The young rough rider's great play, or, The mad ally of a villain

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The young rough rider's great play, or, The mad ally of a villain

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Title:
The young rough rider's great play, or, The mad ally of a villain
Series Title:
Young rough riders weekly
Creator:
Taylor, Edward C.
Place of Publication:
New York
Publisher:
Street & Smith
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Language:
English
Physical Description:
1 online resource (28 p.) 28 cm.: ;

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Subjects / Keywords:
Western stories. ( lcsh )
Dime novels. ( 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:
025569615 ( ALEPH )
17906218 ( OCLC )
R16-00007 ( USFLDC DOI )
r16.7 ( USFLDC Handle )

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serial

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While Ted was engrossed in the title deeds, the picture at his side swung outward 'and a naked, bony arm reached towards the papers. -

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0 11 ? Mo.st ras, cinatin9 We&tern Stories bsued Week ly. B y Eu/Jscription $2 .50 per year. Entered accordinr to Act of Oingress in tlu y1a1 1qo5, in tlu Office of tlu Librarian of Oingreu, Was h i n g t o n, D. C., by STREET & SMITH, 238 William St. N. Y. APPiication made at tke New York Post Office f o r entry as Second-ctalS Matier No. 5 2 N E W YORK, April 15, 1 905. Price Five Cen t s. The Young Rough Rider's fir eat Play; OR, THE MAD ALL Y OF A VILLAIN. By NED TA. VLOR. CHAPTER I. THE SAND STOR M "They ain t no u se t e r t a lk ; thi s sa rtin i s th e r lim it when it c o me s t e r w ick ed kentry. I been s ome, but, gol-durn m y ski n if l e ve r bucked up a g in'an y th i n ter b eat this ere The s p e ak e r w as Bu d Morgan, o ne of the members of Ted Strong's fam o us c d mpan y o f yo un g rou g h rid e r s . Bud s r ema rk s re f erre d t o the dese r t c o un t r y throu g h whic h Ted S tron g w as l e adin g som e o f th e m e mb e r s of hi s b a nd, and Mo r gan v oice d th e s e ntiment of each o f hi s c ompanion s I h ave h eard thi s wa s te land c alle d the countr y Goel for go t ,' remark e d T ed "and I am almo s t rea dy to b e lieve that the n a me i s an app rop ri a te o ne but I a m certain w e will find porti o ns of thi s d esert which have r e d e em in g qualities. "Yes," r emarke d bi g B e n Tre m ont, I ha v e rea d th a t th e Californ ia, o r Moj ave, D eser t a s it i s so m e t imes called, su r rounds m a n y tracts of l a n d t h
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I 2 THE YOUNG ROUGH RIDERS WEEKLY. Since the organization of the young rbugh riders, some thing over a year before, the boys had been almost con tinually engaged in hard work, and had gone1 through many startling Under Ted's leadership they had earned a great reputation throughout the West, and they believed that the pleasure trip upon which they were now launched had been well earned. They had resolved to get ali the fun possible out of it. The morning after they left the cars at Silver City the boys had been sitting on the wide porch of the hotel, after an early breakfast, planning in which direction they would first start, when they noticed a cloud of dust far down the street. A rider was approaching at a gallop, and as he pulled up in front of hotel he leaped from his foam-decked cayuse and inquired: "Gentlemen, can you inform me if a young man known as Ted Strong, the young rougJ:i rider, is stopping here?" "That is my name," a'1swered Ted, rising from his seat. "Good!" exclaimed the stranger, whom red now saw was a young man about his own age, dress d neatly but rou g hly, after the manner of a cowboy. "What can I do for you?" asked Ted. "First I will introduce myself," replied the stranger. "My name is Leo Morrissey, and I, like yourself, am a stranger in this part of the country. In fact I have not been very long in the Wes t. After I got through college, two years ago, I came West for1 a knockabout trip, and liked the country so well I have stayed here. I have been working on a ranch, owned by my uncle, up the State, and only came down here a week ago to look over the country." "You appear to have been doing some pretty hard rid ing just now : said Ted, advancing to shake hands with the newcomer. "\Vell, you I have," replied Morrissey. "Fact is, I knew you arrived here yelterday with some of your famous yc;iung rough and t_ was afraid I wouldn't "There has been a band of outlaws known as the Mojave Terrors," he began, "who have been infesting and terrorizing the small towns bordering the desert for a number of months. Parties have pursued them time and again without success in overtaking them. They have a hiding place somewhere near the Nevada line, probably in the rocky hills surrounding 'Death VaHey, or Oasis V(!lley. Last night the Mojave Terrors made a raid on the town of Gallego, forty miles south of here, killed the cashier of the Miners' Bank, robbed that institution of . seventy thousand dollars, kidnaped two young women and got away without a scratch. A posse pursued the out laws for fifteen miles into the desert and returned without having overtaken them. On return of the posse at midnight, I saddled my horse a h d here to solicit your assistance." There was a silence for minutes, and then Ted Strong addressed his companions: "Boys, what do you say? We came out here for a pleasure trip, but it seems that duty is calling us in another direction. Shall we pursue the Terrors?" "I reckon we ain't ther fellers ter shirk a responsi bility," answered Bud Mor!?jan. "As my friend would say," remarked Bob Martin, 'When duty whispers we take the cotton out of our ears and listen real loudly.' "Yes," said Ben Tremont, "we couldn't enjoy any pleasure trip, knowing that these outlaws held in their possession two innocent girls. I move we put in our tim e doing up this band of outlaws . We can take the pleasure jaunt later." "That is the way I feel, too," added 'Kit Summers And so if was soon decided to l isten to the appeal of Leo Morrissey. The young rough riders would start in pursuit of the Mojave Terrors. "Mr. Strong, said Morrissey, "your decision is what I expectfd it would be, and with you and your brave men on the case I feel sure that the career of the French Devil and his band of outlaws will soon come to an end." .. get before you had departed. I came to inform you "The French Devil?" of sbmething which I hope will)nterest you. I want t o "Yes, for that is the ieader of the Mojave Ter, solicit the services of yourself and companions iii runrors has called, his real name being unknown." ning down the most nervy band of criminals that ever Thus we find the young rough riders embarked upon this pa .rt of the country." a journey across the waste plains of California known !'But we are on a pleasure J:rip," said Ted, with a faint as the California Desert, and a short description of the I smile, twitching the corners of his f!10uth. country over which they were traveling would perhaps "I know it, and I'm awfully sorry to ask you to change not be amiss at this place. your course," replied Morrissey, "but I am sure you will This great desert is barren as a ballroom floor in some come my way when I tell you what has recently ocsections, bl0Qp1ing like the tropic(s in others; warmed by the mildest of suns m winter and scorched by an awful ''Well, anyway, take a seat and let us know tpe story," repfied Ted, arid then he introduced the other members of his company pf rough riders. Morrissey lost little time in enlightening the boy s regarding the facts that had prompted his sudden visit. -heat in summer. It is kissed one moment by soothing breezes and swept bare of all life by some terrible sirocco a moment later Li k e the land i; whi c h they live there are no people on earth more strange than the nomad Piute

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J THE YOUNG ROUGH R.IDERS WEEKLY. 3 Indians and resultant half-breeds that make up its p o pu lation. Knit together by a common bond of fear-fear of civ ilization, fear of the sheriff's warrant, but never fear of man-they "stand by" each other to the detriment of the outsider, who attempts too many liberties with them, or with their customs. The California Desert is nearly five hundred miles m length, extending from the northernmost tip of Mono County, beyond even the famed lands that lie about Mono Lake to old Fort Yuma, down on the Colorado River, in San Diego County. The greatest width is from where the railroad breaks through the San Gabriel Mountains by way of Soledad, straight across the desert to the Kingston range and th e Nevada line. The distance is about one hundred and seventy-five miles. In shape, this great basin, some Gf which is consider ably below the sea level, is rough leg of mutton. It was through this desolate region that Ted Strong an,d his party were traveling in pursuit of the bandits known as the r:v'lojave Terrors. They were headed directly toward a fertile valley near the northern central part of the desert known as Death Valley, for somewhere in the mountainous hills bordering that valley, Leo Morrissey said it had been proved that the had a hiding place. At the time this story opens they were traveling over a sandy plain, bordered on every side by the line of the horizon. The eye in every direction could behold nothing but sandy wastes. No hills, no rocky crags, no water could be seen. The country seemed indeed desolate, and the opening remark of Bud Morgan skemed very appropriate. But our friends were sk'on to have enough, and the soon-coming danger was first indexed by a large, black cloud which arose from the horizon to the west. The cloud at fir.st seemed hardly larger than a man's hand, but it seemed to grow with alarming rapidity, and soon covered the whole of the western sky line. The next indication of impending danger was a sud den stiffening of the wind which had heretofore for hours been blowing like a gentle, cooling zephyr. Now it grew colder and picked up the loose surface sand and, in seeming play, carried it along the plain for rods at a time. Kit Summers was the first one of the party to notice the black cloud and remark upon it. As Kit called attention to the growing blackness in the wes t Leo Morrissey looked westward, and then his face grew pale. "My God!" he exclaimed, "we are in for it. There are no hills or rocks in sight, and it will be ten:ible if we are caught out in the open." "\\!hat do you mean?" chorused several of the party. "A sand storm is coming," was the reply. Only those who have been caught in one of those ter rible desert sand storms can realize the danger that now confronted the party of young rough riders. They were traveling over a vast sand plat, probably thousands of acres in extent, covered with a sand so fine that flour would almost seem like ungroup!f wheat be side it. The wind, that was bearing down upon them from the west, was probably traveling at a uniform rate of seventy or eighty miles an hour, gathering up the fine sand of the desert and pushing it ahead with deaqly fury. As the young rough riders involuntarily stopped when Morrissey spoke they saw that the storm would soon be upon them. Ted Strong was the first to collect his senses and make an effort toward protection from the terrible catastrophe. "Off the horses, boys !" he yelled. As his companions obeyed he then directed that every blanket, tent cloth and saddle be placed upon the ground. 1 Then by his direction the young rough riders began frantic efforts to erect a sort of wind shield of 1 the blan kets and tent canvases. The horses of the party were placed in a line and the blankets tied to their bodies on the side from which the storm was coming. Behind this partial bal.lrier the young rough riders snuggled, covering themselves, heads and all, as tightly as possible with what blankets and tent cloths remained. The horses seemed to realize the dangers as well as their human friends, and with ljttle protest allowed their heads to be covered with the blankets. The simple preparations had hardly been completed when the storm was upon them. The terrible wind struck the horses with a force that nearly took the animals off their feet. It beat its way through the lappings of the heavy bla'h kets and canvases as though nothing but cheese cloth barred its wav. The fine sifted in upon travelers as if through a coarse sieve, and within a second every one of the crouching men was nearly covered with the powdery dust. It sifteJ into their hair; their nostrils were filled with it. ' The poor horses uttered almost human groans of pain as the sand was driven against their bodies and legs, cu; ting like a thousand two-edged swords. Five minutes of such a terrible storm would have been fatal to our heroes, even though they were partially pro Just as the boys were beginning to hope that the storn1 was nearly spent and would soon be past them, a new \

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I 4 THE YOUNG ROUGH RIDERS WEEKLY. danger came upon them, that almost caused their hearts to jump to their mouths. There came a sound as of a pistol shot, heard clearly above the fury of the wind. One of the tent canvases had ripped! The wind tearing through the opening instantly filled the retreat of our friends and their tent bulged out like a filled balloon. t The strings that tied the blankets....to the horses began to snap and break It would be only a question of a few seconds when the furious gale would carry away their flimsy pro tection I CHAPTER II: WATERS OF DEATH. "B' gosh, that's what I'd call a right smart bbw !" It was Bud Morgan who spoke. The others were busily engaged in digging the fine sand out of their eyes and \ The fury of the sand storm had been spent. The wind had blown furiously not longer than three minutes, and it stopped, or went by them, as suddenly as it had come. Had it lasted a few seconds longer the young rough riders would have been left without the slightest cover ing above. their heads, for the wind had snapped most of the strings that held the blankets in place. Just as they had thought the blankets were to be car ried away the storm had suddenly ceased. The boys found themselves completely covered by the sand, and it was at least ten minutes before they were able to free themselves and crawl from beneath the blankets that covered them. Then they discovered that the horses were also nearly covered. The -sand had d;ifted against them until only their were visible from the west side. The animals were nearly buried and could not move until the sand had been scraped away from their legs. "As my old college (riend, Shakespeare, would re mark, 'Who steals my revolvers, steals sand,' said Bob Martin, gazing mournfully at the weapon in his hand. The oung roi.1gh riders found that their weapon bar rels and chambers were completely clogged with fine sand. I I As as the horses were liberated the men took off every particle of their clothing and shook the sand there from, turning their pockets inside out. Then they turned their attention to getting their weap ons a.gain in working order before continuing their "We were extremely lucky to get out of that scrape as easily as we did," remarked Ted Strong, after the journey was again resumed. "Yes," returned Kit Summers "but if the storm h ad lasted two minutes longer it would have been all up with us." "Still, I wouldn't have missed the experience for quite a lot, now that it is over," returned Ted. I have of ten heard of these terrible sand storms, but neve r experienced one before." "Waal, I reckon, I don't hanker fer no more experi ences like this here one," said Bud Morgan. "No, we had a great plenty of it," Martin. "Enough is enough and too much is plenty ." "I suppose that is another quotation from your emi nent friend Shakespeare?" asked Ben Tremont. "That's right," replied Bob. Although no situation in which the young rough rid ers found themselves, dangerous or otherwise, failed to inspire Bob Martin with an alleged quotation from Shakespeare, usually comksi ) ly misconstrued by him, Bob was a great favorite with his companions. They had long since given up the ac curacy of his quotations, and as most of them were so ludicrous the young Tough riders were ramused rather than annoyed by Bob's chatter. The young riders traveled along on their way toward Death Valley as they supposed, for several hours, when Ted Strong, glancing at his compass, suddenly halted his horse and gave voice to a note of astonishment. "What's wrong, pard ?" asked Bud Morgan. ','Why, look at the needle ill this compass. It seems to have go"ne crazyt replied The young rogh riders quickly gathered around their young leader and uttered of surprise when the y saw that the little needle of the instrument moved erratically backward and fonf ard. "There m ust be a large deposit of iron ore near by, said Ted, "and it attracts the.. magnetic needle. I am afraid the compass has deceived us and led us off our proper course." "That may be a fact," replied Morrissey, "for I was thinking a short time ago that if we had been following the directi o ns given us on starting, we would have long since struck Death Valley, or at least, the bordering ridge of mountains surrounding it." It should be stated that D ea th Vall ey is the name of a large saline marsh, partially bordered by fertile land, lying south and east of the town from which our friends were tra.veling. "I had been thinking the same," said Ted, "and that is why I just concluded to refer to the Compass." "'f4en we are probably lost!" exclaimed Ben Tremont. "It certainly looks that way sajd Ted, "and it is nearly sunset. I planned getting to a fertile camping place by night, where we could find fresh water for our canteens and grass for the horses ." 'Well, ain't that a ridge of hills over )'Onder ?" asked -

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THE YOUNG ROUGH RIDERS WEEKLY. 5 Bud Morgan, pointing toward what the y hid supposed was the north. The young rough riders strained their eyes. Seemingly on th e very edge of the horizon, they could see the peaks of what must certainly be the tops of mountains, extending almost parallel to the direc tion they had been traveling "Yes," said Ted, at last, "those must be the hins sur Death Valley, but they are far away, and it will take until late into the night to reach them. Let us start at once and get as far as possible before the sun has set." 'The tired horses were turned about and were soon being urged forward toward the promising shelter and food, far in the distance. As they proceeded, the hills became more distinguish able and befor e the shades of night settled do\Vn ov e r the desert our friends knew that, without mishap, they could reach the mountains by midnight. It was a company composed of tired men and tired horses that, finally, by the light of a moon, nearly full, entered a wide, gulch, leading into the mountain range, which they were sure bordered a partially fertile valley. The young rough riders had not proceeded far u1'5 the gulch when they heard a cheerful cry from their young leader, who was riding several rods in advance of his companions. "Hurrah!" exclaimed Ted. "Here's our camping ground ; fresh water and lots of good grass !" in a certain mineral form, heated as by a wann sun, will crystallize, and he knew that in that state it gave off ju5t such an odor. He was therefore convinced that the water of the stream was poisonous. Before allowing his companions to drink he tasted of the water himself. Taking a mouthful he alY:>wed it to remain in his mouth a few moments befoue spitting it out. His test was convincing. There was a sort of a sour, mineral taste to the water and, after it remained in his mouth a moment, he felt the slight burning sensation that proclaimed that his susp1c1ons were true. The stream was filled with waters in the drops of which death was lurking. The young rough riders must continue their tiresome journey before going into camp The tired horses were again urged forward along the gulch, now very unwillingly, for the animals had seen "vater and longed to get to it. The party had proceeded less than a quarter of a mile when they were suddenly surprised by a rifle shot from the rocks above them. The shot was quickly followed by two others The third shot whizzed by dangerously near to Ted'll cheek! CHAPTER III. THE OUTLA ws' CAMP LOCATED As the others pushed forward they saw Ted dismount d b d "Into the shadows, boys !" and approach a small, slowly movmg an en ov e r it as if to drink from its cooling depths. That was the exclamation of Ted Strong as the shots But for some reason Ted did not drink. He raised from above were being fired into his party. his head quickly and called to the others, who, further At the same time he dug the spurs into his horse and down the little stream, were about to lead their thirsty drove the animal forward into a dark, shadowy spot m hor ses to the brook. the rocks, a few rods ahead. "Don't let the animals drink!" was his cry. He was quickly followed by the rest of the party. "Why, w-w-w-what's ther matter?" asked Mor-/ They were now out of range and sight of the gan. men abbve, who had fired upon them, for no more bullets "Arsenic!" was the young rough rider's short, but were sent do.wn into the gulch immediately. But shortly after the third shot, and as the rough riders startling, answer. "Arsen .ic ?" was lips at once. ere reining in their horses, after gaining the shaded spot, the question that came from se"veral from the rocks above them came a piercing cry for help! As Ted had lean ed over the stream to quench his th'irst he noticed that the bank of the brook slightly coated yvith a white deposit, but thought nothing of it at first, as he h ad seen several mountainous streams in the bor ders of arid plains, the banks of which carried similar deposits. i These deposits were usually soda, borax or ni. 'lgnesia, or combinations of all three. It was a young woman's voice! "Help! Save us from these villains. He--" The cry was suddenfy muffled, as by the placing of a hand over the girl's mouth. Then all was quiet. The young rough riders looked into each other's faces, the same thought in each mind. "The Mojave Terrors!" exclaimed Morrissey. "And the cry probably came from one of their girl prisoners," concluded Ted. It was just as his nose touched the water that he be ca me alarmed for his olfactory organ detected an odor "Boys," Ted added, "we have come upon the bandits whom we are after, sooner than 1 expected. It is our arsenic, duty now to keeP, track of them. I am going to find a similar to garlick. Ted had studied chemistry and he knew that A

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, 6 THE YOUNG ROUGH RIDERS WEEKLY. way to climb these rocks to the place from which that shot can1e." "Alone?" asked Ben Tremont. "Yes," was the answer, "I think it would be better so There would be less chance of one being observed than ;f several went." Thus saying Ted dismounted from his horse and dis appeared in the darkness. With some difficulty, owing to the darkness, Ted at last found a place where he could ascend the wall of the gulch. He was obliged to pick his way carefully, and moved slowly and with great caution, so as to make no sound. He had noted the puff of powder, that betrayed the location of the man who had fired the second shot, and he was making for that spot as nearly as possible. ) Ted was a good half hour in climbing the rocks, but, at length, he pulled himself over a jutting crag of rock, and found himself in a little hollow, almost at the top of the ridge Cautiously he raised his head, for the moon was shin ing brightly upon the spot where he lay. As his eyes came above the level of the rocky basin into which he had crawled he found himself almost within i:..eaching distance of the shadowy form of a man, who was standing almost motionless, rifle in hand, peering a large rock into the blackness of the gulch below. Ted was certain that this was one of the outlaws. The man was apparently striving to get a glimpse of the rough riders in the gulch, with the hope of getting an other shot at them. He had not seen our young hero. Ted could easily have shot the villain dead, but he was certain that other members of the bandit company were lurking near and he wished ascertain their strength. His immediate purpose was to free the two young girls if possible. By shifting his position somewhat, Ted was enabled to look over the ridge, and was to see spread ing out below him a great valley. In the darkness he could not determine whether the valley was fertile or not, but he judged that he was look ing down on that great stretch of land surrounding that great aline marsh known as Death Valley. And in this he was correct, as was proved later. In the valley, and nearly at the foot of the ridge, Ted could see the gleaming fires of a camp. He was now certain that the outlaws were camped be1 low, and he began to gradually reason out the state of affairs. The ridge of hills on this side of Death Valley were not wide. The entrance, or at least one entrarn ; e to the valley, was through the gulch in which his friends were now concealed. 1 They had probably already penetrated the mountains nearly to the valley. I From the ridge, upon which he was now resting, Ted saw tha in daylight it would be possible to look far out over the desert in the direction from which the young rough riders had come. He reasoned that the outlaws, having gone mto camp on the other side of the ridge, in the valley, they had posted sentinels upon the high ridge. The sentinels had probabJ.Y noted the approach of the young rough riders, before it became dark, and had waited to shoot at them, when they proceeded up the gulch. After a long, silent wait, Ted came to the conclusion that his best method of toward capturing outlaws and rescuing the prisoners was to proceed with his companions up the gulch, enter the valley, return on the other side of the idge and attack the outlaws in their camp. But to do this it would be necessary to get rid of the watchful sentinel. Ted had concluded that the man was alone on the hill. If there had been others, he figured, they had to the camp with the girl prisoner, whom they had heard utter the cries for help. In this latter surmise Ted was partly by hearing tlie sentinel, speaking low to himself, complain: "Seems like it were most time fer Bill and Jack ter be back. Ther girl must have been a lot of trouble to em : Durn bad idea it were ter bring her up here, anyway Might hev known she wouldn't be able ter tell who ther fellers were we s-een comin She ain t no fool, an' she wouldn't have told if she knew, I reckon." Just then Ted's quick ear heard a slight noise, down the side of the gulch, toward the outlaw camp. Leaning far over he could see the shadowy forms of three men climbing the hill. The sentinel's fr'iends were returning. Ted did not wish to shoot the sentinel, as that would only alftrm the outlaws, and tj1ey might suddenly break up and fly away, He wished to do up the sentinel quietly and get him away. He wanted the sentinel's companipns to search for him . That, he thought, might keep them busy until he could get his men through the gulch and around to the bandits' camp. But he must move quickly, for the sentinel's outlaw companions were nearly to the top of the ridge. Just at that 111oment the moon went under a small cloud and Ted knew that this was his opportunity. With panther-like quickness and stillness, Ted rose to his feet. Then with a few quick steps, and a mighty spring, he landed upon the Ione sentinel's back! Before the outlaw could recover from his surprise Ted had lifted the man off from his feet! Ted's iron muscles at that instant stood him good service.

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THE YOUNG ROUGH RIDERS WEEKLY. 7 With a i;nighty e ffort he raised th e ma n and shoved him clear over the large rock, behind which he was standing. Then with a pu s h T e d sent the outlaw off tpe ridge and tumbling down the rocky side of the gulch Ted quickly followed the outlaw and, arriving at the foot of the ridge, found that the bandit had fallen almost at the feet of Leo Morrissey's horse. Ben Tremont had been standing near the spot, and, as the outlaw rolled to the bottom of the ridge; big Ben's hands had grasped him by the shoulders. The man was considerably shaken up, but no bones had been broken. As Ben had grabbed him the bandit opened his mouth to yell, but a twist on the neck of his heavy woolen shirt fiad choked him into silence. "Hurry up, boys, and hit your saddles!" exclaimed Ted. It took but an instant to bind the outlaw prisoner and lift him to the horse ridden by Kit Summers. Kifs was a powerful animal, and could easily carry double. Ted was anxious to get as far as possible up the gulch before the other three o utlaws had gained the top of the ridge, for directly 1 before the young rough riders was a long stretch of the trail made bright by the moon, which shon e down betvveen the rocky cra g s of the ridge. "Which way is it?" asked Ben Tremont, as he sprang into his saddle. "On up the gulch," replied Ted, spurring his horse on to the head of the company. When past the moonlighted strip of tJ:ie trail Ted reined his horse to a walk and informed his companions of what he had seen from the top of the ridge. Then he told them of his plan to attack the camp of the outlaws. "Holy snakes!" exclaimed Bud Morgan, "I believe we can s1:1rprise 'em a,nd do 'em up." Then let's get busy," sai<\ Bob Martin. "As Shake speare s a y s 'It' s madness to defer when are wait in g to be transformed into angels, and procrastination is worse than going thirsty.' ' "I don't mind yer quotin' $hakesport all yer a mind ter, but jest cut out that 'ere aggravatin' talk about water," said Bud Morgan. "I reckon I kin drink a whole barrel of ther wet stuff, when I git another shot at it." "Well, I guess you all understand the plan," put in Ted, "so let us hurry along. I don't think we will have to travel more than four or five miles to reach their camp." T e d made a miscalculation on the distance, however, for they bad g one at lea st three miles up the gulch be fore the y reach e d the entrance to the valley, and t_!iey w o uld b e obli::i;ed t o tra v e l abont the same distance back to reach the outlaw camp. CHAPTER IV. TED'S PEHILOUS VENTURE. As the young rough riders rode out of the gulch into the wide valley they found themselves in the darknes s for the moon had gone behind thick clouds in the west and would not probably again appear that night, as it had nearly sunk behind the mountain peaks. Their progress was therefore slow and uncertain, as they turned to follow the opposite side of the ridge, back to where they knew the outlaws' camp was located. They had probably traveled a mile when Leo Morris sey, who was riding slightly in advance, suddenly uttered a cry of terror. His horse had suddenly sunk beneath him up to its belly in slimy water and mud! 1 Leo spurred the animal, with an idea of trying to urge the horse to extricate itself, but the animal was unable to take a step. Its frantic endeavors to lift its feet only caused the horse to sink deeper in the mire l In the darkness the other young rough riders could not tell just what sort of a predicament their young friend was in, and their first thoughts were that Leo had struck a bed of quicksand. "What is the trouble, Morrissey?" sang out Ted's voice. \ "I'm in the marsh, I guess," Morrissey. "Are you still sinking?" "Yes, but slowly," came the answer. "{::atch this lariat," directed Ted. Guided more by the sound of Morrissey's voice than by sight, Ted 100 sened his lariat from his saddle and threw it toward the lad. Three times he was obliged to gather in the rope and throw it before Morrissey managed to get possession of one end of it. "Now tie it to y6ur saddle and climb back along it to solid ground," was Ted's next direction. With considerable difficulty Leo obeyed the instruc tions and, within a few moments, was standing beside his companions. M;_orrissey's horse, relieved of bis master's weight, now made another effort to lift its feet and finally succeeded / in ove;-coming the suction. Aided by the young rough rid e rs, who united in pulling upon the lariat; the animal finally reached the solid ground. On investigation it was found that Leo had been riding as close as possible to the rocky ridge, and it was cer tain that the saline marsh reached clear to th,e rocks. There was no way for the rough riders to proceed toward the outlaw camp in the direction they were follow-. { mg. Yet they were sure there was some way to that camp, as it seemed probable that the outlaws had entered .

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8 THE YOUNG ROUGH RIDERS WEEKLY. the valley through the same gulch through which our friends had made their way. Probably t)lere was a way around the other side of the marsh, but to look for it in the darkness was out of the question. It would necessitate going back along the way they had come, no telling how far, and it was certain they would not be able to reach the vicinity of the bandits' can1p before daybreak. Still Ted Strong was determined, if any way could be found, to get to the assistance of the two girls as quickly as possible. Approaching the edge of the swamp his ears were at tracted by the sound of falling water. Guided by the sound he followed the side of the rocky wall of the ledge until he found a place where a spring gushed out of the rocks and splashed down to the marsh below. Placing his palms together in the form of a cup, the young rough rider caught some of the water and carried ;t to his lips. He found the water strong with minerals, but it was cool and satisfying to the taste. Ted quickly informed his companions of his discovery and they were not slow about quenching their thirsts and filling their canteens at the spring. Then, several tin pails were procured from the camping utensils, and the tired and 1 thirsty horses were supplied with the refreshing While the horses were being watered Ted was sur ;veying the waters of the marsh as much as possible in the darkness. At last he made a remark that astonished his friends. "Boys," he said, "I am going to try cross that marsh. I know that the bottom is too muddy to wade, but I will try and swim." "Good Lord!" exclaimed Ben Tremont, "don't be too rash, Ted. That marsh may be several miles across." "It can't be that far," replied Ted, "for that woula take it past where the outlaws are camped. My idea is that it is narrow." "But you will be taking big chances," said Kit Sum mers. "I know that well enough," replied the dauntless hero, "but I am resolved if possible to get those two girls out of the clutches of the outlaws." "But yer mightn't be able ter get ther girls even if yer got across ther marsh," put in Bud Morgan. "Well, I'm going to risk it, anyway," said Ted. "How air yer goin' ter keep yer shootin' irons from gettin' soaked?" asked Morgan. ''I'll tie my revolvers and a couple of rounds of car tridges to the band of my sombrero," was the reply. All of Ted's companions tried to argue him out of his determination to attempt a swim across the marshy water. but to no purpose. When they saw he was bound to g6 each urged to be allowed to accompany their young leader, but to each request Ted had an emphatic "No." He was willing to take the risk in the hope of saving the girls, but he was not willing that any of his friends should accompany him. Finally Ted was ready to make his attempt. His friends saw him spring into the water and then they saw his form disappear into the darkness, as he swam out into the watery waste! For some minutes they could hear the splashes made by his hands and feet beating the surface of the water ; then all was still. He had passed beyond both sight and sound. Little did Ted or his companions guess of the experi ences in store for him before he should again see the members of his band of young rough riders. CHAPTER V. IN THE BANDITS' CAMP. As the daring young rough rider, Ted Strong, sprang into the waters of the marsh his idea was to keep in view of the rocky wall of the ledge to his right. He figured that by thus doing he would be sure to swim in the right direction. and he also decided that the marsh would naturally, at that point, be narrower if anything than further out. After taking a dozen strokes he tried to touch bottom with his feet but found that h'e was in too deep water. Then he continued to swim. He figured that he must have been a quarter of an hour in the water, when his hands and legs were impeded by a rank grbwth of marsh grass and weeds. He again attempted to touch bottom and was success ful, but his foot sank into the miry soil, and he knew it would be dangerous to try to wade. Ted could now dimly see the faint outlines of the other shore of the marsh, a rod or so ahead. With great difficulty he made his way slowly through the wet clinging marsh grass, squirming his way along rather than swimming. In a few moments he had reached the solid ground and had pulled himself out of the marsh. He examined his weapons and found them in working order. His clothing was wet, but the night was warm and he was not exceedingly uncomfortable Standing erect he found that he was but a short dis tance from the camp of the bandits: Gleaming through the bushes, with which this side of the marsh was bor dered, he could see the lights of the camp fires. Quickly but carefully, so as to make no noise, Ted parled the bu s hes and moved on nearer the camp. The thick bushes permitted him to advance within a few rods of the camp with little danger of being seen. Then the young man halted and, mounting a small

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THE YOUNG ROUGH RIDERS WEEKLY. 9 bowld e r t o b ette r s e e over the t o ps of the bu s h es, h e o b t a in e d a good view of th e o utlaws t e mP,orar y c a mp There we r e no tents and the bandits were sleeping on th e g round about th e fir es, wrapped in their blankets. It w as so me time b e fore T e d c o uld locate the prisoners, but h e finall y mad e th e m out, l y ing in the center of a triang l e form e d b y thre e camp fir es. The g irl s we r e w r a p p ed in b la nk e ts but were l y in g s o clo s e t oge th e r t h a t T e d wa s c erta in th ey wer e ti e d t o each o th er. O n e v e r y s ide of th e girl s th e outlaws were l ying upo n th e g round s l e epin g s o undly. The n T e d 's ey es in r o ving ab out the camp beheld an other individual whom he saw in s tantl y was also a pris on e r in the h a nds of the bandits. N ear th e fir s t fire fr o m wh e re T e d was standin :; l y ing alm os t in a sittin g p os iti o n hi s back bra c e d aga inst a l a r ge b o w Ider hi s hand s and fee t se curel y b o und was the fig ure o f a h a nds o me yo un g man. T h e light fr o m the caRJp fire s h o ne directl y in the face of the y oun g pri so n e r and T ed c o uld make out almo s t ever y lin e of th e yo un g m an 's face. The lad Ted n o t e d,0 was a d e cid e d blond, with light bro w n hair a nd a musta c h e hardl y dark e r than the hair. N G blank e t c ove r e d th e form o f th e yo un g man, and Ted saw th a t h e w as n ea tl y dresse d in wello fittin g and fash i011able E n glis h cl o th es. To rescu e th e g irl s Ted s aw would be a difficult task, a s h e w o ul d have to s f e p o v e r the forms of at l e a s t six or seve n o f th e s leepin g o utl a w s t o reach the spot where the yo un g wo m e n w e re l y in g T e d al so di s c ove r e d th a t th e outlaws had p os ted a sen tinel in th e mid s t o f the camp. T h e m a n had b e en stand in g b e hind a l a r g e tree, and T e d had n ot see n him until th e bandit had m o v e d forward t o one of the fires Ted re s olved to fir s t make an atte mpt to rescue the young man. The young rough rid e r saw thf.t it would be n o hard ta s k t o g ain a p os iti o n b e h i nd the b o wld e r a g ain s t whi c h the young man was reclining, without much danger of bein g di s c ov ered. He th e refor e s tepp e d fro m the rotk and made his wa y circuit o u s l y t owa r d that p art o f camp wh ere the y oun g m a n prison e r w a s sl ee pin g H e had n o t quit e g ain e d th e d e sir e d po s i t ion when he notic e d th a t th e young man was waking up. Stealthil y Ted hugged the and craw led lik e a snak e fro m beh i nd the rock tbward the side of the pri s oner. The lone sentin e l had now moved to the other side of the c amp, and was en g aged in placin g fre s h sticks up o n the furth e r fir e To move al o n g th e base o f the rock toward the young pri so n e r T e d n e ce ssa ril y came within plain sight of guard, had the man been l o oking in that direction. Ted' s h o p e w a s th a t h e could accompli s h his o b ject before t he sentinel h a d finis h e d his w ork at the fire. As Ted advanced on hands and knee s he carried hi s hunting knife b e tween his t e eth. N ea ring the e dge o f the rock h e c o uld jus t see the youn g pris oner' s f e et. "Don't move or cry out, young man ; I am here t o rescu e yo u ," Ted announc ed, alm os t in a whi s per. The n an had he ard his rem ark, for T e d heard him exclaim under hi s breath : "Tha nk God T e d now mo ve d m o re quickl y an d in a moment h ad r each ed th e front o f th e roc k. With one thrust of h is knife he loos e ned the bonds ab out the young m a n s w ri s t s A noth e r s lash with the ste e l blde ;md the bon d s about the youn g fellow s ankles fell apart. Ted dashed back behind the r o ck, closely followed b y the y oun g m a n whom he had just freed. The y h a d hardly go tt e n out of sight of the sentinel wh e n they heard the bandit utter an exclamation of sur prise. The outlaw had discovered that the young man was gone! The sentinel's cry had not been very loud and had evidentl y n o t awakened any of the other sleepers. Peer in g fro m b e hind the big rock Ted saw that the outlaw was m a k i n g dir e ctl y for the s pot where the pris o n e r had been r e clining a g ainst th e ro c ks wh e n rel e a s ed by Ted. "Kee p v e r y quiet instru c t e d T e d "If the come s b e hind th e rock w e w ill la y him out and tl u en try to set free t h e young wom e n." The guar d e v ide ntl y s upp osed t h a t the prisoner still b o un d,. and had cra w l e d a sh ort dis t a nc e away. The m a n did n o t dre am p ro b a bly, that th e young pri s oner h ad been ass i s t ed in esca pin g fr om hi s b o n d s The g uard b u t a minut e b y th e fire near whi c h th e yo un g m a n had b ee n l y in g, and then started at o nce around the rock As h e r ea ch e d the corner of the big sto ne Ted Strong 's fis t s h o t o ut .sudd e nl y and cau ght the o utlaw squarel y bet ween th e eyes. The m a n went dow n in a heap, but was n o t uncon sc ious. As th e o utlaw attempted to rise the y oung rough rid e r fell u po n him and soo n had him un de r s u bmissio n. Wit h th e ass i s t a nc e o f t he r ecen t priso n e 1 h e soo n had the outl aw g agged a nd b o und h a n d and foo t. It was n o w not fa r from d aylig ht. A g ra y streak w as over the ea s t ern sk y and. Teel knew that h e w ould have to hurry if he wa s to fr ee th e two girls be for e th e bandits b eg an to aw a ken .. The yo un g rou g h rid e r l e a vi n g the young man near th e spo t w h e re the b a ndit pri so n e r was l y ing, picked hi s wa y ca r e full y t ow a r d the t wo you n g wo m e n. C autiou s l y h e s t eppe d ove r th e .prostra t e b o dies of the sleep in g o u tlaws, an d finally suc ceeded in reaching the place where the g irls w e re lyin g With knife in hand stooped over to cut the bonds

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JO THE YOUNG RO U GH RIDERS WEEKLY. o f the nearest young woman when the g irl sudd e nly opened her e y es. Ted put up a finger as a warnin g but the s udden find ing of a stranger bending over her with knife in hand fri g htened the girl. With a piercing scream the young woman closed her eyes and dropp e d her head in a. faint The girl s shriek had in s tantly awaked every bandit / in the camp! In a second the y oun g rou g h rider was surrounded by foes on ever y side! As they rushed upon him too close to use his revolver, hi s fist sh o t out, two of the villains off their feet! But numbers were against him, and in a moment the outlaws had our young hero overpowered T1'e young man, whom Ted had freed a few moments before, was soon secured again, and a f.ew moments later Ted found himself securely bound hand and f o ot, l y in g upon / the very spot a short time before occupied by the light-haired youth. CHAPTER VI. HOM E OF THE BANDIT CHIEF. "By the time the outlaws had securely bound their prisoners it was sunrise, and the bandits began preparati o ns for a hasty breakfast. Shortly after being thrown roughly upon the grow1d one of the outlaws, whom Ted learned lat e r was the chi e f of the gang, approached the young rough rider and endeavored to draw him into conver s ation. T e d was surprised at the appearance ? f the bandit chi ef. The young man had noticed that most o f the o ut laws were half-breeds. There were one or tw o Mex i can s in the company and a few low-browed, dirty, evil' looking whites But the lead e r belonged to none of thes,e cla s ses. He was far superior to any of his men whom Ted had y et seen. The bandit chief was strikingly handsome and richly dre s sed, but his clo th e s wer e in g ood taste with his rou g h trav eling throu g h the m o untains. In lieu of a b e lt the bandit w o re about his waist a wide, blue silk sash, from the fol d s o f which prot.ruded the carved ivor y handle of a d o uble-ed g ed bowi e knif e and the pearl handles of two delicately constrm ; ted but powerful pist o ls. / He wore a .fl; shy, red silk waistcoat and a blue velvet jacket, flaring at the throat an.cl beautifully embroidered. His trousers were of some very tough but fine ma terial. They fitted his limbs closely to the knees, and from there down flared out and were split at the side s Raven-black curly hair; a black, well-kept mustache ; riiercing black e yes and a well-shaped nose, were the striking characteristici. of the villain's face. As h e a p p r oache d our youn g h ero th e r e w as a pl eas a n t smile ypo n th e b a n d it' s face and hi s ope nin g s ent e nce wa s : I a m m o r e than plea se d to w elcom e y ou t o our meag er h ospita lity, but I a m sorry that I a m o bli ged t o keep you in b o nd s ev e n for a s hort tim e I w o uld much rather treat with great e r re s p e ct so fam o u s ad brave a gue st." Then you know me? ask e d Ted, in surprise. "Certainl y was th e an swe r. Y o u a re T e d Strong tlt e cham p i o n rid e r an d la sso kin g o f th e West the l e a de r of the fam o us band of rou g h riders, whose w o nderful ploits ha ve b ee n c o mm e nt e d up o n and admired all over this broad countr y." Well, what do you propose to do with me, now that you have me temporarily in your power? asked Ted. "You spoke wisely wh e n y ou said 'temporaril y,'" re turned lhe bandit chi ef, for, much as I should enjoy a lon g visit from you, I am c e rtain that your fri e nd s will not all ow y ou to sta y lon ge r than. n e ces sary with me." ''What is your hidden meaning': ma y I ask? ; "Certainly,'' was the answer. "Ransom." "Do you mean to s ay that you will request my friends to pay for my release?" "Yes if you prefer to put it that way." "May I ask how you came to know m y name so read il y? a s k e d Ted. "I have spies who have watched y ou ever since y ou came to this p art of the country, and the y have kept me informed of your actions. The moment your s elf aml your m e n st a rted in pursuit of me, on e of m y men r o de posthaste to 1 inform me. He arrived before y ou for he took a s horter trail." The b a ndit chief the n questi o ned T e d re g ardin g as to where he had Jett the other young rou g h riders, but of course T e d refus e d to an s wer t)le que s ti on. At la s t th e bandit chi e f risin g s aid : Y o u will h ave t o excuse m e n ow, Mr. Strong, as I mu s t ge t m y m e n started on the trail home but d o not ha ve the l e a s t an x i e t y concerning your personal safet y will be well cared for while with me, and I will se e that y ou are inc o nven ienced a s little as po s sible. T e d could not g raci o u s l y refrain from th a nkin g the bandit chi e f for the s e assurances but th e y oun g rou g h rider nevertheless did n o t int e nd to r e m ain in th e p owe r of the outlaws a moment l o n ger tha n n ecessary. He made up his mind to g ra s p the first chance, howe ve r slight it might be to re ga i J his lib erty But not opportunity to effe ct an es c a p e came th a t da y Ted knew that his friends wquld m a k e ever y en de avor to get to his a ss i s tanc e but h e wond e r e d h o w th ey wo uld get across the m arsh with th e ir horses. He knew that they would be c o nsid e rabl y d e la yed in findin g a w a y It was not l o n g aft e r s unrise w h e n th e o u t laws we re ready to proceed on their wa y and Ted and the young

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THE YOUNG ROUGH RIDERS WEEKLY. TT light-haired prisoner were placed upon the same horse, while the two girls rode another. As the outlaws stretched out in single file clown the valley, owing to the narrow trail betwe en the marsh and the mountain side, Teel found an opportunity to talk with his ridin g companion. He ascertained that the yo un g man's name was Frank Fullerton, and that h e had been but a few weeks in America. Briefly, the story that Frank Fullerton t o ld to Teel was as follows: Eight years before, J oh n Fullerton, a respectable contractor and builder of Lo1\don, had suddenly disappeared, tak ing with him a lar ge amount of money from bank, where he had been sav ing it for years. No reason had be e n found for his su dd e n departure, for his bu s iness was thriving and he had no bad debts or liabilities. He had always been a hardworking man and much respected. Noted detectives had been employed in searching for him but without success. He had finally been given up as dead, the family unwillingly accept ing the verdict of the detectives that the man had been murdered for the la rge sum of money on hi s person. But Frank Fullerton, the son, was loath to believe that his father had been murclerecl, and the boy had steadily kept up an investigation of the mysterious case up t o the present time. One day Frank met an old friend of his father's who had been in America for a dozen yea rs and had heard nothing of the peculiar circmnstances surrounding the disappearance of the contractor. After a cordial g r eeti ng with the lad the friend sud denly remarked: "Well, Frank, h ow is you r father get tin g along in America?" "In America?" exclaimed Frank, surprised. "Why sure; isn t he over there yet?" "Good Goel!" was Frank's reply. "Did you see him in America ?" Why, yes. Why, what is the matter, lad?" Then Frank informed the friend of how his father had suddenly disappeared, nearl y eight yea.rs before, and of the investigations that had been made to learn his where abouts. He then assured Frank that he had met his old friend, J o hn Fullerton, not s ix months previously, on the street in San Francisco, California. "A nd was he well? Diel he act as if-perhaps--' faltered Frank. "Why, I did n ot notice that h e acted queer. He seemed to have perfect control o f all his faculties. Only when I first addressed him h e placed his hand to his h ead for a moment as if thinking deeply. I had to tell him my nam e seve ral times before he seemed to r emem ber me. I was surprised at that incid ent, but soon forgot it, as he talked perfectly rational frorri then on." "And what did he say?" asked the lad eagerly. "I cannot remember everything you,r father said, was the reply, "but I do remember that he mentioned being in the cit y to record some government title deeds to some valuable mining property he had staked out in some rnountamous region in the California desert. Your father also said he had built a re g ular stone castle in the mountains, near his mine, and that when all was ready he intend ed sending for hi s family." Ted g rew g r eatly interested in the young man's story, and as Fullerton paused for a moment, Ted said: "Then I suppose you came at once to the United States to track your father?" "Yes," was the reply, "I went first to San Francisc o a1'cl looked up the records. I found that deeds to minin g property had been recorded in the name of my father, and I found th e location of the property to be not many mile s from where we are now located. "Almost accidentally I stumbled upon a carpenter bos s who had been employed, with about forty other men, in bui l ding the great h o use referred to by my father 's friend. This man t o ld me many instances of queer actions on th e part of my father that leads me to believe that he was out of his mind vvhile the house was being built. \i\Tith the assi s t a nce of this bo ss carpenter I secured the services of two men, who had also em ployed by father during the building of the big house. These men I engaged to guide me through the desert to my fathe r s property On the way we were attacked by the outlaws. My companions escaped, but my horse was not swift enough to get away. From what I was forced to disclose of my family connections the leader of the outlaw b a nd whose name I have ascertained to be Frank Casse, decided to hold me for ransom, something like yourself." I "And have -you an idea your friends will buy your liberty?" asked Ted. "Oh, yes," was the "but it will take some time, as communications will have to be had with my relatives in England. I am. mostly worried because of the dela y I cannot drive from my thoughts what may be the con dition of my poor father." Ted deeply sympathized with the young Englishman, and. assured the young njan he would stand by him throu g h thick and thin, and FullFton gratefully thanked his new-found friend. ) All of this time the outfaws had been moving al o n g as rapic!IJ. as possible with their prisoners. The conversation between the two young men had bee n held piecemeal, and considerable time had thus elapsed. It was n ea rly noon time when the Englishman's story had been told, and the boys found themselves entering a large g ulch on th e oppos ite side of the valley from which they had sta rted. Tho outlaws had journeyed in a sort of half circle

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I2 THE YOUNG ROUGH RIDERS WEEKLY. around the swamp, and had approached the mountainous range on the opposite side of Death Valley. In all this time there had been seen no signs of horsemen following, but Ted knew that his young rough rid ers would eventually strike the trail of the outlaws and start in pursuit. The outlaw s, with their prisoners, had proceeded but two or three miles up the gulch into the mountains, when a halt was made beside a running brook. t The horses were allowed to drink, and the men also quenched their thirst, but no signs indi<:;ating a stop for dinner were noticeable. Just before remounting several of the outlaws gathered about !he prisoners, and with heavy, colored hand kerchiefs blindfolded them. -The girls were treated the same as the t wo young men. Then the journey was resumed, but now at a much pace. It seemed to the young men that the trail they were now following zigzagged considerably, and every few mom<(nts they were aware that they were climbin g some short but steep pathway up the rocks. For upward of two hours this slow journey con tinued, but at last the voice of Frank Casse, the outlaw could be heard commanding a halt. For several moments the two young men sat Llind folded, and then, suddenly, the handkerchiefs were snatched from their eyes. A wonderful and surprising greeted their eyes! They found themselves in a large hollow among the mountain peaks, tall spires of rocks jutting skyward in every direction. The open space was probably several acres in extent, and the eyes of the two young men could see no way open for entering or leaving this retreat. But the most wonderful sight of all was a large, stone building directly before them. The house was an affair, built entirely of rough stone-such a house as one would never dream of finding in such a secluded spot. From every corner of the huge building arose antique towers or spires, and the whole resembled more than any thing else one of ancient towers of the Ages. The boys rubbed their eyes in astonishment, while Casse stood near them, smiling at their surprised looks. "Young men," he finally said, "allow me to welcome you to my mountain home. I ope to make you comfort able here during the length or shortness of your stay, and I promise to accord you every liberty in my house within the bounds of reason and diplomacy.'' Then the lads were unbound and escorted to the house, within the walls of which they were doomed to experi ence even greater surprises and sensations than had so far fallen to their lots. The young rough rider and his companion were first ushered into a wide, stone-partitioned hall of the man sion, and from there a moment later, to a large room to the right, in the front of the castle. T11is room, unlike the wide hall, had a very high ceil ing and the walls were artistically paneled on every side. Carved furniture of pleasing and artistic manufacture greeted their eyes, and the room was furnished with a large table, a desk of antique pattern and several chairs. A single picture decorated the walls-a portrait of a man dressed in Elizabethan costume. It was a very large picture, ancient in appearance but well preserved, and it occupied a prominent place on the wa)l at one side of the large room. Ted at first merely glanced at the picture in taking a general survey of the room, but suddenly looking toward his English friend, he found the young man standing mo tionless in the middle of the room, as if rooted to the spot. The young Englishman's face was ghostly white and his eyes were glued to the portrait on the wall! His lips were parted as if he had been about to make a remark and the words had frozen on his lips. As Ted looked at the young man, Fullerton's eyes closed; his body swayed to and fro; his knees began to shake. Ted jumped forward just in time to save the English man from a heavy fall to the floor! Fullerton had fainted dead away! Just as he was losing complete consciousness Ted heard him x'nutter, almost inaudibly, two words twice over: "The picture The picture !" CHAPTER VII. THE HAUNTED CHAMBERS. It was some time before Ted was able to restore his new friend to consciousness, and knowing that the portrait upon the wall had in some mysterious manner caused the Englishman to swoon, the young rough rider '1ad thoughtfully removed the unconscious man to the nall before making art effort to arouse him. As Fullerton at last opened his eyes he gazed vacantly up at Ted and then whispered, almost beseechingly: "Tell me, was it a dream or a reality?" "What do you mean?" asked Ted. "Did you, too, see a portrait on the wall?" "Yes;" replied Ted, "there was a portrait there all right, but why did it affect you 'so much?" "You are sure there is no mistake? The portrait is still there?" again inquired the Englishman. "Yes, I am certain,'' replied the young rough rider, and then Ted went on to explain the picture as he had seen it. "The same portrait. Ye s the same portrait, Fullerton muttered over and over for several minutes. /

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,, THE YOUNG ROUGH RIDERS WEEKLY. Then the young man to suddenly recover his strength and sat up. "What a baby I am !" he remarked, with smile at the corners of his still pale lips. "You must think I am indeed lacking in some particular,' but let me tell you why that P.Ortrait so unnerved me, or rather, wlfy the sudden ;oJiing upon it so unexpectedly startled me out of my self-consciousness." "Yes," encouraged Ted. "That portrait was painted for a likeness of my greatgreat-great -grandfather !" "The de-deuce you say!" was Ted's startled excla mation. "Yes, that is true," continued Fullerton, "and that por trait, in a different frame, disappeared .at the same time that my father disappeared from our home in London!" "Ah!" "You can see daylight through this questioned Fulle rton, catching at Ted's tary exclamation. tangled mess?" almost involun"Perhaps," was answer. "Your father and the picture disappeared at the same time?" "Yes." "He probably took it with 1-hm ?" "Yes. The picture was his choicest possession." "Somewhere in these mountains you_r father is Perhaps Casse divin,ed Ted's thoughts, for he almost immediately remarked: "The young ladies are to be served in another part of the house. For your peace of mind, Mr. Strong, I will say that no impertinences will be inflicted upon the two I girls while in my house They are to be treated royally, and will be held under the same conditions as yourself." "For ransom?" "Y e's, and furthermore, my wife-. an excellent woman, let me tell you-will entertain them to the best of her ability while they remain the guests of my household." After the last course had been disposed of the bandit chief requested the young men to accompany him to an other room, which he said he used for a smoking apart ment The Englishman accepted one of the bandit's cigars, and as Casse and Fullerton smoked the outlaw talked. "Boys," he began, "you are doubtless surprised how such a mansion as this came to be so romantically situ ated, and how I c o me to be its owner. You have seen many strange aqd unlooked-for things sifice first entering this house, eh?" "Yes, indeed, and we should gladly like an explana tion if you feel disposed to give us one?" repl!ed Ted. "Well, I can't tell you all the things you may wish to know, but this I will I did not build this mansion, nor cause it to be built. How it came to be built I do ported to have built a grand, mansion 'of stone." Fullerton nearly fell from his chair as the full import of not know. I found it, furnished much as you see it now. Ted's reasoning flashed upon him. It seemed to have no owner and I took possession. I have done some repairing upon the place, and only "You are right," the young man exclaimed. "My fath--" month ago succeeded with great difficulty in installing a complete electrical for illumining the whole The sentence suddenly was interrupted by the appear-of the ground-floor part of the building. I have found ance of the bandit chief at the door leading off from the that there is no cellar under the mansion, and that only hall to rooms !J.irther toward the center of the house three of the chambers a bove the ground floor have ever "Will you gentlemen please accompany me?" asked been finished for occupancY,. t Casse. "Dinner is ready to serve." "My men," continued Casse, "refuse to go above the As the boys arose to follow the bandit, Ted managed ground floor, believing that those three chambers are to whisper in his young friend's ear: haunted." "Say nothing of our discovery. Do not mention th e "Haunted?" inquired Ted. ."Here may be a real thread portrait. We will manage to see it again and, perhaps of romance." through it, sift this matter to the bottom." "Yes, indeed," went on Casse, "a11d I confes; that "You are right. I will keep mum," was the answer. Through several rooms richly finished, but not ex tr.avagantly furnished, the boys were led by the band it chief to the large dining room of the castle. Here they were treated to another surprise, for they found that the spacious dining room was well lighted by electricity, and that dinner was to be served in courses, with a pomp o us and egantly liveried colored butler in attendance. Plac e s for only three had been laid at the table, and Ted instantly wondered what arrangements had been planned by the outlaw for tha two young WQ\11en pris, oners. only in daylight do I, myself, care much about visiting -.. those upper rooms. Not that I am superstitious or believe in ghosts, but often in the night strange noises are heard from above." "What kind of sounds have been heard?" Ted. "It is hard to describe them. Sometimes we have heard grating noises, as of some one pulling a heavy piece of furniture across an uncarpeted floor. Then again we have heard cries-agonizing human cries!" "Have you never investigated?" '"Yes, but all has been found quiet and undisturbed. apparently, when I have reached the rooms above. Jiut to continue : Several times-three or four nights in .. I

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1 4 THE YOUNG ROUGH RIDERS WEEKLY. cession-my wife says she has hea.rd while I was away, sounds similar to some one with a hard cold coughing painfully." "Your story, sir, is extremely interesting," announced the young rough rider. "This antique mansion certainly has a mystery worthy of time taken to unravel it." It was now nearly dusk, and the cigars having been burned to ashes, Casse proposed that he should show the young men where they were to sleep that night. He conducted his prisoners down a wide side hall and paused before a heavy sheet-iron door. Taking from his pocket a heavy brass key he applied it to the lock and opened the door. The boys soon found themselves in a lar g e bed cham ber, furnished with two large, comfortab1e-looking beds, a number of chairs and other comforts of a sleeping room. The one large window of the room was securely barred with iron rods. This was to be their nightly prison cell. "You must pardon me, boys, for taking the liberty to thus imprison )UU of nights. During the. da y time you are to have the liberty of that part of the mansion y ou have so far visited, for my men will be surrounding the castle, and it will be impossible for you to leave the house. At night I it best to take extra precautions." The outlaw was about to make another remark. His lips were opened, btit no sound came from them. I The three men suddenly straightened up, active and alert, and their eyes sought each others' faces. They had heard, directly over their heads, a sound as of some one A moment later, as they bent their heads in listening attitudes, the sounds were clearly only this time there were several coughs, as might be made by some one with '}n aggravated inflammation of the throat! "The sounds come from the haunted chambers!" ex claimed Casse. "Where is the stairway?" suddenly asked Ted. Casse turned and started swiftly up the hall, but, as Ted saw the flight of steps ahead leading upward, he rushed past the outlaw chief. The young rider bounded up the stairs, two steps at a time, but with a noiseless tread acquired from long practice. He reached the hall along the second floor and started swiftly down the only avenue open to him. Then Ted suddenly paused in front of a closed door. 1 From the room beyond his ears had again detected the sounds of violent coughing With eager haste Ted closed his hands over the knob of the door, and it swung open easily. Just a second did he pause upo'n the threshold, and then he 'sprang forward into the room. In the dim light he was sure he had seen the shadowy form of a human being passing from the room he had entered into a room beyond 1 As he rea't:hed the opposite door, through which he had thought a man had just passed, Ted paused as if petrified with am11zement. The young rough rider was not looking into a large room, but a very small one-hardly larger than a closet. The room was utterly devoid of furniture. The walls were paneled, but were blank, as far as doors or windows were concerned. There seemed to be no possible exit through which the shadowy form he had seen could have vanished, yet he could plainly see that the room was absolutely empty! CHAPTER VIII. THE MYSTERIOUS MESSACE. While the young rough rider was gazing about the vacant closet-like room, into which he thought he had seen the human form enter, the bandit chief and the young Englishman appeared. "Did you find anything'?" asked Casse. "I found the room to b-e absolutely empty, 1 as you now see it," replied Ted. Ted had resolved to say nothing to Casse about the shadowy form he had seen, or its mysterious disappear ance. After the bandit had entered several other chambers on that floor no further investigation was made that night, and a little later the young men were escorted to their sleeping apartment. A s Casse turned the key in the big door, securing the two boys in the spacious bedroom, Ted told the young Eng lishman what he had seen in the rooms above. The boys talked over and speculated upon the mys tery until late at night. Once, just before he went to sleep, Ted thought that he again heard sounds of coughing in the room above, but noise was not repeated. It was nearly morning when Ted, who had remained awake an hour longer than the Englishman, finally fell asleep. His sleep was light, however ; as in his dreams he saw strange things, shadowy forms, hidden passages, gho s t like processions and hideous faces. It seemed to him that he had slept less than half an hour when he suddenly awakened and found himself sit-ting up in bed. He had a dim recollection of having heard a hacking cought almost at his side! The room was in darkness, but he felt a strange sensa tion as if all was not right. He seemed to feel instinctively that there was a human being in the room besides the young Eng lishman. His ears, strained to the utmost, could detect no sound

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THE YOUNG ROUGHRIDERS WEEKLY. as of anyo n e sti rrin g about th e room, and his eyes w ere 15.n ab l e t o pi e r ce th e darkness. Thus he waited, ever y n erve stra ined to th e highest t ension, for at least three minutes. T h e n there came a sound r It was as if some one, barefooted, had taken four or five s t e ps across the floor Te d spraflg from th e bed and, as his f ee t t o uched the floor, he heard a noise from the oppo s ite s ide of the room fir s t a c r eaki n g sound a nd then a slam. The sfam was such a noise as might have been made by wooden shutters being viol e ntly closed. In a moment Ted had scratched a match a,1d had a light. No person besides Fullerton was in sight. Ted gazed in every part of the room, but nothi'ng seemed to h ave been disturbed : "I am certain a human boin g, a s tranger, was in this room five minutes ago," said Ted to himself. "Ah!" he exclaimed the next minute. On a small table near his bedside Te
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I .. / r6 THE YOUNG ROUGH RIDERS WEEKI. Y. I found a nutnber of papers, neatly folded and tied with a narrow blue ribbon. Ted reached in his hand and brought the papers to ward the light. As he held them close to the candle he uttered an ex-clamation: "They are legal documents! Your father's title deeds!" Just then the young men heard a key turning in the lock of the. door to their room. Ted had just time to thrust tpe bundle of papers into an inner pocket and close the panel before the door was opened. The outlaw chief stood before them with a lighted lamp in his hand. "Good-morning, young men," he greeted them. "I see you are already up. It is daylight. We are early risers and I came to inform you tha, t breakfast would soon 1be ready." CHAPTER IX. , TRAILING THE BANDITS. After the brave young rough rider had left his com panions in Death Valley, after announcing his deter mination to swim across the swamp to the outlaw camp, for the purpose of releasing, if possible, the two young women prisoners, the young rough riders and Leo Mor rissey remained at the spot where Ted had left them until daybreak. As the sun arose in the east they began to be alarmed for the welfare of their young leader. They could now see across the swamp, and its width was not so great that they feared Ted had met with mis hap in crossing it. Their fears were that he had been discovered and had either been kilJ,ed or captured by the outlaws. I Bud Morgan naturally assumed the leadership of the company in the absence of Ted Strong, and as it became lig ht, he proposed to make a search for a place where they might cross the swamp with the horses. The search was started and the co:npany started back along the ridge which they had previously followed. They had traveled about a mile and a half when they came to a place whe re prints of horses' feet proved that the outlaws or some other large company had ridden directly into the marsh. "This 'ere must be a place where we kin ford ther swamp," said Bud, dismounting and examining the tracks. The young rough riders noted the fact that at this place the swamp was considerably narrower than at other point in view. After several minutes spent in reconnoitering Bud Morgan gave the word for the party to ride their horses after him into the They found that at this place the bottom of the swamp I was composed of fiat rock. They had little trouble in crossing the watery waste, for at only one pla ce several rods in width, was it necessary to swim the horses. Arriving at the other side of the swamp the party lost no time in riding toward the outlaws camp. Much time had been consumed, howeyer, and when they at last arrived at the place where Frank Casse and his men had camped they found the place deserted While several of the young men prepared a breakfast over the camp fires of the bandits, which had not yet died out, Bud Morgan made a circle of the camp, looking for tracks t:hat would show which direction had been taken by the outlaws. I Bud's trained eyes were not long in striking the trail, for it was a plain one, and as soon as a hasty breakfast had been disposed of and the horses had been refreshed, the pursuit of the ba11dits was commenced. "I reckon Ted has been captured," said Ben Tremont, as he rode along beside Bob Martin. "I only hope he has met with no worse fate than that," replied Morgan. "He may have been killea, but let us hope for the best. As Shakespeare would have said, 'Keep hoping for the best until your hoper busts.' "That's the talk," said Kit Summers. "There air one thing sartin," remarked Bud Morgan, "we ain t goin ter give up ther search until we find Teel Strong, er know his fate." The young rough riders had little difficulty in follow ing the plain traN made by the horses of the until they came to the entrance of the gulch, on the op posite side of the valley. Here, owing to the rocky nature of the soil, the hoof marks w.ere only found occa sionally, and the progress was slow. Night set in before they had traveled far up the gulch, and, as it would be impossible to follow the trail in the darkness, Bud Morgan called a halt and our friends went into camp, res1lveC1 to continue their search at daylight. Sentinels were posted during the night, but nothing of particular moment happened to disturb them, and they were up and eating breakfast at the first streak of dawn. Slowly they continued up the gulch, pausing often to look for traces left by the bandits, and by noon they came to the place where the bandits had halted the day before to blindfold the prisoners.' Here the young rough riders came to a see}tling end of the gulch. There seemed to be no way for them to proceed further in that direction. They found themselves in a sort of pocket, and the sides of the gulch seemed to be impossible of ascent for the horses. While the horsemen were gathered close to g ether, dis cu s sing the situation, they sudd e nly heard a sort of grating 1:o i s e among the rocks to their left. I

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THE YOUNG ROUGH RIDERS WEEKL. Y. 17 Instinctively every eye was directed toward the spot from which the sound had come. They saw what they had supposed was a large, heavy bowlder slowly swinging from the face of the 1 ocky wall of the gulch CHAPTER X. 'THE .MAD AL. T Aft<;r the early breakfast in the mansion, which Frank Casse, the bandit chief, claimed to belong to him, Ted Strong and the young Englishman were informed that they were at liberty to roam over that part of the man sion to which they had already been introduced as they willed. As soon as they were alone Ted proposed that they go at once to the large paneled ro 6 m at the front of the house and commence a search for the hidden spring or movable panel, which they believed John Fulla-ton had attempted to make them cognizant of in his message during the night. / Frank assented, and the young men soon found them selves in the roqm, and with little prospect of being disturbed for some time. As he entered the room, Fullerton advanced at once to the portrait on the wall, and gazed long and wistfully upon it. At last he seemed satisfied with his observations, and advanced across the room and seated himself in a chair. "Before we begin our examinations of these walls, sup pose you take a look at these legal documents," suggested Ted. "All right," responded the young Englishman, moving his chair closer to our friend. "Suppos e you unfold them and read to me aloud," was Fullerton's suggestion. "All right," said Ted; "I will do so." Ted had seated himself near the portrait, and now took the papers from pocket and spread them out, ready for perusal. "They are indee? title deeds, as I suspecfed," re marked Ted. Ted found the writing upon the documents difficult to read offhand, and did not begin reading aloud at once. While young Fullerton was gazing absently across the room, and while Ted was engrossed in title deeds, the portrait at his side was swung suddenly outward! From behind the portrait a long bony arm reached out toward the legal papers Ted, disturbed by the slight noise made by the moving portr2 it, glanced quickly up and saw the misplaced painting and the bony arm. But that was not all the young rough rider saw. He saw the face and shoulders of the owner of the arm. A wild-eyed creature, with sunken cheeks; knotty hair, shaggy and unkempt thin of ner.k, was gazing up o n our hero! The creature's clothes were ragged, and his bony shoul ders and elbows had worn through the remnant of the shirt he wore. Frank had instantly sprung to his feet as he heard Ted's low-uttered exclamation, and he, too, now saw the demented creature who was reaching out for the papers. "Oh, my father!" cried Frank, springing toward tl\e portrait. As these words were uttered the strange creature turned his gaze upon Frank, looking at him long and fiercely. "My son?" he questioned, at last. "Yes, father," replied Frank. "I am your son-your son Frank. Can't you remember me?" "No, no," repliecl\ the insane man; "I had a son yonger than you-a fine lad, but you cannot be him, for he is dead. Dead, dead, dead !" The last three words were almost shrieked. Frank had started toward the man with outstretched arms, but he suddenly halted. "Stand back! You must try no tricks on me!" ex claimed his father. "Don' t cross him, Frank," admonished Ted, in a low vofce. "He may recognize you later." Then, turning again toward Ted Strong, the insane man continued: "I want those papers. They are mine The outlaw chief must not get th em." "Yes," returned Ted; "we know the papers are yours, and we i ntended to return them to you as soon as pos sible tor we did not want the bandits to find them." This ingenious sentence s e emed to modify the madman somewhat. He gazed long and earnestly into Ted's face. "You are an honest man," he vouchsafed, at last. "I hope I am ; I try to be," Ted. "The bandits are holding you two young men here against your will?" asked the older Fullerton. "Yes." "Still you did not heed the warning in the note I left for you last ni g ht. You did not look for th.is secret passage behind the portrait." Ted explained that a p art of the writing of the note h a d not been placed upon the p a per. "Ah," said John Fullerto n, "it was my fault. I wro t e the note in the dark. I was afraid y ou had been una ble to read it." "We will go with you now, if you will allow it," w as Ted's suggestion. The madman paused a f e w moments, seemin g ly turning something over in h i s mind, th e n h e said: "You may come. Follow me closely, and see that the portrait is replaced in proper position after entering the passage."

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18 THE YOUNG ROUGH RIDERS WEEKLY. In another moment Ted and Frank had followed John Fullerton into the secret passage, but before he began an advance, the crazy man turned to the young rough rider and said: "Before I consent to become your ally, in making an escape from the bandits, you must give me back those title deeds." without a word Ted thrus.t the bundle of paper into the thin, outstretched hand. The passage that the boys found themselves in, while rather narrow, and not too high directly behind the por trait, very quickly broadened out until they found they could walk along it very comfortably in single file, and s tan,? nearly upright. It seemed a long and devious course that Frank's ins z ne father led them. I Every few moments they would come to cross pas sages or to doors leading to passages branching off in various directions. The insane man made no explanations regarding these, but the boys naturally concluded that these passages to other rooms in the mansion. At last, when it seemed to the young men that had been led nearly around the mansion, they came to a place where the passage widened out into a room about fifteen or eighteen feet square. In this room was an old mattress, a few pieces of car pet and some old blankets. This was the room it seemed obvious that John Fullerton had slept. A seconrl passage led off to the left and to this the old man pointed: "That leads to the kitchen," he said. "I don't go there often, onlrwhen my hunger makes it abso "' lutely necessary, and of late I have eaten little, as the cooks have protected their supplies with locks and I brought me into this cour'ltry-to break up this band of outlaws." Then for the first time Ted introduced himself to the madman, who now appeared quite rational, and told hint of his band of rough riders, whom h e believed he would have little difficulty in finding, when once out of the man sion and the mountain. A s i:td told his John Fullerton's e y es danced with joy. His features softened and his countenance W<> ani mqted. For the first time, perhaps in many weeks, the man saw a hope of once more getting undisputed pos session of the grand mansion he had worked so hard to build. He had been alone when the outlaws had found the' house. Recognizing as strangers he had hidden from them in his secret passages, and had not dared to show His deluded mind hacf not suggested to him the plan of leaving the house and going, himself, in search of aid to drive the bandits away. Now the insane man rejoiced, for he thought that once free, Ted Strong and the other young man, whom he had to acknowledge as his son, would soon bring a company of braye men to his aid. When Ted had finished his assuring remarks, John Fullerton turned and started thyc{ugh a door at the op posite end of the room from which they had ehtered, ut tering a sf-igle wbrd-"Come." A f e w yards alongthe passa g e they had now entered they came a long, steep stairway, leading into the solid rocks below. At the foot of the stairway their leader lighted a iresh candle, and the boys found themselves in a sort j)f cave, the walls and ceiling of which were formed of solid rock. They could see that that portion of 1!he cave in which keys." the y standing had been blasted and worked out by Then their insane ally faced the boys and said: "I am/ hand but after some distance, Ted noticed .. I about to show you a secret way out of this mansion, and through the mountain to a gulch, which will take you to the valley, but first I must extract from you a promise." "What is it?" asked Ted. "You must promise to use every endeavor to &et to gether a cdmpany of brave and honest men. These you must guide back to the gulch to the place where I will I you. I will meet you when you return. I want you and the men you bring to be prepared to drive the outlaws from my home." \ "You "can rely upon us to promise you that much," answered Ted, "for that was really the purpose that that the cave was a natral one. Whoever had started the passage had, ac cidentally or otherwise, run into the natural cave and had been saved considerable work, no doubt. The passage was now so roomy that the three men easily along side side except at intervals, when the passage narrowed for severals yards or rods. They traveled along this passage for about three-quar ters of an hour before John Fullerton called a halt. "We are near the end of our journey he said, "and I will leave you now and return. Don't forget to come back soon. I will spend most of my time at the end of

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/ THE YOUNG ROUGH RIDERS WREXLY. 19 this passage to gui e you back to the mansion." He then gave them for finding their way into the gulch. As John Fullerton disappeared back along the pas sage the boys pressed on toward the direction they had been instructed to go. Twenty ivinutes later they had reached what was evi dently the end of the passage, for nothing was before them apparently but solid rock. 'Let's see," said Ted, "your father said to press against a white stone to the l eft, didn't he?" "Yes, and here it is," was Frank's answer. As Ted pressed against the stone Frartk had desig nated, a large section of what appeared to be solid rock creaked and then, when gently pushed, it swung outward. As the young men rushed out into the welcome su nlight of the big gulch they were greatly astonished at }i1e sight that met theiv eyes. Right before them, less that five rods away, gathered in a bunch, were the members of Ted's band of young rough riders "Waal I"ll be durned was the exclamation of Bud Morgan, who was the fir s t to speak, as he quickly dis mounted and rushed toward the young rough rider. Ben Tremont, Bob Ma,rtin, Kit Summers and Leo Mor ri ssey were not less demonstrative m their remarks of astonishment. After shaking hands all around, Ted introduced th e young Englishman to the members of his party. Of course the young rough riders were curious to know of all that had happened to their y oung leader since he had left, and Ted spent the next hour in informing them of all that had taken place and the discoveries he had made, also telling them the young Englishman,'s story. CHAPTER XI. THE LIGHT OF REASON. While Ted had been telling his friends of what had taken plate in the mysterious mansion in the mountains, Kit Summers and Bud Morgan had been building a fire and preparing a dinner. After the meal was finished Ted remarked: I think we had better get to work right away in penetrating to the bandits' stronghold. While John Fuller ton will"'ha rdl y expect us back so soon, and '-"ill probably not be found in the passage, I am sure I can find the way back without h;s assistance. We may meet him on the WaJ. Following Teds directions the horse11 were led i nto the cave and alJ. the supplies, not to be carried by t he men, were also taken into the passage. The outlaw pris oner was also taken inside and secured. Just inside the mountain the horses were secured, anrl then the big rock was drawn back to its original posi tion covering the hole in the mountain side. Then the rough riders, together with Morrissey and -the Englishman, followed their young leader along the rocky passage into the mountain. They had not proceeded far past the place where Ted and Frank had a couple of hours before parted with J ohn Fullerton, when Ted uttered an exclamation and darter! s wiftly ahead, several yards, and then dropped to his knees over some dark object. As his companions came t!iey found Ted Q.ending over a dead or unconscious human being. As Frank drew near Ted looked up at the young man. I He readily interpreted the questioning look upon the yo un g Englishman's face. "Yes, Frank," said Ted, it is your father, but he is not dead-only unconscious I do n ot think that his injury will p;ove fatal." "Thank God for that!" exclaimed Fpnk. "Boys," said Ted, turning to'the rest of his companions "this man has been quite badly injured. He must ha ve been unconscious almost ever since parting with Frank and I. vVe must get him out of here. Some of you help me lift him. Tender hands gathered up the inanimate form of Frank's insane and carried him slowly, but gentl y back along the passage in the direction from which they had come. Reaching the open air Ted direc ed that a tent be erected and, as soon as that had been done, the uncon scious form was carried therein -and laid Ut>
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.'.!O THE YOUNG ROUGH RIDERS WEEKLY. i s h fluid, began bathing the lump upon John Fullerton's h e ad. It was an hour before the man showed signs of return 'ing consciousness and half as long a time elapsed from then on, before John Fullerton opened his eyes. As be opened his eyes his orbs rolled wildly, and he gazed upon the men who had gathered around to watch the progress of Ted's treatments. "Demons!" he yelled. "Are you still pursuing me? Be gone!" He made an effort to sit up, but he was still too weak an d fell back with a groan. Then he fainted dead away. Ted ordered that every man of the party should then leav e the tent except himself and Frank. The aft e rnoon had been nearly spent when for the seco nd J ime Ted succeede! in bringing the injured man b a c k t o consciousness. John Fullerton's eyes seemed dull and heavy when he op e ned them the second time. He glanced at Ted and at Frank, but made no remark. He uttered but one sentence and that was in a differ ent tone than Ted had yet heard the man use. It was in a voice so different frmn what the man had Q.efore spoken in that Ted was surprisec;I, and he noticed that Frank stirred quickly and1bent eagerly forward to look more clearly upon his father's face. The man had merely said: "Tell Hobbs not to serve my breakfast until" ten." Then he had rolled over slightly and in a few moments the boys heard him breathing regularly and naturally. They knew that he was sleeping a $efreshing sleep. As Ted glided quietly out of the tent Frank followed him. Outllide Ted asked Frank if he had any idea what I caused his father to make such a strange remark, regard-ing serving a breakfast at ten o'clock. "Hobbs was the name of an old servant -of our family, in London," replied Frank. "Father must have thought he was at home. When he was unusually tired, on retir ing, he often ordered that Hobbs should not serve his breakfast until late the following morning. He always took his breakfast in his sleeping room, and his usual hour was eight o'clock." "That explains it," said Ted. "Your father had an idea he was about to retire in his own room in his home in London. Now, Frank, I do not want to rais<:! any' fal s e hopes in your mind, but I believe that when your father awakes he may be rational. I have heard of such bumps on the cranium, such as your er received, hav ing restored crazy or insane people to their right mind. Your father may awaken quite sane. Now I want to give you a little advice. It may be worth following." "What is it?" asked Frank. "God knows I am willing to do anything you suggest, that is in my power, that would seem to aid my father." "Suppose you shave off that mu s tache. That might change your looks-make you resemble yourself as you were when your father last saw you. I am in hopes that he will recognize you when his present sleep is over." "Have you a razor?" asked Frank. "Yes," was the reply, and Ted soon brought one from his saddlebags. Bending over a pool of clear water, in lieu of a mirror, Frank was soon engaged in sacrificing his fine, brown mustache. Ten minut e s later he presented hims e lf to Ted, looking at least ten years younger. "If fath e r has a spark of memory for the old home left," remarked Frank, "I do not think he can fail to recognize me now." For hours John Fullerton continued to sleep. It had grown dark and the rough riders had decided to go into camp for the night, giving up the idea of penetrating the passage to the until the following morning. Ted and Frank slept very little that night, for one or the other was coptinually at the side of the latter's father. There was no interruption to the injured man's nap, and his breathing continued regular all night. Early in the evening he seemed to have a slight fever, but that gradually passed away. It was long past daylight,' and both Ted and Frank were near the sleeping man, when John Fullerton made the first move, showing that he was about to open his eyes. His awakening was natural. He rubbed his eyes sev eral moments before opening them widely, and then sud denly threw back the covering and sat up. Astonishment was written on every line of his haggard face, but from his eyes gleamed the light of restored reason! He was mad no longer With a glad cry Frank sprang toward his father. John Fullerton's eyes were gazing directly into those of his son q,nd, as the young man stood up, father asked: "Frank, what Is the matter? Have I been sick? ,Where are we ?"

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THE YOUNG ROUGH RIDERS WE.EKL Y. CHAPTER XII. AGAIN IN THE MANSION. John F41lerton did greet his son effusively. He treated the lad more as if they had been separated since the previous day instead of for eight long years. In fact John Fullerton's mind contained no recollec tion of what had happened during the years since he had left home. Neither did he have any recollections of hav ing left home. It took several hours for Frank to tell his father what. had happened, together with what details he had gath ered of his parent's movements in America. Fullerton had no recollection of the mansion in the mountains which he had built, no recollection of his title deeds, no remembrance of having been frightened from his home by the outlaws. All was a blank, and the story his son told him seemed like a fairy tale-nevertheless, he was bound to accept it flS the truth. Food was brought to him and he ate heartily and lis tened with interest to what the young men had to tell him concerning their discovery of him in the mountain castle. Except for the loss of memory of the years which he was insane, John seemed to have recovered en tirely from his mental ailment. He rapidly gathered strength, too. The hearty break fast seemed to do him much good, and while the lump upon his head still pained him, he announced himself as ready to accompany the young rough rider's party through the passage in the mountain to the mansion home of the bandit chief, whenever Ted Strong wished to start. R,ight after dinner was the time appointed by Ted for making the second start toward the mansion, for the pur pose of capturing the bandits, and preparations were made as before for the trip. Of course John Fullerton was now of no use as a guide, for he had forgotten all ebout the secret passages, but Ted and Frank both had a fair conception of the route that had been taken by them in leaving the big stone house, and anticipated Jittle difficulty in finding the way back to the room in which the portrait hung. When the young rough and his companions reached the room in which John Fu11erton had spent his sleeping hours since the bandits had taken possession of the house, Ted called a halt to talk over for over coming the outlaws and regaining possession of the house. Although Ted and Frank knew the way ti<> the room in the front of the mansion, froni which they l;iad first entered the passage, they thought it advisable to explore some of the other passages before making a move against the outlaws. It was known that the company, under the leadership of Frank Casse, outnumbered Ted's party at least five to one, and the boys realize? that it would be necessary to proceed cautiously, and with some well-defined plan, in order to conquer their foes. A bold, open attack would almost be certain to result disastiOusly for them. To save time Ted finally decided t
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THE YOUNG ROUGH RIDERS WEEKLY. sages led off from it. The main passage l e d t o the din- ing room, which they found to be d e sert e d while the branch passages led respectively to the bedroom which had beoo occupied by Ted and Frank, the one night they had spent in t e house, and to two other similar bed rooms. In none of these rooms did the explor e rs find any human beings and they, too, returned to the room where they were to join the rest of their company. Bud Morgan and Frank Fullerton had gone but a few yards along the passage they had been assignee! to ex plore when they came t-0 a cross passage l eading off in two directions. This passage, in the direction to th e l e ft, they decided to explore first, and accordingly turned \ into it. They had proceeded carefully along for five minute s and had turned several corners, when :Bud, who was in the lead, suddenlyhalted. He had heard a slight noise,_ which he thought probably came from some room bordering the passage on the right. Moving cautiously along, ran his hand alon g the side of the wall of the passage on that side, and his fin gers came in contact with the head of what appeared to be a large, brass screw Close to the screw there was a hole in the wall, such as might have been caused by a nail driven through the wood and then removed. Morgan glued his e y e to the hole and a strange sight met his view. He was looking directly into what appeareCI to be the private office of the ba11f1it chief. A small iron safe occupied one corner of the room ; several chairs were scattered about and at one side was a large desk. At the desk was seated a man, occupied in addressing a large pile of envelopes. Bud reco g nized the man as Frank Casse the leader of the outlaws, by the descrip tion given of him by Ted. Directly at Casse s elbow, on the desk, was a great pile of money, mostly in bank notes. Near the bills were stacked three piles of gold coins and four piles of silver dollars. As fast as the bandit chief addressed an envelope he counted out a sum of money from the piles n ear at hand, placed it in the envelope, sealed the same and laid it to one side. After noting these points Morgan moved to one side give Frank an opportunity to look into the room. "Is that man the leader of the bandits?" asked Bu d when Frank had been looking through the small h ole fo r several minutes. "Yes that is Frank Casse, replied Frank. Jus t at th a t minute Frank raised his hand to brac e himself and inadvertentl y placed his palm against th e brass screw. As he did so a section of the wall was released and suddenly slid back, exposin g the s e cr e t passag e As the panel flew back Frank lost his balance and f ell headlong into the ro o m occupied b y the bandit chief! Cas s e had not heard the sound o f the moving panel, but he heard the noi s e ma d e b y Fra nk's fall, and before the young man rould regain his feet the band it was fac ing him. Casse had no revolver, but he h e ld a1'. ugly knife in his hand and as he started toward the y oung Eng lishman, the latter retreat e d into the c orner of the ro o m. The bandit follow e d e vid e ntly intent npon killin g the lad, if possible. Casse, with a cruel gleam in his eyes, approached the young man who had crowded into the corner and was about to plun g e the knife into the lad' s throat when his intention was frustrated by a command from Buel Morgan. Morgan was now in the room and he had the bandit covered with his revolver. "None of that, my man Morgan y e lled "The m o ment that. knife touches ther boy's skin yer will die! Casse halted and looked around. He did not seem startled as he saw that a stranger had him covered. The bandit was truly a man of great nerve. "You dare not shoot," he sneered, "for a shot at me would be fatal to your friend. My knife would pierce his throat the second that you pulled the trigger!" CHAPTER XIII. TED TAKES A H AND. Teel Strong ancf Leo Morriss e y proceed e d alon g the pa s sage they had entered and, afte r turnin g t w o corners, found themselves at the foot of a stairwa y l eading to the second story Mounting the l stairs Teel, who was in th e l e ad, soon found that t he p as s age l e d to the haunted cha m bers in which he had first s een the old e r Fullerton. With some difficulty Teel found the se cret sprin g that opened the panel leading into the small, closet-like room,

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THE YOUN G ROUGH RIDERS WEEKLY. and, a s he had every rea son t o believe th a t th e seco nd story rooms were not occupied, he resolved to leave the passage and make some explorations. Going through the two rooms he advanced into the hall, followed closely by Morrissey, and began an investigation of every room on the floor. For half an hour the two young men were busily engaged in opening and shutting doors, examining room after room, all of which they found to be entirely empty, devoid of furnishings and, in most instances, not completed. They had reached the further end of the mansion, and were about to tur back, when Ted noticed in the corner of the last room visited, a sawed-out square in the floor. In the center of the square was an iron ring, held in place by a large staple. As Ted stooped to g_rasp the ring the young men heard the sound of a crash directly below them. This was the sound made by Frank as he fell into the room occupied by the bandit chief. I Ted gave a tug at the ring in the trapdoor, and found that it lifted easily and noiselessly. Down on his knees went the young rough rider, and his face was thrust close to the opening made by the re moval of the trapdoor. He was directly above the corner of the room into which Frank had retreated, and he saw the approach of Casse and the dangerous gleam of the knife in the out law 1 hand. ,, Ted involuntarily re:iched for his revolver, and had it leveled upon the outlaw, when he heard the rough command of Bud Morgan and the bandit's sneering remark. The outlaw s knife was within an inch of the shrinking young Englishman's throat! Ted realized that a shot would be hazardous to the safety of Frank Fullerton, for, even should he shoot the villain dead his body in might drive the knife into the Englishman's throat. The fertile, resourceful brain of the young rough rider almost instantly conceived of a plan for thwarting the purpose of the outlaw disarming the man. He drew from his pocket a small, but stout cord--one that would easily reach to the floor below. Casse had not heard any noise over his head, and he did not dream that enemies were looking down on him from the ceiling. The bandit's attention was folly occu pied in watching Bud Morgan and the young Englishman. As Bud stood with extended weapon, still covering the outlaw he was surprised to see a slender cord descending from the ceiling. The end of the cord had been tied into a small slip noose. Bud's quick wits prevented him from letting his eyes rest upon the cord for more than an instant He knew that a steady gaze would draw the outlaw's attention to what was taking place. But in the one, quick glance Morgan had seen the face ...of his young leader and knew that Ted had taken a hand in the game. Bud could not at first grasp what Ted's in tent.ion might be, but awaited to see results, prepared to move, himself, when the right time should come. Lower and lower descended the slipnoose until it at last dangled right between the outlaw and the young Englishman. Then for several seconds Ted was b:isy manipulating his end of the string. Finally, however, he saw that he was going to be successful in his purpose. The noose slipped over the blade of the vil lain's knife and Ted worked it along until the noose was around the handle of the wicked weapon. Suddenly with a quick jerk the noose was drawn tight and the weapon was from the bandit's hand and hung far al>ove his head at the end of Ted's string. Thus suddenly deprived of his weapon, Casse gave one wild above his head and jumped to the door of the room, opened it and fled into the hall beyond. His movement had been so quick that Bud Morgan was rattled. He stood with his loaded revolver like a dummy while the bandit was getting away. "After him !" shouted Ted. This aroused Bud and he dashed into the hall after Casse,. and came in sight of his man just as the latter was he a ding toward an open door, at the rear of the hall. Frank followed Bud Morgan and came up to him just as Ca s se had the door in Bud's face and had turned a key in the lock. "He has escaped," exclaimed Bud, "and all on account of my durned foolishness." "No," said Frank, "he cannot have escaped if he went into that room, for there is no other way than this door from that room; that is, ther.e is no other way except by a secret passage, perhaps, and the outlaw probably has no knowledge of that." "How do yer know thet?" asked Bud, doubtingly. "Because that is the room in which Ted Strong and

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THE YOUNG ROUGH RIDERS WEEKLY. myself were locked during the one nig ht we sp e nt under this roof." At this moment Ted Strong and Leo Morrissey arrived on the spot and Teel expressed reli e f when he found that the bandit chief had entered the large bedroom with the barred windows. "We have made a start now said Ted, and we must move quickly from now on until we get all the outlaws in our power. Morrissey, I will detail you to stand in this passage near this door and guard the bandit chi ef. If necessary shoot him should he try to get out of the room." "All right, sir," returned Leo. "Now, Frank," Ted, "I wilJ a s k you to return to the room where the rest of our party are to meet ; tell them of the situation in this part of the house and guide them back to the room where you found the bandit chief counting the money." Frank started immediately up 9 n his errand. Ted and Bud Morgan then returned to the office of the bandit leader for the purpose of securing the money, which they had no doubt was the plunder taken b y the outlaws from the Miners' Bank of Gallego. This was proved upon examining the bills, for many of them were still wrapped in their original packages with bands about them upon which was printed the name of that bank. Ted did not stop to count the money, but began ex amining the envelopes into which the outlaw had been placing certain sums. Opening several of the envelopes which were addressed to different individuals, Ted saw that each contained the same amount of money. 1"Bud," said Ted, finally, "Casse was engaged in preparing to divide this money, or a part of it, among his men, when you disturbed him." "Gol durn my skin, if l don t believe you have struck it right," returned Bud. "He probably intended paying them off to-night." "Yes." "Well," remarked Ted, with a smile, "there will be no pay day to-day. The ghost will not walk to-night, eh?" "Nary a stroll," returned Bud. The two men quickly gathered up the money and placed it snugly away in the small safe, the door of which had no combination and was made to lock merely with a large key. The key was found in the lock and, after throwing the heavrbolt; Ted put the key carefully away in his pocket. Jus t th e n Fra nk a pp eare d in th e entra nce t o th e s e cr e t passage, stepped down into the room and was foll o wed by Kit Summers, John Fullerton, Bob Martin and Ben Tremont. With the exception of Morrissey, who was guarding the door of the room in which Casse had escaped, Ted' s party was now gathered together in the one room : T e d first heard the report o f th e other members of his c o mpan y re garding what they had learned during their in v e s tigations before advancing any plan of procedure against the bandits. When they had finished Ted opened his mouth to speak, but quickly closed it again. There had come a rap upon the door! There was a perfect silence in the room for a moment and then the knock was repeated, this ti me a trifle louder. Tiptoeing lightly to the door his revolver in one hand, Ted placed the other upon the knob and suddenly threw the door wide open. What met the view of Ted and his companions was the figure of a much-astonished colored man. He was the same who had acted in the capacity of waiter when Ted and Frank had eaten in the dining room of the mansion. darky had evidently expected his master to answer his knock and, when he found himself face to face with strangers, his eyes grew large and rolled wildly in his head in alarm. He turned as pale as a person of his color could. His teeth chattered like hail falling on a slate roof, as he en deavored to say something. Then he fell on his knees with hands extended toward Ted as if in supplication. Ted, amused, watched the darky s actions for a min ute and then he told the man to get up and enter the room. Bidding the colored man to take a seat Ted stood be fore him, looking him straight in the eye. "Now I am going to you a few questions," said Ted, "and I want you to answer every one of them to the best of your ability. Don't tell any lies. Do you see this revolver?" Ted advanced and placed the cold barrel of his weapon against the scared darky's forehead. "Lor', massa Yah, I see 'em! Lor', don't shoot! Black Joe, he ain't done nothing; deed he ain 't!" "Your master is already in our power, and you will die if I catch y ou telling an y lie s continued Ted. "How long have you been in this house?"

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THE YOUNG ROUGH RIDERS WEEKLY. With lips trembling with f ?ar the darky made several attempts to answer he finally managed to stammer: "Les' a leetle time, massa-les' a leetle time. De big massa of dis place fotched me here again' my will, massa." ''Brought you here against your will?" questioned Ted. After much questioning and prompting Ted gathered fr o m the darky that he had met Casse on the streets of Los Angeles five or six weeks before, and that he had hired out to the bandit chief as a body servant, not know ing that the man was an outlaw. Blindfolded, he had been brought into the mansion and, knowing no way of escape, he had since lived almost e v ery minute in fear of his life, serving the bandit chief because he dared not do otherwise. Ted believed every word of the colored man's story, and then he pitied the scared negro. In a few moments he had assured the black man that no harm would come to him, and that if he would tell what he knew about the location of rooms in certain parts of the building, and lead Ted and his men to them, he would soon be free to return to Los Angeles if he wished. The darky, assured that he was now in the hands of friends, readily agreed to do all in his power to aid Ted's company to capture the bandits. CHAPTER XIV. TED'S INGENIOUS MAN TRAP. Continuing to question the black man Ted learned that the darky was acquainted with the position of every room on the ground floor. He said that the wife of the outlaw and several women prisoners occupied rooms in a large wing at the right of the mansion, approaching it from the front, while most of the bandits occupied rooms in a wing on the opposite side of the building. The rooms bordering the center hall, in one of which the young rough riders were now gathered, were used for the outlaw chief's special purposes. Ted also learned that the darky had knocked upon his master's door at that particular time because of being previot 1 sly ordered to do so. The master had decided to divide the plunder that day and the darky had been dele gated to bring the outlaws to their chief's one or two at a time, to receive their envelopes. This information put an ingenious plan into Ted's min0. "Is this money to be distributed to every in the house?" asked Ted. "Yes, massa,' answered the darky. "Boys," said Ted, turning to his companions, "I have a plan for capturing these bandits easily and without shoot ing them down. We will let Black Joe here bring them to the office, one or two at a time, and we will disarm and bind them as they arrive." "Whoope !" exclaimed Bud Morgan. "Yer always un loads ther groceries jest when they're nee
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J .. I THE YOUNG ROUGH RIDERS WEEKLY. "Not 'zactly," replied the darky, "but I reckon there be 'bout forty of 'em." 'Well, hurry up and bring them along, one at a time. Merely tell them to report at the office and don't send them closer than two minutes apart;' "I'll go strictly by my ol' watch,'l replied Black Joe, hauling a heavy, ancient-patterened timepiece from his pocket, as he stepped into the hall and started on his J errand. After the darky had departed Ted, in a few words, told his men what he wished them to do, wherr each of the bandits showed up, and apportioned to each his duties Bud Morgan, Kit Summers and Bob Martin produced from their pockets a number of long buckskin thongs, such as most Western meh, cowboys and scouts, carry with them at all times for emergencies. These thongs young Fullerton and his father set to work to cut into strips, the right length for tying up the iimbs of the men they expected to soon have in their power. Nearly ten minutes elapsed before there came a knock at the door. Ted was standing near the door with one hand upon the knob. Almost at the same instant that the knock came the young rough rider threw the door open, and with lightning quickness his hand shot out and grabbed the outlaw who had knocked by the neckband of his shirt. Before the astonished bandit could recover from his surprise, or make any resistance, he had been jerked into the room and the door had been shut. Ted, with a quick twist, whirled the m..an around; Ben J'rem<:>nt and Bob Martin soon had the outlaw bound and gagged and lying in the further corner of the room. The man had hardly been disposed of there came a second knock. The darky was carrying out his orders to the complete satisfaction of the young rough rider. Man after man knocked at tl]e door only to be jerked off his feet into the room, and securely bound. Ted's man trap was a complete and it began to look as if eve.ry member of the outlaw band would be captured alive without any bloodshed. At last there was quite an interval after the arrival of the last man. The darky was probably engaged in locating the last few of the band. "How many are alrcadv bound?" asked Ted of Kit Summers, who was attending toJhe disposal of the men as fast as they were bound. "Thirty-eight," was the reply. "There can be but a few more," said Ted. J list as he spoke there was a rush of feet along the hallway and the door suddenly flew open. Black Joe rushed into the room and his face showed great excitement. "Good Lor', boss," he exclaimed, addressjng himself to Ted, "yo' sure must hurry. The young gemmen who was guarding Massa Casse have been knocked down and the boss outlaw have escaped!" "How many more of the outlaws are there?" asked Ted, preparing to rush into the hall. "Yo' sure have 'em all here 'ceptin' Massa Casse's wife," returned the darky. "Bud, you come with me," shouted Ted, as he rushed down the hall to where he expected to find the uncon scious form of Leo Morrissey, lying upon the floor. He reached Morrissey just as the young man was re turning to consciousness. Leo was dazed at first, but in a moment he was able to explain what had taken place. "It was a woman who felled me!" were his first words. "A woman?" repeated Ted. "Yes," said Leo, "I heard the outlaw working his key in the lock of the door and expected that h e was about to open it. I drew my revolver and held it up for in stant use, keeping my eyes fixed on the door. Suddenly I heard the swishing of skirts in the hall behind me and turning, I saw a woman standing behind me with a rifle in her hands. She had the gun grasped by the barrel and the stock was raised right over my head. It was too late for me to get away or turn around. The next thing I knew I saw you standing over me." "Who could the woman have been?" asked Ted, as if to himself. "She might hev hen ther bandit's wife," said Bud gan. "Yes," returned Ted, "you are probably right." Leo was now standing up and, although a trifledizzy, he follow.ed Ted and Bud back to the room in which the outlaws were bound. "Now," said Ted, "I want you, Bud, together with Kit and Bob, to make a thorough search of the house and try and locate Frank Casse. Capture him alive, if p os sible, and his wife also, but do not let the man e s cape if1 yo u catch si;;11t of him, evoo if you have to shoot him dowa."

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. THE YOUNG ROUGH RIDERS WEEKLY. I three started out immediately. John Fullerton and his son and Leo were left to guard the bound prisoners and then Ted spoke to the darky: "Black Joe," he said, "I want you now to take me to the room in which the girls are imprisoned." The darky conducted Ted up and down several long halls, and into the right wing of the mansion. Along another hall he led the way and finally stopped before a door at the right of the passage. "They is in here," said Black Joe. "The door is locked," said Frank, the knob. "Do you know where there are any keys that will fit the Jock?" "Not 'less they be some in the missus' room." "Go and make a search for them," directed 'Ped. As the darky moved away to do his bidding Ted knocked sev:er 1 times loudly upon the door. At last he heard a voice within the room: "Who is it? What is wan\ed ?" "Are you one of tbe women prisoners m this house?" asked Ted. "Yes; there are two of us," came the answer : f "Can you open the door?" "No; it is locked from the ouj:side," replied a girlish voice. "I am Ted Strong, captain of the Young Rough Rid ers," said Ted, to allay any fears the girls might have. "We have overcome the bandits, have gained possession of this house and will liberate you very soon. You had better dress as quickly as possible." In a short time Black Joe rettfrned, bringing in his hand a large brass ring on which were strung a number of large keys. "These is all I could fin'," he explained to Ted, handing the young rough rider the ring. Ted found that the second key he tried would unlock the door, and, asking the girls if they were ready to come out and receiving an affirmative reply, he opened the door. TI1e girls had dressed quickly and now stepped out in the hall. "How can we thank you enough?" began one of them, but Ted did not care to be burdened with their words of gratitude. "Please don't mention it," he said. "You will please me better by forgetting any service we have rendered you as soon as possrble." The girls were both very pretty young women, and al though their faces were now pale, and a trifle haggard, and their eyes swollen by much weeping; Ted noted that they were undoubtedly very beautiful when at home, un der natural conditions and appropriately dressed. He learned that they were daughters of prominent and wealthy men in Gallego. The girls were conducted to the other part of the man sion, where Ted had left Morrissey and the two Ful lertons guarding the outlaw prisoners. Then Ted was about to start out to assist Bud Mor i gan and the other two rough riders in the search for the bandit chief. He had hardly reached the hall, however, when he found Bud and his companions returning. "Ther bandit chief must hev left ther house," Morgan, "fer we ain't been able ter find no track of him." "Well, we'll move these prisoners to the front of the house," said Ted, "and then we'll look again." The bound outlaws were then taken from the room in which ihey had been trapped and were secured in the large hall at the front of the mansion. The young women were given the use of the large, paneled room to the right of the hall, in which was hanging the painted portrait. Ted was then about to propose that several of his men assist in bringing the bandit's safe from the office to the front of the house, where it would be handy to guard, when tfl'e company was suddenly startled by the sound of a terrible explosion The walls of the mans10n trembled and the ceiling seemed about to fall upon them CHAPTEB. XV. CONCLUSION. At the moment of the explosion it certainly seemed that the whole mansion was about to tumble about the heads of the young rough riders, their friends and their prisoners. t The explosion was followed by the terrible sound of crashing timbers, falling stones and a part of the big man sion yvas surely falling to the ground. The crashing continued for several minutes, but the fr<;Jnt of the house, most providentially, remained stand ing. There were great cracks in the ceiling, however, and in the walls, and Ted deemed it so unsafe that all members of the company retired to the open air, taking prisoners with them. TI1en Ted, Bud Mbrgan and Kit Summers began an

PAGE 29

THE YOUNG ROUGH RIDERS WEEKLY. investigation of the damage and the cause of the ex plosion. Just before they started Ted noticed of the prison ers beckoning a request to have the gag taken from his mouth. Tliis was done. "Me know about explosion," exclaimed the man, when he could talk. "Well?" encouraged Ted. "The chief he have dynamite mine put under part of house. He say if he is ever attacked he will blow up mansion." "Ah! That explains it," said Ted. "The explosion was Frank Casse's work. He wanted revenge and ex pected to kill us all, his own men included. But he got left. Now that there was no longer need for silence, Ted gave instructions that all the gags be removed from the mouths of the prisoners and then he started with Bud and Kit on th e tour of inspection. Tpe great castle was found to be almost a complete wreck, and, of course, would probably never be rebuilt. In one moment the work of several years and the ex penditure of a large sum of money had been ruined. The three rough riders examined that part the ruins where the bandit's office had once been, and were re joiced to find that it would not be difficult to recover the containing the money taken from the Miners Bank of Gallego. Then they continued further along the ruins. Ted ut tered an exclamation a moment later. They found that the had uncovered the mouth of what appeared to be the shaft o f a mine Further investigations were postponed until daylight. In the morning the first work accomplished was the recovery of the iron safe and then Ted, Kit, Bud a nd the two ullertons visited tM mine They descended the shaft and found that, althou g h the mine had been little worked, it was rich in ore. The mine was the property of John Fullerton,' and the legal papers in his pocket proved that his title was clear. It may be stated here that the mine later proved to be one of the richest in California and made John a multi-millionaire. It is hardly necessary to tell of how the prisoners were conducted back to Gallego, and turned over to the proper authorities, or of the great rejoicing in all of the to wns bordering the desert, when the news was spread of the capture of the entire band of outlaws as the Mo jave Terrors, except the leader and his wife. The name of Ted Sft-ong and the names of his young rough riders were upon every lip. The fathers of the two girls were extravagant in their expressions of gratitude to Ted and his companions and, learning that the young rough riders would accept no money as a reward for returning the girls safely to their homes, the y compromised by giving a grand banquet, in honor of the great work accomplish e d by the young men. The banquet was a great event and to it were invited inost of the prominent men of that part of California. Learning that the young rougb riders were in that part of the country, ori g inally for a pleasure trip, Ted and his friends were overwhelmed with invitations to visit various beautiful homes. Four days the young rough riders spent in the town of Gallego, and then one morning they took leave of their new friends and started on the horseback journey north as at first planned. A few days later the boys rode into a small town nearly one hundred miles from Gallego. They went im mediately to the only hotel in the town, and as Ted wrote his name upon the register the clerk eyed him a moment and then said : "Are you Mr. Ted Strong, the leader of the famous Young Rough Riders?" "Yes." "Then there is a telegram here for you. It has been here two days." He handed Ted the envelope. Extracting the telegram, Ted read it quickly and then, calling the others about him, he read it aloud. It was signed by Leo Morrissey and was worded as follows: "Half of the bandits have escapeG. They were aidep by Frank Casse, who accomplished the feat of breaking into the jail single-handed. Can you help us again?" Getting a telegraph blank from the clerk, Ted wrote following words upon it and sent the hotel porter with it to the tele g raph office. "You can depend upon the Young Rou g h Riders. "TED STRONG." THE END. Next week's issue (53) will contain "The Young R oug h Rider Trapped; or, A Villain'.'> Desperate Play." It relates h ow Frank Casse turned up once more and how Ted and Bud Morgan had a terrible experience in a de serted mine.

PAGE 30

\ YOUNG ROVfR -LIBR,ARY Adventures of' THE ANIERIOAll NARKA WAY. THE unflagging interest taken in the fortunes of the immortal Jack Harkaway by young boys, and old boys as well, has for thirty years bee'h one of the marvels of the publishing world These stories seem to be just as eagerly sought after and devoured to-day as when first issued, and myriads of readers Idolize the Bold and Unconquered Jack in much the same spirit as they do good old Robinson Crusoe. In fact it has become a household name. And yet, there has always been something like a spirit of keen dis appointment among American lads beca,_use this hero happened to be a British e r. At last b e lieving the time is ripe to remedy this one defect, we now take pleasure in presenting a new series, in which, from week to w eek will be chronicled the woderful adventures and madcap pranks of a genuine Yankee lad, who certainly bids fair to out-Harkaway the famous original of this type. I the energetic and restless Link Rover a 'Uilique character has been created, so bold and striking that we confidently expect his name to presently become quite as familiar among our American boys as those of Frank Merriwell or Buffalo Bill. These Stories of Adventure and Frolic at school and abroad are written especially for this seri es by Gale Richards, who is under exclusive contract to devote his whole time and attention to this fascinating work. There is not a dull line from beginning to end, b e cause Link Rover believes it is his especial duty and privilege to keep things constantly "humming." So be fairly warned th a t to commence reading of his strange experiences is to acquire the "Rover habit," which clings to one like a leech and is very hard to shake off. Followlag ls a llt of the aipnbers already Jssu ,ed o r la press: 1-Link Rover, the Scapegrace; or, The Black Sheep of the Family. 2-Link Rover at School Abr oad; or, Lively Times at Old Swindon. 3-Link Rover as a Wizard; or, The Yankee Firebrand in an English School. 4-Link Rover's Voyage; or, Fun and Adventure Among the Clouds. 5-Link Rover Among the Carlists; or, Playing a Bold Game with the Dons. 6-Link Rover Adrift; or, Pranks and Perils on the Mediterranean. 7-Link Rover in Algiers; or, Waking Up Sleepy Oriental City. 8-Link Rover's Strange Legacy; or, The Auda- cious Lark at Malta. 9--Link Rover's Chase; or, A Yankee Innocent Along the Nile. 10-Link Rover s Menagerie; or, Lively Times with the Scapegrace. IILink Rover, the Wo.nder-Worker; or, Sur-, prising the Hindoo Jugglers. 1'2-Link Rover s Jumping Idol; or, Mad Pranks in a Temple. 13-Link }}over's Pirate Junk; or, The Strange Cruise of the Howling Ghost. 14-Link Rover in America; Search of Fun at the "Golden Gate 15-Link Rover!s Wager; or, Mixing Them Up on the Limited. 1 16-Link Rover Among the Mormons; or, A Madcap Frol ic in Old Salt. Lake City . 17-Link Rover's Warning; or, The Ghastly Sell on Sheriff Bowie. 18-Link Rover s Glorious Lark; or, Making a Holy Show of the Train Robbers. 19-Link Rover Stranded; or, Finding Fun on the Road. 20-Link Rover s Camp Fires; or, A Jolly Jour ney with the Hoboes. 21-Link Rover on Guard; or., Tricks Played on\ Travelers. 22-Link Rover's Discovery; or, A Very Hot Time at Denver. 23-Link Rover Trapped; or, The Bursting of a q Bubble. 24-Link Rover and the Money Makers; or, Something Not Down oa the Bills. 25-Link Rover in Chicago; or, Making Things Fairly Hum. 26---Link Rover's Strategy; or, Smoking Out an Old Enemy. 1 27---:Link Rover Among the Shanty Boatmen; or, A Roaring Voyage Do w n the Miss issippi. 28-Link Flying Wedge; or, Football Tactics on a River Steamb oa t 29-Link Rover's Crusoe Island; or, A Campaign of Humor in the Flood. 30-Link Rover's Surprise; or, The Mischief to Pay. 31-Link Rover Among the Cotton Pickers; or, Hustling for Fun Down in Dixie Land. 32-Link Rover'.s Tame Scarecrow; or, The As tounding Racket "Daddy" Played. A n ew n u mbe r every week. P rice, FIVE CENTS at al' newsd ealers, or b y sending d i rect to t he p ublishers. t STREET & S MITi'.1, 238 William Street, .New York I

PAGE 31

YOUNfi ROUfiH RIDERS WEEKLY \ 4-Ted Strong's Stratagem; or, Saving a Boy',s Honor. 5-Ted Strong s Ride for Life; or Caught in the Circle. 6-Ted Strong on the Trail; or, The Cattle Men of Salt Licks. 7-Ted Strong in Montana; or, Trouble at the Blackfoot Agency. 8-Ted Strong's Nerve; or, Wild West Sport at Black Mountain. 9-Ted Strong ; s Rival; or, The Cowboys of Sunset Ranch. lo-Ted Stron g 's Peril; or Saved by a Girl. II-Ted Strong's Gold Mine; or, The Duel at Rocky Ford 12-Ted Strong's Lawsuit; or, Right Against Might. 13-Ted Strong's Railway Trip; or, An Unsolved Mystery. 14-Ted Strong s Mission; or, Taming a Tenderfoot. -15-Ted Strong's Might; or, The Cross Against the Sword. 16-Ted Strong's Puzzle; or, The Golden Mesa. 117-Ted Strong in / the Chaparral or, The Hunt at Las Atlimas. 18-Ted Strong's Forethought; or, King of the Mesa. 19-Ted Strong in the Land of Little Rain; or, Bud Morgan's Vengeance. 20-Ted Strong's Water Sign; or, In Shoshone Land. 21-Ted Strong's Steadiness; or, The Cattle Rustlers of Ceriso. 22-Ted Strong's Lar'id Boom; or, The Rush for a Homestead. 23-Ted Strong's Indian Trap; or, Matching Craft with Craft. \ 24-Te d Stron g 's Signal; or, Racing with Death. 25-Ted Strong's Stamp Mill; or, The Woman in Black. 1 26-Ted Strong's Recruit; or, A Hidden Foe. I 27-Ted Strong's Discovery; or, The Rival Miners. J 28-Ted Strong's Chase; or, The Young Rough Riders on the Trail. r-29-Ted Strong's Enemy; or, An Uninvited Guest. .. 30-Ted Strong's Triumph; or, The End of the Contest. 31-Ted Strong in Nebraska; or, The Trail to Fremont / 32-Ted Stron g in Kansas City ; or, The Last of the Herd. 33-The Rough Riders in Missouri; or, In the Hands of His Enemy. 34-The Young Rou g h Riders in St. Louis; or, The League of the Camorra. 35-The Young Rough Riders in Indiana; or The Vengeance of the Camorra. 36-The Youn g Rou g h Rider s in C hicago; or Bud Morgan s Day Off 37-The Young Rough Rid e r s in Kan sas; or \ The Trail of the Outlaw ... 38-The Young Rough Riders in the Rockies ; or, Fighting in Mid Air. 39-The Young Rough Rider' f Foray ; or, The Mad Horse of Raven Hill. 40-The Young Rough Rider's Fight to the Death; or, The Mad Hermit of Bear's Hole. 1 41-The Young Rough Rider's Indian Trail; or, Okanaga, the Cheyenne. 42-The Young Rough Rider's Double; or, Un masking a Sham. 43-The Young Rough Riqer's Vendetta; or, The House of the Sorceress 44-Ted Strong in Old Mexico; or, The Haunted Hacienda. 45-The Young Rough Rider in California; or, The Owls of San Pablo. 46-The Young Rough Rider s Silver Mine ; or, The Texas Giant. 47-The Young Rough Rider's Wildest Ride; or, Cleaning 01.lt a Whole T o wn. 48-The Young Rou g h Rider's Girl Guide; or, The Maid of the Mountains. 49-The Young Rough Rider's Handicap; or, Fig hting the Mormon Kidnapers. 50-The Young Rou g h Rider s Daring Climb; or The Treasure of Copper Gag. 51-The Young R o u g h Rider s Bitterest Foe; or, The Challenge of Capt. N emo. 52-The Young Rou g h Rider s Great Play; or, The Mac\, All y of a Vil1ain. s3-The Young Rough Rid e r Trapped; or, A I Villain's Desperate Play. All of the above numbers always on hand. If you cannot get them trqm your newsdealer!I five cents per oopy will bring them to you by mall!I postpaid. & SMITH, 238 William 'Street, Nl:W YORK . \

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\ .. BRA VE AND BOLD Contains ( the A Biggest DilTerent and Best Stories of Descriptions. Complete Story Each. Week. FO L LOWI N O IS A OF TH E LA TEST ISSUES : 6 1 Backed by an Unknown; or D ick D arre ll s Hus tle for a Living By C o rn e liu s She a 62-All Aboard; o r Life o n the Lake. By O liver Optic. 63-Phil, the F i ddler ; o r T he Sto ry of a Y oung S t reet Musician By H o r ati o Alger Jr. 64-Dick Halladay s Pranks ; or, Fun a t Strykervill e Academy. By W L. James Jr. 65-Slow and Sure; or, From the Street t o the Sho p By Horatio Alger Jr. 66-Little by Little; or, The Cruise o f the Flya wa y By Oliver Optic. 67-Beyond the Froze n Seas; or, The L a nd o f -the Pigmies By C o rnelius She a 68-The Young Acrobat ; or, The Great North Ameri can Circus By lfor a tio Alger Jr. 0-Save d fr o m the Gallows ; or, The Re s cue of Charlie Armitage By Matt R oyal. 70---Checkmated by a Cadet; or, Conquered by Chance. By H a rrie Irving Hancock. 7 1-Nuggets and Nerve; or, The Two B o y Miners By Frank Sheridan. 72-Milea-Minute Tom; or, The Y o ung Enginee r of Pine Y alle y By C o rnelius Sh ea. 73-Seared Wi t h I ron; or, The Band o f Skel e t o n Bar. By Cornelius She a 74-The Deuce and the King oi Diamonds; or, Two S o uthern B oy s in S o uth Africa. By t he author of "Among the Malays. 7 5-Now or Never; or, The Adventures of B obby Bright. By Oliver Optic 76-B lue -Blo oded Ben; or Two Princ et o n Pals By the auth o r of "Hal Larkin.' 77-Checkere
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