But the Reverend Taylor's lips set again, and he shrugged his narrow shoulders. "I'm not certain myself," he said shortly.
There were two bodies lying across the trail in front of him. He dismounted, and throwing his reins to the[Pg 136] trumpeter went forward to investigate. It was not a pleasant task. The men had been dead some time and their clothing was beginning to fall away in shreds. Some of their outfit was scattered about, and he could guess from it that they had been prospectors. A few feet away was the claim they had been working. Only their arms had been stolen, otherwise nothing appeared to be missing. There was even in the pockets considerable coin, in gold and silver, which Landor found, when he took a long knife from his saddle bags, and standing as far off as might be, slit the cloth open.
The telegraph between Thomas and Apache always gave something to think about. The Indians had learned the use of the White-eye's talking wire very promptly. In the early '70's, when it first came to their notice, they put it to good use. As when an Apache chief sent to a Yuma chief the message that if the Yumas did not hold to a certain promise, the Apaches would go on the war-path and destroy them, root and branch.
Felipa had discarded, long since, the short skirt and moccasins of her girlhood, and had displayed no inconsiderable aptitude in the matter of fashions; but she was given to looseness of draperies and a carelessness of attire in her own home that the picturesqueness of her beauty alone only saved from slatternliness. There was one manifestation of ill taste which she did not give, however, one common enough with the wives of most of the officers. She was never to be found running about the post, or sitting upon the porches, with her husband's cape around her shoulders and his forage-cap over her eyes. Her instinct for the becoming was unfailing. This was a satisfaction to Landor. But it was a secret grievance that she was most contented when in her riding habit, tearing foolhardily over the country."That is a promise," the Indian insisted, "to pay me dos reales a day if I would cut hay for him."
"He was, but he isn't. I sent for him about some business, and he is a very decent sort of a fellow. He has a little ranch on the reservation."The Gila River cutting straight across the southern portion of Arizona, from the Alkali flats on the east to the Colorado at Yuma on the west, flowed then its whole course through desolation. Sometimes cottonwoods and sycamore trees rose in the bottom, and there was a patch of green around some irrigated land. But, for the most part, the basin was a waste of glittering sand and white dust, and beyond, the low hills, bare of every plant save a few stunted wild flowers, cacti and sage, greasewood and mesquite, rolled for miles and miles of barrenness. The chicken hawk and crow sailed through the fiercely blue sky, the air waved and quivered with incredible heat. At night malaria rose from the ground, the coyote barked and whined at the light of the brilliant stars, and the polecat prowled deliberately.
Cairness slid to the ground, still holding her close, and set her upon her feet at once. He had not so much as tightened the grasp of his arm about her, nor held her one-half second longer than there was absolute need.When the sun was at midheaven, and the shadows of the pines beyond the clearing fell straight, the [Pg 35]clanging of a triangle startled the mountain stillness. The Mexicans dropped their tools, and the white teamster left a mule with its galled back half washed.
"Come in," said her husband. He was pouring out a drink of whiskey."Why are you so all-fired anxious to vindicate the law?" He dropped easily into phrases."Is it because you think you ought to, or because you really want me?" She was looking at him steadily now, and he could not have lied to her. But the slender hand was warm and clinging, the voice low and sweet, the whole scene so cosey and domestic, and she[Pg 52] herself seemed so much more beautiful than ever, that he answered that it was because he wanted her鈥攁nd for the moment it was quite true. Had so much as a blush come to her cheek, had she lowered her earnest gaze, had her voice trembled ever so little, it might have been true for all time. But she threw him back upon himself rudely, with an unfeminine lack of tact that was common with her. "Then I will marry you whenever you wish," she said.
The little Reverend was not to be blandished. He was willing to go because it was his supper time and he knew it, but the big-eyed look of understanding he turned up to the gentle, fat face said plainly enough that he was too wise a creature to be wheedled. He [Pg 249]submitted to be carried in, but he cast a regretful glance at the "chuchu," which sat still in the doorway, and at his father, who was watching the line of flying ants making their way, a stream of red bodies and sizzing white wings, out of the window and across the street."You won't, I don't guess, if it was the citizens' own wish," insisted the indomitable one. "You wouldn't be gone more than two days at the outside. And a big party of us will go with you."
"You could take turns riding behind the men."详情
Copyright © 2020