Stone held that the affair had been grossly exaggerated, and that the proof thereof lay in the acquittal of all accused of the crime, by a jury of their peers; and Landor said that the sooner that highly discreditable travesty on justice was forgotten, the better for the good fame of the territory. The press representative waxed eloquent once more, until his neck grew violet with suppressed wrath, which sputtered out now and then in profanity. The officer met his finest flights with cold ridicule, and the Agency man improved the opportunity by pouring himself a drink from the flask on the cot. In little it was the reproduction of the whole situation on the frontier鈥攁nd the politician profited.The Reverend Taylor shook his head. "I may tell you sometime, but not now. In the meanwhile I'm sure you think we had better keep Mrs. Lawton here, don't you now?"
Landor held up a silencing hand. "If you have any explanations that you care to make, that it would be worth any one's time to listen to, you may keep them for a judge advocate." He pointed to the door.Another thing he could not quite fathom was why the religious dances he had, in pursuance of his wild[Pg 176] pleasure, seen fit to hold on Cibicu Creek, had been interfered with by the troops. To be sure, the dances had been devised by his medicine men to raise the dead chiefs and braves with the end in view of re-peopling the world with Apaches and driving out the Whites. But as the dead had not consented to the raising, it might have been as well to allow the Indians to become convinced of the futility of it in that way. However, the government thought otherwise, and sent its troops.
"I ought to have known better than to come at all," he told Brewster, as they stood beside their horses; "it is always like this."She was frightened now. The quirt fell from her hand with a thud. She loosed her hold upon her long riding skirt and tripped over it.
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.But the Reverend Taylor's lips set again, and he shrugged his narrow shoulders. "I'm not certain myself," he said shortly.
"I wonder, my dear, what sort of air you breathed in your mother's restaurant at meal times?"
"You speak with the utmost fluency, my daughter,"[Pg 47] he had commended, and she had explained that she found expression more easy in French."Usted, vaya prontisimo," he directed with the assumption of right of one to whom she owed her life.
Cairness remembered with an anger and disgust with himself he could still feel, that last time he had seen her in the mouth of the cave. That had been two springs ago. Since then there had been no occupation for him as a guide or scout. The country had been at peace. The War Department and the Indian Department were dividing the control of the Agency, with the War Department ranking. Crook had been trying his theories as practice. He had been demonstrating that the Indian can work, with a degree of success that was highly displeasing to the class of politicians whose whole social fabric for the southwest rested on his only being able to kill.Foster hastened to assure him that two days would easily do it. "We know the country round here, [Pg 113]Colonel, know it better than the hostiles themselves; and a big party of us volunteers to put you on the trail and bring you to them. You can't hardly refuse, seein' as you say you are here to protect us, and this is the protection we ask, to get back the stock we've lost."But she would die before she would be faithless to him. He was sure of that. Only鈥攚hy should he exact so much? Why should he not make the last of[Pg 150] a long score of sacrifices? He had been unselfish with her always, from the day he had found the little child, shy as one of the timid fawns in the woods of the reservation, and pretty in a wild way, until now when she sat there in front of him, a woman, and his wife, loving, and beloved of, another man.
Cairness started for the salt lick, then changed his mind and his destination, and merely rode with Forbes around the parts of the ranch which were under more or less cultivation, and to one of the water troughs beneath a knot of live oaks in the direction of the foot-hills. So they returned to the home place earlier than they otherwise would have done, and that, too, by way of the spring-house.Landor went back to his command and waited. Another man rode up and joined the two. Ten minutes passed, and the troops grew restless.She did not. He had merely told her that her father was his friend and had died on the plains. "She thinks her mother died at Stanton. It is so near the Mescalero Agency that I let it go at that."详情
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