Cairness remembered with an anger and disgust with himself he could still feel, that last time he had seen her in the mouth of the cave. That had been two springs ago. Since then there had been no occupation for him as a guide or scout. The country had been at peace. The War Department and the Indian Department were dividing the control of the Agency, with the War Department ranking. Crook had been trying his theories as practice. He had been demonstrating that the Indian can work, with a degree of success that was highly displeasing to the class of politicians whose whole social fabric for the southwest rested on his only being able to kill.
Landor still rode at the head of his column, but his chin was sunk down on his red silk neckerchief, his face was swollen and distorted under its thick beard, and his eyes were glazed. They stared straight ahead into the sand whirl and the sulphurous glare. He had sent Brewster on ahead some hours before. "You[Pg 138] will want to see Miss McLane as soon as possible," he had said, "and there is no need of both of us here."
She went, with none too good a grace.
And it seems that the dead are there. In those days some strange things happened at agencies. Toilet sets were furnished to the Apache, who has about as much use for toilet sets as the Greenlander has for cotton prints, and who would probably have used them for targets if he had ever gotten them—which he did not. Upon the table of a certain agent (and he was an honest man, let it be noted, for the thing was rare) there lay for some time a large rock, which he had labelled with delicate humor "sample of sugar furnished to this agency under—" but the name doesn't matter now. It was close on a[Pg 12] quarter of a century ago, and no doubt it is all changed since then. By the same working out, a schoolhouse built of sun-baked mud, to serve as a temple of learning for the Red-man, cost the government forty thousand dollars. The Apache children who sat within it could have acquired another of the valuable lessons of Ojo-blanco from the contractors. "Is he hurt?" she shook him sharply.
It was a fatal want of tact perhaps, characteristic of the race, but then the characteristic is so fine. "You will do whatever I tell you to do," the voice was low and strained, but not wavering. It reached the group by the harness-room door.