He rolled another cigarette, and sat smoking it unmoved. And she went into the mess tent.He did not see that there was just the faintest shadow of pausing upon Forbes's part, just the quickest passing hesitation and narrowing of the eyes with Felipa. She came forward with unquestioning welcome, accustomed to take it as a matter of course that any traveller, minded to stop for a time, should go into the first ranch house at hand.
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."When the barkeeper had served the others, he turned to him. "What'll you take?" he demanded, not too courteously.
There was an expression in his eyes Cairness did not understand. It was not like their usual twinkle of welcome. "Wait a moment," he said, and went on with his writing. Cairness dropped down on the ground, and, for want of anything else to do, began to whittle a whistle out of a willow branch."Well, not in the immediate vicinity," he admitted. "No; but they passed along the foot-hills, and stole some stock, an' killed three men no later than this evening."
"I am not wasting any sympathy on the Apaches, nor on the Indians as a whole. They have got to perish. It is in the law of advancement that they should. But where is the use in making the process painful? Leave them alone, and they'll die out. It isn't three hundred years since one of the biggest continents of the globe was peopled with them, and now there is the merest handful left, less as a result of war and slaughter than of natural causes. Nature would see to it that they died, if we didn't."
Stone was something of a power in Tucson politics, and altogether a great man upon the territorial stump. He was proud of his oratory, and launched into a display of it now, painting luridly the wrongs of the citizen, who, it appeared, was a defenceless, honest, [Pg 10]law-abiding child of peace, yet passed his days in seeing his children slaughtered, his wife tortured, his ranches laid waste, and himself shot down and scalped.It was not quite an all-summer campaign. The United States government drove the hostiles over the border into the provinces of the Mexican government, which understood the problem rather better than ourselves, and hunted the Apache, as we the coyote, with a bounty upon his scalp.
And he understood that the shadow must rise always between them. He had never expected it to be otherwise. It was bound to be so, and he bowed his head in unquestioning acceptance.
It was the usual tale of woe that Geronimo had to tell, much the same that the old buck had recited to[Pg 298] Cairness in the spring of the last year. His particular grievance was the request for his hanging, which he had been told had been put in the papers, and his fear of three White-men who he believed were to arrest him. "I don't want that any more. When a man tries to do right, such stories ought not to be put in the newspapers. What is the matter with you that you do not speak to me? It would be better if you would look with a pleasant face. I should be more satisfied if you would talk to me once in a while." The interpreter translated stolidly. "Why don't you look at me and smile at me? I am the same man. I have the same feet, legs, and hands, and the Sun looks down on me a complete man." There was no doubt about that, at any rate, and perhaps it was not an unmixed good fortune.
"Geronimo does not want that any more. He has[Pg 271] tried to do right. He is not thinking bad. Such stories ought not to be put in the newspapers."详情
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