类型:奇幻地区:莫桑比克剧发布:2020-12-04 07:33:20


She asked, with the flat Virginia accent of the vowels,[Pg 256] if he would like her to go and embrace the woman, and request her to make their home henceforth her own."Who told you he was?" she asked.

"She will shrink, I guess, at first," he admitted. "Women who ain't seen much of life kind of think they ought to draw aside their skirts, and all that. They were taught copy-book morals about touching pitch, I reckon,"鈥攈e was wise concerning women now鈥"and it takes a good deal of hard experience to teach them that it ain't so. But she'll take my word for it."Landor shrugged his shoulder, but Felipa would not have it so. "You know he is not, Jack," she said a little petulantly, which was noticeably unwonted on her part.

"Apaches on the north road," they called back; and the woman screamed above it all a devilish farewell, "Better have 'em to dinner in claw-hammer coats."

And then his thoughts shot back to the present with quick pain. She should not have come here, not so soon. He had taken a long, hard trip that had nearly ended in his death, to avoid this very thing, this [Pg 293]meeting, which, just because it made him so terribly happy, seemed a treachery, a sacrilege. Had she less delicacy of feeling than himself? Or had she more love? It was that, he saw it in her beautiful eyes which were growing wide and frightened at his silence. He took his hand from under the sheets and stretched it out to her. She went to him and dropped on her knees beside the bed, and threw her arms about him. He moved his weak head closer to her shoulder, and pressing her fingers to his face gave a choking sob. He was happy, so very happy. And nothing mattered but just this.The general was neither convinced nor won over. He had Geronimo told that it was a very pretty story, but that there was no reason why forty men should have left the reservation for fear of three. "And if you were afraid of three, what had that to do with the[Pg 299] way you sneaked all over the country, killing innocent people? You promised me in the Sierra Madre that that peace should last. But you lied. When a man has lied to me once, I want better proof than his word to believe him again.""I disobeyed orders," said Felipa.

He repeated that he was not there to be questioned, and showed her that he meant it by silence."Do you object to taking her into your house for a short time?""Where are they all goin' to?" the Reverend Taylor asked in plaintive dismay. He had risen to his feet because he had seen Cairness do it, and now he sat again because Cairness had dropped back on the couch. He was utterly at sea, but he felt that the safest thing to do would be that which every one else did. He remembered that he had felt very much the same once when he had been obliged to attend a funeral service in a Roman Catholic Church. All the purple and fine[Pg 39] linen of the Scarlet Woman and the pomp and circumstance surrounding her had bewildered him in about this same way.

Landor had come to agree with the major at Grant, that she was an excellent wife for a soldier. Her tastes were simple as those of a hermit. She asked only a tent and a bunk and enough to eat, and she could do without even those if occasion arose. She saw the best of everything, not with the exasperating optimism which insists upon smiling idiotically on the pleasant and the distinctly disagreeable alike, and upon being aggressively delighted over the most annoying mishaps, but with a quiet, common-sense intention of making the objectionable no more so for her own part. There were wives who made their husbands' quarters more dainty and attractive, if not more neat; but in the struggle鈥攆or it was necessarily a struggle鈥攍ost much peace of mind and real comfort. Upon the whole, Landor was very well satisfied, and Felipa was entirely so. She was utterly indifferent to being set down at a three-company post, where her only companion was to be a woman she disliked from the first, openly and without policy, as was her way.

It was certainly not apparent, on the face of it, how the thing was to be done, but the captain explained. "I've been stationed here, you know, and I know the roads. We are about a half a mile or more from where the Stanton road to the railway crosses the lava. It is narrow and rough, and about from three-quarters of a mile to a mile wide, but cavalry can go over it without any trouble. I can take my troop over, and then the Indians will be hemmed in between us. We might capture the whole band."The last straw was laid on when an Indian policeman arrested a young buck for some small offence. The buck tried to run away, and would not halt when he was told to. The chief of police fired and killed a squaw by mistake; and though he was properly sorry for it, and expressed his regret, the relatives and friends of the deceased squaw caught him a few days later, and cutting off his head, kicked it round, as they had seen the White-eye soldier do with his rubber foot-ball. Then they, aroused and afraid too of punishment, fled from the reservation and began to kill.

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He caught her by the arm, exasperated past all civility, and shook her. "Do you hear me, Felipa Cabot? I tell you that I love you."



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