"Don't put it in, then. Leave the reservation to-night. You understand me, do you? Now go!"
"Your husband is in jail," he said without preface. He had done with the mask of civility. It had served its purpose.
Landor himself sat in his tent, upon his mess-chest, and by the light of a candle wrote a despatch which[Pg 8] was to go by courier the next morning. Gila valley mosquitoes were singing around his head, a knot of chattering squaws and naked children were peering into his tent, the air was oven-hot, coyotes were filling the night with their weird bark, and a papoose was bawling somewhere close by. Yet he would have been sufficiently content could he have been let alone—the one plea of the body military from all time. It was not to be. The declared and standing foes of that body pushed their way through the squaws and children. He knew them already. They were Stone of the Tucson press, sent down to investigate and report, and Barnwell, an Agency high official, who would gladly assist the misrepresentations, so far as in his power lay. He found that it had been father and son come from the Eastern states in search of the wealth that lay in that vague and prosperous, if uneasy, region anywhere west of the Missouri. And among the papers was a letter addressed to Felipa. Landor held it in the flat[Pg 146] of his hand and frowned, perplexed. He knew that it was Cairness's writing. More than once on this last scout he had noticed its peculiarities. They were unmistakable. Why was Cairness writing to Felipa? And why had he not used the mails? The old, never yet justified, distrusts sprang broad awake. But yet he was not the man to brood over them. He remembered immediately that Felipa had never lied to him. And she would not now. So he took the stained letter and went to find her. Equally absurd.
He rose to his feet, shaking off an impatience with her and with himself. "Come," he said peremptorily; and they went out and mounted and rode away in the face of a whipping wind up the gradual slope to the mountains, black and weird beneath the heavy, low-hanging rain clouds.
Then some bull-teams going to Camp Apache had stopped over night at the Agency. The teamsters had sold the bucks whiskey, and the bucks had grown very drunk. The representatives of the two tribes which were hereditary enemies, and which the special agent of an all-wise Interior Department had, nevertheless, shut up within the confines of the same reservation, therewith fell upon and slew each other, and the survivors went upon the warpath—metal tags and all. So the troops had been called out, and Landor's was at San Carlos.
"I'm a busy man," said Stone, "a very busy man, the busiest man in the territory."
"They're out from Apache, two troops under Kimball and Dutton; Morris has a band of scouts, Bayard has sent two troops, Wingate one. Oh! it's going to be grim-visaged war and all that, this time, sure," Brewster prophesied.
"Is he hurt?" she shook him sharply.
"What did I do? The same as he done unto me. Let the air into his sombrero." He told them that he was studying the flora of the country, and travelling quite alone, with an Indian pony, a pack-mule, and a dog—a prospector's outfit, in short.
"Who is there to marry hereabouts? And always supposing there were some one, I'd be sent off on a scout next day, and have to ship her back East for an indefinite time. It would be just my blamed luck."
It went well enough for a time, and the hills seemed coming a little nearer, to be rougher on the surface. Then the double-loaded horse fagged. Cabot felt that it did, and grasped hard on the burning cantle as he made his resolve. When Landor used his spurs for the first time, he loosed his hold and dropped to the ground.