Buffalo Bill and the prairie wolves, or, Hunting the bandits of Boneyard Gulch

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Buffalo Bill and the prairie wolves, or, Hunting the bandits of Boneyard Gulch

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Title:
Buffalo Bill and the prairie wolves, or, Hunting the bandits of Boneyard Gulch
Series Title:
Buffalo Bill stories
Creator:
Buffalo Bill
Place of Publication:
New York
Publisher:
Street & Smith
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Language:
English
Physical Description:
1 online resource (31 p.) 28 cm.: ;

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

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University of South Florida
Holding Location:
University of South Florida
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All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
020856145 ( ALEPH )
438949471 ( OCLC )
B14-00040 ( USFLDC DOI )
b14.40 ( USFLDC Handle )

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serial

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A v./EEKLY. PUBLICATION DEVOTED TO BOADER issued Weekly. By Subscnption $2.50 per year. Entered as Second Class Matter at New York Pvst Office by SrREET & SMITH, 238 Wllliam .St N. Y. No. 40. Price, Five Cents. HHANG HIM

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I Iuwll Weellly. By S1'bscnptwn lz.so per year. Entere d a s Se cond Class Mt1tter at the N. Y. /'ost Of/ice, S T REET &: SMITH, 3J8 Wi?liam St., N. Y. Entered according" f.o A c t of Conp-ess i n tlte y e ar'""' ,n the Ojjipe of the Librt1r1iJn of C anp-ess, Waslttn![lo11. I). C No. 40. NEW YORK, February 15, 1902. Price Five Cents. Buffalo Bill and the Prairie Wolves; OR, HUNTING THE BANDITS OF BONEY ARD GULCH. ,..,,.,. ..... -By the author of "BUFFALO BILL." . p CHAPTER I. ........... MAKING AN ENEMY. "Down on your knees and apologize to this you11g \ lady, or the sun shines through you l" This order was backed by a large revolver in the fist of Buff a lo Bill. The man so menaced looked but once, and his kne e joiuts relaxed. As he was obeying, the young girl who was tl1e caus e of the altercation, clasping her li ttle white hands, stare d with surprise tu be the center of this su dd en a nd terrible scene. To Miss Minnie Mo11ntrose the street of Goldee n a was as odd as one of Japan. With i ts blue or red flannel shirted miners-for it was in the Black Hills diggings and washings-its few Chinamen, an Indian or two. blanketed and plumed, and the gamblers in broadcloth, the finest of linen and the brightest of diamonds, it was thrilling to her, fresh from the East. \ She had come out of the Goldeena House, when: : her father was recruiting after the stage coac i : journey from Sidney, on the North Platte, to see tlie town. Separated mysteriously from her French maid, her attendant, and bewildered by being about the only one of her sex in the motley and noisy crowd, s he was suddenl y accosted by one whom she had known briefly in the Eastern cities. This wa s he who cowered under the frontiersman >s gun.. Baron Chillturn, as he had styled himself while pretending to be an English noblemau, had vanished when his swindle was unmasked. He must have fol lowed her, though, when her father came West to speculate with his capital in Hills mines.

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THE BU ff 1\LO BBLL STORKiES,. He had been a ssured by a correspo11c1 e11t i11 ,vl1om l i e believed reliance could be placed to any amount, but who was in collusion with Chillturn, that tin had been found in the place, at1d some 'Welsh miners, familiar with the way to work it, were on t11e spot tu develop it. How else would tlie British baro11 have appeared in her path and taken advantage of their being face to face to repeat his odious offering of a which she would have spurned, even if she had still hi111 a peer. She had no time to more than rebuke him, for, prompt as the eagle to swoop, one of the bystanders had struck him and literaily brought the cowardly insulter to her feet. "I-I am not a stranger to the lady," stammered the latter, with a face more red with baffled spite and rage than pallid with fear; "I-I am sorry I have made a mistake. I humbly apologize to her--" "Oh, I do not want your excuses," said William Cody, haughtily. "It is a good thing for you that you did not get worse.'' And pY the frown on his handsome face the hearers knew that he was speaking the. trnth. "Lave-ho!" said the famous hunter, then seeing that the tenderfoot did not understand the old moun taineer's cry to rise, he added in the same tone of careless con tempt, "Git up and dust; you are, in spite of your headlight pin :rnd fine ruffle s but a low9own cur. And no muttering, or I may be goaded into mopping the gutter with you." Baron Chillturn slowly rose, flushed with shame, for the bystanders did not spare their laughter. He darted a baleful glance on the borderman and on the girl, and his lips muttered a threat including both. "Swallow yotir venom, or I shall hnrry you on!" said Bill. He seemed to regret that be was letting off this genteel ruffian so lightly. 13ut a light hand was laid on bis arm. It was Miss Yiountrose. "Please do not make any mor e of this. He is s ufficiently pm1ished." "Not to my me.asurement, but-he Ji.as gone. Never mind, little girl--" A young lady of eighteen was a girl in Bill's eyes. "If ever he hovers aronnd you again you mention Buffalo Bill as wantiug to see liim, and c outinue this conversation.'' Then seeing that tile pretty lips were framing a phrase of which h,e detested for rm act of natural gallantry, he hastened away. He was glad to spy an acquaintauce in a saloon doorway. "You will have to excuse me, miss," he said, hurriedly, in his voice, so gentle when addressing wotnell. 'My frjeuds wait. Oh, no thanks, please." Aud making a sweeping bow with his sombrero, he mingled with the det)arting crowd. The lady was joined by her maid, who began her apologies fot having beeu lured into parting company with a nimble but with a false glance. Minnie saw through her by this episo de. She cut her apologies short with a sharp, "That will do! Follow me to the hotel!" and as the mixed assem_ blage made way with the d .ouble respect for one so 'beauteous and good, and for whom the King of fhe Plains had intervened, she briskly returned to the house which she ou ght not to have quitted under treacherous guard. In the meantime. tl1e wretch who had been chastised for his insolence had shrunk into the first doorway. A man was standing in this doorway. It was the place know11 amm1g this medley of pine shanties and portable frame houses as the Dobie House, becau. se made of sun-baked bricks. It was a gambling and drinking den of the worst species Its rival was the Robb.ers' the flaunting tent half w
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THE BU ff J\LO BILL STORIES. 3 On his side the pretended baron regarded the gam ing expert clo s el y He saw a s lender, alert, graceful man, rather showy than soli _d; evidently powerful, though nicely proportioned. A prize fighter would not have cared to grapple with him, for it would be like an elephant fighting a tiger. Neither may win, but both die of death wounds. He was attired in black of the best quality. He with diamonds, the real thini:, with a sort of taunt among his villainous -assoc iates of "Take if you dare!" Ah, nobody felt like tackling Fly Frank for a jewel or two. He was the quickest with the kni fe, Mexicans not barred, in Goldeena. "Come to size you, sir," said Frank, all of a sud den, as the other seemed to dilate to his right dimensions tinder the searching "it licks me how you let Buffier Bill tread you down in the dirt, as a fellow m ight s a y. I supp' ose it was because you were not well heeled. Well, there is sound hoss-sense in that. It is not a mus sel of use carrying p istols unless you are lightning to use them as these fojin-fighters, like Buffier, a11d his pal, Texas Jack youder, tu say nothing of our Marshal Wild Bill, who is u s suspicious from over the1e. They do not drink much, they fight shy of professionals at throwi11g the b ones or fum bling the pasteboards, but they can s hoot some." 'fhe E11glisliman ::;aid nothing, but in his eyes, a s he turned them to where his late punisher was talking with his friends and the high constable of the towu, was an exces s of hate which mad e Prank h o t all over. "I see. I have not m istaken you. \Vell, you are a rarity to take that s as s from any man and bide your time to sarve it b ack scorching. Say mis ter, 'vere you ever in Sain' Lou?'' Saint Louis? Perhaps. Why do you ask?" 'Cause I thought yo u might want to buy the bowie knife I offered y ou there in Bartlemy's Gilded P a rlor, in '82." "Eh?" "Just what I am saying. I am the broken sport wbom you leut a cool thousand to wben you was asked, on tlie pledge of a fancy toothpick, inlaid with gold and dotted with rubies-it was a keepsake of mine, and I would not lose it for anything Here, do you remembe r it, though not me?" 'l'he Britis h baron glanced at the magnificent d agger knife which the gambler showed, and nodded. "I recaJJ you now," lie said. "I w ish you had slipped that into my hand a minute ago." ''For what good? Bu filer would have pistoled you straight Besides, y ou and I could not have run the t own, for he is among mates here-I mean in the village-with Wild Bill the Marshal, and 'l'cxas Jack just come to town." "I still wish you would lend.me your arms." rrhe two villains exchanged a bright look. They understood each other. "Come in. Out in the open is not healthy," said Frauk. Aud he pulled tl1e stranger, not reluctant or frightened now, within the gaming house, not in full blast this early hour. Frank drew his old acquaintance into a corner farthest from the street. "Friend,'' began Frank, in a low voice, "yon staked me when. I was pumped out among them Mississip' sports, and I am just yourn body, boots and soul, see! I am pooty well tired of these mo1111tai11 men, and these plainsmen the fun in the towns. Why don't they stick to shooting Injin and huffier and antelopes-and leave to the gentle man's games? Fust thing they know, tl1ey will be cleaned out, and think themselves lucky to have the prairie dogs' holes to creep into. n "You a r e talking," s aid the Englishman, "as though you had a couple of hundred men at your back.'' The gamble r darted a quick glance all nround, even at the brick wall where they stood, and suspicious as a catamount, he suddenly drew the long-bladed knife wh.ich he had shown to his compariio11. Reaching out, he darted the steel-armed hand, litl1e and taper as a lad y 's, in at a crevice in this wall. "Ouch-guard me, oh, God!" whined a voice in Spanish on the other side. They both heard the steps o f some man. "That was a spy," remarked the gamble r, calml;., as he withdrew the knife ari::! looked at the reddene d point "Luke," added to the bartender, who roused up from behind the counter at this cry of pain, you are letting your customers git crowded. Send a man round to see who sneaks up to listen in your corral. 11 Two of the servants sallied out t o search tl1e premises for the wounded eavesdropper. "'l'o resume," went on the gambler, unruffled.

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4 THE BUFFALO BILL STORIESo "You are right. I have got at least a hundred, who are worth the average five hundred when properly handlecl." "Then you are--" "Just a sporting gent here, but a little out yonder on the high land they call me the King Bird of the Buzzards. '' "The Bnz?.:anls of the Boneyard ?" said the other, turnin"g more pale ti1an he did when under Buffalo Bill's revolver. He had the name correct. He need not have been in Goldeena long to know the reputation of the bandits, of whom Fly Frank proudly proclaimed himself the captain. The Boueyard was the name given to the gulch to the southeast of the town. An abandoned surface working where a Wajaja Indian first discovered goid in the '6o's, and showed the Shi!1ing Stone to Nelson the Squawman-so many dead bodies were seen bleaching in its dark bottom that it was shunned by all. At first, perhaps, these grim piles were believed to be the remains of men aud mules, who had misstepped on the old road called Dead Mule Trail, alo11cr the mountain side. Bnt soon, as the ruffians "' flourished in the saloons and showed trophies remem-bered as belonging to missing miners, the whisper ran that they were the corpses of the murdered. CHAPTER II. 'fHE POISONED BLADE. Well might Baron Chillturn shiver at the mention of the Boneyard and this new friend's avowal that he was the master of the villains who carpeted its hollow with the ghastly relics, t1nrecoverable from sue.Ii depths. Frank smiled with glee. He judged that l1is h earer wonld 11ot he so impressed by a commou horror. "Good!" said the Eni;:lishman, overcomiug a disgust which, after all, would be out of place; "I think-as I have plenty of dollars and so ouly need your help-we shall strike a bargai1i." "You have only to lead-I will follow Ol\ I do not want your gold. x will aid you to my level best for the hatred I bear Bnfrler Bill and bis companions of the Plains and Sierras. Do you know, they have talked about our jig being up, aud that they were twisting the ropes for us.'' In spite of his nerve, Chillturn felt a cold shudder run rou1Jd his neck. "Wild Bill said that he was only waiting for the call of his friends. But decking the telegraph posts with live men is a game two can play at. I bet that my Buzzards can git the pull over them honest galoots .in a tug of wa1. Th-:y went to the bar together like brothers. A little more a11d they would have drunk out of the same glass. Before they bad emptied a bottle they were concocting a scheme to be revenged upon their mutual foes, all the honest men who blocked their way to running the town on their own lines. "J\fark this," said the Englishman, gravely. "Mr. Mountro.se is enormously wealthy. He can be held to ransom the five figures in dollars, and I have a little scheme to lower the tide of his golden flood, which I will describe to you hereafter. And another thino I want to lower-that is, his daughter's pride. "' I offered her my hand once, and she refused me. So she shall yet go d own on her l.,:nees and beg to me, more abjectly than I was made to do to her. That \'\las my weak mome11t such as all have once in a life. I shall weaken no more. Then, there is another thing." He lowered his voice, and contiuued in the other's ear: "You waste your time picking off these goldscrapers one by one. Why not wait till the Deadwood coach has all the month's clean-up aboard and swipe in the entire lot?" "A good idee," exclaimed the King Bird of the Buzzards, with his eyes sparkling. "It is simply to waylay it on the road; I noticed plenty of good ambushe s along the road hither; and, thongh I do not pretend to the woodcraft of 'Texas Jack, with whom I hunted and camped down Sonth, I am not a fool when turned loose on the plains for all that. No more 11ibbling at the onter edge-let us bite deep. In one swoop.we may gather in the' gold for the Omaha Bank, the girl :md her fat11er ,, "It is a go," cried Frank, delighted. "But first "Firs t of all, o m rev-enge ou these self-appointed regulato rs of our morais, and on the whole town that grinned at my beiug bulldozed into excusing myself to that girl." "On the whole town? Is not that a large order?'1 questiouedthe fly one, aghast at the other's audacity.

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THE BU ff' /\LO BILL STORIESo 5 "I would fire it from. end to eud if I have to run through it wi tli the torch in my own hancl." "Bravo! that is the talk! You are fit to be my lieutenant." And the bandit leader, melted by the liquor, clapped the Englishman on the back. "Your lieutenant, old man," cried the other, as if proudly, but under his breath he muttered, as they clinked glasses: "Waiting to be your chief." "Hear me! here is confusion to Marshal Wild Bill and all the other :Bills who oppose the lovers of fun! as for the Jacks, we shall turn them down." \Vhile these two worthies were plotting and mnrder, to say nothing of kidnaping and highway robbery, the objects of their scheme were talking abont them. "Where did he drop into?'' '"Tl1at varmiuJ:?" queried Texas Jack, looking rollnd from where the three bordermen stood, 'vhom a sculptor would admiringly have chosen for the Three Graces of \Vestern manhood. "Skulked into some congenial hole, I reckon." "He got into tow with the Gambolier, Fly Frank,'' answered the Marshal of Goldeena. ''Birds of a feather, you know." "Ay, they may hang together in tlie strongest sense of the word," remarked Bill Cody. "I ought not to have let him gc so free. If we Jet these scallawags hook decent folks in such fashion, ,..,..e should have no one comit'lg out to the West." rrhey were interrupted by a man who ran up to them eagerly. He had a swarthy complexion, and he was a New Mexican-Marcial, by name. He had lialf his face swathed in a fresh bandage, and he was in pain, but his eye5 had 11ot lost luster. "What is the matter, l\Iart?" questioried Wild Bill. ''Hear the report first," gasped l\larcial, with an effort. 'The 111 n from the East whom Buffalo Bill made knock lmder is taken up into the arms of Fly Frank--and do you know what I have heard? Frank boasts that he is the captain of the Buzzrr in through a crack. He fetched me. I made light of the cut. I returned to the listening place, when I ought to have washed the gash. But I heard the plot. Yes, they are going to burn the town and take revenge on Buffalo Bill. Be ahead of tbem-remember Marcial, who was ever an American, though some sneered at him as a Greaser, and get the first blow in." Texas Jack had lowered the speaker's head on his bent knee, b11t already the muscles of the neck were shaken by spasms, more short and severe at each attack. Rolling his great black eyes, the New :Mexican died at the feet of his friends. "Revenge?" repeated Texas Jack, flinging down his hat ,and kneeling by the body. "He,s gone upthat solll of ,his was white, boys. He dragged me across the Frio, in the inllndation, on a raft of cane when the Navajoes were hotfoot at our heels." "Fire the town?" mused Wild Bill, full of pride at having the safety of the settlement under his care. "He bid us strike quick!" So said Texas Jack. He and Wild Bill took a forward.-step toward the Dobie House, but with a hand on one; shoulder of each, Buffalo Bill detained them. "Hold on-play cautious," said he. ''This Frank is no slouch. He is not there now, waiting to be picked off He who uses poison knives is treacherous as a wolf. Let us 'not be hasty lest we him and his gang the hint to What I want is the whole lot in the net. All their necks wrung by the same noose would not repay the community the lo ss uf one true man like this.'' And he bowed to the remains of Marcial, whom,

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6 THE BUFF J\LO BLL STORIES. at a gesture from the marshal, two of his posse removed to the sheriff's office. "Let us spend the niglit in gathering evidence and marking down tlic Buzzards. Then, in the we will so11nd the alarm-bell and lug the entire collection of the Rogues' Gallery of Goldeena before the justice. On the cold heart of Marcial, the nrnrdered, I swear that they shall have justice meted out to them." Any sympathizer with the robbers who heard this threat, spoken with calm decision, must have sneaked away with fear that the Buzzards would croak joyously never again. CHAPTER III. THE BAD OMEN. It was midnight. Tlie drink and gaming-saloons were in full blast. Texas Jack and Wild Bill were receiving the re-ports of agents who had gone the rounds to order the members of the Good Citizens' League to be ready for rough work in the Cody was making a tour to see if the Buzzards were on the alert. But never were the streets-Goldeena had three, the Main and two parallel-more deserted' and quiet. Only a conple of men with the watering cart were going up and down the back street, sprinkling the heavy dust of the dirty roads, which made life a burden when the wind threw it up in whirls. But if the watchers had been Jess intent on seeing if the rovers of the worse sort were up to mischief, they might have noticed the queer antics of these scavengers. Besides, instead of being the low-type Huns who usually slaved in the night amid the refuse, the cartmen were white men, merely disgnised in soiled rags. And had one forgotten to hold the nose in "I am not playing cards any more," said Buffalo Bill. "Still, me and Bill will look in npon yon later on, if only to bring yon a run of luck," said Wild Bill. Jack went on to the Robbers' Roost, while the others returned to the store. l'v 1eanwliile the men with the explosive oil had dis charged their errand and their cargo. "This village was too previons," muttered one, who m those who knew would have recognized as Fly Frank, who had put his own shottlder to the wheel. "It is time it went up, like Elisha's car. All fixed, boyees. Git out lively after touching off the fire works, and come back with the band, ready to sail in and take advantage of the uproar to pillage." His men nodded, and he walked on, a little in doubt what to do with himself Then, throwing off the rags, he showed tiiat he wore a suit of velveteen and furs, sttch as the Scotch Canadians sport in the Northwest, and sometimes startle the natives with below their border. He donned a pair of red side whiskers and a sandy mustache, and being able to patter broken Englis h with a French-Canadian accent, he expected to palm himself off as a stranger. lt was hazardous, for he was g oing right into the Robbers' Roost, where he was a nightly patron. "Nothing venture, nothing win," lie muttered, not without misgiving. "That new pard of mine is to meet me there. I am much off the track if he does not turn out a ver y fiend incarnate. \Vhat nerve to stand that set-down from Buffier William! It makes my blood boil to think of it--I wonld eat the heart of the galoot that downed me like that.'' He looked round, but on the sky was not the least red glimmer, so that he might rely on it that bis men had not untimely set tlie torch to the doomed buildings He then entered the gambling saloon 'l'wo lusty fellows at the door eyed him sharply-

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THE BUfF ALO BILL STORIESo 1 they were not the usual guards. \Vild Bill had replaced them b y followers of his own. But the disguised gamble r was not to be identified in Ids charige of.countenance. "Let the sucker pass," muttered one. "This is the last grab game these fakirs will play." Frank looked round like a stranger, but any oue could tell that he was not bewildered, or interested in the motley Men of all nations jostled one another to get near the tables, where different games went on with but one identical feature; they won in the long run against all players. Most of the notorious criminals, the men with a record for crime were absent. The rumor that tl;e Goldeenians were gping to kick had flitted about. Fly Frank was set back by this. Bnt after a while he remarked a peculiar movement which escaped the others. Now and then a man who came up to the board to lose a little pile, drew back with an expression of displeasure, and as if trying to find his way out by the b:.ick entrance into the corral behind, disappeared up a low flight of steps. Frank recognized these men as adherents, or, at lea s t, .those who had winked at the carryings-on of his fellows. He knew, too, that by this exit any oue could go up to the one story above the saloon. "It is a meeting," he thought. ranged by this English deep one. would not want for helping hands. stowed himself?" "It 11as been arHe said that he But where has he Not among the customers of tl i e green cloth, or the bar. Nobody like Chillturn was seen. But after a time, having stared everywhere else, the gambler perceived that old Sch the saloon-keeper, had reenforced hmself for the night liours with a young man of bis nationality. At least, this stranger \.Yore a bland face, a shaggy yellow mustache, thick and heavy, aud his light eyes seemed sky color in the crossing rays of the dozen oil lamps illuminating the El Dcrado, as Peter Schwearin called his den. He had the G erman's silent tongue, too, but he served mfaed drinks-all from the same cask of whisky-with the dexterity of the champion bartender of a leading hotel. "That's my man or he's not here," thought Frank. He W
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;n-JE BUFF f\LO Bill STORIES. same time, 'I'exas Jack, smiling quietly in a wa y most provokiug, tuok his winnings off his opposing color. Frnuk turned partly away, but a laugh of derisiou at iiis defeat checked him. lt nlso made him biind to the certaiu f'ign fro111 the pretended bartender tha t he was to play no more. He fished u p fro:n a poucit in his hip a chamo is leather bag, and triumphantly poured from it a qua11-tity of pure gold in spangles lar:;e s cales, and grains. Chillturn, leaning over the bar, as much attracted as tlie rest at this kind of duel between Texas aud the false Canadian, looked aghas t. This bag of dust was stolen from him-his n e w partner hacl picked liis pocket while vowing good fellowship! Vvl10 shc ulcl be trnstecl murderers and pillagers deceive their pals? But this wa s not all-tlie los s of the gold he c ould overiook, cousidering the King Bird of the Buzzards offererl allia11ce The bag contained more tha11 gold. For the stuff, the sallow cashier gave tl:ree sums in coiu. 'l'wo of them were lo s t when, snddeuly, Texas Jack, who had been looking at the leather pouch iu a more and more enwrap t mauner, thrus t oufliis h
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THE BUFF A.LO BILL STORIES. 9 several shots rang out. The lamps aimed at by CHA P'rER IV. the coucealed desperadoes above were extinguished. THg FIRE-FIGHTERS. 'rheir smoke and that of the guus commingled. "Here, I have them!" ro:,ired Texas Jack, like a Chillturn had already shot out two of the lamps wounded lion, as lie recognizec1 in the alarmists his when his companion was just recovering from his,_ brothers of the rifle and bowie. stupor at this turniug of the tables. In auother second, afraid of being bllrned, BuzNot O!le by one, but by groups, the lights w ere zards, wounded and scorched, players, stra11ge1s, all thus put out. The horrified aud startled mob gazed were burled into the street b y an explosiou. 'l'he fire at the last o'ne or two aud as tliey suffered the fate of liad peuetrated the dugout which Pete Schwearin the rest, fell away fro111 the center where Texas f'tyled his wine vaults, and ignited a barrel of spirit$. Jack was t':ing to get a shot at Frank and his Usually a fire in such a town of cloth nnd plauk is friend. difficult to cope with. But wlien the frail habitations Some tumbled toward the door, some to thP. rear, were saturated with rock oil, salvatio!l was impos-but here the stairs were cumbered by the men who sible. had begun the shooting. They rushed down to the Over Goldeetla more red flare tba11 smoke was ris-call from Chill tum: illg, an
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THIE BUFF /\LO BttlL STORIES. Jts next neighbor was the large.st-the store. It was also tbe League's main post. tained extra ar111s and ammunition. "\'olunteers to save the powder," shouted Bill. general It con-Buffalo "I am with you," sai<'I YVild Bill, simply. "Just wait tjll 1 tighten this rag."He was seamed with a pistol ball across the chest, and was adjusting a bandage. He was grimed with charcoal and darken('cl with smoke. rrhe e:icctiemeut had enlarged his eyes, aud he was now the lion iu activity. 'l'he terrifying expression of Lis daunting e-.:es had made the bauditti recoil and feel !t?lad to be just on the edge of pistol range. Thrilled by his bra very, three men, though tired and one wounded by a falling roof tree, joined the two bordennen. The crowd looked on as the five vanished in the swirls of smoke enveloping the store. The Buzzards for a space refrained from the lo;1g snapshots to learn the issue. "vVhat, backing out?" said Bufft1lo Bill, rnmdng up and standing in the open space where the Buzzard's bnllets commanded none to cross. "Are you to stand by aud let others save the supplies that should carry yon through the winter?" "Bnt it is powder, Bill," said an old man, appeal iug with a gesture for him not to enter the circle of peril. "Powder be blasted-I--" A new spirit seized the citizens, and made the craven bold-the exhausted spirited. Man and boy, old and young, they set to work, and Buffalo Bill, who had seen many a border city go up a cracker, led them intelligently. The best shots and those who had ammunition were detailed to keep the Buzzards back, and, if possible, drive them out of the town. All the others hunted for water and wet blankets filled bud;;ets and tried to stop the spread of the fire'. Already a great pile of the stores was placed on a bare lot nf ground, and covered, with blankets streaming with water; these provisions would be available. Seeing the heap of saved stores rise into a mound, and the powder being brought out which might be soon used again5t him and his, Frank the Fly foamed at the mouth. "If they save them, we are Jost. If we destroy their eatables and the cartridges, they must abandon the camp town, and we can pick and choose for our home in the ridge. See?'' Yes, his scoundrels saw clearly. They nerved themselves for a charge. As for Chillturn, who had shot every charge off, he was drunken with bloodshecl. "I am coming along, Frank," he said. "Let 11s annihilate the pack. I feel my breath oppressed while that braggart who humbled me struts among these half-baked cakes." With a handkerchief tied round his head, with his eyes shining in their blackened sockets like a maniac's, and his shirt front smeared with gunpowder, he looked a Satan, a1id, more than their leader, he had the ruffians up to the front in their skirmishiug with the citizens. On seeing him so wrapped in slaughter, these men. lrnd given him a new name. "Britisher baron l:>e dashed," the lieutenant, Tom Turmoil, had said, in an interval in the riot, "he is a boss blooclspiller, and don't yon forgit that." The bloodspiller boss was at the heig t of popularity among these rovers. And when he supported the captain in his proposal for a conclusive raid they clustered about him. : With the .command to rush, given by a whisper and a sign with the hands armed with pistol and knife, the brigands advanced through the smoke down the clevasta ted street. 'I'here was. a lull. rrhe fire-fighters were congratulating themselves 011 what they had snatched from destruction. They panted and stretched their limbs as they l(,)oked on the pile of salvage and had almost forgotten their particularly as the latter's dropping shots lincl ceased to pester them. When the Buzzards made their rush, they ha
PAGE 12

THE ALO BILL STORIES. 11 He tore with a fevered hand the strips.of burned linen and cloth off his breast. "I am not a coyote cnb." "Miud my bite all the same," said the English man, cliaffing at the hunter keeping him from following the bandits ou their rush. For Bill bad takeu up the first weapon haudy, oue of those iron-shod ox-;!oads <>ud1 as the old farmers used to wield a11d the Mexicans still know, :and with this he parried the other's substit11te for a sword. "Kill, kill!" yelled Cl.iillturn, to tlle bandits, feel ing tha t with ti1eir late c aptain dashed to e:1rt1J by Buffalo Bill aud kept down by feet trampling to and fro that he was the chief. : 1 guess," interrupted B11ffalo Bill, beginning to thrust with his short pike, after having warded off a couple of sweepir.g strokes, ''I guess that I can sup ply you with all the killing you will want.,, Their combat went on with the singular weapons with even more vigor and fury than all the other hand-to-hand conflicts combined. In the steam, smoke and fumes of the petroleum, the fighters seemed imps in the place below. Imps strnrrnling with human souls to hurl them into the furnaces. For some time the _cra?:ing of metal upou metal was heard, disturbed only by a chance popping of firearms, wiiicb seemed but in the more savage and deadly clash of the rude swords and spears. 'l'he fighters staggered on the dirt soaked with blood, and cumbere d with the fallen. Oaths and groans were heard oftener tiian shouts and rallying cries. But such duels were too ferocious to be long maintained. 'rhe bandits, infuriated by the loss of their chief and emboldened by success on the whole rewarding their audacity, returned from sweeping the street as far as the Goldeeua House. At the doors of that building, which the fire had spared, _they had made prizes. Several of the guests, standing there to see the and the affray, were dragged into their midst. Among them were included Miss Mountrose and her father, a gray-bearded, stout iu the East, kept out of all street scuffles by his dignity, he had contemplated tlie fire and the riot with the amazement of a man dropped from a comet. 'ro him, these bra\e men repelling the ruffians were sa \a ges. The bandits had r.o t recognized the girl as tiie caus e of their present commander being lrnmiliated. Tliey had suapped them up. To bandits they were born their prey. But when Chillturu sr1w them return with these captives, he ga\'e a :;hout of infernal happiness. "Tom Turmoil, you ::ire a foll-jeweled 'hllnter,' eighteen karats fiue, and I am your hest fricnc tight for'ard. Hold 'em tight. They are just what I lrnve hungered for." ''Dou t hustle for more till you can keep wbat ypu have got," said Bill, redoubling bis attacks. "You, the handful for me?" s11eered the Britisher. "Lay on, boys-with this one laid low, the town is ours.'' Buffalo R ill was in the center of a group of the bandits who had made a set on him, and were trying to crush him by 11umbers. 'rhen the others, obeying tllose who guarded the captives, and ordered them to help the new chief, added their forces to the few who had sustained Chillturn in his duel. They drove Wild Bill and his helpers to the wall of the store. There, backed to it, wielding their weapons with tired muscles, for they had been fighting the fire before coping with the villains, they lo!t hope. They seemed to see unavoidable death hovering over their drooping heads. They warded and hit out, with spliute ed clubs and pistols reversed to become billies, like machines. They had lo s t the alertness an i1ad hauled bim out

PAGE 13

12 THE BU ff /\LO BILL of a mass, and were apparently about to cut his throat. But a new turn was given wheu they saw Buffalo Bill was holding a keg of powder in his hands. He lifted th is right up at arm's length, al though it seemed heavy and the effort was palpable "Look here," he said, in a lower tone, but the same incisive voice. "Into the fire this keg of powder goes, and, in a second, we shall be quit of ye all though we go, too. -Do you draw off-or shall this send all to doom?" lle strode out of the group two steps, beyond the astonished Frank's reach, aud helcl the keg within the doorw::iy. As if to emphasize his threat, a gush of fire lit up all the iuside aud shone with weird glory on his inspired visage. "He'll do it, durn his hide," grnmblecl Tom '"i'urmoil, and, without waiting for orders he shoved from bis liauds the girl and the guests of the Goldecna Honse to one side. She fell into her father's liands, but if he heaved a sigh uf relief she did uot sob or weep. "Yes, we get out," added Chillturn, sullenly, as he drew back his improvised sword from menacing Wild Bill. "1'his hand is yours, but I shall have your scalp yet.'' The two forces separated, and faced one another with baffled spite and ill-suppressed hatred. ln the clear space between Buffalo Bill stood master of the positiou. No one doubted. They knew that he would rather remove those villains from the earth at the cost of these better lives than see them s.ack and pillage as rulers of the town. As the robbers were slowly withdrawing, while fasciuated by the keg which contained death for the multitude, Bill smiled. In the confusion, it was not noticed that Texas Jack, insensible from a blow on the head, must have b een borne away by the brigands. Ou the other hand, their leader remained at the feet of the savior of the town. With a last effort before he W:!S fully overpowered, Frank had thrown his knife toward his men, retiring. It was the token of captaincy in the band, and, as such, Chillturn gladly picked it 11p. "The villains," muttered Buffalo Bill. "Oh, that ever we were unable to stay them--" "All the worse," said the marshal, binding a scarf about his strained knee, "that they have carried away Texas Jack with them." "Then we follow," said Bill, with renewed animation. "Let's arm and make a start on the trail. '"exas Jack among those devils, with that head devil the Englishman--" "Bill," broke in a voice from one of the bodies on the ground, "you will have to strike many a blow, but with no good. If you had all the sogers aud all the Government scouts you led into battle at Birdwood Creek, you will not enter the cave of the Buzzards.'' It was Fly Frank, and he wore a grin of exultation as he hurled his threat. With a reaching out of his hand, Buffalo Bill caught him by the collar and dragged him into a sitting position by the heap of stores uearest. "You have said too much and too little," cried he. "It don't take me long to remember how you Buzzards got possession of that natural fort. When the Nez Perces were chased right through here with old Chief Joseph, a band ran for that hole in the summit and fouht off the scouts 011 their trnck. No 011e could fiud their iu, but it appears yon scoundrels have another kind of luck than bo11est meu. You took the stronghold by guile or strength, and-you hear me speak? yoll must deliver the pass to llS. ,, "You are too fast, Bu filer. You may remember well how we rustlers got into the Buzzards' Nest, bnt forget tbat it is prisoner for prisoner, and that ) our pard, Texas Jack, is in the cold grip of my merry men.'' '"!'hey dare not harm a hair on his head," replied Buffalo Bill, contemptuously. "But as for yon-the pass, o r we pass you on to the judge whom nothing man offers ca 11 bribe." "You have got a killing line on to me, Bill, I allow," said Fly Frank; "but we are sworn above all not to betray the secret entrance. I won't speak." "Then you shall swing, with all the prisoners of your g-aiig who have a gasp iu them," interrupted Wild Bill. "There will be a day of execution in Goldeena such as man's eyes never gloated on since Slade aud his twenty pulled the ropes .tight in Vir ginny City." ''I expected to dance in air, Bill,'' replied the gambler, with the calm of the reckless Western sport. "Swing and be durned I carry the secret with me, and it will cost you an army to get home with the Buzzards. You hear me!'' and he chuckled. 'l'he citizens had gathered round. The fires had burned out. '"rhe morning light glided the mountain tops. On Dnle Trail they could see the shadowy forms of the successfnl bandits, filing over the height. "Hark ye, Frank," said Buffalo Bill, "nothing but your holding the p::iss to your cuttbroat>s lair saves you on a narrow chance. Lead us to the i11let and you shall have a horse, a gun and cartridges, a day's grub and wa t er, and twenty-four hours law. After that, count on it that Wild Bill and I are cam ping on your trail." "I am mum." ''Say you so?') But as he glanced round, such was the firmness with which the robber shut his jaws that he and the rest lost confidence that they could p11t a screw on. White face s, and black, brown and yellow, all wore

PAGE 14

THE BUFFALO BILL STORIES. 13 a thwarted look. Unconsciously, Bill let his vexed glance wander and it stopped at a face which alone smiled feebly bnt with a different It was that of a half-breed Crow and Pawnee, a second thief, who might have attained eminence as a Government scout, bnt was too fond of the Fool's Water, or strong drink. ''Tawatsee," said Bill, with hope in his heart, as the red man's smile broadened a little. "Speak, Good Heart-for you are a chief, and are invited to the council of captains I have not seen the Crows since you weut 011 t lie reservation in the Judith Basin, but my brother is a braye and he speaks wisdom." The Indian had h.elp ed iu the fire-fighting as be came a man. "Very good, this i s very good," s aid he, gratified at being singled 011t from the crowd, as all eyes were bent upon l1i111. "Chief, you are right. Your red brother brings the means to make this enemy of whi te and red alike speak about the way in. There is a hi dden way in. It i s a talk of tlie lodges." Frauk lost color a s the Indian spoke. He kne w their cunning i11 tortures. And n o t three days before he bad jostled this man aside, as he was intoxicated a11d called him a d og. "Chief, he must be made to spe:ik," said Buffalo Bill. "Go rigl1t ahead with handling him. He is too tough for us." 'rhe Crow-Pawnee poiuted to the two tall pine staffs which ornamented tile plaza or square of the towu. On high days and holidays, they flew the flag of the State and that of the United States. 'rlie fire had n o t hurt even the halvards as it streamed over them. "Brjng them down in a bow, each," went 011 the Iudiau ; ''tie to each foot of the silent dog, and be fore he will let them b e cnt loose to rend him in twain, as the lightning splits the cedar, be will tell the worci of the pass.'' "Do this," said Buffalo Bill. 'fwo light men shinued up the poles, aud secured the halyards r espectively to the tips. 'l'wenty men hung on to the ropes, new and bearing the strain well, so as to beud 011e after another. While bowed, the rope was made fast in each instance to the other mast. When this was done in both ca ses the spars crossed near the axes and were held so; within the poles the shape was of a pointed arched window. ''Swap ends," said Wild -ill, alluding to Fly Frank. The willing citizens held up the gambler-robber, inverted him a11d in this upside-down position, now superintended by the Crow, fastened a leg to each rope in such a way tha t, when tl1ey should be severed below where he was attached, the masts would be released. By their spring, the man would be torn asunder. "You see," said Wild Bill, as he looked on the bandit, "any one can walk into a village, but the thing is to get safely out." "Speak," said Buffalo Bill, sternly. "This is playing low down on a wi1ite man, '\mut tered Frnnk, unrelenti11g. Stand by to cut free," s a id Wild Bill, and two meu, each with an ax, prepared t o l e t t h e poles take their spring into the old upright p osition. The gambler threw a despairing look around. Not a regretful eye met his; h e had robbed, murdered and swaggered too long. ''Once-twice--'' At three times the ropes would be pnrted, and the gambler llismembered. But his pale lips were glued together. He meant to die firm to his blood-cemented m1th to t!ie Ring of Crime. Wild Bill, like a judge confronted hy a prisouer "mute by malice," was about to order the execution when an unexpected interrnption came. l\liss Mo nn trose breaking away from her father, who wanted to sl1ield lier from tile horrid sight, spraug between the dealer out of wild justice and the c ulprit. 1Jo," she pleaded, in her sweet voic e-woman's voice was such a rarity out there then that it sounded strangely on those e ars. "You have all shown yourse lves so brave aud noble to-night that I cannot bear to think tlwt the clay shall be branded by an act of cruelt y Spare him. Try him before a court for wh a t he has clone; but do 11ot, I pray you, treat him wit!1 the inhumanity which, 110 doubt, he has exhibited to others. Not the law of 'An eye for an eye' is now ruling in our country-but 'Forgive us a s forgive others.' It was a brief sermon, but none the less effective. "All right," said Buffalo Bill, the first to recover from his change of feeling. "No, it ain't all right," interposed Fly Frank. "I am 11ot wntb this fuss over. But she has melted the lump of ice that I called Y heart. I am lath to go back on my pals, but, after all, they have had their glut in raiding this settlement. It won't be quits till you have a fair bout with them. But mind yon, it will be a hard .l<:not to chop-grappling with them on their own grounds. Here goes-let me loose, and I will lead you to the inlet. The rest consarns yourselves. Man can't put it no straighter:, I judge." "Yon put it square, Frank,'' said Buffalo Bill, making a sign for the a xmen to set down their tools and untie the prisoner. They were not sorry; like the two Bills, this bit of Indian practice was repugnaut to their hearts. Once again the gambler-robber's empurpled face whitened out into a natural color. He looked glum as the Crow himself, for one does not walk toward death with a blithe heart. "A close shave," he muttered. "Them angels al-

PAGE 15

t4 THE BUFFALO BILL STORIES. ways come in handy for a man in distress bless 'em. If it were not for you, miss," he said, raising big voice a s M iss Mountrose, her act accomplished, shrank b ack to her fatlier's side, "I should be dead." ''Silence!" said Buffalo Bill. "A tten ti on, for we are not going to allow Jack to stay long in y o u r companions' blood-stained hands. After arming and getting a bite to eat on the quick-step we make for the mo1111tai11s Deliver the entry to u s and you go, as promised." 'l'he King Dird of the Buzzards bowed his l 1 e a d. But it was as much a s anythi11g to conceal a singular smile which flitted across his cotmtenance The Crow chief looked at the men unrigging the flag staffs of the ropes so they s l1ould fly back into the up and down position, with a s our grimace. "A snake, lie mumbled. "He will be no good till crus hed. He arme d himself for the warpath. He w ent afte r the marshal, and s aid: "Chief, me cltief-me want to go on the path t o the Buzzarcls' Nest." "'fawatsee, yo u are welco m e And keep au eye on that rnau. I have no s to c k in him, in spite of h i s submiss i 011. ' The Crow slapped tlte handle of his gun in a meaning way. CHAPTER V. THE TRAITOR'S PORTION. Fly Frank acte d his deception well. No one could find a flaw in his behavior as he conducted the party, with Bt1ffa l o Bi l l, t o the deliverance of Texas Jack, unles s lie had bee n sacrificed for those bandits perished in the difficulty with Guldee n a's citizens. The order of the march. was good; from the_Sierrn, if the robbers had sentinels poste d, it mus t have looked hard to teat. Besides, the special guard over the prisoner who had turned guide, another surrounded a cannon, bought to celebrate national holidays and carrying a six-pound baII. For the convenience of carriage, as soon as they rose a bove the foothills the ordnance was taken to pieces; four men carried the gun, two each w J 1eel, and four more the carriag e and ammuni tion. While they were dismembering tbe cannon, there was a slight al nn11. The lookouts repeated the warning of T awatsee that an enemy was in their path. But this lone man approached steadily in spite of the threatening attitude "'Of the volunteers. Wl1en within caII he declared himself a friend. "Oh, it is ouly Slim Sim!" said a prominei1t citizen, not a bit sorry that this individual was no herald of the enemy's corps Slim Simson was a peddler, who kept a little store where he sold goods at extravagant prices, but on time to the miners. Nobody but Frank knew that this rogue was a receiver of tbe bandit's pillage. He used to go down on the line in construction, the Missouri Pacific, Denver and Omaha and iJell jewelry, and odds and ends, wbich might be identified iu Gold eena, to the workmen of the contractors. Not a son! s11spected this double dealing. But Buffalo Bill w a s not prepossess ed by his hatchet face, cleep, small eyes, thin, firm lips sly look, and slender frame. Tbe dealer in notions fell in line with such good grace that it would break one' s h eart to refuse him. His explanation of his being in the gulch was satisfactory. He a sserted that he had not seen anything of the robbers, altho11gh hinting that at least one suspicious character had hovered round the entrance to the rav i n e as thongh in hiding. Buffalo Bill seemed to guess who this might be, for be cut s h ort further questioning of the recruit, and, the g11n ?eing clismonnted he ordere d the forward move again. F rn n k led them along the n e w coach road toward the s outh, but abruptly diverging, he tracked back to the mountain. The trail gradually rose. A path led almost straight upw
PAGE 16

THE BUFFA.LO Bill STORHES,, "He sav s th:it h e se e s Sioux Jndii rns, and that he cannot be. mistaken.'' In fact, th e Indian h a d made the sign of ''the Sioux"' i 11 two way s, and, lastly, a s the Dakot a s or Brolhers Looking dow11 into the dF.ep cleft b etween the piles of granite, jasper, a11d saudstone, held togethet by bunch grass and artemisia, he d escried a sol itary mat1 deviousry windi11g h i s way b y w ading up the bed of the water. It filled the dalle, or troug h, aud only a stout aud experienced trailer would have adopted this course. Only such as Buffalo Bill and this Indian c ould have recognized the face at this di s t ance. "Wild Bill-good-he is n o t creeping along like a water-duck for nothing. Tl1 e robbers will be sur prised.'' He chuckled, for there was 110 one to hear him. This discove r y he did not si gnal to Buffalo Bill, as he knew the two to be brothe r s and he supposed tliat Wild Bill had not come with the p a rty for good reasons. Stare a s h e might, he could see 110 way .ove r the gorge to tha t other side where the bandits had their retrea t. The n he descende d. When on the ridge, he. caught sight once more o f .the wanderer iL1 the torrent, who made a si g n to h i m that he had seen his h ead outlined on the erlge. He waved a n arm and sank down. "Well?" ques ti o n e d Bill, knowing that the scout would not report without dell!and. "No sign. But I have seen a brother in the d ee p." This was uttered in the ear of Bill, so that the guide could n o t hear a word. The captain of the party nodded. The marshal was acting in concert. "But the way over and in?'' The Indian shook his head. There was no shame in being beaten. Franl.;; grinned. "Go on," said Bill, and the Crow took his place at the head of the line, with the gambler next, u11der the leader's rifle. He was sure to fall dead, if h e darkened its si ght. They went on for a mile, skirting the side of the ravine. The path ran al ong a beach, for the m ost part, as level as if laid out by man. All at once Bill and the red man gave a start at the same time. They had perceived, before the citi-. zens, two or thrne threads like cobwebs, stretched w_ith an elegant curve across the aby ss. "The way," s aid Frank, c almly. Jn fact, on approaching, they saw that the thin threads were rope s rudely made. They formed a foot p<.tb, two other ropes, a yard above them, and about the same distance apart, serve d as guide lines. But looki;ig from one across the chasm, bridged thus frailly, thos e who were not used to heights, such as the pl ainsme n, a ud Indians might be pardo u e
PAGE 17

THE BUFF ALO BILL STORIES. l From the ledge where the party had halted, and the gun was se t on its carriage, and the wheels fastened ou, the only wa y was a goat's path. It wound so as to lead from ou e natura l shelf to another, and only by d egrees the summit. The Docked One knew the top. It wa s a hill, with an immense view of nearly a hundred miles. Wl1en they got upon it, it was deserted, even by the vultures which sometimes held a gorging party on the v e rg e T11c Old Trappe r took a good surv ey, and bade hi s companions return. "All's well," h e reporte d to Buffalo Bill, impa ti ently awaiting. "Nary sign of Iujin or rustler. The place is as lone as wben Adam wa s a little b oy. And h o t l Jerusalem, how scorching hot! D eclar' to high heaven that the sun has sucked up the Lookin' glass Lake, as the g a l s I showed up here two years ago, put the name to it, so tliat you could not moisten the tongue of a lizard." Well, how was he to know, si11ce he had not looked properly for footprints, that the bandits liad emptied the pond. They bad, under the astute directions of-their uew chief, carried out all the water and poured it 011 the thirsty soi l among the marble in a balf-circle. 'l'he horn5 of this half moon line ended at the verge of the cliff. The crescent comprised a g o o d slice of land, and as the bluff was scooped ont under by the north wind, 'it projected over the ledge on whicl1 the robber-hunters \Vere now gathered. 'l'he sunbeams had dried the surface again and 110 one could guess tl:at deviltry was at work. Thus reassured, and the cannon planted to com111a11d the bridge, Bill 'ordered the crossing. First, 'to be certain that a door of some sort did exist behind the creepe r s forming a screen ove r against them, he ordered fom men, who _had placed chain shot in their guns, to fire a volley at this green veil. 'l'he ch a in shot were rudely made by linking split bails with fragments of an old steel watch-guard in pairs. 'l'bey had the effect wanted. Where they struck the vines, tbey cut the stems and down came a of some yards, not wholly detached. But pretty soon the mass fell by its owu weight, and hu11g. 111 the cle
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