Jesse James, the outlaw. A narrative of the James boys

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Jesse James, the outlaw.  A narrative of the James boys

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Title:
Jesse James, the outlaw. A narrative of the James boys
Series Title:
Jesse James Stories
Creator:
Lawson, W. B.
Place of Publication:
New York
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Street & Smith
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English
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32 p. ; 26 cm.

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Dime novels ( lcsh )
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serial ( sobekcm )

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University of South Florida
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University of South Florida
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All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
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028809122 ( ALEPH )
07355543 ( OCLC )
J14-00001 ( USF DOI )
j14.1 ( USF Handle )

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OF THE By SubscrijJtio11 $2-50 per year. Entered as Second Class Matter at ihe N. Y. Post Office, by STREET & SMITH 238 William St. N. Y. Entered accordi11eto Act of Co11e-ress in tlze year r qor, i11 tlte Office of the Librarian of Cone-ress, Washine-to11, D. C. No. t. N E W YORK, May r 1 1 901. Price Five Cent s A I 1\ Narrative of the James By W. B LAWSON. CHA PTER I. I N THE ROBBER'S NEST. Bang! Ping! A bu llet whistled by my l eft ear. Bang! Ping! Thud! Another whistled by my right ear, clipping a lock of hair, .and burying itself in the stalk of the heavy blacksnake whip that I was flourishing aloH at the time. "Curse you! Won't you stop now?" shouted a vo i ce b ehind me, to whic h I had thus far give n no heed. "Wal, yes, stranger," I drawled, reining up, and whee l ing my horse imperturbably, "I reckon I will this time, since yo u i n sist on it so emphat i cally." Three ho r semen approached me. They we r e rather suspicious than angry, and they had just ridden out of the g ate of a lonely farmhouse that I had jogged leisurely but o bse r vantly by a few m i nutes before. I kn ew them instantl y, t h ough, very fortunately, didn' t k n ow me i n t h e disguise, half 1 and half a gricultural, that I the n wore. They we r e three daring Chicago detectives in the disguise of horse-tradersH awes, Jewell, and VVhittaker, by name. They were on I the l ookout for Jesse and Frank James, the noted trainrobbers and bandits, and had just visited old Mrs. James' far mhouse, i n the hope of finding the dreaded outlaws there, and worming themselves into their confidence, wit h a view to their u l timate capture. Ten thousand dol Iars reward was the stake. I, William Lawson, was o n precisely the same "lay." I was, however, wholly o n my own hook, didn't ad[\lire their mode of procedure, and proposed to go about the dangerous job in my own way. There you have the whole situation in a nutshell. ''\Vho and what are you, old man?" inquired Hawes, eyeing my curious rig in a hal f-amused way, as did his companions; "and why didn't you rein up when we fir s t called out to you?" "Last question first. I didn't rein up because I'm neither a darky nor a Chinaman, to be ordered abou t by you or any one else," I with rustic indignation. "And first question last 1 am a medical man, of Boone ville on my travels. I:\ ow, sir, who in thunde r are you? I mean to have the law on you, if there's any in Mis souri The three detectives burst into a loud laugh. ''Do you know who lives in. that house that we\e just q uitted?" said Hawes, without replying to my q u estion. -"No, I don't; and, moreover, I don't care," said I, in a huff. -Not the less, ho\\'ever, as I spoke did I furtively loo'cl back .,. the farmhouse, and notice that the \Vi dow J was peering out of the porch J t plc::tsed me mig-htii: however, to know that she remarked the altercation "1e were having in the road. Jd "Don't be mad," s::tid Hawes, laughing. "Ar e yo u ri( o,

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. l'HE JESSE Jl\MES STORIES. ing toward Independence? If you are, we may all t ake dinner together at the hotel." I pretended to be reluctantly mollified, and we all four turned our backs on the farmhouse, and walked our horses together down the wild, rocky road. The three detect ives talked together, chiefly about horses and horse-trad ing, as we proceeded. T11eir object, I saw, was to keep themselves in practice as to the assumption of their fictitious characters by blinding even such a harmless old lunkhead as I appeared to be. In fact, their braggadocia in firing their bullets after me as they had done had been in keeping with the same plan They were anxious to appear in the light of mur derers, dare-devil Missourians, at any cost. Nevertheless, I knew them to be really daring men at heart, each one of them an excellent shot, and all t.:onscious of the fact that they were carrying their lives in their hands in the desperate enterprise upon which they had entered. "I'm sorry we've been unable to see Jess James as yet," said Jewell. "I know he could put us on the track of some good bargains in horseflesh." "Maybe our pardner, Langman, was it1 better luck with looking up the James boys," said Vvhittaker. "The widow was mighty close-lipped about the boys," said Hawes, whipping up his nag. I s'pose she's got to be in view of--" He suddenly paused, reining up, and half-wheeling his horse. "Holy smoke!" he exclaimed, altogether thrown off his guard. "Here are Jess and Frank James now, right upon us." He spoke truly. Two horsemen, followed at a short distance by a third, had followed us noiselessly on the soft, turfy ground at the side of the rocky road, and were now within a few paces of us. Hawes' astonished exclamation was a dead "give-away" as to t he real character of himself and associates, for th ey had just pretended at the widow's an entire ignorance as to the James boys' personal appearance. "Throw up your hands, curse you!" thundered Jesse James, with a terrible oath, covering us with his re :volver, as we all came to a startled halt. His companions did the same, while motioning me to ()ne side, as a person too insignificant to be mixed up in the quarrel. "Throw up your hands," echoed Frank Jan1es, in an equally unmistakable tone. Paralyzed with sudden panic, Jewell and Whittaker obeyed at once. Hawes, how ever, saw that the game was up, surrender or no surrender. He resolved to die hard, if die he must. "Not if I know it!" he growled, whipping out his re volver and firing with the rapidity of thought. His bullet passed through the neck of the James' con / federate-a train-robber, named Curly Pitts-who there '-,upon tumbled from the saddle1 after firing his own pistol : n the air. At the same instant Hawes fell dead, with Jesse James' b ullet in his heart. Then the defenseless whittaker went shot through and through by simultaneous shots 'rom the robber brothers. Jewell, at this, suddenly wheeled his horse, and took to light at a tremendous pace. Then I took up my cue, wrrified as I was, and began emptying my revolver at his retreating form, while Frank James spurred after him in hot pursuit. "Who are you?" said Jesse James, eyeing me with a sphinxlike look, that would be either murderous or agree able, as the case might be. "l am a doctor q.f Booneville." said I. ''and, if you are the redoubtable Jes se Jarries, I bring you a message from a dying woman-Blanche Rideau. He started, seeming to change countenance even under the iron mask of his hardened aspect. "Dying-Blanche Rideau!" he muttered. "However, there's no time for softness now. If vou're a doctor, see what you can do for my friend Cuily yonder. In the meantime, I must examine the effects of these fellows. I suspected them as de.tectives all the while they were 'talking horse' to my mother, and the single exclamation of one of 'e m a moment ago was enough." I at once dismounted, and began to examine the hurts of the fallen robber. Jesse James, at the same tim e turned over the dead bodies of Hawes and Whittaker. hi s magnificent sorrel horse meantime following him about with the intelligence of a spaniel. \Vhile we were thus engaged, Frank Jam es came gal loping back, cursing bitt e rly because of Jewell's escape. "Never mind, Frank," said Jesse. 'You should have let me go after the cuss on Dancer there, then we'd have bagge d the whole gang. Look! A pretty brace of horse-dealers these!'' He h e ld up some docum e nt s that he hac! jnst rifled from the dead bodies. "Correspondence with our worst enemies at Kansas City, by Jupiter!" exclaimed Frank. after s natching ancl scanning one of the papers. "Th:mk fortune, we've wiped out the whole five of 'em, with the exception of th e one hound that escaped!" "You bet! or will have don
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} THE JESSE JAMES STORIES. woman, with her face expressive of much fearless strength of character, made her appearance. Jesse nodded significantly to her, while motioning me to follow him. As I did so, Frank James supported the wounded Pitts into the house. Jesse James Jed me to a little rocky nook behind the barn. The wild forest was on one hand, the barn on the other. Deserted as seemed the spot I soon became aware that armed men were on the constant lookout at different parts of the farm. "Now, stranger, for your story," said Jesse James, seating himself on a fragment of r ock. "I needn t warn you that it'll be better for you to be truthful to the letter." I know that," said I, seating myself, and secretly studying him with devouring curios ity "A tremor of 1.1ntruthfulness would mean a bullet in my heart, so you can rely upon exftctitude." He was a man of magnificent proportions, with close clipped, reddish beard, handsome, stern features, and a steely blue eye, whose penetrating glance might have pierced a three-inch plank. "I am a medical practitioner of Booneville, whither I came from St. Louis less than six months ago," said I. "Only six months ago?" "Yes. Let me go on Notwithstanding my brief prac tice there, I have already secured the confid e nce of some of the best families. Among others that of Judge Rideau. His beautiful daughter, Miss Blanche, was a patient of mine. I was also honored with her confidence. Just be fore she died--" "Died?" almost shouted the outtaw, springing to his feet, with a terrible alteration of countenance. "You didn't say b e fore that she was dead. You only said she was dying. Oh, great God! Look you, stranger," he added in a sudden fury. "See to it that you substan tiate what you say, or-" He half-drew one of his revolvers. "Just before Blanche Ridefl.U died, said I, imperturb ably, "she told me the story of her miserable love. She also made me swear that I would seek you out, Jesse James, even at the cost of my life and that I would give you this." I handed him, a s I spoke, a small packet, tied with blue ribbon. \ He snatched it from rne with a sort of groan. Tearing open its 'contei1ts-app. arently some time-yeflowed letters and other little things-he turned his back upon me. I heard him breathing hard, and then a half-stifled sound as though he were kissing the pack et.. I at that moment had him at such a disadvantage as probably no m.an .ever. befor.e had had the clrea.cled Jesse James. I could easily have shot him dead then and there, and thus have rid the world of perhaps the most success ful murderous and desperate bandit who has ever luridly illuminated the pages of America n criminality. But I have never been an assassin, even in dealing with assas sins. Moreover, my object was to devise means for the capture of him and his brother alive, and on this I' was staking my all. When he again turned to me, he had thrust the packet of tokens in his bosom, and thoroughly recovered his self contr ol. "Stranger, put it there!'' said he, extending his hand with real frankness. I instantly placed my hand in his broad, open palmthough not without an inward shudder-and he griped it hard. "Listen to a few words, doctor," said he. "Though married now to a woman whom I have learned to adore, there's no disloyalty to h er in my speaking them. Six years Blanche Rideau and I were engaged. We loved each other madly. Had the course of that love been uninterrupted, the world would to-day beh<;>ld me a reformed man-perhaps, also, a useful citizen, instead of the red scourge that I am, tracked everywhere by the blo o dy footprints of my career. It was interrupted. I am-what the world has made me." "It was not Judge Rideau's fault, surely," said I. "No; it was the fault of his brother, Blanche's uncleHenry Rideau-a million curses on his head!" growled the outlaw between his clenched teeth. "He was the marplot! 'Twas he that ruined all by reporting my ac cursed antecedents to Blanche and her old father. He's a rich bank president somewhere up in Minnesota now, but I'll get even with him yet--curse, curse, curse him!" For a moment his pas s ion was ungovernable. When it had passed, he said, suddenly, in a changed voice: "Did-did any message accompany the packet, <;lactor?" "Yes; she bade me to seek for your reformation-for your return to the paths of virtue-if this is not beyond the bounds of possibility." The outlaw burst into a frightful laugh. "Look at me, doctor!" he exclaimed, towering to his full stature, with either hand resting on the butt of a re volver. "Here I stand, Jesse James, the outlaw! All the world's hand is against me, my hand is against all the world in retaliati on. Let them send their detectives after me in droves, if they choose. Ay, Jet them send con stables' posses, and even Government troops if they will. But let them get the drop on me-let them come and take me if th ey dare!" His v,;ords were no mor e desperate and ferocious than his manner, as he spoke. Being a disguised detective my self, I could not refrain from an inward shudder, but I preserved r n y ou tward ca!m. ''With half the country people for your well-wi s hes, Jess,. said I, 'you doubtless st::1nd a pretty e'/en chance." He gave a short laugh. "Come with me, doc," said he. "In fact you can't do otherwise now. It's one of our ru les never to allc'iv a n ew-come r to go out of our company, after having once ac4nitted him until dead sure of his good faith. -'You shall accompany our band while we r emain in this of tlle country. You can then jud ge whether or not there's any likelih ood of your reclaiming me-even in o.c cordance with th e dying prayer of poor D!anche Rideac1.'' I followed him to the house. when we entered its rude. old-fashioned kitchea and dining-room com bined, we found a plentiful repast awaiting u s with the Widow James and her two n egro servants in attendance We sat down to it with Frank James, Curly Pitts, and two other men whom Jesse James r oug hly introduced to me as Charley Miller and Hank Burke. After dinner, Jesse hurriedly showed me over the ho se, which I found to be construc ted both abo'lle :J.nd b elow, very much after the manner of a rude fort. "\Ve don't often venture to stop here, but, when we do,

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4. THE JESSE JAMES STORIES. it's well enoug h t o b e prepare d," said he as we returned to the main room ''Come boys, up and away's the w ord There are two dead men out yonder on the road that may yet cause us trouble if we linger In a few minutes vve were all six in the saddle, and on the move, both Frank and Jesse kissing their mother good-by before mounting. vVe did not at once take to the road agai n, but, gaining a broad forest bridle-path from the rear of the farm house, were soon galloping freely through the woods. It was the autumn of the year and magnificent weather. In about an hour we neared a high road and here, at a signal from Jesse, we halted in a beautiful little glad e through which a stream of bright water was meand e rin g Not a word was spoken while we waited. It was easy to see that Jesse James was the natural leader of the wild crew, to whom the most implicit obedience was paid. Presently a wh i stle sounded from somewhere away far off in the forest on the opposite side of the road. Jesse James responded to it. Then there came three notes in swift, sharp succession. "Good!" said Jesse, with a grim look. "They've got their man I reckon those Chicago detectives, at all events, will give the James boys a berth in the future. Then we saw two young fellows riding across the road toward us. They were rough, farmer-looking lads, but well armed and mounted, and with a certain recklessnes s of aspect whose significance there was no mistaking ,They led a horse, upon whose back was a man with a gag in his mouth, his arms pinioned behind him, and his ankles made fast under the animal's belly. To my secret hQrror and commiseration, I recognized in this man; Langman, the fifth Chicago detective, whose co-operation poor Hawes and Whittaker had alluc:lcd to but a few minutes preceding their ow11 as?assination. Of course, I was not recognized in my turn, and, of course, a sense of self-preservation now held me speechless and motionless "Did you track this one as I ordered, .Cutts?" said Jesse, as the new-comers came to a halt in our midst. "Not all the way to Independence, but the Lamb here did," said the young man addressed, with a gesture toward his companion. The latter, as I afterward learned, rejoiced in the ap pellation of Larry the Lamb. "I tracked him to the telegraph office in the town, Jess,'' said the latter. "He sent off two dispatches to Chicago, one to the name you said to be on the lookout for. An hour later we knocked him from his horse, here he is, Jess!" At a gesture from the outlaw leader, Cutts and the Lamb dismounted They cut the thongs at theprisoner's ankl e s t o ok him from his horse, and in a few minute s h::.d him bound upright with his back to a tree by the road s i d c In this position the wretch faced the whole party with e,; cs that were wide and haggard, but in whose hopeless depths, I am happy to say, there seemed not an atom of cowardly fear At ;mother gesture from the leader, the horsemen then rn.nged themselves abreast of the prospective victim, ?,t a di;;taacc of about twenty paces. At an0t!1er gesture, each man drew his revohcr, their trained horses in the meantime standi n g motionless, with the rigidity of statues. "Ungag him, Cutts called out Jesse Then, turning to me h e added: "You can draw back and shut your ey es, if you choose, doc. This ain t no fun e ra l of yours." I had already drawn back from their deadly, murderous line, but I cottld not close my eyes. I could not even tu rn my bac k on the a w iul trage d y tha t was about to be perpetrated. It attracted me with a s ort of horrible fascina tion. "Got an yt hing to say, Chica go?" called Jesse James, when Cutts had r e moved the g a g and stepped back. "It would do me no good in the presen c e of such fiends as you are," said Langman, with the courage of despair ;'My blood be on your heads!" Jesse laughed his remorse l ess laugh. "One!" said he, at the same time shooting the victim through the bod y . "Two!" sa i d Frank James, who was the next on his left hand, the pistol accompaniment speaking with equal preci s ion. "Three !" called out the next in the line putting in his shot. So they kept on coo lly counting and shooting, empty ing r ev olver afte r re v olv e r until, incredible as it may seem, one hundred s hots had been emptied into the de f e nseles s body, and it hung a limp and b leeding mass .for the observation of wh:>.ts oever horrified wayfarers chance along tLe broad and sunlighled highway Ther::. the band beg:>.n hastily to reload their revo l vers, with the of Jesse James, who coolly began to s crawl somcth:ng en a fragmei:t of paper with a lead pen cil. Th=. s he pres entl y hn.:1ded to Cutts with a significant g e stt:re toward the mutiiated bod y on the tree. "Yonder's a lik ely signpost, Cutts," said he. "Label it with this, thc>.t ail ma y know what it means The pi(cc of p:>.pe r, w ith which the y oung desp e rad o then placard ccl the g-ory bosom of the corpse, was rudely inscri!Jed as follows: J : .r 1 : LET DETECTIVES TAKE WARNING! ; : J : i : 1 : THE }AMES BROTHERS. : I I T : 1 e e e : . e e eJ This having been accomplished tne oulaw leader gave the sigr.al, and we all galloped up the road at the top of our speed The country grew wi l der and wilder through which we p.assed. Presentl y upon coming to a fork in the road, there was a division made in our number Cutts and the Lamb rode off -in onc direction; Pitts, Miller, and Burke in another; while I alone accompanied .Jesse and Frank James up into the depths of a gloomy forest by-road, that seemed to lead away into a veritable wilderness.

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Tt-lE JESSE Jl\MES STORIES. .5 CHAPTER II. "PASS OUT THAT TREASURE BOX!" The houses that we passed after entering the gloomy by-road were few and far between, and of an exception ally lonel y and forlorn appearance_ I remarked that with the rough occupants of all of them, so far as there were any signs of life at all, my terrible companions were in signal good-standing. At last we struck off from even the apology for a road we had been following. A difficult jaunt of ten minutes .r-c longer through the s c arcely broken forest brought us to a large clearing, in which there was one of the largest and most comfortable-looking cabins I had ever seen. Among others who came out to meet us were two beautiful, even refined-looking, young women, who'm I discovered, to my astonishment, to be the wives of my. companions. I was introduced to them and the rest, a fashion, simply as "doc;" Jesse not having thus far seen fit to ask me for any other name. It was now sunset. I was g-reat'ly exhausted in body, mind, and nerve, especially the latter. It was, therefore, not long after the ample supper with which we were re galed that I was glad enough to accept the bed that was offered me in a little room in the back of the house I slept sounqly, but nevertheless awoke several times during the night. I did so I became intuitively conscious that I was watched. Of course, I could not by whom. and the sense itself was an inde finable one at best. But it was, nevertheless, strong, and I knew instinctive! y just_ as well as if I had been told so in as many words that any attempt just then to escape from my terrible environment would inevitably result in my violent death. .-, "Don't worry, Just wait till I make one more big ten-strike, either on a passenger train or with a rich bank, that's all. Then hey for the Panhandle of Texas, and ior peace and quiet with my darling. Run into the house now, and I will soon join yotl." Such were the words I overheard spoken in the garden just outside of my window when I awoke for the last time, and in broad daylight. The voice was that of Jesse James, and the words were finished by a sound very like a kiss, which I doubted not was bestowed on the lips of a wifely listener. I heard a happy little laugh a moment afterward, followed by a sharp rustle. as of a woman's skirts being whi3kecl _into' the house, and then the receding footsteps of a m-an. \Voncleringly thinking of many things, I arose, dressed, and went in search of Jesse, whose p1-otege I was gen erally thought to be. As I passed through the rooms on my way to the open air, hardly any one paid the slightest attention to me, ex cept Frank James, who looked up and nodded surlily as I passed him in the kitchen. It appeared to be a cleanly, well-ordered household, but an air of suspicious sadness-a sense of isolation-an un mistakable consciousness of criminality--overhung it like a pall. It was as though the house was a man, with the indelible brand 'of Cain noon its brow. "Good-morning, Mr. J
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6 THE JESSE JAMES STOR!ESo his eyes starting out of his head, as though he were be holding a ghost. "Great guns, stranger! you here and alive?" he ejaculated. "It looks like it," I r.eplied. "But how did those James devils come to let you off?" "Am I a detective?" 1'But think of Hawes and Whittaker! And it was only last evening that Langman's riddled body was found fastened to the tree." "What of that?" "Vvhy, I should think they would have murdered you, too." "Not at all. They had nothing against an inoffensive, old, country doctor like me. They merely kept n1e a prisoner all day and night, and then dismissed me-with a caution. It's a caution I'm not likely to forget." "Good Lord, I should think not." is to be your next move?" I asked. "Holy smoke, can you ask? Why, to quit Independ ence and Missouri as soon as I can muster up the nerve to do so!" "Nerve? up nerve merely to take passage out of a locality!" "That's it, stranger. Blast me, if I ain't even afraid to get aboard a railroad train, lest the James boys should gobble me up on the way, locomotive, cowcatcher, and all. I've a wife and three young ones in Chicago--only let me get back there again, without a hide full of bullets, that's all." And with that the decidedly demoralized detective meandered off, looking this way and that, as if he dreaded to see a James brother sprout out of ever'y gate post. I spent the morning in picking up such items of infor mation as I thought would be likely to interest Jesse James when I should meet him again on the following day, in accordance with my promise. I determined to consider myself as being on parole for the time being. In the course of my sauntering I observed both Cutts and Larry the Lamb in the crowds thronging the streets incidental to the great fair. I pretended to have no knowledge of their whereabouts, though morally that one of their chief obJects was to spy upon my move ments. Doubtless there were otbcr confederates of the outlaws scattered through the crowds for a simibr pur pose. However, their presence did not make me lose con fidence in myself. Toward noon, hot and thirsty, I strolled into one of the temporary saloons on the fair grounds, and ordered a lemonade. Two sorry negro minstrels were apparently trying to be comical, in the hope of a few gratuitous qu:J.rters, at the rear of the saloon, with a battered banjo and a pair of bones as the accessories. \Vhile I was sipping my lemonade at a small table 11ear them, the fellow with the l;ones began a series of antics around me, and wound up by sigeiftcarrtly extending his open paim. much," I exclaimed, with a countryman's indig nat!:.ln. "f wouldn't pay a cent for your ridiculous v one cent, sir. Better wash the black (>ff ;otir face and e11ter upon some honest occupation." ''Gim;-:-1 e a drink, at all events, old hoss," pleaded the mou:yehank, kickingup another antic or two, while bawl o ut of :1 cheap ball:1d at the top of his Finally, after a good deal of chaffing, I reluctantly al lowed him to persuade me to order him a 'glass of beer. A crowd of loafers and sightseers had in the meantime gathered in the saloon. They stood near the bar, and were doubtless greatly amused at the altercation for the paltry price of a drink between Bones and the stingy old countryman, as they considered me. Nevertheless, as Bones blew the froth from his beer, and bowed his thanks to me, with a squirming contortion of the body that set the crowd in a roar, he eyed me with a flashing look of intelligence. I recognized him for my man iust the same. "What about the Youngers?" I whispered, over my lemonade. "They are to have a conference with the J ameses at the end of next week, to plan a colossal train or bank rob bery," was the swift reply ovt;r the beer. "And you, colonel?" "I am now fairly living with the Jal)1es boys, and rapidly learning all their plans," was my rejoinder. "Will try and talk with yelu again to-night. Quick! do some thing. I'm being watched." At this juncture Bones "downed" the beer at a. gulp, spun the glass in the air and caught it again, shouted out the first lines of a song, and, dashing into the contortions of an original breakdown, wound up by waving one foot in the air and bringing it clo-wn on the top of my new hat with crushing and disastrous effect. Red and excited, I arose with a roar of simulated rage, and was about to precipitate myself upon him, when the barkeeper interfered. He said I mustt1't hurt the musicians, and smilingly advised me to take myself and mY. custom in the neighborhood of cheaper refreshments. With that I indignantly quitted the saloon, amid the jeering laughter of the bystanders, among whom I recog nized both Cutts and the Lamb, apparently as jovial at my expense as any of the rest. But, nevertheless, my temper was in reality unruffled, and I had exchanged the neces sary information with my confederate just the same. After dinner at the hotel, I went, with pretty much all the rest of the world, residents and strangers, into the fair grounds. The exhibition of stock and agricultural im plements, and flowers and fruits, and the like, was good enough in its way, but I soon wearied of it. Moreover, the crowd in the inclosed ground was wellnigh suffo cating. while wandering curiously about, wondering what Jesse James could have meant by saying that I might see him at the fair, I again ran across Jewell. He had drank so much whisky-he would probably have called it "mus tering up nerve"-as to have somewhat overcome his ap prehensions, and informed me that he would leave Independence on the seven o'clock train of that evening. He was also full of talk about the s4ccess of the fair. "They've taken in twenty-four thol.tsand dollars in three days, sir," he maundered. "There goes Sheriff 11asters, arid he told me so. They've just counted out the amount in the gate-office, there it all stands in a tin box at the elbow of the treasurer of the fair association. Let's take a drink, By Jove! if I had that much money irt Chicago--far, far from the murdering James devils--" Just here I managed to make my escape. I nodded to

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THE JESSE JJ\MES STORIES. wit h whom I \v.as personally and professionally acquainted. he passed me a few moments later. At about four o'clock, when the crowded entertainment was at its height, I grew so tired of the whole thing that I passed out of the inclosure. The strrrounding open space, which was just on the outskirts of the town, was almost wholly deserted, in view of the attractions afforded by the inclosed grounds. As I passed the rough-board I looked through the small, square window at which tickets had been dispensed so profitably for several days. I saw the treasurer-a large, fine-looking gentleman, with a mag nificent beard-sitting on a high stool, a11d facing the window. He was smoking a cigar, with the tin money box at his elbow, and was apparently in a very contented state of mind. I made the se obse rva tions without any particular ob ject, and then began leisur e ly crossing the deserted grounds, going toward the town. The sound of ho o f-b ea ts in the roadway be11ind caused me to turn. To my utter astonishment, I saw Jesse and Frank Jan1es riding in from the direction of the open country at a careless, easy gait. They were both superbly mounted,, as was th e ir custom, Jesse being on his sorrel favorite, Dancer. Before I could recover from my astonishment they had haultecl before the ticket-office. Ther e Frank took Dancer by the brielle. while Jesse leisurely dismounted, and approached the office window. I actually thought the treasurer must be an old per sonal acquaintance, with whom he was about to pass th e time of clay in a pure spirit of braggadocia. Here is what really happened. "I say, lVlr. Treasurer," said Jesse, urbanely. thrusting his face into the opening, "what'd "you think if I s h ou ld say that I am Jesse James, the outlaw, and order you to pass me out that tin money-box yonder?" "vVhat would I think, eh e x claimed th e treasurer, bursting into a lau g h, and doubtless deeming he was dealing with a lunatic, or a practical joker. "Why, I should think you a-fool, and would tell you to go to the devil!" "Well, that's just what I do say, and order you to do," cried Jesse, thrusting his revolver through the opening, and incontinently getting "the drop" on the astounded of ficial. "!!and out that box-quick, or you're a dead n1an F'* "But look here-hold on-this money d' ye see--" "Out with it!" roared the robber, with a frightful oath. "Delay but another instant, and my bullet's in your heart!" The panic-stric ke n treasurer handed out the box. But an instant was required to transfer its precious contents into the inside of Dancer's capacious saddlebags.' A moment more and the empty tin b ox was on the .ground, while the succes sf ul bandit brothers were galloping away with their booty at a tremendous pace. It all happened almost directly under my eyes, and was an accomplished fact almost before I realized what had occurred. The alarm was instantly given. In less than five min"\n actual fact. without any exaggeration whatever. utes after the perpetration of the deed, upward of fifty horsemen were galloping in pursuit of the robbers. Anxious to witness the result, I hastily procured a horse, and joined a small group of excellently equipped pursuers, headed by Sheriff Dick Maste;s, a brave and capable official. In gaining the thickly wooded, hilly country, we chose the worst road to be found. It led tortuously in c,n,d out of the defiles caused by the blending of the and bold, rocky spurs. While our party were threading one of these defiles at a breakneck gait, a shout from far above our heads caused us to draw rein and look up. There, up and away, where the wild road bordered the edge of a frightful chasm, we beheld the dariJ?,g fugitive s skimming away on their fleet steeds, like a pair of eagles, along the face of the cliff. ,. "Good-by, Dick Masters,'' called out the younger bt:t abler villain, waving his hat triumphantly. "Score clown one more red mark for Jesse James, the outlaw r' CHAPTER III. JESSE JAMES' MYSTERY. In accordance with my promise to J esse, the outlaw, I sought the wild, hill-folded, forest-muffled retr eat of the J ames brothers at an early hour of the following morning. The retreat was a secure one Adm irably mounted as I was, am! with a good memory for landmarks, I could neYer, unaided, J1ave penetrated to the log farmhouse. The same lad who h ad guided me to the road on the pre vious day was in waiting to h e lp me to retrace my steps. l:"p to that po int I had found the rocky road and bridle paths thoroughly but imp e rc ep tibly senti neled No won der that the outlaws felt secure, in spite of the b o ldn ess of their depredations. Every scattered farmhouse, eve r y herd er's but, every woodcutter's cabin, contained a friend or a spy in thei r nefarious cause. A hostile party, o r even a single suspicious-looking stranger, could not have come within half a mile of th e loghouse without it s occupants rec eiv ing time!y warning of the approach. Two voices. a man's and a woman's, were heard in angry altercation itS I n eared the porch. No one was as yet visible. But as I dismounted and threw m v bri d le rein to my guide, the door opened. J esse James and his wife came out of it. He nodded to me in a careless way, while the woman honored me with a swift, ve n omous look. It was almost the first she bad ever deigned to cast on me at all. They were watchful and composed in s tantly, but I knew that they had been quarreling. Just as instinctive! y did 1 ascribe the cause to the dead girl's mementos which I had placed in the outlaw's k eeping on the previous clay. "Morning, doc! You're true to your word," said Jesse, advancing. "It's an h our to breakfast. Come up on the mountain with me ." vVe moved away, paying no attention to his wife. But I momentarily observed that h e r fine eyes contracted, iike those of a cat, a s the y briefly followed our movements. "By the way, doc," said Jesse, when we came to a pause in a lonely spot, "what's i:he last name you go by? 1 ha ven't thought it worth while to ask you before no w."

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8 JESSE JAMES STORIES .. "I go by my own name, and none other, of course," said I, gravely. "It's Phillips." "Phillips, eh? Dr; Phillips? Dr. Phillips, of :ville? Good !" "I'm glad you like it," said I, feeling secretly ill at ease. "Like it? -r:o be sure I do. Why not? Well, doc, I want to talk w1th you, perhaps for the last time, about Blanche Rideau." And he eyed me like a hawk. "How much of her past history did she impart to her father and you on her deathbed?" "Everything." I "I mean of her history be-before she met me?" "Everything." "About her schoolgirl's marriage with Tom Younger?" "Yes." "About her child-the bo:y; that Tom stole away from her?" "Yes.'' He drew a long breath, and remained moodily silent for several minutes. . "You're deeper into that chapter of my past than I thought for, it seems," said he, at last. trust that it will prove only for your good, Jess," sa1d I. "It had better not prove for anything else, old boy," he went on, with an ugly look, while his hand fell upon the butt of one of his revolvers. "So you know how Tom Younger married Blanche when she was at board ing-school at St. Joe?" "Yes.'' "How it was all kept dark from her relatives-even the birth of her child at the cabin of the old negress who had been her nurse?" "Yes." "How she got to hate Tom on discovering him to be a robber belonging to my band?" "Yes." "How she then deserted him returned home to Booneville carrying child and nurse with her, without her folks suspecting it?" "Yes." To!n stole away the boy, and then deputed me to negotiate with her for the boy's restoration, on condition of her acknowclclging her relationship and livina openly with him?" :::. "Yes." "How -r:om Younge; :vas killed by the Kansas City officers while the were pending, and I there upon made love to Blanche on my own account and sncce ss fullv ?'' "Yes:" "How we were about to be married, and I was about to re store the boy to her, when her uncle found me out, honndecl me forth, and she vvas forced to vive me up?" ''Yes." o ''Ami how o.fter that I kept the boy l;idden in revenge?'' "She told us all.'' "The --she did!" exclaimed the ot1tlaw and draw ing long breath, he began to pace' the ground angnly. Prcsenlly he came to an abrupt pause before me with 'i;; eye suspiciously seeking mine. "Confess," said he, "that you're here as Judge Rid eau's agent, to try to recover Blanche's child from me." "I acknowledge freely that that is one of the minor objects of my mission, Jess," I replied, having prepared for the query before it was put. "My chief object is in fulfillment of Blanche's dying injunction with regard to yourself, as I told you before-as the tokens must have proved to you, I should think." "True." "As for the rest, I have simply promised to...plead with you the boy's surrender to him, for the boy's own good, m case I should ever find you in a repentant and remorseful mood." ''J:Ia, ha, ha! Reptenant and remor sefu l as applied to 1s good! You saw something of that sort of applica tlon yesterday and the day before. You'll have a chance of assuring yourself yet more fully in that regard, for you shan't quit my sight again while I'm in this corner of the country." dc;m:t care if I shall. not," said I, "Personally, I don t dislike you. I adm1re your boldness and decision of character, in spite of your crimes." "Good enough! But I'd rather be feared than liked. Howev e r, you'll never find out anything about the boy. I'll keep him to spite the Rideaus, with one of whom, the I Minnesota bank president, I've got a sterner account to settle. Come on. There's the breakfast-bell. After that you shall accompany me to the Red Hollow." yYhen we were half way back to the house he paused agam. "Hark ye, doc," said he. "If my wife should manage to question you on the sly, not a word!" "Not a syllable." "She knows you brought me those tokens, and she's got an inkling or two about the boy. She' ll be glad to know more than she do es." "Which she never will from me. Trust me for that." Before we entered the house it occurred to me to refer admiringly to the daring r obbery of the afternoon before, and to express some wonder that he had not even alluded to it. "Ha, ha, ha !" laugh e d the o utlaw. "It was cleverly clone, wasn't it? And there was a trifle over twenty thousand dollars in that tin box that Frank and I so quickl y emptied. Two or .three more hauls like that and we:re off for the Texas Panhandle for a long rest. But wa1t and see, wait and see. Big things are ahead." I a tremendous appetite for the hearty breakfast to which we were called. Vvhile I was yet topping it off Jesse Frank James went out to the stable to for our nde. The rest of the household had also bustled out o.f the with the exception of Jesse's wife. She remame d s1ppmg her coffee directly across the table from me, and negligently aware of what a trim, pretty little creature she was. Directly that we were alone together, however she flas hed a swift, intelligent glance upon me. "You are looking for Tip Younger, the little boy that ] ess keeps somewhete -=t:oncealed," said she in a low eag-er voice. "If I can help you to find anl run off child I'll do it." I was too wary to trust a \VOman calling ";esse James husband to the extent of a row of pins. said I, quite stiffly, "whatever may be my

PAGE 10

THE.JESSE JAMES 9 busieess, it shall be transacted strictly and solely with .your husband." "Ah, I see. You don't dare to trust me. But I d give anything if he had that other woman's child off his mind. I hated her, and I'm glad she's dea9.'' I contented myself with bowing and looking shocked. "Jess will be back in another minute-listen!" she con tinued, hurried ly. "You may fall under his suspicion at any instant-to do so is death. But even then, if you should give me a sign that you have found the little Tip and can take him away from Jess, I will help you to es cape. Look-I mean a sign something like this." She pouted her lips and elevated her eyebrows in a peculiar manner as she finished speaking. I only stared and burst into a short lau g h. A few minutes later I was in the !>addle at her hus band's side. While Frank James was riding slightly ahead I told Jesse what his wife had said, with the single reservation of her offer to assist me in case of trouble. I carefully kept that to my self, in view of P9Ssibly benefiting thereby at some time or other. The outlaw burst into a laugh "Molly has never forgiv en my having loved poor Blanche first," said he. "She's awfully jealous of my secreting the little Tip, whom s he has never even laid eyes on. She'd give her best finger to have the boy lost to me But that shall never be." Then, after a brief silence, he suddenly gave me a meaning look. "I say, doc," said he, "if the old judge is so anxious to secure Blanche's boy, money might talk. You und erstand. But anything short of a cool ten thousand wouldn't be listened to." 'I never heard him mention money in connection with the boy," I replied, briefly, and we quickened our pace. The truth was this: The recovery of the m yste riously secreted boy, at that time about five years old, was one of the o bje cts of my perilous mission among these de s p eradoes, only second to the arres t of the James broth ers themselves. Judge Rideau was too shrewd to hav e directly offered J esse the heavy reward which was waiting in his h ands for me, in case I should succeed in spiriting away the child. The unscrupulousness of the outlaw had been too often made patent, and there would have be e n too much likelih ood of his hanging on to his secret in the hope of a second, or even third, reward, after one had been agreed up on, and paid over. The James boys' succe s s in robbery had made them ay aricious,, as well as bold. So the m atte r stood. Red Hollow was a wild, woo ded nook in the hills, ob taining its name from the r edness of the wind-worn, rain gullied earth-banks interspersing its screen of rugged trees. lt was considerably off the main road, and per haps midway between Independe nce and Kansas City. Observable at a distanc e through the trees was a large, dilapidated, old farmhouse, situated in the midst of partl y-c ultivated grounds, with the unbroken forest at its b:1ck. This piace I had seen and taken note of before It was th e home of the Younger brothers, Cole, John and Bob, the most daring and efficient coadjutors of the James brothers, and scarcely less desperate and venturesome than they. Halting by a brook that ran tnrough tne hollow, Jesse sounded his whistle as the gathering signal. It was speedily responded to. Men, armed to the teeth, came riding into the place of renqezvous from different directions, singly, in pairs, and in larger groups. Hither came Cole, John and Bob Younger, splendidly mounted, bold and reckless-looking men, who hailed and saluted the Jameses with a free-and-easy familiarity that argued but little recognition of the latter as leaders. From another quarter appeared Jim Cummings, Jesse's terrible lieut ena nt, and generaly thought to bl:! even more deadly a1'1d bloodthirsty than he. He was accompanied by Dick Littl e and George Sheppard, the latter with 'but one eye, and having only recently rejoined the gang, after having once severed his connection with it. Sheppard and I exchanged a glance of intelli gence. He recognized me djsguise, and I knew him to be at that moment in the "'service of Sheriff Masters. He had lost his left eye in the raid on the Kentucky bank, but was still a dead shot with the re maining optic. He had served a term of imprisonment for his share in that robbery, and had ever since b e lieved that Jesse James had purposely thrown him into the clu tches of the law, for the purpose of throwing off the scent from his OW\1 tracks. S pard was also of the opinion that Jesse Jame s had murdered his, Sheppard's nephew, Harry Sheppard, to obtain Harry's five-thou sa nd dollar share of the Kentucky spoils. At all events, I was so sure of George Sheppard's real m o tives in rejpining the robbers as to experience no uneasiness as to his hav ing penetrated my identity. Among the ot hers who poured into the hollow in obe dience to the leader's signal I recognized a number from the de s criptions that I had taken ca re to photograph upon my mind. Among these were Wood, and Jeff Hite, and Ed Miller. The latter was no relation to the Charley Miller already alluded to, whom was like wise present again, t ogether with his comrades of the day bef ore, Hank Burke and Curly Pitts, the latter with his neck still bandaged from the effects cil the Chicago detective's bull et. These veterans in crime were accompanied by several beardless youths, farmers' misguid e d sons, emulous of iniquit ous notoriety, who were posted as sentinels around the skirts of the hollow. Altogether, there were mustered into the h ollow a score or more of wild ann lawless men, such ;: p e r haps, had nev e r before I b e en associated together 111 the United States outside of California in its wors t d:ws. "Boys," called out Jesse James, after a numb er o( crim inal plans f o r th e future had been discussed, without ar riving at any definite conclusion, "you' ve all beard by this time of Frank's exploit and mine at the fair grounds yesterday afternoon." A united cry of approval was th e response. "'vVell, bo ys, we raked in a trifl e ove r tw enty th ousand by that dash," continued the outlaw l eadet. "And I'i l tell you what we're going to do. The whole ,of course, belongs to Frank and ri1e individually, but we're going to divide half of it among the crowd in th e usual could not but Sll).i}e at the increased enthusiasm t)1at greeted this apparently spontaneous and generou s offer,

PAGE 11

10 q-"HE JESSE JAMES STOR;Es. so really calculating and selfish at foundation, inasmudi as it merely redoubled the devotion of the crew in the furtherance of other and more dangerous undertakings. Then Jesse and Frank James made a division of the ten thousand dollars they had brought with them, as be ing, at a rough estimate, one-half the amount of which they had plundered the treasurer of the fair association. This operation consumed considerable time, but natur ally caused the most intense satisfaction while it was in progress. "Boys," said Jesse James, at last, "I've been running over in my mind those two projects proposed by Wood Hite and Charley Miller, and have concluded that we can take 'em up at our leisure, and in regular order." He then went on to discuss the projects in question. They were briefly these: Wood Bite's plan was to stop and rob the express and passenger train from the East, in the Blue Cut, a deep and dangerous railroad cutting two and a half miles out of Independence. It was pro posed to do this toward the end of the month we were then in, when assurance should be received of an un tlS'-;Jally heavy shipment of treasure by express, which it was known would be along the road somewhere about that time. Charley Miller was a fugitive of justice from Minne sota, having been a horse thief in that State before join ing the band of Jesse, the outlaw. His scheme was to make a daytime raid in large force int0 the populous town of Norihfield, his native place, and empty the safes of the national bank there at the point of the revolver. This would be a repetition of the manner in which the James br\5-t.hers and their confederates had robbed a wealthy national bank in the interior of Kentucky several years before. Miller argued that a similar job could be ef fected with equal success in Minnesota, and the plunder got away with before the inhabitants could recover from the panic and demoralization incidental to the unexpectedness of the attack. It was now decided to put this undertaking on foot d1rectly after the proposed robbery of the express train in the Blue Cut should have been effected. One circumstance tended especially to Jesse's greedily taking to the Minnesota scheme. The president of the bank at Northfield was none other than Blanche Rideau's uncle, Henry Rideau, who had been mainly instrumental in separ ating him from his first love, and against whom he had sworn implacable revenge. Night was while these schemes were being dis cussed in much greater detail than I have seen fit to ac cord to them Suddenly a young fellow, whom I then saw for the first time, spurred unceremoniously into the hollow. His eyes were ablaze with excitement, while his horse was hard blown. <:;HAPTER IV. A T R A I N R 0 B B E R Y. "What':; up, Bulger?" demanded the outlaw leaJer. "The best you've had for a coon's age, Jess, and nght at hand! panted the youth. "Just got wind of it from my brother, who is the railroad telee-raph operator at \Vinston." "Yes, yes; out with it!" "A train with but one passenger car wi11 be at vVinston in an hour. Rest of the cars met with an accident in the Gap three hours ago. Express messenger on train with a big pile-John's sure of it. Passengers, few, and for most part womet1." An anxious hush suddenly fell on the majority of the band, while the James brothers looked at each other, ex changing calculating glances. There were few, even in that desperate band, so cold and hardened in vice as they. Among most of them the first proposition to fresh crime had still its chilling e! fect. "\Vhat are you hesitatin.' for, Jess?" suddenly shouted Jim Cummings, with an oath. "Of course, you're go in' for the job; it'll get our hands in for the bigger 'un at the end of the mo"nth." "Of course, we are!" cried Jess, with a voice like a steel bell. "I was only calculatin' the general arrangement. Masks in readiness! Bustle 'em out, Jim! Frank, you look after the greenhorns and strangers." I found a moment later, as we began to move out of the hollow two and two, that the last word applied to George Sheppard and me. We were placed in line among the country boys. Dick Little, however, rode di rectly behind us, with, I felt, a watchful eye on our every movement. We were soon on the high road, and a sharp gallop of four miles brought us in the neighborhood of Winston statim1. Here we halted by the railroad track at the edge of a wood. At the order of Jesse James, the entire band, with the exception of myself, then put on masks, which they had in readiness, the masks being made of several thicknesses of stiff cotton, with holes cut for the eyes and mouth. We at first closed ranks, and there was a silent review of our number and efficiency by the out law l ea der. Then the country boys, with Sheppard and me among them, were stationed on either side of the track, while the rest of the gang began to pile up stones between the rails. 'Ve were ordered to make a great noise as soon as the train should be brought to a standstill, and to fire eighteen or twenty shots, but not to shoot any one unless com pelled to, and not to lise up all our ammunition. "You needn't do anything but look on, doc" said Jesse to me, while making his last round of inspection. "I'm sorry to have mixed you up in this thing, but there was no help for it." I heard him say to Sheppard: "Shep, an old hand like you must feel mean at being put to one side here among the greenies, but you know you are still on your second probation with the gang." made some sort of an accommodating reply, and JUSt then the rumble and roar of the approaching train was heard in the distance. Jesse James and his veterans had before this dis mounted, while we at the side of the track remained still in the saddle. Jesse no,IV stood in the center of the track, bearing in his hand a red lantern, which one of the Youngers had obtained at their farmhouse. He waved it three times over his head as the train approached, and it came to a stop within a dozen feet of the stone heap on which he was standing.

PAGE 12

THE JESSE JAMES STORIES. 11 "Off that engine or you're a dead man!" shouted Jim Cummings and Cole Younger, springing toward the engineer and fireman, who were peering out from the side of the locomotive. With the pistols covering them, they obeyed in an in stant. "Oh; Lord! It isn't Jess James' gang, is it?" ex claimed the engineer, with his knees knocking together. "You can bet on that, old man!" said Jess, springing past him followed by his crime-trained comrades. In another instant the conductor and the two brakemen were in the hands of the desperadoes with pistols at their heads, while Jesse and Frank James battered in the door of the e x press car and o rd e red the m e ssenger to come of it on pain of instant death. The latter was not disposed to surrender his charge without a show of fight, and drew his revolver. But two or three bullets that were sent singing by his ears brought h i m to terms. The next moment his revolver was snatched from him, and he was in the car, tremblingly opening the rec e ptacle o f his treasures, with the revolvers of the James boys nudging him in the back of the head, and the gleam of the red lantern flashing in his face. the meantime my immediate companions, agreeable to the ir instruction s, w e re banging away with their firearms at a grea t rate, and cursin g and sh outing under the windows of the pas senger car at the top of their lungs. While this was g oing on the rest of the gang, headed by John and B o b Younger, w e re going through the crowded pas senger car, pistol in hand. All was dark outside, but I could see plainly into the lig-hted car, and note the confusion .and terror that were place. It was such a scene a s under other cir cumstanc es, would have had its ludicrous features, the men groaning and throwing up their hands under the menacing muzzl es of the revolvers, the women screaming and grasping their wraps, and the young fellows out side sh ooting and swearing until you would have thought the foul fiend a nd all his imps had suddenly broken from their confin e s to make a pandemonium on earth. .In less than t e n minutes, however, the entire robbery had b e en effected. Jesse Jame s and his comrades jumped off the train, and the conductor and engineer were ordered to "move along. This they did jn a hurry, after a few minutes spent in clearing the track of the obstructions. "How did the passengers pan out, Bob?" called out Jesse, as he hastily remounted, after stuffing his saddlebags with something that Frank and he were carrying. "Poor enough, Jess," was Bob Younger's response. "There wasn't ljllOre'n a dozen men in the car1 and I didn t feel like m;;kin' the w o men shell out." "Goo d enough," said Jesse. "We've pever yet been so hard up as to rob the d ear creatures. Boys he added, turning to the band, who were now grouped around him, "of course I can't tell yet how much we've skinned the express company out of. You'll trus t Frank and me to count it, ready f o r a division, won't you ? "Yes, yes Take your tim e ," answered a dozen voices. "Meet us at our mother's house a week from to-day, then, and the division shall be made," said Jes se. "That will be safest, because they'll never think of looking for us there. But be sure to come straggling up singly throughout the entire day Break up now. It's every man for himself till a week from to-day.'.' The dispersion was eff e cted quickly and quietly Only Jesse and Frank James, George Sheppard, Cole Younger and I remained together. In a few minutes we had regained the high road, galloped along it a consid erable distance, turned off into a narrow, rocky path leading through the w oods, and were making our way rapidly through the wild region in the direction of the log farmhouse. Vve did not venture to return thither that ni_g:ht, how ever, as neither Jesse n o r Frank deemed it womd be safe M y companions seemed perfectly familiar with every foot of the way. We had nothing but the light of the stars to guide us, but they shaped their course across the coun try w ithout a stumble and as unerringly as if they were proceeding i n broad daylight. Vve presently came to a de s erted hut in a grassy glade of the fore s t. Here it' was announced we should tarry for the night. We dismounted, turning our hors e s loose upon the grass, and the J ameses and Younger ent er-ed the hut, whi-le Sheppard and I were told to gather up fagots for a fire. "I say whi spered Sheppard to me, when we were thus engaged in the wo o ds for a few minutes later, you're also on the lookout for t he little boy that Jess is said to ke t p hidden away, ain't you?" Yes," I r e plied, in the same ton e "vV ell, if you ever find him at all, it'll be s omewhere's about the Younger hom e stead. Them precious twins is onl y kept there in s t e ad of bein sent to school, as a sort of cover for the more vall y ble y oung one you re lookin' for. Hush! D o n t r e ply." I' fortunately he e ded the injunction. At that moment there wa s heard a ste althy tread behind us. I was no t surpris ed, upo n turning my head, to perceive that Jesse Jame s had f ollo wed us, and that his eyes were regarding us like tho se o f a bea s t of prey through the darkness. v V hen S heppard had carried into the cabin the fuel w e had jointl y c olle ct ed, the outlaw laid a not unkind hand ttpon my arm and detained me. "Wha t d o you think of my chances for reformation by thi s tim e ? sa id he "They' re certainly not brilliant Jess," was my reply. "Let me t ell y o u something to reinforce from the past what you've already s e en, s aid he. "I, as a m e re boy, 1 belonged t o Quantrell s guerrilla force during the war, as you mus t have heard. It wasn t a hundre d miles from this spot that a large detachment of. us. under Bill An clerson, captured a railway train, containing two hundred invalid soldiers on their way to St. Louis i o r ho s pital treatm e nt. Bill Ande rson shot them all thro-..:gh the heart with his own hand, one after the other, I aligning them up before him, and his men supplying him with a fr e sh r e volver as fa s t as he emptied the one in his hand. This is gospel truth. v Vhat do you think of it?" "I've heard of it before," said I, an inward dn:( der. "He had hard lv fi11is hed with the sick men," he c catin ued, "before a d;tachmcnt of a hundred

PAGE 13

12' \fHE J ESSE JJ\MES STORIES. in sight' over tlie hill. 1 Tliey surrendere'd to our superior force, and all shared the fate of the invalids."* "I have heard of that before also." "Judge, then, if there can be any reformation, any re demption, for such as me!" said the 9utlaw. "Judge if it is possible even upon the dying injunction of the first woman I ever loved. However," he added, with his short, hard laugh, "you've got to stay \vith us n ow till we quit the country. There's no help for it." A bright fire had been lighted in the fireplace of the hut when we entered it, and the other men were engaged in frying some bacon, which they had obtained from a small cupboard. In fact, there were many other evi dences of the hut being frequently used for the purpose of temporary hiding, to which it was now being put. We ate heartily, slept all night on the floor, with one or other of the chief trio constantly on guard on the out side, and at an early hour on the following morning took up our journey again, with our steeds even more .re freshed than we. J esse James' horse, Dancer, however, sustained a sprain by stumbling into a gully soon after we had started, an.si this put his rider in a very bad humor. As we came in vie'Y of the log farmhouse we saw a single horsema n awaiting us by the porch. Jesse di rected Sheppard and me to follow more leisurely, and then he and his companions galloped on ahead. They had all dismounted, and were apparently talking carelessly together, with Jesse's and Frank's wives standing in the porch, when Sheppard and I rode up, and like wise dismounted. My feet had no soone r touched the ground, however, than the four men, Jesse and Frank James, Cole Younger and the newcomer, who was the callow desperado, Cutts, precipitated themselves upon me with a fierce shout. In le ss time than I can tell it, they had me overpowered, and bound fast, with my back against one q_ the vine curtained pillars of the porch. "'vVhat in thunder's the meaning of this?" I gasped, as soon a s I could find a voice. 'You've deceived me!" said Jess, the outlaw, in a cold, deadly tone. "Cutts h ere has been to Booneville, and found out all about you. You ain't no doctor at ail. One!" He drew his revolver as he spoke, the three others imi t:lting his Th.:n th:! muzzles were aimed :.: n;y heart. CHAPTER V. JESSE OUTWITTED-DETECTIVES IN COUNCIL. I managed to preserve my coolness, even at this terri ble moment, which I did not doubt for an instant was to prove m y last on earth. "Do as you please about killing me," I said, without a tremble in my voice, "but I have deceived in no material respect." "There never was a doctor in Booneville named Phil lips," said Jesse James, his finger still on the trigger, while the muzzles of the other revolvers also continued to stare at me unwaveringly. "I knmv it, ::.nd in tilat trifling regard only did I de''These are actual f:.;ct> belonging to the history of the late war. ----------. I ceive you," said I. "Judge Rideau thought it best that I should conceal. tile fact of my being a personal friend of his, and on his advice I hit upon the plan pursued. The rest of my story will be verified by the judge himself, whom you knO\v to be incapable of falsehood." "You're a spy-a detective in di sguise;' exclaimed Jesse, savagely. "You're a liar, and you must know that you lie," I re plied. "How about those tokens-those mementos? Do you dare to tell n1e that yon doubt their genuineness?" "I say, Jess, there needn't be no hurry about this thing," said Frank James. putting up his pistol. Younger and Cutts did the same Sheppard stood among the horses, but a few paces away, apparently as unconcerned as a man of stone, and with his single eye fastened upon me with pretended pitilessness. My last remark had occasioned an interested rustle of garments on the porch behind me, and a mom ent later the women came out on the lawn to hav e a look at me. Jesse James remain ed immovable, with his revolver still covering my breast, but my last response seemed to have mollified him a little. Nevertheless he growled out an oatl\ saying: "I don't care a curse for that! I warned you against deceiving me in the least particular, and die you must." His wife here placed her hand on his wrist, and told him to go first and talk the matter over with the others. He complied relu c tantly, though still keeping his eye threateningly upon me, even after putting up his re volver. Just at that moment I recalled in a flash the assistance she had promised me in case I should succeed in finding out the concealecf child and the signal by she had told me to notify: her of such an event. Simultaneously with the same thought occurred the invigorating reflection that I had not been deprived of my revolver, and that my horse, a splendid animal, might be reached in two or three bounds s hould I suddenly be freed of my bonds. In my emergency, I couldn't afford to weigh the ques tion of sincerity or insinc erity that was involved. I watched for my opportunity \vhen Jesse James had momentarily withdrawn his eyes from me, and was conferring with his brother and <2ole Younger. I then caught the attention of Jesse's wife, and gave her the sign, swiftly pursing up my lips and elevating my eye brows. I saw that I was understood. A slight color came into her face, she seemed to hesitate a mo1ilent, and then she left her companion's side with seeming carelessness, and returned to the porch. I heard the rustle of her skirt in the vine behind me, and then a slight clicki11g sound. I suddenly felt that the bonds fastening me to the porch post had been severedthat I was free. There was then a retreating rustle of skirts. I waited, to give my liberator a chance to retire into the house, while stealthily feeling down for the butt of my revolver, and gathering my strength and nerves for a supreme ef fort. Then I simultaneo usly drew my pistol and bounded toward my horse, while giving utterances to an Apache yell.

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THE JESSE JAMES STORIES. 13 Drawing their weapons, the four men turned toward m e with the quickness of lightning, but I was quicker than they. My first shot struck Jesse's pistol, knocking it from his hand while it was exploding. My second pierced Cole Younger's right arm, as h e '"as on the poi.nf of firing, causing it to drop powerless ' .s side. Then Frank James' bull e t sang harmlessl y over my head, as my third bound brought me into the saddle, a blow of my left hand sent George Sheppard sprawling-for his own good and appearances' sake. Then, as I wheeled my horse, I nipped Master Cutt's hostile intentions in the bud by sending a bullet through his body; and the next instant I was up and away for the skirting forest like the wind, with their bull ets whistling after me, though, fortunately, without effect. I heard the m thundering after me in pursuit, even be fore I could gain the woods. But, with Jesse James' Dancer ou t of. the race by reason of his sprain, I that I was the best mounted, my only remaining danger lying in my unfamiliari ty with the way. However, fortune favored m e signally. My horse went crashing through the forest lik e a bolt, and seemed 1.0 find the first bridle-path by a sor t of dumb instinct. From this we gained the wild b y-road and went plunging down it. The few suspicious dwellers by the way-all of them, inferentiall y, in sympathy with the gang-came rushing out of their lonel y cabins to see m e pa ss, some of them rifil e in hand-but that was all. Not a shot was fired, not an impediment offered. I was soon out of the perilous intricacies of the hills, out upon the broad highroad leading to Independence. For the first time, according to common report, Jesse James' fairly cornered victim had escaped with life and liberty and I was the man. On reaching Independence I said nothing of my ad venture, but went at o nce to my room in the hotel. Half an hour later I issued thence in my own proper person. Even the James brothers' lynx-eyed suspicion would not have recognized my identity with the old country doctor from Booneville who had been the guest-prisoner for so long. The robbery of the train at \Vinston had naturally in tensified the local excitement incident upon the seizure of the fair association's assets, and the murder of the detect ives that h::td pre ceded it. I carefully ab s tained from adding to the alarm by r.1aking public my own adventures. The detectiv es and other officials, with whom I was professionally acquainted, were out on the ..road, engaged in their vain pmsuit of the robbers. But, late on the following night, I found myself at a conference in an obscure cabin, owned by an old negress named Aunt Cynthy, on the outskirts of the town. The outside approaches to the cabin were thoroughly senti Ileled. The old negro woman herself could be relied on. She w::ts none other than the nurse who had befriended 13bnche Rideau at St. Joseph, after the latter's mad schoolgirl's marriage with Tom Younger, the bandit. It was out of old Cynthy's possession, also, at Boone ville that Blanche's child had been subsequently stolen, and she hated Jesse James and his whole gang with a hatred bordering on frenzy. It must be mentioned in passing, however, that she had no faith in Judge Rideau's ultimate recovery of the boy, through my exertions or by any other means. She im plicitly believed that the boy had long since been put to death by Jesse James, whom she thought capable of any cowardly, as well as any: desperate crime. In this I did not agree with her. My associates in the cabin were Captain Dick Masters, of Independence; Sheriff Timbel'lake and Captain Craig (police commissioner), of Kansas City; Jack Gorham, an independent private detective, like myself, and Sloane and Chipps, my personal assistants, wi10 have already been cursorily introduced to the reader in the disguise of rlegro minstrels. My companions had returned, dejected and out of humor, after a bootless all-day pursuit of the robber s But I had just recounted my own adve ntures, consider ably to their e nlivenm en t, and after learning with satis faction that not one of the posse of seven had been killed outright, or even seriously wounded, in the wild charge through their line, in which I had participated und e r comp ul s ion, severa l days previously. Then there had fallen on us all the natnral se n se or awkwardness in c idenfto men bent upon the same genera l object, but not heartily associated or organized in the attainment. "Here's the difficulty!" at las t exclaimed Craig, bring ing hi s fist down h eav ily on the table around which we were sitting. "lfs the general desire to earn indivicln ally the rattling big rewards offered by th e Government, the railroads and the express companies, instead of wo rk ing all together and making a fair division in case of success." "To which may be added the five thou sand offere
PAGE 15

THE JESSE JAMES STORIES.' ev-er succeeds in bringing in these chiefs, alive or dead, claim and receive the entire reward pertaining to them individually, be their actual captors o ne, t wa, three, or even more of our number." This proposition received at once the thoughtful atten tion it deserved. "You're wide-awake for number one, at all events, Lawson," said Timberlake. "You now know more about the lives and habits of the James than ally of the rest of us." "Haven't I obtained the knoweldge at the repeated risk of my life?" I coolly replied. "Moreover, your remark is not strictly correct, Timberlake. George Shep pard knows far more of t'he J ameses than I do. He was with them in Quantrell's guerrillas; robbed, murdered and fought with them all through the Kentucky bank robberies, and is now in your employ." This silenced the sheriff, but Craig made haste to say: "But, Lawson, the rewards out on the Jameses makes an amount half as great as those that are out on the entire remainder of the gang, the three Youngers in cluded." "I am aware of that," said I, dryly, "but you have my proposition, which is the only one I care to make. I should think I'd already shown my good-will toward you regulars by giving you the names of those, greenies and all, who were engaged the other night in the train rob bery at Winston." "So you did," said Masters, with real heartiness. "We'll nab the telegraph operator, Bulger, to-morrow, and, then the rest of the greenies, at least, one after an other. There'll be a right smart reward forthcoming for even them, and you'll get the heavier share of it, as you deserve." "I'm in favor of Lawson's proposition!" suddenly ex claimed Gorham, springing up and seizing my hand. "It's every man for himself, so far as the James boys are concerned, and all of us together, share and share alike, for the rest of the gang! Gentlemen, what do you say?" "I agree," said Masters, taking my hand with equal heartiness. "So do I!" cried Timberlake, "And I'll for the co-operation of my agent, George Sheppard." "You can count me in, since it's a family affair," called out Craig. "My man, the ex-robber, Charley Ford, will likewise stand in with the agreement." "Of course, Chipps and I," said Sloane, indicating his chum, "are already booked in the interest of Billy Lawson, our chief." We all then suddenly joined hands, -a:nd formally agreed to abide by the conditions embodied in the proposition I had made. "You're welcome to the advantage you'll have over the rest of us, Billy," laughingly observed Gorham, as we sumed our seats, with something good to drink sud denly set before us by old Cynthy. "None of them will ever suspect your identity with the old Booneville doctor, and you can play off fresh in the future." This was in allusion to the smooth-shaven guilelessness of my natural appearance, which was at that time excep tionally boyish for my age. vVe had hardly ratified our agreement before we were j o ined by Charley Ford. He was a quiet, self-contained, resolute fellow, formerly an active member of the James band, but in retirement from it for several years, ana now secretly in Commissioner Craig's employ. Then, a little later, much to my astonishment, but not less to the gratification of all of us, who should next put in an appear ance but George Sheppard. They were first made acquainted with the agreement we had just entered into. This they eagerly indorsed. Then Ford gave a choice bit of information that he had brought from up the river, and Sheppard, after learning that I had been beforehand with him in regard to all necessary information concerning the Winston affair, told us of the changes that had taken place in the James' pro gramme inc:dental to my escape. "I never saw a man so infernally mad as Jess James was after you had got away, colonel," said Sheppard. "He acted like a demon. But to this hour it is a mystery to him how you managed to burst your bonds, though I have my private opinion on the subject. Thanks for the upset you gave me as you regained the saddle. That, and the tearin' mad way in which I helped to bang away after you as you broke for the woods, about finished up making me hunk once more in Jess' good graces For the rest, you didn't even mark Jess in shootin' the pistol out of his hand, but you shot Cutts through the body, from which he's lik ely to turn up his toes, and Cole Younger will have a sore arm for a month to come." "Doubtless the band won't meet now at the Widow Jt.mes' for the division of the Winston swag, as they had intended," said I. "Not by a long shot!" was the reply. "Your escape has given that scheme away. By the way, Lawson, you've got it wrong about the James boys' mother. She's the Widow Samuels now, having married a second time, years ago, not long after the death of these boys' father, who was a Baptist preacher, odd enough." "It's no difference. She's called as often by one name as the other," said Timberlake. "But the Jameses are cute. I doubt if they'll ever make any divy of the W inston swag. .their next move? That's what we're after." "The gang, or part of 'em, start for Jasper County, this State, the day after to-morrow," said Sheppard. "I'm to be one of 'em to look out in advance for: detectives1 and give warnin' of the same." 1 ----------And he burst into a laugh. "What's the racket?" "A descent on the bank either at Empire" Cityor S.....:::::.:_, in that county," was the reply. "As I'll be sent forward in advance, and they'll be sure to r econnoitre at Empire City first, you'd better all be !yin' in wait at S--. The towns are only a few miles apart. I can slip you a tele graphic dispatc;:h as to what place to be on the lookout for 'em." "Good!" cried Timberlake. "We'll be on hand, all of us, shall we not, boys?" The rest of us unanimously fell in with the scheme, an'd the conference broke up. After a few words in private with George Sheppard, I was the last to leave the cabin. Before doing so I said to old Cynthy: you still so sure, Cynthy, of my never recovering poor Blanche's little boy. Tip?" "Oh, Lor', yes, cunei; dead sure ob dat !'' replied the old creature, rolling up the yellows of her eyes. "Dat.

PAGE 16

THE JESSE JAMES STORIES. 15 debbie, Jess James, hab put de pore little chit out ob de way long afore dis. De o J e jedge, fur all his money, 'll nebber lay eyes on his little gran'chile." ''You'll think otherwise before long, Cynthy, depend upon it. But in case I should be able to produce the child_.:_bring him here to your cabin-would you be able to identify him as the judge's grandson? I mean to say, w<:lulsi you know him again?" "Know him-know Miss us Blanche's boy? Go long, cunnel! Ob course I would. Why, I brung him up. He war nigh onto two year when he war stole, an' he ain't half past five now. Know him ag'in-pore Blanche's chile-de little Tip Younger? Lor' bless my soul What you done took me fur, cunnel ?" 'Well, that's all I wanted to know," said I, wishing her gopd-night; "and I'm glad I've made sure of it." CHAPTER VI. A BOLD RAID-JESSE JAMES' CUNNING. Three or four clays after this, we detectives were gath ered together in a small saloon in the town of S--, anxiously awaiting news from George Sheppard. At about the same time of day-say ten in the morning-Jesse and Frank James, Jim Cummings, Dick Lit tle, \Vood and Jeff Bite, and Ed Miller, all veteran des peradoes, accompanied by George Sheppard, approached the neighboring town of Empire City, by the wild, hilly country from the northeast. They were all more or less disguised, though they wore no masks ; Jesse James' boast to me of never under any circumstances wearing a dis guise having been a piece of empty braggadocia entirely devoid of truth. This party of scoundrels halted at an exceptionally lonely point on the road, within less than a mile of the town. Thence George Sheppard was sent forward to reconnoitre. He was instructed to take his time, and return with a report as to the number of armed men, if any, to be seen about the streets, and especialy as to the character of the bank s interior, the number of officials, the number of customers likely to be met with by a raiding party. and the like. But Jesse James did 1_10t yet thoroughly trust Shep pard. Shortly after the latter had set out upon his mis sion, Ed Miller was dispatched to track and watch him. His orders were to his horse at the entrance of the town, and thence to follow up Sheppard's movements se cretly. In case of any symptoms of treachery he was to hurry back with his report, so as to precede the return of Sheppard, who, in that case, was to be put to death as soon as he should again show up. Ed Miiler was trusted implicitly. He was a veritable enthusiast in his iniquitous career. The service assigned to him was faithfully performed in less than an hour. He then returned to the rendezvous with convincing proof of Sheppard's treachery. The latt er had been closely shadowed from place to place in the town. He had at last been seen to send a telegraphic dispatch to S--1 after which he had sauntered a11ay and entered the bank building. Miller, a few minutes later had ascertained at the tele graph station that Sheppard's dispatch had been addressed to "G. H. Timberlake," at S--. This was enough. Miller had hurried back to his comrades with tllis mo. mentous piece of news. But before they could recover breath from the momentary excitement into which it had thrown them, George Sheppard appeared on the road in his turn, riding directly toward them. "Shut up, all of you!" called out Jesse James, in a hoarse whisper. "Try to look careless till vve get him 111 our clutches. Don't let him dream that 1ve suspect him." But Sheppard, though only one-eyed, was as wide awake as Jesse himself. He. had already perceived that something was wrong, and had, consequently, come to a halt within a couple of hundred yards of the band '"Why don't you come on?" at last shouted Jesse. him self first losing his self-control in his thirst for revenge. '"'Vhat are you afraid of?" Then Sheppard was morally certain that his dealing had been found out. So, before wheeling his steed to become a fugitive, he leveled his revolver, drew a steady bead, and fired. He paused long enough to see Jesse J ame.s clap his hand to his neck and reel in his saddle, and then dashed away at a break-neck gallop. Part of the band pursued him for a considerable distance, but without success, and the succeeded in reaching the shelter of the town in safety, and in giving timely warning to the bank officials. It was in consequence of these happenings that we, at S--, received two telegraphic notifications from George Sheppard, about half an hour apart: The first read as follows : ( "EM PIRE CITY, --, 10 :40 A. M. "G. H TrMBBRLAKE :-Gang are waiting my report on road about a mile aw ay. From what I hall report t o t11em, they will doubtless make the descent some time this morning. If you don't hear again from me within an hour, come right on, blocking up the road leading to the northeast. S." The s e cond dispatch, received jus t as we were getting out our horses, was as follows: "EliiPIRE CITY, --, II :20 A. M. "G. H. TrMllE!U.,\KE :-Gang hav e shadowed and found me out. Hav e just s hot Jes se James off his horse, with a bullet in the n e ck. Sha"n"t dare to leav e thi s place without your escort. Come right on. Suppo s e gang has scattered. S." Timberlake had no sooner read the last disJ?atch to himself than he threw up his hat and cheered. Then, after he had read it aloud to us, we also threw up our hats and cheered. However, notwithstanding my first feeling of keen disappointment, I at once began to have my doubts as to the certainty of Sheppard having done for" Jesse James 'Hooray!'' shouted Timberlake. "vVhether we bag the rest of 'em or not, Jess James, the head devil of the game, is no more. That ought to satisfy us. Come on. \Ve"ll ride over to Empire City and sec Sheppard safe out of it." / We rode out of S--together. Timbt:rlake's exuber ance seemed to be shared by all the rest, myself alone ex cepted. But why they should all so suddenly jump to the conclusion that Jesse James was dead, when he might only. have b een wounded, was more than I could uncler stanct. Perhaps it was e::-..-plained by their all wanting

PAGE 17

16 THE JESSE Jl\MES STORIES. him 'dea"d so badly t11at the :was father to the thought. Soon after we had taken our leisurely way toward Empire City, we met a large drove of lean, wide-horned Texas steers that were being driven across the State. Not long after they had passed we heard a great shouting and bursts of coarse laughter up the road. Five or six rough-looking horsemen, wearing dusky blouses and huge slouched hats, apparently Texan cowboys, and drunk at that, were gathered about a madly-plunging steer, which had been made temporax:ily fast with ropes, while they likewise seemed to be tying something on its back. The meaning of the odd scene was soon explained to us. We had just time to shrink back to either side of the road when the suddenly liberated steer came charging dov.lf?, road in the direction of S--. The cowboys were in full career, yelling, cursing, and screaming with brutal laughter. Blood was in the steer's eye, frenzy in his tossing horns; and, firmly lashed to his back, kick ing, writhing, and shrieking piteously, was a poor devil of a Chinese basket-peddler, who had thus been pinioned to make a Missouri holiday. "Cl'ar the track!" shouted one of the ruffians, as he dashed by us with his comrades in pursuit. "How's this for a Chinese Mazeppa, hey?" "An infernally cruel piece of sport!" exclaimed Timberlake, following the steer and horseman with his eyes. "A mild enough one, though, for Texas drovers to engage in said Craig, with a laugh. "Come, let's ride back and see the upshot of it. There'll be a healthy excitement as they pass through the long main street of the town.'' As he suited the action to the word, and the distance was not great, we followed him. We reached the crest of a rise in the road overlooking the town, and not far from it, just as the steer dashed into the main street, with the ruffians in pursuit. "Rallo I Cruel or not cruel, it's a jolly row they're kicking up," cried Craig, who had been a Texas boy himself in his day. "Lord, look at the people scatter! There's an apple cart upset, and now the bull is charging its tormentors in his t\lrn. What life there is in the Chinaman! How he kicks and squirms Rallo! The r e' s one of the cowboys unhorsed! No; he' s up and awa_. again! There go the big horns through a 5>how window. Now he's charging across the street again. By Jupiter! By Jupiter! but he can't be going through there, and with those screaming devils after him. But he is, though, and no mistak e Come along, boys, we must see the end of this. Some of the bank officials may be hurt. This is pushing a mad game too far." We at once galloped after him down the hill. His last expression had been called forth by the maddened steer disappearing into the wide doorway of the National Bank of S--, followed by his yelling pursuers, one after the. other. A s we approached the bank building, a few minutes later, w e h eard a couple of shots, and made sure that the stee r had been shot down somewhere in among the de s k s and money counters. Then, with some difficulty, by reason of the n owcl in the street, we approached the doors. As we did so, we heard the shouti n g cowboy s galloping away by another street, or lane, having made their exit from the bank by a back doorway. A scene of woeful havoc and confusion presented itself as we dismounted and pushed our way into the bank. The steer had fallen from exhaustion at the farther end of the broad passage reaching around the desks and counters, with the Chinaman, now in a faint, still faste.ned to his back, and was frothing at the moath, while still swaying his great breadth of horns to and fro defiantly. T _he glass doors smashed front and back, one of the counters overturned, and the black-walnut panels of the partition broken through in places. But worse than this, the floor inside of the partitions, about the open doors of the money-vault, was strewn with a confused litter of torn documents, tattered packages of bank bills, rifted tin boxes, and even scattered gold coin. Worse still, amid this litter, supported by two bystand-. ers, lay the unconscious form of a white-haired, venerable gentleman, with the blood rushing from a ghastly pistol-shot wound in the breast. At the foot of a near desk, amid the remains of a shivered high office stool, lay another figure-that of a bookkeeper-senseless from a terrible blow, doubtle s s with the butt of a re volver, on the top of the head; while another and younger clerk was still cowering underneath a desk a little farther off, though more frightened than hurt. "Great Lord!" exclaimed Timberlake, in a bewildered, stupefied tone, as we all took in this scene of destruction and horror at a glance. "Can this have been the work of these cowboys?" "Cowboys!" sneered one of the bystanders, with an oath. "A sweet-scented lot of detectives you are, the hull lot of you I Couldn't you tumble to the trick they were playing you and the rest of us with the wild steer and the Chinaman? Cowboys! Bah! They were the James boys and their gang, in disgui se-:that's what they we re I And they're off now, with ten thousand dollars out of that vault in their saddl e bags, leavin' the old cashier shot through the heart, and the bookkeeper with a fractured skull." Quick, boys! To horse, and after 'em!" yelled Timberlake, making a break for the door. ::,carcely less mortified than he, we A mom ent later we were in the saddle galloping madly in the direction the bank robbers had taken, and heedless of the townspeople s jeers that greeted ou,r departure. Our pursuit was not continued long, however, before we were convinced that there was no chance of its suc cess. The robbers had gain e d the broken country' to the south of the town, and the hills might as well have swal lowed them up, for all the opportunity that was afforded us for overtaking, or even getting sight of them. We returned to S--, crestfallen and broken-spirited, in the middle of the afternoon. It was to find the bank cashier and the bookkeeper in a critical conditioi1 by reason of his wounds. An examination of the bank's funds, however, had beeti. made by s e veral of the direc tors, showing that the robbers had carried off between fifteen and eighfeen thousand dollars. We questioned several persons who bad a good' look at the robbers, and who were familiar with the p ersonal appearance of the James brothers. All these witnesses concurred in assuring us that Jesse James was not

PAGE 18

TtJE JESSE JAMES STORIES. 11 among the gang who had effected the robbery, they had all fully identifi e d both Frank Jame s and Jim Cummings as prominent participants in the affair. This would seem to support Sheppard's declaration that he had succ e eded in giving the redoubtable Jesse J an:.e s his quietus. Sheppard stoutiy reiterated 111s as re rti o n we saw him at Empire City, on the evening of that same eventful, disastrous day, and he gave us the succinct account of his own adventure with the out laws with which this chapter was opened. I will not dwell needlessly on the added blaze of ex citement which this bank r,obbery created in Missouri and the adjoining States. For the ensuing month, or more, the dreaded band kept so quiet and invisible that they were thought and hoped by many to have permanently quitted the.State. In this impression some of the detectives and officers, perhaps the majority, concurred, while others did not. I was among those who did not think so. A still larger majority believed in the report, soon widespread, that Jesse James, the robber chief, had bee11 killed. Ford, Gorho::m and I were about the only detect ives who refused tn take any stock in the report. During that month, or six weeks, of apparent inactiv ity, we occupied ourselves with hunting down and bringing to justice the greenhorns who had participated in the Winston train robbery. In this connection, Sheppard and I were used to advantage as witnesses for identifica tion. Upward of thirty arrests were made. They were madefrom among farmers' and townspeople's sons who had been more pr less distinguished for fastness and dis orderly lives, many of them well-to-do and of good early training. Of this number, eight were brought to trial and conviction, with State prison sentences fdr long terms. They. were nearly all very hardened, though. Confes sions as to their own guilt were not exceptions, but not one of them could be brought to "give away" the where abouts of the veterans of the gang, or divulge anything else that might lead to pursuit and capture. They all, likewise, seemed to believe in Jesse James' death, some of them even shedding tears, as for the death of an ideal man. Indeed, he was their ideal, and men sincerely mourn such a loss, be it that of saint or thief, a noble patriot or a soulless, 'crime-steeped robber. However, soon after the last of these mlnor convictions had taken place, Charley Ford came to me in Kansas City and said: "There's a big thing over at headquarters, Lawson. Two yotmg fellows have brought in a corpse, which they say is Jesse James', and for which they claim the 'dead ar alive' rewards." I looked up, incredulously. "Fact!" he continued. "They claim that Sheppard's bullet in the neck only proved fatal vesterd;lv; that they nursed him in a lone cabin up in the Blue Hills up to the moment of his death. Just before it occurred, they say, Jesse, out of gratitude for their kindnesses, told them to take the steps they were now taking with his dead body, in order to secure for themselves the heavy rew'ards offered." This part of the news touched me "on the raw," so to speak, and I started to my feet. "Come on over," resumed Ford. "All our crowd are there, including the sheriff an"c! ttie police commissioner. They all take s tock in the young fellows' statement, too. They are waiting for you to identify the remains as Jes se's before giving the lads the certificate on which to claim the rewards." I regarded the story as preposterous. But, eager as I w a s to prove it so, I hated to spare the time just then. I had got what I thought was a clew to Judge Rideau's grandc hild, which I had been on the point of follq\vin_g tiP when Ford interrupted me. However, I accompanied him at once. "Either you or Sheppard could identify the corpse, if it is really Jesse James', as well as I,'' I suggested, on the way. "Sheppard might, but he's up-country just now," was the reply. "As for me, when I last saw Jesse he hadn't grown the beard that he's been credited with since. I can't be certain, but the face staring up out of the pine coffin over yonder looks wonderfully like Jesse's would, if dead instead of alive." This answer shook my unbeljef mot_:e than anything else he had said. A great crowd was gathered about' headquarters as we approached. There was also at the entrance a mud splashed team and wagon, by which the lads had come in from the hills with their melancholy freight. The large, bare room back of the office was crowded with citizens and policemen as Ford and I made our way into it. They were pressing around a rude, rough-board coffin that lay upon trestles in the center. The coffin had been uncovered. Near its head stood the beardless but hard-looking young men who had bruught it there. Timberlake, Craig, Masters and others of my profession were in close proximity . "Room there for Bill Lawson," cried Craig, as I ap proached. "Here's the man who can and will identify this dead face as Jesse James', if any one can. The crow d made way for me. As I approached the open head of the coffin, I steadily studied the faces of the two young fellows. Neither recognized me. I hadn't taken the trouble to inquire what names they had given themselves, feeling sure that they had made use of aliases. Then, amid a general hush of expectancy, my eyes rested upon the inanimate coffined face. It was but for an instant. I raised them again, with a contemptuous laugh. "Rallo! What's up?" cried Timberlake. "Ain't the body Jess James'?" "Not a bit of it, though there's a slight resemblance," I replied. "The outlaw is in a new dile when he tries to sell his own corpse to the authorities. How are you, Master Cutts? How are you, Master Larry the Lamb?" The persons addressed were, indeed, none other than the young desperadoes I had named, the former still look ing thin and worn, as though but recently recovered from my bullet through the body. They turned pale at my offhand recognition, and seemed to be gathering themselves together for a rush through the crowd; but I had them covered with my re volver in an instant, and they were at once seized and handcuffed. "Look out!" I shouted, while the utmost excitement for a moment took possession of every one in the room.

PAGE 19

THE JESSE JAMES .. "Jess James may be here among us at this very inst
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THE JESSE Jf\MES STORIES. 19 ) .were already there, hastily prepa.ring for the expedition, for it was now late in the afternoon. "There's lively workahead gentlemen, even if this Red Cut trap should miss fire," said the sheriff, genially. "The Jameses and their crew are awake and wicked, like rattlesnakes after their winter's nap. Dick Little and another of their number have made overtures to me in the hope of a pardon, and let out a whole bagful of secrets. If they get through with this affair, they next take in the Minn e sota bank project, which they've long had in view. Come, hurry up," the train will be along in minutes." A car had already been provided for us by the railroad management. 'vVe entered it with seeming carelessness, one by one, without exciting undue outside attention. There were fifteen of us, all told. They included those to whom the reader has already been introduced, together with six special con s tables, stanch and experienced men, who could be relied on. When the train came along our car was quietly incor porated with it, being placed in the front, next behind the express messenger's car. No intimation was given to any others on the train as to what was expected; and away we "vent. CHAPTER VIII. A TERRIFIC BATTLE WITH THE OUTLAWS. "Throw up your hands! Down from that engine, or my bullet's in your heart! Where's the express messen ger?" The words were sharp and explosive. The voice was that of Jesse, the outlaw. Our train had j.ust been balked by a false signal in the Red Cut. By peering out of the car windows we could see the robbers, some dismounted, some still in the saddle, thronging both sides of the track, with the steep bluffs of the cutting at their backs. The dusk of evening was rapidly deepening. "Quick-you chaps that I named!" called out Timber lake, in a hoarse whisper. "To the front, Lawson! Craig will attend to the rear." Our car had long before been especially altered for just this sort of an emergency. Timberlake arose while speaking, and pressed a spring over his head. A trap door in the roof of the car noiselessly opened. He shinned up through it like a eat, more clumsily followed by the six constables. In the meantime, while Craig headed a part of our remaining force toward the rear door, I stole forward, followed by Gorham, Ford, George Sheppard, and my personal satellites, Sloane and Chipps. As I slid back the door, Cole Younger confronted me, revolver in hand. Others were at his back, still others were into the express car, right ahead, and there was the customary pandemonitrm of curses, yells, and pistol-shots being raised on every side, for the purpose of creating a panic. "Hello!" cried Cole; doubtless taking us for scared pas sengers trying to escape. "Back with you, or--" I knocked up his hand, shot down his immediate com panion, and, grabbing his throat, jerked him to his knees, and hurled him back among my comrades. "Secure that one!" I shouted. "If he gives any trouble, kill him!" This was a mistaken move fo'rn1e. Snots were immediately exchanged behind me, and Younger engaged in such a desperate hand-to-hand struggle with my followers that I stepped out upon the platform almost alone. Two robbers had just clambered on the opposite plat form, one of whom drew a bead on me and fired. I shrank to one side in time, but the shot intended for me 1 struck S.loane, who was behind me, and he fell with a groan. I then dropped his assailant dead' on the coup lings, and, with another shot, disabled his companion so that he tumbled off the left-hand side all of a heap. Then, as I jumped off on the other side, and ran to the assistance of the express messenger, who, though y;: ounded, was. bravely defending the broken side-entrance of his car against Jesse James, Frank James, and Jim Cummings; the wildest confusion prevailed. Timberlake and his constables were promiscuously shooting down upon the ruffians from the top of the car, while Craig and his men had just issued from the rear, 1 and were opening fire in every direction with good effect. l It was evident that a panic had seized the bandits in their turn. They had been completely taken by surprise, and the majority of them were already wavering. As I rushed to the messenger's assistance, I fired an other shot that only grazed Frank James' cheel}, and at the same instant the messenger was pitched headlong out of his bravely defended car, with Jesse James' bullet in his heart. Then, Cummings and Frank James being at that in stant suddenly engaged by Chipps and Gorham, who had succeeded in following me, I drew a fresh bead on Jesse, ; At the instant of firing, however, one of his panic-stricken subordinates rushed in between us, receiving my bullet in his skull. That was the last shot in my first repeater, and there was no time to draw my second. Nevertheless, before the outlaw leader could fire in return I flew at his j throat, grappiing him so closely that he not use the j weapon. To and fro, backward and fonvard we swayed and I struggled silently amid the deadly din and confusion, until at last I tripped over a prostrate body under the 1 windows of the second car, and went down on my back. But my lucky star was in the ascendant on that event!1 ful evening. The outlaw's knee was on my breast, his revolver at my head; I could see the baleful glitter of his : eyes, and hear the gritting of his teeth. At that instant, : however, a dead constable toppled over from the roof of I the car, crushing my assailant to the earth, and giving me another chance for my life. j Nevertheless, he was on his feet again as soon as I, and again his repeater covered me. . 1 "Curse you! do you carry a charmed life?" he hrssed, through his gnashing teeth. "But now-this time you are doomed!" But again he reckoned without my lucky star. A car window was slid up but two or three feet ::way, and a woman's Jeweled hand was thrust out, holdmg a small pocket-revolver in its delicate but firm grip. "Ha, ha, ha !" laughed a silvery voice, as the timely little weapon flashed and barked in the outlaw's face. "I owe you an old score, Jesse James, on Di
PAGE 21

20 THE JESSE JA MES momentarily blinded him, causing him to stagger back. Then a rush of his own retreating men making a break for their horses, separated us, the bullet that I sent after him from my second revolver passed harmlessly over his head, and I lost sigh t of him. Bewildered, I turned a hasty glance toward the car But the jeweled hand had been withdrawn, the window clo sed, and I coul d not distinguish the face that was be hind it. "I saw it all!" muttered Ford, pass ing by me, pistol in hand, and grasping my shoulder. "Your deliverer was Mattie Collins, Dick Little's wife You can thank her afterward. Come l the villains are on the run." "Go for their horses !" shouted Timberlake, making his way down from the car roof, followed by the remnants of his constables. "Bar 'em off from their horses, and we've got 'em all dead I know the cabin they'll run to." We at once rallied around him in a body, and made a combined rush for the horses of such of the outlaws as had dismounted We could see them gathered in a knot, under the charge of some boys, on the top of the bluff. The outlaws, with Jesse James at their head, were also making a rush in the same direction, and with the same object. But we fortunately intercepted them, beat them, and took possession of the animals, while the baffled rob bers ran off into the woods, accompanied by their mounted associates . As they did so, I remarked with bitter regret that Cole Younger was amoi1g them, and apparently not even dis abled, though it was no fault of mine that he had not re mained a caotive. I was the first to reach the horses, and I at once hacked the finest one in the lot This one, to my intense satis faction, proved to be Dancer, the chief outlaw's sorrel favorite. There were nine more, which were quickly ap propriated. Then leaving Craig with the remainder of our men; to look after the train, and to see to the for wardin of the dead, wounded, and captured to Topeka, we das;1.ed away in the pursuit, under Timberlake's leadership. A bright moon ll.ad risen with the falling of night, and the woods that we were obliged to penetrate were but sparsely grown. A five minutes' thundering pace brought us in view of the fugitives, horse and foot They out numbered us greatly, but a majority seemed to be under the influence of a panic which their leaders were unable to control. Presently they separated, those that were mounted dashing off down a rocky road they had been following, while those on foot ran up the side of a steep bare hill to ward a small cabin, which was situated near its wooded crest. "Jnst as I expected!" shouted Timberlake. "After 'em, boys! Don't give 'em breathing space!" We spurred straight up the hill in pursuit, emptying our revolvers and reloading as we rode. The robbers, however, succeeded in entering the cabin, and b a r ring the doors and windows, before we could intercept them. Some of our party then _dashed around into the thicket directly behind the house, with special instructions, while the rest of us kept peppering the house from the f ront at l ong range, to engross the attention of those .within. (!'hey replied feebly1 and .with little Presently a bright blaze shot np from the rear of the house, and those who had gained the thicket reappeared upon its skirt, and sent us down a cheer of triumph. We responded with a will, for we then knew that it was merely a question of time. They had succeeded in heap ing up brushwood against the back of the cabin and firing the place. In a few seconds, more th:.n half the house was in flames, and we kept bangipg away unremittingly. But that night's battle was to be a series of surprises. Just as Jesse and Frank James, the three Youngers, and two others, suddenly bolted out of the burning building, and replied to our fire, their mounted compan ions, who had made a detour of the hill from the road below, instead of taking themselves off, as we had sup posed, burst out of the thicket behind, aud came rushing to the rescue with an appalling yell. Our men in that quarter were at once driven down upon onr support, and the robbers, firing volley after volley, made a movement as though to engage us once more at close quarters. They didn't do it, however. We maintained our ground, and with the advantage still in our favo r in spite of their superior numbers, by reason of their re maining for the time being in the strong light of the burning building At this stage of the fight something occurred which will seem scarcely credible, but which is none the less true. The long-range firing was proceeding fast and furious, but with very little effect. I was slightly it) the advance of our line, when I saw Jesse James return his pistol to his belt, and raise his si l ver whistle to his lips. The triple blast that he blew upon it was of terrific distinct ness. Dancer, the horse that I bestrode, in response to it, suddenly shot straight up into the air, as if a bomb shell had exploded under his body. Then he came down with a tremendous shock, humping his Lack like a camei as he did so, and bringing all his feet together like a goat. Utterly unprepared for his "bucking," or anything of the sort, I shot aloft as though discharged from a mortar. Nevertheless, even while in the air, I knew the trick that had been played me between master and, horse. "Kill that horse I yelled, after I had returned t o mother earth, and was r olling over and oYer down the hill. "He's James' Dancer; the fastest horse in Mis souri Shoot him But when I regained my feet and my scattered senses, Dance r had safely reached his master, who was once mpre on his back, waving his hand derisively at us, while my comrades were all laughing at me, in spite of the peri l of their environments. The robbers then drew up in line, under Jesse's lead ership, and seemed about to charge us. Had they done so, with their numbers and the descent of the hill in their favor, they would doubtless have swept us away like chaff before the wind. But, for some reason, they suddenly changed their intention Perhaps it was because of their ammunition giving out. At all events, they sheered off, and began to make for the winding road at an angle down the slope which carried them considerably off to our right, and, for the time being, we were content. a

PAGE 22

THE JESSE Jf\MES STORIES. Bnt 'vhile this was in progress, a startling episode occurred. A man, evidently disabled, and whom I recognized as Jim Cumnrings, appeared in the doorway of the blazing cabin; pistol and knife in hand. How he had chanced to be left within there, in that condition, none of us could surmise. He seemed hardly able to move, and yelled hoarsely after his confederates. They. apparently as much surprised a:; we, came to a confused halt. and seemed undetermined whether to return for him, or leave him to his fate, for they were still under our well-organized fire. \iVhile they were thus hesitating-, Cummings suddenly vanished into the lurid interior, as if drawn back into it by some mysterious suction of the air. He as suddenly reappeared, however, seeming-ly mastering his disability. nut his clothing was on fire, his skin blackened, his beard sing-ed off his face, and, as he rushed limpingly after his confederates clown the hill, still brandishing his weapons, he looked less like a human being than an animated column of flame. They rolled him on the ground, covered him with a blanket, and, seating him on a horse, which one of the mounted men ab::mdonecf for the purpose, they continued theil' flight. We continued to follow them up, intending to procure fresh mounts in the town, and keep up the pursuit all night, or until we should have them run down to a man. As I had to accompany my companions on foot, I was dreadfully tired when we entered Topeka, the outlaws having skirted it through the woods to the south, but in my excitement I was still as eager for the pursuit as any one else. The train had, of course, arrived before us, and the town was consequently in a high fever. We had lost no men in the fight at the cabin. But of our number, the train had brought in 'poor Sloane's dead body and five badly wounded men. But on the same train were five dead outlaws, and as many more suffering from wounds. We left these to be lool-:ed to by the town an"d rail road authorities, and. lost no time in looking up horses and recruits. I was riding out of a tavent yard on a fair-looking animal that I had succeeded in securing, when a wellknown silvery laugh caused me to look up. It came from an upper porch, in which was standing a pretty woman, whom I at once divined as the owner of the jeweled hand and pocket-revolver that had been so op portunely thrust out of the car window to my rescuein my grapple with the outlaw chief. "I know you, sir!" she called out. "Wait; I will come down." In another minute she was shaldng my hand in the moonlight, her bright face and fashionably-costumed figlll'e looking very pretty in the white beams. "Thank you a thousand times t" said I. "I have already learned that yon are Dick Little's wife." "Ah! and who could have told you that?" she cried, with another laugh. ''But never mind now, since you are in such a hurry. Yes, I am Dick's wife, though I still retain my maiden name of Mattie ColliJlS here in my native place. I would never have had to be ashamed of Dick, either, but for Jesse James, who led him into being the robber that lie has become. Bnt I'll yet reform Dick, and have my revenge on the Jameses. Good-by, then. We meet again." I spurred away, rejoining Timberlake's rough-riders, by this time increased to a force of more than twenty horsemen, and we at once started in fresh pursuit of the outlaws. Day was breaking when I found myself alone in a wild forest glade, my horse having gone dead lame, leaving me considerably in the rear'of my better-mounted friends. I had just dismounted, and was leading my horse to a neighboring brook, when I perceived a man who was laving his head in the cool waters, unconscious of my presence. My first glance discovered him as one of the outlaws, broken down, tired out, and perhaps wounded besides, his belt and pistols having been thrown wearily aside on the turfy bank upon which he was kneeling. My second glance caused me a thrill of satisfaction, for it recog-' nized the man as Bob Younger. Recollecting what Ford had told me, tl1at my best chance of learning anything about Judge Rideau's grandchild was by questioning Bob Younger, the hope of now discovering the whereabouts of the child oc; curred to me in a flash. To steal upon the unsuspecting outlaw, precipitate myself upon him, and have him at my mercy, was the work of but a moment. "Bob Younger, your life and liberty, now mine, are' yours again on one condition!" I exclaimed, with my; knee on his chest, and my revolver at his forehead. ''Where has Jesse James hidden awaY. the little ,Tip Younger, Judge Rideau's grandchild?.:. CHAPTER IX. \ A SECRET SEIZED AND LOST-A FRESH INCENTIVE TO DETECTIVE WORK. The outlaw, Bob Younger, was at my mercy, but he gave no indications, even with staring him in the face, of surrendering the precious secret that I de manded. "Do you take me for a coward?" lie growled, looking up at me with haggard, but unquailing eyes. "Yes, you're right. I do know where the little Tip can be found. But blaze away, curse you! Yon'Jl never get the secret out of 1r.c !" "It's for the child's own good-for his moral and worldly welfare!" I exclaimed. "I swear it!" "You S>Year it?'' was the sneering rejoinder. "Ha,' ha! A detective's oath!" I relieved him of the pressure of my knee, though-:' still keeping my pistol at his head, and threw an added earnestness into my voice that could not but impress him. "Listen to me, !Bob Y ounger," said I. "I own that r am Judge Rideau's agent in looking up the child. r1 would rather a hundredfold give you your life than take it. I pledge yQu my word, as between man and' man, that the boy, .jf given up, will be brought up hon-l estly, even luxuriously, and of God (fle .wilL\ ____ ___, ---______

PAGE 23

22 THE JESSE JAMES STORiES. be educated like a Christian and a gentleman. It will be the making of him, body and soul!" I saw that my words were having some effect. The outlaw s face had gradually grown grave and anxious. "If I thought that," he began, in a low voice; "if I were sure of that--" At this point there was the crack of a near-at-hand fire arm. My head reeled, everything swam before me, and, feeling that I was wounded, I staggered to my feet, with a bitterer sense of disappointment than I can give any idea of. As I leaned against a tree, pistol in hand, while concealing as best I could the weakness I was in, Cole Younger, who had fired the shot, came running into the glade, and helped his brother to his feet. From the fact of his not firing again, I rightly inferred that he had expended his last cartridge, and it soon became apparent that Bob was in the same predicament. I was no longer in a condition to draw a bead on either of them. Had it been otherwise, I would certainly at least have shot down Cole Younger in his tracks, as in duty bound, secret or no secret. As it was,-I succeeded in disguising my real state, and making a show of ing them covered until they had limped off in the forest together, after exchanging some whispered words. Then, with a feeling of disappointment far more poignant than any physical pain I was suffering-a desolate feeling of having missed my longed-for secret on the very threshold of discovery-! staggered to the edge of the brook and fainted away. A splashing of the cool water on my head and face revived me in a short time. I found myself under the ministrations of Charley Ford and Jack Gorham, who had b e en sent back to look afterme on my being missed fro m the main body of pursuers. They had also dressed my w o und, and in other ways contributed to my comfort. The n, as we were nearer Independence than any other town, \'ie pro c ee ded thither. There, at my request, I was plac e d und e r the care of old Cynthy, a task which the g o od creature undertook with more than willin g ness. Time proved that the J ameses and their organized for lowers had s uffered more disastrously. Indeed, it was a que s tion wh e ther they were not crippled beyond recovery as a large, compact organizati o n. The Red Cut had bee n th e ir d e ath-trap. It had cost them-before the active pursuit was giv e n up-thirteen of their veterans, in killed and wounded and prisoners. Though the James' the m s elves off with their usual good luck, to g ether w i t h the Youngers, the Hites, the Millers, Jim Cummings and a few more of perhaps their most des p e rate confederates, they sunk into as sudden inactivity and apparent lifelessness as though the earth had swal lowed them. I for one however, knew perfectly well that we were d e stined to hear from them again; and before long, at that, now that they were driven to des pera t i o n. My wound, though not dangerous, was painful, and forced me to more than a fortnight's rest, with a good de.al o f nursing, at Aunt Cynthy's. One day I was surprised and gratified by a visit from Mattie C o llins. Her cheerful and attractive presence was like to me, but she had, notwithstandiJ.Jg, come on senous business. After a few preliminary words, she said: "I have had several interviews with my husband since the R e d Cut fight, Mr. Lawson, and am here to nego tiate in his interest. He wants to d e sert the robbers, and work right along with you detectives, as Ford and Sheppard have done. All he asks is protection and an assur ance of Government pardon. I come to you first in his behalf, because you are the only detective whose personal acquaintance I have made." "That is right. Has your husband, Dick Little, ever committed an actual murder with his own hand?" "Never!" she exclaimed, solemnly. "All right. Why does Dick wish to quit his hereto fore confederates?" "Simply to reform, and through his affection for me. Besides, Dick, with perhaps some others, has long been wearying of the James boys' increasing avarice, and of their habit of burying their stolen treasure." "Burying their treasure, eh ?" said I, instantly, with an eye to business. "This is astounding intelligence." "And perhaps not unwelcome from the detective point of view, Mr. Lawson," said Mattie, smiling. "Well, the information shall remain exclusively in your possession with no other detective or official to act upon it, if you will help me in my object." "That I shall certainly do, and you have my thanks in the bargain," said I, with sudden opening visions of wealth in comparison with which all there tofore offered rewards in a solid lump melted into insignificance. "But what has prevented other members of the gang from in quiring into this matter?" "Fear-deadly fear of the Jameses, and especially of Jesse." "You will say nothing of this to any one else, and you will keep your husband equally reticent?" said I. "I swear it!" said Mattie, solemnly. "You can be con tent. Neither Dick nor I would dare to meddle further with the matter, nor vvould any member of the gang." "All right," said I. "Bring Dick Little here with you to-morrow night. I promise him at least safe conduct to and fro for that occasion. I hope, also, to have then secur e d him the assurance from the authorities that he require s." Overjoyed at what I said, Mattie departed. I now had an added string to my bow, of which I had never dreamed bef01:e. The restoration of Judge Rideau's grandchild ; the lumped rewards for the capture of the J ameses, dead or alive ; the buried treasure of the free booter chief, doubtless amounting to a princely fortune in itself! Could any mortal detective ask :for any greater incentive to professional exertion than was furnished by these? True to her word, Mattie on the night of the following day. Dick Little accompanied her. He was an athletic, rather mild-looking fellow for a desperado, though with an unmistakable resoluteness of bearing. I could readily understand how he had gradually been made the criminal subordinate of such a character as Jesse James. Upon entering the inner room of Aunt Cynthy's cabin, accompanied by Mattie, he was surprised, and not a little alarmed, to encounter myself, both Sheriff Timberlake and Commissioner Craig. We all speedily reassured him, however. I had busied myself industri oqsly in his behalf since Mattie's first visit. We had a

PAGE 24

THE JESSE JAMES STORIES. 23 promise of conditi o n a l pa rd o n i n the Gove rnor s own handwritin g, t o s h ow him, b es i de s th e guaranty of our uni t e d p r otect i o n t o o ffer in ca se of hi s bad faith to his confc,:r rates comi n g t o th e ir kn o wledge. The confer e n ce e n ded in a sol e mn agree m e n t, b y which he engaged t o se r ve our interes t s t o th e bes t o f his ability; while main tai ni n g a qu a si conne ct i o n with the freeb o ot e r s up to the l as t m o m e nt. In ot h e r w or ds h e was pla ce d on pretty much th e s am e footing a s were Charley Ford and George Sh e pp a rd. L itt l e and Matti e remained after the others had de part ed. The f o m1er appreciated the personal efforts I had m ade in his b e half and wi s hed to thank me in pri vate I c u t him short by recalling, as an offset, the per-! s o n a l obliga t ion that wife put me under. to her during th e R eel Cut affa1r but ne1ther he nor Mathe were an y the l ess hearty in their gratitude for that. I "As vo u d o ubtle ss know, Mr. Lawson," said Dick, "I have been c o nt e mplating this move for a great while, but, with my natural distrust of the authorities, I would nev e r have got this far but for your assistance. I am indebted to you for having shown me the way back to an hon es t life. Whatever information of value I shall ob tain, in purs uan c e of this agreement, shall be first communicated to you personally. "Thanks !" said I. "Has the gang, then, given up tl1e Minnesota bank raid thaf was projected?" "No; it is onl y delayed indefinitely by reason of this unforeseen disaster at the Red Cut. That cut us up awful l y as you know. However, the bank raid may be revive d at any day. Fewer men I fancy, will engage in it than you suppose. I doubt if there will be half a dozen besides the J ameses and the Youngers "Will you be of the number?" "I hope not, but can't tell. It will be just as Jess de cides His word is law with the gang." "Now for a different sort of a question," said I, lower ing my voice. "Do you have any idea of th e general locality of Jesse Jame s' buried treasure?" Little started, and at once became ill at ease. He look e d hesitatin g l y .at his wife but s he kept her e y es ca s t d o wn, a nd he got no encouragement from her. "Perhaps I have a general id e a of it," he at lengt11 stammered; "but I don't like to think or talk of it. Whenever I do s o the air s eems fuH of pistols and knives, with Jesse James tig e ri s h eyes blinking at me from be hind 'em." I presently succeed e d in mitigating his dread, amount ing almost to super s tition, so that he could at least breathe and talk more freely. "Is it buried in Cracker Neck, or in th e vicinity of this place, think you ?1 I then asked. "No; nowhere n ear here," was the somewhat dogged reply. "Oh, hang to your secret, by all means," said I. "It ain t that, Mr. Lawson, and pray don t get out of humor with me," said Little, humbly. "The fact is, I ain't got any secret to hang onto. I do, however, suspect that Jess hid es his treasure somewhere in the woods near I work as a farmhand when not out on any racket with the gang. You know, there s a good many of us on that lay, for the sake of appearances. We can't all of us support the brigand chief character without any special let up, as the J ameses and Youngers can." Here was something like definiteness at last. "On what farm do yoUI work?" I asked. .. "Four and a half miles out of St. Joe, on the H--ville road. It's a small and lonely farm, and I'm the only hired hand on it. The country round about is a system of wooded hi 11ls, even savager and lonesomer than around the Younger or the Samuels homestead. Now, Mr. Laws on, when are you going to -be fit for the saddle again?" I rode out for the first time to-day, without inconvenience," I replied. "In a week 'hence I shall be thoroughly myself again." "Good'! Come to me in some sort of disguise, sir, and we 'll have a talk. You'll find me working alone in the fields by the road in the middle of the afternoon. I'm cert'lin the Minnesota job won't be undertaken within a: week. I shall at least have something to tell you about that, and maybe about something else." The concluding words were uttered after a pause, and! with a certain significance that pleased me. I a few more particulars, and then we separated, Ma.ttie saying while bidding me good-night, that she felt lighter .. hearted on Dick s account than she had for many a day. A week later I proceeded to St. Joseph, where I prQo> cured a horse and set out to keep CH1AP.TER X .:. A SECRET-THE The country that I traversed was as wi ld and forbid ding as any I had ever seen in Missouri. I 1at last came upon Little at work in a roadside field. The humble cottage of his employer was in view about a quarter of a mile away, and for loneliness and isolation it might almost a s \ovell have been in the heart of Montana or Idaho. "Rallo!" exclaimed Little; looking up s p ade in hand, in an s wer to my greeting. "What! i s it inde e d you, Mr. Lawson? By Jove! I'd never have known y ou in that shape." This wa s in complim e ntar y allu s i o n to th e disguise. I had as s um ed. It wa s that of a c ountry storekeeper m hard luck, o n th e loo k out f or a ne w location and a partner, with a rath e r s orry-loo king steed in kee ping t\'ith the charact er. "Have you anything to say?" I a sked. Yes m o r e than you ima g ine w a s th e c au t i o us reply "Yes, inde e d A s soon a s you return to St. Joe you can t e legraph to your friend s that the M inn eso t a e xpedition \\ill start from H--ville t om orrow at The gang will make the entire dist ance on h o r seb ack, and a s you fellows will doubtles s cover the g r ea t e r part of it by rail of cour s e yon can tak e y our tim e wit h yo ur prepara tions. Jes s has been to m o w earlier than he intended by reason of the poverty of th e maj o rity of the gang. They have done nothing y et to re t rieve the Red Cut failure. Some o f em arc entirel y destitut e ." "Are you to go?'' "Yes; I have m y orders. I w ill t ry to c 0 mmunicate with you on the wa y ." "Who are the others?" "The entire expedition will.c o n s i s t o f th e tw o Jameses, the three Youngers. the two H i tes. Curly Pitts Hank Burke, Bill Shadwell, Charley Miller, and Clel Miller, besides myself. It is a bigger gang than I thought would

PAGE 25

24 THE JESSE Jf\MES STORIES. be used in the affair. Charley Miller is to be the guide. He was a horse-thief, you know, before he joined us, and is familiar with that northern country. Ed Miller would also have been picked, but there 's bad blood betwixt him and Jess now, though they used to be thick. Only night before last, at the rendezvous d ow n in Cracker's Neck, Ed more than insinuated that and Frank took precious good care of themselves, even with the rest of the gang starving to death. Jess didn't reply then, but we all saw that he didn't like it. Jim Cum mings would also have been selected, but he hasn t got over his scorching Wait, there's one more of the raiding party I haven't White. That's fourteen in all." Here certainly was a whole budget of news, and important enough in all conscience. If I had had any doubts as to the sincerity of Dick Little's intentions, they were now dissipated by the frankness and fullness with which he gave me these details. "Clel Miller is a new name to me,'' I observed. "So is Bill Shadwell." "They both only recent:'ly jo"ined, but have already left records in Texas and the Indian Territory. Clel Miller is a cousin of Charley's." While speaking together, we had withdrawn into a fence corner overgrown with alders and papaw trees. After giving me some further details regarding the intended raid, Little gave me a mysterious look, and said, while lowering his voice: "There's something else, M r Lawson." '+:>!"; ' ; "What is it?" ........ "You're the third man that's passed along this lonesome road to-day sir. Neither of the two others saw me, for I was digging yonder in the ditch. And I was devil i s h careful to duck my head as soon as I recognized 'em, you bet. They were about t e n minutes apart. The first man, perhaps, didn't know that the other was a-dogg-in' him. Yet they both hitched up somewhere up yonder, and disappeared, one after th e other, into the thick woods up the mountain side, in mighty nigh the same place." "Why, Dick, what do you mean by all this mystery?" I a s ked. "Who were the men?" He lowered his to a hush e d scared sort of tone. "Mr. Lawson," said he, "the fi' rst man was J ess James. The man a-doggin' him was Ed Miller." "Well; what is t11ere to it all?" "Just this," and Dick's frightened voice sank yet "It looked to me like as Jess was on his way to l11S treasure-h ole-perhaps for the purpose of making a new plant there-and like as Ed 'Was shadowin' him to find out where the hole is. Didn't I tell you about 'the two having had some words about money night afore last?" This was a better piece of news than I had dreamed of expecting. It almost startled me. But I was none less pleased. I at once dismounted, tying my horse m among the papaws, and taking a look at my pistols. "What are you going to do?" exclaimed Dick. "Follow up Jess, as his fellow-bahdit is following him, of course ," I replied, in a businesslike tone. "I al-so would find the robber's treasure-hole. You shall guide me." "The thunder I shall" cried Dick, almost with chatter-: ing teeth. "Good Lord! do you think I m tired of liv ing?" "I think you're tired of being a blood-thirsty high wayman's blind tool and cat'spaw, if there s any sincerity in your professions," said I. "Nothing venture, nothing have So, come along." Much more urging was required to get the better o f his fears, but the task was at last accomplished. We the n proceeded J.lP the road, and entered the woods at the point where my guide had seen the robbers go into them a short time bef o re, but without seeing where th ey had first tethered their horses However, we made but a slight search for the latter. Our main quest >vas a much more important one. After climbing the slope with much difficulty, by reason of both its steepness and the density of its trees and undergrowth, we came out upon an elevated l evel not quite so thickly wooded. vVe had pushed on for a considerable distance further, when the report of firearms suddenly rang through the woods. It was foJ.lowed quickly by a second report, after which there was dead silence as we came to a momentary pause. But at this point, with his spade still in his grip, and his knees h:nocking together, my guide resolutely refused to go another step. "Anm't you armed?' I exclaimed beginning to Jose patience. "Yes," was his sullen answer; and, throwing open his rude farmer's blouse, showing his belt beneath witq the pistols in it. "What ails you, then? The spade in your hands is moreover a deadly weapon. Aren'f you ashamed to be paralyzed by a danger, even before it is encountered?" "No, I'm not; not where Jess James is concerned," he growled, and then laying his hand on my arm witli in creased tre pidation, he whispered: "Hush! Listen!" I shook off his grip, laying my hand on my pistoL There was the sound of some one hurrying through the brush not far away, and evidently making down the hill toward the road we had quitted. "Come on!" I sa id. "Let us at least see who it is." vVe retraced our steps to a point on the brow of the wood'ed slope whence a view could be obtained of the road below. A moment later we saw a single horseman galloping off, with a rid e rless h o rse in leadin g The horseman was Jesse James He rode so rapidly that in a few seconds he was l ost to view. _.. "Now I'll go on with you," said my gloomily, and, turning, he once more l ed the way back through the woods. "You'll soon see, I'm thinkin ', what it costs to meddle with Jess James' private affairs." I more than half suspected what he r{;eant. We pres ently came into a narrow glade. A fee ble groan attracted our attention, and a brief search revealed a man lying at the edge of the glade. It was Ed Miller, the outlaw, fatally shot through the head, but slowly coming back to momentary consciousness. We both knelt at his side, Dick supporting his head, while I took one of his hands. The other hand firmly grasped a revolver, from which probably the second shot we had heard had been fired, but unavc.ilingly for either self-defense ?r vengeance.

PAGE 26

THE JESSE JAMES STORIES. 25 aj ust as I supposed!" gtowled Little. "Jess has, like enough, killed him to save the secret of his treasure-hole." "Yes, yes," gasped the dying robber, in a failing voice. "That was it." I signed Little to let me do the talking, and he at the same time raised Miller's head a little higher. ''We are friends, my man, who can and will avenge you, if possible," I exclaimed, with sympathetic earnest "Only try to answer the questions I shall put to you." He made a sign in the affirmative, but his eyes were already on the point of glazing, and his breath came in swift, convulsive pants. "Quick, then!" I went on. "Did you see Jess at the place where he hides away his money?" "Yes, yes; saw /lim dig out hole-put a fresh bag infill it up again. Cave full of treasure-bags, gold, bags silver, boxes greenbacks, jewels and watches in piles tvvo hundred th o usand dollars, sure! Then he saw me. My first shot missed-then done for." The words came out in painful jerks, a gush of blood from his lips closing his utterance. "Try and give us directions!" I exclaimed, hurriedly wiping off the blood and putting my flask to his lips. "Only try-there's a good fellow! \IVe'll use a part of the money in hunting down your murderer. Where is it buried? Quick-give us the clew!" The dying bandit, though in his last agonies, made a supreme effort, and stntggled into a sitting posture. His face was livid, but with the hope of vengeance flaring out through it, as through an expiring lamp. He pointed 9ut through the g-lade with a trembling hand. "There, there!" he faltered. "Two buckeyes, three forties, heap stones to right, then a forty-five shot straight on; where ball strikes, dig!" It was his expiring effort. He feii back a corpse. "Cashed in!" commented Little. "Poor Ed. There was worse 'uns in the world than he, robber that he was. 'What are you doin,' Mr. Lawson. Not jottin' down them last nonsensical words of his'n? Yes. Blamed if he ain't!" This was just what I was doing. He had risen to his feet, while I, still stooping, pencil in hand and memoran dum-book on knee, was carefully transcribing those dying words, disconnected and meaningless as they seemed to my guide. And I had to confess that, as yet, I could make nothing out of them myself. "Poor fellow!" said I, at last, as I arose from my task "As you say, there were probably worse men in the world than he. What shall we do with the body?" "Leave it alone for the present, at least," said Little, moving away. "But you don't really think that head or tail can ever be twisted out of them last words of Ed's?" "I can't teii till I try,". said I, crossing the forest open ing. "Let us look around a bit." I had hoped to analyze the mysterious directions, whose t ranscription I stiii held in my hand, and then foiiow them up observantly. But I got no further than their very beginning, without coming to a pause, hopelessly at fault. "Two buckeyes." Yes; there were two buckeye, or horse-chestnut trees, rigacross the glade at the point to which. the robber had pointed. No other trees of the kind were to be seen. I stood between them, looking calculatingly off into the woods, but without getting any idea from the remaining directions, which. I kept repeat ing over and over again. 'Two buckeyes, three forties, stones to right, then a forty-five shot straight on; where ball strikes-, dig.'" "Well, here we've got our buckeyes at all events," said I, thinking aloud. "Now for the next item-'three forties.' Vv'hat can that mean?" "It'll be getting dark purty soon, Mr. Lawson," sug gested my companion, irrelevantly. "It won't get dark before I can see if three hundred and forty paces straight ahead shall chance to lead me to a heap of stones," said I, with the memoranda still in my mind's eye. "Come on.'' Dick shrugged his shoulders as he accompanied me, but notlung came of the test. Three hundred and forty paces, straight through the woods from between the two horse-chestnuts, brought us into a tangle of underbrush, without so much as a suggestion of a stone-heap any where to be seen. I made several other attempts, equally futile, to follow out what might be the meaning of the enigmatical tions, and finally gave up the task in des-pair, at least fo11 the time being. "Come, Mr. Lawson, let's get out of these woods before nightfall," said Dick, at last inducing me to give up my quest. "Ed must have been loony when he said them last words, and there can't be nothin' into 'em. I'll tell my employer about' havin' found a man dead, and he'll come up here some time or other and look after the body.'' We returned to the road without meeting any further adventure. Then, upon getting into the saddle again, I made some definite arrangements with him as to the part he was to endeavor to play during the forthcoming raid. I also promised to convey to Mattie Collins a verbal mes sage from him, and we separated. On returning to St. Joseph I at once telegraphed the information I had received, concerning the raid, to my confederates in Kansas City and Independence, making use of a cipher that was intelligble to us alone. Then, knowing that they would at once set on foot the necessary preparations, I sought a tavern for the rest and repose of which I was greatly in need. It was perhaps natural that I was in a despondent frame of mind. "So," thought I to myself, just before sinking to sleep that night, "another great secret has suddenly fluttered from me, like a wounded bird, just at the instant th:J.t it was in my closing grasp. Bob Younger's reveiation, concerning the stolen boy, was almost il]. my pos,session, when a bullet cut it short. In like manner I have just been robbed of this secret by another bullet, though in a different way. It is infernally hc:rd luck." Presently however, something seemed to whisper en couragingly to me. "Courage," the still small voice seemed to say. "As a bullet has robbed you of these secrets, one after another, so shall they be eventually revealed to you by a bullet in each instance." Then I sank to sleep, and dreamed all night of deciphering mysterious writings and unearthing enormous treasures.

PAGE 27

26 q"HE JESSE JAMES STORIES. 1 o:n a certain bright autumnal morning, not long after this, our small but determined detective force was gathered in the little villf!ge of R-,_ a: suburb of the town of Northfield, Minnesota. ,We had ridden over to R-from the nearest railroad point at an early hour that morning, and. were now waiting to receive a final notification of the raiding robbers' advance from the southward, before riding into and notifying the bank and municipal officer s of the threatened descent. We had resolved to refrain from doing: this up to the very last moment for a num ber of reasons. 'In :the first place we were anxious to allay premature and thus get the robbers well into the town, in the hope of killing or bagging them all. [n the second place, we had such confidence in our arrangements that we felt sure we could give timely .,warning een at the last moment, 'without costing the unsuspedittg citi2:ens the loss of a man, or the bank the loss of a dollar. And finally, we knew enough of the Minnesotian character to be sure of securing ample backing, at a pinch, e!tl1er for hatd fighting or in an G>rganized pursuit, and on mighty short notice at that. tin one of these respects it turned out that we had tnade a grave mistake, as events will prov e We had, thus far, received three secret telegrams from Dick Little, faithfully notifying of the progress of the robber band from time to time We had now been waiting for the fourth and last communication for several hours, and were gmwing both impatient' and anxious. Neither Sheriff Timberlake nor Captain Craig was "with us on this occa sio n on account of the field of opera tions being shifted so far out of their State limits. Our troop, eight in number, was composed of professional de tective s, with the exception of George Sheppard and Charley Ford, and I had b een elected to the chief com mand. At last we received our notifi c ation, but in an unexpected way. At about noon a horseman covered with dust, came tearing into the tavern sta'bleyard. where we \nre all in waiting with ou r mounts in readin ess The horseman was Dick Little. "Quick. or it's too late!" he gasped. ''I'm suppos ed to be laid up serio u s ly wounded b y an accidental shot. I couldn't find another telegraphic s tation, so here I am. I started for this place as soon as the gang quitted B--. They're hurrying up from the south. Go on without me Lawson . Quick, quick! Maybe they're already at the bank" I wajted for nothing more. Away we dashed, leaving Little beh:ncl. Northfi'elcl was onlv a mile to the south but the road seemed to merely under us, though were o-oing at a thundering pace. Go rham chanced to be best mounted, and I o rdered him to spur on in advance and give the general alarm. This duty he performed. It chanced to be in the midst of the prairie chicken season, when everybody coming to town was armed with a shotgun or rifle. Gorham's preliminary alarm, th e r efore, was instantly taken up by good men and true, in a condition to act upon it. But, neverthele ss, as the r es t of us came rushing into the ex cited town from the north, Jesse James and his outlaws hac! already entered it from the sout h, c:nd V<'ere even a la t he dcor of the bank. dt They had come rushing in their usual style, which ha a often proved so successful before-firing off their pistols. c< making their horse s plunge and rear, yelling at the tcp of their voices, and wit h similar dem ost rations. tl They reined up at the bank doors, and, while the re;t tl remained in the sa ddk, Jesse and Frank James and Cole Younger leaped from their horse s and dashed into the interior. 11 Cashier Haywood bravely refused to open the vault, h even at the mouth of the pistol. He v,ras instantly shot n dead by Jesse, while the latter's confederates opened fire s upon the remaining clerk s though purposely wounding 1 instead of killing them o utri g ht. Then Jesse marched the 5 cashier's assistant up to the safe doors, with h is still smoking pistol at his ear, and ordered him to open them. The poor fellow, with his superior lying dead at his feet, was probably doing the best he could toward obey ing the order, when the exchange o f shots the bank became so violent and frequent as to distract the attention of the outlaws within. And just then Wood Rite rode his horse half way jnto the bank with horror and dismay d ep ict e d on his face. "Come out of that, Jess, if you care for your hide!" he yelled. "The game's up! Vife're hemmed in with the hull town agin us!" Vvith a terrible oath of fury and disappointment, the outlaw leader knocked the clerk se n se l ess with a blow from his rev olver and fired a parting shot into the cashier's body as he turned to make his escape. Then, followed by his brother and Cole Younger, he\ rushed out of the bank. A wild scene of carnage met his gaze His men still held the approach to the bank, and were defending them se lves desperately, but shots were being poured into them I from every direction, while the accompanying shouts, curses, and yells were like a massacre. "Stand to it!" shouted Jesse's undaunted voice. .vVe' ll l be hanged if we're caught alive! Stand to it!" ,. CHAPTER XI. A BL.\CK D.o\Y FOR THE OUTLAWS-BOB YOUNGER'S SECRE:T But there was no "standing to it" for more than a few moments. That would have been beyond human, or even outlaw, endurance. Bob Younger had a bullet in his mouth, Hank Burke a load of bird shot in the shoulder, and Charley Miller was on foot, fighting desperately for another man's horse, his own having been shot dead beneath him. The bullets flew like rain Horsemen were careering frantically hither and thither in a circumscribed, fire environecl space that was rapidly becoming a slaughterpen. Frank James was shot through the thigh with his foot in the stirrup, and had to be assisted in the saddle by his brother. And' the latter was no sooner remounted than Clel Miiler was shot dead out of his saddle by a ri .fle from the court-hous e window opposite, while at the 11 same time Bill Shadwell went fo grass with the top of bis head blown away. B ot h of the Hites and Charley 'White had been wounded at the outset; and, as the out-.. i '

PAGE 28

. THE JESSE JAMES STORIES. 27 law leader threw his leg over his big sorrel, and thun dered out the order for flighf, Curly Pitts also hid away a bullet in his shoulder, which, however, he was able to carr y off with him for the time being. Then, with the exception of the two lying dead on the ground, they rushed away on the back track, with the entire maddened population at their heels, at least for a considerable distance. It \vas at this juncture that my men and I came dash in g up from the other side of the town. Everything happened in less than five minutes. Through ou r fatal mistake in our c:tlculations, combined with the head strong fury of the townspeople and other causes, our plan for bagging the outlaws and saving innocent blood shed had fatally miscarried. Nevertheless, we could re pair the mischief in a measure by organizing pursuit. This was effected almost instantly, and it was at the he.ad of more than thirty horsemen that, a few minutes later, I hung upon the rear of the fleeingbanditti. Jesse, the outlaw, hadunderrated the character of the Minnesotians-had, in other words, found them very much of his own sort with the criminal element left out. And away up there iil the Northwest, far from his familiar haunts, he had met with a discomfiture that was to prove even more bloody and disastrous than his Red Cut defeat. However, the gang had taken care to make their attack with perfectly fresh horses, which were no small advantage to them in their flight. We, nevertheless, held our own in the pursuit. Soon after midday they made a temporary stand in a rocky defile of the road, where we could not attack them to advantage. However, in the brief skirmish at the mouth of the pass, I had the semi-satisfaction of drawing a bead on Jesse James with my Winchester. He was compelled to rein his horse into a rear to save himself from the shot. But he did so at the expense of his peerless steed, Dancer receiving the bullet in his noble breast, and falling dead in the road. Though his master at once vaulted on the back of a spare animal, and continued to organize his flight with unabated vigor, I could im agine the regret with which he left his beautiful sorrel motionless on the road. Our pursuit was kept up all that afternoon and late into the night. We pressed the outlaws so closely that they c!id not venture to force relays from the roadside farmers. Such an int erruption of their flight would have bronght them to a fight at close quarters, which would doubtless have resulted in the destruction of the entir e gang. We, on the contrary, could take our time in the matter of rela ys, which were freely, even eagerly, furnished, and this gave us a great advantage toward the end of the race. However, though less than half a mile behind the fugitives, we came, as night was falling, at a fork in the dusty road, where we were momentarily at fault. Both roads seemed equally trampled, the heavy dust muffled the fugitive hoof-beats, and we were at a ross as to which one had been selected by the robbers. "I have it!" at last cried Gorham, who had been studying the roads at their forking with an old trap per's scrutiny. ''Look!" He pointed to a streak, dotted and irregular, that veined the dust of one of the roads, cind continued on and away until lost in the gathering shadows, while the road forking away from it showed no such indication. "It's blood-life-blood sprinkling from the death wound of some one of the gang!" he cried. "Come on!" So once again we dashed forward, tracking our prey by its blood, as the tiger is sometimes tracked in the jungle while trailing the hunter's spear in its side. But this discovery on the part of Gorham, neverthe less, lost us the two chief fugitives that it was most desirous to capture or kill. I do not see how it could have been otherwise, under the circumstances, but it prevented us from dividing our force at the fork of the roads, where such a disposition would have had a sweeping r es ult, which only became part'ial by our re maining together. I will relate as briefly as possible how this came to pass. When the fugitive robbers had approached the fork, at which our mistake was made, it became noticeable that they were leaving a trail of blood by which they; might be tracked, in spite of the closing in of night, for a bright moonlight was in prospect. The blood was from but one of their number. This was John Younger, who had received a wound severing an artery of the leg, during the momentary stand in the rocky pass. It could not be effectually stanched, though he still managed to keep his saddle, with the aid of lashings, and with his brothers ridin g on either side of him The Hites, Charley White, Curly Pitts, Hank Burke, and Frank James had also received shots-the latter a most serious one--but had thus far succeeded in stuffing their clothing into their wounds, and riding on without the sprin kling of any ruddy reminders by the way. John Younger was the only one who bled, and his misfortune threatened to lead to the capture or de struction of the entire band. It was on this account that Jesse, the outlaw, ordered a momentary halt at the fork of the roads, where he coolly. proposed to put John Younger to death in the general int erest, so that the flight could be no long e r tracked by the telltale drop s. But Cole Younger had at once drawn his revolver and threatened to kill the first man who should offer to do his br other further harm ''But, curse it all, Cole, it's for the good of the gang," said T esse. "Good or no good," cried Cole, cocking his pistol, "the man that first draws on my disabled brother dies in his tracks !" "You bet!" mumbled Bob Younger, with half his t eeth gone from the bullet that had traversed the111. "Murder in the gang sha'n't commence in the Younger family, Jess." The majority of the band seeming to side with the three brothers, J esse swore that his brother Frank and he would separate from the others. This the twa1n at once put into execution by galloping off on the road to t he left, while the Youngers and the rest of the band took the road that we were induced to follow in the mann er alluded to. It was in this way that the Jameses managed to elude our pursuit, where a div i sion of our force would have p erhaps included them in the captures that followed. It was la te at night when we at last brought our

PAGE 29

28 q'HE JESSE JAMES STOR I ES. worn-out fugitives to a compulsory stand in the bright moonlight. It was at a wildly picturesque spot, where the road crossed a brook over a rude stone arch, with a ruined mill not far off to the right, and whe r e the comparatively open country offered them no sort of cover. Four of their horses had already dropped dead with fatigue, and there .wasn't a furlong of go l eft in the remainder. Nevertheless the gang drew up across the road, and sh o wed a desperate fro nt. It melted to nothing almost instantly before the rain of bullets that we sent in among them, and in the merciless charge with which we followed up the volley. The two Hites managed to gain a rather distant thicket, under cover of the smoke and confusion, and were seen no more. But Curly Pihs fell dead; Hank (Burke was likewise dispatched, whiie creeping on. all fours, with a knife in his teeth and murder in his heart, t o ward 011e of our men who had been wounded and unhorsed; Charley Miller and Charley White were shot to pieces almost at the same instant, and then the three ,Youngers, riddled with bullets, were left With their .dead horses for a breastworks they continued to fight .while consciousness remained to them :After the fight was over, however, and when the ma jority of my men were galloping toward the thicket, in which they doubtless thought that the Jameses had found a ref.uge as well as the Hites, I suddenly missed Bob 1Younger, whom I had unti l then steadily kept in v i ew I questioned Gorham and Ford. They were engaged i n stanching the wounds of John and Cole Younger, preparatory to shackling them, whi l e the r est of our men who had not galloped away were exam ining the dead outlaws with a view to their identification. "Bob's somewhere near at hand, Lawson," said Ford. "Or he may have crawled down to the brook to die." Sure enough, I found the man I was seeking at the water's brink, and just under the arch of the bridge \ iVounded in eight p l aces, he had felt his way thither with a last effort, but had fainted away at the margin without obtaining the cooling draught that he had so thirstily craved. I at once began to minister to him. 'A dash of water on the face and head brought a return of conscious ness. Then a deep draught of the same, which I ad with my scooped hands, still further revived him. I then laved his wounds, one after the other, bandaged them as well as I could-my own shirt, torn into s trips. iurnishing the material-and had the satis faction of seeing that he appreciated and was grateful for mv attentions "Bob-Bob Younger!" I whispered at last; "do you recognize me?" 'l'he moonlight was flooding both our faces, for I had dragged him out from under the arch He managed to give a slight nod in the affirmative. "'Nill you not now tell me what you were once on the point of telling me?" I went on, eagerly. "Remem ber, it is solely for the child's good. I swear it! Let me have the secret of his whereabouts. He will be reared into being an honest m a n and a gentleman. What will be, what can be, the future of ;v.our dead brother's little orphan, if left to the ordering of such a man as Jesse James ?" The wounded outlaw closed his eyes, and for two or three seconds he seemed to be turning something over and over in his mind. He signed me to bend nearer to him. I did so The next instant the secret was mine, and in less than ten words I started up in astonishment. Some of my men at that moment came down the bank in search of me, and Bob Younger was qrried away to keep his brothers company. Then the rest of our band came dropping back into the road, one by one, with the discouraging report that they had succeeded in making no further captures. We had, moreover, been given to understand before this that neither Jesse nor Frank James had been with the outlaws at their final stand I will be brief in summing ttp the results of the raid. The three Youngers eventwilly recovered from their wounds, were tried, convicted, and sentenced to the Minnesota State prison for life. The Hites managed to get out of the country. Their usual luck attended the \ two Jameses in their flight. Brothers in crime as in blood, they clung together with a tenacity worthy of a better cause, Jesse, the younger and abler, aiding his wounded brother, and piloting the way through their long and arduous journey in search of the rest and lib erty that n either of them dese r ved. Frank recovered from his wound. O f the raidin.g band, other than Dick Little and the exceptions noted in the last two paragraphs, not one survived. The Northfield expedition had proved a dark and bloody blunder for the James gang. As soon as I returned to Kansas City I made all haste to Independence. I didn't pause even for a little good natured crowing at the expense of certain other officials, by reason of the rewards attaching to the capture of the Youngers and the killing of their confederates, which they had missed and I had shared. For me there was no other thought or consideration just then for a n ything else than the speedy utilization of the secret I had obtained from Bob Younger, in the recovery and restoration of Judge Rideau's grandchi l d "What do you think, auntie?" I said to old Cynthy, as I entered her cabin, which I intended to make my base of operations until I should have accomplished this object. "What will you say when I tell you that within two or three days I shall bring poor Blanche's child, the little Tip Younger, to you for identification?" "What'd I say, cunnel ?" said Cynthy, rolling up her eyes incredulously, but none the less delighted to see me back safe and sound, once more. "Why. bress de L0r'! I say dat de good luck you's had in Minnysoty hab done got de bes' ob you, cunne l-dat's all." "Nevertheless, I shall do as I have said," I continued, laughing. "Stubborn as you are in your unbelief, I shall yet see you acknowledge that Tip is alive, and with the little fellow folded to your breast." However, the event proved me to be somewhat over sanguine.

PAGE 30

THE JESSE JAMES STORIES. 29 CHAPTER XII. A LONG QUEST DRAWING TO A CLOSE. l\Iattie came to sec me three days later. She brought me the unexpected and welcome information that l:\Irs. Younger, her daughters, the twins, and her servants were all quartered for the time being upon the Widow Samuels' farm, in Clay County, not very far away. l thanke d M a ttie and as she quitted me she told me to b e on the lookout for Jesse James' intentions, at which I o nly laughed. On th e following da y I resumed my peddler's disguise and directed my steps toward the Widow Samuels' homes tead. I had an int e rview with Mattie Collins and Dick Little just bef o re starting. The interview was taking place in Cynthy's cabin, whither my vis itors had come early that morning in disguise. At a sign from her husband, Mattie retired from the room, after pressing my hand in token of gadspeed and farewell. ''Before you go, Mr. Lawson," said Little, feelingly, f'I want to say how much obliged to you I am-in addi tion, you know." "For what?" "For promising to let up on me altogether on that buried treasure racket, of course. Oh, it's taken a load off my future, I can tell you! It's like plowing over an old ghost-haunted churchyard, and relievin' the farmers' boys near it of a specter of vengeance and fear that's been a-threatenin' of 'em for years. No more of that infe rnal fear hangin' an' darkenin' over me, sleepin' an' awake! But there's one last thing that I want to say about the treasure." "Go on." "It's just this, that you're the only man that knows of its being in existence, so far as I am concerned. 'And then, aga.in, no other detective'll ever be any wiser through me. Then, again, not one of the gang them selves outside of Jess James and perhaps, Frank James, knovvs as much about that treasure-secret as you do at this day, through those dying words of Ed Miller, whose curiosity lost him his life. As for me, I wash my hands of the whole thing, the Lord be thanked, with your permi s sion. You're the sole outsider pos sessin' henceforth a clew to Jess James' buried he apthe sole, single, only possessor of poor Eel 1v1iller's directions-for what they're worth-and jf any one ever unearths it in the future, with Jess James alive or dead, you ought to be the man. There's an awful pile of lucre hidden away somewhere in the old crust. May you live to get it." ''Thank you, Dick; and I only hope 'I may,'' said I. "However, as you say, with Jesse James alive or dead, it's a romantic sum worth toiling for in the future, and such shall be my care." I then wen-t on my way. I hadn't thought it worth while to acquaint Dick and Mattie with all my arrangements for the expedition that was under way. In the first place, Jack Gorham and George Sheppard had engaged to lie in wait for me all clay, with a spare horse, in the dense woods that began skirting the road about half a mile west of Mrs. Samuels' house. A system o signals naa li'een agreed on between us. There were certain other arrangements> I had made, which I had been careful to keep to myself. The way in which Mattie Collins, especially, paid me back for the suspicious distrust on my part will ently appear. Mrs. Samuels' house Wall thirty odd miles east of Kansas City, in the wildest part of Clay County. As I had started early, and managed to get good "lifts" on the way, I reached the lonely with my peddler'S! pack, at about noon. It looked more desolate and forbidding than ever,. Except for the d ogs, whose barking greeted my ap. proach, the place seemed wholly deserted. But Mrs. Samuels-looking as brave, as stern, and a& secret aa ever, the mere pitiful stump that left of one of her hands-present!>: appeared on porch and ordered me away. I told her, in the servile peddler1s aialect, tliat I as.J sumed for the occasion, that I had ventured to call fotJ the purpose of exhibiting my wares to some ladies whs had honored me with their custom in the past, and :who I had been told were stopping at her house. "I suppose he means Mrs. Younger and the said Mrs. Samuels, turning 4oubtfully to her daughter, who also came upon the porch at that moment. Before the latter could reply, still another young bounced energetically into view and frowningly con fronted me. "I wouldn't care for that, if I were you, Mrs. Samuels!" she snapped out spitefully. "You can't too careful about strangers at the present time. Send the sneaking Jew about his business." Imagine my surprise-which the reader will readily share-at recognizing in this energetic ariel seemingly skillful young lady-Mattie Collins Then, as if the house had been full of spdlbound feminines, only requiring my approach as a signal for bursting into life, activity, eavesdropping, and the lik e "Mrs. Younger and the rest" came popping out of the house one after the other. "Aha, it's the Jew peddler!" exclaim e d !\Ir s Younger, fixing a suspicious look upon me. "Yesh, m'am, at your shervice," I responded. bowin g and scraping, after relieving myself of my pack. "How did you learn that we \\'ere over h er e? Come, I want to know !" The sense of suspicion in the air clecper: ed Even Mat tie, intent upon the part she wa s acting did n o t venture to throw me a reassurin g l ook. ''It ish no diffe re nce how I finds you out, :\Iishns Younker, shinc e I haff finds you out," I replied. "I hash shust gome vrom Minnesh ot a on pizne ss und I hash somedings for you." "From Minnesota?" I saw her change color while h e r e l d est daughter ried a\\ay .to hide her emoti o n. The news had only been mad e public, the day before, of the conviction of the three Younger brothers, and their s e ntence to the Min nesota State Priso n for life. I took a small package from my breast and respect fully handed it to the unfortunate mother of the crim inals. "Pob Younker recognized me among de spegdadors ad

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ao \fHE JESSE Jf\MIES STORIES. de drial, matam," said I. "He dold me to garry dese dings do hish olt mudder, ant I sha vot I vouid do sho." The package had really been given by Bob Younger to Captain Craig, who had attended the trial, and the cap tain, at my earnest request, had afterward intrusted me :with its delivery. Mrs. Younger and her daughters opened the package with .streaming eyes. It contained three silk pocket handkerchiefs, the farewell tokens of the three robber sons and brothers, before disappearing forever from the world's freedom and sunshine, and a son's Christian name had been lovingly worked in a corner of each by the mother, whose Christmas gifts they had been. Btlt scant time was afforded me to complete this touch ing scene. There came once again the sound of childish laughter 1 ancl oaths, mingled with the scampering of light hoofs, and then the precocious Y twins, booted, spurred, and weaponed, came clattering around from the side of the house. It was almost an exact repetition of the scene I saw on a previous visit, the presence of their elders not having the slightest mitigating effect upon their misbehavior . "Hi, hi! here's Sheeny again," squeaked one. "Bet cher ten cents, Bud, I can hit the bull's-eye first!'' "Betcher: ten cents you can't, Blossy !" clacked the other. Then pop, pop! from their little pistols, with the pea like bullets embedding themselves in my pack. But I had another part to play now, and was not dis posed to be so complacent as I had been. "Here, poys, dot's a blenty off dot sort off dom vool ery !" I cried, darting suddenly up to them, and snatching the barkers out of their hands. "Mebby you don't some dimes know goot manners mit oder volk's broperty." "Gimme my pistol, you blasted pork-shirker! I'll wring your neck," piped Bud, like a tempest in a teapot. "Run for our shotgun, Bud!" shrilled his companion, in a wild fury, despite his tender years. "Blast the old crucifier! we'll fill him full of holes." I merely shrugged my shoulders, and, turning with a bow to Mrs. Younger, who had by this time mastered her emotion, handed the pistols to her, while pointin g deprecatingly to my perforated pack. I had already won the old lady's transient good-will, while even old Mrs. Samuels seemed to regard me less sternly than at the out set. "Take yourself off this instant, both of you!" called out Mrs. Younger, with a certain ring to her voice that mo mentarily awed the little imps. "And if I hear the snap of another cartridge from either of you, it will be to your cost-mark that!" If she had only included the utterance of profanity in her injunction, how much better it would have sounded, was my mental comment. "Go along with you!" she continued, adding. as they reluctantly turned tail, and spurred out of sight, while discontentedly shaking their heads; "you, Bud, especially, ought to know better. Do you forget that you're to take a long journey this afternoon, perhaps never to come back ag-ain?" T an involuntary start at this piece of information, which concerned me and my plans profoundl y But all will presently be made clear. The twins being gone, I began opening my pack on lower step of the piazza, and the womep engaged in a low-voiced discussion back near the door. I correctly surmised them to be merely discussing whether it would "} be safe to invite me to dinner, in view of the kindness I fa had done Mrs. Younger. While it was going on, Mattie Collins, under pretense of stooping to examine my wares, ca found opportunity to whisper something in my ear. at "Jess is here in the house now-asleep, after many ex la posures," she whispered. "De wary. I will try and b cori1mlmicate with you again." So here was another item which linked well with its forerunner. If the precocious Bud was to attempt a long journey, perhaps never to return, Jesse was evidently to carry him off The secret of the child's identity and whereabouts .had been revealed to me by Bob Younger, in the shadow of the bridge under he lay wounded almost to death, in less than ten words, as I observed be fore. Those words were: "Tip is one of the twin s the lighter one." In plain language, the pseudo twins were not twins at all. Bloss, the darker, being, in reality, the uncle of Bud (Tip), the lighter; the similarity of their ages and a vague family resemblance having aided the deception, carried out successfully from the children's babyhood at Jesse James' suggestion, as the most presentable plan for baffling the search that it was more than suspected Judge Rideau would set on foot. The discussion at the back of the pia.zza resulted at last in my being invited to dinner. It was a solemn and uneasy repast. Even while eat ing I was constantly an object of distrust, especially on the part of Mrs. Samuels, who would, now and then, be wail the absence of her sons, or express her wonder at their whereabouts. She was careful not to overdo it; likewise, many years of practice having rendered her an adept in deceptions of this sort. Mrs. Younger, in the meantime, kept the "twins" in order, a task which she could perform with an iron hand when necessary. The others at the table ate in silence, with the exception of Mattie, who outwardly manifested a dislike for me amounting to positive repugnance. Sf)e made several allusions to her not being accustomed to sit at table with "Jews," "peddl-ers," "Sheenies," and the like, all of which were received by me with becoming meekness. For my own information, I discovered, to my surprise, that she was not only well acquainted with both families, but was also a trusted favorite with them alL She had galloped over from Independence by another road than the one I had more laboriously pursued; osten sibly to bear a message from Dick Little concerning some affair of the gang, but really, of course, for the pur pose of seconding my plans. After dinner I shuffled my way out to take a smoke on a little shaded porch back of the great kitchen in which we had been eating. \iVhile thus engaged, and while the women and girls had dispersed, or were busying themselves with various duties, Mattie, with many frowning airs, found an op portunity to slip to my side. "Jess will carry off the boy as soon as he wakes up-in an hour or two," she whispered. "He is alone, not one of the gang being within supporting distance. He will take the road down through the forest. Don't hesi-e 1 1

PAGE 32

q"HE JESSE J/\MES STORIESo tate to waylay him and demand the boy, pistol in handthat is, if you are thoroughly prepared." I gave her an assuring glance, and then one of inquiry. "Don't h esitate, I tell you," s he continued, hurriedly. "For once the panther shall be fronted, claw-clipped, and fangles s." Leaving me to make the most of thi s rather enigmati cal remark, she at once began to abuse me, on general anti-Hebraic principles, in unmeasur ed terms, until at last I fled for refuge to the front of the house, followed by the titterings of those who overheard her. "I von't sthay in de blace anoder zingle mom end !" I exclaimed, beginning to pack my wares with indignant haste. "Vot for you dakes me all de vile, ony way? Py Shimmenies I no zells nodings such dreatments. Owe! ride! But they had all followed me out on the piazza, and Mrs. Younger, who was still feeling g rateful to me, in sist e d that I shou ld reopen my pack for her in spect ion. I only permitted my s elf to be per s uaded after a good deal of coaxing, disposed of a few trifling articles, and then t ook my departure, apparently still chafing moodily over the abuse which Mattie had hraped upon me so un stintedly. ''Good-by, Sheeny!" s he called out, mockingly; adding derisively, as she turned to her companions: "I'd bet my bonnet that the old hypocrite will take his after-din ner s nooze <.lo\vn in the hotlow, opposi t e the P.ecl Rocks! He's far lazier than he pretends to be." CHAPTER XIII. JESSE, THE OUTLAW, AT BAY. I was not slow to take the hint that was thus thrown ou t t o me. The Red Rocks constituted a wild and preciJ.) itous part of the r oad w here it hollow ed down among ,:1e woods and hills at t he very point near which I knew my friends to be lying ambuscaded. I did, inde e d, make a pause there, as Mattie had satiri cally wag ered. but n o t for an after-dinner snooze, or to be caught nappin g, as her companions might ha ve int er preted h e r meaning. I mere ly exte nd ed myself by the side of the road, with my pack for a pillo w, and, pretending to drowse, pa tiently waited. In about an hour there came the tramp of hoofs from the directi o n of th e farm. To my great satisfaction, I that nhere was but one horse, Jesse James bestriding him with the fairer of the boys befor e him. "Rallo, there's Sheeny again!" yelled the little ruffian. "Kill him J ess He took my pistol away from me." "He, he, he!" I chuckled, con1ing out into the road as the horse vvas rei-ned up, and pretending to be .tgreatly amused. "Yesh, my little poy, I took de bistol avay cause you vas naughdy. But I ish got somedings nicer in my pack for you." "Stand aside!" growled J esse "I've no time to palaver with y ou now." Nevertheless, as the lad kicked and struggled insisting that I should be permitted to make him a present, the kindly glance of the outlaw testified to the genuine ne s s of his fondness for the lad. "It i s h such a nice lee tle poy, Mister Shames," sa1 "How vos dot bi sto l vot I solt to you von time?" ''It's a good one, Sheeny," said Jesse, slapping his be which bristl ed with revolvers of different patterns. "Here, you young rascal, what are you up to?" This last was to Tip, as I shall hereafter call the boy, who at that moment, wriggling out of his grasp and slip pir:g clown from the horse, can1e running toward me. "Give the rascal what you've got for him, then, Sheeny, and be lively about it," continued the outlaw, with an impatient laugh. "I've let the little devil ride over me rough-shod till he think ;-hallo! what do you mean?" I had suddenly snatched the boy to side with my left hand, drawn my revolv er with my right, and was 'co vering" him. "It means just this!" cried I, in my natural voice, "Judge Rideau wants this grandchild of his, and my search for him, though a long and perilous one, is ended at last. Jesse James, throw up your hands and crawl out of that saddle, or I'll cheat the hangman of his due!" I apparently had him dead, as the saying goes. I was pro bably the only living man who had ever got "the drop" on Jesse, the outlaw. But he didn't weaken a hair's breadth. Quick as a: flash his hand flew to his belt, and at the same instant I fired The shot struck him fairly in the breast, but-without even discommoding him, and then he had me covered in m y turn, with his finger on the trigger and a leer o demoniacal triumph in his eye. Then I made sure of something that had theretofore been but vaguely rumored-that Jesse James wore de f ens ive armor under his clothing-that, in fact, he was as much coward as he was assassin and robber. Crack!! went his revolver. directed by the murderous eye that had never been known to miss its deliberate aim, and I, too, stood unharm ed. Then I kn ew that Mattie must have succeeded in ren dering the charges of his pistol s hannless during his sleep. "Cowardl y bravo!" I shouted, drawing my second bead on him. "Your headpiece, at least, is unprotected by hidden armor !" He reared his horse, though, at the instant of my firing and the animal went down under the bullet tended for his master. As Jess e went down with the horse. h e emptie d the re maining chambers of his revolver at me, but with no more effect than the first. Then, doubtless, r ealizing that the weapon had been tampered with, he hurled it at my head, drew and leveled another with the rapidity of thought, and disengaged himself from the fall e n horses as if by ma gic. At this instant the child, tearing himself from my, grasp, ran between us, and straight toward the outlaw, screaming for protection. Jesse gathered the little fellow up under his left arm, but, in doing so, his new aim was disarranged. I at once got in another shot-likewise without effect, since it struck him on the breast-and sounded the sig nal for my fri e nds. Crack! crack! crack! spoke the robber's fresh revolver, a s Gorham and She ppard burst out of the wood at my ,.

PAGE 33

I --;.I -..,.., ....... 30 k, with the spare horse following them, but ne ve r a d d ;let accompanied the brimstone utterance. ;curse ye all!' yelled the outlaw. ''D'ye think any dinpower on earth can corner Jesse James?" As he spoke he brandished his useless pistol in cur faces, caught up the child aloft with his left hand. after the manner of a Rolla in the play, an& darted backward up the steep reeks behind him. In remarkable atti tude, and \Yith the child's body protecting his head and face, he scaled them with incredibk rapidity, our s hots having no effect on him whatever. "Fire at his head or cripple him!" I yelled "The cowardly cur is ir o nclad und e r his shirt!'' But there was imminent danger of killing the child while aiming at the outlaw's head, and thus far we had not succeeded in hitting him in the lower extremities Jus t then Jesse reached the s ummit of the rocks. "I know you now, Bill Lawson!" he shouted, shaking the terrified boy aloft. "I'd die before I'd part with this boy! Tell Judge Rideau that he shall never have him -not for all th e gold he' s worth. Tell him--'' But at this instant I took th e risk and fired. My bullet" broke t he wrist that upheld th e boy The latter with a scre am, came falling down the precipice, afte r a mad but ineffectu a l effort on the part of Jesse to catch him, and George Sheppard spurred up to the foot of th e <:! iff just in time to catch the light b ody, unin jured, in his arm s The baffled outla\Y gave a sort of roar, like that of a wound ed wild beast, and the face that he turned toward us, with his clenched h ands-o ne of them now helplesscru she d against his templ es, was the most wrathful and dem oniac that could be conceived of. No ne e d now to surmise the genuineness of hi s love for the perverted child that w e had at last torn from his savage embrace. Despair and suffering, equally with \vrath and hate, w ere the ing redients of that terrible expression which his face presented to us at parting. He sudden ly tore a great fragment fro m the heap .of r ocks around him with one hand-his muscular power was on a \Yith his activity-and hurled it down at us. Then, as ''"e easily dodged the flying mass, emptying our rev o her s ineffectuall y at him as we did so, he sprang ba ck among the trees and bushes fringing the edge of the precipice, and dis ap pea red. "Quick, bo ys !" I exclaimed, springing on the horse that had been p r ov ided for m e and taking Tip before me, in spite of his screams and kicks "So far so good. But the n oise of the firingmust have reached the farmhouse, and the women of these families, as you know, are as good fighters as the men." "True for you, Lawson!" said Sheppard, 4S we began to moYe off. "And the \VOrst of it is that we can t fight the women as we would the men. It doesn't look right." l\Iy app r ehensions were verified in an instant. Just as we struck into a trot, there was the crack of a rifle be hind us, and a bullet whistled over our head s We
PAGE 34

\AI E were the first p u l}t lis1H:rs in the worl d to print t1Jc: famou s stories 0f the James Boy:>, 0 1 t 1 WJ ilLt.:l t ilj rna rcmar man, V!. B L a wson, whose n ame is a watch word with our Lo:y s \Ve. ha\'e had many imitators, and i n order tb.at no olie sl::t1l hr, in accentinl! tb. .... :.mmions . 1'\i<.:k CartL'r, vo:k i s \',I; u 'il for ns. It may intert:sL the patrons and rc:J.dC'rs o f the Nick C:uter Series of DetectiYe Stories 1.0 know th2 t these famous stories f t,:r ti)(' 1 now publis hillg the b e'-.l will I>C: p ,xl uc cd upon {he stage o f the J a m(:S Days, by J\Ir. Laws on, under tllnts u a 1ly e l aborntc: circumst auc<:s t -;; t:. ... l he (ln lv nuhlkation authorized b v .-.. the \Vm. f. Cod y (Buffnlo B ill). THE celebrattd Dja, I , of the fir s t storv ever t1._._!1 __ .. -:. J t r_, ( ". J ,(., "\' "" "" 11 Diamo11d D1cl:, r.., the _, ,.;,( written of the fnmons 1 ,.. B B , kl : ';: and w or1d-re1Jowned oys e!:;t e e Y i : :;!\::-_}, ..... Bill, the gTeat Di:-;;,-;;;;:)ick. Diamn1td Dick a!Jd hi s l, ;\ y I \ /'\,": F horo whoc.e life h as been son Bettie arc the mo>t tniqn e at:d fascina one sncccssio11 o f excitting h e ro es of \ V e s 1en1 The Bufr-.:t lo Biii 1ng a u d thrilli11g incidenh combi1icd with great s u ccesses and acco111pli shments all of \\'hich will b e t old it: :1. series of g rnnd wl1ich we arc t J C '.\' placing b e for e the A1ne ri cn u The popnlarity tbey hm:: oLtai1 1ed ... ]w,, s wh:lt w ; .nt, and i:j \'( :rv sceucs, aud m

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