"See here," insisted Taylor; "turn round here and answer me." Cairness continued to stand with his head down, looking at the geraniums. The parson was wiser than his wife in that he knew when it was of no use to insist. "What's keeping you around here, anyway? You ought to have gotten out when you left the service鈥攁nd you half meant to then. What is it?"
"I ain't put it in yet," he stammered feebly.Cairness stood up and walked down to the water to wash his hands. Then he went into the cabin and brought out a small mirror, and all the shaving apparatus he had not used for months, and proceeded to take off his thick brown beard, while the Indian sat stolidly watching him with that deep interest in trifles of the primitive brain, which sees and marks, and fails to learn or to profit correspondingly.
He put out his hand and touched a warm, smooth flank. The horse gave a little low whinny. Quick as a flash he whipped out his knife and hamstrung it, not that one only, but ten other mules and horses before[Pg 207] he stopped. He groped from stall to stall, and in each cut just once, unerringly and deep, so that the poor beast, which had turned its head and nosed at the touch of the hand of one of those humans who had always been its friends, was left writhing, with no possible outcome but death with a bullet in its head.
"Neither have I," Cairness consoled him, from the depths of a rehearsal of the unwisdom of Isma?l Pasha.
Brewster told him that she was with Landor at the post now.The general refused the withered hand he put out, and looked at him unsmilingly. The feelings of the old chief were hurt. He sat down upon the ground, under the shadows of the cottonwoods and sycamores, and explained his conduct with tears in his bleary eyes. The officers and packers, citizens and interpreters, sat round upon the ground also, with the few Indians who had ventured into the White-man's camp in the background, on the rise of the slope. There was a photographer too, who had followed the command from Tombstone, and who stationed himself afar off and took snap-shots during the conference, which, like most conferences of its sort, was vague enough.
He knew that the stores which should have gone to him were loaded upon wagon-trains and hurried off the reservation in the dead of night; but he did not know why the Apache who was sent to humbly ask the agent about it was put in the guard-house for six months without trial. He knew that his corn patches were trampled down, but not that it was to force him to purchase supplies from the agent and his friends, or else get out. He knew that his reservation鈥攏one too large, as it was, for three thousand adults more or less鈥攈ad been cut down without his consent five different times, and that Mormon settlers were elbowing him out of what space remained. But, being only a savage, it were foolish to expect that he should have seen the reason for these things. He has not yet learned to take kindly to financial dishonesty. Does he owe you two bits, he will travel two hundred miles to pay it. He has still much to absorb concerning civilization."Never!" she declared; it was merely because she could not breathe the same air with that creature.It appeared that Landor was accused of cowardice, and that his name was handled with the delicate sarcasm usual with Western journalism鈥攁s fine and pointed as a Stone-age axe.
Landor held up a silencing hand. "If you have any explanations that you care to make, that it would be worth any one's time to listen to, you may keep them for a judge advocate." He pointed to the door.
"Do you think you could love me, Felipa?" he asked, without any preface at all.There is a majesty about the mountains of the desolate regions which is not in those of more green and fertile lands. Loneliness and endurance are written deep in their clefts and ca?ons and precipices. In the long season of the sun, they look unshrinking back to the glaring sky, with a stern defiance. It is as the very wrath of God, but they will not melt before it. In the season of the rains, black clouds hang low upon them, guarding their sullen gloom. But just as in the sternest heart is here and there a spot of gentleness, so in these forbidding fastnesses there are bits of verdure and soft beauty too.
The ill-smelling room filled, and various games, chiefly faro and monte, began. At one table two men were playing out a poker game that was already of a week's duration. The reek of bad liquor mingled with the smell of worse tobacco and of Mexican-cured leather鈥攍ike which there is no odor known to the senses, so pungent and permeating and all-pervading it[Pg 42] is. Several of the bracket lamps were sending up thin streams of smoke.详情
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