He rode away at once after they had lunched. And Felipa went to her room, and dropped down shivering beside the little red-hot iron stove, moaning between her clenched teeth."I will write to you where you are to send my mail," she told him, when the train was about to pull out. He bowed stiffly, and raising his hat was gone. She looked after him as he went across the cinder bed to the ambulance which was to take him back, and wondered what would have been the look upon his nice, open face, if she had told him her plans, after all. But she was the only one who knew them.
He bit his lip and did not reply, either to the words or to the caress. "You need a month of the mountains, I think," he said.
Then it was the first, at any rate. His manner softened.The Reverend Taylor was tipped back in his chair with his feet upon the table, reading the Tucson papers. He sprang up and put out his hand in a delighted welcome, his small face turning into a very chart of smiling seams and wrinkles.He turned about and stood still, with his head uncovered, looking straight into her face. Another man might have wished it a little less open and earnest, a little more downcast and modest, but he liked it so. Yet he waited, erect and immovable, and she saw that he meant that every advance should come from her. He was determined to force her to remember that he was a chief of scouts.
"Well," he said more easily, "you've accomplished the thing you set out to do, anyway."And it seems that the dead are there.
Twenty, yes ten, of those who, as the sound of the firing reached their ears, were making off at a run down the south road for the settlement in the valley, could have saved the fair-haired children and the young mother, who helped in the fruitless fight without a plaint of fear. Ten men could have done it, could have done it easily; but not one man. And Kirby knew it now, as the light of flames began to show through the chinks of the logs, and the weight of heavy bodies thudded against the door.
Cairness started forward and levelled his Colt, but the divine was too quick for him. He fired, and the cow-boy sank down, struggling, shot through the thigh. As he crouched, writhing, on the ground, he fired again, but Cairness kicked the pistol out of his hand, and the bullet, deflected, went crashing in among the bottles.
Cairness watched how strong and erect and how sure of every muscle she was, and how well the blond little head looked against the dull blackness of the mother's hair. The child was in no way like Felipa, and it had never taken her place in its father's love. He was fond of it and proud, too; but, had he been put to the test, he would have sacrificed its life for that of its mother, with a sort of fanatical joy.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."Landor took his arm from the saddle and stood upright, determinedly. "We are going to stop this mob business, that's what we are going to do," he said, and he went forward and joined in a discussion that was[Pg 117] upon the verge of six-shooters. He set forth in measured tones, and words that reverberated with the restrained indignation behind them, that he had come upon the assurance that he was to strike Indians, that his men had but two days' rations in their saddle bags, and that he was acting upon his own responsibility, practically in disobedience of orders. If the Indians were to be hit, it must be done in a hurry, and he must get back to the settlements. He held up his hands to check a flood of protests and explanations. "There has got to be a head to this," his drill-trained voice rang out, "and I propose to be that head. My orders have got to be obeyed."
"Miss McLane will go, I suppose?" asked Felipa.
Another of her pets was a little fawn a soldier had caught and given to her. It followed her tamely about the post.
Stone considered his dignity as a representative of the press, and decided that he would not be treated with levity. He would resent the attitude of the soldiery; but in his resentment he passed the bounds of courtesy altogether, forgetting whose toddy he had just drunk, and beneath whose tent pole he was seated. He said rude things about the military,鈥攖hat it was pampered and inefficient and gold laced, and that it thought its mission upon earth fulfilled when it sat back and drew princely pay.详情
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