Buffalo Bill's steel-arm pard, or, Old Weasel-top's mission


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Buffalo Bill's steel-arm pard, or, Old Weasel-top's mission

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Buffalo Bill's steel-arm pard, or, Old Weasel-top's mission
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Buffalo Bill stories
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Buffalo Bill
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New York
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Street & Smith
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English
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Dime novels. ( rbgenr )
Western stories. ( lcsh )
Buffalo Bill -- Fiction -- 1846-1917 ( lcsh )
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serial ( sobekcm )

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University of South Florida
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University of South Florida
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020910921 ( ALEPH )
15933949 ( OCLC )
B14-00111 ( USFLDC DOI )
b14.111 ( USFLDC Handle )

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S THE TREACHEROUSKEDSKIN TR/fP TIJHU/ll HIS TOl!h!HAWK AT DUIFALOB!Ll OLP WEASEL.TOPS STEELARH SHOT OUT AND PULLED THE RASCAL Fft0/'1 /(IS 110/?SE.

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Issued Weekly. B y 1#/Jscri'jllw,. $2.50 jer year. Entered as Secondc lass Ma l te r at tlte N. Y. Post Offict!, fly S TREET & SHITH, 79-89 Sftlentll Aue., N. Y. Entered accordineta Act of Ccngrt!ss i tilt! yt!ar 1909, in tlu Offict!af tlte Librarian af Ccn.rress, Waslting-tan, D. C. B e ware of W i ld Wes t imita t ions of t he Buffalo Bill Stories. They are about fictitious characters The Buffalo Bill weekly is...t.he only weekly conta ining the adventur e s of Buffalo Bill, ( ol. W. F Cody) who is known all o ver t he world as t he king o f scouts. / N o 42t. NEW YORK, June 5, 1909. BUFFALO BILL'S STEEL=ARM PARD; O R, Old By th e a uth o r of BUFF A L O BILL." i ' CHAPTER I. OLD WEASEL-TOP AND THE CHINK. ; Old Weasel-top rode to the crest of the rise, where he drew rein. There, shading his eyes with his one good hand, he stared hard along the trail he had for some time been following. The horse growing re s tive he elute.bed the dropped rein with the steel hook which he used deftly in lieu of his mi s sing right hand, and brought the animal with a jerk to a stand s till. "Whoa, you !" he s aid. "Ye ain't had enough desert travelin' yit, to take ther fire out o' ye-huh? Well, I reckon you 'll git it before we come up with that Chink." Before him were the tracks of four horses, making a well-defined trail, which even ,an inexperienced man could have followed. They led straight ahead, through a desolate region whose chief characteristics were rocky hills and sagebrush level s with here and there acres of cactus', or mesquite, or manzanita scrub. "Whar that Chink is g o in' to with all that gold, if he had any gold, is what puzzles me!" Old Weasel-top went on, talking to his hor se. "From the outlook, after follerin' him a half a day, it looks as though he was gittin' clean out o' the part o' the world that keers fer gold. If he has any, he must have nigh a half a ton of it; that's what the Indian told me-that in the cache thar was a Mexican cartload of the stuff. Seems, some times, as if I must have been dreamin'. But thar was the cache, which this Chinaman had robbed; and what ever was in it he's got, on the backs of them horses He clutched the rein again in his left hand and rode on, studying the tracks of the four horses. One of the horses he knew was ridden by the 1Chinaman he was following; the other three were led horses, presumably loaded with gold taken from the cache he had men tioned. For an hour or more Old Weasel-top -rode on along that plain trail. Then he saw that it had "scattered"; the horses had, at that point, gone separate ways "Now, what does this mean?" he said, studying the tr,acks where they parted. He swung down from his saddle for the purpose of a close inspection; then went forward along one of the trails, pulling his horse by the rein, through which he had hooked his steel "hand Suddenly he jumped back with a cry of fright. A revolver had been poked at him over the top of a bush, and the head and body of a Chinaman came into view, the Ch i nk having got the drop on Old Weasel top with exceptional cleverness.

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THE BUFF ALO BILL STORIES. "You see um revolv'-heh ?" said the Chinaman as his "What you oiler um trail for?" finger pulled on the trigger and the hammer of the re"Which trail?" volver began to rise. "You thlow 'um hands up quick/' "Oh, me know! You no can fool Wun Lung. Old Weasel-top, stepping back with a snort of astonknow me velly well, I think. Me undelstand ishment and fright, was not slow in obeying that com-man; me live Flisco velly long time. Savvy? mand. A revolver will hurl missiles for a Chink quite Buff'lo BiII man." You white You as well as for a white man; and Weasel-top was not The know ledge ought not to have surprised Old minded to have a lead mine started under his skin Weasel-top, but it did. This Chink knew he had \ been just then. recently with Buffalo Bil\, and so must have understood The Chinaman wore a coarse blue blouse, Chink trousall along that he was coming on the trail in pursuit of ers and shoes, and had his queue done in a neat coil the treasure which he supposed had been taken by the under his dusty black hat, which was of American make. Chinaman from the cache. The revolver had a decidedly American and business"You with Buff lo BiII when he findee Chinee smug-Jike air. glers, hey? Me know that so. You catchee many When Weasel-top had put up his hands, or rather had smugglers and Chineeman ; Buff'lo BiJI take um all same put up one hand and the steel hook which did duty back, put um in jail Flisco. That velly bad for Chinee for the other, the Chinaman came forward, pointing the man; velly bad for smugglers. Then you come this revolver at his face; and proceeded with Oriental deftway chop-chop-velly fast; you think Wun Lung gotee ness to relieve him of his weapons. some gold on horse, and you gitee um. But you no When the @hinaman had buckled Weasel-top's belt gitee um. You wantee see where Wun Lung takee gold; round his waist, stowed the sheath knife in his blouse, you no can see." and had taken possession of Weasel-top's Winchester "I reckon I ain't goin' to very fast, right now," Old and its ammunition, he ordered the man to sit down. Weasel-top admitted grimly. "We have talkee-talkee," he aid; "we say many "You go not at allee," s aid Wun Lung. "You see um things, bum by." rocks here? Spoil trail; no can oiler um. You 'go Then he took Weasel-top's horse, that had at first Buff'lo Bil. You say, Buff'lo Bill go back chop-chop; drawn back, but afterward had s tood still, and leading you tellee him he no can find trail; velly much danger. it .some distance away he tied it to a bush with the bridle Savvy?." rem. "You mean that you want me to return to Buffalo Seated on the ground in painful obedience Old WeaselBill and tell him that the trail played out and I couldn't top looked longingly at the horse as it was being led off; do no more with it; and that thar's so much danger out looked at the saddle 11olsters, in whicli two good rehyar he'd better go back himself?" volvers rested; and at the pack of fo9d and the water Wun Lung nodded his head in assent and approval, bottles on the animal's back. and a smile spread over hi s bland yellow face. The hopes he had held seemed to have fallen to pieces "Velly good!" he said. "You do that, me no killee." with a suddenness that bewildered him. "You'll kill me if I don't?" When the horse had been disposed of the Chink came A snarl grated in the throat of the Chinaman. back; having all the while Uept the white man from "Me kiJiee um quick!" he cried. And there could be jumpitig up ana running, by threatening him with the no doubt that he meant it. revolver. A crafty look came into the blue eyes of Old Weasel"N ow we falkee," he said, dropping down cross-legged top. on the ground before his prisoner; "we have plenty much "Well, gimme my horse back, and I'll vamose. I _got ta!kee_:_heh You like talkee?" to do it, I reckon." 'de kept the revolver pointed at Weasel-top, with a The shrewd Chinaman saw and understood that look; finger on the trigger. it told him that the white man would obey just as long Old Weasel-top was so angered, as well a amazed, as he had to, and no longer. He smiled grimly. and so wholly irritated by what had occurred, that all Still holding the revolver so that it covered Old these things, combined with his sense of self-condemnaWeasel-top, Wun Lung thrust a hand into the folds of tion, made it impossible for him to speak at once. He his blous e and brought out a sin g ular object, at which felt hot inside, his face burned, his bright blue eyes were YV easel-top stared', having never seen anything like it. starig, and his head was dizzy. The object resembled a combination of alarm clock "You speakee Inglis, hey?" demanded the Chinaman. and mirror, though the clock part, if that was what it Weasel-top with difficulty found his tongue. was, was flat and saucer shaped. The mirror was where "Yes, o' cour?e !" he grunted. / 1 the face of the clock should be; and, instead of clock "Velly fine! I velly glad you talkee Inglis, for we hands, there was a shining metal ball. make good understand, hey?" "Yott see um?" said the Cl:iinam,an, holding up this "I reckon!" the white man grunted. "What do you singular object. "Me make um go for you." want of me?" He dropped his revolver on his knees long enough "Right now wantee talkee Inglis. You see um reto give a few twists to the key, setting the little ball in volv' ?" front of the mirror to whirling. It went round at a "Yes, I see it. But I'd ruther you p'inted it! in angreat rate, so that to watch it soon made the beholder other direction; fer, the way you're '.fingerin' it, it's li'ble feel dizzy. to go off." Old weasel-top looked at it curiously, however, ob-"It go off very q,uickee if white man not speakee up. serving that in the mirror his features were revealed. Me got the dropee-hey?" "You see um ball go fast,'' said Wun Lung. "Well, you have; I'll admit it." "Whatever is it fer?" asked Old Weasel-top.

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THE BUFFALO BILL STORIES. 3 "This Chinee plaything." "Well, it looks it! But showin' it to me now is a waste o' time, seems to me; jes' go on with what we was talkin' about! I said I'd vamose if you'd gimme my hor se and cast me adrift; and I meant it. I reC'nize that you'v e got the drop on me, and so I has ter do whatever you says." But while making this protest he still stared at the mirror and the shining metal ball that spun in front of it, which the Chinaman had set on his knees by the side of the revolver. "You Buff'lo Bill pard, heh?" said the Chinaman "Well, ye may call me that." "What do with Buff'lo Bill?" "What was I doing with him?" "Yes; what do with Buff'lo Bill?" "Well, it was je s t acksdent, as yer may say, that I happened ter be with him. It come about through a Chinaman, and sent him huntin' _chinamen. But I wasn't mixed up in it furder than that; so you needn't look too blamed cross-eyed at me! I'm willin' to tell yer the whole thing, if you'll let me go when I do, an' gimme me my horse and weapons." e give um all same hor se and othel things," the Chinaman promised glibly. "I reckon I've got ter trust ye fer that, hey? Well, I'll resk it! I'd been down thar by ther Twin Buttes, them two red sandstone hills that ri s es on the American side, clost by the Mexican line." "You come hunt um smuggler?" demanded Wun Lung with an expression that alm os t terrified the white man. "No, you're off there-I didn't!" "You come Buff'lo Bill!" "Yes, I did; but I was je s t t ry in to explain to you how 'twas." "Tell um all s ame truth." "I'll do that, too; but you've got to let me go, if I do. You ain't got no cause to hold me." The Chinaman looked a s if he doubted that. "I was in a town away north of the line after I'd wandered round, and by chance run across a dea\]. China man, who had fell down and died in the desert. His name was Chin Loo, and--" The s narl that broke from the throat of Wun Lung stopped the flow of the white man's words. But imme diately the Chinaman ordered him to go on. "It makes you mad jest ter hear that Chinaman's name, does it? Well, I don't wonder at that. He warn't no friend of yours, but was workin' for Buffalo Bill and the U nited States gover'ment. He had a message for Buffalo Bill, which I found in hi s blouse; and in that town I mentioned I give it to Buffalo Bill. That brought him down this way; and he corralled a lot of Chinamen that was bein' smuggled across the border, as well as the white men that was <;loin' the smugglln'."* Another s narl of rage from Wun Lung startled and frightened the s peaker. "But I wasn't in that, only by acksdent an' incidentally, as yer say say," Weasel-top declared, almost in a tone of apology. "You with um Buff'lo Bill!" said Wun Lung fiercely. "Yes; but I wasn't huntin' Chinamen." "vVhat um hunt?" *See last week's i ssue, BUFFALO BILL STORIES No. 420, "Buf falo Bill and Old Weasel-top." / Weasel-top fidgeted. "Well, I might's well say it, as I reckon you know. What I come down hyar fer, trailin' along with Buffalo Bill, was on account of a cache of gold that an Indian chief had told me about when he was dyin'. I went to the place whar he said it would be, a man named Lem Flagg goin' with me; but when we got thar we fountl. only a hole in the ground, whar it had been; and a man that I thought was you was ridin' away through the s crub, leadin' some pack horses. After that, when I'd thought it over, I cut out by myself, to follow your trail; and that's why I'm hyar." He believed that it would be worse than useless to tell anything but the truth, convinced that the Chinaman knew all about it; so he was trying to put the best face on it he could. He expected another outburst as he made that con fession; but the Chink apparently had known it was coming; at any rate, he made no comment; but only gave the "key" of the queer arrangement another turn, making the whirling ball whirl still faster. Old Weasel-top had been looking at that spinning object even while he talked; an.d it was beginning to have a queer effect on him. For one thing, he seemed more and more willing to give up to this Chinaman even his most secret thoughts. Yet he did not notice it at the time. Weasel-top went on, telling his story; with the China man listening and noddding, and the ball spinning like a top. "Yer see, altogether it' s a queer case," he declared in a tone cf apology. "Fust place, I don't know who I am; but calls myself jest Old Weasel-top, because I'm w'aritl' a weasel-skin cap, and somebody has called me that. When I told that to Buffalo Bill, he was in klined to think he'd met me before; said he'd met up with a man whose real name was Eben Calton, but who was called Ned Nobody, and Pima Wonder, on account of him havin' been a Pima medicine man, and not know in' his name, er whar he come rum, same's me. It seemed that Ned Nobody had lost his right hand, and had a steel arm
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THE BUFF ALO BILL STORIES. "Who um man ?" "Lem Flagg." Again that choking snarl gurgl cl in the throat of Wun Lung. 1 But now Old Weasel-top die\ not even 11ote it; his eyes were glued upon the whirling ball of metal, having lost all power to look away; in his eal's sounded a strange musi<:, with which the words of th<: Chirnunan mingled melodiously, "Tell all um stoly," Wun Lung com1nancled. Old went on, telling everything he could think of; he laid bare all that he l new of hiq1self and his past, which was little eno\.1gh, He struggled to think of more, that he might. also teU that. He was com pletely under the spell of the Chinaman. There was one part of his confession which seerned to rivet the Chinaman's Pllt'tieular attention: that was when he recounted the fact that B\.1ffalo Bill had in ... formed him that Ned Nqbod:Y, or Eben Calton, had a d11ughter, a beautifl.ll young woman, named Ethel Calton "You know where um li'l' girl is?" Wun Ll.lng de manded, "No, r don't," Sf:l.id Old \i\Teasel-top; "a11d I dimno if thar is sech a girl, even." Wun Lung a ked other qtlestion s : but after a while the white man did not answer, tlioqgh he heard every word which the Chinaman spoke. Now and again Wun Lung gave the "key" a. twist, ,. to keep up the motion of the spinning ball. He i;tared at intervals into the face of the white man, and into the wide, open blue eye:>, as if he searched for i>ome thing there. CHAPTER II. :PICTURES "OF THE S;itisfied th!!.-t the white rnan had reached the mental <:onditien in which he m'l:):>t de:sired him to be, Wun Li1ng begaf\ now tg to him, in a queer nd pene trating singsong : "White man go back to Ihtff'lq Bill: tell Buff'lo Bill no come here !" Over and over again he said that, ha111mering it into the dulled but receptive 111Jd of Old Weasel-top. To all appeiir&nces, w e!).sel-top Wll6 in a state of consciousne:ss. He sat up with strange rigidity1 as if tie had a boarcl or rock at his back; his bh1e eyes were open1 looking straight into the mirror and at the whirl ng b611 of n1etal, His fa,ce had assumed a grayish pallor, and he seemed not even to breathe. Over 1imd over ag!lin Wun Lung said those words; over and over again. Then he softly, stowed the shiping thing in his blouse, and tiptoed softly away to the horse he h;iq tethered. Getting the hor'le; he led it from the spot as quietly a,s he could; then mounted and rocle in creasing his speed in a short time. Left alone, Old Weasel-top maintained that attitude of rigidity, staring straight before him. But already he .had forgotten the words so persist{:lntly hammered in by the wily Celestial ; in hii; mind 11 strange vision was growipg, Gradually taking and co herence, it became a of memory picture&, in which I I Old Weasel-top saw himself and others enacting scenes which he began to recognize as parts of his forgotten past, 1 They began with the events whkh B11ffalo Bill had recalled to him. He saw himself in the home of the Pima Indians, with hi:i daughter, a beautiful girl flowering into womanhood. He had wandered there, it iieemed, following <\ rnental lapse; and there hia dllugh ter had found him, after a long and wearisomt'l searc;,h, Having been able to do some things considered able by the Pimas, he had been made a medicine man, and was called the White Wonder. Buffalo Bill was there, too. There were fights between the Pimas and the Apaches, and many moving incidents. Ther\ he dis covered, after a while, that he, Ned Nobody, the White Wonder, was Eben Calton. It was all long ago, it seemed to him. This w11s sqcceeded by other pichires, which he felt were closqr in time. In them he s aw himself and his daughter in the desert lands of the Far Southwe s t. They had been making a trip to California. On their way back, by the southern route, they had thought to visit a ranchman in the valley of the Colorado, an old friend of the fomlly; and had set out for his ranch on horses. They lost their way and wandered about In the desert, Then they were attacked by Chinese and Indians, who carried off the girl. In this apparent dream, Old Weas el-top felt thrill of it all; the fight and the girl's capture, and selfleft lying \ for dead on the desert. He recalled how he had staggered up after his foes and his clf:l.ughter were gone, and had tried blindly to pi1rsue; how he had toiled on and on, until he fell fainting. The next series at' pictures thrown on the strange screen that seemed to have been set up in. his bniin showed a village of mud huts occupied by Indians, to which he had been brought, and an Indian chief at tending him. In that village he had recovered his s trength, but not his me1nory of the past, temponirily; he hcl forgatter\ about his c\aughter being carried away in that terrible rnanner.1 Another serie s of pictures came <1nd tilled out the whole. In them he. s<1w himself waiting on the chief, who was dying in a11other mud hnt. There the chief told him of the wonderfol cache of gold hidden at the Twin Buttes. Then came his experiences, quite recent, with Buffalo Bill and hi s party. When the yi:;ions faded awf:l.y Old We<\sel-top fell forward on his face, with his mouth in the sand, and lc\y there a. long time. The afternoon sun ws mklway in itil descent of the western sky when he carne out of this stupor and sat i1p. Be looked about, dazed and bewildered. Slowly he began to re111ember; bit by bit hi s past carne back tq him, as he had seep it in those mental pictures. It seemed strange at first, f:l.lmost uqbelieva ble; then it struck into his soul with a convic tion of truth, 1111d rouseq him as thoroughly as if he been given a blow in the face. He leaped to his feet
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THE BUFF ALO BILL STORIES. 5 by his own horse he began to follow, with a dogged blindness which recked not of the difficulties and dan gers. Out there somewhere he saw, in imagination, his daughter struggling in the arms of the Chinaman, and he wanted to reach her immediately. He had no weapons, no food, nothing; but he ran and stumbled on. He had run nearly a mile in this way when he came unexpectedly on the object of his immediat e search_:_hi j horse. It was browsing; but seeing him it whinqiecl; and came toward him. He ran up to it, caught it by the bridle and looked it over, chattering his joy. Suddenly he understood how it came to be tl,lere. The bridle was broken and the saddle was slightly askew. The Chinaman, riding away, had been thrown by the beast ; and it had escaped from him. That this was so was proved by the revolvers in the saddle holsters. Weasel-top drew out the revolvers, and saw that they were loaded; each held six cartridges, enough for a pinch; he could down many men with twelve cartridges, if in a comer and at clo s e quarters. He the revolvers as if they gave him a new lease of life. His first impulse was to leap into the saddle and start in pursuit of the Chinaman; pe was still all on fire with those memories and anxiety over the fate of his daughter. Even his face and his hands seemed burning as with a fever. He spurred rapidly along the trail left by the China, man in the sand after the horse had thrown him ; but quickly the trail was lost, where the sand ended and hard ground began, the sandaled feet of the Cele s tial showing there no traces. When he could not pick up the trail, Old Weasel top rode furiously back to the spot where the tracks of the Chinaman's horses had separated. These he tried to follow, one at a time i and had no better luck than before ; he lost them in the hard ground. While making these feverish and futile efforts he had a consciou s nes s that he wa s putting himself in. great danger, and he expected at every moment a shot that would tumble him out 0 the saddle; yet he could not de s ist, until he was forced by his inability to hold to the trails. "If only Buffalo Bill wa s hyar !" he fumed; "er No mad, er Lem Flagg, er that Indian boy they calls Little Cayuse! I ain't no good at trailin'. And that Chink is pikin' straight ahead, to whar he has got my daughter; and I got ter stand it." He was not only wearying himself i but tiring his hor se; he had driven it here and there so furiously that it was covered with sweat and showed s ign s of excite ment. Twice as he spurred it the horse jumped and came near un s eating him, reminding him of what it had done to the Chinaman. With his discovery of the futility of the efforts he was making, he began to come to the sen s ible conclu sion that the best thing to do was to get the help of Buffalo Bill. Buffalo Bill had said to him that he. intended to fol low Wun Lung just as soon as he had delivered his prisoners to the authorities at a certain point on the line, a town named Chico. I sh dn't be surpris ed if Cody and his crowd air p'inted thi s way ri ght now!" he mused beginning to count the time. "They wa s to be at Chico day b e fore yis terday. If they turned round at once, they'd be git tin' nigh whar the Twin Buttes stand-1 Flagg would be with 'em, of course; Flagg really wanted to come with me when I left 'em, and would have but fer a sense o' duty. Flagg b'lives in that cache of gold story, and would foller Wun Lung reckless and hot footed; .he said as much. Buffalo Bill don't believe in it p'tickler; but he wants \Vun Lung jest the same, on account of the Chink bein1 at the head of that smugglini gang." He swung his horse around. 1'The only trouble .is," he muttered, "maybe they ain't left Chico yit. But, anyway, I can't do nothin1 alone; and the sooner I git help ther better. I got ter have help; got ter have some men that can pick up and feller a trail whar thar ain't one ter be seen; and they're ther men fer it. I'll hike back and find 'em.'' -CHAPTER III. AT THE EMPTY CACHE. Lem Flagg stood up in the small hole, by the flat white stone, at a point nearly a mile below the red sand stone hills called the Twin Buttes. The hole had been freshly excavated. Close by him were Buffalo Bill and Nick Nomad, with Little Cayuse. Near at hand were the horses, with bridle reins trailing on the ground to keep them from straying. As Flagg stood up he extended his hand, and rep vealed the shining nugget which lay on the hard palm. "There's the prpof, Cody, seems to me," he was say ing. '1This is the hole that me and Old Weasel-top found ; where he thought the cache of gold ought to be; and when we found it, right off there we saw Wun Lung slidin' away through the cedars, ridin' one horse and leadin' three more. I reckon there can't be a bit o' doubt that he had got the cached gold here, and was carryin' it off." Buffalo Bill took the nugget and examined it, with Nomad and Little Cayuse looking op. "Er, waugh !" the old trapper grunted, surveying the hole in which Lem Flagg stood l "ef thet hole war plum full o' ther yaller metal thar war a heap of et!'' 1 He hiid been unwilling to believe there had been any cache of gold. "Old said Flagg, "told me the Indian he got his information from declared there was a Mexi .. can cartload of it.'' "Waal, et plum looks et! 1'0h, I ain't expectln' you to, b'elleve anything, you old cimiroon !" said Flagg. "I'm. directin' my remarks to Cody. What do you make out of it? That's gold, ain't it?" 1Virgin gold/' said the scout. "So I thought." "Jest erbout like ther nugget what Old Weasel-top showed," aqmitted Nomad. "I ain't sayin' et ain't." "One swaller donit make a summer, I know,'' said Flagg; "but see11rn to me that is proof that gold was cached here. The Chink in his hurry overlooked that sample." He began to scrape about in the hole with his feet, in the hope of turning up another nugget. "It will certainly add to the interest of our pursuit of Wun Lung," the scout admitted, '11if we can believe

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' 6 THE BUFF ALO BILL STORIES. that while he is running away he is taking a fortune in goin' to find her, er find out what has happened to her. gold with him." That's my one !flission in life now. I'm appealin' to "He'd take it, all right ef he could," said Nomad; you ter help me, knowin' you'll do it. You re hyar ter "what a Chink like him wouldn't take would be only oiler Wun Lung, anyhow; and we can all go on t o ther things he couldn't git his hands on. But I has gether. sampled so many tall yams about buried treasure an' His face and his blue eyes took on a fierce expression. ther iike thet I'm plum unbelievin' on ther subjeck. Yit 1 1When we do come up with him," he shouted, "all I this hyar air shore curious an' interestin'." ask is fer you men jest to stand back, and gimme my Suddenly Little Cayuse caught the scout by the coat way with him!" and gave a tug. 1 They questioned him as to the distance he had cov"Pa-has-ka !" he s aid. ered. .. The scout tt\rned; then looked in the direction of the "It's now about nine o'clock, he said, looking at the Piute's pointing finger. A horseman had come in sight, sun. "Well, when I hit the back trail it was along riding through the cedars. in the afternoon of yisterday. I couldn't come straight "Um Weasel-top," said Little Cayuse. along all night, for I'd have los t the trail; so when I "You're right," declared the scout "Flagg, Nomad, couldn't foll er it safe I camped right down on it; and here comes the man we're talking about-Old Weaselthen piked on as soon a s I could see this mornin'. I top!" reckon that a half a day's hard ridin' is about the dis The horseman began to lash his horse into a faster tance." gait when he beheld the men grouped at the empty Buffalo B ill had been deeply intere s ted in Old Weas elcache. top's stor y Ass ured long before that the man wa s "He's comin' as ef Injuns war chasin' hint," comreally N e d N o b o dy, whom h e had e ncountered onc e b e mented Nomad. fore, he wa s ready to try to understand the s trange m e n"He certainly hasn't gone ahead on the trail of the ta! condition in which W e a s el-top had been and credit Chinese, as he said he would," said Flagg, climbii:ig out the mental happening s which had come about since th e of the hole. "But perhaps he has jest come back to Chinaman's spinning ball and mirror had unlocked the connect with us, and git a good start." storehouse of his memory. That this was so they learned when Old Weas el-The scout glanced at the sun. top arrived; for almost hi s first words were exclama"We'll start now a s soon a s we can," he said. "Your tions of gratitude that he had found them, because of horse is well blown, Calton ; but I gue s s ; with care, he 'll the assistance he wanted them to give him. make the day through. To-morrow morning, if we He slipped from the saddle, dropping the rein; he have luck, we can try to pick up the trails which you was tired, and so was his horse. Then he began to excouldn't follow." claim and explain. Old Weasel-top gave a yell of delight. "Glory halleluyer You're the men I been dyin' ter "Cody, you're the clean white article!" he declared. see. Fer I want yer help in follerin' Wun Lung. But "But I knowed you was. I ain't keerin' p'ticklerly it ain't no more jest on account of the gold-the gold about that gold, if I can re s cue my daughter; so, though can go hang; it's on account of my daughter, that he I was powerful interested in it at fu s t,I'm willin', now has got in his power, as I feel sure now." that you men shall have all of it, if we git it, ter pa y He talked like a crazed man for a few minutes, as you fer helpin' me. I relinqui s hes all claim ter it, be he tried to tell quickly how he had been held up by Wun cause of that." Lung and then made unconscious by him. "Er, waugh !" grumbled Nomad. "What kind er men "I reckon his trick didn't work out the way he exdoes yer think we air, anyhow?" pected it would," he explained. "He told me to go back "Well, that'd be a square deal !" I and say to Buffalo Bill that the trails couldn't be. follered, Buffalo 1 Bill assured hiin that they were one and all and it would be plum too dangerous anyhow to resk more than delighted to help him in this matter all they tryin'. Well, they can't be follered-not by me; but I could, and deserved no credit for it nor any great ain't a trailer, like all you fellers air. I reckon you thanks. could turn the trick. And that's why I flew back hyar "For you s ee," he said, "we are following Wun Lung, ter. git ye." and we shall follow him as long as there i s the ghost of Buffalo Bill and the others began to ask him quesa chance of getting him. We have found that he is tions. the real head of the Chinese smugglers of the Pacific "I can't explain it more than that," he declared. "He Coa s t, with headquarters in the Chinese quarter of San bewitched me somehow with that whirling metal ball Franci s co. Some strange s tories have come to us about and his little lookin' glass, so that I told him everyhim, in a letter I received while in Chico. He disappears thing, and promised him everything; and then when he and reappears in a strange way; sometimes he will be went away I reckon I was asleep. Anyhow, I dreamed gone months, then he will be back for months in his old -seems like it was a dream; and in that dream my whole haunts. recollection of everything come back to me clear as "Two months ago a pro s pector came on some China daylight. Everything I had ever done seemed locked men down thi s way, but farth e r on in Mexico. When away like it was in a room; and what he done turned they saw him they ran. His curio s it y led him to follow the key which opened that room, and I saw everything them, and he found an Indian pueblo, where Chinam e n that was in it That's ther best way I can explain it. and Indians were living to g ether; he said he belie ved "What I know for certain now is, that my daughter there were fifty Chinamen, and more than that number was captured by some Chinamen who had Indians with of Indians. The pueblo was one of those dried-brisk 'em. She may be livin', er she may be dead; but I'm structures such as the Indians of the Southwest build.

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THE BUFFALO I But he said that around it a stone-and-mud wall had been built, and newer houses were inside of that, together with wh'at he took to be a Chinese joss house. He was afraid to get close enough to make out everything; and when he told his story in San Francisco he admitted that he didn't expect any one to believe him. But it got into the papers, and received a good deal of attention. A clipping from one of the papers was sent me, with the letter which told about it." The blue eyes of Old Weasel-top were hot and shining again; when he took the clipping handed to him by Buf falo Bill he held it up with shaking fingers. "It may be true.!" he said, scraping at his forehead with the steel hook that served in place of his right hand. "And if it is so, maybe there is whar my girl is!" "We shall certainly find her, if she is there," the scout told him, to cheer him, seeing how he was suffering. "I'll fight my way through a thousand of the Chink fiends, if I can jest find the trail!" cried Old Weasel-top. He looked earnestly at Buffalo Bill, when returning the paper. "I can't make ye know jest how I feel about this," he said; "but when I think that all the time when I was wanderin' round not knowin' about myself, and wastin' time, she was thar with them Chinks and Indians mebby, it makes me wild; it makes me want wings, so I can fly right to her, and pertect her. Gentlemen, I can't make ye understand it." "We understands et well ernough," said Nomad, all kindness now, where before he had been skeptical and repellant; "an' ef these hyar things turns out true, you'll find us backin' yer ter ther plum limit; thet's what ever! We're yer pards through ter ther eend, from this on." Old Weasel-top dabbed again at his sweaty forehead with his steel hook, while he held out his left hand to clutch and shake with the men who had declared that they were with him in this thing to the end. None shook his hand more heartily than Buffalo Bill. "Calton, you have our sympathy," was what he said; "and we'll do all that men can do for you and your daughter." "Call me Old Weasel-top," was the answer; 1'it seems more natural, an' fits better; I been called it so long I'm used ter it, an' like it." He went from one to the other until he came to the Piute. "Little Cayuse,'' he said; "you air ther boss tracker, with a nose fer dim trails equal to any bloodhound's. I'm bankin' on you fer that work. I didn't know I had sech friends anywhars in ther world; but it's trouble makes everybody kin, white and red; so we're friend and pards !" Buffalo Bill took a water bottle from a pack on the ground, together with some bread and jerked beef. "Try this," he said, offering them to Weasel-top. "You'll stand the trip better." He ordered Little Cayuse to give a part of the con tents of one of the water bottles to Weasel-top's horse. "Give the beast a bit of breathing spell, and a chance to fill up on grass. It's the best way, Weasel-top. We can reach the point where you lost those trails to-night, even if we stay here a bit longer, getting ready. And to-morrow morning bright and early we can pick up the tracks of Wun Lung." BILL STORIES. 7 Though Weasel-top could hardly be persuaded to eat, he drank greedily of the water and stowed away a few mouthfuls of the bread and meat. Then he had to tell his story over again, and answer more questions, / while they delayed to give his horse time to recover its wind and strength. But though they thus delayed, while he was wild to go right back, they lost no time by it, reaching the point where Wun Lung had held up Old Weasel-top befbre darkness carpe down to prevent them from going farther. That night Lem Flagg dreamed of finding the miss ing gold; and Old Weasel-top dreamed of finding his daughter. Buffalo Bill, Nick Nomad 1and L ittle Cayuse took turns in guarding the camp. At the first streakings of day all were out, looking for the train, even before they took time to cook and eat their breakfast. CHAPTER IV. PICKING UP THE TRAIL. There were few if any trailers equal to Buffalo Bill, Nick Nomad and Little Cayuse. They had so trained their eyes that nothing escaped notice. Wun Lung had been exceedingly careful in making his get-away after his meeting with Old Weasel-top ; he had smoothed out his tracks and those of the horses, sprinkling sand over them wherever they showed. It had been a well-bl,inded trail, impossible for Old Weasel-top to follow; but they read it as easily as a page of print. They found where the four horses had been brought together, and where they had been tethered while Wun Lung went back to effect the cap ture of Old Weasel top. To this point the Chink had come, when he had covered his trail, after being thrown by Weasel-top's horse. From there the combined trail went on; though the Chinaman had made some clever attempts at hiding itattempts which would have fooled Old Weasel-top, but did not in the least deceive the keen-eyed men now with him. All that day, and all the next, Buffalo Bill led his party along the trail of those horses. Though the ,Chin}<: had a good start, at the end of the second day the freshness of the tracks of his horses told that he was now not far ahead. Before going into camp that evening, at a water h?le which Wun Lung had used, Buffalo Bill prepared to climb a near by peak, for a look over the surrounding country; a thing he had done the evening before. "Ther Chink shows signs o' bein' plum familiar with this locality, anyhow," Nomad remarked, after they reached the water hole and were preparing to go into camp. "All day he's follered along the easiest levels; and hyar he knowed jest whar ter strike ther aqua pura." "He was here aboi1t noon to-day," said the scout, as he inspected the tracks 1 by the spring. They were so fresh and clean-cut that it was not pos sible they could have been made many hours. "Which goes ter show," added Nomad, "thet right at this minute he ain't but half a day's travelin' ahead of us."

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8 THE BUFFALO BILL STORIES. "Maybe not so much," said Flagg. "Take a look at them hills right us, Cody; seems to me they an swer purty well to the descriptions in that letter of the place where the Chinks and Indians had their village. And this is about the right distance, accordin' to my reckonin' ." Bill took out the letter which had been given him at Chico, and re-read the descriptions of the moun tain range wherein the Chinese-Indian village had been seen. "It's hard to say whether this is it or not,'' he said; "yet it seems likely it may be." "Which, ef so," said Nomad, "et means thet we're comin' purty soon ter dost quarters wi' 'em. This hyar looks like Injun country, ter me." "It is Indian country," the scout agreed. "It was into these Mexican mountains, I think, that old Geronimo led his hostiles when American soil got too hot for them; and here he stayed three months, until the rurales crowded him from the other direction, when he headed north again." They were within Mexican territory; yet that did not trouble them, as Buffalo Bill had a permit from the Mexican government, which authorized him to pursue Indians and outlaws whenever they crossed to Mexican soil from the American side of the line. The trail of Wun Lung had begun on American ground. When they had talked flie thing over, and decided to eat a cold "snack" rather than run the risk of fires, Buffalo Bill set out for the peak he had picked out as his observation hill. It took him a good half hour to climb it, after he reached its base ; and by that time the sun had set, so that shadows were gathering fast in the lower valleys. The peak itself still held the sun's red rays and burned like a pencil of fire. Buffalo Bill climbed far up the side, that he might have a wide view. While be was engaged in this he heard something rustle in the bushes before him. He thought he had started a Mexican deer, and stood looking, to see if it would not jump out of its cover. Then he saw the bobbing head of a man, wh'o stooped low as he ran through the bushes in a hasty effort to get away. Only the head, neck and back of the shoulders were visible, and but for a moment; but the scout made out a Chinese queue and a blue blouse. The discovery gave him almost a start. "He saw me," was his conclusion, "and ran when he thought I was coming straight toward him ; which would seem to prove that he was up here as a spy, and no doubt observed us go into camp down there. Well, it shows that we're getting close to the Chinks-closer than we thought. I begin to respect the writer of that letter; maybe his yarn had a good deal more truth in it than I was at first disposed to believe." The running disappeared almost as soon as seen, and though the scout stood watching for him to re appear he was not observed again; nor, from that point, was it possible to tell what course he had taken. It was too late to follow the trail left by the China man. Buffalo Bill therefore descended hastily to the camp, where he told of what he had discovered. The effect on Old Weasel-top was such as to make it appear that he was going insane; he wanted to hurrYJ ,c;traight to the point where the Chinaman had been seen, pick up the trail there, and follow him to the village, which it seemed must be near. "That would be useless. The thing to do is to shift our camp, as soon as it is dark enough to hide our movements," the scout told him. "The chances are that if we don't we may be surprised in the night. I'm will ing to admit that some Chinamen can fight, and we don't care to be caught napping." "Et ain't posserble ter do any trailin' now," Nomad declared, when Old Weasel-top continued his anxious declarations. "Cody's got ther sense o' et, as he allus does. Buffier succeeds, bercause he knows how ter sue. ceed; and ef you're as anxious as I know yer air ter git ter whar yer daughter is, you'll do whatever he tells yer. Waugh!'? "I reckon that couldn't been old Wun Lung himself?" said Lem Flagg. "If't was, then it may merely show that we have crowded him close, and that he went up on that hill for a look round ?" "As I didn't see the Chinaman's face, I can't oe posi tive on that score," the scout answered ; "yet in my opinion that was not Wun Lung." "Didn't run like him, hey?" "No. And this was a smaller man, I th9ugh!." They sat about on the ground, themselves and their horses concealed as well as it could be done by the bushes, while they ate cold grub, and the horses nibbled at the grass near the spring. The high hill where the Chinaman had been encountered still held the light, but the shadows were thick now over all the lowland. "I allow we're in Chink territory, all right,'' Nomad agreed, "ef what was writ in thet letter and newspaper article is ter be believed. Et looks like Injun ground, ter me." "You'll pick up that trail on the hillside the fust thing in the mornin', I suppose?" was Old WeasJ;!l-top's anx ious inquiry. "We will; unless, in the meantime, something turns up to change our plans." "We may have a scrimmage with 'em ter-night, ef thet yailer-face gits in an' makes his report to his village," said \ Nomad, as if he wished the scrimmage might come. "We'll try to avoid that, by quietly shifting camp as sopn as it is a little darker," Buffalo Bill told him. "There's five of us," said Flagg, "and accordin' to them reports, Cody, there's anywhere between fifty and a hundred of the Chinks and Indians. I'm supposing we're gittin' close to 'em, you know I" "Er, waugh !" snorted the old trapper. "One good white map, thet ain't afraid ter fight, is wuth any dozen Chinks." "And Indians?" "He's wuth all ther reds yer kin stack up, give him good fightin' ground, plenty amminition, and a rock or clift at his back.'' "Of course, we know you're a wild cat fer fightin' an always hungry fer a scrap, you ole cimiroon !" said Flagg with a laugh, though no one appreciated the trap per's remarkable abilities more. "What I'm talkin' about is common men, like Cody, an' me, and Weasel-top, and Little Cayuse. We don't keer to go up / ag'inst more'n a half a dozen apiece; while here we're goin' to have some twelve er fifteen apiece ag'inst us, accordin' to the count.''

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THE BUFF ALO BILL STORIES. 9 "Er, waugh !" snorted Nomad again, not sure but that Flagg was poking fun at him. "But what's on my mind," added Flagg, "is that gold!" "Oh, let the gold go!" cried Weasel-top. "What. I'm worryin' about is my daughter. I was thinkin' about it every minute as we trailed along to-day. She may be alive; an' she may be dead. If she's alive, I'm goin' ter rescue her; and if she's dead I'm goin' to avenge her. I ain't got but one mission in life now; and that's it. I may go under this trip; but I'm prayin' that I don't before I find out about that and take a lot of the fiendish Chinks and reds with me." His trembled. "That's my mission now," he said, his voice rising; "my mission-my mission !" "Keep your words down, Weasel-top!" the scout cautioned. "One never knows where some scout or spy of the enemy may be; or. whether there may not be a force out in the hills right now, trying to locate us. They might have us at a disadvantage, if they jumped in on us now, as we sit here in the darkness." _"We know how yer feels, Weasel-top," remarked Nomad, sympathetically; "and we're wi' yer ter ther finish !" "Thank you for that!" Weasel-top responded fer vently. "I have a feelin' that we're goin' to win out in this 'thing; I've had it ever since my memory came back to me. It's a wonderful heartener, that feelin'." "I sh'd think it would be," agreed Nomad. "I allus makes myself feel thet erway, anyhow, when 'I'm comin' up ter a tussle wi' reds er other inimies; and I finds I gin'rally wins out." "With the help of Cody!" said Lem Flagg, still as if inclined to jest at the expense of the old trapper, though no man more really appreciated Nomad's excellent quali ties and high courage. But Nomad was not put out by that. "I admits et," he said; "I admits all of et! Buffler forever! Without my ole pard hyar I wouldn't be any thing, an' nobody knows et better. Yit I opine et's ther same wi' a good many other men, some of 'em clost erround me at this minute." Flagg laughed good-humoredly at thi thrust. "You're right, Nomad," he admitted; "Cody is a man that's all to the good." "I'm everlastin' right, when et comes ter thet !" "But about that gold?" said "You all seem to be overlookin' that." "We ain't plum knowin' thet thar is any gold !" Nomad objected. "Well, you've seen two nuggets of it!" "Two nuggets don't make a cartload cache any more than two swallers make a summer." "Two swallers make heap drunk sometimes," put in Little Cayuse; then wondered why it was that the white men laughed. "I reckon you're the humorist of the Piute nation," Flagg commented. "But let's git back to that gold ag'in. What I'd like to know is, did Wun Lung take it into the village, if the village is here? To put it in another way, WOt\ld he do such a thing? Though there was a cartload o'f it, that's no reason he'd want the rest of the Chinks to know about it, and have a share in it. I'm figgerin' he'd cache it again somewhere be fore he went into that village." "E'r, waugh Gold shore sets every man crazy thet thinks of et/' said Nomad, "an' now et's gittin' you, Flagg. We dunno thet he had any gold; we dunno thet thar reely is a village; ner we don't know thet he war p'intin' fer one, ef thar is one. When we knows more we'll be wiser, and when we're wiser we'll know more; thet's erbout all anybody kin say now." Buffalo Bill did not make a move until darkness was heavy over all the lowland; then he had the horses' hoofs muffled with strips of blanket and led them quietly away from the spring. The party passed over half a mile of ground before a stop was made. "This is far enough, I guess," said the scout. "If they rush the supposed camp by the water hole we can hear them here, and they'll have their trouble for nothing." They camped down with as little noise as possible. The horses, with hoofs still muffled, were put oh picket ropes close by, and wete fed grain from one of the packs, that they might not need so much grazing during the night. "I'm wonderin' ef I could smoke up a bit," said No mad, drawing out his pipe and fingering the black bowl. "What does yer think, Buffler ?" "I think it's all right." He took out his own pipe, and the others imitated him; but that was all the luxury "ndulged in that evening; no fires were lighted, and what they ate and drank was cold. They sat up an hour or so, talking in low tones, while tihey smoked and planned what to do in case the Chink Indian village was close at hand. Then the night was divided into watches. Flagg took the first watch; and the others prepared to get all the sleep they could. CHAPTER V. FLAGG MISSING. When Buffalo Bill awoke at midnight, to take Flagg's place, the latter was gone. It had been Flagg's duty to stand guard until mid night, when he was to arouse the scout; but in that he had failed. Yet Buffalo Bill awoke promptly at twelve. It was as if there was an alarm clock set in his brain, put there by long habit. He knew that the time was midnight when he looked at stars; and the fact that he had not been aroused made hjm think at first that Flagg had fallen asleep at his post of duty. That happens often, to men not ac customed to standipg guard; the darkness an,d monot onous silence make them drowsy, and before they know it they fall asleep. Buffalo Bill was too cautious a man to take this for granted in the present case, however. So he lay quite still; but, though motionless, every faculty was alert. He heard the deep breathing of Nomad near him, the occasional restless tossing of Old Weasel-top, and even the light respiration of the Indian boy; but nothing of Flagg. A little farther off sounded the "ruh-ruh" of one of the horses, grazing; a sound that seemed very loud in the deep

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IO THE BUFF ALO BILL STORIES. At length the scout arose quietly, crept over to the place where Flagg had been stationed, and there looked about. There could be no doubt that Flagg was gone Instead of at once arousing the others, Buffalo Bill took F l agg's place, standing guard in the darkness, while he "he may have heard something and has gone out to prospect round; if so, he will be coming back soon. But Lem Flagg did not come back soon, nor at all. By and by, when it became apparent that Flagg was not to be expected immediately, Buffalo Bill awoke Nomad "Hist!" he whispered. "No need to arouse the rest." But Nomad, who had been in a deep sleep, came out of it with a flounce that started up both the Piute boy and Old Weasel-top. Little Cayuse merely sat up, looked about, and said nothing; but Old Weasel-top broke into a flood of questions." "Keep quiet!" the scout commanded. "I don't know what it means; but Flagg is gone." That brought Nomad to his feet with a low "whoo" like the suspicious snort of a bear. The others scram bled up at the same time. vVeasel-to'p still went on ask ing questions. "I awoke at midnight," the scout explained, "and found that Flagg was not here. I've waited now nearly an hour, and he hasn't returned." "Cain't be treachery-in Flagg?" said Nomad, look ing about. "Of cobrse not." Little Cayuse stooped, with eyes close to the ground, at the point where Flagg had been on guard, trying to read the "sign." After a moment of hesitation Buffalo Bill struck a match under cover of his hat, and stooping with it by the side of the Piute he, too, began to look about. "Ugh!" little Cayuse grunted, pointing to tracks. "Your eyes are good, boy !" commented the scout. "Him go that way," said the Indian boy, pointing. "Yes, the direction we came from. Probably he went back to the spring," "What would he do that fer?" asked Weasel-top. "Mebbe he heard suthin' over thar," Nomad suggested. "See what you can find," said Buffalo Bill to the Piute, blowing out the match. Little Cayuse obeyed by starting off, his lithe form bent far over, his keen eyes trying to see before him through the darkness. When he had gone all stood listening until the soft "scuff" of his moccasins died out. He'll go to the spring and look around there," the scout told them. "But I'm he will not find anything." I "We're feelin' cert' in thet Flagg is ther clear quill," said Nomad. "I ain't never seen nothin' ter make me believe diff'rent." "It's queer, though, that he should leave the camp without letting me know that he meant to," said the scout. "Thet's so, too; but I'm gamblin' thet he heard suthin' which called him out. He may have landed in er hull bunch er trouble, too, by
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THE BUFFALo-BiLL STORIES. II The scout supposed at first that Flagg had reached the spring after the departure of the Chinks and Indians, and had followed them; but when he and Little Cayuse picked out this trail carefuily, they found indications too plain to be denied that Flagg had been captured. The ground was torn up, where he had set his feet, with many evidences of a struggle. To the experienced eyes of the scout the story told by those marks in the soil was plain as the printed page of a book. Little Cayuse stood by, breathing heavily, his .eyes roving round, as the scout commented on his find. "They laid for him here, and snaked him in. He made his fight in trying to get away. We were all sleeping too soundly at that time to hear it, if much noise was made; but, probably, there was very little." "Him prisoner!" said the Piute. "Yes, they've got him!" "They kill um, you think?" "I can't tell that, Little Cayuse. But we'll hope not." "Um Chink very bad man." "That's right. Wun Lun is as desperate a. rascal as they make 'em !" "Um Injun bad man, too." "Probably. If we judge by the company they keep they're as bad as the Chinks." The scout began to follow the tracks, which at that point were very plain. The Indians and Chinamen had come to the spring on foot. Close about the spring prints of m0ccasins and sandals were mingled in much confusion; but out beyond they came together, a plain trail which led toward the mountains looming before. It seemed clear that after having captured Flagg they had retreated hastily into the mountains. "Of course, if they did, they left spies along the trail," the scout remarlfed. we'll go a little farther, and see what we can discover." They discovered nothing of much consequences in addition. The trail led on toward the mountains, be coming broken, and difficult to follow when the hard and sterile ground was reached. The evidence was so clear that the Celestials and their Indian allies had hiked for their mountain home that Buffalo Bill and Little Cayuse turned back to carry this information to Old wease l-top and Nomad. CHAPTER VI. THE PACHECO CHIEF. Buffalo Bill and Old Weasel-top were making their way, mounted, along a hog-back which gave them a view into a valley lying far bi;;low them. Through the trees they had caught s i ght of whitewashed mud houses, forming an Indian-like village, which was, no doubt, the settlement they sought. Little Cayuse and old Nick Nomad, being also mounted, had gone in the opposite direction, to see what they could discover, a meeting p lace having been agreed on. Old Weasel-top was better armed than he had been. He had now a strap carbine slung round his shoulders, and a knife in his belt, in addition to his big revolvers. / The carbine and knife had been uncovered near the spring, where they had been concealed by some one who apparently intended to return for them. As a belt of cartridges was with the carbine, Old Weasel-top looked on the find as a godsend. It armed him more com pletely for the fray he foresaw. "You'll find that when it comes to fightin' you can depend on me, Cody," he had said in a manner to show he meant it, and if any doubt had existed on that point it would have been dispelled by one look into his fiery blue eyes. \ "I've jest got one mission in life now, Cody," he de clared again, "and that is to rescue my and avenge her if she's gone un1der. My own life don't count fer nothin' now. Seems stra)1ge and unbr.lievable that all the while I was roamin', round not knowin' even who I was, she was hyar likely, needin' me! I allus had a f eelin' that thar was suthing I must do at on ct, but couldn't remember what it was, and it was that. I'm prayin' now that I ain't too late. ou remember my daughter, Cody? You told me so onct, at a time when I didn't remember her myself." "A beautiful and lovely girl she was, too I" the scout assented. "I reckon there never was any that was any better,'' said Weasel-top. "I jest want to come face to face with Wu.n Lung. He won't have any lung when I git through with him." But Old Weasel-top, fierce though his desires were, had gained control of himself in large measure, now that the time for self-control was at hand. He talked no more of wild Malay rushes into the midst of foes. ,He saw that if he served his daughter, whom he supposed now ta be in that village, something more tban mere wild fighting would be required. Caution, craft and excessive care were needed even more than the ability to fight. The glimpses had now and then of the whitewashed houses did not stir him out of the calin he had assumed, as once they would have clone. / B1:1ffalo Bill had brought 01d Weasel-top with him because he feared to trus t him with Nomad and the Piute boy; but he saw, with delight, that Weasel-top no lon ger needed much watching. "How we're goin' to git into that place is the thing I've been puzzlin' over," said Weasel-top as they rode slowly along. "It'll have to be done by night, I reckon, so long as the occypants outnumber us a dozen er more to one." They had stopped their horses at a point where the white houses could be seen through a breal<: in the trees, and were talking of this, when the scout discovered that a horseman was approaching. "An Indian!" he announced. Weasel-top bent forward in his saddle, shaded his eyes with his good left hand, and looked in the direc tion of the scout's pointing finger. The Indian soon came out into an open glade, where he could be clearly seen. "He's carryin' a white flag!" said Weasel-top. "Which means that he wants to parley." "Then he mu s t have seen us some time back!" "What he is doing proves it; and suggests, too, that down in the village our presence here is known. I'm wondering that they didn't try an ambuscade rather than this.)'

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12 THE BUFF ALO BILL STORIES. "Shall we ride forrud t0er meet him?" *'Yes i it's a good idea." They rode forth1 and on reaching open ground drew rein, Seeing thetn do this the Indian kicked his horse into a faster gait and came bn until he was withih a few yards, when he, too, halted. His flag was a strip of white buckskin tied to a pole. He lifted it and waved it round his head he drew his horse in. J Buffalo Bill and Old Weasel-top urged their horses o n again, di;awing rein when they were close upon the redskin. He was a fine specimen of the Americati Indian. His clothing was beaded and quilled, feathers were in his hll.it, about his waist was a belt holding a knife, ahd a carbine was slung by a strap round his shoulders, He cast down the white flag when he saw that the white men showed amiable tendencies, and drove his horse on until he sat facing them. "How?" he cried, holding tip his o):>eh palm. The scout put up his hand in the same fashion, this being a sign of peace, and cried back to the redskin in the same way. "What white man do here?" said the Indian. "We'd like a talk." "Make pal:i.ver, hey?" "Yes, that's what we want.'' ''How many white men?" The scout did not care to be explicit on this poiht; but the manner in \.vhich the qltestion came made him think the occupants of the village did rtot krtow how many white men there were. It was good policy if that were so to keep them in ignorance of the fact that the whites were so slender a company. "How many white men?" the Indian repeated. "Heap many!" said Buffalo Bill "We've got the whole American nation behind us." '.'White man lie!" spat out the Indian. "V'f ell, if you know all about it, you cah do the an swering yourself," Buffalo declared, his face flush ing. He did not like to be called a liar, even by an Indian like this. "l suppose you are a chief?" he atlded "Me heap big chief!'' Indian drew himself up proudly, "Me heap big chief, too I" cried the stout, knowing that it was necessary to impress the ta.seal. .''.Me _know. Um Pa-has-ka-LongrHaited White Ch1d. Me know. Who him?" He pointed to Old Weasel-top. "lie is Pa-has-ka's pard." The Indian regarded curiously the steel hook that did service for Weasel-top's right arm, When Weasel-top swung it up to exhibit it the chief clucked as if he feared the thihg might discharge a bul let. He had never see11 anything like it. "Yes, that's very dangerous," saitl the scout gravely. "It is made to tear, like the eagle's talons. What is the name of the big chief who has come out to speak to us?" "Lion Tail," was the proud reply. "Lyin' tale, I guess that's right!" muttered Old W easel-tqp. "I'm bettin' you're the boss liar of the universe." "What village is that down tlwre ?'' the scout inquired. "My village," said Lion Tail. "What tribe ?" "Pacheco.'' "I've heard of the Pachecos; they're Ametican Indians that came over into Mexico some years sihce, whe11 the horse soldiers crowdetl them too hard !" The chief irowned. "What white man do?" he demanded, "We're looking for a Chinamah; whose trail we've been following, and we under tand that Chinamen live down there with the Pachecos." "Long Hait no go \vay, Pacheco kill!" the chief threat ened. "We're looking, too," the scollt weht on, "for a white man who was captured last i1ight by Ihdians and Chi nese down by the spring, on the other side of these hills." "White man no go 'way i"' said the thief, as if he did not hear this. "vVhen we have accomplished what we came for we'll be ready to go away. But I want to say to you, chief, that we didn't -come here to war on the Pachecbs, and1 won't, unless we have to.'' "Pacheco heap mimy," said the chief stornfully. "That may be; but we haven't come to war on them. We follmved a Chinaman here. Perhaps you know him -no doubt you do. His flame is Wun Lung, or that is the name we know him by He has been smugglittg Chinamen into the United 1 States, and we want him for that. We have Come ft long trail to get him." "Ask him a bout my daughter," whispered Old Weaseltop, fidgeting nervously in his saddle. -"In just a minute," the scout answeted in a 1low tone. The chief regarded him suspiciously, having observed the whispering, without understanding what was said. "We have come a long trail,'1 the scout repeated to the chief, "to get this Chinaman, Wun Lung." "Will white men go 'way?" the thief shouted angrily. He dug his heels into his horse and came still nearer, his face showing plainly his wrath, "White man not go 'way quick Pacheco kill um !" he shouted. "Hold on, chief!" said the scout1 lifting his hand. "We've got to talk this over1 and you n1\Jst understand that we're armed!" He put his hahd down and touched his revolver sig nificant! y. "Chief come out here for palaver," he added; "and that is what we want-we want a talk with the great Lion Tail." The Indian had dropped his hand to his tomahawk. It had not been seen before, but now it seemed to leap up into his hand, beside his sheath knife, Buffalo Bill saw that Lion Tail was in an ugly mood, which proved tha{ the Indian considered his village itnpregnable and his warriors more than able to cope with the white men who had co111e against them. If the chief had thought otherwise he would have been more pliant, eveh suppliant. Ah I1,dian is truculent and threatehing only when he thinks he has. the power ort his side. Yet here was something significant-the fact that the chief had deigned to come out for a palaver. Perhaps, the scout thbught, he had by chance merely seen the white men, and had ridden .to them; yet that hardly plained the white flag, which he must have secured some\vhere. While these thoughts ran through the stout's mind he

PAGE 14

THE BUFF ALO BILL STORIES. 13 was considering t10w best to approach the subject of the girl who was supposed to be held a prisoner in the village. He concluded that the straight way was as good as any. "There is at10ther thing, chief," he said, "and that is the white girl who is held h1 yonder villnge. She is the 1 daughter of the man who is here with me, and we want her." The face of the chief blackened with a scowl, betray ing that the stout had sttu'Ck home, yet he de11ied in statUly that there Wlls a whitti git! held there as 11 pris oner. The scout noted the twist he gave to his denial\ "There is a white girl tl1ere, then, who is not a pris oner?" he s a id. "Well, we want her, fot she is the daughter tif this man, and he has come a long trail to get her." Old Weasel-top's face was working strangely, and he had hard work to hold himself in check1 in spite of his recent good resolutions. The chief hesitated, then suddenly he drove hls horse in between that of the scout and the one ridden by Weasel-top, flashing his tomahawk as he did sb, on his f<1ice a murderous look. Wh'at followed came with the quickness of lightning. As the treacherous red s kin tried to hurl his tomahawk at Buffalo Bill Old Weasel-top's sleel arm out and pulled the rascal backward irottl his horse, the steel taking hold of his clothing. The startled horse gave a sidewi s e jump as it felt the form of the chief leaving its back, and the next moment Lion Tail hit the ground with a thud that knocked the breath out of him. Before he could get up Buffalo Bill was also on the grollnd, hh:; revblvet covering the Indian. "Move hand or foot, and I'll put a bullet through ydl11 you red scoundrel!" he shouted, thoroughly angered by Lion Tail's dastardly attempt on his life. "You came out here under a white flag tor a palaver, and now try to do me with your hatchet !" "Shoot him!" yelled Old Weasel-top. "Pump him full o' 1ead !" The steel hook had torrt out as the lhdian lahded on the ground. The rage that had been in Lion Tail's face melted away when he saw that deadly revolver muzzle looking down at him. In its place came a ctirtging expression. "No shoot I' he begged "I ought to-I ought to bore a hole through youi but I won't, for that would be too much like murder. But I'm going to talk to you now, and youill answer or have your head blown off." Buffalo Bill knew how to threaten effettively, when he had such a teds kltt to deal with him. "Shoot him-shoot the devil !" exclaimed Old Weasel top. He even drew out one of his own revolvers, as if he would do it himself. "Let me settle with him," the scout urged; "but you stand there with a pi s tol ready, and give it to him if he tries to run." "Me no run!" said Lion Tail meekly. "You're sensible in that. Weasel-top, get hold of his horse and tie up ours, s o that the y won't make trouble." Weasel-top hurried to do this while the scout kept the chief covered. When he came back, Lion Tail was showing a disposition to "palaver" in a manner more \ pleasing to the scout and more conducive to his own good health and longevity. Old Weasel-top, standing by, seemed to want to dig that steel hook into the scared Indhm, and that tight ened the chief even more, for he read look in the face of the angry one-atmed man. "Me good Injun !" he pleaded. . "You're coming to your senses, I see," said the scout. "Now, I'm going to ask you some questions, and you'll ahswer them with a !'itrai15ht tongue, if you don't want to go traveling over the long ttail. You see, we know a good deal about you and that village already; about the Chinamen who live with you, and about this girl w ho is there, So that you tan't deceive us." "Me good In jun!" said the chief abjectly. "Prove it, by speaking the huth. Wun Lung lives dciwn thete in that village?" It seemed that Lioh Tail did not know Wun Lung by that name; but he understood who was meant, and. answered glibly enough now that the Celestial made his horpe much of the time with the Pachecos. He admitted, too, in answer to the next that thete were a nm:nber of Chinese making their homes wifJ,1 the Pachecos. Some, it seemed, had married Pa checo women and had been there a long time. "The white man who was captured last night by the sprihg-he is thete, tob i'" t\1e stout asked. Lion Tail admitted it. "And now abotlt the white girl I She is there?" "Yes; \Vhite girl there!" Lion Tai( confessed. Old Weasel-top gave such a yell that the chief, think he was about to be attacked, reached for his knife to defend himself with it. But he saw instantly that the white man who had the strange arm with a hook on the end of it instead of a hand did not mean to jump at him, but was dancing round in a transport of uncontrollable joy. When this white mah turtled his face to the chief it was seen to be covered with tears. "Halleluyer Cody, she's livirt' I My little girl ls livin' !" As soon as Old Weasel-top could control himself he began to hurl furious questions at the chief, who looked at Buffalo Bill for their interpretation, as Old Weasel top spoke so fast the Indian could not understand him. "He wants to know .if the girl is well?" said the scout. "White girl plenty well!" answered the Indian glibly. "Whoop !" shouted Weasel-top. "Ask him her name, ef he knows it, but it must be my daughter I" He bent forward to listen. "What do you call this ybung white womab ?" mantled Buffalo Bill. "The White Lily." "But her other name? what does she call herself?" The chief did not ktlow that. "She is not a prisoner?" 1 "She all same free."

PAGE 15

14 THE BUFF ALO BILL STORIES. "Then. why does she stay there?" The chief hesitated. "Why does she stay there?" the scout repeated. "Big Chinee man," said the chief. "It's Wun Lung, as I thought," cried Weasel-top. "Thar's a heathen I'm goin' ter rip into fiddle strings jest as soon as I come up with him." "Is she the big Chinese's wife?" Buffalo Bill asked, at the suggestion of Old Weasel-top. The chief nodded. "I'll wade in blood to my bridle-bits but I'll git at that heathen," said Old Weasel-top, now in a transport of rage. "Cody, did you hear that? She's been forced to become the wife of that heathen Chinee !" Buffalo Bill continued to question Lion Tail, asking the questions suggested by Old Weasel-top. But al ready they had secured about all the information of value they cpuld. Hc:!Ving forced the chief to answer questions until there seemed to be no more to ask, Buffalo Bill held him quiet by threatening him with a revolver while Old took a riata from one of the saddles and prepared to tie him. Buffalo Bill then compelled the chief to mount to the back of his own pony, and held him there with the revolver while Weasel-top roped him with the riata and tied his feet under the pony's belly, so that, when the tying was completed, the chief lay on the pon y in a bent-forward position, with his legs hanging down and lashed together at the ankles. Lion Tail was a very humble Indian by tJiis time. He had made promises, and he stood ready to make as many more as might be wanted. He had declared that, seeing the white men, he had come on his own hook to have a palaver, using as a flag a piece of white buckskin which his squaw was intending to embroider and make into ceremonial moccasins : The Chinese and Indians in the village knew nothing about it. Thus it was disclosed that he had yaingloriously at tempted to frighten the white men away, or l e arn what they were there for, and had sadly ov e rreached him s elf. The trouble was, that never before had he encountered just this type of white men, his dealings with the race having been chiefly with Mexican peons, who were u s u ally half Indian and would run like frightened sheep at the very mention of a hostile. He had been given a tremendous and unpleasant surprise, and he would never forget it. After he was tied and helpless on the back of his pony his black eyes followed the movements of Buffalo Bill whenever the latter was in the range of vision, for he had come to know that Buffalo Bill was the leader here and the man to be feared. He had heard Pa-has-ka spoken of as a "heap big white man," and now he was r;.xperiencing the proof of it. "What um do with In jun?" he inquired anxiously. Buffalo Bill had been asking himself that question. The time was now well past noon. Little Cayuse and Nomad were s ome distance away. And if an attempt to enter the village was made it could not be before night. The scout stood thinking the matter over, hardly hearing the runni_ng fire of Old Weasel-top's comment. "I don't know," he said at last, "but that this is the best thing that could have happened. If this rascal can be believed, he is a big chief among those Indians. Even if he is but a sub-chief, or a warrior, he has friends there. It may be a good idea to send word into the vil lage that we have captured him, and offer to exchange him for your daughter and Flagg. We might even force them to deliver up Wun Lung, to secure his re lease. I think it will be worth a trial." "I was thinkin' of that myself," admitted Weasel-top. He looked at the sun anxiously. "It might be done yit to-day," he said. "I'd like to try it as soon's we can, ye see; fer if that is mydaugh ter, I'd like to git her out o' the o' them fiends quick's I could." Buffalo Bill walked a few paces out, where he could see the village. "What do ye think o' it?" Weasel-top asked anx iously, when he came back. "I'm ready to try it. We can't gain anything much by concealment, since they have captured Flagg, and saw our camp yesterday They mu s t know our numbers, which is something I wish they hadn t di s cov ered. We can't help it now, and must make the most of it." "What do with In jun?" wailed Lion Tail piteously. "Consarn ye, we ought ter kill ye!" said Weasel-top. "If my daughter comes to harm what I'll do, too!" "I suppose I can trust you to stay right here and guard him?" the asked. "What ye goin' to do?" "I thought I'd go after Nick and Little Cayuse. We want to have our force together when we send that ulti matum down to the village. I'll send it b y the Piute. Wun Lung can read Engli s h. My plan now is to have Little Cayuse galop down there on his pony-but not too clo se; hold up the buck s kin flag which this chief brought; then, when he is seen, and knows he is seen, he can drop the flag on the ground and turn tail at once for the hills, where we will be in waiting. On the buckskin flag we can pin the ultimatum we send to Wun Lung apd the of the place. We can say that we will kill the chief, if our friends are killed, and that we will surrender him in exchange for them." "I allow that mebby it'll work," Old Weas e l top agreed. He drew one of his big revolvers. "I'll guard him right hyer. This is as good a place

PAGE 16

THE BUFF ALO BILL STORIES. 15 as any, I reckon; it's 'ope n, and I kin see if any one comes. And he can't git away. I'll jest tie his pony to this bush; then what's ter bender me from keepin' him hyar, WI ain't interfered with? I cal'late you won't be gone no great while." "I'll come right back as soon as I cah find Nick and the boy." "Correct. We've go t time en6ugh yit this afternoon ter do suthin', and seems ter me I can't wait." Mounting Bear Paw, Buffalo Bill turned in the direc tion taken by Little Cayuse and Nick Nomad, and rode away, leaving Weasel-top in charge of their Indian prisoner. CHAPTER VII . THE MESSAGE. Buffalo Bill had gone no more than half a mile when he heard the heavy report of Weasel-top's revolver, fol lowed almost immediately by two shots more. That brought the scout to a halt. "What's up?" he sa id. He turned Bear Paw about and rode at a lively clip back -to the place where he had l eft Old Weasel-top and the Indian chief. He found Weasel-top some distance down the moun tain slope, declaiming furiously, and now and th e n shout ing like a madman, as he picked hi9""way up the In his good left hand he swung hi s big revolver, while with the steel hook on the right he pulled bushes and vines out of his way, and took hold of other bushes and limbs to help his ascent. When he saw Buffalo Bill he broke out again, and for a little while the scout could not understand a word he said. But it did not take words to declare that Lion Tail had escaped. "How did it happen?" the scou t a s ked, trying to con c eal his vexation, for it seemed that only stupid ity could have permitted it. "Well, I reckon I'm to blame," Weasel-top admitted; "ye t I don't see how; I don't see how I could havenelped it." He came scrambling up the s lope, hooking his steel "hand" round saplings and limbs, and dragging himself up. "I don't see h ow I could help ih. You know his pony was tied to that bush over thar, and I reckoned he was safe enough. So I set down by that rock, with my pistol read y, to watch. I was lis tenin' to you as long as I could hear the hoofs of Bear Paw, and then I was thinkin' about my daughter, and h o pin' and prayin' that your p1an'd work out all right, and git her out of thar. "Fust thing I knowed that Injun, tied to the pony's back, gave a queer cluck to bis animile, and the pony; bergan ter do stunts ther like of which I never seen. I jumped up ter rnn ter it but as I passed it ther critter landed on me with its hind heels and turned me clean over. "The next thing I knowed it had broke that strap it was tied with,' and was goin' down this hyar hill jest like a goat. I never seen anything in the way o' horse.../ flesh that could take a hill like it did. Ther old thief was on its back, still tied tight enough, but the pony was takin' him off . 1 "Well, as soon's I could scram ble ter my l nees, I tried to git the pony with my pistol. I shot at him three times-Jong's I could s-ee him; and I reckon I missed him clean. I know I was natcherly excited, and my hand was shakin' likely. "Then ther critter slid away through the cedars down thar, and I started to run after it, bein' by that time well nigh a crazy tpan. And that's the truth, if ever I told it." Buffalo Bill rode out on the edge of a near by shelf of rock, which elevated him somewhat and gave him a view of the valley below. Then he saw the pony nearing the village, bearing the bound chief on its back. Already it had been seen by the people there, for a gate had been opened in the white washed wall of adobe and a number of men were stream ing out. But at that distance he could not tell if they were Chinese or Indians. In a moment all the plans he had been making to get the prisoners out of the village by offf ring the chief in exchan ge for them had fallen to the Old Weasel-top was explaining and excusing himself again, when a clattering sound of hoofs was heard, and Nomad and Little Cayu se rode into view. When they beheld the scout and Weasel-top they spurred their horses and showed much excitement. Buffalo Bill saw that Little Cayuse carried in his hand. When the Indian boy held it up it was seen to be a live bird. "Er, wauh !" Nomad snorted, drawing rein. "Glad we found ye. What war thet shootin' erbout ?" We've got suthin' hyar thet's shore a cur'osity-a devil bird kerryin' a message. Little Cayuse says et's a devil bird, an' I reckin: 'tis. Anyway, ther kid's skeered of et, an' so'm I." Little Cayuse slid to the ground, clutching the bird tightly. It was a small hawk, very dark in color, and ii fought and snapped in the boy's hands. "Ther thing come sailin' round nigh us, an' lit in er tree," said Nomad; "an' then we seen thet it had suthin' white tied ter et's leg. I war fer shootin' et, though I didn't like ter make a noise much wi' my hardware, when ther Piute says et he be'lieves he kin knock et outer ther tree wi' a rock, which he does forthwith. When et comes flut'terin' down we grabs et, and shore ernough, et has a letter tied ter e1's leg."

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116 THE BUFF ALO BILL STORIES. He began to feel in his war bag for the letter, and drew it out. "Little Cayuse cain't read et none whatever, an'. my early ejication war plum badly neglected in ther days o' my flowery youth, so we brings et ter yer, fer yer to make et out." The "letter" was written on a thin strip of white papery buckskin, the instrument used being apparently the sharpened end of a leaden cartridge. The letters were large, and there were many sentences : ... "I have discovered that there are white men near this town. I am an American girl, a prisoner, held by Chi nese and Indians. I send this out in the hope that the bird may be shot and this received. I appeal to you-rescue me, save me. ETHEL CALTON." . I Old Weasel-top snatched the piece of buck s kin out of the scout's hands. "From my daughter!" he shouted. "Hallelu y er She's alive!" His face was flushed; his blue eyes shining and fiery. "But she's a prisoner!" he added. "She's got pluck, though-that girl has! And sharp-she's as sharp as a tack. Wouldn't one girl in a thousand thought of open in' communication wjth us in that way. Seems almost as if she knowed I was out hyar; but, of course, she didn't. Ther next question is, hvw're we gain' ter git her? We're gain' to, but how?" "This is a surprising thing," said the scout, looking at the bird which the Piute boy held gingerly, for it was trying to tear him wit 1 its beak and claws. "Um devil bird!" said the Piute gravely. A "devil bird" meant a bird of ill omen, though there was, in the Indian mind, a question whether it was a bird at all, as it might be an evil sririt masquerading as a bird. Little Cayuse visibly trembled, even while he clung to the creature, for if it were a devil bird, then he was in sore danger. A peck of its beak or rake of its claws might bring fatal re s ults. But he was trying to 'be brave and" "follow the white man's road," since he had come under the influence of the great Pa-has-ka. White men did not believe in devil birds, though Nick Nomad was pos sibly an exception. "What d'yer jedge et ter b e ? Nomad asked th e scout. "Some kind of hawk." "Et looks et; yit I never see one jest thet color, an' as fer fightin' an' clawin', it do beat all. See whar et ripped my coat! Little Cayuse's dornick clapped ther critter on ther neck, and over et went, floppin' d o wn outer ther tree, and 'fore et comes ter et s elf ag' in we air gruppin' et. An' then we sees thet et shore kerries a message." .. "A message which shows that we have some hard work cut out for us, for, of course, we'll never leave this village until we get that girl." "Halleluyer !" yelled Old Weasel-tqp, tears in his eyes. after we git her, then I want to git that Chink! I ain't gain' to be thro ugh hyar until me and Wun Lung meets up together and has it out with knives er pistols; that is shore a J1eathen Chinese that I'm g a in to finish, if I live long enough." Little Cayu s e subdue
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THE BUFF ALO BILL STORIES. 11 discovered that it s wings were no longer tied, it gave a quick flutter, then flashed into the air, giving a screarri as it did so. After flying a short distance it alighted in a tree-;' where it proceeded to pick at tge buckskin bound about its leg. "Him no like um," said Little Cayuse. When it could not release the buckskin, the bird rose out of the tree, and circled in apparently aimless flight above the hills. But soon it started off in the direction of the village. Old Weasel-top whooped his delight. "Go!" he cried, waving his arms dramatically, the steel hook on his right arm cutting eccentric circles. "Et's a plum caryer pigeon," said Nomad, "one er them birds couldn't hike out straighter er better. I al low we worried et so thet et wants ter git back home quick's et kin. Waal, I don't blame et; I'm jest hopin' thet Calton's gal will be whar she kin git her purty hands on thet writin' 'fore any one else does. Wun Lung kin read Englis h, maybe, and p'raps thar's others thar what kin." That was the reason Buffalo Bill had been so careful in his wording of the message. The small dark hawk became to sight over the village, but they felt reasonably sure it had returned to that place. "Et's plain thet ef Lem Flagg is belt thar as a pris' ner," said Nomad, "thet the gal don't know nuthin' er bout et. At least she didn't when she sent th.et out. 'Twould be sing'lar ef he warn't taken inter ther village at all!" Old Weasel-top, no longer able to see the hawk, began to talk again, que s tioning as t o how they were to reach his daught e r in the mid s t of their enemies, behind those walls of adobe. It pre s ented a problem which promi s ed to be hard to solve. I CHAPTER VIII. FLAGG AND THE GIRL. Lem Flag g was calling himself all of tl;p' fifty-seven varieties of fools as he sat cro s s-legged on the earthen floor of one of the whitewa s hed houses of the queer village, and looked out at the ill-assorted mob that had come to stare at him as if J1e were some queer animal. "Clear out, you rat-eaters and tom-fool redskins! Didn't ye ever see a white man before?" he said to them. "But I reckon there ain't orle of you that's half as big a fool as I am." The redskins scowled blackly at him, the Chinese chat tered and grinned like hideous manikins, but they did not try to approach too ilose tsi the white man, even though they mu s t have known that he had only 'his fists for weapons. His revolvers and knife had been taken away, but he had not been tied when cast into this mud house. He judged that was because there seemed no earthly chance of his escape. Beyond the houses was the high adobe wall, which no one but the most expert athlete could hope to scale; and to reach it from the house one would be forced to pass through this mob of Indians and Chinamen. Lem Flagg had tried to size up the situation and figure out ju s t how serious was the fix in which he found himself, and it was discouraging. "The worst of it is, that it's all my own fault!" he growled. "If I'd used jest good common horse sense I wouldn't :a' been here, but with Cody's crowd; but l thought I knew what I was doin', and that the thing was safe." He had left the camp that he had been set to guard, having heard a noise down by the spring which had ex cited his curiosity. He had thought to look into its meaning, and get back without rousing any one in the camp, regarding it as his duty to make such an investiga tion. He did not feel that he ought to awaken any one, for all needed sleep, and he saw no need of it. When he got to the spring he found that Indians and Chinese had come down to it in the hope of surprising the scout's party, which they believed had gone into camp there. That the whites were not there had so astonished them that they were dazed at first, but now they had scouts digging round in the scrub trying to pick up the trail of the white men and find out where they had gone. All this was not perfectly clear to Lem Flagg until he had crept close to the chattering mob that had sought to rush the camp. In doing that he got too close tn, and in turning to back away he stt,\mbled and tripped. In a00ther minute he was fighting, as he believed, for his life. He was rapped on the head and captured, and brought to village. For all of which reasons he was now throwing malodorous epithets at himself. ''I'll die of shame, if .I ever have to tell that to Cody," he thought, "What kind of a cheap John am I, anyhow, to be left in charge of a camp, and then play I'm a fool, in that way! I'm the limit, and whatever is comin' my way now I reckon I've earned it." He began again to shout at the Chinese and Indians, ordering them to stand back and give him room. "I don't like to be crowded so dost by Chinks and reds," he declared, "so I'd thank ye to stand back and give me breathin' room a-plenty. You'll put the kibosh on me, I reckon, when the time comes, but I don't want to be killed by breathin' bad air befoi;e it does come." He had already seen that the house into which he had been flung was different in some respects from the

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18 THE 1 BUFF ALO EILL STORIES. others in the village. It a white cube, as they were, but over it was a dome. Close by it was another that had a: dome pagoda effect, and pelq a chime of bells, which he had heard ring out musically. "That thing over yon is a jo s s house, I take it," he said to them; "but in the name o' heaven, tell me what this is? If it's a jail, it don't look it; yet I reckon it's a jail, or I wouldn't be held here. But I'm gittin' tired of these quarters. There ain't no cushioned chairs in here, ner any mahogan y writin' des k, an' no books, er nuthin' I How's an American goin' to stand this kind of an imprisonment, I'd like to know !" He didn't suppo s e that any one understood a word, but somehow it relieved hi s feelings to shout out at them, and because they were supposed not to understand he was the more reckless in what he said. "This thin g of Chinks apd Indians herdin' together is the limit, an y how," he decfared. "Yet which i s the low downest, Chink or Indian, wo1fld puzzle a scientist to tell. I pass it up .. They chattered back at him, but he didn't know what they said. I "Where is Wun Lung ?" he demanded . "He's the high-muck-a-muck that I'd like to see. I'd like to tell him what I think of him." There was a buzz at the farther side of' the crowd, and the people there began to fall away, showing that some one of con s equence was coming. "Ah! I r e ckon the whelp i s approachin' now!" cried Flagg. "Well, je s t tell him fer me, will ye, as he toddl
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THEBUFF ALO BILL STORIES. 19 that white men were out on the hills somewhere; so this morning early I slipped to that dge, and released the hawk, after I had tied some writing to its leg. It flew off toward the hills, and I've been hoping those white men would see it-see the white buck s kin on its legand shoot it, and s o get the message. It was probably a wild idea ; and when the chief knows his hawk is gone he will be furious. I shouldn t want him to know that I did it, as he has been about the best friend I have had here." ,, "That's interesting," said Flagg. "I wish I had a chair to offer you; btit you see that the furniture is ab slnt; been taken out to the pawnbroker's, likely." He smiled. Somehow the presence of this young woman gave him a hopeful feeling he had tried in vain to secure before; her coming wa s like a rift of sun s hine breaking through a black cloud. It was hard for him to believe that she was the daughter of the man he knew as Old Weasel-top. She wanted to talk about her father; and he gave her all the information he posse s sed, even telling her of his steel arm, of his lapse of memory, and his queer experi ence with Wun Lung. She shuddered when he told of the Chinese smuggler. "I'm deathly afraid of him," she confessed. "I suppo s e I shall have to tell you about it." "I want to hear it, of course; but it seems too bad to have you standing." She looked back at the Chinese and Indian faces con verging about the door. Many of them were scowling; all were unfriendly. "Whether I stand or s it i s unimportant," she said, in a low voice; "the important thing is to get out of this place. A s you have met and talked with my father, you no doubt know how we were attacked by Indians and Chinese in the de s ert. I w as carri e d off to thi s place, and I feared that father had beeri killed. It has been a long time ago-a year or more, I think; I can't keep track of time here. Wun Lung, the Chinaman, was at the head of the force attacking u s and I think it was done simpl y to get me into his power. He and his Chi;amen have been living here for four or five years, perhaps longer, with these Indians; and they have grad ually got the upper hand, s o that most of the Indians are afraid of them. The Indians are dreadfully fright ened by what goes on in that Chinese pa g oda, where the jo s s is; the incense and the lights, and the queer howl ing of the Chinese, fright e n the Indian s "Wun Lung suppo s ed, I think, that he could do as he pleased with me, whe n he brought me here; and though he had two Indian wive s he intended to force me to become his wife. But it happened that one of his In dian wives is a sister of the _young chief I mentioned, Black Hawk; and that Black Hawk, though he already has a wife, took a fancy to me. The' whole thing nearly: frightened me to death, when I understood it; but in the end it ha;; worked for my interest. "For, you see, Black Hawk has a good deal of in fluence with the warriors; and when he declared, inas much as Wun Lung was married to two Indian women, one being his sister, that he wanted me himself for a wife that stopped Wun Lung from carrying out his plan. Then Black Hawk's wife rebelled, s ay ing she would kill me if the chief married me; so I haven't been forced to marry any one yet." Her face had flushed again and the telling of this embarrassed her. "It has been through the favor of Black Hawk that I have been given a lodge by myself, and the young squaws have made clothing for me, and even acted as my serv ants. But of course I know it can't last. I shall have to marry either the young chief or the Chinaman; or perhaps a war will break out about it, and I shall go to whoever win s ." She put her hand to the bosom of her buckskin jacket and drew out a small revolver. / "But I have decided what I shall do when the worst I comes; I shall simply shoot myself with this, and end it. Black Hawk gave me this to defend myself again s t Wun Lung if the Chinaman beca111e too trouble s ome; but Black Hawk never dreamed that I would think of using it against myself." The way she !'aid it almost made Lem Flagg shudder. "You're a plucky woman," was all he could say at the moment. 1 "Merely a desperate one I Really, I'm a coward; what terror I have suffered here no tongue could ever tell. You see, though I am free to go about, I can't escape; and as it is known that I can't, I am permitted to go wherever I want to, in the village. The gates are al ways locked and guarded; and the walls are too high to climb. The villagers know, too, that even if I could get out, I should not be able to g e t through the moun tains and the desert; and that they could overtake me without trouble." Sh,e put back the little revolver; and had been careful, when she exhibited it, to so hold it that the staring eyes beyond the door should not see it "But when I heard from the talk-I've learned to un derstand the Indians better than the Chinese-that white men, enemies o'i these people, were on the hills, I won dered if they would not try to rescue me, if they knew I was held here. It was then that I thought of the little hawk and sent him out. And it was only a little while ago that I discovered they had captured one of the white men and brought him in here." She spoke hurriedly, in a voice that trembled, glancing npw and then at the faces beyond the door. "I'm banking on Cody doing something," said Flagg. "That scout is a wonder."

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20 THE BUFF ALO BILL STORIES. "Yes, I know," she answered. "He helped us when we were with the Pimas, and I'm well with hint But he is the last man I expected to hear of in this wild regic:ih." "That it is f1 wild regioh, with dahgets a-plertty, is the best reastm in the wbtld why he should be lotlketil ot here," Flagg 1Y es; th11t i!l I don.Jt dou ht." "St>, I'm going tt) believe he wm get in here artd help us." She shot>k her head tloubtfolly. "I'm sorry to say it, but I don't see how he tah ; the gates are and watehed, and the walls ate watched. The people here are well armed, ahd could shoot him and his friends down It makes me worried about ther) to think of it.'' Flagg was thinkihg that i! the scout and his pards tlid not get in his own outlobk was black enough; but he would not say it to her, and discourage her. "I stand ready to do atiything I can," he assetted; "just show me what there is that I can do." She shook het head ag51in. "There isn't anything." "They'll just hold me here?" She gave him a waverlttg glance. "They lnay kill you," she said in a low vtllce; "hut I'll give you this revolver, to defend yourself with, H you think you'd like it. My own Hie is safe enough, for the present." But he refused it; and began to try to lay plans for escaping out of the town, afid taking her with him; yet they seemed futile, hopeless plans. While they still talked, cries broke totth from the Chinks and Indians before the door, and the crnwd drew back, melting away, many of 1 the members of it beginning to run toward one of the gates. 'fhe girl stepped to the, door and looked out ; then her exclamatiof). of wonder drew Lem Flagg to look out, also. Coming down a hill close by the eastern wall was a pony bearing an Indian who bent forward on the ahi mal's neck in a manner so rigid as to suggest that he was tied there. "What does it mean?" she asked of a warrior near. He did not understand her, or would not enlighten her. But soon she heard the cry : "Lion Tail !" It was not in English; but in the Pacheco equivalent, whith she had learned. "It is one of the chiefs," she said ih mttth excitement; "he seems to be tied to his horse, and the Indians 'clre running to the gate to open it for him." "Some of Cody's work, I'm betting," declared Lem Flagg. "Maybe the rascal is bringing a message and they sent hini in that way to show that they mean t:iusi ness out there.'' The girl shaking like a leaf. "I'll try to find out rhat it means," she promised, and .stepped from the doorway) mingling with some of the chattering squaws, who had remained near tbe house after the depart11re o f the warriors. One of them was that Indian wife of Wun Lung who was Black Hawk's sistet i and the girl 5poke to her, asking for information. The woman did not know, and set forth to learn. The gitl did not go down to the gate ; and she did not know certainly what had happened for nearly half an hour, when Black Hawk's sister came back and told her. As phrased by the Indian woman, it was a startling story. Lion Tail had reported that the white men in the hills had come on him suddenly, captured him, and then had bound him to the back of the pony; but that he had suc c eeded in getting away. He was very much enraged1 and his story had frightened the women. Black Hawk's sister went away after telling this; and there was a great hubbub of excitement in the village. "Is Wun Lung ifl this town now?" asked Flagg. "I think he is; though I could wish him anywhere else in the world," said the girl. "I am so afraid of that horrible Chinaman .that I almost faint whenever he comes near me." "I retkon he has a lot of influence here ; the Chinks will do anything he says, I suppose; though it's queer to me. Chinks and Indians harnessed up tbgether this way is a new one on me," "Yet it isn' t so strange, when you understand it." "I suppose that's right-when you understand it I" ''These Chinamen are, I think, all fugitives, who don't dare stay in the United States or in any cities of Mexico; they are ctiminals i afid they can't go back to China) be cause they would be arrested on the ships if they tried it. That's lny idea, anyhow. They first came ihtb a valley south of here; and in that valley is still where they do their farming and gardening; they're the farm ers, while the Indians do the hunting and fishing. It doesn't make so bad a partnership. There was war at first between tlie Chinamen and the Indians ; but it was fixed up some way, and then the Chihamen came and lived hete in the village." "I'trt bettihg W uh Lurtg patched up that peculiar friendship." "I think there's no doubt of it. So the Indians and the Chinese are livittg together t1ow, as you see them; but I think the Chinese are growing stronger, in in fluence, and the Indians weaker; for, you see, the are much the smarter, and know how to work the Indians. Wun Lung is a sort of fugitive himself, I think; anti he makes this his home. It's away back here behind the desert ahd the mountaihs; ahd I he thought no safer place ctmld be found in the wbrld."

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THE BUFF ALO BILL STORIES. 2I "An ideal arrangement-for the outlawed Chinks." "Nothing could be finer, frotn their stans:Ipoint." "They dort't eyer leave?" "Wun Lung does, and some o f the others; you said Wun Lung appeared now and then in San Fran<'.isco> and is at the head of a gang of smugglets." "That's right i he's the boss Chinese smuggler of the American-Mexican border1 and they say he has made a mint of money. But he won't need to make any more; he can pike out for the Flowery Kingdom and be richer than a mandarin, it he hangs to the treasure he lifted from that cache." He elaborated what he had already told her about the cache of gold, and her father's interest in it, as well as his own. She agreed with him that Wun Lung probably meant to accumulate a11 the money he could, and then return to China. "But I don't think he meant to do that soon,'l she said. "His ideas of riches have probably grown very large since he became acquainted with San Francisco." "Do you think," Flagg asked, "that he would bring that treasure into this town? Seems to me he'd hesi ttae about that; for he might have to divvy with the Chinese here, and perhaps the Indians would also expect a whack at it. The secret of the cache was told to your f,ather by an Indian, you know. > "I've been thi11klng about that. The Indian he spoke of must have been a chief who disappeared in the hills and was hever seen here again; I heatd some of the women talking about it, ahd it was a mystery to them." She stood again in the door, gazing out into the vil lage. Suddenly sbe uttered a little cry. Flagg saw that she was looking at the sky, and glanted in the same tlirediqr. A bird was circling down as if it meant to alight, and he saw plainly that something white was tied round ohe of its legs. / "The hawk!" she said. "He ha!I 'Come back; ahd they didn't get the message, after all!" "Too bad!" said Flagg. The little hawk dropped to a roof, a!tnost unnoticed by the excited Indians; and the girl statted from the door. "I m\lst get' that buckskitt off its leg before any one sees it," she declared. "Some of the Chinamen l11ight be able to read what I wtote tlh it, and I d0h't want them to." She hutried out, and Flagg saw het,go to the house and tlimb by a ladder to the flat roof where the bird rested. He saw it fl.utter away from het; saw her fol low it acro s s the roof, and then capture it. "Hurrah for you!" Flagg muttered, his eyes following her with admiration. "You're plucky." Then he saw her, as she descended with the bird from the roof, encounteran Indian, a young fellow with bright feathers in his hair, to' whom, after some words, she sur rendered the hawk. When she came back hurriedly to the house where Flagg was held a prisoner-a number of Indians being still before its door-he observed her face was red and her blue eyes very bright; :md that she was agitated, ,,. :But the lndians stood aside and let her go on in. As soon as inside she snatched the buckskin from her jacket, where she had hidden it. "The Indian I gave the bird to was Black Hawk. But hear this !" she whispered. Then she read the message which Buffalo Bill had penciled on the buckskin. Lem Flagg had hard work to repress his strong desire to yell. "Bully!" he said. "Word from your father. Buffalo Bill forever! Cody is a wonder! He'll get in here if mortal man can do it," I Taking the buckskin strip he read what the scout had written. "Hide it," she urged; "I don't want it to be found on me; you can scrape a hole in the earth here, and hide it when no one is looking; but not now." Some of the Indians had come to the door and were gazing in.' "Don't let them dream, from ypur actibns, that we have good news, or any kind of news/' she warned. He slipped the buckskin into a pocket. "All right/' he promised. "It says be and we'll try to be. But' I wish Cody had set down a few tnore 'words, and told us what it is they mean to do.'' "Pethaps they didn't know," she suggested; "and, even if they did, they couldn't afford to run the tisk of doing that, as the message might have fallen into the hands of some Chinaman who could read it." "You're right," he declared, "and I'm an idiot. But this has feazed me so that I am fair ditzy." He heatd a sound and looked out. "Hello!" he said. "Who's coming now?" She stepped back, where she could get a view. "It's -Wun Lung," she whispered, her voice shaking again; "and that chief is with hitn that the horse brought in; I heard pis name then, ahd it is Lion Tail." She seemed scared. "I must going, for Wun Lung frightens tne; I sup pose he has come with the chief to have a talk with you. Give me back the message on the buckskin; they might search you, and find it." When he gave it to her she thntst it again into the bosom of her jacket; then flitted out of the house, and was gone. Lem Flagg saw that a lane had opened in the crowd

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22 THE BUFFALO BILL STORIES. before his door, and through it approached Wun Lung and an Indian chief. "Well, this is interesting," he muttered; "but I wonder what the rascals want?" CHAPTER IX. THE DARING OF LEM FLAGG Wun Lung and Lion Tail came on into the prison, closing the door behind them. That shut out a good deal of light, but a near by w indow, high in the wall, a deep and narrow slit, let in enough, so that Lem Flagg saw clearly the men before him. Wun Lung was a typical Chinaman, in Chinese clothing Lion Tail a typical Indian; so that the three men in that room were as strangely contrasted as can be imagined. Wun Lung sat down cross-legged on the floor, with a bland wave of his hand motioning the chief to do the same, an order that was obeyed. Lem Flagg stood out in the light, motionles s attentive. "Plenty nice Melican man him have seat," invited Wun Lung with Oriental suavity, and again he waved his hand. "I suppo s e I might a s well said Flagg, and sat down again s t the opp os ite wall, where he could see door as well as hi s vi s itors "What nice Melican man do here?" a s ked the China man blandly. "Seein' that I'm held in this prison hole, I don't see why you a sk?" growled Flagg. "W' hy Melican man come, me mean?" "Why did I come? I s houldn't think you'd need to ask that, either." "MeJican man say why um come?" Wun Lung unrolled an object he took out of his blou s e and Flagg saw that it was the mirror with th e metal ball that had bewitched Old Weas el-top. "Why um come?" said Wun Lung, twi s ting the "ke y and setting the ball 1in motion. Flagg stared at the ball, until he remembered that in that manner Old Weasel-top had had his head turned, when he looked away. "I suppose," he "I might as well be frank, as you must know about it already. 'Our crowd fol lowed you because Buffalo Bill had a warrant for your arrest, and becau s e we thought you had lifted the cache of gold, ,and likewi s e because Eben Calton's daughter is held here a pri s oner. You see, I'm giving it to you straight." The metal ball wa s s pinning, and Flagg had hard work to keep from looking at it. "For pla y with," explained Wun Lung; "you likee s ee urn ? Flagg looked at the Indian, refu s ing to look at the ball. The crafty Celestial merely smiled, and went on talk ing. Appaq: : ntly he had a lively curio s ity, as he in quired about everything he could think of that was even remotely connected with the party of white men. Flagg wondered at this, until suddenly he perce\ved that what Wun Lung was doing was to keep up a droning talk that had no great interest for anybody, expecting that the white man, by looking at the spinning ball, would soon come under his influence. Even as that fl.as hed on him, Flagg found that he was growing sleepy and confused, and knew that without intending it he had mort or les s given casual glances at the ball. The discovery shocked hil'h into full wakeful ness. "He wants to get me under his influence and perhaps send me out into the hills with some lying message a s to the real condition of things in here, hoping that will send the white men piking along the back track. Well, I'll not fall under his infernal influence; I'll keep my head straight on my shoulders, and my eyes open and wide awake. Lem Flagg, ain't you got as good a head a s this yellow-faced rat-eater? You ought to have Then don't let him dope you I" The new grip he took of him s elf enabled him to ban i s h the queer feeling s that had been s tealing over him ; and he kept wide awake and alert, from that moment on. Wun Lung discovered this in a little while, and it angered him. "I suppose didn't bring the gold from that cache in here?" Flagg shot at him suddenly. The effect was what Flagg desired. The was stared at in a questioning manner by the Indian chief. "What gold?" s aid Lion Tail. "Why, don't y o u know about Flagg went on desperately. "Wun Lung lifted a cach e of gold-a cart load of the stuff-and piked toward this village with it; and--" Wun Lung gave a roar of rage and flung the whirling object at the white man's head; but Flagg ducked, and the thing s ma s hed again s t the wall, with a sound of shattering glass. The next instant the Chinaman had whipped out a long knife and dived with it at the Ameri can, his face wrinkled with rage, his yellow lips froth ing He had lost all control of himself in his sudden blaze of anger. The long knife would have stabbed Lem Flagg through the body had not the Indian chief pu s hed out his quilled and beaded mocca s in and tripped the Chinaman. The knife fell to the floor; for Wun Lung, to save him s elf from butting into the wall, had to throw out his hand s The Indian chief came to his feet with a guttural grunt and flashed out hi s tomahawk. This gave Lem Flagg a chance to spring up and back

PAGE 24

THE BUFF ALO BILL STORIES. into a corner; and, having by a swoop of his arm secured the long knife, he lifted it, and stood on the Wun Lung pulled himself together, still wild with rage; and for a moment or so it seemed that the little room was about to witness a lively three-cornered fight. But Wun Lung regained in a measure his self-control. Then he began to chatter at the chief, using words which Flagg did not understand. The chief turned angrily, stalked to the door, flung it open, and went plunging into the midst of the crowd that hung around outside. Wun Lung and the Ameri can were left facing each other. "If you come at me, you rat-eat"er, I'll put this int o to the hilt!" Flagg threatened. But Wun Lung had no notion now of flinging himself on the American. "We talkee li'l' bit," he said. "Him gone, we talkee he11p plenty-savvy?" "That's all -right-but no tricks! I'll hear what you've got to say; but I've got this knife now and I'll use it; so just keep your distance." "Velly nice Melican man talkee Chinaman," said Wun Lung, trying to coax a smile to his yellow face; "we talkee about Melican man gittee out of this. How Meli can man like ?" "I'd like to get out all right, you bet." "Good l We talkee about that." He was standing between Flagg and the door. "What Melican man know about gold cache?" he demanded. "Well, my crowd knows that you lifted what gold there was in that cache near the Twin Buttes, and piked out with it, riding one horse and leading three others. We picked up your trail and followed it. You didn't bring the gold into this village, I know now; and I shall tell Lion Tail, and Black Hawk, and all the other chiefs, all 'I know about it; they'll want their s hare, and your Chink pards will want theirs." "What um know about Black Hawk?" said the China man, amazed that the prisoner had ever heard of that chief. "I t
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THE BUFF ALO BILL STORIES. His hands lacked -strength at first, and he could not get the door open; then it yielded to the tug he gave it; and the white man and the Chinaman appeared to gether before the astonished crnwd outside. "Straight ahead!" said Flagg in a low tone. His right hand was thrust into the bosom of his coat, where it held the handle of the hidden revolver and gave quick jabs of the muzzle against the side of the Chinaman. Though questions of astonishment were hurled at Wun Lung, he seemed to have gone deaf, for he did not answer them / but walked straight ahead, .Jhe white man stepping along with him. The. mob a lane for thern.. ; standiHg back, gaping !'Down to .that gate at the corner of the wall," said Lem Flagg, wondering how he was to get out there even if permitted to reach it. He knew he had never taken such desperate chances; yet he did not see how, in any event, he could make his condition much W'Orse than it had been, unless the enraged villagers killed him. 1.-ung's 'f:rce Gozed perspiration ; and stumbled at times, but kept on toward the gate, the Chinese and Indians streaming alongside, and behind tlie pair. A immnur began to run through the mob of Chinks and Indians; as the suggestion was set going that the white man had got control of the Chinaman's wonderful mirror,and spinning ball and had used them to the un doing of the Chinaman himself. Knowing all about the ball and mirror, and how through their power Wun Lung subdued men to his wishes, the thing seemed not improb able; for they saw that Wun Lung was not at all him self; he seemed like a dead man walking. Th911gh Lem Flagg did not understand the words he heard he knew that his danger was increasing. He even marveled at his own nerve and daring, which had made him undertake a thing so desperate. But now that he was on his way to the gate, and was making the trial, he resolved to go right ahead, and trust to luck and bluff to carry him through. From. all directions he saw Indians and Chinese run joining themselves to the crowd that streamed alongside and behind. The cries grew angrier, and some of the Chinks and In}iians began to come in closer. The gate was still" a good twenty yards away. "Keep your nerve now," Flagg whispered to himself; "don't let them stampede ye; if you run now there will be a dozen knives in your back before you know it; steady, boy-steady!" Wun Lung's knees seemed collapsing under him. The American took him' by the arm, to help him along; where upon there was a roar from the Chinamen who saw it. Some of them rushed in, shouting angrily, but fell back, still lacking courage to attack the white man; besides, they were puzzled, though it seemed it could not be the wish of Wun Lung to go on in that way. The gate was but ten yards off, and Wun Lung was stumbling heavily. ''I'll make him order the guards to let me out," was the thought of Lem Flagg. "Cricky, I believe it's go ing to work! Now, if that girl was here with me! I ought to have planned it somehow so that she could have \ been. I see there is where I fell down;'' He was within two yards of the gate, with the Chi nese and Indians becoming angrier each moment, when Wun Lung fell heavily, dropping unconscious in the path. The fright and the ordeal had been too much for the Celestial, who had collapsed completely. A mighty roar went 't'.tp as the Chinaman dropped and the young American sprang for the gate. Over the gate was a little watch tower, containing two men, who were armed with old muskets; both were Chinamen. The gate itself was locked. Seeing Wun Lung fall, and thinking the American responsible, these guards fired on Flagg. But their bullets missed. Gain ing the gate, and unable to get through it, he set his back against it and drew his revolver, whipping it out and flashing it in the faces of the men who rushed on him. A flying mis s ile struck Flagg on the head at this junc ture, and he went down, falling by the gate. A dozen Chinamen were on top of him the next mon,ient. A half an hour later he came back to consciousness in the same pri s on from which he had made so brave an to escape. His head was brui s ed and bloody, his clothing was torn and ripped, and his body had been raked with knives; that he was alive and not dangerously wounded was a remarkable thing when one considers the mauling through which he had gone and fact that he had been dragged by the heel s along the path back to the prison . For a little while after coming to himself the young American's head whirled so dizzily that he hardly kqew where he was and what had befallen him. Then he remembered "So, you failed! he s aid, then. "Well, it was a great effort, and worth it." CHAPTER X. r TWO IMPORTANT CAPTURES. Although Lem Flagg's daring effort to escape seemed to have been futile ; its results were far-reaching. The first to be moved to action by it was Wun Lung himself, who had collapsed so miserably at the gate 1\hrotigh excess of terror; a collapse from which he was even in recovering than Flagg was from his state of unconsciousness. When the Celestial came back to himself and a clear

PAGE 26

THE BUFF ALO BILL STORIES. recollection of what had he was in his own hou s e on e of the bes t in the village, and his favorite In dian w ife was fus s in g round, trying to wait on him. Wun Lung sent her out of the room with a sharp com mand; then lay back on hi s cot try in g to think. The pillow wa s of s ilk b ro u g ht from S a n Francisco and t)ie covering s of th e cot wer e the same. On a lacquered table wa s a light-a w ick of fibre burnin g in a bow l of fat; beside it a s moldering joss stick s ent out its per fume. Wun Lung's Indian wife had never been able to under s tand the rea s on of that jo ss s tick; y et s he knew Wun Lung l i ked it there, for cause she had The Chinaman took a s urvey of his pos ition in that village, and in the country. He knew he was a fugi tive, with a price on his head, and that his safety could only be s ecured b y perpetual watching and care; even in this remote spot the arm of the law might reach him in time. He had long thou g ht of returning to China, if it, could be done safely; and now he thought of it again. He was very mucp troubled. At a certain point in the hill s he had e s tabli s hed a s ecret storehouse, where for many month s he had been hiding gold and trea s ure, the trea s ure consi s ting chiefl y of diamonds, for which he had traded gold in San FraQci sco. For American paper money hehad little liking. And diamonds were easier to carry than g old. The daring American's talk in the prison had aroused the suspicion and cupidity of Lion Tail. There could be no doubt of it. What the American had said would be retailed in the village by that chief; and it would spread from the Indian s to the Chine se; Soon Wun Lung would be watched and spied on not only by the Indians, but b y his o w n people any one of whom would murder him if ther e by the y could get hold of his gold. It wa s thi s knowle dg e which made Wun Lung so troubled and unea sy ri ght now. In addition, out s ide the w alls wa s that terrible Ameri can Buffalo Bill. A ll oth e r American s of whom the Cele s tial had k now l edg e were not to be feared like that one man. That Buffalo B ill w ould c o ntrive in s ome way to get at him, e ven there in his own hou s e behind the v i lla g e waUs, was belie v ed by Wun Lung, and it un nerved him. That belief may have come lar g ely becau s e his nerves had been s o shaken b y what he ha d g one through. At the gate the y had failed hi m utt erly; and now while lying here on his silken cot he felt him s elf trembling inwardly, in a manner new and s tran ge. And the ma gic mirror had been broken That was a calamity bespeaking others to follow s wiftly on its 1-Leels He had brought the ma g ic mirror from China, where it had been given him b y a wonder worker whom he had once helped. He did not himself unrler:>tand its powers, though he had used them; yet he knew that if a man looked steadily at the mirror and the ball spinning in front of it he soon los t his own will and accepted the will of the one who held the mirror. It was hypnotism, but Wun Lung did not know it; to him it was "magic." But the mirror had been broken! In his rage he had lost control of himself and hurled it at the American, and now it was shattered in many pieces! If there was a spirit, or god, for that mirror, its wrath would no doubt de s cend on him. After a time Wun Lung arose from his cot and going to a window looked forth. The village was sprinkled with fires and the stars were out; the_ time was night. Slowly the Chinaman came to a "decision; then pro ceeded to put it in execution. He wrapped himself in thicker clothing, for the night air threatened to-.be and took his way toward one of the gates, leaving the house by a rear exit, without notifying any one; He saw tha't there was much excitement in the vil lage; people were gathered here and there in knots, and stood in groups bef6re the houses of Indianchiefs and of some of the principal Chinamen. Wun Lung kept his head averted, and spoke to no one, until he reached the gate, when he called to one of the guards, commanc;ling the fellow to come down. The guard was a Chinaman, one of Wun Lung's friends and supporters. To him the cr-afty Celestial told a few lies the point of which was that he wanted to slip out into the hills and look round, to see what the Ameri cans out there were doing. This gave him prompt exit from the town. Having slipped out quietly, he walked stealthily along the wall until he came to the nearest corner. Near it was a group of tree s and he hastened into their shadows, believing himself still unseen; then shaped his course silently toward the hills. But Wun Lung had not only been seen, he was being followed. Hardly a minute after he had passed through the gate the Indian chief Lion Tail came up to it; and was per mitted to pa s s out, giving much the same reason, that he wanted to s cout round and see what the white men out side were doing. The guard nb more thought of refus ing this to Li o n Tail than he had thought of refusing it t:o Wun Lung himself. Wun Lung had 9ot planned with wisdom ; otherwise he would have taken care to see that he would not be fol lowed. Though he feared the knowledge which Lion Tail had received in th e words of the American yet he did not think of thi s danger, that the chief would shadow him, to know more about that gold of which there was said to be so great a store. When Wt.in Lung went on toward the hills Lion Tail followed him, silent, skulking, with all of an Indian's stealth; and Wun Lung did not know it.

PAGE 27

THE BUFF ALO BILL STORIES. ,. The, Celestial was heading for the spot where he had hidd n the gold taken from the cache as well as the gold and diamonds he had collected before that. There had not been a Mexican cartload of the cache gold, but enough to excite cupidity, and it was all in that secret storehouse-queer vessels of gold and of silver, of a kind the Chinaman had never seen, being the loot of Mexican together with a number of gold nuggets. When Wun Lung reached the spot 'Yhere his treasure had been hidden, his first discovery was that some one had been at it; then he felt a hand on his throat. At that, terror him again, his_.knees gave way l.lnder him, and he sank down with a chokink moan, quickly losing consciousness. Lion Tail was not a dozen yards away at the time and his keert ears caught the moaning sound. A'fter that, for a minute, he stood rigid as a bronze statue, straininl\_ his eyes through the darkness without seeing qnything. I When he heard nothing more the groan and what had seettietl a smothered fall, he concluded that the 1 Chinamart had fainted. This seemed not so unlikely, in view of the fact that Wun Lung had dropped in his tracks by" the gate that very afternoon, and might be conjectured not to have recovered entirely fr.om it. Any way, the Indian could think of no other probable cause. PerhapS' the gold had been hidden there and now found to be gone, and the shock had flattened the Ce lestial out again. Lion Tail had heard no sound to sug gest that enemies near. Drawing his tomahawk, the Indian went forward slowly, Hl{e a cat picking her
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