The detective road-agent, or, The miners of Sassafras City

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The detective road-agent, or, The miners of Sassafras City

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Title:
The detective road-agent, or, The miners of Sassafras City
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 (30 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
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All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
026009198 ( ALEPH )
07327420 ( OCLC )
D22-00062 ( USFLDC DOI )
d22.62 ( USFLDC Handle )

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serial

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Copyright 1883-1889, by Beadle & Ad a ms. Entered at Post omce, New Y ork, N. Y., as second class matter. liar. 15. 18" No. 63 THE ARTHUR WESTBROOK CO. Cleveland, Ohio Vol. V

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1pyrlght 1888-1889, t>y Beadle & Adams. Entered at Post Office, New York. N. as second class matter. Mar. 15, 189 No. 61 THE ARTHUR WESTBROOK CO. Cleveland, Ohio Vol. v;

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I The Road-Agent, '!he Datactive Road-Agent; OR, tals afre wras'lin' wi' Morpheus. Now yer hum ble sarvent desireth to know wbar she am, an' the bull bizness about her!" Miners of Sassafras City. "'Melican man mistakee. Rats, him velly honest, allee samee liKe preacbee. Know nottmg 'bout mine-wasbee 'Melican man sbirtee allee time!" BY ED. L. WHEELER, laoTB:oR OB' 11 DENVER DOLL, 11 .AND DEADWOOD DICK 11 NOVELS. CHAPTER I. Ami he looked the picture of truthfulness. "Git eout, ye infernal skunk! Jest yeou tell us wbera that secrE't bonanza o' yourn is, or off comE>S yer hair, an' her bead, in the bargain." "'Melican man velly muchee wrong. China man don't knGw anything about mine. Know only aboutee washea bu1ines!I. Cuttee Rat's bead A NO 1. oft', gittee hung. Cuttee off queue, :Rats grow "'Mellcan man mt:chee love whisky, 'nudder ajleo samee like this one!" llfuchee 'Melica ell belly frisky; 11 Better let the flat-mug go, I reckon," one of Cbinee man h o nest, neb e r ste alee. the bystanders said, whose appearance was conGet knock around, neber muchee squealee." siderallly less rough than that or bis companions, 'i'Hll: singer possessed a wheezy voice, and whose modest deportment proclaimed that and was a burly, ill-looking $p e cimen of th'l he was yet a tenderfoot, so far as mining lite rough frontiersman, who stood holding a greasywas concerned. "I don't St!e anything to war-looking Chinaman by bis queue with one band. rant bis being abuSP
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The Det.ective Road-Agent. and long arms and large bands, that gave him a st:-ange appearance. "That's my Claudie!" the bull whacker said, with manifest pri de, an' he's to be Simon Shields's daughter's future husband, and don't ye fergit it!" A faint giggle from the men in the room, in dicated bow much stock they took in tbe gentle Claudie's chances of winning the charming and pretty pet of the camp, Jessie Shield, who, by the way, was the only representative of her sex in the camp. "Yas, Claudie's a smart feller, an' when he gits ter bandliu' old Simon's shekels, tbar'll be high old times in Sassafras. An' as for-yeon, young feller, I ain't goin' ter let any one git a chance to step in ahead o' Claudie; so you've got ten minutes ter make yerself minus around tbP,se parts, or de a d you are!" "You are not so stupid as to imagine that I can be scared by you, I hope!" Temple said, dryly. "I never yet tbe man that could frighten me out of a town." "Ob I ye didn't!" the bully roared, working himself suddenly into a ra11:e. "W aal, I'll show ye bow PASY it is to mop the floor with a young monkPy like you!" He leaped toward young Temple, with the evident intention of rlinching with him, but failed in that calculation, for Ned's fist caught him square. covering the left eye, and sent him spinning dizzily bnckward. Tbe crowd cheered lustily, for it was Tiger Tooth's first set-back ffr Sassafras. It was several ruinures Pre tbe bully could sufficiently recovi>r bis equilibrium to make a second charge, and when be did, the two men clinc>-ed. TbPy writhed; twisted and squirmed about, lintil finally they tripped and went to tbe floor, the bully on top. "Now I've got you I" he cril>d, hoarsely, as he released bis band, and endeavored to draw bis knife. "Not wheu I'm around, old C .(' a ringing voice cried, a the do.gr was flung open, and a man steppl'd into the room, from the wild, rainy day witbont. "Just you let up, or I'll put a head iu your skull that will tickle you 1mmenselyt" And the speaker leveled a revolver at the bullwhacker's bead. He was attired iu flnel v-tanned and fringed bnckRkin breeches, met below by knee boots and at the belt by a red woolen s'!irt, oartly open at the throat. An cloak was thrown, about his sbonlders, and upon bis bead be wore a plumed slouch bat, whi c h gRve him the appearanoo of a free ranger of the West. Old Tiger Tooth uttered a savage growl, when he perceived that he was covered, and readily seeiag that the advantage was aitainst him be naturally made no attempt to execute his threat againlit young Tempi" What the devil d've want1" be roared. "I'll l'arn ye hetrer th8n to interfere in mv matters, ef I get up to ye. Who aire ye, you skunk?" "A No. l, the man who can make min<'e-meat ef a dozen tou11:bs of your diagram!" the spnrt replied, with an obsequious bow, _and a smile. 1 Gent.Jemen, I will have the honor of your pocket-books, please!" What?" gasped Tiger Toot(.., "What?" echoed the other by .. tanders, in con sternation. "Exactly tbat, and notbfag more," was the reply. "I broke my bank, a few ago, up at Pine Cone, and I wai.t mon e y. So pan out I" The last words were ntterect in the she pe of a peremptory ord e r, and as bi; spoke, A No. l, as he bad sty.led himself, lei surely drew another revolver, and leveled it toward tile crowd. So astonished bad these rnen of Sassafr&s been, llt tbe sudden action of the dashing sport. that they bad t>ntirely neglected to "atcb for an opportunity to lift a weapon, in self-defense "Ye can jest bet you've struCk the wrong trail, cttptain," Tiger Tooth growlPd. "Durned little stuff ye'll git in this shebang." "It's little I want, then, but I want it badl" the road.agent sport answered, good-naturedly. "Just pan out now, without any further parley, or some one will get took sick all of a sudden. Mind you 1 my eyes are watching you, and the m an wbo attempts to pull a pop, dies! You, Tiger 'footb, let tbat feller up, an go 'round and take up a collection in your hat.lf you don't raise fifty dollars, l'llsalivateyou. Come! move!" The bully hasitated a moment, as if about to disobey, but the deadly aspect of the pistol pointed straight et him, brought him to his feet, and, taking ofl' bis '.Jattered plug hat, he passed it from man to man. "Boyees, I reckon it's policy to save a funeral, ef ye can I" be snarlen be wbn bad found gold t bere, and taken up VAlnahle territory, which ba.d increased in value, until it brouii:ht him an alm"8t princely revenue, to SAY nor bing of tbtl wealth each ilav mined at his own mine, the B1111io11, wbkb was the principal one in Sasnfras City. Sassafras was yet comparativi>ly a small camp, but boasted of the usual number of sa-

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The Detective Road-&gent, 'oons, ston.> and gaming-dem, and its streets were usually crowded with strangers. About the time that the bolr! but suave roadagent, A No. 1 was in the midst of bis operations at tbe Leonard House, Simon Shields sat iu the front parlor of bis comfortable abode, toasting his feet b e fore the ruddy tire, upo n tbe grate, while Jessie read aloud from a newspaJ}E\r. A m a n of over sixty' years, with snow-white hair and beard; he was still well preserved m feature anrl form, anrl seemed in a f air way to live on to tbe alloted three -score and ten, ere he lost bis strength and vigor. His daughter was p e tite, and bewitchingly pretty. Her eyes WPre brown and soarkling, her cheeks tinted with a healthful glo1v, anr! her mouth habitually wore a winnin!!' expres sion. Her hair was of sunny color, and ever worn witb becoming taste of arrangement. A perfect lady at home, and a jolly sparkling elf when rambling about the mines there were few of the men of Sassafras who would not literally risk breaking their necks for one of her smile s of approval. There was an uneasy expressio;i upon Simon Shields's face, as bis daughter read the news, and it evident that he paid little atten tion to anything she said. Until, finally, Jess ie laid aside the paper, and cross erl over to bis side. What is it, papa-why are you so quiet, today?" she akerl, stroking bis hair. "I do not feel exactly bunkum this morning, to tell the truth. I suppose it is nothing more lazin ess however. Is Ed ward in the house?" "No, papa. He went ont awhile ago saying he was going to the post-office." ".How jo you fancy him, child?" Ob, I suppose he'll pass-so far as young m e n go. H e seems a-little out of place h ere in the mines though." "Oh, tb:1t is he was born and hred in !\D eatero city. D o you know why I had him pay n a visit, dear?'' "Because you wished to seti him, I suppose. I don't know of any other reason." "I thought you might have suspected. You see, my child, it is this wav: I am getting so old now that it i s n o t unlike l y that I may drop away at any time, and I must make necessary provisions for the future. You are young yet a girl of eighteen merely-so I have considered it the b es t to provide you a manager I" "Provide me a Jes8ie exclaimed. "Whv, what in the world do you-mean,. papa?" "Exactly what I said. You need some one to look out for your future welfare; and wbo w ould be more likely to take a warm intere3tin you than your cousin? I have already spoken with him in regard to the matter, and he con fessed to a stroqg ndmiration for you." "Why, Papa Shields! I am astonished at you! I marry my own cousin I Why, I never heard of such a thing! "I have all due respect for cogsin, as a cousin, but there it all ends. I would never, never con sent to marry him I" "Not if your father commanded you, child?'' "No! not it a dozen fathers commanded me I" Jessie replied, with spirit. _'I propose to choose mv own husband, if I ever marry at all, and that settles that at once I" "Ob, w e ll, we won't quarrel about it. Perhaps, after you have time for mature delibera tion, you will reconsider." "Perhaps not I'' Jessie retorted, emphatically, as she arose to leave the room. "When I get a man be must be spirited, dashing, handsome, and-a hero. Ha, ha, ha! No Edward Temple on my' plate, if you please." And she flitted away out of the room hum ming the air, "Not for J oe." Tbe bold raid made by A No. 1 upon the habitue $ of tbe Leonard House bar-room soon b eca me known throughout the camp, and created intense excitement, although no effort had been made to capture the dashing sport after he dodged frnm the saloon The principal "bang out" in Sassafras wa9 the Melodcon, which was run bya thorough. bred sporting man of the mines, named Oregon Bill. It was a large two-story shanty, the upp e r part b eing rented out for various occupa tions, such as offi ces and lodging apartments, while the ground floor served the several pur poses of concert-ball saloon and gambling-ro om. The robbery caused more than the regular patrons to s e e k the Melodeon in hopes of learning what actio n was to be taken in regard to the matter, and it was a heterogeneous assembla!!'.e that collected there. N ext to Simon Shie lds, Ore gon Bill was the mos t important property-holder in the camp, and hArl. p Prbaps, tbe mot influ e nce, as be repected by many, mainly through fear. When the n e ws of A N o l's visit re1cbed bis ears, he was just taking the initial start toward one of hh periodical "tears." he. v 1" be roared. "Who sed therA were road-agents about1" "That's j es t ther state o' ther easel'' Tiger Tooth assure d. A f eller waltzed into the barroom, down at the Leonard House an' made a lot o' u s galoots s h e ll out our h ard-earned sbek e l s Now we, the aforesaid. want ter know wh at's ter be did ? "Kill the cuss to hE. snre. Show him to me I'll wind up bis ball o' yarn!" Oregon Bill fumed. "But h e's gone-he's skipped!" the bull whacke r d ec la1ed. "He j es t clim' ont .o' the bar-roo m like a. jumpin' !!'rassbopper au' jumped out o' s ie;bt qukker'n be jumped in." "You're a purty set o' babies," Oregon sneerer!, "to let a single man get away from yon like that. The hull caboodle o' you ain't wu'th a cent a pound fer soap-grease." Tbe following morning there was a sensation in Sassafras City, which was discovered by the early risPrs, in the shape of a ,,umber of placards posted un in conspicuous places, which contained the followine; m essage: "NOTICE. "FIVE RnNnREn Dot.LARS REWARD! 1b whtYm ii. ma11 r>,()ncern :" Tb:e Bttm of five hundred dollars will be cheer fully paid to any presuming pilgrim who will cap. ture the lively jlea of the mountains, the Right Honora_)lle A No. l, gentleman road-agent. I mate

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The Detective Road-Agent. this oft'er to g e t In ah e ad of comp etitors in the field, believing that as I am so liv ely I can't half of the time find my se lf, it will b e impossibl e for any of my wellwiehing admirers to get a gdp on m e Wben I'm down in Sassafras a g ain I'll call and see you. "With regards, y o nrs tru'y, "'A No, 1, Ro,,.n-AGENT.'' The early morning stage came rolling into the camp at0ut the time of the di scovery of tbe above, and brought the n e ws tbat it bad b ee n halted a few mile s back, and all the passengP.rs and the tr'Jasurebox had been rob b e d. A single man had acc ompli s hed the job, stated the passengers, aud their rlescription of him was identical with that of A No. 1. This, of course added to the excitement, anrt the camp during the forenoon was literally in boiling commotion. Oregon Bill, Simon Shields, and a number of others of the moneyed men clubbed together and raised a large purse of money, following which placards were got out and posted in prominent places off ering a large reward for the cpture of the outlaw hailing to the name of A Number One. Tbe excitement of the day did not culminate here. The morning s t.ag e had brought to Sassafras City another sensation in the shape of a second real hve woman. Jessie Shields was believed the perfection of all that was pretty in womanhood, but no sooner bad tbe new-comer arrived than it became evid'ent that tbe rich mine-owner's daughter had a dangerou rival in point of beauty. Tbe new heauty was about seventeen or eighU>en years of age, well dressed, and had evidently come to stay, for she brought a couple of trunks with her, which 1t requirPd two men to get to ber room, ot the L eon11rd House. Upon the register of that hostelry she inscribed the somewhat singular autograph: MISS BESSIE l3IZNESS, Gunnison, Ool." She took belhreRkfast in her room, and then sought the hotel office "Can you direct me to the school commissioner, sir?" she inquired of the uncouth proprietor, Nick Leonard. "The what I'" that worthy demauded, in astonishment. "The school director, sir, or in fact any town officer who bas to do with the educational matters of this town." "Thunder'n li g htr;ing, mum, tbar ain't noth in' o' the !Ort in Sassafras." "What? No schoolsf" "Nary!" "Nor officers, or form of government?" "Reckon not, 'less ye mought c a ll Oregon Bill an offic er. H e ginerally runs the camp purtv much to his own notion. What d'ye want?" Ob I I want to teaC'b !" "Ter teach? Wbet? Wbo!'' "Wbv, to educate the chHclren-tbat is, in other words, to instruct the young idea how to shoot" "Yer cl'ar off the track, thPn, gal. Ther' ain't chick ner child in camp, an' tber's durned few o' the grown pilgrims what can't put six out o' seven bullets in the same mark I" CHAPTER III. THE SCHOOLMARM'S ENTERPRISE. MISS BESSIE "BIZNESS)) laughed, oddly, at old L eonard's Mistake. ''You don't understand, I see," she said. "My uame is BusineRs, or Bizness, whichever you please I am a schoolmarm, and Pve come h<>re to start a school. Where can I find Citizen Oregon Bill ? "Do wn the street, at the Melodeon. He runs tbnt sheban g." B es si e Lowed her thanks, and tripped away up tho stairs. She was graceful and >:1gile as a fawn, and moreover, she wa an almost perfect counterpart of Miss Jessia Shields. Leaving the tavern, sbe made her way to the Melodeon, which was comparatively deserted of its customary crowd, the majority of whom were at work in tbe mines. Oregon sat in an arm-chair, grim and gloomy, as he nursed bis wounds, and a few others lounging about made up tbe occupants of the big saloon. "Is there a man here named Oregon Bill?" Miss Business demanded, pausing near the fire place. "Yas, tbat's me," Oregon responded, survey ing her with a stare of admiration. "What d'ye want?" "Excuse me, sir; but I will introduce myself. I arr. Bessie Business, sir, and have come here to start a school Understanding that you are the only offic e r of tbe town, I came to you, hoping to get a permit from you, and an appropriation toward establisbing an educational institution." Oregou Bill attempted to gtve vent to a whistle of surprise, but bis backed-up face prevented the necessary puckering of hi moutl:r. "vVho d'ye purpose ter eddic a te?" be asked. "Thar ain't no kids around this camp." "Tbat don't matter. There's liable to be, 'most any day; but then, ef thar don't any come, there are plenty of grown-up pilgrims as need some learning." "Humph I You must be crAzy Find a man in Sassafras as don't allow he knows more'n forty sPho o l-teachers, an' ye can call me a griz zly. Why, gal, thar'd be a riot in less'n a day,, an' you'd !'it yer purty throat cut!" Woi1ld H Well, that remains to be told. I a rough school of grown-up boobies, up in Gunnison, and I opine I ain't afraid to try my band here. Have I your permission to try?" "Sart'in. I've no objectin ns. I'll be trustee an' look an' se e what fer sort o' circus you'll create. As fer the fuuds, my barkeeper will give ye the requisite, on conditions." "Then I don't want 'em. I never accept con dit, ions. Good-day, sir." And with a nod, the schoolmarm left the Me lodeon. "I have to nerve myself for trouble, and run the school on my own book,., she muttered, as she made her way back to the Leonard House. During the day she succeeded in leasing a shanty in the vicinity of the Melodean, and get;.

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, The Detective Road-Agent. ting the first floor fitted up, in a rough way, for school purposes, reserving the upper rooms for her own accommodation. Her next move was to procure a couple of large sheets of _paper and convert them into a poster, anrt it up on the front door. Next sbe proc ured a marking brush and s o m e suit able ink, and set to work to print her announce ment. It r qnirerl some time for her to do this, and in the mean time she was watched eagerly, by a curious crowrl. Gr"at was expressed, on their rough and in many in stencP.s, evil countenances, b11t non e nf them seemed in c lined tq offer Miss BusinPss any insult, on molestation. WhP n the notice "Vas finally completed,jtread as follows: "SCHOOL! '1 ake N1tlee! Miss Bessie Business, of Gunnison, will to-morm1ty desire to acquire a better ed u cation tnan the. v now possess. rerms $1 per lesson, eac'1 scho lar. Strict disciplin e .,ill be observed, and punisnment meted out to bad pupils, regardless o f age or position. Application ma.v be made, in per;on, at the hour tor opening of the forenoon exerc!Ses. .. BESSIE BUSINESS, Teacher." Over and over the motle y assemblage read this, or at least, suc h of them 11s were able to rea:I; then, one pilgrim stepped forward :ind d offid his bat, r espectfully to Business, as we shall henceforth call her. He was a man of medium huilrl, hut wore a tremenrlous shock of glossy blaw a few 11 hont that, too." "Certaiffly," sairl, smiling and show ing hi'r prettv tPetb, Be kind enough to step inside. :iorl I'll en roll you." Steo in si-ie the hewhikered gent did, and a m:mbP r nf tbe c rnwrl followerl, also. Busin ess s tepped behind her desk, and took up her pPn, "What's yoar namAf" she asked. JI S o l Sloan, from Tombstone,'' the man replied. '"Very good, Mr. Slo11n, you will report at nine to-morrow, not forgetting to brmg a dollar with you "CorrPct. llere's a half-e11gle now, on account,'' Sloan Said, her a gold coin. "I will be on banrl." Among the gaping.assembly of curious ones, was Old Tiger TOOth Beside h\m, ever bis inseparable companion, was the ugly dwarf, Claudie. There was a malic ious gleam in the bullwbacker's eye, and his bandaged countenance was not exactly pleasant to look upon, "See hyer,'' be said, addressing B u siness. "' I r ecko n mt1hbe you've no objection. s tew ans'erin' a few questions, bey!" "Certainly not, if they are worthy of an an swer," Business repli4'd, promptly. "What do you want?" "Waal, I kinder opine I might chip in an com e to schoo l, too pervidin' ye'r' not too sassy, an' bossy. I allow, o' course, thet ye don't keer ef a fell e r chaws 110' smokes, an' when be wants ter go out f e r three fingers o' bug-juice or ter play poker, it's all squ
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Detective Road-Ae-ent. Into stocks, and they went down a-booming In less than a day. More, I gave your individual note for ten thousand, and tbat was swept, too. .Although I suffer severely, I can but pity you on account of your loss. I see a corner in grain, a few days off, and ir you have confidence in'\me again, by sending on the cash, I am certain I can at l east make you whole all aro-:ind. Yours truly, etc., "J.P. LoVELL.0 The woman in black gave an exclaruation of dissatisfaction. "What does it meanf" she demanded. "It means tbat I am ruiuedl" Simon Shields groaned. "Every cent of money I had in the world, besides some thousands I borrowed, has been swept away, through my accursed con fidence in this man, Lovell." "Lovell?'' "Yee, Jack L'Jvell, hitherto one of Chicago's luckie6lt stock-gamblers. I have been trusting him, and be has been winning for me off and on, these two years, until at last be induced me to risk all, on a 'snre thing,' as he expressed it. Biihold tbe result!" "Well, you're not so bad off anyhow," she went on, rather unfeelingly. "You have the mine left. It won't be much of a job to raise mooey on that. So let's get down t.o business." "Woman, have )OU no mercy I" the min.i-pro prietor gasped, appealingly. "I have always met you squarely, heret.ofore; give me respite, now!' "Well I rather guess not,'' she chuckled. "What I want is the cash, and that I must have, without delay." "I have not got it-God knows I have not. More, I cannot get it." "I;'shaw I What is five thousand dollars? Why the Bullion's daily income is nearly thflt." "You are mistaken. My revenues are vastly overrated." "Tbat matters not to me. It's the stuft' I want, anJ rigbt here I sit until I get it. There are only two sides to the case, Simon-one side is mouey; the other side is exposurll ancl-' "Stop!" he cried. "Suy no more. I will go out and try to raise the money. You can go, now, and retmn to-night at. nine." "Ab I I thought you'd finally booome scnsi ble. She laughed, with quiet triumph, and arose and left. thd room. Sile h<1d not been gone ten minutes when Oregon Bill was u bered into the mme-owner's "HPll<>. old man!" be criPd. familiarly, as be helped bim10Plf to a chair. "S'pose ye'r' a leetle surprised to rereivA a wisit from me, not!" "I am. indPed," Sbields rE"pliere was no open breach between Mm and the ruffi'ln, it w11s well known in Sassafras that the two cordially disliked each other. "Yas, I allowed ye would be, ye see, an' I didn't kPer. We never bev been wary neighborly. You never ro much as dr11p inter my placa to punish a izlass o' bug-juice." "I do not xploded, but that graeped by a dashing looking stranger who bad just stepped into the room. This stranger was none other than the hand some road-agent, A No. 1, and the firing of bis weapon had sent a pistol-ball through right wrist of Oregon Bill, causing the revolver to fall from bis baud, while he uttered a bowl of pain and rage. "You'll excuse me, my friend, for wounding you," A No. 1 said, as ha advanced, manifestly keeping bis weapon ready for emergency, "but you see, I couldn't allow you to murder a de fensAless old man for the sake of a few paltr.r dollars!" "A thousand devils Reize you I I'll have your life for this!" Oregon Bill belle19Ved, although be did not attempt to leave bis chair. "I don't doubt it in the least I" A No. 1 re ponded, smilingly. "You look like a person capable of taking lives whenever you are granted a favorable opportunity. Unfortunately for you now, I happen to bold the drop." "Who are you i" Simon Shields demanded; for I wotnt to thank you for your timely inter-vcntion." The road-agent laughed. "Don't waste aoy tbanks on me, I beg or you,'.' he responded, for they are not required. As to who I arJ, my many sterling qualities of cheek and gnll hli\;e won me tbe ve sohriquet of A No. 1. I have been app<>mted to collect toll from such parties as travel over the main trails leading to this camp. In vulgar par lance, I presume I am what most people would call a road-agent. .For my own liking, toll-taker sounds more high-toned ai::d businfss-like.'1

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J."he Detective "Call in-the boys, Simoo--eall in the fellers, I peony, nearly, that I ha Te in the world. has an' arrest the cuss!" Oregon Bill cried. "D'ye been swept away in a rlisnstrous peculati< n!" bear!'' "But you have your real estat.e left-the "I am not so ungrateful as that," the minemine, and the revenues from the leased claims ."' owner dP.Clared. "What is your business here, "You are wrong-just as everybody else has Bir To:l-takerY" l cannot t.ell you all, but neither tbe "Oh, nothing much. I saw a party come in mine nor landed property is mine, and never here that struck me as' having a familiar rightfully was. Besides all this, it is pledged for appearance, and I ca we expecting to meet ber. every cent it is worth I" By the way, I chanced to overbear a part of Who owns the mine, papa-that is, who the corfversation between you aud this chap, holds the mortgage?" Oregon Bi!!, from which I infer that you are in Simon Shields groaned. his debt." "The most dangerous frieorl-foe I have in the "I am, if be bolds my note, as he claims." world-the Chinese Jew, Rats, alias John Lee. "And you haven't the ready cash to redeem He has the power to foreclose it any day, but I the note with?" have succeeded in staving bm1 off until now." "I have not I" "How much do vou need?'' "Then would you accept a loan from me "I could possibly get aloug with ten thousand sufficient for present needs?" dollars. [must have five thouHand for certain "Sir, I am astonished. Why, I do not even inside of twenty-four hours, or all up with know you!" me." What does that matterf Sufficient be it "Do you know of no one who would loan you that I know you, quite well, anrl am not atraid the amount on the mine, not ko;iwing of the 1;p tmst you with any amount of money at my mortgage?'' command." "No, I do not know of any one. AmODK "You know meY You? In Heaven's name those who have money it is pretty generally suswho are vou, and what are you driving at?" pected that I am virtually insolvent. What to "I have no further answer to make, than my doldonotknow. I amalmostsorrythatidido't previous declaration, ir. If you want mon ey, accept a loan from tbe outlaw.." we can arrange it satisfactorily, I doubt not." "Oh, papal tbat wou l d have been vt>ry wrong. "Teen, I must respectfully decline, sir. You Let me put my wits to work a9d see if I cannot would not be so accommodating without an obfigure a way out of the dilemma." ject. You havemy grateful thanks. so far as "God bless you, my child! I have faith that you rleserve them, but no further. Good-Oay." you can." "You needn't have dismigsed me-I was about Her face was pale, but bore an expression of going, anyhow!" the toll-taker gaid, witb a firm resolution. ligh t laugb. "Look out that Oregon Bill don't ''I have thought of every reasonable plan, get the best of you again!" papa, and can see no hope except in one direoAnd bowing he walked nonchalantly out of tion." the room. "An:l whet is that, my child?'' Shields bad pick'ed up Oregon Bill's r evolver, "It i tbis-vou must sacrifice me!" and now leveled it at him, "Wbatf Gieat God! are you mad!" "You can go also I" be cried. "It is past my "No. I am perfectly "'1ne It 1s a desperat4! office houra, and I do not pay any bills to-day. thingto do, hut to save yon I am willing to do Gnt" it. You must p11t me up at auction and sell me I reckon I" the ruffian gritted, as be finished to the highest bidder!" bandaging up his shattered wrist. "But ye Simon Sbields looked thunderstruck, and for ain' t beerd tber last from me--oot muchly, the moment was Simon Sbields." "It is tho ouly remed_ y," J essie went on, He aroee, and left the house, Simon Shields bravely. "'fbere is n-i law that would bind me keeping bim until be was in the street. to my purchaser, and once you get the money I The olrl man then returned to the parlor, and cau manage the rest. Tbe man does not live sat for some time in a deep reverie, his face who can make me abide the terms and condi wearing a worried expression tioos of such a sale, if he was distasteful to me His reverie was finally intPrrupted by the personally." entrance of Jessie, who uttered a startled cry Tbe nld man howerl bis bead end groaned. as she the blood from Oregon Bill's "This is tt>rriblel" he declert>d. "I could wound upon tbe carpet. never. cnuoteqaoce sucb a thing. I will die first "Ob! papa! papa! ,wbatisthematter! Are mysPlf." you hurt! Speak, quick!" "No, you will not! You are my father-I "Not '-'bysicRJly, my child. although I came will never allow harm to comA to you, under near lo>iag m y life," be replied, 11:ravely, folRny circumstances. I have fully made up my lowing witb a brie f narration of what had o 1mind on the venture. ]t sball come off to-mor curred. "And now. my child, there is som).. row uigbt at sunSPt. Ooce the mon P V is paid thing elss of importance I have to se'.y." into your hnnds, mark mv wo1d, I'll look out Yes, papa." for myself. and escapP to Lone Pine Camr." "It i something that will startle you, my "My child, I know not what to sa:v! [t is a child. I am not worth a cent in the wide most extraordinary and rash undertaking." world!" "Nevertheless, I am going through with "Papa!" it; so set your heart at rest and trust for the "It is God1 6 own truth! I am ruined. Every best. I will find cousin Ned now, and we wfil

PAGE 10

The Detective Road-Agent. .. put our beads togP.tber and perfectthe arrangements. Now, don't have> the least fear, for it will all come out ngbt in the end." grotesq u e son, Claudie, but the graceful flcur of blocked tbe doorway. "Hillol ain' t yer goin' t e r let us in!" the bull whacke r d em anded. ''Guess me an' my cherub Once more wr.s Sassafras thrown into a state wants ter graduate frum this hyer instertution, of commotion tbe following morning, en ac-as well as any one else-don't "e, Claudius Ap count of the notic e which a placard ou the postpius ? door c ontamed I should snicker!" was Claudie's response. Tbmgs marvelous were really not of unex"I don't care much f o r taking you in" Busipected occurreuce in a town of Sassafras City'a I ness said, "for if you come in here, you've got feverish nature, bur the contents of the notice to mind!" in question, a matter of course, created un"On courso, mum I We"ll be jest as meek as bounded excitement. a couple o' kittens. Ef we ain't you can tan us!" The notice was published in the name of Ed"Then fork over your casht"' w11rd T emple, eunoun("mi:; tuat o n tue following Th e money "as paid, and witb a huge grin of day at suns;et, Jesaie Sbields would be offered delight Tig e r T o oth strode into the scbool, in for sale to the bigbest uidderabornbvethousand the middle of wbicb be executed a clum s y .banddollars. spriug, and gave a roar like a mountain lion. A public sale 0f a young and beautiful girl, There was, literally, music in the air, now, and she, too, to be sold outright! aI!d no mistake! N o wonder Sassafras warm. What did it meon? What right had Ned Temple to thus auction off a buman being, and that pretty Jess ie Shieldsf Old pilgrims nodded knowingly, and allowed there was something crooked about tbe matter, while the morn youthful element counted their dollcrs and dust, to see if there was any use of wbeir putting in a bid. Among tbe populace of the camp there were a number of well-to-do persons wbo could rnise a deal of m o ney at short notice, so tbat the out look was favorable for au exciting auction. Anything as sensational as this was too much for the quietness of the pulse in and numbers of the miners ouit work to make a holiday of the occasion_.:tbe mone.ved miners sprucinl( up in becoming style, and the unfortunate "uubeeled class spending their tor drink. And, although by a bold move, Miss Jessie Shields bad brought berself to the very fore, in the line of sensational notoriety, she was not des tined to be e xclusively the magnet of attraction that day. It was the day for the opening of tbe new scb--0n course I do!" Tiger Tooth whined. "I cave, like a majorl"

PAGE 11

The Detective Road-Agent. Then take your seat, and watch out that you do behave!" He obeyed, and Claudie followed his example. Business then proceeded with her work. Tbe forenoon was devoted to examining her scholara, and the best of or.ier prevailed. Literally, as meek as a lamb, was the bull wbacker, and bis deformed son copied the actions of the parent. Nevertheless, the eyes of Tiger Tooth emitt.ed an occa s i ona l venomous gleam, which signified as well as words could have done that be .. as bent on having his racket out, no matter what cons e quences migbt ensue. After s cboo l was dismissed for noon, he and Claurlie left tbe shanty and made for the bandi est salor,n, wbere they spent tbe midday r ecess in filling up with old "forty-rod," also arming themselves with a couple of quart-bottles of the same poisonous b & verage. So that by school-time they were in prime fight ing order, so to speak, and marched into the i;cho o l-room witb an aspect of bulldog ferocity. Busi,ness watched the m narrowly, her mind fully maeu bunting your trail ever since we met, t wo years ago, swearing never to give up, no 1m.t .P1 what might happen. Have you no welcome!" "None, Mr. Brayton. Did my mothe r not tell you that l could never be anything to you, slrT' Thim your mother still manages your person e l affairs!" He spoke with a bitterness born of keen dis appointment. "Sbe d oe s, sir. I woulrl not have yuu speak of her disrespectfully. R e m e mber, that, al though 3he may have unfounded objt'Ctions to you, he is still my motber, 1tnd I obey her." "You are right. I ha ve all respel't for her; but I cannot fathom her apparent antipathy tor me ':Nor I-nor does it matter. J.Ier will is law, and I am bound t o obey it!" "Nobly spoken, and I adrlbl'e you for it. But, will you not give me the encouragement of suspecting, that were it not for your mother'lf dislike for me, matters might be different!" Her e:ves met his in an 'QDwavering glance, and there was semething wildly pallllionate in

PAGE 12

The Detective Road-Agent. II the expression tbat dawned over her face, as he boticed. "Did I love you with all the strength of my \!1eart and soul, would you consider me wise in dooming my future life to au uucertain state of unisery and peril, by placing it iu tbe keeping of a man on "'horn the law bas set tbe fieal of outJawryi" asked calmly', but not hanbly. "Considering me a road-agent, perba!JS you are right; yet, I know 1 am ae fl Pe a man as exist.a on American soil-that is, after I accom plish a certain object." "Which is all an unriddled prohlem to me; but, you had better go. Your delay here might attract attention." "Forgive my thoughtle;sness. Yvu have no word to say before I go!" "Yes. Listen to me, Fred Brayton. I met you and learned to admire you-that is a suffi ciently strong term for the feeling I bad; but fate wills that our ways should go in difl'ere11t directions. We have met again; and ougllt now to understand each other. My life is enshroud ed in a secret, of which my mother will not even give me an inkling. Henceforth we are stran gers until you personally solvo that mystery to me, and obtain my mother's approval of you. Is it to say more!" Mure I do not require!" he cried passionately-, seizing ber fair hand and raising it to lips. "I have had my answer, and my work pointed out. Au revoir !" He turned, and left the shanty. She watched him until be reached the hotel; l!ben, witt. a sigh, turned back to her desk. CHAPTER VII. THE TOLlr1.'AKER TAKEN. As the evening hour arrived, tile main street of Sassafras became more and n1ore lively with people burrying excitedly to and fro, for soon tbe public auction of Jessie Shields would take place, and certain it was that no one in Sassafras cared to miss this treat. Those who were fortunate enough to have a liberal amount of funds were naturally the most interested, and 'twas sAid tbat several pilgriins, of only limite1 means, harl "gone in snucks," and would give the: r more we althy competitors a tight race for the beauty. Two men bad the preferenC'e among tbe ma jority of those present, anrl they were Oregon Bil! and the Cbiner.e naboh, Rn ts, who were both rigged out in their best attire For tbe of tbose who desired to take a h11nrl in tbe bidding, a platform had been erected jus t opposite the steps, wbere tbe auction was to take lace, while tbe non bidders were politely informed that the street would amply answer all purposes for them. Before the sun had yet touched the bol'izon, the neighborhood of the proposed sale was black with spectators, while there was a goodly num ber of hidrlers upon th" platform, over whom Oregon Bill bad evidently set himself as master of cPremonies, for he took pains to allow no one upon the stand who was not a bidder. Just before the sele was to begin, Sol Sloan pushed bis way through the crowd, and endeavored to climb upon the platform. Bill saw him, and motioned him back savagely. "You keep off tbarl" he cried. "I allow no one uut bettors up here I" "Ob, you don't!" Sloan retorted, paying no heed to this order, but clambering up on ih'&'"Maybe you'd better find out who is going to bet before y0u git too fly I' "Git off ther platform." "I refue." "Cuss ye, git off, or I'll put ye off!" "Try itl I dare yoal" With a yell, and the fury of a panther ex pressed in bis face, the bully leaped at his op ponent. But be calculated wrongly, for Sloaq grappled with him in a way he had not expected; instead, he made a sudden dodge aside, and allowed B1U to rush bea_dforemost off the platform. A derisive yell aros0 from tbe crowd, and several of those over whom the bully had tumbld and hurt, fell upon him, and proceeded 'to give him a good thrashing. I Finally, Jessie Sbielcis and her handsome cou sin came dashinp; up on horseback, and that put; an end to the fight. The populace wedged themselves in a mass near the p o st-office steps. Oregon Bill was assisted to the platform, more dead than alive, with an the :fight taken out or him. He staggered to the front of the platform, and yell !'d : "Kerwboopl I ain't half-dead yit. I'll start thet aire piece o' caliker at five hundred dollars, spot cash!" The words of the bullwbacker next followed the declaration of the bully. "Jest ye bold yer bosses, thar, Mr. Oregon Willum. Ef tber court knows herself, I calky late as bow I'm tber auctioneer at this fu11eral, an' I don't want no bids; nor lip-in, till I git ready ter pronounce the prize ready ter b& sold I" And, mounted upon bis stout but stumpy son's shoulders, or more properly sitting astride bis sou's hump, the Tiger Tooth of Taos seldom if ever looked more fierce and ugly than now. Claudie bore up under weight of his parent with mule-like docility, evidently proud of his reallv great strength. "Yes, sir-ee, bob-tail boss! I hev bin ap pointed to do t her screechin' fer this hyer occa sion," Tiger Tooth went on, "an' am proud o the honor. Tber property 'bout 'ter be sold, fel ler-galoots, ye all perceive is fully what she's repr&.ented to be, an' she goes to ther highest bidder, I don't k ee r a dam who he is. " Sbe's gentle, kind an' bright; So bid bigber'n a kite, Or thar'll sart'in be a tlgbt.' "What dld ye say, Oregon Bilyus-how much cash did ye offer?'' "I'll start her at five hundred dollars!'' Ore gon howled. "FiTe hunjred for the gal." "Six hundred, here I" cried a mmer, who had several wiv.;s up at Salt Lake City. "Thousing l thousing_l Chinaman 'JJJUehee bitlee b.igh allee mmee 'Melican man!" the voice of :Rat.6 piped out.

PAGE 13

1_2 The Detective B.oad-1'.gent. "A tbonsan'I a tbousan'l goin g at a thousan'. I be equallr foolish as to try to stem a prairie Who'll make 'er Who wants some 'nn ter fire in autumn. darn bis socks, bad ennft', ter make 'er twol" These grim men of Sassafras bad as good as shouted Ti ge r Tooth. got the drop 011 him ere be coulrl recover from "Twelve hundred I" camE!Jrom one, the m omentary cha.grin at b e ing unmasked be-" Thirteen hundreJ I" from another. fore them. "This is madness, gents!" spoKe up N x l TernOut on the borders of the crowd, be saw a pie. "I'll give five thousand dollars, myself!" person on whose face was a startled, anxiom11 A murmur of surprise ran through the look of sympathy. crowd. It was Business. Even Jessie l'ast a surprised side glance at her The sight of her seemed to lend him renewed cousin, and her cheeks grew a trifle more strength, and h e turned his glance on c e more fiusbed. over the crowd. In her right band, which was thrust in her "Yes, gents, A No. 1, at your service!" he jacket pocket, she held a r evolver ready for in-said, in a clear, ringing voice. "What can I s t ant use; for she was resolver! to make a strong do for your effort to es"ape, as soon as the monPy was safely "You can surrender, and makeyer ocquaintpaid over into young T emp l e's bands. ance wi' Judge Lynch's noose, or take your "I'll give six thousand, cuss ye!" howled Oredeath dipl oma where you are!" one of the gon Bill, savagely. "Lookee bye r, ye monayed men of Sassafras cried, menacingly. I'm goin' to hev that j!;a l, at any price, I am, Since we have the honor of a visit from so an' I'll contract fer a coffin fer any galoot as sez distinguished a personage, I propose we celenay!" brate the event without delay." a matter of dollars and cents, my Then you calculate you have me, for sure1" worthy friend!" eh! Sloan suggeste d, pushing A N o 1 a ske d forward. "I am not so certain whom tbe young "On c ourse we hev, ye cussed scoundrel" lady b e longs to yet. For myself, in her father's roared Orego n Bill, as he ragained the platform. behalf, I will bid fifteen thousand d ollars for "Jest ye throw np yer hands, or, by thunder, herl" I ye die rigbt whar ye stand, wi' yer boots on l" "Sold!" yelled Tiger Tooth, at a nudge from Well, in that case, it would be somewhat to Temple. "Tber gal b'lon gs ter Sol Sloan as my intarest to surrender, I take it!" A No. 1 soon as be pans out the swag!" returned. If I surrender, I prefer to be "Stop This is fraud! I protest! Gn on wi' taken in charge by these several nrominent the sal e! shrieked Oregon Bill, frantic with citizens, M ess rs. Bl!ike, Danfi e ld, Moore and rage. Allen, who, to my knowledge, bave no cause to The sale is over!" Bloa n declared "Temple, cherish p ersonal malice toward me." take the young woman home; I'll see you a few "Ye're skeart to surrender to me, moments hence.11 Oregon Bill l ee red. T e mple nodrl e d and hurriedly quitted the "As a prisoner, I would prefer a hungry vicinity in charge of Je!;Sie. wolf for a custodian!" the Toll-taker replied, Oregon Bill glared afte r them a mom ent, then, dryly. with the yell of an infuriated wild beast, leaped "Ob! ye would' Waal, neow, I want ye to upon the disguised Toll-tak er. know that I'm the boss o' this hyer town, root "The gal is yourn, is shat" he gritted, clutch-an' branc h, an' ef ye'r' any one's prisoner, ye'r' ing Slpa.n abnut the throat. mine. My word's law!" "Yes, mine!" the oth e r retorted, fiercely, "In this case, it mav not be," Mr. Danfield clinching with him. "It would seem you calmly. "This im't a case for hully baven't got suftlcient.ly mauler!, yet, Oregon." i s m, sir. This man bas chosen us as his captors, Then came with lightning quickness, two re-knowing w e will allow no personal spite to be sounding whacks, r esulting from the contact of infli c ted upon him, and we refer to the ma tbe Toll-taker's fit with bis adversary's face, jority of tbe people if it is not a fair request. and once more Oregon Bill reeled from the All in favor that we shall t ake charge of him, platform. until some measure can be taken for his trial, In doing so, however, be carried with him will m ake m anifes t by saying' I' and putting the connecting wig and benrrl thET sport. ha d up the righ t band." worn and consequently the D<:'tective RoadH anrls shot upward with something the preciAgent, stood uodfsbuised before bis many grim-sion of bayonets in a military drill, and a shout faced enemies. of approval that was almos& universal, .rent the A cry went up that was full of significance, air. R e volv ers by the Rcore fiasberl in.the dying "The majority generally wins," Danfield 'Sunlight, and t old full as well as the succeeding said, with a spice of triumph in bis tones. "We sbout. that the dashing Tc"'-taker was recogwill take charge of the outlaw, until some11iz0d I thing i s arranged, definitely, in regard to what "The D?t<:'ctive Roual?;entl" a hundred dis pna l is to be made of him!" voices chorused es in one voice. "Tben, my say around byer don't amount The daring claimant of the name did not ter shucks, bey1" Oregon Bill growled, his fin insta'ltly reply, but stood overlooking the gers working uneasily. crowd, a faint smile hovering under the corners "Not at present, so far as the custody of tbia of his handsomfl mustache, and a. gleam of de-road-agent is concerned," Danfield responded, 1lanee in his eyes. firmly, b1u:ked by approving nods. from He lla" that an a _ttempt to eseape oo'lt wotlld Moore allll Allen.

PAGE 14

The Detective Road-Agent. 13 "'Waal,mebbenot,"was the threat.ening an"Not a great d eal. !fancy you fathomed 1wer. "But, I'm not so sure about it, myself." what 1 was driving at." With which words, he left the platform, and "No-upon my soul!" made bis way out of tbe crowd, with a string of "Well, let it drop, then." fierce -oaths. "I won't. I am no fool. You insinuate tha11 Wben be was gone, Mr. Danfield turned to I am a tool." A No. 1, who bad stood thus far with folded "Yes or to come down t,o plainer facts, you arms. are a shover of the queer for others,"' A No. 1 "We ll, sir, I suppose you are now prepared responded, with a smile. to snrrenderf' be asked. Stein's eyes glitt.ered, and bis teeth snapped "Yes, considering the poor chances for estogether. cape, I can say I am," the Toll-taker answered. "You are a detective. It is Ju c .ky I found "Allow us to bind your arms." you out!" be hi ssed, with malicious satisfaction. With a f aint smile of detiauce, A. No. 1, sub-"'Ibe mob won't get a chance to lynch you." mitted to have his wrists tound together, "Why not?'' behind bis back. "Been. use there's :ood reason why you should in averting immediate death, he was neve r see the light of day again." hopeful that be could yet escape. "Ab I then I hav e tripped over somebody's Sassafras City bad its bank, like anv other secret, eh1" mining-camp of mediocre importance, and this "No. It is no accid ent. You came not to one in question was by all odds the finest strucSassafras of you r own a ccord." ture in the camp, being built of block.stone, and "Why noU" its windows grated with iron bars. "Beca u se the governor sent y ou, by orders The ponderous and invulnerable door was from Washington. We knew s om e one was capable of resisting a mi:bty attack, and was coming, but did not know who." equipped with a huge time-lock. "Who am 11" -'l.'his bank, therefore, offered about as secure S tein lau ghed. e. prison as could be d esired, for A. No. "A funny question to ssk. I rathe r think 1, nod thither he was conducted, as in Sassafras every counterfeiter west of tbe Mississippi has the bank did n o t close until about dark, and it your name indelibly engraven on his memory, was now still ope n. Fred Brayton." Tbe four citizens whom the Detective Road'fbe Detective RoadAgent started. Agent bad selected as bis keepers, conducted him lifl had indeed stumbled into a hornets' nest, to the bank, and entered with him, but the crowd and that, too, the very one be bad come to Sas tbatdogged their footsteps, were kept on tbeout-safrasexpecting t o finrl, side. Two objects bad brought him to the vicinity Witilin doors, the bank was furnished not un-of Sassafras, but at present one is enough to like all similar institutions, and besides the name. D etective Road-Agent and his captors, the single For some months it bad been known to tbe apartment contained Lut one person, who bad Territorial Gov ernment, and had also been r e charge of all the business affairs-a little, cada-ported to the United States autboritiesat Wash v erous with ferre t eyes and a hooked' in g ton, tbat a v ery expert and dani?erous band nose, which blossomed on the end, like a blushof counterfeiters wer"' located in the mining ing rose. regions, supposedly near Powder Guieb, who The four citizens, who were directors as well bad perfected, and were dextero u sly shoving o. as stockholders iu the bauk, FOOD made known counterfPit ten-dollar note, the equal of which t.o Stein, the cashi er, the condition of matters, in its dangerous resembl ance to a genuine and explained that be was to take charge of the United States note of the same denomination, festive prisoner, until fllrtbe r notice. had n ever been known, a tact which added to They tben left the building. the d ifficulty in tracing it to its source of issuP. As A No. 1 at fir s t conc lud ed, Stein was not Several det.ectives had been put on the scent, a man of the mos t bland and amrnblo qualities. end while some hacl returned unsuccessful, others "So you are a road-agent?" be queried, shutbed not returned at all. ting up bill honks, end h elping himself to a seat The detective in the Territory was at tbe on the counter, with a revolver beside him, time under a sentence of imprisonment for life, handv nf reach having, on fnlse evidence, been convicted on a "That's what the :eneral supposition is," tl!e charge of murdering a cattle-king. sport answered, blandly. A dying man, however, opportunely l eft a "You get strung up. Serve you right!" confession clearing him, and he was released, 11 Think sor and sent to nose out the counterf;,iters. An un" Certainly. You are an outlaw." believing populace had pursued end overtaken "That hasn't been proved yet. There are him. however, and he was threatened with more outlaws than one in Sassafras." lynching. Stilin bis shoulders as be said: In order that Brayton might proceed against 11 Oregon Bill i s a bad man." the counterfeiters, he was released at the dead The fiport laughed. of night, given instructions, which he was re"I didn't r efer to ruffians exactly, but more quired to make oath to fulfill, and then "'as al directly to But then all machiner;r has lowed to escape from the town. to have tools, to keep it in working order.' He went forth temporarily, as an outlaw, and The caahier started perceptibly. none other than himself and his rescuer knew .. What do 1ou mean!" he demandecl. __ by wbQee aid he escaped Judge Lynch' s nooee.

PAGE 15

The Deteetivti Road-Agent, But t.o resume: "So you know met" A No. 1 finally said, aloud. Well, l'm glad I've penetrated your nest. I was inclined to believe it was not io Sassafras, but i n Powder Gulch!" "Hal bat We bad to leave there. Matten got too bot for us. We've bJen doing nicely, and propose continuing to do so, since, you befog tbe only oue having the least knowledge of <>nr whereabouts, we shall not have much trou ble to 9iuiet. I will send for some of the gang, and we JI put you ont of the way, before dayi>reak.'' He stepped to a desk and wrote a few words on a slip of paper; then from a cage, be took a 11retty pigeon, and attached tbe missive to one of its wings. "That will fetch the boys, I think," he said, with a l'ler at A No. 1. "Thlly were:to run off a big batch, Wnigbt, but I gness a note will brio.-'em." He the n a window, near the ceiling, and let tbe bird pas s out between tbe bars. He n ext 8 e t tbe time lock, on the door, and shortly afte r ; descended through a trap, into the C A iiar. A No. 1 was alone. "Name tbem,nephew-name them, A clrown iog ma.i will catch at aoy straw, they say." "That is hardly necessary, for you know that your iovitatioo brought me here. J have be come very much enamored of my fair cousin, aod would willingly attempt to make her a worthy husband. If she will promise to marry me witbio one month, I will place twenty thou sand dollars io your hands, t.o be returned b.r you wbeo you feel able I" Jessie stood with a pale, averted face, her lips compressed, aod eyes glowing. Simon Shields fairly trembled with joyful an ticipation of being released from bis pecuniary strait. "My boy, I leave my daught.er to decide the matter. I could never force ber to do aoytbiog against her will, aod yet I know of oo one but you that I would like to see her marry." Tbe pretty girl stood balfirresolute for a mo ment, a trifte o( moisture io her eyes, which was not perceptible to her father and cousin. Finally, however, she turned and gave a band to each. 1 "I am but a child; I will yield to your supe rior judgment, papa," she said, lo a husky voice. "Mr. Temple, you can pay the money to papa, aod consider the matter settled." CHAPTER VIII. Sbe turned then aod went up to her own rN TIIE HOLD UNDER GROUND. room, while a !\!Jam of quiet satisfaction enterNEn TEMPLE lo8t no time in hurrying Jeasie ed Ned Temples eyes, as be aod Simon Shields Shield b'lck to tbe res idem;e, where they were seated tbemsel ies at the table. joined by anxious father, who bad already Tbe young Easterner then took a lODff pqcketbearrt the result of tht> auction. book from an moer pocket and countea out the From tbe parlor-window they beard SAW amount be was .to pay, in crisp notes, whose de tbe commotion following the arrest of A No. 1, nomioatioos were from one hundred to one and a little later saw him locked up in the bank, thousand dollars P.acb. aft.er wbicb tbe crowd di.persed. Simon Shields received the stack of money "'Tis the same daring fellow who resrned with unconcealed satisfaction. me from the clutches of Oregon Bill,'' Sim n "By receipt of this I am saved I" be chuckled. Shi.eMs cried "Strange, it is, why the f e llow "I am much obliged to you, Ned, my boy, and should apparently take such an interest in my you are welcome t.o the jewel I have jl:iveo you. affair!" May the saints prosper you both! I'll excuse "Very likely it is not witholit a rea.."On," you now, while I arrange some private mat;.. young Temple replied, significantly. ters.'' "You should not speak so, cousin,'' JeSsie Aod considering himself dismissed, young spoke op, feelingly. "I am sure be don't look Temple betook himself out about town to see if 1ik11 a bad man. Aod oo ooe could believe him there was anything new on foot. so, when be bid on me, simply for papa's sake." It was dark now, and shortly after Ned's de-"You are to ready to believe all you hear, parture, Simon Shields answerPd a rap at the No sensible man would care enough for door arirt admitted the Vailed Woman, wbo bad another, especially io these modern time11, to previously paid him o. visit, aod ushered her in put up so mncb money for him without be saw to tbe parlor. a chance to get it back, with rtouble interest. She walked with a light, elastic step, as if in Tbe road-agent is undoubtedly a designing anticipation of a vict-0ry. scoundrel, at the best, and the less we have to "Well," she eaid, opening the conversation as do with him, the better." soon as they were seated," I see you had enough "But the moaey1 papa? That is not forth-fear of me to resort to important measures for coming, and you said you positively must have protection'I'' it, to-night, or-" "It might appear so.'' She gave bim a deprecating look. I "Ahl yes. It was too bad, really, that tile Simon Sbields groaned, aloud: ontlaw should be arrested before be could plly "You are right. We hnve failed to get the over the money. It places you in an monev, my noble-bearterl girl, and I Rm lotl" "H11s h I not RO, uncle, when I am llbout," "Wby sor Ned Temple spoke up. "I know not what you "Because it will now be impossible for you to need mon e y for, nor do I know w_bat amount 11;et it from him, at present, e_nd I bf!ve deciqed would put you on vour feet aga.rn, hut I do to give you no further extension of time." know that I b1tve a IittlP wealth, myself, which "You will not betray me for a matter of a I made in an E11sr.ern oil in>Tlllltment, and it is few dayst" 100rs, on oonditionL" "Bal bal are you a fool that you do not koo1'

PAGE 16

Tho Detective Road-Agent. 15 me I will betray yon this very night unless my fingers feel the grateful touch of five tilou sand dollars within an hour." "Then I suppose I shall have to gratify you this time," the old mine-owner said, taking the exact sum from his pocket and banding it to her, "but Heaven only knows where the next is to come from, if you ever again ailk for money." Tbe Vailed Woman counted over the money to see that it was right; then shoved it" into her pocke t with a chuckle. "I dare say you'll finti it, before you'll mit to exposure,'' she said, exultantly. Where did you make a rAise :if tbisr "I do not consider thttt any ot your business," Shields repli ed. "I have complied with ;vour demand-now begone." "Nottilll'getready. Y o u dare not put me out. Are you goin g to surrender the girl to A No.11" "By no m e ans. What do you of himr "Nothing." "You are lying." "No,lamnot. Hark!" They both list e ned. The sounds o f many feet were nearing the Shields residence. The vailed woman reached the window first, and peered out. "As I thought, she said, with something like I\ laugh. "Oregon Bill is coming with his gang, and they're a legion. H e was second hie:best bidder on tpe girl, you know. I'll escape by the rear." And she was gone ere be could reply. Knowiug that promnt action was the only reasonable way ot getting through the matter, Mr. Shields threw open the door, and took bis stand upon the threshold, with a pair of revol vers in banrl, ready for use. He was not a moment too soon, for Oregon Bill, hacked by three" score of men of his own rurle type, came rushing up like a charging regi ment. "Haiti" Simon Shields ordered, when tbf.ly were near at h and "If you don't want to die in your tracks, j1JRt lack up a bit." "Slack she Rm I" Oregon Bill cried. "Wbat d'ye vant, old mao!" "The very thing I want to know of you," Simon replier!, promptly. Easv enulf answered I'' the bully roared. I reckon I cum bye1 fer mv gal, Jessie. I bid highest next tew tbe roadRJZent, an' bEt bein' an outlaw, on coursP hi s hirl rlon't count. So no one's e;ot a better ris!;ht to her nor me." "You are wrong, Rir. Mv rlaugbter has h<>en sold, anrl legally transferred t,o her cousin", Ed ward Temple. So you can return whence you camP." "Oh I I can, b e y? But. ye see, I won't. Et ye don't snrrenrler the gal to ma, me an' my crowd will lync h you fu 'st, an' take her afterward. So decid e quick!" Something unse en tnucbed the mine--0wner's arm then, and a vcice nearly inaudible, hissed in his ear: "'Shi Not a word or look. Youarein deadlv peril! Only I can provide yon with a place of ilatety. Swear by your hope or meritim1: Heaven, that you will never reveal what you see !" "I swear!" Simon Shields said, n o t knowing what other r epl y to inake, and rei:lizmg tbat he0 had little mercy to expect frorr. Oree:on Bill. "Then turn, and fo llow me qui,.klyl" R aising one of bis weapons, and firing at Ore gon Bill, the mine-owner turned aod followed hid unknown guide, who l ed the way from the h o u se by the rear, and dodged away through tbe busby gulch, The yells of the baffif'd r o u ghs broke the still ness of the night, but, hy uing bis utmost SbiPlrls manngPrl to kPPJ. at his e:uide's heel ", and FOOD di1t by mflking a wide circuit, t h v had arn,ed at a closely sbuttered cabin near, and in the rear of the The guide was pretty WPll ml!ffied and dis guised, weariog a large cloak, and a sombrero slouched over his At tbe cabin door be paused. Unlocking tbe rloor, h e pushed Shields In first, then entered himself and locked it behind him. Applying a lighted match to a torch, he had the room soon brightly illuminated. It wa8 furnished only with a table and a stool, and did not look as though it was often used. Tbe gui<:le now turned back to E;!imon Shields, and when be turned around again, bis face was wholly hidden from view by a full mask. You bad a narrow escape!" he said, in a hoarse voice. "But Jessie-my child!" It had only just occurred to him that he had, lik e a coward, run away and left her in the house at the mercy of Oregon Bill awl h i gang. "She is safe. I looked out for her welfare b&fora I did for yours. Come I follow m e, and say nothing." He lifted a trap-door in the floor, and de. scended a steep flight of stairs into a dimly ligbted cellar. Here another trap was raised, and another flight of stairs descended ;nto a Jerg e r and deeper cellar, the Cl'iling of wbicb was planked,.. up and supported by stone pillars. The scenP here presrnted was truly startling to Simon SbiPlds, who bad n ever dreamed of such villainy io SasSAfras. The apartment was brilliantly lit with oil lamps, and the pince was supplied with air b:v means of a hand-pump pipe, manipulated by a greasy-looking Chinaman The vault was Rupplied with what apneared to be a portable printin11:-press, near which were tahles cootainine: tools, engraved stoue, and so forth. The press was not dt present in operation. In another portion of the vault was a long ta ble, around which four men were seated, eugaged in counting new, crisp bills of the nomination ef ten dollars, and puttmg them m All four were clothed in Iona, oomber gowns, with hoods combined, and grotesque fuli maskll their faces. Tber instantly arose upon the arrival of

PAGE 17

18 The Detective Roa.d-Agent. Simon Sbieldt slid bis guide, and advanced a few paces. "I bring witb me a. man whom I rescued from the jaws of death. Have you any mercy to oifer biml'' the guide asked, addressing the others. "You speak wronglv," one man said. "This is the very jaws of death to which you have brought bim. Simon Shields, do you know where you aref' Temple-den bavee 'Melican Jessie allee samee. No f!gbtee, me killee allee sa.mee." "Yas, yer in fer ft, Ned," Danfield said. "You might as well take your chances as to die where you sit." But Rats was a dead shot, and it looked dw bious for young Temple. CHAPTER IX. "I should infer that I am in a counterfeiter's den the mine-owner said, in-imly. .A. LIFE FOR A LIFE. "You are not mistaken," the other replied. WE iEli'. a No. '.i. in the bank alone, the cash!Er. "Do you recognize mer' Stein, having gone below. "Onl.v by your voice. You are Ira Danfield, Where he had gone the detective was not I judge." positive, but concluded that, mayl::ap, into a "Right again. Then here are Blake, Moore vault where money or gold was stored; but, as and Allen, three more out of the eight tbat con-the moments passed by and uo Stein returned, stitute the band. As I said, you have entered a thoughtful expressivn came over the Road the jaws of death. No man enters here ever to fac11. go forth into the world again until b e bas be'I've half a n otion to believe that trap is the come a full-fledged member by swearing our entrance to the den of the gang of counter oatb of eternal loyalty, secrecy, and brotherly feiters," be mused; "and if sucb is the case, lov e The captain is not present just now, but why Stein has gone down to fetch them up on being bis lieutenant, I can swear you in, or if me. Wish I were free of these bonds." you prefer not to become a menme:r, Temple Wishing was one thing, however, and getting will lock you in a dungeon, which we have rid of them another. His wrists were secured prepared for suc h cases." behind his back, and bis feet as firmly bound, "Temple?" Simon gasped. with a strong1e.riat. "Yes, uncle, your dutiful nephew!" the guide Without outside aid, it would take him a long answered with a laugh. while to get free. Tben the money was counterfeit1' Hark! Of course. But no one will fiver be the Outside the bank, and evidently at some wiser. Come, be sensible, and take theoo.tb of little distance, be beard loud yells and revenge. allegiance." ful shouts. "Who is the captain!'' "I wonder if it isn t Oregon Bill and his gang "John Lee-Rats." attacking the Shields' placeP he tbougl;it, "And the other members!" without knowing for a.... rtainty that bis sur. "Stein, the aud old 'l'iger Tooth."' mise was correct. "lf so, I may reasonably Tbe mine.owner was silent a moment, 11.nd expect that they will try to visit me while on appeared to be in dPep meditation. their rampage." "Well, as it seems I have fa.lien into a trap, He listened eagerly, and soon became satisflod and caonou easily escape, I may as well make tbat be was not wrong. the most of my situation." The booting and bowling in the vicinity of the Shields was forced to repeat an oath that Shields residence died out directly, and soon would have made the blood of an anchorite run afterward the imprisoned Detective Road-Agent colrl. could hear stealthy footsteps and the murmur He was then pronounced a. member, and of a number of voices on the outside of the -arned that the least slip of bis tongue, or any bank. action ten
PAGE 18

'The Detective R oad-A1rent. fore my case is settled," tbe prisoner inferred, "I'm between two fires, as it were. The ruf fians will not yield mo to the citizens without a bitter struggle, and the aforesaid citizens, if I mistake not, are connected with the counterfeiters' gang, and they will prefer to attend to my proper dispo sal themselves. Hello!" TWs exclamation "'as occasioned by the rais lng of tile trap once more, and the ascent of two i10rsone into the room. One was 8 .. ssafras City's new schoolmi s tress, and the other was an illyclad, vinegar-faced woman, with sharp black eyes, a red nose, and thin mouth-a personage whom Bu"iness did not favor in the least, so far as resemblance was concerned. Yet there was a shrewd cunning in the wo man's countenance, that evidenced an iron will and a wily nature. The pretty f1tce of Beslie yvas pale and anx ious, as she saw her imprisoned lover, while the l'ace of tbP eldel' woman wore an expression of malicious triumph. "So you are at conquered, eh'I'' she beas she paused before A No 1, with a sort of grating chuckle. "Do I look conquered, because 1 am a pris ,mer?" was the retort. "I fancy I have no reauon to confess defeat at this early stage of the drama." His calm demeanor evidently nettled the wo-1.Dan, for her face flamed with anger. "I fancy you will get your deserts here," she Didn't I warn you once never to fol !!ow us. or s eek to ren11w acquaintance with my daughter?" "I have a faint reco llection of something of the kind," was tbe quiet reply. "Aud y e t you dared to disregard my wishes, vou ruffian 'I'' "lf y o u refer to me, madam, I did, most !LSSUredly I" "Humph! you bad an interview with her, in the school-r oo m and according to agreement, 3be is to become Mrs. JailBird as soon as y o u clear up the mystery that overhangs her life!" -the woman sneered. A No. 1 flushed and shot a glance at Business, who was deadly pale. "Obi sbe didn't tell me!" the woman went on. I overheard all. Leave it to Marie Bertrand to find out these things." "You needn't have exonerated her!" the de tective flashed back. "My trust is too strong in her to doubt her fot a moment." "Well'I'' "Well! you have the floor-go on!" "Thank you; I will, Are you aware that you have undertaken something too heavy for you?" "Certainly not. I seldom enter into contracts that I am unable to fulfill" "You are a fool. You know absolut,fly nothiniz." Many thanks for your flattering opinion. If the adage is true, that it's never too late to learn, I must have profited largely t,ben, since your arrival. .Elis sarcasm seemed to infuriat<' the woman, but her strong will helped h e r to ireep much of blr a.npr back. 11 What do you knowr' she demanded. nothing!" be answered, provokingly. "You lie! Tell me!" she hissed. "I do not care to startle you," be smiled. But why prolong this mterviewf I did not dog you here, as you seem to infer. I came on business, and met BE:ssie by chance. I have notbing against you as you seem to have against me, and rwill n o t wrangle with you. "But you will bave Bessie1" '' Y e s/'' He said it with sufficient i-1; h e r know that be meant it. "And there is just where err," :M:ark de clared, T will, myself, pl&;., her in ber coffin ere you shall ever have her. Understand that now, and for good I ars to be by the cellar route. 1 can't more than fall into another difficulty at the worst, and I'm pretty well heeled 1 in the bargain. If they take me again, it won't be until som e one bites the d ust." __ Simon S hields fe l t immensely rel\eved whe n be saw t hat the Ce l estial's chall enge was n o$ mean\i to r him. Yes, 1'ed. vou'v e got to fight was hil

PAGE 19

/f8 The Detective eager advice. "If you can't give the pigtail as good as be gives you, "by, it's funny." Tample looked ill at e&.58. A.n wstant later tbe wiry heathen was npon hi rival's breast, 'and clutched a gleaming knife in his hand. Simon Shields darted forward to take his part, but the other pulled htm back. "Let upl" Danfield hissed. Bdward Temple was as wbite as a sheet. .Kercy I mercy I" he begged, ill abje<;t ter ror. Rats did not strike, but there was exultance upon bis fuce. "Wlly not killeef'' be grinlled. "'Melican man dead-dell 'Melican gal b'long to Rats, allee velly nice ... "Don't strike, I beg, I was fooling about the knif., partl" Temf.le gasped, "Lie Jikee devi Where 'Melican girlf" "I bave her secreted where she is safo." Tell Cbinamall where, or killee mucbee quickeel" "Never!" Ned gritted. He did not believe tbe Celetial would put the threat into e:Jot>Cutio11. One swift, strong blow f llowed-nd when Rate arose bis victim was dead.'-"'Melican girl b'longee to Chinaman!" be cried, with a grin. "Velly muchee bate to ll:illee, but bad to I" Release me!" Simon Shields yelled, struit gling to get out of bis captor's clutches, "Release me, I say. We'll fight, now, to see who is CUJ?tain here!" He broke loose, finally, and rushed upon the Chinaman, firing at him with a four l.imes in rapid succession. Allbougb bad anticipated the attack, be was unprepared to cope with bullets on so short notice, and the second shot pierced his brain, killing him instantly. 31mon 8bisld then wheeled upon the masked counterfeiters, the smoking weapon still in bis "Am I here, or not!" he roared, Aerce ly, bis eyes fairly "We O?ine you arel' Danfield assented, in some trep1rlatioo. "And do you 1111 swear to st.aad to {our former oaths, in accepting me as chief o the or1111.niZ1ltionf' 'Wedol" It is w .. n. That heathen's wealth reverts to me, and oll profi; henceforth shRll be equally divtded. Tc>-uigbt, while we bsve Tictory in our blood, let u secure control of tbe town, and wipe !>Ut of e:ristence all those wbo will not stand under our flag1 kno,.ing us to be standar,l, rellahle and law-aoiding citizens of Sassafras!" "Wisely spoken!" a voice cried, and Stein, thll CtHbier, sudd.,nly appeared, "tor, ere an other day it will be known that we are coun .tafe1t.ers, and if "e don' aecure a foothold now we miver will I" Wbatf Explain yourself, man I" "Certainly. A. No. 1 is in reallty Fred Brayton, detectinl 1ent here to smell u out. He bu e1eaD811 rrom bank while I wu out about tofl'n l" CHAPTER X. A NBW BOGUE TO THE FRONT. LET us follow the fortunes of tb11 Detective Road-Agent. Wben all was in readiness, aud be was thor oughly equipped, including a dark-lantern which be found in the bank, be turned up the trap door, and peered down into the cellar. All was dark and silent, and becoming satis fied no peril was lurking there, be cautiously descended the steps, closing tbe trap after him, Once on the cellar bottom he again paused, and listened intently, but only tbeticking of bi& watch could be beard. Fnlly believing himself to be the only occu pant of the plac.>e, be then made no hesitation ill turning on tbe light of his lantern, and making an explorati on. The cellar ran in under the whole length and breadth of the building, and was unused, evi dently, except for tbe storage of a number of p9ckiagboxes, at the further end, which were heaped up ceiling high. Seeing no outlet in any other direction, A No. 1 made bis way toward these boxes, aud on reaching them, discovered that there was a narrow between tberr. and the rear wall, llarely wide enough for a human figure to squee ze through. He was considering the feasibility of it, when he fancied he heard a footstep in the distance, Quickly shutting the slide of bis lantern, he noiselessly gained concealment behind one of the larger boxes. A few minutes later a person the cet lat', by way of the passage, and groped his way toward the stairs, "That's Stein," the Detective Road-Agent muttert>d, "and it behooves me to get out of here, before be discovers my escape." Leaving bis biding-place, be noiselessly glided into the space behind the boxes, and directly found himself, half-crawling up a sort of fine or tunnel, which, in the course of a few minutes, brought him out into a dense chaparral, in the rear of the bank. To for
PAGE 20

The Detecth.& 19 lie was quickly hurried forward, arom'.ld a bend iu the gulch, to a sheltered nook, where a .camp-fire was burning. Here were more blue-coats, a11 well as a mix ture of citizens from the town he had escaped from, before taking up the trail of the counter : feiters. In vain be looked for a friendly face among lihe crowd; not one was to be found. The entire band was composed of the mob "ho had pursued and recaptured him after he lbad been pardoned by the governor; and they were beaded by an ex-lieutenant of cavalry, who had long been a sworn enemy of tbedasbing detective; 1md it was noticeable that only a small detachment of the soldiers were regulars. The lieutenant, Jim Lacy, uttered an exult ant yell as bis men led the Detecti Vil Road-Agent into the camp. "So we have got you at last, have we, J.l'red Braytonr he sneered, striding up to the I>_ris oner and glaring at him furiously. "You thought we would give you up, after you so mys tereiously escaped from the jail, but you see the people wouldn't have it, They say you're going to end your days like any murderer-by bang A No. 1 could not answer in words', hut his eyes flashed their defiance. "It bas always puzzled us bow you broke. jail!" Lacy went on. "There was something queer about it, and if we were-t.o take you back oo jail, ten to one an interested party would help p-ou get free again." "Take care, Lacy," one of the band cautioned. "'It's best not to cast opinions too freely." "I don't care a curse!" Lacy declared. "I have permission from the gov'nor to make this chase, and I don't care who kicks." "No one is sure that you have got the permis sion," the other speaker persisted. "You've never shown your authority, and if we wanter have things square. we've got to take the feller back wi' us, and give him a new trial." A murmur of dissent ran through the crowd, and Lacy fairly danced "ith rage. You're a fool!" be vociferated. I tell you. what It is, fellows-a hundred trials wouldn't do any good, so far as this chap is concerned. He stands in solid with the governor, and you know the governor thumbs the !awl" Although it was a bold declaration for one man to make, it was not apparently without its eftect upon the motley assemblage. The eyllB of A No. 1 blazed with anger, but otherwise he refrained from expressing bis feelings. "I reckon the thing is plain enough,". the ex lieuti>nant went on. "Jim Fin<'h -was and I fe e l as much like aven)Zing him as anybod y does Publi<' opinion don't allow that Fri>d Bra_yt.on killed Jimmy; but you fellows were the jury, and yon saw bow it was, and !lent Brayton up far lifl'. Who parrlone
PAGE 21

The Detective grasp, and A No. 1 felt a little nervous, to say the least, for his personal safety. Without a word, the man approached him and cut the bonds that confined birn, and then slipped a revolver into the inner pocket of the Toll11aker's jacket. Next, be arronged the sevared bonds, so that they had no appearance of having been tam pered with. "Be quiet and patient now," be said, in a voice that was unfamiliar to A No. 1. "We're fn a bad mess, and there will be trouble before the matter is ended. Remain where you are, nntil an attempt is made to lynch you; then strike for your liberty." A l'fo. 1 nodded. TIJE> man then crept back, and rolled himself UIJ in his blanket. He was none too soon in doing so; for thq fol lowing moment the Rberp challenge of one of the pickets rung out, and tbe camp was aroused and by force of habit, sprung to their weapons. One of the pickets presently entered the camp, accompanied by a man, whom Brayton at once recognized as Stein, the cashier and feiter. Lieutenant Lacy and the cashier went apart, an.i held a long and earnest consultationl.wblch. several of the deserting soldiers were airectly invited to participate in. Frequent glances were cast to'!'l'ard A No. 1, which warned him that he the confab. Some conclusion was finally arrived at, evi dently, for Stein a .nd the picket took their departure. Shortly afterward, Lacy approached the pris oner, and removed the gag from bis moutb, without discovering that bis other bonds were cut. "WellP' he sneered, "how do yon feel, by this time, Mr. Fred Braytonf' "Quite comfortable, thank you!" A No. l re plied, coolly "Obi you Well, maybe you won't feel so nice, when the rope tightens around your neck. As soon as my reinforcement arrives, from the mining-camp, we will proceed to lynch you witbout delay. Did you know the man who was Just hereP' "1've seen 'him!' "Well, be Jet me have au insight into a little 11Dap, and the boys and I are going to take sides with him and bis party, who propose to clean out and take possession of the camp. There is only a handful of men to clean out; then the town is ours, and we'll salivate all strangers who come into it, you bet I" "The counterfeiters' cause is a good one to re}l!'esent, I presume, providing you can keep the Unit.ad States at. bay!'' A No. 1 said, with sar casm. "You'll find out sor was the retort. About half an hour after sunrise, a body of tw.,,,nty-f!ve men entered the camp, headed by Simon Shields, and including Danfield, Swin and the otber counterfeiters, the majority of which was composed of miners, who ware &vi dently i17,norant of the clasl of Dl8D filrily WBlil'8 associating w!ib. Anotber consultation was the n held, to:sev: eral moments. A No. 1 could catch only now and then a word, hut from what be did bear, be arrived at the conclusion that so far as the camp of Sassar fras was concerned, Oregon Bill held his own,, and was pretty well backed, both with ammunic tion and provision. When the consultation was over, Lieutenant Lacy turned to the citizens, who had accomps nied him upon his expedition. "Well, pilgrims!" he said, gruftly, "we want to know what you're goin' to do1 We're goin1 to sail in and capture a town, ahead. Tbo!lf. who are willing to back me, can consideitbe1D 1 selves welcome, and on the road to fortune." "I guess you can excuse me," tbe red-whisk ered mau said, picking up bis rifle "I've gone as fur as I care to.'' "Then get up and git, and dnn't show youl'o self around here again, o r you'll lose your life. When you get home give the governor Mr. Lacy' s respects." The man made no reply, but strode away up the gulch, evidently glad. to get out of such bad company. On being interrogated, the other men signified their intention of standing by Lacy. Everything now being apparently to the schemer's satisfaction, a guard was sent out to reconnoiter. 1 Be was gone about an hour, when he returned with the intelligence that there.was 11:reat activ ity noticeable in Sassafras and that Oregon Bill had thrown out pickets, so that it was difficult to get close to the town. "That means that there will soon be an attack," Lacy said to Shields as they stood near where Brayton was confined "I am not p]eased at that, for I would prefer to make the initial attack. At anv rate, it is necesaary that we shall get this fellow out of the way." "Without trial?" "Of course! Why bother with foi'malityf" "But might he not be a valuable addition to our forcer' "He would not-join!" "Not if life was threatened!" "Try him end see." Simon Sbields accordingly approached the prisoner, gravely. "Young man," he said. "I suppose you are aware tbat it has been Lieutenant Lacy's pur pose to lvnch you, for the crime of murdering bis cousin r "I reckon I beard him something ot the kind," A No. 1 answerf'd, indifferently. "Exactly. Well, I have been talking with him, in your bE>ho.lf, and have finally got him 'lo promise to spare your life, sir." "You don't sayf' I do. But tliere a'i'0 conditions. You must join our forces, and endeavor to help UM to win a victory!" Then, I most emphatically decline." "What! will you throw your life a.way, when you can save itf' By no means.,.. u Bot, if you do no& JoiD, JOO will bfl eflruvf 'Ii Wit.boat mero;r t' -

PAGE 22

Detective lc.oadAgent. "Oh, no! I'll live to band you over to your greateRt enemy, yeti" Shields greill white. Fora moment be seemed stagi;:erecl; tbe next, however, he turned to Lacy, the fire of a tiger in bis eyes. "Bring tbe rope!" be cried. "I, too, want t.o see tbis devil lynched. All bands to the front, to assi s t in A No. 1, the Detective RoadA.gen, into eter1.Uy l" And tbe call was answered with a vengeful yell! Among the men in the street below the watchers saw the commanding figure of Oregon Bill, who was striding about and giving ordeJ'S to the men, over wbom be presided as captain, "Tbougb a typical border ruffian, that fellow is clear grit to tbe backbone, and I believe if be were brought to believe that be could be a gen tleman, a great change would be wrought in him," A No. 1 mused. "If either party needs assistance, it will be Bill's gang, and I'll lend tbem a helping band, mayhap." He was not wrong in bis opinion that CHAPTER XI. gang would make an attack during the fore-THE FIRST STRUGGLE FOR SASSAFRAS. noon, for the sun was not three hours high wbea THE lletectiva Road-Agent bad been waiting A No. 1 saw them steal around the bend, four for something of the kind tp happen, fully nerved abreast, and move down upon the camp, their to make a bold stroke for liberty, let the result march being that of a drilled company, and be what it might. their rifles gleaming in tbe sunlight. Accordingly, when the soldiers made a rush Tbe soldiers were in tbe lead, and the reto the nearest sa
PAGE 23

The Detectiye Koac1-Ageat. off a man whenever oppoi:tunity afforded a chance. The detective l eft the cave and stole cautious ly along the mountain-side to the southward. It was his purpose, if possible, to gain Oregon Bill's camp in disguise, which he could arrange very well, as he bQd some paraphel'Dalia secreted bel ow tbe town. In neither camp, nor in any part of the village had he ePu auythiog of either Bessie or Jessie Sbields, an first sny. "Hello, par,i:ls! How d'.ve do? Reckon ye don't know rr e, do ye? Si Jones, from Wolf Run. Guess ye bev bin bavin' a purty touirh time, 'cordin' to tbe l!:Uard back yonder. Whar's Oregon Bill-be didn't get plu!!:gecl, did he1 Bill an' I uster he prime favorites in a scrimmage1" "Yru;, Bill's sn.livated, an' I opine he's fit fer the last time!" one of the men growled. "He's in tbar," and he indicated a shanty close by. "S'pose ya've DO 'jectiolls ter a felier takin' a sqirlnt at him_, ebf Snthin' o' a doctor myself, ye-." Go ahead, then." Without further delay, A No. 1 ent.red the shanty, closing the door behind him. There was hut one room, and this was mea. gerly furnished. Upon a sort of cot-bed the wounded bully was Rtretched, and though he made DO audible oomJl>laint, it was evident that he was suffering great pain. A young lady, neatly dressed, sat by the bed side, and was bathing bis forehead. -Sbe looked up and bowed as the Toll-taker ap. proached, and tben dropped her gaze. Oregon Bill's ,eyes were closed. He seems to be in great pain, Miss Sbields,t: Brayton BBid. "Where is he wounded!" "We don't know, except it is somewhere in the breast. He fiercely objects tG any one's making au examination. I do aot helieve he. can live long." Brayton stepped closer to the bed. "Bill!" he said, in his natural tone of voice. The bully opened his eyes with a start and lookerl up. What" he demanded. "Who are youwhat do yon want1'' I'm your friend, Bill, and I am sorry to see you on your back. Are you badly hurt!" "Kinder bit," was the answer, with a faint attempt to smile, that nearly ended in a groan, "Got a lung shot, I guess. It don't matter, anyhow. I'd just as lieve peg out now as any time. But who are you! I d on't seem to rack ernise ye, an' e.s fer a friend, it's bin many a long year sence I had one, till this little gal came in to nuss me." "Well, Bill, I'm your friend, too, when you're down. I'm here to belp your boys c lean out the gang 0f cut-throats and counterfeiters at the othe r r od Oregon's eyes ]jgbted up with pleasure. Bully f e r you I" he said. "I we fel lers is as go00 ae 'em rascals, P.f WE> Lev bin rough cu"80S in the past. What's ysr name1" "I am Freri Brayton, the Detective Road but better known to you as A No. 11" Oregon Bill uttered a gasp, and Jessie could not repress a little cry, as the sport took off his wig and false beard. Bill was silent a moment. "You know about the battle1'' he said, grimly, "Yes I saw it." that's why ye'r' here. You intend to betray my handful of men into the trap o' them _other sk 11nksl" "You do me an injustice, Bill. I came here to help you, not to injure you. You look upon me as an enemy. I cherish no such feeling to ward you. I will give up my life before the renegades triumph." Dash me ef I don't believe you mean it, "'CAp I" "I do indeed I" "Well, you can bet I'm with you then, Bray ton. "I ain't o' much account any way ye can fix it, an' I wouldn't fetch haff a cent a pound fer soap-grease, but let me tGll ye. I know what ye come t.o Sassafras for, an' I know snthin' that you'd dance to know," And the fellow's ,eye/il flashed toward Jessie for an instant.

PAGE 24

The Detective Road-Ae-ent. 28 Brayton looked surprised and excited, GO on!" be encouraged. "Not now," Bill said. "I wanter see ye .ieau out that crowd w'at salivatea us-then ye morrer sunrise. Go, now, an' in yer hearis 11ay a little for Oregon Bill. May God for give us all! ahall kuow that which'll make ye cry Eureka!" CHAPTER XII. "You SWbar to this1" THE NIGHT STRUGGLE. No. I'm near enough over the dam that I THE Detective Road-Agent soon joined the wouldn't lie to you." men, outside, and they appeared to welcome him Very well, it's agreed. -There will likely be heartily. an attack to-night." After sizing them all up," to the best of his "Sart'in. You ain't got much of a crowd in ability, Brayton was agreeably surprised thAt numbers, pard, but they're tbunderiu' gritty." they were really not such a bad l o t of fellows, "Never fear. We won't be defeated to-night. as might be, and were brave and resolute, to a Hadn't you better let me dress your wound, fault. Billi" "D'ye think Bill's goin' over the shute?" one "Nary!" he said, with a grimace. I don't of the crowd as!!;ed of tbe detective-a stalwart bleed-outside. I'll last till to-morrow sunrise. Nebraska giant, named Spotted Seth, from the That'll about wind up my career." fact of his being small-pox marked. There followed a little desultory conversation, JM-ayton nodded, his gaze fixed upon the dark, when Jessie asked: threatening clouds, that were cree,Ping over tbe "Mr. Brayton, do you know where my father heavens, as if as an omen of coming trouble is please?" "Yes, I gues5 he's upon bis last trail, boys. 'u I happen to have the honor of knowing He reckons morning will about use bim up, and where Simon Shields is, miss-if you count him I shouldn't wonder if be is right. By the way, your father," the sport answered, in his dry I judge we better remove him to the last shanty way. A few hours ago he was in the coun-to tne south, so that in event w e get driven terfeiters' party, w bicb, with a gang of d1lsertback, won't get left in the power of the ing soldiers to h elp them, propose to take tbis enemy. town. Shi e lds seems to be tbe chief of the The proposition was hailed with favor, by the At any rate, be was going to help lynch men, and several of the more influential visited me.' Oregon Bill, and laid the matter before him, at "Ob, sir! this seems incredible l" which he readily consented to be removed. "Very likely; liut it is nevertheless true. Accordingly, be and Jessie were soo n secure Shields is a consummate viJJaia, and ;ou need in tho last house, in the lower end of tbe <'amp. have no respect f o r him." In order' that they might not b e molested, a "What, sir! No respect for my father1" guard was stationed on the outside of the "Certainly-for-but never mind now." shanty. "I don't understand, sir!" During the balance of the afternoon, A No. l "Then understand this much. It is my busibnsied himself in getting ready for t!Je 6 Ullen ness h ere to prove Simon Shields a murderer, a night, that was hovering nigh, thief, a kidnapper, and a villain of the deepest Examination proved to Brayton that their dye. You are not his daughter. All in good stock of ammunition and provision was ade-' time you will know more. Oregon, will you quate to supply their needs, for a protracted call the men in and explain to them!" struggle, and the better sharn of these comrnod" Yas. Gal, will ye jest go out an' say half a ities be bad removed to the shanty where Oredozen o' 'em i s wanted 1" gon Bill was domiciled, for safe keeping. Jessie ob eyed her face full of wonderment at The weapons of t h e defenders::Were all in vo_od what she had just beard. order, and ma.ny of the rifles bemg of the Wm. . I chester repeatmg style, there seemed no reason Them.en filed mto the shanty with gnm and why a disastrous Joss should occur, especially silent visages, but lool?ed startled whea they with gallant A No. 1 as the lead e r. m.w Brayton. About sunset bour, when it was already be-"Boyeesl" Oregon Bill said, raisin11: on his el-ginning to get dusky, one of the watches came bow with an e ffort, "tbis hye r fell er's A No. 1, from the roof, and stated tha t from some cause alias Fred Brayton, d etec tive, an' I've jest which he could not understand, tLere was a deal found out that he's as square as a cube. I ain't of e x j)itementin the enemy's camp. wi' ye, an' ye want a r eg'lar streak o' ligbtnin' Ascending to the roof, Brayton took observa-ter pull ye tbr'u' wbnt's comin' arter dark. I tion, as best be could. opine ye've got to fite lik e wildcats, and hy .. r's A large camp-fire bad been built in the ether a re11:'lar ctss as wull l ea d ye right thr'u'. Eb, camp, and near it a stake was beiag driven. No. 1.1" This job was soon completed; then a man was "We'll take the camp or die in the attempt I" 'led forward, a .nd bound to tbe stake. Brayton answered, firmly. Brayton could not set> his face, but it did A cheer rose from Jibe men, and dregon Bill not take him long to recog nize him by bis garseemecl greatly plea sed ments. "Waal, you'll take him instead o' me, eh!-It' was the same big man who had previously fer I can't navigate." cut bis bonds in the renegades' camp, and who "You bet!" was the answer. had afterward refused to join in their move-"Waal, I'm sartin ye'll pull thr'u'-not all o' men ts, and had turned to retrace bis steps homet& mebbe, but some o' ye-an' ef any o' ye ward. C!ll&JW, fellen, I opine I'll j'ine 9ver the river terHe had been recaptured.

PAGE 25

The Detective Road-Agent. While on the roof, Brayton also made another / A lightniug leap to one sic le saved him frolll discoverv. I being struck by it, and it went crashing upon Business, the prett.v school-teacher .was also the :with force enough to kill a person .. a prisoner. belug confined to a tree which grew As it did uot attempt to rise, Brayton qmcknear the fire. ly struck a 111atch, and bending forward, made After the new prisoner. W secur<;d, th!! ex-tbe discovery tbat the dark object was Marie <'itemeut seemed to subside, and this satisfied B ertrar
PAGE 26

The Detective Road-Agent. 25 'l:he guards on the roof were called into the shanty, but Brayton remained outside, to be ready to fire tbe powder as soon as the first sound of the enemy's approach was heard. He knew they would not fail to make the at tack during the storm. The darkness they calculated would enable them to creep up far enough to engage in a baud to-hand conflict. As soon as the rain began to fall their camp fire was kicked out, and this satisfied Brayton that they would so o n be beard from. He had stolen forward to the vicinity of the grocery, when h e heard voices near at hand, and evidently approaching. Like a sbadow he reti:eated, and shouted in at the shanty door: "Ready, boys! Remember we are fighting for Sassafras I" The next instant he had fired the train and was within the shanty. Two-score and five pairs of eyes watched the serpentine line of fire as it crept with flash and splutter toward the doomed gro ce.ry. A yell announced that the enemy bad seen it, but too late. The next instant there was a blinding flash, and a terrific ex plosion, .and the grocery flew toward the heav e ns in a thousand burning pieces, making a most thrilling and brilllant spectacle. The same glare of li ght r evea led a mass of bumanity burled back from the vicinity of the grocery, in terrible consternation. "Fire!" Brayton's voice, stern and resolute, gave the order. Every rifle within this shanty seemed to speak simultaneously and every shot seemed to tell, for the ren egades went down like bail. With yells of defianc e those who were not bit began an indiscriminate retreat. Again the reapeaters of the defen ders spoke, and a number 0f the flE>eing wretches fell! Before another volley could be fired they were out of range. Hip I hip l hurrah!" Brayton yelled. "Well done, my heartie s!" "We've thinned 'em out equal to our own nnmbers, anyhow!" Spotted Seth clmckled. "Let's out and after em." "No! no! Jus t keep quiet. If they show up again to-night it's better to he right here, all prepared fer 'em, rather than to run at 'em, and lose tbree or four m e n. R e member they're gritty, nnd Sassafras don't belong to either party yet." This argument was not without its effect, and the men gave assent. The debris of the grocery, being saturated with oil, wAs oow burning brightly, in spite of the pouring rain, aud hy the light it threw out, the r emnant of the renegade band could be seen huddled together, just out of good rifle range. "We've got the best of 'em, excE>pt fer one thing!" Spotted Seth growled, a little dubiously. "Ef tbey think o' that, they kin give us purticklf'r fits." "To what do yon allude?" "Ye see, old Giles Sparks what kept the blacksmith shop, he's got a Gattler thar what kin puke ou.i; sutbin' like a thousand minnit. Ef they should get bold o' that they'd be Ji:ible to give us fit." "Ts Sparks with e m1" "No. He war t.1>-day, but Cock-eyed 'Jim keeled him over int. be furst scrimmage." At this instant the door was burst open, and Oregon Bill tumbled head-foremost into the shanty. He was a horrible sight. Bloo1 was streaming from bis face, and his olothes were saturated with it. "In God's name what is the matter? Who's been this?" Brayton gasped, raising the poor fellow to a sitting posture. "The two on 'em war too much fer me!" Bill hoarsely cried, spitting the blood lrom bis mouth. "They got the gal-Tiger Tooth an' the cub. After 'em, No_ 1.'' Brayton comprehended. He seized a rifle, and turned to Spotted Seth. "'Te nd to Bill, and look out for yourself and the boys. I'll recover the girl, or die in the at tempt!" Tbe next instant he was out in the pouring rain. The storm was about at the height of its fury. The lightning flashed in and about the mountain crags, and the thunder's terrible crashes seemed to shake the earth to its foundation_ Already laFge rivulets of water were beginning to run down the gulch. Without d elay Brayton hastened to the shanty from which Jessie had been abducted, and here took his observations. The sandy bottom of the gulch, soaked with the rain, yielded readily to a footstep, and by bending close to the ground be was not long in picking up tbe trail taken by Tiger Tooth and Claudi e on leaving the It J ed toward the chaparral, where the secret ent ance to the bank was located_ Like a bloodhound Brayton followed it up. He kuew that the captors of poor Jessie were little less than human wolves, and he shuddered to think of the girl being m their power. On the way stumbled over a w bitisb object, and stooped to examine it. It proved to be the carrier-pi geon Stein bad sent forth from t he bank. It was alive, and the message was still tied to it. It had evidently been wandering astray, and was now beaten down by the storm. "Poor thing!" Brayton said_ "You didn't betray me, and I won't leave you to perish." He placed it tenderly in his capacious jacket pock et. Tbe trail did not enter the chaparral. lt turned a si de, and directly ended at the door of the shnnt_y, ben eath which the counterfeiters bad had their r etreat. The door VI as locked, and there was no sound or sign of li ght within. A close examimtion proved that the captors of Jess ie must have entered the place, for there was l uo trail l ea ding away from the shanty door. "I think I savy !" Brayton muttered, afte r a moment of refl ec tion. "It's more than likely this is the counterfeiters' den, and there is an underground apartment t-0 it. I'll find O\lt." He tried the only window the place afforded. yielded, and he soon bad it raised.

PAGE 27

.. The Detective Road-Agent A -t more and he had leaped th1ougb it -1 on the inside. Simultaneously with his touching the 1l.oor be was seized on eitb.er sid11, and ere be could help himself, W!lS forced backward to the floor. CHAPTER XIII. BUSINltSS TO THE RESCUE. THAT be was in the graRp of two men of pro Btrengtb. the Detective Road-Agent was well aware. He kue'v it was life or death, now, and never i n all rohahility did a man strug gle harder tha n did be, as he f elt himself being forced b ackward. The y l(Ot him on bis back, but be w a s up on one kned .. 1ino s t as quic k, with their c ombine d weigh ts bearing down upon bis bead and shoul i e r s Til e sort quickly regained his feet, and bis knife whizze 1 l through tne air. Anoth" r piercing shriek followed-then, a heavy fall. Hearin g no further noise, for it was so dark he could not s ee h e the11 struc k a match B y its li g tit h e saw Tiger To oth lying on the flo o r, wfoh the knife buried in hi s e ye ; Cla u d ie was also lying there, with bl oo d oo zing from hi s short, thick neck, a n d b o t b father and s o n w ere dead. Jessie lay io one c orne r, b ound h and and f oo t, anct io a swoon. The n tb e me J'ello CUPd," "Wno!" "One 's Business, the schoolmarm." And the other!" "The gov ernor of this Territory!" An e x blamation of astonishment burst from the lips of the audience The guv'nor!' Spotted Seth cried. "The guv'nor!'' Orego n Bill gasped. "He here and a pris'ner' I" "Yeo. D o you know him " I onc e did O h I things are working right. G e t a -g o i::i', N o 1 ; r e scu e the b oth on 'em-you know wby. T be b o y s 'll l oo k out. f e r things h e re, au' if it c ome s t o fightin g I'll fight fer the gal." All rig ht. I will not be f a r away, if there's to be auothe r attac k, r est assure d of that," Tbe n, a fter giving a f e w directions; the sport too k his d eparture. Outs i d e there se e med to b e no abatement of the storm, for the rain s eemed to pour down, if anvthing, harder than be for e Ta.king a route along the edg e o f the gulch he w a s not long in reaching the n orthern end of the villag e, wb e r e be calculated he would find the renegades Reme mberrng where he had l ast seen the d e fe ater! p arty, h e branc hed out from the base of the cliffs and stealthily made his way into the heart of the gul ch. As he a.pproachoo the last shanty, at tha t e nd of tbe gulch, he saw a chink of light, and at once con c luded that the r enegad<>s had take n refug e there from the storm. N eare r approac h dis cov e red tbat a sentinel was pac ing t o and fro in fron t uf the shanty. "The priso n ers are evid ently o n the inside," Bray t o n mu t t ered. I d o n t se e any w a y o f r escuing the m y e t. I'll! have s om e fun in rous ing the h orne t s n est into a c tion, anyhow. In this w a y I m a y g ain the point I want. I'll try it." Getting at a safe dis t a nce, he pic ked up a piece of r oc k, a n d bUrl e d it t o w ard the shanty. It struc k the d o or, a ud m a d e it clatt<>r noisily. T he s entine l utte r e d a n oat h, tbe doo r was opa n e d, and tbe g a n g h egan to pour out. Tw o m o r e stone s th e s p ort hurle d and each on e evide ntl y hit some o n e fo r th ere were two dull thuds eac h on e answ ered by a ho"'1 of com mine:led p a in and r a ge. Tur nin g the n, w he n b e saw tbem running towArd him, A No. 1 -skurrie d by 11 circuitous r oute acro ss the gulch, aud was soon close to the sh Ruty in i ts rear. To bis j oy on reconnoi tering h e found tbat the w hnle party of r P n eg ades, except th e single s entine l, harl lPft in search o f the s ton e-thrower. Like a ftas h Brayto n was around the corner of the sbanty, and with a club he felled the sen tinel sensele@I! to the ground. Rushing intf> the shanty, he quickly cot flbe

PAGE 28

The Detective Road-Agent. 27 bonds of Business and the man wbo had pre viously perf01'med the same service for him. "Quick, now! follow me! We shall have a desperate run for it. Lis t e n I they are returning I" He leaped from the shanty, and they followed him. The returning renegac!es saw them, and uttered a yell of rage, following it with a voll e y from their revolvers, one -bullet gra:r.ing Bray ton's temple. Pushing Business and the governor ahead 6f him he said: U Runt run for your lives \ never mind mB!" And they did run. The renegades were giving a aetermined chase, firing as I.bey ran. The air seemed full of whizzing bull.,ts, hut their aim was wild enough, and no harm was done. The Datective Road-Agent would run a short' distance, then pause to fire, and thus lead the pursuers after him and away from the two others. Suddenly, taking no notice of where he was going, he fell end over end into a pit, which bad some time been dug in hopes of finding gold. It was six feet deep, and the sides perpen dicular. Although not much hurt by his unceremo nious tumble, he knew it was a fatal accident for him, because he could not climb out in time to escape the pursuers, and he doubted not they would discover him. He beard several of the renegades halt &hove him, a moment later, and saw them peering down at him. "You're there, are your the exultant voice of Simon Shields c ried. '' Will you come up, o r shall we bury ;<>ou tberer' "I reckon I'll come up!" Brayton replied, coolly. "Just toss m e a rope!" "You bAtl" was the grim answer. "You'n get more r o pe than you want before we get through with you I" The end of a lasso was thrown down to him, and be was not long in climbing up out of the pit, when he was at once seized and bis bands bound behind his back. The pursuit of Busint>ss and the governor bavin?. been abandoned, they bad escaped. 'We lost two, but we gnined one of enough value to more than make up for the lo ss," Shields cried. ".Axe you surer' Brayton sneered. Do you know whom you l e t escape yon?" "Who! What do you mean?" "I mean that you have lost your grip on your deadliest enemy.' "What1" The governor. Shields uttered a terrible oath. 'Tis false!" be cried. "Jt's tr.ie as that it rains to-night." "And you come here as his "ent1" Think whatever you pleast>. There is no need of thinking-I know it, you see. Look here. We are going to kill you this time. But deliver that man again to me aDd yo11 shall go soot-free." Much obliged to you, but I am not in that; line of busin ess. n You'll wish you was. Back to the shanty, boys!" The order was obeyed, Brayton being closely guarded. As the whole band, except a sentinel, took refuge in the shanty again, it looked to Brayton as thou g h there was nq probability of a further att11ck tbat night. He was bound also about bis feet, and hurled into one corner, where he was left to himself. Simon Shie lds a ml t tle renege.de, Lacy, wer& seated not far from where Brayton lay, and h& could overbear their conversation "I'm for another attack to-night!" Lacy growled. "My boys are u sed to night But unfortunately'your boys are not in the majority now," Shields replied, glancing about. the room wber& but a scattering of blue-coats. were to be seen. "I don't want to run what; handful of men we have got into another trap." "You may be right enough there, but if you wait till to-morrow the stage will be pouncing down on us." "Let it come. We can easily capture and do away with t h e prisoners." I say," one of the townsmen said, coming up, "I've just thought of something. Where's old Sparks'; Gatling gun1" "Heavens I hadn't thought of that," Simon Shields exclaimed. "He usually kept it at the blacksmith shop." "It the enemy should get bold of it they would make short work of this sbanty." "Right yon are Go at o nce and see if it i s there and the ammunition also. It will come in play to us!" 'J;be man obeyed, but soon returned. "It is. not there I" he a nn o unced. Tbe word s \ vere scarcely out of bis mouth when a bullet came whizzing through tbe thin. siding of the shanty, and neatly took off a small piece of Shields s nose. "Down flat on your faces!" yelled Lacy. The order was obeyed, but it was not n!lcesary. No other shot was fired, nor was any attempt; 'at an attack made during the res t of tbe night. It was not l ong ere the storm began to abate, and gradually ceased altogether, altoongh th& heavens remained sullenly overca s t. Iu due time the first gray streaks of daydawn were seen, after which came its welcome. davlii::ht. Lacy, as soon as it was sufficiently 1 light, stepped out of the shanty to r eco nnoiter, but soon came bacK and reported everything quiet. iu tbe vicinity of the part of Sassafras occupied bJ. Oregon Bill and bis party. Well, then I guess about the first thing we. had better do is lyocb the Road-Agent Detective!" Simon Shields said "With him out of th& way, our victory over the enemy will be easier." "Don't be too sure of that," 13rayton re. torted. If harm comes to me, tbert> will not a man of you escape from the camp alive." Bab! that is brag I I fancy we are able to take care of ourselves. So you don't want t<> die my chicken!" ,z I've ne iBtenti.en ef cloillg anything of th&

PAGE 29

28 The Detective Road-Agent. kind!" Brayton said coolly, but, alas! the words belied his belief, for be could sea no way <>f escape. W e'Jl show ye!" Shields cried. We will give detective business at Sassafras a. nip in the bnd. Hurrah, boys! there's some luml.ier in tront of the shanty, and we'll fit him up a scaffold in no time." And Bra.yton's heart sunk within him, as he noted with, wba.t eagerness each man rushed from tbesbanty. But bal What is this! A bar of the early morning light streams down upon him from overhead. H e looks up. Directly overhead be had noticed that there was a. man-trap in the roof, or, in plainer words, a square bole, covered by a trap door. Tbis slide was now open, and hfl saw a face looking down a.t him, and a pair of hands lo""ering a. noosed lariat. It was BusintlSs whom he suw-it was.the daring girl who baa come to save him. Slowly but surely tbe rope descended, and the nooe dropped ove r his head and tightened just below his should(>rs. Then he saw Busm"ss bra<'.e herself and her lips became compressed, as she began to pull him upward. He bad been afraid that her strength would ilot he adequate to the task, for he was a very solidly-built roan. But he saw bis mistake, when a faint smile her lips, and be felt himself ascending. The job was accomplished in 'almost less time -than it takes to tell it, nnc.l Brayton was upon the Toof beside the only girl be bad ever loved. She quickly cut bis bonds, anti being on the opposite side of tho roof from wb.,re the rene gades were at work they lightly dropped to the ground. "For our lives now!" Business whispered, lb0UL1ding li11:htly a.way, and the Detective Road Ageat was in no wise loth to follow b"r ex ample. They were within a few rods of the shanty where their own part_ y were quartered ere the renegades discovered their escape. la answer to their ye ll, Brayton sent tiack one in defiance, to let them know that their scaffold was w1tbout its victim. He and Business reached the shanty without :further accirient, and were warmly welcomed t>y the clefenders. Bessie and Jessie becoming in. stant frieurls, while th011:overnor took Brayton's band and shook it heartily. "God bless you, my boy!'' he seirl, proudly. "Yo.i are one of Nature'" nohl P men!" "N_ot quite so bud as tbnt," Brayton responded, with a. laugh. Bu_t I say yon arA, every inch of it. I guesq you did not recogniz e me in this disgui;;e at tirst1" "Right you are. for I least PXpeciterl to find you in tbee But whPa I saw you be.ck in that camp, pri"oner, I jumped at the coucluion wbo vou wut which is which I do not know, yet, although I bave the unread confession of Murie Bertrand in mv pocket. You see the girl I have rescued.'' "Yes-although there is scarcely a bit of difference in them, except as regards attire." "You are rigbt. Tbe one I refer to bas been in charge of the woman Bertrand, and I bavf' known her some time. It no one bus any ot. jections, we propose to bring our affections t.:i a more serious result, in which a will figure." "I am glad to hear it, young man, no matter what may be the result of the identification.'' "Great horl1ed dace of Ha.tterasl" squealed Spotted Seth at this juncture. CHAPTER XIV. THE CLIMAX COMPLETE. "WHAT'S the row I" the Detective Road-Agent demanded, quickly turning to the miniir. look tbarl" indicating a loop-bole that looked up the gulch. Brayton obeyed, and saw that the r enega des were holding confab with a small party of Indians, who bad recently come down the gulch. They numbered a dozen, and were evidently a hunting-party. "If the renegades effect a consolidation, we may naturally expect an attack soon," Brayton said, stepping back to give the governor a. view. "Let 'em cnmel" Spotted Seth grinned, point ing to the Gatling gun ia one corner, which he bad secured from tbe smithy during the night, it having been be who had fired the shot into renegades' shanty. "Thar's the masbeen what will fetch 'em to Limerick l" You had best mount it on the roof, from where you can, with the aid of tho boys, do some good w ork." This advice was put into execution, anrl then there was nothing to do but to wait for tbe attack. Suddenly, on looking in one corner of the room, Brayton uttered an exclamation. Wbere is Oregon Bill"I'' he asked. Every one looked surprised. The bully was gone, aed no one appeared to know of it until now. "He war tbnr a bit ago, a-bathin' his face," a miner declared. A reconnoissance in tbe vicinity of the shanty was hastily made, but Oregon Bill was non est. Ho.v or wben he had escaped from tbe shanty without being noticed was a pnzzler indeed. It's sunrise, an' he's gone off somewhere to lay clown and die," was Spotted Seth's op,inion. -.'Not be!" another man averred. 'Bill's game to the last, bet high on that; and I beard him remark this morning that b11'd have a band in t ,he scrimmaa-P yet." "lt. s mv hPlief tb11.t he is somewhat about thA Guieb;" Bravt;.1n SA id "I'd wager he is alive :vet, for be i literally'man, or be <'oulrln't have gone tbrougli what be has." About noon an attack made, but a couple of volleyil from the Gatling 11:un caused the renegades and their red allieo to beat a hasty retreat. "I'm hanged if there's much sand in that

PAGE 30

The Detective 29 party, boys!'' Brayton declared. "If you'rP with me, we'll be tbe attacking party to-nigbt." A yell of approval greeted tbi1 proposition. The rongh of tbil border longed for such a scrimmage. Tbe day passed slowly, but no stage arrived, and tbe shades of another dark night began to gather; but there was to oo no storm. During the afternoon Brayton bad a chat with Bessie, and told her of Maria Bertrand's tragic death. But there is no need for you to mourn, for she was nothing to you.11 "Then you have solved tbe mystery of my lifei" she asked eagPT ly, her eyes like stars and her cheeks coloriug prettily. "I have; and I mean to claim my prize as soon as this struggle for Sassafras is over." "But no one bas ever mentioned a word of encouragement to you, I believe," she said, at tempting to koop a sober face. She failoo, bowev .. r, and added: "Nor, p,erhaps, is such a word called for between us.' And Fred Brayton turned away directly, feeling that bis life was nearly as complete as it well could be. He had won a prize that neither gold nor greenbacks could buy. Just befure dark Jessie took occasion to speak with him. "Excuse me," she said, coloring, "but, if I am not too presuming, I would like to ask you if you have seeu anything of Mr. Oregon yeti" "No-not a sign of him yet. You seem a trifle iutercsted in him I fr .ncy." "I'll not deny it. He bas a good heart-if you know how to reach it. Then, too, I pity him because be suffers so." "Y e3, there's a man to be made out of him yet, ir'be pulls tbrougb, You, I presume, could do it, if you were to try right bard." At wbicb Jessie flushed, and turned away. Darkness soon settled down in blank intensity. The defeuders made good their preparations for an attack, which Brayton ordered to take place about midnight. As soon as it was dark, i.t was discovered that the r enegades bad built a large camp-fire near their shanty, and were engaged in roasting meat and steeping coffee, for supper, each man being seated on the ground. An hour passed and they still maintained this position. Another hour, and there was no change, except that a figure was seen moving around, among those seated at the fire. There's sometbiug mighty funny about tbatl" Brayton decided, after an occas10nal r;lance that way. "It appears as if the galoots are all as)eep over there I" As he spoke, the figure left the vicinity of the camp-fire, and strode toward the defenders' shanty. Tb under I Tt's an In jun I Let me plug him," Spotted Seth cried. "Nol no! that's Oiegon Bill," Brayton cried. And so it proved. It was Bill, and be took the defenders to the renegade camo where all bands sat propped uprlibt-'lleadl No questions we.re asked. It was euough fortbe spectatorsof the ghastly sc2 ne to draw inferences. 'The villainous gang were dead, ond there were no of v J olence upon their bodies. Bill made no explanation, but walked away, leaving them there. When the d e f enders 11:ot back to the shanty, they found him in his comer, snoring, as if his life depended upon the noise. At the Detect:ve Road-Ageut's suggestion no mention was made to tbe girls, that tbe strange fellow was in any way conuected with the deaths of the Little remains to be t o ld. Tbe next morning the defend ers turned out, and gave each man wbo Jost his life a decent burial, and when tbe work was completed Sas safras bad a well-stocked cemetery of her own. During the forenoon the governor made an explana ion to the girls. "'l'he name which tbe public knows me by, is not AiY real name," he said; "for that is Dres den. I dropped this name years ago. Then there were two brothers of us-Paul and Wilham-and a fester-brother, named Simon, and we were aged only about two years apart, and grew up together the same as own brothers. "My fatber owned an immense property, and bad a good deal of money besides Ou tis death when I, the youngest of the two brothers, was twenty-one, he willed bis property P5\ually to me sud Paul and wholly ign ored Sanon, wbo, beiog of a naturally bad temperament, s:.vore to wreak r even g e <'D us as satisfaction for the slight be bad suffered. "I married as likewise di1! Paul. We wed two young ladies, sisters, and were blessed with two little girls, greatly r esembling each other. Ml. wife, however, died shortly afterward. 'In the mean time Simon had become dissipated, and bad in more ways than one, and bad allied himself to a woman named Bertrand, wbo secured a place as nurse in my brother's house, until one day both she, Paul's child and mine turned up missing. "We employed detectives, but all to no purpose We had to give them up es lost, as no clew could be found-nor could the where abouts of Simon, or the woman Bertrand be discovered. "Paul's wife died thro ugh the blow, and five years ago Paul was found murde r ed in Texas, with a knife in bis heart, on the handle of which was inscribed the letttrs S. S. I immedia ely rPgainerl hope, end I and Brayton have been working since. Thanks to him the end of, the trail i s reached. Simon and Marie Bertrand were buried here to-day. You girls are daughter and niece to me!" We will pass over the scene that followed, for both the girl and the governor exc_banged warm greetings, and laughed and cned over the strange denouement. "But wbir.b of us is which!'' Jessie asked, after a moment. "I have examined Marie Bertrand's confes sion," said Brayton, "and she states that whfln and Shields separated, in order tbat sbe

PAGE 31

T'b.e Deteetfye KoadAgent. could make money out of him, by threats of the law, sbe too k William Dresden's cbild, and Shields kept P aul's." "That is right. I traveled with 'em for awhile !" Oregon Bill intt'rposed, "and I l earne d tbat the gal what belonged to the governor, bad a mole on her 1eft wris t. Years ago, I ustel\saw wood fer botb tbe Dresdcnsl" The governor gave the man a searching look, and then sprung forward, and seized bis hand. "I know you at last!'! he said. "And now that we are all reunited, let us leave this place forever, and let the past as far as possible be forgiven and forgotten." The governor, Bessie, Jessie and the Detective Road-Agent left Sassafras that very afternoon, Bessie and Braytcn were soon after married, and are happy, together, with the ex-governor to bright.en their home. Oregon Bill did not peg out; but lived to accu mulat;e acompetency in Sassafra Then, a changed and far more desirable man, he sought Jessie, found her single, and the re sult was a happy marriage. Perhaps the onlr. man of our romance now to be found at the l!ttle worn-out camp at Sassa fras, is Spotted &th, who rejoices at the finding of H.ats's buried treasure, The others have passed away along the higb wayR and byways ot an eventful life. THE END. BEADLE AND ADAMS' Dime Hand-Books. Young People's Series. Blil>L&'s DmE H..um-Boon roa YoUNG PEoPL& cover a wide r a nge of subjects, and are aspecially adaptea to their end. Ladies' Letter-Writer. I Book ot Games Gents' Letter-Writer Fortune-Teller. Book of Etiquette. Lovers' Casket. Book of Verses. Ball-room Companion. Book of Dreams. Book of Beauty. Lives of Great Americans. I.-George Washington. I VIII.-Israel Putnam. 11.--John Paul Jones. X.-Tecumseh. lll.-MadAnthonyWayne XI.-Abraham Lincoln. IV,-Ethan Alleo. m.-Pontia.C. V.-Marquis de La!ayette mI.-Ulysses S. Grant. Manuals for Housewives. 1. Cook Book_ 14. Family Physician_ 2. Recipe Book. 5. Dressmaking and MiJ. :i. Housekeeper's Guide. Jinery. Song Books, BEADLJC'S DI.l!E SoNG Boo11:s, Nos. 1 to 84, contain the only popular collection of copyright songs. ...The above books are sold by newsdealel'll eTerywhere, or will be sent, post-paid, to any address, on receipt of price. ten cents each. Bunu; OD AD.um, Publishers, 98 William llt., N. Y. BEADLE AND ADAMS-STANDARD DIML PUBLICATIONS Speakers. The Dime Speakers embrace twenty-five volumH viz.: 1. American Speaker. 15. Komikal Speaker. 2. National Speaker. 16, Youth s Speaker. 3 Patrio tic Speak er. 17. El oquent Speaker. 4. Comic Speaker. 18. Hail Columbia Speak 5. Elocutionist e r. 6. Humorous Spea!(er. 19, Serio Comi c Speaker, 7. Standard Speaker_ 20. Sele c t Speaker. 8. Stump Speaker. 21. Funny Speaker. 9. Juvenile Speaker. 22. Jolly Speaker. 10. SJ?read-Eagle Speaker 123. Dial ect Speaker. 11. Drme Debater. 24. Recitations and Read12. Exhibition Speaker. ings. 13. School Speaker. j 25. Burlesque Speaker 14. r,udicrous Speaker. These books are replete with choice 1>ieces"for the School-room, the Exhibition, for Homes, etc. 75 to 100 Declamations and Recitations in each book. .Dialogues. The Dime Dialogues, each volume 100 pages. em brace thirty-six books, viz.: Dialogues No. One. Dialogues No. Nineteen. Dialogue..q No. Two Dialogues No. Twenty. Dialogues No. Threli. Dialogues No. Twenty-one. Dialogues No. Four. Dialogues No. Twenty-two. Dialogues No. Five. Dialo g ues No. Twenty-t .hree. Dialogu es No. S ix. Dialogues No Twenty-four, Dialogu e s No. 8 even. Dialogues No Twenty-live. Dialogues No. Eight. Dialogu e s No. Twenty-six. Dialogues No. Nine. Dialogues No. Twenty-seven. Dialogues No. Ten. Dialogues No. Twenty-eight.. Dialogu e s No. Eleven. Dialogues No. Twenty-nine. Dialogues No. Tw e lve. Dialogues No. Thirty. Dialogues No. Thirt.een. Dialogues No. Thirty-one. Dialogues No. Fourteen. Dialogues No. Thlrt. y-two, Dialogues No. Flfteen. Dialogues No. Thlrty-tW-. Dia.Iogues No. Sixteen j Dialogues No. Thirty-four, Dialogues No.Seventeen Dialoirnes No. Thirty-live. Dialogues No. Eighteen Dialogues No. Thirty-si:ir_ 15 to 25 Dialogues and Drama8 In each book E)Mlb volume contains 100 large pages, printed ltoUi Clear, open type, comprising the best colleoo tiOllot Dialogues, Dramas and Recitations. Dramas and Readings. lM 12mo Pages 20 Cents For Schools, Parlors, Entertainments and the Am. ateur Stage, comprising Original Minor Dramaa, Comedy, Farce, Dress Pieces, Humorous Dialogue and Burlesque, by noted writers; and Recitaiiona and Readings, new and standard. of the celebritv o,_11d interest. Edited by Prof. A. M. Rlll!E'eL Joke Books. Pocket Joke Book. Jim Crow Joke Book. Paddy Whack Joke Book. The aboTe publications are ror sale by all newit dealers or will be sent, post-paid, oa recelp ot price, ten cents each. BEADLE AND Pum.xsmms, 118 WJLLUK STllBB'I', N, )!,.

PAGE 32

DeadWiiOd Dick Library HANoSOMEiR1.COtOnEoECDYERs.1 32 Pages. Bu y O ne and You Will Bu y th.e BesU Fer Sample Cover See 8&ber ad .. DEADWOOD DIC K LIBRARY. 1 Deadwood Dick, the Prince of the Road Double Daggers; o r Deadwood Dic k's Defiance I The Buffalo Demon; or. The Border Vultures 4 Buffalo Ben, Priuce or the Pistol II Wild I van, the Boy Claude Duval 6 D eathFace, thA Dete ctive 7 The Phantom Min er; o r, D eadwood Dick's Bonanza 8 Old Avalanche, the Great Annihilator; or, Wild Edna, the Girl Brigand 9 Bob Woolf, the Border Ruffian 10 Omaha Oil. the Masked Ter"lr; or, Deadwood Dick in DanE?e r 11 Jim Bludsoe, Jr., the Boy Phenix; or, Through to Death 12 Dead wood Di c k's Eagles; o r The pards of Flood Bar 18 Buckhorn Bill; or, The Red Rifle Team 14 Go ld Rifle the Sharpshooter 1 5 Deadwood Dick on Deck: or. Calamity Jane 1 6 Corduroy Charlie, the Buy Bravo 17 Rosebud Rob; or, Nugg e t Ned, the Knight of the Unlch JS Idyl, the Girl Miner; o r Rosehud Rob o n Hand 1 9 Pho toJ'?raph Phil; or. I lose bud Rob's Reappearance 20 WatchEre the ,;hadow 21 Deadwood Dick s Device; or, The Sign of the Double Cross 22 Canada Chet, the Counterfeiter Chief 23 Deadwo o d Dick in Leadville; or, A Strange Stroke tor Liberty 24 Deadwood Dic k as Detective 25 Gilt-ll:dged Dick 26 Bonanza Bill the Man-Tracker; or, The Secret Twel v e 27 Cllip, the Girl Sport 28 Jack Hoyle's Lead; or, The R oad to Fortune 29 Boss Bob, the King of Bo otblacks 80 Deadwoo d Dick's Double; o r The Ghost of Gorgon's Gulch 3 1 Blonde Bill ; or. Deadwood Dick's Home Base 82 Solid Sam, tlie Boy Road-Agent 83 Tony Fox, the Ferret; or, Boss Bob's Boee Job 34 A Game of Gold; o r, Deadwood Dick s Big Strik e 85 D eadwood Dick of Deadwood; or, The Picked PartJ 86 New York Nell, the Boy-Girl Detective 37 Nobb v Nick of Nevada; or, The Scamps of the Sierras 88 Wild Frank, the Buckskin Bravo 89 D eadwood Dick's Doom; or, Calamity Jane's Last Adventure 40 Dead wood Dick's Dream; or, The Rivals of th" Road 41 De&dwood Dick's Ward; or, The Black HlllsJezehe l 42 The Ara b Detective; or, Snoozer. the Boy Sharp 43 The Ventriloquist Detective. A Romance of Rogue 44 Detective Josh Grim; or, The Young Gladiator' Game 45 The Frontier Detective; or, Si<'rrB Sam's Scheme 46 The Jim town Sport; or, Gypsy JacK in Colo r ado 47 The Miner Sport; or, Sugar-Coated Sam' s Claim 48 Dic k Drew, the Miner's Son; o r Apollo Bill, the R oad-Agen t 49 Sierra Sam, the Detective 50 Sierra Sam' s Double; or, The Thre e Femal e Detect. i ves 51 Sierra Sam's Sentence; or, Little Luck at Ro ugh R a nch 52 The Gir l Sport: or, Jumbo Joe's Disl'?uise 53 Denver JJoll's Device; or, 'l'he Detective Queen 54 Denver Doll as Detective 55 D enver Doll's Partner; or, Big Ruckskin the Sport 56 D enver Doll's Mine; or, Little Bill's Big Loss 57 Deadwood Dick Trapped 58 Buck Hawk, Detective; or, The Messenger B oy' s Fortune 59 Deadwoo d Dick's Disguise; or, Wild Walt, the Sp .. r r 60 Dumb Dick s Pard; or, Eliza Jane, the Gold Miner 61 Deadwoo d Dick's Mission 62 Spotter Fritz: or, The Store-Detective's Decoy 63 The D e tective Road-Agent; or, The Miners of Sassa fras C ity_ 64 Colorado Charlie's Detective D a sh; or, The Cattlfl Kings '


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