“星星之火,可以燎原”

He told her, directly, that he was passing through Arizona to hunt and to look to certain mining interests he held there. And he stayed, talking with her and her husband about the country and the towns and posts he had visited, until long after luncheon. Then Cairness, having to ride to the salt lick at the other end of the ranch, up in the Huachuca foot-hills, suggested that Forbes go with him.

"That is all." With the sublime indifference to the mockery of the world, characteristic of his race, Cairness kept at it. It was ridiculous. He had time to be dimly aware of that. And it certainly was not war. He did not know that they were affording the opposing forces much enjoyment. He had not even observed that the firing had stopped. But he meant to catch that much qualifiedly impudent little beast, or to know the reason why. And he would probably have known the reason why, if one of the Apache scouts, embarrassed by no notions of fair play, had not taken good aim and[Pg 233] brought his youthful kinsman down, with a bullet through his knee.

"Cairness," said the parson, fixing his eyes upon the back of the bent head, as if they were trying to see through into the impenetrable brain beneath, "are you going to spend the rest of your life at this sort of thing?" The little Reverend was not to be blandished. He was willing to go because it was his supper time and he knew it, but the big-eyed look of understanding he turned up to the gentle, fat face said plainly enough that he was too wise a creature to be wheedled. He [Pg 249]submitted to be carried in, but he cast a regretful glance at the "chuchu," which sat still in the doorway, and at his father, who was watching the line of flying ants making their way, a stream of red bodies and sizzing white wings, out of the window and across the street.