"So long as these stones of your house shall remain one upon the other," began the Apache, "so long shall I be your friend. Have you any tobacco?" Cairness went into the cabin, got a pouch, and tossed it to him. He took a package of straw papers and a match from somewhere about himself and rolled a cigarette deftly.
Stone was something of a power in Tucson politics, and altogether a great man upon the territorial stump. He was proud of his oratory, and launched into a display of it now, painting luridly the wrongs of the citizen, who, it appeared, was a defenceless, honest, [Pg 10]law-abiding child of peace, yet passed his days in seeing his children slaughtered, his wife tortured, his ranches laid waste, and himself shot down and scalped.
Mrs. Lawton gritted her teeth at him as though she would have rejoiced greatly to have had his neck between them. By and by she started once more. "Bill jest told him about it—like a goldarned fool."
"How do I know you're done with me yet?" she snapped.
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?"
So he waited and stood aside somewhat, to watch[Pg 23] the course of Brewster's suit. He derived some little amusement from it, too, but he wondered with rather a deeper tinge of anxiety than was altogether necessary what the final outcome would be.
There was a murmur. They had elected a captain of their own; they were Indian fighters of experience themselves.
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.