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Buffalo Ben, the prince of the pistol; or, Deadwood Dick in disguise

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Title:
Buffalo Ben, the prince of the pistol; or, Deadwood Dick in disguise
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.
Publication Date:
Language:
English
Physical Description:
1 online resource (31 p.) 20 cm.: ;

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

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Source Institution:
University of South Florida
Holding Location:
University of South Florida
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
026001926 ( ALEPH )
76913788 ( OCLC )
D22-00007 ( USFLDC DOI )
d22.7 ( USFLDC Handle )

USFLDC Membership

Aggregations:
Dime Novel Collection
The Deadwood Dick Library

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Serial

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lt>pyrlght 1878-188-1, b y Bearl l e & Adams. Entered at Pot o m ce. N e w Y ork. N Y . as errnd class marter. Mar 15, ll!9li No.4 THE ARTHUR WESTBROOK CO. Cleveland, Ohio Vol. I BUFFALO BEN The Prince of the Pistol; Or, Deadwood Dick la A SEQUEL TO "THE DOUBLE D.AQGERIL" Bl!: EDWARD L. WHEELER, A.UTBOR OJ' u DEADWOOD DJCK.. u ' THE D OUDLS D.&OOJC82\" no.. ...

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( ;?"pyrlght 1878-1884, by B eadl e & A de.ms. E ntered at Pos t Om c e, New York, N. Y ., as second c l a s s matter. Mar. 15, 11399. r:No.4 THE ARTHUR WESTBROOK CO. C le veland, Ohio V o l. l I BUFF ALO_nEN1 A SEQUEL '1' 0 .. TUE vum;LJ<; DAGGERS." BY EDl.-;,-;RDi:WHEELER, i A UTHO R O F DEAD WOOD D I C K u TIIZ D Ot:D.:..E DAGG ERS,'' ETC.t ETC.

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2 Buffalo Ben, the Prince of the Pistol. Buffalo Ben, THE PRINCE OF THE PISTOL; OR Deadwood Dick in Disguise. A SEQUEL TO "THE DOUBLE-DAGGERS." BY EDWARD L. WHEELER, AUTHOR OF "DEADWOOD DICK," 11DOUBLE DAGGERS," tiBUl'FALO DEMON/' ETC., ETC. CHAPTER I. THE TRAGEDY OF THE LONE CABIN. PITCHED down in the heart of a bleak Montana wilderness, under the shadow of towering, pine-clad mountains and facing a majestic, rolling prafrie here in this land of the lurking savage and fierce wild beasts, stood a solitary cabin, alone in its deso lation. It was strongly built, probably with a view to de fense, and overgrown with wild vines, now deadened to russet brown by the wintry blasts that swept across the dun prairie. One door was the only visi ble mode of entrance: a narrow window np in under the eaves admitted light to the interior. One wild, wintry January day, years ago two per sons sat bef
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/ / Buffalo Ben, the Prince of the PistCJ l. 3 Old Zeke Ransom, 'ca'se he'll never go back on yer seekerts. '' "I might tell you," said the woman, musingly perhaps I will, presently; but,. first, I must "'rite write that which will explain au, should my life be taken, and I feel that i t will be, and that soon. Have you ink and. paper?" "Ink an' paper? Phew! I guess not, my lady. Them's luxuries we old Nor'western cusses don t boast of. I calkylate. I've got achnnk of plumbago, ha.yr, tb<>,1gh, an' yander in the chimbley jamb ar' sum white wrappin paper w'at cum around sum tobaccy I got at Gocum. Reckon that's about my stock o' stash unary.'' "Very w E ll. I will try a.nd make those articles answer my requir e n1ents ." Ransom procured the paper and !encl, and then for more tha.n an hour his strange guest busied her self in writing upon t ho coarse sheet. Finally she concluded, and tied the result of her labor up into a little roll. "This is my full history, so far as concerns any living person," she sa.id, staring thoughtfully into the tire. "I have written it, that in the event of your death and mine, the world may know at whose door to lay our murder. Now, where can I P.''t it, so that if we die, sir, some one else will find it?' Old Zeke took the confession, and weighed it in his horny palm-then scratched his white old head, studiously. "Reckon thar ain't much danger o' our turnln' up Gur toes, ma1m; but, still, ef you say sobl'll i,o an' put it inter my boy Luke's cache o' pelts, ackm the wood, by the mountain. Most likely he'll be 'round to look after 'em toward spring, an 'II find yer dockyment." "Good. That will be jus t the plan. Go, sir, at once, for something seems to tell me that my ene mies are drawing near, and their coming means death to us, 1 feel assured!'' In compliance with her wish Old Zeke seized a shovel. and thrusting the paper into his pocket, left the cabin, going out into the wild, wintry clay. There was not sufficient snow upon the earth to cover the prairie, but enough to fill the stinging air across the heavens were dark and the sun had not shown its face for nearly a week, during which time the disagreeabl e weather had prevailed. After an hour's absence old Zeke returned to the cabin. . He found his stralljl."e guest sitting before the fir e, her twin babies now clasped to her breast. Dainty little bits of humanity they were, yet stout and healthy, and the very image of their mother. "Twins?" querieO: Old Zeke, seating himself near to the fire, and rubbing his horny palms briskly, to restore circulation. "Yes-a boy and a girl," replied the young wo man, kissing them fondly. "How old ar' they?-sixteen months?" "Eighteen, yesterday. Poor little darlings! Caet upon the world so ea.rly in life, and homeless and nearly friendless! Would to God they had died when tlrst born! it would have been a mercy to them-to me." "Reckon you hain 't got no husband, marm ?" per sisted the hunter. as he filled and lit his pipe. "Huoband r Ah, God help me, I have-no! not rt husband, but a human brute-a demon in the guise of a Ilk'tn, who married me to atb:tin his own deviliRh aims; then, when tired of me, cast me out upon the world,. and set his associate fiends after me, to accomplish the death of me and my poor, innocent babes! "Husbnml 1101 God spare.fhe mark! He is all that is infernal-devilish I He ts a rich man; a. mil lion dollars 1vould not cover the value of his posses sions. family name ranks among the est in his State. He married me secretly, promismg to make me the mistress of Ws house; but he proved to be false. fickle, and brutal. Ile cursed me; he swore that these children-his children and mineshould never inherit a cent of his estates, which rightfully b elong to them; he tried to murder me and them, but failed, after which be set hi s blood hounds upon my track. H My fainiJy were poor, con1mon farmer-peopl\1', but between them and the family of my husband has grways existed a deadly feud tha.t only death can extirpate; anu no sooner did my father learn of my marriage into the house of his most bitter ene my, thau he drove me from under the roof of my birth-b11cle me go forever out of his sight, and his go with me I Thus i t was that I was cast out upon the world by those that were once dear to n1e." Old Zeke gave vent to a gru11t, expressive of sym pathy for the youug mother and anger toward her persecutors. So you sot sail on your own hook, eh?" Yes. I had some money and many valuable gifts he had giv e n me; and so I was abl e to flee from my enemi es, But this cud not satisfy my husband; he wished me dead, and my children dead, so that he would again be free to marry; and tl:.<'retore he set his assasins after me. Clod only knows how I have tried and struggled to elude them, hut all to no pur pose-all to 110 1_>urpoe. They are still in hot pur suit, and somethmg tells me that they are near, oh I soneo.r "But I reckon they ai11't, though, or e lse my ere sight,ar1 deceivin' mP,,, said the old afl, PbufflmJ! to the door, and gazing shnrply over tile dun, win. try plain. u Leastwise, tbar ain't nothin' i n sigbtYes thar is by all the hides an' ha 'rs on a mule back I" "What!" exclaimed the woman leaping to her feet in a larm. '"J8 it they-my enemies, "No, mann; et be only a dro\Ze o' deer, what my optics ar' rPstin' on.,, "Thank heaven I I was sure you had espied my enemies." "No Illilrm. I don't calkylate you'll see 'rm to dar. Very few'd like t o cross Twenty-Mile Stretch wi the winrl blowin' like fortv huffier", an' sich a stingin' temper'ture, too. But I must hev one o' them deer, fer sart'in, fer my larder ar' gittin' ray the r low, an' deer ain't so plentiful this winter as they might be. Jes' ye stay hayr an' mind the cabin, while I take my Punch-'em-Judy an' lay fer them ar' venisons.,, The in question. a drove of deer some eight or ten in number, were coming in toward the moun .. tain. in a course that would take tbem north of the en bin. But, tlcei..r gait was lag?ing, and as they were 5till some clistance out, Old Zeke reasoned th8t he could waylay them in time to get a shot. Tberefore he took down a favorite rifie from the cabin-wall, tightened his belt, and opening the door stepped out into the chill, blustering day. Ala;;! it was a. fatal step; he had not gone ten paces from the door when a score of horsemen rode hastily out from behind the cabin, where they had bee n concealed. Some were half-breed fodians, but the larger share were rough, sjnister-Jooking fellows, well mounted and arme d. The leader was a large, powerfully. built man of border type, perfect in muscular a.na physical development, and evil of countenancehwith burning, blood-shot e >e. low, retreatint, fore ead, a.nd sensual mouth, while bis straggling hair and oeard were wildly tangled and disheveled. He, too1 was well mounted, clad in buckskin, and loadea down with a sma 1 arsenal of weaponR. So swiftly and Rilently did the cavalcade emerge from their temporary hiding-place, that Old Zeke was in e11tire ig-uorance of bis danger, until a terri fiecl sbriek from his strange prote(/ee apprised him. "Back-back! oh! God, too l ate'" "Wildly, on the breath of the cutting wind these words came to his h earing. Re wheeled a.bout to learn their meaning; then the crack of half a d-0zeJ1

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Buflalo Ben, the Prince ot the Pistol. r111es rung-out, and, pierced with as many bullets, the brave old nunter dropped in his tracks, his life blood crimsoning the snow. At the same instant a r e volv er-shot from the ter rible leader laid the doomed mother a life less corpse in the doorway of that lone \d1derness cabin. eventful drama in real life. The "Tabernacle" Is the name of the place, as is announceJ by a huge banner-sign hung out over the sidewalk, and as we approach, we can readily guess its vocation. from the shouts of laughter and cli nkin g of glasses It is a saloon; reported to be the finest in Dead wood Inside, all is ind eed luxurious, compared with the other dens. The floor i s carpeted with mattir.g, the CHAPTER IL chairs are cushioned richly, a.nd the tables elegant ly carved and furnishe d The walls are literally a THE CONTEST. panoramaofco.stly mirrors; clusterchandeliershang l!!UNDAY In Deadwood-the great gala and businessfrom the e laborately frescoed ceiling; the half breed day o f the mations are dispensed at fifty cents a drink1 the drinkly witll the vast audience, for the contest was not to ers tendering in payment t ickets prev10usly purb egin for an hour, and an hour is an interminable cbase1, each of w''ch entitles the h o lder t o one space of time to a thirsty. anxious assemblage. robably seen Tbe next general rendezvous i s the gambling-hell years of s e r vice and .n th.i b;i1t about his wruet was a liquo r-bar on one side, aU the rest of the a small arsenal of r e volvers and knives space taken up by f'l.ro-banks, monte-tabl es, and Little of bis face, except the straight nose and the other schemes on the part of those who do not work b!ack, magnetic eyes, could b e seen on account of to plunde r those who clo. Sucb dens are ever crowd-his tremendous red beard and the shock of ed. A constant stream of gold is fto,ving in at the matted h ai r that !l"rew down iow onto his forehe"ad. weigher's stand. at the encl of the bar; wbile the As if to (\dd to hIS alread. v comical appearance, a stack of "chips" which are b eing handled, and the battered, mud-splashed hat surmounted his piles of buckskin on deposit at the card-head, or rather was tipped to the very furthest limits, table-immediatel y around whicl:I the intensely in-on one side. terested votarie s are as c losely packed as if we ld e d And this individual paraded himself promiscuous together-forcibly illustrate the old saying, that Jy about, without care for whom he jostled or whose "the foo l and his money are soon _Parted." corns b e encroached upon. The Sabbath day in Deadwood IS the golden bar"Ker-whoop L" he yell e d stopping in the center of 'est of the week for ever,Ybody who has anything to a little crowd neat the wrestlers platform; "hayr l sell. The street outside 1s jammed with bumanjty, am! Right hayr's the nortin', trottin', and the groceries, clothing-stores and all other tiusi-quawkin' stalli o n o' Pertater Gulch. I cum frn:n ness houses are crowded with customers. Pertater Gu l ch, pilgrims, I do. bet yer dirty shirt on The miners have" come in to lay i n supplies." thet: l m a rattler! I am-a gennywin e rattler an' 'l'o a struct-u_ r e on the mainstreet of thi s wild city . Old. Rattlesnake. N<;>w, fut of g;ol\I, we would conduct the r.eade r who is to fol I = _ .,.,. '"""""'"'""' J

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Ilufi"alo Ben, the PrjDce of the P1st<. ._ laugh, while at the same time he ,;mittecl from clown in his throat a h orrible rnii.Hng noise not lmlikc the cleath-rc.ttle of a dying p< rson and 1 he cl read warning cf the most lJOisouous of r eptiles, the rattle snake. sumbocly's ear. or take a lrnncl atdentis ry. \\hoop 'em up, Eliza J :we! H ayr's 1 h e r boss thet can show his pedigree, an' trot. a mile iu lefs time 'n it takes fer old Jack Fcrguescn to pour out a glasso' tarant' ler juice. Walk up. now, any o' ye frisl:y colts tbet wants ter pace a mile wi' me, in three-quarters o' a secon1!1' ":Perhaps ye'cl better take a leetle exercise wi' one o' them 'ar old man!" re1narked a bystander, incli eating Drayton and St. Elmo "'SpPct you orter ba ablP ter chaw an ear off'm them, eb ?,, "Whoa! Eliza Jane. What d'ye say, pilgrim? kin C trot wi' them gelctings? Kin I equalize my paces wi' them-me, ther great friskv stallion frum Per tater Gulch? Waal, 1 opine. Uster c'u'd 'rastle w i enny o' ther boys; but these old j'ints ain't as young as they uster be; still bayr's w'at kin trot a mile in two hours and forty rniuutes an' w'en ye cum ter rattlin'-oh I whoop 'em np, Eliza Jane, I'm thai. R ttle? Guess I can. I got a-rattlin', down in Per tat< r Gulch so hare\ once, thet !her folks got skeert: thort an orfu1 bail-starn1 war upon 'em. Ag1in, once, over at l"ozeman, I drew a great crowd around ther shanty whar I was stoppin'; they jest cum an' forketl over thei r two bits\ as nattetal as life, fer they tbort 'twar a minstre show, an' thet I war playi.n on the bones. That's on1y an eppysode, howsnmever. Once, up at Spearfish l die\ sumthin' that beats clockwork inter infinity. But I ain't a-goin' t e r t e ll ye about tlut, now. I'm jes t go in' t.er ax thet young feller wi the pi.raty mustashef be wants ter chaw ear?" And 1 rue to his word the old fellow waltzed across the floor to where St. Elmo was leaning idly against a care\-! able, toying with a massive gold r in g ilpon his fort'-finger Up close to the wrestler went the miner, he paused, andhin a half J)OSi tion, peered up into the ot er's dark, Spanish face -a face, once seen, rarely to be forgotten. "Whoop 'em up, Eliza Jane:" roared the Rattler, g iving his pecullar warning. and flapping his p-rcat buckskin-gloved bands up and down; bayr I am, sar, ther great stallion wi' a _pedigree-the preat Thomas K. Cat frum Pertate r Gnlch, an' ef yP don't b'lieve it, jest bite a hunk outen my enr; poke yer fing e r at me, an' seem., bump up my bvck; step on my toe an' hoermeme-e-e-o wl Fer the r Lord's sake, do somethiu' ter releeve me o' my agony!" St. Elmo gaze d at his confronter in contempt, not deigning so much as a word, or a smile. at the arnusmg antics of the old fellow ''Cum! snorted be, prAncing about, and f,iving cr\'ditablP inntalions of a horse's whinny, 'ain't ye goin' tertread on my toe, or knock off my bat. or bite my ear. or tickle me in the ribs, or spit in m_y face o r-or-1 "Get out!" said the wrestler, ang1ily "What clo you come here with your nonsense, for? ""bat do you want. with me?' "What do I want. pilg-rim? What wanteth this me e-e-owingThomas K. Cat frum the sacred pre cinct s o' P ertater Gnlch? Why, sac, I want ter 'rastJe wi' ye-I want'er throw your heels over yer bead so quick ye won't have time to wink. That's Old Rattlesnake's wants, bet yer pile." "And what you w ill be likel y to want, for all me!" said the wr<>stler, turningaway, as if disgusted with the proposition. "I did not come here to wrestle with all Dead 1vood. Ob I didn't ye?" exclaimed the man from i otato 'flibar ar'" ye? Hello I hayr's the uther pilgrim. I'll 606 what's ther size.o' h;s calibJr; bet yer stakes \la's mv so watcb t...t:' 3dB roe cook 1Jm." At this ;iuncture Wrestling Walt sauntered along, and stra(:;'l:it up to lii1n tho "Ra.ttler-frun1-Potato-Gulcb," and slappecl him on tbA shoulder. I sayee, pilgrim I'111 lber greatest Tbomas K. Cat in a ll Deadwood I" was tl:e initiatory declaraton that greeted the wrestler-" the1 Yery greatest am J reg'lar 11alf-an '-half 'tweeu Mo.ltese an' Chiny; an' ef ya doi.:bt my word, jus t step on rnytoe and Lear me me-e-e-owl'' Vell, old ln, tn, who said you wasn't?" demanded Drayton, laughing, goo! Thar's whar ye make a mistake uvtbe r caliber o' yer feller-man. I can fig-ht; I hin trot an bour in two miles 'n' f orfy minutes; I kin rattle. squeal, bite, kick, run, swear, chaw 1 erbacker, drink tarant'1er-ju'ce, an' me-ee-o. w -ow-o"-w! n n I kin show t1 er biggest i111bis 'el'e ranch!" and to back lris o.ssf>rtkn, the eccentric from Potato Gnl<:h held up to the of a ll a nngget of pure, sliining gold about the >ize of a man's lt was a wf\nde1flli and with cries cf m=ton isbment, a ere.we\ ii:stontly co!lectecl around l!im. 'That 'ar!" cried tl:e miner, ""ar' only a Epecimen, pili;1ims. 'fh< t bain' a nrcum stsnce ter whats l eft "hnr 1his cum from. Oh I Eliza; wilt thou fay I ain't got f'm1y cbirs. nowt Thet nuvget "ei gbs twenty ounces, gentlemen! an' ye clon't et, "h.l' just step on this Ma tese kit. t en's ta.i1, an' bear 'im mee-e-ow. me-e-e-ow !'1 "T say, old n en," here c id you gt>t that TJ e '""s a lo's :rou crnlg onto !he stage," replied tlrn young"'restl<:r the way, a r'?n.fident ex pressio n u1 on Ins fac.e .. Be _an11c11,atecl an easy victory over this ecce11tnc md1v1dual from Po tato Gulch. And the crowd cheered loudl y as the two took their 11pnn the sta11d, ready for r h<> contest. Ole\ .Rat tlf'snake had l a id aside bis belt and w ea pons but st ill wore bis greasy buck"kin suit.. while Vre,;tling \Yalt was attired in his ti ghts, making the contra.s t !==tertlillg. "T'll bet the old vilgrim will get his neck broke I'' cried the military chap once before r e ferred to. aM b e took ont a roll of bills from the JilOcket of bis ve l vet vest. 0 l'm agreeabl e!" r eFponded a voice in his rear. ::ind a youth-for he was little else-stepped forward, ready t o cover the officer's wager. "What '11 yov bet. ?" "Hello I" the major s t>ired. He had not expected to be taken up at his offer. l "Who are you, young man,.'

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,_ Buffa.to Ben, of the Pistol. "That does not matter. Who or what t am does not matter to you. If you wish to bet that the old galoot will get his neck brok"', I'm your huckleberry to any tune in long meter." Well! well!" draw let.I the officer, surve.flng his accoster sharply. You've no lack of cheek, that's positive I So you want to bet. do you? Well, plank your chips. He. re, give 'em to this other wrestler to hold-a hundred dollaes, if you please." "Git out!" cried the young n1an, contemotuously. "I wouldn't trust my ducats in that galoot's paws. 'Sides. I wouldn't shor t ova thousand." "Phew!" The major was 1ruly amazed. "You haven't got a. thousand cents, I111 wagerl" Out came the youth's ri,zht hand from the pocket of hi buffalo-skin trowscrs, and in it be clutched a roll of greenbacks, even larger than the officer's. "There's my ducats, pilgrim; go if you've anotioJ.J o' riskin' a thousand, jus t lay it into the hands or old Jack Fergueson, hern ., and he nodded to the grim rough propriet.or of tbe Tab('rnacle," who stood hard by, anrt had heard the proposal. Accordingly the required sum was depositf>d with the veteran, and then a signal was given for the wrest. Jing to b0g in, for Wrestlin!\' \\"alt had been waitin g for the-eonsu,_umation of t ;1e bet, _The youth who had thus put up bis m oney against the rn&jor's was in many respects ren1a.rkable-, even among t.he more remarkable thla of C'ivilizaLion in this outlandish Black Hills metropolis. And this was lare:ely owing to his attirE' which would have attracted attention anywber<' The coat and breeches, met at the Jrner>s by fringed leggings, were made of buffal o-ski:>, with the furry side the vest was of r ed velvet; the moccasins upon his feet were skillfully wrought in fautastic de signs with Indian head-work; the broad-brim slouch hat upon his head was stuck full of scarlPt feathers. Jn fact, this youth was really handsome, the features being bold and regular. the eye black and piercing, tl1e :nouth expressively pleasant. yet witha flnn and r esolute s e t. and the hair golden, and hang ing in long cu:-ls over his shoulrlel'S. He was not generally known in Deadwood; yet a few inquil'ing one h'td ferreted out the fact that he was a wonderful pistol-shot, coming frmn up m the far Nerthwrst, somPwhPre near tbe British lines, and that. his was Buffalo Ben. The wrestli'lg now he mas culfi r arms, e,nd pitched him heac1-from the stage, out among the audience. He went down with a tbucl, and lay for a mom<>nt like onP bnt the next instant he bis and shook himelf like some great mastiff. "I'm satisfi ec1!11 he grunted, casf.i..ng a g--rim glance around him; "I ain't no ho7 that d on't know when he's got enough-no sir-Le I' <1HAPTERHI. OLD ENEMIES FACE TO FACE. "TEJERl!j who won the bet?" demanded BnffAlo Ben, turning to Fergueson, simultaneously with the -----major. "I bet thai>the old galoot would not git bis neck broke, and neither he did, so the chips are mine." "Tbedevil they are I'' cried the major, endeavor ing to elbow his adversary to one side. "I won fairly; the cuss got floored, an'.'! that right handsomely, too, and the stakes are tnine." J reckon they ain't!" retorted the young man, gri1nlf., apparentlyuot in the least awed b.v the others important bluster. 'I won 'em, an, win 'ern1s keep 1em, round this raneb, ef I know my self." -"Curse you, will yon contradict mP?" roared the majoe all aflame with ra)l;e "Gd out of my path, 01' l'll-1 'It-" "Now, what will yon do?,, coolly nsked Buffa!o Ben folding bi s a r ms, and gazing at his towering co;;:fronter in expressed contempt. What will yon de?,, "Bravo! hurra for the boyee!" roared full of excited huma >i ty. who wo r e to witneRs the sport. The two men, standin g were wonclerfully developed i n muculai and physical st ren
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Hutialo Ben, the F;;oince of the Pi:::tol. '1 a'riferou s stu ff that t h e f eller w'at caflm:mi mced m e wou't win the race? OIJ Eliza Jane, wbar a.re the dirty son-nf-a-gun that wanfg ter bet? Tweuty milyun a.g' in' a o' ;?'lkl J 'Vbal'1S the indervldual what \VaIHS to bowled the mn.11 ,fro1a Potato Gulch, dancing aro11nrl prom1scuou s ly, anct cl.pparently ende:lvorit:g Lo himself a source of annoyance to everytody. "ll:i.vr I arn. ther great Thomas K. Cat o' tiler Angel-Saxon brecd-ther great ro:irin'. sno;tiu' stal!iou wi' a pedigree. And I want to l:et some ornt:ry galoot jest or.e twenty ounce g;ld nuj?git twenty 1nil.vun dollars, Ll:et \Vrastler Walt''i i:..v1n' ter e rrup't t het p i raty-m11s tached skunk like Lavy errupts Vcssu vy n s. Oh! the o ugainl.v,ornery buzzard! He war ter tackle a hog o' owu C<-tliber ,\ar be? Hope tPr thunder he'll git his ijees jonnced 'way inter the middle o' next y, a r like I did: Oh I b 1 utueru, 1 k11ow-I've b in thar. bet yer false teeth: I've Set-ll thtr Harry firmnment-sa\; et but a few a.n'-,, h See are you going t,o shut up. nnd mal:-e J es8 noise?'' old Jack f.'ergnes1HJ, comil1g from behfad ihe bar with a l o.Hled llrnse-pistol i n each baud. a 1 clo11't waut t. r n1ake nu ub1ttw.ry in ther column o' ther Pon er, but shall h .. ve l,o ef ye don't put a stopper inter thet dtlers, apparen tly re signe fo r t be championship cf the Hills, the Hal.._ts l "eing a hundred 'a.side. and ah .... ,r-"me belt. gold-mounted and its c lasp adorned wiL two diamornl f"tns. 1 t was a magnifict>nt affair, aud well worth a struggle t o obtain. start side hol d, St. Elmo having t h e pre ference of r i gl1t s i de. l'ack and forwttrd tliey s1eppPd i n Llwir trPn1enclo u s h uL", f t' int,;11'.:, trippiHF, parrying-, but neither g-ain ing a po int. Once\, 1 liner \ '\alt came nenr gojng upon his kneL s, but be q u ickl y saved himself, and a glo,-m of ap Plause from the intensely I t was doubtful how the tidP wns going tn turn. St. Eln10 was not. r.earlv so cool as l iis ::tdVPi-sary. H e was more fie rce of ternpP 1nnrl har ed upon his contestant. In vaiu did each of tbewrestlers practice upon the othe r all the tricks known to them; 'twas no use, howeverhfor at the nrP. wantr.; to ca.vai. ,, u Have T ctlVPd vet?" Wfl$ the other w restler's an swe r. in a fif"rce to. nP Go ahead."' And the r.trrn?P.Je recommenred. 'ilackwart l, forwar d a n < s idewise they went, w a t ching e a c h other's feet a.s ,.,.,.,YlWJ.! ae tile cut we.tches ------------------the mouse; bracing, p a rryin g and tripping; Elmo inwar d l y cursing his luck, Drayton c..tl m autl sindi ous. Bi.tit co u ld not last fo rever. Suddenl y Wrestling W a l t caught bis man R.t a p l a use. "Hnrral rn1-ra!" s lirieked the ecccplr ic individual from Potato Gulch, cape 1mg about and acting, rnore like a lunatic..: than anything else. cock-a-do0(1 l & me-eeow! \ Vhoop 'em up. 'Liza. Jane.. Warn't thtd done pnrty? Wan1,t tbat the essence o all 't's beautiful ? Oh! Eliza, my b lushing pri:inrose. w'ar a r L tl1vu now':'" Wrestling W. hunt u1e up .. S t. !Imo 110\rle:l \Ji> liend and w ended his way out of the T u.bernucle. '' tun('S i n slJort -meter!'' C'xcl n imcc l Old Rn.t tlc s11n.ke, f()llowing-him wit h hi::; pi('1 gaze. "'fhat valoLit"s got a tl1ic;.;tle iu l1is crop, uet yer boots. RRckun I know hint, or e lse 1'111 n1istak c -n. ,, T he crowd. now rapidly dispersed, paying their respects at the bar, for if tJierc \HW mi.r oxcile ment etsewhe;i;e they meant to fi.h:. it. Among then1 went lbe f.":'!lt 1 Pnm11 l'otato 1..i1llch, his to1 1gua eve r :astel' bis ftict. T bat. ... vening the youg scout, Buffsio w h i!a si j.1 fhe Tabeni at:IP and idly t ,he comers goe rs, received a start, upon the en t n111C t3 of e: --ir::n into t h e saloon. Not Uwt tbt'i e wns atfftliinu rei ... :rkable in the appearance <'f 1be iri,1ivid.unJ1 but because he eYidn1tly rf'CO,:?,nizt-d him, A heavy-set person, d r f'SSed i n dt;zr11's ing, was all: yet the youtli 's eyes lit up wnh fil'e a'I he beheld him. The face, though a n d bloated, was deciclf'd ly womanish. and the hair ftowiug do,,n uron 1he should 1s wcs Hlmost too flnennd atundan to adorn one< f the mHle S P X Yet as such wns Hw pcn,on antl 1io1 v?Je cut oft.en would haxe eel t h e gender in t:iis 1Hw-con1er that walked up to. the bar and for drin le "Ha !1 was Buffa.lo Hen s i nvohlJ)tary exclamn tion as l.Jand hh; belt. 'So this is my game a nev: I \:ender if any one r Pcogu i zcs S ih'er FaJ, f'f 'Slop-RuckPt' notoriet y i n 1hat
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8 Buft a 1 0 Ben, the Pr'lnce o f ttte P istol. The disguised songstress wbeelPd about with a curse. Her forehead came in contact with the re volver's :nuzzle as she did so. "Steady, now!" warnerJ the youth's voice. the ring in it betray sternness and resolve. You'vegone far enouih at pr se!lt, Silv e r Sal ; th" B oss"St of Boss G:tl!l m 1.;: n presentable speci'm:"n o' man hood, but ai 1'c 1 110,Jnsed to be able to cope 11il1, men, for a ll. DJ v 1 know 1ne woman?" u I'm n o won ta 1'' was the ang-ry in a hvarse, grnwli:1g voi.;e, meant as an im i tation of a man's. ''I reckon you're barking up the wrong tree, sir." "Ob, nol" Buffalo Ben's tl, m Deaclwoo'l. Up in fdahn yon were dubbed Fatty Greene; nver in B!i tish you were happy in the namP. of MrJ. S:.lly Falklaud I" Another curse; then a motion as if to break away and run. u 01, nnr" said th'3 youth. again harder with the "d )n1t t.ry to r un or ru salt yon, -sure's L'm He!l Y ou kno v T'in no slouch with a p istol. No,v, tb.e. afte r the nf over a year we Iiav, m e t you n1ust telJ m:-wbere to 'ind mv si,ter B e ll ?!" In the !?rave, h 9!"!'" w::is the Rullen reply. ''' )uld t'l G.)(;t you there, 'Nod >Ub you w0uhl to sea ffi'-' tbe"e out J iin't on til e lbt, at pres nc. Y"u've tv tell Jue where sh_. ic;. so you r n tV wel! d \ it first as f1st fol' I'm t0 htJld ym1 "ill .von do" ti a 1 I t a ll .vou Hv.v many t imes must I t'elJe 'tt it?'1 YoLl nrmrl not r<>oPat it at all, for I know it is a b lack lie. Y<>ll kno ; v me Silver S tl; thw say I'm a prett.v h:trr:l cus'.o : ne:-wh e n f'm r1i l ed. So you bette r ri4h.t off, bnfore I get upon tnr t woulrl:t't ,nuch h'9s it.at e to blow th3 ro0f yo"..lr you'vd giveu me so much troul)ie" ru uh11rfl of Pn1 a.ware I ki ,Jn:ip1wcl girl; I rlo11't clenv it. l t 1ought I could mike het' U:1nc' l'\.'1 l O<'ick money i nto mi pocket, bit .. J misriook lier. She rlidn't have any gumptjou a.bout h a, and when l'J 1 n i11hd about a week ...>r so she took sick a lf l die1l, an' you can b e t I was 1<1. 1 \ of it. S 1 e h:i.lu't no talent fer theatric:i. 3 an' t h P 1 0 not, of the k ind you briog-inter u se, '' was the s1rcc1'ti" rP,ply ' .I" "Lyi n in the graveyard at Cheyenne." li e!'' "No; a G.Y1 is my jud.,e, I am tell ing the tnithl" declara d the woman. Apparen tly she 1 vas in d ee p earnestness. Again I swear vou lie 11' cried Buffa l o Ben fierce ly, h i s eyes biaziag like Jw'iJ coals of fire. "I k now you o f o ld." "Well, what tf I co lie? What, if B elle Jerome is alivePn demanlled the woma.n, a sneer percPpti b l e in her spe.,c h. What are you going to do ab1ut it?" "I'm going r..o you tell or-" HQr what.!' 0 Ki ll you. 8.Hd C!lt your hee,rl""'out .. " Hah l I dmn fe:ir ye. Kill ef vou choose; one may as well die ar. as a.1other." "Ver y well. Br killingyou, i f Belle is alivP. I shall r id h e r of h e r great>t en"em.v. I shall count three; if you d >n't sneak, l.h1ee means dPatb 011e 11' A brief pause, then the coo l tones of the youth sp0ke the ominous-" Tw.'" He would hav e counted t hree, but at this juncture he was s uddenly seized from bring the verio ls for 'recept'.on 0 1 1 h e F!'iclay pre v ious to the Sunrlay of which wa have just been w riti ng, the madam hat.I a cnst,omer. He came clown the gulch from one of the hotels, an l pause d iu front of the door of the fortune teller's s hanty. G l aucine: up at the ungainly sign n sarcas t i c sa1 ile wrea.thed b i s lips. He was a l ar..:e, heavy-set man of p erhaps forty fl 1e, or ma.yb e m0re, with a full SWf'epingbeard. a il ve!'e.d w ith many a gray thread; an iotelkctual forehead. and ey3s piercing black i n !heir intensil.v. He dressed in citizen's clothing, of e l Pgnnt fit and texture; his wbol?, pPrsonal appearance spoke of wealth and high standi ng in t l w wol'lcl. HP. wal ked w ith a caue, but evidently not because it W3.'3 a nece;;:;sitv. So! this must be the p lace that I seek,' he ob servPd g lancing a se::!om.l tilne at thP s ign. "I cl er if her ladyship is in, o.nr l ready for busi ness?" Ha gave a heavy r
PAGE 10

Buft"alo B e n the P rince or the Pistol. 9 for time Is worth gold to me. Your name And tsk;ng up pen and ink, she w aited to enter it I n a hrge bok. J will endeavor to l!et him the worcl, for which, including fee, I shol l charge you fifty dollars." 0 Wiza' I" Aaron \\'adsworth was am azed F ifty d ollars. ma'am? Why, that is extravagant-enor mousl" "It is my price, all the same." waR tr. e mater-of fact rejoinder. "You can pay i t and the n take your departure. But I won't!" the gentleman fr.:im the E os t de cla r P d, stoutly. "I am not to be humbugged by one lik e you." "Then you may as w e ll be seated.'' renlied lllande, coollr. ''You cannot leave this shanty t ill you shell out.' Wailsworth walkP d d efiantly to the door, and turnPd the knoh. Tne iloor was locke d "Ohl you needn't think t o t h e masked woman, ugge.tcd B e n, "tLat i s, if you"ve bncl C'nough fun.,, "Not yd-not till Ll.e captnin comes. H e m a y want to see you. Wl y h e? H e does not know me." h Dt111 'l he? Ttere i s ,., here you mh-ta.ke. rve henrrl him svenk of Buffa l o Bel!-at. d J reckon you are be "1 am. But what did your captain say concern ''lie a lways sr,oke nf yo-as a fem less sort of a cuss. Said h e r e sin't only o n e as can equal you with the re v o l ver. '1 "Anrl wllo is that?" "Himself. Reckon the coptain can sock lead about as t1uf' as the next one." "So I heard. l en nevel' boasted 0 f bis own sue cesi-:fu l eX J ; l o jt s, tb.ou.g-h be bas w 0 n many a wager with a revolvt-r. u \\here is captain 'Over to tbe 'Met,' I reckon. or E:ome'(l'res in that flil'e c t i on, tryin' to ec?re up dan1
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10 Bu:ff'a.lo Ben, tl:e P'l'i?:-ce of the Pistol. -------------------"Whom have you here JiPUtf'nant?" he asked, quickly, noddino: toward the captive scout. "!fa I I see-it's Buffalo Ben, eh? How came you to detain him. Cambre?" "Just for to pass away time, captain. Shall we t '0le9.se him now?" "No; we have no time to spare, for Old Roxly an1 tli.; Regul0ut jaunt. DeaJwoad Did< was the hst oue to arrive, and a murmur of rplicf r:111 th:ough the crowd wbPn h J came amongtbe!n "I wac; fearful that rn ii.ad S;titl Cn.r l os Cambre. "Hal what is the rnatt, > 1? Arc you wou11ded?" vnlv a scratrh-the loss of blood made me a trifle dizzy!'' renlied tht chief, reeling even uc; he Bnt he threw off Lbe faintness 'vi th a master ei'furt. "We're in for a b<>ys. 01<.l Alex Roxly n.u I hiq &gulators are comi1-:.g down on us. hot n.,,rl heavy." "'Vbich w'l.y?" "From all directions. ThPy"re scattered all thron .{h t!1e town. A d1>ze n or n10!0t?! of \:1m me till 'l. fpw mom"'nts when I thr."w lhem frou1 the trail. B 1t t11evu so:)n no:-;e us out.,, l G">s s and a storm of bul lets rattled haimlessl y over their heads. CHAPTER V. MAJOR FAWDON:S CLAIMANT. IN an upper parlor of t h e Centennial Hotel,J. Aaron Wadswort,h was taking his eas"", ensconced in a cushioned rocke r. his slip pered feet e lented to a on a His apartment was furnished iu e laborate style for Dearlwool. everythin g being of new and recent manufartnre. Upon a st.am1 at bis eIJow were wine nnd c igars; the wn.s turned low, for it was evening, and a Jitt.l e fire b 1 1n10 I in the grate. Thi..; rn 1;1, whosa monay he counted by tens of tho-'.an Is. w3.c; not in a v ery goocl hninor, for his bro,,s wereknitted in a Rcowl bis hanrls were clfnch'tl anrl his eyes were g leaming. Nor di 1 bis scowl vanish at the entrance of a brawny n:rtl.n, of brutal asuPCi--a g-rn.y-h1irE:'fl griz zJerl-looking wretch, with tJ-emenchns beard and deepl y-sciin-ed face-one who loo ken capahle of any crime. His was huckskin, throughout, and he was armed to the tePth. Wadsworth motioned him to a rleat, without rising hitnself. u So you h'lve ccnne, have you?,, he growled, puffing hh;der at his c igru T think time; I've been ln Deadwood ten flays waiting fo r you. You must think a man' s patifmce will last forever.,, "Hain't tho't about et." replied the giant.. himself on the opposite side of the little ta,. \Jle and flelpiuo: himself to wine and without invitation. "Got here as soon as I coutd after get. tin yer letter sayia' as you's com!n' \Yest Didn't hurry n1uch, neither.,, "I hould say not I" with an scowl 0You're takinP,"matters altogether too ea.:;y.1 "And why shonldn't I? Ifain't bound terrun an' obey every wiggle of your thnmb. I nsed ter be your n igger, but t imes hev changed since sixteen years n.go." Wadsworth chewed the end of bis cigar retie<> t i vely. "1 tlitl play it rath0r shabbvon you, that's a he sai::l, watching 'pe wreaths of s1noke curl up warJ. "' llut, then, five thousand cJpllal'S was a. good bit to pcty out., and you wouldn't talce l ess. "'No; nary a durned cent less. You 'greed ter pay me the itmount ef I'd do the job fer you, an' I w eut ter the '8pem;:c on my own book, ter git my men. an' hunt the M-ail. An' after I salteJ away the l!iggest shme o' the gamo you bac:kcd out, an' re fused to stick ter your bargain.'' Wadsworth took thr ci.ornr from between his !ins, and stared hard at the giant, a start led expression upon his: "I must your meaning, Burk," he said; you sa.", "rte: I salt<>d away tbe biggest share o' t..he ga.il"!c>.' \Vhat did you 1nNrn by Bill IP. .. u'?b rt, in a mocking fashion. "Reckon I rnontH what I sect," was tho r.'lply. "I warn't .... nny o' thn 1 imp but what .You'd 1)lrty the 011 2n0; 1 kil'ed the m o tlier an' reserv-t-d lh i squat in1 b1asr:1fat11re u:o:e." The man of I1'0P.ey l eaped to his feet, a horrible oath his lips. "You tell me thi s, yon nccursecl he cried, his face a!l aflame with ra;::e "You tell me tha.t you did not destroy hr-r babes, as you promised! th .. they are yet living?" precisely! posit.ive 1 y that!'' responded Burk, with n leer. Wadsworth no bcs!ile demonstrntion as he received the, to him. start ling mteHig-encc. He dropped back in his chair anti sat t:s motionless as. au his gaze rh'<"'Lf'd upon tlle gia.nt, hard, stern linPs !1.is forelenring :vou out h ere afor e you diPd. Ye couldn't rest t0n year more wi'out knowiu' fer sur.! wa war my feel in's tow:u.J yon. now could ye?" 'lt was not so muc'J that that, broure, I.mt did not dream that vou would b!i.ng me 8UCh ne\.,rs." "Oh, I presume not," Bill Burk rPplied, with a yawn. You s'prsed you hen no heirs ter that million o' ynurn-tho't you'rl played a t.rnmp keero "S"<' berP!" Wansworth bent forward, his small eyes glraming, redl.v. ''Could ynn me agai11t and at the san1e time coul d T trw:t vo n ?" "Waa! l>oss that nppends S'posii.i' ye give a feller a g<>ograffica l ide<>r of what ye're.drlvln' at, an' then I'll put yei question ter probai;a, as the jurfgps say." u Exartlv. L e t us understana each other1 88' Va'.lswnrth "In case I was to pay you tJie flva thousand dollar s, how tbent,.

PAGE 12

Buft"alo Ben. the Prince or the Pistol 11 -------------------"Weal. I'd hev ter see the chips first, an' then cle The more oats ye feed a boss the "Th!lt is as much ns to say, tbat as long as I buy you with gold, you are mine." "Thet's about tber size of et." "I'll buy you to a certain extent, but no furthPr," h e said, decidedly, as he took a small valise from beneath the table and unlocked it Inside were sov eral rolls of something wpll wrapped in silk o il-cloth, one of which he extracted and undid. Ouce the outside covering was removed, a roll of greenbacks waa revealed, most tempting to the eyesight. Btll Burk gave vent to a surprised grunt as his was greeted with this unexpected display. "You1re full o' chips. ain't ye?" he observed lighting a sec )nd cigar. "Reckon some bank's bin rOlJbed, h ey?" "Not that I know of; why?" you're so flush o' stamps. No reply was made to this but the man countt- out a number of bills from the package, and shoved them toward the 1?im1t. 'There are five thousand dollars," he said, gruffly. Now, car. I rely on you to finish the job you commencP d sixteen years a;;o-the job which must be finished at all hazards?" "Reckon et would be well fer you to put another thousand along with this ter make all sure," grinned Burk, triumphant!>. Another tnousand was accordingly counted out, and shovPd acro;s the table. "'I here. does that appease your appetite?" de manded Wadsworth. "To a TI mmounced the other, rising. I'll bunt up the game. by-a11'-b:<. As fer ther pre sent, I'm goin' ter git ont,er a glorious drunk, over my good fo1tuue. Good-day ter ye, Mr. Wadsworth!" And in another mcment the giant had quit the room, leaving the scheming man of money to his re flections. After Bill Burk's departure, Wadsworth sat for a lon g time his face buried in his hands, nor did b e arouse until he felt the presence of some living thing near him. He the n lookPd up to find a man standing before ....,., with folded arms--<>ne whom he did not remember ever having seen-dad in a bunter's co tnme, and armed with 1if!e and belt weapons. A brawny, handsomP. fellow he was, of three-and thirty summers, the very picture of health and strength. "Who are you_?" demandPd Wadworth. scowling as only be could scowl "\\'bat b1ings you here, where you nre not wanted?" "I don't know that it makes any difference to you particularly," res11onded the hunter, in a slow, tone. "I reckon this are a free country, 811' a feller can go whnr hepleases._providin' he's J!'Ot enuff elbow-grease t0 back him. S'pose you'd like ter have me trot out o' h ere. ltnt I'll tarry a few seconds, while J tell you >omethin'. Ef you listen wi'ou intcrrnption, I'll be done sooner. So beer 7oes: ., "Once upon a time, which time '"'ar sum sixteen years a brutal massacre war committed up in nortber!1 111ontana. The victims war an old man an' a young woman, whose name war WadsworthElvira Wad>worth, the legally wedde' l wife or J Aaron Wadsworth of Pennsylvania. Tbe survivors of the massacre, two inlant childrPn, were >old to a band of roving Indians, and can-ied North to the British liues where they were reared to earl!r man and womanhood, Uflder the ca1 e of an old fur t .rader and his wife. Now1 what I'm dtivin' at, is, do you lcno'" where hem aeirs to the property of J. A Wo.dsworth rrre!" "Nol" excleimed the man of mi1lions, eagerly, "but I woU1d give a deal of money did I know. But a few short hours ago I supposed that they were dilad, until J was told better by a faithless wretch w horn J once had in my employ. What do yO'U know of them?" "As much m: I hev told you-no more," replied the hunter. "But if I find them, as I hope to. I shl}ll warn 'em to fight hy of their ficrni-father, for you ar' a fiend, ef t!Jar be such things on earth, Aaron Waclswmth. Look out fer me. I'm huntin' an' searcbin', nlght an' day frr them children o' Elvira Wadsworth, au' when i. find 'em thev're bound ter hev o. chunk oat o' your pro p e r ty, bet lC'r boots. Whereupon the brawny son of the Northwest turned t o ir-Lightning Luke they call mo up Montana. Anytl.Jing else you would like to know?" "Nothino;; you may go," was tho reply.' After the hunter's d e p a r ture. Wad;: vrth sat studying the intricate threading of the carpet for nearly an hour. "How is this thing goi n g to encl?" he aske d him self over and over LJs eyes emitting spruks of slum bering fire. After all my years of planninR' and plotting, am I at la s t to be baffled in my d e sig-n? No! 1 swore her childre n should not havf' n. cent of my wrnllb,; aud even tbough I sacrifice it to tie four wimls c the earth. they shall not. They must pprish, and if Bill Burk do tbe job, I Nm and uill AJ.>parentlv the unnatural father was terribly In e..'ll'UPSt. Th.., next day on bis retnrri to hi hote l from a long tramp amonK the mines, he found two visitors a wait ing him in the pru'ior suit that bad been assigned bim. The most noticeable of the twain was an army officer, in the uniform of a mnj or. with Burn!!lides and an imi:udent fE1miliarity confined to a class of Uncle Sam's promoted boys in blue. The major's companion was a } ounglady, cleeply vailed--0r, a girl in other wordR. if her slight flgum was any indication of hel' age. f:he was atliied in a neat grit y costume, and a diamond ring graced h1>r fore finge 1-. The major rose as 'Waclsworth entered. "Honatable J. Aaron Wadsworth, I presume!" 1'R saluted, with a f?:erviJe bow. '1 .Allow me to intro duce to you in this young la," replied the mnjor. "S!irtem years ago, Mr. 'Wadsworth, your wife was kill ed, by your order, and y(lur 1 ,abes, unknown to you, sold to a band of roving Indians. You have r lways supposed them dead, alonj? our wife, and you have lived as firn i ers are rern1 ittPd to Jhe, in the supposition that your estates would havf, no heirs. Jn this you were 111istaker.. "One of your wife's children 11:rew up to maiden hood, and was placed under my care by an old north ern fur-trader, and I now take plpasure in presenting her for your inspection. Stdia, my dear, raise yonr vaiJl" The young wornan cbcyrd, ar:d the rich. man's ln creaulous gaze fe'l upon a fair fac e perfect in out> llhc and swee t in Pxpre>i<'n-a face that an a,-t;. ist might worship, or that might become a poet'I> idol. ThP hair was golden in hue, and fell O>er the pret ty shoulders Jn profusion: the girl, ss a "hole, was remarkably pretty-for she was yet but a girl no1 out of her teens by three :rears. "There!" the major exclaimed, erithusiFtically. his eyes gleaminl? with "bow like rori tba J.>icture, lllr. Wadsworth? Do you not see tefore you t..le very Image of the wife whose death you caused, years ago? Stella, dear, this ii! Ule fatbM

PAGE 13

Buft'alo Ben, the Prince of the PistoL --------of whom I have told you. What do you think of him?" As yet C haven't formed an opinion," r eplied the girl, eyin g the m'.ln dis1rustfu!ly .. And you Aaron Wadsworth-what do you think of iny clailnant?,, ''I her," W:1S the reply. without heS::.ta tion, 'as Elvira's cllild a!ld my heiress I" But tliere was a tone o! menace underlying bis speech. CHAPTER VL EVENTS OF A WILD, STORMY ( "HAI h a!" l a ughed D arlwood Dick ,fiantl:v, as be p erceive d that none of his cormwie nal been injured by the volley of bullets. l\l.tes,., he sai d bis voice betraying anxiety, "" 1ne In a tight fix, an' n o mistake. \Ve ought t(' nave wme mountetl, a nd then we could have showu these dogs our heels. But we didn't, and here we a r e neatly cornered, a d with ouly one way ooon to u s escape-ua.mely, up this ravine, whic 1, 1:1.fter a n1ile of tvrluuus win ding, ends in the face o f a crag!?y banh.:ade. There is n o u se. then, for us to try to escape in this direction All w e can do i ; 1yht and every snot teU a t--tle to these Re:;ulators that will n eve1 be fo,. .gotten !1' "Bravo, captain I" said Li eutenan t Cambre, ea1 borne And the roda><;ents took up the cry: "We're life even to tile The gJ.Jom in this phce was perfectly dense, and no idea could be formed of the exact locality of the eneiuy. 1 will try and r econnoite r a little;' sai c l D ick, afte r consultati o n with th e llentenant. 'rhe devils m:iv b e waitin fer it to fr5btning." with a n appre h e nsive g-l a n ce skywaru, "aud then they can pelt i t to u s "H0-ld on," venture d BLUl'alo Ben, eagerly; "l' t m e do the scoutiu' "cap .a in Don't h e afr.:tid to trust me, fer C aia 't a-go in' to try to run off till you .sav so.'1 1'Goodl" Deadwood Dick exclaimed, cutting the young m'tn's bo ods ''I reckon you're to be trust;.. -e I and I've heard that your skill a s a scout is wonderful; so go ahead, and bring ns back all the news you can. ' Ben tighte n e d his belt, and after looking to the con d iti on of h is r evo l ve r s. which tlieroau -agents bad permitted hi m to retain, lte stepped cau tio u sly away Into the WB o rter hev thet fell e ramon-;us, ' declar ed one of the agents, admiringly, after the scout bad disap peared. woulrl put his neck i n the judge's noose by him t o j)ill u s. reP,lied l..>ick. Tr11e I'' :ig r e1d Cambre. The hrancl of a road :agenc sh'Juld never rest upon bis shoulders, as it does upon ours. Wh '.1t kickej U!l the row to-night, deserter and traitor, Fr3' 1 AudJey," replied Dick, I was throug h the street with my mask off. and a beard upon my face in place of it, whe n h e recog-nizPd m e. and p ointed me out to Old Roxly the R 1gulator. "Befo r e I could draw a revolver and fire upon him he had escap ed in the cr"Jwd l saw there was an uu healthy outlook for a fell e r of my descr iption abou t the n so I lit out." "You met the cusses again afte r we divided and -started for h e reY" asked Cambre "Yes, or rather, ran through 'em, and g-ot several !etv! pills into my carcass," with a low laugh. "But I doa't mind 'em much, though they weakened on me at fir st." In the mean time Buffal o Ben was creeping out.of <>ne mouth of the dark, narrow ravi ne, where hif' comJ?anions were waiting, into the wider and mre inviting gulch, wherein nestle d Deadwo od's magic c ity, and from whence had come the discharge of fire"l.rtns. The d arkness seemei to b e increasin g-at least the sk.v was g-rowing mome ntarily blacker, and threat ened a fierce storm, ere long. Already faint blushes of lightnin g were beginnina to play across the angry be,.vens, and a dull roar of1 ltund e r became andihle. "Let ner p our as much as sbe pleases, but dis pense with the fireworks,,, muttere d the yot;ng scout, crawling along, inch by in ch with ut1uost caution. "Somehow I woulde't like t o see Deadwood Dick and bis fellers g i t laid out, though they ain't much to me, to he sure; still, the Prince as thP,y call him, appP,ars to be a pretty fair o chap." On he maki ng l ess nois e than a mouse; DPlfer off of his guarJ, bis eyes t-ac b sus .. p tcious object until he was satisfied as to its nature. A lalf-yes, three-quarters of an hour passed, and D eadwooQDick and bi s men waite' l anxiously for tile return o f the scout. What coulu be the cause of his delay? .. T:i me i t seem $ about time the chap were J!iving an account of bimself." said Can1bre, impatientl,r. .. I could lio..ve scouted half a r ound Dead wood rn t.bis time." 'You exl)less my thoughts, too. replied Di0k pacing back and forward. He ought to b e bacK by this time.,, "And \s t ac k !" exclaimed n. v o ic e, and a cb.rk figure lo om d into view through the gloom "But tli e r u in't time f...er paln.ve11 if you want t o 21scn.pc ; so come along, an' don't make no m o r e noi e'n cat!'" And w.thont further expianation he was gone, leav in g for g uid e ouly the so u ud of his footsteps. But. this clew was sufficient for Dead woood D:ck to follow and h e and hi s companions crept away through the darkness, lahoriug unde r the d e lusion they were the lead of Buffalo Ben. Dut, they were soon to apprised of their mis:J k e. J us t as they debouched from tl:\e ravine into the gulcb, there was a terrible jarring roar of heaven's artillery followed by three successive flashes o f li&"bt nin g that illuminated the black night with v1viii glare. Then came the deadly ring of a score of ritleswild shouts of victory from a swarJ..n of men who poured out from cover of the scattered pines-dying groans from dying road-agcnts:-i t was a terrible moment, and one in whic h lif e was expiring witb every weapon's ring-for a few of the Ni;i-ht-Hawks, with Deadwood Dic k at thei r head, baa stood the fi e and thei r flashin g r evolvers speaking death to the enemy, each and e very mo-vient. But their number was only five and the Regulators counted full threo-scorP; they made a triumphant rush, and swallowed up the little band-{)llptured them, aud bound them hand and foot. Then throughout Deadw ood spread lik e wildfire the news or the capture of the dare-dev il road-agents, and e v e n though the storm poured down its deluge of wate r and the thunder boomed along the heavens and the lightning's glare was constant, the streets were thronged with an excited populace eager to learn tl::e truth of the matter, and get a glimpse o f the prisoners. But in this they were coomed to diappointment1 for Deadwood Dick a nd bis pals had been hurrieo away to confin e m ent in a strong cabiu o n the so uth ern outskirts of the town. Here the crowd assembled, and standinl;' in t bt. drenching rain outside the grim structure, inside o f which the road-agents had been lock e d, they dis cusse d the startlin<: events. Old Roxly, who had succeeded D enby as chief -0t the Regulators, h a d stationed a guard every yard around the cabin, and warned them that if the pris oners w ere not there at sunrise their own necks must satisfy the hangman's noose. Then, 'vith the rest :;f. his pOSBe, he had

PAGE 14

r Buft"alo Ben, the .Prince or the 13 back to the MetropolJtan, which was their headquarters, and full a gallon of" tarant'ler-juice" was used to wash down the thirst occasioned by their great victory. In the mean time l e t us visit D eadwood Dick in his strange prison. th ft tures erected in the gulch, hut for some strange rea son, whic h w e shall n o t attempt to explain. it had never been tenanted. The refor e Old Roxly h a d fitted it up as a cage for his captured birds, and the Frinco of the Road and the r emnant of his band w e r e the fir st to occupy it. 'l' hey were thrust rudely inside, bound hand and f oot, after which the Regulators departed, locking the door after them, and leaving the little band to thei r meditatio n . Fortunately they w ere not gagged, and this left them a freedom of speech they hastened to improve. "Well," Deadwood Dick said, after the Regulators bad gon e, I reckan we few that' s left may con sider ourselves lucky. I ex])ected we'd git our neck s streteh ed, sure pop, whe n l found that the cusse s were too many for us. How many is there l eft o f us1 mates; for I hav.e not taken time to count up?" 'There' s s ix of us," repli e d Cambre, who had been among those to stand up under the terribl e flre. "Jean Douglass, Rock Luger, Dun Forbray, Kit Custer, anc: you and me." "And the1e were a dozen of us b e fo r e! the young chief muttered bitterly. "But, tbank the Lord, our I.land ain't ail gone y et. There's t n o u g h l eft at the stronghold t o thrash the IJf e out of these Regulato r dogs-and they' ll a venge us, too, bet) our pile on tbat." "May my curse s rest upon that Buffalo B e n I" cried Carn bre, fiercely. 'It is to him that we owe tbis summary defeat, for had we remain e d in the 1avine-" "They could have picked us off, one by one, with the lightning's aid, and made a mor e compl<>te victory tban they have now!" finished Di c k, deci s iv e l y "Traitor thoug h this Buff alo. Ben is, be couldn' t have worked it any better for u s ; for while, if we had remained in the ravine we sbould have all been shot down in coming out, six of us are alive, and stand a show of escape "A devili s h poor sbowl" growled Kit Custer. "I opine we'll he call e d upon to try on L ynch's brand o halter-collars afore another sunset, and that 'JI be the eentl of our ,, "Neve r give up the ship while there's any hope which there alw
PAGE 15

Buft'alo Ben the Prince. of' the PistoL but as for me, I am not a road-agent and if I re main it will be that much proof in my favor. See?" "I'm afeared Old Roxly won't look at it In that light. pard. He's a stubborn old jack-mule, an' don't listen to reason worth a cent. He'll calculate ye're one of us who hadn't pluck enougl.i to attempt to es cape, and consequently Judge Lynch will officiate at your funeral 'twixt now and sunset." "'Well, mebbe so, an' mebbe not," Ben answered, carelessly. Reckon I'll stand my chances, anyhow. A feller can't demise only onc't; I hain't very pur tickler as ter ther time." The storm slacked up as day began to da\vn; a breeze laden with the p erfume of mountain flowers wdted in through the barred aperture called a win d0w. Nothing could be heard of the sentinels outside. Probably they were either asleep or had deserted their post during the night's wild tempest. The lat ter was the most probable theory, considering the escape of Deadwood Dick. "We'll soon have company," remarked Buffalo Ben, pacing to and fro-" all Dead wood will be down to pay us a morning visit. There! listen-some one is approaching now Footsteps were inrteed heard drawing near. and it was evident that quite a multitude was comin g. As they came closer fo the cahil) there was considerable commotion-an angry hum of voices-shouts and oaths; then the key was heard to turn quickly in the lock and the door swung open. But, no sooner was an opening made, than the road-agents, with Cambre at their head, made a precipitate rush out of doors, knocking down tho Regu lators and springing nimbi v over them. Then -away they dashed up the gulch and into the dense forest that Hanked the mountain side, followed by a harmless voll e y of bullets from the weapons of those of the who had not been prostrated. Instant pursuit was given, every man joining in, thus leaving the cabin une;uardetl, for it was sup posed that all the prisoners had effected their es cape. But there was one who had not joined in the stampede, and that one was Buffalo Ben. He came to the door after the R 9gulators were some. ditance off, and chuckled to himseU as be steppe.i forLh into the air of fre edom, and sauntere d l e isurely toward the busy town. 'Bout as lucky an escape as a feller cou\rl ask for," was bis comme nt, as he walked along. "Don't reckon I'll be trouble d on this score again, unless I war recognized last night. Hope them cusses es caped, for tbey seemed right jolly sort o dogs." As he entered the town Ben stopped at a sluice where a couple of miners we1e washing sa1>d indus triously-early birds the y were, who came to the t" make money. sal:J te d one, l ooking u\' from his pan. errible storm we hed. Lookin fer a job?" Oh, no," Ben shook his head with a grimace. "No diggia' _fer me. D1ye make it pay?" "Purt.v fair-yes. Sta rm tuck away a gude bit o' payin' top layer; sum l eft still, tho'." At this juncture two persons, evidently out for morning exercis e, galloped along ou a couple of lJandsome bays-a man with BurnsidPs, and attirPd in army uniform, and a young maiden in elegant rirlin;:-habit, very pretty of face and form. Evirlently B e n recoz uiz e d them both, for he raised hls cap to the maiden; tl .1e man he scarcely deigned a glance. P erhaps the sight was conducive to anger in officer, for he whe e led his horse clown toward the sluice, and jerke d him hack ui;>on his haunche s. "You young jackanapes!', he cried, furiously, ing his riding-whip as though to strike, "how dare ;Y'OU have the to ill'lllt t.hiS YoUllg' lady m my company by saluting her? I'll learn you bet ter m.a.nnersl'' And the whip came down with a vicious swish across the s_sg_ut's shoulders. Of course it but a mere toy, and the blow was scarcely felt; yet it caused a ftame of anger to go rioting over Buffalo B en's face. He stepped back a pace, his eyes gleam in!j dangerously. 'You cowardly dog!" he cried, "you shall pay for this, mark my word. I am slightly acquainted with Miss Stella, your companion, and I deem it no dis honor to her if I bow as she passes. You, sir, have insulted me by striking me, and you are a coward." At this the two miners. who had stnpped their work, laughed loudly, and the officer, who was no other than Major Fawdon, grew red in the face. "I'm a coward eh?" he cried hotly "you cursed imp, I1ll show yOh bow much or' a I am Be fore these men, I challenge you to fight. if you dare, and give me chance to obtain satisfaction and wipe out my grudge against you." "Which I agree to wi the hugest kind of delight!" Ben replied, coolly. Meet me here an hour if you please. The weapo11q will be revolvers-my choice." Just t}len the major saw that he had lost by being too fast. He should have given the scout enougb provocation to insure a challenge from him; he, the major, would then have had the choice of weapons, which would have been Lhe sword, with which he could have hacked his enemy into bits. But with the revolver he was nowhere. The d i e was however; to retreat was ignominy, rns grace: to go ahead was death, without doubt, for young Jerome had a second to none as a revolver shot. "Very well!"-,,JJe was forced to .ay, though he cou!4 not feel that it was to end very well for him. ''I will be on hand." Then he wheeled and rode away to join the young wom'.ln, who waiting, some distance off "Do you know that inso lent puppy?" be demand ed. with a frown, as they p,alloped a long together. "I do," the girl replied, apparentl y not in the disconcerted by his passion-"have known him a we P k. Why?" "Then I want yon to cerrse knowing him, and t,hat at once He is no one fo r you to notice or associate \Yith." "Indeed I but lam the best judge of that. He is a t least a gentleman." "God pity the rest of us, if he is a specimen ef what you call a gentleman. Come, let's return tr the hotel; I havP. some business to attend to." w wat busin Ps;;;;?" she askerl, watching him. Some business, I said I" be retorted sharply. uThat is suffici ent. "No, it is not. You are going to fight." 'Vhat of iL ?" "You will get killed. or he will. Don't, GeorgP,," clutchin;;: his arm. as they rode si rle by side. "Bah!" shaking off hPr ha.ncl, "you need have no fear. I can easily \ving him .,, "But that would be terrib:-e, a ll the same. Please don t f!e;bt, George! "nut I mnst, s is-Stella, I mean. They'd call me a tlunky, if I were to b had gone to purchase weapon!;, latm s h av ing take n bis at t.110 time of his capture. When he came out., she ran over and waylaid him. ... "Oh! Mr. JeromP, vou ar'n't go!nt; ro fight?" she said, f.leadingly. "Don't for my sake." "Its purty hard ter tackle a fellow in that way, Mi&.'> Stella. There's few things I wouldn't do for

PAGE 16

Buft"alo Ben, the Prince or the PistoL your sweet sake, but I can't give In this time. It's live or die, for me or Fawdon-die for him, I reckon, for he is no pistol-shot. '.l}le n you won't do me this favor?" the girl said, poutmgly. "No ; I'll have to r efuse you this time Stella. He skuck me, and I called him a coward, and he cha.l len1?eJ me. So were bound to fight." "Why did you call bim thatt" Hard to tell, dear. \\'he n a feller gets r 'iled be ain't most always the maste r o' bis tongue-at least I ain't.' "Well, if you must fig-ht ;vou must, I suppose. need you kill him !-Just wouua him for In "Might do that, it's true But. me1Jbe be might blunde r and plug it to me;-1 wouldu't want to go down withont s1:1Jivatin' hiin !'' "Ob 1 he'll -not hit you, neve; fear. H e fired six times at a buzzard. once, and then missed it. You won't ki.ll llim, then?n "No, not if you don't wish me to." "All rie:ht; Sile that you keep your word. Now, good-by," and l\way she flitted back to the hotel, followed by .Ben'>: admir;ng gaze. "That l?al'sa trump!" h e muttered, as be strolled on. "Pretty, intcJligent, refined and good-hearted; not much lik e h e r rascally brother, durn him! Major Fawdon en me out of the hotel, just as Stella ran up the steps, hr cheeks aglow and eyes spark lin<7, ,fYou've been out in the street talking with that young ruffian, and j>Ublicly disgracing me l" he cried, savngely. "He's no more o f a ruffian than you are !:irt" flash e d Stella, with spirit. "Yon might be giad if you one tithe n.. good as be, even!" Humph!" the m ajor's sneer expressed his opin ion of the scout, better than words. 'He's a young ruffian, and a blackleg. I've ed you ro l. eep away from him; you'll mind. hereafter, or I'll JocR you in your room. Where did you meet him, "None of youi" business, sir. If you co.me here to scold, .\'On tnay talk to some one e lse than to me!" 11..nd \dth the of a queen the girl cnov<>d into the hotel, l eaving tne major to himself. With 11. muttered oath, he sauntered down to the claim where he had given Buffalo B e n the cbal enge. Quite a cr.>wd bad collected here, for the news of the coming du,1J had spread rapidly. Some were discussing this, !\nd others the escape of Deadwood Dick and bis mtJn. It seems that when Old Roxly and his men hau oorne down to the old cabin, they had found the guu.rd> lying upon the g r v l.llld, bound and gagged. Surwises w ere made that some of Deadwood Dick's 1rncautured band had done this work, and then hacl lieen frightened off before they could effect the escape of those inside Prom inent among those gathered at tbe dnelground, was that uncouth and eccentric individual from Gulch, who ca.lled himself Old RattlesnakP. In his pfement was he, now, and he capered about like a fri sky dog, overjoyed at the return of its master. "Hayr cums the red-nosed galoot what says he can lick Bnffalo B!ln-jam-in :" the miner cried, directin.; general iitymtion to the major, as he approached. "Oh I Eliza. my blushing primrose, whar art thou, now? Luck at thet ossifer, will ye, pilgrims; obsarve what a dangerous-lookin' be bel Luck at th et ar' pistle-0!1 I 'Lizyl hain I theta pompous pistle, now? An' he's tiler coon w'at they say kin salivate my boyee-my bashful cherub, Ben-jam in." "Ts Buffalo Ben h P r e yPt?" the major demanded, eweeping_ the g-roup with his piercing gaze. "Nix-Etln1-a-r ous !" volunteerPd the Rattler, with a grimace; "ther bopie hain't hayr1 pilgrim, but he' ll be hayr in time tet make mince-pies out o' sech an ornery-lookin' specimen o' a bull-whacker as be you-bet yer four-buttoned kids on that." The crowd lau<:hed heartily at the miner's speech. and plainly distinguishable from their voices came 11.l.otber laugh-a wild, blood-curdling shriek of laughter, that made the surrounding rocks echo and re-echo. "By Heavens!" cried Old Roxly, the R egulator who chanced to he prese11t, "tbet was Deadwood Dick' s laugh, boys, sure's I'm a Jiviu' man "Hang 1ne t e r a mulberry-tree ef it wasn't!" as sented another; and it was generally agreed that the laugh came from the l ips of Diel<. But no one bad taken any notice from whence it came. Buffal o Ben was now seen approaching, and a cheer went up, for on short acquaintance he had already become a prime favorite among the miners who had seen blm around Deadwood. He came up in a swinging, ensy gait, and ran bis eyes over the crowd until he sinliled out the major. HWell!" was his salutatioD, "you're on hand,l see! Hour's up, ain't it?'' "Yes," Fawdon r e plied, glanClllg at bis gold watch "Are you ready?" "Rather reckon I am, all except choosing a sec ond." flyer's yer Thomas K. Cati" declared the man frmn Potato Gulch-' I'm ;ver man, pilgl1m, durn ml. old sow's lasl litter of pigs, ef I ain't!" 'You'll do as well as any, rerhaps," B en agreed, you've to do is ter see fau play done." The major chose a gambler by the name of Reese; then the ground was paced off-twenty yards being the measure. Then the two took their places, facing each other> the seconds, and a counter, who was no less a per sonage than o l d Jack Ferguesc .n.._formed in line to one side, w ith drawn weapons. The crowd also a s sumed side positions, and most of them bad drawn their weapons to enforoe fair play, At the word: "One!" The weapons of the duelists were cocked and lev eled. Both were handsome avolvers. uTwol" cr i ed Fergu eso n "Oh I Eliza, my primrose I" whispered the Rattler sb1il ly-" now's yer time!" And then there was a breathless silenee, awaiting the fatal Tlt1"ee I CHAPTER vrn. TORTURING A GIRL. "Oa! mercy,don't,pleasedon't! Ohthelptbelpl for the lov e of God I" In a wild piercing scre11m o f despair rung o u t these words, emanating from one of a hundred log cabic.s that dotted tbe steep hillside above Dead wood. The n came a sound of a descending lash and more 10iteo11s screams follow ed ,-ln a pwely fem lnin e voice. A young man climbing up the hillsid!', without any apparent object, except to get a view of the surrounding country, heard the screams, and stopped. u A woman in d1fficulty!n h e muttered, scanning the different abodes above and arormd him. Rang me if I know whether I'd better interferP, or not. Don't like to bear a f e ller-mortal screech fer help. without givin' 'em a lift; but who knows but what I might git my fingers burnt fer my pains?" Re listened again and bPard tbe sound of heavy and repetition of 1he pitiful scrcams-scrE.ams of some woman in most excrnciating agony. "Dnrned ef I can stand any more of tbe t music," the listener said, moving rapidly toward a cabin from which be was positive came the sounds. "I'll make it hot work for l!omebody, or my name ain't Wrestling Walt!" Straight up to the rtoor Drayton went, and gave a knock tbat made it tremble.

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16 Buffalo Ben. tl.e Prince ot the Pistol. No screams now came from t .be inside, but he could hear low, moanini;r groans, which he knew cnme from the victim of the punishment. There were, however, of voices in stealthy conversation; then the demand was given in a coarse, gruff tone, yet undeniably a woman's voice: 0 Wbo's thar?" "You just hurry up anrl open the door. an' you'll find ont," returned the wrestler, authorita tively. "Don't be a month o' Sundays about it, n eith er." 0 \V. ho be ye, an' what d'ye want?" was again nsked, more inaudible conversation on the in side. "You'll see when yon open up. To his surprise, the bars were shot back, and a moment later, Silver Sal stood upon the tliresh old. She uttered a u oath as she saw the wrestlershe had seen him once before, by chance, at the Metro politan. She would have retreated only Drayton 's revolver covered her heart. "Hold easy. ma'am I" 1 he wrestler said, coolly. 44 I've g-ot a little business te r transact wi' you, so don't b.., in a hurry VVbo were you pounding, yi:-11 bloated she-wretch?" Silver Sal gave vent to a forced laugh. u Ohl I seel,, she said, understandino-ly; ''you have made a mistake. Them screec!ies come from noxt door, whar old Yansl3y' s bin lickin' his wi(e." Just then groans were heard insi as yon please" Walt replied, with a grin of delight; 'fer tbet's ah ye're able ter do at present. I know that yon and this grea your steady a ttention to watch us. '' "Oh! n eve r you f ear bnt what I'll make both ends meet," Walt replied, perching hi111se lf upon a stump close at band, without wavering b i s aim. "I most generally go tnrongh with what I undertake. Some one 'II come along presently whom I can g e t to give me a lift. Hal didn't I tell you? .Here comes a f e llow now ,, L man clad in full hunter's costume was ing from toward the top of Lhe mountain and at a signal from Wrestling Walt he approached. It was the same iron -fra med borderer who had called upon J. Aaron Wadsworth, and given his name as Luke Ransom-9r Li g htninl? Luke. 'We ll, w e ll! young: yon seem ter hold a full hand!" he exclaimeu, with a broad grin, as heap proacbed. "Think sol well, now. t don't count two tricks a very full band. Couldn't h o ld enny more at present, very convenient,ly. thoug-h." u No, [ sh.->d say not 'V 'at 's the row ? "Ohl these worthi e s httve been ft ggin somebody inc:.ifle rhere I called ,em out. an' convinced 'em that ii. "'""' be,;t for 'em to stand here under fil" guardianship till snm one come along to lnvestf. gate." I'll eee about it," Ransom said, striding towa r d the cabin. "Hold 'Valt ordered, authoritatively; "not so fast, thar if yon please I" "Row!" the borderer asked, looking back. "Don't be so much in a hurry,,, Drayton advised. "Just bind these two wolves in men and wimmen's grb, an' then we'll both take a look." Accordinglr Lightning Luke produced some stout cord from his and secure ly bound the wrists of St. Elmo and silver Sal together. "Tbar, now," he said, with a laugh, "ye can take a promynade down ter ther gulch ef yer like, an' ex hibit yet"Selves fer the r Siamese twins." ''Sure enough ; git a goin' !" agreed Walt., and with the toe o f his boot be gave St Elmo a start-off, and awa:y went the strangelyassorted pair, howling back their threats. Sal was for staying near to the cabin, and keeping a watcll over it, but her uu amiable companion puller! her along down the hill, bent on finding some one kind enough to release him &om bis bonds. Wrestling Walt and Ransom now turned their at tention to the cabin, after watching the prisoners go down the hill. On entering, they beheld a sight that caused them to involuntarily cry out in liorror-to hide eyes to keep out the terrible sight. Lyillg upon the floor, weltt>ri11g in little pools of blood-blood that bad g-usbed from cruel wounds upon b'r body, was a young girl, of or thereab'lnts, iu a state nearly akin to nndenes3, for her dress was torn clown to her waist. On h e r back were bloody welts and gashes that had been made by an ugly rawhide whip, which lay upon the tlooi" blood was smeared upon a face that was very pretty in feature ; the hair was long and golden, and very !!eavy. She was lying in a state of s e mi-ins ens ibility; she did not seem to know of the prpsence of the two m e n, yet she groaned in a low, 1Jtifnl manner. "This is awfnll" exclaimed Wrestlinl? Walt, shud dering. "It's lucky for the poor thing's persecutors that I knew nothing of the enormity nf their for I'd have shot them down without hesita-tion. ,,, "And served 'em right,'' agreed R!l.nsom. "But come; let's git the gal out of this difficulty; ugh' l hate to tech her, f e r f;iar it will hurt her." "What shall we do wi' her?" the wrestler asked, ;,'Hanged if I'm much of a nurse fer "Leave m e ter 'tend ter that part," responded Ransom. "I'm sum'at of a nurse We'll just kerry the gal up ter a cave al5ont a mile above here; that's whar I hol d out, and she'll be safe." "Very well," assented Walt. He was glad enough to have the bordermnn take the responsibility from his shoulders. "Let's get to work before that old she-cat and St. Elmo come back upon us." They tenderly raised the maiden from the tloor, and while Drayton held her np in an upright posi t.ion, Luke Ransom washed and dressed her wounds witb care and skill. H e r torn dress was then re adjusted, and she was made more comfortable. Between them the two men carried her out of the cabin, and up the mountain-side (ar above where civilization had encroached with its canvas and wooden abodes. Here a large fissure or open in in tbe crags, which led into a cave of moderate dimension' A fl.re was burning, which gave the surroundings something-of a cheerful appearance. A few blan kets. a rude bench or table, and a couple of camp stools comprised the furniture There I" exclaime 1 Ran
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B ufl"alo Ben. Prince or the Pistol. 17 "I agree with you, the wrestler replie d, admiringly. "Somewhere I've seen a face that reminds me of this, and hair, too, alike, but I cannot now tell wh ere." The blood was washed from the face, thereby enhancing its rare beauty, and the hair combed out; then Ransom poured a small quantity of liquor between the pa.le lips from a flask that h e car ried. The effect was satisfactory, for in a few moments the poor thing gave a J).'asp, and opened her eyes, staring about lier in evident afftigbt. "Don' t be skcered, miss"' Luk e said, gently. "'Y e 're i'n safe hands now, an ye needn t be afeard o' our w'ipRin' you: eb, pard?" "No; we re your friends!" repli ed Walt, earnest;.. Iv. How do you feel!" "Sore oil, so very Jame aud sore," moaned the girl. "My back seems perfectly raw, and my bead aches t erribly." "No wonder; tbem brutes nigh 'bout killed you, hanged ef they didn't. \\' ar the woman yer mo ther?'' lJgb I no; r have no mother nor father-only a brother, of my same age, and God only knows where he is now. l have not seen him for a year. The wo man stole me from him and the fur-1 rader's home where we Jived, and brought me to place. She tried to make me dance in a wbisk)-hell, but I wouldn't, and she beat me without mercy; but, thank God, I was strong enough to hold my own, until to-da.v, when she got a bad man to hold me, while she flogged me with a cruel whip!" A cry of horror escaped honest Luke Ransom, while Walt Drayton uttered an oath under his breath. He had never deemed St. Elmo such a base villain as this. Together tbey had visited various towns through the west, and wrestled before large audiences: never on very intimate or friendly tPrms, yet Drayton had not cared so much about it, for h e perceived that St. Elmo was of a grim, taciturn nature. Eut be bad never counted h i m so great a villain. -"I'll 'tend to this matter, lady," he said. "If the woman an' her companion don' t suffer twice what you have suff e red, why I'm ont of my mind." "Thank you. sir; both of you are very kind, and I ahall always feel grateful toward you. Heaven alone knows what bad been my fate bad not you come and pounded at the door, for I was fast yield ing to thA torture." "And do you feel any better now?" "Yes, my back does not pain me so much, though it is very sore.'' "It will soon be well, if you kee p quiet," said Drayton. "Here you are safe, and n eed fear noth tnr,. But you hay waited for ss; hut before it came. there came sometbinJ? e lse that effectually prevented the wrestler' from leaving the little cabin on his mis-6ion-something frightful, unexpected. CHAPTER IX. THE DUEI.r-IN PERIL. "TBREEI" shouted Ferguson-"ftrel" Then there were two sharp, ringing reports and a jet of flame leaped from each revolver-muzzle-the sing of two lt>.aden death-messengers was distinctly h e iird by the spectators. "My gold nuggit ag'in' seventy million dollars, thet ther boyee ain't hurt I" roared the man from Potato Gulch. "Whoop 'em, Eliza Janel who wants ter bet-seventy milli on ag'in' my All were elect rifl e d at the resuit o f the duel. Buf falo Ben stood with folded arms, uninjured, un daunted. Major Fawdon 's left wrist was shattered, and bleedi.n;i: freely l and the major was cursmg loudly. I ind up my nand be cned fierce!> "I'm going to kill tbat young thil'f, next time!" "Oh I Eliza Jane I" howled "will ye stand tho.t. Ruffler Ben-jam-in? Wull ye allow thet rednosed Govynerment galoot ter call ye a cl e vto mr..nnyack? Oh I boyee I boyee I ye'll never rise to ther Presioental cheer, ef ye allow a fellPr ter slinl' thief' in yer face at this early stage. Don't hurt so much arfter ye're once elected ther faythe r o' y.er country;. but. 11m r ob I Eliza, my purple-tinted p11m rose, I blush fer thee, I do, frum the very sole o' my stogy boots!" "Bind up my band, I say, somebody!'' againcricd the major, in a rage. "The next time I'll-" salted worse 'n what you did this time I" fin. ished Ben, coolly; o I should advise you to stop before you g o too far." "Oh! you can crow as muc h as you please, curse you I" Fawdou returned, savagely. "It's your life or mjne, now!" "All 1 ight; I'm satisfied if you are. I judge I can fix you out in fine style, with one more shot." "Hmra! three &leers fer tiler Star-jangle d Span ner I" roru ed h e from Potato Gulch, execuling a creditable highland fling, in the middle of tbeeutifull" See ht>re I" the major yelled, rushing up to the eccentric miner1 and for the moment forgetling his Injured wrist, you noisy lout. I want to bear less from you, or you'll be sorry. Call me that over again, and I'll undertake the responsibility of knock in?, you down!" 'Oh I Eliza I" gasped the other, evidently aston ished, "you knoc1< m e dow.n, you J ong-eared amle yo11 r e d-nose so11 of a pot-'ras'ler-" Up came the officer's hand, and a blow aimed full in Old Rattlesnake's bewhiskered face; but it was waidPd off, and the next 1hing the unlucky m ajor knew he was lying outstrctchec! upon the eround. "Whoop 'em up! Eliza Janel" sung the mine r victoriously. Thet's ther kind uv a Thomas K. Cat I am. Did ye hear me me-e-eow?" The m a jo'r was assisted to his fe e t by a couple who sympathized with him in his troubles. His clothes were dirtied, one foot was wet, having projected m to the sluice. and his left eye was swollen shut. A ripple of laughte r ran through the crowd, as they looke d at him. One would have said that he was badly whipped, at a first glance; but such waa not the ca-.e. Where is Buffalo Ben?" he demanded, gazing around with his one useful ey<'. "Ohl Eliza I" murmnrel RattJeqnake, with a grim ace-" I tbort he wa.about ter ask frr me." "Buffalo Ben is here!" the youth replied, from preciselv the same spot where be bad stood when he wounded his antagonist. "If you ain't satisfied yit, come t e r time at onc' t, an11 l'll feerl ye." i Y es1 said old Jack Fergueson, impatiently; "et ye want any more, major, come ter bizness; time't.. Pl.Oney. nowadays, you know4"

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1 0 Buif'alo Ben, the Prince of the PistoL "Sech bein' ther case, hyer's a me-e-owin' Th= as K. Cat as would like to swop off a few hours o' time each d"'Y fer a big allowance of filky lucre I" the man from l'otato Gulch announced gravely. The major got one of the crowd to bind up his wrist. It was excasaive lv painful. but his honor was at stake, and he was determined to wreak vengeance on the cool youth, who stood smilingly looking on tbP. golden-haired youi:g scout, who was hourly win ni n golden opinions from the rude, honest mining e lement. The vrist bandaged, the major toed the mark, a revolver cocked in his right hand, which trembled -per ceptibly as it came to bear. "Now, gentlemen, do fer Heaving's sake make y e r pellets count, this time; no more o' yer tender-heart edness, or I'll throw up the sponge I" Fergueson cried, peremptorily. "I'll s a y one, two, three an' away sbe goes, an' I want ye to sock et ter each other f e r kill. D'ye hear?" "We do I" replied Ben. slipping a loaded cartridge in the place of exploded one. "We're r eady, now, so go ahead wi' yer Centenyalclam-bake." "Ar' .Ye ready, major?" ''Perfectly," was the mechanical response. "Ar' ye ready, B e n-jam-in?" queried the man from .i'otato Gulch, anxiously. "PerfectJy, '!assured B e n with a grin. Very well i we' II perseed ter business," Fergueson announced. One !11 Up came the revolvers to a dead l eveL Ben .vas cool, selfpossessed, fearle ss. Major FaW'don was pale and nervou..q; -his hand trembled so much that it was with difficulty be could keep anything of an aim upon his adversary's heart. "Twor Three I and away she goes I" cried Fergueson, rapidly. Two flames leaped from the steel tubes, and then the major uttered A. yell of pain. This time a bul let had shattered his right hand, tearing one finger out of joint. Truly this was wonderful marksman ship; and applause was given without limit. Ben stooped and picked up a long lock of goldeu hair tb.at Fawdon's bullet had clipped from one side of his head, without drawing blood. "Pretty close shave I" he remarked, with a grim smile; "they say a miss ar' !!"OOd's a mile, however. What ails the major? Got a stomachful, eb ?" "H nie he?" roared the Potato--"ulchian. "Reckon so. Whoop 'em up, Eliza, blusl11n' primros e ; thet1s tber kind ov shootin' I luv ter see. Plugged et ter him jes's hansum as ary morlil man ked do, an not half try!" The major swore roundly, and shook his injured rillht fist at Buffalo Beu threateningly. '"I Curse you I" he Cl'ied his face livid with hate. be even with you., yet, or n1y name ain't George Fawdon. Even the>ul'(h you have disabled me there ar' men in Deadwood who'll work for moiiey, and whom you won't trifle with. Remember!" And then the vanquished duelist turned, and left the spot, followei you' d g-et the worst of !ti" Wll.ll her. offered consolation. "If t hnd not exacted a prom. ise from him he would have kil!ed you.'.' After the duel, Buffalo Ben sauntered off towanl the heart of the town. while the crowd dispersed ID several directions. were little knots pf miners and cit! zens, excitedly discussing the news tl1at had pread lik e wildfire through the place, conce'rning the es cape of Deadwood-Dick and his men. As be proceeded the young scout saw a Regulator approaching, wearing k is suit of buffalo-skin. in which he hacl always taken so much pride But be said nothing, for he did not care to have the Regula tors remember that it was he whom the y bad cap tured as a roadagent spy. In passing the hotel wh e r e Fawdou stopped, he saw Stella motioning to him from a n upper window, and waite d till she joined him on the steps. You nearly killed George," was her reproachful salutation. "Ohl no; adozensucb wounds would not kill him,n Ben assured, with a smile. "Prett. v mad, isu 1t h.a?n "Mad? that's no name for it;. You h a v e crippled him, and he'll spend every cent he is worth buo what he'll see you put under the turf. Beware of assas sins he reafter ." "Yes, I'll keep an eye ope n in the back of my bead. Reckon they'll hev to git up in the m ornin' to circumvent me, tho' I" You aro too confident. Some time you will get struck, when off your guard." "Which I never am," was the reply. "Here-do you want this?" He held up the long golde1> curl which F9.wdon'11 bullet had clipped from his head-a soft silken ring let that any man might be proud to wear, and sorry to lo se. Stella seized it with a delighted little cry, and kiss ed it fondly-then blushed in confusion at her bold ness. "Where did you-how-when-" she began. "It was shot from the side of mf, head, he said, smiling, ''by your amiab l e brother. My brotbAr I" she exclic,imed, evidently astonish ed. What do yon mean?" "I mean that your b rother, Major Fawdon, shot the lock away duringour duel." "Hal ha! a good joke. MajorFawdonmy_brotherf I supposed you knew better than that, Mr. Jerome." The n you deny that he is your brother?" ''Certainly. He my guardian." ''And your name is-" "Stella Wadsworth I" "Wa,lswmtk !" Buffalo Ben stared at her curious Ty. "Humph I I'll bet a coon-skin you're tryin' ter shet my eye up. Either you ain't Wadsworth, ot else tbe major a.in't Fawdon; fer it's plain enougb that you two are brother and sister." "Some persons al wars make mistakes!" the gfri retorted, with a toss of her head. Just then the report of a pistol-shot rung out, and a bullet whizzed by, unpleasantly near to Jerome'!! head. Involuntarily he raised his eyes toward the upper windows of the and beheld the sullen face of Major Fawdon withdraw from view. Who fired that shot!" Stella demanded, grancing about in alarm. "Major Favrdon was amusing himself at a little' target practice, Ben coolly replied, nodding up ward. ''Judge I'd best get out of range before h& succeeds iu bitting me. See you again, sometime eb?" "Yes; uf coorse. I wiU keep this lock of your hall next to my heart," with an earnest look. Good da:y-." Good-day;" and then B e n went on up the strePt Toward r\ight he came upon the shanty of "Mask ed )\fau,le." the fortune-teller. The door was open, and the my,terious proprie tress was stand\.'g upon the Lhresholrl breathing the perfume-l:trlen that swept down from th!l mount:aW,,,

PAGE 20

Buft"alo Ben, the Prince of the Pistol. 19 She started as she saw the young revolver-shot, then came forward and extended one faultless white hand saying in a voice of peculiar sweetness, which Ben'thougbt be had heard somewhere once before: Good-eve.ning, sir. Nice outside." "Yes, Ben replied, wondering what ""as to come next. 'Been into the Metropolitan?" "'No; what's going on there? MO\ouldn't say. Do you play cardsf" for amusement. '1 And money, too J dare say?" "Rarely. Never bad much luck." 1 Come inside, and hav e a game." "No, I thank you. Don't hev no appetite fer just at present." ':Ba hl'' with a merry laugh; "you're suspiciousafraid of me, a woIDan 1 1 "That's a lie!" Ben_replied, bluntly_ "Hang me if I ever saw that female I war '!raid of yet, Don' t care for cards, though." "Well, let them go, then; hut come in and have a social chat. 0 Ain't ia no mood fer social was the re joiniler. Ben didn't halflike this fortune'teller's soft, persuasive tones. "Can't help it; youmu.t come in I" was what came next. "Must I? Like ter see the critter that can make me do it," and out came a revolver, full cocking with an ominous click. ''Now go in lemons. ,, Masked Maude uttered a low laugh and retreated ioto the shanty, closing the door after her. Then )3uffalo Ben went on up the gulch, wmdering more than ever over the mysteries of D eadwood. As the shadows of night fell over the golden me tropol is the crowds in the streets became denser, and, consequently, business liveli e r. Work was over for the day, and p lay had just begun. Grim, dirt.I' miners came tmdging in from the cl'lims; pick pockets and dark-hrowed desperadoes stood on the watch for victims to insnare. Inside the M etropolitan Saloon was the usual crown cf adventurers and representatives of Dead wood's population-a mass of humanity, the faces of which would have bee n a study for Nast or any other facial artist. Among the audience was Buffalo Ben, sauntering I d l y around, endeavoring to pass away an evening And soon he was One of the crowd, and no l ess a man than exLientenant Fred Auclley, of Deadwood Dick's band walked straight up to the young scout, and s lapped him on the shoulder. "Here, Roxly !" he cried to the RPgu lator chief, who stood a few yards off. "this young galoot can tell ye wlwre Deadwood Dick is. Nab him, aild make him tell what he knows." H Leave go your bold," said Ben coolly. ''I reckon you don't m ean me, stranger; I know nuibin' o' Deadwood Dick!'' "Ho! ho!" the traitor road-agent laughed mock ingl:y; "re can't lie to me, my boy. I saw you /talkm' WI' the prince np in tber gulch this aftern oon .,, "In that case I shall hold ye I" said the cantnin of Regulators. advancing. "Hallo!" cried the Regulator who had taken pos11ession of Ben s buffalo-costume; "thet's the PY we '9.ught w lio got off wi' the road-agents. See I he's my togs, and I'm one bufller-skin suit better "Right!" Roxly assented. "We've caught our bird this time. Give up your weapons, young fel ler!'' u Jn this fashion I" Ben cried. drawing and cocking a revolver in eac h band "Now, come along, you galoots as want tertake me!" And as if in answer to his challenge, a pistol report rung through the room, and E:l'ed Audle y dropped in his tr!Y'ks-dead I CHAPTER X DEFENSE ONE OF NATURE'S OWN LAWS. uDE.Anwoon DICK.I" came from the crowd fn o n e involuntary gasp, and then they glared around, as it in fear of beholding h i s dread standing before them. But if Richard was in the room, be was s o cleverly disguised as to defy recognition. Buffal o Ben had been almost in the act of laying for the exlieutenant, but this friendly bullet had spared him the work; he therefore turned to Roxly, who with his Regulators was standing near, dum founiled, for the time b e ing. "Thar, pilgrims!" said Ben, coolly, "ye see what that f eller got fer his supper. He war a traitor to Deadwood Dick's gang, and got well paid for hi& treach ery." "I b'lieve my soul you shot him yerself; an' l shouldn't much wonder e f you be of D eadwood D ick's gang!" Roxly cried. "Ge t out!" Ben laughed heartily at the idea. "I'm no road-agent cuss; you can bet y e r ducats on that!" 'I say you nre, an' I'm goin' ter arrest an' lynch yon wi'out. delay. Boys, seize the little cuss I" "Hold I" Buffalo B e n cried, his voice rin1?ing out clearly through the room-" hold I you da tardly hounds, and hear me out., I am not a road-agent. ; I swear it" L ast n ight I was captured by Deadwood D ick's men, just before you gave them chase. I was force d to accompany them into the r avinti; I volunteered to r ecounoiter, and you captured me. When the road-agent made a rush from the cabin, I did not go with them "An' we'regoingtohangyouhighertban Haman!,. cried O l d Roxly. "Road-agent o r no road-agent. ye war workin' fer the interests o' Deadwood D i ck. so le're bound to wear a hemp collar. Boys-" Hold I" Buffal o Ben agai n cried, his eyes ::;lm m I ng. I have explained al:. Keep off i f you vr,l:1c life, for rather than s ubmit to Judge Lynch, 1'11 \70etlnlle. !_l.,!_giv'-'em the credit o' this ;tob. Aad rm afzar'.i .. "'

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eo BWFalo Ben, the Prince or the PistoL Ile added, "we can never remove these rocks, in ther Lord's world, except by powder, and thet 'd hardly retch 'em-at least, tbar ain't enough in our crowd to budge 'em an inch." "I don't know about that. I've got a hundred and ttfty cartridges, or overi and besides, here's half a pound of e:iant powde r Found o n the street1 to-day, Altogether we might squeeze out a pouna o' the stuff. " Well, we can try; but thar's no use o' bein' in a hnrry. No douht our enemies '11 keep an eye hyer bot>ts, fer a day or so; an' ef our plan should s uc ceed, they'd stand ready to salivate us when we cum ou t." A couple of torches were ignited and thrust Into Olches in the wall, and their blaze lighted the cavern In every part. The fire. too, was replenished, and preparations made for a long sojourn in the rocky mountain prison.. Luckil,y, Ransom had ;Just that mornin!( killed a rleer, which promised to furnish food for some days to come. After a venison supper all f elt In more cheerful spirits, Belle, especiall.v, brightening up wonderful Jy, Slle was vivacious, good-hearted, and fairly educated, and made a very pleasant com panion. After awhile all dropped and so remained until day-dawn, the light finding its way in through the few cracks in tne That day passed slow l y enough, and when night once again settled down over the mountain, the two men proceeded to work, resolved to effect an escape from th eir drear prison, at all hazards. Each carried a revolver. These were fully loaded, then the remainder of their cartridges were opened -two hundred, in all -and their contents mixed wjj;b the half a pound of giant powder that Walt bad found, thereby making quite a charge. A bole in the main rock that blocked tbti passage afforded a place for the cbaq::e, and it was rammed home with a will, for. shoul d this fail, Walt knew that they were doomed. A fuse connected with the powder, and after all was in r eadi ness, and B el19 had been stationed at t.be rear of the cavern out of reach of harm, Ransom plucked a burning brand from the fire, and lit the fuse I A few seco nds would tell whether they were to be free. or forever, until death came, live in this prison of rocks No doubt Buffalo Ben would have been lynched Immediately, had the matter been left to the Regu lators, f<;>r be bad s lain or wounded several of them In that fight in the bar-room. But the Government had lately planted a firm foot upon Deadwood soi l and enforced certain laws, making it necessary for even the Regulators to g iv e a prisoner a hearing bbfore the summary justice of hanging to the near\ist tree. Toward midnight the vicinity of the prison was de !!erted, and, despite their bravest efforts, a feeling of apprehens ion attacked tbe guards; even Old Roxly was not p roof against it. "Wh1tt the cJe'il is tber matte r wi' me?" he growl ed gruffly "Sumhow I feel as skeery as an old co l t In fly-tim e." "Herecomessomebody,an' that's a b l essed thing." sung out a Regulator. "Ef a mule even 'd c u m "long, 'twould seem a r elief. Footsteps, truly. were heard approachin15 swiftly, though in the blackness of the night no glimpse could be obtained of the comer. It was evidently a woman, for the steps were light, quick, e lastic, The Regulators of one accord cocked their revol vers. Who comes tbarr" bailed Roxly, gruffly. "Who beyP, an' whatd'yewant?" "T'r11 a RO fPa.r not f" ren]iP,il Ft clf!'ar. sweet a.n(i t..Uen a o!l,.::ht ligur a et1\1Clopeo i.u a. wav'"' army cloak stepped in among the road-agent hwto ters. "Hello l a gal, by thunde r I" the chief ejaculated in apparent astonishment. Whatever feWhed ye 'way out here all a lone by yerself, sweety?" "None of your insol ence, s ir/' tbe girl replied, drawing herself up, haughtily. Use no endearing epithets to me. I am Major Fawdon's ward, sir, and I come to beg of you to release Buffalo Ben. who o t all men is innocent of association with the road R'ents. "Sorry, miss, but we can't obleege ye--0rful pit}". t oo, fer I'm a widower, myself, an' nary purtier gd did ever I see in thes 'ere country u There you are again!" Stella cried, angrily. "Please answer my questions, and avoid your ex pressions of admiration. Why won't you release Butfaio Ben?" "Easy e nuff ans'erecl. ma'am. H e's a cuss as war caught in aidin' D eadwood Dick an' thet made bi!ll a road-agent in our eyes, no matter ef be be tter biggest preacher in the world. So we're goin' te1 hang him up ter dry in tbe mornin'." "Ohl no I n::> you must cried the young we> man beginningto cry. ., You must not!" "But we shall!" 'Roxly declared, grimly," an' a h the sniveJin' an' catwaulin' ye can crowd inter twenty-four hours o' time won't change om mind on't. Why, he S111ivated half o' my crew up ter the Met r o p olitan, right straight a l ong, an' laid some on 'em out fer a jeruy along Salt river " Y es, I hea1cl so," was the faint reply, and more 's the pity he didn't finish you at the same tim e!" Tbis with intense bitterness of tone. Then she turned back toward Deadwood, aud the Regulators were left. to themsel ves. I was thin kin' I" observed the chief, after they were once more alone-" wh,r not take the young cm;;s out an' hev ther o' swingin' him all to ourse lves? After he's dead no one 'll trouble us about how he went off." "Good!" chimed in a ll o f the men, eagerly. "Let's string him up now.'' It was evident they were anxious to have the job done wit!:i. W e ll, so be it, then," B.!lsented Roxly, a murder ous ligbt in his eyes. "Get a rope some o' you. Hyer's a tree right handy. Fetch out. the rascal." The cabin door was burst open, and Buffalo Ben was driigged out into the night. In unrler tbe tree that wa. to be his gallows, be was made to stand erect while the noose was adjusted about his nook. CHAPTER XI. A C:OMPA,CT-BETRAYED-PERIL. UNLIKE most m e n, J. Aaron Wadsworth cared lit tle for name or high position; he never participated or took interest in politic s, and bad few friends
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Buft"alo Ben, the Prince of' t h e Pistol. 'Slop Bucket.' That savors more of finding him," and into this, the vilest den in Deadwood went the searcher. Sm e enough he found Burk, sitting at a beer table in a drunken sleep and looking a" if he had been through any amotmt of bar-room trouble. No doubt he had been making free use of the money he had lately received .for his murderous job sixteen years ago. "Hey! wake up!" Wadsworth exclaimed, shaking bim by the shoultler, roughly, "What are you doInf. \\"hat1s the matter wi' y,,u f" g-rowled the ruffian g l arinl!' about savagely, his bloodshot eyes half swo l len shut, and his face flushed and bloated. "What lii.'ye wantP,, "How much money have you left?" demanded Wadsworth. feeling his way carefully. 'Nari a copper!'' Burk gruutP:d, rather sorrow fully. 'Recko I bought tarant'ler fer the most part o' et." 'Do vou want more9" uon course I do! Goin' ter fork over a couple of tbousan'?" and out reached tbe ruffian's hands, ea ger to clutch the money No you don 1 t, 11 Wadsworth said, with provoking 0 lf you want n10re money you ve (!'et to work for it; do you h.-ar? Not another farthing will I ever give you tiJI you do a certain for me, and d o it thoroughly. too ." standing before hitr., mstt-ad of one. "Some more dirty work ye want ter git onter my bands, eh?" he cju eAtioned, slee12ily. 'More 1.J,or,dy work!'' the nnll10naire corrected, with a bear11ess I n ugh. Then he ordered a uottle of brandy, and a coupl e o f Help yoursplf, WiUiam. while we talk business," he said, sPating himself opposite the ruffia Nothing like a little dampness aaded to a transac ti o n.'' And Rill Burk was not. slow to help himsel f, pouring out a brimmng glass of th.; raw poison, anti gulping it down in a drau1f desperate cusses who will jump at the cbonce" "Ju"t hold yer horses!" Burk said, ea<>:erly. "I'll take !be job at a tbousan, an' ye can pay me arte r the 11:al's a corpuss. Wbar've l got ter steer ter find h er?" "Not out of Deadwood. She is here. stopping at ;he same hotel I do. HPr name is Stella. You see, Major Fawdon basset. her up as one of my wife's children-an heir to my estates; so I want to remove h e r u .Major Fawdon f " Yes; do you know anythin g of the fellow?" and the inquirer grew exPc!ted. "Not much Met him up i n HelenA four years .i.go, when his company war stationed her e. URed ter take a smile wi' h i m h i m occasionally; tbat s all ." "Anti e n o ugh, too. It account s for his know l ------------------ledge of this heirsbip business; he then laid his plans." '1 he gal is-" "Rio siter, no doubt. But I -nt her decently buri ed, however. After you've done with the job, call on me for your pay. Mind, though, l am in no way to be mentioned in connection with the affair. 11 "O' course not. Miste r Wadsworth. Sail ahead an' be acountin' out yer rhino, fer 1 shall b e along soon.11 Then the monster took bis departure, congratula t ing himself on his success thus far. Tbat night, whil e Stella was returning from her michiight visit to the cabin prison of Buffalo Ben, Fhe suddenl y fou n d herself confronted by the burly form of a man in a gloomy por tion of the gulch road. She could see nothing of bis face for tbe intense darkness. but i n stature be was a v ery giant. up, ma'am!' was tile rough salutation, and Stell a t rembled wich fear and apprehension. Bein 't ye Stella Fawdon, eh? w'at Buffler Ben be shinin' u p to?" 'Why do you ask. sir? 'What right have you to e,t')p a woman in this manner? Let me pass." "Oh I no, ye don' t do noftln' o' the kiud I I axed ye a fair question, didn't I? an' now ye ve got ter give me a tair ans'er-durn my head. ef ye hain,t!11 ''Yes. I an1 S ttlla; So Jet me go-I'm rn a hurry.'' "Ye aire, aire{e? Wacl, now, I ain't; so jm:t aisy ef ye can. ai.n't goin1 ter hurt a ha'r 01 yer pm1iy pate; but after ye ans'er me a few questions, I'm goin' ter take ye straight to Butne r Ben, who wants to see ye. "Wbatl do you come from him?" "Reckon I don' t come frum no one e l se, efl know mr,se lf." But Ben is imprisoned in a cabin, back here, a nd guardPd bv Regulators." u He ,,n;r you mean to say. But be ain't now, though ther Regulators doc't know notbin' about bis escape. n "The n be bas reallyPscaped?" 0 B e t yer life, an' I'm ther percise i ndividua l as helped him out o' Lis littl e Jceflcuity," Oh! then I thank you so n1ucb I" f'te lla cried, joyfully. "I was afrai d it was all up with him." squally. War you just "Yes. "An' did yer see ther Regulators?" Yes." Purt. v gallu s SPt o coons, h ey? Durn 'em, they nigh about put a punctuation p'i11t Inter m e i w 'en I helped Ben out o' ther chimbley. Want er g o an see th e boyee, nrn,'am ?" "Yes, if you will take me to him." Stella r eplied and w ithout a shadow of suspiciou .. \\ her& "Not fur, miss; you foller me, an we' ll soon con1e t .e r whar bf"'s hidm'." "1'hen he i s a "Reckon so; 'll bev ter fight mighty shy, after salivatin' them Regs." So saying, the grant l ed the way int? a dark, deep ravine that branched off from the mam gulch. Tbe path was rough and tortuous, and i t was w ith some migiving that the girl followNl. Fully two mil e s were tra veled in sileuce-it SP.emed ten instead of two to Stella-when the g-uide paused nncl faced abruptly about, a cocked revolver in his hand. "Thar, miss P' he said, with a b1u tal l a u gh, we v e gon e fur enough. B u ffa l o l:len aiu 'there-probably never was." Wl!at !" Stella gasped in horror. 'You-" "Hev fooled you nicely I" finished Bill Bu r1'. with a hoarse laugh. T fetched you bye.i o u t o' Rit?ht an' hearin', an' am a-goin' ter b l ow yer brainr

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22 Buff'alo Ben, the Princ e ot" the Pistol. out, an' put ye six feet under groun'. How do that fit yer ijees, my pretty?" '!'here were a few seconds of breathless suspense t.o those in the little mountain cave, as the fus e slow ly burned nearer and nearer to the powder; then came a blinding flash. a tre m endous report and shock, .md out of the mouth of the p.t n ear it, and r elapsed into a deep reverie. But he was soon aroused by the sharp r e port of a pistol, and a bullet whizzed unpleasantly near to his lte1d. Enemies were upon them 1 CHAPTER XIL ROADAGENTS TO THE RESCUE. You'G feller, hev yer sed yer prayers?" Old Roxly as he adjuted the noose about the neck of Buffalo Beu, "fer ef you hain't I' advise you to be. ,em, instanter, fer we' re a-goin' t e r trot ye before yer Maste1, at e r rattliu' pace Ye hev five minni ts, yit; improv a 'em best yeldn." Jerome hc.l n eve r bee n brought up religiously; from early childhood his lot bad been cast among a rough, unbelieving set. who paid but little heed to either the laws of God or man. Still, h e had picked up some ec,1cation-learn that there was a n AU-wise Ruler1 to wt.om the sinf1tl and wicked must at last loo k ror salvatlont he had, from his sister Belle, learned a simple lit t le prayer, and this he now silently offere r f to heaven-int for the power to es God might have mercy on his erring, Then he lo oked up, a fearless expression upon his faca. He coulc l not 'peak for the gag tbat was fastened in his mouth, but the flash of his eyes spoke hi' d e fian ce. "Waal, aire ye ready?" demanded the chief, ea11;er to proceed with t;e execution. "Git reddy, b'yeesi" the Regulator cried, and the ttner end of the rope was swung over a limb, and sei zed by a dozeJ1-.l1ands It. drew tight about Beu 's, neck, and he rea u.ed t!Q t J:;.. 3 was about to be sent Into eternity. "All right. Go ahea