Mrs. Campbell took it as he did, for a matter of course. She wasted no words in expressing admiration for what he had done, but kept to the main issue, making herself useful, as women are rarely content to do when they deal with men, without indulging her taste for the sentimental. "Suppose I were to take her?" she suggested.
"Yes; but it happens to be enough for the next few weeks. We are going to camp around San Tomaso to afford the settlers protection. We can't follow any trails, those are our orders, so the pack-train doesn't matter anyway. By that time they will have scared up one."She did not return to the ramada, but before long her husband came in search of her.
It was not a nice outlook. But he found it did not grow any better for the thought that Felipa might have forgotten all about him, though that would unquestionably have been the best thing that could have happened for all concerned, from the standpoint of common sense. But there were two chances, of a sort, that made it worth while worrying along. One was that Felipa might some day, in the working out of things, come into his life. The other was that he could ferret out the truth of the Kirby massacre. Love and revenge are mighty stimulants.When the day came he rode out with most of the garrison to meet her. He was anxious. He recalled Anne of Cleves, and had a fellow-feeling for the King. By the time they came in sight of the marching troops, he had worked himself to such an implicit faith in the worst that he decided that the wide figure, heavily blue-veiled, and linen-dustered, on the back seat of the Dougherty was she. It is one of the strongest arguments of the pessimist in favor[Pg 17] of his philosophy, that the advantage of expecting the disagreeable lies in the fact that, if he meets with disappointment, it is necessarily a pleasant one.
Landor still rode at the head of his column, but his chin was sunk down on his red silk neckerchief, his face was swollen and distorted under its thick beard, and his eyes were glazed. They stared straight ahead into the sand whirl and the sulphurous glare. He had sent Brewster on ahead some hours before. "You[Pg 138] will want to see Miss McLane as soon as possible," he had said, "and there is no need of both of us here."And so the hostiles took shelter there from the cavalry that had pursued them hard across the open all night, and gave battle after the manner of their kind. It was a very desultory sort of a skirmish, for the troops did not venture into the traps beyond the very edge, and the Indians were simply on the defensive. It was not only desultory, it promised to be unavailing, a waste of time and of ammunition.
He bit his lip and did not reply, either to the words or to the caress. "You need a month of the mountains, I think," he said.
She was still silent, but she leaned nearer, watching his face, her lips drawn away from her sharp teeth, and her eyes narrowing. She understood now.
If it went like this, she thought, she might get to the cross-road first, and beyond. The four men would not matter much then, if she could but stop her husband. Why had he started back alone鈥攁nd carrying money too? It was foolhardy. But then there was so little money, she knew, that he had probably not thought of it as booty. She turned her uncovered head and listened. Her hair had fallen loose and was streaming out in the wind. She could not hear the others now. They must be well behind.The general's long silence was making the complete man nervous. Beads of sweat stood out on his forehead, and he twisted his hands together. "The Sun, the Darkness, and the Winds are all listening to what we now say. To prove to you that I am telling the truth, remember that I sent you word that I would come from a place far away to speak to you here, and you see me now. If I were thinking bad, I would never have come here. If it had been my fault, would I have come so far to talk with you?" he whined.
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And Cairness himself was startled and utterly unprepared when the Reverend Taylor opened the door of the room where he lay and let her pass in. The little parson uttered no word, but there was a look on his face which said that now the questions he had put with no result were answered. It was for this that Cairness had given the best of his life.Under the midnight sky, misty pale and dusted with glittering stars, the little shelter tents of Landor's command shone in white rows. The campfires were dying; the herd, under guard, was turned out half a mile or more away on a low mesa, where there was scant grazing; and the men, come that afternoon into camp, were sleeping heavily, after a march of some forty miles,鈥攁ll save the sentry, who marched up and down, glancing from time to time at the moving shadows of the herd, or taking a sight along his carbine at some lank coyote scudding across the open.详情
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