"Just what he's dishin' up to you now," she told him.Chapter 18
And Cairness himself was startled and utterly unprepared when the Reverend Taylor opened the door of the room where he lay and let her pass in. The little parson uttered no word, but there was a look on his face which said that now the questions he had put with no result were answered. It was for this that Cairness had given the best of his life.
She did not show the enthusiasm he had rather expected. "I dare say it is my bad conscience," she answered with some indifference. "I have a sin to confess.""To take them over to my quarters and keep them safe."
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.There was only Mrs. Campbell who knew the whole story. Landor had gone to her for advice, as had been his custom since the days before she had preferred Campbell to him. "Felipa," he said, "writes that she is going to run away from school, if I don't take her away. She says she will, and she undoubtedly means it. I have always noticed that there is no indecision in her character."
Presently the nurse came, a big, fat Mexican woman, with all her people's love of children showing on her moon face as she put out her arms. She had been with the Taylors since before the baby's birth, and she had more of its affection than the mother.We drink to our comrades' eyes
It rose to a subdued pitch as there came the gradual rattling of wheels and the slow tramp of many feet. A buckboard, from which the seats had been removed, came up the line, and behind it marched the troops and companies, Landor's own troop in advance. They halted in front of his quarters, and four officers came down the steps with the long box between them. The mocking-bird's trill died away to a questioning twitter.If he had not sprung forward, with his arms outstretched to catch her, she would have fallen, face downward in the dust. It was three times now he had so saved her.
Cairness had gone out to hitch the horses. When he came in he spoke to Mrs. Lawton, as one possessed of authority. He told her to lie down if she wanted to. "With your leave, Mrs. Taylor?" he added. Mrs. Taylor was already beside her, fussing kindly and being met with scant courtesy.He stood up. "I'll see you off inside of three days then, Stone," he said amicably."It's Mr. Cairness, ma'am," he whispered.
If Cairness had not slipped and gone sprawling down[Pg 232] at that moment, the fourth bullet would have brought him up short. It sung over him, instead, and splashed against a stone, and when he got to his feet again the eyes had come out from their hiding-place. They were in the head of a very young buck. He had sprung to the top of his rock and was dancing about with defiant hilarity, waving his hands and the Winchester, and grimacing tantalizingly. "Yaw! ya!" he screeched. Cairness discharged his revolver, but the boy whooped once more and was down, dodging around the stone. Cairness dodged after him, wrath in his heart and also a vow to switch the little devil when he should get him. But he did not seem to be getting him.
"Told him the truth, more idjit he."A stable man passed the window. Felipa called to him. "Bring me my horse, quick, and mount four men! Don't take five minutes and be well armed," she ordered in a low voice. Hers was the twofold decision of character and of training that may not be disregarded. The man started on a run.
They caught sight of Felipa, and both drew rein simultaneously. She was leaning against a post of the wire fence. The baby was carried on her hip, tucked under her arm, the sunbonnet was hanging by the strings around her neck, and her head, with its straight loose hair, was uncovered. The little girl stood beside her, clutching the white wrapper which had trailed in[Pg 314] the spring-house acequia, and from under which a muddy red slipper showed. That she was imposing still, said much for the quality of her beauty. She did not hear the tramp of the two horses, sharp as her ears were, for she was too intent upon watching a fight between two steers.详情
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