Ircles and waving a blanket in a peculiar way above his head. From the
grass nine Indians arose, stooped, and scuttled off like a covey of
running quail. Over by the fires warriors were leaping on their ponies,
and some were leading other ponies in the direction of the nine. An air
of furtive but urgent haste characterised all these movements. Alfred
lent an attentive ear. "Seems a whole lot like a rescue," he remarked,
quietly. "I reckon th' boys been followin' of my trail." The stranger
paused in the act of unhobbling the one remaining pony. In the distance,
faintly, could be heard cheers and shots intended as encouragement.
"They's comin' on th' jump," said Alfred. By this time the stranger had
unfastened the horse. "I reckon we quits," said he, mounting; "I jest
nat'rally takes this bronc, because I needs him more'n you do. So long.
I may 's well confide that I'm feelin' some glad jest now that them
Injins comes along." And then his pony fell in a heap, and began to kick
up dirt and to snort blood. "I got another, so you just subside a lot,"
commanded Alfred, recocking his six-shooter. The stranger lay staring at
him in astonishment. "Thought you was busted on catridges!" he cried.
"You-all may as well know," snapped Alfred, "that's long as I'm an
officer of this yere district, I'm a sheriff first and an Injin-fighter
afterward." "What the hell!" wondered the road-agent, still in a daze.
"Them's th' two catridges that would have stopped 'em," said Alfred. IV