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.
Cairness, his hand on the butt of his own pistol, wondered, a little angrily, if Taylor were never going to be roused. Forbes shrugged his shoulders. "You'll pardon me if I say that here she is a luxurious semi-barbarian." It was on his tongue's tip to add, "and this afternoon, by the spring-house, she was nearly an Apache," but he checked it. "It's very picturesque and poetical and all that,—from the romantic point of view it's perfect,—but it isn't feasible. You can't live on honeycomb for more than a month or twain. I can't imagine a greater misfortune than for you two to grow contented here, and that's what you'll do. It will be a criminal waste of good material."
Bright, black eyes peered down from crevasses and branches. An Apache lurked behind every boulder and trunk. But only the squaws and the children and twenty-six bucks in war toilet, naked from shoulder to waist, painted with blood and mescal, rings in their noses, and heads caked thick with mud, came down to the conference.
Cairness started for the salt lick, then changed his mind and his destination, and merely rode with Forbes around the parts of the ranch which were under more or less cultivation, and to one of the water troughs beneath a knot of live oaks in the direction of the foot-hills. So they returned to the home place earlier than they otherwise would have done, and that, too, by way of the spring-house. They laid Landor upon the ground, in the same patch of shade he had glanced at in coming by not five [Pg 281]minutes before. His glazed eyes stared back at the sky. There was nothing to be done for him. But Cairness was alive. They washed the blood from his face with water out of the canteens, and bound his head with a wet handkerchief. And presently he came back to consciousness and saw Landor stretched there, with the bluing hole in his brow, and the quiet there is no mistaking on his sternly weary face. And he turned back his head and lay as ashy and almost as still as the dead man, with a look on his own face more terrible than that of any death. Landor went back to his command and waited. Another man rode up and joined the two. Ten minutes passed, and the troops grew restless.
He considered. "Let me see. For instance, when did Lawton tell him, and why, and exactly what?"
There was a mutter of thunder and a far-off roar, a flame of lightning through the trees, and the hills and mountains shook. Just where they rode the ca?on narrowed to hardly more than a deep gulch, and the river ran close beside the road.
"That same. She was part Mescalero, anyway."
"Didn't you find out from him?" she asked.