Jesse James' double; or, The man from Missouri


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Jesse James' double; or, The man from Missouri

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Title:
Jesse James' double; or, The man from Missouri
Series Title:
Jesse James Stories
Creator:
Lawson, W. B.
Place of Publication:
New York
Publisher:
Street & Smith
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Language:
English
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32 p. ; 26 cm.

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Dime novels ( lcsh )
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serial ( sobekcm )

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University of South Florida
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University of South Florida
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The University of South Florida Libraries believes that the Item is in the Public Domain under the laws of the United States, but a determination was not made as to its copyright status under the copyright laws of other countries. The Item may not be in the Public Domain under the laws of other countries.
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028816515 ( ALEPH )
17905828 ( OCLC )
J14-00010 ( USF DOI )
j14.10 ( USF Handle )

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ORIGlftAL OF THE BOTS Issued l Veekly. By Subscription $z.5oper vear Entered as .Second Class Jlfa//er at New York Post Of/ice by STREET & 238 / Vi/!iam St. A Y. No. JO. Price, Five Cents. "LE T THAT MAN GOJ'' COMMANDED THE NEWCOMER, COVERING THE LYNCHERS WITH TWO REVOLVERS.

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fORIES OF THE ./Ssued Weekly. By S u bscription $2.SO per year. Entered as Second Clau Matter at the N. Y. Poll Oj/ic t fJy & SMITH, 2.18 William St., N. Y. Entered according to Act of Congress in the year IQOI, in tlte Office of tlze Librarian ef Congr e ss, Washington, D. C. No tO. NEW YORK, July 13, 1901 Price F ive Cents. JESSE JAMES' DOUBLE; OR, The From By W. B LAWSON CHAPTER I. THE CALIFORNIA MINING CAMP. "Call it fifty onzas, Pepito." "Senor, he shall die." "Do you promise?" "I S\Year it."' "How long must I wait?" "Give me twenty four hours." "Good. When you show me your work, the money shall pass into your hands Two men stcod in the California mining town known as Battle Mountain. It was in the fall of '69, and the glorious foliage on the mountains made the scene one of enchantment by day. California grew rapidly after the close of the great Civil 'Var, for thousands of the dischargec\ soldiers wandered across the Rockies to the gold fields of the Pacific slope. They had been taken from all conditions of life, but after years of army experience, many of them could not settle down again to the old routine of business. In the quest for gold they found a vent for the wild spirit that had been born in the excitement of many a campaign. Here, amid these grand mountains of the Golden State, old-time friends and foes often came face to face once more. feuds that had been started in Kent u cky or ?l'li ssour i years ago, we r e taken up and broug h t to a termin ation in far-away Ca l ifornia. The two men who h a d just struck a bargain that seemed to mean the tak ing of human life, turned and en tered the large dance-hall that stood near at hand. From this p l ace came the sound 01 music, and it was evident that the rough miners of Battle :Mountain ,,ere

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r 2 THE JESSE JAMES b en t upon enjoying themselves, after their own rude fashtounted as naught, so long a he saved his own mis ion. able body. As soon as darkness settled upon the camp such p la ces "See h e re, Ben, I've heard it saicL you feared no n as this were quick to flash i their lights across the path of i n Califoi:nia:." the pilgrim, iriviting him in to look on, or take a hand in ''That's the truth, too the enjoyment of the hour. "We've had some additions to our camp of lat Few were who could resist. the s ecttictive wooing among them some old frien ds of yours of eing way his face. laid outside by some 0 th e g.ambl1trs' accornphces. It was astonishing to note the effect upon Ben Nearly four dozen fo. the place when the two nold. The b i g desperado started, l eaned forward, en ter ed. actually gfaf'ed at the party whom Buckram had hi Some were reeling around in a dance with brazen-faced the Mexica n to p i ck a quarre l with and put out of partne r s, but 1ihe majorityseemed interested in the games w:.y. of chance They had come here for gold and the .:lust A fearful oath oozed from Arnold's lips. of money was a predominant trait in Fheir makeu p. His companion was chuckling. ' Now, pu;i1 t out -the man to me, sefit>r." "Do you know that man Ben?" he asked. "Look yonder; he bends over the one at J.i>lay, and "Yes. It is that dev.il from Missouri-the man laughs." nine lives-Jesse J ames," was th e startling r eply n "Caramba!" by the cowed bravo. "You appear surprised'." "Just as true as gospel, man." "He look s like a person I thougm-"Vil hat does he want here?". ' \ i\ihat ?" Well, you see he got in a big mess East and was "He would be .a tiger, but this lamb-vay.a, hombre, ]
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T H E JESSE JAME S S T O R IES. was. It's a way he has. I'd as soon think of lcroking or n:c:-cy from a grizzly bear as from him!" "Well?" ''He thought I was dead, and believes so yet, but I .anaged to live, and, leaving my old haunts, came out ere, where a homely man has as much chaf'.ce as the ext one, providing he's quick on the trigger." ''But t he plot against him?" "Wait. I've hired two men to do him up." "Two! A dozen couldn't do it." "That remains to be seen. I've known the best man in he mines to go d ow n 1 befo:-e a tenderfoot. A bullet unts no matter who sends it." so; but y o u couldn't hire me to be one of them \VO." "I suppose not, Ben ; but you'll stay and see fun?" "Perhaps." "If they lay out Pepito and his pard, here are forty 1en as will crowd 'em to the wall. You see the odds-our agin' forty." "Yes, and it'll be a bad thing for the forty; you mark 1y words." ''Ben, vou're a regular croaker." ''Well,I know them boys, and ought to. They can't e killed. I v e seen 'em pass througlh scenes that would ay out any ordinary man. \Vhen Jesse James goes under t will be at the hands o f a traitor while he sleeps." "\Vhat brings you to this camp?" "A little business of a private natu-re. If I'd known 1ey was here, I reckon I'd stayed away. 'Nonsense. You have plenty of friends in this shanty, Id man. Be your old self. 'Dhey wouldn't dare pick a uarrel here." "I don t know as there's much them boys skeer at. I:ve een 'em do dare-devil things as wouldn't be believed if I ld 'em. However, I'm goin' to hang around an' see rhat comes of it all. I wish you success." "That's what I'm in this d eal for." Ben Arnoid imagined he saw the eyes of the man he eared roaming in his direction, and immediately slunk way. Bravo t11at he was, a terror among the miners of the oast range, he proved a veritable coward in the resence of t he guerrillas who had fought under Quanell, the scourge of Missouri. Buckram, left alo ne, leaned against the bar, and sur eyed the throng, searching for the other three Mis ourians, w1hom he kne w to be present. Thev were n ot far away from Jesse James, and know g men so well, he could easily pick them o ut. Then he ] oQked for Pepito. The Mexican was di covered tq,lking wi t h a man who as known as the most adroit gambler in the camp, and rem their acti o ns it was easy to be seen that they were !king business. The gambler grinned as he surveyed the man who was be his victim. Evidently he thought he had an easy thing. and he was ot the flrst man who had made this mistake in connection rith the o utlaw from .Missouri. Tne looks of the James boys belied thei r natures. Frank was quiet and Jesse congenial, but one might nverse with them an h0t1r and have no s uspicion that e had been in communion 'vith two of the boldest rascals the West ever who scorned death and danger, and whose names hadl long a shudder to pass up and down the Mississippi Valley. Appearances are often d(?.Cept;ive. The wolf sometimes dons sheep's clothing, the better to secure his prey, and when in a civilized land Jesse James was more than once taken for a young parson Buckram was watching the progress of the game, and specula ting upon the result of the deal he had in motion, when his attent i on was suddenly called to another quarter by something not down on the programme, at least as he had arranged the scenes. CHAPTER IL DECLINED WITH THANKS. There wasa stage at one end of the hall, and upon this appeared the prop11ietor tB announce a new attraction in the s hape of a l ady singer, who had c0me up from San Francisco in the stage coach. He begged that the miners would cease all talk and play for the present, and in return promised them a treat. Then with a flourish he introduced"Sefiorita Inez Carmen ." She swept forward upon the ruEie stage, and the audi ence at once became spellbound, not at sight of a handsome woman alone, for these were not the days of '49, w hen a woman was a rarity in a mining camp, but because in the manner of the songstress chained their senses. She stood there fo r ":l. full minute, gazing from one group of faces to another, perfectly self-possessed. One might even believe she sought a certain person among those present; but if s h e found him, no sign be trayed the fa.ct. i.'hen suddenly her lips parted, and a flood of melody rang througih that hall. It had ere now echoed with oaths, rude laughter, and even the c r ack of the deadly revolver, but never had the tones of a woman's rich voice filled it with song. No matter what she sang-it was some old ballad like the Swannee River," but when the senorita finished she was greeted with a whirlwind of applau se. Men clapped and shook hands, acting like crazy creatures-some tossed handfuls of g-old coins upon the stage, while others gave a tribute in the sh ap e of minute bag s of gold dust holding an ounce perhaps. The manager ran cut, and, colleoting the se offerings on a tray, presented them to the singer, with the request that she favor them again. This she did, s ing ing song after song. They seemed never t o tire of hearing her, but when half an hour had passed the propri etor announced that as the lady's voice had sh ow n signs of weariness, she would sing them one more song, af.ter which they must be con siderate and allow her t o retir e She sang "Home, Sweet Horne." The room was crowded more than three-score having entered vlhile the singing went on. Probably a ro ugh er crowd could not have been found in the mines, and yet, while she sang that itol'.chi!1g more than one grizzled miner might have been seen to draw the s l eev e of his ftar!nel shirt across his eyes as

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4 THE J ESSE JAMES buried recollections stalked before his memory-few there a re .who 'have not at some period in life had a home. Amid a deadly silence the songs tress ceased; made a bow, and retired. The business of gaming went on; but t:here were some who had played before who got up and left the place now. T11at song had aroused the better feelings in their he'arts, and for a night at least they could not bear to be found in such company. Fully two-score remained. They represented the worst elements in the mmmg town-their souls had been too long steeped in sin to feel any remorse,. and w hen the little entertainment was over, they turned to their games with renewed zest. The senorita pa:s sed back of ithe little stage to a small r-0om. T1iere a man awaited her, who proved to be no other than Ben Arnold He gazed upon ithe small tray full of gold coins and dust that she had laid down, and then asked eagerly : "\!Veil, did you find your man, sefiori1ta ?" he know "I am sure he could not-this stain alters my looks completely." "Have I done my part?" eying the g0ld as a hu ngry hawk might a spring chicken. "Yes; take your pay, Arnold," she replied. He waited for no further invit'ltion, but had the offer ings of the audience in his pockets before one could count ten. She watched him with a scora1ful look "Are you ready to help me further?" 'Yes.'' ''And will do what I say?" ''I reckon you can rely on me." ''You ar e a brave man, and will not fail me." "vVhat do you want done?" "As I said before, the man I seek is here in that room. It is my desire to have him in my power. You must capture him." "It shall be done." "This very night." "Where will vou have him taken?" "Do you kno\v the cabin occupied by tlfe fortune-teller, Sai dee?" "Yes." ''I will be there to receive him. Remember, you must do him no injur.y.'"' "To capture a strong man and do him no injury is a hard job, but I'll try and oblige. If I sucreed--" ''The ring is yours," and she held up her hand, upon a finger of which was a ring containing a large, handsome diamond. ''It is a bargain, senorita. Since you don't want this man injured, I imagine he is not an e nem y you hate "He is-mv hu sband!" Arnold "Ah! I begin to see; he ran away, perhaps, after an other face. He is a fool, then." ";\iever mind what the secret is-it is between him and me Your duty is plain." "Bu: t do you mean to tell me that if your husband was tl:cr e while y ou sang he would fail to recognize your voice even if your face was stained and your hair dyed black?" "He knows not that I can sing "Strange, and he your husband.'' "Our story is out of the common, and there is no need of telling it,' she said, decisively. Arnold bit his lip: this beauty fascinated him. and he was v-ery curious to know her past history, but shc baf fled him. "Of course not, sefiorita; pardon my rudeness. But yo u have forgotten one thing .. "What is that?", "This man s name." The singer h esi latecl ;i minute. "It is David Graham." She watched him while speaking, but Arnold gave no sign that he recognized the name. "You have not met him, then?" "I never heard the name, but perhaps-I've known the man, all the same.'' "Easy enough. One-half the men in yonder room, I reckon, are sailing under false colors." you mean they have other names than the ones they now bear?'' "Yes. Lots of them have been in trouble clown Eas t, and came to the Pacific slope for the good of their coun try, to begin life anew, and und e r such circumstances, it was only natural that they w0uld take new names.'' "Then I s,hall have to point him out to you." "That will be the only way." "How will you capture him?" Arnold drew h i s big frame up and laughed. "Most men are puppets in my hands. You see, all I have to do is to tel l a chap what I want and he does it. Ben Arnold is known in these diggings as a bad man to tackle." "Tell me what you will do?" she asked. "Me? Oh, I'll step up to the fellow and ask him if his name is Davy Graham. Then I'll slip my arm in his and tell him I've got some news of importance for him, which can only be told outside. Of co1Jrse, he 'II go with me, can't resist the influence, you know," chuckling. ''And then?" "Once in the street I'll bring another kind of influ ence to bear upori him, a species of gentle persuader," and he significant l y touched the butt of a heavy Colt's revolve r that was thrust in his be l t. ';It all seems easy enough. When will you do this fo r me, l\fr. Arnold?" "Say inside of half an hour." "That 'Nill do nicely. Remember, any in j u r y done to him I will avenge Arnold whistled soft ly. "Jupiter this is a qu!er business, meddling between husband and wife: The les s I have to do in that role the better. She loves and yet she hates him." "Ah that is because you do not understand a woman, Mr. Arnold. There is always a species of the tiger in her love-the man who scorns her must beware." "I cou l d understand it all if you wanted 1 me to lay this man out; I know what hate is." "I didn t say I hated him. I must see him face to face; there is something to be explained between us Vv'hen

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THE JESSE JAMES STORIES. 5 th a t has been done either the gulf will be bridged or else made impassable. Your duty is to fetch him to me at the cabin of the fortune-teller within the half ho u r ." "No time lik e the present, senorita. That rino-would look well o n my little finger.'\' "Earn it." "Just what I'm intend i n to do. Come, point out the man to me, and then go to the cabin, where you can sit clown and wait." "I do not want to appear befo r e th ose men again. Ts there no way in which we can look in upon them with out being seen?" He reflected a minute. "How about one of the windows?" ''Are they high?" "Not over four or five feet from the ground." "Then I should think the, would do. You are ac quainted about this place. Lead me to the outer air by the s mall door." Arnold at once obeved. He coveted the bea1!tifol ring she had promised him for a reward, and was anxious to earn it, believing the task would be one of the easiest he had ever attempted. Once in the open air, they were soon standing under the row of window from whence came light and sounds These openings wer e not over three feet square, and on acco1:nt of the heat within, were all open. '\ Vithout any parti cula r effort they cou ld gaze upon the busy scene within. watch the play of tLe gamblers, or e..-en study the emotions that marked their stern-set It was a sight such as has cursed eve r y n ew m111111g country in the world. The demons o f drink and gambling are the besetting sins that send many a man to hi grave. . . It will be always thus. Daring spmts vent ure mto wild regions, and the clash of opposing factions must r esult. The two stood at the opening. Sho\'; me Davy Graham, se1iorita, and I'll show yon the man l mean to take under my wing in abont ten min utes. and convey to yon. Point o ut the critter, so I can fasten my eagle gaze on him, and he's my \lleat." 'That is easi]\, clone. He s it s at the table b es i de the post-see, h e deals the cards. That i s the man you have promised to capture for me ., Arnold's eyes opened like sance r s ''That man with the felt hat pnshed back from his fore he ad, with t h e qui et look abont him-is he that runaway hu s band you 're trying to hire me to capture? Excuse me. madam, but a dozen such rings coulcln 't tempt me to take the risk I must decline, with thanks. when I'm foo l enough to try and put a whirlwind in my pock et, vou'll find < me just up to such cape r s as capturing Jesse J arnes. I happen to know this husband of yo urs, senorita, as the toughest devil of a fighter in all America. Good-evening.' CHAPTER III. THE DANGER LINE. Ben Arnold turned as though he meant to walk away, bu t he did not take three steps before the hand of the woman was on his arm again. "Stop!" "What i s it now. senorita?" ''I wish a few words with you." "It i s all useless. I wouldn't under take the job for all the gold dust in the camp ... And he meant eve ry word of it. too. "There must be some mi stake, .. she cried. "Mistake? Yes, it was a big one when 1 ever promised to do as you said ." Ko, no: I m e an about the man." "You said h e was your husband ." ''He looks wonderfully like him. and yet one of us is wrong. If that is the notorious Jesse James, as you de clare, then he cannot be the party 1 am seeking." Arnold looked interested. "There may be something in that. I've known tw o men to l ook alike before. r m sure this man i s the one I speak of. Thafs Frank James at the same table. Then, as you say, it can't be David Graha m." 'No, no: m y Davy i s not a wicked man like Jesse James. He never took human life. It is terrible to think they l ook the same!" Arnold \ras possessed of an idea-when one came to him he was in t h e habit of seizing it with bulldog perti nacit y and holding o n See here: how long have y ou known this man you call Davy)., "\Vhy do you ask?" Because. th e thought struc;, me that perhaps Jesse J arne s might have changed his name when he came to California ." At this she was overwhelmed with confusion. "That would kill me, indeed; but it is absurd. i\Iy Davy i s a man of honor and not an outlaw, hunted with. a price on his head." ''You didn t answer my question,' he persi s ted. ''How long have I known Davy?" "Yes." "About six months." "Since last spr ing ? ''Yes .'' "Ah! Jesse James came to California then." ''Horrors!" "So you see, madam, in sp ite of your belief in Davy, it mav be that he and th e terrible outlaw o f Missouri are "Let me look at him again." She remain ed at the window several minutes watching the p l ayers and th e n turned to her athletic companion. ''VI/ell?" asked Arnold. "That man is not Davy." "What makes yo u so sure?'' "Every person has a way of doing things, and I know Davl''s habits. This man docs the same things in an en tire!) different way." "Men are deceivers ever, you know. He may have b een acting a parf when with )ou." "It is not so Her manner s u ddenly changed ; she became confident in her bearing, Q.nci Arnold's keen eyes noted this fact instantly. Yo u have another reason for believing it, se fi.orit a," he said, quickly. "Yes-ther e it is."

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6 THE JESSE JAMES STORIES. She pointed across the room to where a small group stood watching some interesting play. Among the men standing there was one who at once Arnold's attention. Fie was built very much after the style of Jesse James, and face resembled that of the Missouri outlaw in general features, although had one analyzed it, he might have discovered a considerable difference. This, then, was Davy. Arnold looked on the double of the notorious Jesse and then glanced at the original with something of wonder. "I don't wonder you were deceived; I never saw men more alike. I'd like to bet they're some relationscousins, perhaps. Did your Davy come from Missouri, senorita?" She ignored his question. ''You see your man-will you lead him to me as you promised?" she asked. By the holy smoke, I will." "There is no time like the present." "I said inside of half an hour." ' Yes." ''And I'll do it if I can. f..nyhow, I'll bring him to you when I have the chance." "Gbod-the ring shall be yours." "You are away?" "The sooner I leave you, the quicker the work may be carried out." "Shall I see you to the hm1se of the fortune-teller? These streets are not exactly safe for a lady at this hour of the night." It was evident that Arnold had once been a gentle ma11; one could hardly believe it looking at the rough bravo, but the wild life he had led for years in the gold mines was not conducive to polish or refinement. She greeted his proposition scornfully. 'See, the moon is rising. What have I to fear? Be sidlls, you see how I am armed," and she displayed a small but serviceable revolver. "vVhere did you get that tool?" "My husband gave it to me." "Can you use it?" "The first man who insults me will discover that fact to his cost." "Did he teach you to shoot?" "Yes. Davy i s a champion pistol-shot." "The deuce he is. I warrant vou he'd stand a poor show against the man he resembles. "Don't mention s uch a thing. There is no reason they should ever meet. I am going now : Keep your prom ise, Ben Arnold." ''I'll do my best, lady .". He watched her pass clown the rough street, and shook his head wisely. "I reckon as how she would use that ere little pop on a feller if he chanced to say somethin' she objected to. \A/ell, I'm not in that game at all. Give me plenty of money and licker, and I'm content." She vanished from his gaze. No outcry or shot came up the street, and he presumed the songstress must have reached the house of the for tune-teller in safety. Now the business in hand demanded that he give it his attention. He turned once more to the window, bent upon making sure of his man ere entering. Although his attention nae! only been diverted for a few minutes, hardly more than two in truth, the man whom he sought had vanished. In vain did Arnold endeavor to discover him among the litt1e knots gathered about the players-David Gra ham had disappeared as utterly as though the earth had opened and swallowed him. This was exasperating. Unless the man came :n again very soon, Arnold cer tainly could not keep his word.wit h the woman who called herself David Graham's wife, yet pursued him with some strange purpose When he had looked at all in the room and made sure that his man was not present, Arnold muttered a curse on his hard luck. Sure, he is like the Irishman's flea-now you think you have him, but when you raise your finger he ain't there. Never mind, I may have a chance to get him yet." Thus muttering_ he looked in through the window and watched the play, keeping one eye on the door so that he might know if-the man he sought came in again. Once or twice a party entered, but it was not the one he sought. Each time Arnold glanced up eagerly, only to meet with disappointment. As the table at which the James boys p l ayed was nearer his window than any other, he watched their game, keep ing as well in the shadow as he could, for well he knew what suspicious mortals these border outlavvs were, and that if they discovered him thus spying on them, just as likely as not they would send a bullet into his brain without asking a question. It was a way they had of teaching p eop le to mind their own business Arnold knew them both, and feared them. His actions had already declared this. Truth to tell, he had ridden beside them in the awful raids of Quantrell's guerrilla b an d when they sacked the town of Lawrence and did other blo o dy deeds-these men '.had been brothers in the war's cruelties, but something had arisen to build up a wall of hate between them. One thing interested Arnold. In the antagonist of Jesse James he recognized Pepito, the Mexican whom Buckram had pointed out as the tool he had hired to accomplish his work. No doubt the gambler, who was Pepito's partner in the game, was also pledged to down Jesse James Arnold smiled. He could see with prophetic vision the inevitable result, and he almost pitied the two poor devils whom Buckram had l1$ed to further his plans. Of course they were ignorant of the truth ; had the dreadful names of their opponents been whispered into their ears those desperadoes would never have dare,d to carry out the game. In their ignorance they stalked along to doom. The James boys seldom drank, but both prided them selves on being good card-players, and being challenged

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T H E J ES S E JAMES STOR8ES. by the Mexican in a sneering manner t o have a .game, Jesf.e had at once accepted, hunting up his brother1 and g .iving t\io friends a wink as h e passed, that s ignified there was going to b e music in the air. lt.hougn. of course h e conid JY'lt di 1;11" the exact motives of Pepito, in lhus se lecting him and offering a chal lenge. he believed the man w's :!n .., S')ll1C game w"l1ich would open u p a chance for excitement. being what they wanted, accounted for the r eadi nes s with which h e had accepted the offe r to play. Watching their play, Arnold could not see that either side was making any impression. The Jam es toy were as clev e r with the pasteboards as their experienced opponents, and the fact soon began to gall the i\Iexican. He scowled. Arnold kne\V whal would follow,. and was prepared to witness an exciting scene. \ i\Thichcver way affair w ent it did not matter him _:if the James bo:-s wer e slain then the earth wou l d be ab1e to rc'st more in peace as they were disturbing ele ments wher ev er they went. On the othe r hand, should the fight go against the gamblers, Arnold rejoiced to k now that he w ould see his old comrades on their m ettle They pur"succl different t1'ails n ow, and were fo es, but be could never fo rget that they had once ridden together under Quantrell. l\len who brave clanger s id e by side always have a cer tain regard fot each other, even though they me e t again as foes. The explosio n could not far off. 'vVhen the wat h er at the window saw the Mexican wink to h is comrade, he knew the decisive moment had arrind. They meant to institute a series of cheats in order to b eat tlieir opponents. . Along the border such a thing merits d eath, for even a ()"ambler can lay claim t o being a square man. All clcpendecl upon the fact whether the littl e game could be detected. Cards were played, for the game was the Americ an o n e of poker. \ Vhcn the hand were shown it turned out that the Mexi can held three kings. F rank James' .hacl given place to one of the friends from Missouri who laid d ow n l1is hand. 'Three aces," he said, raking in the pot. T!1e11 looking squarely at the i\Iexican until i.hc latte r sco\Vlecl, he said quietly: "It wouldn't be safe for you to try that s am e trick ag-ain, S efi.or Pepito." .. Good," ejaculated Arnold "they're o n to the thief." CHAPTER IV. TUE BATTLE l S ON. At these s ignificant words from the holder of the three ace s the Mexican cowled m o r e fi erce l y than ever. "Caiajo! what d o you say?" h e growled. "Just this, and I want you to hear me l di scarded a king myself, and saw a second on the bottom of the pack as you dealt. You-have three ; therefore y o u slipped out the bottom card from. the pack for yourself. AG"ain I warn you t hat it won't be safe to try that a sccot1cl tirne." His words were plainly heard through the large room, and every man ceased dealing or playing on the instant. Such a charge as that meant trouble. A man accused o f cheating has but one redress, and this is his r evo lver. Jesse James knew this fact better than his friend, and hence prepared for ;;tction. He kept his eyes glued on the Mexican, while his hand c rept in the direction of his weapon. His suspicion was confirmed: "Yo u lid" hi ssed Peoito. The chance he wanted had come. He did not mean to murder the man who had flung the charge in his face ; but his first hot was to be in the direction of the party whom he had engaged to kill for fifty gol den onzas. Like a good many other men who from time to time became engaged in a perso nal controversy with Jesse ] ames, this poor de:vil was too slow on the shoot. He sL;cceeded in drawing his pistol to be sure, but preciou s little good i t did him, for hardly had the weapon come forth from his belt than a bull et from the r evolver of the Missourian outlaw apparently cut his heart in twain. Pepito f e ll back in his chair. So suddenly had ob livion come to this wicked man that he was not even given the chance of muttering the name of his favorite patron saint. To be u shered from a life of crime into an eternity of woe! such seemed to be his fate. the gambler had not b ee n idl e. Whe n Jesse s friend accused hi s dark-faced partner of de l ib erate cheating, thi s man seemed to r ealize that somethi n g had to drop. He depended on blade in nrefe renc c to the revolver, and at the in stan t J esse Jam es fired his first shot this fel lo w was flourishing a fearful knife, built upon the Bowie pattern. vVith thi s he made a fierce lunge directly at the heart of the i\Iissonri outlaw. Had the blade served its maste r faithfuily, it would have made an encl of the notorious train and bank robber the n and th e re ; bu t they say Satan often cares for his own, and it seemed lik e it in this inst a nce. It chanced that Jesse James had be e n i11 the hq.bit of carryinga buckskin pouch filled with gold dust in t h e breast -p o ck et of his coat The knife struck this, and its forward progress was ar rcst:-cl. An inch to 011c s id e allrl the :0 T i ssou:
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THE JESS E 'JAMES STORIES. 'What was apt to add coals to the fire was the fact that while the slain men 1 vere citizens of the camp, the victors in the little affair had been looked on as pilgrims-stram. gers. At any rate the fight was on. Frank Jam es and the others of Quantrell's old guerrilla band sprang forward to the as s i 'stance of t11eir comrades. It was forty to four. Such terrible odds mighrt have overwhelmed some men, but not these human tigers. They gloried in scenes of danger and bloodshed. Almost every awful diarge on the decalogue of crime has been brought against the James boys; probably scores of men have gone to death at their hands, some times in fair figb!t during the war. and again murdered in cold blood for some'trivial cause. No has ever dared to charge them with being cowards in a physical sense. and again they fought ten or twenty foes-fierce, merdiess as they might be, but surely possessed of the animal bravery that leads the tiger-cat of the Indian jungle to leap into the center of a circle of foes, rend ing and tearing, until riddled with wounds, it falls. Such were thes e strange outcasts of the border. After the war they had gained such notoriety as fiends in human shape from having done such deadly executic;:m under the guerilla flag the y served that people laid everything that happened at their door, and, driven by irresistibl e circumstances into outlawry, they that since they had. the name they might as well have the game and so they renewed their career of rapine and murder. The!"e were the men who now found themselves facing two score of furious miner-gamblers, in the camp of Battle Mountain. Frank James, as cool as a cucumber, swept Jesse"s earnings into his pocket, spattered as the coins were by the blo o d of the man who had last been shot. Then he, too, drew his revolver and prepared for hot work. Every game was called on the spot. Men snatched up their money or little bags of gold dust, and, roaring out oaths, pressed forward toward the daring quartet. Jesse ] ames was never more cool in his life than at this moment. Blood enough had already been shed-he would make one effort to avert the ,remendous conflict impendffig. Revolver in hand, he sprang upon the table, and raised his hand. Silence en s ued. They would at least hear him. It a strange scene, and one that could never be forgotten by those who saw it. Th-:: gamblers were pressing forward with fierce looks; worri.en shr:mk into the ccrners and held their breath; weapons were seen on all hands, and, mounted upon the bloody iable, with the smoke still curiing from the muzzle of his death-dealing revolver, stood the central figure of all. "Men, listen to me. These parties cheated my friend and me. when we denounced them, they would have t;ikcn our lives onlv that I was too quick on the trigger. Any one of you would have done just "h:at I did. W a:. I right?" A few fair-minded men present called out in the affirmative, but their voices were drowl).ed in a roar of rage from the mob, who h a d already deci ded t .hat no matter how just was the cause of the strangers, tbey must die to atone for the bloody wGrk just done. Again the defiant man on the table raised his left hand. Once more the shouting ceasee. Before carrying out their and riddling him with balls, they were willing to accord him a hearing, though it ivould make no difference what he said. "Gentlemen, 1 want to introduce myself and then, perhaps, some one of you would like to have it out: You may have heard of me. I am Jesse James, of Missouri, and this is mv brother Frank." The crowd was momentarily awed, for the infamous deeds of these outlaw brothers had reached even the California gold fields. Buckram was in the rear. He had witnessed the sndder; doom that had cle"Scended upon his creatures, and chuckled to think that now he would probably attain his end without having to pay the price of blood When he saw the momentary confusion that came upon the gambling horde at the mention of that dreaded name, he knew something must be done, and that imme diately or else his pr"y would yet escape him. He hated .T esse James with all the venom that one rascal can bear iowanl ai10iher who has used him as a stepping-stone in the past, and cast him aside when he had no fmther need of his services. '"V1fhat he says is false; men. I give him the lie thus." So saying, Buckram discharged his revolver and sent a bullet through ihe hat of the who stood upon the table. "Ah! youre there, Jack Buckram; I know you, and recognize your work." As he spoke .T rsse James fired without raising his re volver frcm his hip. It was a seemingly careless shot, but this was so skillful that he could do wonders witJ1 the revolver, and this piece of business was ::1.11. old favorite of his. Buckram knew it, too, and saved. his own miserable life by sprawling upon the Roar just at the second the other fired. It happen.eel, however, that a man was passing across the room beyond, making for the door, and the bullet buried itself in the calf of his leg. He immediately shrieked out that he was a dead man, and, calling upon all his good friends to avenge his fall, dropped to the floor to hug his wounded leg, and at the same time keep o u t of reach of flying missiles. This unforeseen event set the ball rolling again, for it seemed as though the battle had really opened. Jesse Jam es realized that he could not hope to stem ihc tide. "lf you must have it, come on, and we will show you how .Quantrell's men fight!" he called aloud. Th. en, seeing scv.eral weapons being raised, he jumped from the table jnst as a storm of bullets Celt the air where he had stood. scene that ensued almost baffles description; it would take a pen of fir e to dg the battle justice.

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THE JES S E JAME S STOR I ES o w earons cracked, men shouted, women screamed, and lqud oaths ot shriek s when a l eaden messenger had fou:r:vhirl of excitement? Fran}< Jam es glared about him Eke an enraged tig'r about to leap . If he found re ason to b e lieve Jesse had been and Jay there either dead or wounded, he would hr.ve rushed. back into the 1nelee, and have stood over the fallen man. At this moment, however, there was a rush of feet near by. A man's flying fignre loomed up. The.party made. a leap for one of the small openings denominated windmvs, and passed throug'h. It was the Missouri outlaw. Engaged in a hot with some of the enemy near by, he was not aware of the fact th;it the door was open, and had taken this means of gaining the outside. . As luck would have it, in making this leap he lanlied squarely upon Ben Arnold, who at that moment chanced to be passing. This latter individual had been near the door, and when Frank James opened a passage those outsid e fell hastily back, Arnold among the number . When this heavy we ight came plunging upon his shoulders from the window; Arnold, giant though he was, went to the ground. He struggled desperately, and almost-unconsciously seized hold of t-he man who had thus descended upon him, as it were, from the skies. Jesse Jam es was in a fighting mood. At such times he was a terror. Vlioe to the unluckv wretch \vho fell into his hands when he was crazy with the excitement of ba'ttle the scenes he had wit11essect and shared in durin g the past urged him on to ne>v deeds of blood and crime. Mercy h e knew not. Living by violence, he was accustomed to appealing to the god of war beset. His revolvers were empty, fo.r he had fired the la&t shot in order to shake off the half crazed miner-gamblers who had clung to him like so many determined to hold him in order to have revenge for the fallen. Most of tho3e leaden messengers had done terrible execution, for this fiend o f a man was not in the habit of shooting unless he 'hit the mark at wh. ich he aimed. At the time of making his leap thrnugh the open win dow, the outlaw grasped one of these heavy six-shooters in his hand. Quick as thought, when he found himself assailed by the unknown, upon whose bad< he had leaped by acci dent, he brought this weapon down upon the 0ther's head several times, exclaiming: "Hold Jesse Jam e s will you-take that, and that, and that, you fool!" Arnold realized that he had caught hold of a Tartar, and that he was a doomed man unle s s he could break away. A giant in stature, he was possessed of uncommon strength, and if ever be needed that power it wa s now. With a Hercule::m effort, and a mar of fright, he humped his back. shook the outl aw from him as a terrier might a rat, and leaped away. Anv delav would certainly have cost him his life, for Jesse.James had his blood tlp, and was not sparing any living th.ing that came under his hand. Thns the four friend s were united just outside the gambling-hall. \Voands had been received, .but none of them were serious enough to keep them from flight It was necessarv that thev start soon, for their enemie:; were alread: y from the building hy means of

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'/ 10 THE JESSE JAMES STORIES. and windows, a boiling, seething crowd crazy for re venge. This brief halt had been called a dozen paces away from the building with a double object in view. In the first place, they desired to see how serious their wounds were, for when the battle is raging men have often been ignorant of the fact that they were badly wounded until the faintness cansed by loss of blood causes an investigation-such is the excitement that seizes upon one wllen engaged in a hot figbt. In the second place, there were few cartridges left in any of their revolvers, and it was absolutely necessary that these weapons should be charged afresh, lest the enemy make a last and overwhelming attack upon them. Having spare cartridges at hand, it did not take them long to charge the cylinders afresh, and when this had been done they felt able to resist almost any charge made upon them. The excitement that had reigned within the dance hall had now been transferred : to the street; a great crowd was collecting, and loud shouts rang out as numerous would-be leaders called upon the men to do this or that thing. So lo11g as the quartet. remained in view the niob made no move. . ThcY had alreadv tested the mettle of these men and found 'it not to thei"r liking. \/\/hen, however, the James boys and their two Mis souri companions began to move away, the crowd fol lowed after...:.._at first at a respectable distance, but gradually drawing nearer. The inevitable comequence o f this must be more bloo
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THE JESSE JAMES STORIES. 11 It would 'hardly be safe for the James boys to be found among the mining camps after this terrible work. They wonld be marked men, and the hand of every miner raised against them. \Vhen the attacking party melted away so miracnlously, the moonlight fell npon se1 eral prostrate forms, one of which moved and groaned, but the quartet of fugitives had no time to spare attending to wounded men. come, let's vamoose the ranch. We've had a lively rime and made it hot for 'em.'' So saying, Jesse James turned and led off. CHAPTER VI. ''LEAD ON." There was certainly a wild commotion in the mm111g town when those who had ridden after the outlaws came back with a number of dead and wounded comrades to report that the four Missourians had defeated them in a square stand-up fie"ht. vVhat added fo-e to the matter was the fact that as far as they knew their enemies had not even been wounrlP.d. They had all gotteJJ away. that was s ure. If anything could make miners mad it was such a case as this Ben Arnold had not taken any part in the desperate affair He believed he knew how it wo uld terminate, having s u ch a knowledge of the men against whom the minergamble.rs of Battle Mountain had seen fit to wage war. This proved that Ben had a long head. He chuckled to himself when he saw how the men of Battle Mountain were defeated. There was little s l eep done in Battle Mountain camp the rest of that night. One by one the victims of the Missouri desperadoes were brought ont and laid in a row. It was a ghastly sight. Others groaned in their tents, and called clown maleclic tiom on the heads of the James boys This was war. The storv must be soon carried through all the mining camps of California, and as there was a peculiar bond of sympathy existing among.the men of this class, it would hard! y be safe for the Jam es boys to remain pmch longer in the Golden State. Thev were apt to be hl!obbecl anywhere, while many men \vould lie in ambush to shoot them clown unawares. Along toward three o'clock, th e camp quieted down a littl_e. though men could be seen here and there as they hurried about on some mission. Several riders had been dispatched to other mining camps with the news, ::>.nd it was resolved to call a mass meeting of c iti zens, to determine what should be done. Sleep being out of the question, the men were already gathered in the vicinity of the open square in the center of the camp. This was called a plaza: While Ben Arnold was walking along the street toward the plaza, he saw a man just ahead of him. There was nothing singular in this, but Ben noticed his figure and gait, and he was struck with a resemblanc e to that of the man he had guaranteed to bring to Senorita Inez at ho use of the fortune-teller. Yes, he was almost ready to swear, even before he saw the man's face, that this was the party who l ooked like Jesse Jam es. If s u ch it should prove to be, his lucky s tar was certainl y in t t he ascendant. He mus-t see The man's 1hat was drawn \.ow over his face. This, too, was a sign that he did not d esire to be r ecognizecl. A s Arnold passed 1 hirn, his foot seemed to catch upon some ol:lo61tacJe. He made .a snclden lurc'h, :\1is hands flew out. and at tthe sam e tin-:e a n exdamaition of alarm and disgust came frc m his lips, as i he apparently came near falling to the ground. His rus e, cunningly conceived, wa s successfu'l. T l he other's felt hat was knocked from his hea d, and fell to ithe ground. vV hen Hen turned around, wit'J1 a iha sty apology, he l ooked fu11 upon face he desired to see. The moonlight revea'1ecl its bearded contour. "Good Heavens!'' he exclaimed, as though very much astonis 1 hed. ''We1'1," replied t'he other, calmly. Like a fla.s1 h one 1hand had soug'ht his be lt, and rested upon a revolver Had Arnold made any hosfrle move, the chances were the ha 1bless man would have bored him tihrough and t hrough on fhe install't, if he was half as sipeecly on tihe shoot as the si -nger had intima 1 ted to Arnold when speaking of her husband. Ben act-eel ihi s part. "It's you, sure -enough !" exclaimed Arnold. "\.\Tho do you fake me for?" "David Graiham." "A.h !'' "I was 1001.."in' for ye." "Is it possible?" "On a question of great importance." "Sure v-ou haven't made a mistake?" "I reckon no t. Ye was poiJ11ted out to me not many hours gone by." "vV h e re was that?" "In rt:he dance hall." The other grinned. -yon \1ere 1lhere?" purs ued Arnold, !having an olbject m view. \ Veil, yes, I rather guess so." Ben fai lecl -to catch the significance in ilhe other's tones -he remembered later on, h owe ver, several things that did not : appear out of the way to him then. I know I coulcln 't be mistaken." "vVlhat d'ye want wit: h me?" "So me one desires to see you." "The old complaint. Lotsof people would like to see me, and there are others who wouldn't," replied the man, with a s hrng of his s houlclers. ''This par
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1 2 T H E JESSE JAMES STORIES. "Xot for. nw lif e ." "Stii'l ye heard her sing." The nian sta rted. "What! the senorita?" 'Exactl v "I neve;. saw her before "Vlell, perhaps if she removed the stai n from her face and !lhe dye from 1 her hair yon might change your bpinion." The man looked at him aittentively. Then he smi.led. "You say sihe is disguised?" "Yes." "And she wants to see me?" 'Bad 1ly. Of course I do not want to force you to go, but it would be kind of you. A gentleman always ob liges a lady ., The otiher mus ed. Then be g l anced toward the fire-lighted plaza, where tthe miners were assemlbling. "I've ha.Jf a notion to do i 1 t." he muttered. "Change it to a whole one." I t promises an adventure, anyway." "I reckon.,. "Where is .this lady?" "At the cabin of the for tune-teller." \i\Tell, lead on." ''You'll go," wi1t1h a grin of delight, as he remembered t 1he diamond ring. I reckon I will, seeing that I'm well ab l e to take care of myself. Forward, Ben Arnold." CHAPTER VII. BEN BLUNDER. Arnold turn ed upon bhe other. "How-you know me?" he ejaculated. ''Perhaps you may / have been pointed out to me Some oman may want a private in.terview with Ben Arnold Buit never mind You 're a well-known man ar-ound tihe diggings, I reckon, and it isn't singular I should know yo u." "Perhaps not," replied Ben. The s 1urbble flattery implied by .this d e licate compliment quite mollified him. To ihimself rhe was sayinrg as lhe led .the way in the direction Qif rthe fo1tune-teller's: "How like in manner 1he is to 1:'he other, too. Glory! what a team they'd make, to be sure; but she said her husband war s ian honest man, and not to rbe classed wi11Jh the likes of Jesse James." Tthe buikling wihiah they were heading for was nolt far away. A minrnte's walk would bring tlhern to it. Like most of the oit:hers in the mining town, i t was a stru ature, one story in 1 height, and not a n a11Chitecrtuirral beauty by any means No doubt it an1S1wered -alil purposes required, and 1 w h o could des ire more. A smal:l sign 1hung ou.t rto dhe :breeze, and Upon tihis was artistically pain:ted the name of the madam, ancL.a'lso the fact rtihat slhe was a ble to Of five doHans in goid. Arnold had been given his cue. He knew rhis was a srtrange 'hour to be !mocking a t any door, and especially one where a \\'Oman lived. Bat tle l\1[ o unitain camp was not apt to enjoy much s leep on tlhis night, :however a fter a'll that had taken plaoe tlhere.. Besides, tihe signal given by t11e sefiori.ta wou l d p r o :::laim his identity. He raj'.1ped upon bhe door in tlhe manner s1he had de scribed Ait firs'1: 1t!here was no response. "Try it again,,. said his companion, ""'ho stood beside him in a nonchalant manner watdhing all his motions. The second frummons was a success. A window wa s opened, but not tihe blind. \i\T11'0 kn oc ks?., ''One who wis hes to see your guest," replied Arnold, recognizing tlhe voice as belonging to t r he fortune-teller110 o ld er-one, b y tll:ie way, but a borLd. dashing woman, ,,ho ha d comma nd ed tlhe r espec:t of the m i ners by the handy manner in wihich srhe u sed her pi-stols. "My guest!" repeated the woman as if desi ring t o draw him out. ''The sefiori ta." "Ah! s'he has long since retired. "She will get up 1vthen sihe hears I have come." "\IV1ho are 1ou :i "Ben Arnoid." 'Do you bring news?" "Something better "You have a companion." "1'he party s1he wisJ1ed to see." "Is trhat true?" "I give you my word for it." "Enter, and I will let her know." The door opened aatomatically, and a light was seen beyond. 11hev entered had been here before. and knew the reception room of the madam wa.s on r ight. Tfort was w : her e lig1ht was situated. T'hey entered the r oom Arnoi ld' s companion gave one contemptuous glance a-round a:t the dbjects fastened to tihe wall, and 1\ hich were s upp osed to arnus e a fe eling of a we in bhe minds of the ignorant when they cam e t o visit the sorceress. T r hen he sat down. In doing t1his he seemed to be careless enough, but it might be noticed that as U1e sat his was toward the light, and he able to comman{] tihe door, bes ides all that was in the room Tihen they waited. Ben \\"as interested. Tme, his mind went now and rt:'l.1en to llhe rewar.c\ he was to receive for I bis cli.an1011d ring that had sparldecl upon tlhe senorita'.s hand; burt: tihere was something beyond ehis t.ihat attmcted him; Arnold possessed his sllrare of curiosity, and was desirous oif knowing the exact rela-tionship exis:ting !between Gra'ham and 11his 1ovely woman \\'n10 sang so divinely A.fter a while rthe senorita appeared upon tthe scene, sta nding in the doo r way. She rwas fully dressed, though her a btmclant hai r hung

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THE JESSE JAMES STORIES. 13 in braicls down her back. as thongh !"he had not taken time ,,) finish its arrangement. S11e s\1r "'ecl sign of excitement. Jt looke get the drop on him and, rememberi n g their old quarrel. he believed Den wonlcl be glad to do this same thing i f he only possessed grit enough. 1 'The lady speaks trulr-I am J esse James." "Confusion!" from Ben, as he fell back a foot. I was brought here partly against my will by that ma n yonder. I could not understand why he called me David Gra h am, but he decla r ed a lady desired to see me. and I always make it a point to oblige the ladie.:;. The senorita murmure d something. She was gazing at this man's face as though hi s re semblance tc one she loved c:rnsed her some deep un easiness. Perhaps there had :flashed into her mind the terrible consequences should the tables ever be reversed, and David be taken for Jesse James. Not far away, nearly half a sco re of human forms

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14 THE JESSE JAMES STORIES.,_ in a ghastly row ttpcP-n the ground-mute evidence of the terrible wol'k done by Jesse James and his friends. Such a thought as this was enough to cause the sefio rita's loving heart alarm. "Strange, how singularly like you David is! Jesse James, men call you a bad man, but I know you have love in your heart for your dear ones at home. Will you promise me that if the chance ever comes to assist my David you will do it, because of his fatal resem blance?" "I promise that, lady, readily enough, though I don't reckon the chance will ever come, for I leave this camp before morning, and California soon ." "What brought you back here? After what passed, I sho uld have thought safety la y in flight." It was the fortnne-teller who spoke. She admireJ the outlaw because she was a Southern woman, and he kept up the war, single-handed, against the hated Federal authorities. This caused her to observe him with more than usual interest. "What you say is true enough; but I had a little busi ness in town, and I came. Danger never bothered me in the old days with Quantre'll. Arnold here can tell you that, and it don't go far with me in these times." "Jesse James, you are a brave man. I am proud to shake hands with vou." It was just such prejudiced persons as this hating woman who kept alive in this man's black heart the idea that he was doing right. Had he been hunted or shunned by all, many of his later crimes would never have been committed; but when a certain class of sympathizers with the Southern cause sympathized with him, and bade him go on with his work, it gave him nerve and courage, with such backing, to continue his evil course. As he turned he faced Arnold. "You and I may meet again, Ben. Take care that we do not wipe out the past vrhen that time comes," he said, in a low but threatening tone. Arnold opened his mouth to make a rejoinder. It might have brought about an open quarrel even there, for Jesse James was a hot-tempered man, quick to take offense. The man thought better of it, and the words he would have spoken
PAGE 16

THE J ESSE JJ.\MES-S T ORIES 1 5 "I understand "'h and. numerous .bel
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16 THE JESSE JAMES STORIES. 'A party stepped out. "I do, your honor. I accuse him of being Jesse James, the notorious outlaw; the man who brought death to this camp to-night. Yonder lie his victims-our friends." "Stand aside and let him see them." The crowd separated, and .through the lane could be seen the ghastly forms stretched o ut side by side, mo tionless in death. It was a dreadful spectacle. "You have heard the charge, prisoner; are-you guilty or not guilty?" "Not guilty." "Do you deny that you are Jesse Jam es?" "I do, most vehemently." "Ah! then we must have more proof. Where is Pepito, the Mexican?" "Here." A figure advanced. It was the gambler with whom Jesse James had played, and whom he had shot down and apparently killed; but the Mexican still lived, to curse him now. He was covered with blood and weak, but his yellow face looked as vindictive as that of a fiend from Hades. "Pepito, would you remember the man with whom you played this night-the man who shot you, and blew Buckram's brains out?" asked Judge Lyi:ich, quickly. "Si, senor, in life or death I woulc;l swear to him; I shall never forget him." "bo you see him present?" "I do." "Point him out." The Mexican's long bony finger, trembling with the weaknes s consequent upon the los s of so much blood from his wound, swung around until it rested upon the pris oner's breast. "Cara111baf that is the man, sefior." "It is a lie! r;ratcci rhe priso;-ier; I never even saw the yellow hound before!" Pepito drew his knife with a sna rl, and would have sprung upon the helpless man but he was hustled away by men who would not stand by and a cowardly deed done. "Ben Arnold !" "On deck!" "You knew Jesse Jam es in days gone by?" I fought with him under Quantrell." "He is no ;.-iend of yours?" \Ve hate each other like the Kilkenny cats." "Would you know him?" "I am certain of it." "Look well at this man-tell us is he Jesse James, the outlaw, or not." Arnold gazed at the prisoner. "That is Jesse James," he d e clared. "Another lie!" shouted the man. "Are you ready to swear to his identity?" I am." ''That settles it. Gentlemen, we have proven that the prisoner is Jesse James, and that he is the man respon sible for the terribl e calamity that has fallen on Battle l\Iountain camp this night. I pronounce him guilty. Sentence him at your will. What is your pleasure, gen tlemen?'' They did not hesitate. "Hang him !" "lJ p with the Missouri wildcat!" "No quarter!" "Death to the assassin!" In the midst of the clamor the prisoner had become re markably cool. He wrenched one hand loose and held it up to quiet the clamor while he spoke. Some who believed in fair play would have harkened, others kept up a clatter on purpose to drown his v01ce. In the midst of the tumult the man who had gone for a rope brought it up. The arm of the prisoner was seized again, and, with a dexterous turn of some cord, fastened to the other be hind his back. Every man seemed to desire to have a hand in the affair. It would be something to boast of in future years-having been concerned in the execution of so notorious a man as Jesse Jam es. There were other reasons why they were anxious to help in the lynching of the Missouri desperado-friends h cl gone clowJ1 on this bloody night before the revolvers of his gang, and no one had as yet pai
PAGE 18

THE ,JESSE JAMES STORIES. 17 Rough men though they were, they gave this woman a chance to speak. Her words fell upon deaf ears, however, so far as mercy was concerned. Why not? They had seen Jesse Jam es-that is, most of them had when he defied the whole gambling elementof the camp not many hours before, and in this man they recog ized him. Besides he had surely been identified by several of their u mber, and in a way that proved the fact beyond all doubt. The lady must be mistaken. Even if she were not, this proved nothing. Suppose the man she claimed as her husband w_as kn own to her as David Graham, to the world at large he had another name. The silence grew opp ressi ve It did not argue any good for the man. Scowls were cast at him, as though the miners hated im more than ever because he had deceived s uch a lovely voman. Judge Lynch cleared his throat. He had a difficult task to perform, but he went at it hamm er and tongs. ".:Vfadam, it gives me pain to refuse yo u any favor, but D [ am afraid what you ask is out of the question," he said. "You will not murder him-you dare not take hi s life," 1he flashed. P "Dare not hardly covers the case, madam. This coml t mmit y is a court unto itself. This man has been legally : ried ; he has been caught almost red-handed near the \cenes of his crimes. Twenty persons will swea r to hi s d dentity; he has been convicted a nd must suffer the pen,Jt, ." Dt d "I beg of you-I entreat you to spare him." "Again I say it grieves me to refuse. All I can do is of put it to the court to decide. Men, all in favor of alwing this man Jesse James to live cry out ay." e l Y Intense silence followed. s-et The prisoner had not a friend present. "Those in favor of his death, answer." he A thunder of exclamatio n s almost shook the ground, 1 to d prov.eel how un animous the mob seemed to be in this atter. lkThe senorita gave a little shriek, and covered her eyes ith her hands. 1d, It was to see thos e savage faces pressing around r, thirsting for the blood of the man she Joyed. Had the y been veritable wolves of the desert they could ) t have sf:emed more ferocious. Nill nothing move you?" she crit>d. "Madam, why prolong a painful The boys have all cided and his fate i s sea l ed. No mortal power ca n save ; said the judge. ned At this the senorita became hysterical. s :!i. She threw her arms around the prisoner and kissed him re ssionatelv. The judge himself had no idea of allowing a weak ner to defy his authority. fell Much as he disliked to use force, he must certainly; it. So he made a mGtion to a couple of men who could be looked upon as his officers. They knew what he meant. Stepping forward they gently but firmly laid their hands upon the woman. "Come, you must leave him,'' they said. "No, no if you murder him, you kill me. He is my husband my all. It is some cruel mist(\ke-you will re gret it when too late. ''Come." "I will not." But she did. They firmly released lier clutcli, and tl:ie prisoner, seeing how gentle they were, could only groan. It looked as though his time had come. Shrieking and struggling the poor senorita was drawn back. Men grasped the rope. They were eager to pull, but restrained themselves, for fear lest the poor creature might by some chance see the man dangling_ This was rare consideration. By this time th e crowd had closed in, so tnat there was a solid phalanx around the barr el on which stood the judge. He waved his hand. Silence came upon the throng again. "Gentlemen, the hour of vengeance has arrive .cl, and this man with all his sins on his head must be ushered into When I give the proper signal, every man do his duty." "Ay, ay," came in deep-throated response. Willing hands had grasped the rope again, and those who could lay hold prepared to pull. The doomed man would be drawn up in a second's time. He noticed the opportunity, and though his face showed no signs of fear, he seized upon this last chance to sway the mob. "Hold one minute, comrades. \i\Till you give a fellow human no chance for defense? You call thi s a court of justice? Can justice be blinded by prejudice? ln no court is a man condemned without a hearing. I can prove my innocence; hang me, and every man of you becomes a murderer. Will you hear me?" A few called out in the affirmative, but their voices were drowned in the angry roar of the mob, which, baf fled of its expected prey thus far, would brook no further delay_ They wanted the scene closed, and their bloodthirsty desires could only be satisfied by seeing the enemy dan gling from the tree. "Up with him!" "No m a re no1; sense !" "Their blood cries out against him.". "Vengea n ce veni.:teance "Give the signal!" Judge Lynch was i:;ersonally in tavor of allowing the condemned his little say before running him up, but against such strong sentiment he was almost powerless. There \.Vas but one thing to do. He must give the signal. Before doing so he spoke again.

PAGE 19

18 THE JESSE JAMES STORIES. "Boys, we h a ve done our duty in this affair, but we don't want to make a mistake. What be would sav amounts to nothing, for the man who woul d cut a throat would not hesitate to lie; but if there is a man present who be!i.eves we have made a mistake in this affair, let hini speak now, or fo"rever hold his peace." Silence! "No one answeys-we will proceed." ''Hold on, judge!" called out a voice "Well?" "The man is innocent of what you accuse him." All eyes were turned toward the speaker. "You dare say this?" cried the judge. "Because I can prove it. The man you want is Jesse J ames, and that ain't him." "Men have sworn to it." "Men can lie, judge. Let that man go free. I am the party you want. Now, take Jesse Jam es if you dar.e--.he stands right here!" CHAPTER XI. FIFTY TO ONE. Ii was a bold act. A man like Jesse James was not apt to imperil his neck for the sake of one whom some freak of fortune had caused to resemble him in form and features, unless he had a good reason for it, and there was also a fai r chance of escape His daring words almost paralyzed the crowd. They couicl not comprehend how a man could be r eck l ess enough to stand there and defy them all. True, he was armed. Jesse James never went without his revolvers, and when they spoke something happened. At the same time it seemed so much like suici-cle t9 brave their anger, with the noose so near at hand, that for a moment or so not a man among them all could move a hand. Nor did they give tongue. A dead l y silence fell upon the crowd. The citizens of Battle Mountain camp had met with a surpr ise that acted like a bucket of icy wate r thrown clown their backs. Jesse James was no fooL He had not the least idea of sacrificing himself for this apparent stranger. Before taking this seemingly fatal step, he had made sure of one thing. This was that the line of retreat was open. As he stood there the crowd faced him-behind was an open spot, and some shanties, offering him a way to con duct his retreat. The light of the torches flared fitfully, but illuminated the scene fairly well. Every eye was glued upon the desperado who stood thc ; re calmly, bis arms outstretched, and the weapons he held wandering back and forth as though seeking a "Gentlemen. I pronounce that man innocent. He chances to resemble Jesse Jam es and it is because of that I risk my iife here and now; but he never had anything to do with me or my business. Hang him and you do mur der-dy'e hear, hounds? Now, if you want something to have a littl e fun with, tackle me." Again t h ey gasped in arnazeme tit . . Such a ];>earin g as this they had never before seen in the g old mines. Presentl y they would r ecove r. The reaction would be severe Fifty to o n e cou ld not long be kept in c h eck, and whea the critic a l moment came there would be a swarming o f men about that spot, as though a hi ve of human bees ha d given up its con.tents. The judge was the first t o recover. "Does any one recognize this man. o r is he a craz foo l ?" he called o ut. A dozen answered. "It's Jesse James, with out a doubt-just like him t dare the whole tow n.' ''Then clown with h im. One man can'.t run the cam of Battl e Mountain!" roared the j uclge. "Suppose you come first." As the clesperacl.o thus spoke he brought one of hi. weapons to bear upon the presiding officer. Fully expecting that the revolver was about to sount his death-knell, Judge Lynch, forgetting all his offici dignity, rolled back off his stand, h ead over heels, upseta t in g the barrel. and creating general confusion. The incident was enough, however, to break up till.\ state of apathy that had existed. A rush was made toward the spot where the desperadf had stood. He was there no longer. j Taking advantage of the momentary excitement, he hai l eaped behind the nearest ca bin . .:r Without waiting a second, h e passed a long and reachte a second house. Into this he sprang, the door being open a fact he w; cognizant of b efo r e making th i s attempt t.0 save an inn1 cent man. No one had seen him enter...:._at least this was his belie He banked a great deal on t'his and if it back on him he would probabl y have a preHy ho.t tin cf it. . As soon as h e leaped through 1the doorway,. he seizff lhe door and ;;hut it. 1 At tihis instant a wlhirl wi ncl of snouts rent the air witi out-the mob of miners had turned their attention fro lf!he ftoi:mdering j Ltclge to man wiJ10 so cool d efied them, only discover that he was no1i est a Of course bhe sewl"Ch would .begin Excited squads or men rushed hiuher and yon bca ing torches, and carrying all manner of de 'adly v\eapolPC reaclv to annihilate the bold invader of the C<
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