Buffalo Bill at Graveyard Gap; or, The doomed drivers of the Overland

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Buffalo Bill at Graveyard Gap; or, The doomed drivers of the Overland

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Title:
Buffalo Bill at Graveyard Gap; or, The doomed drivers of the Overland
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Buffalo Bill stories
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New York
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Street & Smith
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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
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University of South Florida
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020846378 ( ALEPH )
436943318 ( OCLC )
B14-00018 ( USFLDC DOI )
b14.18 ( USFLDC Handle )

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issued Weekly. By Subscription $2.50 per year. Entered as Second Class Matter at New York Post Office by STREET & SMITH, 238 1'Villiam St., N. Y. No. 18. Price, Five Cents. r r= r A L 0 e I L. L...'---. t "so THlS IS .A. WARNING THE GRAVE, IS IT? WELL, I REFUSE TO HEED IT," SAID BUFFALO BILL.

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e as to 1igI a'a m xm e t Issut!d Weekly. By Sul>scription $2so per yea,.. Entered as Second Class Aratter at tlw N. Y. P.ost Office, by STREET & SMITH, 2.?8 Wl7lia1n St., N. Y. Entered according to Act of Congress i1t the year IQOI, i1t the Office of the Libran'a1t of Con,snss, WasMngton, D. C No. l8. NEW YORK, September 14, 1901. Price Five Cents. BUFFALO BILL AT 6RA VEYARD 6AP; OR, The Doomed Drivers of the 0verland By the author of "BUFF ALO BILL." CHAPTER I. DOOMED TO DEA'l'H. It was when that dashing aud :;ble officer, Nelson A. Miles, was commanding a fr011tier posl, after the close of the Civil \Yar, that a doom went forth against the brme drivers of the Overland stages. Colonel Miles, for such was his rank as a regular army officer at that tillle, had a rather desperate field of service, with the Indians 011 the warpath constantly, a lot of men in the settlemeut and mining camps to control and a element to keep i11 check, who lived by the murder and robbery of tl.Jose whom fortune had favored. last uamed were merciless to all from whom coulli et gold, the successful miuer being their marked prey, though army paymasters, dfficers, travelers and even women suffered at their hands. With a comparatively small force of soldiers under his command, Colon el Miles. was expected not only to hold the Indians in cbeck, but to make war upon them, also to guard the trail and keep order amoug the camps. Of course, with outlaws most numerous, and their identity unknown, the task was a most hazardc11s and difficult one, indeed; but the gallant commander 0f Fort Rest did all in his power to maintain order, keep tbe Iu back and protect the stage trails. 'I'be main trail was the one most ctirsed by the outlaw bands, and, as the driyers had lately been daring to rusli their coaches through, braving all chances of being killed, war had been waged, a cruel, war upon these braye men, until, as a number had been killed, it was found difficult to find any man who \Yould dare death by taking a coach on the run, or who would try to do so.

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2 THE BUFFJ\LQ_BILL STORIES.. The result was that the stage company had offered a large bonus to each driver who would drive the trail, and yet this did not tempt men to risk almost certain d eath. With every confidence in his chief of scouts to accomplish all that he set out to do, Colonel Miles sent for him ancl the t w o bad a long talk together. The chie f of scouts was William F. Cody, the hero of world-wide fame, better known under the title of Buffalo Bill. It was his deeds of desperate heroism in those early and the result was that many new graves dotted the scene. The relief going to the aid of Fort Famine with supplie s had been attacke d there by redskins and massacred. This made Graveyard Gap still more a place to dread. As there was a rich mining country beyond Fort Fami ne, the Overland Stag e Company had fbund it expe di ent to run a coach through each week, and back all the way to Trail End City. But the horrors of Graveyard Gap were added to, as days of Wild West warfare tllat gained for Buff a lo Bill,, there was a stagel'oad of passe n gers, with the driver, his enviable title and the claim to be jus tly known as slain and robbe d there. the King of Borderme n. A description of th.e noted scout here would be useless for to the reader of to-day, so well is he known, so wid e ly told have been bis deeds of heroism. Fort Rest was a stockade fort, built by the advancing soldiers who bad halted there as a resting-place at first, and later because it was an ideal spot for a military post. D eaths in the coaches, and of the drivers followed freque ntl y until the gap b ecame known as the Death Drive, Both Indians and road agents were said to be the murd e r e rs and robbers, but about this opinions differed. There was talk of establishing a picket there, but no w ater or grass could be found within ten miles upon either side, and nothing but a very large force would have dared remain, as the redskins could sweep down from which offensive operations could readily be made. from the mountains in numbers and annihilate them. It was well located for defense, and held a p osition Fifty miles to the ea s t was Trail End City, the place where the Overland trails had centered and had a termi-nus, but to the west it had been found necessary to place another outpost sixty miles away from Fort Rest, as an advance guard. Winter had caught the advance post without sufficient provisions, and unable to get supplies a number of men had starved to death, gaining for it the name of Fort Famine. The two posts had been thoroughly fortified in the spriug, the one known as Fort Famine, the other as Fort Rest, the latter beiug the headquarters of the military disfrict over which Colonel Miles bad command. On the stage trail between Fort Rest and Fort Famine was Graveyard Gap, or Canyon. It was jus t here that death stalked with merciless hand, and ou account of its location that so well favored them the road agents had chosen it as the very place to strike at the coaches that were compelled to go through the gap. Graveyard Gap bad justly won its name, for a battle between Indians, the Sioux and Pawnees, had been fought there and strewed the canyon with human bones. Then a fight between United States cavalry and redskins llad been fought iu the canyon several years after, ;, When at last Buffalo Bill was called by General Miles into consultation, and asked to take as a special duty the work of securing drivers for the coaches, and endeavoring to find some way, with the limited means at hand for protecting them, the great scout entered upon the deadly duty with bis usual vigor and fearlessn!isS. Buffalo Bill's first work bad been to find three new drivers willi:t1g to take the deadly risk of the run through Graveyard Gap with the threat banging over them that sure death would be visited upon them. Buffalo Bill went at once to headquarters to report to Colonel Miles. That gallant officer received him cordially and quickly asked: ''Back so soon, Codyt ''Yes, colonel, I was not detained long." "Well, what luck?" "The coach goes through to-morrow, sir." ''Good! "And who is the brave fellow, Cody, who takes the terrible chances?" asked Colonel Miles. "Charlie Christopher, sir, and a good man," answered the scout. ''I wish I could giv e him au escort, but I dare not, for )

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THE !BU ff ALO BHlL STOfrUES. we cannot afford to lose any of our soldiers now; but I fear be will be killed!" "I feel almost certain of it, sir; bnt be is a driver, aIJd duty calls him to sacrifice himself." "True; but if he falls no other man will dare go." "Yes, sir, Ben Bolton has volunteered to take the coach if Charlie falls." ''He, too, has nen-e, and it will be a pity to see him go under, and if h e does, then that ends trying to keep tbe Overland coaches ru11ni11g until my force is stronger." ''No, s ir, for Harry Hawksl1:nv will go if Beu Bolton goes under." ".\L ,He, too, is a plucky one. "He is the man, i s be n o t irho so well imitates a bugle call?" "Yes, sir." "You surely got no others to voluuteer?" "Not another man would do so, sir." '''l'beu, if those three men fai l, I shall order Peters to stop the attempt to nm the coaches.'' ''There is one more challce sir.'' "Indeed! '' \Vl]o is he?" ''That, sir, I callnot tell you, but if those three men fall, I have a lllan who will take the co:i ch through. ''If be falls, also, then it will be time to stop the coaches.'' ''I should think so; but I am intereste d in knowing who this plucky fellow can be, Cody." ''You shall know in good time, colonel, so pardon me for refusing to tell you now." "Certainly, Cody, and if be is your choice, I have faith in him," was the colonel's reply. "As we have gone into this game, Colonel Miles, to wi11 the game against the outlaws, we must do it, cost what it may in the lives of brave men,'' said Buffalo Bill. "Yes, if we can find the men to risk certain deatl.J." "They will be fou11d, sir, in spite of the doom of death upon ::::II drivers now who dare to take the trail," said Buffalo Bill. CHAPTER II. CHRISTOPHER'S COACH ON THE '.tRAIL. There were three coaches to go through on the bra:1c11 trai ls of the Overland. Their destinations were Trail End City, Fort Famine anci Fort Rest. At the former place was what its proprietor, Peters, was pleased to call a "first-class hotel," thoush there were many who differed with him as to hi s clai1u. 'l'he coach from the north came in at midnight, au
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'THE BUFF ALO BRLL STORRESo A crack of the whip and the team of six horses a cheer, for all knew the chances the brave fellow ha1 bounded away on their run to Fort Rest. Fifteen miles out there was a relay and fresh horses were hitched in place of the others, and twenty miles farther another team was put in. Then it was about a fifteen-mile run to Fort Rest. Charlie had made good time, and been greatly entertained by the conversation of his fair companion, and ioclnding his t wo halts at the relay corrals, bad made tile run in eight hours, coming in sight of the fort j nst at two o'clock. "See h ere, miss, I wants you to do me a favor,'' he said to the young girl. ''Certainly, w!iat is it, sir?" was the ieady answer. ''I wnnts you to stop over at Fort Rest until this trail is safe ter travel, and ter keep ther sergeant's wife with yer." "Not I." "Yer see, miss, I knows ye r is game, but then there is something awful mysterious about tber killing at Graveyard Gap, and there is women in ther graves there as well as men. "I hain't hurt see men face death, but when it comes to a woman, and especially a pretty gal like you, I draws out o' ther game, so I asks yer ter stay at ther fort, and keep tber sergeant's wife with yer." ''I started to rejoin my father, knowing the dangers I had to face, and I shall go on my way with you," was the determined reply of the maiden. take n to go through to Fort Pamine. The horses were quickly r eplaced by fresh ones, tim was allowed for the passe11gers to get dinner, and, mintl the two who were to remain at the fort, the coach rolle on its way. The coach had been gone an hour or more when Colo nel Mqes came out of bis quarters, attended by a grou 1 of officers, and in the midst of whom was Buffalo Bil l for a war council had been held, which the chief c scouts had been a sked to attend. ''The coach has not come through yet, Cody, so you man must have backed down at the last minute," sai the colonel. Before Buffalo Bill collld reply, an orderly approache 1 with the mail bag and handecl it to tbe adjlltant. f "What, orderly, bas the coach arrived?" cried t1: t colon e l, for the stage s tation was at the other end of tl: fort, nearly half a mile from headquarters. f "Yes, sir, over an hour ago, but I did not wish to di, ttub you, sir." 2 ''Indeed! Then I retract the remark against Christ< s pher, Cody." ''Who was the driver, orderly?'' quickly asked Bt.dfa i Bill. i, "Charlie Christopher, sir, and he was as chipper COllld be." s "Orderly, I expected the dau ghte r of Major Dean ( t tlrnt coach on her way to join her father at Fo a "I'm sorry, miss; but I hopes the colonel won't let Famine. e yer go.'' ''My father may be under Colonel Miles' orders, but I am not, and I go through. ''What time will we reach Fort Famine?'' ''We are due there at midnight, miss," was the sig nificant reply. ''Well, my ticket reads to Fort Famine, and I go on with the coach." Charlie sighed but said no more, and soon after blew the bugle call to announce the coming of the coach. "Now let me have your bugle,'' said the maiden, and she at once began to ring off a most stirring air, to the great deligbt of Charlie. As the bugle notes died away the coach clashed up to the station in the fort, aud the driver was greeted with "Was she along?" n ''Yes, sir, and she went on with Charlie and his oth s : five passengers, sir." b Colonel Miles turned pale at hearing this, while said: ti ''Great heavens! her father asked me to stop her bet ti The coach must have been ahead of time, orderly." ''Half an hour, sir, and did not stop long, fort al driver wanted to get through Graveyard Gap befc night.'' tl ''Quick, Captain May, take a squad of your men a ride with all haste afkr the coach, carryin g a led hot rn alone: for Miss Dean to return oo, for YOU must fet -Ul her back with you. Tell lier that such are my orde and you, Cody, go as guide for the captain."

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THE BUfF ALO BILL 5 "Yes, sir, but suppose she will not come, for she is a passed the relay corral twen t y miles out from the fort woman.'' two and a half hours a fter leaving it. "But she must." ''He were going fer all ther critters was worth, Bill, '' B11t still, Colonel Miles, I cannot force her to do so," and shot off with ther fresh team iu th er same style, so ( Captaiu May rernarked. he' ll git throug h ther gap afore dark, i f ther cattle kin 0 ''Then, if she refuses all your powers of persuasion, 1 command her, aud if she still remains obL1urate, then I escort the coac h through to Fort Pami11e, for I must 0 delay our intended move unti. 1 yollr return, that is all,'' was the answer. u Buffalo Bill bad already hastelled away, and the cap. tain went ouickly to his quarters. 11 -But it was a quarter of an hour before sixteen gallant troopers, under a se rgeant, reported a t his quarters ready e for the ride. Buffalo Bil l with two of his scouts, await ed them at the stockade gate, and w b e u a ll was ready the party started off on the trail of the coach jus t one hour and forty minutes after its departure. i ''A s t e rn chase is a long one, Cody, and the coach is all of t we lve miles away, if not more, so se t the pace," c said Captain May. With these instructions, Buffalo Bill set a rattling ai pace, which he soon saw was too fast for th e h eavier horses of the troopers, so he slackened it s o ri1ewba t afte r miles had been gone over. "The Graveyard Gap is a t rifle nearer Fort Rest, sir, < than Fort Famin e, just about twenty-eight miles away, 0 aud I fear we will hardly reac h there b e fore the coach enters it. Charlie never spares hi s horses, and takes no note of schedule time, for he pushes right through," h s aid Cody, when a halt was made, ten miles out, at a brook. "Well, Cody what have you to suggest?" asked Cap taiu May, who saw tha t the chief of scouts h ad some ei tliing more to say. f "That yo u allow me and my two men t l ahead, sir, with all the speed we ca n to push on ''You may do so, and I will accompany y ou l eaving the sergeant to bring UJ? the men,'' was the reply. So t he captain and the three scouts set off at a more rapid pace t hau the troopers could keep up, Buffa lo Bill urging his horse to a s weeping gallop. :le The trail of the horses and coach showed that Charlie had been driving along a t considerable speed, having bold out," said the stock tender at the r elay station. "\Ve must catch him if w e kill onr horses, captain," was Buffalo Bill's respon:ie, as the party too k to the trail again. CHAPTER III. TRAILING A MYS'l'ERY. On sped t he scouts and Captain May, after leaving Relay.Number Three, as it was kuown, and discussing, as they rode along, what the stock t ender had told t hem "Charlie is a plucky e1Iow, Cod y, and so are his passengers, for all must know what they may expect, sa i d Captain May. "Yes sir, it re quires nerve, and I sincerely hope we can r eac h the gap before the coach enters it, for it would b e fearful if Miss Dean was killed." ''It would be, indeed,'' and Captain May urged the party on more rapidly . They had left the last stream they would cross for miles, and we re descending a vall e y road to the g ap, which was a rocky p a ss through a mountain range, and over a mile in 1e11gth. But, r ide as they might they saw that it was impossi ble t o reach there before sunset at least; but this me an t tlJat Christopher, who must still be halt-a-dozen m i l es ahe ad, would have gone through by daylight, an d at least, was cheering to contemplate, for ahead of time an hour or more, he might thus elude any enemy wh o was going there to ambush him, for certainly such murderous foes would not remain longe r in the spot than was n ecessary for their reel work. At th e pace they had ridden, Cody felt that they would arri 1:e a t the canyon nearly half an hour ahead of the troopers, and time might prove most important to Charlie and h is passenge rs. So dow n the valley t rai l they went at a gall op, increas ing their pace as they r eached the le ve l road, and still more as they drew near the towering rocks which markcli the entrance t o the Death Gap. The sha(\ows had already thrown the valley in glo0m,

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T&-IE BU ff' A.LO lEHLL and as they neared the pass, they beheld only darkness ahead of them where the light of day was shut out by the towering wall;:; of rock. Iuto the canyon they dashed, leaving the light behind them, for all was gloom there, which would increase as the night settled down, for the mountain tops far away were yet tinged with the setting sun. But Buffalo Bill knew his trail well, and went ou at a pace scarcely l e ss rapid than in the valley. In the center of the canyon, that i-s half-way through, it widened and there was a space there of half-a-dozen of respect to the dead, for Buffalo Bill had removed his sombrero as be came u pon the tragic spectacle, and the others bad followed bis example "My God, Cody! What does it mcau ?" at last broke from the lips of Captain fl.lay. "It meaus, sir, that t hose who have done this de e d are determined to kill as well as rob their Yictims, au
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TliE B UFFALO BHLL STORSES. In half an hour he returned, aml when the sunlight was beg11rning t o peer dowu into the canyon. A soldier had been station d at the ope11i11g iuto the wide space, u pon either side, to keep any one coming from the forts back, aud the others, after a cold break fa s t, washed down with water from their canteeus, were placed in positions by B11ffolo Bill to make what search they co11ld for any sigus they might find of trails. There wer the graves of the dead fodians slain in b'.lttl.e long before; near were the graves of the soldiers .vho had rnore latel y falle11, and in a row near the trail \Yere buried the victims of those who liad haunted the gap to k ill and to rob. Near the coach were the b od i es o f the dead miners, and still upon his box was poor Cbristopher. All had been shot and all had bee11 robbed of 'every valuable they possessed, their eapons being also taken. Bu t in tl1e hard grou11d about the scene of deat h, there was no trnce of a trail. The tracks of the horses and the wheel s of the coac h had hardly left ai 1 impression. Each entrance to the scene of the tragedy was mos t carefully exa111 in e d by the s cout, an
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8 Tt1E BU ff ALO lBilL ''Then your men will surely be; but what do you think of the soldier, Miss Dean and Gales' wife having been captured and carried off?" ''That is what puzzles me most, sir. ''If the soldier had not beeu taken I rnight understand that tlie two women were taken as hostages, or for ransom; but the soldier s going I cannot yet comprehend." One by one the scouts came in, and each one had the same report to make. They looked anxious and seemed to feel their inability to make a report of some kiud. But noon had come and all were of the same opin ion, that the murderers, be they Indians or road agents, had covered up their tracks too well to be followed. As there was neither water nor grass near, a move must be made, and then Buffalo Bill asked Colonel Miles to al1ow him to drop ou t of the line on the march back, and returning to the canyon, go on a still hunt alone to solve the m ys tcry. 'l'his request was granted, and Buffalo Bill was to have provisions sent him by the stage on its return, for a scout was to driv.e it on to Fort Famine, and back again to Trail Encl City, on condition that the chief of scouts should remain in the fatal pass and await his coming. That Buffalo Bill was to remain was known only to Colonel Miles, the scout who was to drive the coach, and to Major Dean. CHAPTER IV. MORE MYSTERY. The miners had been buried where they met their death, while the body of poor Charlie had been laid to rest in the separate row of graves which marked the last resting-place of the drivers who bad fallen on tl}e fatal trail. Major D ean had returned to Fort Famine in an agony of suspense about his daughter, as had also the sergeant, but both felt they l e ft the solution of the mystery in the hands of the only man who could solve it, Buffalo Bill. Colonel Miles had gone back to his command feeling some anxiety regarding Buffalo Bill, for the mysterious murderers, ,who never held back from a stage load of pasi-e ngers, must be in large enough force to readily get a\Yay with one man, even if he was the chief of scouts, who was noted as one "worth a dozen ordinary men." The coach made its run on to the fort, under the scout Diamond Dau, and started almost at ouce upon its return, being a day behind schedule time. The soldiers saw it go with misgivings, and many bade Diamond Dau good-by, expecting never to see him again. But it had beeu the wish of Buffalo Bill for it to come without an escort, that he might discover the mystery of the murders in the gap. He had explained to Colonel Miles that a guard for the coach might protect it in the canyoi.i, but the moment they left it there would be au attack elsewhere, and this would uot be fiudiug the murderers. 'l'hcu, too, tile soldiers could not be spared for the work and that the sure meaus to check the evil by finding the outlaws would be to secretly discover who they were. The colonel and his officers reali zed the truth of this argument, and so Buffalo Bill was left alone. It was night when Diamond Dan reached the gap, and he drove into it with misgivings, for he was alone, uot a soul caring to make the trip back with him. He pa s sed the scene of the murders with his heart almost seeming to stand still, and started as he went by and heard a voi c e behiud him "Ho, Dan, there is nobody abroad to-night." "It is you, chief," cried Dan," with a deep sigh of relief,. as Buffalo Bill climbed up over the top of the stage and came to the box. ''Yes, I have not seen a sign of any one. "I heard you coming, and was in ambush, ready for an attack, if any came, but tll ey were not here to-night, so I'm going on with you." ''You bet I'm g lad of it, chief, for I was frightened, I admit it." ' Well, you sho\Yed your pluck in going on the coach as you did, Dan, and you shall have full credit for it." "But you could find uo trace of the murderers, sir?" "Not the slightest." "You can't think who they can be?" ''I canuot, for they hav e covered up their tracks with the cunning of Indians." "Maybe they be Iujuns." "I think not; but my liorse is yonder up the valley, so I will mount him and follow you a quarter of a mile behind, in case vou are attacked at somf' other nnint

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THE BU ff ALO BRlL "Keep a leetle closer, chief, please, for this be a lone-some trail to travel.' ''I will be within bearing, Dan, uever fear." "Yes, for the re is a treasure box aboard." "Ah! From the mines?" "Yes; nigh onter t eu thousand in dust, I h eard." "All right." With this Buffalo Bill got down from the box, and, while Diamoud Dan droye ou he went up the valley for his ho rse To bis snrprise he found the auimal was 11ot there He Sllpposed tha t h e had pulled up his s t ake rope a u d gone astray; but searching for his saddle and bridle, found that they, too, were gone. Somebody has stolen him. ''Well I cannot overtake Diamond Dan on foot, that is certain, so I will camp here, look fo r the trail of my hors e in the morning, and when I do not collle in behind the coach, Colonel Miles will send after me, I know. "But who has got my horse is the question that I would like answered." With this the scont rolled his b lankets about him and sought forgetfolness i n slumber. Tlie on the tower at Fort Rest spied in the earl:s; morniug the coac h coming slowly along the trail. The horses wer e in a walk and came along as though t hey had been h a rd dri ve n. The coming of the coach was reported to the corpora l of the guard, who in turn reported it to his superior officers aud soon after cam e anotl1er report that the driver of the coach was asl ee p on his box. The gates were thrown op e n ; the officer of the day met the coach, the team was brought t o a halt and then came the startling cry: ''Diamond Dan, the scout driver, is dead!'' The \Vords w ere true. There sat Diamond Dan u po n his box, hi s body t ied in place by a lariat, his head hanging forward, and the C o lon e l ::\1iles "'as astounded, startl ed, and Capta!11 May and his troop were at once ordered back oyer the t rail. Tliey departe d witlii11 haif an hou r w h i l e another scout mounted the box and droY e the coac h o n its way to Trail End City, se,eral passeug ers going in it 011 the east ward nrn. Captai11 lost no time ou the trail, but went alon g at a S'ireep i 11g gailop. As 11<.: n eared the dreaded spo t h i s horses all foaming and panti1;g, th ey saw a t all form standing in the trail anaiti11g the m. It was Dllffa l o Bill. At sight of him the so ldier s broke forth in a cheer, for they expected that they would find his body only. ''Ho, captain, glad to see you. ''But 'ivliat's the hurry, for your horses have been pus h ed bard I see?" ''What is the hurry, Cody, when we expected to find yon dead?" cr i e d Captai1f May, sternly. "Dead? Oh, no, sir; but I suppose it was becau se I d i d not follow the coach in, as I told Diamond Da:.i I would. But my horse 'i\'aS spirited away, captain and I collld not." '' it is n e ll you did not follow Diamoud Dan in, B i ll, for he is dead." The sco,ut started and his bronzed face grew sad as h e repeated the words: ''Diamond Dan dead!'' ' Yes, he came in just after dawn, tied to his box, the reins fast in his hands. and with a bulle t wound in his l eft tern ple." ' My God! ''Poor, poo r Dau! ''Oh, that I could onl y have followed him.'' "Your horse was stolen, you s ay, Bill?" "Yes, ;;ir. I left Dan right at this spot and went up tue valley where I had s taked m y horse, a quarter of a reins, vrapped arouocl his bands secnrely. mile from here. Ent h e wa s dead, and a bullet wound was rn his ''I found h im gone, and that my saddle and bridl e t emple. \\'hat did it mean? Where was Buffalo Bill? These qu estions could not be answe red by a tongue sil e nced in de:lth, and so the officer of the post has te: 1 e d to Colonel ::\1iles with the report of the tragedya uother deadly mystery o f Graveyard Gap. were also missing. ''To overtake Dan on foo t I kn' ew was impossibl.e, with a s tart of a mile, and besides I wished to have a search for the trail of my h o rse feeling sure Col onel Miles would send afte r me.'' "And what was the result of your search, Cody?"

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10 THE BUFFALO BILL STOR!ES. "Captain May, I flatter myself that I am a good trailer, but I can no more find the trail of my horse than I can fly." "1'he ground i s t oo bard?" "Not that, only there is no trail." ''Let us return to the place, Bill, and camp, so we can give another search for it." The scout l e d the w ay asking as he started off: ''Was the treasure box a lso taken, sir?'' ''From the coach? ' "Yes, sir." ''There was none there.'' "Then it was taken, for the re was a box with ten t housand in dust on board, so Dan said." ''I searched the coach and none was there." "You found the scene of the hold-up, sir?" "No, we pushed right o n to l ook you up." "Well, we can see on our way back w h ere it was, and the re must be a trail le ading from there." that h e had to say, and then wai t e d for the colonel to speak. "I do not understand it-I do not k11ow what to say. When the coacll next goes tllrough, it must have an escort, though a small oue, as I a111 determine d to start to-night upon this expe
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THIE BU ff ALO Bi LL STORiES. 11 strippe d the stod:r.(ie of d efenders t o deal a blow agGinst th e redskins in the ir strongholds Jns t b e fore dawn, t he troop havillg arrived with others, Major Dean left Fort Famine with three companies of m ot11Jtecl i11fantry, two troops of cavalry and a section of light artillery, while h alf-a-dozen scouts were in the advance. \Vitil this force, C o lonel Miles hoped to deal a very se\ere blow up o u th e Indians. Tlie two c o mma:1cls met at noon the uext day, thirty miles out from the forts, and went into camp until nightfall, when they intended making a forc e d march of thirty miles more so as to attack the Indian village at dawn, thns surprising them in their stronghold. Major I?ean's face was pale with sorrow and suspense, as he greeted his commander, and the two officers h e ld a long talk together over tlie situation and the fa c t that 110 clew liad been found as to the fate of the three cap ti ves taken from Christopher's coach, or the pc:rpetrator s of the cleed. ''I live in hopes that we may find them in the Indiau villages, for you will attack the lower village, sir, npon your retreat," s a id Major Dean. ''Yes, I shall strike the stronghold at dawn, wipe it out if in our power to do so, and retreating rapidly the fifteen miles to the hunting village, will fall upon that, thus giving the Indiaus a double lesson to remember." CHAPTER V. THE ATTACK ON THE INDIAN STRONGHOJ.,D. It was well known to Colonel Miles that there were a couple of thousand warriors in the Sioux stroughold, which be \\'as to attack, and half as many more in the bunting Yillage overlooking the plains, where they got their game. But he was we ll aware that to keep them from getting on the offensive against the two posts, he must do some daring a c t that would strike terror to their hearts. He was al s o aware that in the stronghold there were all of a hundred white captives, men, women and children, aucl these could only be reached by such a bold stroke as it was his inteutiou to deliver. His littie arm y was a command of veterans, men who had l01;s redskins, nncl knew a stampede meant death to all, so that he could rely on them, while Buffalo Bill and his scouts were one and all heroes. They had camped in a secure hiding-place by day, building no fire until after nightfall, when supper was cooked, and all prepared for the rapid march to the Indiau st10nghold. The scouts started well in advance, to be sure there was no ambush, and the men mounting their well-rested horses, and with the wheels of the guns heavily wrapped, to prevent sonnc1, they moved out upon their march. At two o'clock a halt was called, for the stronghold of the Indians was in sight, a mile away, and Buffalo Bill reported all quiet there. The men and horses had a couple of hours' rest, then an early breakfast, which was cold, however, and Buffalo Bill having explained the situation of the stronghold, there were three colnruus of infantry sent against it. The guns were placed in position, to open fire when the iufontry had gained places for action, and the cavalrymen stood by their horses, ready to mount and them, when their time to strike should come, the' scouts taking places where they could do most good. Just as the gray of dawn began to steal over the mountains, so that the guuners could see where to fire, the orcler w::is given, and six guns, two twelve-pounders aud four sixes, flashed forth red flames and sent terrific roars echoing from cliff to cliff. The shells went crashing down into the village, bursting viciously among the tepees, and scnttering death and destruction around, for Buffalo Bill had made known where the captives were kept, so that their position was avoided by the guuners. It was a complete surprise, and after several rounds from the guns, the iufantry, with wild cheers, advanced upon the stroughold at a double-quick. As they reached the village and their muskets began to rattle, the cavalrymen mounted and rode down to the attack also. The soldiers soon saw that the fight was theirs, and they pnshed rapidly on, stampeding the women and children, driving the warriors before them, and setting fire to the tepees. The captives were rescued, and sent quickly on the trail, whither two guns, a company of mounted infantry and a troop of cavalry were now marching. The ponies in the corrnl bad beeu bi.it

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THE BUFF J\LO BILL STORlr::S. many were captured, and witlJin an hour's time the stronghold' was a ruin, its people fugitives among the i ,nountains, save the braves, wh o were ra ll y ing for a blow against their victo rs Down upon the hunting valley swooped the retreating victors, and they were met by the warriors there who had been alarmed by the firiug, a11d hoped to check the retreat. Bu t the g uns cut gaps in thei r ranks, the infantry charged, and wheu the cavalry came i n sight, the r ed skins fled for their lives, leaving their village unprotected. Here, too, other captives were rescued, and the tepe e s of the redskins w e re s e t on fire. Rapidly the n the retreat was kept up, tlJe cavalry pro t ecting the rear, until the pursuit became too hot, when the guns would be wheeled about and the savages sent to the rear by a few well-aimed shots. That night the soldiers' camp was be s ieged, but no at ta c k was made, for the redskins had received too severe a lesson. They, however, sent many a slaot iiato the camp, but retreated at dawn, and the march back to the fort was begun, a camp of a couple of days being made at the point where the commands had met on their way up into the mountains. C o lonel Miles had halted on the way back, to oheck any advan ce the warriors might attempt to make against the forts in their desperation. The scouts had been left behind under Buffalo Bill to report any movement of the redskins that might look hostile, and so the soldiers awaited their coming. 'rhe dead had been buried, the wounded cared for and the captives who had been rescued, a hundred in number, were sent on to the forts. But when the third day passed and Buffalo Bill came in to report that the redskins who had pursued had returned to the mountains, and were too much demoral ized to recover for some time, the commands divided and marched for their respective forts. The hope of Major Dean, that he would find his daughter a captive in one of the Indian villages, had not bee n reali zed, and the closest questioning of those who were rescued, failed to discover that they k new of her. Nor could it be ascertained from the captives that the Illdiaus were in any way conn e cted with t he perpetrators of the f.oul deeds in the gap, for such had been the opin ion of many "I have only you to depend on now, C ody, so I leave all in your bands," sadly said Major Dean ashe parted with the scou t. ''I shall do all in my power, major, to return your daughter to you and t o punish her kidnappers. ''That the three captives taken from the coach were not found in the Indian villages is to me a strong hope that they are held for ransom by road -agen ts, and that no harm will befall them. ''It is unfortunate indeed, but from all accounts Miss Dean is a very plucky young lady, and will bear her captivity with a g ood grace." ''Then you will go again upon the trail of those murderers, as soon a s you return. to the fort, Cody?" "I will, sir, and you know that I now have two mep. on duty in the canyon, and as the coach is to go throug h to-day, we may get news upon our arrival, and you shall be at once informed of the result, major." ''I thank you, Cody, and I rely on you,'' and grasping the scout's hand, the major rode on after his com mand. As he passed to the front of Colonel Miles' command, Buffalo Bill was called by that officer, who said: "Well, Cody, we gave the redskins a lesson to remem ber?" ''You did, indeed, sir, and one they will not soon forget, for you killed and wounded many, and it will take a long time for them to recover from the blow you dealt them, sir. ''It was a brave move, Colonel Miles, and you deserve d the success you have won." "Thank you, Cody, and a suc cess which your valuable services made possible, aided by the brave men under my command. "We lost heavily, I admit, but we rescued many poor captives, and have greatly strengthened our position on the frontier. ''But now what are we going to learn at the fort about the doings at Death Gap?'' "I hope my men have made some di s covery, sir, an
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THE BUFF J\LO BILL STORIE&. 13 Dean, the s ergeant'!:i wife and the young soldier, cap tives in n eithe r of the Indian v illa ges, C ody?" "That Ind i a n s a r e n o t the murder e r s sir, that haunt Gra, eyard Qap '' "But white m e n are?" "Yes sir." "But who?" ''That is to be discove red, sir, but they are outlaws, road -age nts, of course." "And where are they?" "That I must find out, sir." "No one reports s eeing them, or having done so." ''Very few live, sir, to make any report of an attack oa a coach on the fatal trail." "That is true. Yet do you think Miss Dean and the other t"wo were slain?'' "If so, sir, we cannot find their bodies, and if uot killed, then the road-agent. s acted d iff ereutly toward th em from the way the y served their other victims." ''You are right, and, if they kille d them, for some reason of their own, concealed their bodies.'' "I do not believe that they killed them, Colonel Miles." "Miss Dean might be held for ransom, for she is an heiress, yet why the sergeant's wife and the young sol dier?" "'l'hat is what I do not know, sir; but did you dis cover to which command the young soldier was going, sir?" "I did not, for nothing was known of him whatever at either fort." ''He may have been on leave, sir, going to Fort Famine to visit some relative or friend. "I will find out from tbe stage company what his name was, and then we can discover wl10 be was,'' and saluting the colonel, Buffalo Bill rode 01! ahead of the column. CHAPTER VI. MORE VICTIMS. Buff alo Bjll was the first to enter the fort, and his inquiry regarding Bell Bolton, the second of the volunteer drivers to take the stage through, was quickly made. The answer was that Bolton had come through two days before alone on the coach, no passengers daring to venture, and that he had been detaiued all night, returning by day through the gap. As he had started early he was due hours before, and even late upon his return, he was long behind the time for his arrival. Buffalo Bill looked serious, and waited for the coming up of the column at the head of the command. Those who had gone in with the wounded soldiers, and the captives, had told of the double victory, so that the contingent left in the fort turned out to w@lcome the command. Guns were fired, cheers resounded and the band played, as the tired soldiers filed into the stockade. While they marched to their respective barracks, the colone l gave orders that a line of scouts should be throwu around the fort, that the guards should be doubled and the men should, as it were, sleep on their arms, for he did not know but that the cunning savages might seek reveage, expecting to catch the garrison off its guard, by rushi11g in upon them with an overwhelming force of warriors. 'rhese orders issued, the colonel turned to Buffal9 Bill and said: "Now, Cody, you have something to communicate." Buffa lo Bill told what he had heard, and the colonel also looked serious. ''I will start on the trail, sir, as soon as I have bad supper and gotten a fresh b0rse," said Buffalo Bill. ''But you are worn out." "No, indeed, sir, I am all right, colonel." "Well, it would be the best thing to do, Cody, I ad-mit, if the coach does not come in meanwhil, e. "Who will you take with you?" ''I will go alone, sir.'' ''Better take some force along i u case you ueed aid." ''Well, sir, I will take half-a-dozen scouts, and they can camp in the valley this side of the canyon, where I left my horse, while I will go through alone on foot." "You will be taking big risks." "That is the only way, sir, to find out who these murderers are.'' ''Well, I trust all will be right, only do not be too rash," was the cokmel's response, ancl the scout departed. Going to his quarters, beselected half-a-dozen of his

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Tii!E BU ff ALO B!LL STORIES. men, and having had supper, mounted a fresh horse and rode a way fro:n the fort. No sign of tl:e coach had been reported, and the more .toe thoug!it of it, the more certain Buffalo Bill felt that eitl:er Bolton had never reached Fort Famine or, doing sG, had been killed upon his return, for it could not be tliat the brave fellow had, at the las t moment, failed to rinkc the attempt t o go throngh. On to the camping-place at a brisk canter went the scou t and his men, and there be left them, along with his horse. He had expected to find the horses of the other two scouts there, but in the darkness they were not visible, as a short search revealed. Thcu he set out, with a scout accompanying him to lead his horse back after he should have gone a few Ill ii es. The scout went with him 11ear to the scene so fatal to the drivers, when the chief dismounted and sent him back to the camp. ''If you do not see me, or hear from rne by noon Bob, come after me all of you, for I may need you," were bis parting orders. Then he went on his way 011 foot, and after half an honr approached the open space where \\ere the graves of the dead victims of the mysterious murderers. He went cautiously along, gli
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'i'HE BUFF ALO BBLL STORIES. 1 5 o pened fire with his revolver, and by the. time he passed along the trail nearest to them, they came dash1ng down to meet him, mounted and ready for battle. "Ho, meu Go to the Death Gap, but go on foot when you get near it, leaving one of your number to keep the horses. "At daylight look for trails, and I will be back as soon as I can return and there j oi n yo u. ''Bolton is dead on top of this coach, and within are Bennett and Hill, the latter still alive, so I am going to see if he can be saved by gerting him to the fort." With this the lash fell upon the hor ses and the eager team dashed away 011ce more at the sal)1e rattling speed as before. As the sun was rising, the sentinel 011 the watch tower reported the comi n g of the coach at the full speed of the horses the drive r laying on the l ash. Soon after he reported that the dri ve r was uot Bolton, but Buffalo Bill, but that there was a dead body 011 the t op of the coach. WorJ was at ?nee sent to Colonel Miles, so that when the coach dashed up to the stockade that 'officer was up and dressed. As Buffalo Bill whirled through the gate, he called out: ''Arouse the surgeon at once, for I have a wounded m an here. ' Halting at the station, Buffalo Bill sprang to the ground, threw open the door, and placing bis upon the pulse of the wounded man, cried: "'l'hank Heaven, he i s still alive. "But he has been hard hit, and more than once, too." He then I'ifted tbe wounded scout tenderly from the coach, and placed him upon tlne stretcher which four soldiers had hastily brought from the hospital. 'l'he su rgeon was there also, aud ordered the wouuded man carried quickly to a cabin near the hospital, as Buffalo Bill said earnestly: "Save hitn, doctor, not only for his own sake, for he is a splendid f el low, but because he ca n tell ns who these murderer s of the gap are-he can solve the mystery if you savP him." "I will do my best, Co dy, but he is a desperately w01rndcd man," was the s11rgeon's response. Buffalo Bill then lrnste11ed 011 to headquarters, where he found Colouel Miles ready to receive llim. ''You have news, Cody?" "Yes, sir, very sad 11ews," and Buffalo Bill made known all that had occurred since bis departure from the fort. "This is appalling, Cody, simply appalling," said the colonel sternly. ''It is, sir, but the more determined am I to sift the whole mystery to the bottom." "I am glad to hear you say this, Buffalo Bill, for it means that the guilty on es will yet be found and puni s h e d. ''But what is to be done now?" ''I'll send one of my scouts on with the coach, sir, and the report to Trail End City, and Hawkshaw will bring it back, and my man with him." ''But will Hawkshaw dare drive the coaah tbrnugh after these last murders?" "Yes, sir, he will, for I k.now t.he mall." ''And then?'' ''When he goes through Graveyard Gap, sir, be it night or day, going or coming, I will be on hand to leud any aid that he may need, and discover where the murderers are." ''Not alone, surely?'' "Yes, sir, I'll play a lone hand on the neiXt run of the coach, and after that, if I do not make a discovery, I'll try plan, which I have yet to make known to you, si r." ''All right, \ody, I feel that the affair is in good hands, so you shallhave your way. "Now what hope does Dr. Brand give ;YOU of saving Hill's life?" ''None, sir; but while there is life there is hope is my belief and if he can only bring him around to talk, much will have been gained.'' "Let us go then aud see what the result is so iiar; but I forget that you need rest and food." '"Don't l!llind me, colonel, for I'll get breakfast soon and take a fr es h horse for camp, where I can sleep for some hours. ' ''Well, we will g-o together to the hospital.'' The colonel and Buffalo Bill then We lked to the hos pital and Dr. Brand met them at the door. "\Vhat hope, Bl"a11
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16 THE BUlff ALO BILL STOR!ES. antl another iu the right side, with a third that grazed the skull. \ ''Had he uot arrived when he did, he could not have la s ted much longer, for he was bleeding freely." ''He i s un conscious then?" '' Wl:olly unconscious, colonel, in spite of all efforts to rouse him; but he has a splendid constitution and ruay rally." "Heaven grant it." "How long, Surgeon Brand, would you think he had been wom:ded when I got him, which was two o 'clock?" asked Buffalo Bill. ''I should say for four or five hours at least, from what observation I w a s enabled to make," was the reply. ''Then he was shot l ate in the afternoon?'' ''He must have been." ''And in passing through Graveyard Gap at daylight?" 'Yes." "This is remarkable, for there were Boiton, the driver, and my two scouts for the murderers to face, so there smely must have been a large force that ambushed them,'' said Buffalo Bill, thoughtfully. CHAPTER VII. ON WATCH. Surgeon Brand could give Buffalo Bill no more hope for Hill, the scout, and so he mounted a rresh horse and dashed away toward the gap. He reached the camping-place before sunset, and there found hrn of the scouts with the horses, the other having remained 01; the search. Before these tno could say anything regarding the search for the trail of the murderers, the other four scouts came in sight. ''Ho, pards, any news?'' called out Buffalo Bill as they appea red. They looked a trifle confused at seeing their chief, and one said: ''No, chief, we could not find even the photograph of a trail, and we looked close, too. ' ''Why did you leave the canyon before I came to join you?" ''Fact is, chief, we saw niiht was coming ou, aud that "' . canyon hain't no place for live folks when the sun goes down.'' ''You were afraid, eh?" ''You know us all, chief, and is aware we don't scare easy, but that canyon and what goes on there is out of ther common, yer see, and we put it to tller vote as ter whether we should go or stay." ''Well?" '' Ther vote were unanimous that we should light out." "Well, boys, I can hardly blame you; but you should never desert your post, you know." "That's so, Chief Cody; but them we was guarding was dead folks and they didn't need us, and if live folks was about they war so hid as ter make dead folks out of us when night come on." ''All rig lit, we will go to camp an d have supper, and then I will go on foot to the canyon and see if I can find any spook or outlaw." "Don't do it, Bill!" ''Why uot?'' "Them as has turned up their toes in that canyon never gets a chance ter draw a weapon, that is certain." "I'll have to take the chances, you know, and I was there last night." ''Yes, and Bolton and two of our pards went under last night." ''They were killed in the afternoon, but the n Hill may survive, though the chances are against him." "I'm glad to hear that; but couldn' t he talk and teJ! yer anytbiug?" "No, he was unconscious. "Well, if he could talk he could t e ll it all." 'I only hope that he will be abl e to do so," and with this Buffalo Bill rode on to the camp. He ate a hearty supper, enjoyed hi s p i pe, and just as the shadows began to fall upon the Yalley, started off on foot for Death Canyon. His men begged him not to go, but seeiug him determined to do so wanted to go with him. But rte said that one could escap e notice wheu half-a do ze n could not, and h e would go : : d o ne He had put on moccasins, so that his step was noise l ess, and as he dis::ippeared in the gathering gloom, he drew a revolver iu eac:-i hand, thus carrying the1u ready for iusta11 t use.

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THE BU Ff ALO BILL STORIES. 17 Reaching the canyon, he moved more cautious l y and slowly, and at last came to the opening which had been the scene of so many red dee ds, all of which lay buried iu the deepest mystery. He crept along among the stunted tree s and the rocks until he reached the spot where he had twice found the stage coach, All was as silent as the grave. No wolf was evet1 whining around m search of food, aud the weird ghoulish spot seemed eveu deserted by wild beasts and night birds. The chief of scouts stood for a long while gazing about him through the almost impenetrable gloom, his thoughts bu sy. Not far away were the graves, the white boards marking the l as t resting-places of the brave drivers, dimly seen in the somber light, or rather darkness, for light was none. At last the scou t felt a drowsy feeling creeping over him. He bad gone through much, and was very tired, so be decided to li e down, knowing that .he would awaken fatigued as he was, at the first sound. When he awoke he spraug to his feet iu surprise, the s un was s hilli11g brightl y, and he had not been disturbed through t\Je night by outlaw, spoo k or wandering s irit. Buffalo Bill felt mor ti fied at his having slumbered so soundly through the night, and yet he could not but t!Jat there Jrnd bee n no one near, o r b e would in stinctively ba\e felt their presence and awakened. His training had been s u ch that he b ad come to haye th e aCl1te l1earing of a dog, the instinct of u wild beast, a'.most, to protect i1imself and discover danger near. He look e d about bim, and knew tha t .the sun was a ll of two hour s high. Then !Jc s e :irched around for any trail but only the stak ones \';ere visible here a11r him, they having become anxious regarding his s af e ty. '' Auy news, chief?" asked one. ''No, for I could find no t rai l of any kind to indicate where the murderers came from, and whither they went." "Did you stay in the canyon all night, Pard Bill?" another one asked. "Oh. yes, and slept serenely most of the time." ''Yer slept?'' "Yes." ''I wouldn't close my eyes in that canyon, at night, for a dozen ponies." 'Why not?" "With all them graves around." "The dead wo uld not trouble you, Nick, while the li v iu g would." '' Waal, I can't git familiar with dead folks, no matter how I tries. ''When a man has handed in his chips, someh ow I fears him; yes, r is afeerd o' a leetle dead baby, even, for they is so silent, so white, and seem to be thinking so deep about what they is seeing in ther speritland. '' l\o, sir, no graveyards in mine." Buffalo Bill laughed at Nick's earnest way of describ iug his fear of the dead, but not anotht:r one of the scouts did. 'l'bey all looked serious, and there was no doubt they f elt as their comra de did, while thei r commander ros e tbe higher in their estimation from his utter disregar d of the supernatural. So back to the fort went the scouts, and Buffalo Bill made his report to Colonel Miles, with sincere regr e t that h e had nothing to t ell to cast any light upon the situation. Bnt he told the colonel that it was his intention to go flhead of the coach at its next nm, and to start the night before, takiJJg l1p positio n in the canyon so as to be on the spo t long ai. eacl of time, and endeavor to anticipate the coming of the murderers. ''You will take men with yo u, Cody?" ' No, colouel, I w ill go alon e f0r a party of men would snrely be see11. "Upou 011e condition you can go then." "Yes, colo n el." ''Promise to obey my commands." "Certai111y, sir." '''I' he n you can go upon condition that you shall find

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18 THE BUFF ALO BU .. L STOR!ES. the sec u res t hiding-places, qnd then, no matter what occttrs, you are 11ot to venture forth or attempt a rescue of th e driver, if th e re are over three rnen to fight." ''Three men, sir?'' ''Yes, three of these outlaws, murderers and robbers, for that number I f e el you c a n stand a chance with, but more thau that I do not wish you to face, eveu if you have the advantage of a surprise upon them." ''Yes, sir." "You promise?" "I do, sir." "Well, uuder those circumstances you can go." "l\fay I ask, Colonel Miles, if there is any change for the better in Scout Hill's condition?" "None." ''The surgeon tbeti bas no hope?'' ''He has hope, yet it is so faint he hardly dares ex p ress it. ''The poor fellow lies in a state of coma, and neither speaks nor moves. ''He may rally yet, but the chances are against him, th6ugh Surgeon Braud is doing all in his power to save him-in fact, keeps by him ni ght and day, for he knows how much depends upou his being able to state what occurred, independent of his wish to save him." Soon after Buffalo ill t ook hi s leave, and going to his qttarters he found that there was much excitement in the fort about tiie murders colllmitted in Graveyard Gap. The days passed slowly until the eve of the o n e on which the coach was expected to arrive from Trail End City, when 13uffalo Bill, after reporti11g to Col ouel Miles, mounted his h orse aud rode awaj toward Death Canyon to go on duty as a lou e vatcher. CHAPTER VIII. NUMBER 'l'HREE. There was general indignation against the unknown murde rers, and a belief that Harry Hawkshaw shottlJ not go. "No one will call him a coward if lie don't," said one, aud be echoed the sentiments of nearly all. If there were any one who thougbt he should go, they were those who were his enemies for some reason or other. 'l'he night Scout Casey brought the coach in, the gathering at the sa l oon of Peters' Hotel was enormous, illcluding all the people in Trail End City with very few except ions. Tbey played cards, drank, swore aud canvassed the going of Ha"kshaw, the remark often being heard that he was a fool t o go to sure death. ''He ha in t a-going," said a rough-looking man with an evil face. ''Who says so?'' asked one. "I does." ''How do you know, Jack Keeler, that Hawksbaw isu 't going?" ''I knows it by what I kriows of him." "What is that?" The man saw that every eye was upon him now, a dead si l ence bad fallen upon the room, and he had to up h o l d his position taken against the young stage driver. So he said: "I kuows h e hain't got ther grit ter go, and when he said h e would, it were jist a game of bluff." ''You li e, Jack Keeler!" rang ont a clear voice from the crowd, followed closely by the words: ''Auel I am coming to make you eat your own words, so pards, give u s room." The speaker was Hawkshaw himself, and he had just entered the saloon accompanied by Scout Casey, who had been up in the mountains to find hirn, and tell him of the fate of Bolton. At his defiant words, and quick resenting of the charge ::1gai11st him, a ch ee r arose, while the crowd scat t ered ri ght and left to open a lane between the two. men, for they had learned by sad experie11 c e what being in the way rnean t. Hardly had l ane opened when the two men stoo d alon e, Jac k Keeler having drawn a revo lv e r in each ha1JCl, while Hawkshaw had not yet drawn his weapon. But as Keeler op ened fire, Hawkshaw, as quick as a flash, had his revolver ont and pulled trigger. 'l'he bullet crashed into K ee ler's brain, and he dropped dead, while Hawkshaw ca ll e d out: 'Is Doc. Sands here, for I've got a leaden pill in my l eg.1 1 'l'he doctor was there, and going to Hawkshaw's side, the bullet was quickly extracted aucl the wouud dressed.

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THE BUFFA.LO BILL STORiES. 1 9 "That settles it with you, Harry, for yer won't drive now," said a miner. "You are mistaken, for I'd drive that h ea rs e on the run if the bullet bad half killed me,'' was the gritty response of the youug driver. And he kept his word, for when the day rolled round for the coach to start, Hawkshaw ordered the men to bitch 11p and drive around to bugle call, to let the passengers know tliat all was ready for the start. "Hea\en protect you, Harry," ca lied out Peters, and many a good-will followed tbe plucky youug driver, as with au empty coach, but with Scqut Casey sitting upon the box by bis side, he departed upon his perilous rnn t hat must take him where all felt sure that certain death await ed him. It was the uight before the coach was expected that Buffalo Bill quietly saddled his horse and had a scout ride out o f the stockade gate with him. Then he went to see Colon e l Miles, and found Captain l.fay with him. ''I am ready to start, sir," said the chief of scouts. "Well, Cody, I dread to see you go alone, and yet you know bes t what yon can do. "But remember your promise." "I will, sir." ''I'll you if you break your pledge,'' said the colonel, with a smile. "I'll remember, sir. ''I seut my horse out, with a scout riding him, sir, and would like leave to slip out tht: headquarters gate, for I wish to be nported ou the sick-list, and my going not be known." ' All right, Captain May will go with you to the headquarters gate, and bring me back the key." The captain was most \ villiug to do so, and with a of the haucl, Buffalo Bill l eft the colouel, and soon pas:;ed out of the gate in tlJe stockade road. ''I will send the scout here at once, sir, for he is bnt a hort distance away," a11d Buffalo Bill bade the captain good-by and hastened out upon tlie prairie. He soon found the scout, with his horse, and said: "Ike, you must not -be seen going back throngh the m::iin e;;trauce on foot, so go to the headquarters gate anJ Captain l\Iay will let you in." ''All right, Bill and good luck to you," said the scout, as Ddfalo Bill leaped into his saddle and rode away in the darkness. H e took the s tage trail to Fort Famine, and when he came to the creek, the last bit of water for many miles, h e tnrned up the bauk, aud a quarter of a mile away folt"nd the calllping-grouud where bis men had a\Yaited him before. He went further up the valley to where there. was an open space, and the grass was long aud beautiful. Here he staked ont his horse so that he could go to the edge of the creek, and drink, a s well as get food, and then he went into a crevice of the rocks and cooked his supper. This disposed of, and enough cooked besides for him to Jiaye a couple of days' cold provisions, he went on foot toward the gap. It was a couple of hours before dawn when be reached the canyon, Lnt he soo n found a secure hiding-place, within easy pistol range of the graves and the spot where the coach had always been held up. Spreadiug his blankets be lay down to rest, with the air of a man who had ample leisure on his hands. The m orning came, but he did Dot move from his position, but as patiently as an Indian ate his cold breakfast and remained in hiding. Just a t noon be heard the rumble of wheels, and at ouce he was 0:1 the alert. He had brought his repeating rifle with him, and this was placed ready to grasp at an instant's notice, while his re\'ohers were in his hand as he crouched ready to attack the moment any foe of Harry Hawkshaw re\'ealed himself. In the exciteme 1t of the moment he had forgotten his promi se to Colonel Miles, and there is no doubt but that be l\"otild have fonght six or eight men, did they appear, for his position was well chosen among the rocks, .-hadowecl by stunted trees, and with his deadly ai11, 1 anLl a surprise, he felt he could render a good account of hi mselL The coach drew nearer, and was coming along at a slapping pace. It must come within twenty-five feet of his position, so he would have a good chance to see all that took place. and nearer i t came, and suddenly rolled into

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20 THE BUFF ALO BILL STORaEs view in the open space in the canyon, which h ad been fatal to so many peop l e. On it came, with Havvkshaw a lone on the box, his reins grasp ed we ll in haud, bis whole attitude that of a rnau on the a lert. As it drew n ea r er, Buffa l o Bi ll saw that though Hawkshaw's face was pal e, it was stern and fearless, like oue who wou ld do or die. A moment more and the coac h swept by, the driver not knowing that help was near, for the bold sentinel was unseen, hi s prese11ce unknown. "Well! That time the coach went thro:.:igh without a hold-up. "Can it be that the nnfrderers have gotten booty enongh, or have become satiat e d in their greed for hum au life, I wonder? 'Ah! I forgot! there is a r eturn run, a second gaunt-l e t for Hawkshaw to pass throug h. '' Atld here I must wait, but I g u ess I can staud it.'' So mused Buffa lo Bill af ter the coach had goue by. H e rearranged his blankets, ate a cold dinne r, washed it down by water from his canteen, and then settled himself on the watch for anything that might be seen. ''Harry is a plucky fellow, and I should hate t o see harm b e fall him. "He went by, ready to die, if need be, but full of grit, and it was no fixed expressiou, either, for be little dream e d that I was near. "We ll it's t o calmly wait now until t o-morrow, so I must bring my Indian training of patience to bear u pon myself.'' Thus the afternoon passed slowly away. A hung ry wolf trotted iuto the c a n yon, s niffed at the new-made graves, and then, scenting danger, s uddenly skul ked away. A bird of prey, as though recalling a spo t where i t had go t ten food befor e, a li ghted uot fifty fee t from the Soon after several deer came bounding through the canyon, as though in fright o f pursuers, and Buffalo Bill was a t onc e on the alert. But no one came into view, and at last the shadows began to fall upon the valley. Afar off in the distant mountain tops the sunlight s ti ll lingered, but so on this fad ed from view, and intense darkness rested upon all. Then the scout settled himself for slumber, and was so o11 s e renely sleeping, wholly undisturbed by his weird and disrn::i1 snrroundin gs. 'l'he night pa ss ed a1rny, and it was another cold breakfast of m eat and bread with water to wash it down, < yet apparently the m e al was relished. The scou t was there for work, and he was willing to pnt up with ai1ytliiug to discover the secret he sought to unrnve l. As the hours crept by b e looked to his weapons, placed his repeating rifl e iu position for ready u se, got his revo l ver within easy reach and wai t ed. Then ca m e the distant rumble of wheels. Not a human beiug had yet shown himself in the canyon. Cou l d it b e that the murderers of tb'e canyon had already given up their red work for gold? It would seem so. Was Hawkshaw to pass sa f e l y the d ead ly gauntlet a second tim ? Such were the thoughts that fill ed Buffalo Bill's mind as the sound of wheel s grew lander and louder. "Harry is driving very s lowl y this time, not like his r t run through ou the outward trip. c ''Well, I can see no danger awaiting him, and I am half inclined to go on with him to the camp, thus saving a walk to my horse. "Ha! There comes the stage into view, and-j Great heavens! there i s u o driver on the box," cried Buffalo Bill, suddenly springing from his place of am bush. The words of the sco u t were but t oo true; there was 1 no driver upon the box. Whete was Hawkshaw? The team of six horses came trotting slowly along, the reins made fast around the brake on the right of the coach. But the driver was not there! Did not the horses know this? 1: Were they uot doiug their duty faithfo.lly in taking the coach to the fort? There '"'vas no n eed for Buffalo Bill to remain longer in ambusb, h e knew well. The harm h ad b ee n doue l efJ re the coach reached the gap, as once b efore had beeu the case. e So Buffalo Bill l eft his biding-place and ran down P i n to th e trail. e

PAGE 22

THE BUFFA. LO B! L L STORIES. 21 H e call e d t o the horses a nd they h a lt e d. They s eemed t o be g lad to have the r esponsibility r emoved from the m of carryiug the coac h t o Fort Rest. H aving h al t e d the t eam, Buffalo Bill walked t o the c oac h and t h rew open the door, starting back at wha t he b e h eld there. T here sa t H aw k shaw upo n the b ac k sea t, his h ands a n d fee t m a nacled, and his form tie d u p ri ght, for the bull e t wound in the center of his forehead s h owe d that he w as dea d. Upo n his heart, fastened there with black pins, wa s a placard u p on whic h were a skull and c ro s s -b on e s in b lack, a red dagger, and words in c rim son: ''What! you going t e r drive the r c o a c h, B u ffalo B i ll? as k e d Murdock. ''Well, I am for this mu, at leas t and then I shall p u t a ma n on w h o w i ll go throug h I think." "Who i s h e?" ''We ll, that is a secre t but if those my s terious murd e r e rs get away with the man, they wi ll h'ave so m ething t o do "\Vd l it's git t i n time they wa s wo rst ed, Bill." "Yes a ud their time i s coming 1'he t w o a ssistants havin g hitched n p the fr es h t e am, Buffa l o Bill m ounte d the b o x a n d d ro ve away on the t ra il t o Fort Famine. "Let another man dare drive this trni l, and this sha ll be bis fate!'! H e p llt his t ea m t h rou g h rapidl y a ud it was an hour b efore s un se t w h e n t h e sentinel at Fort Famine r e p orted the c o ac h r eturniug CHAPTER IX. R U N NING THE GAUNTLET. Buff a lo Bill's face grew stern as death, a s h e r e ad the placard o n the d ead stage driver's bre a s t, and bi s eye s burned bri ghtly, whi le from between his clinched te eth came the words: 'Anothe r driver gone to his d eath; but I sha ll driv e this trail in spite of all threats He place d hi s h and upon tha t of the dead drive r, t o d i scover that the fles h w a s still warm-proo f that he cou l d not have b e en long d e ad "I will drive back ov e r tll e trail and find tll e spot, h e mutte r e d. The n he mounte d the box, w h e el e d the tea m ab o u t n d started upon the b ack t ra il. H is eye s carefully searche d the trail o n eithe r s id e for t he s po t w h e r e the coach had b ee n held up. Bn t 011 a nd 011 h e w ent and no s u c h p l ace w as v i s i b le H e con tinu e d a lon g the trail, h owe v e r, tl1011g h c o n :vi11ced th a t h e h a d sure l y passed the s p o t wlle re the co ac h h a d bee n h alted. 'Th e n a d esire se iz e d him to go 011 t o For t Famin e He reac hed t h e r e lay and .fou11d that IIa\\1kshaw had a ss cd there i n s a f ety. "I a111 going o n t o F ort Fami ne, Murdock, and shall c turn o\c r th e trail b y night, s o have t he coach r eady or me," he sa id to the stoc k t ender out at Relay Num n per Fou r. This created g r ea t excite m ent, for i t \ \"US s u rm is ed that I-fawkshaw h ad b ee n u11ab l e t o get through, and had turned abo ut, bei n g pursue d for his horse s appeare d to have bee n pus h ed h a rd The n a great shout aros e a s Buffalo Bill wa s rec o g n ize d as the m a n on the b ox. He s wep t into the for t ord e r e d the s t a bl e m e n to d e vo t e t h e m selves t o the h o r ses, an d have the m read y to return i n j l t s t two h o urs. 1'h e n a g u a rd was pl aced ov e r the c o ac h in which w a s the body o f p oo r Hawksh a w a n d B uffalo Bill went to headquarters to report t o .Major Dean. Care a n d s o rro w h a d left th eir impress u p on the face o f th e h a n d s o me maj o r but h e r ece i v ed the s cout pl ea s autly, a nd list e n e d with d eepes t iute r es t to what h e had t o say. ''I c a me bac k m a j or, h op in g to find the spo t where t h os e murdere r s held u p the coac h so I could tak e t h eir t rai l fr o m there, l eaving the c o a ch at th e n ea r es t relay s t at i o n '' Bllt I co uld find n o trace of the sc e ne of the h o ld u p, so ca111e o u t o report to yo u. ' I s h a ll t a k e the coac h b a c k mys elf tonight, and "And m eet the same fa t e of t h e others." ''I thiuk n o t sir, bu t I wi s h to fin d out by m y return to -night if th ese murderers are co uslautly camping on th e trail or not." "How can yo u ?

PAGE 23

22 THE BU ff t1 0 BILL ''If they liold me up, tiien they are camping upon foe trail, sir." "And if not?" 'It will s l:ow that they have a retreat whic h they go to after the co2c h lw.s passed and re passed." ''And i f they hold up the coach they will kill you ''I a m not so s11re of th::it sir; b11t I must take the chances, aucl will, but I have certain ideas of my own, whic h I wish t o put t o the test." ''\\'ell, Cody, I must l e t yoll have your way, and som ehow I f eel that you bear a c11arrned life. ''You h ave promised to rescu e my dau ghter, or discover her fate, and I confidence in you." ' I thank you, Major Dean and I hope to keep my pledge to you before very l ong.'' It had become kno1rn that Buffalo Bill intended to take the coach back t o Fort Rest. And more, h e was to drive the fa t a l trail by 11ight. As tho11gh defying death, he was tocarry back in the coach the dead body of poor Hawksh a w. This looked like tempting Providence t o do its worst. So a large cro\Yd had g athered t o see the scout depart as i;lriver of the fatal coach, br it was the same coach upon which so many b a d been killed. He had h a d a good supper, Major Dean had given liim a lrnnciful of fr'.lgrant Ha\":
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THE BUFF ALO BILL STORIES. 23 e t the stockade gates, for they y1ere under orders to go 1l ut and see what bad become of the coach. Buffalo Bill was recoguizecl on the box when still e,uite a distance off, aud Captain May, in commaud of b e troop, at once spurred toward headquarters 1:0 ac; uaiut Colon e l Miles wilh the fac t ''That settles the fate of poor Hawksbaw, if Cody .is 1ringing the coach in.'' e "Order him to report at once to me, Captain May," 1 a id the colonel. f; The soldiers about the stockade gate caught a ;limpse of the form of Hawksbaw as the coach rolled in, n d at once their che ers c eas ed, for they knew that he as either wounded or dead. ) a "Ask Colonel Miles. to kindly come to the stage n t ation, plea se," called out Buffalo Bill, as he pass e d the ga te. The colonel was there soon after the coach halted and a uffalo Bill said: ''I wish you to see the situation as it is, colonel. ''Harry passed through the canyon on the outward n without molestation. ''At noon the next day the coach came in, the horses b otting leisur e l y along, the reins fast to the l amps aud h!!e body of Harry inside, as you see it now. "That placard I l eft upon hin1, and his bands and feet = e manac led, while he is tied in an upright position. : h "I at onc e drove back to find the place of the hold-up. ''But I was unable to do so, aud went on to fort i. mine 11 "I then started back by ni ght o ve r the trail, got my aps l ef t in the canyon and m e t witli no mol esta tion. "I halted to secure my horse, and I found him w ith 1u at string and card abou t his neck, showing that he had :e en visited, and my presence knowu iu the gap. ''I now desire, sir, to drive the coac h on t o Trail End t y, and I will find a man who w i ll take the coac h rough and return, ou the run between the forts, and I ;e ,lieve in safety. "At l east, sir, I ask permission to make the tri al." "You iave done well, Buffalo Bill, and yo u shall have th e permissiou you ask. ou "If another driver is killed, however, I s h a ll stop the th nnio g of the coaches. Now about this poo r fellow?" ''I would reques t si r that hi s b o dy be se11t iu an a m a t la nce to be buried alongside the other drivers who av ve fall e n there, for suc h was hi s wish." 111 'It shall be granted. ig 'Aud you?" ''After breakfast, sir, I will start upon the to lte ii End City." 'But you need r est." ''I had more rest than I need ed, sir, the fortyeight hours I was in the gap, thank you, colonel.'' When it became known that Btlffalo Bi ll had made the run, by night too, and with the d ead driver iu the coach, and was going to drive the coach on to 'l'rail End City, there were a number a "nxious to go eastward with h im, who had before feared to take the trip. So, when the coach started out with Buffalo Bill on the box, be had two companions by his side and no less thau uine passengers inside the stage, one o f whom was au officer's wife, another the wife of the s utler. The scout driver sent his horses briskly along, the relay stations were reached ahead of time, and the sun was two hours high when the coach began the descent of t he mountain trail leading to Trail liud City in the valley. Every eye in the city was on the watch for the coach. All felt the deepest interest in knowing the fate of 'Hawkshaw. The man who had killed the one who had called him a coward before his leav i ng, was not s urely i n clined tG back down when he came to the gap. 'rhere were many who said that he would never g o through, others who ad ded that lie would never get through alive, while still more declared that h e was ju s t the man to take the chances a nd w in lif e against death i n the deadly game of the gauull et. So a g r ea t roar went u p, surging from Peter's Hotel t 9 the cabius on the hillside, the mines, and from every where that men were g athered in their various occupa t ions or iu idling. Then a general rush was made to meet the coach. It was coa1ing sure enough. Aud more; t h ere were two passengers on the box with the driver. "Was that driver Hawkshaw?" was the qu es t iou whi c h everybody asked everybody e l se At last the coach cros s ed the valley stream, and came p11lling 11p the hill. Then all ey e s were strained, aud a voice rang out: "It is Buffalo B ill ou the box and not Ha w kshaw. '.' CHAPTER X. ALONE: OVER THE FATAL TRAIL. A few morneuts more and Buffalo Bill's foo t wen t down upon the brake, an d the stage had h alted "I cam e in behind t ime, boss, but it was unavoida,. ble," h e said, as he threw the reius u po n the backs of 1 the wheel-horses. ''Where is Hawkshaw ?'' asked Peters, almost in a whisper. ''In his grave b y this time, Peters."

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24 THE BUFF ALO Bill STORIES. "Killed?" ''Yes." "In Graveyard Gap?" "In that vicinity." ''How?" "No one knows, but I found him dead, and in mana-cles in his coach, and his team trotting on to the fort." "\Vhen ?" "Yesterday at noon." ''He went through all right on the run out?'' "Yes." "But was killed coming back?,. "Yes." ''Any robbery?'' ''Only Harry was robbed, for no passengers would travel, and the miners won't sen d any treasure along now.'' ''It has come to that, then?" ''Yes." ''Then that means that the stages to the forts must be taken off.'' "Not yet.'' "Why?" ''Because you must try still further to push them through.'' "No one will drive." "Try them." "I suppose I must do so, but it will do no good." "Give them a chance to refuse." This conversation had taken place before the crowd, while the passengers were getting supper, preparatory to taking the coach going east, or in the directiou they wished to go. Buffalo Bill called Peters into bis private room and the latter said: "See here, Bill, I have new orders from the company." ''Yes.'' '''l'hey say offer as high as three hundred for the run, and if any accept and are killed, then I am to get up a band of seven men to go as an escort for the coach, changing their horses going and coming at Fort Rest>' ' Well, make the offer and see who accepts." ''And I hope there will be some one who will do so, for if the company starts in on this escort business it will have to do it on all the trails, and it will take an army to guard the coaches.'' I "You are right, so try the offer first." "And if they do refuse?" '"rhen, as I told you once before, Peters, I have a man who will go." "He must be a dandy if he does." "He is willing to take all chances.'' "Is be a driver?" ''You mean one of the Overland?'' ''Yes." ''He is not, but he can drive as well as any of yot l< men, and knows the trail the darkest night. f "Then why not let him go "Beca use you must give your men the chance first."n, "Not a man will go, I know." ''Try the m.'' 'I ''Then it will b e for your man to get the three hu1H dred a run." JC ''You are mistaken, for my man will accept no pay. '' \Vhat does that mean, Bill ?1 "That he is not driving for money." ''What then?" ''Uuder orders.'' "\Ve ll, whatever will drive. )a his motive, let it go, so long as la l "Now I must see what I can do among the drivers.'1e 'l'b e coaches east, north aud south having de pa Peters \.Vent to the sa loon where he knew he would foe nine-tenths of the community. r He was accompanied by Buffalo Bill, and when the entered a general hush fell upon the crowd '' Pards," called out Peters, the Overland boss, have word from the company to get drivers for the Gi Trail. ''I wish to t ell you that the coaches must go throug? ''The offer is three hundred dollars for the run, at it's a big amount of money to make in fifty hours r time. ";N'ow who bids for the prize-who takes the purse ''Don't all spea k at once." But no one spoke; there was a dead silence, for the were uo takers. ( For some reason Peters seemed glad that there we. no takers of hi s offer. He urged for a while, but in a faint way, and at when not a soul had spoken, he turned to Buffalo n, and :::aid: ''You see how it is, Bill?'' ''Yes." ''Not a man will go." "I can hardly blame them, Peters." "We ll, yon saitl that if I found no one to take 1 offer, you would fiud me a man who would do so." "Yes." "And you will?" ''I will." ''Who is he?" ''That I cannot tell you." "\Vhere is he?'' 'He will at Fort Rest, for you must send ye coa ch through there."

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THE BU ff ALO BILL STORIES. 25 Aud then?'' "He will take the coach to Fort Famine and back." "If he don't get killed." "If he does, I will have another man to put in his lJ lace." "That's fair, certainly! But should number two go nder?'' "Number three will be ready to take his place, a nd so ith number three, four, aud as many as are needed, for 1 he Overland coaches shall go through, I am resolved on 1 hat," was Buffalo Bill's determined way of putting it. This conversation was overheard by mally, and it leemed to increase the interest felt in the runni11g of the iauntlet of death. A driver was readily found who consented to drive the 'Oach t o Fort Rest, await its return there from Fort 1 amine, and brin g it back to Trail End City. for very had a bold-up ever been known to occur upon ,,1e first half of the run. te That night Buffalo Bill remained at tbe hotel and was in ell eutertained by Peters, who was tli e "great man" of rail End City. h He had brought his saddl e and bridle over o n tue ach, and readily got a horse from Peters to ride back Fort Rest. After a hearty breakfast, and followed by a cheer from J ose who savv bi111 depart, Buffalo Bill 111ou11ted his rse and rode off on the trail. a =1 He seemed in no hurry, and it was night before he 5 rived at Fort Rest, he having made q11ite Jong liaits at e rela y stations. se Haw kshaw had been la. id in his grave, by the side of s slain compan i ons, and having seen C o lonel Miles for he 1f au hour, Buffalo Bill sought Dr. Brand at his quar; s. we I came to ask, sir, if there is any hope wliatever for ill's recoyery ?' 1 "I fear not the slightest, Cody." 'He i s still unconscious, then?'' ' 'Wholly so, and steadily sinking." ''With a of regaining co n sciousness, sir?" "I see none, I am sorry t o say. "I h ave watched 'him closely, aud been ready to ask e questious you wished me to ask, should his reason uru." e 1 How l oug do yot 1 think he will last, sir?" "I give him a coupl e of days only." ttffalo Bill turned sorrowfully away and went to bis arters. He retired early, but before dawn was up and rn bis !
PAGE 27

28 1' H E BUFF f\LO BILL STORIES. The scout bad stood bat in baud by the graves, his head bowed in deepest respect as he mused aloud. Now be turned and walked on, bis horse slowly fol }Qwing him. Halting and looking back at the group of graves in the cauyon, Buffalo Bill raised his hand and cried aloud: "Yes, may you be avenged, my pards, shall be m y daily and nightl y prayer." The scout's voice rang, bis eyes flashed fire as be 14ttered the words. Then he threw himself into bis saddle, his face assumed its usual expression once more, and he rode slowly on as before, searching one side of the trail. He went to his o l d camp and looked about for a trail. He wished to find some trace of the one who had been t o that camp and hung the placard of warning around the neck o f his horse. But trail there was none. So o n he wen t and just before sunset rode up to Relay Station Number Three. There were three men h ere, one of them a man by the name of Fox being the overseer of the relay stations between Trail End City and Fort Famine, it being his duty to make the rid e once a week to see how the stock ; was cared for and that the men did their duty. He had been a driver in the Rocky Mountains, but h ad lost an arm while on his box, and was gi,en the place as OYerseer of stations. A tall, handsome ma1i he was, of powerful physique, and a manner as gen tie as a woman's. He carried two revolvers iii his belt, both upon his left hip, so as to reach them witli his one hand, and also a knife, and he was a dead shot, and it ,ms said a dan man to arot1se in spite of his gentle ways. It was said that he was a man of education, though if so, he assumed_ the border dialect in His comrades dubbed him "Captain," though at times he was called '' Foxey." 'l'he Station Three was situated in the mouth of a ca!ly o:J which widened into a valley, \Vbere there was fine grazing and water for the horses. Tiiere cliffs o f the: canyon towered high over the cabin of tbe s tock-tenders, and the corral, there being a score of h orse. in the latter. ''Ho, Foxey, haven't bee n to supper, have you, for I'm hung ry as a bear," called out Buffalo Bill, as he drew near the canyon. "Just getting ready, Bill, and you are more than wel come. ''Any news back on the trail?'' ''Nothing, for the major has beard not a word about his daughter, and bas about given up all hope of eve r seeing her alive agaiu." ''I hope it won't be as bad as that, Bill." ''It looks so, Foxey, I am sorry to say,'' was Cod: answer. After enjoying his supper and a pipe, he mounted horse and rode off 011 the Fort Rest trail. CHAPTER XI. 'l'HE UNKNOWN. Buffalo Bill rode on toward Fort Rest for a couple miles, when be halte d in the shadow of a huge roi which bung over the trail like the prow of a migl, ve sse l. He gave a low whistle in the short calls, and at 01. ove r the brow of the rock swung a human form, wh descended a rope apparently. Ins t ead. it was a rope ladder, for the end of it drop1 in his trail by the side of the scout's horse. ''I dare not halt now, for I may be follcwed. "Here is a note I wrote you this afternoon, and in dark 1 scribbled something further as I rode along, : which you may be able to make out. '"l'he coach will come through to Fort Rest on tit aud then it will be for me to act. "Now I must be off, pard." There was a silent grasp of the hand, a few mutte worc1s from the man clingiug upon his rope ladder, Buff a lo Bill rode ou his way. 'l'i1 e11 the man ascended the ladder once more and dr it up after him. He had hardly done so when a form skulked along trail following Buffalo Bill. The man on the cliff peered over, and watching, 1 the form r eturning soon after, hut he made 110 effo r halt him, but Jet him go 011 his way. It was mic111igl1t when the scou t reached the fort, 1 seeing a light burning in the cabin where the woun man Hill was, L e made his way there, after putting his horse. Two scouts were tbere, and upon a cot Jay a form c ered 1rith a sheet! Instantly Buffalo Bill rernoved his hat, for he need' be told that the scont had passed the portal of ete:' rest. ''He died this evening, ju:;t at sunset, Bill,'' said: of the scouts in a low tone. ''Poor fellow. ''Did he regain coJJsciousness, Bony?" '' Y cs, and asked t o be placed in the door so tha could sec the s1111 se t." "Anything else?" '' l do not know, for Dr. Brand was with him." Buffalo Bill let his baud rest gently upon the hea

PAGE 28

THE BUFFALO BILL STORiES. 2 7 e dead scout for a moment, as Bony drew back the heet, and then went away. He salV a light in the quarters of Surgeon Braud, so ,.,e11t to his room and knocked. ''Come in!'' The surgeon was there, playing cards with three other > fficers, and with a bowl of punch aud a box of cigars 1po11 the fable before them "Ho, Cody, come i11 !"said the cioctor, pleasantly, for : 1 e was too accustomed lo scenes of misery and death n o t o hare already forgotten the scout';; death a few hours iefore. "Pardon u1c, doctor, but I did not know you were en' aged, a11d seeiug a light in your qnartc r s, dropper1 i11." ii "You did ri ght. Sit down a11d ha,e a glass of punch nd tell me how I cau serve you. You look tired." ''Yes, r eally ill," said one of the officers. sick, arc you, Bill?" a second one remarked. "A punch will make you feel better tha11 any rnedirne Braud can give you, Cody, a tliird officer remarked. "Yes, Bill, take a treble allowance and catch up with "adde d the surgeon. ir ''Thank you, doctor, one will do, and I believe I really eed that as a bracer, for I j nst came from the cabin here poor Hill lies." e "Yes, poor fellow, I could not save him, try as I ight. "He rallied at the last, asked to be taken to the door drl ee the sunset and I gave him a stimulant. ,,. "Then I sat clown for a talk rith him, for I saw that 1e change was but the rally before death. ' But wheu I spoke to him lie did not answer, aud ;r hen I touched his pulse I saw that he was dead. "His life had gone out just as the sun disappeared be n d the bori zou." m "Then he said nothing more, sir?" 3g "Kot a word." Buffalo Bill sighed and turned away, soon after going J the quarters of Colonel Miles, to whom lie said: "Colonel I have a favor to ask of you?" ''Granted." te "Well, sir, I may seem wrong in acting in a mysteris way, aud not now explainir1g, but I shall make all id in g ood time, sir." A l l right, I tru t you, so go ahead." "The coach bgs just corue in, sir.'' "So it was reported." ba "You hold it to-uight, sir, I suppose?" "Yes." "And send it through by day l igllt to-morrow?" "Yes, but I dread the resnlt." eal'Xot so much as b efore, sir." 'Why nbt ?" ''I have a man to take the coach through, sir, a n d he will be Oll hand in the morning when wanted." ''Poor fellow!" "Not yet, sir; b1't the favor I wish to ask of you i s that he must remain unknown." "Who is he?" ''That is the secret, sir, I must keep from every o n e aucl so I ask you that he may wear a mask, and more, colo11el, please give me a pass to allow my uuknown to go and come at 'will from and to the.fort." The request of the chief of s c o uts fairly astounded the colonel, to judge from his looks. "You wish to send a masked driver out upon the conch, and to !Jave me giYe him a pass that allows him t o enter and leave the fort at will." "Yes, sir." ''This is a remarkable request." ''I admit it, sir, and I wish that I could now explain my reaso ns, but I cannot. The coach is driven llere to the fort by a driver who will not take it further, sir." "I can net blame him." "But I have a man who will take his place here and drive 011 to Fort Famine. But ther e a r e reasons why he should 11ot be !mown yet a whil e, Colonel M i l es, aud the air of mystery may help o u r cause. At least I t hink so, sir." "He is to go in disguise there, and so remain until he i s killed by those murderers, or return to the fort?" "Yes, sir." "\Vb en is he to uunnsk, unless he is killed?" "\Vbe11 there i s uo longer any mystery regardi11g these murderers." The colonel turned toward his desk, took up a pen aud wrote the pass. ''Do you have hopes, Cody, of seei11g your masked dri,cr ali1e after he leaves the fort?" asked ti.Jc colollel. "Yes, s ir, I have; but I ba,e another favor to colo11el. ' "What, another?" "Yes, sir; J would like a leave of absence, sir, for a month.'' ''What! Buffalo Bill ask for a leave of absence in tl.Je face o f the euemy.'' "It is uot to go far, sir, only to be at liberty t o go au cl come at w il l, for I do not wish to be hampered by duties in the fort just now." "It shall ue as you wish, Cody, for I a m sure you are ai rn iug at a dead ceu ter in what you are doing uow." "I am trying to do my dut y, sir." ''When do you wish your leave to begin?" "'re-night, sir." ''For one month?" ''Yes, sir.''

PAGE 29

2 8 l'HE BUFFALO Bill STORIES. The colon e l tt1rned again t00 his desk and wrote a spe cial leave of absence for the scout, who took it with an expression of thanks. ''Now yo u do not wish an escort to go with our new mau, Cody?" "Oh, no, sir." ''Suppose be is killed?" "H'e must take his chances as the others have done, sir." Buffalo Bill found that the driver who had brought the coach up, was Brighton., a man well-known along the Qyerland stage runs as a brave fellow: "We fl Bi 11, I'm here, and come through wi thon t a mishap, I'm g l ad to say," said fhe driver. "Who's to take the coach o n ter Famine?" ''I have a map who will be here on time in the morning." "\\'hat did yer say his name were?" "I didu't say." ''Bnt yer kuows?'' ''He i s au unknown." "Ah! Auel maybe he won't do it." ''Well. pa rd, you will be h e r e at the fort to see whether he does or not, aud you will take the coa ch back t o Trail Eud City whe11 be brings it here from Fort F a m i 11e. "If he does." ''I admit that the chances are against him, but then he is going to try." "He kin
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