"This is all very beautiful," said Forbes, after a silence. [Pg 51]
"Then they all have 'medicine' on," Cairness continued, "redbird and woodpecker feathers, in buckskin bags, or quail heads, or prairie-dog claws. One fellow was making an ornament out of an adobe dollar. Every buck and boy in the band has a couple of cartridge belts and any quantity of ammunition, likewise new shirts and zarapes. They have fitted themselves out one way or another since Crawford got at them in January. I don't think there are any of them particularly anxious to come in."
The silence of the garrison was absolute. Over in[Pg 190] the company clerk's office of one of the infantry barracks there was a light for a time. Then, at about midnight, it too was put out. A cat came creeping from under the board walk and minced across the road. He watched it absently. When the storm had fairly passed, they found Felipa's gray lodged in the root of a tree some distance down the creek; in no way hurt, oddly enough, but trembling and badly frightened. The saddle, even, was uninjured, though the pigskin was water-soaked and slippery. "How," he said gruffly.
He told her that he had gone on to Arizona, to Tombstone, he believed. "By the way," he added, "did you hear that Brewster has married a rich Jewish widow down in Tucson?"
The post was tremendously excited. As the cavalry trotted off up the slope toward the foot-hills, the men left behind went to the back of the post and watched, women looked through field-glasses, from the upper windows, children balanced upon the fences of the back yards, and Chinese cooks scrambled to the top of chicken coops and woodsheds, shading their eyes with their hands and peering in the direction of the gap. Dogs barked and hens cackled and women called back and forth. Down at the sutler's store the German was being comforted with beer at a dollar a bottle. [Pg 69]
"But it is doing Mrs. Cairness an injustice, if you don't mind my saying so."
Brewster was silent, but he neither flinched nor cowered, nor yet shifted his eyes.
Breakfast call sounded. At the first shrill note she started violently. She was very thoroughly unnerved, and he decided that an hour of thinking would make her worse so. He told her that he would see her after breakfast, and raising his hat again left her to the anticipation, and to helping the Mexican captives cook their meal of mescal root and rations.
With the things of the flesh there can be the vindictive hope, the certainty indeed, that they will lose their charm with time, that the gold will tarnish and the gray come above the green, but a thought is dearer for every year that it is held, and its beauty does not fade away. The things of the flesh we may even mar ourselves, if the rage overpowers us, but those of the intellect are not to be reached or destroyed; and Felipa felt it as she turned from them and went into the house.
He went upon the sick report at once, and for three days thereafter raved of crucified women with fair hair, of children lying dead in the ca?on, of the holes in his boot soles, and a missing aparejo, also of certain cursed citizens, and the bad quality of the canned butter.