"She may be ill some time. Would it be asking too much of you to look after her?" The bachelor showed in that. "So?" said Cairness, with the appearance of stolidity he invariably assumed to cover disappointment or any sort of approach to emotion. "Where's she gone to?" "Nothing much," he told her. He and Taylor could take care of the talking. Her part would be just to stand by and pay attention.
The Indians, being wicked, ungrateful, suspicious characters, doubted the promises of the White-eyes. But it is only just to be charitable toward their ignorance. They were children of the wilderness and of the desert places, walking in darkness. Had the lights of the benefits of civilization ever shone in upon them, they would have realized that the government[Pg 226] of these United States, down to its very least official representative, never lies, never even evades. The Chiricahuas could see that there was trouble between the officials, both military and civil, and the government. They did not know what it was. They did not understand that the harassed general, whose word—and his alone—had their entire belief, nagged and thwarted, given authority and then prevented from enforcing it, had rebelled at last, had asked to be relieved, and had been refused. But they drew in with delight the air of strife and unrest. It was the one they loved best, there could and can be no doubt about that.
And the blood that blues the inside arm?"—
He went in through the gate, and was once more upon that reservation he had been commanded by the overbearing tyrant representative of the military to leave, several weeks before. As he trudged along, tattoo went. In the clear silence, beneath the sounding-boards of the low clouds, he heard the voice of one of the sergeants. He shook his fist in the direction. Tattoo being over, some of the lights were put out, but there were still plenty to guide him. He did not want to get there too early, so he walked more slowly, and when he came to the edge of the garrison, he hesitated.
Landor turned to the citizen. "Where is your bid, Mr. Lawton?"
There followed a fury-fraught silence. Landor's face was distorted with the effort he was making to contain himself, and Felipa began to be a little uneasy. So she did the most unwise thing possible, having been deprived by nature of the good gift of tact. She got up from the couch and drew the knife from its case, and took it to him. "That," she said, showing the red-brown stains on the handle, "that is his blood."
There was a murmur. They had elected a captain of their own; they were Indian fighters of experience themselves.
"Were you catching the tarantula yesterday when I saw you lying upon the ground by the dump heap?"
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.
She took it, and they both stood for a time without[Pg 222] speaking. Then she turned her head and looked up at the sunshine. "I think I must go," she whispered. But she did not move.