"I know him," Cairness said; "he used to be round San Carlos when I was an enlisted man. He won't remember me, either. And you needn't necessarily mention that I was with Landor in the San Tomaso affair, or that I was a scout. He may know it, of course. And again, he may not."
Whereupon the rancher, his feelings being much injured, and his trust in mankind in general shattered, did as many a wiser man has done before him,鈥攎ade himself very drunk, and in his cups told all that he knew to two women and a man. "I'd like to know whose affair it is, if it ain't his, the measly sneak. He sicked me on,"鈥攐aths, as the grammars phrase it, "understood." The tears dribbled off his fierce mustache, and the women and the man laughed at him, but they were quite as drunk as he was, and they forgot all about it at once. Lawton did not forget. He thought of it a great deal, and the more he thought, the more he wanted revenge.Cairness himself had speculated upon that subject a good deal, and had noticed with a slight uneasiness the ugly looks of some of the ranch hands. "They are more likely to have trouble in that quarter than with the Indians," he said to himself. For he had seen much, in the ranks, of the ways of the disgruntled, free-born American.[Pg 268]
Cabot was not an unmerciful man, but if he had had his sabre just then, he would have dug and turned it in the useless carcass. He was beside himself with fear; fear of the death which had come to the cow and the calf whose chalk-white skeletons were at his feet, of the flat desert and the low bare hills, miles upon miles away, rising a little above the level, tawny and dry, giving no hope of shelter or streams or shade. He had foreseen it all when the horse had stumbled in a snake hole, had limped and struggled a few yards farther, and then, as he slipped to the ground, had stood quite still, swaying from side to side, with its legs wide apart, until it fell. He gritted his teeth so that the veins[Pg 2] stood out on his temples, and, going closer, jerked at the bridle and kicked at its belly with the toe of his heavy boot, until the glassy eye lighted with keener pain.
"The Sun and the Darkness and the Winds were all listening. He promised to pay me dos reales each day. To prove to you that I am now telling the truth,[Pg 269] here is what he wrote for me." He held it out to Cairness, a dirty scrap of wrapping-paper scrawled over with senseless words.
"You must get Mrs. Landor into the post to-morrow," Cairness said abruptly; "Victorio's band is about.""You ain't goin' to try to stop him?" the boy said stupidly. "He was goin' to leave Tombstone at sundown. He'll be to the place before you ken ketch him, sure."
"I give this to a friend," it ran, "to be delivered into your own hands, because I must tell you that, though I should never see you again鈥攆or the life I lead is hazardous, and chance may at any time take you away forever鈥擨 shall love you always. You will not be angry with me, I know. You were not that night by the campfire, and it is not the unwaveringly good woman who resents being told she is loved, in the spirit I have said it to you. I do not ask for so much as your friendship in return, but only that you remember that my life and devotion are yours, and that, should the time ever come that you need me, you send for me. I will come. I will never say this to you again, even should I see you; but it is true, now and for all time."Brewster stood in his own window, quite alone, and watched them all crowding down to Landor's quarters. The beauty of the Triumph of Virtue did not appeal to[Pg 157] him. He was very uneasy. Countercharges were looming on his view. To be sure, he had not lied, not absolutely and in so many words, but his citizen witnesses had not been so adroit or so careful. It would not have taken much to make out a very fair case of conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman. Practical working texts, anent looking before leaping, and being sure you are right ere going ahead, occurred to him with new force. His morality at the moment was worthy the law and the prophets. He was Experience in person, and as such would have been an invaluable teacher, if there had been any seeking instruction. But there was none. They were all with Landor, drinking his wine and helping success succeed, than which one may find less pleasant occupations.
"Not until there is no hope," he impressed, as he put the barrel of his rifle through a knot hole and fired at random.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.
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"And how, may I ask, would you suggest cutting off their retreat?" the major inquired a little sharply. His temper was not improved by the heat and by twelve hours in the saddle.详情
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