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"You do doubt me. If you did not, it would never occur to you to deny it. You doubt me now, and you will doubt me still more if you don't read it. In justice to me you must." "They won't be ready. No use making haste, Captain," Cairness suggested at daybreak, as Landor hurried the breakfast and saddling. They knew that the chances were ten to one that it would be a wild goose chase, and the captain already repented him. But at seven the men were mounted, with two days' rations in their saddle bags, and trotting across the flat in the fragrance of the yet unheated day, to the settlement of San Tomaso.

[Pg 107]

Landor came trotting over from his quarters, followed by his orderly, and the troops moved off across the flat, toward the river.

The little man picked it up and contemplated it, with his head on one side and a critical glance at its damaged condition. Then he smoothed its roughness with the palm of his rougher hand. "Why do I wear it?" he drawled calmly; "well, I reckon to show 'em that I can."

Landor came in a few weeks later. He had had an indecisive skirmish in New Mexico with certain bucks who had incurred the displeasure of the paternal government by killing and eating their horses, to the glory of their gods and ancestors, and thereafter working off their enthusiasm by a few excursions beyond the confines of the reservation, with intent to murder and destroy.