MoboReader> Literature > The Cave in the Mountain / A Sequel to In the Pecos Country

   Chapter 19 No.19

The Cave in the Mountain / A Sequel to In the Pecos Country By Edward Sylvester Ellis Characters: 9728

Updated: 2017-12-01 00:03

How it was Done.

Return to Table of Contents

From the very depths of despair, Mickey O'Rooney and Fred Munson were lifted to the most buoyant heights of hope.

"I always took yer for a hoodlum," growled the scout; "but you've just showed yerself a bigger one than I s'posed. Yer orter fetched a lantern with yer, so as to use nights in walking round the country, and looking for folks."

"Begorrah, if that isn't the idaa!" responded the Irishman, with mock enthusiasm; "only I was considering wouldn't it be as well to call out the name of me friends. Ye know what a swate voice I have. When I used to thry and sing in choorch, the ould gintleman always lambasted me for filing the saw on Sunday. But why don't ye craap forward and extend me yer paw, as the bear said to the man?"

Sut, however, did not move, but retained his crouching position beside the large boulder, speaking in the lowest and most guarded voice:

"It won't do; we haven't any time to fool away yerabouts. Is that younker wid yer?"

"Right at me heels, as me uncle concluded when the bulldog nabbed him."

"Come ahead, then. Shoot me! but this ain't a healthy place to loaf in just now. The 'Paches are too plenty and too close. We must light out."

"Sha'n't I shtrike anither match to light us out by?"

"Hold your tongue, will you? Creep right along behind me, without making any noise at all, and don't rise to your feet till yer see me do it, and don't open your meat-traps to speak till I axes yer a question, if it isn't till a month from now. Do yer understand me?"

Mickey replied that he had a general idea of his meaning, and he might as well go ahead with the circus. Fred had caught the whispered conversation, and, of course, knew what it meant. As Mickey turned round to see where he was, he found him at his elbow.

"Sh! Come ahead, now. We're going to creep straight across the pass till we reach t'other side, when we'll go down that some ways, and I'll tell yer the rest."

A second or two afterward the long, wiry frame of the scout emerged from the dense shadow at the side of the boulder, and crept forward in the direction of the middle of the main ravine or pass. Close behind him followed Mickey and Fred, the trio forming a curious procession as they carefully picked their way across the moonlit gorge, the grass for most of the distance being so dense that they were pretty well screened from view.

The directions of the scout were carefully obeyed to the letter, for, indeed, there could have been no excuse for disregarding them. He understood perfectly the nature of the task he had undertaken, and the risk he ran was entirely for the benefit of his friends.

One of the first and most important requisites of a scout is patience, without which he is sure to commit all manner of errors. In the present case, it seemed to Fred that much valuable time could be saved if they would simply rise to their feet and make a dash straight across the ravine. Even Mickey was of the same opinion, at least to the extent of varying the pace so as to go slowly part of the time and rapidly the rest, as the ground became unfavorable or favorable. But it was very clear that Sut Simpson held very different views.

A piece of machinery could not have advanced with a more regular movement than did he-a movement that was excessively trying to an impatient person who could not understand his reason for it. Mickey could see that he turned his head from side to side, and was using his eyes and ears to the extent of their ability. At the end of some fifteen or twenty minutes the base of the perpendicular wall on the opposite side was reached, and, greatly to the relief of his companions, he arose to his feet, they following suit.

"Begorrah, but that's a swate relief, as me Aunt Bridget obsarved, when her ould man."

A turn of the head, and an impatient gesture from the scout, silenced Mickey before he had time to complete the remark. He subsided instantly, and began a debate with himself as to whether he ought not to apologize for his forgetfulness, but he concluded to wait.

The long, lank figure of Sut Simpson looked as if it was a shadow slowly stealing along the dark face of the rock, followed by that of Mickey and the lad. They were as silent as phantoms, each walking as tenderly and carefully as though he was a burglar breaking into the house of some sleeping merchant, whose slumbers were as light as down. Mickey had no doubt that this was continued twice as long as necessary, although he conscientiously strove to carry out the wishes of the scout in that respect. He stumbled once or twice, but that was because of the treacherous nature of the ground.

They must have journeyed fully a quarter of a mile in this fashion before Sut held up in the least. During all this time, so far as Mickey could jud

ge, nothing had been seen or heard of the Apaches, who, supposedly, would have guarded the outlet, in which the two had taken refuge, with a closeness that could not have permitted such an escape; but not one had been encountered.

It was a most extraordinary occurrence all through, and Mickey found it hard to understand how one man, skilled and brave though he was, could perform such a herculean task, for there could be no doubt that to him, under Providence, belonged the exclusive credit. Of course it was Sut who had fired the shot that saved Fred from a terrible death by the grizzly bear, and his well aimed and opportune shots had done the fugitives inestimable service when they were crouching in the fissure and despairing of all hope. But there must have been something back of all this. The scout must have possessed a greater power, which had not become manifest to his friends as yet.

"Now yer can walk with more ease," he said, as he dropped back beside his companions; "but, at the same time, don't talk too loud. Let us all keep as much in the shadder as we kin, for there may be other varmints around, and there's no telling when you're likely to run agin 'em."

"But where are the spalpeens that shut us up in that split in the rocks?"

"They're all behind us, every varmint of them, and thar they're likely to stay for awhile; but, Mickey, I want yer to tell me what happened arter we parted among these mountains, and took different routes far the younker here."

The Irishman related his experience in as brief a manner as possible, the scout listening with a great deal of interest, and asking a question or two.

"The luck was yer's," he said, when the narrator concluded, "of gettin' on the right track, while I got on the wrong."

Mickey scratched his head in his old quizzical way.

"The same luck befell the spalpeens and mesilf. I first got on their thrack, and then they got on mine, so we'll call that square, as Mike Harrigan did when he went back the second night and took the other goat so as to make a pair."

"That was nigh onto a bad fix when yer pitched into that cave, and couldn't find the way out till the wolf showed the younker; but it wasn't so bad as yer think, 'cause I'd been sure to find yer war thar. I know the way in and out of it, and I could have got into it and fetched you out, but yer war lucky 'nough not to need me."

"How was it that ye were so long turning up arter we separated?"

"Wal, Lone Wolf and his braves rode so fast that it was a good while afore I cotched up, and found that he hadn't the younker with him. Then, in course, I turned back and found that yer had flopped so much, off and on yer trail, that there was a good deal of trouble to keep track of yer."

"Where did ye first catch the light of Mickey O'Rooney's illegant and expressive countenance?"

"I saw yer stop to camp this morning a good ways up the pass, whar yer cooked yer piece of antelope meat, and swallowed enough to last yer for a week."

"It was you that shot the grizzly bear just as he was going to kill me?" inquired Fred, with a pleased look in the scarred face of the scout, who smiled in turn as he answered:

"I have a 'spicion it war me and nobody else."

"Why didn't ye come forward and introduce yerself?" inquired Mickey, "it was all a mistake to think that we felt too proud to notice ye, even if ye ain't as good-looking as meself."

"Wal, I thought I'd watch yer awhile, believing I could do yer more service than by jining in, as was showed by what took place arterwards. Whar would yer have been if I'd got shet up in that trap with yer? Lone Wolf would've had our ha'r long ago."

"But how did ye manage to fool the pack into giving us a chance to craap out?"

"That was easy enough when yer understand it."

"I thought it would come aisier to a man who understood how to do it than it did to one who didn't know anything about it."

"Arter picking off one or two of the varmints, that made Lone Wolf mad, and he sent out a couple of his warriors to wipe me out. He didn't think I knowed his game, but I did, and when they got round to where I was I just slid 'em under afore they knowed what the matter was. When he sent a third varmint arter them, and he went back and told the chief that the first two had gone to the eternal hunting grounds, he was so all-fired mad that he left only a half dozen to watch the hole where you was to come out, while he took the rest and come arter me."

"I know a good many of Lone Wolf's signals," added the scout, with a chuckle, "and arter he had been on this side for a while, I dipped down into the pass, and signaled for the rest of 'em to come. They come, every one of 'em, and then I went for you, not certain whether yer war mashed or not. We got away in good time to save ourselves running agin 'em."

* * *

Free to Download MoboReader
(← Keyboard shortcut) Previous Contents (Keyboard shortcut →)
 Novels To Read Online Free

Scan the QR code to download MoboReader app.

Back to Top