brewster's absurdities, with a certain appreciation of the droll that kept it from being malicious.
Cairness mounted, and looked up anxiously at the sky, as he gathered his reins between his fingers. The wind had begun to howl through the branches of the trees. It promised to be a wild ride. "I will be back to-night, Landor, to report," he said; "that is, if the storm doesn't delay us." And they started off down the hill.Landor and the adjutant came by, and she called to them. The adjutant backed the vinagrone with a bag of sutler's candy, and Felipa took the tarantula. It was mainly legless trunk, but still furious. Landor studied her. She was quiet, but her eyes had grown narrow, and they gleamed curiously at the sight of the torn legs and feelers scattering around the bottle, wriggling and writhing. She was at her very worst.The buck went on, the while he held a piece of venison in his dirty hand and dragged at it with his teeth, to say that there was a feeling of great uneasiness upon the reservation.详情
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