Sierra Sam's double


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Sierra Sam's double

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Title:
Sierra Sam's double
Series Title:
The Deadwood Dick Library
Creator:
Wheeler, Edward L. (Edward Lytton) 1854 or 5-1885
Place of Publication:
Cleveland, Ohio
Publisher:
Arthur Westbrook Co.
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Language:
English
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1 online resource (31 p.) 20 cm.: ;

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Subjects / Keywords:
Dime novels. ( lcsh )
Adventure stories. ( lcsh )
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serial ( sobekcm )

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Source Institution:
University of South Florida
Holding Location:
University of South Florida
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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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029120587 ( ALEPH )
07041148 ( OCLC )
D22-00004 ( USFLDC DOI )
d22.4 ( USFLDC Handle )

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University of South Florida
The Deadwood Dick Library

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C opyright 1882-1888, b y Beadle & Adams. Entered at P os t o m ce, N e w Y ork, N Y., as sec ond c lass matte r 1 5 1899. No. 50 THE ARTHUR W ESTBROOK CO Cleveland, Ohi o Vol. IV

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1882-1883, hy Beadle & Adame. Entered at Post omce, New York, N Y., as second class matter. Mnr. 13, No. 50 THE ARTHUR WESTBROOK c,Q, Cleveland, Obi.<> \Vol. IV SIEilRA SAJI! WAS CAR&llm FROM Tllli: CABIN AND BOU"D UFON THE BACK OF A IIVLII.

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Sierra Sam's Double. Sierra Sam's Double; OR, The Thr ee Fem a le Det ective s BY EDWARD L. WHEELER, AUTHOR OF "DEADWOOD DICK" NOVELS, SIERRA SAM, THE DETECTIVE,'' THE MINER SPORT," ETC., ETC., ETC. CH'APTER I. SIERRA SAM'S CADAVER. THE Flumeville stage rolle d down into Flume ville, at precisely six o cl oc k, whe n the sun w a s just sinking behind the pine-dad p eaks of the Divide, and the miners v.e r e quitting their day's work and coming "into t own" from tlae scene of their labo rs. As the stage always brought in the mail for those of the rugge d c i t iz e n s who we1 e f ortuna t e enough eve r to receive any, and a s t he p o n demus vehicle alway stoppe d at the to unload its mail and p assenge r s six o' c lock a l w ays saw the representative citizen s o f the little c ity c o ngregated in and about the tavern. Flnme vill e was wllat an o b>erve r w o ul d ilave called a w e ll manne d city, for the inhabitants were all men. Only one w oman had ev AI" dawrred upr m the rugged h orizo n, b eluw whi cll t h e little miningcamp nestl ed; onl y one ca-a of t h e softening i nflu e n ce o f the o p posite sex was known among the knights who wi e ld e d the pick and s h o v e l in Flumeville Gulc h. The u s u a l cro wd was drawn up in line b e fore the tavern, whe n L o ng Lige, the Jehu of t h e stagf', brought the v ehic l e t o a h a lt. It wtts a rare thing for thA stage to dro p a passenge r at Flume vill e but to-uight a m a n clambe r ed out of the conveyance v alis e in hand, and stmc k a b e e-lin e f01 the wh ere h e procae l e r l to wash dow n the dus t of trave l with a gl as s of" bug-juice." Afte r h e h a d "inc l ose d the beverage," he smacke d his lips with a grateful air, and looked around him t o take note of his surroundings Every inch a sixfooter, as h e stoo:l in his boots, he was a s lean as a b ean-pole-no apparent supe rfluou s fle sh existing anywhere upon his skeleto n-lik e frame to which his poorlytailored guments hung w1th great l o os e ness His fac e was equally thin and pinched, and wore a ghostly and cadaverous expre!!Si o u, while h:is eye s black and sharp as a hawk's, were sunke n beneath an overhanging pair of shaggy eye brows. His hair was tow-colored, while of b eard he wore none. After looking over the rough audience with an inquiring gaze, the skinny gentleman turned to the bar-maid, "Jim Jackson's gal, Mag," as the proprie t or's daughter was called-a smart, quick-witted, anrl by no means home ly, truewestern miss, of some sixteen summers who ran the tavern, while her father labored at the "cradle." "Ahem! Nice day!" the thin man observed, by way of opening a conversation. Lovely I" M1ss Maggie responded, busying herself at polishing off the counter, "Jest drao down on the hearse?" ''I did that, expecting to find more of a. town. I am from Big Vista-heard of it I dare say. My name is Junius Brutus Dunk." "Indeed! What a delightful name!" Maggie said, with mock soberness. I s'pect you're one o' the big guns up at Big Vista, Mr. Dunk -eb1'' The lank man looked displeased. "My namA is not DonKey miss-but Junius Brutus Dunk. I flatter myself that I am one of the representative geutlemeru:>f Big Vista." "I judged likely," Maggie allowed, turning half around to suppress a gigg l e "Le t me see -haven't I h e ar.:! something about there having been a famine up there latel v ? Dunk colored, for h e tumbled" to her hint quite readily; h e was a t first in c lined to frown, but finally bro u ght to the surface of his cadaver ou s fac" rathe r a ghastly smile "We ll, not particularly; although I might p e rsoually-'illnstrate the contrary," b e replied. "By the w ay, you see m to b e a pretty pert young miss-maybe you can answer me a few questio ns?" W e ll, tha t depends. Can tell better arter you a x em." "That's sure as you live W e ll, to b egin with, d o yom know a man here in Flnmeville by the b a m e o f Sierra Sam? M a ggi e l ooke d surprised. "Waal, I s ho ul d say so she confessE'
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Sierra Sam's Double. 8 Dunk, seeming to realize that Sam was the man be was looking for, soon came forward and tapped the Californian on the shoulder. "Excuse me, my friend," be said; but have I tbe honor of addressing SieiTa Sam'!' "I allow you have, if so be there is any honor thereto attached!" Sam responded dryly. I am generally known by the name of Sierra Sam." "And I am Junius Brutus Dunk, Esq., of Big Vista, at your service. I came here on purpose to bunt you up and have a talk with you on a matter of importance. So if :von will grant me a private interview, we will at once get down to business." "Well, if your bu siness is as important as you intimate, perhaps we bad better adjourn to my palace," Sam suggested. "Come this way." He led the way from the tavern to a small log-cabin near at hand, wbP.re be ''lived when he was at home," as be exp lained while en route. It was furnished after the primitive frontier style, and yet was a neat, and, withal, a com fortable abode. Sierra Sam seated himself upon a stool at one end of a long, rough table, and motioned the man from Big Vista to take a like position at the opposite end "w ell, Mr. Dunk, I am all attention. Proceed to unload as rapidl.v as you like." "That I will, sir," the other replied. "In the first place, I wish to announce that I came here for your individual interest, providing we can come to terms-that is to say. I hav e an important r eve l ation to make to ;ron, which is vastly to your pecuniary interest.' "Abl well, that is good news. Am I to fall heir to half-a-dozen go ld mines, or a million or two in Government bonds!'' "Well, that depends. I am here, the possessor or valuat..le data that to you means much. I am the kind of a man who lives by his wits, in preference to manual." "So I shou ld Sam smiled, stroking his chin. Judging by your personal appear ance, however, the effects of subsisting on the strength of your wits bas ratht:r rubbed against your constitution, not?" Dunk frowned. Yon are inclined to poke fun at me!" be de murred, evidently displeased. When yon come to kncrw me better, you won't dO this, Why, my dear man, I ca11 lay you gently in the laP. of luxury, or do you incalculable injury at will. My mission here is speculative. I come to make terms with you, if you choose; if you don't, why I have other ends to further." Consequently I am to know you as a superannuated shyster, eh1" Sam assumed, dryly. "My friend, I don't think I care to entertam any dealings with you." "But, you don't understand-you don't know what you are talking about, my dear sir! You don't seem to realize that I aru the man through whose instrumentality you can win or lose a fortun e.'' "You think thuslyf' "I know it! All you've got to do is to come to reasonable terms, and I will put you on the track of a priceless fortune, which otherwise von must remain in ignorance of all your life." "Well, that's a pretty broad mouthful for you to ask me to swallow," Sam d eclare d, calm ly! "You may be quite sharp, as far as sharp ness goes, but at the same time I flatter myself it takes an uncommon human to ring in a dr:al on Sam'!." "This is no oeal." "Well maybe not. According to your out line, if I pay you a sum of money, you will in return give me a fortune. Now, b ow much money do you want in case J should feel posed to dicker with you 1" "Ah, you talk business now," the man from Big Vista exclaimed, rubbing his bands together patronizmgly. "It what good you possess. I have a.! ways beard tell of yo u as a brave, noble s urt of fellow, and I rannot find it in my heart to be bard e n you. So if you will give me a thousand, why I 'll give you thesecret, und wen call it sq\)are. You cannot make an independent fortune easier." "Not to let you tell it, very likely. But you see I know better. Supposing I were to turn around and tell you what you wish to sell to me?" "That you can't do," Dunk grow led. "But I can though! You wish to inform me ten hundred dollars' worth that I have a rich old maiden aunt res iding in Big Vista." Junius Brutus looked astounded. This old maiden aunt, Tabitha Green by name, happens to be nearing tbe portals Pternal possessed of two valuable gold mines. Having read, no doubt, of the p r omised difficulty rich people shall e ncoun te r in a passport into the r ealms of bliss, she w1sbts to give a way her riches to one of her two nephews, of whom I chance to be one. Is this not so1" "Well'!'' "Having known Tabitha's desire to see her lon g-hai r e d rElative, with a view to heaping upon him some of her superfluous cash, you, hired by nephew Number Two, set out in search of nephew Number One, for the purpose of terminating his existence in case you cannot make better t erms with him." Tbe Californian was now eying the man from Big Vista sternly; the latter sat rigid on hill stool, his face even whiter than usual. "I knew y o u wete coming-I am glad to meet you," Sam pursued, with triumph. "I guess we can S.ttle this matter here as well as else where. Don't you think so1" And as he spoke be drew a revolver from hia hip-pock e t and laid it on the table. Dunk gave vent to a gasp, H e was trembling in every limb from fear-that was evident eDOUI!;b. "What! you don't mean to do m e harm, Si eiTaSam," he articulated, faintly. "You are wrong in your estimation of me. I have no de signs against your life in coming here. I simply came to-" ''Make money out of me. Rut you cannot do that. I am s lways alive to all my J!ersonal in t e r ests yon bet, and abl e as a general thing, to anticipate the moves of my enemies. I do not oropJse to harm you, sir: you are beneath my

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Sierra Sam' s Double. notiee. But I want to show you that you are as powerless to do me harm as a new-born babe. I see you have a revolver in your be lt. Please draw it, level it at my head and fire." Dunk saw the cool C alifornian fold hi s arms across his breast, and a treaL'berons fire shot into his sunke n eyes. He made an e ffort to move bis hand toward his belt, bot could n o t He tried to leap from his stool, but could not. Scarcely a muscle could be move, while an ex pression of excruciating torture came upon his cadavtJrous face. Sterra Sam fairly roared with laughter, and picked up his r evolver "You see you are mine; did I choose to use you," he s:J.id. ''See! and be touched a smaii knob at one side of the table. "You were held by ele ctricity, whi c h the stool administered to you in such gradual currents that you were not aware anything was the matter until you were You are now at liberty to go. Taka the first stage back to Big Vista, or I'll s!Joot you n ext time I see yoa Whe n you get to Big Vista tell a ll parties conc erned to look out for the arrival of Sierra Sam'! on the 5th of Julv. Go!" Without further urging, Junius Brutus left the cabin To all appearance, be was a VJ3rY cowed and crestfaiien man. But within hi s h eart there rankled avengeful, r a ncorous grudge against the calm man of the Sierras, and once outside the cabin, he mut tered: "Yes, I will go back to Big Vista, and-" The "and" was spoken with emphasis, f\nd seemed to imply a threat. \. CHAPTER IL .MISTAKEN IN THE .MAN, "ALL abnardl" veiled the drive r of the stage plying between Knnestown, Silver Spur and Big Vista. "All aboard! Next station is Big Vista!" And h e gave an extra emphatic crack to his lon g-lashed whip, to warn his wonlci-b e passen that a start was to be made instanter from Silver Spur where a halt had been made for supp e r. A number of pas!
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Sierra Sam' s Double. day in a week, and kin lick any galoot as 1 ain't. My handle is Trumps, that's rny sheer of the game o' life. too. Jest put on male Attire, you see, because I want to vote; an' then, too It makes locomotion easier. Bet yer boots yeJi get worse shocked tbau at me, ef ye land down in Big Vista." Obediah Potts, as be afterward gave his name, did not reply, but instinctively clapped his band to the region of his trowsers pocket, probably to see if his pocketbook was safe. TrumJ?S laughed at this. "Yond better bang on toyer wallet, uncle," she suggested. "Et ain't an oncommon cir c u mstance that this byar llearse has he .. n halted by road agents, and the passengers relieved of their filthy lucre. Preachers don't st.and no more show than pilgrims wi' the knights of k l eptomania." "Bet yer boots they don't, or my name ain' t Snodgrass the Snorter!" put in the bullwhacker. "It don't matter ef a man's a parson or a Van derbilt-the '9.ents pockets his rhino jest the same. Guess tain't much the galoots wull ever get out o' Suodgras the Snorter, tho'." "Ye don't want te1 go snortin' tew certain about that," Trumps warned; looking the man over witll a single searching glance. "'Spect big men bas to weaken when it comes to !acin' r oad-agents. S'pose, tho', judgin' hy your title, t hat you are some pumpkins when you're tew home!" "Wa!ll, I am that, you bet! I am bad-very bad!" Snodgrass asserted, with a dignified air, that was ludicrous in itself. "I am sometimes so bad that bull towns stampede to escape my vengeance. My principal bolt is swallerin' men baH-way, bitin' off their ears, an' spittin' 'em out. I allns breakfast on a pair of tender souse, dine on a bite of some galoot's clean-shaved cheek, and sup on a plump arm or spare rib. Ob, yes, I'm snortin' bad, am I, Snodgrass!" And, with a grave shake of his bead, the bad" manserenely proceeded to pick his pearly white teeth with a knife. Obediab Potts smothered a groan of righteous horror, and cast a sidelong glance at the red beaded mau of cannibalistic propensiti es If be bad any idea of expressing his opinion of a man of such inbnmatl tastes, his intention was cut short by the sudden halting of the stage in a gloomy pass The cause was evrdent enough On every side of the coach swarmed a crown of maske d men, in red flann e l shirts and black pants, top-boots and plumed slouch baM, and every man except one held a carbine leveled to ward tbt' coach. The excepted man, who was burly of figure and evidently the <'aptain of the band, at once advanced toward the coach. Shell out, gentlemeu I" be called out, stern ly. "No time for parley. Your money or your lives!" No one responded Obediab Pott's teeth began to chatter, although his face did not seem to grow particularly pa l e; and it struck Trumps, who was watching him, that the teeth-chatter was more a piece of actin' than anything else "Come! comer' the road-agent chief cried "If you don't pan o ut, I 'll order fbe. Ye can't trifle with me." The inside passengers rerponded .by h11nding out their pocketbooks; T r umps, Snodgrass the Snorter, a n d the l ong haired passenger a l so b anded over pocketbooks, somewhat notic
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6 Sierra. Sa. ms Double. village, for a number of skin-lodges still stood in a cir.cle. MeN orrin was taken to one of these lodg e, and left th ere, duly the captain remaining with him. Afte r taking a drink from a b ottle that stood upon a sort of deal table the outlaw approached the Irish man, So you in sis t that you are not Sierra Sam, do you1" be demanded. "Faith, and I dol" 'l'erry repli e d. "Shuro I nive r be erd divil a thing of Sierra Sam afore and don't know a won of him." "I know b etter. You see, I have an acquaintance who 'met ,vou over in Flume ville a bit o f awhile ago, and you sent word y o u would be in Big Vista the fifth day of Jlliy. This is the 5th, and you are Sierra S:>m. Beg the pardon of yez, but you lie like the divill" Teddy declared, unflincllingly. "I niv e r was in Flume ville in me lifer D'ye mind the red-whiskered galoot O!l the stage!" "Yes." "Waal, sur, he spake in me ear, as I got off, not to be onaisy, as he'd fix it up all right for 'me-so very likely that was your man, in dis guise." Th e captain uttered a curse. If you should chance to be right, it is a remarkable coincidence, this chance r ese mblance and all that save s your life!'' h e growled. He the n blew a whistle, and another roadagent entered. "I say, King, look at this man sharply. Is this Sierra Sam!" Tb e road-agent stared bard at McNorrin, and shook bis head. "Don't think so,"' he said. "The two are remarkably alike, how ever. Indeed, I can de tect but one difl' eren<'.e-that, too, something no oue e lse would no t ic e." The outlaw chief r etired from the lodge in Two d a y s l a t e r h e once more visited M c N orriu in the lodge where bad b ee n confined. "You were right," he said. "I have re ceived a communication that satisfies me you are not Sierra Sam. Outsi d e you will fiud a m a n nady to e s cort you back to the vicinity of Bi g Vista." Afte r the Irish Spotter was gone, the captain swore and took a lett e r from his pocket anc l it. It ran .as follows: "BIG VIS TA, July 5tb 18-. "Dm WoLl<' SIR:-" Th e man vou took ftom th e coach is n ot SiArra Sam. althou'(h Sie rra Sam arrived h e re tle same hour tbe coach di 1, and made inquiries for you. You bad bette r retum, whe n i t shall pleas 9 the writ e r of this to g iv e you furt11er informat,ion. '' Yows, etc., UNKNOWN. 1 And who the d e uc e is unknown1" Deering r,mnted, as be tore t h e letter mto shreds. P ossib l y the male -attired girl who sassed me back from tile coach. If so, I shall have t.o buy her off, or-" CHAPTER III. THE TWO SNODGRASSES. BIG VISTA! Location-in the Sierra N evada. Site-high up the mountain-side, upon a natural ledg e or plateau, which overl ooked the yawning gull below, and beyond this a lower rugged brokeu range of hills, sparsely timbered and posses sed of some rather wildly b eauttfully scenic qualitie s, not to the rugged eye of the miner, but to the eye ro mantic of the day-dreammg tourist. It wasn't much of a city, Big Vista. It p ossesse d enough able-hoaied men to work its quartz drifts, which ran back into the mountain; it had a small complement of gamblers, roughs and adventurers in general, such as are ideneical with nearly every mining-camp, and that was about all, not forgetting that Big Vista possessed several citiz e ns of the fairer sex. Access was bad to the place by a dizzy stage route that wormed its way down the mountain side, and through ti.te gulf toward Silver Spur, hut it was seldom traveled except by Jehu Jack's semi-weekly stage. Of the places in Big Vista might be mentioned first of all, tbe posto ffice, which was located in a little cigar-store shanty superintended by one Angel; then followed a general store, five saloons, a smithy, ore-breaker and mill, s everal enterprises, a theater and fifty shanties. The "post-office," however, in the mind of some peoplP., was most attractive place of interest in Big Vista, for the reaso n that it was sup erintended by the "purty gal of the place. .Angel, she said h e r name was, wh e n one morning she dropped down into the rough camp, but Angel what she did not menti o n. Sbe was out of luc k, and wanted to know if there was any sort of position in Big Vista where an honest and r especta ble girl could earn a d ecent livin g. A meeting was at onc e held, and the ques tion eon s id ered ; and It wa s dePided there was. Chauncy Blok e r, Big Vista' s blear-eye d P. M., bad recently been suspi c ioned of h orse stealing, to say nothing of robbin g tbe mails; so the aforesa\d Bl oke r immedia t ely invited out to a lyncb picnic, and Angel wa s installed in hi s place, at a moderate sa lary. Sbe soon succeeded in saving up eno u g h to purchase a stock of cigars and tobacco, and combine d the two businesses profitably. In some r espec ts, the g irl, with her seventeen or e igbteen years, did n o t fall short of what her name implied. It was u o matter ut secrecy that she was the prettielit piece of femininity that ha
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Sierra S ams :nouble. ,, It was the man of professed cannibalist:c proI And she threw half a dozen good cigars out pensities, Snodgrass-surnamed the Snorter, and upon the counter. since his coming to Big Vista bad been recbris-Snodgrass gazed at her a moment in evident tened Kittens by SO!JlP. of the local bums, who astonishment, then be picked up the cheroots bad challenged him to knock off their bats, but with aband nearly a s white as Angel's own without effect "Gal, you're a jewel I'' b e said, at the same Gude-mornin', mum!'' spoke Snodgrass, time flipping a gold eagle out upon the counter. doffing his battered semblance of what at some "Thou art an angel, fer sure, remote period bad been a plug bat. T his ver' is an all-fired fine morn in', neow ain't it. 'rbe 'As f air at heart birds aire a-vocalizin' in the tree-tops-tber in -'As fair complected, sects aire clronin' through sunlit etberialism-by gum! But, nnther am I a tramp, bat yer I'm sufferin' fer a smoke. .Be -a-u-tiful mornin' I" 'baccy on thet I I'm Snndgrass, I am, o' great Angel flashed an inquiring, halfamused glance appetizing reoown-Snodgrass ther Snorter, at the bullwbacker. you bet!" "Yes, it is quite pleasant this morning," she "Well, neow, pilgrim, I beg ter argy on thet replied. leetl e p'int !" a voice cried, and tbe post-office "Gorgeous!" Snodgrass decl a r ed, seeming to immediately afterward bad another occupant. grow more assured, and stealing softly along to Angel uttered a cry of astomshment, and the counter. "How et do sublitnify ther nature rubbed h e r eyes to make sure she saw aright. o' mort.a! humanity tew see things jo ggin' along The n ew-come r was an exac t counterpart, in so durned nic e! I'm an restbe t e, I am-cl'ar every respect, of the man who bad just tempted down to m y heart's e'na'most you het, fortune at the dice-box. an' 1 worship natur's manifold wonders. But Snodgrass No. 1 turne d around and gazed at I also mther luv l ead-pe nml-shaped the new-comer in evident anger at the inter editions o' tobacco an' the fact is, my flmmcial ference. status air rather deteri orated at present. So, I "Bello! great yow lin' wild-cats, what d'yo thought I'd drap in to inquisitate ef ye eve r > mean1" be roared. trust! "I mean tbet you're a consarned !yin' decep"Oh! yes-! trust in tbeAII-Wiot. rovidence, tion-a consummate designin', as every one should I" Miss Angel r eplied, dustdiaboleribal cheat!" the other cried, bristling ing away vigorously. "That's the safest account up. I'm the famous Snodgrass, the Snorter, one can run nowadays." right up from Sorrocco, the1 bad, had man who "But, ye SAe, I referred to the terbe.c!" Snod-chews up humans fer fodder, I am, you bet!" grass declared, With a grin, which his red beard "Ditto byerl" asserted No. 1. "My best made ludicruus. "D'ye ever 'eomydate broken-holt is chawin' off ears. cheeks, arms, an' dis-up pards wi' stick 'haccy, on tick?" ther delicacies o' fine old sparerib. Snod" Never!" Angel replied, shaking her head. g r ass am I, tber gr-eat, original bad-b ali double" Or, just hardly evm, so to sp.ald" the bull-steam chested Snorter, from Sorrocco City, you whackerperpetrated,evidentlybelieYingbebad bet yer bonanzas, evecy day in a week and made a bit. twice on SunC.ay!" "Never!" .Angel said again. "I pay as I owe Tbe two men looked at each other, something -I never owe. Good-day, sir!" like a grim smile coming into their eyes. "But, see byar!" protested the Snorter," I "Waal, this beats my time!" No.2 grunted, ain't gone yet. I must have a smoke or I shall scratching his chin. kerflummix right beer, frum s heer wantiveness. "Knocks me cl'ar off my basel" No.1 sighe d. So set out yer dice, an' show yer angelic quali"You aire the cheeriest liar I ever met in my ties." life, 'pon my cannibalistic bon or." "If you get beat--" "An' you're tbe !yin' fame-stealer I "I get notbin'I'' eve r bearn tell on!" No.2 fired back. "I am If I g e t beat1'' Snodgrass the Snorter I" "You've got t e r set up ther best five-bit-ers 1 am Snodgrass the Snorter-you bet,_!" your shebang boasts of!" from No.1. Angel smiled r" How ye goin' ter prove it1" "Well, I gue'.J your assurance deserves a "How are you?" treat," she said. reaching for the dice cup, and "Ilbnno. Reckon tbar's no way, except to with one tip spilling five aces upon the counter. settle it atwixt ourselves." Snodgrass whistled his surprise. "That's sure as preacbin'. Let's adjourn to "You be great, you be!" be allowed, only somequietspot,andsquareup." succeeding in turning a full band. "I'm willin'. Wait till I get some cigars," Next time be threw less-three trays, and and No. 2 flung a gold eagl e upon the counter, Angel quietly beat it with five fours, and retook a dozen cigars and tbe Angel gave stored the box tO: Its place on the shelf. him; then tbe two left the place Whereat Snodgrass rooked blank. and saunt r ed down the soon disap" Alas! alas! such ;, fate!" be murmured, pea ring below tbe of the great platea u. sadly. "I bearn <>t tell tbet the women war tew Angel had followed them to the door, and much fer men at gamin', and I reckon sbe'm gazed after them in curiosity. so." Well, that is the strangest occurrence I ever "Well, I won't let you suffer.'' AngEll said, beard of," she murmured, with 1t pu?.zled look. llll1iling. "I may need to be befriended some "I wonder, upon my word, which is day myself, so stick these in your vest pocket." It iii quite evident that one of them is, and one

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Sierra. SamsDouble. is not; but, which is which appears to be a co nundrum. Hal hal strange-strange! But, I haven't d::me s0 bad a trade, for a morning start. I wonder if those ten-dollar gold-pieces are good 1 I scarcely at them." She went behind the counter, and took them A man stepped into the store just then, and tipped his bat to the Angel. "Excuse mel" be saidh" but could you tell me where I can find t e r esidence of Miss Tabitha Green?" Jrom a box where she had previously placed CHAPTER IV. them. TOO MANY ACES, Oile of them was all right. Dlil WOLF DEERING wheeled around with an '!'he back of the other one had been ground of!', oath at the query of the new-comer, and then and a pictue of a man uugraved in the pldce of added a second one. the official sLamp! The stranger who stood in the doorway was It was a mos-t expert piece of wnrkmanship, Sierra Sam. and the picture was of a man of handsome face, Or Wll3 it the Irish Spotter, McNorrin? with mustache, imperial, long hair, and slouch questions went quickly through Deer bat-a mn whose appearance was of the type mg's mmd. peculiar to the scout. "Oh! are you tho man." Sam asked, with a gazed at the face admiringly. smile, "who knows of the residence of Miss "That settles it!" she murmured. "One of Green?" those men was negative of this likeness, in "I reckon I am. What does it concern you?" disguise. which oue? True as I live, I Deering clemanded, savagely. don't know which man gave t':lis coin!" "It concerns me to the extent th"t I am here She tried to >llect, but could not, for she t0 see this Miss Green," Sam replied, unruffled. had taken only a q11ick glance at either eagle ''If you do not see fit tn impart the information whteh bad b een !{iven her. I desire, perhaps I can finrl out elsewhere." "Obi well; i'JI keep it, and fall in love with "I can tell you-" Angel began, but Deering the owner 'lf the face Mavbe he will call for turned upon her so fiercely that she stopped the coin," she said, aloud. with a. merry laugh, speaking. as she slipped it into her pocket. "You shut up!" be growled, "or it will be A step upon the t!:lresbolrl, joJ t then, caused the worse for you." her to tum quickly around, her cheeks flushing Then be turned to the Sport. scarlet. "Who are you, and what do you want with "Ott! Mr. Deering, is it you?" she exclaimed. Tal::itha Green?" be dtlmauded "You st'lt'tle 1 me." "Emphatically it is none of your business, De "S:> I pwceiv," Dael"ing said, advancing Wolf Deering,'' was the prompt reply. "I into the room. "Every one is liable to be didn't coma here to make a man of your st..'\mp startled!" acquainted with my business, by any means, so And he laughed, sarcastically. l'li bid you good-day." He was a man of rather heavy build an 1 De Wolf Deering did not follow bim as he medium stature; his dress t1orougbly and strode away, but instead, turned to "citizen," and faultless as rega1ds fit and tex-Angel. ture: his face was a commonplace one, of du3ky ''You see that galoot!" be queried, noting the cornple:x:ion, po n > p'lrticularly attractive fact that the girl was. watching the Californian's feature; his eyes were jetty black, as was his retreating figme with interest. bah, ani his rather sen3ual mouth was shaded "I see him, to be sure," Angel replied, coldly. by a fierce-looking mustache. "An attractive appearing person." "Bv the way," he continu9d, as he saw tbe "Humph! he won't appear so attractive when flush deepen up'ln her faca, "who is the owner be gets through with me, cuss him! D'ye know of the face wb'l3e likene3s you just slippel who be iR!" "into yout pocket!" [t just occurred to me," the girl nodded. "It is not for you to know, Mr. Impu'len," Angel answered. watching him "Pshaw. Your position iR against you. Wbo with something like a triumphant expression in do you imctgine wonH have you, a cigar-store her eves girl. but infatuate1 me?" "NAverl never!" Deering gritted, his face "Oh! my! What conceit! Supposing I fl
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Sierra Sam's Double. 9 Mr. Deering-! t{)ld you that when I first came to listen to your would-be!overly proposals. Since then you have made yourself more and more obnox10us, until I assure you I cannot bear you. So please remember this, and govern yourself accordingly." Deering glared at her in evident astonishment. It was the first time she had ever ex hibited such independence and ruffl e d temper. "Well, curse me if I ever expected" you to turn on me in such a way," he ejaculated. But you'll find you will lose by it. You "ball yet learn to fear and love me at the same time. The day is dawning when it shall become necessary for me to put on the screws, so to speak, and prove thai; my will here in Big Vista is law." He turned then and left the store. "Ob, you bad, wicked maul" Angel said, after be was gone. "You are a desperado, but you'll find you cannot scare me, l'd rather be your enemy than your friend." Miss Tabitha Green, spinster, the owner of the only paying mines in Big Vista, and the posessor of other wealth in money, bonds, etc., resided in a comfortable bou se near the center of the little towu, in company with her pet cat, canary, poll-parrot, and bouse-plants, and with {)n!y one attendant, whose color was black, and who filled the position of domestic and man-of ali-work. Claud' was his name, and b e put on airs that indicated tJis equality with Big Vista's most inJ portant citizens. Miss Green, in the fifty-sixth year of single blessedness, was ratbet a shrewd, sociable woman, with of the peevish oldmaid characteristics than might have been ex pected of her; and she was friendly to all well disposed persons. But, although n eighbors she bad a-:;-lenty, she sel
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10 Sierra Sam's Double. teens, evidently, and possessed of a petite, grace fully-molded form, a fair, fascinating facP, with eyes and mouth to match, and dressed and looked all too prettily for the pos ition she occu pied. F or, altlwugh no evil reports bad ever as sailed her, she was noted as an expert card-sharp and successful gambler. As sauutP.red around where Deering was, k eep ing a e.ve about the room, to see what was gg@g on, b e nodded to her, and said: "You seem to be idle this afternoon?" "Yes, no bu s in ess at al l to speak of Perhaps you want to play?" and a musical laugh followed her words. "Although always unlucky, when 1 play with you, I am not afraid of you!" be responded. "Sit down, and while you win a V from me, I want to talk with you." "V erj well. You can afford to lose money. But, for heaven's sake don't refer to your usual topic of conversation," she said, seating herself opr-osite him, and producing a pack of cards. "You ne ed not worry," Deering answered scowling. "I've given up loving:_ any one but myself. Do you r emember that 1 once did you a servic e Fan?" 'I am not apt to forget it," was the reply, and a strange expression soon came over her face. I thought you would not," he said, sig nificantly. "It was the greatest service I ever have done any one. And now, when in trouble, I believe you would be willing to help me." Most certainly; what is it yo u want?'' "Well, I ll tell you. You remembe r I told you Sierra Sam was about to come h are and that there was a prospect that my old aunt would put him in my place, because I've an ide:1 she bas suspicions that I do not deal hon estly with 'her in regard to the financial man agement of the mines." "Yes." "Well, this Siena has put in an appearance--not only once, but twice." "Twice How du you mean?" 1 mean that there are two men in this town who loo1 ;: ptecisel v alike in every respect, and bothJ.) have no doubt, will claim to be the orig inal ::sierra S .lm." "How strauge Which is right?" "That to be told. There are also two Snodgrass by name, who are as exactly alike as the other two. One of these ron!!,"hs is real: the other I have every reason to believe is the real Siena S'\m." "And you don't kn,ow either of these respective two parties apart1" "I do not. There is but one man who knows the two Sams apart." "Who is that?" "Junius .Brutus Dunk." "Ab! then perhaps he can give you the in form ation you want?" But be will not do so. He bas a schame on foot to fetch forward one of these men as the rightful heir to a part of the wealth should Tabitha die. Which string he i!i working, I do not He admits no knowledge of man, or that be is interested in either. Now, I want to find out which is the genuine Sierra Sam, my cousin, and I want you to do it for me, and mark him so I will know him. Then I'll settle the case of who is to be Tabitha Green's heir in short order." How am I to do this?" "I'll leave that to vour woman's wit. find out for me, and I'll give you five t!lousand dollars clear cash. You know I am good for it. 'Sh I as I live, here comes one of tbe Sams!" They went to playing very briskly as Sierra Sam came sauntermg along, his movements characterized by grace and ease, and his face llS handsome as was the usual wont of the famous frontier ferret. Leisurely along to the table be sauntered, and there paused, his bauds carelessly locked behind his hips and a cigar iu his mouth. Well, what do you want'l" Deering growled, look.ing at him with a savage scowl. ''Nothing particularly," was the composed answer, "except that I observe you have one more ace of hearts in your hand than is all.:>w able in the general games of cards." Fre nch Fan quickly r eached over, snatching the cards from band, and perceived that tbe stranger was nght. Deering quickly arose, whipping a revolver from his hip bolster. But he didn't fire. CHAPTER V. A STRANGE DUEL. TEIE next instant there spmng forward a girl ish figure clad in sem i-mal e attire, and confronted the mine s uperintend ent, a pair of six-shooters cocked and l eve ler! in her grasp. "Hey! bello tbar, will ye!" she cried. "Shoot this purty feller, will Well, I guess not. My name1s Trumps, every day in a week, and I'll jest bitch outer ther Sport hyer, as a p.ud, and stand by him I" "Cuss yel what d'ye mean?'' Deering de manded. "Put up your tools and get out of here or I will soon put you out!" "Bah I Who's afraid of youl I ain't!" Miss Tl"Umps declared, emphatically. "I've seen a feller of ahout your size before, and didn't skeer fer a cent. D'ye want I should locate the meeting?" "Don't dare to do it!" Deering hissed. "I'll see you later. In the mean time, this tramp owes me an apology." And nod1Pd to Sierra Sam. "In wh:tt way do I ow e you an apology, pray?"' Sierra Sam queried, his eyes scanning the face of Deering with a stern gaze. "Oh, for exposing his exceeding good band!" French Fan s a id, laugh ing. "Exactly I" Deering announced, with an oath. "You sailed in here and lipped into my game, an' ye've got to apologize or give me satisfac tion. D'ye know who I am 'I" "You are my estimable cousin, judging by your polished manner," Sam replied, with bitter sarcasm. "Then ye claim to be Sierra Sam, do you?" De eri11g growled. "Why, of course! Why not'l The other in dividual is an impostor!"

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Sierra Sam" Double. 11 "So you say: what does he say?" "Don't know, sir. I haven't intervievoed him, as yet. Does b e claim to be Sierra Sam'!'' "Yes, be does, an' all I want to find out is, which is the genuine. I'll then make Big Vista too bot for bim to live in it!" "Obi will you? Why not proceed directly to busine ss, then, for I am undoubtedly the genuine Slocuwn, of the Sierras.'' "That remains to be proven yet. HoYiever, you must apol ogize to me or figbt-ta:tl;e yow choic e. I never r eceive an in sult wit'hout re taliating, you bet!" your dutiful cousin, I must admire your grit, and if neces.ary, accommodate you I never apologize, without strong cause, so nomi nate your weapon s, and I'm rearly. Th e sooner I dis!JOse of you, the better show 1 shall stand of inheriting Aunt Tabitha's gnld "You'il never get 'em, n o r the other feller, either," Deering grow l e d. I do not car!> to have an open and disgraceful public fight with you, sir; but I see that it is nec e&ary." "Positively so," Sierra Sam assured. "I haven't bad a good, square row mover a month, and rather do for you than most any man I knuw. A pretty good way to settle i s to get up o n top of the b ouse-ridge, and engage in a fist combat-the man who gets tumble d off tbe roof to be considered the satisfied man. How does that strike you!'' "Good fer yer! You're a brick and I'm your pard, through thick and thin." cried Trump!> taking her place beside the Sport. "What d'ye say, Serious-can't I have that bOnOI?" "Well, that remains for you to say, as I am not personally forming partnerships nowadays!" Sam responded. "Ken't help that, Sammy I I'm a lone or phan, 'tbou t any big brother, an' I've got to cling to some one, so I'd just as lief tnke you as any one e l se I ain't afeard to sa.ss o r shute the biggest rough that ever walked, an' when it comes to counterplotting ag'in' sich fellers as D e Wolf Deering, I'm thar !" ""Well, use your own judgment about your actions, and look out you dou't J!,'et tbe rival sons of the Sierras mixed up. Now, cousin, what say!" "You have the cboica-we will adopt your plan!" Deering answered. "I am glad to have so good a chance t:> make an exhibition of you. MPet me on tbe roof of this place half an hour hence." "Kerectl" Sierra Sam assented, as the superintendent of Miss Tabitha Green's mines left the s:tloon. Tbe exci1;ement uow began to ripen. A duel, and especially oue of s u ch a peculiar character, was not an every-day occurrence in Big V1sta's little out-of tbe-way camp. It bad aheady len ked out, pretty generally, concerning the two Sierra Sams, and the object which brought the m to Bill' Vista ; cousequently there was a growing cu riosity among the citi zens to know who r eally was Miss Tabitha Gre<'n's nephew, and bow the matter was des tined to end. As soon as Deerin!l' was go n e, French Fan walked over to a quiet part of the r oom, and motioned Sierra Sam to follow her, which be did, in some surprise. Did YG.Y wish to speak to me?" be interro gated watcbing her inquiringly. "Yes, I do," she repli e d. "I want you to take me into your and tell me for true and honest if you are tbe real Sierra Sam. "I claim to be the original Sierra Sam otherwise, Sam Slocum. The other man claims likewise and it remains to be seen which is right. Further, I have nothing to say on the subject, for the benefit of any one "'bo may have designs to acco mplish. Wbt>n the tim& comes, one of us will undoubtedly come in as succ esso r of De Wolf Deering." "Well, I ho pe you will win. Privately, be tween you and me, De Wolf Deering ought to be removed, and if you wnnt a missing link to accomplish such an eve nt, apply to me, andP'":' bans I ca n supply it." ('You!" "Yes. I know it is rather natural you should regard me as a suspicious person, owing to my position here. But, in time, yo u will change your estimation, and know that French Fan bas a woman's heart, a woman's wit, and a woman's honor." Your position here n ee d not necessarily con demn you," Sam declared. "I bave known very estimable women to run places of this kind. You will excuse me, I trust, while I prepare fOil the a e rial meeting." "Certainly, but will you, f o r a mome nt, fore you go, allow me to offer you a fri end's advice? F1rst, l ook out for the fresh young woman who declares her intention of bP.coming youl' 'pard.' Snakes are numerous in the mountains wet seasons. Also, look out for another certain pretty young lady in this place, whom you may meet. Although fair to outward view, take my word for it, you will find her far from bemg au Thank you; I will bear your advice in mind," Sam answered, bowing himself a"ay tc> fulfill his engagement. The street in front of the "Find" was already. crowded with miners, cit1zens, and the news of the bouse-top duei having already spread throughout the camp. Deermg was waiting in r ead in ess having stripped to the waist. He was a powerfully-built man, of exceeding muscular development, and "showed off" to advantage, and was surrounded by a crowd of his admirers. Sierra Sam surveyed him with a cynical smile. A ladder was provided, and the two men clambered up to the stee p roof of French Fan's Find, after which the ladder was taken away. Tbey soon gained standing positions upon tbe ridge, facing each other, and made a somewhat nov e l picturP, considering the ci rcum stances. At least, so it appearfd to the spectators of whom the crowd below did not form the entirety. In font of Mh:s Grern's stood Sierra Sam No.2. and the ancient maiden lady herself. "You see it is as I told you," No.2, was saving. This fellow who looks likP me is a ruffi an,. and bearing of me, und oubtedly comes

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18 Sierra. Sam's Double. to dispute my right as being your nephew, thereby thmkiug to have me ousted and estab lish hims e lf, with a view to the futtrle-some thing I nev e r even co n side r In front o ( the post-office" stoorl Miss Angel anrt a very supe rannuated individual of cadav countenance by tho name of Junius Bru t u s !)unk. '' Oh I l\tr. Dunk, are they really going to fight?" pretty Miss Angel asked, anxiously. "Yes you see for yourse lf. The fellow went into Fan's and insulted Deering, and be ehall e n ged him to fight. If I am not mistaken Mr. Sam will fill." "Pshaw! I don't b elie ve it. Mr. Dunk, which is the real Siena Sam!" Tbe lean man smiled. "If I know it's my secret, till I make a spec' out of it. S J l>1)g as all other eyeo can discovet no diff ere nce between the m, I'm sure I am not going to expose the impostor for nothing." "You are a bad man, Mt. Dunk." "Pooh! no1" "Then tell me this: whi ch man are yon putting forward-the right or "Ask the winds-not me Watch the acting -for it muion of reckless con fid e n ce upun his band some H e wore his boots, while D eering was in his stocking feet, which gave him a de c ided advan t!Lge up on the slippery roof. Deering rus h ed forward and gtasped Sam around the waist, and attempted to burl him from the r >Of, but failed. Tne Californian tore l oose his opponent's grasp with a powerful effort-then, with a sud den movement, which a s tonished the spectators and caused them to bold their breath, be raised Deering bodily in his arms, as though h e bad an infant, and dashed along the roof. At thfl middle o f the ridge, was a la-rg e chim ney, with a cavernous opening, which cou municated 'vith a large ope n fireplace, in the sal 10n be l ow. Straight to this chimney the dare-devil Cali fornian bore hi s victim-an instant later, de spite his m 1Rt desperate efforts, Deering was raised. and chucked down the cL!imney, b ead foremost! While Sierra Sam sprung into the air, turned a douLle sorue tset, and landed safely upon his feet on tbe among the cmwd. "Was it done fair, gents'!'' be demanded, a moment later, with the utmost coolness. The majority of t'te crowd gave a yell of as sent. De ering emerged from the saloon at this jnncturP., a sorry-looking wreck of humanity. He was blaek from top to toe with soot, his left arm bung limp and us e less by his srde, the hair was near! v singed off his head, and his fa.ce somewhat burned. There chanced to be a small fire in the fire. place at this time, which had done the latter mischief. "Where is Sierra Sam1" he roared, a s the crowd gazed at him. Ay, where was Sierra Sam? The crowd looked around among themselves and eJhoed tbe query, for as if by magic had the Californian mysteriously disappeared. CHAPTER VI. THE STRIKE. YES, the son of the Sierrae, who had I.Jeen tke cause of De Wolf D eering's woeful plight, had as completely and mysterion'ly vanished from view as if the earth had opened and swallowed him. But he bad not flown to escape Deering, by any means, for be stepped out of the" Find" an instant later, a smile upon .bis face. "We ll, cuz, how 'do you feel1 Sorry to see yon have fared so badly!'' h e said, surveying the discomfited villain laughingly. Curse :von I I'll get even with vou for f bis D eering respond ed, savagely. "Your life-bl ood shall pay for the insult, mark my word!'' Then, delivered himself of the threat, be tumed and limped away t;.-,ward his shanty, followed by a laugh from tbe crow d He bearrl the laugh, and turned to shake hi! fist back at his tormentors. "We'll pay for that laugh," one miner said, dubious ly. How do you another demanded. '' Y e r emember we laff ed at him once a fore, an' be cut rlown our wages twenty-five cents on the dollar!" be dassen't do it, now! .l::l.e's g-ot reason to go slow now!" and the speaker cast a glance at Si10na Sam No. 1. Ken't h elp tbat-d.on't believe it'll hinder his spite. Jest :vou watch out fer a sign at the ofllco o' twenty-five per cent. reduction!" "Durn my skin if I'll it!" "Nor I," put iu one of the oldest gang-bosses in Big Vista. "We're working fer low wages now. Why, the up at Flumeville aire gittin' more than us since we were cut down!" "On course !" assented another. "An' I tell ve what, I don't believe old Tabitha knows a thrng Bbuut the fo rmer cnt. Et j!'St strikes me that Deering is putting the 'cut' money in his own pocket." "'Sb! hatter not let the boss beer o' tbeSA sus picions," added still anothe r miner. "He is powerFul, ye know. an' things generally goes ther wa v he wants." "'Tain't goin' ter be so, all us!" olrl Stockton, the veteran gang-boss, grunted. Right yonder, te r my notion, stands t!.Je kerect Sam Slocum, an' if be be ther genywine, he's a man every inch o' him, an' I'd not hesitate ter fuller bis lead." The speech had a powerful effect on the little knot of miners who were discussing tho prob able turn of D e Wolf DPering's angPr, and they eyed Sierra Sam curiously as the g r acPfu l sport l eane d against one corner of the saloon smoking. "Ye think tbat's the genywine, do your & miner named DUoibam asked.

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Sierra Sam' s Double. 18 "In truth I do," Stockton protested. "I've Californian, "will you be so kin d as to tell m e ,leerd o' this Sierra Sam afore, an' this feller what is the matterPf liuits tbe description to a dot-cool as a c ucum"Certainly. There is a strike impending, I ber, and handsome as a Hercules, and brave to believe, because Deering, tbe superintendent, a fault.. has reduced wages," Sam r eplied, not particu" But hev ye seen t'uther felled' larly sorry that she had given b1m an opportu Yw;; tbar he is, over at old Tabitha's now, nity to pause in his stroll t-tryin' ter git in his work of establisbin him"ObI bow meant" c ri ed Angel. )'It is just 66lt, afore this chap offers any a shame The miners of Big V1sta are not get" Do the two look alike?" ting nearly so much as those of Flumeville, 11S it "Alike as two peas. I can't tell 'em apart, as is, without this seconrlreduction." lar as looks i3 concerned," Stockton replied. "So I am aware," Sam assented. "It eeems "Then why not mark this feller byar? We like tyranny on the part of Deering to try imd may want to use him." grind his employees down in order that be may The idea seemed to strike the group favorpersonally pocket the more." ably-all except Stockton, who shook bis head "Oh! that's his lay-out every day in a grimly. week," the girl averred. "Tbe strike is apt to "Thet won't do, b'yees, fer et's dangerous tcr help you, is it not? The men will naturally fool around biro. Jest wait. Ef Devil Deering "ant a leader, and who is more desirable than l owers wages, I fer one o' ye wJII stike-then it the future heir of Aunt Tab?" willbetimeenoughtocalluponhim." "Humph! You remember there are two Tbe opportunity to strike came, as one of the heirs, apparently-perhaps it wuuld be better to miners had proJ2hesied y three candidates." Deering wentl'rom the saloon, first of all, to "l'ooh! L<>t every one have their own opin-the superintendent's office, of which be bad con-ion-I have mine. Have a cigar1" trol, and soon after a placard was tacked by And Miss Angel stepped briskly into the him on the outside of the door, after which be store, behind the counter, and set forth a box of betook himself to his cabin to make some re-Reinas. pairs in his appearance. For Sam to have refused would have been Stockton and several other mmers, as soon ungentlemanly, and besides, be "BS quite enam as they discovered the plat>ard, went over t o ored of the pretty postmistress already. the oflke, which was situated in one end of She put him much in mind of Onpitola, a the ore-tnill, and perusej the notice with lively former flame, who bad lost h erself from him interest. somewhere in the broad West, and Pft a tinge This is what they read: of regret to gm;,w a way at his heart-strings. "I think you will find those very pleasant "NOTICE! cigars," Angel chatted on. "Do you think tbe "On and after this date. Rll the men emp loyed In strike will last l ong 'I" the interests of Tabitha Gr e en as miners, millers, "I do not anticipate any protracted dif bullwhackers and will be subject to a flculty !" Sam answered. "Probably the men reduction in wages of twenty-five per CPnt. of will be set to work again by Miss Green's Ol'former prices. 8 d "DE WoLF DEERlNG, upt.' ,\ Ah! Why do you not call her aunty1" and "Thar! didn't I. tell ye'l" exclaimed Dmke, Angel laughed, rather inquiringly. the man who bad first forewarned the result of "Oh I time enough for that, when she recog tbe crowd's laugh at Deering's expense. "Ye nizes me as her beloved nephew, Sammy!" he s ee et war jest as I told ye, don't ye'l'' assumed, dryly. At the preent time, my "Yas, ali' et's enuff," old Stoci ton growled. rival seems t o have the advant&ge grip, by "Ther durned tvrant won't make his game having got into the graces of the much-coveted work. Huna! let' s canvass ther town, and see maiden aunt. It may signify that I'm left-how many wm strike fer better wages!" aga in, it may not." It was a thrilling hour. At this juncture, old Stockton, the -gang-boss, The canvass was actively begun, and men thrust his bead in at the door. hurried to and fro excitedly. "I say, Cap, d'ye mind givin' me a private The n ews of the reduction was carried into grip on yer ear, fer a minnit or two 'I" be asked. the shafts where the day gang were at work, Well, providing you'll not decapitate my and two-thirds of the number immediately quit organ of hearing, I don't know that I can ob work, shouldered their tools, and trudged up the ject," Sam returned, with a smile drifts into the town. The n nodding to Angel, and giving her an ad By the time night bad fairly dawned ove r miring glance, h e followed the old miner out the cloud city, and the moonlight bad beautifie d into the moonlight. the rough natwal vistas that stretched away to Not far away a litt!e !ITOUp of a dozan miners the eastward, the smgle street was cro...,.ded were evidently Wlliting (or them, but Stockton with an angry populace, and every mouth stooped, before be reached them. helped to make greater the Babe l of discussion. '1Now, see byar, boss," hfl said, "I s'pose Sierra Sam No. 1 happened along about this you're knowin' to Deerlng's ,r;ite en us,,'ca'se we time, near M1ss Angel's cigar store and found laffed at his predicament. Was.l, h'l's gone and that pretty personage standing in the doorway, cut us down on wages. D'ye call that right. surveying the assembling of the populace, with oonsiderin'1" a face expressive of anxious surprisP. j "Certainly not," Sam r epliPd "Obi sir!" sbe exclaimed, as she saw the "That's jest our notion, an' thar'9"J JJB.ttof

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'14 Sie:rra. Sam' Double. us w'at ain't a-gain' ter stand it. We've thar fore s truck for h igher wages, an' we want a capt'in. You're ther chap who orter bev c\l!l.rge, in Deering's place, an' we're willin' ter back you through." Yon take tGo much stock in an utter stran ger. You have no surety but what I m an im postor!" Sam suggested. "I'll stake my life that you're the real Sierra Bam, an' ther boys is all o' my thinkin'l" the vetera.n declared. Au' so we're anxious ter bev yelead us. We've sent to Deering d!lmand iug our back pay, au' ef ye join us, we're goiu' ter notify olrl Tab thet she kin get a new super intendent, or we won't go to work, at any terms." Have the whole of the miner3 joined in this movement?" "No. Tbar's a lot on 'em-mostly r o ughs, who sw'ar they'll stand by D oor ing, through thick and thin; so it's about tie who will go to work and who won't. De ering's men aire chaps who bold tber soft es t sn:ipS so fur as work is concerned." Sierra Sam was silent a few moments; he was evidently considering matters. -"Well, I tlon't know as I can refuse you, since you have chos e n me as your leader," he said, but I waut you to understand one thing -ypt must not kick if it is provan that I am not the genuine Sierra Sam!" "Nary a kick! I'll vouch every man will stand by ye like a brother, f.,r we're a ll satisfied you 're the genuine, au' no sorte r proof won't convince us otherwise. Et'll go pard wi' Big Vista, ef Y ain't given a fait shake, or my name ain't old Stump Stockton!" When all were collected there was indeed a motley assemblage, in which was r ep res. euted ID"-DY types of the hnmau counte nan ce. Sam look ed them all over fron his position up on a Jitt! A elevation or knoll abo ve them-noted each face and memoriz3d its lineaments and character line'; then turne i to old Stockton: "These are the man, Mr. Stockton, who have seen fit to bestow upon me the honor of being their leader?' he asked. Stockton had no n eed to answer. The croWd gave vent to a hearty shout of assent that sig nalized their acceptance. Yas, them's the lads, an' I opine they're all as good as old Tabitha Green's gold," Stockton answered, proudly. "I am sure of that, and proud to have the honor of commanding you, gentlemen, in a just cause-that of a revolt against tyranny I" the Californian S!l.id. "And to handle th'is case in a carefnl and judicious manner, boys, it becomes us to act as one person, all toe;ether, and as bro thers. We must form our plans and fulfill them. But before any plans are formed, does it not b e hoove us to make sure there are no enemies among us, who will profit by conferencel" CHAPTER VII. SAM AND TABITHA. IT was something that probably few of the strikers would have thou-sbt of "You'reri)!ht," old Stockr.;>n announced;" jet let me look through tber cmwd, an' I'll soon tell ye ef all prasent can upon." He looked tbem over, one by one, and soon caute to the long, angular figure of Junius Brn tus Dunk. "Aha! you're beer, aire ye?" the veteran ex. claimed. "Ye're beer, a-tyin' ter poke yer nose into our business, aire yel" "Oh, not I am on a strike, too," the cadav erons man declared. '' Y as, I see you nire, in a born!" Stockton re torted. "So am I, an' ef ye don't dust right along out o' this vicinity, I'll strike ye so hard ye won't neverJ;>e able to collect yer bones to geth!lr again!" "Then you won't take-me in1" "No, we won't!" Very well. I've no desire to stay where I am not wanted," tbe villain said, and h e forth with trudged away. Stockton then finished his inspection of the crowd, and declare d that all the rest could be et down as "solid" to the interes ts of the part.v. Well, then, we will proceed to business." S'l.m said. "I believe we Rll understand that I, Sierra Sam, am chosen leader in move ment." The men gave a hearty" Ay!" Tb e r e could be no doubt of their indorsement of their choice. "In that case," Sam pursued, "I shall figure for your welfare alone. As I understand it from Stockton, you have as a borly, decided not to go to work at any price, until Miss Tabitha. Green estab li shes a new superintendent for her mines?" "You b e t! that's tber ticket precisely," old Stockton declared, and the men echoed his timents. "Very well. Now I reckon the b est thing I can do for yon is to personally visit M1ss Green in your behalf, and lay the matter before her. I've au idea she may be .iealt with in this way. But first of all, you will have to nominate whom you want to fill])eering's place." "You! you!" snouted Stockton. "You, of course! Hurrah fer Sierra Sam, the original!" shouted miner Durham. And the others echoed the two speakers' choice clamorously, "No, gentlemel), 1 cannot agree to that," Sam returned, qui ck ly. "I have no desire to crowd myself f orward into Miss Green's affairs in tbis way. I propose that your gan!l'-bo.;s h ere is the proper man to hold the posittan of superintendent. He is evidently a veteran at the mining bu si ne ss, and with your approval I shall be glad to put forw ard his name." The speech hit tbe ronJ?:h audience in a tender spot. Stockton evidently bad be e n thought of, but bad been rul ed out, out of deference for the new captain, wh o m aU see.med desi ro us of bon oring with the po s ition. Tberef ore, a cheer went up, and Stockton was boisted unon the shoulders of a number o1 miners and marched about. While this was going on, Sierra Sam an. nonnced his intention of visiting A not Tabitha, to see what coukl he done witb her. Thus the broke up, and be took his way to tbe Green r esiden0e. ; Sam found be1 seated in a comfortable cba.ir,

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Sie rra. Sam's Double. 15 engaged with crocb e t work. She looked up with a w ekome smile, a s Sam entered, seated him self and tos sed his hat upon tbe sofa. "We ll, ba ve y o u b ee n o n t for a stroll, Sammy! s h e a s k e d, pl e a santly. "Yes, I've be e n up to see bow the strike is progressin g ." "W t>ll, bow do things l ook, dear1" Bad. I f ea r all will not be as well as I first anticipated. It may end in bloodshed, for all I know "Ob, d ear. It is too bad miners, the saloons were shut up, and slumber seemed w overhang tbe mountain town. But every one slumbered not. J u s t below the lev e l of the great plateau wner e the towJ:.l was built, aud -at one side o f the tortuous desc ending ;;tage trail, stood an o l d cabin, which was partly ov ergrown with moss and vines, and de s erted. Tho windows we r e board e d up, and upon the door was nailed a white board, upon whi c h was painted in l e t ters of black the singl e word : "SMALL-POX. "Yes. I tbink there is only one way to s et tle it. D eering is not a favorite, with the To-n i ght the moon's bright rays streamed down majority of the m e n, and they swear they'll upon the plac e with rather spectral t>ffect, and n o t go to wo:rk until ,be is and old the breez e s ighed unde r the e a ves of the slab Stoc kton put m his place, and their wa g es rarsed I roof wi t h a l on e ly s ort of moan. to Flume ville prices So they e nlisted me to At S U('h an hour human presen ce could hardly com e and lay the facts b e fore you." have b ee n exp e cted in the vicinity, yet from "You! Why, I th ought that the y w ere try-the dil ec tion of the town came a blac k-clad ing to l e a g u e the m se lvt>s with the pretending figur e down the trail, and pau s ed in front of the Si erra S a m w ho a bu s ed D e Wolf!" cabin door. They elect e d him their ca ptain, b e caus e b e A p e rs 0 n of medium stature was this, clad heli e ved their d e m a nds w e r e jus t and fair. I fro m t o p t o t oe in a c oarse s omber bla c k, with am the Si erra Sam you jus t r e ferred to as a full bla c k mask up on the fac e b lack gloves t ending, aud I am the g enuine origmal 1:3am upon the hands, and a black sombrero upon the Slo c um wo, you bet!" head Miss Gree n fairly g aspe d with amazem ent, Upon the breast of the closely-buttoned coat and rubbe d h e r g l a s ses, in orde r to get a b e t te r was a hras s letter" A." look at him. In front of the cabin paused this figure, and "Do tell!" she e xclaimed. "Why, I didwaited really tblnk you w e r e my n e ph e w Sammy, who Evidently some one e l se was expected, judg-went out f or a s troll ing by hi s glances up the trail. "So I am your n ephew, S a mmy, but not the t:>oo u anoth e r man came down the trail, and sleek-ton g u e d impost or who bas vi s ited you, j o ined the fir s t one in front of the cabin. ahead o f m e, a nd tried to palm himself off on Exactly like the first did t hi s second person you as the r eal Samuel Slo c um look, his whol e genera l appearance being the "Tbis i s very strange sir. How am I to same, except that on his coat was a brass letter know which of y o u is basely deceiving me ? "B." "That, you mus t judge f o r y o u rself," Sam ''What's the matter with C to-night?" A ans w e r e d It is a strange fact that we clos ely growl e d as B came up. r e sembl e e ach oth er, and, the ref o r e no wonder "Don't know. In love, I expect was the that the otb eJ' man sh o uld wi s h to step into laconic answer. your sh oes wh e n you g e t r eady to step out. As "Bah! there's no time for love affairs now. f or m yse lf, I will have nothin g to do with your Business b e f ore plea s ure," was the retort. affairs furthe r than to prevent you, s o far as in Th e n sil e nc e follow e d. my power, from fost ering a lying humbug. C s o on made his appea r ance from the dlrec-My profess ional s e rvic e s bring me in suffi cient tion of Big Vista, and joined the other two, then wealth, for my moderate d emands and I have the doo r of the cabin was open e d, a n d the trio no desir e to becom e your heir-indeed, I will entered, closing the door after them. not. So plea s e understand that. And, now, A dark place it was, but a lantern was soon as I came in b e half of the miners, pl'lllSe let me produced and lit, which lightened up the g loom. know what y o u propose to do." It was all in one room, in the c enter of wbich "I shall have to bold tha t matter under care was a table, with three stools by it. In one cor fu! consideration," Miss Green said, rather stiff-ner was a coffin-shaped box, set upon two woode n ly. "This matter of rivalry I shall also conhorses, and the box covered over with a large sider, but I may as w e ll tell you that I have no sombe r blanket. faith in your claims. Tue oth e r g entle man Just across the r oom in another corner stood a seems the most like my dear dead sister's child grinning skel etOn. "All right! Suit yourself, and you w ill Upon its brP.ast some pe r son had bung a p i a me," Sam d e clared, arising. "The man Deer c a rd, which read: ing is a consummate rascal and the sooner you get rid of him the more riche s you will have to be stow upon the Sam'l of your ch o ic e." The n with a bow, the Californian left t h e room, leaving the maiden min e-owner to her o w n reflections. Later that nightBig Vista w a & wrapt in s i lence. The street was cleared of its usual thr ong o f I died of small pox. In addition to those u ninviting r elics, t here was a musty d isagreeab l e odor to t h e place, wh ich adde d t.o its somberness The Black T rio did no t appear to be dist urbed by the s u rroundings, however, for t hey took seats about the tabl e, and passed around a small bottle of wine until each had taken a sw a llow. Well here we are once more," A said a fte r

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18 Sferra. Sam's Double. the bottle was put away. Let's get down to business." "Well, go ahead," B replied, drumming on the table. "I've learned nothing." "Nor I 1" C declared. "It is queer," A added impatiently. "The man we want-the man we came to Big Vista to entrap, is in the town, and yet, nut in our power." "Because we're uot certain which he is," C declared, spitefully. "We each have our sus picions aud yet we batE> to precipitate matters, on account of the other one-" See her e!" A spoke up sharply-" let us understand each other. C, you are in love with this geuuiue Sierra Sam-you need not deny it!' "It depends altogether which Sam you take for the original," C Raid. '' You know whi c h one I mean," A declared; "so admit the corn." "I am not ashamed to admit that I never was m ore impress e d with a person," C confessed, with a slight lau gh. "And you are in the same predicam e nt. B?" "I am!" B admitte d "You ha::l b etter confess a similar weakness your5 e lf, roy fair A. "I do-l n ever met a man before whom I could not m v h eart against. So we are all infatuated with this one man? Well, well, this will not do at all! We did not come h ere to Big Vista to become fools. We came here to captute a for a reward, and that's what we must do." "Correetl" assented B. "But that has nothing to do with love matters. We three have got divide, that's flat, or else give up loving, and stick to our vows of alle g iance." "Who is willing to give inl that's the ques tion," C demanded. "Not I, for one!" any of us," A responded. "I think I stand tbe l>et chance of winning the day!" Both C and B laughed sarcastically at this. "If Sierra Sam were here, he might he able to decide for himself better than any of us," C suggested, taking a sensible view of the matter. At this juncture a faint cough was heard. "Eavesdroppers!'' cried A, and the next instant the trio w ere upon their feet, with cocked revolvers in their grasp. A mom ent later the robe was thrown off the coffin, and Sierra Sam leaped out upon the floor. The weapons of the Black Trio instantly covered him, and A ctied out: ''Halt! You are our prisoner!" "Is that so?" was Sam's rejoinder. "Judging by what I have just overheard, I couldn't have fallen into more affectionate hands." "That remains to be SQen," A retorted st<>rn Iy. "You have discovered a part of our secret, and, therefore, your mouth must be se!}le d. Do you know what must he do.ne to accomplish this resultl" "Can't say as I do," Sam replied. "Well, I'll inform you. Befote you ever leave this place alive, you must marry one of ns. Here we are-you shall have your choice. Is this satisfactory, B and Cl" Those personages nodded assent. For once Sam'! of the Sierras wished the earth would open up and swallow him, or his trio of admirers. CHAPTER VIII. A BLIND CHOICE. SIERRA'S habitual composure was nothing daunted. "Weill" he said, with a grim sort of humor, "you se e m to have the matter all cut and dried among yourselves?" "Yes, we at present have the whip-row, and it becom e s necessary for us to improve it while we can. If you listen, I will explain." Sam nodde d his Willingues$, and so L etter A continued: "We ll, to begin with, you behold in us the Sisters Sarony, otherwise tbe Black Trio female detectives. Formerly there were four of us, but the fl:lul hand of a traitor took one off, leaving but us three, bound together by a terrible tie, to avenge our sister's death, if we have to fol low h e r murde ter to the end of the e arth, OtJr uniso n to be unbroken until the mission is fill filled. But, just now arises a dilemma. Whe n we fancy w e have our man safely caught, another of precisely similar appeara nce comes forward; there are two men in the field; we do not know which is our enemy, owing to their perfect resemblance to each other." "The n, I suppose I am one of the two," Sam remarked, unconcernedly. "Yes, you are the on e su s pected, and according to our oath, it would be our duty to see that you n ever saw the open air again---e ertaiuly not until we were satisfied to a c ertainty whether you were really our man or not. But, now, either you must die. or become one of us, by marriage, the consummation of which shall seal your lips as regards us, until you or the other man is discovered to be our man. Well, tbe::J it's settled I've got to hitch on to one of you1" Sam took out and lit a cigar, and regarde::l the three Sisters Sarony closely. "One of you is French Fan, another is Trumps, my declared pard, and the other Angel, of tbe post-office!" he said, finally. "Now, ean't you tell me which is which, so I can choose to my own liking!" The Black Trio shook theiF heads in concert. They stood in line facing him now, and looked as nearly alike as was possible. Well, in tbat case, I suppose I shall have to go it blind. I don't know one of you from the other, but on the venture I shall choose C!" There was a moment's silence; then A advanced to the table and took a book from a drawer-a small Testament. "Do you swear by your hope of heaven, Sierra Sam, to keep secret all the knowledge that bas come into your possession to-night, and to take. hereby, this girl, L etter Stella Sarony-as your lawfully-wedded wife and to love, cherish, protect, and support her1'1 A asked, solemnly. "I dol" Sam answered, rasol-9'ed to see the thing through to the end.

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Sierra Sam's Double. 17 A raised the Testament to his lips, and then put out her band. "Allow me to congratulate you at the ex pense of myself and siste1 B I" she said with attempted heartiness, but with a slight tremor in her voice. "I assure you that you nuw have three pards who will stand by you to the end, you should prove to be our man. Then, love, hope, and friendship must be cru;bed by the avenging triple-clasped bands of the three Sisters Sarony I You are at liberty to go, iir." "Rather, yourselves," Sam returned, "as 1 bavA concluded to make this my headquarters, for the present.'' "Oh I well, such being the case, we will bid you good-evening," A assented, whereupon the strange trio filed out of the cabin. They departed as they had come; A went first, and as soon as she was out of sight, B fol lowed suit, leaving Clast. She turned, as soon as her sister had started, and placed her small gloved hand in the Californian's. "Good-night, Mr. Slocum," she said, earnest If, yet in a voice that Sam failed to recognize. If you reg1et the proceedings of to-night, let me reassure you, for, fo'xcept at your own solicitation, you will never be asked to keep your promise; nor will any of your plans ev e r be in terfered with. All I have to say is-your choice will never hate you." She turned, then, and followed the others. "Wonders will never cease," the bewildered detective muttered. Sam'l, you're a Benedict, at last, and don't know who youi wife is!" Morning dawned at Big Vista and saw the street once more alive with men, most all of whom were strikers Deering's crowd was also abroad, but held closely together in the vicinity of the mouth of the drifts, or entrance into the mines, evidently determined to keep the strikers away from the subterranean chambers which yielded gold to Miss Tabitha Green. Deering was about town, once more. He had bad the hair and beard all shaved off his head and face, what the fire had not burnt off, and carried his arm in a sling; therefore, he presented a slightly better appearance than when he emerged from his chimney adventure. Sierra Sam arrived in camp, shortly after sun rise, looking as fresh, handsome and composed as was usual with him. He met Deering in the Find, and dropped into a chair opposite the superintendent's seat at a table. "Nice mornil)g!" Sam remarked. "Very!" Deering replied, with sneering emphasis. "How about the like no work, for the present, don't from Sam. "Thanks to vou, yes." "To me! Pshaw! I did not suggest the strike. You were the cause. I saw Tabitha, and I see she is inclined to consider matters." "What, at your instigation!" "Oh no! She don't seem to take much stock in me. The other galoot has got the whip row, 1 surmise." Deering grinned, maliciously. "You'll neither of you succeed in displacing mel" he growled. He then arose and took his departure, evidently not caring to have any further conference with his audacious antagonist. Old Stockton came into the saloon soon after, his fuiTowed visage looking rather gloomy. "Et's goin' to be fun, bymeby," be announced, pausing by St>m. "They're talkin' bad, on t'otber side, I beer, and propose pitchin' inter us, an' drivin' us out o' town." "Let 'em pitch. I reckon they'll get their fill of it," Sam replied. "Just tell the boys to be easy, keep their mouths shut and eyes open, and we'll-. see. I've an Idea I shall learn some news, before long." Stockton departed, but Sam waited to finish his ci&ar, before aprea ring on the street. While engaged, French Fan >auntered along, dusting off the tables as she came..-"A very pleasant morning, Mr. Slocum!" she accosted, not looking directly at him. "Very I" Sam replied, emphasizing word. "An auspicious morning for a newly married couple to start on a bridal tour, eb?" She laughed lightly, and a curious flush came to her cheeks, which he could not intel pret. Yes, indeed!" she returned. Are you contemplating such a tour?" "Well--ahem! hardly," Sam responded. "I believe it is customary for a man to have a 'partner in such trips, which I have not." "You are unfortunate," she smiled, and passed on. "Is that the woman I took?" S!lm asked him self, when she was gone. If so, she's as care ful as a fox about betraying_ herself, Most men would be proud of such a beauty." After finishing his cigar, be went to the post office, where the telegraph instrument of the line running from Big Vista to Flumeville was located. To his surprise, he found Trumps behind the counter, in place of Miss Angel, who was no where visible. "Hello! A new clerk, eh!" the Californian interrogatedl surveying her in some surprise. "You bet. This just suits yer pard!" was the jolly response. "What d'ye want-shake for the "Hardly, Miss Sarony, Sam replied. "I to use the telegraph instrument a few minutes" "Oh! do you telegraph? Well, it will cost you three bits. Sam sat down at the table, and soon had com munication opened with Flumeville, through. Deakm the operator at the other end cf the line. "There's a strike here," Sam telegraphed, "and Sierra Sam is at the bead of the stnkers. Do you know if anr, movement is on foot for a gang to come here?' "One Deering bas telegraphed, offering extra wages for a hundred men!'' was the reply that was flashed back. Then, please post a placard from me, giving the boys warning that if tbey come herA to re-

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18 Sierra S am's Double. p lace us, they come at the P.Aril of t hei r lives," Sam instantly wired baek. 'I am Sierra Sam!" Miss Taci.tha Green h a d a morning caller, t hat merning, whom Claudie ushered into her cossy little sitting-ro o m This visitor was none other than the Reverend Obediah Potts, to wll.em reference was made in another chapter. He l.,ked even more sleek and ministerial than duriag his ride to Big Vista, on the night of the stagach robbery. "Ahl excuse me, my dear Miss Green," he said, when he found himself in the maiden lady's presence. "I presum e you do not tecog nize mel" "No, sir, I do not, though my eyes are not very good, which may m a ke all the diff e rence," Miss Gre e n answere d, smoothing out her apron and looking very demure. "The loss of one's sight i s a sad, sad calamity, 1 Obediab observe d, wiping his own gree n go g gles, without taking them off. "I know h o w to sympathiz e with you, d ear Miss T a bitha. And, by the way it's many long years sin ce we las t m e t, Tabitha. up in the green crowned pasture sc e r es of o ld Vermont." Do tell Mi s s Gree n gasped, all in a flutter. "Yo u don't mean t o t e ll me you came from Vermont, "Verily I did s t, T abitha-right from M e rino Center, whi c h used to be the abiding-place of our early y ear&. I s it p ossible you d o n o t rsmernbe r m s T a bi t h a 1 Doth thy h eart no t rec all >vhe n thy m a id!ln h eart on ce beat a gains t llW m a nl y y o un g bre as t 1 Oh ed iab Potts C a n i t b e possibl e?" "Ay, all thing s c a n be possibJe Tabitha," and the 11ew-co m e r pressed Miss Green 's b y n o m eans girli s h hand witll youthful f e t v or, at the same time h itc hin g hi o c h air c l ose r to h e r s "Long yean h a > e p assed sin ce yo u and I exchan ge d vows of conanc y, Tab i tha, whe n our obdutat e p a r ents r e fused t o s a n c t i on our union-but bl ess m y h eart, Tabitll a l feel jus t as y o un g a s I n s t e r did, and see y o u look jus t a.q chirp anr t natteral a s of yo re !'' ''Laws s a ke;;, Ob a di a h! y ou n early take m y breath awa y Mis s Gre e n sirn r 3 re d, blu s hin g red to the roo ts of h e r hair. I w a s jus t t e ll ing a young lady fria ud all abo ut my early beo.u, not long ago, but, de!lr m e I ne v e r expected to hav e y ou p o p in on m e, ia this way." "Well, I'll tell y ou, T abitha I couldn't st!ly away. Y e I'm j oggin' a long iu year s, a n' ilev laid up a snu g sum from my mini s t eria l and mve finall y co m e t.o the co n c lu s ion et Wall time for me to l o ok around for som e staHl party of the opposite sex, to h e lp m e ll own through the declining walk of life. By accident, learning of your wh e reabout s my !Mssm heaved with youthful emotion once more, and says 1-If Tabitha Gre e n i s aliv e and single, bl es s my soul, I'm goillg to s e t my cap for her once m o re." "Laws, Obediab you should remember we are getting old-" Fudge Tabitha! Sixty years has passed lightly ove r both our heads, and we're lia bl e to celebrate our fourths c ore anniversary. Be sides, I hear that s ome rascals are figuring after your property. Wouldn't it be quite prope r for us o l d lovers to marry, and thus baffle the sch e mers ? "Obediah 1-I-" "Conse nt,' my d eares t Tabitba1'' My sweetest Obediab, you know I cannot say not" Curtai n! CHAPTER IX. ANGEL AND SAM. AFTER Sierra S a m bad sent his warning to the min e rs o f Flume vill e h e turned to Trumps, and gaze d at her a mom e nt, studyingly, f o r he knew she had been watching him, sl y ly, when his bac k was turned. Wh e r e i s Miss AngeH" Sam a s ked, buying a fres h ci gar. Oh! only off duty for a f e w hours," Trumps r e pli ed "Did y o u want to see h e r p articu larly! ":No n o t at all, f or that m a tter. I saw shv was n o t h e re, and t hought it a little odd." "May b e She'll b e b ac k b e f or e a grea t while, how ever." Sam l eft the post-offi ce wond ering not 11little what b a d b eco m e of the pretty post-mistress. About nin e o 'dock in the even in g Sierra Sam was stan d i n g in the doorway o f Frenc h Fan's Find, look i n g d ow n the m oonlit stree t wh ere h e saw Si erra Sam No.2 c o ming toward the s a loon. Whe n h e was but.oa few yards away, Mi ss Ange l cam e alo n g from a n o ppos ite direction, h e r eyes do v nc as t, a ud payin g atten t i on to no o n e T o r eac h h e r sh anty s t or e sh e had t o pas s Sierra S a m N o 2 but seemed t o think n o thin g wro n g alt h o u gh s h e b a r e l y g l anced a t bim Th e rival S a m'l, h oweve r, a p pea r ed tc b e of a f estive n ature a n d d esiro u s o f m aki n g h imself c on s pi c u o u s fo r b e ste pp ed b e f ore Mis s An ge 1, tbe r e h y b l oc k a dinr, h e r p as'
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Sierra. Sam's Double. 18 "So, that's the St>rt of a character you are, is i t?'' be demanded, eying the other sternly. "You insult unprotected ladies, do you, and yet claim to be Sierra Sam?" "If it suits you that way, yes," No. 2 replied, apparently daunted. "Pray, what business is it to you?'' "The business of a detective cn-1 a gentleman to watch out for ruffians of your stamp," was Sam's cutting rejoinder. ""You : ill-breeding alone is sufficient evidence ot who and what you are." I am the genuine Sierra Sam, all the same, and y.:>u can't prove it otherwise!" "That remains to be seen," Sam replied. "For the present we have an entirely different matter on hand. You have insulted o11e of the most estimable young ladies in Big Vista, and you've either got to apol o gize or settle with me. So take your choice." "I never was known to apologize yet; I doubt if I shall commence at this late stage. If you mean I must fignt with you, I also decline, as I am a gentleman, and never fight with any one." "You are a cowardly cur, evidently," Sam retorted,' in disgust Were it not for soil ing my bands on you, I'd mop the street with you!" "I am glad you are so fearful," the man re plied sne e ringly, but edging away, R.nd finally walking oft'. Sam turned away, followed by the crowd. "If that man is a fair specimen of the real Sierra Sam, I am ashame d tbat I am also a claimant of the title!" be declared to those around him. Two .days passed without any 1narked in cident. 'rbe strikers lounged about the town with evid ently no intention of coming to any terms excer>t their. own; on the other side the miners of De ering's movement guarded tbe entrance to the mines with persistent deter mination. Sierra Sam No.1 kept around town, making such observations as he could. On the evening of the second day succeeding his encounter with Sam No. 2, be called in at the post-office, about an hour after the mail bad arrived. The room was deserted, except by Angel, who stood behind tbe counter reading a paper. "Good-evening!" she said, with her habitual winning smile. "No mail for you, Mr. Slo"It isn't my luck to receive much," Sam rtl sponded. "Guess I've no friends to writ'! to me." "Ob! I am sure you could win friendship any where, Mr. Slocum." "Ab! then, have I won yours?'' "Have you not I believe you overheard some such an insinuat ion, once upon a .time," and she busJ'Id h e r s elf in rearranging her cigar to bide tile flush upon her cheek. "Well, But, I was at a disadvantage then I didn't know which was which." Nor are yon liable to." "Tben you won't tell me?'' "Most not." "I have half a notion to leav e this town behind me, on that account." "Why? You made your choice!" "So I did, but perhaps the wrong one." Ha I ha 1 Well, you must trust to luck far that." "Trust be banged! You, and you alone could I ever accept." He spoke with great earnestnes.; his eyes elo quently echoed the sentiment his lips had spoken r as they dwelt upon her sunny face. She colored rather strangely; an expression incomprehensible, swept OVt)t'-ber face, leaving it a shade whiter than before. "Have a cigar?" she said, banding him a box, by way of turning the subject. "You must ex cuse me, Mr. Slocum, if I command you to say nothing of the kind again. You will remember you are wronging one of these Sisters Saronyi and they are bound by a vow of constancy. know you will be kind enough to oblige all of us in this matter." 1, Having expressed my sentiments, I will oblige you," Sam responded. "By the way, did a curious coin once come into yow possession? If you will lend it to me, a few days, I will re turn it to you." Sbe took the eagle she had received from from the money-urawer, and gave it to him with a smile. "I was going to return it to you, when I was. sure who playr.d up Snodgrass," she said. Sam gave. her another eagle in exchange. "You are absent much, of late?" he. said, in terrogatively. "When will I see you again?'' "lt will be better if you do not see me, at all, perhaps, more than as a nodding acquaintance," she answered, quite sob e rly. "I think I comprehend," Sam said, "but I will answer that I don't quite b e lieve it." He then lifted bis bat, and took his departure. Outside the post-office be met old Stockton, who bad evidently been waiting for him. "Deering' s down at the 'Find,' and he wants to ye, on important business," the veteran said. They soon reached the and entered. Deering and a few of the roughs who sided with him, were there, but the majority of the crowd was composed of strikers. Deering came forward, as Sam and Stockt
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20 Sierra. Sam' s Double. "You'll find out. I give ye jest till sunrise to morrow to get your men out of Big Vista. If you don't go, we'll force ye to at the point of the revolver and rifle." "We are not in the least afraid of you," Sam rAplied, "and to illustrate, I'll give you just five mmutes for you and your handsome confeder ates to get out of this place. Take my word for itr-if you don't improve the opportunity, you will never get another, my noble cousin." A tremendous hurrah followed from the strikers, and revolvers were drawn on every hand. Deering saw nothing but grim earnestness manifested, and that a row just then would re sult disastrously for interests; so, motioning to his men, be .withdrew, followed by them. By Sam's ordero Stockton at once assembled his men within the saloon. "If they strike before morning, we are better off here than though we wel'll scattered I" he ex plained. "Have you any objections to my making your place a temporary fort?'' he asked of French Fan. "None at all," she replied, with one of her thrilling glances. If I had, I fancy I could not withstand your pleat" Did she mean it? Or, was it only coquetry1 CHAPTER X. ATTACK AND DEFEAT. IT was well that the strikers of Bi!f, Vista bad taken refuge in French Fan's "Find for other wise there might have been a worse result of that night's affray. It was about midnight before any demonstra tion was made on the part of Deering and his than old Stockton, who bad been doing sentinel duty outside, hurriedly entered the saloon, barring the door after him. "Ge t ready, boyeesl" he cried. "Ther durned skunks a ire creepin' up on us!'' To arms, then I" Sierra Sam caused to be passed along among the rough audience. "If you let yourselves ba driven out of Big Vista, all right; 1 never will if I can help it I" "That's the stufi'l" the men cried in a chorus, "aud we'll stand bv ther old camp as long as she Ord ering all lights put out, Sam took his posi tion at a loo p hole just over the door, where he could soe without being seen. Out< i l tile late moon lit up the scene only giving things rather a spectral -From his position Sam could see that the ma111 body of miners were grouped together down the stroot, just out of sure rifle range, It became quite evident to Sam, when he saw several men crawling toward the 'Find' from equaUy as many directions. eae;) armed with a bundle of kindling-wood. It was their idea to fire saloon, and force its occupaots to come from cover, when the re serve force would take advantage of the confu sion to inaugurate a successful attack. "I'll check that little game," Sam d.ecidid, taking aim at the nearest fire-bug. "Just you go tell Deering to sail in boldly, if he wants to fight." Bang! The bullet from the Californian's rifle grazed the cheek of the man, and clipped off a part Gf his ear, causing him to leap to his feet with a yell of patn and rage, and scamper back tG a place of safety. The others, who had been creeping up, at onee followed suit. "Ready, now, at the loops!" Sam cried; "here they come, all in a body l Let 'em fire first, and then give 'em fits!" A ruh of feet was beard r.oming down the street; then a small-sized pandemonium of yells and and oaths, followed by a volley of rifle-shots, many of which bm st spitefully through the thin board siding into the saloon, but fortunately not harming any one. With a will did the strike rs return the fire, cutting into the ranks of the enemy so badly that they halted falteringly. "Out at 'em!" Sierra Sam shouted, leaping from his perch. and flingmg wide open the door. "Now's our chance to show 'em they've tackled the wrong end of the hornet!" The strikers needed no urging. 011t into the moonlit night they poured from the saloon, with fierce yells, and rushed toward the enemy, firing as they wentr-Sierra Sam at their head. Deering, seeing that his men would weaken before the determined strikers-to save his own skin, turned and ran for life. It was all his crowd wanted-they broke in wild confusion, and also fled precipitately, leaving Sierra Sam and his men masters of tha situation. Hurrah l Let's take the mines while we are about it!" old Stockton cried, excitedly. "No, nol" Sam protested. "Let the mines alone. "If Miss Green does not see fit to re establish you, don't touch a thing of hers, Just take your time now, and I'll guarantee all will come out well. If any of you get in actual need of funds, call on Sam'!, and you shall have 'em only mind that you have nothing to do with the mines, further than to keep them from being worked by the other men." An enthusiastic chPer gteeted this speech, for it struck the majority of the men RS bf'ing right, and those who did not quite believe so, were willing to succumb to the ruling oninion. No further was made during the night, and when day dawned once more, quiet pre vailed in camp, though Deerinl!!, and his men were discovered housed in the breaker. About noon they ran u p a white flag on a pole, which went to say that no further demon stration on their part would take place for the present; so Sam ordered a similar signal shown but at the same time warning his meu to be on the lookout against treachery, as it was not safe to put implicit trust in the enemy. During the remain:ler of the day Big Vista once more assumed somptbing of its old appear ance, the men of both sides commingling upon the street, with no particular hard feeling, ap parently, toward each other. But that a bitterness was tber"t. could not be doubted, and Deering felt it the ketlnest of

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Sierra Sam' s Double, all, as be sat in the superintendent'8 office, and bitterly cursed the ill luck that had turned his D wn assault back OIJ hiru. Dunk entered the office during the afternoon, just as Deering was delivering himself of a volley of oaths. "Hello! what's the matter'! Aire you down hearted!" the skinny man aked, dropping into s chair. "Curses be on you, yes!" the superintend<'nt growled, savagely. "Things aire in a purty shape when I can't run my cwn town, am't they?" Junius Brutus laughed rather mockingly. "I am sure no oue is to blame but yourself," be said. "You'd never make half a villain without me to help yo along. By the way, bave you beard the news?" "Wbat?" "Old Tabitha has got a !over. "Bah l you mean the old fossil of a preacher who calls himself Obediah Potts'!" "Yes." "Humph! the old galoot is a lunatic." "Neve rtheless, Tabitha and be claim to have been lovers once upon a time, and having met egain, they're ?;oing to hitch up in double harness, anrl tbPre ll be a new manager for the Big Vista mines." Whereat Deering swore roundly. "Where did you get your information?" he growled, eying t he skinny mao sourly. "From my con fidential reporter. ClaudiE>." "Bah l I don't take stoc k in it! They're both to put on a shroud, ins tead of wedding robes." fool yourself. They're going to be married, and that, too, before many days. Now, Deering, ef you don't look out, you're goin' ter lo se yer trump in this game. "No, I'll be banged H I will!" Deering gritted. "Why, cu1se me if I don't murder every one of yon, before l'li l ose!" "You may no.Ji. have to do any such bloody work if you ciiille to terms with me. I tell you, D eering, yon can't do beLter than to come down, and l'll make you heir of Miss Tabitha Green, and owner of the mines." "And if I don't, wbattben'!" Deering sneered. CHAPTER XI. MURDER DUNK smiled vaguely at the query. "Why, then," be said "I shall see that you never inherit one farthing of Tab's surplus CHsh. I'll work against yon with all my power, and, no doubt, sufficient charges can be hrought up against you to make this part of the country excePdingly unhealthy for yov." "Oh, you refer to the road: do you'! Maybe you forget you are implicated as well as I!'' "Tha t cannot be proven. But tbPre is no use of 0ur b eing at swords' points. You can just as well come to terms with m e, and I'll put you onto Avery pnint whereby you can score a You see wbat a gripe the other Sierra :sam bas got over the best part of the miners, s.nd you probably know that be is the style of a chap who is able to look out for Number On e [t behooves you, therefore, to see that he is de i'hroned." "Well, curse it, wbatdoyou want to straighten matters up for me?" ''Five thousand dollars down, and five more when you are established beyond dispute as sole heir of Tabitha Green." Deering sat gazing at the floor, his face dark and moody Finally he arose, went to the safe, and brought back a roll of greenbacks, which he placed in Dunk's hands "There," he growled, "go ahead now, and see tbat you make good your promises If roiJ don't, I neen not tell you what you will get.' Dunk smiled blandly as be stored the away in a capacious pocket. "Well, you need have no fear,"be said. "I'll clearly explain, so you can understanrl. In first place, although you may have suspicioned te the contrary, my Sierra Sam is tbe real Sierra Sam, and the other fellow is an impostor, but sharper than lightning, which I catJnot say of my man. At any rate, the other fellow is sure to win, if lPft on the market, and the re mainder of the men will go over to his side, and we'll get drummed out of town. Emphatically, he must be removed." D e Wolf Deering nodded his Tbis de cision harmonized well with own :vfews. "Yes be must be removed ; but my man must be put iu his place-Fee? In this way, no diff e r ence will b e suspected, and my man will at my orders arrange everything so the capture of the can be effected." Good plan!" "After the stnkPrs are captured and given the choice of allegiance or death, and that mat ter is settled, something e lse will be done 1 am informed that Tabitha Green is to have her will made so::>n, nnd as a mattE>r of course she will bave me draw it up, and I can eas1ly fix it so that every cent will revert t o you, although the real legatee will undoubtPd]y be his nibs, the RevPrend Obediah Potts. When by chance Tabitha drops away, all will come to you; my Sierra Sam will come up missing, and all will be serene and l ovely as a sunflo-wer in June. The n you will bave cause to thank tbe Junius Brutus Dunk f o r bis efforts in making you a nabob from a pauper." ''Curse your impude nce! I'll uave you know that I am no pauper," De ering fired back. "I'm not so badly heeled." "Well, that is your own business, not mine. Now it remains for you to look tenderly after vour beloved aunt's bealtb, and if after a proper course o f medicines you fail to see any improve ment, but, on the contrary. ee that she is rap idly declining, you must n o t take tb" thing too badly at b eart, but be prepared f o r her dropping off at any time. "I shall profit by your advice,'' Deering said, wiping an imaginary tear from pis eyes. "By t e way, bow are you going to di s pose of Sierra Sam?" "Leave that to mv ingenuity. I can decoy and capture him, I reckon, without much trouble." Sierra SAm sat in French Fan's sal oo n that night, busied in making not.cs in his memorandum-book, when that per. ennial bummer, Snod-

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8 2 Sierra Sams Double. grass, entered the place, and after looking over Scarcely had the benediction be('n pronounced the occupants of the room for awhile, finally when there was a sharp, detonating pistol-sho t deposited his anatomy in a chair, across the beard; Mrs. Potts gave a quick gasp, and would table from the Californian. have fallen had not the mmister from Vermont "Waal1 how d'ye do!" Snodgrass began. quickly caught her in his arms, and supported Tew brzzy tew receive a communieation, her to a co uub. Cap 'I'' I The only medicine-man in Big Vista was Je-"Ob, no," Sam replied, putting up his book. rome Stansill, and be was i111mediately sent for. "If you have anytbmg to unburden yourself of, 1 He was a half-breed, but nevertheless bad a fair friend Snodgrass, proceed to busines." education in doctor ing. "Wa!il, I allow et ain't much. I war jest But, when be arrived at the bedside of Mrs. comin' past the post-offis, an' tbo't I'd ax fer Potts, be at once pronounced her past the power mail fer ye, as I allowe<.l ye war byar. An' so of human aid. tber new gal w'ot 'wnds ter trier oms gnv me A short time later, she was raised and carried this," and the Snorter drew forth from his into another room jac ket-pocket a crumpled-up letter. The excitement was intense. Sam received it. and perceived that it was The news of the tragedy at once spread directed to himself in a feminine hand. throughout the town, and soon a largl'l crowd With some curiosity he tore off tht} envelope, was collected without the shanty and within. and glanced over the inclosed missive. Upon every lip was the quesion-who shot It ran as follows: Tahitba Gren! "SIERRA SAM:Nobody seemed to know among those wll' "DEAR SIR:-Be constantly on your guard, but bad be e n present to witnPss the ceremony. fear not! All will yet b e well; that is, if my etl'orls Siena S(l.m bad beard a crash in a pane of successful. K eep quiet. and be sme and re glass-saw Miss Green stagger as from receipt member that yon are expect!'d co rPmain faithful of a shot-sprung forward to her side, just as to your true' pard' or your own choice, in prefer Obediah Potts caught her in his arms-just all form er' pards.'" Ob ed i a h Potts said to him, in a low and not un That wasRII. There was no signature; the familiar tone: writinl{ neat and pretty. "Sll! I know the man! Offer a reward, bn':: "Wbete did you get this, Snodgrass1" Sam do nothing rash until you are further advised." demanded, eying the hullwhacker sllrewdly. Then with the assistance of a miner, be car-" At th e Snodgrass with ried the wounded woman from the a:; an unblushin z effort at earnestness "At the soon as the doctor had given her a quick exam offi s. Sammy." ination. "Well, what's your charges for mail sPrvice!'' Sierra Sam then turned to the crowd, which "Waal, Sammy, et ain't my natur' to be surged clamorous throughout the room. m ea n about small matte1s-so ef ye could make "Lad1es and gentlemen," be said, in his tones, et four bits, durned ef I won't be yer uncle as ever clear and decisiv e "I pray you to oo quiet long as ther scythe of old Time endures contact and to disc r e tion A terrible crime bas wi' tber blades o' eternal grass!" he e n committed here, in our mid st, and if you To rid him self of the bummer, Sam tossed him know who is guilt.v, you are far wiser than I. the desired amount, and then took l eave. We came h ere to witness a ceremony of happiS e veral days elapsed. n ess--instevd, it prows to be one of SOI'I'ow. Th e situat ion in Big Vista remained about the But in this hour, gentlemen, it hf'comes us aJ s'l.md, the stl'ike r s nor the anti-strikel'3 men, to l oo k up the m'l.n who did the terrible doing any work in the mines. deed. I sneak not to party or faction-! speak 'rha we.lding ::>f Miss Tabitha Green and Obe-tu you all!" rliab Piom for t'le future, in the way of a will, be aToun J her witli a Ecarching glance, as if fote she married. expecting some one. About three o'clork the bridal party entered The doctor sat near at bnnrl, l ook in g really the r oom, hnt habits. their places. Obeliah Potts sat not, far away, his head The minister then rearl the marriage bowed in his bane!<, anrl he was weeping. and pronounc9d Ohetliab Potts and Tabitha Sierra S
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S 'erra Sam's Double. 23 that, to f;S.y the le.nst, there was somet hin g peculiar in his manner of weeping. He then turned t o Miss Green. She was white; there was an expression of pam upon her face-their glances met, almost mstantly. "You are nnt Sammy!" she said, more inter rogatively than otherwise "I am Samuel Slocum, aunt, but not the impostor you are fostering," Sam replied "Yen met with a bad misfortune, but we hope t o bring your assassin to light without much diffi culty. As your nephew, I f ee l iL incumbent on me to do ali for you that lies in my power, so if you have any word to leave-any r equests to make, intrust them in my care, and it shall be my most earnes t and welcome duty to exe cute your wishes to the J etter. She gazed at him, a new light seeming to dawn ovet her countenance. "I feel-ay, I seem to know that you are the r eal Samuel Slocum," s h e said, faintly, after a :moment's study of his manly countenance. "You are a far different man from the other ,claimant-! can see it clearly now-I feel by intltinct thatyouarethereal son of my dead sister." She put forth her band, and Sierra Sam took : it in his Dear aunt, I have only to tell you honestly, that you are rig lit. But I do pray that you will not favor mP. I have all of this world's 1goods that I r equi r e to keep me through to the end of my journey "I came not to Bi g Vista, aunt, to become your heir; on the contrary, I came to so1icit you not to connect me with an l egacy you might make, as I do not make a practice of what I do not earn. But on my arrival here, I found that the fellow who l ooks like me was tryi to get in a deal to the fore, and I sche<:luled it as my rluty to prevent him if pos sible. It is no matter of secret to yon how well I have succeeded." "I need no further assurance to convince me who you a re," Mrs. Potts said, earnestly. "I feel that I am going, and what IS to be done, must be doue at once I s Obediah here?'' The Vermonter came forward, tears rolling <.'own his fat checks from in under his goggles. "I am here, Tabitha," be said taking her hand. "What do you wish, dear?" much, Obedia9. You know our mutual secr et, and that I am dying. I think that all is coming out well, aft,er all. I now realize that this is really my nephew, Samuel. He does not wish to become my heir. Will you, when you are through with my wealth, according to tbe terms of my will, leave all to whom Samuel may dictate?" "I will," Obediah replied, reverently. Samuel, have you any choice!" "I have, if the matter be referred tome,"Sam replied. Do you know a young lady named Angel!' ''Quite well," Miss Green replied, an expres sion of pleasure lighting up her pallid Tbeu, if it is your desire that I shaH name your heir, I will name the woman of my choice -Anffel," Sam said Ana Miss Green nodded her approval to Obe diah. CHAPTER XII. OBEDIAH'S DEPARTURE. WITHIN an hour after Sierra Sam named his choice of beri tage, T a bitba Green sunk peace fully into that s leep from which there..is no awakening. Befcre she dropped away, she whispered a few words to Obediah, which ho listened to with strictest attention, and as far as Sam was able to judge, her commun i cation afforded t he smooth faced, reverend gentleman the greates t degree of satisfaction After his services were no l o nger needed, Sam went forth into the town, only to find tbat the excitement had not abated to any g reat extent. A large crowd was gathered about old Stock ton, but they gave a cheer of approval as Sierra Sam came up. She's d ea d, aire she?" several miners inter rogated, as the Ca lif ornian came up. "Yes, is dead,'' Sam r eplied, "and I sup pose you've not found the murderer yet! What residents of the place have not been seen toclay?" De Wolf De e ring, for OD!)-he went down to Flnmeville last night," Stockton 1lnswered "Angel ain't now barter be found, an' t'other Sierra Sam, nuther," a Chinaman importer re marked. "Gentlemen," Sierra. Sam said," I have no doubt but what I can name the man who shot Tabitha De Wolf De ering would not be away from Big Vista o n s u c h an with out some very important cause. Come, l et's find out if be bas been in Flumeville." H eaded by him and Stockton, the crowd tramped over to the post-office, and here Sam sat down at the telegraph instrument, anrl sen t a message to Flumeville, inquiring if De Wolf Deering had been seen there within twenty-four hours. After a five minutE's' wait, the answer flashed back that Deering bad not been there. "See. boys," Sam said-" straws most gener ally tell which way the wind blows. My ami able cousin ha s not in the lower camp where has he been! Couldn't be have slippe
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SietTa Sam's Double. Toward evening, Sierra Sam dropped into the "Find," and sought out Frencll Fan, who was seated in a retired corner of tile room, engaged in reading a novel. She puslled a chair forward for him, as be ap proached, with one of her old winning smiles, and rematked; By the way. Miss Green is dead, and you are neir, 1 mppose!'' "Quite to the contrary. I do not aspire to occupying dead women's shoes. I came to ask you where Angel is1" "I do not know. 1 have been worrying much about her strange periods of absence." "On whose account-beN, or your own?" Sam asked, scrutinizing her fair face wttb a searching stare ,that brought color to her cheeks. "As a matter of course, on her account," she repli ed quickly. ''I have bad fears-" "Tbat sbe W1.S not remaining true tn tbo vows of the Sisters Sarony!'' Sam interrogated. "Well, yes, so to speak. But, that is foolish Angel is constant as either of us, I can nut understand where she goe31'' "Perhaps, while you and Trumps remain ingements for mv departur.il from this pl!ice. Mr. Slocum, Mr. Dale, a lawyer, whom I have engaged to make my last will and testamE)nt." Tbe two men acknowledged the introduction -then Dale said; Pctts, I have made out your will, 1 think, according to your directions, If you will listen I will read it to yon." Obadiah nodds:i and the will was read. the devise making "the young woman of Big "Vista, know as Angel, sole heir to aU-in-all "belonging to Obediab Potts, whether real or "pel'Sonal property, bonds, money, or claims by heritage." "It is aU right," the Vermonter said, when "What! you are not going away, Mr. Potts1" Sierra Sam Rsked, in surprise. "Ay, I am gomg tQ bid farewell to this part of the country," was the sad answer. "I have now nothing to keep me longer here, and prefer to go where I can hid e my grief witll myself." "I hate to see you leavens, for citizens of your stamp are by no meags a drug on tb& market here in Btg Vista." "Maybe n ot, sir; but I assure you that noth ing can tempt me to remain bP.re. By the way, sir, here is a letter you will oblige me by delivering to Angel, after I have taken my departure." Sam received '.1. sealed emelope, and soon aft..r watched Obedtah Potts mount a newly-pur chased burro, just outside tile shanty, and ride away. "A singular personage, whom, thus far, : hava not been abl-3 to makA o ut," was Sam's verdict, as Obediab disappeared from view "By the way, I'll have au excuse for dropping in at tbe post-office now." He did drop in, awhile later, just as Trumps was about t 0 sbut up shop. Good-evening, pard!'' she accosted, in her jolly way. "Are you going to buy Do, for pity's sake, because I've not taken in a dollar to-night, and the boss will tbmk wheQ she gets back, that I've been knocking down on the receipts," "Yes. I'll buy a bunch of cigars, if y.on'll give me a receipt for the pay for them,'' Saru said, laughing-but in reality be meant what he said, because be wanted to get a specimen of her chirography to comp'lre with tbt> note he bad received tbrougb Snodgrass. It's a bargain!" Ttumps assented seizing a pencil anJ sheet of paper and mpidly wnting out the receipt. "Tberfl you are: Received of Sierra Sam, ten bits forfive cigars. SignedTramps, for Angel." Sam received the paper with an amused sm il e "That will answer, I guess," be said, at the same time noting that the writing was in no way similar to that he mentally compared it with "Here's your pay. By the way, where is the fRit postmistress, that she appeareth 510 seldom1" Give it up," 'rrumps replied. "What mat ters it to you, Married men should be careful not to be too inquisitive about ladies," P'r'aps," said Sam, dryly. Just then some one hurriedly passed the door of the post-office, at the same time fiini!'iug in a lettet. Sam stooped and picked it up, somewhat anxious to know to whom it was addressed "Why, it is for mel" be said, tearing it open. There were hut a few lines of the contents, which ran as fol!ows: '' Ma. SLOCUAI:-I am lo trouble Will you lend me a helping band ?-help me to solve a mystery? Come to the small-pox cabin, Yours evc:r, ANGEL." CHAPTER XIII. he he1rd it read. "Please call in some dis-TRAPPED. interested parties as wttnesses, and then I shall SIE&r.A SAM's pulse beat faster as be read be ready to leave." note.

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' Sier ra. Sam"s Double. 2& "Bad news!" Trumps queried, observmg the slight flush that came over his face. rather. Guess it can be fixed up all right," he replied, bowing himself out of the place, and hurrymg up the street. With his mind busied with thoughts of the young postmistress and what could possibly be tbe nature of her trouble, Sam haLl no suspicion of treachery. The letter was written iu a fine, graceful style of chirography, which eould not well Lave beeu indited by a man, unless he was an adept at imi tation. Arrived at the old cabin, Sam O)Jf'ned the door, and stepped within, expecting to see Angel in waitmg for him But in this, he was mistaken. Hardly bad he stepped his foot upon the rocky ,J,oor within, when be received a lolow upon tlle forehead which knocked llim clear out of cabin, He was partially stunned, but yet knew enough to realize that hfl was dragged back into the shanty, !lnd his limbs seeurely bound with strong leather straps. He was also aware that some water was uasbed mto his face, and was finally to open his eyes wit h a full S<'nse of consciousness that a man sat astride his lx.>dy, and was looking steadily down into his face, with a pan of gleaming eyes. Dark though it was in the room, Sum was not lon11: in distinguishing the thin, sharp features of Junius Brutus Dunk, "Abl so you have come to, have you, my {rieud Sarn'H" the skinny mAn chuckled, shoving the muzzle of one or his revolvers in under the cool blade's nose. "Your girl gave you rather a warm reception, didn't she!" "Rather," Sam responded. "I was off my __guard or you'd never have taken me, this easy. "What do you want, you rack-a-bones!" "Just what I've got-you," Dunk declared, with a satisfied air. I invited you over to ba ve a chat, a while ago, bot you were too shy; so I bad to bait you. By the way, don't ycu think it's al.Jout time you let up for awhile, and confine Y'Jnrself to quiet! You've been really too active, since you came to Big Vista, and it seems to me as though you ought to slack up, and give some other people a show for their money." "So you concluded to put a damper in me, to shut off my action, eb!" Sam queried. "Exactly, exactly! you have too much action to accord with the way things should go-so it becomes necessary to temporaril.v you from the scene of your scheme, to more sedate and substantial quarters, where yon will re main in durance until I see fit to tum you loose." "I presume, by that, you are in the employ of my amiable cousin, Deering?'' "Not impossible nor improbable. At all events, I have reason to want you out 'lf thfl way, until I make what moneyI can-then, I have no further use for you. You will, like a gentleman, permit me to blindfold you, and bind up your vocabulary-trap, in order that vou may not utter any dnket notes. while I trans ort you hence, to your future abiding-place," Sam did not reply. He was not the man to parley unless he saw a fair chance for lllaking sometbmg out of it, and seeing that it was USI'l less to "chin" witn a man of Dunk's caliber, be maintained a p:rim silence, and allowed the hu man cadaver to bind his mouth over with a strip of blanket, and blindfold his eyes with a similar piece. Duuk then left the shanty aud was absent several minutes, when he returned, accompanied Ly another man. Sam was tj:Jen raised, and CArried from the cabin, and bound upon the buck of a mule, A short conversation ensued betw<'-en Dunk and his companion, after which tbelattermount <>d a second mule and rode off down the trail, leading the first by a strap, Thus from Big Vista's hopeful young metropo lis, was borne away the only man '' ho was universally fea red and respected-even by those who turned against bim, even though they were too rough and onesided to acknowledge tbe fact. The following morning was an eventful one, in Big Vista. When old Stockton arose bright and early, he made a discovery, that, to him was alarming. The Deering gang was once more guarding the mouth of the mines-not alone among themselves as formerly, hut reinforced by at least a hundred men from Flumeville, As quickly and as quietly as possible, Stockton !utd bis own supporting party aroused, and gathered within Frencll Fan's saloon, Hete a consultation was belrt, which Stockton bar! to lead, as Siena Sam was not present, and could not be readily found. "Tber durned galoots hev got us now, unle;s we kin do some big scbemiu' ter 'em," the veteran declared. "I tell ye I wish Sam'! war here. Anyl!ody seen him!" No one responded. "Probably be's skipped out, an' smuggled in the Flumes, ter work ag'in' us," one miner sug gested. "No sech a thing!" Stockton denied, stoutly. "Tbet man Sam is as square as ther day is long I tell you!" "You bet on that]" a voice cried out, and Sierra !Sam No.2 stepped into the room smil ingly. A cheer went up from the crowd. They dtd not recognize the difference between him and the original. "Stockton, I 9m glad to bear that you entertain so good an opinion of me," he said, grasping the veteran's band. "By t be way, I hll\e been on a little spying expedition in the enemy's camp, in disguise, and while I do not anticipate any immediate hostile proceeding on their part, it will ue well enough to keep our forces under this present shelter. I have no doubt. the other gang will go to work in a day or so with Deering at tbe fore. If any one gains posseision of Tabitha Green's mines, then it will be only by a superior force of nu m hers. I'll speak with mine host Fanny, and ee if lardel' will supvort us as regards provender." Stockton watched him narrowly a .1e walked

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16 S ierra Sam's Double. over tn where FRnny was sitting alone, apparently absorbed in thought. Well, I see you've made my place a fort again," she said, looking up with a smile "Yes, for a time. They rung in a sly deal upon us, these anti-<;trikers, by importing some Flumevillians. It strikes me, Fanny, that it is going to be a tough struggle before we get through-this to you only." "Do you think so?" She looked at him curiously as she spoke. "Yes. l do honestly think so They have over three men to our one, I suspect, for they are expecting still another reinforcement from Flumev ille. To let this out to the men would ba disastrous just now, and so I must cheer them on and give them every encouragement to strengthen their bravery. I trust you will assist "Do you need to Mr. Slocum?" was the thrilling answer. "I think you know full w e ll that I would do all in my p o wer for you." "Yoli insphe me, Fann.v," the false Sierra Sam said, earnestly. "I think I do compre hend your nature thoroughly, and can read you h eart as though it w ere Y:IY own. I know you are passionate and intense in your lo ves anu hates. Fanny, I know more-l know that you love me, and I wish you now to know that I also love you with all the power of my soul !lnd being! Only tell me, Fanny, that though the whole world may pronounce me fals e and beat and cheat me at eve1y tum, and that though other> and even death may come to claim me, you will remain true to me to the last." She did not eply, and kept her flu shed, joy ous face still averted, but put forth h e1 hand in hi s a her answer. ".May our reward be he said, in a low. fervent tone. "Excuse me now, please, I must l ook to the wants or the men, and keep them in good heart. Have you a jug of whisky you can sell me? I wish to give them all a ra tion to put them on nerve." "I will see," she sair!, arising. "Come with me, mine!'' and her lovin;r glance caused even the hearL of tile imposto to thrill within him. She led the way behind the bar and thence into a small room opening off from end of the w ere decaute1s. jags and qu9.rter-barrels of varioas kiuJs of liqaon. SiPrra Sm-as we shall yet call him-se l., cted a gallon ju'?; of Boar bon, and tasted of it to sam ple its qualit.y. "That will do," be sai<:l. "Now, if yon will be kind enough t') bl"ing me a qnart of water, and au empty I will this, as I do not cara to stimalate the men beyond a certain degree." Fan went back into tbe bar-ro!)m for the flask ancl While s11e wfts e;onP. the villain emptied a pint of the liqnor tbJ"Ough a knot-bole in the floor, anrl quickl.Y ernptiwi the contents of a pint bottle into the clemijolln. That will SPttle their hash I" he muttered. "All's fair in l ove or wm." Fan ca"Tlo in a moment later. "I I'll give it to tbem just as it is, but in small dos es," he ilaid, smiling, "Yon know the moce hornet-stings to the inch of bug-juice tbe better it suits the average Western man." They then went back into the saloon, which contained all tbe strikers. Commencing with old Stockton, the bogus Sierra Sam proceeded to 11:ive every man a. liberal drink of the powerfully drugged liquor, and ended by pretendmg to take a hearty drink himself, but the lightning way ill which be suc ceeded in slipping it down within his shirt bosom, showed that he was at least an expert in tile "ways that are dark," "Now, boys," be said "busines s is before us, and I want to distinctly impress upon your memories that business is buiness. We have a big odds to contend with, and if we hop e to win, we must be str ong, agile and sharp. I will no1v leave Stockton to get you in fighting trim, while I slip out, and make a few more observa tions ." The majority of the men grunter! forth an assent, but the veteran Stockton did not a ppee.:: t o feel so de eply impressed with the pseudo.. Californian's speech. "Boys," be said, after Sierra Sam bad left the saloon. "I f ee l all mixed up, and I guess I'll go and sit down awhile an<:! consider." And h e did sit down, but it was not five min utes ere his eyes were closed, and he was in ob livion, so far as his surroundings were con cerned. On e hy one his followers clropped into chairs, or upo n the floor, as the case migbt be, from the effects of the drug that had been p11t in the liquor. With a pallid face and starin!!". frightened g aze Fre nch Fan leane d against htlr bur, and watched the startling effect of the liquor, the truth of the pseudo S1erra Sam's falsity, gradually dawning upon her. "My God-I bave been th& tool of a demon in nature's disguise, who has taken advantage of my weakness and gained a point in power. Tbat man was not tbe real Sierra Sam !" She sat staring a t the wreck about her. wondering what next would follow, aud yet not possessed of power to raise a hand toward arous ino?: the drugged men from their stupor. Once she saw tb e door of the sa loon open, and Angel step witbin-s3.w her a quick, com prehending g l ance about-saw her dart out again, and close the doo1. Then all was quiPt again, deathly quiet, it seemed-until the door was burst violently open, and De Wolf D eering, with two-score or more o f armed men at his back, bwst into the room. "Hurmh. bovs! Victory L nine at last,'' he yelled, leaping forward toward French F\i11, CHAPTER XIV. 'I'HE CROICE OF LOTS. THERE was no lme :;, ... gainsay De ering's cry of victory, e:r:cept French Fan alone, but she not only knew that b e r voic e would be useless on this occasion, but the less she said the better for h e r. "Come along," Deering roared to his men. "Wtl'VP got everything our own way now, and we must improve the advantagtJ. Bind every man, hand and foot!"

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Sierra Sam's Double. 27 The job was quickly completPd, without awakening the drugged s le epe rs, and they were shouldere d and carried ofl' to the vicinity of the mouth of the shafts, wh e r e a camp b a d been establi s bed for tbe Flumtville miners. French Fan watched the proc eed in g with a colorless face D eering approached her with a triumphant. lee r upon hi s sensual face. "Well, what d'ye think o' matte r s?" he de manded, with a malicious smile. "Rather trip ped up your calculations, didn't it?'' "Not in the least. The plan was w orke d ad mirably, as I predicted it would whe n I con sented to furnish tbe whisky," Fanny repli e d, with appRr ent coolness "You?" DPering gasped "Yes, I I Didn't know that I was a party to the sc h e m e did y o u !" "Not' "Tbought not. If it hadn't b ee n f o r me and Trumps aud Ange l, your little calculation wouldn't have worked at all." "Oh! I see You ary trying 1p cre<>p around onto the side offering tbe most protection," D eering sneered. "\Veil, ye'd better. Soon's I get matters straightened a r ounJ sbips ba pe, o n e of you three girls have got to marry me." "Choose m e and .J.'ll sPratch your ugly eyes out, first chance I get!" Fauny assure d, with a g rimace. "I think th a t I will have tbe bogu s Si erra Sam and leave vou out in the cold." "In which case t h e fair Angel w11! do me just as well, and she i s mucb more a ttractive than you," D eering retorte d, as be turned aud left the salo on When he and the last of his gang were gone, and she was a l one, a strange expr ession came ove r the face of the g1r l, as s h e stood staring into a mirror behind the bar. "Eve n be twits me of my s ister's s u perior beauty," she murmured, "knowing that it is an u nwelcome fact to me. Angel is more beautiful than I and worst of all, Sierra Sam knows it. Wbile I will give up all o n Partb I hold dear for his sake, bE' passes me by to bestow his affection u pou ber. Ob! wby is this so?" She bower! h e r head in ber hands, and wept with intense feeling The door openetl and Trumps came into the sal oon, SPeming to be rather surprised to see the other giving away to grief. Frencll Fan l ooked up, half-fi e r ce l y, as if the wpre unwelcome. "What do yon want1" demanded, sharply, drying ner tears. "I want yon to brace up and be yoursplf," repl iPd, speaking with more sternness than was u sual with ber. What is the matte1!" "Nothing!" Fan flashed back, r ecove ring her composure with an effort. Trumps smiled. "I fancy I comprehend what is the matte r withyo u."shesaid, know in g l y "You are weak er than I ever s u pposed But this won't do. You know what yet remains t o be done, and it must done at once. The time bas arrived when we m ust smother every hope and desi r e and strike the blew we came here to strike. Get ready and comE' to the eabin." An h our later tb" three Sisters Sarony sat a t tbe table in small-pox cabin-not in their dis iu black, but as was tbeirusualapvearance m Big Vista. "Where is the r eal S i erra Sam? Angel asked, the the meetmg. "He is n o t in Big Vi sta." "I do not know," Fan replied. "I s uppose it was h e who came into tbe saloon tnd got the liquor to rea t the strike r s but awakened to the cheat, wb<' n I saw tberlfe c t o f the drug." "Your customary shrewdness mus t have been lov eblindE'd;' Angd said, with a r athe r cynical laugh. "I fancy, bad it been me, I sboulol have detected the cheat by instin ct." "You have unusual confidence i n yourself," Fanny retorted. "Have you anything to offer, Trumpsf "Yes./ It is my opinion Si erra Sam bas baen decoyed and captured," Trumps r e phPd "Last ni ght jus t before I closed up h e came into the sto r e and asked f o r Angel. While there some one flung him in a letter, wbicb he O)Jened and r ead, and the n l eft in a burry.' Before b e left b e dropped this lett e r f o r Angel in to tbe postal box," and as s b e finish e d speaking Trumps flung a letter across tb e table to where Angel w a s seated. "A love-letter, I presume."' French Fan r e marked, sareasti c ally. "On the contrary, it is n o t fro m Sierra Sam at all, Au g e l said, after opening it. Listen: "'ANGEL, OF BIG VISTA:-h EsrEEMED LADY-When this missive reaches yorr a ll that i s ear t hly of Obediah P otts w ill bee n consigned to th e tomb, and all property l ef t behind by me will b e yours, accordicg to the provis i ons of my last will and testament, ieft m the hands o f one Lawyer Dale and you can eo er int o th e immediate FrPncb Fan and Trumps utleretl l'xclamatio n s of sulprise. "That means tbat you are hei r to the Big Vista rniuiiS," Trumps said, "for I understand Tabitha left eve rytbmg to tb e o l d Vermonter." "Tbat remains to be scen,'r Fan temarked. "You r emembe r that the rascal Dunk drew will, a n d be is tbe right-band man of De W olf De e ring. It would be fo r h1m to bave some flaw in the will, so tbat ObediHb would bave no c laim through Tabitha's death "You an right," Angel assertetl. "Dunk i s an arrant knave, and will p lay the gal!le bt> can see tbe most mon e y in, yon can n -st us ured. We must l ook li im up, and get posseloion of the will." I believe tbe terms o f our mutual agree ment appl y on l y to tbe accotnpli sbing of one objel!t,' Fan suggested, rather cold ly, "and per sonal matters sbonld not be considered by m: as a sist e rhood." Angel flushed. "Perha ps yo u are right," s h e returned, calm l y I perceive that you are so far forgetting :vour oath as to a llow j ea l o usy a corner in yom heart. Therefore, I will try not t o burden you with any o f my troubles." Stop! this will not do I" Trumps comm11nded authoritative ly. "Let u s r emain sisters, at l east while our mission is unaccomplisbed. I

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28 Sierra Sam s Double.' we are all well which is our man now, I a r a we not?" Both Ange l and Fan a sse nted. Indeed, after th e bogus Sierra Sam's treachery, there could be but little doubt in the matter. 11 McNorrin, as he claimed to be b e fore com ing h e re." Trumps w ent on, 11 is in r eality Frank Fuller, th e murderer of our poor dead sister, Ade l e This same Frank Fuller i r also the man who the meu of Big Vista into the hanl'!s of the enemy? Angel and J<'an uodded their ass ent. Suc h bflin g the case. it b e hoov e s us, before looking np the real Siorra S a m, to secure our man. I b e li e v e it was a part of our a g r ee m ent thJLt we sh o uld all j o in equally in the searc h, and wh e n we founj the man w e were t o draw lots to d etermine who should strike the blow o f venge ance?" "Ex:actly" French Fan replied 11 It but re maill s now to see who is elec ted to that hon o r. L s t Ange l pre p are the l ots-whoever draws the shortest out of three shall do the last act in the proatamme paled, but she did not h esitate. kn e w too w e ll the terms of the vow tha t b ound the m to gethP r Sh" a r os e procured three matc h es and going t the furthe r side of th e room, t>roke them off i n une v e n l e n g th s She then r eturne d t o the and h eld the e xposed e nds toward h e r S is t e r. 11 T he r e t he y a r e," s h e said, grave ly. "Co n s id e r w h a t th e r esult o f dra win g t btl s hor tes t lllUff near t o the cente r. Y o u n e x:t," Angel said, lo oking at Frenc h Fan. Th e l a t te r r e a c h e d f orth h e r f air white hand, with its glittering array of diamoll,dse t rings :an d d r ew one of t h e sticks Ange l t h e n ope ned h e r band, expo s in g the len g th o f the othe r Fan h a d dra wn t he shortes t of t)l e three pieces and was electe d to strike the blo w tha t to a v e nge a dead si ster's wro n gs "The m eeti n g i s adjourned ," Angel said. "The v ows tha t have heretof o r e bound u s t o g ethe r are h ereby dis so lved." CHAPTER XV. A. FRIEND, UNEXPECTED. SIERRA. SAM was taken t o a C'a v e in the m o untain<, not three mil es ftom B ig Vista. H e r e hi s co n d u cto r u n b o n n d him from the horae, a ss i s t e d him t o dis mount, r e mov e d the gag from h is m outh, and the cloth fro m b e f ore I:Jis e y es Th e cave was so d ark tha t at firs t S a m c o uld hardly disting uish the features of hi s captor, but wh e n h e did he gave vent an exclamat i o n of surrrise. B albro as I liv e I h e c ri e d. "Ay, Bdhro," hi s captor replied, "thoug h I a m r a th e r ashamed t o a c knowledge the fact. Sterra S a m I give you m y word o f h onor, I kne.v n o t this was you, when Deering sent me here with yon. He told me you were the bogus in stead of tb e real Sierra S am, and that he was workin g s o l e l y for your interests." 11 Indeed &m r eplied rathe r sarcastically. '' Why did you com e h e re to Big Vista, Balbro wh e n I po sitively warned you men of Flume ville not to come1'' "Simply because I came to h elp you, S am, and brin g tbe otber party to c o nfu s i o n. With su c h an aim in view I a cce pted the cbarge from the rascal, Deerin g of bringing y o u here Sam l o oked at the man steadily and ing ly, but on account of the glo o m, c o uld dis c ern n o p articular express ion upon hi s face "See n ete, Balbro,' h e sa id, in a sternly sober tone y o u r e m ember I did you a service once." 11 Hav.1 eve r forgotten itt I came into Flume vill e on e day, a wreck of a drunken loafer, r o u g h and wre t c hed. You m e t m e and m ad e m e b etter by exacting a promise from m e t o bta ce up, and putting mon e y in my hand, when I had n o n e in my pock e t. I did brace np, iu s ome r e spe<;ts, and got w ork throug h y our agency, and though I am counte d a pretty rough character, as such run, I have it to say pro udly, that I would not harm a hair of your head f o r all the w ealth Big Vista b oasts. I b e li eve y ou, Balbro, so let tha t snLjec" drop. What d o you propo se t o d o n ext! "What d o yo u surpose! Balbro a s k e d. "a friend in n ee d is a friend indeed; but a friend Ly a c t, i s a frie nd intact." And lxnif e the bumme r cut the C alifornian's d s "Now, then," said "bac k for Bi g Vista we go. A s I told you 1Je f o r e, I n e v e1 f o rget a k ind n ess, aud I pro p ose t o furthe r prove i t All the m e n I b a d bro u ght fto m Flumevill e are your frie nd s, a s we ll as mine regardhss o f w ages o r othe r i n flu e n ce At t h e present tim e, v e r y li kely, your m e n, thro u g h the agency o f Junius Brutus Dunk, are in D eering s po we r, but it sh not b e s o." Let' s start f o r Bi g Vista as soo n as posstbl e then," sai d Sam. "Correct! We will start a t o n ce but I m u s t m a k e a d etou r i n o r de r to reach 11. hidde n dis g ui se S ) if y o u choose you can go on ahead t o t h e v i cinity o f the t o wn and await my ar rival t h e r e, wh e n we w ill f orm plans f o r the discomfit ute of the o t he r party." H avi n g ltttle doubt but what B a l b r owas true, Sierra S"-m agr ee d t o his p ropos i t ion and they soo n a f te r l eft the cav e B albro goinr; toward Flume vill e and S a m s haping his r oute toward the town once m o r e "Whe n I get the r e n ow," be muttered," mat te r s will h a v e t o be n arrowed d o wn." CHAPTER XVI. CONCLUSION. SIERRA. SAM w ent b a c k to t he vi c inityof Big Vista, to the place tha t B a l b r o bacl a p pointed. It wa s u o t f a r fro m thP s m a ll p o x cabin, and kno win g that h e ba.d plenty o f ti me, Sam made hi s wa v to the cabin t o see if s ome disg uis e s he had l eft the r e h a d b ee n di sturbe d T o his surprise, wh e n h e Pnter ed the place he f ound Snodg rass, the Snorter tbe t e seated com f ortably with his heel s e l e v ated upo n the t!>.bl e and in evident enjoyment of a cigar.

PAGE 30

Sierra Sam's Double.\ SD "Obi is that you, he saluted. Come in and take a seat. I got a little ahead of you by a short cut, and thought I'd take a little rest." "Got ahead of me?" Sam asked, advancing and taking a s&at opposite the Snorter. '' Ab I l fancy I get onto the racket!" "It is not my fault if you don't, Sam'l," the set>ming bullwhacker replied," for I am Balbro, and likewise the Snodgrass you once met in Flumeville, and afterward infriLged upon." "By all that's wonderful, I am surprised at this revelatiOn," Sam dedared, seating himself nearer to the man that be might get a better view of him in the dim light of the lantern. I see now that your eyes and the eyes of Balbro are the same. When we left the post office, once upon a time1 and agreed that I shou ld renounce my right to tue title of Snodgrass, I bad no idea I bad ever met you except as Snod grass, which charaeter you will acknowledge I versonatecl with a f11ir degree of success." "Nearly if not quite as good as myself, the original," Balbro replied. "By the way, while you have been improving a roundabout way to reach this place I have been making some ob servations, and i bavfl come to the conclusion that we can profit best for a while by remaining concealed in this place." And they did remain concettled in the. Jean to" kitchen-remained there until the three Sis ters Sarony bad visitOO the place and clecided, by drawin!r lots, who should be the one of the Black Trio to deal the fatal blow to Frank Ful l"lr, the murderer of Adele Sarony! When the strange trio were gone, Sam and Balbro set out for French Fan's saloon, and found it deserted, except of the> fair proprietress, who seemed surprised at sight of Sam. "Wb. v, Mr. Slocum, bow glad I am to see you back! Have you been in trouble?" "Well, no; not particularly," Sam replied. "How does the situation stand this morning!" "Bad!" Fan r eplied. "Deering and b1s gang have possession of the town, through having captured the strikers." She then went on to explain what is already known t o the reader, concerning the drugged liquor, wbicb the bogus Sien:a Sam bad administered to the uns u specting strikers. "We'll soon settle the matter now," Balbro announced. Come, Slocum, and we'll deal Deering a deal he does not anticipate." Tbey left the saloon and crossed the toward the mouth of the mines, where the Flumevillians' camp bad been pitched, and in whose charge the captured strikers had been placed. When they arrived at the scene of the camp, Deering made his appearance from tba orebreaker, and strode over to where Sam and Balbro bad halted. "See here, what the deuce are you two loafers hanging around here fori'' be demanded. with an oath. "This town is mine now, and I'll give you just about five minutes to clear out of it, and never show up here again!" "Is it possible?" Sam retorted. "Where do you get so much authority?" "Here!" Deering replied, waving his band triumphantly toward bis men and the Flume-ville recruit& "By force of numbers, as you perceive. Your strikers are my prisoners, and are to be tried and sentenced at my convenience. It you do not want to share their fate, get up and git!" I am sorry to say that I don't gcore worth a cent," Sam retorted, with imperturbable cool ness. "De Wolf Deering, I am an officer of the law, and demand your surrender. in the :uarue of the law, for the murder of Tabitha Green, who yet lies unburied in her resijeuce." As be spoke Sam stepped forward to grasp his villainous cousin, but was not permitted to attain his ol>jeet. A dozen of Deering's men leaped in front of bim and, though he drew a knife and fought them back fiercely, they soon succeeded in overpowering him, and also secured Snodgrass. Both were firmlyoound to posts in the vicinity. 0-ho I your authority don't c>xtend very far!" Deering sneered, stridin!f up to Sam and smiting him across the cheek. By all the furies, you'll find you've bec>n taking sides against the wrong man in this matter, and to-night at sunset, you shall receive your trial tbe same as the others, and you need not rack your brains to guess your sentence will be. I am the one who holds the trump, and you shall 'rassl'" "Maybe not," Sam replied, retaining his com posure. But when sunset came there was no move ment toward a trial, and Sam was removed from the post and locked up, helpless, in an empty shanty. Darkness soon gtole over the now gr1m mountain to" n, and Sam lay still and watchful, in his temporary prison, rather expecting that it woul(l not be long ere Snodgrass and his men would come to his rescue. The evening was well advanced, when the door was cautiously opened nud some one entered the r oom At first Sam could not make out who it was, but as soon as the light of a bu!l'seye lantern was turned on, be perceived that it was French Fan. There was an expression of stern rPsolve upon h e r face, as she advanced, and Sam saw, to his astonishment, that her right band clutched a shining dagj!:er. "Bello! Out on a carving expedition!" Sam interrogated, more merrily than be really felt. "I presume you will find outt"Fan n1sponded. "Terry McNmTin, Sierra Sam, or Frank Ful ler, whichever you choose to call yourself, your time is up. Your leas e of life bas alrendy been longer than it should be or would have been, but for your strauj!'e resemblance to the real Sierra Sam. Do you not know me, murderer I am Bijou Sarony, the one of the three Sisters Sarony, elected to avenge our sister's death, by killing you!" She raised her weapon aloft, and bent forward toward him. "Stop!'' Sam cried. sharply. "I am not Me N orrin-I am Sam Slo,nm, .the original. Strike me not!" "You lie! You cannot cheat me now, as yeu did when you drugged the miners, for my are not to be dedeived, As you murdered mJ

PAGE 31

Sierra. Sam's Double. sister, so shall you die, and may God have mercy on your soul!" H e r band flew upward, and the blade fla shed through air. Sam quickly r o ll ed over, and the weapon was partly buried In the rough floo r of the shanty. French Fan uttered a vexed cry, and attempt ed to jerk forth the weapon, but heforesbe could do so, she was seized from behind, and dragged bodily from the shanty. "Fooll" Trumps cried in berear, "that is not your man. There be stands now I" t:'lbe pointed over to the open doorway of i>unk s shanty. From where they stood, they could see the o)Utlines o f the pseudo Sierra Sam looming up in the doorway. "Are you sure?" Fan d!lmauded, trembling all over. "Positive!" Trumps asserted. "You came near murdering the real Sierra Sam." Fan darted away, with a strange gasp. About midnight, the door of Sierra Sam's priso n was once more opened, and Snodgrass entered. "All right!" be said, cutting Sam's bonds. men are all captured, and all that remains 1s to secure him and his man Dunk." They loft the place, and went at once to Deer ing's shanty, blicked by a crowd uf Sam's re leased men and the Flumevillians. Deering was not up, having turned in for the night; but a few raps brought him to the door, in simply his shirt and pants. "Hello! V>hat means this racketl" be roared, savagely. It means that you bavo:> run to the end of your rope!" Sam cried, springing forward, and dextrously handcuffing the ruffian. "This time I ruak e sure of you, my amiable Deering!" What remains necessary to be told of this story can be given in a few words. F ollowing Deering's arrest, Dunk was also seized, and Tabitha Green's will was found upon his person, so altered and erased that it was hardly readable, and gave everything to Deer ing. Fearing that his life was in peril, however, the cadaverous scoundrel made a confession, in which he admitted that Obediah Potts was the legatee, and also that De Wolf Deering himself, and the bogus Sierra Sam bad conspired for the murder of poor Tabitha, and that Deering had committed the crime; also that Deerin g was at ilhe head of the gang of road-a,ents who fre-quently robbed the stages, many of whom wera men under Deering's employ in the mines. The confession reJsed a decided furor of t'IX citement, and for a while mob law threatened to prevail; but through Sam's influence no harm was offered tt)e prisoners, as i.Je promised a trial should be given them in the morning. A search, however, was made for McNorrin, and about daybreak he was found, dead, near the small-pox cabin Upon his breast was pinned a pa.per contain ing to Sam, sufficient explanatiOn of how h had his fate. This paper read: "Vengeance is mine. BIJou SARoNY." Going back to the Find, Sam found it closer up, and upon the door tbete was a paper pinned which read: "SIERRA SAM:-You will find aletterforyouin tb! post-office." Hoping to see Angel, Sam a=::-dingly took hi& way to the post-office, as soon as it was open, iu the morning, and found Angel preparing for the rlay's business. "A letter for you," she said, nodding, and handing him a delicate missive. He opened it, and read: "DEAR MR. SLOCUM:-The mission of tpe thr!'il Sisters Sarony is fulfill d and in deference to our Angel1 wbom yw cho;e, we have lefL Big V:ista for eve r that she may be your pard for life. Marry her, and believe that our blessings will evet be with you botb. BIJou AND GusSIE SARoNY," Sam banded the letter to Angel, or Stella, and she read it with flushing cheeks and tearful eyes. '' They have left you alone and given you to mq," he said; "will you also give yourself to With her blushing face bidden upon his breast, she gave him her answer, and it was"With all my heart!" Poor Tabitha was given a 1espectable burial, that morning, there being a iarge turnout. The trial of Deering was then had, and ne was convicted of murder in tho first degree, aud together with his pals a few days later, handed over to the care of a deputy-marshal to be taken care of. Dunk escaped, through his confession, and hurriedly left Big Vista forPver. Later, leaving tbe mines in charge of Stocktun aud Snodgrass, Sam and Angel se t forth on their bridal-tour, in which tbe Mountain Ferret succeeded in running iuto very dee:p waters.

PAGE 32

DeadWOOd Dick Library LATES'r A N D B EST. HANDSOME TRI-COLORED COVERS. 82 Pages. Ba y O ne a n d You Will Buy t he Bes U r 8 Ceer See e cer tde. DEAD WOOD D ICK LIBRARY. I Deadwood Dick, the Prince of the Road l' The Double Daggers; or, D e adwood Dick's 8 The Buffalo Demon; or. The Border Vultures 4 Buffalo Ben, Prince or the Pistol II Wild Ivan, the Boy Claude Duval 8 D eath-Face, the Detec tive 7 The Phantom Min er; or, D eadwood Dick's Bo nanza 8 Old Avalanch e the Great Annihilator; or, Wild Edna, the Girl Brigand 9 Bob Wo o lf, the Border Ruffian 1 0 Omaha 011, the Masked Terror; or, Deadwood Dick in Danger 11 Jim Bludsoe, Jr. the Boy Phenix; or, Through to D eath 12 Deadwood Dick's Eagles; or, The Pards of Flood Bar 1 3 Buckhorn Bill; or, The Red Rille Team 14 G old Rifle, the Sharps ho o t e r 15 Deadwood Dic k on D ec k ; or, Calamity Jane 16 Corduroy Charlie, the B o y Bravo 17 R osebud R ob; or, Nugg e t Ned, the Knight of tbe Gul c h 1 8 Idyl, the Girl Miner; or, Rosebud Rob on Hand 19 Photograph Phil; or, Ros ebud Rob' s Reappearance 20 WatchE y e the Shadow 21 Deadwood Dick's Device; or, The Sign of the Double Cross 22 Canada Chet, the Counterfeiter Chief 23 Deadwo od Di c k In Leadville; or, A Strange Stroke for Liberty l4 Deadwood Dick as Detective 25 Gilt-Edged Dick 26 Bonanza Bill the Man-Tracker; or, The Seoret Twelve 27 Chip, the Girl Sport 28 J ack Hoyle's L ead; or, The Road to Fortune 29 Boss Bob, the King of Bootblacks 80 Deadwood Dick's Double; or, The Ghost of Gorgon s Gulch 81 Blonde Bill; or, Deadwood D ick's H ome Base 82 Solid Sam, the Boy RoadAgent 83 Tony Fox, the Ferret; or, Boss Bob's Boss Job 34 A Game or Gold; or, Deadwood Dick's Big Strike 35 Deadwood Dick or Deadwood; or, The Picked Party 36 New York Nell, the Boy-Girl Detective 37 N obby Nick of Nevada; or, The Scamps of the Sierras 38 Wild Frank, the Buckskin Bravo 39 Deadwood Dick's Doom; or, Calamity Jane's Last Adv enture 40 D eadwo od Dick s Dream; o r The Rivals of the Road 41 Deadwol)d Dick's Ward; or, The Black Hills Jezebel 42 The Arab Detective; or, S noozer, the Boy Sharp 43 The Ventriloquist D e tective. A Romance of Rogues 44 D etective Josh Grim; or, The Young Gladiator s G ame 45 The F rontier Detective; or, Sierra Sam's Scheme 46 The Jim town Sport; or, Gypsy JacK in C o lorado 47 The !\liner Sport; or, SugarCoated Sam' s Claim 48 Dick Drew, the Miner's Son; or, Apollo Bill, the Road-Ag ent 49 Sierra Sam, the Detective 50 Si erra Sam' s Double; or, The Three Femal e ives 51 Si erra Sam's Sentence; or, Little Luck at Rougb Ranch 5 2 The Girl Sport; or, Jumbo Joe's Disguise 53 Denv e r Doll's Device; or, 'l'he Detective Queen 54 Denver Doll as D e tective 55 Denv e r Doll's Partner; or, Big Jluckskin the Sport 56 D enver Doll's !\fine; or, Little Bill's Big Loss 'il7 D e adwood Dick Trapped 58 Bu c k Hawk, Detective; or, The Messenger Boy's F ortune 59 Deadwo o d Dick's Disguise; or, Wild Walt, the Spurt 60 Dumb Dick's Pard; or. Eliza Jane, the Gold Miner 61 Deadwood Dick's Mission 62 Spotte r Fritz; or, The Store-Detective's D ecoy 63 The D e tective Road-Agent; o r The Miners of Sassa fras City 64 Colorado Cha r lie's Detective Dash; o r The Cattle Kings


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