Chip, his head covered with a bandage, and still somewhat confused, recognized his comrade as he entered the room. His mind was clear enough, however, to appreciate the situation, when the terror-stricken hag, pointing her long skinny finger at him, quivered in a tremulous voice: “He’s alive; don’t you see he’s alive?”
Overjoyed at finding Chip safe and still alive, Sam clasped his hands.
“Can you walk, Chip?” he asked,
“I don’t know, Sam. I had a devilish close call,” and Chip threw back the covers and essayed to step from the bed. His limbs trembled, and throwing up his hands despairingly, he sank back again. A flask of brandy stood on the table, and in an instant Sam had the cork out and had poured some of its contents down his friend’s throat.
The generous fluid warmed the blood and revived the strength of the wounded detective, who, making another attempt, stood on his feet.
Throwing his arm around Chip’s waist, Sam bade the thoroughly cowed woman to go before him, and was moving slowly to the door when a sharp, stern voice commanded;
The detectives looked up, and standing in the open door, a revolver in each hand, stood Jim Cummings.
A midnight flight.
The two detectives were in a tight fix. One of them sorely wounded; the other, handicapped by his almost helpless comrade, would stand small chance against the burly man who checked their path. But Sam, who was nearly as large in build as was his opponent, and in an even fight, would not have hesitated to bear down upon him, slipped his arm from around Chip, and prepared himself for a desperate struggle.
As his arm passed his side pocket, he felt his revolver. Keeping Chip before him, he slipped his hand onto it, and drew it out, Chip keeping Cummings from observing the movements. The scent of approaching danger had acted on Chip as a strong restorative, and his eyes met those of his late captor unflinchingly as he cried:
“We know you now, Jim Cummings; you’ve betrayed yourself,” and Chip again looked at the triangular gold which his parted lips disclosed on one of his teeth.
Up to this moment the desperado had imagined himself to be unknown, but at the words Chip uttered, he started, and with eyes burning with rage, and features twitching with fury, he turned to Nance, who, still under the spell of complete terror, was huddled in a corner, her hands over her face, not daring to meet the outlaw’s eye.
“Ah,” he hissed, “you did this,” and like a flash his revolver covered her, and the whip-like report rang out. The answering voice of Sam’s pistol echoed the first, and when the smoke had lifted, Cummings had disappeared.
Without stopping to look after the hag, Sam lifted Chip in his arms, and hastily descended the stairs, It was dark when the alley was reached, and slowly walking to the corner, a hack was called and the two friends drove rapidly towards Sam’s boarding-place.