Then he ran into the corral, and, snatching up a [Pg 129]lantern from the harness room, looked around. It was empty. There was only a pack-burro wandering loose and nosing at the grains in the mangers.
It was the usual tale of woe that Geronimo had to tell, much the same that the old buck had recited to[Pg 298] Cairness in the spring of the last year. His particular grievance was the request for his hanging, which he had been told had been put in the papers, and his fear of three White-men who he believed were to arrest him. "I don't want that any more. When a man tries to do right, such stories ought not to be put in the newspapers. What is the matter with you that you do not speak to me? It would be better if you would look with a pleasant face. I should be more satisfied if you would talk to me once in a while." The interpreter translated stolidly. "Why don't you look at me and smile at me? I am the same man. I have the same feet, legs, and hands, and the Sun looks down on me a complete man." There was no doubt about that, at any rate, and perhaps it was not an unmixed good fortune.
Cairness nodded. He thought it very likely. After he had had his tea Kirby got up, went out to the corral, and called to one of the men, who hesitated for a moment, then slouched over, kicking with his heavy booted toe as he passed at the hocks of a horse in one of the stalls. Kirby saw him do it, but he checked his wrath. He had learned to put up with many things. "Don't you think," he suggested, "that it might be a good idea for you and some other man to ride down the road a bit—"
The knowledge was slight and of no plain value; but it might be of use some day. Life had taught Cairness, amongst other things, that it usually proved so. He stored it away with the other gleanings of experience in his mental barns, and went in search of new adventures.
It was all a most charming commentary upon the symbol and practice of Christianity, in a Christian land, and the results thereof as regarded the heathen of that land—if one happened to see it in that way.