Jesse James' black agents; or, The wild raid at Bullion City


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Jesse James' black agents; or, The wild raid at Bullion City

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Title:
Jesse James' black agents; or, The wild raid at Bullion City
Series Title:
Jesse James Stories
Creator:
Lawson, W. B.
Place of Publication:
New York
Publisher:
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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Source Institution:
University of South Florida
Holding Location:
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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028809636 ( ALEPH )
07355643 ( OCLC )
J14-00004 ( USF DOI )
j14.4 ( USF Handle )

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serial

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ORIGlftAL OF. THE JAMES BOTS .I ssued iVeekly By Subscr iption $2.so per year. Entered as Second l ass Matter at New York P ost Office by STREET & SMITH, 238 William S t. N. Y No. 4. Price, FiveCents. O U T CAME JESS E JAlllES' RE.VOLVER. CRACK l THE BLACKS!UlTH' S HELPER FELL DEAD IN FR(),NT OF BIS EMPLOYER.

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ISsued Weekly. By Sztbscrij>tion $2.SO per year. Entered as Second Class Matter at the N. Y. Post. Office, by STREET & SMITH, 238 William St., N. Y. Entered according to Act of Congress in the year 1901, in tlie Office of the Librarian of Congress, Washington, IJ. C. No. 4 N EW YORK, J une 1 1901. Price Five Cents JESSE JAMES' BLACK A6ENTS; OR, T h e "7'"ild at :Bullion City. B y W. B L AWSO N. CHAPTER I. A TERRIBLE EXPERIENCE. "I know this yer horse. Wha1 .. d you git him, stranger?" "Bought him." 'Lately?" "A month ago. But what are my affairs to you? \Vhirl in and shoe the nag and quit chinning about it It ,,as in Southern l VIissouri at a little cross-roads viiage. Three horsemen had halted in front of a blacksmithshop. and one of them, mounted on a coal-black gelding, had requested the blacksmith to put shoes on the hind feet. The knight of the forge and bellows had uttered the vords with >Yhich this chapter opens after he had be stowed a keen glance at the gelding. The horseman was preparing to dismount, when the lacksm i th's helper came out of the shop with a heavy oker in his hand. He had overheard the conversat:o1i in relati o n to the orse, and had come to a quick conclusion. "You bought the gelding, did you?" lie said, with a sneer, to the man who claimed own e rship "Yes." "You lie! Ther gelding was stolen from Kunnel Hopkins night afore last ,,-Out came the horseman's revolver. Crack! The blacksmith's helper fell dead in front of his em-ployer "If you want a taste of the same pie, say so," hissed the murderer, as he turned on the terrified blacksmith. no"'-holding up his hands-"I-I've got nuthin' ter sav." "All right, th en ." "" The horse man remounted the gelding. and rode off with his two companions. Fifteen minutes later the black s mith was o.n his way to the office in the village. A hundrerl yards from the shop, he met the sheriff and a yonng man \Yith a handsome and resolute countenance. They were on horseback. and their animals looked as if they had been ridden furiously. ad

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,, 2 THE JESSE JAMES STORIES. "Just the man we were looking for," said the sheriff, as he reined in his horse. "We're after the Jam es boys. Have you seen them?" "I wouldn't know 'em if I did see 'em 'j esse James is a stout, broad-sho u ldered fellow, with reddish hair and beard and co l d, blue eyes." ''That's the one," cried the blacksmith, excitedly. 'That's the fiend who killed my helper." "Killed your helper-when?" "Not half an hour ago." "This is news indeed, Lane," said the sheriff to his companion. Then to the blacksmith: "How did it hap pen?" He was quickly informed. "Frank and Jesse James and Hank Pray," was the prompt comment of S,am Lane, who was a Western de tective of high reputation. Afte.r ascertaining the direction taken by the three out laws, the sheriff and the d e tective rode on. They were just passing the blacksmith-shop when th e owner of the p.Jace rejoined them "I'm goin' with you," he said, grimly. "I rather think I'll have a finger in this yer pie myself." "Glad to have your assistance," returned the sheriff. "We'll take him, dead or alive," said the blacksmith. "Who? J esse James?" "Yes." ",And the others also, of course." "Ter blazes with the others. Jesse James is my meat." The blacksmith's face g lowed with savage ferocity. The sheriff smiled. "You can take Jesse," he replied, "and we'll attend to Frank and Hank Pray." "That suits me to a T." The road the outlaws had followed led to a tract of l ow m ea dow land. T11e pursuers had reach ed the brow of a small hill, \Vhich descended into a hollow, when they met a boy driving a small bunch of cattle. In response to a number of questions put by the sheriff, he said that three men answering the des!-'.ription of the outlaws, had passed him fifteen minutes b efo re. "One o' ther nags was lam e," he said, "an' I heerd ther feller that was a ridin' it say as how they'd have ter pnll up soon, an' give him a chance ter git another." I know where we'll find 'em," remarked the sheriff, as they left the boy, "a:nd .that's down at Kerry's old house." "How fa'r away is it?" asked Sam Lane. "About a mil e." Ten minut es' ridin g brought them in s ight of the struc ture. It wa s in the cent.er of what was once a field, but the fences were gone, and the place was grown up with scr ubby oaks, sassafrass, and briers. The hou se hai two doors opening on the porch. The sheriff's party remained concealed in a grove of trees waiting until some one should open one of the doors and come out. It was close on dusk when f esse James stepped out on1 the porch. The moment the black smith saw him, he sprang into the open and, leveiing a rifle at the outlaw. pulled tlie t: a yell of triumph the blacksmith ran toward his victim. The sheriff and the detective followed hin1 with rifles cocked. The blacksmith had not acted according to the arranged programme, but having opened the ball, they determined to see him through. A s urprise awaited the three man-hunters when they were within a few yards of the porch. Jesse James sprang to his feet, and at the same moment Frank James and Hank Pray appeared in the door way. The latter was a Hercules in size and strength. The outlaws were armed only wit h pistols, and they fired simultaneously. Down went the sheriff, shot through the heart. The detective was close behind him. and. as the brave officer fell, he threw up his hands convulsively, and c lutched at Lane's person with the effect of distracting the latter's aim The blacksmith in the meantime was playing possum When the outlaws raised their pistols, he dropped to the ground and flattened himself on his face. Sam Lane was trying to disengage himself fr.om the dying g rasp of the sheriff, when Jesse James exclaimed: "Now for it." Upon the words, he made a dash forward, followed by Frank James and Hank Pray. The James boys had r eached Sam Lane when th blacksm i th jumped to hi s feet directly in front of Hanl Pray. He was so close to the bandit that he could not use hi rifl e effectively. Dropping it he struck Pray a powerful blow in th face, before the latter could use his pistol, and the clashed around th e house. Pray quickly recovered his wits and started after hi foe. Then began a chase around the house, which wa about twenty feet square. After going around twice without catching sight of th blacksmith, Pray turned and took the opposite directio to the one he had been following. Thi s soon had the effec t of precipitating matters. Each turned one of the corne rs at the same time, pis t in hand. As they came together, both fired. The blacksmith was shot through the heart, while Pra received hi s adversary's bullet in the arm. After halting long enough to t i e a handkerchief aroun the wonncl and stanch the flow of b l ood, Pray wheei and went toward the yard where l}e had l eft the Jam boys. He found them engaged in tying Sam Lane, the d tective, hand and foot. They had not succeeded in Qvercoming the brave ma hunter without a struggle. "Kill the spying hound," advised Hank Pray, fierce "If you don't, you'll regret it." "Don't you fear ," returned Jesse Jam es, quietly. "H get his deserts, sure enough. But we'll take him i n the woods and do the iob there." Pray was satisfied with this statemert. f :
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I THE JESSE JAMES STORIES. 3 and bore it into the bushes toward a spot where they had left their horses. They had not proceeded far, when the sound of h o r ses' h oofs was heard in their rear. The human burden was quickly dropped, and each 1an stood on the defensive. Soon the head of a horseman came into vie" As he saw the three outlaws, he exclaimed, excitedly: "Here they are, boys. Come on." Crack! and a bullet from Jesse Jam es' pistol toppled 1irn from his saddle. The outlaws saw a score of mounted men close behind he man who had fallen, and at a word from Jesse James hey left the trail, and took to the bushes . The pursuers turned and plunged through the trees ft er th em. Half an hour passed and Sam L ane was wondering hat had become o f both friend and foe, when h e saw omething crawling toward him from the stump of a ee which made !Jim s hi ver and turn pale with terror. It was a rattlesnake of the largest size. Lane rolled over until he brought up aga,inst a tree. The rattlesnake followed him. Before he could make another movement, hi s nostrils ere assailed by a pecuEar and most o ffensive odor. The snake had crawled upon his breast, and with head d tail erect, was looking into the h e l pless man-hunter's es. L ane drew a deep breath, and gave him se lf up for l ost. At that moment a c rackling sound in the bushes was ard, a nd one of the party of pursuers rode into the ail. An exclamation of horror escaped him when he saw ne's awfnl !1eril. He had hi s rifle in his hand, but h e dared not fire for r of shooting the detective. And yet he knew that if he did not kill th e s nake it uld dash it s fangs into the unfortunate man' s neck. Whil e both men were parti ally stupefied with f e ar, and ile th e snake was coiling to stri ke, the bushes again rted and another actor appear ed on the scene. It was a dog, a thoroughbred Irish setter, with keen, elligent eyes. n an instant it saw the bound detective 's peril, a nd, uchin g with its belly close to the ground, slowly crept ard the snake. he latter watched eve ry movement of the se tter. as if ealized that a duel to the qeath was approaching. n came the clog, creeping slowly as a snail. he horseman looke d on with bated breath. he encl soon came. hen within fiv e f ee t of the snake, the setter made a of almost lightni11g-l ike rapidity. 1 e bound was so sudden that the snake had no time rike, and, before the two men could realize w hat happened, the reptile was torn to shreds. am Lane was in a faint when the horseman sprang 1 the saddle, and bent over him. CHAPTER II. 'fHE JAMES BOYS MEET A FRriNo. Two weeks later, Frank and J esse James were in Sag uache County, Co l orado. They had succeeded in eluding the Missouri officers, but Hank Pray had been captured by Sam Lane a week ,before, while he wa s out on a scouting expedition. The James boys had r eso lved to rescue him but not until they h ad made one ra:id, and r ep leni s hed their purses After visit in g a little mining camp in disguise, the y had l earned that the stage from Claytonia to Pleasant Grove wo uld carry a vY
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THE JESSE Jl\MES STORIES. "I am going to convert that terrible man," said the clerical strang.er, firmly. "Let me once get into his ca mp, and I will speedily convince him of the error of his ways." The ladies shook their heads. "He will murder you before you can open your mouth," said.one. "Last Sunday he weat into a church, and made tqe preacher stand on his head," said the other. The stranger smiled grimly. "He would not have made me stiind on my head," he replied, with confidence, "for I would have s aid one little word which would have caused him to fall to his knees and--" "And what is that wordl?" interr-ogated the lady who had last spoken. "Manulita." "That is a woman's name." "It is and she 1s the only woman that Juan ever lov ed. She died last month in my arms, and her last words were: 'See my Juan and implore him for my sake to give up his evil life .' The ladies looked at th eir companion with new in terest. I may find him before we reach Pleasant Grove," he continued, after a pase. The faces of the two ladies became suddenly pale with fear. "Oh, goodness!" exclaimed one, "I hope he won't stop the stage." "If he does," said th e other, faintly, "I will be the most miserable woman alive. "Why?" asked the stranger, his voice vibrating with kindly sympathy. "Because I have in rny possession over twenty thousa nd dollars in greenbacks, which I am taking to my hu&band at Pleasant Grove. It's money to buy a mine." The re ensued a short period of silence. Then the stranger said, as he fixed his dark eyes on the woman's face: "I can save you from robbery." "How?;; "Give the money to me, and it will be safe. Juan wou ld not harm a hair of the head o f the man who was kind to hi s Manulita." At this moment the voice of Missouri Ned reached the ears of the inside passengers. "That's a right pert place for a hold-up over yon," he said, "an' Juan-" "Here, take the money," said the woman, in great agi tation, as she took a pocketbook from her bosom. "And t a k e mine, too," added the other woman. "There is not much money in it, o nl y a few hundred dol lars, but I don t want to lose it." The stranger placed the pocketbooks in a small satchel by hi s side. He had hardly done so b efore the stage came to a sud den standstill, and these ominous words \'l'ere heard: ''Keep your seats and do as we tell you, or we'll blow your brains out." The clerical stranger started at the command. Then he looked out of the side window, arid saw two masked men standing in the road. One had his pistol pointed at the driver s head; the . other stood facing the stage with his weapon pointed a the door. "Throw down the box, O rdered the highwayman, wh1 had the door covered. Missouri Ned lost no time in obeying. "Now, wooden-nutme g, tumbl e down out of that." Josiah Tewksbury, who had J)een shaking lik e a aspen, was so prompt in complying th .at he fell all in heap at the highwayman's f eet "Spare my lif e," he cried, piteously, "and I'll clew thing yew want me tew." "you will, eh? Then pack that box down to the ben. and s it on it till I come to you." "All right, mister." The Yankee took up the express box, and staggen with it to the point indicated. While the road-agent was thus occupied, the other w attending to the in s ide passengers. "Get out of there, all of yo u," he called out, harshly_ moment after the stage stopped. The clerical s tranger, with a curious smile on his fal was the first to alight. Then he ass i sted the two ladies to the ground. "Throw clown your weapons, Mister Man," co manclecl the highwayman with his eyes fixed sternly the clerical stran ger, ''and th e n elevate your hands." "I ani. a mini ste r of the gospel," returned the latt boldly "and if I lift up my hands it will be to pray ti your wicked heart may be softened. The highwayman gave a quick start at the sound the stranger's voice and then looked at him keenly. "You're a parson, eh?" he said, slowly "I am ." "And what might be your handle?" "Cole ." "Great Scot! Not--" In hi s excitement the robber might have utterer name that was known over the length and breadt!\ America, if the other had not quickly interrupted. "Yes, I am he, the g reat evangelist of the Southw And now I \vill raise my hands and you may take filthy dross that at present cumbers my unfortunate son. "No, no," said the woman who had given him twenty thousand dollars, in a l ow but excited vd "Remember what yo u promised." ''.Ah! yes, I had forgotten r was to s p eak the word, 'Manulita.' "Yes, yes "But this evi l man 1s not One-eyed Juan. American." "Dear, deq.r and must I los e that money? Can't -can't you think of another word that will fit his and make him leav e us?" "Come, come," spoke up the highwayman, impatie "if you haven't any weapons, point your dukes sky and quit jabbering." The clerical stranger looked reproachfully a masked man, and then raised his hands over his he "You are a hardhearted son of evil," he said, \\ sorrowful int o nation "and I doubt if I should be a convert you if I had you alone." The highwayrnan was advancing toward the s for the purpose of searcl,iing him, .when the w

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, TtlE JESSE JAMES.STORIES. whose twenty thousand dollars was at stake, threw herself before him and barred his progress. "Don't, don't," she almost screamed; "he's got my money, and--" "He is runn1n' away with it," quickly interrupted the robber. This was the truth, for at the moment the woman stepped between him and the man in the mask, the cleri cal stra11ger turned on his heel and ran like a deer down the road in the direction of Josiah Tewksbury and the treasure-box. Crack, crack! went the highwayman's pistol, but none of the shots reached the body of the fugitive. "Trust in me," he shouted over his shoulder to the woman, 'for I am a runner from Runncrville." Queer words these for a clergyman to u se, but to the woman's unsuspicious ears tney were blessed words of encouragement. To her surprise. the masked robber did not attempt to pur tie the flying man. "Never mind," he said, when he saw the fugitive dart into the bushes a few rods from Tewksbury, "we've got the express box, and I reckon that'll satisfy us." The other highwayman, who had in the meantime been holding his pistol on the driver, now gave this quick, sha r p order : ''Get in the stage, girls, and then you, driver, set your nags a-going for the Grove." i\fhen the stage had gone. the two knights of the road' hurried quickly to the treasure-box. Joshiah Tewksbury still sat upon it, for he had not dared to run away, being within pistol range. "Good boy," said the robber, who had sent him up the road. "You might have skipped out and didn't. And now you shall have your reward. I won't go through you .. "Thank yew," returned the Yankee, faintly. "Yew're very kind." "So git, vanish, vamoose, clear out, cut sticks, take yoll'rself away." Tewksbury rose up, and started up the road. "Not that way. Take to the vvoocls, left-hand side and keep on going for an hour. If you fail. and turn about, I'll hunt you up and carve your liver. Understand?" "Ye-yes. I dew, mister." "Then do as I have t-0ld you." Josiah Tewksbury dashed into the brush, and was seen no more by the two highwaymen. 'Vhen he had gone, the clerical stranger stepped into the road. "By the great horn spoon!" he exclaimed, in joyous ac cents; "but I never expected to meet you fellows here. Frank, Jess, put it there." Then Cole Younger shook hands with his old comanions. -"Where did you drop from, Cole?" asked Jesse Jam es. ''I'll tell you later. Let's get away with this box first." It was quickly broken open with a hammer which rank James produced, and the contents, amounting to 1pwar d of ten thousand dollars, were speedily disposed f. ''I've got twenty thousand dollars that will go to swell the pot," said Cole Younger, as they started away. "Got it from the woman who made the kick." "Got any more?" "Boodle?" "Yes. "How much?". "Five thousand or so. And not onlv have I that in hand, but I've got a scheme in my head 'for getting away with two hundred thousand." How?' "Looting the county treasury at Hangtown." "That's a risky job, Cole," remarked Frank James, with a shake of his head. "No, it isn't. Wait till you hear what the la yout is. I'll open up when we get to a safer place." That night the outlaws camped in ;the hills, far away from the scene of tJ1e stage robbery. When supper was over, and pipes were li ghted, Cole Younger began to talk. ''I came to Colorado, boys," he said, "because things were getting mighty hot for me in Missouri A week ago I landed at Devil's Gulch, a little mining camp in Custe r County, in the role of a preacher. "I hadn't been half a day in the camp before I learned that Jim Miller, Clell's cousin, was in Hangtown. He used to be a gambler, you know, and a fi;end qf ours. "Well, he'd come to Colorado to better his fortunes, and, being a slick coon, he had \.Vorkecl his points on some of the old-timers at Hangtown, so that he was given a position as night watchman of the courthouse before he had been in town three months." "Diel you see him?"" asked Jesse Jam es. "l\ o, but I ran across Neel Carnes, an old pard of his, who gave me the business. l\ed was down to bed rock and had no show of working the miners at Devil's Gulch or Ha11gt-0nw, either, for all the players were dead on to his tricks at poker. "When I met him, he was sweeping out saloons for his hash and gin, and was so disreputable-looking I never would have known him but for his "He said that Jim Miller had got into a game with a judge-a high-up coon in Hangtown-and had fingered the pasteboards so well that at the end of a couple of sit tings he left the j uclge broke and ten thousand dollars in his debt, besides. "The judge didn't take his medicine coolly, but tried to blow his brains out. Jim interfered just in time, and then told the judge that he would give him back his note for ten thousand and half the gold he had won, if the judge would use his influence to have him appointed night watchman at the courth-0use. "The judge consented. Jim had other workers, and be tween the kit of them they got Jim in." "What was his object in seeking the place?" queried Frank James. "To rob the county treasury and skip out. What else? But I think we three will have a hand in tha t racket." "You bet," said Frank James, emphatically. "If we do, we'll fix it so tlrnt Jim win come out all right. We'll work the old game by binding and gagging him, and leading the Hangtownites to think that he was an innocent party." Jesse Jam es nodded his head.

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6 THE JESSE JJ\MES 'STORIES. "It can be done, Cole," he said, "if you are in a posi tion to go boldly into Hangtown as the parson'." ''Why can't I?" "Because the woman who lost the twenty thousand will light down on your 'backbone the moment you show your face in the town. Cole Younger's face fell. ''That's so."' he admitted. "You can queer that game, though." "How?" "By giving up the twenty thousand." Cole Younger shook his head. "I am not in the habit of making donations of that kind. It's not in my line." "But remember \\hat you will probably gain by the operation. Two hundred thousand dollars--" "Yes, yes, th:it's so." ''Besides. yon'!! make yourself solid with every man, ,,oman, and child in Hangtown by returning the money. See?" "Don't I?'' nibbi:1g his hands. "It's the bo ss scheme, sure." ''And the story yeti \\ill tell about the way you circumvented the robbers will make YOU the hero of the honr. You might work in a fight \\:ith them-us. you understand-that "ould add to the sensational inter est of the narrative." "Leave me alone for giving the jays a fill," said Cole Younger, with a confident smile. "You had better set out in the morning, for if you \';aited longer you might be arrested before you got there, and then your yarn wouldn't hold water," said Frank James "I'll go you one better bY out to-night." "Do you know the way?'' ''I can find it." "Then go ahead." ''I'll have the thing fixed inside of t\yenty-four hours, ai1d then hunt you up .. "If yo u don't find us here, we '11 work around to you, nevl'r fear." An hour. later Cole Younier was on his way to Hang-town. Next morning, while at breakfast, the James boys saw a large body of men approaching-. "The officers," said Jesse, as he jumped to his feet. The outlaws were high up on a hill and could see 1.heir pursuers '-Vithout being seen themselves. There were over twenty men in the posse. At their head rode the Sheriff of Saguache Cou'f1ty. The James boys hurried away through the bushes, crossed the mad, got clown into a deep canon, and fol10\\'ecl it until they found them selves in a little valley. At night they came in sight of a ranch. :1.11d saw a number of horses in a field about ::i quarter of a mile from the house. "Tired of walking, Frank?'' said J essc Jam cs. ''Slig-htly." we'll ride. then.'' Thev went into tl{e field, and after a little while succeeded in capturing a horse apiece with the aid of ropes they found where a couple of colts had been staked out. lt was so early that no occup:111t of the house had yet come out. Jesse James looked at the barn, which \\'as nearer to them than the house, and said: "I'll bet there are saddles in the r e." ''Let's ride up and get them, then." Jesse James was right. \i\Thile Frank held the horse he went mto the11 safe at an old houso. U j hi!! ..

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THE JESSE JAMES STORIES. 7 -"Cole you're a brick," was Frank Jam es' enthusiastic comment. They soon eparted, in order that Younger might give his attention to some matters with his pseudo religious calling, with the understanding that they should meet at the old house at midnight. -As the James boys moved up the street. a man, who had been one of olc Younger's congregation, cautiously followed them. He saw them enter the house. and then he hastened rapidly toward the residence of the sheriff. That officer was not at home. -"He "on t be here much before midnight," said his wife "for he has gone into the hills with the constable and a force of men to look tor the James boys." ''Too bad.'' said the man. "\Vhat's the matter?" asked the sheriff's wife. ''A little business in liis l ine,'' was the evasive reply. ''I'll come again at half--past eleven The man was a :.\lissourian, named Billv Haines. He had attended the revival meeting had recognized Cole, 1.-ounger through his disguise. and overheard the conversation between Younger and the Jam es boys, and had made up his mind to secure help and capture the out l aws "If I don't get the sheriff's help. I'l1 raise a crowd of miners,'' \\as his conclnsion. as he left the officer's house. At half-pastele\'en he returned. The sheriff \\ as till absent. He waited fifteen minutes, and then hurried to a miner's boarding-house. At twelve o'clock Cole Younger entered the house on the hill, and. after a short consultation with the James boYs. the three set out for the courthouse. The streets were deserted, and whe n they arrived at the side entrance. Jim Miller was found awaiting them in the c\oorway. He \Ya ui-prisccl and delighted to see Frank and J c.ssc Jam es .... "The racket will work to a charm 110\1 ."' he said. He allowed him eif to be bound gagged after he had had a pretended struggle with the outlaws. and had received a number of slight bruises. The safe \\'aS an old-fashioned affair. and did not long res i st the operations of the burglars. hen the big door was swung open, and the piles of gold and silver and greenbacks 1\ere revealed to their gaze. Jesse James rubbed his hands in satisfaction. "Thi s is the big-g-est haul we have ever made." he said. "We haven't made it yet." remarked Frank James. "Just the same. old bo". for if we once g e t into the hills \\'ith it. we're hunky_" The outla\\'S hle Youngrr. If they could gct the plunder safely in tbe wagon, a n d could start from town without bei n g no t iced, th e rest would be easy. Jesse James, v\ith his sack, was i n adva n ce as the three outlaws started to leave the building. Arrived at the door by which they had entered, they met w i th an unpleasant surprise. It would not open after ii: had been un l ocked Some obstruction had been placed on the outside. "V./e have been spotted," whispered Co l e Ymmger, as he deposited his sack on the floor. 'Sure," responded Jesse Jam es "It can't be that the sheriff has done t h is," Cole Younger went on "for he'd h e 11kely to l et tts get out of doo r s and then riddle us with bullets." "\i\/ho can it be. then?'' queried F rank James "Some coon who is after a divvy, I'll bet a hat," said Jesse James. All this t i me not a .sou n d had been heard from the outside. After waiting for a few minutes. he started empty handed for the other door at the fro n t of the building. The bolts "ere shoved back, and the key was turned in the lock. "It's life or death, likely," whispered Jesse James, grimly; "but we'll have to take the chances. As I open the door, you two be ready with your revolver ." "A 11 right," spoke Frank James and Cole Younger to g-ether . Jesse James opened the do o r quickly. The nig;ht was not so dark but what they could see the street plainly. '\o one was in sight. Jesse James stepped out boldly. His companions followed him after closing the door. Around the building they went cautiously until they came to the side entrance. The door, which had resisted their effo r ts, was held shut b1 a heavy iron crowbar. They looked in all directions, but could find no one. "This is strange, said Jesse James, "very strange. I don't like it a hit." ''I've got ii." said Cole Younger. "The that put the crowbar the 1-c has g-one to get help: he thought he ha
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8 THE JESSE JAMES STORIES. "They have escaped," he said, in a rage, "but they can t be far, for I have not been a:bsent from the courthouse more than ten minutes." Around the building went the Throtgh an open lpt, and running in a direct line for the house on the hill, were the three outlaws. They had covered half the distance when they were dis covered. With a shout the miners dashed after 'them. "V.f e can't make it," puffed Co l e Younger, "for the_y can take two steps to our one. W e'v e got to fight for the money or give it up." "Then fight goes," said Jesse James, as he threw his sack down and drew out a brace of revolvers. I-;Iis compa ni ons followed his ex;ample. The first shots were fired by the outlaws. The miners, with three of :their men disa:bled, came to a standstill. Crack! crack! sped the bullets from each side. Billy Haines, with a bullet in his side, turned and ran. Several of the miners followed his example. The outlaws now advanced on their foes. A ll had thus far escaped unhurt. Halfa-dozen miners made a stand against them, and Cole Younger fell, sorely wounded, in the fusillade of bul let s that marked the outlaws' approach. "Give it to 'em, Frank," shouted Jesse James. as he sprang over the body of his comrade. "Let's kill every last one of 'em. "All right, Jess," was the fierce response, and amid a leaden hail, in which they seemed to bear charmed lives, they rushed upon the little band of miners. Only three were on their feet when they arrived at arms' length, and of the three two had their hands held over their heads in token of submission. Billy Haines had not informe d them that the burglars at the courthouse were the James boys' gang, fo r fear that they would back out of the undertaking. Therefore, when they heard the brothers addressing each other as "Frank" and "Jesse" their courage oozed out at their finger-tips. The miner who had not h eld up his hands was too greatly overcome by fear to make a movement. A bullet from Jes se James' revolver stretc hed him be side his fallen compan i ons. "No\\'," said Frank James to the two miners whose hands were in the air, "obev our orders, and your liv es s hall be spared. Forward, 1i1arch." He pointed toward the sacks. The miners promptly obeyed. J esse James reliev e d them of the ir weapons as they marche d along. Cole Younger was trying to rise to hi s feet when they reached him. Frank J ames gave him his arm. and supported him to the sacks. Each miner was ordered to take up a sack. J esse James managfd the third. The march 1vas then taken lo the old house, and beyond it to th h orse and wagon. As the of plunder 11erf being deposited in the wagon, Joi.id s!: :.,uts ckiwn tile street gave warningthat the citizens had been aroused, and that another attad( might be expected if they remained where they weE"C Cole Younger was lifted into the bed of the wago!l, bleeding profusely from a wound in the side, Fran'.--: James taking his place beside him. Jesse James gave the horse a cut with his whip just as the mob of citizens hove in s ight, and at a gallop toward Claytonia went the outlaws and their plunder. Half-wayto Claytonia they saw coming toward them a band of mounted men. It was the sheriff of Saguache County and a posse returning from the hills a.fter an un successful hunt after the outlaws. "It's the s heriff, sure," said Cole Y (..._,nger "for he went in this direction." Their situation was a desperate one. .Behind them wer e .the cit izen s of Hangtown, before them a larger fo r ce of armed men, intent upon their' captre. What to do, was the question Jesse James' quick brain soon evolved a scheme that promised a way out of the difficulty. "The sheriff knows you, Cole," he said, "as a revival ist. "He thinks a heap of me, Jesse." "Good. And he won't likely spot Frank and me, for we are disguised, and in the best of company-yours. See?'' "Yes, yes." "Now, we'll shove these sacks to the front. the seat, put this blanket I'm sitting on over them, and when ibhe sheriff and his men come up you can give them some kind of a fill. Think you're clear-headed enough to do it?" "Yes. Frank has fixed up that hole in my side, and I reckon I can play well for a few minutes." "All right, then." "Hold on a jiffy, put in Frank James. "Thip snap may work, and again it may not. Let's take out the greenbacks and hide 'em about our persons, so in case we're obliged to l eave the sacks we will be one hundred thousand dollars in anyhow." "Sensible idea, said Co l e Younger. After the greenbacks were removed, the sacks were dis posed of as suggested-by Jesse James, and Cole Younger was sitting up in the bed of the wagon, with his back against the seat, when the sheriff and his posse met them. "Hello. Casson," called out Younger. "What luck?" The s heriff heard the false revivaJ.ist's vo i ce, anrl at once answered: "Bad luck. The rascals are sharper than weasels. But "here are yon going at t his time of night?., "To Yank's, beyond Clayto nia I have arranged to hold a meeting there to-morrow night. and, to get there i n time, I h ave g-ot to make .an all-night journey. These gentlemen .. -indicating Frank at'1d Jesse J ames-"are the committee fro m the Pine H ill di s tri ct. who have the matter in charge. They came for me while I was exhorting in the dancehouse a few hours ago. This explanation satisfied the and he was abo 'ut to order his men to move on, when one of them, an old rnounta:neer. named Jacks spe,.ke up. ''These chaus are from Pine Hill. are they?"

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'f.HE JESSE JAMES STO RIESo r ..::.; "Yes," said Cole Younger, boldly. "H'm. And what mout be their names?" ''Jake and Bill Johnson The mounta ineer rode up close to the vvagon and tinized the countenances of the disguised James boys. "Johnson, eh? Thar's but one Johnson up thar, an' his name"s Pete." '\Ve're his nephews, just arrived from the East," said Jesse James, quickly. "When'd yer 'rive?" "Three days ago." "Been with ver unk all ther time?" "No, only 011e day." "What
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10 THE JESSE Jf\l\;iES STORIES. "How many can you get together ?" asked Jesse James. "Twenty." "Good. And will they be at the meeting to-night?" 'Yes. And you musf be there, too, to take the leadership." The Giraffe soon afterward took his leave of the out law. At eight o'clock that evening Jesse James was in a large roam ih a lonely frame house in Coyote Cafion. Around him were grouped twenty muscular and sternfaced men. The Giraffe had already given them a name. "These," he said, with an air of pride, as Jesse J ame s entered the room, "are the Black Agents. of Saguache." outlaw chief soon had the names of the twenty by hear t, and the smile that lit up his dark face as he gazed at them evidenced his satisfaction at their appearance. One---'he had been the Giraffe's a favorite with him at once. He was a blond Her-cules, with a face as smooth as a baby's. His name was John Staples, bl.lt he was known to his companions only as Big John. Cal Fiske, lean, cadaverous, and loose-jointed, with but one eye and a hawk nose, soon stood second in the bandit chieftain's estimation. He was a Missourian, and had served with the Young ers before their affiliation with the James boys. "We kin do ther trick,'' was his emphart:ic comment when the plan of rescue had been fully outlined, "ez easy ez rollin' off a log." "It will be no easy job," remarkec1 Big John, slowly, and with :his eyes fixed thoughtfully on the floor, "but we'll make it, though, I'm positive." Jess e James lit a cigar and took a few puffs before re plying. "It's the boldest game that has even been tried in Colo rado," he remarked, "and if it doesn't make the biggest sensation of the year in this neck o' woods, then I'll be a right smart peg out of my reckoning." He arose to hi s feet-he had beensitting on a bench-and gave his final instrnctions-. -> "Our work must be quick, to be sure," were his v.rords, "and the first ran that shows the white feather, I will shoot down in his tracks." The scheme proposed was indeed a bold one Hank Pray, who had cut a wide swath of crime in Colorado before his association with the James boys, had already been tried for murde r at Saguache, but would be brought to Bullion City the next morning to receive his sentence. The removal from Saguache to Bullion City had been ordered by the court for th e reason that the jail at the latter place v.ias larger and stronger. Fears of a rescue had also prompted the court to defer sentence of death until the criminal had been l odged in Bullion City jail. This little arrangement was easily made, for the judge had a traveling circuit, and could hold court in any town he pleased within his jurisdiction . The band of Black Agents was about to disperse, after the conference at the lonel v house, when Liz Pi"av burst in upon 1'hem, trernbling with exciterrent. I ;i. She was smal l in stature, but as lithe and. supple as a panther, and could stand as much hard sej-'{ice saddle as the average man, while as for the_ .. of a rifle or revolver, not a cowboy in th West cofd surpass her, : Her raven-black hair, her dark, oval face, her flashing black eyes, and her wild passi o nate nature, b e trayed the Indian blood which had come from some ren1ote ancestor among the Cherokees. Her story was a startling one. She had bee n up the cafion in the afternoon, and,. while laving her hands in the cool stream which flowed through it, had been surprised and captured by Sam Lane, the de tective. Being much of the time alone. she had got into the habit of talking to herself, and before the detective showed himself she had said enough to inform him that the rescue of her borther was to be attempted on the morrow. Lane carried his captive to. a deserted cabin near by, bnt while he was binding her with cords1 a friend came to her aid in the person of a mountaineer who had _agreed to becor:1e a membei: of the band of Black Agents. A blow with a club had knocked the detective senseless. Jesse James was for going to the cabin instantly -and. putting a bullet through Sam Lane 's head. But Liz Pr
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l'HE J ESSE JJ\MES STORIES. It did not t ake many minutes to bring every man in the saloon to the cowboy's way of thinking. There was a' peculiar smile on his face when he found that the scherr.e that had induced his enrance into the saloon was likely to succeed. "Sett 'em up again, barkeep, he called jovially, "an' put out ther strongest whisk you've got in ther shebang." A'fter the second round of drinks had been disposea of, the cowboy marshaled hi.s forces in the dancehall at the rear. Thirty-two men, strong, active, and determined, the flower of Bullion City, so to speak, stood before him. Sinking his voice almost to a whisper, he thus ad dressed them : "My plan, gentlemen is this: Ter seize ther skunk the minute he leaves ther courtroom. arter ther sentence. Snatch him bald-headed, you understand, when he gets to ther st eps that go down to ther street. \Vhat do you think of it?" "It's the b oss plan," spoke Toothpick Joe, the sport, "and we'll call the turn on him in a minute." The cowboy again smiiled a peculiar smile. ''I thought l'd hit ther bull s-eye," he said, with satis faction. "Now"-speaking quickly and seriously "there's only o ne .i-1-fe way of working ther -snap and gettin' dead shet a hitch, an' that's te r keep away from the courtroom until ther time fer action comes. "But how will we know the time?" obj ectecl one of the miners, "if we are not in courf -when the se ntence is pro nounced." "Leave that part of ther peppergrain ter me," answered the cowboy, quickly. "I'll be in court, and I'll give ther signal for you an ter come forward." Another miner growled OU't something about not seeing the sense of such a proceeding. I'll make you understand the sense of it," said the cowboy earnestly, "when I tell vou that ther sheriff has got an idee in his noddle that a vigilante gang is goin' ter crowd ther courtroom an' make a break for Pray when ther jedge gits -through with his sentencin' chin music." "That alters the case, then," rejoined -the miner. "Of course it does, and w hen ther sheriff finds ther courtroom with but a slim scatterin' of Bullionites in it, he 'll come to ther conclusion that he's been dead off his nut erbout ther vigilantes, an' so will take things easy. By ther way," he added, a s if the idea had just occurred to him, "thar's a hall h ya rabouts I reckon?" ''Yes; two doors below is a hall the Masons intend to occupy -in a few days," said Tqothpick Joe. 'Good!" "It is vacant now and the janitor-Jim Barnes, there" -pointing to one of fhe crow-d-"has the key." At half-past nine the cowboy and his crowd of vigi lantes were in the hall. Fifteen minutes later two men, sent out on a proselyting expedition retnrned with fifteen converts. The majority of th e prominent men of the place were now congregated in one spot, under the leaders hip of a total stranger. The peculiarity of the situation did not strike any of so intereated! were they inthe cause of Judge Lynch, until the sensational occurrences o.f tne day w ere in full bla&t. At five minutes to ten o'clock the cQiWboy left the hall. Toot hpick Joe, the sport, accompanied him to the door A few w'hispered words and they parted. The crowd in the hall heard the key turn in the lock but supposed it was the act of Toothpick Joe. In -this they were mistaken. The cowboy had turned the key from the outside, while the sport stood facing t'he lock from the inside. As he walked away -the cowboy chuckled softly. "Pretty slick, if I do say it, he said to himself. "I haven't done any acting lately, and there / was a good chance of failure before me when I staljted in. But it's all right now. I've got the men I had. feared most cor raled in a hall which they won't likely escape from until the work is in good shape or over, and now nothing re ma ins but to go into the cq,r-troom and wait for the chance to strike." The cowboy was Jesse James, but he had di'Sguised him_ self so well that he passed unnoticed by men w:ho had seen him frequently in the past As he entered the courtroom, which was but a block away from the Masonic Hall, Hank Pray was just rising t o his feet to receive the sentence of death in accordance with the verdict of the jury. Casting his eyes over the room, Jesse James saw -about fifty pers o ns seated on benches. Of these twenty-one were members of the band known as -the Black Agents of Saguache. "Hank Pray," began the judge in a grave, impressive voice, "you have been convicted of murder in -the wil-lful and malicious \killing of Holbart Jones, an express mes senger, while in the lawful discharge of his duty a-s cus todian of the treasure-box of 'his employer, and it now bec stood irresolute. Then, as he saw Sam Lane beckon to the sheriff, who was standing beside the prisoner, he made up his mind as to 'his course of action. Advancing quickly to the de tective's side, he rapidly whispernd: "I'm a new deputy -sworn in to help Casson, the sheriff, in case of a r escue. Come in here." He pointed to the open door of the jury-room beside which the detective stood. Lane saw the sheriff moving toward him and, unsus picious of treachery, stepped into the little room. Jesse James followed, and instantly closed the door.

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12. THE JESSE JAMES STORIES Crack! went his pistol, as Sam Lane turned his face toward him. This was the signal for the Black Agents to act. As the d.etedive fell to the floor with a bullet in his had missed his heart bv a hair's breadth-Big John jumped to his feet in the cou :rtroom and leveled hi s pistol at the sheriff, who was then within a few feet of the door of the jury-room. The Giraffe covered the jud, ge, while the nineteen re' maining Black Agents gave their attention to the lawyers and innocent spectators. But one man was brave enough to oppose this belligerent demonstration. That man was Casson, the sheriff, as plucky an officer as ever waged war against the criminals of Colorado. The wound he had received near Hangtown had been a slight one, and he had ooon recovered. His 'hand was on his revolver, and he would have fir .eel at Big John regar>dless of if Jesse James had not suddenly opened the door at his hack and dealt him a 'stunning bloiw on rthe head which stretched him senseless. Bending over the body of his victim, the leader of the bandits quickly abstracted a bunch of keys from his pocket. One of rthese fitted the handrnffs which ornamented the wrists of Hank Pray, the prisoner. As Jesse James hu "eel forward past the group of frightened spectators and the Black Agents, .who had them covered, rthe quavering voice pf the judge was heard gentlemen," he expostulated, "you must not do this. You must not take the law into your own hands and hang him. Do not molest the prisoner, and he will meet his just deserts at the appointed time." Jesse J burst into a harsh laugh. "I say, old mutton-head," he retorted, "you've ma de a big mistake. We're not going to make Hank play the leading part at a necktie party. Not by a large majority, old son. We're going to give him his freedom." "W1hat !" gasped the judge. "You don't mean to "Yes, I do, you bet your boots. Come, Hank, step this way and I'll relieve you of your bracelets." Bll't as the prisoner started forward to comply with Jesse James' request, the judge su
PAGE 14

THE JESSE JAMES STOR I ES; 13 confusion, ana make a bolt for the rear door, hoping fi'nd a horse outside which he could mount and make escape with. ummoning all his remaining strength, Lane ran to d him with a drawn revolver. 'Halt!" he hoarsely commanded, "or I'll scactter your ins over the pavement." {ank Pray came to a standstill. for not only was the ective in front of him, only a few feet away, but be d were several Bullionites, vvho were toward courthouse, to ascertain the cause of the shooting hin. ;vhen the prisoner had surrendered, Sam Lane turned 1 over to a couple of citizens, and then, with the ers, started for the rear door of the courthouse. esse James gave him one look, and then, with the cry, hoot the spy down, boys!" he let fly with his revolver. ane escaped instant death by clucking his head. fusillade of bullets from the weapons of the Black en ts quickly followed Jesse James' shot. he latter, with the sharp command, "Follow me, half ozen of you," made the next move by opening the nt door and clashing ont. e had reached the sidewalk with his men, and was in ht of the detective and his force of miners, when the r of Masonic Hall was burst open, and the crowd of llionites, who had been temporarily caged, rushed into street. At their head was Toothpick Joe. eceived by the false cowboy's smooth speech, he had sented to the locking of the door on the representation t it was a matter of expediency. But when the cries of excited citizens outside had ched his ears, telling him that he had been made a 1 by a friend of Hank Pray, his stocky frame trem d with rage, and he resolved to checkmate the false wboy-vigilantes' game, even if he lost his life in the empt. The door was beaten down and a rush to the court om was begun. Jesse James saw the on-coming force of enemies, nearly ty strong, and uttered a shrill whistle. Instantly the band of Black Agents came pouring out the courthouse. Realizing the gravity of the situation, they began to mp lead into Toothpick Joe's posse, at the same time ering wild and savage cries. when the battle upon the street opened, Jesse James cl his six agents ma
PAGE 15

14 THE JESSE JAMES S TOR I ES. As Si mon Hook's men: galloped down B u llion City's main street, Liz Pray's sharp eyes and quick brain took in the situatioo that was presented by the shouts and shots of t h e opposing groups near the courthouse. "Now, Uncle Simon," she sa:id, in a sharp, imperious tone, "we must git in an' show Jess an' Hank wharwe are good for." "Ther galoots in front of us need our 'tention fust, I reckon, Liz," he quickly rejoined. "Yes." She had her rifle at her shoulder an instant la ter, and o pened the ball for the moonshiners by sending a bullet thrnug;h a tali Bull ionite s head. Crack l crack l fqHbwed the rifles of her supporters, and the force of Toot hpick Joe, thus assailed from behind, broke ranks in confusion, and such as had escaped the bullets of t h e horsemen ran to the sheHer of the buildings on either side of the street. Jesse James was not idie during this sharp and effec tive demonstration in his favor. Placing himself at the head of the Black Agents, he drove the demoralized Bullionites "from pillar to po st, as the say ing is, and on l y desisted from his savage work w hen the main street of Bullion City was deserted, save for the presence of his own men, and the dead and dying of the enemy. But his victory had a s ting in it, for when he went ba ck to the spot where he had left the wounded detective and the dead Giraffe, the body of the latter only was found. Sam Lane had either been removed by some of his friends during the heat of the conflict, or had manaiged, unai decl, to reach a place of saf.ety. J es se James. with a black bro.w, searched the court house and the building.s adjace n t, b u t no trace of the man he so bitterly hated could be found. Liz Pray m e t him as he came out o f a saloon. Her face was pale, and he r teeth were tight se t but her eyes showed n o trace of weepin g "Jeems Starlight is dead," she said, in a cold monotone, "an I reckon you kn o w ther man thet killed h i111l" The Missouri outlaw had his 9wn opi n ion on the subject. but his hatred for the detective caused him to reply: "When I saw the Giraff e, fifteen minutes ago, he was lying on the body of Sam Lane." "Then Sam Lane's bit ther dust, too?" she cried, with an expression of acu te disappointment. "I clqn "t th ink so, Liz." "\iVhere is he, then?" she exclaimed, with eyes blazing with the ferocity of a tigress "That's what I'd give a th o usand dollars to know. I've been coking for him, but I can't find hide nO.r hair of the cuss." Liz Fray"s head sank upon her breast." Jesse James was regarding her pityingly, when she suddenly looked up. "I reckon I know whar to fi'nd him," s h e said, slowly. "vVhere is the place ?" "At his cousin's in ther next block. Ther cousin's a doc." "We'll go t h ere at once." As J esse James calle d t:he Black '.Agents and moon shiners tog-ethe r he saw armed m en runningfrom stores and houses toward the mar ketp la,ce, a few hundred yard below the Masonic Hall. He easily guessed what th e movement threatened. The Bullionites had been defeated in their opening ba t tie with the robbers, but they had rallied, and, with fres arms and new recruits, were preparing t o make a secol\ attempt to overcome Hank Pray's re s cu ers The fact that many of their kindred and friends ha been slain had much t o do with rousing them t o renewe endeavor to wipe out the gang of desperadoes who ha taken possession of the town. Toothpick J oe, wh o had escaped the bullets of th moonshiners, was the leader in the n ew enterprise, an when Jesse James turnecL his eyes toward the market place, the little sport had over fifty men ready to do h i bidding. The robber's force was smaller, but the reckless leade never hesitated for an instant as to wha.t course he shoul pursue. A few quick commands, and he w.as at the head of th Black Agents and moonshiners, and riding boldl y to\\iar the market-place. The capture of Sam Lane must be deferred. Toothpick Joe fired the first shot; and a Black Age turnbled from his h o rse and ceased to breathe. Then the shots came thick and fast, the fight ending i a terrific hand-to-hand struggle. This time the miners of Bullion City, who formed th! larger portion of Toothpick Joe's command, fought wit a c ourage and fearlessness that soon had its effect upo the onslaught of the foe. Horses were shot clown, and pistol, rifle and knife we r brought into play, a s the occasion demanded. In the thickest of the fight were Jesse James and Bi John. The former saw Liz Pray backed against the side of building w ith half a doz e n miners in fr ont of her, who desire seemed to be to take her alive, and he was about t 4 spring to her assistance when a pistol bullet struck hir1 in the neck, making a terrible wound, but luckily for hi not cutting the jugular or the windpipe. It was then that he thought of the d .rnamite bom 1 which he had displayed in the secret council of the Blad Agents. It was in his hand, and he had1 "'" heeled to hurl it at t h t force of miners in his rear, when a stone, thrown by 1 powerful hand, struck him or:i the back of t'he knocking him senseless to the ground. His assailant was Tooth pick Joe, and the game Jitth sport would have finished his work by making a bull e follow the stone, but for the quick interposition of Bi i John. Cal Fiske and Simon Hook came to his as sistance w'he1 he was being hard pressed, and the trio had succeeded i 1 beating back the mob of savage miners at the mome n that Jesse James fell. Big John struck Toothpick Joe down, and had the o u t law chief in his strong arms, and was looking about fu a place of temporary safety, when he 'heard the Bullionit e aboot Liz Pra.y utter a series of triumphant yells Hank Pray had been desperatel y at the begin ning of the second battle, but ha
PAGE 16

THE J E SSE JAMES S T ORIES. 15 ,encral merchandise store, which had been \'acated and losed when the sensational occurrences of the day opened where his sister had soon afterward retreated. Here he remained, discharging his revolver whenever Bullionite presented a good target, until his sister, hard ressed by the miners, reached the store door. "Now we've got yer, ye ornery little clev, il," shouted a ig miner, and pre sing forward, in reckless disregard of he pointed revolver, would have thrown his arms about 1er, had she not pressed the trigger as his hands were bout to touch her person. The bullet plowed through his brain, and he fell at 'her eet. dead. Quick upon the heels of the report, she threw her left and back and grasped the knob of the door, in the hope hat it might turn. It did not occur to her at this moment of desperate eed that her peril might be greater if the door should en to admit her. It was not locked, the proprietor being in such a hurry o get away from the locality that he had time only to lose it, and as she darted in a score of miners clashed fter her with triumphant cries. Half of their number ucceedef Jesse J anres and his four associates. The outlaw chief and Big John had not been injured to speak of by the explosion, but "hen they turned from a savage contemplation of the bodies of the miners to look at Hank Pray, they found that he was dead. "And all o' this racket's been fer nothin'," grumbled Simon Hook. "?\o, it hasn't," respondeid Jesse James, quickly, "for we've saved Hank from hanging, and we'll not leave Bullion City without taking Sam Lane along with us." As Liz Pray had shed no tears when she looked upon the dead body of her lover, so the fountain of her grief was not opened when she turned her eyes upon the white, inanimate countenance of her brother. "Time we war gittin' thar," he said,, grimly, as she relieved the person of one of the fallen miners of a re voher. "for thar's no tellin' what hi cousin mout do when this yer cloin's g-its ter his ears."

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1G :fHE JESSE Jl\MES STORIES. "Lead the way to the house, Liz," said Jesse James, quietly, "and we'll follow." The girl stooped to imprint a kiss on the cold forehead of her brother,. and then ran through the store. There was a rear door opening into an alley Tt vV'a s locl
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THE JESSE JAMES STORiES. 17 Lora Alleyn blushed slightly, but her voice was steady when she reolied: "i\Iy private affairs can't possibly interest you, for we are Let us talk of your mission to this house." "I\e got nothin ter say crl:-0ut that,'' said Liz Pray, snappishly. "\' ery 1rell, I can wait for the rcxplanation. which will come when all of your companions are in jail." 'on 'JI never corral any o them." "Jesse Jam e is already a prisoner. and"-looking out of the 1rindow-"there a dozen nf 1111 friends now o n their 1rny here. who will easily capture his associates." Liz Pray turned her face to tl!e 1rnll. Her thoughts 11erc gloomy ones. Her lov\:'r and her brother were dead, and she was a prisoner. A groan from an adjoining apartment caused her to look a::-ound. "Who s that ?" she as keel. 'i.lr. Lc.ne," ans1vered the deputy sheriff. "He's pretty badly used up, and is in t h e next r oom.'' Lora Alleyn. who had gone to her love r at the moment tl1e groan 1 as heard, presently returned. She abo11t to say something when t.he clatter of horses' hoofs without caused her to hasten to the window. "_\Ly cowbovs have come," she remarked, in some ex citeme nt, "and now for the round-up." Liz Pray wondered what had become of Big Jahn and her m:cle." She had heard no sounds from below since she had entered the upstairs room. Two explanations for the state of affairs came to her ind. One was that the two outlaws had met with some mis ortune, th e other. that they had seen the approaching owboys and had fled for their lives. After mature consideration, she discarded the latter hy othesis. 'Tain't like them,., she said to herself. "They r ouldn t desert Jess that vvay. No, they've struck a snag own below, but what it is I can't guess." A fusillade of shots turned her thoughts into a new hannel. The rowboys had met with a warm reception. Liz.Pray listened with all her ears, and her dark face lowed with a fierce joy vvhen she heard the shouts and ells of the outlaws. "Ye sed as how Jesse James war a prisoner," she exult gly cried "an' yit thar he is clown below a-gittin' in is work on your friends." The deputy sheriff gi.inned. "You 're mistaken, Miss Spitfire," he said, quietly, "for esse James is in there." He pointed toward the third door of the room, which as directly opposite to the one which opened into the ont apartment, now occupied by the wounded detective. The firing went on while this conversation was in regress. Lora Alleyn from the window saw that the cowboys d withclravm :to the shelter of a group of trees about hu;idr.ed feet from the house, for the purpose of arngmg for a new mode of attack. They had come from the Alleyn ranch in response to a telegram sen t by their fair employer immediately upon her arrival in the tow n. She had come to Bullion City that day on business, but before transacting it had stopped at the house of Sam Lar:-.:'s coi.Jsin, in order to ascertain if any word had been received from him since he had started out, a week be fore, on his campaign against the Black Agents. She arrived at the house a few minutes after Lew Adkins, the co usin, had brought the wounded detective from town in his cci.rt. Miss Alleyn had a private telegraphic wire from Bul lion City to her ranch, with connections at Adkins' h-0use and severa l other points on the way, and after her lov,er's \YOunds had been attended to, she sent off a dispatch re questing her foreman to get t ogethe r as many of the cow boys as he could, and to ride like the wind to Bullion City. The route which they traversed brought them to the rear of Adkins' house first, and they were fired upon when they came opposite the kitch e n door. The attack was so sudden and une x p e cted that the) were thrown into confusion, and, with the loss of three of their number, they retreated to the grove of trees to devise a plan for routing the unseen enemies T11e foreman of the cowboys saw Lora Alleyn at .the upstairs v,indow. By signs she gave him to understand that his cow boys had but two men to contend with. ile shook his h ead in such a positive manner that the fear seized her that the formidable Jesse Jam es had in deed escaped from room beyond h er. Turning from the deputy sheriff, whom she had sum moned to the h ouse for the purpose of protecting her lover, and who had remained upstairs at her urgent re quest, she asked him to look into the room where he had left the dreaded outlaw, and make sure that he was still there 'Of course he's there," was the deputy's response. "The room has no window but the skylight, which he can't reach, and there isn t a hole anywhere by which even a m ouse could get out." "I'll g ive yer leave ter throw me out er that thar win der," remark ed Liz Pray, complacently, "if ye find Jess James whar yer put him. Shucks!" she contemptuously add ed, "thar ain't a shme enuff jail in Colorado thet kin hold him." The deputy unlocked the door and entered the room only to give utterance to an exclamation of surprise and dismay. Jesse James was not there. "What did I tell yer," jeered Liz Pray, who would have followed the deputy had not a pistol in the hands of Lora Alleyn made her retain her position on the bed. 'Course he has, an' you was plumb crazy ter think he'd stay shet up in a old rattletrap like this here." The outlaw chief had not remained a prisoner more than five minutes. He had ascended the stairs and passed through the first room and on into the back apartment, the door of which was open. The moment he entered the door was shut upon him quickly, and locked. In the wardrobe of the room at the head of t11e stairs,

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1 8 THE JESSE J AMES STORiES. the deputy sheriff had concealed himself on hearing the outlaw's appro ach, and when he saw Jesse James ha ste n to the back room, he stole forward noiselesly and shut the dreaded enemy in, a prisoner. Both the officer and Lora Alleyn thought they had cause to congratulate th e mselves upon the step thus taken by the former, for the back room was supposed to have no outlet. Jesse James neither gnawed his teeth nor gave way to despair when he found himself caught in a trap, as it seemed. "You think you've got me," he grimly, "and perhaps you have. But until I know for certain that this room isn't escape-proof, I am not ready to fold my arms and take the medicine you have fixed for me The skylight was small, but it shed sufficient light for him to see his surroundings clearly. The room was unfurnished and bare Above him went the rafters of the gable, and on the sides the beams had no High up 011 the wall of the gable end he saw something which gave him a gleam of hope. It was a heavy beam, which projected several feet into the room, and was held firmly in place by a cross beam from rafter to rafter. "This has been the loft of a barn," was his instant con clu s ion, and that big beam must have its other end on the outside It was put in for th e purpose of raising hay from the ground." In Missouri, he had been raised, nearly every barn had a chute which ran from the loft to the manger in the stable He looked around for evidence that such a convenience had existed here, and speedi l y found it. In one end were a number of short boards, one by six, covering a space about three feet square. At the moment of his discovery, he heard the voice of Liz Pray in the room beyond, and knew that she had fallen into the hands of the party, or parties, who had caged him, while below, on the grouno floor, the voices of Simon Hook and Big John in excited conversation came to his ears "There's a whole mob of them coming," he heard Big John say, "and we'll be in a devil of a boat, if Jesse James doesn't show tip pretty soon "Suppose we go inside, and hunt him up," suggested Liz Fray's uncle. "And leave such a bully place for the defense as this? No, no, 'twon't do, Simon. The time is too short, for these cowboys be here in a minute Jesse Jam es' first impulse was to shout and let his com rades know where he was, and solicit their he lp, but his common sense quickly told him that such a proceeding would be dangerous in the extreme, for the moment that he raised his voice the parties who had imprisoned him would rush in and shoot him down. There was the possibility that he might prove more than a match for his foes, but he resolved not to resort to des-. pesate measures ttt'\til he had satisfied himself that he could not escape from the room in another way Whipping out his bowie knife, he began to cut and hack away at the bocirds which he believed had been n ailed over the mouth of the chute As soon as be had made an aperture suffi cie nt to admit his hand, he thru t it and using all his great muscular strength, tore the board off. In less th an a minute the others were wrenched from their places He had been correct in his conj e cture, for before him was the upp e r opening o f the chute. Without an instant's hesitation, h e backed into the hole and let himself slide clown. The distance was but seven or eight feet, and he landed in the manger with a crash. The click! click! of two revolvers in his near vicinity made him cry out quickly: "Don't shoot. It's Jesse James ." Big John uttered an exclamation of delight and, pull ing open the small door of the chute, assisted his l eader to the floor Jesse James saw that he was in what had once been the wide stall of a stable. It was now used as a storeroom, and was at the extreme rear of the house. Thither Simon Hook had gone, intending to enter the kitchen by that way, and thither Big John had followed him after he had seen Jesse James start for the rear by another route. The three outlaws had no time for explanations, for the cowboys from the Alleyn ranch were now but a few rods away. 'What fol!owed the nearer approach -:>f the force is known to the reader. When the cowboys had retreated, Jesse James startled his companions by informing them that he had left his Winchester at the front door-it having been deemed too cumbersome for inside work-and that he intended to go and get it. "There are twenty cowboys in that gang under the trees," Big John expostu l ated, "and you'll be within range of every rifle." "I'mgoing through the house, not along the outside John." "Then you'll run the chance of getting plugged from behind a door "I'll shoot at every spot that might hold an enemy." Refusing to allow either Bg John or S i mon Hook to ac company him, the bold and reck l ess outlaw passed from the stable storeroom into the kitchen. He had no idea, when he started on his errand, that his escape from the room above had been discovered. But the deputy sheriff had just left Jesse James' late place of imprisonment, and was descending the stairs, de spite Lora Alleyn's remonstrances, when the outlaw chie f opened the kitchen door. Two pistols cracked at the same moment. Jesse James' aim was the truer, and the brave office r tumbled down the stairs, where he l av motionless, with a bullet in his heart. The firing brougl{t Sam Lane's sweet heart to the head of the stairs. She gave one glance downward, saw what had hap pened, and then drawing the pistol which she always car ried, fired at Jesse Jam es' head. The bullet reached its mark, and the man of many crimes staggered forward a few steps, and then sank slowly down beside the l ifeless body of the deputy sheriff

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THE JESSE Jf\MES STORIES. 19 CHAPTER VIII. THE OUTLA w's WELCO:-.IE SURPRISE. Lora Allevn's shot was followed bv a terrific fusillade from withotit. The cowboys had rallied, half their forc e running on foot fr9m the front of the house, the other half on horse back, and led by the foreman, charging on the enemy at the rear. Big John and Simon Hook laid four of the assailing party low before either received a wound. Suddenly Simon Hook uttered a deep groan, and, pressing his hand to his side, staggered to a heap of sacks, and fell over them. "Hurt much, Simon?" asked his companion, without turning his head from the window, through which he had been firing in a stooping position, so as to keep his person concealed from view. "I reckon I've got the soup put inter me fer good, John," was the faint response. "I'm dern--" A bullet crashed through the wood work, and made him stop short in his speech of condo lence. \Vith a fierce oath, the stalwart outlaw raised his head, sighted a cowboy, and laid him low. Then he dropped to the floor to escape the rain of bul lets that followed. "Good-by, John. Tell Liz ter look out fer herself an--The voice of Simon Hook grew fainter, and his com panion, casting one glance in his direction, saw the Mis souri moonshiner slide from the pile of sacks to the floor. "Dead," the last of the B l ack Agents muttered, "and I'll be dead, too, unless I hustle out of here mighty l ively." Big John crawled to the kitchen door, opened it a little, and looked in. Lora Alleyn stood at the foot of the stairs with a pistol in her hand, looking down at the motionless and bloody form of Jesse .Ta mes, while on the first landing above her was Liz Pray, whose attitude and expression reminded the onlooker of a tigress about to spring upon her victim. She had not been bound, and >vhen Lora Alleyn, who had been standing guard over her during the deputy sheriff's absence, became startled out of her ordinary cau tion by the shot fired by .T esse James in the kitchen, and hurried from the room without a thought of her prisoner, the opportunitv came which the savage-minded brunette had been waiting for. She leaped forward toward Lora, who, however, dis covered her action in time to skip to one side, and Liz was precipitated to the foot of the stairs. Quickly regaining her feet, she dashed across the room oward a stove at one side. Big John's reappearance in the kitchen occurred simul taneously with the entrance of the last detachment of the ow boys. Liz Pray was behind the stove, with an iron poker in her hand, waving it viciously in the face of one of her enemies, and the two doors of the room were guarded. As the pistols of ttle cowboys and the reckless Black gent cracked, a most surprising thing occurred. Jesse James, who had been lying in the middle of the oom, seemingly dead, suddenly rose up, and, kuocking down a brace of cowboys who stood between him and Big John, began an exhibition of pistol practice that speedily les sened the number of his foes. The bullet from Lora Alleyn's pistol had not penetrated his skull, and he had simply been stunned by the shock as the ma s s of lead tore along his scalp and grazed the temporal bone. He had revived while Big John was hurrying up the stairs to put an end to Sam Lane, and, perceiving that Lora Alleyn was not looking at him at the moment, he put his hand quickly to the breast-pocket of his coat and brought out a flask of whisky. After taking a strong pull, he felt himself able, as he afterward expressed it, "to resume business at the old stand." He partially closed his eyes, and remained motionless when the cowboys burst into the room, and only jumped to his feet when Big John was attacked by them. With two revolvers in play, he managed to clear a pas sage to the door op ening into1 the main apartment. Big John, who had been wounded but slightly in the fight, followed close upon his heels. A few scattering shots whizzed by them as they hurried toward the front door. All the cowboys were now within the house, and the horses of some of them were. tethered to trees a short dis tance away. Jesse James and Big John secured mounts, and were in the road before Lora Alleyn's foreman, with half a dozen of his men, appeared at the rear of the house and opened fire. Jesse Jam es had secured his Winchester from under the porch, as he went out of the house, and he responded to the attack with a couple of telling shots. Then he put spurs to the horse he had stolen, and with Big John went galloping away in the direction of the hills. The cowboys gave a hot pursuit, but were unable to overtake the two outlaws. found them in a place of safety. Next morning both were so sore and weak from their wounds that they determined to remain where they were for twenty-four hours. Jesse James had not seen Liz Pray when he made his successful fight for liberty in the kitchen of Lew Adkins' house, for the reason that when the bullets began to fly thick and fast the girl dropped behind the stove, and got out of harm's way. But when the two outlaws reached their mountain re treat, and were resting after their long ride and exciting experiences, they discussed Liz Pray's case, and deter mined to attempt her rescue at the earliest possible mo ment. Two days later they reached the cabin where Jesse Jam es had left Frank James and the wounded Co.le Younger. No one was there but Frank James. "I was thinking of starting out for Bulfion City right away," he said, when his brother rode up, "for I'm feeling fine." "/here's Cole?" "Gone back to Missouri. He was pining fo get back among his kin, and Dent started off with him yesterday

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20 THE JESSE JAMES STORIES. Dent the owner of the cabin and a relative to Clell Miller. Three days later Dent r e turned. With him came Clell Miller and Jim Cummings. CHAPTER IX. TOOTHPICK JOE'S STRANGE PROPOSAL. Two weeks later. The discovery of new mines of unparall e led richness, so it was believed, at Bullion City, and the influx of hun dreds of sports, adventurers, and gold-seekers, had given the majority of the old inhabitants something to think about besides the bloody raid of Jesse James and the Black Agents. The saloons, dance-houses, and gambling hells were doing a l and-office" business, and money flowed in like water. One evening a dispute arose in Dan Lason 's joint be. tween the dealer at a faro game and one of the players. The latter, who happened to be Toothpick J oe, of whom the reader has had a previous acquaintance, saw the dealer make a peculiar motion, and he thereupon acted with the skill and promptitud e that always characterized his actions in cases of desperate emergency. His pistol was in his coat p ocket, and he fired without withdrawing the weapon. After the dead body of the dealer had been carried out, the game was resumed, a slenderly-built young man, with a light, silky mustache, and s hort, curly hair, of a hue that was a near approach to auburn, assuming the place of the dealer. The proprietor of the game was acting as lookout, in a chair standing on a platform back of the la yout. The curly-headed gambler was a str a nger to every one present, and had made his first appearance in the joint that evening. With the remark, in a soft, musical voice, that he could fill the dead man's place, he had coolly seated himself without asking the proprietor's permission. The latter, a tall thin sport, with a cadaverous coun tenance, and a hacking cough, which gave evidence that he was far gone in con s umpti on, merely smiled at the stranger's action. But he kept a close eye o n the stranger's movements after the game was resumed. The ca rd box had not been en1ptied before Dan Lason became satisfied that the new dealer thoroughly under stood his business. Had the game no t been a square one, Lason might have interposed a decided objectio n to the stranger's as sumption of a position that required n ot onl y knowledge of "brace" devices, but a skill and deftn ess in carrying them out calculated to deceive the aver:ige player. One man looked at the youthful dealer long and in tent ly. Then he went into the barroom and had a few words with a man of resolut e co untenance, who was reading a paper at one of the tables. "If Liz Pray has go t a brother living, Casson." he said, in a low voice, "then he is in th ere helping the boys who are bucking the tiger." "Hank was the only brother I eve r heard of, Lane," replied the man at the tahle. "Still," h e added, "she may J have half a dozen brothers, for t he family lived her e but a short time, and the old woman was mighty close-mouthed 1 ab o ut h e r affairs .. Step in and take a loo k at the fellow, and tell me how he stri kes you." The arose from his seat and walked to the open door of the faro room. The dealer started slightly when he glanc e d at the face of the o fficer, and then h e gave his whole attention to the card s Ca s s o n remained in the doornay for a few moments, and th e n beckoned to Tooth pick Joe. The little sport came OYer to the she riff and held out his hands with a light iaugh. "\iVant to arrest me I s u pp9se." "I'll have to, Joe, but I reckon the inquest will exonerate you." "Let m e play a while long e r, won't you?" "Go ahead." The sheriff returned to the b arroom and took the de tective into a corner. Sam Lane had nearly recov ere d from his wounds, though he was not capable of much exertion. He was l y ing in an unconsciou s condition at the head of the stairs wh e n Lora Alleyn found him at the conclu sion of the savage fight in the kitchen of her cousin's house between the cowboys and t he two outlaws, Jesse James and Big John The cattle queen, as she was known in Saguache County, did not once think of Liz Pray while she was bandaging her lov er's wounds anew, and assisting him to his room. It was only when s h e went down again to the kitch e n that she rem em bered the reckl ess and vengeful brunette. She was not in the kitch e n ; however, nor did a close search in every portion of the building reveal her pres ence. The cowboys who had escaped the fire of the outlaws had rushed ou t of doors when Jesse J ames and Big John had left the house. without remembering that Liz Pray 1 was hidden behind the stove. \i\ihen they had gone, and while Lora A lleyn was occu pied with Sam Lane upstairs, Liz had stolen out the back way, and, unperceived by the cowboys whose whole attention was then engrossed with the escaping outlaws, had glided to the s helter of the trees a short distanc e away and from thence to the bank of a small stream, where there was a der.se undergrowth. A rapid run of :l f e w minutes brought her in sight of a horse, saddled and bridled, which was cropping the grass near the river bank. It was the property of one of the dead cowboys, and had broken from its fastenings while the fight was going on in the house. l\!Iounting it, Liz Pray rode s wif tly away from the purlieus of Bullion City. only drawing rein when she reached a narrow trail which led deep into the heart of the mountains. Since her flight nothing had been heard of her, and Sh e riff Casson, when he was able to get about after his injnrv r eceived at the courthouse. expressed the opinion I that s h e had gone to Denver t o r ejoin her mother. a

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THE JES SE JAMES STOR!ES. 21 t \\las after midnight before the curly-headed dealer e from his seat. I reckon I'll quit," he said to Dan Lason. "My cleal has managed to clean out most of the boys, an' I've i a few cartwheels mvself." e tapped his pocket lightly as he spoke. Have a nightcap before you leave?'' said Lason, po y. Don't keer if I do." hey walked up to the bar counter and the dealer eel off a glass of whi.sky with the ease and satisfaction veteran guzzler. e was about to leave the bar, when a s udd e n thought ck him. I'll shake you for a twenty ," he said to Dan Lason hake goes. Put out the dips, barkeep." e dicebox was produced, and the curly-headed er, after covering the faro proprietor's double eagle, the box a light shake and threw out the dice. was a poker play, and the throw showed three sixes a pair of fives. etter bob, suggested Lason, with professional in st. lo, I'll shake to ther sixes, old son. Never had no o' luck a-bobbin'." iz Pray, for a thousand dollars," whispered Casson ane in a corner. "She has disguised her voice fairly but not enough to pull the wool over my eyes." t's Liz, sure," replied the detective, with positivehe person of whom -they were speaking now made he r nd throw. n exclamation of surprise burst from Dan Lason 's y the great horn spoon Two more sixes!" hich makes five altogether," quietly responded the dealer, "an' if you kin tie an invincible like that I'll ther crowd, an' chuck in er twenty fer ther benefit er church." n Lason shook his head. might try a thousand years and never do it," he e stranger had 'gathered up the dice for the ostensible ose of putting them in the box again, when Lason, -e eyes had been regarding the little ivory cubes in rious manner, suddenly reached out and grasped his rop 'em!" he said, it1 a stern, menacing manner. e stra11ger drew back his other hand to draw a pistol, it was seized by Sam Lane, who had come up ly the moment he witnessed the faro proprietor's nstrati on ur se you both ," hissed the youth, "for a pair of sy now," counseled the detective, "for you may be ng in a different key in a few minutes." ow dare you insult a gentleman in this beastly fash the stranger retorted. Do yer think I've been eatin' ?" n Lason, to whom the remark seemed to be especially ssed, made no answer, but he: roughly twisted the he held until he of the curly locks uttered a cry of At the same instant the fingers whicli liad clasped the dice relaxed. and the cubes dropped to the counter. Lason took th em up one by one, and examined them critically. "Every side shows a six," he sai d with ominous calm ness. "That 's worse than loaded dice. You rung them in on me pretty slide, mister, but you won't get away with the snap all the sa me." The stranger tried wrench himself from the grasp of the two men who, held him, but in vain. His wrists were held with an iron grip. ''What's yer programme?" he sneered, though his face was very pale. "Goin' ter put a bullet or a knife inter me?'' "No," said Dan Lason, slowly, "but I'm goirl' ter call in ther boys and ask 'em to assist me while I strip off them dandy clothes you've got on and treat you to a coat of tar and feathers. When that's done, we 'll tout out the brass band and ride you out of town on a rail." The stranger uttered a cry that was instinct with mortal terror, while his slight form trembled like an aspen. "I don t think you'll carry out youi" plan, Dan," said Sam Lane, quietly. ''Why not?" demanded the gambler, .in sut'prise. "Bec ause the cheat is a woman." 'Holy smoke! You don't say?" ejaculated Lason. "He speaks ther frozen truth," rejoined Liz Pray, or th e stranger was she, and she bowed her head upon her breast. "And she is the sister of Hank Pray," added Sheriff Casson, who had come up to the counter a moment be fore. The girl shot the officer one glance charged with con tempt and defiance, and then gave utterance to a peculiar yell. Sam Lane had heard it before and knew that it was the danger-call of Black Agents. Swinging Liz Pray around so that her person was in front of him, he turned his face to the door and drew his pistol. Six masked men rushed in an instant later. "Hands everybody!" the leader ca!led out, sharply, "or we'll convert this sheebang into a morgue in a holy minute. Sam Lane let drive with his revolver, but Liz Pray struck his arm the moment he pull e d the trigger, and the bullet struck the ceiling instead of finding an enemy's heart. The leader of the masked men, who was Jesse James leaped upon the detective before he could fire a scond time Dan Lason looked down the muzzle of Fran:k James' pistol, ahd, like a prtident man. held up his he:.:-: us. Sheriff Casson, in vocabu lary th e word fear had no place, got one s h ot, and that penetrated the brain of Lem Dent, and thus reduced the force of outlaws to five. As the desperado fell, the pistols of Big John Cl ell Miller, and Jim Cummings cracked, with the brave sheriff as a target, and the vindictive trio did not turn their at tention to other objects until Casson's body had been rid dled with bullets. Then the fight began, the gamblers in the faroroom made a rush for the door, but on seeing the masked men,

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22 'ifHE JESSE JAMES STORIES. and guessing thaf a raid for the purposes of robbery was in progress, hastily withdrew their persons from view, and closed and lotked the door. :rhere had been no firing after the death of Sheriff Casson, and the gamblers wondered what the masked des peradoes were doing. The keyhole afforded them no vie w of the present oc cupants of the barroom, for the door was in a corner ten feet or more from a line with the counter. The work that Jesse James and his men were engaged in consisted in binding Sam Lane the detective, and Dan Lason. the. faro game porprietor, with stout cords. Liz Pray, in he r disgi.1ise as the curly-headed sport, the ope r ation with fierce satisfaction. Suddenly the head of Toothpick Joe showed itself above the six-foot partition that separated the faro-room from the saloon. He and his companions were cornered, in case the ban dits took it into their beads to make a raid on them, for the faro-room had no window, and only one door-that which opened into the saloon. It was partially ventilated by means of the open space between the top of the partition and the ceiling. The little sport caught the eye of one of the fifteeu Bullionites who had been forced to enter the saloon, anu made a number of quick, nervous gestures, implying that he and his companions should not tamely submit to the demands of the masked robbers. The Bullionit ,e, who was a hotel keeper, named Jami son, shook his head. Jesse James noticed the motion, and, glancing toward the faro-room, noticed Toothpick Joe's scowling face. Crack! went his revolver, and down dropped the lil!itle sport, with a hole in his ear. "I could have killed you, Joe," shouted the outlaw chief, who had learned the sport's name after the fight for the rescue of Hank Pray, "and I will yet, if you don't mind your p's and q's." "Rats!" sang out Toothpick Joe, in scornful defiance. Jesse James bit his lips.and frowned. Then be said, in his quiet, determined way: "Joe, I reckon I'll have to ask you to.come out here." "Can: t, Jesse. The boys in here need me. They're not weaned yet, and I've got to give 'em alittle gruel, pres ently." This contemptuous allusion to the neutral attitude of the gamblers who were with him, awoke a chorus of re monstrances and objurgations. Some of his companions were in favor:of rushing into the saloon and showing the mettle that was in them; others advised that Toothpick Joe be shoved out of the room and forced to make a lone-han.tl,stand against the bandits. Jesse James smiled while the_ wordy altercation wa: going on. All this time Frank James, Jim Cummings, Clell Mille and Big John were engaged in relieving the Bullionite: of their weapons and spare cash. "Better come out Joe," called the outlaw chief, ingly, "for you'll find better company in the barroom '"To blazes with your company." 'Tve got a bone to pick with you." '"Come in here and I'll shove it into your craw," r plied the enraged sport. "Do you mean it?" "That's what Jesse." Jesse James looked at Frank, as if asking for his a vice. Frank shook his head. '"The mob in there would jump on yott the moment y entered the door," he said, in a whisper. "I'll fix that, Frank." Then, raising his voice, he said : '"I'll come in, Joe, if your friends will pass their w not to interfere between us." "'N e 'll promise," exclaimed the gamblers, with o voice. They saw sport ahead, and the gaming instinct indu them to accept Jesse James' terms As the bold outlaw removed his mask and advanc Toothpick Joe opened the door. "Hands down, sonny, until we come to an agreeme n said Jesse James, sternly, as he saw that the sport's ri hand was behind his back. "Don't be afraid," sneered Toothpick Joe, "I was o taking ordinary precautions against a surprise." When the cjoor was again closed, Frank James step softly up to it with an anxious look on his face. It was now past one o'clock in the morning, and a f Jim Cummings had locked the street door, put up shutters and turned down the lamps, a passerby wo have imagined that the place was closed for the night. Backed against the wall were the fifteen Bullion i with Ciel! Miller and Big John standing guard over t while on the floor, in a corner by the bar, Sam Lane Dan Lason lay, bound hand and foot, and with Liz P sitting beside them to keep them company. "Well," said Jesse James, in cool inquiry, when found himself in the faro-room, "what have you to pose, Joe ?" "A game that even you will lack the nerve to en in.'' '"Bah!" "It will mean your life or mine." J eose Jam es shrugg ed his sho u lders. "State it," he said, a frown, "and quit this oea

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c THE JESSE JAMES STORIES. 23 t the bush. Time is money with me to-night, for I settle your hash, I've an e11gagement a short dis e from town, which I wouldn't go back on for the d." propose, then," responded Toothpick Joe, gravely, lay you a game at faro-one deal of fifty-two cards, to deal and I keep cases, or vice versa, as you may er. We will start with a stake, say of one hundred rs, and the man who shows the most bullion at the of the game shall be considered the winner." othpick Joe paused and looked steadily into the eyes 1e reckless bandit. nything more, Joe?" queried Jesse James. noncha y. es; there will be two stakes. One is money, and the --'' ... h, yes, the other, Joe. What is it?" Vil! be a human life." hat's what I supposed. The man who wins the ey dbes the killing, .eh?'' hat's it?" hen, Mr. Toothpick Joe, sport and dare-devil, preto be killed CHAPTER X. TOOTHPICK JOE'S BACK-DOWN. e sports who had e le cted to bec ome spectators of the gathered about the table with eager countenances 1 the contestants took their seats. othpick Joe was given his choice of places. hen I'll deal," he said, "and we'll start with a new ere it is," responded Jesse James, quietly, and, drawn unopened pack of cards from his pocket, threw it s to his opponent. othpick Joe, with difficulty, suppressed an oath. had counted on using a marked deck of his own. t he swallowed his wrath and disappointment with ed indifference. hat's all right." eaking the covering, he took out the cards and run over rapidly. expert in detecting fraud as well as practicing it, on became convinced that the deck in his hands was nest one. e game commenced, each man selecting the repretive of a card on the table and placing a ten-dollar upon it. se James chose the knave for a. beginner; othpick Joe pinned his faith and his coin to the 1-::ing. e dealing opened, and the second card that came out box was the knave. The little sport, with a quiet smile, reached over and gathered in the outlaw's gold piece. 'First blood ior yours truly," he remarked, with a chuckle of satisfact i on. 'Don't crow, sonny, said Jesse James, slowly, and with a glance out of his cold, blue eyes that 1 would have made a less nervy sport than Toothpick Joe shiver and turn pale, "for I may get the first knock-down." "I'll come up smiling for the next. rattle, if you do," was the quick response. The game proceeded, and a dozen cards were slipped without a change of standing. Outside, in the barroom, Jim Cunimings was .enacting a role that appeared to s uit him admirably. He was behind the bar, sampling the different bottles of liquor and giving his opinion of each brand after he had tasted it." "This liyer," said he, to Clell Miller, "is what useter be ca lled sheep herder's delight N we give it ther name of tarant'ler juice. A man kin throw hisself outside o' four fingers of it, and be primed fer a month's jag. "I tackled suthin' like it a little town in Calloway County, Missoura, last year. Afore I wet my whistle I didn't have no sorter interest in a-_ reel estate or pe cooneary w;,ty in the place. But when I'd swallered tliat licker, Ciel!, I thought I owned ther whole town, an' thet ther people in it was my slaves. Great snakes an' littl e tadpoles, but didn't I jest cut around fer. keeps. This yer 'sperience happened me on a Sunday. Three weeks later I was arre:;ted down in Santa Fe, New Mexi co, fer bein drunk an' disturbin' somebody's peace." He paused to bite off a big chew of tobacco frorri a plug of ''..nigger head." "Well," said Ciel! Millet ; "what ha your Santa Fe racket got to do with the liquor you drank in Missouri?" "I never teched another drop of ther stuff endurin' hull six weeks." "Do you mean to say, Jim, "Thet I war pulled up fer ther same old Calloway County drunk? I do Clell, fer a fact." Cummings at Frank James, and then spat out his tobacco, and took a strong pull out of a bottle he: found under the counter. It appeared to suit his wants, for he passed it to Miller, who, in turn, handed it to Big John. Frank James declined to drink. He was intensely interested in the game going on in side the faro-room, and still kept his stati@m at the door. Fifteen minutes after Toothpick Joe began 'o slip out the cards the game was at the last turn. Jesse James' one hundred dollars, the limit of capital. was reduced to twenty.

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24 THC:. J ESSE JAMES Four cards remained uncovered in the bo:;:. \ Vhen the forty-sixth card had come uppermost, the last "wrinkle" in a two-handed game was exhibited. The forty-sixth card was thrown upon the pile of win ners, and with it went the forty-seventh. This left the forty-e ighth as the l ast sing l e winner, with fou r cards remaining uncovered in the box To guess the sequence of the first three was to "call the turn" by the new method. The four cards left were the ace of diamonds, the king of spades, the knave of clubs. and the four of hearts. The winner in this phase of the game, in ordinary cases, where but three cards remain in the box, would have been paid in the ratio of four to one. But in this two-handed game, often played in the v\'e t, vvh e r e each player assumed the role of banker as well as gambler, he who "called the turn" won ten times the amount of his bet. Not a muscle of Jesse James' face moved as he planked do\vn his money and made his call: "Jack, king, four." He had one chance in twenty-four of winning, but if he won, the game would be his for the payment of the bet would requre the production by Toothpick Joe of two hu,udrecl dollars, wnich exceeded his capital by twenty dollars. On the other baud, to lose meant the surrender of his life. The king of outlaws had clone man_v foolhardy things in his life upon the reckless impulse of the moment, but it seemed to Frank James, listening without, that he had never rashly invited such terrible consequences before. After making his selection of sequence Jes se James looked at his opponent expectantly. Toothpick Joe leaned back iii his chair and grinned at the outlaw. "I won t bet," he sa i d, carelessly. "vVhy should I? I'm ahead, and by getting in on the turn I might lose what I have won. No, no, Jesse, I'll. just naturally stay out and let you monkey with the twenty-four chances in the box." "Slip out the cards," returned the outlaw, coldly. "You're not the thoroughbred I'd put you up to be Toothpick Joe's face flushed at this taunt, but he made no reply. The top ca rd-the last winner-was thrown out, and the first of the cards left was disclosed to view. It vvas the of clubs. Jesse James coolly stroked his chin, but never lifted his eyes from the table. Toothpick Joe slipped the knave out rather nervously, an d exhibited the second card. An expression of uneasiness showed itself in his rae when he saw that it was the king of spades. Jesse Jam es' countenance was immovable. lf he felt any e l ation at the sight of the second c2 which agreed with his seq u ence, he gave no outward i n cation of it. 1 Toothpick Joe p l aced both hands over the top of i' box an
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THE JESSE JAMES STORIES. 25 room "if you \Yill all pledge me your word that you not attempt to use them while I am away." he promise was given, and then the outlaw chief went the barroom and addressed the fifteen Bullionites, were standing like silent statues against the wa ll. n an hour, at fur t hest," he said. with the easy conension of a man who has the game i n his own hands, ;s disposed to be patronizing, ''I will open the front r and set yo u free. In the meantime, you have my 1if'sion to squat, if you find your present position ome. rank James accompanied him to the door. e extra caution Jesse." he said. earnestly. and. if don' t find him in, let the business slide. Some other \Yil\ do." fave no fears. Frank." {e's a L ough customer, Jesse." know it. and 1 rather enjoy the prospect of having ,, ith him." p the street went lhe bold outlaw. e was starting out to ma!-:e a call on Dick \,Y aldo, narshal of Bulli o n City ia\do had a magnificent jeweled revolver which for y belonged to Jess e James. and it was this highlyd weapon that the outl<:w was after. the door closed b ehind J e'se Jam es Jim Cummings the bar. to carry the two bottles of whisky into the room. for the benefit of the temporarily imprisoned ts, Liz concluded to sample some of Dan Lason s r herself. 1e secured a bottle of whisky. and was soon maudlin. proaching am Lane. she clashed the bottle to the and shook her fist in his face. swore ter kill ye, Sam Lane," she hissed. "fer whut done ter me. an as I've got yer in a sho' n uff tight I reckon I'll put tlier everlasti n' kibosh onter yer now. ., dagger came out of the bosom of her gown. ancl d have been buried in the detective's heart had not John interfered. e allowed him to take the weapon from her hand, hen she surprised him by throwing he r elf into his and bursting into a flood of tears. allers liked ye. John,'' she cri ed, as she hugged him ly, "an' now 'at J eemes tarlight is gone, I dunno ter lay my head, but on your broad n manly b u z-. ake another drink. Liz." remarked C i el\ l\liller, a "ink at Prank Jame "and you'll be ready to y him. e::girl straightened up instantl y. and then, seizing a fro m the rnunter, Aung it -at the joker's head. clodgecl, and the glass struck the wall, a n d was shivered in pieces. A tantalizing laugh from the man she had attacked caused her to start for him with hands outstretched and in a violent rage. Mill er retreated to the fa1:J:hest corner and Big John followed close behind the irate Liz. All eyes were for the moment turned upon the partici pants in this amusing scene. Clell :Yiiller held up his hands, when he reached the corner, and looked at Liz in mock supplication. But before the irate woman reached him, her ange r had cooled somewhat, and extending her hand to C l ell Miller. she said. w i th a timidity that was in strange con trast with her orclinary demeanor: ""Won't yer shake. Cl ell?" Miller took her hand quickly, and gave it a warm p ressure. Liz drew a breath of relief and satisfaction. "::\ow," she said, soberly, "I'll mosey back t o S a m Lane." She reached the end of the counter, only to utte r a scream of surprise and dismay. The detective and Dan Lason \\'ere lone. Frank James was the first to solve the mystery of their disappearance. On the floor, a few feet from the spot where the pri.soners had been placed, were several pieces of broken glass, one of which Sam Lane had secured, and he had succeeded, \\'ithout attracting her attention, in releasing his wrists by cutting the cords with the broken glass, a few minutes before she left the stool to throw herself into Big John's arms. The moment that she made a rush for Cle ll Miller, and became the sole object of the attention of the bandits, Lane slipped his hands out and q u ickly released Dan Lason Both were unarmed, but each resolved to make a desperate fight for life and libe r ty. Liz Pray was occupied with Ciel! Miller in the corner. when Lason' gave the detective a sharp nudge in the ribs. "We're all right, Sam," he whispered, "if they don't turn their eyes this way for a minute. As he spoke he arose to his han ds and knees a n d began to crawl fo.r a trapdoor only two o r three feet from him, which concealed an opening in the cellar where Lason stored his liquors Lane followed him, and they were soon in the cellar, with their absence undiscover ed At the rear of the underground storeroom was a large double door, which opened into a vacant lot, through which were driven the trucks containing the COQsign-

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26 THE JESSE JAMES STORIES. ments oi liquor "that haa arrived at the nearest railway station. By the time Frank James reached the. basement, Lane and his companion were in the lot, and were speeding to safety. In the meantime. Jesse James was having the most exciting kind of a !timc. He v;as greeted \\ith a surprise at the first cross street above the saloon. Half a dozen men, concealed in the shadow of a large building, suddenly sp1:ang ont in front of him, and commanded him to throw np his hands. Dan Lason was at their head, and the men were sports and miners whom he hacl found at the nearest hotel. "Thr"ow up nothing!" he exclaimed, i1f a deep, hoarse voice. 'I an\ no nighthawk, I'd have you know." Bullion City had n ot yet attained to the luxury of gas o r electric light lamps. and the naphtha substitutes, placed at alternate corners, gave but a poor illumination. Jesse James' face conld not be seen by the men in his 'front, and for a moment they stood irresolute. Then soh1e one cried: "'0/e're cm the wrong track. There they are now." He pointed l ''Tell Frank I will do as he says, but that I shan' get him." pr "All right. It's a pity none of my posse are moll! said the marshal as he rode off, "or we'd ma mighty warm for you fellows." c a ''I may give you a chance, after a while, to clotic warming." "I hope you will. "Ta, ta, Dick.'' Goocl-?y, Jesse." * A week after the events la s t narrated the .ncw0 [ pointed successor of Sheriff Casson, who was cu \Valdo, wc.s Yisited by a Kans as officer. wl10 held a

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THE JESSE JAMES STORIES. 27 ion for the transfer of Frank Jam es to Topeka, there be tried for a robbery committed on Kansas terri y, some months before. After the usual formalities in s uch cases had been gone rough w:th: l'rank James, now partially recovered from -wound, was placed on board a train of a branch of Denver and Rio Grande at McGinty. Sa1:1 Lane had been deputized to assist the officer from ansas in transporting the o"t.1tla11 to Topeka. The same train that bore them on their journey carried hty thousand dollars in silver bullion, th' e product of e mines of Saguache County. \VhJe passing through a cai'ion of the Sierra Blanca, fe\\ miles from Los H uecos, a man sprang suddenl y m the bushes to the track, a few hundred yards in nt of the engine, and began waving bis hands wildly. 1l1e engineer, who supposed there was an obstrnction the track, and that the man had discovered it, inntly reversed and whistled for down The 1:rain came to a standstill within a few feet of the rson who had g:ven the warning. The wheels of the engine had no sooner ceased to Yo!ve than a dozen armed men, with Jesse Jan1es at eir head, sprang from their place of concealment in the shes. They were the Black Agents of Saguache, reorganized, cl upon the face of each man was an expression of sperate determination. CHAPTER XII. J .\MES' T)\'-S1'RJKF.. The train that left McGinty with Frank James and his 1stodian was made up of two passenger coaches, an ex ess car, and a combination baggage and mail car. The messenger for the express was a young man, med \Veston, who had been promoted to the position 1t two weeks before. He was affable, good-natured, and, a the result med, easily imposed upon_ \Vhile the engineer was waiting for the signal to start, dudishly attired man, of thirty or thereabouts, passed reston, who was standing in the doorway of his car, ught his eye, smiled, bowed, and then hurried to the ket "indow of the station. The messenger had never seen the man b efore, and his 1riosity regcrding his identity caused him to keep an e on him. The stranger did not appear to notice that he was the ject of \Veston's scrutiny, though his face wore ape liar smile when he put down the money for his ticket. Thi! transaction over, he became engaged in low a::;. d n1est conversation with the age,nt. Suddenly he extended his hand through the window, and exclaimed, loud enough for everybody to hear: "\Vell, Sessions, I am glad to ha1 e met yo11, and I \\on't fail to carry that message.to your The express messenger now became exceecli ngl : ; anxious to learn who the dudishly attired stranger "as, for Gurgc Sessions, the agent's brother, lived at Mile:; Grove, a station farther on, and was one of his most cnerished friends. His satisfaction, therefore. may be when the stranger ascended to the platform of the express compartment and knocked at the door. V/eston came forward quii::kly, and opened it. "I '"''.11t to ride with you for a piece," said the dude. ''I'm a messenger, myself. working on the Pacific branclt' fo r Wells, Fargo & Co., and now enjoying a lay-off." This explanation, given w:th easy assuranre, caused V\ieston to admit him instantly. "If you are a friend of George Sessions, you are doub!y welcome," said the messenger. The train started up as the dude gave his answer. "I have known George ever since he was knee-high to a chair leg." ''lndeecl. the pleased Weston; "then I am happy to know you." "Allow rne to introduce myself. My name is ::\.fart:nClifford Martin. You must have heard of me, if you know any of the boys from the coast." \ i\ieston was forced to admit that he 1ras acquainted with but two of the Pacific messengers "I am from the East," he explained, 'and this is my second week in the vVest.'' "If a lucky thing for me that you are a new-comer," t hought the dude. But what he said was this: ''You don't have much excitement \\'11c:e YOU co :-:1c from." ''No; eYerything runs smoothly, Mr. ::\L2rt:n. ''Out here. though, it is different. Train rob:)cr:e:; z.ncl similar devilment every week. ''This branch has never been bothered, I a:,1 told," jointld the "Perln1'. the reason is that it never car:-'.2:> a brge amount oT money." "That's where you 're wrong. VVe express m ere than any section of the Denver & Rio Grande in Colorado." Weston was about to aclGl that he now carr:cd in the car eighty thousand dollars in Saguache bullion, hut. on second t.hought. he concluded that his positi o n cus todian of this wealth did not arrant him in revealing its presence even to another express messenger, and a friend of Gorge Sessions. The elude smoked a cigar and _.Vy_eston at his

PAGE 29

28 THE JESSE JAMES STORIES. work with the waybills and checking, until the little mountain station of Los Huecos was passed. Then he threw away his cigar, and his pleasant ex pression gave place tq one of stern resolution. vVeston w1l10 was busy at his desk for some moments after the station had been passed, did not notice the He little dreamed that the man who had wormed him se lf into his confidence was Ciel! Miller, one of the most cunning and desperate members of Jesse James' Black Agents. M ill er, in pursuance of instru ctio ns from his chief, had assumed 1t he role of the P,acific Coast messenger with the dud'ish air s, after having been posted in regard to the family history of Sessions, the s tation agent at McGinty. His long earnest conversation at the ticket window had been in relation to Sessions' brother George. "I know him w ell," Miller had warmly asserted, "and a better-hearted boy never breathed, and when I get to Miles Grove I am going to put in a week with him "Tell him he is an uncle, returned the unsu spicious agent, "'and that the little fellow-it's a boy-weighs twelve pounds, and i s a buster." Miller's answer1 delivered for the benefit of weston, has already been given. The time for the disguised outlaw's performance of the most important branch of the duty assigned him occurred when the train began to slow down Miller knew what thi s meant, and as \Ve sto n, the mes senger, turned from hi s desk in surprise, he found him self looking down the barrel of a six-shooter. "Hands up!" was the command, not uttered in the mel low, persuasive voice of a f ew moments before, but in the harsh, insistent tone of the merciless desperado. The messenger, with a gasping cry, "Why, why, what's this?" raised his hands, tremblingly. ''Kow come here, quick." Weston. approached, his countenance the picture of f ear. Miller him roughly and flung him to the floor The su,,-;>rised Easterner was bound and gagged by the time the train came to a standstill. The bulli on from the Saguache mines w?s in a heavy, iron-bound box in a corner. Miller knew that the messenger did not have the key to the lock, for it had been sent on to its destination by a private messenger the clay before. But he was provided with the tools required for breaking the box open. He was engaged in this work when the attack of Jesse James and the Black Agents outside was begun. Three of the band, with Big John in command, took possession o f the locomotive, quickly overpowering t engineer and fireman. T11e other B l ack Agents, acting up on the plan ad6pt b y Jes se James, scattere
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THE JESSE JAMES STORIES. 29 As be sank to the floor, Frank James leaped upon him, aml, wit h the steel brac elets quickly beat him into in sensibility. Then he searched for the key to the handcuffs, found it, and stood up in the aisle, a free man, just at the moment that the baggage master, who had successfully run the gantlet of half a score of Black Agents, was corning in the door. The few passengers in the car had, as yet, made no attempt to oppose the outlaws. But when Jesse J amcs and Sam Lane rolled over on the floor, and Frank James was occupied in unlocking his handcuffs, or.e of the passengers, a St. Louis cattle bu yer, named Lark'n, made up hi s mind to act. His pistol was out. and he was moving stea lthily t oward Frank James, designing to get near enough to his target to make th e ontla\Y's death a certanty, when the sound of firing in his rear wade him turn in nervous ap preh e nsion. H e saw the conductor struggl ing on the platform with two powerful Black Age nts. and callin g upon the other p:.s;:engers-two old men and a slim young man, who \Yas trembling like an aspen-to give him their assist ance. rushed bravely toward the door. He was within a few feet of it when it was slammed in his face and lo cked The conductor had a lready been knocked senseless. A chorus of yells from without, followed by the crack of rifles and pistols, turned Larkin's attention to the wi ndows. Help had come, and the robbers had met with an unwelcome surpris e Frank James, who was watching for a ch ance to assist his brother, found him just as the ye lls of his enemies reached his ears. Sam Lane's head bobbed up from between two of the seats. where the combatants had rolled, and Frank James ::nade it the recipient of a blow from the butt of his re volver, which had the effect of causing the detective to immediately lose all consciousness of earthly things. As Jesse Jam es, flushed, panting, and bleeding from several wounds, arose unsteadily to his feet, the train began to move. "\II/hat does this mean?" hoarsely ejaculated the out law chief. "It means that we're all right," shouted the voice of Clell Miller, from the door; "that is, if the boys at the rear are able to stand the mob off that is trying to double-bank us." Crash! went the glass of the window in front of which Frank James was standing, and a rifle bullet whizzed past his head. 111e three bandits made a rush for the last ca r where the most of the firing was then going on. Larkin, the cattle buyer, had resumed his seat, as a matter of prudence. Finding the rear door of the car locked, and no one 011 the platform, Jesse James snatched a lid from the stove in the corner and sent it craphing through the window. The train was now beginning to move rapidly, but the yells and shots appeared to multiply instead of to dimin ish. Jesse James enlarged the hole in the wind0w, andi crawled through. He was followed by his brother and Clell Miller. They saw none of their enemies when they reached the platform, but when they threw open the door of the other car they beheld a sight that roused their combative energies to the highest pitch. The three Black Agents detailed for operations at the rear of the train had been either overcome or killed, for not one of them could be seen. But in the aisle were half a dozen mountaineers, whG> had just boarded the train, and were advancing toward the other door. The conflict that followed was one of the most desperate that\ Frank and Jesse Jam es had ever engaged in. Frank had seized the Kansas officer's revolver when he started from the 01ther car, and he stood by tlhe side of Jesse when the battle opened. The outlaws had the advantage at the beginning, for before the mountaineers could get their rifles to their shoulders, the rain of lead from the pistols had done deadly work. Three of the mountaineers fell, but the others brave l y stood their ground. A ril-le ball laid Clell Miller low, but not before a fourth mountaineer had top pled over, a corpse. It was man to man now and with the old Quantrell yell, the James boys sprang upon their enemies_,, firing shot after shot as the y did so. The barrel of a rifle came down on Fra.nk James' head as he was about to send the man he had picked out for combat to his long home. 'He was sinking to the floor, in a dazed condition, and the barrel was about to descend for the second time when Jesse James. who had finished the other mountaineer lifted his foot and gave the last of his enemies a kick in the stomach, \Yhich made him drop his weapon and double up in direst agony. The outlaw chief gave him a dose of the medicine he had furnished Frank James before he could straighten himself up, but the blow given with the rifle barrel was such a v i ndictive one that it crushed the skull.

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3-0 THE JESSE JAMES STORH:.S .. One look at Frank, who was just recover;ng, and Jess.:! James hurried to the rear platform. Upon it were the dead bodies of two of the missing Black Agents. The other was probably dead up the track, or in the hands of the mountaineers. The train was now going at a rapid rate of speed, but in the distance the outlaw chief could see a small body of mounted men. Shaking his fist i n their direction, he mutter ed, grimly: "You thought you'd get away with us, but yo u got beautifully left, my gallant b11cks." When he returned to the car, the train was beginning to slow up. It was still in the canon of the Sierra Blanca, a few miles from Hot Springs. Jesse ] am es met one of the Black Agents, who had ac companied Big John to the engi ne, just as he was ass i st ing Frank to his feet. "We've got the whole business," he said, with a whoop of triumph. "All the passengers have been tied up and made to pungle; we've got their guns besides; Sam Lane is tied hard and fast, and the bullion is at the express door, ready to be lifted out." The outlaw chief turned to Frank with a satisfied smile. "Old boy," said be, ''we have clone it. I said this would be a ten-strike, and it is." CHAPTER XIII. SAM LANE'S RESCUE. The mountaineers who had attacked the Black Agents had been organized by Lora Alleyn. With Mark Fenton as her compan'on, she had ridden all night, and at daybreak had reached a mountain. ham let, where she was fordmate enough to find a score of hunters who were just about to start on an expedition for game into Bear Basin, some fifteen miles westward. But when she stated her errand, every man of the party agreed to accompany her to the railroad, and attempt to checkmate the design of the robbers, which she had managed to get hold of. About five miles from Los Huecos, they came upon the camp of the Black Agents. The smoldering fire, where the breakfast had been cooked, together with other evidence, went to show that it had long been deserted Following the trail made by the robbers, they reached the rai l road and the beleaguered train ten minutes after the attack of Jesse Jam es and his men h ad commenced. The rifl es were quickly brought to bear upon such of the Black Agents as could be sighted. Big John, who was alone on the engine at the time, his two associates having gone to give their attention to the other train hands, nred a couple of shots, and then, as he saw the mountaineers pressing forward to board the last car, he grasped the throttle of the engine, threw it open, and sent the train flying from the spot. The three Black Agents on the la st car, not understanding what the movement o f the train meant, were hastening to the front platform when they were met by a half-a-dozeQ mountaineers. who, being nearer than any of their compan i ons to the train when it starited up, had slipped from their saddles quickly, and boarded it. The Black Agent:s were nred upon before they could u e their ow!1 revolvers. Every one received a bullet, 'but none fell until, in their retreat, they stepped upon the rear platform of the car. Here they became the targets of the mounted men, who were galloping down the track. Two fell dead i n their tracks; the other, with a leaden ball in bis lung, leaped to the ground and was killed. 'i\Then the train was stopped, a few miles beyond the scene of the hold-up, some quick work was done by Jesse Jam es and his associates. Th bullion was divided and placed in half-a-dozen sacks provided. for the purpose, and carried into the bushes. Then the captive detective was lifted out, and placed beside the treasure. "How about poor Liz, Jim Cummings, and Clell Miller?" asked Frank J arnes, when the operation above referred to had been concluded. 'i\T e won't have time to bury them: our horses are miles away, and we've got to make tracks from here pretty lively You might get Clell and Jim's watches, money, and weapons, though." "All right." Frank James went into the car where Miller had been shot, and was surprised to find the latter at the wash stand in the corner, removing the blood from his face. "I;fot dead, Clell ?" Frank James sang out. "Dead be bl owed. I'm a little shaky, but the bullet to finish me hasn't ye t been made, old boy. I was stunned that's all." Jesse James was overjoyed when he found that Mille r had not been killed. "Now if Jim's case will only pan out as well," he said "we will be in fine shape." But Cummings was found lying in a pool of his ow n blood, and unconscious. Some of the Black Agents we1e in favor of l eaving him behind. \

PAGE 32

THE J ESSE JJ\MES STORIES. S1 esse James sai d "No." \\' e 'II pack him into the brush a piece," h e went on, id then fix up his hurt and leave hjrn for a while." his settled the matter. Five min n tes after the r e val of the bullion, Big John mounted the engine and rted up the train again. s the wheels began to revolve, he leaped to the "She"ll go past Miles Grove a whizzing," he said, :d the chumps who are after us won't know that we pped here until \\e are miles away, and where they 1't find us .. ora Alleyn and the remnant of the band of moun neers did not strike the bandits' trail until l ate in the erno o n, the information which put them upon t h e right ck having come from Hot Springs. The train had stopped there. one of the pa ssenge r s ving got l o ose from his lxmcls and cl. imbed over the 1der into the cab, and released the engineer, about enty minutes after Big John started the engine. The robbe:-s carried the bulli o n for a short distance, cl then buried it back of a bowlder in a spot difficult access. That night they were fifteen miles from the rai l road, in ocky glen vvhere the feet of man had se l dom trodde n It was determined that Sam Lan e s h ou l d die n ex t )rl1111g. At midnight, \Yhile all the bandits were asleep, except ank James, who Was keeping watch, the moonlig h t dis sed the form of a woman, who was s l owly descending rough trail that led to the glen. Frank James saw her, and was abou t to shoot, when e held up her hands in a supplicating manner. As she approached nearer, he saw wit h amazement t she was Lorn Alleyn. Believing that she was in advance of a body of purers, Frank James hurried forward, and, pointing his -to! at her head, commanded her in a fierce whisper to lt. "You need not fear me," she said, calmly "for I got parated from my companions hour ago, and I have me upon your camp by accident." "Accident, indeed!" was the sneering answer. "vVhy, u never could h ave got w i thin miles of t hi s spot, unl ess u knew where i t was." "Perhaps Jim Cummings aided me somewhat," she id. "I found him, earl y this evening, unconscio u s a n d lirious, and from his mutterings I gathered that you cl yo4r followers were i n this direction." "Jim isn't dead, then?" he asked, with a s u dde n change of manner. "No; and I don't think he will die from his wo und. I bathed it, and discovered a section of broken bo n e wh i ch was pressing on the brain. I removed it, and his rav in g ,si instantly ceased Then I bandaged the wou n d a n ew and left him r esti n g very comfortab l y." Frank James took her hand, a n d pressed it warm ly. "If you've saved his life,"' he sa id, earnestly, "you can: ask any favor of us, with the certainty that it will be granted." "I want you to release Sam Lane; that is, ;f he is alive and your prisoner." Frank James' brow grew dark at once "I don't know abo u t that," he said, slowly. "But," h e added, after a moment's thought, ''I'll stand i n i f Jess will." Lora Alleyn's face brightened instantly. "Call your brother, and l et me present the case." Jesse James was awakened, and at fi'rs.t was not 111clined to listen to the cattle queen's supplicatio\1. But he finally agreed to consider her case favorably if her statement i n rega rd t-0 C u mmings should prove to be true. A detachment was sent out for the wounded and he was brought to camp shortly after daybreak. He was conscious, a n d J esse James, looking at him : c r itically, became co n vinced that he wo u ld l ive. "I'll l eave the matter to you, Jim," he said. "If yo u say Sam Lane ought to go free, why free he goes." The wounded out l aw looked up into the pa le, a n xio us face of Lora Alleyn, and murmured : "Turn h im l oose." * * * Sam Lane and his courageous sweetheart reached L os Huecos at noon ne:>.."t day On the way they met Miss Alleyn's mountaineers, com manded by Mark Fenton, and a she riffs posse, l ed by Dick Wal do. "I would like to go back with yo u ," said the detect i ve, "but I am withheld by a promise not to take t h e field agai n s t J esse J ames a n d hi s men for six months." The o u t l aw hunters went on, but t hey failed to find t h e ir quarry. THE END. Next week's issue (No: 5) will con tain J esse J ames' Oath ; or, Tracked to D eath."

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, The only publication authorized by the ti on. Wm. f. Cody (BUFF ALO BILL) '/. -----THE-----.. 'l : \ Our New 5c. Weekly A Sure Winner Hon. Wm. F. Cody (Buffalo Bill) We were the publishers of the first story ever written of the famous and w or 1 d renowned BUFF ALO BILL, the most daring scout, wonderful rifle shot, expert guide, greatest Indian trailer ever known, and a popular hero whose life has been one suc cession of exciting and thrilling incidents combined with great successes and accon1-plishments, all of which will be told in a series of grand stories which we shall now place before the American Boys. These exciting stories will appear regu larly in our new Sc. weekly to be known as Tt1E BUff l\lO STORIES READ THE FOLLOWING TITLES J. Buffalo Billt the Border King. A story of daring deeds. 2. Buffalo Billts Best Shot. A story of Wild West Adventure. 3. Buffalo Billt s Victory. A story of tangled trails. 4. Buffalo Bill's Rifle Rangers. A story of Rough Riding Rescues. LOOK OUT FOR THE CREAT INDIAN STORIES STREET & SMITH, NEW YORK

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-JESSE JAMES STORIES Jesse James. WE were the first pub1 i shers in the world to print the famous sto ries of the J arnes Boys, written by that remark able man, W. B. Lawson, whose name is a watch word with our boys. We have h a d many imitators, and in order that no one shall be deceived in ac cepting the spurious for the real we shall issue the best stories of the James Boys, by Mr. Lawson, in a New Library entitled "The Jesse James Stories,'' one of our big fiv e-cent libraries, and a sure winner with the boys. The first four issues are: "Jesse James, the Outlaw. A Narrative of the James Boys,' ; "Jesse James' Legacy; or, The Border C y clone ," "Jesse James' Dare-Dev il D a nce; or, Betrayed by One of Them," "Jesse J a mes' Black Agents; or, The vVild Raid a t Bullion City." STREET & SMITH, Publishers, New York. BUFF ALO BILL STORIES The only publication authorized by the Hon. Wm. F. Cody (Buffalo Bill.) Buffalo Bill. WE were the publishers of the first story ever written of the fam o u s and world-renowned Buffalo Bill the great hero whose life has been one s ucce ssio n of exciting and thrilling inci-dents combined with great successes and accomplishments, all of which will be told in a series of grand stories which we shall now place before the American boys. T4e first of these stories entitled "Buffalo Bill, the Border King," appears in No. I of our \ new five=cent library entitled The Buf Bill Stories. 'BE't& SMITH, Publishers, New York. NICK CARTER STORIES THE best known detective in the world is Nick Carter. Stories by this noted sleuth are is sued regularly in ''Nick Carter Weekly J' (price five cents), and all his Nick Carter. work is written for ns. It may interest the p atrons and reau. Jrs of the Nick Carter Serie s of Detective Stories to know that these famous stories will soon be produced upon the stage under unusually elaborate circumstances Arrangements have just been completed between the publishers and Manager F. C. Whitney, to present the entire set o Nick Carter stories in dramatic form. Th fir s t play of the series will be brought ou next fall. STREET & S Publishers, New York. DIAMOND IJttl\ STORIE Diamond Dick. THE celebrated Dia mond Dick stories cat only be found in "Dia mond Dick, J r.,The Boys Best Weekly." Diamon Dick and his son Berti are the most unique and fascinating heroe of Western romance. The scenes, and man of the incidents, in these exciting stories ar taken from real life. Diamond Dick storie are to be the best stories of the West and are all copprighted by us. The librar is the same size and price as this publication with handsome illuminated cover. Price five cents. STREET & SMITH, Publishers, NEW York.


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