The Indians and the cow-boys used the insulators to try their marksmanship upon, and occasionally—in much the same spirit that the college man takes gates from their hinges and pulls down street signs—the young bucks cut the wires and tied the ends with rubber bands. Also trees blown down by storms fell crashing across the line, and some scheme for making it a little less tempting and a little more secure was much needed. Landor had long nursed such an one. So a week later he and Felipa, with a detail of twenty men and a six-mule wagon, started across the Gila Valley to the White Mountains.
"At eight o'clock, sir," he answered resentfully, "in front of the dry-goods store on the main street. If that is convenient for your men."
When they went into this last, the ranch hands were already at a long oilcloth-covered table. The Kirbys sat at a smaller one, laid with linen, and the lank wife of one of the men served them all, with the help of a Mexican boy. Landor's troop, with one other, was in the San[Pg 275] Andres Mountains of New Mexico when Cairness joined it. They were on the trail of a large band of renegades, and it led them through the mountains, across the flats, and down to the lava beds.
In the morning, while the cooks were getting breakfast and the steam of ration-Rio mounted as a grateful incense to the pink and yellow daybreak heavens, having bathed in the creek and elaborated his toilet[Pg 235] with a clean neckerchief in celebration of victory, he walked over to the bunch of tepees to see the women captives.
She could hear voices confusedly, men hurriedly calling and hallooing as she neared the back of the officers' line and crept into her tent. The door was barely closed when there came a knock, and the voice of the striker asking if she had heard the shot across the river.