Ted Strong's tight squeeze, or, The Arizona clean-up

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Ted Strong's tight squeeze, or, The Arizona clean-up

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Title:
Ted Strong's tight squeeze, or, The Arizona clean-up
Series Title:
Young rough riders weekly
Creator:
Taylor, Edward C.
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New York
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Street & Smith
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English
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1 online resource (28 p.) 28 cm.: ;

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Western stories. ( lcsh )
Dime novels. ( lcsh )
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serial ( sobekcm )

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University of South Florida
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University of South Florida
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All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
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025569899 ( ALEPH )
70832046 ( OCLC )
R16-00013 ( USFLDC DOI )
r16.13 ( USFLDC Handle )

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Before the others cou\d recover from their surprise, for his lite, and his fists sought the most vulnerable poin1.

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Issued W e e llly By Subsc.,,ptt'on $12,5 0 per year. Entered acc o r dt'ng l o Act o f C ongress t'n the year 1qo5, in tlte Office of tlt e Lt"bra rt' a n of C o ngress, ing ton, IJ. C /Jy STREET & SMITH, 7 q-80 Seventlt Avenue, N Y. Application mad e a t tlt e N. Y. Post 01/ice for entry a s Secondclass Matter. No. 72. N E W YORK Septem b er 2, 1 9 0 5 Price Five Cents. TED TlfiHT SQUEEZE; OR, The Arizona Clean=Up. CHAPTER I. FRO M THE JAWS OF D EATH. Ove r a large, bent s y cam o r e g rowing on a bluff of the C h elly Ri ve r, in th e Nava j o R ese r vatio n Ariz., a flock o f buz z ards c ircled slowly, sometim e s approachin g close to the tree, at oth e r tim e s rising far abo v e i t. A nd so t h e circl e narrow e d b roa d e n e d th e n narrow e d again i n s inist e r s u gges ti ve n ess, w hil e n o so un d bro k e th e s till n es s save a seri e s o f m o ans and hoar sely mutte red w ords, whi ch c a m e fr om th e th roa t o f a hum a n b e in g. One lon g, s t out limb of the sycamore stretched from t the trunk ove r the bluff form e d of a wall o f rock, smooth a n d precipitou s, wbich ro se from the jagged bed o f th e r av m e The limb was destitut e o f branches and la s hed to it was a youn g man in the garb o f a pros pect o r. His face, p a le and drawn, was turned d o wnward. In his position, h e w as fifty feet ab ov e the sharp rocks o f the ravine and fift ee n f ee t fr o m the t op o f th e bluff. It was a hot day in summer, and for t wen t y -fou r he had occupi e d hi s p e rilou s place. The s un s ra ys beat d o wn pitil ess l y upo n his h ead, a n d a t times he b e c a me de liriou s All efforts t o fr ee h imse lf from his bond s ha d be e n vain. A nd, e v e n if h e had s ucceed e d in re g ainin g th e us e o f his limb s h e m i g h t n ever have b ee n able t o crawl forward t o th e tree o n a ccou n t o f p h ysica l we akn ess Whi chever way h e look ed, whic h ever dir e ction his th o u g h ts t u rn ed, deat h see med to con fr ont him S ometimes, t u rn ing his face, he l ooked th ro u g h th e b r a n c h es of t he o th e r l imbs a n d saw t h e buzzard s c irclin g He k new w hat th eir prese nce mean t H e ha d b ee n m arked for dea th a n d the buzza r ds were wai tin g, wa itin g for t h e ti me, n ow close at h a n d, w h e n th ey m i g h t des c e n d a n d p i ck h i s bones. Ever a n d a n o n h e would tu rn hi s agonized eyes to ward the s ky, in th e fain t h ope th a t h e l p mi ght c ome fr o m that qu arter. Bu t t h e ho ur s passed, hi s p a ins g r e w mo re acute, and finall y utt e r d esp air seize d him His moans became faint and his voice hoarse a n d s ca r c e l y t o .. I \

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THE YOUNG ROUGH RIDERS WEEKLY. be heard above a whisper, for he want of water had parched his lips and dried his throat. "Oh, God!" he brok e nly muttered ; "to die like this, when the future holds out such glowing promises! Ethel -never to see her again. never to look into those clear, trustful eyes and see reflected there the love and con stancy of the sweetest girl that ever drew the breath of life! Trapped and sacrificed by two fiends in human shape! Why did I trust them? Why--" His soul-torturing mutterings ceased, for his ears had caught the sound of a horse's feet upon the trail which skirted the bluff. Some one was approaching. It might be a friend. At the thought of possible succor, his face flushed with hope and his bloodshot eyes sparkled joyously. He tried to shout, but only a faint, wheezing noise ssuecl from his throat. Would the horseman pass with out seeing him? No! He reins up his steed close to the sycamore, and calls out, in a clear, manly voice: "Hello, there Are you alive?" Moistening his parched lips, and with an effort that almost burst the veins in his body, the victim of hellish cnielty sent back the answer so that the words jm, { reached the ear of the hor seman: 1 the feet of the bound man. Then he spoke, slowly and impressively: "I am going to pass this lariat under your body, and tie it tightly under your anns. When I shall have done that, I shall cut the thongs which hold you to the limb. The moment you find your hands free, grasp the slack of the lariat and hold firmly. Make no move until I regain the tree and give the word. Then work your body slowly backward. I will have the lariat in my hand, and will take in the slack as you proceed to ward me. In case you shall fall, the lariat will hold you, and I will draw you up. But be sure to maintairi' a tight grip on the slack. Do you understand?" "Yes," came the husky answer ; "and the saints bless you for coming to my assistance!" The lariat was aclj usted the thongs were c ut, and the youth moved backward to the tree. Once there, he gripped the slack of the lariat and, as the young pros pector worked his body toward his r esc uer, the slack was taken up so that there was all the time a tight line be tween the two. The progress of th e young man on the limb was nec essa rily slow, but no accident happened, and at.last he reached the tree, and was lifted up and placed in a position where he might rest and recover some por of his strength. No words passed between the res"Yes Save me-save me!" cued and the rescuer until the y found themselves on the The request was hard to make, but obedience wa bank, and the prospector. had refreshed himself by a harder. The horseman-a fine-faced, admirably propo r drink from the young horseman's canteen. tionecl you th in a brown khaki uniform-knitte d hi Now the rescued man was ready to speak, but before brows, and look e d from the .bra nchless limb to th e b se he could do so the youth in khaki said, in a tone of._......---, of the prec1p1ce, and then to the tree. Ke e p up your \ 1 "H 1 1 1 1 1 k f k d ,, t 1ont y : ere, c 1ew a w 11 e on t 11s 1un o 1er e courage he shouted back; and I'll get you out of yonr b f b f b y k fi 1 tl 1 1,, ee e o re you egm vour storv. ou are as wea as x, or mow 1e r eason w 1y D t. f 1 d .fi 1 bl 1 a cat. The water has h e lp e d you some, but your stomach 1smoun mg rom 11s stee a mag m cent coa ac { ll f h' b 1 ca s or somet mg more su stantia am ma I. whose eyes expressed almost human mtelhgence, ( the youth removed his lariat from the horn of the saddle .The pt.ece of beef was eagerly 'and, after ten where it had been attached and then divested him self of mmutes pw work, the young prospectors face showed his spuis. Slung across saddle was a rifle. The ( some color. He yet too weak to stah
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, THE YOUNG ROUGH RIDERS WEEKLY. 3 I The big bird toppled and fell into the ravine, and lay motionless. "He has picked his last carcass," said the shooter, quietly. "I have no use for such carrion. I had a friend -but never mind. It's not a cheerful story, and, besides, I am not the story-teller to-day." "And that means that I am," returned the other, quickly. "But, first, we should become acquainted. My name is Mark Weston. What's yours ?1 "Theodore Strong, but the boys call me Ted." The prospector looked at the speaker in surprise and admiration. "I have heard of you," he said. "You are a crackerjack, and I can't tell you how pleased I am t have met you in this manner." The gallant commander of the young rough riders put out his hand. "And I am g l ad to have met you, and to have been of assistance to you Shake Your face is a passport to my affections. I size you up for a pretty decent sort of a fellow, and I am sure that you have got a yarn to tell that will prove it." They shook hands, and thus was begun a friendship which grew stronger as time passed "My story is a simple one in many respects," began Mark Weston. "My was a Philadelphia mer chant, who failed in business, and then died, leaving mother without adequate means of support. I was the only child and was the manager of my father's business. When the affairs of the estate were settled. it was fou nd -<:-hat the liabilities exceeded the assets. I found other employment, but the salary was small, and I was dis contented. When I had, by close economy, saved a few hundred dollars, and was planning to try my luck some where in the West, my mother died. After the funeral my desire to get away was intensified. I went to Denver, and there became acquainted with t>he daughter of a well to-do stockman. I acted as secretary for her fathe'r until I was induced to come to Arizona. A prospector stopped one day at the ranch, a few miles out of Denver, and we strpck up an acquaintance which ripened into friendship. The prospector was an old man, and he was on his way to Chicago for the purpose of interesting capi talists in a fabulously rich mine which he had recently discovered in Arizona While at the ranch, he was stricken down with fever, and died. "Before he passed away he revealed the location of the mine, and said I could have it, as he had no rela tions and no friends that he cared to make rich. I may as well tell you that I was then in love with my employer's daughter, and that, though I had never breathed what was in my heart, I had reason to believe that, if ever I should ask for her hand, the asking would not be in vain. But I was both poor and proud, and, therefore, I resolved to close my lips on the subject of love until I should be able to so better my pecuniary condition as to satisfy the scru_Qles of her father. "A month ago I came to Arizona to find the mine. My search was rewarded with success, and I was on my way to the nearest railway station when I fell in with two men, who professed to be cow punchers out of a job. We camped together last night, and while I was asleep an attempt was made to rob me of the few hundreds of dollars I carried in my wallet. I awoke in time to seize the hand of the man who was searching my pockets. He struck at me, but the blow did no damage. I was strug gling with him, when the other rascal came to his as sistance I was soon overpowered, and, when morning came. I was lashed to my broncho and taken to this spot. "My money, my weapons, my broncho, all were ta ken from me, and I was bound to the limb of that sycamore, with the fiendish statement that there I must remain until death came, and the buzzards." The story was told. Ted Strong's comment was em phatic. "We must find the scoundrels who tried to mur der you," he said. "Describe them. I may know them." "One was tall, the other short. The tall man was stoutly built, while his companion was as thin as a rail. The short man wore long, black hair and straggly chin whiskers. He had but one eye. and his nose was curved like the beak of an eagle. The other fellow had a flat n o se, a low forehead, two sharp eyes, and wore a short beard of the color of mud." "Panhandle Ike and Flat Beak Corbison,'' said Ted, with positiveness. "I have never met them but I have heard of their outrageous doings. They are two of the hardest cases Arizona has ever known. Why, there isnt a week that does not chronicle one of their misdeeds. They will steal anything from a safe to a tenderfoot's lunch, and they would as soon slit a man's throat as eat. My boys will be along pretty soon, and then we can talk business." "Then you are not alone?" "No. My troop is in Arizona with me. We have been chasing a band of cattle rustlers. The last one was caught the other day near the : Mexican border. Last night we camped a few miles down the Chelly, and this forenoon I rode ahead of the lads. to give Black Bess an opportunity to kick up her heels. The mare was stolen from me last week, and I recovered her yesterday. She was as fresh as a daisy, and refused to go the gait under taken by the rest of the So I thought I would take some of the kinks out of her.' A loud shout from below made Ted turn his head. The troop was approaching. At tbe head was a queer figure, mounted on an Indian pony. He was a veritable pygmy of a man, and wore a sombrero which came 'Clown on a line with his eyes. As he came nearer, whooping and yelling, in a voice that was like low thunder, so heavy was it, Ted and Mark Weston could see the lower portio n of a thin, wizened face, with a mouth that stretched from ear to ea11.

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4 THE YOUNG ROUGH RIDERS WEEKLY. "Wake snakes an' sink 'em in 'er p-i-t-pit!" he thundered "I'm thei; knocked-kneed spavined maverick what struck Billy Patterson! Clear ther way fer th' army of ther Shinnin' Door!" He reined up in front of the leader of the young rough riders, raised his sombrero, gave it a courtly sweep, and introduce.:: himseH. "El Capitano T'eodore String-strangstrong-strumma. diddle, behold in me the keydive of this yer reservation Cunnel Bob Basket, at yer sarvice Spit on me an' I'll claw out yer liver an' chuck it to ther birds! Perduce ther paw of fr'en'ship an I shore abases myself an' passes ther deal up ter you !" Ted Strong laughed and extended his hand. Out came the colonel's hand, extraordinarily large, weather-beaten and horny, and as the two members met in a clasp Ted winced, and then began to double up in pain. The ecce n tric dwarf grinned, and, as he dropped the crushed hand of the young rough rider, he said: "Ther heart of Cunnel Bob Basket is as strong as his fist. They air both yours. Chaw me up fer a gooseberry ef they ain't!" -"Drei jeers for Pop!" yelled Carl Schwartz, as he waved his hat above his head "He is cler piggest ding on der ice!" my proper element. My foot is on my native heath and my name's McGinnes." Col. Bob looked at the fat boy quizzically. "Kin you really fig ht, son?" he asked, in affected surprise. Durkin's chubby face flushed. "Try me," he repli ed, with an air of disdain, "and you'll soon see whether or not I can hold my own !" "Air you gamb lin' any that you kin git away with me?" The fat boy, angered at the irritating smile which ac companied the words, quickly made answer: "In the twinkling of an eye, jn the falling of a lea, in the flutter of a lamb's tail I can make you l ook like thirty cents!" Bud Morgan winked hard a t Ted Strong. The wink said: "There's going to be fun." Col. Bob Basket shed coat and sombrero. "Thet's s hore a chall enge!" he remarked. Then, to Durkin: "I'm er perspiring ter collar the dinero you bin er speakin' of. I'm achin' ter alterate my complexi on Yes, I sho r e am Put onter me er h ead like unto er pizenecl purp, wipe ther s ile with me, interdoose yer fist inter m)' engagin' phizmahogany, gouge out my eyes an' chaw my ears inter er hamburg, but don't kill me fer I h ev a mother whom I'm shore dependin' on fer support!" Fatty Durkin was game.' With lips compress ed, he asked: "Which shall it be, fists or a wrestle?" CHAPTER II. "Rastli will suit yer respcted uncle. Ketch an' ketch ( er can." THE IDIOT APPEARS. "Col. Bob," explained Ben Tremont, "is the nephew of Kit Carson, also an oldtime friend of Buffalo Bill, and the only man in Arizona who can control the governor and the legislature. \i\That h e says goes." "Where did y ou meet him?" a s ked Ted. "Down the river and about ten minutes after you left us. The colonel is on his way to Ojo Puerte, for the purpose of organizing a posse to hunt clown two of the worst criminals in th e reservation." Tht;. young rough rider thought of Mark Weston's assailants. They were probably the men Col. Bob was seeking. "Do you refer to Panhandle Ike and Flat Beak Corbison ?" he said. "Sure as butt e r i s made out e r g ras s !" spoke th e di minutive colonel. "Hev th e r pesky rickeroons bin e r cavortin' about this yer starnpin' ground? Ef th ey hev, then ter blazes with Ojo Puerte You alls stan' by my back, an' we'll ligh t down on ther murderin' pair o' jacks an' make 'en; jump six ways fer Sunday!" "Iji with yo u,'' said Ted, and t hen he told the story of the young prospector. "There's a tide in the affairs of men which, taken at the flood, leads to New Jersey," put in Fatty Durkin, th e the sp ian o f the troop. "I l ong to meet human w olves in bat tle array. when I am in the mid s t o f conflict my soul sings 'J ohnn_y, git yer gun.' Then I am in "All right.'' At a safe distance from the banI< a ring was and the contest began. If the colonel's body was short, his arms were lon g. That they had a g iant's power in them was evidenced when they encircled the robust form of the fat boy. Durkin was allowed to tak e the under hold, but this gave him no advantage, for when he essayed to throw clown the dwarf h e found that he had no breath with which to operate. The colonel, whose arms wrapped the body of his advers ary, had a crushin g force, surpassing that of the coils of a b oa constrictor. The two forms swayed a moment, and then, with scarcely an effort, the fat boy was tossed hig h in air. The fall must have had an injurious effect, had there been any fall. But there was none. As th e body descended, Col. Bob caught it and shot it upward again. The spectators broke into sho uts of laughter. Bud Morgan spread his legs, stooped and extended his arms. "Low ball!" h e called out to the col onel. "Now!" \Vith a surprising exercise of stre ngth. the fat boy was sent whirling through the air, to be caught by Morgan, who went backward and measured his length on the ground when the almost round ball of fat him in the chest. His head a thump which for the mo ment made him see stars. The impact resulted in no injury to Derkin. He w::is on his feet, gazing about him1 when Col. Bob came up and put out his hand.

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THE YOUNG ROUGR RIDERS WEEKLY. s ''Don't yank yer mouth down an' l ook as if yer'd lost yer best friend, son," he said, in a cheery tone. :'You shore got ter kick again s t. When you git it through yer noddle thet ther champeen all-around scrapper of Arizony was ther gal oot yer went up against, yer won't feel so meechin' about it." Josiah's eyes brightened at the words. He was a thor oughbred, and he thought he knew a man when he saw one. He shook hands with the victor, and said he was --.._ _proud to know him. Now it was that Ted Strong started in to talk busi ness. "Boys said he, "we must not leave Arizona until have routed out and punished the two scoundrels who robbed and tried to kill my friend Wes ton, and who are wanted badly by Col. Bob." "As the deputy sheriff of Yavapai County, I'm er bet tin that I hev ther right ter call fer help whenever an' wherever I cottons ter ther ijee thet I needs it!" returned the colonel. "An' I shore needs it now!" "Do you know where to look for them?" asked Ted. "They got er hidin place somewhar near the county line." "In the reservation?" "No; in Yavapai. It's close to ther edge of ther Painted Desert, and in ther hills. It's a sure shot they are thar, fur thar's a hull bilin' of miners and stockmen who've seen 'em many a time p'intin' fer the place." "Why has no attempt been made to capture their sfrcrng hold ?" Col. Bob's nose went upward in disgust. "Whyn't nobody tried ter rout 'em out, eh? Bekase thar's a white-livered set loafin' around them thar hills. Ther hull rotten outfit is afraid ter tackle ther rapscallions. I ain't er sayin' it 'ud be er picnic raidin' them two rick eroons in their rocky fort, but thar's some folkses as 'ud try ter make ther riffle afore makin' a motion to adj ourn "Are you acquainted with the country which includes those col o n el?" ques t io ned D o c Fento n. /,. J Kn ow ever y speck oJ bunc h g rass, e r ery rocK a n f e r ther headwork, an' me an' yer rip-roarin' outfit fer ther gun an' muscle business." The young commander of the troop knitted his brows in thought. "He is scratc hin g his think works for an idea," said Beanpole Perkins to Mark Weston; "and, when he trundles it out, it will be a corker." Teel Strong cogitated for a few moments. Then his brow cleared, and he looked up, with a queer smile on his lia.ndsome countenance. "Bo y s," said he, "I have pep per e d the bull's-eye. I've got a plan that I think will do the trick. But, b e fore I ent e r into an explanation I want to ride up the hill bey ond that clump of cottonwoods. I won't be gone more than half an hour. While I am away you might build a fire and make some coffee and fry some bacon. It's about time for a feet won't be so easy. Ther hole of these yer murderin' yam ahoos is a cave that I reckon ther prehysteric cliff dwellers user ter inhabit. Ther mouth to this yer hole overlooks er precipice an' commands er vie w of th e r hull desert an' all ther approaches. Ter git ther bulge on these mud eatin' wizard slitters, we must come Mister Fox onter 'em." "Have you made any p1ans ?" Col. Bob looked at Ted Strong, the speaker, and shook his head. "But we'll git 'em, though," he said. "You cmne nere." "What man?" as1
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6 THE YOUNG ROUGH RIDERS WEEKLY. Air we er layin' around hyer ter be er playin' hayseeds ter this yer sort o' moss-kivered monkey business, or air we goin' ter riz up onto our hind legs an' mop ther yerth yvith yer ?" The idiot giggled, and then, flapping his arms, began to crow. Col. Bob gazed at him, at first in red-hot anger and then in amusement. J Carl Schwartz, who was engaged in restoring the bacon to the pan, ventured this remark: "I dond say nod ings, f e r I exposes dot dis vosn't my vuneral. Bud maype Col. Pob vood lige to tagle dot biece of voolishness lige he did dat vat poy, vot ?" "I'd be plumb ashamed ter put my claws onter him," was the reply. No sooner were the words said than the idiot shot out his right hand and struck the doughty colonel in the chest. The little man went backward, but managed to retain his footing. With an ugly grin, he sprang upon the assailant, and, taking the upper hold, as in the case of Fatty Durkin, essayed to throw the idiot up in the air. But he met with a surprise. The idiot was strong as a bull, and, obtaining, through the colonel's permission, the under hold, proceed e d to make efficient use of his advantage. The colonel squeezed and he squeezed. For a time honors were easy. Soon however, the colonel began t-o breathe heavily. His powerful arms Jost their vigor, and, as he partly relaxed his grip for the purpose of takin g a fresh start, he was lifted off his feet and up in the air. Now the idiot showed the strength of which he was capable. With all his mu s cles in play, he swung th'e body of his antagonist backward and let it fall, with a thud, on the ground five feet behind him. This feat accomplished, he sat clown by the fire, warmed his hands and giggled with the abandon of a thirteen-year-old schoolgirl. The young rough riders clapped their hands and yelled. Col. Bob sat up, and passed a trembling hand over his brow. "I shore caves!" he gasped. "If any of you gents will fetch me er knothole, I'll perceed ter insinooate my self through it. I was er gamblin' that thar ombre was er fule, but I'm bettin' a chaw o' terbacker agin' a last year's bird's nest thet he's not sich a fule as he looks!" The idiot arose to his feet. The eyes opened, the mouth assumed another shape, the foolish grin disap peared. "Right you are, c olonel," he said, in a rich, manly voice, "and Teel Strong is ready to apologize if he has hurt your feelings." "Well, I'll shore ber blamed if you don't corral ther bakery!" exclaimed the clumfound ecl deputy sheriff of iY avapai County. "Apoligize? Shore not! You licked r, me-licked me fa'r-an' I'm proud ter be licked by sich er lightnin' striker as you be! Ted had deceived all of the boys. No one of his friends had suspected that he was the possessor of such rare histrionic abilities. Josiah Durkin felt that his title as actor of the outfit had been wrested from him. But he bore his humiliation with a smiling face. "The king is dead-long Jive the king!" he shouted. "Hurra11 for Ted Strong. the champion character imper sonator of two continents !" When congratulations were over, Teel, with a seriotrJ countenance, said : "I suppose you are wondering what possessed me to play the fool. I'll tell you It was for the purpose of ascertaining whether or not I could maR.e. a success of the character. You have all noticed the little, leathern bag which I have kept strapped to my saclclle ever since we left N e braska. The idiot disguise was in that bag. I thought, perhaps, I might have oc casion to use it some day, and, when the time came, it was my intention first to do a little practice work on the boys." "But how in the name of jimmenetty gorem," said Thad Perkins, "did you learn the acting part?" Ted Strong smiled "At school," he replied. "We used to give dramatic entertainments at the close of the half terms, and I was the star of the kid aggregation. My favorite role was that of the Idiot Witness in the old English play of that name. I used to rehearse the part, in costume. before my parents, and I fooled them so well that they were afraid I might become fille the desire to adopt the stage as a profession. "But I had never any such idea. Play acting is all right when undertaken for amusement, but I have never had any desire to don the sock and buskin as the business of my life. When I came West I brought my costume and make-up box with me, and to-clay I have shown you the use I can make of them." "Your play of to-day means something," said Ben Tremont. "You haven't been playing the idiot just to pass away the time." "Indeed, I have not. I intend to play the part for a serious purpose. As the idiot, I shall enter the den of the two desperadoes whose capture we have determined upon." Silence fell upon the little party. Col. Bob looked at Teel in disapprobation. Buel Morgan's face had a grave expression. Mark Weston shook his head. "Let me outline my plan, boys," said Ted, seriously. "before you start in to argue the case. I am not going to go up to that in the rock and butt in on Pan handle Ike and Flat Beak Corbison. That would be a fool play, sure enough. No; my scheme is something different. They will take me in, and they will think me a genuine natural. Once in their cave, the game will be ours."

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0 THE YOUNG ROUGH RIDERS WEEKLY. I 7 ., "It's shore easy ter talk, cap," put in Col. Bob, "but how air yer goin' ter make ther pair o' piratin' rick
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' __ \ 8 THE YOUNG ROUGH RIDER-S WEEKLY. I slid out ter ketch you an' give you ther benefit of It careless way: "All my boys are strangers to yo u aren't Your idee was ter meander carelessly up ther trail ter they?" ther cave, thinkin' thet Panhandle an' Flat Beak 'ud se e The little man, who had not the quick wit to grasp th e you an' waltz down ter meet you. Thet's puttin' it"I. meaning hidden in this simple question, answered readstraight I reckon?" ily: "Yes. I never m et none of 'em until I came up "That was the program, colonel." with 'em on ther Chelly." "Well, it won't do, son-won't do at all! For why? Teel Strong smiled inwardly. The bait had been taken. Beca'se those two rickeroons 'ucl shoot you first an' come "Then," he continued, with a sharp glance at the colodown ter meet you arterwards. How'd they get wisdom nel's face. "all the information r especting your busine ss, onter th er fack thet you was a shore enough fule? Simyour relations to leading citizens and officials, your career ply by gett in sight of you five or six hundred yards as a pioneer, came from your own lips, did it not?" away? They shore wouldn't know yo u from a side o' "\i\Thy, shore!" with a sudden hard e ning of th e muscles sole leath e r. Every ombre, with them, is either a friend of the mouth. "Your lad s pumped me fer p'ints about or an enemy. An' strangers, in their eyes, is always mys e lf, an' I gin ther best I had. What of it?" ""'-..! enemies. You couldn t make good half a mile away, an' "Nothing." you wouldn't git er chance ter do it at close quarters, fer The answer was given shortly. The colonel shrugged ther reason as I hev said, the t they wouldn't give you his h eavy s houlders. "'Pears ter me," he said, after a ther opportunity." pause, th e t you air trvin' ter work up a case agin' me. There was so und sense in the words of Col. Bob, and Show yer hand. What's eatin' ye r ?" Ted's suspicions began to fade away. But he was not Delib e rately, with r evolver ready for instant action and yet entirely satisfied. eyes for any movement the colonel might make. Ted re"I might fool them in spite of what you say," he replied: I am ea ten up with suspicion. You have not plied; "for you don't know what antics I intend to disgiven a satisfactory explanation of your presence here play when I reach the hill below th e cave." this morning. Your solicitude for me comes rather late "They'll h ev ter be gilt-edged ter put ther blink e rs in the day. The details of my proposed venture were onter Ike and Flat Beak." carefully go n e over b efo re we l eft the res e rvati o n, two "They are gilt-edged," said Ted, confidently. days ago. We ha'.re talked about the matter since, and in Col. 'Bob screwed up his face, and appeared to be doing n one of o ur talks did you raise any objection to the some respon sible thinking. course I intended to pursue. You knew all about the "Maybe you kin make it, arte r all," he said, slowly. "I danger, and yet yo u were willing that I should go -i;,11::-W was go in ter perpose somethin' else, but-I dunno--! as I had planned." dunno." The dwarf l oo ked the stern-faced, sturdy yo uth up and He let his eyes fall to the ground. Some struggle was down with a countenance that was indicative of rage and going on in his mind. perplexity. Ted Strong's suspicions again crept to the surface. "If you weren't a kid, I'd shore give yer a pi ece of He was beginning to have a corr e ct idea of the situation. my mind!" he hissed. "But I ain't er gittin' huffy with Further evidence to make sure that Col. Bob was a nursery brats!" wolf in sheep's clothing was wanting, but Ted thought The in s ult did not cause Ted's cheeks to flush On the b y the exercise of a little shrewdness he could obtain it. contrary, h e f e lt a thrill of satisfaction. The colonel was He was of the fact that his r ecen t successful chase t ea rin g the mask from his ow n face. after the cattl e rustlers had placed him on the black list "Give him rope," thought the young rough rider, "and of every desperadd in Arizona. Their fear of him their he will hang himself." knowledge of the daring raids he and his troop had made "As you've go t er bee in yer bunnit an' air takin' er in Dakota, Wyoming, Colorado and Nebraska, of his cross-e y ed s quint at ther c ase, I'll s h o re bid you good willingness at all times to take the field against the des-by. an' hopin' thet we won't never meet up with each other no more !" peradoes of the \i\T est, might induce them to believe that he would not likely leave the Territory without having a dls it yo ur intention to give up the pursuit of the se shy at every band of outlaws that infested it. outlaws?" And there was also the matter of r eve nge to consider. The thieves he had killed. sent to prison or scattered had friends who cherished a deadly resentm ent against him and his company. This Col. Bob might be one of them, and he might have joined the troop for the exp ress purpose of leading it into a trap. To try to resolve doubt into certainty, he said, 111 a "No!" the colonel shouted, in rage. ter keep on but I'll work on my own your way, an' I'll shore go mine." "I'm er goin' hook. You go With this speech, the dwarf made a move to but a sharp command from Ted Strong caused halt suddenly. depart, him to "Stop You are n9t going to leave me in this fashion!"

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tf THE YOUNG ROUGH RIDERS WEEKLY. 9 The determined youth's pistol was out, and Col. Bob, turning, saw that the muzzle was on a line with his forehead. He trembled and began to splutter. "You're actin' like ere Simon-pure idjit !" he said. "What right hev you got ter be stickin' your nose inter my business?" "The right that belongs to every man who respects the law, and who has no sympathy with lawbreakers," an swered Ted, calmly. ,"Shucks! Take er tumble to yourself, young feller! Go and tell ye r mother she shore wants yer Put yer head inter a bar'! o' softsoap Ther's a hard knot in yer brain. Thet will soften h." ,.:7;1. Bob spoke sneeringly, but he was ill at ease. Ted gazed at him curiously. "You are a queer citizen, colonel," he remarked, "and yo u're pretty shrewd, in a way. But yo u can't work any of your games on yours truly. I may be a baby, but I've quit taking flimflam juice in my mnk. Perhaps you don t know it, but you have given yourself dead away. You want to go from this spot and warn Panhandle Ike and Flat Beak Cor bison that I am coming. You desire that they shall know in advance of the deception I intend to practice upon them. You are plotting for my death. Don't deny it, I hav e r ead you like a book. You are no more deputy sheriff of Yavapai County than I am Admiral Togo! You are a spy and for the outlaws of Ari zona. Shed your weapons, and don't try to take a nap 'i\>bjle you 're at the work." Col. Bob Basll:et's face was a study while Ted Strong was speaking. He ceased to dissemble. He gritted his teeth and clinched his hands ; his eyes shot fire and hint ed at murder. But h e made no movement with his hands. Death lurk ed in the chambers of the revolver held by the sharp, self-contained youth before him and he did not want to die at that moment. In spite of his sneering words, he had a wholesome respect for the strength, ability and grit of th e leader of the young rough riders. The wrestling match on the banks of the Chelly had had its effect. He knew he was not dealing with a babe in arms. Ted began to count, "One, two---" The colonel saw no mercy in the eyes of the youth who had him at such a disadvantage, and, with an oath, he threw down two revolvers and an ugly-looking knife. Teel kicked them out of r eac h { and th e n issued the second command : "Lie clown !" The colonel obeyed. The young rough rider had started out with cords which he thought he might have occasion to use in the event of a successful entry into the cave of the two outlaws. With these cords he proceeded to bind his prisoner. Col. Bob would have made resistance if opportunity had been offered. But Ted's first move was to seize the little man's hands. The wrists secured, the rest was easy. "Goin1ter leave me here on ther desert?" whined the colonel after Ted had risen to his feet. "It would serve you right if I did," was the answer. "But l'.11 shore pass in my chips, if you d_si, cap! We're. off ther trail an' away from water, an' thar's nuthin' about hhe but coyotes an' buzzards." "What kind of a fate had you reserved for me?" Ted inquired. 1:he colonel made no reply. Ted picked up the pris oner's weapons and started to move away. The colonel began to cry like a baby. "Fer God's sake, don't leave me ter die er horrible death!" he pleaded. "Treat me white, an' I'll do ther same by you." Teel stopped and appeared to consider. "Unless you tell me what your devilish plans were, and also all you know about the cave, I shall be compelled to leave you for the coyotes and the buzzards. I mean what I say." The colonel drew a deep breath. "No t ies, now," warned the inflexible youth. "If what you conclude to tell me shall prove to have no relation t o the truth your death will be a matter of hours. If you open up I'll take you back to camp and turn you over to the boys, with instructions to hang you, if I get into tronble through any lies." The colonel's mind was made up to tell the truth. He l oved Efe, and the good things in it, and believed that he could escape punishment at the hands of the law by an open confession now. "Here goes, then,'' he said. "I was intendin', as you sizes it up, ter go t>er ther cave an' put Ike an' Flat Beak wise about your idjit play. Then they d naterly swoop down an gather you in." "How long have you been in league with the outlaws of thi s Territory?" "Ever s ince I came yer from Colorado, and that's a matter o' ten year." "Wh y did you join my troop?" The colonel was silent a moment. But he could not meet Ted Strong's cold, steady gaze. Neither could he cover up the truth. "Some o' my friends had it in fer you alls," he re plied, "an' I was commission ed ter pave ther way fer puttin' ye r inter a hole." "I understand. And do Panhandle Ike and Flat Beak Corbison fear that I may begin a campaign against them?" "Sure shot. They air er gamblin' that you will camp on their trail immejet." "You have told one story about the cave. No'Y it's up to you to tell another, and the true one." "What I reeled off war true enough, in P,art. I lied

PAGE 11

IO THE YOUNG ROUGH RIDERS WEEKLY. about ther secret entrance. They gits out an' in by means of another outlet of ther cave." "Where i s that outlet?" "At ther foot of ther cliff. It's kivered up by a big bowlder. Ther bowlder swings on conceal e d hinges, an' i s easy ter work. No one not in ther secret 'ud ever think o f lookin g f e r an outlet thar." "I presu me you intended to reach your friends' riest by way of thi s sec r e t entrance?" "I war thinkin' of doi n th a t sa me thin g, sart'inly." There ".:as more talk and, when Ted had l ea rn e d all h e wished to know, he stood the colonel on his feet and the return journey to the camp was begun. It was now da ylig ht. and they were about twelve miles from the troop of the young rough riders. As the d ay promised to be hot Ted hurried his pFis oner over th e ground at the highest rate of speed he was capable of go ing. After walking some five miles, they came to a gully running in an irregular line from a large butte to a sink in the des e rt. By traver s in g a considerable portion of it s length a mile of the journey might be saved. Its depth about tw e nty-five feet, and there were rocks along its c o urse, so that walking was not difficult. The re were many twi s ts and turns, and, on coming around one bend, they confronted two men sitting on the gro und smo kin g They had evil faces, and each was heavil y anned. A few rods awav were their h orses At sight of them. Col. Bob gave a shout of joy. Teel Strong r eac h ed for a pistol, but at that mom ent th e belt bu ck l e gave way, and th e belt, with all its weapons, Col. Bob's and his own, dropped tothe ground. O n th e h eels o f thi s misadventure, th e v illainous dwarf shouted: "Plu g him, boys! He's Ted Strong!" CHAPTER IV. CASSIE BARLOW'S STORY. The lead e r of the youn g rough rid e rs had Teen in m a n y ti ght places in his life, but lig htning work Had generally saved him. On this occasion he act e d quickly. 1 Before the villains were able to draw their revolvers, Teel, with -on e l ea p was up o n them. A kick in the head sent one sprawling, a blow in the jaw flatten ed th e ot her. Their weapons had been taken from them, and Teel had ju st finis h ed the work of binding them, when from down the gully cam e two more men, and with them a b ea utiful girl. There was no need of explanation. The spectacl e which -the for egro und presented, th e sight of Teel Strong, erect and breathing war, told the story. Two bullets cut the air. Had the two outlaws w ith the girl been more cool, the young rough rider must have gone down never to arise. But they were startled and excited, and as a consequence, the shots went wild. One, however, found a human stopping place. Col. Bob Basket, standing'...on one side of Ted Strong, re ceived it, and, as it pen e trated his brain, his connection with this vale of tears ceased suddenly. Ted would have fired in return h a d not the pair of des peradoes used the g irl as a shield. With pistols raised, he said: "It will be wise policy on your part to surrender!" One o f the outlaws burst into a horse laugh. "Surrender yer grann y '\ he said. "But," he added, "I'm shore willin' ter parley, if my pard ain't er "Parley goes," assented the pard. "Don't trust them !" These words were uttered in a musical, appealing voice by the gi rl. She stood in front o f the men, and Ted, ob serving h e r critically, saw that she was not a girl of the mountains but one who had been brought up in a re fined atmosphere. Her lov ely face spoke of intelligence, culture and nobility. Why was she here, in the Painted Desert a prisoner in the h a nds of evil men? Before g ivin g attent ion to the men, Ted asked: "Who are you, miss, and why are you in this position?" "These m en have c om mitted a murder," she answered, fearlessly. "I saw them, and the y are taking me away b eca u se my t es timon y would hang them." The murd e r e r s scow l ed, and one of them the one near est to her, cau ght her roughly by th e arm and flun g .her backward with such force that. she fell, and la y moaning upon the g r o und ... Ted Strong's fine face grew h o t with indi g nation as he witnessed this brutal act i o n. Reckles s of consequences, he sprang forward and dealt the girl's assailant a power ful blow in th e jaw, and, as the mi s creant staggered back and tri ed t o save himself from falling, he sw ung with his left, which held b o th pistols, am: caught the othe r fel l ow under the ear, just as a revolv er cracked close to hi s head. I I The young roug h rid er's sudden o nslau ght slightly disarranged th e villa in 's aim, and the bull e t grazed his s h o uld er. Now ens u ed a mix-up th a t in which yo uth strength and agility w e r e seen to magnificent advantage. As th e second villain was measuring hi s l e n g th upon 1 the sane!, th e first, n ow erect and ugly, was raising the pistol to put his dangerous foe out of bus i ness. But no s h ot was fir ed Quick a s a flash, Teel Strong raised one o f his revolvers and sent it flying through the air. It st ruck th e man intent on murder squarely between the eyes, and while he was reelin g, a ri ght hander, char ged with the force of a pile driver, effected connection on his jugular, and he sought the earth with a si1ddenness and

PAGE 12

THE YOUNG ROUGH RIDERS WEEKLY. II violence that induced immediate unconsciousness. On the instant of the fall Ted instinctively ducked his head. And it was well that he did so, for a bullet fired from the second villain's revolver smote the air where his head had been. Number two was not on his feet, but was sitting down. He would have taken another shot at the young rough rider if a new ally had not come to Ted's rescue The girl had staggered to an upright position, with a large stone in her hand. The prevailing opinion is that a \ Y O man does not know how to throw a stone. Cassie Barlow was an exception to the rule. Beanpole Perkins, champion in this class, could not have done better. Cas sie fly at the very moment when villain number two ..... 1 ,. was preparing to make good the boast he had often made that he was the best s hot in Arizona. The stone caromed on his forehead, and subsequent proceedings, covering a matter of ten minutes, had no interest for him. Ted thanked the brave girl with his eyes, an'd then turned his attention to the man who had been having some trouble with his jugular. His form was beginning to twitch, and he was uttering groans that indicated most distressed physical condition. Ted removed the fellow's battle armament, and then said to the girl: "Take this pistol and cover him, wh ile I am lookin g out for his partner." A few minutes suffic ed to secure with cords the two villains who had abducted the girl. "I reckon it is about J;ime to take a rest," said Ted, with a smile. "I like ex trc;se, but this sort is rather strenuous I don't believe I could keep it up all day." They sat down upon the bank, and faced each other. The gir l 's lov ely countenance was aglow with admira tion and joy. In eloquent words, words that made Ted blush and fidget, she expressed h er appreciation of the young rough rider's courageous and gallant work in her behalf. The brave youth frankly assured her that he would have failed utterly ,..but for her assistance. Then, to change the subject, he asked her about the murder which she had witnessed. "I must tell yo u something about myself, as well," she said. "My name is Cassie Barlow, and my home is in St. Louis. A month ago I went to Flagstaff to pay a l ong-lJromised visit to a dear friend and schoo lmate, Mrs. Ringgold. Her hu sband is a mining man, and is away from home a great deal of th e time. Their resi dence is on the outskirts of the little town, and during her husband's absences her brother, in the past, was her protector. He was-for he is dead now-a clerk in one of the town stores, and he made his home with his sister. "On my arrival, I found Mrs. Ringgold alone. Mr. Ringgold was away, and Charles Farley, the brother, had gone to Belmont for the day on business for his em ployer. He was expected home in the evening "From what afterward occurred, I am of opinion that my presence in the hou se was not known to the villains who are the cause of my appearance here to-day. A short time after dark, Mrs. Ringgold went down the road about a quarter of a mile to take some delicacies to a sick neighbor. She did not intend to be gone more than half an hour. "Whil e she was away, the two men on the ground here came to the front door, and, without knocking, entered I was busy in the kitchen at the time. and hearing the noi se, supp o sed that my friend had returned. I was un deceived when one of the men opened th e kitchen door. He showed surprise on seeing me, but. quickly recovering himself, drew a pistol and gruf-fty ordered me to march into the living room, which he h ad just left. \i\T oman like, I screamed at the top of my voice "The scream brought Manue l an old Mexica n wh o worked about the place, and while the villain was dragging me from the kitchen, Manue l came hurrying in. Be fore he could make a move for my benefit, I was flung aside, and a knife was buried in his heart. "As he fell, I heard so unds of a struggle within the house. Without bestowing a glance upon me, the mur derer of Manuel dashed into the living room. I followed, and saw two men fighting upon the floor. One was Charles Farley, Mrs. Ringgold's brother. r'eitily recog nized him from the photograph which my 1riend had that day shown me. He was on top of his adversary, and would, I think, have succeeded in coming off victor if the o ther villain had not taken a hand. Before my eyes there was a repetition of the horrible scene I had witnessed in the kitchen. The knife again came into play, and Charles Farley was cruelly and brutally s lain. I saw the blood gush from his neck; I saw the knife raised for a second blow, and then I fell in a faint upon the floor. "When I again opened my eyes I was On my feet, and a gag was in my mouth. Each of the murderers had me by an arm, and I was dragged from the house and placed upon a horse. One of the fiends mounted beside me and we rode toward the creek and skirted the San Francisco Mountain. After riding for half the night, the gag was removed from my mouth, but I was informed that, should I raise my voice at any time for the purpose of bringing assistance, I would be shot without mercy. "Since then we have traveled a great distance. Every day I have feared for my life. More than once did the villains debate my fate. One was for killi'ng me, and getting rid of a useless burden. The other thought I might prove to be a money-maker. At last it was resolved to keep me until they arrived at the den of two outlaw friends, who bore the singular names of Panhandle Ike and Flat Beak Corbison. 'Ike,' said the villain who was

PAGE 13

12 THE YOUNG ROUGH RIDERS WEEKLY. averse to putting me out of the way, 'has a great head He can t ell ts if it will pay to hold h er for a rans<1111.' "It would not have paid," added Cassie, "for I am an orphan, and haven t a thou sa nd dollars to my name." "Were your captors not pursued?" asked Ted. "Yes, but we had suc h a start that the pursuers never came within sight of us. My captors met that dwarf, whose body lies at your feet, and he to ld about the pur suit, and advised th em as to the safest route to reach their destination." Having heard Cassie Barlow's s t ory, Ted spent no more time in the gully of blood. The hor ses ridden to the place by the two Flaffstaff murderers we re pressed into service, and the young rough rider and the b eauti ful girl were soon galloping over the desert in th e direction of the camp of the troop. Shortly before noon, and wheh the h eat had become op pressive, they arrived at the camp. But four of the boys were there-Beanpole Perkins, Carl Schwartz, Josiah Durkin and Ben Tremont. Jack Slate, Bud Morgan, Kit Summers, Mark \iVeston and Doc Fenton had go ne to carry out a part of the program which Teel had pre pared the night before. When the boys were made acquainted with the rea sons which had induced their leader 's return to camp, the y threw their hats in the air and shouted their admira tion and delight. "Boys," said Carl Schwartz, "I mofes you dot we ox bress our ntimends py gifing Gabclain Sdrong der vreedom oof dis gamp; und clot a gommiclclee pe in sdnictioned to vait on him and asg him oaf dere's any dings he vants dot he can'cl ged it alretty." "I'll answer that question now," sa id Teel. "I want you, Carl, for a quick ride. Mount your horse and lope to the settlements, and tell the first officer you meet that there are fd'ur bound outlaws in the gully I was just speaking of. Respecting the examinatio:i in court, tell him to have it set for the day after to-morrow." Carl made ready at once and rode off. Ted then looked at the girl, with a puckered brow. "You would like to return to Flagstaff as soon as pos sible, I presume?" he said. "Yes," was the answer; "but don't let me disturb any of your arrangements." "I have been prospecting the country about here this forenoon," said Ben Tremont, "and I have discovered an old adobe cabin, a couple of miles to the south, at the foot of the mountains and by the bank of a creek, a branch of the Moen Capie." "Well," remarked Ted, "what is your suggestion?" "An old miner lives there and, from my talk with him, I am satisfied that he is s quare. He has never been bothered by the outlaws of Arizona, for the reason, prob ably, that he has nothing worth stealing, and that his cabin is not near any of the regular trails. I would suggest, therefore, that Miss Barlow be escorted there, and that she r ema in und e r the old man's protection until we are through with our expedition. After we hav e-set tied with Panhandle Ike and Flat Beak Corbison, we can go to the cabin and arrange for the journey to Flag staff." "vVhat is the old miner's name?" asked Ted. "Philetus Alden." "Philetus Alden!" exclaimed Beanpole Perkins; "why, that is the name of an uncle of mine, who left home twenty years ago to mine in Colorado. Gee! but I'd like to see him I have heard my mother speak of hirii o ften. He was her favorite brother and she always maintained that a finer man never lived." Ted Strong's countenance cleared. "You company Miss Barlow to the cabin," he said, "ancl perhaps it might be well for you to remain there until the troop shows up. There are only two men with whom we have to deal, and there are enough of us to manage the affair without you, Perkins." Beanpole was both pleased and disappointed at this proposed arrangement. He longed to assist in the cap ture of the pair of desperadoes and at the same time he viewed with delight the prospect which the trip to the cabin presented. He had been struck in a soft spot by ( the appearance of the lov e l y girl, and he knew that a short season of unalloyed delight was '!fn to. him. "I shall not be gone more than twd ; days;" said Ted to Cassie Barlow. "I hope the arrangement does not displease ycu ?" "I am entirely satisfied," she said, v'iit. h a look'"1h1t made Ted blush. "I know that I am a burden, and that you are showing me the utmost kirnlness and consider ation. I trust the time will come when I may be able to repay you.' That afternoon Beanpole Perkins, Teel and Miss Bar low mounted horses and rode to the miner's cabin. Teel went along for the purpose of making sure that Philetus Alden was really the uncle of Perkins, an}L a man who could be trusted. In reaching the cabin, the y found the door open, and the inmate of the cabin lying moaning upon a rude bunk. CHAPTER V. IN THE HANDS OF THE ENEMY. The old man raised himself upon his elbow as Ted Strong entered the cabin. "What is the matter?" questioned the young rough rider. "Shot in the leg. Two villains robbed me, and then shot me, so that I could not give the alarm.'' "When did this happen?" 'lLess than an hour ago. The men have been known tc me by sight and reputation for a long time. But they:

PAGE 14

THE YOUNG ROUGH RIDERS WEEKLY. never bothered me until to-day. I was reading a paper which a cowboy left here yesterday, when Panhandle Ike and Flat Beak Corbison showed their ugly faces at the door. They said they had come to clean me out. Their provisions in their den had run low, and on account of some deviltry they had carried out recently they said they would be obliged to lie low for a while. "I told them to help themselves, and they did. When they had taken what provisions they needed, the scoun drels asked me if I had any money. I told them that I ....__ a little and intended to keep it. 'We'll see about that,' said Panhandle lke, and, upon the words, they seized me, threw me down, and searched my person. Not finding any money, they investigated the cabin. A buck.,._,,l
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