"Is he hurt?" she shook him sharply.
They shout back our peals of laughter, "I am not wasting any sympathy on the Apaches, nor on the Indians as a whole. They have got to perish. It is in the law of advancement that they should. But where is the use in making the process painful? Leave them alone, and they'll die out. It isn't three hundred years since one of the biggest continents of the globe was peopled with them, and now there is the merest handful left, less as a result of war and slaughter than of natural causes. Nature would see to it that they died, if we didn't."
The parson had seen.
"But that is sport," she answered carelessly. The Reverend Taylor sat in silence for a time, reflecting. Then he broke forth again, a little querulously. "What in thunderation do they dine at such an hour for?" Cairness explained that it was an English custom to call supper dinner, and to have it very late. The sentry was of the opinion that it was an unseemly hour to arouse a man who had marched all day, but it was not for him to argue. He walked deliberately, very deliberately indeed, that the citizens might be impressed, over to Landor's tent and awoke him. "There's two citizens here, sir, asking to see you,[Pg 111] sir." His tone plainly disclaimed any part in the affair.
About an hour after midnight there came thundering through the quiet of the night the sound of galloping hoofs along the road at the foot of the ravine. Cairness, lying broad awake, was the first to hear it. He sprang up and ran to the opening of the tent. He guessed that it was a courier even before the gallop changed to a trot, and a voice called from the invisible depths below, "Captain Landor?" with a rising intonation of uncertainty.
One morning, shortly before dinner call, she sat under the ramada, the deer at her feet, asleep, the little Apache squatted beside her, amusing himself with a collection of gorgeous pictorial labels, soaked from commissary fruit and vegetable cans. The camp was absolutely silent, even the drowsy scraping of the brooms of the police party having stopped some time before. Landor was asleep in his tent, and presently she herself began to doze. She was awakened by the sound of footsteps on the gravel in front of the[Pg 65] ramada, and in another moment a tall figure stood in the opening, dark against the glare. Instantly she knew it was the man with whom she had come face to face long before on the parade ground at Grant, though from then until now she had not thought of him once, nor remembered his existence.
"But you," said Felipa, wistfully, "you do not want to go back?"
"I don't know," Cairness answered, with a lightness that was anything but cheering.
Once in the ?ons which will never unfold their secrets now, when the continent of the Western seas was undreamed of by the sages and the philosophers of the Eastern world, when it was as alone, surrounded by its wide waters, as the planets are alone in their wastes of space, when it was living its own life,—which was to leave no trace upon the scroll of the wisdom of the ages,—the mountains and the bowels of the earth melted before the wrath of that same Lord whose voice shook the wilderness of Jud?a. At His bidding they ran as water, and poured down in waves of seething fire, across the valley of death.
"I dare say they are willing to surrender, upon terms to suit them. But they are very much afraid of treachery. They are on the lookout for deception at every turn. In fact, they are not in altogether the most amiable frame of mind, for the greater part. However, you can decide that for yourself when they come over, which will be directly."
"They put him in a tent beside the hospital, and the next morning I went over with the doctor to see him. He was all cut up on the arms and neck and shoulders. I must have been very strong." She stopped, and he still sat with the puzzled look on his face, but a light of understanding beginning to show through.