Molly McDonald (Chapter 6, page 1 of 7)


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Chapter 6

Mechanically--scarcely conscious of the action--the Sergeant slipped fresh cartridges into the hot rifle chamber, swept the tumbled hair out of his eyes with his shirt sleeve, and stared into the night. He could hardly comprehend yet that the affair was ended, the second attack repulsed. It was like a delirium of fever; he almost expected to see those motionless bodies outstretched on the grass spring up, yelling defiance. Then he gripped himself firmly, realizing the truth--it was over with for the present; away off there in the haze obscuring the river bank those indistinct black smudges were fleeing savages, their voices wailing through the night. Just in front, formless, huddled where they had fallen, were the bodies of dead and dying, smitten ponies and half-naked men. He drew a deep breath through clinched teeth, endeavoring to distinguish his comrades.

The interior of the coach was black, and soundless, except for some one's swift, excited breathing. As he extended his cramped leg to the floor he touched a motionless body. Not until then had he realized the possibility of death also within. He felt downward with one hand, his nerves suddenly throbbing, and his finger touched a cold face--the Mexican. It must have been that last volley, for he could distinctly recall the sharp bark of Gonzales' revolver between his own shots.

"The little devil," he muttered soberly. "It was a squarer death than he deserved. He was a game little cock."

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