“They see us!” she cried.
“Don’t wriggle so, Marjory—trim boat!” he panted. “They can’t hit us, and we can go two miles to their one.”
“And we can get to Bracken’s!” she cried triumphantly. A deep flush overspread her pretty face.
“Hooray!” he shouted with a grin of pure delight. Far away on the opposite bank Anderson Crow and his sleuths were congregating, their baffled gaze upon the man who had slipped out of their grasp. The men of the posse were pointing at the boat and arguing frantically; there were decided signs of dispute among them. Finally two guns flew up, and then came the puffs of smoke, the reports and little splashes of water near the flying skiff.
“Oh, they are shooting!” she cried in a panic.
“And rifles, too,” he grated, redoubling his pull on the oars. Other shots followed, all falling short. “Get down in the bottom of the boat, Marjory. Don’t sit up there and be—”
“I’ll sit right where I am,” she cried defiantly.
Anderson Crow waved to the men under Crow’s Cliff, and they began to make their arduous way along the bank in the trail of the skiff. Part of the armed posse hurried down and boarded the raft, while others followed the chase by land.
“We’ll beat them to Bracken’s by a mile,” cried Jack Barnes.
“If they don’t shoot us,” she responded. “Why, oh, why are they so intent upon killing us?”
“They don’t want you to be a widow and—break a—lot of hearts,” he said. “If they—hit me now you—won’t be—dangerous as a—widow.”
“Oh, you heartless thing! How can you jest about it? I’d—I’d go into mourning, anyway, Jack,” she concluded, on second thought. “We are just as good as married, you see.”
“It’s nice—of you to say it, dear—but we’re a long—way from—Bracken’s. Gee! That was close!”
A bullet splashed in the water not ten feet from the boat. “The cowards! They’re actually trying to kill us!” For the first time his face took on a look of alarm and his eyes grew desperate. “I can’t let them shoot at you, Marjory, dear! What the dickens they want I don’t know, but I’m going to surrender.” He had stopped rowing and was making ready to wave his white handkerchief on high.
“Never!” she cried with blazing eyes. “Give me the oars!” She slid into the other rowing seat and tried to snatch the oars from the rowlocks.
“Bravo! I could kiss you a thousand times for that. Come on, you Indians! You’re a darling, Marjory.” Again the oars caught the water, and Jack Barnes’s white handkerchief lay in the bottom of the boat. He was rowing for dear life, and there was a smile on his face.
The raft was left far behind and the marksmen were put out of range with surprising ease. Fifteen minutes later the skiff shot across the river and up to the landing of Bracken’s boathouse, while a mile back in the brush Anderson Crow and his men were wrathfully scrambling in pursuit.