"You must get Mrs. Landor into the post to-morrow," Cairness said abruptly; "Victorio's band is about." Landor asked what he meant by that. "I'm sick of all this speaking in riddles," he said.
"Everybody ought to be uncomfortable," Ellton told them; "everybody who believed the first insinuation he heard ought to be confoundedly uncomfortable." He resigned from the acting adjutancy and returned to his troop duties, that Landor, who had relieved Brewster of most of the routine duties, and who was still fit for the sick list himself, might not be overburdened.
Landor saw that his own horse was the best; and it bid very fair to play out soon enough. But until it should do so, his course was plain. He gathered his reins in his hands. "You can mount behind me, Cabot," he said. The man shook his head. It was bad enough that he had come down himself without bringing others down too. He tried to say so, but time was too good a thing to be wasted in argument, where an order would serve. There was a water hole to be reached somewhere to the southwest, over beyond the soft, dun hills, and it had to be reached soon. Minutes spelled death under that white hot sun. Landor changed from the friend to the officer, and Cabot threw himself across the narrow haunches that gave weakly under his weight.
But it was full two hours, in the end, before they did start. Flasks had to be replenished, farewell drinks taken, wives and families parted from, the last behests made, of those going upon an errand of death. Citizens burning with ardor to protect their hearths and stock were routed out of saloons and dance halls, only to slip away again upon one pretext or another.