He saw that the game had reached that stage where he must play his trump card, if he were to have any chance. "You are a mean little thing," he laughed. "It is the Apache blood, I suppose."
He stood quite still and erect, looking after them, a dead light of renunciation of life and hope in his eyes. They came in search of him two days later and scoured the valley and the hills. But the last they ever saw of him was then, following them, a tiny speck upon the desert, making southwest in the direction of the water hole. The big wolf had stopped again, and turned about, coming slowly after him, and two buzzards circled above him, casting down on his path the flitting shadows of their wings.
They rode on, along the trail, at a walk and by file, and directly they came upon the other side of the question. Landor's horse stopped, with its forefeet planted, and a snort of fright. Landor had been bent far back, looking up at a shaft of rock that rose straight from the bottom and pierced the heavens hundreds of feet above, and he was very nearly unseated. But he caught himself and held up his hand as a signal to halt.
The major offered the objection that it would be foolhardy, that it would be cutting through the enemy by file. "They'll pick you off, and you'll be absolutely at their mercy," he remonstrated. "No, I can't hear of it."
The men went away, however, without much trouble beyond tipsy protests and mutterings, and the sutler rewarded the guard with beer, and explained to Landor that several of the disturbers were fellows who were hanging round the post for the beef contract; the biggest and most belligerent—he of the fierce, drooping mustachios—was the owner of the ranch where the Kirby massacre had taken place, as well as of another one in New Mexico.
The shadow was swallowed up in darkness. The candle had been blown out, and Landor came back to the fire.
He did not answer, and she knew that he was annoyed. She had come to see that he was always annoyed by such references, and she made them more frequent for that very reason, half in perversity, half in a fixed determination not to be ashamed of her origin, for she felt, without quite realizing it, that to come to have shame and contempt for herself would be to lose every hold upon life.