It occurred to her now for the first time that there was danger for herself, so far in front, so entirely alone. The chances for passing the mesquites were not very good. If the men were already there, and that might be counted upon, they would not let her pass if they could help it. It occasioned her but one fear鈥攖hat she[Pg 328] could not stop her husband. If she were to turn from the road out into the open, she would lose time, even if the horse did not fall, and time was not to be lost.But she was, it appeared, a maiden lady, straight from Virginia. The Reverend Taylor was the first man she had ever loved. "It was right funny how it come about," he confided, self absorbed still. "Her mother keeps the res'rant acrost the street where I take my meals (I used to have a Greaser woman, but I got sick of frijoles and gorditas and chili and all that stuff), and after dinner every afternoon, she and me would put two saucers of fly-paper on a table and we would set and bet on which would catch the most flies before four o'clock. You ain't no idea how interestin' it got to be. The way we watched them flies was certainly intense. Sometimes, I tell you, she'd get that excited she'd scream when they couldn't make up their minds to[Pg 169] light. Once her mother come runnin' in, thinkin' I was tryin' to kiss her." He beamed upon Cairness, and accepted congratulations charmingly, sipping his soda-pop with quite a rakish little air. "What brought you here?" he remembered to ask, at length.
"We meet 'neath the blazing heavens,Landor explained to them that he was not doing the thinking, that it was their campaign. "You are my guides. You know the country, and I don't." He reminded them again that they had promised to lead him to Indians, and that he was ready to be led. If they thought the hostiles were to be reached by following the trail, he would follow it.
She could not help looking at him now, and his eyes held hers through a silence that seemed to them so enduring, so unreasonable, that Landor must wonder at it. But he had seen men put at a disadvantage by her beauty before, and he had grown too used to her lack of conventionality to think much about it, one way or the other.Now it is a hazardous undertaking to question an Englishman who does not care to be questioned. A person of good judgment would about as lief try to[Pg 30] poke up a cross lion to play. But Brewster persisted, and asked if Cairness would be willing to live among the Apaches.
The advance guard advanced less and less. Half drunk and ever drinking, in quaking fear of the timber, it kept falling back.He passed an officer who had a smoking six-shooter in his hand, and yelled in his ear, "Why are you doing that?" He had forgotten that it was by no means his place to question.They clambered up the mountain side, back to the camp, and Cairness escorted her to the tepee in silence. Then he left her. "Don't try to run away again," he advised. "You can't get far." He started off and turned back. "Speaking of running away, where's the Greaser you lit out with?"
The parson said that he could not. "Lawton ain't any use for me. I guess it's because he remembers me, that's why. He'll remember you, too."There was a chuckle from the group, and a chorus to the effect that they would be eternally condemned, the truth of which was patent in their faces. "Leave the little codger be," some one suggested; "he ain't skeered worth a sour apple."
"How do I know you're done with me yet?" she snapped.She waited, too, made silent by sudden realization of how futile anything that she might say would be. "I am glad to see you again," she faltered; "it is four years since Black River and the cloud-burst." She was angry at her own stupidity and want of resource, and her tone was more casual than she meant it to be.
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Landor turned to the citizen. "Where is your bid, Mr. Lawton?"详情
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