The mystic brand; or, Frank Reade, Jr. and his overland stage.

The mystic brand; or, Frank Reade, Jr. and his overland stage.

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The mystic brand; or, Frank Reade, Jr. and his overland stage.
Series Title:
Frank Reade weekly magazine
Senarens, Luis 1863-1939
Place of Publication:
New York
Frank Tousey
Publication Date:
Physical Description:
29 p. ; 28 cm.


Subjects / Keywords:
Dime novels ( lcsh )
Science fiction ( lcsh )
Inventors -- Fiction ( lcsh )
serial ( sobekcm )

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Source Institution:
University of South Florida
Holding Location:
University of South Florida
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
024678639 ( ALEPH )
63146949 ( OCLC )
R18-00020 ( USFLDC DOI )
r18.20 ( USFLDC Handle )

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No. 21. the mau of 1lghting men Frank 1lung the coil ot electri1led wire. Shot and shell could not have created half the havoc. Ken were h1lrled right and left, knocked senseless or inatantlJ' killed.


These Bo oks Tell You Everything! A COMPLETE SET IS A REGULAR ENCYCLOPEDIA! Each book consists of sixty-four pages, pri nted on good pape r in type and neatl y bonnd in an attractive; illustrate d cov e r of the books a1 e also profusely and all ?-f' the subjt;ets treated \lP_On are explained in such a s!mp l e ma nner that any Child. can thoroughly understand them. Look ovel' the hst as classtfied and see tf you want to know anythmg about the sub j ects mentiOned. THESE BOOKS ARE FOR. SALE BY ALL NEWSDEALERS OR WLLL BE SENT B Y MAIL TO ANY FROM THIS OFFICE ON REqEI_?l' OF PRICE, TEN CENTS EACH. OR .\.NY THREE BOOKS FOR '.rWEN'l'Y-FIYE ..[;ENTS POSTAGE STAMPS 'I A!\. EN THE SAME AS MONEY. Address _TOUSEY, Publisher, 24 Union Square, MESMERISM. 'o. 81. HOW TO l\IESMERIZE.-Containing the most ap methods of mesmerism ; a l so ho\v to cure all k i nds of rliseases by animal magnetism, or, magnetic healing. By Prof. Leo Hugo Koch, A. C. S author of now to Hypnotize," etc. PALMISTRY. 82 HOW T O DO PALl\IISTRY.-Coll'tain ing t h e m ost ap p r oved m ethods o f read ing the lin es on the hand, toget her with a full e x p lanati o n of their meaning. Also exp laining phrenology, and the k ey for te lli ng cha racter by the bumps o n the head. B y Leo Hugo Koch, A. C. S F ull y illu strated. HYPNOTISM. No. 83. HOW TO HYPNOTIZE.-Containin g va l uable and i n informati on regard i ng the science of hypnotism A l so txplainin g t h e m ost appr oved meth ods w h ic h are emp l oyed by the l eadin g h yp notists of the worl d. B y Leo Hugo K och, A.C.S. Sf='ORTING. No. 21. H O W T O HUNT AND FISH.-The most comp l ete llunting and fish i ng guide ever published It contains full in tructio n s about gv. ns, bunting dogs, traps, trapping and fishing, t ogether with descr i ptions of game and fish. No 26 HOW TO ROW, SAIL AND BUILD A BOAT.-Fully tllustrat ed. Every boy shou l d know how to row and sail a boat F ull instructions are given in this little book, together with in ttructi ons on swimming and riding, companion sports to boating. No 4 7 HOW TO BREAK, RIDE AND DRIVE A HORSE.A com plete treatise on the horse. Describing the most useful horses (or business, the best horses for the road; also valuable recipes for Hseases pecr the secret of pa l mistry. Also the secret of telling future events b y a i d of moles, marks, scars, etc. Illustrated. By A. Anderson ATHLETIC. N o 6. HOW TO BECOME AN ATHLETE.-Giving full in atru ctio n for th e use of dumb bells, Indian clubs, parallel bars, h o rizonta l bars and various other methods of developing a good, health y m u scle; contain i ng over sixty illustrations. Every boy can beco me strong anJ healthy by following the instructions contained \n t h i s little book. No 1 0 HOW TO BOX.-The art of se l f-defense made easy Nf?. 72. HOW TO DO SIXT Y TRlGKS W ITH bracmg all of the latest and most deceptive card tricks with lustrations. By A. Ande rson. No. 77. HOW TO DO FORTY TRICKS WITH IJontaining deceptive Card Tricks as perform ed by leadi and Arranged fo r h ome amusement. Fully MAGIC. No.2. HOW TO D O TRICKS.-The gre a t b ook o f mag i c car d tric k s, containi n g f ull instru ction on all t h e l eading card of the day, a l so the most popu l a r magical illu sio n s as n P -rnrm."'I our: m agic i a n s ; every boy s h o uld ob t ain a copy o f t h is as 1t w tll both amuse and instruct. No 22 HOW TO D O SECOND S I G HT.-H elle r's seconJ explained bJ: his former Fred Hunt, Jr. Explaining the secret dta l og u es wvre earned o n between t h e magician a nd boy on the stage; a lso g i v i ng all t h e c o des and s ignal s. T h e o nly a u thentic exp lanation of sec:ond sight. No. 43. HOW TO BECOME A l\IAGICIAN.-Containing asso rtment of magica l ill usions ever placed before pubhc. Also tricks w ith cards. incantations, etc. No. 68 HOW TO DO ClHIMICAL '.rH.ICKS.-Containing one hundred highly amusing and instructive tricks with "u'ci.U'""" By A Anderson. Handsomely illustrated. No. 6!:l. HOW '1'0 DO SLI!JIGHT OF H.AND.-Containing of the latest and best tricks used by magicians. A l so co n ta! n mg the secret of second sight. Fully illustmted. By A. Anderson. No. 70. HOW TO MAKE l\IAGIC TOYS.-Containing full directions foe making Magic Toys and dev i ces of many kinds B y A Andetson. Fully illust.-ated. No. 73 .. HOW. TO J?O TRICKS WITH NUl\IBERS.-Showinc many cunous trtcks w1th figures and the magic of numbers. By A.. Anderson. Fully illustrated. .No. 7.5. HO\y TO A CONJUROR.-Containinc trt_cks Domm?s, D1ce, Cups and Balls, Hats, etc. Embracing thuty-:>lx tllustratLOns. By A. Anderson. No 78. HOW '1'0 DO 'l'I-IE BLACK ART.-Containing a com plete des c ription of the mysteries of l\lagic and Sleight of Hand, together w1th many wonderful expenments. By A. Anderson Illustrated. MECHANICAL. No. 29. HOW '.r O BECOME AN INVENTOR-Every bo:r should know bow inventions originated. This book explains them all, giving examples in electricity, hydraulics, magnetism, optics pneumatics, mechanics, etc. The most inst ructi\e book published. HOW TO BECOl\IPJ AN ENGINEER.-Containingfull mstructtons how to proceed m order to become a locomotive en gineet'; also directions fot building a model locomotive; together with a full description of everything an engineer shoulit know No. 57. HOW TO MAKE l\IUSICAL INSTRU:\IENTS.-Full directions how to make a Banjo, Violin, Zither, }Eolian Harp, Xyl<> phone and other musical instruments; together with a brief d& scription of nearly every musica l instrument used in ancient or modern times. Profusely. illustrated. By Algernon S. Fitzgerald, for twenty yea r s bandmaste r of the Royal Bengal Marines. No. 59 HOW TO l\IAKE A MAGIC LANTERN.-Containin& a description of the lantern, together with its history and invention Also full directions for its use and for painting slides. Handsomely illustrated. By John Allen. No. 71 HOW TO DO MECHANICAL TRlCKS.-'-Containine complete instructions for performing ovet sixty Mechanical Tricks. By A. Anderson. Fully illustrated, Contai n ing over thirty illustrati ons of guards, blows, and the ditferent p os i tions of a good boxer. Every boy should obtairi one of LETTER WRITING. r / 'these u seful and instructive books, as it will teach you how to box No. 11. HOW TO WRITE LOVE-LETTERS.-A most com with out an instructo r plete little book, containing full directions for writing love-letters, No. 25. HOW T O BECOME A GYMNAST.-Containi ng full and when to use them, giving specimen letters for young and old. Instructions for all ki nds o f gy mnastic sports and athletic exercises No. 12 HOW TO WRITE LETTERS TO LADIES.-Givinc Embracing thirty-five illustrati ons. By Professor W. Macdonald. complete instructions fot writing letters to ladies on all subjects; .-\ handy and usefu l book. also letters of introduction. and requests. No. 34 HOW TO FENCE.-Containinofull instruction for No. 24. HOW TO WRITE LETTERS T O GENTLEMEN.-fencing and the use of the bt-oadswo::J; a l so instruction in a r chery. 1 C thts book. to card t ri c ks; of card tricks with o r dinary cards, a n d not requiring No. 74. HOW WRITE LETTERS CORRECTLY.-Con of tricks involving s l eight-of-b a n d, o r the use of taining full instructions for writing letters on almost any subject; s p ec mll y p r e p a r e d cards. By Professor Haffne r Illustrated. a l so rules for punctu atio n a n d composit i o n with specimen letters. ( Continued on page 3 of cover.)


RAN.KREADE 'WV'EE:EE.:J:."Y' :as:..A.G-..A.2:XN"E. C O NTAINING STORIES OF ADVENTURES ON LAN D SEA .AND IN THE AIR. L l Issued Weekly-By Subscr iption $2.50 per year. Application made for Second Class entry at the New Y01k, N Y .. Post OjJlce Entered accord ing to Act of Congress in the year 1903, in the office of the Lib>ao ian of Oongrese Washington, D. C., by F1ank Tousey, 24 Union Square, New York. No. 21 NEW YORK, MAR CH 20, 1903. Pri c e 5 Cents. OR, ft1ank and tlis Ovet1landStage. By NO N AME. CHAPTE R I. INTRODUCES HOCUS POCUS AND ITS DBNIZENS. in a day. Law and order were not yet known, and every man was his own defend e r, and th e pistol the arbiter of "I tell ye, pard, Black Bill air a bad chap tew handle. Night was at hand, and the barroom of the Gold Th a r ain't many on 'em as kin slip through Grizzly Canyon Refuge was fast filling up. an' outen his clutches without payin' toll. Thar' s my The miner s were coming in with the ir "dust" to purword on't." chase liquor, or play at game s of chanc e until some proThe speaker was a tall, powerfully-framed miner. fessional sharp had gain e d it all. He stood before the bar of the Gold S e eker s Refuge, the Big Jack Cronk, whic h was the name of the big miner one hotel and gambling d e n of Hocu s Pocu s a mushroom whose words op e n thi s story, had sauntered into the place city of the Far West. to indulge in a s mall drink of whiskey. The place was well filled with a motley and varied crowd As he stepped up to the bar a tall and rather distinof men. There was the flashy sport, the rough-dressed prospector the befringed trapper and the cowboy, with his boots and g u ished-looking young man, who was neatly dressed, had accosted him. Conversation had turned upon the one all-absorbing topic spurs, the Mexican greas e r and the half-breed Indian. In-of Hocus Pocus minds. This 'was the :fiendishness and dar deed, almost1ever y nationality on the face of the globe was ing of Black Bill, the road agent. there represented. The latter was a literal terror to the entire region. With Such is the power of gold, that glittering and alluring his w e ll organized band of robbe rs he held up coaches and meta l which c a n in turn bring joy and comfort to needy homes, or make devils of men. Many rich finds had been made in Grizzly Valley. trains, and even parties of travelers with impunity, and robbed and murdered as he saw fit. Neither was his the only band of desperadoes on the T h e little town of Hocus Pocus had spra1;1g up almost Grizzly Canyon trail. ;


THE l\IYSTIC BRAND Beyond the hills and for a hundred t h e The r e was a low, di st ant rumbl e like thunder and th Staked Plains there wer e s tation e d at interval& band s o f cla tter o f hoofs. robbers. Hardly a of the Star Route service got through without a pillaging o the mail at least. The contractors were in des pair. In vain the y had app e al e d to the government for aid. Troops had been s ent upon d es ultory raids, but it only r e sulted in a bri e f interlude and then a coach would be held up again and the m a il s r ifled It could hardl y b e s aid that the dri v er s w e r e in collu s ion for many of them were s hot. Bodies of armed men had been s ent out tim e and ag a in. But each tim e the outlaws would come off victorious ''l'h e ar c umin g !" ye lled one of the denizens. Ev ery ma n made a div e for the door. .Allan and Big J aek w e re, of course, among the m Down th e villag e street, with hor s e s at headlong s p e e and lamp s look ing lik e fie r y eyes in the gloom, came the stage. Upon the top, in s id e a n d on the time r 's seat, were pa s sengers. T e nd e rfoot s n ewly arriv e d from th e Ea s t th e y were, and a s the staf5e dre w (Jp b e fore the door of th e y old Seek e r s' R e fuge, th e faces of. e v e r y one could b e seen to be pallid and t e rror-stricken. The driver, Bill Hurd, thre w down the ribbo1.1 with a Thr,ee out o f five weekl y mail s r e gularl y w ent into t h e Cltltches Of th e robb e rs. parting curse a t the ki c kin g broncho whi c h was ni gh This r e nd e r e d communi catio n wheel hor se with the out s id e world bri ef and seldom, to s a y th e l e a s t The worth y p e opl e o f Ho c u s Poc u s w e r e in despair. Ever yt h i n g p ossibl e h a d bee n clone. The r e was a u o ut standi ng re w ar d o f ilYc t h o u s anu dollar s H e clambe r e d down from th e box whil e t h e c hang e of horses w as b e in g mad e, and rus hed up to t4 c bar f or a dr am to steady hi s shatte red n e rves. The n it was s e e n that his face was stre ak e d with blood, for th e h e a d of Bl ack Bill, de a d o r alive. l\Ian y a plu c k y scout or d a rin g hunte r had gone up. on the a nd h e w ore about his head. Hello Bill," c ri e d the bart e nd e r ... What 's been at ye?" trail, but always w ith a fu t il e resu l t .And this was why Big J ack was so emphati c i n his d ccl ar a tion m a d e t o .All a n Wyr,1an whic h was t h e n a m e o th e y oung "tende rfoot" f rom the East. .Allan was a y oun g coll e g e g r a duat e w i th a widowe d mother t o s uppor t, a n d he had s tru ck into t h e m i nes with th e hop e a nd purpose of ma kin g a f ortune Thus f ar h e h a d m et wit h var y ing lu c k havin g was h e d some few hundre d doll a r s in du s t. The proceed s o f thi s h e h a d promptl y f o rward e d hom e b y the W e ll s Fargo s tage, onl y to have i t fall into the c lutch e s of Bla c k Bill. "Nuthin ; onl y a b i t o f a scrap w i' Black Bill,'' growl e d Hurd. Toss me out som e rum Lively!" Thi s w a s don e The rough rein s man gulp e d nearly half a pint of the I raw liquor and on e of th e bys tander s ventured to ask: H e ld up agin, e h Bill?" Ya s r e pli e d the driv e r c urtly. "Pull the boodle did he?" "Took e v e r y durn e d mail bag an' pulled every man' s watch an money b e lt. don t he v an y." "But y e was ' ?" Lucky 1 fer me," he chuckled, "I So thi s was why .Allan f elt deepl y a g grieved and impa" Yas; dod bla st 'e n'!.! On e on 'e m g ive m e a shot alon g tient that so littl e e ffort was mad e to br e ak up the road th e s kull Mad e m e a bi t dizz y f e r a while but I'm all agent gang "There i s certa inl y a way to m e t e out jus tice!" h e d e clar e d, pos itively. Som e organized e ffort ought to be made." ,.,.. Big Jac k shoo k his head. right now." / The c hang e of horses had been mad e b y thi s tim e and Hurd went out of the door with a jump. Up onto th e box h e and away w ent the c oach. Two men had alighted from th e coac h and entered the Not jest yet !" h e d e clared. "It will c um in time m ebbe, barroom. The oth e r passenge rs r e main e d aboard t as ther ken try grow s larger. But Bla c k Bill hev got the Big Jack Cronk s hook hi s h e ad. cinch now." There was a re s olute light in .Allan s e yes, and be was "Black Bill air boss of the trail," h e affirmed W e ll h e won' t be for long." about to s p e ak again when a startling thin g happe n e d The big min e r turne d with a tart, and saw Allan stand-In upon the night air th e re drifte d s ound s which brought ing b e for e him with a resolut e light in his eyes every man in the barr o om to hi s f e et. "Eb, what s that ye say, lad?"


THE MYSTIC BRAND. 3 "You heard it?" There was a letter f or him, and he retired to a corner "P' raps ye know of a scheme whereby Black B ill ki n be near, and broke the seal. circumvented r" /rhus it read: "I do. 'l'he miner gave a start. "Air ye in earnest, lad?" "I am." "What kin it be?" R.EADES'fOWN, July 20, ] 8-. "MY DEAR FRIEND WYMAN: I teceived your letter, and have read it with much intere st. It has rea c hed me at a most opportune moment, and I embrace your plan with greatest alacrity. As luck ha s it, I hav e just finished my I have not yet got r eady to tell you. But you shall new invention the Ele c tric Ove rland Stage. I had in tended taking a trip across the plains witl 1 it, but the sto ry you tell me of Bla c k Bill and his gang affords m e jus t the certainly know in due course.'' oppbrtunity I desire for exciting adv enture and a philan"W?al, I n e v er!" Cronk, gazing at the youth in a puzzl ed way. "::\Iebbe yc'rc right. It's a powerful thropic use of my n e w inv e ntion. I do not b e li eve that bright spot ye lwv i:n y e r brain, anyway. 1 wis h ye lu ck." Blacf{ Bill will care to hold up the' Elec tric Stage many "Thank you." times. If he uocR, it will be to hi s s orrow "I will start at once to the r e lief of the di s tressed people Everybody ru shed into the open air again and b e h eld a of Hoc us Po c u s 'Giv e them encourageme nt. I shall bring most t hrilling sight. Barney and Pomp with me. Be on the lookout. Roping B efo r e more could be s aid, a sharp ontcry w rnt 11p. Into the v illag e st reet there da s hed a pon y at mad to sec you s oon, 1 am, as eve r, sp d. I{ e was foam-flecked and puffing heavily, yet did not aba te its rapid st rid e until it da s h e d up to the door of the tavern. Upon its ba c k was a s lender-built man, who lay over the pomm e l of the s addl e, and seemed literally covered with blood. H e was at once recognized at Dick Leeds, a pony ex-press rider. "Yours c ordially, FRANK READE, JR." The delight experienced by Allan Wyman at the word ing of this lett e r cannot be fitly in words. CHAPTER II. ,/-THE .ELECTRIC STAGE. In an instant willing hands lifted him from the sadtpe, Frank R e ade, Jr., of Readestown, was a famed acquaintance of Allan 's. and bor e him into the barroom. "Thunder an' guns," roared Jack Cron .k. "It air my uoy rid e r, Dick. Waal, I s wan! What happ e ned to ye, lad?" H ; was a distit1g u ished inventor, noted the world over for his wonderful and peculiar inventions. _These took the shape of airships, flying machines, under water boats and electrical contrivances with out number. He was the possessor of a wonderful and secret knowl edge of the power of electricity. This had enabled him to furnish his ma c hines with moThe express rider was abl e to speak, and said, feebly: ''Run up agin Black Bill an his gang; fought my way through. Mail is all safe on saddle. tm-going-to die!" tive powe r, and s o tl)oroughly familiar was he with the A swift change came my s terious element, that he could bend it to his will just The last words ended in a gurgle. over the brave express rider's face. He h ad spoken the truth. He was doomed to die His form stiffened, he gasped and the end came. Rough hands reverently straighten e d his form, clo s ed his eyes and covtred his face with a blanket. "Anothed sample of Black Bill's work!" gritted Jack Cronk. "By thu n der, kain't somebody wind him up?" A llan W y m an h a d seen a n d heard all. He waited g ri m l y for t h e di st r i bu tion of t h e m a i l, w h ich the plucky ride r had sacrificed his life t o b ri ng. as he chose. The electric gun was one of his most famous inventions, of which mention will be made hereafter Nations had offered him fabulous sums for the secret. But he woul d not sell it. Wherever the young inventor trav e led the world over he was accompanied by two devoted henchmen one a neg r o as black as the ac e of spades, and the oth e r an Iris hman, with as rich a as eve r came from Kilkenny. In a happy moment A llan had thought of Frank Reade, Jr., and conceived the idea, somewhat vaguely, perhaps,


THE MYSTIC BRAND. he might be abl e to suggest some plan for the elimination of carry out your proj ect. You have neither stage the road agent element from the Grizzly Valley. horses." He had therefor e w ritte n to him, and this was the result. "Yes I have!" Allan felt lik e a can-can dance, or a break down, or of the sort. He was jubilant. "Now, Black Bill, look out!" h e mutt e red with flas hing eyes. He was tempted to take Jack Cronk into his But upon s econd thought he d e cid e d not to do thi s I will s urprise him!' he dec id ed. He did, however, s troll ove r t o th e offiee 'of Bugb e e & Moss, the Star Rout e sub-c ontra ctors, who own e d the line. "We s hall soon h a > e t h e mail s c arri e d s afe ly a cross the Staked Plain s and thr9 u g h Grizzly Yall e y," h e declar e d Ah !" said Mr Bugbee, a s tolid and some what dull t ype of man. "How do you mak e that out?" "A n e w kind of stage i s here, whi c h the road ag e nts will not be able to hold up." The contractor s looked surprised. Then they laughed. 'It may b e s o," s aid Bugb ee. "I hav e not l1e ard of it. A new wrinkle of Uncle Sam s, eh ? Well, we' re willing to give up the 'contract." This was what All a n wanted. "Do you mean that ?" he asked. "Well, I think I will take the contract off your hands." Bugbee and Moss both looked a.t Allan with incr e dulous amazement. "You're talking through your hat, young man." are you going to carry the mails better than we?" Allan smiled, and replied: "I do not choose to an s wer that question. Neither do I want to relieve you permanently of your contract. This is my proposition." "Well r" The sub-contractors listened with interest. "I will take your contract for a period of six weeks. I will agree to carry the mail from Los Pesos to Chane't for that length of time, and not los e a letter. You simply sub-let me the route for that length of time. I will then deliver it up to you. If I have not cleaned Black Bi'll and his gang out by that time, I shall forfeit all my earnings. Of course I cannot work for nothing." The contractors were silent. Both were regarding Allan incredulously. "Perhaps you can explain just how you are going to "What?" "I have a stage, but no horses. them." I s your stage run by steam?" "No." "What then?" By electricity." Both contractors laughed. I shall not "I don t know whe ther you are crazy or not!" s aid Bug bee "but y ou appear to be a man mentally sound." "I think I am!" replied Allan, "but will you accept m y propo s ition ? "Can you give u s bond s that you will fulfill your contract?" "I will endeavor to satisfy you. "Then we will consider it. Cal1 again to-morrow!" Allan went back to the hotel and retired. But he slept little that night. He was in a state of intense excit e ment. Mqrning came, and it the stage. Allan was in the yard when it arrived. There was but one pa s senger, and he was a fine-looking man of elderly app e aranc e He wore a heavy beard and a hat with a broad brim, from the rim of which a string descended to his buttonhole, after the manner affe cted by travelers in India. Iri fact, he had jus t returned from that clime, and had been making a tour of the wild West with his daughter, when he met with a terrible misfortm:e. His story, as told in the barroom of the Refuge, was agonizing in the extreme. "My name is Alexander Van Dent!" he said. "My hobby is travel. I have traveled the world over, and my one companion has been my daughter, Harriet. She is my only child and living relative Last night the stage was held up and she was forcibly taken from it, and car ried away a prisoner. I will offer a reward of fifty thou sand dollars for her rescue and the head of Black Bill." Allan listened with wildly throbbing heart. Of course his were with Alexander Va. n Dent At an opportune moment he introduced himself. A discussion followed in which Allan told Van Dent about the work. of Black Bill, and the futile attempts made to effect his capture. "But rest easy, sir!" he said, earnestly. "She shall be rescued!" Van Dent gave an eager cry.


THE MYSTIC BRAND. "You speak confidently," he said. "I tJ1ink I have full license to do so!" said Allan. "But-I do not unders tand you!" "Have patience and you sha ll. A friend of' mine is com here with the power to crush the road agent gang." "Who is he?" "His name is Frank Reade, Jr." I Van Dent gave a great start. Reade the inventor?" "Yes.:' "Great heavens! I have heard of him. He i s coming 1ere ?" "He is." "Thank heaven for that! T en there is a chance for me.'' ., He dre,v a picture froin his pocket. ''You have never seen my Harriet," he sai d, with a fathf cr's fondness. "Can you wonder that I love her? Have you seen her peer?" I Allan gazed upon the picture and stood spe llbound. In all his life he had never seen so beautiful a face befoTe. "Let us go on to Los Pesos, the beginning of the stage line, and meet the elE>ctric stage *here." "It is agreed." As neither cared to risk a trip on Bill Hurd's stage, it was finally decided to mount ponies a:qd ride thither by an old and seldom us e d back trail. 'rhe start was made, and as the two rode out of Hocus Pocus none there gqessed their destination. It took two full days to reach Los Pesos. There a startling fact was learned. Bill Hurd and his stage had failed to come in, and the report was current that he had been forced over the edge of a precipice on the mountain trail, and dashed to death with stage, passe ngers and all. "No more stages ov:er that line!" declared the informant. "I reckon Black Bill has ended that Star Route chntract !" "Never!" cried Allan, "here comes the proof of it!" A distant, startling and wonderful object had hove into view. This was the cause of Allan's cry Down the street of Los Pesos it came. Everybody rushed Delicate and finely penciled, it held an expression which out to see what was the trouble. was not only angelic, but firm and true, and indicative of The electric stage had arrived. a strong character as well. Horses, there were none. The stage glided along with He gazed at it for some moment s, conscious of a strange the speed of a railway train, and made equally as feeling. an appearance. Allan Wyman had never been in love. At the dasher, with his hands upon the' guiding wheel, I But truly, here was hi s ideal. He was aroused by Van stood a tail, handsome and distinguished looking young Dent, who said, sharply: man. I "Well, lad, what do you think of her?" It was Frank Reade, Jr., himself, and as the stage came to !" gasped Allan. "I have never seen her a halt before the principal hotel, he stepped down from his equal!" "I thought so," said Van Dent, triumphantly. "Her like does not exist. And-my -God to think that she i s position. Upon the top of the stage at a railing stood a darky and an Irishman. in the powe'r of that villain!" Barney a11d Pomp they were, inseparable traveling com"It is horrible!" cried Allan, with great force. "She panions of the young inventor. must and shall be re scued !" In a moment Allan Wyman was by Frank's side. "God bless you for saying that, lad," cried Van Dent, They embraced warmly. heartily. "I like you. Let us be friends." "I am glad to see you, Allan," said the young inventor, Allan grasped the traveler's hand warmly, and said: "Now I am at your service with my new over" It i s agreed." land stage." "You will help me find my child?" "Which is a wonder!" cried Allan. "But pardon me! "I will." Allow me to introduce to you Alexander Van Dent." The situation was then thoroughly discussed: Finally, Van Dent said: "Well, my lacl, what can we do? Must we wait for the coming of Frank R eade, Jr.?" "I have a better plan," cried Allan. "What is it?" "What?" said Frank, pleasantly, "the famous traveler and author of so many books of travel? I have heard of you and am very glad to see you." "I am delighted to meet you, Mr. Reade!" cried Van Dent. "I have heard of your fame in all parts of the world."


G THE MYSTIC BRAND. A lively and entertaining discussion followed. Doors were upon each side of the coach, with Then Allan told the story of beautiful Harriet Van windows. Two windows upon each side and two in Dent's abduction. were the means of outlook for travelers inside. ,. The top of the coach held a long rail with a sort of CHAPTER IIV THE MYSTIC BRAND. Frank Reade, Jr., listened to the tale with horror. "It is dreadful!'' he declared. '"This Black Bill must "Indeed he does," cried Allan. "Well, we will see what we can do with him," said Frank, resolutely. Then matters were discussed iri to the carrying of -th'!Jmails. Quite a number oJ passengers were waiting for Bill Hurd's stage wonderingly. -.J In the rear was a high seat, with steps leading up to and a flag hung from a staff bearing the initials of inventor. Upon the rear part of the stage top was a light and electric gun, resting upon a tripod t?Wivel. This was a most deadly weapon, and one of Frank's invention. Forward of the upper deck Ol' top of the shge, there n. projecting roof, like th top of a chaise. Under this a platform protected by wire netting, and to which could be J1ad from the interior of the coach. The_intNior held, forward, elegant padded seats. :' Allan improved the opportunity to mount u, stump make an impromptu But in the rear there was a living room, \Vith and kitchen, and also little bunks for sleeping He described the electric stage and -its purposes. He exhow difficult it would be for Black Bill to l)old it up. The d cheered with delight. -The passengers eager to get Aboard, but Frank said: "Come, Allan and Mr. Van Dent, I will show you the mechanism of the coach first. Then we will take out the mail!'' Neither Allan nor Van Dent" were averse to this propo sition. : Frank led the way to the stage. The ne'i and the Irishman leaped clown, and Frank introduced them as Barney and Pomp. "Glad to see yo' sah," said Pomp, showing his iwries. "The top av the morni!J.' to yez, sor," said Barney, po litely. Then Frank proceeded to show his friends the appointments of the wonderful overland stage. And a wonderful affair it was. In shape it was much like the ordinary tally-ho, except that it was larger, and squarer in body. It sat upon a strong running work of steel, with four wheels, the tires of which were broad and grooved so that they would not slip on a smooth surface Beneath the body was the chest containing the dynamos. Forward a high and wide dasher rose, with a cushioned seat back of it, and a brake and steering wheel. Just below this was a pilot or cowcatcher, similar to those used on locomotives, with a sharp-point('d ram pro from the dasher. All the appurtenances hecessary for a long jomney life aboard the stage were there. The electrical machinery was of wondel'ful pattern and delicate manufacture. ... The body of the coach was of toughest rolled steel, capable of withstanding bullets. Altogether the overland stage was quite an engine ol' war fare. ETectric searchlights were upon each side and the top of the vehicle. Pressure upon an electric valve gave tho motive power. On a level road the stage could easily make forty miles an hour. Both Allan Wyman and Van Dent were much impressed with the wonderful mechanism of the overland stage. "I must congratulate you, Mr. Reade," said Allan. have a wonderful invention." "So say I," chimed in Van Dent. "We will be honored to travel with you, Mr. Reade." "You are quite welcome to take the run down the tra'il with me to Hocus Pocus," said Frank, cheeril.y. "Get. aboard!" All proceeded to do this. Allan had fixed matters by showing his contract with Bugbee & Mos and the mails were delivered to him. Then the passengers clambered aboard. Among them was a ; Quaker-looking individual with glasses. There were two ladies and a cavalry officer, and a bea ded gold seeker.


THE MYSTIC BRAND. Allan Wyman and Van Dent took the .high seat at the' "It is said to be the truth." of the coach, and Frank Reade, Jr., took hold of the 11 "Well, we had better investigate as soon as we reach i.he "v''ro"n wheel. hills!" Pomp was in the rear pact of the coach wher e was the I "So I think." machinery. There cam e a tinkling of a little The electric stage now went on with greater speed. and the darky put on the circ uit. All the rough ground had been crossed, and a straight Frank Reade, Jr., pressed the electr i c key, and the stage course lay ahead over the plain. An hour pa ssed The hills were yet twenty Jnilc8 away. The crowd cheered and the electric stage went booming 1 A half and then three-quarters came, and at length the t of Lo s Pesos. las t mil e was covered, and the s tag e was in t he timber. In a few s h e Was far out on the trail, and 'rhe trail was s mooth enough,' and the stage hardly along hke a thup.derbolt. c hecked it s speed. Allan Wyman aloft for some time, and the n j Finally, however, Frank pressed the button and brought to the front platform where Frank Read e Jr., the stage down to a t e n-mile gait. I All were keeping eager wat c h along the road s ide. Sud-The you ng inventor was holding the s tage steady upon dcnly Frank rev e rsed the lever and brought the s tage to a fifty f:ile run to the Grizzly Mountain s jus t visib l e on halt. horizon. It was at a part of the road wher e there was a bit of This was in the verge of the famous Ll ano Estacada or clearing. Plains I l_r I '1 h f 'l d l b :1crc L 1erc were p1 ed a eap o mutJ ate ma1 ags. A more desolate or dreary waste of country could hardly r'I h h d b t d h t t th h ey a een cu an t en con en s, m e s ape OL be 1magmed. torn lett ers, were scattered about the vicinity All was a monotonous s am e ness. The stage, however, Frank and Allan d escen ded and examined them. could attain a high rate of s pe ed, s o level was the g round. H e re is where the robbery was committed," sai d Allan, To be sure there were rough places, whe r e it became positively. ''That can be easi l y seen." necccssary to slacken up. ''Yes," agreed Frank, "but fir st l et u s learn the fatE! of But as a general tiling a forty-mile clip was maintained. the stage and party." Thi s s oon brought the Grizzly Hills into prominence. So the siagc kept on. There were several miles of rough hilly, wooded tract to pass through, however, before the mountai11 pass was reached. Now the narrow wall s of the pass were upon either side. r For several miles the stage ran on thus. There wer e mark s and evidences o a fierce fight every In this wooded tract the outlaws hov ere d read y to h o ld up the stage. step of the way. But this was not yet reached, so the re was a s yet no danger of attack. \ Allan engaged in earnest converaation with Frank. "So you have no fears of Bill whatever with the electric stage?" asked Allan. But at l ength the trail came out upon the verge of a mountain wall. Below lay jagged depths, fully a thousand feet below. And here was found th e trac es of th e struggle which had resulted in the stage and its human freight being preeipi"None whatever," replied the young invent6r, confidenttated into the chasm. ly. "I could whip as many outlaws as will s tand betw ee n It was easy enough to see how it was done here and the Pacific coast." The path here was very narrow. "Good! I am glad to hear that. As soon as the road Above was a steep ascent. Down this heavy boulders find that they cannot hold up the mail their vowere rolled and striking the s tage, swept it over the edge. Frank was determined to learn if this was the truth. Did you say that the driver, Bill Hurd, So he brought the electric stage to a halt, and alighting, went to the verge of the precipice. is the report." He peered over but was not satisfied. He proceeded to and his coach and the passengers are at the foot of clamber cautiously down to the bottom of the gorge. Pl'E!ClJllice?" Allan Wyman followed.


8 THE MYS'l'IC BRAND. Long before they reach e d there the wreck of the coach was seen. Again the Quaker s miled. an "If thou thinkest it true," he said in a nasal voice, "w The carcasses of the horses lay in a heap at one s ide. By a huge rock lay the dead bodies of two men. At the h mses' heels lay the inanimate form of Bill Hurd. fo1 dally here l onger? The good book i!aith ashes to ash and dust to dust We will be merciful to bury these te th ments of clay." H e was dead. "Right! cried Allan. "I beg your pardon, sir. Yo There was evid e nc e that every passeng er on the stage had. cloth wonld seem to indicate that you are a follower oft met death. Frank Reade, Jr., gazed upon the mournful scene a moment. Then he gave a great cry. He bent down over the form of one of the dead men. Gospel." The Quaker look e d attentively at Allan, and replied : "Verily, and were I not, desolate indeed would be life." "We are fortunate, good si r. Will you not rea A strange mark upon the man's brow attract e d hi s atthe prayer over this grave?" tention. The Quaker bowed piously. "Great heaven s I" he gasped. "What is m eant by that?" It was a strange and m ystic brand. Burned deep into the flesh by what seeme d a hot searing iron was the hideous skull and cross bones. The spectators were for a moment unable to make comment. "I can serve God in no better way," he s aid. 1 Alphe n Smoothbrow seeks no higher honor. Verily, verily." No one felt disposed to smile at the quaint mannerism of the Quaker. It was a sol emn moment, and very sober ly they set to work to dig the common grave. Frank Reade, Jr., carefully examined the brand In it the victims of the wreck and the mystic brand were "It is either a hot iron, or the action of some chemical placed. smeared 11pon the iron," he said. Then every other body was examined. The result was thrilling. Then Alpheus Smoothbrow knelt and offered a long and pious prayer. After this a return was made to the trail above and to one of them bore upon the brow the same mystic the s tage. brand. / CHAPTER IV. AT HOCUS POCUS. \ \. Soon all were aboard, and the stage was once more on its way. It was a singular fact that a s yet nothing had been seen of the road agents. Whether the imposing appearance of the stage had given The meaning of the brand and the purpose of the one who them fear or what it was, was not eas y to guess. put it there was a deep mystery. Certain it wao they did not put in an appearance. Certainly, it could be for no motive of for the Allan and Frank were forward at the guiding wheel. passengers of the fated coach came from different parts ''Do you really think Black Bill is the author of that of the world, and it was hardly likely that they were united brand?" asked Allan, seriou s ly. in ever having done any person a wrong. But there was the mystic brand, just the same. The party exchanged questioning glances. "It would look as if some avenger had done it," said Al lan Wyman. Frank turned and gave Allan a searching g lance. "Have you ever seen the mark before?" he asked. "No; but I have heard of it." "Ah Where?" "Not a month ago down here at the Red Forks, a whole The strange Quaker-looking personage, who wore the plantation was cleaned out. The master of the hacienda, glasses, smiled in a curious way. But Frank Reade, Jr., said: "Pshaw! I believe it is only clap-trap work of the road agents. They mean to try and work upon the superstitious fears of the ignorant.'' "I believe that is right, Mr. Reade," cried Van Dent, heartily his wife and daughter, four peons and two cowboys were found dead in different parts of the ranch." "And they had that brand on them?" "Yes." Frank Reade, Jr., was astounded. For some moments he could not speak. Then a light broke over his face. v


' THE MYSTIC BRAND. "Ah, I think I can understand," he s aid. "Black Bill unseen of unknown origin, of wonderful force, and which his gang went down there." man has learned to control and make subservient to his "It may be so," s aid Allan, doubtfully, "but if I should will." m y presentim e nts I would b elieve that th e work i s work of some s trange ave nger a s yet unknown." "It seem s to b e a mystery," said Frank, slowly. "At w e w ill hold it s o for the pres@nt. But it shall be Big Jack looked at Allan a moment in an incredulous mann e r, and said: "Waal, it's all beyond me. You young uns is too smart fer us old uns, thet's all." Quite a stop 'was made at Hocus Pocus. I hop e s o The jovial miners were delighted at the safe arrival of the The electric s tage was now d eep in the pass. mail, and examined the new stage with interest. H e r e i t was that so m a n y o f the s t a ges had been h e ld up. Big Jack, in his jubilant frame of mind, got half seas Bu t, s ingu l ar l y enoug h n o t an outlaw put in an ap-ove r and mounting a barrel, gave an e xt e mporaneous s peech. All was a s deserte d and lon e ly a s a wild e rness could The gi s t of it was an uncouth eulogy of the stage, of be. Frank R e ad e Jr., and Allan Wyman, the new mail s ub Throu g h the pass it went s af e l y and s oon was traveling th e grad e i nto Ho c us Pocu s fa s t e r tha n Bill contractor. Bugbee and Moss, the ex-contractor s were dumbfounded. Howe v e r, they congratulated Allan in a warm manner. All thi s whil e Alpheu s Smoothbrow, the Quaker, had bron chos had, i s was now in view of Ho c us Pocu s maintain e d hi s seat in the s tage with pious dignity. b e f o r e the cus tomaty tim e But whe n the crowd became s uddenly boisterous, he was Down i nto the mining town rolled the "innovation," as might b e called. The e n t ire population was out to w e lcome the arrival of wonder. Th e n e w mail stage which was to d efy Black Bill and his dre w up at the door of the R e fuge. The d e niz e n s of Ho c u s Pocu s gath e red about, several and r e garded th e n e w invention in sheer :M:any a nd vari e d w e r e the comments. "Wa a l, I ll b e durn e d! A s tage without hosses !" "It beat s a ll of m y wif e 's relations! How in tarnal gin kin it g o s o fast b y its elf?" "What in Toph e t ar' thi s thing they call 'l e cktricity, any ? Big Jack C ronk g r a bbed Allan by the shoulders, and held him off at a rm's l e ngth. "Tarna l s m o k e !" h e e jaculated "Are this some of your work, boyee ?" "Well, l am in s trum e ntal in bringing fessed Allan in durnation do ye call it?" "An electric s tage." it here," con"What s that? What makes it go without nary a boss? It' steam, I reckin ; electricity.'' 's that?" apparently annoyed, and, alighting, disappeared in the gloom. Barney and Pomp had been busy all this while with the machiner y oiling and cleaning it. Frank had been waiting for them, and Barney came forward touching his cap: "If yez plaz e s or it's all r e ady!" "All aboard for C havez!" s houted Frank. The passeng e r s mad e a ru s h for their seats. Allan and Frank sprang on to the platform, when a curiou s thing happened Som e thing was thrown from the crowd and fell with a rattling s ound at the feet of Frank Reade, Jr. Astound ed, the y oung inventor gazed at it. Allan Wyman did the same. It was a blood-stain e d dagger, to which was attached a writt e n scroll. "Heavens!" ga s ped Frank "What was that, Allan?" The young man picked it up He unrolled the scroll, and read in letters of blood, the following: BEWARE! "You think to vanqui s h Black Bill. But your electric stage will meet the fat e of Bill Hurd's. No man can defy Black Bill' s vengeance and live. Beware! You are on the d e ath li s t. Beware!" Allan could not help a bit of a shiver as he read the nobody knows It is an element which exists, deadly message.


11 THE MYSTIC BRAND. "Ugh!" he muttered, "that is hideous!'' 'I'hen Barncv yielded, and appeared on the deck of But Frank Reade, Jr., tore the scroll into fragments "The blust e r and bravado of a coward!" h e declared, con temptuously. "He would never dare to meet u s in open fight." stage with his antiquated Irish fiddle. And few there were would could work the bow with lively Celt. The way he drew mu s ic out of that old fiddle was The stage ro)led out of Hocus Po c u s on the way to to stir the very souls of his li ste ners. Chavez. Barney's baritone was of a high order, and with his A run of one hundred mile s across the Staked Plains brogue he sang Iris h ballad s of indescribable sweetness. must follow. It was a jolly ride to Chavez on the elect ric stage. Fully a score of passengrrs were now aboard the overland stage. Out upon the prairie it rolled. Bowling along at so rapid a pace, with a sense of per fect security, the spirits oi all were high. Barney and Pomp had instantly stru ck the fancy or the travelers, and they becam e hot favorites. Barney 's wit and Irish lnnnor capt ivat ed them all. Pomp's comical manner and black face caught on grrat, and soon he was c alled upon fo1 e ntertainm ent us a song and dance, Pomp!" nird onr of the passengers. "Suah sah, I had done fo'got all l eber knrw !" pro tested the darky. "Oh, we know beiter." "Give it to' u s !" "Start her up!" Those who participated in it never forgot it. The Westeners were for giving Barney Pomp a big purse of money but they refu sed to accept And early in the night the electric stage r eached The trip had been a most s ucce ssf ul one, but the trips were not des tined to be s o free from trouble and ing episodes. CHAPTER V. \ POM:P IN HJR The stage was to remain in Chavez that night, anu ret. the n ext d:iy. Chavez w as quite a re s pectable sized town, with a num of sizable stores, and a plentitudr of drinking saloons. The evening air was cool nncl and all were in the 1 It was a great headquarter s for itinerant cowboys right mo. o d : Pomp could refuRe .no lon gr r :mel at once produced his banJO. In all his travels the coon had never found hi s C(]ual with the instrument. He at once struck up a plantation m elocly which was rare and sweet. He was the possessor of a rare tenor voice, and in his in imitable way sang tune after tunc. The applause was great. Indeed, the crowd could not seem to hav e enol1gh of it. Barne y O Shea, Pomp' s compatriot, stood ncar and lis tened to all. In his good-natured, rallying w ay, he finally cried: "Shure, that's all very foine. Bul it's no!hin' at all compared wid Garry Owen and the blind fiddler av Kil kenny!" The crowd caught the inspiration at once. "Now we have it! Come, Barney, let's hear some Iris h !unes !" Pomp, who was not averse to calling a halt laid down his banjo. plain smen Barney and Pomp put things in apple-pie order a the electric stage. Then Barney said: "Begorra, naygur, I have a propo s ition to make yez." Pomp looked up with a knowing grin. The two were ever engaged in playing practical j upon each other. Pomp half s uspected something of this kind. But ney's sincerity of manner him. "Don' yo' know bettah dan dat, s ah ?" retort e d the coon. "I amn't yo' bes' gal." "Away wid yez fool in', naygur,'' said Barney, impatient ly. "It's common sinse I m t.alkin' to ye !" "Wha' am yo' got to say?" "On me worrucl av honor, naygur, I'd loike the town!" "Yo' mean paint it red?" "Divil a bit. Shure we'll take a little inveshtigatin tower about the place. Sec the soights, do yez moind ?" "A 'right, sah I'se yo' cucumber <'bery time. I don fink we had beltah ask Marse Frank first.''


'l'HE MYSTIC BRAND. 11 "Shure, he'll m ver care. Put on yez hat to kape the "Waal ?" queried the miner. "Wpat cum of it all?" ld out av yer wool, an' come on, Mavournecn." "Why, sah," said Pomp, carelessly, "we jes' felt a lilly Pomp was soon ready. bit ob a shock. Den we went back an' tried to find dat dressed up in an ultra 1 f,shionable suit of broad lokermotive. Finally, Marse Frank he got a tellingscope -'""'"'"'u plaid, and donned a tall white hat, with a big bogus an' by lookin' froo it we cud jes' see one lilly bit-ob a grease .... u.ll\J.llu the size of a hen's egg in his shirt bosom. on de perairy, sa h. Dat was all, sah, ebery bit." Barney put on his best green knee-pantsJI hobnailed shoes The crowd drew a deep breath. swallow-tail coat, which he had worn in Ireland, and Some Clf them looked as if they would like a good-sized it not being the style in America, he se ldom donned. club, but the loquacious miner winked at them, and con The two were perfect types of their different nationality, tinned: they left the stage and strolled down into the town. "That warn't bad fer a starter. Do ye ever mind runOf course they attracted no end of attention. ning up agin a thunderbolt?" Everywhere they went all eyes were upon them. Again Pomp gave his interlocutor a pitying glance. This enhanced their conceit immensely, and it was not in He paused just long enough to get outside of a finger least by overheard comments on the dude nig-of raw whiskey; then he resumed: and the sporting Irishman. "De bigges' thunderbolt we ever run up agin was up in Barney and Pomp just pitched in for a glorious time. de Rocky Mountings. Marse Frank he seen it comin' zip They landed, after a time, before the bar of a cheap zap! and he jes' pulled open de 'lectric key, an' when we where, after plying the whiskey glass a few times, struck dat ar' thunderbolt, dar warn't nuffin' but blue became very communicative to the crowd which about them. All sorts of questions were put to them by the inquisitive d loquacious denizens. Neither spared effort to lend the brightest and most vivid of color to their replies. Indeed, some of the stories told the credulous miners by p were just as lurid as the hue of his necktie. "I say, stranger," said one inquisitive miner, clutching buttonhole, "thet's an all-fired powerful masheen, 'lectric stage of yourn." "Hi!" exclaimed Pomp. "Well, yo' kin jes' gamble peanuts on "I reckon you wudn't turn out fer nuthin' with that?" "Nuffin, sah, on pis yearth !" streaks in de air fo' a moment. Don' yo' beliebe, sah, dat we picked up forty 'Ieben pieces ob dat thunderbolt, an' we had jelly on de table for a month?" The miner collapsed with this, and everybody retired for a moment to catch their breath, with the fbrce of the shock. Presently however, a big Westerner advanced, and said: "I say, coon, did ye ever try to ride a thunderbolt?" "De berry las' time I did dat, sah," said Pomp, readny, "I circumnavigated de moon six times, an' den sold de thunderbolt for a fambly hoss." "I'll bet ye ten tew one I've got a thunderbolt out tew ther door hyar ye cain't ride." Pomp was instantly touched. If there was one thing he prided himself upon, it was "Ye don't say so!" his horsemanship. "Didn' I jes' tell yo' so? Does yo' predilictate fo' to He looked steadily 'at his challenger, and said: "Put up yo' cash, sah! I'll take yo' on dat !" But I say, did ye ever meet a steam an' hcv to {urn out fer All the cash Pomp could scare up was ten dollars. However, he planked it down on the bar, and the cowboy covered it with a hundred. Pomp elevated his nose contemptuously. I "Wha' yo' s'pose we cares for sieh trifles as steam IokerBarney's crowd now forsook him, and all adjourned to ?" he sniffed. "Lemme tell yo' de little incident, the tavern yard to see the fun ob a few days ago. We jes' met one ob dem steam In many a day the denizens of Chavez had not struck an llltiiund the yard docilely de stage fo' it an' run bump into it." 'l'he whole crowd was listening agape with interest. enough I 'l'hen he dismounted.


12 THE MYSTIC BRAND. "Thar I" he said, bar's the thunderbolt yew've got ter ride ter win thet hundred dollars. Looks easy, don't it?" \ I Pomp lo..>ked at the pony contemptuously. It was so diminutive that he believed he could wind his legs about it, and hang on forever. Oh, yes, he could ride that pony without a doubt. He would show these Westerners a trick or two in horsemanship. Ordinarily Pomp would have used better sense. But the whiskey was just vile enough to make him foolish. Barney now began to egg him on. in a peculiar manner. "Begorra, av yez take my advice yez will let the omadhoun alone," he declared. "Shure, it's a bad eye he's got." "Yo' g'long wif yo'sef, yo' no 'count I'ishman !" declared Pomp, indignantly. "Dis amn't no picnic ob yo's, anyway." an' it's lucky I am that it's not." Pomp, angry beyond endurance, made a blow at Barney. The Celt, who was sober, evaded it, and the coon fell on his face. A roar went up from the crowd at this. Pomp scrambled to his feet much nettled and very angry. ui done kill yo', yo' no 'count Mick !" he roared. "Yez won't not if I know it," retorted Barney, and the crowd laughed again. Pomp '\VaS in a desperate mood. He was bound to do something to vindicate himself, and that at once. 'He glared at the meek looking pony. Then at the owner. "Yo' kin say good-by to yo' hundred dollars, chile!" he cried. "l'se done gwine to ride dat jackass, an' right now." "I wish ye had some more money in yer clothes!" retorted the miner. "I'd bet ye any odds." Pomp advanced toward the pony. He placed a hand upon the bridle. The pony did not move. Then Pomp began to stroke its nose. / 'Nice lilly hoss !" he said, in a conciliatory manner. "I'se jes' gwine to make fren's wif yo' fust off. I'se ueber gwine fo' to hurt yo'. Easy now!" Pomp got one hand upon the pony's withers. Then he made a quick leap. He was actually upon the animal's back. The latter did not move. The coon was amazed. He was also convinced that he had played the winning card by conciliating the beast in the first place. He picked up the bridle rein, and the pony actually began to trot away meekly. But it was a hollow truce. Suddenly and without warning the animal made a perate plunge in the air and began to violently buck. At first Pomp was taken unawares and sat upon animal's ears. But he came back into the saddle and clung like a He showed he was really an extraordinary h He clung to the bucking pony with miraculous It was just that wild spirit of recklessness that tauwu: u him to succeed. Had he been sober he would have been thrown. 'But drunken man never knows fear, and will go through any ordeal. The pony proved himself a peer in the bucking and kick ing line. But Pomp stuck to him as if glued to the saddle. Round and round the inclosure he ran, buck ing all the while. The owner began to look anxious. Unless the coon was thrown he would lose li'is hundred dollars. J The crowd yelled and cheered. Barney was amazed at the wonderful success of his confrere, and cheered with the rest. "Begorra, the naygur will win!" he roared. "Here's to his success In vain the pony tried to throw Pomp. he had him nearly unseated. Several times But each time Pomp got back again. Finally the pony laid down and rolled. But when he got up the darky was on his back again. At last the mustang gave up. He abandoned his efforts and Pomp was the master. The owner looked much crestfallen. Pomp was cheered to the echo. He dismounted, the owner said he was satisfied, and the wager wa s won. Pomp had won his hundred dollars. The stakeholder came forward. The referee was consulted, and he decided in Pomp's favor. Then the stake money of one hundred and ten dollars was paid over to the darky. But the sequel was yet to come. The end was not yet. CHAPTER VI. THE HERD OF BUFFALO. Pomp's egotism was far above the clouds, now that had come out a winner.


THE MYSTIC BRAND. 13 "Huh, don' yo' s'pose dis chile kin ride any lilly pony like o' dat? J es' yo' brung along a hoss nex' time." He th111st the hundred dollars into his pocket. It was too true. Every one of them was a counterfeit except the ten he had put up himself. Pomp was aghast. With a self-satisfied air he strutted back to the barroom. "Dey ain' wuff nuffin', den," he exclaimed. .BY jim Apparently he was the cynosure of all eyes, the admired inary, I'll break de head ob dat chap wha' cheated me dat of all beholders. a'way:." But the crowd now importuned him for a treat. "The winner allus shouts!" was the general cry. Pomp was willing to do this, and walking up to the bar planked down a twenty-dollar bill. It was one that the horse owner had given him. The bartender looked at him. "Hold on," cried the bartender, "how about those drinks for the crowd?" "Ain' got dme fo' to stop jes' now!" cried Pomp. "I done see yo' later. By Jumbo! if I done catch dat rascal, I trim him down fo' a suttinty." But Pomp could find no trace of the horse owner. "Jes' yo' put out dat arp.ount in good whiskey!" cried He had skipped. Pomp. "Dar am nobody yer gwine to say dat Pompy AlexBrimful of disappointment and disgust, Pomp quit the ander hab got small feet. Come up, my fren's, ap' jine saloon and started for the stage in company with Barney. dis chile in de festive bowl." "Drinks fer the crowd?" asked the liquor dispenser. "Y as, sah." The bartender picked up the bill. He looked at it a moment, and then shot a quick glance at Pomp. "Wait a minute," he said. He vanished into an inner room. Presently he reap peared with the proprietor of the place, a big, fat man with a cast in his right eye. The latter advanced, holding the bill in his hand. It was in the small hours of the morning, and both were fatigued. They had indulged in a lark which they were not soon forget. I Both turned in and slept the sleep of the just until daylight. Frank Reade, Jr., and Allan were astir at an early hour. The mail was announced to close at eight o'clock, and the stage was to start soon after. It was reckoned that Hocus Pocus would be reached some time before noon, which would be good time. "Donner vetter !" he exclaimed, in excellent German. Beyond Hocus Pocus would be the ordeal. If Black Bill "Vot you try for to do mit us, anyhow at all? Dot bill am executed his threat, a lively time would there be promised no good, nohow!" "Wha' yo' say dat fo', sah ?" exclaimed Pomp, indig nantly. "Dat am a good bill, sah." "Nein !" expostulated the German. "Dot am one counterfeit! No good!" "No use, cully," said the bartender, with a sinister smile. "That dodge won't work out here. Kain't pass no counterfeit on us by a long sltot. Git out or we'll put ye in the jug. D'yer see?" Pomp was very angry. "Lemme see dat ar' bill!" he cried. "Don) beliebe it am a counterfit at all. Dis gentleman wif de bucking pony done gib dat to me!" I "What!" gnnned the bartender, "was that one of the bills he paid his wager with?" "Y as, sah." The bartender guffawed. the electric stage. The stage had covered the route once. Frank now knew the trail thoroughly well. He had out lined his plans. "We will take the mail to Hocus Pocus," he said. "Then if run across Black Bill, we will give him fight and follow hiip., if need be, to the end of the continent. We will not leave his track 11ntil we have him." "And perhaps we can rescue Harriet in the meanwhile," said Van Dent. "That shall be one of our first moves," declared Frank. At the appointed the stage was at the hotel door. Quite a number of passengers were on hand. But no tickets were sold beyond Hocus Pocus. Frank Reade, Jr., decided to carry nothing but the mail beyond that point. Then he soaked you. for a sucker!" he cried. "Let's Singularly enough, among the passengers was the curious, see the rest of 'em?" Quaker-like individual who had come up the day before. Pomp pulled out the roll of bills and laid them on the bar. Alpheus Smoothbrow took up his same seat in the canopy of the stage.


14 THE MYSTIC BRAND. 'rhe passengers all clambered into the stage, the mail bag s were tossed aboard, and then the start was made. Among the passengers was one man of peculiar appear ance. Long yellow hair fell down his back, and he wore a slouch hat which half oncealed his features. He seemed to shun the companionship o the others. But he seemed interested in the mechanism o the coach, and at times was caught studying the machinery. Some thought that Frank ought to turn about and fly before the oncoming herd. Others thought he should lry to dodge it to the right or left. In Allan went to Frank. But the young inventor smiled grimly. "Don't ear," he said, coolly. "I'll take care of thn buffaloes On it sped with earful speed Nearer the buffaloes drew. Once Frank saw him in the act of entering the dynamoWhat a mighty trampling mass they were. On they came room in the rear of the stage. unable to check their mad speed. The young inyentor said firmly: Should they strike the stage it was hardly likely that "Hold on, sir. Passengers are not allowed in there." anything would be left of it. The fellow stopped as if shot. Now their heavy manes and tossing horns were distinHc mumbled something unintelligible under his breath, guishable. With shaggy heads clown they came 011. and then returned to his seat. Had any one observed closely, they would have seen Alpheus Smoothbrow closely studying him. The Quaker SCJmed more than ordinar'ily interested V l the stranger. The stage was soon bowling on its way over the Stakecl \ Plains. For miles it ran at even speed over the smooth plain. Like the rolling waves o the sea they seemed Now Frank Reade, Jr., acted. He held the stage head on to the mass and brought it to a stop. In a flash he sprang to the upper deck o the stage. He whirled the revohing electric gun about, and thrust a dynamite projectile into the breach. Swift as a flash he made the electric connections and Then a section was entered where the grass was deep an1l drew aim. over the wheels. The electric stage, however, cut its way easily enough through this. For some miles it continued, and the stage was right in the heart of it, when a strange thing happened. A dark, waving line liad appeared directly in the path of the stage Frank at first viewed it with wonderment. Then he saw what it really meant. Allan Wyman came rushing to his side. "Do you see that?" he cried. "What is it?" "Buffaloes," replied Frank, tersely. "A drove of buffaloes?" "Yes." He pressed the key. There was a sudden recoil, a dull shock, and then far out on the plain there foUowed a tremendous cannon-like roar, and a mountain of d ebris rose high in the air right before the advancing herd. A heap or mound o earth fully ten feet in height was raised by that e::tplosion. The buff&loes split about this improvised breakwater, and Frank Reade, Jr., had gained his point. 1The great army divided and passed the stage upon either side without ever coming in contact with it. A cheer went up from the passengers. It was a clever trick. But the end was noi yet. "Heavens, what a mass of them there are! rrhere must The buffalo herd was soon past. be a thousand of them." But in their train foll01rccl else. Vpon the "Yes, six or eight thousand They are a heavy body." horizon there had appeared a long, blazing lihe. 'What i they s trike the stage?" It was a prairie fire ''They are apt to annihilate it." No doubt it was ihi s which had s tarted the buffaloes upon At once the alarm s pread. All the passengers were on the qui vive. It was a gran

THE MYSTIC BRAND. 15 set the d y namo s a t their f ull capacity, and the s tage The fellow 's breast held a dagg e r driv e n to the hilt, and lite r a ll y fle w o v e r the g round hi s features w e r e pale and set in ooath. Indeed, s o great was the s pe e d that the p asse nger s gre_;v It was an awful s ight, and one well calculat e d to shake a larmed. the nerve s of a s trong man You won' t kill us,41r R e ad e?" crie d on e of the pa s D ead!" e x claimed Frank, and then an awful cry of sengers. horror peal e d fro m his lip s "I'll try not to," said Frank, grimly The mys tic br a nd. He b ears it!" But ev e r y mom e n t th e dang e r i n c r e ased !?very mom ent t h e d ev ouring fla mes d r e w n eare r, and threat e ned to e n gulf the s tage i n t h e ir f old s CHAPTER VII. IN GniZZLY PASS. But Frank R e ade J"r., had no id e a o J givin g up the race. H e put t h e stage t o its best s p ee d A n d no w just ahc a d coul,d b e seen th e o pe n plain If that could be reach e d all would be w e ll. On roll e d t h e sta g e A nd just i n t h e ni c k o f time the e dge of the burning t r act was r e a c h e d T he fla mes swep t a way b e h i nd and the d a nger was pa st. Once m o r e t h e st age settl e d down to s t e ad y work and the s pi rits of all r evived. T h e run t o Pocu s wds a n unu s u a ll y q ui c k one 'rhe t own s udrlcnl y cam e i n s ight, a nd in due tim e the s t age dre w up b efo r e t h e R e fug e This was true. Upon the fellow 's brow was the s kull and cross bones burnt into the flesh ind e libly For a mome n t Frank was tra n s fixed with horror. 'rhen Pomp and Barney r e a c h e d hi s s ide. The n e w s spre ad l i k e wildfir e An imm e nse throng gath e r e d That th e unknown de s troy e r s hould boldly p e rpetr a t e h is c rim e right o n th e s tage was almo st beyon d beli ef. Y et t h ere w e r e the evidences of h is h a nd i w o rk But th e g r e a test s urprise was to come. 1 h e corpse w a s f rom th e s tage a nd placed upon a bier. Th e n it w a s found that th e hair and mu s tach e w e r e false. R emoved, a d \fl'e r e n t lookin g m a n appear e d Search of hi s poc k ets nl;;o reveale d p apers whic h proved that he was beyond d o ubt o n e of Bl ac k Bill' s gan g. A l ette r f r o m th e b a ndi t c hi ef w as f ound up o n him This describ e d h o w h e s hould g o a board t h e e lectric stag e Frank h a d ann o unced hi s inte ntion of not any a s a p asse nger and if possible, do h a rm t o the machin e r y. p asse n ge rs to Lo s Peso s But h i s plan s h a d fail e d, an d d eath hacl becom e hi s porH e anti cipate(] ill fig h t with Bla c k Bill in the hill s, and t i o n t h anks t o the myst e riou s destroyer. w a s anxiou s to hav e aboard only hi s own party. The stage dre w np b e f o r e th e dooi"Of th<'; tav e rn. One o f th e fir st t o ali ght was the Quak e r Alph e u s Smoothbrow H e van is hed down the s tree t Barne y was d e putiz e d to ""' c o ll ect th e tick e ts, a nd h e c ried: "Shu re, Mi sthe r Frank, the r e's wan a v 'e m missing. Wud yez luk up into the c an o p y t o see if h e s a s leep t h e re?" Fran k c ompli e d wi t h this. H e s a w the yello w h aired stranger who had been s o in t e r este d i n the mecl1 a ni s m o f the stag e sitt in g t h e re, ap pa r e ntl y as l eep, wit h hi s h a t pull e d down over his eyes. F rank s p o k e s h a rpl y ; Frank's w h o l e force o f r e a s onin g was n o w chang ed. H e c ould no lon ge r b elie v e that the mak e r of the mys tic brand was Bla c k Bill himseH o r an y of his m e n Who was h e? This was no t an easy qu est ion to answer. would t e ll. P e rhaps time Th e c orpse o f th e vict im o f t h e unknown d es tro y er was re m o v e d fro m t h e s t a g e a n d fittin g l y buri ed. F r a nk did a heap of.thinking H e t ried to recall th e face of e v e r y p asse n ge r a board the s tage at t h at t im e S o m ehow h e could not banjsh the face o f A lph e n s S moothbr o w fro m hi s thou ghts. Hey, the r e h e cried. the e nd of the journey." Wak e up m y man Thi s i s "Impossible," h e mu t t e r e d ; "that honest old Quak e r But the f e llow dic l n o t move. Frank w e n t up t o him to s hak e him. At a touch h e roll e d s tiffly ove r and his hat f e ll off. would n e v e r do an yt hin g of that kind Onc e m o r e th e work of t h e unkn o wn destroyer'had been s hown a nd a s yet no c l e w was t o be found Wh e n would it come ? That was not an e asy que s tion Great heavens I" ga s ped the young inventor, "what is to answ e r. this?" A inquest was held ove r the body o the deooased.


16 THE MYSTIC BRAND. There could be but one verdict, that he had come to his death at the hands of some party or parties unknown. The stage was delayed in leaving Hocus Pocus that day. Everybody knew well enough that a collision with the outlaws was expected in Grizzly Pass. Hot times were anticipatea, and among aU interested parties none were more anxious than Van Dent. He knew that it was his only hope to rescue his daughter, Harriet. The electric stage left Hocus Pocus in the middle of the afternoon. It at once struck into the hills, and soon the town became lost to sight, and the gray walls of Grizzly Pass arose on either hand. "I am going to show you what a obstacle that really is. Look out!" With this he pressed the button. What was an astounding surprise to those aboard the stage. There was a hissing sound a shock, and the projectile \ sped on 1ts way. It struck the obstruction full and fair. The result was amazing. There was a loud roar, like the firing of a blast, and up into the air rose a column of debris. Dust, fragments of wood and stone were scattered far and near. When the smoke cleared away it was seen that a huge As the stage went on all on board were careful to keep break had been mad e in the barricade. inside and out of the range of any stray or treacherous bullets. Huge stone s were ground to powder or shattered into fragments. This proved a wise precaution. "Heavens!" exclaimed Van Dent, in amazement. "WhoSuddenly, from the canyon walls, a storm of bullets came 1 eYer Raw the equal of that?" rattling down upon the stage. "Artillery is not in it." But they glanced off like so many drops of water. "That gun would destroy the str ongest fort in the !'hey could do no harm. Frank smiled grimly. He gave orders that the fire should not be returned. "The time has not come yet," he said. His purpose was to strengthen the confidence of the outlaws and invite them to make an open attack. For this purpose Frank picked his way along very slowly. Suddenly Barney gave a cry. "Bejabers, an' wud yez luk ahead," he cried. "Shure, an' the pass is blocked entoirely." This was true. At a narrow point the pass had been filled in with great heaps of stone and logs. The stage could not surmount them. What was more, in their rear could be heard the thunder of falling rocks. The outlaws were trying to !Jlock up both ends of the pass. This would leave them practically in a trap. Frank smiled quietly. "By Jove," said Wyman, apprehensively. "I believe we are in for it." I worhl." Frank s miled serenely. "I think it would, he f:aid, coolly. "But you have not seen all yet." I Once more Frank placed a pr ojectile in the breech of the gun. This time it was a projectile of double the length of the other. He pressed the electric key and the gun was discharged. Doubly loud was the roar, doubly severe was the execu tion done. Every vestige of the monster barricade was blown to atoms. The path was now clear for the stage to go ahead. What the effect of all this was upon the outlaws it would be hard to say. But they did not show themselves at the moment. All firing from the canyon walls had ceased. The coast seemed clear. Frank sent the stage forward rapidly now. Soon it had passed the barricade. But the end was not yet. But the young inventor laughed, and said: "We shan see. Keep cool He studied the barricade closely through a glass. he went on the roof or upper deck of the stage. Suddenly turning a corner in the pass a thrilling sight Then was seen ahead. He leveled the electric gun and aimed fairly at the bar ricade. Then he said: There, directly in the path of the stage was a large body of horsemen. That they meant mischief was' certain. At their head Allan fancied that he saw Black Bill himself.


THE MYSTIC BRAND. 1'7 Thete were certainly several hundred of the outlaws. They were drawn up in solid line. It was evident t_hat they meant to oppose the progress of the -stage. In their midst was a huge pile of rocks intended to clog the wheels of the stage "There they are!" cried Van Dent, "What shall we do, Mr. Reade?" "Keep cool," returned Frank, calmly "We'll soon fix them I" The young inventor thought o:f leveling the electric gun at them. I' With its deadly bombs he could, no doubt, have blown many of them into eternity But it seemed too much like wholesale massacre to suit Frank. He relinquished the plan. H e only want s a fair thing." "A :fair thing?" .,:'Yas." "Do you call that a fair thing?" "An' why ain't it?" "It is highway robbery. The mail bags don't belong to him, and he ha s no right to the m whatever "It's the rule of the road." "And what if I don't comply?" "Then ye'll take the consequences Jest a leetle while ago four passengers on Bill Hurd's stage were shot and killed." "Was not that murder?" "Murder! It was cussed foolhardiness. oughter hed better sense." "That is your opinion, eh ?" "It is. But what's the use of palavering? Air ye goin' "Na!" he muttered, "that would be too bloody Give to dump them mail bags?" them a volley with your rifles, boys." Barney and Pomp, and Allan and Van Dent, were at the forward windows with their / Winchesters They were ready to fire. Bu,t an incident at this moment restrained them "Wait, .B: moment," shouted Frank Reade, Jr. "It is a truce." This was true. Frank leaned over the railing, and said, with some em-phasis: "No!" "Y e ain t, eh ?" "I said so. "It'll be the wus s fer you." "I don t see it." "Every man of ye s hall die." One of the outlaws rode forward with a white flag in his "Pshaw! That i s bravado." hand. "It' s bizness! Black Bill allus keeps hi s word. Mebbe He was masked, and his features were therefore not to be ye think we're afraid of that cannon up thar. We'll spike recognized. thet in fifteen minutes. Hear what s ay?" "Hello, the stage he shouted "Hello !" replied Frank, appearing in the canopy. "I want to talk with the driver." "I am lie." "Waal, I am one of Black Bill s men, and he sends word fer ye to open yer doors an' toss out yer mail bags." Frank Reade, Jr., was deeply impressed with this exhibition of assurance. CHAPTER VIII. THE WOUNDED OUTLAW. Frank was so overwhelmed by lhe cool of ,th,e road chief, that it. required some minutes to himself. Then his sense of humor began to assert itself. "Indeed," he replied, finally. "Is that all that r. Black Bill wants?'' "1 reckon so was the reply. "He don't want much, "does he?" ]'rank leaned forward, and said, impressively: "Ten times your number couldn't do that. You go back and tell Black Bill he's a scoundrel, a knave and a fool. If he dares to attack this stage it will be the worse for him I tell you The outlaw laughed in a harsh, mocking manner. : Y e like to hear yerself talk he shouted. "I tell ye to look out. Thar's squalls ahead. We give ye one chance." At tllis moment Van Dent came upon the scene. "With your r. Reade," he "I would like to speak with him." "All right," agreed Frank. "Hello l" said V an Dent "Hello!" "Are you one of Black Bill's gang?" "Don't ye see I am ?" "Have you a spark of manhood left? If you have you will answer. a few questions I may put to you."


) 18 THE MYSTIC BRAND. "Waal," returned the outlaw, "if ye' ll hurry; my bme There was a ecoil and an unearthly roar. ar' quite valuable." i tile struck thf! ted of the canyon directly .in front of the "Where is the young girl you stole from Bill Hurd's stage) coming band. several days A literal pit was heaved out of the earth in a The outlaw gave a start. Great clouds of stone and dirt rose into the air, and "Air yew her f ather?" a barricade was raised. "I am." this and into the pit in a heap many of the riders The road agent laughed mockingly. went. "That pooty gal is all safe, he replied. "Thar's goin' Other s split right and left and came on furiously. tew be a weddin ) in Grizzly Range afore long. Ther chief Before Frank could sight the gun again they were is kinder stuck on thet gal. Oh, she'll be happy, I kin about the stage .tell ye. Let u s congratulate ye, old man!" Down from their horses' back they leaped and essayed And the vill:in guffawed. Dent was so ancrry that he to climb upon the stage. But Frank was ready for them. would have shot the fellow on the spot. The inmate s of the stage were using their Win c hesters He had, indeed, thrown his rifle to his shoulder. But Frank Reade, Jr., restrained him. HHold on, Dent," he said, "that won' t do. shoot." "The villain deserves death!" You mustn't I Wait until you with deadly e ffect. But Frank Reade, Jr., had rush e d up -from ihe dynam o room with a long coil of wire. 'This h e h::mdlcd with rubber in s ulat c d g l oves, for it was a live wir e h e avily charged. Out into the mass of fighting m en Frank flung ihe coil of e l ectrifiecy' wir e. Shot and shell cou ld not hare c r cntcd baH il1e havoc. Men w ere hurled right and l efl, knocked sense less or in s tantl y killed. \Yh erever the deal1ly wire !'ell it m : .fde a My dau ghte r will never consent to s uch a union I wide swath "No doubt; but he is a truce b earer. meet him again in anoth e r c apacity." Dent s ub s ided, and replied, with a voice quiverihg with passion: .,would rather see h e r dead, and di e s he will fir st!" And the outlaws werr driven bac k bY ihr mysteriom; force "We've tamed & wilder one nor s he is," retorted the of the wir e which w en(. c ir c lin g thr o u gh lheir mid s t, and f e llow. which no man could with impunity touch. Dent was furious but Frank r est rained him. Right and ey were thro1rn. The young i.nvcnto:r now ste pped forward, and said: It was as if some mighty giant was in their midst. "Only your flag of truce protects. you. Go back and tell Their attack had been a plncky onr. 13ut human brawn your villainou s employer, Black Bill, that h e can never hope and muscl e could avail but little against such fearful power. to capture this stage. That if h e does harm to the young For fully twenty minutes the fight raged. girl in his hands, he s hall suffer fearful punishment. I In vain the outlaws tried to g e t aboard the stage. Each m ean what I say, and I have the power to destroy him time they were hurled back. his gang." The fellow laugh e d s cornfully. Then h e wheeieq. hi s horse and galloped back. port to his c hief wJs evidently not met with favor. For u yell of d e ri s ion came from the outlaws. 'Then D ent s houted: Such ineffectual work could nt>t la s t long, a.nd finall y, the outlaws wer e forc;:ed to beat an ingloriou s r etreat His re. Frank follow ed up his advantage by c ha si ng them down the canyon. But the y finally slipped him by dod ging into a 11arrow path which the stage not t r a verse. Look out! Here they come!" This was true. The outlaw s were C'oming to the attack. the stage they rode in a body. It was a grand and signa l victory for the stage prople. Bla c k Bill had receiv ed hi s fir st defeat. It seemed as Straight for if his long r e ign of terror was at last to be overthrown. Of course those on the e l ect ri c stage were very jubilant. Frank saw at once the danger of collision with s uch a But Frank Reade, Jr., \Yas as cool a nd matte r of fact as hody of horse. ever. He w-as reluctant, b.ut c ompelled to sight the electric gun. He had decided upon a plan which he believed would He presslld the btitton good res u lts.


THE MYS'riC BRAND. 19 He chanced to sec a wotmded oullaw in the pass. The ellow was shot through lhe kg. He brought lhc siagc lo a stpp, and ordered Pomp and Barney to capture ihe fellow They obeyed, and he was brought aboard the stage. He was not a bacl-fooking fellow, though thoroughly 1 frightened, and began to beg for his life. "You shall not be .hurt," declared Frank, "if you will answer truthfully a few questions." 'l'he fellow's face brightened. 1 will, he replied. "To tell the truth, I am not a road agent by choice. was pressed into the band, and !lid not care to leave for fear of death." "What is your name?" asked Frank. B en Walton." Wh ere do you belong when at home?" \ "In Pennsylvania I I was at home now.'! ''Well, then, I'll make you a proposition," s aid Frank. 'What .is it?" 'rhe fellow was eager arid interested. Allan Wyman heard this with a sudden inspiration. Frank was as good as his word He gave the fellow the hundred dollars he had promiseel. He was mounted upon the pony and set out for Los Peso' with alacrity. 'l'he outlaw s had apparently abandoned the vicinity. Their defeat had been a costly one. Frank felt certain of victory. "In a week," he said confidently, "we will have Grizzl y Pass clear of all perils, and s afe for a child to trav e l through.'' But one thing puzzled the inventor. Walton had spoken of the strength of Black Bill's gang "They're gettin' weaker every day!" he declared in a superstitious whisper. "Do yo know I bel,ieve that old Satan himself is arter 'em. That's straight." CHAPTER IX. THE. RESCUE. "You shall tell us where Black Bill's den is and how to "Why do you believe that?" a,sked Frank, with some get there. If you will, I will give yon one huadred dollars curiosity. iu mone y and your liberty. You can cut for home. Your a powerful reason. Sc'rce a man nth r 1 e 0 1ro.und is only a flesh wound. Out yonde r is a pony which dares travel alone.'' you can mount, and in twenty-four hours' time you are well on your way to Los Pesos.'' \ralton gave a cry of joy. Do yc mean it?" "I do." "Then it' a go." "Why?" "Bekase the death's head would be sure to be found on hrm." "The death's head?" I "Sartin. Haven't ye heerd of it? Why, it's ther curestest thing ye ever heerd Of. More nor a score of Bill's best With this t h e fellow proceeded to detail the route by men hev bin found in various places dead, an' every wan of which the could be reached. them had a death 's head burned into their foreheads.'' H.cclescribed it as a high; arched cavem, in th e mouth of what had seemed Lo be an extinct crater far up in the mountain. "The mystic brand!" gasped Frank. "That's it exactly," replied Walton. "I dunno who the fiend is, but most of us believe it's ther old devil himself." He gave a description of the various marks cut in the Reade, Jr., was much impre ssed by this story. rocks by which the path might be found. The mystery of the mystic brand had a strange fascina"But ye can't go thar with thi s ma c hine," he sai2_. "Ther tion for him. I --" path is too narrow. Only a boss or a man on foot kin If the work of a human being, it would seem that make it.'' However Frank was satisfied. "And the young girl prisoner?" a s ked Van Dent, anxious. ly. "She i::; there?" The outlaw nodded. of a madman. The perpetrator of the strange crime seemed to spare no one, for had not the brand been found upon the of the stage party who went down with Bill Hurd, as well I as upon the outlaws? "Ther chid has her confi ned in a leetlc room ofl' ther "Queer!" muttered the young inve:rtor. "I will solve main cavern," h e said ; "thar's a le e tl e c revice in the rocks that mystery b ef ore I leave this part of the world.'' overlooks ther gulch. lf ye git in lhcr path at night ye Walton was quickly on his way lo Lo s P<'sos. kin see a light through il. A smart. man could climb up Much of a valuabl e nature had been learned from him by of lbnging vines." and Frank was very eager to make usc o.f it.


20 THE MYSTIC BRAND. But there had come a sudden and startling change in I the atmosphere A chilliness pervaded the air and angry clouds were massed in the zenith. Deep rumbling of thunder was heard in the southwest, and the moaning wind which came up the gorge was evi dence of a storm. Darkness began to shut down thick and fast. "Ah, if I could only see the light!" he muttered. would be a certain guide." Then something like an electric thrill struck him. What was that? Could he believe his eyesight ? Surely, for up at the side of the peak a glimmering of light shone forth. He gazed at it so long and intently that he feared It was out of the question to attempt to penetrate to eyeballs would leap from their sockets. Black Bill s stronghold as yet. So Frank decided to wait for the break of another day. Accordingly preparations were made for a camp, and the party ensconced themselves in the security of the stage to wait for the storm and night to pass. Barney and Pomp made merry with the fiddle and banjo. It was arranged that one should watch half the night, and the other during the latter part. It was no optical illusion. "It ie !" muttered; "there is the light, as I live!" With feverish haste he was about to strike out up the peak. But at that moment the heavens seemed glow, and a soft light fell all about him. A glance to the east told the truth. The moon, a huge, silvery orb, had sudaenly sprung Frank Reade, Jr., Van Dent and Allan Wyman retired the horizon and dispelled the utter darkness. early. Allan knew not whether to welcome thia joyfufly or But not to sleep. Allan could not quiet his nerves. He arose and crept down in the cover of a thicket. to the window of the stage. He tried to pierce the wild gloom of th!) night. .He was thinking of Harriet Van Dent, whose rare beauty had so strongly impressed him, far up there in the mountain cav ern, the captive of a human fiend. What was to prevent him doing her deadly harm? She must be rescued. Time was valuable, and Allan had conceived a most daring resolve. He set his lips tightly, and muttered: "I don't see why I should falter. There can be no better time. If I can only find the light in the mountain wall, the rest will be easy." He remembered the story told by Walton. He hastily donned his garments, and without rousing the others. With his rifle and a lariat in his hand, he gently slipped I out of the stage door into darkness. Bold y he struck out into the night. Up the mountain side he climbed How far he went, through deep gorges and wild tracts of timber, he was never able to guess. But finally he came out at the base of a high peak. It looked like the locality qescribed by Walton. I Far below in the woods coyotes were barking, and a panther was wailing. The young Easterner the black peak outlined against the sky. This was the sudden sound of hoofbeats coming hinJ.. Up the mountain side came a horse and rider. He could see their forms in the silvery moonlight. The rider wore a mask. That he was an outlaw was certain. Allan was watchful. Then another and more startling thing occurred. There smote uppp the air, almost at Allan's shoulder, a peculiar hiss and a snarling cry. What followed was brief and terrible. The young Easterner never forgot it. Along the ground there crept swiftly a shadowy Like a panther it reached the bridle of the outlaw's horse. There was a sharp cry, t .he flash of a pistol, and then the pony was thrown and the rider unseated. A gurgling, awful cry followed. The horse went madly plunging down the mountain. All was silent now as the grave. Nothing was to be seen of the outlaw ri er nor his as sailant. Ii: required fully five minutes for Allan to compose his shattered nerves. Then curiosity overmastered his fear, and he crept out of the thicket. Some dreadful, irresistible power led him to the where the fray had occurred There upon the ground lay the stark form of a man. It was the outlaw.


THE MYSTIC BRAND. 11 The mask was torn aside, and in the silvery moonlight "Leave Allan saw a massive, squ!\re-set face. Her manner was that of a tragedy queen. And upon the broad brow-good God! how awful !-the "I will!" replied Black Bill, turning to the door, "but death's head-the mystic brand was there placed. I shall return. When I do, I shall have the per-For a moment Allan Wyman crouched in awful appresons with me, and I will show you how I tame such refrachension that he might be the next victim. tory birds as you !" But the murderer, whoever he was, did not reappear. 'rhe door closed behind him with a clang. Shuddering Allan turned away. Harriet Dent clasped her hands and lifted her pallid face He put a goodly distance between him and the spot. to the through which she could see the starlit sky, Soon he was far up the peak, climbing toward the light. and groaned: He reached a point which seemed to him scarcely a hun"Oh, God! Is this to be my fate? Will no one come dred feet below it. to save me?" Here, l).S Walton had said, there were clinging vines upon the fa9e of a cliff. These :were strong ugh to bear his weight. Up he climbed. Allan Wyman could contain himself no longer. Acting upon impulse he leaned into the crevice, and whispered hoarsely: "Have courage. help." I have come t9 save you, with God's I;Ie was light and supple. It was little effort for him to make his way up natural trellis. that A wild, startled cry broke from her then Harriet Soon hE: was on a level with the c revice in the rock. And glancing through he beheld a sight which he never forgot. He a square chamber, hewn by Nature out of the solid rock. A s,tout oaken door was set at the outlet. The place was rudely furnished. The light came from a lamp s upplied witl,l. oil. I In the center of this cavern chamber stood two persons. One was a man, tall, darkly handsome, but with ferocious, bloodthirsty eyes, and a set, cruel mouth. The other was a shrinking young girl, fair as a dream, and whom the reader already knows as Harriet Dent. Black Bill, the outlaw, was thus seen for the first time by Allan Wyman. The young Easterner gazed at him with not a little of But Allan's whole being was fired by the words which Dent rushed to the crevice The light fell fair upon Allan's face, and it required but a glance for her to read truth and honor in it, and, know that he was a friend. "You have to save me?" she cried, huskily. "God be praised! Has my father sent you here?" I is not far from here," replied Allan "You shall soon be restored to him." Then hastily they exchanged stories. Hers was a thrilling one, and when she had finished, Allall'had crept into the cavern chamber, and fastened one end of his lariat to a jagged spur of rock. "Will you be afraid!" he said. "I must pass this noose under your shoulders, and lower you to the bottom of the cliff." "I have no fear," she said. Then the noose -was placed beneath her shoulders, Allan helped her through the crevice. and Gently, steadi ly, he lowered !1is precious burden down the face of the cliff. Then it was but a moment's work for him to slip through and slide down to her side. I The rescue was made, and Allan Wyman was in a deliri" So, my untamed beauty, you will defy Black Bill, eh ?'' followed. gritted the outlaw chief, in a furious manner. "I can tell you that that will avail you little. I am never crossed in my purpose." "You will spare me further insult if you would merit m y respect," said Harriet, coldly. "I have given you my answer. I will not marry you, and will die first!'' "That is you answer?" "It is!" "There are few women who would scorn the offer I have ously joyful frame of mind. CHAPTER X. THE MYSTIC / But troubles were by no means over. No sooner had Allan struck the ledge below than he heard a yell of alarm and discovery above. I "They have discovered our !" he exclaimed, with horror. All depends upon quick work now."


II THE MYSTIC BRAND. "I am r e ad y for an y thing," said H arrie t, bravely. Then down upon the group like a desc e nding thund e rbolt Allan fairly lift e d h e r in his arm s and ru s hed down the c ame a terrible apparition. mountain s id e It was a whit e gho s tly s tceu with eyes a nd heel s of .fire But in the dim light i t was hard to t e ll which w!.s t he Upon i t s back was a bla c k lit he form wit h all the lineaproper direction to take. m ents of a sk e l e ton s hinin g forth in a blaz e of light The mountain seemed s u dde nl y to become aliv e with So s udd e n and awf ul was th e app e arance o L thi s weird outlaws. apparition that not one of th e p a rty was able to move. Flying hoofbeats and loud y e ll s wer e all about them All stood s pellbound. Suddenly Allan, from s heer fatigu e was obliged to s top. Even Black Bill him s elf was enchained with deadl y .terror. Down upon the group swoope d the gho s tl y rid e r. So did he pas s to all that in a twinkling Harrie t s light form Let us s eek yonder was lifte d in air and v a ni s hed. "We mu s t hide here som e where! he e xclaimed. see m to be everywhere about u s." "It i s best," agreed Harrie t. thicket." "The y But before they could rea c h it ruin overtook them. Suddenly the outlaw s seem e d to s pring from the very ground at their feet. They were s urrounded in s tantly Despair mos t awful o ver wh e lm e d both Rough hand s pinioned Allan, who fought s avagely. The w e ird horseman was out of sight as he had come. It requir e d a full minut e for any in the stupefied par ty to r ecove r The n on e of th e m y e lled i n terror: "Good God! It was th e death s h ead!" Allan Wyman r e aliz e d in that mom ent with awful horr o r the true s ituation. Harrie t Van :9ent had been trans ferr e d from the fryin-gLanterns flas hed upon the scene, and for emos t among the pail into the fire. outlaws was Black Bill himself. He came forward with a j ee ring laugh. "Well, Wf.'lll !" h e c ried. Did you t hink, poor fool that you could s t e al m y priz e from me? You shall pay for this with torture o f which you little dream "MQn s ter !" cri e d Harriet scathingly. "You dare not make war upon any but d e fenseles s women!" But the outlaw laughed "So ho, spitfire!" h e cried "At it again, are you? Oh, I'll tame you yet!" Allan stood pale, but brave a s a lion in the center of the group In the powe r of th e owne r of t h e m yst i c b rand h e r fa te would be too awful for seriou s r e flection. In that in stant the young Eas terner gav e her up a s dead. I And ind e ed, why not, for it was b e lieved that;the mystic brand spar e d no person. Not one of the outlaw band s ought to make pursuit. Indeed, with Black Bill they s tarted pos t haste for their cavern retreat. Allan was tak e n along a s a pri s on e r Black Bill was in a cold s weat "Whether that be man or d e v i l," h e mutter e d, "he 1s ruining me for a certainty It i s m y clevil's luck. Black Bill advanc e d and pee red into hi s face. At the crater cavern Allan was thrust into a s mall cham" Ah, I think I rem embe r y ou h e said "You ar e one ber underground. of the e l e ctric stage part y W e ll luck is playing into m y hands." "It will not said Allan coldly. "Villainy alwa,vs meets it s r e ward soone r or later." On the mor:r:ow h e was to be d e alt with th e ? utlaw chief as he always dealt with hi s pri s on e rs. Allan kn e w that this m eant d e ath H e could h ear the c ru s h of thund e r and the beating of "Don' t pre a c h to m e s narl e d the vill a in. "I'll cut the s torm out s ide. your h eart out. Tak e him away m e n. with him There was a crevic e in the door o f his pri son cell b y to-morrow!" The outlaw s mad e a move to obey. But th e thrilling in c ident s of the nigh t w e re to b e out don e by an-othe r e v e n mor e s tartling than any A shilrp s ound s mote upo:rl the night air. It was a t e rrible, s oul-h a rrowing bloodc urdlin g, sepul chral ]au g h w h i c h r an g a nd r c -ran g thro u g h t h e m o unt a i n air in a w eird manner. ,.. which he could see the whol e interior of th e main cavern chamber The outlaw s were all gath e r e d about a hu ge fir e i n th e center of the place. The y seem e d engrossed in an excitin g Foremos t amon g the m w as the tall form of Bla c k Bill. Allan quit e naturally began t o con side r the possibilit y of escape.


THE MYSTIC BRAND. But this seemed slight. The walls of his prison chamber were thick. Moreover, a guard paced outside 'l'he lea s t attempt to make an escape in that direction would be fatal. His position seemed hopeles s Still Allan did not lose courage. What followed was to him ever afterward a weird un natural dream. It seemed as if the earth was rolling and tossing beneath him like the waves of the sea. / The entire universe seemed falling to pieces .... Then he aroused him s elf and a s trange was every-He up ..g?od heart and was dispo s ed to cling to a where about him. perfect faith that he wouTd y e t s ucceed i n e s caping. H e could see nothing fof. the pitchy darkness. ith an Time passed s lowly The-storm continu e d to rage with unabated fury. 'rhe crashing of th e thunder through the mountain gorges was something terrific. But the outlaw s s e e med oblivious to the warring of the elements. effort he managed to crawl out from beneath the heap of dirt piled upon him Allan s at up and for some moments tried t o co11ect his scattered thoughts. It required s ome tim e for this, but he finally succeeded. He felt about him, and hi s touch encotntered upon s }ones Soon a keg was brought out and ta pped. Liquor .. flowed and dirt. profusely, and all drank. Then he became conscious of a breath of air upon his In a very short whil e many of the wretches were in a cheek. It was a powerful draught and from the damp\ beas tly state of i,htoxi c ation. Allan watched th e m grimly. ness he knew that it cam e from th e night without. He noted th e r e lu ctant tre ad of the guard out s id e his Allan 's fir s t vagu e impression was that there had door. an earthquake. Allan unde rstood human nalure well e nough to know that In thi s s ub s equent event s proved that he was right. i.he fellow would no t long resist the t e mptation. For a long while he remain e d motionle ss. 'l'l10n he felt And he was right. a damp mi s t upon his che ek. He could hear the patter Afte r a time Blac k ill left the group o f rain n?t far away. I Where he went it was not eas y to gue ss. W11at did it m ean? Had the earthquake caused the But the guard did not hesitate long. H e move d forward crater cavern to collapse, and had he b e en miraculously and join e d the drinker s s pared from being c ru s hed in the ruins? Allan mov e d to the door and tried it. 'l'h e r e was a bar So it would seem. A prayer of thanksgiving welled from again st it upon the out e r s ide. his s oul. H e trie d to force it, but was unable to do so. It h e ld firmly i md he saw that it would r e quir e an t1But wha t of the outlaws? Doubtless they wer e cru s h e d in the cavern. At he usual amount of strength to break it. c ould no see nor h ear an y thing of them. In that brief moment a thousand things pa s s e d through Allan !finally grew resolute enough to decide upon a move his excited brain. He drew a match from his pocket and lit it. But yet he could devise no way of breaking the bar. This showed the vicinity quite clearly for some feet about. No time was to be lost. Tl;le might return at any moment. The walls of his prison chamber had not collapsed, ex Qnce more cept upon one side, and that the one in which was the door. Allan put hi s w e ight again s t the door But h e might as well have tried to push over the moun tain. It would not yield. With a thrill, Allan crept in thi s direction. He could see nothing, but qe f elt every moment that he was clambering upward int o the open air. Up, up he went, over boulder and ledge All was a cloak Blit the eve of a terrible cri s is at hand At \hat mo-of darkness. I menta swift premonition of its coming dawned upon Allan. But looking directly upward he saw a twinkling-star be-' There was a p e culiar tremor of the earth, a strange tween jagged reefs of clouds. quiver, aJjd a lull in the storm. 'l'h e n th e r e cam e a roar and a mighty s ound like th e roar ing of water s Allan was thrown upon hi s fa c e in utter darkness and half buried in debri s ., The rain had ceased. The cloud s were drifting rapidly into the east. Sudd e nly th e moon once mor e bur s t forth in all her s plendor. The dripping country was revealed. Allan glanced about him and then down into the crater. (


THE MYSTIC BRAND. Part of th e cavern had collapsed. But evidently not all The crat e r had been literally upheaved, and now the of the outlaws had bee n cru s h e d for h e heard voices and saw wher e the outlaw s' cave had been c ould b e seen. I dark form s scaling the opposit e sid e Much was l ef t of i t yet thou g h b e n e a t h t h e ruins He even h e ard th e jarrin g voice of Bl ack Bill giving w e r.e buri e d a nd in s pot s half vi s ible, r e main s of the angry ord e rs. laws. "Wha t a pit y tha t it did n o t c r us h a ll o f mut t e r ed l:h e young East e rn er. W ell, t hi s won't do for m e." He kn e w the deadly r isk o f l i n ger in g longer in th e place. H e cr e pt down into the s h adows o f t h e woods b elow. H o w lon g h e w ande r e d a imlessl y a bout in t h e wilds h e never kn e w Bu t at daybreak h e ca m e out up o n a s h e lf o f rock over-But not one of the survivors c ould be seen. Th e y h a d v a c a t e d th e vi c in ity in h o t h a s te. Their t rail was found l e ading C!Qwn the mountain but Fra nk decid e d not to follow it. H e exa m i n e d th e form e r s tronghold closely. Th e n h e s aid : looking a small gulch. And up this, a peculiar thrill, he saw three climbing. They were w e ll known to him. "We have no in't e rest at s t a k e h e r e It i s my belief that men Black B i ll has e n t er e d upon th e d ownw ar d p a th. Even the elem ents ar e cons piring again st him." CHAPTER XI. THE OUTLAw's ATTACK The three men were R eade, Jr., Van Dent and Barney. Pomp had been left in charge of the electric stage. Th e n l e t u s r et urn," s aid Van D en t ; a n xious ly "Be gorra, I'm afth e r thinkin' it's a hunt now fer the mystic brand!" cried B a rn ey. "Tha t i s right!" cri e d Fra nk. W e mus t run that s coundr e l to e arth." Ba c k to the e l e ctric s tagE$ consequ e ntly all w ent. All that day the s earch was continu e d for the mysteri-ous ave ng e r. The three daring m e n w e re actually invading the s tronghold of Bldck Bill. But not a trac e of him could be found anywh ere. light. But the y w e re proceeding with great caution. It seeme d indeed, a risky thing to do in broad da y At l e n gth nightfall came A s nothin g c ould b e gain e d b y r e m a ining ove r night in Allan did not wait for cer e mony, but s tart e d down towa):"d vici ni ty, F rank d e cided to pu s h op. to Hocu s Poc;u s and r e main un ti l t h e morrow. them. With a loud cry he attract e d their attention. They halted as they saw him corning Soon he was by their side Then they li s tened to the story of his exciting exReri-lences with the deepes t interest. 1 Van Dent nearly fainted when told that Harriet was in the powe r of the mystic unknown. But he would not give her up, and cried: "She shall be saved! I will not believe her lost!" This was done. Wh e n the elec tric s tage once mor e roll e d up to the door of R e fug e a vast crowd gr ee t e d it. A numb e r of s cout s had .i nvad e d Grizzl y C a n yon and dis cove r e d the result s of the battl e with Black Bill. The p eople w e r e all elated a t the defeat of the outlaw chief. They gav e Frank R e ade, Jr., an ovation. # One of th e n numb e r placed the freedom of the town "Right!" cri e d Fra nk. "I mean to run to er.rth this at di sposal but Fra nk d e clined this honor with thanks. maniac, and I will not desi s t until I do." It was decid e d to push on up to the crater. Frank was' desirou s of making an examination of the place "We will keep a good lookout for the he de-Barney a nd Pomp, howe v e r pit c hl)d i n f or a good time The y inv a d e d t h e b a rroom of t h e R e fuge, a nd soon had the crowd r o arin g with the ir quaint wit. Allan 1 and Van Dent wandered off down the street of the town clared. The latter was und e r a severe mental stra in. \ So they pushed on up the mountain. The form e r was almo s t a s b adly off, but y e t more com-' It was not long before they reached the verge of the posed. crater. "My God," said the millionaire, "shall I e ver s e e my. Then the work of the earthquak e was to b e plainly seen.1 darling c hild again? My s oul i s s hroud e d in darkneSs!" A deep fissure had been made in th e side of the peak. "We will hope for the best," said Allan.


THE MYSTIC BRAND. 25 "Ah, but how near you came to e ffecting her rescue If you had only b e en successful." Fate was against us," said Allan, "but 'we must cling to hope. "Do you really believe that maniac, for such he must be, will harm her?" Allay. dre w a d eep breath. "Let u s pray not," he said They had by thi s time rE';lched the end of the street. The flames leaped into the air from a dozen different parts of the town. The incendiaries and murderers were acting in excellent concert. The town was aroused, and the din was inde scribable. The air was :filled with yells and shouts and curses and rifle shots. In the open streets ; battle raged. Black Bill meant to destroy the town that night Allan Wyman and Van Dent had luckily e s caped ob. Allan had and chance d to glance up to the high servation. mountain wall which overlooked the valley. Both sprang up, and gazed, horror-stricken, at the scene As he did so, he beheld a curious sight which gave him of destruction which had opened. a start. A vivid flame appeared for the moment, lit up the black r nes s was waved to and fro several times, and then vanished From a point lower down instantly another signal of the same kind was seen. Allan turned his head and saw the same spectacle upon the opposite side of the valley. That it was a s ignal he had no doubt. \ Van Dent also saw the spectacle, and turned an inquiring glance upon Allan. "What on 1 earth is that?" he asked, sharply "I believe they are signals "What are they for?" "The outlaws are up to some dodge." The two men exchanged startled glances. "We must de something!" Allan shouted. But Van Dent put an iron gra s p upon his arm. 0 0 \ "Hold on," he said. "It would do no good. would be folly." "But what can we do?" cried Allan. Then he checked himself That Both at that moment saw a lithe form go flying past them in the gloom. It needed not instinct even, to tell them who it was. "The death' s head!" gasped Van Dent. Acting upon a common impulse both started in pursuit. In the darkness they became separated. Allan did not see Van Dent again. In his eagerness to overtake the death's head murderer, Allan gave heed as to where his footsteps were carryThe same thought was .in the mind of each. It was well ing him. known that Black Bill had often threatened a raid upon the He suddenly found himself in the center of the town town. again. Was this his purpose? He was in a side street, and saw a mob of armed men Whether it was or not, Allan felt that lt would be betrush around the corner. ter to spr e ad the alarm, and hav e eve rybody on guard. Just in t!me the young shrank into. the corner A body of armed m e n as large a s Black BilFs gang could, of a doorway. no doubt, wipe a town like Hocu s Pocus out of existence. Allan was about to start back into the town when Van Dent clutched hi s arm. \ "Down!" he "Quick, or my God, we a .re lost!" Down into a thicket they sank. They were not a moment too soon. Past them rushed a body of men. The mob passed him, but one of them lingered to put a torch to the building. Suddenly, and before Allan could act, a lithe form ":'as upon the outlaw All was over in the twinkling of an eye. He heard a crunching blow, a death cry, and a snarling exclamation : One of them carried a torch. ye! the debt is paid!" Not one hundred yards distant was a log cabin. Then one of the combatants bent over the other for a It was the humble home of a miner. The :fiends reached brief second, ere flitting away into the gloom. Allan awoke to a sense of action, he sprang for The torch touched the thatch, and in an instant it was in ward. Some motive impelled him to bend down over the victim. occupant s rushed forth in terror, but they were The flames were leaping up over the cabin, and made the V


n THE MYSTIC BRAND. The upturned, agonized face Allan recognized with an ( But it was a crisis which called for gre at pluck and awful thrill. 1 lution. "My God!" he cried. "At last the end has come. Black .\llan had both, and he did not hesitate longer. Bill is dead!" He s tepped instantly forward and lifted the vines. It was indeed the famous outlaw chief. 'fhis revealed a wide-mouthed cavern. It was as black H e tribution had at last overtaken qim. His end had Erebus within come. And there upon the dead man s brow Allan, with unFpc akable horror, beheld the fearful mark of the death's head. He remembered the words : The debt is paid!" "Some one i s avenged!" h e muttered. "Man or devil, whatever it is, I must learn from its lips the fate of Har riet Van Dent!" And with this desperate resolution, Allan started in pur s uit of the avenger. The latter had vanished around a corner, but Allan followed. A moment lat e r he saw the 'avenger' s form lei s urely strid ing into a path which led up the mountain. The unknown's head was low, and h e seemed wholly unconscious of what was going on about him. Allan followed him with ease. I Ris first impulse was to overtake the unknown and attack him. But second thought influenced him not to do this. He might get the w?r s t of it, and nothing would be gained. After all the best and wisest cour s e was to follow the avenger to his lair. This Allan proceed e d to do. Into the hills the young Easterll,er followe d the unknown. But Allan did not hesitate. He plunged into the blackp.ess. In an instant he was seized in a giant-like grasp. With all his strength he could not overcom e it. A dreadful hiss sounded in hi s ears and talon his throat. He was instantly fainting Death seemed closing down upon him. The horror of the moment wat awful. Then he felt the grip relax. A husky, snarling voice said: "Who are you, and why have you followed me here?" Allan rec overed himself sufficiently to make reply : "I, am one who never did harm to living being. I am quest of a young girl, Harriet Van Dent whom you have your power, if you have not murd e r e d her." Allan heard a peculiar, grating laugh. "Ob, you are one of that party with the el\ctric stage?" "Yes." "Come with me." The grip was removed from Allan s throat, and he was l e d away through the darkness. On and on until light suddenly bur s t upon the sceD,e. Then he was the witness of an a s tounding sigHt. It was a rocky cavern chamber, with a fire in one corner, and oil lamps lighting it up. It was rudely furnished, and upon -a rude stool which sat upon the edge of a huge bearHow far he was unable to estimate. relax that same long stride Not once did he skin mat was a young girl. I And all the while he carried his head low bent upon his bosom. Qnc e in a while Allan fancied a deep sob escaped his lips. Instantly Allan recognized her. It was Harriet Van Dent. Alive and well she was, and sprang up with a joyful cry;. "You!" she exclaimed. "You have come to take me to On and on for miles the unknown went. They were now my father?" in a part of the hills very remote. Allan turned a swift glance upon the unknown. Suddenly the unknown paused before a high cliff. But he could not descry the expression of his face be He stooped, brushed aside some vines, and disappeared cause of the mask. from view. c HAPTER XII. THE AVENGER'S ABODE. Allan Wyplan paused for on e thrilling moment here. What should he do? Ought he to follow the avenger into that unknown place? Would it not lead him to d eath? "Yes," said the mystic avenger, in a changed voice, "neither of you need fear harm." "Thank God!" gasped Allan "Then you have not mur derous motives toward everybody?" "To the contrary," replied the avenger. "But sit down. See, my hands are red with the blood of my foes. I wash them and then I will talk with you." Allan, in a sort of daze, sank down upon a cushioned


THE MYSTIC BRAND. ltarrie t r e gard e d him with a pal e fac e and s aid : "He i s a friend to us. He hates only the outlaws. Tell me of my father." "He was well, and in qMst of y ou when 11as t saw him." "Ah, poor mail I have c aused him much s orrow." "Will sour captor allow you to go from here ?'l "Yes." "Why hav e you remained her e s o long ,' then?" Ah h e ha s deem e d i t s afe r, for the 9 utlaw s wer e g oing to attack the town Hav e the_y don e s o y e t ?1 "Yes; and the whol e place i s in flames. I f ear the I Harriet groaned with horror. At tl1is mo;11ent th e ave nger r eturne d "He r e I am!" h e said, in a ple a s an t voice. for the trans formation .'; And now With a qui c k move m ent h e r emove d th e hid eous mask. A cry of amaz e m ent esc aped Alla n H e recogniz e d the features wJ1ic h w e re reveal ed. The long ye llow hair th e pl e a s ant blu e eyes and s p ec-. I tacles b e longed to Alph e u s Sm o othbr o w t h e Quak er. "You?" h e ga s p ed. "Are you th e mysti c ave nger ? "I am! r e pli e d Smoothbrow with an ironi c al s mile. Allan could not say more. H e sat s till and gazed at the Quaker in a daz e d manner. "Am I dreaming? he muttered. To t h e contrary, you are not," declar e d Alph e u s Smoothbrow quietly __... "But-I c annot believ e my s enses. I s it you who ha s plac e d the mys ti c brand upon so many peopl e ?" "It is." You killed Black Bill? A lightning gleam s hot from hi s eyes. I did he s aid "And Bill Hurd and his passenger s owe their death to OU ?'1 "No. "What?" "I s ay no." "My work is done. I hav e shed the last drop of blood I ever shall. But in all m y lif e I have harmed no other than the member's of that vip e r gang." Allan and Harrie t li s tened s ilently The mys tic ave nger aro s e and pac e d or twice up and down the cave "Shall I tell you how it came to pass?" h e asked, bit. terly. "I will do so. Two y ear s ago I was happy ; with my loving wife and thre e children in m y happ y mountain home. "I was making a fortun e in a secr e t plac e r, and had hidd e n th e g old in a nook of the cabin I dre amt that I was secure, but o n e d a y th e fie nd s came, Black Bill at their head. "The y invad e d m y h a pp y home1 s tol e m y .tr e a sure of gold Had this bee n a ll I would not hav e complained. l "But they b eat out fie ndi s hl y th e brain s of m y cl1ildren, and but c h e r e d m y wife, lite rall y cutting h e r in pieces. Oh God! th e s i ght whic h m e t my gaz e when I came hom e It nearly mad e o f m e a raving mania c "I gath e red up th e remain s of m y d e ar one s and buried them on the mountain s ide. "Then ove r the grav e I swore an oath of vengeance. To furthe r m y e nd s I took th e guise of a Quak e r My name is not Smoothbrow, but Oliver Martin. How well I have s u cceede d in my purpose you know! "But m y mis s ion i s fulfilled The wor1d i s wide, and I s hall find c ong e ni a l atmos ph e re s omewhere I cannot m e rit less of m y God, or of the respect of just men for ha v in g s tain e d m y l1ands with the viper's blood as I hav e This i s my s tory Silence s ucceeded this s tatement of awful facts for a time. Then Allan arose and held out his hand to Oliver Martin "I feel for you he s aid "Wherever you go, I wis h you succes s !" "I thank you r e plied the ave ng e r hu s kily. He pick e d up a rifle, and w ent to the cavern e-xit. "But your brand was upon tJ1 e brow of e ach one.'' I am g oin g now, h e s aid, "the r e i s nothing her e I wish "I did that t o di sarm the outlaw s s a i d Smoothbrow to tak e away S t a y h e r e until danger i s over in the val"B!a c k Bill is respon s ibl e for their d eath. I merely f ound God bless you and prot e ct y ou! F a rew ell!" hem and mark e d them a s a blind." H e vani s h e d from s ight. It was some whil e b e fore either Allan dr e w a deep breat!h. of the young p e opl e v e ntured to sp eak. "The n your feud i s s olely with the outlaws?" Then they did not attempt to di scuss the s ubj e ct s o t e r"Solel y I h av e killed nigh a hundred of their gang, r ible to think of. The lon g night hour s passed. d hav e at la s t run t o earth the arc h fiend of them all. eaven has favor e d m e and at last I am ave nged!" Them stic aven(Ter's e es flas hed and he went on: When morning came Allan went outside th e cavern. He climbed a tree, and from its top gained a view of the I valle below. I


28 THE MYSTIC BRAND. He could see little of the town, for a dense cloud of smoke hung over it. He knew not whether it was in existence yet or not. He could tell whether any of his friends had &ur;vived. the battle or not. But he said to Harriet : "Shall we take the risk and descend?" hesitated but a moment. '"I think we may," she said. "And God will protect us!" Accordingly they left the avenger's cavern, and set out down the mountain for the town below. CHAPTER XIII. THE END. When Frank saw that the battle was over, he turned h" attention to saving the building s which had not been fire By blowing up a few of the burning structures with a shot from the electric gun, he was enabled to do so. Before daybreak the flames were subdued. Hocus Pocus was saved. There was good reason for mutual congratulations. And the vivid success was attributed wholly to Frank Reade, Jr., and his famous electric stage. It was a happy throng which gathered about the in the early morning light. Alexander Van Dent had found his way to the electric stage. He had searched in vain for Allan, and had neaHy him up for lost, when Frank suddenly clutched.:l1i art When the first intellig ,ence of the outlaws' attack reached and cried: ""' \ .. : Frank Reade, Jr., he was in the tavern. "Look!" ,_ 'I' he electric stage had been left in the tavern ya. rd. Down the street he saw two familiar figures coming : Frank instantly opened the generators, and running up They were .Allan and Harriet. With a delighted yell, to the upper deck put a projectile in the breech of the gun. the overjoyed father started for them. rrhe view from the top of the stage was thrilling. The story was soon told. The outlaws, with Black Bill at their h e ad, were descend ing upon the town. That they meant to destroy it was beyond doubt. For some days the electric stage continued to carry tl mails. But finally, all danger from outlaws being Frank Reade, Jr., and Barney and Pomp bid adi ,eu to It was but a work to send the electric stage Staked Plains, and returned to Readestown. rushing down the street. Van Dent arid Harriet remained t in Hocus Pocus: A huge body of the outlaws were massed in the center The name of the town was changed to Denton, and of the thoroughfare. millionaire became one of its leading men. it They were engaged in deadly battle with the people of one of the handsomest cities in the State. the town. They :were overwhelming the denizens when the stage arrived. A shower of bullets came rattling against the shell of the stage The young inventor had trained the electric gun.' There was but a brief interval between the pressing of the electric button and the explosion. The result was awful to witness. The projectile exploded in the midst of the outlaw horde. And Allan remained. Only a few ago sweet Harriet Van Dent became his happy bride. The mystic brand is yet a legend in Denton. What be-came of the avenger was never known. But the fame of Frank Rade, Jr., and the stage can never die in that vicinity. It will live forever. THE END. Read "FRANK READE, JR.'S The outlaw band closed in furiously, however, in spite of RACER; AROUND THE WORLD IN the awful loss. DAYS," which will be the next Again Frank threw a projectile among them. "Frank Reade Weekly Magazine." The third one created such fearful loss of life that they were obliged to break and run. ...rrhe battle was over. SPECIAL NOTICE: All back numbers of this weekly The miners everywhere pursued the villains, and shot are always in print. If you cannot obtain them from them down like sheep. newsdealer, send the price in money or pos tage stamps It was the death knell of Black Bill's murderous band. mail to FRANK TOUSEY, PUBLISHER, 24 In less than two hours sca:rcely a handful of them was left SQUARE, NE\V YORK, and you will receive the These made their escape to the hills. you order by return mail.


A magazine Containing Stotries, Sketches, ete., of Westetrn llife. El-y-A..1'T C>:J:...::O SCC>U"T DO NOT FAIL TO READ IT. PAGES. -. PBICE 5 CENTS. 32 PAGES. EACH NUMBER IN A HANDSOME COLORED COVER. All of these exciting stories are founded on facts. Young Wild is a hero with whom the author was acquainted. His daring and thrilling adventures have never been surpassed. They the base of the most"dashing stories ever published. Bead the following numbers of this most interesting magazine and convinced: YOUNG WILD WEST, THE PRINCE OF THE SA.ODLE. YOUNG WILD WEST' S LUCK; or, Striking it Rich at the Hills. YOUNG WILD WEST'S VICTORY; or, The Road Agents' Last Hold-up. YOUNG WILD WEST' S }:'LUCK ; or, Bound to Beat the Bad Men. YOU NG WILD WEST' S BEST SHOT; or, The Rescue of Arietta. YOUNG WILD WEST AT DEVIL CREEK; or, Helptng to Boom a New Town. YOUNG WIL D WEST'S SURPRISE; or, The Indian Chief s 13 YOUNG WILD WES'l"S TRIUMPH; or, Winning Against Great Odds 14 YOUNG WILD WEST'S STRATEGY; or, The Comanche Chief s Last Raid. 15 YOUNG WILD WEST'S GRIT; or, Tbe Ghost of Gauntlet Gulch. 16 YOUNG WILD WEST'S BIG DAY; or, The Double ding at W _eston. 17 YOUNG WILD WEST'S G:f!.EAT SCHEME; or, The Building of a Railroad. 18 YOUNG WILD WEST AND -THE TRAIN ROBBERS ; or, The Hunt for the Stol e n Treasure. Legacy. 19 YOUNG WILD WEST METTLE; or, Four Again s t YOUNG WILD WEST MISSING ; or, Saved by an Indian Twenty Princess. YOUNG WILD WEST AND THE DETECTIVE; or, Tht; Red Riders of the Range. YOUNG WILD WEST AT THE STAKE; or, The Jealousy 20 YOUNG WILD WEST'S RANCH; or, The Renegades of Riley s Run. 21 YOUNG WILD WEST ON THE TRAit.; or, Outwitting the Redskins. 22 YOUNG WILD WEST'S BARGAIN; or, A Red Man With of Arietta. a White Heart. YOUNG WILD WEST' S NERVE; or, The Nine Golden 23 YOUNG WILD WEST'S VACATION ; or, A Lively Time a t Bullets. Roaring Ranch. YOUNG WILD WEST AND ?HE TENDERFOOT; or, A 24 YOUNG WILD WEST ON HIS MUSCLE; or, Fighting New YQ'rker in the West. With Nature' s Weapons. SALE BY ALL NEWSDEALERS, OR WILL BE SENT TO ANY ADDRESS ON RECEIPT OF PRICE. 5 CENTS PER COPY. BY NK TOUSEY. Publisher., 24 \lnion Square. New York. IF YOU' WANT ANY BACH NUMBERS our Libraries and cannot procure them from newsdealers, they can be obtai ned from this office direct. Cut out and 1111 the following Order Blank' and send it to us with the price of the books ygu want and we will send them. to you by re-man POSTAGE S TAMPS TAKEN THE SAME AS MONEY. / \ 0 0 0 TOUSEY, Publi s her, 24 Union Square New York. ............ -;". ............ DEAR SIR-Enclosed :find ...... cent s for which please send me: .. copies of WORK AND WIN Nos ................................. .-.................. ....... WILD WEST WEEKLY NOS ........................................................ F RANK READE WEEKLY, Nos .......................................... : ......... PLUC K AND LUCK Nos ................ ..................................... SECRET SERVICE NOS.. . .................................................... THE LIBERTY BOYS OF '76 Nos ................................... ." .............. T e n Cent Hand Books, Nos .......................................................... . . . ............ Street and No .................... Town .......... State ..................


I CONTAINS ALL SORTS OF STORIES. EVERY STORY D PAGES. BEA.UTII'ULLY COLORED COVERS. LATE. ST ISSUES: 210 Jack Wright's Air and Water Cutter; or, WoQde'!'ful Adv on the Wing and Afloat. By "Noname." !1.72 A New York Boy out With Stanley; or, A Jojlrney Through Africa. 211 The Broken Bottle; or, A Jolly Good Fellow. By Jas. C. Merritt. ance Story. By Jno. B. Dowd. 173 Afloat With Captain Nemo; or, The Mystery of Whirlpool Island 212 Slippery Ben; or, The Boy Spy of the Revolution. By Capt. Tbos. H. Wilson Jlls. A. Gordon. 174 Two Boys' Trip to an Unknown Planet. By Richard R. Mont213 Young Davy Crockett; or, The Hero of Silver Gulch. gomery Old Scout. 175 The Two Diamonds; or, A Mystery of the South African Mines 214 Jack Wright and His Magnetic Motor; or, The Golden CltJ By Howard Austin. the Sierras. By ''Noname. 178 Joe. the Gymnast; or, Three Years Among the Japs. By Allan 215 Little lilac, 'l'he Boy Engineer; or, Bound To Do His Best. Arnold Jas. C Merritt. 177 Jack Hawthorne, of No Man's Land; or, An UncrownP.d Klag. 216 The Boy Money King; or, Working In Wall Street. "Noname." of a Smart New York Boy. By H. K. Shackleford. 178 Gun -Boat Dick; or, Death Before Dishonor. By Jas. c. Mt rltt. 217 "I." A Stoty of Strange Adventure. By Richard R 179 A Wizard of Wall Strilet; or, The Career of Henry Carew, ooy J,;omery. Banker. By H. K. Shackleford. 218 Jacl{ Wright, The Bol Inventor, and His Under-Water Ironcl 180 Fifty Riders In Black; or, The Ravens o f f::J.vo n Forest, By or, 'fhe 'l'reasure o the Sandy Sea. By "Noname." Howard Austin. 219 Ue rlfld O'Grady's Grit ; oT, The Branded Irish Lad. By A 181 The Boy Rille Ranger11.; or, Kit Carson's Three ScoutJ. Draper. By An Old Scout. 220 Through Thick and Thin ; or, Our Boys Abroad. By Howard A 182 Where? or, Washed Into an Unknown World. By "Noname." tin. 183 Fred Fearnaught, the Boy or, The Wolves of the 221 The D!lmon of the Deep; or, Above and Beneath the Sea. Sea By Capt. 'fhos. H Wilson. Capt. Thos. H Wilson 184 From Cowboy to Congressman; or, The Rise of a Young Ranch 222 Jack Wright and His Electric Deers; or, Fighting the Bandits man. By H. K Shackleford. the Black Hills. By "Noname." 185 Sam. Spark, the Bfave Young Fireman; or, Always the First 223 At 12 o'clock; or, The MyStery of the Lighthouse. A Story of on Hand. By Ex-Fire Chief Warden. Revolution. By Gen Jas. A Gordon. 186 The Poorest Boy In New York, and How He Became Rich, By 224 The Rival Boat Clubs; or, The Boss School at Beechwood. N. S Wood, the Young American Actor. Allyn Draper. 187 Jack Wright, the Boy Inventor; or, Hunting for a Sunken 225 The Haunted House on the Hudson; or, the Smugglers of Treasure. By "Noname. Sound. By Jas. C. Merritt. 188 On Time; or, The Young Engineer Rivals. An Exciting Story 226 Jack Wright and His .Prairie Engine, or Among the Bushmen of Railroading In the Northwest. By Jas. C Merritt. Australia. By "Noname." 189 Red Jacket; or, The Boys of the Farmhouse Fort. By An Old 227 A 1\lllllon at 20; or, Fighting His Way In Wall Street. By H. Scout Sha_ckleford. 190 His First Glass of Wine ; or, The Temptations of City Life. A 228 Hook and Ladder_ No. 2 By lllx-Fire Chief Warden. True 'l'emperance Story. By Jno. B. Dowd. 229 .on neck; or, ';['be Boy Pilot Lake Erie. By Allyn Draper. 191 The Coral City; or, The Wonderful Cruise of the Yacht Veata. 230 J ... ocomotlve Fred; or, Life on the Railroad. By Jas. C. Merrl By Richard R. Montgomery. 231 Jack Wright and His Electric Air Schooner; or, The Mystery ot 192 Making a Million; or, A Smart Boy s Career In Wall Street. By !\fine. By "Noname." H. K. Shackleford. 232 Philadelphia Phil ; or, From a Bootblack to a Merchant. By Ho 193 Jack Wright and His Electric Turtle; or, Chasing the Pirates ard Austin. of the Spanish Ma i n By Noname." 233 Custer's Last or, The Boy Trailer of the Little Hom. 194 Flyer Dave, the Boy Jockey; or, Riding the Winner. By Allyn An Old Scout. Draper. 234 The Rival Rangers; or, The Sons of Freedom. By Gen. Jas. 195 The 'l'wenty Gray Wolves; or, Fighting A Crafty King. By Gordon. Howard Austin. 235 Old Sixty-Nine; qr, ':':'be Prince of Engineers. By Jas. C. Merrl 196 The Palace of Gold ; or, The Secret of a Lost Race. By Richard 236 Among the Fire-Worshippers; or, Two New York Boys In Mexl R. Montgomery. By Howard Austin. 197 Jack Wright' s Submarine Catamaran; or, The Phantom Ship of 237 Jack Wright and his Electric Sea Motor; or, The Search for the Yellow Sea. By Noname. Drifting Wreck. By Noname." 198 A Monte Cristo at 18; or, From Slave to Avenger. By Allyn 238 Twenty Years on an Island; or, The Story of a Castaway. Draper. Capt. Thos. H. Wilson. 199 The Floating Gold Mine; or, A4rift in an Unknown Sea. By 239 Colorado Carl ; or, The King of the Saddle. By An Old Scout Capt. Tbos. H. Wilson. 240 Hook and Ladder Jack, the Daring Young Fireman. By ExF 200 Moll Pitcher's Boy ; or, As Brave as His Mother. By Gen'l Chief Warden. Jas. A. Gordon. 241 Ice-Bound; or, Among the Floes. By Berton Bertrew. 201 "We." By Richard R. Montgomery. L 242 Jack Wright and His Ocean Sleuth-Hound; or, Tracking an 202 Jack Wright and His Ocean Racer; or, Around the World In der-Water Treasure. By "Noname." 20 Days. By "Noname ." '243 The Fatal Glass; or, The Traps and Snares of New York. 203 The Boy Pioneers ; or, Tracking an Indian Treasure. By Allyn I True Temperance Story. By Jno. B. Dowd. Draper. 244 The Maniac or, A Life's Mystery. By Jas. C. Merrl 204 Still' Alarm Sam, the Darhi g Boy Fireman; or, Sure to Be On 245 Jack Wright and His or, The Lost Mine Hand. By Ex-Fire Chief Warde n -.. Death Valley. By Noname. 205 r ... ost on the Ocean; or, Ren ntutl''s Last Voyage. By Capt. Tbos. 246 The Ten Boy Scouts. A Story of the Wild West. By An 0 H. Wilson. Scout. 206 Jack Wright and His Electric Canoe; or, Working In the 247 Young Hickory, the ,Spy; or, Man, Woman,or Boy. By Ge Revenue Service. By "Noname. Jas. A. Gordon. 207 Give Him a Chance; or, How .rom Curtis Won His Way. By 248 Dick Bangle, the Boy Actor. By N. S. Wood (The Young Ame Howard Austin. can Actor). 208 Jack and I ; or, The Secrets of King Pharaoh's <:aves. By 249 A New York Boy in the Soudan; or, The Mahd! s Slave. By Ho Richard R Montgomery 1 ard Austin. 209 Burled 5,000 Years; or, The Treasure of the Aztecs, By Allyn 250 Jack Wright and His Electric Balloon Ship; or, 30,000 Leagu Draper. Above the Earth. By "Noname." For Sale by All Newsdealers, or will be Sent to Any Receipt of Price, 5 Cents per Copy, by PRANK TOUSEY, Publisher, 24 Union Square, m:ew Yor IF YOU WANT ANY BACK NUMBERS of our Libraries and cannot procure them from: newsdealers, they .can be obtained from this oftlce direct. Cut out and in the following Order Blank and send it to us with the price of the books you want and we w111 send them to you by turn mall. POS'.rAGE STAMPS TAKEN 'l'HE SAllJE AS . . . . . . . . . ........................................................... FRANK TOUSEY, Publisher, 24 Union Square, New York. ..................... 190 DEAR SIR-Enclosed :find .... .cents for which please send me: .copies of WORK AND WIN, Nos ....................................... : ...................... WILD WEST WEEKLY, Nos .................... ; ..................................... " FRANK READE WEEKLY, Nos ........................................................ PLUCK AND LUCK, Nos ............................. ............................ SECRET SERVICE, Nos .............................................................. THE LIBERTY BOYS OF '76, NOS Ten-Cent Hand Books, Nos .......................................................... N arne .......................... Street and No .. ................. Town .......... State .....


I THE STAGE. No. 41. THE BOYS OF NEW YORK END MEN'S JOKE "JOOK.-Containing a great variety of the latest jokes used by the IIIMt famous end men. No amateur minstrels is complete without th!a wonderful little book. No .. THE OF NEW YORK STUMP SPEAKER. a vaned asso,rti?ent of stump speeches, Negro, Dutch l.'lnd Ir1sh. .Also t>nd mens JOkes. Just the thing for home amuse,ment and amateur shows. No. 45. THE BOYS OF NEW YORK MINSTREL GUIDE JOKI!J BqOK.:-Somethin!l" new a_nd very instructive. Every a oy s !Jould obtam th1s as 1t con tams full instructions for or OJ(amzmg an amateur mmstrel troupe. No. 65. MULDOON'S JOKES.-This is one of the most 'original l i oke ever and it is brimful of wit and humor. It r!ontams a large collectwn of .songs, jo.kes, conundrums, etc., of trerrence Muldoon, the great w1t, humor1st, and pr11c tical joker of t "he day. Every boy who can enjoy a good substantial joke should Jbtain a copy immediately. d No. 79. HOW TO BECOME AN ACTOR.-Containing comf9lete instructions how to make up lOT various characters 6n the Y.,tage_; with the duties of the Stage Manager, Prompter, Artist and Property By a prominent Stage Manager. N?. 80. GUS WILLIAMS' JOKE BOOK.-Containing the lat-B 11t JOkes, anecdotes nnd funny stories of this world-renowned and nr popular Uerman comedian. Sixty-four pages handsome Q (ored cover containing a half-tone photo of the HOUSEKEEPING. No. 16. HOW TO KEEP A WINDOW GARDEN.-Containing II instructions fot constructing a window garden either in town r country, and the most approved methods for raising beautiful lowers at home. The most complete book of the kind ever pub1 thed. No. 30. HOW TO COOK.-One of the most instructive books n cooking ever published. It contains recipes for cooking meats th, game, and oysters ; also pies puddings, cakes and all kinds of astry, and a grand collection of recipes by one of our most popular .Jo oks. No. 37. HOW TO KEEP HOUSE.-It contains information for t verybody, boys, girls, men and women; it will teach you how to Jake almost anything around the house, suc h as parlor ornaments 0 rackets, cements, Aeolian harps, and bird lime for catching birds.' ELECTRICAL. No. 46. HOW TO MAKE AND USE ELECTRICITY.-.A de of the wonderful uses of ele ctricity and electro magnetism ; ogether with full instructions for making Electric Toys, Batteries, tc. By George Trebel, A. M., M. D. Containing over fifty il strations. No 64. HOW TO MAKE ELECTRICAL MACHINES.-Con-ming full directions for making electrical machines, induction 1ls, dy,namos, and many novel toys to be worked by electricity. y R. A. R. Bennett. Fully illustrated. No. 67. HOW TO DO ELECTRICAL TRICKS.-Containing a r&e collection of instructive and highl y amusing electrical tricks, ether with illustrations By A And e r s on. ENTERTAINMENT. No. 9. HOW TO BE(/OME A Harry 111nedy. The secret g1ven away. Every mte1hgent boy reading !1 book of instructions, by a practical profes sor (delighting multi des every night with his wonderful imitations), can master the and create any amount of fun for hims e lf and friends. It is the a test book ever published, and there's millions (of fun) in it. No 20. HOW TO ENTERTAIN AN EVENING PARTY.-A ry valuable book just published. A c omplete compendium &ames, sports, (!ard diversions comic r ec itations, etc., suitable r parlor or drawing-room entertainment. It contains more for the ney than any book published. No. 35. HOW TO PLAY GAMES.-A complete and useful little k containing the rules and regulations of billiards, bagatelle, kgammon, croquet. dominoes, etc No. 36. HOW TO SOLVE CONUNDRUMS.-Containing all e leading conundrums of the day, amusing riddles, curious catches d witty sayings. No. 52. HOW '1'0 PLAY CARDS.-A complete and handy little k, giving the rules and full directions for playing Euchre, Crib ge, Casino, Forty-Five, Rounce, Pedro Sancho, Draw Poker, oction Pitch, All Fours, and many other popular games of cards. No. 66. HOW TO DO PUZZLES.-Containing over three hun interesting puzzles and conundrums, with key to same. A r omplete book. Fully illustrated. By A. ETIQUETTE. No. 13. HOW TO DO IT; OR, BOOK OF ETIQUETTE. It a a great life secret, and one that every young man desires to know !l about. There's happiness in it. No. 33. HOW TO BEHA VE.-Containing the rules and etiquette f good society and the easiest and most approved methods of ap"&ring to good advantage at parties, balls, the theatre, church, and a the drawing-room. DECLAMATION. _To. 27. HOW TO RECITE AND BOOK OF RECITATIONS. .. Containing the most popular in use, comprising Dutch Wect, French dialect, Yankee and Irish dialect pieces together No: 31. HQW TQ BECOME A SPEAKER.-Containing four teeu 11lustralwns, g1ving the different positions requisite to becomt: a good speaker, reader and elocutionist. Also containing gems froll!) a.Il the popular !lnthors of prose and poetry, arranged in the m(ll(. Simple and conc1se manner possible. No. 49 .. HOW TO DEBA'.rE.-Giving rules for conducting d1> batt>s, outlines for. qu.estions for and the bHll sources for procurmg mformatwn on the questions given SOCIETY. No. 3. HOW TO FLIRT.-The arts and wiles of flirtation a n fully by this little book. Besides the various methods ha_r;.dkerch1ef, fan, glove, parasol, window and hat flirtation it con !nms a .full list of the language and sentiment of flowers, lr m.terest1ng to everybody, both old and young. You cannot be happ, w1thuut one. No. 4. HOW '1'0 DANCE is the title of a new and handsom f lit_ tle book just issued by Frank Tousey. It contains full instrue> tions in the art of dancing, etiquette in the ball-room and 1\t partie" how to dr!'ss, and full directions for calling off in all popular ver given to the worl d Everybody WlShes to know how to become beautiful both male female. The secret is simple, and almost costless. 'Read this and be convinced how to become beautiful. BIRDS AND ANIMALS. No. 7. HOW TO KEEP BIRDS.-Handsomely Illustrated an-! containing full in structions for the management and training of tb canary, mockingbird, bobolink blackbird, paroquet, parrot, etc. No. 39. HOW TO RAISE DOGS, POULTRY, PIGEONS ANI/ RABBITS.-A useful and instructive book. Handsomely ttated. By Ira Drofraw. No. 40 HOW TO MAKE AND SETTRAPS.-Including hintl: on how to catc h moles, wease-ls, otter, rats, squirrels and birdc; Also how to cure skins. Copiously illustrated. By J. Keene. No. 50. HOW TO STUFF BIRDS AND valuable book, giving instructions in collecting, preparing, mountiP.( and preserving birds animals and insects. No. 54. HOW TO KEEP AND MANAGE PETS.-Gfv!ng coi!Q plete information as to the manner and method of raising, keepln( taming, breeding, and managing all kinds of pets ; also giving fu r instructions fot making cages, etc. Fully explained by twentyeig b:l illu strations, making it the most complete book of the kind published. MISCELLANEOUS. No. 8. HOW TO BECOME A SCIENTIST.-A useful and structive book, giving a complete treatise on chemistry; a lso n periments in acoustics mechanics, mathematics, chemistry, and rections for making fireworks, colored fires, and gas balloon1 Tblt book .cannot be equaled. No. 14 HOW TO MAKE CANDY.-A complete handboo k t4!l making all kinds of candy, ice-cream, syrups, essences, etc., etc. No. 19.-FRANK TOUSEY'S UNITED STATES DISTANOllt TABLES, POCKET COMPANION AND GUIDE.-Givlnr th< offic ial distanc es on all the railroads of the United States ani Canada. Also table of distances by water to foreign ports, bact fares in the principal cities, reports of the census, etc., etc., makln ,. it one of the most complete and handy books published No. 38. HOW TO BECOME YOUR OWN DOCTOR.-A wo11 derful book. containing useful and practical information In treatment of ordinary diseases .and ailments common to eve n family. Abounding in useful and effective recipes for general plaints. No 55. HOW TO COLLECT STAMPS AND COINS. Ooii> taining valuable information regarding the collecting and arranghn of stamps and coins. Handsomely illustrated. No. 58. HOW TO BE A DETECTIVE.-By Old King the world known detective. In which he Jays down some valuabl and sensible rules for beginners, and also relates some adventun>r and experiences of well-known dete c tives. No. 60. HOW TO BECOME A PHOTOGRAPHER.Oontalf!l ing useful inf9rmation regarding the Camera and how to wor.ll: It also how to make Photographic Magic Lantern Siides and Transparencies. Handsomely illustrated. By Captain W De W Abney No. 62. HOW TO BECOME A WEST POINT MILITARl' CADET.-Containing full explanations how to gain admittanCQ cours e of Study, Examinations, Duties, Staff of Officers Guard, Police Regulations, Fire Department, and all a boy sho u l 6 know to be a Cad e t Compiled and written by Lu Senarens, e.u-thC of "'How to Bec om e a Naval Cadet." No. 63. HOW TO BECOME A NAVAL CADET._:Complete iJJ. structions of bow to gain admission to the Annapolis NavL A c ademy. Al s o containing the course of instruction, des criptio!! of grounds and buildings, historical sketch. and everything a should know to be c ome an officer in the United States Navy. Co. piled and writte n by Ln Senarens, author of "How tc BICOlD West Point Military Cadet." ltl:i many 1tandard readings. CENTS TOUSE1 PRICE 10 Address FRANK EACH, OR 3 FOR 25 CENTS. 24 Uniou Square. New York"


Contaiiling on Land, Soa and in tho Air. ''ToJXT Each Number in a Handsomely Illuminated Cover. BOOK FOR 5 All our readers know Frank Reade, Jr., the greatest inventor of the age, and his two fun-loving chums, and Pomp. The stories to be published in this magazine will contain a true account of the wonderful and exciting adventures of the famous inventor, with his marvellous flying machines, electrical overland engines, and his extrar ordinary submarine boats. Each number will be a rare treat. Tell your newsdealer to get you a copy. 1 Frank Reade, Jr.'s White Cruiser of the Clouds; or, The 13. From Zone to Zone; or, The Wonderful Trip of Fran Search for the Dog-Faced Men. Reade, Jr., with His Latest Air-Ship. 2. Frank Reade, Jr.'s Submarine Boat, "The Explorer''; or, 14. Frank Reade, Jr., and His Electric Cruiser of the Lakes; o To the North Pole Under the Ice. A Journey Through Africa by Water. 3. Frank Reade, Jr.'s Electric Van; or, Hunting Wild Animals i 15. Frank Reade, Jr., and His Electric Turret; or, Lost in th in tbe Jungles of India. Land or Fire. 4. Frank Reade, Jr.'s .Electric Air Canoe; or, the Search for 16. Frank Reade, Jr., and His Engine of the Clouds; o th'e Valley of Diamonds. Chased Around the World in the Sky. 5. Frank Reade, Jr.'s "Sea Serpent"; or, the Search for 17. In the Great Whirlpool; or, Frank Reade, Jr.'s Strang Sunken Gold. Adventures in a Submarine Boat. 6. Frank Reade, Jr.'s Electric Terror, "The Thunderer; the Search for the Tartar's Captive. or, 18. Chased Across the Sahara; or, Frank Read .e, Jr., After 7. Frank Reade, Jr.'s Air Wonder, the "Kite"; or, a Six Weeks Flight Over the Andes. 8. Frank Reade, Jr.'s Deep Sea the "Tortoise"; or. the Search for a Sunken Island. Bedouin's 19. Six Weeks in. the Clouds; or, Frank Reade, Jr.'s Air-Shl the "Thunderbolt. 20. Around the World Under Water; or, the Wonderful Crute of a Submartne Boat. 9. Frank Reade, Jr.'s Electric Invention, the "Warrior"; or, 21. The MYstic Brand; or, Frank Reade, Jr., and His Fighting tlre Apaches in Arizona. Stage. 10. Frank Reade, Jr., and His Electric Air Boat; or, Hunting 22. Frank Reade, Jr.'s Electric Air Racer; or, Around thl Wild Beasts for a Ci rcus. I Globe in Thirty Days. 11. Frank Read'e, Jr., and His Torpedo Boat; or, at War With the Brazllian Rebels. 12. Fighting the Slave Hunters; or, Frank Reade, Jr., in Central Africa. For Sale by All Newsdealers, or will be Sent to Any Address on Receipt of Price, 5 Cents per Copy, by : l PBAWB: TOUSEY, Publisher, 24 Union Square, Rew YorJE IF YOU WANT ANY BACK NUMBERS of our Libraries and cannot procure them from newsdealers, they' can be obtained from this office direct. Cut out and fill in the following Order Blank and send it to us with the price of the books you want and we will send them to you by return mail. POS'rAGE STAMPS TAKEN '.rUE SAME AS .MONEY. FRANK TOUSEY, Publisher, 24 Union Square, New York. .......................... 190 DEAR SIREnclosed find ...... cents for which please send me : ..... copies of WORK AND WIN, Nos ............. ; ................................................ . WILD WEST WEEKLY, Nos ....................................................... FRANK READE WEEKLY, Nos .................................................. PLUCK AND LUCK, Nos .......................................................... SECRET SERVICE, NOS ............................... .............................. I THE LIBERTY BOYS OF '76, Nos ................................................ Ten-Cent Hand Books, Nos ............................................. ...... Name .......................... Street and No ................ :Town .......... State .........


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