He knew while he was yet afar off which was the American. She stood, big and gaunt, with her feet planted wide and her fists on her hips, looking over toward the general's tent. And when Cairness came nearer, strolling along with his hands in his pockets, observing the beauties of Nature and the entire vileness of man, she turned her head and gave him a defiant stare. He took his hands from his pockets and went forward, raising his disreputable campaign hat. "Good morning, Mrs. Lawton," he said, not that he quite lived up to the excellent standard of Miss Winstanley, but that he understood the compelling force of civility, not to say the bewilderment. If you turn its bright light full in the face of one whose eyes are accustomed to the obscurity wherein walk the underbred, your chances for dazzling him until he shall fall into any pit you may have dug in his pathway are excellent.
She sat with her jaw hanging, staring at him, baffled,[Pg 262] and he went on. "I've got Lawton jailed, as I was saying. I'll have you out of the country in three days, and as for Mrs. Lawton, I'll keep an eye on her. I'll know where she is, in case I need her at any time. But I'm not fighting women." Felipa held out her hand and showed a little brown bird that struggled feebly. She explained that its leg was broken, and he drew back instinctively. There was not a trace of softness or pity in her sweet voice. Then he took the bird in his own big hand and asked her how it had happened. "I did it with an arrow," said Diana, unslinging her quiver, which was a barbaric affair of mountain-lion skin, red flannel, and beads. "You don't say!" she mocked. "You want the earth and some sun and moon and stars, don't you, though? Well, then, Bill told him about a week afterward. And he told him because Stone had another hold on him (it ain't any of your business what that was, I reckon), and bullied it out of him (Bill ain't got any more backbone than a rattler), and promised to lend him money to set up for hisself on the Circle K Ranch. Want to know anything else?" she sneered.
The Reverend Taylor grabbed at a fly and caught it in his palm. He had become very expert at this, to his wife's admiration and his son's keen delight. It was because the little Reverend liked to see him do it, and derived so much elfish enjoyment from the trick, that he had perfected himself in it. He gave the[Pg 248] crushed fly to the baby, and held him up to feed the bird. The bird put its head through the bars and pecked with its whiskered bill, and the little Reverend gurgled joyfully, his small face wrinkling up in a way which was really not pretty, but which his father thought the most engaging expression in the world. It was a halcyon time for the press. It approved and it disapproved, while the troops went serenely on their way. It gave the government two courses,—removal of the Apaches, one and all, to the Indian territory (as feasible as driving the oxen of Geryon), or extermination—the catchword of the non-combatant.
He rode beside Mrs. Landor along the road in the ravine bed, and the soldiers followed some twenty yards in the rear. They were making as much haste as was wise at the outset, and Felipa bent forward against the ever rising wind, as her horse loped steadily on.