Page:Boys of the Fort.djvu/236

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the captain slowly, wondering how he was to gain more time.

"I thought you were in command," remarked Gilroy.

"I was—but the colonel is getting better. Meet me here in another hour, and I will give you his reply and my own."

This did not suit Gilroy and White Ox, but the captain was firm, and at last they went off, promising to be back exactly at the end of the hour.

"And then it must be surrender or fight," said the leader of the desperadoes sharply. "No more dilly-dallying."

It must, be confessed that Captain Moore returned to the fort in a thoughtful mood. He had an awful responsibility upon his shoulders. He called several of the other officers in consultation.

"For myself, I believe in fighting," he said. "But we must consider those who are sick and must consider the women."

"The colonel's wife wishes us to fight to the end," replied another officer. "She is not willing to trust White Ox or any of the other red skins."

"I don't believe in surrendering," put in an other. "Let us see if we can't hold off until we hear from Leeson and Fort Prescott."

And so it was arranged.