Stone made a very creditable fight. A man does not throw up the results of years of work without a strong protest. He treated it lightly, at first, then seriously. Then he threatened. "I've got a good deal of power myself," he told Cairness angrily; "I can roast you in the press so that you can't hold up your head." "Say!" she apostrophized.
He told her that she didn't know it, because he was not; and then he explained to her. "What I want of you now is for you to come over with Taylor and me to see Stone." [Pg 227] The mesquites were directly ahead. A horseman came out from behind them and placed himself across the road. There was a sheen of moonlight on a revolver barrel and a shouted "Halt there!"
Cairness and Felipa were alone, and he leaned nearer to her. "Do you know," he asked in a low voice, "that there have been all sorts of rumors of trouble among the Indians for some time?"
The fighting stopped to watch the Ojo-blanco playing tag with the little Apache, right in the heart of the stronghold. The general stood still, with a chuckle, and looked on. "Naughty little boy," he remarked to the captain of the scouts; "but your man Cairness won't catch him, though." "Jack," he said, going up and running his hand in and out underneath the girths. He spoke almost too low to be heard, and the men who were nearest rode a few feet away. "Jack, will you do something for me? Will you—that is—there is a fellow named McDonald up at the Mescalero Agency. He's got a little four-year-old girl he's taking care of." He hurried along, looking away from Landor's puzzled face. "She's the daughter of a half-breed Mescalero woman, who was[Pg 5] killed by the Mexicans. If I don't come out of all this, will you get her? Tell McDonald I told you to. I'm her father." Early in the morning of the day she was to leave she went to the graveyard alone again. She was beginning to realize more than she had at first that Landor was quite gone. She missed him, in a way. He had been a strong influence in her life, and there was a lack of the pressure now. But despite the form of religion to[Pg 290] which she clung, she had no hope of meeting him in any future life, and no real wish to do so.
But presently she stood up to go away, and her eyes caught the lowering, glazed ones of the Indian. Half involuntarily she made a motion of striking with a knife. Neither the doctor nor the steward caught it, but he did, and showed by a sudden start that he understood.