Anderson Crow’s heart was inside the charmed inclosure, but his person was elsewhere. Simultaneously, with the beginning of the performance of “As You like It,” he was in his own barn-loft confronting Andrew Gregory and the five bewhiskered assistants from New York City. Gregory had met the detectives at the Inn and had guided them to the marshal’s barn, where final instructions were to be given. For half an hour the party discussed plans with Anderson Crow, speaking in low, mysterious tones that rang in the marshal’s ears to his dying day.
“We’ve located those fellows,” asserted Mr. Gregory firmly. “There can be no mistake. They are already in the audience over there, and at a signal will set to work to hold up the whole crowd. We must get the drop on them, Mr. Crow, Don’t do that! You don’t need a disguise. Keep those yellow whiskers in your pocket. The rest of us will wear disguises. These men came here disguised because the robbers would be onto them in a minute if they didn’t. They know every detective’s face in the land. If it were not for these beards and wigs they’d have spotted Pinkerton’s men long ago. Now, you know your part in the affair, don’t you?”
“Yes, sir,” respectfully responded Anderson, his chin whisker wobbling pathetically.
“Then we’re ready to proceed. It takes a little nerve, that’s all, but we’ll soon have those robbers just where we want them,” said Andrew Gregory.
The second act of the play was fairly well under way when Orlando, in the “green room,” remarked to the stage director:
“What’s that old rube doing back here, Ramsay? Why, hang it, man, he’s carrying a couple of guns. Is this a hold-up?” At the same instant Rosalind and two of the women came rushing from their dressing tent, alarmed and indignant. Miss Marmaduke, her eyes blazing, confronted the stage director.
“What does this mean, Mr. Ramsay?” she cried. “That old man ordered us out of our dressing-room at the point of a revolver, and—see! There he is now doing the same to the men.”
It was true. Anderson Crow, with a brace of horse pistols, was driving the players toward the centre of the stage. In a tremulous voice he commanded them to remain there and take the consequences. A moment later the marshal of Tinkletown strode into the limelight with his arsenal, facing an astonished and temporarily amused audience. His voice, pitched high with excitement, reached to the remotest corners of the inclosure. Behind him the players were looking on, open-mouthed and bewildered. To them he loomed up as the long-dreaded constable detailed to attach their personal effects. The audience, if at first it laughed at him as a joke, soon changed its view. Commotion followed his opening speech.
The Luck of Anderson Crow
“Don’t anybody attempt to leave this tent!” commanded Mr. Crow, standing bravely forth with his levelled revolvers. The orchestra made itself as small as possible, for one of the guns wavered dangerously. “Don’t be alarmed, ladies and gentlemen. The train robbers are among you.”