The Apache in Felipa was full awake now, awake in the bliss of killing, the frenzy of fight, and awake too, in the instinct which told her how, with a deep-drawn breath, a contraction, a sudden drop and writhing, she would be free of the arms of steel. And she was free, but not to turn and run—to lunge forward, once and again, her breath hissing between her clenched, bared teeth.
Taylor smiled. Cairness's small, brown mustache, curving up at the ends, was hardly a disguise. "There's a fellow here who could get you the job, though," he suggested. "Fellow named Stone. Newspaper man, used to be in Tucson. He seems to have some sort of pull with that Lawton fellow." [Pg 141] But that same night he picked two for their reputation of repeating all they knew, and took them into his own rooms and told his story to them. And he met once again with such success that when Landor rode into the post the next day at about guard-mounting, three officers, meeting him, raised their caps and passed on.
It is one thing to be sacrificed to a cause, even if it is only by filling up the ditch that others may cross to victory; it is quite another to be sacrificed in a cause, to die unavailingly without profit or glory of any kind, to be even an obstacle thrown across the way. And that was the end which looked Cabot in the face. He stood and considered his horse where it lay in the white dust, with its bloodshot eyes turned up to a sky that burned like a great blue flame. Its tongue, all black and swollen, hung out upon the sand, its flanks were sunken, and its forelegs limp. The face on the pillow lighted quickly, and she put out her hand to him impulsively. "Could we go back, Jack, even before the detail is up?" she said. And yet her life of late had surely been one that women would have thought enviable—most women.
She was astonished in her turn. "Killed him! Why, of course I might have killed him," she said blankly, frowning, in a kind of hopeless perplexity over his want of understanding. "I came very near it, I tell you. The ball made shivers of his shoulder. But he was brave," she grew enthusiastic now, "he let the doctor probe and pick, and never moved a muscle. Of course he was half drunk with tizwin, even then."
Then stand to your glasses steady,
Landor saw that his own horse was the best; and it bid very fair to play out soon enough. But until it should do so, his course was plain. He gathered his reins in his hands. "You can mount behind me, Cabot," he said. The man shook his head. It was bad enough that he had come down himself without bringing others down too. He tried to say so, but time was too good a thing to be wasted in argument, where an order would serve. There was a water hole to be reached somewhere to the southwest, over beyond the soft, dun hills, and it had to be reached soon. Minutes spelled death under that white hot sun. Landor changed from the friend to the officer, and Cabot threw himself across the narrow haunches that gave weakly under his weight.
"Yes," he persisted, refusing to be thwarted, "once when you were crossing the parade at Grant, at retreat, and two days afterward when you shot a blue jay down by the creek."
For a moment he stood looking straight into her eyes, yet neither read the other's thoughts. Then he turned away with a baffled half laugh. "Why should it matter to me?" he asked.