Jesse James' signal code; or, The outlaw gang's desperate strategy

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Jesse James' signal code; or, The outlaw gang's desperate strategy

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Title:
Jesse James' signal code; or, The outlaw gang's desperate strategy
Series Title:
Jesse James Stories
Creator:
Lawson, W. B.
Place of Publication:
New York
Publisher:
Street & Smith
Publication Date:
Language:
English
Physical Description:
32 p. ; 26 cm.

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

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Source Institution:
University of South Florida
Holding Location:
University of South Florida
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
028818650 ( ALEPH )
07356669 ( OCLC )
J14-00015 ( USF DOI )
j14.15 ( USF Handle )

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serial

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ORIGlftAL OF THE tJArtlJ .. issued U "eek/y. By Subscription $2-so f>er year. /;"nf ered as .)ec Jnd t...'lu.>s .11 .. ttu at 'ew i ork Pust Office by STREET & SMITH, 238 Wzlliam St .. \'. Y. No. 15. Price, Five Cents. THE O UTLAW F.XTENDED BOTH ARMS, AND T\\"Q WEAPOXS SPOKE AT ONf'E.

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OFTHe Issutli W"cekly. By Subscription $2.50 per year. Entered as Second Class Matter at th N. Y. Pos t O ffice, hy STREET & SMITH, 238 W.1/iam St., N. Y Entered accord i n/{ to Act of Congress in the year u;or, 1n th Office of the Librarian of Con gress, W ashin1rt o11, JJ. C. No is. NEW YORK, August 17,. 1901. Price Five Cents. Jt:SSE J!Mt:S' SIGNAL CODI:: OR, The Outlaw Gang'5 De5perate 5trategy. By W. B. LAWSON CHAPTER I. SHOOTING A HORSE THIEF. "Hold o n thar, stranger! I'd like er word with yer, if yer ain't go t no objections!" '' L e t .)1er go, but cut it s hort i\/hiskers I'm bound for the r aces, and it l acks ten minute s of starting!" 'T'het t>har n eedn't co n s arn yer, stranger! The Dead Lev e l Races warn't never started on time! Goin' ter ent e r thet thar mu stang fer th e r handi cap, stranger?" S ur e And h e'll win hand s clown, 'though he ma y eot l oo k it ; but what's game? Be brief old min!" The last speaker, an athletic-looking fellow of twent y five, dropped from his saddle as he spoke a n d began ex amining one of his 'hor se's s hoes, while the other, a man apparently of middle age, foll owed his examp le. A minute later the old fellow, who se pat r iarchal b eard reached almost to his knees, came over and stood eyeing the mustang, critically. ''Waal, now, what I was er goin to say was th i s hyar : \Vhat' s ther pedigree of thet thar beas t stranger?" he s aid glibly. "I'm sumthin' of er jedgc of horsefles h and thet thar beast i s er h ummer! Woul d yer mind tellin' me if yer bought him at the Montgomery stables in Ken tu c ky?" "How the d euce did you guess it? That's exactly whe r e he did come from, a n d, by the eternal, you have his brother there, W hiskers I never saw two beast s more alike!" cri ed the young man t urning his head to look at the second animal. S l ap went a massive hand o n t he m u s tang's flan k, and away we n t t h e spirited ani m al l ik e a fla s h o f l ightning The yo ung man face d around t o find himse lf looking into the barrel of a re volver, while the cloud of

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2 T H E J E S SE JAMES STORIES. kicked up by the _mustang's heels obscured the landscape completely "So, you are a horse thie( are you? Well, I might have known it," he said, coolly. "Nature never gave any man such a set of whiskers!" "Haw! haw! Thet thar's a fact, young rnan! Yer mighty philosopherkal fer one of yer age! Mout I ask yer ter oblige me by puttin'. yer hands above ye r head, just as er matter of form yer know, till I git bq.ck inter ther saddle of my critter yonder?" A snap of the trigger accompanied the. request, so there was irothing 'to do ?ut acquie sce, and this the man did :with marvelous good humor. "I suppose you have a pal down the street who will stop my horse," he said, coolly. "I reck on now I hev, s trai1ger. ''Then I'll have to hoof it to th e track. Let's see; it's a matter of five miles or more, it Whiskers?" "I reckon it's a leetle less 'n -thet thar, stranger. Sorry 'ter put yer ter all thet troubl e, but bizness is bizness an' thet thar mustang was a genooine beauty, an' bein' er brother to my own critter hyar-waal; yer'll 'low, stranger, thet 'twas nat'ral fer me ter want ter complete ther fambly." "Oh, yes, indeed! Quite natural! I don't blame you a bit! In fact I'm quite in sympathy with m en of your profession, Whiskers. I ain't abo\'e admitting that I'd steal a hor e this minute if I had an opportunity." "On biznes s, I reckon, stranger?'' "Important! I should say so! I was going to ride that. horse against Black Panther's Winona!" "Snakes! Yer don't say! Think yer could h ev whipped ther Injun, stranger?" "Sure! My man is on track now and he was going to doctor Winona -five minutes before the race. She'd have petered out onthe homestretch and I'd have made a couple of thousand, but you've queered that now!" The 'horse thief had 'regained hi s sad dle with his pistol in his hand, but he still lingered, with a look upon hi s face that bespoke considerable annoyance. "I won't git _thet beast back in time fer ther race," lie said, finally. "What. kind of ciicker will yer make if I do, stranger? Say r yer back thei hoss an ye r chance ter win fer five thousand in gold dust!" .. [ haven't got it!" "Then thar ain't no u se talkin J keep yer hands up till I tell yer ter drop ''em, will yer ?" .. Swinging _around in his saddle so that he could his man under fire, the old fellow tQuched up his ;horse and moved slowly away. His position prevented his another horseq1an just rounding the curve ahead, and a broad spread over the face of the yo ,ung man as he took in the situa tion. "By Jove f What lu ck! _Davis is 'right on time! Now, then, Whiskers, your game is up!'' he muttered, exulting! y. The crack of a revolver took the horse thief by surprise, and, as the pi s to l was shot out of his hand, he gave a howl of : pain. "Throw up your hands and see how yo.u like it!" roared the newcc;mer, with another pressure of the trigger. "Hanged if I don't think I'll shave you \\ ith bullets! Hello, there, Carter! the old scoundrel been doing?" The last was yelled at the young man, who had p romptly dropped bis arms and drawn his weapon an .cl was now bounding after the startled h o rse thief. He explained the situation to his friend, and a minute later the horse th.ef \l"aS jerked fro m the saddle and tied to a tree, his false whiskers 1re re torn off and the two young m e n were looking him over critically. "Hem! yo u re .Bink Bender, are you? I've of you b e fore said Davi s, a s he extracted a paper fro1 1 one of the fellow's p ockets. ''Well. Ml'. Bender, I'll rc lie\ r e yo u of this,.as I see it is a list of the h o r ses you have s t olen. V/hat else have you abont y ou?" "[\iothing but thi said Carter, pulling out another paper, whicl:_,he opened and glanccd over with some curiosit y Then a whistle of surpri e escaped hi s lips, and he turned and glared at the rascal savagely. ''So you ran across Dick Williams, did you, and sto le his horse?" he said, sternly. "Now, then, t ell me the truth. Did you let the young man escape, or is Williams dead and are you his mur derer?" The two }'Otmg men exchanged meaning glances as tlin \\aited for an answer, but the expression on the

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l 1 THE JESSE JAMES STORIES. 3 e :r thief' s face showed them plainer than words that he 'ms guilty. "Did you kill Dick Williams?" asked D avis. An swe r or by H eave n I'll se nd your soul to erternity !" The thief's teeth were chattering and hi s eyes were bulging but he made one attempt t o save his miserable existence. "It was a squar' fight gentlemen! an' he hed er fine bit of horsefle sh Bizne ss is bizness, Ef he h edn't kicked I'd never hev pulled ther trigger, but--" "But you shot him dead in order to steal hi s horse, said Carter, sternly. "I l ow I shot him, gentlemen, but--" The sentence was never finished, for Davis had dropped the hammer of hi s weapon, and a bullet, sent squardy through the fellow s heart, SJtopped his voice forever. The n the two young r emo unt ed the hor ses 'ape! set out at a gallop in the dire'ction in which the mustang had disappeared, but, before they went, Davis exchanged hat and coat with the horse thief and even stuffed his whiskers into hi s pocket. "So he killed onr friend! Poor Williams!" said Car ter, as they sped on like the wind, keeping a sharp look for the missing mustang. "I wonder if Je sse J a:11es will be at the races!" "Sure! He'll be disguised, no doubt, and no one will kn ow him but he'd ha rdly miss the fun, seeing he owns scve1:al of the hor ses ." ''Then we stand a fair chance of ca tching him, if we ar e o n time, old man. Hello! \iVhat in thunder is this? A Gypsy encampment!" They had climbed a steep hill passing a small grove 1 at the summit, w he1;, they suddenly discovered a group of people in the valley below them. 1-A man and two wome n were bending over a fire and 10t t\Yenty feet away was the missing mu stang and two 1e other animals. "It's Bender's ga -ng Quick! Get out of s ight Car .Jc ter !"' \varned Davis. "Don't l et th em get a glimpse of us if we can h elp it! They';e waiting for Bender, I sup1g l poae. Well, they"re likely to hav e a lon g wait for the lrsinner !" "They're moving now, answered Carter, after five as ( minutes of watching, in whi.ch they feit .sure that their !presence on the hill had n ot been notic ed "It looks as if they were taking the short cut to Danger City, continued Davis. "That path through the woods leads straight to the Saquache." As he spoke the three had mounted their horses and headed east, and the detectives waited until they 'w ere out o f sight 1 before moving from their hidiilg-places. "They are trying to avoid the high road, inasmuch ac; the races will bring a good many people ," said Carter. "No doubt they've arranged to meet Bink at Dange r City. It's a great pla ce to sell horses, especially cheap ones." "Any old price is high for a stolen hor se, but we must hurry along, old man, the race s are on by this time. I wonder if I"m taking chances in wearing these togs,'' an swered Davi s "I fancy they were used as a disguise, so probabl y no one knows them, and, anyway, a horse thief is safer than a detective in this section," laughed Carter. "There's a fellow fe e ling for one and only hatre d for th e other; but, h e llo! There's the race track! Gee! What a mob of people!" "A t yp ical gathering, with lot s of firev.c ater, I guess," said Davis, a s they pull ed up their hors es on a little knoll overlooking the racetrack. "But what's happ e ning, any way? It's something unusual, old man! Quick! I'll bet it is Je sse Jam es! He's up to so me game, and they'v e caught hirn redhanded As like as not they 'll string him up quick, and if that's the ca se you and I'll b e left at the scratch, to s a y nothing of los ing that ten thou sand dollars !" They put spurs to their hor ses and galloped down th e hill. CHAPTER II. A DARING ROBBERY. "Pass over that dust!" ''I'll be cussed if I will! Git out of hyar, or I'll blow ye r ter blazes!" Crack Bang! T\vo pi s tols spoke together, then Pete Dunston, stake h o l der for the D ea d L evel annual races, dropped to the ground with a bullet in hi s heart. Raising a s mall bag of gold dust from the ground, the other sprang o n to the back of a magnificent horse and

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THE JESSE Jt\M E S S T ORIES. dashed down the street like a cyclone, leaving full y two hundred pe ople gaping and staring. Then, as a cloud of dust rose from his horse 's heels and almost obscured him from their sight. one man in the crowd found his voice, and yelled lustily: "It's Jesse James, curse him! He's kill ed Pete, and run off with the dust! After him, men!" A dozen men, all seasoned spec imens of Colorado ranchmen, were already in the sadd.Je, but. before they had turned their horses' h eads in the rig ltt direction, the two young men, who were strangers in that section, had already clashed clown the road after the daring highway man. ''It's J esse James all right! I would know him any where! Pity 1\"e hadn't got to the track five minutes sooner," said Davis. as they urged the!r horses forward. ''I doubt if we could have stopped hin"i, it was clone so quick! As it is, we have the l ead of the others!" ''Look! There he goes over that fence across Johnson s pasture! What does he mean by going in that direc tion?" "H1e's making for the 1wood'S yonde r, said the ot her, as he glanced over his shou lder. "After him Davis! There are a dozen men behind us if we need them! If we a re going to catch that ?Conriclrel, it is now or never! He put his horse, a Mexican mustang, over the fence as he spoke, and his companion did the same, then the two clashed across the pasture together. The notorious outlaw, with th e gold dust across his sc.ddle, was still in plain s ight, but going at a pace that made a shot at him impo ssible, so his two pursuers' con tented themselves with keeping the di sta nce between them from widening and watching his manceuvres with keen interest. In spite of the fact that he was going like the wind, the outlaw seemed to be inspecting the herd of cattle that 1Yas grazing in the and as he overtook a bunch of blooded horses he made a detour around them, as though he was determined to improve his opportunity to discover their value. In doing this he did not materially lessen the distance between himself and his pursuers, and, a moment later, was out of the pasture and galloping down the road toward the fringe of woods in the distance . The place was not far from Saguache River, in Colorado, and the occasion was; a horse race between white men and Indians, the betting which was done with gold dust and nuggets, running, as usual a little heavy The men had deserted the b etting ring while the rac was on, and the notoriol1S outlaw, who had been minglint> with the crowd for some time, improved his opportunit while their backs were turned to shoot the stakeholder "corral" the dust, and escape, as already detailed. "Hang the fellow! Does h e expect to keep that gai up forever!" Carter, after another five minute of furious riding. His compan ion laughed and at the same lime he un pinned a badge that he had been wearing under the broa co llar of his shirt, and s lipped it into hi s inner pock et. "A wise precaution! Gucs l'cl better do likewis e,' remarked his friend, as he obs erved th act. Digging t h e ir spurs i n deeper, the t1Yo c ontinued thei mad chase. with the yells of the men behind them comin nearer and nearer. 'Look! I -ks emptying the stuff into his saddle-bag s exclaimed Davis, as they g-ainecl a little on their quarry. ''Gee! That's a clever trick for you! How the deuc can he ep1pty th e stuff, at a e-ait lik e that? I'd b willing to bet he won't spill an o unce of it!" The outlaw had made a s udd e n spurt ahead and gaine a patch of woodland, disappeared like a s h ot between th trees, and, a minute later, the two detectives pulled up t consult ove r the situa tion "Hold on, Davis! There are tricks in eve r y trade, ol man! Ten to 01ie there's an outlaw behind every one those t ree s You can bet h e had some reason for corn in in this direction "\i\Te'll get a hot reception if we go on; still we can go back o!d man! Li>iten to those jellows The are riding like sticks, and yelling like Comanches!" "Are your pistols all right?" ''As right as a trivet! Mark that ditch ahead ther That horse of yours looks clumsy!" "He's good for that, all right, but thunder! \i\That ai those fellows?" Carter looked back over his shoulder as he s poke, a saw that the group of riders b e hind had reined up in bunch and were walking their 1 they yell and gesticulated wildly in th e ir direction. "It looks like a trick!" .said Davis, quickl y "They' as eager ro catch Jesse James as we are, and this i s o n a pretext far gaining time! Come on, Carter! Reme

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THE JESSE JAMES STOR;ESo ber it mean s ten thousan d dollars from the govern m ent if we catc h th e fellow! He p nllecl the false whi s k e r s from his pocket and clapped them o n a s h e spoke, and o nce m o re the y both urged their horse s forward. A noth er c h o ru s of yells from the rear made Carter turn h is head and this time he th e speed of hi s hor se involuntarily. ''There s some o ther r eason for that ra cket! Hold on, Davi s he c ri ed. "They're trying. to warn u s that the re is danger ahead We' d b e tter go back and--" Flash Crack Bang! Car ter s sente nce was cut off in the middle b y a bullet w hich passed so close to his face that i t clip ped his mu s tache Like a flas h he wheel e d his h orse around and sta rt e d ba c k clown t he road. Crack Bang! T hi s time the bullet struck him fairl y in the ches t He reeled s lightly in the saddle, the n recovered hims elf sufficiently to thrust his hand into hi s pocket and draw out a small package, which h e threw w i t h all his str e ngth towarcl 'his compa ni on, A l Davis. A seco nd la te r he pitched h eav ily from his hor se, while the package, missing Davis fingers by a h alf an inch, fell to the road a few feet from the body Davis suppressed a g roan of horror and kicked his feet l oose from his stirrups, but, as he threw himself over his horse 's side, h olding by o ne leg and arm, a voice bei lowed at hi m from behind a clump of stunted oaks, some forty feet from th e roadway: "Pick t'hat up, and I'll s h oot yo u! The voice belonged to J esse James, and the detective wa sted n o tim e i n obeying th e warn ing. He resu med his position in the sadd le, noti cing at the s ame time that the group of m en behind him we r e ob serving the whole tran sac tion, and n ot moving a muscle to com e to hi s rescue. "Suspi c i o u s of me, I 'll bet!" h e muttered un
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6 THE J ES SE J/\MES S T ORI ES. la\\ with a laugh. "The man don"t live that can draw a bead on Jesse James, but that isn't giving an account of yourself. \\Tho are you, and what arc yo u doing in this section of the country?" Davis glanced back over his shoulder and lowered his voice, as though he was afraid the ranchmen might hear him. "I reek'n yu've heard of Bink Bender, now ain:t ye? \Vaal, I 'm Bink an' my pal there, ther one yer jest sent to etarnity by the leaden route, is Bill Taylw. Bill mout hev stole ther hosses-'tain 't fer me ter say now ther poor 's dead, but th er thing thefll interest yer most, J ess is thet them galoots back thar think we belong ter yer crew, an' they've got an idee this minute tbet poor Bill is only playin' possum! I'll bet a tenner nO\\I yer couldn't git 'em :ter come er rod nearer 'ti! they wuz sure, that is, ez long as they was suspicious Jess James is lurkin' in men Qver yonder, counting whites and Injuns, so it may be \\"ell for u s to be quitting this section! we'll take the cut through the wQods to Danger City. Once there I can defy the devil himself! Come on, Bink Benner! Let's have a l o ok behind those whiskers and a sample of your horsemanship! Fall a dozen yards behind, and I'll have my men riddle )a u, and string you up to the first scrub oak by your whisker s Ha! ha! So yQur friend might have stole thos e beasts, might he! Well, there's worse men in the world than horse thieves, stranger!" As he spoke he reined his horse so close to Davis that by leaning over he could j erk off the false whiskers. Davis drew a breath of relief as he watched the out law's face and saw that he was not familiar with the horse thief's features. In fact, the long, keen glance into the detective's face told him except that the man who called himself ther bushes! Take er look at 'em yerself an' see what Bink Bender was too young for his reputation, and that
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THE JESSE Jf\MES STORIESo c u sses in a bunch," he said, jovially. "Why, Jess didn't sc>" much as wear a disgui se he 'vas circiilating a round at the track! He ran piui1k into the mayor of Saqi.i1ich'e and the constable of Scrnb Oak! Both of 'em have been after t1im a dozen times each, and yet he stble the dustright' under their noses! ' 'T r'eck'n they w uz addled from ther pii1k lemonade," said fellov by" the harne "ol Dan Pitts, who was riding cfos. e by D avis "How wuz it, stranger? You w u t on ther ground, wuzn t ye ? Davis took the chew of tobacco that the fellow handed him, dropping it pm 'posely.as he sh i fted his posit i on. "I was there all right, bi 1 t I wasn t studying the na tives, he said, grim l y My 'tention was give ter .. ther horses most ly-. The t thar Apache, Black Panther, th ey call him, was ridin' er beauty! I'.cl hev give er cool thou. sand ter liev got foy : hands 011' ther. critter! I reck'n, now' he was jest comin' hoine when jess tran s acted his -biz with Pete Dunstru. He 'Yirikecl at Pitts as he spoke, and the fellow roared appreciativ ely.uHa\'1 ha\'i I reck'n 110\V yer right, stranger, an I 'low Jess warn't th er 6nly one te1' take advantage of th et thar excitin' min it r Ifs er pit) I shot ye r pal but it wuz ther cap'ns orders. Yer see, we reckoned ye r wuz arter us; an' self-purtection i s the fust law of natur', ain't thet so, stranger?" ' I .. teckon yer rig : ht, but I'm sorry ter lose Bill. He was a fust rate feller! Howsomever, I reck' n I kin mosey erlong \Vithout him,' 'spec'ly now's I m honored by ther comp ny of thet thar e1'\t. y01-1de1<" He nodd e d toward Jesse Jam es as h e spoke, and then his eyes opened a little wider, for he just in time to .. see Jess pufl in Ms horse and raise his hand as a signal for his 1i1en to stop instantly. "Bello! What ther deuc e mutte reti Pitts, u nder hi s b .reath. "Ther cap'n s111ells somethin' an I low it's tr6u ble It 'ud 'be mighty uncomfortable ter meet them air ranchers in thi s h ya r bit of country! Thar ain't so much as er scrub oak te r git behind, arid as fer-- 'Shut up your mout11, Dan Pitts"!'' roaied J esse James at that minute. "Hold your noisy eongue oi Tll put a -' yoi1r teeth !: Look yot1det/ Frank! < t!1ere s a ahead The rasca l s have c ut us off hy the bridge across the Saquache !?' "It does like said Frank Jame5 l iftiiig his head and sniffing. "The wind is this way, and that i surely rotten timber that's burning. Now ,. how the deuc wiU \Ve get to Danger C i ty? There isn't a safe ford fo ten mites along the ri ver in either direction.'' "I'll get to the city to -night.;. a11d pe hanged to them! roared t he outlaw king savagely. a cleve r thin for the whelps to do, though! They mea11 to force-u back toward the Dead Level or east to the Scrub Oa settlement. We11 curse th em, I'll do neithe r !" "Hol d on, Jess There's no knowin how many there' be! Two hundred men, eve n if a third of 'em are I1 jins ain't no l aughin' matter! vY.here''c! we be, I'd lik ter know, ef they was ter ketch us in er clearin', ai1d the a i n'! n uthin' e lse tw ixt hyar and the river!'' srieaker was a rbugh-Iooking fellow, who seeme to be the outlaw's right hand man, and before Jes James could reply member of the gang add e his word of caution. .. Bettc;r not dare ;e1 "They're red hot after yer, Jess! too fa r Thet thar scoop of your'n over at ther i11i1 ain't been forgot yet, and if yer git 'e m too mad it m queer ther deal at Danger City!" "Bah You're a brace of o l d women Shut up yot croaking, both of you!" growled the outlaw. "You d01 suppose they are such fools as not to 0ivide th e ir fore do you? There's the bridge and t he sett l ement and tl [)ead Level to be al)d, pot coimting the Injm that makes only five to one! It'll take bigg e r flgur than to make me back water l Besides, ther e's h a dozen of my me n scattered p.mong the ranchers." Davis had listened t o the discussion with a good de for now that he had been adopted by the o law gang, he k n ew he must appear to be one of the1 at least unti l the time came when he cou l d r i sk doi 1 different ly. He had not had his weapo n s restored to him, and eve time he saw one of them sticking from the out l aw 's b his fair l y itched to close upon it I l e had been sent West to kill Jesse J ames or capt him a l ive, and it was not to his taste to be obliged fight for him; still her e was a time when he had n o choi and his brai n was kep t busy devising sc h emes fo r personal safety. They were crossing a flat piece .of co u ,nt r y ow, wh' &howed only an occa s iona l stu n ted tree, and here a

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8 ifHE JESSE JAMES STORIES. there a As Jesse James pointed to the smoke mu st ha-ve shot Pitts, there was no one else to do it!" his brother broke in with another discovery. he said, g riml y "Hold on, Jess! There's esh prints ahead! Three Davi s ground his te eth as he though t of his papers, ho rses have passed this sp<:i within an hour! They 'v e come from th e wes e straight for Danger City!" Every man ln th ou-ooked d own as he spoke and saw the imprint hoof s h ere and th ere at in tervals where the soil tvas soff and y ielding. "Hang it! What' s that to us, so long a s they're not in sight!" growled Jesse James. "That s1' noke i s all that's worrying me! It's the bridge all right! Curse the rascals!" / After: another minute's thought, how ever, he decided to make for i'he Ser Oak set tl emen t and whee l e d his horse in that direction. The other men turned w ith alacrity and follo we d their leader, but Davi s was so stiff from the ha1d rid e that he lagged a little. The whizz of a bullet by his head ; coming from the rear, brougnt him to his se11ses, and. at the same insta nt Dan Pitts gave a yell and pitched h ead lon g from hi s sadd le. Like a flas h, e v e r y man in th e bun c h had fa ce d around on his hor se, and w ith the quickness of thought Davi s followed their exam pl e "\i\T hat the d e u ce Halt! Who fired that shot?'' roared J ess e Jame:s, ba ck ing hi s horse through the group and giving a qui ck glan ce at th e lifeless body o f the robber. There wa s n o r eply to hi s qu est ion for th e men were stupi d \vith b ewi lderment. There \Vas ab so lut e l y no o ne in s ight except their own part y, and not a ro c k, tree or bu sh tha t could conceai a hi.1man b e ing. Suddenly J esse James l e t his hand fall upon f h e de tective's shoulder and Da vis received a shake that set his teeth to rattling. bu t the r e was no h e lp for it, s o he tried to conduct himself as brav e l y as possible. Frank.James felt him ovei, beginning at his boots, a s h e found no weapon h e s hook his head sober ly "He <;.puldn.'t have done it J ess There ain t a thing o n him," he sa id decidedly, and just then his hand came in contact ith the packag e of letters. One of the men had rid 9e n back several paces ith out any weapon, and now Davis stra:ightened him sel f up and bis hand closed over the hand which h eld Carter's package. "Hold on, thar This hyar ain't a squar' dea l! he said, sternly. "Yer'-ve proved I couldn t hev fir e d ther shot, now what in thu n der do yer want ith Bill' s papers?" "Let's have 'em, Frankl, Hang Bill l 'Twon't .. hurt him to have us read 'cm!" Jesse ,James promptly. "\i\Te\r e got to prove your h onesty aJ1d wc're,..going to do it! Ther c's nothing again s t you n ow, b ut that de e d . looks s u s pi c iou s How \Yas shot, I'd like to J...11ow, if yo u didn't do it?'' "Great snakes I co uldn't sp it er Bullet at him, I Jess?" snapped Davi s "And ther Lord knows I hadn't no other way ter kill l H ev er leetle decenc y er b o u t yer ef 11er be a robber Jess Jam.es! Yer. ain't got no right ter read er deaci' man 's S'pose, n ow, th ey'd been writ to yer wife or s weetheart!" "Bah! BuJSiness is business This ain't the time for s e ntim ent, and, anyhow, sentiment don't become a h o rse thief! G ive me the l et t ers and sh ut up your mouth! I'll satisfy m y curiosity, and you'll \\; ell not to try and stop me! .If the letters are \Vhat yo u say yo u 'll hav e nothing to fear, but if they happen to b e anything e l se, "You did it, you whelp! You w ere behind ," he private in st ructions from headquarte rs for ins tance, why ; roared. "Admit it, you cur, and give up your weapon!" Dav i s attempted to protest, but the outlaw would not listen. Giving a sharp glance toward the cloud of smoke in th e distance he drew his rev olver from his belt and turning his horse so as to b e exactly in front he aim e d it squarely at Davis "Search him ; Fratik Go through him carefully and if he is earrying concealed weapons! The whelp yo u ca n c ho ose your own mod e of from thi s world:_ it won t matter to us how you go, so long as we get rid of you!'' It was the first intim ation -of bis real suspicions th&t he had given, and as l he reached forward" for the papers the detective's heart sank like lead ; thelJ with a lightning : like movement, he bent and grabbed the outla\v's own pis tol from his hand and, aiming point biank at h is heart, let go the trigger.

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.. THE JESSE JJ\MES S T ORIES. 9 CHAPTER IV A THRILLING RESCUE. the hammer could fall Frank James hit the weapon a blow which sent the bullet intended for the outlaw's heart. singing by hi s ear, and next instant Davis was a dozen hands and j e rked from the sa' ddle. "Lynch him!'' Riddl e ther ra scal!" "Plug him as full o f lead as he'll hold!" "Cut his heart out with a bowie! Curse hi s impu denc e I Ther scoundrel tried t e r kill ther cap'n These cries were uttered amid a volley of curses and Davis expected nothing more th an to be shot down with ont mercy. "Hold on! Not so fast, men!" roared Jesse James, who had dropped the papers in his excitement. "That fellow's life i s in my hands, and I'll kill him a s I please! Here! Put this no o se around his ankle and hitch it to Buck Bolton's saddle!" "Haw! I.aw! Good enough, J ess! Y e r goin' ter give him er taste of natnr', ain't yer !" bawled another of the gang, as he deftly s lipped the lariat tihat Jesse James had given hitn around one of the detective's ankles. ''1'het thar beast will jerk him erlong lively, I reck'n, partic'I'arly e f yer j est tickle hi s hind legs with ther \vhip," chuckled Coyote Jim, a swarthy Mexican, as he iooked on admiringly. A volley of curses broke from the outlaw 's lips and his face grew white with rage as he motioned for Pete to pick up the papers. "Pete i s right,. boys! The fellow is a sneak and an infernal liar!" he roared, as he glanced them over. "His name i s either Carter or Davis, and he's out here after m e What do you H1i!fk of that, boys? His orders are to take me dead or alive! Ha! ha! well, this looks as if he would do it! But let him up, Bones! I want to hear \\rhat he's got to say about it!" The entire party had forgotten the smoke cloud now, and the thought that tihe natives of that section might b e approaching see med to have flitted from their minds upon h earing this bit of information. They s tood Davis on his feet with the noose still around hi s ankle and. holding a cocked revolv e r in his hand, J esse James rode up to him. "A clever lie! Let m e congratulate you!" he sneered. "So you thought yon could make a fool of me, did you? Well, that"> never been done yet! No man has ever out witted Jesse James and lived to tell the tale, and it ain t at all likely that you'll be the exception!" Davis h ad been badly handl ed by the men, but he 11ad regain ed his breath somewhaf, and as the outlaw spoke h e folded his arms and returned his gaze fearlessly. "Oh, I don't know, Jesse James! I can menti o n er few detectives who've heel a l eetle ther best of you. I' re ck 'n How e rbout t het thar deal at' Coyote Gulch, vVyomin' ?" asked Davis, not forgetting his assumed Buck Bolton sat in his sa ddle waiting until the order drawl. was given to start, and the three m e mber s of the gang "Ha! ha! So. you was one of the sleuths that did that 1vho were holding Davis down by their uni te d strength looked up at Jesse James curiously. "I don't mean to kill hi111 yet,'' said the outlaw, coolly. "I'm going to pnni sh him for being too ambitious. It'll be time enot1gh to finish him when I find out for sure job was you? Glad to kn ow it, my friend! It means a couple of extra bullets! Anything else in that line that you want to mention?" Davi'S saw the steely glitter in his eyes and kn ew that he had made a mistake, so he merely shut his te eth t othat he--'' gether and glared back defiantly. "Whoop! Hi; thar. h o ld o n t er y e r self, q1 p n Clap "Come, now, ow n up that you were one o f tho se fe.1yer eye on thet thar :in' see e{ yer n eed t er wait any lonoer 'Ta in 't e r p op pt:rzackly, but ifs sonJeth in' "' . wns s Jt's er s l e ut h-hound's ez I'm e r si nner, an' this hvar rni::s is e r Pinkerton' detective!'' .. J, Prairie Pete, the fellow wbo had gone back to sean:h for the revolver let out the e11Jire string of words in one breath and th en held th{' bit of met a l that he .. had found on t he ground so that Jesse James could set> ;,. lows!" said Jesse James, agai11 referring to the pap er. "It \\on 't clo you any good t o lie about it, for you 're going to cash in your chips right here and now, and 'an h onest confession i s good for the soul'-even of a de tective.'' "I heerd of yer deal at ther Gulch ther same as I've heerd lots of other things." said Davis, glumly. "Yer name c:in't loved by no means. Jess, s o 'twarnt onnat'ral

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10 THE J ES S E JAMES STORIES. fer me t e r twit yer on gittin' the r wu st on it, was it? h orse. Start off easy! I dori't \\'ant to kill the: fellow,. Them thar papers b elongs ter ther owners of them mu
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THE JESSE JAMES STORI ES. 11 voice. ''I'll put a bullet through yer heart if yer come a step further !" She took the detective's he,ad in her lap as s he spoke a n d looked down into his face, giving a start of surprise when she saw his features were strange to her. The next instant a thought sprang into her mind that controlled her actions, and, regardl ess of the fact that she had ne.ver seen Davis before, she decided to save his life, if possible. occur to him at that time, and if she had been four times as ugly and old as she was he would still have looked upon her in that moment of consciousness as an angel of beauty. But there was no opportunity to express such senti ments now, for a yell from Buck Bolton created imme diate consternation. He had discovered a figure upon the crest of the opposite hill, and the next minute fully fifty mounted ''"Who are you, old girl? Speak quick!" roared the men were over the hill and galloping toward them, all outlaw, authoritativ_ ely. The woman raised heur. head and gave him an ugly glance. '-' "I'm Bink Bender's wife, ef you want ter know!" she said, grimly, then she began wiping the blood and dirt from the detective's face as though she had nothing to fear from the group surrounding her. Jesse James rode until he was close by her side, and for just a minute he had the grace to regret his hasty action. It was Bink after all, then, apparently, else why should this woman be in t his locality and the one to save him from further punishment. "How'd he come by these documents?" he asked, show ing the woman the papers. "And here's a detective's badge that fell out of his pocket. Can you account for them?" The woman glanced indifferently at the papers and tl:en leaned over Davis again saying, in the coolest pos sible voice : "I reckon he stole 'em!" A minute later Davis opened his eyes and stared at her. The outlaws were holdihg a consultation among themselves, so the woman had an to whisper a few words of instruction. "Keep your eyes and ears open and your mouth shet, and I'll save yer, young feller," she said, briefly. "I reck'n now yer belong ter ther sheriff's posse what's after Jess, but 'twon't do ter say so! Yer Bink Bender fer ther present and I'm yer wife! Lord, wouldn't Bink cuss ef he could hear me say it!" She chuckled in -a grim way without making a sound, but as faint and bewildered as Javis was, he seamed to understand perfectly that the was befriending him. .'Who she was or where she had come from did not yelling like Indians. Jesse James took one look, then put spurs to his horse and the rest of the gang followed him as he n;ade a dash eastward toward the settlement. This left Davis and the woman to shift for themselves, and Bink Bender's wife drew a breath of relief as she saw what had 11appened. "Now, then, foung man, you're safe fer ther present, whoever yer be," she said, promptly. "I thought yer was Bink, or I wouldn't er fired. Yer've got thet thar ter thank fer my interference, but yer must shirk fer yerself with ther sheriff yonder!" Davis ran his fingers between the lining and the out side of his trousers, just under his belt, and extrasted a gold piece, which he handed to her. "Just take me under your wing for a little while longer, madam! My head is whirling like a windmill! I'll pay you well for anything you'll do for me." "Then do as I say," was the quick reply, and a second later his head was back upon her knee, her revolver was in her pocket, and the two were waiting for what was to follow. CHAPTER V. JESSE JAMES AND THE "GYPSIES." "Go on, boys! After the scoundrels! That is Jesse James ahead; don't let him escape you! Tim and I will stop and see who is waiting for us yonder!" with these words the sheriff of the county and one of his men drew rein wiu11in a few feet of Davis and his companion. "Now then, talk fast! vVhat's happened?" demanded the sheriff, who was a burly-looking giant. "\Vas you two waylaid by thet !har cutthroat gang! Who be ye, anyway, and what kin I do fe:: yer?" He winked at the woman as he spoke, and Davis was

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12 THE JESSE Jl\MES STORIES. shrewd e n o ugh to see that the wink was tneant for a warning. It meant that the woman was to be careful what she said before his companio n "Yer right, sheriff! T hey be cutthroats! 'Dhey've stole Bob 's horse, ther robbers An' he jes t fo ragi n' in nercent lik e fer fue l t e r bui l d e r fire! The rest of our party air yender in ther gulley, an' we're only a band of poor gypsies on our way ercross Colyrady !" "Gypsies, hey! Thet thar usually means horse steal ers," s aid the s heriff s t e rnly. "Howsomever, as J ess hez give yer ther d evil an' wu ss, acco r din' ter ther looks of ther youngster, I reck'n I \\'on't d e tain yer, but git on erbout my biz! Yer s ure y e r don't want no he l p ter tote ther c hap inter cam p mother?" The r e was another wink. and the woman replied, grate fully: "Ef ye r would now I'd b e much obleeged ter yer, sheriff! They tid e 11im ter a mu stang and nigh jerked ther life outer him! H e s my nevvy, Bob is, and I'm no end proud of him! I reck o n he'd er licked 'e m hands down, if ther odds hadn't bee n ag'in him." "No doubt erbout it! Haw! haw! I kin j es t see him lickin Jess Jam es and his band o' ruffians! Hyar Tim, hist ther chap aboard an' take him whar she wants him! 'Twon 't take er minute ter do her er good turn, and, be sides, I'd like te; be sur e if they really be gypsies. Any thin thet don't l oo k right ter yer kin b e fixed by er bullet, I reck'n !" The words so1111ded very seve re, but the woman did not look in any way disturb ed, and, by this time, Davis ( was positive that there was some between them, but it was not for him to raise any questions. A minute later he was in the sa ddle, with Tim behind him on the way to the gully, with the woman swinging a long with rapid strides beside them. Tim found nothing in the gully to arouse his suspicions for all that was visible was a fire and a small bundle of clothi n g. There was n o t a horse i n sight, but the woman ex plained that' the t wo wh i ch s h e owned had probably been led away for water by the o t h er members of the pa r ty. After Tim had gone t he scene changed a l itt le, for the \ voman promptly stamped o u t 1tlle fire and picked up the bundle and then led t he w a y a hund red yard s furt he r down the gully. Here, in the small clearing under some trees, was other fire, with a young girl of exceeding beauty bending over it, cooking. She raised her head at their steps, and gave Davi such a sympathetic glance that the young man came n ear losing his heart that very minute. "Whar'd yer g i t them duels ? .. asked the woman as soon as Davis had seated himself by the fire where he could wat ch the young girrs labors. "Trad ed with a fe!IO\\. at the track, he answered, promptly. "He gave me that gold piece to boot, as I needed th e money." The young girl l oo ked up qui kly, and the woman began to explai n, when the third member of the party e merged s uddenly from behind the bushes He was a man of about middle age who limped as he walk ed. and wore o ne e mpty coat s leeve. upon which wa s pinn ed a pap e r telling of sundry in battle. A slouch hat, pulled well down over hi eyes, hid the greater part of his face but there was still enough ex posed to s 'how a strong famil y r esernbbnce to the women \Vhil e they w ere eating an exce .ec)ingl y well-cooked supper, Davis made a discove r y that verified his suspi cions and aclclecl considerab l e to hi s growing consterna tion Three horses were tethered near them behind clumps o f bu s hes, and, in shifting his positi o n Davi s was able to see one of t'hem clearly, and instan t ly r ecognize d it as the one Carter had been riding when he was so cleverly tricked b y the horse thief Bink Bender. This ope n ed a train of refl ectio n s that made him very uneasy, but it also exp lained the woman's actions. Not one of his three compa11ions kn ew that Bink was dead. No d o ubt the y thought he was still foraging about the rac e track o n a lay for more hor ses, and they were planning to me et him farther hack in the m o untains. A conversation that to ok plac e soo n afte r the meal was ended conyinced him he was right, and the last straw toward un settling his conscience. H e had no objections to s hoot ing a horse thief when he knew that said thief had just murdered in cold blood one of his dearest friends, but it was another thing to shoot the husband of a woman who had saved his life or the father of a girl who \\'as beginning to fascinate him. Mrs. Bender asked him a question over twice just a t this point in his r eflec tions, and, pulling himself \ vith a jerk, Davis tried to answer.

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THE J E SSE JAME S STORI ES "What was I doing with J esse James?. \ Veil, I hardl y fer, do ye r s'pose? Yer d on' t r eck 'n he kin scent er know," h e began absently. ''I'm a tenderfoot in this section, and my friend, Carter, and myself, were looking on at th e races when J ess s h ot the stake h older and b o lt ed with the dust! Every one e l se put after h im, so, of course, we went. too. and. not knowing his tricks, we k ept on w hen the others warned us. He s hot my fr i e nd dead in his sadd le, and then took me along with h im. If I had refused he'd have sent a bullet through my heart, a cl, as it was, they tied me to a mustang and attempted to wipe up the country w ith me. Thanks to this wond e r ful woman, I live to tell th e story!" ""'.\fa i s wonderful! She i s the best shot in the country, n ext to Je sse J ames." sai d the girl, quic kly. "She saved mv life," sai
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14 THE JESSE JAMES STOR!ES "Bob can rid e wi th Peggy !" broke in the woman, sharply. "There ain't no reason why he should wa lk, cunnel Thet thar mustang kin carry 'em both jest as easy as anythin' !" "Then, I reckon I migh t just as well have gone on, said t11e stranger, laugh ing "Which way'd you say you -you gypsies was goin' ?" Davis had a chance to give the one-armed man a sig nificant look just then, and, as the o ld fellow was taken wi th a coughing fit, he took it upon himself to answer. "We're goin' ter Danger C ity, ef yer wants ter knov, stranger," said, curtly. "Ther's er chance fer trade over t here, an' we need it, yer kin gamble! Fortun tellin' is s l ow in this hyar sec ti on of ther country As the strange r ro se from the ground Davis had an opportunity to study him closer. He was a tall, finely-developed man of thirty or there abouts, dressed in the regulation garb worn by cowboys of that section, hut his face was as dark as an Indian's for some reason o r other, and a hideous Scar across one cheek distorted his expression. Whether the sca r was genuine o r not the detective could not tell, but there was something in its gnastliness that made him a trifle suspicious As he continued to observe him, the truth suddenly dawned on the detective. The newcomer was Jesse Jam es-there was no mistake about it, yet he felt sure that he was the o nl y one of the party that had g u essed hi s identity, and he was a l so the only one of the four who was at present without a weapo n. 'vVhat was he there for, and how had he evaded the sheriff's posse? These were questions which Davis asked himself, but could not a n swer "Now, th e n -throw up your h a n ds, young fellow!" wen t on the outlaw, savage ly. "Put 'em u p high, so I can see 'em for it's g r owing dark You can put the one you 've got left over your h ead, too, Co l onel Bender! I won't be hard on an o l d soldier, even if he is a horse thief. Now, then, bright eyes, just bring them horses here, will you? Mind you, bring 'em quick, and no treachery, my girl If I'm as bad as you say, you must know I'm not the man t0 be trifled with!" "Indeed, I know you now You are Jesse Jam e s !'' cried the young girl, hotly. "I would kill you if I could;J" Her eyes flashed fi're as she spoke, and her cheeks I blazed with passion, and as Davis gazed at her he was spellbound with admiration. Such courage and spirit we r e rarely in a young girl, and it was plain that the outlaw regarded her with i some wonder. "Snakes But you've got grit! Ha! ha! Too bad I'm not a young fell ow on the lookout for a w if e! But enough o.f this! It is growing dark, bright eyes! Bring the horses here, I want a look at them If yo u refuse, I'll empty three chambers of my weapon and you'll be the sole surviving member of your family!" Margaret did not tarry after that, but darted after the horses, and 'had just led out Carter's mustang when a rifle shot echoed down the gully. Another and another followed, and Jesse James looked like a statue, his ears strained in the direotion of the shots, but with his finger still upon the trigger and his glances flashing like light nirig from one to the other of his "quarr y." "It's Bink!" cried the woman, sharply, hoping to alarm the outlaw, but only a contemptuous smile curved his cruel lips as he answered, shortly : It was on l y another demonstration of the famous out law's ability. "Bah! Bink Bender is dead! No danger of his com \ in g Guess again, old woman, and keep your hand out of \ your pocket!" CHAPTER VI. \ The snap of a trigger followed the last remark, and a bullet passed through the s l eeve of the woman's dress as THE DETECTIVE UNDER SUSPICION. ,I she was l owering her arm stealthily. Suddenly the detective sprang to hi s feet with a light-The woman did not dare to make another attempt to ning-like motion. draw her pistol, and the old : had collapsed completely. In a second Jesse James whipped a revolver from his Margaret h ad led the mustang close to the outlaw's belt. side, and was n ow having all she could do to calm the "Sit clown! You'll do better sittin' than stanclin', vicious creature, for the reports of the pistols had excited young man! Now, then, if one of you moves a muscle I'll it greatly. put a bull.et through you l Ha! ha! So you're only a What would happen nexrt no one could tell, and for band of gypsies, are you?" D avis, at least, it was an exc iting moment. It was done so quickly that no one had time to eve n He would have given his all to have had one of the w ink, a11cl for just a second the ou tlaw was master of the one-armed man's u s eless weapons within reach, still he situation. knew that any movement of his, however slight, would The one-armed man had two pistols in his belt, but he probably bring a bullet in his direction. could not draw th em, and the woman's revolver was lying Crack! bang! went the revolvers of the bapd of horse-at the bottom of her pocket. meili just above them in th e gully, then the hoarse shouts .___

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THE JESSE JAME S STORIES. 15 o f th e rid e r s w e r e wa f t e d to the ir ears no t plainl y e nough for th e m t o i de n t if y th e v o ice,s, but s uffici e ntl y clear to s h o w th ey wer e c o rnin g n ea r e r W i t h a quick m o tion th e o u t law r a i se d hi s han d a n d at t 1 i n sta n t Dav i s dropped t o t h e g r o und, w h e r e h e l a y as moitio n l e s s as t h o u g h t h e breat h of iif e h ad l e f t him. T h e -outlaw s b 1 1llet pa s se d just far e n o u g h abo v e his p r o s t r a t e b od y to h ave hit h i m s q u a r e l y in the h ea r t had h e r emained i n hi s o ri g inal p osi t i on M:ugar e t u tt e re d a s hri e k of alarm a nd l e t go of the bri d l e a !i d, as t h e fie r y nwsta 1ig dart ed away, th e o utla w g a ined h i s b a c k \\: i t h a J )o u nd an d dis app eare d d ow n the gully with th e w oman emptyi n g h e r r evo lver a ft e r him bnt doi n g no damag e J.fa rgar et rec o vere d h e r se lf ins tantl y an d kn e lt at the young man's side, o nl y to find, to h e r g reait j oy, t hat h e was e nt i r e l y 1 1 eve r to u c h ed m e _Mi ss Margare t !" h e ex-claim e d I jovj all y "My l u c ky s t a r mi.1s t h ave b ee n w i t h m e t h a t tim e " Y o u th ink h e i s a f t e r yo u do n't yo n Mr. --, b e ga n the girl. tim i d l y "My n ame i s Davi s A l Davis, fr o m C hi c a g o ," said th e detect i ve, prom p tly Yes I knew h e wa s aft e r me, and I w as wait ing for that b ull et I d ro pped just in th e nic k o f t ime! It i s n 't a l ways t hat I am so lu c k y." I He ro s e tb h i s feet as he s poke a n d t o o k a l oo k aro und, / g i ving a s i g h of r e lief th at o n e 1 i1or e danger h a d b ee n pass ed safely. W it h ou t w aiting to c o n s u lt h er m ot h e r w h o w a s b u sily 1 e l oading h er weap o n s h e t o r e th e two p isto l s fro m th e o l d man' s be lt and ha n d e d the m to D a v is. Now th e n th e belt, p l ease [ sa id the de t ective, fee ling like a man o noe mor e "And in fu ture, M i ss Margaret, ple as e do n ot fear to trust me! Rem e mb e r I owe 111y l i f e t o your m other a n d I am n ot like ly t o fo r ge t it!" I d o tru s t yo u sir eve w t ho n g h I kn ow n ot your r a nd h ere ," w as t h e soft r ep l y a n'cl a m o m e n t l ate r th e o ne-armed coward w a s s tri p p e d of_ hi s b e lt and the d e t e ct ive wa gi r d l ed w i t h it. No t an o t h e r soun d had been h eard fr o m t h e po sse alth o u g h five m inut e s ha d pa sse d and they h a d ab o ut conGluded that it ha d take n a course on the b row o f the. hill and o n acr oss th e co unt ry t o the w e st, w he n s udd e nl y a s h o n t fro m s ome one u p tle g ull y t o t h e m Davrs put hi s han d s t o h i s mouth and an swe r e d t h e s h o ut, and a m i nute l ate r th ey co uld h ear the cr ack ling of hor ses in the bu s hes. Whoop! H i th a r \i\Th e r e are ye,_ stra n ge r'?" yelle d the v oioe again. Spea k out! We ain 'it huntin f e r h c r iest peopl e f Hez an y orle see 1 i ther trac k s' of e r th o r oughbred i11 thi s h yar s ect i o n of co u ntr\ i'". : H e's l ookin g for J esse J a mes! It's Fleetwind that he m eans s aid D av is, qui c kly, and the n yelle d back an a n swe r T h e wo m a n tr i ed to s t op hi m, and th e n c heck e d th e wor ds u po n h e r lip s a nd as D avis gave h e r a s urp r i sed g la11ce, he sud d e nl y u n d e r stoo d h e r consternat i on. But th e de e d w a s done, and th e m e n wer e co min g T hey wete s o near now t ha t the ir vo i ces cou l d b e heard b ut i t h a d g rown so dark that t heir o utlines w e r e not y e t vis ible . Oh, I h o pe it i s th e s h e riff! c ried Margaret, sharply. "If I t is. w e -are safe for of course, h e is aft e r Jesse J a m es, b ut--" H u s h H e r mot h er s t o pp ed her w ith a word ; ,, bil e the o l d m a n h obb l e d t o h i s feet and tried to assum e hi s !1atural bea ring. I s t h e s h e riff your friend-tha t is, i s h e a fri e nd to gy p s i es?" a s k ed Dav i s quickl y '"Bi n k a n d t h e s h er iff w i nfu s t co u sins," a n swe r ed t he woma n g ri mly. "You sa\v B ink at th e r tra c k s tran ge r, so yer know h e ain t d ead, d o n t ye r ?" s h e co ntinu e d w i t h a keen g l a n c e . "The r e,_ J esse James w u z e r y in ', an n ow, ef this h yar i s t h e r s h e riff thar ain t n oth in t-e r f e ar, b u t if--" "Hullo Hyar ye b e Who thw devil b e ye?" roa r ed a voice at '.hat minute, a nd tvv o hofse s c ra s h e d th ro u g h a fring e of brus h a n d b ro k e into the clearing. Mar gare t g ave a l itt1e c ry, which w a s p romptl y c h eck e d b y h e r m o th e r an d ju st t h e n o n e o f th e m e n ap pea. recl t o r ecog ni ze the wo man By th e r et arn a l Ef it ain t Bink B e nd e r 's woman!'' h e c ri e d lu sti l y "J um pin sandhill s What l u c k! No\ v th eri, th er hull b u n c h o f ye t hr o w u p ye r h a nd s V1' e're a ft e r Quee n Bess, C omm odo r e Ste t s on 's th o r o u g hbr ed, a n d th e man w h at s t o l e h e r and b y thund er w e' v e ro und t h e hors e," H i s comp a ni o n w as l e a d ing on e o f the hors e s that Davis h a d o nl y a t a di s tan ce, and as h e go t a clos e l ook a t th e magnificent a nimal he u nd e r s t ood the w h ole s i t uati o n Bi nk Be nd e r had sto l e n thi s ho r se, a s w ell as Carte r' s and t h ese m e n wer e n o t of the s h e riff's po ss e but sturdy r ep r ese ntatives of Commod o r e Stetso n 's o w n stab l es. "As I said," continu e d th e s h e riff, w e 're after th er c u ss t h et s t o l e the r h o rs e a n a s t'other s ample of th e r rnas kulin e gende r d o n t l o ok ca p able o f s t e alin I r eck' n as h ow you air t h e r m a n w e r e -after!" Marg a r et g ave a cry at thi s but 'her mother promptl y clapp e d h e r h and o v e r her m outh, and began glaring at fh e d e t e ctiv e with t h e fer oc ity of -a t iger. "Yer ri gn t Ti11. Mag Bender, sh e y elled ; i n a shrill v o:ce b u t as yer d o n' t want noth in' of me, I'll get e r

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16 THE J E S SE JAMES STORIES. move on and obleegea ter yer Thet thar will leav e ye r ter settle yer diff'rences with no witnesses, stranger! Come, Peggy! Thar's one beast left! Thar can't no one claim B1ack Denny !" She grabbed the girl by the shoulder as she spoke, and fairly dragged her toward the last horse with t'he oneanned man yellingat her not to lea ve him unprotected. "I'll not go a step, mother! Father. did steal the fiorse, and you know it!" cried Margaret, stotttly. A blow squarely across the girl 's face cut off her cries, and, with a m uttered curse, Davis started forward, o nly to be stopped by the click of a trigger. "Hold on, you two! Not so fast!" said the other rider, vvho had halt ed the one-armed man in the same way. The next minute Black Denny thundered out of the brush, with the two women on 'his back, l eaving Davis and the quaking "co l o n e l to make explanations. Jesse James had not be e n so far amiss in naming the old woman. She was indeed a creature of viciousness and ffre, yet she had proved her se lf capable of heroic deeds, and in thi s she was not unlik e the notorious out law himself, so it was not surprising that he understood her. CHAPTER VIL THE DETECTIVE MEETS A CHUM. -"Now,\then, what hev yer got ter say \iVhar d yer git th et thar hoss ?" asked one of the men, drawing a bead on Davis. The detective did some rapid thinking, and decided to tell the truth, but, just at that minute, he remembered that Jesse James had his papers, so there was no way of p ro ving the truth of his statements. 'Talk fast!" growled the man, b e ndit)g a little low e r in his s addle and l ook ing at 'him sharply "Of cour se, ye'll lie; it' s only nat'ral yer shou ld, but--Hello! If it ain't AI Davis!" The sudden change in hi s voice took the detective com pletely by su rpri se, and the next minute the two were shaking hands and exchanging words of greeting. 'By Jove! You are out of sight in those duds, Ray!" cried Davis. "I wouldn't have known you in a th ousand years! You look like a native, and your lingo is per fect!" "It oug:ht t o b e I've been practicing for s i x weeks," laughed the other, as he slipped from the sadd le. "I've bee n staying at the commodore's ranch getting acquainted with the count ry and, a s t hi s is the biggest la y' I've been on sin ce I came, I'm glad l'rn successfu l but where the deuce did you come from, and what are yo u doing here? I thought yo u were after Jesse Jam es and I find vou hobnobbing with horse thieves I" Davis explai ned what had b efa llen his friends Carler and Williams, and his companion, Raymonde Hall, who was a detective from the same agency, ground his te et h over the story of Jes se James and hi s villainicS. "Mr. Pinkerton t o ld me to ke ep my eye peeled fo r the rascal while I was out in this section," he sai.:I, as he introduced Davis to his companion. who wa s the com modore's head stableman, "bu t I've been so busy hunting horse thieYcs that I have not thought much about him, '"and, from what yo u t ell me I think I'd as soon not meet him." 'He's a hard nut to crack, I.Jut what are we going to do w ith this big baby?'' asked Davis, p oint ing to the one-armed man w ho wa s skulking behind one of the horses. "Let him go! He's a c rackbrained brothe r of Ben der' s," said the stableman, who h a d been inspecting him. "He's too big a fool to d o any damage, but w ou ldn t it be a id ea to change clothe s with him, Mr. Davis?" 'See ing I've played hors e thief long enough, l think it would,'' said Davis, catching hold of the fellow, and in a f e w minutes the change was effec ted. )[9w, then, yon play a lon e hand for 'the rest of this game," lau ghed Hall. "It may be inconvenient, but it may lead t o some s urpri ses Nobody in this section will dream of that idiot pulling a trigger!" "Then get ou t Colonel Bender! The country is wide and I w.ish you lu ck," said Davis turning o n hi s h ee l and without any ado the old fellow limped away. J esse James has a deal on to.-night in Danger City." went on Davis, as he sprang onto the bare back of the thoroughbred, after getting poss e ssion of the bridle. I did not l ea rn what it was, but I fancy the cht>r;f+ has queered it all right. They've burned d1,11 Lr:dg across the Saquache and t h e sher iff and half the men in the county are l ooking for Jess. He stole the stakes at the races to-day, and they're bound to g e t them back "Ha! ha! It takes a rogue to catch a rogue! So Sheriff "Wilkinson is on the track of J esse Jam es, is he? That is rich, old man!" roared Hall d e lightedly. He sprang back into th e saddle as he spoke, and Davis turned for explanations. 'What's the matter with the she riff ? I had a suspi cion that lte was shady from what M rs. Bende r told me,'' he said, anxiously. Hall and the stablema n both laughed, and then, ns they r eached a wider roadway, Hall enlightened him a little is as big a rascal as the county holds, Davis! The only man whose record is worse is Jesse Jam es, and you can't set Jess clown to any county or country There' s nothing i n the shape of rascality that the sheriff isn t Into, a.nd the reason hates J es s iso go-I

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,, T U E JES S E JAMES S T O R IES.. 1 1 amc the outl a;; a lw ays g ets t h e b es t o f h im! Bink ender i s a s u ck ing babe i n co m pa r iso n with t11e s h e riff! '' I j u dged a s m u c h from what th e o ld dame said \'ell has gon e to h is b st acco u n t," said D av i s, ober l y I s h o t t h e f e llow m yse lf a f ter h e s w ore h e'd illed Willi ams!'' "G e e That's bad fo r yo u Davi s B e t te r not l e t t h e 6eriff hea r o f i t excla i med Hall, with a whist l e "As ur.cl ersta n d i t, t h e s he riff i s st o ckingup a farm ove r in a n ger C i ty an d he depe n de d o n B in k to s uppl y him v ith horses cheap! T hat's wh ere Q u ee n Bess was h eaded fer, no mi s take a b out i t I \\'here are yo u going now?" a sked D av i s, as they 'eached a fo r k i n t h e gully road a n d Hall s u d d en l y vee r e d o l eft. "Back to t he r anc h w i t h th e thoroughbre d. The com noclore ,, ill b e delig h ted t o get he r i n t he stab le again. ]Jr' s been gone a w eek an d h e s j u st had a g oo d bil o r her " H o w fa r i s it t o the r an c h ?" "Only abo ut four mi l es J ust an easy rid e for t h e ha n k of the eve n in g ... H old o n H a ll! I've got a sche m e s ai d D av is, lr a \ ving rein s u dd e n l y. '' D id yo u get a look a t that otmg gi rl, o ld ]\fag BenJer 's da u g hter!" ' I saw the r e wa s a g i r l but I didn't l oo k at h er. W h y y h at's the matte r o l d m an-not smitte n a r e you ? '"She's t he pre tt iest g i rl I ever sa w and as g oo d as s he s pretty if I am a n y judge," was t h e qui ck a n s w e r W e ll. what i s it old man ? what can I do?" a s k e d all turning in hi s "Do yo u kn o w w here th e Blue Cut Ca v e is?" a s k e d avis q ui c k l y l-U 1 1 t t rnccl t o th e sta bl ema n who n odde d h is head 1'!)'. .. It's t bree miles t o th e ri g h t. A l o n e l y s p o t," he s aid 1 rom ptl_v. I t 'u d b e a s m u ch as ye r l ife wa s wuth to g o b er c at ni g ht, gentl e m e n The ca v e m o u t b e ca ll e d a end e:voo fe r cu tthroats." "Then, yo u 'll exc u s e m e D av i s I'd rathe r g o bac k o th e ra nch!" l a ughed H all. "Bnt t h ink of th e girl! A ni ce pl ace for a seven teen ea r -o l d fem al e to be! S a y, Hall, y o n ought to see her! T h at sett l e s it. ;\ o m a n shall say that Raymon de a ll i s n o t c hi va l ro u s But wha t 's the m atter \\ i th Mag .. Bah She s t h e very o n e that th e c hil d shou ld be 1 ro tecte d fr o m ," sa id D avis, sha rpl y ''The woma n is s mu c h of a horse thief a t heart as her husband \i\That life for a g irl! v Ve mus t s av e h e r Raym o n de Hall wh eeled hi s horse a round promptly and started ff on t he othe r path, wi t h s t a bl e m a n foll ow in g hi s ad, and a s mile of pleasure lighte d Al Dav is' f eatures T h e girl had fa s cinated him as we ll b y het : c ourage ;:.s h e r w onderful b eauty and the b lood: tingled in his v eins as h e tho u ght o f seeing h e r again. Aft e r five minutes of riding the s t ab leman to o k the l e ad and they soo n entered a fringe of woods that was as d a r k a s a pocke t "It i s n t lik e l y we'll meet anY. one b u t the women, sai d Dav is, a f te r a b r i e f s ilence, bu t Mrs. Bender i s a splen di d s h o t, on e of the best in the country. We' ll have to m a n age so m e wa y n o t t o let h e r get a b ead on us !'' "Bette r ri de w i t h your pi s tol in your h a n d, then," said Hall, and it w as a most fortunate thin g for them all that h e g a ve th e warning. Half wa y thro u g h th e woods the firs t horse sh ied vio l e ntl y, and a s he r eare d and sprang t o on e side a bull e t whi st l e d past t h e s t a bl e m an's ear, and at the same t ime t h e three ri de r s see m e d to b e surrounde d b y horse men. They came from all sid e s, as tho u g h they bad bee n cro u c hin g b ehind the tr, e es and bus hes, and as Davis p ee r e d around h e c ounte d at l eas t a doz e n. "Halt! \ V h o co m e s h yar roared a v o ice that theY. all r ecog ni zed at o n ce a s b elonging t o the she riff The stabl ema n w as ahe ad, so he answere d the' ques ti o n r e inin g hi s h o r se in at the same time and c ocking his weapo n "'Taint no n e o f ye r bi z ne ss who we air1 but as we're ho nest m en we d o n t mind tellin y e s heriff! W e' r e from Commodore Stets o n's s tabl es-th et is t w o on u s air; t her f elle r in tlae r rear i s our pri so n e r at P r esent ' W h at's h e d o ne?" a s k e d the she r i ff pressing forward an d t r y in g to get a goo d l oo k a t D av i s 'vVe d unn o yet was th e p rompt a n s w e r "The t thar c r itt e r be i s riclin i s Quee n B ess, o n e o f th e r co mmo dore's thoroughbr e d s She's b ee n mi ss in fe r a week and whe n w e found he r back h yar in the gull y, thi s f e ll e r was w i th h e r. ' Q u ee n B ess I s t hat Quee n B ess?" a ske d t h e sh e riff, and the m e n could easily detect t h e n ote of disap p o int m ent in hi s t ones "Th e t thar's Q u ee n Bess h e r self! Now, the n if we cou l d just clap a n eye o n B i n k Bender I r ec k o n w e'd hev ther c u s s who sto l e he r s a i d H all, q u ick l y. "Then th et air roo s te r a i n t Bender!" sa i d t he s h e riff tryi n g to sq u eez e past H a ll in orde r to g e t a clo ser look at Davi s Ye r kn ow we il e n o ug-11 t ain' t Bink, s aid Hall, k e e ping his horse direct l y in his path. "Bink got a way and so d id Mag and t he gal! Thi s old d u ffe r was t h e only t h i n g in s i ght whe n w e struck t her gull y." vVha r air ye r him to?" a s ked th e s h e riff in a s tiff e r t o ne. "This h yar a in't th e r way ter the r commod o r e s ranch. G i ve an a ccount of yerselns if yer expe c t m e ter s wall e r yer story."

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i8 THE JESSE JAMES STOHIES. "Swaller it or not, as yer l'ike ," said Hall, sharpl y "You git er move on sheriff, an' go about yer biznes s J ess James and his gang. ne ed a leetle of your attentio;n, white we kin attend ter our own affairs, I reck'n." A grunt from th e other m e n s how ed that his remark s were resent ed, and as the stableman attempted to m ove forward there was the click of a dozen hamme rs "Hold on, thar N ot so fast! It's Jess J ames th t we're after!" ret01ted the sheriff, promptly "vVho's ter s ay you two ain't members of his gang, I'd lik e ter know! Take a good look at 'em, men, and see if you know em As like as n o t, you air the v e r y ra s cal s we're after! Yer' ve stole ther thoroughb red from Bink Bender an' it 's my duty as sheriff ter r esto re ther critter!" "Ha! ha! That's good, sheriff! Kinder late ter see ther critter slip thro' yer fingers, don t yer? vVaal, l et m e say rig.ht hyar, Queen Bess ain't bound f e r Dange r City nor Squire Wilkinson 's stock farm, 119t ter-ni g ht at an y rate! You'll h ev ter git her stole ag'in, sheriff, afore yer corral ther c ritt er!" A howl of rage from the sher iff followed thi s pla i n s p eech and Davis held his breath to see what would happen. "Curse you! vVho be y ou, an y how th e t yer dare ter insult ther highest officia l in th e r county?" roared the sheriff. "Put up per hands! I'll l'arn yer a in manners. Put up ye r hands, I say, or I 'll blow yer ter blaz es !" C rack! A bullet sped from Davis' coat pocket where th e empty sleeve was confined, and pa ssing through the right arm made : him l e t out a howl of agony. At the same time Hall pulled a .trigge r with both hanJs, firing in two directi o ns, and the stableman let loose a shower of bull e ts from the muzzle of a forty two calibre Colt's r evo lv e r. The sheriff's men were surpris ed at the sudden action, and as the thoroughbred sudden l y dashed ah ead, n e arly up setting the horse that th e sHeriff was rid ing, they began blazing away in every dir .ection. "It's Jess, sure!" roared the sheriff. "Af te r him, m e n Mag Bender told m e he wa s after the h o r se Let ;so at him, fell ows! Plug him full of bullets!" Whether he r eally thought it was J e s se James or n o t, the d e tective s could not tell, but for th e next m inu te bul l ets flew at s hort range, and there was a tremendous amount of swearing and yelling It was too dark to see eac h other's faces ten paces away and in l ess tim e th a n it ta kes to count ten the combatants wer e so mixed up that no o n e dared to take aim for fear of hitt ing the wrong feliows. The sole object of th e scr i mmage seenieJ directed to one end: The sheriff's posse were trying to make Queeri Bess break away fr om the rest, so they woul opportunity to chase and capture h er. Believing Davis t o be the cowardl y they knew this could be easi l y done, but the dete through their game and was carefol not to sepa se lf from the gronp un til h e cou ld do so w i th gree of safety This opportunity a rriv e d when the horses be ing and prancing in their efforts to pass each oth their ride r s l eane d fr o m the saddle trying to o th er's faces. Hall saw a chance to forge ahead and did s skyroc k et, while Davis made a sudde n dash and tween him ai.1cl the st abl e m an In another minut e they were all three off l ike ti and, their h o r ses, being fresh, they soon 011tclista1 s h e riff' s pos e, w hich h ad bee n out for honrs a nearly exhau sted. "A close shave Darkness was all that saved tL Hall, as h e s l owe d up h a l f a mil e beyond the s the encounte r. "They've gone ba ck .Their horses are played o Hall laughed, and t h en he and th e stablema su i ted togeth er. The man had a scratch on his arr it was bleed ing profuse ly, but h e tied a handk around it as though it did n ot matter. "Vve'v e go t out of our way a littl e The cave is f to the west. Suppose we take a short cut.'' h e s ug,, peering about. It'll be m oo nli ght 0in an hour,' an s i des, we'll b e o ut of the w oods b y then. There's n but rocks in th e vici nty of the Blue Cut." After they had ridden a while claimed: I ca n see the Blue L edge ahead, so it'.s n o t far t cut." "Sh! There's some o n e ahead! o rd ere d the stable man, sha rpl y "Loo k there to the r unde r that bunch o f cedars Hapged if it ain't J ames him s e lf! I'd kn ow h im if it was bla c k e r pitch and-" "Halt! The o utlaw bellowed the word like a blast fr01 trumpet. "Not a ste p fa rth e r, or yo u are a dead man Sh Wilkins on "Well, I'll be hanged Here's a pretty mix up,'' tere
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THE JESSE JAMES STORIES. 19 e "Curse yotl Halt, I say! Come another step and I'll ow out your brains!" roared the outlaw again, and, at 1 de .e same time, the moon sailed majestically above the s a \ ills, showing the outlines of three horsemen blocking eir path completely. de. ear 1.hil CHAPTER VIII. A DETECTIVE' S CONFESSION. ;-acl Davis gripped his weapon a little tighter when he acle out the form of J e sse James, and, for a moment, he e rnuld hardly restrain 'his impatience to dash forward and be ke a shot at him. "Go easy, Davis," warned Hall, as if he had read his 1110 oughts. "There's no knowing how many men he has th ith 'him! They're likely to sp,ring up like mushrooms, wa nd we wouldn t be one, two, three in the .game! Better ise diplomacy, I think, old fellow ;a1 "I'd rather use bullets!" muttered Davis, as he saw o he three outlaws drawing gradually nearer. Hall chuckled a little and then stuck his revolver in 1is belt, and, changing his voice back to that of a native, o n he called out, coolly: rn "Hello, Jess! Y e r mistaken in us pa rd! We ain't the 1ie heriffs gang. We' re jest peaceable citizens, on er peace-ble errand. vVe've lost er critter, an' air lookin fer her!" he "\i\The re are yoll fr om?" asked the outlaw, in a more ecl ivil tone. "Just put up your hands while yotl answer, be you? It'll give me more confidence in your story1 im tranger !" [ Hall threw up both hands obediently, and, guiding his ex wrse with his knees, he moved on to meet the Otltlaw. "Gr. eat snakes, Jess! This hyar ain t no wa y ter treat t h honest men!" he began. "We wouldn't ask you ter hold up yer hands, tho' tl?er Lord kno ws we'd be jllstified in t !' oin' even wuss by yer We seen yer in time ter hev gone h t ack ef we'd heel anythin' ter fear, so it's only fair thet ;s yer'cl be mo1e considerate in yer d e alin's." a "Vlhafs your name?" asked the outlaw, as soon as he had finished his remarks. "Coon Tilley! I reckon yer've heercl of Coon, ain't ye, a Jes s ? Now, then, yer kin shoot and be hanged! I ain t )': r goin' ter hold my arms up no longer!' He dropped his arms as he spoke, and the outlaw's >istol snapp e d warningly, but it was only over an empty Ii so it did no damage. ) "Yer ain't seen nuthin' of er roan mare with one white v ,fore foot now, hev yer, Jess?" went on the detective, rapidly. "Vve've lost sech a critter from Commodore stetson's stable, an' as she was a winner at ther track ter1 ,:lay we hate--" t He was interrupted at this point by Frank James, who rode up behind his brother, and said: "There's some one signaling off to our right, Jess! They're waving a torch," he muttered. "Better send> Buck ahea d to look into it, hadn't we?" Jesse James did not even glance over his shoulder, but took his brother's statement without i'nvestigation. Get ahead and see what's to pay, Buck!" Buck Bolton clashed ahead and disappeared over the edge of a knoll, and the two detectives glanced up to see if they could make out the signal. Just the gentle knoll was a rugged hill, surmounted with a mass of gigantic boulders, and at the base of these rocks a torch was being waved, although at first glance it glowed no brighter than a candle. Several minutes passed before they heard again from Bolton. Then a series of short whistles came over t'he hills, and once more the torch glowed, this time as bright as a bon fire. "Where'd yer say yer was goin', Jess?" asked Hall" who had kept up a one-sided conversation. "That depends on what Buck has to say when he comes back," answered the outlaw, grimly, and without changing his position. vVaal, if thet tlJaP1s ther case, we'll hev ter part com pany," said Hall, making a feint to start back. "Hold on! Not so fa st! Tain't often we meet sucn agreeable companions!" replied the outlaw, promptly. "You just stay as you are for the present, Coon Tilly! Move a hand to draw a weapon and I'll put a bullet through you!" "Yer wrn, will yer !" roared Hall, with a lightning like movement. Crack went his pistol, but Jes se Jame s slid fr o m his hor s e's back that instant, and the bullet w ent over his head The next sec o nd Hall fell from his saddle with a bullet in his neck, and the stable-man and Jesse James were making targets of each other's bodies. In the same instant Davis wheeled on his horse, sending bullets from two revolvers into t'he body of an outlaw who had sneaked behind him. As James from his horse Davis felt a twinge of pain in his arm, but he dashed off like the wind and was soon some distance from the scene of action. Pausing on the top of t'he knoll, he glanced back over his shoulder, but there was .no sound of any one pursuing, so he sat clown for a minute and examined his inJ ury. The ball had passed through the arm, leaving a cleanfy cut bole, but, as no blood vessel of any size had been severed the wound did not alarm him Taking the end of the lariat from the bridle where it still dangled h e

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20 THE J E SSE JAM ES STORIES. tied it tightl y above the spot and, thus s topping the flo w of blood, he rode on slow ly. That Hall was dead seemed a foregone conclusion, and Davis was bemoan ing his fate sincerely when he heard a horse galloping i n the distance He sprang from his sadd l e and hid hims e lf b e hind a tree, making the horse l ie down beside him i n the hop e of its being overlooked in the darkness The ho of b e ats came faster and faster and were rapidly approaching the tree when it sudd e nly oc curred to D avis that they w e re coming from another direction, and, in a minute more, he made out the outlines of a p owerful horse and saw that its ride r was none other than Mar garet Be\1d e r. Like a flas h he was in the sadd l e and out into the path just in time to frighte n the girl s horse and make it s h y vio l e ntly with a cry of alarm, Margaret l et go of the bridle ar:d the pext minute. Davis dropped from his hor se and 'held out his arms. He was in time to r ece ive the form of the beautiful girl, and the next he knew he was folding her to his breast and looking down int o her face. He was so happy at seeing Margaret again, and so alarmed fo r fear t hat she hurt that for the time being everything but h e r fa ce seemed to vanish from his mind. As s he hung lim p in his arms, he co uld not resi s t the t em pta t i o n t o kiss her-once, thrice, when she suddenly opened her eyes a nd finding Davis. bending ovel' her, s h e uttered a litt l e cry of astonishment. ''Don't be frightened! I'm sorry I friahten ed you!" began the d etective, eagerly. "I was off just in time to catc h yo u though. Please say yo u are not hurt. I should be very sorry if I had injured you!"' I am n ot hurt, o nl y sta r t l ed was the answer, as the young girl tried to raise her head from his sho uld e r. "Pl ease get my h o rse, Mr.-Mr. Davis! Mother i s wav in g th"' t o r ch, and I must get t o h e r immediately!" "\tVhat does the signal mean?" asked Davis. tightening his h o ld of her waist. and then calling to the h orses, which h ad stopped n e arby. "I-I must not te ll! It's a signa l between gypsies," began the g irl, but Davis interrupted h er. You t o ld me you would trust me, Margar et, ' h e said, reproachfully. "The signa l is int ende d fo r th e s h eriff, isn t it? Y our m ot h e r is the torch to t ell him something." The girl hid h e r face b e hind her bands for a tlren takin g them a way, she l oo ked u p at him hon est l y "Yes, that is it, she > v hi spe1'ed. sha rply. "I will tell you, Mr: Davis! It is t o let the s heriff know that the t horoughbrt1'd has bee n stolen. She knows if she d oesn't g et Queen Bess back for th e s h e riff fath er will treat her 0 t e rribly! h ''Bu t h e can't! He i s dead!" cried Davis, impul sively. r. I "Sh e has n othing to f ear from him and surely v VilJ
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' THE JESSE JJ\MES STORIES. 21 )nee more her h e ad fell forward and Davis took her his arms and ki sse d her gently. As he did so s he sud nly drew back with a sta rtled exclamation: "0%, Mr. Davis! We are forgetting the torch. other will b e angry because I do n o t return. I was ly searching th e hill s for father, and she knew I would t go out of sight of the Blue Cut--" "\Vait. Margaret! You have not answered my que s 1 n yet;" said Davis, keeping hold o n her waist. Be re you go, you must s ay that you love me and that you .II marry me and go to Chicago. That will giv e me e right to .protec.::t you-even against your mother!" The last wo rd s were said so bitt erly that Margaret ired a ri1inute, th e n as she read the love in his eyes, e put her hand in his timidly. ' I will go with yo u," s h e s aid simply, then s h e threw r arms around his ne c k and ki sse d him passionately. The next minute they were b oth on their hors es, holclg a n anxious consultation as to what course to pursue I mu st go to mother," Margaret beO'an, when Davis lpped her. ''\V11er e yo u go I shall go also, darling. Do y ou think advi sable for m e to ride Queen Bess to the cave under e pre s ent co nditions?" .. A t housand times no! cried the girl, quickly. {ou would b e shot clown in cold blood." "Then that i s settl ed! Suppose we look for the bodie s Hall and the s tabl eman. I'd like to give Hall at 1st, a decent burial. After that, if you kn o w the way, e will go straight to the co mmod o r e's, and to-m o rrow e can send wore! of our marriage to your mother." "Hello Davis!" The call came so un expectedly that the detective mpecl. He was about to set out t o find a dead man had found a Jive one. Hall came s tumping through e bushes, holding both hands to h i s t hroat and in l ess an a seco nd hi s friend and Margaret were beside him "It's only a flesh wound, old man! Thank God yo u're ve! Margaret tore a strip fr o m her skirt and bound up th e :iund, th e n the three w e nt o n a littl e farther until th ey m e across the stablemar1's body. On the wa y Davi s ld Hall the n ews, and was h e artil y co ngratulated by th e her detect ive. His faithful h o rs e was st anding by his de, so, after removing his b elt and pistols, Hall mounted I! h o rse and th e three set off s lowl y toward th e co m-odore 's st abl es. "Jess is having a l ong time in t .he saddle sa id Hall, i th ey jogged along. I understand he left th e C ind e r ity mines at daybreak this morning with a sheriff's )Sse at his h ee ls. He l ef t them b e hind, thanks to that JJ!l :er fol horse of his, and was in tim e t o see the fir s t ee races and get off witli the stakes. Now, the sheriff has him headed off in three directions, which means that h e won't dare to leave the saddle. to-night--" H o ld on! broke in Davis. "There's another way of esca p e open! Jess can't cross to Danger City or go east toward the settlement or nort:h toward the Johnson r a nch but what's to hinder hi1 from taking this trail ? It's th e only one left, so he'll have to take it." "By jov e I didn t think of that. I thought perhaps he'd make for the Blue Cut Cave." "Mother is there, and Jess knows she stands in with the sheriff. Oh, I am sure he'll come this way," cried Margaret, in a voice that trembled only: for her lover's safety. ,;Keep your eY.e peeled, Hall! Here, sweethea r t, you get between us!" said Davis, quickly. "God hel1 tha t brute if he comes this way! By Heaven, he shall not es cape me this time!" They rode on in silence for some time after that, each scanning the moonlit country with keen glances, and keeping one hand upon the butt of a revolvl:!r. But the ride ended with no adventure, and, as they approached the door of the ranch house, the stentorian "Halt! of tire owner sounded like the s weetest music. Hall gave their names, saying they were "tenderreet" in that s ection and related their experience without m aking known their real errand, and once more the hand of fate see m e d to seal Davis' lips, for he choked back a de sir e to state that th ey were detectives. CommocloPe Stetson appeared to doubt their story at fir st, but when Hall mentioned that his friend had cap tured the thoroughbred, he gave a w boop of joy that was echoed in th e moun t ains Ten minutes later the three rid e r s were sea ted before a rou s ing fire, the comm.o dore 's daughter, a pretty girl of e ighteen, was doing th. e honor s of her father's establishment. Hall m e ntioned the fact that Jesse James was liable to pay them a vi sit, and if he had said the devil was com ing the n ews could not have created m o re consternation. Every man on the ran c h was routed out of bed., and the sta bles and corrals were patrolled by horsemen. There wer.e ten men on the place, and was a good marksman, so when the detectives finally retired for a little much ne ede d rest they fe lt that they could do so \1ith perfect safety. Margaret had already been taken to a room by the rnoclore's daughter, and a s Davis tumbled into bed. he felt radiantly happy, for he had really fallen desperately in l ove with the horsethief's daughter. He went to s leep wondering if h e would be able to keep the secret of her parentage from his friends and in C hicag o, and wa s dreaming on the same subject when his fri e nd awoke him an hour later. "Sh! Don't make a sound," whispered Hall, putting

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22 THE JESSE JAMES STORIES. his lips close fo his ear. "Jus t come to the window and listen a minut' e." "What the devil is going on? Hold on, Hall! It's only a love affair The commodore's pretty daughter is holding a tyrst with her lover !" answered Davis, after he had put his ear to a :hole in the windowpane and l istened a second. "Must be one of :her father's men, then," laughed Hall, "for of course they wouldn't allow any .stranger on the premises "Sh!" ,. Davis put his finger to his lips and then leaned nearer to the window, W ; here he was able to overhear a low conversation. "So they brought back the thoroughbred, did they?" said a masculine voice. "That sounds queer Loui se, and I'm surprised to think that your pa ain't suspicious!" "Pshaw! They're only tenderfe et !" answered the commodore's daughter, softly. "T. hey happened to be touring Colorado and came out to see the rac es. I'll t .c:J you what they s0;id, and then you'll know as much as I do." Here followed a repetition of everything that either Hall or Davis had said r egarding thei r adventures, and when the girl had finished the two detectives stared at each other. Hall wa s about to speak when held up his finger ag.ain and once more they heard the man's voice dis tincfly. "\i\Thy didn't you ask the girl who they were, Louise?'' "I did," came the prompt answer, ''and she said the same thing. They're just a couple of young fel1ows who are prospecting through the country. why, she's going to marry one of them to-morro\v and go to Chicago!" "Chicago, hey! I s that where they hail from?" asked the man's voice, quickly .. I reckon so, Han'k; but what do you care about them, anyway? I thought yo u came here t o see me A stifled sq ueal followed. and th e n there was th e s ound of kisses, and a minute later the detectives heard the young girl dose her window. The rooms were all on the ground floo r so it was per1ectly easy for the conversation to tak e place, and, as the young men waited silently, they heard a s tep under their ; window. Instantly Davis emitted a snore that would have done credit to a steam engine, and the fellow passed on, evi dently believing that the commodore s guests were sleep ing: "By jove luck y we didn t either of u s tell om business out here," whispered J!avis, softly. "The jig would be up now if we had. Did yo u hear that fellow jump she said 'Chicago?'"' "Yes; h e knows where the agency is located, no dou growled Hall. "Who the devil is he, anyway, and 'Ji did he pass our line of pickets?" "I'm going to find out," muttered Hall, as he bega dress. The commodore had thoughtftt1ly provided them e with a fres:h s uit of clothing, and, as Hall began to dr Davis followed his example. Their wounds had been attendeCI to before they reti and were giving them very little trouble, although had to move his head carefully so as not to start hemorrhage and as they tucked their pistols in t belts both looked at the other significantly. "We' cl better take the bull by the horns," said Da soberly. "I'm going to wake up the commodore and him on his guard. I hate t-o tell tales on a young la but this is a serious matter and I m as sure as shoot that that fellow was one of Jesse James' spies." "My opinion, exact ly! I 'll go and interview the n on guard," began Davis, and just at that minute th came a shriek fr.om Margaret's room, which was folio\ by a crash of glass and the sound of galloping h b ea ts. \Vith a yell Davi s raised t.he window sash and lea to the ground, followed by his fri e nd who was obli to move more slowly. 'fihey were just : in tirne to hear another shriek fr Margaret: then a man, motmted upon a powerful ho dashed a.round the c0rner 7of the house and disappea b( hind the long line of stables. "Ifs Jesse James," roared Davis, the minute h e ca u sight of the ride r ''Quick! Where are yo u, commodore? There treachery here. After that rascal men He. has l naped Miss Bender." Not a sound answered his and Davis made a rnsh for the stable, half frantic as heard the gallopi11g hoofbeats growing fainter fainter The first stable \\'as locked. and a de.'.l.d la y before the dool". He c onic! hear the whinnying horses, but cou)d n o t get at t!1ern. Hall had rn shecl back into the house in the meanti s l10uting for the commodore, but without getting rnuc i 1 as an echo for an answer. He threw open th e doors. one by one, finally discern the con.modore stark Jead on the floor of his bedro hi_s throat slit from ear to ear, and the bloody knife ly beside him. Then Hall dashed out of the hou se, j oining Davis the front ya.rd. and together they shouted a n alarm, tl:ere was n o t ma n on the premises who was answer. They found the other eight still sitting their norse

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THE JES SE JAMES STORIES. 23 \leir \iffer ent. posts, but they were as dazed and stupi d drugged whisky could make th e m. 1"J es se : James ,has clone hi s \\.ork, curse him!!' roared '.Qvis. "He found a traito r in the camp and n se d him J hi s advantage. The men hav e bee n drugged so that g cou l d steal m)i s1;eethea rt. "That's abou t t h e s i ze of it,'' was the answer, and th e n (If two went t.o .work with a will, fo r there wa s much 1 1 be done, and only l wo t o do it. nThey h elped the da;zed m e n from their horses an4 took ,em in to .the h o u se, and, while Hall tried t o r evive them, 1 avi s hl'nted up the key lo t h e stables. They could not follow the o utlaw and leave these m e n for t h e fact that o n e of. them had. died them think that the stu ff was The r e no in the wo rld that the 1odore ha d b ee n poisoned, and when th ey foun(i ti me f. t\1ink of bi n! they sudcknl y of hi s jughteL . D avis tried the door of h e r room, and finding it un..: )1e open .eel i t and discoveied the young girl sound Jeep in h'er bed. dlbat sh e o f al I co mpli ci t y in Jis .awfo l_.th1ng could not be doubted fo r a moment, s,o lav 1 s went out and cl ose d the do o r . Time eno u g h when s h e wakes," h e th ought a s he int back to hi s labors over the sti 1pefied m e n and from un til' broad. clayli 'ght he was obliged to work a : ' Only one h o rs.e was found mi ssing from t h e stable s, d that was Queei 1 Bess, but Dav. i s was r eady to swea r it was hi s o wn horse, fleetwind, that the ot1tlaw w as ding. As it was there was no doubt in t he minds of t he de tectives that Jesse James knew exactly w.ho .they were, but the y were a little m ys tified by hii action in stealing Margaret. The explanati o n of this strange d ee d kept their minds bu sy for a time, and a,s they finally dashed from the ranch o n the ba cks of the commodore's be s t horses, both swo re that the y would have an explanation. "Whic h way?" asked Davis, as they mad e a detour of the stables and rea c h e d the ri1ain road. : 'Dange r C it y, I said Hall,' with a look a t the men. "H th e r e is any s u ch thing as . fording. -the Saguache Without a word. th e men formed in line and sta 'rted toward the riv e r, and for the first few mil es not a w ord was s p o k e n except wqen it was ne cessary to cu.rb the: horses. .. When th ey reached the river bank .at la s t Davis m ad e a discover y , A horse had crosse d the river at that point but a .short time b efo r e, for its hoof prints were clearly outlined. .0n the soil of the bank in s pit e of th e fact that not one 'had: b ee n see n b efo r e at. an y point of their journey "After him men! rasca l i s a head!", yelled the young m a n exc ited l y "Remembe r the government ha.s offe red t e n tho usand dollar s for .his head, .and I'll give a: thousand to the man who r es tores my "It's Fleetw. incl, all right. I know the cnitter's tra cks;' s aid of the men, after examining the tracks.carefully ,Thet thar me a n s th e t were chasin', the Old Nick, an' we'_re li. kt'.LY t o briq1st V n fo, be in love .with so m ewh'e r : e else," s aid Davis, a fte r a careful search of the ui.'Se; co mm o dore: daughter, no one had .dreame d !bank. _:: if stopping him fr om going to h e r wfodow. ''We'll divid e forc es and follow the stream both ways The rest was e a sy t o guess, for n o dot1. bt the ou1 law until we find which s p o t he chose for a landing place, ,iad bribed the f e llow t o do the de e d a s he was. a man It may give us a clew to his dest1na
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' ,. 24 THE JESSE JAMES STOR I ES. dotibt the girl's lover: is one of t>hem, and, of ,cours. e, if he is, you score to settle wiith him!" Curo;e him, yes!" the man. "Let me git er beau ron ithe traitor; an' his own mother won'1 t know l1im I'll taH90 him with bullets, the. skunk Snakes I kin tasitie thet there stuff yet! It -w;:is wuss than rattlesnake pizen !" _,"Afterhim, ithen, ai;id no qua-rt-er!" roared Dav. is, who was growing more excited as he followed the hoofprints. On 1they went, skirting ithe hi ll s a.nd following the Saquai::he a s closely as possible, yret s ti .11 keeping the '!!racks in view. "There's l')O doubt about his des.tina tion now. He's made straight for Danger Cjty," said Davis, as t!1e y cleared a hedge and landed in a wide road which led directly to the settlement. which way are ) Ou headi.ng,_ Burt?" he added, nn some surprise, for the <&tahl:e:man wl;o .was leading had suddenly veered t o 1the right and was .leaving the outlaw's ltmcks behind him. "No us: e goi"n' the't. 1thar way, stranger," was .the an6\'{ .er., "The Blue Cut Creek mackes a bend towa-rds the 6aquache mile further on, a;1' at this itime of the year the current is orful, an,d ther ain't nothin' but er foot!1ridge thet won'1 t do fer bosses. This hyar road will :t-.i ke n1s straight to :the city !" "Bur t Jesse James went the other way," said Davis, thecking his horse si!tihbornly. "Arid I':m g oing to follow thios e t'rack s no ma,itter where they lead, me!" "It's reskin' yer life, srtranger !" rcr can't help that. Jess has eyidently risked 1;is; ancl rifore. He's 'tisked the life of my 'sweetheart." er mile deep, of fess __ at p'int1 ,. ; enit rem Bu11t, doggedly. ."More I rei:lron I dop't care horw deep i 1 t is! I am g;oing to keep, to the trail! Will any one. foHo:w me?" "I go Where .you :l:ead, old man')'' .cried Hall promp,:tly . "Come .. mef}. lf Jes. s C!ln cross the creek, there's no rea son why we ican't, and we are only losing time by stand-iing ,, "All right, srtf'ang-er Y ou take th, e responsiibili ty,',' said turning sullenly. I ain' t afeared of the 1wate r '!11}'.Self, 1lmt I hate. ter lose the hiosses, and once in thet ain' t like l y ter git out, ,It'll float _er chip .cle!l' n cjqwn ter ther rim 1 : ."1( horse can stand it ,ours can,,,,. said :Pa'Vis,. uecided.J.y, and, :taking tl}. e kqcl, he 'started off in ;the di,. IT'e"C!ti().n tiakien hy the outlaw. .. Leaving .. tht! .. road. a few rods farther. on,, they $truck the l 1ots again, a short gallop, over liills and. dal{;s brought rt:ht:;m wi.thi s ound. of r .ushing water. "Them'.s ther ,_BJut:cCnt. Falls/' rnmarked Bt!rt, a gloomy V Oice. "The) coni e d1c l\vn from ther mountains u like er thous:p1d er bric}t this could not b e acwmplishe 1 without the gravest da.nger . It was a .beautiful rn ornin.g-, the sun shini:1g and the ai I crisp and cl e ar, and the brave detective felt equal to_ an emergency, yet t\.01 f o r a m o f}1$lJ't did he u n clerra1:e h1 c ;tdversary. J esse Jam e s .fo eman :wor\hy of any man's stee and hi's capture mean1t more gl D ry than any one ma 1 could .hope for: n cverthless, h e was determined t o tak it.he r obber. s scalp if he c ould, and a s he g.aUo p e d o n h kept a sharp l oo k out even r ode with one han up: :m the but1 t o f his 1)is.tol. the <'rest of a low hill they callght the firs glimpse rof t-he catara;ct and, at the sa;nc time. Bllr p o inted ot1t the .doud ,Qf lbat h overed over the Ettl mining. settlement known a s Dange r Citv . ? I The. distanc e was now arbou:t five but between ithem iand t he city was 'the Cut Cre. ek, whose wa.ters bad r been .iby recent rah1s tmitil 'the y formeJi -. -' -seething, b o i ling torrent. The into the .next val ,1-ey was made in totar silence, for that glimpse of 'the c.a\tara:Ct had even the : 1 ov.er s ardor. < He had n o idea o( turning b11ck, 1lmt the (L;inger had a ss t1med new propoctions, and the buoyant, feelings which he had been experirncing s eemed' over clouded anxiety. Suddenl y J:Im sharply; and pointed to clump o.f bt;sl :1es a little t o the right, and the next minute he had. pis 1 ; '01 i l') his hand and had drawn the trigger . H o.!d -there! :Pon 't shoot!" sj)outt;d a In s ty voi.ce, and the neXit minnt\:' a bur Iv crept opt from t1n dert . . the bll'she s . "h's. 'j3ob H okl. on, s.tranger VP ye r pop.' Bob ain't er ter cl0 no damage!" warned Burt l pr0;n1pflv. . : .. .i;. ... ,. > Davis lookep at the felicyw sharply,-and .the conver-sa t ion which he h _ad overheard 9p,t)a1ys c.am a:t Ide .remempered that fran!<;Jame?l .. his iJ;>r'other tha't 0wed ;$ob F). elds mo;l','y l tha, t w as i 1 t cli, d n o t l oo k '\\t.'IL for I oro\red Hrat iie was ;i. of the Tames .2'.ang-:
PAGE 26

THE Jf\MES STORIES. 25 :tl.aiw, of course; lbut j'f he had turned against J ess, he -eight be of s ome service. "What's yer lay. pardner?" asked Burt, pulling in his aJrse. sumthin' in ther wirid \' Jhe n Boh .tields takes- ter skulk.in' :" <"I reck'n thet's rigl1t pal. --Put i t there' ex-claimed e:dds, stridii1g up offering hi s hand to the three Oablernen in turn. Then he wheeled around and stared ckle ther current!" Burl!:, a'OOve the noise of the water. "She's er dm11nin' like aJ.I possess ed," '\vent on Bob Fields, peering down the stream. "Thar a-in't no horse kin hreas-t thet thar whirlpool! Now; where ther deUJce d id Jess go?" Davis held his breath, and bi't his Hps a1s h e gazed upon the tu rbulent waters, wondering if M.argaret had found Cleath among rocks or had been sucked dow11 the stream by the swift currenit. "h's a pretty rough proposition, any way you face it, eh, o ld man!" said Hall's anxious voice in his ear. "Per haps we woul-d have done better to h:av-c gone the other Wayt-" "Quick! Look men I There's some one fo tfie water!" yelled' B ob Fields at that minute. "To the right; there, just above the whirlpool on this side. It's Jesse James: I'Wswear rto i t Look at him, pards He's ridin' Fleet wi11d and cartyin' er woman!" CHAPTER XI. 1ri.ng at the detective. :... \ "I w:as Jesse Jam es' prisoner for an hour yesterday," 'JESSE JAMES' TREACHERY. )d Davis, shortly. "I heard F rank tell him he owed d 1 1 I t t u :mo11e,y, an _it 1e oug l o pay h. "And what did Jess say?" asked Field lo oking vicious . "Ile said you could go to blazes!" laughed pa vis. Ie'll pay you or not, as he sees fi.t, my dear fellow." r"Tbe devil 0he 1 will Vhiot till I clap an eye on 1-iim !'; \red Fields, losing his head entire ly. "Jest let n1. e git bead on him, aind see }Vhich us \Yill go ter bla zes! wa1t fer him 1e01iie back from '!:her creek" :.So, Jess is ahead, is he?" asked D Y e are fy : wast\11g tim e,'" cr ied Davis. "Forward, men -The w ill escape if W e don' go 011 S orry you 11-a:ven'ta!Ol'Se, Fields. I'd ask you tu join us." ff reckon now I've got a horse, and a good one, too!" ezd the outl?-"w, da' rtin'g 1 into the 1 bushes and leading out vleek anirr-ial. then, I'm with you, pardners; ther Tll doggoned 'J
PAGE 27

26 THE JESSE J A M E S STORIES. .' .. . ) . 1 Raising. himself jus t a trifle in hi s stirrups, h e took hurled at his head and s huffled off toward the bar, whic 'off his hat ahd swt:mg it tauntingly. \vas about ten feet distant. "Blaze Ha Ha! Why cjidn't yo u fi're ?" he "Hes an t1gly brute, bt:1t h e -wof1.'t 'let-nutbin' int yelled. "fere. w ith bi zness," 'Whis!)e1:ed one cif the nien ''J "You're a' coward to hide behind a woman!" cried him er draw. in' beer an' e r !Hillin corks an' Je \[)a vis. "Hold up you r head and don't sk ulk, yo u cur!" \ v ill hev ter look : out fer himse lf, I reck'n." : The outlaw extended both arms over Margaret's shoul"Here's anothei-, you old bull!" roared Davis, tossi1. ardner Yer. can't ex. pect. ter patro'niz<;; ye 1 : if ter. cut.. throaLs.''. ,. '. . .. . . ''Ef ,ye/ don't lik e ther coq 1pan y h_yar yt; p1;ve onr Bu1: t., W e lle s," v,ras t]1e, gruff n : sponse, as t!1e reel fa\:eq .. proprietor.of .. the tayern .shifted hi s in ' ' ,I ;:, ... : .. the do p rw:ay . , .. ..... . . ,.. ' .. _! "I reck'n now I 'll move when. I see fit, '; ).'I'm pu,i::ty fe,r a drop. ,pL w!Jisky Hyar, .,,ffi.1Ltl:iet t,ha..r. <1-nd P-eig. uicl' cr:bo,1;1t it .!''..r r whi;:i was bi;;tter ,Danger. City i S "Clincher the Bison," caught u;e empty flask as. if,'.';aS the tracks around the door : "There the prints his horse's feet right plumb up to the door sill, not. track l eading a way from it either, by -thunder l" . He the discovery as he spoke, and at th.e sat 'minute th e others not!cecl it, and all arrived at once. the same co nclu sion. Jesse James had ridden t his hc;irse to the door. and th ridde;1 inside 11,'.here h e had been fo llow ed bv the otl two s wi10 atcom.pahied him ; . .. Cl incher. w ent to fill the second flask, and the m : moved a littl e distance. from to hold a consul tion . 1'1,1e fa v e rn .was a 1og affair, and' h. on l y four windows: each guarded On each side of the bltilding alJey separati;;g It 'from a cohbie t 's ''shop Oti' o 'rie si. 'and a store for 1ninin g irr{pteh1ents 01i the other. 1vh f( \tas ope n lot .of a.' cfoz'eri acres 1vliich sl6 to a gentle knoll and then spread ol!t fover 1 fl"inge of w ood l a nd. r < : t I '' ( ''Jess must hci.ve ridden in,ier ther tavern and o'ut th' 4ther door.,., Siti c l Bqi;t, : ; can "t l ther kitchen o r se .ttin' rconi, hi s horse i s \\'ith !iiY and there ain't one of t11em .. thefll l10ld foll .; .... ,, ; human three horses ." .... "Wei must. a;look them the s ame," '.'Sqppose : and see if you can find tracks, side. If h u se of, our 1 1ere a .. "l'bJ ,11ot so su.re Jess may ahd .. 1 c got yer wh1s\.Cy J t .. !':

PAGE 28

THE JES S E JAMES STORIES. 27 hi1 The stableman started around the shanty as he spoke, 1ted the detective moved his horse to the door and tossed 'Jte man a gold piece, then he leaned low in his saddle Jti d p eered in to the tavern As he did so, he saw Burt st passing the r ear door of the barroom, vv hich stood siien. He was stooping in his saddle examining the tound intently. , orrhe n ex t second Davis caught a glimpse of a rope hirling through the air, and, befor e h e could cry out a t l1rning, the n oos e had settled around the stab1eman s ck, and \\as drawn up so tight as t o prevent his even 1 loaning s Davi s re cove red his breath and let out a war-whoop, pfen making a da s h for the d 9or, he upset Clincher, who re'as still on the thresh old. an d went clattering across the hide floo r of th e barroom )Two sharp repo rts from his pistol set the bottles and a sses to jingling, the n the lariat wa s dropped and Burt 1g utc:hed at bi s throat furiousl f t s Clinc h er h obbled t o his feet with a revolver in his hand, no 1t Hall had a bead on his heart, so he decided not to ;e it. sai "After hi111 He's o n the roof, skulking behind the : e 1 imney yelled Burt, as h e caught his breath "It isn t bu t it's one of his gang! Hanged if I didn t think ti; 'd 1 t t t !" 11ey ier ( me in er e er111 y. o t 1 A volley of bullets struck the enormous s ton e c umney lie spoke for the thre e stab l emen had mov e d so as n" ;uJ> get a in three directions. 'Curse him! He's good at dodgin yelle d one of the ]\en, as h e das hed around the house, taking a look at d I four sides of the square c himne y The immediate n e ighborhood was ,, akin g up to the s1ct now that unusual was go ing o n and the ,\r!treet held ten o r a dozen n atiYes, m ostly old men and o u ome n who were not working in the min es, and all were / 'o-hl y at the cleve rpes,; of the behi;1cr' the b 1 imney. t l Hall ha d disarmed the prorietor of the t ave rn b y this )e m e and made him a pri sone r in hi s own barroo m at ; d f1hvis had tak e n a loo k at the other rooms', which, to his f(r e a t su rpri se, he found entirc:y empty. Suddenly it occurred to iiinJ. t\1at the was s ot behi nd th e chimney: but in it, and he hurriedl y whis his suspic i o ns t o Ha\1, and afte r that C lincher ,he Bison" was bound hand, and foot, so h e could not 'nterfere with their movements. "Theres some trick in this. Here, Burt, set fif e to &1at paper in rhe fireplace!'' said Davis sternly. ''There's o ne in the chimney, and I'm goi n to s moke him ut, but, ) cott Hall, suppose :.fargarc t is 111 "'be re !" His face turned pale as l:ie spQ.ke, out at tliat minute one of the other men came in, bringing M a rgar et's hand k e rchief . W here did you find it?" ask ed Davis grab bi n g it and putting it in his pocket. T ei1 yards from th er rear d oo r J ess hez gon e on: with ther girl," was ther answer. "There' s a woman outside here that swears she see 'em cut through the tavern. She 'lows they d isappe'ared i n t he r woods yo n der five minutes afore we got h y ar. "Then I'm going on. You fellows can smoke out that rascal in the chimney alone. Give him a good roasting, boys, for he's one o f the murderers! I'm off after Jess and my brave little Margaret!" He dashed out of the rear d oor and across the lot towa r d the woods, b u t the popping of pistols made him look back over his should e r. A man's figure had emerge d from the chimney, followed by a cloud of thick black smoke, and, just as he looked, it toppl e d over the edge of the stones, striking the roof and bounding over into the alley at one end o f the tavern. Then there was a yell from Hall and the clatter of hoofs and once more the little band was off after Jesse James and the captive maiden, leaving one dead man and a man in b o nd s to speak of their bri e f visit. "Who w a s it, Hall?" yelled Davis, over his sho u l der as his companions caught up with him. "That fellow, Hank Billings-lVIiss Louise s lover," was th e answer. "He lived long enough to say that Jess tricked him into staying there by saying h e' d hide the girl in the woc d s and be back in five minutes. He was so sure J ess would come ba c k that he was watching for him behind the chimney, and when he saw that Burt had found the tra c ks, he dropped that lariat in order t o detain us. "Well, he did it all right--'-to his sorrow," laughed D avis. "It's strange; but that i s the sort of men that Jess ah..-ays gets about him. They take their lives in their hands to serve their master, and he tricks them every time!'' I \VOnder what will happen whe19Jess and Bob Fields me e t, said Hall grinning. "Fields"hate s the fell ow, and y et h e fear s him; st ill I think he d put up a good fight if Jess eve r corner e d him. " This way, pardners !'' called Burt, as he bent lower in the sa ddle. "Those tracks to the right wasn't made by Fleetwind. They wa s made by ther feet of a cri tter double her weight, I reck 'n." The detectives stopped short and examined the tracks, \\hic h see med to come from another dir e ction, joi ning th ose of the outlaw's horse at that point a nd then r e turning.

PAGE 29

28 THE JESSE JAMES STORIES. "That mean s that 'Jess has been joined by friends at this point," said Davis, slowly, "who afterward went back the way they came." Then he suddenly drew rein and straightened up in his saddle. "By Jove! I"ve thought of something," he said, suddenly. "You fellows go on after the outlaw. I'm going back 0n the trail of this oth e r horse. I think it's Black Denny, belonging to Mrs. Bender, and Margaret may have g011e with her." I believe you are right, Davis," said Hall, afte r a minute. "We were fools not to think of that before. It means just so muc h time wasted." A short consultation followed and the men d ec ided to diviqe, Davis taking Burt, and Hall the two others. They were t o meet again that nig-ht at eleven o "clock at a gambling-house in Danger Cit')'. "I re c kon Bob Field s will b e thar," said Burt, at parting, "and if Bob sticks it out ter get squar' with Jess, ther game orter be in our hands b y midnight, pardners CHAPTER XII. 'A CODlt OF SIGNALS. It wa:s eleven in th e moPning when the men di v id e d forces, and three honrs lat e r t h ey were s till in the saddle, Hall and his men hot o n the outlaw's track, and Dav i s and Burt, following the trail of Black Denny. Da.nger had b ee n lef.t behind, and rth e country was fas t growing wild e r and more d eso la te, and at la s t Davis drew r ein with a disgusted exclamation. "\!\There the dence does this t rail lead to, a n yway, Burt?" h e :asked, as t h e s tableman's h orse stopped. Burt 1 took a sharp look .awund before h e answered, and then con sulted a s mall compas'S that h e took from hi s pocket. I r ecko n now this hyar l eads ter a ranch thefs own e d b y er f eller named A r temw Ca ulkins!" h e answered, finally. "Ther don't nobod y know Caulkin s, but every body in this hyar sec ti o n knows th e r ram:h. Ther's a few hund'ed head o' s h ort horns and so m e all fired good sheep on i 1 t." "Wh0 nms the r anch ?" "Y er've got me thar The commodore told me once thet he' d seen a mighty fine-lookin woman on it'; but ther commodor e allers hed an eye out fer purty femal es, and I reckin' he wa'S er bit acid .Jed with bad rum wh e n h e told the "It's s 1t11an.ge that no one knowis Caulkins, or whatever hi s name i s for. o oourse, h e hires a 101: of men to Jaok after his c a H le. "Not sech e r l o t of 'em pardne r A n the1 .. s some:thin' strnnge about 1 t het thar, too. Tain't three times in s u c cession thet 1ther sam e face i s seen a t ther ranch, so I rec k'n thet thar Caulkins is a hol y terror. Anyhow, we"re J;kel y 1 t e r know more abou 1 t him in an h o ur, pardne r fer, of course, we'll stop a.t ther ranch ter gi t some di1iner .. I expect we'll have to," sai d Daviis, startmg up again. "I'm_ as hungry .as a d og, and the horses want water. Farther, I GOl1'fess I m anxious to see the woman you speak of.1 They mde on for another mile; with ll:he detective thinking deepl y, and the count r y growing every minute T rougher and W"ilder. The path w:as now only a nid1 ; trail leading in a roundabout course bet ween t oii bushes and b owlders, up hill and down dale w i th al J 11'0 level. the Later o n they ca m e upon herd s o f ca tie thait seei oat rto 1 be making their wa y through the bushes to th e pas ,,,r land s bey .and, and, with a l ow wore\ of warning, the h o r semen drew near e r together. th< ''Thars som e one 'behind 'em, I r ec k n. S"posc we e 1 r minu-te pardner, and h ev e r l ook at ther fe ller?'' "All rie-ht. m. D av i s answered quickly, and then rnov ed into Je bushes, but h e knew h e had n o t escaped obs ervati on, almost instantl y there was the -crack of a r evolver. st A>s no bull et came their way the two men knew at tha t the report was m e r e l y a signal. and, as qnick thought, Davis rai sed his weapon and fir e d i11to the fi "H one s hot m eans on thing, q :rtainly rtwo s h ots m ea n so m et hin g e l s e.'" h e c hu c kl ed. "Now. l efs w 1 is what th e fellow will do to get o u t of that di ern ma. He had ha rdl y spoken w h en Burt pointed to so I: thing. I t was a white fla g 1 1 hich had sudden ly been unfu in rth e topmost branches of one of the highest trees n hundred yard s from where t h ey were hiding. a "Another s ignal. and thi s time w e are growl ed the detec tive. ".:\IQ\\". dia you suppose t hat is 11 tell some o n e on t h e r a n c h that we aTe coming?" f [ r eckon yer\e called the turn, pardner," 1Ya s s.tableman's a n s 1 wer. .;.:\ow, what"s our next play? r l \\'e go o n o r stay hyar ?" ; Go on, certai nly. What"s the goo d of skulking if fellow has s een u : a nd. furth e r, we' re not sure that fellow i s an e n emy. T h ey may be honest people \\ h ave taken u s for "'Ther" s somethin about t ber ranch,'" m te red Burt. as h e fo l.Jo.wed Davis out of t h e bush es. "] in bad favor with th e r n eighbo r s r ound e rbout T1 s ny J ess e James i s e r frequent vi si.tor a t ther pl< an--" "By Jove I know t h e r a n c h now! No wonder hfi visito r ther e \!\Thy the property belongs to h is moth Mrs. Samuel s She comes here o n s hort visits from I h ome in Mi ssm1ri exclai med Davis. \ As h e spoke the d etect iv e sca nn ed the carefu "'Where i s our friend?" h e whispered. "Th e one I. h o i s t e d the white flag There"s .the paraphernalia y r der. 'but not a traoe o f the l ooko u t Advancing, th ey r eac h ed the foot of the tall tree, a could see the rope dangli'l1g at the trunk andt he whi fla g waving up above them, but whoever had given t signal s h ad taken French leave. and, what was rnol'e, had not lef.t so m u c h as a footpri.nt behind him. Burt was off hi s h o r se in a minute, and up in the tr and as h e r eac h e d a hi.gh branch h e c all ed d own exc i.ted "Tha:r 'hs Tha-rs ther ranc h er leet;J e ter t her east feller co uld mn over ther plac e w itb out kn owin' h thar. Hello! Thar's four h o rsem e n er standin' at tl ranch hous e g:a1te. an' I"ll ibe hangec! ef I don' t think 1 y e:r chum an' 1 ther boys, pardner I "Then we"cl bes i t get a move on, and be quick ab1. it ,' said Dav. i s 'For -if the b oys a-re there it m e an s ti ,)1.ave tracked the outlaws to t he place, and .. t hey' re lik to need us in a precious fow

PAGE 30

THE J ESSE JAMES S TO R IES. 2 9 Burt dropped down from
t's mother defies you!" The men looked .a: t each other with iblank face at this. l1'Cl 'Then, as Hall sca nn ed the ra11Ch h ouse eagerly, he was )t ] a i ble to prove her n From -each window protrud ed a r ifle, and there were three daTk forms up on the roof, while the l1ow sta:bles in fll the rear had mounted guns at every angle. f If they h ad anti cipated a siege place could not have y been better 'Prote.::.ted and. as the men overlooked the war lik e preparaiti o ns, the ontl oo k grew g l oomy. a ''Hano-ed if I'li go away .without nmttered Davis, vh sav:a ge ly. I say, can't we fire the place and b)aw it to 1 1 thunder--" ''And up yo ur sweetheart wit h That wo ulrl hardl y do," laughed "We rnuist th ink of something tr cle\'ePer than that to fool that old creature." ) \ t )( '.! k Mrs. Samuels h ad gained rth e door n ow, and was shaking her fist at tuem saviage ly, and, as she finally stepped in si de a littl e porthole in the doo r flew Gpen. "Th e place i s 1 a p erfeot a!'senal It would take a battering ram to florce it!" growled Davi s "Suppose we rehre :to 1 the bushes anCI h old a consultation. I have a scheme that iri.11al b e made to work, but I'm open to any sug. gestions tha t yo u fdkiws ha vie >tio offer." T hey mo\Fed ?ack for several r-0cls tmtil lf:hey werti eut of sig ht of ithe house a:nd :tllen Davis u n folde:dl liis pl.an, which was considered a very 'g10'0d one. Burt was sent back by a roun dabou t cou r se to the tree foom whi c h the white flag floated, and, after a little h e found 1 a 1 black one, which he promptly ran up, while he lowered ithe other. The 'black fl.rag fluttered a minu1te, then w a s caught in a gust whiich 1 wra.pped ilf: around lthe limib like a piece of sticking plast e r. In a second he was up i n .the t r ee, shaki n g out the black folds, and as h elb alanced himself on a f.rail 'limb, he heard a loud laugh below him Looking tdbwn he saw two men, both wi t h their revolvers full upon him, and in an in s tan t h e saw that one was Jesse J ames, the oul tlaw. "Hello, is:tranger How's rthe weather up there?" called J esse J ames, saircas tically. ''I'll just trouble you to take in 1 thiat black rng, and run out 1 the other again, ou s inner! A n effort to dra1 w ia weapon will send you straight to the d evil!" Bunt had no c han ce iburt .to obey the order, !mt he ground his teet h in rage at being 1 treed b y the outlaw His on l y h ope now was that the two detectives would' c'Ome to inves tigate 1 the change in signals, so, af1 ter shak ing oui t the white flag agiain he clung to the limb and waited. "Now, then, stranger, let'.s have youir name ," said Jesse Jar P e? again, followjng t he command with an ominous click of hi s pistol. Bui;t sa:w t hat lying wiould do no good, so he promptly told hi s name and the names of hi s companions. ''Ha! ha! So one of them is Al Davis!" said lthe out laiw, dra:wing a pape r fr o m his po cket. "Are you sure, now, that the other -isn't called either W : iHiams or Carter?" "Sure! His name is Hall," sa id the sta f bleman, stub bornly. "What's the use of me y in' when I'm treed like er catermount? I've told yer all I kn ow, J ess James Them two chaps was friends of ther commodore's. vVhat ther bizness i s hyar is more n I know. except thet tbet thar 'felle r Davis is er goin ter marry Miss Bender." "Oh, he is, i s he?" mared J esse Jam es. "Well, I con gratulate the fellow! S h e's as pre:bty as they make 'em, and as fuJ.l o f plu c k as a cartr i dge. So yo u didn't eve n g u ess that tho se chaps were cletectives ?" I mout' er gues:sed it, but I didn'it know fer su re," was t h e snrly answer. "'Twarn't my biz te r sped;: i lla:te o n ther commodore's fri ends, an' I r eck' n now if they a ir detect i ves they won't do me n o darna ge." "No; they're after 1bigger game than. an exh o r s e thief," l aughed the outlaw. "They're a fter me, curse them; 1bu:t r they'll never get me I'll see them feedi n g the wolves w i 1 t h their b o nes before they l eave Co l orado." I reck'n thet's right; Jess! Thet tha r 's wb.at gen" rall y hap pe n s ter yer enemies i f reports i s true," gmaned Burt; "but ez I don't happen i ter be e r dete ct ive s'pose ye r l et me clow n. It'1s migh 1 ty onp l easant playi n t ree t oad, J ess, an yer kin do what yer plea&e arter I strik e te;rry fi" rmy "You 'll d o fll eno u g h where yo u a:re for a time," a 1 -swe red the outlm The n, r ep lacing t h e pape r i n hi s pocket, he said a fc \Yards to hi s companion. "Keep him up l there, t1 '0 ou 1 tlaw c all ed out alS he startecL badt-" L ook out, ca:p'n Thar was two on eu., sure," iwamed the other, softly.

PAGE 31

THE JESSE Jf\MES ST O RIES "Then keep your eye peeled for him, too, and, if you see him, rnn out bath flags at onte. I'll look hack now and rthen, and keep wia1:d1 of the signals." "Suppose 1 thiat fellow up ther e balks?" asked Bones, iin a questionin:g voice. "Then pump hii:m full of lead, and run up the signals yourseH," said the outlaw promptly, after which he 1struck into rt:he bushes and. s'ta1ted off in the direction of the ranch house. Burt wia:s in a position oommanding the diS:tant rnnch, and just at rt:ha:t minute he \9a' w his four companions emerge from the bushes and come out into the road where Jesse James, as soon as he mounted the next knoll, would be sure tt:o :see them. The 'blood leaped to his head and he shut his teeth hard, while he almosrt: prayed that 'Something 'Would tell them to go back i111to the 'bushes. H they would s'tiay tmder cover five minutes longer il:hey would see the famows outlaw dash across the clear iing to lthe ho.use, and i : t would be the chance of their lives put a ht.t!let through him. The !black flag was still in his hand, while the white one If he could exchange the two it would put the deteC'tiv es on their guard, in another minute the greatest -rasta.l on would be killed or captured. The
PAGE 32

THE J ESS E JAME S S T O RI ES 81. ovnself the jump, and the next minute the horse Hall d been riding galloped off withoully, for the outlaws had it all their own way with any 1e \Yim jumped the ledge, and would soon put an end their entire party. H\Ve'll have to stay here and tire him out," he s aid to 1e two stablemen. "The fellow has bus iness to at.1tend i. so he can't tay there forever." the three horsemen separated themselves by a few uds, and then sat their horses and waited pa'tien,U.y for 1e outlaws to move, but there was not a sound under ie ledge after thait first r eport, and hout a sound, and then three uliar bi, rd notes came from the same direction, and ere promptly answered by the men in hid ing. "That settles it, boys! We are trapped! whispered Davis, softly. "You two turn your faces rtlowards the newcomers, while I keep my eye peeled for Jes s." Onlce nrore the bird notes were given and answered, and soon the bushes bega:n to 'Crackle as thiough a horse was passing through them. "Thet thar1s s trange Ther 'feller's alone, whoever he is," whi sperecl one of the men ag.ain. "Thet thar's rnakin' .it mos:t too easy, parclner. I kin pick off the his head pops :through rther bru'Sh yonder." "Don't be in too much of a hurry, my friend," warned Davis. "I hate to see a man mur dered unless he's an enemy. Sh! There he is now! Go slow, old fellow." The crackling and stamping had come nearer as he spoke, and a man's head had sudcj:enlY" appeared above the bushes, but the dusk was settling so heavily now tha't not one of the horsemen grot a glimpse of his features. "He' s s een us, ia.Jl r ight,1' muittered one of the men, as the head disappeared -and another shr ill signal cut ithe a1r w1 th i'ts sharpness. This sign;;.! was answered exactly like the others, and then the caught 'the sound of whispers UJ.lder the ledge and knew that the ou tlaws were cons u lting to gether. "Hi, thar !" cried out one of the detective's men. "W ho ther devil be ye? Better speak ,right out, stranger, seein' how we'Te :three to one," he saicl, wan11ngly. "I'm er lookin' fer Jes se James," ca.me from the bushes, after a minute "The't thiar don't tell nothin', stranger. What do yer want of him?" "Satisfaction. He owes me five hundred dollars," said the voice again. The sfableman burst out laughing, and then spoke in his natura l voice. "Snakes! Is it you, Bob Fields? Why in thunder didn't yer say so. We" re frum ther commoclo.-e's stable; now yer kn o w us, don't yer ?" "'I'm with yer heart and hand, >then, parclner," said Fields, moving forward. "I've rid from Danger ity sence noon, an' a deuce of a time I'v e had ter trad< him. So he"s under th et thar ledge, is he, curse him, Jesit wait till I get rhar, a.n' I'll show yer sum 1 thin' Th 'ar's tricks in every trade, by ginger !" He moved forward rapidly the stableman keeping a few feet in advance and telling the others who he was befor e he got to them. "Now, then, com e on boys! We'll flush our quarrv all right!" yelled Fields, as he 'broke a bran c h from a dry 'bush. "We '11 sk in ther daylights out o' thar beasts, and make '.em stampede. Thet thar'll run 'em out ther quick est of anything, I reckon." He set fire 1 to the branch as he woke, a.ncl cl ropped it, crackling and flaming, over edge of the pr ecipice. In an instant :there was a tremendous snorting and s tamping. Then a 1 man 'that lookecl like Jesse James dashed out into view, waving the burning brand in cir cles around his head, whiJ.e he yelled Cttrses of defiance at the men aibove him. In a second four revolvers were turned in his dire t tion but, with a lightning-like bound, he was upon the back of the frigh tened horse and galloping away, with the

PAGE 33

32 THE JESSE JAMES STORIES. fiery busn \still gyratting around' him, and' sending a shower of sparks doWtl! upon the back of his mount. Crack! cmck went the Tevolvers of the men, and the horse stopped abrutly about forty yards from the. foot of the ledge. AL !that !Second! anOlther horse and nider dashed from under the rock, and two more pistols sent their l eaden mi ssiles after him. "Whoop! Huirrah Down with Jesse James!. got him, boys!" yelled Davis, exci 1 tedly, as the burning ibush fell 11:>0 the g.round and the dauntles s rider reeled in his saddle. "Never rniind tlie other dev:il Shoot ther bandit king!" !!'oared Fields, and once more his weapon was aimed in the direction of 'the first xider. The honse dropped without a sound, his rider rolling ofI of his back lik e .a 'log, hut hi s companion disappeared !in the darkness l ike o ne of the m a n y shadows, while another vioHey of bullets s:ang iaround him harml ess l y Then Bob Fields put his horse over the ledge, landing in good shc.pe on the g round seven feet bel ow, and the next min u1te h e ':via:s 1 bend .ing over the prostrate body of the ou't ilaw. Davis and the istablemen followed. a .I! landing safely, and Davis had just reached his friend's ibody when Fields ye lled an impr eootion. "lit ain't J ess, after all! It's only "Bones'! Cmse tlier fe ll er, I 'believe h e's ther d evj l himself! Thar can't nu th in kill him; ndt even er bullet!" "I'd er sworn 'twas Jes s," begiai1 one of 'the stablemen, disgu st edly. "So wou l d I. He's got on Jess's thet thar's ther r eason, p;rrdner. 'Tain t ther firs-t time he 's made one of hi s s l aves die f_er him, ye r kin bet." Bob Fields had l e ft the fallen outlaw, and gone over to Davis as he spake, and found the dete c tive holding Hall's h ead on hi s knees. Tain't no use pardner. Yer fr iend's cashed in his c heck s," he 1said, consolingly. "Now-:ther only thing ter d o i s ter squar' yer account with Jess, an' I rec k'n as haw I'm ther one ter h e lp yer do it." Davis ground his teeth and choked back hi s emot i on, and was a!ble < to h elp the oth ers put Hall's 'body upo n o n e of the saddles. "I mus t get Margaret ou1 t of hi s dutches fir st," h e said, de s perately. "After that I'll hunt him to the ends of the earth I 'll hound him to his dea'th, o r mine!" CHAPTER XIV. CONCLUSION. Jesse James, the o utlaw. had escaped him again, but he was s : till firm in hi s d e terminati o n to capture him ul timate ly. They buried Hall's body by moonlight, and t h en started lback Mrs. Samue l' s ranch, for even Fields was eager to r escue Mi ss Bender. They fou nd the ran c h h o u se in darkness and deserted iby every specimen of the masculine gender, nor was anything to be see n o f t he outJ.a w''S mother. In the woods nearby they came s uddenl y across Margaret, who was sitting upon a fallen log, weep:ing over the dead 'body of her mother. The old woman had r tripped, with her revolver in h er hand ; and a through her heart had ended her q.reer forever. 1 The meeting between Davis and his sweetheart was a: affe cting that eve n B o b Fields l oo ked but 1 ga ret w as finally a ble to tell h er story. e It seemed that Jesse James had waylaid and killed t d sheriff 1 and pa11t of his posse that night, and thei1, seei1.l. the bunring i torch, he vis ited the Blue Cutv oca:ve, wrung from Mrs, Bender a knO\dedge o f all of r m sheriffs rnis deq1eanors. 10 In return for information he pro mised to restore MaT garct to her arms, 'but he did not omit stealing the tha; oughbrecl upon 1 the same occasi on. Who killed Comr nodore Stetson was never known, b1t it was supposed to be Hank, Miss Stetson's unscrupulo, ti lover, who had hated t h e o ld gentleman fo r some tin\d and had often threatened him. T Davis and hi s oo:mpanions buried Mag B ender ne "Artemas Caulkins'." ranch, then the party went ha/(; to the commodore's together, where Louise was delighti to provide them with s helter. A man ito perform the marriage ceremony could n n be found fo r S'Ome days and, as Davis ldt hi s to aooompany Bob Fields to Danger City, and did rn return 1 when he was expected, the de l ay was one of tli i greatest uneasiness. When he did return it was with n gl oamy !brow, for once more the clever bandit king is o u t wrtted him and made off with a pile of giold d ust ri0 '11 under the noses of i the natives of Danger tity. i n }ess had timed his raid when t h e miners were all l u work and eve n the detective w as killing time by nappin !: His men had entered the town one by one, some ioa w o men's cLothing and seven murden had been comm i ttt' c wi t h o u t a pisto l speaking. p< vVhen the 'town did awake to the fact tha:t it had rnbbed, seven men. with their throats icut from ear \tt car, wer e lef.t to tell the s-tor y of the ou Llaw's method 's. ar A fter that there were frequent scares that the Ja1rn gang '\\'.ere coming, but in Jesse James wa s fcp1 away. There was not wealth enough in that section iu'. make a long stay there profitable. Davi s and :Miss Bender were finally married, but.Llftn sett l ed in Co l o rado for the detective was determin(!'CI i remain as long as there was a doubt that the outlaw w,, n still in 1that section, but when he knew he had gone, 11 n;roved hi s own quarters also. h L ouise Stetson sent East for her favher's brother f b oome and look after :the ranch and a year later s h e maJl.11 ri ed a fine young man who was in Colorado prospectin Oueen Bess was never returned to the commodor t stables but was u sed by Jes se Jam es on many of h 'i famous rid es when Fleetwind could n ot be risked carry him to :th e end of hi s journey. h His ride through Colo rad o embraced several hundr miles, and no o ne cou ld prove tha:t at any time he w more than ten minutes out of the saddle, and that w 0 .only when it was n ecessary for him to change saddles ,, horses t THE END. i Next week's Jesse JAMES STORIES (No. 16) will cor tain "Jesse James o n the Mississippi; Q r, The Due l ; t Midnight," detailing the o utla w 's exciting experiences q c one of the floating gambl in g palac es, as the old-time Mil siss ippi s 1 teamboats used to be called.

PAGE 34

JESSE JAMES STORIES WE w e re the first publis h ers in the w orld to print the famous s torie s of the James B oys, written by tha t rem arkable man, W B. L aw s on, whose n ame i s a wat c hword with our boy s We have h a d many imitato r s and in o rd e r tha t no one sha11 be deceiv e d in ac-Jesse J a mes. ceptin g the spurious for the r e al w e shall i ss u e the b es t stories of the J a me s Boys, b y Mr. Lawson, i n a New Libra r y entitled "The J esse Jam es Stories ,'' one of our big five c ent l ibraries, and a sure winner with the boys. T he first four i ss ues are: "Jess e Ja2 n e s the Outlaw. A Narrative of the J a m es Boys,'' J e s s e James Legacy; o r The B o r de r C y cl one,'' J ess e J ames D a r e -D ev il D a n ce; or, B etray ed b y One o f The m,"" Jesse J a m es' B l ac k Agents ; or, The Wild R a id a t Bu1li o n City." STREET & SM:r-TH, Publishers, New York. BU.ff ALO BILL STORIES The only publication auth orize d b y th e H on. Wm. F C o d y (Buffalo Bill.) Buffal o Bill. W E were the publi shers o f the first story e ve r written of the famous and world -renowned Buffalo Bill the g r eat hero whose life h a s b e e n on e s u c c ession o f exc iting and thri1lin g incid ents c o m bi n e d with g r eat s u ccesses and accomplis hments, all o f which will be t o ld in a series o f g r and s t o ri es which we shall n ow pl a c e b efore the Ame ric a n boys. The first of thes e sto ri es entitled "Buffa l o Bill,. the B orde r King," appears in No. r of our n ew fiv e =cent library entitle d The Buf falo Bi11 S to rie s STREET & SMITH, Publishe r s New Y ork. I N 1cK CARTER THE best k n own dete tive in t h e world Nick Carter. Stories this noted sleuth are i sued regularl y in ''Ni e Carter Weekly" (pri five cents), and all h Nick Carter. work i s written for u It m a y interest the p atrons an?, reade of the Nick C arter Series of D e t ecti Stories to know tha t these famo s s o will so o n b e produce d upon t h e under unus u ally e l aborate circumstan c Arrangements have jus t been com l et betw een the publishers and Manager C. Whitney, to present the enti re se t Nick Carter stories i n dramatic form. T fir s t play of the serie s will be brought o next fall. STRE E T & S MITH1 Publishers, New Yor DIAMOND DICK STORlf I t THE ce lebrated p mond Dic k s tori es c Best Weekly." D famo D i a m ond Dick Dick and his son Ber ........... are the most unique and fascinating hyr o f Western romance. The scenes and.ma I o f the incidents, in these exciting storie s taken fr o m r ea l life Diamond Dick stor are conceded to be the be s t stori es of the We and are all c opprighted by us. The libra is the s a m e s i z e and pric e as this publicati with h andsome illuminated cover. P r i five c ents STREET & S MITH, Publi s hers N E W Y or


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