“Halt!” he cried, when she was within ten feet of him. “Don’t resist; you are surrounded!”
The woman stopped like one shot, glared ahead as if she saw him for the first time, and then uttered a frightful shriek of rage. Dashing the lantern to the ground, she raised her arm and fired a revolver point blank at Bonner, despite the fact that his pistol was covering her. He heard the bullet crash into the rotten timbers near his ear. Contrary to her design, the lantern was not extinguished. Instead, it lay sputtering but effective upon the floor.
Before Bonner could make up his mind to shoot at the woman she was upon him, firing again as she came. He did not have time to retaliate. The huge frame crushed down upon him and his pistol flew from his hand. As luck would have it, his free hand clutched her revolver, and she was prevented from blowing his brains out with the succeeding shots, all of which went wild.
Then came a desperate struggle. Bonner, a trained athlete, realised that she was even stronger than he, more desperate in her frenzy, and with murder in her heart. As they lunged to and fro, her curses and shrieks in his ear, he began to feel the despair of defeat. She was beating him down with one mighty arm, crushing blows, every one of them. Then came the sound which turned the tide of battle, for it filled him with a frenzy equal to her own. The scream of a woman came down through the passage, piteous, terror-stricken.
He knew the fate of that poor girl if his adversary overcame him. The thought sent his blood hot and cold at once. Infuriatedly, he exerted his fine strength, and the tide turned. Panting and snarling, the big woman was battered down. He flung her heavily to the ground and then leaped back to pick up his revolver, expecting a renewal of the attack. For the first time he was conscious of intense pain in his left leg. The woman made a violent effort to rise, and then fell back, groaning and cursing.
“You’ve done it! You’ve got me!” she yelled. “My leg’s broke!” Then she shrieked for Davy and Bill and Sam, raining curses upon the law and upon the traitor who had been their undoing.
Bonner, his own leg wobbling and covered with blood, tried to quiet her, but without success. He saw that she was utterly helpless, her leg twisted under her heavy body. Her screams of pain as he turned her over proved conclusively that she was not shamming. Her hip was dislocated. The young man had sense enough left to return to Davy before venturing into the cave where Miss Gray was doubtless in a dead faint. The man was breathing, but still unconscious from the blow on the head. Bonner quickly tied his hands and feet, guarding against emergencies in case of his own incapacitation as the result of the bullet wound in his leg; then he hobbled off with the lantern past the groaning Amazon in quest of Rosalie Gray. It did not occur to him until afterward that single handed he had overcome a most desperate band of criminals, so simply had it all worked out up to the time of the encounter with the woman.