"Cairness never was a squaw-man," corrected Crook.She sat thinking, with her chin in her palm, and a quite new look of loneliness deep in her eyes. He could see that in the last hour she had grasped almost the fulness of her isolation鈥攁lmost, but not all; only the years could bring forth the rest. She gave a heavy sigh. "Well, I am glad I love you," she said.
Cairness did not see that it called for a reply, and he made none.[Pg 69]
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.
He went over to the window and stood looking out of it, his hands clasped behind his back. Some children were playing tag around the flag-staff, and he watched a long-limbed small daughter of the frontier dodging and running, and was conscious of being glad that she touched the goal.
There is a certain class of persons to whom it is always irritating to find any one reading a book. It rubs them the wrong way instantly. They will frequently argue that their own, and the best, manner of studying life is from nature鈥攁n excellent theory in sound, and commonly accepted as unanswerable, but about as practical in fact as the study of music on the instrument alone, without primer or method.Mrs. Ellton returned before long, and Landor went back home.
"Can't we send the hostile away?" he suggested, glancing at the small Apache, who was digging viciously at his head and watching Cairness with beady orbs. Felipa spoke to him, and he went.He walked away, and Geronimo went back to his rancheria on the hilltop, crestfallen. He had failed of his effect, and had not by any means made his own terms.
It occurred to Cairness then that with no breath in your lungs and with twelve stone on your chest, speech is difficult. He slid off and knelt beside the rancher, still with the revolver levelled. "Now, why did you do it, eh?" He enforced the "eh" with a shake.
[Pg 139]"I am far from being sure that that is entirely to be desired, very far," said Cairness, with conviction. He had never ceased to feel a certain annoyance at[Pg 319] the memory of that year and a half of Felipa's life in which he had had no part.
He knew that the stores which should have gone to him were loaded upon wagon-trains and hurried off the reservation in the dead of night; but he did not know why the Apache who was sent to humbly ask the agent about it was put in the guard-house for six months without trial. He knew that his corn patches were trampled down, but not that it was to force him to purchase supplies from the agent and his friends, or else get out. He knew that his reservation鈥攏one too large, as it was, for three thousand adults more or less鈥攈ad been cut down without his consent five different times, and that Mormon settlers were elbowing him out of what space remained. But, being only a savage, it were foolish to expect that he should have seen the reason for these things. He has not yet learned to take kindly to financial dishonesty. Does he owe you two bits, he will travel two hundred miles to pay it. He has still much to absorb concerning civilization."Because I prefer to ask you, that's why鈥攁nd to make you answer, too."详情
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