Jesse James surrounded, or, The desperate stand at Cutthroat Ranch

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Jesse James surrounded, or, The desperate stand at Cutthroat Ranch

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Title:
Jesse James surrounded, or, The desperate stand at Cutthroat Ranch
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 )
Criminal investigation ( 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:
028820874 ( ALEPH )
07359170 ( OCLC )
J14-00043 ( USF DOI )
j14.43 ( USF Handle )

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serial

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No. 43. Price, Five Cents.

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.... .. A DfALfnG WITH THE-DETECTIOn Of CRIME .rssued fVee:tly. By Subsc ripti4,. $2.50 f;er yei:sr. E11tered as Seco,.it C l as s Matter at tire N. Y. Po;t Office, by STREET & S M ITH, 238 fVilliam St. Ac Y E ,. fere d accordinlf lo Act of Con;rress 1 n f M yea r 190} i n IM Offic. of the L 1 'braria n o.f C o ngres; W ashi'fr .;rton, J). C No. 43. NEW YORK, M arch 1 1902. Price Five J[SSE JAMl:S SURROUNDED: OR, The Desperate Stand at Cutthroat Ranch. By W B. LAWSON. CHAPTER I. JESSIE JAMES IN DI SGU I SE I t was cl ose up o n s u ndown a n d a group of men h a d a ssemble d a ro und a pi l e o f -timbe r i n t h e yar d of a ran c h h o u se, in H um bo ld t c o unty, C alifo rni a T h e s pot wa s kn ow n as D ark C afio n b ut th e cano n proper wa s a mil e a way whil e th e ran c h s t ood o n grounJ alm os t as l eve l as a t a bl e S e a te d up o n th e t imb er wa s a h eavily -b u i lt m a n w h o s e only p o int o f d i ffe r enc e fro m t h e o th e r s w a s th a t he car rie d n o we a po n s Thi s fa ce in it s e lf t o ld th e s t o r y o f th e man' s p os iti onh e had been ca u g ht in so m e evil a c t a nd wa s b e i n g h e ld a c ap ti v e Reck on, n ow, yer kin nam e t h e r so n -ofa-gun P ete Sander s I l ow ye r ve b e en l onge s t in this h yar sec ti o n spo k e up L e m Sny d e r one o f th e pu nc h e r s fr o m th e ranch after eje cting a quid of tobacco ,, P e t e S a n ders an o l d man of se venty, took a seat o n the t imber clo s e t o the s ull e n individual and loo k e d him o v er criti cally b efor e h e an s w ered: "Ye r ri g h t Lem! I l o w I've b een in th e r c an o n er g o o d w h i le, but t hi s hyar sk ulkin vaga b o n d i s e r l eet l e too mu c h f e r m y m e m r y I'v e b e e n er foinkin lik e e r h o use afire, but I 'low I c a n't p lac e h im " \ Vhat's t h e r goo d o f id e nti fyin' him parcln e rs ? spo k e up a b r awn y r a n c h ma n from T eha m a co unt y "The sk unk w as kctc h ed s n o opin in ther c o r ral a n d e v e r y b o d y i n this h yar sccLi'On k nows wh a t th e t m ea n s Th e r chap i s e r thi e f an th et thar's e n ough t e r kn ow erbo ut him ." H o ld 011, Jim F i fer! Sn oo pin ain't n o sin in thi s h yar can o n! The r f elle r h as g o t te r b e off th e r pr emises wit h th e r b e ast! I reck o n we' r e a l eet l e a head of yer on th e r law a n' o rd e r questi o n Fife r ; T e h a ma' s be h ind the r timi:s Haw! Haw Be tt e r move e r c r o s s t h er b0tm d'ry an b e ci v i l i zed-hey, p a rdn e r !"

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I 2 THE JESSE J AMES STORIES. The last speaker was a man of som e importance in Humboldt county, inas much as he ha
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THE JESSE JAMES STORIES., 3 "A jim-dand y law! Who framed it, judge?" called Arabian thoroughbred by the bridle, and these tw o adDick Pendleton. A broad smile wide ned the judge's expansive counte, nance. "Reckon thet thar i s what would be called ther law of emergencies! It's er impromptoo, an' thet thar's ther beauty of law in m y opeenyon Indervidooal law ter suit indervidooa l cases! I reckon thet thar rulin' has yer en dorsement, pardners There was another grunt of approval, and then Pete Sanders offered an amendment. "I 'low yer'd best wait, jedge, till we see what's in his pockets This hyar one on this side is er bulgin' almighty suspicious Ef we should find now thet it was filled with nuggets, I 'low it would alter tiler amount yer jest named, an' I move e r committee be app'inted ter investigate ther afor'said !" "Reckon I'll seco nd thet thar motion, an' I 'lovv yer'd best carry it quick, judge!" remarked Lem Snyder, as he took a step toward the silent prisoner, with hi s gaze upon the bulging pock et. "Thet is good law, pardners, an' I agree ter it!" answered the old judge, promptly "Thar ain't no price will pay fer evil inclinations, an' it's jest as well ter set an example! Thet thar's our bounden duty, pards We've got ter be allers an' forever er settin' examples." He scrambled down as he spoke, and hurried around the timber, so as to be close at hand when the contents of the pocket were divulged, but just as he struck the ground there came an interruption in the proceedings A group of horsemen had sto l en across the lots, keeping directly behind the ranch house, and just as the women inside came to the door, yelling lik e so many Indians, the riders dashed around th e house and l eve l ed thei r weapons. "Hands up, ther hull Jot of yer Move a muscle and ye are dead m en!'' ordered a thundero us voice, and the words were accompanied by the omin ous click of trigge r s In stant l y every man in the group aroun d the timber raised his arms above his head, the two young d e tectives following their example promptly. As they did so the y watched a peculiar maneuver. The horsemen, who number e d fourteen, divided in three sections, each turning and facing in different directions. This left two odd men one of which was leading an vanced promptly to the side of the pri so ner. A dozen people, men and women, had come running from behind the various buildings but they were met at ea c h point by four business l ikelooking rifles. The prisoner leaped upon the back of the thoroughbred and some one handed him a pistol. The next second his voice rang out like the blast of a bugle. "Disarm the pack of fools, and l et's be off at once partners! Ha! ha! The judge's. eloquence has saved my lif e! The oid toad little knew how I was counting the minutes!" Ins tantly the two extra m e n were obeying hi s order, and every man around the timber was s horn of his re volver. "Now stop t hat fellow's mouth yonder!" went on the bold speaker, as he pointed to a cowboy near the door of the ranch h o u se, who was yelling like an Indian. There was th e sharp crack of a weapon, and the fellow to ok to his heel s with one hand over his ear. This scene was greeted with a burst of laughter; then the group of riders wheeled swiftly and dashed away as they came They were hardly l ost to sight in the trees bordering the lot behind the ranch house when another clatter of hoofs was heard, and three young m en, mounted upo n jaded horses, ga lloped up the cafion fr o m another direc ti on. "Where is he?" shouted the leader c f the trio as he saw the group. "We are from the marshal 's office, and are after an outlaw The group beside the timber presented a sorry spec tacle but as the riders came n earer Dick Pendleton let out a low cry of amazement. "By thunder! It's Star! The jig is up, H o rt on! I hope to H e a ve n the boys d o n 't know us!" Duke Horton came to the front w ith unusual alacrity and let out what sounded like a genuine yell of pleasure. "Snakes and crocodiles, m en! Why weren't you a minute sooner? We've just been held up by a whole gang of outlaws, and to think we've had one of 'em in our clutches ever s inc e daybreak!" "What did he l ook l ike? The leader I mean?" a s ked th e first rid er, again.

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4 THE JESSE JAMES STORIES. He slipped from his saddle as he spoke, and winked at his companions, the \Vink being intended to warn them not to dispute his story. "He >vas a giant, with shoulders like an ox and eyes as hard as a grindstone! Had on a red flannel shirt, gray trousers, and wore a set of patriarch's whiskers," an swered Pen dlet o n, promptly. There was a cry of disappointment, and the trio looked at each other. They knew the description of this man by heart, for they were three of the cleverest detectives from the great Pinkerton agency. "Yo u've b e en a lot of chumps, then, growled the leader, whose name was Will Star. "That fellow was Jesse James, the noted outlaw a nd his friends were the James gang, the worst cutthroat crew in the United States at present!" CHAPTER II. 'l'HE D E' l'ECTIVES MEET RIVALS. "That settles it Duke f Keep mum, old man!" whis pered Dick Pendleton, softly "The boys don t know us in th ese rigs, and I confess I'm glad of it. The idea of our having our bird in our hands and not even knowing it!" "Bosh! Star has had the same luck himself, I'll bet on it!" muttered Duke "That rascal could fo o l the devil! Hang the judge! Why couldn't he have shut up and let us have our own way! we'd have lynched the scamp at daylight if it hadn't been for his interference." "Better keep dark for a time, anyhow," urged Pendle ton, again. "Give St. Louis a show! Those Chicago fellows will only crow over u s and besides I've no no ti on of dividing the reward. Ten thousand dollars about now would come in mighty handy! "That's so," muttered Duke, as he moved over nearer the trio, who sinc e Star's announcement had b e en con sulting in undertone s "We ca1:1ght the fellow 111 the corral," he a little meekly. "He hadn t stolen any of the cattle, but, of course, his pFesence there wa s suspici o u s We'd have hung him, sure, if it hadn t been for Fatty,' yonder! He's a judge or something, so, of course he's hot for law and order!" "He had a good subject to prac tice on when he began with Jes se Jame s," remarked Star, sarcastically. "Here we've been hunting that fellow all over the country, and this is the sort of thing that has been going on ever since we started! 'Ne corner the rascal and he slips through our fingers! I'm beginning to think the devil helps him." The group of natives had drawn nearer now, and were standing about, with dejected expressions on their faces "Who owns this place?" asked one of the other Pinker ton m e n, as he, too, from the sadd l e to relieve the tired creature he was riding. Joel Palmer, a man of forty, with muscle s like iron, raised his head sheepishly. "Reckon I do, stranger," he said, slowly; "I'll call Jed ter water y e r horses right away! Consarn it! I feel as mean as er coyote over what's jest happened! Ter think thet thar was Jess James, ther wust cutthroat in crea tion!" "No use to cry over spilt milk," remarked the detective, whose name was Fred Stacy. "It ain't the fir s t time .that Jess has held the winning hand partner! Give the horses some feed and a proper rest, if you will, then, if there's anything in your larder, we'll pay you well for it! Twenty miles in the saddle i s enough for the present, I reckon." He glanced at S tar as he spoke, and the detective n o dded his head. "\i\T e'll stay here for a while-that is, if we can be accommodated," was the answer; then a significant glance was exchanged between them. Joe l Palmer was only too glad to have some pretense for leaving the g ro up and as he and Lem Snyder l ed the horses away th e judge pulled out his red bandana and wiped his eyes. "It's ther fust time I ever lost er case, f e ller-citizens," he said, in a whim pet;; "I 'low, now, thet thar was er case thet:.thar ain't no l aw fer! I'd orter hev acted faster an' done th e r talkin' afte rwards! Th et thar comes of tryin' ter 'give ther devil his due an' set er example fer l aw an' order when tain 't needed!" "Thet thar' s erbout th e r size of it, judge. Yer' ve ca lled th e r turn!" remarked th e ranchman from Tehama c o unty, exultingly. "Better come over ther bordet, jedge, an' s e e how we do them thar things! why, we run thet thar scoundrel out er Tehama neck-au'-heels less'n er month ago! He'd er wrecked ther express an'

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THE JESSE Jl\MES .. corraled half er million ef we hadn 't! Maw! haw! call? I 've got a watch and some dust that I'd hate to Thar warn't no words over thet thar play, pardners vVe jest showed thet tliar rascal tbet he warn't wanted in"ther county! Thar ain't no county thet's so chock full o' fighters as Tehama, I reck o n an' thet thar's th er only law an' order thet goes _in our section !" part with," went on Horton. Howard Lent, the third Pinkerton man, was able to laugh naturally at the question, and as his feeling s were relieved thereby h e answered, pleasantly: "If that's all th ere is on the ranch worth stealing, I \iVill Star was eying the man all th e time h e was venture to say he won't com e back. If there's more, say talking, and when the fellow was through h e burst ou t lau g hin g "I'll be darned if it ain't Corrigan!" h e out. "Hello! So yo u 're taking all t he credi t o f that deal, are yoll? Ha 'ha! I r eckon you've forgotten that I h ad to b ribe yo u to h elp m e save that g irl Wilders You'd hav e take n the outlaw's money as quick as yo n took mine, yo u sca mp on l y I happened to get to the roadhouse fir st Yo u r e a dand y rogue, to b e talking law and order!" The man w h o had called Jim Fifer hung his he ad for a minu te, but h e recovered when h e saw that the judge had wandered off and had not heard it. "Reckon I've a right to change m y name when I change my biz," he said, d e fian t l y ; "I'm a rancher now an I reckon ther new name i s er purtection. Thar's those th et ain't g o t no -pleasant feelin's ter speak of fer Corrigan." J esse James i s o n e of that numb er! Look out for him! laugh ed Star, a s he started for the ranch h ouse Fred Stacy followed h im, talking t o Di c k Pendlet o n about the outlaw, but Duke Horton and the third Pinker ton man s t ood for a moment together. "You re a stra nge specimen for this sect i o n, stranger! Did yo u sprout drop down or blow over?" asked the sleuth of Horton. The detective from a r iva l agency at St. Louis s miled good-naturedly as h e answered: "Bl ew over, I guess. I'm from Missour i st r anger. My ch nm a nd I are ioughing it a bit. We've got advena few th o u sand in dust or nuggets and any fine horse flesh on th e place I wouldn't want t o gamble on his movem ents." He watched H orton's face shrewd l y as h e spoke, and saw the yo un g man sta rt a little. what els e he w oul
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6 THE J E SSE JAMES STORIES. "You think Jess will come back?" "Sure! And before morning, too, I reckon!" "How would it do to double up with the boys?" "What! and divide the ten thousand?" Lent laughed a little dolefully. "'vVe've been after that ten thousand some time now, Star, and it seems to be as far away as ever!" We'll get it to -night! Brace up, old man! There's a bag of nuggets inside that are worth a small fortune! I got it straight from headquarters, so I know I am right, he muttered. "By the jumping wildcat s W e're in it this time for certain!" He was still thinking deeply vvhen Corrigan, or Fifer, a s he called him s elf, came out of the house. The minute he saw Star he strode over to the timber. "See hyar, stranger!" he began "I reckulect thet thar deal at ther roadhouse as well as you do, I reckon. 'Pears ter me you was frum our s heriff's office then, an' now yer 'low yer came straight frum ther United States marshal!" "Well, what of it?" a s ked Star, calmly. 1'A man and you can bet Jess won't leave the county without makchanges employers now and then, I rec:;kon, but I don t ing a try for it." have to change my name, b e cau s e I'm in a legitimate bu s i You think that was what he was here for this mornness !" ing ?" "Sure! He was getting the lay of the land, and sizing up the enemy! It's my opinion he got himself nabbed on purpose He knew his men were coming and trusted to luck. Gee It makes me tired when I think how near we came to him !" "It's one on our rivals! Ha! ha! No wonder they don't want us to know them! Jed Ford, a cowboy on the place, came around the corner just then and Lent went to talk with him about caring for the horses. The judge shuffled off to the corral, which was some distance from the house, and Star, who wanted to think a little, moved over to the timber. The cowboy who had been seated there gave him a curious look and then promptly got up and started for the stables. Corrigan's face grew purple, and he commencecl to bluster. "Hold on!" the detective, who did not want any row. "Just go easy, Bill Corrigan, or I'll put the hooks into you! I've got orders from the marshal to nab every horse thief in California, and--" Corrigan did not wait to hear more, but bolted for the stable. A minute later he and the judge rode down the canon together. They were followed by three others, wha had been in the group, which left no one about the ranch except its re g ular occupants and the newcomers. Star was just starting for the house, when Lent came back with their host, still talking about the horses. "The beasts will never be g o od for much. Reckon yer 've tuck e red 'em out," Joel Palmer was saying "What the deuce ail s you? I don't bite!" remarked "I've got an animal I'd like to show you, Mr. Palmer," Star, laughing. said Lent, with a wink at Star. "It's a stallion by the Reckon, now, I do, sometimes-thet is if .I'm riled, stranger!" was the answer. Star gave him a sharp look, but continued to smile good-naturedly. "Hem! Don t try it on me, that s all I've got to sa y I'm not hankering for a case of hydrophobia! he s aid, coolly. The fellow stopped short, and glared at him a second, then he seemed to think better of it and went on to the stables As quick as a flash Star drew a handful of photographs from his po c ket and looked them over "Jerusalem! The scamp is one of the James gang!" name of Star King; perhaps you've heard of it !" "By the etarnals Yer don t mean ther critter thet Jess Jam es used ter own?" "That's the b e a s t, Mr. Palmer!" The ranchman eyed his guest for half-a-minute. "I stole the beast of cour se," explained Lent, cooll y "'vVe overhauled him while Jess was running away from us back yonder in the foothills. Unfortunately, the stal lion wrenched his shoulder right away ; and even now he isn t fit for the work we want of him." "Where is ther critter now?" asked the ranchman, shrewdly. "He'll be here before morning, if nothing happens,"

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THE JESSE J/\MES STOR!ES o chimed in Star. "Another of the marshal's men is due in this section and we've got to wait for him to get our instructions." "Recken ye r after J ess, ain't yer ?" asked Palmer again. The fel10\v that Star had just identified as one of the James gang stepped out of .he stable at that minute, and by the l ook on his face Star knew he had heard the ques tion. ""\i\f e're after every criminal in the country ," he said, decidedl y "Theres been millions of complaints, and the government is sick of 'em! \i\fe're out here to help corral the rascals, and we expect every h onest man in Califor nia to help us!" He had his eyes on hi s ho st's face a s he spoke, and was observing his expression. ''Then I reckon ye've come ter the right place, pardner," said Palmer, with a good deal of bluster. "I'm an honest man an' this h yar's an hon est ranch, stranger! Thar's nuthin' wuth stealin' around ther place exceptin' ther live stock, an' I reckon thet thar, didn't suit J ess, or he'd er made off with it this mornin'. Cuss ther sinner! I'll riddle him with buck s hot if I ever set eyes on him!" He turned to l ead the way to the kitchen a nd the two det ec tives 10oked at each other. In spite of the ir h ost's bluster, they had th e ir own opinions. :' .. CHAPTER III. Five minutes lat e r supper was announced, and Mrs. Palmer, a scrawny woman with sharp fealures mo tioned th e m to seats at the table. vVhen they all in their place s Star g lan ced around critically, and while the others did the talking he for med a few conclusi o ns. "Palmer is a scamp! That's as plain as the nose on his face. The f ellow is too big a thief him self to all ow an other thief on the place. vVonder what he vvoti!d say if he knew that one of Jesse Jam es' spies was living under his roof this minute?" He glanced a t the ranchinan as this thought through his mind, anCI couid detect a very un e asy expres sion on the man's stolid features. "Reckon ye r'cl best bolt ther door, young man!" re marked Palmer, at that minute, and Dick Pendleton rose promptly to obey the suggestion. "\i\fhy, J oe l! What's th et thar fer? It's hotter n ginger inside!" said Mrs. Palmer, irritably "Reckon now it 'ucl be hott er ef that thar cussed robber should come back," said her husband gruffly. I low ther skunk has got his eye on somethin'-if it ain't ther horses, it must be ther gals hyar There was a feminine shriek at this, and Mrs. Palmer's brow cleared promptly. A moment later she was la ying t he la w clown to her daughters . "Don't let me ketch yer off'n ther premises ter-nightn uther one of yer W e ain't got n o money-yer dad nor PALMER r N 'l'ROUDLE. me-ter pay thet thar rascal fer returnin' of yer !" vVlien Star reached the livin g room of the ranch house, Nell Palmer, the oid e r and prettier of t h e two, began he saw something that su rpri sed him. Tvliss Palmer had turned h er back on Horton, and was talking gaily with Fred Stacy, who was an unusua lly handsome fellow. Horton was tr,ying to be indifferent, ancl was devoting himself to ano the r of the r anchman'::; daughters, a girl of sixteen, who had red and freckles. "Whew! This is bad!" was Star's first thought. "It makes us rivals in more ways than one, but it will give us a bit of fun to mix in with our fighting." He sauntered over by the fireplace and seated himself in a. chair, after bowing politely to the ladies present. The re st of the hou se h o ld trooped in after a minute, and Lent took a chair on the opposite side of the wide fire place. pouting promptly. I reckon I 'll be taken care of if I do go ma. You needn t worry a mite. J ess James nor no ma n i ; goi n t e r steal me, I reckon. I'll have ter say 'yes' afore they'll take me fur. I 'll venture." She glanced at Stacy as he spoke, and giggled mer ril y It was a clean ca se of transferred affection, and Hprton was growi n g green with j ea l o usy Lent and Dick Pendleton did some s parring, and Star threw in a word now and then but the meal enrled without one guessing the other's secret. They imagined that their disguises were as yet impen etrable. when Star got the old m a n 's ear again he began ing up the stallion, and by nin e o'Clock the ranchman was

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8 THE JESSE JAMES STORIESo r ead y for a dicker but before it was concluded he had to There a roar of rage, but the detective w alked see the creature. away coolly. Star and Lent consulted a minute and finall y made a Ten feet from t h e stable h e ca m e face to face with propositi o n It wa s that L ent should escort Palmer, or Palm er. who eve r he ch ose to represen t hi m, and Dick Pendleton to where th e stallion was, a s the fourth m embe r of their party mig ht decide to remain in hiding until som e hour near m o rning. The o bjec t of t h e d etectives was to g et rid of P e ndle ton, eve n if in so doing th ey had to r ed uce th e ir own nu m b e rs. Bnt when th e s u ggestio n was made the young det ective b a lk e d stu bbornly. The result was that H orton and Jed accompanied Lent, and Star was left with nearl y as big a proposition on his hands a s ever. A half-an-hour after L ent depart e d t h ere was a clatter of h oofs in the y ard and Joel Palmer took hi s pisto l in his hand and went out to im: estigate. Star bit his lips to keep from laughing, and Stacy actually turned his eyes from Miss Palmer's face to g ive him a glance of amuse m e nt. ''Snake s an' cro codiles Ther sca mp s hev mi sse d cal kuiations !" roa r ed Palmer from the doorway "Ef hyar ain t th et thar stalli o n I'll eat m y hat! Come out hyar, young man, an clap an eye o n ther c ritt er!" Star was already at the door, shaking hands with a fine-looking fellow He introduced him by another name, but it was Ned Ray, a clever detect ive. Ray listened quietly while Palmer cursed the luck," as he called it, and then the sta llion was stabled and Ray was given some supper. Under pretext of wanting to stretc h his leg s after a day in the saddle, Star left the h o us e and crept softly toward stable'. Just as he had expected, th e m e mber of the Jame s gang was in there. He was examining th e st allion and cursi ng in an un dert o ne "He recognize s th e b east, all right, which means that Jess will know of it before morning, and it will be one more incentive for him to visit the premi ses," th ought Star. Then he decided that he who he s itates i s lost," an d seeing the key in the pad l ock, he closed the door on the fellow and l ocked it. "Hello!" h e b e gan, in hi s natural voice. Then, as h e saw the ran chnpn' s face he add e d an "That b eas t i s too valuable to be left in the care of an outlaw Mr. Palmer ," h e s aid ste rnly. "Of course, y ou dont know it, but you have an enemy in the camp. That gaioot in the stab l e i s Three-Toed Chai; lie! He bel o ngs to th e James gang, and that was why J ess wa s h e re thi s m o rn mg. The fellow ha s t o id him th ere was something' h e re worth stea ling ." If the world had s udd e nly come to an end the ranchman could not have s hown more surprise. He begal'l to st ammer, and sha k e ove r as if the n e w s had s h ocked him for so m e r easo n or other. Star s aw his opportunity, and followed it up d eter min e dly. I 'm talking facts, Mr. Palmer. S o you ma y as well list afore I find er bn ye r." "Take care of them, then, and the way to do it i s by letting m e have a look at the punchers at once!" s aid Star, firmly. The ranchman thought for a minute and hi s shrewd n ess return e d in a m easure, but b e for e h e had fairly de cided what to do, Star laid a heav y hand on his s h o ulder. The marshars h eard o f y o u J oe l Palmer," he s aid in a ste rn whisp er. "You'd better make a clea n brea s t of it, partner. Theres a r easo n why this ranch should be a l o d esto ne for robb e r s and you ain't gaining an y thing b y k eeping silence!" This was enough for Palme r and he began to bluster. He cursed the marshal and all the sheriffs, and even t he governo r and then gave the three shrill whistles that

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THE JESSE JAMES 9 called his punchers together. They co uld their pri s oner ki cking on the stable door from where the y stood, so Star hurried the ranchm an t he corner of the h o u se to a sort of woodshed. Nine m e n came running up with weapons in their hands and Mrs. Palmer and the two girls p o k e d their h eads out o f the windows. Pendleton was o ut like a flas h, with Ray at his heels, but wh e n Tracy attempted to follow ?\ell Palmer held onto him. ''You must stay and protect us! Oh! I am sure it 1s robbers s h e cried, h yste ri c ally. Tracy had already o pen e d th e door, and was standing in th e doorway, and just as th e girl l ea n ed towards him Horton ancl L en t gallo p ed up with J e d b e hind th e m. "What i s it, o l d man ?'' asked Star: a s h e caught sight of H o rt on. 'Onr plans ha ve failed! \i\/e were attackecl !'' b ega n Lent. The next m o ment h e pitch ed forward and fell from the sadd le. Star sprang to his s ide, and Hor to n drnpped from the sac!cllc. His face wa s as white as death, and his teeth were chatter ing. "Han g th e e m s They fired on u s from ambush! Vv e could n o t pass, so w e had t o come b ack, and such a rid e l I'm nearl y jounced to j e lly! He caught a glimpse of Miss Palmer in Stacy's a rms at that minute, and \\'ith a groan of disgust turned his back upon them. T h e cowboys took the horses a nd tied them under the shed. They were starting for t he stab l es, hu t th e ranchman stopped them. "\:Vh o d o ycr reckon tlier c u sses was, J eel?" he asked, a n xio u s ly. The cowboy cleared his throat, but finally an swered: were follo wing, so Star stepped in front of the ranc\ 1 man, and l owere d his voice a little : I know who th ose rascals w ere, J oel Palmer," he sa id, stern ly. "They are a gang of h o rse thi e ves fr om \i\Tas h ingt o n T e r r i tory, and tli ey hav e privat e bus iness with you. You ne e d no t deny it!" "Reck on now, yer kin nam e th er b izness, sen::e yer so kn ow in !" gro\vled Palmer. "I will! They're bringing yo n th e cre:itnres that they have stole n fr9m t h e various stoc k farms h e r eabcmts, and you are going to pay 'em for the b e asts out of yonr bag of nuggets !" Star hissed the last three words, and the ran chma n staggered. It was the fir st inkling he had had t h at his guest kn ew his secrets. 'Yo u sto l e those nuggets from a poor devil of a miner who was j ou rneying across California last mon th," went on Star, slowly. "You plugged him full of l ead and took his gold in return. Now, can yon think of anv r easo n why Jesse James cu11e h ere thi s morning?" The ran c hman was silenced. He saw that his guest knew him thoroughly. Mo r eove r h e began t o fear that h e was the :ct of their visit, a n d the thought made him shake u ntil h e re sembled a man with palsy. 'Tm n ot after yo n J oel Palmer, although the marsha l told me to keep an e y e on yo u ," sai d Star, quickly. b ut while I'm here I'm going to undo the wror:g you ha v e clone. I am going to r eturn what"s left of that bag to your victim's daughter." "Hush! Fer God's sake!" groaned Palme r, a s his wife app eare d in the doorway. "Don't l et h e r hear yer, stranger; nor t h er ga l nu t h er Come erlong to ther stable, an' let's ta lk ther thing o ver "l\iot much, Joe l Palmer! \Vh at I've got to say can be ''They wa s thi eves, I r ecko n an' they took us fer ther said o u t h ere. I'm n o t trusting myself in close qna rte rs same. I 'lo w if I'd e r spoke fust, this h ya r wouldn't hev with a murderer happened! Joe l Palmer growled lik e a tiger, and his tee t h snapped 'Ha! ha! So th"o/ kn ow you, do they? That l ooks t oge t her. as if you had two ras ca l s on t h e p l ace, instead of one, "Call the men in side-every mother's son o f them!" J\.Ir. Palmer!" s aid Star, in a loud voice. I low J ed's er foo l n ot ter talk what h e m eans, ' began the ranchman. The men had carried Lent inside, and J ed and Horton v\'ent o n Star, ste rnly. sta llion till I want h i m. "It's t he only way to p rotect the No clang e r of Jess coini n g back as long as that other cutthroat crew is hanging aro und. I suppose they took our friends here for th e James gang."

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THE JESSE J/\MES STORi ES Joel Palmer wa s st ill growling, and d i d no t answer, so Star too k him by the arm, and shook him a l ittle. "Call the men, I say! I want to see them inside! he ordered, savagely. Palme r managed to stop snar.ling long enough to gjve the signal, and the men, who were talking 111 groups around the yard, hurried back to the kitchen. Star wa s the last man to cross the thresho l d and as he entered he winked at Stacy. Instantly the detective ignored Miss Palmer's presence, and darted out, pausing by Star just lon g e n ough to get an order. \!\That's ther mean in' of this, Joe l?" asked Mrs. Pal mer, the men trooped in. "Sakes alive! A body would think ther chap was dead an' yer'd all come ter ther funera l when he 's only got er scratch, an' will soon be as lively as er cricket." Star got a look at his companion. His color had c om e back and he wa s sitting easily in the low chair, the band age around his left a r m showing the location of his in J Ury. Star had hi s back against the doo r as s oon as it was closed, and was eying the g r ottp of punchers sha r p ly. J oel Palmer was l ooking so glum that the men stared for a minute, until Star had fini s hed his inspection and was r e ady to express an op i nion. "An hone s t crew, Joe l Palmer! he began, decided ly. That teliow outside is the only ra s cal on the premises. Now, men, I h a ve a l ittle somet h i n g to te ll yo u "Go easy, stranger. These hya r c h aps k n ow me, I re c kon, so lies g o If yer've got anythi n g te r tell, yer'd be st think tw i ce afore ye r say it. I l ow, ther man thet slanders J oel Palmer won't get off none too easy "How about the man who tells the truth about him? Remember, I have m y proofs, Joe l Palmer," Sta r, c oolly Nel l Palm e r had left the room by an inner d oo r before Star answered, and as h e r moth e r had been wa tching for just such a m oveme nt, she promptly followed h e r. This left o nly Alice, the second dau g ht e r, to hear what was coming a nd as Star gave her a sharp lo ok, he w as surprised at h e r expression "By tbup der This tale will be no news to her!" thought Star, as h e stared at h e r. "That girl know s her father s sin I a m absolutely certain of it!" She was looking at him calmly, but her hands were clasped ti g htly t oge ther. T he detective gave her a sympathet i c l ook, and then went on with h is story CHAPTER IV. A NIGHT OF 'l'RAGBDY "Jesse J ames was not l ooking for live stock when he came here th i s morni n g, boys There's something more va l uabl e on t h e place than the best beast i n the corral, I reck o n! J ess was here to-tlay, getting the lay of the land He mean s to come back later for .your emp l oye r s bag of nuggets," he said, briefly If a bombshell ha d expl oded in t h e room the commotion could not have been worse and detective present drew and cocked his weapon. Dick P e nd l eton wa s stand ing clo se to Horton, and during th e excitement he whi s per ed to him : "I t old yo u so, Duke! I was sure the o l d brute had a ba g o f gold som ewhere Dy Jimin y It didn"t take Star long to get onto that fact! It only backs up the the o r y that h e is smarter than chain-lightning!" "He may have had an inkling of the truth before he ca me. L i sten !" "There's no u se ki cking up a row," Star was saying. "Joel J;>almer ha s th e stuff in h i s possession, but i t don't bel ong to him-not a single ounce of it! He l owered the pile a little when he bought those three ye'rlings last week but t h ere's still e nough to be wo rth saving, a n d I expect yo u me n t o help me restore it to it s r ightful owner. J ocl Palme r blustered a little, but t h e clam o r of the men suppre sse d him. They had seen n o wages for three mo n ths, so the news that he had a fortune in nuggets i n t h e house turned them into d e mons When Star t old them they could n ot have it they ,did n ot feel mu c h b et ter Li st e n m en!" cri e d Star agai n, "and I 'll tell yo u how to get e ven. J esse J a mes i s due here again befor e day break. Now, if you can inveig l e your ma s ter 's friends mean tha t gang of h o r se thieves to ome around to the stab les and put t h e mselves under cover, J ess might think they h ad gon e and h o n or us with a call. It would b e a s ight worth s e eing if they attacked eac h other! \11/ e mi ght wipe out b o th gangs if we m anage d it right, and dte r that 've could decide what to do with Palmer!"

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1'HE JESSE JAMES STORIES '! 1 "How' d he come by the r g old?" asked calmest man in th e ro o m. "Tell u s th e t thar, strange r, afore w e turn o n th e r lubber! S ta r g l a nced a t A lic e again, a n d sa w that th e gi rl had g r o wn pale r a nd wa s havin g all s h e cou l d d o t o restrain h e r e m o tion "Take M i s s A l ice t o h e r m ot h er s ai d th e d e tective, s te rnl y "Yo u w o uldn t h ave m e bre ak th e child s h e art, w o uld yo u ?" Dick Pendle ton h a d off e r e d his arm to A l ice a lmost b efor e S tar spoke, but she wa v ed him awa y and rose to her feet bravel y I knew it all You n e ed n o t s pare me!" s he cried, h ys tericall y I kn e w it that night when I saw him c o me h o me, but I h e ld m y t ongue on a ccount o f m o th er! Oh, fa t h e r fath er! H o w could yo u do it? P e n d l eto n pi c k e d he r up b od i l y, as s he buri ed h e r face in her h a ndk e r ch i ef and as h e carried h e r fro m th e ro o m, all e yes we r e on h e r fath er. Y e r d best own up pa rd 'vVe kin all see ye r guilty!" muttered Pete Sande rs, who was so much o l d e'r than Pal m e r t hat he c o u l d risk fami l iarity. Pal mer had collap s ed compktely and whi l e they we r e waiting for him to speak th e re w as the report of a pisto l from the dir e cti o n of the st a ble. "Watch him Duke Hor ton! You ma y be a tend e rfo ot, but you can handl e a pi s to l I r e ck o n ro a r e d Star, as h e op e ned the door and bolted "I'll stay with y e r, pard said one o f th e cowboys, a s the othe r s g rabb e d thei r pi s tols fro m t heir belts and darted afte r th e d e t e cti ve. "Hang it! He kn o ws u s H e's kn o wn us all the tim e Oh, well! I s upp os e w e m ay a s well join forces an d share the h o n o r s s aid H o r to n as P e ndleton passed him "It look s a s t hou g h that w a s ab o ut t h e only alterna tiv e I mi ght hav e kn o wn w e c o uldn t foo l Star!" g ro wl e d Pendl e t o n, a s he foll o w e d t h e o th e rs. The re w ere two m o re r e port s before S tar reach e d the stable, and when h e got ther e h e stood s till and s ta r e d around in amazem e nt. J e rusalem! The rogues h a ve be e n h ere!" ci:ied P e n dleton, as he j o ined h im. "Sta c y \ Vhoop W h ere are y ou, old man?" y elled S t a r in a n swe r The re w as no reply, and J ed Ford dropped the brok e n p a d l ock on the first stable door and open e d it. "Loo k o ut men! It's Jesse J a mes! He m u s t have sm elle d that bea st cri e d Star, as he s a w th e e mp t y s ta ble I l oc k e d o n e o f hi s o wn m e n ins ide and m y chum \\ as guardin g it, but th e stalli o n i s g o ne, and th e nugget s t oo, p rob abl y Ther e wa s a roar of rage and the m e n div ided forc es. The night wa s not d a rk, and th e y w e re so on s couring the pre mises. D oes any body kn o w where the du s t \ v as hidden ? a s k e d Pen d leton. I wa s sure there was som e bu t--" ''This wa y C o me o n, pards I've g o t a clue cried Ne d Ra y at that minute. "Ther e's track s around t h e s hed that look familiar. You know that thoro ughbred th a t w e trail e d thi s m o rning. "The o n e Jes s escap e d on? I'd know th e b e a s t but n o t the tracks. Go ah e ad, Ray and Star and I w ill fol l ow We' re partne r s no w N o use keepi n g up the bluff an y longer!" Sta r burst out laughin g and offer e d his hand to his rival. Then the three darted around the sh e d t o g e ther. The cowbo y s true to their natures, were l ooki n g over the live s tock first, and had fo u nd b o th the stab les and th e corral badl y depl e t e d but their cri e s did alte r the cour s e of th e th re e det e ctiv e s The r e wa s a g roup o f building s us e d for s t orin g fodder at the left of the r ear yard and th e t r a c ks of a s i ngle h o rse, th e th o rough b r ed, led in that directi on. A s lik e as n o t t h e s tuff i s h i dden und e r th e g rain beg an P e nd l e t o n. P a lm e r ahv ays s kulk e d w hen h e was around these building s Duke and I we r e g o ing t o i nvestigate bu t there wa s n o o pportunit y "Sh! G o e a sy bo y s! I hear so me o ne! whi s pered S ta r a s h e d a rt e d b e hind a clump o f s hrubb e ry. The o th e r s d ro pp e d t o th e g ro und, and just then the door of o ne o f the buildings op e n e d and a man stepped out and t o ok a sharp look a round him. "Hurry, J ess The r a scal s a r e afte r us!" he said in a low v oice. S t a r r eco gniz e d th e vo i ce o f Three-Toe d Char lie, and press in g ba ck th e t r igger o f hi s wea pon he leaped fro m b e hind th e bu s h es C r a ck! C r ack

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THE JESSE JJ\MES STORIESo Cta ck! T he det ectiv e d i d n ot trust to one s hot, but e mptied three c h a m b e r s o f his we a pon. He fou n d that th e pale m o onlight might pla y tricks w i th his visio n. A t the sam e minut e h e y elle d at t he top of hi s lungs for horses. The man who had given th e warning dropped at the first r eport of Star' s pistol and as the detectives clashed ahe ad they heard the cowboys yelling to them. "The st ables arc e mpty There's nothing but mules l eft! S tar ground his tee t h and darted around the group of buildings, falling over a low w ire f e nce, and wa sting two full minute s As h e finally extri c at e d hims e lf, he heard the s ound of h oof s and s om e o ne dash e d acro s s the lo t s in the r ear of the building. "It's Jes s! Afte r him, boys! he y elled. They all plunged over the fence and cam e near being shot by their own weap o ns. The man who was flee ing fmm them never turn e d hi s h ead, but l e aned low in t h e s add l e and went like the w ind. A s econd lat e r Star turned an angl e of th e second building and came full-tilt again s t a horse. It was the Ambian thoroughbred, who s e tracks the y had been following. "That settles it! Jess has g o t the stalli on!" he cried, with a little in his voice. "This beast was left for tha t mongre l yo nd er! Now, where the devil is my friend, Freel Stacy?" "Reckon we've fou nd him, pard Thar's no use chas in' thet thar scamp!" called one of the cowboys, who was hurrying towards them. "Th e re's more'n one of them rascal s been h yar ter-night I low we'v e fou n d er dozen tracks goin in all dire c tio n s The men turned and went back with out e xamining the buil ding s and Star stifl e d a gas p of horror as he came upon Stac y The poor f e llow was lying in a heap behind the first place, so the punchers foll o wed the detectives back into the kitchen. H o r to n and his self-app o i n t e d a ss istant wer e h a ving very littl e l'o do, for J oel Palmer wa s being prodded wi ,th qu est i o n s b y hi s wife and ol d e s t dau g ht e r, who had come in too late to hear muc h of the s tor y Palm e r did n o t raise hi s head until S tar told of Jes se J ame s vis it to th e outbu i ldings. Then the old fellow ground hi s t ee th and clenched his fis t s s avagely. The y laid Stacy on th e sofa of pine boards in one cor n er. As L e nt crept to hi s sid e to direct op r ations, Alice Palmer glid e d in with h e r hand s full of bandages. One of the puncher s who was ski llf u l in surgery, w e nt t o h e r assi s tan ce, and wh e n Star s a w that h e was n o t needed, h e turned his attention to the next st e p i n the proc e eding s "Rel oad, boys T!1ere 's m o re trouble coming!" The words were hardl y o ut of his mouth wh e n th ey heard a h o r s e pa s s the door. It w e nt like the wind, bu t t h e y c o uld t ell that it carried a rid er. At the angl e of th e h o use the anima l suddenl y bolt e d th e n cam e t w o sharp cracks from large-calibr e weap o ns "Hark! Hurrah! Jess has b e en headed off by the o t h er gang! They're fighting for that gold, I'll b e t on it!" yell e d S tar, exci tedly Joe l Palmer sprang to his f e et and started for the do or, but the snap of Horton' s pis tol hammer made him drop back in his chair limply. We'll let them fight it out," went on Star, after h e had listened to a lot of s ignals a n d the hoofbea.t s of horse s from eve ry direction. "There 's nearly a doz e n on both s i des, I shou l d judge by the sound Hark! That's Jes s e J ames, n ow He' s bawling ord ers!" Even Joe l Palme r held hi s bre a th a s h e heard the great o utl aw s voice. The w o rds cam e through the log s of th e ranch house as t hough th e y were only paper. "Halt! Line up boys! Now, then, w h e n they clear the angle l et em have it broadside! It's only a gang of horsestable. There wa s a bullet wound in his side, and his thieve s vVe'll clown em in a minute!" face was purple "Recko n ther scoundrel s choked him arter they'd pep per ed him!" remarked one of th e m en. The n they lifted him carefully, and started for th e ranch hou se. There was very little of value left to protect abo u t the "Don" t be so su re, Jess! Haw! haw! e r march on ye, ain't we?" roa r ed another voice, and eve n the de t ectives could feel th e ir blood thrill at the sit uat ion The h o r s e thieves had doclg ecl, and were behind J ess n ow

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THE JESSE JAMES STORIES. 13 The next second their V/inchesters po ured out a terrific "Play fair, Pendleton! It's my turn!" he mu tte r ed un-v o ll ey, der his b rea th For a minute nothing could be h eard but th e crack of firearms, and in the excitement of the minute Star crept through the inn e r door to M r s Palmer' s sleeping-room, with but one person seeing him. His idea wa s to get up to the roof, and in less than a minute he had found a stairway. As h e crawled up a short ladder that l e d to an open skylight, he wa s amazed to find Dick Pendle t o n b e hind him. "Hang it Can t I get rid of the fell o w an yhow?" he t hou ght, angrily. Pendleton sett l ed the question b y blurting out, h o nestly: "You're a good fell ow, Star, and my fri e nd, I hope; but really, now, I can t l e t you outdo m e If y ou can s ho o t Jess from the roof, I fe e l certain that I c an!" Star had t o lau gh, and the two crept to the eaves together. By l ying fiat o n th e ir sto machs, they were able to l oo k ove r with sa f ety. Seve ral hors es had dashed away ride rless, and there were three or four bodies l ying upo n the ground, and as they watched a trio of riders turned the corner nearest them "Outlaws!" whispered P e ndleton "and th e James gang at that!" Star had ey es like an eagle, and did not agree with him, but he shut his lips and said nothing, while Pendleton e mptied his pistol. "That gives me a chance," he i;nuttered, as Pendleton b e g a n to reload. One man had dropped and the o ther two dashed away in confus ion. They had decided that two enemies were more than they could stand, and as they could not locate the shots they r et reated promptly. A.t th a t minute another trio swept around the other corner, and Pendleton bit his lips a s he recognized the leader. "It's J ess By thunder Why didn't I wait?" he beg an, a t the same time rai sing hi s weapon and pulling the trigger. Star made a swift moveme nt, and knocked the weapon out of his hands. At the same instant h e lean ed forward directly over his q u arry. "Halt! Hands u p, Jesse James! Another step and you're a dead man!" he roared. The outla w looked up, and at the same time Star discharged his pistol. There was a yell of pain, and the stallion reared and plunged. Star lean e d farther over the edge and took deliberate aim. As the trigger f e ll a r o tten b oard broke under him. The d etective made a lun g e at the jagged end, but missed it by a n inch. The n ex t seco nd h e plunge d down fr o m his high perch, h ea d first. CHAPTER V. GIRL FRIEND OF nm OUTLA ws. Pendleton let out a yell when he saw Star's fate, and the out law s mus t Juve thought for a moment tha t the hou s e was falling. Star landed squarely up o n the hind quarte r s o f the stallio n as it was plun ging ah ea d, and th e n slid t o the ground, none the worse for his fall; except that he was winded. P e ndl e ton had sense enough to grab hi s revolver and add a couple more shots, one of which sent an outlaw re e lin g fram his saddle. By the time Star was on hi s feet there was no one in sight. J esse James had n o t so much as pull ed a trigger, but was bending all his energies to putting a good distance b e tw ee n them. Pendleton hurried back down the ladder, and burst into the kitch e n like a cydone, yelling that Star had been kill ed, and that the outlaws were defeat ed Every man in the r oo m followed him through the door, except Lent and Stacy and Joel Palmer. Lent was very comfortable now, and held a pi s t o l in his hand, but Stacy was still taxing Alice Palmer's skill to the utmost. It was fully ten minutes before the men came back, and when they did it was only to bring in two wounded outlaws. "Bill the Snipe and Hickory Jack," called Ned Ray, as he laid them down on the floor "Look 'em over, pard, and see what you can do for 'em!"

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14 THE JESSE JAMES STORIES. J e d Ford, -Who was h e l ping him, did as he was told, and R ay s t a rted for the d oor again only to meet Star and a c b wb oy bringin g in t w o more victim s The rest a r e de ad! No u se brin g ing th e m h e r e sa id Star, bluntl y Reckon thar was livel y snappin T har's four dead uns an fou r th e t's as good a s d e ad, r e marked one of the c o wboys Joel Palme r a t t e mpted to ri s e a g ain, but L ent o rdered him to b e seate d "Thar's n o us e your comin out s i de, Joel ; thar's nuth in' lef t s a i d P ete Sande rs, a s he h o bbl e d in. I low, now, I never re c k o ned on livin' t e r s e e this day! Thar ai n't er piece of h o rs eflesh left on th e r ranch th et's wuth thar feed, pardn e r !" "Here' s pro o f of J o e l Palmer' s guilt, m en!" call e d out Horto n at that minu te, as he came in h o lding up a g o ld nugget half as b i g as a h e n s egg. I found thi s in t h e outhou s e y ond e r, and there' s the p l ace whe r e the bag was hidden! Hang Jess H e' s n o t only sto l en a dozen good horses, but h e 's go t that gold n ow, and that's t h e last we ll ever see of it! "I'm not so sure! I mean to follow the knave!" s aid Sta r, priomptly "There are four good hor ses out there that will do for our party! S ta c y and Lent will have to remain here for a while, and o ne o f yo u fell o w s mu s t be r esponsible for Palm er! I'll sh ow him w hat m e rc y I can, on account of the w o m e n but--" "What's J oe l do n e?" asked Mrs. Palmer in a shrill v o i ce. "Never y ou mi nd, mother! Jus t com e here and h e lp m e wit h this bandage!" call e d Alic e sharpl y "J reckon ye kin l eave J o e l in m y charge pardners s a i d old P e te Sanders s l owly; "I 'l ovv I'm sorry to h yar ther feller has been tricky I've kn o w e d Joel s o me time, and be yo nd th e t h e s a l e etle mite s tin gy I a i n't g o t nuthi n' agin him, spit e of the fact thet he kin come b y live stock over night, as ye m out say!" "Thet thar allus b o thered me, too, an' Joel n e v e r could exp l a i n bega n Mrs. Palmer, nerv o u s ly. J ust at t hat minute Star happ e n e d to think o f the other d a ughter. Nell Palm. er had seat e d h e r se lf in a c orn e r o f th e ro o m and was p l aiting her hair s he seemed to have n o p art in the scene whatsoe v er. "A cold-blooded flirt, muttered Pendleton, as he and Sta r starte d out again to see if th e re w e re signs of any m o r e trouble She' s m o re than that, or I'm mist a k e n was the old d etec t i ve s an s wer I'll n e ver l e av e Joel Palmer with that girl on the premise s There' s something about her that makes me suspicious." "Le t 's ha ve a l oo k at th a t r as cal d ow n b y the fodd e r !:cuses, said P e ndlet o n qu i ckl y H e' s b e en h e re so me ti me; cam e th e day after we did in fact-I fanci e d for a tim e th a t s h e wa s in l ove w it h th e f ello w " Bosh! The g i r l is a fool-co m e on! wa s Star' s a n s w er A minu t e lat e r they were,_ e x ploring the p o ckets of a rou g h c oat worn by Three-Toe d Charlie. The r e w a s n o thin g to be found but a plug of tobacco a n d a bundl e o f l e tt e r s Star c a rri e d the let ter s to a lantern h a n ging on the s tabl e d oo r and read them As h e o pene d th e firs t one h e gave a l ow whist le. Cra c k y The g irl is wor s e th a n I th ought; hear thi s h e s aid softl y ; then putting his ba c k against the st a ble, he read the l e tter, which ran as foll ows: If the g irl t ells th e truth there should be five thousand wort h o f nu g ge t s Will b e b a ck at midnight. See t o it th a t the stabl e s a r e unl o ck e d and b e sure and l o cat e th e b ag! H ang th e tende r f eet The y re n o t Pinkerto n m e n this time W e've l e ft those f e l l ows i n t h e lurch and can do the j o b ni ce l y. If a n ything goe s w rong it 's fo r yo u t o give the w arning. The lett e r was signed Jesse James, m the o utlaw s b old s c ra wl, and a s it incrimina t e d th e girl, Sta r k e pt it in his p oss e ss i o n Star changed his mind ab o ut g o ing on at o nce w h e n h e r e ad thi s l e tt e r There was n o d o ubt in h is mind but t h a t t he remaind e r of t h e horse-t h ief gan g w o uld J esse J a me s so l ong a s they kn e w th e gold was in hi s p os sess i o n and eve n if h e had n t kn ow n t his, he wa s in no co nd i ti o n t o follo w th e o utlaw imm e diat e l y. P e ndl e t o n and Horto n w e r e all right, but Star pre f erre d hi s ow n chum s to his rival s and Stacy' s condition w as worrying him a lit tle It w as a bus y ni g ht b o th for th e m e n and w o men T hey buri e d th e d e ad and nurse d the living, and da y brea k s aw th e ran c h l oo kin g a s forl o rn as if a c y clone h a d swept o v e r it. All of the bes t horses were gone there wa s not a trace of the gold to be found, and the yard looked

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THE J ESSE JAMES STORl ES. like a s laL1ghter h ou s e w h ere the b l ood had flo wed s o The fact that J e s se James was i n h is territ0 r y I freely him terrib ly. Nell Palme r puzz l ed th e detective s by t h e indiffe r e nce H e t ook Joe l Palme r into c u stody aft e r a shor t intero f h er m an n e r. v i ew w it h Star, a n d start e d b ack to the jai l Jed Ford A ft e r brea k fas t s h e sto l e up t o h e r roo m o n t h e seco n d c h oos ing a fr e s h mo u nt a n d making th e j o urney again, floor o f t he r a n c h h o u se, a n d Di c k Pen d l eto n was detailed to be sure that his emp l oyer was l oc k e d u p securely. to keep a w a tc h on h e r m o v e m ents. \ Nhe n J eel ret u rned a t d u sk he r e port ed t r a ces of th e two o u t la w gan gs who seemed t o b e m a kin g tra c k s to J oe l P alm er's p os i t ion w a s n ot an e nvia b l e one. wa r d a ce r tain spo t in t h e foo th ills ove r in Trinity c ou n ty H e was a p ri sone r in hi s ow n h o u se, a n d b y her per ' T har' s tt-;acks o f th e r stalli o n clea n to Eel Riv er,' he sis te n t q u estio ning his wi fe finally h eard o f th e n uggets. s aid. "Th er cr it ter"s limp in e r l eet le, but I l o w h e' s full The o nl y thin g h is fa mil y did n ot k no w was that h e e r grit. An' hange d e f h e ai n t got te r b e w i t h th e t thar h a d c o mmi t t e d a murde r. rascal F ink Punb l y arte r h im! R ecko n F i nk 's d ead Sot L e n t w as d oing ni cely, but S tacy w as still un<:o nsci o u s o n g ittin thet thar ba g, so e f w e s t art at m oo nrise tha r s At n oo n th a t clay t h ey th o u g h t h e w a s d y i ng, a nd in a chance ter b e in at th e r finis h! the excit e m e n t P endl e ton r e laxed his vigi l a nce. Star sta r e d at the fellow whlle h e w a s ta lk i n g, an d th e n Stac y r e viv e d l ate r and A lic e Palme r wen t to ca ll h e r look ed at T racy, b ut a t t h a t minut e Alice Palme r came s i st er. up a nd pu t h er h and o n h i s s h o u lde r T h e r e w as 110 r e pl y L eave Pete Sa n ders an.cl Coon w i t h me, a n d you r Pen d l et o n wa it e d fo r n o thin g, bu t d as h e d u p th e sta irs, fr i e n d will b e s afe," she said, so ftly, at the s ame ti m e finding ev id e nc e th at th e g i r l h ad l e aped fro m her w ind ow. s h owi n g th e detective a r evo l ver tha t s he wa s carry i n g in h e r poc k et. v V h e n S tar orde r e d th e pun che r s t o look for h er, they St ar ga v e he r a sharp l ook, a nd saw th at he co ul d trus t sta r e d at e a c h o t h e r and o n e o r t wo went so far a s to h er. r e s e nt it. Sh e h a d set h e r lit-ti e w h ite teeth defiant ly, a n d h e r eyes She s 111 l e a g u e with t he James gan g an d s h e mus t wer e flas hin g M r s Palme r w a s as p a l e a s a ghos t but be found!" s aid the d ete ctive, finally I have a l e tt e r s h e had th e sa m e s pir it as h e r da u g hter a nd th e th o u ght fr o m J esse James in m y po c ket t hi s minu te that proves t h at J oe l ha d decei v e d h er h e l ped h e r t o kee p h er corn-that s h e to l d the g an g ab o ut th e b a g o f nuggets!" po s ur e Joe l Palme r 's eyes fl.as h e d and M rs. Palmer g a s p e d in Can yo u swea r b y Coo n S tar, w it h a g lanc e at horror, bu t Alice see m e d prepare d for the t e rribl e 111th e s tal wart co wb oy formatio n Alic e -flus h ed slig htl y bu t h e r lids did n o t wave'r as A n hour lat e r th e sea r c h e nd e d with n o results. s h e an swe r ed : The g irl had di sap p ea r e d a s c o mpl e te l y a s th o u g h t he "Coo n w ill do as I say The r e is nothin g t o f e ar. I e arth ha d ope n e d and s w all owe d her. s h all lock th e do or s and Co o n mu s t l ook after th e live This oc currence c han ge d Star's pl ans compl e t e ly. stoc k It will take all t he rest t o fight th os e robb e rs." In l e s s th a n t en minutes h e had o u tli n ed a d iff e r e n t ar-Star h ated t o l ea v e h er s o p oo rl y prote ct ed, b ut he r e a lra n geme n t. J eel F ore\ a nd Coon Spil e r a n ot h e r punch e r ized the truth o f h e r w o r ds, for they number e d only a w e r e s e n t te n mi les for t h e sheriff, wh o came post h aste, doze n, a n d t he t w o g a ngs to ge t h er wo ul d m ake up mor e w i th a p osse o f lan ky t han that numbe r. "Rec ko n ye a ir a l eet l e t oo o l d an slow fe r yer j ob, 1-Ior ses were s e cu re d du r ing the next hour, and at nine \ i \Tigg in s," was P ete Sande r s' g r eeti n g, a s h e s aw th e t hat nigh t t he posse set o ut Star a n d P e n d l e ton in t he official. "Hyar J e s s J am e s an' er crew of cu tthroa t s air l e ad w i th the pu n chers following, a n d Ray with a W in r id i n fast an' loose over t h e country, an' I 'l o w ye r se t c hest e r rep e at e r, brin g ing up the r e ar. t in a t h ome er ski n n in wil dca ts, ain t y er ? T h e ou tlaws' trac k s w e re followe d easil y a n d the men The s h eriff blu ste r e d but he h a d t o tak e the rebuke. made ou t the prin ts o f n o l ess t ha n t e n h o r ses, so me

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16 THE JESSE JJ\MES fresher than others, which showed that all had not been in a bunch together. "Reckon now Jess was ahead," Jed Ford stated at the first inspection; "the stallion's tracks are 'most covered in s-ome places. Them thar 'Twilight' fellers air chasin' Jess They won't give up ther chase, nuther, not so long as they smell thet thar bag of yaller !" Star pricked up his ears at this remark. He had been so busy during the day that he had over looked Jed's remark of the previous evening. Slowing up a little, he rode by the cowboy's side, and tried to study his face in the moonlight. "So that's the Twilight gang, is it?" he asked, in a low voice. '"Well, they're a bad lot, Jed Ford! How does it happen that you are so friendly with them?" "Used to be one on 'em!" was the answer, with a little chuckle; "an', snakes alive! what critters we did swipe! Haw! haw! I reckullect er critter we stole down in Southern Indiany It was ther purtiest piece of hossflesh yer ever clapped eyes on!" The fellow roared with laughter at the recollection, and Star made a mental soliloquy. "Honest, by thunder! The fellow thinks there's no harm in stealing! I'll try and sound him on the subject of murder." "Were you with Palmer when he stole that bag, Jed Ford?" he asked, abruptly. "Cuss my heart, no! Cussed ef I knew hed tbcr stuff!" \\-as the prompt answer. "I 'low I helped ter stock up ther ranch, but Joel allus 'lowed ther beasts were left fer him ter sell. I reckoned he got his share when ther critters was disposed of! Consarn ther old clog, fer er liar an' a murderer !" "That's just what he is! What's more, his victim's daughter lives at Blocksburgh," said the detective. "She's as smart as a peach, and as poor as poverty !" The men growled out a few curses, and Star knew he had their sympathy. He intended to restore what he could of that go'ld to rightful owner, and with these brave fellows to help him, the act looked possible. They moved rapidly at first, as the moon enabled them to see a good distance ahead of them, but before Eel River was reached it had grown dark and cloudy, and there was some difficulty in following the tracks of the outlaws where the ground was rocky. The detectives had taken pains to disguise them-:;.elves as completely as possible, and Stu had proven himself an artist in this direction. He had copied Pete Sanders as far as was possible, and it would have taken an eagle eye to tell him from the old fellow in the darkness. Th_e men examined their wea pons from time to time, and rode for miles without speak ing. An hour after midnight they reached the bank of Eel River, and halted in a level spot to hold a consultation. CHAPTER VI. IN CLOSE QUARTERS. Five minutes later Star crossed the nver alone to do a little reconnoitering. Jed was of the opinion that all of the tracks led from the rivu toward the foothil)s, and gave it as his theory that the horse thieves had followed close on the heels of the James gang. "I'll decide that in a jiffy! No use you fellows ooming over until we know for sure," the detective remarked, as he urged his horse into the narrow stream of water. The men busied themselves lighting matches and closely inspecting the alm9st innumerable hoofprints, and just as Star reached the opposite bank Ray made a discovery. "A mule, by thunder! And laden, at that! Look here, partners!" he called, excitedly. Star had just scrambled out upon a level bank overgrown with low bushes, and turned his head to hear what his friends were saying, when crack! went a revolver, and his horse dropp!ll under him. The next there was the swish of a rope, and the noose of a lai:iat dropped around his neck, his wind at:d nearly choking him. Ray let out a yell, a11d the posse dashed into the water, but it was fully three minutes before the opposite bank was reached, on account of the horses becoming excited. When they did gain the bank, Star was nowhere to be seen. His horse lay dead where it had fallen, and there was a trail of broken bushes, which, because of the darkness, the eye could not follow. "After them! Yonder clump of green trees is their hiding-place, no doubt!" he yelled, as he caught a glimpse of dense foliage a hundred yards distant.

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THE JESS E Jf\MES STORIES. They p l u nged ahea d s ca nning th e b u s hes a s they went, bu t when t h e g um trees w e re r e ach e d th e t r a i l e n de d c o m p l etely. It's sure d eat h to g o in t h e re, b o y s !'" calle d Horto n, warnin g l y O n e rasca l be hi n d t h o s e tree s i s as good as a d oze n o ut o f it! 'vVe m u s t surround thi s spot a nd wai t un til m o rnin g H orto n spo k e l o u de r th a n h e th o u g ht, a nd hi s wor ds we r e o v e rh eard b y some o n e w h o was lurki n g in t h e t hi c k est bun c h of a nd th e n J e sse J a m es, th e o utla w, gave o ut a lovv c hu c kl e "Ha! ha! They'll h ave t he ir l ab o r for t he ir pai n s h e mutte r e d und e r hi s bre a t h "Reck o n I m n ot foo l e n o u g h t o stay h e re ti! m o rnin g Curse t h e lu ck! To think o f m y rop i n g o ld Pete S a n de r s H e's eve n ty if h e's a clay Jumping s anclhills, b u t h e' s g ritt y Ije l oo k e d do wn at th e man t ha t h e h ad been je rkin g o v e r th e bu s h e s and th e n actu ally b e n t a n d l oose n e d h is shirt c o llar a little I'll give him a ch ance for hi s life, e v e n if th e old s in n e r wa s cha sing m e h e chu c k l ed, a s h e rolled up t h e l a ri at; then, h e l pin g him se lf to t h e pi sto l i n Star 's b e l t h e turned and sto l e lik e a n India n throug h th e thi c k foli 1 a ge amo n g the gum trees H e h a d ha r dl y c o v e r ed a ro d wh e n th e d e tect ive b e gan t o g a sp. A min ute l at er h e d re w a long brea th a J d stagge r ed t o hi s feet lea nin g again s t th e tree t o c ollect hi s se n ses "A b a d c h o ke, but n o t fatal! Now, J esse J a m es, be w a r e was t h e th o u ght th at flas h ed t h ro u g h his min d th e n r e a c hin g fo r th e knife t h a t w as i n hi s b o o t l e g t h e de t e c tive c r ept s t ealt hil y a f t e r t h e cleve r o u tlaw If S tar h ad k n ow n t h a t his fr i e n ds we r e w it hin call, h e wou l d n ot h ave spo k e n t h en, for h e wa s filled t o ov e r flowing with a des ir e for v enge ance. So l o n g as J esse James th o ught h e wa s a d etect ive h e wa s r e a dy to co mmit murde r so hi s m e rc y to th e s up po sed o ld man did n o t count for an y thing. A ft e r a halfan-hour of this st e a lt h y trai lin g Star b eT h e re ha d n o t been a so und for the spa ce c ove r ed by t h e trees was much lar ge r t ha n h e h ad at first fig ur ed, an d w h e n h e s u dd enly hear d a fai n t ru st le, h e s tood l ike a statu e A s e c o n d l at er th e r e wa s a da r k form b e twee n two trees exa c t l y in fr o nt of him th e n th e o u t lin e see m e d t o dro p t o all four s a n d cra w l off t h ro u g h t h e un der bru sh. Star m a d e hi s w ay t o th e t w o trees, a n d th e n d ro p pe d to th e grou n d a l so H e p l ac e d hi s knif e b e t w e e n hi s t eet h and crept o n w ith o ut so muc h a s m o vin g a l ea f a nd aft e r a min ute h e h e a r d the ou tl aw b efor e h i m. An o ther sound r eac h e d his car at e x ac t l y t h e s ame min ut e It was t h e u n m i s ta k able mu r m u r of runn i n g wate r a nd Star kne w it mu s t b e a bro o k runnin g int o Eel River. H e crep t o n ste adily, w it h n ot hin g to imp ede his pur p ose for the grou nd wa s p erfe ct l y s moot h an d t h e bu s hes m a d e a n a r c h a b ove him. "A n atura l path and one t h a t J ess i s familiar w ith h e th o ugh t a s h e su d de nl y s aw th e dull g l ow o f th e water. H e p ut his h ead out o f t h e b us h es and look e d clown th e st ream. Jesse J a mes was wa din g a l o n g in appare nt uncon ce rn n o t fif t y feet a h ea d o f h im, and S tar groane d in agon y a s h e tho ught o f hi s r ev olv e r. T h e oppos i t e b a n k of th e b rook was also thi c kl y wood ed, a nd when t h e det ect i v e finally v e n ture d t o r e n ew t he chase h e wa s amazed to see n o s k y above him, an d o nl y the d e n s e b la c k n ess of t r ees a n d bu s hes b efor e h i m "This grov e mu s t exten d bac k for m iles h e th o u g h t : y e t w h en h e h ad followed th e b rook an h our, he s u d d e n l y e m e r ge d i n to the o p e n w it h a foll quarte r o f a mile of wate r .. o f some kind sp r ea d ing out b efor e h im. J esse J a mes was a l ready sw im m ing across this lak e and S ta r s lid int o th e wate r a s n o isel e ssly as possible. \i\Th e n h e arriv ed at the op p os i te bank th e r e w a s n o t a si g n o f hi s qu arry. T h e d ete ct ive exami n e d b o t h the ground and t h e bu s h es, but a lt h o u g h h e had seen t h e out l a w l a nd, th e t rac k s h a d ende d c o m p l ete l y M o rnin g was b eg innin g t o brea k and t h e d e tectiv e w as gan t o wo nd e r h ow far th e clump o f tre es e x te nded, then i n a d an ge r o us i t sudd e nl y o c curr e d to him that J esse James wa s cuttin g H e was c ompl e t e l y l os t so far as th e p o int s of th e c o mcircl es "Well, I'll b e hanged! N ow wha t' s his game?" he tho u ght, a s he pause d for bre ath I'll bet th e r ascal has l os t hi s 1wa y He' s l ooking for some p a th t o g e t him out of t his wi l d e rness p ass w e nt and h a d n o t th e va g u est id e a whic h way to g o t o see k hi s comp a ni o n s He sat clo wn un de r th e thi c k sha d e and m e d ita t e d a m inute t he n, a s a p ec uliar so und r e a c h e d hi s e a r h e sprang t o h i s fe e t n o i s elessl y

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18 THE JESSE JAMES STORI ES. "A jack ass, by thund er! T h e re s n o m i s t a k i n g that "Oh it ca n't b e tru e Fath e r i s bad bu f h e i s n t s o s o und! h e mutte r ed. bad as th at shri e k e d the g i r l hy s terically Creepin g ah e ad fift y f eet, h e ca me to a high ro ck, w hi c h r o s e so s t e e ply from th e g r o und tha t i t look ed l ik e an enormous tower or m o num e n t. Behind this he was sure h e c o uld h ear l ow vo i ces Lying fiat on his stomach he wriggl e d h alfw ay around it like a serpent, and was rep a id by hearing the s e cheerful s tatements in the voic e of th e fiend th a t h e had been s o patientl y following: "The curs are near! There's onl y a mil e bet w e e n u s Let them attack us her e and we 'll feed th e w ildc a t s w ith their oarcasses Hang the sle uthhounds The T wilig h t gang are babies compared with them !" "We' ve done them up before! Haw! haw! The t thar scrimmage a t ther ranch was hot wo rk, he y, c a p n !" These words w e r e s p o k e n in an o th e r familiar voice, and Star knew that Jesse h a d at l e a s t o n e o f hi s old cr ew w it h him. 1 "We' ve got the s tuff, than ks to th e beau ty y o nd er! Hal.ha! You helped u s well m y pretty Now, w hat do you want for a reward? A g i rdl e of s h i n ers, o r a h us band?" asked Jesse James, g a ily. Star held his breath, for he knew wh a t w a s c o m i ng. It was no surprise when Nell Palmer' s v o ice r e t orted: "I want you to keep your promi se, Je s se James s h e s aid, quickly. You said y o u d take m e to 'Fris co and make me a lady! The punch e r, your agent, promised me that, and you agreed You must do it to pay for m y h e lp ing with the nuggets!" Her voice showed a trace of f ear and S ta r c o uld tell that she was frightened, but h e c o uld hardl y b elieve hi s e ars when Jesse James resp o nd e d : You shall have your wi s h prett y o n e Jess e James never breaks his w o rd If w e e s cap e these sleuths, yo u shall b e in Frisco thi s time a we e k hence, and I will then give you a share of your father s nugge t s " Bob Lind s ay s y er mean c ap n ," b roke in t h e o t h e r v oice again. Joel P a lm e r murdere d B o b a nd sto l e t h e nuggets !" There was a shri e k of horror, which S t a r k n e w wa s ge nuine, and then J esse James t ri e d to s o o th e t h e you n g w o m an "Hal ha! D o n t min d h im, beaut y T h e r e 's n o harm in what your father d i d! T he e n d just ifies th e mean s' ; you've heard that haven't y o u ? The out law's v oice changed in an in stant, and Star w a s s u r e that h e h eard him s h a k e her. "Hu sh he orde r ed, s ternl y "Do you wan t to b rin g our e n emi e s h ere? I l eft o l d Pete Sande r s in t h e wood s y o n de r a n d t he f ellow sneaked away If yo u b rin g him h ere w ith you r yells I'll d row n y ou in t h e la ke yo nd er!" T h ere was a c h oking so und, a s if t h e g irl was try ing t o s m ot her h e r s o b s and th en a n o th e r vo i ce made Star almost j ump to h is feet i n ast o ni s hment. "Pete Sand e r s is t oo c u s s e d fre s h f e r a n old plu g H e d ort e r to be c alled d ow n an' so t b ack e r l ee tl e The r w a y h e wa s ki y utin round t h e r r a n c h y i sterday m o rnin' jes t arter your call, J ess Haw h aw Yer d o r t e r h av e throt tled t h e r old si n ner pardn e r The spea k e r w a s Co r riga n th e f ellow who n ow called himself J im F if er. T h i s expla in e d to Star w h y th e fe llow h a d l ef t so s u dde nl y wh e n the det ect ive called him to ac count for h is act i o1is A m ove m e n t b e hind th e r oc k showed t h a t t he' m e n h a d been s itti ng, and Star fe lt th e c o l d c hill s run ,up hi s s p i n e a t th e t h o u g-ht o f fallin g i nto the ir clu t ch es. If h e onl y had hi s revolve r t h ere might be s om e c hance but a k nife wa s o f v e r y lit t l e u s e in t he fa ce o f a pi stol mu zzle. H e h e ld hi s brea t h unti l th e m e n had m ove d a round a lit tle a n d t h e smell o f s m oke wa s wa f te d t o his n ostrils. The o utla ws we r e a b out to brew a cup o f c offe e a n d afte r Sta r 's night o f t ramp in g a n d sw immin g h e e n vied t h e m th e i r o pportunity. A m om ent la t e r the co nver s a tio n was r e s um e d a nd a n o t he r v o i ce m ade S ta r eve n m o r e anxious "Bob F i e!'ds, b y th e e t ernals h e w h i s pe r ed, as h e h ea r d t h e la st spe ak e r ; th e n th e shre wd d e t e cti v e b egan t o do a lit tl e ha r d think i n g. J esse J am e s was cru e l and m e rci l e ss, t here was n o gain s a y i n g t h at. H e w o uld mu rd e r a d e t ect ive in co l d bl oo d an d relis h th e jo b, for h e l o oked up o n all m e n of that profession as natu r a l enemi es. C o r r igan o r Jim Fi fer, was a tre a c h e r o u s brut e tha t money c ou ld bu y : U n for t una tel y S tar h ad ve r y l i t t l e ca s h o n h a nd w hile Jess e J a m e s h ad n ea rl y fiv e t h o u s a n d d o llars in nuggets. The t h ird m a n Bill B olt o n \Ya s a b ro t h e r of the fa -

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T H E JESS E Jf\M ES STORI ES. 19 mous "Buck," and as cruel as a wolf when under the eye of his captain But this last man; Bob Fiel ds, was anoth er proposition. He hated J esse Jam es with a deadl y hatred, and Star knew that h e wa s posing as his friend mere ly to get an opportuni ty t o kill him There were others who w ere doing the same, the F ord bo ys am:::"1g the numb e r bu t Fields was the bitterest o f th e m a ll, and perhaps the most c unni ng. Instantly the detective b ega n planning h o .v he could get a word with Fields with o ut the r est of the outlaws kno w in g it. He la y s till thought i t o v e r while the four men were e ating, and Nell Palmer washed the tin cups, which seemed to be all the dishes in their possession. The sound of a sharp blo w after all had bee11 quiet a minute was followed by a coar se lau gh, and J esse James seemed t o be changing hi s position under the shadow of the b owlder. "Serves yo u ri ght, Jim Fifer! Now let the gal alone!" said the o u t law, sleepily. "Watch the camp, Bob Fields! I've got to have rest-besides, I'm as w et as a chunk of seaweed from all that sw.imming." "'What tim e 'll we start, Jess?" a s k e d Bob Fields, indif ferent l y "As s oo n as the sun gets above the trees! Lie clown here, my girl, wh e re I can protect you! Ha! ha! No harm must come to the little Nellie! She's b o und for 'Frisco to be a lad y !" The r e was another lau gh, and then Bill B o lton s p oke uneasily: "No danger of them sleuths tracking us h y ar, 1s thar, Jess?" Sle ep with one eye ope n if you re afraid," was the answer. "That's what Bob i s staying awake for to l oo k out for t he sleuthhounds This ended th e conver s ation, and Star drew a long b reath. In five mi nu tes every man beh ind the rock would be a s l eep except Fields, and he was beginning to wonder if h e dared to risk it. "The girl will l et ou t a yell the min ut e she sees me," h e thought. "And, of course, that w ill wake J ess and I can see my finish! Field s won "t help me kill Jess fo r fear of l osi n g his own game! Hang the fell o w He's got his e ye on t h e goverm11ent's ten thousand!" CHAPTER VII. THE PL01' AGAINST 1'HE OU'J.'I,A W. Star waited unti l he was sure h e heard the three m e n snoring, and then bega n t o wriggl e back around the rock. His objec t was to get some di stan c e from the rock be fore attracting th e attention of Bob Field-s and to clo this he was obliged to m ove with grea t caution. <:)nee he snapped a twig and was s ure he h eard Fields s tart, but as all was quiet in a moment h e went on s lowly Suddenl y from the trees o n the ot h e r side of the rock carnc the br:.>ying of the donkey, and this was followed by the neighing of horses and the unmi s takable snort of th e stallion. Star stopped s h ort and lay fla t on the ground unde r the shadow of the r ock. He knew these sounds would awaken Jess, and, more over, they portended something. Somebody was stea ling up on the camp-or it might be an animal. \i\ihat is it?" roared Jesse James, who had wakened in an instant. "A critter of some kin d I 'll go and see!" was the an swer, and Star could h ear Fie lds move a way at a swift pace throu g h the bushes. "Th er wench ain t b o lt ed, has she, J ess?" asked Bill Bolton, s l eep ily. "Recko n it 's the sle uthh o un ds Better git er move on, ca p'n growled Corrigan. "Shut up the two of you What is it, Bob?" r oared th e 0L1tlaw, savage l y "It's the mule! Ther cussed b east has rolled and tore th er bag! Haw! Haw! Thar's gold all over the bushes. J ess I t would brea k your heart if yer was ter se c foer nu ggets!" There w as a s u llen roar, a nd the three men l eaped to the i r feet, and Star h eard them cursing like pira tes as they tore their way through the bu s hes As quick as thought, the detective rose to hi s feet and d arted around th e rock. Just as he had expected, Nell Palmer still sat on the ground. She wa s wrapped in a shawl and h er back was toward h im. He gave a quick g lance at the spot, which was on l y a small c learing and then, clapping his hand ove r the girl's mouth, he lift e d h er b odi l y and darted back the way came, straight on in t o the

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20 THE JESSE JAMES STORIES .. He could hear the m@n still cursing as h e went, an d just as he staggered and fell under the girl's weight, there was the crack of a pistol from the scene o f conflict. Star did not remove his hand from the girl's m out h until several minutes had pass ed. \ .\!hen h e did so he found that she had no idea of shrieking. "Hello, Pete Sanders!" she said, in a low t o n e "I'm glad you've found me! Don't make a so und! Those men are terrible I" In the semi-darknes s among the trees she had taken him for her father's oldest puncher, and S tar drew a breath of relief when he saw that s he was trac t able. The voices of the men were still plainly discerni ble, and they could hea r J ess e James cursing like a fiend a nd fairly bellowing hi s f:r ders. "That'll teach you a lesson, Bill Corrigan, I'm th i nk ing!" he roared. "Curse you! What right have you got to be slipping the stuff in your pock ets?" "I helped ter steal it, Jess! It's mine as much as i t is yourn !" answer e d Corrigan, sullenly "Ha! ha! That's the biggest mistake you ever made you fool! I'm the captain of thi s gang, and I pa y my m e n fair and squar e God h e lp them if I catch 'em try ing to help themselve s Now, then, tie your handk e rchief over that hole in your wrist and look after the stallion! You 'll do the drudge ry after this, to pay for your !" re t o rt ed the outlaw. "Have you a horse, P e te? whispered Nell Palmer at jus t this stage of the game. "If you have, we'd better go I They'll be moving in a minute!" Star shook hi s head. He would n o t trust himself to answer. He was afraid hi s voice might not resemble Pete Sanders'. Then I'll steal one and meet yo u at the edge of the lake," went on the girl. "Oh, I wish I hadn t done it, Pete! I'm afraid of Jesse James He' s as cruel a s a tiger, and his men are demons !" Star still remained silent, but he held on to the girl. He was not quite sure of her loyalt y to him After a little more cursing about the thief, Jesse James began calling for Miss Palmer. It was plain that he thought s he had been frightened by the scene and was hiding near by until th e stonn blew over. "Where are you, beauty? Come and finish your nap; no one shall harm you !" he called. "Shall I answer?" a,sked Miss Palmer, under h e r breath. "If I don t I'm afraid h e'll com e and lo o k for me!" The words were hardl y out of her m out h before Jesse James roared out sternly: "Go and find the wench, Dob Fields, and bring her back She l ose h e r s elf if she don't l ook o ut. Fields start e d to reconnoitre. A s b e near e d th e spot wh e re Star and the gi rl wer e hidden the detective whi s pered to Ne!J Palme r to attrac t Fields' attenti on, and at the sa me time m ak e signs to hi m to say noth ing of having found h er. The n he left her where she was, and crept a few feet farther back into the bushes Whether th e girl would do as h e h a d told her or no t he could n o t tell, but he was beginning t o think s he wa s r eally frightened, and if thi s was the c ase, there was so m e c hance of his plan s uc ceed ing. The three men behind the rock we'."e quiet now, and Fields was taking his time about exarnining the hushes. It was a trifl e lighter in the fore s t no'w, but still too dark and h a z y to see anything clearl y Sudde nly F ields uttere d a. sharp exclamation, that made Star's heart sta nd st ill. H e kn ew intuitiv e l y that th e f e llow had discovere d hi s tracks and a ited wit h ba ted breath to see what he would do about it. "What i s it?" call ed J esse J a mes without, apparently, raising his h ead Fields gave a h a r s h laugh, and then answered promptl y : "By g um! I to o k thet thar tree trunk f e r a b ea r s nooz in' in ther bu s h es Reckon thar's sb me t hin wrong with ther whisky, Jess! Haw! haw! As if thar was bears in this hyar section of th e r countr y !" "You're a fool, Bob Fields!" muttered the outlaw, and Star drew a breat h of relief. This lie of Fields' had reassured him of one thing, an d that was that the fellow hated Jess as bitterl y a s ever, and w as keeping hi s own counsel as far as possible. Fields now came straight to the bu s hes b e hind which Miss Palmer was hidden, and the girl rnse quickly and made a gesture for him to say nothing. Fields nodded his head and a grin spread over his fea tures, but hi s quick eyes were darting here and there among the bush es. Turning his head, he bellowed ba c k a word to the outlaw in the hope of allaying any s u spicions that J ess might be harboring. "I've found h e r tracks, cap' n I'll overhaul her in a minute! She's makin' fer th e lake, s o she can't be fa r di stant!" "Treat h e r r ight, Bob F ields or I'll put a bull et through you," was the answer. "Bring h e r ba ck, and be quick about i t It's time we wer e going!" Fields had r eac h ed M iss Palmer, when Star sprang out of th e bushes and, lighting lik e a c at on the fellow's back grabbed him by the windpipe.

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THE JESSE Jf\MES 21' Fie lds mad e a d esperate struggl e bu t th e de tecti ve hung o n a n d a f ter a m inu t e h e h ad forc e d h im clown the ground a n d M i ss Palmer had reli eve d h i m o f a br ace o f pi stols The n wh i l e S ta r c h oke d him so t h a t he co uld n ot cry out, M i ss P al m er ca lml y coc k e d one o f th e w e a p o n s and h e ld it to hi s t e mpl e She was gr1.:a t l y surprised w h e n S t a r knock e d th e wea p o n fro m h er h a nd, and t h e n ,, ith one h a nd, gagged Fields w ith a b i g b and a n a "Now t h e n I'll e xplain Da b F i elds," h e began, in a l ow vo ice. "I'm a fri end, n ot an e n e m y in spite o f m y act i ons. f m a.ft e r J esse J a m es, the ras cal wh o e nti ced this g irl away, a n d I've got t he bul ge o n yo u me r ely t o force yo u to h e lp me." F i e ld s co ul d n ot b u t h e sta r ed a t hi s captor a nd =-.1i ss Palni er pick ed up the weapo n a n d put it in her poc k et. 'He 's cla d s m a n P ete Sa n de r s H e s going t o ta k e m e b ac k h o m e," s h e b egan, i n a fain t voice. S tar p aid n o attention to he r words, b ut w e n t o n , it h hi s explana ti o n ''There s a r e ward o f t e n thousa nd d o llar s fo r th at r asca l' s h ead, a s yo n well kn ow Bo b F i e ld s; n ow, t h en, will yo n h e lp m e kill t h a t scamp an d save thi s g irl ? 'vV c ca n d o it a s easy a s n ot." Fields w i n k ed hi s eyes-it was all h e col1lcl do--and as soo n as S t a r r e ad hi s exp r ess i o n h e r e m oved t h e b a nd a n a "Sh! Talk easy J ess has ears a c a t w a rn ed Fie lck ''You b et I'll h elp to rid the w orld o f that scam p bu t, as easy as i t l ooks, it w on' t be so easy to d o i t!'' "Is Corrigan cripple d ?" as k ed S tar again. "Hi s ri g h t wri st i s broke, but. he kin s hoot lef tha n ded -but C orriga n do n' t count! It's th a t c u ss, Bill Dolton! He's w uss than Bu ck when i t come s ter a murder!" "Can t w e cree p arou n d t he ro.ck s a nd surprise 'e m ?" a s k e d Star. F iel d s w ould hav e lau g h ed if h e ha d dared, bu t as it wa s h e co uld o nl y tw i st h is featnres. "As soo n k e t c h e r wease l as l ,eep a s J ess," h e sa id, softl y 'No, pard, our p l ay i s tcr stea l aw ay a n l ea d J ess e r chase I l o w h e'll foll er th e r gal cons ider ble d is t ance Tha r :s no use i n e r fa 'r a n squar' fight wit h the m th a r r asca ls. The r o dds are ag'in us, an eve n i f they warn 't, yo n r e t oo o l d e r m a n t e r b e muc h use in e r s crap, I r e c kon!" H e eye d S tar keenly a s he spoke, a nd t h e d.et cct ive s miled. "Don t be too sure I m n ot as o ld a s I l ook," h e said, quickly. "Gu ess again, o l d man, a nd see i f y ou can't pl a ce m e Y o u and I hav e m e t befo r e w h e n t h e co ndi ti ons were diffe r e nt "Yo u m ea n wh e11 I was agains t Je ss, an n o t fer him," s aid th e o u tlaw q u i c kly; th e n I r e ck o n I sm ell a r at You r e Will S tar, the dete ct ive!" Star got hi s h a n d ove r l\Iiss Palm e r 's m o uth before s he co uld cry out, and th e n gave th e m b o th a hurried explan a ti on. 'If I w as s u re t h e girl w a s n t tre ach e r o us," h e add ed, at th e la st, but a s h e r eyes fille d w ith t ears he almost r egretted h aving said it. T m no t I swea r I m n ot! I'll g o ba c k h o me with yo u i f you w ill ta k e me s h e said, s harpl y ; I wa s a foo l t o believ e t h a t l yi n g pun c h er, but o h, I did s o hat e the r anch, a nd I wa nt ed to b e a lady! " T he gi rl is all ri g h t. She s afraid o f Jes s and th e r hull l ot o f u s said F i elds, s l ow l y ; th e n it o c cu r red to h im to b e gett ing a mov e on-Jesse J a mc s w as not of the k i n d to clo m u c h wa it i n g. Star gave h i m b ac k one of his pisto l s a nd k e pt th e other, a n d as they star t e d soft ] y through t h e bu s hes, J esse J am e s s h outed, a ngrily : ''Bob! Where t h e devil a r e yo u Bo b ? You 've ha d time t o go to t h e a doze n times over!" Fields was som eth ing o f a ven t ril oq ui s t and, throwing h i s voice a hundre d ya rd s fart he r a h e ad ; h e an s w e red, fai n tly : Co min g, J ess C urse t h e r g al! S h e's as balk y a s a govern m e nt mul e Com e ancl h e lp m e l u g h e r if you're i n a hurry!" I Then h e d a rt e d b e h i n d a t ree, and Sta r and Miss Pal m e r hid in t h e b us hes, a nd all w aited to see if th e outlaw wo uld accept t h e i nvit ation. Their pis t o l s and knies vvcr e r-=ady, a n d J esse J a mes w o uld receive n o m e r cy at their han d s If h e came he wo ul d b e s h ot do wn lik e th e cu r that h e ,as There wo u l d be n o dish ono r in k illing s u c h a wre t c h fr o m a mbu sh. CHAPTER VIII. JAMES. F L ASK OF P OISON . Jn l ess t han a m in ut e t h e d e tectiv e h e ard th e m e n behind t he rocks stir rin g, a nd kn e w t ha t t h e y wer e e ngaged i n a norhe r h ot a l te r ca t i on. ''You'll do as I say, or I'll l e t da ylig ht thro L 1 g h y ou, Bill Co rrigan! t h ey h eard J es;;e James roar; the n the re was a n o m inous sile nce, afte r which th e clr y t w i gs b eg an s n a p p i ng. ''He' s co min g F i e lds! Shoo t h ,im d own lik e a clog! whispe r ed Star, so f t l y 'Pull yer ow n tri gge r a t th e r s am e tim e pare!, so t her deal will b e eve n ," w as th e o u t law 's l ow a n swer. :.VIiss P alm er kn e lt in th e bu s hes and cov e r e d h e r face wit h a s hawl, and a m o m e nt l ate r a b u rly form loo med u p b e h i nd the m

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22 THE JESSE JAMES STORIESo '"It's J ess Thank Goel, his career i s ended th ought Star, as h e leaned forward, with his finger u pon th e trigger. "'Queer, the cuss i s carry in' hi s weapon in his' left hand, thought Fields, and just then h e heard Star's weapon s peak and dropped his hamme r. The man who was approaching fe ll like a log, but neither Fields nor Star m oved from their positions. "Hold on pard warned Fields, "Bill and the Iris hman will be h ya r in a jiff y. We may as well clea n up the batch while we are about it! "It'll be a trio well di spos ed of! Don' t miss, for God's sake growled Star. Then both men hastily the empty chamber in their weapons. Another minute passed and they could hear the stallion snorting. Then Bill Bolton s voice cou ld be heard cursing a t th e mule. Then there was another crackling of twigs, and all was silent. "By G-d They didn't have ther courage ter face ther music! Let's chase fher babie s, pard cried Fields, darting out from his cover. "We must hide Jess' body, first! We'll need it to get the government' s money!" was Star's an sw er, as he sprang into th e space bet wee n the bushes and the bod y A h ow l of rage followed that made Nell Palmer jump to h e r feet, and Bob Fields began cursing like a maniac. "It ain't It's Corrigan! D-n the fellow!" roare d Star. "He s tricked u s again, Bob by the e ter n als!" Fields could not speak for a minute, except in curses, but h e b ent o v e r the dead man and verified Star's state m e nts. Corr igan, dressed in J esse James' clothing, was lying dead at their feet, while the tricky outlaw, on the back o f the st alli o n, w as rapi dly p u t tin g th e trees and bushes b et 1 reen tl!e m '"Ther e .o no use to foll o w The scamps have horses :rnd \Ye haven't, s aid S tar, dolefully. "Here:s an extra pist o l Fields, and cartridges, if yo u n eed th e m. Now, t h e n. le a d the way, if you can, out o f th ese infernal bushes. Fields h e ip ed him self to th e ammunition from Corri gan s belt. I t t ook ever an hour to r eac h the la ke, and when they arrived there the y saw traces of the stalli o n. Jess and Bill Bo lt o n had crossed w ith the goldenladen d onke y between them. \ i\There'd they get that b eas t ? ' asked S t ar, as he saw the tracks Nell Palmer hung her head, so Bob Fields answered: "The beast was in the lots and the girl u sed him t o get away on. Of course, J ess put the bag on ther critter as soon as he saw him. Reckon the y won't get on so fast with that pesky balkin machine between 'em!" "they'll go t oo fast for us, all right! Now, if the b oys will only h ea d th em off said Star, quickly. Fields gave him a sharp lo o k. "So you ain't alone, th en?" he sa id, quickly. Star thought i t best to be h onest, and explain ed where h e had left the oth e r s. "We'll go around ther lake; t1o u s e wettin' ther gal," sa id Fieids, whe n h e fini shed. They began the march, taking turns in carrying the girl, and l etting her walk now and th e n when the shore \Vas fre e of bu shes At high noon they w e re exactl y opposite whe re they h a d started, and Fields was getting hi s b earings by m eans of a pocket compass. "This h yar means er straight cut 'cross country ter Blocksburgh," he said, refl ec tivel y. R ec k o n, now, Jess will go in thet thar direction. Thar's er stage frum B l oc k sburgh ter Saye r thet he'd like ter hev er lo ok at. \Ve h ev ter be k eerful not to overlook ther rascal." "If we only had horses," said Star, who was n early exhausted. Bob Fields lo o ked back over hi s shoulder and winked. "Leave thet thar ter me, pard I know er thing er two erbout this hyar section," he said, curtly It was nothing new to see courage in a robber, but, as a rule the road agents of the vVest were not given to se ntime nt. They had lost th e tracks o f the J ames gang in their journey around the lake, but as they e merged from the woods and struck out across the open country B o b Fields cast his eagle glance ahead and discerned something. "There's a crossroad ahead, an' thar looks ter be tracks," h e said, pointing. Nell dropped to the ground and sat qui e tl y while the men insp ec t ed the road and made a few rather. uncom fortable discoverie s "It's J ess, all ri ght! There's the stallion's big hoof," began Star. "'Thar's th e r mule an' t'other hoss; now, then, what mout these h ya r tracks m ea n ?" asked Fields, pointing to eac h as he m entioned them. "Jess has been m et by some one. They came from oppos ite directions," said Star, after a minute. ' J u m pin' sa ndhill s I've got it!" cried the outla >v, suclclenly. "Ther cuss thet"s m et him i s Frank James, hi s brother, an' I l ow, now, Frank has got reinforcements with him!" "Th e n our work will b e doubly hard," said Star, be tween se t teeth. "Frank is as quick at the trigger a s J ess, every bit, and as for the rest of the gang, you know

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THE JESSE JAMES STORIES. 23 them as w ell as I do. They're the bigge st crew of cut throats this side o f th e Rockies!" "I'd orter know 'em, I've been with 'e m Jong en o ugh ," said Fields, s ull enly. "Yer kin b et I'd er quit long ag o if I'd had er chance ter git even! J ess owes m e e r for tun e an' I mean ter git it, or e l s e I'll take satisfaction out of h i s hide, by the eterna l s "Th at s easier said than done as we ve just dis c o v ered," growled Star; "but which is the to Block s bnrgh, partner?'' Fields nodded toward the right, and the dreary march was with Miss Palmer wa lking the best of the three since her nap on Fie lds' shoulder Star was tired o u t, and s tumbl ed somethi n g. He was exceedingly tired, and had been dragging hi s feet, o r h e would hardly have st ruck such a very sm all object. .. "See here, Fields. One of th e ras cals h as dropped h is flask!" h e called o ut. Field s turned, and t o ok the bottle in hi s hand. It held about a pint, and was half-c ove r ed with leather. ''Thet thar is ther property o f hi s job l ots, ther king of b and its!" he excl aim ed, promptly. H aw haw! Hyar's where we git e r drink at Jess James' expe nse! I'm thi r sty as e r duck, an' I low ye r to be, t oo, pardne r He return ed the flask t o S.tar, who promptl y unc o rk ed it, th e n n oticing the g irl s pale cheeks, h e urged her to partake of it. "A swallow will do y o t good You are nearl y wo rn o u t!'' he b egan. Fields glanced arnund, and saw a t iny brook near them, and, pulling a tin cup fro m his h e filled it with water. Star poured in so m e of the liq uo r, and the girl drank it off. Then Star put th e flas k to his ow n lip s and s wal lo wed a mouthful. The next second th e r e wa s a cry from Miss Palm er, a nd her face turned a s pale as death. At th e same time Star made an effort to e j ec t the li quor he had taken. v Vhat th e d e v i l !" bega n Fields. "Poisori There's no whi s k y about it!" s n appe d Star. Fields ra n over to the brook a nd got an other cup of water, which he fo r ced Miss Palmer t o swallow, in sp ite of her agony. S ta r m anaged to r id hers e lf of wh a t he h a d swa llow ed bu t there \ va s an int e rn a l g riping th a t was very un co m fortable. Then they both turned their attentio n t o the r elief o f the gir l and after an hour of hard work she was out o f dang e r. !'It was ther water that saved her, I reckon," said Fields. "Ef she'd e r swallered t h e r s tuff straight, 'twould hev killed h er, s ure as shootin' Thet thar's another trick of Jess e J ame s that nuth er on us will forgit easy, I reckon. ' "I s hould s ay n o t grow l ed Star. "How the d euce did the ra scal know we would b e ri g h t behind him? That s t uff might hac1 e been swallowed b y a n inn oce nt person!"' '"I l ow it wa s , sai d Field s with a n othe r loo k at the girl. walked up to a little k n oll, a nd took a wider view of the country His eye s caught a gl i mpse of somet hin g in the dis tanc e Qui ck Make fo r the rocks yo n der! There's some o n e coming!" h e yelled. "It may be friends and it may b e enemies! This i s n t any t ime t o b e t aking chances!" CHAPTER IX. JESSE JAMES IN WOMAN' S A'fTIRE. Fie ld s rai sed Nell Palme r in his arms and made a da s h for the roc ks, with Star following. They were n o more than hidden b efore a group of h orse m e n came clattering over th e kn oll. Star stoo d perf ect l y st ill and listened until he heard th eir voices, th e n l et out a who op that awakened the echoes. "Hello! W h oop Hi t h e re! Hold o n, Ray Run a way and l eave us, and I'll bl o w your brains o itt !" There was a sudde n halt and r a chorus of yells, and a s Star emerge d into full sigh t h e was promptly surrounded b y hi s lat e c o mpanions Bob Fields c ame out, while they w e re yelling, leading Nell Palmer b y the h a nd, and the yelling was increased until it re sem bled pand e monium Star quieted them e nough, finally, to tell hi s story, and h asty plans were laid to accomplish certain purposes. Nell Palmer was sent home with two of the punch e r s as escorts, and then, although he hated to do it, Bob Fields joined forces with th ose who w ere t o go in an opposite direction. A fter that t h e marc h was r esumed, Pendleton and J e d Ford for a while to let the tired men enjo y t he horses, and at the very n ex t stretch of pa st ure land the y c ame a c ross a h e rd of h o rses. Look out, boys! No monkey-shine s warned Pen dleton, who was riding in the l ead. "There's a d oze n m e n o n g uard around those beasts What the deuce can it mean? They l ook as if they had been in a sc rim mage!" Star galloped ah e ad and waved hi s hat to the herd s men. They answered with a g rim sa lute, and then every man of th e m raised a rifl e t o his s h o uld e r "Halt!"

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24 THE JESSE JAMES STORIES. The ord e r w as given b y a burl y fellow, and Star m o ti o ned fo r his m e n to h eed i t, at th e s a m e t i me s topp i n g abruptly. v V h o b e ye r ?" as k e d th e ma n w ith out l owe r i n g hi s w ea p o n "Giv e an accoun t o f yerse lf, st r anger. \ Ve'v e had fighti n e n o ugh for the r p rese h t " W e' r e d e t ect i ves an d ra nch m e n o n t h e trac k of Jess e J a mes a nd th e Twilig h t ga n g r esponde d Star prompt ly. "They've sto l e a l o t of h orses fr o m Joel Palm e r at D a rk C afio n and there s five th o u sa n d in nugge ts be t we e n th a t b e l ongs ov e r in B lock sburg h " Reck o n ye r 'll h ev te r m ove faster, t h e n stra nge r s/' sai d the man, as h e l o w e r e d his weapon. vVe've heel e r run-in with the m t ha r Twili g h te rs, and licke d 'e m too, yo u bet! S nakes! So th e t th a r mu s t hev been J ess t hat we j est t ack l e d p a r d n e r s He turne d to h i s m e n as h e spo ke, a n d t h ey all l o w e r ed their weap o ns, so Star m oved n ea r er t alki n g a s r apid l y a s p oss ibl e T e n minu tes l ater t h e party h a d all t he informati o n tha t t h e h e r dsme n cou l d giv e t h e m and wer e a lso i n pos sess i o n o f t w o extra h o r ses. J esse James ha d escaped th e i r rifles, a ft e r t r y in g in vain t o stea l a h orse, a n d h e a n d all b ut o n e of hi s party h a d g all oped away towar d t he m o un ta ins T h e h e rds m en ex h ibited the remai n i n g ma n w i t h a g r eat d e al of nrid e H e had bee n s h o t j us t as he l eaped t o t h e bar e b a c k of o n e o f th e h orses a n d was l y i ng, dea d a s a door n ai l," b e hi nd a clum p of bu s hes. "It's Apache A l a h a l f br e ed, and a ro b ber to t h e co re," sa i d Star, as h e l ooke d at him T h e n t h e d i cker fo r th e h o rse s wa s ma de, and t h e part y gal l oped on toward Bloc k s burg h T h ey r eac h e d th e little sett l eme n t an h our b efor e day light, a nd p ut up t he ir hors fs in a good-natured ranc h e r's s t able After a brea k fa s t a n d two h ours' rest t h e e n t ir e grou p ou t a nd pa s s e d t h e m se l ves off in th e t ow n as a lot of min e rs wh o we r e t rav e lin g West to find e mpl oy m e n t. T h et tha r 's q u eer, n o w," was th e r ep l y t h .at g r eeted Star' s r emark t o t h a t effect and Hot Foot J o n es, the j olly r a nchman, l o o k e d ove r a tu n i b l er o f whisky a t th e d e tec tive. "What's q u eer a b o u t it?" as k e d S t a r. Reckofi biz i n B l oc k sburg h is l ook in u p went o n the r a n c hm an. "Tha r s work e n o u g h h ya r bo uts, but n o t jest in thi s h yar s ect i o n l eas t w i se n ot e n o u g h t e r go round ther h ull t w o bunc hes "Wh a t the de u c e do you m e a n ? as k e d P e n d l eto n qui c kly. H aw h aw Recko n n o w ye r d i dn t meet e r d o z e n e r so big feliers t h et struck the r tow n la s t night j est afor e hmplig h t i n', d id ye r ?" was t he answe r. T h e detect i ves l oo k e d a t eac h o th e r, an d th e n S t a r u rged his h ost t o e nj oy his w hisk y. v V h e n th e b o t t l e was e m pty h e w as s u re t h at "Hot Foot" wonld f ee l m o r e lik e t al k in g "Th ey was past hyar l ast night! Reck o n th ey've m o s eye d o n t e r th e r ran ch! Thet thar s t h e r p l ace w h e r e s t ran ge r s g oes m o st ly!" w e n t o n the r anch ma n "Polly t he Lark 's p la ce, b y t h e r e t e rn a l s blurt ed o ut J ed For d ' Reckon, n ow, we'd be s t hev e r l o o k at the t tha r wench I l ow, now, s he s ther purt i e s t critte r this hyar s ide o f th e r S i erras "Polly' s er co r ke r a n n o mi sta k e!'' c hu c kle d t h e ra n c h ma n as h e o pe n e d an ot h er b o ttle, b ut y o n'd o r te r clap a n eye o n th e r gal she's got w ith h er! S n a kes! She' s th e r s n a p pies t c ritt e r t h et eve r wore pe tti c o at s Thar w o n 't be er hull h eart l e f t in the r bunc h wh e n yer' v e see n t h et thar wen c h t en minu tes " W ho i s s he?" aske d Horton who was g e t t i n g inte r e slecl. Hot Foot g ul pe d d o wn h i s w hi sky b efo r e h e a n swe r e d : She's o l d Bo b Lind say s da u g h te r Lib. B o b w as at the r Co m stock a n m a d e his p i le, but h e n ever co m e back n ot fa r t h e r tha n H u mbo l d t co un ty vVhat b ecome o f him no one k n ew, b u t h e was t rac k ed m os t t e r Dark Cail on. 1 a liu s l owed h e was murde r ed an' robb e d, an' P olly h ya r h as t oo k me r cy on the r orphan. S h e 'll l ead Lib e r l ife, no dou bt, b ut th e ranch i s e r sh e l t e r fer t h e r poor innerc e nt " A fin e s h e l te r if t h e J ames gang is being h arbo r e d t here, m u ttered Stal'., unde r h i s bre at h A few mi nu te s l a t e r h e a n d R ay sa u nte r ed o u t. They we r e goi n g to l ook up the a uthoriti e s o f B l ock s burg h and plan w i t h th em h ow to ent r a p the outl aw. Not a s ign of t h e o u t l aw g an g wa s see n durin g t h e d ay, and, beyo n d admitting t hat s h e h a d acco m moda t e d a doze n m e n and h o r ses wi th a ni ght' s lodgin g, t he ow n e r of C u t throa t r a n c h w o uld say ab s olutely n othing. Polly Flemin g th e r a n c hw o m a n, had rece i ved h e r sobriqn e t from h e r v o ice. S h e coul d sing lik e a l ark, a n d was a l w a ys s i ngin g. She h ad been in Califo rn ia m a n y year s a n d was a s s h rew d as a l a w yer. S h e o wn e d two t h o u s an d acres and seve n h u n d r e d h ea d o f ca ttle, and ran h er ran c h a s cl ev e rl y a s a n y man in th a t se cti o n That s h e sho uld harbo r a n o u t l aw gan g w o ul d n o t hav e been b elie v e d by the aut hori t i es if Star ha d n ot b ee n ab l e t o prove h is a s se rti o ns. S pies w e r e sent to t he ra n c h b u t they cou l d find ou t n o th i n g. T h e cow b oy s ab o ut the plac e \ \ : e r e ab o ut their u s ual

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THE JESSE JAMES STORIES. 25 duties, and P olly and Lib Lindsay we r e bu sy around the ranch h o use. Neve r t h e l ess, at twelve o'cloc k that night the h o n se was su r ro un ded. T h e r e was a pos s e o f h a lf -a-h undr ed, not co un ting th e d etect i ves' party. During t h e h e ight of t h e exc i lerne n t Polly a pp e ared at the door. She was told that she must allow th e s h e r iff and his men to as J esse James a nd hi s gang of cutthroats were kn ow n to be ther e "Thi s h ya1-"s the r second time in ther hist ory o f ther ranch th e t we've come o n sec h an erra n d," exclaimed the s h e riff. '"v V hen P o ll y first starte d th e r ranch thar was e r party of cutthroats stopped h yar I reck o n she !mo wed o ne o n 'em, some h ow, 'c ause s he shielde d t her c u sse s an' t he y got away! Thet thar give th e r ran c h it s n a me, an' it's s tuck like er porous pla ster!" While th e o fficial was talking Poll y had disapp e ared for a minu te, and wh e n s he r et urn e d the r e was som e o n e with her. "It's Lib! R ecko n they're goin' ter get out while we r a n sack," chuckl e d th e s heriff ; a s if we'd hurt t her purty critters!" The n he ordered his m e n n ot to molest the women, but to s cour pre mises thoroughly for th e party of o ut la ws Star t oo k the lead, and. th e crowd surged around th e h o u se, while th e two tall dignified fig ure s pi c ked their way across the yard and turned down the street that l e d to the vipage "Hanged if I ain't going to have one look at the belle of Blocksburgh, thought H o r to n as he watcher! th e m; then instead of following the men, he reined his hor se to ward the women. There was a yell fr o m the sheriff at that minute and pistols began to crack but H orto n o nl y urge d his h o r se ahead, and t hen wheeled around s udd en ly. He had h eaded off the two, who were fleeing fro m the ranch and a s they we r e n o w face to fac e h e l ea n e d over and stared at them. Ins tantl y there was a flash and a rep o rt. A bullet from a good-sized weapon s truck the d etect i ve squarely in the shoulder. H e had just tim e t o see t h e face of J esse James peering a t him from und e r a thick green veil, th en, with a yell t o Star, h e pit c h e d headlong fro m the saddle. In less than a se c o nd the two o utlaws were in his plac e and galloping toward the mountains They we re half-a mile awa y before Star r eac hed him Horton was unable t o speak for severa l minutes which increa sed th e distanc e to a mile and wh e n he did speak Star co11ld hardly beli e ve him. Two member s of the gang had been found in the ranch house and riddled, and the p osse was scattering over th e l ots on a wild chase after th ree more, then some one ye lled that the y had found the women. This verified H orto n 's tale, and the detectives gave up in des pair Once more the fam o us bandit s had succeeded in out witting them. The o utlaw s that were ca ught were promptly jail ed, but th ey were n o n e of th e m well known, so there was n o t mn c h g l ory. At daybreak Star fonnd t h e bag of nugg ets or what was l eft of it. The J a me s b oys had c arried what they could, but there \\ e r e about tw o th o usand dollars worth left, and it was their pleasure later on to mak e it over to Lib Lindsay. Polly the Lark was tried for compiicity with the out laws, bnt when it was found t hat she was the wife of one of th e m, the authoritie s forc ed her to sell her ranch and get out of California. Lib Lindsa y, who wa s a r ea lly pretty girl nursed Hort o n back to he a lth and before the detective left Blocksburgh they wer e engaged to b e married. Sta cy and Lent joined Star at Burnt ranch, in Trinity co unty, a few days lat er, and reported that Nell Palmer h ad beer 1 returned saf e l y to he r m ot her. Fie ld s listened to th e new s in s ilence, but th e re was a h ap p y lo o k on hi s face, which was changed later to a frown when th e detectiv es urged him to chase the outlaw gang still farth er. J esse James was followed, in a desult o ry way, for the fir st two or three da ys after hi s di sapoea rance in Poll v the Lark's clo thing, but neither h e nor Frank were heard of d e finitel y for some time after. v V hich of th e o utlaw s was Polly's hu s band n o one cared t o find out. He disappeared during the scrimmage, so there was no u se conjecturing. Joel Palmer was hung a few m o nths later, and J ed Ford and Pete Sanders t oo k care of the ranch for the widow. Star waited until Horton was out o f danger and then stole a march on the tw o rival detectives b y getting o u t with his chums on e night and kaving them to act their own pleasur e in the matter of following the outlaws. "The y're allfired brave fell ows, and our fri e nds ," h e sai d h ones tly "but bu s iness is bu s ine ss, and I hate to divide honors. If we catch Je sse James the glory goes to the Pinkerton agency. We can't aff o rd to forget our duty to our employer!" L ent seconded the s tat e m ent, and Stacy and Ray nod ded approv al. They could b e good fellows and goo6 l ove rs, but, above all, the y w ere goo d detectives. J esse James wa s still alive, and cutting hi s blo o d y swath a s w ide as ever, and it was for them to pursue the rascal to t h e ends of the ea rth if neces sary Star h a d ;:i.ccomplish ed his o bj ect in r esto ring some part of t he sto len gold, but h e w o uld nev er rest until that other co nqu e s t was acco mpli s h ed-he mu s t rid the world of J esse James, the o utlaw. THE END. Next week's issu e No. 44 will contain J esse James' Spy; or, Corraling a Whole Town," Jesse James' biggest exploit, b oys. He never mad e a bigger haul than he did o n thi s occasion. He came near capture, too, but escaped. Read it boys, in n ex t week's issue.

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The new contest h as opened up at a live l y gait. The fo.st bunch or entries came in so swiftly that it nearly knocked the editor out. Keep it up, boys. From the way things have sta1'ted it looks as if this con test was going to be a record breaker. Remember that old proverb about the early bird and the wo1m. Bear in mind, also, that the neatness and legibility of your contribution will also count for somdhing. Of we give the prize to 'the best d e s:ription of a. boxing bout; but if two c Jntri t ut01s are equally good, the boy whose writing is the neatest and most legible is the winner. Now, boys, get ready for excitement! Here are are a few of the best out of the big' host of early arrivals. A Hard-Won Victory. (By Walter Sneed, Texas. ) When Alfre d Smith eutered tbe boxi11g t ourname11t of the Hercules Athletic Club o f Housto n, Texas he had little hope of comii1g out a winner. He had considerable skill as a boxer, but many of the contestants were older aud stronger boys, and it looked to Alfred as if he had uot much of a chance. Iu his first two bouts, however, t o hi s intense smprise, he eas il y outpointed his oppo11en t s. His third bout, however, which was t o be the last of the tournameut. \\as harder. His opponent was Charles Eastmoud, a boy who had easi ly defea t ed all the otlJer con t estants save Alfred He was several years older than 'Alfred much heavier aud capab le of hitting au exceedingly powerful blo1Y. When the evening for this fin a l c ontest arri\e d Alfred was decidedly ne1To11s ''I have no cbauce to wi n," h e said t o bis friencl James Gordon, who acted as bis seco n d "Eastrnond is so much taller than I am, and his arms are so l011g that I cannot hope to touch hi111." "Keep up a good heart, Alf," said James, slapping him on the back. ''Keep cool and you'll bea t him. He's al mos t Sllre to l ose his temper and the n yo u will have him where you want h im. He'll fight wildly and give you plenty of openings Alf had plenty of courage. He tbonght over his friend's words a nd decided to follow his advice. When the bell rang for the bout to commence he found his big opponent witll a confident smile on his face. Eastmo11d opeuecl matters by making a wild rush at Alf. The smaller boy, although he avoided almost every blow was driven back, and finally fell to hi s knees Eve r y cue t hought that lie was already d efeated. \Vh eu he aros e, howeve r, he wore the same couficle11t smile. Eastmond rushed again This time Alf sidestepped cleverly and planted his l eft fist 011 his opponent's chin. The big bo y straightened up and 11early fell backward wh i l e the spectators yelled with excitement. Now carne Alf's chance. Eastmond was too much sta rtl e d aud shaken up to cldend himself. The smaller bov darted in and rained blow after blow o u his head and breast. Blinded and b ewildered, Eastmond staggered around the ring trying in vain to amid the stinging blows of his oppo n en t. Alf followed up his advantage closel y Jab after jab l anded on some part of Eastmoud' s face or body. 'vVheu tbe be ll raug at the conclusion of the round the big boy was so weak that he had to be h elped to bis corner. He refused t o continue the fight, admittiug that h e had been defeated, and A l f now' holds the medal awarded to the cha111pio11 boxer. The Boxer and the Bully. ( By Ralph Graves, New York.) "Get out of my way, cnrse yer, or I'll nm yer down!" This was the cry of a brawny truck driver as he guided hi s team around a sharp turn. He raised his whip threateningly at the t errified old man be addressed, who was doing his best to avoid the plunging l10rs es

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THE JESSE JJ\MES STORIES. 27 "Dro p tbat whip and pull u p your hors es This s harp command ca m e from the lips of a slender youth, sc a rc e l y more than a boy w ho stood 011 the curbstone watching the incident. The driver pulled in his horses and glared at him. Who' ll make me?" he crie d I will," said the young man. The nex t m oment the burly driver bad di s !nounted and was advancing a t the youth with cl inched fist. Suddenly he lowered his hea d and rus hed Bysta nd e r s turned away in horror. They t-ought that the young man would be killed surely "Crack!" Something had landed hard on fhe bully's jaw, and h e wa s stretched full length on the pavement, while his opponent, unhurt, stood calmly waiting for him to arise. He d id not have to wait long. With a how l o f rage, the gigantic driver ros e to his feet and rushed at him. Crack Crack The young man's body stepped quickly to one side, a s the drive r rushed, and his fists shot out like cannon ball s Again the bully was stretched on the ground. He aros e slowly and went over to his team amid the cheers of the spectators. A Contest for $20,000. ( By W Burchill, Ala.) It was midnight, and Will Speers, the youngest of the cl erks, wa s the only one left in the bank. He had been working later than usual at the books and was just preparing to .leave. Sudde nly he heard a noi se It ca m e from the fro n t offic e. It sounded as thoug h some on e were trying to force in the d o or. Then came creaking, as of the door opening. Will Spears sprang to his feet. A moment later he was looking into the muzzle of two revolvers in the hands of two men who bad entered the cashier' s room. They were tall and broad, and wore black mas ks. "Giv e us the combination of the safe or die, s aid the foremo s t of the two. Wltat was Will to do? He knew that the t w o men facing him were d esperate characte rs and would not hesitate to take hi s life yet he could n o t give them the com bi nation of the safe. It contained $20,000. He must be faithful to h is employers. I give you three minutes," said the desperado who had s poken before. Slowl y the big clock ticked out sixty seconds. Will was still hesitating. Suddenly an idea came to him. "We will box for that money,'' said Will. ''Box for it!" exclaimed both desperadoes. "Yes, said Will. I will trust to your honor. I will write the combination of the safe on a piece of paper and band it to one of you. He will act as referee, while I box with the other. I hav e a set of glov es in the offic e here. If I am defeated you can read the combination. If I win you must tear it up and leave. ''But the nois e will attract attention,' said the smaller of the two cracks m e n "We are wht::re no one can hear us, said Will. 'It's a barga in said both burglars. They might 11ot have agreed so readily had they known tbat Will was the champion boxer of the little Western town in which he liv ed. They laid their re v olver s aside while Will threw off his coat a n d vest, after writing something-on a piece of pape r and handing it to the smaller man. 'rhe larger m a n stripped for a ction, and Will drew forth the gloves f ro m b e ne ath his d es k. There w a s a clear space at one end of the room and Will and the burglar faced each other there. "rime! cried the referee, and Will stepped forward and l a nded lightly on bis opponent's face. The burgla r retaliated, and the bout wa s Olil thick and fa s t Will found that his opponent was no mean boxer. He s p rang about with the agility of a cat, and kept Will busy his b lows. At the end of the round both were panting. ''Time!" call e d the refere e, and again they faced each other. 'rhis time Will was more careful. With the agility of a p anther, be danced about his antagonis t. N ow he would step in to land a stinging blow. N ow he would clev erly slip aside to avoid a rush. A t the burgla r gave Wi.11 his o pportunity After a rush, he drop ped his hands for a moment. Will ran in and S\'\'Ung with his The burglar tottered and fell. Tbe bout was over. W i ll after tearing u p the paper, aide d the r efe ree in hel ping the other c ra ck sman out. 'I'h e n he sa w the t wo 111lunt the h o rs es they h a d left at the d oor an d g a llo p sw if tl y He had s a ve d tlie $20,000. I\ \!\finning Punch. ( B y H arry Wilkius Ga.) Jim Hickey and Joe Grimes wer e the b es t bo xers in the street in which they lived. They met one afternoon to de c ide the cham p i o n s h i p in the back yard of the hous e in w h i ch I li v ed S everal other boys were there to w a tch til e co n t::sts. I acted as r e feree Jim was the taller of the two, but Joe wa s s t o ut e r an d stronger. He was twe l y e years old while Jim wa s thirtee n. A t fir s t Jim .bad the be s t of it. His long arms gav e him the ad vantage. He struck Joe ea sily and Joe could r e ach him at all. In the third round, however, he made a vicio us jab at Joe. Joe ducked it clev erl y Then his right fis t shot u p and landed on Jim' s nose so hard.that the blood flow ed. I stopped the contes t and declared Joe the v ictor.

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TALES Of HUNTING f\ND TRAPPING. AND. HIS COUGA:R. BY EDWARD S. ELLIS. Years ago the uame o f David C ro c kett wa s known from on e end of the U niou to the otheli B orn in wh a t was the n the Sta t e o f North Carolina, in 1786 his parents removed t o 'l' e nn essee, wh e n h e wa s a b out fiv e years of a ge, a nd tha t State jus tly claim s him as her sou At fift ee n yea r s he did not kn ow the a l phabe t ; y e t thus earl y iu y outh h e displ a y ed the shr ewd n e ss t ac t a nd p e rs everanc e which m a d e him s o di sting ui s h e d iu a ft e r life. H e marrie d a t au early a g e , v h e n h e wa s s o poo r tha t he c o uld s c a rc e l y c a ll a d o ll a r hi s o wn ; a nd m ak in g little headway 011 hi s fa rm h e e mi grnte d \Ves t into Linc oln C ounty, whe re, with h is h e l prnee t and h is tw o son s, h e settled down to the s t e rn bu s in ess of life. The surtouudiug c ountry b e in g m o s tl y w o ods, ri c h in the diff erent kinds of game, he h ad full opportuuity to e xercise his love for hunti n g, a nd whil e yet a y oung man, bec a m e iwte d for hi s rernarka bl e skill in the 11se of the rifle. Wh e n the Cre e k War brok e out he enlisted immediate l y after the ma ss a c re o f Fort M imm s H e did good se r v ice as a scont a n d c o mm o n so ldi e r, and the authentic exploits wihc h he pe rformed while thus engaged would of themse l ves form a v olume At the cl os e of the war lie returne d t o his family unharmed Two yea r s after his wi f e di e d a u d this w a s au a c ti o n so r e l y f elt by th e hon es t-h earted hunter. The touchiug d eath bed scene rem a in e d inde libl y s t ampe d upo n hi s memory, and he never r ecurre d to it iu a ft e r life without g r eat em otion. Bein g l ef t with thr e e childre n h e did hi s duty a s a father to the m and a f e w yea r s l a t e r rnarried a widow lad y with two ch il d r e u h e r hllsbaucl h av in g b ee n killed i11 the Cr ee k \Va r. The marriage prove d a h appy on e in all r espe ct s S omP. y ears af t e r w a r d he remov e d to S ho a l Cree k whe re h e se t tled, and ente r e d upo n the s e cond phase of his lif e, a nd the o n e which r ea ll y g a ve him hi s great fam e H e was chose n magi s t ra t e a u d a s sumed h is duties with a cletermi11atio11 t o be jus t, and to e xecnte j u stice a t a ll haz a r ds. When, as it m ay w e ll be supp o se d h e united this re so lve with a t o tal ignorance of a ll t e ch nica l l aw it may b e s afely beli eved that his a dministra tion w a s cha racterized b y jus tic e i11 th e true s en s e of tl: e word. Whe11 a c o m p l aint wa s m a d e, in s t ea d of t aking the trouble to i ss u e a warra nt, he simpl y instructed the c o n stable to "cat c h tha t chap, d e ad or alive," audit rarel y h a p p e ne d that the culprit e s ca pe d N o t one of his judg m ents wa s ever appe a l e d from. Iu 1 1 821 h e wa s e l ected to the legislature. While a magistrate he had applied himself assiduously, and bad acqui red the rudiments of an educatio n. About this time also he was elected colonel. In 1823 he wa s elect e d a second time to the l eg islature and became so popular tha t iu I 824 he was n o mi nated for Congress but was def eated by two votes, due, there i s r eas on t o b e li ev e, to fraud His friend s nothin g d i scourag ed hoi s ted his narn e a gain, and although h e h a d t\\o weallhy and t alented oppou ents, and h e was extre m e l y pcor, he w a s el ected by a majority of ov e r three t ho u sand v ot es When the T enne s s e e b ackwoo d s m a n too k his seat in C o n g r ess he created q u i t e au exciterneut. His bluut h o n es t y eccentric h u m o r a n d nat iv e wit, ma
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THE JESSE JAMES STORIES. 29 buffalo bunt. His cunning. mustang feigned complete exhaustion when he reached the bank of a river, and, removing his saddle, Crockett left him to shift for him s elf. This mishap occurred just at nightfall, and the adven turer, observing a large tree that had been blown down, concluded its exuberant bra11cbes would afford him a comfortable shelter for the night. He began beating among them to select the proper place, when be was startled by hearing a growl close at hand. Turning his h ead, he saw, less than ten feet from him, a Mexican cougar glaring at him. The animal was crouching, ready for the spring, and Crockett, fully feeling his critical position, raised his rifle and discharged it. As the smoke cleared from his gun, he expected to see the animal in its last struggle; but instead the brute only shook himself and gave vent to another deeper and more ominous growl. The ball had struck bis forehead and gla:iced off, merely stunning him without inflicting any injury. Crockett, seeing that he would not have time to reload his piece, clubbed it and stepped back. At the same moment the lithe animal made a spring in the air a nd lit at his very feet. The hunter brought down the stock of his gun with all the power at his command upon the brute's head, but it made no impression, ex cept, perhaps, to render him more furious than he was before, and the cougar again sprang at him. The gun was of no further avail, and, throwing it from him Crockett drew his knife and made ready for qua;ters. As the cougar came up he struck at him with the kt1ife and at the same moment found his teeth fastened in his arm. The hunter thrust his knife into the s ide of the beast, when the latter loosened his bold, and the two separated for a moment. But it was only for a moment. The infuriated beast turned again to the at tack. Crockett was fearful that the contest would last until he was exhausted, and he now turned all his. efforts toward blinding the brute. He therefore struck at his eyes, but only bruised bis nose. While slowly walking backward, Crockett caught his heel, and, as he fell upon his back, the cougar dropped squarely upon him and fastened bis teeth in his thigh. As he felt the long fangs enter bis flesh, he struck the animal again and again, but it was at such disadvantage that he inflicted little injury. The prolonged struggle bad brought the combatants to the bank of the river, and the hunter, seeing the wate r below him, did his utmost to hurl his foe into it; but the latter clung so tenaciously to him that he saw if one went over, it wo9ld only be when the other did. Crockett desp erately drove his knife into the side of the brute, but it possessed remarkable tenacity o f life, and sank its teeth deeper and deeper into the flesh, until the gallant hunter began to believe his end was really at hand. Summoning all the strength of which he was master, he be g an a fea rful struggle with the cougar, determined, at all h a zards to force him ov e r the river bank, and he strcceeded finally in getting h i m to the very edge where for a few moments, the two Jay in such delicate equipoi s e, that a s tron g gus t of wind would h a ve toppled them over. Crockett seemed completely exhausted, and the animal was iu th e same predi cament. Thus they lay, panting, with the hurried breath of each mingling together. In a m oment th e h unter had regained his strength, and, with a sudden effort, he broke the balance Both rolled over and dropped upon the very edgP of the water, most fortunately the hunter falling on top in such a manner that the neck of the cougar offered an invitation to the knife. It was instantly sank to the heart, and the beast, with a few struggles, rolled over and died. Crockett shortly after rejoined bis companions, and, together, they made their way to the Alamo, here they all fell, bravely fighting for the young republic. LIVES OF FAMOUS MEN. This contest was over some weeks ago, as you all know. All of you are at work in the new contest. We received so many good contributions in the contt:st, however, that we had not space to print one hundredth part of them. A great many were almost good enough to win prizes. We want to give the writers of some of the best of them the satisfaction of seeing their contributions in print. Here are a few. Funston's Deed. (By J. Walsh, Wash.) . On a hot, tropical night tbe commanding general of tbe invincible armies of the United States in the Philip pines, standing in the uneasy shadow of a verdant palm, received the news that the leader of the enemy, the subtle, slippery and influential Aguinaldo, was but a score of miles away, hidden in the impenetrable shades of the distant bills. ''I must have Funston 's advice, ' he muttered. He turned to an orderly. ''I wish to see General Funston,' he said. The attache dashed away; and returned speed ily a few steps in the rear of the famous officer. The leader held a long conference with bis invaluable aid. Many plans were suggested and abandoned. Finally Funston suggested one which for daring and audacity has seldom been rivaled in authentic annals. Funston and a few soldiers were to pretend to be the captives of a band of friendly natives, who were to take them in bonds to Aguinaldo. At a propitious moment they were to be released, and the rebel chief was to be seized and made captive in turn. Funston and his men left the city secretly at night, for half the population were Filipino spies. Quickly, noiselessly, they pas!'ed the outlying farms. The count.ry was dark, silent, deserted. The shadowy sped on into the dark shadows of the trees markmg the spot where they were to meet the friendly natives. They are early. They huddle together while the distant church hells toll the hour. Twelve o'clock. They started. The chief led the way, presenting to tbe eyes of his men a sturdy, decisive figure. Over the band hovered the silence which precede dangerous deeds A s they neared the hiding-place of Aguinaldo, Fun ston aud his men were bound and carried as captives to the rebel headquarters.

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THE JESSE JAMES STORIES. A t a propitious m orneu t the Americans were re l eased [ B g c N R 1 p ointed gun s, t hey ca ll ed on the r ebe l s OXI ng o n test OW un n 1ng A flas h of fir e and a l ou d r eport s tartled the n i ght. 'The r ebe l s rushed hither and thither in a n endeavor t o escape ''Ont o them, m en Funston There w a s curses r ent the air. Sharp commands. we m u s t h old them!" shout ed a shoc k as bodies me t. S trange H oa rse ejac ul a t ions were heard. Shot followed shot irregul a rl y. With a n i r resistibl e sweep, the Americans attacked the r ebe l s, a nd aft e r a s truggle took t hem prisoners. General Ben B u tler. (By N. V. Neil Long T sland.) General Butler was born in Deerfield, N. H., Novem ber 5, 1 818 After a preparat o r y schoo l educat ion be ente r e d t he i nstitu t io n a t Watervill e, Me., then known a s Wat e rville C ollege, graduating with credit in 1838 He pursu e d the study of l aw, a n d was admitted t o the bar in 1 840. From t be first he took a deep interest i n p o l i t ics, and an active part in politi ca l work. He was a staunch Democrat, and w a s e l ected by .that party in 1 853 a s a m em ber of the Massachusett s House of Representa t ives, and was elec t ed t o the Stat e Senat e in l 859 A t the ti me o f the P r es i de nt's call for troops in 186 1 Butle r h eld the rank of Brigadier-General of Mi litia. O n t he 1 6 t h of May he was made Major-General and p l ace d i n command of Fort Monroe. During the summer h e was e ngaged i n active service in capturing Forts Hatteras and C lark in A ugust. An expediti on was plann ed at this t i m e for the Gulf of Mexi co a n d the Mississippi to which he was assigned. The mi litary force consisted o f 15,00 0 me n an d reached Ship I sland April 17, 1 862. T h is expedition was designed fir s t and foremost for reducing the defense of New Orleans and capturin g the city in co n jtrnction with the flee t of Comm o dore Porter, assisted by that of Farragut. On t h e 25t h the city was compelled t o snrrender and B u tl e r t ook poss es sion on May 1st. He aroused int ense resentment among the inh abi t an t s as we ll as t h e people of t he South generall y on accoun t of h is rigorons measures, especia ll y for t he hangin g of Wm. Mumfo r d for taking down the Uni t ed S tates flag from the mint building, and for his ''Order No. 28," to prevent womeu from insult ing so ldiers. For t hese actious he was proclaimed a u outlaw by J efferson Davis in Dec e mbe r 1862 A mo r e just cause for re s e ntment, h o wever, was his se i z u re o f $800,000 deposited in the office of t he Dutc h c o n su l. His groun d for doing t h is was as he stat ed that the C o n f edera t e arms and s uppl ies we r e t o be purch ased w i t h i t. A t the prot es t of a ll foreign consu l s, the Governmen t looked i n to the matter and direct ed B u t l e r to return t he money O n Dec e mber 1 6, 1862, General Du t ler was recalled and p l ac 2 d i n command of the Depart ment of Virginia and North C arolina. He remaiued in this Department h a rd l y a year, and was sent in October, 1 864, t o New York C ity wi t h a force to insure peace duri n g the i n tel'!se excitement of the elec t ion. General B11t l e r's c onduct gen eral l y m e t with considerable disapproval and his military j u dgmen t was severely C!'!nsured. S EVENTEEN PRIZES SPALDING PUNCHING BAGS SPALDING BOXING GLOVES ................. ._ ... ____________________________ __ The two boys who writ e the best storie s w ill each receive a Spalding "Expert" Punching Be.g, made of finest selected Napa tan leather. The workman ship i s the same as in the Fitzsimmons special bag. Doublestitched, welted seams, r e-inforced one-piece t op. Best quality Para rub ber bladder. A n extremely durable and lively bag, and carefully selected before packing. Each bag comp!P.te in box with bladder, rubber cord for floor a n d rope for ceiling attachment. The four next best stories will win for thei r writers s ets of Spalding regulation s oz. boxing g loves. TWO PAIRS CF CLOVES TO EACH SET. Made after the Corbett pattern o f soft craven tan leather, well-padded, with elastic wrist bands. There will be eleven prizes in the third class Eleven sets of t w o p air of Spalding boxing glove s Regular pattern, made of li ght-colored soft tanned leather, well-padded, elastic wristbands. These bags and gloves are The Best i h;;t can b e obtained any where. They are we/I worth trying for. T O CET THEM Think of any exciting boxing bout you have witnessed or participated in. Sit down and write as g o o d a descripti o n of it as you kno w ho\',. Make it lively. Throw in all the upper cuts and half arm jolts, and do it in five hundred \Yor d s or less. Every boy who has ever seen a boxing has a chance t o capture one o t the prizes. The contest inay be between boys or men, beginners or: well-known amateurs. If you should not win a prize you stan d a good chance of seeing your story and name in print. anyway. 'l' o b ecome a contestan t you tnust cut out the Boxing Conte s t Coupon on t h is page, fill i t out properly. and setlt i t t0 JESSE J AMES WEEKLY, 238 Willia m Street, New Y ork City together with your article. No contributio n without this coupon will be considered. Come along boys, and make things hum. THIS CONTE S T CLOSES MAY I, 1902. COUPO N JESS E JJ\MES WEEKLY BOXING CONTEST Dnte ............... ....... Nzme ........................................ .:. C ity o r Town ..................... ................ ............... S t a t e .......................... ......................................... .

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JESSE JAfflES STORIES. SIZE. ) The Best St orie s Published of t h e F a m o us Western Outlaw. 7-J esse J ames, Rube Burrows & Co. 8-Jesse James' Daring Deed; or, The Raid o n the Pine Ridge Jail. 9-J esse James at Throttle; or, The Hold-Up at D ead :\fan's Ditch. rn-Jess e James' Double; or, The Ma n from Missouri. II-Jesse James Among the Moonshiners; or, The Train Ro!;>bers' Trail in Kentucky. 1 2-Jesse James' Close Call; or, The Outlaw's Last Rally in Southern \Vyomiug. I3-Jesse James in Chicago; or, The Bandit King' s Bold Play 14-Jess e James in New Orleans; or, The Man in the Black Domino. IS-Jesse James' Signal Code; or, The Outlaw Gang's Desperate Strategy. I 6-J esse James on the Mississippi; or, The Duel at Midnight. I7-Jesse James' Cave; or, The Secret of the Dead. I8-The James Boys in St. Louis; or, The Mysteries o f a Great City I9-Jesse James at Bay; or,' The Train Robbers' Trail. 20J esse James in Disguise; or, The Missouri Outlaw as a Showman. 2I-J esse James' Feud with the Elkins Gang; o r The Bandit's Revenge. 22-Jesse James' Chase Through Tennessee; or, Tracked by Bloodhounds. 23-J esse James I n Deadwood; or, The Ghost of Shadow Gulch. 24-J esse James' Deal in Dead Valley; or, At Odds of Fifty to One. 25-Jesse James on the Trail for Revenge; or, The Outlaw' s Oath. 26-Jesse James' Kidnaping Plot; or, The Massacre at Weldon's. 27-Jesse James A mong the Mormons; or, Condemned to Death by the Saints. 28-J esse James' Capture and Escape; ori Outwitting the Pancake Diggings Posse. 29 -Jesse James' Hunt to Death; or, The Fate of the Outlaw Vasquez. 30---Jesse James' Escape From Cheyenne ; or, In League with the Wyoming R egulators. 3I-Jesse James' Rich Prize; or, The Battle at the Old Stone House. 32-J esse Jam es and His Ally, Polk W or, An Errand of Life or Death. 33-Jesse James in New York; or, The Missing Millionaire. 34-J esse James' Deal in Sacramento; or, Holding Up the Overland Express. 35-JesseJames Against the Record; or, Seven Hold-Ups iii. a Week. 36-Jes se Jam es and the Woodford Raid; or, The Nervy Bandit Hard Pushed. 37-Jes se James' Narrowest Escape; or, Chased by a Desperate Band. 38-J esse Jam es and the Black Valise; or, Robber Against Robber. 39-The James Boys Driven to the Wall; or, The Three Lives of Wild Decatur. 40-J esse Jam es' Ruse; or, The Escape from "Lame Horse Settlement." 4I-Jesse James in Mexico; or, Raiders of the Rio Grande 42-Jesse James' Double Game; or, Golding, the Dandy Sport from Denver. 43 Jesse James Surrounded; or The Desperate Stand at Cutthroat Ranch. 44-Jesse Jam es' Spy; or, Corralling a Whole Town. A ll of t h e above numbe r s a lways on h a nd. If y ou canno t g e t them from you r five a copy will bring t hem t o you by mail, post p a id. STREU & S MITH, Publis hers, 238 Willia m Str e et, New York.

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75 Solid Gold atches GIVEN AWAY -ifflJ 2 mcs:md @ M+rii' --, Not Gold Filled Watches Not Gold Plated Watches BUT ABSOLUTELY Solid Gold Watches AllM#?*HM an ... ,,,. EMW M--e -WARRANTE D UN:TED STATES ASSAY. FULL PARTICULARS IN NUMBER 20. BOYS OF AMERICA. Now Running in ''Boys of America'' A Corkini, Up=lo=Date Story FRAY Ii MERRIWELL The Famous Yale Athlete. Entitled ... The All=Star Athletic Club; OR, The Boys Who Couldn't Be Downed NO BOY CAN .AFFORD TO MISS TH!S FASCINATING STORY. The wonderful record of the ft4ll-Star Athletiic Club, their bitter rivals, their battles on the ice. in the on the snow, in the rink, the plots cf their etc., are just a few of the features cf this remarliable story, throbbing with enthusiasm. and Don't miss No. 20, BOYS OF AME.RICA. containing the opening installment of this great storyo

PAGE 34

st.Georue rorEDur OT G A .HeNT"f THE BEST AND MOST FAMOUS BOOKS WRITTEN FOR BOYS ARE PUBLISHED IN TtlE MED!\L LIBRARY Price, 10 Cents. All Newsdealers These books are full size. Bound in handsome illuminated covers. The authors of the stories published in the Medal Library hold first place in the hearts of the youth of our land. Among the many writers found in this library may be mentioned the names of OLIVER OPTIC HORATIO ALGER, JR. LIEUT. LOUNSBERRY GILBERT PATTEN LEON LlWIS G. A. HENTY GEO. MANVILLE FENN FRANK H. CONVERSE JAMES OTIS EDWARD S. ELLIS WM. MURRAY GRAYDON CAPT. MARRYAT ARTHUR SEWALL W. H. G. KINGSTON GORDON STABLES CAPT. MAYNE REID CUTHBERT BEDE JULES VERNE MATTHEW WHITE, JR. BROOKS McCORMICK STREET & SMITH, Publishers, 238 WILLIAM ST., NEW YORK .fr QdJaHIOY.. The Boy Slaves tO. President : tritAM:lt -AllGeR,Jlt.


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