Jesse James among the moonshiners; or, The train robber's trail in Kentucky

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Jesse James among the moonshiners; or, The train robber's trail in Kentucky
Series Title:
Jesse James Stories
Lawson, W. B.
Place of Publication:
New York
Street & Smith
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32 p. ; 26 cm.


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Dime novels ( lcsh )
serial ( sobekcm )

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University of South Florida
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University of South Florida
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All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
028809122 ( ALEPH )
028816544 ( OCLC )
J14-00011 ( USF DOI )
j14.11 ( USF Handle )

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Dime Novel Collection
The Jesse James Stories

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i ssue d Weekly. _By Subscript ion $2.50 per y ear. Ente red as

I 5 fssued Weekly. By Subscription S2so per year. Entered as Second Class Matter at the N. Y. Post Office, by STREET & SMITH, 238 W il!iam'St., N. Y. Entered according to .Act of Congress in the year 1qo1, in tile Offia of the Librarian of Con gress, fVashington, D. C. No. tt. N E W YORK, Jul y 20, 1901. P rice Five Cents. .. Jesse James Among the Moonshiners; OR, THE TRAIN ROBBER'S TRAIL IN KENTUCKY. By W. B. LAWSON C HAPTER I. THE KENTUCKY SHOOTING H ands up, thar !" It was in the western 'porti on of Kentucky that these words were spoken one dull November afternoon years ago. Significant words, truly. I They smacked of the far 'v\'e$t, w ith its gold trains, its 1r oad agents, and wild scenes. The man upoti \\'h ose ears they fel l and was u n doubt edly intended as the person to be addr essed, s1howed little concern, however much he may have felt < Coming to a pause, he l eisure l y turned his head and e g l anced i n the quarter fr om w h ence the strange o r der had t>come L ige, show up, you coon. I know yer vo i ce h e a sa id. At the same ti me, had one J:ieen close to him, it cou l d have been noticed that he was not without some little anxiety. These were troublous times in certain oarts of Ken-. tucky. The recent C i vil War has created deadly a n imosities among t h e people of the border States-Kentucky, Tennessee, \ Vest Virginia and Missouri. This was why Jed Harkins, the exs harpshooter, grasped his rifle a libtle more firmly as he watched bushes He had, as he believed, recognized the voice of the un. seen speaker, but it might not be Lige Bigelow, and what seemed to be a joke \rnuld prove a ve r y sorry one should the other fire. To h is relief a ma n parted the b u shes, and, with a l augh. stepped into view. It was the party he had called by name.


I 2 THE JESSE JAMES STORIES. Lige likewise carried a rifle, one of the old, deadly, squirrel-shooting species, mac:le famous by the Boone and Kenton settlers almost a hundred years before this time "On the way to the shoot, I reckon1 Jed?" said the new comer, as he reached the other. "Yes; and you the same, Lige?" "Well, I thought I'd take it in. A turkey ain't !o be sneezed at on Thanksgiving, and I promised the ole woman to fetch it home." Lige spoke unconcernedly. The ex-sharpshooter and he had long been rivals with the rifle, and were known as the two best shots in west ern Kentuckv. Jed sniffed contemptuously as he glanced at the man who thus calmly declared his intention of carrying off-the prize. "One'd think you held a mortgage on that turkey, to hear ye, Lige. Reckon thar's others as may have a word to put in. Allow ole Betsy Ann"-patting h i s l o n g rifle affectionatcly-"tG have her say, if ye please." Lige was in a good humor. He had been diligently practicing of late, with the in tention of defeating his old rival, and the scores he had made satisfied him that he had a long chance to succeed. So he bantered the sha11pshooter as they strode along in the direction of the crossroads tavern, where the s hoot was to take place, and so worked upon the ot11er that various side wagers were made regarding the issue at stake. \ 1\!'110 would win? It would be an event of no little importance, s i nce quite a sum of money besides the turkey must fall to the lot of the lucky man, there being an entry fee of a dollar a head. Presently they caught up with others, who were also on their way to the scene of the match. They came from side roads, and struck along the pikesome on foot, others mounted. The regular shooting match on Thanksgiving was about the greatest event known at this encl of Kentucky during the year, with perhaps the excitement of election, when a fight generally occurred, end'ing in a homicide As they drew near the crossroads, a dozen persons were seen ahead and beh i nd Presently the two rival crack shots drew up at the tavern. Quite an assemblage had arrived before them, and they were greeted with much good-natured badinage on their arrival. Nevertheless, it might have b e en noticed that as a gen eral thing the other men paid Lige C)ncl J eel a sort of silent homage. These men were recognized as the crack shots of th

THE JESSE JAMES STORIES. a d This was something like shooting, and ere the trophy passed into the hands of the victor, they were apt to be decidedly ente rtain ed Li ttle attention was paid to the stranger who had en tered as nineteen. He fired, and behold, another center. Vvhen this fact was telegraphed, a number l ooke d at him vith renewed interest. Perhaps here was a 1nan who would give Lige and Jed a pull before going under-a dark horse suddenly loo med up above the horizo!1. -The two old-time riv a l s had taken but one s h o t eac h and hence th e stranger followed suit, Colon e l Jack. puffed out with importance, announced that there was a tie. A new t2rget would be put up in order to meet the emergency-one that might be reck o ned as worthy of the skill of three competitors. This announcement caused cheers to arise from those present; the excitement had reached fever-height, and bets were indulged in, but no one see med to believe the stranger would wit'!. CHAPTER II. "MY NA1IE IS JESSE : h I Tl. t' 11 11s 1me a sma er target was JAMES." placed, and the c o mpetition grew m o re earnest. I Each in turn sco red a ceEter. V/ilder grew the excitement. on Shooting such as this had not been seen for man y a 1e\ dav. tly The two old-time rivals fairly gfared at each other 11at in sullen fury; ead1 was determined to do hi s best to win. Lige had gained much through practice, but Jed seemed to be on his mettle, and the result was mighty uncer1ple tain. Strange that as yet neither of them seemed to pay any was attention to the stranger. He was beneath thei:: notice. off. The real contest Jay 1 between the rivals. This unb) known upstart 'had been enabled to keeip up with them thus far more through luck than anything else, but he mst speedily drop out of the race, as the pace would set1t row swifter. the As the second target had been done away wit'h, it was announced that each competitor could choose one of his beginningwith Lige. \ He bent a pi ece of willow wand. so that it would move ith the wind, vv1iilc sticking up in the ground. A small niece of the bark had been st riooed from its epor;enter, leaving a white spct an inch long. ter a When this wand waved in the breeze, a more difficult arget could not bE; imagined. Lige had t i he advantage. ve n\ He knew it. For months he had been practicing at such a sway1g mark, until it become an old story with him. iess o He knew his rival's weakness. 1en h Jed was a remarkable shot at any stationary object, ut when it come to one that was moving, he could not e depended on so thoroughly. I Two other wands were prepared in exactly the same ay, ;md thrast int o the. gTcu;1cl along-side the first one. All was ready. Lige cut his target in t\:o at the fir s t shot, and when the pi:;ces were brougl'it in it was found that hi s bullet had struck the white spot. Hats were thrown uo. Cheers rent the air. Lige became the p et of the multitud e at once. Again the colonel called "time!" Silence reigned. Every eye was on Jed, who nervou s l y thrust his rifle forward in 'his impulsive way. This time he took aim, s omething no one had ever known him to do before. Evidently Jed r ea liz ed what a ta s k he had before him. Then came the s hot. Hurrah! tihe w ill ow twi g was divided, and part of it flew into the a ir. But sta y-Lige had quick e y e s and already he made not e of a certain fact. "Bring the pieces here," he called out. This being done, it was discovered that Jed had sev ePed the swaying wand a n inch or so beyond the peeled portion, and therefoiie his sho t must be accounted a fail ure. The old sha rps 1 h oote r fell back in chagrin when this fact was announced, growling at the want of justice in 111aking him shoot at a mark se le cted by hi s rival, with out giving him a chance to return the compliment. "Lige wins!" sho uted the crowd. I am proud to d ecl are that our honored--" Just there the colonel came to a stop, for a h ea vy hand had alig hted on his shoulder. "Colonel; I beg your pardon but it see ms to m e I am entitled to a shot in this game." Ah the stranger! He had been utterly forgotten in the excitement of the moment, which went to show what little chance they thought he had. The colon e l was nothing if not courteous. "I beg your pardon, sir. Certainly you are entitled to a shot. Yonde r lie s your mark. Take you r chance," and under his breath he added: 'And much goo d will it d o you." Tihe stranger assumed an easy attitude. His manner was entirely free from affectation and nervousnes'S. Any one could see that he had long been familiar with firearms. The re was still son!ie laughing among those who had >vag-ered on Lige. The stranger turned his head. "Judge, would you mind asking the gentlemen to keep quiet and give me a fair show." "Certainly, my dear sir. Gentlemen, I beg of you to remain si lent. This party has a shot at the target." Again the noise ceased. Fair play was a jewel among llhese m en. Even a stranger in their midst was entitled to a show at their hands. The successful marksman, Lige, turned and cont::rr. plated his 11ew rival closely It was the first time he had paid any particular at tention to the ot 1 her. A shark of uneasiness crossed his foce as h' lookd


4 THE JESSE JJ\ M ES STORIES .. under the slouch hat and noted the determined counte nance of the stranger. "Heavens! how like uhat man!" he mutrered. Lige held his breath while the other aimed. He would have gladly made some sound to have disconcerted the otJher, and as if by accident trod on the tail of a little yellow cur that persisted in sneaking in among the legs of the shooters. T'he dog unearthly howl. It was just a second too late, for the report of the stranger's rifle 1had already rung out. Dark glances were cast at Lige by a few fair-minded men present. Being a bullv by nature he did not mind it, but looked eagerly toward the willow wands. One of these had b e en divided. Lige swore under his breath when his keen vision told him it had been cut in twain exactly at the white mark. This fact was verified the remnants of the wand were brought in. Again the excitement increased. Evidently the dark horse was looming up, and Lige Bigelow had run across a foeman who was likely to prove worthy of his steel. The doughty colonel became interested He even condescended to glance at the strange marksman a second time. This glance showed him a rather tall man, built with sinews of steel, and a quick nervous movement that pro claimed him lightning on the shoot. ''It is your turn to propose a target," the presiding of ficer declared, to the unknown who had entered as number nineteen. "I know of nothing better than foe old game of split ting a bullet," he answered. This was hailed with satisfaction by the crowd. Once, it had been a familiar part of a shoot, but of late years had died out entirely Preparations vvere quickly made. A smooth piece of board was nailed to a tree, and into it a knife was thrust in such a way that the edg e of the biade stood outward. It was the object of the marksman to so strike the blade as to divide the bullet, half entering the board on either side of the knife. As it was the sitra:iger's targiet, he fired fi'rst and accomplished his object. Smiling, Lige stepped up and repeated the feat. This pleased the crowd. They did not care if the thing was kept up all day; it afforded them sport. As the two rivals had thus far come out even, another target was created Tl1is was driving a nail. A certain number of paces were m easured off, and then in turn they shot, each scoring a brilliant success. What next? The colonel had never been placed in such a ament before. He scratched his head as he endeavored to consirler new methods for trying the relative skill of the two sharpshooters. Jnst the1; Lige touched the other on the arm. He pointed upwar d. An osprey was sailing over far above their heads, and doubtless heading for the swamps along the distant rive r bottom. 'Firie with me!" he said. Both rifles were raised. Only one was discharged-that of The fish-hawk doubled up in its flight, came d own almost like a stone \Vhilc it was rushing through the air, the str a nger sent in his shot. They brought the bird in. Loud exclamations arose when the plain mark of two bullets were discoyered. This was shooting with a vengeance. The like of it had certain l y never been seen before in all that section. It looked as though Lige had caught a Tartar The stranger had beaten him, and yet the match was not won, as this heat had been an off-hand one not down on the bill. It had one effect. Lige was rattled! Onoe get a man in that condition, and he is very apt to lose his grip. 'Dhe colonel suggested an idea. It was neither new or brilliant, but had a lways been practical at the matches W here the competitors wer e few in number. This was nothing more nor less than b u rying turkey to be shot for, all .bt1t his head and Ii.eek, a n d at a certain distance a way, using the moving head for a target. Lots were cast for firsit shot. Lige won. The chances seemed i'n his faor, bnt his star was not in the ascendant. He took his nlace Whispering died away until not a sound could be heard save the sighing of the November wind among the leafless trees. All eyes were benrt either on the marksman or his strange target. The imprisoned1 turkey seemed to feel his pe r i l for he kept his head goiIJg constantly in eccentric circles Theu came the report. Lige had fired. Did success greet him? l o shout of approval followed, and Bigelow shrank back from the railing, as if conscious that he was about to be defeated. It came the stranger's turn. He threw the weaipon to his shou l der, wit h everythi n g to win and nothing to lose, since Llgie had already m a d e a miss of it. Without wasting much time he fired, aiid the tmkey s head flew into the air as if propelled from some peculia r catapult. "\i\T ell done!" shouted the cro1\'Cl. Cheer followed cheer, coming from the partisans o f Jed Harkins, who were almost wild with delight at seeing the victory snatched from Lige. .The stranger smiled calmly as he let anot h e r cart ri dge


lI h ap THE fall from the magazine into the chamber of hi s rqJLci" . be was an o ld campaigner. A \ictorv like thi s did not exci te him. w-c:e certain h ard lines in hi s face that tn'.t' a wild life in the past-he had supped many a tin clunger, :ucl met deadly p e ril hand to hand. :!\or was hi. c ounten::.nce frank and engaging. A .,,onld h'.'.ve fou::d the ma--1 stamped it as s o ;11ewhat cruel. At a;rv rnte, he was a n1a1' who knew full 1H 1 to t::ike of himself-the dare-devil was cha. :11 isti c of He approacl:ed he colonel. Lige had just heen whispering somethingto the judge of ce r emon i es who wa now observing the s t r t:i""i' with redoubletl interes t ''Ha\e I 11 011, Colonel Jack?" a sked the strange "Fairly and squa:ely, sir.'' ''The turkey is mine?'' pointing to the decapita,. bird just then being carried in. "Yes, sir." 'Allow me to donate it?" ' \,Yith nleasure. "You a widow in the town named Grav?" "A !2;00d wor.1an, but with a hard row to li'oe, a number of children to support, and poor health." "Her husband was one Archie Gray, I believe. ''Yes." "KilJed in the war-?" "Exactly, sir." "I him well-rode bes i ,de him on manv a wild fora1 and was at his side when a b ullet struck. h im. ' Those who heard the stranger say this grew more deeply interested, fo r Archie Gray had b ee n a rongh ride-, first tmtkr Morgan and then with the guerrilla n chief o f Missouri. ''How about the purse?" inquired the winner. The co l onel held it nn in his hand. d "It is Yours, sir, on one conciition." mo "lndeecl hat is that?" 1 ''One o f the rules of the tournament i s that the victor, r if unknown, shal l g ive his name."' The str a1wer started. for l He cast a g lance to\\'arcl Lige Bigelow, as though decidi_ng that it was him he O\\'ed it all. 'Is this pos1t1ve l y necessary f' "It is Ot!r ru!e." h. The str::u1b"e r loofoecl around him, a s neer upon his lip, s he sa id in a loud voice : 5 a "Then I s u bm i t to your rules. Col onel Jack. My name i s Jesse James, and I hail from the o ld State of 1viisouri." .rylh "I thoue-ht so," muttered a man who s t oo d in the Y n1 crowd. and his eyes sparkled; "my chase is ended-I found m y game!" pecu\ CHAPTER III. THE M.\N-HUN'l' BEGUN. t at The mention of this name creakd considerable excite )1ent. cartr T 'here was hardly a man present who had not heard of 5 't, for the outlaw of M i souri had been kicking up a in his S t at('. and a hea\ v r eward was on hi s h ead. So feared \\ <1$ the Missouri desperado that even when he stood d'icr'" one man apparently against two score, a hancf wa s r a :"er! agaiust him, at least for the min-( .\lechanic1tly the judg" handed him over the purse, 1\'11ici1 i.ii Yict11: 01Vl:'cl av in his pocket. ..,,me. hai lcfs he said the man against ,. h.l, l the ;d1o k coumrv was arrayec1 . lju hdd his rr peating titie in th" hollow ofhis arm, r 1r\\ fo: instan! use. Tlie man whr exclaimed I thought so," looked at tbe t1':0 men. ;:s\' ,, ; l kecl away backward, made a step or t\YO to11 ard th:r: shook his head, and halted, mutt<"'ring : 1 reckon not. Ii all di is crO\\ cl are afraid of those l ncloes, why "houlcl 1 openly attempt their capture, a,l ri,sk deat:1? can han' patience, and all will come ,to me:.'' The t\\ o Janws beat a retreat. Xo one molested t'.11..111. After\\'ard t h e m e n wondered why they did n o t attempt .:J a1-r!3t the o u t l aws, w h o were worth a small fortune, tk< .cl o r alive. b u t each m a n d eclared it was not hi'i fu,n ;a I. (; course, the talk was all abont the surpnse that had COil'<' t il;:m. these m e,, "t;,.,ing? It was soon ascenainerl + h... mcle r assumed names1 they had come to this section to r e cnperate after being severely wounded. T'ney had decla r ed their wounds had been received in a feud bul now it could readi ly be understood that it had in a n encounte r with the officers put o n their trail bv the expre ss company they had plundered. -It was with o ld J eel they had stopped, and he seemed as much surprised as any of the other s ove: their identity, as revealed by the successful marksman, m order to secure his prize. Presently the quiet stranger approached him. He had been making inquiries. "You arc J eel Harkins?" he asked. The old man nodded. He was fcclina very glum, for h e had lost the match, and, althoug'h rival 'had failed to win it, fhis on1y par tially reconciled him to hi s l oss. Then, again, the declaration of the man he known as Tohn Roiberts had stunned him. ''Those men have been staying with you fo r som e time?" pursued the oth er. "Weli, what of it?" came the surly reply "A good deal. They have been known unde r other names. No one dreams of suspecting that you knew who they were. I am a seeker afte r the truth. My name i s Bill Sikes, and I a m a detective sent out by the authorit ies to arrest the Jam es boys." The old man looked him over from head. to foot. "The devil you say! Why, they' d eat you alive, them dare-devils, I reckon.'' ".Wait and see," was the quiet response I think they'll find Bill Sikes the toughest old crow they ever sat down to."


6 THE JESSE JAMES S T OR R ES By degrees the detective got out of him all he knew, which did not amount to a great deal, but gave Bill Sikes all the proof he wanted that his men had been hiding all this while in this quiet Kentucky regibn. J eel and the detective had ha rd l y been talking five minutes when several others came up ; among them Lige Bigelow. The latter held out his hand to his old rival. J eel, let 's bury the h atchet, and jine forces to hunt them 1\lissouri outlaws. Thar's a pretty pile offered for the two-enough to make us rich. \ i\/hat d'y.e say-are ye in.?" Jed saw no other way than to acquiesce, for his reputation was at take. "We '1!1 take ye in, Lige," he said, gravely. '" Whos we?" with a glance at the stranger. "This here's a detective, be e n looking up Mr. J essc J arnes an' his brother." Soon a dozen Had rnrollecl themselves. Lcav ing tihe er sroaids -tavern, Jtlhe party of self-con stituted vigilants made off in the direction of old J eel's house. The ex-sharpshooter lived in a commodious cabin, and had quite a little farm around him, on \vhich he raised tobacco and corn. \Vh en they reached this spot questions were at o n ce put to the old woman. Had the two strangers been there { She had seen nothing of them. The men had a 11t\111ber of things in the cabin which they had apparently val ued quite highly, and it see m ed probalble that they would be apt to return in oider to claim them As the day was almost past, and the shadows of the coming night n ea r at hand, it was decided to lie in wait, forming a sort of cordon around the cabin, with a code of signals whereby the movements of all could b e r egu lated. Before an hour had pa ssed after the falling of dark nes s, J ed t o u c h ed his companion's arm. "My ears are keener yourn, and they tell me some one is comin' up the walk,'' he whispered. "Good!" return eel the detective. . He drew back the hammer of his repeat111g nfle, and half raised thP \Yeapon so as to be ready. It was sure d:<;ath, apparently, for Jesse James to approach the cabi n in this path, and yet some one was cer tainly coming. CHAPTER IV. OUTWITTED. The sounds grew clearer, and there could be no ques tion now but what some person was advancing along the walk. The detective, knowing well the desperate character of the man he had come so far to arrest or kill prepared to fire. Old J eel stayed him. "Hold o n, he said, 111 a whisper "don't shoot. It's a woman a r te r all." The figure had advanced into t he light cast from the window, and Sikes could see this now for him se lf. It was a woman. appeared to be old and decrepit, for she advanced with the use of a cane, and walked in the peculiar jerky wa y rheumatics have. Upon her liead she wore a great sunbonnet that e1:: tually hid her face. An c)oicl shawl covered her bent fo:-111 over the homely ciress, and one band clutched at thi s lo prevent the w;nC! from robbing her of. i't. whil e t'i1e other held the stout cane with which she did her walking. The detective lookeci at the remarkable figure with some surprise "Who in the cl vii is that?'' he asked. ''The wid o w Cray," replied Jed. 'Ah I heard him donate the turkev to her. Does she r:ome often to your house?'' "Not former ly, but since my boarders came she seems to h e v be e n more frequent." "V'{e knO\Y why. She knew who they were By tlhis tim e th::: si ngular-l ooking crea .ture hJ.d passed into the ho u se :A. short interval passed. 1 o sounds were heard from the house. i\/hen ten minutes or so had gone the doo r opened again and some one out. The widow. She carried a small bundle now, which old Jed eyec with great suspicion, while she hobbled down the patt tO\varcl, them. "l'd like ter know m ighty w ell what she is got in tha package:," he muttered, as though he feared lest th1 wid o w might be carrying off all his worldly possessions The dctecrive 6Uessed his intention and held him it again with a check rein. "Don't do it, Jed-too dangerous. Let her go-yo1 know where to find her." Later on h e was ready to have some one kick him fo this advice. who can see through everything? T1he bent figure hobbl ed past. th e m, whining and mul tering as sh e went, as was the lnbit of the rheum:i.t i wid ow o f the dead raider Soon she disappeared from view. Again silence. A s h ort time elapsed. Then the light iu the window three times. "Thunder!" ejac ulated Jed. "\Vhat's wrong now?" "\N hy that's a signal from the old woman, o n e ' used to have y e ars back." "v\iha t does i t mean?" "She ,,ants to sec me." But how doe s she know you are :-irou;:d, s:nce hav en' t been in the house?' At this Jed started "Don' t know unless she guesses it. Anyhow, something gone wrong. and s he wants ter see me. Da ger in the air, too else she wouldn't use the old signa Springing to his feet, gun in hand, Jed quickly cove r the dozen yards that lay between their hiding place a the door of the cabin. The watching, saw hi m enter


THE J ESSE JAMES STORIES. I [ Then h e listened a n d kept watch, but neither sound nor .oight that was suspiciou s greeted him. Perh<.:ps five miirntes passed. The11 the cabin door. opened, and old J eel's guant figure was seen 011tlined i n si lhouette against the b right-1 1 rnss within the room. ,:Cantain !" The. fellow was calling loud e nough to alarm the whole ll ei giJ borhood. What could he mean? Had he taken leave of his senses? The detective was too choked with Indignation to answer at first, even had he so intended; so he remained silent. J eel ca l led again. "Captain. I wan t ye. Come here. Somethin' s hap by gosh!"' That changed the complexion of things. lf a nything hacl hapFnecl he ought to k now about it, that \\"as sure. \,\iith a gioan at the strange way things were going, the detective arose to his feet and advanced toward the house. Jer i greeted him. "This way, captain. Come right in." 'But si.1ppose they should come?'' ''?\ o clanger." "Eh?" "He's been here alreadv." 'vVhat ?'' ''Jesse James has been here." '"But \our worn:in said not." "That was an h our back .. 'vVell ?" ''Since then he' called and taken his tr:ips "Thunde r the old widow--"' 10/as Je se James. sure enough!" The detective gritted his teeth. "I swar, the imitation was splenclicl and he deserve.; to get off ., ''Off I He hasn't escaped yet." J ed looked t 1 p quickly. "Then you mean to faller him?" ''Well. it irn"t in Bill Sikes to let a thing stop so easy. Ji you a n d the men are with m e. well and good; other ,ise, I go alone." is The looked his :.tdmir ation for the man who would dare hunt. single-lwndccl, two such des peradoes as the James boys. "Oh! we're with ye, captain. Once we m ::ke np e minds to a thing, you bet i t goes." "Bring y.our men up, then .. "All of 'em?" "Yes, C''.erv man; I want them to u nde:s t 2.nd the cas::: Y f u lly before \ ,ego farther. Perhaps they may have some surr,n-cstio1i to offei. ., J eel proceeded to call the men,. and in a few moments th.a thev were on hand. Dal Sikes began to ask q uestion s. sna1 In t h is way he learned something that was likely to ivenredou m l to his advantage. ea O n e of the men stated that several days before he. l c'hance d to b e a t t il e l o n e whisky still o f a n hermit moonshiner named Derrick, up in the mountains, when he saw the two strangers approaching. D errick went out to mee t them, and greeted them as old friends. T'hcy talked earnestly fol a w1hile and then left. As they were going he caught the parting words: "It mav come sooner than we think, Derrick." "Sooner or later, I am ready; I do not forget what you did for m e once, years ago." T11ese wor, ds seemed full of significance to the detect ive when he heard t'hem. He was quick to decide a thing. "You can take us to this old hermit's place?" he asked the man. The latter nodded. "On one coi;iclition, sir." "Name it." 'you are an officer of the law?" "That is so." "This old man, like many others in the wild mountain districts o' Kentucky an' Tennessee, breaks the law. H e i s no outlaw, and leads a quiet, orderly life, but he i bound to make his moonshine whisky, and pay no taxe on it." "Exactly." "You have hunted such men, I reckon." "My lines haYe been in other places," returned the de tective, and it was well he could say so, for among thosarouncl him there were a number who would have h ate! him on the spot had they learned he was a revenue offi cer. ''T'hcn you'll s1Year not to betray him; or use your knowledge agin' him?" pursued the man, who really had an interest in the s till of the old which accounted for hi s deep interest in the matter. l11ll Sikes raised 1his head solemn ly. "I promise nevE'r to reveal the existence of the her mit's srill, or to use my knowledge of his hiding place in any way that could bring him harm. Will that satisfy yon''' "Entirclv." ''Then on to the place." ''\Vait till Jed hyar gets a lantern." The sharpshooter was only a minute or so in procuring this, and thus equipped they set out for the den of the mountain hermit, where it was believed the James Lays had fled. CHAPTER V. 'r !le'. S1' 1LL. The cbrknes> L'.nd('r tile trees was intense, an-cl Sikes 0: 1 c1;s<:o';0:ed why the:: had need of a lantern. It wot:ld l1avc been almos t impossible to have mad.: progress along this :011t e otherwise. The detective had marked his man. He \\"ho carried the lantern was the one who had the infornnticn respectmg the fact of the hermit beingan o ld friend of the man \\"horn they now hunted so vigorous ly His happening to be at the still was, of course, all a fable, for he had :m interes t in it Sikes kept at his side.


8 THE JESSE JAMES STORIES. that he distrusted the man, for the other had vol untee red to guide thnn, there being nothing compulsor y about it. In the first place, he received the: benefit of fhe light, and this was no small matter, consideTing the nature of the trail. Then, again, it gave him a chance to interview the man, and this was what he wanted. "Jordan's a rough road to travel," he remarked, as one of the men behind stumbled and feil, muttering to himself as Jie arose. The other chuckled. ''We might have .taken an easier one." "How is that?" ''This trail is s horter." "Thrn there an: two?" ''Yes." "And tho:.e we hunt--" "Have gone the other way." "This path is shorter ?" ''Yes." "Is there any chance that we may reach the place ahead of them?;' "I can t say about that; much depends on the way they :nake time; but my iclee in takin' t his route vvas to avoid running agin' 'em on t h e way, and to let us use ,.a lantern ., "Good You have a long head, frie'nd." ..,, They lapsed into sile nce fo r a few minutes, during which progress was made, Iudiau file, along a ver y narrow trail. Finally the nature of the ground allowed the detective to once more come up besi

TliE JESSE JAMES STORESo It was a strange si tuation. Here they \Yere creeping toward the s till with the in ten t i o n cf s m pri sing the' ih e n supposed \'."e r e with Derrick, and ho would probably make a d es perate ng'.1t; while at the s:une time a party of revenue office r s !:ad entered the nlicy with the in tention of capturing tl:ie h1nrnit m consh!ne r, and c onfiscating property "Xo t a whi sper n ow; v.-e are near the p lace," an notcnc ccl gnid<.>. All became sile nt. The v m:iv e d f.orw:ir d. and {';1tered b e t ;een two wal!.s of sto ne, where the darkness was inte ns e ; but there was no danger o i slipping-. :.:nd \vhcn o n e ha once passed be the:>e ja\YS h e could not go astra, very well. A gleam of lig:1t ahead! Creeping fonv::ird, the y drew n ear the spot where th e escaped. An old cabin, whi ch had bee n built manv ve ars before to shield r e fugees in war times, was rnad e to do service as a di s tillery. It was lodge d the rocks in a way that made its discovery >.ave by accident, almost beyond poss i b ility, !Or a man \\ould hardly ente r the dark a;i.d fo: b idcling passage leading to the hut, unles s \varned b eforebncl !l with regard to \\"hat he would find there. It was a wind o w through which the light escapeclminus a . v\ihen the guicle a iid Bill Sikes r eached it the v both peered into th e It \\":lS ::i qne e r ? ;?"h t There \ Vas t h e s till. rhe fir e burning, s e v e r a l barr els around." an olcl bmp or two tryin g to di s pel the d arkQ ness and all the paraphe rm.lia that b e expected in such a place One man only w as in s iP-ht. Bill Sikes his This wa s th e hermit m o o1ishin e r. He seemed a quai;1t cha ract e r. g aunt in figure, \\ith a grizzled b ea rd and l ong hair. a s g ray a s a b adge r. J Bill Sikes kne w what to make o f fl1e situation, 1 ar.d touche d hi s compamon s arm. Thr guide b e n t hi s h ead. "Have we a rri ved before them?" ''Hardh. The y had plenty of time to reach hq.r." ''The n thev haven't come." "That d o11't signiiy." "You s e e for yourse lf." "\Vait. I've an iclec old Derrick mus t have hidden 'em awav." The man's words put n e \\. h o p e i nto the mi!1d o f the detec'.ive. e\' er al ert to seiz e t.rrny along." ome of the b o Y s." They entered the stillhouse. Old D errick nodde d to each, in turn, as he recognize d friends 'amcng t hem. \Vhe n h e came to the d e te c tive, he loo ked at him sharply, a s thou g h so m e sudde n susp icion took shape in hi s mind "A frien d o f mine uncle; I'll gL:arantee hi s goo d fai t h s a i d Skinn e r has til y . T h e h ermit somet hing, as tho u g h he might b e hal f c01w i nced ; bu t h e did n o t attempt to arg ue the cas e "Quite a surprise party ,' he s aid g riml y E vid ently he s u s p ec t e d the nature o f the ir err:111d, al thOL

10 THE JESSE JAMES STORIES. cause there i s danger. I b elieve Government officers are about to make a raid in this regi o n. You know we have heard of it for some time back, uncle." Old Derrick showed great excitement. These gaunt people are generally of a nervou s temperament, but, w h e n the time comes for action t hey get there all the same. T hi s man, o ld as he was, proved equal to the occasion. "Back to the cabin!" he cried. They made a rush in that direction, and such was their haste that twice Bill Sikes stumbled and fell, though he did not seriously injure himself on either occasion. Reaching the cabin, they found the others awaiting their coming. ''Take hold, boys. We'll leave an empty cage when the wolves come. Cheeril y now, and the work will soo n b e done It was A b e who spoke. The men understood exactl y what he mean t, having. been forewarned. Spurred on by the example of their lead er, the men set to work with a will, transpo rting the parts o f the portable still to the r ecesses in the rocks not far a way-places pointed Ot!t to them by the old hermit himself. Lanterns were used, of course, :for the darkness ,,-as too great to admit of any moYement without some such illumination. '; \ Vatc h the o ld man; I've an iclee he means to get aw_ay and give us the slip," the guide managed to whispe r to Sikes. This chanced to b e just what the detective had been liinking himself. He k new what a s l y old fellow a man of Derrick's build was apt to be. All the while he had kept his eye on him, not !11eaning to be left in the lurch. Their s u sp icions were verified The old mountaineer hovercJ around until about the last of hi s chatt e l s had been secreted. Then, without eve n wai ting to thank t h e men who had come to his relief he, lik e t he Arab, "folded his tent and s ilently stole away." The t wo m e n saw him go. A lantern he carried y;as ::i. guide to their feet, and they set about following him :it once. The rising wind prevented any little noise they made from being heard, and thus they were enabled to keep a certain di$tance behind the mountaineer. On this same wind there suddenly came borne t o their cars the sounds of shouts and shots. These came from across the valley. The lank moonshiner stopped to listen, and they could hc:J.r him muttering t o himself. Evidently he was more than ever alarmed b y this evi dence of war. Abe found a c l.a nce to ""his per to his companion an explanation cf the uI rcc:kcn th.:: officer:. have tackled Sandy Blair's still ove r yor. d-.r, ;me! tile: l;oys are trying to hold c ut, but it ain't no 'tsi:; it's <:ii over." Silence ha::l, in