类型:奇幻地区:莫桑比克剧发布:2020-10-25 15:22:38


Out in the corral the cow-boy was holding forth. The men had stopped work on the instant that Kirby had turned his back. If Kirby could loll on soft cushions and drink tea, as free-born Americans and free-souled Irishmen they might do the same. "It's all right," said the cow-boy, with a running accompaniment of profanity, as he cleaned his brutal Mexican bit. "Johnny Bull don't have to believe in it if he don't like. But all the same, I seen a feller over here[Pg 124] to the 3 C Range, and he told me he seen the military camped over to San Tomaso a week ago, and that there was a lot of stock, hundred head or so, run off from the settlements. You see, them Apaches is making for the southern Chiricahuas over in Sonora to join the Mexican Apaches, and they're going to come this here way. You see!" and he rubbed at the rust vigorously with a piece of soft rawhide."They put him in a tent beside the hospital, and the next morning I went over with the doctor to see him. He was all cut up on the arms and neck and shoulders. I must have been very strong." She stopped, and he still sat with the puzzled look on his face, but a light of understanding beginning to show through.

Landor humored her, but did not quite approve. "If you begin that, every papoose at the Agency will be brought down to us," he suggested; and once when he had grown a little tired of having the noiseless, naked little savage forever round, he offered him a piece of canned lobster. Whereupon the boy fled wildly, and would not be coaxed back for many days. Felipa seemed really to miss him, so Landor never teased him after that, making only the reasonable request that the youngster be not allowed to scratch his head near him.When his analysis of her failed, he went to Mrs. Campbell again. "Do you grow fond of Felipa?" he asked point blank.

Landor shrugged his shoulder, but Felipa would not have it so. "You know he is not, Jack," she said a little petulantly, which was noticeably unwonted on her part."Now, Mr. Brewster," said Landor, going to the safe and resting his elbow upon it, and leaning forward in his earnestness, "I am going to tell you what you are to do. It would be better for the service and for all concerned if you do it quietly. I think you will agree with me, that any scandal is to be avoided. Come to the opening of the bids to-morrow, at noon, quite as though nothing of this disgraceful sort had happened. I will keep the keys until then. But by retreat to-morrow evening I want your resignation from the service in the hands of the adjutant. If it is not, I shall prefer charges against you the next morning. But I hardly think you will deem it advisable to stand a court-martial." He stopped and stood erect again.

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.Two aimless citizens lounged on their horses, rapt in argument and the heavy labor of chewing鈥攕o much so that they barely took notice of the troops.

Landor pointed to him. "Who is this?" he asked.One morning Brewster met Felipa coming from the hospital and carrying a wide-mouthed bottle. He joined her and asked if the little lady were going to grow flowers in it. The little lady, who was quite as tall as and a good deal more imposing than himself, answered that it was for a vinagrone. He remonstrated. She was surely not going to make a pet of one of those villanous insects. No. She had caught a tarantula, too, and she was going to make them fight.

"drop that!" called the cow-boy.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.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.

On the next day they were in the flat, nearing the post. There was a dust storm. Earlier in the morning the air had grown suddenly more dry, more close and lifeless than ever, suffocating, and a yellow cloud had come in the western sky. Then a hot wind began to blow the horses' manes and tails, to snarl through the greasewood bushes, and to snap the loose ends of the men's handkerchiefs sharply. The cloud had thinned and spread, high up in the sky, and the light had become almost that of a sullen evening. Black bits floated and whirled high overhead, and birds beat about in the gale. Gradually the gale and the dust had dropped nearer to the earth, a sand mist had gone into every pore and choked and parched. And now the tepid, thick wind was moaning across the plain, meeting no point of resistance anywhere.

[Pg 51]With the sublime indifference to the mockery of the world, characteristic of his race, Cairness kept at it. It was ridiculous. He had time to be dimly aware of that. And it certainly was not war. He did not know that they were affording the opposing forces much enjoyment. He had not even observed that the firing had stopped. But he meant to catch that much qualifiedly impudent little beast, or to know the reason why. And he would probably have known the reason why, if one of the Apache scouts, embarrassed by no notions of fair play, had not taken good aim and[Pg 233] brought his youthful kinsman down, with a bullet through his knee.


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His teeth set. The little man gasped audibly. "Good God!" he said, "I鈥" he stopped.It was a fatal want of tact perhaps, characteristic of the race, but then the characteristic is so fine. "You will do whatever I tell you to do," the voice was low and strained, but not wavering. It reached the group by the harness-room door.



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