"Yes?" said Landor. The inflection was not pleasing. It caused Brewster to answer somewhat weakly, "Yes." The general was neither convinced nor won over. He had Geronimo told that it was a very pretty story, but that there was no reason why forty men should have left the reservation for fear of three. "And if you were afraid of three, what had that to do with the[Pg 299] way you sneaked all over the country, killing innocent people? You promised me in the Sierra Madre that that peace should last. But you lied. When a man has lied to me once, I want better proof than his word to believe him again."
Landor knew that the scouts had come in the afternoon before, and were in camp across the creek; but he had not seen their chief, and he said so.
Landor knew that the scouts had come in the afternoon before, and were in camp across the creek; but he had not seen their chief, and he said so. It is one thing to be sacrificed to a cause, even if it is only by filling up the ditch that others may cross to victory; it is quite another to be sacrificed in a cause, to die unavailingly without profit or glory of any kind, to be even an obstacle thrown across the way. And that was the end which looked Cabot in the face. He stood and considered his horse where it lay in the white dust, with its bloodshot eyes turned up to a sky that burned like a great blue flame. Its tongue, all black and swollen, hung out upon the sand, its flanks were sunken, and its forelegs limp.
They went on to tell him that it was all in the Tucson papers, which Brewster knew, however, quite as well as they did themselves. He had made friends among the citizen volunteers of San Tomaso on the night they had camped by the old lake bed, and they had seen that he was kept supplied with cuttings. [Pg 309]
He got up and went to the window, which was iron-barred, after the Mexican fashion, and stood, with his hands run into his belt, looking down at a row of struggling, scraggly geraniums in tin cans. They were the most disheartening part of the whole disheartening prospect, within or without.
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.