“The Apache arrow had gone in along Major Dundee’s ribs, stuck out in the back …”
There was a frightful scream through the night. All over camp men rolled out of their blankets and grabbed for their guns; on the picket line the horse guards were tightening knots, bulldogging plunging mules down as the whole line tried to rear against their tie-ropes and break loose.
Mr. Tyreen went charging through the camp, a carbine in his hand, after the major and Miss Brown.
Tim raised his trumpet and blew the Charge, unordered. Sergeant Cohan was gone, without Tim seeing him go.
Men were kicking out the cooking fires; Tim dumped the coffee on his and then scuffed dirt into it.
Soon enough they found out what happened, as much as men in battle ever know what is going on; in some way as men in battle ever know what is going on; in some way Charriba and his Mogollons had cut around Mr. Potts and his Chiricahuas and surrounded the bivouac.
Having put out the fire and blown his trumpet, Tim was unattached. He trotted in the direction the major had gone. Sergeant Cohan passed him going the other way, ordering men to the perimeter of the camp, getting them into some sort of firing line.
Through the trees Tim finally found the major. He was standing peculiarly, guarding something between his feet, firing his sidearm with his left hand; his right arm dangled peculiarly.
Mr. Tyreen was on the major’s left, firing his carbine as fast as he could load. Tim took up the post on the right, using his sidearm.
The major said, “There’s nothing to shoot at, boy. See can you get this arrow out of my side.”
The Apache arrow had gone in along Major Dundee’s ribs, stuck out in the back; if it had hit a lung, their commander was a dead man. Tim got out his clasp knife, hacked at the barbed point; the major roared with pain.
Mr. Tyreen bellowed: “There’s one,” and fired. He yelled: “Got him. Dundee, shut up, you’re spoiling my aim.”
The shaft broke, and Tim jerked the arrow out through the front of Major Dundee’s red undershirt. The major cried: “Thanks – there, Ryan!”
Tim whirled in time to see a shadowy figure somewhere in the brush. He fired, saw the Apache fall, and yelped: “We’re getting them, sir,” and fired at something that might have been an Indian but was more probably a tree.
Then, after a long time, there was some quiet, and the major said: “Blow Advance, in a line of Skirmishers.”
Then he said: “Hold it. Give the men a breather.”
Tim took a breather himself. He remembered the arrowhead he had cut off the major; it would make a good souvenir.
He knelt and groped for it on the ground. Instead his hand encountered something; a dead face and – groping further – long hair.
The major moved from between the moon and Tim.
It was the woman, Mary Brown. There were three arrows in her chest and another in her belly. She was already cold.
Major Dundee looked down, and said: “Trumpeter. Now, blow the Advance.”
Tim got to his feet, picked up his trumpet, tried to get it to his lips. He did that, but the mouthpiece rattled against his teeth.
The major said: “Blow, you little Irish bastard!”
Shocked, Tim stiffened his back.
The major said again, “Blow, soldier.”