"It seems, Landor," the major said, "to be rather that which is left unsaid." "I have been lied to," came the muttering voice from the folds of the red I. D. blanket, which almost met the red flannel band binding down his coarse and dirty black hair. It was early dawn and cold. Cairness himself was close to the brush fire.
"You might marry," Landor suggested. "You can always do that when all else fails."
It went well enough for a time, and the hills seemed coming a little nearer, to be rougher on the surface. Then the double-loaded horse fagged. Cabot felt that it did, and grasped hard on the burning cantle as he made his resolve. When Landor used his spurs for the first time, he loosed his hold and dropped to the ground. The tufts were fuzzy yellow instead of gray, and the miniature face had not yet grown tanned and hard with the wind and the sun, but those were mere details. The general effect was perfect. There was no mistaking that the lively fraction of humanity in the Reverend Taylor's arms was the little Reverend. That was the only name he went by, though he had been christened properly on the day he was six months old, Joshua for his father and Randolph for his mother, in memory of Virginia, and her own long maidenhood. She was herself a Randolph, and she wanted the fact perpetuated. But in Tombstone, Joshua Randolph Taylor was simply the little Reverend.
The sound shrilled sweetly through the house, through all the empty rooms, and through the thick silence of that one which was not empty, but where a flag was spread over a rough box of boards, and Ellton sat by the window with a little black prayer-book in his hand. He was going over the service for the burial of the dead, because there was no chaplain, and it fell to him to read it. Now and then one of the officers came in alone or with his wife and stood about aimlessly, then went away again. But for the rest, the house was quite forsaken.
[Pg 322] "If her presence blackens the walls, we will have them whitewashed."
He looked about now for a sign of either party. Across the creek was some one riding slowly along the crest of a hill, seeming so small and creeping that only a very trained eye could have made it out. It was probably a hound. The hares lay low, in ca?ons and gullies and brush, as a rule. As he scanned the rest of the valley, his horse stopped short, with its fore legs planted stiffly. He looked down and saw that he was at the brink of a sheer fall of twenty feet or more, like a hole scooped in the side of the little rise he was riding over. He remembered, then, that there was a cave somewhere about. He had often heard of it, and probably it was this. He dismounted, and, tying the pony in a clump of bushes, walked down and around to investigate.