Landor asked what he meant by that. "I'm sick of all this speaking in riddles," he said. The commandant had sent his orderly with a note.
"Over here to Tucson" was a three days' ride under the most favorable circumstances; but with the enthusiastic botanist dismounting at short intervals to make notes and press and descant upon specimens, it was five days before they reached, towards nightfall, the metropolis of the plains.
Chapter 5 The little Reverend was not to be blandished. He was willing to go because it was his supper time and he knew it, but the big-eyed look of understanding he turned up to the gentle, fat face said plainly enough that he was too wise a creature to be wheedled. He [Pg 249]submitted to be carried in, but he cast a regretful glance at the "chuchu," which sat still in the doorway, and at his father, who was watching the line of flying ants making their way, a stream of red bodies and sizzing white wings, out of the window and across the street.
"I heard you," said the little man; "what's the other?"—"Oh, I dare say I'll fail on that," he answered indifferently, and taking up his sombrero went out to saddle his horse.
"It is bitterly cold." "Do you object to taking her into your house for a short time?"
If he had not sprung forward, with his arms outstretched to catch her, she would have fallen, face downward in the dust. It was three times now he had so saved her.
Lawton produced a brace of revolvers.
"We'll see," she answered shortly; "it is where the Huachuca road crosses, you are certain?"
The fight began with a shot fired prematurely by one of the scouts, and lasted until nightfall—after the desultory manner of Indian mountain fights, where you fire at a tree-trunk or lichened rock, or at some black, red-bound head that shoots up quick as a prairie dog's and is gone again, and where you follow the tactics of the wary Apache in so far as you may. The curious part of it is that you beat him at his own game every time. It is always the troops that lose the least heavily!