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    "I am speaking about Mrs. Cairness," Forbes went on earnestly, "because she is more of an argument for you than the child is, which is un-English too, isn't it? But the child is a fine boy, nevertheless, and there will be other children probably. I don't need to paint their future to you, if you let them grow up here. You owe it to them and to your wife and to yourself—to society for that matter—not to retrograde. Oh! I say, I'm out and out lecturing on sociology. You're good-tempered to put up with it, but I mean well—like most meddlers.""Yes, sir. But they ain't likely to travel fast. They'll think themselves safe enough up there in the mountains. We could easy overtake them, being as we wouldn't be hampered with drove stock. They stole about fifty head, an' we could most likely get it back if we started at once. It is the wish of the citizens of San Tomaso, ain't it?" He turned to the man who had remained mounted, and who had not opened his mouth. The man nodded.With one accord they strode forward to the support of their somewhat browbeaten brother. What they would do was exactly as they pleased, they told the tyrant. They shook their fists in his face. It was all in the brutal speech of the frontier, mingled with the liquid ripple of argot Spanish, and its vicious, musical oaths. The deep voice of the woman carried above everything, less decent than the men. It was a storm of injury.
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    There fell a moment's pause. And it was broken by the sound of clashing as of many cymbals, the clatter of hoofs, the rattle of bouncing wheels, and around the corner of the line there came tearing a wagon loaded with milk tins. A wild-eyed man, hatless, with his hair on end, lashed his ponies furiously and drew up all of a heap, in front of the commanding officer's quarters.
    There were two rooms to the cabin where they were, the big sitting room and the small bedchamber beyond. Kirby went into the bedroom and came out with two rifles and a revolver. He put the revolver into his wife's hands. "I'll do my best, you know, dear. But if I'm done for, if there is no hope for you and the children, use it," he said. And added, "You understand?"
    The round-up lasted several days longer, and then the men were paid off, and went their way. The way[Pg 167] of most was toward Tombstone, because the opportunities for a spree were particularly fine there. Not because of these, but because the little parson lived there now, Cairness went also. Moreover, it was as good a place as another to learn more about the massacre. Cow-boys coming from other round-ups and getting drunk might talk.