Landor's patience was worn out. "It's a confoundedly curious thing," he told them, "for men who really want to find Indians, to go shooting and building fires." And he sent them to rest upon their arms and upon the cold, damp ground.
He sat down cross-legged on the ground, facing her. "I've got plenty of time, my dear woman. I can stop here all day if you can, you know," he assured her. Afterward he made a painting of her as she had sat there, in among the rocks and the scrub growth, aged, bent, malevolent, and in garments that were picturesque because they were rags. He called it the Sibyl of the Sierra Madre. And, like the Trojan, he plied her with[Pg 240] questions—not of the future, but of the past. "Well," he said, "are you going to answer me?"
"Are you certain of it? You have seen so very little of him, and you may be mistaken."
Foster hastened to assure him that two days would easily do it. "We know the country round here, [Pg 113]Colonel, know it better than the hostiles themselves; and a big party of us volunteers to put you on the trail and bring you to them. You can't hardly refuse, seein' as you say you are here to protect us, and this is the protection we ask, to get back the stock we've lost." But in the days of Victorio and his predecessors and successors, Aravaypa Ca?on was a fastness. Men went in to hunt for gold, and sometimes they came out alive, and sometimes they did not. Occasionally Apaches met their end there as well.
The black eyes snapped with pain as he fell, but when Cairness, with a breathless oath at the spoiler of sport, whoever he might be, pounced down upon him, the snap turned to a twinkle. The little buck raised himself on his elbow. "How! Cairness," he grinned. "How Mees Landor?" Cairness stopped short, speechless, with his mouth open. He did not even dodge after a bullet had hummed past his head. "Who the devil—!" he began. Then it dawned upon him. It was Felipa's protégé of the old Camp Thomas days. He hesitated still. "I don't doubt you," he told her.