One had gone mad with loco-weed, and they gored each other's sides until the blood ran, while only a low, moaning bellow came from their dried throats. A cloud of fine dust, that threw back the sun in glitters, hung over them, and a flock of crows, circling above in the steel-blue sky, waited.
Landor expressed pleasure, without loss of words.
The little Reverend was the first thing on earth to his father. For the wife had made that step in advance, which is yet a step in descent in a woman's life, when she becomes to her husband less herself than the mother of his child.
She sat staring at the white glare of the opening, and listening to his foot-falls upon the sand.
"You give me what no one else could give—the best things in life." "Never!" she declared; it was merely because she could not breathe the same air with that creature.
Kirby was without fear, but he was also without redress. He turned from them, his face contracted with the pain of his impotence, and walked back to the house. "I could order them off the ranch to-night," he told his wife, as he dropped on a chair, and taking up the hearth brush made a feint of sweeping two or three cinders from the floor; "but it's ten to one they wouldn't go and it would weaken my authority—not that I have any, to be sure—and besides," he flung down the brush desperately and turned to her, "I didn't want to tell you before, but there is a pretty straight rumor that Victorio's band, or a part of it, is in these hills. We may need the men at any time." Neither spoke of the two who should have been back hours ago. The night closed slowly down.
So that evening when all the garrison was upon its front porches and the sidewalk, the major and the lieutenant went down the line to Landor's quarters. And their example was followed. But some hung back, and constraint was in the air.
He was in front of her, not a hundred feet away; to the left were the mesquites, to the right the ragged arroyo. There could be no turning aside. She threw up her own revolver, and fired, not at the man, but at the head of his horse. It reared and fell, and a moment after her own rose in the air, touched the ground beyond, and went on. It had leapt the fallen one and his rider, and was leaving them behind.
"I'm a busy man," said Stone, "a very busy man, the busiest man in the territory."
"They have expressed the desire that I should convey to you, Colonel—"
He hesitated, opening his mouth to speak and shutting it again irresolutely.