类型:奇幻地区:发布:2020-10-23 01:50:20


With one accord they strode forward to the support of their somewhat browbeaten brother. What they would do was exactly as they pleased, they told the tyrant. They shook their fists in his face. It was all in the brutal speech of the frontier, mingled with the liquid ripple of argot Spanish, and its vicious, musical oaths. The deep voice of the woman carried above everything, less decent than the men. It was a storm of injury.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.The woman shrugged her round brown shoulders from which the rebozo had fallen quite away, and dropped her long lashes. "No se," she murmured.

"Perhaps there is," she admitted unwillingly.

"Why did you do it?""It's her nature," he told his wife. "Underneath she is an Apache, and they burn the wigwams and all the traps of their dead; sometimes even the whole [Pg 287]village he lived in." Mrs. Ellton said that poor Captain Landor had had a good deal to endure.

Such Apaches as had not gone back on the war-path returned to the States with the troops; but there were five months more of the outrages of Geronimo and his kind. Then in the summer of the year another man, more fortunate and better fitted to deal with it all, perhaps,—with the tangle of lies and deceptions, cross purposes and trickery,—succeeded where Crook had failed and had been relieved of a task that was beyond him. Geronimo was captured, and was hurried off to a Florida prison with his band, as far as they well could be from the reservation they had refused to accept. And with them were sent other Indians, who had been the friends and helpers of the government for years, and who had run great risks to help or to obtain peace. But the memory and gratitude of governments is become a proverb. The southwest settled down to enjoy its safety. The troops rested upon the laurels they had won, the superseded general went on with his work in another field far away to the north. The new general, the saviour of the land, was heaped[Pg 305] with honor and praise, and the path of civilization was laid clear.There were four corrals in the one, and two of them were on fire. They had spread wet blankets on the roof of the third, but it, too, caught directly. The big, yellow-hearted flames poured up into the sky. The glow was cast back again from the blackness of the low clouds, and lit up the ground with a dazing shimmer. It blinded and burned and set the rules of fire drill pretty well at naught, when the only water supply was in small buckets and a few barrels, and the horses had kicked over two of the latter.

He told her, and she held it out to him. He started to take it, then pushed it away.

He told her, directly, that he was passing through Arizona to hunt and to look to certain mining interests he held there. And he stayed, talking with her and her husband about the country and the towns and posts he had visited, until long after luncheon. Then Cairness, having to ride to the salt lick at the other end of the ranch, up in the Huachuca foot-hills, suggested that Forbes go with him.

"Then he lied," said the buck, and tucked the scrap back under his head band. "They all lie. I worked for him two weeks. I worked hard. And each night when I asked him for money he would say to me that to-morrow he would pay me. When all his hay was cut he laughed in my face. He would pay me nothing." He seemed resigned enough about it.Felipa could be untruthful with an untroubled soul and countenance to those she disliked. In her inherited code, treachery to an enemy was not only excusable, but right. But not even in order to save her husband worry could she tell him a shadow of an untruth. She did her best, which was far from good, to evade, however. The others would probably come, now that he could see them.

"Nothing," she answered; "I can't see why it should make any difference to you, when it hasn't with me." She had altogether regained the self-possession she had been surprised out of, with an added note of reserve.Felipa Cabot proved to be a lithe creature, who rode beside the ambulance with the officers, and who, in spite of the dust and tan and traces of a hard march, was beautiful. In the reaction of the moment Landor thought her the most beautiful woman he had ever seen. But she froze the consequent warmth of his greeting with a certain indefinable stolidity, and she eyed him with an unabashed intention of determining whether he were satisfactory or not, which changed his position to that of the one upon approbation. If she had been less handsome, it would have been repellent.



Felipa felt something of this, and it lessened the vague burden of self-reproach she had been carrying. She was almost cheerful when she got back to the post. Through the last breakfast, which the Elltons took for granted must be a sad one, and conscientiously did their best to make so, she had some difficulty in keeping down to their depression.



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