Diamond Dick and the black dwarf, or, Hot work for Uncle Sam


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Diamond Dick and the black dwarf, or, Hot work for Uncle Sam

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Title:
Diamond Dick and the black dwarf, or, Hot work for Uncle Sam
Series Title:
Diamond Dick, Jr.
Creator:
Lawson, W. B.
Place of Publication:
New York
Publisher:
Street & Smith
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English
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1 online resource (31 p.) 26 cm.: ;

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Adventure stories. ( lcsh )
Dime novels. ( lcsh )
Western stories. ( 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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030819243 ( ALEPH )
17750489 ( OCLC )
D21-00010 ( USFLDC DOI )
d21.10 ( USFLDC Handle )

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Jssued Weekly. By Subscription $2.JO per year. Entered as Second Class Matter at New York Post Office by SrREET & SMITH, 238 Wt7liam S t., N. Y. No.289. Price, Five Cents. "I'LL KILL TRE FIRST MAN THAT PULLS A TRIGGER!" SIIOUTED OLD DIAMOND DICK.

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Issued Weekly. By Subscnption $2.so per year. Entered as Second Class fifatter at tke N. Y. Post Office, by & SMITH, 238 T-Vzlliam St., N. Y. Entered according to Act of Co11gress i11 t!ie yem zqo2, in tlze O.f/ice of t/1< Librarian of Washington, D. C. No. 239. NEW YORK, April 26, 1902. Price Fiv e C ents Dfaunond Dick and the Black Dwarf; OR, .By the author of "DIAMOND DICK." CHAPTER I. A DARE-DEVIL DEED. "The Dw:irf!" "The Black "What the thtmderin' blazes is h e up to?" "Stop him!" "Kill him!" "Le t him alone a n d he'll kill himseif !" "But he'll kill the girl, t oo Ob, c an't be done?'' A S(:ene of confusion and 11pronr was immediately turned u11, full tilt, at one of the :;traug est places in the and d ur ,iug one of the strangest spectacles ever witnc:s secl As to the place, it wa s the pueblo of Wolpi, "tlie place of the gap," l\1oke Indian Reservation, Nor th em Arizona. And the spectacle was a pagan rite, hnnded down among tl1e Mokis for riges and k11ow11 as the The villag e of Wolpi is built upon the crest of a m esa or elevated plateau; and all day long people h ad be e n gathering there, for the festivities to take pince at sunset are r.oted the country over. There were prospectors and photographers, Mormons mid sc i entis t s cowboy s and army officers, t eachers and tourists-men, women and childre11, taking aclvau t ; 1ge o f every i11ch of standing room to be had about the open space whe re the dance was to occur. T oward the upper end of the open sp2ce there is a rnnsl1room-shapecl rock so:ne twenty feet in height. It is called the "Dauce Ro:k" and has ever been a favorite place of observation for those who would view the h eathen cere!l1 o ny. On its left, the ro c k is flanked with the terraced sides of the pueblo, or community house, the terraces swarming with spectators, white nnd red The chasm the tGp of the Dance Rock an
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2 Dlf\MONO DICK, Jl{.-THE BOYS BEST been bridged with a log, and the make shift bridge, as well as the top of the huge bowlder, was crowded with sightseers. On the right of the Dance Rock were ten or fifteen feet of platean alld then the steep descent of the mesa's side-at that point made fairly easy by a foot trail of rude stone steps, gashed through solid rock in places and sometim.es ten feet wide and sometimes not more than three. Richard Wade, otherwise known as Diamond Dick, and Captain. Fitzsimmons, of Uncle Sam's cavalry service, were well posted on the Dance Rock. The captain and the veteran were old friends, and had m 'et each other just prior to the grand entry of the "Antelope priests," bringing the sacred bowl containing the "medicine" to be used in the celebration. "What brings yon here, Diamond Dick?" the captain asked, after shaking hands with the old fighter. "Curiosity?" "Not altoget.her," laughed Diamond Dick. "Ber tie, Handsome Harry and I are about to start 'on a trail for Uncle Sam." "Some outlaw?" "A fe)low who calls himself the Black Dwarf has stolen some annuity money, and I have "been asked by the Government to get the money back, if possible, but, at any rate, to capture tlie Dwarf, alive or dead.'' The captain pulled a long face at mention of the Black Dwarf. "I don't envy yon your task, Dick," said he. One of the veteran's quiet smiles passed over his face as he inquired nonchalantly ''Why not?'' "'rhe Dwarf is a fieucl, a bloodthirsty wretch who has nothing human in his rnake:up." "He mnst be an extremely interesting person." Dia111011cl Dick brought out his cigar-case and offered it to the captain. "He's an extrernely dangerous persou, I assure you of that," declared the officer. "In what way is he wore dangerous than the average run of outlaws who infest the hills?" "He is part Apache and part i\Iexican, and has taken the worst traits of both races." ".l.nd why is lie called the Dwa.rf?" "He's a llllnchback. You k:11ow how that a1111uity money was captnred !" "I ;iave heard that it was inter ... epted wliile being convoyell to the tradi11g p os t where it was to be dis bursed." ''That was the way of it. The Dwarf, with a band of six, attackecl the convoy of twe lve. Single-handed, he fou ght four froutiersmen, killed two and wounded two, and turned tlie scare in favor of his gang. They got the money-$30, ooo in an iron chest. Diam ou d Dick, Jr., and the old Serpent are with you, you say?'' "They are with me in this deal, yes." ."Are they here in Wolpi?11 "I am expecting them every moment. I came by La.Reaux Vvash and Keam's Canyon; Bertie will come by Rocky Ford Crossing a11d Touchez-de-nez and Harry by Turkey 1'anks and Little Burro." "You come to Wolpi by detachments," commented the captain. "We triecl to cover as much ground as possible. The chances for gathering information are better." "I sec. Pardou my cmiosity, bnt why have yon come to Wolpi ?" "Those are our directions from headquarters. The daughter of the Indian agent who was to have received the annuity 'money is to meet us here and give information of value." "Tonita Kissane!" "Is she the girl?" "Yes." "Her first name comes from below the Rio Grande." "She's auything but Greaser, however. I know Kissane well, and his daughter, also. Tony, as everybody calls the girl, ought to have bee11 a boy, for she delights in all the masculi11e feats of the fro11 lier. "I adrnire tTrnt sort of a girl." "So do I, although such a girl is apt to rn11 iuto some exciting .experiences. Rut to come back to the Dwarf. Let rne tell you that he's a dare-devil. In spite of his short stature, he's a veritable Samson, and the way he can use his hardware is a caution. Fi\ e 111en, that I ca11 u ame, have gone ont after the Dwarf.'' "How close did they come to getting hilll ?" one of the five ever came back to report." A steely look ca111e i11to the old veterau' s eye!i. ''Then it's higli time su111e 011e weut out and came back \Vitl.J him."

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Dll\MOND DICK, JR.-THE BOYS' BEST WEEKLYo 8 "I agree with you, and the Government was wise in enlisting your s ervices. As I sai d before, however, I d o n t envy you your jo b Wade." The Anteiope priests, led by the Antelope Chief, w e re going through their maneuvers, and the two friends gave over their conversation to watc h pro ceedings. The se Indians had bare f e et, and their semi-nude b o dies were streaked with white p aint. As tliey circled four times around the plaza to the left, ea c h one would s tam p with bis heel on tl1e mid dle of a plank, suppos ed to be t he entrance to tlie under world and to notify the ghosts of their fathers th a t a c eremony w a s going forward When the Antelope pries t s were done, the Snake priests strode into the plaza. Their bodies were painted red, and they wore dark kilts and moccasins and barbari c ornaments They also circled four time s around the opened space kicked on the plank a mes s a g e to the shad e s of their ance s t ors After th a t th ey lined u p in front of the Antelopes Then follow e d a short s t a ge wait and then c ame a general dan c e, the. prie st s swayiug, s in g i n g au cl lay ing about the m with their e aglefeather snake whips While this w as going 011, the man with the medi cine bowl w alked ba c k and fo r th spilling the magic liquid in eve ry d i re c t i o n A fow moments and one of the snake prie s t s ru s hed to a bow e r o f cotto n wood boughs and c hopped on his knees before it. Whe n he a ros e he had in his hand s a s quirmiug rattlesna ke. 'rhe s erpent he took in hi s m outh, midw a y of its lengtb; then other pries t s took s e rpe1its from the kis i, as the bo wer is called, and all danced in a circ le. At thi s interesting point in the ceremony the re wa s confusion among tile sp e ct a tors on the s ide of the mesa ovc rlo okiug the s t ee p de scent t o the pl a in below. Cri e s followed, a s at the opening of this chapter, all voiced by men except the last, which wa s utte red frantically by a l a d y tourist: "But he'll kill the girl, too. Oh, can't something be done?'' Old Diamond Di c k wa s on hi s feet in a flas h, looking off do\n1 the foot trail with its rnde sto n e ste ps. High over the noise he heard the ring of a horse's shoes on the rocks, and the "thumpety-thump, thumpety-thump" of a galloping steed. A queer-looking figure on horseback was riding down the treacherous foot trail at breakneck speed. This in itself, was a dare-devil deed for any horseman to attempt. Where had the man come from, to be riding away in such a manner? Thi!i was a question that flashed throngh Diamond Dick's mind, but it was one he made no attempt to ans w er. 'rhe m a n in the s a d d le had a short, misshapen bod y w0re a coon skin cap and buckskin leg g in gs and moccasins. A c ro s s hi s horse, in front of the saddle, he was h oJicling a girl, one bony hand clutching her throat aucl choking her into submission. Diamond Dick jerke d a revolver from under his c oa t, and twice did he rai s e it, his glittering eye flas hin g ::ilong the barrel. 'Shoot!" c r ie d the cap tain, knowing well that the old veteran had not his eq\]al as a marksman any whe r e-o n the fro11tier. '''fhe d istance is too great," answered Diamond Dick a s he lowered his revolver for the second time. "Bes i des, it isn't nec essary." Not n ec es sary?" echoed tl1e captain. "Why that gi r l the Dwa rf is carrying off is Tony Kissane!" 'He'll neve r carry her off. Look! Diamond Dick, Jr., is directly in his path!" CHAPTER II. TONY. Youn g Dia111011d Di c k was r e all y in front of the Black Dwarf, mounting the. s tone ste ps on foo t toward the mesa H e s a w the horrified faces looking down at him from ev e ry Iea g e and cranny; and he s aw the fierc e c la s p with which th e d emonia cal hnnchback held the girl. B y a quick proce ss of reasoning, he arrived at the status of the c a se and a couple of leaps forward and upward placed him in the narrowest part of the foot trail with stout stone walls on either hand. The pagan dance above lost the attention of at lea s t half its spectators, for all could tell that it was the young sport's intention, on foot though he wa s to attempt to stop the rushing horse.

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. DIAMOND DICK, JR.-THE BOYS' BEST WEEKLY. In a twinkling, Bertie had posted himself firmly and had snatched off his coat. "Git out o' my way or I'll kill ye!" cried the Dwarf, shrilly. No an;wer was returned to the command, but Diamond Dick, Jr. never swerved by a hair's breadth. Instead, he began waving his coat up and down to frighten the horse and tmn it from its conrse The Dwarf had a Winchester swinging from his saddle bow, but it was impossible for him to release both his hands and use it. He may have had a revolver upon his person, althrough he did not resort to such a weapou. The reins were lying acros!I l1is horse's neck and when the animal showed symptoms of shying at t11e coat, he.dug in with his spurs. Precisely at the sa-!ie moment he released his right haud and thrust it into a pocket in his buckskin snirt. When the hand. was withdrawn it held a writhing rattlesnake. "Git out o' the way, I .tell ye!" shrieked the Dwarf. Still the young sport held his ground. The horse was now not more than six yards away and the hunchback hurled the snake. Those above saw the girl attempt to stay her captor's hand, but without success, and the twisting serpent shot through the air. The yo1111g sport could have sprung aside and th.us avoided the reptile, but such a move have allowed the 111:1nchback to ride past with the girl. This Diamond Dick, Jr., would not do. 'l'he rattler slapped_ against his neck and coiled it :;elf over ii is shoulders. At that criticaJ juncture the horse dashed upou him and the young sport threw himself upon the bit, caught a good hold and intended to cl]ng there until the animal was brought to a stop. The bit broke. however, and Bertie fell, narrowly escaping the horse's heels. Yet be was successful, in so far as saving the girl was concerned, for she had wrenched herself free of her captor during the excitement, and had kaped to the stone steps. By then the foot trail was .thronged with p.eople ln1rrying downward and the Dwarf, with a terrible curse, continued to spur his horse onward, discarding the reins of the broken bridle and guiding tue animal by tugging at its mane. Shot after shot rang out. There was now 110 danger of striking the girl, and a leaden hail was rained all about the outlaw. But he appeared to bear a charmed life. Not a bullet strnck him, and when he was well out of range he turned in his saddle, shook his clenched fist defiautly, and vanished. Bertie, althongh far from befng seriously injured, had been stunned aucl bruised by his fall. Tony, alighti11g on her feet llke a cat, rushed to him, plucked the rattler away, cast it on the ground and set her heel on its head. "You're bitten in three places!" she cried, look at Bertie's "And this-this is all on my account.'' "That's all right, little girl," said Bertie, struggling to his feet and slipping into his coat. "Where can I get some good whisky? I must have it quick." "I know something better than whisky," she answered, catching his hand. "Come with me." Instantly she began pulling him up the flight of steps. "Where are you going?" asked Bertie. ''To the pueblo.'' "What for?" "I'll show you. Don't you worry. Trust Tony Kissane." "You are sure--" "Sure?" she cried. "You got yomself iu to this scrape by rescuii1g me from the Black Dwarf, and do you think for a minute that I'd take any chances with your life? I'll save you, I say. But hurry, hurry." Then Bertie gave himself into the girl's hands and sprang up the steep trail at her side. Presently they met those who were coming clown, foremost among them being old Diamond Dick and Captain Fitzsimmons. "Were you bitten, Bertie?" asked Diamo11d Dick. "Yes." "Then we must have poison will have to counteract the other.'' "Hyer!" put in a cowboy, close behind Diamond Dick. "Let him take down wliat's in this bottle." The p1111cher stretched forth a pint flask, half foll. Diarnoud Dick reached out to get the bottle, but

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Dil\MOND Dl\.:K, JR.o-THE BOYS9 BEST WEEKl Yo 5 the girl struck jt from his hand, crashing it in pieces on the rocks. "I'm takin' care of him!" she cried. "The other cure won't work if he tries whisky. Break away, above there, and let us through!" The girl's ercely-detertnined manner carried the day. "She knows, Dick," Diau10nd Dick, Jr., called to the old vetetatl. "Let her have her way." Diamond Dick was loath to resign the young sport into a stranger's hands at such a time, bi1t the captain said : "He's right, Wade-Tony Kissane knuws. When ever she says she'll do a thing she does it." Up the foot trail through the throng of excited people ran Tony and Bertie They reached the mesa and the girl began crying, in a loud voice: "Sepulpa Sepulpa !" Sepulpa was the head snake-woman. She knew more about snakes than any one in her tribe, and the cries of Tony were not long in bringing Sepulpa to the scene. The priestess was not fair to look upon. She was aged and stooped, wore a greasy old blanket over her shoulders, had her well-oiled, grayish hair done up at the sides of her head in bunches that looked like horns, and was chewing tobacco. Some quick words in the Indian tongue passed be tween Tony and Sepulpa. As soon as the snake-woman learned what was wanted of her, her old bo:ly straightened and became endued with an almost supernatural strength. Fire flashed in her eye s and every movement was as swift the dart of a hawk. Her first act was to drop the bit of tobacco which sl1e was chewing into her hand, clap it to the three small scars at the back of the young sport's 11eck, and bind it there with a piece of cloth taken from somewhere about her person. It was not a pleasant beginning, but the end probably justified the meaus. This done, Sepulpa started for the side of the pueblo, waving her ha11d to signify that Tony and Bertie were to follow. Up a ladder went the priestess, the girl and the young sport close after her and the captain aucl the veteran bringing up the rear. Into a doorway 011 the third or topmost tier of dwellings they passed, and found themselves in Sepulpa's own hangout. A bed of rushes was at one side of the room, anc1 Sepulpa pointed to it as she said: "Little Thtmderbolt lay down." There was a time when the sobriquet, "Little Thunderbolt," had fastened upon the young sport, but it was long now since he had heard it. Already he felt the poison in his system. His neck and throat had beg11n to swell and the blood S'eemed to run red-hot it1 his veins. Without waiting for a secohd bidding, he flung himself clown on the heap of rnshes. Diamond Dick, Fitzsimmons and Tony sfood around a11xiously. "You have heard me speak of Captain Fitzsimmons, Bertie," said old Diamond Dick. "Here he is. He, sa y s that Miss Kissane knows what she is doing.'' "And I know that Sepulpa knows what she is doing," spoke up 'rony. "She saved me once from a rattler's bite. Dad brought me clear from the agency, and I was nearly tuckered when I got to Wolpi, I' can tell you. But Sepulpa brought me through.,,. Bertie shook hands with the captain. "These Indians are well up in this kind of work," smiled the young sport. "We'll give Sept;lpa all the rope she wants, and I don't think we'll have any kick coming." Scpulpa, with a bowl in her baud, was just starting toward young Diamond Dick, when the doorway was darkened by a hug;e form. "Gle-ory to snakes an' pizen varmints!" exclaimed an angry :voice. "What's this I hear? The son of his dacl gittin' mixed up with a side-winder an' bein' 'Qrought hyer fer treatment? Durn me fer a short yearlin', Dick, whar's the hombre tbet tossed tlie reptile at him? Whar is he? Tell me, an' by the jumpin' sand hills! I'll string him all over tile mesa!" The newcomer was Handsome Harry, just in from Turkey Tanks and Little Burro. CHAPTER III. 'l'HE S1'AR'l' FOR 'l'HE TRADING POST. "Don't fret about the follow that threw the rattler at me, old pard," said Bertie. "It was the Black Dwarf, and already on onr blacklist." "What I've heerd has put me .in a killin' mood, son," growled the old Serpent of Siskiyou, pushing

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6 Dll\MOND DICK9 JR.-THE BOYS' BEST WEEKLY. into the room. "Did ye git mnch o' the pizen inter yer system?'' "Enough to lay me on the shelf if this Indian woman can't help me out." Handsome Harry stooci to one side while stooped and placed the bowl to Bertie's lips. "Drink," she said, laconically. It was a nauseous dose, but young sport swal lowed it to the last drop. "D'ye mean ter. say, Dick," said Harry, turning to the old veteran, '.'thet this hyer maverick of a Black Dwarf pushed right inter Wolpi, with punchers, an' tourists, an' everybody else, ter lay fer him?" "That was the play he made, Harry." "He's a dare-devil," interjected the capt ai n. "I told you that, Wade." "He's fixin' ter git a hectic flush put all over him," grunted the old Serpent. "Did any of the gang hyerabouts foller the varmint?" "Four cowboys started off on his trail. But their horses were hitched at the foot of the mesa, aud the Dwarf had a good long start before they could get into their saddles, so I don't imagine the pursuit will amount to much." Diamond Dick presented the Californian to the captain, and after a brief exchange of words, Harry turned to Bertie. "How ye feelin', son"!" he asked. "Better already," responded the young sport. "These Injtms aire top-liners at curin' snake hites. Did ye git a grip on any information concernin' the Black Dwarf op yer way hyer, Bertie?" "I had the quietest kind of a trip." '"Which is the way I stack up, an' I'm hungrier'n two bears, right this present speakin'. I had beau s fer breakfast, water fer dinner, an' now I'm swellin' up fer supper." Harry hitched up his belt a notch. "Did you copper anythin ', Dick?" Diamond Dick shook his bead. "Well, look, pards," said Harry; "s'posin' we round up onr bunch an' purceed ter dec ide on what's ter be done?" "The thing to be done," returned old Diamond Dick, "is to get the report of the agent's daughter." "An' whar may she be?" "Right here," put in Tony, promp.tly. "Aire you the gal thet humpbacked varmint was tryin' ter make off with?" Harry whirled on the girl as he put the question. "I am," answered Tony. There was now time to give the girl more than passing notice and Dick a11d his friends saw that she was dark, neatly clad, after the Eastern fashion, and without any frontier trumpery, and apparently eighteen or mneteen years of age. She was not exactly handsome, but she carried herself in a dashing way that lent a charm of its own. "You have not told us of your share in this exciting little episode, Tony," remarked Dick. "There isn't much to tell. I was climbing up the foot trail when some one leaped out from behind a rock, caught me by the throat a11d choked me until, for the moment, I lost my senses. "I came to my self in a few moments, and found the1t I was on horseback, a prisoner of the Dwarf's. "Then, like a dream, I saw Diamond Dick, Jr., appear in the pathway, and you all know what fol lo wed.'' "Why should the Dwarf try to make off with yo11 ?'' A rich red spread its elf under Tony's sunburned cheeks. "He had the impudence to wait upon my father, a mouth ago, and ask for nty hand," said she, in an emba rrns sed manner, her bright eyes shifting covertly to young Diamond Dick. "What happened?" asked Bertie, sitting up. "Dad kicked him out of the store." "Bully fer dad!" exclaimed the old Serpent. "The Dwarf swore then that he'd have me, by hook or crook, and that he'd also have on my father." "And you think," put iu old Diamond Dick, his sympathy aroused for the girl, "that the hunchback was seeki11g to abduct yo u and thus carry out one part of his plan?'' Tony 11pdded. "Don't lose your courage, Tony," saicl Bertie "Before we leave the country we'll see to it that the Dwarf loses bis power to molest you.'' "Now ye're torkin', son," concurred Harry. "You know why my pards and I have come here, don't you, Touy?' the old veteran went 011. ';Yes. Dad received word from headquarters." "Why couldn't your father come here in place of yon?" "Owing to the threats made by the Dwarf and his

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Dll\MOND DICKo JRo-THE BOYS? BEST WEEKLYo gang, dad htls had to barricade himself in the store with his guns handy." "What have you to tell ns?" "Well, in the first place, Diamond Dick, the annuity money was in a small iron safe. The combination of the safe was known to only two men. Dad is one of these, and the other waswith the con voy, aud was killed. rrbe "Black Dwarf got the safe, but 11e can't open :it." "Can't tbe Dwarf get into the safe?" "He has 110 dynamite to use in blowing it open, and had not found it convenient to get some in the settlements. It's hard to carry the safe around, and )) "An' the blame coyote has got the money an' ag'in he ain't got it," chuckled Harry. "And lie sent a notice to dad by an Indian three days ago, that lie woulclcome for the combination on Thursday morning, bright and early, and that he'd either get it or give clad a da11ce in the air." "Thnrsday; that's to-morrow." a11swered the girl. ''I'm here with a buckboard and a pair of lively bronks, and I can wheel you to the store inside of four hours." The young sport got up from the floor. "That means t .hat if we don't get to the post ahead of the Dwarf, your father will probably be killed." "He'll die before he gives up the combination of the safe." "Wall, say,'-' remarked Harry, "he might quiet the varmints by givin' a fake combination, hey?" "Dad 't do that," ausw' ered the girl, quietly. "It wouldn't help him much, anyhow, for he'd be killed as soon as the Dwarf found out a trick had been played.'' "He won't be killed, 'l'olly," said Diamoud Dick, "for we'll be there to help him. 'rbis is our opportunity to capture the Dwarf mid we must improve it." "Pd like to go along, gentlemen," said tlie cap tain. "Your numbers will be slim enough, at best, and another mau i11 your party would be an advantage, it seems to me. It's Uncle Sam's work, r.nd I'm in Uncle Sam's employ, yon know." "Very well, Fitz," auswered Diamond Dick. "Is there room in the bnckboard, Tony?'' "Pleuty of room. If you want horses, after we reach the trading post, dad has a number of good ones.'' "With saddles?" "With everythiug." "It wollld be well for us to leave our horses below the mesa," said Diamoud Dick. "They are all knocked out with tlie long journey we have made :in getting here, and have not had a chance to rest. We cau l1ire a rig to go in." This plan was and tl1e Dicks left after Sepulpa had prouo11nced the yonng sport ont of dangeL The fever had left Bertie's veins and the swelling at his throat had subsided. He gave the snake-woman five silver dollars, which he had in his pocket, and she considered her self amply repaid. It was long after sunclown when the party climbed down from the pueblo and started off along the foot trail leading to the small settlement on the plain under the mesa. 'rhe ceremonies conuected with the snake dance were over, and the spectators were back. A siugular feature of the Arizona latitude is this: Darkness does not ustrnlly come with. sunset, and often, at nine in the evening, it is possible to read a newspaper out of doors without the aid of a light. For this reason, the exodus of the sightseers was almost as clear to the eye as though made at noon day. The attempted abduction of Tony Kissane and the gallant stand made by the young sport were ta_lked about quite as mnch as was the noted snake dance, and many were .the questions Diamond Dick, Jr., had to answer concerning the state of bis health as resulting from the effects of the snake venom. A l1earty meal all around was secured at a make shift hotel, and in an hour after leaving the pueblo I?iamolld Dick and 'his party were en route for the agency, Tony ha11clli11g the lines over the backs of a pair of half-tamed bro11chos. Revolvers had been looked to, before leaving the settlc1ne11t, cartridge belts had been filled, and the captain's nerves were thrilling with the excitement of the man-lnrnt on which the party bad <>tarted. From one or two persons whom they passed, old Diamond Dick learned that the cowboys, who ltad gone out after the Dwarf, ltad not yet returned. "They may not return at all," said the captain, significantly; ''or) if they do, they'll hav.e scars to show, and no Dwarf will come with them. There's

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, Dlf\MOND DICK9 JR.-THE BOYS' BEST WEEKLYG nothing human about Malo Muchac\101 as the hunch back is sometimes called. Tlie way he eveus up with cue.mies, or punishes trailors, is enough to make oue's blood run cold.,, The old veteran thought that Fitzsimmons was under the sort of spell which notorious outlaw usually inspires; not so much because of what ti;e renegade has done, as because of what people say he has done. In a certain section of the country, whe11ever a peculiarly atrocious crime is committed it is charged up against the worst man known, and that wHhout any ocular proof that the man in question committed it. But the travelers in the buckboard were shortly to be brought face to face with a sample of the Dwarf's diabolical genius. The course followed by Tony led directly across a desert as flat as a house floor. For two hours the girl pushed on at a tearing pace, the Dicks riding on the fro11t seat with her and the old Serpent aud Fitzsimmons occupying the rear seat. Suddenly the young sport glimpsed a glow of light far ahead. At first it seemed only a mere dot, but swiftly it grew larger and larger. "What is it?" asked Tony. No oue in the buckboard could answer the girl's question. "Looks like a comic with a powerful long tail," observed Handsome Harry. The "comic," however, finally resolved itself into something else. As the light broadened and enlarged, a thump of hoofs could be heard; and then, over the rolling beat of hoofs cnme the hoarse cry of a man imploring help. Instinctively Tony had drnwn her bronchos to a halt, "and the animals, frigptened at the swiftly-advancing fireball, g_rew so restive that Diamond Dick, .1 r., was obliged to take the reins and haug to them with all liis muscle in order to prevent a runaway. "Catnmonnts an' hyeners !" exclaimed the old Serpent, who was standing up iu the buckboard in order to get an unobstructed look ahead. "It's a hoss ,, "And .there's a man tied to the horse's back!,, added Diamond Dick. "And the man's afire!" cried the startled Tony. "I'll bike keer o' him,:' said Harry, and sprang from the buckboard. CHAPTER IV. A TRAITOR. The streaming fire lighted l1p the scene so that it was impossible for Dick and his friends to be mistaken. A man was roped to the back of a horse, the ani rnal without a <;addle or bridle and dashing across the desert i u a wi Id frenzy. It was a horrifying spectacle, to say the least. Leaving the trail slightly in order to pass the te
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DV\MOND DICi{o JRo-THE BOYS9 BEST WEEKLY .. 9 More profanity followed, Sperry finally winding up with the question: "How many aire thar of ye?" "Can't yon Set!?" returned Diamond Dick. "See? Why, I'm b1inder'n a bat." "What blinded yo11? 'l'he fire?" "Fire be durued It was El Muchacho. He heated a knifeblacle red hot an' held it in front o' my eyes wl1ile I lay tied to four stakes planted in the ground. Revenge! I'll hev it ef I die fer it!" The man went off iuto a paroxysm of rage and fury that knew no bounds. "Arter blindin' me," Sperry at last continued, "the Dwarf wrapped me in a blanket soaked with coal ile, tied me to a wild hoss, teched a match ter the blanket an' so, I reckon, thort he'd done with me." A terrible laugh fluttered through Sperry's lips. "But I was saved! Ye saved me ter be the death of hirn How many ai1e thar of ye, I say?" "Five." "Who be ye?" "Tlie Diamond Dicks--" An exclamatiou of surprise and satisfaction interrn ptecl the vet em n. "Hyer! Come clost an' let me feel!" got up limpingly and stretcl1ed out his hands. Diamond Dick drew close and Sperry felt of his he;:id, shoulders and arms. "Shore enuff !" he mntterecl, and once more his la11,gh echoerl out 011 the night. "It's Dim1111 lJick, shore e1111ff! By saviu' rne, Dimun Dick, I opine ye've saved yerself, together with the four thet's with y ,e." "What do you mean, Sperry?" "I mean that El Muchacho knows the Gov'ment has got you arter him; he knows Tony Kissane went ter meet ye at '\,Volpi; an', kuowin' this, he's swore ye'll never git ter the agency alive! He tried ter stop Tony on the road ter \Volpi, but missed her so:neliow. 'l'he11 he tried tcr run awa) with the oal 0 afore she co1ilcl talk with ye-aye, he tried ter carry her off from right under the eyes of all the people, an' cf IJe IJ:Hl he'd hev mane the gal his slave a11' given her a fote thet would hev been ten times w11s s tiian death. 'l'he Dwarf thort I told old Kiss
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DRJ\MOND DHCK9 JRo-THE BOYSP BEST WEEKL Yo goin' ter try ter git the combination from Kissane, an' ef Kissane don't give it up he'll git killed, he'll git kilied ef lie does." Handsome Harry was of the opinion that tl1ey should have taken Bill Sperry with 'them, resorting to force, lf necessary, and so expressed himself when they once more climbed into the buckboard and started on. "He's gone bug-house," averred Handsome Harry; "an',_besides, he's one o' the accordin' ter his own confession. "Under any other circmnstances than the present," said Diamond Dick, "I should have insisted upon Sperry's going with us; but at this stage of the galne it is uot best. for us to handicap ourselves with a prisoner. '' Diamond Dick, Jr. and the c aptain were likewise of this opinion. "How about the other trail, Tony?" said the ol d veteran. "It will take us four or five h ours to reach the agency if we leave this trail," said 'I'ony. "We have got to leave it, though, if we don't want to push right into a11 ambush," said the captain. "Sperry illustrates something I told you a short time ago, Diamond Dick. The Dwarf is a fiend when it comes to inflicting punishment upon his enemies." "El .M uchacho deserves the severest penalty the law can deal out to him," returned the veteran. "An' we're the hombres ter ketch him an' turn him over ter Uncle Sam ter be dealt with," added Harry. It was not long until Tony had turned from the trail and proceeded sharply toward the north on a cietonr which was to carry them to the agency by another and a safer route. This course made it necessary for them to cut through a range of hills at a point where there was a wide gap. "When we get to the other side of the gap," said Tony, "we'll be just as far from the agency as we were when we stopped to save Bill Sperry." Seats in the b11ckboard were not so comfortable for the Dicks and Harry as seats in tlteir saddles would have been, and they beginning to feel cramped and tired from their journey. ''Waal," observed Harry, "let's git some'rs whar we kin straddle a boss. I'm seasoned ter thet kind o' locomotiou, an' I ain't ter this." } "It will be clos e to morning before we reach our destination," said Tony. "\Ve mustn't nm any risks of arriving too late to be of service to your father," spoke up Bertie. "I' 11 get you to the agency in ti 111e to take c;:are of dad," the girl answered, confidently; is, if nothing u11foresee11 happens to us." The g3p was a gloollly place, ffark with the s'.:a d ows of the hills which arose o n either lrnnd. '!'here were no rocks or stones, but clumps of brush fringed the trail a11d straggled up the steep sides of tbe uplifts. 'I' hey were all silent; it seen1ed afterward as t hough a sense of impending calamity was heavy upon each of' them. Wlteu tltcy were about half-way through the gap, both the unforseen and the unexpected J1appened, and happened s o qnickly as to catclt them e11tirely off their gllard. Without warning o f any kind, a volley w a s rai11ed upon tltem fro111 both s id es of the trail. Ever y clump of bushes seemed t o spit fire. "I'm hit!" cried Fitzsimmons. A hoa rs e bellow of rage escaped the bearded lips of the old Serpent. He was always wound up for trouble, and the first indication that he was l etting himself 011t was usually given by one of his c\Jaracteristic defis. He ha holcl himse lf in the buckboard, Fitzsimmons lost his balance ::.ind pitched from his seat to i.hc ground. ::'\eit11er t\Je Dicks nor Tony saw tl1is, they being on the front seat, the girl driving aud the old veteran aud the youug sport 11nlimberi11g with their barkers to left and right. "Give 'em the whip, 'l'ony !" cricJ Bertie. "\Ve must l ose no time in getting out of here," old Diamoud Dick adcled. Bohling the lines in one !1and o.nd tlte whip in the other, Tony made th(': bronchos do their be s t. They were shortl y out of the grip an
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DIAMOND DICK, JR.-THE BOYS' BEST WEEKLY. turn around in his seat and give attention to those whom he supposed were behind. l-o answer was returned. "Great Scott!" exclaimed the you11g sport, in a startled tone. "What's the matter?" q11eried the old v;;teran. "Why, neither Harry nor Fitz is in the wagon!" Diamond Dick whirled to a face-about and saw that the rear seat was empty. "How do yon account for it?" asked Tony, drawiug the horses to a h
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12 DIAMOND DICKg JR.-THE Bovs BEST \'llEEKL't.1 the old veteran's dark form which his eyes suddenly encountered. Old Diamond Dick, alive to the peril of the moment, fetched Kaintuck a sledge-hammer blow that carried him off his feet and laid him on the ground as senseless as a log. Rio was so surprised that he could make no movement for the fraction of a second; then, leaping ttp, he hurled himself at Diamond Dick as though shot from a catapult, bared bowie in his right hand. A smashing right-hat!der from the small white fist of the veteran sent the bowie flying; and this blow was followed by another which laid Rio beside !Jis comrade, although not until a wild alarm iiad escaped his lips. In answer to Rio's yell there came shonts from the darkness .further along the gap, and sounds as of a concerted movement by many men. Diamond Dick waited no longer,. but made a swift return to Bertie and Tony. Leaping into the back of the buckboard, he dropped down on the rear seat. "Make for the agency," said he; "there's nothing else we can do.,' Tony at once put the horses in motion. "What did yon find out about Harry and Fitz?" asked Diamond Dick, Jr. "Very little except that they have not yet been captured, in spite of the fact that Fitz was wounded." "Trust Harry to keep himself out of their hands,'' said Bertie. "He'll have the job of his life if he evade capture, hampered as he must be by a wounded I\lan. While a particle of life remains in the captain's body, Harry will never desert him. We miist have horses under u s Bertie. The only way we can secure horses is by pushing on to the agency, and by going there we may be able to do Kissane a good turn. After we are mounted we'll give our immediate attention to Harry and Fitz." Muchtime had already been consumed in delay, and '"I'ony forced tile wiry and mettlesome bronchos to their utmost. 'l'o such good purpose dirl she drive that they 011t of the rough country with the trading post iu plain view-the small adobe store breaking their <:Yes all at once when they had made a quick turn which carried them out of the chapnrrJ.I. A cry that was almost like a sob escaped from Tony's lips. The scene so abruptly unrolled before her gaze was the ca11se of it, In front of the store building there was a freight wagon, the tongue elevatt:d and n11cle secure in its upright position by a g11y rope which passed from its top to the cudgate of the wago11. On the ground, at the bottom of the wagon to11gue, stood a man with long gray hair and foll beard, his hat on the ground. There was a rope about his neck, with the free end passing through a ring near the top of the to11gue and then down and into the hands of three toughs of the frontier variety. In the wagon s to od El 1\Ialo Muchacho, otherwise tbe Black Dwarf, perching there like a great, overgrown toad and looking utterly unlike anything of the human species. A diabolical grin was 011 his swarthy and hideous face. "It's dad," wailed Tony, lier hands shaking. "They're going to string him up." "No, they're not," said Diamond Dick, sharply. "Take the lines, Bertie, and drive for the sce ne Come up behind the 11ouse and escape observation, if you can." The you11g sport took the li11es out of Tony's nervel ess hands a11d drove rapidly. By a deft maue11ver, lie placed the buckboard and team at the backs of all who were participating in the little drama in fro11t of the trading p o s t, and reached a positio11 where the adobe lll!t interposed between them and the b11ckboard. young Diamo11d Dick used the wl1ip, hoofs and wheels making little noise in the soft sand, and the passengers in the vehicle preserving strict silence. lt was evident that they had arrived right in the nick of time. On darting arouud the ho11se, the bronchos were brought to a halt with a quick jerk. Not until that moment did the outlaws discover tl1e p::esence of the Dicks. Iu a flash, the three passengers were ottt of the buckboard and racing toward the freight wagon. "Dad!" cried Tony, hurrying her father, Bertie following her closely. "To11 ita gasped K issa11e, astounded and almost overwhelllled by the unexpected ::iid wliich fate had hro11}!lit him.

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DIAMOND DICK, JR.-THE BOYS' BEST WEEKLY. 13 Each of ti1e to11gl1s tossed a hand toward his hip, and the Dwarf, bending quickly, brought up a .Winchester from somewhere about his feet and leveled it at the heart of the young sport. "Yon escaped the side-winder," he screamed, "but here's a rattler of another kind! Dodge this if you kin!" "I'll kill the first man that pulls a trigger!" sh6uted old Diamond Dick. The veteran bad a forty-four iu each hand, and if ever he meant business in his life he meant it then. CHAPTER VI. H A N D 'f 0 -H A N D The voice of the old veteran, ringing with uumistakable emphasis, brought a momentary pause in proceedings. 1 But the pause was the moment of .calm preceding a storm and old Diamond Dick was too wary a hand to be deceived by it. His keen eyes were on every one of the outlaws, and especic-dly did they mark the crooked body of El Malo l VIuchacho .. He 110ted the quick light that fh1recl in the hunchback's murky eyes and the flexing of the forefinger on the trigger of the rifle. 1Hycr's fer ye, Dimnn Dick, Jr.!" the Black Dwarf ground out b etween his yellowish teetli.. 'l'lie Winchester was fired and so was one of old Diamond Dick's forty-fonrs-the revolver shot fore stalli11g the hoarser report of t11e l1eavier firearm by the tenth part of a second and b oth sounds gliding into one. But Diamo11d Dick's qnickness saved the young sport's life. Muclrncho's left arn1, which supported the rifle, was struck and _the gu?1 deflected just as the slug left its 111 uzz le. As a co11s cque11ce, the bnllet "plunked" i1,ito the grom1d at feet. With l103:se shouts of rage, the'. three bravos let go tlieir h o ld of tlie rope rinrl das hed around the wagon to co111e to close qn:irters with t11e veteran. Tony to lier fatlier, pullec1 the noose apart and fl1111g it from l1is neck. Dia111onct D ic k, Jr., without los s o f an instant, had taken advantage of the wouud givc11 t l1e Dwarf, aud had climbed into the wagon. "Kill 'e111 !', screeched the htrnc!Jback, bis ugly face contorted with fury. "They're the Dicks! The Government has hired 'em ter track us down like C.".:>yotes Kill 'em, or they'll kill us." El Muchaclio had not dropped his gun, but Bertie was within arm's length, and so close that the weapon could i10t be fired advantageously. Whirling the rifle around his head with his right hand, his left arm hanging useless at his side, the Dwarf sought to slay the young sport at one terrific. blow. Bertie ducked down and sideways, but the stock of the Winchester caught him a glancing blow on the shoulder, and so great was the force put forth by the hunchback that Bertie's entire side seemed for a moment to be paralzyed. But the'; very force which El Muchacho had put into the blow contributed to his own undoing. The rifle stock, not meeting the resistance the Dwarf had calculated upon, glanced upward into the air, and the weapon flew from its wielder's hand. El lVIuchacho lost his balance and pitched from the wagon, his head striking heavily against the iron tire of the wagon. Full npou the crooked form of the hunchback dropped the young sport, turned him upon his face and roped his hands behind him and tied his feet at the ankles, using a tiata that lay in the wagon. Nor did the yonng sport give the Dwarf any ordinary tie-up, but used the entire fortyfeetof the tough rawhide rope. vVhen Diamond Dick, Jr., had finished, the terror of Northern Arizona was as 11elpless as a babe in arms. His ow11 work done, Bertie to render the old veteran what assistance he might. But no assistance was needed in that quarter. The game Qld fighter stood with one hand clasping the eleva ted wagon tongue, the three outlaws who l 1 ad engaged hi111 lying at his feet. One was dead, a second sore ly wounded by a revolver ball and the third, clasping a11 e11sanguined bowie in bis h autl s had b een knocked" senseless and lay witli his face uptun!ecl, tl1e hilt ofl1is knife still gripped in l1is co 'nvulsive fingers. So111ewhnt apart, Kissane was s1ttrng on the gron11d, 11is gray lie1.1cl against the bo so m of lils daughter, who knelt beside him. "Are 'ou all ri ght, Diamond Dick?" queried Bertie

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14 DIAMOND DICK, JR.-THE BOYS' BEST WEEKLYo 'rhe veteran attempted to speak, and then to flutter his hand. Another moment and he had sank to his knees, then to a sitting posture, with his back against the inner side of one of the front wheels. The young sport ran to him. "The fellow with the knife caught me one in the back before I co11ld take care of him,'' Diamond Dick whispered; then added, noting the alarm visible in Bertie's face: "It's not so bad as you think. A swall ow of whisky if you can get it for me. First, though,_ secure that rascal with. the bowie. We may need him." "Is Diamond Dick killed?" asked Tony, leaving her father and coming toward Bertie. "They hanged dad two or three and all but took the life out of him. But he wouldn't give 'em the combinatio11, he wou1dn 't tell.'' Recent experiences had proved almost too much for the girl's nerves, trained though they were. "It's all right, 'Tony," returned young Diamond DicJ-:, in a quick voice. "The old veteran is badly wounded, I fear, but the hurt is not mortal. If you know where there is some whisky, please get it. Be as quick as you can. A swallow of liquor would help your father as well as Diamond Dick.'' Bertie started to remove the rope that had been threaded through the ring at the upper end of the wagon tongue . "Leave that, Bertie," said Diamond Dick, "and find another." Bertie wondered at the old veteran's req11est, but soon found another rope and quickly secured the man who was lying on the ground,. first forcing the knife from his convulsive grasp. Mea11while Tony had bronght the whisky and a draught had greatly revived the strength of old Dia mond Dick. With great solicitude, the girl had then removed the old veteran's coat, and, with a strip of linen brought from the house, was making ready to band a ge the hurt. Bertie, by that time, was .able to give Diamond Dick his attention. The wound was in the fleshy part of tlle veteran's right side, not of a very serious character, but it had let much blood a11Cl thus proYen a source of weak ness. Under the yo1111g. sport's skillful fingers, the flow of blood was stauuched and the hurt bandaged. Diamoua Dick's coat was then replaced, and he got slowly to his feet. Single-handed, Diamond' Dick had fought and won his battle against the three ruffians, Tony having been occupied with the care of her father, and thus unable to h e lp. Yet, had the girl been able to give her aid, it would have amounted to little, for her nerve s h d gone back on her completely. Now, however, her hardy nature was beginning to reassert i tse1f, and she was of much assistance. Kissane, a livid mark about his neck where the rope had drawn, came slowly to the place where o'ld Diamond Dick was s tandin g and thrnst out his hand. "Mr. Wade," said he, "I am indebted to you for my life." "We are a11 of us indebted to him for our lives," spoke 11p Tony, as her father and the veteran exchanged a cordial handclasp. ''If Diamond Dick had not taken care of those three men, Bertie"-she flushed a little when she r ea lized how she was referring to the young sport-"wonld uot have b e en abl e to complete his capture of El Muchacho." "It was a tussle the like of which I have not had for many a day," admitted the veteran. "While I was shooting 011e man the secoud engaged me. The fist fight b e came a clinch, and while we were at it, collar and elbow, the third man used his knife from behind. By an effort-I hardly know how, wounded as I was-I threw the second man from me and brought my revolver to bear. 'lie second man was wo11nded, as you see 11im there, and I whirled just in time to knock the third and last man down with my forty-four.'' "Only one man could have done such a thi11g as that," said younR; Diamond Dick, with a touch of pride in his voice, "and that was Diamond Dick of Ouray." The veteran turned his eyes on Bertie with a quiet smile-a smile of deprecation and indulgence. "It was wonderful, wonderful," murmured Kis sane. "And to think," spoke up 'l'ony, i+1 a voice of self-reproach, "I might have taken a hand and saved Diamond Dick that wotrnd but I-I--" "You are a woman," said Diamond Dick, as the girl faltered, "and it is not to be expected that you should have acted a man's part.,, '''l' hat is no excuse for me!'' exclaimed the girl.

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DIAMOND JR.-Tl-1E BO'IS' BEST WEEKLY. 15 "I think it is," put in Bertie, flaslii11g Tony a glance that made her cheeks redden and her eyes droop. ol::scrved Diamo:1d Dick, stndyiqg fl1e 1111nchback rn11c!J as lie would liave studied a captive _tarantula. Curses and oaths were the htrnchback's only "I 111Jderstand that yon had barricaded yourself in response. tl1e ho11se,'' \Vent Oil Diamond Dick, adclress ng tl1c agent. "If that is true, how came these four men to get the upper hand of yon?" "I was barricaded iu tl1e :;tore," repl:ecl Kissane, "but everything seemed so quiet that I \\as decei\;ecl and ventnr'ecl out to go to the sprin g for a pail of water. It was theu that E l l'.1ttcliaclio nud his brnves set upun me. "l wfs overborne, stripped uf my weapons, and asked b y the Dwarf whether I was go:ug to reveal the combinatiou of tlic safe. "Wben I rdused, tl1ey brought me to this wagon, raised the tongue as you see it, aud Utecl me iuto the air. "I was uearly choked after they lwd lowered me, but I wus resolved to die before I would give tip the i11formatio11. I knew ver ) wcil that would kill me after they got the inforn1ation1 anyway provid ing I ga\'e it to them, so I was fully determined that they slio11ld itavc 110 !>1.tt;sfaction whatever. "They raised me into the air three times, and I was so wenk aud dizzy that I conld hardly staucl. "Had they raised me the fourth time, I s hould have died, so your arrival, Diamond Dick, was timely, to say the least. "I shall never forget the debt of gratitude I owe "Nor I," added 'l'ony, and lier bright eyes wan dere'a from the old .veteran to the young sport. It was plai11Jy to be seen that her gratitude applied to both of the Dicks. "I ca11 h ardly b ,elieve tl1at El Malo the man who has terrorized these parts for so long, has at last been cnptured, and in so signal a manner," said Kissa11e, as he and Diamond Dick passed to the place where the outlaw leader was lying. El Muchacho had recovered from the stunning effects of his fall from the wagon, a11c1 a light of dia bolical hatred was burning in his murky eyes. As the Dicks approached him, he showed his teeth in a snarl of fnry like a ils fangs. His evil face was a hideo11s sight, and it is small wonder that Tony turne d her back with a shudder. "You are at the end of your tether, :\Iuchacho," "Enongli of that," cried tile old veteran, sternly. "I have t o ask yo11 if you will reve11l the place wi:ere that safe with the amrnity money is hidden?" l\1ore oaths came from the lips of El Mt1chacl10, ancl the veteran, disgusted, told Bertie to gag him. This was instantly done. While Bertie was about it, the. tired bronc hos attached to the buckboard. lifted their heads and sniffed tile air in the direction of the chaparral. Oue of them whinnied, and an instant answer was re tu rued in kind. What is there?" queried Dick of Kissane. spring is over there," replied the agent. "And that is where yon were captured?" "Yes." 'rhe veteran turned to the you11g sport. "The.re s h o ul d be the four horses of the outlaws in the chaparral, Bertie," said he. Please go over there, get them and bring them here,." As Diamond Dick, Jr., started on his errand, he halted at the side of the man wJ10 had used the knife. "Wha t is to be done with this fellow?" he asked. "Bring the horses," .answered Dick, "and I'll show you." CHAPTER VII. LOCATING THF. SAFX. V ottng"Diamond Dick had no difficulty i11 finding the four mounts which had been ridden by the out laws. When he got back, ridiug one horse and leading the other three, he saw tl1at the man who had wounded Diamond Dick had been lifted into a stand ing position at the bottom of tl1e wagon tongue in the ide11tial :;pot where. Kissane had stood, such a short time before. :'Whli are y
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16 DIAMOND DUCK, JR.-THE BOYS' BEST WEEKLYo gagged hunchback. Here, it seemed, was a man worthy of his leader. Yon can't object to a little of the same treatment you gave Kissane," was Diamond Dick's cooi comment as he pulled the dangling over the outlaw's head. The veteran turned to the girl. 11.Tony, 11 he continued, 11take those three horses Bertie is hol
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DIAMOND DICK, JR.-THE BOYS' BEST WEEKLY. 17 Diamond Dick whirled about and saw that the man was carrying a white handkerchief bound about the muzzle of his rifle. When well ont of the undergrowth, the horseman rode the peace sign, and the veteran raised his hand palm outward. The answering signal meant that the truce was accepted, and the horseman spurre d forward at a lively gait. CHAPTER VIII. BF.R'l'IE PLANS A RAID. When within speaki11g distance, th e man with the white flag reined in his horse. He bore the unmistakable stamp of the outlaw and the renegade, manifested not only in face and manner, b11t in the very way he sat ltis big, raw-boned horse, as well. "Keep that guu across your saddle in front of you!" commai1d ed Diamond Dick, sternly. "It's a fair an' squar' palaver I'm arter," growled the man. "I'll see that it isn't anything but fair and square," retorted Diamond Dick. "Lay your gun across your horse's withers. Make one treacherous move a nd you'll b e killed before you can move a dozen feet on the back track.'' Do,wn came the gi:n directed. "What do you want?" the veteran demanded. "Ye've captered El Muchacho, hevn't ye?" "Do yon know El M nch acho when yo u see him?" 'Sl1o rc. '' ''Then your eye s ought to be able to answer your question." The messe nger gave a surly grunt. "How'd ye. like ter make an exchange?" '"\Vhat kind of an exchange?" "Why, trade El l\1uchacho an' t'other tlrree fer two pris'ners thet we've took." "Not on yer life!" muttered Jud Lane, in frantic "Arter what ye've forced meter tell ye, ef I was set free with El Muchacho he'd put meter the torture an' kill me by inches!" "What prisoners have yo\1 taken?" Diamond Dick asked, 110 heed to Laue's words. "Han'sum Harry au' Cap'n Fitzsimmons." The Dicks were startled. Tli'is man was evidently from the party in the gap. ''Have you captured Handsome Harry and Cap tain Fitzsimmons?" "We couldn't very well offer an exchange ef we hadn't." '"What are your terms?" "El Muchacho an' t'other three fer the two we got.'' "One of the other three has passed out of the game." "Wall, fer t'other two, then. An' ye're to agree ter leave the kentry an' give up trailin' El Muchacbo au' his gang.'' "You want the big end of the deal." "Goin' ter liev it, too, or send yore pards acrost the divide." "How did you meu know we had caught El M uchachu ?'' "I started fer hyer with Quip Haley, who bosses the gang under the Dwarf. Quip is over in the chaparral, now, waitin' ter hear from me as ter whether ye aceept the plan fer exchange er not." "I'll have to think about it," Diamond Dick answered. "Well, this is what Quip says: Ye got ter accept afore oue o'clock ter-day or yore pards aire done fer.'' "Where will I send word to Haley?'' "Over a t the gap." The old veteran was silent for a few moments. 'l'hen he said: "lf Haley will remove all his men to the eastern s ide of the g3p, excepting himself and you, I will send this man l1ere"-Dick indicated Lane-"and one q th e r either to make a counter propositio11 or to accept or reject the terms y ou propose." "Wliar'Il we meet the fellers ye send?" "Isn't there a white rock in the gap?" '"Shore; an' it's about the only rock ye kin find thar. '' "Well, the men I s end will meet you and Haley there.'' "Will you be one o' the men thet comes, Dimun Dick?" "Not much!" "\iVho'll come?" "Lane there and another. If you attempt treachery I will know of it, aud it will be the worse for you. You aud Baley are to he alone in the gap, and at the 'vhite rock, at noon to-day."

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18 DIAMOND DICK. JR.-THE BOYS' BEST WEEKLY. "Snpposin' you try some sknllduggery ?" "All you and Haley have to do is to watch. If you see more than two men coming, simply retreat." This seemed reaso1rnble euough. "Keno,'' said the messenger. "I'll ride back to the brush an' tell Quip. Ef we shake this white rag fro1ri over thar1 ye'll know thet Quip's agreeable. Thereupon the messenger w hee led his horse, used his spurs, and darted away. "I'm a goner ef ye accept them terms," growled Jud Lane. "Ye've forced me ter tell what I kno w an'--'' "Wait," weut 011 Diau1ond Dick. "You have probably sacrificed your life, if El lVIuchacho eve r gets loo s e, but if yon will do as I propo:3e, and act the square part, you sball. have your freedom, no matter whether your l eader goe s free or not." "There's the flag, sa id Dia1nond Dick. A speck of white could be seen sl1ake11 vigorously against the green background of the chaparral. "That means," said Diamond 'Dick, "that Lane another are to meet Quip Haley and the messenger at white rock in the gap-al the p lace wliet e the safe with the annuity m o ney is cached." 'he young sport'5 face lighted up. He was beginning to get an inkling of t h e vet eran's plans. "It w as a strange bargain for yon to make, Mr. Wade," said Kissane, who liad been an amazed listener to the colloqu y between the messenger and Diamond Dick. would not think it so strange if you knew all," answered the old veteran. 41Who is to be the who accornpani. es Jud r:aue ?" asked young Diamond Dick. "But for this wound of mine," the veteran answered, "I should be the one. As the wound might interfere with my usefulness, you will 11ave to go in my stead, Bertie." "It will be death for you'ng Diamond D1ck," cried Tony. "I think 11ot. n. "They will be anxious to get hold of him, and )) "They won't get hold of him, 'l'ony," interrupted the veteran. "Bertie will accompany La11e, disguised as wounded man." 1'Lane will tell on him when they meet Quip Haley and tlie other outlaw," persisted the girl. "Not if he ''alnes his life, Touy," spoJ,e np the young sport. "It will be an opportnnity, Bertie,'' said the old veterau, ''for yon to r ecove r the money and possibly to effect the rele ase or Harry and "I'li do the best I ca11," said Bertie. Preparations were immediately begun for D iamond Dick, Jr. 's raid into the lines of the enemy. El Muchacho and the w o un ded ma11 were removed into the house and the latter was there provided with a snit of Kissane's, while Bertie drew the outlaw's garb over his own clothes. To further heighten the effect of the disguise, and to still further concea l Diamond Dick, Jr. 's identity, a bandage was wrapped about his face. His left arm was also suspended in a sling. Two of the best horses were then selected out of the bnnch of five, ri : 1tas forming part o f the sadile equipments. After that Diamoucl Dick drew the cartridges from Juel Lane's gt111s, t ook all the am11rnnition from his belt, antl odeted him to ll11' t1st tile hnni1le ss weapons back in their hol sters. Yon11g Dia111oncl Dick thereupon m ounte d his horse, im:;1ediately after which Lane was fre ed of his bolds and llla d e to lno unt the remaining animal. Before the start was commeuced the old veteran placed himself where lie could give Lane a square look in the eyes, and said: "You're completely at the me1'cy of Diamond Dick, Jr., Lane He will ride behind y oti and \1ithi11 a horse's length cf yon all the way betw\'len this and the gap. / "His hand, as you will notice, is snspeuded in a sling Hidden :in the folds of the clotb, young Diamond Dick has one of his forty-fours, and the muzz le will be traind upou you all the time, and a single move Ill the direction of tre:1c11ery will seal your dcom. "After Haley and the otber man are met, at the wliite rock, you will have an opportunity to help Bertie, or to take part against him. If you decide to do the latter, you will be the first man lie will shoot. If, 011 the other 11a11d, you decide to help him, and if you obey his every order, when your work and his are done yo11 will be given your freedom. It is for you to make your choice.'' Diamond Dick stepped back aud fixed his eyes on Bertie's.

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DIAMOND DICK, JR.-THE BOYS' BEST WEEKLY. 19 The old veteran had no hesitation in sending the young sport forth on his perilous mission, for he knew the youth better than any one else could possi bly know him. But there was a warning flashed from eye to eyea subtfo cau6on to be discreet and wary-then Diamond Dick stepped back and waved his hand. "Good-by Bertie, and good luck," said he. And the two raiders were away at speed. CHAPTER IX. 'l'HE RAID. Jud Lane seemed inclined to make the best of the situation into which fate had shuffled him. He stood before his leader and one of his comrades a self-confessed traitor, and with the example of Bill Sperry b e fore liis eyes he was not at all eager to face a traitor's punishment as administered by El Malo l\1ucl1acho. The outlaw gave young Diamond Dick no1 tronble b11t this fact did not make the young sport any less wary. "Ye might ride up alongside an' be Lane said, more than once. But Bertie invariably answered him with a curt: "You ride on ahead and I '11 manage this end of the procession." Diamond Dick, Jr., knew tha.t the fellow was not to be trusted. "What is the n::ime of th::it woullded man whose clothes I'm wearing,?" Bertie a sked of Lane, as they were drawing near the entrance to the gap. "D11n110 what his real name was," replied the outlaw, "but us fellers called him Hassayamp." "How long has he been with the gang?" "Not more'n a conple o' days. It was him as brought word to El Mucl)acho thet the Gov'ment had given Dimnn Dick the job o' runniu' ns clown." "Docs Quip Haley know the fellow by sight?" "I don't reckon he does." "Nor any of the others with Haley?" ''I wouldu't sw'ar to't, one way or t'other. Hassa yamp not bein' with the gang long, makes it killder 11ateral thet he wouldn't be familiar with the feilers thet come over ter the gap under Quip Haley's bossi n '." As they came nearer the entrance to the gap, Bertie managed to make out a horse and rider standing out in bold relief against the sky on a spur of the l1ills. "Thet feller's on the watch fer us," commented Jud Lane. "He's sizin' us up all the time." Suddenly the horseman wheeled and vanished from the ridge. 'iAud now he's gone to tell Quip Haley that we're coming," observed Bertie. "Remember, Lane," added the young sport, ''if you try to betray me, I'll get you if I die for it." "I ain'l a-goin' ter fergit thet, you bet. On t'other hand, ef I he1p ye out of a hole, don't ye go an' fer gi t th et, 1rn th er." "I won't." Shortly after this they ei1tered the gap and. rode along it in the direction of the white rock. All was silence in the defile, and not a sound could be heard aside from the tramp of their horses' hoofs. "We're gittin' close to the rock," observed Jud Lane, in a low tone. "Makerigl1t for it just as though neither of us had a thing to fear," answered Bertie. Presently Lane turned from the trail and they began an ascent of the bush-covered hillside. In a few moments they came within sight of a huge white bowlder, half buried in the and presenting a smooth face like a wall built into the slope. The rock was a 4ozen feet high and perhaps as many broad, with low bushes fringing its base. "Howdy, Juel," cried a voice, as a lanky indi vidual, with a scar-seamed face pus!1ed into view. "What fer kind of a how-de-do d'ye call this byer, anyways?'' "Thet beats me plum ter death, Quip," answered Lane. Quip Haley was on foot, and he had more guns and dirks about him than the old-time pirates used to carry. "Who's this with ye? One of our boys?" As Haley put the ques t ion he sized Bertie up in a critica l way. "Shore it's one of our lads," answered Jud Lane. "Hass::iyamp. Ain't ye heered o' him?" "I ain't expectin' ye'd know me," struck in Diamond Dick, Jr., assuming a hoarse tone that would harmonize with his rbl e of outlaw, "seein' as how I only j'ined up witl.i the gang so recent. But ef the doin's we had this mornin', over ter the age. ncy,

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20 Dll\MONp DICK. JR.-THE BOYS' BEST WEEKLY. is any sort o' sample o' what I'm ter expect, I jes' as lieve quit yet gang cold, right hyer." "Whar's yer nerve?" demanded Quip Haley. "Cut ter pieces, by thunder! by thet 'ar Diming Dick.'' "You fellers must hev had a deuce of a time over thet-a-way." "It was every feller for himself, an' oonit ye f ergi t it. Jud Lane subsided into the background and let Bertie do the talking. "Wall, I'll hear all about it one o' these days. Jest now, though, we got bizness ter transact. What did thet ole fernomenou tell you fellers ter tell me about th et exchange?" "Ole Diming Dick is kinder suspicions-like." "Suspicious-like o' what"!" "He thinks mebby ye're operatiu' yer ba:i:oo with two tongues, Quip, an' tliet ye ain't got the two pris'ners ye say ye i1ev." "He'll hev .ter take m y word fer it," growled Haley, with an oath. "Nary he won't. He's suggested a way thet we kin prove it ter him." "Wha t way is thet ?" "I'm ter take back the old Sarpint's revolver belt an' half-aduzen buttons off'n his clo's." ':Thet's easy enough.'' "Shore. Easy enough ef yf!'ve reely got the ole sockdologer." "I wasn't
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