When the chill of the night had set in, Cummings ordered a second halt, and the horses, hobbled, commenced to graze on the short buffalo-grass which spread underfoot. The remainder of the carcass of mutton which Moriarity had shot had been strapped back of his saddle, and was now cut up into suitable sizes for the fire which Cook had built. The meat, laid on the glowing embers, was soon cooked and, their hunger appeased, the men, wrapped in their blankets, their feet to the fire, composed themselves for slumber.
The long hours of the night passed on, the fire had died out, when Cummings, awakened by a sudden feeling of chilliness, rose to his feet and piled some twigs and branches together to make a blaze. As he stooped to the ground the faint, far-off beats of horses’ hoofs reached his quick ear.
“Dan! Cook! Wake up! Get up lively!” he cried, as he made a dash for his saddle and threw it on his horse. “They are after us.”
The camp was instantly in commotion, the saddles thrown over the horses and tightened with ready and experienced hands, and vaulting into the saddles the three men rode out into the bright moonlight as a company of ten men, armed to the teeth, swept like a whirlwind around the edge of the timber.
A yell reached the ears of the three fugitives as they galloped out on the prairie and a voice, clear and commanding, rang out in tones familiar to Moriarity, who had heard them in the cooper-shop when the tramp commanded him to hold out his hands.
“There they are lads. Forward!”
Uttering a deep round oath Dan turned in his saddle, giving the horse the head, and leveling his rifle fired point-blank at the pursuing party.
A cry of derision greeted the shot, and Cummings, saying “Hold your shots, you fool,” drove his spurs cruelly into the horse’s flanks and, followed closely by his companions, dashed down the trail toward Swanson’s ranche.
Chip and Sam were not the only Pinkerton men in Kansas City at this time engaged on the Adams Express robbery case, for from the time Cook awoke from the drunken stupor in which Cummings and Moriarity found him at the cooper-shop on the night when Chip was captured he had been shadowed constantly by Barney, who with Chip had found the letter heads in Fotheringham’s trunk.
Day and night had Barney followed him, and he was but a short distance behind when Cummings took Cook on the verge of the delirium tremens to his room.
When Cook came back with the horses and with Cummings rode away, Barney hastened to Chip, who, fully recovered from the terrible blow on the head, had again assumed his duties, and reported the fact to him.
Sam, who was on the lookout for Moriarity, was notified at once, and the three detectives, laying the matter before the chief of police, were furnished with seven mounted men armed to the teeth, and all of them old Texas rangers.