“I don’t know,” replied Jackie Blake. “Some of them look like it. We can’t carry you up that hill, but we’ll do the next best thing. Marshal, I’ll stay here and guard the prisoners while you run to the village for help—and doctors.”
“And run fast, Anderson,” added Gregory. “You always were so devilish slow. Don’t walk-trot.”
Soon afterward, when Anderson, fagged but overjoyed, hobbled into the village, the excited crowd was ready to lynch him, but with his first words the atmosphere changed.
“Where is Jackie Blake?” sobbed a pretty young woman, grasping the proud marshal’s arm and shaking him violently.
“Derned if I know, ma’am. Was he stole?”
She made him understand, and together, followed by the actors, the audience and the whole town, they led the way to the washout, the fair Rosalind dragging the overworked hero of the hour along at a gait which threatened to be his undoing.
Later on, after the five bandits had been carried to the village, Jackie Blake gladly informed his sweetheart that they could have easy sailing with the seven thousand dollars he expected. Anderson Crow had agreed to take but three thousand dollars for his share in the capture. One of the robbers was dead. The body of the sixth was found in the river weeks afterward.
“I’m glad I was the first on the ground,” said Blake, in anticipation of the reward which was eventually to be handed over to him. “But Anderson Crow turned out to be a regular trump, after all. He’s a corker!” He was speaking to Wicker Bonner and a crowd of New Yorkers.
Tinkletown began to talk of a monument to Anderson Crow, even while he lived. The general opinion was that it should be erected while he was still able to enjoy it and not after his death, when he would not know anything about its size and cost.
“By gosh! ’Twas a great capture!” swelling perceptibly. “I knowed they couldn’t escape me. Dang ’em! they didn’t figger on me, did they? Pshaw! it was reediculus of ’em to think they c’d fool me entirely, although I’ll have to confess they did fool me at first. It was a desprit gang an’ mighty slick.”
“You worked it great, Anderson,” said George Ray. “Did you know about the washout?”
“Did I know about it?” snorted Anderson witheringly. “Why, good Gosh a’mighty, didn’t I purty near run my legs off to git there in time to throw down the barricade before they could get there with Mr. Bracken’s automobile? Thunderation! What a fool question!”
Bill Briggs Tells a Tale
Tinkletown fairly bubbled with excitement. At last the eyes of the world were upon it. News of the great sensation was flashed to the end of the earth; every detail was gone into with harrowing minuteness. The Hemisphere Company announced by telegraph that it stood ready to hand over the ten thousand dollars; and the sheriff of Bramble County with all the United States deputy marshals within reach raced at once to Tinkletown to stick a finger in the pie.