He knew while he was yet afar off which was the American. She stood, big and gaunt, with her feet planted wide and her fists on her hips, looking over toward the general's tent. And when Cairness came nearer, strolling along with his hands in his pockets, observing the beauties of Nature and the entire vileness of man, she turned her head and gave him a defiant stare. He took his hands from his pockets and went forward, raising his disreputable campaign hat. "Good morning, Mrs. Lawton," he said, not that he quite lived up to the excellent standard of Miss Winstanley, but that he understood the compelling force of civility, not to say the bewilderment. If you turn its bright light full in the face of one whose eyes are accustomed to the obscurity wherein walk the underbred, your chances for dazzling him until he shall fall into any pit you may have dug in his pathway are excellent.
It did not in the least matter to Brewster, but he was one of those trying people whom Nature has deprived of the instinct for knowing when to stop. A very perceptible sneer twitched his lips. "You seem to be English," he said.Landor stood considering and pulling at his mustache, as his way was. Then he turned on his heel and went back to the tent for Brewster. He explained the matter to him. "I tell Mr. Foster," he said, "just what risk I would take if I acted contrary to orders, but the force of my argument doesn't seem to strike him. If any harm were to come to the citizens around here, I'd be responsible."
His own was instantly as cold. "I supposed you had quite forgotten all that," he said.Landor explained again, with greater detail, vainly trying to impress the nature of a military order on the civilian brain. "It would not do for me to disobey my[Pg 112] instructions. And besides there are several officers who are to follow trails, out with larger commands. I have no pack-train, and I can't."
Then a big cow-boy left the bar and loitering over, with a clink of spurs, touched him on the shoulder. "The drinks are on you," he menaced. The minister chose to ignore the tone. He rose, smiling, and stretching his cramped arms. "All right, my friend, all right," he said, and going with the big fellow to the bar he gave a general invitation."I have never especially liked you," Cairness decided, for his part, "and I can't say that you improve upon acquaintance, you know. You wrote those articles about Landor, and that's one I owe you."
After a time she roused herself and went into the house, and directly she came back with the baby in her arms. The younger of the two children that she had taken under her care at Stanton, the little girl, followed after her.He saw that the game had reached that stage where he must play his trump card, if he were to have any chance. "You are a mean little thing," he laughed. "It is the Apache blood, I suppose."
"We have tea at five," Mrs. Kirby told him, as they finished, and her husband started out to superintend and help with the digging of an acequia.
"It's only a small trail, anyway," Cairness informed[Pg 118] them as a result of a minute examination he had made, walking round and leading his bronco, bending double over the signs, "just some raiding party of twelve or fifteen bucks. Shot out from the main body and ran into the settlements to steal stock probably."
Crook closed up the portfolio and turned to him. "I didn't know you were married, Mr. Cairness, when I sent for you."
Cairness put his arm around the big angular shoulders and helped her into the sitting room. She dropped down upon the sofa, and sat there, her head hanging, but in sullenness, not humility.She heard, and again her eyes met Forbes's. There was a flash of comprehension in them. She knew what he was thinking very well. But she left the fence, and, pushing the sunbonnet over her head, joined them, not in the least put out, and they dismounted and walked beside her, back to the house.详情
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