He seated himself upon a low branch of sycamore, which grew parallel to the ground, and went on to tell what he had seen on the hilltop in the hostile camp. "They are in capital condition. A lot of them are playing koon-kan. There were some children and one little red-headed Irishman about ten years old with[Pg 295] them. He was captured in New Mexico, and seems quite happy. He enjoys the name of Santiago Mackin—plain James, originally, I suppose."
"Not until there is no hope," he impressed, as he put the barrel of his rifle through a knot hole and fired at random. Mrs. Campbell asked where she proposed running to.
But the Apaches held it for only a day, for all that. They were unprepared and overconfident. Their bucks were for the most part away plundering the hapless Mexican settlements in the desert below. They had thought that no white troops nor Mexicans could follow here, and they had neglected to count with the scouts, who had been hostiles themselves in their day, and who had the thief's advantage in catching a thief. And so while the bucks and children wandered round among the trees or bathed in the creek, while the hobbled[Pg 230] ponies grazed leisurely on the rank grass, and the squaws carried fuel and built fires and began their day of drudgery, they were surprised. [Pg 214]
"Ain't it funny how narrow-minded some good women can be, though?" he speculated, looking at her very much as he was in the habit of looking at his specimens. And he quoted slowly, as if he were saying over the names and family characteristics of a specimen. She would not be induced to go near her own house that night. When Ellton suggested it, she turned white and horrified. It had not occurred to him before that a woman so fearless of everything in the known world might be in abject terror of the unknown.
He flushed angrily, then thought better of it, because after all the question was not impertinent. So he only answered with short severity that he most certainly had not.
"I know him," Cairness said; "he used to be round San Carlos when I was an enlisted man. He won't remember me, either. And you needn't necessarily mention that I was with Landor in the San Tomaso affair, or that I was a scout. He may know it, of course. And again, he may not."
The woman fairly flung the ill-cooked food upon the table, with a spitefulness she did not try to conceal. And she manifested her bad will most particularly toward the pretty children. Cairness felt his indignation rise against Kirby for having brought a woman to this, in the name of love.