类型:奇幻地区:莫桑比克剧发布:2020-12-05 17:21:17


He went the next day but one, riding out of the post at daylight. And he saw Felipa once more. She was standing by the creek, drawing an arrow from her quiver and fitting it to her bow. Then she poised the[Pg 32] toe of her left foot lightly upon the ground, bent back, and drew the bow almost to a semicircle. The arrow flew straight up into the shimmering air, straight through the body of a little jay, which came whirling, spinning down among the trees. Felipa gave a quick leap of delight at having made such a shot, then she darted down in search of the bird. And Cairness rode on.He turned his chair and studied her in a kind of hopeless amusement. "Felipa," he said, "if you will insist upon being told, I cut open the pockets of those dead men's clothes with it."

He saw that the game had reached that stage where he must play his trump card, if he were to have any chance. "You are a mean little thing," he laughed. "It is the Apache blood, I suppose."When Cairness got him to the post and turned him over to the officer-of-the-day, the fire had burned itself out and quiet was settling down again. Big warm drops were beginning to splash from the clouds.

"Well," drawled Cairness again,鈥攈e had learned the value of the word in playing the Yankee game of bluff,鈥"with those about the beef contract and those about the Kirby massacre, also a few I gathered around San Carlos (you may not be aware that I have been about that reservation off and on for ten years), with those facts I could put you in the penitentiary, perhaps, even with an Arizona jury; but at any rate I could get you tarred and feathered or lynched in about a day. Or failing all those, I could shoot you myself.[Pg 260] And a jury would acquit me, you know, if any one were ever to take the trouble to bring it before one, which is doubtful, I think."

Landor sent for a squad of the guard and went to put them out. It was just one of the small emergencies that go to make up the chances of peace. He might or he might not come back alive; the probabilities in favor of the former, to be sure. But the risks are[Pg 186] about equal whether one fights Indians or citizens drunk with liquor and gaming."The Sun and the Darkness and the Winds were all listening. He promised to pay me dos reales each day. To prove to you that I am now telling the truth,[Pg 269] here is what he wrote for me." He held it out to Cairness, a dirty scrap of wrapping-paper scrawled over with senseless words.

Landor knew that the scouts had come in the afternoon before, and were in camp across the creek; but he had not seen their chief, and he said so.The hero of the episode rode in the ambulance, sitting on the front seat, holding his carbine across his knees, and peering with sharp, far-sighted blue eyes over the alkali flats. Occasionally he took a shot at a jack rabbit and brought it down unfailingly, but the frontiersman has no relish for rabbit meat, and it was left where it dropped, for the crows. He also brought down a sparrow hawk wounded in the wing, and, [Pg 29]having bound up the wound, offered it to Brewster, who took it as an opening to a conversation and tried to draw him out.

"Yes," said Crook.

Landor tried to interpose a suggestion that though the whole effect was undoubtedly good and calculated to melt a heart of iron, the rhetoric was muddled; but the reporter swept on; so he clasped his hands behind his head and leaning back against a tent pole, yawned openly. Stone came to an end at length, and had to mop his head with a very much bordered handkerchief. The temperature was a little high for so much effort. He met Landor's glance challengingly.Already he felt more respectable at the mere prospect of contact with his kind again. He was glad that the unkempt beard was gone, and he was allowing himself to hope, no, he was deliberately hoping, that he would see Felipa.

He naturally did not foresee anything serious, and he only said, "Well?" and began to fill his pipe from a[Pg 83] buckskin pouch, cleverly sketched in inks with Indian scenes. "By the way," he interrupted as she started to speak, "what do you think of this?" He held it out to her. "That fellow Cairness, who wouldn't stay to luncheon that day, did it for me. We camped near his place a couple of days. And he sent you a needle-case, or some such concern. It's in my kit." She looked at the pouch carefully before she gave it back; then she clasped her hands under her head again and gazed up at the manta of the ceiling, which sagged and was stained where the last cloud-burst had leaked through the roof.



"Certain, dead sure. It's a band of Apaches that went across the river. Why, half a dozen seen them."


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