"It's not so much that," he evaded, getting up to put a lump of sugar he did not need into his tea, "it's not so much that as it is the everlasting strain of fighting the hands. It would be easier to meet an open rebellion than it is to battle against their sullen ugliness."
"She is ill, you see?""I dare say they are willing to surrender, upon terms to suit them. But they are very much afraid of treachery. They are on the lookout for deception at every turn. In fact, they are not in altogether the most amiable frame of mind, for the greater part. However, you can decide that for yourself when they come over, which will be directly."
Felipa leaned against the tree under which they were, fairly protected from the worst of the storm;[Pg 101] and Cairness stood beside her, holding his winded horse. There was nothing to be said that could be said. She had lost for once her baffling control of the commonplace in speech, and so they stood watching the rain beat through the wilderness, and were silent.
"It's six one, and half a dozen the other. They'd be willing enough to die out in peace, if we'd let them. Even they have come to have a vague sort of instinct that that's what it amounts to."And so he had to accept it. He rose, with a slight sigh, and returned to the examination of his spoils.
About an hour after midnight there came thundering through the quiet of the night the sound of galloping hoofs along the road at the foot of the ravine. Cairness, lying broad awake, was the first to hear it. He sprang up and ran to the opening of the tent. He guessed that it was a courier even before the gallop changed to a trot, and a voice called from the invisible depths below, "Captain Landor?" with a rising intonation of uncertainty.While the men sat at the long table, shovelling in with knife and three-pronged fork the food of the master their pride forbade them to serve, a horse came at a run, up to the quadrangle, and a cow-boy rushed into the open doorway. "Apaches!" he gasped, clutching at the lintel, wild-eyed, "Apaches!"
Lawton stopped. To forbid him swearing was to forbid him speech. He shuffled ahead in silence.
* * * * * * * *"It is curious," she said, "but it has always seemed as though English were not my native tongue."
The government took neither course."You must get Mrs. Landor into the post to-morrow," Cairness said abruptly; "Victorio's band is about."
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