But in the days of Victorio and his predecessors and successors, Aravaypa Ca?on was a fastness. Men went in to hunt for gold, and sometimes they came out alive, and sometimes they did not. Occasionally Apaches met their end there as well.They went at once for supper to the most popular resort of the town, the Great Western Saloon and Restaurant. It was a long adobe room, the whitewash of which was discolored by lamp smoke and fly specks and stains. There were also bullet holes and marks of other missiles. At one end was a bar, with a tin top[Pg 41] for the testing of silver coins. Several pine tables were set out with cracked sugar bowls, inch-thick glasses, bottles of pickles and condiments, still in their paper wrappings, and made filthy by flies, dust, and greasy hands. Already there were half a dozen cow-boys and Mexicans, armed to the teeth, standing about.
Cairness himself had speculated upon that subject a good deal, and had noticed with a slight uneasiness the ugly looks of some of the ranch hands. "They are more likely to have trouble in that quarter than with the Indians," he said to himself. For he had seen much, in the ranks, of the ways of the disgruntled, free-born American.
Landor explained again, with greater detail, vainly trying to impress the nature of a military order on the civilian brain. "It would not do for me to disobey my[Pg 112] instructions. And besides there are several officers who are to follow trails, out with larger commands. I have no pack-train, and I can't."Cabot did not answer. The gasping horse on the sand, moving its neck in a weak attempt to get up, was answer enough. He stood with his hands hanging helplessly, looking at it in wrath and desperation.
The Reverend Taylor stood there with his son in his arms. The mocking-bird trilled out a laugh to the evening air. It was irresistible, so droll that even a bird must know it,鈥攖he likeness between the little father and the little son. There was the same big head and the big ears and the big eyes and the body[Pg 247] that was too small for them all, a little, thin body, active and quivering with energy. There were the very same wrinkles about the baby's lids, crinkles of good humor and kindly tolerance, and the very same tufts of hair running the wrong way and sticking out at the temples.He was surprised, but he was pleased too, and he took the long fingers in his and held them gently.
"Why is it dangerous?" she wanted to know, and shrugged her shoulders. She was plainly not to be terrorized.The knife was one he had brought from home, seizing it from the kitchen table at the last minute. It was very sharp and had been Felipa's treasured bread cutter. It came in very well just now, chiefly because of its length.The never ending changes of the service, which permitted no man to remain in one spot for more than two years at the utmost limit, had sent Landor's troop back to Grant, and it was from there that he was ordered out at the beginning of the summer.
The milk ranch and the stock were unhurt, and there were not even any Indian signs. It was simply another example, on the milkman's part, of the perfection to which the imagination of the frontier settler could be cultivated.
There followed a fury-fraught silence. Landor's face was distorted with the effort he was making to contain himself, and Felipa began to be a little uneasy. So she did the most unwise thing possible, having been deprived by nature of the good gift of tact. She got up from the couch and drew the knife from its case, and took it to him. "That," she said, showing the red-brown stains on the handle, "that is his blood.""I am certainly not good enough for anything else." He began to whistle, but it was not a success, and he stopped.Felipa stood up and told the truth shortly. "It[Pg 224] was my fault, if it was any one's," she ended. "You may kill me, if you like. But if you hurt him, I will kill myself." It was she who was threatening now, and she never said more than she meant. She turned almost disdainfully from them, and went up and out of the cave.
"He told me it was because he and Landor had had some trouble in the field, and weren't on the best of terms."
Not having had enough of driving to madness in '75 and '76, they tried it again three years later. They were dealing this time with other material, not the friendly and the cowed, but with savages as cruel and fierce and unscrupulous as those of the days of Coronado. Victorio, Juh, and Geronimo were already a little known, but now they were to have their names shrieked to the unhearing heavens in the agony of the tortured and the dying.Barnwell had told Brewster about him also. "His name is Cairness,鈥擟harles Cairness,鈥攁nd he's got a lot of fool theories too," he explained. "He goes in for art, makes some pretty good paintings of the Indians, and has picked up some of their lingo. Made himself agreeable to the squaws, I guess. The interpreter says there's one got her nose cut off by her buck, on his account."
He held the door open for the Texan woman and the parson to go out. Then he followed, closing it behind him."I think that Geronimo will make trouble. He knows that the agent and the soldiers are quarrelling, and he and his people have been drinking tizwin for many days."详情
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