Jesse James, Rube Burrows & Co.

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Jesse James, Rube Burrows & Co.

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Title:
Jesse James, Rube Burrows & Co. A thrilling story of Missouri
Series Title:
Jesse James Stories
Creator:
Lawson, W. B.
Place of Publication:
New York
Publisher:
Street & Smith
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Language:
English
Physical Description:
32 p. ; 26 cm.

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Subjects / Keywords:
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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All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
028814552 ( ALEPH )
17905820 ( OCLC )
J14-00007 ( USF DOI )
j14.7 ( USF Handle )

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serial

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No. 7. BY Entered as Second Class Matter at Neu.1 York Post Office by STREET & SMITH, 238 William St. N. Y. Price, Five Cents. THE BOLD OUTLAWS STRODE THROUGH THE 0HOWD AND NOT A HAND WAS RAISED TO PREVENT THEM.

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OF BOYS fssued Weekly. Dy Subscription $2,so per year Entered as Clau Matter at the N. Y. OjJiu, 6y STREET & SMITH, a 3 a Wi1/ia m St., N. Y. ntend accordm,I{ to Act of Congress in tlzeyear rqor, tn the Office of the L ibrarian of Dmgress, Washington, D. C. No. 7. N E W YORK, Jun e 2 2 1 901. Price F ive Cents. JESSE JAMES. R U B E B URROWS & CO. 1\ Tl1ril ling Stor y of M i s .souri: B y W. B. LAWS ON. \ CHAPTER I THE TRIPLE ALLIANCE The darkness of night had swept over the Missour i hills, and a peculiar gloom hung upon the wild land scape. A storm rumbled in the distance, the muttering thunder advancing to a loud grumble that was almost a roar, an
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2 THE JESSE JAMES STORIES. Such a thing would be dangerous. He inspected th e conditions Qf the case, and made up his mind as to his course. The roofs of the cabin was almost fiat, and could be easily reached. Without hesitation the prowler mounted. Just as he clambered upon the roof in a way that gave evidence of mucli ?trength and agility, a door opened in the back of the cabin. A flood of light illumined' the yard. A man came out. Could he have heard the detective? If he had he must have attributed the sound to some thing else, for he soon entered the house and closed the door. The man on the roof proceeded to carry out the design that had brought him there Groping around he discovered a tr apdoor. Perhaps he knew of its presence, or guessed the fad from instinct. It was not tightly fastened, for a steady puli broke tfie cord. that held it below, allowing him to draw it back. \Vithout a1iy hesitation, the man lowered himself through the opening. He found himself in a low loft, where he was com p elle d to stoop in order to keep his 'head from striking. It was a ramshackle sort of place, trembling under the weight thus imposed upon it, and to give way entirely. What pleased him however, was the fact that there were cracks and crevices in the floor, through which the light forced a way. Little difficulty spying upon those who might happen to be belo .w. Crouching down, the man glued eye and ear alternately to the largest crack nearby. The result was fairly satisfactory. He could hear much, and see something. There seemed to be three men below, if he could jud 'ge fr.om the variety of voices. Before he had listened two minutes, he was able to locate each o f them. One had the vocal organs of a bull, another spoke with a peculiar Southern twang in his voice, while the third spoke resolutely and clearly. Evidently these three men had been conspiring to gether with some evil purpose in view. He made this out with the first words h e caught, and also the fact that he had probably arrived on the scene of action too late to get the full benefit of the particulars. 111ey had arranged their schedule, and eiich man knew the part he was to take. The one \\hose voice b espoke him a leader appeare d to occupy suc h a position now. It was he who gave directions. "Marden," he said to the man with the thunder tones, "you won't fai l me?" I never did yet, Jesse James, and you kin depend on me at th e right time. I like you, and: I like your ways. This game s uits me to a dot. I'm with you, dead sartin." "And Rube, you understand your part?" "I reckon I do, old man. You'll fi'nd Rube Burrows your right-hand bower when the time comes for pulling a trigger. I'm in on the haul every time." Nice company this! Those names were the most feared and detested along the Mississippi Valley. Rube Burrows, though a young man, had made a notorious reputation for himself in Alabama, while for years, ever since the clo!>e of the war, Jesse Jam es had ruled things with a high hand all through Missouri, where his reputation as a train and bank robber had made him a terror in the land. Burrows had long sought to emulate the career of tnis man, and bade fair to equal him in his crimes. He was not so cruel in his disposition as the other, but possessed a cunning mind that made him an object of aiarm to the express company operating on Southern roads. When two men of this caliber came together trouble was bound to ensue. Flint and steel produce fire. Rube Burrows had long desired' to enter into some game with the old and more experienced train robber. The chance had now cQme, and he was bent upon im proving it. Who was the man in the loft, and what brought him to such a rendezvous? He was evidently not in sympathy with the object that had attracted the three conspirators. On the contrary, he was Qne of their deadliest foesbeing none other than Carl Whicher, th e famous Pin kerton detective, who had more than once come within an ace of capturing Jesse Jam es, thereby attaining a very high place in the opinion of the noted Missouri outlaw. Chagrined at having arri ved when their plans had a ll been discussed and arranged, he listened eagerly in the hop e that he might hear something to at least give him a clew. There are times w11en a hint is as good as a nod, and he could follow such a 1ea
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I I / THE JESSE JAMES STORIES. bushvvhackers o f Missouri, from whence they carry terror to the hearts cf their enemies. Marden had been one of their number. issued to Besides this they had another scheme on foot w]:iich bad interested the detective. He took a stroll about town. After the close of the war he had retired t o the lonely been carefu l enough to disguise himself, h e did wilds and lived a hermit life. seldom seeking civilization not fear meeting any one of the three men, should the y except when necessity compelled him to do so. happen to JJe i n the place. The first view the man in the loft obtained of this Calling at the bank to get a bill changed, he noted how man was disappointing. the land lay there. From the tremendous bellow of his voice, one would As he was a stranger, more than one person eyed him naturally expect him to be a giant in stature. curiously, as though they would like to l,now what his Such 'vas not the case. business might be. In fact, the reverse was t rue, for Marden proved to be Whicher kep t his own counsel. a small, thoug h thick-set, man. He meant to play this game in his own way, and not Like most clwarfs, thi s man possessed immense power to call in assistance until the proper time came. in his body and arms. Makin g inquiries. he headed out of town for the house He could pick up an ordinary man and almost swing of a gentlema n by the name of Allen him around his head as though he were a baseball bat. On the way fate plnyed him a curious deal. Being of a surly disposition, he was shunned by most He had hired a horse, preferring to ride. men, which fact pleased the hermit just as well. while jogging along under trees and enjoying the After several minutes' listening, during which he beauties of the l andscape, he suddenly heard the thunder strived in vain to \earn more of the details of what he c horses' hoofs ahead. The first, indeed the only t hought th .at crossed his mind, was to the effect that some animal was running was convin ced was a dastardly plot, h e cautiousiy w ithdrew from the loft as noiselessly as he had come. He reached the ground safe ly, and was quickly swal lowe d up in the darl'mess of the night. .. CHAPTER II. A MEETING ON THE ROAD. When Whicher left the hut in the Missouri hills, he set off at once for the nearest town. what he had heard remained fixed in his inind in delibly. He might have learned more, but half a loaf was better than no bread. By adding one thing to another he could make out the whole case. One object he had in life. This was to defeat the plans of the three conspirators, and if possible, kill or capture the man who might be looked upon as their leader-the notorious Jesse James. The first thing he did upon reaching town was to seek a tavern and sati sfy his hunger. When this j o b was through with he felt like a new man and was ready to grapple with the business on hand He began to make careless inquiries. They were such as a stranger might ask,
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4 THE JESSE JAMES STORIES. At the same time the latter was overhauling him with out difficulty. Carl cast one glance back over his shoulde r. His attention, of course, was mainly taken up with the girl, but he had an indistinct view of a man mounted on a black charger, and rushing along in pursuit, about thirty yards behind the fas t-flying bay. Carl had already made up his plans. He knew what he was about. This would not be the first time by a long shot that he had stopped a runaway horse, although never before under the same circumsfances that existed at present. The road was narrow. In order to pass him by, the mare must come within arm's reach on e,ither side, for he occupied the middle. As he hoped and expected, the horse came up on his left. He saw its head just back of him, and forging on, steadily passing. I\ ow was his time. Carl suddenly leaned over in his saddle, and clutched the bridle near the bits. Once his firm hand closed over this, nothing could make him relax his hold. At the same time he drew heavily upon the lines of his own steed, reducing his pace. The result was as expected. Both animals were brought to a halt. Carl, flushed with victory, turned to receive the warm th_anks of the maiden whom he bad, as he believed, saved from possible death. What he saw amazed him. She sat erect in her saddle, and from her eyes blazed the fire of indignation. The small whip she carried was raised on high, and Carl half expected to feel its lash across his face. "Take your hand from that bridle! How da1"e you stop me, sir?" she cried. Carl would never forget the mingled anger and pathos in that sent a sympathetic chord vibrating in his heart. He realized that somehow he had made a mistake. "I beg your pardon, lady, but I thought yoi.1r horse had become unmanageable, and was running away with you," he said. At the same time he removed his hand. Just at this moment the other rider thundered up, and Carl saw a handsome man, older than himself, wearing a black scowl upon 'his face, which, however, just now was partially relieved by a smi l e of devilish triumph. Carl disliked him on sight. The man fastened his eyes upon the face of the young girl in a gloating way. "Aha! you though t to give me the slip that time, Susie, but you see fate steps in and takes a hand in the game. I hope you will change your mind now," he said. She flashed defiance at him. "I refuse to ride home with you, Major Prentice, after the manner in which you have addressed me. I consider you no gentleman, sir." He shrugged his shoulders. "Ah you will perhaps have reason to change your mind, Miss Susie. I simpl y p love to be a bold wooer. I _understand the ladies love such a man: who, having mad e up his mind, can be daunted by nothing." "Some women may, but I prefer a gentleman at all When I marry I hope to have a husband, and not a master," she replied, with a spirit that Carl greatly ad1mir ed. "And you are perfectly right, my dear girl. In me you would find a devoted "Pardon me, I do not car e to discuss the subject at all, and much 'less in the presence of a third party," she said, cold ly. "As you please. If you are ready we will continue our, ride home." I said I preferred to ride alone, sir." "Nonsense, you will allow me to accompany you. These roads are hardly safe nowadays, with so many strangers around." Carl took this to himself. He touched hi'S 'ha:t. "Lady, I was th:< innocent cause of your bei 1jf over taken. Accept my sincere apology, and allow me to remedy the blunder as well as I am able. If you would prefer to let me be your cavalier to you r home I shall see to it that: this gentleman does not annoy you with his at tentions." "Sir! exclaimea the major, frowning in a savage manner, and dropping his hand to his hip in a suggestive manner that those living in the South fully under sta nd. He 'had met his match, however. Carl looked him straight in the eye. "I know your kind, sir. Any ma n who would use vio lence toward a lady is a bully. Ay, scowl as you please; looks do not alarm me. If you wish anything more I am ready to accommodate you. I have met braver men itha n you ere now at the muzzle of the revolver." They glared at each otl1er as though recognizing mortal foes. Carl was in the right. He knew it, and the consciousness gave him additional strength of purpose. Perhaps he also felt the eyes of the fair girl fastened upon him, and this may have caused his heart to take on additi o nal determination.

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THE J ESSE JJ\M E S S T OR I ES 5 At any rate it was the major who fin ally withdrew his gaze. M uttering a curse he w h irled his horse around. "You will hear from again, you imp u dent cur!" he grated between his teeth, at the same time urging his steed on. The words were flung back over h i s sho ul de r and the gallant major, a:s if fearfu l lest the other shou l d take a notion to send a bullet after him, bent low in the saddle. Car l was not in the habit of shooting at flying men-he only laughed as he watched t h e coward ca r eering down the road. Perhaps to himself he was thinking that the r e was quite a contrast between himself and the t!ngallant ntajor, and he may have been human enough to have gl(f r ied in the fact t hat the "itness of the encounter, the one most interest ed in the game, was the young girl. He turned in the saddle. .. CHAPTER III. AN Il\fI'EKD1NG STORM. He found a pair of roguish blue eyes fastened upon him. The girl was not a beauty, but she possessed a very attractive face and figure, and Carl W)1icher was a bach elor. Ther efore, he was deeply int e rested at once. "You hav e routed the enemy, sir," she said, with a clear laugh thc-,t seemed to break down the barriers of re serve between them. Ca rl cc11 oed it. "Yes, he seems to be in full r etreat, and I don't think we need expect any trouble from that source, for the present, at least." I thank you for your kindness." "Don't mention it. Only for my awkward blunder you would nev er have been overtaken by him. I only r eme died it as best I could." "Still, you braved his anger. There are few men in this section who would do that," she re ma rk ed, looking at him fixedly, as though searching for the hidden power that had enabled him to come out victor in the exchange of glances. "What! afraid of that man? Why, he is a coward, if ever there was one "He has the reputation of a fire-eater. I half ex pected to see him attempt your murder in cold blood. As it is, I regret that you should have made an enemy .of h im "vVhy ?" "He will give you trouble in the future." "Let him try. Two can play at. that game. I have defeated better men than he before. But I siilccrely lrnst your troub les i n connection w it h him are over, m i ss." A sad look shut down over her face. "I am afraid that would be too good to be true, sir Major Prentice has the reputation of being an obstinate ma n ; you heard him declare that fact h imself. He will not give up an object so easily." "The wretch. Some one ough t to hor sewh i p h im within an inch of his l ife. Do you mean he will persecute you with his attentions when he knows they .are clisag:ee able ?" She nodded her head. "Have you no brother upon w h om you can call, to giv e this man his due?" A negative shake answered him. "Your father?" "Is living." "In good health?" "Yes, indeed." "Why don't you tell him of th i s man's persecutions, and ask his protection?" ''There are two reas ons. In the first place, I am afrai
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THE JESSE JAMES STORIES Somethin g i1,1 his frank admiration caused a blush to cree p over her face. Carl thought she looked b eautiful then. '"I cannot say n o Friends are too few in this ,s_ection o f the coun t r;:. and yo u have already rendered me a great srnice. You m11st come and meet my father." '"\\'ith pleasure m i ss, when I have concluded some busine s s that has brought me out of town. You have 1 ived here l ong: They were riding along s ide by side while thus convcrsmg. "'All my life."' s he r e pli e d. .. That would not mean a g r eat span," he said, gallantly, anu then continued: "Perhaps you could aid me in flnd ing a party." "Do es he live near by?" "I have reason to believe so, although my information \Y
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THE JESSE J AMES STOR!ES. Noon came. Dinner was announced by a black major-domo, who would have done credit to a Southern plantation under the old regime. Carl \Y::ts invited. He would have protested, but one look from the blu e eyes of Susie Allen already had more influence with him than all the squires bellowing. So he remained. It was his intention to seize the fir s t favorable oppor tunity now to inform his genial host why he had sought him. There was a certain amount of reluctance about this, too, as he was not yet certain just ho w the old man would take it. Perhaps he would denounce him as a good-for-nothing interloper, m eddling with affairs that did not concern him. At any rate this had to be done, and the time. was passing. Dinner was served in style. Perhaps the squire would ask him to have a smoke at its conclusion, and over the ciga1s men generally become very friendly. That would be an opportune time to speak. They were quite a merry party, and Susie looked very sweet and domestic behind the coffee urn-for the squire insisted upo n having this American beverage at every meal. Carl was badly smitten. He had b een about to carry out his plans before on account of principle. Now he hac1 some interest at stake. Susie was a prize worth winning. The man who succeeded in getting her would lie an en-vied fellow. He admitted this. Perhaps she had a lover already. It would be one of his fir st dutie s to ascertain thi s fact as soon as possible If such should prove to be the case he was man enough to desert the field at once, but should he find the race open Carl me;:;:-tt to ente r v;ithout delay. So he drifted on. "My daughter g.enerally $its with me while I smoke my aft?r-clinner cigar"'' sa id the squire, reac hing after a qox. Susie arose. 'You must excus e me to-day, papa, as I have some-thing to attend to. I see you o n the piazza later." And she left the room. "Come, let us adjourn to the piazza." Soon they were comfortably fixed, and alone. Carl made sure of this fact. He had arranged his chair near that of the old gentleman. Both men had th eir feet elevated on the railing, American style "I ha ve something to tell you, squire." "Indeed. Please proceed." "There i s a shadow hanging over this house-a storm ready to burst upon your heqd." CHAPTER IV. PLOT AND COUNTERPLOT. At these words the old squire naturally seemed very much astonished. and regarded his visitor in a peculiar manner, as though he had doubts regarding his sanity. This was fully expected by Carl. He had made up his mind what course to pursue, and wa.s not to be balked by any ordinary difficulties. Hence, he viewed the astonishment of the old gentle man with utter indifference "Theso are strange words, sir." "Yes, they may appear so to you, but when I explain to you, you will understand better." "Then do 50 at once!" Carl had started the ball rolling now, and did not m ean to let it stop until the bottom of the hill was reached. At the same til11e he knew it was ne cessa ry that he should proceed cautiously, for the old man was more deeply concerned in the game than outward appearances indicated. "Squire Allen, before I tell yo u my story, I wish to be assured that you will keep my secret inviolate will you promise me this?" \Vith all my heart, yonng man, though I haven't the slightest idea as to what that secret can be." "Y 011 will soon learn, sir. I am, by profession, a de'tectiv e." The sm1ire "One Pinkerton's men he e: .. ...:laimed. "Yes, that is true." 'After the J arnes boys?" "1\g-ain yn11 hit the bull's-eye Rut I have a 1111ss1on hevoncl the mere desire to win the reward offered for their bodies dead or ali \ 'C." Then he wrnt on to tell of the murder of the detective by tho outlaws in the mountains. It was no news to the squire. All Missouri had nmg with it. At the s:-tme time he listened with !nte:c st fo 1 t11e man who related the story was one who had a great deal al stake. Then Carl told of his hunt. \Vben he came to the 111 the cabin, his auditor

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q-'HE JESSE JAMES STORIES. had shown such decided interest that he forgot to puff away at his cigar, which, in consequence, went out. The squire turned scarlet in the when he heard what the three desperadoes were engaged in discussing. Somthing came home to him. With difficulty he repressed a groan. Carl played bis cards well, and knew just how far to go in the matter. Finally he came to the encounter on the road, and painted Major Prentice in as black colors as a master hand might. This time the squire groaned outright-there was no mistake about it. He understood that the young man knew his secret, and hung his head in shame. Carl felt sorry for him. "I beg you to believe, Squire Allen, that I have no de sire to pry into your private affairs. It is my business to assist you if yo u will allow me. "I understand that you are in the power of this villain; t hat he h o lds an influence over your head, and threatens you with vful exposure." "And now?" "I shall defy him to do his worst. You have shown him to me as a villain, and an associate of train robbers and murderers. No maitter what happens to me, my hose sentiments, sir, and stand willing to back you up against even the power of this lawless gang. I.t will be strange if together we cannot devise some means of defeating them." His words seemed to put new life into the old squire. A look of determination came over his face that boded no good for the man w i ho was plotting bis downfall. "Young ma n, I trust Y (')U. Whether we win or fall, I place confidence in you. Advise me, and I will do what you say." This was far better than Carl had ever anticipated. Judging from the looks of the squire, he had believed there would be trnuble in getting him to believe the facts. At hearing the other's words he heaven a sign of relief and seemed pleased. "Let us look calmly at the matter, then, and see what these men inrtend doing. As I heard only a portion of what was said, it is necessary to supply the balance. "The three men whom I overheard plotting in that cabin have, i.t seems, entered into an agreement to assist Prentice in his game. "I do not know how muc'h of a money oonsideration he paid them, but besides t his it seems that Jesse James has a debt to cancel. Prentice did something for him once upon a time, and the opportunity h:as arrived when he can return it.he favor." "And the mcihod to be employed?" "As far as I could make out, it is a singular one. This man desires to appear as a hero in '!'he eyes of your daugh ter. He intends to rescue her from the power of the out laws when they have captured her." The squire laughed. "Bless my what a queer thing to think of such a plan. It would be a rough joke on the major if you should steal his nhunder." "Just whait I propose doing," remarked Carl, quietly. '"What! d'ye mean to say you'll take his place, and rescue Susie?" "Exactly. It's a pity the plan should be entirely given up. Somebody ought to reap a benefit from it af.ter all the trouble." "You are right, young man, an
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THE JESSE JAMES 9 way in which t11ey spoke I should judge that it was a woman, and one w 1 ith w:hom your daughter comes in daily contact." The squire dencheii his stout fist and brought it down upon the arm of 1 his chair with a tremendous whack. "Yes, I know who it is-a girl by the name of Doroth y owes us much but it is the nature of her breed to be treacherous. She has black blood in her v e ins, though you would never b e lieve it to l ook at her." "She is the one they on to drug the young lady's tea to-night. She wi.11 be carried off by the three men. At a certain time she will come to her senses and naturally cry for help. With that Major Prentice is to spring from the bushes-a fight follows-the brave man kills or puts to flight all of her enemies after a desperate encounter, and, of courise, the re s cued maiden falls inbo the arms of her savior." "Very fine, inideed, but we'll spoil ilie game for him we'H spoil the game," muttered t'he squire, gritting his teeth and nodding his head in a resolute manner. "You are right, sir, and now I'll tell you just how I purpose doing it." "Go. on, "The major must be detained, and you are the one to hols hand When everything had been arranged, they changed the subject,_ Susie joined them. Thus several hours pa s sed pleasantly and they saw the sun drawing near the western hills. Evening was not far away. ..., As he had already a-rranged with the old squire, Carl declared it positively necessary that he sh o uld go on He promised to see them soon again, and ventured to press Susie 's :hand at parting, which brought the blushes to her cheeks. Then he galloped down the road. Turning in the saddle, he saw a white kerchief flutter ing at the gate, and answered the sig nal with a wave o f his hat in the air. "Bles s t he girl ," he mutt{red, "she's tak en me by sto rm. I'm re ady to risk all I have, my life, for her sake." CHAPTER V. LYING IN WAI'l'. Carl rod e along for a short C o ming to a bend in the road, he c han ced to gla nce ah ead, and sa\.v approaching him a s!i:-glc horseman. In this man he recognized hi s ene my. Yes, it was Major Prenti ce on his way to the plantation of S q uire Allen. The shad e s of evening fcl! heavily ui1der the tree s at the point where Carl c h anced to be at the ti me, and he was sure the other h a d n ot n oticed him Obey ing a sudden impulse he nrgecl bL i10rse in among th e trees. Scref'ned by the trnclcrg-ro\';th. lie cou \cl see what p::tssed along the road without himseli b eing seen. j

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to THE JESSE JAMES STORIES. The major was passi n g by w hen his horse, scenting the orher an:mal near, gave a n eigh. Carl kn e\\ what the res. ult would be but was powe rless to pre v e nt it. His horse an swer ed. fosfantly tii1e doughty major drew r e in and turning in the sadclk, gbred long a nd earnestly in the direction whe n::e the s o und had come. B.e held a revo lver in his han d, and sat like a figure canc'Ci of sto ne in his sad dle. C:iri believed he would move forward to investigate, and kn o wing \\hat such a meeting meant, a l so drew his r e volv e r. Jt was a peculiar sit uation. Af.ter a couple of minutes Major Pre ntic e appeared to c oncl u de tha, t h e did n o t care to i n vestigate the source of the myster i o u s he igh. He rode on. i\s h e gallop e d clown the road, pe still k ep t the revolver ready in his hand, a nd lo oked hack over his shoulder, as thoug h n ot quite certain that the person conc ea led under tulie trees did not mean to assail him Carl was glad a m eeting ha
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l'HE JESSE JAMES STORIES. 1 1 The drug was slow in taking effect, but unl ess the squir e had made a mistake in the glasses it was bound to get there. Fortunately, Prentice was in no hurry. He had plenty of time in which to reach the rendez vous, and this favored the man who was following. At last he discovered the first indication that what he desired was coming to pass. The man's head moved from to side; he put up his hand as though dizzy. Carl chuckled. I-:Te felt satisfied that th e game would turn in his favor soon. In imagination he could see the chagrin rthat must come over the majo r when upon recovering from his stupor and hastening forward he di scovered that t:he drama had already been played and anot'her hero had taken his place. The actions of the man on horseback grew even more prono unced. He a ctually reeled in h.is saddle. T his became so serious tha
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12. 1'HE JESSE JAMES STORIES. "ailed, wi. th a smile 011 his set face and a revolver in his He : had patience, all was well, no mistake had been made, and in time the game was sure to come to his net. CHAPTER VI. l' 'l'HE MOCK BATTLE. Time pa s sed. H earing no sounds to indicate the coming of the part!es for who m he waited, Carl struck a match and consulted his watch It was eleven. Surely they must be on the way and could not be far off. He pfaced his ear to the ground and listened, as might an old frontiersman in days of old, when engaged in des perate encounters with the dusky sons of the forest. Ah success came. He heard foots teps some distance away, and at about tihe same time caught the crashing of bushes, as though a party of men pushed hastily and carelessly along the bridle path. As he sat up and listened he hearp a deep voice gurgle an oat>h, and kqew from this that the dwarf was there, having probably been struck in the face by a switch, springing back into place after the passage of his com rades. They were coming, then. Clear 1the deck for and get ready to give them a surprise! Carl's 'hand may have trembled a trifle from eagerness and excitement. !:<'ear had no place in his compositiotl. He was only anxious for the affair to get under way, so that he might give vent to some of the surplus animation that marked his actions. It would soon come about. The sounds drew closer. He could hear the words uttered and even distinguish the voices. '"'vVe must be near the place, Jesse?" "Rube, a little more patience. It's close by." "Looks like it here-th.is is a glade, and I reckon that big cottonwood stood thar." "Ye s, we've arrived at last, and I for one feel glad. This girl may seem a light load, but she's a dea:d weight. I wouldn't have done it for any one else than the major." "Hush! I believe she's coming to. It would spoil the whole business to let her hear." "Yes, yes. Come, hustle around and find snme wood. l We must have a fire here. The air is sharp enough for it, I and b esides, we want some light on the subject." l The dwarf himself heard. "Here is a fallen tree-top, dead enough for goo'd firewood. Nearly scratched my eyes out among the branches," he cried. Two of them began collecting twigs, which were piled in a heap. Then a match was applied The flame started slow ly, as the wood was par-tially wet from the rain that had fallen on the previous night. when it once got however, the fire showed great vitality, and lighted up the liHle glade thoroughly. Car l was watching. He saw that the young girl, w rapped in a cloak, had been laid near the base of the large cottonwood tree that marked the glade. Looking wt Jesse James, he noticed the man glacing around the border of the glade and knew w .hat was in hi'S thoughts. The ot!her wondered as to whether Major Prentice had arrived on the scene. He must be r eassured. When h0e glanced in the direction of tpe spot where Carl lay, the detective raised himself above the bushes, and made a movement with his arm. He was seen. Jesse James answered the signal. He really believed it was the major who crouched be hind the bush. That was the first link in the chain of deception which Carl had forged and meant to palm off upon his enemies. The balance wou ld soon come. He immediately sank down out of sight again, and re sumed his watch of the scenes that were transpiring in the glade The fire now sparkled, the flames writhing among the branches fed to them like fiery serpents, bent upon de vouring everything within their reach. Ah! there was a movement in the quarter where the girl lay. She stretched out her hand, and seemed to be feeling for something. Then she raised her head. A pair of widely distended eyes stared at her surround ings, and a cry of alarm burst from her lips. "Heaven help me-I dream. Where am I-what does this mean? Father! Save me!" and she covered her face with her hands. Rube Burrows strode up His fierce app arance was apt to strike dismay to the heart of any gentle woman, and yet in reality there was nothing more to fear from this man than many another with a far less ferocious face He boasted of his gallantry to t\1e fair sex, and that his

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()"HE JESSE J AMES STORIES. 13 hand was n eve r raised against a woman, bad as he might otherwise be. "Don't take on so, Susie. We've got you a pri soner, to be sure, but you ain't goin' to be hurt. The governor's got to come d6 ,n handsomely with the rocks, that's all." ''It will kill my poor father,., s h e sob b ed "I reck on not. The old squire's too tough for that. We're men of our word-this here is J esse James, and I"m Rube Burrmn. Reckon you\e heard tell of u s ." She seemed almost overcome at the exposure of their id entity. The reput ation of these outlaws was e n ough to strike terror to the heart of an y one so unfortunate as to fall into their power No doubt both of them had been credited with many d eeds they were innocent of. Such is the price that either fame or notoriety must pay Susie Ailen was rendered alm os t h) sterica l by her sud den and terrible a\lakening. She was a brave girl, but\the drug must have had an in fluence upon her. At any rate, she "sprang to her feet giving a cry of alarm that pierced t he heart of the man hiding in the bush es, \Yho glori ed in the thought that his hour had come. "Heaven help me, if I am in the power of the fiends you name. Better death thart that. Have yo u no pity, wretches? Unhand me-let me go fro m this place back to my h ome !" She tore herself loose from the grasp of Jesse Jam es, and would haYe fled, but with a laugh intende d to still further chill her blood, Rube Burrnws caught her arm. Again she shrieked in terror. "Help! h e l p Oh! my soul, is there no one to save me from th ese awful men?" Ah! a crashingin th e bu s hes ann o un ced the arrival of som e one. The outlaws uttered exclamations of surprise, and fl.as ned weapons in to v i ew. A man sprang into the glade. Apparently it was Major Prentice. He stood there like a Nem esis, glaring at the three m e n. "What d oes this mean? I h eard calls for help, and in a lady s voice. If you devils are up to any mischief it will be a sorry night's work for you." "Oh! Major Prentice, save me!" cried Susie, falling into the common error, thanks to Carl's ingenuity in dis guising himself H eavens! Miss Susie, can I b elieve my eyes! Have th ese wretches dared to harm you?" He took out a r evolver-it cha n ced to be the one secured from Prentice-which accident was o f great mo ment to several in that same little g lade. "No, no, they have not harmed me, but th ey mean to hold me for ransom. Oh! save me, Ma j or Prentice, if you are a man. I will forget everything-do not desert me! she pleaded . She would have run to him, only that Rube still grasped her wrist, and she could not free her se lf from his des perate clutch "l will not. You shall return to you r father's house or I shall leave my dead body here. You scoundrel, release that lady!" Carl was following out the line of action laid down for Prentice, as well as he was able. That he wa!i fairly successful was ev id ent from the fact that Jesse James ,..actually grinned, being unable to control his features. ' Look here, you fool, if you know what's good for a man about your size, you'll get away from this section in a hurry. )Jo man ever yet tackl ed Rube Burrows-that's me-or my pa rd, yonder-that's J esse James-without havin g his eyeteeth drawn. Scan1per now, before we make crow's meat of ye." This was accompanied by a fearful scow l and an om inous movemen t of the revolver. The would-be rescuer of the maiden in di s tress seemed startled. vVhat Rube Burrows here? "On deck." "And Jesse James, too?" Cor rect." "I wouldn't have believed it possible-such men I thought above a thing lik e this. But it makes no difference-you shall allow this yo un g lady to go with me or pay the penalty wi th your lives." "Ha! ha! hear the terrier bark !" "Come, now; move on!" "Let's pulverize him!" growled the d warf, as he squat ted like a great toad, apparently ready to a leap upon his prey. "For the last time, I ask you to release that lady." "We refuse. How does that strike you, Mr. Impu dence?" answered Burrows. "Then take the consequences.'" What followed was a scene that only a master hand could describe with justice. Confus i o n reigned. Shots rang out. The three desperadoes had be e n in many a bloody en counter and received wounds, so that they would know h ow to act in pretending to be shot down. As the supposed major fired his first shot, Jesse James

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14 THE JESSE JAMES STORIES. reeled backward, clas ping his hand over hi s heart, and sang out : 'He's d o ne it-I'm killed, boys. Avenge me ." With w hi ch r e mark h_..e s a n k i n a h eap Carl had aimed di r e ctly at his body, instead of over his head. Meanwhile the others were banging away at a tremen dous rate, shouting at the sam e time Susie clapped her hands over her ears and sank nerve less at the foot of the c;ottonwood, but something caused her to keep her startled gaze upon her bold champion. She knew one of the desperadoes was down, but still the odd s were two to one. Carl
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, THE JESSE JAMES STOR!ES. 15 Had they all been playinga part? Someho\\" he fancied the death of the two desperadoes was too strikingfy dramatic to be natural. Then he remembered that he had been holding the re volver taken from Prentice. For the first time it occur r ed to him that the weapon might have been doctored for the occasion, blank cartrid ges being subst ituted for the loaded ones. He felt chagrined. If-this should really prove to be the case, he had lost a grand opportunity to wind up the career of those noted desperadoes. When he aimed so carefully. and fired at the heaJts of his foes, he was only shooting blanks. Tlieir actions had been assumed. \Yell, it \\"aS too late now to remedy the evil, unless he deserted Susie and went back to use his own reliable gun. That he would not do, so the outlaws got off without damage. At any rate, he had saved Susie, though the anger of the conspirators would be great when they learned the truth. For that he cared little They pushed along the narrow path. Neither spoke, save when Carl warned his fair com panion to look out for low-hanging limbs that stretched their arms out menacingly. At length the road was reached. Here they could walk side by side. Carl objected to sailing under false colors, especia lly when the girl was thus mentally showering blessings on the head of his rival. He mus t enlighten her. The truth was bound soon to appear, at any rate, and no better opportunity could be found for having a confi dential talk than while they were on the way home. His chance soon came. "Major Prentice, you have not told--" "Miss Allen, you make a mistake-I am not Major Prentice," he said, grimly. She tried to get her arm away from his, but Carl ob jected and held it tight. "Not Major Prentice?" "I am happy to say that the person you refer to, after having a socia l g l ass with your father, lies in the woods yonder so sound asleep that Gabriel's trumpet would hardly rouse him from his state of somnolence." She could not see his face, of course; it was too dark for that; but as she stood there she stared hard at him. "Who are you ?" she asked, in trembling tones. "One whom you met only a few hours ago for the time, Miss Susie-Car! \ Vhicher." "This is strange I saw you in the firelight when yon fought with those men, and believed my rescuer to \Jc Major Prentice." "Exactly, and it was my intention that any one seeing me sho uld believe that.., 'Strange \;Vere you ashamed to perform such a noble deed under your colors, sir?" He laughed Iightlv. "Never, Susie, but the circumstances connected with this case made it advisable for me to do this thing. You shall hear for yourself as we journey toward and your father will be the judge between us." This was agreeable. She felt decidedly anxious to hear all there was to the story. This young man had made an impression on her heart, eve11 in the short time she had known him, and the thought that he had been the means of saving her from such a dreadful fate was extremely pleasant. Carl was a good talker. He knew h ow to condense a story and give the salient points. At the same time, be made as light of his own adventures as possible, and yet she understood what he bad passed through, without any elaboration on his part. Thus their walk in the direction of the squire's house was enlivened by a description of the ingenious plot en tered into by the artful major to carry her heart by storm while posing as a hero. Thanks to the intervention of Carl, this brilliant idea was destined to act as might a boomerang, and inflict damage upon the man from whom it proceeded. The girl experienced a complete revulsion of feeling; she had begun to be sorry for her former treatment of the major, when under the belief that it was that incli vidual who had rescued her so bravely. Now she learned the truth. She detested a man who would stoop so low in order to win her by deceit. At the same time Carl was naturally advanced in her estimation. He builcled upon the fabric designed by his rival; not that this was his usual way of doing things, but the cir cumstances of the case seemed to favor him. After that nothing could displace him in her estima tion. Leaving them to reach the squire s house, where they would find that worthy up and anxiously awaiting their coming, we will l ook in upon a sce ne that occurred about this time in the same g lad e where Carl had just encoun tered the trio of desperadoes. About half an hour afti;:r the desperate sc;;ene, a man cautiously approach e d this place.

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16 THE JESSE JAMES STORIES. A fir e still burned there. At tim e s the laughter of men could be heard echoing through the woods. The party approaching caught this sound, and chuck led to himself "They're on hand. That's good. I began to be afraid that strange sleep of mine had ruined the whole businesa. But my lucky star is in the ascendant." Thus muttering, the major crept along, drilwing closer to the fire. The voices of the men sitting there came to his ears dist inctly and he could even make out what they said. It se e med as though the two outlaws were joking the dw arf about something for they spoke of his running qualities and the tone of his voice when raised to a death scr e ech, while Marden, on his part, retaliated in kind. The major paid little attention to this. He could now see part of the camp, and his eager eyes were roving about searching for the object he most de sired to see. Som e how a feeling like lead came upon his spirits as he fail e d t o catch sight of Susie. It was like snuffing out a candle. The ma i or no longer chuc k led. Ins t e a d he muttered a 5avage oath under his breath. could this m ean? Did they have the girl concealed s o mew h e r e ? In va in he peered about Succes s failed to greet him, and his brow grew darker t h a n ever with anger. At the same time, he was qo fool. No matter what had happened to ruin his plans, he da r ed not go too -fa.f' w ith the kind of men with whom he dealt. They would not stand it. A hast y word might cause a revolver to flasli on a level w ith his head, and a bullet start on an investigating t our of his brain A t t he s a me time they respected a man who dared face them and t e ll what he thou g ht. Ma j o r Prentice stalked in t o camp Jesse J a mes caught sight o f him first. ' H all o her e! What's this mean?" T he o thers jumped to their feet and stared at the intruder in a puzzled way. "Did she get away?" demanded Rube Burrows. She! Who the devil do you mean?" "The g-irl, of course." "How should I know? That's what I was just about t o ask you Where is she?" T he thre e s:Jespe r adoe s looked b lank. \Vas th e inan out o f liis mind. Their late exultation vanished. "You took her away about half an hour ago, after kill ing us all in fine style." "Confusion! It is all a terrible mistake! J3oys, I swear to you I have not seen the girl to-night," declared the amazed major. CHAPTER VIII. 'A CHANGE OF BASIL Naturally, the three men whom the major addressed were taken aback .at his declaration. ThLy looked at each other without saying a word, but Jesse James, catching the eye of Burrows, tapped his forehead with his hand, as though to signify that, in his opinion, the other was deranged . This would account for the strange fact of his denial oncerning his presence, when they knew that he had been there. The major saw the movement. He was already in a towering passion. Had these men been other than they were, he would have allowed the storm to burst; but he had too healthy a regard for his own personal safety to attempt such a thing here.It would simply be a way of committing hari kari, for these men would soon dispose of a man who braved them. "Explain to me, Jesse J arnes ; it is all a mystery to me. I don't understand your strange actions and words. Speak, man I" He meant business, at any rate. Jesse James had a certain amount of respect for a man of this character See here, m a jor, y ou seem to be in earnest. It was no d r eam to us t hat you were here half an hour ag-o, shot us all down in fine style, chased Marden into the woods, and knocked him over on the jump, and went away with the girl." "The girl?" gasped Prentice. "Ce r t a i nly." "Susie Allen?" "Th e same." She was here?" "Well, I reckon.'' "You carried h e r a w a y ,from home?" "Those were the or d er s y ou gave." "Yes but, hang it, man, there has been s ome terrible mistake here." "Not on our part major." "Listen to me, Jesse James. I left th e squire's, a n d rode s l o wly alo ng, m e aning t o re a ch thi s p l ace and wai t. O n the ro ad I b eca m e fri g htfull y drowsy-nev e r k new wi ne to affect ine s o before. "Unable to keep my seat, I fastened the hor s e to a tree,

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THE .. JAMES STORIES. 11 tumbled over, and knew nothing until I came to, about a quarter of an hour ago. ""Striking a match, I saw that I was late, and made all possible haste to r ea ch the rendezvous to carry out my part of the programme. "I arrive here, only to be told that the girl has been rescued by some one you swear must have been me. Now, what in the wide world am I to think of this?" The quick mind of Jesse James wrestled with the prob. lem at once. "I begin to see light," he said, and at the same time frowned heavily. "Go on!" cried the major, grasping his arm. "The wine you drank with the squire must have been drugged. "I have already su spec ted it." "There is a plot that be ats our own." Suspicion at once pointed to the detective, Carl Whicher, who was known to be on their track. "How could he know abou t this unless some one has turned traitor?" The outlaw paid no attention to the covert insinuation back of this remark. "Fiends take him! He stole my revolver while I slept!" growled the major. "That explains another thing." "What?" "He aimed dead at us when he fired, and with any re volver than one prepare d for the occasion, we would have been slaughtered in a way we didn't calculate on It must have been your gun he used." "I had blanks in it." "That settles it, major. The man has managed to steal your thunder." Prentice gnashed his teeth. He wc+s in a humor to do something desperate-murder, wou ld not cause him to hesitate. "The man who crosses my path dies. I am ready to ;wear to that," he growled. None of the others were in the best of humor, for they felt they had been hoodwinked. If; therefore, the major proposed any bold scheme for revenging himself, they would, in all probability, join with him. General comersation ensued. Durin g the continuance of this, all minor details were iiscussed, and presently they understood everything. It was taken for granted that, after rescuin g the naiclen, the detective would
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18 THE JESSE JAMES STORAES. The match flared up. aEd was mo\ ecl along close to the surface of the soft gro und. X umeron s marks w e r e seen, including the trail of the horse, but it did not half a minute to discoyer a srn3ll footprint. undoubtedly made by a girl. ''There it i s!'' c r ied R u be. There \\ as something novel about it. however. th gave promise of fuw-these men had a queer idea \\'hat fun might mean. CT:-L \PTER IX. T he maj o r admitted the corn. BETRAYED. He did n ot doubt his companions, though rather angry It may be saiely assumed that those \\'ithin the squir at the i dea of havi ng been so neatly outwitted. house,\Yere not asleep at this time. Again they proceeded. \\'hen Carl and Sus i e had told their stories, it w The road was reached, and once more J esse James made agreed that the enemy, afte r such a repulse, would pro use of his matches. more formidable than ever, and that eternal vigilan Thus he was e n abled to d isconr t h at \ Vhicher and the was the price they must pay for safety. g irl had turned in the direction that would take them Hence, it \\as quickly ckcided that such a t hing to the souir e s sleep should be unknown under that roof u ntil dawn. All r eason for doub t \\'a s now remo1ed, and they had a The squire proved to be a good captain, under the certainty to deal with tectiYe; he bustled around, armed to the teeth himsc Talkii1g in lo\\ tones, they advanc e d along lhe r oad, and and aroused t h e three men who worked upon the pla the sm1irc's !)lace was finally reached. These parties were g iv en guns. F ot'ir desperate men clambered over the fence, and ap-The clog \\as unchained, and each door and wind pro achecl the house. barricaded. The major was ready to try th e roughest means known As the squ ir e s house hac! been built during tro u bl for \.vinning his briclc-abcluction by force-since his times arrangements had been made for just such pretty scheme had pro\ecl a dead failure. emergency. "Any as k ed Jesse James. Conseq u ently, \rhen they had gone the compl "Yes. one: ahrays kept chained." rounds and all had been made secure, it w ould r equir I thought I heard him when \\'e \Yere here before. battering ram to effect an entrance, unless treach Perhaps they've let him l oose on the grounds. I [ that is opened a \\ ay. so, we'll hear from him might y soon. T im e passed on. Hardly were the words out of his lip s when there was Carl stru ck a match and consulted his watch, find a terribfe growl on the l eft, and a rushin g sound co uld it was nearly three A. l\I. be heard, indicating the swift passage of an ad vancing :\ fe\\' more hours and da ylight was due. body. \ Vhat \ oulcl the rising sun look upon? "Look out, Rube!" sang the l\Iissouri outlaw. would the house be smoldering in ruins Burrows was on hi s guard. there intact? Only the faint light from the stars came to show him I\'" o one could tell. his onru shing enemy, but the Alabama desp e rado leveled The men whose arrival was momentarily expe his Winchester and covered t he brute. were capabk of anything, once th e ir sav age pas si Then came a stream of fire, accompanied by the boom were a r o us ed. of the gun. Carl's meditations were not of the mo st pleasant cl Struck by the leaden missile, but not mortally hurt, the acter ima ginable, and it was with almost positive r enraged animal continued his forward movement. that he found th e m interrupted. Again the repeating rifle sounded. The large and fierce dog rushed past the house, gr This time no ye lp followed the shot, for Rube's canine in1:ris sense of smell had warned him that the en adversar y was so close that the whole top of the clog's had come. skull was carried away. Carl nudged his companion, for the squire had al It settled him. gone a s leep in his chair. At the same time the alarm had been given-there He now sprang up. was no longer a chance for secrecy. "Gad! I was n ea rly off. What's the row Carl?" h The house would have to be carried by storm. claimed, rubbing his eyes. It had been their intention to steal a march upon those "Listen! The dog rushed b y. I think--" under the squire's roof, and by the use of some diplo-He did not finish the sentence. maey gain the lost ground. There came a heavy r eport of a gun, a yelp fro That was now useless. clog then almost immediately after a second shot, Changing their tactics, they hurriedly advanced upon muffled. the house. "Yes, they are here!" ejac ulated the squire, pokin It loomed up before them, dark and gloomy. gun through a small opening made for this purpose This was a new bu s iness for Jesse James-he had "Hold your fire-wait until we hear th em at the d forced banks ere now and stoppe d railway trains, mak-cautioned Carl. ing the pass e ngers hold up their hands and deliver their ''Right y ou are. We will wait." valuables like a highwayman of old. but never before They would not have l o ng. hid he attacked a dwelling-at l eas t since the war, when < Plainly could they h ear the swift rush of the a guerilla. mined men a s they advan ced.

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THE JESSE JAMES STOR1S. 19 They sprang upon the porch. Some one seized the handle of the door and shook the whole structure, savagely. ''I warn you to leave us in p ea ce. We are all well anned, and will fight desperately. Go while you have the opportunity," called out the squire from the other side of the door. A harsh laugh greeted his words. "You old fool, do you know who you have to deal with. Jesse James is here-open the door, or we will break it in," came a voice. The old squire was undaunted. "Never, you wretch!" "Then you must take the consequences." "Remember, I have warned you. If you are a1l blown into eternity the next minute, it will be your own fault." Some one outside uttered an exclamation of alarm, and a shuffling sound could be he heard, as though the man endeavored to get away from the daugerous quarter. The squire's words caused no alarm in any other breast than that of the major. Something struck the door a terrific blow. It was an a..x. Rube Burrows had stumbled over it while advancing o n the house, and, believing he could make good use of such a weapon, took it along with him. This was the last straw on the camel's back. The squire had bottled up his wrath up to this mo ent, but when the house echoed with the blow given y the ax, the bottle burst. "Take it, then, you rascals!" With that he let fly. The gun sounded like a small cannon, and, no doubt, he believed for the moment a bomb had exploded ear by. Fortunately for him, he was out of range. Not so another of the party. Rube Burrows was swinging the ax round sideways r another tremendous blow, and, as luck would have some of the contents of the squire's gun struck the eel. Glancing off, one piece of lead cut a gash in the cheek the dwarf, while others peppered bim in other porns of his anatomy. He was painfully, but not seriously, wounded, and the wls he gave vent to as his hands wande red from one t to another as he sought to discover whether he had vered them all were simply astounding .Meanwhile Burrows wielded the ax. Suddenly the hammering ceased. What did this mean? Those-within were on the qui vi'z:e. hey expected a trick. 1ey cou!J hear foes outside conversing in low es, and this warned them that the enemy had not n
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20 THE JESSE JAMES Thus Carl, glancing around, was able to see whom he confronted. Two women were there. Upon leaving them, some time previous there had been four. vVho wer e the mi ssing ones? Carl's heart seemed fr oze n \Yith fear as he glanced sharply at those cowering near. The squire had already sprung over to where they crouched, half hiding their eyes, as if afraid to look upon the new intrude r vVher e i s my child?" he c ried. They did not an s wer. Instead they s t ared stupidly at him, as though unable :o compre h e n d the \Yhy and wherefore of his presence. "'Sp ea k. woman' where is Susie?" I le shook her shoulde r. This seemed to arou se her. She found her tongue. "Gone!" she ga peel. "Gone! \i\Th e re-with whom?"' Tvvo men \Yere her<} . "And they carried her off?" "Ye s "Where did they come from?" "They follow e d Dorothy np the back stairs." "The traitres s where i s she?"' 'Gone with S u sie." "Did they carry her aff, too?" "Yes, sir." Carl heard no more. He saw an open door a t the other end of the room, ancl made for it. It was hi s b e lief that this would lead him to the rear s t a irs mentioned by the girl in her excited recital of t h e fact s This proved to be th e truth. It was so extr e m e l y dark, ho.-vvever-for he had neg lected to snatch up the lantern h e ld b y the quire-that he came near pitching h eadlong clown the flighi. saving himself from such an ugly tumble on l y by clutching h old o f a hand rail accidentally Rapidly he flew dmvn. Reaching the bottom, of course, he did not know in which direct ion to turn. Here instinct came into play. He felt ;i. draft of cool air strike him on the cheek, and realized that the current must proceed from an o p en rloor. So he groped his way in that direction, and, to his satisfaction, found his surmise to be a correct one. The back door stood open. He passed through. Once more he stood under the stars, and listened to get some clew Various sounds came to his ears. In the first place, he could h ear the sqnire still questioning the domestic, seeking to learn all she knew about the mattc:r. Then the voices of the men near the front of the house could be heard, and speedily came the crash of firearms, as though they were making an attack upo n the d e fenders-perhaps a mock assault to cover their retrea t. Carl had ca nght more. H e was not l istening for any of these sound his tention being rive ted to another quarter. lt seemed to him that h e saw moving figures near aucl, just before t h e crash of firearms drowned all e caught a low, halfchoke d c r y for help. \\'hether this .latte r was really the truth, or the eff of imagination. h e did n o t top to analyze, but im diatel v darted after. In hi s hand he hdcl a revolver. This one h e knew to contain four bullets, and if found a chance to use it, h e would g ive the rascally k nappers cause to regret iheir \\ork. The darkness 1\a inten s e Carl trained his eyes. He seemed to be gifted with the po.wer of a cat, he cou l d actually see even in that g loom. There was no mistake about the moving figures-t-1 were a reality He follmwcl swift! 1 Meantime, there 1\as q uit e a little g oing on front of the house. pe rhaps a bloodless one, as b parties to it kept well out of range. The assailants we r e merely making a racket to dr full attention t o the front, while their comrades carr on t h eir work in the rear. Carl kne1y one thing. The r e \Yere in all probability but four in the wl;i party. As two to be engaged in the uproar in front the house, this l eft a couple t o carry on the other ,,or\ Beside the domestic had declared but two m en l followed Dorothy into the room, one of whom had se S u s ie, while the other force d Dorothy to accompan y hi Ile had not waited long enough to hear these men ,-.crib ed, but co ui d lay a p1:etty sil rewd guess as to wh thev \Yere One mt1st be th doughty major himself while companion might have been any member of the trio rascals banded with him. It mattered little Carl meant business, and was not to be disc ouraged the fact t hat he might find hims elf opposed by even s u a terror as J esse James, o r Red Rube, the Alabama tr robber. His progress ,,as rapid. At the same tim e the d e t ective did' not blunder alo stumbling over obstacles, and warning every one in se counties of h i s appro;;.:.: h. II e moved. as quietly as th e nature of the ground a hi s own r apidity would allow. The racket kept up in front of the house served manner to d ea den any noise h e made. Thus he rapidly overtook those he pursued. They had already reached the trees growing near country house. Once under these, the shadow served to conceal th even more. If the men n o tic e d his coming at all, they no dot: thought it was one of their friends. Favor"ed by fortune, Carl advanced. Now the trees shaded him also. Where were those he sought?

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THE JESSE JAMES STORIES. 21 He glanced eagerly around, but it was his hearing that gave him the clew. The party had come to a halt, and seemed to be wait'ng; perhaps this was the rendezvous where they were to neet aiter the affair was over, and success or failure had rowned their efforts. He approached them. Each of the two men seemed to be holdiag a female gure, and Carl, in the darkness, had to make a hap-azard guess. Major Prentice (for he was of the party) was the first discover the detective. He had his revolver out. The darkness was not so intense but what he could aim int-blank at a human figure at that short distance. Carl was already rushing upon him. Prentice felt a t1irill. He believed he had the game in his hand. : All he had to do was to pull the trigger, and the aded rival would be no more. Who can tell what thoughts flashed through his brain h the rapidity of lightning during that exceedingly ef space of ti me. he major's finger pressed the trigger. ere was a bright flash. hen came a heavy report. arl had not seen fit to dodge, and yet the leaden mis failed to scatter his brains upon the sward, as the r intended. hy? was very simple. ist as Prentice was ini the act of pulling the fatal er, Susie Allen realized what an awful deed 'he was 1t to commit, and, with a sudden cry, she struck his is was enough. e weapon went off, it is true, but not in a line with s head. sie had saved her lover's lift;;, making him more dear r than ever. CHAPTER XI. BAFFLED. 1 himself realized what a narrow escape he had had, so the fact that he owed it to the girl. mst cement the bonds that fate seemed to take such re in forming between these young people, neither m knew of the oi:her's existc-1ce forty-eight hours us but who had been brought together in such a r way. was no time to think of such things, but Carl nd an opportunity later. as making for the major like the rush of a whirl h e n the latter let flv at him, and even this circumlicl not tend to bri1;g him to a halt. ice knew he was lost. 'O\Yard soul recognized the fact, anci he endeavgrasp Susie again, in order to hold her up before sh ield. irl was shrewd enough to guess his intentions, led him was left face to face with the human avalanche ng upon him He made one more effort, but the half-raised revolver was knocked from his hand. The Alpine climbers caught in the path of the ava lanche go down like s ticks. So Major P.-entice found himself utterly unable to stem fhe fierce tide that struck him so suddenly and irre sistibly. He might ihave given Carl a hard battle under ordinary circumstances, being a man of good physique; bu, t the impetus of the assailant carried \\ ith it. Susie, turning to see what took place, heard the quick, throbbing percussion of fierce blows, a human groan, and then one of the two struggling forms hurled the other awa-y as a farmer might toss aside a bag o f oats. The little affair, so far as it related to these men, seemed to be over. Carl had won. Again he was a hero-how her maiden heart went out to him then. This mii:;ht not be the end. Two human devils were near at hand, doubtless bound ing toward the rendezvous, after being warned by the shot that all was not well in that quarter. Should they reach the scene of action now, Carl's triumph might be turned into defeat. No one knew the need of haste better than Carl, and as soon as he had seen his mortal foe sent to grass, his first thought was of flight. \iV1th this in his mind, he sprang to where the young girl stood. "Susie!" he cried, not wishing to make a blunder. "It is I," she answered. "We must go before the others come," he said, breathing hard from his exertions, "Yes, yes. Let us fly." He took her hand in one of his-the other clutched his revolver. Thus they started to hurry away. Fate still pursued them. Although Marden, the dwarf, was wounded in half-adozen places, and had been unmercifully pounded by Carl's revolv e r, so that he had a mouth minus several yellow fangs, he was just chock as full of the devilish spi .rit that generally influenced his actions as ever. It happened that in leaving the place Carl and Susie passed close by where he lay. The long arms of the dwarf were suddenly J.o cked about Carl s legs. At the same time be bellowed : "Herc he is! l've got him safe! This way, Jesse James Quick. Rnbc Burrows, and rid the world of this carrion. Ho! ther e come on!" Carl \\' as swung about by t ha t immense p
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22 THE JESSE JAMES STORBES. Huma n n ature, even of the hardened type r epresented b y this ruffian, cotild not st and such terrific punishment. Marden groaned. Carl could feel a shudde r pass through the frame of the other, and at' the same time his arms relaxed their hold. He was clon e for. Still, even in his apparent def e at, he may have won a victory, if h e had d etained Carl long enough for the two desperadoes to arrive upon the scene and get their work in. Was this so? The detective had done remarkably well thus far, and did not mean to be balked by fate if bravery could pre vent it. He turned like a tiger at bay. The rush of the oncoming outlaws could be plainly heard near b y, but they had not yet reached the scene of action. This lucky circumstance gave Carl another chance. He improved: it. Again seizing Susie's dear hand, he drew her away kom the scene of violence, nor was she unwilling to go. They passed among the trees. .Hardly had they gone, when two men came upon scen e "Marde n! hello! where are you?" called Burrows, thinking i t Yery significant that such silence had' fallen. A groan answer ed. him. "Strike a light!" called the Alabama man, and his confederate flashed a lantern on the scene. \i\/hat they saw astonished them. Both men lay there in their blood, apparently slain. The two outlaws ran on. Befor e them loomed up the house, and yet they had not sighted their intended p rey. What could it mean? Suddenly the space in fro .nt of the house was lighted up, as th e gray eye of a reflecting lantern was turned on them. Burrows, findin g himse lf thus betrayed, and expecting a shot, wheeled, with an ;oath, threw his rifle to his shoulder and fired. The sl :iot was succeeded by a crash of glass, a howl of pain from a man, and darkness shut down upon the scene in a manner that was little short of marvelous. While this lasted th e two discomfited outlaws crawled away, carrying the senseless dwarf along witb them. CHAPTER XII. COALS OF FIRE. Carl had reached the house with his precious charge, and was it may be set d ow n for certain, warmly wel comed by Susie's father, who had been almost distracted during the bri ef interval tha:t had elapsed. The r e was no time for explanations now. The det e ctive was certain that he had used up the 'd.l\
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THE JESSE JAMES STORIES. '23 shirt of mail, or was protected by the satanic master he rved. Carl did not disclose his mission to either the squire his daughter. He feared lest they should try to dissuade him from empting it, and knew how weak his resolutions would when Susie pleaded. usiness and love often conflict. aving recovered his horse, Carl disguised himself l).S ough-looking mountaineer, perhaps a cattie buyer, and le off. believed there was a chance for -hot work ahead, had seen that his firearms were in prime condition business. hus he left behind him the scene of his recent engage t, and went forward to new endeavors, believing that t must win in the end, even against such desperate CHAPTER XIII. THE STRATTAN BANK. he little town of Strattan was not a bustling business er, pulsating with life and throbbing with industry. ill, it was a center for quite a section of country, and considerable trade. veral trains a day came i .. over the Iron Mountain and the business of the place was such that a bank been established. dinarily there was not a great exchange at this ip ion, for the merchants did a small business, and accounts did not swell the volume of the bank's to any remarkable figure. ce a month, however, a strong box came to the b:U1k press, carefully guar.ded. . contained a large amount of money, to be paid out e first of the month to several concerns employing men. er such a visitation, Strattan was always a lively money being plenty. eems that in some way Jesse Jam es had gotten of this matter. coveted the contents of that strong box. he kept posted on all the particulars of the transac nd could tell just the hour the box was placed in eping of the cashier and teller of the bank, by the men who brought it from the station. ooking around for a companion upon whom he depend, he ra11 across the Alabama outlavv. e Burrows haid already gained quite a name in his State as a train robber and desperado. otion had struck him to run up into old Missouri ek to meet the man whose example he sotrght to e. these two notorious scourges of the express. com had come together and formed an alliance offen d defensive. as a poor lookou1t for the shippers of valuibie es in Missouri when these men came together, less something occurred to cause a rupture be hem, the world would sonn hear of daring and te deeds before which all previous efforts of train would pale into insignificance. Jesse James set to work planning in the matter, that box of greenbacks and silYer was in great danger of an elopement. Such a man seldom failed. 'Bhere were numerous reasons for this. In the first place, his plans were carefully dra> vn, and allowances made for various possibilities. They worked with clocklike precision. Again, his blows fell unexpectedly. When he was believed to be hundreds of miles away, he suddenly descended upon his prey and made a ten strike. Those are the tactics that made men like Nap0leon and Sheridan famous. Last of all, his very name and presence carried such terror with them that few men proved bold enough to offer resistance when they learned that it was Jesse James who demanded that they hand over the cash. This man carried many of the dashin g ways of the guerilla warfare, learned during the Civil "War, into his business. He founcL it pai d. . Even those who detested his life could not but admire his dashing forays, and the reckless manner in which defied the officers sent from time to time to apprehend him. Carl knew all about him. He had made the man a study, for he meant to have much to do with him. When Carl advanced upon the town it was betwe en nine and ten o'clock in the morning. f[e, too, knew something of the trains arriving and departing at Strattan. The one due at eleven would probably carry the strong box to the bank. There was plenty of time, and he did not hurry. Squire Allen lived a couple of miles out, and the road was in fair condition, so that the detective found nothing to complain of on the way. He attracted little attention on the streets of Strattan, for strangers came to town every day. The sun was 1sJ1ining, and quite a number of town folks were on the street, th e men gathered in knots discussing politics and, perhaps, the last daring train robbe11y ef fected by the J runes boys in another part of the State. A thunderbolt falling from the clear heavens above could not have been more of a surprise than Carl's news would 'have been to these men had they heard it. He did nQ.t mean to tell them. No dou1't the James boys had sympathizers among the people of Strattan, as in every other Missouri town, which fact made it impossiblt\ to organize any secret expedition against them, as the news traveled faster that1 the officers. He would go straight to headquarters with his news, and deliver it to the parties most interested in the situa tion. Of course, this meant the bank officers. Riding up, he tied his h0rse in front of a hardwa.rc store next the bank To disarm suspicion, he went into this business house Here he made a purchase of a penknife and dallied over the cases in making his selection so that it was ten o'clock when he finally reached the street again. Banking hours had: come

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24 THE JESSE JAMES STORIES. There was little to be done in the local institution, how ever, at this time. Now and then some tradesman would come in and get a bill changed, or, perhaps, draw money on a small check. After eleven, however, they would have their hands full for the remainder of the day, for at about that hour the strong box arrived. \Vhen Carl sauntered into the bank he saw at a glance what a soft snap Jesse James and his comrade would have if the affair was allowed to go on in its own way. The railing was a flimsy affair, and the cashier and teller could not expect any sort of protection from this source. One man, with determination and a revolver to back him, could easily command the whole situation. It would pr-ove an eX!ceedingly fortunate thing for them if the detective succeeded in baffling the designs of the men who had planned to rifle the bank an hour hence. Carl walked over to the door of the rear room, where the oresident had his desk. H-e knocked. This had to be repeated before a gruff voice called out to enter. 'C pon opening the door, Carl found himself upon the thr es hold of a luxurious apartment. Evidently the head of the Stratton banking institution lov e d his ease Business might take him from home a few hours each d-ay, but he could do as good work seated in a comfo1t able easy-chair as another man could perched on a high stool. As. the young man entered the room, the president glanced up, frowning. He had given orders that he was not to be intruded upon during this, his busy morning of the month, and could not understand what his cashier could be thinking of to let t.his man, a stranger, too, enter. "Good-morning," said Carl, closing the door and deftly locking it. The president gasped for breath. Such audacity appalled him. Then an awful suspicion flashed into his brain. Was he shut iu a room with a madman or a desperate robber? In either case, the situation was enough to freeze the blood in his veins. He endeavored to be calm, since, life depended on it. Carl approached him, hat in hand. I presume this is Mr. John Hathaway?" "You are correct, young man," replied other, as steadily as possible. President of this bank ?" "Exactly, sir. What can I do for you?" "Nothing." As he spoke, Carl straddied a chair and leaned his arms upon the back. The fat president looked at him uneasily, as if wonder ing what could be d out a peculiar chill creeping over his person, for he k not what hour he might meet the owner of it face to while traveling in a luxurious Pullman, or seated i own of-flee. "That man coming here?" he said, slowly. "Yes, he is not far away. Before noon arrives heh to be riding away with tl;:at precious chest fastened t saddle." "Perhaps-you-are-he!" Carl laughed. "Thanks; but I haven't that honor. Jesse James no more active enemy in all the world than myself. h e lped to murder a relative of mine, one 'vVhicher, tectivc, and I have vowed to be a thorn in his flesh io1 "Then you are---:-a detective?"

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J THE JESSE Jf\MES STORIES. Carl bowea. "Such is my mission in life, Mr. President. Luckily r you, I got wind of their plans, and have come here to at them at that game, even as I worsted them at another t many hours ago." He felt a relief in the very presence of this man-as ugh an incubus had been removed from his mind and though Carl could stand between him and those terIe desperadoes. 'I will send for help," he said. arl caught his arm. \i\That wouid you do?" he asked. '\Ve have a police force here. I can call the chief to bank by this telephone." How many men has he under him?" Three." arl laughed. Think of four men of that kind standing up before 1 dare-c!evils as Rube Burrows and Jesse James!" What! Burrows here, too?" Yes. Make your mind easy and trust it all to me. I save your strong-box." e might dose the bank." ot withou creating great excitement, and warning e men that eir plan had become known. They are dv suspicious, and this would only make them change tactics. Instead of waiting for the strong-box to h the bank, they would take their chances with the guards." 1e president nodded. leave it all with you, sir, since I see you have a long What would vou advise?" irst of all, I mt{st ask some questions." ut time passes." ah! we have an hour yet. Much can be done m time." o on." the first place, allow me to intl:oduce myself," a!ld nded the president a letter from the head of the Pmn Detective Age ncy, speaking in the terms bearer, Carl vVhicher, who was one of their keen d most trusted officers. 1is is a satisfactory document, and I feel that for1as been very kind to throw you in our way. I.f you complish the defeat of these rascals, Mr. \i\T h1cher, I see to it that you are substantially rewarded." t us put it in black and white, sir, for that is my ss, you know." president nodded._ . ike your ways. We will arrange that without dedrew a writing tablet, and, seizing his pen, began would you call a fair remuneration for your ?'' s. I fail, nothing; but, if 1I succeed in saving your chest and all it contains, I think it would be worth ndred dollars." president winced. ember, said Carl, "I risked my life to learn these nd shall again in endeavoring to save your money ink that is about the fair thing, and shall see that you get it, if I have to" take it out of my own pocket, by Jove!" A minute later he went on: "This is to that I, John Hathaway, President of the Strattan Bank, agree to pay Carl \i\Thicher, detective, the sum of five hundred dollars, upon coridition that throuo-h his efforts the strong-box arriving by express on this i s kept from being stolen by Jesse James and his gang." Carl smiled. "You have covered the ground entirely sir. I don't believe I could have gotten up a docum ent more to th e point myself. Sign and elate it, and I ask for no more." "That is business from the word go," remarked the stout president, as he leaned over and added the finishing touches to the document. Carl was satisfied. He had arranged his side of the case and all that re mained was to do uo the other. Should he succee-d as well there, it would be a good day 's job. Straight to the point he went. "Describe what happens when the strong-box is brought into the bank." "The men place it on the cashier's desk, with the seal intact; he glances at it, and signs the receipt to that ef fect. Then the men depart, their part of the busine ss done." "How IonO' does it remain there on the desk?" "Perhaps five minutes or so, until the cashier can find time to handle it." 'What do you do with the chest?" "Empty it." "And then what becomes of it?" "Oh, the men take the empty one away." "Each time?" "That is their custom." "You have an empty one on hand now?" "Certainly." "\i\There is it?" "The cashier has it under his desk, ready to fond over to the express agents." "Locked?" "Yes; we have a duplicate key, of course." "But not sealed?" "Of course not. Who would seal an empty case?" "And yet that is just what I am about to ask you to do." The president looked at him as though he had reason to belie v e Cati out of his mind. "Kindly explain," he said. "Could you retai1.1: that empty case to-day without exciting comment?" I "Easily "And send it on to-morrow?" "Any time would do." ''Then we will do so What would you suppose the cont e nts to weigh?" The 1)rcsident sta rted. "Let me see," he mused; "there is considerable silver for paying the hands, but forty to fifty pounds would cover it." Carl smiled.

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26 THE JESSE JAMES STORIES. "Then we mnst introduce weight to that extent into the now empty case . "Ah!'' "Securely lock it. and then place upon it a seal that shall not be broken." The nresidcnt smiled. ''I begiu to grasp the idea," he said. 'It is time. The case can be kept on hand by the cashier. and as soon as the backs of the men are turned, he must whip the new one off his desk, subst ituting the other for it." This time the stout bank official chuckled and rubbed his hands together. ''An elegant plan, by my life." "\i\Then Jesse James and his men enter the bank. and cover the cashier with their revolvers, demanding that he hand over the strong-box, he can allow them to take it. "They will mount at once and ride away; the whole town wiil be aroused, and shots must follow them in their flight. ''Your strong-box will be safe, and the bank robber find hims e lf baffled for once This picture so pleased the pre s ident that he impul sively reached out bis hand and grasped that of Carl Which er. 'Splendid, sir I am more than pleased." "In fighting these men we do not always take notice of the manner in which the battle is won The end justifies the means. Often, in order to rea l ize something, we are compelled to descend to their methods, however distaste ful they may be." "I know that." "And in this instance, you see, I have planned to fight fire with fire. Now to get the case and arrange it.'' "I will attend to that." The nresident touched a be ll. A entered. "Bring me the empty rnse Mr. Garrison has under his desk-1ell him I want it." In another minnte the messenger laid up on the floor a small strong-box, about a foot in length by half that in width. It was fockecl. "Tha.t will do, Thomas, for the present. \i\Tait outside; I shall ring for you soon When the man had withdrawn, the president took a key from the safe. this he unlocked the box. Of course it was empty. There was a compartment for silver and gold, and also one for hills. Carl nodded his head "Easily arranged, if we only had some heavy stuff to put in it," he said. The president chuckled. "See her e how would that do?" He wadd l ed acros < s the room, and with some d1fficulty p icked up a bag from the floor. I t wa.s a twenty-five pound sack of drop shot and num bered eight. "Beautifu!.ly, if you had another." "There is a smaller one in yonder corner. :Hy nephe'\v left them here, intending to go on a crusade agains quail next month." "A:T1 they'll bring down better birds than quail. see how they fit." The twenty-five pound bag just filled the niche intc for si lver, while the smaller one fitted in the depart for gold. Carl rubbed bis hands with delight "Specie payment res11med," he laughed. "Yes, but what would our customers say if they 1 we were paying out lead instead of silver and gold?' Carl snatched up a newspaper, folded it and fille place kept open for bank notes. "::\,fight as well have the whole business clone," h marked, smiling. The case was now ready for closing. Carl locked it. ''Here is the key, sir." The oresident lifted the box. "Feeis exactly like the one that will arrive this m ing." ''Good "And lacks but one thing." The seal ?" "Yes.'' ''I leave that to your ingenuity to arrange. You the material handv." "Oh, yes." "Tt will not take you long." "Sa\' five minutes." ''Tl{en kindly proceed." The stout official did so. He placed a strong cord through the fastenings vided for the purpose in the lid and just below it. T hen a taper was lighted, some sealing-w1ax melted cord united with a heavy wad. and as it was coolit stamp was pressed upon i.t. leaving a plain seal. "There, how will that do?" asked the president, wi his brow with his handkerchief. "That will deceive him, never fear: We may cons the case won." CHAPTER XV. A'f ELJ!Vl')N -'rBN. The better part of the job had been accomplished, yet there was still something to he done. Carl glanced at the handsome little clock on the ma of the president's room. lt lacked ten minuto:s of "Is that clock rig'ht ?" "To the minute.'" "If the train is on time. then, in twenty minutes express messengers will enter with the iittle m chest?" "Yes." "Can vou call the cashier in-I wish to instruct hin what he. has to do. Is be thoroughl y reliable-keep senses abou
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THE JESSE JAMES STORIES. 27 een such a situation and having a couple of loaded voh-ers aimed at one's bead, but he was glad to learn at the cashier was a man of some nerve. "Call him in, please." The president gave some signal, and immedi:aitel y the sb'<:>r entered. He was speedily put in possession of the facts, and ined heartily in the plan:s arranged to defeat the rob rs. All he had to do was to deftly change the strong boxes, icealing the one containing the valuables. arl cautioned him to keep his wits about him, lest in confusion he get the boxes mixed up and give over wrong one. his would be a blunder thait would be his ruin, and the hier pra.rnised to arrange things so there cou ld be n o h accident. 11 ha,ning been fixed he went bad< 1.o his desk, and n the pre1Sident called in Thomas to carry t h e box to front office: 0111ly one thing remains," said Carl. \Vhat is that?" You are all fixed in here. I want a few lines to the cl of the police force." 'he president kl1cw the value of time. T ithowt asking a question he drew the pad of paper to and dashed off a note. Till that do?" arl read it. J icely. I am off, but will see you a.gai n." en seconds, please. A r e you going to chase these ?" e'll have a try at them." hen I may 'have a chance," taking a double-barrel o-un down from the wall and breaking it open. I to be a great :\'imrod some years ago, when lighter 1y feet. Success to you, Mr.' Whicher." rl wasted no more time. s sing through the outer office he made a signal to the er, who was \Vaiting on a depositor, and the other ereth a certain purpose in view He was to h o ld the horses in readiness w hil e the othe1'S went into the bank. As they came out the alarm would be rais ed and at such a time sec'.)nds \\ o uld be worth' a great deal to them.

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28 THE JESSE JAMES STORIES. This explained his presence. Only for snch a fact the others would not care to have him present, for he wa.s not an ornament to the crowd. They were riding leisurely along. with tihe evident in tention to kill a certain amount of time before arriving at the bank. Carl consulted his watch. 1t was almost ten minutes after. A whistle was beard up the track. The train, a few minutes late, was dra\vipg near the station. Soon the time for action \Yould come. Carl 1Yas perfectly cool. He !mew that ait least he had laid the tr-ain that was to balk the plotters, even should they get away alive. E\enits wonlcl now follow each ot11er in rapid success10n. ] t was lime for action. The three men passed the bank. To ha\'e halted in front of it might have excited sus picion, and t\1is 1Yas 1Yhat they 1ra11ted to aYoid. After the valuable case was in their possession, they did not care a fig 1Yhat :ohe town people thought or did, being perfectly independent in the matter. Next door to the bank was a store. T-t was a hardware place. Reining up in front of it, the two men left their sad dles. As Carl expectecl, Marden remained in his seat, hold-ing the bridles. All of the horses faced one way . They were carefuJ.ly arranged by the dwarf, so that not a second should be los-t by either of the two men when rt'hey came out of the bank .bea1'ing the coveted box. Jesse James stepped into the hardware store, as though to make a purchase, but he kept a close watch on Rube Burrows, who lounged in the doorway. From this point the steps leading up to ehe door of the 1bank c0uld be plainly seen. As yet he was not watching these. A liU.Je commotion down the street had aHracted his He knew w11at it meant. The express messengers were on their way from the depot to the bank with the valuable case containing the money. Burrows' eyes glittered. His teeth were tightly clenched, and upon his face came a look such as would become a tiger about to spring upon his prey. yet Rube had not indulged in any such game as 1'his. His work in Ala!bama 1ha:d been confined to stopping trains and crea .ting a reign of terror a r ound the region where he held ou 1t, killing a postmaster for medd'ling with his mai'l, and making himself an object of fear through the wihole State. It remained for Jesse James to initiate him into the of a raid on a bank. One need haTdly say that he took to it like a duck does to water. It suited his temperament, since he was of a socia.Jist nature, and believed the good things of this world shot be more evenly divided. As the crowd advanced, Rube saw the two men beari the strong-box. Of oourse every urchin around followed at it:Jheir he while a few' men 'iounging about the depot joined in procession. It near. Rube as yet made no signal. The air was warm, the sun shone, insects droned ov head, and the only sign of any unusual stir was where express agents and their attendant followers came h tling along the walk. They were now close at the foot of the banf< steps. Rube could see what attracted the boys. The men, for some rea1Son or other, perhaps to sh their badge of authority, each carried a revolver in ll hand that was not needed in grasping the handle of t trong-box. These weapons were the magnet that drew the bo around, just as molasses attracts flies. The men probably enjoyed being heroes for a bri space of time-the observed of all present, and made t mosit of their fleeting opportunity. Ko1\ ; they had reached the steps. They began ascending. Of course, the crowd fell back and watched them p beyond the doors of the bank. The time had come. Rube turned and raised his arm. Seeing the signal. Jesse James concluded his trifli purchase within the store. In a minute he had reached the side of his companio just outside the door. "ls it time?" he aJSked. "\Vait. They are just comin&' 014t, I reckon. ''You are right. In three mmutes we will be on t jump. The door opens-ha! the men come out-look t other way, Rube." CHAPTER XVI. THE BAJ'\K ROBBERY. 1 ever in all his life had the cashier been more strong tempted to speak forbidden things than when the two e press agents were in the bank. It seemed strang-e that he should allow these two arm men. sworn to gLtard the with their depart. Still, the inflllence of Carl \Vhicher was s-trong up him, and he refrained. The men handed over the chest. He took it in, placed it under his desk, and t01en, as reconsidering the matter, raised it again to the top. Then he signed the receipt. The express agents' work was done. One of them put out his hand as if to draw the b toward him, doubtless under the impression that it w the empty one thev were to take off. At fhis the cashier smiled. He said something in a laughing way, and the m turned to leave.

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THE JESSE JAMES STORIES. ) 29 Perhaps he looked wistfully after them, for he knew mt his next experience would be; but he had given his rd. Not by any look or word did he arouse a suspicion in minds of the two men. This was as it Should be. They turned and l e ft the bank. Burrows and his confederate were not paying any attion to them as they came out, and the express agents rely glanced casually that way. en !::hey leisurely descended the steps fhey advanced toward the outlaws. esse James kept one e ye on them, for he was not the n to let any person get the drop on him. he agents walked pas t, merely glancing at the stran rs in town. 1hen they entered a saloon a few dG0rs above and were t'o view 'Time!" rt was Jesse James who spctke. e immediately started up the wooden steps of the k. ube Burrows was at his side, his enthusiasm keeping e with that of the o ther. he decisive moment had arrived. o men who had lived for many years in a whirl of itement and danger it vvas nothing beyond the ordi y. oth were quite cool. 'hey knew just wiha t they had to do and went about with the aissu rance that cou.Jcl only come from long c-tice. uch a game was something o f a novelty to Burrows, ce his former experience had been i n a different line e went at it, under the guidance of the o1der ounaw, h the coolness of a veteran. aying asc ended the steps, they came to the doors of bank. hese they pusheJ open. The doors hung upon pivot ges, :11Hl could be pushed either wai. nee inside, Jesse James let his eyes fall upon the cash s desk. wi.re railing had been closed, a 1gai11, but the strong stood upon the desk. t's seal was in plain view. fhe cas ; Jiier appeared to be busily engaged in running r some figures on a slip of paper, and bein g preoccu d, failed to notice the presence of the two men just side the railing. At least he appea r ed not to see m. faking up a penknife just then. he laid his hand on precious package, a.s if to draw it tO\\ard him and cut ea!. 'Hold on !" be cashier looked up. is eyes met those of the man just on the other side the \\ire barrier. 'Did you speak?" onsidering the fact that he knew he was with otorious a person as Jesse James, the outlaw, it can be to the credit of the ca-shier tihat he maintained his lne ss to a remarkable degree. Thus he was able to play hi s part well. "Yes, I said hold on. Don' t cut that seal," remarked tlTe outlaw. The cashier fr ow ned. "I'm not accustomed to joking with strangers," he re-marke d b ending over the box. "This i;s no joke. I s ay, hol d on." 'n1ere was a strange clicking sound. The cashier hoked 2.gain. He turned pale. Through the wire bars a revolver protruded, and wa:; aimed directly at his head. Many a man before him ha 1 d. lost color a nd tremble d w.hen he found himself oovered by the weapon of J e sse James, for he se l dom missed his aim, and fired upon slight provocaition. 'Don't m ove a fing e r, cas hier. If you try to drop be hind your desk to the floor you'll reach there a dead man. Understand?" The cashier nodde d. "What does this mean?" he asked steadily. "Just this. They have delivered tihe wrong box here That one goes up the road. vVe have come for it." "vVho--are-you ?" Jesse James and Rube Burrows." "Good Heavens!" "If you resist yo u are a dead man." "I can do no t hing. Gentlemen, !lave your way," re-marked the cashi e r. "We generaHy do. Rube!" "On d ec k." "Mount the railing and lay hold." It was a singulai scene a stout depos-i.tor, who came in just then in his shirt s leeves gazed upon. One man cove r i n g t he cashier wit:h a : revolv .er; while a second was climbing over the wire rai.Jing on th e bank officer's desk. No \Yonder the amazed man stoo d rooted to t h e spot. He could l10t at fo:st comprehen d wha t such gym nastics meant. Burrows was athletic. Besides, he happened to be tall and powerful. It was no effort for him to climb up over the railing. Bending down he seized the lit.tie ohesit by one of the handles used in handling it. Without any apparent exertion he sw un g H1e we i ght of fifty pounds up over the raiJ.ing. Jesse James lowered it to the floor, at the sa m e time keeping his man covered, as he had an idea the cashier was dangerous He took it a ll so cool1y that it gave the outlaw the im pression that if such a man ihad 1 ha'lf a show he would drop down, seize a r evolver and open fire upon the:m. Rube Burrows landed beside the captured case. He bent over and it. "Art ready Jesse." "Then we are off. Good-day cashier-gi ve the presi dent Jesse James' compliments,"" with a 1augh as he caught sigh t of the fat ofiicia l peering out of hi s private room, his face marked with both fear and curiosity. "Call again," said the polit e cashier. "Tbanks-\r e'll consider it. Awav we go, Rube, and death l o the man who gets in the way."

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30 THE JESSE JAMES STORIES. The two men made a rush for the door. It happened that the stout depositor in his shirt sleeves, who had come in to make good his bank account, was directly in their path. Amazed at the startling drama thus presented to his eyes, the man seemed frozen to the spot. He heard the words of Jesse J amcs and \Yould have given much to have gotten out of the way, but lacked the power to do so Consequently Jesse James ran him down, not forgetting to snatch the bills out of his hand, ere tumbling him over, through the door he was holding open. The fellow found his tongue at any rate, and gave ut terance to a shout. This was the spectacle presented to the eyes of those who chanced to be upon the main street of Strattan, at the hour of eleven-seventeen, and in the vicinity of the bank: There came through the open door a figure that first of all tried to stand on his head, and failing in this, went rollin g down the steps like an acrobat, giving out a whoop with each fresh bump received. Hardly had he passed through the doorway than a tall, man sprang into view. In one hand he earned a small box, which seemed to be quite weighty. Close behind him another man came. This party was not so tall as the first, but seemed as active as a cat. He carried a revolver in his hand, and flourished it above his head in a way that meant business. A few boys and loungers, having followed the express agents to the bank, still loitered about the foot' of the steps At sight of these things they-set up a howl. The truth was not immediately comprehended by them, but they saw that something out of the common run was on the tapis, and as is usual with crowds, they were ready to enjoy anything, from a dog fight to the lynching of a negro. The two outlaws found that they would have to burst through this crowd in order to reach their horses, or else go around. In the latter case time would be lost. It would also appear that they were afraid of even such a small g-athering, and Jesse James had always been se.-:s;tive to anythingthat looked like fear. He sprang over the fallen man who lay groaning at the foot of the steps. Taking a position in front of Rube, he advanced upon the crowd. "Scatter, you wolves, or I'll dDctor you!" The words alone were enough to frighten ordinary in dividuals. Besides, the fierce expression and the t1ueatening re vol ver did the business. It was not a valorous crowd. Boys composed the larger part of it, and the halance were _loungers, never known to p<:>s11ess much fighting ma ten al. They scatteired. It reminded Carl of a flock of sheep flying before t11e coming the wolf. Through the lane thus formed, the two bold outlaw dashed. By this time it must have en tered even the dullest min that they \\ere robb'.ng the Strattan Bank. Still, not a hand was put out .to their progres One man knew the party with the revolver. "It's Jesse James!" he shouted. The mae-ic of tha:t name \Vas wonderful. m'an, woman, and child in the State of Missou had heard of it. Of cour<;e, tl:e y entertained different feelings with re gard to it, some hating tle man as a border terror, others secretly sympathizing with him because he fought for the South. The 11ame was taken up. Fi:om mouth to mouth it ran. "Jesse James is here!" Il'Ien in the stores heard itj and. ran to the
PAGE 32

THE JESSE JJ\MES STORIES. 8:1 ac11 h o r se sprang forn:ard. i the hand of every rider appeared a r evo lver, which flourished on high. hey se11t out a shout. group of cowboys, inflamed with liquor, and in vad a Texan town could not have created more confusion 1 did these three riders as they galloped along Strat s main streft, whooping fiercely and shooting their pons in the air. trattan was aghast. quiet, orderly town, as a general rule, such goings vere scandalous. hen that dreaded name passed around on mysterious gs, the truth became known, and no one wondered 1. bout the time the three desperado es urged their ses on the noise bad become so loud as to reach the of th1ose who were within the buildings. s others did, the two express agents ran to the sidek. hey saw the three stampeding horse men galloping and would have taken it for g-ranted that these were e Missourians out on a lark, only that the name uted from the direc tion of the bank reached them. It's Jesse James!" shouted one of the agents. Jupiter! look at that tall chap-see what he has in 1t of him!" whooped the other. The strong-box!., his startling fact came very near paralyzing the two 1. hen the whole truth burst upon 1 them like a flash-as gh a panorama had been sudden l y placed before their s they saw the situation Ien who go armed, naturally think of their weapons time like this. hese worthies drew instinctively. hey let fly without much aim, for it is a 1ltere question hance when it comes to hitting a flying horseman. tViser men would have aimed at the horses and in ning these, bring their riders into the worst kind of tble. here was no time for thought. The bullets sang ut the heads of the galloping horsemen, a s t hey came ast of the men on the sidewalk. esse J afnes glanced that way. for on e of the leaden sengers had drawn blood from his hand that grasped r evolve r. e sa\v who it was thus o penin g on them, and setting example that others might follow n ugly scO\Yl dis figured his face Iis revolver ceased to whirl aboYe his head and was pped to a level. )ne, two shots flashed out. 'he agents of the express company received the full efit of the explosion. ne fell over either clead or senseless, while the other pped on his side, rai sed himself 0 1 one h an d and 1fully aiming, continued to fire after the plunging p eradoes as long as his rey olver contained a load. That was a br?1e man. 1\ either of thenproved to be fatally hurt, but had nar row esca p es. J esse l ames sl: to kill in sucl1 a sit ua t i o n and it "was rno r e fortune than am thing else th at save d them The 1rny "as now apparentl y cle ar. Carl h ad not mounted his horse until the men were in full flight. Then, springin g into the saddle, he started in pursuit. A strange spectacle it was.,--one man chasing three d espe rate rasc als. l\ow and then Carl fired, but he was not accustomed to shooting from the saddle, and could not render ;i good accounting. At the third shot he saw the unlu c ky dwarf fall forward and almost drop, but clasp his arms around the h orse's ne c k and gradually r eg ain hi s seat in the sa ddle. Jesse Jam es had not notic ed t hi s act in the drama, as he was in front, but it had been observed by Rube Burrows. The latter had secteted .his 'Vinchester out of town, and only carried a r evo l ve r. Turning in the saddle, he opened fire on the rash pursuer. A singular duel was thus fought while the whole party dashed at a breakn ec k s p e ed. Carl succeeded in putting a bullet into the arm of tall bushwhacker, and Rube's third shot struck the de tective 's horse. The animal went down as if suddenly killed by a bolt of lightning. Carl s hot over it s head, getting a s ide swing as he went, just escaped ha v in g his brain s knocked out against a tree, and sailed beautifully i n to a bush. Beyond a fe\Y scratc he s, and some hol es t orn in his clothing, he r ece iv ed no bad effects from his strange flight through space. Time was consumed in extracting him from his pre dicament. When he finall y reached th e road again, the first squad of r oused citizens was corning up, armed with shotguns, m u skets, p itchforks. cudgel,:. a nd all the paraphernalia indicative of a sudden but h eated campaign. The three outlaws had vanished around a bend in the road. Pursuit was usel e ss. At first the indignant and enraged citizens were in clined to look \Yith suspic i o n on Carl. He was a strang-er there. Thev seemed to have an idea that he might be con cerned. in t h e robben-. True, he had the fleeing thieves and exchanged many shots with them, but this might be merely a part of th e trick. This sort of men were very slippery, and as full of trick as an egg i s of meat. \\T ho co u ld tell but what t his \Yas a set j ob to shut off all other pur uit.

PAGE 33

3 2 'THE JESSE JAMES STOR!ES Perbaps the man had shot his own ho;-se, so as to pose as a hero. Taking it all in, they were of the opinion that it would be wise to watch this unknown gentleman. So Carl was sent back to town under guard. Naturally, they took him to the bank, for a large crowd had assembled there. Every person in the place seemed to be on the spot. "Here they come!" shouted a man. "They've got one of 'em!" "Hurrah! get a rope, somebody!" "Here is a good tree for the job!" Amid such shouts and jeers, Carl was led int0 their midst and up several of the steps. He was quite unruffled. A smile even appeared on his face. Turning around, he faced the crowd. "It's him! It's Jesse James! A groan went up. Carl could not help laughing. I "Gentlemen," he said, holding up his hand to indicate silence, "I am sorry to say you have made a mistake. It would please me exceedingly if Jesse James did occupy this spot in your midst, for he is my worst foe." "That's a lie! You are Jesse James yourself," came a voice. "On the contrary, I am a detective sent to this region to apprehend that individual. B y good fortune I have been able to overhear some of their plans and defeat them." "Yes, it looks like it, when we all saw 'em get away with the box!" growled one man, whose wages were probably concerned. Carl turned on him. "My friend, you shouldn't judge a man until he has had his say. I can prove all I declare by the officers of the bank. See, here is a document, signed by the presi dent, promising to pay me fo-e hundred doJlars if I suc ceeded in saving the strong-box from the hands of the James gang." "Well, you didn't do it." "I did do it." "Why, we seed 'em. What in t .arnashun cl'ye mean t ellin' us we're all blind. Them fellers got away with the box. ''Yes, with a box loaded with two bags of bird shot and a newspap er. Ask the cashier if what I say isn't true," That worthy had come out upon the upper step, grinning with pleasure. 'Vhen attention was thus drawn toward him, he i mediately corroborated all that the detective had stated. The crowd cheered Carl. "There will be a mad set of men when that box forced open. I b e lieve they\e got sand enough to con back ai1d sack the town. It might be advisable to for a guard and close the bank doors, allowing only kno persons to enter the building. they come now!" yelled a voice The utmost confusion ensued-men swore and worn shrieked. Carl, looking down the road, saw a cloud of dust ari ing, but made out only a single horseman, so he quiet their fears. The mere mention of Jesse Jam es' name was enough tause a panic. The detecth-e would have given a good deal to ha looked in upon the trio of bank robbers when the lid the strong-box "as forced and its contents disclosed. There must have been a sulphurous odor in the rnosphere around them. They could guess the author of their woes. Carl had dropped one of his cards into the box, wr ing upon it "Compliments of." The out!ltws left that section of the country, as it came too hot for them. Indeed, the sheriff and his men struck a trail and fo lowed it into the mountains. The outlaws became separated by accident, and Ru} Burrows escaped capture bv an exceedingly close sha It startled him so much that he determined to shake t1: du t of .l\lissouri off his feet, and go back to Alaban again. Carl Whicher had fo11nd a new game to play. and" never went into anything by halves, he now devoted self to making love with all his might and main. He had a clear field, and soon won Susie's consen be his wife, the old squire having already given in. .l\Iajor Prentice recovered, a changed man) and he since made an hono:-ab l e name for himself in the Soll"' His mbther is the proudest and happiest old lady in Nt Orleans; but even she never knew how close a shave was with her boy. Carl and Susie were man-iecl in the spring, and ti former gave up the detective business. A bad vow is be ter broken than kept, and Carl's wife led him to see th vengeance belonged to a higher power than his we< arm. THE END. Next week's JESSE JM.ms ST9RIES (Nb. 8) will conta "Jesse James' Daring Deed; or, The Raid on the Pi1 Ridge J aiL"

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JESSE JAMES STORIES Jesse James. WE were the :first pub-lishers in the world to print the famous stories of the James Boys, written by that remarkable man, W. B. Lawson, whose name is a watch word with our boys. We have had many imitators, and in order that no one shall be deceived in accepting the spurious for the real we shall issue the best stories of the James Boys, by Mr. Lawson, in a New Library en titled "The Jesse Jam es Stories,'' one of our big :five-cenJ 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 Cyclone,'' "Jesse James' Dare-Devil Dance; or, Betrayed by One of Them,''" Jesse James' Black Agents; or, The Wild Raid at Bullion City." STREET & SMITH, Publishers, New York. BUFFALO 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 famous and world-renowned Buffalo Bill, the great hero whose life has been one succession 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. The :first of these stories entitled "Buffalo Bill, the Border King,'' appears in No. I of our new five=cent library entitled The Buf falo Bill Stories." STREET & SMITH Publishers, New York. NICK CARTER STORIES THE best known detective in the world is Nick Carter. Stories by this noted sleuth are issued regularly in ''Nick Carter Weekly" (price :five cents), and all his Nick Carter. work is written for us. It may interest the patrons and readers of the Nick Carter Series 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 of Nick Carter stories in dramatic form. The :first play of the series will be brought out next fall. STREET & SMITH, Publishers, New York. DIAMOND DICK STORIES Diamond Dick. THE celebrated Dia-mond Dick stories can only be found in "Dia mond Dick, J r.,The Boys' Best Weekly." Diamond Dick and his son Bertie are the most unique and fascinating heroes of \Vestern romance. The scenes, and many of the incidents, in these exciting stories are taken from real life. Diamond Dick stories are conceded to be the best stories of the West. and are all copprighted by us. The library is the same size and price as this publication, with handsome illuminated cover. Price, :five cents. STREET & SMITH, Publishers, NE\v York. I


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Cras efficitur magna et sapien varius, luctus ullamcorper dolor convallis. Orci varius natoque penatibus et magnis dis parturient montes, nascetur ridiculus mus. Fusce sit amet justo ut erat laoreet congue sed a ante.

CHICAGO

Phasellus ornare in augue eu imperdiet. Donec malesuada sapien ante, at vehicula orci tempor molestie. Proin vitae urna elit. Pellentesque vitae nisi et diam euismod malesuada aliquet non erat.

WIKIPEDIA

Nunc fringilla dolor ut dictum placerat. Proin ac neque rutrum, consectetur ligula id, laoreet ligula. Nulla lorem massa, consectetur vitae consequat in, lobortis at dolor. Nunc sed leo odio.