“They can’t,” he said laconically. “I wish the marshal and his bicycle army would hurry along. That woman and Davy need attention. I’d hate like the mischief to have either of them die. One doesn’t want to kill people, you know, Miss Gray.”
“But they were killing me by inches,” she protested.
“Ouch!” he groaned, his leg giving him a mighty twinge.
“What is it?” she cried in alarm. “Why should we wait for those men? Come, Mr. Bonner, take me to the village—please do. I am crazy, absolutely crazy, to see Daddy Crow and mother. I can walk there—how far is it?—please come.” She was running on eagerly in this strain until she saw the look of pain in his face—the look he tried so hard to conceal. She was standing straight and strong and eager before him, and he was very pale under the tan.
“I can’t, Miss Gray. I’m sorry, you know. See! Where there’s smoke there’s fire—I mean, where there’s blood there’s a wound. I’m done for, in other words.”
“Done for? Oh, you’re not—not going to die! Are you hurt? Why didn’t you tell me?” Whereupon she dropped to her knees at his side, her dark eyes searching his intently, despair in them until the winning smile struggled back into his. The captives chuckled audibly. “What can I—what shall I do? Oh, why don’t those men come! It must be noon or—”
“It’s barely six A.M., Miss Gray. Don’t worry. I’m all right. A cut in my leg; the old woman plugged me. I can’t walk, you know—but—”
“And you carried me out here and did all that and never said a word about—oh, how good and brave and noble you are!”
When Anderson Crow and half of Tinkletown, routed out en masse by Bud, appeared on the scene an hour or two later, they found Wicker Bonner stretched out on a mattress, his head in Rosalie’s lap. The young woman held his revolver in her hand, and there was a look in her face which said that she would shoot any one who came to molest her charge. Two helpless desperadoes lay cursing in the corner of the tent.
Anderson Crow, after an hour of deliberation and explanation, fell upon the bound and helpless bandits and bravely carted the whole lot to the town “calaboose.” Wicker Bonner and his nurse were taken into town, and the news of the rescue went flying over the county, and eventually to the four corners of the land, for Congressman Bonner’s nephew was a person of prominence.
Bonner, as he passed up the main street in Peabody’s sleigh on the way to Anderson Crow’s home, was the centre of attraction. He was the hero of the hour, for was not Rosalie Gray herself, pale and ill with torture, his most devoted slave? What else could Tinkletown do but pay homage when it saw Bonner’s head against her shoulder and Anderson Crow shouting approval from the bob-sled that carried the kidnapers. The four bandits, two of them much the worse for the night’s contact with Wicker Bonner, were bundled into the lock-up, a sadly morose gang of ghosts.