"I am not wasting any sympathy on the Apaches, nor on the Indians as a whole. They have got to perish. It is in the law of advancement that they should. But where is the use in making the process painful? Leave them alone, and they'll die out. It isn't three hundred years since one of the biggest continents of the globe was peopled with them, and now there is the merest handful left, less as a result of war and slaughter than of natural causes. Nature would see to it that they died, if we didn't."Cairness did not answer at once. He pushed the tobacco down in his brier and sat looking into the bowl. "No," he said at last, "I'm not too vexed. The fact is, I have seen what you mean for a long time. But what[Pg 318] would you suggest by way of remedy, if I may ask?" They were both talking too low for their voices to reach Felipa through the open window of her bedroom.
Cairness also thought that they should not, chiefly because they had a tendency to frighten the timid Apaches. But he went on quietly eating his breakfast, and said nothing. He knew that only silence can obtain loquacity from silent natures. He was holding his meat in his fingers, too, and biting it, though he did not drag it like a wild beast yet; and, moreover, he had it upon a piece of bread of his own baking.[Pg 325]
Cairness nodded. He knew that the Interior Department had sent an agent out to investigate that complaint, and that the agent had gone his way rejoicing and reporting that all was well with the Indian and honest with the contractor. It was not true. Every[Pg 270] one who knew anything about it knew that. Cairness supposed that also was the work of the politicians. But there are things one cannot make plain to a savage having no notions of government.
"Yes, sir. But they ain't likely to travel fast. They'll think themselves safe enough up there in the mountains. We could easy overtake them, being as we wouldn't be hampered with drove stock. They stole about fifty head, an' we could most likely get it back if we started at once. It is the wish of the citizens of San Tomaso, ain't it?" He turned to the man who had remained mounted, and who had not opened his mouth. The man nodded.
Taylor nodded.Presently she began again, "Well, he wasn't in it at all. Stone wasn't."
"He told me it was because he and Landor had had some trouble in the field, and weren't on the best of terms."Landor was the first to find speech. In the harsh light of the pause he saw that it was foolish as well as useless to beg the issue. "Has Mrs. Landor told you that I found your letter to her on the body of the prospector, and delivered it to her?" The words were[Pg 201] sufficiently overbearing, but the manner was unendurable.By day Felipa was left in camp with the cook, while Landor and the men worked on ahead, returning at sundown. At times she went with them, but as a rule she wandered among the trees and rocks, shooting with pistol and bow, but always keeping close to the tents. She had no intention of disobeying her [Pg 88]husband again. Sometimes, too, she read, and sometimes cooked biscuits and game over the campfire in the Dutch oven. Her strength began to return almost from the first, and she had gone back, for comfort's sake, to the short skirts of her girlhood.
"No," Cabot told him, "I couldn't—not without delaying you. The trail's too hot for that. If you'll put a fourth and last bullet into Cochise, the loss of a little thing like me won't matter much." He stopped short, and his chin dropped, weakly, undecided.There was now at Grant the prospect of a girl, and for days ahead the bachelors had planned about her. She was Landor's ward,—it was news to them that he had a ward, for he was not given to confidences,—and she was going to visit the wife of his captain, Mrs. Campbell. When they asked questions, Landor said she was eighteen years old, and that her name was Cabot, and that as he had not seen her for ten years he did not know whether she were pretty or not. But the vagueness surrounding her was rather attractive than otherwise, on the whole. It was not even known when she would arrive. There was no railroad to[Pg 14] Arizona. From Kansas she would have to travel by ambulance with the troops which were changing station.
They shout back our peals of laughter,详情
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