Buffalo Bill's witchcraft, or, Pawnee Bill and the snake Aztecs

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Buffalo Bill's witchcraft, or, Pawnee Bill and the snake Aztecs

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Title:
Buffalo Bill's witchcraft, or, Pawnee Bill and the snake Aztecs
Series Title:
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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1 online resource (31 p.) 28 cm.: ;

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

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University of South Florida
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University of South Florida
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All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
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020860037 ( ALEPH )
15933611 ( OCLC )
B14-00117 ( USFLDC DOI )
b14.117 ( USFLDC Handle )

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serial

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J;nud WuR/y. By 1u6s&riJtion .&o Jw Yor. Entered as Second-class Matter at tlte N. Y. Post Office, by STREET 79-89 Seve n /It Ave N. Y. Cojyrig-ltt, 1911, hy STREET & SMITH. 9 No. 508. N E W YORK, February 4 1 911. Price Cents. Buffalo Bill's Witchcraft; OR., PAWNEE BILL-AN D THE SNAKE AZTECS. By the author of "BUFF ALO BILL." CHAPTER I. WILD BILL. When Wild Bill Hickok gall oped into the town of Tinijas, word had come that Baron von Schnitzenhauser was in serious trouble there. On the way in he had looked for a dark-cheeked, dark-eyed young woman, Donna Isabel, who had delivered that word, and had not found her. The pistol king drew rein in front of the leading hotel of the place kept by a man known as Tinijas John Throwing the reins to a Mexican boy he strode with clinking spurs into the hotel barfoom. His question, to Tinijas John, who was behind the bar, was purposely a bold one: "Can you tell me if there is a Chink joss house in this town?" Tinijas John surveyed the man before him; ran his eyes from the clinking silver spurs to the braided velvet jacket, then to the Stetson topping the well shaped head and long hair. En route, it may be mentioned, he did not fail to note the handsome revo l vers on the hips of :ne stranger, nor the gold-mounted bowie knife in its s heath In his estimation Wild Bill, wh o m he had never met before,, was something of a dandy. But though up to that moment he had never set eyes on Wild Bill, Tinijas John was not caught napping. He knew instinctively tha t this handsome borderman was one of Buffalo Bill's party "Wherever there is a lot of Chinks," he said, "there is l ikely to be a joss house to be shore ; but I ain't never heard of one here in Tinijas. \Yhat made you ask?" "I'm interested in such things," said Wild Bill, l eaning carelessly against the bar "A Chink is sure a queer animal. As Bret Harte maintained, 'the heathen Chinee is peculiar.' By the way," his eyes flicked round the ro9m, "since I'm here, I'll ask another quest ion: Have you happened to see a butterball of a Dutchman, tod dling along on very thin legs? A_ man in your position bumps up against abou t every odd sample of humanity that straggles into the town, and if you've ever seen that Dutchman, you cou l dn't miss remember i n g i t." A queer look flitted across the face of the hotelkeeper, which was not l ost on the keen-eyed man who was watch ing him I haven't seen x_our Dutch friend," he declared; yet, a s he pulled down a bottle, his hands shook. "What wiU you have?" he invited.

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2 THE BUFFALO BILL STORIES. " T othing; this is not my day. Just one more inquiry: Tell me how I can reach the Casino?" Tinijas John shot him another sharp look. "Turn the corner below, and keep going. You can't miss it. Walk five minutes; then look for a big sign, with the name on it; that'll be it. But it's too early for the show." Wild Bill threw a coin on the bar. 1 "To pay you for your trouble/' he said, and went ottt. "That will stir up the animals," was his thought. "Now for the Casino.'' Throwing a glance overttis shoulder as he on, he saw that Tinijas John had run to the window of the barroom on that side, and was looking out at him. At the Casino he asked .for the manager. "It's about an actress," he said, when the doorkeeper hesitated. The manager, an alert young fellow in loud clothes, came down. "Something I can do for you ?" he said. "Take me up into one of your bad: rooms," Wild Bill requested. "I'd like to have a talk with you there.'' "Something important? You mentioned an actress, I believe?" "You are shy one actress, I think." "I am, and it's f queer thing; if you know anything about her, I'm willmg to talk with you." "We'll discuss that in the back room." Up a stairway the manager led, and conducted Hickok to one of the small wine rooms lying back of the Casino stage. The place, at that hour, was deserted. "We can talk quiet enough here," remarked the man ager, as he flung open a door. "Just step in there." The room was small, and scantily furnished; it had but a few chairs, some lamps, and a small wine table in the middle of the floor. Wild Bill dropped into one of the chairs. "Did you see a fat !Dutchman come up here a couple of nights ago?" he inquired. "If you did, he's a friend of mine; and he's missing, too, like your actress.'' He smiled. "Perhaps it's an elopement. The actress I'm thinking about was called Donna Isabel ; she is very dark-Spanish and Indian, I believe; I understood she had an act here-dancing and singing." "She hasn:t shown up for two nights," was the answer, "and I don't understand it; she was my best card. About the Dutchman, I haven't seen him." "He came here, and I have reason to think he dropped out of sight here.'' "I'm sure I don't know anything about it. He might have been robbed and slugged. Tinijas is a tough place.'' "You haven't been here long?" "Less than a month. I hire the Casino of Tinijas John, the owner; he's the proprietor of the hotel up the street. But about that woman?" "She was out in the country, a mile or so from here, and she brought word that the Dutchman, whom she had met here, had got into trouble; it was in one of the s e small rooms. So," he looked the manager straight in the face, "I thought I'd come right to headquarters and make my inquiries about him. But I can see that you I oon't know anything." ''Not a thing." "I believe yott; you're honest, but you've fallen in with a bad crowd." Wild Bill cocked ear at one of the partitions. "I was followed to this point," he said calmly, "and the fellow who followed me is now hid ing in the room next to this. He was sent by Tinijas John. I'll bet that I'm right. Will you go me?" A light step sounded in the adjoining room; Hickok's words had been heard, as he had meant them to be, and the eavesdropper was getting away. Making a jump, Wild Bill rushed to the door of the room, but found it locked. When he had smashed against it, and broken the lock, he saw that the room was empty; but the spy had gone so hurriedly that he had not been given time to close the door by which he had fled. "See you later," Wild Bill flung at the astounded man ager, and flickered through the second door in hot pur suit. But when he gained the street below, where he thought the man ought to be seen, no man running was in sight; and the men he did see there showed no such interest as might have been expected if the fleeing rascal had dashed past them. "Round number one; but I think I drew blood." Wild Bill backed against a wall, where he quietly lighted a cigar, and began to watch the street. CHAPTER II. FOLLOWING THE CHINK RAT. A characteristic quality of Wild Bill Hickok was reck lessness. Having undertaken to find the baron, he had gone about it in a manner to bring speedy results, with out considering the danger it might toss him into. Buffalo Bill and his friends had come to Tinijas to run down a band of opium smugglers, with whom Tinijas John was connected. It was a moral certainty that the Chinamen in the place were mixed up in the smuggling. And the baron had been seen last, in an unconscious con-' dition, in one of the wine rooms at the Casino. This news had been brought to Buffalo Bill by the Casino dancing girl, Donna Isabel; her motive being hatred of a man named Granger, who, though sheriff of the county, was one of the smuggler leaders. The reader will be able to see now why Wild Bill had

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THE BUFFALO BILL STORIES. 3 made his bold play. Some member of the opium-smug gling gang had fallen afoul of the German. Hence Tini ja s John would be sure to put spies at the heels of the man who had come seeking information. It was Wild Bill s idea to spot the spies, and follow them. This he expected would lead to immediate de velopments, and perhaps to the baron himself. At the end of five minutes Wild Bill's watching seemed about to be rewarded. A door opened in a wall on the other side of the street, as if moved by hidden spring s and a blue-bloused Chinaman, appearing su'iidenly, dived into it and out of sight. Wild Bill smoked placidly at his cigar, and stared at the door, which remained open. Chink spells opium-probably. No, by gorry, in thi s instance,,it !>pelts rat!". His eyes rounded. "And what a rat!" A rat as big as a flour barrel had come sliding into view behind the wall, went sliding past the open door, and disappeared. "Now, I can look for a cat; and it ought to be as big as an elephant. If I didn't know better I might think I had 'em, and had 'em bad. If old Nomad was here, he'd c all thi s whiskizoos." As nothing more happened, and the door remained open, Wild Bill concluded to investigate the giant rat. "This is Chink business, all right," he thought, as moved toward the door, "and if I follow the Chinks I may get right into the heart of the opium mystery, and s trike hands with the baron. There is some sort of hocus-pocus going on back there, anCi I'd like to know what it is." On reaching the door and looking through he saw the rat again He was givert a better view of it, and dis covered that it was mounted on wheels, with a rope end pa ss ing through a ring in its nose, by which it was pulled alo ng But he did not see the men who were pulling it; the rope reached on into the darkness of a narrow pa ss age, its farther end invi s ible. Wild Bill began to follow the rat; but he did not come up with it at once; it began to move more rapidly, as if it knew that it was being pursued. At length it whisked through a doorway, and was g o ne, the door whipping into place on swinging hinges behind it. Pushng the door open, Wild Bill found himself unex pectedly confronted by a peculiar scene. The rat had s topped in the middle of a small room hung round with Chine s e curtains and lighted by Chinese lanterns. The scurrying he e ls of vanishing Chinamen twinkled at the opposite side of the room, and vanished behind one of the curtains. A Chinese drum thumped, like a jumping . h e art. Then from one side of ..the room a dragon crawled, with red, dis tended mouth, advancing upon the rat as if t o devour it. .... Wild Bill shifted his cigar, rubbed his nose, 1 and scratched his chin. No, I ain't dreaming," I'm not suffering from any de lirium tremenjus, and I do!1' t believe in whiskizoos, even if Nomad does. So, what I am seeing I m seeing; but, by gorry, it's a funny go! Maybe if little Willy keeps still enough, he will see somet"hing worth while. My gue'!>s is that this is one of the first acts in a Chinese drama, or perhaps some rite in Chinese freemasonry. Lay on, Macduff!" But nothing happened. f The dragon had come to a stop close by the rat. It was made of Chinese paper, wonderfully colored. It had been given a push, apparently, strong enough to send it into the centre of room. But the men who had pushed it did not appear. When ten minutes had passed, with nothing .doing, Wild Bill s curiosity got the _9etter of his discretion. He walked out into the queer room, and up to the big rat and the dragon. Then he saw that the rat had a door in its back, set like the hatch of a ship Shifting his cigar again, he regarded the rat curiously. "In Troy, I believe, a wooden horse came in, and it was filled with enemies. That wasn t Troy, New York, of course; ,t!Verybody is friendly there! If there i any thing in this rat, under that hatch, it may be opium." He slipped the hasp. It was as if he had signaled, for the hidden drum boomed, the door in the back of the rat flew open, and a Chinaman, rising like a jack-i11-the-box, pitched at the daring white man. At the same moment, doors con cealed by the curtainec;i walls flew inward, and a mob of Chinamen were flung into the room pell-mell, and came dashing upon him. Wild Bill dropped a hand to one of his revolvers as the jack-in-the-box Chinaman clutched at his throat, but he was knocked over, and he and the Chinaman rolled on the floor together. Under any ordinary conditions Wild Bill Hickok was the equal of any three men that might have been pitted against him, and he copld be expected to take care of twice as many Chinamen ; but when the Chinamen num bered nearly a score the odds were too great. He realized this, stopped his resistance, and lay pant ing on the floor, with Chinamen clinging to him as the Liliputs clung to Gulliver. "Let up," he growle .d, not at all pleased with himself. "I'm a fool, and I know it; but, by gorry, y0t don't need to kill me for it; the world is full of fools, and the fool killer is asleep Let up !" Some of them still clung to him-a half dozen in number; the O' thers ringed round him and shot questions at him in a bewildering sort of pidgin English. Wild Bill freed himself with a thre shing flounce, and backed against the wall, though he had not yet been able

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4 THE BUFFALO BILL STORIES. to get on his feet. He discovered that his revolvers and his knife were gone, which was no doubt a good thing, as he might have tried to use them, and certainly that would have brought his death. "Don't all talk at once," he grumbled. "I can't under stand you-see? If there's any one here who can speak \ decent English, now is his chance to demonstrate it and cover himself with glory." They ceased their chatter, that they might hear him. "As I said," he explained, "I'm a fool; nobody knows that better than I do now. I butted in here, where I had no business to come. You were having a bit of Chink freemasonry is my guess; or perhaps something in the line of Chinese drama. It's queer stuff-Chinese drama. That made you mad. I suppose \he fellow who was hid in the rat was billed t6 hop out at the psychological mo ment and put a few crimps in the tail of the dragon ; things like that happen in a Chinese play, I'm told. If so, and I interfered at the wrong moment, I beg your pardon." "Who you' name?" was shot at him. The hidden drum thumped, and the Chinese looked at each other; two of them !)tarted hastily from the room. "If I told you my name;" said Wild Bill, "you wouldn't kno it. When I'm called right, it's J. B. 'Hickok; but generally it is Wild Bill; sometimes it's the pistol king. But for you, I reckon, any other Bill would sound as sweet." "Why you come ?" was next demanded. "I've told you already-I came because the fool killer was havin' his noonday siesta; but, to make it p:ainer, I came because I saw a door open, and that big rat whisk by in a way to make me want to follow it." "Dool open ?" That apparently startled them; one of them jumped away, as if he went to close it. "A Chinaman came in here, through that door, from the street out there, and left the door open; then the rat came along, and I followed the rat. Sabe?" "Me sabe," said the spokesman, but he did not say it kindly. "So, if it's all the same to you, I'll take my hat, which I see over there, and my weapons, and I'll bid you goodby." His air was as bland as it could be, after his rough treatment, but he did not get the consent he had asked for, and he had not expected that he would get it. The hiJden drum sounded again. Wild Bill knew now that it sounded signals. The Chinamen started and looked round, as if this drum beat astonished them; then, without more ado, they flung themselves on the man before them, and, beating down his resistance by the very force of numbers, they made him a prisoner. "It began as a farce, and to be ending as a tragedy," Wild Bill grumbled, as he sat crouching against the wall, his hands and feet bound. He looked into the glaring eyes of the Chinamen, who surrounded him. Then his nonchalant air returned. "Oh, it's all right; have your way. I ree my cigar over there, burning the tail of your rat; with your permis sion, if you'll give it to me, I'd like to finish it." CHAPTER III. THE CAPTURE OF DONNA ISABEL. The thin-faced, white-eyed man stood looking at Donna Isabel. He had entered her mom at the hotel kept by Tinijas John, while stle was throwing her belongings into a trunk in preparation for leaving the town. His manner was threatening, and when he drew a revolver on her the girl's dark cheeks blanched. "It won't do you no sort of good to put up a holler," he said brutally. "The winder is clown and fa s tened, and if you should holler, and bring any one, it would only be Tinijas John." "What do you want?" she gasped. "That's better," he said, relieved. "I was afeared you d throw a fit or two, and make trouble for me. Might as well take it cool, you see." He edged carefully to, a chair, and lowered himself into it, keeping her covered with the revolver, while hi s whitish eyes searched her face. "But," she stammered, "I-I thought-you were a prisoner." He coughed out a hard laugh. "That's what Buffalo Bill thought, and the rest o' that gang; but, y' see, I ain't; not now. They had me, and they had Granger with your help; an' they was alre ady figgerin' us on the way to the Yuma penitentiary; but I reckon we ain't goin' to see it this trip." "You escaped?" she gasped. "No, not exactly. They was bringin' us into town You know how it was; Granger and me, and Wilson, and some more, got trapped, out at the Chink mine, while we was tryin' to trap Cody's crowd. Granger's deal would 'a' gone through all right, too, if't hadn't been for you; and Buffalo Bill's crowd would be now layin 'out deader'n nails by that mine. You got word to 'em, and they turned the trick on us. It was kinda bus i ness on your part." Her pallor became more pronounced. "Granger thinks it was, and I reckon he won't forget it. That's why I'm here. But you asked how we g o t away. Well, some of the boys from the town done it. They jqmped in, on Cody's gang as we bein' brought

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THE BUFF ALO BILL STORIES. in, and took us away frum 'etn There was a nasty fight; Vlilson was killed, and some of Cody's men." "Who?" she said. "None o' the main guys, I'rn sorry to say. Some of t:J:te Chinks they was bringin' along with us was also kiilled. It was a hot fight while it lasted. The bodies was brought in a while ago, Chinks and all. And to-night, by the light o' the moon, there's goin' to be a high old Chink funeral, out on the hi11 above the town." "Where is Granger?" she asked. "I dunno, but if I did I wouldn1t tell you. All you need to know is, that I'm workin' on his orders. You threw him down,'' he added harshly, "threw down the whole gang, and you can't expect that you won't suffer for it." She started to rise from her knees by the trunk, where his revolver had held her; but when she saw it point ing straight at her bosom, and caught the wicked gleam of his whitish eyes, her courage failed, and she sank back "Better not," he advised. "Wh-what are you going to do with me?" she gasped. "Personal,'' he vouched, "I ain't goin' to do nbthin' to hurt ye, if you're willin' to obey orders and keep quiet. Otherwise--" "Yes ?" Her voice choked. "Otherwise.-you git this. I've got my orders. You're to go with me, and keep still." "And you will take me to Granger." "Mebbeso, I dunno, but not straight to him, any how. First, you're goin' into the Chink prison pen. You know where it is-up behind the idol room." The chilling fear that swept through her made her teeth chatter. "Yes, I know," he said, "it skeers you. It's where they put the Chinks they're goin' to bowstring; but you needn't be afraid of that. Granger is goin' to take you back to the Snake Aztecs, and turn you to them." The color came back into her face. "That won't be so bad, eh?" he said, observing her closely. "Well, accordin' to Granger, it'll be a heap sight worse when you git there. Aire you ready to go with me now, without any female high strikes?" "See here," she said, in a plE!ading tone, her voice trembling. "This is rather a poor return, don't you think, for the fav6>r I did you?" He glanced at his left shoulder, and stretched out his left arm; he had difficulty in using the arm. "It might be," he admitted, "under some conditions." "Pawnee Bill had captured you," she reminded, "and had you tied hand and foot, in Granger's shanty; and I cut the cords and let you go free. I think you owe me something for that." '\' "Not now," he grunted. "Y' see, what you done after ward cancels all that; anyway, I got to do w'at the gang says, and you threw the gang down; I ain't responsible for that, and I got to obey orders "Does Tinijas John know of this?" she asked. "Tinijas John?" He snorted. "He knows I'm in this room right now, and he's waitin' to help me, if I tip him the word; but Tinijas, y' see, don't want to show his hand open if he can help it. Tinijas allus works underground; he's the mole gopher of this ou fit." "I suppose I'll have to go with you," she said. "But I'd like to know just what I'm to expect." His sinister laugh sounded. "You'll have company. You've seen the critter they call Wild Bill? Well, ht!'s to be with you." "One of Buffalo Bill's meri !" "Yes, he's goin' along; he's waitin' for you now in that room I mentioned." His face shriveled into what he considered a merry smile. "He's one o' these hyet smart guys. You reck'lect that Buffalo Bill's Dutchman got into trouble; he was cap tured, accidental, by the Chinamen; and they railroaded him out to the mine, without knowin' it, in a wooden case that I reckon they thought held tea. Not knowin' that, but knowin' from you that the iDutchman was in trouble, Cody fired his friend Wild Bill into Tinijas here, to find out what had happened to the fool. That's where Wild Bill fell down. He got into a room where some of the mystery work of the Chinks was goin' on; and they found him there, and nailed him. And now he is in that room; and he'll make the trip with you. So, as I said, you're goin' to have company." "Does Buffalo Bill know that?" she queried. "I dunno; but I think not." "Because, if he does, it spells trouble for you," she declared, "and for Granger. Granger is a fool if he doesn't see that." "I reckon not-when we get Wild Bill out where the Snake Azte ,cs can toy with him; they ain't gentle, you know." He arose, still clutching the revolver. "I don't see no use in playin' up to you what ain't so,'' he said "The question is now, aire you goin' quiet, or do I have to call in Tinijas John?" From the tray o f her trunk she took a purse, and drew. out of it a diamond ring. "This is yours, Hawkins,'' she said, "if you'll fall down on this job; it's worth five hundred dollars, and it will bring three hundred in any pawnshop. Take it, and let ---+=*For a full account of the incidents mentioned and many others, see last week's issue, "Buffalo Bill's Opium Case."

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6 .THE BUFFALO BILL STORIES. me s lip out by the back wa y ; then report to the scoundrels wh o sent you that l wa s g o ne when you g o t here. H e s hifted unea s ily, eying the s hining ring. I c ouldn't do it, h e s aid, f'r, y' see ; knows I'm hyer, an' he know$ that you aire hyer; it'd be rny finis h " Then," she added, take the ring, and let rne jufup pa s t you ; y o u can fire off your revolver, and miss me, and tell them that I got away." ''1'11 look at the ring he said. She tossed it to him In c a tching it, he dropped the revolver into his lap, u s ing his right hand, a s his left arm wa s stiff and sore from the wound received when Pawnee'Bill flung his knife into it. The woman made a jump for the door as the W as lowered. But she did not reach lt; he thru;;t out his foot, and she came sprawling to the floor. ''I expected that trick, he s narled, catching up the revolver again. "YOU lay there quiet or 1'11 put a bullet through yer head." He had the ring now in his left hand, and after eying it thrust it into his pocket. I'll jes' keep it," he said. You vi11ain she s creamed at him. "Compliment s like them don t break no bones," he urged. "If cus ses could make a man black and blue, I've had enough flung at me b y Gr a nger an' others to turn me into a blue nigger; so, y' s ee, I don t mind." "You are a villain," she panted, in her impotent fury; you h:;.,ve no more gratitude than a bfock of wood, or you would remember the favor I did you." Oh, I remember s it ," he admitted; "the only trouble i s that ain't goin' to do y o u no good." He shuffled past her, and made sure that the door was l o cked. "If you smash that winder and pitch out into the s treet," he said, "you 'll only break yer fool neck; so you won t try that. Now hold out yer hands." "You're going to tie me?" s he gasped. "Frum that break y ou made, I reck o n I got to; I can't afford to take chance s Hold em out." I refuse," she s aid. "I'll call for help." Her s cream aro se, angry and frightened, but it was stopped by the fingers of the white-eyed man clutching her by the throat. She fought him tigeri s hly with her nails, and struggled to free her s elf. But her s trength was not great enough; he forced her again s t the wall, choked her until she ga s ped for bre a th and while she was half unconscious he s lippe d cord s round her wrists a"fid knotted them with quick dexterity. Having don e' that he thrust a handkerchief gag into 1 __, her mouth, and fastened it there by tying the end s of the handkerchief behind her head. She was now almost in a faintiog condition, s o was dered helpless. "Will you walk," he snarled at her, "or have I got to kerry you ?" She mumbled a furious answer. "Oh, all right, I'll kerry you. And I'll hammer you on the head if you try to kick up a row." He caught her in hi s strong arm s and staggered out of the room. As he did so a face peeped at him over a banister. "It's all right, Tinijas, he whispered. "I reckon thar ain't gain' to be no further trouble. YOU j es watch fer the B. B. crowd out by the fro nt. They s hacked into town an hour ago, b ilin' over with excitement, and they 'll make gun play, if they know what's goin on. You got to blind 'em, if you can The face of Tinija s John s lipped back out of sight; his caution was so great that he did not even speak. CHAPTER IV. ; BUFFALO BILL'S SEARCH. On his return to Tinija s Buffalo Bill's chagrin and irritation were greater ban words can fitly expre ss In the moment of a noteworthy victory he had lost it s fruits Jim Granger, treacherou s s heriff of Con e j os County arre s ted for being a leader of the opium s muggl e r s, w a s free again. So was hi s chief li e utenant, Sim Hawkim, known as White-eyed Hawkin s one of the greate s t ras cal s of the border. Granger had requested Buffalo Bill to come to his aid in running down the o pium s muggler s That had been a blind, to cover up Granger s own wickedne ss. He ha d tried to steer the s cout's party into a Chine s e mining building, or in front of it, where they could be s laugh it having been his intention, then, to claim that c e r tain desperado Chine s e had done the killing. The plan had been turned against him; he had fallen into .hi s own trap. .. But as he and his fellow prisoners were being con veyed to Tinijas, a strong for c e of his friends had da s hed in on put up a stiff fight, and he and Hawkin s had been r e scued. I A fearful toll had been paid by the re s cuing part y ; five of their m e n were dead. Several Chinamen, held a s I pri s oners by Buffalo Bill's party, had al s o fallen. A nd Buffalo Bill had los t three men; though fortunatel y n o t one of the three were hi s per s onal friend s The king of scouts had two bu11et h oles through his hat, to remind him of the fight; old No mad had a "burned" s pot on his shoulder, where a bu11et had pa ssed ;

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THE BUFFALO BILL STORIES. 7 and Little Cayuse had lost his eagle feather, which was a great grief to him, and gave him a nervous fear of the future. Pawnee Bill had escaped unscratched, and so had Schnitzenhauser. "It's too bad, necarnis," said Pawnee Bill, "but, you see, though we have lost Granger, we have struck a blow that will halt this opium smuggling. Granger is foot free, and he'll get out of the country, and so will Hawkins, and all that crowd. The bad men of Tinijas will go into hiding. ,you can bet, necarnis, that the widespread s muggling along this border has been given its knock out. " You're kind, Gordon, to want to make it easy for me; I can see how you feel about it," Buffalo Bill answered. "But you're too generous. I ought to have had a s tronger force." You expected to rely on Granger' s force, you know." Ah, that i s where I blame myself; I relied on Granger too long and he turned out to b a s coundrel. "He was the s heriff, and it was his busine s to direct you ; so, if he went wrong, that puts no sort of blame on yo u, Pawnee Bill urged. Buffalo Bill smiled. You re like Hickok, Gordon, too generous by half, when you come to estimate your friends." Speakin' o Hickok," broke in old Nomad, I admits thet, sence thi s hyer ruction, I ain't been easy in my mind. He went inter Tinijas ter see what had happened ter ther baron, and ther baron is hyer wi' us, right side up; and Wild Bill, we don t know whar he is." "In the town, of course," a s sured Pawnee Bill. "In trouble, too, mebbe so; otherwi s e et looks like he'd have come back. Thet town i s a bald hornet s ne s t right now, you can 'count o' what has happened; an whar thar's trou!>le afoot, yer know Wild Bill Hickok je s' cain t keep outer et." "Don't worry, old Diamond," said Pawnee Bill. "You can be sure that Wild Bill knows how to take care of him s elf." The few pri s oners they still held, nearly all Chinamen, were being herd-driven in the trail ahead of them. The dead Chinamen and dead white men had been sent on, strapp<:!d to the backs of ponies, with another party. With th a t party had g o ne the woman Donna I s abel. Buffalo B ill and tho s e still with him had delayed at the mine to s earch it for opium, of which a few cases had been found. Night was at hand as they entered Tinijas, and it was at o nce seen that th e place wa s s eething with excitement. Granger had many friends; besid es the ramification s of th e s muggling fraternity were of unknown e x tent. A c rowd gathered and angry demonstrations. But B uffalo Bill s party pu s hed s traight o n t o ward th e centre o f the town, brus hing the angry men a s ide with s cant ceremony. A Chinese laundry received the bodies of the dead Chinamen, an array of excited Chinks having gathered there for the purpose. The bodies of the white men were turned over to an undertaker. Buffalo Bill and his companions turned back to Tinijas John's, after surrendering their prisoners to the town authorities. Ostensibly this movement upon Tinijas John s was because it was the best hotel in the town; the real reason was they knew that Tinijas John was one of the smugglers, though no proqf on that point was then obtainable, outside of the word of Donna Isabel. Tl.ni.jas John received them courtequsly; he was too shrewd to do otherwise. And they were given the i best rooms and the best service the house afforded. "Wild Bill Hickok didn't call on you to-day?" Buffalo Bill inquired, as he put his name on the register. "If he did," said Tinijas John cautiously, matching wits with this keen-brained man, "I didn't know it was him; people comes and goes all the time hyer, to be sure; so he might 'a' drifted in and drifted out again. Bi.s name ain't on that register." Yet something in the words and in the manner of the man informed Buffalo Bill at once that 'tinijas John had seen Wild Bill. After supper Buffalo Bill and his ri1mds went down into the sheet, which was filled with armed men. Who was friend and who was foe c0uld not be determined, Baron von Schnitzenhauser, who turned up at the hotel, was now the guide. "Fairst," said, "ve vill go py der Casino in." 1'he performance in the Casino wa s beginning when they entered it. But instead of seeking seats they fo1-lowed the baron to the wine rooms at the rear of the house. "Idt iss here," said the baron, stopping before the door of one of the rooms "vare I haf der peginnings oof my sdrange inexberiences I come py dhis room in, mit der vomans; idt iss py her special inwidation; unt she order some vine, vot I haf to bay for. Vhen I trink idt I tond't know notting afdhervards; unt I vake oop in a Shi nese joss hpuse, vot musdt pe somevhere s near." :j3uffalo Bill s ent for the manager of the Casino, and a s ked if he knew where the joss hou s e wa s to be found "In the other building, across the street," he s aid "Th re is a door in the wall-you can s ee it from thi s window; you get through that you are to look for an underground passage. I've never been there, but I have heard that much. If you can hit on that pas s age it will lead you to the joss hou s e." They went do n, and found the door, which they forced; but they could not locat e the underground pa s sage. Some frightened Chinamen wh o m they encou n t e red professed entire ign o rance of it and of c ours e lied ; but, for the time, Buffalo Bill was baffled. One thing,

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8 THE BUFFA LO BILL STORIES. however, they learned : the Chinese were making prepara tions for a hasty burial of their c o untrymen who had been killed in the fight. Returning to Tinija s _\ohn's, Buffalo Bill inquired for Donna Isabel. "She's gone, said the proprietor. "Gone? She arrived here not more than two hours ago, the scout informed him. "That's right Cody, said Tinijas John easily, but she packed her trunk and lit out; I don't know where she went. All I know is that she went up to her room, and I haven t s een her since." "As tliere has been no stage out this afternoon, she can t have left the town. I think I'd a look at that ro om." Pawnee Bill went with the scout and Tinijas John up statrs to the room which Tinijas John said had been used by Donna Isabel. It was unoccupied. "You can see that she ain t here, Cody," said Tinijas John, leading the way in. He threw a g l ance r o und the empty room. "She lit out, as I told ye." "And took her trunk?" "Sure thing; a wagon came to the hotel door ana got I Buffalo Bill pulled open the door of the little stove and looked int ; it. It held a number of cigar stubs and hf.If-burned matches, together with some old envelopes. Fishing some of these out, the scout turned to Tinijas John. "This envelope bears the name of J. B. Martin," he remarked quietly. "Perhaps Donna was mas querad'1g as a man; that would too, for the cigars smoked here. You can see that the smoking was done to-day." Tinijas John s tared and fell back. "That's funny," he said; "I didn't know that the woman smoked." Buffalo Bill cast the things back into the stove. "I am sure she didn't," he said. Out of the room they went, with Tinijas John; then into the s treet, leaving Tinijas John in the barroom. "That wa s a lie he told, of cours necarnis," said Pawnee Bill. Yes he took us to the wrong room. The woman may be in the house this minute. But it is Wild Bill that we are searching for." Tb6ugh some of the ruffians in the street would have been only too glad of an opportunity to "do up" the scouts, they were afraid to make the tackle openly. They trailed behind, muttering threats, as 1Buffalo Bill and Pawnee Bill took their way along. Old Nomad had been sent to the livery stables, as it had been discovered that Wild Bill's horse was in one of them. After that he was to make a search for the Mexican boy who had brought the horse in. Little Cayu s e had been s ent off to watch proceeding s at the Chink funeral s for which th e Chinamen were m a k ing s uch elaborate preparation s So only the baron r e mained. Oof Hickok iss meedting mit d e r s ame ine x berienc es dot I dit, he iss in der Chink joss hou s e, he averred "If I knowed vare idt iss, budt," he finis hed, with a flouri s h, "I tond t s o vot iss der u s efulness?" As they could pot find Wild Bill, could not locate the Chine s e jo s s house, and had failed to d'6cover Donna Isabel, the trio repaired at length to a s ide s treet clo s e b y the Chinese of the town, and remained in waiting, to see what they could s ee of the Chinese funerals, an d get a repbrt from Littl e Cayuse. Nomad was st ill absent, trying to l ocate the Mexican boy. cJAPTER V. LITTLE CAYUSE'S DISCOVERY. Two or three hours later, Little Cayu s e appeared be fore them in a state of bewildered excitement. They had themselves missed s eeing the Chine s e funeral cort e ge wind out of. the town in the moonlight for the cemetery hill where the Chine s e dead of Tinijas were laid to rest. Nomad had called them away, thinking h e wa s on the trail of the Mexican boy, but he had been mi staken-the boy they found and questioned knew noth ing and they lost much time. They were in the side s treet again, with Nomad, where the young Piute had been told to come to them, and he appeared there. He had a new eagle feather in his a nd hi s eye s were s hining. Al so, he had what he con s idered a s tartling s tory. Meet um bad Injun," he explained, touching the eagle feather proudly.' "And you took away his eagle feather," said the s cout. "He wa s a bad Indian, because he had an eagle feather and you had none." Mebbe s o me like um eagle feather," the Piute admitted Then he changed his mind abopt telling how he got the eagle feather. You s ee um box of dead Chinee ?" he demanded. "The Chinese in their coffins ? No, we weren't here when the proce s sion started." "Me see um." "Yes, I suppose so." "Up on hill," said Little Cayuse. "You know where um hill is ?" Yes, where the Chinese cemetery is You were there?" "Me faller um Chinee, on caballo. But me no s alie somet'ing."

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THE BUFF ALO BILL STORIES. 9 "There something about it you didn t under stand?" "Wuh!" "How was it? Tell us about it." "What um Pa-e-has-ka e ay, when tra il?" Say that over again." Little Cayuse repeated it. box of two g o on T w o o f the coffin s were n o t dep os ited in grave s m the cemetery, but we e taken out on the trail?" "Wuh!" "What trail?" Little Cayu s e swung his hand in the direction of it. "On the trail leading south. Well, what h a ppened then?" "Um buried." "The two coffins were buried out b y the trail?" W uh One on top. All s ame cache He sw ung hi s hand round, as if s m oo thing d o wn a mound; then s tampe d his foot on the ground. "That' s plain enough-eh, Gordon? Two of c offins were taken out along the trail and buried, one on t o p o f the other; then the place was s moothed over, like a cache." "Thar's shore quar erbout th e t, though," Nomad d e clared. The thought that came into the mind of the king of sco uts was s tartling enough to make him giddy. "It couldn t hav e be e n p oss ible-" I'll fini s h et fer y e ," s aid Nom a d Y o q/ r e thinkin : What if them coffins held Wild Bill and th e r y o ung woman? The Chink s w o uldn't bury em in th e ir own cem e t e ry." I won't think that-it's fooli s h." "Yet it' s a qu eer thing, necarni s a s N o mad S
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IO THE BUFF ALO BILL STORIES. CHAPTER VI. A BIT OF MYSTERY Buffalo Bill dropped into the grave alongside, and he and Pawnee Bill hoisted an end of the coffin. "It seems to be 'e mpty," he said, astonished. The full moon was high in the sky when the Piute "Embty Dhen idt iss not a goldt gache." brought them to the "ca che," as he insisted on calling the The box was pulled out of the hole place where the coffins had been buried by the Chinese. Buffalo Bill and Pawnee Bill came out after-. it; and The C:ouble grave, if it was one, had been deftly conPawnee Bill pried off the lid with the poiqt of the spade. cealed; first by trampling the earth level with the sur-The box was empty. ( face of the ground, then by scattering grass, leaves, and "Vot ?" gasped the baron, staring down into the box in old boughs over the spot in a manner to give it a natuthe moonlight. "Vot iss der meanness oof dot?" ral appearance. When these were scraped aside, the 1 "You tell me, baron," said old Nomad, who was might fre s h soil was revealed. ily relieved. "But," he added, looking into the grave, Old Nomad looked down at the yellow earth with a "mebbeso thar's suthin' in ther other box." shiver. Catching the spade out of the haa,d of Pawnee Bill, he "I don't like et," he admitted. "This hyer ain't no spra ng into the hole in his impatience, and began to Chink graveyard, an' them two coffins warn't buried hyer throw out the dirt, working feverishly. Almost lpimediwithout a good r easo n. Ef et should shore prove thet ately he uncovered the box. Wild Bill is under this bit o' ground, I'm plum cert'in ter When the earth had been removed from the top, and lose what little sen se I've got, an' kill 'steen dozen o' them the box was drawn out and opened, it, too, was seen to yaller-bellied Chinamen; I reckon I ain't goin' ter be able be empty. ter help et." "Vot ?" the baron howled again. "Vot iss der foolish-. Buffalo Bill had no comment to make, as he took the ness oof dhis pitzness ?" spade that had been brought and gouged it into the earth. "Waal, th et's what I want ter know myself," said The question of what the double grave held had been Nomad. "Why did ,!her Chinks take the trouble ter threshed o ut in all its bearings on the way. Nothing was bring two empty boxes out hyer an' bury 'em? Thet is left but to find out if any of their many guesses were ther work o' crazy men, an' I never yit seen er Chink right. what w as crazy, though I've met up with a few thet was Btrffalb Bill went down rapidly and skillfully; the mighty big fools." Buffalo Bill a-nd Pawnee Bill looked at the empty boxes ground, freshly placed, was light and easily handled, after the first foot of trodden earth had b ee n cast out. in puzzled wonder. Little Cayuse was frightened; this had an air of that mystery which always frightened him. In a little while Pawnee Bill replaced him, insisting He was wishing he had not said anything about the buried on doing his share of the work, and Pawnee Bill was boxe s In hi s fear he toyed with his new eagle feather, wielding the spade when the point of it touched the first wonder,ing if it was not bad medicine, and if he oughtn't box. 1 throw it away. He paused and looked down; the sound of the spade "Maype, PY shinks," guessed the baron, "somedings iss striking the box had been by all. After an instant puriedt under der poxes!" of hesitation he re s umed digging. He let himself down into the hole, called for .the spade, When the box was uncovered, it was seen that the and began to gopher away, sinking the hole deeper. Piute had n o t been mistaken in thinking it a Chinese cof"Idt iss beating my dime," he confessed, when the fin; it was in the shape of the Chinese caskets for the spade struck ground so hard that he knew he was at the and was covered with Chinese letters. bottom of the excavation. "Here iss a hole, mit two I haf heardt oof findting goldt, hid mit a blace like coffins in idt, unt nottings else. Vildt Pill iss nodt here, dot," hopefully sugge_sted the baron, down on his knees der missing vomans she iss nodt here, unt der goldt he iss and looking in. "Idt vouldt pe a goodt vay, to keeb not here; aber I am nodt treaming, I am--" somepodty from obening der grave vot idt iss subbo sed "Anyhow, baron," Nomad interrupted, "yer ain't seein' t o pe. Oddervi se, oof I am making anodder guess,C:ier thing s ; thar ain't nothin' ter except two Chink cof C hineezers haf puriecl some Chinks here1vot haf diedt oof fins an 'a hole in ther ground. This is makin' me plum
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THE BUFF ALO BILL STORIES. I I th o ugh, to set a watch here after we have restored every thing to its former condition, see what happens." "That's right," Pawnee Bill agreed. "There is a hole in the ladder, of course, though I can t discov'er it; these coffins weren : t brought out here and buried without any reason whatever." Y edt I tond't know me apowet dot," avowed the baron, shaking his puzzled head. "A Chink is a kveer pitzness, I pedt you." We'll .set a watch, and see," said the king of scouts. CHAPTER VII. THE VELVET CLUE. I Lef1ving Nomad, Little Cayuse, and baron to fill,in the hole and watch beside it, Buffalo Bill and Pawnee Bill r e turned to the town. It seep-ied reasonably certain that if Hickok had not fallen into serious trouble he was still in Tinija s-, making a quiet search for the baron; as he did not know that the baron had been found at the Chink mine, where he had been taken as a prisoner, and 'ras now at liberty. Al s o, they believed that Granger had made for Tinijas, after his escape, and was in hiding there. Besides they wanted to locate the woman, who had dropped out of s ight in a manner that suggested evil work. But they made no progress. The streets were not so filled with people. Tinijas John was still behind his bar, silent and crafty. And the Casino performance was in full blast. They spent the night in their ineffectual search, 0and returned to the closed-in "grave" shortly after daybreak, w fiere they found Nomad and the German crouched in the 1:iushes, with the horses in concealment some distance off. Nothin'
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I2 THE BUFF ALO BILL STORIES . them. But might there not have been something in them when they were brought out of the town? If so, isn't it just possible that they were buried there empty simply to conceal them, after whatever was in them had been taken out?" Old omad yelped like a wolf. "Waugh! Waugh-h I ketch yer idee. Ther things thet wat in 'em war Wild Bill, and mebbe thet woman! Waugh!" "Himmelblitzen !" gasped the German. "Vot a headt you haf got, Cody. I am bedtting you ar-re righdt; yaw, dot iss Vildt Pill vos proughdt oudt here py der coffin in, unt afdher dot he vos taken der coffin oudt. Idt iss a skinch." "If that is so," said Pawnee Bill thoughtfully, "then he must have been unconscious." "Unt der voman she was inkinscious, also-o," the baron added. "It would seem so; but he was not unconscious when he arrived at this point in the trail," Buffalo Bill reasoned. "This piece of cloth from his co. back." pounced on by Nomad, who picked it out of the dirt. The king of scouts drew from his pocket the triangular There could be no doubt that it was from Wild Bill's piece of velvet. velvet jacket. The other was one of Wild Bill's silver "This is a smooth piece," he said. "With no seams, spurs, found by the king of scouts at the noon resting nor ornamentation ; probably it came out of the back of place of the band they were following. his coat. It was night when the ponies passed down the There was, of course, a possit>ility that these had been trail. Our friend Wild Bill is clever. So, my guess is dropped as "blinds," for the purpose of luring the pur. that he succeeded in tearing that out of the back of his suers farther and still farther from Tinijas. In that

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THE BUFF ALO BILL STORIES. 13 event it seemed a certainty that Wild Bill was held as a prisoner somewhe re, if he had not been killed; otherwise, these objects would hardly have been in possession of the pony riders. About noon of the second day an Indian was sighted, in the Silverstone foothills. As he dropped out of view almost as soon as seen, Little Cayuse and Nomad were sent forward on foot to locate him. The old trapper went in one direction, the Piute in another, to get the Indian between them. Then Nomad saw him again, crouching behind a ledge, where he was trying to get s ight of the white men in the trail. In spite of the fact that in some ways his years were beginning to tell against him, old Nomad still had eyes as keen as an eagle's. Making a tube of his hands, to cut out the sun glare, he looked the redskin over critically. "Little Cayuse's find, to be shore," he grunted, "t ith sat isfaction; "which ther same is s hown by ther / fact thet he ain't w'arin' ary eagle feath er. Little Cayues hez got et." He began to study how he could "rake him in." Creeping forward, he got a bunch of mesquite between himself and the Indian, which enabled him to cover half the intervening distance at fair speed. After passing the mesquite, there was little else than sca ttered boulders crowned with cacti to aid his conceal ment. Yet in work of this kind old Nomad was so clever that he still made good progress. Only once did the In dian lo. ok round, so absorbed was he in the white men in the trail; but Nomad sank a s lightly t o the ground as a falling teather, and passed unnoticed. Having succeeded in getting behind a cactus-fringed boulder within half a dozen yards of the redskin, the o ld bordennan rose boldly to hi s feet, and advance<). It was then that the Indian heard him. Spinning round on his naked heels, and seeing the white man near, he so astonished that he had not time to get out the knife that was s lung at his waist in a belt of rawhide be fore Nomad was on him. "Er, waugh-h !" It was like the s narl of an animal, as the borderman l aunched himself; the next in stant hi s fingers were tight enin g round the copper-colored throat of the scantily attired aborigine. "Lay still thar," commanded Nomad, flinging the wheezing Indian to the ground; then he covered him with a revolver. "Ef you don't cut up no trick s I ain't goin ter shoo t ye." The redskin 1rolled into a crouching position be s ide th e rock, and held up his hand s ''Yer air a wise red," Xomad commented. "Yer aire some skeered, an' I cain t blame ye; but I'm plum thet inoffensive, when things goes my way, thet you needn t be. Jes' hold out yer hands tell I ornaments 'em wi' this hyer han'some rope." He took the lariat slung at his side, and bound the hands and feet of the Indian. Then he showed himself on top o_f the rock, and waved his battered hat. "Yes, thet brings 'em!" he chuckled. The party in the trail struck into a gallop as soort as they saw him, and came up the slope 'at a rattling gait, the trained and hardened horses and ponies climbing like goats. Toofer brought up the rear, mightily belabored by the baron. 1 From the other direction Little Cayuse bobbed in sight, chagrined by the fact that Nomad had made the capture. He arrived at the top of the rise almost as soon as the others. "Wuh !" he exploded then, staring at the discomfited redskin. "Me got um feather." A scowIJpassed over the face of the captured Indian when he saw his eagle feather in the black braids of the Piute. "He'll knife ye fer et, too," Nomad warned, "ef he gets. ther chance. You'll haf ter look out fer him." ,, With the Indian in their midst, the party squatted round, while Buffalo Bill, Pawnee Bill, and old Nomad began to catechize him, using all the Indian tongues of which they had knowledge. Little Cayuse took a hand in the linguistic seaflce, but with no better results. "Vhy tond't you dry him mit English?" demanded the baron, and fired a broadside of what he considered to be that language. It struck through to the redskin's understanding-that was evident; but it did more-it brought a response that was little less than startling. "Sprechen Sie Deutsch?" the Indian yelled. 1 The baton jumped as if a knife had been run into him. "]a wohl!" he shouted back. 1Waugh !" Nomad squalled, in liis amazement. "A Dutch In jun!" "Lieber Gott'!'' gasped the baron. "Idt iss drue." Then he yelled a question in his native tongue. "!ch bin Amerikaner," said the redskin. "Amerikaner," shrilled the baron. "la, gewiss The Indian unwound more of the language of the baron's fatherland, to the baron's panting astonishment. "Idt iss beadt me," he said, turning to his companions. "He tond't know enough Cherman so dot idt iss hurting him, but he iss claiming dot he iss an American, pecause he !ifs on der American site oof der Mexican line; unt dot he is a friendliness. Vot iss a surbrising to me iss, he i s say ing dot vun dime he iss been lifing mit a Cher man, unt g o t dose moudhfuls oof Cherman vords oof him; vhich idt iss a lie, I bedt you. No Cherman oof sensidiveness is efer lif mit an Inchun willage."

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14 THE BUFFALO BILL STORIES. ''Go ahead," said Buffalo Bill, laughing; "ask him some more questions : The bfron complied, prodding away with more Ger man inquiries. When the Indian failed to catch the mean ing, the baron shifted to his English; and, after a fashion, by shifting back and forth,. he made himself understood. "Idt iss a funny sdory,"1 he declared, "vot he iss dell ing me, unt I pedt you idt iss some lies." "Enlighten us, baron," Pawnee Bill urged; "don't be so selfish as to keep all the interesting things to your self." "In der fairst blace, idt iss a lie dot he sbeaks Cherman; he is know a few vords, unt mur ers der resdt oof idt !" "Waal," Nomad drawled, his lips wrinkling with amusement, "he shore deserves credit thet, Baron e he murders et; et's a language thet could be spared without tears, ef he should kil1'et dead." "Ach Fool!" the baron sputtered. "Idt iss der lank vitch oof indelligence-oof scholars, unt uniwersidies; unt you--" His indignation choked his stream of declamation. Nomad dropped back, chuckling. "Waste your breath on the Indian," Buffalo Bill urged, "and tell us his story." "Idt iss some lies," said the baron; "budt here idt iss. He iss claiming dot dere iss nodt far off a Inchun cidya vonderful cidy, mit sdone valls; unt in idt many In chuns, unt meppe some vhite mens, unf Chinks. Unt he says dot der Chinks vhich ve haf peen following haf gone to dhis blace. But-ve cannot findt idt." "Why does he say we can't find it?" Pawnee Bill queried. The baron shrugged his shoulders "I am nodt knowing dot; he aind't tell me." "Ask him if there was a white man, prisoner, with the party that passed along here," suggested Buffalo Bill. The baron shot the query at the Indian. "Ach Yaw; he says der vos a man unt a voman." "Then we are on the right track Ask him some more questions." The baron flung questions in a shower at the crouching redskin. "Oof he could dalk petter Cherman I could findt me oudt a goodt deal more," he grumbled; "but vhen I ask him somet'ings he say dot I tondt sbeak der lankvich vell, T'ink oof idt Dit you efer heardt der likes oof dot? Me!" He hammered his breast. "Me, a natif Cherman, unt not sbeak der lankvich mit a niceness; ach, lieber Gott, idt make me vandt keel him. Sooch a insuldt." "But what does he say?" Buffalo Bill demanded. "I am delling you." "But his story-about this city, and the prisoners?" "Von t'ing-he says ve cannodt findt idt, pecause he vill nodt show us; oof ve cudt him indo sissage meadf, he vill sdill not show idt. Vot you t'ink oof dot? Himmelblit zen, he is a impudent." "We can find it," said the scout, "by sticking to the trail of those ponies." "He haf oxblained apowet how dot iss. Der bonies ve can findt; but dot iss all." Nomad drew out his knife and ran his finger along the keen edge, eying the redskin. "I reckon," he said, "I could him into droppin' out all ther knowlidge he is harborin'." If the trapper had such ideas, he knew the king of scouts would not permit even important information to be extracted by torture, and the smile on Nomad's face showed that he really did not mean it. When the baron had exhausted his ingenuity, and gained no further information worth the effort, the In dial), still bound, was hoisted to the back of the led ani mal, which, by the way, was Wild Bill's horse, brought along for emergencies. Then the task of following the pony tracks was again pushed. But at the end of an hour it carpe to an inglorious halt; the tracks were lost utterly, on a sheet of lava which extended over many acres-a sea of black glass pitted with air holes. At the end of hour the ponies were located in a rocky glen, where there was grass and water, beyond the lava belt. But as for finding tne tracks of the riders, after that, it was not accomplished. The baron was still fuming when the mid-afternoon camp was made; it hurt his national pride, that an Indian should have been found who knew even a few German words. "Der vhite man he haf learnt uff vos nodt a Cherman," he declared; "idt vos a vhite man vot vas a sure Ameri can, unt vos drying to gidt a credit for himself py sbeak ing clot lie. Ach !" Even when he had loaded his big pipe and sought consol ation by the nicotine route he could not stop his audi ble grumbling. . CHAPTER IX. CLEVERLY TRAPPED. That same afternoon, the white-eyed villain known as Sim Hawkins, topping a hill many miles from Tinijas, espied an Indian sitting in comtemplative silence some distance away. "W aal," he grunted, dropping into the easy vernacular, "luck is swingin' my way; thar's a Snake Toltec sun -.baskin' like a lizard, jest when I'm plumb lost." The Indian figure was wrapped in the familiar black and-white-striped blankets used by the Snake Toltec s His face was turned in the other direction.

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THE BUFF ALO BILL STORIES. Fearing that if frightened the Indian would scud out of sight like a scared rabbit, White-eyed Hawkins ap proached him with unusual care. Then he called softly. "Asleep or drunk," he grumbled, on getting no an swer, and he made another advance. Finally he walked straight up 'to the blanketed redskin. "Hello!" he called. "I'm a friend, y' know; got turned about out hyer, an' don't jest know whar I am; so--" The Indian turned round. "Huh!"\ he said. Hawkins gave an astonishing jump backward, so great was his amazement. "Buffa lo Bill's Piute!" he gasped, "when by rights he ought to be more'n a hundred miles from here!" He was about to draw his revolver; but a number of dark objects, that he had supposed to be stones half buried in the sand, wriggled and sat up, and he discovered that they were men, with weapons in their hands-the weapons pointing straight at him. Gurgling his fright, he looked from face to face, and saw before him Buffalo Bill, Pawnee Bill, old Nomad, and Baron von Schnitzenhauser. The latter first broke the silence. "Idt i ss a bity dot I haf to shoodt you; budt I am going to do idt, oof you tond't kvick holdt oop your handts." Hawkins' hands went above his head with surprising alacrity. "Throw your weapons on tlie ground," Buffalo J3ill commanded. Hawkins took his hands down long enough to comply, unloading a miscellaneous collection of deadly hardware, then sho t them above his head again. "I'm caught," he l?aid; "I'm not fool enough not to know it." Nomad rolled out of his sandy bed and began to col lect the weapons. "Yer must er been expectin' ter do some fightin'," he remarked grimly, "by ther looks; two undergrown can non, an' er littler one; wi' two hog-stickers, an' cartridges ernough ter supply er military company." He raked them together, put them behind him. Hawkins had collapsed against a stone, by what had happened. "Where are the Chinese and the Indians?" Buffalo Bill questioned. Hawkins tried to look blank. "For two days," said the scout, "we've followed a trail, which we took up near Tinijas; and it has led us here, then played out. We've been waiting for some one to come along who could tell us what became of it; you're the first white man we've seen." "Your bein' hyar is some surprisin', too," said Hawkins, pu lling his wits and his courage together by a superhuman effort. "And you laid a trap fer me. Waal, I m bound to admit it was a good one. I'm wonderin' whar you got the blanket; that's all." Ile looked at Little Cayuse's head feather. "You've killed a red somewheres, I s'pose, an' that accounts fer it." "Ther red, which we didn't 'kill, is right off thar," said Nomad. "We'll show him ter yer when et's needed. Ther thing fer yer ter do is ter answer Cody's questions -not ter ask any." "Ourcapture of the Indian, and other things," re marked Buffalo Bill, "has given us some information, and you are to add to it. We know that a man and a woman were taken as prisoners out of the town of Tini j as and brought over this trail. They were brought in boxes, or Chinese coffins, a mile or more this side of the town; there the boxes were buried, empty. Since uncov ering the boxes we have found certain 'sign' in the trail, which makes us believe that the man who is a prisoner is Wild Bill. We are merely guessing that the woman is Donna Isabel; she s missing." White-eyed Hawkins paled; still his nerve did not desert him. "I don't know a thing about that," he said. "We think you do, and we think, also, that you will admit it. The Indian we captured says there is an In dian city near here-a city walled with stone, which would indicate that it is Aztec, or Toltec, or else built by a northern branch of the Mayas of Yucatan. Tell us about that," the king of scouts commanded. Hawkins hesitated. "What do I git fer this?" he demanded abruptly. "Better treatment than you could otherwise expect." "That ain't enough," he asserted. "No?" "That don't do me any good. Maybe I might know somethin', if you fellers would let me go." "We can't know if it is of any value," said Pawnee Bill, "until we hear it." Hawkins cast him a malignant look; he had not for gotten, and would never forget, that Pawnee Bill had once flung the knife into his shoulder. Some day, he thought, he would avenge that. "What about that Indian city, first?" Buffalo Bill c> manded. Hawkins turned this over in his mind. "Waal, I can't find it," he declared. "You mean, you don't want to find it-for us?" "No; I can't find it for myself. That's straight. I was lookin' fer i} when I saw that Snake Aztec blanket, and--" "Snake Aztec! I. guess you know something, and you will tell it." Buffalo Bill, seated on the stone by which the Piute had squatted, drew out a revolver. Hawkins' face paled again when he saw it.

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16 THE BUFFALO BILL STORIES. "You know me, and you know what I am here for. Yott are one of the opium smugglers, and we came here to get them; we captured you, and then your friends jumped in, and you escaped. But you will not escape this time unless you loosen up with what knowledge you have about the Chink smugglers, about this Snake Aztec city, and about our friend, Wild Bill." Though his toues were quiet, they had a certain firm ness and ring that made Hawkins quake in his boots. "I'll willin' to tell what little I know," he said; "but-if I do, you'll let me go?" f "You'll tell what you know, and you are going to tell it to us right now." The revolver bore full odhis breast. "I never like to threaten a man, Hawkins," said the scout, "but a murdering scoundrel and liar like you doesn't deserve any consideration. Now, speak up." Hawkins sucked in his breath. "Waal, I'll tell what I know. After that you'll let me go, Cody?" "Begin at the beginning." They ringed him in, and their faces were not kindly ; the courage he had plucked together went to pieces sud-. ( like a rope of sand. "I'll tell everything, Cody," he whined, "and I meant to from the first. It happened-the beginnin' of it-back in Tinijas. The Chinks captured Wild Bill, and stored him away in a room back of the joss; it s a prison room, where they put Chinks that aire to...git the bowstring. livery stables they was loaded onto some bosses. It wa s easy, by stickin' to the back streets I didn't see it-I wa s in a Chink coffin; but when we was all in the trail, straightenin' out for the long trip, I found it out. "The coffins was buried by the trail, so s nobody would guess what had been done; L reckon nobody ever outside1of your crowd!" His comment passed unanswered. 1 "One of the Snake Aztecs had been hangin' round the town, in a dirty blanket, pertendin' that he was a Mojave; he was to gl.1.ide us, which he did. You have got him now, I jedge. Everything went along well enough. But you was after us, of course, as I know now." His whitish eyes roved from face to face. "Then-we was tuck into the Snake Aztec city; after the ponies was corraled in a sink hole in the hill s s ome whar round hyer. We was brought up to a bluff; then a basket was let down, and, two or three at a time, we was h'isted. And Jliat's how we got in. "There's a door, though ; this mornin' I was let out by that door, and was told by Granger to pike out along the trail, and to come back in a hurry if I saw anything. Our In jun guide was already out, lookin' round. I piked; then, not seein' anything, I tried to go back. But thar's where I fell down; I couldn t find the gate ag'in, ner the blamed old wall; couldn't find anything." "Waugh!" Nomad rumbled. "You're lyin' ." "Honest I ain't," the unhappy wretch protested. "I knowed that when I come to that you wouldn't believe it, but if Cody should shoot me dead, I'd have ter to it." "After that, when night had come, and she was hustlin' ter go away, I went into Donna Jsabel's room at the \ hotel, and told her she'd got to go along of me. She "And you say," said the scout, "that Wild Bill and didn't want to, and made a fuss; but she went. And I tuck her to that room. "As I said, it was night then. Granger was there, and some o' the other s They had sneaked into the town, but was arrangin' to go out of it ag'in as quick as they could, fer we had word that your crowd there, lookin' for him. "Of course," he licked his lips again-they seemed hot and dry-" Granger knowed that no place whar you could git 1at him easy would be s afe, so it was planned thay we'd all git out, and hit for the Srtake Aztecs; they're our friend s The Chinks was to help us, under cover of the funeral. "So Granger and me, we crawled into a couple of the Chink coffins, and they tuck us out to the Chink cemetery; not to plant us, but so'. we c'd slide out of the town easy." "Waugh!" Nomad gulped. "Then them coffins didn't hold' Wild Bill an'--" "Did y' think it?" said Hawkins. "Wild Bill and the woman was taken out by a back entrance, while the funeral was goin' on, tied, and gagged, and at one of the the woman are now in the Snake Aztec town ?" "They was, anyway; I don t know about now." "How long ago was that?" "I set out by way o' the gate1this mornin'; I cal'late they was in the town then." "How many white men are in the town?" "Half a dozen er more." "Iss vun oof dhem a Cherman ?" the baron demanded uneasily. shore I don't know; wasn't no Dutchman in our crowd." "I knowed idt; dose Inchun iss a liar." "I think you've spoken the 1 truth, Hawkins," said the scout, "and you'll not regret it. We'll try to make it easier for you, in the end. But you will have to help us. You have seen that wall, and you would know it again. Besides, we have our Snake Aztec prisoner, and we're likely to1get' some valuable help from him." The others fired questions at White-eyed Hawkins. "The town," he said, answering one from Pawnee Bill, "has got laid-up rock walls on one side. On the other sides it is natural rock, which was the thing that tumbl e d me out of the saddle. You can see a dozen natural rock

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THE BILL STORIES. walls right from this spot, and there's plenty more; but I can't tell if any one of 'em hides the town." "Wild Bill hedn't been hurt in any way, I reckon?" Nomad asked, his keen eyes flashing. "No," said Hawkins. "They threatened some, but he would jest laugh at 'em, and it went at that." "Thet's Wild Bill; a recklesser critter never lived. Et I will be plum healthy, though, fer ther hull b'ilin', ef they don't harm him." "Unt der vomans also-o," the baron added. Buffalo Bill looked at the declining sun. "Vv e'll not be able to do much this evening," he said. "It is now so late. But we'll begin early in the morn. ing." ,, The baron was still exploring the face of the prisoner. "Idt iss a kvestion," he said; "aber dhe re iss no Cher man py dot Inchun town in, how can an Inchun learn to sprechen Sie Deutsc1h! Dot iss vot make me a buzzle mendt.' But he got no enlightenment. I "There is another point or two on which I think you can give us information," said Buffalo Bill. "Do you know why Wild Bill and iDonna Isabel were carried away by Granger's crbwd ?" "They had it in for the woman," White-eyed Hawkins confessed with some bitterness. :Her mother was a Snake Aztec I think her father was a Spaniard, or mebbe a Mexican. Anyway, her home had once been with that tribe, and for a long time. Of course, you don't knew', I reckon, tha. t the Snake Aztecs air mixed up in that opium smuggling; but it's so. The opium is brought into the Gulf of Californy by vessels rum .1in' from Cl1iny and the Sandwich Islands. It's unloaded at some little ports along there; then these Snake Aztec runners 1put it in bundles, on their heads, and bring it inland and up to the Mexican line; ginerally into their town. Frum there it i s sent out to Tinijasi and to other places, where it is handled by Granger's crowd. So you cap see that the Snake Aztecs ain't goin' to like anybody that has throwed 'em down; that's the way Granger figgered it. And he took the woman back to 'em, so that they could settle with her ." I "Which means that he expects the Indians to torture her for what she has done." White-eyed Hawkins squirmed a little at that. "Mebbe not, Cody, but he thought the ..,old squaws would make it interestin' fer her." "I didn't think Granger was as bad that!" Hawkins tried to soften his s!atement. "About Wild Bill now?" the king of scouts demanded. "Did they expect the Indians to torture him?" "Waugh !" Nomad grow led; it sou nded much like the "Woof" of a bear. "Ef they does--" "No," said Hawkins promptly. "He had a different plan about him. Granger didn't know but mebbe you foller ; he was shore you would if you could strike the trail. And--Well, he 's a bit afeared o' ye, Cody and that's a fact." "Et shows his sense," said Nomad. "He'd better be!" "So," went on Hawkins, he thought he'd jest take Wild along; and then if you crowded him, Cody, he'd have somethin' with which to hold you off, y' under stand?" "You might make it plainer "He could hold ye off, by threatenin' to kill Wild Bill, and then mebbe save his own hide by releasin' him to ye." "I see!" "Thar's one thing about Granger," said Hawkins, "he's allus lookin' out fer his own hide." "Et'll be plum as full of holes as an old sieve before he gits through this campaigr,i, I'm thinkin'," Nomad threatened "Ef he thinks he can toy wi' Wil d Bill, an' not hev ter pay fer et his thinkin' machine is geared wrong." I can 51.0W that he was a fool," admitted Hawkins, sp6king to the king of scouts; "you're goin' to git him, Cody. He ought to know it. I it now well enough. So--" He hes itated. "Well, I 'll be fair with ye," he added. "I'll do what I can fer ye now, and if I knowed where that village was, an' that gate, I'd p'int 'em out; I shore would. If I do the fair thing now, you won't forgit it, when settling day comes, you forgit it, Cody?" His tone had changed to a whining appeal. "I think we can find the town, with the help of our Snake Aztec prisoner," the scout informed him. "But what help you give, if you play fair from this on, will n o t be counted against you; of that you may be assured." "I know you're a straight man, Cody," Hawkins whined. "And I'll do what I kin." He looked t!r, hearing words from the lips of Pawnee Bill. "What's that?" he asked. "I was just quoting an old rhyme," sa?d Pawnee Bill. "It seems appropriate. / It runs like this-you may have heard it: "When the devil was sick, The devil a priest would be; When the devil was well, The devil a priest he." CHAPTER X. IN THE HOME OF THE SNAKE AZTECS. I Fear of the revolvers of Buffalo Bill and his friends induced the Snake Aztec prisoner the next morning offer to guide the party to his village I

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18 THE BU:::-'F ALO BILL STORIES. But on discovering that the approach was over a lava plain that could not hide a rabbit, Buffalo Bill and his companions halted when they came in sight of the black obsidian walls, and decided to wait for the shadows of another night. Their fears for the safety of Wild Bill and Donna Isabel made this necessary delay peculiarly trying. How ever, they bore it as philosophically as they could, and spent the day in making all possible plans and preparations, and securing such further information as they could from the Indian and White-eyed Hawkins. The additional information was little enough. Qne noteworthy disclosure was that the gate mentioned by Hawkins was not on that side; instead, there was a crazy ladder, which was nothing more than footholds cut in the precipitous face of the giving acce ss to the town. As soon as darkness fallen the entire party moved with great caution to the foot of the cliffs. There were s till no indications of an Indian \own; in fact, there had been no signs of _life, animal or human. Here Buffalo Bill and Pawnee Bill prepared to the ascent The others were to remain in their places with the prisoners; but prepared to render what aid they could, if they discovered that aid was needed. "Ef yer pistol goes off, er we hears yer whoop," said No mad, "you'll find me and ther baron, likewise Little Cayuse, svvarmin' up to some swift." Having clung to his penitential attitude, Hawkins had informed them that there were at lea st two hundred Indians in the place, nearly a third of them warriors; the others being women and children, and that they were fanatical beyond belief. According to Hawkins, the town was a sacred place, and it was considered impregnable. For these reasons, if the invaders were seen and captured, they could expect annihilation. ain't tryin' to sk:eer ye, Cody," he. urged. "I'm simply tryin' now to give ye a fair deal. You got to l ook out." I It was no easy thing to scale the cliff. Clinging with hands and feet to the small holes provided for the purpose, the king of scouts and his close friend went up lowly. ,,. Drawing themselves carefully over when they had gained the top, they saw, in a cuplike valley, or depres si'on in the hills, a town (hat seemed half Indian and half Mexican. There was a heterogeneous colleCtion of houses, which appeared to have been pitched down in their places, there was so little semblance of streets. The houses were mere huts and hovels of mud, with the ex ception of some much larg er near the centre. These were supposed to be the temple and the houses of the priests, for they had been told the Snake Aztecs had an elaborate religious system: One of the they thought, might be a prison, where Wild Bill and the woman were held if they still lived. The fear that the daring borderman and Donnk Isabel jiacl lost their lives was not cheering, so it was thrust aside as fast as it presented. There were light s in the town, but no great illumina tion. It seemed that some of the lights were from fires in the houses, though a few burned in the narrow pas sages Pawnee Bill turned his head and looked at his friend. "Well, Pard Bill?" he queried. "The houses face toward the centre of the town,'' said the scout; "so, it seems to rri.e, our play is to keep in their rear all we can, and advance on the larger buildings as we find opportunity.'' "You are right, necarnis.'' Pawnee Bill tightened his belt. "Now I am ready." As they slipped down into the midst of the mud houses they passed close by a guard whose duty seemed to be to watch the wall on that side. In the rear of the hous es the shadows gave them shelter. Here they hastened on as fast as safety permitted, knowing that the moon would rise soon, when their danger would be increased. Having worked their way by much crawling and short runs to the centre of the town, they lay for a time in the shadows of one of the larger buildings, while they dis cu ss ed their next procedure. The thump of an Indian drum broke on the silence. As if by magic Indians k warmed in the cramped pas sages before the houses, and moved on the larg es t b '!d ing.' Falling into line, they were led by a medicine man, who piped shrilly on an instrument of reeds. They passed clos e by the concealed scouts, who were thus able to de termine their number approximately. "About fifty warriors, I judge," Buffalo Bill whispered. The. Indians, revealed by lights that flared in their ranks, were togged out barbarically, in paint and feath ers, with many brass rings on arms and legs. They kept jerky time to the music of the reeds. Now and then yells arose, wild and wolflike. The big building was evidently a temple. A door opened in it, to receive them, and they passed within. Be hind the warriors came a swarm of women anq children, their talk a shrill cream They, too, vanished into the building. "Now what, Pard Bill?" Pawnee Bill asked. "We're going inside, if it can be done." "It seems that it will be difficult, necarnis; l:ictt 1'11111 fol lo wing your lead, you know." way, then." Buffalo Bill squirmed aside, and after a short crawl found an Indian house that had been emptied of its occupants. A stone fireplace in the middle of the room had a fire burning in it, which gave out light enough to see by.

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THE BUFF ALO BILL STORIES. There was but one door, and apparently no window ; yet Buffalo Bill boldly invaded the hou se, trus ting to tht confusion round the large building to conceal his move ments. Pawnee Bill s lid along at his heel s as quietly, and came into the house right behind him. If he had not already known what it was Buffalo Bill hoped to accomplish here, he now saw. The king of sco uts took a blanket from a cot by the wall, pitched it to Pawnee Bill, and appropriated another for himself. "They're good s ize fortun\tely," he whispered. "Now, if e can find headdre sses or feathers." They found both on the walls. When they emerged from the Indian hou se, having borrowed the se belongings, they could not have been told from Snake Aztecs a dozen yards away. The blankets were striped in the Snake Aztec fashion, and the head dresses bore feathers of red, blue, and black, like the one captured by Little Cayuse . Skirting the rear of the big building, they came to a queer embankment. When they had crawled to the top, they saw that it stretched along in the form of a ser pent. "I'm beginning to understand the name of these peo ple,'' said the scout. "They must be serpent!wor s hiping Aztecs." Continuing along the back of the earthen snake, they rounded the farther end of the building, and by a half circuit came back towa!"d the entrance in front. A few Indians were still passipg in, hurry ing as if they knew they were belated. Within the temple sounded the thumping of the drum, the piping of the reeds, and an occasional howl. "It's a ri s ky thing, Gordon, that we'te undertaking," said the sco ut, "and nothing come of it." "Still, we must see it through, necarni s ; we've got to find out where W ild Bill is, you know." "If we are detected we'll make a jump for thi s door," Buffalo Bill advised, "and get out the best way we can." Stalking in boldly, as if th ey belonged th ere, trus ting to their blankets and headdresses, the great scout and his friend got in s ide, and looked about. The large room was close ly pa cked with Indian s ; the drum and reeds at the front, near a s t one throne, with the warriors clo s e upon it, and near er th e door the women and children. A priest, or medicine man, in a wonderful headdre ss of horns and feathers, was powwowing away in a tongue that neither of the watching white men un derstood. In the mid s t of thi s excited talk and exclamation s sou nded off at one side. "Deserted whispered Pawnee Bill. "What has broken loose over there? As if in an sw er, the voice of a woman reached them, half drowned in a babble.of Indian words-the voice, unmistakably, of Donna Isabel. "Shaderof Unk-te-hee,' Pawnee Bill gasped. "You recognize that voice, Pard Bill?" "Donna Isabel. ;' "Yes. ; but throwing Indian go. I think I'd like to know the meaning of it. From the sounds, I don't think she is having a happy time." They became quite convinced of this when they heard the heavy voice of Jim Granger breaking in. He was mixing English words with Indian ones, and was making ugly accusations against the woman. The 'scouts move_d in the direction of the wrangle, and came to a stone passage, leading to a door. Behind the door was a room, which held the speakers. T hey had no more than done this when an Indian came up behind them hurriedly. They let him pass, and he went into the room without a second glance at them. He left the door s lightly ajar, perhaps without intention, and the words from the room reached them more distinctly. It became apparent that Granger was accusing,Donna Isabel, before an Indian council, of treachery to the Snake Aztecs. There was a clamor against her when he had spoken; then her voice rose in defense. But they could not tell what she said. But for the explanations which had been received from their Indian captive, they would have been quite in the dark as to what it meant. The conference became a violent dispute, then it broke up. in a quarrel, and, the door flying open, the scouts beat a quick retreat, with the Indians who had been in there streaming along them. From the s mall room the quarrel between s:;ranger and his s upporters and Donna Isabel was transferred to the larger room Weapons were drawn, and a battle in the temple seemed imminent. Ringed round by a few adherents, the woman backed into a corner. She had donned Indian dress, which be came her, and she seem@d a very princess defying her foes. But they overwhelmed her; the crowd in the tem ple surged upon her like a tide, until a door back of her gave under the pressure, and friend and foe went rolljng out through it. The temple room was nearly deserted, but it would not be so long, and the scouts got out of it while they had thi s opportunity. In the shadow by the temple walls they talked of what they had see n and heard. "-Granger, on bringing her here as his prisoner,'' said scout, "expected to ha ve the tribe turn again s t her, and slay her, or torture her; but she has found a few friends, and they e trying to stand by her." I think you are right, necarnis,'' Pawnee Bill agreeJ;

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20 THE BUFF ALO BILL STORIES. "but the question 'is, has she got friends enough? It didn't look it. If she hasn't, it will go hard with her. But perhaps we can lend a hand." ... They had not located Wild Bill. CHAPTER XI. WILD BILL IN PRISON. Wild Bill Hickok lacked his usual joviality, as he sat in his prison pen, and reflected on his condition. He was blaming himself for what happened, when the door of the room opened, and Donna Isabel came in. He was astonished to see her there, behind her, in the passage, visible through the half-open door, stood a num ber of Indian guards, armed with knives and copper headed lances. The door closing on her, she spoke. "You didn't expect to see me?" He arisen, with his usual courtesy. "I didn't," he said, "for I thought you were as much a prisoner here as I am. Will you take this stool? It's not much of a seat, but it's the best I have to offer." But she did not sit down. "I haven't had a pleasant time,'' she informed him. "You guessed that: Granger thought he could ttirn the Snake Aztecs against me; he has failed. But I'm not yet safe; he has a lot of friends, and they'll still give me trouble. But now that I'm here, and have triumphed so far. I intend to stand by guns." "Good!" he cried. "I admire your pluck." "I've been considering what I can do for you," she SG\id. "Of course, you can't stay here-and live; but I confess that right now I don't know how I can get you out of this prison, and out of the town." "If those bloody guards weren't right out there, I'd risk getting out," he said. "If you passed those guards, you couldn't get out of the town; the streets are full of Indians. Even if you were out of the town, they'd follow you, and run you down in the hills. No; some other plan must be worked out. You will have to give me time for that." "I don't want you to run risks for me," he urged. "I told you that we ,should have to help each other," she reminded; "when we had our talk, as we were being brought here. I feared, then, that Granger would be too strong for me here, and if that had happened, as he planned it, I should have been helpless. I ca me now only to let you know that for the time, at least, I have de feated him. He denounced me before the council, and wanted to have me tortured; he said I had betrayed the Snake Aztecs, when I had really only betrayd him, if that harsh word can be used to describe what I did. He made some of the Indians believe him, and they are with him against me; but my mother's brother came to my help. Fortunately, he had influence and many friends. That saved me. Otherwise," she shuddered, "I should be in the torture chamber right now." "If we can get out together--" "I shall see that you get out; but as for myself, I don t know that I want to go." This was surprising. "You see," she explained, "my mother's mother was Queen of the Snake Ajtecs; my own mother would have been queen after her if she had not fallen in love with a white man, my father, and abandoned the tribe. My older sister became queen then. But now she is dead. Since her death there has been no queen, and the sor cerer, Nekambo, has been ruler." "That's the big medicine man," said Wild Bill. "Yes, my bitter enemy now, for he fears mehe fears that I may become queen, when his.power would decrease and fade away. The Snake Aztecs take kindly to a queen, and my mother's brother has been trying to work up a for me. But just now Nekambo is able to hold his position. But," she added, with a fiery flash of her dark eyes, "I doubt if he will keep it long." "If he does keep it," said Wild Bill, "you are going to have a lot of trouble, and my name will be-Mud." iDonna Isabel shrugged her shapely shoulders. "I shall do the best I can. I know that it is now a life and-death fight; but I think I shall win. Until I do--" "I am to stay That is what you mean." "Yes." "I'd like to take part in melee; inactivity, in a prison pen, never appealed to me. It's not the proper role for Wild Bill. I might crack .a few heads, if you'd arrange it s_o that I could get into the next fight, which I can see you think is right ahead of you. Don't you think you had better give me the chance?" There was a wild clamor beyond the door, and the dancing legs of the warriors there indicated some fre s h excitement. "I can't talk longer," said Donna Isabel, backing to the door. "Remember that I'll help you-if I live." She threw the last at him, and jumped out into the stone corridor. Wild would have followed, in spite of her desire that he should not, if the door had not banged in hi s face. He heard a heavy bolt click, as he threw himself again s t the door. Then he heard a wild outcry. He hammered at the door wrathfully. But the confused sounds and yells faded out of the corridor and he was left in the prison to nurse his di s appointment.

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I THE 0BUFFALO BILL STORIES. 21 CHAPTER XII. DARING PARDS. Donna Isabel knew that she had the battle of her life before her when the door of the prison rumbled, and she s aw close by her in the corridor her uncle, Itlac, with a number of warriors forming his bodyguard, and beyond them a mass of unfriendly Indians, yelling and brandish ing their weapons. ltlac spoke sharply to her. You would bring death to all of us," he said. "Have YO!lj no sense, that you talk with the white s tranger, in thi l time of trouble?" He thrust a slender spear into her hands. "Take it, for we shall have to fight, he said, "and follow me!" He lifted his spear and shield, th& latter of horsehide s tretched over a circular frame of wood, and at j:he head of his men charged boldly on the i elling mass at the end of the corridor. Donna Isabel ran close behind him. For the moment she was as much Indian as any warrior there. Her white training fell away, leaving the savage heart of this wild beauty bare. She shrieked in uni s on with the war riors of her mother's brother, and when a brave stretched out an arm to stay her she spitted him with the s pear. Nekambo's men, composed of the ignorant rabble, fell back b e fore the onslaught of the better-trained braves, and Itlac's force gained the door of the temple. Making a stand with their back s again s t the stone door, Itlac's men met here a second onslaught, which they re pulsed, and with a countercharge swept the adherents of the medicine man out of the building. When it was over Itlac stood panting be s ide the wild eyed young half-b t eed, his face clotted with gore from a wound on his crown, while round him gathered the war riors who were trying to uphold his show of authority against the old priest. Donna Isabel looked up at him as he towered beside her, her eyes showing admiration. Her veins were on fire; she was an Indian of the Indians, at that moment, ready to yield obedience to this man, or even wor s hip him. Suddenly, as her pul s e s leaped, he laughed hars hly. I s it a time for laughter?" he demanded, with a frown. Is it not rather a time for prayers to the god of the Snake Aztecs? Or did you laugh because you think t11e victory is won?" She had laughed bitterly becau s e of a memory of her self in the dancing hall of the Cas ino. She had been w hite then in her s ympathies and view point, so that the applau s e she had always received had seemed s weet. ::\o w it looked pitiful, childi sh, unworthy. For was she n o t, by right of birth, queen of the Snake Aztecs? Round her were fighting warriors; not the thin-blooded, whitelivered crowd of perspiring white men, whose applause she now scorned. Glancing at her, as she drew herself proudly erect be side him, Itlac had an inspiration. She was queen of the Snake Aztecs-a point cir which he was fighting; but she did not look it, except for the striped blanket cast round her slender figure. "It will not do," he said, speaking his thought aloud. "A queen should be clothed as a queen. They are 111 there-the clothing your sister wore; put them on." She hesitated. "What?" he cried. "You will not play the queen? Then--" But she had turned and fled for the room. She found the garments in a moth-eaten chest, and drawing them out. she arrayed herself hurriedly in them. When she appeared again in the midst of the panting and excited warriors, she was regal, from the Indian standpoint. Their eyes kindled at sight of her, and their yells arose. But there were answering yells, beyond the door of the s anctuary; the braves of the medkine men were mass ing there again for a charge on ltlac's party. Donna Isabel's fiery Indian uncle did not wait for the attack to materialize; he gave back yell for yell, then Jed his warriors in a rush for the door Through it they rolled, stabbing with lances and knives, yelling and screaming like so many fanatical devils. Donna Isabel started to follow them, then thought better of it. But she stepped close up to the door, and lis tened to the clamor outside. Beginning to fear that all was los t, her hopes were revived by a sudden change in the c haracter of the yelling. Itlac came stumbling ba ck into the room, a number of his braves at his heels. "They have fled," he said; "praise to the god of the Snake Aztecs!" But even he could not understand it; all he knew was that, at a moment when he began to feel that the fight was going against him, the opposing force strangely lost its courage, and fell away in a jangling and quarreling rabble, then broke in wild retreat. "The victory is ours," he said. "The god of the Snake Aztecs fought for tis, and with us." Perhaps the priest is dead," she said. Whether Nekambo was dead or living could not at once be determined. But s ince she had assumed the position of queen of the Snake Aztecs by donning the queenly garments, the importance of performing the duties of the part wa s n o t to be questioned. Press ing this duty upon her, Itlac brought into the room an ebonylike box. Having cleared out the war riors, he s wung a kettle over a tripod, built a 9uick

PAGE 23

. 22 THE BUFF ALO BILL STORIES. filled the kettle with water and sprinkled it with an odorous liquid, then departed, following the warriors. Donna Isabel waited until he had gone, then took up her task. She was priestess, as well as queen, and she knew her role. More, she believed in it. that as she set about her task her manner became as solemn and grave as if she were conducting a funeral. While the fire burned fiercely and the water in the kettle began to bubble and send forth clouds of steam, she opened the black box brought in by Itlac. It held a dozen small snakes, rolled together in a knot. Disen tangling them, she took them out one by one, caressing them and crooning to them. If one proved unsubmissive and angry, she struck it on the head with a, small black reed, like a bamboo, threw it harshly back into the box, and showered it with the liquid which Itlac had broi+ght in the The odor, or the liquid, had a numbing effect apparently, for after that the reptile seemed submissive enough. Finally, dropping the snakes into the box close by the fire, ;he turned to the contents of the kettle. She threw in leaves and herbs, and stirred the mess round and round. While'cloing this she wailed out an Indian chant. How long she engaged in this she did not know; the ceremony had a hypnotizing effect, so that she lost know!. edge of the passage of time; but she was aroused by a word in English. Looking up, she was amazed to see standing before her two well-known figures-Buffalo Bill and Pawnee Bill. It was a shock; she had believed they were in Tinijas, or far away; that they could be in the town of the Snake Aztecs, and within that sanctuary, seemed unbelievable. She stared at them until she remembered that this was profanation-white men were not admitted to that sacred place. It aroused her to wrath. Plttcking_ a serpent from the fire-for that is what she seemed to do-she hurled it at them. "Back," she cried. "How dare you invade the mys teries?" Buffalo Bill sprang aside, and the serpent, missing him, fell on the floor, where it coiled like a flash and struck at his boots. He kicked it unceremoniously against the wall. "How dare you?" she gasped, her f ea tu res convulsed. "How you?" "What nonsense is this?" he demanded, for he was not pleased. "We came here, at the risk of our lives, to help 1 you, Donna Isabel." "But-but-you are in the temple; the sacred tooiple. It is pollution. Besides," she gasped, "how did you._get here-how did you get in?" "One question at a time," said the king of scouts. :you see that we are here, and that means, of course, / that we got in. If you will be sensible, and put down that snake"-she had caught up another-"we will talk with you." She dropped the squirming thing into the black box ; then she fell, rather than sat down, on the stone behind her, and stared at the white men. "Speak!" she commanded. "It will take but a few wordt Donna Isabel," he said, "to tell all there is to tell. We followed the trail .of the Chinese and white men from Tinijas, because we were sure that you and Wild had been carried away by them. Ah hour ago, after reaching the base of the obsi dian bluffs, we climbed into the town, my pard and I; then we our way toward the largest buildings. There has been a lot of fighting among the Indians-in this big building, \ and outside." She nodded. J "Yes ; 1 I know. I have taken part in it." "We mixed with the Indians, and--" "And yo were not discovered?" "We took care to guard against that, you see ; we secured blankets and headdresses out of one of the houses, and wore them; and so, in the excitement, we missed discovery. "As I was going to say, we were close by that door when the fighting began a while ago, and we captured the big medicine man." "What?" she cried, starting p. "We think he is the chief medicine man; he was the leader of the party that was trying to get in. He turned, to avoid the charge made by the Indians who swarmed out, and as he did so he tripped over my foot-I had stuck it out in front of him; and when he fell I sat down on his head." "You-you-what-" She could not articulate clearly, so great was her amazement. "The other Indians," the scout went on, "did not see their leader fall, and did not know what had become of him, though he was squirming under me like a lizard, I and that started a panic. They broke apart and ran yell with those that h
PAGE 24

THE BUFF ALO BILL STORIES. didn't know it was you-and when we came on to tigate--" "And committed sacrilege!" "When we committed sacrilege," he amended, "you threw the snake at us. Apparently you had been boiling it in that kettle, yet it was alive." It seemed to her that he laughed. She was a crumpled heap of bewilderment as the king of scouts finished. CHAPTER XIII. BUFFALO BILL'S WITCHCRAFT. The old medicine man lay in a heap close by the stone door, and beside him were t\1e blankets and headdres ses cast aside by the scou ts when they discovered that the crooning woman was Donna Isabel, the half-breed d4nc ing girl of the Tinijas Casino. The girl' would not believe uptil she had seen him there with her own eyes, and had heard again the story of his capture. Even then she was terrified, as his glance fell on her. In s pite of her white blood, $he bad stron g Indian superstition. "If this i s discovered!" she cried. "We can guess that if it is there will be some angry Indians," the scout admitted "But his capture helped your friends, and we expected that it would help us when we made it. We still hope so. We intend o hold him, for <1\lr own protection and as a hostage for Wild Bil1." "He is near,'' she said. "Good!" Pawnee Bill cried. "Just show us where he is; then we are ready to fight our way out." They were interrupted by Indian voices outside; a clamor was ri s ing again, showing, as they thought, that some of the medicine men's followers weie regaining their courage. "I don't think we have any time to lose Donna Isabel," said the king of scouts. "If you ill pilot us to the place where Wild Bill is held, we'll try to get at him She held up her hand. "Listen It is Itlac, calling to me." "Who is he?" asked Pawnee Bill. "My uncle-my mother's brother; the one man in this place who can save us. I was engaged in the Snake Aztec mys terie s at his command, when you interrupted; I must go on with them." Fighting began again out by the door. ''It's our time, necarnis, while they're at that," Pawnee Bill urged. He turned to the girl. "Just show us where our friend Wild Bill is, please; we haven't time to wait." "You must wait," she said, and ran from the room. When they tried to follow her, the door through which she had vanished held them back. The fighting still continued outside. Anxious to get out, they went round the room, looking for a door they could force; but the doors were of stone, sqlidly fas tened. While they were engaged in this fruitless search, the girl reappeared, springing into the room without warn ing: She bore a robe. ''Nekambo's are gaining," she said, panting the words. "They say he is in here, a prisoner, and they are coming in to find him; my uncle is down, wounded, and / the fight goes against him. I fear it is because you in vaded the temple; the snake god avenges such things "Your white blood and education ought to tell you," said Buffalo Bill, "that is foo l ishness But what is the purpose of the robe?" "I have thought of something. Over there is bound and helpless, but as soon as his friends are in here they will find and release him. He must be taken to an other place. are to play N ekambo.11 The scout was astounded, so daring was the sug g es tion. "I think you can,' the girl urged. 11You are wonder fully wise; you have done many things more difficult. And I will help. You can wear his headdress and ro'bes, and over all this s acred robe, which he wears only when engaged in the mysteries I will crouch behind the fire, with a blanket over" me, so that I will not be seen. And I will speak-I will speak for Nekambo 1t is the only thing that can save us now. Quick; the stone door will be forced soon.'' Fi..1rious blows were being rained on it. Under her directions, Buffalo Bill and his pard worked now like beavers They dragged the bound medicine man into a small room which she showed them, and left him there with the door locked on him. Close by the door, as an additional precaution, Pawnee Bill took his station. He was armed with a lance, also with his revolvers, and the filched Indian blanket and headdress covered him His face was smeared with paint. Though serious work, what followed was like comedy. When the stone dqor yielded and swung round, and the followers of the medicine man )eaped in, they beheld Nekambo, as they thought, stooped above the sacred fire. The sight stopped them. The pretended medicine man passed his hands through the steam from the kettle ; then he began apparently to pluck serpents out of the fire. One by one he tossed them aloft, caught them, and threw them down. The thick steam aided the deceptjon ; from the door it seemed to the watchers that he threw them into the kettle. From a bottle he poured over his hands a liquid, which burst into flame, and his flaming hands, swinging through the air, waved the Indians in.to silence. It was cheap trickery, but it held them spellbound. Then aparently the medicine man spoke The voice came from the girl, under the blanket behind the fire; but she gave it a hoarse croak, and the Indians thought the man was speaking. "The snake god caught me out of the midst of. the fighting," said the voice, "and brought me into this place, where I was s hown that what I did was wrong. It is useless to fight against the will of the snake god. His will is that the girl you have seen shall be queen of the Snake Aztecs, her word a law unto you; it is her righ t by inheritance. I shall contend against her no longer and it is my wish that you shall not do 'SO. I have sinned, and for that I am going into retirement a while. Now leave me." The harmle ss liquid, a phosphorous compound, did its duty again; the flaming hands of the scout, dyed to an Indian red, waved the Indians out of the temple. In bewilderment they retreated beyond the broken door. The disguised scout frightened them still further by fol lowing them;. then he closed the door as well as he could, and swung a blanket across it. "Now 1>how us where \Vild Bill is," he commanded.

PAGE 25

24 THE BUFF ALO BILL STORIES. I CHAPTER XIV. WILD BILL AND THE QUEEN. His prison door opening quietly, Wild Bill saw before him Donna Isabel in her queenly robes her dark cheeks aflame. As he started up she turned with a quick motion and locked the door. "It is for your safety," she explained. "If I failed to fasten the door you would throw yourself out there and be killed." Wild Bill's eyes snapped. _. ,"I could take away that key, and let myself out," he said. "But you won't; you are a gentleman, and would not attack me when I am risking everything to pr_ otect and help you." "That's right," he said. "You're safe enough. There has been a lot of wild-cat fighting. Tell me about it. And give me some hope, can't you, that I'm to get out of this pen before long! I suppose it means somethingthat dress you're wearing?" He pushed out for her the stool he had been occupying, and sat down on the tiny cot of skins that lay against the wall as she took a seat. "Tell me all about it," he urged. "If you could get out," she said, not replying to his question, "you would go away at once?" "It wouldn t take me long to shake the dust of this hamlet," he confessed. "And you would leave me here?" she protested. "No, of course not; we're in the same boat You're a s much a prisoner a s I am, in certain respects. We'd try to get out together." "But if I remained?" "You wouldn't-you wouldn't want to. Why should you think of that? You were brought here by Granger, and you're in the mid s t of enemies-though you've got friends, too, of course." She searched his face with her shining eyes, and the flame in her cheeks deepened. "I think," s pe said, "that I shall want to stay, even if I can go away; the medicine man i s out of the way for a time, and I have become-what do you think? " I shall think you have become crazy if you choose to tay," he asserted bluntly. "Queen-queen of the Snake Aztecs !" she cried. "that is what I have become!" "Then your side has won? It's what your Indian garb means; I ought to have gues s ed it. "It is going to win; there can be no doubt of it, I think, since N ekambo is out of the w ay, and s inc e--" She was about to spe ak of Buffalo Bill and Pawnee Bill, but she stopped. "Suppose," he said, "that your side wins, and that you stay here; suppose that you are queen of this villag e ? What does it amount to? You are a white woman-in your training; and this is no life for you." "It might be," she said.1 "It could be made very happy." "How?" "You are stupid, and I did not think it." The flame in her cheeks was now that of anger. "But perhaps you think of me a s you do because I am half Indian!'' She threw the lock and stepped into the corridor, and though he might by a ru s h, have s natched away the key, there were warrio r s out in the corridor; and he wa s trus t ing that s he knew what was bes t for him at the time. A flash of under s tanding came to Wild Bill a s he s tared at the door after her angry departure. Heaven s!" he said. "Did she mean that I wonder?" He got up and walked uneasily round the limited s pace. "I' believe that is just what she meant, and becau s e I didn't see it she called me stupid. Ha! What would Buffalo Bill think of that?" He sat down again, a smile curling his lips : "Ha! Husband of the Indian queen That would be a role for you, Wild Bill! She is queen here, and s he wants to s tay here; she is half Indian, and s he think s she will like it to rule over the s e fanatical and cruel red s kins. And she thinks I ought to like it-to play king consort. By gorry, this is a new situation-a queen pitching herself at my hea
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