"Of course," said the officer, "I understand that the hostiles are not in the immediate vicinity?"
She told him that they had all scattered some time before, with the hounds in full cry. "I must go," she repeated more firmly now, "they will be looking—" She stopped short. Chapter 8
"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 government took neither course.
Another grievance was the Ellton baby. Felipa adored it, and for no reason that he could formulate, he did not wish her to. He wanted a child of his own. Altogether he was not so easy to get on with as he had been. She did not see why. Being altogether sweet-humored and cheerful herself, she looked[Pg 182] for sweet humor and cheerfulness in him, and was more and more often disappointed. Not that he was ever once guilty of even a quick burst of ill temper. It would have been a relief.
The tufts were fuzzy yellow instead of gray, and the miniature face had not yet grown tanned and hard with the wind and the sun, but those were mere details. The general effect was perfect. There was no mistaking that the lively fraction of humanity in the Reverend Taylor's arms was the little Reverend. That was the only name he went by, though he had been christened properly on the day he was six months old, Joshua for his father and Randolph for his mother, in memory of Virginia, and her own long maidenhood. She was herself a Randolph, and she wanted the fact perpetuated. But in Tombstone, Joshua Randolph Taylor was simply the little Reverend.
It was the eternal old story of the White-man's whiskey. A rancher living some four hundred yards from the boundary line upon the Mexican side had sold it to the Indians. Many of them were dead or fighting drunk. The two sober Indians asked for a squad of soldiers to help them guard the ranchman, and stop him from selling any more mescal. They were right-minded themselves and really desired peace, and their despair was very great.
"Felipa!" shouted Cairness. He was angry—almost as angry as Forbes had been when he had come upon Mrs. Landor watching the boys and the kitten in the alleyway.
There were two bodies lying across the trail in front of him. He dismounted, and throwing his reins to the[Pg 136] trumpeter went forward to investigate. It was not a pleasant task. The men had been dead some time and their clothing was beginning to fall away in shreds. Some of their outfit was scattered about, and he could guess from it that they had been prospectors. A few feet away was the claim they had been working. Only their arms had been stolen, otherwise nothing appeared to be missing. There was even in the pockets considerable coin, in gold and silver, which Landor found, when he took a long knife from his saddle bags, and standing as far off as might be, slit the cloth open.