Landor stopped behind, looking at Cairness undecidedly for a moment longer. "It is well for you that I can believe her implicitly," he said. It had been a relapse to the Stone Age, but the rebound to the nineteenth century was as quick. "Can't we send the hostile away?" he suggested, glancing at the small Apache, who was digging viciously at his head and watching Cairness with beady orbs. Felipa spoke to him, and he went.
"Neither," drawled Cairness. "But Mrs. Lawton, here, has been good enough to tell me that you have known the exact truth about the Kirby massacre ever since a week after its occurrence, and yet you have shielded the criminals and lied in the papers. Then, too," he went on, "though there is no real proof against you, and you undoubtedly did handle it very well, I know that it was you that set Lawton on to try and bribe for the beef contract. You see your friends are unsafe, Mr. Stone, and I have been around yours and Lawton's ranches enough to have picked up a few damaging facts."
The horses were tied to a ground line, to avoid the embarrassment of a loose herd, in the event of an engagement. Pickets were sent out to give warning at the approach of Indians. It was winter here in the mountains, while it was hot summer in the alkali flats below, but the men were forbidden fires. And it was a fierce grievance to the citizens, as was also that they were not allowed to go out to shoot wild turkeys. They remonstrated sulkily.
What had he done with four and thirty years, putting it at the very highest valuation? He had sunk so far below the standard of his youth that he would not be fit for his old companions, even if he had wanted to go back to them, which, except in certain fits of depression, he did not. His own mother cared very little what became of him. At Christmas time she always sent him a letter, which reached him much later, as a rule, and he answered it. His brothers had forgotten him. His sister, of whom he had been very fond once, and for whom he had hoped a great deal, had married well enough and gone to London; but she, too, had forgotten him long since. "Lookin' at my stove-pipe?" asked the Reverend Mr. Taylor. "Only one in these parts, I reckon," and he vouchsafed an explanation of the holes. "Them holes? A feller in Tucson done that for me." They came around him and offered him their horses, dismounting even, and forcing the reins into his hands. "You don't know what you are doing," a corporal urged. "You'll never get out alive. If it ain't Indians, it'll be thirst." Then he looked into Cabot's face and saw that he did know, that he knew very well. And so they left him at last, with more of the tepid alkali water than they well could spare from their canteens, with two days' rations and an extra cartridge belt, and trotted on once more across the plain.