“Could they expect a man to take particular notice of how another looked under such circumstances? He looked like a pretty big man.”
Wickersham was able to give a more explicit description.
The pursuers returned a little after sunrise next morning without having found the robber.
MRS. YORKE MAKES A MATCH
The next day Keith was able to sit up, though the Doctor refused to let him go out of the house. He was alone in his room when a messenger announced that a woman wished to see him. When the visitor came up it was Terpy. She was in a state of suppressed excitement. Her face was white, her eyes glittered. Her voice as she spoke was tremulous with emotion.
“They’re on to him,” she said in a husky voice. “That man that comed over on the stage with you give a description of him, this mornin’, ’t made ’em tumble to him after we had throwed ’em off the track. If I ever git a show at him! They knows ’twas Bill. That little devil Dennison is out ag’in.”
“Oh, they won’t catch him,” said Keith; but as he spoke his face changed. “What if he should get drunk and come into town?” he asked himself.
“If they git him, they’ll hang him,” pursued the girl, without heeding him. “They’re all up. You are so popular.
“Me?” exclaimed Keith, laughing.
“It’s so,” said the girl, gravely. “That Dave Dennison would kill anybody for you, and they’re ag’in’ Bill, all of ’em.”
“Can’t you get word to him?” began Keith, and paused. He looked at her keenly. “You must keep him out of the way.’
“He’s wounded. You got him in the shoulder. He’s got to see a doctor. The ball’s still in there.”
“I knew it,” said Keith, quietly.
The girl gazed at him a moment, and then looked away.
“That was the reason I have been a-pesterin’ you, goin’ back’ards and for’ards. I hope you will excuse me of it,” she said irrelevantly.
Keith sat quite still for a moment, as it all came over him. It was, then, him that the man was after, not robbery, and this girl, unable to restrain her discarded suitor without pointing suspicion to him, had imperilled her life for Keith, when he was conceited enough to more than half accept the hints of strangers that she cared for him.
“We must get him away,” he said, rising painfully. “Where is he?”
“He’s hid in a house down the road. I have flung ’em off the track by abusin’ of him. They know I am against him, and they think I am after you,” she said, looking at him with frank eyes; “and I have been lettin’ ’em think it,” she added quietly.
Keith almost gasped. Truly this girl was past his comprehension.
“We must get him away,” he said.
“How can we do it?” she asked. “They suspicion he’s here, and the pickets are out. If he warn’t hit in the shoulder so bad, he could fight his way out. He ain’t afraid of none of ’em,” she added, with a flash of the old pride. “I could go with him and help him; I have done it before; but I would have to break up here. He’s got to see a doctor.”