The man told him. "He'd been a private up to Stanton, and had been killed by some of Cochise's people that summer. Her mother was a half-breed by the name of Felipa. Good-looking squaw, but dead, too—killed by Mexicans. Do you happen to know whatever became of the kid?"
He looked at her steadily, in silence. It did not seem that there was anything to say. He would have liked to tell her how beautiful she was. But he did not do it. Instead, he did much worse. For he took a beaded and fringed leather case from his pocket and held out to her the drawing he had made of her four years before. She gave it back without a word, and bent to play with the buckskin collar on the neck of the fawn.
Because they were sent, a fine officer had fallen victim to Apache treachery of the meanest sort and to the gross stupidity of others, and Arizona was on the verge of the worst disorder of all its disorderly history. So Crook was sent for, and he came at once, and looked with his small, piercing eyes, and listened with his ears so sharp to catch the ring of untruth, and learned a pretty tale of what had gone on during his absence on the troubled northern plains. Ellton could not eat. He bewailed his hard fate unceasingly. He saw that the game had reached that stage where he must play his trump card, if he were to have any chance. "You are a mean little thing," he laughed. "It is the Apache blood, I suppose."
Landor's troop, with one other, was in the San[Pg 275] Andres Mountains of New Mexico when Cairness joined it. They were on the trail of a large band of renegades, and it led them through the mountains, across the flats, and down to the lava beds.
Landor went on with his dinner coolly enough. "There's quite likely to be that at any time," he said, "so long as a pious and humane Indian Bureau sends out special agents of the devil who burn down the Agency buildings of peaceful Apaches as a means of inducing them to seek illness and death in malarious river bottoms."
"How do you know this?"
"What!" ejaculated the general. He was moved altogether from his imperturbable calm.
Stone did not understand. He believed that he missed Mr. Cairness's meaning. "I don't think you do," said Cairness; "but I'll make it plainer, anyway. I want you to get out of the country, for the country's good, you know, and for your own. And I give you[Pg 259] three days to do it in, because I don't wish to hurry you to an inconvenient extent."