: 。The telegraph between Thomas and Apache always gave something to think about. The Indians had learned the use of the White-eye's talking wire very promptly. In the early '70's, when it first came to their notice, they put it to good use. As when an Apache chief sent to a Yuma chief the message that if the Yumas did not hold to a certain promise, the Apaches would go on the war-path and destroy them, root and branch. "Neither," drawled Cairness. "But Mrs. Lawton, here, has been good enough to tell me that you have known the exact truth about the Kirby massacre ever since a week after its occurrence, and yet you have shielded the criminals and lied in the papers. Then, too," he went on, "though there is no real proof against you, and you undoubtedly did handle it very well, I know that it was you that set Lawton on to try and bribe for the beef contract. You see your friends are unsafe, Mr. Stone, and I have been around yours and Lawton's ranches enough to have picked up a few damaging facts."
The Reverend Taylor did not object.He found Felipa curled on the blanket in front of a great fire, and reading by the glare of the flames, which licked and roared up the wide chimney, a history of the Jesuit missionaries. It was in French, and she must have already known it by heart, for it seemed to be almost the only book she cared about. She had become possessed of its three volumes from a French priest who had passed through the post in the early winter and had held services there. He had been charmed with Felipa and with her knowledge of his own tongue. It was a truly remarkable knowledge, considering that it had been gained at a boarding-school.
That evening they sat talking together long after the late dinner. But a little before midnight Felipa left them upon the porch, smoking and still going over the past. They had so much to say of matters that she in no way understood. The world they spoke of and its language were quite foreign to her. She knew that her husband was where she could never follow him, and she felt the first utter dreariness of jealousy—the[Pg 316] jealousy of the intellectual, so much more unendurable than that of the material.It made it none the better that only Landor had the right to give her the strength of his arm, and that only Cairness had the right to the desperate, imploring look she threw him. It was a swift glance of a moment, and then she reached out a steady enough hand for the parasol, and smiled. It had been much too tragic to last—and in those surroundings. It was a flash of the naked swords of pain, and then they were sheathed. But each had left a sharp gash. No one had seen it. Perhaps to many there would have been nothing to see.
"It's—" the boy looked around nervously. "If you'd come into the house—" he ventured.Landor's wrath was mighty, but he smiled as he sat balancing a ruler on his fingers and hearing how the citizens of San Tomaso, eager to avenge their wrongs, had met him at early morning, had gone bravely forward, keen on the scent, had implored him to hasten, while he halted on worthless pretexts, and had, towards evening, reluctantly left a hot trail, going from it at right angles, "and camping," said Brewster, regretfully, "as far away as it was possible to get, considering the halts."
In the weeks that followed, Landor spent days and some nights—those when he sat up to visit the guard, as a rule—attempting to decide why his ward repelled him. She seemed to be quite like any other contented and natural young girl. She danced, and courted admiration, within the bounds of propriety; she was fond of dress, and rather above the average in intelligence. Usually she was excellent company, whimsical and sweet-humored. She rode well enough, and learned—to his intense annoyance—to shoot with a bow and arrow quite remarkably, so much so that they nicknamed her Diana. He had remonstrated at first, but there was no reason to urge, after all. Archery was quite a feminine sport.Out in the corral the cow-boy was holding forth. The men had stopped work on the instant that Kirby had turned his back. If Kirby could loll on soft cushions and drink tea, as free-born Americans and free-souled Irishmen they might do the same. "It's all right," said the cow-boy, with a running accompaniment of profanity, as he cleaned his brutal Mexican bit. "Johnny Bull don't have to believe in it if he don't like. But all the same, I seen a feller over here[Pg 124] to the 3 C Range, and he told me he seen the military camped over to San Tomaso a week ago, and that there was a lot of stock, hundred head or so, run off from the settlements. You see, them Apaches is making for the southern Chiricahuas over in Sonora to join the Mexican Apaches, and they're going to come this here way. You see!" and he rubbed at the rust vigorously with a piece of soft rawhide.
"I know that. But they don't like it, all the same. And I'll bet them cutaways riles them, too."
Landor drew rein and turned upon him with oaths and a purpled face. "What the devil are you trying to do now?" he said. :
Landor turned away from the window and looked at her. It was in human nature that she had never seemed so beautiful before. Perhaps it was, too, because there[Pg 149] was warmth in her face, the stress of life that was more than physical, at last.But he was unabashed, "What is he to you?" he insisted.
Being shaved of the thick iron-gray beard, and once again in seemly uniform, and having reported to the commandant, he sat down to talk with his wife.The Reverend Taylor was tipped back in his chair with his feet upon the table, reading the Tucson papers. He sprang up and put out his hand in a delighted welcome, his small face turning into a very chart of smiling seams and wrinkles.
The probable outcome of things at the rate they were going was perfectly apparent. Landor would advance in age, respectability, and rank, and would be retired and settle down on three-fourths pay. He himself would end up in some cow-boy row, degraded and worthless, a tough character very probably, a fine example of nothing save atavism. And Felipa would grow old. That splendid triumphant youth of hers would pass, and she would be a commonplace, subdued, middle-aged woman, in whom a relapse to her nature would be a mere vulgarity.
It had not occurred to her for some hours after Mrs. Campbell had told her of Landor's death that she was free now to give herself to Cairness. She had gasped, indeed, when she did remember it, and had put the thought away, angrily and self-reproachfully. But it returned now, and she felt that she might cling to it. She had been grateful, and she had been faithful, too.[Pg 286] She remembered only that Landor had been kind to her, and forgot that for the last two years she had borne with much harsh coldness, and with a sort of contempt which she felt in her unanalyzing mind to have been entirely unmerited. Gradually she raised herself until she sat quite erect by the side of the mound, the old exultation of her half-wild girlhood shining in her face as she planned the future, which only a few minutes before had seemed so hopeless.。
The round-up lasted several days longer, and then the men were paid off, and went their way. The way[Pg 167] of most was toward Tombstone, because the opportunities for a spree were particularly fine there. Not because of these, but because the little parson lived there now, Cairness went also. Moreover, it was as good a place as another to learn more about the massacre. Cow-boys coming from other round-ups and getting drunk might talk.。
Landor sat at the centre table and went over requisition blanks by the light of a green-shaded student lamp. The reflection made him look livid and aging. Felipa had noticed it, and then she had turned to the fire and sat watching, with her soft eyes half closed, the little sputtering sparks from the mesquite knot. She had been immovable in that one position for at least an hour, her hands folded with a weary looseness in her lap. If it had not been that her face was very hard to read, even her husband might have guessed that she was sad. But he was not thinking about her. He went on examining the papers until some one came upon the front porch and knocked at the door. Then he got up and went out.。
"I've been talking to a fellow down at the Q. M. corral," Landor said, "Englishman named Cairness,—Charley Cairness. He's going as a scout. He can't resist war's alarms. He used to be in my troop a few years ago, and he was a first-rate soldier—knew his place a good deal better than if he had been born to it, which he very obviously wasn't."。