The steam man of the plains; or, The terror of the West

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The steam man of the plains; or, The terror of the West

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Title:
The steam man of the plains; or, The terror of the West
Series Title:
Frank Reade library.
Creator:
Senarens, Luis, 1863-1939
Place of Publication:
New York
Publisher:
Frank Tousey
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Language:
English
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1 online resource (15 p.) 29 cm. : ;

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Inventors -- Fiction ( lcsh )
Science fiction ( lcsh )
Dime novels ( lcsh )
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serial ( sobekcm )

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Source Institution:
University of South Florida Library
Holding Location:
University of South Florida
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All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
R17-00026 ( USFLDC DOI )
r17.26 ( USFLDC Handle )
024784437 ( Aleph )
63271115 ( OCLC )

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) 610 N Lates1: and Best Stories are Published, in This Library. No. 12. { COl\IPLETE.} FRANK TOUSEY, PUBLISHER, 34 & 36 NORT H MOORE STREET, NEW YORK New Y o r k December 10, 1892. IssuED WEEKLY. { l 'JtiCE } 5 CJCNT S Vol. I Entered acco rding t o the Act of Cong r ess, in t h e year 1892, by FRANK TOUSEY, in t h e office of the Librarian of Conm ess, at Wash ington, D C FRANK READE AND HIS STEAM MAN OF THE PLAINS; or, THE TERROR OF THE WEST. B y N 0 N A ME.'' On the driver' s seat sat Frank Reade, holding the reins wit h a firm grasp and guiding the steam giant as one guides a horse. On the coal-box in the rear part of the wagon sat Charley Gorse. "Help!" Again that appeal arose high and clear above the roaring of the flames. I \

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THE STEAM MAN OF THE PLAINS. The subscription Price of the FRANK READE LIBRARY by the year is $2.50: $1.25 per six months, post-paid. Address FRANK TOUSEY, PUBLISHER, 34 and 36 North Moore Street. Box 2730. THE STEAM MAN OF THE PLAINS; OR, By Author of "Frank Reade, Jr's Travels," "Frank Reade, Jr., and His Air-Ship," etc., etc., etc. CHAPTER I. FIU.NK AND CHA.RLEY. "FRANK I" shouted Mrs. Reade, from the ren.r of h e r dwelling. "Here's your Cousin Charley, from Missouri." "All right," said a voice that seemed to come from a sort of woodshed at the end of a long yard, "I'm coming." The door of the outhouse was cautiously open ed, and Frank Reade slipped out, carefully re closing the door. In a moment he was shaking hands with the broad-sb.ouldered western youth who had traveled from Missouri to New York to pay him a Yisit. In age the cousins were alike, both being teen, but while Frank, born and bred ln New York, and being of a studious nature, and quite a thinker, was pale slim, and not over strong, the Missouri boy, breathing the free afr of the great prairies, had grown etrong and robust in form, a splendid hunter, a dead shot, and a lover of wild adventure. The Reade family were well to do in the world, and Frank, the only child had been permitted to have his way until he was pretty well spoiled. However, his greatest delight was to indulge his inventive genius, and that had full play. The moment that Mrs. Reade left the two boys 6lone, Frank grasped his cousin by the hand and lilald: :.'If I show you something will you give me your word to keepJour mouth shut about it?" "Certainly," sai Charley Gorse, wondering what was up. "Then fDllow," said the mysterious Frank, and he led the way to the wood-bouse. He cautiously opened the door a little, a glance at the windows of all the houses ill the block; to see if anyone was looking, and then bolted into the building and drew Charlie in after him. "Th111lderation I" cried Charley, for there in front of him he suddenly beheld a huge figure, looking like one of the giants of old. The western boy was startled, and might have backed out of the door, had not Frank restrained him. "Hold on," he said, laughing at his cousin's evident alarm ; "you needn't be afraid; it's only .a machine." "Phew," whistled Charley. "FMt. t" triumphantly cried Frank. "It's one 'Of the gn!atest inventions of the age. It's a steam ma.n.,, "And can it walk?" asked Charley. "Walk? yes, and run, too," proudly replied Frank. "That's my invention, and nobody knows >anything about it but you. If you can keep quiet owr the thing you shall see whether it can walk." "I'm too surprised to say anything,". said .Charley, and he walked up to the invention to ;;xamlne it. The contrivance stood in the center of the 1loor Charley Gorse beheld a metallic Imitation of a man. The figure was about twelve feet high from Ule bottom of the huge feet to the top of the plug bat which adorned the steam man's heaa. An enol'Dlous belly was required to accomodate the tloiler and steam chest, and this corpulency agreed well with the height of thtl metallic steam chap. To give full working room to the very delicate machinery in his interior, the giant was made to convey a sort of knapsack upon his shoulders. The machine held its arms in the position taken by a man when he is.drawing a carriage. There were numerous rods, doors, shafts and other contrivances which puzzl e d the western boy, and he turned inquiringly to Frank. "I'll explain it to you," said the enthusiastic inventor. "Look at his face." Charley glanced up at the face of the monster and beheld a huge pair of glass eyes and an enormous mouth. "Now, then, said Frank," the lamp will be tn his head, and his eyes will be the headlights. His mouth holds the steam whistle. Here, in his belly, we open a door aud put in fuel, and the ashes fall down into his legs and are emptied from the moveable knee-pan, and without inju:r;; to the oiled leg-shafts, tor they are inclosed ill :> tube. That iswhythe fellow's limbs are so large. Those wire cords increaae the power in or..e leg, and cause that leg to go much faster, and in that manner we get a side mov ement and can turn aroulid." "Go on." said Charley, who was ex cited. "It's feet are spiked like a base-ball player's are spiked, to prevent the machine from slipping under speed," said Frank. "Then you notice that its legs are very long, and very far apart, so as to give it balance. This stop-cock on the side will let on or shut off steam." "Craw lin' snakes I" muttered the Mi!lsouri boy. "And will you ride on that knapsack?" "Oh, no," laughed Frank. I am making a low, broad, and very heavy wagon for the con trivance, and it will be finished in a few days. The hands of the man will hold the shafts of the wagon. The vehicle will carry two or three per sons and hold my fuel and water, sufficient for several days, and I have made a tent-like cover ing for the concern so that I could s l eep in the wagon if I went on a journey. Here in the knap sack are my steam valves; the top of the hat is only a sieve, and the smoke will come out of that. Then there's drafts and stops-off without num ber. The steam gauge is there in the fell<'w's back." "Thunder I" said Charley Gorse; "how fast can it go?" "It can go fifty miles an hour;" replied Frank. On a level road I should not hesitate to run at thirty or thirty-five an hour." "With a wagon and people In it?" "Yes," said Frank. "Steam is a wonderful power, you know." Charley did not make any reply, he was thinking deeply. "What's the matter?" asked Frank. "Hold ,on," excitedly returned Charley. "I've got an idea for you. What are you going to do with your machine when you get it completed?" "I really hadn't thought about it," said Frank. "I'll tell you wl;lat to do," cried Charley," come back to Clarksville with me, take the whole ma chine with you, I'll pay the bill, and then you and I'll go out on the plains hunting and roving, dashing around in style, and racin!f. the reds half to death, for I am sure they don t know even what a steam engine is like. You see my dad. .................... ___________________________________________ has got a big farm, raises stock and lots or pro. duce, and sends it to St. Louis, and as there' lots of money coming in all the while, I have everything my own way. But the redo, Siomt Injuus, bother me. Around the town they're peac e ful enough, but if you get them -out among the big game on the plains they' ll raise a rumpus. I had to travel a hundred miles by boat to get to the steam cars, and I guess the reds that live be yond Clarksville don't know much about steam inventions. 1 tell you we can have glorioua fun!" 'l'he blood leaped to Frank's cheeks while his cousin spoke, and an eager light danced in his eyes Wouldn't it be splendid?" he said. "The level plains would be iust the thing for my man, and in tjme of danger we could rush o1f with the sp<'ild. of the wind." Tie wa.s greatly excited over the idea, and 'he wua doubtless as eager as most boys would be to the groat west-the novelist s great land of story. "Will you do it?" asked Charley. "I'Te got enough money to see the whole thing put through in style. Will you go?" "I will!" hastily responded Frank. "And do you think your folks will let you go?" asked Charley. "Not to carry out your idea," said Frank. "My steam man is known only to us two. Wl# must keep the secret from everybody, and man age to ship the affair off before we go. They will suppose that lam only going on an orninary visit." "That's the idea," said Charley Gorse. "But, I say, does the chap take apart?" "Yes." And the wagon?" The entire concern can be taken apart and packed in a medium-sized case," said the in ventor. "Bully I'" exclaimed Charley. "Then we can send it away a week or two before we go, and when we get to Clarksville we can put it together and start out." "Just so," said Frank; "and if we do_.get out on the plains, I'll make your er_es open with won der. I've got a dozen different inventions, that will make the red-skins belive that they've run across the d e vil at last. I have made a pair of night pistols." "Night pistols!" repeated Charley, wondering much at his companion's words; "what do you mean by night pistols?" "Pistols that may be used in as dark a night as you have ever seen," said the young genius. And you can bring down your game with $em as well as you could in broad daylight." The western cousin rega.rded the inventive genius with wonder and admiration. "You're a smart little cuss," said he. I'll make the Sioux believe I am," said Frank. "Just give me a chance to use my little innntions among them, and if you don't see fun and wild adventures, then call me a fool; I could scare an Indian out of his wits." ''You'll have a chance," said Charley; and then the voice of Frank's mother called them into the house, the steam man being very securely looked in by his inventor.

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--.THE STEAM MAN OF THE PLAINS. For the next two weeks the two boys were very mysterious, and the old people were wondering what was up. They thought the mystery explained when Frank asked that he might go with his cousin to Missouri, and they freely gave their The boys were wild with delight. They flitted from the house to the place where tll'il stt,am man Dow stood, in full glory of a coat of l>aint, and proceeded to execute their vlar.d. A strong: case was procured the huge traveter .earefully taken apart, a.nd packed away with the pieces of the wagon, and then the whole concern was strongly bound =d nailed. Frank made an engagement with a man who a truck, managed to send his mother out 'for an hour, and thus made his shipment in se .crecy, and the man of metal was started on his journey. Now that the invention had gone, the young inventor longed to follow, and he chafed until the time arrived. Then, well supplied with money, and carrying wonderful in his !trunk, the genius and his cousin bade good-bye to t)aQ city, and were whirled away towards the setting sun. Both were plucky, both were fond of E!Xcite ment, r,et still they might have turned back in If tb.ey could have peered into the future and learned what terrible dangers, what wild, blood-curdling sceaes they were destined to meet in the troublous west. CHAPTER II. THE STEAM MAN TO THE RESCUE. UflELP1" The tl1rilling cry for aid rang out over a wild scene. An almost trackless western prairie was on fire! The red flames leaped and danced over the tall, dry IVaBS, carried forward by the whistling Over the prairies, dashing along at terrific epeed in advance of the shrieking flames came the steam man of the plains, his long, iron limbs making gigantic strides to escape the fearful en emy in the rear, the heavy wagon containing the two young adventurers fairly leaping from the groun
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4 THE STEAM MAN OF THE PLAINS. The night came slowly down upon the wagon tl'ain. Carter doubled the guards, prepared each man for the worst, now that all the women and chil dren were inside the wagons, and then stole some distance away in advance of the train, wishing to be the advance sentinel of the people who looked up to him for safe ty. The o)d guide crawled out several feet from the wagons, and then his eyes caught sight of an object moving through the grass ahead of him. Carter rested on his side, drew a keen kni!e from his belt, and awaited the appearance of the object. Nearer and nearer it oame,Jand at last he heard the sound of deep breathing. "An Injun crawlin' on the train," decided the guide, and he grasped his rifl e with a d e t e rmined grip. "His career 'll wind up right h e r e." The grass was parted, and the tufted he a d of an Indian warrior b e came dimly disc e rnible to the guid e With a convulsive movem e nt, an imme nse twitc h of the whole body Carter flung hims e lf upon the r e d-skin. As he landed upon the oowed form of the Sioux, the latter gav e utte ranc e to a loud y e ll. "That's your last yawp," gritt e d C a rter, and his sin e w hand c lut ched the r e d-skin s wind 'Pip e effectually shutting off his breath. I'd kill you <:'nly for y e lling, yer copp e r-colored murderer o' women 1" The guide's right arm was flung up, and then descend e d with spee d and stre ngth, and a sick ening thud told that the blade had sunk into the Indian' s body. At that instant a peculiar yell rang out far ahead. Old Carter listened intently. The cry was answered from far away toward the left. Carter got upon his feet. The peculiar yell now sounded some distance off to the right. Surrounded 1" cried the guide, and with fleet steps he dashed back to the corral of wagons, flinging the se.ntinels the pass-word as he darted past them. "Out with every light in the oamp 1" cried the guide. "We're surrounded by the cussed ras cals They're on all sides of us, and we mustn't show them a spark. If this black night will hold out we may be able to keep them puzzled. Show them so much as the light of a pipe and yer lost 1" "But can't come on us from all sides, I should say-:'' spoke up one of the men. I think they'll come over the plains in front. So they will,"' srud Old Carter. "I'll creep out tha.t way, and warn yer when I hear e m comin'. They've been waitin' for darkness, but not such black night as this. Keep yer eyes w e li opened." The old guide tightened his belt and dropped to the ground. At that moment a low sound was heard, and the instant the thrilling cry rang out: "The reds a re upon us?" Old Carter lell.ped back against the wall of wagons. Dim forms could now to be s een advancing toward the barricade. "Fire at anything y e r peepers rest on," cried the guide, and as he spoke there came a startling interruption. A terrible shriek rang out. The sound was like a hoarse whistl e Again that loud, piercing sound came to their ears. Then they heard the noise of heavy feet rush ing swiftly toward the m over the plains A powerful light suddenly flash e d over the praines, revealing a large body of m e n standing and crouching in the grass. "Fire!" The command pealed loudly from the lips o the old guide. Cntshl The guns of the emigrants sent forth their death-dealing storm. The leaden hail had swept through the. ranks of the motionless enemy, carrying d e struction and death in its track as the bullets found a mark. 't'hen followed a thrilling sight. As the cries and shrieks of the wounded and dying pealed forth upon the air, that loud, whist ling souud 8in rang out, and forth from the darkness rushed a gigantic form with e y e s of fire. The neck and waist of the monster were eicireled with a sheet of flame. From the mouth of the blazing giant a cloud of steam issued. Uttering fearful shrieks, the frightful-looking creature rushed the struggling mass of red and white rascals and pulled up with a sud den jerk. Then the belts of fire at the neck and waist widened and suddenly sent forth bright balls of flame. With reports like guns, the fiery missiles shot forth from the circles of flam e and spread con sternation among the wounded and demoralized red-skins, and the white men in the marauding band were scarcely more easy in mind. The flamin<> bails rapidly among the rob bers, da1ting hither and thither like stars of fire. The terrible looking giant stood motionless on the plains surveying the scene with e yes which s ent forth two long streams of light still s e nding forth those awful shrieks, as though exulting loudly over the panic Sudd e nly the noise ceased; at that v ery mo m ent a bright, crimson glow appeare d s e veral f eet b e hind the blazing monster, and soon lurid light lit up the prairie far and wid e A voic e rang out: "Carter 1" H ere 1" shouted the old guide springing for ward. Charge the haythenish divils, an' niver lave a man o' the m aliv e 1" The voice was Barney Shea's. Carter recognized the familiar tones, and his orde r rang out: "Clubbe d guns, pistols, and knives!" he yelled. "Charge?" Reassur e d by the orde r, the muc h surprised e migrants obey e d, and in a compact mass rushed upon the enemy. Red light flashed up bright e r, and the scene was as bright and clear as the hour of noon had been. With revengeful cries the hardy pioneers huded themselves upon the crowd of badly scared wretches. The belts of flame on the iron monster who surveyed the battle grew paler and paler, and the balls of fire no longer shot forth Three forms leaped past the fiery-eyed giant, and Charley and Frank, headed by the Irishman, rushed swiftly toward the struggling figures Pistol shots sounded with whip-like cracks, heavy guns whirled and hummed through the air, tomahawk clashed against kni!e, savage yells answered English oaths, and the scene was wild and thrilling. Charley struck an Indian down with his knife and then a white man leaped upon him, c l utched him by the throat, and lifted a heavy bowie for a death-blow. With a wild, Irish :Yell, Barney Shea made a jump for the ruffian; a heavy 8tick whirled the air, sent the kni!e flying from the rascal s hand, and then descended fairly on his cranium, laying him out. stiff The Indians had been badly frightened by the giant of flame. Totally d e moralized and scared out of their senses by the monst e r, they did not try to fight, but made every effort to escape from the vicinity of the giant. The enraged emigrants, on their part, tried to cut them all down A flying hatchet struck Charl e y Gorse on the head and sent him headlong to the blood-stained plain. A ri:tle swung by a sturdy emigrant tooli Bar ney Sh e a in the stomach and with all tho breath knock e d out of his body by the blow, the Irish man staggered and fell Old Cart e r leaped and pranced over the battl e fie ld like a crazy man, shouting and slashing a way lik e mad. With a pistol in each hand, Frank Reade stood at hand, tiring whenever h e saw an Indian' s top knot. The Indian chiefs pealed forth sigm\1 cries The y w ere answered from all parts of the bat tle-fi e ld, and instantly the r e d-skins made a rush towards the stream. "Don't l e t the dogs escape! shrieked old Car ter, striking down a red robber with his gun. "Cut them down !" The emigrants answered with a yell The frightened Sioux rushed madly away to ward the stream. The white wretches who h e rded with them tri e d to stem the rush. The brilliant crimson glow whic h lit up the plains grew pale Frank Reade thrust his pistols into his belt and dash e d away to the wagon. He s e ized a package from the floor of the ve hicle and scattered its contents into a burning pan. As the lurid flames again sprang up, a dark form leaped_ upon him. CHAPTER IV. THE PRAIRIE FIRE. OF course there was a cause for the prairie fire mentioned in the second chapter; and as the persons connected with its origin have some bearrng upon the story, we shall present them to the reader. It was close upon the hour of noon on the da.y which witnessed the events chronicled in the p re ceding chapter, when two mounted men drew up beneath the shade of two wide-spreading trees, standing like a pair of lone sentinels on the plains. B e neath these two trees there bubbl e d up a pure. spring, a,nd the dry bushes aro.und gave fuel sufficient for a cooking fire. The two horsemen. dismounted, tied their animals to the lower lin:l!bs. of the trees, and proceeded to prepare a meal. Very soon a merry little fire was crackling and buzzing, and the more rough-and-ready looking of the two trav e lers was bending over it, wat
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__ M A N O _F_T_ H E __ P_L_A_IN_S_ 5 I r They know that with a good breeze it will overtake the fastest horse and outstrip the fleetest runner. They cannot battle with it, cannot strike back blow for blow in the death struggle, and that is why they all regard it with horror and fear. It is a fearful enemy, and man and beast alike seek to fly from its scorching tongue of flame. The flames spread with the red volumes of fire, the blue clouds of smoke rolling and plunging .ov& the plains "Ride for yer life," shouted Dash. "It's eight miles to the first stream. Onward." They put spUl'S to their horses and the animals darted swiftly away. The shrieking cries of the pursuers could now be plainly heard. The Osages were splendidly mounted, and seemed to gain on the white men. There was a wide strip of land that had borne no graas, cloee to the trees. Of course the fire swept away from there, and thus the Osages were enabled to dash aside from the half -circle of fire and push swiftly on after the two men. Thus the hissing flames became the pursuers of t>oth parties. The red-skins gained upon the whiles. Both parties were dashing along at a high rate <>f speed. The grandly beautiful flames, a most thrilling spectacle, sread out in a fan-like shape for miles. Wild animals could be seen leaping madly in advance of the flames, and natural enemies now :sought flight side by side from this terrible common foe. The tall, dry grass succumbed rapidly to the tongues of fire; the smoke rolled over the pmirie in dense clouds; the frightened beasts leaped madly in advance of the fire fiend; the r e d and white mounted men were flying before its deathly breathJ and altogether the sl':ene was grand beyond aescription. A loud crack pealed forth. The leader of the Osages had fired 1upon the :fugitives. Fitznoodle's horse bounded madly in the air and screamed with pain. Tke red-skins were within range. The Englishman's horse was only wounded, and bounded onward at still greater speed than q before. r Dash Hallett unslung a long rifle from his back, and turned eastly in his saddle. 'l'heir pursuers, numbering about a score or so, were comihg on at full speed In advance of the rest rode a gaily-dressed chief, mounted upon a beautiful cream. "You're the cus' !" muttered Dash Hallet. His rifle ieap e d t I his slloulder. A spiteful crack followed, and the chief of the ()sages tumbled headlong to the ground, while the riderless cream dashed madly away to the right hand. Scarcely had he fallen before another in the band spurred forward and took the lead, and without losing a moment the band swept swiftly on. Still gazing back, Dash Haliet saw some of the rifles of the pursuing party go up in the air, and he shouted to Fitznoodle: Duck, the y're going to fire !" Hardly had the words escaped his lips when the shrill echoes rang out, and several bullets whistled past his ears. A shriek sounded on the air. Dash turned in his saddle, and was just in time to see his comrade fall to the hard plain, while his horse a few f eet forward and then fell dead, or dyrng, to the ground. "Poor Englisher," murmured Dash. "It's all up with him. He's gone up the flume." With one pitying glance at his prostrate com panion, Dash Hallet sped on. "I'll him," he gritted between his set teeth, and w1th practiced hands he very quickly reloaded his riflo, his fleet horse bounding along oQn a dead run while the charges were rammed home. He placed the cap on the nipple, turned in the saddle and viewed the wildly yelling horde. The new leader was just shouting out an <>rder. Dash Hallet liCted his rifle to his right shoulder, took a quick aim, covering the head of the chief tain, and fired. At the very second that his finger touched the the cavalcade wheeled and _turned to the bullet which had been intended for the leader pierced the brain of another member of the band, and with a wild, despairing shriek, he tumbled to the ground. Hallet reined in for a moment. The Osages were describing a graceful swe t p to the left; one that would carry them out of tl e 'OOlfcircle coveret by the rapidly advan0iLg fia.mes. Hallet was puzzled. Could it be possible that they were going to let him escape witllout making another effort to capture or kill him? This thought flashed through his mind as he sat motionless on his horse, watching Lhe reds with keen eyes. They kept on for some distance; in fact, untAI they were altogether clear from the fan-like track of the fire Then they made a gradual turn, and took up a course that would eventually bring them back within the half-circle again. What could it mean? Dash Hallet was puz zled. At this moment a low, rumbling noise, as though the feet of a thousand steeds were spurning the hard earth, was borne to the ears of the hunter. ( The rumbling noise came from the extreme right and slightly to the rear. Dash Hallet turned from contemplating the Indians, and then he saw the reason of their strange tactics. An enormous lierd of buffaloes, numbering some thousands, were rushing in a huge, com pact body across the plains, hemmed in by the half circle of flame. Like a mighty, resistless torrent they were bearing down upon him. A way !" shneked Daah Hallet, and like an arrow from a bow the noble stallion shot for ward. The Indians were now about half a mile away to the left, spurring their horses and sllrieking like demons. The buffaloes were probably a little further away, on the other hand. Like some living meteor, Tempest sped over the plain. The ground began to roll, small hillocks rising at intervals. Soon there appeared before him a small rocky hill, cut in two by the brook known as Shallow Stream. Thus his course was barred by a chasm of fully twenty feet. Th<3 Indians now changed their course and spurred towards him, while the buffaloes on their part, hemmed him in What a situation A scora of enemies on the left hand, hot for his blood; a herd of maddened brutes on his right hand; a terrific sea of fire in his rear; and across his course yawned a chasm deep and wide. On sped the horse; the brink of the hill is reached; the leap is before him; a desperate light gleams in the hunter's eyes, and his voice rings out: "On Tempest on!" The stallion leaps bravely out into space. CHAPTER V. CHARLEY'S PERIL. WHEN Frank felt himself graspen by human hands lle did not lose his head. He merely twisted his head around to find out who held h1m. It was one of the white robbers. "Die, ye cussed imp!" cried this amiable and mild gentleman of the prairie, and lifted his blood-stained knife with the charitable idea of saving the boy all future trouble, etc. But the plucky inventor of the steam man was too full of neat little tricks and ideas to allow this. He merely kicked the fellow heavily on the shins, giving a regular cap-lifter with the toe of his boot, and the foolish chap was silly enough to drop him, while he clapped his hand to his knee and set up a most dolorous yell. Frank leaped backwards, ripped forth a revol ver, and sent a heavy ball tearing through the robber's shoulder. The wretch fell to tile ground. Frank leaped ligll tly over the prostrate form and dashed out to where the battling faction were still dealing blow for blow, the brave emigrants seeking to thoroughly exterminate the cruel ban dit.ti of the plains. The fight was now a running one in more ways than one, for the terriflee redskins were trying their level best to run away from the infuriated pioneers. Barney Shea, who, it will be remembered, was knocked breathless by accident, had recovered his wind, and was upon his feet again in the midst of danger, yelling and shouting like an Indian, and laying about him with a long, heavy stick, as though fully possessed by a dei!Don. The shrieks of the wounded and dying, the cries and curses of the living, and the loud eracks of the firearms made up a din that was horrible, and the fighting, shooting, and stabbing, the mad dened forms of the struggling men contending bitterly for life and liberty, made up a scene that was forever impressed on Frank Reade's mem ory. But as the boy reached the edge of the stru"' gling line of battle, he heard a deep voice soun8ing high above the hum ot the contest. Frank stood perfectly motionless for a brief moment, and he bent down and held his ear closa to the ground. Tmmp-tramp-tramp, came the sounds, rapid and regular To Frank's ears it appeared that an enemy was advancjng. Othei ears were better trained than those of tlle New York boy, and soon a shout rang out that caused a cessation of active hostilities. The warning cry pealed from the lips Qf old Carter, and the words of the guide were taken up and repeated by a score of frightened men. "Wild horses on a stampede!" Only the men who belong to those great plains of the west know the full import of that cry; only the men who have witnessed the great sight know how grand it is, and how terrible. In solid troops they rusl;l over the prairies, headed by a captain, and woe to the poor traveler who bars their path. Their course is as resipt less as that of the torrent which sweeps down the mountain side, and they sweep down all before them. They were struck with terror. Snap Carier's voice rang out clear and audible above all others ; Dash for the woods !" "Halt!" The countermand came sharply upon the heels of the order. The men had turned to obey the. command of the guide, but when that ringing word saluted their ears, they stood irresolute. Halt!" again the order was given, and then Snap Carter turned upon the speaker, who was none other than Frank Reade. "What do yer--" "Obey orders," said Frank, breaking ia on his remonstrance. "Every man of you drop down here. You could never enter the little grove alive." The men obeyed, feeling that they could weil trust this determined boy. Frank sprang back to the wagon. The steam valves were hissing under a h!gh pressure of steam. In his fight with the robber who had grappled with him, Frank had upset the pan of red fire. He turned the dish upright threw in another small package of powder, and then leap ed up to his driving-seat. He pulled the rod cautiously, and the man of steam circled slowly around, and in less than half a minute was directly in front of the crouching men, his blazing eyes looking out in the darkness. The crimson light from the powder now leaped up, spreading a brilliant glow far over the plains. The immense troops of wild horses could now be seen advancing, the gorgeous hue of ths chemical light falling with thrilling eff'eet upon their ranks. Frank pulled the whistle-cord, and the fearful voice of the steam man uttered a succession of loud yells. The leaders grew alarmed when the shriek of the steam monster burst upon their ears. Their eyes were half blinded by the chemical light, which, added to the fiery eyes of the steam man, made the surroundings as light as day. The steeds in the foremost rnnks began to kick and plunge. They tried to stop the progress of the vast numbers behind them. As well might a few men try to hold an army in check. In vain the captains haltAd. The vast throng in the rear still came steadily on ward, and th9 leaders were forced to advance. The aggregated force of the numbers behind them forced the foremost ones to move on, and this they were compelied to do in tne face of the terrifying steam man. Then took place what Frrunk Reade had cal culated upon when ordering the emigranl:i! to crouch behind the wagon. The vast herd of horsoo could not be turned by the leaders so as to avoid the frightful looking object in t heir path, the leaders were forced to divide, and pass on either side of the steam man, the army in their course following like well-train ed soldiers. Steadily onward pressed the long and wide columns, the glaring light casting wierd shadows over the immense army of moving steeds. The wounded and dying who lie beyond the steam man are doomed to ce1tain den.th, for the divided ranks reunite beyond the point of divisio n I

PAGE 6

r I -a 6 THE STEAM MAN OF THE PLAINS. and tramp resistlessly onward, crushing and moaning in their course. A cry of honor rmgs out upon the air, and Snap Carter shouts: "Look at the boy I" All follow the direction of the guide's extended hand, and Frank's heart gave a great leap u.s he beheld Charley Gorse. Tha Missouri boy was in peril. He had just 'got upon his feet, and was now standing erect some few hundred feet in advance of the swiftly-moving column. "He will be crushed-he will be killed!" groaned Frank, wringing his hands togethet, as he took in the full danger tow hich his young cousin was exposed Like the trump of doom the shrill neigh of the foremost captain rang out as he liore dow.n upon Charley. The brave boy stood motionless, his fine, bold face colorless, his attitude one of calm despair. Frank shut off the whistle, and, like one fascinatsd, fixed his eyes upon Charley. Nothing could now be done to turn aside tbe countless steeds, and the threatened lad stood squarely in their path. He is doomed I" sounded from the lips of the awe-struck emigrants. FrJ.D.k's heart grew sick, but still he kept his gaze fixed upon the leaders. Three of them sprang forward in advance of the eolumns, and with loud screams of anger rushed upon the boy. Firm as a rock stood Charley Gorse in the per ilous path. As the foremost steed, a magnificent stallion, reached him, Charley bounded nimbly up into the air and landed fairly upon the animal's back. A triumphant shout rang out upon the night air, and then Charley Gorse flew off in the darkness. VI. GEORGE AUGUSTUS FITZNOODLE MAKES A. SPEECH. WHEN heavily-bu-ilt Mr. Fitznoodle tumbled headlong to the grassy plain he was not dead nor wounded. His stirrup-strap broke, and over he went, while his wounded and dying horse also fell. The fall had stunned the Englishman, and as it turned out it was very lucky for him that he appeared dead when the furious savages galloped past him, else they might have riddled him wi,th bn1lets. When they had gone by, the Englishman got upon his feet. A few yards away lay the dead body of his horse. The flames were rolling up towards him with frightful rapidity. fl:ow could he escape them? The thought rushed through his agonized mind, but no avenu11 of escape was open to him. He was a poor runner; his breath was short; he was illready exhausted from his ride, and so it was useless to think of eluding the fire-fiend by flight. What should he do? A man is forced to think fast when such an enemy as fire is threatening his life. Fitznoodle's eyes fell upon the body of his horse. The creature was stone dead. In a moment a plan was thought of that afford-ed a bare chance of escape He leaped quickly forward. The flames were close at hand. The feet ef the fallen steed were extended in the direction of the advancing flames. Fitznoodle threw himself down behind the back of the dead horse and threw his coat up over his head. A moment later the air grew hot and dense, his throat felt parched and dry, hi3 eye-balls seemed almost bursting, and a mighty sound like the roaring of great waters soundea in his ears. Then the fiery tide swept over him with its scor.ohing breath, and a moment later the Englishman stood erect, unharmed. He was forced to sit on the dead horse for some time in order to allow the hot plain to grow cool, and then he began to look about him with the idea of making tracks in some direction. H'I really don't know what h'in the world to do," soliloquized Fitznoodle, gazing blankly over the blackened prairie. 'Ow I h'am going to h'extricate myself from this h'awful situation h'l really don't know. 'Ere h'am h'I, George Augustus Fitznoodle, left alone h'on this vast plain by my h'inattentive body guard. H'I 'ope that 'e'll soon return, for 'pon my soul h'I think h'm lost." He took a pull at his flask to clear his rather lausk.-.z v:oice. and als.o. to. raise.. his sniJ.:its, and impatiently awaited Dash Hallett's return -he having conceived the idea that the hunter would co,me back to look for him. He little thought that at that very moment the man for whom he looked was hemmed in by ter rible foes. Bu"t ere l ong he heard sounds that told of approaching feet, and looked up with the expecta tion of beholding Hallett. His eager face grew long when he beheld the Osages moving towards him. It would have been perfectly useless to run, so Fitznoodle remained seated on the horse, wonderingwithin himself who and what thebe Indians really were, and also wondering what they were going to do with him. The Indians puzzled him. He could not rightly understand what they were. He had conceived the idea that they were red negroes, and having met with slaves in the south and south-west, he was disposed to look upon a full-blooded Comanche Indian as a plantationer, a little off color. The Osages cantered up to him, and one of the reds, leaping from the back of his horse, laid his hand upon the Englishman's face, and then felt of his nose. "No h'indignities, h'if you please," cried out the excitable George Augustus, giving the very inquisitive Osage a violent push that sent him over. "H'I h'am a true born son h'of h'old h'England, sir, h'and you must not pull a h'Eng lishman's nose." Probably the Osage was not aware of tbis in teresting fact. As it was, he leaped to his feet, pulled out a kng knife, and would have made very short work of the Londoner had not one of the chieftains in terfered. The Cockney was bound with a rope, although he protested loudly a<>ainst it. "H'it's a h'insult,"he declared, turning toward the chief. "H' if your lordship h'objects to my trespassing h'on your land, h'I h'am willing to compromise the matter for any small sum, but h'I decidedly h'object to being brutally 'andled." "Ugh I" gnmted the gaily bedecked leader of the Osage band. "White man he talk heap like squaw. Ugh I no brave. He chicken heart now, so we burn him I Ugh, whogh! He make good fire and roast like chicken. His heart will not burn, and me, Wotzerponum, great chief of Osage, will eat heart I" Then to his braves he shouted: "Ah-kela-kala-qua I" The astonished George Augustus was hurried along, and in a short time the grove from which the Cockney had started was reached by the sav age ban?.. They immediately tied the speculator in coal and iron up to a tree, and piled a great amount of twigs and branches around him, filling in the bottom part with dry leaves. Then the indignant George Augustus began to get frightened, and lifting up his voice impres sively, he adjressed his captors. An Indian is ready to be talked to death at almost any time, for oratory is only next to h ero ism in their ; therefore, they listen ed attentively, while the eloquent George Augustus spoke: "Your lordship, h'and gentlemen h'all," began the Londoner. "H'I warn you that the step you are about taking is h'illegal, h'and h'if h'it W!LS known to the Rritish Consul the h'insult-h'I repeat it, sir-the h'insult would be wiped h'out h'in the blood h'of yollr nation. The British lion is h'amiable so long h'as 'e is left h'alone, but h'if you h'arouse him h 'in this manner, beware: H'I warn you h'again. The British lion will roar ; his tail will soon go wiggledy-waggledy, h'an then look h'out for 'is teeth. H'I h'am 'elpless, but though h I cannot fight for my rights, my people will not be slow h'in h'asserting them. Arm but a 'air of my 'ead, h'and the speedy h'action h'of h'an h'indignant h'and h'outraged people shall prove to you tha,t the British lion h'is not to be trifled with. Release me this very moment, h'or the h'insult shall be h'eradivated with blood-my lord, with blood I" The Indians had not the idea what it was all about, but they sent up an approving shout, and then a tall brave approaclied the funeral pyre, bearing a hissing and burni..ag torch in his hand. CHAPTER VII. BARNEY SHEA. TAKES A. RIDE. MoRNING dawned bright, clear, .,ad t..Jr over the plains. The emigrant train had been well guarded during the night, and now the victovious pioneers came forth f.t:_om th.eir short sleep reinvigorated, and determin ed to push on in their westward! course in spite of the white and red robbers or the plains. The steam man stands just within the shade o .. the trees that grow on the outskirts of the grove. Frank Reade js full of business, polishing anct oiling his machine, getting up steam, and arrang ing the wagon for a journey. Hal! a dozen of the hardy emigrants lay sleep ing beneath the sods of the blood-stained prairie, and yet there is no sorrowing for them, "for," said Snap Carter: "They went up the flume with thar boots on. an' their guns thar fingers, an' that's th!t way I want to die when this old rover is called for. They give up the ghost while they was de fendin' men with gray hair, an' lots of women and young uns, and so thar's nothin' to cry about." The rest. seemed to share the sentiment of the. old guide. Certsinly the reader would not have been im pressed with melancholy ideas could he or sha have looked upon our friend Barney Shea. The rollicking Irishman was seated astride an empty box, scraping away with might and u'pon a halfway decen,t sort of a fiddle, and oc casionally breaking out with snatches of Irisll, love ditties or songs of Erin's glory. This fiddle WbS Barney's most valued piece oS property. He canied it everywhere with him, and as was constantly on the move, the fiddle had travel. ed a deal in its day, but still the Patlander was able to draw very good music from its well worn, strings. He was just breaking out with some Irish dittj when Frank Reade approached him. "Top o' the morning to ye, me fine gossoon," said Barney, ceasing his scraping. "The heel of it to you," laughed Frank. "Whaf are you going to do with yourself?" "Whin is it ye mane?" "To-day." "Faith, I s'pose I'll be afther tram pin' wid won o' the teams." "Why not go with me?" "Go widye?" "Yes; I am going to hunt Charley up, if her. to be found, and I want somebody along to IIl,!l. Now you would be just the man for me 1?1\u don't get any pay for keeping with the train, do you?" Divil the ha'p'orth." "Then not lose anything," said the boj-,. "Come w1th me." An' ye'll bring me back to the thrain whin want ye to?" "I will," said Frank, "but r. don't believe you'll want to leave me or Charley when you see what fun we have, and what adventures we pas!lo through. But come, ;I must get on my roa.Q, Have you anything that you would like to tak.,. with you?" "Me fiddle." "Anything else?" "An' me shillelah," said Barney. "Thin, Yf I'm fully prepared for frinds or foes. Me fldule in times o' pace, and me blackthorn stic(.. for a row." "That's a good idea," said Frank, "Are yot., r eady now?" a.m." "Then come on," said Frank. "I am right over that stream." The proprietor ot the steam man had taken a little supply of wood from the grateful emigrants. and also some dried beef and other articles o't food. The stream supplied the water for boilet> and tanks, and he was ready for a journey that might last for two or three days. He bade farewell to the old guide and the pion eer, mounted his seat, with Barney at side, sounded the whistle as a sort of farewell, and then turned on steam with practiced hand. The man of metal ran away from the <>rove, and: in a short time had plashed through Shallow Stream, the wagon only being immersed up to the hubs of the wheels. Then swiftly away over the vast plains, for it; was easy to follow the beaten track formed by th hard feet of the prairie steeds. The section taken by the broad army of horseB that had swept by the night before, was marked by trampled grass as far as the eye could see. Frank's only object was to keep on this wide, beaten track, hoping thereby to come across his Cousin Charley. He must be somewhere on the road, dead or alive," thought the boy. "Berhaps he has been flung from the back of stallion he leaped upon, and may even now be lying wounded on the plain. I will never give up the search for him until I am sure that he is dead." With long strides the giant traveler s!>"d over the smooth ground. Some hours passed away, and still that beaten

PAGE 7

THE STEAM. MAN OF THE PLAINS. 7 trnck stretched away before them, its expanse a mighty mountain torrent, rang in the ears of only broken by a little grove which u.ppeared not the watching hunter. far away Dash Hallett knew that flying before a prairie No sign could be seen of Charley. fir e as they w e re, it would be vain for any of the "We must make for that i s land (the name f or emos t ones to halt, or attempt to obstruct the giv e n to the little groves that dot tho plains), and progress of the main body, as the throng in the have some dinne r unde r its trees," said Frank, rear still rushes onward, and the l eaders are com who was getting hungry. pelled to advance, even tho ugh destruction "That's sinsible," avprovingly said Barney. awaits the m. :lie insides hav e been crying out to me for the The hunte r had peeped over the edge of the past hour, so they have ." chasm, and knew full w-ell that many of the herd In a f ew minutes the steam man d ashe d up to must be forced over the brink, only to fall through the island and came to a halt in the shade of its th e empty space and c r as h their bones on the trees ro c k-br oken waters which appeared below. Barn e y and Frank l eape d to the ground, the Silently he watch ed f or the appearance of the Iris hm a n holding his fiddle and his bow in his brute army. h ands The thundering tread approached ne a r e r still, I'll get the dinner,'' said Frank. and the f oremos t mnks, an array of splendid "And I'i'i be afther playin' ye a chune," saiu bulls, ran at full speed up the she lving hill to the the jolly Irishma n. "I'll use this black log h ere brink of the abyss. for a sate." As the f oremost ones arrive the re they r ea r on He seat ed himse!I astride of the black lo g, as he their hind l egs and attempt to turn b ac k from the supposed it to b e and had just got his fiddle into awful chasm position when a chorus of loud yells rang through Ah! there is nopossibleretreatnow, no chance the grove; the log raised up with a j erk, and beof escape l fore Barney knew what was the matter, he was The terrified leaders shrink back from the speeding over the plains on the back of a brink with terror wounded black buffalo, while a party of well-The solid ranks behind, terrified by the near mounted Indians dashed after him with cries of approach of tne prairie fire, dash forward with hate and 'Vengeance increasing spe e d. "Hoora I" roored Barney Shea, throwing his The doomed bulls, standing on tho very brink, leg under the buffalo's b ; lly. "Come on, y e roar and kick, bite and gore, and in their way, at murtheri n spA.! peens l Lif ,.en, whlle I play ye a tempt to evade the certain death that awaits them. chune that'll warm the cc ; kles o' yer heart I" They are fighting against fate! And with the r ed -skins in hot pursuit, Barney The crowd in the r ear, maddened and despe Sh ea, safely mounted on his woolly steed, put his rate, spurred on by the singeing flames, rush on fiddle in position and played them "The Heart with increasing impetuosity, and the aggregate That Once Goes Througn Tara's Halls." force hurls the struggling l eaders successively "Ochl" cried Barney, "this is illigant, intir e ly." into the ro c ky stream where certain death awaits them. CHAPTER VIII. THE LIVING BRIDGE. WITB Dash Hall ett clinging like a cat to his back, the brave hors e leaped far out from the brink of the rocky chasm. There was a ringing and buzzing sound in the rid e r's ears as the steed vaulted powerfully through the air; and the n there came a sud den shock as the stallion landed safely on the op posite side of the leap. Dash Hall ett was safe He leaped from his horse, and the nobl e ani mal, thoroughly exhausted, rolled over on Its side and gasped for breath. It had nobly performed its duty; but that last tremendous leap, succeeding the long and sev&e run, proved too much for the stallion, and Tempest was dying. Dash Hallett looked back over the sloping ground and yawning abyss, but no sign was to be seen of the red-skins. The y had turned back in order to escape tho double chances of death that awaited them at the leap. The mighty thundering sound that boomed out heavily on the air, told him that the im mense platoon of buffaloes were still rushing on in advanc e of the flames. "Ourse the reds!" savagely mut tered the hun ter, as he gaz e d upon the form of his dying horse, and brushed a tear from his eye I wish they had come on, for I should have knock ed over enough of the wretches to avenge Tem pest, and poor Fitznoodle, too I'll nang on to that crew until I wipe every imp out. Poor old Tempest l we've been travelin' together a year, and now we've got to pa1t. Curse the m Osages I I sw'ar I'll stick to 'em as long as there's a single red murderer alive for to squeak or draw a knife The horse breathed heavier and heavier with each breath, and in a few moments rolled over and died. "Gone I" said Dash Hallett, looking sorrowfully at his dead companion "Well, it covered the space between the two flaming with his rifle. "Take this pill, ye varmint!" He pulled the trigg e r. There was a flash and a report, and then cam& a growl of fury. Hall ett knew what that meant. The monster must hav e moved as h e pulled trigger, and the bullet which was a imed to go be tween his eyes, had taken lodgmeat in the creat: ure's body. The infuriated beast was cmwling toward him. This h e could tell by the near approach of the flamin g eyes. H a ll ett placed his gun behind him, with the strap securing it to his shoulders, and drew hia keen knife. .The 1veapo n was long, heavy sharp on botb sides of the blade, and the end had a point like a ne e dle. Grasping this formidable weapon !rmly ia his strong hand, the hunter awaited the time te> strike. The b ea r slow l y drew near. At length Hallett could ma:ke out the huge out lin es of the long, dark body. It was a blac k b ea r of unusual size, and, now that it was wounded, would prove an implacabl8 e nemy. The bear was advancing ooutiously, probably feeli ug insecure on account of the wound it had rec eive d. At this time Dash noticed that the tree was shaking and trembling. Soon a. thundering rumbling came to his keel!> ears, and he knew the bard plain was vibrnt. ing ben!iath the tread of thousands of advancing hoofs. He thought that the buffaloes might be cominr:: back again, but that idea was soon knocked in the head, for he was enabled to lo cate the direc tion of the sound. It came from the direction of Shallow Slream, and a few points off the course h e had taken "Either buffaloes or wild horses," decided Hallett. All this time l;Ie kept his eyes fixed upon the slowly advancing bear. At length the latter was within reac h, and with all his force, HalleLt struck at the full neck of the growling brute. The sharp point sank deep into the neck of that beast, and hastily withdrawrngthe heayy weapon, the hunter lunged forth again and again, at broad mark, until the blood was heard falling upon the leaves. Loud e r and louder sounded the regular tramp -tmmp, of the on coming h orde. Whatev e r they were, the advancing columns wer e heading for the tree. The bear's many wounds r endered it doubly savage, and it crawled more quickly upon the bold hunter. Hallett was forced 'to retreat, little by little, step by step, until he had reached the end of the bough. On came the enraged bear. It wail useless to think of striking at the mon ster now, so daring Dash Hallett laid his hands on the bough, and swung by his arms from the limb. Swiftly on came the thundering army of mov ing animals, the foremost ones rapidly advancing on a line that would bring them fairly under the tree. As they drew near, the bear cautiously crowd ed towards the hunter's hands. BJ;Uin stretched out his neck and made a most viciOus snap at the man's fingers. H>tlh.'ltt let go his hold. He fell squarely astride the back of one of the steeds, and at the same moment discovered the

PAGE 8

.,THE STEAM MAN OF THE PLAINS. tact thft.t the horse had another rider, and that who proved to be Charley Gor!jjl, cried out: "Easy, there, mister, you've d'arned near broken this child's head." How the deuce is this?" cried Hallett. He had kept on the stallion from force of habit, &!though the maddened brute leaped and pranced fll!lrfully. "How's what?" demanded Charley. "That you're among this drove o' wild horses?" "Easy en>ugh 1" said the daring boy. "I was in a tight scrape, and I got out of it the best way I could. Nothin' when you get used to it." Then he told Dash, in brief terms, what had taken place that evening at the emigrants' camp by the Shallow Stream, and in return Hallett gave him a rough account of the thrilling dangers he had passed through. "But this won't do," said Hallett, "we must get this animal away from tn.e herd, or our lives may be lost. Hold on to my clothes with all your grip, and dig your knees hard in the horse's ribs. Charley obeyed. Hallett lean ed forward, caught the stallion by the nose with his strong right hand, pulled the borse's head around, and at the same tlme yelled at him. The animal bounded away in advance of the berd, and under Dash's grip, followed his nose, so that in a few moments he was on an exactly opposite course to that taken by the herd, whi h could still be heard thundering away in the dis tance. Goaded to a p&fect frenzy by the shouts and blows bestowed on him by his fearless riders, the noble stsllion sped over the .hard, l evel plain like some living star, the white foam streaking his sides as he dashed madly 'on through the .darkness of the night. On-on, with the shrill whistle of the prairie winds' in their ears, until suddenly the good steed uttered a neigh of terror, and stopped so suddenly that his riders were hurled to the ground CHAPTER IX. GKOBGB AUGUSTUS "H'I say 1" indignantly cried the much worked up George Agustus Fitznoodle, as the noble t>rave approached him with the torch blazing 1n his hand, "you really don't h'intend to put a'into practice the 'orrible h'American custom of cremation, do you?" Now that really was the full intention of the torch-bearer, but as he pidu't know what the Cockney was blustering about, of course he could not answer him. He bent down and inserted the blazing stick between the leaves and twigs which formed the basa of what seemed destined to be poor Fitznoodle's funeral pyre." "'Old h'on-'old h'on !" vociferated the alarmed Englishman. "H'I can't stand this 'ere sort o' thing, you know. H'I h'am not going to be ere mated, you know." How he was to prevent it did not appear Yery clearly to the Londoner, but he was bound to 'bluster and blow while he had any breath left in his body. The torch set fire to the small stufl' at the base of the pile, and the little tongues of red fiame 'began to dance and leap around the Englishman's i'orm. "H'oh, dear-h'oh, dear 1" he groaned, as the little forks of fiame began to make things very ultry for him. H'I wish h'in the Yery bottom of my 'eart that h'I'd neYer left h'old h'England to come to this blarsted 'eathen land, prospecting for iron and coal. H'oh, my legs-h'oh, my iegs 1" He turned to the grinning chief, the great and proud Motzer-Ponum, and cried out appealingly to him: "Won't your lordship 'a.ve the kindness to stop 1ll!!< h'infamous proceeding?" "Ugh, whogh 1" contemptuouslY. gruated the moble chief, eying the pleading Fitznood\o with unbounded disgust. "White man, he heap talk all same like squaw. Him heart all same like papoose's heart 1 Why him sing death song, and then cry like squaw 1 Ugh 1" The idea of singing his death song was evident :y a great compliment, when it is considered that the red chieftain referred to the Cockney's high &!own speech. The fiames began to grow very uncomfortable, and the suffering George Augustus renewed his eurses upon his stupidity for leaving his native land. But a mighty power intervened to save the Englishman's life. "'''he sky had been for some time OYercast, and aowthestorm, of which Dash Hallett had felt a few straggling drops, bust over the heads of the warriors A.Ild their joyful prisoner. The rain ;:\eseended in torrents and drenched them all. Of course the fire was almost instantaneously extinguished. Motzer -Ponum gave orders to clear away the twigs and stumps, and other stufl' around the v-ery much-pleased Fitznoodle, and the relieved Londoner was cut loose from the tree to which he had been oound. The storm was furious, but, like some Yery hasty tempers, it spent its fury in a very few min utes, and then all was as calm and serene as it was before. But the nice little amusement of the fire-loving Motzer-Ponum was frustrated The surroundings were all soD.ked, the device of burning the prisoner at that time was knocked out of tjme, although the warriors kindly suggested that they might slice the poor fellow up and cook him at leisure, little by little. This proposition was, however, rejected by the high and mighty Motzer-Ponum, who called a very wet council of war to decide what was to be the fate of the prison&. Every savage warrior, important or inferior, had to have his say, and that say amouuted to iust about so much, whether it contained more or ess ideas. They all knew what would be the ultimate and Inevitable decision arti.Yed at, but for all that thay had to talk. Pow-'.vow is part and parcel of an Indian's character, and he always seems ready to hire a halL When he saw the savage red men co llect around him in solemn eonc1ave, the ever ready George Augustus took adyantage of the oppor tunity to Yentilate some of hia foreign views. "It would h'appear that your l ordship's fol lowers have not united h'in their h'expressions of h 'op ini on," said the consequential George Augustus Fitznoodle, waving one hand toward Motzer-Ponum in a dramatic manner. "Now, h'if h' I might suggest the h'idea, would h'it not be an h'adYisable step h'on your lordship's part to b.'appoint a sort of h'arbitmtion to h'adjust the matter h'at h'1.;sue? What that matter h'is h'I h'am ighly desirious h'of h'ascertaining, but h'at present h'I h'am 'holly h'ignorant h'of." "Ugh, whogh 1" grur.ted Motzer-Ponum. "Ugh!" murmured the warriors. They were very much plea.sed with George Augustus Fitznoodle's oratorical style of speak ing, but what it was all about they had not the faintest id ea. "Shall Motzer-Ponum. chief of the great Os ages, be heard?" demanded the chieftain of his dusky followers, speaking in the Osage tongue. "Shall his voice, speaking wisdom, decide the fate of the captive?" "It shall, let him speak," returned the wild warriors of the West. "'Tis well," said the chieftain. Brothers, we haYe lost some of since we left our council fires." "Ugh 1" grunted the noble red men. "We s hall be askod for them when we return to our village," said the speaker, "and if we are almost empty handed the squaws will laugh at us, the pappooses shoot arrows at our scalp-locks. But if we bring them a prisoner, a white pris oner, to torture, to sport with, to insult, to burn 1 ah, then they cannot laugh at us. Let us carry the white orator to our village, and then we will deliver him up to the widows of the men who are gone to to the happy hunting grounds. Ponum has said his say 1" The wild savages set up 11shout of approv a l Md by ord,er of the chief they bound the poor Englishman to a horse, strapping the bound man securely to the steed 'Er, h'l say, 'old h'on !'' remonstrated the frightened George Augustus, as he felt his head touching the horsf3's neck. H'Im not used to playing Mazeppa, you know. I caft't allow this sort h'of thing, you know. It's almost enough to give a fellow the eerebro spinal-meningitis, you know!" The Osages didn't know Mything about the disease. They took up their course for the village of the Osage tribe, distant twenty miles, and with the bound Fitznoodle riding passiYely in their midst they coursed over the plains. On-o.n, through the pitchy darkness of that memorable night, never drawing r ein until the villall:e was reached, where, amidst the greatest possible amount of noise, bustle and confusion, George Augustus was handed over to the widows Gf the slain men. These widows were three In number, and they all made a rush for George Augustus as soon as that person was placed on the ground, and in a moment their fingers were in his wool With a yell of agony tke Englishman spmng ts his feet. "Ladies," he appealingly cried, holding om his hands to the dusky beauties; "h'if h'I h'ad dress ladies, h'I beg of you to 'ave compassion h'on h'an h'innoeent man. H'if h'i 'aYe dona h'anything whatsoever to provoke you, h'if h'l 'ave wronged you, h'only name the reparation, h'and h'if h'it h'is h'in my power h'l'll assure you that h'1t shall be made." One savage beauty understood a littl e of Eng lish, and she spoke up boldly to the excite d George Augustus. "You marry Shofl'usguy?" she asked, striking herself on her breast to make him understand that by Shofl'usguy she meant herself. She make you good wife, you make her good hus band, all same like dP.ad warrior." Certainly," said George Augustus, thinking of the cremation scene. "In fact, I'm wlllwg to marry the lot of you." The l ovely Widow Shofl'usguy proclaimed the fact that the prisoner had consented to be her husband. Immediate ly the other two widows raised a great cry, and each in turn d emanded the pris oner as a Q.usband The beautiful Widow Shofl'usguy threw here e lt in front of the bewildered George Augustus, and with a loud yell, drew forth a knife. The other two widows also drew weapons. The warriors stood gloomily aloof, for they dare not interfere with the bereaved women. 'l'hree shouts of defiance rang out, three blades flashed in the firelight, and then the three widows closed in combat. CHAPTER X. HAULING WATER, IT is doubtful whether Barney Shea was one mite more surprised than was Frank Reade over what had taken place He had heard a sudden chorus of wild yells, he had seen the form of his rollicking companion suddenly rise upon the back of the wounded beast he had mistaken for a black l og, and then, with a great noise, many objects fiitted past him, and before he could utter a word, there was Barney, skimming over the plains on his unusual steed, followed by a yelling band of wellmounted Indians As he stood gazing in astonishment at the strange scene, the Clelodious strain of "The Harp that Once Through Tara's Halls" came to his ears on the breeze. He recognized the fact that his friend was in peril, but still the idea of a man being so reckless, so full of a devil-may-care sort of spirit, as to be fiddling when pursued by a horde of mortal enemies, was enough to convulse him with mirth But he cut short nis laughter, and with one l eap, sprang up to his seat, seized the reins, let on steam, and 'dashed swiftly away on the track of friend and foes The ground was Yery l evel, and allowing the Steam Man free rein, the boy turned in his seat and carefully examined the rilles that were al ways within reach. He saw that they were well loaded and in good condition for service. Then he leaped down from his position to the body of the wagon, and frcm his store of strange articles, which. were placed in a trunk, drew forth a powerful little battery, with numerous connect ing wires The battery was placed in a secure place, and the wires were strung about the outer framework of the :wagon in such a manner that any person placing his h ands upon the vehicle would be likely to touch one of the r.onneeting strands. Then all the wires were placed in the neat bind ing posts of the battery, and securely screwe d down. Next the liqnid lightning was poured from sev eral bottles into earthen cups, and then covered up, with the wires protruding through little holeli and the powerful battery was in pt>rfeet working order. "It's always safe to be as well prep!!.red as vou possibly can be," soliloquized the young genius, climbing up to his driving seat once more and resuming the guiding reins. "If any of my enemies try to become too familiar, I shall cer tainly have to shock their modesty, and perhaps their whole bodies.'' The Steam Man was running along at a high rate of speed. Far away the jolly Irishman was speeding along on the back of the wounded beast, fiddling awa y like mad. The Indians were after him at their b es t paoo, their wiry steeds vaulting over the smooth i!\1.1'" face on a dead run. Frank glanced &round him and beheld, far oif I

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THE STEAM MAN OF THE PLAINS. to the hand, another band of mounted men, o.nd even at a distance be decided that they were white. only numbered four in all, and were gal loping toward the Indians. "They must be the white robbers whom we fought last night," said Frank to himself, as be t egarded the party, "and these Indians their brethren. I am glad that I fixed up my battery. men do not stand in fear of my IH'Vlhme. The whit!' men spurr"d rapidly towards the Ind i:ws, and as they evinced no alarm at their ap proach, Frank decided that his gues.s had been the right view of the matter. A small grove appeared, and Frank slightly reduced his speed as he dashed past it, then be cracked on a full bead of steam and the concern went flying ov6r the plains at the rate of ftf ty miles au hour, the air whistling merrily in the driver's ears. In a very few seconds the red and white breth ren of the plains were overhauled, and jumping down behind the bullet-proof seat the young driver picked up a rifle and began blazing away into the crowded ranks of the flying men. At the very moment that be fired the flwt shot, the bttftalo tripped and fell heavily to the grc'und, aud away flew B >Lrney Shea through the thin air. He soon landed, still clinging tightly to the treasure fiddle and bow. and picked himself up in time to see the Steam Man of the Plains crash like a living stJ;eak through the broken ranks of his enemies and dash down upon Frank had charged his enemies without fear, for be knew that the red-skins would be too much terrified and surprised w do him harm, and the white men he was willing to run his chances With. He went rushing through the thunderstruck erowd of mixed red and white men in gallant the loag legs of the man of mettle making headway through horses and men with ease, sending them flying right and left, and leaving maimed and wounded horses and men scattered far nnd wide ovtlr the plains as he rushed on in his swift course. The Indianl!, those who were injured by the dtarge of the f:!team Man, seemed lost in wonder and fear. It flashed through Frank's mind that his ad vent had beeu a surprise. Tbe thunder of their horses' hoofs upon the l'rairlos prevented the Indians from hearing the .nighty tread of the steam giant, and when he made his sudden leap inoo their very midst, spreading death, and destruction through their demoralized ranks, they were at a loss for some time to a.ccount for what had taken place. However, as soon as they had recovered the use their frig.h.tened senses, they turned tail and ned, rushing away as iast as their badly-scared horses could carry them, while their White breth ren in vain endeavored to restrain them. A &oared Indian is probably two degrees more obstinate than an army mule. These fellows listened to no words, but got away lively. Meantime, the Steam Man was rushing down upon Barney Shea. The surprised Irishman had been taken aback by his sudden fall and the equally sudden advent of Frank and his ma.cbine, and stood fairly in the track of the flying iron feet. Frank reached for the lever to stop short, but before he could touch it, the Steam Man came down in his pace, ran slowly, and then stopped altogether, not more than five feet from Barney. Something was the matter. With a very anxious look on his face, the in ventor cast his eyes over the entire As he stood there he could see nothing amiss. He leaped to the ground. He hurriedly ran to the giant, expecting to see some of the valuable machinery either broken or nt of order. Such an event would have been a great calamUy to the boy;If anything was broken it 1 uld not very easily be r eplaced, and even to havJ any of the delicate twisted would be a serious thing. "Hold hard!" cried Barney Shea, as Frank ex amined the Steam Man. "Those dlvils are com ing down like Nick upon u s Frank wheeled. The white four in number, were spurring towards them. They had their rifles in wwr hands, and they looked ""dangerous. Frank seized one gun, gave another to Barney, and pla.ced himse lf behind the body of the strong wagon. Fire !" be commanded, and two reporte rang out. Frank dld :not like to take a human life, so he imed for the shoulder of the foremost rider, and beheld with satisfaction that the man's arm fell limp and useless to his side. Barney was not an extraordinary shot with the rifle, although be could handle hi s neat black thorn stick with skill. His bullet found quarters in t\J.e shoulders of a horse instead of a man, and resulted in the wolmded animal wheeling about and galloping madly away. The others seemed to lose all relish for charg ing such determinf\d foes as these, and with one they whe e led also, and followe8. their ftymg comrade. Frank watched them until their forms grew drm in' the distance, a,ud then be turned to the motionless giant. He resumed his examination of the Steam Man and soon discovered that all parts of the machinery were in perfect orddr. Then be examined the boiler, and he instantly discovered the cause of the stoppage. Tliere was not a drop of water in it I Gin slings and powder monkeys !" cried the Irishman, looking into the empty hollow of braBs, bow t h e dlvil's that, Masther Frank?" I'm blest if I know," said the much-puzzled young genius, and then he ran back to the wagon. He lifted the cover of his water-tank, and was surprised to find that it came up without un latching, as it sb<>uld have done; he then saw that he had neglected to properly latch the cover, and that the water bad all been bounced out while journeying across the plains during the morning. A pipe running along the shaft connected the two Important parte, the boiler the water tank, and of course the supply had ceased, and power gave ontJ as soon as the water in the boiler ,-as exhausted. "Wbat' ll ye be afther doin'?" askell Barney. An idea flashed through Frank' s brain. "Do you see that grove?" be asked pointing to the one be bad recently passed by, and which was between a quarter and a half mile distant. "I do," said Barney. "Then take this bucket," said Frank, "and be lively as possible in bringing me a pail of water." "Is there a there, I don't know?" "There may or may not be," said Frank. ":But these is4J,nds generally have a spring. Hurry, for there's no telling bow soon those white men may return in great numbers, and my Steam Man ca.nnot stir a step until he's had a big drink. Lively now:" "I'll be back in a jiffy!" cried the willing cha_p: and seizing the pail be started for the little island on a slow trot. "I muj;t be ready to get up steam at shortest noticed," muttered Frank. "I'll have everything in readiness." He attended to his fire, keJ>t everything up to as great a heat as he dared to, and anxiously awaited Barney's return. He soon saw him trudging from the grove, and by the manner in which he carried the bucket, Frank knew that be had obtained the water. The Irishman made good time with his load, and soon handed the precious liquid to Fmnk, who dumped it into the tank with a great deal of satisfaction. Barney happened to look away over the great and beheld a number of horsemen advanc rng, distant at the time about a mile. Look !" he said. "I thought so," said Frank, bringing a small telescope to bear on them. Those white cut throats are. returning reinforced, and if they get here before steam is up we are lost." He opened the valves of the furnace, and the water heated rapidly. The horsemen ()ame up swiftly "Jump in/' said Frank. "Be careful !lOt to touch tbosa wires. Hold your gun in your hands and be ready tv die, fighting to the last!" As the band drew near, the steam began to hiss in the valves; the gauge rose rapidly, and the steam lifted one foot from the ground. On came the outlaws ])own went the foot; up came th!l other one in turn, a:nd the giant strode forward, a.nd with rapidly aceutnulating power his feet_ rose and !ell; just as tb(l blmd were dashing down upon them, the man of steam bounded off at a tre mendous speed, skimming the prairies like a bird on the wing. CHAPTEU XI. THE BUNTZEN BATTERY. THE Indians and white men spurred their horses after the Steam Man. The old fellow was getting ahead like a good one, the rapidly increasing power of the steam being shown by the rapid motion of his long iron limbs. But the prairie horses are remarkably fleet, an
PAGE 10

, t 10 THE STEAM MAN OF THE PLAINS. They seo11 reached the grove, and found that pure water was plentiful. They put away a very substantial sort of a dinner, and soon took the trail again. Before them stretched away the broad path of the stampeding army of horses. Onon, mile after mile gliding from under the tireless feet of the Steam Man. Suddenly F;-ak shut off steam, and the iron man came to a halt. What would ye be afther?" asked Barney. "Look at that swath of grass bent down at the side," said Frank, pointing t o the track made by the doubly-loaded stallion, when he was forced to run from the hflrd by the strong hand of Dash Hallet. "At least one of the h orse s has cut away from the main lot." "It looks moighty that way," said Barney, with his eyes following the course. "Do yez mane that the cratur wint along in a sort of zig zag course?" "Yes1 I do," said Frank; and is it not most likely tnat the animal may be the one Charley hopped upoh?" Barney scratched his head. "I'll nade to philosophize a bit on it,'' he said. "Well, but what is your advice?" Consarnin' wha t, me 8 place her bands upon him, declare him to be her property by the act, and to defy all other claimants or disputants by virtue of her brandished blade. But she was too much of a tearer for any one else to trouble her, and not a voice wa.s upraised against her mere proclamation of possession. "You mine now!" she said, looking down with softened, gaze upon the countenance of the some what reasur-ed Fitznoodle; you b'long Shof rusguy, and me take you to wigwam. You come?" "With the greatest pleasure h'imaginable,'' said George Augustus, with the expression of a. man who is about to swallow a dose of jalaJ?. "H'l'm h'always h'at the command of the faiT sex." And then the lovely Widow Sboffusguy lost no time in yanking him off to her wigwnm. An hour or so later the Indian population was aroused by loud yells from without the village, annonncfug the approach of some of their tribe, and also denoiing the fact that a number of prisoners were being brought in by the returning warriors. But to explain how all tl;tis came about, th& author must leave the Indian village and tak:e up another thread in the warp of the story. CHAPTER XIII. "H'and h'l prefer matrimony to cremation,'' Said Fitznoodle, watching the battle between the THE NIGHT PISTOL-THE CAPTURE-THE ESCAPE. two women, and at length coming to the conclu-sion that he preferred the lovely Widow Shoffus-THE reader will remember that in a previous guy to the others, Oil account of her beauty. chapter {he horse that bore Dash Hallett and She proved a perfect screamer, and got in the Charle;r Gorse stopped so suddenly as to cast first cut at her foe. both h1s riders to the ground. The latter became more wary. Charley was half stunned, for his head was not Motzer-Ponum and his braves stood by, and quite so hard as the fiinty surface it had come in murmured approvingly when an extra fine thrust contact with, and he lay perfectly motionless for or parry was made. a moment. The lovely one was equal to a Fourth ward Dash Hallett had kept hold of the flowing mane rough. of the stallion, to which he now clung with a. She was a stabber, and she was a biter, and she desperate grip. dearly loved to gouge. It was so pitchy dark that one could scarce She put in a sudden jeft-handed blow of her have seen ten feet ahead. fist, knocked her enemy just a trifle off of her The stallion was shivering from head to fijot b&lanee-, and then she clipped at her three times with so:n.e great fear, and had not the hunter wirli her knife in less than four seconds. gripped him flrmly by the nostrils, the steed Down went the enemy. would have dashed away. In a tlice the lovely Widow Shoffusguy had Dash Hallett was a man of experience in such her by the throat. a matter as this, and he knew that there must be She shouted out something that was as good as sufficient the great evident alarm of the Greek to Fitznoodle's ears. stallion. "She's probably calling h'on 'er h'enemy to He looked for Charley. yield, quarter or no quarter," said Fitznoodle to The latter got up from the ground with his himself, and he was about right. hand to his head. The prostrate woman muttered something in a What's the matter?" he asked. half-choked voice, and was immediately released. "I don't know,'' said Dash. "There's som& As she got upon her feet, the other squaw-the good cause for the critter gettin' scared S(} one who had been knocked breathless by the foot precious bad. I'll hold on to him while you walk of the lovely Widow Shof!usguy-regained her on-don't move too quick-try and find out the 1 breath and her feet, and made a desperate charge cause." upon the latter. Charley placed his hand 'to his pocket and "'Eavens 1 'ow very disgraceful h'all this h'is, pulled forth a six-barreled revolver of splendid to be sure," .muttered the scandalized George make, and holding this firmly in his hand, walk11d Augustus. "H'I h'if they really 'ope to slowly and carefully ahead. be called respectable members h'of society h'if It was well that he did go out slowly, eise he they go h'onh'atthis rate? Why, in h'all my life might have met a horrible fate. h'I've ne'!er 'eard h'anything so scandalous. H'I He had advanced about ten steps. really 'ope this good-looking one may be victori-Then he saw that he stood on the very edge or ous, for, from my soul, the h'other's the moet a chasm. vicious-looking wretch h'I've h'ever met.'' He peered out into the gloom, and fancied

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( ( -THE STEAM MAN OF THE PLAINS. u oould see an indistinct mass lying before him, oocppying the space that should have been taken up by thin air. While he was looking at this in a puzzled sort of manner, he caught sight of hat appeared to be two points of flame. These points of flame were on the top of the indistinct m888, 1 Charley regarded them earnestly. They glowed and flashed like brilliant stars, and Charley muttered: "That must be some animal." All doubt was driven from his mind by the growl whlch came in a loW' n;tmble to Ws ears. "A bear I" mutter(ld Charley, and having only a pistol he turned tail and walked back to Dash. "Didn't I hear a growl?" asked the latter. "Yes," said Charley, and then told all that he had s e en. A chasm?" said Dash. "Yes." "Anjj. looks like it might be kinder choked up With "Yes. "Then I know where we are." said Dash unslinging Ws rille. "It's the place where I leaped my poor hoss across to-day, and them's the bod Ies of the buftlers what's layin' there. Of course that's a big bear feeding on the bodies." "What'll you do?" asked Charley. "Leave you to hold the hoss whlle I go forrard and plum him between the eyes," said Hallett, with the instinct of a hunter. "He is too cussid dangerous to hve, and he follow on our track if I didn't settle him." "Go ahead," said Charley. "But how'll you see?" "Aim at his sparklin' peepers." '"And if you only wound him?" "Then there'll be the devil to pay." "Then you can depend on me to help you out of the scrape," said tbe boy. "How?" "With' this pistol." He held up the weapon. Hallett laughed. "That popgun?" "Yes." "Why," said Dash, "the bar hin'lself woula langh at yer." You don't understaJ).d the true properties of the article," said Charley. "It's just as deadly. u.s yout riile, carries a bullet nearly as large, acd is made for shooting at night .. "What in 'thunder do you mean?" "Never mind now," said Charley. "You t7, your best, and if you miss him the bear is mine I Wondering much at Charley's mysteriolll! talk, the hunter crept away from hinl, holding his loaded rifle in his hands, As he approached the edge of the chasm he paHsed, for he had caught sight of the monster's flaming orbs. He carefully drew back the hammer. The bear growled. Hallett sank on one knee, thus bringing his eyes very nearly on a level with those of his enemy, and affording him a chance for a surer shot. The bear mo\ed as though aware that he was In peril. Dash Hallett waited patiently. The beast began to growl and sway about, thus preventing the hunter from aiming at Ws eyes. But he soon stood still again. Thls was his chance, and Dash drew his gun to his shoulder. 1 His eyes rapidly over the sights, and he looked fa1rly lietween the glowing orbs of the beast. He pulled the trigger. Cractl The gtl!l sent forth a frightfully spiteful note, and ahnost immediately after the sound came a deep and ferocious growl of rage and pain. He had only wounded the monster, and the bear made for him with long, bounding leaps. It didn't take Dash Hallett an hour to get away from, the edge of the chasm. He's after me I" he yelled to Charley, as the huge monster came prancing after him across the l high hoop of dea.d buffaloes. "Give I!im a dose I" 1 Charley released the horse, and the stallion im. mediately scampered away. Charley drew the night pistol from his belt as Dash reach him. It was too dark to see the bear, but they could hear Wm, and that was all that Charley needed. He raised th3 revolver, and pofuted the muzzle toward the chasm. He pulled the trlgger. Thern came an ordinary report;, and from the mouth of the revolver leaped forth a brilliant ball t>f lire. Tlle flaming sphere rushed swiftly through the air. It spread a bright blue glare far around its eluded, turned out to greet the victorious iooomcourse. ing men. Charley still held the pistol extended in hand, When George Augustus Fitznoodle beheld his his fing e r still r esting against the trigger. friend and guide lie rushed forward to greet him; The bright blue dart careened above the awful but his lovely spouse took' Wm by the ear ROll chasm. made him stand a.slde. The bear.....a gaunt, hideous monster-eould "You here?'' cried Dash. now be plainly seen. "H'I h'am I" emphatically replied the newlv-The pistol was lowered a little, the boy's flashfledged bridegroom. "H'I h'am 'ere, h'and hrit ing eyes ran over the sights, and his o1:eady fore-seems h'I h 'am to stay 'ere for some time. H'in finger again pressed the stflel keynote of death. fact, h'I 'ave married this lovely piece h'of black, Again there came the report, t>ut this time a walnut; 'er name h'is Shoffusguy, h'ant:l h'I 'ave bullet must have sped from the mouth of the been forced to build a lire for er.JJ.'already. H'I weapon, for the bear, by the expiring lil(ht of the can't say h'I h'am )!'extremely defighted with the fiery ball, could be seen to totter and fall. joys h'of wedded bliss; but h'it was cremation But he was not dead, only wounded worse than h'or connubial bliss, h 'and, h'in the h'extremity, ever, and consequently more full of spite than I chose tlle bliss." before. In spite of Ws captivity, Charley Gorse was so He was on his feet again, as they cld tell by much tickled, that he roared outright, and a com! the sound. cal smile flashed over Hallett's weather-beaten "Gin it to him agin, younker," said the much-visage as he listened to the Cockney's discoursa. pleased Hallett. "Fire away I" "The mare's the best hoss in your ranche, old Cha!'ley obeyed. boy, is she?" Another ball of flame issued from the new idea, "You've 'it h'it," George Augustus. and while it lit up the scene the boy fired again The Indians had taken the prisoners from the and sent another bullet into the body of the horse, and placed them in a sitting posture on brute. t!Je ground. The monster still advanced upon them. SevAml orders were issued and young men hurThere is lno animal, the legendary nine-lived ried about. cat always excepted, so hard to kill as the Amer-In less than ten minutes a huge blazing fire had ican bear. It will stand forty bullets in its body, been kindled in front of the principal wigwam. and still make a desperate and tenacious fight The chiefs and braves then squatted down in a until the heart or bra. m is pierced, and then the large circle around this roaring and blazing llre, battle ends. although the heat and summer's ni ght warmth As the monster rushE\d over the heap of dead rendfled their seats very uncomfortable. buffaloes toward the t'ivo hunters, these latter "What are they up to?" asked Charley. detected a suspicious sound ringing out. "I guess they're going to have a big pow-wow It was the steady pit-pat of horses' feet, ot a over us," said Dash. great number, but certaiuly many, and they "To decide our fate?" thought for a moment that the herd of wild "Exactly." horses had turned "What do you suppose it'll be?" But they were quickly undeceived. "Buruin' at the stake,' replied the indifferent A loud yell rang out with chilling diStinctness. Hallett, "with p'r'aps a bit o' gauntlet runuin' "Indians!" cried Dash. .thrown in just to vary the monotony of the darned "And they've discovered us!" cried Charley. thing." "Yer night pistol done that," said Hallett. "That's pleasant," said Charley. "Here tl!ey come lUre the devil, and here comes ''Very," said Hallett. "It wouldn't be anything the bear too." if a chap could only get used to it, but the deuce A very nice visitation truly. of it is, that just as a fellow begins to be familiar The Indians pouring down upon them from with it-he dies." one side, and a furious bear from the other; a C)larley Gorse could not but look with the d,eep chasm yawning across their path, and dark night est admiration upon thls man, who could laugh surrounding them. and crack his eccentric jokes while his worst eneA light flared up in the air and the glare of a mies were deciding Ws fate. dozen torches lit up the gloom of the surCh(l,rley was brave, recklessly so but he could roundings. not logk death in the face and laugh at the grim The Indians, torches in hand, spurred down tomonster. ward the whites, and the bear retreated from the A; solemn hush fell upon the assembly as blinding glare, hastily. scrambl!ng across the hif(h and the grand chief c!osed-up chasm and d1sappear.mg on the other tain of the tnbe, arose with Ws light blanket s1de. around him, puffed a few II)Outhfuls of smoke Dash Hallett gripped Ws ntle. Charley Gome from a. calumet he held in his hand and thon fingered his pistol. after blowing the smoke to the four points of But the old hunter knew that there was no compass, handed it to the chieftain next in rank. present way out of the scrape. This was the council pipe. It's no use, younker," he said, allowing his It went around the circle in very solemn style. nfle to fall to the ground. "We can't wlj,]lop 'em and then the m1ghty Motzer-Ponum arose to adand we can't run away from 'em, so ti!ey must dress his followers. have their own way." While he was speaking Charley heard Dash. "I'd rather fight," said Charley, but with a oauHallett mutter: tious idea he thrust the night pistol into his "That settles it." boot, hope that he might be able to make "Can you underst.and Wm?" the boy. use of 1t. Perfectly." The them, an_d their "And what does he say?" torches lit up therr severe faces w1th terrible ef"Oh, he knows I popped over sonieof his meQ feet. to-day, and he recommends burnin' me at sunset "You prisoner," said the leader, jumping down to-morrer." from his borse and placing his hands on Hallett's "And me?" sh,?uld,ers. "They'll burn you at the same time." I 11 pose yer about nght," sa1d Dash. "If they keep me they will "muttered the boy He one of those cool fellowR who take and made up Ws mind to tear any pain and face ea:'Y for he held that he wasn' t going any perU that would aid him in making Ws escape, to d1e until h1s hme came, and then there would Soon after, the council broke up and one ot be no help for him. the chiefs, in broken En,lish them of So he delivered himself with the resignation of their fate, and then the prlsor{ers were separated." a brave man his foes. Hallett being much feared, was 11ecurely bound Together w1th Charley he waS bound to one of and placed in the council-house where he was th_e spare horses with whioothe Osages were sup-guarded by two braves, one ou'tside and one plied. withiii. Then the leader rel!lounted Ws horse and the _Charley being a boy, they did not-look upon party dashed m the darkness, for the h1m as very dangerous, and one of the chlefs was torches were extmgmshed. assigned as his keeper. The pursuers were directly in the center of He took the boy by the arm and led Wm otr to the party of reds, so there was but very littlQ his wigwam. chance of their escaping from their vigilant capHe bound Charley's hands behind his back and tors. threw him on the floor, and then placed 0?:-on, mile mile they dashed, t!Jerr fleet upon a pile of dry skins, and was soon snoring, prame horses keepmg.up a long and steady gB.l-Charley tugged at his bonds. lop with the endurance exhibited only by the They were made of buffalo hide, and were Wild steeds of the plains. securely ti e d. In the course of time the Indian village was His efforts to free Wmself would have beer !n reached, the approach of the party being heralded vain had it not been for the fact that a big wooden by the yelling Osages in the style which has alpail, filled with water stood near at hand and ready been dencribed. into this water Charley managed to submerge his The entire population, the lovely little widow wrists. Shoffusguy and her newly-made husband in-Every little while he would tug at them, .bu' l

PAGE 12

r -12 THE STEAM MAN OF THE PLAINS. they were tougb., and took a long time to get softened, and it was early dawn before he was enabled to stretch there apart and free his hands; but at length the y yielded. With great caution the boy secured the rifle and powder-flask of the slee.(ling chief, and with the determination to do or d1e, 'Opeaed the door. He saw one of the horses grazing near at hand, with a rope halter hanging from its head, aud, like a flash, Charley mounted the steed aud was off. Instantly the alarm was soundfld, and soon his pursuer,; were after him; but Charley had got the start and he kept it. He had thrown his pursuers off the track once, and they had discovered him again while he was resting in a grove, but he ;was up and away be f ore they reached him. For miles he had maintained a running fight with them, and might have gone under had not Barney and Frank, together with the terrifyi.qg steam man, arrived to save him from his foes. l!e allowed his horse to scamper oft, while he and Frank mounted the seat, and while flying along, made out their plan of rescue. CHAPTER XIV. FRANK READE'S GENIUS. surrlmer sim was slowly sinking behind the western hills. The Osage tribe, in a holiday sort of attire that is io say, they had on extra feathers, etc.gathered in sblemn silence in their village. The hour had arrived when, according to their delibera.te decision, the white prisontlr was to die. The chieftains, prominent aw.ong them the great and mighty chieftain Motzer-Ponum, sat in a large circle around the wide-spreading roots of an old tree. This iroo was to be the stake at which the 'l't'hite man was to perish. An order was given, "Let Schorumanollus and Schlenterer, our two most trusted braves, bring before us the white man, while others bring the dry brush wood," cried out Motzer-Ponum. The two chosen brnvt-s departed on their mis sion, and several of the younger warriors hast ened to procure the wood, and heap it upon one side of the tree. By the time that the fuel was collected, the two braves returned to thetcee, conducting the bound form of Dash Hallett. The prisoner was a little pale, but otherwise he was the same devil-may care rover of the plains. He glanced scornfully upon the chieftains, and crie4 out to them, in their tongue: "Let me at liberty and give me but a single weapon-a. knife-and I'll fight six of your best warriors." "Ha, ha !"laughed Motzer-Ponum. "And in that way you would cheat us 011t of our coveted pleasure. Oh, no; you shall burn !" "Bah 1" cried Dash, who hoped that they might be taunted sufficiently to dispatch him with their weapons, whereby he would escape the agony of the fire. "You are a set of squaws. I have killed dozens of your bravest men, and some of them died like a pappoose might die-crying for mercy and begglllg for their lifcJ. I have cut their hearts out, and they were not lilce those of men. They were deers' hearts, and some of them were even blacker than those of the prairie dogs." Sever:1l of t.he braves and warriors set up an angry yell at these taunts, but the shrewd Mot zer-Ponum prevented them from using violence to the prisoner. "Do you not see that the white man wishes w arouse your anger?" he asks. If you kill him with your hands, then he escapes the torture of the fire." They saw through the dodge then, and fell back in silence. The wood was now brought forward, and Dash was securely bound to the tree. The dry brush was piled up around him as high as his breiiSt. Then the warriors drew knives and tomahawks and, at a trom Motzer-Ponum, began their weird war-dance, the chosen braves,Schorumanollus ana Schlenterer, leading the fantastic measllre. When the preliminary dance WIIB ended, the chief called for the fire-brand, and one of the widowed squaws-not the lovely widow Shoffus guy, however-advanced to the tree with a blazing torch. "It's good-bye with this ch!\p now," solilo quized the hunter. "Well, I never done anything worse nor puttin' a few red cusses under the ground, and I don't think that counts again me. I wonder how long a fellow feels the fire?" "Let the torch be applied," commanded the chieftain; but the words were hardly out of his mouth before several of the tribe set up a cry and pointed toward the western plains. The widow paused with uplifted tdrch, and then allowed the blazing brand to fall to the ground. Alone, and apparently unarmed, Frank Reade was advan.cing towards the tree. Of course the did not feel much alarmed by the ad vent of a s10gle boy amid their armed but they were certainly a good deal surpnsea. Not so much, however, as they were destined to be before our hero got through with them. Tne young traveler advanced straight to the group of chiefs and braves, cast one glance at the surprised prisoner, and then gravely saluted the terrible..Motzer-Ponum. The latter, his vanfty much tickied by the pro fundity of Franll's salaam, bowed low m return. Frank then spoke to Dash Hallett. You understand the jargon used by these Osages?" "!do. "Then act as my interpreter," said the boy, "and if we fail to f.ull the wool over their eyes, then call me a foo ." "Fire away," said Dash. "Tell them that I'm some mighty medicineman or other," said Frank: you know best what to say." "Chieftains, listen," cried Dash. "l'his young brave, the son of the moon, the grandchild of the sun, and the mother-in-law of aU the stars, is the greatest medicine-man known to the world, and he now desires to prove to :you that the Great Spirit is frowning upon your tribe." Of course the red-skins were properly im proosed by' the string of high-sounding titles given te our hero by the easy-spoKen Dash. Who wouldn't be? "Have you told 'em?" asked Frank. I have." f Tell them I have been sent to them by com manu of the Great Spirit." "What for?" "To rescue you." 1 "All right.," said Dash, ,and in sound Osage informed thA Indlanffi! of the very im portani fact. "He must prove his title," said the chief. ":ije will do so," said Dash. "How?" The hunter tumed to Frank. They want to know how you are going to prove wha,t I've been blowing about?" "Oh !"said Frank. "Well, in the first place I shall let a knife drive fair and square at your bceast. It' s a trick knife, so don't allow the act to frighten you. After I hurl the blade at you, I'll make it stick fast in that tree." "If yon can do that, you'll make the reds open their peepers," said Dash. "That's what I'm here for, said Frank, "You don't know me yet." The hunter then spoke to the Indians. 'This great and mighty relatlve of the sun and moon and the little stars," said the trapper," will throw a knife at my heart with all his strength. He will cast a spell over the knife, and it will not hurt me in the least. He will take the weapon and hurl it at this tree, and the blade will sink into the bark." A. murmur of applause greeted this piece of in telligence, and the Osages l ooked expectantly at Fm.nk. The boy drew a short, heavy dirk-knife from his brei!Bt, taking great care not to touch any of the numerous wires which crossed his body. He held the dirk aloft. The dying sunlight glanced along the blade, and then the young genius planted his right foot firmly, balanced his knife on the palm of his left hand, point reversed, and hurled 1t at Dash Hal let' s breast. The blade flew swiftly through the air. The point struck full at the' broad breast of the undaunted Dash, rebounded frono his bosom, and fell 'vith a chee ry rin!j' to the ground. The Indians didn t say anything, but they looked their wonder. Frank stepped forward, picked up the knife, planted his foot firmly, and then hurled the dirk at the huge tree. The point sank into the bark and wood, and the shaft q'Uivered like an aspen. Then the redskins did shout. They sent tip a mighty yell of unbounded de light, mixed w1th a little superstitious awe, and regarded our hero Vf'>ry much. Frank pulled the knife from the tree, walked up to the chief, and took the latter's hand in his own He lifted the blade and struck a slight blow at Motzer-Ponum's bare arm. l'he point pierced the flesh, and a tiny-stream of blood trickled The chief did not murmur, but regarded the boy wondering. Frank then put the dirk in the leader's huge paw Tell him to strike lightly, as I struck him," he said to Dash. \ The latter communicated ihe desire to Motzer Ponum. CHAPTER XV. MOWSHER ABINER. "I SHALL do so," said Motzer-Ponum. He held Frank's and in his own, and strucli; lightly at the boy's bared arm. Another tiny stream of blood followed the blow and Motzer Ponum seemed riumphant over the fact. Frank stepped back a dozen paces. "Now tell him to hurl it at my heart," he said The latter obeyed. The chieftain, in oommon with many of his tribe, was an expert knife-thrower, and when Dash shouted out the command of the boy-genius, the redskin l eaped to his feet and hurled the knife with rapid aim. The flying knife spun over in the air, and the point struck fairly against the breast of the unwavering Frank. Then it rebounded and fell to the ground witb a musical clang, while the boy stood smiling and unharmed. We were going to say that Motzer-Ponum turned pale; but an In en glance. "I may as well keep on good terms with him if I can,'' said Frank. "Please present my compii ments to him." ., Most mighty Mowsher A.biner,'' roared out the prisoner, "this great and illustrious relativ& of the sun, moon, and stars, greets you." Mowsher Abiner acknowledged the greeting by a profound bow. I am pleased to meet my young brother of the art," he replied. "What wants he of the tribe of Mot.zor-Ponum?" "My liberty." "And wherefore?" "Because the Great Spirit is angry." "Has been sent by the Great Spintl\'' "He has." "Is he a great medicine?" "The greatest in the world!" confidently asserted Hallett. "Greater than 1\!owsher A.biner?" demavded the coppery trickster. "Even sq said Dash. ,, .. ) l

PAGE 13

THE STEAM MAN OF THE PLAINS. 13 "I would be pleased to witnnss a portion of his superiority." The Osage medicine-man evidently regarded our hero with some contempt. "Then cut like thunder," cried Frank, and at good speed he dashed ahead towards the grove at the west, Dash following. There was danger behind I "He wants a sample of your power," said the hunter to Frank. f'" Tell him I will now salute him as the male descendante of the sun, moon, and stars salute each other," said the humorous genius, to whom CJ:HAPTER XYI. THE DESERTER. Hallett had made known the high-sounding titles IT must not be supposed that the band of red bestowed upon him. "Also say that I shall ex-and white brigands are to be dropped from the pact him to return the salutation in the same story. manner." Other events have crowded them out for a while, Dash called this out to the Indian medicine. but we now c'lme upon them again. -The old man bowed. Some ten miles to the north of the place where Frank walked up to him, nodded with great the emigrant train was first attacked by these gravity to the north, south, east, and west, and fiends, we corue across the stronghold of the then seized Mowsher Abiner's body with his two billld. hands, and forcibly spun the medicine-man A low range of hills spring up from beside a around three times. brawling stream. When he was released, the Indian fraud nod-These hills, long, low !J.Ud rocky, are full of hiddad similarly in front of the white fraud, and den passes and chasms, intersected with many then placed his hands upon the boy's body, as cunningly concealed paths. Frank had done with him A few hundred yards up from the bank of the Here, however, the .ta ion came to a sudden noisy stream, a pathway, guarded by a tall senti-end. net, conducts us to an open glade on a rocky As soon as he toached Frank's body, the great ,plateau. and mighty Mowsher Abiner yelled out like a This plaU)au, some fifty feet wide, and fully a bull, and leapedfour or five feet straight up into hundred feet long, is dotted with numerous roughthe air ly built huts of hewn Jogs, the cracks and spaces He came down with a thump. filled with mud and bark, ai!d square holes filled braves and chieftains could not restrain with daylight serving for windows. their mirth. A stunted tree, low and broad spread, eovers Even old Motzer-Ponum himself, although he part of the little rocky plain, and beneath the far tried to look dignified and grave, grinned all over reaching branches reclines Captain Slasher, the his broad face. leader of the ruthless band of cut-t.hroats, banded The medioine.man was mad. together under the name of "The Brethren of the He was ripping mad. Plains." He was a sight more mad than he was He was a splendid looking fellow, this terrible frightened or hurt, and as the laughter of the Captain Slasher, and looked as though he had much-tickled Indians mug tauntingly in his ears oeen a gentleman in his time. He WIIB liSil and he leaped to his feet and drew a long knife from oroad shouldered, with flashing, devil-may-care beneath a sort of pocket which adorned his black eyes, and a general expression' of botO.ness. loins. He really was as fearlees a freebooter as ever With blazlng eyes he leaped upon the brave rode the plains. boy. Around him sat or reclined numerous members Frank, firm and undaunted, stood directly In of the mixed band-red and white. his .path. Sholu m Alarkum, the head chief of the treacher-Not a muscle quivered as he faced his wrathy erous Sioux, who had combined with the white enemy. men for murder and plunder, and Tolahferrer, the The keen knife was lifted on high, and was second chief, were seated near the white oaptain> then driven straight at the very heart of the indulging in the weed. some men could also young magician. be seen in the huts, busy at The silence of death enthralled the lookers-on. Previous to their terrific battle w1th the sturdy The point came steadily down against the young emigrants, the robbem had numbered over a hunbreast, as Fmnk Reade stood with his right foot dred strong. Now they did not muster more than firmly planted. perhaps two-thirds that number, and not a few He reeled slightly as the blade struck him, and of these were womided. then stood flrlll again, while the enraged Mow-The brave pioneers had struck boldly and well sher Abiner 1rolled headlong to the hard earth, in defense of their rights and their loved ones, the hilt of the knife still clenched in his strong and bandaged limbs bore evidence to their destl.ngt>rs. perate resistance. The blade of the knife was unstained, and the "I say, chief," said Captain Slasher, turning to boy stood unharmed, looking down-upon his his brether devil, "we must recruit our band in prostrate rival with mild oonte!Upt. some manner." "By thunder!" grasped Hallet, drawing a'long "Why?" breath, "I thought we was both of us gone that "We are not strong to attack a decent time." siz!ld party onte plains, unless we could take "Didn't I say that I C9Jlld beat the very devil them by surpri ." himself?" smiled Frank' "That's th3 ay," coolly said the savaooe who, "I reokon as how you make out to do it," grin-along with his followers, had learned to 'speak hunter good English white with the white men. "You Mowsher Abiner n9W picked himself up from must always wait for darkness; you ought never the ground. to strike until an hour before dawn. Then they Frank was ready for him again, but he had noth-sleep hard, like dood, and you can kill men and ing to fear. women without taking a blow in return." Mowsher Abiner was a sadder and much wiser "Poh !"disgustedly cried the other, turning up man, aad with servile tread he crept up to the his nose in contempt at the red raseal's plan; "I boy's feet and bowed dis decorated head in token could not fight that way. In fact, it IS not fight. ing at all, I like to face my foe, weapon in hand, "He s knuckled under l" cned Dash. and strike blow for blow, send back shot for Does he give In beaten?" cried Frank. shot; but to stab 1n the dark-bah I" "Clean gone," said Hallet. "It's a safe way," remarked Sholum Alarkum, "Then bid him depart to his wigwam." "Yes," said the outlaw captain, "and it's quite Dash complied, and the quashed dealer in ae well-" magic stunk away. The sentence ended abruptly. "Now tell them anything awful that you oan A peculiar call oame echoing up the rock-form-crack up inordertomake them out you free," said ed pathway that led from the bank of the stream Frnnk. to the stronghold, "Heaven I" roared Dash Hallet. This mighty The two leaders looked at each oLher. medicine-man commands you to release me at "That's Mutseer," Said the once, or he will the village piercing eyes upon the face of the tall white from the east. prisoner. "I think I have seen this man before." "Double quick, younker," catted out Hallet to "Where?" demanded Sholum Alarkum. the boy. "There's danger behind." "With the emigrant train," said the other. \ He fought well then." Mutseer now came forward and plabad the prisoner before the two leaders. "A prize for you, oaptain," he sald. "I got him down by the stream." It's a wonder he didn't get you," said the captain1 smiling, as he noted the tall form and broad snoulders of the man. 1 "You don't get Mutseer so easy," proudly said r the Indian. r Well, my man," said the captain, speaking to; the prisoner, "what have you got to say for yourself?" "Much," said the fellow. "SIXlak l" commandedthe oaptain. 'II suppose you remember me?" gt1nned th otlier. "Rather," dryly said the captain, removing his cap and disclosing a black and blue mark on his head. I think I owe you for this beauty spot." "I guess you're about right," said the man, with a broader grin. I struck against _you then. and now I've come tp say to you that I'll strike for you.""What do yon mean?" "What I say." Havtl you deserted from the train?'" "I have." "To join us?" Thats the idea." "Do you mean it?" "I reckon you ain't about the best man in tho world to jok<:l with about such a matter," said the prisoner. "Right," said Captain Slasher. "Your head is on straight. But what is your motive in doing this?" The same metive that moves the world," said the other. "Money." "Go on," said the captain, "I'm listening." "Well, you see," began the fellow," I drove one of the teams from the place where the train started, and I happened to find out that oae of the regular express wagons that cross the plains undel:' a strong guard W88 not ready to go out, and that the agent of that big firm-what do you call 'em?" "Wells, Fargo & Co.?" put in the captain. "That's it, Wells, Fargo & Co., put aboard a lot of money in one of the strong b .. ues they use. They had an idea that old Carter could take the money through just as safe as their express could, and I was one of"the men that helped to stow the specie in a wagon." "I am getting interested," said the captain. "I thought I could wake xou up," grinned the teamster. "Well, I didn't hke my work nor the way I was being tossed, and I thought I should like to have a whack at this pile of money. I heard Snap Carter talking 'bout your hiding place, and so I had no trouble In finding you. That's all I've gotlto say. You know by experi ence that I am no slouch, and therefore you needn't be afraid to admit me in yout oand." "Have you ever been a rover before?" asked Captain Slasher. "Well, to tell;ou the truth," proudly admitted the teamster, have been a burglar in my time. I tried honesty, and it don't seem to agree with me. I can't sleep well nights. So I've made my mind to try the old;tife again. The devil and I seemed to get along very well together, and I think I'll resume work for my old master." Captain Sla.sher peered closely into the fellow's e:yos, and then l:!!lstowed a smile of approvalupoa h1m. "I like your style," he eaid. "I think that we shall get along together first rate, and if we improve upon acquaintance I'll soon raise you." "Then I may consider myself a member of tho band?" "You may," said Captain Slasher. "We have two mottoes: one, 'Die for our Brethren,' and the other, 'Death to Traitors.' Beside that, we have passwords and signs which you will learn, but, as you 1'alue your life, remember our two mot toes. !s entered, there no such thmg all leavmg 1t agam; and should you desert liS, the most horrible torture, the most terrible death that man, white or red, 'can devise, shall be your doom!" 1 I shall stay as long as I am treated in a half decent manner,'' said the teamster. "I mean business with you, not treachery, so I have noth ing to fear." 'Very nearly all the men in the band were no'v collected in a large circle around the speakerS, listening to tbe conversation. "You are sure that you are dealing fair wilb me?" demanded the captain. "Of course I am." "And tha:t you come as a friend?" "Certainly,'' said the other, looking wonder ingly at the speaker. "I have told you nothing but the truth.'' "Lair I" cried the captain, eyes blazing Uk., j

PAGE 14

L. THE STEAM MAN OF THE PLAINS coals of fire. "You are speaking with a double tongue, and your treachery is well known to me. Take him,.my brave boys! Seize the traitor I tie him up to this tree, and I'll send six bullets through his black heart I" The order was instantly obeyed. Even had the teamster been to fight 'll'ith his enemies, it would have been worse th!\n useless to have lifted a hand in self-defense. He was seized by a soore of hands, thrown to the ground, se()urely bound, a.nd was then tied to the tree. All this had taken place in the space of about two minutes, and before the deserter could fairly comprehend what had happened to him, he was tied securely to the trunk of the tree, a host uf threatening-looking faces surrounding him, and the reckless leader of this bloodthirsty crew standing before him a with drawn and cocked weapon in his hand, ready to carry out the terrible threat he had made against his life. It wae enough to make a man's head swim with wonder and excitement, for the change was as sudden as unexpected, and as terrible as com plete. "Now, traitor, you shall receive a proper reward for your act!" cried the captain, lifting his pistol to a level with the tremb1ing body, and fixing his flashing eyes upon the man's face. "You meant to betray us, and you are doomed !" /., I s'pose it's no use me saying a word about the matter," said the deserter, looking unflinch regly at the muzzle of the weapon covering his breast. "You've got an Idea in your head, and all t can say won't prevent you from shooting." Do you mean to tell me that you did not come to betraytme to my oes?" cried out the leader of the outlaws. "Do u not know the amount that you were to receive fm ur act?" "I should say not," re d the cool card at the l;ree. "In fact, I've not received any offer, for the very good reason that I had no such intention. Pop away, and be hanged to you I I'11e always wanted to die with a bullet through my heart." Fool I" cried the threatening caP.tain, still pointing the pistol toward the apparently doomed man. "Confess your intentions of treachery, and I may content myself with slicing your ears, and sending you back .to my foes as a warning that my faithful spies are every;where ." "You go to the devil I" cried the prisoner. I've only told you the truth, and I'm not going to make up lies even to save my bacon. I've stole, and I've stabbed, and 1>erhaps I've killed, but I've never alloweti myself to talk crooked. You've been lied to, and my goose is cooked; that's na,ngaway." The ferocious gleam departed from the eyes of the captain, and he allowed his hand to fall to his side. His laugh rang out loudly, as .if it were a sig nal ; the men sprang forward and released the surprised teamster, and with shouts, welcomed him a8 their comrado. The man could no more understand this change than he could the preceding one, and he looked inquiringly at Captain Slasher. "Oh, that was only a little game of mine that is P.racticed every time any one comes to join us," sa1d the latter. "You see, the government is trying to wipe me out, and the only way they can do it is by getting one of their secret service men among my boys. I always 'put this dodge into practice, and it works as good as a charm. If the man Is a spy he falls in the trap, confesses, begs for his life, and gets a dozen bullets through his tlod:r,. I know you nO\V, and accept you a member.' "Yes," said Beales. "Old Carter keeps special moved a splendidly made shirt, entirely guard qver it himself." of polished links of steel. Where is ,the wagon loc'ated in the train?" These were laid in the trunk on the floor of "A,! ways about the center." the wagon, and then Frank jumped up to his seat. "Then there's no chance whatever of cuttingit "I feel like a new man," he said. "How darned out from the rest, whipping the hcrses, and mak-heavy thiLt was. Where are those ahaps thattwere ing with it?" following?" "Nary a chance," said Beales. "Some men in "I can hear the patter of horses' huofs on the the train are watching that wagon day and night, ground," said Daeh. and it would be bullet or rope to try such a game Then hop in the wagon," said Frank, and laid as that." his hand on the connecting steam rod. "Then the only way to get the box is by tackDash hopped in. ling the train?v The Steam Man stuod just on the edge of the That's the ticket.'' grove, hidden from the Indians in the village by Captain Slaeher turned' to the redskins, who the intervening trees. were taking everything in \lithout making a The sound of horses' feet could be distinctly s6und. heard. "You see," he said, "we must get some help Frank did not pull the rod, for he wished to see SOillewhere oroth,er. They c leaned us out when who was in pursuit. we had a thunderrng sight more men than we've The steam man was so constructed that he ll:ot now, and it's cussed likely that they can do could be started or stopped at a very short notice. 1t again. Now, I'm not going to let thl}t box of A good head of steam could be let on at once, money slip through my fingers by any means, not and the old fellow would start off at a high rate of if I have to tackle that train with ten men. I speed, an unpleasant jerk being the only result. likjlfighting well enough, but I'm not going to Therefore, being desirous of seeing who was in let my boys be cleaned out again if I can help it. pursuit, and not having the fear of capture be We've got to have more men, so put your wits fore his eyes, the boy waited for the enemy to to work and try to find out how we're to get appear. them." ; Soon the hoofs of the rapidly advancing steeds Mutseer turned to Sholar Alarkum. came crashing through the outer edge of th11 "Better get Motzer-Ponum," he said. bushes which grew thickly among the trees. "He bas many brave warriors," said the chief. Frank caught a glimpse of mal!y mounted men, "And his braves love fighting," put in Tolah-heard savage oaths and excellent English curses, fresser. and then he made up his-mind that the sectjon of "He is the chief of the Osages, isn't he?" country he was then in wae growing very sultry, asked Captain Slaeher. rapidly, too. "Yes," said Mutseer. He pulled the rod, and let on almost a full head "How many warriors would he be willing to of steam and then shut it off a little, following send me?" the plan adopted by the most experienced en As many as we have." gineers. "Then let's strike him by all means," said the Then he pulled the whistle cord. captain. "But I thought your tribe was at war The Steam Man made a jump. with the Then he shrieked. "The hatcnet is buried," said Tolahfresser. With the jump down went Dash Hallett in the "We are friends." bottom of the wagon. therefore are willing to stop murdering Barney Shea tumbled squarely on top of him. f#I>Ch other in order to combine and murder other Frank held the reins for support, and his cousin people," said the captain. 'Well, we'll have secured himself by grasping the iron brake. something to bite, and then we'll ride to the Forward!" yelled the voice of the daring Osage village. We -can reach there before dark. Captain Sla.Sher. "There's the Steam Man. And by the way, if that infernal steam con One hundred reward for him." trivance gets in my way again I'll make a dash Away leaped the huge iron monster out on the for it." grassy plain. "It would be valuable to you," suggej!ted Jack The Indians had not been able to clearly comBeales. prebend who and what the Steam Man really "So I think," said Captain Slasher. "I want was. to lay my peepers on that boy who runs the rna-They believed him to be the devil on a tour, <>r chine, and I'll make him wish he'd never left his else a sort of envoy of his satanic mammy." majesty, sent to roam this earth in search of A hasty meal was prepared and eaten by the victims. band, and then they walked down tQ a grassy en-Anyhow they very respectfully declined to go closure where their horses were pickete-d. in pursuit of the tall chap. They were soon mounted, and with their leadTho white men held no such fears, and with ers at the front, the motley crew dashed away to Captain Slasher and Jack Beales leading the van, the Osage village, and by hard riding reached they dashed after the old long stepper, but they there before dark. 1 were no match for the iron-limbed man. The shout which alarmed Frank and Daeh They fired several shots at the inmates of the Hallett had been raised by them, for the keen wagon, and Dash Hallett could not stand that. eyes of Captain Slasher had made out the form He seized one of the loaded rifles which were of the boy he had oursed for his late always kept in readiness near the driver's seat. The muzzle flew up, the stock touching his CHAPTER XVIL SOME EXPLANATIONS. DASH HALLETT was a decent sort of runner, and so was Frank, but the boy seemed to grow tired after running a few hundred yards, and shoulder, and his quiek eye flashed for one brief instant over the barrel and through the sights. Then his finger pressed the trigger; the gun went off with a loud bang, and Daeh crowed ex ultantly. The others looked aro)lnd. Captain Slasher and his horse were both tumbling to the ground. "Oh,'' said the teamster. "What's your name?" "Jack Beales." pantingly subsided to a walk. Lively I" said Dash. This neat effect put a damper on tho ardor of the pursuers, and they concluded to stop for the captain. "Well, Mr. Beales, I welcome you as one of the Brethren of the Plains, and feel confident that yon will make a good addition to my crowd of SCrElSID ers." Thank you," said Beales. "Follow me. I want to have a talk with you for awhile," said Captain Slasher; and wit h Shoium Alarkum, Tolahresser and the cruel Mutseer at his heels, the leader of this very select party led the way into one of the numerous huts. The redskins, true to their early training, very ::omplacently squatted on the floor of the hut. Captain Slasher seated himself upon a rude stool, and kicked a bench towards Jack Beales for the latter to sit on. "Now for business," said the leader, turning to the newly-made member. "Do you know how much money is in the box?" "No." "Cannot make a guess?" must be many thousands. Perhaps a hundred thousand.". Is it guarded any more closely than anything else in tho train?" "Can't," gasped Frank. "Why?" "I am loaded down," panted Frank, but with long strides he made pretty good time in the di rection of the grove. He ptunged through the trees with Dash at his side, and was immediately taken in tow by Ghar ley Gorse, who took the young genius by the arms, and almost lifted him over the ground to where the Steam Man wae standing. Barney Shea was seated on the driver's seat, witl1 his arms resting on the break, very cosily puffing away on a clay pipe that was as black as a coal. 'l'he steam was ell up in the monster, ae was attested by the hissing sound coming from th valves. Tired uut, old boy?" aeked Charley, ae Frank stumbled and almost fell. '. "Dead beat." said Frank, regaining his feet and breathing hard. This cussed shirt is enough to kill anyone if they are foolish enough to run." And to Dash Hallett's great surprise, the boy re moved the wires from his coat, took two curiouslyshaped concerns out of his pockets, and then re-' All dismounted and gathered around the fallen leader. Dash could see t.J;tem lift the captain from uRder the body of the horse, and he noted that the leader appeared to be uninjured. "Guess I didn't hit horse nor man," muttered tho hunter. "That critter must have stumbled just when I pulled trigger." He saw the horse regain his feet, and then be held the captain remount him. The pursuers did not continue the chaee, for they began to see that their jaded hor1es WAre no .match for the tireless limbs of the Steam Man. Frank had kept U{> just et nice rate of speed, confident in the ability ot his man to outstrip the pursuers in less than three minute& with the full power of steam turned on. B.e did not increase his rate now, but kept slashing through the rank grass at about twenty miles an hour, keeping a lookout for obstacles and handling tho novel reins with skill. 111." I'm not going fast, because I don't really want to get a great distance away from the village," h11 91tid to Oharley.

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I THE STEAM MAN OF THE PLAINS. "'Vhy?".# "Don't you know?" "I don't .... "Didn't I start out to bring back Dash Hallett and the Englishman?" "That's so," !!!tid Charley. 1 "An', be the same token," put in Barney, "how was it ye forgot to do that same?" To tell the truth," smiled the drive r, "I was so excited that I never thought a thing about the Englishman. You see, I had to beat that medicine-man that they've .got in the village and that drove the Cockney out of my head. 'But I bam boozled old-what's his name?" "Mowsher Abiner," returned Hallett, to whom the boy had appealed. "That's it, Mowsher Abiner," said Frank. The Indians consider him the greatest living medicineman in the universe, but I made him crawl to his hole." "You just did," said Hallett, looking with approval upon Frank's slight form and long bead. "You actually beat the devil himself, at his own games, and on his own grounds, too, for the mat ter of that. But I'm a little C.llr'us in these things. Do you mind letting on how it was that knife didn't stick me when you let it drive full split at my breast?" "Why, of course not," said Frank. I can show you how the thing was done in Jess than two quivers of an eyelash. Here, Charley, grab the nbbons." Charley Gorse took the reins, and then Frank clambered down from the seat and went for that all-containing trunk. I He took the dirk he had used in the Indian vil lage. That's the article, isn't it?" "Guess so," said Dash. "You're such a very tricky little cuss that I don't feel willing to swear to.anything." Frank laughed. 1 "Well, it looks ( ike it?" he asked. "Oh, yes," said Dash. ';'\.lid you have my assurance that it was used in the village," said Frank. "This is one of ruy odd freaks. In the first place you will notice that the handle is quite as wide and almost as long as the blade "I see." "And that it would be possible for the blade to retreat into the handle?" "Yes-yes." Therefore it would be very plain, too, when I make known the construction to you. Notice two knobs, one on each side, and made to match?" "I see them." "This on the right hand side sets a remarkably stiff spring on inside,'' said Frank. "When this spring is set you can hurl the blade deep into a tree." I understand," Dash. Then,'' said the young inventor, "all we have to do is tv t euch this other spring and the stiff spring is unset. Then the blade sets on top of a limber spiral spring, stro11.g to keep It out from the hollow hilt, but also limber enough to be driven back by the blade when the point comes in contact with any solid body. Of course, as soon as the knife bountls back from a body the spiral spring forces the blade ,out again. It's a very simple principle." "Just so," said Dash Hallett. "But it took a little better thing than simplicity to hatch up the idea. But see here, you :J:tad that stiff spring set when you drew blood from the redskin's hand." "Yes; and it was set when the poi-nt drew blood from mine." "Then you coulqn't have unset it," said the hunter, "for you take it in your halla'fill after he'd hurled it full at your heart." Oh, that puzzles you?" cried Frank. "'Course it does," said Dash. Frank pointed to the carefully made shirt of steel. "You forgot that,'' he said. "I made that mvself, and no knife will pierce it." "Oh !" said Dash, I savvy now.'' "Anytbmg else you don't' understand?" !l.Sked the boy. "Why, yes," said Dash. "What made the old chap jump and holler when he saluted the rela tive of the sun and moon?" Did you notice the little wires strung over my shoulder?" "Yes." .. And did you see me take out two curiously made concerns from the pocket of my eoat?" "I did." -"Well,'' said Frank, "those odd-shaped things were inclosed Latteries, and the wires were con nected with them. Whan Mowsher Abiner laid paws on me he touehed the wires, and in less than the tenth part of a second, he receh'ed a heavy charge of electricity from the batteries. They are little, but, oh, my.t" Here the Steam Man began to slack up, and He was slightly injured by having one leg Frank saw that they wore about entering a little under the body of the falling steed, but grove. his tollower had soon rescuelil. him from his un About time for supper, isn't It?" Charley pleasant situation, and in ten minutes he was all asked. right again. "I suppose so," said Frank, and with slow tread "It's n o use trying to cateh that machine,'' he the monster was driven under the shade of a large said, as his men helped the hors& up. "The y t!:ee, close to \;'\'here a sparklingspringbubbled up can beat us easily, now that our nags our tired: from the ground. "I'm good and hungry, I .know, and perhaps they can outstrip the fleetest and and I suppose you are too." freshet horse. Let us go back tG the villago." "And. what comes next?" asked Dash. In a moment they were all remounted, and gal-t "Why, we must try to rllScue that poor British loped away to the dwellings of the reds. \ subject from his dusky bride," laughed the young The Indians were gathered near to the iree gemus. ''And we must get horses' a t the same where Dash Hallett had been bound. time, forlmy trap won' t accommodate so many and his chiefs were conversing passengers with Sholum Alarkum and his braves. "But you'll not think of going baek there with The white men galloped up and spra n g from your machine at night?" said Dash. their well-trained horses, knowing that the ani" Why not?" cried Frank. I can travel as mals would n0t stray away. we:: by night as t.y day, and, for the matter of Captain Slasher saluted the chief, andthe grave that, can fight like the devil in the dark." Motzer-Ponum returned his greeting in the most Oh, you mean with night pistols, as you ceremonidus style. call them." "Why did you letyour prisoner go?" asked tho ."Yes, how did yo11 know about them?" asked captain. Frank. From constant intercourse with the Indians oa Dash related his adventure with the bear when the pl8!ins, Captain could use their Jan Charlie had shot the monster by the of the ;,"llage as well as his own. light. "The wonderful medicine-man said that the "But I can't see how it was done,'' said Da.Sh Great Spirit had so ordered,'' replied the chief. Hallett. "I think you're a match for a hull tribe 'Motzer-Ponum meant Frank Reade. of reds, cuss me if I don't." "What medicine-man?" demanded the "I think so, too,'' smiled Fr&nk Reade.\ "But tain. just look here and I'll explain to. you the princi"Th'El relation of the sun, moon, and stars; pie of this neat arrangement." said the chief. He drew the night pistol or revolver from his "What are you talking about?" demanded Cap pocket, and alloweq Dash Hall tt to examine it tain Slasher. closely. "The wonderful medicine." "You see that it is just the same as any other "But who is he?" self-cocking r,evolver." f "The relation of the sun--" "Yes; only it's got a much larger bore than "You said tha t once before," broke in the common,'' said the hunter. other. Bnt who is this medicine? Where ish& That is true,'' said Frank. "But I made the now?" 1 wea'Pons myself, and made them large for two "You should know best;" First, to carry a large ball that should "And why?" be a most as effecti-ve as the bullet from a rifle. "Because you him." e I need a large bore to allow of the passage "What, that boy !I" c:lled the captain. of the fire-bullet." "Yes, he is a great medicine." 1 Go on,'' said Dash. Ha-ha !" roared the captain. "Frig htefled "Welt, then," said Frank, taking out one of the by a smart boy. But say, haven't you g o t a ve r y c 'artridge shells from the chambe r, "here you great medicine yourself? liave the whole secret. "I fill everyone of these "Mowsner Abiner," said the chief. shells myself. J put in a certain quantity of pow-"Yes, .that's his name. What did he s a y to this d e r in each shell, Then in. the three shells I young medicine?" place my heavy bull e ts, and they are pTepared. "He bowed his head in submission to the In the other three shells I place a chemical pre-mighty poweJ; of this relation of the m oon and parat;ion n;.ade in the shape of a bullet, and color-sun." ed exactly to the hue of lead. This I do to pre Bully for the boy!" laughed the captain. "But vent any one from noticivg a difference in the what can he do?" bullets should it become necl',ssary for me to play Many wonderful things," said the great and tricks with the pistol." mighty Motzer-Ponum. "His h eart cannot b e "EXI}Ctly," said Hallett. "Go ahead with your pierced, and he can give a weapon the powe r o i old shd"w." life and death." "The last three shells contain what you might "Phew!" whistled the captain. "I must try to call a Roman candle ball,'' said 'F:rank. They get my hands on this very clever young m edicine. are made of chemicals, however, instead of pow' Tell me what he did.'' der, asilreworks are made, and last longer than Motzer-Pozen had bee n greatly impresse d by the ball which shoots from a Roman candle. The the wonder-workings of the tricky young genius, weapon is loaded with alternate bullets and fire-and he now hastened to give the captain a highly darts. The advantage of the revolver being selfcolored version Gf the boy's exploits, enlarging cocking is apparent. You hold your arm extend-upon everything with a genuine Indian r egard ed after pressing the trigger for the first time, and for veracity, and succeeded in m aking, :Frank the fire d"On't rweal to you the object. Yoa then Reade out to be a very wonderful person indeed. cover it and press the trigger again, and down it "That's l)ll very clever,'' said the other. "But comes. If you had to cock the weapon you we will drop this illustrious descendant of the might lose the time you needed for shoo:ing." heavenly bodies, and with your r,ermission g o "Very good,'' said Dash Hallett; "but if it'stW into council." dark as, to need your daJ;t, how are you to know "You wish to have a big talk?" where to fire the chemical?" "A very big talk," said the captain. "Does the darkness affect the hearing?" cried "Let the council-fire be kindled," said tho Frank. you hear the patter of a man's chief. "Let my braves and warriors gather feet when he's running away, although you can't around me." see him?" Boys, you ha"l doubtless heard of the red -tape "That's so,'' said Dash. "How is this supper business in connection with the cir-coming on?" cumlocution office at Washington. That highly The Irishman and Charley Gorse 1had been ceremonious bureau don't begin to match a tribe busily preparing a meal, while Frank was explainof savages for ceremony and show. ing his inventions to the interested Hallett. There's got to be the council-fire; there has got They now sung out to tjl.e others that supper to be the council-pipe, or calumet of thought; was ready, and a cup of coffee for each, a slice of there has got to be a speech in full terms from cold meat, some pones of white bread, and some each and every brave and warrior t d preserves, all resulting' from the donations ot the speak, and the'fun of it is that they all knew beemigrants to Frank, afforded the prairie travelers fore they. ever "began just exactly what decision a very fair repast. they would arrive at. Here we must leave them and liurry back to the Soon the 10uncil-ftre was kindled beneath the village of the Osages, for the. danng Captain tree which had so lately been doing duty for a. Slasher is there, and plans are to be death-stake. which will have a strong bearing on this story. The chiefs of both tribes together, CHAPTER XVIII. A POW-WOW. TaE bullet from the ritl.e in the hands of Dash HaHett had been aimed at the breast of Ca ptnin Slasher; but, as the hunter had guessed, th@ stumbling of the steed saveg the rider. forming a good-sized inner circle. Captain Slasher and the deserter also formed part of this inner circle. In a outer ciNle were ranged the war riors and braves of the Osaglj. and Sioux tribes. Thfl pipe was filled, lit, !l:nd slowly went its rounds. Then it was removed, and the council was de open, ....

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16 THE STEAM MAN OF THE PLAINS. At a sign from Captain Slasher, the old S1oux chieftain 01-rose to his feet and the circles became deathly still. Brethren," began Sholum Alarkum, "we need your assistance. Our common enemy, the in vading white men, who wrest our most prized hunting-grounds from us, rides over the plains. My brotaer here"-pointing to Captain Slasher" who has a white skin and an Indian breast, thorn fully as much as we do. "A large wagon train is no' v passing over the mst plains, laden with many valuable things we could use. There is also much tire-water ip this train, and we like that as much as do the 'white mon. "One sun ago, we, my white brother and me, swept down upon the train, thinking to kill them and take the wagons. "We were met by a heavy fire, o.ur followers were thrown into dis order, and an immense man with a voice like a and two eyes of fire rushed.upon us from the darkness, and we were driven away1leaving some of our best and bravest men, red ana white, dead or dying on the plains. "Now we come to you to ask you to help sweep these mAn from the plains before they can settle on our best lands, kill our deer and bufl'alo, and trap our ottflr and mink. We are not strong enough to attack them alone, but with the braves of the Osage tribe we can sweep them from our prairies. My white brother will now talk to you." l'he worthySholum Alarkum sat down amid, a prolonged murmur of applause, for he had cunningly spoken in such a manne r a.s to arouse the most bitter and rankling feelings of hatred within the brAaSts of his hearers. As the captain arose to hiS feet he noted with satisfaction the gleaming eyes and compressed lips or the Osag es He knew that it now needed but the offer of reward to win their support, for in their Indian character hatred is only equalled by love or gain. "I love my red brothers," he cried, stretching forth his hand iatJressively, "and I hate the J!eepl e of my own race. I would protect the rights of my r et! brothers, and if "they will aid me I will scourge theeewhlte people from the .Plains. I do not want one simple article of value from the train. All the blankets, all the fire-water, all the goods that belong to wigwams, I will give to the brave Osage warriors who are willing to follow me. Shall I have your aid?" He sat down, and Motzer-Ponum immediately sprang to his feet, and in emphati c terms said that he pledged himself and llfty of his best braves and warriors to the support of the white captain. 'l'he Indians all applauded this, and then the council broke up. "Is it settled, captain?" inquired the deserter. "Yes, they will come to my banner with a hall hundred men." "And when will you start?" "To-night, if you know wkere to go to," saiu the captain. "I know where," said Beales, "but darn me if I know how to go there. Do you know the plac e called Three Islands?" "Oh, ye:;," said Captain Slasher. The name has been given to three groves that are almost connected. They are about ten miles south of here, a matter of about one hour's ride with fresh horses." "Then you know where to said Jack Beales, for by this time th!l train has come to a halt at Three Islands." Then their goose is just about as good as cooked," confidently remarked the amiable Cap tain Slasher. "Three Islands is just about as nice a place tor us to pop down upon as I ask for. There's room there for both sides, and they can't stand behind trees and shoot d 'own my wys who stand on the The re's trees enough there for both parties, and we shall fight them on even ground." "That is," said Jack, "if we cannot surprise them.". "Just so," said the captain. "There's MotzerPonum calling to us. I suppos!) he wants our royal presence at a lay-out." Of course this conversation had all taken place in good Engli::lh, as Jack .Beales understood nothing of the Indian tongue. .As the two villains walked away from the spot, a face was thrust through the thick-leaved branches of the tree. Then a head and shoulders came into view, and the beaming features of our most esteemed Cockney, George Augustus Fitznoodle, could now be distinguished in a frame of greep. The Londoner carefully removed himself from \he free, and with an awful grunt dropped to the ground. "Bless my 'eart h'and soul," muttered this excitable individual, looking after the two rascals with an expression of indignation and contempt. "H'is h'it h'in the bounds h'of possil:iility that two white men could conspire with 'eathenish savages to take the lives h'of t'heir fellow-men? 'Orrible-most 'orrible. H'if h'I 'ad the power, 'ow gladly would h'I travel to Three h'lslands. But h'I may yet be h'enabled to save these poor peopl e from these 'orrid brutes!" And so he was 1 CHAPTER XIX. GEORGE AUGUSTUS WALKS OFF. THERE was one beneficial result from all the excitement and hubbub which had taken place ia the Indian village. In consequence of the very many important affairs claiming their attention, the redsk!US had failed to keep a very strict watch over Augustus Fitznoodle, Esq. Tbe latter individual had been impressed with the idea that his every movement was watched by a pair of keen eyes, for the very lovely Widow Shoffusguy had told him that he could not leave the village without her knowledge "But h'it seems to me that the very h'import ant h'events h'of the day 'ave distracted the close regard h'ofthese red 'eathcn," soliloquized George Augustus, seating himse lf upon the rude doorstep of h1s wigwam. H'I would like to be h'on the safe side; but, then, for liberty h I must be willing to run h'all the risks, h'and h'encounter h all the dangers. H'I certainly shall h'endenvor to cut rriy lucky 'alf an hour from now, h'if my dark-skinned wife don't return." His wife had gone off to a sort of Indian political caucus, a primary affair, where the affairs of the tribe were dealt wi\h by the female members thereof. George Augustus waited sbme time-his wife returned not. The village was now very with the ex ception that boisterous sounds frequently came from -the big lodge where the serene Motz er Ponum was entertaining Captain Sla.Sher and his red and white friends in good style. Liquor was flowing fr ee ly around the festiv e board where all the red and white thieves sat, and jollity of the occasion was indeed great. Fitznoodle looked around him. The night was not very light; nothing but the faint glimmering of the eternal stars lit up the gloom of the village. All Indians of any note whatever were taking part in the' grand testimonial fesat tendered to Captain Slasher, and the awful Sholum Alarkum,. George Augustus crept inside oi the wigwam, and being familiar with its construction, ho; man aged to place his hands upon a long knife which rested upon two pegs driven into the wall. Armed with this weapon, the property of his wife, George Augustus crawled forth to do or die, or, in other words, to make -his escape or be r e taken He crept stealthily away from the door of his wigwam, and then, after going about ten steps, suddenly pulled up. "What a blessed fool h'I h'am," muttered the Englishman. "'Ow h'am h'I to get h'awliy from 'ere when h'I don't know the wa'l h'out? Never mind, h'l'll go h'in h'any directiOn, and h'it's a blessed sure thing that h'it'll bring h'out somewhores. Now for liberty h'or-no, not death, for h I really think h'l'd rathe r h'embrace Shoffusguy than death-very much rather." Having arrived at this conclusion, the very brave George Augustus Fitznoodle, speculator in undiscovered coal and iron mines, very cautiously crawled along toward the door of Motzer Ponum's big wigwam. He had chosen to go that way because he knew that it would bring him somewhere near the path he had been traveling when first surprised by the Osages. He got safely past the feasting place, and was congratulating himself on his sure and easy escape, when a tall form arose from the ground and confronted him. The Cockney saw at a glance that it was one of the Osage tribe who stood before him, very effec tually barring his path. The Osage peered closely at him, and said something in his native tongue. Of course the Englishman hadn't the least idea what he said. The Indian reached out his hand, and pointed in the direction of the lovely Widow Shoffusguy's lodge. "Oh, yes, thank you," said Fitznoodle. "You would like me to travel back to the fireside h'of my darker-colored 'alf, but h'allow me to h'assure you that h'I don' t h'intend to do h'any such thing. H'in fact, sir, we were married h'in 'aste, but we h 'are not partners for life. H'I shall never go back to that 'orrid 'ole thing again while h'I 'ave breath left h'in my mortal corporosity, h'and h'I don' t think you can make me." This was said with a goodly amount of conft deuce and bluster, for the brave George Augustus, he it known to the reader, gripping a kp.ife very firmly all the whilo. The Indian did not undecstand George Agus tns any more than Ge .orge Augustus understood him; but he could guess from the E.ngl.iS'hman's manner that the latter emphatically refused to go back to the wigwam he had deserted. He again lifted hi:; hand and sternly pointed to the lonely lodge of the lovely Widow Shoffusguy. "H'it's no use," said Fitznoodle. "You could stand there h'all night, h'old stoughton bottle, but you couldn't b'tidge me." Then the Indian waxed angry, and probably made up his mind that the very obstinate Englishman ought to be waxed also, so he took him by the shoulders, turned the rather surprised Cockney around with a quick twwt, and kicked him, the end of his number nine moccasin landing upon the person of Mr. Fit?..noodle about two inches below the buttons on the back of hi:; coat. George Augustus didn't holler. He was sent spinning by the tllrce of the kick, and went rolling over and over on the ground, but he retained his hold on the knife. He had made up his mind to e!lcape; he had screwed up his wavering courage to the sticking point; he had armed and equippeloser," said Fitznoodle, and was advancing when the click of a trigger saluted h1s and a voice rang out from the grove: "Halt I White or red?" "White-white 1" yelled Fitznoodle, dancing up and down in front of the tree from which the challenge came, expecting every moment to feel the deadly bullet tearing through his body; "for 'eavens sake, my dear sir, don't shoot!" A merry laugh was excited by the poor Cock ney's terror, and a tall man came forth into the starlight, can-ying a rifie in his hands. He looked at the trembling Englishman with amusement and contempt. "What's your name?" "George Augustus Fltznoodle, sir, of London, h'England. H'l'm a speculator h'in coal h 'and h'iron mines." Where are you going?" "H'anywheres," said Fitznoodle. H'I was P r I

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THE STEAM MAN OF THE PLAINS. prisoner h'among the 'or-rid h'Osage h'Inuians, h'and h'l'vejust made h'offby h'extreme bravery. H'I 'ope you will grant me prottJction h'and shel ter h'until the morning." Thllt's jes as the capen and the boss says," returned the guard. Foller me, and I'll take you to the boss." "H'and who h'is 'e, h'if h'I might make so bold h'as to h'ask ?" inquired Fitznoodle. "Harry Hale." "H'and what h'is 'e?" "The boss of an expedition sent out by the government to clean out the hull crowd or robbers -and thieves," was the reply. "He's one of the secret service detectives!" Fitznoodle was conducted by his tall guide through the mazes of the trees to where the fire was burning. Around the embers which had been ldndled for the purpose of cooking, sat or lounged about thirty men, dressed for the most part in the regu !ar prail:ie suits of woollen and hide. Prominent among them slood two men who would have attracted considerable attention in any eituation. One was a grizzled old mountain and plain ckney. "He wants to shake hands with you.u "ll'ah I" cried Fitznoodle, very much relieved 'bY the explanation. "With h'all my 'eart h'and .soul." He put forth his hand. "That's the ticket," cried Carte:c.' "Now yer a-smoking me, and I'm smoking you, Mr. Ca boodle, I'm happy to meet yer." He grasped the ceckney's soft hand in his own 'bony palm, and shut down upon hiln with so much warmth, that poor George Augustus hopped &nd shouted with pain. "Snakes and bufliers I" growled old Bill. I've that he reckoned the Steam Man more than a not hurt yer, have I stranger?" match for all the ignorant redsldns on the plains. Oh, no," groaned Fitznoodle, trying to take "What will you do abouJ; the poor young Britishthe out of his hand, "h'only h'I wish you er?" asked Dash Hallett, who was lying at the feet hadn't been quite so happy to me, that's h'all." of the Steam Man, smoking a pipe and admiring Ho-ho-ho !" laughed Bill. "That's cussed the build of the man of metal. cute, my friend; well, I'll leave yer with the boss "I hardly know," said Frank. while I take a scoot around the grove to see to "Shure ye'll not be afther Iavin' the poor body thin!!'B." among them haythens?" put in our friend Barney walked away from them with his riJle restShea. ing in the hollow of his arm, and although he was "Oh, I don't mind what you say," saiti Frank. an old and very heavy man, they could not catch "You're a sort of Kilkenny cat yourself, and all the sound of h1S practiced feet as he moved skill you want is to get into a muSE\ and see things fly fully through the trees. around like Old Nick. But I'm not going to run These old western h;>:d-nuts who live on the the neck of my steam friend into danger just bemountains and prairies, and wander for years cause you're spoiling for a row." through trackless forests, have a style of locomo"Aisy now, me nate gossoon," interposed the tion that is truly very wonderful, and in o>ome Irishman. "I only want to help a friend in dis strange manner they pass in silence over ground tress, do you mind." that nine meu out of ten would stumble over. "That's all right," said Frank. "But if you The forest!! and prairies, the mountains and had your way, you'd grab a big stick for a shillelah streams, and the glorious canopy with its moon and smash plump into the Indian village, knockand stal"S are all as books to them, to be read by ing everything left and right." that education they gain by a lifetime of tlX-And quoth Barney Shea: perience. "Shure wouldn t that be illigant intirely?" "Be seated, Mr. Fitznoodle," requested Hale, "I don't see why we can't go back," observed and placed a log for the Englishman to sit on. Charley. "Are you hungry enough to eat a bearsteak?" "I don't mind the reds," said Frank, "but those "H'I really thinks h'I could do a bit h'in that cussed murdering white men don't stand in fear way," saill George Augustus, who was then of the !'!team Man." served with a well-done slice from bruin's haunch. "And probably admire him very much," IDaid May h'I know what you h'intend doing in these Gorse. ..., parts, Mr. 'Ale?" "Exactly," said Frank. "Certainly," said the detective. "In such a "So you're scarit that Cap'n Slasher and hill section of the country as this f:here is not anything gang might get their paws on your prize," said to be gained by keeping affairs secret. As I told Dash you I am a detective of the secret service force." "Thin it's Barney Shea that'll show yez the way "H'exactly." out o' the throuble," said the Patlander. "And I can now inform you thH.t my present They all turned to him. mission is to hunt down and capture or ext-ermi-"Why can't yez lave the machine here? Wan nate the several bands of red and white robbers o' yez b'ys sthop wid the consarn, and me and the who have for many years past been the plague others go to the village." and bane-prairie travel." "And who'll stop?" asked Frank. "H'ana you think you can do it?" "Not me av coorse I" said Barney "I'll do it, or I'll die I" said Harry Hale, and a "Nor me I" said Cbarley. red gleam leaped to his gray eyes "I have some "You can't keep this chicken tendin' baby thing more than the mere performance of duty to when there's danger around !"said Dash urge me on." "Then I must!" said Frank. I like wild ad. "Ah ?" exclaimed Fitznoodle, "J
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'18 THE STEAM MAN OF THE PLAINS. then he saw to the water in the tank,tried every catch, spring, and brace, examined all parts minutely, and decided that his eteam friend was ready to travel a hundred a:J'l.d odd miles at good .speed, without stopping to take breath. After that he attended to all the parts of the wagon that needed oiling or bracing, for the con-cern was put together by means of slides and ions leaped into the wagon, and the boy was firm ly grasped by three pairs of strong hands. I claim this concern, in the name of the breth ren of the plains," cried Beales. "Obey my or ders, young man, or I'll put a bullet through you !" CHAPTER XXI. AT THREE ISLANDS. braces, and then Frank was out of work. He put a little more coal into the stomach of CRACK! the giant, regulated the dampers, and had every"Help I" thing in readiness to start off at the shortest First the loud peal of the rifle, then the shrill notice. agomzed appeal of a voice-the voice of a man. What to do with himself the boy really did not 'l'hese successive sounds rolled through the know. glades of Three Islands, startling the feathered He had books, but not enough light to read of the trees, and bringing every man of tl1em by unless he could "'('t within exact range the emigrant party to hiS feet with a _bound. of the half-closed stream"' of light which came Snap Carter's command rang out like the note from beneath the lids of the monster, and a big l of a bugle. tree prevented him from taking the position. "Surround the ''?'agons !" "I can't stand this," solilloquized Frank. "I ':!-'he brave guardians of the helplei'll women and He put forth all his great strength. Like a meteor the rifle flew around his head, his retreated, and, suddenly turning, the old guida dashed for the train. His limbs had not forgotten their speed. Bushes, logs and rocks were cleared with immense leaps. His foes rushed 'after him with a shout. '1-'he old man sent back an answering cry, and continued on in his flying course. A few moments later he reached the surprisecl guard and hurled the at him, and ttt \ the same time ordered him to retreat to the wagon. after firing the signal of danger. The sen;;inel obeyed. Together they rushed within the lines of tha brave defenders. The sounds of pursuit had ceased. The guide sank down upon the ground exhausted. His limbs were trembling trom hhe mighty exertion!! they had made, and he was unable t() sl!tnd. feel just like ren ding, so I guess I'll turn the old 1 children qmckly thronged around the vehiCles. fellow around a little." Never was there a braver cordon of true hearts. He mounted the box, and leaned forward to "Silence," commanded the guide. The men crowded around him with eager faces. grnsp the driving reins. A perfect hush succeeded the order, and !Jle old Are you burt'/" asked one. By some mischance, probably owing to the im-plamsman bent hiS ears to catch the slightest "Nu," gasped Carter, "only winded. D-n it. perfect light, he got hold of the cord attached to sound. man, don't strike a light unless you want tv the whistle. It came agam. your scalp." Whoop, shriek, whoop! "Help I" For one of the men had tried to light a match in The little grove resounded with the loud cry of The VOICe was weaker now, and totbe oldgmde order t:> see whether tbe guide was hurt. the monster. it seemed that the person in need of help was "Wbere's Smith and Burns?" asked sevBral of Frank was used to the whistle but then be bad fast expiring. the emigrants. not expected to hear it just then, and it startled His noble heart responded quickly to such a They referred to the two brave fellows wh() him so much that he fell over backwards, still recall. bad been laid low by the cruel trickery of taining his hold on the cord as he tumbled into He touched two of the emigrants on the arm, enemy. the bottom of the wagon. and bade them follow him. "Gone under," said Carter. "Who's got any Of course whiie he held on to the cord the old "Thar's a human critter in distress," said the whisky?" fellpw yelled. old mountaineer. "I'm going to rescue him, so "Here," said several, and a dozen flasks were> Frank mighty soon let go his bold, and the fuller . held out to bim. horrid din ceased as suddenly as it commenced. He moved m the directiOn from which the sound "Has there been a fight?" asked one. The bills seemed to echo back the sounds from came. "The liveliest bit of a scrimmage that thia. their far away cliffs, anu the boy felt very un-The eager emigrants followed after him with chicken has bad for nigiD. onto fifteen years," easy. cocked rifles. said Carter, slowly gettiag upon his feet and The thought of danger to himself did not occur The guide moved cautiously, and yet with some stopping to pay attention to the flask of whisky to hi b t h t ed that hiS' f ends vould speed. he held in his hand. "I bad the nicest km d o{" m, u e con.1ec ur n The emigrants followed in single file, stepping teounrns.ider the whistle as a signal for them to redirectly in the track of their leader. work for jest about two minutes-couldn't been much longer. I s'pose I must have knocked. "I really don't know what to do," muttered The sound bad seemed to emanate from that over a dozen chaps with the butt-end of my old Frank. I suppose they are half-way on the portion of the grove fronting on the east, and gun. Smith and .E!urns was jest behind me; but 'f h b d h thither Snap Carter bent his steps. f 11 b t th b h k k d p :road \Jy this iime, and yet 1 t ey ear t ose He stopped at length, for it was dangerous to or a t a ey was ot noc e over. ro whistles, they would be sure and come back, and go walking blindly forward in the night when bab:r they didn't see what bit 'em, even." that poor Englishman would be left to misery and there might be a score of enemies in his path. nd how did you ii. danger among thoae red and white devils. I He ealled aloud: "Cussed if I know," said the guide. I It should have looked out for just such an accident "Stranger 1 I must have knockE)d things fl.yin' at a tarnal live as this. A good set of signals, understood by For a moment there was no reply. ly rate to git clear o' that gang." Charley, would enable me to communicate with "Guess he's ""v up the ghost," said Snap. "But what are we to do?" him even if he were five miles away. Such a ..,. The question came from several. thing is as good as a telegraph. Toot would tell But his fears were removed by a very weak "Keep quiet and watch," said Snap. "None o him to come in; toot-toot, would make him voice, saying: yer are plainsmen, or else I could send yer out t() understand that I had changed my mind and did "Hero. Come quickly; I have killed a savage, Jay in wait, but ten to ..,one you greemes would t t h d t b spacrn g the whistles I but he has wounded me." lose yer ha'r. A man's ears must be tra,ned for no wan 1m, an JUS Y The voice appeared to be about twenty feet could fairly talk with him." distant. that business. Be careful not to show the least: He looked up at the steam man in a very dis"Come on," cried Snap Carter "The cusses spark of light." consolate manner. are all gone, and we'll soon take this poor chap The men disposed themselves around the wag. "It's no use," he said to himself; "I must to the. camp." ons, watching and waiting with their weapons ill either go after them and meet them or have the He plunged heedlessly forward, his friends at their hands, ready to defend their loved ones ta brave fellows tramping back here for nothing, his heels. the last breath from t be eruel marauders. I'll throw on a fnll headlight and push away." "Here," direc.ted the voice. Snap Carter would have liked to wander out beHe turned back the eyelids of the giant traveler, "We're kimmin'," cheerily said Carter. "Lord yond the wagons to fill the post of an advance and the powerful light out fully, caus-Jove yer, stranger, we h'ain't the kind--" guard, and warn of the approach. of the enemy, ing strange, weird shades and lights among the He bad just got that far in his comforting as-but his late experience told him that he had to> branches and leaves of the trees. surances when several forms leaped upon him deal with men as skilled as himself. He tlpon the seat, and reached forward for from the darkness. "And," soliloquized the ha:rdy guide, "what the rems. His companions were struck down like logs, can these poor fellers do alone? They've got He was very careful this tlrn,e not to touch the and a sweeping blow with a rifle-butt was made good grit, they fight like catamounts under any broad whistle string. at the bead of tbe guide. good leader, bot if I should hnppen to get my He turned on steam very earefnlly, 'for the Snap Carter realized instantly the nature of the windpipe slit it would be a gone case with them_ grove was rather dense, and be knew that he ran situation. They can't be expected to know anything about some risk of injuring his man if he failed to use He had been decoyed away from the train by such fighting as this, and tll.ey'd get scooped i.a the utmost caution the enemies who were trying to strike him no. time As it is with locomotion and balance in the hudown, making swift, heavy blows at the hardy The experienced old plainsman rested his form man form, so it was with the body and limbs of old man. against a wheel, and with his good rifle lightly the Stenm Man. The old guide defended himself with desperheld in his grasp peered out as far as the dark-I n the human form there is always one leg ate energy, for he felt that thE> salvation of the ness would permit him weaker than the other, and the stronger limb will train depended upon his getting back to the I wish I could throw a light way out there,'" always swing around to the weaker; our genius wagons. he muttered, trying vainly to look into the trees knew this, and made one leg of his man stronger, His long rifle, wielded by the muscles of his of the furthest grove. "Ah, that was a pesky by throwing more steam power into the joints. powerful arms, swept a circle around him. good idea of that youngster what's got the Steam. It would then swing around to the less powerful Foes went down under the whistling stock like Man. He can foes and they can't see him." limb, and thus a curve could be described. grass before the scythe. He referred to the powerful headlight of the Just as he mounted the seat, three dark forms The old tiger was thoroughly aroused, and be Steam, Man, which, while it was sure to daz,.,Je the flitted through the trees near at hand, and slowly felt that be could not afford to die or allow himeyeB of those it flashed pon, revealed them tQ crept near. self to be taken prisoner just then. Frank while he remained unseen. Frank pulled his left rein in order to move He slashed away like a giant, and his foes Only the stars lit up the darkness, and their around to the right, and the man slowly lifted his leaped away from him. pale gleams could not dissipate the gloom caiiSed legs. It wasn't healthy to come within the wide sweep by the heavy foliaged trees of the groves. The shadowy forms leaped through the flickerof the heavy butt. A faint chirping sort of sound, somewhat lik& ing bars of light, and approached the maebiue. Opposing tomahawks and rifles went down the noise madE\ by a cricket, reached the trained The long, iron limbs slowly rose and fell, and like chaff before the strong sweep of Snap Carears of the man of metal moved around in the direction ter's rifle. To him, accustomed his life long to all sorts ot that Frank desired to go, A voice rang out. It was the same as that I signals made in imitation of birds, beasts, and in The forms rapidly drew near, an:l now darted which bad ealled for help, and it said: sects, such sounds were suspicious. swiftly forward. "Take that man alive. Don't fire on him." The chirping came from a point directly in ad Frank was about to throw on a good head of But Snap bad made u p h is m i nd that he would vance of him, and perhaps twenty yards distant .steam, when Jack Beales and two of his com pannot be taken alive The old guide lis t ened intently )

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Again came that sound, but now from a point equally distant, on the extreme right hand, al most on a line with the range of the wagons. "They're closin' in, I think," muttered Snap C!lrter. "I think I'll wait until I hear them upon the-" Just at that moment the chirp came from the extreme l e ft, and the n Cart e r spoke to the men: "Boys," he said, speaking low, and betraying no agitation. "Yes," said the men. "Don' t get Jlustered," said Snap;" but the truth of the matter is, that our enemies are on the right and l eft hand, and direct ly in front of ns. How many of 'em there is, no one knows, and we can't tell how pesky soon they may work around to the back and ha.ve us surroundedabove all tl*lgs, I caution yer to speak low." "What is to be done?" "Watch and wait," said Snap. There is no better words to hve and di e by I'd craw l out and try to scout around a bit, but then I might get scooped, and then it would be all day with you fallers. I must stand h ere and give my orders, or w e ll neve r leave this grove alive. Pass the question around the crowd: "Is every man fully armed and got enough ammunitioD.?" 'l'h e q llestion went a round, and the reply assured Carter that the emigrants were in good fighting order. Again that signal-like chirping broke the still n ess. As before, it came from the front, and was instantly answered from right and left, and a moment later came a faint chirp from the rear. The train was surrounded I What number of e nemi es were opposed to them they did not know, but could a light have b ee n thrown athwart the faces of the emigrants, many of them would h ave been found deadly pal e There is something terrible in being h em med in on all sides by foes. If your enemy is before you, then you can brace against some firm sup port, perhaps, and strike with the confident feel mg that your rear is safe, but when your foes are on all sides, then you feel shaky. You know not where to look for blows, and f ee l that you aro destined to be struck down from one quarter while d e fending yourself from another. A deep silence succeeded the chirping, and tbe emigrantA li s t et:ed so intently for the next sound they scarcely seemed to breathe. They were soon startled from the attitudes of attention. "Charge!" Loud and clear rang out the command on the night a ir. Scarce had it sounded, before Carter's voice hurled back a defiant shout. "It's Captain Slasher," he cried; "we've whip ped him before and we can do it again." Then there was a mighty rushing sound, as the red and white robbers poured down upon the train." From all sidee they came, yelling like a horde of unchained fien ds. "Steady men!" rang out the old guide. "Face front an' right an' left. Fire!" The order was qbeyed. Crash! Th rifles peeled out in a prolonged din; the bullets whistled and shrieked among the trees, and the hoarse cries of the wounded, the death yells of the slain, and the loud commands o! the leaders to continue the advance, told very plainly that Snap Carter had given a wise order. Still the horde of ruffians poured down upon \hem. "Fire!" This time the command was shouted out by Captain Slasher. Scarce had it left his lipe., ere Carter had yelled eut sharply: "Drop!, The men for the most part comprehended the danger, and understanding the flrder, fell quickly to the ground. Many lives were saved by the quick ord e r, but many a life was lost, nevertheless. The fire had only come from one quarter, and had been directed low so tha t the allies on the ethe r quarters should not suffer from the bullets of their fri ends. On came the robbers. The four divisi on s of the enemy could not close iB upon the emigrants while the wagons intervened, but that was what troubled the pioneers most. They feared for their wives and little ones, while they were forced to do battle against the nearer portion of the enemy. "Strike hard!" .ye lled Snap Carter, whose eyes were cat-li!(e in tbe darkness. "Strike for yer wives and little uns, and neYer say die !" His heavy rille was twist e d around his head as lightly as a dandy might twirl a cane. He leaped boldly away from hili men, and went crashing into the thickest of the enemy's ranks. Skulls w ere crashed like eggs beneath the mighty sweep of that skillfully -wi e ld e d rifle, and his foes went down before him lik e mere puppets Shouts and yells, c ries and shrieks, loud commands and pistol shots seemed fairly to clash together in the air. Blows were d espe r ate ly struek and were des perately parried even in the dark ness that hung over the grove. The marauding bands fought for plunder; the emigrants for their wives, ch ildren and liv es A rumbling sound pierced air, and made it self audible above the and din of the d es perate battle. The thundering sound of many iron -shod hoofs battering the ground came t.o the ears of the fighting guide, and a mom ent later the flashing glare of a score of torch es r evea led the approach of a mounted band of armed men. Like a resi stless torrent they swept down upon the outer ranks ef the enemy, their wild western cheer peeling out on the breeze. CHAPTER XXII. DASH HALLETT'S LAST SHOT. WHEN Frank was clutched by Beales and his twc:> comrades, he struggled desperately to free hims e lf from theil;.grasp. However, the boy wat powerless in their strong hands, and he soon found that he was exerting hims e!I in vain. "Hold still you whelp!" cried Beales. "Stop your squirrninl;h or I will draw my toothpick across your throat I Have you got any idea that you can getaway?" "What right have you to hold me?" cried Frank. The only right that is recognized on the plains," said Beales, "the ri ght of might; and that's t.he ticket that wins." "I n ever injured you," said the boy. "That don't make any odds," said the brutal Beales. I need this concE\rn of yours, and if it wasn't for the fact that I n eed you to run it, I d cut your throat!" This made Frank understand that h e was in the power of a man who would not \iesitate to shed blood if occasion demanded the taking of life. The Steam Man had come to a perfect stand-still, for the driver had only let on >mfficient steam to turn the pond erous old fellow around. The prairie racer stood m ot ionless, his fiery eyes gleaming out brightly into ihe dark night. The valves were hissing, showing the steam to be well up. Eve rything was in r ead iness for a swift and long run, but for all that Frank Reade would have preferred stopping just where he was, to traveling in such evil compuny. "Are you going to knuckle under?" asked Jack B eales He half drew a murderous-looldng knife from his belt, as h e asked the question, and he glared at the boy in such a cruel, manner that Frank's blood ran cold. 'What do you want me to do?" he asked. "Run this machine." "Where to?" Three Islands." I don't know where that is," said Frank. "I'll show you the way," said Beales. "Will you do it?" "I suppose I must," said the boy "Now you're talking," said the deserter. Can you start now?" "As soon as I see that my man is in right order," said Fra nk. H e wanted to get out of the clutches of his foes, hoping that some chance might come up which would enable him to get the b es t of them. How he longed to have on his steel shirt, and the two pocket batteries. With these death-dealing wires crossing his breast, they could not retain their hold upon him a second. If he could only get to )?is all-conta.ining trunk for two minutes he could ccare the three ruffians out of their wits, Jack Beales did not like the idea of letting the young genius be free for a moment. He respect ed the brains which had conceived the wonderful Steam Man, and he made up his mind not to give up his grip on the boy while tile latter was out of the wagon. Accordingly he lifted Frank from the body of the vehicle to the ground, and with his huge hand on the boy's collar, led him up to the Steam "There," he said, "make all the examination you want, but don t 9,et loose to cut any of your didoes on me. You ll get along with me well enough so long as you travel straight and obey orders, but just as soon as you tly to fool witk me you'll die. I'm a cussed rough customer to fool with, now, I tell you, so mind your eye." Frank saw that it was no use trying to work any dodge just then, so, after fumbling about the valves and draughts for a f ew moment, he said that all was correct. Jack Beales hoisted him up into the wagon again, which was pretty well crowded with. four and the many traps Fr-ank carried witn him. "How fast can you go?" asked Beales. "What rate of speed?" "Yes.'' "I could go fifty miles an hour." That's too thundering fast for such a night as this," said Beales. "In fact, I don't want to go half as fast. Just clap on enough steam to take us a b out fifte en or twenty, and that will suit me." "All right," said Frank, who hoped to throw the m somewhat off their guard by seeming cheerfu1ness in complying with their commands. "In what direction?" Do you see that star?" aJJked Beales. H e pointed to a large and very bright body in the sky. "1 do," said Frank. Th en travel towards it," said Beales. Frank turned on the steam carefully, and the man moved off at about the pace Jack Beales bad requested. 'l'he driver was perched upon his seat with his reins in his hands. Behind him stooiJ. the three brutes, weapons drawn. Frank understood that any attempt to prove f alse would be the signal for a bullet in hia brain. Many and many a time did he curse that little mishap which had brought the three brutal rob bers down upon him. A mile sped by, and half of another was finish ed, when a shot rang out, and a piercing shriek went up>to the sky. .. Dash Hallett and his two comrades had gone about three miles on their journey towards Indian village, when the shrill whistle of the Steam Man carne plainly to their earS: borne 0111 the still night air. They halted instantly. "That was the Steam Man," said Charley. "Right ye are," said Barney. "What did h e holl e r for?" demanded Dash I really don't know, unless Frank wanted us to come back for something," said Charley Gorse. "I think Frank must b e in some ldnd of trouole, and sound e d the whistle to recall us." "Faith an' must we go back?" groaned the Irishman. Och, tare an' ouns I h ere was rnesilf laughing to think of the illegant shindy that we moight be aftr flndin' in the village beyant, an' now we' ve got to turn tail." "Perhaps you'll find all the fighting you co uld ask for," said Charley. "Frank would hav e sounded that alarm unless he was in trou bl e ." "Then here goes for the boy," said Dash. "He's a trump, from the soles of his feet to the crown of his head, and he shan't send out a sig nal of distress in vain. He saved my life at the risk of his own, and while I live he .;hall never want a friend !" The two men and the boy then retraced their steps at a lively rate. They had walked for about ten minutes at a rapid, slinging walk, when a very bright light be carne visible far ahead. It was the double h ead -light streaming from the eyes of the Terror of the West. They pressed forward more quickly, and in a. f ew moments could hear the tra mping of the iron feet as the man of metal rushed over the plains. 1:11 They stood st;i.ll in their tracks. The Steam Man was on a line which would bring him past them at the distance of about a hundred fee t, and n o t knowing what was the condit.ion of affairs, they wisely stood aside. -. Onward came the monster. Dash Hallett cocked his rifle and waited pa tiently Soon the prairie traveler drew near, and then, by the light S'bed from the large steam-gauge, they could see the three men standing up behind Frank. One of them was holding on to Frank's coat collar, while a knif e was gripped in his hand. That was enough for Dash. He lifted his rifle took a quick aim, and fired The brute shrieked out, and then fell back deaa in the arms of Jack Beales, who pulled a heavy revolv e r from his belt, and glared out towards the little group: Frank became excited and pulled on one rein, the Steam Man swung around at the toueb,

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, --\ 20 THE STEAM MAN O F THE PLAINS. the brilliant headlight wru; directed full upon the lmnter, who still held his rille to his shoulder. J"acir. Beales' arm !lew out in a line from his 'boulder, the pistol was discharged, and Dash Hallett sank, wounded and dying, to the grassy pLain. CHAPTER XXIII. DASH HALLETT'S LEGACY. As Dash Hallett sank back dying to the ground, our young friend Charloy Gorse threw his rifie to his broad shoulder and covered the form of Jack Reeves A whip-like crack, sharp and clear, rang out, and then the deserter tumbled over backward to the plain, his life going out before his falling body reached the ground. The remaining robber leaped from the wagon, and tried to run awav. "Oh, no, me foine laddy," cried Barney, start1ng after him on a full jump, and brandishing his well-used blackthorn stick. "This would be slightin' us, do ye see. We couldn't think o' partin' wid ye, not jist now, anyhow." And then he leaped upon the fiying man and ID.ads a olio at him with his shillelah. The man turned and drew his knife, which pleased Barney very much. "An' it's a foine boy ye are," he said, making another clip at the enemy's head, which the latter blocked with his drawn blade. "Ye have the rale stuff in ye, and I'll fight fairer wid ye for. that same. Howld on one breath, and I'Ll throw me stick away." The fearless fellow really would have thrown his shill@lah away, and fought the outlaw with his knife, to show his approval, if the robber had given him time. "Go to thunder, you blundering Irish fool," he cried, and leaped upon Rooney with upraised knifs, his aim being to get inside guard formed by the Irishman's stick. Take that!" He made a desperate plunge at the Patlander, but Rooney, although unablo to bring his shille lah into guard quickly enough to stop the blow, m&naged to defend himselr equally as well by kicking out witt!. a will. His heavy boot struck tha descending blade from the hand of his foe. The man dropped to thQ ground as if shot, and the knife WPnt whistling into the air. Barney W'l!.s about to step forward to examine his prostrate opponent, when the hand of the rob bor fiew up and Barney Shea caught the blue gleam of a pistol-barrel. It is doubtful whether the man had effected his drop in any quicker time than our Irish friend ex eouted his. He realizeld that the pistol would go off, and that in all probability the muzzle would be point ed at his body, therefore he wisely concluded to fall as fiat as a pancake, and to do so as quickly !IS possible. So down went Barney Shea, and at the same moment the pistol went off. The ballfiew harmlessly above the form of the shrewd Irishman, and in less than a moment Barney was upon his feet. He dashed down upon the enemy like some infuriated race-horse, and before the fellow could rise, the son ot the Emerald Isle was showering blows upon him. Take that-and that--and that !" cried he, bclltowing his cracks with a liberal hand. "I thought ye wor a mon a!ther me own heart, but I foind that ye're a murtherin' spa!peen at best. Do ye call that any sott of a dacint way to do? Flop yerself down upon the grass loike ye're wounded or dead, and thin whin a mon is com ing up tG wake ye, what do ye do but whock wid a big pistol and bang away at him. I thought ye war a. mon worthy to be a descindant from Kil kenny whin ye faced me insuch foine sthyle, but now I foind that ye're only a big throtter after alL Taste o' that, and tell me, darlint, do ye loike the flavor?" And while talking he had been constantly showering his hearty blows over the body, head, and shoulders of the robber, until the latter rolled from undur the shillelah and nimbly leaped away from the Irishman. Barney leaped after him, but the fellow had put on o.n extra bur-st of speed, and the Irishman was unable to catch him, so ho gave up the chase and came back, muttering: "Onyhow, bedad, his head'll be afther aching for six weeks to come, an' there's a devilish little va.rtue in a blackthorn sthick. Shure it was only a bog throtter he was, afther all, so he was hardly an equal match for one of the Sheas." As 11oon as the last of his enemies had vacated the wagon Frank Reade shut off every particlQ of steam and leaped to the ground. He ran to the spot where Charley Gorse was now supporting the form of Dash Hallett. The head of the dying bunter was pillowed on Charley's shouldE'r, while the boy's tears fell upon the trapper's upturned face. They had not known each other long, but their acquaintance had begun amid wildest danger, and when brave hearts meet under such circum stances the tie contracted is usually as true and strong as could be the triel. friendship of calm and uneventful years. "Poor Dash," murmured Charley. "Can't I do something for you?" "No, boy,'' returned the hunter, "my call has been trumpeted and I've got to obey the great captain of rangeJOS. I haven't anything to regret, except that I should like to have died in a square stanu up fight. But. I'm glad I wasn't put under by a redskin. I'd rather die by the hand of a white man, for the reds would be cruwin' for a if they'll put Da-sh Hallett out of the way. Where is he?" "Who?" asked Frank, who was now bending over the dying plainsman. "The man who shot me "Lying by the wagon, with Charley's bullet through his skull," said Frank. Then I'm satisfied," said Dash. I can call it a square deaL" Frank thrust his hand under the blood-stained shirt of the hunter and felt for the wound. He had but little dift'lculty in finding the hole, for it was a large, ragged cut, that was big enough to let out a dozen lives. "It's no use, my boy," taid Dash. "I've got my last sickness, and nothing on earth can keep me from the happy hunting grounds. Ain't it so?" "I'm afraid you've got your death wound," said Frank. Of course I have-who's that?" For just at that moment came the cowardly plli tol shot fired by the outlaw. Frank could not tell, but the next moment he and the rest hearil Barney's voice uttering excla mationlJ as he rained blows upon the robber In a few moments the Irishman came up td them panting and puffing, his shillelah besmeared with blood from the nose of his foe. "Tare an' ouns I and is he kilt?" he asked, gazing upon Dash, who lay upon Charley's broad shoulder with closed eyes. "Hush,'' said Frank. Hallett opened his eyes. "Yes, I'm going, Barney," he said. "The trum pet has sounded and I must go home. Before I go I want to say something. I've got semething to leave. What do you call it?" "A Jeooacy," said Frank. "That's it," said Hallett. I'm dying, and I don't want to die unless I can leave things settled in some sort of shape. In the first place I want you all to promise me that ye'll not desett poor Fitznoodle. I want you to see that poor greeny back to the border towns. Will you all promise?' They all gave him their solemn promise not to desert Fitznoodle. 'Now that you've agreed to do that I'll talk about my legacy," said Dash. "Frank, put your hand inside my vest." Frank did so. "Do you find a little pocket?" "Yes." ",Feel inside and you'll come across a fiat tin tobacco box." "I have it!" said Frank. He drew forth the tobacco-box, and handed it to Dash. "No, I can't open it now," said the dying hunt er, handing the box back to him. The strength has gone from my flngevs. Open it." Frank obeyed. I A small sheet of pn.per, carefully folded, lay in the bottom of the box. "Have you got the paper?" asked "Yes. Then you've got the map that'll guide you to the spot where ten thousand dollars in gold has been buried for two years," said Hallett. "It was in the charge of a fellow that hired me to\) go across the plains with him. I never knew who he was, or what he was, or to whom the money belonged, for he never told me. We had a light wagon and two good horse.!!, and I've often thought as how he stole the money from some express company. Well, we was attacked, and this fellow was killed ; so was the horses. I fought like a crazy man; there waR only three reds, and I laid them all out, although I got fear fully wounded. I was too badly wounded to carry any money away with me, so I lived on the provisions in the wagon for a few days, then buried the gold, and managed to limp away, first making a rough sketch of the place where the gold was sunk. I was lucky enough to fall in with a friendly tribe of reds after a few days, : and just as I thought I was going under, I was saved. Boy, jest open that paper." Frank carefully removed the paper from the box and unfolded it. "I have opened it." "Can you make out the sketch?" "Yes." ",But the locality ain't ma-rked, is it?" asked the dying hunter. Frank looked closely. "No,'' he said, "you have marked everything in plain style, but where is the place?" "Mark it down," said Hallett. "Go direct te Lhe grove called Three Islands." "Goon." "Then take up a course west by sou-west." "West by sou-west," repeated Frank, marking the directions down. "And follow it for just about two hundred miles "Yes." "Then you come to a grove like Three Islands. "Yes." "And in that grove runs a stream," feebly continued the dying man. There's a tall cotton wood grows by the bank of the strett.m, right hand facing the sun. When the sun is about an hour high, you can see the shad01v of the truuk ex tend over some rocks in the water. Under the furthest rock that the shadow touches lays the gold." He paused a moment. "Have you got it all?" "Yes," said Frank. "Then good-bye," said the hunter. "Take care of that greeny, and you're welcome to enjoy that gold between you. Good-bye." And then the eyes closed, the hands relaxed, and Dash Hallett, brave, true son of the western prairies, passed quietly away to the land of shadows. They made him a grave beneath the green sods of the prairies he had roamed for many long years, and the virgin soil was moistened by their sad, heart-born tears. CHAPTER XXIV. THE NIGHT BATTLE. LIKE a devastating hurricane the rngers, under the lead of Bill Carter and Barry Hale, poured down upon he Brethren of the Plains. Then hoarse cheers, sounding like the trumpet note of doom, rang and vibrated through the arches of the groves. Their lurid torches lit up the scene with a wild, unearthly radiance. The robbers, red and white, well knew the meaning of that terrible cheer. It said as plainly as words could say, that their deadliest enemies were pouring down upon them, eager for their blood, determined to sweep them from the face of the earth. They recognized the cry, and knew the men from whose throats it pealed. These were no green emigrants, who, however brave they might be, were unused to the tactics of prairie warfare, but a band of well-armed and trained J?lainsmen, terrible fighters, dead-shots, perfect nders, and as fearless as the grizzlies of the moll,ntains Therefore they grew appalled when the shout saluted their ears, and when Harry Hale and his brave followers poured down upon them with pistol, rille and knife, they wore too much terri fied to fight. Their ranks were broken, they were thorough ly demoralized, and their leaders were unable to collect them quickly enough to make a stand. Captain Slasher struck down an Indian who had turned to fly "Halt!" be shouted, trying to stem the tide 'vith his authoritative tones. "We are to their one yet, and we can whip them." "There he is!" shouted Bill Carter. He touched Harry Hale on the arm. "W"ho?" "Captain Slasher."' "Where?" demanded the delective. That chap yonder fiourishing a knife. That trapper bad no time to say more, for the enemy, partially reassured by" Captain Slasher and his orders, began to strike back blow for blow, and Bill Carter was in receipt of delicate and per sonal attention from three tall sons of the weiltern wilds. Harry Hale shot one glance of fierce hatred at Captain Slasher, and then threw up his carbine and fired At the same moment the captain raised his knife to strike down an emigrant. The bullet struck the kni fe, turned the b lade aside, and glancing from the flashing steel sank into the body of the Osage brave. I I l I )

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THE STEAM MAN OF THE PLAINS. With a cry of anger, the detectiv41 spurred his horse forward. He vainly endeavored to reach the fighting cap tain. At every point he was barred by a flying and .struggling mass of men. Try as lle would he could not reach the man who h .. d slain his brother. The surging mass would roll between, and he 'Tas forced to strike down those nearest to him without being able to Feach his hated enemy. "Snap." The cry came shrilly to the ears of the guide as he gathered his host around the wagons and ordered them to stand by the train. "Here I" shouted the old man. "H's me, Bill," camo back to him. "Come and join us screamers." I'm thar !" yelled the old guide. "Boys, that's my brother calling, and the old man has got to go. Don't any of you stir from the train without my orders And then the old screamer bounded away. The men stood firmly by the wagons, while the bullets whistled and sang a death melody over their heads. Not more than thirty feet away from them waged a fierce conflict The many toreheR had been thrust in crevices and boughs, and now shed over the field of bat till a lurid glare. The detective was vainly striving to reach his llnemy. Captain Slasher caught of the brave little fellow, and seemed to return his warm hatre d. He shook his knife in the air, and Hale an swered the salute of enmity with his broad bowie. They pressed towards each other. Still the surging crowd of men and horses kept ..hem apart. "Do y0u want me?" shouted the captain. "I wanli your life I" shrieked Hale. "Come and take it!" said Slasher, and then he leaped forward to get clear from his man The detective worked towards him just as rap idly, and in a few moments more two brave men met. They glared at each other a moment in deep silence. I never saw you," said the captain, seeming to respect his foe's appearance. "Who are you?" The brother of the detective you filled with bullets," said Hale. "Draw your knife." I will," said the other; and his weapon flashed in his hand. "You're a game sort of a rooster, and I'm glad to meet you. Pitch in, Banty." They rushed upon each other. Their opposing blades met with a slash, and the sparks seemed to fairly stream from the steel. Around them the battle raged with unabated fury. The hoarse cries of the wild western boys an the shouts of the Indians. Tlie orders of the savage chieftains were met by the commands of the two Carters, who were fighting side by side, hewing and cutting like woodmen. Savage yells and English blasphemies, shots and blows, stabs and kicks; the neighina and plunging of the maddened horses; the mad shouts of their excited riders; all went to make up a scene that, once beheld, must live for years in memory. cannot do justice to a picture that the artist's pencll cannot truthfully portray, so the full horrors of the scene can be better guessed by the reader than eonveyed by the writer. The tide of battle was slowly but surely setting in toward the wagons, and the hardy emigrants resting on their loaded weapons, awaited impa tiently for the moment they should be commanded to fall upon the hated marauders of the plains. They dared not fire now, for their bullets might as well strike friend as foe, so they were foreed to await the approach of the foe to strike blow for blow, with clubbed gun, pistol butt, or gleaming bowie. Amid such surroundings as these, Harry Hale and Captain Slasher closed for a deadly encounter. They were both brave men, brave even to reck lessness, and they were both young, strong, and skilled in the use of the blades they wielded. They rather respected each other, for they mu tually recognized a foe worthy of their steel. Hale was the smaller man, and much more nimble than his antagonist The detective fairly showered blows upon the outlaw eaptain, but the latter met his thrusts with a firm guard and a true eye. At every point Hale endeavored to thrust he was met by tbe long, heavy blade w)lich was so skillfully hani!led by his foe. Blow after blow was rapidly made, and as rap idly were they parried Then the order of the battle between these two skill"d combatants changed. Hale fell back to gain breath. Captain Slasher immediately assumed the offensive, and the detective was forced to defend himself from skillull blows But he was well versed in handling the long knife, a.E.d met the captain with such coolness and steadine&s that he excited the admiration of his larger opponent. "You're worthy of my steel and no mistake," he said, looking admiringly apon the little detective. "Now, mind your eye. I warn you that I am going to try a trwk up::m you." Thus warned by his generous enemy, Hale kept his eyes open to some purpose, for he was not one of those people who affect to disregard a word of cautio n. Captain Slasher steppe
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r 22 THE STEAM MAN OF THE PLAINS. stock in trade carried by these rough-and-ready gentlemen of the plains. Every man had at least one pack, as we have said, and some of them took real pride in carrying separate "decks," sorted for some one of the various games they played. Near the tree, under whieh the wounded captain was reclining, were Motzer-Ponum, .rolah fresser, the grave and austere Sholum Alarkum, and at least half a dozen of the principal braves ef the Osage and Sioux tribe. Motzer-Ponum 's pock-marked face was further lieautifled by a neat slash, which promised to leave a livid scar when it should heal. Sholum Alarkum was spattered with blood, but was unhurt. Tolah-fresser carried his right arm in a sling, and held a consoling pipe with his left hand, from which he puff e d huge volumes of blue smoke. "Well," said Captain Slasher, breaking in upon a moody silence which had hung over the group for some time, "we didn't succeed quitf3 so well as we expected." "We got whipped candidly put in the pluoky Mutseer, who bore several marks of the battle in which he had taken a very active part, "and if we'd stayed there longer I think we'd been killed." "We were deceived," said Sholum Alarkum. "How?" demanded Slasher. "We expected lo meet only emigrants, and we were forced to fight against those wild rangers ugh!" And the chieftain shuddered, as though he was much disgusted with the terrific fighting qualities of the fire-eaters. "We would have scooped them, but for Carter and his band," 11aid Slash!lr. "And what will you do now?" The question came from Mutseer. "I don't really know what to do," moodily an swered the captatn. "I don't want to give up what I'm after, and yet there's too. many old plainsmen there for me to tackle." "That is, to meet them in a fair, sq11are, open tight?" "Exactly." "Suppose you oould trap them?'' "What?" cried Slasher. "I say, suppose you could trap them-what the n?" i" rhe Indian, one of the most crue l and crafty of his race, leaned forward eagerly. "What then?" repeated the captain. Why, I'd gobble 'em up, I "Yes, I know,' said Mutseer;."butwhat will you give me?" "For eatohing the rats?" "Yes." What do you want?" "One hundred doYars." Wha.t'll you do with it? "I want to buy something I saw at the big set \lement." If yQu can do anything that will place the box that contains the money into my hands, you shall have thai; amount of money, even if I have to pay ;you out of my "You promise?" I do, and my word is just about a.s good as t.b.ree of your oaths." The treacherous Mutseer grinned. "Never mind,'' he said, "I can stick to my word, whether I do or not; and if you promise me faithfully that you'll give me one hundred dollars, whether yoa get the box or not, I'll un dertake to carry out my idea. They shall be driven into a. trap." "You want me to promise to give you the money, whether I get the box or not?" "Just so,'' said Mutse er. "That's cheek:y,'' said Slasher. "Not at all,'' said the Indian robber. "And why ain't it?" "I didn't engage to give the box in your hands, did I?" "No." "Didn't say that I could show you how to get the box?" "No." "Then there's no cheek about it," said the wily red-skin. I don't claim to be able to ob llain the box for you, for I can't do it. I'm talk ing about what I can do, and will do, if you come to my terms. You say that you can't meet the wild rangers in a fair open fight, so I say that I will drive them into a trap for you. I shall not stir one step towards the thing unless I have your promise of the money, no matter what comes up." And why should you demand a price for the Because I shall risk my life," replied the In4tan. In entrapping them?" "Yes," said Mutseer. "In fact, to tell the pro bable truth, I don't think I shall live to claim your money. But I want the hundred dollars, and I will risk my life for it." Motzer Ponum, who spoke extremely bad En glish, and very little at that, could not understand what was being said; neither could near ly all of his braves. The Sioux, from associating with the white robbers for so long a tim e, had all J:>ecome fluent in the use of English, and those who were yet awak:e clustered around the two speakers, regarding Mutseer with an inquisitive stare. "I think I know what you would do," said To lah-fresser, speaking to Mutseer. "What?" "Drive them into the Wolf's Mouth,'' returned his red brother. "Right," said Mutseer. "But how do you think i t can be done?" I don't think it can,'' said Tolah-fresser. "They are not fools. They see as plain as you, and they do not travel at night. If you forced them in it would have to be done in day light, and I don' t think you can do it." I can,'' confidently asserted Mutseer. "And if I can do it cannot escape." "That is sure," said Tola.h-fresser. "Once 'in the Wolf's Mouth they are gone. Ten men would be enough to j{eep them in there until they would give up." "Is that so?" cried Captain Slasher. "It is true," said Musteer. "Then I'll give you my w01:d that you shall have the mon<>y if you'll drive the train into that trap,'' said Slasher. "Done," said Mutse e r, and the comp ct was made. Mutseer turned to Tolah-fresser. I shall want you and three braves to go with me," he said. I will leave to you tb.e ta.sk of picking out three young warriors who are fleet as the deer and tireless as the buffalo. Now I must sleep. Keep awake, captain, and when its thirteen o'clock I want you to wake me up and call the Medicine man of the Osages." And then, having given his orders lik:ea leader, the cruel and crafty Mutse e r rolled himself in his blanket, tumbled over and went to sleep. CHAPTER XXVI. MUTSEEB'S DEVICE, THE gray dawn of morning stole over the vast plains, and sent a revealing light uvon the scene described below. Mutse er, accompanied by four of his brethren, was slowly riding over the plains toward a sec tion where an imm ense herd of buffaloes rested. Over the haunches of Mutseer's horse there was slung a bison skin, having the head, ears and horns complete. When about a mile from the spot where the leader of the vast herd lay sleeping, the master spirit drew rein. "I will le ave my horse here," he said to his companions, dismounting from the steed and re the buffalo skin. "You can now divide and gam the rear of the herd, and begin firing just ll.'l soon as you can get in range. I shall be ready. Don't forget your orders. Keep them on the right course at any risk." His mim dashed away. Two went to the right and two to the left, and by describing a half circle they could reunite on the other side of the herd. Mutseer spoke to his horse, and the trained beast immediately crouched down and was well hidden in the grass. Then the treacherous Sioux, one of the most cunning of his race, threw his bison-skin over his shoulder and tramped away in the direction of the herd. H e approached within a half mile of the fore most ones, and then proceeded to envelope him self in the skin. The head, ears and horns set completely over him. The cl.isguise was quite and at a little distance could deceive the bisons into tb.e belief that the y l ooked upon one of their number. Having arranged the disguise upon his form, the Indian went down upon all -fours and took an attitude which made it appear that he was grazing. His followers were now approaching the vast army of beasts from the opposite sidfl. They had the advantage of the wind, and in a few moments were enabled to draw very close to the beasts without these latter scenting their ap proach. Then they began firing rapidly from their rifles. The startled brutes leaped to their feet, and for a moment they all stood irresolute. The l eaders threw up their heads and sniffed the air Bang-bang I came the rapid shots. Two of the beasts tumbled over lifeless to thEJ plain. Thd leaders gazed behind them, and then they caught sight of their moume d foes. The alarmed animals see no way of escape better than in the direction of the disguised In dian, who is apparently feeding on the grass. They rush towards him, and he, taking to flight, dashes with the speed of a fore;;t deer to where his fleet horse lay crouching amid the tall weeds. This was the full purpose of Mutseer's neat de vice, for which he had secured the aid of com rad es The great object to be attained, to sucoessfully carry out his plan, was to get the great herd of buffaloes started in the direction he desired. He was very fleet of foot, and managed to keep a head of the frightened animals without great exertion. He soon reached his horse, flung the bison skin scross his haunches, mounted the animal, and dashed off at a good sp eed towards the south west. Onward came the mighty army of their leaders forced to maN:l.tain the start they had taken, for, if thAy paused but for a moment, the thousands of maddened brutes behind them would tmmple them to death beneath their flying feet After them came the four Indians, firing and yelling, and keeping the herd on the course de sired by Mutseer. The morning deepened, and the sunlight flll.'lh ed over the plains. Suddenly Mutseer gave utterance to 11o sound that indicated satisfaction. Far ahead, perhaps three miles away, the treacherous Sioux could descry the long wagon, train winding its slow journey over the prairies. Good I" he exclaimed ; they are directly on the track. They will be forced fairly into the trap." He glanced behind him. The buffaloes were coming on with their steady, lonoogallop. He put spurs to his horse, and the fleet steed seemed to acarcely touch the ground as it bounded along, stretching over the roll ing prairie like a rac e-horse gliding over a smooth course. He gained rapidly upon the slow-moving train. I n a very few moments he had gained a posi tion abreast with the train, and about half a mils on their right hand. He could see that he was noticed by the emi grants, and rising in his saddle, Mutseer pointed to the herd, which was now booming along about a mile in his rear. At the same moment the thunder of their hoofs upon the hard plain was borne to the ears of the two Carters, who rode at the head of the train. Then M utseer heard their orders ring out on the air, and immediat
PAGE 23

.. who could easily be concealed in the huge clefts f the train. Snap Carter's eyes blazed as he noticed the band filing out of the blind pass, and an anxious ex pression crossed his face when they took up their position. "Good God!" he exclaimed Harry Hale, who was leaping along at the side .of the guide, looked at him in surprise. "What's the matter?" 1 rcarter pointed to the pass, and then to the men stationed on either hand of the rocky entrance. That's a blind pass," he said. "I know it as well as I know myself, for I come very near cavin' in that about a year ago ; them two spurs o' rook jine and rise up, and it' s a regular trap. If we're forced in that hole we shall never git out ag'in without help from the outside." "Let me charge them with my band of screamers," cried Hale. "It would be a wa!!te o' life,'' sternly said the While you was tackling them and fight mg for nothing, the buffaloes would force us in just the same, and you d lose men for nothing." "Then we're trapped,'' said Hale. "So it seems." I don't like to be snared without striking a lblow." "Neither do I," said Snap. "I ain't that kind <>fa man, but the lives of these men and women .are in my hands, and I mustn' t throw 'em away. We must go in that trap, and trust to luck to get out again. This is a neat plan, nicely laid, and very well carried out; and we're in for it." They dashed along in moody silence, every man holding one hand upon his knife or pistol, ready to repel attack if the divided horde in front of them flhould pour down upon them. "This is horrible,'' said Hale, looking back over his shoulders at the buffaloes. "How are we to escape them even now?" "By the pass," said Soan. "But won t they "If they do it will be by climbing overthe dead bodies of their brother beasts," replied the guide. "'As soon as the train is fairly in the pass, you and your men must guard the mouth and shoot down :anything, man or beast, that comes within range." The four Indians in the rear of the madly plunging buffaloes kept firing and yelling at the frightened beasts, and caused them to continue on in an undeviating line for the spurs of rock. On their horses sat the red and w te men under {)Ommand of Slasher and the rave Sholum Alarkum, motionless as statues, and as grim in appearance. The pass was reached. Snap Carter swerved aside and allowed the fore most wagons to drive rapidly Into the defile. The wagons all dashed in at a rapid rate, and Immediately after the last one of the long train :had passed in, the rough-and-ready rangers took up their position with cocked rifles, ready to defend the rocky entrance at any cost The buffaloes rushed up at a terrific pace, and crashed out in deadly tones. The l eaders dropped dead before the steady aim cl the western sharpshooters, and then the vast !terd divided and coursed away to the right and left, causing the Brethren of the Plains to take to their heels. Just as this took place, there came a familiar .sound to the ears of the strong, brave men who the pass The shrill whistle of the T erro r of the West i!'Qng out, and the Steam Man dashed up to them ln"er the plains. CHAPTER XXVII. FIFTY MILES AN HOUR. F"RANK sat on the seat, guiding the'huge man "With practiced hands, while behind stood Charley
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