Then Tudor came. Sheldon happened to be looking in his direction at the moment he came into view, peering quickly up and down the avenue before he stepped into the open. Midway he stopped, as if debating what course to pursue. He made a splendid mark, facing his concealed enemy at two hundred yards’ distance. Sheldon aimed at the centre of his chest, then deliberately shifted the aim to his right shoulder, and, with the thought, “That will put him out of business,” pulled the trigger. The bullet, driving with momentum sufficient to perforate a man’s body a mile distant, struck Tudor with such force as to pivot him, whirling him half around by the shock of its impact and knocking him down.
“’Hope I haven’t killed the beggar,” Sheldon muttered aloud, springing to his feet and running forward.
A hundred feet away all anxiety on that score was relieved by Tudor, who made shift with his left hand, and from his automatic pistol hurled a rain of bullets all around Sheldon. The latter dodged behind a palm trunk, counting the shots, and when the eighth had been fired he rushed in on the wounded man. He kicked the pistol out of the other’s hand, and then sat down on him in order to keep him down.
“Be quiet,” he said. “I’ve got you, so there’s no use struggling.”
Tudor still attempted to struggle and to throw him off.
“Keep quiet, I tell you,” Sheldon commanded. “I’m satisfied with the outcome, and you’ve got to be. So you might as well give in and call this affair closed.”
Tudor reluctantly relaxed.
“Rather funny, isn’t it, these modern duels?” Sheldon grinned down at him as he removed his weight. “Not a bit dignified. If you’d struggled a moment longer I’d have rubbed your face in the earth. I’ve a good mind to do it anyway, just to teach you that duelling has gone out of fashion. Now let us see to your injuries.”
“You only got me that last,” Tudor grunted sullenly, “lying in ambush like—”
“Like a wild Indian. Precisely. You’ve caught the idea, old man.” Sheldon ceased his mocking and stood up. “You lie there quietly until I send back some of the boys to carry you in. You’re not seriously hurt, and it’s lucky for you I didn’t follow your example. If you had been struck with one of your own bullets, a carriage and pair would have been none too large to drive through the hole it would have made. As it is, you’re drilled clean—a nice little perforation. All you need is antiseptic washing and dressing, and you’ll be around in a month. Now take it easy, and I’ll send a stretcher for you.”
When Sheldon emerged from among the trees he found Joan waiting at the compound gate, and he could not fail to see that she was visibly gladdened at the sight of him.
“I can’t tell you how glad I am to see you,” was her greeting. “What’s become of Tudor? That last flutter of the automatic wasn’t nice to listen to. Was it you or Tudor?”