"To Captain Landor's widow, yes;" he met the unsympathetic eyes squarely. "I came to tell you, general, what I have gathered from the squaws. It may serve you.""They could kill a good many of us before they died out, if we would sit still and take it," Landor objected.
Then there came a chuckling scream of baby laughter and a soft reproach, spoken in Spanish, from across the hall. She stood up and poured the coffee, but before she took her own she went out of the room and came back in a moment, carrying her small son high upon her shoulder.[Pg 322]The civilization of the Englishman is only skin deep. And therein lies his strength and his salvation. Beneath that outer surface, tubbed and groomed and prosperous, there is the man, raw and crude from the workshops of Creation. Back of that brain, trained to a nicety of balance and perception and judgment, there are the illogical passions of a savage. An adaptation of the proverb might run that you scratch an Englishman and you find a Briton鈥攐ne of those same Britons who stained themselves blue with woad, who fell upon their foes with clumsy swords and flaming torches, who wore the skins of beasts, and lived in huts of straw, and who burned men and animals together, in sacrifice to their gods.
He was not the sort of a man of whom to ask explanations. Ellton said "Very well," and proceeded to talk about the troop's hogs and gardens, both of which were a source of increase to the troop funds."See here," insisted Taylor; "turn round here and answer me." Cairness continued to stand with his head down, looking at the geraniums. The parson was wiser than his wife in that he knew when it was of no use to insist. "What's keeping you around here, anyway? You ought to have gotten out when you left the service鈥攁nd you half meant to then. What is it?"
The fault of this last, crowning breach of faith was not all with the Red-men by any means. But the difficulty would be to have that believed. The world at large,鈥攐r such part of it as was deigning to take heed of this struggle against heavy odds, this contest between the prehistoric and the makers of history,鈥攖he world at large would not go into the details, if indeed it were ever to hear them. It would know just this, that a band of Indians, terrible in the very smallness of their numbers, were meeting the oncoming line of civilization from the East with that of the savagery of the West, as a prairie fire is met and checked in its advance by another fire kindled and set on to stop it. It would know that the blood of the masters of the land was being spilled upon the thirsty, unreclaimed ground by those who were, in right and justice, for the welfare of humanity, masters no more. It would know that the voice which should have been that of authority and command was often turned to helpless complaint or shrieks for mercy. And it[Pg 304] would not stop for the causes of these things; it could not be expected to. It would know that a man had come who had promised peace, confidently promised it in the event of certain other promises being fulfilled, and that he had failed of his purpose. The world would say that Crook had held in his grasp the Apaches and the future peace of an empire as large as that of Great Britain and Ireland, France and Germany in one, and that he had let it slip through nerveless fingers. It was signal failure."Indeed, I am not joking," she assured him earnestly. "It is quite true. Ask any one. Only don't let them know it was I who wounded him. They have never so much as suspected it. Fortunately I thought of you and ran home all the way, and was in my tent before it occurred to any one to come for me." She burst into a low laugh at his countenance of wrath and dismay. "Oh! come, Jack dear, it is not so perfectly, unspeakably horrible after all. I was disobedient. But then I am so sorry and promise never, never to do it again."
"No," he agreed, "it doesn't matter. And I shall do well enough." Then the three went out, and she finished her breakfast alone.He laughed, a little falsely, and turned back into the room.
He held the door open for the Texan woman and the parson to go out. Then he followed, closing it behind him.In the expectation of some fun the men gathered round. Those at the tables turned in their chairs and sat watching and pulling at their fierce mustaches as they peered from under the brims of their sombreros. In the midst of them all the little parson looked even smaller than he was. But he was sweetly undaunted and good-humored.
"Jack," he said, going up and running his hand in and out underneath the girths. He spoke almost too low to be heard, and the men who were nearest rode a few feet away. "Jack, will you do something for me? Will you鈥攖hat is鈥攖here is a fellow named McDonald up at the Mescalero Agency. He's got a little four-year-old girl he's taking care of." He hurried along, looking away from Landor's puzzled face. "She's the daughter of a half-breed Mescalero woman, who was[Pg 5] killed by the Mexicans. If I don't come out of all this, will you get her? Tell McDonald I told you to. I'm her father."Brewster's irritation waxed. "Landor again?" he queried suggestively.
"Felipa!" he cried, "Felipa!"
Cairness stood up, ran his hands into his pockets, and going over to the window looked down at the geraniums as he had done once, long before.Mrs. Campbell appliqued a black velvet imp on a green felt lambrequin, and thought. "Do you ever happen to realize that you have your hands very full?"She warned them off with a careless "ukishee." But they did not go. Some ten pairs of eyes, full of unmistakable menace, followed her every movement. She let down the tent flaps and tied them together, taking her time about it. She was angry, and growing angrier. It was unendurable to her to be disobeyed, to have her authority put at naught on the few occasions when she chose to exercise it. She could keep her temper over[Pg 91] anything but that. And her temper was of the silent sort, rolling on and on, like a great cold swell at sea, to break finally against the first obstacle with an uncontrollable force. She had never been really angry but twice in her life. Once when she was in school, and when a teacher she liked, judging her by her frequent and unblushing lies to a teacher she disliked, doubted her word upon an occasion when she was really speaking the truth. It was after that that she had written to her guardian that she would run away. The second time had been when Brewster had tried to bully her. She knew that it would soon be a third time, if the Indians went on annoying her. And she was far more afraid of what she might do than of what they might do. But she took off the waist of her gown and began to brush her hair, not being in the least squeamish about letting the Apaches see her fine white arms and neck, if they were to open the flaps again.
The little Reverend was the first thing on earth to his father. For the wife had made that step in advance, which is yet a step in descent in a woman's life, when she becomes to her husband less herself than the mother of his child.详情
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