Stone laughed and inquired if he were joking, or just crazy.
In those days some strange things happened at agencies. Toilet sets were furnished to the Apache, who has about as much use for toilet sets as the Greenlander has for cotton prints, and who would probably have used them for targets if he had ever gotten them—which he did not. Upon the table of a certain agent (and he was an honest man, let it be noted, for the thing was rare) there lay for some time a large rock, which he had labelled with delicate humor "sample of sugar furnished to this agency under—" but the name doesn't matter now. It was close on a[Pg 12] quarter of a century ago, and no doubt it is all changed since then. By the same working out, a schoolhouse built of sun-baked mud, to serve as a temple of learning for the Red-man, cost the government forty thousand dollars. The Apache children who sat within it could have acquired another of the valuable lessons of Ojo-blanco from the contractors.
And before the next morning the picnic that kept the southwest interested for five years had begun. Victorio and two hundred hostiles had left the Mescalero Agency for good and all, killing, burning, torturing, and destroying as they went, and troops from all the garrisons were sent out post haste.
They had not gone upon a wedding trip for the excellent reason that there was no place to go; and as[Pg 56] they sat at dinner together in their sparsely furnished quarters, there was a timid ring at the door-bell, and Landor's Chinaman, the cook of his bachelor days, ushered in the commanding officer, who looked humble apology for the awkwardness of a visit he could not delay. He went straight to the matter in hand, in spite of the tactful intentions that had made him come himself instead of sending a subordinate.
Ellton answered "Very good," and they went out, locking the door.
Before long she heard a horse coming at a gallop up the road, to the front of the house. She put out her hand and pushed aside the vines, but could see little until the rider, dismounting and dropping his reins to hang on the ground, ran up the steps. It was the mail carrier, the young hero of the Indian massacre. Felipa saw in a moment that he was excited. She thought of her husband at once, and sat up in the hammock.