They came around him and offered him their horses, dismounting even, and forcing the reins into his hands. "You don't know what you are doing," a corporal urged. "You'll never get out alive. If it ain't Indians, it'll be thirst." Then he looked into Cabot's face and saw that he did know, that he knew very well. And so they left him at last, with more of the tepid alkali water than they well could spare from their canteens, with two days' rations and an extra cartridge belt, and trotted on once more across the plain.
"I do," she answered, blinking lazily.
"And now," said the Reverend Taylor, fingering the lock of hair over the little Reverend's right ear,[Pg 263] as that wise little owl considered with uncertain approval a whistle rattle Cairness had bought for him, "and now what are you going to do?"
"Yes; but it happens to be enough for the next few weeks. We are going to camp around San Tomaso to afford the settlers protection. We can't follow any trails, those are our orders, so the pack-train doesn't matter anyway. By that time they will have scared up one."
Such Apaches as had not gone back on the war-path returned to the States with the troops; but there were five months more of the outrages of Geronimo and his kind. Then in the summer of the year another man, more fortunate and better fitted to deal with it all, perhaps,—with the tangle of lies and deceptions, cross purposes and trickery,—succeeded where Crook had failed and had been relieved of a task that was beyond him. Geronimo was captured, and was hurried off to a Florida prison with his band, as far as they well could be from the reservation they had refused to accept. And with them were sent other Indians, who had been the friends and helpers of the government for years, and who had run great risks to help or to obtain peace. But the memory and gratitude of governments is become a proverb. The southwest settled down to enjoy its safety. The troops rested upon the laurels they had won, the superseded general went on with his work in another field far away to the north. The new general, the saviour of the land, was heaped[Pg 305] with honor and praise, and the path of civilization was laid clear. "Might not an orphan asylum have been best, after all?" "I fail to see why not. You can wound it."
He did not see that there was just the faintest shadow of pausing upon Forbes's part, just the quickest passing hesitation and narrowing of the eyes with Felipa. She came forward with unquestioning welcome, accustomed to take it as a matter of course that any traveller, minded to stop for a time, should go into the first ranch house at hand.
"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.
In pursuance of which the resolute and courageous men arose at the cry of their bleeding land. They have gone down to history (to such history as deigns to concern itself with the reclaiming of the plains of the wilderness, in area an empire of itself) as the Tombstone Toughs.