Jesse James' dare devil dance; or, Betrayed by one of them


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Jesse James' dare devil dance; or, Betrayed by one of them

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Title:
Jesse James' dare devil dance; or, Betrayed by one of them
Series Title:
Jesse James Stories
Creator:
Lawson, W. B.
Place of Publication:
New York
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Street & Smith
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Language:
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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The University of South Florida Libraries believes that the Item is in the Public Domain under the laws of the United States, but a determination was not made as to its copyright status under the copyright laws of other countries. The Item may not be in the Public Domain under the laws of other countries.
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028809569 ( ALEPH )
07355631 ( OCLC )
J14-00003 ( USF DOI )
j14.3 ( USF Handle )

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Issued Weekly. By Subscription $2.50 per year. Entered as Second Class Matter at New York Post Office by STREET & SMITH, Wi1liam St., N Y. :::: No. 3 Price, Five JDS J'INGERS RELAXED TBElll GRIP .A.ND WIT H .t. GBOAN1 JESSJil J.All:a:S ROLLED OVER A.MD PlTOllXD B.t.OltW.t.BD

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J I OR1a1NAb Issued TVeek!y By Su6scriptio1t $2.Jo per year. Entered as Second Class lftiatter at the N. Y. Post Office by STREET & f'MTTH, 238 TVilliam St., N. Y. Entered according to Act of Congress in the year 1qo1, in Office of tlie Libra,..-an of Congress Waslzi11gt0n, D. C. No. 3. NEW YORK May 25, 1901. P ri ce Five Cents. JESSE JAMES' DARE DEVIL DANCE; OR, of Them. By W. B. LAWSO N CHAPTER I T\\'O OF ,\X uGLY 'Tm ther Steel-Cla\Ycd Buzzard from Bitter Creek, gentlemen, so cl'ar the ,,ay an' gimme room ter fbp my ., \nngs. The speaker, a tall, raw-boned individual, "ith long, coal-black hair, and a ferocious countenance, strode into Mike Hefferin's saloon in Cavuseville, on the western border of Kansas, with spurs "jingling, and waving an ug-ly b owi:: knife abo..-c bi head. 1t \\"as tbe occasio11 of the ''grand opening" of the place. :n h ono r of \i:hich the local band had bee n pressed into service and invi tatio ns sent to all the leading men of the to' n. At n-ic!night the saloon, a long. low room, with the "all ornan enter1 the entire space with gaudily executed paintings. illustrative of picturesque and thri l ling scenes on the Larder. was thronged with people of all sorts and conditions. from mine hcst of the Golden Stewpan to Slippery Tim. the broken-down sport; from Jim Calkin, t he h andsome and ath letic s uperin te n den t o f Se nator Har ding's cattle ranc h to Broken -Nose d A dam s, th e p ardoned burglar, and h is pal, Three-Finge r e d J oh n s on. 'Gen tleme n of Cayuseville," c ontinu e d the r awb on ed stranger. as he l eaned against the b a r and survey ed the flus h ed faces abo u t h i m "if thar' s one thing I'm parshul to mor e n another it s musi c. What does the poick say ? H e s a ys th is, fe ller c i tizens: "'\ftsir"s g ot c h aw ms ter smootn tner savage bea s t .' "Certainly il has, and ye'll oblege me on e an' all b y pcrceedin' forth\Yith ter bt!st inter song." ;\.s Ix sj:oke, a man, above t he m ed i um height. entered the saloon. He was dressed like a ranchman, and carrie d a bl ack snake whip in his hand .. Hyur's ther galoot what'll do ther wa r blin' fer me," excl::i.imed the ra,x-bomd "Come, ope n yer bazoo an' let 'er flicker." The ma n with the whip lifted a pair of cold blue eyes to th e other's face <:.nd quietly replied : "A re you addressing me?" "Bet yer gizzard I am. Don t yer know me? I'm ther Steel-CJa,Yed Buzzard, I am; ther rampin' catamount from ther Siwash." The stoutly-built ma n put one hand behind his car a:1d inclined his head sligh t ly forward, as if he were deaf "Par don me," h e said, i n a meek tone, "but I u nder stood you to say that yo u needed a was h. If. you will ste p o u t i n to t he b ac k y a r d I am sure so m e of t h e gen tle men present w i ll be p lease d to t .urn th e h ose o n yo u ." The b ig d e sp e rado fairly froth e d at t h e m outh at this sp e e ch A d v ancing toward the man who had utteredthese i n sulting words, he made a. movement as if he were ab out to plunge the bowie knife into the other' s heart. Quick as a fl.ash he of the co ld blu e e y e s s prang to one

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2 THE JESSE JAMES STORiESo side, and then, lowering his sent it forward like a The big desperado was struck in the pit of the stomach, and with a howl that was sufficient, as Broken-Nosed Ada.ms aftenvarp remarked, ''ter wake ther dead in his own private he doubled on the floor, and thereafter was as meek as a lamb. The man who had vanquished the terror stepped up to the counter, and in a pleasant voice said:,. I "Gentlemen, this is my treat. Waltz up, all of you, and nominate your pqison." A rush was instantly made for the bar. One drink followed another, and the hero of the en counter with the Steel-Clawed Buzzard was patted on the back and.congratulated in maudlin tones by every man present, except the owner of the bowie. The latter remained on the floor in a sitting position until the drinks had passed a number of times. Then, having taken counsel with himself, and being very thirsty withal, he got up, approached the man who had downed him, and quietly asked: "Ain't I in this, stranger?" "Certainly, certainly," was the affable response. "Get right in and fill yourself up with booze. It shan't cost you a cent.., "Thanks." Ile called for whisky, poured out four fingers, and swallowed the dose at a gulp. "Goes to the right spot, eh?" said the man who had tr'cated, as he vvinked at the crowd. "Stranger, you're not only a dandy, you're a gentleman n a scholard 'n a master o' nine languages. vVhat mout be yer handle?" 'Dave Land," replied the ranchman. The man who had floored the Steel-Clawed Buzzard surprised his c ompanions by succumbing to his potations, while they were still on their feet and as lively as crickets. The Buzzard from Bitter Creek was at the counter guz zling rum and sugar, when his late antagonist gave a lurch and fell to the floor. Three-Fingered Johnson and Broken-Nosed Adams tri ed to rouse him, but in vain. 'Dead drunk," was the former's comment, given in a tone of deep disgust. "Why, he can't carry of the jag of a sixteen-year-old." "Put the giutlem an in a chair by the corner," said Mike Hefferin, "an' l et him shnooze in comfort. He'll be all roight in the ma.min', afther he has a couple of eye openers." This 01:der was executed. Not long after this, and while the man who had called him self Dave Land 'vas snoring lustily, the Buzzard, Broken-Nosed Adams, and Three-Fingered Johnson seated themst;lves at a round table a few feet away. Hefferin, at the bar, was out of hearing. The trio began to converse in low tones, like old ac quaintances. "\i\T ell. Abe Crane," said Johnson, "what's on the bills? You didn't call us over here to work your mouth for fun, I hope?" Abe Cmne, as we shall hereafter call the tall, rawboned would-be desperado; smiled affably, as he replied: "I've got the boss ra et of ther year. It's er wa rake in forty thousand shiners without a atom o 'ee ?" "No, I don't see," growled Broken-I" osed Adams, was of medium size, but thickset, and had a bu countenance, "because you haven't raised the curtai Ting-a-ling-a-ling-now h'ist her." Abe Crane moved his long arms as if he were tu a crank. Then he said: '"'You fellers know erbout ther robbery over in Preston, don't yer ?" "Of course," spoke both of bis companions. "And that one of ther gang was captured?" "No, hadn't heard of that," said Three-Fingered son." "Ther sheriff got him yesterday. He was an crook, whom Jesse J a.mes had taken in on account likeness ter Bob Younger." "A good recommend, Abe." "No, a bad one, for ther bloke squealed. But onl thing he said amounted ter shucks, an' that was ther boodle." The drunken man in the corner began to snore 1 than ever. Abe Crane turned to look at him, when h e thre head back suddenly. It struck the wall with a resounding thud. The next moment he slipped from his chair to th where he Jay in an ungraceful heap, and began to again, but heavier and deeper. "I've a good notion," said Crane, as he gazed form of the drunkard, "to kick ther stuffi.n' oute cuss arte r we git through our chinnin'." 'No, l e t him alone," said Three-Fingered Jo sternly. "He's set 'em up in great shape, an' he' s oughbred, if he has got a jag on." Crane heaved a sigh, and then resumed his stor "This galoot who was run in," he said, "tol sheriff that ther pursuit of ther gang was so h Jesse James had to bury ther boodle." "He named the spot, of course," remarked Nosed Adams, in disappointment. "No, he didn't, because he didn't know I know, though." Abe Crane straightened himself up and smiled b on his companions. Before either could speak, he went on: "I got t h e r sec r et from Colorado Harris. He wa ing off a drunk in the bushes when Jesse J a.mes a Cummings rode up to within a few yards of w was, an' began ter lift ther sacks of coin from th dies. "Harris lay puffickly still, not darin' ter scarcely, till ther boodle war buried. When Jesse rid off, he moseyed ter town as fast as his legs coul him." "Why didn't he dig some of ther stuff up?' Three-Fingered Johnson. "He war afeared that ther gang had left a w hind, an' bein' a cripple, he concluded he warn fer a scrap. I met him when he was comin' inter \ille. an' he opened up ter oncet." <\f1d e'es twinkled avaricions

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THE JESSE Jf\.MES STORIES. ,... "We'll liave that plant," said the latter, with fierce de cision. "You bet," rejoined Crane, "an' thar's ernuff fer us all, else I wouldn't a-given ther snap away." "Vve must dip it up to-night," said Broken-Nosed '.Adams. "And th. e sooner we start for the spot the bet ter." The words had not left his lips before the door of the saloon opened and a shabbily attired old man, with bowed head and trembling limbs, entered' softly Over his arm was slung a basket, the top being covered with a white cloth. "Fresh sassengers 'n green co'n, hot ros-en' yers, gen 'l'men," he cried, in a squeaky trebie. The old man came forward with alacrity, though he limped painfull y in the operation. After he had be come richer by sixty cents, he called for whisky, and having drank, sat down in a chair. In a few minutes h e was, to all appearances, fast asleep. The conversation between the three ruffians then pro ceeded. At a few minutes of two o'clock they arose and went to the bar for a parting drink. Having satisfied their thirst, they moved toward the door, but before they got half way th e re, the old sausage vender sprang in front of them with the springines s and alacrity of a boy of eightee n. "Halt!" he commanded, in a stern, insistent tone, "or I'll make a monkey out of every one of you." Three-Fingered Johnson reached for his pistol, and Broken-Nosed Adams was about to follow suit, when a clear, c o ld voice fro m the rear made them pause, and caused ice chills to run down the back of the whilom Buzzard from Bitter Creek. "Up with your hands," the voice said, "or I'll pump you full of lead." The man who had been regarded as in the last stages of intoxication had arisen. to take a hand. Three-}'ingered Johnso n gritted his teeth in impot ent r age. After the three ruffians had b ee n disarmed the y were march ed out of the saloon and around the corner to a va ant building. After the trio and their captors had entered the kitchen, d the door had been closed and Jocked, the man who ad floored Abe Crane said, quietly: "I suppose you three roosters are wondering what all his means. I will tell you. About midnight I caught olorado Har ris prowling about a certain spot in the voods He promised to tell an important secret if would spare his life I consented, and then he informed e that you knew where a certain treasure had been 1idden." Abe Crane groaned. Broken-Nosed Adams and Three-Fingered Johnson wore. There was a short pause, and then Adams said: "You and your pard are on the turf yourselves, I eckon." "Perhaps," said the man who had sold the corn and a usages "Then what's the matter with going in and digging up the boodle and having a square whack all around?., "The matter's this," sa id Abe Crane's late adversary. "'vVe have a prior claim on th e money." "The devil you say," ejaculated Three-Fingered Johnson. ''And who are you. anyhow?" The answer fairly took the little ruffian' s breath away "My name i s J esse James ... "And min e," said the other man, "is Frank James." I CHAPTER II. THE DETECTIVE'S NARROW ESCAPE. Mike Hefferin was busily engaged in s we eping the floor of his saloon t e n minutes la ter, when a young tnan, with a frank, int ell i gent countenance, entered quickl y and asked: "All gone. Mike?" ''Yis, sor." "Was an old man arounrl thi s eve nin g-an old sausa ge man?'' "Troth an' he war, bad cess to him.' "And a man who l ooked like a ranchman, and had a blacksnake ,1hip ?" "The same spa lpane was here, sor." \ ; Vhen clicl these two men l eave?" inquired the young man, eag e rly. "Wnll, Misther H ast ing s," said Mike slowly, "it cudn't hav e been more nor tin minits ago that Oi sane the back s o' thim e-oin' out o' that clure." Karl Hastings' eyes brightened. I may o verhaul th em yet," he said to hims e lf. Then he put this ciuesti on to the saloon keeper: "Which way did they go?" "To the devil, I expect." "You did not follow them out, then ?" "No, so r "That's all you kn o w, then?" "That's all,' sor." Karl Hastings left th e saloon, and l ooked up and down the street. in inclcc isic3n J esse James had left Colorado Harris bound to a tree, after h e had obtaine d the info rmatio n from the cripp l e of Abe Crane s kn ow l edge of the hiding place of the stolen bank money. Karl Ha.stings, who was a detective of high reputation in the \Vest, !:ad come upon the cripple, w hile returning fro m an un successfu l hunt after the robbers. Harris, out of gratitude for his release, told the detec tive \Vhcre Je sse James had gone, and where the money was hidden. Hastings' first move was to dig up the plunder and p ut it in a new hiding place. Then be hurried to Cayuseville for the pu r pose of see ing the sheriff and engaging his assistance in making the arrest of the leader of the robbers. Greatly to his disappointment, he found the sheriff gone, as well as all his deputies. He had parted with the county's officer, with the un derstanding that the latter was to go to Ca y useville, put up at the leading h o tel for the night, and resume his search for the robbers early the next morning. Hastings' conversation with Mike Hefferin at the sa l oon has been detailed.

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THE JESSE Jl\MES STORIES. Belicvi1 1r;. afte r n:ature reflection. that the bandits had r:onl' to th' srot \\'here th ey had buried the bank plunder, he 11a:;te11cd thit h er. There 1Y:.is no one about the place. and the hole from wh ich the h ad been taken was in the same con diti on in which h e had left it. "They wou!cl have pawed th e earth over," he said to him self, "and have made foot-tracks in it, if they had heen here si nc e I r emoved the plund er ; and not having returned, goes to prove that they are still m town." Mike 1-Iefferin's was the only saloon found to be open, and int o :.\/[ike 's the det ect ive went on his return to Cayuseville. It was no w close up o n daylight. "N a v ther av thim fire-atin' snoozers has been in since ye w ere he re, Mis th e r Hastings," sa'id the saloon k ee per, "but O im thinkin' if ye find Three-Fingered Johnson, an' a l ong-legge d scharecrow who calls himself the wan' eyed boozard from Bitther Crake, ye'll coom acrost the payre of play-actin' toughs yer lookin' fer." And then, for the first time, Mike told Hastings of the littl e drama that had been enacted in his place after all but five of the crowd of carousers had gone home. The d etect ive heard th e story and was about to make som e reply, when Three-Fingered Johnson rushed in. "Gi mme a d>rink, Mike, quick," he said, excitedly The Irishman put out a bottle and glass, and the little rascal swallowed his liquor so hastily that he had a fit. \V\:ien he could speak again coherent!y, he burst forth: "Where can I find the sheriff?" "In the woods, somewhere," said Hastings. "Out lo oking for the James bo ys, I reckon. Well, he won't find 'em, for they re in town." "Do you know where they are?" asked the detective, with eagerness. "I don't know where they are now, but I knorvv where they'll be inside of half an hour." "And where is that? You may talk to me frankly," added Hastings, as Jol : msan hesitated, "for I am the sheriff's representative." "That so,' Mike?" inquired Broken-Nosed Adams pal, turning to the saloon keeper. "That's t he troot, Johnson." "Then tJ1ey'll be at the vacant hous e around the corner. They tied me and Abe Crane and Adams, after they'd put up a job to get u s there, anc! when they w ent away they said they'd be b ack in an hour and release us. Be fore half that time had passer!, I got l oose and came here." "v\There are your parcls ? .. qu eried the detectiYc. "At the hou se still tied up I thOLtght it \\"Oulcl he best to leave 'em that wa\ for fear the\"d make tiicmscJyes too conspicuou s if I untied 'em a:-icl t urned o u t I made a sneak by the back way to get here an'.l :is T'm lrttl e I do n't think anv one saw me. If Cr:inc 11:!'.1 kc'n in my pla ce he \.vouldhavc loomed up like a ;de, and have been seen a mil e away . Five minut es lat er, Has ting s and fohnso n \Ycrc on thei r way to the YaCant hou se. The latter took the route bv "hich he had come, while th e dete ct ive, ,-, ho had changed his personal appearance, chose the s tree t It was not his design fo enter Hie vacant tfouse until he had seen his quarry pass through the door. Three-Fingered Johnson carried ,three revolvers, one furnished by Hastings, and the othe r two by Hefferin, and his instructions were to cut the cords which bound his friends when he got back to the kitch e n, and insist that they lie in wait for the James boys. The detective's route took him past a gun shop. He was opposite the door when his attention was attracted by a queer rasping and boring sound in an upper room. Hastings at once became suspicious that it was the There were a number of rooms for lodgers over the s hop, and, mounting the stairs, the detective soon found himself opposite a door which was partly open. Cautiously peering in, he saw a man with a brace and bit boring holes in the floor, while another man stood by with a candle in his hand. Karl Hastings recognized the men and also took in the situation at once. They were Frank and Jesse James, and below them was the gun shop wh ich they were trying to enter in order to obtain a fr esh supply of arms R etreating as noi se l ess l y as he had come, Hastings wei1t downstairs and began to loo k about for some p erson or per sons whom he could c all upon for assi stance. Mike Hefferin was the only man in sight. and he was standing in the door of his sa loon rubbing his eyes. The detective hastened to his s i de and rapidly told him what he had discovered. Day was dawning, and in an hour the majority of the tradesmen would be at their places of business. "I'll go wid ye, sor," said Mike, "though the job is no pec kne c k, O'irn thinkin'." When they got to the head of the stairs they lis tene d intentlv. No so und of any kind could be heard about the build ing. Creeping forward in his stocking feet, the detective for the second time look ed into th e room where he had l ef t the James boys It was emp ty. Entei ing. :ifter beckoning to Mike, he found the holes w h ich had been b ored "Thev' ve been sca r ed awav," was h is conclusion, "but they hi'ven't left the building, for I kept m y eyes on it all the whi l e I was abse n t." A systematic sea r c h of all the ro oms \\"as then hegun. Ko one was found. At the last moment the, heard th e crash of glass in the attic. "\\.hv d idn't I think nr the rn of? .. sa.itl 1he d etec tive in cxc itemc:1t. "'!'h,,r c 11p t h<'rc. of course.'' Tn the a ttic :rnd com p:rnin n lrnn-icd. Thcrr t h-'" found a Ion:.'" b !clcr 1':hich re ached t0 th o n th e r 0of. I Thr attic itself 1n1s not il'vcst:g-atcd. fnr the detc;ti v felt C''1:n-inced that th e n oise of crashin;:; -giass came fror the roof. l o the l adder h e went, a nd was soon standing by t:1 skvEg-J.t. Th.' g-lass had not been broken, and he \Yas lookir.ll

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THE JESSE JAMES STORIES. ab ou t him in puzzled wonder, \\"he n a cry from M i ke in thie attic madei him start quickly. "They'll murther me, sure, i f yez don't coo m q u ick." At the side of the' skylight was a deep a ir -well o r shaft. Hastings had noticed it, but in his h urry to respond to t he Irishman's imploring call, he caught h is foot on the end of a shingle that had warped in the su n and was im mediately precipitated into the well. He fell t\Yentv feet before he m e t with an obstruction. This was a ,;,ire netting over inch plate glass a t the t o p of the gun-shop proprietor's office He crashed through the netting, though it w a s hel d dO\rn by heavy staples, snappe d the plate glass as though i t 1vere paper, and went tumbling lo the bottom. Strikin;z the seat of a lounge, he was bounced i n to the air and th en thrown to the floor, where he was found not long afterwarJ in an unconscious condition,, but with no banes broken. But for netting. which had broken his fall. and the l ounge, which had e::ised it, he would have been insta n t l y k illed. l\Iean while ::VIike Heffe:in ins havin1; an experience of h is own. The detective had no sooner reached the roof when Frank and Jesse James stepped from behind a pile of window sashes in ::i corner o[ the attic and adnnced on the Irishman \Yith cocked revolvers Frank had sluck his foot through a pane of glass in t he darkne ss. and in extricating it, had sent the frame to the floor. This caused the noise heard by Hastings and Hefferin i n the corridor below. The Irishman did not see the outlaws nntil they \Yere clos2 UDon him. Timi he called out loudly for help. A bullet would haYe enrled his career then and there but for t he detective's mishap. The boys heard the loud crash of glass as he fell. and instantly guessed \\hat had occurred "Your partner has taken a tun blc," said Frank J ames, wi.th a smile. "Hadn't you better take one yourself, Mike?" 'Bedad, but I believe I had, sor." Up went his hands. After securing his revolver, the J ames boys tied him u p and then quickly descended to the next floor. They saw a few persons when tl:ey re2ch ed ti1e side walk, but, being disguised, were not recog-nizcd. Vi/hen they reached the spot where the bank plunde; had been concealed and found that it had been rn10\'ed, t heir rage kne\\ no bounds. "Tt's that blasted detective s \\ k," said Tesse TL'. mes, with a fierce oath, "and I'll do him up one of these days, mark my words. * * The James boys were now in the .so utheastern part of M issouri. A camp had been selected near a small stream, a branch o f the Illinois River. It was in a little hollow, b o r dered by trees Late one afternoon, while the outlaws we.re aooking dinner, a young man i n the garb of a hunter stole noiselessly along a narrow trail l ead ing to the adjacent hills, unti l he reached a poi n t a few yards from the opening into the holl o w, whic h was b etwee n two tall syc amores The young man was Karl H a sti n gs, the dete c ti v e. Ensconsing h i mse l f be h ind a roc k h e waite d for d e ve lopment s. His fa ce g l owe d wi'th satisfacti o n w hen he saw about a fagot fire the leading members of James bo y s gang, as i t was then o rgani zed There were Frank and J esse J ames, Jim Cummings, Dick L ittl e, and S a m B ass. "This i s our las t d ay in the h o llo w,'' the deteative heard Jesse James say, "for t hat chump of a Hastings has come over to Missouri got together a pos s e, and is eve n now in these woods so mewher e looking for us." "How'd you find ou t a bout h is movements?" inquwed Dick Littl e, who had bee n away fo r a f ew day s a n d had only reac h ed the camp a n hour before. "I had a friend p oste d i n Car thage, and he ov-erhM:rd what Hastings said t o his fo llowers w h e n h e srar.ted out to locate our camp." Jesse Jam es voice sank lower as h e went on with his explanation, so that the wo r ds fina ll y b ecame unil'Itel ligible to the listener. Anxious to learn 1..vho had betrayed h i s plans, Karl left h is position behi n d t he .roc k and craw led nearer to the hollow. He h ope d to reach a low -growing bush o n the edge of the open sp::ice i n which his enem i es s t ood without bein g seen or heard. But in his baste to gain th e des i r ed point stumbled over a d ea d branch. The noise produced by the incautious movement caught the quick ears of Jesse J ames In two bounds he cleared the hollow to look down upc)n the form of the man who had foiled hi s plans at Cayuse ville K:irl Hastings was jn the act of r is ing t o his feet when Jesse James threw himself u pon him. In the struggle 1\hich ensued, Fran k J ames, Dick Litt l e, and Jim Cummings lent a hand. Bound hand ;incl foot, the detect i ve w as dragg-ed into the hollow. and the stern-faced outlaws were debating what of death 111eted out t o him when a rncdinrn-sizcd man. with a b eard less face, high c heek 1iones and deep-set eyes, which =.hone with sparkling hrill iancy b enea th his shaggy cy ciJro ws, ;ippeare d sucl denlv in tlwir midst. He 1''"-S trembling , ith excitement, and his first words carried con:;te:natia,1 i :1to the hearts of his "Lig-ht out of this, boys, as quick as the o l d one wi:i !ct you. posse is up the caiio11. not a (par ter oi :i mile a\\'ay, and they know where you are J essc James' cla; k face became Ii v i d wit h "\Ve've been given away, he said, "and I c:i.n .< who the traitor is. Ifs that craven-hearted Black lers." Then he iss ued these orders rapidly, but coolly : "Scatte:. bors. and make the liveliest time 1ou c..-er did in all yom: liYcs. \Ve'll meet at the Rock of ,\Ju.11 by noon." ''The spy. Hastings?" inquired Frank James; "what' s to be
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6 THE JESSE JAMES STORftES. "Leave him to me," was the fierce response of his brother. 'Don't shoot him," urged the man who had given warning of the approach of the officers, "for your shot will bring the enemy down on us, all the sooner." "Mind your business, Dan Hurley,'' responded Jesse James, curtly, "and-git." He pointed commandingly in the direction Jim Cum mings aad Dick Little had already taken, and Hurley, with a queer look on his face, which the outlaw chief did not see, sprang out of the hollow in the wake or Frank J atnes, leaving Jesse James and the bound detective alone in the open space. "One knife-thrust," muttered the outlaw, as he knelt beside the body of his intended victih1, and drew a sharp edged bowie from his belt, "and all will be over." The knife was raised and Karl Hastings closed his eyes. Another instant and the point of the weapon would have reached the young man's heart, when a shot rang out, sharp and clear, and Jesse James, with an oath dropped the knife and started, with a scowl of rnge, to his feet. The bullet whizzed so close to his head that it cut off a lock of his hair. CHAPTER III. JESSE JAMES' DESPERATE LEAP. Imrtead of taking to cover, Jesse James boldly faced the spot from which he judged the shot had been fired, and quickly bringing his rifle to his shoulder, sent bullet after bullet into the bushes. A mocking laugh was the response. With lips set in grim determination, Jesse James leaped across the hollow and disappeared in the bushes, He felt positive that the unseen marksman was Black Sellers. The day before he would have staked his life on the fidelity of this personage. At one time Sellers had been a member of the band of outlaws, but in a raid near Ironton he had been captured, and, upon trial and conviction, had been sentenced to the big stone prison in Jefferson City for a term of five years. After he had served his sentence he found his health so poor-so he informed Frank James, whom he had met in Clay County while on his way to Mrs. Samuels' place -that he felt he could no longer engage in active field service with his former lawless comrades. It was then arranged that he should do duty in a dif ferent capacity; in short, that he should form one of the many spies and confederates who remained in cities and towns in the regions terro.rized by the outlaws, and give information whenever necessary of the plans and move ments of the officers. Black Sellers, so called on account of his coal-black hair and beard and his swarthy skin, h?d posted himself in Carthage at the request of Jesse James, and the day before this chapter opens had sent him information of the coming of Karl Hastings and the movements of the de tectrve' s posse. "He has betrayed me," thought Jesse James, as he forced his way over rocks and through the brush in pursuit of the man wh{) had shot at him, "on account of the reward which has recently been quadruplea. Forty thou sand dollars, or a handsome slice of it, has made him turn on the men who have treated him white in the past, and who would at any moment have risked their lives to save him from daager." A few moments after Jesse James had left the hollow, the form of ia thin, active man appeared a:t Karl Hastings' side. With his knife he speedily cut the cords which bound the detective. 111e latter arose quickly to his feet and grasped the hand of his rescuer. "G0d bless you, Dan,'' he said, in a husky voice. "Your shot came when it was needed. A second more and I would have been done for." Dan Hurley-for it was he-smiled in satisfaction. "I reckoned I'd spoil J esses game," he replied, quietly, "when I left him alone with you." "'Where are the boys?" questioned Hastings, as he stretched himself and looked around the hollow. "Up in Avilla. I told Jesse James they were up the canon to send his gang a-scooting." ''I didn't think it advisable to take the boys until I had found out exactly where you were. You remember that you left town without us where you were aim ing." "Yes, yes so I did. That's where I made a mistake. But C0me, we must be moving. The James boys are meat, if we don't strike a streak of bad lu ck. They will rendezvous a:t tihe Rock of A lum sure." "After being aware that the knpwleclge of their plans in that respect is possessed by you? Hardly." The detective's countenance fell. "Perhaps I can hold the gang to the original agree ment," remarked Hurley, after a pause "How?" asked Hastings, quickly. "By catching Jes se James up and informing hitn that I have fini shed the job which he was obliged to leave." "In other words, that you have killed me?" "Yes." "Good. That scheme ought to work nicely." "But it won't." The reply was made by Jesse James, and upon the words he stepped quickly from behind a rock where he had been concealed, his Winchester at his shoulder, and sent a bullet crashing through Dan Hurley's brain. As the man who had betrayed Jesse fell to the ground, Karl Hastings' pistol cracked. But the aim was uncertain, and the outlaw stood erect and unharmed when the smoke cleared away. Another instant might have ended the detective's reer had not the unexpected suddenly happened. There came a womans scream as Jesse James cool and relentless, was about to press the trigger of his rifle. As he hesitated, and as Karl Hastings' eyes turned from the outlaw to a clump of trees about ten feet from where he s.tood, a sun-browned girl of seventeen rushed into tJhe clearing, a cocked pistol in her hand. "You here?'' ejaculated the outlaw, in a low tone, in dicative of both surprise and anger. "Yes," she boldly replied, "an' you must gimme ye r word that yo\1 won't hurt him." "Who ?"-coldly.

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7 l'HE JESSE JAMES STORiES .. "The-the young feller thar." "What is he to you ?"-giving her a sharp, suspici.cms look. "Nuthin': I never seen hide nor hair o' him afore." The frown left Jesse James' face. He was still facing Hastings, and the appearance of the girl had not caused him to lower his pistol. "Go back to our mother," he said, quietly. "This is no place for you I can't go back yet, for mother's kicked the bueket. That's why I came hyur. I thought you mout wanter know." "Dead! That's mighty rough papers on you, Molly, and-and on me. too." The last words were uttered in a low voice, fulr of sorrow. Karl Hastings, pislol in hand, at the scene before him in undisguised amazement. Who was this attractive creature, with the large, bril liant eyes, the fine features, and form? And what rela tion did she bear to the Missouri outlaw? He was about to speak, when the girl said to Jesse James: "Be you goin' ter let him go?'' "No, i\lolly. He is my enemy, an' he has .got to die." "You shan't kill him. If you go ter do it, I'll kill you." She raised her pistol and pointed it at the head of the outlaw. Jesse James scowled. "Let him blaze away," put in the detective, coolly. "I'm ready for him." "Shut yer mouth," said the girl, sharply. Then advancing toward Jesse James, she made the remark: "You think I ain't peart ernuff ter stop this yer perfo'mance, eh?" Jesse James nodded his head. "'Then I'll show yer." She was now close beside tJ1e outlaw. Dropping her pistol, she seized Jesse James' wrist and turned his weapon aside. "Curse you for a little fool!" he hissed, and tried to throw her off. But she clung to him with such fierce desperation that when at last he did succeed in freeing himself he found that the detective had made his escape. In the fruitless search that lie made for his enemy, he had the girl for a companion. She was the daughter of one of the notorious outlaw's old flames. \Vhen they were both in their teens they had a lovers' quarrel, and Molly's mother went to another county and married one Josh Culdan, who died the year after Molly was born. The girl's home was in the mountains, about three miles from the outlaw's camp in the hollow. "\i\ihen did your mother die?" Jesse James asked, after they had seated themselves on a fallen log. "Last night.'' "A natural deatih ?" "Sure." "\Vhen will the funeral take_place?" "To-morrer." "I shall be there." "'Twon't never do," she said earnestly. "It'll be takin' yer life in yer ban's ter come ter Sandy Creek." "I am i1sed to such adventures. Have no fears on my account." The girl shook her head, bnt made no reply to this speech. "And now go, Molly, for I must hasten to where Frank and the boys are impatiently awaiting me. We had a rendezvous for to-day, but it will have to be changed," he added, with a half frown, "since I have allowed this de tective to go." "A detective?" she exclaimed, in some amazement. "'vVas the young feller that?" "Yes." "I am powerful sorry thatI've put you an' Frank in a hole by my vere fine substances tinged with white and yellow. These substances closely resembled soda alum, and gave the name to the rock. Frank Tames, Dick Little, and Sam Bass were already there, and, after a short, hurried consultation, the out laws set out in the direction of a rugged range of hills some twenty miles distant. Here they had a camp where there were horses. They had left it a few days before on foot, for the better carrying out of a plan to rob a rich planter namea Lafitte. By careful inquiry, and without making their presence known in the locaJ.ity where he lived, they had learned tJhat on a certain evening he would give a grand recep tion to "the Governor of the State, a well-known United States Senator, and several European notables, who were making a pleasure trip through the 'vVest. At this reception there would be also present many of

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\ THE JES S E JAMES STORIES, tl:e rich and handsome society women and girls from Carthage, Jefferson City, St. Louis, and Spr ingfield. It was Jesse Jame s' intention to raid Lafitte's mansion while this rece ptic n o ; ball was in progress, and rob the guests of their -. : c!qbles, as well as pay his respects to the host"s trea s ure chest, \\hicb was reputed to contain t11any thousands of dollars in gold, notes, and securities. "The \\omen will have diamonds enougih to satisfy us, even if we get left on the chest racket," said Jesse James, \rhile he was discussing the matter with his associates. "Hang their diamond s ,., growled Jim Cummings. "I want their shiners, and, what"s more, I'm goin' ter have 'cm, even if I have ter give old skeesicks a knock in ther head ter git 'em."' '"I'm with you, Jim," said Dick Little. "The bullion is what I'm after." Jesse James smiled. "You won't be disappointed," he said, "if .your nerve bolds out." Jim Cummings gave a scornful sniff. "You talk, Jess," he said, "as if we'd done ther baby act some time er nuther." ''I'll bet on you, every time, Jim," remarked 'Frank .Tames, warmly. Jesse Jam es nodded his head. "How about me?" interrogated Dick Little, about whose brow a cloud was gathering. "You'll always be Dick Little," was the outlaw chief's l"nigmatical reply. Had he, then, a premonition that Little would some day go over to the enemy? Or did he have just the faintest distrust.of Little's courage? \Vhatever Jesse James' feeling was, his words had the effect of causing the man addressed to suddenly drop his eyes to the ground. T1he conversation presently took another channel, and the outlaws were soon chatting away like brothers. On leaving the Rock of Alum, they took their way along by-roads and lonely trails, until they reached a log caibin a few miles from a branch of the White River. Here they found an aged negro, who had been in their service. Old Jake showed the whites of his eyes, and shook his head sorrowfully when he greeted them. "Doan't go up dar"'-indicating the direction in which their mountain camp was l ocated-'fo' yo'll fall in de soup, suah." "Why, what's the matter?"' queried Jesse James, in sur-prise. "Dar's a whole raft ob ossifers up dar. I seen 'em go by dis bressecl mawnin', Marse Jesse. an dey clone tole ole Jake dat dey reckoned dey'd cotch yo' slicker'n bars grease." "They c!id, eh?" with an ominous frown. "A11d how many of them ,,e1'e ther.; ; "'Bout fo' dozen, I 'soectf an' dC\ alt had \\' in c he s ters, an' clar was blood in dcre eyes. 'Shoot de murclerin' robber on sight,' says dey. 'Dat's w'at \,e'll do. \Ve'll fill his hide so full ob holes dat he'll look like a siv.'" "They will, eh? \Ve'll see about that." Jesse Jam es' brow was as black as night as he hissed out the words. Ti1cn he saicl to old Jake: "Have you got a horse?" "'Spect I hab, Marse Jesse. You 'mernbers Gray K.itty, down yer?"' "Yes"-with a look of pleasure-"and if she i s a s lively as she was a year ago, she'll answer my purpos e." "She kin knock de eberlastin' spots offen der bes' nag in dese yer hills." "Bring her out." While the negro was gone, Jesse James turned to his comrades. "I am going to ride up to ca1np," he said, with quiet determination, "and see if the officers have indeed got)e that \\'ay. I won't be gone long, and if I find that old Jake"s story is true, I'll ride back and we'll then prepare to give our enemies a welcome at the cam p they little d ream of. You will remain here and hold the for t w1t i l J get back. I have hut a few miles to go, and won't be gone over two or three hours. Mounted on Gray Kitty, a tough. spirited mare, Jesse James set out on his scouting expedition. He 'had gone about \:Jwo. miles, and had ascended a small hill but a short distance from the high bank of the White River, when, chancing to glance over his shoulder, he saw a sight which set his pul ses bounding with excitement and alarm. But half a mile away, and between him aud the cabin he had recently left, was a large body of mounted men "Tihe officers," he muttered, ''and they must have been near old Jake's place when I set out." \i\That to do was the question. On one side of him was a precipitous ledge of rock, extendingto the bank. On the other side was open country, and he was about to leave the trail he had been pursuing, and dash along it, when he saw. to his dismay, ithat the force of officers had diviclecl, and that a clozw men had started to cut off his retreat from the open sic!t>. Behind him were twen t y or thirty more officers all armed with rifles. f-{e fore him was the river. He k:1ew the country well. ancl h.c knew that the riYer, ab t h e sp c t where the trail met it, was at its narrowest p o int. .111.11 d yet that point bad a \Yidth of tv,;e nty f eet, and the bank s were h igh and r oc ky. Could he make Kitty Gray leap the chaw1? It wa s a dangerous, a undertaking, but it must be mad e the mare forward. he approachecl the high bank of tile river at a furious ga!lop. But instead of making the leap from bank to bank, the mare s an)\ on her knees on the verge, and trembling like an asp e n. u t tered a sePies of piiteous neighs. ] ess e James gritted his teeth in rage and despair. He looked back and saw that his pursuers were but l ittle over a quu.rter of a mile away. "Iit's death unless I make the other bank." he muttered, "and I may be kiiled in the attempt. ;Never mind, I"ll chance it. I can't die bu t once, and maJ:be my time has con:e Grim, dogged resolution sat upon his countenance, a s he sot about preparing for his terrible feat. With marvelous rapidity, he cut fhe riata-a hair rope

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THE JESSE JAMES STORIE3. 9 -which had been wound about the horn of the saddle of the mare, into two lengths, and wiith these strapped his trusty Winchester to his back. The :pursuers now about_ four .hundred rods away, and they wt;re ncjmg :toward 111m wrth shouts and yells of triumph. A mcment or two more and he would be a target for all of their bullets. A hill concealed them from view, as he started back from the verge of the embankment. Running toward his pursuers for some thirty feet, he suddenly turned, and then, with his lips tightly closed, and his eyes fiercely gleaming, at's hit, dat' s hit," eagerly assented old Jake. "Dban stay hear, Marse Frank, fer dey'll cotch you, snah.'' So saying, th e aged negro hobbled to the back door and opened it. A few stunted cottonwoods stood in front of the door. Beyond was a rocky gulch, barren of trees, which terminated at th e river some half a mile below the point at which J esse James had made his desp e rate leap for life. "You kin git in dar afore d ey sees yo', Marse Frank," said old Jake, as he pointed with a shaking finger toward t he gukh, "an l'il hole 'em heah, wid some foolishness, long as 1 kin." .. All right.., The four ol!i tlaws were in th e gulch and out of sight when Kansas J erry and his force reined up at the frot'lt door.

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10 THE JESSE JAMES S TORIES The latter had not been able to take notice of the flight of the trio, for the reason that they were in a hollow at the foot of the hill, and out of sight of the ca:bin when Frank James and his comrades made the dash from the back door. But the deck of cards on the floor, and the tobacco chewing evidenc;es which Jim Cummings had left behind, caused Kansas Jerry to come to a correct conclusiQn that his quarry had recently occupied the cabin. '"W'hich way did ther ra scals go?" he asked Jake, sternly. 'Who go? \Vhar? What yo' gassin' erltout, Marse Jerry?" The old negro put on a look of blank astonishment as he s poke. "Frank James, Jim Cummings, Sam Bass, and Dick Little. Speak, you !yin' moke, or I'll knock ther stuffin' y@u in a holy jiffy.'' Kansas Jerry emphasized his speech by clubbing his Fevolver and raising it over the trembling Afrircan's head. "I's a po', no 'count pusson, Marse Jerry, an' I wouldn' tell a wopper ef der King ob Englum ast me. Deed I wcmldn', sa'h," replied old Jake, with a lud icrous earnest ness that made Kansas Jerry smile iri spite of himself. Witllout divining that the old negto's object in withholding concerning the whereab outs of the outlaW'S was to gain time, the veteran frontiersman said, with less sternness than before: "I believe you kin spit out ther frozen tmth ef it suits ye.r." "'Deed I kin, Marse Jerry," eagerly protested old Jake. "Then tm', like he wasn't nuffin' but a jack rahbj.t. 'You &rack moke o' Tofit,' lie say, 1w.id a roar adc i:loor ana-: looked out. "Kase I war 'raid dat dey'd come back an' shoot de daylights outen me, Marse Jerry." 1Pish I don'it believe a word you say. Come, boys," -to his men, who had been listening to his conversation with Jake in amused silence-"if
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THE JESSE Jl\MES STORIES. 11 painfol inJury from l:iis fall, he was ready to make sure, po"'.er'ful srtrokes for shore when he came to the surface agam While rt he keen eyes of Kansas Jerry were scanning the water, Jesse James' head reappeared above the sur fac e under, as it then seemed to him, the providential security of a large rock, which jutted fr o m the shore on the same side tha:t held his p1urs u e rs. He could hear the conversation above him, for his ears were sharp, and when a portion of Kansas Jerry's men left their leader, and went along 1 the bank in his direc tion, he immersed his head and remained under water as long as he could. \Vhen he next used 'his e yes to take in the surround1ngs, the searchers had passed on, and were l ooking for evidences of his existence farther down the river. All this time his wounded wrist had given him but little trouble. None of the bones had been broken, as he discovered to his joy, when he was swimming under water. At last his pursuers left the river to return to the old negro's cabin. Jesse James hea1rd the tramp of horses' feet recede into the distance, and then cautiously crawled to i!'he shore, and along it to the mouth of the gulch. At this point he stopped, for rthe purpose of attending to his Injury, and he was engaged in this work when Frank James, Jim Cummings, Sam Bass and Dick Little came up. But little time was spent jn the narration o f experi ences sinc e they had separated. "They'll return to the river, boys," said Jesse Jam es, "when they find out that you have been at old Jake's." He looked across the river as he spoke, and sighed To go down stream would be to strike open country where they would be seen and speedily overhauled. "If we only had horses we could make our escape on this side without any trouble," said Frank James, "but as it is--" "\Ve'll have ter swim ther river, eh?" interrupted Jim Cummings. 'Yes." "All right. Then here goes." Holding his rifle above his head, the long-limbed out law plunged into the water. His companions speedily followed him. All were expert swimme rs, and were 3cross the stream and ensconced behind a pile of rocks on the opposite bank when Kansas Jerry and his men hove in sight. where the gulch joined the river the stream was at its widest, and the point which the outlaws held was out of range of the bullets of the enemy. When Kansas Jerry discovered that the fifth member of the party was Jesse Jam es, he brought his rifle to his shoulder and fi'red. A mocking laugh answered the shot, for the bullet had failed to reach its mark. ''Shoot away, Jerry," jeered the leader of the outlaws, "and when you get tired just kick yourself in half a dozen places for being such a blanked idiot a s to suppose you could get the better of me." "Come over here, you old ha y seed, and I'll kick a new set of brains into your head,. yelled Sam Bass. /----. "Run erway home, sonny," croal{ea Jim Cummings, "an' tell yer mammy she wants yer." Kansas Jerry gritted his teeth in impotent rage. While he stood on the bank glaring at the defiant' out laws, Curly Jones whispered a few words into his ear. The veteran frontiersman nodded his head without looking at his lieutenant. Curly Jones and a half a dozen of the posse rode -rap idly away a moment later. Jesse James saw them depart with an odd smile. "They are making for the ferry down the river," he said in a low voice to Frank, "and Kansas JePry is going to try to detain us here on some pretext or other until they have got over to this side." As he ceased speaking, Jerry raised his voice and called out in a tone that was meant to be conciliatory: "See here, yo u fellers, can't we come to some sort of an understanding?" Jim Cummings burst into a hoarse laugh:. "Understandin' about what, you big-nosed "About the money you have swiped lately." "I suppose you are willing to Jet us go if we'll drop the boodle on the rocks here, for you to pick up when we'-re gone ?" interroga:ted Jesse James with a sarcastic grin. "Yes, of course." "You're a chump!" shouted Jim Cummings, as he sent a rifle bullet in Kansas Jerry's direction for fon, "an' we're dead onto yer talkin'-ergin-time racket. Eh, Jess?" "You bet." Kansas Jerry, with a scowling face, saw t'he five out laws leave the opposite bank and run rapidly toward the "They'll escape, doggone 'em," he muttered, fiercely, "for it will be half an hour afore Curly an' his boys git across the riv e r." He was about to ttirn away and depart with the remnant of his force for the ferry, when he heard a shout and saw a sight across the stream that caused his pulse to b ound exnJ.tingly. The Jam es boys and their followers were confronted by a new danger. Coming toward them, from the woods where they had hoped to find shelter, were a dozen mounted men They fo;med the posse of outlaw hunters wh' I Karl Has tings had left behind at Avilla. Kansas J e rry saw the five desperate crimina l """le to a standstill, and then h e clashed to the mouti. vi the gulch and flung h i ms e lf into the water. ''I'll take a small slice of that p ie myself," he muttered. in grim sa tisfaction, as his huge body breasted the cn:rent, "and it will be the proude st moment of my lif e when I salt the bacon of that foul mouthed Jim Cum mings Th er dern cuss rattl e d me more nor Jess." l\' o t having received any instructions as to what the y s hould do, none of his men followed him, but remained o.n the bank as spectators of the exciting scene across the nver. It was clo se upon dusk, and the bla ck clouds gathering overhead indicat e d that the night w ould be both dark and stormy. "If we can stand 'em off for half an h our, said Jess e Jam.es to his companions, in the cool, qui e t tone that he

PAGE 13

r 1 2 THE J E SSE JAMES STORIES. used under the most desperate circumstances, "we are s:ife, for the darkness will be our friend in need." 'Stand 'em off?" snaded Jim Clmtmings. "Stand o ff a gang of 'horsemen, and we uns on foot. How in sheo1 a 're we a-goin' ter do it?" "The same way we did it in Mexico, when we were pursued by the greasers. Come on." Hastings' posse wa s bu' t a few hundred ya r ds away, but not a shot had yet been fired, owing to the apparently peacefu l attitude of the outlaws. Believing that Jesse Jam es and his men had made up their minds to submit quietly, the odds being heavily against them, the man-hunters firom Avilla were riding slowly forward, when they met wit h a terrible surprise. Quick as a fla sh, up went five rifles, wh i ch c r acked sim ultaneously D"wn went five of the posse, and the r est were t'hrown into confosion. With a yell that recalled the old guerill a days, the Jam es boys and their allies made a dash upon their disgruntled foes But there were some of the latter who had see n rough service before. Recovering quickly from their confusion, they greeted the desperate outlaws with a fusillade of bullets. Down went Dick Little, with a ball in his leg. 'CT1e others, by mi r aculous chance, escaped unhurt. Crack! crack! went the rifles of Frank and Jesse James, Sam Bass, and Jim Cummings, and fo u r more of the Hastings posse bit the dust. Tue remainder of the man-hunters were preparing for a hand-to-ban struggle .. when Kansas J e r ry, with a wild yell, came rushing toward the scene of conflict. Jesse-James' broad back offered a tempting target for the frontiersman's bullet, but he disdained to take a mean advantage of t'he terrible outlaw He fired a shot, it is true, but i t was for the purpose of calling the outlaw's attention to his proximity. Jesse James' face was frightful t o l ook upon when he saw that he was between two fires He might, with the assistance of his comrad es, defeat the foe in front, but while engaged in that work he would be at the mercy of 'his relentless foe behind. In this despe r ate dil emma his brain worked rapidly. "Give 'em the devil, boys," he shouted to Frank, Bass, and Cummings, "while I attend to Jerry. Wheeling quickly upon the words, he discharged his Winchester at the veteran frontiersman's head. But if he was quick, Kansas Jerry was quicker. The latter's finger was on the trigger at the moment that Jesse J runes turned. Tihe two reports rang out close 1ogether. and when the smoke cleared away, the dreaded M'issomi outlaw lay stretched on the ground, wi th his eyes closed and the blood from a wound in the head CHAPTER V. THE OUTLAWS IN A TRAP. 'When Jesse Jam es fell, his brother, Sam Bass, and Jim Cummings were in the midst of the rattling mClee. Being in close quarters with the remaining members of tl.c po:;sc, the\' bad flung-awas their rifles, and with pisto l a n d knife were fig h ting 'lik e aetnons for. the possession of rthe field On tha,t occasion Jim Cummings showed the prodigious strength and desperate mettle of which he was possessed A tall mountaineer had shot Sam Bass and had his pistol leveled at Frank James' head while that cool and fearless outlaw was occupied in a hand-1to-hand conflict with a brace of his foes. Fearing to trust to his revolver, 1est it might fail t o avert the fatal shot, the gigantic bandit raised his bowie, which he had drawn a moment before, and, with light ning-like quickness, flung it at the man-hunter's head. .sped to its mark with fatal accuracy, and down went Frank James' would-be slayer, wi ,th the sharp blade of the bowie buried deep in his neck. His pistol exploded at the moment the knife struck him, but the b u llet went harmlessly over Frank James' head. Another mountaineer sprang forward to give battle to the blood-thirsty giant, when he saw his comrade fall in the throes of death. He was the largest and the strongest of the band who had started on the campaign against the James boys under Karl Hastings' leadership, while in the manipulat ion of the bowie he had no superior among his acquaintances. There was a look of vengeful triumph in his eye as he threw back the hand wi th his knife, for the purpose of executing the same movement which had proved so successful in Jim Cummings' case. T:he long-limbed bandit was on his guard, however, and ducking his he.ad at the instant the bowie left the muscular mountaineer's hands, he had his fingers his enemy's throat before the latter could make effective useof his Distel. Jim Cummings bore the mountaineer to the ground as if he had been a child instead of a powerful and heavilybuilt man, and was proceeding to choke him to death when h e was assailed from behind by the last two members of the Hastings posse They had retreated to the shelter of a large tree when the outla ws began their d ead l y onslaught, but when they saw Kansas Jerry lay Jesse James low, their courage returned, :111d running forward, they threw themselves upon Jim Cummings. believing that, as his attentiot'l was fully occupied with the case of the mountaineer he had hurled to the ground, they could easily take him alive One of them struck the giant over the head with a clubbed revolver, and had not the blow been a glancing one, Jim Cummings might have been knocked out and made a prisoner. The assauH, as it was, had 'the effect of adding to his ferocity. \tViti1 one powerful blow, while still on his knees, he sent the pistoi-wicl lcr sprawling in the grass. The nex t instant he was on his feet. A voiding the blow aimed at him b y the second of his assailants, 'he sent out his big foot \V'ith pile-driving effect. It caught the man-hunter in the pit of the stomach and made him seek mother earth with a howl of keenest agony. As he went down, the motLntaineer ,-,ho had been

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THE JESSE JJ\MES STORIES. 13 ch oked by tfie ferocious outlaw, arose unsteadily to his feet. Jim Cummings sprang upo n him, and lifting him bodily from the ground, flung him with tremendous force again st a stump. Crack! went a pistol before the big outlaw could turn to ascertain how his other victims were coming on, and a bullet scrape d his shoulder. Other Peports followed so quickly that when Cummings wheeled the spectacle that met his eyes made him shout for j oy. Frank James had succeeded in overcoming the two man-hunters who had assailed him, and was in the act of starting to the assistance of Jim -Cummings, when the muzzle of a Winchester was thrust against his neck and he was called upon to surrender. "Never to you, Kansas Jerry," was the fierce reply, and grasping the barrel cf the rifle he thrust it aside at the very moment that the veteran frontiersman's fing e r pressed the trigger. The bullet passed throngh the flesh at the back of his n eck. inflicting a slight wound, but one which bled so freelv that Kansas Jerry, observing it as he l oc ked arms wit h. his desperak foe, became convinced that Frank J ame. moments were numbered. Bnt as he strnggled with the o utlaw he began to wond er at the latter s strength. B e t h \rere men o f science and muscle, but the question o[ superio rit y was never cleterminecl, for while they were wr estling a shot \ Y as fired close to Kansas Jerry's ear, a ntl instantly relaxing his hold on his acJyersary, he sank to the ground. dead, with a bullet in his brain. His slayer was Jesse James. Stunned, but n ot seriously injured by the bullet, w'hich hul plowed a ridge in his scalp, he r ecove r ed his sel!ses i mmediately after Kans as Jerry had stepped ove r hi" body to pay his respects to Frank. \ \'.hen Jim Cummings faced the brothers, the two mountaineers whom he h::id tempo rarily disabled were lying dead before him Jesse James had killed them both. Only three of th e posse of man-bunters were alive, Jim Cummings 1asl ict im. who iay unconsc iou s by the stump, and the two m en who had fought Frank James Tbe latter were so badly used up that they could offer no r esistance when the outlaws proceeded to bind their hands a!!d fe et. Jim Cun:ming:s was in the act of performing ::i. sim!lar ope r ation en the man lying by tlic stump, \1hen the lat ter, opening his eyes, gave a ga3p, a conYnlsive s hiYer, and expired. "f\ow," said Jesse James. as 11is co'ci b!uc eyes roved over tbe scene of the conflict in fierce cat i sfact ion ',ye can light out for oui camp \\ith our ,,:.i.v clear Curly Jones and his men have cn.:sed the frrry by this time, but we have s u c h a s itart and the \\co ds arc so near that h ere ii no clanger of their coming up \\ ith us." "Poor Sam Bass is deac1, _,11t I don"t see anything of Dick Little," said Frank J: ls he looked about him. "By the great horn spoon!" ejaculated Jim Cummings 'the little snoozer has either crawled into a hole an' 1auled the hole in after hiJJJ, or 'he has gone up ter glory I n the smoke of ther guns." The ground was explored for some d ista nce ::iround, but Dick Little could not be found. Not one of the three out!aws hf.cl seen him fr c;n the moment he had fallen with a bullet in his leg. "He's a chump," pU!'sued Cummings, with a counte nance expres,:ive of the deepest disgust. "\Vhen he hit ther ground he had his senses an' ther n se of his dukes Instid 'er helpin' us when we war in a r ot ten corner, Frank, what does this blam e d sneak do but crawl away somewhar an' hi de But wait till I git my clam hook s o n ther little cur an' I'll make him sec stars in ther daytime-chaw me up for a bob-tailed squir"l e I don't." Jes se Jam es' features were sterner than usual as he led the way to the brus h. Looking at him searchingly, Frank guessed that he suspected the missing Dick Little of something worse than co v.;ardice. They were well into the woods when l oud cries in their rear announced tha t Curly Jones and his men were h ot on their trail. "Curly can have no idea where our camp i s," sa id Jesse James to Frank, '"unless Dick Little has met him and given us away." The words had scarcely left his lips when, from a clump of bushes in front of him, emerged the form of the missing outlaw. "Given you away," snapped Dick L ittle, viciously, as he limped toward his companions in crime. "If any other man than you had shot off his mouth about me in that w c ay I would have crammed his tongue down his dirty throat." "And / why do you except me?" queried Jesse Jam.e s, with a cold sneer. "Because you saved my life once the nsk of yqur own," w as the quick reply. "That was nothing: I thought you were a thoroughbred then." Little's face flushed with anger. "I'll nuke you believe I am one still," he said, with an earnestness that evoked a cool, critica l stare from the leader of the o utl aws, "if you'll only give me a chance to explain." "'Let's get to the camp firsr," was the cold rejoinder. "Then I'll hear your defense, and judge you accord ingly." v erv well." The puty their camp by a circuitous route, but not until the ea rth was shrouded in darkness. A better spot for the retreat of a bandit could not have be e n f ound in all "jlissouri's hills It was near the summit of a rocky ridge, and at the head o f a ravine impassable, except by way of a long cavern existence was unknow n even to the o ldest mountaineer in that region, owing to the perfect manner in whi c h the mouth was conceal ed. A fall from a dizzy height above had precipitated Jesse James at the entrance of the cave on an occasion when he was being hotly pressed by a band of officers some years b efo r e. The fall had not been witnessed, and his disappearance wa s looked upon as the re'iult of the evil oncs ag-ency, \ v!1rn a f. J .. :i : .: ;<: ..

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THE JESSE JAMES STORIES. from the cave at the head of the ravine, the fom mitlaws found themselves in a wild spot, where rocks ::rnd brush formed a complete coyer fr6m the keen eyes. From this l ofty position they commanded a view in the d:!y time of the plain upon vvhich the terrible battle of th e afternoon had been fought, and of the various trails leading from it to the hills. "If it were not for the cussed darkness," growled Jim Cummings, "we could clap our lamps on Curly Jones' outfit, an' put ou r se lves in a way to send 'em all to per ditj.on as slick as goose grease." bother about Curly Jones," said Jesse James, "for he is no more a menace to our peace now than if he were in China." ''That's so," put in Dick Little, confidently, "for this camp is the boss." He settled himself against a rock, and drew a sigh of relief. "Tell your story, Dick," said Frank James. As it would be an act of folly to light a candle or a lantern, both of which articles the camp held a bountiful supply, the tale of I,.ittle's experiences, after he received his wound, was told in the darkness. Jesse Jam es sat by his side, a quiet and silent listener. "When I was keeled over," he began, "I dropped my Winchester, which a big galoot of a mountaineer picked up and appropriated. 'That's all right as far as it goes,' says I to myself, 'but you. don't get away with that shooter without you're able to pack a few pistol bullets in your gizzard along with it.' "So after I had closed my peepers and stretched out as if I.had kicked the bucket, in order to pull the wool over the dern galoot's eyes. I heard him grunt and move away. "Now was my time. He was half-way to the spot where Frank was putting in his finest lick s on a couple of long-legged roosters who imagined th ey could chew him up and spit him out too easy for any use, when I rose up slowly and yanked out my Remington, in order to let him have it in the back. The suffering Moses, what do you think? There wasn't a cartridge in the popper, as I forgot to reload after I had last used it." "And worse than all, I had lost my box of cartridges while swimming the blamed riv er." Dick Little paused a moment for some expression of sympathy. But as neither of his companions uttered a word, he went on, slowly: "Maybe you think I ought to have jumped up and gone for him anyhow. But how was I to jump up with that wounded leg of mine?" "Diel the bullet break a bone? asked Frank James, quietly. "It must have done so, the way the leg felt then, and the way it fee'ls now," Little petulently asserted. "Well, as it was, I couldn't be of any service to you boys in the scrimmage, so I made up my mind to crawl away toward the brush, if the opportunity offered. "It did when Kansas Jerry shot Jesse here, and clashed past me to lay out Frank and Jim. "While friend and foe were engaged in a life-and-death struggle, and no one had an eye for me, I made mv sneak. I got to the brush wliere you found me, ancr waited." There was silence for some moments after he had fin ished. It was broken by Jesse Jam es. "Come with me to the cave," he said, to Dick Little, in a tone of authority. "I want to have a little private conversation with you." To the surprise of Jim Cummings, who had taken no stock in Little's story, and who looked upon him as a traitor, the wounded outlaw responded cheerfully: ''All right, Jess. Lead the way, and I'll hobble after you." When the two men had gone, Frank James said, with a sati s fied air: "vVe'll soon know whether Dick Little has been giving us a game or not." "Think Jess will hoist th er truth outer him?" "Yes." "How will he do it?" "By examining Little's wounded leg." "I see"-with a chuckle-"and I'll bet a hundred dol lars ag'in a ripe persii;nmon that ther wound turns out ter be a fraud." I am exactly of your way of thinking." "And yet, Frank," said Cummings, as a new idea occurred to him, "why should ther little cuss act so chipper an' easy when Jess told him he wanted the pleasure of his beautiful company at ther cave?" "Bk:ssed if I know. Maybe he wasn't on to Jesse's game." Five minutes passed, and Jesse James returned. He was followed by Dick Little, who took his former position on the ground, with his back against a rock, without uttering a word. "Well?" interrogated Jim Cummings to Jesse James. "How did you make it?" "He's all right." "Good! for be derned sorry ter find that Dick had been playin' u s." ''I examined his wound." "And found the bones broken?" queried Frank James, quickly. "1 o; but I found a bad wound just above the ankle, ar.cl it's a wonder he had the nerve to hobble up to the camp with it." Dick Little groaned for the first time since his reunion with his comrades. Jim Cummings now exhibited a new phase of his strange character. "Blast it, Dick,'' he exclaimed, with sympathetic ear ne stness, as he knelt beside the \\"Ounded man and passed hi s large, coarse hand softly over Littte's damp fore head, ''but I've be en a reg'lar old leather-head. a-thinkin' you 'cl been cloin' ther baby act or wuss You pigeon livered or a sneak? Git out. You're a high-up dand_ from Sandville, an' I kin lick ther pizen galoot that say ye ain't. I'll pack yer back to ther cave, light er dip an' fix that ankl e o' your'n in great shape." Lifting Little in his arms with the utmost tenderness the stalwart outlaw bore him to the cave. and after de positing him on a heap of straw, returned for a lantern Neither Jesse nor Frank James said a word whil Cummings was thus occupied.

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THE JESSE JAMES STOR!ES. 15 \\'hile the latter was in the cave. dress ing Dick Little's '" :rn:iJ. Fr:ml. f;av c expression t o his thoughts "You pr('{enrkd to be satisfied with Dick' s explana tiun. but 1 can :;ec now that you doubt him still.'' J do." "\l:ilat \ Ott doubt him after the ev id ence that the w oi1ndccl leg furnished?" "lhc '"on nd 11 as inflicted long after the fight on the plain. ' "What!" Frank James started to his feet in amaz e ment. 'I mean what I say," responded Jesse James. quietly. "He was not hnrt to amount to anything when he sneaked off and l eft us to fight the blood-money curs alone. The wound that disabled him was made after he reached a place of shelter." "What makes you think so?" "I know something of anatomy, and I have had, con siderable experie nc e in surgery, as you know. Well, whe n I examine d his leg, I found two wounds-one which passed through the fles h of the calf, the other which penetrated the musci es above th e ankle." 'Well? "The first had not been inflicted r ecent ly, but for some time before the other. Now, we both know that Dick Little was as sound as a dollar when we crossed the river." "Yes, that's so "Then he got the wound in the calf, which did not amount to a h ill of beans, but which caused him to fall and act as if he had r ece ived mortal injury when we first charged Hastings posse. As for the o th er, it was received after he had l eft the plain, and I am fully fied in my own mind that it was inflicted by some one who mistook him for one of us but who was counting upon him for help to locate us." "He must have met this party after h e got to the brush." "Yes." "It couldn't have been a member of Hastings' posse, for they were all engaged in the fight on the plain." ''No." "Curly Jones was a mile behind, down the river; so it could n ot h ave b ee n him." "No, it was not Curly." "Who, then, could it have been?" "I don't know but it won't be long before we'll be able :o find out. And when we do rec eive the confirmation of vhat I suspect-what I almost know ," added Jesse am es, fierce v, "then I'll settle accounts with Mr. Dick ittle in shor.t order." "I hop e--" Frf!nk James got no further in his reply, for hi s words 'ere cut short by the muffled reports of rifles. "From the cave," hissed Jesse James, as he grasped is winchester and sprang to his feet. "The enemy is ose upon us for Dick Little pointed out the way." The next instant Jim Cummings came bounding toard them. "They shot at me," he gasped, as he reached for his e, "and how they' missed doin' me up, I kain't guess." There was no chance of retreat for the three outlaws. '1-hc o nly w;:y of egress from the camp was the cave, and that \vas n o w held by the enemy. Above rhe m loomed a perpendicular wall of rock, and o n e ith e r s id e were yawning chasms, impossible of safe descent. Crouching behind a huge bowlder, they waited for the coming of the enemy. No further s hots had been fired since Jim Cummings had so precipitately left the side of Dick Little. Suddenly a loud, clear voice was heard at the cave's mou t h: "You had better surrender," it said, "for we have got you in a tr a p." "Karl Hastings!" was Jesse James' whispered ejacula tion. ''!\ow we know who it was that Dick Little met in the brush." 1 Then h e raised his voice, and sent back this defiant an swer: "No surre nder. We'll fight to the last." CHAPTER VI. A DETECTIVE CORNERED. \ \Then Karl Hastings escaped from Jesse James, at the earn p in t h e hollow, he set out for A villa, for the purpose of meetiag hi s po s se and engaging in a new and vigor o u s campaign against the James gang. M ountecl on a fleet horse, h e had traversed half the distance to A villa when from a trail through' the brush at th e foo t of the hills, he hear<;! the sounds of firing on the plain b e low him. purring his horse forward to ascertain the cause, he was met by Dick Little, who was running without a limp in the direction of the ravine that led to the outlaw's camp. Throwing up his hands at sight of the detective, Little earn es tlv cried: "Don't shoot, for I'm a friend ." . Too late, however. Karl Hastings fired, and the shot struck Little near the ankle, and riding forward, he lo oke d at the treacherous outlaw with eyes which expressed both suspicion and aversion. He believed in Mattie Collins, but he did n o t have much faith in her hu s band. Little was on the ground, groaning, while the detective dismounted and disarmed him. '' \i\fhy do you say you are a friend?" queried Hastings, coldlv. Becau se I want a slice of the reward offered for the arrest of Jesse and Frank James." "Your raids lately h aven't been very profitable, then?" ''They have panned out well enough, but I'm tired of the life of an o utlaw, and am willing to retire, if I can do so safely, and with a neat little stake." The firing on the plain had ceased some moments be fore, othenvise Karl Hastings might not have stopped to hear what his captive had to say for himself. I can lead the James boys and Jim Cummings into a trap within the next hour." said Little, with a positive ness that the det ec tiv e believed to be genuine. "Ho,?" ... Little gave the location of the mountain camp, and explained the peculiar route by which it was reached. "TJ;ie camp is a regular cul-de-sac," he added, ''and

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\ THE JESSE JAMES STORIES. there's no way of escape for the gang once you have your proper position in the cave." "\\'here are the James boys now?" asked Hastings. Little pointed to the plain. "They're there," he said, "and as the shooting has come to an end, it is t e n to one that they have won the fight ., The tale he told regarding the events of the afternoon both shocked and thrilled the detective. He was for riding forward at once and giving battle to the outlaws single-handed, but a few words from Dick Little restrained him. "Don't make a fool of yourself," the little rascal said, ''but hide in the bush es and you'll see 'cm come along on their way to the camp." Hastings nodded his head. Then, as a noise a short distance in his front warned him that his quarry was probably approaching, he exchanged a few rapid words with Dick Little, and then led his horse into the bushes and waited. \Vhen he caught sight of the faces of the three outlaws who had slain so many members of his posse, he could scarcely restrain his impulse to open fire upon them. 'But no," was his aforethought, 's uch a proceeding would be rash. I might send one to his account, but the others would likely close in and settle me. I'll take Dick Little's advice and give them a fight to the death in another place." When the four desperadoes had gone, Hastings emerged from his place of concealment, mounted his horse, and rode to the scene of the bloody conflict. It was dark whe n he r eache d the plain. But two of his men were found alive, and these were the ones who had attacked Frank James and had afterward been bound hand and foot to prevent their escap ing and giving the alarm. 'I11e dete c tive relea se d the m, and was engaged in an interesting conversation when C urly J o nes and his troop rode up. Karl Hastings hailed the appearance of th e man-hunters with joy. "Now," he exclaimed,. "we can give these fiends battle in their p ocket of a camp with the certainty of coming out victorious. Curly Jones, when he had heard th e detective s sto r y, was eager to begin the pursuit at onre. ''They 'll lik e ly stay in th eir camp all night," he said, "an' perhaps it would be ther wiser plan ter tackl e 'em in ther morn in', jus t at daybreak. But they've killed Kansas Jerry, the whitest man in Missouri, an' I m just ter avenge his death. I'll figlit m in th e dark and 1'11 give 'em odds rather than miss the chance of meeting 'em." The d e tective was equally impatient to start, and the party, now numbering t e n men,. all told, rode through the brush and up the ravine to a point a s hort distance from the entrance to the cave They were near the mouth, and moving a lon g cautiou sly, when l ooking around the last of the many turnings, they beheld Jim Cummings kneeling beside Dick Little. / A lighted lantern stood on the floor of the cavern close by. ... Curly Jones, who had assumea command of the force of pursuers, at Hastings' request, instantly gave the order to fire. But not a bullet struck the long-limbed outlaw. He heard the order, and quick as a flash fell flat on his face. The next moment he was out of the cave, and running toward his comrades. Dick Little was shaking with frig-ht when Cudy Jones and Karl Hastings reached his side. 111e riflemen had aimed at Cummings' head, and not a bullet had come within two feet of Little,' and yet the firing had given him the cold shivers. "You w e re quick in coming,. he chattered, as he looked up at the detective. "But I reckon it's all right." "Are the James boys in the camp?" asked Curly Jones. "Yes." "Then we'll open the ):>all at once. Hastings, give 'em a littl e talk before we begin." The detective got behind a rock at the mouth of the cave, and called upon the outlaw s to surrender. Jesse Jam es' reply has been given. Curly Jones was in favor of dashing out of the cave and fighting at close quarters in the open. "The moment they know you are outside," objected Dick Little ''they'll have you at a terrible disadvantage, for, intrenched behind rocks, they can riddle you without incurring any danger themselves." "I thought you said we'd have them in a trap if we got them where they are now," said Karl Hastings, in some heat. "They are in a trap," r eturned Little, coolly, "but you'll have to wa it tmtil morningto discover it "Han g waiting till morning," said Curly Jones, an grily. "I'm goin ter give 'em a rattle to-night." ,,ill show yo u," r e jo ined Little, "that you. can kill them all with out running any risk. There are only two places where they can shelter their bodies, and you can move on them by a \Vay I s hall pt>int out." ''Show us the way now." interrupte d the impatient Jones. "Th ey change their position s in the darkness without your knowing it, and give yon the h o tt c ?t kind o f a re ception. However--" A shout fro11;1 the camp made him pause in his speec h. ''\Vlw don't you felle r s start in with Yer r at-killin' :" called ciut J im Cummings. jeeringly. "\V e're jus t achin' fer a an yon a r e jist actin like a passel o f blamed rowards-afra!cl of yer o wn sh adders.. Rats!" Curly Jones fired a shot at random. A y ell of deris i o n greeted the report. Try it ag'in. sonny," came Cummings' voice. "a little more practice an' y e r might be ab!t: ter hit a d oor, if ye r had a flock of barns t e r blaze away at." "Com e out here and s h ow vour m et tle," cried Tess e J arne s in a harsh, d e ri s ive tone, 'or go bac k confess your selves chumps." T hi s was m o re than Curly Jones could stan
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THE JESSE Jl\MES STORIES. of the men to the ground, one dead and the other seri ously wounded. Curly Jones was about to move forward and try his chances in a hand-to-hand conflict, when a woman's voice, crying out these beseeching words, reached his ears: "Come back hyar! come back hyar, an' don't shoot any more. I wanter say suthin' to yer." "Do as she says," followed Karl Hastings' clear voice. "Come back for a moment, Jones." The detective had hastened after the intrepid leader of the posse but had scarcely stepped a foot beyond the cavern s mouth when he heard swift steps behind him. As he turned quickly, a, woman s hand seized his arm and then came this panting whisper: "Oh, Mesta Detective, I'm pow'ful glad I've found yer. Come right inside hyar, quick, an' call yer men back." The newcomer was Molly Culdan. The detective did not ask her how she came to such a place at such a time, but, carried away by her vehe mence, retreated at once into the cave. As she followed him the shots were fired which laid two members of the posse low. Then it was that she called out to Curly Jones. \Vhen the latter got back to the cave his face was flushed with angry disappointment. "Who are you?" he harshly exclaimed, "that orders me to come back when I had the James boys in the door?" "I am a gal that goes a heap on Jesse James," was the prompt, decid e d answer. ,;And you want me to let up on him because he has done you a favor, eh?" "Y cs,'' s he said, coolly. "Well, I won't, for he's a thievin', murderin' brute, and deserves a thousand d e aths. 'But yer shan't kill him, all ther same," she coldly returned. "How will you preYent me, :Hiss Impertinence?" he asked, with a sneer. ''In this hyar way--" She was about to dart past him into the open, but Karl Hastings caught her arm and forcibly restrained her. "You must not go out," he protested, "for it would be to ccurt certain death." 'I don't kecr. You may kill Jesse James, but if you do vou'll have to kill me, too .. The detective sighed. '"Your trnst in this man is misplaced," he said, in a low \'O ire. intended for her ear alone. "He is a wretch, and we are but acting in the b est interests of society in hunting him d o wn .. "I don t wan te r lis ten ter any moril truck,'' wa s Molly Culdan's half-angry reply. '; you'll obleege me," she added, "by allowin' me ter do as I please." "Not if that course threatens to l e ad to death," said Hasting-s. gravely. "}[ollv!'' call e d ont Jesse James, from without. "Is that YOtl ?" "I reckon .. was the quick answer, "and they shan't wcrrit y e r while I am on deck." "Sl:an't they?'' growled Curly Jones. "\Ve'll see.'' He spoke a few words in a whisper to his men, and a second move forward was immediately afterward made. Molly Culdan uttered a scream of mingled r:age and -despair as they marched out, and strove with all her might to wrench herself from Karl Hastings' detain'ing grasp. The young man felt himself to be in the most uncom fortable position of his life. He >anted to be the friend and comforter of the spirited girl who had so powerfully attracted him at their sensational meeting in the morning, yet his stern sense of duty could not permit him to utter a protest against the plan of Curly Jones. Vvhile he stood irresolutely by her side, Jesse James gave him the cue for action. The bandit had construed Molly Culdan's scream to mean that she was in peril. Regardless of the danger, he leaped from behind the huge rock where he had been stationed, and started for the mouth of the cave. Frank James and Jim Cummings, not to be outdone in reckless darivg, came close behind him. "I'll come to you,Molly," cried the leader of the outlaws, in clear, ringing tones, "If I have to march over the dead body of every man who opposes me." "Don't," came her quick reply, "fer nuthin's a-hurtin' me." Then shot after shot rang out, mingled with the cries and groans of the wounded and dying. Releasing his hold on the girl when the battle was re op e ned, Karl Hastings was out of the cavern in a twin lding. Molly Culdan quickly followed him. She could distinguish neither friend nor foe in the darkness, and was feeling her way blindly toward the farther end of tliie camp, when a sharp pain in the side seized her, and she sank fainting to the ground. \i\Then she opened her eyes she saw Karl Hastings bending over her, with a lantern in his hands. Her first words amazed him exceedingly: "Whar is Jesse Jam es?" she faintly inquired. "Did ht git erway ?" "Yes"-colclly-"he escaped." "And Frank, too?" "Yes. Jim Cummings was the only one vYho was caJ>< tured and the boys wouldn't have got him if he had not been desperately wounded." A pause. Then she asked, softly: ''You're all right, ain't yer ?" "Yes. I escaped without a scrnt.:h." "An' ther fellers with yer ?" "Curly Jones and three others are alive." She closed her eyes anq sighed. "I'm drefful sorry, she said, presently. "So rrv for what? ' 'That thar was any killin '." The n she added. as if the thought had just occurred to her: "I was hit som e whar. w ern't I?" ''Xo. A bullet stnick the steel belt which you wear. TI1e shock caused y o n to faint. "Shucks! I'm ashamed o myself. Floppin' like a

PAGE 19

18 THE JESSE JAMES tenderfoot. But I'm glad I warn't hit, though, for now I can get home for ther funeral." "You have a long journey before you." "It's middlin' fur, but then I left my horse clown at the mouth of ther ravine." Hastings, who was curious to know why had come to the robbers' camp at night, now asked this question: "Did y0u go straight home when l lt:ft you yesterday?" "That's what I clicl." "W:hat caused you to come here?" "I war a feared that Jesse Jam es 'ucl be hard pressed, an' I had a kind of a sneakin' idee that I mout be able ter help him. Besides, I didn't like to stay home with mother dead, an' ther house full o' naburs." "Yoo have been here before, then?" "Why, of course. I know ther place like a book." She seemed so honest and she spoke so frankly and unaffectedly that he felt his heart warm toward her, un-lettered though she was. "She is only an unsophisticated girJ," he said to himself, "who has been loyal to the man who was a friend to her mother in time of need." With this estimate of her character, he was reaay to find excuses for her conduct. In a short time they were on their way through the cave. They met no one during their journey. "I reckon Dick Little went off with ther Jam es boys," she said. "No. He accompanied Curly Jones and his men to Avilla." Then he told her the part Little had played at the camp. She made no comment. Arrived at the spot where her horse had been tethered, she was surprised and angry to find it gone. It would be impossible to reach her home on foot in time for the funeral. 0"Yot1 may ride my animal," the detective said. "Much obleeged," she impulsively returned. But when Hastings looked for his horse in the tl1icket where it had been left, he could find no trace of it. "Stolen by the thief who appropriated yours," was his quick conclusion. Molly Cu ldan vented her rage in a manner that made the detective frown. But she soon burst into tears, and her distress was so acute that Hastings resolved to procure her a horse at whatever hazard. "If you are not afraid to remain here," he said kindly, "I will hurry on to the nearest house and get a horse for you "Me afeared? I war born in the woods, an' l'm afeared o' nuthin'. But if you get me a horse, so I kin git home in time, I'll be yer friend forever." "I will d o my best." He was gone several hours, and it was daylight when he returned on horseback to the spot where he had parted with dashing Molly Culdan. She was not there. He called her name loudly, and searched for some t ime in the vicini ty even gomg a s far a s the r o bb er3 camp. \11 in Ya in. "Perhap;; got tired of \\'aiting." 1Vas Iii th_ongLt. "and LOok the trai l foi home, hoping to meet some ki!1cli_1 dispose d hors..::m;rn. or :,ome friend \\'ho 1\ou!
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THE JESSE JAMES STORIES. the animals of tne officer's posse had b ee n teth ered, he coolly appropri ated it, and then turned Hastings' horse loose, while Curly Jones and his three companions were riding toward the plain. His object in playing this trick on the detective will be explained later on. Jesse James had made up his mind to attend Mrs. Cul dan's funeral, and he and Frank were concealed in the brush near the house when Karl Hastings rode up. The leader of the outlaws placed ;mt one interpretation upon the absence of Molly. Karl Hastings had hidden her away somewhere, and from the worst of motives. Advancing toward the detective with a ferocious look, Jesse James said, in a voice of suppressed passion : ''I've a good mind to kill you where you stand." "Don't," urged Frank James. "Give him a chance to explain." Karl Hastings gazed defiantly at the enraged bandit him, but did not open his mouth to speak. Jesse James gritted his teeth as he returned the gaze. There was a short silence, and then he said, with his old-time, quiet manner: ''Take his weapons away, Frank, and then we'll tie him up." The detective resolved, in spite of the odds against him, to make an attempt to escape. No assistance from the mountaineers on the porch could be counted on, for each man had his face averted. 'They're all friends of mine," remarked Jesse James, as he noted Hastings' glance toward the men, "except one, and he has promised to l(eep his hands out of my affairs until the funeral is over. Isn't that so, Bill?" A short, red-bearded man, who was smoking a cob pipe at the end of the porch, answered gruffly: "Yes." "He's Cuklan's half-brother, and he don't like me worth a cent," Jesse James went on, with a chuckle. "But he is dead gone on Molly, and for her sake he has agr. eed to mind his own business for an hour or two. And Bill Early is a man of his word." The red-bearded man's eyes flashed ominous l y as the bandit spoke, but he did not give audible expression to the feelings that agitated his breast. Frank James now approached the detective, to carry co.ut his brother's order, when, with quick ness, Hastings turned and struck the outlaw a sledge hammer blow behind the ear As Frank James went down, the detective whipped out is pistol, when--Crack! went Jesse James' vVinchester, and Hastings ttered a loud cry, and sank bleeding to the earth. Bill Early rose to his feet with a savage imprecation vhen he saw the detective fall, but a few quick words rom the young man's assailant caused him to resume his eat. :He is Molly's enemy," Jesse James said, "and he has pirited her away somewhere." "Then do as you please with him," was the fierce re ly, "for I've got no call to interfere." Ten minutes after Frank and Jesse James had dragged he insensible detective away, the minister appeared. He was an old man, a superannuated preacher, who lived in a little cabin a mile away with his wife. Ten o'clock came, and the funeral services were pro gressing, when the James boys reappeared. The old minister frowned when he saw them, but he did not stop his sermon. At last the rude coffin was borne from the house and deposited in Bill Early's wagon. Frank and J ess e saw the cortege move and then they went inside the house and sat dl:>wn. "We'll wait half an hour, and then if Molly doesn't turn up, we'll have it out with Hastings," said Jesse. "He's about dead as it is, was his brother's response. "He'll be dead sure enough when I've done with him." The half hour went by, and Molly had not presented herself. The James boys left this characferistic note for Bill Early when they departed: ''We've gone to finish up our little job of the morning. Keep a still mouth, or you'll wake up some fine night and find yourself in shoe!." Mrs. Culdan's half-brother was reading the note upon return to the house, an hour later, when rushed 111 out of breath. Early looked up in amazement. "Is the funeral over?" she panted. "Yes." She sank into a chair, and buried her face in ner hands. "'Where have you been?" asked Early, after a pause. "Fightin' a scoundrel an' a coward," she answered:, with a face crimsoned with wrath and shame. "Karl Hastings?" "No; he's white." Bill Early regarded her in astonishment bordering on stupefaction. "Not the detective?" he ejaculated. "No; the man who kep' me back war that squint-ey:ed wretch. Dick Little." Bill Early arose to his feet and began nervously to pace the floor. watching him intently, Molly saw that he was power fully moved. That it was not wholly on her account she was con vinced "What's go t inter you? What's been a happening?" she eagerly inquired. "I have made a blamed fool of myself," he snapped, "and if somebody would be kind enough to kick me from here to Jericho, I would be much obliged." Her quick tuition grasped the truth. "Ther detective-he's in some danger?" she interro gated, her face growing suddenly pale. "He is in the worst pickle a man could possibly be in," was the gloomy response. "Shure ernuff ?" "y es." '"Whar is he?" she said, with her dart< eyes turne d im ploringly upon his face. "In the hands of Jesse James, who has sworn to kill him." She uttered a groan of despair. "Read that," said Early, remorsefully, "and you'll un derstand what has by: this time taken place."

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20 THE JESSE Jf\MES STORIES. He placed in her hands the note written by Jesse James. Molly Culdan read it hurriedly, and her heart sank. "Dead!" she moaned, "and pe the only man I ever tuk a liken to!" Bill Early gazed at her with compassionate eyes. "Perhaps they haven't killed him he ventured to say, as a bit of consolation. She caugh t at the hope as a drowning man would catch at a straw. "Do you know whar they went?" she asked, eagerly. "No." "But the dil'ection-you must a-noticed which road they took?" "They went into the woods.'' "Then I know whar ter find 'em She ran to the door, then turned and looked at Early, doubtfully. "1 don't know whether it'll be safe fer you to go 'long with me or not." "It is not safe,'' he promptly rejoined, "but I'll go with you all the same." "No," as her mind quickly reviewed the situation, "yer mustn't go. I kin manage Jesse James alone." "I believe you "I won't fool erway any time while I'm gone." "You will find me here when you come back. My horse is in the wagon.' I'll unhitch and put on the sady the '"av ., ,; How did vou come bv the animal?" "It had not been in m) possession. Little had It. The wretch had found the animal after he got out of the ca e and turned it loose. He \\'as jealo us of the detecti\' e, wtl wanted your niece for hims elf." Bill Early clen c hed his hands and swore a frightful oath. "Little was then riding horse, which he had stolen, but after he had gone a short distance the animal stepped in a squirrel hole and lamed itself. "Little then shot it dead and pursued his journey on foot, limping painfully as he went, and he would probably have never met vour niece if he hadn't had the devil's luck to run across Hastings' nag again "Mounting it, he started for Avilla, intending to over take me if he could, but he had proceeded but a short distance when he met your niece. who was hurrying along through the woods toward her home. "It was from the l ips of Molly t h at I learned what happened after she came upon h i m. "Her first impulse was to fly, but when the scoundrel assured her that he held Karl Hastings' life in his hands, she stopped and permitted him to dismount. "'\ii/here is Mr. Hastings?' she asked. 'Half a mile from here, in a hickory grove.' 'A prisoner?' "'No: he fell in with the James boys, and is wounded. 1 I found him st retched senseless on the ground, and, after I had brought him to, I started off for assistance.' .. 'Take him to my house,' she urged. 'It is the nearest l place.' "'All right,' he said, and, at his sh e l mounted behind him and they rode toward the grove. "Arrived there, they dismounted, and Little secured Hastings' horse to a tree. "When they had searched the place witl}out finding the detect i ve, Little sought to make her believe that he had crawled away. P

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THE JESSE JAMES STORIES. 21 "'I 'don't believe it,' she said; 'you have deceived me.' "Then Little threw off his mask at1d coolly informed r' that she was in his power, and that he had lured her the grove for an infamous purpose. "'But I will be as humble as you please,' the cowardly etch said, 'if you'll consent to marry me. Martha Col s thinks she is my wife, but she ain't. If you will tch with me,' he added, 'I'll make up with JessetJames d deliver Curly Jones and his men into his hands.' "Instead of answering him, she turned to fly, but he ught her around the waist, and >votmded as he was, reed her to the ground. "But she managed, by desperate struggling, to get on her feet again, and was;:iving him the hardest kind a fight-look at his face and neck and you'll see the rks-when in savage rage he drew his knife to murder r At this juncture I appeared. "After she had told her story, I asked her to mount ind me, assuring her that I would take her home, but ref.used, and while we were tying up Little, she sud ly disappeared. I immediately guessed why she left so unceremoniously. She wanted to hurry on to the se and warn Jesse Jam es of our coming. Strange girl, oily As pretty as a picture, as honest as the clay is g, and as true as steel to her friends. It's a blamed that one of her friends is Jesse James." 'So I think," returned Bill Early. 'vVhere she now ?" folly's uncle sprang to his feet with an oath. 'G9ne to save Karl Hastings from a terrible death, and e vve are sitting calmly and allowing the precious mo nts to pass. I've got no time to explain," he went on riedly. ''All I can say is that if the detective isn't a f already, he stands a right smart chance of one his very minute. Follow me, and I'll lead you to Jesse es' lair, if I can." 'ortunately, the trail was soon found, and as it had re tly rained and the ground was soft, the tracks of the laws' horses were eas ily discovered and followed. ut the journey was a long one, and it was not ended n night came h e pursuers had penetrated far into the hills when kness set in, but, as the trail was warm, they resolved ollow it with torches. t midnight a startling discovery was made by Curly es. inned to the trunk of a large sycam0re, on one side he trail, n ear a water c ourse, a large card of a St. 1is whisky firm was found, with these words, written bold hand, up o n the blank surface : Varl Hastings has paid the penalty of his crime. Seek to find his remain s for they are now but a handful of s. He met his fa t e a n hour ago. and they who seek evenge him will follow him to Sa tan s hot-house as as the stars sbnc." he:e was no signature, but both Curly Jones and Bill ly recogni zed the peculiar chirograph y of Jesse James. CHAPTER VIII. A SENSATIONAL ROBBERY. mansi o n of l\larcus Lafitte, the rich p lanter an
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22 THE JESSE JAMES STO RIES 1We'll 'th"e biggest haul of the year," he said, "a,nd I don't think we'll meet much opposition, for they'll be a lot of frightt;ned cattle when we show up and begin work." "I don't know about that," slowly responded Sam Bass, "for I saw a mug get into one of the carriages who used to work for Pinkerton." "Vvhat! a detective!" exclaimed Frank James, with a face that betrayed disgust and disappointment. "No, he s not a det e ctive no-w. He is the governor's private secretary." "Came along to represent the governo r, I reckon." said Frank James, "for I don't see his noble jags' face in the procession." "Probably." "I'll take care of him," remarked Jesse James, grimly, "and if he tries to be ugly, I'll create an immediate vacancy in the office he holds." "You'll have to be mighty spry in dealing with Luke Hastings, old boy, for he has a quick eye, and is as handy with his gun as you are." "Hastings!" repeated the leader of the outlaws, slow ly, and with a significant side glance at his brother. "No relation to Karl Hastings, is he?" "His brother." "The deuce you say." Jesse James gazed moodily at the ground. Frank, who saw a look of curiosity on Sam Bass' face, was quick to change the subject. "Come, let tts stir our stumps, and get to the river. It isn't safe to be monkeying about here." An hour later they were at the river, where they re mained until after dark. Oppinger's celebrated band, from St. Louis, was playing a march when Frank and Jesse James and Sam Bass reined up their horses in front of the wide gate. Dismounting, they secured their animals to the fence, and then boldly entered the inclosure. Each man had his part assigned to him, and when they arrived at a point half-way down the avenue, where it was intersected by two garden paths, they separated. Jesse Jam es walked straight forward, leaving Fran'< and Bass to work the side entrances to the mansion. Upon the wide veranda, three gentlemen sat smoking their cigars; one of them was Luke Hastings, the private secretary of the i:overno r. He was a few years older than his brother, and closely resembled him in form and feature. Paul de Grassim, a recent arrival from France, and re ported to be a multi-millionaire, was on his right, while General Newson, an ex-Confederate soldier, and a typical Southern gentleman of the old school, occupied a chair at his left. "No, sah," the general was saying when Jesse James arrived within hearing distance, "there's no chance of catching these dare-devils as long as the country people give them aid and comfort. And it's a burning shame, say 1, that sucl1 a state of affairs should be pern1itted to exist, sah, in the Sunny South." "Ees zee James boys-all-what you call giants--magnifique in proportion, wiz zee strength of Hercules?" interrogated the Frenchman. "Some say," replied Luke Hastings, with a smile, "that they are seven feet hign, an d th"at they can wrin1 an ordinary man's neck with one twist of the hand." "Sacre! but say must be zee terrors vich are holy, mo n sieurs. I hope zat I don't have zem interview me som dark of zee night." The Frenchman was a little man, with a pale, thin fac and an enormous mustache. "If I should see Jesse Jam es, sah," said the genera: c;ternly, "and he should ask to deliver over my valu ables, I vrnuld tell him, sah, to his face, to go to the ho place, sah." "General, I'll trouble you for your watch and money." The voice came from the steps of the veranda, a f e 1 feet from where the general was sitting, and it was coll and menacing. The veteran of the Civil War looked up with a start. The electric lights that blazed through the open of the mansion lit up the pale, strongly marked face of :1J speaker, and showed with alarming distinctness the ste r expression which animated it. '"Well, I'll be everlastingly tomcoddled," the gener ejaculated, "if it isn't Jesse James." "Correct, my dear sir," was the quiet rejoinder, "a you'll save yourself a heap of trouble, and be doing M r Newson a service, by coming at once to the center." The general was about to put his hand in his pock for the purpose of drawing out his purse when he caug this low whisper from Luke Hastings: '"Don't give him a cent. Keep still, and let me d with him." Jesse James did not hear the words, but he readily co jectured what had been said. Advancing up the steps, until he stood in fro of Newson, and within a few feet of Luke Ha ings, he presented a brace of revolvers with the har command: "Up with your hands, Mr. Private Secretary, or o goes your North American light." Luke Hastings had his hand on his revolver when t bandit began speaking. and when he finished he sudde ly whipped it out and blazed away. Jesse Jam es dodged, and the bullet struck the Frenc man in the fleshy part of the arm. Vv'ith a howl that could have been heard a quarter o mile away, the representative of frog eaters and weal dropped fiat on his back and began to kick and squi as if possessed by a legion of imps. Quick upon the heels of Hastings' action came t sharp crack! crack! of Jesse Jam es' pistols, and t private secretary tumbled over to the floor of the por mortally wounded. As for General Newson, that bullet-scarred veteran the Civil War, he simply looked on with wide-o mouth. "Now, general," said Jesse James, coldly, as he s that two of the occupants of the porch were done f 'Tl! thank :you for your purse, rings, and watch." As he spoke a number of frightened faces looked of the front door. ''Back, every one of you," shouted the bandit, "or a shower of bullets into your midst." There was an instant scampering of feet.

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THE JESSE JAMES STORIES. 23 General Newson was lianding over his valuables when everal shots from th e rear of the house were heard. They were followed by the piercing screams of women. Hastily thrusting the plunder into his pocket, Jes se ames dashed through the front door and into the house. In the drawing-room he found a group of well-dressed adies and gentlemen huddl e d together in a corner. Before them stood Sam Bass, with a revolver in each iand. "I shot outside to scare 'em," he said, rapidly, to Jesse ames, whe11 the latter appeared, "and now that I have ot 'em corraled we'll go through 'em in three shakes of lamb's tail." The ladies were the first to receive attention. One so-ciety belle from Jefferson City was found to ossess a tiara of diamonds worth a small fortune, be ides other jewelry upon her person. She had not worn her treasures for several years, in eference to the popular taste, which in her set demandt:d 'mplicity in ornament; but on this occasion she had ielded to the advice of her father, who thought her alue in the matrimonial market would be vastly en anced by a lavish di splay of costly gems. She gave up her treasures with a proudly indignant race and turned up her fine Grecian nGse when Jesse mes offered to give back the tiara. "No," she scornfully returned, "take them all. They e .more of value to yo u t!Tan they are to me." The pockets of the two bandits bulged out with plunr when they left the room. "Where's Frank?'' asked Jesse James, when they found emselves in the .. hall. "In old Lafitte's study, experimenting with the treas e box, I reckon. Sam Bass led the way to the room, which opened out -one of the sleeping apartments. when they reached the open doorway they beheld a rious sight. Frank James lay stretched senseless upon e floor, and over him stood a hard-faced woman of ant stature, with a huge club in her hands. "You'll rob us, you murthurin' omadh-aun, will yez," e was saying when the two outlaws l'.'.ame up. "You'll me shneakin' into the stoody wid yer rayvol rs an' yer schalpin' knives, will yez? Sure, an,' I think z won't, ye big-month thafe av the wurruld. Bad ce ss the thavin' loik es av yez, take that, an' charge it tCi> orah McFadden." The club would have come down on the unconscious ndit's head, bad not Jes se James sprung forward and ught her by the arm. But if he thought he could easily master her -he soon nd out his mistake. Turning upon him with the strength and fury of an en ed tigress, she dropped her club and seized him und the waist with a grip of iron. The boid and muscular bandit struggled with all his ght to free himself from the enraged. Irishwoman's werful grasp, while Sam Bass 10oked on an amused ctator. His amusement changed to dismay and fear en he saw Norah release her hold on her adversary d draw a dagger from her bosom. Crack! came a pistol-shot quick tipon her m0ovement, and she dropped the dagger witli' a cry oF pain and stag gered back against the wall. Her wrist had been shattered by Sam Bass' bullet. Jesse Jam es wrapped his handkerchief tightly about the wound, she submitting with a bad grace, and' he told Bass to keep an eye on her while he finished operations in the room. Stooping over his brother, h e was rejoiced tGJ 1Dbserve t signs of life. There was a pitcher of cold water on the center-table, and after his face had received a liberal application, Frank Jam es opened his eyes. "Are yon hurt much?" tenderly asked Jesse. "No; I got a clip on the head from a billet of wood, itlil!, the hands of a female giant, that's all." He arose to his feet and passed his hands painfully ovem1 his eyes. "give me a drink, Jesse, ai'.d I'll be all right," he saidi,J His brother produced a whisky flask, and.iFra.nk Jamegij took several swallows. The effect was instantly shtiwn in his brightened and alert movements. "YOU and Sam may look out for the rest of the .she,..a hang," said Jesse Jam es, after he had viewed Frank' improved condition with deep satisfa0tto.n, "and I'lhvork this racket myself." ; Suspicious n0ises outside, the rapid m10vement of mauyj and the low whispering ofvoices, inciucecl Bass Frank Jam es to hurry from the study at once. When they had gone, Jesse Jam es looked about thctj room carefully. A large iron box in a cerner soon attracted his ti on "That contains old Lafitte's treasure," was his instant' thought. After listening intently for a moment, and hearing no.; s ounds from without, he steP,ped forward to the box, and, kneeling, began an examination of the lock. Norah McFadden regarded him with malevolent eyes. "Y ez may take it and yez may not," she said, "but if ye'll take the advoice av a woman that knows ph-vyat's phwat, ye'll do the skip act out av this room moighty quick." Jesse James looked up and thoughtfully scrutinized her countenance. "You are a s good as an ordinary man with that one sound arm of yours," he rep li ed. "and L think that I go any further I'll give you a little rope to occupy your mincl." Thus saying, he arose. drew out a long piece of stout cord from his pocket, and approaching her, seized her uninjured arm with no gentle grip. The Irishwoman, realizing that resi s tance a: piece of folly, allowed the bandit to tie her up. But she did not remain silent during the operatiGn. On the contrary, her tongue wagged with a wrathful vehemence that made Jesse Jam es shake with laughter. "Oh, ye squint-eyed spalpane," s he raved, "buti wouldn't I loike to get yez in a room be rneself wid .moi, two arrums free to work the Kilkenny thrick upon rnurthe rin' body. Be the pow e rs, but I wud your carcass into a cycloan av blows that ud hurry yerL

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24 THE JESSE JAMES STORIES. voile b o n e s to the di v il's own coort. Put a rope about me as if I wur a sh te e r or a ragin' catamaran, wud yez? Wu11, ye'll rue the day ye iver laid vo ylent hands on Norah McFadden, for yc'll foind her on yer thrack some day whin yez little
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THE J E SSE JJ\.ME S 25 t urneC:I on neairng the stern c ommand to throw up his a nds For one brief instant the two men stood facing e ach ther, motionless Then Jesse James burst into a harsh 1augh:''You wouldn't kill yo u r own wife, I reckon," vvas his old remark. "My wife! Wher e is she?" Lafitte turned pale as death. Jesse Jame smiled inwardly at the effect of his words. she is in your study. and one of my men has a pistol ointed at her head. If anything happens to me. if I hould not return to the study, in fact, within five min tes, my man has or, den; to shoot her dead. I have taken y p r ecautions, you see." The planter uttered a groan, a n d l et his pistol hand fall his side. Then out came Jesse James' r evolver, and the positions the foes were instant l y r eversed. "It's your dukes which must point upward," the bant said. with affected suavity. 'Come, no nonsense, for ur wife's life depends upon the speed with which I con ude my business in this elegaht shebang." Marcus Lafitte held up his hands. Jesse James possessed himself of his victim's revolver, d then rapidly went through his pockets. While this affair was progressing in the hall, Frank mes and Sam Bass were in the larsre billiard-room in e rear, where tliey had succeeded i'n herding all the ests of the house, as well ars Mrs. Lafitte, a little woman ill health, who went into hysterics when her maid en ed the room and announced that the dreaded Jam es :s were shooting people and robbing the house. General Newson stood by the billiard-table. nervously gering one of rhe ivory balls, when happening to look he saw that the attention of both Fnmk James and m Bass was being directed at that moment toward a ite blonde, of great loveliness. who was smiling at the d bandit>s as if she rather enjoyed the situation. he general resolved to take advantage of the oppor ity presented, and do some effective work. 'I'll show 'c:11 I'm no poltroon. even if I did submit to demands of that fiend, Jesse James, \\"hen he got the o 0:1 me outside." 'eizing lwo of the billiard balls, he them with all force. one at Frank James' head and the other at the d of Sam Bass. / lie first missed its mark and went crashing through heavy plate window back of the pretty blonde, who ediately fell to the floor and emitted a series of pierc screams. he other ball struck Sam Bass on the side of the head, above the ear, and he \\ent down like a log third ball was i11 the general's hand, and he was about e'.: it fly in the direct i on of Frank James, when the aw's bowie knife went \\hizzing through the air to e the ex-Confederate officer in the shoulder and make drop his iYory weapon of defense as if it had been a hot poke r the confusion whic h followed these exciting demon ions Jessie James entered the room. e saw Sam Bass lying apparently dead upon the floor hi..s. brother Frank raining blO\\"S from his clubbed r e volver upon the 11ead of tne luckless general, w11.ile his quick eye also caught the expression of several of the guests' faces, which denoted that they were about ready to cast off the role of submission and assume the agg-resSIVe. Crack! crack! spoke his revolver, and the bullets entering the wall just over the group of guests, cansed the most belligerent among them to call out beseechingly for him to desist. v\'ith a grim smile the leader of the outlaws turned to Frank James, who now stood gazingat the bleeding and insensible form of his victim on rthe floor. "Come Frank," he said, "let's get a move on. Our work is done." "H()lW about Sam?" "Isn't he dead?" "I don't think so." Jesse James went over to the prostrate Bass and wu gazing w r ith sorrowful eyes at a large lump on the sid e of his head, when rthe sound of horses' feet outside made him jump to 'his feet with a start. The ne:>et moment these words, in the c l ear, voice of Curly Jones, were heard: "Surround the house, boys, and shoot down the devils if they attempt to escape." Jesse James looked at Frank, but said not a word. Then he clashed to the side window, and giving tJhe glass a kick with his heavy shoe, sprang through the opening which was thus ma de, and reached the shelter of a group of cork e)ms before Curly Jones' men had got around to that side of the mansion. Frank James followed his brother, and they were run ning through the garden in the direction of the entrance to the grounds, \\here they had 1eft their horses, when 1oud shouts proclaimed the discovery of their escape. "Hmd, you curs," hissed Jesse James, as he sped on ward, '.'but you'll never walk my log They \.Vere within a few yardrs of the open gate when a bullet passed in uncomfortable proximity to Jesse James' head It had been fired from without the grounds. Instantly the outlaws prostrated themselves behind a tree. "\;vhat fools we were," whispered Jesse to Frank, "not to have figured on this programme. Curly Jones has left a man or two at the gate to watch our horses and give us a rally if we come up." \ i V,hat's to be done?" 'Tll show you Jumping to his feet, he called out in a disgusted voice: "vVho are you shooting at, you lubbers? Do you take us for the Jam es boys?" An apologetic voice instant l y answered : "I di d, for a fact. Who are you?" ''Captain Sanderson, of St. Louis, and Simon Hervy, from Jefferson City ''Oh, I beg your pardon." Frank and Jesse James now went forward boldly. There was no moon, which was a lucky circumstance for hem, as they were able to reach a point within ten feet of the sentinel before the latter discovered rthat he had been imposed upon. He was one of the two mountaineers who had fought ('

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26 1'HE J ESSE Jl\MES STORIES. with Frank James three days before, and he recognized the bandit when the latter came through the gateway. But he \Vas covered with two revolvers before he could get his winchester to his shoulder. After disarming him, the bandits mounted their horses and rode away. As they galloped down the roaq, shouts and yells at gate told them that Curly Jones' men were on their I track Aiw.ay they went, like the wind, and in a short time the pursuers were distanced, and the James boys began to freely. They had left their rifles at the camp by the stream where ithey cooked their supper, and, recovering them, they rode toward the house of a friend, some fifteen miles north of the Lafitte mansion, and half a mile from the little r:ailway station of Moquette. The friend was a former Clay County farmer, who now r esided on a little tract of land and raised ve2"etahlesfor a living. He had but one.Jeg, and rheumatism had so crippled up one of his hands as to make him frt only for the easiest kinds of manual labor. Seth Moyne was his name, and he was a little, dried ttp specimen of humanity, wi th a bald head, a hairless face, and two black eyes set deep in his head. He wa s an inordinate tobacco c'he\.ver, and he had just arisen from his bed to take his midnight chew when the Jam.es boys knocked at his door. "Well, v\ell," was his surprised ejaculation, wihen he saw who his visitors w ere, "but of all the men, you are tber ones I least expected to see. An' me a-thinkin' of you, too, all t11er evenin'." Frank and Jessie walked into the main apartment and sat down on a rude lounge. Seth Moyne eyed them with quiet satisfaction. "I'm powerful poor, boys," he said, after he had lis tened to the relation of his guests' late exciting experi ences, "but I don't want no m.an's charity. When I get money, I wanter yearn it." "Come to the point, Seth," said Jessie James, with an amused grin. "You have a scheme in your mind. Let it out quick, for we can't stay with you but a few minutes longer.'' The one-legged man laughed. "You allers was a keen hand ter see through folks, Jess," he said, with an admiring glance at the bandit, "an' so I reckon it 'ud be a plumb insensible thing ter beat eround ther bush with you. Here goes, then. I seen Colonel Wharton to-day." "What of it?" "He is expectin' somethin' by ther Kansas City, Fort Scott & Memphis express, which will sail inter Moquette at six o'clock this mornin.'" It was now after midnight. "What does he expect?" asked Frank Jam es. "Fifty thousand dollars in silver certinrntes, ther price of er plantation his agent in Memphis sold t'other day." Frank and Jesse exchanged significant glances. Seth Moyne rubbed his crippled 1hand softly, and grinned. "Gimme ten thousand if you make ther haul," he said, an' I'll be satisfied." "All right," said Jesse James, promptly. Moquette was a flag station, situated in a picture.sq glen, and, at the time of which we write, it possessed b three buildings-a little railway ticket office, with freig room attached, a general merchandise store, and a blac smith shop. At half-past four o'c'lock on the morning of the J boys' visit to Seth Moyne's cabin the total male populat i of Moquette, consisting of five persons, was sitting o bench outside of the barroom, located at the -rear of general store. "It's goin' ter be er fine day, judge," said the merch to the both of whom were feeling the wa ing effects of the brace of cocktails 1which they had sw lowed a few moments before "I reckon, major, an' ef we don't run a right' pe chance of getting a pri<:e for t11er corn crap, ith signs don't figger worth a cent in these yere tim Hello, a couple of passengers for ther express, I recko The blacksmith's last remark was occasioned by arrival of two horsemen. They were Frank and Jesse James, but so artfully guised that their most intimate friends might not h known them. Quickly dismounting, they tied their horses to the r ing in front of the store, and then approached the men on tihe saloon 1bench. Halting before thern, the James boys drew their pis and pointed them so that each of the five men tho u that his particular head was menaced. "Attention!" sternly commanded Jesse James. Each man of the quintette raised his eyes and g tremblingly at the pair of desperadoes "Arise!" p The five men arose. "Step down to the ground and form in single file. The order was obediently carried out. ''Now, forward, march, to the depot!" The little company filed off, Frank James walkin one side and Jesse James at the rear. One of the company was the operator and agent, into his room the five men were marched. Then the door was closed. and each man was relitf of his weapons and spare cash. Colonel Wharton rode up just as the operation ing finished. Having secured his horse, he walked toward the f way office, for the purpose of sending a Springfield. "One moment, colonel," said the outlaw, po lit "The agent is very ill, taken suddenly with smallpo The colonel made a hasty retreat up the station form. "Keep away from me," he cried, in terror, as fl James walked toward him. "You have been in with him, and I'll catch the disease from yo11." The window of the office was open, and the conv tion between the bandi't and the rich land owner had heard by the five prisoners. "It's a lie! I'm all right,'" shouted the agent. Colonel Wharton's expression changed quickly J fear to rage. Striding up to Jesse James, he raised the riding{

PAGE 28

THE JESSE JAMES STORIES. 27 rhidi he held in his llano. and would have brought it own on the outlaw's head if the latter had not acted omptly and decisively. Springing to one side, he let out his right and caught e colonel under the jaw. A second blow stretched the land owner upon the plat rm. Frank James appeared at this juncture, and Colonel 'harton was soon bound and carried to the railwax ce. Locking the door upon the prisoners, the James boys olly waited for the arrival of the express. Five minutes passed and the shrill whist l e of th e en ne was heard. "We've got to do the work of half-a-dozen men," whisred Jesse to Frank. "That's all right." "How's your nerve?" "As stiff as a poker." "Then success is certain." "Throw down that satchel and skip!" he called, m a voice that was fraught with deadly meaning. The messenger paid no heed to the command, but started from a walk to a run. Bmg! A bullet caught him in the side, and brought him to a: sudden halt. Springing to the ground, Frank James reached his vic tim, and, dealing him a blow on the head from the butt of his revolver, stretched the faithful messenger sense less upon the ground. As the outlaw took up the satchel his brother came running toward him with a pale face convulsed with rage. But when he saw the prostrate messenger and the captured satchel, he was all smiles in an instant. As soon as they had assured themselves that they had really secured the plunder for which they had stopped the train, the James
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THE JESSE JAMES STORIES. Their roaCI took flie m into a thickly wooded sectio n near rthe base of the hills. Suddenly three mounted men appeared in front of them. It was light enough for them to distinguish the face of fore.most. J essc James reeled in 11is saddle. "It's Karl Hastings' ghost," he cried, in amazement, as he put his hand over his eyes. "Not was the stern answer, "but Karl Hastings in the flesh." CHAPTER XI. DICK LITTLE' IN A NEW ROLE. T.he companions of Karl Hastings were Burt Henston, the husband of Sally, and Julius Lafitte, the bachelor brother of the rith planter, and they had assisted iq cuing the detective from a horrible death. when the James boys carried him away from in front of the house of Mrs. Culdan, he \Yas suffering from a wound in the scalp. After binding him securely to a tree, in the d epths of the woods, the two bandits returned to the house, as the reader is aware, to await the possible coming of Molly Cttldan. Her failure to appear half an hour after. the funeral induced Jesse James to believe that she had suffered cruel wrong at the hands of Karl Hastings. With the fierce re so hie to put the detective to instant death, he hurried back with Frank to the tree where he had left 11is prisoner. Karl Hastings was in foll possession of his senses when the J a.mes boys reappeared. He was strapped to the back of Jesse's horse, and the two bandits, mounted on Frank's animal, rode as rapidl y possible to an underground hut in the middle of an immen se swamp. The hut had been constructed bv a former member of the James gang, one Curry Smivh; after his escape from the State prison, whither he had been sent for the term of his natural life. One day he venture
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q'HE JESSE JAMES STORIES. 2 9 "Wait and you'll see, Frank," said Jesse James, determinedly. How the hours before the departure of the two outlaws passed, it is not necessary to say. It was close upon daybreak when they prepared to leave the underground hut. Among the rpany articles in the cupboard was a keg f powder. Jesse James, when the time to leave arrived, tied Karl astings so that J.e could not move, and then placed the -eg of powder within a foot of his head. This done, he opened the bunghole, poured out a handul of powder, and sprinkled it over the top of the keg. The last a t in the fiendish programme was to place the ighted candle within a few inche s of the bunghole. It was a dangerous proceeding, for candles splutter, ncl there might have been an explosion which would 1ave sent the James boys, as well as the detective, into nother world. But Jesse James performed his work with the utmost oolness, and even smiled when he saw Frank hastily limb the stairs. 'The candle will last six hours, at the furthest, and hen good-by to Karl Hastings." Frank James made no reply. But what h e thought was this: "The detective is as good as dead, anyhow, or if by ny chance the candle should go out, he will starve to ieath. for i.e. can't move, and it's not likely that he will wr be iscoverecl." But. the candle did not go out, of its own accord, n0r id Jesse James' victim starve to death. A large Norway rat was the detective's first friend in eed. About an hour after the departure of his enemies, the at appeared. and after 1unning around the room, mount-1g the table and skurrying over the skins upon which astings was lying, l eaped to the top of the powder keg nd ran its s)1arp nose into the bunghole. The detect.ive watched the rat with a curiosity that was 1inglecl with hope. Suddenly, no apparent reason the ii a flick and over went the candle to the 1e room in darkness. Karl Hastings at that moment felt tbe ut r the long-tailed rodent. Daylight came, and ere long the detective b erience the pangs o f hunger. when night came his lips pare 1e was in big-h fever. "Oh, for one drink of water," he 'just one rink of clear. cold water." nother morning came and found h i m weak, bnt ra-onal, and with no' trace of fever. \ rainstorm in the night had worked the change. T he roof 11a old and lealff, anrl the rain came down >1 'n his face and his body and deluged the floor. .\ pool \\a s formed in a hollow close by hi s head. and m"nagecl to twist his neck so that he could drink out it. How long he slept after this welcome dispensation of ture he never knew, but when he awoke it was night. Weak with hunger, and suffering from his wound, he ut:tered one faint, despairing cry The cry was heard and answered by the joyful notes o f a woman's voic e and a moment later the trapdoor was swinging back and Molly Culdan ran down the stairs. She was followed by Burt Henston and Julius Lafitte. After scouring the mountains in vain, she had gone to Lafitte's for assistance. While at his cabin \\:aiting for the old bachelor to make ready for the journey he -had agreed to take with her, he made a remark which put her on the right track. "Have you ever heard of the swamps hereabout being used as hiding-places?" he asked. "No-yes, yes!" clasping her hands as a sudden thought occurred to h er. "I've heard of one place Jesse James spoke of it ther last time he come ter see mother, anq he said that if he ever got driven from pillar ter post he'd light out fer Curry Smith's underground hole, an' all ther detectives in ther world couldn't find him." "Do yo u know where it is?" "You bet. He guv me directions how ter get to ther place, sayin' that if h e eyer did bunk thar he wanted his friends ter know w bar he was so they could pervide him with grub onct in a while." Intent solely upon rescuing Karl Hastings from a ter rible fate, the girl had no thought that in speaking of swamp hiding-place she was betraying one of Jesse James' most important secrets. Julius Lafitte chuckled softly when she ceased speaking. He had no love for the outlaw, and he made up his mind that the officers should soon know all about the underground hut. On the way to the place, after a clay's journey, they met Burt Benston,. with whom Lafitte was well ac quainted. He had given up the search for his missing pigs, and was on his way ,home when Lafitte hailed him. "I'll go with you," 1 he said, when he learned what had brought Molly and the old bachelor to that section of the country. His offer was gratefully accepted, and as he was' on horseback. the trip to the underground ht.tt was continued without delay. They reach ed it in an hour, and. having put Hastings on one of the horses after he had been given needed refreshment, and his wound looked after, the party started for the home of Benston. "It won't do to go far with this young man," said the pig raiser 1\.ith "for he needs a bed and medical attendance at this verv moment." "Yes, yes." return.eel :Molly Culdan, earnestly, "and let's lose no time a-gittin' to your house, Mr. Benston." Hastings summoned all his strength for the journey, and b ore up so 11ell that he was able to keep his saddle all the 'xay without support ... :\folly Culclan left the pa -ty when within half a mile of the hou se. I am going for a doct6r ," she said. "I know of one who liYe$ about a mile from here." Juli us Lafitte offered to go with her, but she refused his company.

PAGE 31

30' \fHE JESSE Jl\MES STORIES. "Attencffo Mr. Hastings during my absence, and you will please me better." The old bachelor said no. more, for he knew it would be useless to attempt to change her mind. Whe? Karl Hastings showed himself before Jesse James 111 the flesh and had spoken the words with which the last chapter ended, he was seized with a sudden faint ness, and would have fallen to the ground had not Burt Henston leaped from his horse's back and caught him in his arms. Frank James pointed his revolver at Julius Lafitte's head as he saw the old bachelor's hand go backward. "Shoot," said Lafitte indignantly, "if it is your policy to murder men who have never harmed you." Jesse James, who had now recovered his wits, brought his own revolver to bear on Henston, who was kneeling beside the insensible detective. "Get up," he harshly commanded, "and let me finish the scoundrel who lured away Molly Culdan." "The man who says he ever injured that girl is a liar,". shouted Julius Lafitte. "She is alive and unharmed, and she'll be here inside of an hour." "You're not lying to me, old man," he said, fiercely, "for if you are--" "He speaks the truth," put in Bert Henston, quickly, "and Karl Hastings owes his life to her courageous efforts. She led us to the underground hut where you left him to die." "Jesse," said Frank James, slowly, "I reckon we'd better be going." Sally Henston here put in a word. She had listened to the conversation 111 open-mouthed astonishment. "Yes, go," she said, with a shaking voice, "and keep on going until you come to the jumping-off place. I-I wish--" But what she wished was never learned, for Molly Cul dan and the doctor rode up at this juncture and inter rupted her speech. "I found him before I'd gone half-way to his house,'' she excitedly exclaimed. "He had been visiting a patient and was on his way home." She would have said more had she not caught sight of Jesse and Frank James. A shudder ran through her frame as she gazed at the former, and turning her head away, she held out her hand to Julius Lafitte. "Yoi:'re ther only friend I have now," she said, 111 a low v01ce. "How about Hastings?" he asked She blushed vividly, but said nothing in reply. Jesse James opened his mouth to speak, but no words came. "I have lost her friendship," he said to himself, bit terly,. and then lowering his pistol, made a sign to his brother. "Good-by, ladies and gentlemen all," said Frank politely, "and I hope we may never see any of you "Same here," said Julius Lafitte, promptly. The James boys rode off with so ber faces. "Frank," said Jesse, when they were out of hearing of the party in front of the house, "I want to do something desperate." "I am feeling kind o' mean myself, Jess." "Suppose we snap our fingers at the officers and ride into the nearest town and make things hum?" "Enough said." "We'll get there by daylight, and we'll tackle every-thing in sight." "That's the idea." And on they rode. Kent's Corners was just waking up when they entered the main street. Passing. an alley they saw a masked man emerging from the rear of a store. "A burglar," said Frank James. "Y <;>u bet." "What do you say to giving him a scare?" "You've called my hand, Frank." The masked man, who was a burglar, in fact and wlio J1ad just been overhauling the contents of a large safe, saw the two horsemen and then took to his heels. Jesse James sent a bullet after him, but he did not slacken his speed. "I don't want to kill or wound the dern cuss," he said to Frank, "and yet he's got to stop or you may kick me for a hide-bound liar." They put spu rs to their horses and dashed after the fleeing criminal. At the corner of a street he turned like a hunted ani mal and fired a shot from his revolver at Jesse James' head. The bullet took the skin off the tip of the outlaw s nose. "That's crowding the mourners," he shouted. "Here, take some of your own medicine." Crack! went his pistol, and down fell the burglar with a bullet in his knee. "You must have more respect for your betters, sir," said Jesse James, jocosely, as he leaped from his saddle and approached the wounded criminal. "The next time you have any business to transact with rne, remember that my head office is in Clay County, and that my name isn t Mud." The burglar had dropped his pistol and was groaning lou csse Ja e s jerked off his mask, only to utter a cry of v<'!ge triu h. "Blast m eyes if it isnt Dick Little!" CHAPTER XII. CAPE OF,J"HE JAMES BOYS. Dick Little, the traitor. ng o days in the custody of Curly Jones. he escaped fro the little county jail where he was bein,,, temporarily confined by feigning to be desperately ill. His flesh wounds in the leg gave him little trouble, fo a surgeon's investigation had shown them to be but triv ial, the one above the ankle having been aggravated at the time of his rec eption by a slight sprain, the swelling fro m which had disappeared the day after his capture. But the rascal was an excellent actor, and as the jailer had not been present during the surgeon's examinatio and treatment, Little succeeded in making his guardia believe that he wa s in a bad way, and that unless he ha plenty of fresh air he would die.

PAGE 32

THE JESSE Jf\MES STORIES 81 The jailer was a simple-minded farmer, who had held he office but a few months, and taking his rep esentations for 6olid facts, he removed Little to his own leeping apartment, which fronted the street. His vigilance was further relaxed when, after looking 1 upon his prisoner, after an hour's absence, he found im apparently delirious. "Doctor, doctor," the cunning rascal moaned, as he rned a pair of bloodshot eyes on the jailer, "give me mething, quick, to ease this terrible pain." The jailer was a humane man, and after speaking a few ords with his wife, a large, bony woman, who was his le assistant, he left the little jail to hunt up the phy cian and surgeon who had dressed Little's wounds. When he had gone, the prisober raved and acted so olently-thrashing the bedclothes, kicking at the bedst and the wall, and tearing at his bandages, that the oman ran out to find some one who could assist her in lding him down. Little was fully dressed-he had taken the precau n to get into his clothes while the jailer was out of the om that morning-and he was out of the window and r down the street which led to the river before the iler's wife got back. Hi-s wounds made him limp, but he felt little inconvence from them otherwise. Several hours of rapid traveling induced a swelling of leg, and he was glad to take a much needed rest in afe retreat in the woods. The next day he procured food at a farmhouse, and he .varded the old man who befriended him by stealing orse from the premises. ounted bareback he rode to the outskirts of Kent's rners. Je was without money, for he had been searched when en to jail, and all his valuables removed to the office e. 'As I have spoiled my chance to get a reward by giving se James away," he said to himself, with a sour face, have got to play a lone hand at the old game, or else n honest and hire out as a woocichopper or a pig der. N' ot being used to manual labor, I think I'll eximent a little with the lone-hand business." hat night be broke into a blacksmith shop, secured ral tools necessary for the commission of a burglarenterprise, and made such effective use of them that n Frank and Jesse James overhairled him he had der amounting to over a thousand dollars on his on. sse James gave one look at Little's pale face and put the muzzle of his pis.to! to the traitor's head and ittle stirred slightly as his remorseless enemy pressed the trigger, and the bullet, instead of entering the skull and crashing through the brain as intended, struck a bone above the temple, glanced off and found final lodgement in a fence post close by: But Jesse Ja1:nes thought he had killed Little when he saw the blood and noted the deathlike appearance of the traitor's face. A number of citizens came running up when the shot was fired. Frank James uttered a warning shout. "Quit it, Jess ; the coppers are coming." Jesse James was about to ride out of town in the direc tion opposite to that by which he had entered, when he s aw that he and Frank were between two fires. The officers' force was a large one, and it had been divided so as to surround the bandits and cut off their retreat. Jesse James' brow became black with rage when he saw that the leader was Curly Jones. After a rapid consultation with his broth0r, Jesse James uttered a wild yell and dashed recklessly down the street toward his courageous enemies. The firing began by the discharge of Curly Jones' rifle. Down went Jesse James' horse, leaving the rider floundering in the dust. He was on his feet and blazing away as Curly Jones and his men rushed up. Frank James, close behind him, had his gun leveled on Curly Jones when a shot was fired from behind and Frank toppled over with a bullet in his lung. About the same moment half a dozen determined men had thrown themselves upon Jesse James. He struggled like a madman, and only yielded when blows sufficient to have felled an ox had been rained on his luckless head. There was great rejoicing in Kent's Corners when the news spread that the James boys had been captured. Curly Jones became the hero of the hour, while the members of the force were feasted royally wherever they went. One man received the news with deep regret. That man was Sam Bass. He had been by the blow from the billiard ball thrown by Gus Newson, and when he came to his senses he was a prisoner in the basement of the Lafitte mansion. Before morning he escaped through the connivance of Norah McFadden. She had visited him ._in his place of imprisonment in order t6 give further vent to her feelings of rage against Jesse J arnes. As Ba's listened to her a cunning idea seized him. "I hope they'll catch and hang the rascal," he said,

PAGE 33

THE JESSE JAMES STORIES. savage earnestness, "r'or he's played me the mean est trick at.' "Phwat's that?"'' "vVhy he l eft me \aid out on the floor upstairs when he might have dashed a littl e water in my face, yanked me to my feet, and taken me with him. It was a scurvy trick," he went on with assumed bitterness, "to run off and leav e me in the hand s of those who are aching to see me swing." "Yer right, Misther Bass," rejoined Norah emphatically, "an' it's sorry I am that he's not in your place this very blissed minit." "I wish I could meet him face to face ," said Bass, as he put on a ferocious look "fo r I'd settle his hash so quick that it would make your head swim." "An' wud yez now, sure?" queried the Irishwoman, eagerly. "Indeed, I would. The dearest wish of my life is to meet him and choke the cowardly life out of him." Norah cast her eyes to the floor and did some rapid thinking. She hated Jesse Jam es with a deadly hate, and she would have danced with joy could she have seen him dead at her feet ,at that moment. As for Sam Bass,' he \.vas no more to her than an ordi nary robber, who had failed in his criminal attempt. Raising her eyes, she loo ked at him steadily for a moment. He met her gaze unflinchingly. Oi"ve a great moind to thry the expiriment," she said, slowly. "What experimen t." "The experiement of l ettin' yez loose, me bonchal, an' puttin' yez on the hunt for that blagguard, Jesse James. "Release me, and I. pr6"mise you to kill him within a week," he said, fiercely. "Troth a' Oi wull, thin," she replied And she 11ot only gave him his freedom and saw him !

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