Jesse James in New Orleans; or, The man in the black domino

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Jesse James in New Orleans; or, The man in the black domino

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Jesse James in New Orleans; or, The man in the black domino
Series Title:
Jesse James Stories
Lawson, W. B.
Place of Publication:
New York
Street & Smith
Publication Date:
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32 p. ; 26 cm.


Subjects / Keywords:
Dime novels ( lcsh )
serial ( sobekcm )

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University of South Florida
Holding Location:
University of South Florida
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The University of South Florida Libraries believes that the Item is in the Public Domain under the laws of the United States, but a determination was not made as to its copyright status under the copyright laws of other countries. The Item may not be in the Public Domain under the laws of other countries.
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028818627 ( ALEPH )
740873559 ( OCLC )
J14-00014 ( USF DOI )
j14.14 ( USF Handle )

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S TO OF Issued Weekly. By Subscription $2so per yea r E1tfrred as Second Class Matter at the N. Y. Post Of/ice, by STREET & SMITH, 238 Wtllz"am St. N. Y. Entered ac c ordit1g to Act of Congress ,,. tlie year 1qor, i1' tlze Office of t he Lib1ar z izn of Congress, Washina-to1l, .D. C No. H NEW YORK, August 10, 1 901. Price F ive Cents. JESSE JAMES IN NEW ORLEANS; OR T he Man 1n the Black By V./. B LAWSO N CHAPTER I. THE MONK AND THE RANCHERO The carnival is on. New Orleans blazes with lights, and on every hand the ear is greeted by the various noises that betok e n the arrival of Rex, the king. Tin horns do their best to deafen one, and what witli shou t s and laughter and pi s tol-shots, the racket i.s tre rea mendons. Eac h recurring February the old city on the lo i wer Mississippi s hakes off the lethargy that gener-all y hangs 1 over her borders, for a short space of time r e vef r y S131 runs mad c Even in Rome or Madrid the people hardl y give themo 1 selves over to the wild gayeties of the carnival with Fi. a more fervor than is shown by the citizens of the Cresuo cent City, aided by the st r angers within her gates. i ro 4 These latter are erous Q in "' "' r They come flocking hither from all northern points for days before the time set. Thousands wend their way S'outh each year w come the coming of King Momus, for the caonival has become a settled institution with New Orleans. Among 'the numerous people thronging the streets during the first n ight of the gay festivities, a man dressed as a ranchero seems int e rested in the sights, and at the same time endeavors to attract as little attention as he pos sibly can. He seems to be a well-proportioned fellow, and, judg ing from hi; figu re, one wlrn would prove quite a figure in an encounte r at close quarters. 'vVhile he wanders np and dO\rn the brilliantly illum i n ated square, passing among the crowds of merry mask -he seems to be looking for som e o ne judging fr'om his actions. 11'1-ore than once he starts, a nd eager l y e x am ines some figun-e near by. ..


2 THE J E S S E J J\.MES S T ORIES. Then, a s if in d o ubt, he forces an opportunity to t h e p e r so n in ma sk in order to giv e a certain signal. On eac h occa sio n he fails t o r ece ive a reply and, shaking hi s head, goes on. Be cause success doe s not come to him at once, he does not seem to despair Around him are strange figures r ep res enting all mann er of gnomes, cavaliers, monks, and the historical past. The re are many wome n on the street, to' o. During the carnivai season liberty reigns, and many things are done that at another time would be fro wned upon. Many of these women a re mas ked like t'heir consorts, and not a few dressed to repre sent famous charaders in the past. They l end a dash of color to the scene. A gathering of men al o ne, as a general thing, lack s an element o f variety, as they r ea lize out in Western mining regi ons, whe r e th e flubter of a p ett i coat descending fro m the stage would cause every miner to knock off work for the day. Stag parties may be all very well in the ir way, but they represent only half of lif.e. Most of the 1.vomen on the streets

I almo't up"ttiug him, do" ho tho hou" I wddonly I basso notes. aware of the fact that some one w as doing the same A change has come over the spirit of his dream. Business claim s his attention to the excl usion of such follies as reign around. The ranchcro leads the way to a spot clos e beside t he statue. Here they w ill be comparatively free from the j ostling crO\rcl. Reaching thi s, he leans care l essly against it and waits for the other's arrival. j V./'hen the stout padre comes up, he finds the. ran -chero there. "You are on deck, Peter?" says this worthy. "As usual, captain.'' relurns he of the padre gown and 1 I hood, rattling th e chain that encircles his waist, and from the e nd of which dangles a cros s. i f "I began to think you might fail me. e l friaT s ivent by. To every one I gave '.!n ever an answe' r came back." ''Diel I ever fai l you?'' Six monks and the signal, but "Not knowingly; but accidents will happen even in 1 the best regulated families, you know, and I began to ,el fear some one might have taken a notion to lay hold I of you." The padre laughs. "It would take two to encircle my waist as I am at llS, ,, 1 present. 1 s t I N I'. \ ''That pillow mnst seem pretty warm, Peter." "Yes, indeed captain." ''Peter, t'O business.'' "Yes." J "Have you seen her?" as "J reckon I have." :\ "Tell me a bout it, man." ; a \ "You see, I was lounging in the French market, jus t l as you told me to do, and watching every female tl:at n qcame along, when I caught sight of a face I r ecognizecl." ''Thanks to the photogrnph I showed yo u. 1 "Yes, that \\ as what did the business, captain. As jsoon as I set eyes on the girl I knew it was Beatrix, l b iand I followed her.'' "You were no monk then ?" s t "I was a C reole, a quiet, u n ass uming sort of a chap, ncl 1ot apt to attract attenti o n anywhere." "Vv' e ll, you follow eel her?" yes. She had a colored woman following her and :ro t arrying the basket, whi l e the g i r l did the purchasing. wo11 "I found no trouble in tracking her home. There's t : he aclclres:s." e h He hands the. a card, at which the other l e lances, there bemg ligh t enough to make out the charcters ins.cribed thereo n. "That is good, Peter. \i\'hat more?" kind office by me.'' "The deuc.e !" ''That is what I thought. He was a rough-looking fellow wearing a big felt hat, a n d I soon saw he had me under his eye. "Instead of running away, I walked towa.rd him, and, jnst as I expected, he accosted me. "'A word with yo u neighbor.' "'Just a s you please,' I replied. 'You seem interested in that house.' 'The white one with the green shutters?' "'Yes.' 'Truth to tell, I'm not so much interested in the house as in the b ea utiful creature who went into it,' I answered, boldly. "\,Yith foat he ground his teeth. '\,\/hat do you know of Ma'amselle-Beatrix?' he demanded, w'ith a frown. "'Ah! is that her name? I t is as beautiful as her face-charming!' "'Answer my question!' he said, stamping his foot, angrily. "'I knolw nothing about her. Seeing her in the French market several times, my curiosity was aroused to know where so beautiful a creature cou l d live, and meaning no harm, I took the liberty of following h e r home t o-d a y 'Is that all?' he d emanded. "'Sunel y. \Vhat more would you expect? If I did wrong, I am ready to apologize to her, or to fight a du e l with you, monsieur,' I replied. "'At that h e l a ugh ed. "My \vo:rds had thrown h i m off his guard. "'vV e will not quarrel about that, neighbor; but do not repeat this escapade. The l ady has friends who will resent such impudence in a way that might not prove comfortable to you.' "I hastened to assure this ogre that si n ce my curiosity :was satisfied I wou l d trouble the beautiful young lady no more. "With that I walked away, leavi n g him to stand guard before the white house, and feeling satisfied myself that I had learned all I wanted." "Peter, you did well." "Thanks, captain. Praise fro m you sounds p l easa -' i n my ears. I am glad you are satisfied." "'Ne have Beatrix. Now, regarding this gi-1.lff -senrr y, he can be no other than Anson Merrick." "That is my idea to a clot." "He is a man always wide awake, and we can fee l ce't' tain be will not l et us win a t a canter. I


THE JESSE JAMES n eve r knew of a man I thought mor. e of as an enemy than this one." "Still. whe n Paul Si11ith opposes him, I don't fear the re. ult." "Ko flattery, Pete r. vVait and see!" '"Yes. \\'ait and see!'' whispers a dark figure on the othe r side of the statue, and whom they have failed to notice. CHAPTER JI!. THE: LISTENER BEHIND THE STATUE. .. What is next on the programme, captain?" asks the monk. "By following Beatrix, we hav e found Merrick; nor w there is anotbc-r in New Orleans who is interested in tl;i s cas e ." "I can guess who you mean-the man who left the steamer up the river and came on by rail, so as to get here ahead of Jesse James." "That is the man!" "Why do you want to find him?'! "He holds the key by which we can unlock this mystery; without it we are helpless." "I see." "Fortunately I have more than one clew by means of which I may locate him." "Then I suppose our next move will be to run across this Missouri terror." "Yes." "Tell me how to find him, captain." "Later on, Peter. Just now I have a job on hand." Saying which, the ranchero coolly draws an enor-mous bowie knife from his oollar, and begins to whet it on his boot upper. The monk watches with interest. Some orne else near by starts and trembles as he hears the ominous sounds. "Peter." "Yes, captain." direction. H any one runs away, drop him as I as Julius Ccesar. Understand?" "I reck>0n I do., captain.'' "Then fopward !" As Paul Smith the detective speaks, h'e himself suddenly darts around the base of the statue in a direction contrary to that which he lias given to his companion. At the fir s t glance the coast seems clear. A close1 investigation reveals a figure tucked away in a niche at the base of the statue. Instantly Paul Smith lays hands on him. "Come out," he exclaims, gritting his teeth. A groan answers him "I can't," whines a trembling \"Oice. Paul gives a tug, and the unknown answers with grunt, but fails to come. 'Tm stuck," he whispers, hoarsely. Paul has discovered this for himself. It accounts for the other failing to move off at th first alarm, as he has expected him to do. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak. By a simple turn, the ranchero brings a bout a chang -

THE JESSE JAMES STORIES. 5 The prisoner has heard the words of his captor with considerable apprehension. vVhat does he mean to do? The detective's words give him an idea that he is about to pass through some sort of torture. what else can be meant by "the twist?" "Sit do1 wn says Paul. "Would you murder me, mister?" "That depends on you,'' returns the other, co.oily. "\!Veil, I vote against it," answers the prisoner, stoutly at which Paul smiles. "Then do as I tell yon." Both sit d ow n on the base of the statue, the detect ive maintaining his grip on his man. "Now. what were you d oing behind there?" "Sticking fast." "Goo d fo r y ou. .What brought you there?" "My legs." "Ah! you're one of the smart kind. N'ow see here; men don't cra:wl into a pl ac e like that they have a motive. \!\That was yours?" "It's a good S'hclter fro m the min." B ut there's n o danger of ra1n 1 with i!:he Sitars out." "Th en it's a fine hicling-pla0e fr101111 the po\tice if you've snatchec\ a purse." "That wasn t why you crawled in there "How do yo u know, mister?" "Because you were watching me down below. I saw you. Besides, that h ole 1w>as empty when we came here. I n o tice d it 1111yseH." "That settles iJt:." "You wi \l confess, :then?" I su.pp'ose I migh t as well." "!if I have reason to b e lieve you teH me the truth, I ll make it pay you." "That's business "By chance, cap'n. He paid me to watch you and hear anything you said ., 'Do you know who he is?" "No." ' Describe him.' J e.d doe s so in a manner that marks him an apt stu dernt of huma n natur e P aul recogniz es the portraoit he dr. aws, and Ito him s elf 1whispers: "Jesse James, for all the world; and he knows I an here, corufusion take it." "J.s he n ea r !by?" "I r ec k o n." "D::in t yo u know?" "I ain't s ee n him !but he sa i d as hciw he'd keep an eye on me, dressed in some other way." "Then y o u don t know h ow he a 1 ppears ?" "Nixy." ''You made an to meet him?" "No-tha:t is. yes." "Careful now!" for .the keen eclg e of the 1 tou checl 1 the arnb's ea r and sent a spark of thr.ough him. knife had electni c i ty "I didn't have any re gular appoinbrnent, you see, boss; tbut he said this, that if I clicln' t run across him before, he'.d be in Tony Martin's place a n hour from n ow ." "Thafs the great dance-house around the corner?" Y\'!s." "How were y.ou ro know him?" "H e'll g ive me 1 a s 1 ignal." "Let me have i t." The co ld s.tee..J hovers around lthe araib s ear, and o c casi o n ally touches h:is fles h sending a chill through th e man's whole faame; for in stature the fellow is a man, though fol.I.owing the profession of a boy "This i s i t." "On t he other hand, m y fine cl uck if you give me rea a i son to think you're lying, I shall your ears off with He puts his hand rto h is nose and ru:bs i t do1w' n as a refle ct ive man might. ii r this knife I'm a man of my word, as you will find out. "I can't say i11110re than I know," treturns the street amb, sullenly. Nobody 1w:ants. you to what's your n arne ?" Tell only the truth. Now, "}ed." "You're a bootblack by trade?" "Yes. Row' cl you know that?" "How did you fall in with the man to watch me?" Jed sba1Pts and mo ves uneasily. who employ e d you "' \i\That is to be your answer?" "I'm to speak at once, 'cause, ye see, I a in't in no dis guise." "What w1H you say?" .i r "It's a :ll done, irnister." "Je d, are you ly ing 1n 1111e ?" "I S1wear s I'm telling the truth, cap'n." "vV ell, what was he to pay you ?" "A dollar." "Jed, I"rn going to give you two of them. "That strikes me. "But you've got Ito earn them. He may have had a sl igh t n o tio n deceive his t.a.ptor "How?" before, but this ha;s now d iecl aiw.ay, s-i11ce he realized "I w:onder hmv ; 'd like p l ayi n : g CleteCtive." ___________ _______________


6 THE J E S S E JAMES S T ORIES. "Jest try .rne," he pants. "YIOU've been reading up the business?" "I reckon I have; seen a detective yet, but I knows lots albout 'em." ''I'm a detect1ve; the man 1 who hired you is a notor ious outlaw, for whose tbody, dead or alive, thousands of dollars will be paid." Jed whistles again. "Len

.t ;t THE JESSE JAMES STORIESo Paul has never seen the carnival before, and naturally .takes some i111terest in it. He has time to spare, too, s ince an hour must elapse before he <"a n h ope to meet Jesse J; in T

8 lfHE JESSE J A M ES STORIES. "Yes." "WllC're di d they go?' "To the statu e n ear by." snow comes down upon the lightly in the procession, it 1rns speedily made evident that the carnival which has so long b ee n famou's in Rome, Ven ice and Madrid, was not suited to cold er climes. \Vhen Paul had been in th e place some ten minutes, he runs across a man who wears a black domino. 'rhis last question on the part of hi s interlocutor t e lls Paul o n e t hin g. The cloak hides his figure, am! an ebon mask per forms the sa m e office for his face. Hence he could not be recogni zed even by his dearest friend or most bitteir foe. Paul knows him. He had received the signal. This black domino i s J esse James. He has assu med this simple disguise in order to fur th er his plans. Having given the ans wering s ignal Paul sees the other advance close enough to him so that he may utter the words that were give!! ro Jed, the street Arab. This settles the matter. "Follow me," he hears. Then the black domino turns and min gles wiith the c r owd surrounding the mad dancers. The music throbs, and the figures of those upon the floor go spinning arnuncl like teetotums. It is enough to make one dizzy to watch them, but s houts urge on the half-crazy contesta nts, eac h striv ing to win the prize offere d by the proprie tor to the rouple w ho can dance the longest. Past these groups the d omino goes. Paul Smith is glad of one thing. At any rate they will be away from the worst of the clamo r when the interview takes place. This pleases him be cause he ha:s a great dislike for the ferrible noise. No man can think consecutively whi l e s u c h a din i s beating upon the tympanum of his ear. It unnerves him. Through the crowd of merrymaker'S still pu shing into the den, they make their way At l e ngth a retired corne r is reached. l.nto this the dom in o turns. Paul has iittle difficulty thus far in 1"ee ping up his character. As Jesse J ames does not know t h e bootbl ack inti m ately, h e will not n otice a n y lit t l e difference in his behavior. "Jed. you're h;.' re, and I take it that's a sig n you ve s u cceeded,., h e says. To this the othe r a n swe rs 1\ith a noel, but the look on his face speaks volumes. "Yolt crept after tha:t man J ed?" "I did." "When he went a:>vay with the m o n k?" In all probability J esse J ames ha s not witn esse d what took place It i s well. Had h e eve n a s u spicio n of what occurred near th e base of the statue, he mus t dwell upon it till th e truth i s drawn out. Paul must invent a fictitious interview as having passed b etwee n the monk and the ranchero. This he ca n well do. Used to s uch a business, a nd possessed of a fertile imaginati on, he meets the e m ergency as it co m es, and inv e nt s a pla us i ble conv ersatio n that has just a glimmer of the truth in it. J esse Jaimes is interested. He seems to s w allow all that i s said with a stran ge eagerness. Paul a l so note s that h e watches him continually, and hanlly knows what to make of this part of the pro.gramme. Can other suspect? What grouncl is there for it? The M issouri o utl aw i s a cunning man and a weasel could be caught asl eep as readily as he. Paul keeps up his part, determined to carry it out, even though the other does suspect him of being other than h e see ms "I saw the ranchero myself, only a f ew minute s ago, and alone." "The monk cl eserted his pare!, then. "And w hat w as strange, th e ranchero seeme d to have changed hi s co lors. "Eh?" ".Before you met him he was a quiet content t o take in the sights, and attend to h is ow n business." "That's just what I took him to be." "Since then he seems full of deviltry. I found h i m carry ing o n like a "il d man o n the squar e singi ng, shouting, and acting like o n e mad.'' "That's funny." To h imself Paul says so m et hin g stronger He mentall_v m a k es up hi s mind that Jed has forfeited all h is chances of ever being a dctecliYe He h as made a fool o f himself. Paul is uneasy. Can the str eet arab, half-drunk a s he is, have sho uted out e nough of the truth to at l e ast a ro use a s uspi6on in t h e mind of the other? It is p o s sibk


' f H E J ESSE J A M ES STORIESo 9 vVhen bad whisky gets into a man, there is no accounting for i1is a::tions, as the detective has learned long before now. CHAPTER IV. 'A D:\NGEROUS Paul has no f eeling of fear. Cnriosity urges him on more than any other motive. He wishes to learn what the other has discovered, if anything, and yet knows h e cannot a s k questi ons directly. The r e are other ways of reaching the same encl. "A pretty fellow h e is to b e put on a trail,'' pursues the domino. "Imagine him crying out that be is a de tective and bound ro b e famous." 'The fool!" Paul means thi s. He ha s conceived a contempt for the street arab. The chance that has come to him will never again be within the f ello w's reach. No wonder Paul feels uneasy. Secretly h e is glad to remember that he did not intrust more of his mis s ion to Jed. The la tte r \\'Oniel have been apt to have betrayed him while drunk. vVhat if he had loudly announced to the public that he was a cletecfive in search of the not o rious outlaw, Je sse James, who was then in the city of New Orleans! "If all detectives are as si lly as this man, I don't won der a.bout so me things that have happened in the past. And yet I saw enough of him on the "Steamboat to be lieve him made of different material. It only goes to sho:1,v h ow easily we may be mi sta ken." "That's true, boss. Speakin' of detectives, d'ye know I've allers l onged to be such a feller. The boys secl as how I'd make a good 'un. If so be you're one of th e m kind, ye might give a feller somethin' of a shovv." Is that a chuckle that comes from behind the black mask? / yon call yourself. It's ratfier strange tnat crazy ranchero should have the same na1ne." "Him-J eel !" Paul feels a thrill of ala r m. "Yes." jt '.'How cl 'ye know, mister?" I' "I heard him call himself Jed when he declared him-self a d e tective-he repeat ed the name as though it pl e ased him-Jed, the Dete ctive." ''I'll have ter look him up." "vVhy ?" "He may be me brother.. I never knowed who me father an' mother was." "But if he was your brothe r, man, he wouldn't be called Jed." "Ye see, if me par ents lost me, they'd be apt ter call the next one by the same name, jus t to keep it in the fambly like." ''I r ecko n he don't b elong t o you, but th e re are som queer things about this business I'd like to investigate." r.fe, too, mi ster." l';,_ ".ii "Yes, sir." "You might be useful to me." "If you want a feller that kin crawl thro ugh a knot hole, and hear a pin drop, I'm yer man. Employ me, an I'll serve ye well. Thar's the making of a great detectiv in Jed Harkins." Jesse James seemed to ponder. \Vhat is passing through his mind? Pan] would give a good deal to be able to r ead his min just then. Could he be given this power, what wonders must h be able to p e rform. J es'Se Jam es decides. He may have another reason back of his appare n meaning, but it does not show. "I'll give you a chance, Jed." "Thank ye, mister." "In the first place, look m e in the eye." At any rate it is very like. i ( This Paul does res olutely, though the eye of the outla\ is a fearful thing to gaze into when the man is terribly i ,:Perhaps I may some time, J eel. Just now I'm too busy. Have you anything more to tell me about these t\\ o men?" ''I could tell ye lots, but I reckon you don't want me to m a ke it up?" ''Great guns. no. L oo k h e re, i s that what you've been doing so far?" "\\:hat! In telling ye all I have? That's the truth, mis t e r. I dra\\' s the line. I've told everything, and I sez, sez I. 1hat if ye want m o re I'll have to make it up." "Don' t both e r yourself. When I want a story I'll c ome to There's your money, Jed, or whateve r earnest. "'vV ell," he says. "That's pret ty fair. Now listen; I want to give yot fair warnin g-. I'm not a man to be trifled with. If yot er1ter my service and try to betray me, you know what t expect." The mock J erry twi s ts hi s features up into a terribl lo ok, and in Bowery style hoarsely whispers the on thrilling word: "Death!" J esse James chuckles at this tragic acting; he has n o


10 THE JESSE JAMES STORIES. run across thi s dis tinct species of the g e nus ho1110 before now "It amo unts it:o about that. l n e v e r forgive an injury, and if y on b e tra ye d my s I'd a s soon murde r you as tak e a drink." ''I b elie ve y ou, mister, c a lmly re s ponds th e New Or leans st ree t arab. His cooln es s is astonishing to the o ther, who can hardly b elieve his senses. "The n yo u enga ge with me, und e r s t a nding the c o ns e quences o f tre ason?" I m your chic k en, boss, and y ou 'II find m e a game cock y et, I r e ckon. "\!Veil said, boy. We'll have a chance to try your mettl e yet. I have some bu siness o n h a nd which require s nerve." The pre t ended Jed drew his up qui c kly. "The r e' s t he muscle for y ou capta i n, i f tha t s wha t you want. I'm ready to tackle an y t h ing yo u bring o ut. Good Call me Beauregard, J e d." "'What? Is you th e gineral that runs the big lotterY, busin e ss ? " I r e ckon I am," coolly. Jed gives a whistle tO shoiw his astoni s hment "Yo u d o n t say. Come, honest brigh t, now." "I' m the general. When you take ord e r s from me, you com e under military rule." I ain t no sojer." I'll make y o u one, Jed. For the pres e nt you are an ord e rly on my staff." "That's the ticket. I knowed I'd g et thar some time; allers told the fellers so. Now, gineral, what are your first orders?" "Hold your hand up." "Yes." "The rig 1ht one, man." "Oh! I see; gwine to admini s ter the oath of all e giance, eh? Crack ahead." "You know the nature of an.oath?" "Well, I .swears some." "I mean an oath taken on your honor, with your hand raised." "Them's a different kind f.rom what I'm used to, but I reckons I understand." "Then repeat after me." Ready." "I, Jed Harkins, swear to be faithful t o General Beaure gard through thick and thin--" As he pauses the other repeats. "And if I prove false I the worst fate he cat'!i bring on m

JI TliE JESSE JAMES STORiES. 1 "You've seen that man?" ''Ye .'' "Hovv did it come?" ''The fact is, general I've been and fallen in love with the darling Beatrix, and, wishing to look upon my charmer again. 1 entered an empty building just back of the little white house. \ Nhi l e I waited for my cha rmer to appear, I saw that man at a window. "He was a queer custcmer I tell ye, and T could see there was something wrong with him." "Did you l earn what his name was?" inquired Jesse James, eagerly. "v\Thy, the folks down there say he's J ephtha Gordon, and that he's crazy!" CHAPTER V. ENGAGED. vVhat has been said seems to excite Jesse James not a Ii ttle. Usually calm and placid, he shows signs of eagerness that escape not the shrewd eyes taking observations near by-eyes half veiled under the drooping lids, but watchful all ithe while. Tlhe mention of that name excites him, too. It is a strange one. J ephtha Gordon A name not met with in the ordinary walks of life, and which, once h eard, cannot well be forgotten. "That seHles it. You've see n him, Jed. And yet it seems strange you paid no attention to his appeal for assistance .. "I did think of it, but just then I seen the face of m y charmer at anothe r window.'' "And that drove all other thoughts out of your head for the time ?'' "Boss, yo u've been thar-in lov e." The other laugh s . "No doubt, Jed. I'm glad you know the 'lay of the la nd in that neighborhood." "Oh, I can take you thar." "I may \Vant you to do more." "Eh?" ''It is possible that you will have to enter the little white house." "You don't say." "And take some one out of it." It is J eel's turn to appear surprised. He lays an eager hand on the other's arm .. ''Boss, do you mean it?" "I do." "Gwine to carry her off?" "\Vho said th

/ 12. 1"HE JESSE JAMES STOREES. "vVell ?" "You have a knife?" "Yes." "How much time do you want to do the job?" J e d h esitates. "Say ten minutes, ge n e ral." "That's a short time." "It's e n ough." J ed, have yo u eve r dro pped your man?" "No, but I can begin, general." "You ask n o q u est i o ns." "Ifs n one of m y 1bu s iness." "Not e the t ime." "I have." "Ten minutes will soo n elap se. You have no time to l ose." "I'm off, ge n e ral." Jed moves away in the dir ectio n of the man to whom his attention has be e n called Before he has taken five ste ps a _hand is l aid on his should e r. T urnin g h e sees the pr.etended general. "Where a r e you going, Jed?" To fix the Spanish muleteer." 'C o me back h ere "But the t e n will soon be o ver." I 've change d my mind.'' "Oh!" "And we'll l e t the fellow live." "As you say, general." J eel, I n ever meant it." "vV1hat's that?" "I was on l y trying you." "What! didn't you mean to hav e the mul e t ee r re-moved?" ''Not at all?" "\Yell, I m blessed. The n you was foolin' "Yes." "To see if I'd do it?" "That's the idea I wanted to learn if you ( n ew what blind obedience meant." Did I?" You passed throttgh the affair with cred it. 1 I have great hopes o f you." "'vVhat am I to do?" "Try and flnd this ran c hero, get on his trail, learn where h e puts up, and all yo u can about him." "I unde rstand." "Th e n come to nTe. "vV h e re will I find you, general?" You can read ?" "Yes. "Here' s an address on this card, . ..... ---" \ Vill I find yo u in?" "If not, wait for me, Jed." "I'll do that same." "Th e r e's n o thing more to be said ." "I can go?" "Y. es "I wa n t to ask yo u som e thing-, ge n er al. " v Vell ?" "If we succeed, am I to get a reward?" "CeJtainly." "What i s it?" "Fifty dollars, J ed ." "vVhat of the

THE JESSE Ji\MES STORIES. 1 ., ... He looks for the ranchero, but not with the intention carrying out the order given him by his new employer. On the contrary, Paul has plans of -his own. He fears lest the genuine Jed may manage to betray his yet, and if he can find him it is 'his intention to 1et the street araJb out of the way for the present, even f he has to drug him in order to do so. So he wande rs around. The sights are still someth ing tremendous, and all hrough the balance of the night the 'racket will be kept 1p, until the next midnight hour rings out, ushering in sh Wedne sday. J He looks for the ranchero. 1 Among so many strangely-dre ssed persons it might rove an exceedingly difficult ta s k to discover this peron; but Paul bas one thing in his favor. He has worn he r anchero c ostume himself and can easily recognize it. He keeps a bright lo okout on all sid es. Here noisy cowboys ride down the street. Yonder a proce s si o n o ( m o nks marc h along with a jolly friar at their head. Y es. it is Friar Tuck, Robin J-lood's righthand man in Sherwoo d Fores t. All sorts c.f h is torical and mythological characters greet he eye. I .Merry jests pass around. La\.1ghter ab ounds A strange scene indee d for a n Ameri ca n city, and one Jthat w o uld impre ss a stranger with the idea that our popu lati o n is exc eedingly foreign, especially in our cities. I Thus s ome time passes. Then Paul gives a start, for jus t cilrnad of him he dis. .:ov e rs the ranc hero. He watches him. Evide ntl y Jed has b ee n d u inking, for he shows signs of it. His actions betray him. Just as the is about to advance 'he sometl 1ing that calls a halt. ''As I feared Hang the fool!" he mutters. CHAPTER VI. T URNED ADRIFT. This expressi o n applies to Jed. The fellow i s n o t up to anything new, but Paul has m 2 de a discovery that fills him with a fe eling akin to an g er. Paul ha suddenly become aware of the fact that a bla c k d om ino is watching the ranchero. In thi s domin o h e recognize s the yery man with whom he has made his bargain. S ome wret ched fat e has sent Jesse James to the spot just a t the m oment \\'hen, of all tim es, he would have lik::d him to remain away. Things will occur that way. "The re is a destiny that s h a pes our e nds, Rough-hew them as we will. Never were truer words spoken. Watching the black dom ino, Paul sees that he hovers about the ranchero. The detective is reminded of the w o lf awaiti1w a chan c e ,.., to pounce on his quarry. Will he advance on Jed? Paul is sure of it. Anything else would be too good this evil fate i s bound ro follow him. Yes, the domino draws n earer. Seeing the inevitable, Paul also chooses his ground. h oping to overhear the interview for it will tell him \Yhat to expect from the other. He manages to craw'! behind some old cas es piied np close by. From his hiding-place he can almost stretch his hancl and touch Jed, who, feeling the effects of his liquor, has sat down near by, and seems ready to fa .II into a drowsy state. If the domino would only advance. Luck favors the detective. As though J esse J arnes sees a good chance in the present attitude of the ot:he r, he advances sw iftl y to his side. "Hello! comrade, not going to sleep with all thi s revelry around. You'll have your pockets cleaned out pretty quick." Jed looks up lazily. "I s leep w ith one e y e open. Perhaps this here's a trap for the runaway. I'm up to all the rackets, 'and don't you forget it, neighbor. Bend yer head down while I tell ye a secret." The domino does so eagerly. When Jed whispers he can be heard a dozen feet awav -it is a stage w hi sper. "I'm a detective, pard, and I'm after big game, don't you forget it. New Orleans w ill wake up one of these days and find me famous." "You a detective," repeats the other. "Certainly. D ye doubt it. Don' t I look like one? I got the eyes of a man-hunter ?" "You certainly have, Jed." "Eh? How did you know me?" "Oh! I guessed it." "Who are ye ?" "Never mind n ow Perhaps I'm t11e man wlio gave you those clothes." "The detedive-well, now, I never dreamed it; but, then, that's only one of the tricks of the trade. We're all up in 'em, ain't it so?" "Certainly. vVhat have you done, Jed?"


14 THE JESSE JAMES STORIES. "Ain't seen anythingof him yet-been lookin' all around, too." ''\i\/ho was that?" "The man ye said was a notorio us outlaw." Jesse James mutters something when he hears this, and is evidently disturbed. "You' ll run across him yet, Jed." "What did ye do with 'em?" "\Vhat's that?" "My ragg-ed regimentals." "Ah! I forgot. They're gone. You see I have on an other suit now Keep those I gave you." "But these ain't gwine to do me in my perfesh. Fancy a r;J.nchero blacking boots." "You forget-you're a d e tective now, and have no ne e d to black boots for a living." "Han ge d if I didn't forget. That's so, I'm to make l ots of money. Dollars will be as plenty vvith me as nick els was in the past." "If yon live to en j oy them," solemnly. Someth ing in his tone makes J eel look up, the sleep gone from his eyes. "\i\/hat d'ye mean?" "There's always danger of death." "That's so." "And in this case you run a double risk." "I do, eh?" W hy, man, at this minute I've go t yo u covered by a revolver held in my lap. If I pressed the trigger you'd be a dead man." "Then don't press it." "I 1:cn't ;f you behave yourself." "Ain't I?" "Th2.t depends o n what answers yo u give me." \ i\/ant to a s k (!Uestions, eh?" "See here, Jed, I don',t believe you"ll do for a detective at all." .. \Vh v n ot?" "Becaus e y0u don't get onto things. Here you've been talking with me some five minutes without guessing who I am." "Great You said--" "People don't always tell the truth." "Then you ain't the detective?" "Look back. A man hired you to do a certain job. Instead of doing it you turned around and engaged with the man yo u were hired to watch. That was base treachery." Jed begins to move uneasily. He seems to realize that an explosion is about to take place and as he .stands over a magazine, t he chances are that he will giet hurt. "Then you---" _, "I am the man w'l10 first hired you. I know what y have done, and that is why I am here w ith a bearing on your head, and a pretty good not ion to let fly ":\/Iercy !'' Jed is frightened-he is a bully by nature and has litt spirit beyond his bravado. "On one condition "I consent-I'il tell everything, only put that sho o ti. iron a Jesse James does so slowly, to further aggraYate feelings of the desperate man. "Tell me how it about. "You leit me to crawl up to that ere statue an' listen t what they said "Yes." "\i\/ell, I did i t and learn ed as how they was detective lookin g up a ca se." "Go on." "V,ihile I was listenin' for a ll I was worth, one of 'en jumped around an' collared me. Thar wasn't any way o escape, an' I just give in. "The n he talked to me an' made me believe I d be a prime detective." "Do you believe that now?" ''I'm sure I'd make a prime fool." "That's nearer t h e truth, Jed. If you keep on between us, you're a dead man-I'll shoot you for betraying me, and the detective'll do the same thing, I reckon "There's one cons

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    TliE JESSE JAMES STORIESe 15 JU e;, understanding what has ri edly. taken the other a way so hur: .. l e 1' This is Paul's chance. He emerges from his place of oon oea lm ent, intending to scare Jed and g-et him out of the way, as h e has ruined the detective's p l ans by being in the vicinity. As luck will have it, the street arab hears him and turns around. : e Some wagons ar. e passing, and o n o n e a red light burns, l throwing a terrible yet brilliant glare upon eve r ything around. 0 This serves to show J ed the face and garn1 cnts of the man i ssu in g from th e box. He cannot fail to r ecognize them, for the face is made s up to r esemble hi s own, and the tattered garments have I I l ong graced his figure. f I This sudden appearance of the detec tiv e o n the scene causes great alarm in th e mind of the b ootb la ck, who doubtless believes h is lif e is in great pei;il. A t any rate, h e gives a subdued howl. Springing to his feet, he bounds away. In vai n Paul calls after him; in vai n h e attempts to overtake th e man. Jed loses himself in the passing tide of humanit y with th e facility that members of his c l ass exh ibit. There is n o use e nd eavor ing to f!nd him n o r does Paul care to. The fellow has made mischief enough with his blun ders, and: only by a bold stro k e can Paul get an ything o ut of his game. He does not mean to give it up yet, or even to change hi s pbns greatly. Instead, he posts off to the costumer from whom he r ented the r anchero suit. Have they another li ke it ? S u c h places ar e ope n day a n d night during the short ca rni va l season of the Mardi Gras. It is their harvest time. The business o f a whole season must be co mpr essed in about a week. He i s lncky. A sui t i s found that fits him, and which i s a du p licate of the l ost one He pays for both. Could he h ave overtake n J ed, it was his purpose to ef fect another excha n ge of garmen ts, but the terror of the other'put this out of the question. WitJ1 a man lik e Paul Smith however, th ere i s no s u c h word as fail; whe n one method comes to grief h e ch.anges t o another. Again he sallies forth. Once m ore h e appears as the bold ranchero, and looks for his game. Will this clamor keep up all n ight? It i s astonishing how the exc it ement spreads; it i s really as catching as the Paul leaves the square where all this b ri gh tn ess i s going o n, and heads in the directio n whe r e lies th e littl e white cottage. He knows the spot. \i\That Peter has told him is not all he has learned con cerning the mysteri o u s persons in whom Jesse James seems to have such a decided interest. One thingPaul is sure of; this place w ill se rve as a magnet to the men he wishes to watch, and i f h e can p os sess his soul in patience some result i s sure to follow. H e has drawn near the place now, and begins to move with caution Ah! a l ight in the white cottage r eveals the fact that the inmates are not all asleep. CHAPTER V II. THE MAD PRISONER. From what Paul, in the disguise of the street ara b, tol d Jesse James, the r eader can hav. e some idea as to how matters stand around the white cottage It has at least three inmates-Beatrix, A n son Merrick. the mysterious man, and the part y w h o decla r es h e is n ot mad, al-thoug h some people make him out to be so. TJ1ere must be something pretty deep about the case to arouse such an inter.est in Jesse Jam es. The fact is, there i s a fo rtun e at stake. J ephtha Gordo n, the supposed madman, was o nce con nected with a gan g o f men on the Mississipppi under one Captain Ben Hooker. They were river pirat es, and had an enormou s trea sure stowed away in a sec r e t hiding-place They were surpri se d one night in one of their r endezvous by Federal officers, and all fell in the raid bu t on e-J ephtha Go r don. Therefore, he i s the on l y one l eft who kn ew where the treasure was hidden. But Gordon had neve r t ouc h e d a cent of the trea sure, because it was about t ha t time that h e commence{\ to sh ow sig11s of insanity. Anson Merri ck is his brother-in-law, and has taken him under his care. Merrick is an unscrupulous fellow. He knows that there i s a bu ri ed tr eas ure, and he has t ri e d e very means in his powe r to get the sec ret Gordon, but Gordon, eve n in his delirium, does never divulge it. After a w hile the story comes to the ears of Jesse J ames, and he is now bent on securing the treasure, by h ook or crook. He used to know GordQn i1' old days.

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    1 6 THE JESS E JAMES STO R I E S. Paul Smith, the det ec tive, is on the trac k o f the treasure in th e int e r es ts of those fpom w110m it stole n No wonder, then, there is suoh an int e re s t in J ephtha Gordon and the house i n which he i s confin e d Paul, up o n seeing the light, expresses his satisfaction and m o v es closer He evidentl y has some designs upon the inmates of th e h o u se. A few minutes later he is endeavoring to find a loop h o l e un de r the drawn curtain, where ihe can spy upon th ose w i t hin. This is h a rd to do. Several th e r e are, hut they do not seem to be in the pro p e r condition to bring him succ ess s o h e wanders along, until fi'nally h e find s an entrance, through a bowe r or arbor, to a sitective m ounts th e stairs, and, by a living s ot:!, e 3 t he end of th e hall. He!'e i s a room with the door lo cke d. Behind tha t door he w ill fin cl J ephtha Gordo n. The detective ha s come here with a purpose Since fate has d e feated h im in one way, h e ha s re solve d to try anot h e r. It i s nothing to him t hat th e re is danger inv ohe d. He laughs at that. Having an inkling of J esse James plans, he can plot to defeat hiril. He examines the door, and smiles It is l ocked ; but h ow simple a thing for a man of his abilit y to fit a ske l eton key in the hole, and turn it. Lo! th e do o r i s no longer fasten e d, but yields to th; pressure h e applies Gently it o p e ns. A light lies beyond. No m o v ement or exclamation indicate s that his action has b ee n notic e d, if the room has an occ upant, a s he believes. Further the doo r open s Then Pau l glides i n One glance around he' gives ; and, finding the oppor t uni ty favorab le, he g e n t ly cl oses and faste ns t h e d oo r once more. H e is shut up with the man who ha.s been ca l!ed mad. This in dividual l ooks ham1less enough now, for he sle e ps, his head lying partly on his arm, wh i ch in turn r ests o n a table. The lamplight falls upon h i s face. It i s t hat of a man wh o has l o n g \\Tes tlecl w it h so me g r ea tro u ble He moans in his sle e p. "Poor devi l," m utters the detective, "you've had pretty load to carry, and the en d is n o t yet in sight I'm a fr ::iid." w .hether the whisper of Paul Smith or S0lf 1 e Strang intui tio n arouses the man, it woul d be hard to say, bu at any rate t he sleepe r suddenly raises h is bead ancl l ook s armmd. At sight of the intrude r he see m s startled "Who are you, and what do you want?" h e ask s, hearse t o ne. "Soft1y J ephtha Gordon. you have enemies 111 house who mi ght h ea r you." \Veil, ain't you one of them?" "No, J'rn your fri end ." Instantl y a startling change c o mes over th e m a n, his fac e shov \ S the listless mood n o l o n ge r, but lights up eagerly. "A fri e nd The n yo u come from Jesse James," he says, in a suppresse d v o i ce. "I have just left him."' "He i s here-in New Orl eans?" "Yes." "You have not told me your name." "'H1at does not matter; ca ll m e J o nes fo r short. "Mr. J o n e s have you come to save me?" "I have come in the interest of just ice; there has been some foul w ork in progress h e r e and it is my duty to l ook it up "I have waited long. "Yes." "An
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    fHE JESSE JAMES STO RI ES. 11 "You are to sign a paper?" 'Yes, it means freedom to me." "Then you \viii do it?" "\i\Thy not? But yo u do not think me 1.nad ?'' he asks. Paul k no ws it will not do to let the other real ize what is r eal ideas on the subject are. He mu st t em p o rize. That means cleceive. "You talk to m e with as muc11 sense as any man I know f ::\fr. Gordon .. "Ah! I kn e w you would think s o ." The pri so ner' s face beg ins to work in a spasmod ic rnan er, as though h e could not control th e facial musc1es Paul notices this fact. It gives h im a little uneasin ess, for he und e r stand s it mean "Do you know the nature of the paper you are expected 10 s ign?" "I hav e an idea, but do n ot care to discu s s it "Oh! it doesn't matter. I'll s o on know." "Who will tell yo u?" "Jesse James.'' "Then it will be all right if he speaks. "Yo u see m to have faith in him." l "I do." 1 "He is your friend'." l"Once I was fortunate enough to help him. J esse mes is not ungrate ful. He has always stood re<.
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    t8 THE JESSE JAMES STORIES. "It is enough." Paul draws something out o f his pocket and lays it on the table 1 I t p roves to be a diminuti ve medicine case of l e ather, holding a dozen thick little vials. He opens it. Gordon watc h es him eagerly, h o ld i n g hi s breath with fea rful suspe n se Paul selects a certai n vial. This h e hand s to 1:he other. "Drain that." The command i s accompanied by nothing else, nor is it ne eded. Go r don i s confronted b y a terrible crisis, and finds no time for 'Neighing matter s. He seizes the vial. Turning it up, h e d rain s it. "There; it is done." "And yo u w ill be save d a terrible experien ce." "What effect will it have?" "In one m i1mte yo u will feel a peculiar thrill pa ss throug h your brain . "By the time two minutes have gone b y a delicious se n se of drowsi ness com es over yo u, which it will be bette r for yo u to yie ld t o easily "Already r feel the first symptoms ." "Yes; it is beginnin g to work." "An d I shall hav e peace?" "TI1is time yo u will. Lie down on yo nder couch, Be comfortable." "First le1: me thank you." Paul takes the groping hand. "I feel-so-sleepy ." The det ect i ve l eads him over to the cot, upon whic h h e r o lls with a sig h of relief. In two m inut es h e is fast asleep. All look of horror h as left his face and a p eace ful expression comes upon it, such as might hav e been seen when Paul entered the room. He h as conquered. The detective has no rea so n to regret his s hare in the work. Had the planning been give n over int o his ow n hands h e cou ld not have done better. He rubs his h ands together. The game can go on now, and perhaps those agains t whom he has pitted his pow e rs w ill lear)l what they have t o meet. Standing th e re, he looks down upo n 1:he .slumbering man. A grim smile creeps s l owly over his face "I belie ve it c o uld be made a s uc cess At any rate, I faith enough to try it." This wo uld indi cate that whatever plan has come intt hi s h ead, i t must b e a one which h e h as decided tc try. 1 ( Long and earn estly he st udi es th e face of the man be fore him. '"Yes ; is e nou g h resemblance b e twe en u s to maktt it p ossible ." a He spends no more time i n l ooking. It is the hour foe a ctio n. First he makes su re that the door i s fast. 0 TJ1en he proceeds to a lt e r his appearance. It is n ot hard to do this, with the mate rial he alway carries o n hand, and united with his skill as an artist. 1 Quickly the change appears. Ah! h e gro\vs more lik e the man lying there upon tr cot. Paul Smith di sappears. J ephtha Gordon the Seco nd comes up. ': In o n e hand the detective h olds a small band-glass, in this he surveys himself whil e h e continues to rub o t he grease paint, o r whateve r i s n eed cl to effect tr t change. He seems pleased him se lf. llf \ i V hy n ot? when is sati sfied w i th hi s woTk h e need n o t fe t roub l ed o r let i t weigh h eavi l y upon his m ind eti 'f:heir clothing is e n o u g h alike to avo id the n ecessi for a c h ange, which plea ses him full well under the c e cumsta n ces. P It takes him just fifteen minutes to acco m plish what id h as se t o ut to perform. sc This i s quick work. A! It s h ows his proficiency in his business of ass uming iclentily of oth e r men. It S I . b cl o m e t 1111g more r ema111s t o e one, an d this both t0 the detect i ve not a little Hli It will never do to hav e two Jephtha Gordons 111 ,\ field. \i\lhat i 5 h e to do with the othe r man? PY He ha s been pondering over th e matter, and i s noi' Lil. h e lpl ess as he see ms. ist There are ways to be found when o n e is determinelf:r1 advance up on a proble m If Paul makes Ul) his mind. T He gently ca r ries the senseless form over and d epoH it be s id e the b ed. By degrees h e pushes th e man under. S oo n Go r don i s enti r e ly out of sight. Any one enterin g the r oo m would never i s anoth e r occupant, u n l ess the s leeping man groan o r otherwise betravs him self. Satisfred with his work, Paul ri se s. r n t

    PAGE 20

    THE JESSE JAMES STORIES. 19 He !:nows what the effect of the medicine will be, and ias no fea:-. :for a certain number of hours the man will sleep ieavily. Then his eyes may open. No doubt he will be amazed at his s ituati on, and un ble to account for finding himself under the bed, lmt, so ar as any injurious results from the potion are con erned, h e need fear none. to Paul dismis s es the unfortunate man from his mind r the time being. He has other fish to fry. ay First of all, he arranges the lamp so that all is a hadow under the bed. I I Then he goes to the window. th This h e finds closed, but it requires littl e manipulation open it. A oco l night wind blows in. This is delightful; the place has seemed so close before an at his head buzzes. o Knowing what is coming, Paul exarnines the iron rods the window. As he expects, he finds them well rusted and not one] as strong as they appear. f With a sharp-edged file he commences operations on e em at the weakest point. The rusty iron gives way before the gnawing edge of !SSl fil . 1 . 1 d f 1 e e 111 a way t 1at 1 s s1mp y won er u c Paul chuckles when he sees what progress he is making, 'lei wonders how it comes Gordon has never gotten hold iat something that would serve him in 1ie u of a fi'Ie. As the minutes pass he keeps up his work, and pres t tly gives a bar a trial jerk. 0 Itsnaps 1 He bends it aside oti One more will be enough. .tfe select. hi s point of attacl{ in thet sharp-toothed file gnaws away. 1 J low it seizes upon the rust-eaten iron, and carries i t y in driblets. not n ten minutes he has cut through the second bar, and istecl it aside. ined fhe opening is complete. ).f he chooses he can pass out of i t now. This the detective docs not do. depmHe has other plans in vi ew, which will be best serve remaining where he is. he time? t is not far from half-pa st one. lnl tl }urely, if J esse James is coming to-night, as !1e be. :s, it will n ot be long now ere he. puts in an appearance. give au! sets to work in another quarter. Taking the sheets from the : bed, he proce eds to make a stout, serviceable rope. Even one without practice can manage to form such a thing, and it would be hard to say t'hat th
    PAGE 21

    20 THE JESSE JAMES A little cl i ck ing soun d attes t s the fact Paul knO\\'S \\'hat it m eans Some one below has cast a small p ebb l e up a nd t hi s striki:ig the window, h as p rod u ced the n o i se It i s a si g-nal. The detective smi les. Then he cro s ses the floo r and be n ds d own. beside the a l ready open window. CHAPTER I X JESSE JAMES SHOWS HIS HAND. All is darkn ess w i thout. Paui's eyes have grown accustomed to t he l a mpli g ht. an d this makes it almost i m possible for him to di sting uish a s i ngle th i ng. l From the blackness comes a sound. "Hist!" The ma n i n the w i ndow see m s to start. H i s eyes, gradually growing accustomed t o the g l oom, have discovered something. A human face is near h i s own Some daring climber has managed to reac h a poi n t jus t b elow the window. "Gordon-J ephtha Gordon!" It is a whisper that comes floati n g upwa rd. "\!Vho speaks?" "A friend, man-one w h o h as da r ed m u ch in order t o see you." "A friend-alas, I h ave none .'' "I am Jesse J ames.'; "What! yo u here?" "Yes, and I h av e come to help you escape." ::< "That i s good news. See, I was just about t o go." "I can see t he twisted bars. Is that some o f you r work, Gordon?" "Yes." "How wer e you going to get down?" "l have a rope made of bed sheets \i\Tith its aid I can r each the ground. The ma n cli ngi n g to the side of the h ouse gives vent t o bis wonde r "You have done well, Gordon and it seems as t h oug h some kind fate m u s t have sent u s he r e to find you at t h is v ery t i me." "Yes, yes. If you had come ha! f an hour late r I woLild h ave been gone "Are you prepared for flig ht?" "I ca n 1 be in a few minutes "An d I will wait. Paul to give color to his words, p re t ends to be fuss ing a round a t -the other e n d of the room. Hearing a sound h e tu rns, to find tha t t h e o t1tl aw has ent e red the ro o m. Has h e any motive in his action, or is it simple curio sitS th at u rges him? a 1 I m a b out r eady." All in the h o u se see m 1:0 b e as l e ep " Yes." l1 y .t "It woul d n o t b e hard t o g o through the plac e if the :i h a d a fortune s t owed a way. 'h Paul affec t s a n xiety. [ e "You wo n't do th a t?" he exclaims. 11 The oth e r l a u ghs. 11 "Unde r the cir c umstances, as we d on't k n ow tha.11 there's a do llar in the' hou se, I'm not goin g to, tak e tro ubl e [ e "Th en l e t'.s g o." ",Ha r k what i s t h a t ?" The m i se r able Gordo n h as groaned i n his s leep. "\!Vhat sort of a sound was it?" "Not u n l i k e a groan ." y T' 1 :r "It must h ave been some o n e snoring. "But it seemed to com e from under t h e bed y ondeih 'Dhe r e i t is agai n ." ''I've hea rd i t often. O ld Anson bas his room be lo:1 this, and w h e n h e lies o n his back he s n ores. Co m e h hate this place-i t gives me t h e ho r rors. Let u s b e gor. as soon a s poss i ble." e )' To t hi s J esse James does not seem a verse 'l m o r de r to furthq: He, too, desires to l eave the p l ace, certai n of his p lans. So t h ey move towa r d the w i n d ow. e The l ate corne r sees someth ing in Paul's hand. "vVhat's that?" be asks. "The r ope "Are you sure it is str-on g ?" .! I 'd trus t myself to it anyw h ere Every k not i s p ullt i hard." "Let me see it." v He gives it several er ":.\1y l i fe i s p r eciou s to me, Gordo n a nd, a l rho ugh0 don't believe it would kill a fellow to fall that h ave no desire to try it in the dark." d "Cor rect. Are you satisfied?" "Yes. Thi s rope w ill h old." ''Then l et us get o u t of here." "You a re anxious to l e:l'ie ?" Paul sh u dders perceptib ly. 'e m I h ate the p l ace. It drives me mad. I've spent 1 e m any unhappy hours i n it 1.hat I again. Come, let us be gone, man. are like clays to me. Make way 'Go carefully, man." "vVhy so?'' hope never to see ; s Min utcs passed hf o b "You seem t o forge t that yo u have e n em ies in e

    PAGE 22

    THE JES SE JAM ES STORIES. 2 1 [t e. It i s not yet too late for them to preven t your >artur e \t this th e ot h er see m s to wince, as though suddenly ug; h t to his senses. Yes, I had forgotten." l t the same tim e h e does n o t seem read y t o give up e ide a of l eaving th e place as s peedily a s pos s ible. he impromptu r ope is in his hands. e r eac he s the window and passes one encl out, se-ng the other about some article of furniture which Id serve him as an anchor, holding his weight. II see ms ready. his rope long enough? e does not doubt it. ou are coming, Jesse Jam es?" 'After you, yes." Then away we go. H e r e's for s u ccess ." ith the word s he swings him se lf out, and se izing of the kn ot ted sheet, b egi ns to de scend in short r. e hu s h e arriv e d at the bottom in good order, and a e of the rope announces the re s ult to his waiting 1d above. hen Jesse James comes down. r e has found no trouble in climbing up to the window, yet it is mu c h easie r to slide d ow n a rope than do ier work. ere we are, Gordon the darkness a hand clasps the arm of the det ect ive. e knows who it is, and makes ou t to be exceedingly pleased over the situation. t last-liberty-how sweet." is a ctio ns indicate that he has lon g look e d forward is time, and now that it has arrived h e trembles with io11. aking his fist at the house he mutters: hen I come again, woe to you, Anson Merrick. going to make you sweat blo o d for all the wrongs 1 ve heaped o n me. It'll be a bad day for you wh e n ? tha Gordon r eturns, and he will com e back mark indeed; it is only a question of time," muttered e James in his car. ne man und o ubt ed l y desires to keep on the right side 1111. ,1ey move away. se James has locked arms with the oth e r, as though en suspects that Gordon may in some mysterious give him the slip. the darkness that reigns over this part of the noisy 1such a t 1hing can be easily done; it is within range possibilities As they walk on Jesse James engages his companio n in conversation. He plays his cards skillfully. He desir es to k ee p Gordon's mind i n a ferm ent, and hi s animosities aroused against Anson Merrick. This is easily done. Seeing the drift of hi s remarks, Pau1 falls into the trap apparently. H e rav es against the othe r, calling him by all manner of names. Once he plainly h e ars the ouHaw chuckle and knows J esse Jam es is. pleased. They cannot long keep out o f the lighted sfreets nor are they at all particular abou t it, si n ce they h a ve little to fear. One of the first men they run across happens to be J e d Harkins. The s treet ara.b is laughing with some f ellows af a comical figur e passing by, when the merriment freez es on his face, his eyes show signs of sudde n alarm and, with a loud cry, h e turns and dashes wildly away. At sight of the ranchero making such hot t i me down the street -some mischi evo us fellows raise the cry_ o.f "Stop thief!" Then a commoti o n follows. M e n try to stop th e flee ing man but his momentum i s so good that they are doubled up like so many ninepins. As the clamor increas es, Jed's a l a r m follow s suit, and he clears a swath through the crowd, arms flying like a pair o f old-fas hi o n e d Hails Men shout afte r h im. The man ha s become demoralized and is no -longer re sponsi 'ble for his actions. A mad dog m s .bing along the street, purs u e d by a n101b, could not h ave been more thoroughly frighte n e d than he i s Jess e J ames and hi s companion have seen him and l oo k after him withi laugh ter. A ny one might be exc u sed for doing so, even withou t knowing the c ir cumstances of th e case, and hen ce the o u tlaw does not think it odd that his companion s h onU be laugh ing, ev e n though presumably ign orant of th t truth. sec the mac\ fug itive no l onge r. Pushing th r o ugh the crowd t hey r e a cn once more a r eti r ed s p ot W h ere are you taking me, J esse James?" asks the supposed Gordon, coming to a 1ialt. ''To a pbcc where we can with safety talk over your wrongs, man and arrange a plan of revenge." "Revenge! A h! that stirs up my wolfi'sh blood to fever heat. You may well tremble, Anson Merrick. My

    PAGE 23

    .. i 22 THE JESSE JAMES S T O RIES time is n ear at hand. But th1s place-what i s it-where is it?" There is a certain amount of wildness in his m a nn e r j ust enough to b e noticed-and J esse Jam es does not feel altog ether easy with regard to his comp an i o n Without doubt the music and uproar on the street e x cite his brain. This is quite natural. Such things ahvays affect pers o ns inclined t o be crazy, and this i s the kind of being Paul r e pr esents at present. H e plays his par t to p e rf ect i o n J esse James is anxious to get him unde r some kind Qlf s helter, so that the intoxicating racket may cease to affect They have left that portion of the city where th e little white hou se is locat ed, and entered the F rench quarter. J esse J ames comes to a halt in front o.f quit e a goocl-looking building "Here we are," he says, cheerily. "What! You live in su c h grand sty l e ?" "For the present yes. Through a n agent I found out a g e ntleman who was going abroad and desired to let his house furnished. He was so delighted at finding a t enant ready to pay m o nthl y in advance that he asked very few qu est i o n s." "This is lov e ly." They mount the steps and with a nightkey the n ew proprietor of the old Frenc'h mansion opens th e broad door. A light burns low in the hall. my friend. Here yo u are safe, and can defy Merrick to do his worst The other follows him in. Velvet ca r pets yield to th e f ee t '.All around are evidences of luxury. J esse James watches hi s companion st are about him wit h a smile that is a.Jmost a grin. "You are surprised," he says. "Yes, indeed. This is a n ob l e 'house.' "Far too fine for a Missouri-hunted man like J esse James, to live in." I didn't say that," quickly. "But you thought it, I'm sure. Never mind, I h ad m y idea s in taking t'his hou se and I'm sure it will pay me." "Just so. Oh! this is comfort, and I have to thank yo u fo:r it all, Jesse Jam es. Wifh a sigh of relief the detective sinks into one of th e soft easy-chairs a:t hand. 'thie other turns to hid e hi s grin of triumph and makes a pretens e of fastening the door: Paul Smieh would have had the shock of his lif e had he realiz e d that Jesse James had suddenly penetrated his di sguise But such was the case, and the ou tlaw was taking own c ru e l method to do :iway with the man who elf step across hi s path. \ CHAPTER X. A T T E l\[ P T ED M ll R D E R Playin g hi s part, Paul allows his head to fall arm. He siee!)'s, to all in t e nts and purposes. Secretlv Pan! wa tc h es the other c 1:hi s he is enab l ed do ont of the corne r of his 't ha_vmg nmed .a position that allows of such a thh Ihus iar t he little game has gone on without a bn and Paul cannot h elp but feel sa ti sfie d with hi s s of it What will Jes s e Jam es d o with him ? .Perhaps the man will attempt to shut him up. btc will be more than otlle r s h ave ever accomplished, i ; succeeds. L ocks and bars have always fai l ed in their work w e endeavoring to h old this man. Contrary to hi s ex p ectatio n th e o ther does n ot try 1 Instead, h e throws him self into a chair and see m t bu sy him self thinking abou t th e in whic{ is concerned. e Paul watc h es him as a tiger -cat might th e expect s to bounce on, th o ugh in th is case there is r. s of the tiger abo .ut Jesse James than the man he is c posed t o n At Iengith th e outlaw rises. e whatever plan is in his mind he appears about t/ something. He glances t oward t h e apparently s lum beri n g ra and seems sat isfied t o believe the god of sleep has t tained a firm h old of him n The outlaw s t a n ds over him for a short time a s th lost in thought. Then he bends dow n et \Vhen P.anl feels his hand rest up o n his bosom a! i den s u spicion darts through his mind-that t h e cul is about to searc h him. :i1 This must not be. "' If J e sse James at t empts to sea rch him, it will beg signal for immediate act i on, for P<:ul has mad e uv mind as quick as a flash that he will not s ubmit tarrr His muscles are set. a To be or n ot t o be---:-ithat i s the question. It is decided. J esse J ames wraps a handkerchief a round the j of the seemingly s lumb eri n g man, a n d fastens th e ,. gether tigh t l y h A piece of cord secures his ankles in t he same ma v t

    PAGE 24

    THE JESSE JAMES STORIES. 2 3 the time being Paul is helpless. watches the other thro ugh his h a lf-cl osed eyes, vonders what he is up to. sently the outlaw vanis h es. 1 ethe r he h as gone to anothe r part of the h ouse o r altogether, Paul does not know. p as ition is fairly comfortab le. works his hands mly he realizes the fact that the man who has tied rists together kno ws his business. ey refuse to come apart. ter making quite a gallant effort, Paul stops to re1 i s breath. s he made progress ? I e handkerchief may have st r etched a l itt le, but it is ly perceptible. c onsiderable amount of pati ence wou ld be required c omplish such a result. ut this time Paul becomes c onsc ious of a certain nt odo r. v e smell of burning wood ca n n eve r be mistaken for ing else. 1 thrill convu l ses him. 1 ea t Heaven Ca n the hou se be on flre ?" 1 e odor grows stronge r. im.agines he h e ars a crackling sound as if the s ari e g r eedily licking up eve rything they come in 1 ct with. 1ay not be all imagination either. 1e thought of b eing at their mercy, bound hand and is an unpl easant one. wonders whether J esse meant him to meet ate when he l eft h im there in such a h elpless cons ay be so, and yet he doubts it, seeing no reason for savage treatment. 1 e smoke 11ow pours into the room. 1 ere can be no question in the wide world but that the 1 i s on fire. ul struggles with hi s bonds again, the pungent od o r ing him .as it might a horse. Let an animal in his get a whiff of smoke, and h e instantl y exh i b it s all )Jgns of alarm, snoPting, pawing, and his eyes show1Jear. LITimals fear fire more th a n anythin g e l se in the world, au! Smith ha s always declared that h e wo uld rather ny fate in the calendar t h an burning alive. seems to stand a fair show of i t now. e handkerchi e f is obst inate. not give th almost superh um an e n e r gy Paul w orks away but a ogress i s disheartening. so the of the flames. He can hear them n ow without any mis take, roaring and crackling below. They, n o doubt, find m u c h to feed on. How long will it take them to climb o n e story, with the. open s tairs to act as .a funnel. Perhaps ten minutes. Certainly not much more. he effec t his r e l ease ? He tries to think of some plan whereby he may ac compli s h it If there was only some sharp instrun'i.e111t near by whicn he could utilize, all would be well-a knife, o r some such' tool. Useless-he knows of none. Again he strains the muscles of his arms until they ache, b ut t he obstinate binding. refuses to give away a particle. He raises his hands. By a supr eme effort he can get t1i'em to his face, a.ndl immediately his teeth close over the handke re1hiet, tearing at it furiously. A minute passes. De s pair. At the rate that marks his progress the fire must cer tainly sweep over him b efo r e he can effeot his release. There seems no other way, and Paul feels the cold hand of despair grasp at his heart. His mind wrest les with the one qu1setion, how, t(I} get rid of those h ate ful bonds. They cut his wrists, but he knows it not. Men hav e been fatally wounded in the heat and excite ment of adion, and knew nothing about it until afterward Will they never break or give away? .. -, Oh for the st r ength of a Samson, to par.t the hateful bonds while there is yet time t o escape from the house. Paul gathers an inspiration frora the lamp. Like cures l ike They fight fire wi. th fire on the W .estern prairies and why sho uld h e not app l y this rem edy now. Quick as a flash his mind is made UR, He wastes no itime. Forgetting that hi s ankles are tied, he comes very near breaking his neck, and onl y by a supreme effort manages t o catch himself. The n, by a pecu l iar shuffling movement of his feet, an inch a t a time, he manages t o go over to where the lamp res'..s o n t he itable. This oonsumes time, and just now time i s of .the great est val u e to him. As he stands there, pa ntin g heavil y after his exerti ons, he has a visitor.

    PAGE 25

    2 4 THE JESSE JAME S STORIES A t o n g ue o'f fla me s h oo t s i n th rough a door l ooking l ik e a s erpent, and i s a s qui c kl y withdrawn. I.t will come again, emb o ld e ned b y the visit, and n o d oubt brin g o th e rs in its train. Paul kn ows hi s c h a n ce s are ex c ee din g l y s mall._ and ye t desp a ir h as not 111.aste r e d h i m. H e stead i es himself. T h e n hi s ha nds are t hrus t o v e r th e l a mp. The flames sen d a fie r ce h eat u pward, and at o nce i t seizes u p o n h i s fles h. Paul shuts his t eet h hard. He m ust g rin a n d bear it for thi s heroic trea tm ent i s th e onl y w ay in whi c h h e c an ex p ect t o ac co mpli s h hi s pnrpose T h e c o tt o n b onds are charred. Now


THE JESSE J A M ES STORIE S. 25 eems like the shouts o f a n;ultitudc. iYit 'n th to tell. it i r that. and no t h ingmore the fire lg drawn hundreds, yes, th ousands of the night su rs from th e main st r eets, and th ey crowd around, fo g at th e scene \\ith the liv e l i es t interest. ul"s first a c ti o n up on reaching t h e roof is to clo s e :in ap. does thi s for a rea so n. ;elf e ope n space serves a s 'a funnel, and draws the s ts upward. nci i s t o hi s it:terest that the progress of the fire be

J 6 THE JESSE STORIES.. The rope, m ad e o f a I

THE JESSE JAMES STORIES. 27 I it e to sleep He s aid you m ight b e with me when I ened ." id h s e James s miles griml y i s not amazed at its t e nor. ord o n I have something to teU you that will give bed. a shoc k." th h ?" hat man was a fraud." cam e fr o m you .. is 0 t is fal se. I neve r s aw him b efore." h e sa v e d m e fr o m an att ac k." 1e ci\nd r olle d y0tr unde r th e b e d." did h e d o that?" Becau s e h e exp ec t e d me t o c o me." don't und e r s t and .' ra\ Y o u will wJ1e n I e x plain furth er. when he had cl you o ut of s i g h t h e di s gui s ed himself until he was aw c one! J e phtha G o rd o n ." \'hat?"' h e n he brok e th e bar s of y onder window and ared for flig ht. 1 in mann e r o f man w a s he; lh ey h av e b affle d me fo r y a time nigAh he wa s p re p a r e d for an e m er g e n cy Afte r he made lhe o p e nin g h e l o r e up t h e bed and made ., d fVonde rful man." Ab o ut lhis lim e I arrived on th e sce ne, coming to 1 e 1 ue o u He prete n de d t o h e J e ph tha G o rd o n We ht off t oge th e r t o a h o u se I ha d r e nt ed." Tll make him sw e a t fo r it." I d on"t t hink yo u'll have th e c h a nce, G o rd on." rru Why n o t?" I b elieve th e ma n i s d e a d." n a t thi s t h e o th e r express e s surprise and asks h o w such e l bing occ urr ed. es s e James t e lls th e s lor y e o mit s what h e plea ses noug h r e main fo g iv e t he o th e r a pretty goo d ide a the fact s and alth o u g h h o rrifi e d at the awful fate that s overtaken th e man in th e burning house, it is no afir of his. e r ll this whil e ne ither o f the men seem to n o tice a cern fact. T11e window s had e flaps in the breeze still. t is a trifle hi. gher th a n when the hand of Jesse Jam es w it d own. ome i.::iseen ag e ncy h:is d o n e this. The

23 THE JESSE Jf\MES ..._ He realizes that this man means bus iness, and that his action imposes silence. Being a sensible man, he does not make any outcry, but asks quietly: "vV'hat do you want?" "Silence on your part." "Well, I am dumb." "I do n o t m ea n you any harm, Gord o n provided you can obey." "Yes, but only to have him die h e re ; that I am ready to a cco mpli sh. Remain silent, go with m e into a place of hiding. "You don't intend to harm me?" "No. \N ha t is more I am your r ea l friend." "Co m e with m e," acids th e detective The other makes no resistanc e Tho u g h by n ature an obstinate man, the liquid which brought sleep to his brain ha s left so m e effect b ehi nd. He appears s ingularly docile. "Take me where yo u will," he says So Paul l eads him to a closet and the door i s closed on him. This )eaves Paul alone. The trap i s set again. It will be r e membered that P au l i s s till made up to re sembl e Gor d o n. W hen J esse J ames comes back ; he will doubtless fall into the error, llll'less the detective betrays hims elf through so me blunder. Minutes pass. What is J esse James doing? His boldn ess has no doubt, induced him to ente r upon a gam e that mu st bring affairs to a cri s i s between him self and Gordon. Paul expects to hear t he bull-like voice of th e master of th e house every seco nd. Will h e come? '.No one r efuses an 111v1tatio n given b y tihis m an o.f notori ety. It ma y be set down as certain that his inv i ta tion, backed up by a show o f violence, will b e obeyed W hat then? A littl e sce n e i s to follow, dramatic in its nature For a brief time they will allow Jesse James t o b e lieve he is winning on the jump. Then, at a touch from the magician's wand, a change must come over the spirit of hi s drea m A grand transformation sce ne will e n sue How l ong it see ms to take the man! Can he be do ing something e l se? Perhaps in some way he has taken the alarm, and fled from the hou s e ;P,f u! not. '.at As best h e can h e r est rain s hi s impatience and Vl: developments. :01 I t will not be for l o ng. 0 Already h e hear s a m ovement of some sort hand. J esse J a mes is. p e r haps arousing the maste r a house. r 1 h . As A n son Merrick is a heavy s ee p er, t is is q d task in its elf. rv The sounds incr e a se A door sta nds ajar, an d e ach individual species come s readily to the i r ears G Ah! that is Merrick's tuneful voice. It sounds.;; fogh orn sea . Tl '"A pnso n e r 111 m y own h o u se Great Caesa r0 1 b eats the Dutch!" h e b ellows. CHAPTER XIII. BEFORE; THE COURT MARTIAL. The drama is again under way, and w lmt threate' be th e last act has ope n ed h In respon se t o the r oa r of A n son Merrick, the qui( determined voice of his ca ptor sounds. "Y cs, yo u are a pri so n e r and unl e ss you do all t' d emand I'll send a bu l!et th rough your brain. Y 01' der s tand Capta in Merri ck?" n Well I m a n American, and pl ain English dir ect. I'm an old sailor t oo, and I kn o w by the cY your jib t hat yo u mean bu sine-s." 'Exactl y." N b at cl 'ye want with me-mo n ey? "Why do yo u ask that?" ; "Because you look as if yo u wasn't above taking 1 people 's things." The clear lau g h of t'he o utlaw follows b his. "That's been m y busin ess for yea rs, Ivierrick; but' at prese nt I'm after so m ething different." r "The devi l yo u are." "I've ju s t come from your prisoner.,. "What?" J cphtha Gordon." "Is that chap in the game, too?" "He has a decided intere s t in it. "vVho the deuc e a re you, fellow?" "Make a g u ess." "You're a cool dicky, an y how You say Gordon i old friend of yours?" "Yes." "I've caught him trying to send a letter to a ce1 party four different times." "Poor devil! "Then you are Jesse J afnes ?" "That' s 111y name."


THE STORIES. nd ou're a bold one. '1 hy so?" oming to New Orleans a price on your head, or alive t ah! I've carried my life in my hands fo r yearn, and er r yet feared a living man. I've been in New York, tago, St. Louis and many cities, but no one has ever s q!d put his hand on me and call me his wisoner." What do you want with me?" fTo bring you before your judge." 0 The deuce-who's that?" :Gordon ds 1what if I refuse to go?" 'That would be dangerous." sar Oh! you're one of those hi g hly-explosive chaps that off so easily." No; but I haven't come h e re to meet with defeat at r hands. I am accustomed to being obeyed whe n I an order .. Then I suppose I've no escape." at If you're wise, Anson Merrick, you'll go with me hout troub le." ui Lead on 'Oh, no; I've cut my eye teeth, sir, l t what d'ye m ean?" h e exclaims. o 'I never l ead a prisone r but make: him walk in front me, where I can see whether he mean s treachery, and k ck him on the head before he has much chance to do cm." this comes a vociferous laugh. One would imagine that t h e old sea cap tain must be a in statu re, to judge from the h oa r se voice h e pos ses, which seems to rumble up from his very b oots sight of hi m i disappoi nting. He i s h ort in stature, t h o ugh stocky. u "Yo u are a shrewd as well as a bold man, J esse Jam es. r espect s uch traits. Hence, knowing when I am well I bow my h ead t o yo u \ iVhere do yo u want me to ?" .. Lead the way to Gordon's den." "It i s locked. 1 "You are mistake n ." 1 ''How-did you-, "I came out of the r e just now ca ptain. :f\1ake a move, l ease." i The other realizes that it is best for him to obey orders. e learned this lo:1g ago, and hence starts away. J esse Jam es i s c l ose behind him and h o ld s a revolv e r his hand as t'hough ready to put his threat into execu n in case the other proves balky or treacherous. They march thus to th e door of the room. where Paul 1ith awaits th em. R e is perfect ly composed, and means to t he best h e can out of the game Merrick ente rs the room and strides up to the other with a frow n "So this is all your doing, J ephth1a Go rd on You think you have triumphed at last," h e says, with bitterness i n his hoarse voice "Every dog has his day, they say, and yo u have had yours. My turn ha s came, Merrick," the other calmly remarks. "We'll see H e laughs loudest who l aughs l ast This thing isn't done yet m y hearty." "Not by a long sight," says Jesse with empha sis; not by a long sight; but you '11 admit that it's J epht1ha's inning. H e has the bulge o n yoLt ::\t presenthe and myself." "Well I'm here." with tha t Merri c k throws himself into a chair in a careless mariner, which seems to say: "What do you mean to do about it?" Jes se J amcs admires the man's bravado. It is thi s element that tells \vit h him every time. If a man is a reckless daredevil, he may be gqilty of all the sins in the calenda r and not l ose caste in the eyes of Jess e James. People g e nerally admire those who p ossess thei r O\Yll qualities, to a greater extent. This man has been known as a p erfect frre eater, and i t i s this q u a l ity th::it has saved his life on many occasions where a less daring person would have gone under. J csse James looks to Gordon, believing h e will start th e ball rolling. This Paul is r eady to do. There i s always a chance that J esse J am es may entertain ousp i cions, but if so they will be with regard to his sa nity. and not in connection with his identity. He can afford to !et them pass. wi th t h e o n e great ob j ect in view of pro'bing the mystery to the bottom, he starts o ut. It is to be sincerely hoped there w ill be n o interrup h on to the game just when it r eaches the mo s t critica l stage. It wou l d be too bad to have Gordon storm into the room, half c r azy, after the matter has gone forwa-r d to a certain stage. Bad luck! Well, surely that could be set down as such. He tnl' sts it may not come, g i ves one gla n ce around, and applies himse l f to the task that is to occupy his attention. "You h ave had me in your power for a long ti!Jle, Anson Merrick."


THE JESSE JAMES STORIESa '"Well, perhaps it has seemed so to you. It can't be pleasant to be shut up. The clayi? and nights must be returns the other. '"Why haive you locked me up?" "I've told you several tim es. You hav e freaks of madness, when you a re n o t re sponsible. I do this to protect the public against you." qit is very kind of you to consider the public." "Don't m ention it," with a wave of the band. 1I've been under the opinion, however, that there was another motive deeper than this.'' "A1h!" "You kept me in you.r power, Anson Merr1ck, because I coiuld be made profitable." ''Humbug.'' "You knew I was connected with your family, and perhaps pride had something to do with it." "Of cottrse; proud to claim relationship. Your past is so honorable, yo u know." Paul never minds the sneer. It really gives him a clew. "Again, y0

THE JESSE JAMES STOR I ES. 8:1 up, CHAPTER XIV. AT LAST seems well. Coming from somewhere in the darkness o.f a closet near by sounds a whining voice. document is just .what he expeded :k, w i n this quarter is but half done. and yet his "Let me out of this now, or I'll have a fit. I must have air, I te'll you-air, air It i s Gordon. pretends to look at it earnestly. 11 \ e n his eyes are raised esse Jam es. es." and et me have the missing half of this pape.r ver low do you know I have it?'' you ome, this is no time for foolish fancies." of n one condition will I agree." Name it." J That vou swear to me vou will not destroy the pa-e a o r allow any one else to." I agree to that." has Then you shall have the missing paper." You believed I had the other half?'' 'Yes," hesitatingly se s 'And you could make enough out of what you had tell you it meant a buried treasure?" Perhaps so." \ \'hich would account in a measure for the disinter-ed friendship you have shown." 'This is no time to talk of that." 'Very good," au l's fing ers clos e upon the paper with a thrill of 10t ight; it seems to him as though this might be the lminati o n of a dream. e has long lioped for such a thing to come t o pass, bout really believing it would do so, and now that cess seems assured, he may well be panloned for ing way to such a feelin g. l glance shows him something, however. s "You've given me the wrong pape r, J esse James." l\ ''Oh! excuse me." Whether the outlaw means it or not he cannot say, lt there is a mocking smile upon hi face as he 1c1 anges the documents, t'hat would indi cate as much. s This time the proper paper is received. Paul places it alongside the piece he ha taken from errick. They correspond even the notches where the paper is tll rn, fitt i ng. This i s a triumph. The detective feels that he i s nearer tl e end of his trail 11 an at any time thus far, and Jesse James will n o t have chance to set eyes on the promised land he has had in :rJi ew ever since he came into pos ession of that pape r. He calmly folds both leaves up a n d places them in a n ill side pocket. 'Hark!" Paul knows the cat is out o f t h e bag, but si n ce h i s end i s atta ined, he does not care. The sooner this comedy of errors is closed up, t'lrn be t ter satisfied he will be. ""What does it mean?" demands Merrick, amazed, for !hie, too, recognizes the voice. J ust this. The man before you isn't J ephtha Gordo n at all, but a miserab>le fraud," exclaims Jesse Jam es, h i s ,. face setting like stone and his hand edginEr toward his revolver. Paul smi l es. He doesn't seem to realize his danger. "Look at me, Anson Merrick. This man am not Jepththa Gordon," he says. 1'.Ierrick has been looking at him steadily. ''Stay, I can tell," he says "Ah a birthma1k, eh?" "Hold out your hand '"\tVhich one?'' "The right." declares I Paul transfers his revolver the oth er hand, a n d holds out t11e 011e indicated. Merrick takes one glance "You a re a cheat .'' "How do you know?" "A fraud, sir." "Tell me how you know?" "The r ea l J eph tha Gordon has l os t th e top of the third finger of the right hand; a pistol went off by accident when he was h:rnclling it, and carried away a porti o n of his anatomy." "'Well, I admit the corn "You are not my brother-in-law." "I am not J eph lha Gordon "Th e n state your idenfoy." "1'/arne-Paul Smith. ''Profession-detective. ''Du siness-accomplished," and with the last word 'he slaps his breast wh e re the divided paper rests in security Merrick seems astonished. While the d etective has be e n talking, Jes se James' coat has been bulging suspiciously . His hand had made its way within his coat toward his belt. o sooner does tJhe detective disclose his identity than Jesse James uttered a terrible oafo and at the same instant a puff of smoke emerges from his coat, accom p:rniecl by the sharp report of a revolver.


32 T HE JES S E J AMES STORIES.. The detective has been over-confident. He is taken un;nyares. Though, the aim vvas a most difficult o n e, foe noted outla:w's luck n ever deserts him anrl the bullet hurries 011 its mission, burying itself deep in the detective's shoulder. Paul falls over backward, upsetting his chair in descent. Merrick is too stupefied to move. Jesse James spriugs to the detective's side In a twinkling his hand has closed over the precious papers, and he springs back hoiding them aloit in his hand. "The' secret of the treasure," he shouts, his voice ringing, exul tantly. But now Merrick recovers him s elf and springs toward the outlaw. "Back, you foo l !" shouts Jesse. "Do you s uppose you can down Jesse James?" 1 His revolver is aimed at the head of the unfortunate Merrick, and, as he speaks, he pulls the trigger. Vl'ithout waiting to see the effect of his bullet, he da s hes toward the window. As he does so, the real Jephtha Gordo n eme rges from his hiding-piace. There is another report, and the sole survivor of the Hooker gang falls at last with a: bullet in his brain. Stopping for an instant wi t h one foot on the window sill, th e outlaw surveys the s c e ne in which been so recently a mino r figure, but was n o w th e prime move r. It is just like Jesse James. He was ever turning the ta b lcs o n his e nemi e s in some suc h manner. He slides down the rop e e a s ily and edge s stealthi l y way from r h e scene. It is p os sible s9me one h eard th e sh o ts, and before long it will be a mighty un s afe place for him to b e in. "Dead men tell no tales, h e mutters, hi s v o ice shak ing in exui tation as h e hurries from th e sc ene, 'and \\ith these papers in my poss e ssi o n I c.m th e oi1ly person on earth 'ho can loca te r :1e l ost treas ure." He was right. J ephtha G o rd o n \Yas de ad. Paul S mi t h the de tecti v e tli::rnzh n o t m o r t1llv \rnunde d, had not seen wh e r e the g o id wa s hidden in his ha s ty glance of the pap e rs. .. Indeed, h e \\as fhe only one l e f t wh o knew o f the ex..: istence of the papers for i\Ierric k die d a f e w d ay s later from the effects of hi s \\mmd. He ne,er r e gain e d c o n sciou s ness. finding of Lh-:. va t tre a sure b y J e e Jame s and hi s gang in the spot where the nver pirates had hidde n al\'ay, i s a matter o f h :s lOry. Despite all th e eff orts of thos e ,, h o had il. no trace wa s ver found of thie treas ur e Ever y one. k !1ew that the Jame s bo y s had secured it, bnt w hat they did with it i s still a mys t e ry. Some say it was melted and sold to the United States Governme nt. B e thi s a s it may, it i s known that Jesse James was he ard o f s o on afte r in l\I i s so uri, wh e re he was once more engage d in h 'is old bu sin es s of sto ppi n g trains on t h e Iron Mountain road, and relieving the express cars of their valuable contents, varying the m o n o t o ny now and then by a ra.icl on s o m e town bank whe r e th ey k e a fat deposi t and have some poor sy stem of guarding it. It was a monL h b e fore Paul recoveT e d from his wounds, but when he did, h e swore a solemn vo never to rest until lie had tracke d to his death the o f the outlaws. As might be expecte d, Jesse J arnes h eard from him a.g,ain, when the detective pursued him in one of t he clo s est and m o st dangerous hunts t he o utlaw 'had e ve r experie nced. The story d etailing t htis thrilling episode wiil appear in -0. r6 of the }E SSE }AMES vVEEKLY. THE END. Next week's JE SSE ]AME S STORIES (No. 15) will con ta in "Je sse Jam es' Signal Code; or, The Outlaw Gang's Desperate Strategy." 13-J c s sc Jam e s in Chicago; or, The Bandit King's Bold P lay. 12-Jes s e Jai: 1 e s Clo se Call; or. Outlaw's Last Rally in Sou t hern Wyoming. 11-Jessc J a mes Among the Moon shi ner s ; or, The Train R o b b e r s Trail in K e ntucky. J 0-J c ss e James Double; or, the M a n from 1 I i s souri. 9 J css e James at tbe Throttle; or, The Hold-Up at Dead Man's Ditch. 8-J css c J ar :1es Daring DeeP,; or, The Raid o n 'the P jne Ridg e J a il. 7-Jesse J a me s Rube Burrows & Co. 6-Jessc J a me s in \Vyom ing; or, The Den in the Black Hills. 5-J es:.e J a me;' O a th ; or. Tracked t o Death. 4 J esse J a m es Bla c k /,gents; or. The \Vild Raid on Bullio n City csse Jan". e s Dare-De\ ii D a n ce; or, Belr a yed by One of Them 2Jess e Jam e s Legacy ; or, The Border Cyclone 1-Jes se James the Outla \1 -. A N arrative of the James Boys. 'Back numbers alw a y s o n h a nd. lf you cann o t get our publication s from y our ne\\' s de: : der, five c e nt s a copy will bring them t o yqb by m:!il, postpaid.


. Jesse ,James. \VE were tbe first publisher s iu t h e world to print t h e famous sto1-ic::; of the James Boys, t , 1 w n l .tti u y t nat rcman .. abl e man, Vv. B Lawson, w bose name i s a watch word with our boys. \ Ve b a \'C h a d many imit a tors, and l i t order that no oue sh:::..l deceived i1} th: f0r t!1e we :::i.rr: 1rn\ : p11 hlishing tlie best tori es of the James Boys, by l\Ir. Lawson u a New Library en tit.led ' T h e Jesse J a mes Stories," one of o n r big five-cent weeklies, ud a sure winner wit h t h e b oys. A num ber of issues have already appeared, and tL.ese which foll ow w i ll be egqa11y good; iiu fact, the bes t of thei1 kind in t h e worJd. Buffa lo !Jill dents C'ombi1ie d wit h grent s uccesses and accomplishments all o f w h ic h w i ll be t o l d i n a series of gnrncl s t o ries wliic1 1 we are 110\V phl ci n g before the A m e rican Boys. 'The popularity they have already obtaiuecl sh ,, s wh; : t the b uy s want, and is very gral ifyi11g to t lie p:th1ishers S & S:-.1rnr. Publ ishers, New __.,..___ -........ THE l rnO\rn dc:tec-{/ i11 the world i s { N iC'k Carter. Stories by \ _.,,> this 11ute d s l euth a r c 1 s -\\ ijl .. sued rcg


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