“Why did you desert me?” she said. “It was awful. They are calling you now. They are playing ‘The Conquering Hero.’”
“Mr. Cahill,” commanded Ranson, “go out there and make a speech.” He turned to Mary Cahill and lifted one of her hands in both of his. “Well, I am the conquering hero,” he said. “I’ve won the only thing worth winning, dearest,” he whispered; “we’ll run away from them in a minute, and we’ll ride to the waterfall and the Lover’s Leap.” He looked down at her wistfully. “Do you remember?”
Mary Cahill raised her head and smiled. He leaned toward her breathlessly.
“Why, did it mean that to you, too?” he asked.
She smiled up at him in assent.
“But I didn’t say anything, did I?” whispered Ranson. “I hardly knew you then. But I knew that day that I—that I would marry you or nobody else. And did you think—that you—”
“Yes,” Mary Cahill whispered.
He bent his head and touched her hand with his lips.
“Then we’ll go back this morning to the waterfall,” he said, “and tell it that it’s all come right. And now, we’ll bow to those crazy people out there, those make-believe dream-people, who don’t know that there is nothing real in this world but just you and me, and that we love each other.”
A dishevelled orderly bearing a tray with two glasses confronted Ranson at the door. “Here’s the Scotch and sodas, lieutenant,” he panted. “I couldn’t get ’em any sooner. The men wanted to take ’em off me—to drink Miss Cahill’s health.”
“So they shall,” said Ranson. “Tell them to drink the canteen dry and charge it to me. What’s a little thing like the regulations between friends? They have taught me my manners. Mr. Cahill,” he called.
The post-trader returned from the veranda.
Ranson solemnly handed him a glass and raised the other in the air. “Here’s hoping that the Red Rider rides on his raids no more,” he said; “and to the future Mrs. Ranson—to Mary Cahill, God bless her!”
He shattered the empty glass in the grate and took Cahill’s hand.
“Father-in-law,” said Ranson, “let’s promise each other to lead a new and a better life.”
The Master was walking most unsteady, his legs tripping each other. After the fifth or sixth round, my legs often go the same way.
But even when the Master’s legs bend and twist a bit, you mustn’t think he can’t reach you. Indeed, that is the time he kicks most frequent. So I kept behind him in the shadow, or ran in the middle of the street. He stopped at many public-houses with swinging doors, those doors that are cut so high from the sidewalk that you can look in under them, and see if the Master is inside. At night when I peep beneath them the man at the counter will see