类型:奇幻地区:1 4t发布:2020-10-01 03:05:13


"What is this?" he shouted, grabbing at a halter-shank and clinging to it until a knife slashed down on his wrist.She drew her horse down to a gallop, and the jar of the changed gait made her moan. There was no haste now. Her own men had come upon the desperadoes and there was a quick volley. And ahead, riding fast toward her from the top of a little rise, was a man on a white horse—her husband, she knew.From thenceforth the elegant creature troubled Felipa as little as the nature of things would permit. She said that Mrs. Landor was une sauvage and so brune; and Mrs. Landor said she was a fool and dyed her hair. She was not given to mincing words. And she had small patience with a woman who lay in bed until the sun was high, and who spent her days lounging under the ramada, displaying tiny, satin-shod feet for the benefit of the enlisted men and the Indians who wandered over from the reservation.

As he shut the door and bolted it with the great iron rods, there tore into the clearing a score of vague, savage figures. It looked, when he saw it for an instant, as he put up the wooden blinds, like some phantom dance of the devils of the mountains, so silent they were, with their unshod ponies, so quick moving. And then a short silence was broken by cries and shots, the pinge of bullets, and the whizz of arrows.

Mrs. Campbell took it as he did, for a matter of course. She wasted no words in expressing admiration for what he had done, but kept to the main issue, making herself useful, as women are rarely content to do when they deal with men, without indulging her taste for the sentimental. "Suppose I were to take her?" she suggested.He knew that his cattle were driven off by the white cow-boys and could not be gotten back, that he was given but one cup of flour every seven days, that beef was so difficult to obtain that it practically formed no part of his diet; but he did not know of the "boys" in Tucson and officials in Washington who were profiting from the sale of Indian supplies to white squatters.

"That fellow Cairness may be a good scout and all that, but he must be an unmitigated blackguard too," said the officer, stretching himself on the ground beside Crook.Landor's troop was stationed at Stanton, high up among the hills. It had come there from another post down in the southern part of the territory, where anything above the hundreds is average temperature, and had struck a blizzard on its march.Later, when the sun was well up in the jewel-blue sky, and the world was all ashine, they began the real routine of the day. And it would have been much like that of any of the other days that had gone before it for two years, had not Cairness come in a little before the noon hour, bringing with him a guest. It was an Englishman, whom he presented to Felipa as a friend of his youth, and named Forbes.

And the next day she knew. When she came out in front of her quarters in the morning, rather later than usual, there was a new tent beside the hospital,[Pg 81] and when she asked the reason for it, they told her that a wounded Apache had been found down by the river soon after the shot had been fired the night before. He was badly hurt, with a ball in his shoulder, and he was half drunk with tizwin, as well as being cut in a dozen places.

Landor still rode at the head of his column, but his chin was sunk down on his red silk neckerchief, his face was swollen and distorted under its thick beard, and his eyes were glazed. They stared straight ahead into the sand whirl and the sulphurous glare. He had sent Brewster on ahead some hours before. "You[Pg 138] will want to see Miss McLane as soon as possible," he had said, "and there is no need of both of us here."

Two days later Stone left the town. He took the train for California, and his wife and children went with him. He was a rich man by many an evil means, and it was no real hardship that had been worked him, as Cairness well knew."Yes?" said Landor. He knew the citizens of the district, and attached no particular sacredness to the person of their envoy.

That very day the doubt had attained the proportions of a certainty. The sight of a Circle K cow had called up the subject of the massacre, and a cow-boy had said, "Them are the property of Bill Lawton, I reckon."And before the next morning the picnic that kept the southwest interested for five years had begun. Victorio and two hundred hostiles had left the Mescalero Agency for good and all, killing, burning, torturing, and destroying as they went, and troops from all the garrisons were sent out post haste.They had lived an idyl for two years apast, and he begrudged nothing; yet now that the splendor was fading, as he knew that it was, the future was a little dreary before them both, before him the more, for he meant that, cost him what it might, Felipa should never know that the glamour was going for himself. It would be the easier that she was not subtle of perception, not quick to grasp the unexpressed. As for him, he had wondered from the first what price the gods would put upon the unflawed jewel of their happiness, and had said in himself that none could be too high.


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Chapter 22He tried to see if the soldiers were safe, but though they were not a hundred feet away, the trunks and the mist of water hid them. The rain still pounded down, but the rush of the wind was lessening sensibly.

Cairness drew up his pinto pony in front of a group of log cabins, and, turning in his saddle, rested his hands upon the white and bay flanks. "Hullo-o-o!" he repeated.



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