类型:奇幻地区:ҩ发布:2020-09-24 19:33:42


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.She threw him an indifferent "I am not afraid, not of anything." It was a boast, but he had reason to know that it was one she could make good.He raised his eyes now, and they were appealing. "It's an awful lot to ask of you, Jack, even for old sake's sake. I know that. But the little thing is almost white, and I cared for her mother—in a way. I can't let her go back to the tribe." His lips quivered and he bit at them nervously. "I kept meaning to get her away somehow." There was a sort of pity on Landor's face, pity and half contempt. He had heard that from Cabot so often for so many years, "I kept meaning to do this thing or the other, somehow, some day." "But it looks as though you might have to do it now. Will you, lieutenant?" He tugged at the cinchings while he waited.

"Is he here now?"Felipa, lifting her long riding skirt, stepped out from the tent, and stood with hand upraised holding back the flap. A ray of sun, piercing white through the pines, fell full on her face. She had the look of some mysterious priestess of the sun god, and Cairness, standing by the crackling fire, prodding it with a long, charred stick, watched her without a word.

He stood quite still and erect, looking after them, a dead light of renunciation of life and hope in his eyes. They came in search of him two days later and scoured the valley and the hills. But the last they ever saw of him was then, following them, a tiny speck upon the desert, making southwest in the direction of the water hole. The big wolf had stopped again, and turned about, coming slowly after him, and two buzzards circled above him, casting down on his path the flitting shadows of their wings.Nor was he disconcerted that she met him with a stony front and a glare of wrath. She glanced down at his outstretched hand, and kept her own great bony one on her hip still. Then she looked at him squarely again. She did not say "Well?" but she meant it. So he answered it blandly, and suggested that she had probably forgotten him, but that he had had the pleasure of meeting her once in the States. She continued to stare. He held that a husband is a husband still[Pg 236] until the law or death says otherwise, and that it was no part of a man's business to inquire into the domestic relations of his friends; so he said that he had had the pleasure of meeting her husband recently. "He was at Fort Stanton," he added, "upon some little matter of business, I believe. You will be glad to hear that he was well." He did not see fit to add that he was also in the county jail, awaiting trial on charge of destruction of government property.The silence of the garrison was absolute. Over in[Pg 190] the company clerk's office of one of the infantry barracks there was a light for a time. Then, at about midnight, it too was put out. A cat came creeping from under the board walk and minced across the road. He watched it absently.

"Did you, though?"Then taps sounded, ringing its brazen dirge to the night in a long, last note. It ended once, but the bugler went to the other side of the parade and began again. Lawton repeated the shaking of his fist. He was growing impatient, and also scared. A little more of that shrill music, and his nerves would go into a thousand quivering shreds—he would be useless. Would the cursed, the many times cursed military never get to bed? He waited in the shadow of the corrals, leaning against the low wall, gathering his forces. The sentry evidently did not see him. The post grew more and more still, the clouds more and more thick.

The famous mining town was two years old. It had ceased to be a "wind city" or even a canvas one, and was settling down to the dignity of adobe, or even boards, having come to stay. But it was far too new, too American, to have any of the picturesqueness of the Mexican settlements of the country."I give this to a friend," it ran, "to be delivered into your own hands, because I must tell you that, though I should never see you again—for the life I lead is hazardous, and chance may at any time take you away forever—I shall love you always. You will not be angry with me, I know. You were not that night by the campfire, and it is not the unwaveringly good woman who resents being told she is loved, in the spirit I have said it to you. I do not ask for so much as your friendship in return, but only that you remember that my life and devotion are yours, and that, should the time ever come that you need me, you send for me. I will come. I will never say this to you again, even should I see you; but it is true, now and for all time."

Brewster reached the post some eighteen hours ahead of him. He reported, and saw Miss McLane; then he made himself again as other men and went down to the post trader's, with a definite aim in view, that was hardly to be guessed from his loitering walk. There were several already in the officers' room, and they talked, as a matter of course, of the campaign.

The general sat silent for a while. "I didn't know that when I sent for him this time," he said at length, in partial explanation. Then he turned his head and looked up over his shoulders at the hostiles' conical hill. A band of Chiricahuas was coming down the side toward the soldiers' camp.



Some of them did think so. Some of them thought on the contrary, that it would be surer to make a detour, leaving the trail. They knew the spot, the bed of an ancient mountain lake, where the hostiles were sure to camp.Before they had reached the post, he had learned a good deal about her. The elderly major who had come with her from Kansas told him that a lieutenant by the name of Brewster was insanely in love with her, that the same Brewster was a good deal of an ass,—the two facts having no connection, however,—that she was an excellent travelling companion, always satisfied and always well. What the major did not tell him, but what he gathered almost at once, was that the girl had not endeared herself to any one; she was neither loved nor disliked—the lieutenant's infatuation was not to be taken as an indication of her character, of course. But then she was beautiful, with her long, intent eyes, and strong brows and features cut on classic lines of perfection. So Landor left the major and cantered ahead to join her, where she rode with Brewster.

Brewster took on an elaborate and entirely unnecessary air of indifference, and yawned to heighten the effect. "What did he want of the child?" he asked negligently.



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