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Great K. and A. Train-Robbery, The

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<SPAN name="CHAPTER_V" id="CHAPTER_V"></SPAN>CHAPTER V</h2> <h3>A TRIP TO THE GRAND CA&Ntilde;ON</h3> </div> <p>I stood pondering, for no explanation that would fit the facts seemed possible. I should have considered the young fellow's story only an attempt to gain a little reputation for pluck, if in any way I could have accounted for the appearance and disappearance of the robbers. Yet to suppose&mdash;which seemed the only other horn to the dilemma&mdash;that the son and guests of the vice-president of the Missouri Western, and one of our own directors, would be concerned in train-robbery was to believe something equally improbable. Indeed, I should have put the whole thing down as a practical joke of Mr. Cullen's party, if it had not been for the loss of the registered letters. Even a practical joker would hardly care to<!-- Page 56 --><span class='pagenum'><SPAN name="Page_56" id="Page_56">[Pg 56]</SPAN></span> go to the length of cutting open government mail-pouches; for Uncle Sam doesn't approve of such conduct.</p> <p>Whatever the explanation, I had enough facts to prevent me from wasting more time on that alkali plain. Getting the men and horses back onto the cars, I jumped up on the tail-board and ordered the runner to pull out for Flagstaff. It was a run of seven hours, getting us in a little after eight, and in those hours I had done a lot of thinking which had all come to one result,&mdash;that Mr. Cullen's party was concerned in the hold-up.</p> <p>The two private cars were on a siding, but the Cullens had left for the Grand Ca&ntilde;on the moment they had arrived, and were about reaching there by this time. I went to 218 and questioned the cook and waiter, but they had either seen nothing or else had been primed, for not a fact did I get from them. Going to my own car, I ordered a quick supper, and while I was eating it I questioned my boy. He told me<!-- Page 57 --><span class='pagenum'><SPAN name="Page_57" id="Page_57">[Pg 57]</SPAN></span> that he had heard the shots, and had bolted the front door of my car, as I had ordered when I went out; that as he turned to go to a safer place, he had seen a man, revolver in hand, climb over the off-side gate of Mr. Cullen's car, and for a moment he had supposed it a road agent, till he saw that it was Albert Cullen.</p> <p>"That was just after I had got off?" I asked.</p> <p><ins class="TNsilent" title="Transcriber's note: original missing end-quotes.">"Yis, sah."</ins></p> <p>"Then it couldn't have been Mr. Cullen, Jim," I declared, "for I found him up at the other end of the car."</p> <p>"Tell you it wuz, Mr. Gordon," Jim insisted. "I done seen his face clar in de light, and he done go into Mr. Cullen's car whar de old gentleman wuz sittin'."</p> <p>That set me whistling to myself, and I laughed to think how near I had come to giving nitroglycerin to a fellow who was only shamming heart-failure; for that it was Frederic Cullen who had climbed on the car I hadn't the slightest doubt, the resemblance<!-- Page 58 --><span class='pagenum'><SPAN name="Page_58" id="Page_58">[Pg 58]</SPAN></span> between the two brothers being quite strong enough to deceive any one who had never seen them together. I smiled a little, and remarked to myself, "I think I can make good my boast that I would catch the robbers; but whether the Cullens will like my doing it, I question. What is more, Lord Ralles will owe me a bottle." Then I thought of Madge, and didn't feel as pleased over my success as I had felt a moment before.</p> <p>By nine o'clock the posse and I were in the saddle and skirting the San Francisco peaks. There was no use of pressing the ponies, for our game wasn't trying to escape, and, for that matter, couldn't, as the Colorado River wasn't passable within fifty miles. It was a lovely moonlight night, and the ride through the pines was as pretty a one as I remember ever to have made. It set me thinking of Madge and of our talk the evening before, and of what a change twenty-four hours had brought. It was lucky I was riding an Indian pony, or I<!-- Page 59 --><span class='pagenum'><SPAN name="Page_59" id="Page_59">[Pg 59]</SPAN></span> should probably have landed in a heap. I don't know that I should have cared particularly if a prairie-dog burrow had made me dash my brains out, for I wasn't happy over the job that lay before me.</p> <p>We watered at Silver Spring at quarter-past twelve. From that point we were clear of the pines and out on the plain, so we could go a better pace. This brought us to the half-way ranch by two, where we gave the ponies a feed and an hour's rest. We reached the last relay station just as the moon set, about three-forty; and, as all the rest of the ride was through <ins class="TNsilent" title="Transcriber's note: original reads 'coconino forest'"><SPAN name="Coconino" id="Coconino"></SPAN>Coconino forest,</ins> we held up there for daylight, getting a little sleep meanwhile.</p> <p>We rode into the camp at the Grand Ca&ntilde;on a little after eight, and the deserted look of the tents gave me a moment's fright, for I feared that the party had gone. Tolfree explained, however, that some had ridden out to Moran Point, and the rest had gone down Hance's trail. So I breakfasted and then took a look at Albert Cullen's<!-- Page 60 --><span class='pagenum'><SPAN name="Page_60" id="Page_60">[Pg 60]</SPAN></span> Winchester. That it had been recently fired was as plain as the Grand Ca&ntilde;on itself; throwing back the bar, I found an empty cartridge shell, still oily from the discharge. That completed the tale of seven shots. I didn't feel absolutely safe till I had asked Tolfree if there had been any shooting of echoes by the party, but his denial rounded out my chain of evidence.</p> <p>Telling the sheriff to guard the bags of the party carefully, I took two of the posse and rode over to Moran's Point. Sure enough, there were Mr. Cullen, Albert, and Captain Ackland. They gave a shout at seeing me, and even before I had reached them they called to know how I could come so soon, and if I had caught the robbers. Mr. Cullen started to tell his pleasure at my rejoining the party, but my expression made him pause, and it seemed to dawn on all three that the Winchester across my saddle, and the cowboys' hands resting nonchalantly on the revolvers in their belts, had a meaning.</p> <p>"Mr. Cullen," I explained, "I've got a<!-- Page 61 --><span class='pagenum'><SPAN name="Page_61" id="Page_61">[Pg 61]</SPAN></span> very unpleasant job on hand, which I don't want to make any worse than need be. Every fact points to your party as guilty of holding up the train last night and stealing those letters. Probably you weren't all concerned, but I've got to go on the assumption that you are all guilty, till you prove otherwise."</p> <p>"Aw, you're joking," drawled Albert.</p> <p>"I hope so," I said, "but for the present I've got to be English and treat the joke seriously."</p> <p>"What do you want to do?" asked Mr. Cullen.</p> <p>"I don't wish to arrest you gentlemen unless you force me to," I said, "for I don't see that it will do any good. But I want you to return to camp with us."</p> <p>They assented to that, and, single file, we rode back. When there I told each that he must be searched, to which they submitted at once. After that we went through their baggage. I wasn't going to have the sheriff or cowboys tumbling over Miss Cullen's<!-- Page 62 --><span class='pagenum'><SPAN name="Page_62" id="Page_62">[Pg 62]</SPAN></span> clothes, so I looked over her bag myself. The prettiness and daintiness of the various contents were a revelation to me, and I tried to put them back as neatly as I had found them, but I didn't know much about the articles, and it was a terrible job trying to fold up some of the things. Why, there was a big pink affair, lined with silk, with bits of ribbon and lace all over it, which nearly drove me out of my head, for I would have defied mortal man to pack it so that it shouldn't muss. I had a funny little feeling of tenderness for everything, which made fussing over it all a pleasure, even while I felt all the time that I was doing a sneak act and had really no right to touch her belongings. I didn't find anything incriminating, and the posse reported the same result with the other baggage. If the letters were still in existence, they were either concealed somewhere or were in the possession of the party in the Ca&ntilde;on. Telling the sheriff to keep those in the camp under absolute surveillance, I took a single man, and<!-- Page 63 --><span class='pagenum'><SPAN name="Page_63" id="Page_63">[Pg 63]</SPAN></span> saddling a couple of mules, started down the trail.</p> <p>We found Frederic and "Captain" Hance just dismounting at the Rock Cabin, and I told the former he was in custody for the present, and asked him where Miss Cullen and Lord Ralles were. He told me they were just behind; but I wasn't going to take any risks, and, ordering the deputy to look after Cullen, I went on down the trail. I couldn't resist calling back,&mdash;</p> <p>"How's your respiration, Mr. Cullen?"</p> <p>He laughed, and called, "Digitalis put me on my feet like a flash."</p> <p>"He's got the most brains of any man in this party," I remarked to myself.</p> <p>The trail at this point is very winding, so that one can rarely see fifty feet in advance, and sometimes not ten. Owing to this, the first thing I knew I plumped round a curve on to a mule, which was patiently standing there. Just back of him was another, on which sat Miss Cullen, and standing close beside her was Lord Ralles. One of his<!-- Page 64 --><span class='pagenum'><SPAN name="Page_64" id="Page_64">[Pg 64]</SPAN></span> hands held the mule's bridle; the other held Madge's arm, and he was saying, "You owe it to me, and I will have one. Or if&mdash;"</p> <p>I swore to myself, and coughed aloud, which made Miss Cullen look up. The moment she saw me she cried, "Mr. Gordon! How delightful!" even while she grew as red as she had been pale the moment before. Lord Ralles grew red too, but in a different way.</p> <p>"Have you caught the robbers?" cried Miss Cullen.</p> <p>"I'm afraid I have," I answered.</p> <p>"What do you mean?" she asked.</p> <p>I smiled at the absolute innocence and wonder with which she spoke, and replied, "I know now, Miss Cullen, why you said I was braver than the Britishers."</p> <p>"How do you know?"</p> <p>I couldn't resist getting in a side-shot at Lord Ralles, who had mounted his mule and sat scowling. "The train-robbers were such thoroughgoing duffers at the trade," I said,<!-- Page 65 --><span class='pagenum'><SPAN name="Page_65" id="Page_65">[Pg 65]</SPAN></span> "that if they had left their names and addresses they wouldn't have made it much easier. We Americans may not know enough to deal with real road agents, but we can do something with amateurs."</p> <p>"What are we stopping here for?" snapped Lord Ralles.</p> <p>"I'm sure I don't know," I responded. "Miss Cullen, if you will kindly pass us, and then if Lord Ralles will follow you, we will go on to the cabin. I must ask you to keep close together."</p> <p>"I stay or go as I please, and not by your orders," asserted Lord Ralles, snappishly.</p> <p>"Out in this part of the country," I said calmly, "it is considered shocking bad form for an unarmed man to argue with one who carries a repeating rifle. Kindly follow Miss Cullen." And, leaning over, I struck his mule with the loose ends of my bridle, starting it up the trail.</p> <p>When we reached the cabin the deputy told me that he had made Frederic strip and had searched his clothing, finding nothing.<!-- Page 66 --><span class='pagenum'><SPAN name="Page_66" id="Page_66">[Pg 66]</SPAN></span> I ordered Lord Ralles to dismount and go into the cabin.</p> <p>"For what?" he demanded.</p> <p>"We want to search you," I answered.</p> <p>"I don't choose to be searched," he protested. "You have shown no warrant, nor&mdash;"</p> <p>I wasn't in a mood towards him to listen to his talk. I swung my Winchester into line and announced, "I was sworn in last night as a deputy-sheriff, and am privileged to shoot a train-robber on sight. Either dead or alive, I'm going to search your clothing inside of ten minutes; and if you have no preference as to whether the examination is an ante- or post-mortem affair, I certainly haven't."</p> <p>That brought him down off his high horse,&mdash;that is, mule,&mdash;and I sent the deputy in with him with directions to toss his clothes out to me, for I wanted to keep my eye on Miss Cullen and her brother, so as to prevent any legerdemain on their part.</p> <p>One by one the garments came flying<!-- Page 67 --><span class='pagenum'><SPAN name="Page_67" id="Page_67">[Pg 67]</SPAN></span> through the door to me. As fast as I finished examining them I pitched them back, except&mdash;Well, as I have thought it over since then, I have decided that I did a mean thing, and have regretted it. But just put yourself in my place, and think of how Lord Ralles had talked to me as if I was his servant, had refused my apology and thanks, and been as generally "nasty" as he could, and perhaps you won't blame me that, after looking through his trousers, I gave them a toss which, instead of sending them back into the hut, sent them over the edge of the trail. They went down six hundred feet before they lodged in a poplar, and if his lordship followed the trail he could get round to them, but there would then be a hundred feet of sheer rock between the trail and the trousers. "I hope it will teach him to study his Lord Chesterfield to better purpose, for if politeness doesn't cost anything, rudeness can cost considerable," I chuckled to myself.</p> <p>My amusement did not last long, for my<!-- Page 68 --><span class='pagenum'><SPAN name="Page_68" id="Page_68">[Pg 68]</SPAN></span> next thought was, "If those letters are concealed on any one, they are on Miss Cullen." The thought made me lean up against my mule, and turn hot and cold by turns.</p> <p>A nice situation for a lover!</p> <hr /> <div class="chapter"> <span class='pagenum'><SPAN name="Page_69" id="Page_69">[Pg 69]</SPAN></span> <h2>
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