Buffalo Bill's secret mission; or, The fair hermit of Mystery Valley


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Buffalo Bill's secret mission; or, The fair hermit of Mystery Valley

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Title:
Buffalo Bill's secret mission; or, The fair hermit of Mystery Valley
Series Title:
Buffalo Bill stories
Place of Publication:
New York
Publisher:
Street & Smith
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Language:
English
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1 online resource (31 p.) 28 cm.: ;

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Dime novels. ( rbgenr )
Western stories. ( lcsh )
Buffalo Bill -- Fiction -- 1846-1917 ( lcsh )
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serial ( sobekcm )

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University of South Florida
Holding Location:
University of South Florida
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The University of South Florida Libraries believes that the Item is in the Public Domain under the laws of the United States, but a determination was not made as to its copyright status under the copyright laws of other countries. The Item may not be in the Public Domain under the laws of other countries.
Resource Identifier:
020846156 ( ALEPH )
436936640 ( OCLC )
B14-00012 ( USFLDC DOI )
b14.12 ( USFLDC Handle )

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issued' / Veek/y. By Subscription $2-so per yea1. Eut ered as Seco n d Class Jfatter. at New l'ork Post Ojftce by STREET & SMITH, 238 William St., N. Y. No. l2. Price, Five Cents. lMJ .. ,.!"D!I_ H i:;RMIT 0 r MY':.Tert'T' VAL.Lt;-BUFFALO BILL WAS QUICK TO SEIZE THE ADVANTAGE, AND SENT A T :JLLET THROUGH THE HE.A.RT OF THE COWBOY KING.

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R. :, in Mo; ar i.n a r rep! ; further Jresent. the CO" .;; :;; 0 'O rt> 0 (!) :l '< 0. ..... o' 0 8 0 :;; : .., iii ro 'O authorHed bYth e Hon.Wm.f.(oij Issued Weekly. By Subscription $2.50 per year. Entered as Second Class Matter at the N. Y. Post Office, by STREET & SMITH, 238 iVzl!iam St., N. Y. Entered according to Act of Congres s in tlze year Jqcu, in tile Office of tile Librarian of Congress, Wasllington, D C. N o !2 NEW YORK, August 3, 1901. Pric e Five Cents BU FALO B I LL'S OR, The Fai r Her:mit o f Mystery Valleya By the author o f "BUFF ALO B ILL." ,. CHAPTER I. BUFFALO BILL'S STRANGE STORY. The chief of army scouts, William F. Cody, had returned to Fort 'Wingate one nigl1t from a lone expeditiou, just as all the garrison were. looking upon him as dead, believing tl1al he had at last met the doom so many had preclictecl he would, and wondering why he had not Jong Lefore clone so. corporal of the gnard chief of scouts, Cody, is returning," repeated the sentiuel, as he recognized a horseman coming at a lope over the plain. .And such a cheer as went up at the words of the sentinel was seldom heard, for that Buffalo Bill had discounted all predictions and again proved his title to "bearing a charmed life," was a joy to one and all in the fort. He looked worn and haggard, and his horse was gaunt and weary, as they passed in through the stockade; but the greeting was a grand one. Where he had gone no one knew, save General Carrol, the commandant, and even he had begun to regard the scout as dead, for weeks had passed since he had left the post on a secret missiou. Straight to headquarters he rode, dismounted, turned his horse loose to go to the stable, a n d was met by General Carrol on the piazza, so glad Vias that officer to welcome the great scout back agaiu. "Come in, Cody, and I feel as though I was )Yel coming you back almost from the grave." "Not so bad as that, general, though I have been on a long trail, and a strange one, sir." "I do not doubt it-you show it in your face, and

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2 THE BU ff J\lO BiLL STORIESo I was sorry that I allowed you to go on the search for those mysterious people you had heard of. ''And I am glad that I went, sir, for I found the secret settlement I had heard of, aud wished to solve the mystery of, and I discovered enough to kuow that they need looking after, while I have a plan to submit to you, sir." "Never content unless your life is in danger, Cody." "If there is good to, be obtained by the risk, sir." "Then ) ou found the valley?" "Yes, sir." "And was it what you had heard?" "More, sir, for I found a mystery that mu s t be uncovered.'' "\Nell, tell me.about your trip." "I went on the trail, after leaving Fort McRae, which the Mexican who died here told me to take', and it led me into a country seldom traveled, down into the land of the deserted fort, old Tube Rosa. "I struck the Tube Rosa range and fon11d there a large Jake in a most beautiful valley, situated by itself, for all approaches to it are desert lands, b eyo nd which no one would suspect to find a garden spot of b eauty." "Yes, I hav e li.eard ouly indirectly of suc h a coun try there, but not that it was settled." "\Veil, it is settled, General Carrol, as you sha ll hear. "The valley is beantiful, fertile, the &urroundinr,s well timbered, grass abundant, and there is a large, deep lake of clear and icy water. "I was surprised, I can tell you, sir, when I saw it, and yet my suspicions were only beginning with the first view from the range summit. "But first, sir, I ran upon an adventure and a strange one. "As I began to enter the unknown and beautiful lake land, I came unexpectedly upon what had been once the home, doubtless, of some old Spanish or Mexican don; bu t it was in ruins, almost, and secll!e l to have been long deserted. "Hafting to gaze at it, I was startled to hear voices, the first I had heard for days, and in English. "There was a shot, a cry in a woman's voice, oaths in Mexican, and I knew that some one was in trou ble, so I rode to the rescue. "It clicln 't last long, for I saw a man in Mexican uniform lying on the ground, a young girl near him, their hor ses close by, and th ey had been held up by several outl aws "Olle I dropped, the others skipped, and I found I ha d rescued a Mexican officer a nd a yo1111g g irl, who, while on a ricle had been attacked by road agents, who had llOt expected help 11ear. "A glallci llg shot on the h ead had stunned the officer, kuockiug him from his sadd le. "As the men clashed off a nd escaped me, for I didn't press them close, I admit, thete being more than I wa11tecl, one called out: "'I'll remember you for this, Buffalo Bill.'" "This s how ed that h e knew you." ''Yes, sir." "But go on with your strange story." "In a few words, sir, th e officer had revived, and from the young girl I learn ed that she lived some clistallce away, a11d the outlaws had sought to force from her some secret, what I did n ot know, and, as I felt that the villai u s believed I had help near, and finding 011t that I h ad uot would return, I urged a quick.movement to a place of safety '"l'he girl and the officer quickly mounted, the latter s till half da::::ed from his wound, and I told th em I would remain bel1ind to check pursuit and then follow upon their trail. "I clicl remain for a while, theu left, but I stuck to the trail I had been traveling, thinking that they might thi11k there was a crowd if I followed the gi rl an cl the officer. "As I rode along I suddenly spied a glitteriug object on the ground, and picking it u p I was surprised to find that it was a bracelet studded with gems. I will sho w it to yon later, for I have it. "Feeling sure that the l ady l1acl dropped it, I retraced my steps and picked up their 1.rail, on l y to lose it, and I am certain that they covered up their tracks to throw me off the track. "Search as I might l could not pick up the trail of the officer and the girl, so I gave it up at la s t and .weul o n to the valley, to halt at a fine ranch I came t1_;u1 : alld there ask 11ospi tality. "But to tell you first of this strange valley and its people. "The settlement numbers a thousand people, i s an adobe village, and the dwellers th ere are Mexicans, with a mixture of Americans and Indians. "From Silver Lakes' settlement the ranches branch out the valley) aucl th ere are some fine haciendas

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THE B U ff l\lO BILL STORIES. 3 among them, the rancheros being rich in cattle and hors es, and a mixture of Americans and Mexicans of the l.H:tter class.,, "Yon surprise me, Cody, and interest me greatly," said General Carrol. "I was greatly surprised and interested myself, sir, during-the two clays and nights I was in the valley. ''All seems peaceful there, too, general, and Y,et upon that valley re:sts a cruel curse, for it is under a ban of outlawry that is most mysterious, and the more terrible because the actors are unseen, unknown, and therefore secret foes. "Upon this strange community hangs my missio n of cltlty that I ask to go upon.,, "Well?" "I was struck with the beauty of the valley, the apparent wealth of the ranclieros, and where I stopped was the home of an American, who was half l\Iexican, for he had had a Texan for his father, who had married a lady of Mexico. "Re received me with the greatest hospitality, and we became so friendly that he told me that nightJ as we sat togetl1 er, of the ban upon the fair valley. "I questioned him closely, for I wished to know all that I could discover, and he made known, though with considerable dread at doing so, that the curse upon the community was from the deeds of a secret foe or rather foes. "Who that foe was 110 one could tell, and yet he was most in evidence at every ranch in the valley, upon which he levied tribute or blood money, I may say, and got it. "But how did he do this?" "By a placard :stuck on the gate of a ranch house, or hacie11da, demanding a certain sum to be placed in a designated spot on a day or night named, under the penalty, if refused, of a death iu the family." "This mus t be looked to, Cody." r "That is just what I am after, general." "Bnt why do not the rancheros have the nerve to put this unseen robber to the test?'' "They have, sir, and to their bitter cost." "He bas carried out his threats, then?" "He has, sir, promptly and without mercy, and that is why they no longer refuse the demands upon them." "I can hardly wonder at it, w hen an unseen foe strikes at those they love." ''He does more, sir, for he has taken from each home a hostage, keeping them comfortably, as they are allowed to write home, but holding them against refusal of his demands, ana' threatens to thus keep them 11ntil he gains the purpose for which he is striv ing, a certain amount of money, I take it, sir." "There is no doubt of it, and it is a novel way of gaining his ends; but still I believe he can be check mated.'' "I feel confident of it, sir, and for that reason I wish your permission, General Carrol, to go to that valley and solve that mystery, hunt down that un seen and unknown foe. "You know that scout, Texas Jack, brought with him a dozen Texans as sco11ts, and they are all saddle sharps, superb lassoists, dead shots, speak Spanish more or less fluently, and are utterly fearless.,, "They are all that yon say, Cody.'' "Now, general, I wish to take Texas Jack and his Texans and go to that valley and take possession of a deserted hacienda I saw there and turn ranchero, buying cattle and. horses, and establishing myself there for the one purpose of discovering the daring leader wlio thns threatens, robs and persecutes these people, and I am sure, sir, that I can unearth a mys tery that will fully compensate for our time.,, "Cody, you can go, and take the men you ask for. Yott have been there, understand the situ ta ti on, and know what you are doing, so I leave all to you." "Now, general, as the owner of this bracelet dodged me, beyond all doubt, I have it to return to her and will do so. Here it is, sir.,, "Why, it is worth a small fortune, Cody," said the general, gazing earnestly at the handsome brace let. CHAPTER II. UNDER A CURSE. Buffalo Bill went en to tell General Carrol how hard he had tried to' find the owner of the bracelet, and wh.at he considered proof that she and the wounded Mexican officer had covered up their tracks. Then he continued his story about the strange val ley, and the cruel curse that rested upon it, the ban under which it suffered in terror through the deeds of a secret foe, and which no one had the power to break or force to an ending, cost what it might. "I gave that deserted ranch a close call, sir," resumed the scout, "for I was interested in it, and it was reallv a grand old min, a\'oidecl, as I fomH1 011t

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4 \THE BUFFALO B!LL STORIESo later by all, and feared, for it is known as the Haui1ted Bacienda, and also the Fatal Ranch, a nd the believers iu ghostsall are:mre that it is the h aunt of evil spirits. "I took it. all in aud made up my mind, sir, that it would be valuable for me to haunt when I returned to the valley with the forc e I w as going to ask yon to let me have, sir, and which you have kindly given me." "Yes, and more, if you need them; but yo u can tell me more of this valley, I hope," said General Carrol. "I rode on up the valley to the settlement of Silver < Lake City without meeting a so ul. "That city, as they call it, is beautifully situa t ed, and is composed of adobe hou ses the people seeming to have very little to do. "Some mine in the mountains, others of the men are cowboys on the ranches down the valley, there are several stores, sa loons, and a black smith s hop or two, with an old mission chapel and a priest. "There is a half-way inn there, and if the landlord is not a villain, then his looks belie him. "I told him I was looking for a ranch, and he told me there was none for sale. "I asked him about the deserted hacienda, and he said that no one would live there as it was haunted by evil spirits, and he either believed it, or could lie with as straight a face as I ever saw. ''He said the place belonged to some one in Mexico, who had inherited it, that every one who had la s t lived there had died over night, from what cause no one knew, for there were no signs of violence upon them, but all were found dead in the morning, as also every horse, cow, sheep and dog in the walled-in place.'' "This is a remarl
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THE. BUFF ALO BILL STORIES. 5 l.Ieu and horses had been pid:ecl for a purpose, it cotlld be plainly seen. They had extra ::rnin1als along, and half a dozen pack l!lul es, well loaded with a camp Olltfit, provisions and a111111trnitiou. Those that saw th 111 waiting for tlie start beheld Texas Jack, the noted ranger scout' from the Lone Slar State, and nexl in rank to Buffalo Rill at the post. Then th ere was another lielltenant of the chief of scouts in Wild Winfield, and these two men had a record to be proud of as plainsmen. Blue Jacket Bob, Wichita Will, Mustang Frank, Rio Grande Dick, Lone Star Sam, and so on clown the file, until, aher the two lieutenants, came twelve good men ancl trne. ('Where are y oll going, Texas Jack?" asked an officer of cavalry, passing the squad of wild riders. "Don't know, sir. Got orders to get ready for a Joug trail, and am prepared f?r a fight, footrac.e, or siege, sir.'' "(I have not heard of any n ews that causes General Carrof to send out Cody and his picked saddle sharps," con tinned the officer. "Nor have I, sir." "Have none of the men an idea?" "Not one, sir, and we are waiting for the chief of scouts, Cody, now for he has gone to the general for last orders.'' As Texas Jack spoke, Buffalo Bill appeared, coming from General Carrol's quarters. He was splendidly mounted a11d armed, and bis face was as serene as a May morn. There was nothing there to indicate anxiety or dread. "Which way, Cody?" asked the major of the post, pausing just the n while the other officer, who had been qllestioning Texas Jack, said: "That's right, major, for I'm anxious to know; but they are all as close as clams." ((I am goiug southward on a scout, major," was Buffalo Bill's reply, and, saluting, he rode to the head of the line, ai1cl gave the order to march. The scouts obeyed, following in two files, Texas Jack at the head of one, Wild Winfield leading the other, while two men brought up the rear, to keep the packmules closed up. That the band of wild riders were curiot1s about their going, was certain; but not a hint came from their chief, and not a man dared to question him. The start had been made af t er dinner, and after a ride of twenty-five miles a halt was made for the night. Supper was had, all eating together around the camp fire, but no word fell from the chief's lips as to where they were going. The next day forty miles were placed behind them, and the scouts knew that the chief had started upon a long journey. So it.went on for clay after clay, from forty to fifty miles being made, the cattle .being well cared for, with long noonday halts, until the chief of scouts bore toward the right, into a land that was unknown to his followers. ((Vve will leave Santa Fe well to om left," said Texas Jack to Wild Winfield one clay. "Yes, but why does not the chief give us a hint of where we are going?" "He will, i11 good time. "Oh, yes; but it is an important trail, I feel sure, and connected with his trip southward which he has just returned from." "No doubt it is; but the Government cattle corrals must be in this course .'' "Yes and I believe we going after cattle; but to-morrow will t e ll, as the corrals and grazing grounds are on headwaters of the San Juan, and that is the way we are pointed 11ow, and we must reach there before two more camps." The same style of and guesswork the other scouts indulged in, and still the chief said nothing as to their destination, and all decided .that it was to the corrals to drive back cattk. But that night, when they went into camp, Buffalo Bill said, after all had had supper: "Pards, I have 1rnd nothing to say as to om mis sion, as there was little to tell yon. "But, as we strike the Government corrals at noon to-morrow, I wish to say that we are to get there a large herd of cattle and a band of a hundred or more horses.'' "Yes, we supposed that was what we were going for, chief," said Texas J ad. Buffalo Bill smiled, and replied: "General Carrol thought it best for me not to tell you my purpose until we neared the corrals, and then, if any of you wished to back 01!t, you could

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THE BUFFALO BILL STORIES remain there, and I could find other men in your p;aces; but I think I picked those men who will stand by me.'' ".T ust try us!" cried Texas Jack, and the other men all cried out in the same vein. "Now, though we are going to get cattle and horses, we drive them south in.stead of north, and I tell you plainly that we are going to a pleasant valle y I know of, where I am to turn ranchero, and you are to be my cattlemen. "That I do this for other motives than posing as a ranchero, you ma y all be certain, and that there will be hot work ahead of us I feel very confideut. "Does any man wish to remain at the corrals, or go with me to take from a people a cruel curse that rests upon them?" The response to this question of Buffalo Bill was so earnest that he knew he had nothing to fear from any one of his riders. CHAPTER III. 1'HE HACIENDA. It was just one month from his leaving Silver Lake City on his northward trail, after his stran g e adventure in the mysterious valley, that Buffalo Bill rode up to the little inn where he had before haltecl, and was greeted by the same M e xican landlorcl, whom he had not particularly fancied. Speaking English well, the landlord recognized the handsome scout, and said in a way that was meant to be hospitable, but which was full of ci.1-riosity: "Ah, senor, yon again come this way-is yonr stay to be short, as before?" the contrary, Senor Riel, I am here to stay.,, 11Ah, senor! you like the Silver Lake Valley, then?'' "Very much." "Yon are a gambler, perhaps, senor, or you have no bnsiness ?'' "Oh, no, I am a ranchero, and have come to settle down the valley, near the lake." "Vou amaze me, senor, for there is no ranch to sell there.'' "There is one unoccupied, and may be for sale. "I shall take possession of it, herd my cattle in the snrroundi1ig country, and, when the owner appears, will pay him what i s just. "Now, tell me, Senor Riel,.if the padre is at home -Oh, I see him there now," and Buffalo Bill walked rapidly away to where a small, dark-faced man was standing, dressed as a Mexican priest. "The Padre San Juan I believe?" he asked, politely. "Yes, my sou, but I know you not." "No; I am au American, and once passing through this valley, decided to find a home here. "I called upon you, but yo11 were away from home, and I have just arrived to settle here." "How can I serve you, senor?" "I have some miles away lllY cattle and horses, and my destination is the ulcl des e rted haciend:i down the valley on the lake. "I wo11ld ask you if you can place me iu communication with the owner?" "I cannot, m y son, for the one who fell heir to that trnly accursed place is a stranger, and was never here. "It is a blot upon the valley, and will be a home of ill omen sho11ld you dwell there, which Heaven forbid .'' "I thank you, Senor Padre, but my men an d cat tle at'c, as I said, near, a11d to-morrow night I will t
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BUFFAL O B I L L STORiESa 7 some purchases, and to get a wagon to take them to the cle erted hacienda. "You wiil go there, then, senor?'' "Oh, yes." "The Padre San Juan warned you?" "Yes, as yon did." "Yon do not heed warnings, theu ?" "I am 11ot superslitions, and so warnings of imaginary evils have no dread for me; but if warned of a real clanger, I heed, as I flatter myse lf that I am no fool.'' The l andlord shook his head, and then said he. would htrnish the mea n of transportation for what the senor cared to purchase, and lie would take him to the best places at which to buy them. The purchases were soo n made, loaded in a wagon, and started upou th e way for the haci e nda, the scout, after having dinner at the t ave rn, starting 011 after the ,l!le11, for they were already well on their way to the new home of Buffalo Bill in the m ys teriou s valley. The wagon was soon overt:akeu, and afterward the herd, and Buffalo Bill said: "vVe now pards, and to-morrow ear l y we go into our home." The nigl1t halt was made, an early start followed the next morning, and before noon the cattle were halted upon the rich meadowland on either s ide the lake, several sconts left to guard th e m, while th e rrst rode on after their chief, who had go ne o n ahead to the hacienda. "If that is uot an owl's roost I'rn mistaken," said one.'' "Aud a coyote den," added another. "It may be worse.'' ''How?'' "It may be a n outlaws' retreat.,, "Or worse tha n that.'' "How ca u thal be?" "The place may be haunted." Some laughed, so m e did uot; others looked grave, and said nothi11 g 'l'he supi=rstitions of a f e w had been aroused. Bnt into the w::illed-iu plaza rode the scouts, fol lowed by the \Yagon, a11d there .stood Buffalo Bill, bst his left sleeve was stained wilh blood, his face had a bruise upon it, and he had the appearance of one who bad b ee n iu a terrible struggte. "But," he sa id, calmly, "make yourselves at home, boys, for I am master here." Telling Texas Jack where to halt the cattle and horses, to have a guard of seve ral men over them, and the n come on with the others and the wagon and animals. The chief of scouts had cantered on alone to the hacieu
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8 THE BU ff ALO BILL STORIES. It was his knife, and he had just time to draw it and raise the point, when, with a savage growl there sprang upon him a huge mountain lion. 'rhe weight of the animal, the blow of the body, and being unable to fully prepare for the shock, hurled Buffalo Bill backward, and he fell against the rough wall with considerable force, bruising his face badly, while he also felt the teeth of the mad animal buried in his arm. But he had gotten his knife on guard, and the long, sharp blade had cut into the heart of the lion, the force of the sp_ring driving it to the hilt. Half dazed by the fall against the wall and the blow of the huge body against him, Buffalo Bill yet recognized that he mu:ot cut, and once more he drove his knife deep into theshaggy hide. ; Bllt to his joy he recognized that there was no need of his coing more, for the animal upon him was a dead weight, the firsf knife thrust had entered his heart, and the teeth that h a d been driven into the scout's arm had not been closed upon it, for the mountain lion had sprung to a quick and sudden death, the keen blade catching, by an accident, just in the right spot to kill. Throwing off the weight, Buffalo Bill arose to his feet. Was it from the concuss ion that he had received that made strange figures appear before his eyes, or did he really behold a ghostly foni1, clad in white, at the end of the long, dark corridor, one arm pointin g straight outward, the 6ther down at the gro1;11d. "I'll tackle you, too, for ghosts are more to my liking than mountain lions," said Buffalo Bill, grimly, and he rubbed his eyes to see that they were not deceiving him, and, drawing his revolver now he rushed forward to grapple with this new foe., But then, as he felt that it was no vision of the brain, but in reality a ghostly-looking form, not fifty feet from him, he halted and called out in a voice that echoed through the corridor: "Hands up, there, or I'll fire and kill you!" B11t the order was not obeyed, the form still standing mute and motionless, and pointing as before. lllstriutly came a red ffosli fro !11 ti1e scn11t's revo l ver, and a sharp report raug througl1 the hacienda. CHAPTER IV HAUNTED. Buffalo Bill at once moved rapidly toward the spot where he had seen the white form. Twice he fired his revolver as he approached to light up the scene. But he saw nothing. The rear of the corridor had no egress, only a window some eight feet from the floor. Upon either side were doors, foll a dozen feet from the e:1d of the corridor1 but one of these was closed too securely to open and the other was the one he had entered the iong hail from and led into the rooms he had se l ected for himself and coinrades to dwell in. Not a particle of -superstition had the scout, but here was a mystery he could not solve. How had the mountain lion got into that corridor? He had not ente-recl by the door that he had1 for that \vas closed and locked 011 the other side. He could not have come through tbe window, even had he been able to leap that high, for it was closed. The other door was locked or bound .on the other side, but to have come through that way it could only have been done with the aid of a human being. All the doors save the one the scout had eutered by, were closed. How, then, could the mountain lion have got info the corridor without human help, and who was the white-robed form at whom he fired? Lighting match after match, Buffalo Bill looked about him. He could discover nothing to show how he lion and the white form had entered. There lay the lion dead. The spectral visitant was gone. And yet he had aimed to kill, and he knew that he was not one to miss. Going out of the door through which he had entered, the scout closed it behind him, and, leaving the building, walked out into the bright sunlight. His sleeve was wet with blood and he was fer:ling weak and a little shaky But just as he was going to the brook to bathe his wounds, Texas Jack, Wild Winfield and eight of the men came at a canter into the plaza as has been told. They were startled at the appearance of their chief, but marveled when lie told them so coolly to make themsd ves at 11ome; that be wa::; the master there,

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THE B UFF AL O BILL S T O RIES. 9 They saw that there had been a death struggle, and he did not keep them wai _ting long to know what it was. 1'I have had a fight with a mountain lion I found in the hacienda, Jack, and killed him, fortunately, before he did me much harm. "Get my medicine case from my saddle, and yo11, Stevens, see just how badly he bit my arm, for you are the surgeou of the outfit." "Yes, chief," auswered Ste vens, who had gone to '"I'exas to practice mediciue, but had become with scouting and devoted himself to wild life instead. The chief's wounds were soon showu, and the marks of the teeth of the auimal were seen below and above. 1It is not nearly as bad as I would expect from the teeth of a monnta in lion," said Stevens, whom his comrades called "Doc." "He must have been a small one," said Wild Winfield. "No, he was large enough. "I ha\e him in the l1acienda; but I saw the glitter of his eyes as he sprang, and just had time to get my knife ready, and he did the rest, for he drove it right into hi s heart. "He was dead when h e fell on top of me. "But that is not all I found in the hacienda, boys." "I see tha t your face is bruised and head cut," Doc Stevens said. "That was done when I fell agaiust the wall with the lion 011 top of me. "Then I saw what I a.t first believed was conjured up by my half-dazed brain; but I fired at it, yet got n 9 game." "\Vhat was it, chief?" "A ghost." Some of the men looked startled at this annoul)ce ment, while others laughed. "Well, boys, I saw a human form, clad in white, and, as it did not obey my order to hands up, I fired. But I could find nothing when I looked for the dead body The word s of the chief created an impression, for all knew that he w as not in a joking humor. "The truth is, pards," the chief of scouts wen t on to say, "we are not wante in this valley, and I will tell yon why. ''I had no idea that there was such a se ttlement as this in this valley, and I wish to know if you had ever heard of it?" "I have been through here, before, ten years ago, and it surprised me then, chief, but I have met no one else who knew that there was a settlement here . "Then its people were Mexicans, Indians, negroes, and a few Americans." The one who spoke was Lone Star Sam, a 1 1 and so111e, dashing fellow, reserved, courteous, and whom his comrades regarded as a man with a past t11at 11ad left its impress upon him, for he never spoke of the bygone. "What did yon find out about it, Sam?" "Very little, sir." "What brought you here?" "I was in search of one I was anxious to find, and, hearing of this settlement from a Mexican I came here to see if my man was here." ''Was he?" ''He was not.'' "Did you stay long at that time?" "About a month, chief." "Well, I found this by accident, on my last trail south, when on my return, and I wish to tell you about the strange valley and its mysterious people "Thanks, doc, you have made me feel all right, and certainly you are a good surgeon.'' Then Buffalo Bill told his story, as he had to General Carrol, and let the scouts understand what dis covery lie had made, and what Senor Otega, the ranchero. down the \'alley, had made known to him, though he did not say where he had got the in formation. Continuing, he said: "Now, boys, we are here to find out where these secret outlaws are. ''They are doubtless leagued for gold alone, but revenge may play a part in their actions also. ''That they have a retreat is assured by their keep ing their captives as hostages. "Where this retreat is we must fiud out. "Who they are we must know, and when we have set onr trap we must spring it iu a way that will leave escape for none. ''A dozen there may be, perhaps more, to work so well and successfully. "The landlord-Riel is his name-I do not trust, so bevvare of him; yes, and every one else, even the

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10 THE BU ff ALO B!LL STORIES. Padre San Juan in Silver Lake, as he, too, may be a wolf in the garb o. sheep, though I think not. "Trust no one, but keep your eyes and ears open, and be prepared at any time to fight for yonr lives. "I am, remember, an American ranchero, aud yo u are my cattlemen. \Ve are here to stay, you can tell the iuqnisitive, and secret] y we are here to ferret out the mysteries of this valley. "The curse that rests upon it is a mystery, the secret band of robbers and. kidnappers is another, m y having met that Mexican officer and maiden is a third, while the masked man and his four umnasked followers is a fourth myste r y. 'l'hen there is this deserted and l1annted hacienda and let me warn yo u that it has begun its umlerhand work already, for human hands led that mountain lion in where I fouud him, and the white-robed form I fired at was no apparition, and you are all too sensible for a m o ment to believe that such a thing could be. "Now come up and see our quarters, and get the packs off the mules and tmload the wagons, for I wish to get lanterns, an.:l, first of all, make a thorou g h search of the old place. "Where are the two wagon drivers?" "Back with the men I left with the herd, for uoth ing would induce them to come any 11earer to this hacienda, so one of the boys brought the wagon on, and when it i s unloaded, will drive it back and let them skip, for they wish to be well on their way before night overtakes them, and swear they would not have come a step had the landlord told tlle111 where they were to take their load. Buffalo Biil l a u g h ed at tlie fears of the two Mexicans who had come with the wago11, ancl Texas Jack went ou to say : "And, chief, those two fellows vowed that there was not a i11'1n in the valley you conlcl get to come to this hacienda, day or night." "All right. vVe don't want a11y to come. ''But we are men, and here we remain uu til I accomplish what I came for." CHAPTER V. THE SEARCH OF THE RUIN. The corridor of the hacienda was first entered through the wing the chief of scouts had selected for occupation, and it was seen that all save the door throngh which he Iia d made his entrance and exit was securely faste11ed. Whoever it had been the cl1ief had fired at, conlcl only have entered by that si n g l e door; as far as con]g be see11. There lay the deacl 11101111tai11 lion, the scout's l.;ui fe wounds in heart and back, ancl he proved to be of e11or111ous size, aud all saw that it had been mos t fortunate for the chief that he had caught him on his k11ife point just as he did. The rear window was opened then, and showed that it had been closed for a long time. So did the wide front doors, wl1ich filled almost the other end of the corridor. nut the other doors, save that 011e through which Buffalo Bill had e11terec1, s howed plainly that they had n o t bce11 opened for a long while. That door the cl1ief himself had opene
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THE BUFFALO BILL STORIES. 1 1 Then the wagon was returned to the two waiting Mexicans, and t h e broken down plaza entrance was repaired, as it was decided best, for a few nights at least, to drive the horses and cattle into the walled grounds about the hac:. a, so that they would begin to understand that it was home. Just before sunset the stock was driven up, and the gateway having been finished, so as to make it strong agai11, it was closed for the night, and the scouts went to get supper. Two guards were appointed for the night, one in the hacienda, oue at the entrance to the grounds, and Buffalo Bill selected men whom he knew were not of a superstitious turn of mind, remarki11g to Texas Jack: "If we put on a man who was looking for ghosts, this is the very place to find them and he would be alarming us constantly with challenges of apparitions, so I just put on men who have no fear of the dead. '' "You are right, for though there is not a man in the band who would not fight big odds if he knew he was facing me1i, severa l of the boys would skip at the sight of anything in t h is ruin t h ey did not understand. "'I am sorry that you told them the ghost story." "No, it was best, for if this haciend' a is the haunt of outlaws, as I believe it has been, it will be by springing the supernatural upon us, t hat they will endeavor to frighten us away." "Yes, that is so, and from that standpoint it was best; but the cleverness of that apparition act shows that they have some mean s of getting in and out t hat we are not 011 to yet, chief. 1 _"Well, it won't be long before we are, if the men are not stampeded by a supposed ghost," was Buffalo Bi 11 's answer. Superstition inculcated into our lives in earlier years, gains a hol d that is not easi l y s haken off and a few years ago those who were not superstitious were the exception. I In the band of braves, for such a ll o f them were, congregated in the hacienda that night, abou t half of them liau a superstitions dread of the old deserted mission ranch. Buffalo Bill saw just how these men felt, and he read the face of those who had no dread. So he said, a:s all were seated in the ranch waiting t o retire: "Remember, pards, I believe t h a t efforts w i ll b e made to drive us out of here to-night. "Kot by direct force, for, with our numbers and the men I know I have with me. "13ut this hacienda is very old Strange deeds have been done here, crimes committed, and most mysterious happenings have occurred. "Now, there is no such thing, as all of you know, as spooks and ghosts, for the dead never come back to eart h in spirit form. "But relyi11g upon the fears of inany that be l ieve in spooks, wicked men play the ghost act to frighten all away from this place for a purpose of their own. "My idea is that this place h as been the abode of outlaws, and our coming here thwarts their game to keep hidden. "As t h ey dare not attack us openly, they will play the spectre game and try and stampede us "But that will not go with you, and .as an extra precaution to-night I will keep four men on duty instead of two. ''Two of you can be together; a couple in the hacienda, the others about t h e grounds. "But, remember, neither of the guards must 1i1ove into the domains of the others, for my orders are to shoot everything on two l egs you see prowling about, be it ghost or man. "Now, Jack, you go on duty with three men until miduight and I will relieve you t hen wi t h three more." This plain talk quieted the dread of those who had been fee ling anxious as to what mjght happen, and Texas Jack went on duty with three men whom he called to follow him, being careful to select two of the three w horn he knew had an u ncanny fear of the p l ace. One of the1:11 he left on guard at the hacienda with a comrade who had no fear of ghosts, and the other he took ou t in the grounds with hi m t hough showing no sign t hat he suspected eith er. The horses were huddl ed together in one corner of the walled-in plaza, a n d the cattl e were in another, all quiet and apparently wondering why they were penned up. As the guards left the hacienda the others turned in for the night, and were soon fast asleep, Buffalo Bill setting the good example by dropping off instantly int o a deep s lumber. Soon after the guards had gone 011 duty, the

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12 THE BUFF l\LO BILL horses began to grow uneasy, just why Texas Jack could not understand. As they still continued their restlessness, he told the man who was with him to stand guard at tlie gateway while he went among the restive ani mals. But the man preferred to go with him, and he said no more. The two quieted the horses, to find that the cattle also were getting restive, and, cowboy fashion, Texas Jack began to sing to them, for, as he muttered to himself: "If they stampeded they may break out, and about half the nags will go with them.'' The cattle also became quieted under the weird chanting of the Texan, and then the horses once more became restive. "Say, Pinto Paul, you stay about the horses while I soothe the split-hoofs with the mdody of my voice, which can lull them to rest," said the Texan, in a light vein. "Jack, give me an order to tackle the mate of that mountain lion the chief killed, or to brace up aga in s t a couple of outlaws, and I'll do it, but just here l e t me remark that I follow close on your trail this night, and I'll sing with you to the cattle, or I'll prowl with you about among the horses, but don't you expect me to play a lone h a nd, for I don't intend to do it." "You are surely not scared, Piuto Paul?" "Yes, I am scared, for I don't like watching for spooks; I'm badly scared, and don't you forget it, Pard J ack. "Now, these horses see what we don't see and so do the cattle. "I tell you that this is no place for living men when the dead are prowling about." Texas Jack saw that Pinto Paul was in deadly earnest, and he said no more, merely remarking: "Well, Paul, if you think I am a foil to the ghosts we'll stay together, and we'll keep by the gate, so as to head the cattle if they make a break for it, and I'll keep up my song." CHAPTER VI. THE FIRST NIGHT. The plaintive song of the Texan did have a soothing effect upon both cattle and horses.* "Hi; well knowil tlt :1t 1he sing to their cattle at i,ti:;llt, IUlll it UOl:S l 111 tllew to l ,lUic i .-ED. Thus the time passed away out in the grounds, while in the h acie nd a.w hen all became quiet it seems w tha t the spooks began to get ii1 their work al so. w The fir.5t the guards b eard was a low, moaning ln sou ncl. It so und ed like a rnau in suffering, but just where n it came from the two guards could not tell. ti The superstitious one of the two was for ronsiug the men at once, but his comrade said: "What for? We see 110 one, and it is merely a 1 trick to frighten us, for the chief is right; tf1is is an 1 outlaws' haunt." 1 When there joined in with the m oauiug the sound of a woman weepiug, Mustang Frank began to show o real frig ht, bnt Lone Star a m calmed him, aud the two liste ned to th e stra n ge sound s As though a man's mo aning and woman's weeping were not euough, there joined as a treble the sound of a child crying like oue in pain. "My God, Lone Star, let u s arouse the chief." "No, Frank, it is nearly midnig ht, a nd he'll be on hand then. "Besides, we cannot shoot, mind. "This place is haunted by men whose iJJterest it is to frighten us a way; but we won't scare a little bit, Frank.'' "Speak for yo ur self pard, for Pm about scared si 11 y this blessed mi u u te. '' Lone Star Sam laughed, and then said: ''Listen! "I thonght we would have more of it, for hear that dog join in the quartet, only I don't like tile music-ah! h ere collles the cl1id." Buffalo Bill jus t then came out into the corridor, Mustang Frank starting as the door opened. "Well, pards, we are having a serenade, I hear. "But it is tim e for yo u to turn in, just twelve, and I'll watch h ere, while Haskell stauds by the onter door; but remain ou duty until I return from seeing Texas J af:lc '' "Do yo u mean auy ou e can sleep, chief, with this going ou ?'' "Yes, Frank. vVe were not born in the woods to be scared by an owl,'' was the answer, a nd Buffalo Bill left the corridor an
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, THE BUFF ALO BILL STORIES. 1 3 1'\i\Tinfield, you aud the others come with me to where Texas Jack and Pinto Paul are on duty, and we will see if they hav e bee u disturbed by these outlaws pl.aying ghosls." On they walked and found 'l'cxas J ac k haviJJg as much trouble to soothe Pinto Paul as he had to keep the cattle qui el. "_'.\nythi11g wrong, Jack?" '''rhe cattle aucl horses, too, are very resth'!ss, and Paul thi11ks ghosts are abotit, but we have seen noth ing, though we liave h eard U1e howling of a dog aud hooLin g of an owl." "Well, Jack, I will relieve you and Pinto Paul, all(] Broucho Rawlings will sta11d guard over the cattle while I take the gate. "Yon, vVi11field, return to the hacienda and relieve Lone Star, taking Haskell with you." rl'his was done, Bron cho Rawlings taking his taud amo11g L11e cattle, and at ouce beginning to sing as Texas Jack and Pinto.Paul had clom:, for they were, incle ed, re stless Wild Wi11field and Haske ll returned to the hacienda, acco1JJ panied by Texas Jack and Pi11 to Paul, who muttered: "I suppose it will be out of the fryiug pan into the fire in the old ghost nest.'' The men were all awake now, yet not up. But Texas Jack showed no dread, si111ply rema.rking that a ghost would be made of those iu reality who were playing the spook act, and he turned in. Pinto Paul, rneanwliile, stirred up the fire for light, 11ot heat, aucl sat by it, merely remarking: "Now, I'm not sleepy a little bit, pards." Wild \Vin field mean w Ii ile b ad placed Haskell on guard at the outer door of the hacienda, while he went in to relieve Lone Star and Frauk. rrhese came into the large sleeping -room, aud while Lone Star calmly to bed, Mustang Frank joined Pinto Paul at th e fire, remarking: "I'm with you, pa rd, for I al ways was scared of a danger I coulc111't see." ''Me, too.'' "This old rookery is a graveyard from wayback, and, you bet, ghosts are on the prowl this night, for they've invited no compauy, 'and don't keep a hotel for men in the flesh, such as we are. "Just listen to that music, will you?" and the weird sounds rang through the h acienda -:,';ell B:1f!':ilo 1 gone into the corridor l ie had intended to relieve Lone Star and Mustang Frank himself, for the sounds were dismal enough, echoing through the old hacienda. But when he visited the spot where 'l'exas Jack was on guard he thought that the entrance to the. ranch was the best place for him, after he had heard the Texan 's report. He knew if the cattle and horses were restless some one was causing them to be so by about among them, and in some way exciting them. If that "some one" could only stampede the whole Jot, causing them to break through the gateway, tlrnn he and his s couts would be in a way indeed. It was true that the gateway had been repaired, but not as well as was intended, for timber would have to b e cut and hauled there to make it secure, aud a ru s h of steers would break down the barrier that was there. That any other demonstration would be made in the haci enda than the weird sounds already heard, BuffaJo Bill did not believe, so he decided that he would keep his stand at the gate and let Rawlings guard the cattle, singing to them to quiet them. The moment the others had walked away, Buffalo Bill had quickly crouched down in the shadow of the wall, just at .the entrance. Ee heard no sound save the impatient tramping of the horses, the singing of Broncho Rawlings, and an anxious lowing of a frightened steer. An hour passed, and the chief of scouts muttered: "It's time, now, for graveyards to yawn, if ever." He had hardly uttered the words when he saw that the horses were becoming more iestless. He would not call to them, but kept quiet. A moment after his keeu eyes detected a white object running al?ng the wall. It came from the <;orner .where the horses were. Keeping his po sitio n, Buffalo Bill watched the white object as he could distinctly see it. The song of Broncho Rawlings' was still kept up, and the cattle, too, became r estive in spite of the lulling notes of the melody, for the singing scout had a most melodious voice. "Broncho soothes them, but if I attempted to sing to t11em I'd stampede the whole outfit, yes, scouts and all," said Buffalo Bill, with a full realization that music was not one of his accomplishments. The chief or ;;rnuts was upon the opposite side,

PAGE 15

14 l"HE BUFFALO BILL STORIES. crouching in the shadow of the massive adobe co-Junm on either side of the entrance. The white figure came straight toward him, and had Pinto Paul been where Buffalo Bill was, he would have stampeded with alacrity. The white figure did not seem to be able to see well, for the scout had not been discovered yet. Halting at the entrance, not twenty feet from Buffalo Bill, the "ghost" showed what its intention was. It intended to break down the barrier, and thus leave an open way for the cattle to stampede. But the entrance had been better closed than the midnight prowler in white thought, as it had some difficulty in its attempt. But just then there came from the hacienda, rising far above the singing of Broncho Rawlings and all other sounds, wild and piercing shrieks. The ghost seemed determined to break down the barrier as he heard the sound, but was suddenly startled by the stern command: "Hands up, there, or I'll fire!" A cry broke from the white-robed form, and, with a bound, he was off, when sharp, loud and deadly came the report of a revolver. Just as Buffalo Bill pulled the trigger it seemed as though the white form fell heavily, and then Buffalo Bill's voice was heard: "Turn out, all, to quiet the cattlt:." CHAPTER VII. Texas Jack, seeing that the cattle were being quieted by the scouts, walked toward the white ob ject lying thirty feet away, at the foot of the high adobe wall. "Well, Jack, it's a flesh ghost, isn't it?" called out Buffalo Bill, as he saw his pard bend over it. "It is, sir, and I'll call several of the.men to guard the gate while w e carry it up to the hacienda to have a look at it." "Do so." Several men at once came at the call, among them Pinto Paul. "There's the ghost, Pinto Paul; at least, he is more ghost now than he was a short while ago," said .Texas Jack. "What is it?" he asked, in au awed way. "A dead man." "Who killed him?" "The chief." "That was your shot, sir?" "Yes, Pinto." "You fired at a man? "No, at a ghost.'' "What is it?" "A dead man, now, who was playing gh?st a while s111ce. "He did not know that I was 011 duty at the gate th ere, for lie heard Broncho Rawlings singing, and supposed he was alone on watch. "As the ghost was trying to take down the barrier, to let the cattle out, I h e ld him up, but, as he did not heed, I fired on him. A DEAD GE OST. "I di
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I 0 t THE BU ff ALO BILL STORIES. while Buffalo Bill walked to the corridor where Wild Winfield was on guard. Wiufield, how goes it?" "All quiet, sir; but tliat shrieking was a blood cnrdler, even to me, and I feared it would. stampede some of the boys aloug with the cattle." "No, we headed them off. But keep your ears open for the slightest sou11ds1 now, though I do not believe we will have any more distmbances. rl'he ghost is laid, I think," and :Buffalo Bill returned to the large room. The fire had been up, and, with the light of several lanterns, the room was very light. Texas Jack had laid the or111 upon the floor before the fire, ancl, with a couple of the men who hacl come in, was standing looking at it. It was clad inn white garment, made to resemble a shroud, and th e head was also wrapped around, though two holes had been rnade for the eyes to peer through. On each ijid e, near the belt, tliere were two slits, through which the arms could be thrust. "You see there is not a sound,,,r.ow, for they know that one of their spirits has come to grief." 'l'exas Jack 'went out after the men, and they all took a look at the "ghost,,, made their comments, saw where the bullet of t h e chief had struck him in the head, and then the body was put in a vacaut room, a guard placed in the grounds, at the gate, and the rest of the scouts returned to their blankets, Pinto Paul remarking: "Well, I take no more stock in ghosts, though I don't just love this old owl's. nest." 'rhe night passed away without much sleep for a few of the scouts. There was not another sound heard in the hacienda, and the horses and cattle quieted down. This proved to the men that they had been frightenecl by the white-robed form going about among them. The body of the dead Mexican was buried by some of the scouts, off to itself in the walled enclosure, while the others prepared breakfast and put things to rights. 'rlie \vhite covering was taken from the form by Buffalo Bill and Texas Jack, ancl a dark, foreign face After the meal was over Wild Winfield and six of the scouts took the cattle to graze, while 'rexas Jack a11d the others started llpon a thorough search of the old mission ranch. was exposed. "It is a Mexican," said 1'exas Jack. "Yes, and he came to kill, if need be," aud Buffalo Bill pointed to the belt of arms the. man wore. He was attired half in Mexican, half in frontier garb, aucl his face was an evil one. Also, about i1is waist was a buckskin belt that con taiucd several hundred dollars in gold. "Well, Jack, we n eed not report the killiug of this man, at lea t just yet. "We will wait and see if we hear of it, dnd, if so, the man who makes it known we will spot. "I trust, now, the boys will uot fear any more.'' ''I hope uot, chief.'' "Send each one of them here to have a look ror himself, and they will know that I was right when I said an effort would be made to scare 11s awav from here "As we did not scare, they will try some other plan to get rid of 11s; but, one thing is certain, that these men have some way of entering and leaving the hacienda we do not know of, but must fi1;r l 011t. 1'hey were anxions to find out just where their disturbers of the night before had hidden, or, if concealed in the place, how they had got into it, and made their exit. Having posted men here and there 011 the watch, one in the tower, one upstairs, one in the grounds, and seen the others start in the search, Buffalo Bill put on his best rig and rode away, his men wondering where, and why he had dressed up. He rode his best horse, carried a rifle slung to his saddle, and seemed prepared to meet friend or foe That he carried no provisions along, after saying that he would not return until night, was also a surprise to the scouts, who knew that their chief was not one to miss a meal -except on compulsion. Down the valley rode the scout, and, following the lake shore its length, he turned, after going half a score miles, jnto a trail leading to the left toward the mou11 tain range on the eastward. Up amoug the foothills he saw a fine hacienda which he knew was the place where he had spent the in passing through the valley a month before.

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16 l'HE BUFF ALO BILL S T ORiES. Toward this he ,':l-uded his way, for he wished to talk with. Senor Otega. The senor it was who had told him of the secret baud of robbers in the valley, of the curse that rested upou t he people, and t h i s had influenced him i n coming there to solve the mystery, to hunt down the outlaws. C HAPTER VIII. BUFFALO BILL ON SECRET WORK. Buffalo Bil l did not care to trust even Senor Otega with any secre ts, for he k n ew not who he could place confidence in; b u t, having now come to the valley, being on the spot, he might find out from the senor some information that might be of value to h im. He wished to' see just who the maiden he had res cued was, who the band of outiaws might be, when Senor Otego had said that not one of the secret foes of the people in the valley had ever been Then who was the officer in the Mexican uniform, and why was he in the valley thus attired, why the victim of these men? I It was to get at the bottom facts, as well as he could, that Buffalo Bill had started upon his visit to Senor Otega. As he neared the ranch he saw the cattle and horses feediug near, the cowboys, five in numbe r, guarding them and gazing curiously at him, and to these he nodded as he rode near and said, pleasantly: ''Good-morning, parcls. '' They returned his salute in silence, and were evidently surpri sed at seeing a s t ranger. Going on np to the hacienda he saw Senor Otega just about to mount his horse, but discovering him, he turned toward him and said: "Why, senor, you in our valley again? You are welcome, I assure you.'' Buffalo Bill responded to the questions, and then said: '.i3m my coming pre\'ents you from going on a ride, I fear?" "No, for I can go another time, as there is no great hurry. I w as merely intending to ride over to see the stranger who had taken possession of the old mission ranch anci urge that he give np such a thought, for I deem it my duty to advise him." ''Thanks, senor, Do you know who he is?" ".\11 A:ncrican of I believe, who came here with hi:; peuple1 cattle, horses and all." "Permit me to say, seuor, that I am the one." "You, Senor Cody?" "Yes, I took posses s ion yesterday." (( 1 "You surprise me." 1e "And it is a surprise to me that yo u .should know :icl1 it so soon." "I learned it last night from my me11. But, senor, e p I am the more distressed, now, as I le arn you are the ln man, for I like yon, and to go to that terrible place '' is but to go to your doom .'' '' "Not so bad as that, I hope, Senor Otega. lie "1'he fact is, I fell i:1 love with your beautiful valley, a u d, anxious to fiucl a home I decided to set'' tle here, and the old hacienda was the only place I w1 could get. o "So I came here from the northward, bri11giug my 11 cattle, horses, outfit and cowboys with me, a11d I 1er assur e you we shall be most comfortable. n "Yon see I took an early opportunity to call upon you.'' But Senor Otega seemed to be lost in thought and sai d, in an absent-minded way : "Come in, come in! Wl1y did you come to this if valley, senor?" "To settle here, at least for a while." "You have your people with you?" "Yes.'' "A wif e and "Oh, no." "Thank Goel! Those with you are men?" "Yes, all of them, and real men, too." "I am glad. But why did you a home be n eath that doom e d roof?" "Do y ou remember telling me the curse that rested upon this valley?'' "Yes, oh, yes." "You told me that your daughter had been taken from yon by an unsee n foe." "Yes." "Has she been re s tored to you?" "Alas, no!" "She is sti ll a prisoner?" "Yes. And, se nor, only yesterday I paid the tax of one tl10llsand pesos put upon m e." "It is an outrage." "It i s the seventh I have paid, se nor, and I believe the r e are to be five more, if not still more, before she is retnrnecl to 11s "And other falllilies p a y this sa111t: tax?" 1 0 111 0

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THE BUFFALO BILL STORIES. 17 "Yes, senor." "It is infamous." "But they do 1wt all ])ay the sa m e sum senor, for h e tax gatherer knows well the circumstances of :ach of bis victi111s, and collects accordingly. "He does nut put upon any one a s um that cannot e paid, for when I pay a thousaucl a poor man pays hundred, and one pays five thousand pesos, senor." "Who is that?" "A young girl, the Senorita Suelo Sada, known as lie Fair Hermit." "Ah who did you say she was?" "One left a large fortune by a kinsman, who wued the ranch where she lives, a nd she came o dwell, but receives no \i sitors, has no frieucls h ips, iud Jives such a life of utter sec lu sio n we call her b ere in the valley the hermitess, the beautiful recluse, nd other such names." "Who of her family are with her?" "Not one?" "Does she dwell all alone?" If" All alone, senor, save her servants and cattlemen, b whom there are quite a number, but they, too, old themselves aloof from a ll others, and the stock 1eu are known as the hermit cowboys." "Then bow can these secret tax gatherers, as we iay call th em, a demand npon the Senorita ada for so large a sum, as they cannot have any of 1er loved ones, senor 1 "Ah, but they have. She is betrothed to a Mexian officer, I hear, aud he came here 011 a visit to her, seized on l1is way home, and is now held a pris oner l:>y these men whom no one knows. "I learn the demand is made upon her regularly or five thousaud pesos, and she pays it. ''Is the officer a man of any prominence?'' "H<:! is a captain of lanceros, senor, in the Mexican rmy." "It is strange that hi s government has taken no ;teps to release him.', "There is a threat to put him to death if such an ttempt is made." Buffalo Bill did not tell about his rescue of the fair 1errnit and the officer. He merely asked: "Do you know his name, senor?" "It is said to be Del Sol." "You know the padre in Silver Lake City." "Oh, yes, Padre San Juau.,, "Can he do nothing to help you?" "He is under a ban also-a threat-if he does." "And the landlord of th e inn? The Seuor Riel?" "Senor C ody, I do not like that man, I do not trust him, though he, too, is under the ban, ashis son, au only child, is a prisoner. Still, I have a dread of him.'' "Well, Senor Otega, the secret foe can only capture me or one of men, to get a ransom, and we'll watch that they do uot. "I did not come here to pay ransom to robbers; but I came here to settle, and I like our home, 11au nted t hough it may be. ''I told yon tha t I inte nded to help you, and I am here to do so; but, remember, not a word of that to any oue, for it might thwart my plan." "I will be sileu t, senor, for something tells me you are here for good, to be relied 011. I was going over to the old Mission Ranch to warn whoever had set tled th ere to leave, for I did not know it was you. Are you sure tha t nothing disturbed you last night?'' "vVe h eard sounds, the cattle were restless, but no harm beel1 us, senor, and we'll take chances, for that is what we are he1: e for.)) "How many men have you, senor." "I thought it best to bring at least half a dozen," was Buffa l o Bill's evasive reply, for he did not wish his force to"'be known ; even to .Senor Otega. He had not a llow ed the two Mexicans who drove the wagon from Silver Lake City to see but six men beside himself, keeping the others off beyond the cattle. "It will be best to have just double the number they think I have," was the chief of scouts' way of thinking. Buffalo Bill remained to dinner at the hospitable ranch, and the senora, a sad-faced, l ovely woman, gave him a warm greeting, for she had been pleased with his frank and genial manner upon his last visit to th eir home. Late in the afternoon the scout started upon his return, the senor accompanying him a few miles on the trail. Learning that he had just moved in, the Senora Otega insisted that s h e be allowed to add to his com fort, and when he was ready to go h e found a pack horse ready for h im to carry along, and it had been loaded with grapes, vegetables, preserves, and a large quantit y of choice provisions, which the good lady insi ste d that he must accept from her, and added:

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18 THE BUFFALO BILL STORIES. "Just turn the pack horse loose to-night, and he will come home and give you no further trouble, t h e senor said. The scout was touched by the senora's ki11d11ess, and as 'he rode away with her husband, he said: "You told your wife, then, that I was here to help you? "Not a word, senor; but I told her when you left a month ago that you were Buffalo Bill, the great military scout, and had promised to be our friend; and, with a woman's quick intuition where her love is interested, she feels sure that you have come to save our poor daughter." "Yes, I saw that she was trying to read me, and I appreciate her kind gifts to make me comfortable. We will enjoy her bounty greatly. As they reached the lake shore the suu was touch ing, the horizon, and the senor halted and said: "I will turn back here, senor, for my wife will be anxious. You see, we have lately received quite a handsome legacy, and if it were known, the11 our secret foes would capture me or my wife ancl demand a much larger ransom. "Then returil home at once, ana I regret that you came thus far with me. "You have the most dangerous trail to travel, Senor Cody, and a long te11 miles. "I am u sed to dangerous trails, senor, but if I thought danger might beset you I would return with you.'' "Not unless you rernaiu all 11ight, senor. "I could not do that. Tl1e ghosts in the old hacienda might put my me11 to flight." The sun had 11ow sunk behind the western range of mount:ains, and the lake valley was already darkening under the fall of night. wrhat man i s all right, for he told me of a legacy lately received. I came here prepared to doubt e\'ery o ne, but I'll set him down as a square man, mut tered Buffalo Bill, as he r .ode along the lake s h ore, under the shelter of the fringe of timber, beneath which led the trail up the valley. Senor Otega had turned his horse toward .J101lle, and set out at a rapid canter. Reaching a belt of timber, the auimal was waJl.:ing along at his ease, the night having set in, wlie11, without a warning, there settled over the senor's head a coil of rope, and he found his arms pinioned to his Ii.de, while he heard the words in Spanish: "Resist Senor Oleaa ) "' ) B1 a11d you are a dead man. ba have men here to master you.'' Senor Otega tl10nglit first of his wife, groaned in ago11y of spirit, but said, boldly: and IE .iru ,, "\tVhat does this upon rne mean, for y< I( call me by name, and h euce k11ow me?'' (( "It mea11s that you are a prisoner, and the Seno Otega will be taxed to keep you alive,'' was tl ,, reply. Se11or Otega now, to his chagriu, saw that he h?1 been la. soecl by one rna11, and he had seized his bride rein and stood by him, with a re vol \'er leveled at h ( h ead. But there ca111e a flash, a report, and the kidnappr. ( sank in 11is tracks by the side of the senor's horse. CHAPTER IX. ) .t THE SCOUT'S RETURN. At fir t thought Senor Otega had believed that I had be 11 the 011e shot at, aucl as his horse set a goo example of flight, lie clet.:rmined to eucourage hie i11 it, believing there were other outlaws about. o Bnt ere the horse had made half a dozen bound a voice called out: a "Ho, senor, I fired that shot! Senor Otega recognized the voice at once. 1 It had a ring in it that once heard could not be for gotten. So he wheeled his horse, and rode back to find tL oue who had rescued him standing by the side of tla fallen outlaw. "Se11or Cody! .1 "Yes; I had a cl read that your coming with me o far as you did might get yon into trouble, so I turne back to dog your steps, unseen by you, and see yo enter your ranch iu safely. i "How glad a m I that yuu clitl, senor, and th1 voice of the ranchcro trembled willi emotion. "I was 11ot very far behind you, nearer you tltau thought, for yon must have slacke11ed your speec and I distinctly heard the voice of your ca1)tor. 1 ''I instantly sprm1g from my saddle, and, advam ing on foot, realized that you bad been captured, a n I saw ouc man, but took the clrauces of there bein more. "As h e was an outlaw, I l1im out of the "Goel bless you, was all first say. thought it best to pu' the rauchero conld i1 l

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THE BUFF ALO BILL STOR R E S 1 9 But he soon conquered his emotion and told just hat his captor had said to him. Buffalo Bill listened atten ti vel y, and then said, rnptly: "This man was sent to kidnap you." ''Yes." "He is alone." "Yes.,; "His being there shows that he saw you leave your ome, was watching your return, shadowing you 111 I ct.,, "No doubt of it, senor." 1 "Well, I wish you to be guided by me in this matr. l I "I will." "Say nothing even to your wife of this attack on ou to-night. I mean that no one must know of this ttack ou you, senor.'' "But why, Senor Cody?" "This man was sent to do this work. If he does Jot return to report, they will not know what has ecome of him, for I shall strap his body upon his orse, which must be near, take the animal to the ke, lead him in, and thence along the shore in the ater to a spot near my ranch. "I will search the body for any telling articles here may be on it, and will hide away his saddle and I id le. 11 "But the horse, senor?" J ''I will give him into the keeping of my men for a lay, and after they hav.: branded l1im and clisguised 1 im1 his own master, if alive, would not know him, nd one of tbem will ride him, so he will not go back his bo111e, at least, not just now." "You know what you are about, Senor Cody." l "I hope so. ow w e will find that horse, mount is master on him, and I'll lead him back through l 1e timber, not in the trail." "And your horse, senor?" d "Is trained, senor, and will keep alway s in the ail as I start him until we reach the lake shore, and ere I will mount him." "What will this dead man's comrades think?" "In mv opinion thev will track him, find his trail 1 J ading here, then back to the lake, where they will se it. "They will see that your horse was h alte d here, emaiued for some time, and the tracks will reveal They will take my footprints for yours, so you must not dismount. "But when I have removed the body, you must move your horse about all over the spot, to mark out all traces of where it lay, for the ground is soft, I notice, beneath my feet. Then you go on homeward, and continue to gallop until you get there." "But that will not explain that dead man's absence." "Yes, for they will believe that, being alone, when he captured you, why you simply bribed him to let yon go.'' into the timber, Buffalo Bill was not long in finding the horse of the outlaw, and the body of the dead kidnapper was tied across the saddle with his own lariat, and then the animal and that of the Senor Otega were moved all about, until every trace of where the man had fallen had been destroyed. Bidding the senor good-night, and promising to pay him another visit in good time, Buffalo Bill walked back to his own horse and the pack animal, turned toward the old ranch, threw the rein of the otl1er over the saddle horn, and started them off at a walk. 'l'hen he returned to the kidnapper's horse, and led liim through the timber, and then on back over the two miles to lhe lake. shore. There he overtook his horse and the pack animal, and they were taken into t:J;e lake, but at different puin ts. Al oug the beach, ankle deep in the lake, they con tinued their way, over the miles that lay between the point where they had entered the water and the old l\1issio11 Ranch. At la s t the scout left the lake'at a place where his trail led direct to the hacienda. He saw the glimmer of a light there, and he knew that it must be at the gate, and placed as a beacon to guide him home. Not a horse or a steer di cl he see, and he felt that they had all been driven into the grounds again for safety. As lie neared the gate, the cheery voice of Texas Jack called tint: I( Is that you, chief?" "Yes, Jack." "We w ere getting anxious about you, aud not one of the men lias retired." <\ mt two men were here, their comrade and you. -"\Vhat, more ghosts?"

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20 THE BlJFf ALO BILL STORIES. "Not the shadow of one, but the meu w is lied to remain up to see if yo u came in all right." "Oh, yes, I am all rnght. But I have a pack ani mal loaded' with good things, for I have been off o n a visit, and, Jack, I have another horse here, with his dead master upon him. "Now, walls have ears, they say, and for fear the old hacienda may have some secret closets where foes are watching, I do not wish the m en to breathe a word of this"clead man. "First, he must be searched, then buried to-night in the grave with the other one, and his horse must be disguised. '' "I understand, chief." "In the morning drive the cattle and horses over my trail t o the lake." "Yes, chief." Feeling that he could leave all to Texas Jack, Buffalo Bill dismounted and entered the walled-in grounds, discovering that tl1e men had during tlie day made a barrier that nothing could break through. Then he went on to the hacienda, for h e was both tired and hungry. 'l'he men welcomed their chief 111 a way that showed how glad they were to see him hack, and that tli ey felt a most warm regard for him. But he said nothing of his adventure other than to tell them to go out and see Texas Jack. Buffalo Bill had 110 desire to say anything in the hacienda that other ears than those his words were intended for should hear. He was very s uspicious about the old structure, for, though it seemed ot'le could discove r l there were secret closets about it, he very w e ll knew that such had not been found out, and they were certainly there. This was proveu by the mountain li o n beillg in the corridor, the so11nds of moaning and weeping, and tbe howling of a clog the night before. 1'hose sounds could ouly have been made by per sous in concealment. The scouts had discussed the matter amoug them selves when out of the place, and off from it, for the chief h ad warned them about talking wl1en in the hacienda, and, where they could understand that men could have uttered the moans and other souuds, they could not comprehend just how the weeping of a woman and the voice of a child could have been heard. "Parcl.s, those ghosts lllnst enter here by way r the cliff up yo11der, so to-night we'll put a strJ:. guard there t o head them off ,'' said Buffnlo Bill. Y.e And so it was plaunecl for the next t t Going oul to 'l'cxas .lack, they saw the dead bo(H1 and it wa quietly buried; then they took the ]10.1e in hand, aml soon h ad hilll cleverly metamorphoste: T h e sadd l e and bridle wen: taken i11to the hacie1Tl a11cl hidden; a11d all were told tl1at they must utTl 11ot a word within t11e house that they did not w., : t o be known as there rniglit be eavesdroppers whdii they did not wish to know their pla1 1s. ; This all attended to, Texas ]a('.k went up to tn hacienda to report, and that a l so h e l iacl what he c beeu tal.:en froJ11 the dead man put away for ti on on the morrow. rs There was a guard of four men that night, two ti the h ac i enda, two in the grot111cls. iii Soon a fter midnight Buffalo Bill was awakenedw low groaus. A Where they came from he could l)ot t ell. 1t He arose in the darkness, and tried t o trace h sound to its source. s But in vain. e1 Loue Star was on guard the corridor, but \t too, knew 110t whence they came. 1 1C Thcu followed the souucl of weepiug in a womate voice, as upon the ni ght before. ''Go, Lone Star, and see if there is any disturbaq11 among the cattle. I will keep watch until yon : turn," said Buffalo Bill. e Loue Star left, and the chief took his stand jh1 iu the of the corridor, aud li s tened attla tivc:ly. is As he liste n ed there was heard the wailing o child, as though in paiu. b And the moans, the weeping, and the wailing c( 1. tin ued. r "It all comes from the center of this hacien< either from overhead or from underneath, whicli ,, cannot t ell," mused the scant. 1 Snddenly there rang out the wild, piercing shric of the night before. For a moment Buffalo Bill was startled, so closes him did it see m. The men were all awakened by it, and upon tht feet in an insta11t. There was an alarm soundt!d, but just then Lcic

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THE BUFFALO BILL 21 relurned, a11
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22 lfHf: BUFF ALO BILL STORIES. A guard was also to be stationed in the tower, one at the gate and another at entrance of the living w111g. In case of an alarm five more scouts were to hasten over the wall, and, led by Lone Star, who knew the way, go to the help of those upon the cliff. Buffalo Bill had selected to accompany him Texas Jack, Kit Kingdon, Rio Grande Dick and Blue Jacket Bob, all of them splendid fellows in a close fight. And all were to take their rifles along. They were to carry their blankets as well, so that all could sleep except one who watched. Quietly they slipped out of the gate, after dark, and, Buffalo Bill leading the way, they went around the wall to the cliff and began the steep climb Ly the aid of the trees. It was no easy task by day, and d _oubly dangerous in the darkness. But the climb was made in safety, and when the pla'l:eau was reached the five men formed a line, and, spreadi11g their blankets upon the ground, lay down to watch. Buffalo Bill had taken the center position, and he told his men that they could go to sleep, as he would remain 011 guard and call them if he had any fur alarm. ;.ri1e men were thus stretched right across the pl ateau from one cliff side to another, and about a hundred yards apart, just over the ranch. But though each man spread his blanket, he did not go to sleep. All were too anxious to make some discovery that would enable them to entrap the outlaws. If there was an alarm, they w ere to rally toward their chief, and if their foes proved too numerous they were to give a signal for help from the hacienda, and the n retreat toward the cliff overlooking it. Midnight came and passed without any sound, and theu Texas Jack, who h e ld the end position 011 the right, beheld a form in white coming from the cliff that looked down from the range over the plateau, and which rose several feet above it. He was instantly on the alert, and expecting that the one he saw was not alone, he dared not yet give the alarm. Nearer and nearer drew the form in white, gliding qnickly along, until suddenly Texas Jack calle
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THE BUFF l\LO BI L L S TORlES 23 ta!,'' and Steveus s h owed where the bullet h ad 11 ts way. > alo Bill knelt by tl1e si d e of the dying man. was beyo nd d0ubt an American for hi s h air r ght i11 hue, ancl his eyes dark blue. d 'ms tlressed in bucl:ski11 leggins, a b lu e woolen llloccasins, and a slouch hat, but in strange u st, about hi1u was wrapped a large white robe, ed to be whi te, muc h :;oiled. had had 011 a belt of anus, b11 t it had beeu v ed by Texas Jack to make him more co m111 le. tdie m an's blue eyes rested upon Buffalo Bill with nge expression in them. f y poor fellow, I a111 sorry l can do nothing for al' said Ruffalo Bill, kiudly. 1 e man shook Ji is h ead I a n yon i1ot talk?" f es." ? e word was distinctly utt e red. you not tell me if I can serve you in some s r ain he shook hi s hea d. r hy were yo u playing ghost, for you thns ht your death upon yourself?,, reply a \e you no kinclrccl, no frieuds to whom you e r t to sc ud a l as t word, for faithfully will I obey omnwnd, and m y comrade h ere is a surgeo n, n 1 c sa,s yo u cannot live?" a will leave 110 word. ut wonlcl it uot be best?" o '' 0 1 1 f you wish your frie11ds to kuow o f your de.at11, :1 my word I will 11ot t ell them what yon are.,, : "et m e die iu silence." oc, can you not give him so mething to r e lieve 0 1fferi1JCY" ?" ::.. e [ e refused it-lie will soon be beyond suffering, dd u t then Texas Jack approached, and as h e did so lo Bill said : exas Jack, the poor, fellow is dying, bl!t will e 110 word t o commit 11i111self o r betray his com,, ) e bll!e eyes of the dyiug 111an r ested upon the Texas Jack in a n earnest way. 1lqick Omohundro, I know you. We were bo ys iu far-away Virginia. Aud your hand has ended my career. So be it, for I might have met a worse death--Ah! I see that you know me now, but do not betray m e h e re, nor to the people at home, who b e li eve me
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24 THE BU ff ALO BILL STORiESo "You heard his story?" "Yes, Jack." "And who the leader of these secret foes is?" "Yes, he is known as El Diable, the Cowboy King, i s feared by everybody, and is the chief of cowboys on the ranch of the girl 11errnit." "And yon will act upou the information he g:we u s, friend Bill?'' "Of course, bnt not too hastily, as I wish to make a clean sweep of all the guilty ones, and have none of the innocent suffer." "You are wise iu that; but if you could trust your friend, Senor Otega, he might h elp greatly." "Yes, but I'll know jnst \vho to trust before I make a move. 1 shall make a visit to S iiver Lake City and see how matters are there, for I wish to see the priest, and also have a talk with Riel, tl1e in11- keeper. "In fact, I expect to go on a still hunt and be much away, so you take full control here; and a t the time we will act and make no mistake." CHAPTER XI. '!'HE FIGHT IN THE SLEUTH'S CAMP. Several clays passed away, a11d Buffalo Bill was ab sent from the calllp, for, acting under liis orders, Texas Jack had encamped his men outside of the hacienda and away from its immediate surroundings. The chief of scouts was what the men called "play ing a little game," in this, for it conld give those who haunted the hacienda the idea that the scout sleuths were to stay there any longer. The truth was that Buffa lo Bill was on a still hunt of detective work, and each one of bis men was aiding him all in his power. 'rhe scout 11ad not been gone a day from the calllp before visitors began to drop in there, a thing tk1t had never happened while they were at tlie hacienda. Just_ how it happeuecl rrexas Jack aucl his :uen clid not know, or if they did they kept it to themselves; but trouble came, aucl at night, when the scouts were away from the camp. Blue Jacket Bob and Rio Grande Dick were the two m e n l eft in camp, and following the arrival of three strangers came a fatal fight. It was fatal to Rio Grn11de Dick and the three visitors, while Blue Jacket Bob was wounded. To the surprise of Bl ne ] acket Bob, two of the cow boy visitors were from the ranch o f Senor Ote/a tl1e other was from the hacienda of the fair !H aud kt1own to belong to the baud who serf cowboy king, the Senorita Snelo's c11ief of co0 Perhaps they had expected to find only ouel< at the cowboy camp and rob it; but the trf they found there had proven more than a ime them. 1 t When Buffalo Bill returned to camp he0 Texas Jack a11Cl the men save two, off on sc11 duty; but of those two there one was deae Grande Dick, aud Blue Jacket Bob was woune With BL;ffalo Dill came Senor Otega. :l Doc Stevens had joined his chief back on th fortunately as it proved, and as the three ro:l camp there stood Blue Jacket Bob in the moc' and he called out: l < "Ho, doc, I have a wound i11 my arm fort dress, and it needs it, for I could not go to ]of up, being all alone in camp." "Why, where is Rio Grande Dick, Bob? 1 Buffalo Bill. "I'm sorry t o say, sir, that he is dead." "Dead! Rio Grande Dick dead?" asked tbt" in utter amazement. "Yes, sir." "How was it, Bob?" But Buffalo Bill could see that Blue Jacl41 was suffering, and h e insisted that he shoul< make a report until his wound had been looke(( This was now done by Doc Stevens,.who sai "It is not dangerous, but h e J1as lost consil! blood. Here i s the bullet-give him a drink, pL The had been extracted from the 'shcJ a drink of brandy was given the wounded ma' as soon as h e was rnacle comfortable he said: "There li es poor Dick over there, chief." "How was it, Bob?" "Yon see that man lying yonder?" "Yes." "He was one of the cowboy king's men." "Yes, I remember him, and next in autho' him," said Senor Otega. "I g u ess he was; there is his horse hitched1 he left him. "He came to our ca111p witli two men. "One said to us that they had brought a fri1 theirs over who wanted to know us, and he hac1 fine liquor and cigars, and wished us to join hr

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THE BUFF ALO BILL 5 TORIES. 25 said that we did not drink, but would smoke 1 hem, and askea them to be seated. v e all sat down here, and were talking when he 0 out suddenly: ow!' \ b e three men, with that, at once drew their en; and tnrned them on us. ut, though we were taken by surprise, we are :: on the draw, and onr revolvers were going off c th eirs, and for a second or so it was lively here. 1 e all sprang to cover of the timber, of course, : l owe had it. don't think it lasted half a minute, and then I HP I was the only one standing up, and I was ) decl. 1 walked over to where those three traitors lay, h ey were dead tlieu went to poor Rob. e was gasping, but murmured something about t to kill us. 'hen he grasped my hand, and the poor boy was he Bob brushed tears from 'hi s eyes, and e were others wl10 felt tl1e pearly drops trickle their bronzed cheeks as they thought of their comrade. ie scouts had listened with rapt attention to Blue : t Bob's s tory, and Buffalo Bill said: 1 ob, you have done nobly, old fellow, and there oof lying before us of your plucky fight against l. Jow, senor, what is your opinion of the treachl of men to-night?" and the chief turned to anchero, who replied: hey came to rob this camp, seuor, and failed, gh they had one of the fair hermit's cattlemen as 11 y .)) bat a pity that they all i:,?;Ot l,ilJecl, that we canntrap one alive, or wound and capture one." lt is, indeed, a pity, Senor Cody. Bnt yon recall I told you the ecret foes h ad s ,p1es on every 1 h, or were suspected of having?" es, Senor Otega.'' ;\Tell, these two were the spies, doubtless, on my .Ii.)) [ see." [ nd the other man was a comrade of theirs, and spy on the ranch of the fair hermit." J guess you are riglit. "Now, what is to be done .with these bodies, for poor Dick we will take with us for burial at the ranch?'' "It would be best if you ride over with me and report the affair to the alcalde." "Who is he?" "The landlord, the Senor Riel." "All right," and to Texas Jack, who just rode up: "Jack, you ancl three others be within call if I need you, for I may have to shoot the alcalde, '' said Buffalo Bill, to the surprise of Senor Otega, who cried: "Oh, senor!" "If ever there was a scamp, Senor Otega, that landlord is one, and I shall stand no nonsense with him." "All right, sir, and you'll find us within call," said Jack. With this, Buffalo Bill and the Senor Otega mounted their horses and rode away from the camp, Texas Jack, Lone Star Sain, and Mustang Frank followi11g soon after. The landlord W3S found in the Fandango Hall, at Silver LRke City, Gut he was called into his office by S enor Otega, who said at once: "Senor Alcalde, we have Rn mifortunate affair to report to you." "The Senor Cody I suppose has kill ed some one?" The look the man got from the scout made him wince, but the words were calmly uttered: "'You must not jump at conclusions, sir, or I might be tempted to punish impertinence. I am here to report to yon that two of our men were left to I guard camp, while the rest were away. vVe returned to find that one of our men had been killed, the other wounded, and the three men who had gone tbere to rob the camp were lying dead, having been shot by our comrade, Blue Jacket Bob." "This is bad, very bad." "The three m e n were those whom we had reason to belieYe friends, for two were Senor Otega's cowboys, and the other was a catt l eman of the band of the cowboy kiug, aud h e it was who arranged the robbery, which ended in the l oss of their lives." ''This is bad, very bad. I must demand the man who did this killing, and while the Senor Otega goes to fetcb him I will hold you as hostage, Senor Cody." "You shall neither take Blue Jacket Bob, nor will you k e ep me h ere. I have reported the facts. and it is a pretty statt: of affairs when we canaot prott:ct our camp

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... 26 THE BUFF J\LO BILL STORIES. and o 'ur lives. If you wish a trial, name the day and we will be here." "And I will guarantee on bond, Senor Alcalde, for the appearance of the accus ed mau,'' said Senor. { ''I mus t have a guarantee from them also.'' Buffalo Bill langhed and replied: "You doubt my word, and I have reason to doubt you, and, in fact, do. No, I'll pledge my word, and remember, the Senor Otega here shall giYe no bond for us, and we will be here on the day you set for trial." wish a guarantee." "See here, Landlord Riel, you shall have one. With your own people you would consider this justifiable killing of three robbers and murderers. We are here in this valley as are others, and you shall not make t1s an exception.'' ''But I mus t punish murder," and the landlord was all in a tremor. ''There was no murder, save the killing of my poor comrade by those men who were murderers and robbers. Blue Jacket Bob acted in self-defense, and I'll t e ll you to your face, if yon dare to attempt to hold me a prisoner, or arrest my comrade, I' 11 make known to these p eop le the confession of one of those three m e n and a dying man does not lie. ''I alone know th.at confession, Lan:llord Alcalde or whatever you choose to call yourself, aud I will rnake it known, and lea ve it for yotl to prove that dying lips lied "Do you grasp my meaning as I intend you shall Senor Riel?''. and Buffalo Bill l<.'!oked the landlord straight in the face as h e asked the question. Senor Otega stoo d amazed at the bo}d words of Buffalo Bill. lie knew perfectly w e ll that there had been 110 dyi11g confe ss ion ; h e was surprised and startled at the dari11g shown by the scout, and fliugiug into the face of a man whom every one in the valley feared, a charge of guilt, as it were. He g lanced at the alcalcle, expecting a terrible ou t break. Inste ad he saw that hi s face was li\"id that his lips were drawn back from his white teeth like a snarling dog, a11d they were cli cki n g together with a nervous chill. ''Senor Otega retire a mom ent, p l ease, for I wish to ask our friend here of this man's confession." The voice of the alcalde was hardly audible. A gla11ce at Buffalo Bill and the Senor Otega saw a sign for him to go. "I will soon join you, senor, as the alcalde will not detain me long," said the scotft, pleasantly. When tli e door closed behind Otega the in a low tone: "Who made this confession you speak of?" al1 ''I do not know the name of the man of the !e king's band, ., was the evasive r eply ttl1 "Ah! it was he?" 'or ''Shall I t e ll yo u that the coufession appea5 l: that of a lilan who sought to destroy you, alcalcof wliere there i s smoke you will always fiud fire aJe
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THE BUFFALO BILL STORIES. 27 :al pproach ing he and !J is comrades hastened back to alcalde had two men and a wagon to follow him, e bodies of the three robbers were taken back into ttlement, where there was already plenty more or the landlord in his magisterial capacity, there !Ir been a riot in the Fauclango Hall, and half a Id of men lay around dead, while rnany more were l n ed. r h ose three dead from our camp will fit in with the slain at the fandango,'' said Senor Otega, as he u vith Buffalo Bill as they started on their homeward t just before dawn. 1 0 !J, yes, the alcalde will fix things up all right, and 'e Blue Jacket Bob's acquittal paper here," replied e l o Bill. ) 1cr nd senor how did yon manage it?" 0 fasy enou gh.'' I 0 ell, you played the boldest game I ever saw, and re the fir s t one who ever fricrlltened Alcalde Riel, a ur e you. Why, not one of those men made a con. o, but if h e thought tliey did, and he was guilty, s just as well as thoug h they had." s. Tes, just as well," and Seuor Otega was lost in ad s ion at th e bold deed of Buffalo Bill in bringing the b le to terms ck to his ranch w ent Senor Otega, while Buffalo 1 and his rnen returned on the trail tliat would take l by the way of the te1npon1-y camp where poor Rio 11de Dick had lost his life chief of sconts found that his orders to get ready turn to the haunted hacie nd a had been carried out, all were in r eadiness for the lllO\'e. t o Graude Rob had be e n give11 clecellt burial, and 11en felt that th eir chief had been doing some spl en service work duri11g his short abseuce from e ards, 1 h:;ve found out enough to con ince the skeptical of you, that is the mos t ardent b e liever in ts, that every spook we 'iVill have to deal with can trought down 'iVith a bullet," sa id Buffalo Bill. have gleaned certain information that fastens the es in this valley upon a mau, yes, me11 whom no one cts; but what we do now will bring the guilty to nd of their rope. hough you did not know it, there was one of our left alone and in hicli1!g in the haunted hacienda, vhat he discovered proved that 'iVe are on the right ough Buffalo Bill did not even hint as much, the were sure that their chief had been that lone her in the ruins of the fatal ranch. Continuing in his easy way, Bu:ftalo Bill said: "Now, men, we return to that old spook nest next, and we stay there until we lay the ghosts, mark my words. ''All I ask is for each man to give me his full support, and we'll soon strike the end of our trail." The auswer was a cheer, and the march was taken up for the fatal ranch. If there was one of the scouts .yho longer felt dread of the ruin, that is, a superstitious dread, he did not show it. The place was again occupied, and after a talk with the men, before they reached the hacienda, it was agreed by one and all that not a word should be uttered there that would in any way give their plans away. That night a move would be made by Buffalo Bill which should lay the foundation for the laying of the spooks, and all were on the eager watch for what was to come. CHAPTER XII. BUFFALO BILL MAK!tS A VISIT. Night came and Buffalo Bill was on guard at tll e gate with Wild Winfiel d. The cattle and horses had not been driven in, as the scouts had returned home, and there were enough for four for night duty and four for _day duty, with the others to look to the duties about the hacienda, and be ready for any service they might be called upon to do. As Buffalo Bill had signified his intention of going on au expecl i ti on the next day, he carried his blankets down to the entrance to sleep there, aud have Texas Jack call hi Ill. Jack awoke the chief just at dawn, asking: "Now, what does it mean chief?" ''I am going to make a call-in fact, a couple o\ them, for I shall dine with Senor Otega, and from there go on to the hacienda of the Fair Hermit." "Do you mean it, chief?" ''Certainly.'' "Do11't go there." ''Is it the fair hermit y ou distrust, or her cowboys?" ''It is the kiug of the cowboys I have no faith in, and his men will do as he tells them, as my dying friend said.'' 'I do not doubt that." 'He is bitter over our coming here, as all of them are, and he will seek to do you harm in some way, I am sure.'' ''My dear Jack, that is just why I want you and the boys along. ''Ah!" ''You are to follow my trail, you know, a nd, stopping at the Otega ranch later in the afternoon, some time

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28 'THE BU ff ALO BILL STORIES. after my departure from there, he will give you a couple of men to accompany you, guiding yo11 t o the hacienda of the fair h erm it. "Yon can the u go as near as yon dare, m ee t me upon my departure, and 011 the r eturn, in s t ead of hnving one man to waylay, as they will expect tliey will fillCl h alf-a dozen, and I will not fall into the trap." "I see.'' ''I do not know tlwl they would kill me, I rather think they vould not; bnt j;1st now I wish to take no cha11ces-\\"ish to keep out of troubleas I am playing a little :>ecret game myse lf which you will all be let into as soo11 as I n;nke a disc overy or two I hope to. ' Now, follow in a couple of hours, and when yo n r each the Ulega ranch go there alone, leaving the men in bidiug With thi s Buffalo Bill rode along the trail, now well kllO\\"n to him, l eadinoto th e hom e of the Senor Otega. He was watchful as h e rode along, as h e deemed it nec e sary that he should be. It was within half au hour of dinne r time when he r eac h ed the Otega r:111ch, and h e was received by the se11or and his loye]y \Yife most cordially. '' Y 011 are going to be onr guest for se,eral days, I hope." ''Thank you, no, for I must go on my \vay this after noon. "I am sorry; but we will soon h ave dinner," and th e Seuora Otega left the room t o see to it, "hen the s enor remarked: "Now, which way, s e11or, for I am sorry to see you alone on a trail?" "I h a\e company, sir, but they are not visible." "Good!'' ' Iy friend, 1'exas Jack, will be here this afternoo n, and will you give him a couple of men whom you feel that you can really trust as guides?'' ''I can give him a doz e n mc11, Seu or Cody, bnt ca n didly, and with shame I say it, I know of but one rnau ou my ranch whom I would fully trust. The fact is I do not know in whom to plact: confidence. They may be all faithful, and yet one may not b e so, and that'one might he the person I select for you." ''That i.l\ very true." ''But one man I am sure of, Palma, my cowboy chief, and he will go with you were you please." "Thanks. se nor, h e will do, and if you will allow him to go with Texas Jack I will feel obliged." "But you, senor?" ''I am going to make a visit, senor, to the hacienda of the fair reel use." "Oh, seuor!" ''Yes, and I wish you to give me full directions for reaching there." "I ":ill, yet--" ''Yet what?" "I do not wish to see you go there. ''Why not?" "The cowboy king." "Is not the Senorita Suelo a protection upou ra11ch ?'' "Yes, but--" "Well?" ''She will not see you." ''I believe that she will." "I am sure not." ''I will make the lrial at least." t "B11t why go there?" ''I have a special clesi re to see her." Y "111 your mysterious but seemingly sure way,-::i workiug for au end, senor, and I say Heav!1 you." 1 ''When I come back from my visit to the hac1 the Senorita Suelo, I wilt get you r cowboy chie f 1 1 t o th e mission ranch for a visit of several day.1 \Viii gnide us around to the other side of that n up there i s the retrea t of the secret foes." 1 "I believe yo u are right. ''But I also will go, for you, a stranger, must all the risk in workiug for us here in this liavc :mffcred at the hnnds of the secret foes. ''I will accompa n y you, and yon maytl aid, as w ell as that of Palma." "I shall be only too happy to have you go, I slin 11 go the r e for work, deadly work." Buffalo Bill rode away from tlie home of Sear1 half an hour after b e had enjoyed one of the'. rnost substa11tial di11ners. The ra11che ro ,,.as sorry to him go, yet h ginning to feel that all the scout undertook h accompli:.:h. He had given him full directions for reach hacieml:l of the fair recluse It was situated down the Yalley from him, at of th e Jak e, rrnd just half a score of miles f Otega rancl1. Broad past m e land s were upon either side: the tin1ber l a nds also, ai1d the hacienda, as strong ai was situated upo11 a spur of the mountain ran commanded an extensive view. As he drew near it, after a brisk ride, Buffalo' glad to uiscover that there were innumerable1 places for Texas Ja.:::k and his men, and the ir a1 could not be seen by any one in the hacienda. There v
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THE BUFF A.LO BILL STORIES. 29 \ \':ill be use l e s." :as she not cattle a nd h o r ses for sa le?" es,'se11or, but the cowboy chief attends to that." i hisaJse nce ll'ho does?" 'ou will have to come again, senor." ,1ill ride o n ho\\'ever, a n d r eq u est to see the i ta." will onl y be refused." ery well, I ca n the n turn back. But when will the ))"king return?" 'a-night seno r." r uking t he !llan Buffa lo Bill rod e on a n d soo n 'ac.Je d the hea\')' gat e of the hacien da. i n a u stood ll'ilhi1 1 looking through a small window, -?!d, sollle11hat ruddy : ; he senorita c11tert ai11s uo strangers beneath h e r ll! ha,e not asked it, my man. But you wi ll go and 1 tlte scuorita tha t the Senor Cody d sir es to see h e r i e ll' u 1 inutes.'' 4 l 1 go, s e n or, but she \Yill n o t see you." returned within t e n minutes a11d sa id: nibc seu orita regrets having to declin e t o see the a ud tha t she is uot able to offe r him hospitality t h her roof :Tal o Bill sm il ed, and takin g from his pocket a note a;he tore out a leaf and wrote upo n it: 1f t aken from the wrist the charm i s broken.' e Sen or Cod y begs t o restore the c harm.'' and t his to the sen orita, my man,'' aud a siher 1 Q s lipped into the hand prevented a n y repl y, as the a d a refu sal upon his lips to be a r the m essage. 1 he walked off, and Buff a l o Bill waite d with no o f anxiet y upon his face as t o the result. tim e th e gatekeeper was gone for a mu ch l o nger :rq1a11 before, a nd when lie r eturned there was a puz1ok upon his face, as he said: 1 e 1 allow you to ent e r, se nor, for t l 1 e seno rita \Vil! lSu ?" 11{e lt s h e would see m e," w as the quiet r eply Jalo Btll. 1he has d o n e so, but--" a u t what? asked Buffalo B ill l ooki n g th e evidently y sur prised gatekeeper straight in the eye. 1E h e sen o r is doubtless a n old fri end o f the senori ta?" ; j s was veuturecl a though the man wa s cautio u s l y g his way. e < rnay and may not be a fr i e nd." halte d at this and said: e ll I am ver y sure o f o n e thing, se n or.'' nothing to m e what yo u think; do as yon t old to do-lead m e to the prese n ce of the senorita. : man had a dogged l oo k a nd manner. a ppeared as though h e meant not to obey the bidbut there ''"a s that in th e l ook of the scout which 1 andecl obedien ce. d so he moved on once m ore CHAPTER XIII. THE FAIR HERMIT. "Vi s itors are not a llowed here, and, were the cowboy king at home, h e woul 1 not have admitted you," said the man to Cody, as though determined to make another effo r t to t a lk. '' l y vi sit is to the S enorita Suelo, not to her servant, the cowboy ch i ef," was the s tern reply. The gat e man wince d for the cowboy king evidently was all powerful in that hacienda." The gateman did not lead the visitor into the hacienda, but, h alting at the flowe r garden gat e, said: "The senor will fiud the senorita in yonder arbor." ''She does not intend to have any eavesdroppers, that is certaiu," mutte r ed the sc out t o himse lf. A s h ort w a l k brought him to the arbor, a perfect bower o f b eauty amid the flowers that were upon all s i des. The senorita arose from a hammock, a book in her band, as the ca ll e r approached. Buffalo Bill halted in the arched entrance t o the arbor, and what h e saw was a perfect picture of loyeli n ess. There she stood in a s lightl y embarrassed way, it seemed, clad i n a dress of sof t yellow silk that clung gracefully about her exqui site form. Tha t she was very beautiful the scout realized, as, lifting h i s sombrero, lie bowed l ow b efo r e her. ''Senor, be seated," she sai d, and she still appeared embarrasse d. ''Senorita, I have no right, per hap., to intrude myself upon you, !mowing the umvritten l aw of your house that no strnnger must ent e r, but I have done so t o re turn t o you a trinket that b e longs to you-one I picked up upon the scene when las t we met." As Buff a l o B ill spoke, he held ont the brace l e t h e had found upo n the spot where he h:ad r esc u e d the Mexican offic e r and the m a id e n from the outlaws. The face of the fair l\Iexican flushed and paled in turn, aud, stepping forwar d, s h e said, earnestly: ''Seuor, can you ever forgive m e for my treatment of you tha t clay, l eav in g y ou, as we did, after your saving the se n o r captain from certain death, aud rescuin g me from the power of cru e l foes? ''Yes, the brace l e t must have been torn from my wrist unnoticed by m y captors in the struggl e "You r ea d nhat is written within it, senor, so the charm i s broken. I will n eve r wear i t again ; no, n eve r! For what is there graven has come true-the charm i s broken." She turned her head, a n d for a moment was s il ent, whe n Buff a l o B i 11 spoke: I am sorry yon no longer have faith in the charm; but I am g lad to have returned it t o you. "Senor, I am glad you have done so for it has given m e the chance to meet you to tell you how I appreciate all you di d that day Why ne left you so unceremoniou l y I cannot t e l l for my lips are sealed." nd who were those foes of your s; senorita?" "I do not know."

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' 30 THE BUFFALO Bill STO RIES. ''And the senor captain-did he recover from the cruel treatment they gave him?" "Yes, senor." "Senorita, I have a request to make." ''I will grant it.'' "The favor I would ask is that when I come again to see you, you will see me." ''I have promised; but you must not come when the cowboy king is h ere, senor." Buffalo Bill's face did not change a muscle at this rea1arkable request of the fair recluse. The girl lo oked at him somewhat anxiously, while he answered, graciously: 'It shall be as you wish, senorita. I will now bid you adios and thank you for having received me." "Then filaanks are due to you se nor, and I wish you would te!.il V! in any way I can serve you.'' "By altewing me to call again, as you have promised, if I deem it best to come." "You have m y promise." ''And may I again a* if you have any idea of who the men were who attacked you that clay?" ''I have not.'' ''Were they not the secret foes?'' "No, senor." ''I did not know but that they might be,'' said Buffalo Bill, in a pecu liar way. ''No, senor, they were not of that band. Their masked leader was a foe to-to-the senor captain, and to me, I know; but, just who he is I am not aware. He wanted gold, and revenge, as well, it seemed, but he thwarted hi s purpose as far as getting money was concerned for, but for your coming, as you so bravely did, he would have killed the senor captain, and from me he would have obtained nothing. "The outlaws were strangers in the valley, senor, save chief, and just who he was I do not know, as I h ave stated.'' "Perhaps when I call again, senorita, I may be able to inform yo u as to his identity." ''Ah! can you? Oh, can you, senor?'' ''I may," >vas the cautious reply, and, declining the offer of refreshments, the scout 'took his leave, the seuori ta offering her hand a s she bade him farewell. He had gone but a few steps when Senorita Suelo .called to him, and coming rapidly up to where he had halted, she said: ''Senor, this valley is full of dangerous characters, and one knovvs not whom to trust. You are going alone upon a dangerous trail, and I warn you that you m ay be halted and held up, as they say here. This will protect you from robbery, perhaps from death. \Vear it!" and she took from the silk scarf about her n eck a pin of unique design and fastened it upon the lapel of Buffalo Bill's jacket. "Senorita, I will keep it as a souvenir of you; it will doubtless be a charm to protect me. "I thank you," and again bidding the beautiful girl good-by, Buffalo Bill left the garden, crossed the plaza to where his horse awaited him, and rode the gate. There stood the keeper, who 11ow saluted hin11 c' marked respect, again saying: r he "You a r e the first stranger, senor, who ever ;is t entrance to this hacienda." As Buffalo Bill rode along he was not forgetin I being in great danger, and he was surprised when the not see the ranch cowboys he had seen wheu he 1 1 his way to visit the fair hermit. el He was riding quietly along when he saw a hor.1? approaching, a splendid-looking man, t and with silver-mounted l\Iexi can saddle and bridl ia ) 111 Buffalo Bill knew him at once from what h') Y' beard of the cowboy kinrr. o!'' Both saluted and h alted, the cowboy king saying fa; "Off your tra ii, senor?" am '' o, for I have been to the hacienda.'' "And why?" ''That I consider none of your business.'' .J e ''I shall make it my affair, Senor Cody, and yfa covered by my m en,'' responded the cowboy king. o It was true, for four men were peering over ies with rifles leveled at the scout, who said: cl "So it seems; but do yo:. 1 not respect this bac11 and h e pointed tu the pin Suelo had given him. Ld "N 11 f c1 > a ot t 1s time, or you are too angerous a m be at large. I know you, Buffalo Bill." ei r ''Aud I know you, now, for you were a deserterr the army, and later became a finished cutthroat; n thought you were dead, Dallas Mowbray." t ''No, I left the norlhern country several years ag. it became too hot for me, and came back to the 1t west, for I am really a Mexican, you know, and once au officer of the Mexican army, Lut was exile certain acts. You see, I don' t mind telling you, regard you as good as dead." I "Thanks; but there is life, there is hope. J "So I have found out; but I ll fix you now-ho,i1 come here!" 1 The four m e n came, their rifles still loaded; b[ they neared the scout there were several shots heat! then one. :i The first came from some thick timber close at hi, and the four men with rifles dropped dead. 'I'he single shot was from Buffalo Bill's revolver, I was quick to take advantage of the volley in his fa He had sent a bulle t through the heart of the cm king. The next moment Texas Jack, four of his pards, 1 Senor Otega and his cowboy chief, !'alma, came view. ''You were just in time, J ack, and I thank you al ''Find the horses of those four men, strap the in the saddles, aud w e'll take them to our ranch night, and to-morrow there will be two visits for u make, and in full force, for I can see the the end of our trail." "As I also can, ch:ef," answered Texas Jack.

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l'HE BU ff f\.LO BILL STORIES. 31 :le t CHAPTER XIV. REVH.\LED. I :ii n did Buffalo Bill pay a visit to the hacienda of rhermit. !r as the day following his meeling with the cowboy "et in he was received, and in the garden, as before, the se11ori la said: e u hare come sooner than I expected, senor; but ell, a,, the cowboy king i s not here." hy do you fear that man?" or 1 I cannot tell." hat is he to you?" o not ask me .'' h o you love him?'' r o !" nge fairly hissed the word in her earnestness. am glad, for I can tell you that you n eed no longer 11111. \"hat do you mean?" she gasped. enorita, I have read your secre l, for that man was Jexicau officer I sayccl with you from those men yoaay nearl y two mon tbs ago." J'ou recognize him, the11 ?" and as a vile cutlhroat who our d the paymaster, desert ed, and became a fng1t1ve ad 11 oullaw, at last, as we believed, being killed, but, d, corning here. Diel you nol know him as all that ad?' m en o r I \\'as deceived by 11i111, for I bcl ieved him an I r of the li1exica11 army. I \YUS left this p l ace, and !r rged me to marry him secretly, and 1 did so, t11e ; n g here lo live, and obeyin g him blindly. At timu; i ame here I believi11g he was on duty when he: was i,, Scft 1ras he \\as here tliat you rescued us, and d t men I now think were not outlaws, but those who l cted him oi cc!"tai n deeds and determined to kill ::i, Perhap s they were my. own cowboys, who sought ill him not wishing a nwstcr over ti1cui. "Of late I have had reason to doubt hilll a11cl I meant 1ow the truth, even if he killed 111c, as h e b as ofte n atened lo do.'' b H m e 110 fear now, for h e i s dead." a --o, 110, it cannot be, for !1e hears a charmed life." 1 t has ended-the cli;irm 1s broken, as was the case n you l ost your bracelet." h rl1ich he gave to me; but do you know that he is P" I killed him Senorita Suela Sada," ,calmly said afalo Bill. You?" Yes, I made you a widow, I am glad lo say, for that 1' was lhe leader of the secret foes of this Yalley, the 1 who has put the cllr. e upon it which a ll have tded." l Goel bless you, senor, for those words. You have me from worse than death. Dut o nly latel y did I ect that he was really bad at h eart, and the words I came to me by a secre t letter, and I was told to watch his movements and I "ould discover the h. :\Iy servants here arc innocent, all m the hacienda, bnt I believ.e all the cowboys are guilty, and were members of his band." ''I know that they were; bnt let me tell you tha t they are all prisoners now, for I led my men to their retreat las t 11ight, on the cliffs, back of my ranch, and throngh a secret enlrance into the old h acienda, snrprisecl their hidden camp. ''They had there a score of prisoners, men, women and children, h eld f.or ransom, aud I learned the story from dyiu g lip:, and enongh more to enable us, under Senor Otega and his chief of cowboys, to find the secret entrance to the cliffs. ''We set free all who were there, killed the five guards ove!" them, and t o -da y rounded up and captured your con:boys, seven in number, who shared the ransoms paid with tbeir chief. "You were not guilty, I know, Senorita Suelo Moro, for such is your name as Dallas Moro's wife; qut you will be so thought by many in this Yallcy, and my ad\'ice is that you at ouce leave here and seek a home elsewhere, where 110 c1011d liangs oYer your l ife, and Senor Otega will see to your property here." ''Senor Codv, again I say, 'God bless you,' and from my heart I thank you more tha n words can tell. I have an ample fortune of my own, independent of this ac cursed ranch, where I have known only sorrow; but what I have do11e he forced me to do. 'l'o Seno r Otega I lea\ e thi ra11ch, cattle and all, for him to dispose of, and pay back to those who have paid ransom, every dol lar they have been cheated out of. 'Senor, with my few faithful serva'nts I will leave at sunset, and into your hands will I give the paper by wbicL1 Senor Otega can act for me.'' From his heart Buffa lo Bill pitied the beautiful and w11.appy noman, and he was g l ad, a fen hours after, to S< '! her and her few faithful sen-ants depart from the h 1 cicncla forever, while Senor Otega \Yillingly accepted the duty, to carry out the mission she had entrusted to him, through Cody. As quickly as Buffalo Bill and his secret sleuths had entered the myslerious valley, tl1ey d eparted fro;r. it, carrying with them their horses and cattle, and their prisoners also, to de liver over to the colllmauclant of the fort nearest the sce ne, and who held control of that part of the collntrv. Among U1. e prisoners was Riel, the in11kceper, who, next to the cowboy king, "El Diablo," as his men ca lied him, was the guilty 011e in the many crimes committed in the beautiful valley. It is 11eedl ss to say that quick punishment was Yisited upon all the prisouers, aud B\tffalo Bi 11 and his sleuths of the saddle gained great prai se for their splendid services rendered, and General Carrol sent a special report to h eaclq uarters abont the great chi ef of scouts' brilliant acbieycmeut. As to the beautifol valley, it is as peaceh1l to-day as a Quaker village, and the fair h .ermit of the hacienda is forgotten for she was never heard of again by those who d1rclt in the Silver Lake settlement, while the haunted ranch remains but a ruin, surrounded by its grayes. THE END. Ncxtweek'sBC'FFALO BILL STORIES (No. 13)will con tafn ''.Buffalo Bill's Boy Bravo Pard; or, On the Texan Terror' s Trail.., I

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' .-----------------------------,.----------------------------OU ;,; The only publication authorized by the Hon. Wm. f. Coc:e: (BUFFALO BILL) on t.-------------------------------------------------------you -----THE----.1 fo i:;af to Bll.FFALO BILL STORIES l Y rnd h e Our New Sc. Weekly A Sure 1 _._ ____ __________________________ __.ro Hon. Wm. F. Cody (Buffalo Bill ) ( 1e We were the publishers of the first stor ever written of the famo us and w or 1 d renowned BUFF ALO BILL, t he most darin: scout, wonderful rifle shot, expert gui d&u: greatest Indian ever known, and popular hero whose life has been one su e ID cession of exciting and thrilling incident combined with great successes and accom plishments all of which will be told in f1 series of grand stories which we shall nmtw1 place before the American Boys. r These exciting stori e s will appear regua.PE larly in our new Sc. weekly to be known ltlE BlJffl\lO BILL STORIES READ THE FOLLOWING TITLES e. lO. Buffalo Bill's Br a vos; or, Trailing Through the Land of Deat h . l l The Lost Stage Coach; or, Buffalo Bill's Long Search. 12. Buffalo Bill s Secret Mi ssion; or, Th{ a
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JESSE JAMES STORIES. W E were the first publishers in the world to print the famous stories of the James Boys, written by that remarkable man, W. B. Lawson, whose name is a watch word with our boys. We have had many imitators, and in order that no one Jesse James shall be deceived in ac. cepting the spurious for the real we shall issue the best stories of the James Boys, by Mr. Lawson, in a New Library entitled "The Jesse James Stories,". one of our big five-cent libraries, and a sure winner with the boys. The first four issues are: "Jesse James, the Outlaw. A arrative of the James Boys," "Jesse James' Legacy; or, The Border Cyclone," "Jesse James' Dare-Devil Dance; or, Betrayed by One of Them," "Jesse James' Black Agents; The Wild Raid at Bullion City." STREET & SMITH, Publishers, New York. BUFF ALO BILL STORIES The only publication author ized by the Hon W m F. Cody (Buffalo Bill. ) Buffalo Bill. WE were the publishers of the :first story ever written of the famous and world-renowned Buffalo Bill, the great hero whose has been one succession of exciting and thrilling inci-dents combined with great successes and accomplishments, all of which will be told in a series of grand stories which we shall now place before the American boys. The first of these stories entitled "Buffalo Bill, the Border King,'' appears in No. I of our new five=cent library entitled The Buf falo Bill Stories." STREET & SMITH, Publishers, New York. NICK CARTER STORIES THE best known detec tive in the world is Nick Carter. Stories by this noted sleuth are issued regularly in <

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