Then he mounted the horse the orderly held for him, and trotted off.
"Yes, I heard it," she said indifferently. "Was Mr. Cairness really much hurt?" He took up his paper again. "He ain't told me the whole thing yet," he said.
Cairness nodded. He knew that the Interior Department had sent an agent out to investigate that complaint, and that the agent had gone his way rejoicing and reporting that all was well with the Indian and honest with the contractor. It was not true. Every[Pg 270] one who knew anything about it knew that. Cairness supposed that also was the work of the politicians. But there are things one cannot make plain to a savage having no notions of government. Landor looked them over and gave them back contemptuously. "Well?" he said, "there's nothing new in all that. It's devilish exasperating, but it's old as Hamilcar. I made an enemy of a fellow from Tucson, reporter named Stone, over at the San Carlos Agency a few years ago. He's been waiting to roast me ever since. There must be something else." Landor was without impulses; the very reverse from boyhood of the man on the ground beside him, which was why, perhaps, it had come to be as it was now. He considered before he replied. But having considered, he answered that he would, and that he would do his best for the child always. Once he had said it, he might be trusted beyond the shadow of a doubt.
Another officer came up, and Cairness dropped from the twisted bow and walked away.
He strode up and down, his face black with rage, expressing his violent opinion of Brewster. Then he came to a stop, in front of her. "How did he happen to tell you?" he asked.
Then he delivered his ultimatum, slowly, watching the unhappy savage narrowly from under the visor of his pith helmet. "You must make up your mind whether you will stay out on the war-path or surrender—without conditions. If you stay out, I'll keep after you and kill the last one, if it takes fifty years. I have never lied to you," he stood up and waved his hand; "I have said all I have to say. You had better think it over to-night and let me know in the morning."
A score of voices answered "Yes." They were all aroused now. Landor went down to meet the man, who had dismounted and was climbing up toward him, leading his horse. It was a courier, sent out from Apache, as Cairness had supposed.
"For a while, yes. And before I came away I made a sign to show him it was I. You should have seen his surprise."