It was the usual tale of woe that Geronimo had to tell, much the same that the old buck had recited to[Pg 298] Cairness in the spring of the last year. His particular grievance was the request for his hanging, which he had been told had been put in the papers, and his fear of three White-men who he believed were to arrest him. "I don't want that any more. When a man tries to do right, such stories ought not to be put in the newspapers. What is the matter with you that you do not speak to me? It would be better if you would look with a pleasant face. I should be more satisfied if you would talk to me once in a while." The interpreter translated stolidly. "Why don't you look at me and smile at me? I am the same man. I have the same feet, legs, and hands, and the Sun looks down on me a complete man." There was no doubt about that, at any rate, and perhaps it was not an unmixed good fortune.Presently she began again, "Well, he wasn't in it at all. Stone wasn't."
Crook closed up the portfolio and turned to him. "I didn't know you were married, Mr. Cairness, when I sent for you."
He turned and went back to the cabin, where his wife stood at the door, with the children clinging to her. From down the north road there came a blood-freezing yell, and a shot, reverberating, rattling from hill to hill, muffling into silence among the crowding pines.Landor's wrath was mighty, but he smiled as he sat balancing a ruler on his fingers and hearing how the citizens of San Tomaso, eager to avenge their wrongs, had met him at early morning, had gone bravely forward, keen on the scent, had implored him to hasten, while he halted on worthless pretexts, and had, towards evening, reluctantly left a hot trail, going from it at right angles, "and camping," said Brewster, regretfully, "as far away as it was possible to get, considering the halts."
He laughed, a little falsely, and turned back into the room.He was but an unlearned and simple savage, and the workings of a War Department were, of course, a mystery to him. He and his people should have believed Crook. The thoughtful government which that much-harassed general represented had done everything possible to instill sweet trustfulness into their minds. But the Apache, as all reports have set forth, is an uncertain quantity.
She laughed scornfully. "It ain't me that asked them to take me in," she said; "I'm as glad to go as they are to have me." She wore a calico wrapper that Cairness had bought for her, and other garments that had been gathered together in the town. Now she put a battered sombrero on her head, and told him she was ready.
She wished to hear as much as he had confided.
The fight began with a shot fired prematurely by one of the scouts, and lasted until nightfall鈥攁fter the desultory manner of Indian mountain fights, where you fire at a tree-trunk or lichened rock, or at some black, red-bound head that shoots up quick as a prairie dog's and is gone again, and where you follow the tactics of the wary Apache in so far as you may. The curious part of it is that you beat him at his own game every time. It is always the troops that lose the least heavily!
The resolute and courageous men, led by a resolute and courageous saloon-keeper, found one old Indian living at peace upon his rancheria. They fired at him and ran away. The women and children of the settlers were left to bear the brunt of the anger of the Apaches. It was too much for even the Tucson journalist. He turned from denunciation of the [Pg 180]military, for one moment, and applied his vigorous adjectives to the Tombstone Toughs.He believed that he had no ties now, that friendships, the love of woman, and the kiss of children all had missed him, and that his, thenceforth, must be but vain regret. So far as he knew, Felipa had gone away without ever having received his letter. The man he had intrusted it to had been killed in the Aravaypa Ca?on: that he was certain of; and it never entered his head that his papers might have fallen into other hands, and the note have finally been delivered to her. She was leading the sort of life that would most quickly put him entirely out of her mind. He was taking the Washington papers, and he knew. She had gone away, not even sure that he had given her a thought since the night in the Sierra Blanca when Black River had roared through the stillness, and they had been alone in all the wild world. What a weird, mysterious, unearthly scene it had been, quite outside the probabilities of anything he had imagined or contemplated for a single minute. He had never regretted it, though. He believed in impulses, particularly his own.
She tried to parry and evade, but he would not have it, and obliged her to admit that she did not. "Not that I dislike her," she explained. "I like to have her round. I dare say it is a whim.""Yes," she said, "did you see me? I dare say you thought I was communing with Nature in the midst of the old tin cans and horseshoes. Well, I wasn't. I was watching the trap of a tarantula nest, and I caught him when he came out. I've watched that hole for three days," she announced triumphantly. "As for the vinagrone, the cook found him in his tent, and I bottled him. Come and see the fight," she invited amiably.
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.It was half because she felt it would prick him, and half in humility, that she answered, "I suppose that is the Indian in me."详情
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