Ranson leaned back against the music-rack and placed his glass upon the keyboard. One leg was crossed over the other, and he did not remove it.
“Then you can’t take a joke,” he said in a low tone. “You had to run and tell.” He laughed and raised his voice so that all in the club might hear, “What am I arrested for, Crosby?” he asked.
The lines in Crosby’s face deepened, and only those who sat near could hear him. “You are under arrest for attempting to kill a superior officer, for the robbery of the government pay-train—and for murder.”
Ranson jumped to his feet. “My God, Crosby!” he cried.
“Silence! Don’t talk!” ordered Crosby. “Come along with me.”
The four troopers fell in in rear of Lieutenant Crosby and their prisoner. He drew a quick, frightened breath, and then, throwing back his shoulders, fell into step, and the six men tramped from the club and out into the night.
That night at the post there was little sleep for any one. The feet of hurrying orderlies beat upon the parade-ground, the windows of the Officers’ Club blazed defiantly, and from the darkened quarters of the enlisted men came the sound of voices snarling in violent vituperation. At midnight, half of Ranson’s troop, having attacked the rest of the regiment with cavalry-boots, were marched under arrest to the guard-house. As they passed Ranson’s hut, where he still paced the veranda, a burning cigarette attesting his wakefulness, they cheered him riotously. At two o’clock it was announced from the hospital that both patients were out of danger; for it had developed that, in his hurried diagnosis, Sergeant Clancey had located Henderson’s heart six inches from where it should have been.
When one of the men who guarded Ranson reported this good news the prisoner said, “Still, I hope they’ll hang whoever did it. They shouldn’t hang a man for being a good shot and let him off because he’s a bad one.”
At the time of the hold-up Mary Cahill had been a half-mile distant from the post at the camp of the Kiowas, where she had gone in answer to the cry of Lightfoot’s squaw. When she returned she found Indian Pete in charge of the exchange. Her father, he told her, had ridden to the Indian village in search of her. As he spoke the post-trader appeared. “I’m sorry I missed you,” his daughter called to him.
At the sound Cahill pulled his horse sharply toward the corral. “I had a horse-deal on—with the chief,” he answered over his shoulder. “When I got to Lightfoot’s tent you had gone.”
After he had dismounted, and was coming toward her, she noted that his right hand was bound in a handkerchief, and exclaimed with apprehension.
“It is nothing,” Cahill protested. “I was foolin’ with one of the new regulation revolvers, with my hand over the muzzle. Ball went through the palm.”