Buffalo Bill's thunderbolt, or, Pawnee Bill and the buffalo killers


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Buffalo Bill's thunderbolt, or, Pawnee Bill and the buffalo killers

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Title:
Buffalo Bill's thunderbolt, or, Pawnee Bill and the buffalo killers
Series Title:
Buffalo Bill stories
Creator:
Buffalo Bill
Place of Publication:
New York
Publisher:
Street & Smith
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Language:
English
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1 online resource (31 p.) 28 cm.: ;

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

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University of South Florida
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University of South Florida
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The University of South Florida Libraries believes that the Item is in the Public Domain under the laws of the United States, but a determination was not made as to its copyright status under the copyright laws of other countries. The Item may not be in the Public Domain under the laws of other countries.
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020910996 ( ALEPH )
15933786 ( OCLC )
B14-00120 ( USFLDC DOI )
b14.120 ( USFLDC Handle )

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A WHKLY-POBUCATIO VOTED 1'0 BORDER UfE Issued Wee kly. Entered as Secon d -cla s s Natte r at tlze N. Y. Pos t Office, by STREET & SM!Tli,'79-89 Seventh Ave., N. Y. Copyright, 1911, by STREET & SMITH. 0 ';. Smt tlz and G. C. Smith, Proprietors. TBRMS TO BUFFALO BILL STORIES MAIL ( Po laqo Free.) Single Coples or Back Numbers, Sc. Bach. 3 months .. ... . .. .. 65c. One y ear .. .. . .. .. .. .. $2.60 4 months ..................... ...... Boe. 2 copies one year ............... .. 4.00 6 months .................. ........ $1.25 I copy two years ........... .... 4.00 How to Send Money-By postrotllce or expres s mone y orde r, reg istered letter, bank chec k or draft. at our risk. At your own risk If sent by currency. coin. or po. tage stamps tn ordinary l etter. Receipts-Receipt of your remittance Is acknowledged by proper change or numbe r o n your l a bel. If not correct you have D O\i been properly credited and s h ould J e t u..c:; kno w a t once. No. 534. NEW YORK, August 5, 1911. Price Five Cents. BUFFALO BILL'S tHUNDERBOLT; / Pawnee Bill and the Buffalo Killers. By tae author of "BUFFALO BILL." CHAPTER I. A SUSPICIOU S CARGO. The negro paddling downstream in a canoe, which towed a h e a v ily laden raft, dipped his paddle deeper and sent forth a hall o o wl.en he the cabin. A heavily bearded white man appeared in an s wer to to his hail coming round the end of the cabin next the ri v er. The negro sto o d up, balanced him s elf, and waved the paddle. Wah-ho o !" he squawled. ''I is sh o glad to see y ou. He dug the paddle deep again, still standin g up, and d ro v e the canoe toward the bank jus t above the cabin. \ V hen he reached it the white man was there to catch prow and h o ld the canoe steady. "You' re plum' ahead o' time," said the white man, pleased. "I didn't l oo k fer you to git hyar till after t o -m or'. Must 'a' had a g o od v'yage." "I'd 'a' g o t hyuh yist i day, an' had my min' .made up to do it; but I had tuh hide out one day an' clght, an' sink de ole raf' ." "In j uns ?" "No ; dem cowboys up de river D ey s e e n me but 'twas j es' at d e aid g e o' night, an de y didn t see w h a t I h ad. I sunk it befo' I pulled up t o de s h o' an'
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THE BUFFALO BILL STORIES. amused. "I cut de ropes w'at held de cases, and let 'em slide into de water." "That ain't sinkin' the raft." "I stuck de raf' into some willers.'1 "An' they didn't see it?" "L'ey seen it-yes, suh. Dat's what make me all de trouble. Dey want to know what has been on de raf'. I tell 'em nuffin' ain't been on de raf' but medat I sl(!eps on it. Den dey tells me I is lyin', and dey s'plor.es round an' pokes in de water; but dey didn't git de whisky. 'Case why ?-dey cain t find it." "When war this?" askeu the man anxiously. "Three days ago, boss. But I sho' give 'em de slip. Wben I moves I does it in de night; an' I ain't seen 'em ag'in." The white man climbed to the top of the bank and looked long and distrustfully up the river. But no one was in sight. "I guess you throwed 'em, Rastus," he said, coming down. t "Ain't no doubt but I did, boss." "And you seen no Injuns ?" "Not a one." "Some of 'em was over yisterday, wantin' whisky. I tol' 'em I'd have plenty next week, and they could git their furs ready, if they wanted it bad. They won't wait till next week, if they hear that the stuff has come." He helped the negro pull the raft against the bank, where they lashed it to a cottonwood. Then they be gan to lug the heavy cases ashore and carry them into the house. It was a cabin, as has been said, built of cottonwood poles, chinked, and daubed with yellow mud, the yellow stripes between the poles giving it a sort of zebra look. THe roof was of poles and riven clap boards. The front of the house was away from the river, and on the river side the house overhung the water, that end being on piling that lifted it a few feet above the stream. There was no door and no window on the river side, and but one d<;>or and one window at the front, with a barred hole higher up. The cabin was rather tall, so that from the outside it looked to be a story and a half in height. It was hard work carrying the cases of whisky into the house, up the steep and slippery bank, and the white man and the negro rested at times and talked. Generally, the talk concerned the incidents of the negro's trip to the mountain town, where he hat! sold furs and bought the liquor. He had taken up a string of ponies laden with furs, and had disposed of the ponies as well as the furs, the negotiations havipg been conducted through an agent there, it appeared. The furs and ponies the white man had got from the Indians by trading whisky. "You ain't hear no talk 'bout an In jun war?" said the negro. The man took out his pipe, broke open a package of tobacco the negro had brought out of the canoe, and lighted it with a match, produced also from the canoe's cargo. "Who do I see to talk to but Injuns? Good thing them cowboys didn't tumble to this tobacco." "I throwed it out on the groun', beyond de willers, and dey didn't see it." "Ah-hi Now, that's what I calls terbacker, and to light it without havin' to hammer sparks from a piece o' flint is certain sure satisfaction!" The negro smoked with him. "I'm certainly congratulatin' you, Rastus. You aire a peart nigger." "W' en dey gits ahead o' Rastus dey has tuh bresh de dew f'um deir feet mighty early ih de mawnin You didn't hear no mo' 'bout
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I THE BUFFALO BILL STORIES. 3 Thi s effigy the white man set up against the door, fa s tening it to it, so that its feet cleared the floor. Up throu g h one foot he then ran a tube, that came through a small h o le in the floor, and secured that in place. But his w ork was not done until he had placed in the right hand of the effigy a cocked revolver, which was tl;ien concealed by dropping hand and revolver into the coat pocket on that side. When the door stood wide open, the effigy looked into the ro o m ; when the door was shut, it looked off across the open land before the cabin. "Dat sho' has got 'em millin', boss," said the negro, cackling again, as he looked upon the hideous thing. "An' I don' wondeh When you done put it up de fus' time dis hyuh nigger couldn't sleep at night. Ki-yi !" "It's a cute thing." ( "Call it dat if you wants tuh. I ain't got no name for it. But it sho' does skeer Injuns." He strolled out to the stable, a structure of poles and mud, like the house. The white man, standing in the cabin door, heard him singing in the stable: "En yo' golden slippehs mus' be neat an' clean, En yo' age mus'-a be jes'-a sweet sixteen, En de darkies all say you will hab a good time, W'en yo' ride up in de char'yut in de mawnin'." Turning back into the cabin, the white man took down a small package of newspapers, brought by the negro, and opened it. They were half a month old, and he was not much of a reader; but he pored through them, interested in the late s t news from civilization. His eyes dropping on a headline, he at it hard, and read a few words below it. "What's this?" he said. He rubbed his eyes, and began to read again. The paper was from Ogallala, the biggest t bwn on the river, below him, and Buffalo Bill's name appeared in the headline. This is the body of the news item: "Buffalo Bill, the noted scout, who is now in Ogal lala, had an interview yesterday with Jack Brandon and his sister, on from Ohio, searching for their father, who came to this section some years ago, and strangely dropped out of sight. Brandon carries a letter from the Secretary of War, showing that he is all right; and the letter urges every one o n the border who can do so to help him in his search, particularly scouts and soldiers. Brandon's father, it seems, went into the Sioux country back in the seventies, just be fo re the g o ld craze struck the Black Hills. He wrote h o me a few times, speaking of his hopes of soon strik ing it rich; then his letters stopped. His last letter was written somewhere along the Missouri River, above here; and it appears it was given into the hands o f an other man, who brought it down the river and mailed it. Buffalo Bill is going into the Sioux c o un try, o n account of the rumor s of Indian trouble there-1t being r e p o rted that the band of Si o u x known a s the Buffal o Killers are and threatening to take to the warpath. Becau s e o f this there is a go o d deal of excitement and uneasine ss all al o ng the b o rder. Bran don and his sister wanted t o go with Co dy, but the noted scout thought it was inadvisable, owing "to the present situation. With him here n o w are Pawnee Bill and a number of his friends. It is thought they will set out in a day or two, as they are now fitting out." The bearded man, witkfinger on the page, read this through to the last word. When he looked up his face held an ashen pallor, and in his eyes was a strange light. "They'll be comin' here, he whispered hoarsely. "I'm bettin' they'll be cornin' here !" Under stress of excitement he had dropped the dia lectic twist generally noticeable in his speech. "I can fool Cody," he said; "but-can I fool them? But perhaps they won't come." He read again the statement that Buffalo Bill would not permit the Brandons to accompany his party. "I hope Cody sticks to that," he said; "I hope he does!" He let the paper lie oh his knees, and looked off into space. "Twenty years ago-no, fifteen years ago-I come here. It's hard to keep track of time. It was twenty years ago that I left home, back in Ohio, and there's been a lot of things happened-but not here. Don't nothin' much ever happen here, 'ceptin' Injun troubles, and the like of that. And they don't bother me. But now--" He got up, letting the paper slide to the floor, at:ld walked to the door. When he put up his hand against the doqr it rested close beside the grotesque effigy. For a long time he stood looking over the rolling land be fore the door, and down the river in the direction of Ogallala. Then he turned back, l o oked through the other newspapers, and put them all out of sight. Having done this, he walked out to the stable. He had resumed his pipe and his former manner, and the ashy pallor was fadinj; out of his bearded cheeks. t The negro, rubbing clo wn the h o rses in the stable, was still singi1'g: "Dem golden slippehs I'se ag win e t o w'ar, ,When Ah walk up o n d e m golden streets." I CHAPTER II. A STARTLED REDSKIN As soon as the white man disappeared in the1stable an Indian s head feather rose out of a willow clump by the stream, followed by the head and body of the Indian. Snuggling his blanket closely about him, the Indian began to steal cautiously toward the cabin, keeping it b e tween himself and the stable.

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4 THi: BUFFALO BILL STORIES. He itad 6een up to the cabin before, when the white man and the negro were in it, and, through a hole made by the falling away of some of the mud daubing of the walls, he had looked i'n and seen them drinking whisky out of t he bottle. The Indian was a Sioux, of the tribal section bear ing the name of Buffalo Killers, and he had approached the cabin in the hope of fire water. It seemed now to his savage mind that a great op portunity had come, wherein he could satisfy at the same time his innate love of fire water and his equally innate love of stealing. He would rather steal the fire water, or anything else, than buy it, or even have it given to him. Having from his place of concealment seen the land ing of the canoe and raft, and carrying of the whisky cargo into the cabin, qe thought he could readily lay his hands on as many bottles as he could lug off, and get away with the feat while the white man and the negro were in the stable. To accomplish this feat required haste; and he has tened, but with moccasins shod with silence. When he gained the cabin wall it was necessary for him to reach the one door, which was at the front and in full view from the stable. This, he knew, would require qui1=k work, and, aft r that, a quick get-away with the coveted goods. When he poked his Roman nose round the corner of the cabin he saw no one, and made a silent jump for the door. He nearly retreated when he saw the effigy on the door. He had heard of the thing many times, and had even seen it; but he had braced his courage to face it, and gH. past it into the house. He was helped in this determination now by the fact that, the door seing wide open, the eyes of the thing did not look in his direction. So he ducked and sidled by it, shivering suddenly, as if a cold wind had struck him. He would not look at it. Then a startling thing occurred-so startling that when it happened the Indian bounded halfway to the ceiling and let out <\ yell that was sufficient evidence of his fright. As he started to cross the room, to look for the whisky image on the door emitted ahcreech ing and hair-raising whistle; and when the Indian gave an involuntary jump, and whirled to dash out, the right arm of the image swung out of the pocket, pointing a revolver, and a loud explosion followed. The redskin's eagle feather was shorn away by the bullet. FeelinK the quick tug of the lead, he thought his scalp lock was gone, and yelled again. A kangaroo jump took him through the door, and another round the comer of the cabin, after which he ran with a speed that straightened the flowing blanket out behind him like a floating table. By the time the white m an and the negro were out of the stable the Indian was in the willows, and before they reached the open cabin door the redskin was in the river, submerged to his nose, and was going down stream with the swiftness of a swimming otter. White man and negro, swinging revolvers, ran round the cabin, when they discovered that it was empty, and stared off at the river, without seeing the intruder. "What's de meanin', boss?" "Some one got into the house, o' course, and got out too quick for us to see him." He drew back cautiously, round the corner of the cabin. "Better git back hyar, Rastus," he advised. "The critter tuck to the willers, ye kin be shore, an' he might sling lead." Rastus ducked back. "I don' see nobody." "He's hidin' thar. I'm figgerin' it war a red, lookin' for whisky. Reason I figger that out is, thar ain't no white men round hyar-not any as we know of." "Ef he went into dem willers, it is sho' likely dat he has tuck to de water," said the negro. "You keep watch hyar, while I look round in the cabin." As he stepped in he saw the eagle plume which the bullet had sheared away, on the floor. "Jes' as I thought-a red; an' ol' Moloch come mighty nigh a-gittin' him." He looked at the hideous figure on the dpor, and stepped carefully, striding wide as he walked across the room, taking particular care not to tread on cer tain boards of the floor. "He got his skeer, an' got it good, 'bout soon's he entered," he commented, as he looked round. "That war shore the best shootin' ol' Moloch ever: done. I reckon if his arm had drapped lower he'd 'a' plugged that redskin right plumb through the skull. Looks it He picked up the plume and examined it. "Sioux-jes' as I thought; Buffler Killer Sioux. And, o' course, he wanted whisky-they all do. An' he 'lowed he'd git it without pay, while I war out in the stable. That's plain enough." With a sudden jerk of apprehension and remem brance; he glanced at the in which he had thrust the newspapers. But they remained undisturbed. "I'll have to tuck them away better. Ain't no use even of Rastus seein' them." He stepped over and pushed the package farther into the box. Then he turned round and went outside. "Ain't seen a fing, boss," Rastus reported. "Ef he is hidin' in dem willers, he is sho' roostin' close to de cl" groun "You still watch hyar, whilst I goes out on the hill and takes a look frum thar," the white man requested; "ain't no sense in walkin' straight up to the willers. He's been skeered bad. Skeer him a little more, an' he might go to shootin' wicked. Ye cain't never tell what a red will do, in them conditions." Slowly he walked out to the rise above the river watchful of the willows and the stream, a cocked r e ;volver swinging ready in his right hand.

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THE BUFFALO BILL STORIES. 5 But by the time he gained the ridge and looked down into the willows the redskin was a quarter of a mile downstream, and still going. "I don't see nothin'," he called back to the negro. "Same hyuh. Dat redskin is playin' alligator, ef down dar." The white man returned to the cabin. "Huccome you can be so sho' dat it was an Injun?" the negro demanded. "What else could it been?" "Acksdeqt." The white man exhibited the warrior's plume. "Found this on the floor. You can see whar the bullet cut it." "Wah-hoo 01' Molick was done shootin' close dat time. I ain t wondeh dat redskin flew. He didn t need no bird wings to send 'im along. Ki-yi !" He looked at the willows. "Skeered lack dat says, I bet he ain't dar now. Ef he didn t have yuthers wid him, he'd keep a-goin'." "I think he was alone, and that he saw us unload the raft. Then, when we war both in the barn, he cal'lated he'd try fer some o' the fire water. He stepped on the boards thar, and ol' Moloch got into gear. He come mighty nigh bein' a dead redskin. Well, so Jong's no more harm was done, it will be a good thing. He'll tell about it, and the others will keep off, or come :vith the goods to trade." "You don't reckon dey can be yuthers in de wil-: lers ?" "We can find out." "An' git shot? You go do it, boss; I'll stay hyuh an' watch. Ki-yi !" Though confident that the Indian herd made an es cape by way of the river, they watched the willows an hour, before the white man was willing to venture down to investigate. What he found when he got there were moccasin tracks in the mud, and close by the water, where the Indian had approached, and then had so hurriedly taken his departure. "He got into the river an' swum downstream," he reported, when he came back to the cabin, where the negro had remained, refusing to take part in the in vestigation. "And he's fur enough off by now." Together they reentered the cabin, after talking it over, stepping high and wide, to avoid the boards that the Indian had touched. "Git me a ca'tridge, Rastus." The negro brought over a fluted, belt, filled with forty-fives: "Des' de looks o' dat cr1tteh is enough to th' ow a man into a sweat, widout him beginnin' to shoot wid dat pistol an' blow his whistle. I bet yo', dat Injun don' come roun' hyuh no mo'." The white man tried to laugh, but unsuccessfully. He was thinking of the newspaper report that had startled him quite as much as the action of ol' Moloch had startled the rum-thirsty redskin. Taking the revolver, he reloaded the discharged chamber ; then he carefully readjusted 1t m the hand o f l the image with the weap o n cocked, and a wire finger t o uching the trigger and hid hand and revolver in the c oat pocket. Looking on, the negro scratched his woolly head. "Ohly thing what I d o n' like 'bout dis hyuh is," he remarked, "dat day I's a-goin' to forgit 'bout dem boards; an' when I does-bim I'm a-goin' to git a bullet." "Waal, I don't keep it rigged up ready fer bizness all ther time !" "Des' one time is enough-ef it gits me!" "You needn't let it trouble you the rest of the after noon, fer I'm goin' to let you straddle a hoss and go down river, and poke round down thar." "Buntin' fuh dat In jun?" "You can mebbyso see whar he left the water, and find his trail. He didn't stay in the river long. Then you can find out if thar war any others with him. It's mighty important to know. I don't allow that thar is really any danger that they'd come back in the night and raid the place. I don't think they would; but I'd jes' like to know if he war alone." The negro seemed rather glad to go-to gee away from the danger he feared in the cabin; and as he passed he sidled past the image, with his staring eyes fixed on the hideous face. / "Uh-huh!" he grunted, as he got outside and turned toward the stable. "01' Malick, he sho' does gib me de creeps. I wouldn t use no sich tricks, even to skeer Injuns; fur some day he's sho' a-goin' tuh git me or de boss. Now I'm talkin' !" CHAPTER III. I IMITATION COWBOYS. Two hours before sunset the negro came back, and exchanged his horse for the canoe. "I ain't no feesh," he said; "an' I don' like to swim. Dat Injun didn't come out on dis side." "Why didn't you swim the boss over?" the white man asked. "I tried it, an' he bucked. He don' like water, neither, no betteh than me." "Whisky is what you like." "Ki-yi Ef I liked it like some Injuns does, dem whisky cases'd never got down hyuh-now I tell.yuh. You ain t been seein' nuthin' while I was gone?"' "N othin' ." The negro pulled out the canoe, and drifted down stream, and the white man went back into the cabin, to a rereading of some of the things he had been picking out of the newspapers. As before, he returnecl. after a time t o the Ogallala account of Buffalo Bill and the scout's inter\'iew with the Brandons. "If they do come up hyar, the red s will s ure c o rral 'em he reflected aloud. "Me and Rastus could to that, and could see that they didn"t git away ag"in.

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/ 6 THE BUFFALO BILL STORIES. Give a red fire water, and he'll do anything. Besides, "They don't trouble you, living out here so far thar's reports, Rastus says, that the Buffler Killers everyime else?" aire fire eating and ready fer meanness. In that way "Waal, I treats 'em right, ye know; so I ain't figit could be accounted fer easy, if an investigation ger'n that they will bother me." started. Yes, Rastus and me will see to that. But I'm "But don't you get very lonesome here?" asked the hop;11 they keep away." ,.. younger of the two. H-! was startled from his reveries by a halloo. "Nope; ef I did, I wouldn't stay. Stands to reason "Rastus back? Yet that didn't sound like him." that a man don't stay whar he don't like it, unless he He jumped to the door, the newspaper n his hands. has to." On a hill out in front sat two cowboys-as at first "You hunt for ,a_ Hving, I suppose; and, of course, sight he judged them to be One of them hf}.d sent the you're always armed?" halloo. "Hunt an' trap," he said; "I been at it a good many The wl\ite man moved back, without answering, y'ar now, an' enj'y it. Now and then I has comp'ny; carefully avoiding tqe boards that connected with the when some one comes erlong, like you, and stops, bein' image by concealed springs and wires, and tucked the strangers to the country, they tells me stories about nev.:spapers out of /Sight, sweeping them together themselves, and so I has somethin' new to think about hastily. -fer a while." Then he disconnected Moloch from the door, quite The younger:, who had been questioning, stopped, as hastily. confused, and looked at the other. Not until he had stored the image out of sight in "My name is Morgan," the speaker went on, in a the long box by tlre wall, and had looked carefully _!.one that invited confidence, while he closely studied round, to make sure that nothing bf a telltale character the face artd figure of the younger; "Nat Morgan. was to be seen, did he appear at the door again. You may have heerd o' me, fer I been on this border a The two cowboys were still out on the hill, wheQ long time, and does a consid'able bizness in fur the white man stepped out in fro11t of the cabin. tradin'/' "Hello!" he called, answering the repeated hails. "And you liye here all alone?" "\Von't you drap down an' jine me?" "I has a colored man livin' with me. I done him They rode forward at this invitation. As they al?# a favo r onct, an' he has tuck to me, and stays hyar; he. proached he looked them over carefully. helps i;,_ d1e trappin' and huntin'. You ain't seein' him One was thirty or thirty-five years old, he judged; round, 'case he has gone down the river to-day in his the other younger and slighter in build. It gave him a canoe; but I reckon he'll be comin' back 'long about start, when he discovered that their faces lacked the night." characteristic wind tan of the plains, and that they The tone still invited confidence. rode as if not thorough/y at home in their deep sad"Our Br;:mdon," said the younger, with andles. other\ look at the older. "Them ain't no cowboys!" he growled, in his thick The man who had given his name as Nat Morgan beard. "So, what does it mean?" tightened his jaws almost convulsively apd his face They came up and greeted him in a hopeful, cheery pale.Q.; but he made shift to conceal these things by manner, sitting in their deep saddles before the cabin risi11g and stepping toward the door. door. But he was on his guard, and wary, though he "Thought I heerd that nigger comin' back," he said, was trying not to show it. as he turned about again. "Won't ye light down ?" he invited, seeking to be He had control of hirhself, but his face was still genial; and also because he wanted to get at the true pale. He knew it, and bustled about the room, finally inwardness of this, which he considered a strange producing his pipe a_nd fussing with it and the package thi11g, for he knew now that they were not cowboys. of tobacco. The older of the two glanced off at the sun. His movements to and fro gave his visitors time "About an hour until night," he said; "so we don't and opportunity to put the'ir heads together and ex know but we'd like to accept your invitation. We've change a whispered conference. The result was ap ridden far, and are beat out." parent when Morgan sat down and began to thumb "Hyar is my hose, and out thar is my stable; quartobacco into the bowl ,of. his pipe. ters fer men and for hosses; ye' re welcome to 'em "We think," said the elder, "that if we tell yau our both." story, you can perhaps help us with information, if They accepted his invitation, put their horses in the not?ing else. We are strangers in this section." stable, and came into the cabin. "And not cowboys," said the younger. "Have you seen any Indians about?" was one of "To tell the truth," continued the other, "we are the things they asked him. brother and sister. I am Jack Brandon, and this is "Thar war a red round this neighborhood to-day," my sister Louise. I have always called her Lou; and he said, "but I didn't connect up with him. I think that can stand for Louis as well as for Louise. We he war jes' lookin'. to steal somethin'; reels aire power-thought it would be safer and petter every way if she ful bad as thieves." ;wore man's clothing on this trip, for we expected to be

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THE BUFF ALO BILL STORIES. 7 in so me wi1d com;try; so we bought a cowboy outfit at O g allala.' Indi a n s were reported troublesome up in thi s sec tion w hen w e set out from Ogallala and we feared we might run into them; but so far we ha v en t seen e v en one." M organ s cratched a match noisily, drew it across his pipe, and d his face behind a thick cloud of smoke, which hastily. "This hyar sounds mighty int'restin', he said; "jes' fer all the world like a story. I didn t know but meb byso the little one war yer brother; but-yer sister! You 'v e got me plum' millin', fer wonder. "Yo u think that it was foolish and reckless for me to come at all, said the girl, a hot flush now on her face ; but I couldn't stay behind there in Ogallala, after Jack was determined to go. You see, Mr. Cody was--" Buffier Bill, ye mean?" said Morgan, behind his screen of smoke. Y es; he wouldn't let Jack go with him. So Jack he decided to go alone." "An' Buffier Bill? Whar is it he war goin' ?" "Out into this Indian country," said Jack Brandon taking up the thread of conversation. "There are some Indians out here locally called the Buffalo Killers; Sioux, it s said. And it is said, also, that they have a black chief, who is reported to be a negro; and lately they have been war dancing and threaten ing a border war. On account of that, Cody and some of his friends were on the point of leaving Ogallala for this section; anyway, they were going to follow the Missouri River up, but I don't know how far. They hoped to do something to quiet the Indians and save trouble." "Uh-huh!" grunted Morgan. "I "When he wouldn t let me be a member of his party, I decided to go on alone; then my sister said she was going if I did; and here we are. We got out of Ogal lala the day before Buffalo Bill's party was to start." "Yo u was do in' this fer a reason, er fer fun?" "For the most important reason in the world, Mr. Morgan I'm coming now to that. We are here hunt ing for information of our father, Jasper Brandon, who came into this region several years ago. He pushed on toward the Black Hills, as he was looking for gold. We had a letter from him; or, rather, our family did-we were rather small then, you understand -a letter written from some point up here, on this very river. And that was the last." "Uh-huh!" "You' ve been in this country how many years, Mr Morgan?" "More'n I like to remember." And in all that time you never heard of Jasper Brandon?" Morgan coughed-apparently he had swallowed some of the tobacco smoke. "In all them y ars r has heerd of him." But yol.l are very familiar with all this country, of course? s aid the girt I kn o w s e v ery mile of it. Then yo u can help us, I'm s ure ,' s aid Jack Bran d on. "And I'm going to ask you first, how far is it to where these Indians are-the Buffalo Killers?" "I lopes on a boss a good deal, and don t count miles; so I'll have ter figger Lemme see-I reckon it's somewhar round fifty miles, if you mean their village; but you re li' ble to meet parties of 'em out anywhar; as I tol ye, one of them war right in thi s cabin this afternoon, tryin' to steal somethin', as I reckoned." "Right in here?" said the girl, looking round. "I heard him-was out at the stable; and he war gone 'fore I could git into the house; he went that quick." "And he didn't steal anything?" "Not's I could "This talk of troubft! with the Indians; there is noth ing in it is there?" asked Jack Brandon. "We didn't take m!:lch stock in it." "Fer why ?" "We met me r: there in Ogallala who said that'; they said the Indians were always dancing up here, and that it didn't amount to anything; that there had no serious trouble with them for years. They got whisk y somewhere, was the report, and at times that made them ugly; but they had been thorqughly whipped and long ago, and would never again try to make trouble. They advised us that if we wanted to come up here it would be as safe as if we took a pleasure jaunt out through any country." "You don't think that?" said the : girl anxiously. "That the reds gits likker ?" "That they are entirely peaceful, and will stay so ? '' "They're plum' peaceable-to me. That's the only way I can judge, ain t it. All the y'ars I has lived hyar I ain't been molested, 'ceptin', as I reported, onct in a while a red sneaks in hyar an tries to steal something." "But even that doesn't make serious trouble for you?" \ I "I don't bake no trouble at all; they're plum' peaceable-to me." "It makes me feel easier to hear you say so," she confessed. "Lou is a brave girl," said her brother; "there isn t a braver girl anywhere, and if we had to fight a tribe of Indians she would stand up to the work; that is, if, by doing it, she thought we could locate father." "It's the thinking about it beforehand that makes me nervous, that's all," she admitted. Morgan blew away the smoke with which he had been enveloping his head and looked at them craftil y -just a sharp look, shot l jk<$a spear. "You're thinkin' that mebbyso yer dad is livin' yit ?"' "We're hoping that he is. We have thought of many things that might have happened to him; f.or one thing, he might be held by the Indians as a

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8 THE BUFF {\.LO BILL STORIES. oner. That is why we want to go on to this Indian village. And it is also the reason we asked if you knew anything about the Black Chief." "I see." His head was again in the tobacco smoke. piing Morgan's smoking toracco after supper, said that was good, too. Moved by his pretended spirit of hospitality Morgan started to get out his whisky bottle, but changed his mind before he reached the shelf where he kept it, and said: "I have thought, too," said the girl, "since s1ttmg here, that we might perhaps he able to hire you as a guide, conduct us to that village." 1 "I reckon I could do it," he said, a queer click in his voice. "You'll have ter occupy the upstairs room, but bein' that you're brother and sister, will be ll right. I won't need to wake ye airly in the morning. : "And if it is only fifty miles, it wouldn't take long to go there, on our horses." "But you couldn't go on to-rnght, nohow." "We're going to ask you," said Jack Brandon, "to let us stay here in your house l'O-night. And we'd like to leave our animals in your stable. We could pay you--" \.. "Out hyar thar ain't no pay fer sech things,' sai Morgan; "and you kin stay an' welcome, if you can put up with the place and the po& stuff I've got to feed ye with." He began to bustle round, g.etting out things for supper, but he was careful n o t to l\P. near the long box that held old Moloch, and n o w anU. then he caught himself stepping high and wide to avoid certain b0ards in the floor. The girl a s ked to help him get supper, but he re fused. "I know whar. the things aire," he explained, "an' twon t take me long. Last trip my nigger made to the tradin' store he brought down a few things, so we can have bacon an' coffee an' reg'lar flour bread. You're welcome to everything I has. got. It's so sel dom that I sees a white face that your comin' has made me feel spry as a boy." He certainly stepped alertly as he moved about; but his face was still t ) ale, and a close observer might have 1 detected that his assumed geniality and friendliness was a forced product. As he prepared the coffee and fried the bacon he asked again and again about Buffalo Bill, and about Jasper Brandon. Once he made a peculiar slip; at the moment he seemed to be musing: "Old Jeff Ellers saicf onct--" He stopped as suddenly as he began. The brother and sister looked at him. "You've been in Tannersville, .Dhio ?" asked Jack Brandon. "Never heerd o' ther place," said Morgan, stooping over the frying pan. Whyever do you ask that?" "Well, I didn't suppose there was a Jeff Ellers any where else in the world but in Tannersville." "This hyar Jeff Ellers what I knowed," lied Morgan, "lived out in Denver, but he's dead now-dead y'ars ago. Pokin' at this hyar meat made me think of him. We used to cook together, an' bunk together, an' hunt together; but it war y'ars ago." The' supper was good, they said; they had healthy appetites and hungry. And Jack Brandon, sam-At a late hour they went upstairs together, two cow figures, and vanished from his side, after they had climbed the narrow ladder and slipped through the cubby-hole door. Morgan looked after; them, his face whitening again, then stepped to the shelf, took down his bottle of and drank. Holding it in his hand he looked toward the ladder. "lnjuns won't trouble you, an' you won't trouble the Injuns-now," he whispered; "and I won't need to wake ye up airly in the morning. I've got to stay. in this country, an' I'm a-goin' to. So good-by!" Slipping to the overhang after a while, he got busy with a wrench. Some time later, hearing a scratching on the door, he jumped as if shot at. When he opened the door he beheld the head of the negro. "You' re shakin' like er dawg," he said, "an' wet as a drowned rat; what's the meanin' ?" "Fo' Lawd' s sake, lemme in, boss!" the negro begged. ''Co me in, then, but be quiet. What's happened to ye?" \\Tith the d oor clo s ed behind him; the negro stood up and rolled his eyes round. His clothing was soaked, and he was shaking with fright. "Who' s b oss es i s dem in de stable?" Morgan jerked a finger toward the ladder and the upper room. "1'he riders o' them bosses have been upstairs," he said, in an impressive whisper, "an' now aire thar !" He pointed down. "Did them hosses skeer ye?" "No, boss, not dem; it was somepin' wuss'n hosses. Gimme a drink, will ye? I sho' is goin' tuh drap, ef yo' doan't do it quick." "Keep still," warned Morgan, his hands trembling, as he brought out the whisky, "and tell me what has happened!" The negro gurgled the whisky bottle over his nose and took fre s h courage. "You knows I went down the river in de boat," he said. "Yes, this afternoon, tryin' to out what had become of that redskin." 'Twan't him, boss, but it happened on de river, not fur off f'um clis place. I was paddlin' 'long sof', when somepin' grab de gunnel o'
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THE BUFF ALO BILL STORIES. 9 "Resh, man, till you heah what I'se tellin' yo';
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IO THE BUFFALO BILL STORIES. door of the stable. "Ef them ain't ther two caballos I has been this long time trailin', I'm blind o' one eye an' cain't see out o' t'other." There were two other horses in the stable, but he gave them no attention. "So I reckon the two fools I has follered aire in thet house. Waal, I'll jes' step in and see 'em, and then I'll give 'em the mind of an ole man what don't approve o' no sech foolishness." When he drew up before the door and hailed, the door was swung open promptly, and Nat Morgan ap peared. Nomad had been smiling, but the wrinkles round his mouth suddenly hard!fned and his expression changed. "No, I reckon I won't come in," he said, when Morgan invited him to enter, "but I'll ax ye'bout 'ther owners o' them two mustang caballos back in yer stable?" Morgan stared and hesitated. He was on the point of declaring that they were his; then decided not to. "The owners o' them mustangs stopped with me las' night," he said, studying Nomad's face, which was unfamiliar to him. "So they ain't hyar now?" "They're round somewhars-I dunno jes' whar. You war "\\\antin' to see 'em?" "Ruther," said Nomad dryly. "They walked out down toward the river, more'n two hours ago; I been fer 'em back any time." Nomad dug. a heel into Hide-rack. "I'll jes' mosey down thar an' connect up wi' 'em," he said. "You come back-if ye don't find 'em," said Mor gan, with peculiar emphasis. "Thankee kindly," said Nomad, taking out his pipe and biting on the stem, "I will." He chewed at the pipe stem as he went down the slope, to hide the distrustful expression which he feared was revealing itself in his face. At the same time he kept his head half turned, as if he looked at the ground; but it was for purpose -of having an ear trained on the' cabin, for somehow, without any apparent good reason, he feared a shot from the man, yet he believed, should it be attempted, he could detect its coming by some movement. "Waugh!" he mouthed, as he got down by the wil lows. "Thar's a snake fer ye. I has got ter inve.stigate him shore as shootin'." He looked about for tracks, having in mind the shape of shoes he was to look for, as he had seen their c utlines at more than one camping place. At the end o f ten minutes he had covered a good deal of ground. "Them two fools playin' cowboys didn't come down 1.Jy this place none whatever," he growled; "so thet war a lie; they couldn't walk down hyar without makin' tracks.' : Ile went on beside the willows, then back-tracked criss-crossed. "Er lie," he grumbled; "er big lie. Now," he looked off at the cabin, "whyever was thet lie spoke?" He drove old Hide-rack farther along the streatn, looking everywhere. Suddenly he reined in. "Injuns !" he whispered, and droP.ped a hand softly to his revolver. There was a moccasin track in the mud. When he went farther on, his keen old eyes searching every yard of ground, he discovered other moc casin tracks. "Been between a dozen er twenty right hyar this very day," he said; "an' thet critter up thar either didn't know et er didn't want ter mention et. What war they
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THE BUFFALO BILL STORIES. \ I I "Won't you light," said Morgan, "an' lemme put yer hoss in the stable? I got room enough still in thar." "Thankee kindly: said Nomad; "I will." He swung walked out to the stable with Morgan, where old icle-rack was made comfortable. "Whyever did ye ant to see them two men?" asked Morgan. "Only cause is, I ain't seen 'em in a good whilenot sense they lefj. Ogallala. What I'm thinkin' of now is, I seen Inj!S tracks down by the willers, an' ef they went down thar mebbyso they fell inter ther hands o' them Injuns." Morgan started; he had not known that. the Indians had disembarked in the willows-a thing they had clone silently and secretly, with the idea of making certain whether the owner of the cabin was at home before they showed themselves."' They had come to trade furs for whisky, but they had to steal the whisky, if they could. Morgan had been at home, so they had reembarked and came up to the cabin. They traded furs for what whisky they got; for they were afraid of Morgan, and afraid of the thing he kept on his door. ..-"I didn't know any Injuns had been clown thar," he said; "-Out, even so, the Injuns hyarbouts aire plum' friendly enough ter eat out o' yer hand." "Then, o' course, them two fellers aire safe ernough; I didn't "What war bringin' you into the kentry ?" Morgan asked, as they walked toward the cabin. "My caballo, when I warn't walkin'. You're trap pin' round hyar ?" "Been trappin' round hyar a long time," said Mor gan. "Thet's what I war tMnkin' o' doin' myself, and war lookin' fer er good trappin' ground. But sense you're hyar ahead o' me, I'll haf to git furder upstream, I reckon." Morgan did not l ike that; a trapper upstream might see the negro, when he made P.ony trips and canoe voyages. "Waal, ye cain't go on until mornin'," he said, "so come in, and help yerself to anything I got. But be lieve I ain't heerd yer name yit. Mine is MorganNat Morgan." Nomad's mind searched for a name. "Mine's Bill Blazer," he declared. "Frum Ogallala?" "Frum everywhar; I jes' happened ter tech Ogallala last." When they went inside they smoked and talked. Nomad's took in his surroundings. And his nose took in whisky fumes. As if he suspected this, and to tover them up, Morgan produced his whisky bottle. "On'y fer snake bite," said Nomad; "an' then I gin'rally put et on ter ther bite, 'stead o' into my stum mick." He heard Morgan's story of his life-wholly nnaginary, and told the story of his own life, which was also wholly imaginary. Still studying Morgan, he took supper with him, and, not satisfied, decided to stay all night, when Morgan pressed him to do so. Shown to the upper room, reached by ladder and trapdo?r, Nomad looked about him, when Morgan departed. -J There was a narrow bed, and there had been two skin cots on the floor, which Morgan had folded up nd poked into a corner, and there were two chairs, if the home-made contrivances doing duty as such may be called chairs. The walls were bare, and the floor was uncarpeted. The thing that Nomad rebelled against mentally was that the room had no window. True, there was a sub stitute, at the head of the little _bed-a square hole, to let in air, this hol e being grated with iron bars "Looks like er jail," said Nomad, examirfing the bars, "and yer uncle jes' natcherly'hates ther thought o' strained air, whether et comes through bars like them, er moskeeter netti n' ." He stepped to the trapdoor, fifted it, and called down to his best. "vVhyever aire them bars?" he demanded. "Oh, on the winder?" said Morgan. "Is et a winder?" "Thar has been times," said Morgan, stepping under the opening, "when wild cats has clim' the notched clttonwood poles at ther corner thar an' got inter thet upper room, .and so I set in them "bars. You kin rest certain thet no wild cats kin git at ye." "I reckon I'll jes' leave this hyar trapdoor open. then," said Nomad, "so's to pull the strained air on through, an' make breathin' healthier. I'm er crank fer pure air an' plenty; comes o' my beastly habit o' sleepin' outdoors 'most all ther time Leaving the trapdoor open, he retreated to the cot by the barred square hole, and looked round, by aid of the feeble starlight that came in. Morgan had re moved the candle with which he had shown his guest to this hole under the roof. "Ef I couldn't give a man more decenter quarters ter sling his blanket in than this," Nomad grumbled, "I'd sleep him out in the front yard." Under ordinary conditions the old trapper would have refused to stay in the room, but now he deter mined to forego his own desires, his suspicions against Morgan having been violently excited by this act of placing him in that room looking so like a prison. After quietly testing the bars and d i scovering that they were set solidly in the very wall itself, and think ing the matter over, he iuade a rather noisy pretense of going to bed. But he had not removed his clothing, and he lay wide awake, with a hand on his revolver beside him. "This hyar Morgan is plum' crooked, and I'd like him ter show his hand. Them two innercents thet I follered frum close 'ter Ogallala come right hyar, an they didn't go erway, so fur as I can see; yit they ain't

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12 THE BUFF ALO BILL / ter be seen, though their caballos aire in the stable: I went down ther way Morgan said, and found he had lied erbout et; wa'n"t no tracks of 'em down thar. So what's ther meanin' ?" At intervals he snored softly, to make Morgan think h0 had fallen asleep. town hyarafter, whar sneak thieves an' mangy dawgs is all ye need ter be afraid of.'' Nevertheless, he remained awak another hour. Ashamed of his fears, he at la ll asleep, and slept soundly. CHAPTER V. But nothing happened, except that finally Morgan extinguished his light, and seemed to have retired to the one in the lower room. Fifteen minutes after that Morgan's snore came up THE PICTURE IN THE RAGE. to the watchful borderman. Pawnee Bill was telling the story of the Black Chief "Brea thin' through his nose like er chokin' pig; won--what he knew of it-while they followed the trail der ef et is fer my benefit?" left by Hide-rack, as it wound through the soft ground But Morgan seemed to have fallen asleep; at the end beside the muddy waters of the Upper Missouri. of an hour he had not stirred, and that choking snore / Old Nomad had been delegated to investigate the went on at intervals. tracks of two horses that had gone in this direction. "I reckon I has got a plum' onhealthy imagination, Expected to return soo_n to. the party, he had been thet sees an hears things when thar ain't none round: gone so long now that his friends had grown alarmed, Buffier says thet is why I sees whiskizoos now and had back-tracked to connect :with his trail, and were then, an' he don't; an' bercause of et he makes out thar now tracing it out. ain't no whiskizoos, when I knows better, havin' seen It could be seen that he was sticking, so far, to the 'em." trail left by the two horses. His thoughts turned to the Indian tracks he had dis covered down by the willows, and to 1 other Indian tracks he had seen on the way. He recalled the red arrow found beside the river; placed there by Buffalo Killer Sioux to notify Indians of other tribes passing up and down the stream that an Indian war against the white men impencJ;d. No mad had destroyed the arrow. But, most of all, he worried over the fact that he had not found the young man and his sister whom he had trailed so far. He had intended to induce them to make haste for Ogallala, if he could. When another hour had passed without anything doing, Nomad's imaginative fire burned itself out, and he began to feel foolish over his fears, and sleepy. Dropping into a doze, he awoke with a start, sure he had heard the 'ladf er creak; almost before he knew it he was sitting bolt upright in bed, with his revolver trained on the trapdoor. "Gallopin' gallinippers, war thet imagination, too?" Sweat had broken out on his body. For five minutes he sat staring at the hble in the floor, which was riow but a black spot, then, hearing nothing,. he got out of bed softly and slipped over to the hole. But the room below was so dark that when he looked down he could see nothing. He tried to fancy he be held a man clinging to the ladder, but he feared to speak to him, lest he should find himself mistaken, and I at last crept back to the bed. "This sing'lar imagination thet I harbors under my headpiece is shore workin' overtime ter-night," he grumbled, as he disposed himself on the cot. "I war j es' dream in', and skeered myself inter a fit. Fer an ole man thet has shuck hands wi' danger as much as I has et is plum' reedic'lus. Et's proof thet old age is berginnin' ter tell on me, an' I'd better hive up in ex: Of the riders of those horses, there had been some thing singular. Jack Brandon and his sister were sup posed to lfave seen left behind at Ogallala, after their reque s t to be made members of Buffalo Bill's panty .had been turned down, for reasons that seemed adequate. Yet Little Cayuse had seen two cowboys, whose faces, he said, were those of Brandon and his sister riding beside the Missouri, and heading into Siou x territory. Cayuse had been sprawled in some willow s and they had pas s ed so clo se to him that he had heard them talking, though he had not understood what was said. As if to prove that the Piute was right in his asser tion, in following up the tracks he pointed out a hand kerchief had been found, of a kind that would ne ver have been u sed by a cowboy; it was small, with a lace edge, and had ih a corner the initials, L. B. "Louise Brandon," interpreted the scout, when he saw the initials. In addition, at a spring where the two "cowboys" had stopped, boot tracks in the soil showed that the wearer had a foot so small that it could. hardly have belonged to a man of the cowboy type. So Nomad had been deputed to investigate. To all appearances he was still investigating; yet he had been so l o ng about it that his friends were als o now inve stigating-to learn why he tarried. Still, they had no great fears for Nomad; he was usually abundantly able to take care of himself under all circumstances. They wanted to know what he had done, or discovered before they pushed on toward the village of the Buffalo Killers, which was their de stination. As said, Pawnee Bill was telling what ne knew about the Black Chief, while they trailed along in the wake of old Nomad. he is a negro, or just a very dark Indian is somethi'ng I don t know," he confessed, "and the

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. THE BUFF ALO BILL STORIES strange thing about him is that no one seems to know -no white man. The Buffalo Killers have kept to themselves pretty well, and, as they haven't come re cently into collision with the whites, they have been pretty much let alone. "But this is what I heard: He appeared among the Buffalo Killer Sioux a number of years ago, which shows that he was not originally one of them. There was an epidemic of smallpox raging among them when he came, and he had some remedy which he used. Or it may be that he merely taught them a few comm on sense things-such as stopping them from jumping into the river when the fever was on them; that had been their practice to cool the fever, and, as a result, they had been dying like poisoned flies. However it was, he made good; and theyliked him so well on ac count of it that they made him their chief. The old chief, and every one in line for his place, had been killed off by the disease; and, of course, that helped the new man's promotion. "Another thing I heard is that he has always urged peace with the white men; but rec ently he has been sick, and a young chief has taken the reins of power, as a result of which this present trouble ha s been kicked up." "Anodder t'ing-vot I heardt," said the baron, "iss dot dhis Plack Chief he tond't sday1 at home so ve ry moocq; he iss go avay py himselluf, hoondfing unt" fishing unt der likes. Budt I. tond't know oof iclt is so." "I'm confessing," sa id Pawnee, "that I don't know if any of it is so; those who were good enough to pour this narrative in my shell-pink ears were stro ng on fancy and shy of fact; I discovered that. They had heard it of some Indians, who had heard it of other Inqians, and they had heard it of still other Indians. So, I have my d oub ts if there is a mack "Vare dare iss some schmoke dare iss chin'rally som e fires," urged the baron. "If there is a Black Chief he is probably only an Indian with a darker complexion than is usu ally seen," was the guess of Buffalo Bill. "I have seen pure blooded Indians who were nearly as black as negroes ." "But not often among the Sioux, necarnis," said Pawnee. "No; generally in the or other Indians down that way. I think when we find this Black Chief there will be no my s tery about him. The trail they followed brought them up the slope of a hill, and when they gained the t op they beheld Morgan's cabin, nestling beside the river. "Hello!" said the great scout, pulling in Bear Paw suddenly; "I had no idea there was a h o use here." "Built there by some trapper, who didn't want his Indian neighbors to know he was occupying that beaut y spot," guessed Pawnee; "these hills; and the high wil lows on each side, make the finest screen you can think about." "Heiss gone avay i ss my guessing," commented the baron, for the door of the cabin was closed, and the one window was down. Buffalo Bill's searching eyes wandered to the stable.. The stable door was closed. 1 "There's a horse in there," he said. Through the small square, serving as a' stable win dow, he had seen the flicking of a horse's tail. So they rode to the stable first, with their eyes fixed on the house, too. Reining up by the stable window, Pawnee looked in; then he whistled an exclamation. "Old Hide-rack," he said, "and some other caballos doing the friendly act here togeth'er; all three eating out of one manger." 'When he had looked closer he called to Cayuse. "Slip your eyes over those caballos beyond Hide rack," he requested, "and tell me if you ever saw them before." One look was enough. "Cowboys' caballos," he said. They rode on to the little cabin and called before the door. When no one answered Buffalo Bill swung down and hammered on it with his knuckles, but he got no response. "Not at home," he said. glanced about, and at the ground under his feet, where the grass had been trodden out. Then he looked farther akmg. "Moccasin tracks here ," he pointed out; "still-" Little Cayuse dived fr011' the back of Na vi, and be gan to investigate the moccasin tracks; they led him round the corner of the cabin and toward the river. "Being in Sioux country, with the war talk we've heard," said Pawnee, "makes us shy, when we see moc casin tracks; yet we've QO ground for it here-yet." "};one at all," the scout assented. They remained by the cabin door,' talking, while the I'iute looked over the moccasin tracks, which took him fifteen minutes or more. ''Heap plenty tracks," he reported when he came back; "many Sioux." A dozen Sioux, he believed, had been at the cabin, and h ad gone away by boat; he had seen where the keel of the boat had cut the sand. Other Sioux, as many more, had been down in the and those Sioux had been mounted, for on the banks higher up there were tracks of caballos. He had found no tracks made by Nomad, and none made by the riders of the two bronchos in the stable now with Hide-rack. But he had found, down where the boat had been, tracks of two white men. Buffalo Bill, with Pawnee and the baron, we11.t down there, to look at those trac s. Apparently the men who had left them had accompanied the Indians in the canoe, though this was not certain, as marks of another boat's keel were found on the other side of the cabin. Buffalo Bill looked long and attentivel y at one set of tracks. Then he spoke to Pawnee Bill and called the attent i on of Cayuse "Those were made by a white man's shoes, but was a vvhite man standing in the at the time?" ,.

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THE BUFFALO BILL STORIES. "Idt 1ss meppyso peen an Inchun, huh?" asked the baron. "N'ot an Indian, and not a white man," said the scout. "Himmel V ot iss ?" "I think a negro stopd in those shoes. If a white tnan, or an Indian, he had a flat foot like a negro's; there was no arch to his instep, and his flat foot had flattened out the shoe." "You're right about that, necarnis," Pawnee admitted. Cayuse began to search for more of those peculiar shoe tracks and found them, at the other corner of the cabin, where the keel of the other boat had scraped the sand. "Still, we don't get on," said Pawnee. "I know you're thinking of the Black Chief, just as I am; but one swallow doesn't make a summer. Sometimes, though," he added, "if.it's the right kind of a swallow it may make a man drunk, and I admit that I'm begin ning to be dizzy." "Oldt Nomadt he i ss peen here," said the baron, "unt now he iss nit. Dose odder beople also-o unt likevise. Unt so der Inchuns. Der gonclusion vot I am gon cluding iss dot der Inchuns haf cabtured all oof dhem unt haf gbne avay mit 'em. Oof nodt, vot ?" "Before we do any more concluding," said the scout, "we'd better look inside the house." Usually, in the borderlatid of the West, at the time of this story, it was the custom to leave a house un locked when the occupant was out, rn that any one passing, in need of food or shelter, might be able to enter readily and help himself. But Morgan's cabin was locked. The door was easily forced, however, and the cabin was entered, the scout and)lis companior i feeling now justified in making this invasion in search of light. The interior showed no such confusion as could have been expected if Indians had attacked and dragged off the occupants, though it was untidy enough. Attracted by the long box by the wall, Buffalo Bill lifted the lid, and uttered an exclamation. "Jumping cats,' : he said, as he looked at the hideous effigy, "what is this?" "Himmel !" gasped the German, when he took a look. "Vhen I vake oop in my sleeb I shall now be ridting der nighdtmare." Little Cayuse, after flinging it a glance, bolted for the open door, and got outside as quickly as he could. "I'm gambling nothing to something that the owner of this shack made it and (hought he could use it to scare Indians with," was Pawnee's guess. As the box held nothing else, they did not look further there, but placed the hideous image back in it, and closed down the lid. "Mit it oudt oof sighdt I am feeling petteT," the baron admitted; "I couldt scare myselluf avay py yof?;>.t l ooking at idt." "" : "Now for the upstairs," said the scout, when the lower room had been searched. He mounted by the narrow ladder and the trapdoor to the room above, finding it a place', with only a barred hole in the wall admitting light and air. It held a low bed, and some skin cots on the floor by the walls with two chairs and a few other things. This upper room seemed an unfruitful field, and they did not tarry in it long. Having searched the house, they closed the do o r behind them, and went out to the stab le, they looked over thoroughly. Hide-rack whinnied his recognition, and received their attention. "No one in the house, no one in the stable; and Indians have been here," said Pawnee; "still, there is no indication that the Indians did any damage, or carried any one off. It begins to look to the man up the tree as if Nomad had gone away on foot to search for some trail, or something of the kind, and hadn't got back Somebody else make a guess; I don't want the monopoly." They made all sorts of guesses as they mounted and started off for the river bottoms below the cabin, where the Sioux moccasin tracks were reported thickest. As they went they half circled and came out on top of the ridge, where they had before then;i, stretching southward, a, level plain whose h o rizon was. bounded only by d1 tance. Here were tracks, and they dismounted t o study them. The tivie was early forenoon, the air was still and cool, the horizon limitless as the sea; but afar off on the plains were misty effects, like heat shimmers, where blue lakelets came into existence and vanished again, the effects of mirage. Suddenly Buffalo Bill, glancing off over the plains, uttered an exclamation. "Look!" he said. When they looked they saw an island assume shape in one of the lakelets and men m ov ing there, all cloud like and strange; then a picture showed, like a tableau. The picture became a moving one, with men rushing to and fro. "Inchuns !" gasped the baron. "Sioux," said the scout. "And a white man!" cried Pawnee; "a white man -and, yes-look again, necarnis-old Nomad !" The blue distance blurred like a pictured canvas moved by a wind, then settled again, and cleared, so that everything stood out distinctly. There could be no doubting the evidence of their eyesight. Plainly seen in the mirage were the Sioux, dancing round old Nomad. 1 "Himmel !" the baron gasped. Buffalo Bill looked at the sun, at the sky, held up a moistened forefinger, to test the direction of the wind; then looked again at the mirage. "Where do you say that thing i s happening, :r:aw nee ?" he asked. "Vare ".e are seeing idt," answered the baron. "Not necessarily, for we are not seeing the thing

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, / THE BUFF ALO BILL STORIES. 15 it s elf, but only a mirrored reflection of the real thing." "Y edt idt iss habbening," said the German, his voice a-tremble. "Not a doubt of that, Schnitz," admitted Pawnee "the Sioux have got old Nomad, so it's useless search for his trail here any longer. We can't under stand it right now-but that is the fact." "Unt ve are a helblessness righdt here!" CHAPTER VI. THE BARON AND THE EFFIGY. The mirage lasted but a minute or so, then it faded away, and only the blank horizon stared back at them. The anxiety of Buffalo Bill and his friends led them to instant action; yet, being in a quandary, they hesitated. Buffalo Bill made the decision at last. "As we can't tell where that took place," he said "I think we had better ride hard in the direction in which we saw it, for often a mirage, out here, is merely a hazy-ap_pearing view of something happening right at that pomt. I have often seen trees thrown up, as it were, in that way, and cattle, and the like, and found out that they were right at the spot where they seemed to be. _In such cases I suppose 11 didn't see true mirages -not m the usual sense, yet they were refles,t..ions of actual things, on low-lying air strata just As nothing was to be gained by remaining at the cabin, apparently, it was determined to set out at once. "Yet I'm going to ask the baron," said the scout "to remain here. That fellow-the occupant of the -may cotne back, and something may be got out of him." The baron wanted to object-he wanted to be in the thundering head of the party galloping to the relief of old Nomad; in fact, inaction was the baron's bane, yet he subdued this desire. "My dear baron," said Pawnee, "I know how you feei about this, yet I think Cody is right-some one ought to stay. 'They also serve, who only stand and wait.' If they had but known it, Schnitzenhauser was to have the strangest adventures of them all; in the cabin itself, and afterward. "We'll take Hide-rack," said the scout. "Right-o !" Pawnee agteed. "We're going to find Nomad,_ and we're going to rescue him, and he will need Hide-rack.'' The baron watched them gallop out of sight across the level plains. Then he squatted down before the door of the cabin, turned his mule loose to graze and got out his pipe. It was a big-bowled, jointed-stemmed affair of Ger man make, and the baron killed a good deal' of time putting together, blowing through the stem to make sure that it would "work," thumbing down his tobacco and lighting it. "Ve can serve also somedim .es meppyso," he gurgled mto the stem of the pipe, "vhen ye schmoke unt vait; so ve vill yoost schmoke.'1 For an hour he smoked and thought, watching the hills and the lowlands by the river, while Toofer buried his nose in the grass. "I am ki1owing vot Cody vill be doing," he said, "oof vhen he arrifes py dot mirage idt iss nodt peen he vill go on py der Inchun willage off dose S10ux, unt I am lefdt here mit ter sack to holdt, I pedt you. Oh, vell, vot iss der usefulness oof porrowing dot trouple ?" Finally grbwing tired, he unjointed the stem of his pipe, st?wed it in his capacious pocket, along with his plethonc bag of tobacco, and wept into the cabin, leav ing the mule still grazing. "Idt iss nodt so hot in here," he muttered. He strolled round the cabin, looking at its few 1)9e longings, then he took a look at the hideous figure in the long box by the wall. "Idt iss enough to skeer der shickens !" he said. "Oof I am an Inchun unt I seen dot, I vouldt be running yedt." He replaced the effigy, closed the box, and looked further. Then he went upstairs, and looked that room over agair:. When hunger warned him that he needed something to eat he got food out of his war bag, attached to the saddle. Up to that time he had left the saddle and bridle on the mule, to be ready for an emergency; but his sym pathy for the animal induced him to remove them now. "Y ?U are going to sday close py der ca pin roundt," he said to the mule, when he had stowed them beside the cabin ddor, "so dot oof you vandt me kvick I can gidt you." Occasionally, throughout the long afternoon, the baron broke the monotony of his waiting by climbing to the top of the hill before the cabin and looking off the plains, and now and then he tramped round the cabin and took a survey of the river, as far he could see it. "Ach, idt iss der lonesomeness!" he grumbled. He had determined to remain in and near the cabin until dark, when, if by that time Buffalo Bill had not returned, he meant to camp out in the hills, well be yond the cabin, but where he could watch it, to see if a light appeared in the window. With this resolve in mind, he sat down the cabin when the afternoon was well advanced, and t\1en fell o: the day was hot and he felt drowsy. It"was nearly sundown when he awoke. 1 ''Yiminy," he said, "
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16 THE BUFFALO BILL STORIES. barred his way, so that he could not get out without being seen l;>y them, and a foot race with a bullet was not to the baron's liking. Likewise he had no desire for a fight with that many armed redskins. L ooking round like a trapped rat, he saw the long hox by the wall. His examinations of the cabin had informed him that the front door and window offered the only methods of exit. "Idt iss der box in for me," he whispered. "Oof dhey come in unt oben idt I vill yoost ptlsh oop dot veller vot iss in der box, unt der Inchuns vill be running like some houses on fire." away, but whether they had secured anything watcher in the willows did not know He was about to crawl out and make his way to the cabin when he was dissuaded by a canoe, that passed him, pulled by two men, as he judged by their voices. "Oof vun he aind't a nigger he is sbeak like idt. Unt now he iss singing Though the voice was low, it was rather musical, and the words came to him distinctly: "Says de coon tuh de possum, 'way up in de 'simmo11 tree 'Misteh Possum, you ha9.betteh come down I' Says de possum tuh de coon, 'Is you speakin' tuh me? Den you betteh keep yo' footses on de groun'.'" It seemed so brilliant an idea that the baron could not repress a chuckle, in spite of the fright into which "Oh, shet up!" the voice of a white man grumbled. he had been thrown. "Thar may be inimies round hyar, fer all we know." So he opened the box, threw himself heavily down The singing voice stopped, and the canoe vanished on the effigy, and drew the lid down on top of him. in the direction of the cabin. "Oof I tond't smodher me--Ach l Vot iss ?" "Idt iss a vhite man unt a nigger," muttered the ,His hurled weight was causing the bottom of the baron; "now vot iss der meanness?" box to descend with him. He heard them getting out of the canoe by the cabin; Frightened more by that than. he had been by the and a little later heard them in the cabin. Then a light Indians, the qaron tried to throw back the lid and flashed from the front window. scramble out, but his descent was too rapid; he dropped It was apparent that excitement reigned in the cabin. through the hole that had opened below him, clutching He heard the voices in loud grumbling, and heavy feet in his panic the image that dropped through with him. thumping hurriedly over the boards of t!he floor. One As he did so he struck against a cross beam, that of the men ran and came round the corner seemed to break him in two; and, still clinging to the of th& cabin. effigy, struck in the water and went under he went back, the som;ds of excitement con-When he came up he was swimming and plowing tinued .a I like a porpoise, and was in semidarkness !_. "I vcMJ.dt be gifing all der peer vot I trinkt asdt There was some cork in the image, apparei1tly, for mondth oof I could slib oop by der cabin now unt hear it was buoyant; a discovery which made the baron vot iss der matter, but I am guessing dot dhey are clutch it the tighter as the muddy current, whirling in findting oudt der box iss losdt idtselluf, mit der Inchury an eddy under overhang of the cabin, pulled him skeerer vot vos in idt; unt dot der door he iss been down again. unt .somepoty has b:en ?,Y der house in. Yaw, As the stream swept him out into the sunlight, which 1dt lSS a sk111ch dot I. am right. was fading on the face of the river, he hea,rd In Later he heard v01ces by the they seemed'. to dians in the house. '\ be under the overhang; then the dip of a paddle com111g "Ach !"he sputtered. "Oof Cihey seen me now I am his way. a goneness. Unt Toofer-dhey haf got my peautiful "Coming to hundt vor der image vot iss missing moo-el!" he thought, and drew himself higher up on the bank." He sank into the water and tried to turn the image, The canoe passed him, the occupants talking in a so that if it should be seen by the redskins they would low grumble, went on down the stream, and later not guess what it was, and let the current carry him came back, the men in the canoe still talking. along. Then the light flashed out in the cabin again, and The Indians, searching first for liquor, did not see he heard them rummaging there. him, and he was soon down by the willows. "Dose Inchuns half taken avay mine peautiful Here he drove himself ashore with a few vigorous moo-el, so vot iss der uses oof sdaying by dhis blace in kicks, drew the effigy up beside him, and sank down, any longer? Oof idt shouldt come to a fighting, mine with the willows for a screen. bistol iss vet as water, unt min e ca'tritches unt me-I "Dot iss go aheadt oof me," he panted; "bJJ.! I am couldn't do notting. So I am going to gidt me avay safe already "yedt Meppyso der man 1f>t :vaicirs""'urit vhile I am aple." der man vot iss serfing; but :'ot iss He waded out into the stream, pushing the image be-go to sleeb by his post on---he shot:tld g1dt 1dt 111 der fore him then he clunO' to it and floated downstream. necks kvick, unt dot iss me, "I vili yoost keeb fdt," he thought, "vor oof I am He heard the Ind1an.s talkmg and yel1111g meedting oop mit some retskins meppyso I can make for the whisky they supposed was 111 the idt oof some usefulness. Yaw, idt iss a goot itea. cabm. Budt as vor meerting mit Cody again, idt iss nodt a They kept up the racket until dark, then they rode fine brosbect, vor here I am breaking my drail by, I

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THE BUFFALO BILL STORIEs. sdic king to der vater. Y oo s t der same, I am breaking idt Y o r any odd e r vellers vot may vandt to voller me. Yaw, I am having many pright iteas py my prain in." CHAPTER VIL THE BRANDONS AGAIN. The baron got ashore at last, wet as water could make him. There was here another growth of willows, in a bend of the river, and he burrowed into them, seeking higher ground. The effigy he carried in his arms as he waded shoreward. On the higher ground the baron camped without fire, in a miserably wet and uncomfortable condition. More than half his misery was created, however, by the fact that he could not smoke; his "water-proof" to bacco pouch had not stood up under the hard condi tions imposed on it, and in his "water-proof" match box his matches had been soaked and ruined. And he was without food, as well as out of tobacco. "Donnervetter !" he grumbled. "Der luckiness oof Schnitzenhauser she haf deserted me. I am here, budt I tond' t know vare i4t iss, unt I am so soaked mit vet ness dot I vond't needt to trink any vater for a moondth." In the high altitudes of the plains the nights are nearly always cool, even when the days have been blae. ing hot, and a cool night wind now sweeping across the river set the baron to chattering his teeth and shiv ering his rotund body. "Idt iss better to be der image," he reflected, 1aying his hand on the effigy; "he iss off a vetness like mine selluf, budt he tonitting posture with a bump, and lifted his own weapon. / "You pudt idt town," he said, "unt tond't make some more foolishness py me!" Then he opened his eyes wider in recognition; he had this man before, in Ogallala. "Ve are bot' knowing us," he announced, in a tone of conviction, "so vot iss der usefulness of shoodt ing? I1 haf seen you pefore." The young man dropped his pistol arm. "And I have seen you ; you are the man they call Baron Schnitzenhauser !" "Faron von Schnitzenhauser," the German cor rected; "vaw, I am me!" The young man turned, and to some one behind him. "You are of Cody's party," he said to the baron; "where is he?" "Vhen you ask me vot I tond't know, how can I say idt ?" "You don"t know where he is? That is bad." "You pedt me, I am ackvainted mit dot fact yet alreadty; he is go avay yesterday, unt he toi'ld't come pack some more idt iss py der cabin oop der rifer." The baron was struggling to get to his knees. Another figure, clad in cowboy clothing that showed abundant signs that it had seen a thorough soaking, appeared on the rise. The baron rubbed his eyes. "Idt iss your sisder-not ?" "It is my sister." r The girl in cowboy clothing came forward. She. too, swung a revolver, which made her look as warlike as her brother. By the time she came up to him, with her brother, the baron was on his feet, ready to greet them. "Ve vos voller you unt N omadt," he explained; "unt ve tond't cand't findt neidher oof you; unt Cody he iss .13dill oudt." "Hunting for us?" "For Nomadt. Der Inchuns haf goppled him in. Ve tidn't seen idt, budt ve seen der bicture oof idt." T!i:.e1 girl stared. sky line." He had some difficulty in making them understand that they had seen the capture of the borderman in a mirage. \

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18 THE BUFF ALO BILL STORIES. "We have had some startling and strange experi ences," said Jack Brandon "Unt my inexberiences haf peen oof der same stuffin's; I am pooty nigh deadt." ; "You say you were at that cabin up the river." "Weh, we we re, and a n attempt was made there to murder us." He glanced up the ri ver. "Is it safe to talk here?" he asked 1 b l ace iss oof a safene ss her e budt oof ve hite in der villers idt vill be petter, aber idt iss some bmd panks." "We prefer the mud4to danger," said Brandon. "Nothing can make us look mo r e like frights than we a r e," Louise Brandon added. "Better to be frights than frightened added Jack Brandon, and started down the slope. At the edge of the willows he brought up w ith a cry. "What is it?" she asked, startled. "A What-i s -it! He had come suddenly on the effigy lying on its back "ith its goggle eyes staring at the sky. "Dot is der life breserfer explained the baron; "tYice idt haf s afed my life vonce vhen I am hiting py der b o x in, unt der second dime vhen idt iss my life bre serfer in der vater. Unt idt vill skeer r etskins. Der u s efulne s s oof dot i ss vort money." The girl cam t up, with the baron, and l ooked at t he h o rrible thing. "I s hould think it would scare anything," she de clared. "Yaw; idt iss skeer me, de r fai r st dime I seen i dt did y o u get it?" J ack B r andon inquired. "I haf saidt py der box oof de r cabin in, vhen I fall t'ro ugh der h ole vot iss de r pottom oof der box, unt preak me indo t v ice bieces. Ach I am veeling idt y e dt. He pressed his hands to h i s rotu n d stomac h. "I am hidt somet'ing vhen I fall." The brother and sister looked startl ed, also in t ere s ted Y o u weren t in that little room u pstairs?" "I am py der box in." / "Le t' s get clo wn into the bushes, where we can talk; t his i s--" D rancl o n plunged o n with o ut finishing, the girl fol l o w i n g him,' and the baron came after, carrying the effigy in his arms I s hall name idt Life Breserfer," he said, "vor id t SS Tell us about it," was the invitation, when they were under cover of the willows The baron explained vo l ubly, and' fina ll y mad e t hem UP. der s tand just what had happened t o him. "That house is a death trap," said Jack Brandon; "v; e already knew it, and here is added proof Now; I am going to tell you what happened to my sis ter and me "Vaidt dill I
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THE BUFF ALO BILL STORIES. 19 us, I tried to get at him; I caught h o ld of the gunwale of the boat and shot him into the water and made a grab for him as he went down. I got him by a leg, and we had a fight right there in the water; but he got away and got back to his canoe. But I had discov ered that he was not Morgan, but a negro, and I let him go. / "After that I swam ashore above the cabin, and lay there on the bank a good while. I couldn't tell if the negro had gone into the cabin, nor if Morgan was at home. But he had told me he had a negro s ervant, so I knew that the chances would be again s t me if I tried to get into the cabin and had to tackle both of them. "I was about to climb up and go to the stable when I heard Morgan and the negro talking under the overhang of the cabin. I couldn't understand what they said, but when they had gone I floated down under that overhang and tvied to discover what sort of murder trap they had there, though I had some ideas along that line before, as you know. "I was under there when the negro came in again in the canoe, and flashed a torch. He didn't see me, for he was looking at something over his head. When he stood up to look I was tempted to kick the canoe from under him, but I didn't, for I wanted to discover what he was doing there. "What I discovered-and that was by what he said, rather than by what I saw-was that under the hole which had dropped my and me into the water, a beam had been in position some kind p f knife or scythe fixed to it that would cut any one in two that struck it." "Ouch!" whispered the baron. "I am hitting a beam like dot myselluf, aber idt hadt nodt a knife. Dot iss vhy I haf got so many bains now. Yaw, I am as full oof banes as a vinder. Budt go aheadt." "That beam was out of place, that is why we had not struck it in our fall. I heard the negro say it must be fixed right off." "Der imbudence oof him!" "Morgan tried to kill us-there is no doubt about it. But-why?" "Ask me somedings dot"haf more oof an easiness." "He didn' t know that you were in that box, so--" "Budt I knowed idt !" "So' we can't say that he planned to kill you; he didn't even know that you and your pards were at the h o use. Buthe did plan to kill my sister and me." "Unt Nomadt, I pedt you! Aber ve haf nodt der broof oof dot yidt." "I couldn't get our horses, for Morgan and the negro were both in the stable when I got out of the river again. And as I had been so long away from my sisti:;r I gave it up." "Unt you hafen't peen py der capin since?" "No. But I intended to make a try again to get our horses to-day. We saw Indians up there yesterday. Of course, if they're still around, we won't go near the place." The baron went up to the higher ground and took another look. 'Ve haf to keeb some vatches," he :>aid. "What do you intend to do?" Brandon asked. "Gidt me somet'ings to eadt, der fairst t'ing, oof I can, unt vatch vor der earning oof Cody unt der adders, unt also-o keeb me oudt oof sighdt." He pondered, and found it hard worl< to think without his customary allowance of tobacco. "You haf come oudt here to findt oudt apoudt your fader?" # "Yes; and because Cody WOt,lldn't let us accompany him we came alone." The baron shook his head. "Der foolishness oof idt iss past peliefing. Der Inchuns vill gidt you, unt dhey vill gedt your sisder-. which i s s vor se. Petter you go hidt der pack dracks tight avay kvick." "The Indians are not on the warpath-we learned that while we were in Ogallala; they are merely danc ing in preparation for their annual hm : ting.' "Somepoty toldt you dot?" "A man in Ogallah; he said he was sure of it, and that Cody ought to know it was so, In fact, he thought Cody did know it, but felt that he had to go out, and earn his government pay." "V ot a lie!" 1 "So we came," said Jack Brandon, setting his jaws firmly, "and here we "Der fools are nodt all deadt yedt-huh? Oxcuse me vor blain sbeaking. Budt two oof 'em iss going to be deadt, oof dhey toncl't gidt pack to Ogallala." "And you?" "Dot iss tifferendt; dot man say I am here vor my gofernmendt bay-unt I haf to earn idt. Yaw; I haf peen earning idt. I pedt you! Unt I vill earn idt again some more pefore dhis pitzness iss ofer. Dot iss der troot' ." "We have been thinking," said Brandon, "that now that we are out in this Buffalo Bill would be willing to have us join him for protection, so that we could get a look-in on the Indian village, and make some investigations. As I told Cody, when I talked with him in Ogallala, we have had information lead ing us to believe that our father was not killed out here-did not die out here-but fell into the hands of the Buffalo Killer Sioux. We intend to find out about that." "Dot vos a long dimes ago," urged the baron. "Do you t'ink he vould still py dhis dime be mit dhem Inchuns ?" "We intend to find out, I said." "Vhen you know dot you vill be getting readty to' go deadt, vare you vill know notting." But the Brandons would not be persuaded "All righdt," said the baron. "Budt oof you are killed, to .nd't blame me vor idt aftervard." / I

PAGE 21

THE BUFF ALO BILL STORIES. tHAPTE R THE CAPTURE OF THE BRANDONS. ( While they waited, uncertain what to do, but still continuing their talk, the baron investigated the inner workings of the effigy. J 1e had been astonished to find a whistle in its mouth, for one thing, and 1was looking 1arther. Then he dis covered that a rubber tube ran inside the right leg, from the foot through the body, and connected with t h e whi s tle. When tile baron blew into this tube the i m age sent forth a startling blast. The bar o n dropped the effigy and rolled backward. "Yumpin' yack rappit s !" he panted. "Dit you heardt d ot?" 'Tm afraid it wa s heard by some one who oughtn't t o ha v e heard it s aid Jack Brandon gravely. "Don' t d'o it again. ''Me? Dot v o s nodt me. Idt vos him!" D on't blow into the tube again; that's :what I1 n1ean." Y o u pedt me n o dt. He looked at 'the effigYi, sprawled on its back in the will ows. "That would be a good scarecrow for a corn field," the girl observed. "A scare lnchun vor der brairie-iss idt nodt? Unt dot iss petter." He renewed his investigations and found wires in side the coat sleeves and up the legs; but he did not understand what they were to be used for. Jack Brandon visited the rise again, cqmingi back, reported that nothing was doing. He had hardly done so, however, when the baron, looking out on the river, sighted the canoe. "In der wrong tirection you haf peen looking," he whispered and pointed to it. The canoe held two men-Morgan and the negro; and, as they paddled downstream, they looked at the shores. To keep from being seen the Brandons and the baron crouch e d in the willo w s ; but they could see the canoe and its o ccupant s Also, when the canoe drew near they could hear the men talking. The negro wa s hilari ous and wanted to sing, and it was apparent that he had been drinking. Morgan reprimanded him and warned him of d a nger. The white man was in an angry and belligerent m o od and was berating the Indians, who had c o me to his cabin and stolen his whisky, so it appeared. "They got ever' one o' them cases in the fust cache in s ide the house," he said, "and they took away ole M o l och. That heats me, for I'd s w o re nary Injun in a hundred mile s wo uld tech him, er go nigh him; so long s he was g y ardin' the cabin I felt safe to go off and leave it. But they even took him." "Ole M olic k mu s 'a' been drinkin' too, b oss, s aid the negro, lau g hing ; "dat's why he done los his grip. Ki-yi I" "Shet up, you fool!" "When dey !if' ole Malick out'ri de box an' doan' find no whisky bottles un er him, hit des make 'em so mad dey knock de bottom out'n de bo x Ki-yi !" "I loosened that bottom myself the day after we found out the cross beam under the upstairs room had been moved; fer I thought mebjyso, if I g ot into a fight with any one, I might want to pitch him an' me into the box and drap through into the ri v er. "Maybe ole Mo lick he done drap th ough heself ? "He didn t hav e weight enough t o pu s h that bottom down. Still, some red might have pushed him through while p o kin' in the bo x hunting fer w hisky. But h ow a red e ver got up courage enou g h to l oo k into that b9x, to say nothin' o' pokin round in it, after seein him in it gits met'' "He found dat courage in one o' dem whisky b ot tles, boss. Ki-yi !" "That's whar you found foolishne ss, too." "Yaas, bos s ; I reckon
PAGE 22

THE BUFF ALO BILL STORIES. 21 is pack by dot staple in, unt also-o der capallos vot pe longs py you. V ot iss to keeb us vrom going unt git ting dhem." "It's a good idea," assented Brandon, "and we'll act on it right now, while they're away." "Unt py now," added the baron, "Cody he may be earning again, unt I am vandting to see n him." But when they had left the willows, passed the first low ri se, and mounted to the higher ground, their deci sion changed. A band of Indians was seen riding from northward toward the river. "Oudt oof sighdf.i oudt oof mindt," said the baton, and sprinted back to the willows. "Me-I am nodt avraidt oof Inchuns," he explained, when the Bran dons joined him, "budt, yoost der sameness, vhen my bistol is rusdy unt mine ca'tritches has peen vetted by der rifer vater, I t'ink idt iss a viseness dot dhey tond't meedt me." For an hour they remained concealed in the willows, with occasional brief visits tq the hilltop to see what the Sioux were doing. Then it was discovered that the band of Sioux was moving up the river, on the other side. "Perhaps they want more whisky," surmised Bran don, "and will make another search of the cabin; from what we heard I judge, too, that there is more there." The Indians, intoxicated, were hilarious; they yelled with much enthusiasm, like boisterous youngsters out for a holiday, and they fired off pistols, wasting much powder and lead. Now and then some of them ran races with their ponies. Not until they were quite near did the concealed party discover that the negro was with them, appar ently them, and as noisy as the noisiest. He had mounted a mustang-there was a string of led animals-and l ooked strangely out of place in the midst of the yelling red warriors. The Indians went on toward the cabin, and swam their animals across the river when they came up to it. "Mine Toof er moo-el!" cried the baron. "Oof a ret skin pudts his handts on you I am hobing dot you vill stuff der kickin's oudt oof him so kvick it vill make his headt svim." '.Anxiety about Toofer made him determine to get closer to the cabin. l "Meppyso I cand't do somedings,'' he ajimitted, "unt I am t'inking dot I cand't; budt-yoost der same!" He in s pected his rusted revolver and the water soaked cartridges. "Der bistol he iss in vorking ordhers," he said; "unt oof der vetness oof der rifer vater
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