“‘That is right,’ said William Shaw.
“‘That is right,’ said George W. Kent.
“I straightened the limbs of Ramon Gallegos and put a handkerchief over his face. Then William Shaw said: ’I should like to look like that—a little while.’
“And George W. Kent said that he felt that way, too.
“‘It shall be so,’ I said: ’the red devils will wait a week. William Shaw and George W. Kent, draw and kneel.’
“They did so and I stood before them.
“‘Almighty God, our Father,’ said I.
“‘Almighty God, our Father,’ said William Shaw.
“‘Almighty God, our Father,’ said George W. Kent.
“‘Forgive us our sins,’ said I.
“‘Forgive us our sins,’ said they.
“‘And receive our souls.’
“‘And receive our souls.’
“I laid them beside Ramon Gallegos and covered their faces.”
There was a quick commotion on the opposite side of the campfire: one of our party had sprung to his feet, pistol in hand.
“And you!” he shouted—“You dared to escape?—you dare to be alive? You cowardly hound, I’ll send you to join them if I hang for it!”
But with the leap of a panther the captain was upon him, grasping his wrist. “Hold it in, Sam Yountsey, hold it in!”
We were now all upon our feet—except the stranger, who sat motionless and apparently inattentive. Some one seized Yountsey’s other arm.
“Captain,” I said, “there is something wrong here. This fellow is either a lunatic or merely a liar—just a plain, every-day liar whom Yountsey has no call to kill. If this man was of that party it had five members, one of whom—probably himself—he has not named.”
“Yes,” said the captain, releasing the insurgent, who sat down, “there is something—unusual. Years ago four dead bodies of white men, scalped and shamefully mutilated, were found about the mouth of that cave. They are buried there; I have seen the graves—we shall all see them to-morrow.”
The stranger rose, standing tall in the light of the expiring fire, which in our breathless attention to his story we had neglected to keep going.
“There were four,” he said—“Ramon Gallegos, William Shaw, George W. Kent and Berry Davis.”
With this reiterated roll-call of the dead he walked into the darkness and we saw him no more.
At that moment one of our party, who had been on guard, strode in among us, rifle in hand and somewhat excited.
“Captain,” he said, “for the last half-hour three men have been standing out there on the mesa.” He pointed in the direction taken by the stranger. “I could see them distinctly, for the moon is up, but as they had no guns and I had them covered with mine I thought it was their move. They have made none, but, damn it! they have got on to my nerves.”
“Go back to your post, and stay till you see them again,” said the captain. “The rest of you lie down again, or I’ll kick you all into the fire.”