莱芜网But he knew that she did not love him. She was grateful. It was sometimes an Apache trait. He realized that it was his curse and hers that he could not for an instant forget the strain. He read her character by it, half unconsciously. He saw it in her honesty, her sinewy grace, her features, her fearlessness, her kindness with children,—they were all Apache characteristics; and they were all repellent. From his youth on, he had associated the race with cruelty and every ghastly sight he had come upon, on the plains and in the mountains. It was a prejudice with more than the force of a heritage. He went on with his study of her, as she sat there. He was always studying her.[Pg 54] But he could not decide whether it was that she lacked sensitiveness and was really not greatly disturbed, or a savage sort of pride in concealing emotions."I spent a few days with the Kirbys once," he said, and looked straight into her eyes. They shifted, and there was no mistaking her uneasiness. He followed it up instantly on a bold hazard. It had to be done now, before she had time to retreat to the cover of her blank stolidity. "Why did you leave them to[Pg 237] be massacred? What did you have against her and those little children?"
"And your wife?"[Pg 197]
"Shut up," said Brewster, with malicious glee. "They also serve who only stand and wait, you know," he chuckled. "You can serve your admiring and grateful country quite as well in the adjutant's office as summering on the verdant heights of the Mogollons."
He stroked her hair pityingly. After all, she was only a half-savage creature bound to him by the ties of gratitude. He had seen the same thing in a Chiricahua girl baby he had once rescued, horribly burned, from the fire of an abandoned Indian camp, where she had been thrown by the fleeing hostiles, because she was sickly and hampered their progress. The hideous, scarred little thing had attached herself to him like a dog, and had very nearly pined herself to death when he had had to leave her for good. Afterward she had[Pg 59] married—at the ripe age of twelve—a buck of her own tribe. He thought of how she also had slipped her hard, seamed arm around his neck, and he drew away from Felipa.
The boy grinned again. "How Mees Landor?" he repeated. His savage perception had noted that those words had some "medicine" or other that paralyzed[Pg 234] the Ojo-blanco temporarily. Cairness swore at him in good English, and went off abruptly.
"Felipa!" he cried, "Felipa!" 莱芜网:She drew herself up and grasped her loaded quirt more firmly. There are some natures to which flight from a thing feared is physically impossible. They must not only face danger, they must go up to it. It is a trait, like any other. Felipa took two steps toward him.
Cairness was surprised almost into showing his surprise. Felipa had said nothing of it to him. And he[Pg 317] knew well enough that she never forgot a face. He felt that he was in a false position, but he answered "Yes?" non-committally.
When all his phrases were quite used up, Stone changed the key. What could be done for Mr. Taylor? Mr. Taylor motioned with his usual urbanity that the burden of speech lay with Cairness. What could he do for Mr. Cairness, then?
Landor did not stop to consider it. It was one of the few impulses of his life, or perhaps only the quickest thinking he had ever done. Cairness was there among the rocks, disabled and in momentary danger of his life. If it had been a soldier, under the same circumstances, Landor might have gone on and have sent another soldier to help him. It was only a chief of scouts, but it was a man of his own kind, for all that—and it was his enemy. Instinct dismounted him before reason had time to warn him that the affair of an officer is not to succor his inferiors in the thick of the fighting when there are others who can be better spared to do it. He threw his reins over his horse's head and into the hands of the orderly-trumpeter, and jumped down beside Cairness.。
Cairness and Felipa were alone, and he leaned nearer to her. "Do you know," he asked in a low voice, "that there have been all sorts of rumors of trouble among the Indians for some time?"。
He held the door open for the Texan woman and the parson to go out. Then he followed, closing it behind him.。
Cairness assured him that he was not. "It is not my mission on earth to straighten out the territories, heaven be praised. This is purely a personal matter, entirely so. You may call it revenge, if you like. Lawton's in jail all safe, as you know. I got him there, and if he gets out anyway, I'll put him back again on this count."。