There were a few feminine shrieks, a volume of masculine “Whats!” a half-hearted and uncertain snigger, and a general turning of heads.
“Keep your seats!” commanded Anderson. “They can’t escape. I have them surrounded. I now call upon all robbers present to surrender in the name of the law. Surrender peaceful and you will not he damaged; resist and we’ll blow you to hell an’ gone, even at the risk of injurin’ the women and childern. The law is no respecter of persons. Throw up your hands!”
He waited impressively, but either through stupefaction or obstinacy the robbers failed to lift their hands.
“You’re cornered, you golderned scamps!” shouted Anderson Crow, “an’ you might jest as well give up! Twenty Pinkerton men are here from New York City, an’ you can’t escape! Throw up your hands!”
“The damned old fool is in earnest,” gasped Judge Brewster, from across the river.
“He’s crazy!” cried Congressman Bonner.
“Let everybody in this crowd throw up their hands!” called a firm, clear voice from the entrance. At the same instant five bewhiskered individuals appeared as if by magic with drawn revolvers, dominating the situation completely. The speaker was Andrew Gregory, the insurance agent.
“Now, what have you got to say?” cried Anderson gaily. “I guess me an’ the detectives have you cornered all right, ain’t we?”
The audience sat stupefied, paralysed. While all this was going on upon the inside, a single detective on the outside was stealthily puncturing the tires of every automobile in the collection, Mr. Bracken’s huge touring car being excepted for reasons to be seen later on.
“Good heavens!” groaned old Judge Brewster. A half dozen women fainted and a hundred men broke into a cold perspiration.
“Hands up, everybody!” commanded Andrew Gregory. “We can take no chances. The train robbers are in this audience. They came to hold up the entire crowd, but we are too quick for you, my fine birds. The place is surrounded!”
“Mr. Gregory, the insurance—” began Anderson Crow, but he was cut short.
“Mr. Crow deserves great credit for this piece of detective work. His mere presence is a guaranty of safety to those of you who are not thieves. You all have your hands up? Thanks. Mr. Crow, please keep those actors quiet. Now, ladies and gentlemen, it is not always an easy matter to distinguish thieves from honest men. I will first give the desperadoes a chance to surrender peaceably. No one steps forward? Very well. Keep your hands up, all of you. The man who lowers his hands will be instantly regarded as a desperado and may get a bullet in his body for his folly. The innocent must suffer with the guilty. Mr. Crow, shall we proceed with the search?”
“Yes, sir; go right ahead, and be quick,” replied Anderson Crow.
“Very well, then, in the name of the law, my men will begin the search. They will pass among you, ladies and gentlemen, and any effort to retard their progress will be met with instant—well, you know.”