Buffalo Bill's blind, or, Running the death gauntlet

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Buffalo Bill's blind, or, Running the death gauntlet

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Title:
Buffalo Bill's blind, or, Running the death gauntlet
Series Title:
Buffalo Bill stories
Creator:
Buffalo Bill
Place of Publication:
New York
Publisher:
Street & Smith
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Language:
English
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1 online resource (31 p.) 28 cm.: ;

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

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Source Institution:
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.
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020848515 ( ALEPH )
223329095 ( OCLC )
B14-00060 ( USFLDC DOI )
b14.60 ( USFLDC Handle )

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' A ,VJEEffLY p uBLICATlON 11 DEVOTED TO __ BORDER H l .5TQRY issued H'eekly. By Subscription $2.50 j>er year. Entered as Second Class Matter at New York Post Offi c e by STREET & SMITH, 238 William St., N. Y. No. ti O Price, Five Cents. AWTHCP.,. Clp!'e U.F.fA!..C 811..1....1 "HF.RE I Alll, PARD BILL, TO TAKE THE OLD HEARSE TO llIY GRAVE," SAID CHISPA CHARtIE, AND A WILD YELL OF ADMIRATION BuRST THE CROWD. I

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A WEEKLY PUBLICATION DEVOTED TO BORDER Hl5TORY Issued Weekly By Subscription $2.so per yellr. Entered as Seco11d Class Afatter at the N. Y. Post Office, by STREET & SMITH 238 TVi1liam St. N. Y. Entered accordingto Act of Crm,e-ress in the year I902, in tile Office oft h e L ibrarian of Cong-ress, Was/1ing-to n b. C No. 60. NEW YORK July 5, 1902. Price Five Cents. uffalo Bill's Blind; OR, RUNNING THE DEATH GAUNTLET. By the a uthor of "BUFF ALO BILL." CHAPTER I. THE FATAL TRAIL. "A hundred dollars a round trip to t h e Clriv-er \\"ho has got the nerye to drive the coach through on t he nm oYer the fatal trail!"' The loud voice of the speaker was heard by several hundred men, and a wild recklesslooking lot they were. too, yet not one answered, not a word was heard, and a deathlike silence fell upon all. The scene was an Overland stage station, in the far \\' ild \Vest, and the place was a half-mining, half cowboy camp, and the res ort of some of the ugliest spir its in borderland. I t was a junction of stage trails no less than four centering there, and hence it was a very important post. with half a hundre.cl employees of the coac h lin e gathered there to work in the stables, and a dozen of the crack drivers of borderland. But the wo r ds of t h e Overlan d boss brought forth no response, in spite of his liberal offer, and so he said: "Remember. parcls a hundred dollars is not picked up every clay for just two clays' work, so who calls me to accept it?" Still no response. "I'll make i t a couple of hundred, men, for the run, so who calls me now?" Still a silence that co u ld be felt was t h e on l y re sponse. "Say, men, are you all so bad l y scared becau se t here h ave been a few me n s hot fro m the box o n the fatal trail, that you won't risk t he dri ve w h e n I say it's two hundred dolla r s clean cash o n the run?" Still no answ e r, though t h e crowd moved un eas ily and men looked each other in t h e face to s e e w h o would dare the run.

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2 THE BUFF J\LO __ BILL "See here, pards, the Fatal Trail, I admit, is well named Death's Canon, for I counted myself thirtythree graves there in the valley, and I don't deny that just one clean dozen of them are drivers of the Over land, killed on duty, without a word of warning. "But the coach must go through from here, pards, to Fort Rest, and so on through Death's Canon to Fort Famine, and back again, down one day and back an'other, and I say again it's two hundred for the run to the man who dares take it through. "Who talks?" Nobody did, and the silence was unbroken until a voice called out: 'Here comes B u ffalo Bill!" A shout, a haH cheer. arose at the cry, and all eyes were turned upon a horseman \vho came riding to ward the group at a canter. A more splendid specimen of manhood one would not care to behold than was that horseman, William F. Cody, Buffalo Bill, the king of the Wild West. He was superbly mounted upon a large, vviry roan stallion, his equipments were of .the best, and he was dressed in buckskin leggings, top boots, an embroidered woolen shirt and wide-brimmed sombrero of a dove color, one side of which was looped up by a gold bnffalo with diamond eyes, and a brand upon his side in rubies of the1word Bill." Around his sombrero was a gold cord, representing a lasso, and, upon his shoulders were straps in which was a device like the pin, signifying his name and the gold-embroidered words: CHIEF OF SCOUTS' LEAGUE. He raised his hat politely in recognition of the wel-come he received, and, glancing over the crowd, nodded at familiar faces that he caught sight of, while he asked, in his cheery way: ''What is the picnic, pards, for, if there is any fun in it, I would like to chip in?" "There is no fun in it, Buffalo Bill, but sartai n death, for the Overland boss here called the crowd together to git a volunteer ter drive the coach through on the Fatal Trail, through Death's Canon, in truth, and, though he offers big bait, he hasn't got a nibble yet," cried a man in the crowd in response to the chief of scouts' question. Buffalo Bill had listened most attentively to the explanation offered, every eye upon his face, which was immovable, showing no sign of what hi thoughts might be . He looked toward Pete Porter, the Overland bossa! and asked: "Will none of the drivers take the coach out Pete?" "Not one, Buffalo Bill, and can you blame then} being as how they are almost sure of death?" "Vv ell, Pete Porter, my creed is that where dut) calls we must obey, if certain death stares us in the t face. l "It would not do for a soldier, or a scout, to refusj to go into battle or on a trail just because he feare he would be killed." "That's so, Bill," answered Pete Porter, whil there was a murmur of approbation from the crow( as the chief of scouts expressed his views. Then Buffalo Bill continued: Iow, I know the drivers of the Overland as t bravest of brave men; and their duties are perilou and severe in the extreme. It is true that they have no chance to defend their lives, but are in constant dread of a deadly shot from ambush; but I guess I can pick out several in that crowd that won't slin if you call on them to take the stage through." As the scout spoke, he glanced over the group of drivers, who had huddled together, perhaps unde the feeling that misery loves company. There were several who met his eyes but most 0 them did not, and Pete Porter said : "\i\T ell, Bill; the man who volunteers gets two hun dred and fifty dollars for the round run, so if you can pick out one who will go, do so." "\Vhy, of course I can. Step out Chispa Charlie, my old pard." At the words of the sc;out a. man stepped out of the group of drivers and advanced toward Buffalo Bill, with the remark: "Here I am, Pard Bill, to take the old hearse to my grave." A wild yell of admiration burst from the crowd at this bold act, and then a voice called out: "You makes number thirteen, Chispa Charlie, and its a bad-luck number." A silenf:e followed these words, which Chispa Charlie broke with: "I am ready for the run when Boss Pete gives the word."

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THE BU ff ALO BILL STORIES. 3 Another cheer greeted his fearless words, and Buf5falo Bill said, as he glanced t over thirty years of age, bd a splendid driver d one who had made a record. JHe, too, received a burst of applause that was afening, and Buffalo still looking over the 'rivers, said: "And Bony will go, if Harkaway Harry is killed." 'Tm blessed if I do," was the emphatic reply of the iver, and a roar of laughter followed, while he coninued: ''If yer heel called on me first, Bill Cody, I'd hev been yer man; but with Chis pa Charlie, Ben Bolt and Harka\\ ay Harry driYing ther hearse to their own funeral, I'm g9ing ter call it off, for I don't go." "And you, Brighton?' "I'm no coward, Buffalo Bill, but I won't drive if those three boys goes under, following to the grave the brave fellows who has already passed.in their chips." "\Veil, Brackett, what clo you say?" asked Cody, glancing at another of the drivers. "Any other run for me but ther Fatal Trail, Buffalo Bill," was the Jecidecl ans\Yer. ''And, Hawkins, how is it with you?" ';I d01i't drive through Death's Canon." "And Mabry?" "I hain "t drivin' my own hearse, Bill Cody." ''Da\'e Proctor, you'll go if the others fall?" 'Tll not go, and they is fools ter play ag'in a game which is dead sart'in ter win." "\Vell Pete, you have three brave fellows to tie to, and if they go under, send me word and I'll get you a man vvho will drive the Fatal Trail, so call upon me," and Buffalo Bill rode on his way. CHAPTER II. THE SCOUT'S REPORT. Fort Rest had gotten its na.pie from the fact that the small army, pushed rapidly to the wilderness to fight back redskins, had there come to a halt and built a stockade post, which had afterward been strengthened into a permanent outpost and made a fort. It was well located for defense, and held a position from which offensive operations could readily be made. It was distant from Trail Encl City, the place where the Overland trails centered and had a terminus, SOJ.lle fifty miles, and it had been found necessary to place another outpost sixty miles farther away from Fort Rest, as an advanced guard. \I inter had caught the post without sufficient pro yisions, and, unable to get supplies, a number of men had starved to death. With the coming of spring the post had also been strongly fortified and was known as Fort Famine. It was between these two forts, Rest and Famine, at an equal distance from each, that the trail ran through the Death's CanQn. A bat.tie between Indians, the Sioux and Pa\',rnees, had been fought here and strewed the canon with human bones. Then a fight between United States cavalry and redskins had been fought in the canon several years after, and the result was that many new graves dotted the scene. The relief going to the aid of Fort Famine, with supplies, had been attacked there by redskins and massacred, and this added but another hurror to Death's Canon. As there was a rich mining oountry beyond Fort Famine, the Overland Stage Company had found it expedient to run a coach through each week, and back to Trail End City. But the horrors of Death's Canon were added to, as there was a stageload of passenters, with the driver, slain and robbed there. Deaths in the coaches and of the drivers foUowed frequently, until the. canon became known as the Fatal Trail. Both Indians and road agents were said to be the murderers and robbers, but about this opinions dif fered. It was thought to establish a pieket there, but no

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4 l"HE BU ff ALO BILL water 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 the mountains in numbers and annihilate them. Colonel Miles, commanding the outpost line, had all that he could attend to with the soldiers under his oommand at the two forts and the country adjacent, so that the Overland coaches had to take their chances, protected as best they could be by a squad of cavalry, or several scouts. Such was the situation at the time when Buffalo Bill got the three volunteer drivers to decide to take a coach thwugh, two weeks having elapsed since the run had been made. UQon his return from Trail End City to Fort Rest, Buffalo Bill went at once to headquarters to report to Colonel Miles. That gallant officer received him cordially, and quickly asked: "Back so soon, Cody?" "Yes, colonel; I was not detained long." "Well, what luck?" "The coach goes through to-morrow, sir." "Good! "And what fellow drives it?" "Chispa Charlie, sir." "I wish I could give him an escort, but I dare not, for we cannot aff>0rd to lose any of our soldiers now; I fear he will be killed." -"I feel almost certain of it1 sir; but he is a driver, and duty calls him to sacrifice himself." "True; but if he falls no other man will dare go." "Yes, sir, Ben Bolt has volunteered to take the coach if Chispa Charlie falls." "He, too, has nerve, and it will be a pity to see him go under, and, if he does, then that ends trying to keep the Overland coaches running until my force I J) 1s stronger. "No, sir, for Harkaway Harry will go if Ben Bolt goes under." "Ah! be, too, is a plucky one. He is the man, is he not, who so well imitates a bugle call?" "Yes, sir, and so gained the name of Harkaway Harry." "You surely got no others tt> volunteer?" "Not another man would do so, sir." "Then, if those three men fall, I shall order Peter to stop the attempt to nm the coaches." "There is one more chance, sir." "Indeed! "\i'\/ho is he?" u "That, sir, I cannot now tell you, hut if those thre e men fall, I have a man who will take the coacl through. "If he falls also, then it will be time to stop th coaches." "I should think so; but I am interested in knowini who this plucky fellow can be, Cody." "You. shall know in good time, colonel, so pardo1 me for refusing to tell you now." "Certainly, Cody, and if he is your choice, I hav faith in him," was the colonel's reply. CHAPTER III. CHISPA CHARLIE'S RUN. The coaches from the three trails leading into T1 End City came into that halting-place one by one The one from the east arrived at sunset, giving passengers a night's rest at Pete Porter's hotel, wayside." The coach from the north came in at midnight, an. the one from the southward at dawn. At sunrise the coach going west was to start, th one through Fort Rest, through the Fatal Trail, an< thence on to Fort Famine, and Chispa Charlie to take it out. There were at Trail End City three passengers waiting to go on to the Sunset Mines beyond, and in the vicinity of Fort Famine, and upon the three coaches coming in were five other passengers. Two .of these were for Fort Rest, the other three for Fort Famine, and one of the latter was a young girl of sixteen, the daughter of an officer at the fort, another being the wife of a sergeant, the third a sol dier, a young man and new recruit. So Chispa Charlie had eight passengers to gc througb with him, and the young girl had spoker: for the box seat. Every eye was upon Chispa Charlie as he came out of The Wayside after breakfast and lighted his cigar. His face was unruffie d, though perhaps a trifle pale and yet his look was one in which there was not an atom of fear. Thf' young girl-a perfect beauty and bright as a lark-must also have known of the full danger of the roid, yet did not show that she held any dread of it.

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THE BUFFALO BILL STORIES 5 There were others of the passeng;_ers who looked uneasy, however, and the hvo whose journey was to en d at Fort Rest had a satisfied expression upon their faces. Every eye was upon Chispa Charlie, and the drivers, his pards of the reins, came forward and grasped his hand as though in a last fa r ewell. Then he mounted to his box, there was a roaring cheer for his pluck, for all of Trail End City had gathered there to see him take his departure, and the Overland bo ss gave the word: "Time's up, Chispa Charlie, and Heaven protect _i you. "Go!" A crack of the whip and the team of six horses bounded away on their run to Fort Rest. Fifteen miles out there was a relay and fresh horses rere hitcheid up in place of the others, and twenty p-iiles further another team was put in. Then it was about a fifteen-mile run .to Fort Rest. Chispa Charlie had made good time, had been greatly entertained by the conversation of his fair companion, and, including his two halts at the relay corrals, had made the run in eight hours, coming in sight of the fort just at two o'clock. "See here, miss, I wants you to do me a favor, he said to the young girl. "Certainly-what is it, sir?" was the ready answer. "I wants 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 yer is game, but then there is something awful mysterious about ther killing at Death's Canon, and there is women in .ther graves there as well as men. I hain't hurt ter see men face death, but when it comes to a woman, and especially a pretty gal like you, I draws out ther game, so I asks ye r ter stay at ther fort, and keep ther sergeant's wife with yer." "No, Chispa Charlie, I started to rejoin my father, knowing the dangers I had to face, and I shall go on my way \Yith yo u ," was the determined reply of the maiden. "I'm sorry, miss; but I hopes the colonel won't 1 let ye r go." "My father may be under Colonel Miles' orders, but I am not, and I go through. "What time will we reach Fort Famine?" "\Ve are due there at mi
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1'HE BUFF f\LO BlLL STORIES. "Yes, sir, and she went on with Chispa Charlie and his other five passei1gers, sir." Colonel Mile s turned pale at hearig this, while he said: "Great Heavens! her father asked me to stop her here. "The coach must have been ahead of time, or derly." "Half an hour, sir, and did not stop long, for the 'driver wanted to get through Death's Cafion before nigiht." "Quick, Captain May, take a squad of your men and ride with all haste after the coach, carr,ying a led horse along for Miss Hortense Dean to return on, for you must fetch her back with you. "Tell her that such are my orders, and you, Cody, go as guide for the captain."" "Yes, sir; but suppose she will not come, for she is a woman?" "But she must." "Still, Colonel Miles, I cannot force her to do so," Captain May remarked. "Then, if she refuses all your powers of persuasion, command her, and, if she still remains obdurate, then escort the coach through to Fort Famine, f.or I must delay our intended move until your return, that is all," was t he answer. Buffalo Bill had already hastened away, and the captain went quickly to his quarters. But it was a quarter of an hour be.fore sixteen gallant troopers, under a sergeant, reported at his quarters ready for the ride. Buffalo Bill, with two of his scouts, awaited them at the stockade gate, anid when all was ready, the party started off on the of the coach just one hour and forty minutes after its departure. "A stern chase is a long one, Gody1 and the coach is all of twe1ve miles away, if not more, so set the pace," said Captain May. With these instructions Buffalo Bill set a ra:ttling pace, which he soon saw was too fast for the heavier horses of the troopers, so he slackened it somewhat after several miles had been gone over. "The Death's Cafion is a trifle nearer Fort Rest, sir, than Fort Famine, just about twenty-eight miles away, and I fear we will hardly reach there before the coach enters it, for Chispa Charlie never spares his horses, and takes no note of schedule time fo1 he pushes right throug h," sa id Cody when a h a lt made, ten mile s out at a brook "Wdl, Cody what have you tn suggest?" asked Captain May, who saw that the chief of scouts had something more to say. "That you allow me and my two men to push 01: ahead, sir, with all the speed we can." 1 ) "You may do so, sir, and I will accompany you1 leaving the sergeant to bring on the men," was the r eply. So the captain and the three scouts set off at a more rapid pace than the troopers could keep up Buffalo Bill urging his horse to a sweeping gallop which the others a.Jso did. The trail of the horses and coach showed tha1 Chispa Charlie had been driving along at considera ble speed, having passed the relay corral twenty out from the fort two and a half hours after leayir,'it. r \ "He were -going fer all ther critters was worth, Bil ) and shot off with ther fresh team in ther same styh1 so will git through ther canon afore dark, ef ther cat tie kin hold out," said the stock tender at the rela:, station. "We must catch him if we kill our horses, captain,' was Buffalo Bill's response, and on dashed the part-) of four at a sweeping gallop once more. T he relay corral between Fort Rest and Canon, and nearly ten miles away from it, was a! strong as a fort, and had three men to guard it anc the half-score stage horses kept there. About the same distance beyond the canon was an other relay corral, with a like number of guards anc horses. But none of these guards could ever tell what wa: the cause of the fatalities in Death's Canon. They did not know whether-Indians or road agent: did the red deeds that had caused the place to be sc feared, and they were never themselve s 1though always upon their guard against a surprise On dashed the scouts and Captain May, after leav ing Relay Number Three, as it was known, and dis cussing, as they mide along, what the stock tende had told them. "Chispa Charlie is a pluck y fellow, Cody, and sc are his passengers, for all must know what they expect," said Captain May. "Yes, sir; it requires l1erve, and I sincerely hop1

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1'HE BUffl\LO BILL STORIES. 7 .ve can reach the cafion before the coach enters it, for it would be fearful if Miss Dean was slain." "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 were descending a valley road to the anon1of Death, which was a rocky pass through a J:ountain range, and over a mile in length. But, ri
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8 THE BUFF J\LO BILL STOl\IES. 1 no other trail will be made save those O'f the scouts going to the for \V'e can stay in the coach, sir, and your troopers can be halted before reaching here?" "You are rig;ht, Cody. I will write a line to poor D 1 ean. This Captain ;May did, and the scout mounted and rode on his way, the other one having already started to head off the troopers and then continue on to re port to Colonel Miles the sad discovery made at Death's Cafion. The scouts gone, Buffalo Bill and Captain May got into the coach and made themselves as comfortable as they could, anxious to get all the sleep possible, as they expected a hard day of it on the morrow. They had staked their horses out, though there was no grass or water near for them, and they were forced to make a dry camp of it. With the first glimpse of dawn coming into the pass, they left the coach, and while Buffalo Bill went at o'nce to work reading "signs," the captain rode back to the camp of his troopers to bring them upon the scene. In half an hour he returned, and when the sunlight wias beginning to peer down into the cafion. A s'O'ldier had been stationed at the opening into the wide space, upon either side, to keep any one coming from the forts back, and the others, after a cold breakfast, washed down with water from their canteens, were placed in positions by Buffalo Bill to make what search they could for any signs they might find of trails. There were the graves of the dead Indians slain in battle long before; near were the graves of the sol diers who had more lately fallen, and in a row near the trail were buried the victims of those who had haunted the Death's Canon to kill and rob Near the coach were bodies of the dead miners, and still upon his box was poor Chispa Charlie. All had been shot, and all had been robbed of every valuable they possessed, their weapons being also taken. BUt in the hard ground about the scene of death the.re was no trace of a trail. The tracks of the horses and the wheels of the coach had hardly left an impression. Each entrance to the scene of the tragedy was most carefully examined by the scout, and no trail led into it, save that of the coach and their own. From it only the trail of the scout sent to Fo1ia Famine, here and there, could be seen. lia It was plain that Buffalo Bill was puzzled, that tlf king of trailers was thwarted for once in his life. '( With their tired horses, the two scouts sent to thtl forts could not ride fast, and it was an hour afte SLtnrise before the soldier on duty reported a forc'e coming from Fort Rest. l1 Soon after another force came from Fort With the former came Colonel Miles himself, a troop of cavalry, and with the latter wag Major Am:> brose Dean, with a party of troopers, and all met the open space where the red deeds had been com. mitt ed. The face of Major Dean was stern and white, fo, he was a widower, and Hortense was his only chilc who had just finished her schooldays and had corr' to make her home with him at Fort Famine, whe .11 other officers had their wives and families. d She had begged so hard in her letters to come thr at last he had consented, and changing his min ; when he regarded the dangers of the Fatal Trail, l had written her not to come. t But the letter had arrived after her departure, she had started sooner than she had anticipated. Warmly did Colonel Miles grasp his hand in sym pathy, and then turn to the poor sergeant who ha also come to learn what the fate of his wife had been "What does it mean, colonel?" asked Major Dean "Alas! I do not know, and Cody can give no e x planation," was the reply. "Well, her body not being here, I feel that sh must at least be alive; but suffering what?" sadly said the major. Buffalo Bill was at his wits' end and could sa nothing. Other scouts had come with the parties from tl forts, and these Buffalo Bill had at once set to wor ; giving them no clue, and was only waiting to he;,. what they had to report. 'Vhile waiting he walked to where Colonel the major and Ca .ptain May were. "Any Jue, 1Cody ?" asked the colonel. "I sent for my best men sir, and those from For Famine, and all are now at work, and I hope somt may be able to discover what I ha v e failed to do, sir.' "What is your theory?" "I can discover no trace of a trail. so that woul indicate that the murderers were on foot m-0re lik e :

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.. T H E BU ff ALO BILL S"-fORI ES. 9 nclians, ancl yet it does not look like the work of fndians.' 1 "How so?" J "Chispa Charlie was shot on his box, sir, and 1either he or the miners are s calped. The soldier is :lot to be found, and Miss Dean and Sergeant Gale's "fe are missing, sir, and what has become of them cannot say. Had Indians attacked from an ambush hey \voulcl have riddled the stage with bullets, and there is not a fresh mark upon it, only those fired into it on previous occasions. All were robbed, and yet the gaudy reel sash Chispa Charlie wore was not taken, and an Indian could hardly have resisted that." "Then you lean to the belief that they were w 1 hites who did the work?" "Yes, colonel, I do; but my men will report as they the chief of scouts s h o uld remain in the fatal pass and await his coming. That Buffalo Bill was to remain was known on l y t o Colonel Miles, the scout who was to drive the coach, and to Major Dean. The latter h ad desired to remain with the s cout, but Buffalo Bill had urged so to the contrary that he had yielded, and gone back \Yith his for ce to .Fort Famine. After going with the command a few mil es, Buffalo Bill silently dropped out when he came to the first stream, staked his horse out to feed, and filling his canteen went back on foot to the scene of the doom which had overtaken Chispa Charlie on the Fatal Trail. CHAPTER IV. THE MISSING HORSE. a discovery, or give up the game, and then we )liay know more. "I have been over the whole scene, and confess my-The scout who drove the coach on to Fort Famine elf beaten." was a man of nene yet one v:ho would not have t "Then your men will surely be; but what do you clone so had he not felt that he had his chief to rely think of the soldier, Miss Dean and Gale s wife hav-on in the return trip through Death's Canon. }ng been captured and carried off?" 'flhe miners had been buried where they met their "That is what puzzles me most, sir. death, while the body of poq r Chispa Charlie ha<;l "If the soldier had not been taken I might under-been laid to rest in the separate row of graves which stand that the t\Yo women were taken as hostages, marked the last resting-place of the dTivers who had or for ransom; but the soldier's going I cannot yet fallen on the Fatal Trail. comprehend." Major Dean had returned to Fort Famine in an And it seemed a m yste r y to all, for not one could agony of s u spe nse about his daughter, as had al so giYe any clue to the mysterious tragedy, enacted f the but both felt they left the solu tion o there in Death's Canon. t he m>stery in the hands of the only man who could One by o ne lhe sco u ts came in a nd each one had so i ve it Buffalo Bill. the same report to make. Go-lonel Miles h a d gone back to his command feel--They looked anxious and see m ed to feel their ining some anxiety regarding Buffalo Bill. for, the mys-ability to make a report of some kind. terious murdere rs who never held back from a stage-But noon had come and all were of the same load of passengers, must be in large enough force opini on, that the murderers, be they Indians or road to readily get away with one man, even if he was the agents, had coYered up their tracks too well to be folchief of scouts, \\'ho was noted as one "worth a dozen 1owetl. ordinary men. As there was no water or grass near, a move-must The coach made its run on to the' fort, under the he made, a nd then Buffalo Bill asked Colonel Miles scout Dia.mond Dan, and started a lmost at once upon to allow him to drop out of the line on the march it s return, being a clay behind schedule time. back, and returning to the canon go on a still-hunt The soldiers it go with misgivings, and many alone 1.o solve the mystery. bade Diamond good-by, expecting never to see him This request was granted, and Buffalo Bill was to again. have provisions sent t o hiR1 b y the stage on its re... But it had been the wish of Buffalo Bill for it to tttrn, for a scout \\"as to drive it on to Fort Famine, come without an escort, that he might discover the and b .ack aga-in to Trail Encl C ity on condition that mystery of the murders in the cafion. (

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10 THE BU Pf l\'LO BILL STORIES. He had explained to Colonel Miles that a guard for the coach might protect it in the cafion, but the moment they left it, there would be an attack else where, and this would not be finding the murderers. T hen, too, the soldiers could not be spared for the work, and that the sure means to check the evil by finding the outlaws would be to secretly discover who they were. The colonel and his officers realized the truth of this argument, and so BuffaJo Bill was left alone upon the Fatal Trail. It was night when Diamond Dan reached the cafion, and he drove into it with misgivings, for he was alone, not a soul caring to make the trip back . \ with him. He passed the scene of the murders with his heart almost seeming to stand still, and as he went by and heard a voice behind him say: -... "Ho, Dan, there is nobody abroad to-night." "It is you, chief?" cried Diamond Dan, with a deep sigh of r elief, as Buffalo Bill climbed up over the stage and came to the box. "Yes, and I have seen not a sign of any one. ."I heard you coming, and was in ambush, ready for an attack, if any came, but they were not here tonight, and I leaped on the boot and am going on with you." "You bet I'm glad of it, Bill, for I was scared, I admit it. "Well, you showed your pluck in going on with the coach as you did, Dan, and you shall have full credit for it." "But you could find no trace of the murderers, Bill?" "Not the slightest." "You can't think who they can be?" "I cannot, for they have covered up their tracks with the cunning of Indians." "Maybe be Injuns." "I think not; but my horse is yonder up the valley, so I will mount him and follow you a quarter of a mile behind, in case you are attacked at so.11e other point.'' "Keep a leetle closer Bill, please, for this be a lonesome trail to travel." "I will be within hearing, Diamond Dan, never fear." "Yes, for there is a treasure-box aiboard." "Ah! from the mines?" "Yes, nigh onter ten thousand in I heard." "All right." with this Buffalo Bill got down from the box, and, while Diamond Dan drove on, he went up the valley for his horse. To his surprise he found the animal was not there. He supposed that he had pulled up his stake-rope and gone astray; but in searching for his saddle and bridle 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 for the trail of my horse in the morning, and when I do not come in behind the coach, Colonel Miles will send after me, I know. "But who got my horse is the question that I would like answered." With this the scout rolled his blankets about him and sought forgetfulness in slumber. The sentinel on the tower at Fort Rest spied in the early morning the coach coming slowly along trail. The horses were in a walk and came along as though they h,acl been hard driven The coming of the c.oach was to the corporal of the guard, who in turn reported it to his superior officers, and soon after came another report the driver of the coac? was asleep on his box! The gates were throvvn open; the officer of the day met the coach; the team was brought to a halt and then came the startling cry: "Diamond Dan, the scout driver, is dead!" The words were true. Tlwre sat Diamond Dan upon his box, his body tied in place by a lariat, his head hanging forward and the reins wrapped around his hands securely. But he was dead. and a bullet wound was in his temple. What d i d it mean? \Vhere was Buffalo Bill? These questions could not be answered by a tongue silenced in and so the officer of the day hastened to Colonel Miles with the report of the tragedy-another deadly mystery of the Fatal Trail through Death's Canon! Colonel Miles was astounded, startled,' and Cap tain May and his tPoop were at once ordered back over the trail. They departed within half an hour, while another scout mounted the box and drove the coach on its

PAGE 12

THE BUFFALO BILL STORIES 11 way to Trail End City, several passengers going in it on the eastward run. Captain May lost no time on the trail, but went along at a sweeping gallop tQward Death's Canon. As he neared the dreaded spot, f1is horses all foaming and panting, they saw a tall form standing in the trail a waiting them. It was Buffalo Bill. At sight of him the soldiers broke forth in a cheer, for they expected that they would find his body only. "Ho, captain! glad to see you. "But what's the hurry, for your horses have: been pushed hard, I see?" "What is the hurry, Co dy, when we expected to find you dead?" cried Captain May, sternly. "Dead? Oh, no, sir; but I suppose it was because I did not follow the coach in, as I told Diamond Dan I wou ,lcl. But my horse spirited away, captain, and I could not." "Perhaps it is well you did not follow Diamond Dan in, Bill, for he is dead." The scout started, and his bronzed face grew ashen as he repeated the words: "Di' arnond Dan dead?" "Yes, he came in just after dawn, tied to his box, \\ the reins fast in his hands, and with a bullet wound jl in his left temple." God! Poor, poor Dan! Oh! that I could only have him." "Your horse was stolen, you say, Bill?" "Yes, sir. I left Dan right at this spot and went up the valley where I had staked out my horse, a l 1 quarter of a mile frnm here. I found him gone, and that my saddle and bridle were also missing To overtake Dan on foot I knew was impossible, with a \ start of a mile, and besides I wished to have a search for the trail of my horse, feeling sure Colonel Mites would send after me." ''And what was the result of your search, Cody?" "Captain May, I flatter myself that I am a good trailer, but I can no more find the trail of my horse ban I can fly." ''The grouhd is too hard?" "Yes." ''Let us return to the place, Bill, and camp, so we can have another search for it." I TJ1e scout led the way, asking as he started off: "\Vas the treasure-box also taken, sir?" i r / "From the coach?" "Yes, sir." "There was none there." "Then it was taken, ,for there was a box with ten in dust on board, so Dan said." "I searched the coach, and none was there. "You foup 1 d the scene of the hold-up, sir?" "No, we pushed right on to look you up." "VI ell, we can see on our way back where it was, and there must be a trail leading from there." "Yes, surely." TI1ey had now reached the camping-place and breakfast was cooked, while the. horses were staked out. But, search as they might, no trail led away from the spot where Buffalo Bill had left his horse, though the track leading to it was plainly seen. After hours spent in search the party start. ed upon the return to the fort, hoping to find the trail from the place where the coach had been held up and Diamond Dan had J.ost his life With the skill of an Indian, Buffalo Bill foilowed the trail of the coach back to the fort. :aehind him came two scouts, who had come with I the troop, and then the troopers, all watching for any sign that might have missed the eye of the chief. Though the passing along of the troop had greatly marred the trail of the coach, still if there had been any tracks leading to and from it on either side the keen eyes of the scouts would have detected them. But the troop went slowly along, for Buffalo Bill ancl his two men were on foot, and often came to a halt as they examined the trail. But just at sunset they came in view of the fort, C\nd soon after Captain May and Buffalo Bill were in the presence of Colonel Miles, the chief of scouts: return alive having been greeted with cheers by those in the fort. The scout made his report, and Captain May told all that he had to say, and then waited for the colonel to speak. "I do not unde rstand it-I do not know what to say. Wh. en the coach next goes through, it must have an escort, though a small one, as I am determined to start to-night upon this expedition, to strike the. Indians in their villages before they get ready to raid upon us, which they are preparing to do. You, Cody, I must have with the command, and Major Dean is to meet us with his force, and thus act I

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12 THE BUFF ALO BILL a s a support join us in the attack. Now . o shall I have to guard the coach?" 'Allow me to suggest, sir, that you order Ben Bolt, who is the next driver, to go thriougih by day Eght, remaining at the fort all night, and to come back the following day, sir." "I will do so, for this will do away with an esc o rt, which I am not allowed to furnish, and onl y would do so in case of di .rest necessity. But could you not send a couple of your men, Cody, to scout in Dt;ath's Cafion, as you di _d, and thus serve as a pr.otection, and perhaps discover something about t h ose fiends?" "I can, sir, and will do so. I will send two of my best scouts." "Do and they might go to-morrow night, prepared to remain until you recall them, so that the drivers will know that there is help near." The orders wert givert then for the troops to get ready for the march up into the Indian country, one troop going at once, by way of Death's Canon, to Fort Fatnine, to order Major Dean also to move with his men to a certain point in the mountains, and join the farce from Fort Rest. Buffalo Bill picked out of the Scouts' League two of his men, and ordered them to take their best horses, plenty of ammunition, and prbvisions for S(!V eral weeks, and go to Death's Cafion, or near it, where they could camp, but to be on duty by night in the cafion, and by day when the coach was expected through. It was just after midnight when the command, consisting of five companies of mounted infantry, one battery of four guns and two troops of cavalry, with a dozen scouts under Buffalo Bill, moved out of the fort, at their head being Colonel Miles himself, who had almost'Stripped the stockade of defenders to deal a blow against the redskins in their strongholds. Just before dawn, the troop having arrived with orders, Major Dean left Fort Faniine with three com panies of mounted infantry, two troops of cavalry, and a section of light artillery, while half-a-dozen scouts were in the advance. With this force of one hunc!Fed men Colonel Miles hoped to deal a very severe blow upon the Indians. The two commands met at noon the next day, thirty miles out from the forts, and went into camp until nightfall, when they intended making a forced march of thirty miles more, so as to attack the Indian village at dawn, thus surprising them in their stronghold. Major Dean's face was pal e with sorrow and sus, pense as he greeted his commander, and the two officers held a long talk together over the situation and the fact that no clew had been found as to the fate of the three captives taken from Chispa Charlie's coach, or the perpetrators of the deed. "I live in hopes that we may find them in the Indian villages, for you will attack the lower village, sir, upon your retreat," said Major Dean. "Yes, I shall strike the stronghold at qawn, wipe it out, if in our power to do so, and retreating rapidly the fifteen niiles to the hunting village, wiJl fall upon that, thus giving the Indians a double lesson to remember, for, once we have done so, we will have troops to spare for the Overland trails and hunt down the road agents," was the rejoinder of Colonel Miles. CHAPTER V. T H E B L 0 \V F A L L S It was welt known to Colonel Miles that there a couple of thousand warriors in the Sioux stronghold, which he was to attack, and half as many more in the bunting village overlooking the plains, where they got their game. I But he was well aware that to keep them from get-ting on the offensive against the two posts, he must do some daring act that would strike terror to their hearts. He was also aware that in the stronghold there were atJ of a hundred white captives, men, women and children, and these could only be released by just such a bold stroke as it was his intention to deliver. His little army was a command of veterans, men who had long fought redskins, and knew that a stam pede meant death to all, so that he could rely upon them, while Buffalo Bill and his scouts were one and all heroes. The little army had camped in a secure hiding place by clay, building no fires until after nightfall when supper was cooked, and all prepared for the rapid march to the Indian stronghold. The scouts started well i11 advance, to be sure there was no ambush, and the men, mounting their well rested horses, and with the wheels of the guns hea v ily

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l'HE BUFFALO BILL STORIES. 13 :w.rapped, to prevent sound, they moved out upon their march. At two o'clock a halt was called, for the strong) old of the Indians was in view, a mile away, and ( Buffalo Bill reported all quiet there. 1 The men and horses had a couple of hours' rest, /then an early breakfast, which was cold, however, and Buffalo Bill, having the situation of the i stronghold, there were three columns of infantry sent against it. The guns were placed in position, to open fire when the infantry had gained places for action, .and the cavalrymen stood by their horses, ready to rrfount and at them, when their time to strike should come, f the scouts taking where they conld do most Just as the gray of dawn began to steal over the mountain tops, so that the gunners could see where to fire, the order was given, and six guns, two twelvepounders and four sixes, flashed forth red flames and sent terrific roars echoing from cliff to cliff. The shells went hurtling clown into the village, bursting viciously among the tepees, and scattering death and destruction around, for Buffalo Bill had made known where the captives were kept, so that heir position was avoided by the gunners. '\ It was a complete surprise, and after several rounds rom the guns, the infantry, with wild cheers, anced from the stronghold at a double-quick. i As they reached the village and their muskets be gan to rattle, the cavalrymen mounted and rode 1own to the attack also. l I Outnumbered though they were, the soldiers soon aw that the fight was theirs, and they pushed rapidly p, stampeding the women and children; driving the ) trarriors before them and setting fire to the tepees. 1 ) The captives were rescued and sent quickly on the rail leading to the hunting village, whither two guns, company of mounted infantry and a troop of cav( alry were now marching. ponies in the corral had been stampeded, but were captured, and within an hour's time the { tronghold \Vas a ruin, its people fugitives among the l\ ountains, save the braves ,\ ho were rallying for a ; low against their Yictors. 1 Down upon the hunting valley swooped the re ) eating victors, and they were met by the warriors 1ere who had been alarmed by the firing, and hoped c check the retreat. But the guns cut gaps in their ranks, the infantry charged, and when tlre cavalry came in sight the red-1 skin warriors broke b1 disorder and fled for their l ives, leaving their village unprotected. Here, too, other captives were rescued, and the tepees of the redskins were set on fire. Rapidly then the retreat was kept up, the cavalry protecting 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 besieged, but no attack was made, for the redskips had received too severe a lesson, and were not in the full foree o f their warriors. They, however, sent many a shot into '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 from the fort had met on their way up into the mountains. Colonel Miles camped on the way back, to checl\ any advance 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: The dead had been buried, and the wounded and captives who had been rescued, a hundred in number, were sent on to the forts. But when the third day passed anci Buffalo Bill came in to report that the redskins who had pLtrsued had returned to the mountains, and all these had been too badly hurt, and were too much demoraFzed, to recover for some time, the commands divided and marched for their respective forts. The hope of Major Dean, that he wo u ld find h i s daughter a captive in one of the Indian villages, had not been realized, and the closest questioning of those who were rescued failed to discover that they knew aught of her. Nor could it be ascertained from the captives that the Indians were in any way connected wit h t h e perpetrators of the foul deed in Death's Canon, for s uch had been the opinion of many. "I haye only you to depend on now, Cody, so I leave all in your hands," sadly said Major Dean, as he parted with the scout. "I shall do all in my power, major, to return yo u r daughter to you, and to punish her kidnapers. .That the three captives taken from the co a ch were

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14 THE BUFF ALO BILL STORIES. not foun d in the India n villa g es is to me a strong hope that they are held for ransom by road agents, and that no h arm will befall them. It is unfortunate, indeed but fr o m all accounts Miss Dean i s a very plucky young lady, and will bear her captivity with a goo d grac e ." "Th e n y o u will go upon the trail of those Death' s Canon murderers as soon as y{)u return to the fort, Cody?" I will sir and you know that I now have two men on duty in the canon, and as the ooach is to go through to-day, we may get news upon our arrival, and you shall oe at once informed o.f the result, miajor . "I thank you, Cody, and I rely upon y{)u," and, grasping the scout's hand, the major rode on after. his command. A s he passed to the front of Colonel Miles com mand, Buffalo Bill was called by that officer, who said: "Well, Cody, we gave the redskins a lesson to remember!" "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 de served the s uccess you have won.'' "Thank you, Cody, and a success which your valu a ble services m a de possible, aided by the brave men under my comma nd. But now what are we going to le arn at the fort about the doings in Death's Canon?" "I hope my two men have made some discovery, sir, and that Ben Bolt, going through Death's Canon by day, vnll avoid the fate of the other drivers, but I am yet doubtful, sir." "As I am; but what do you think of not finding Miss Dean, the sergeant's wife and the young solqier captives in neither of the Indian villages, Cody?" "That Indians are not the murderers, sir, that haunt Death's Canon." "But white men are?" "Yes, sir." "But who?" "That is to be discovered, sir; but they are outlaws, road agents of course." "And where are they?" "That I must find out, sir." "No one reports seeing them, o r h a vin g rJ.one s o." 'Very few live, sir to make any repo,rt of an attack on a coach on the Fatal Trail. "That is true. "Yet do you think Miss Dean and the other two were. slain? "If so, sir, we cannot find their bodies, and if not killed, then the road agents acted differently toward them from the way they served the1r other victims "You are right, and, if they killed them, for reason of their own _s:oncealed their bodies." I do not believe that they killed them, Colonel Miles. Being ahead as a scout, Buffalo Bill was the first to enter the fort, and hls inquiry reg arding Ben Bolt, the second of the volunteer driver s to take the stage through, was quickly made. The answer was that Ben Bolt had cQme throug. two days before alone on the coach, no passenger. daring to venture, and that he had been detained al night, according to orders from Colonel Miles, an dispatched the following morning for Fort Famine. He had been given orders to remain at For Famine all night, returning by day through th Death's Canon. Had he started early he was clue hours before and,' even starting late upon his return, he was Ion behind the time for his arrival. Buffalo Bill looked serious, and waited for t coming up of the column at the head of the com mand. Those who had gone in with the wounded soldiers and the captives had told of the double victory, s thait the whole contingent left in the fort turned ou to welcome the command. Guns were fired, cheers resoundeCl and the ban played as the tired soldiers filed into the stockade. While they marched to their respective the colonel gave orders that a line of scouts shoul be thrown around the fort, that the guards should b doubled, and the men should, a:s it were, sleep on their arms, for he did not know but that the. cunnin savages might seek revenge, expecting to catch the 1garris, on off its guard, rushing in upon them with an overwhelming force of warriors These orders issued, the colonel turned to Buffalo Bill, and said : "Now, Cody, you have something to communicate."

PAGE 16

THE BUFF ALO BILL STORIES. Buffalo Bill told what he had heard and the colonel T also looked serious. jl "I will start on the trail, sir, as as I have had r. supper and gotten a fresh 'horse," said Buffalo Bill. "But you are worn out." f "No, indeed, sir; I am all right, colonel." fl "Well, it would be the best thing to do, Cody, I 'admit, if the coach does not come in meanwhile. "'Who will you take with Y,OU ?" 1 "I shall go alone, sir." "Better take some force along m case you need aid." "'vVell, sir, I will take half-a-dozen scouts, and they r can camp in the valley this side of the canon, where I my horse, while I will go through alone and on lOt." "You will be taking big risks." tJ1 "It will he the only way, sir, to find out who these tnurclerers areY P ''Well, I trust all to you, Cody, only do not be too S \ ash," was the colonel's response, and the scout c\e1_parted. Going to his quarters, he selected half a dozen of best men. and, having had supper, mounted a horse and rode away from the fort, taking the atal Trail. i No sign of the coach had been reported, and the t1ore he thought of it, the more certain Buffalo Bill that either Ben Bolt had never reached F ort r Famine, or, doing so, had been killed upon refor it could not be that the brave fellow had, at I I I
PAGE 17

r / I l THE BUFF ALO BILL STORIES. Yes, there were two forms in the coach, both in the back seat, and both dead. "No; one leg seemed warm, and, quickly springing upon the step, he seized the hand and felt the pulse. It was yet feebly. In an,instant the chief of scants had taken a match from his case and struck it. The' flame revealed to Buffalo Bill the two scouts whom he had sent to protect the coach through Death's Canon. He uttered a cry as he reoognized them, in the flash of the light of the match, and, having seen that one of the men was alive, for he had heard a low moan, he took the dead one from the seat, made the living man as comfortable as he could with the cushions and closed the coach door. Then the lashings of the wheels were cut, and, mow1ting the box, Buffalo Bill placed Ben Bolt on top, tying his body so that it would not off, and, seizing the reins, sent the horses along at a tl{undering pace. They were only too anxious. to go, and went at a slapping gallop over a trail on which only a driver of skill and nerve would dare forne them at a rate. As he neared the camp of the scouts, Buffalo Bill opened fire with his revolver, and by the time he passed along the trail nearest to them, they came dashing down to meet him, mounted and ready for battle. "Ho, men! go to the Death Canon, but go on foot when you get near it, leaving of your number to keep the horses. "At daylight look for trails, and I will be back as s oon as I can return and there join you. "Ben Bolt is dead on top this coach, and within are Bennett and riill, the latter still alive, so I am going to see if he can be saved by getting him to the fort." With this the lash fell upon the horses and the eager 'team dashed away more at the same rattling speed as before, on the trail to the fort, twenty miles distant. Buffalo Bill came in sight of the fort just as the sun was rising. The sentinel on the watch-tower reported the coming o.f the coach at full speed of the horses, the driver laying on the lash. Soon after he reported that the driver was not Ben Bolt, but Buffalo Bill, but that tl-i'ere 'vvas a dead body on the top o1 the coach. Viorel was at once sent to Colonel Miles, so that when the coach dashed into 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 man here." Halting at the station, Buffalo Bill sprung to the ground, threw open the stage door and, placing his hand upon the pulse of the wounded man, cried: "Thank Heaven, he is still alive. "But he has been hard hit, and more than once, too." He then lifted the wounded scout tenderly the coach, and placed him upon the stretcher which four soldiers had hastily brought from the hospital. Y.he surgeon was there also, an\!l. ordered the wounded man carried quickly to a cabin near the hospital, as Buffalo Bill said, earnestly: usave him, doctor, not only for his own sake, for he is a splendid fellow, but because he can tell us who these murderers of Death's Canon are-he can solve this accursed mystery if you save him. \ "I will do all in my power, Cody, but he is a desperately vvounded man," was the surgeon's response. Buffalo Bill then hastened on to headquarters, where he flQund Colonel Miles ready to receive him. "You have news, Cody?" "Yes, sir v ery sad new s," and Buffalo Bill made known all that had occurred since1his departure from the fort. 'This is appalling, Cody, most appalling,' said the colonel, earnestly. "It is, sir, but the m o re determined am I to sif t the whole mystery to the bottom." "I am glad to hear you say this, Buffalo Bill, for it means that the guilty ones will yet be found and punished. "But what is to be clone now?" "I'll send one of my scouts on with the ooach, sir, and the report to Trail End, and Harkaway Harry will bring it back, and my man with him. "But will Harkaway Harry dare drive the coach through after these last murders?" Yes, sir, he will, for I know the man." "And then?" "\i\Then he goes thriough Death' s Canon, sir, be it

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THE BUFF ALO B!LL STORIES. 17 night or day, going and coming, I will be on hand to lend any aid that he may need, and discover where these murderers are. "Not alone, surely?" ''Yes, sir; I'll play a lone hand on the next run of the coach along the Fatal Trail, and after that, if I do not make a disw very I'll try another plan, which I have yet to make known to you, sir." "All right, I feel that the affair is in good hands, Co(Jy, so you shall have your way. "Now, what hope does Dr. Brandon give you of saving Hill's life?" ":'.'Jone, sir; but while there is life there is hope, is my be1ie f and if he can only bring him around to talk, much will have been gained." "Let us go, then, and see what the result is so far; but I forget that you need food and rest." 'Don"t mind me, colonel, for I'll get breakfast soon and then take a fresh horse for camp, where I can sleep fo. r some houTs." "Well, 'Ne will go together to the hospital." The colonel and Buffalo Bill then walked ,to the hospital and Dr. Brandqn met them at the door. What hope, Bllandon ?" asked the colonel. ''I fear none, sir, for he has a wound in the left lung, and another in the right side, with a third that grazed the skull. "Had he not arriYed when he did, he could not have lasted much longer, for he was ,Pleeding freely." .. He is uncon sc ious, then?" \ "vVholly unco nsci o us. colonel, in spite of all efforts to rouse him; but he has a s plendid constitution and may rally." ''Heaven grant it!" 'How long-, Surgeon Brandon, would you think he had been vYotmcled \vhen I got to him, which was at two o'clock?" asked Buffalo Bill. "I should say for four or five hours at least, from what observation I was enabled to make," was the reply. "Then he was shot late in the afternoon?" "He must have been." "And in pa ssing through the Death's Canon 111 daylight?" "Yes." '"This is remarkable, for there were Ben Bolt, the driver, and my tw9 scouts for the murderers to face, so there surely must haYe been a large force that ambushed them," said Bill, thoughtfully, and it was evident that he was more and more \\"or ried over the continual mystery turning up in the deeds done in the Death's Canon. Buffalo Bill paid another visit to the hospital l;ie fore leaving the fort in the afternoon, for the colonel had told him to get his breakfast and seek rest until two o 'clo ck, as he saw that the scout was beginning to feel the strain upon him. A soout had gone on with the coach .to Trail Encl, and was to return to the fort with Harkaway Harry, or alone if that driver backed But Surgeon Brandon could give Buffalo Bill no more hope for Hill, the scout, and so he a fresh horse and dashed away toward the Death's Caiion . He reached the camping place before sunset, and there found two of the scouts with the horses, the other having remained on the search. Before these two 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 appeared. -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!" "\Nhy did you leaYe the caiion before I came to join you?" "Fact is, chief, we saw night was coming on, and that canon hain't no place for live folks when the sun goes clown. "You were afraid, eh?" "You knows us all, Bill, and is aware we don't scare easy, but that canon, and what goes on there is out of ther common. yer see, and we put it to ther vote as ter whether we should go or stay." "We!!?" "Ther vote were unanimous that we should light out." "\V ell, boys, I can hardly believe you; but you should never desert your post, you know." "T11at'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 right, we will go to camp and have supper, and then I will go ort foot to the canon and see if I can find any spook or outlaw."

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18 THE BUFF ALO BILL STORIES. "Don't do it, Bill!" "Why not?" "Them as has turned up their toes in that canon 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 Ben Bolt and two of our pards went under last night." "They were killed in the afternoon, but, then, Hill may survive, though chances are against him." "I'm gla-d to hear that, Bill; but couldn't he talk and tell yer anything?" "No, he was unconscious." "Vv ell, if he could talk he could tell it all." "I only hope that he will be able to do so," and with this Buffalo Bill rode on to the camp. He ate a hearty supper, enjoyed his pipe, and, jus as the shadows began to fall upon the valley, started off oi1 foot for the Death's Canon. His men begged him not to go, but, seeing him determined to do so, wanted to go with him. But he said that one could escape notice when half a dozen could not, and he would go alone. He had put on moccasins, so that his step was noiseless, and as he clisa ppearecl in the gathering gJ.oom, lie drew a revolver in each hand, thus carry-ing them ready for instant use. Reaching the canon, he moved more cautiously and slowly, and at last came to the opening which had been the scene of so many reel deeds, all of which still lay in mystery. He crept along among the stunted trees and the rocks until he reached the spot where he had twice found the stagecoach. All was as silent as the grave. No wolf was even whining around in search of food, and the weird, ghoulish spot seemed even 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 busy. Not far away \\ere the graves, the white boards marking the last resting-places of the brave drivers of the Fatal Trail, dimly seen in the somber light, or rather darkness, for light there was none. At last the scout felt a drowsy feeling creeping over him. He had gone through much, and was very tired, so he decided to lie down and rest, knowing that he would awaken, fatigued as he was, at the first sound. So he spread his blankets and lay clown in a thicket to sleep. When he awoke he sprung to his feet in surprise, for the sun was shining brightly, and he had not been disturbed through the night by outlaw, _spook or wandering spirit. CHAPTER VI. ONE MORE TRIAL. Buffalo Bill felt moTtified at his having sl u mbe red so soundly through the night, and yet he could not but think that there had been no one near or he would instinctively have felt. their presence and awakened. His training had been such that he had come to have the acute hearing of a clog, 'the instinct of a wild beast almost, to protect himself and discover danger near. He looked about him and knew that the sun was all of two hours high. I Then he searched around for any trail, but only the stale ones were visible here and there in the hard soil. As he could make no discovery, and the stage was not due ooming that way again for clays, he thought it best to go back to the fort with his men, and start off again upon a lone scout just before Harkaway Harry should come through, to see what fate would be his. So back t
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THE BU Ff A.LO BILL STORIESo 19 "The would not trouble vou Nick while the J ' living would." "\V c.al, I can't git familiar with dead folks, no matter how I tries. "\ Vhen a man has handed in his chips, somehow I fears him; yes, I is afeerd o' a leetle dead body even, for they is so silent, so white, and seem to be think ing so deep about what they is seeing in ther sperit land. No, sir, no graveyards in mine." Buffalo Bill laughed at Nick's earnest way of de scribing his fear o f the dead, but not another one of the scouts die!. They all looked serious, and there was no doubt they felt as their comrade did, while their commander rose the higher in their. estimation from his utter disregard of the supernatural. So back to the fort went the scouts, and Buffalo I3ill made his report to Colonel Miles, with sincere regret that he had nothing to tell to cast any light upon the situation. But he told the colonel that it was his intention to go ahead of the coach at its next run, and to start the night before, taking up position in the Death Canon so as to be on the spot "long ahead of time, and endeavor to anticipate the coming of the murderers. ''You will take men with you, Cody?" ''No, co1onel, I will go alone, for a party of men would surely be seen." "Upon one condition you can go then." "Yes, colonel." "Promise to obey my commands. ''Certainly, sir." ''Then you can go upon condition that you shall find the securest of hiding-places, and then, no matter what occurs, you are not to venture forth, or attempt a rescue of the dri ver, if there are over three men to fight." ;'Three men, sir?" ' Yes, three pf these outlaws, murderers and rob'... bers, for that nt1mber I feel you can stand a chance with, but m 'ore than that I do not wish you to face, even if you have the adyantage of a surprise upon them." "Yes, sir." "You promise?" "I do, sir. " Well, under those circumstances you can go." "May I ask, Colonel Miles, if there is any change for the better in Scout Hill's condition?" "l\ c,ne." "The surgeon, then, has no hope?" "He has hope, yet i t is s o faint he hal'dly dares express 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, though Surgeon Brandon is doing all in his power to save him; in fact, keeps by him night and day, for he knows how much depends upon his being able to state what occurred, independent of his wish tn ::ave !:im." Soon .after Buffalo Bill to .ok his leave, and, going to his quarters, he found that there was much excitement in the fort about the murders committed in Death's Canon. The days passed slowly until the eve of the one on which the coach was expected to arrive from Trail End, when Buffalo Bill, after reporting to Colonel Mi les, mounted his horse and rode away toward Death's Canon to go upon his lonely sentinel duty. Casey, the scout, it was who carried the coach of poo1 Ben Bolt back to Trail End City. It was behind time, and a most anxious feelinoo existed among all the frontier settlem'ent a-s to the fate of Ben Bolt. All had heard how Chispa Charlie had o-one under b al<;>ng with the three miners, and how the young lady and the elderly woman had most mysterious disap peared, and it was not known whether they were cap tives 01 had been slain. Then, without a moment of hesitation. in the face of such tidings, brave Ben Bolt had himself ready to take the coach out, even after the news had C'Ome in that Diamond Dan, the scout, had also been siain upon the box. He had found no passengers, however, so had gone alone on the fatal run When he did not return on time men began to surmise the worst, and when Casey, the scout, came in and told his story of the death of Ben Bolt and the scout, Bennett, while the other scout, Hilf, lay wounded, per hf ps dying, in the fort hospital, there was a general murmur of indignation against the u nknown murderers, and a belief that Harkaway Harry should not go.

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20 THE BU ff ALO BILL STORIES ''No one will call him a coward if he don't," said one, and he echoed the sentiments of nearly all. If there were any who thought he should go, they were thos e who were his enemies for some reason or other. The night Scout Casey brought the coach in, the gathering at the saloon of the \Vayside Hotel was enormous, including all the people in Trail Encl City with very few exceptions. They played cards, drank, swore and canvassed the going of Harkaway Harry, the remark often being heard that he was a fool to go to s :re death. 'He hain't a-going," said a rough-looking man with an evil face. "Who says so?" asked one. "I does." "How do you know, Jake Kelly, that Harkaway isn't going?" "I knows by what I knows of him." "What is that?" The man saw that every eye was upon him now, a klead silence had fallen upon the room, and he had to uphold his position taken against the young stage
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THE BUFFALO BILL S T O R IES. 21 but a short distance away,1' and Buffalo Bill bade the captain goodby and hastened out upon the prairie. He soon found the scout, with hi s hors e, and said: "Ike, you must not be een going back through the main entrance on foot, so go to the headquarters gate and Captain May will let you in ." All right, Bill and luck to you," said the scout as Buffalo Bill leaped into his s addle and rode away in the darkness He took the stage trail to Fort F a mine and when he came to the creek. the last bit of water for many miles, he turned up the bank, and a quarter of a mile away found the camping-grolmd where hi s men had awaited him before. He went further up the v alley to where there was an ope n space, and the grass was long and plentiful. Here h e staked out his hors e s o that he could go to the edge of the creek and drink, as well as get food and th e n he went into a crevice of the rocks and cooked hi s supper. This disposed of and enough cooked be s ides for him to have a couple of clays cold provi s ions, he went on foot toward Death' s Canon. It was a couple of hours before dawn when he eached the canon, ,but he soon found a secure hid ng-place within easy pistol-range of the graves and he spot where the coach had always been held up. Spreading his blankets, he lay down to rest, with h air of a man who had ample lei sure upon his hands. The morning came, but he did not move fr.om his position, but as patiently as an Indian ate his cold breakfast and remained in hiding Just at noon he heard the rumble of wheels, and at once he was on the alert. He had brought his repeating-rifle with him, and hi s was placed read y to grasp at an instant's notice vhile his revolver s were in his hand, as he crouched eady to attack the moment an y foe of Harkaway arry revealed himself. In the excitement of the moment he had forgotten iis promis e to Colonel Miles, and there is no doubt ut that he would ha\'e fought six or eight men did hey appear, for his pos ition was well chosen among he rocks, s hado\Yed by stunted trees, and, with hi s eadly aim and a surpris e he felt he could render a ood account of him self. The coach dre w n ea r e r a nd was c oming along at a lapping pace, It must come within twenty-five feet of his posi tion, so he \\"Ould ha v e a good chance to see all that took place Nearer and nearer it came and suddenly rolled into \ ie\V. in the Open space in the canon which had been fatal to so many people. On it came, with Harka way Harry a lone on the box, his rein s grasped well in hant! his whol e attitude that of a man on the alert. As it drew nearer Buffalo Bill s aw that though Harkaway Harry's face was pale it \\'a s stern and fearle ss, like one who would do or die. A moment m .ore aud the coach swept by, the driver not knowing that help \\as near, for the bold sentinel was unseen presence unknown. And out of the s hado\vs sprung no foes, and Hark away Harry had run the gauntlet in afety, on the outward trip at lea st. ''\ell! that time the coach went through \\"ithout a hold-up. Can it be that the murderers have gotten booty enoug h, or h a ve become satiated in their greed for human life I wonder? Ah! I forget! there is a return run, a second gauntlet for Harkaway Harry to p a ss through. A nd here 1 mus t wait for I dare not leave my po s ition for a minute. It is a long \\'ait, but I guess I can stand it." So mu s ed Buffalo Bill after the coach had gone by. He re arranged his blankets, ate a oold dinner, washed down b y water from his canteen, and then settled him s elf on the watch for anything that might be seen in the Fatal Canon. "That Harkaway Harry i s a pf ucky fellow, and I should hate to s ee harm befall him. "He went by, ready to die if need be but full of grit, as his face really s howed and it was no fixed expres sion either, for he little dreamed that I was near. '"\Yell, it' s to calmly wait now until to-morrow, so I must bring my Indian training of patience to bear upon myself." Thus the afternoon passed slowly away A hungry wolf trotted into the canon, sniffed at the ne\Ymacle graves, and then scenting clanger, suddenly skulked away. A bird of prey, as thoug h recalling a spot where it had gotten food before. flew over the canon, and then alight.eel not fifty fee t from where the scout lay in ambush. Soon a fter s e, e ral deer came bounding through

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l 22 lfHE BUFF l\LO BILL STORIES. the canon, as though in fright of pursuers, and Buf falo Bill was a.t once upon the qui vive But no one came into view and at last the shadows began to fall upon the valley. I Afar off in the distant mountain tops the sunlight still lingered, but this soon faded from view and in. tense darkness rested upon all. Then the scout settled himself for slumber, and was soon s erenely s?eeping, wholly undisturbed by his weird and dismal surroundings. The night passed away, and it was another cold breakfast of meat and bread, with water to wash it down, yet apparently the meal was relished. The scout was there for work, and he was willing to put up with anything to discover the secret he sought to unravel. As the hours crept by he looked to his weapons, placed his repeating rifle in position for ready use, got his revolver within easy reach and waited. Noon. came arud he was all alive for work, be it what it might. Then came the distant rumble of wheels. Not a human being had yet shown himself in the canon. No foe had appeared. Could it be that the murderers of the canon had really given up their red work for gold? It would seem so. \/Vas Harkaway Harry to pass the deadly gauntlet a second time in safety? Such were the thoughts that filled Buffalo Bill's mind as the sound of the coming wheels grew louder and louder, "Harkaway Harry is driving very slowly this time, not like his run through on the outward trip. "Well, I can see no danger a waiting him here, 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 great Heavens! there is no Clriver on the box!" cried Buf falo Bill, suddenly springing from his place of am bush. The words of the scout were but too true; there was no driver upon the box! \i\There was Harkaway Harry? The team of six horses came trotting slowly along, the reins made fast around the brake on the right of coach. But the driver was not there! Did not the horses know this?. Were they not doing their duty faithfully in taking the coach to the fort? There was no need for Buffalo Bill to remain longer in ambush, he well knew. The harm had been done before the coach reached Death's Canon, as once before had been the case. So Buffalo Bill left his hiding-place and ran down into the trail. He called to the horses and they halted. They seemed to be glad to have the responsibility removed from them of carrying the coach to Fort Rest. Having halted the team, Buffalo BiU walked to the coach and threw open the door, starting back at what he beheld there. What Buffalo Bill beheld in the ooach, when he threw open the door, was enough to startle him. There sat Harkaway Marry upon the back seat, his hands and feet manacled, and his form tied up right, for the bullet wound in the center of his forehead showed that he was dead Upon his heart, fastened there with black pins, was a placard, upon which were a skull and crossbones in black, a r ed dagger, and the words in crim 1 son: Let another man dare drive this trail, and this shall be his fate I Buffalo Bill's face grew stern as death as he this placard on the dead stage driver's breast, and his eyes turned bright, while from between his clinched teeth came the vv'ords : "Another driver gone to his death; but I will drive this trail in spite o f all threats." He placed his hand t'lpon that of the dead driver, to discover that the flesh was still warm-proof that he could not have been long dead. "I will drive back over the trail and find the spot," he muttered. 1 Then he mounted the box, wheeled the team about and started upon the back track. i His eyes carefully searched the trail on either side for the spot where the coach had been held up. But on and on he went and no suoh place wa visible. He continued ;i.long the trail, however, thoug convinced that he had surely passed the spot wher the coach had been halted. !Then a desire seized him to go on to Fort Famine

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, THE BUFF ALO BILL STORIES. 23 He reached the relay and found that Harkaway Harry had passed there in safety. "I am going on 'to For-t Famine, Murdock, and shall return over the trail by night, so have the coach ready for me," be said to the stock-tender out at Relay Number Four. ';What! you going ter drive coach, Buffalo Bill?"' asked Murdock. "'vVell, I am, for this run at least. I shall put a man on who will g i o through, I think." "Who is he?" "'Nell, that is a secret, but if those mysterious murderers of Death's Canon get awa.y with the man I P,Ut on, they will have something to do, I can pledge tl1em." ''Well, it's gittin' time they was worsted, Bill." ''Yes, and their time will come sooner or later." The two assistants having hitched up the fresh team, Buffalo Bill mounted the box and drove away on the trail to Fort Famine. He put his team through rapidly, and it was an hour before sunset when the sentinel at Fort Famine reported the coach returning. This created great excitement, for it was surmised at Harka\vay Harry had been unable to. get hrough and had turned ahout, being pursued, for 1is horses appeared to have been pushed ahead. Then a great shout arose as Buffalo Bill was recog nized as the man on the box. He swept into the fort, ordered the stablemen to devote themselves to the horses and have them ready to return in just two.hours. Then guard was placed over the coach, in which vas the body of poor Hakaway Harry, and Buffalo Bill \Vent to headquarters to report to Major Dean. Care and sorrow had left its impress upon the face f the handSiome major. but he received the scout leasantly, and listened 'vith deepest interest to what 1e had to say. "I shall take the coach hack myself to-night, nd--" Bill was interrupted. ''And meet tl{e same fate of the others?" "I think not, sir, but I wish to find out by my reurn to-night, if these murderers are constantly amping on the trail or not." "How can you?" "If they hold me up, then they are camping upon he trail, sir." "If not?" "It will show that they have a retreat which they go to after the coach has passed and repassed." "And if they hold up the coach they will kill you." "I am not so sure of that, sir; but I must take the chances, ancl "ill, but I haYe certain ideas of my own \Yhich I ish to put to the test." ''\Veil, Cody, I must let you ba, e your way. and somehow I feel that you bear a charmed life. You have promised to rescue my daughter, or discover her fate, and I have confidence, perfect confidence in you. "I thank you, Major Dean, and I hope to keep my pledge to you before very long." Of course, it had become known that Buffalo Bill intended to take the coach back to Fort Rest. And more, he was to drive the Fatal Trail by night. Nor was this all. As though defying death, he was to carry back in the coach !he dead body of poor Harkaway Harry. This looked like tempting Providence to do its worst. So a large crowd had gathered to see the scout depart as driver o f the fated coach. for it was the same coach upon \\'hich so many had been killed. He had lh'-1.d a good supper; Maj cir Dean had given him a handful of fragrant Havanas, and, lighting one, he mounted his box in apparent good humor with himself and the world in general. He sent the' team away at a clashing pace and soon the rumble of wheeis died away in the distance, while many a head in the fort was ominously shaking, and bets \Yere quietly made among the gamblers that Buffalo Bill was taking his last ride, that he had dared Fate too far. But the scout held on. at a greater speed than that at which the team had before been sent over the trail. The coach \\'as empty. so light, and there was no baggage. The wheels had been well greased, and if the horses arrived at the relay distressed they would have ample time to rest before next coach clay. The relay was reached'well ahead of the usual time for the run from the fort, and Murdock had the fresh team all ready. Buffalo Bill had little to say, but Murdock started as a fl.ash of his lantern:' showed that the body of Harkaway Harry was still inside the coach. "You will have a new man ter drive her through

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.... 24 THE BUFFALO BILL STORIES. next time, y e r say Buffalo Bill ?" called out Murdock, as the scout mounted to the box. "Yes, I will," was the response. With this the whip snapped over the backs of the horses and they were away. The coach lamps were lighted, and cast grim, Clancing shadows as it rolled along, giving a weird aspect to the flying vehicle. But Buffalo Bill was a skilled, daring and power ful driver, and he knew the trail well. The horses felt that they had a master hand upon the reins, anid they went accordingly. The coach came in sight of the Canon just at midnight, just the hour when graveyards yawn and spooks prowl about, it is said. Evidently to the surprise of the horses, they were 'drawn down to a walk to pass through the canon. The coach was halted at the lone camp of Buffalo Bill, and, dismounting, he got his traps which he had left there. Then he mounted the box again and drove on at a funeral pace, until he had passed through the Fatal Ca.Ji.on. Once more then the horses were sent forward with a rush, until again halted at the creek, when Buffalo Bill dismounted, and, hitching the leader.5, vvent off at a run for his horse. The animal was found as he had left it, e xcept that there was a string about his neck, and a card attached. Reaching the coach hy aid of one of the lights, Buffalo Bill saw on the card a s follows: Don't dare us too far, Buffalo Bill! He said nothing, hitched his horse by the side of the off leader, and, again mounting the box, went on at the same rapid pace to the next relay Here he halted for fresh horses, and the men seemed startled at seeing the scout driving, and the dead body of Harkaway Harry in the coach. "\Ji/ e feared he'd get it, Bill, and I tell you we is getting skeered the way this killin' goes on," said one of the men at the relay. Buffalo Bill replied: "Don' t mind it, pards, for a new driver will go through, never fear. "Who is he, Bill?" "You'll see Away he went again, and, 111 spite of his 'halt m Death Canon and again for his hors e ; he w as then over an hour ahead of schedule time between Fort Famine and the relay station. On went the team, urged to a fast trot, and, just as dawn broke, Fort Rest came into view three miles away. The sentinel on the watch-bower reported the comtng in of the coach, and a cheer rose for Harkaway Harry, though he should have come in at sunset the clay before. As the coach drew nearer a troop of cavalry was halted at the stockade gates, for they were under orders to go out and see what had become of Harkaway Harry. Buffalo Bill was recognized 011 the box when still quite a distance off, and Captain May, in command of the troop, at once spurred toward headquarters to acquaint Colonel Miles with the fact. "That settles the fate of poor Harkaway Harry if Cody is bringing the coach in. "Order him to report at once t o me here, Captain May," said the colonel. The soldiers about the stockade gate caught a has ty glimpse of the form of Harkaway Harry a the coach rolled in, and at once their cheers ceased, for they knew tliat he was either wounded or dead. "Ask Colonel Miles to kindly come to the stage station, please, called out Buffalo Bill as he passed through the gate. colonel was there soo n after the coach halted. anti Buffalo Bill said: I wish you to see 'the situation a s it is colonel. "Harkaway Harry passed through Death's Canon on the outward run without molestation. I "At noon the next day the coach in, the hors e s trotting leis urely along, the reins fast to the lamps, and the body of Harkaway Harry inside, as you see it now. "That placard I left upon him, and his hands and feet are manacled, whil e he is tied in an unright po s i tion. "I at once drove back to find the place of the hold-up, but I was unable to do so, and went on to Fort Famine. "I then started back by night O\'er the Fatal Trail, got my traps left in Death's Canon, and met with no molestation. "I halted to secure m y horse, and I found him witl that string and card a b out his showing that he

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THE BUFF /\LO BILL STORIES. 2S ha d been visited, and my presence in Death's Canon was k11own. "I now desire, sir, to drive the coach on to Trail End City, and I will find a man who will take the coach through and re1urn, on the run between the forts, and I believe in safety. "At le. ast, sir, I ask your permission to make the trial." "You have done well, Buffalo Bill, and you shall have the permissio"n you ask. "If driver is killed, however, I shall stop the running of the coaches. "Now, about this poor fellow H arkawacr ?" "I would request, sir, that his body be sent in an ambulance to bury alongside the other drivers who have fallen there, for such w.as his wish." "It shall be granted. "And you?" "After breakfast, sir, I will start upon the run to Trail End City." "But you neeq rest." ''I had more rest than I needed, sir, the forty-eight hours I was in Death's Canon, tl!ank you, colonel." when it became known that Buffalo Bill had made the run, by night, too, through Death's Cafion, and with the dead driver in the coach, and was going to drive the coach on to Trail End City, there were a number anxious to go eastward with him, who had before feared to take the trip. So, when the coach started out with Buffalo Bill on the box he had two companions by his side and no less than nine passengers inside the stage, one of whom was an officer's wi.fe, another the wife of the sutler. 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 the mountain trail leading to Trail En
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26 THE BUFF ALO BILL STORIES. ''But was killed connng back?" "Yes." "Any robbery?" "Only Harry was robbed. for no passengers would travel, and the miners won't send any treasure along now." "It has come to that, then?" "Yes." ''Then that means that the stages to the forts must be t.?" "Because you must gi, e your men the chance rst." "Not a man \\ ill go. I know." "Try them." "Then it will be for your man to get the three hundred a run." "You are mistaken, for my man will ac;cept no pay." "What does that mean, Bill?" "That he is not driving for money." "What then?" "Under orders." \i\TelJ, whatever his motive let it go, so long as he will drive." ''Now, I must see what I can do among the drivers." The coaches east, north and south having departed, Pete Porter vvent to the saloon of The Wayside, where he knew he would find nine-tenths of the community. He was accompanied by Buffal o B i ll, and when they entered there was a general h ush fe ll upon the crowd. called out Pete Porter, the Overland bos;;. l have word from the company to get drivers for ;.he Fatal Trail. I \\'ish to tell you that poor Chispa Chadie, Ben Bolt and Harkaway Harry have gone under in their and yct the coaches must go through. "The offer is three hundred dollars for the run, and i;:'s a big ::.moun t of money to make i n fifty hours of time. "Now, who bid s for the prize-who takes the purse? "Don't all speak at once." Btit no one spoke; there was a dead siler1ce, for{ there were no takers. CHAPTER VHI. llUFFALO BlLL0S BLlND. For some reason Pete Porter seemed glad that there were no takers of his offer. He urged for a while. but in a faint way, and at las t when not a soul had spoken, he turned to Buffalo' Bill and said: 'You see how it is Bill?'' ''Yes." "Not a man will go." ''I can hardly blame them, Pete." \i\f ell, you said th.at if I found, no one to take my offer. you would find me a man who would do so.'' "Yes." "And yon will?" "I will." "Who is he?" 'He's tanding right here now." ''You?" "The same." ''It's sure death, Bill." "\tVhen my time comes to die. I'll 1'10 matter where I am. I'm not afraid to make the run," said Bill.

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I THE BUFF J\LO BILL STORIES. 27 A wild cheer came from the group of by-standers. No one could look upon the great scout and see his magnificent daring and courage without being moved to enthusiasm. "I'll start early to-morrow morning-," said Bill. "I think that it would be safer if I took no one in the coach with me." "I is willin' ter go ter help yer fight the varmints," said an old driver. "I'm plumb skeered to go myself, but I'll go if you goes, pard." "Thanks, old pard. I know you nave lots of grit," said Bill, "but I'm going to play a lone hand this time. I'll start early to-morrow morning. Hitch up two of your best horses to the coach, Pete Porter. I'll furni s h the two leaders myself. "We have good horses here paid for by the com pany," said Porter. "There is no use for you to in your own h o rses which are the most valuable m this part of the country, to be shot at by outlaws." "Don't worry about my hors es, pa rd," said Ettl; "they won't be shot. Did you ever notice that in 1 none of these hold-ups in Death Canon has there. been a single case where the horses were shot.? It has always been the driver who has been killed." There was a murmur of assent from the crowd of men who had g-athered to gaze in admiration at the daring man who had so boldly offered to run the death gantlet through Death Canon. "\Vhat is yer plan, Bill?" asked one of the men. "Never mind what it is, my friend," said Bill. ''I've made the trip before, and I'll make it again. The first time I made it on a scout. This time there 1 will be a little shooting done. I'm fixing up a blind f.o:r these road agents. That's all I'm going to say about it. It's foolish to talk too much about a thing before you do it." "What doe s yer mean by a blind, Buff'ler Bill?" These words came from a score of voices. "Sorry, but I can't tell you any more," said the scout, laughing and lighting a cigar. "You'll know all about it in a day or fwo." ''Yer is all right, anyway," said an old miner. "Three cheers for Buffalo Bill." \Vith a hearty good will the cheers were given by all assembled. "Good-night. pards. and thank you for your good wishes," said Bill. "I want a good night's sleep to night. l 've got a big day coming to me to-mor ro\v." Buffalo Bill owned a oonsiderable piece of property in the v icinit y of Trail End City. He had re ceived th e land from a chief of the Winnebago Sioux, whom he had once befriended, and in the corral there, cared for by an old trapper who lived; rent free in a cabin on Buffalo Bill's land, were:! several fine horses belongingto the scout. . it was two of these that Buffalo Bill selected to be his leaders in runnmg the gantlet through Death Canon. Early the following morning they were hitched to the coach, Buffalo Bill inspected carefully their harness and trappings. After a hearty breakfast, the scout began his preparations for his perilous journey. He cleaned his revolvers carefully, looked over and reloaded his Winchester, and placed another rifle, also carefully loaded, in the inside of the coach. Those who had gathered to watch his departure wondered as they saw this, but they wondered still more when they saw him carry a heavy and bulky bundle from hi:; room and throw it into the coach. None of them dared to ask any questions. The night before Buffalo Bill had announced that his pfans were secret and that he did not care to say anything more about them. There was nro one there who cared to incur hjs displeasure by pestering him with questions which he did not care to answer. At length everything was in readiness, and Buf falo Bill climbed lightly to the high seat and seized the reins. "Give them their heads, boys," he called to the men who held the hor,ses. "Good luck to ye, Bill!" called Porter. "Hurrah for Bill Cody!" yelled the trowd. "May you have a speedy journey!" cried one well wisher. "And a safe return!" called another, and away went the coach in a cloud of dust and an uproar of cheering. But there were many men who gazed after it with sad, anxious faces. There were many who feared that the gallant scout who drove away so gayly was going to his death Meanwhile, the scout was whirling along on his way. At Fort Rest, the pole horses were changed, but the two leaders remained in the harness, at Buffalo Bill s request. Colonel Miles and several of the other officers gathered around the scoutr egging him no desist from his dari1'1g undertaking. "It is madness, Cody," said Colonel Miles; "every driver who has tried to run that gantlet has died." "My plan is bound to succeed." "And you won't tell what it is?" "It's a secret until after this band is broken up." After a hearty lunch Buffalo Bill started off again. But now he drove at a slower pace, and at a short distance from the point where the road wound through Death Canon the scdut pulled his team to a standstill. The two leaders were &o well trained that they stood at a word froni. Cody, ahd the other horses followed their example.

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28 THE BUFF ALO BILL STORIES. Then it became evident what the nature of Buffalo Bill's blind was. Unwrapping the parcel within the coach, after first scouting carefully in all directions to see that there was no one watching his movements, Buffalo Bill drew forth the dummy of a man stuffed with straw and made to resemble a stagecoach driver fully d:ressecl So lifelike was the resemblance that when Buf falo Bill had perched the figure upon the box it was impossible to tell even from near by that it was not a real driver that was sitting there. T11en the reins were wound in the hand of the dummy and Buffa lo Bill went f ,orward and spoke to the two leaders. These two dumb. parcls of his he had trai1w:d for many a year, and he depended upon them to guide the coach through Death Canon in safety. At a word from him they started at a slow trot, and as the coach swung p cast Buffalo Bill sprang aboard and closed the door after him. Then oommenced the running of the death gantlet. At an easy pace the coach wound down through the canon. Suddenly there was a Rash from behind a rock, and the sharp crack of a Winchester. The leadens knew what to do a11d stood stock still, the pole horses were forced back upon their haunches and the lumbering coach came to an ab-rupt stop. The dummy driver, owing to the shock, fell forward, as Buffalo Bill had intended, and it looked, indeed, as if some poor driver had just passed in his checks. Then from behind rocks and bushes came five men on foot, bearded and shaggy and looking like the rascals they were. They approached the coach in a gr01 ,1p, when sud denly a succession of shot so quick that they seemed like a continuous rattle came from within. Four of the, mtm fell stone dead. The fifth, wounded through the leg, struggled to arise, but, before he could do so, the scout had bounded from the coach, disarmed him and dragged him behind a rock, so that he might have shelter in case there were more of the outlaws. But there was little clanger. The raiders had consisted of five men and Reel Ike, the villain who had been captured by Buffalo Bill, was the last of the band. At the po_int of a pistol he told of the secret retreat where Major Dean s daughter, the sergeant's wife and the young soldier had been imprisoned to await a ransom. Buffalo Bill found it after bincli1ig Reel Ike. It was a cave with an into the canon so small that it had to be entered on hands and knees. The mouth was so overgro> n with bushes that it was impossible for one who had not been informed of its whereabouts to find it. It was supplied with air by long cracks and chinks in the rock above, and lit by torches which. the ban dits had arranged so that their smoke would filter through the roo.f. /. This secure hiding-place had harborea the bandits for weeks, and as they rode no horses, and as the ground was hard and\focky in the yicinity, they had not left any trails. In this cave, which was filled with booty and provisions, Buffalo Bill found Mfl.rjorie Dean, bound and gagged and nearly dead from the rough treatment she had received. Beside her were the other two prisoners. It was the work of a few moments to loosen her bonds and carry her to the coach, where the great soout made her as comfortable as was possible under the circumstances. Beside her sat the sergeant's wife and the young soldier. Then, wheeling his team, Buffalo Bill drove back toward Fort Rest. \ There was a royal welcome and a rousing which is remembered to this day, when the scout drove into the fort with the rescued prisoners. Then there was a lynchi11g bee in Death Canon a few later when Reel Ike was forced to kick the bucket. Buffalo Bill refused the rewards offered him for his rescue of Miss Dean and for the breaking up of the band of outlaws. "My reward is in knowing that Miss Dean is safe," he said, "and that Buffalo Bill's blind proved to be a winner. Divide the rewards among the widows and families of the stage drivers who were murdered by the outlaws." THE EKD. Next week's issue (No. 61) will contain: "Buf-1 falo Bill and the Masked Driver; or, The Fatal Run Through Death Canon." The scout was not through with Death Canon yet. That masked driver will be a puzzler to you, bqys. You would all recognize him if you heard his name, for you have often heard of his exploits, and yet you will not be able to guess who he is. Read the story and find out all about him.

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Swing yer lariats, boyst and have a throw at one of those prizes. A chance for every one who can write a thriiling story. Any on:: of you may i:e one of the lucky ones. Look on page 31 if you want to kt?-ow what the prizes are and how to get one. A Canoe Adventure. (By Edwin Cromer, New Jersey.) One hot afternoon my friend and myself went do\\ to the bay for a swim. My friend, whos e name was Sherwood, had just bought a canoe so w e thought that we would take a paddle first. So we started out. We first went to the spiles, which are about half mile from the shore Then we went to the little island out in the hay. On both si d es of this island are rows of rocks which you can only see at low water. Well, 'we were paddling along when "bump," and a sharp rock went through the bottom of our canoe. The first thing I heard was my friend saying: "Ed, we're sinking." We were both good swimmers, so we struck out for the island. The bay was full of sharks, and I thought every min ute a shark would grab one of us. But they didn't, and we reached the island in safety. After a while a rowboat passed by. It came and took us off and towed our canoe ashore, and we did not go out to that island in that canoe again in a hurry. This hap p ened in New York Bay. An Adventure In a Boat. (By Roy Sherry, Pa.) One day last summer I borrowed a rowboat and rowed over Rocky Ledge about two miles off, aud moored the boat to the island, which was low and rocky, with one exception. It had one high, rocky peak, with a flagpole at the top. I went arollnd exploring, getting she lls and other things, aud at last I got tired and was surprised to see how low the Slln had suuk, so I went to find the boat, but found she had slipped her moorings. I went all around looking for the boat, and at last I got alarmed. I knew toward eveuing that the high tide covered the island,' but not the so I waited, and the water rose hi gher a1:d higher, so I at last concluded to climb the cliff, whibh was no ea sy ta s k, bnt I remem beed that I would be drowned if I did 11ot, so I beg a n. It was hard work, but at last I got to the top and held on to the pole. I was scratched and torn, and still the water rose Utttil it wa s up to my ankl es, and then began to tall. I manag ed to bold on to the pole till morning. I was pretty faint and thoroughly s c ared. I then rai s ed my red shirt on the pole, whic h wa s s een by a sail boat sent on t to search for 111 e. When I got home I promise d never to go to Ro cky Ledge again without m other's permission. Our Narrow Escape. (:By James Carroll New York.) Last year my cousin and I went camping in the north-. em part of Maine. Our c amp wa s situ at e d on the bank of a small but pictmesque lake. In the vicinity of tbe lake the woo d s were fill e d with game and the l ake itse lf was filled with fish of all kinds. Around the lake grew niany tree s a nd it was a very pretty spo t. After remaining in our camp for se v e ral clay s, we de ci d ed to go in se arch of so .me game. Having heard some moose in the woods the night b e fore our Indian guide took me in the canoe, and we paddled off. We paddled along the shore for some time and finally the guide stopped and told me to watch him and do as he did. He took a stick aud lighted it and put it in the bow of the canoe and I did the sam e With th e se lights we could distinguish the surrounding objects. While paddling along the guide stopp ed and grabbed his gun and fired. Then we heard a great crashing in the bu shts and out rushed a b ear. He sprang into the lake and made for onr canoe. The guide the pad dle aud dipped it into the water when it snapp ed into two pieces. He then paddled with his hands. The bear kept coming ton a r d us and at las t he caught. the canoe and turned it over, and we fell into the water.

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30 THE BUFF ALO STORIES. As we fell, I grabbed my gun. The bear swam at the guide, and the guide, seeing him, dived beneath the water and stabbed the bear with his knif e. This he re peated several times, aud at last, being exhat;sted, I came to bis assistance. With my gun in my hand and standing waist d ee p in the water, I put the muzzle of the gun to tile bear's head and fired. He uttered a groan and sank. As the bear sank the guide caught him an
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I THE BUFFALO BILL STORIES. 31 but y ou ma y imagine the a gony of suspe n se we suffered while the train was crossing the tres tle It was really going very fa s t but to us it seemed like ages before it got across, for we h a lf expected to see one or both the ladies dashed to the ri ver below. But nothing of the kind happened They came off the bridge crying and sc ol ding us because we didn' t come out and carry the m off the trestle or something of that kind. Run Over By a Wild West Horse. ( B y Charlie Ames Ia. ) One day last year I was working for a fellow up in Lonbardvile, and one Sunday I was going home to take my s i ster home and had to drive a Wild We s t horse and a high life h orse They were hitched to a buggy and I started hom e an d just got a little way from the gate when I met a b oy. The wi ld horse t ried to run away and I pulle d and pulled, and I got them s top ped, an d they went the re s t of the way down there. When I s t arted back my brother was with me and w e came to a big bridge. When we went down off the bridge I h el d the horses in' and the buggy ran upon them. That made them run and the seat went over and I bung on the lines and they p ull ed me over the front of the buggy, and the buggy ran over me. They went on aud they got loo se from tbe buggy and ran about a mile before they were caught. Lost at Sea. (By R obert Glass, Ore.) Las t summer I was down at Long Beac h and on e day a frien d sa id: "Let us go fishing out to the 'Rocks. I said, "All right, we w ill go at five o'clock to-mor row morning The next day we got up on time an d started out with our lunch and fishing tackle and walked a bout three miles to the "Rocks" and started to fis h, but fishing wus not good, and I suggested going to fis h in the bay. We reached the bay about seven o'clock a. m and asking a kind fisherman to l o an u s his boat, which he did, and warned us not to go out too far as the tide was going out. We rowed out about a quarter of a mile from shore and started to fis h for cod. Here we c aught quite a few fish and not n oticing the tide, we drifted out in the bay. We tried to row back, but to our dismay the tide was too strong and we were going nearer and nearer to the bar when a current brought us back to shore. Here we built a fire and warmed ourselves. We returned the boat to the owner, and he s aid we had a narrow escape from being carried away out to sea. We returned home hungry a nd tired, none the worse for our terrible experience, and I made up my mind never to go fishing out in a bay any more. rsmNcomPLETEI i FISHING TACKLE I ASSORTMENTS 6IVEN AWAY AS PRIZES I Look on the Back Cover of No. 52 to : See What They Are Like. I : I I I I IF YOU WIN ONE of these famous fishing tackle assortments you will have everything you could possibly need in the way of fishing tackle. You will have such a complete assortment that you will be able to MAKE MONEY retailing hooks, lines and sinkers to your comrades who have not been fortunate enough to wi n prizes. You may become a dealer in fishing tackle if you win one of these prizes, for you will have a complete assortment of over NINE HUNDRED HOOKS of All Kinds, ONE HUNDRED LINES, Besides SINKERS and TROLLING HOOKS. HOW TO WIN A PRIZE. This new Prize Anecdote Contest is on the lines of the one which has just closed-one of the most successful contests ever inaugurated. Every boy in the country has had some THRILLINC ADVENTURES. You have had one yourself-perhaps you were held up by robbers, or were nearly run over by a train; perhaps it was a close shave in a burning building, in scaling a precipice, in bear-hunting, or swimming; whatever it was, WRITE IT UP. Do it in less than 500 words, and mail it to us with the accompany ing coupon. All entries must be in b efore September I. The contest closes on that date. The Prizes Will Be Awarded to the Seven Boys Sending in the Best Stories. L ook on the back cover of No. 52 for photograph and description of one of the prizes. To Become a Contestant for These Prizes cut out the Anec dote Contest Coupon printed herewith, fill it out pro.l'erly, and send it t o BUFFALO BILL WEEKLY care of Street & Smith, 238 William Street, New York City, together with your anecdote No anecdote will be considered that does not have this coupon accompanying it. COUPON. BUFFALO BILL WEEKLY ANECDOTE CONTEST, No. 4. Name ........................ ............................... : i I i i I i : State.................................................................. i .Title of Anecdote ................................................... i ........ ............................. ... \.

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r BUFF !\LO Bill STORIES . (LARGE SIZE.) Containing the Only Stories Authorized by Hon. WILLIAM F. CODY ("Buffalo Bill"). 32-Buffalo Bill in Massacre Valley; or, The Search for the Missing_ Ranger. 33-Buffalo Bill in the Hidden Retreat; or, The Captives of Old Bear Claws. 34-Buffalo Bill's Disappearance; or, The Stranger Guide of the Rio Grande. 35-Buffalo Bill's Mission; or, The Haunt of the Lone Medicine Man. 36-Buffalo BHI and the \.\foman in Black; or, In League with the Toll-Takers. 37-Buffalo Bill and the Haunted Ranch; or, The Disappearance .of 'the Ranchman's Daughter. 38-Buffalo Bill and the Danite Hidnapers; 01, The Green River Massacre. 39-Buffalo Bill's Duel; or, Among the Mexican Miners. 40-Buffalo Bill and the Prairie Wolves; or, Hunting the Bandits of Boneyard Gulch. 41-Buffalo Bill at Painted Rock; or, After the Human Buzzards. 42-Buffalo Bill and the Boy Trailer; or, After Kidnappers in Kansas. Bill In Zigzag Canyon; or, Fighting Red Hugh's Band. 44-Buffalo Bill's Red Allies; or, Hand to Hand with the Devil Gang. 45-Buffalo Bill in the Bad Lands; or, Trailing the Veiled Squaw. 46-Buffalo Bill's Trail of the Ghost Dancers; or, The Sioux Chief's Secret. 47-Buffalo Bill's Deadliest Deal; or, The J)oomed Desperadoes of I Mine. 48-Buffalo Bill's Secret; or, The Trail of T.rait:or. . 49-Buffalo Bill's Phantom Hunt; old Guide of Colorado Canvon. so-Buffalo Bill's Brother in The Redskin Lariat Rengers. 51-Buffalo Bill's Trail of __ ah Tigers; or, The Doorn of the Branded Hand. 52-Buffalo Bill's Bo a; or, Training the Buckskin Boy. 53-Buffalo BiWs wli"'of Vengeance; er, The Scout's Boy Ally. 54-Buffalq 8iJ d the Mad Hermit; or, Finding a Lost Trail. 55-Buffflf; s Bonanza; or. The Clat) of the Silver Circle. 56-Bu '13ili's Mascot; or The Mystery of Death VaHey. 57-. o Bill and the Surgeon Scout or, The Brave Dumb Messenger. 58 ffalo Bill"s Mysterious Trail; or, Track:ng a Hidden foe. Buffalo Bill and the Masked Hussar; or, Fighting the Pirates. Back numbers always on hand. If you cannot 'Ct them from your newsdealer, five cents a copy 1'1 wm b
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.f-+-+'+-+-+ t t t t t t t t I t t ........ t t t t t t It t t It ff I I f I I I f I I I I I I I I I I I f f I I f I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I f I I I I + 11.llllllllllllllttttllllllllttlllllttll . The BOYS' OWN LIBRARY A SERIES OF BOOKS ... BGYS .. Edward S. Ellis Horatio Alger, Jr. James Otis . Matthew White, Jr. Arthur M. Winfield George Manville Fenn Cap(. Ralph Bonehill Wm. Murray Graydon Brooks JYlcCormick HE BOYS' OWN LIBRARY consists of one hundred copyrighted titles .,... published in this series only. The ooks are bound in cloth in highly illuminated cover designs, and equal in every respect to the average high-priced works. Price, 75 cents each. For sale at all first-class book stores. C a talogue on application to the Publishers, .:1.:1-.J' .J' STREET & SMITH, 238 _William Street, NE'-W YORK I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I 111 I I I I I I I 11111 I I I I I 111 I I I I 11 I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I 11 I I I I 1+-t


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