Before he left with Taylor on the next morning but one, he ventured to warn Kirby. But he was met with a stolid "I was brought up that way," and he knew that argument would be entirely lost.
The man, still running, dodged from the road and started across country. Cairness wheeled and followed him. It was open ground, with not so much as a scrub oak or a rock in sight. The thick darkness offered the only chance of escape. But Cairness had chased yearlings in nights as black, and had brought them back to the herd. Down by the creek where the trees were thick, there would have been a good chance for escape, almost a certainty indeed, but there was little here. The man dodged again. It was just to that very thing that the pony had been trained. Habit got the better of stampede with it. It, too, dodged sharply.
No need to tell her that her courage must not falter at that last moment, which would soon come. He knew it, as he looked straight into those steadfast, loving[Pg 131] eyes. She clung to his hand and stooped and kissed it, too; then she went to the children and took them, quivering and crying, into the other room, and closed the dividing door.
He knew that the stores which should have gone to him were loaded upon wagon-trains and hurried off the reservation in the dead of night; but he did not know why the Apache who was sent to humbly ask the agent about it was put in the guard-house for six months without trial. He knew that his corn patches were trampled down, but not that it was to force him to purchase supplies from the agent and his friends, or else get out. He knew that his reservation—none too large, as it was, for three thousand adults more or less—had been cut down without his consent five different times, and that Mormon settlers were elbowing him out of what space remained. But, being only a savage, it were foolish to expect that he should have seen the reason for these things. He has not yet learned to take kindly to financial dishonesty. Does he owe you two bits, he will travel two hundred miles to pay it. He has still much to absorb concerning civilization.
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.
But the minister still refused to see it. He looked him very squarely in the eyes now, however. "See here, I am going to take lemon pop, my friend," he said.
Once when Felipa got out of the ambulance to tramp beside it, in the stinging snow whirls, and to start the thin blood in her veins, she had looked up into his blanket-swathed face, and laughed. "I wonder if you looked like that when you took me through this part of the world twenty years ago," she said.
"I beg your pardon, madam," he said. "It happens to be my business, though."
"Just nothing," Cairness laughed shortly, and breaking off one of the treasured geranium blossoms, stuck it in a buttonhole of his flannel shirt.