Brewster got hunting leave, pending the acceptance of his resignation, and went to the railway. In less than a week he was all but forgotten in a newer interest.
"I don't," Cairness differed; "it's unreasonable. There is too much sympathy expended on races that are undergoing the process of extinction. They have outgrown their usefulness, if they ever had any. It might do to keep a few in a park in the interests of science, and of that class of people which enjoys seeing animals in cages. But as for making citizens of the Indians, raising them to our level鈥攊t can't be done. Even when they mix races, the red strain corrupts the white."The hero of the episode rode in the ambulance, sitting on the front seat, holding his carbine across his knees, and peering with sharp, far-sighted blue eyes over the alkali flats. Occasionally he took a shot at a jack rabbit and brought it down unfailingly, but the frontiersman has no relish for rabbit meat, and it was left where it dropped, for the crows. He also brought down a sparrow hawk wounded in the wing, and, [Pg 29]having bound up the wound, offered it to Brewster, who took it as an opening to a conversation and tried to draw him out.
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.There was trouble at the San Carlos Agency, which was in no wise unusual in itself, but was upon this occasion more than ever discouraging. There had been a prospect of lasting peace, the noble Red-man was settling down in his filthy rancheria to become a good citizen, because he was tagged with little metal numbers, and was watched unceasingly, and forbidden the manufacture of tizwin, or the raising of the dead with dances, and was told that an appreciative government was prepared to help him if he would only help himself.
Beef was furnished the Indians on the hoof and calculated by the pound, and the weight of some of those long-horn steers, once they got upon the Agency scales, would have done credit to a mastodon. By this method the Indian got the number of pounds of meat he was entitled to per capita, and there was some left over that the agent might dispose of to his friends. As for the heavy-weight steers, when the Apache received them, he tortured them to death with his customary ingenuity. It made the meat tender; and he was an epicure in his way. The situation in the territory, whichever way you looked at it, was not hopeful.In the '70's the frontier was a fact and not a memory, and a woman in the Far West was a blessing sent direct from heaven, or from the East, which was much the same thing. Lieutenants besought the wives of their brother officers to bring out their sisters and cousins and even aunts, and very weird specimens of the sex sometimes resulted. But even these could reign as queens, dance, ride, flirt to their hearts' content鈥攁lso marry, which is not always the corollary in these days. The outbreak of a reservation full of Indians was a small thing in comparison with the excitement occasioned by the expectation of a girl in the post.
Cairness sat for a long time, smoking and thinking. Then Felipa's voice called to him and he went in to her. She was by the window in a flood of moonlight, herself all in flowing white, with the mantle of black hair upon her shoulders.
But the baby was satisfactory. She amused it by the hour. For the rest, being far from gregarious, and in no way given to spending all the morning on some one else's front porch, and all the afternoon with some one else upon her own, she drew on the post library and read, or else sat and watched the mountains with their sharp, changing shadows by day, and their Indian signal flashes by night,鈥攚hich did not tend to enhance the small degree of popularity she enjoyed among the post women.Cairness congratulated him with all solemnity, and asked if she were a widow. He was sure she must be, for the gallantry of the West in those days allowed no woman to pass maturity unwed.
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 took it and looked from it to him, questioningly. "What is this?" she asked.
The officer-of-the-day put Lawton into the care of the guard and asked Cairness in to have a drink, calling him "my good man." Cairness was properly aware of the condescension involved in being asked into an officer's dining room, but he objected to being condescended to by a man who doubled his negatives, and he refused.Barnwell had told Brewster about him also. "His name is Cairness,鈥擟harles Cairness,鈥攁nd he's got a lot of fool theories too," he explained. "He goes in for art, makes some pretty good paintings of the Indians, and has picked up some of their lingo. Made himself agreeable to the squaws, I guess. The interpreter says there's one got her nose cut off by her buck, on his account."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
Copyright © 2020