The affair was the one topic of talk in every barrack room, mess, and gathering at the post, and the subject of incessant comment and speculation at the store. That 'Tonio was the culprit no man was heard to express the faintest doubt. There were some who went so far as to say that any man, officer, soldier or civilian, who dared to strike an Indian of 'Tonio's lineage had nothing less to expect.
This organ-grinder was Luigi Salvatore, brother to Tonio, and as well known in that locality. His amazement at seeing the child in the goober seller's care caused him to stop grinding; whereupon the music also stopped and the monkey left off holding his cap to the children, begging their pennies, to hop upon his master's shoulder.
Thanks, yes, I'll eat a couple. We take another lesson tomorrow, Hans." He meant the riding lesson. "Fine!" said Hans. "You know, I'm going to get the leather spats now, because I got A on my exercise last week." "I suppose you aren't taking riding lessons yet, Kröger?" asked Immerthal, and his eyes were only a pair of shining slits. "No," answered Tonio with quite uncertain accent.
All at once the whole throng broke into mad and exuberant motion. The sets had broken up, and the dancers shot around jumping and gliding: the quadrille was ending with a galop. The couples flew past Tonio Kröger to the furious beat of the music, chasséing, hurrying, overtaking each other, with quick, breathless laughter.
Then the group at the flagstaff broke up. Three officers went with the commander toward the office, others toward the company quarters. One came swiftly, purposely, toward the waiting trio. Lilian knew it was Willett even before they could recognize his walk and carriage. Mrs. Archer rose to meet him. All they yet knew was that 'Tonio was in with tidings of some kind Doyle had told them that.
"Oh, Harold, if you only had not to meet 'Tonio again!" "No fear of 'Tonio, sweetheart," he answered. "Now, go I must!" And so, with her kiss upon his lips, he left her to be led by loving mother hands to her little white room, and to her humble prayers, and the love-guarded pillow, where, lying wide-awake, still an hour later, she heard the shot and stifled scream that called a garrison to arms.
Just as the last fire-cracker went off and Tonio's Judas caught fire, and all three of them were dancing and singing at the top of their lungs, Tonio saw the Señor Maestro himself standing in front of the bench with his hands in his pockets, looking right at them!
I know it was not 'Tonio. I believe it was not this this gentleman Mr. Case. If you will favor me a moment I can make it clear to you, but" and here the heavily lashed, mournful brown eyes sought the group of Mexicans "I should hold those fellows." And so, once more within the little office, Willett briefly told his tale. There were present Wickham, Bright and Harris, the sheriff and one deputy.
If he acquits 'Tonio, whom in God's name does he suspect?" asked Strong, a queer thought occurring to him as he recalled the furious words of the deserter Dooley, alias Quigley, another prisoner to be tried. Bright dodged.
Another lay dead among the bowlders. An Apache warrior, face downward in a pool of blood, was sprawled in front of the cleft, and presently, from the cavelike entrance, came Lieutenant Harris and 'Tonio, bearing between them the form of an unconscious woman, and Stannard, as he came panting to the spot, ordering everybody to fall back and give her air, and somebody to bring a canteen, slapped Harris a hearty whack on the shoulder, whereat that silent young officer suddenly wilted and dropped like a log, and not until then was it seen he was shot that his sleeve and shirt were dripping with blood.