类型:奇幻地区:发布:2020-10-29 21:33:12


The Reverend Taylor nodded again. "Reckon she could. But—" he grabbed at a fly with one hand, and caught and crushed it in his palm with much dexterity, "but—she's lit out.""Don't put it in, then. Leave the reservation to-night. You understand me, do you? Now go!"

"Sometimes it's the Gila Valley, and sometimes it's rum," said Landor. "It's rum with a good many.""I came here to parley, not to fight," said the general, rather sharply. "What is their disposition?"

For some days Felipa had noticed a change, indefinable and slight, yet still to be felt, in the manner of the Indians all about. Not that they were ever especially gracious, but now the mothers discouraged the children from playing hide-and-seek with her, and although there were quite as many squaws, fewer bucks came around than before. But Alchesay could always be relied upon to stalk in, at regular intervals, and seat himself near the fire, or the hot ashes thereof.And then his thoughts shot back to the present with quick pain. She should not have come here, not so soon. He had taken a long, hard trip that had nearly ended in his death, to avoid this very thing, this [Pg 293]meeting, which, just because it made him so terribly happy, seemed a treachery, a sacrilege. Had she less delicacy of feeling than himself? Or had she more love? It was that, he saw it in her beautiful eyes which were growing wide and frightened at his silence. He took his hand from under the sheets and stretched it out to her. She went to him and dropped on her knees beside the bed, and threw her arms about him. He moved his weak head closer to her shoulder, and pressing her fingers to his face gave a choking sob. He was happy, so very happy. And nothing mattered but just this.

Felipa thought it was not quite so bad as that, and she poured herself another cup of the Rio, strong as lye, with which she saturated her system, to keep off the fever.The mesquites were very near. She bent down over the horse's neck and spoke to him. His stride lengthened out yet more. She drew the little revolver, and cocked it, still bending low. If they were to fire at her, the white gown would make a good mark; but she would show as little of it as might be, and she would not waste time answering shots, if it could be helped.

"Is there anything, then, that I can do for you? the officer asked. His intentions were good; Cairness was bound to realize that, too.

There was only Mrs. Campbell who knew the whole story. Landor had gone to her for advice, as had been his custom since the days before she had preferred Campbell to him. "Felipa," he said, "writes that she is going to run away from school, if I don't take her away. She says she will, and she undoubtedly means it. I have always noticed that there is no indecision in her character.""You haven't, but the summer has told on you just the same. You are thin, and your eyes are too big. Look at that!" He held out a hand that shook visibly. "That's the Gila Valley for you."

He had looked down at the broken glass and the stream of water, and then up quite as calmly but a little less smilingly. "If you do that again, I'll shoot," he said. "Give me another pop."The man interrupted, "I ain't going daown the road, nor anywheres else before supper—nor after supper neither, if I don't feel like it." He was bold enough in speech, but his eyes dropped before Kirby's indignant ones.

For answer she put out her hand and laid it upon his, not as she had often done it before, in the unattentive eagerness of some argument, but slowly, with a shadow of hesitation.Already he felt more respectable at the mere prospect of contact with his kind again. He was glad that the unkempt beard was gone, and he was allowing himself to hope, no, he was deliberately hoping, that he would see Felipa."That is a promise," the Indian insisted, "to pay me dos reales a day if I would cut hay for him."



She was drowsy, however, for it was still very early, and she was almost dropping off to sleep when the Chinaman brought the coffee and set it down upon a table near her, with a deference of manner not common to the Celestial when serving the Occidental woman, who, he believes, has lost the right to it directly she shows the inclination to do work herself. But Felipa was a mistress to his taste. As he bowed himself abjectly from her presence, Cairness came in. He had taken off his rubber coat and big hat, and was full of the vigor of life which makes the strong and [Pg 308]healthy-minded so good to look upon at the beginning of a day."Seen the way Landor's been catching it?" they asked.

The men followed, sitting erect, toes in. They might have been on mounted inspection except for the field clothes, stained and dusty. They were to go down a narrow path for close on a mile, between two rows of rifle barrels, and that not at a run or a gallop, but at a trot, at the most, for the lava was slippery as glass in spots. They were willing enough to do it, even anxious—not that there was any principle involved, or glory to be gained, but because their blood was up and it was part of the chances of the game.The lean hands found the knots, untied them, and threw back the flaps defiantly. The ten pairs of eyes were fastened on her again. She returned the gaze steadily, backing to a little camp table and slipping her hand under a newspaper that lay upon it. "Ukishee, pronto," she commanded, in the accepted argot. They stood quite still and unyielding; and she knew that if she were to be obeyed at all, it must be now. Or if she were to die, it must be now also. But the hand that drew from beneath the newspaper the little black-butted Smith and Wesson, which was never out of her reach, did not so much as tremble as she aimed it straight between the eyes of the foremost buck. "Ukishee," she said once again, not loudly, but without the shadow of hesitation or wavering. There answered a low muttering, evil and rising, and the buck started forward. Her finger pressed against the trigger, but before the hammer had snapped down, she threw up the barrel and fired into the air, for a big, sinewy arm, seamed with new scars, had reached out suddenly and struck the buck aside. It was all done in an instant, so quickly that Felipa hardly knew she had changed her aim, and that it was Alchesay who had come forward only just in time.


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