"That is all."They spurred forward unwillingly, thus urged. At sundown they came to the old lake bed and camped there. According to the citizens it was a regular Indian camping-place for the hostiles, since the days of Cochise.
Moreover, Landor was very ill. In the Mogollons he had gathered and pressed specimens of the gorgeous[Pg 134] wild flowers that turn the plateaux into a million-hued Eden, and one day there had lurked among the blossoms a sprig of poison weed, with results which were threatening to be serious. He rode at the head of his column, however, as it made for home by way of the Aravaypa Ca?on.The captain's lips set.She answered that she had enjoyed it all, every day of it, and Brewster joined in with ecstatic praises of her horsemanship and endurance, finishing with the unlucky comment that she rode like an Indian.
It was only some one standing at the mouth of the hole, however, a shadow against the shimmering sunlight. And it was a woman鈥攊t was Felipa.
"On his ranch, living on the fat of a lean land, I believe. He's rich, you know. I don't know much about them. I've small use for them. And I used to like Cairness, too. Thought he was way above his job. Those squaw-men lose all sense of honor."They halted in front of him, and the woman swayed again, so much that he ran to her side. But she righted herself fiercely. Cairness was dismounted and was beside her, too, in an instant. He lifted her from the horse, pulled her down, more or less; she was much too ungainly to handle with any grace.The exceedingly small respectable element of Tombstone hailed their departure with unmixed joy. They had but one wish,鈥攖hat the Toughs might meet the Apaches, and that each might rid the face of the desert of the other. But the only Apaches left to meet were the old and feeble, and the squaws and papooses left at San Carlos. The able-bodied bucks were all in the field, as scouts or hostiles.
"Yes," he persisted, refusing to be thwarted, "once when you were crossing the parade at Grant, at retreat, and two days afterward when you shot a blue jay down by the creek."The Apache in Felipa was full awake now, awake in the bliss of killing, the frenzy of fight, and awake too, in the instinct which told her how, with a deep-drawn breath, a contraction, a sudden drop and writhing, she would be free of the arms of steel. And she was free, but not to turn and run鈥攖o lunge forward, once and again, her breath hissing between her clenched, bared teeth.She was quite alone, wandering among the trees and bushes in the creek bottom, and her hands were full of wild flowers. She had pinned several long sprays of the little ground blossoms, called "baby-blue eyes," at her throat, and they lay along her white gown prettily.[Pg 274] She stopped and spoke to him, with a note of lifelessness in her high, sweet voice; and while he answered her question as to what he had been doing since she had seen him last, she unpinned the "baby-blue eyes" and held them out to him. "Would you like these?" she asked simply. He took them, and she said "Good-by" and went on.
He took up his paper again. "He ain't told me the whole thing yet," he said.
"Look out for the little customer, will you?" he said to the medical officer. "He's a great chum of mine. Many's the can of condensed milk and bag of peanuts the ungrateful young one has had out of me." "What are you doing here?" he asked in the White Mountain idiom; "you aren't a Chiricahua.""Geronimo does not want that any more. He has[Pg 271] tried to do right. He is not thinking bad. Such stories ought not to be put in the newspapers."
It was still early. The mountain echoes had not sung back the tattoo of the trumpets as yet. There was a storm coming on from the snow peak in the west, and the clouds, dark with light edges, were thick in the sky. Lawton was sober enough now. Not so far away in its little pocket among the hills he could see the post, with all its lights twinkling, as though one of the clear starry patches in the heavens were reflected[Pg 205] in a black lake in the valley. And the road stretched out faint and gray before him.Landor glanced at his wife. She seemed to take it without offence, and was listening intently."Not until there is no hope," he impressed, as he put the barrel of his rifle through a knot hole and fired at random.
Felipa thought it was not quite so bad as that, and she poured herself another cup of the Rio, strong as lye, with which she saturated her system, to keep off the fever.
It would have become the sentiment of the crowd in another moment, but the little codger took up the second glass, and raised it again. Then it fell smashing to the floor. A second bullet had broken his wrist.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.A great many delightful facts, illustrative of the rule of the Anglo-Saxon in for gain, came to his knowledge. There were good men and just in Arizona, and some of these composed the Federal Grand Jury, which reported on the condition of affairs at the Agency. When a territorial citizen had anything to say in favor of the Redskin, it might be accepted as true. And these jurymen said that the happenings on the San Carlos Agency had been a disgrace to the age and a foul blot upon the national escutcheon. They waxed very wroth and scathing as they dwelt upon how the[Pg 177] agent's vast power made almost any crime possible. There was no check upon his conduct, nor upon the wealth he could steal from a blind government; and to him, and such as him, they attributed the desolation and bloodshed which had dotted the plains with the graves of murdered victims. It was the rather unavailing wail of the honest citizen caught between the upper and nether millstones of the politician and the hostile.详情
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