Bang! crash! The crisp sounds of splintering woodwork on the east side of the shack denoted the fact of their quarry apparently attempting a second escape from the front entrance. Unaided, the doctor cleverly executed the professional fire-fighter’s trick of raising, balancing on the back, and carrying an unconscious human body. With an overwhelming feeling of relief, not unmixed with admiration, at the other’s gameness, Yorke watched him stagger away in the gloom, bearing poor George upon his bowed shoulders.
His momentary lack of vigilance proved well-nigh his own undoing, also. Crack! spat the Luger again from the window. His hat whirled from his head, but he kept his presence of mind. It was not the first time by many that Yorke had been under fire. Ducking down on the instant, he moved swiftly three paces to his right, and then, finger on trigger, he suddenly jerked upright and sent two more shots crashing through the aperture.
“Mark-er!” he called out mockingly. “Signal a miss, mark-er! Ding-dong! You’ll get tired of it before we do, Gully! You’d better give up the ghost, man!”
His grim sarcasm failing to draw further fire from his desperate opponent, the senior constable reloaded wearily and settled down to what promised to be a long, danger-fraught vigil.
He “went out,” poor Gus, at
the break o’ day—–
Oh!—his kindly ways, and his cheery face!
But . . . the Lord gave, and hath taken away,
Hark! sounds “The Last Post,” Requiescat in Pace!
“THE LAST POST”
Slowly the night dragged through for the two grim, haggard sentinels. Thrice during their vigil had their desperate quarry exercised his marksmanship upon them with his deadly Luger. Seemingly only by a miracle did they escape each time. The sergeant had his hat perforated in similar fashion to his companions. Yorke had a shoulder-strap torn from his stable-jacket. Adroitly shifting their positions each time he fired, they greeted his shots with such withering blasts of carbine fire that they finally silenced their enemy’s battery. Throughout he had remained as mute as a trapped wolf. Only an occasional cough indicated that so far, apparently, he was unharmed and, like them, still grimly on the alert.
Relief came to the two besiegers with the first streaks of dawn. Dr. Cox, with almost superhuman efforts, had somehow managed to reach Lanky Jones and the buckboard with the wounded Redmond. Swiftly conveying the latter back to the detachment, the physician had immediately got in touch with the night-operator at the station, and also MacDavid.
And now, guided by that old pioneer, Inspector Kilbride arrived upon the scene with an armed party from the Post. They had been rushed up by a special train, which had been flagged by MacDavid at the nearest objective point to Gully’s ranch.