I am not given to needless worrying, but the more I tried to convince myself that all was well with Powell, and that the dots I had seen on his trail were antelope or wild horses, the less I was able to assure myself.
Finally I could endure the suspense no longer, and, arming myself with my two Colt revolvers and a carbine, I strapped two belts of cartridges about me and catching my saddle horse, started down the trail taken by Powell in the morning.
As soon as I reached comparatively level ground I urged my mount into a canter and continued this, where the going permitted, until, close upon dusk, I discovered the point where other tracks joined those of Powell.
Possibly I had conjured up impossible dangers, like some nervous old housewife, and when I should catch up with Powell would get a good laugh for my pains.
About nine o'clock the moon was sufficiently bright for me to proceed on my way and I had no difficulty in following the trail at a fast walk, and in some places at a brisk trot until, about midnight, I reached the water hole where Powell had expected to camp.
I was interested to note that the tracks of the pursuing horsemen, for such I was now convinced they must be, continued after Powell with only a brief stop at the hole for water; and always at the same rate of speed as his.
I was positive now that the trailers were Apaches and that they wished to capture Powell alive for the fiendish pleasure of the torture, so I urged my horse onward at a most dangerous pace, hoping against hope that I would catch up with the red rascals before they attacked him.
I knew that Powell would need me now if ever, and I instantly urged my horse to his topmost speed up the narrow and difficult mountain trail.
I wished my namesake Powell had been the devil himself.
Powell, please,' I said, very civil but firm; I would let nothing scare me away now.
Then give me Powell every time," declared our new acquaintance sturdily.
Powell made me soon see that an Act of Parliament hasn't any sense of its own.
Powell cut him short with a wave of his hand; and, as the old fraud walked off at last, he raised his eyes to me.
So I merely pulled out my new certificate from my pocket and put it into his hand unfolded, so that he could read CHARLES POWELL written very plain on the parchment.
Powell after telling me in an undertone to wait a little addressed him in a friendly way.