They clambered up the mountain side, back to the camp, and Cairness escorted her to the tepee in silence. Then he left her. "Don't try to run away again," he advised. "You can't get far." He started off and turned back. "Speaking of running away, where's the Greaser you lit out with?"
Lawton moved ahead a few steps; then he began to cry, loudly, blubbering, his nerves gone all to shreds. He implored and pleaded and wailed. He hadn't known what he was doing. He had been drunk. They had treated him badly about the beef contract. Stone had gone back on him. The oaths that he sobbed forth were not new to Cairness, but they were very ugly.
It struck even through Landor's pain-blurred brain that it was odd. But the few faculties he could command still were all engaged in keeping himself in the saddle until he could reach his own house, where Ellton and Felipa were waiting to get him to his room."Let go your stirrup!" cried Cairness, in her ear; and as she kicked her foot loose, he leaned far from the saddle and threw his arm around her, swinging her up in front of him across the McLellan pommel, and driving the spurs into his horse's belly. It had the advantage of her horse in that it was an Indian animal, sure of foot as a burro, and much quicker. With one dash it was up the hillside, while the other rolled over and over, down into the torrent of the cloud burst.
"I dare say," he answered carelessly. "Come and meet him. You'll like him."
Foster hastened to assure him that two days would easily do it. "We know the country round here, [Pg 113]Colonel, know it better than the hostiles themselves; and a big party of us volunteers to put you on the trail and bring you to them. You can't hardly refuse, seein' as you say you are here to protect us, and this is the protection we ask, to get back the stock we've lost." :
After a while Kirby went back to his work, directing several Mexicans, in hopelessly bad Spanish, and laboring with his own hands at about the proportion of three to one.She sat for a moment without answering. It was less astonishment than that she did not understand. She knitted her brow in a puzzled frown.
He went on the next day with his scouts, and eventually joined Landor in the field. Landor was much the same as ever, only more gray and rather more deeply lined. Perhaps he was more taciturn, too, for beyond necessary orders he threw not one word to the chief of scouts. Cairness could understand that the sight of himself was naturally an exasperation, and in some manner a reproach, too. He was sorry that he had been thrown with this command, but, since he was, it was better that Landor should behave as he was doing. An assumption of friendliness would have been a mockery, and to some extent an ignoble one.
They were fighting. "Captain, what do you say to following this trail?" they clamored.。
In his growing uneasiness he blundered on rashly. "You didn't know it? But it is true. Ask your guardian. Do you think he would have you for a wife?" He gave a short laugh. "He hates an Apache as he does a Gila monster. Very few men would be willing to risk it."。
No one in the territory was busy. The atmosphere was still too much that of the Mexican possession; but Cairness said it was undoubtedly so, and took his leave,[Pg 173] clanking his spurs, heavy footed, and stooping his long form, in continuance of the r?le of ass. He knew well enough that he had been so summed up. It is a disadvantage the British citizen labors under in the West.。
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.。