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Presently she returned with two bottles. In one was the tarantula, an especially large and hideous specimen, hairy and black, with dull red tinges. In the other the vinagrone, yet more hideous. She went down to the side of the house and emptied both into the wide-mouthed bottle.

"That will do," said Landor. "See there is no delay," and he wheeled about and went back to his tent with Brewster.

"It's only a small trail, anyway," Cairness informed[Pg 118] them as a result of a minute examination he had made, walking round and leading his bronco, bending double over the signs, "just some raiding party of twelve or fifteen bucks. Shot out from the main body and ran into the settlements to steal stock probably."

She might have seen two dots of light fixed on her from the shadow, if she had looked that way. But she did not, and came unconcernedly down. She was sure-footed and agile, and she was daring, too. He himself had felt a qualm at coming here. But she did not appear to hesitate once. She came on, close by where he sat, and going to the dark passage peered in. Then she turned away and caught sight of him. Kirby, with a revolver in each hand, placed himself before it. It would avail nothing. But a man must needs fight to the end. And the end was now.

But Cairness had known it without that. It was so entirely in keeping with the rest of his fate, that every cup which ought to have been sweet should have been embittered like this.

The exceedingly small respectable element of Tombstone hailed their departure with unmixed joy. They had but one wish,—that the Toughs might meet the Apaches, and that each might rid the face of the desert of the other. But the only Apaches left to meet were the old and feeble, and the squaws and papooses left at San Carlos. The able-bodied bucks were all in the field, as scouts or hostiles.

Felipa Cabot proved to be a lithe creature, who rode beside the ambulance with the officers, and who, in spite of the dust and tan and traces of a hard march, was beautiful. In the reaction of the moment Landor thought her the most beautiful woman he had ever seen. But she froze the consequent warmth of his greeting with a certain indefinable stolidity, and she eyed him with an unabashed intention of determining whether he were satisfactory or not, which changed his position to that of the one upon approbation. If she had been less handsome, it would have been repellent.

Chapter 5

There were two rooms to the cabin where they were, the big sitting room and the small bedchamber beyond. Kirby went into the bedroom and came out with two rifles and a revolver. He put the revolver into his wife's hands. "I'll do my best, you know, dear. But if I'm done for, if there is no hope for you and the children, use it," he said. And added, "You understand?"