The man did go underneath and bravely offered resistance. Cairness had the twofold strength of his wiry build and of his bull-dog race. But Lawton—he knew it was Lawton now—would have been stronger yet, save that the three weeks' spree had told, and he was breathless. There was a faint, white light above the distant mountains in the east. The moon was about to rise. In a few moments more it came drifting up, and the plain was all alight. Far away on the edge was a vague, half-luminous haze, and nearer the shadows of the bushes fell sharp and black. A mile ahead, perhaps, along the road, she could make out the dark blot of the mesquite clump. Behind, as she looked again, she could just see four figures following.
Chapter 1 It was still early. The mountain echoes had not sung back the tattoo of the trumpets as yet. There was a storm coming on from the snow peak in the west, and the clouds, dark with light edges, were thick in the sky. Lawton was sober enough now. Not so far away in its little pocket among the hills he could see the post, with all its lights twinkling, as though one of the clear starry patches in the heavens were reflected[Pg 205] in a black lake in the valley. And the road stretched out faint and gray before him.
"There will be trouble with Geronimo's people soon."
There was nothing for it but to admit that from the day of her father's death she had been utterly Landor's dependant,—at a cost to him of how many pleasures, she, who knew the inadequacy of a lieutenant's pay, could easily guess. "Mr. Brewster has just been here," she said at length, and she played with the lash of her whip, avoiding his eyes, which was also a new way for her.
Ellton filled in the pause that threatened, with a return to the dominant topic. "This not having any pack-train," he opined, "is the very deuce and all. The only transportation the Q. M. can give you is a six-mule team, isn't it?"
"She is ill, you see?"
"I can shoot, myself, when it comes to that," suggested Stone.
He held the door open for the Texan woman and the parson to go out. Then he followed, closing it behind him.
"Did my father leave me any money?" she asked.