There was a mutilated thing that had once been a man's body on the floor in the half-burned log cabin. And in another room lay two children, whose smooth, baby foreheads were marked, each with a round violet-edged hole. Beside them was their mother, with her face turned to the rough boards鈥攎ercifully. For there had been no time to choose the placing of that last shot, and it had disfigured cruelly as it did its certain work.
Cairness reminded him that Kirby had had a wife and children, too.
The silence, cut by the nervous whispering of the children, became unendurable. "Are you very uneasy about them?" Mrs. Kirby asked.
The Texan woman went back to the kitchen and finished cooking the supper for the hands鈥攁 charred sort of Saturnalian feast. "She can git her own dinner if she wants to," she proclaimed, and was answered by a chorus of approval."You give your horse a sore back whenever you go far, and you always bring him back in a lather."She listened attentively to the account of the traces of a struggle among the willows, and asked who had fired the shot. It was not known, they said, and the sullen buck would probably never tell.
Landor knew that the scouts had come in the afternoon before, and were in camp across the creek; but he had not seen their chief, and he said so.
"I reckon you'll know what for, then," beamed Taylor, immovably.
The quiet, observant, capable man, whose fate it was to be always called in for the thankless task of undoing the evil work of others, made every effort to pacify this time, but he failed.
Ellton ventured some assistance. "I do know this[Pg 142] much, that the C. O. got a telegram from some Eastern paper, asking if the reports of your cowardice as given in the territorial press were true."详情
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