Frank Reade, Jr.'s clipper of the prairie; or, Fighting the Apaches in the Far Southwest

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Frank Reade, Jr.'s clipper of the prairie; or, Fighting the Apaches in the Far Southwest

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Title:
Frank Reade, Jr.'s clipper of the prairie; or, Fighting the Apaches in the Far Southwest
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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University of South Florida Library
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University of South Florida
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All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
R17-00064 ( USFLDC DOI )
r17.64 ( USFLDC Handle )
024921514 ( Aleph )
64587075 ( OCLC )

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'"'Noname's" Latest and Best Stories ar e Published in This Library. Entered acco1ding to the Act of Congnss, in the veu1 189!, by FRANK J.'OUSEY, in the office of the Librarian of Cono,ess, at Washington, D C Frank ReadeJ Jr.'s CLIPPER oF THE PRAIRIE; or, Fighting the Apaches in the Far Southwest. B y NONAME."

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f 2 FRANK READE, JR. 8 CLIPPER OF 'l'HE PRAIRIE. 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, New York. Box 2730. Frank Reade, Jr.'s Clipper of the Prairie; OR, FIGHTING THE APACHES IN THE FAR SOUTHWEST. By'' NONAME," Author of "Frank Reade, Jr., and His New Electric Air-Ship the 'Eclipse,'" etc. CHAPTER I. THE LOST T&OOP. A S'fARTLING report from Gen. Crook had reached Washington. It bad come by courier from the Magallon range of mountains in \he heart of Arizona, wllere the U. S. troops bad I.Jeen llgllting the hostile Apaches for many weeks. A certain body of cavalry, Troop H, had In a most mysterious manner, and as effectually as if wiped from the face or tpe earth forever. 'l'he fastnesses o( that mighty region could well conceal many a ter rible deed wbicb migllt never come to light. Troop H, commanded by brave Lieut. Rinks, had ridden into the hills and bad never returned. Old plainsmen said that they bad probably been annihilated by the Apaches, and that their bodies would some day be found in some re mote region. But Gen. Crook would not believe this. He was determined to find the actual remains of Rinks' command before accepting tlle fact. So scouts were dispatcheJ. in all directions, and every efl'ort was made to learn the fate of Troop H. But in vain. Stray Apacbes were captured and almost tortured to compel them to talk. But th\)ir lips remained sealed. The disappearance of Troop H was a mystery which no ordinary efiort could ever solve. Satisfied of this, Gen. Crook wa! in a very much distracted state of mind. In bib extremity Allen Vane, a young walked into his tent one day and saluted him. ''Gen. Crook, I would beg a few words with you." "Sergeant Vane, I salute you. What is your errand!" The sergeant seated himself upon a camp stool and s a id: "You have not as yet learned the fate of Troop H?" "No.'' "I think I can give you a plan whereby their fate can btl sa!ely as certained without the Joss of a man and a death blow given o the band or Alchise.'' Gen. Crook looked at the subordinate in amazement. "That is an extraordinary statement!" he sai
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/ t FRANK READE, JR.'S CLIPPER OF THE PRAIRIE. 3 He hobb!ed his mustan!!:, and turned it loose to graze. Theu he unrolled his lllanket and made a bell untler a branch of Spanish bayonet. He made a lunch upon some strips of dried butlulo meat and some biscuits, carried in his saddle bags. The sergeant slept soundly until the sun was high again. Then he awoke slowly, and with a curious feeling of Impending danger. He opened his eyes. And before he moved a finger a sound constrained him to remain motionless in his present po11ition. It was the sound of voiCtJs and from the guttural tones he knew that they belonged to Apaches. Peering through the foliage be saw a thrilling sight. Seated about the bubbling spring and partaking of its cooling wa ters were fully a score of Apache fiends. He was completely surrounded. Thjl horror of the situation was upon him. The movement of a finger, the slightest sound would be apt to be tray bis to them. This meant death. The emotions of the young can hardly be imagined. lie lay motionless and watched the foe. It seemed an eternity to him ere they maJe any change of position. Then he saw their ponies tethered near. The chief was a tall pow erful savage with a cruel face. Vane recognized him. "Alchise!" he muttered. Tllis was a scoutmg party of the famous Alchise band no doubt. They had made a temporary visit to the spring. The sergeant could only hope that they would continue on without discovering him. This was his only hope of escape. And fortune sided with him. They som: showed sigus of this purpose. They began to mount. And now Vane beheld the sight which nigh froze the blood in his veins and held his senses enthralled. Among the ponies was one upon which sat a young white girl, whose wondrously beautiful face was pallid and drawn with awful hor She was a captive in the power of the cruel chief Alcbise. The chivalrous young sergeant at that moment came near precipitating matters and bringing death down upon him. CHAPTER II. THE CLIPPER OF TilE PRAIRIE. "MY God!" Vane had thoughtlessly gasped; "that is awful! It must not be!'' Fortunately the Apaches were making so much noise themselves that he was not heard. Theu a sense of the folly of attempting single-banded to rescue (he fair captive dawned upon Vane "No use,'' he retlectell; "I shoulll be instantly killed. I must uot be rash if I woul c l save her." Vane had been long enough in service to be quite familiar with the ways of scouts . He forgot all about his appointment with Fran!' Reade, Jr., in Tuc son. It could not be of as much importance. He must not think of any-thing else but the saving of this young girl. He was shrewd enough to remain quiet where he was until the sav-ages took tlleir departure. Then, when the coast was clear, he leaped up. "Now to trail them!" he whispered. This would be no light task. Tbe Apaches were a dangerous crew to trail. Every few miles a rear guard was left In ambush to guard against trailers. It was fortunate that Vane was possessed of this knowledge. Else he would have fallen a victim to a trap. Day and night for three days he followed the rascally crew. They were now at the very base of the Magallan Mountains when a thrilling thing occurred. The Apaches were camping just at nightfall in the verge of some chaparral. Vane succeeded in penetrating almost in their rear. "To-night," he muttered, "I must try aDnderful affair. Its shape was that of a !JUga car upon four wheels or steel with grooved tires of hardest ruhber. The body was long aud shaped at the rear, not unlike the stern of a schooner. This was or thinly rolled plates or steel able to resist a rltle ball. There was a large section or window of glass amidships which was protected by a netting of steel. A window forwud, and one behind was provided for in the same manner Forward was also a long steel ram with a keen blade. On the prow above rested a I' ht steel gun, which threw a dynamite projectile with ease a mile, be g worked upon the pneumatic principle. This Is a description or the main body of the Clipper. But above this was built a long cabin extending from bow to stern of the machine. This was made of plates of steel, and in It were windows and a door leading out upon a narrow platform along which ran a guard rail. Above was a row or dead eye windows and yet above this was an upper cabin protected by a steel netting inpervious to a ritle ball. 'l'iptop of all were two small domes, or conning towers, wiLh dead eye windows. There was also au upper deck, with a hand rail about it. Forward on this deck was the pilot-house, and above it a search light or mighty power. This completefl the external description of the machine. Internally it was a wonder. Upon entilring the main cabin a daintily !urn ished saloon was seen. Of course it was small, but exquisite, nevertheless. Two more com partments contained the sleeping berths forward, and the cook room aft. Then below, in the main body of the vehicle, was the dynamos, and all the delicate e!e(:tric machinery w!Jich made the Clipper go. 'l'his was all very wonderful to look at. By means of this machinery the Clipper could attain terrific speed. In the pilot-house, forward, was the steering gear, or a wheel, which turned the forward axle, il[.ld directed the course of the machine. Besides Frank Reade, Jr., the occupants of the Clipper were Barney and Pomp an Irishman and a negro. Both were genial and comical souls and as as steel to their em ployer. They greeted Sergeant Vane warmly as he sprang aboard the Clipper. "l'se glad to see yo', sah," declared Pomp, with a comical grin. Begorra, we Inked fer yez in 'l'ucson," declared Barney. "I was unable to meet you there," and Vane described why. The explanation was satisfactory. Barney and Pomp were instantly vastly interested in the affair. Meanwhile Frank Reade, Jr., had turned the conrso of the Clipper, and was thundering in pursuit of the Apaches. It was a hot run, but the savages were too near the hills to be capt ured. They managed to dodge into a canyon and all escaped. A futile search was made for them. The disappointment of Vane could not be expressed in words. Well, that is too bad," he declared; "rate is agamst us!" "Don't despair," said Frank with twinkljng eyes. "We'll overtake them yet.'' The canyon trail was too rough for the machine to travel over. But Frank Frank Reade, Jr., was not to be so easily defeated. He turned the Clipper down the valley and sought for another means of entrance to the hills. Not two miles below another canyon was found. Into this the young inventor sent the Clipper. It was wide and had a tloor as smooth as could be. Over this the machine QOW!ed in a lively fashion. Between mighty walls of smoothest the Clipper ran for some miles. Then suddenly a remarkable scene burst into view. Before them lay a mighty plain environed by high mountains. Its surface was as smooth as a lloor and no living green thing grew npon it. "Golly!'\ cried Pomp, excitedly, as this scene burst into view, "am not dis a berry wonaerful ting!''

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FRANK READE, JR.'S CLIPPER OF THE PRAIRIE. "Begorra, it's quare enuffl'' agreed Barney. There's divil a thing cud live fer shure!'' ".A Valley of Desolation!" cried Vane. "I have hea rd of the ex istence of this place. It is believed to have once bee n tlle bed o f a mountain lake.'' "Certainly a remarkable frl'ak of nature," agreed Frank R e ade, Jr. But 1 do not see anything of the Apaches.'' "Yet they must have crossed this plain. All the canyons lead to it.'' Have you any idea as to the exact location of the st. rongbold or rancheria of the Chief Alchise?'' asked Frank. "But a vague idea. Do you see 1 yonjler fiat-topped mountain!" "Yes.'' "It seems to be the highest hereabouts. Now it is my idea that somewhere about there is some fastness. Troop H,if alive, are still holding the Apaches at bay.'' Then your theory is that they are besieged!" "Yes.'' Frank Reade, Jr., was thoughtful. There are many ways in which the troop could disappear, an d it is possible that it is still in existence, ' be said after awnile. "Is not this Gen. Crook's theory?" "It is,'' replied Sergeant Vane. "We will then endeavor to learn as quickly as possible ltow much of truth there may be in the premise,'' said Frank. It will save time to combine tile two expeditions, tbe rescue of the captive maiden and the finding and relief or Troop H.'' Vane looked dubious. But--" be began. "Well, what!" I suppose I ought to report to Gen. Crook befo attempting any move of the sort.'' Scarcely were the words out of his mouth when a startling sound was heard in their rear. Frank turned quickly. "I am afraid you will not be able to report very soon," he said. All eyes were turned t:>ack down the canyon and a thrilling sight it was which they beHeld. There, far up on the canyon walls, were visible a myriad of forms. Down through the air were hurtling mighty bowlders which fell with a terrific crash upon the canyon lloor. They were Apaches engaged in au attempt to, if possible, fill up the canyon and block an outward passage. 'I Pressing a small button the result was som e thing terrific. 'here was a r e coil, a hissing sound, and then from tile cliff above tll e re arose a volcano like burst of thunder. The bodies of .Apaches were hurled high in the air, together with tons of loose earth and rock. The projectile had struck fairly in tlu.ir midst and with fearfu l effe ct. .A panic was created aJJong them. All tled incontinently. The pass was clear of them, but so many bowlders bad choked it. The Clipper could not hope to make its exit from the Valley of D e s olatiOn so long as thes e bowlders obstructed the way. Here was a predicament. Vanl' was most uneasy, but Frank Reade, Jr., was cool and col lected. "No use In fooling with them any further!" be declared. "We must if possible fill(! .Alchise and his baud, and rescue the captive maiden.'' "By all means!" criecl Vane. "I fear we may be too late!" "We Will not think of that," said Frank, with determination. The ClipJ!er was sent flying over the hard, gravelly surface of the valley. Along the base of the mountain wall it ran. Frank was looking for the mouth of the canyon which Alchise and his band bad entered. It was possiblE', as be weH knew, that the savages were yet in the canyon. If so they could be ambush pd. So when the moutb of the canyon was reached the Clipper was brought to a stop. Frank stepped out on the platform. "I am going to lool' for the trail," he said. "If it is not th e y have not yet come along." II they had not the chance of rescuing the captive would be good. But Frank hardly dared hope. However, be leaped lightly down to the ground and began to searc b for the trail. "He easily found it. Alchise had reached the valley before them and had crossed it. The trail was plainiy visible. This was a disappointment to Frank, but he at once prepared to pursue. . The Clipper was sent acrosR the valley at full speed. It was easy enough to follow the trail, which was very plain in tl,le gravel, the indentations of the horses' hoofs showing quite well. As they the opposite mountain range Barqey, who was at the steering wheel, cried: CHAPTER III. "Be jabers, Misther Frank, an' there be the omadbouns jist cloimb-1 N 1 11 E vALLEy. ing ther cliff yender!" This was true enough. THIS astounding fact was at onc e potent to Frank Reade, Jr. Up a tortuous and narrow path, which led up the mountain wall, He turned to Vane .. .Apaches!" the body of Apaches were seen. d h At that distance they were much out or range. "You are right," sai t e startled sergeant. But Frank went forward and trained the dynamite gun. They are trying to entrap us. They do not mean that we shall go A projectile was sent toward them. It struck the cliff just below back through that defile." This was a certain fact. Not a little excitement was created. them, and blew tons of rock from the ledge. Barney and Pomp had seized their rifles and rushed out on the for-This cat:sed the Apaches to bustle. They struck up the path at a ward platform. lively pace. "Golly! jes' gib dis chile a bead on dem rapscallions!'' cried Pomp. But Frank did not lire again, for he was afraid the girl captive might be struck. "l'se gwine to fix dem berry quick!" But the Clipper was sent forward at terrific speed. "Begorra, I'll shoot the forst one," cried Barney, "I'll bet yez a By the time the mountain's base was reached, however, the savages foine cigar!" "I'll go ) 'O', chile!" bantered Pomp. "Yo' cudn't hit a big balwere out of Bight. loon!" They had reached a point far above, where from behind a high parThe two were ever fond of jokmg each other in a friendly way. apet they suddenly opened lire upon the mysterious "tire carrmge" But at that distance it was harJ to get an accurate line upon the which was pursuing them, and which was such an object of wondersavages. m!lnt and terror to them. They fired, howev&r, several times. The result or their shots could And now the pursuers were confronted with a startling and most not be seen. unwelcome condition of affairs. Vane was somewhat worried. The machine could not climb the steep trail. Pursuit therefore was What shall I dof' he exclaimed nervously. It don't look as if I brought to a stop. should be able to report to Gen. Crook as soon as be expected. I Here was a quandary. suppose I was disobeying orders to come here in quest of the captive "It looks as if we are badly stuck," said Sergeant Vane. girl.'' "Indeed, you are right," agreed Frank, they have a little the "Gen. Crook will never blame you for that!" declared Frank. "It best of us just now." was an act of common humanity!'' "I have a plan," However, there was no way but to make the best of the situation, 11 What is it!" and become resigned to fate. "Bring up a company of our cavalry! They can go into these hills So Vane joined Barney and Pomp in their attack upon the savages. and drive the foe out into the open! You would then have them at Frank ran the Olipper up to nearer range, taking care tQ keep out your mercy with your electric guo." of reach of the bowlders. Frank saw the of this. The bullets now began to tell. "Good enough!" he declared, 11 but how will you be able to get But the Aj}aches also answered the fire a nd It became necessary for word to Gen. Crook?'' the white men to seek refuge in the cabin. Here was a puzzler. They need loop-holes however to advantage and for some moments or course it would be easy enough to find the way to camp with the kept up a l}ot lire. Clipper, but it was on the other baud practically surrendering the conThe bullets of the Apaches rattled harmlessly off the steel sheathing test to go away and leave the besieged Indians now. of the machine. To send a courier was not easy; for thAre was no courier other than But the savages did not for a moment abate their work of throwing Vane and he had no horse. the bowlders over the cliff. It woald be almost fatal folly to attempt the feat on foot. The rifle bullets had no effect upon them. Seeing this, Frank mutAll these things were presented to the rescuers, and all were bounu tered: to admit that the problem was a queer one. How should it be solved! Never mind! I'll fix them.'' Alchise and his gang kept up an incessant Hre upon the Clipper. He went forward to the electric gun and trained it upward to bear Of course no great harm was done, lis the bullets rattled oJf like upon that part of the chff. water from the back of a duck. 'fhen he plac7-ct a projectile in the breech and connected the IanBut at the same time the saTnges had the advantage. At least for yard with an e1ectric wire. the time being.

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FRANK READE, JR.'S CLIPPER OF THE PRAIRIE. But a discovery was quickly made which comple.tely changed the complexion of afl'airs. It was made after changing the positil)n of the machine so that a better view of the mountain could be had. It was then seen that there was a good reaaon for Alchise remaining in his present protected position. Before he could leave it he most cross a wide and exposed part of the cliff. Tllis would expose him to the fire or his foes and be fatal. Tlle Apache chief dill not dare do th1s. It was a joyful and grat.ifyiug discovery to the besidgers. Hurrah!" cried Frank Rea d e Jr. We have tile best of them all around. It is they who are They are '1\'aiting for darkness," cried Sergeant Vane. "'l;'hat will do them no good!" said Frank. We can throw tl1e search-hght upon the wall aud tlley will attempt to leave at their peril." "By Jove! we. have tllem," said Vane, thrillingly. "We can bring them to terms, perhaps force therM to surrender." At least l\'e can starve them awhile!" declared E'rank. Witll the game thus apparently in their hands the voyagers on the Clipper prepared to await calmly tlle certain coming of victory wllich seemed inevitable. But Alcll1se the wily Apache chief was not idle Signal fires were blazing from the mountain side, that system of telegraph common to the Apache. Before the day was spent, this was answered from the peaks sur rounding tlle Valley of Desolation. V une suw and all. "-They re up to snuli'!" he declared. "We shall have music shortly.'' Do you think they are calling for relief?" asked Frank. Yes!" i How can it be given?" I don't k,now. It's more than likely, however, that you will see a horde of the savages in this valley v ery shot tly now!" Do "on mean to say 'hat th e y will attack us in the open?" It is likely!'' "Very good!" said Frank, grimly. "I tllmk that we can give them a battle.'' Vane's prediction was very shortly proven true. The Apaches were summoned by Alchise to attack the Clipper, and they came. Not by strategic work, but boldly and openly, a mosl unusual thing for the Anache to do. 1 In various parts of the valley now parties of horsemen could be see!J. Their long lances and plumes were easily distinguishable. All were mounted which was another unusual tlling, for the Apache generally fights on foot. Frank from the pilot-bouse watched the demonstration with interest. He saw the horde or savages gathering numbers every Instant, and in number to thousands. It would seem as if such weight of numbers must surely overwhelm the defenders of the Clipper. But Frank Reade, Jr., only smiled grimly, and said: This will be a bard day for tbem, depend on it!" CHAPTER IV. THE APACHES CORNERED, But tuey made all the objection to his movements in their power, and their hideous yells filled the air. Frank paid !lO hel!d to them but kept on ahout llis work coolly. He stretched a length of tlle wire in a half circle about the machine to guard against au attack from the plain. The wire was fastened upon stakes about a toot from the ground so that anyone advoocing th1ough the grass would be sure to strike. Then several connecting wires were run back to the machine and connected with the dynamos. By pressing a button Frank could easily charge ali the wires. Woe. to the luckless savage who should come in can tact with them 1 It would be an unfortunate day for him. Frank returned to the machine and was welcomed eagerly by the others who had divined his purpose. What a great scheme,'' cried Vane eagerly, "that Will give the rascals a surprise :o be sure.'' It will certainly surprise them," said Frank with a grim smila, they will wonder what has struck the m." "Golly, I done fink: dey am comm' rigllt along," declared Pomp. Indeed th1s was seen to be a fact. The Apaches diu not seem disposed to wait for darkness before making the attack. '!.'hey were massing from all quarters and now came sweeping down through the valley in three divisions. Frank saw that a critical time bad come. But he was prepared .for it. He went lorward and trained the electric gun upon the distant bcdy of horsemen, taking the center as an obje ctive mark. Then he sent a dynamite projectile hurtling over the plain. At the momen the foe were distant over half a mile. But Frank's ai was true, and the projectile struck in tlleir !rout rank. The effect was indescribable. Horses and riders were thrown high in the air. Others were hurled right and like puppet9. A mighty bole was blown in the ground, and the whole troop of savages scattered in wile! confusion. Again Frank trained the wouder!ul electric gun. Again a projectile burst in the of tlle terrified body of Indians, A score of them w ere killed. They broke and !led io wild confusion. They were wholly unable to understand the 0!11 ure of the terrific death balls hurled at them. Tile wildest of terror seized them. The Indian is not a fig!Jter in tlle open. His tactics are ever of strategy and treachery. So the charge upon the Clipper was dispelled like mist bef ore the sun. Those on board the machine cheerecl lustily over their victory. Frank's face stili wore the same grim smile. What did I tell you?" he said, coolly, as Vane gripped his hand. "I knew that I could drive them to a retreat.'' And so you did!" cried the young sergeant, excite'dly. "It was a grand victory! I have all confidence in the ability of the Clipper to whip an army!" Not quite so bad as that," laughed Frank, "but I think we can give those fellows a good tug." The enure Apache army now retired to a safe distance
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6 .r'RANK READE, JR.'S CLIPPER OF THE PR.AllUE. His body and that of his pony went hurtling d own into the depths below. Ki-yi!" screamed Pomp. Wha' 1 tell yo', cllile. I done hit my man an' yo' didn't hit nutllun'l" Begorra, don't yez tell me that!" cried Barney, indignantly. Shure I hit that man mesilr!'' Pomp shook his woolly head. I jes' aimed fo' dat man mahse'f!" he cried. "Be jabers an' so did II" "But yo' ueber !:it him." Don't yez tell me that, black misfit, or I'll baste yel" "Yo' amn't de size, honey!'' Begorra, we'll aee!" Barney made a terrific swipe at Pomp. But the latter dodged it and struck back with all his might. Then he lowered his woolly bead like a battering ram and would have gone for Barney full tilt had it not been for u timely interference. Frank Reade, Jr., came up and catching Pomp by the collar whirled hitn Hold on there!" be shouted, angrily, this is no time for sky larking!'' The two jokers subsided, but Pomp managed to whisper, hoarsely: Neher yo' mind, l'ish, I'll cum squar' wid yo' to' telling me dat I dido' bit dat ar login. Yo' kin wait!'' "Begorra I'll wait!" retorted Barney. "Don't yez fergit it!" But Frank was at the electric guo He carefully trained it upon ths mountam path just in tile advance or tlle savages. Then he pressed the electric botton. The dynamite projectile struck tlle path with 11 cannon-like roar. The half dozen savages were hurled from it like pl.li)pets. The air was full of Jlying fragments of rock, and Alcfuise and his men retreated in wild confusiOn to their covert. To escape was not so very easy as it hnd seemed. This terminated any attempt at escape that night. But the savagell in the valley had not been idle. They had by no means abandoned their purpose to attack the Clip per again. Indeed, it was their Jlrm intention. Occasionally the searchlight wns sent sweeping out over the valley, but nothing was seen of the sava11:es. However, they were there and acting in concert for an attack. Dow::;. in the bunch grass they crouched, Hat upon the ground, worming their wny alODl!: like serper.ts. Fully a thousand of them were thus making a line about the Clipper. It was their purpose to creep as close to mach me as possible. Then in concert all w.ould spring up and overwhelm the defenders of the Clipper. The plan was all right from a strategical point of view. But there was a good chance lor failure as the reader well knows. The Apaches, however, were utterly unaware of the deadly pitfall set for them. Those on bo:trd the Clipper ba(l been under a long and sevete, mental and physical strain. It was decided that Frank and Vane shoul dem will gib yo' a cbuince!" Arrah, tber ain't an login within a dozen miles of this machine in that direction, oaygur!' Don' yo' be too sure!'' Begorra, I know it!" "Huh! who' o m dot!" Both watchers leaped to their feet. There was a good reason for thi9. Suddenly tbt>re was a &wift, vivid gleam of light far out on the prairie, a terrific yell of agl)oy, and for an instant they saw a dark, fly. ing form outlined against the sky. They stood for a moment nonplused. Then the truth dawned upon them. "Golly fo' glory!" gasped Pomp; "I done fink I knows wh'a dat means!" Begorra, there's Iojins out there!" exclaimed Barney, excitedly. Sbuahs you'se bo'n, chile!" Bejabers, the w oire sthopped them I'' One of the prowling savagea bad really came in contact with the electric wire. Tbis was the first victim. But this incident was a revelation to Barney and Pomp. They knew that there must be other savages out there on the plain, an at once they sprang to tbe search-ligiJt. Turning the valve, they brought it to bear upon the plain. A revelation was accorded them. There, plainly visible creeping up like a legion of coyotes, were swarms of the red foe. With the turning of the they spraug up with wild yells. 'fbey started for the Clipper full tilt. It was an exciting moment. "Cali Misthet Frank, quick!" yelled Barney. "Sure we're iu fer a !Oi"'ht!'' Pomp presse. almost and just in time to witness a thrilling scene. The front rank or the foe struck the heavily charged wire first. The result was thrilling. They were lifted as if by a catapult and burled in all directions. Piled up in heaps, yelled and struggled in terror and amazement. What mysterious power ttms burled them back tbey were unable to understand. But out of the vast force scarcely a tlozen passed the deadly wire. The shock was not sufficient to kill them, for Frank did not believe in wholesale slaugiJter. But it gave them a stunning shock. It was as if some giant hand had lifted and hurled them back. The sight was a wonderful and strange one to witness, The young sergeant exclaimed: "Frank, this is wonderful! You have revolutionized warfare!" The yo11ng inventor laughed. "Not quite," be said; "it makes a very good defense, though." Meanwhile Barney and Pomp bad been busy with their At such abort range they were able to do deadly work. But they were not given the opportunity long. Thoroughly disheartened, tile Jled incontinently. Frank could have mowed them down by hundreds, and th!s was suggested I.Jy the sergeant. But the young inventor said: No. I do not believe in wanton oflife. I believe that we shall convince the savages that we have the upper hand, and then we can bring them to. terms." Yours may be the best plan!" agreed Vane. We certainly have Alchise in a trap." That is ii:, and if he is wise he will very soon come down and offer to treat with us!'' I hope he will!" Frank'll predlction proved true. Daylight came at last. There were numbers of the Apnches slain npon tlle plain. But not a living savage was in sight. All was quiet on the cliff, and their presence might have been doubt ed, but for a signal fire. But near the hour of noon a white flag was seen to appear over the rampart al.love. Frank stepped out upon the platform of the Clipper, and answered the signal by holding up his bands. Then down the face of the cliff slid a little Apache. He came on until he stood upon the pla.in at the base of the cliff. A few more reassuring signals and be advanced toward the Clipper. When within speaking distance Frank addressed bim in Mexican: Well, my red friend, what will you have!" The Apache regarded Frank steadily for a moment, aoc then replied: The great chief Alch1se asks for a eouocil with you. He will meet. you at the root of the cliff.'' Tell him 1 wltl meet him there!" said Frank. The messenger turned and bounded like an arrow. A few moments later Alchise himself and two or his chiefs was seen coming down the path. Frank said to Vane: Come with me!" They left the Clipper and set out to meet the Apaches. Aichise halted just in the shadow of a clump or mesquite. He folded his arms and maintained a dignified attitude as the two white men came op. He bowed stillly in answer to Frank's salutation. One of his chiefs actec as interpreter. "Alcbise," said Frank, sternly, "you are doing wrong in makicg war upon the white man. You know that well." This was interpreted to the famous chief. His lip curled in scorn. r Why does the Apache make war upon his white brother?" he cried, scornfully. Shall he asl' that question? Who shall pay for the cornfields taken from our people on the Gila? Who forced us to take abode in the fever regions or the San Carlos, where our I.Jraves sicken and die and our squaws mourn? Who shall defend the Apache but himself?" In a measure Frank and Vane both knew that" the Indian was right. It is a stain upon the honor of this country that th!J greed for gain

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, FRANK READE, JR.'S CLIPPER OF 'l'HE PRAIRIE. of a few unscrupulous individuals should have led to the appropria tion of those lands wllich were really the property of the Apache, and where he was happy and content. But we will indulge in no homily upon the government's Indian policy, or the injusLice tllerefrom accruing. ; You have been dealt wrollgly with beyond doubt.'' said Frank, in a kindly tone; "but you are making war upon those people who are entirely innocent of wronging you. You cannot hope to gain justice in that way." My white brother speaks soft words!" replied Alchise. So have all before him done. But he cannot blind tbeApacheagain. We will die in our rights." That is a brave resolution," replied Frank, but how futile It is better 'to be lit peace With the white man who is more powerful than you." Why shall you speak or peace?" cried Alchise, angrily, look upon my people. They are driven from their hunting grounds. 'l'he buffalo bas passed into the happy bunting grounds and the Indian no longer has his tlesh or his skin for his comfort. The wh1te man has done this. There are no hunting grounds for the Indian now. He too must pass to the great beyond with the butl'alo!" There was something like a vein of sadness in tbe chief's voice. A shadow passed over his strong face. Frank hardly knew bow to meet these arguments of the chief. ' "Then you will not talk of he asked, finally. Alchise's face assumed shrewdness. The whiLe man and his fire wagon has the Apache in a bad place!" be said. "We can fight, but my braves would all die. What shall we give the wbite man to depart and 1eave us in peace!" Frank quickly made answer. "Two tllings !" he said, they are not difficult to grant." "A thousand buffalo skins?'' asked Alchiae, eagerly, "they are yours." "No!" replied Frank, steadily. The chief scowled. I can give no more!" he said. Yes, you can!" Name your price!" "You have in your power a young white girl, have yon not!" Alchise's eyes tlaslled. A white lily!" be saicl. She will be a squaw for Alcbiae and gladden h1s tepee. It is spoken!" "Never!" cried Vane, savagely, but Frank restrained him. "You must deliver the white lily up Lo us!" he said, sternly. "She must be given back to her people. Then you must tell me what of the soldiers who are lost in the bills?" Alchise drew himself up. "My white asks for that which Alcbise will never give," be said. "I have spoken; it is ended.'' And be unceremoniously turned his back and walked away. The conference was ended. Frank and Vane went back to the Clipper. The latter was much excited. "The dirty dog!" he gritted. "I had all I could do to keep my hands off him! He ought to be hung!" "Tnt, tnt!" said Frank. "You are too h!lllty, Vane!'' "I mean every word of it. To think that he should hold that inno cent young girl captive! I tell you she is an angel in the hands of fiends." Frank looked sharply at Vane. "Upon my word, I uelieve you are smitten!" he said. "And you never even spoke'with her." Vane blushed redly. "I am interested deeply," be replied. "I shall always champion the weaker sex." A worthy sentiment," agreed Frank. Bot come, let us think of some sort of a plan to rout those rascals out of there in quick order." CHAPTER VI. Tf1E COMPAN Y OF CAVALRY. "I THINK there should be no time lost," declared Vane, eagerly. "Wbnt if they ehould do her harm?" "We must keep them busy," said Frank; "but-look here, Vane!'' "Well?"' "You don't even know the name or this female nor where she is from?" "No." Then why are you so interested!'' To tell the truth I don't kqow," replied the young sergeant. It is a sort of instinct as it were." Frank laughed. "Perhaps after you have made a closer acquaintance the illusion will be dispelled,'' he said. "It is possible," ugreed Vane, "but 1 don't believe it.'' In vain the Clipper's party tried to devise some plan for the rescue of the captive girl. It was a problem. Finally Vane said; "I have an idea." All looked at him. What is it!" "Tonight, under cover of darkness, I will make an effort to get up there to the Indian camp, and perhaps I shall find a wa.)' to rescue her." But Frank Reade, Jr., said: "No, sir! I shall veto that." Vane looked astonished. Why?" he asked. "It is inexpedient.'' "I take my own risl<." "That matters not. I will not see you go to death in such a manner." "That is not likely. I am quite capable or taking care of myself.' But Frank would not be convinced. Thus the day passed. Night came, and the horizon was ablaze with signal fires. "They are up to some new deviltry," declared the sergeant. You will see." I}ut no attack wus made on the Clipper that night. Morning came, and a peculiar state of atlairs was revealed. Apparently not an Apache was in the Valley of Desolation or tb& bJlls about. Even the position occupied by Alcbise seemed cleserted. What did it all mean? "They have given us the slip,'' said Vane, blankly. "Impossible," declared Frank, in a mystified way. "Yet it don't seem as it any -of them are about." "Nor are tlley. I tell you they have given ns the slip.'' Frank went forward to the electric gun. "Let's see if we can wake them up," he said. He placed a projectile In the breech and elevated the gun. Then he pressed a button. The gun exploded, and the projectile struc6: a corner of the parapet far above. It had an appreciable effect. The huge wall o! the parapet was shattered, and the shelf or rock far above was exposed to view. Not an Apnclle was visible on it. This was an astounding revelation. "Gonet" gasped Frank. "What does that mean? How did they ever get away? Surely not by the path.'' Certainly this seemed improbable enough. Yet, of course, it was possihle. An idea occurred to Vane. Maybe there is some way which we cannot perceive from here,,. be sahl. "By the formation of the mquntain wall it looks to me as if there was a cleft back of the shelf.'' "There is," declared Frank, "but it" can't be passable." It must, or else tlley have made it so." "Possibly.'' "Tllere is only one way to decide!" And that--'' "Is to go up there!'' I am really to do that," said Frank. "And II" Barney and Pomp, yon will look after things aboard the chine!" All roight, sor!" cried Barney. "Jes' yo' bet we will!" said Pomp. If you see that we are in a trap or ambushed, open fire on the But there was little need of giving them this hint. They would cer tainly be on the alert. So Frank and Vane prepared to leave the Clipper. It was an adventurous mission, for there might be many of the foe yet there and in waiting for them. But they were deciaed to take the chances and neither was the one to back out; Armed to the teeth they left the Clipper. Frank was dressEod in his snit of mail. Thus tbey their way up the steep ascent. Soon they came upon the hridle trail and this made the ascent easier. Suddenly the crack of a rille sounded just above them. Frank Reade, Jr., experienced a shock and knew that the bullet had struck him. But his impervious coat of mail saved him. It was fortunate that he bad been selected for the target instead of Vane. The shot would have been fatal. But the attempted killing did not go unavenged. Vane had seen by the puff o! smoke the quarter from which the bullet had come. This was a clump or mesquite just above. Quick as a tlasb Vane fired into it. There was an unearthly death yell and up into view leaped a half naked savage. He fell down into the trail a corpse, almost at their feet. "Look out for others, Frankl" cried Vane, shrinking behind a bowlder. "We may be entrapped.'' But Frank did not seek cover. He knew that he was safe anyway with his snit of mail, so he remaine?. where he was scanning the cliff intently for sight of. a foe. But in this he was disappointed. None appeared. This seemed the only one in the vicinity. "Do you see -any more, Frank?" asked Vane. ''No.'' "He was a stray Indian.'' "It seems so!" Vane came out of his covert. "Were you bit!" "Yes.'' "Of course it did not hurt yoh?" I

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8 FRANK READE, JR.'S CLIPPER OF THE PRAIRIE. "I felt the shock," said Frank, "but I am aware of no painful effect. Well, let Ud go ahead." And this they did, keeping a sharp lookout. But they saw no more of the foe. The shelf was safely reached. Here their convictions were proven true. It was easily ascertained how the foe had maue their escape. There was a cleft in the wall which had been blockell by bowlders of gmnite. The savages had cleverly removed these and made a path ov e r the mo: mtain for both pony and man. Long ere this they had douht141ss crossed the range, and were be yond ea\Jy pursuit. Frank Reade, Jr., was much discomfited. He looked hi& disgust. Well, they outwitted us in great shap e!" he declared. "l am afraid we shall have trouble to catch them again!" Vane hoplessly thrust his han d s into his pockets, and strode back with Frank down the trail silently. Not until they reached the Clipper did either speak. Then V.ane said: What are your plans, Frank!" "l cannot say just now!'' I would suggest one!'' "Well?" I will ride back to Gen. Cook, and report to him. Then we will send a body or cavalry into the hills, ahead or tlle Clipper, to drive the foe out!'' Fmnk was thoughtful a moment. "Yours may h e a good plan!" he said. "But--" He did not finish the sentenc e A startling sounll came up the val ley. It was the blast of a bugle. Both men looked up in Up the valley in verge of tbtJ bills came a troop of mounted men. They were U. S. soldiers. Vane gave a great cry. "Captain Nicholas and his company!" he shouted. "Hurrah! Now we shall get word from Gen. Crook!" 1 The party of cavalrymen dashed up to the spot. Salut e s were exchanged, anu then each side explained their pres ence in the valley. Captuic Nicholas bad teen sent oat on a ekirmisb tour through the region believed to be infesteu br Alchise's men. They bad experienced a slight contest with the Apaches in a canyon a few miles below. They scattered the foe, and were on their heels when thev beard the roar of the dynamite gun. At once they started out to tind out the cause of this territic sound which was suggestive of artillery. Vane's mind was now greatly relieved. Captain Nicholas furnished a courier who took a message on his ll.eet pony and went back to Crook. It was uecided to camp upon the spot and await the courier's re turn. He came in dusty and wearied kmg after midnight. His message was from Gen. Crook and read thus: "DEAR V ANE':-Glad that you are all right. Your course of pro cedure is excellent. Keep right on with Mr. Reade and his invention. We make a move into the hills to-day. You need not report again un til I see you!" CRooK." Vane waa ready to turn a somersault of joy so delighted was be. "I tell you Gen. Crook is no crank," he declared, he knows just how a man feels and what be wants to do." I think it we skirt the range to the south ward, we shall meet Gen. Crook on the other side," declared Nicholas. Do you believe said Frack. "I do." '' Anu is it your opinion that we shall tlnd the camp of Alchise in that manner!" It is. I believe that his retreat is upon the southwest spur of the Magallon." "All right," said Frank resolutely. We will test your sagacity in this matter." So it was decided to go to the south west spur of the rauge and enter by a deep canyon there. Nicholas believed it possible to get in the foe's rear in thls manner and utterly rout his bauu. "We will drive them directly into the hands of Crook in that man ner!" be declared. Also we will be able I to learn the fate of Troop H." The Clipper started out at a moderate rate of speed along" the :Jase of the range. The soldiers followed slowly. 'l'he day was blistering hot, and man and beast suffered. But after a time the lower end of tte valley was reached, and here the Clipper climbed to a high plateau and her course was veered to the west. They were now able to see the lower end of great rane of mountains. They were indeed in a rough part of the country. "' Gradually the plateau was crossed, and !l>)le Clipper approached a migbty canyon which led as Nicholas declared to other side or t!Je range. This would bring them right into the heart of the Apache country. CHAPTER VII. IN T"'E POWER OF THE APACHES. As the machine drew near the canyon nightfall came and a good spot was selectell to camp. T!Jis was near a little bubbling spring where man and beast slaked their thirst and wera refreshed. Hot as the climate of Arizona is with the going down of the sun comes the coolest and most dehgttful or air. Camp was l!lade on the verge of 11t chaparral and the evening meal was indulged in. It bad been a long and dusty journey ahd many of the soldiers were content to fall asleep at once. But Nicholas caused sentries to be posted and took all the neces sary measures to g11ard against an attack. As yet uot a sign of the Apach e s ho.d been seen. But old scouts declared that this wus an almost certain indication that tiley were about thicker ttau tlie s in sultry Aug ust. "It is well to belivee them in every thicket until you see them!'' de clared old Long Tom, a grizzled plainsman, they're pretty cute crit-ters.'' \ Nobody was inclined to dispute this point, and all were incl i ned to vote true enough, when suddenly a distant exchange of shots was heart! and one of the pickets came In with a shattered arm. Scouts were sent out and a startling report was brought buck. 'l'lte scouts declnretl that the foe were all about in the tle ep grass thicker than gnats, and only waiting for darkness to an at tack. At once there was general excitement in camp. We shall have a hot Lime before morning!" c!eclarlld Lieut. Nicholas. ''I have ordered my men t o throw up breastworks!" The soldiers were bus1ly work at this iu the dusk. But Frank said: "Na need or all that worlt. Le t me get n chance at them!" He stepped into the and took thb wheel. 'l 'he Clipper shot out onto the prairie. The soldiers cheered as Frank's purpose was seen. They paused in their work to see the result. \ took the wJJeel, with directions from Frank, who went for ward to the electric gun. It was the young inventor's purpose to make a wiue circuit of the plain and charge down into the midst of tlle savages. They might wake a desperate stand, but this was just what Frank wanted. He felt confident 6[ scattering the whole gang with his gun. He placed a projectile in the breech. Then be kept close watch of the plain. Farther and farther from camp went the Clipper. As yet no sign of the foe had been seen. But all of a sudden Barney cried: "Luk oat, Misther Frank. Bejabers, there's a raft av thim !'' Certainly there were visible just then a raft of the red roe. It seemed as if the plain was carpeted for miles with the1r recumbent forms. The Clipper went tearing down into the midst of them. Pomp and Vane opened tire with their at s!Jort range. Instantly up from tte ground spr.ang the legion of dusky forms. Their yells made the air hideous. But the Clipper went dowc among them like an avenger. It was certain that there would have been terrific slaughter then but for an accident. Dozens of the Apaches were run over, and some killelt by the heavy wheels. Frank had the gun all ready to concentrate upon the foe, but at that moment a catastrophe oocurrtd. Suddeniy the machine seemed to rock and sway, gave a leap forward, and then came to a halt. . It was half upon its side, and the imoates of the cabin were jostled about like puppets. "For Heaven's sake, what has happened!" cried Vane. "Have we lost a wheel?'' No," replied Frank, who had now recovered himself. It is quicksand." "Quicksand!" Yes. This part or the country is infested with those treacherous holes." But Vane knew well what he meant. He k11ew that many a horse and rider had gone into quicksands never to be seen again. As their surface was not unlike the remainder of the plain, it was not always easy to avoid getting into them. The Clipper had indeed plunged into a quicksand. This was a most unfortunate thing, and bid fair to bring a fatal ending to the expedition. One end of the machine yet rested upon tlrm ground. Frank Reade, Jr.; was lightning-like in his realization of the exi gencies of the moment and the necessity of prom:>t action. Tb.e Apaches comprehended instantly their advant'age, and proceed ed to avail themselves of it. They rushed forward with wild and savage yells, surrounding the disabled monster. Frank saw that tbay would he quickly aboard unless something des perate was done at once. The bow of the machine with the gun was buried in the sand. The electric gun could not be usod.

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FRANK READE, JR.'S CLIPPER 01<' 'l'HE PRAIRIE. 9 Neither could the foe attack from that quarter without also getting Begorra, that's true," cried Barney. into the slough. Their only ohance was at the stern of the Clipper. Just at this moment the door of the cabin opened. All looked up and beheld Alchise, the cruel chief. "Bacl!: to the stern!'' cried Frank "Delead that or we ar.e lost!" But be bad litttle need of this admonition. The others had seen it The Apache ruler entered, aud there was a grim smile upon bis bru tish face. almost as quickly and were already there. But they bad only their rllpeaters. Already two of the Apaches were at the rail of the Clipper. "Wburroo!" cried Barney, "take that, ye omadhouns! ALCH ISE OUTWITTED. CHAPTER VIII. Almost at point blank range he tired. One of the savages fell back INSTINCTIVELY Frank realized what this visit of Alchise meant. with a y e ll. Pomp shot the other. He had come to offer a proposal, to name a condition. The expresBut tllere were a leg ion of otllers just behind them. sion or his race very plainly told thia. Frank and Vane, howev e r, came up now and 6pened fire. Frank folded his arms and waited for Alchlse to apeak. With this ste ady volley the attacking crew were for a moment held "You are Senor Reade!" asked the chief in excellent Spanish. i n cueck. But it could be seen tlJat overpowering numbers must tell. I am!" replied Frank. Frank realized that something desper a te must be doue. "It i s well! ' replied Alcbise with dignity. [ have come to make He could hardly alford to leave his post for even a moment, but he you an o ffer which will save your life." did so alter r e flection. Frank did not speak for a moment. He was doing a heap or think-He rushed into th e forward. ing. were pr o j e ctiles of dynamite in one of the rncks. Be took up .. Well,'' he said finally: one or tbtlm. l My white brother has a wonderful lire carriage. It will make If it c oullain to see southwest. it dotted with the camps of the Apaches. His re:.l object was to be possessed of such power as would enable Whew!'' exclaimed Vane, in amazement. I thipk the whole him to easily annihilate any trot'p of soldiers sent against him Anache nation must have been called out. Evidently Alcllise meant He believed that he could 'do this with the Clipper. to make a sure thing of it.'' He w o uhl compel Frank Reade, Jr., to teach him the mechamsm What do you estimate the number?" asked Frank. of the machine. Fully three thousand.'' 'l.'hen he would kill his white prisoners so that nobody else should "A large army." I koow the secret, and also tbat Frank should never produce a like rna" I should say so for four puny mortals like us to face.'' chine. "Yet," said Frank, with conviction, "if I bad the use of the electric This in spite of his promise!! to the young inventor, for the wily gun, I could blow them ail into eternity!" brute wus treacherous to the core.

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10 FRANK READE, JR.'S CLIPPER OF THE PRAiRIE. l<'rank, however, was ready for him. The young inventor had guessed well enough ;vbat was on the chief's mind. He did not trust him. "Well, Frank, it looks blue for us, don't Vane as they were working over the machinery. "Not so very bad," said Frank hopefully. "Po you think there is any chance for us?" "Ob, yes!'' "I don't see any way but to mal\e a break for it." "There is a better plan," said Frank. "We can't do anything reckless, for they are all about us. But we'll work a little strategy on them.'' "How!" "'You shall see.'' Alcbise .And kept a cordon of braves all about Lhe machine all the while. Now Frank beckoned to the chiel and "'l'he carriage is all ready for you Get aboard and you shall have a ride." Alcbises face lit up triumphantly. He was allout to board Clipper, but a sudden thought checked him. His brow clouded. He motioned to a score of his braves who at once ulimbed aboard and stationed themselves along the outer platform. Frank saw the chief's fears at once and smiled. "You need have no fear, chief," he said, carelessly. "Are you afraid to trust yourself with meT" "Ugh I" grunted Alchise; "let the white mau start hls fire carriage.'' "But if you want me to learn you bow to operate it," said Frank, you must come with me and do just whM I say!" Tbe chief looked at Frank Inscrutably. The expression of his face betrayed the fact that he was suspicious of a sharp game. But Frank turned an honest grur.e upon him. "You are afraid," he said, "and yet your warriors outnumber us ten to one." Alcbise drew bis bunting knife and went through the motion of scalping. White man die if he tries to deceive Alcbise," he said. "All right," said Frank impatiently, "are you ready to go?" The chief held up his hand. Then be sbepped out onto the plat form. A guttural order was given to his men there. Six of the braves en tered the cabin. Frank's heart sank. He feared that his schemes were to be ballled and he was greatly disappointed. The action of Alcbise was characteristic. 'l'he six braves laid bauds upon Vane and Barney and Pomp. In a twinkling they were bound hand and foot. A gleam of aatlsfnctiou was in A1chlse's bloody eyes. He felt safe now. He folded his arms, an of fallh in binding my Jrieuds!" "Alchise bas done it!" said the chief, loftily. Tuen undo it!'' The chief's eyes glittered. He placed a hand on his tomahawk. White man no talk m!Jre!" be declared, or he shall diet Aicbise speaks. ' Frank said no more. But he was resolved to pay tile old scoundrel in good fashion. He led tile way into the pilot house. Alchise stood at his shoulder as Frank pressed the motive le,er. The Clipper rolled forward. Out upon the plato she glided, faster aud faster. The Indian encampment was quickly left behind. t Frank's resolution was already made. ( He endeavored to explain to the treacherous chief the mechanism o! the machinery. Alcbise was of course not able to understand the electric problem. He listened stolidly, and all the while Frank was putting the gr. 3atest possible diatance between them and the Indian camp. Frank believed the time !or action had come. lle picked up a piece of wire aud connecte:l it with a at.eel rou which led out upon the platform where the score of Alcbise's followers were clinging. 'l'be chief did not understand what the young inventor's game was. Frank connected the wire with a switch. Then be turned to Al chise and saill in the Mexican tongue: Great chief, you shall bring the tire carriage to a atop. no you see these! Place your hands upon them and pull hard.'' Uosuspectingly Alchise grasped the two wire coils with both bands. Frank saw that the circuit was complete and cried: "Pull!" Alcbise obeyed, but at that moment Frank pressed a button. The current shot through the coils and Alcbise's powerful form was con torted in agony. Yells or wrath, agony and hate pealed from his lips. He could not let go of the coils. He was trapped. At the same moment Frank pressed another button which charged the steel platform outside. The effect was thrilling. The anvages there were burled about like puppets, and half of them in agony leaped overboard. 'l'he others were"' half unconscious, and Heiziog a knife Frank sprang into the cabin. "We've fooled them!" be shouted, triumphantly. "We are safe!'' Quick as a flash he cut the bonds of the prisoners. So elated were they that n wild cheer went up. "Hooray!" screamed Barney. "Shure, an' they'll niver fool Mistber Frank. It's himself as kin' par'lyze the bull av thim.'' Golly, ain't I glad!" shoutell Pomp. "I done fought ab bad lost mah wool, ro dead ahuah.'' \ But Frank and Vane bad sprang out outo the platform wher,e were the prostrate savages. CHAPTER IX. ON THE UNDERGROUND RIVER. ONE after bnotber Frank and Vane tossed the stunned Apaches over the ra1l. Their one purpose was to get rid of such troublesome cargo as speedily as possible. Yells from the rear showed that the Apaches from the camp had been following Lbe machine on ponies and had comprehended the situation iu a measure. Alchiae in the pilot-house had been yelling and raving like a mad man. Frank had turned off the platform current almost instantly, and be fore leaving the pilot-bouse. But he had not done so in the case of Alcbise. But now of a sudden there came a Lerritle crash from the pilot house. Then a body came flying like a atone from a catapult through the cabin. It swept over the platform rail, knocking Frank and Vane down. As soon as they could regain thei!.l feet they were astonished to see the Apache ;:llief sprinting like a deer across tbe plain toward his mount ed followers. Had either possessed a rille he could have been brought down; but all bad happened so suddenly that before they could act be was out of range. "By gasped Vane; "be bas given us the slip, Frank.'' He bas escaped!" Shall we pursue!" "No," said Frank, decidedly; "let him go. We shall wind his ca reer up very soon.'' Barney now went into the pilot bouse to regulate the course of the machine. 1 It was an easy matter to distance the Apaches. But this was not what Frank wished to do. He brought the Clipper around In a semi-circle. By so doing he was able to get a line upon the red foe with the elec tric gun. lie did not hesitate to do ao. He drew a line on the Apaches, who were now in full retreat, and sent a projectile after them. It exploded in their midst and made frightful havoc. But still the scattered band kept on, with the terrible avenger thun dering remorselessly at their heels. "Give it to them!" cried Vance, "let os annihilate the whole gang!" Indeed this would have been likely bad they not been able to make the hills. The Clipper was literally invincible on level ground. 'I be Apaches seemed to realize this Willi. They left scores of dead upon the plain, and it would likely be a long while before Alchise would recover from the humiliation of this defeat. Truly, Frank Reade, Jr., had turned the tables upon them in a masterly manner. All were fain to admit this. But now the question arose, as to the fate of the unknown white girl captive and that of Troop H. Aa yet no clew whatever had been obtained. It seemed that the only way to gain this information would be to invade the bills. To do this with the Clipper did not seem to be au easy undertaking. But the machine now l;ept on over the southern spur of the Magal lon, and 1111 luck bad it, found a passable canyon leading into the very heart af the range. As all now began to foresee the most thrilling of developments, the excitement grew intense. Every sign was investigated, every trail was studied, and at length Frank hit.. upon what he believed was the exact locality of Alchise's encampment. There was a 11eriea of mountain peaks, which were jagged and bleak and encompassed a region which for canyons and caverns and uncanny retreats was unexcelled. 'l'bere flowed from it an underground river, and Vane professed a belief that the cavalry troop bad become imprisoned, or lost in some labyrinth or cave of this reg1on. "I'll tell you what we'd better do," he said. I will take one of the pontoon boats which you have aboard, Frank, and float down this underground river aa far as is safe. Perhaps somewhere in the bowels of the earth I sLall lind our men!" "1 have a better plan!" said Frank. "What!" Do you see those tall pines yonder?" "Yes!" Well, I will cut down some of those anG we will build a huge raft.

PAGE 11

READE, JR.'S CLIPPER OF 'IRE PRAIRIE. ll The Clipper can in that way be tloated in to the undergrouna re-It was almost like looking up from the bottom of a well, and was } treat." only an example of the peculiar natural formation of the region. This looked like a stupendous and not altogether feasible under Frank could not help but regard tbis with wonder and curiosity. taking to the sergeant ancl he said so. But what interested him the most was how he was to get out of this "You do not understand''' said l!'rank. "This nver may perhaps j hole. It seemed hke a hard prohlem. emerge into some hill bound plain or valley, where we will need the I Also he wondered much how far be was from the Clipper. What machine!'' direction should he take? I would adv1se that we first reconnoiter the place!" He was wholly at sea in; this wild region; hut it was useless to waste Oh, certainly!" time in this sort of rellection. -...., "Perhaps you and I could take a pontoon and go down into the So he proceeded at once to climb up the steep sides as well as he cavern and see wllat tile chances are!" could. We will do that!" It was perilous work and l!everal times he slipped back, but still be In the cabin of tbe Clipper were stored some rubber portable canoes. kllpt on steadily. One of these was now brought out. Soon he reached a cleft iJl the wall, through which he crept. To his The Clipper was brought o a stop on the river bank and the canoe surprise, he was upon the verge of a broad plateau. was quickly equipped for the JOurney. He crossed this with some twenty minutes of quick walking. Then Then Frank and Vane entered it and paddled out into the carrent. he stopped and listened. Barney and Pomp had been instructed to remah:o closely aboard the lle heard a distant shout. It guided him, and be pressed on until Clipper and keep sharp lookout for foes. he reoohed what seemed like a natural statrway leading down to the Bvt there was little need of adjuring tbem to do this. base ol a canyon wall. Both bad had enough experience with the Apaches to be very sure Down these he went and threaded his way among some natural to no chances and be constantly on guard. monoli\hs of stone. Tt;e waters of a river burst upon his view, and "Ir dey pulls de wool ober dis chile's eyes, dey's jes' got to get up not _fifty yards distant he saw the Clipper. ln tue mornin'," declared Pomp. "Begorra, the rust mother's son av 'em as shows his head ferniest this place will git a bit av cold lead!" declared Barney. So Frank felt easy as they left the Clipper and paddled on down the river: Soon the canoe shot into the grea,; cavern, an1 was caught in a powerful current wbich whirled it rapidly onward. The roof the cavern varied in height, but still Frank estimated that it was sufllciently high to admit of the passage of the Clipper. The young inventor felt sure that the stream would eventually emerge into some retreat among the bills. And there he believed Alchise's men had their stronghold. "At least we shall soon know," said Vane. "Hark! what is that!'' A distant roaring came plainly to their ears, "A cataract!" exclaimed Vane. "No," said Frank, whose ear was more practiced, it is rapids. The water does not fall from a height." This was reassuring. Will it be sale to shoot them?" asked Vane, cautiously. "1 don't see why. we will at least Lake the risk!" declared Frank. So the canoe shot on. Almost instantly they were in the rapids. Down the terrible current the light craft shot like a race horse. It was as dark as Erebus, and Frank bad no way of the craft save by ear. It was a risk to take, for neither knew what was ahead. But there was the chance. Frank and Vane clung to the sides or the canoe desperately. It seemed to them as if they had reached the end of the series of rapids when a catastrophe occurred. Suddenly the canoe struck an obstacle. It was doubtless a concealed rock. For a moment it trembled like an aspen, wavered, and then capsized. Look out!" shouted Frank. We are over!" But at that same instant his bands grasped a shelf of rock along the wall of the cavern. He clung to it and drew himself up on it. He was above the seeth ing waters and for the nonce safe. But all was blackness about him. He could not see the canoe or Vane, and knew not their fate. But instinctively he raisE>d his voice and shouted: "Hello, Vane! Are you safe!" Again and again he shouted. But no answer came back to tl!is. "My God!'' gasped Frank in a cold sweat of terror, "I fear be is dead!" For some time he to hear from Vane. ung to the shelf of the rock hoping against fate Time passed. How long he remained Frank never knew, but it finally occurred to him tbat he must examine his surroundings. So he began to feel about him. To his surprise he found that he was upon a high bank of the stream, and the cavern here was broken into several passages which were dry. They might have been once the c'>urse of mountain streams. But they were dry now, and he flllt sure led to the open air. Frank had waited fully a sutlicient length of time to hear from Vane or the canoe. There seemed little use in remaining any longer. He could uot possibly give Vane any assistance by doing this. So he decided to return if possihle to the Clipper. So he took one of the underground passages and kept on for some distance. It was difficult groping one's way in the gloom. But Frank paddled on until after a while he saw a light ahead. It was the mouth of the cave. Much cteered he pushed ahead. The light grew plainer, and he saw distinctly the cavern's mouth. At length he emerged into tbe' light of day. The scene about him was certainly a peculiar one. He was in what seemed a deep pit between steep pinnacles of r()Cks. Far above was the sky. CHAPTER X. A BRAVE RESCUE, BuT what of young Sergeant Vane who had been swept ou down the current of the underground river? He had not been fortunate enough to like Frank find a shelf of rock to chug to. But he hung to the overturned canoe which supported him. He remembered falling over the verge of a cataract and being under water for some moments. Then he came up, gasped for breath and struck out to swim. As he cleared the water from his eyes an astounding sight burst upon his vision. He was 10 a large round pool. The high arches of a mighty cavern chamber were ht up with firelight, The banks of the river were visible, and there be saw dusky forms moving about or seated around camp-llres. 'l'be startl;ng truth burst upon him. Chance, fate, call it what you will, had l.Jrongbt him into the strocg hold so long sought for of Alcl!ise and his gang. His heart beat like a triphammer, and a of peril was upon him. For a moment he feared that he was seen by the red foe, but then he reflected that he was in deep sbadow and could hardly l.Je seen from the shore. Vane kept himself alloat with Ettie exertion for be was an expert swimmer. He watched the Indian encampment with the deepest o! interest. He even fancied that he could see the tall form of Alcbise stalking around them. Then he thought of Frau3: Rea1le, Jr., and a chill of horror swept over him as it occurred to him tbat the young inventor was droWilled. He swam about in the pool loi>kiug for a possible of his friend. But this was not to be found, and the appalling conviction dawned upon him that Frank was indeed lost. He groaned with anguish and horror. Then he felt his strength waning and knew tbat it was necessary for him to get to the shore. So he began to swim cautiously forward in the shadows. He reached. a secluded part of the bank and crawled dripping out. Sitting down upon the sands h!) wrung the water out of his clothes as well us he could. He collected his scattered senses to the best or his ability and mut tered: Poor Fran]\:! It is sad to think that be is gone. But I will not believe it. I Will keep a watch for him." And this he proceeded to do, sitting tbere for a full hour and trying to penetrate the darkness of the pool. At length he concluded that th1s was she er folly. It is possible he came down a bead of me and is in some aafe spot," he muttered. "I will believe him safe until I know to th.e contrary." Then he decided to r.aconnoiter the Indian camp. This recalled to his mind the captive maiden. His bosom thrilled: To rescue her should he his on e purpose. So forgetting all else be crept up the bank and hovered in the shadows. He saw the scores of savages about the camp fires and also groups of squaws and troops of Indiac cllildreu. The cavern c!Jamber covered many acres. Far beyond he saw a Circle of dayJight. This was doubtless the meana of ingress and egress. It wus all a very wonderful sight. Vane looked fdr some view of the fair captive. H1s gaze was not unrewarded. Suddenly he saw a number or squaws coming in his directio,n. They were walking leisurely, and between them he saw the captfve maiden. They were doubtless her keepers, and sl!e was well guarded.

PAGE 12

12 FRANK READE, JR.'S CLIPPER OF THE PRAIRIE. As they drew nearer, Vane saw in the firelight that her face wad deadly pale. But such wondrous heauty he had never seen before. He gazed upon her spellbound for some momjlnts. Indeed, while in this stale he came near exposing himself. An Indian brave came stumbling along and almost fell over Vane. But luckily in the shadows he was not revealed. It was a close cull, and brought the young sergeant buck to his senses. He drew buck and now kept his eye out for peril. The squaws who bad the captive mui
PAGE 13

FRANK READE, JR.'S CLIPPER OF THE PRAIRIE. 13 "But-how
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