The James boys' brotherhood, or, The man of mystery

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The James boys' brotherhood, or, The man of mystery

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Title:
The James boys' brotherhood, or, The man of mystery
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:
028820966 ( ALEPH )
07363186 ( OCLC )
J14-00045 ( USF DOI )
j14.45 ( USF Handle )

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serial

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A WEEKLY DEALING WITH DETECTION OF CRIME Jssued Weekly. By SubscrijJtzon $250 pe r year. Entered as Second Class Matter at New York Post Office by STREET & SMITH, 238 William St., N Y No. 45. Price, Five '----I TM I; MAN OF MY$Tftn' JESSE JAMES DELIVERED ANOTHER KICK N O GENTLER THAN THE FIBS T "GOL-DARN YE, LET UPI" E XCLAIMED THE STRANGER, ROLLING COMPLETELY OVER AND COM I NG U P I N A S I TTING P OS T URE.

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C55C A A WccKLY DfALlnG WITit THE-Of CRIME Jssucd Weekly. By S u b s cription $2.JO per year. E1
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2 THE JESSE JAMES STORIES. shots, in fact, like a volley hastily fir ed. Then a shout, then another rifle shot, then a yell. The Jam es boys sent their horses clown into the gu!ly at a plunge. And there, at a glance, they beheld the cause of the sounds, though it was to take something more than a g-lance to reveal the meaning of it A man stood with his back against some rocks, and a bowkler in front of him as a barricade. On the opposite side of the gully, and not more than twenty yards distant, were a half-dozen men, well armed, and all of them dodging about in a vain attempt to find a shelter that would give them protection equal to that secured by their single opponent. The latter had a handsome riAe and the muzz le of it \\'as s moking. His face was dark with g rime, with reel underneath fron': the heated atmosphere and exertion. This was not all. His s kin had a parched, leathery iook, and his eyes had a glare in them that meant something more than the exci tement of the fight. The explanation of this, Jesse and Frank J ames both understood at the first glance. The man was dying with thi rst. From his face, which wa s strange to them, they looked to hi s enemies One of these J esse James recognized instantly. That recognition decided the action of the two bandits. "\Ve h e lp the bottom dos in the fight this time, without waiting to find out what sort of a cur he may be," were the words that Jesse James spoke. "Tlie bottom dog,'' repeated hi s brother. The horses bounde d onward, yells broke from the lips of the bandit brot hers, and, at the same time, their guns began t o talk. T aken hy surprise, bewildered, overwhelmed, the few of the unfortunate stranger's assailants who did not fal l at the first fire turned in a mad attempt to Aee. "Down with them-don't lea\'e a man to t ell the tale!" Such was the harsh command of Jesse James. It needed no repet ition. The horses scenting water, clashed up the g ully like mad. The \Vinchesters sputtered, the cries of terP o r and pain from the stricken cre w added \ olume to th e horrid din. It ceased as abruptly as it h a d begun. Not a man of the assailants of the unknown fugitiYe was on feet. Only one had even a d ying breath left in his bocl v That one was the leader. whom Jesse James had recogni z ed as one who, as a n officer, had once given him a season of dodgin g and hidin g through his persistence and the number of his followers. The man was s h ort, powerf ull y built, and with a r e lentless face. Ile was shot through the lungs, and coughed up a mouthful of blood as the James boys c ame up to him. ''\\'ell, Sibl ey, it is my call this time, and I reckon you are about out of it!" The dying man looi
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THE JESSE JAMES 3 self. See, he has crawled out from behind the bowlder that kept the bullets out o f him." \i\T hat Frank James sa id was true uf the stranger. The latter, d urin g the brief interval taken up by the annihilation of hi s enemi es, had dropped his weapon and sank, o r fallen, upo n all fours, to crawl t oward the deepe1 part of the g ully wh ere the water trickled. Perhaps, lik e the h orses, he could smell i t. But h e could n o t crawl. The necessity for self-defense past, he no l onger had the power to st ir from hi s p ositio n. The Jam es brothers sp r a n g to his s ide. The elder lift ed the man up; but the eyes of the latter were a lmost as fixed and staring as were those of the officer whom they had just killed. "He's a goner," said Frank. "Cover the tracks! cover the tracks!" he cried, with a wild gesture. "They're wiped out, pilgrim, and yo u've nothing to worry about," sa id Jesse Jam es The eyes of the stra nger met those of the bandit chief, with a n expression in the m like that of s ud-den terror. "Y cu-you?" he gasped, in a qu es tionin g tone. "I'm all right, and i t hasn't been your track that I h ave been following-. I don't recko n it would be much good to the gentry of my cloth to chase your sort. A nd that Sibley-the officer that was after you-i s clone for. You've no.thi n g to fear. S o brace up." The stranger continued to stare for Then his eyes clo se d, hi s head fell back, r e laxed. a moment. hi s muscles "Let's see if he h as a bullet in him first. It s pla in that he is d y ing for drink; but that is all there He had S\vooned m ay b e a chance for him. He was making a nervy fight of it, and I want t o find out what the rub was that sent t h a t cursed h ound of a Sibley on hi s track. CHAPTER II. THE TREASURE m;;L'l'. J esse Jam es gaye the stranger a hasty examin a "Things a.ll ,eem to work against our finding out tion. much about this man," ren1arked Jess e Jam es, a s the "Th ere i s h a r dly a sc ratch on him that I can find, stranger sank into absolute unco n sci-ousness. and he certa inl y has n't bled a drop. \i\Te'll try "Go through his pockets," s uggested Frank. v va t e r." 1 d 'h i s suggest10n was acte upon. To fetch a cup of the clear water that flowed A scrap of paper was found, and on it was vvritthrough the lowest part of the g ull y was but the ten the single name of Talcott. w ork of a m oment for Jesse J a m es This was in a pocket. There was also a leather The energy and persistence of the l a t te r was as purse containing between two and three dollars in great in the saving of lif e as it was in the destroying silver. of it, when h e chose to so direct it. This Jesse restored t o the pocke t from which it The water, poured betwixt the parched and b l e edh ad been taken. ii1g lips of the unknown fug itive was swallowed, and "Goin g to let him k eep tha t eh?" said Frank. a husky so und, which might have been a n inarticulate "Until I know more about him, and then, if I call for more, came from hi s throat. wanted it, I would tell him to pass it over. But I The refreshing fluid was poured down, little by litwant yo u to take a good look at hi s face, a nd see if tle, until t h e m a n respond ed sufficien tl y to drink vdyou eve r saw it before." untarily The e lder brother obeyed. He gazed l o n g and More was fetched, a n I drank. Some was dashecl penetratingly into the unconsci@u s face. i n the poor f e llow's face, on hi s hands, poured clown "I-reckon I've seen one mighty like it, some the outside of hi s n eck, for h e seemed to be fairly baked \Yith the heat a nd l ack of water-a l ack whic h is quick l y and terribly f e lt in the h ot, rarified atmosphere of that locality. It was some minutes before the man rev i ve d s uf ficiently to speak. Then hi s first words to h av e little meaning." where, Jess ." "So have I." "Bu t when and where, gets me. I can't. seem t o fix i t clear in my head. "The same here." "That's thundering queer Jess. Vv e aren't the kind to get faces into our brain-pa!l.;;;, and then forget

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4 THE JESSE JAMES STORIES .. where they came from. It may be, though, that he only resembles somebody we've seen." "Who does he resemble, then? It ought to be as easy to one as the other." "That's right." "It means, then, that we have either seen his face or one resembling it under conditions that fixed its features or some points about them in our minds, but, at the same time, we couldn't have known the man, or had anything to d'O with him in any way. That name we found in his pocket may not be his. But we can call him by it till we fin d out better. Think I'll look him ove r a little m o re while he i s out of trim to make' objccti o n to the liberty." J e sse J <4'mes proceeded to p a rti a lly strip the un conscious man with a ie w to findin g if h e h a d any thing more conce a led about hi s pers on. A sudden exclamation broke from the bandit's lips. "Look at this!" he cried. Around the \Vaist of the fugitive, buckled on un derneath his shirt, and next to his body, was a belt. The latter was thick and bulky, made of le ather, and evidently stuffed \Vith papers of some sort. "What is it?" demanded Frank James. "Looks like a treasure belt." "Full of gold, perhaps! He may have been a pros pector, who struck it rich up in the mountains, and who is trying to carry away th e little fortune he has found." "Strip open the belt, and let's s ee what there is in side of it." "Easy, Frank-we may not warit to keep the stuff, whatever it may be. Bttt we'll know what it is, just the same. \i\Tith the point of his knife, the outlaw chief ripped open a short space ii'! the seam of the belt. He stared into the opening he had made for an in-stant, and then unbuckled and stripped off the belt. "Money:--crammed full of it!" cried Jesse. 'Let me see." The belt was handed o ver to the elder brother. The latter ripped the opening a little longer, and pul led out the first s craps of p aper that his fingers touched. "It is' money, s ure enough-and good money, at that, if my eyes tell me true." He took out fou r bills; all were tens. He felt in the opening for more, and drew out a twenty. "Sixty dollars, and we've only begun to work the diggings At that ra te, there mus t be a sizable for tune stowed away in that belt." Had the bandit brothers b een ordinary thieves, or like the crooks and thugs of the Eastern cities, they would have made short work of the' stranger now completely at their mercy, and taken possession of the rich treasure which they had found on his per son But they were of a different sort. They d i d not hesitate to empty the belt of conte!1ts, and to count the money. The re was more than ten thonsand d o llars. J ess e Jam es was something of an expert in the matter of identifying good and spurious papet; money as well as base c o in s, and he did not h esitate t o pronounce the littl e fortune in the strange r s treasure belt to be as good as could have bee n drawn from any ban,k. The belt had to be ripped open almost its entire length before all the money could be taken out of it. \tVhen it had been counted, it wa s returned. intact, and, with needle and thread, which the outlaws al ways in their kit of utensils when traveling, Frank quickly sewed up the belt again. It was then bttclded in place, and the stranger's clothe s put 011. This was hardly clon e before the fugitive mani f ested signs of returning consciqusness. The brothers looked into each other's eyes "\!Ve are picking up candidates for a new brotherhood,'' said the younger man, in a low voice. "It is for special work that we want them, and there is hardly a man in our old gang that we would dare fo take into it. \ i \That we want is the aris tocrats of the hold-up gentry. They must be slick men, able to pass among gentlemen in any city or town. Wha is equally important is that it should be for their in terest to stick to us, and have as good reasons for avoiding all kinds of officers a s we have. Do you reck on, Frank, that this man made that boodle h carries with him in a fair game? Or does that hav something to do with his being run down by $ibley and his crew of hounds?" There vvas a faint smile on the lips of Jesse James as he asked this question. "There isn't much doubt, I reckon, on that score.' Before more conjectures could be offered the m known fugitive opened his eyes They met the glance of Jes se James first, and ther

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THE JESSE JAMES STORIESo G he saw, what others have seen, when this remark able man was not in a hostile mood, the light of a sentiment which came near to kindnes s And that first impression, coming to him when his mind was clearing of the fog which had been over it, hastened the return of a fuller consciou s ness, pos sibly, than had been his for some hours. "Who-who are you?" he hu s kily asked. "Another hungry pilgrim who has been traveling the same trail that you have, I recko n was the re ply, spoken in a voice that was as r eassuring as tTle express ion. "You h a Ye been giving me \Vater ?" the stranger murmured, gratefully. "Not before yo u needed i t This man w ith m e is my brother. an
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6 THE JESSE JJ\MES STORI ES. looking at him before he could fetch it half-way up to a level. "Drop it, or be dropped!" The tones of the bandit king, which had been so kind and pers uasive a moment before, had become as hard as steel. The fugitive was a strong--wil!ed man, and he had been trained for some time in the school of danger. But he droppe d his gun. "Up with your dukes!" The y went up-the hands of this man, who a lit tle whiie before had defied a half-dozen pursuers, and would have died rather than surrender to them. But there was no quiver in his voice as he said: "Take the mi serable stuff, if you want it! Then shoot, and throw my carcass to the coyotes!" Frank Jam es took from the pers-on of the stranger the revolver. His Winchester lay on the ground, where he had dropped it before he lost consciousness. Then J esse laughed again, and said: "Now, you are safer, Talcott. You see I'm bound not to see you die ." v Vhat do y o u mean?" "Why, I hardly ever let a man liv e who has tried to pull a gun on me, as you did just now. But I reckon you're a bit rattled, and then, we're two to one. \Ve aren't afraid of you, Mr. Talcott-that isn't why we take your shooters. vVe don't want you to get careless that's all." "Why don' t you take the money?" retorted the other. "\IVhy didn't we take it when we found and counted the r ags? A s k that." "Tltat is s o I s uppose it is some point about your outlaw code." "Outlaw code!" repeated Jesse James, and again he laughed. Then the mocking smile left hi s face, and he a dded: "\V ere you going to giv e an account of y ourself. o r not? I re ckon you owe u s that muc h ." "If y ou are a sking me to tell you why I ch a nce to be in this part of the country, and with a crew of human bloodhounds on my trail, I will have to decline t o an s w e r ." All ri ght-that's a square way of putting it. It's a point in your fav or. You say you were going to wa rd the mountains. \i\! a s it to any mountain town or camp?" "No. I was going to the place I ca ll home-a hidden spot, where I have lived for almost a year." "To keep out of the way of the law we tumble to tha t We were going to the mountains, too. There will be others there, at a rendezvo us, but the party will be s mall and select." J e ss e James smiled grimly. "Vv e ve got to mov e on, Mr. Talcott," he said. "You had a horse, I take it?" "He has gone up the gully a bit to feed, and get out of the way of bullets probably. He wouldn't be likely to go far." "Vv ell, we'll stop here long enough to take in a little provender, and then proceed on our Journey. You are invited to b e c9me om: of us The shoo ting you did at Sibley s gang and the boodle in the belt are your passports. \i\That do you say?" Talcott hesitated. "You want to make of me a member of your gang?" "That's the program. "I don't exactly like it. Do you know, I was a gentleman until--" Jesse James turned a terrible face upon the fugi ti ve. "You claim to belong to a higher order of the cutthroat and thief than I do, curse you!" he cried. "Not that-not that-believe me! No, I doubt not but I deserve a worse penalty at law than you. But I feel myself unfit to face the life you lead. I might fight desperately for life or liberty as I did when you first s a w me; but you want men to be aggressive-who will follow where you may lead The fury faded from the countenance of Jesse James, but an expression remained which would have been a warning to the stranger had he known the b andit king better. The chief turned to his brother, and said: "Vle'll eat, Frank. You will join us Mr. Talcott. In a quarte r of a n hour we will be on the road again, and you will go where we do. As f o r the gentleman airs, you will get them rubbed off before you are many clays older." The s un wa s sinki n g, and already the gully was in shadow. The hors es had b ee n helpin g thems elve s to gras s and water, and were already sufficiently refreshed to permit of a resumptio n of the journey. Talcott ate with the bandit brothers, and his face

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THE JESSE J/\MES STORIESo assumed the hard, drawn look which it had been accustomed to wear habitually for s ,ome time. He continued to drink thirstily, and the vigor and ale r t ness of his movements showed that he was nearly re stored to his normal physical health. His face still showed the results of the .ordeal through which he had passed; but there was a different luster in hi s eyes, and, furtively observing him, Jesse James mentally decided that the mysterious stranger was a man of remarkable ability. "A high-toned devil from the States that got into a crooked path, and is now keeping s hady," vvas the mental ver. dict of the bandit king. "He i s a sharp man, and a slick one, I reckon, an
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8 THE JESSE JAMES STOR m ES. but Talcott eyed the stran ger with singul a r intent n ess. "An swer the questions, for we a r e in a hurry to m o ve on," c ommande d the leader. \ V h o am I ? v V all, they call m e L ias Ham wh e n I'm t o h o m e \ V)ie r e am I going? To a new gold camp over yonde r so mev vheres, if I only g i t there wi t h a whole n e ck. Where from? Presque I s le, 'Roostook cao unty, State o Maine. My bus i n e ss? v Vall, I'm d arned if that qu estion don' t git me, i n v iew of the fac t tha t I b usted up in the l a s t bus in e ss I sot out on, and hain't busted in on anyth in g new yit. There, I've g i n ye the whole yarn, straight ;;o, s I c a n dra w it and if it don't suit y e d arned if I can h elp it. "How l o n g have yo u bee n s noozin g here, think you?" a sked Jess e Jam es, withou t making any com m ent o n t he speech of L ia s Ham. I dunno. It 'pears to be gittin' into the night, and I guess it w as n't much aft e r noon when I got so tarnation tired th a t I j es t tumbled off my h o ss and went to sle e p." "Got any m o re whi s ky?" '"Not a darned drop!" v Vit. h J hi s the s tranger c as t a h alf-s h e epi s h lo o k at faces of Fra n k J a m es a n d T a lc o tt. T h e latte r still studying his face in that stra ngel y i n t ent manner. G e t on t o your c a yu s e and ride a long with u s Q u ick about i t, for we have m any mi l es to make be fore s unup. Li as H a m m ounted. Then h e rode up besiC!e Jesse James and asked: "Say-got a ch a w of ter barker ?" C HAPTER I V TIIE T H REA T AGA INST LIAS HA)f. From a h alf-s c o r e of rou g h throat s rose c ri es of startl e d di smay, min g l e d with grnff n o t es of d efia n ce from t\VO or three Jt was ju s t afte r s u n ri se The par t y l e d b y J esse James h a d emerged fr o m th e d eeper p a r t o f the gorg e into a littl e v alle y, which was a lmos t entirel y w a lled in b y a natura l b arrie r o f rocks. There a s mall p arty of m e n fre s h fr o m t h e new diggipgs ha d s topped for the prev iou s ni g ht, and were now breaking camp. The eagle eyes of Jess e James, always o n the look-out, were seldom surprised by a di scovery of this s o r t. And the first glance told him of t h e character of the lit t le party upon whic h th e y had chanced. He w a s not of the kind who he sitate when they o u ght t o decide. He decided on the i n stant, and if there was a blunde r somebody bes ide h i m s elf would s uffer for it. A w a v e of t h e hand w a s sufficien t as a s ignal to hi s brothe r. But to Talcott and L i a s Ham a word had to be giv en. "The re s goo d plunder f.or a ll if we cor r a l the crew out yonde r," he said "I w ill lead, a n d you, with your Vlin c he ster, w ill put i n t h e same kind of s e rvi ce that you s ee me de a lin g o ut. Share and share alik e wh e n it comes to m aking the fin a l d i vv y Quic k now !-show the stuff you're made of! \tV i thont waiting for a reply, J ess e James rode b ack t o the s.icle of Lia s H a m "You keep to the rear with t hat ca y u s e of yours, o r yo u ll get the cri t t e r fille d full of l ead. IVIind w h a t I s a y w i ll you?., T a rnati c n t o u gh!" grumble d H a m. But h e f e ll to t h e r ea r, per h a p s for more t h a n one good reason. Then Jesse and hi s brother clas h e d down on the camp o f miners, y elling a .nd fir i n g like demons, t heir h o r ses ente r ing into the spirit of the attack a s do firemen' s horses, whe n called to the duty for which they hav e b e en trained. This w as the fir s t warning the miners had of thei r clan ger, and it wa s little wonder tha t they were thrown into in s t ant confu s ion. Talcott, w ith e vi dent re luctance, follo we d the lead o f the bandi ts, and his \tVinchester joined in the choru s \l\!hether or not any o f the miners fell a s h is victims was a questi o n whose a n s w e r it would hav e been h ard to prove The m in ers ralli ed q u ic kl y althoug h three of their numbe r h a d b ee n s h o t dead a t almos t the fir s t di s c h a rge. A c omman d to s u r r ende r or no q u arter, rang from the l ip s of the bandit lead e r as he rode clown o n the m i n e r s like a whi rl win d Thre e o f the g o l d hunters flun g up thei r hands, le t tin g their w eapons drop to the ground. B u t the others turne d at bay, and bGgan poppin g at their a s sai lants in the frantic, useles s way exhibited by bra v e, but p anic-stricken men.

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THE J ES S E Jf\MES STORIES. 9 After a scattered volley at their assailants the miner s who did not fall under the deadly fire of relentless marks men, sprang to their horses and started to flee across the narPow valley. "Down with the obstinate devils, for they choose death to surrender!" rang out the cri s p tones of Jesse Jam es. The chase was brr cf, but terrible. Two more of the miners fell. The others-two in numberdropped their rifles and flung up their hands in token of yielding, even though th e ir horses continued in the wild flight across the plain. Talcott fell to th e rear at t his stage of the pursuit. At the same tim e Lias Ham came up with him his long leg s dangling down the sides of the lit tle animal which he rode, so th a t hi s fee t nearly touched the ground. The gaze of the two men m et. "I'll say one thin g for ye, mister ," sa id Ham, with a faint g rin lighting hi s cadaverous face. "Say it then!" "If yeou really tri ed to shoot them min e r s to kill, then yeou're a tarnation poor shot." ''How do you know?" "Because there wa'n't a darn ed one o f them that yo u aimed at 'peared to be hit." "You were mig.hty particular to figure all that out. "The Ham family is all particl(' l a r even when I they're to h ome, down in Maine," g rinn ed Lias. "Let m e tell you something," returned Talcott. his eyes taking a glitter like that of steel. "Aeout with it, then!" "If I were to mention to Jesse Jam es tha t you were so particu lar about watching eYery m o\'e I or they make yo u wouldn't live to tell your yarn in any other district." '"Then if yeou think a great d eal of me ye o u won't be lik ely to mention i t "I don't think over-much of you. You are not what you seem." "Nuther air yeou, if I'm figgerin' straight. "If you are a sp 'y, the James brothers shall h av e their way with you. They stand by me, and I'll stand by them. "Gosh all hemlock, mister, don't go for to pullin' yeour s hirt off, 'cause the re's quite a breeze blowin' daown from the mountings, and it might blow a hole in ye! I ain t said I was a spy, and I ain't said what yeou was and when it comes to a pinch maybe it would be handy for one of us to h ave t'other of u s raound to help him die peaceful. There, them outlaw fellers is comin' this way, and if we don't want the risin' sun to s hin e throug h a lot of holes in our bodi es we'd better quit bein' confinclential." "I s h all tell Jesse Jam es to keep an eye on you-tha t you're playing some kind of a blind game!" vvas th e g rim threat of the man of mystery. The miners had a sack of gold with them, the co m bined accumulations of the whole party. The value could not be exactly estimated, but it made a fairly rich haul and s o desperately in the encl had the min e r s fcrnght for their fortune that only one out of the m all remained to tell the tale, if even he were permitted finally to go at liberty That one was a man whom Talcott had wounded, and over whom the man of my stery was a t this m oment bending in an attempt to alleviate suffering a nd impart a hope of !if e. "Yes," the mysteriou s Talcott said, as he ban daged the miner's w o und, I shot you, but not to kill. By dropping yo u with a wound, you were saved from a fatal shot from one or the other of my com pani ons. But I did no t intend to make the hurt quite so serious." "You saved my life then." "I saved your life stranger, but you are not to take that as an indication of treachery against the J a m es boys, \\horn I n ow, for t he first time, a c k n ow ledge as m y leaders. I can follow them without agreeing to imitate them in all things. They ma y hav e their ways a nd I mine, a nd no quarre l be tw een us. Do you see the point?" '"Yes. But it counts ju s t the same that you save d m y life, and I am grateful for it." "All right-let it stop there. You aren't very badly -off in the way of a hurt, and you will be al:ile to take care of yourself if allowed to go at lib erty. But that is something that I can't have my sa y about. You came from t h e n ew bonanza diggings, as th ey are called?" "Yes. And n o w the little pile I had made is cle a n e d c u t sa id the miner, bitterly. "Go back, ancl make a new one. Your partners can t do that." "And they were good m e n ) every one of them. Vv e had sworn to stand b y each other un til we were all back among our friends

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JO THE JESSE JAMES STORIES. "lt would have been better h a d you fought it out in what they ca!! out here a lone-hand game. I dropped friendships of every kind more than a year ago \ Vhat do they amount to? If y ou d o well, ancl one of them does ill, h e drags you clown. A man can climb a ladder better if he doesn t h ave too many h a n g ing on to his l egs. Brace up Start alone and with a new deal, and a lone hand you'll win." Jesse James came up at this instant" and so Talc ott did not obsen e the ve ngeful light that flashed from the eyes of the miner. T he latter h ad risen to a sitting po sture, and it was evident that, as the pain from hi s hurt dimi ni s h ed, he was fast regainin g his normal strength of body and force of will. '\Ve 'll put a rope round this man," said Jesse, qu ietly, lead him t : o the edge of the valley tie him to a tree, and leave h im to shift for his life. He'll get clear in time, and we won't be hampered with dragging him with us alive, or having his ghost baunt your tender dreams at night. Come, and work fast." Talcott helped to bind t he miner with the rope, mounted his own horse, and then the little party moved at a moderate pace across the narrow va lley, having mounted the miner on one of the horses belonging to his own party. No ques t i ons were asked, and no comments made \\Then the limit of the valley was reached, the s ugges tion of Jesse J ames was carried out to the let ter. The miner was left bound to a tree, but in suc h a manner t h at, wit h patience and persi stence, h e would in time be able to secure hi s own liberty catc h hi s horse and flee in any clit'ection that he might choose. But J ess e J a mes left him w ith thi s warning: 'If I e ver see you again-if yo u try to cro s s my path for purpos e of rev en ge-you will get the lead in your brain They penetrated the belt of timber for a short d i s tance. Then, with Lias Ham riding at hi s side th e hanclit king said to his brother: "We'll hang this long leggecl pilgrim to yonder limb Then he can give his la s t kick with hi s feet clear l CHAPTER V. IN TALCOTT1S CAVE. The grim threat of the chief of the o u tlaws came as a complete s urpri s e to Lias Ham, however shrewd the latte1 mi ght be. Not until then had Jess e James given any intimation that he had a suspi cion as to the character of the lank Yankee. The latter heard the words of the leader with unconcea le d dismay. "Yeou-yeo u don t mean it, mi ster!" he gasped. The cold eyes of Jesse James met hi s gaze with unf eeling directness. "And why n ot?" "Because I hain't done nothin' to be hun g for." "That's why I'm going to hang you." "I can t see how yeou figger it aeout that way." "I have clon e some things that they do hang men for and for that re a son I don't propos e to end m y clays dancing a rope jig. Ham could not seem to r ealize that the bandit leader actually contemplated carrying out his terrible threat. But a t that moment Frank James coolly uncoiled a lariat, fas hioned a noose at o ne encl after the true han gman's pattern, and then coiled i t for a throw. "vVill yo u h a ve yo ur feet tied together or not?" Fran k griml y inqui red, directing the words to Lias Ham. The latter had suddenly grown deathl y pale. Co uld it be possible, he as k ed himself, that h e was staring death in the face, after he had taken every c lever precaution to prevent suspic ion? He g lanced in mute a ppeal toward Talcott. B ut on his face, to his surpri se, h e saw a g rim s mile that was even more relentless than the steel like tones of the James brothe r s The truth \Yas that Ham had until then suspecte d that Talcott was at a n y moment to show him self to be a trai to r to the James boys. Ham could not belieYe that this man of my s tery, with hi s airs of gentlemanly bearing, could be in sympathy with the me r ciles s villainy of the noted bandits. "Jus t as you c hoose, about having your legs bound together,., added Frank. Some prefer it when they're hung, and some don't. A man doesn't sprav,r l round so much w ith his legs wheu the noose gets tight, and so makes a better appearance, as it were,

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l'HE JESSE JJ\MES STORIES. 11 at the windup. It's a matter of taste, and some men are particular about these little points. Jess and .I are accommodating, as far as we can be." "Good God !" gasped Ham. He seemed to have become suddenly too weak to sit erect, but he could fall the noose was over h i s head, and that held him in place with the firm hand of Frank Jam es at the other encl of the rope. "Lend a hand here, Mr. Talcott," said Jesse. The man of mystery hesitated. "Lend a hand, Talcott!" \vas the peremptory com mand. The stranger obeyed. Ham was eased down from the back of the cayuse, and, not having s i gnified his preference about the tying of his feet, they were bound by Frank James, whi l e Talcott easi l y restrained the feeble struggles which the man attempted to make. Then he was h aule d t oward the tree, and the end of the lariat tossed over the limb designated by Jesse James. Then, for the first time, Lias Ham seemed to revive from the weakness of terror. He uttered a wild yell, strained at his bonds, and thrashed about with h i s arms with such a prodigious show of strength and fury that Talcott was knocked fulllength to the ground, and Frank Jam es es ca peel the same mishap only by nimble dodging. Then the bandit chief took a hand in the bus i ness He stepped up, with his revolver, and tapped Lias Ham on the head with the butt of it That rendered the balance of the programme a sim ple one, since the victim could make no further resistance. Talcott, although he seemed to perform his part in the hanging with disgust, nevertheless adjusted the noose finally before the victim was haul ed clear o f the ground. At that instant there was the sound of a rifle shot coming fr om a point further on in the belt of timber. "Fasten him there, and we 'll find what that means nied Jesse James. And he set the example of leaping into his saddl e and rid ing at a dashing pace toward the spot whence the rifle report pro ceeded. Frank Jam es p assed the end of the rope around a smalle r tree and deftly knotted it sec u rely. Then he sprang to the saddle ,Talcott was not a half -minute behind him And so the trio rode through the tim ber as fast as the nature of the track would allow. As they advanced there was a second rifle shot, but this time it seemed to proceed from a yet p1ore distant point, and the James boys ha lted briefly for a consultation. "Vv e aren't far from the bonanza gold camp," said Jesse. "But that isn't what worries me. \/'./ e are also drawing close to our p lace of rendezvous, and I didn't care about kicking up too much of a rumpus until we get settled down to something." For the first time Talcott openly expressed curi osity as to their final course. "We enter a rather rugged piece of country beyond the timber, don't we?" he asked. "About as rugged as they make them." "ls there i:nore than one pass through to the gold camp?" Only one direct pass. But there is more than one way of getting there." "But it i sn't to the camp that you are going?" "\Ve're going to our rendezvous first. Then the rest of the programme depends on circumstances that I can t be sure about in advance." Talcott asked no more, and what his feelings may have been as to the subject, his face gave no sign, although Jess e James observed him more keenly than he had done before. Frank James, too, who was on the whole rather more suspicious by nature than his brother, fre quently cast furtive glances at the face of the stranger, for there c o uld be no doubt but 'Talcott was keeping his own affairs to himself, even while he af fected to be willing to accept the situation as a member of the James boys' gang-or, rather, the new "brotherhood" which was being organized. If Talcott observed the surveillance under which he was placed he seemed indifferent to it Indeed, he appeared almost absolutely carele s s in the matter of vvhat his compani ons might think or do As they advanced again it appeared that Talcotfs horse was in the best concliiton of the three. a point where the timber was dense and heavy, the trail or pathway through became narrow and crooked. Here, apparently by chance, Talcott l ed the way. His horse cantered easily along, threading the winding course and coming out into the rugged and bowlder-strewn way well in advance of his companions.

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12. THE JESSE Jf\MES STORIES. Here he halted, as thotfgh with the intention of waiting for them to come with him. He could hear the steady thumping of their. horses' feet, but two or three minutes, he calcul ated, would intervene be fore they would overtake him if he were to wait. I will ri s k it!" he mutte.red. He put spurs to his horse, and the superb animal leaped like an arrow from the bow. There was a passage among the rocks which traYersed a course a lmost sp iral in it s sinuous c urv es. There at the beg i nni n g of the rugged way there seemed to be per fect l abyrinth of passages, so me of them wide enough for a horse . some with a width scarce sufficient to ad mi t the body of a man. At the entr a nce of one of these narrower passages Talcott dismounted. and then struck hi s hors e a sharp cut w ith a stick. The a nim a l bounded a w ay a long the broader course and even as it dis appeareJ the rider turned into the na r rowe r passage on foot. He was none too soon. The clatter of iron-s h od hoofs rang on the' rocks, and the James brothers dashed past the spot at :i furiou s pace and passed, of course, the point where Talcott and his horse separated. The man of mystery did not wait to listen, for he knew that his horse and not himself would be fol lowed by the outlaws. Indeed, h e had practiced a ruse which would not have been looked for from a man not born and bred to a life among the wilds. The passage which he was foll owing was so narrow at some points that it was with difficulty even, that he was to threa d it s devious way. There were places where h e had to squeeze him self through side ways, and at other points he had to clamber over bowlders of c ons iderable size, and which one would suppose actually blocked further passage. At last he came to a place where the way again forked, and of the two passages he chose the one t10 the right. This involved a steep ascent for a half-mile then a twisted course of one-half that d is tance, and finally a plunge down what appeared to be a descent into the heart of the mountain. Talcott move d with rapidi ty and co nfi de nce. He soo n reached the bottom of the de s cent, and at that point it was naturally covered by a rock rooJi forming a natural cave of small dimensions, but ample height. The mouth pf the cave being really open to the sky, the interior was not dark. It showed signs of having been occupied as a h ab itati on And Talcott wearily flung himself down on a wolfskin to rest. As he reclined thus his eyes swept the interior of the cavern. Suddenly his wandering gaze became fixed; then he leaped up, a hoarse ejaculation burst ing fr om his lips. CHAPTER VI. A STRUGGLE T O 1'HE JJ!i;ATH. "Somebody has been here!" gasped Talcott. He leap ed like a h yena across the narrow cavern toward what appeared t o be a sort of alcove in the rock, the interior of whic h w as shroudetl in darkness. As he did so there was a movement from within the alcove and then a spurt of red light, accompanied by the thunderous report of a rifle. Talcott staggered. The bullet h a d branded his cheek. Then he leaped into the opening, just as the form of a m a n attempted to spri n g out. And so the two grappled. It was the clinch of death. There was the sound of sodden blows, of short-drawn breaths, like the sobs of men dying b y violence, of a tearing lik e that of flesh by a wild a nim al, then the clash of steel against steel, shovving that both combatants had succeeded in drawing kni ves. The clinch of death-but not for both. It lasted but briefly, thoug h to a watcher the period would have se emed terribl e in its length. Only for a few times did the steel cla s h against the same metal. Then there was a different so und, one which ma y never be mistaken for anything else i:: its sickening sig nific an ce by one who ha s once heard it -the sound of a knife plunged into a huma n breast. Then from out o f the gloom of the natural alcove in the roc k s one o f the combatants sprang, and the bloody weapon w as hurled spitefully out through the entrance of the cave. Talcott was t he v ictor. Beyond the red brand from the bulle t which had invited the battle, there \Vas hardly a mark on him to show that there had been a struggle to the death. But he was panting from the terrible exertion, and he flung him self clo wn again on the s kin to regain his breath a nd strength. He was a man o f wonderful vitality, and recuperation was rapid with him a lwa ys He was soon on his feet again, and then he dragged forth the body of the man he had killed-fairly in se lf-defense, it may be truthfull y sa id. T h e late adversar y was a much older man than Talcott, but that he had been of more than ordinary hardihood in strength and experience hi s face and build proclaimed. His face wore, even in death, a hard and merciless l ook. That his l ife had been one of desperate outlawry one might have seen by a m e re look at him. And such, indeed, was the truth. "No lo ss to the world, muttered Talcott. as he gazed meclitatjvely into the countenance of the first man he had ever killed with his own hand. I did it to sa,e my own life and not to save the

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THE JESSE JAMES STORIES. 13 mone y," he added, for :i shudder had a ssa iled his sen sitive frame. He stooped and went through the man's pockets. He found there a small amount in monev, and a larger one in washed gold in a pouch. On pouch was a name-vVynn. On the haft of the dead man's knife were two initials-B. L. "If the knife was his, then the pouch was not," decided Talcott. "He was evidently a gold-camp sneaker. His face bears re semblance to a vulture This will not be reckoned among my bad deeds when the final reckoning comes. Lucky there is a declivity out yonder where I may drop the body over, for there would b e little chance of burying it here on the rocks. N-ow we will see if he had meddled with my own hoard." Talcott dragged the body out of the cave, across a level space, up a steep a scent, and so to the brink of a declivity, over the edge of which h e pushed the inanimate bulk. Then he returned to the cave, and in the alcove lifted a heavy flat stone and groped in the opening underneath. The re he found a bulky roll of papers, and also a small iron-bound box. To the latter he fitted a key, raised the lid, and looked in on the neatly-packed mas s of bank and government bills. "Thirty-five thousand, besid es the little fortune which I constantly carry in the belt around my body!" he exclaimed, while a light like tha t which may be seen in the eyes of a miser, leaped from his eyes "Sixty t h o u sand more in that bundle of paper se curities, if they could but be converted into cash," he added, as he touched the bundle in the cavity from which the box had been taken. "I am a wealthy man, if I could but convey myself where the little fortune could be used. Yet here I am hiding like a gopher, startled by a glimpse of my own shadow, pledged to an outlaw brotherhood, with all the refinement and decency of life left behind me And that was not all I left, eith e r I abandoned love!" The last words were uttered scarce above a whis per, and, covering his face wit h his hands, his form shook with an emotion which he was for the moment unable to suppress. But he soon calmed himself. Then he returned. the box to its hiding-pla ce, re1Aacecl the stone that covered it, scraped together some coarse gravel to hide the pool of blood which marked the spot where he had killed the outlaw stranger and then. returned to the outer part of the cave again to rest. As he did so h e heard the click of a shod horse on the rocks outside "Can it be so soon?" he exclaimed. He sprang to the entrance, \i\Tinchester in hand. But he quickly lowered the weapon as the horse which he had abandoned at the parting of the ways trotted up to him with a wh in ny of delight. Talcott patted the animal on t he neck and muttered words of welcome. "You were sure to find your way back to me by the broader and longer route, my good Jay!" he ex claimed. "And I don't believe even Jesse James could keep track of you, for you travel light when I am not on your back, and there are too many marks on the rocks along the direct pa ss for him to easily detect where you left the main trail. But to guard against dis covery we mus t return to them." Talcott hastily partook of food, and then remounted. By a dir ec t route, which the horse would have remembered even if the man were confused, they returned to the main trail. They reached it but a short distance behind the Jam es brothers, who had made several f1alts in a vain attempt to discover the way taken by Talcott after he had run away from them. Besides, they were nearing the place where they would have to turn into a less traveled way toward their own rendezvo us, which has been several times referred to, and Jesse Jam es, especially, was anxious that Talcott should not give them the slip It would be hard to imagine two more astonished men than were the James brothers when Talcott coolly rode up with them, saying: "I began to fear that I would mi s s you after all that yo u would leave the main track for the one leading to your rendezvous before I could overtake you." Jesse J a me s pull e d up, with his horse directly across the path, and the re was an expression in his eye s as they met those of Talcott which indicated that he was not in a mood to be trifled with "Where have you been, Talcott?" was his d i rec t demand. "To my own quarters, where I have lived a hermit life for more than a year." The answer was a s direct as the question, and the keen instinct of the bandit leader told him that there was nothing about the mysterious absence of the stranger that the latter cared to conceal. "\i\Thy did you run away from us in that fashion?" "lf I had asked permission you might have raised some objections and I wanted to make sure of it Besides, I didn't agree to give up my personal liberty. did I?" "That i sn' t the point, Talcott. I know nothing about you, and we just hung a man back at the edge of the timber because there was a possibility of h i::; being a spy. vVe can't be too carefu l and if you are the man that I took you to be-that is, with the kind of experience that I believed you have had-you know that men in our calling are liable to have eyes watching us, and guns aimed at our hearts, when we least suspect it. How far from here are you r se c ret quarters?"

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14 THE JESSE JAMES STORIES. "Hardly more than three miles, in a straight line." "How many have you with yo u?" "Not one. But somebody had found his way into my cave and blazed away at me. It had to be a fight to the death. See the streak across my cheek?" This Jesse Jam es had noticed at first, and was on the point of inquiring about it. "vVho was the intruder?" "I don' t know. Here is what I found on himperhaps you can identify him, or get a clew from the ini t ial s ." Talcott handed over the knife and pouch, as he found them on the person of the one who had hidden in his cave. Jesse James examined the articles with interest. 'I don't recognize them. The man was probably a hanger-on of the mining camps, and had stolen the pouch. He may have been pursued, and so drifted into your r etreat to hide. You say it was a fight to the death?" "To his death." "This is all you have to report?" "It is the whol e truth, excepting such details as relate t o the affair which made me what you see me--' a reclu s e and an outla w." "There's good gold. in that pouch, and it probably came from the new camp. They say some have made rich strikes there, and I'm going to see if there is any foundation to the rumor. I, my brother and two or three others of my new brotherhood will go with me. All will go in disguise. I shall expect you to accompany us, Talcott." "I don' t like to do it." "Afraid of se eing somebody that will know you?" "You have hit the truth." "Face it out. { ou can' t stay in a burrow all your davs Are you wanted any worse than I? But I co;1stantly take such risks, and I always come out of it. Bluf{ is the best game ever pl ayed for a winner. They'll track you to your hole in the encl, and trap you there like a jack-rabbit." "I'll face it out with you!" said Talcott. And so their journey was resumed. CHAPTER VII. BA N DED BRO l'IIERHOOD. The rendezvous chosen by Jess e and Frank James for the as sembling of the select few who had agreed to join them in a new,.,"brotherhood" for the prosecution of new exploits in a new country, was one which it would have been difficult to find without the guidance of some one who had before been _over the road. The feet of their horses were padded before the crooked way vvhich led to their retreat was entered. Thus no trail was left behind that anything short of a bloodhound could follow. A more wild and rugged spot it would have been hard to find. In those mountains, in past ages, many watercourses were made and abandoned by the process oi nature. Not many caverns, properly so called, were made in that locality; but there were short canons and gorges, plugged up by the action of ice or subterranean upheavals, and in many cases the same processes closed a portion of one in at the top, form-1 ing what was practically a cavern, although it might 'not really b-e underground. It was in such a place this that the James boys had made the headquarters of the new brotherhood. But little of the a r tificial had to be added. They found five men there already; and not one of these had ever before figured a s a member of the James boys gangs. It will be necessary to mention but three of these by name, as the other two were to remain for a time at the rendezvous to welcome several others who were expected. The three were known as Carl Becker, John Swans on, and "Jigger Jim," who was probably an escaped convict from California. Sw anson was a gigantic Swede, who had killed a brother-in-law in the E ast in a fit of je_alousy, and fled to the Vv estern wilds to escape justice. Becker, known as "Dutchy," was a German, and began his career with a duel in which he had killed an officer in the army in his own land. Then he became a deserter, was chased through South America, and brought up on a ranch in Texas. He soon got in w ith a gang of cattl e thieves, be came their leader, shot and killed several herdsmen and one of his own followers, who presumed to disput e hi s autho rity, and s o had to retreat to pastures where f ewer cattle of his sort had been to graze. He was a desperate man, wit h the nature of a bull do g Jigger Jim was half-Indian and half-Mexican. He was a black little fellow, who seemed perfectly willing to die if it might only be with his boots on and his feet on terra -firnia He was handy with his guns, and when it came to the ugly dirk which he carried, he would have been equ a l to a whole crew of dagoes from sunny Italy. Such was the makeup of the beginning of the James Boys' Brotherhood, which was to cut a unique! and terrible figure in that wild section in the near future. Singular and striking was the contrast betweet; the ruffianly element just described and the stern, silent "man of mystery," Talcott, with his airs of the gentleman not wholly hidden by the desperate impulses and career into which he had be e n plunged. Dutchy had already paid a brief visit to the new gold camp, and from him Jesse James obtained the first pointers o f real valu e

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THE JESSE JAMES STORIES. 15 "Dere ish a goot eel off golt in dot camp, and dere ish plenty off shoot, eh?" he declared, his sullen face evincin g no more emotion than that of a brass image. "Plenty of gaming and drinking, t oo, it 's likely? suggested th e bandit chief. 'Yas, but not so b a d as you might t'ink. Dey ish crazy apoudt der golt, and de y not haf time to gamble or drin k so much." "Then most of the men are hoarding their gains?" "Dot ish shoos t it, Jesse Jam es-dot ish shoost it. Dey ish making deir pile, and und den dey will light out for der place where dey come from pretty quig, ain't it?" "Dutchy talk like he got too much 'backy in both his cheeks, eh?'' grunted Jigger Jim, with an ill-natured shrug. From the first the German and half -breed had not been on good terms. Swan so n grinned behind his yellowish-white beard. "Too much teeth ,'' he rumbled, in a vo ice that re sembl ed a s m all earthquake. "I like to knock 'em out like thi s." The Swedi s h giant emphasized thi s remark by clinchin g an enormous fist. a bl o w from which would have be en death to a buffalo bull. "And if he want fight, I g ive him this, eh?" said Jigger Jim, slyly showing hi s ugly dirlc vVith Jesse James, how ever, Becker was a favorite, both on account o f his natural intelligence and the impassive face and airs vvhic h h e w as able to main tain under the most trying conditions. A dis cu ss ion of the c o nditi o ns at the new mining camp w as carried on for some time. Then the Jam es boys took Talcott apart from the other members of the brotherhood. The day was ended, and in th e cavern rendezvous there was nothing to relieve the black gloom, save a few lanterns hung along the walls. These ca s t weird shadows, and a fire burning at one encl of th e cavern room lent an uncanny effect to the whole scene. The five m embers of the new brotherhood were I engaged in the preparation of the evening meal. Being beyond earshot of their companions, Jesse James said to Talcott: "It has been the understanding between us that you were to join the outlaw brotherhood which I have been organizing. But a mere understandfog isn't quite enoug h There must be a pledge that will seem more binding." "\i\That does a pledge amount to?" demanded Talcott. I t is supposed to have some force with a man of honor. "A man of honor would keep straight without one. And a man without honor would break any pledge when it seemed to be for his interes t t o do it." "You don' t want to take o ne then, binding you to me as a ] ova l a nd faithful follower?" I will fol!ow yo u loyally and faithfully as long as it seems to be for our mutual interes t for me to do s o. l n no case wo uld I consider that I had a right to betray you or any secrets that I might become pos sesse d of while in your service, even if we were to s epa r a t e Isn't that enough?" "Not q uite. It i s enough for y ou to say, but you must swea r to it. "I will do that. A : tint s mile curled the lips of Talcott as he yielded t h e p o int. I t was eYident that he thought Jesse James a s tickl e r for th e forms whi c h had been a lways used by secret outlaw bands to bind the members to gether. A nd yet, as Talcott well knew, all bandi t l eaders had been betrayed by some of the men who were rnc s t willing to take any oath of fellowship. It was a matter, however on which the experience of J esse J ames went furthe r y et. \i\Thile he knew that an oath would not hold a t r eac h ero u s m a n true, ;yet h e h a d found that a man \\ho \Vould r ef u se to take such an oath oft en proved to be a spy The oath was administ e red in a most solemn manner by the bandit king, and Frank Jam es stood as a witne ss. And in t he mid s t of the ceremony Talcott was sud denly impresse d by it s solemnity and importance, pre cisely contrary to the impress ion he had had at first. His face g rew pale as it was concluded Then h e turned t o hi s l ea der, extended his right 11and and said: \ "Jesse James, I ne ver felt m yself to be held by so strong a bond before I feel, however, that it shoul d lie sealed by a stronger compact even than that j ust entered into. J csse took the hand, but his voice was co l d as he asked: "vV ha t bond can be stronger?" "That of personal friendship." "You want s uch a friend s hip with a man of my record?" "Yes." "It i s many years, I suppose, since I cou l d count on a single true friend "And don't you want another?" "It is hard for me to believe that any man can give a disinterested wish for such a compact." "Don't doubt me, Jesse James. I had many friends. For more than a year I hav e known t h e mos t t e rrible lonelines s that a huma n being can feel and retain his senses I want s uch a friend now, and the fact that you sav ed me from certain capture by that Sibley and his hounds twenty-four hours ago, combine d with certain indi ca tions that y:ou have

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16 THE JESSE JAMES STORIES. taken a personal liking to me, makes me wish you to sa y tha t we may, while we are together, be somewhat more than leader and follower in a bandit brother hood." The outlaw chief wa s sil ent for a moment. Frank watched his stern face curious ly. Then the hand' of Jess e J a m es clo se d suddenly on that of Talcott, the man of m ys tery. "Friends let u s be then, till you give me the last proof that I c a n e ver accept th a t there is no true friend s hip in the world ," he s aid, hi s voic e hus ky with an e moti o n w hi c h had n o t bee n manifested b y him, pro b a bly, for many years At daw n J es s e and F rank J a m es, acc ompa nied by T a lco t t and t h r e e m e mb e r s of the bande d brotherh ood already de s crib e d started, securel y dis g uised for th e n e w gold camp in the m ountains CHAPTER VIII. DOWN \ VITI-I RED ROGER The gold c a mp w as in reality but little m ore th a n a cam p, a lthough i t w as fas t bec o min g a populous o n e It w as bu i lt up o f th e rudest o f min e r s' shacks, with hard l y a structure fit for the bus in e s s which was gain in g a foothold in the plac e If cours e the re we re t wo o r three s aloons, and one other re sort fo r amusement, and during certa in hours thes e place s w e re well patroni ze d In o n e o f the sa l oons a t a b out ten o'clo ck in the m orning w he n all the s teady-going men of the plac e were a t the ir l a b o r a half-d oze n i d lers w e re d rinkin g an d pl ay in g poker, with a m o d es t a nt e in the lea d i n g sa loon of th e c a m p Just the n a m a n saile d int o the s a loon pulled a r evo \ ye r and be g a n s hootin g at the ears of the other inmat es This playful indi v idual had struck the t o wn s ev eral clay s before, a nd a s a m arks m a n and a bull y he w as a s ucc ess He h a d a trick o f getting the drop on an ybody who mi ght venture to obje c t t o h i s fun and o n e o f the b o ld es t and be s t m e n i n t h e camp had been s h o t de a d b y thi s same hil a ri o u s strange r. H e was know n a s Red Roger. He was reel enoug h ha ir mustach e of bri s tle s and s tubbly chin. His s k in wa s r e d alld so we r e th e w hites of hi s eye s like t h ose o f an u g l y d og. He w as such a good sho t t h a t h e c o uld just scratch th e ea r of a m a n with a bulle t and do t he victim no m o r e seri o u s harm, prov id e d sa id victim had the forti t u d e to let t he bull e ts b y w i thout jerking his h ead But sudden movements h a d proven c o stly to severa l for Reel R oger h a d to g u ard against any attempt t o get the drop on him in re t aliation. On thi s morning Red Roge r was unusually playful. He nipped ears of inmates of the saloon, including the man behind the bar, until he had emptied one r e volver, a nd th e n pulled a n other w ith a mov e as if h e meant to touch them all a second time. H e had started out t o b e a t error, and it hoked a s ir he would s u cc eed, unl ess somebody c aught him in hi s s l e ep and got the drop tha t w ay The r e were n o t many in the c a mp who w ould h av e c a r e d eve n t o try t o d o that, for f ear that R e d Roger mi ght prove to be playin g po ss um a nd so plug t h e m fo r th e ir t e m erity But as h e coolly dre w the se c on d gun and the oth e r inm a t e s began to h o ld up the ir hand s in toke n o f ha v in g had enou g h o f t h e pl ay, a nother stra nger crossed t h e thre s h o ld and stood w ith sw i f t a ler!: g l a n ces at eve r y face Li n e up, g ents grow i ecl R e d Roger and b a n g w e n t t he fre s hl y-drawn r evolv er. That he includ e d the ne wcome r a m o n g the "gents" who we r e t o "lin e up w as ev id e n ce d b y hi s s win g in g t h e gun arou nd in his dir e c t i o n Crack! a n d t h e wea p o n dropped fr o m the hand o f Reel Roger a nd th e h a11d that ha d b ee n so careles s ly scat t e rin g lead w as s wun g a l o ft and t h e n clown, with a finge r l y i n g b loo d y and crooked for the pull o f a tri gger o n t h e floor beside the weapon. A t the s a m e time R eel Roger wo uld h av e show n his gam i n e s s b y reac hing for another gun, but the muzzl e o f the wea p o n whi c h h a d c alle d a h a lt to his fun w as lookin g him in t h e eye and it w as n t far off, e i t h er. "Non e o f that! commanded t h e quiet, h ard ton es of the n ew comer. A t the sa m e time the stra nger stepped forward, coolly too k the third r evo l ve r from the belt of Red Roger, flun g it o n t h e b a r and said: T a ke th e gun, b a rten d e r a s p l e dge fo r drinks fo r th e c rowd Step up gentle m e n-Red Roger p ays Nothin g s mall a b out Roger but hi s ears A growl o f as t onis hm ent rumbled throug h the ro o m. Not a man s tirred, out o f s h ee r consterna t i o n at the audac i ty of th e n ewco mer. The latt e r w as a muc h s m alle r m a n than the o n e w h o m h e h a d so cool lv d i s a r m ed n o r w as he so fier c e-lookin g. But t l{er e w a s som e thin g in hi s g l a nc e tha t see m e d to h o ld those wh o met it with a mag netic power. "Gen t l e m e n spoke the str anger, again. "Yo u a re in vited t o drink at th e e x p e n s e o f this reel roo s t e r who, I t a ke it, has cl.on e most o f hi s dri n kin g in thi s cam p at your co s t. His po ck e ts are empty so he p l e d g e s his la s t gun for the drinks S e t 'em up, bar tender!" The man b ehind the b a r wa s th e fir s t to recover fr o m the paralysis of astonishment. He "set them up" without lo s s of time Slowl y the inm ates of the pl a ce advanced to p a rtake of the treat. But the figure and face of Red Roger presented

PAGE 18

THE JESSE JAMES STORIES. 17 the most grot esq u e picture o f micgl ecl b o m bas t a n d hu mility t ha t co u ld be imagined. T h e bombast was an habitual expr ession, a n d t h e h u m i l i ty was mani fes t ed by t h e a tti t u de and movements. H i s big eyes bulged and hi s cheeks were puffed o u t, b u t hi s h ea d drooped a n d his kn ees were c ro o k ed, as i f the l egs we r e getting too v vea k to h o ld up hi s body. The other m e n in th e saloo n r a nged themsel ves in front of the b a r and the ba r t e n d e r set o u t t h e H e r e," s a id t h e n ewcome r ' t he r e i s o ne s h o rt. R e d Roger him self see m s to h ave b ee n counted out of his own treat, and that won't d o Here, Rooster wa lt z u p af t e r the poison!" This was addressed to R ed Roge r Not once h ad t h e stranger actu ally ta k en hi s eyes off t h e bully of t he c a m p A l t h o u g h the b i g man was dis a r med, the o ne w h o h ad so coolly c alle d h i m clown from hi s perch was no t of t h e sor t to t a k e a n y c h a nc es. Y et, st r a ngely e n o u g h Red Roger seemed to h a ve h a d all th e fight taken o u t o f hi m. T h e r e had b e e n someth i n g i n t h e vo i ce a n d face of t h e str a nger w hic h h ad a wea k e nin g effect o n hi s n e r ve I t may have b ee n t hat mysteriou s magneti sm \ Y hich a s uper i o r natu re often concen t r a t es to s ubdue th e w ill of th e i nfe ri o r quite as much as t h e fear o f th e r evo l ve r wh i c h all t h e w hile, d i d not d e scend far fro m a l eve l wit h the face o f Roger t h a t h eid the l a t t e r n on-resis tant. A n ot h e r g l ass of liq uor was se t out fo r Roger. His right hand w as b l eedi n g, so it was h i s l eft that w as r ea ched o u t fo r the drink. D r ink hea r t y gen tle men,'' sai d t h e stranger "An d h ere's to t h e biggest b ull y and cowar d this si d e of t h e S i erra s-Reel H.oger t he rooster t h a t co m e s clown from his perch!" It wa s a quee r to a st, and there was a roa r of l a u g h t e r as i t w a s d rank Red Roger gul p e d clown hi s po r tion, a n d the n wa it e d for th e next o r d er. Take good ca r e of t he gun," sa i d the stranger to t h e m an b ehind th e b a r. ' R e d Rog e r might want to r e d eem it,'' grin ne d the b a r te nd e r. "Yes, o r n ee d a noth er drink that h e c o ul d n t pay for and I t a k e i t t h a t his c r e d i t isn't good, ow ing t o his d epe ndin g o n bluff for keeping h i s p o cke ts fille d H e re, 'Roger stand up straight, ca n t yo u ?" \i\Th o w h o in thunderation a r e yo u?" gaspe d t he bully, a s h e s t r a i ghte n e d hi s t all form and met the c ol
PAGE 19

18 THE JESSE JJ\MES STORIES .. had more than once submitted to a nipping of his ears under the sportive marksmanship of Red Roger, "and then decided whether to shoot or to hang the galoot." This was a suggestion which became so instantly popular wit h th e crowd who had just partaken of whisky at Red Roger's expense that it was with dif ficulty that they could be restrained from administering justice upon the culprit without eve n the "short hearing" that had been suggested. Outside the saloon stood two horses. Not until these were mounted did Talcott or the stranger speak to each other. "Rather a tame lot in there," said the stranger. "And they didn't e\en g ues s that it was Jesse James who called clown the boaster." replied Talcott. 'They didn't, but Reel Roger got a close look in to my eyes, and it isn't the first he has had. "Then yo u know him?"' "He is a Missouri convict, and for a time he trained with one of my gangs on the Missouri border. he was caught, and to get c lear him self he gave awa y a plan for a railroad raid th a t I was working up. It isn t much wonder that he caved easy ju s t now. He would let me twist him as if he was a string. But wh a t do you think of the camp, Talcott?" "I have been into only one other place, and that was nearly empty of men T hey say this is a steady camp, with n o ne but wor k e rs in it, and that i f we want to see the crowd ''"e'll find them washing dirt down in the gulch. "Th en the sooner we make our scoop and out of it, the better," said Jesse James, whose only disguise in reality consisted i n a change of color of hair, beard and brows, and some changes of attire and tones. There was, indeed, little likelihood of his meeting any one in that locality from whom he would have cause to fear recognition. For a character of the Reel Roger type he cared nothing. "vVhere are your brother and the other members of your band?" inquired Talcott. "At the entrance of the gulch on guard." "\i\lhere do you expect that the miners keep the treasure that they have accumulated?" "It is likely that it is ei t h e r in their shacks, almost entirely unprotected, or in the hands of some one of their number w h o m they have chosen as their banker." "And do they trust to human nature to that extent out here?" J esse James smiled, in the peculiar mocking fashion wh i ch his hard life had made habitual with him. "The kind of treachery that goes wit h the betrayal of confidence, makin g embezzlers i;lnd sneakthieves of that kidney i s n t so plenty in this rough region as it is among your po lite people of the Eastern cities. It is carele ss business, I r eckon, to build a bank too close up against a meeting-house!" J esse James did not see the spasm of pain that flashed across the morose countenance of Talcott, the man of m ystery. Had he observed it, he might have s uspected that he had sent a shot from his lip s that struck more v itall y to this man s heart than any from a revolver co u ld have clon e They rode in s i lence along the entire length of the camp, and so few were the men in the place who were not toiling in the g ulch that no one seemed to ob serve them as strangers. If they were observed at al l it was probably thought that they were newcomers to the camp l ooking for a spot to pitch a tent or put up a shack. Reaching the limit of the natural mountai n "park," in which the camp \\"as built, they \Yere at the entrance to the gulch where rich placer minin g h a d be e n s truck. There they s aw a s mall cabin which was somewhat neater in appearance than the others. They halted at a little distance from the door. Once, as they g lanced toward it. Talcott thought h e caught a glimpse of a \\ornan although he could no t see her face. As the sex was rather thinly represented in the new camp he gave the matter more thought than he would oth erw i se have clone. "There is a woman in that ca b in, unl ess I'm mis taken," he sa id. "Lik ely enough. Petticoats follow the trail of gold every time." "There are n o t many here." "They haven't had time to get here yet. But they would come in a flock, like buzzards to a feast, in a month or two." "You haven't yet sa id h o w you propose to capture t he camp?" "I don't want to capture the camp. I want th e gold, and nothing more. There are a half-dozen s imilar camps just opened up, all within a few weeks time, and not far distant from one another. I want what they have for me. Then we move on in our campaign. There are plenty of fields to conquer, if we onl y have the right sort of men and hang t o geth er." "You know I told yo u t h a t I would not t a ke part in the indi scriminate slaughter of good men who are e ngaged in honest toil. I will shoot in se lf-defen se, and to scare-that is all." "That is about all I ever do, if the truth was known. I hold up a man, a town, or a railroad train. If no re sistance is made, all hands oome out of the scrimmage enjoying !ZOOcl heal th. If a man think s more of money than h e does o f his life why, that i s hi s lookout. As for the women. they gen erally sca r e and keep out of the way when the lead is whistling a tune "Then your plan now is, to corral the miners, make them give up their dust, and light out?"

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THE JESS E Jl\M ES STORIES. 19 "Yes. But I must finish the prospecting first. Yonder is what we want." A slender young fellow, apparently not older than sixteen, came out of the gulch and approached the cabin in which Talcott had obtained the glimpse of feminine apparel. Jesse James rode up to him, doffed his hat in mock deference and smirked after a fashion which was littl e i n harmony with his nature. "Young feller," he drawled, "be you a citizen of this great and glor ious golden gulch?" The boy stared, and a faint flush mantled his handsome chee ks. ''\Vha t if I
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20 THE JESSE JJ\MES STOR IESo off, and then stood on terra firma once more, none t h e worse for his close call, except that the scare had b een a severe tes t to his heart. T h a t pounded h is ri bs as if it wanted to get out. The words muttered by Ham as the o u tlavvs left hi m had none of t he down East twang i n t h em. But the next t i me he spoke it was in t he same manner w h ic h he had used before the hanging episode. Perhaps the rope around his neck improved his s p eec h w h ile i t was there. "Wall, I'll be darned if I like that kind of a necktie," he observed, as h e tossed the rope aside and rubbed hi s hairy throat where it left a red streak. "For that marter," he continued, "the Hams neve r was addicted to wearin' dickies and scarves round their necks, owin' to there havin' been a case of diph thery in one of their ancesters, as I've b ee n tol d." These words we r e hardly out of his lips before he he .ard the s o u nd of approaching footsteps, and he made a l eap of about five feet into t h e air, and then s tarted to run l ike ;;t hound. At t he same time he cast a hurried backward g l ance, to make sure whether or not it was one of th(; outl aws returning to find if the hanging were suc cessful. To his intense relief he sa w the miner who had been left at the edge of the timber-the same who had been wounded, and his life spared on the petition of Talco tt. Ham ambled back and gave the miner almost as much of a scare as he had hims elf r e cei ved. "\i\1 all, we're on ai r th, as it were, afte r comi11' pesky nigh t o goin' out on't," said Lias. "Then they tried to murder you-the devils J" ex claimed the mil1er. "They t r i ed but d idn't make out, owin' to my neck bein' so long and slim that the noose wou l d n t choke me to death." "I didn't know but th e gentleman member of the band-the one they called Talcott-helped you out.'' Here was a good chance for Ham to speak a good word for the man of mystery, but he did not do so. "He had a good chance to do it, but mebbe he 'drnther see m e hang," said Lias. "I heard tw o or three shots just now from this directj. on, and I was i n hopes that the outl aws had got into trouble. I wonder if they are coming back this way?" "I guess th ey ain't likel y to for a spell, anyhow. And I take it that yeou ain t partickler about seei n o f 'em." "Jesse James wouid shoot me on sight, and I don't m uch care if he gets the chance, for he h as taken the start for a fortune which I had pulled together, and the first I ever had in my life." "vVade in and git another." "And l ose it again. It is m y luck it has a l ways run t hat way, and I ha ve lost courage. "What's the rnarter with yeo u and me strikin' up a partnership and goin' to the new cliggin's together? There's the bosses that was r i d by the men that was with you back a piece, and we can ketch one apiece and be fixed for a mount. And we have l'arned a thing or tevv about takin' keer of ourselves, I guess, bain t we?"' This proposition seemed to strike the miner favor ably, and i t was acted on '"'ithout del ay. The miner sought a place of concealment near at hand and waited for Ham to go back after the horses, which he agree d to do on accoun t of the wound from which the o th e r was s ufferin g. He did not h a ,.e l ong to wait. That was not all. Ham provided him self with weapons from the bodies of the dead miners in the valley, and brought enough to snpply the miner at the same time. Then they procee ded o n their way towa rd the mining camp in the mountains. Ham displayed a s kill in detecting trail s that did not tally with his ch aracter as a clown-east Yankee, a n d there was evidently some reason bes ides a wish to engage in placer mining behind his anxiety to get to the diggings They avoided the direct trail and w ithin a few hours came to a halt within less than a half-hour 's ride of the gold camp. Here the manner of Lias Ham abruptl y changed, a lthough he was too cautious to depart from the assumed dialect, for fear that the re might be some erne to overhear. "Bridge," he said to the miner-that being his n a me. "Jesse Jam es, that Talcott a .ncl several other darned skunks of the same litter air goin' for to try and clean out the camp of gold-hunters. Yeou kno w that?'' "There's no doubt of it. "They ain t a gre't ways ahead of us, and I'm for strikin' into the gulch lower dow n instid of goin straight to the camp, and so givin' the mi ners warn in'. That's one thing that's fetchin' me this way when it wou l d seem to be a pesky sight healthier to go somewheres else." "I'll stand b y you in anything to get the better of tl10se fiends, the Jam es boys and t heir followers. But do you really believe Talcott will h e l p them i n their murderous work?" "He may keep his hands clean of the m urderous part of it, but when it comes to sharin' t h e proceeds. let me tell yeou that Talcott, as he calls h imself, has the sort of finger s that sti ck 'to gold and s i c h extrys, like measels to a nigger baby." "Then you know him?" "\Vall, not jest t he same as I know my favorite a'nt. But I guess I know suthin' abou t h i m. A nd, say, yeou ain t 'tall likely to men tio n anything to Talcott of what I say to yeou ?" I think not."

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THE JESSE Jf\MES 21 "\Vall, I don't make no bones of sayin' that I 'druther ketch that cuss than Jesse James, on some accounts, speshily." "How is that?" "Because Talcott is my partickler game. "And you are a detective!" "Shet up, darn ye!" B;:,ng-frorn behind a bowlder. A bullet zipped so cl ose to the cheek of Lias Ham that the latter could feel the '\vind" as it passed. He did not wait for the hidden marksman to make a second trial. His long legs took him over the intervening space quicker than he could count, and in a second he was clutching and being clutched by one of the members of Jesse James' banded brotherhood who had been left behind to guard the rendezvous and trail. He was, in fact, one wh o \Vas not at the rendezvous when the J ames boys and Talcott arrived and departed fr o m the mountain cave. He was a powerful man, and when Ham pounced upon him was in the act of pulling a revolver to fire at close quarters. But he was too s low, for Ham proved then to have a quickness of movement which \Vas marvelous. The revolver was dropped on the rocks, and was discharged as it fell. Then there was some warm work for a brief space of time and of a sort that proved Lias Ham to be a man of marvelous musc ul a r power, and considerable skill as well. The combatants rolled over and over on the rocks. and Ham got hold of a knife before the other had a chance to do so. That simplified matters for the pretended downcaster, and within another sixty sec-onds the battle was ended. The outlaw, desperate man though he was, had died in the service of the Banded Brotherhood, and awav from his leadera fact Wthich Jess e James was not -to di scover until several days later. "He's got his quietus," said Ham, breathing hard as he faced the miner, whb had started to take a hand in the fight in case of need. "You are a tremendous fighter." "It was 011e of them situations when there was tremendous need of s.omebocly doing some fighting," said the other. Ham leaned against the rocks f o r a brief space to recove r hi s wind. Then he said: "There is no time for u s to waste-not even for 111e to put into down-east lingo. Now I guess I know the meaning of the shots that started Jesse James off in such a hurry when they were getting up the necktie party on my account." "\iVhat was it?" "They've got two or three men posted along the route to the mining camp, and the shots were signals from one to the other. It told the James boys that there might be clanger along the way, and at the same time there was a chance that they had been seen by some strolling men from the camp along the way. Anyhow, they seemed to be mighty particular to get off the main rQute in as much of a hurry as they could." the truth about t he mysterious firing h eard by the J a m e s boy s \\as by this only explained in part. There had in r ea lity been a meeting between the outlaw whom Lias Ham had just overcome and a prospector, in which there was an exchange of shots, \ Y ith the result that the latter was killed. In truth, Jesse James and his brotherhood was strewing t h e mountain trail vvith the dead of honest toilers. \ iVhat, th en, was io be the fate of the Banc1'ed Brotherhood? More than one bitter encounter must ensue befo r(l the question was to be decided. CHAPTER XI. THE RECOGNITION. Back to the entrance of the mountain miners( gulch. There were Jesse Jam es, with leveled revolver, facing the slender, resolute young fellow who h 'ad given such unsatisfactory
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22 THE JESSE JAMES STORIESo "\Vhat care I?" 111e boy again looked the bandit in the face. "vV ho are you?" he asked. "I a m Jesse Jam es!" "God help ns then! Oh, m y sister! Sir--" with n. look of appeal to Talcott. '"You will speak a word in our behalf, even if you are a member of the J ames b oys' gang!" Talcott shoo k his head. J esse James look ed at him with a pec nli a r squ i n t. as though he were trying to detect eithe r treachery or weakness. But he saw sign of neither. "] esse James, the miners have in trusted the gold which they have accumulated t o the s afe-keeping of m y sister and myself. Only one o r two of them all look out for their own, and that is because they prefer to gamble or drink it away." "You and your s i ster are the bankers of the mining camp, then?" "Yes. And we are least able to make a defense. They trusted u s They did n o t think the re would be any o ne in the world low or cruel enough to take advantage of our weakness." "A good scheme." "Then you will spare us?" "I'll spare your lives, yes "There-eve n you, Jesse James, have b ee n spoke n of as more mercile ss than yo u reall y a re You shall from this hour be followed by the prayers of my grateful sister, and my o wn!" The boy would have g rasped one of the bandi t's hands. But Jesse Jam es drew baclv; and the smile that curl ed his lip s was not good t o see. "Wait!" he said. \i\That do you m ean?" I said I would spare your lives. But that i s con ditional. I didn't say I s hould go off and let you k ee p a grip on tha t gold! Not a bit of i t That would be a good way t o s tart people to hiring innocent-looking boys and pretty siste rs to take care of their treasure for them for it wo uld be safer than the deposit Yaults eve r invented. Come, we musn't stop to dally about this matter. Where is the gold?" The b oy seemed about to swoon and fall at the feet of the bandit king. Talcott seized his arm, got out a flask and clashed a few drops of the contents betwix t the lip s of the boy. The latter instantly re v ived. At the same time T a lcott spoke: "\!Ve a r e afte r gold, not liv es, my boy. If yo u value life at l ess than your gold, that i sn't our fault!" "That' s the right word!" exclaimed Jesse J ames. A wild cry-almost a scream-broke from the lip s of the boy. It rang throug h the mountain "park" from end to encl. It sounded far down into the lonely gulch where the miners were at work. I t awoke echoes that had never be en h ea rd before. In the miner's cabin at the entrance of the gulch, only a few steps from where the leader and follovver of the Banded Brotherhood were s t andi n g, another was aroused to a knowledge that a terrible clanger \\ a s near. That one was the sister of the boy-and in that cabin was th e treasure of the min ers in the gulch. She ran to the door. saw her brother m e n ace d by the revolve r i n th e h a nd of the fierce-eyed chief of ba ndit s She saw that another man w as supporting him wit h a hand under hi s arm. With a Winchester in hand she sprang out through the doorway. Up went the \IV in c he ster, and the heart of Jess e James was covered. In that s econd two lives hung by less than the \ ve ight of a h air. They were the lives of Jesse J a m es and the brother of the beautiful gi rl who threatened him. Hae! her bullet s p e d to its mark, hi s would have first pierced the brain of t he boy before him. vVh ether or not s he would have thought of this likelihood and so r estrained her impulse to use the po we r in her h ands, cannot b e known. A t that instant Talcott turned so as to see her. He h a d a perfect and full view of her face and graceful outlines. For a second he s t a red, while his c ountenance be came of the hue of death. Then he flung out hi s hands, tittered a hoarse, inarticulate cry, and, wheel in g, fled into the gulch, as if he were pursued by a score of fiends. His outcry, hi s strange b e ha v i o r perha ps something remembered about his form and gesture, for hi s face was too much disguised for ready recognition cau sed her to drop her \i\linchester, while she tremb led with a sudden agitation that she could not overcome. J esse J a m es saw it all, and he was as much astounded as a n y o n e could ha ve been. But it was not like him to be forsaken by hi s presence of mind He let one hand clutch the collar of the boy, and h e drew the latter toward the cabin door. "Thi s is gettin g t o be quite a play," sa id the bandit king. "But we can't stop to have all the parts ex a s we go along. My partner seemed to have something like a fit; but I'm not subject to such attacks. Come, we'll ask that pretty sister of yours to give up the treasure. A nd i t will be for her health as well as yours t o do i t i n a hurry. It would be easy for me to shoot yo u tie up the little sister, and take the gold without any more t easing. So you see I'm mere ly giv in g yo u a chance to take a pleasanter way of making the transac ti o n." The boy was silent.

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THE JESSE JAMES STORIES o 23 In a noth e r m o ment t h ey we r e face to face \ v i t h t h e s ister. T h e latte r stoo pe d to p i ck u p h e r rifle. "It i s n o u se I sabe l said h e r b roth e r. ' \ Vha t is t h e mea nin g o f i t all?" she as k ed. J esse J a m es d offe d hi s h a t even t h o u g h h e did not for an i n stant r e l inquish his a lertness "Your brothe r s p eaks t ruly, I sa b e l ," h e sai d wit h his cruel s mile. "It is no u se. I a m after the gold be l o n g in g to the miners in t h e g ulch I m ean you no h arm. I d o n o t eve n wis h to s pill any l ea d among t h e g ood m e n w h o a r e a t worl<. Mr. Talcott, m y new pa r t n e r i s a huma n e m an, and h e a s k s me t o run m y t r a d e wit h le ss bloodsh ed I'm w ill i n g to t ry h is scheme. If i t d o n t work t h en I 'll go bac k t o the o ld way C o me, m iss, where is it? Go ld i s h eavy pl un d e r and you h a d bette r have the brothe r h e lp to haul out t h e st uff whil e I wa it. Ah y o n d e r co me s one o f m y m e n. H e w ill h e l p ab o u t the h e av y work!" T h e o n e ap proaching was Jigger J i m I sabe l Ca rleton was a r eso lut e g i rl. She was about twenty-six, a nd t h e r e had been tha t in h e r lif e t o st r e n g th en a naturally strong na t u re. A t t he same t i m e s h e had th e good se n se t o unde r stand that s h e co uld d o nothin g to defend th e t r easure intrus t ed t o h e r protect i o n Her brothe r b ent and whi spered the name of t he o utl a w kin g in h e r ear. J esse James she repeated a l o ud. "At your serv i ce, I sa b e l! s mil e d th e b a n d it. A n d yo u prey o n boys a nd women! \ Vhy, I h ave h ea r d tha t yo u a r e a brave m a n eYen if a m isgui ded o n e!" 'Indeed How rumo r d oes lie about m e retorted t he bandit. 'If I we r e to r ef u s e to get yo u the gold?" I h av e told vour brothe r wh a t I wo uld d o A n d i t m ay be, a m o n g oth e r thin gs, that yo u h ave h ea r d ;i.bou t the wick e d J es s e J a m es is so m e story abou t h i s a l ways doin g th e t hin g t ha t h e swears he will d o "Yes, I h av e h eard that. "The n get me. t h e gold. C H A PTER XII. CONCLUSION. v V h i le the treasure o f the g ulch min e r s w as b e ing h a u led out fr o m its hi ding-pl ace in t h e c ab in of Isab el Ca rl e t on, that w ild a p pea lingsc r ea m from her brothe r had not b ee n without i ts effect d o\\ n i n the g l oo m y d e p t h s of th e g ulch O n e o f t h e min e r s at th e u p per e nd o f th e g ulch heard it p la ine st, and the r e was tha t note o f ap p eal and t e rror in i t that tol d t h e h ea rer o f th e d ire need o f h e lp The man ran do w n t h e gulch un t i l he fou n d a partne r. T h e latter ha d l ikewis e h ea rd t he c ry, but n o t so p lainl y So was t h e ala rm passe d a l o n g from one t o an other a s rapi d l y as co u rie r s co uld c arry it wit h short d i s tances between. J\ t t h e same time, J i gger J i m, Dutchy and S wa n s on the giant Swede, of the Banded Brotherhood, heard t h e cry from I s abe l 's brot h e r and a t the time t h ey we r e posted a long the g ulch a t s u c h di st ance s as t o b e a b le to g i ve th e al arm if the miners should s ta r t on a r e t urn to t h e camp. So i t happen ed that w he n t he m iners starte d back' up the g ulch to asce r tai n what \\ as th e matter a t the ca mp, t h ey we r e me t b y a s ud de n bl az e of fire fro m Swa n so n and Dutc hy. Jigger Jim, meatrN hile had gone back at a run, a n d a r riv e d at the cabin, a s h av e see n. I n firin g o n the mi'ner s, Sw ans on was too h asty, : a n d r e all y diso b eye d the in structio n s of Jes se James. Dutchy h a d t o bac k him u p alt h o u g h h e wo ul d r ather n o t h ave fire d at t hat stage o f the affa i r. Both then m o unted t hei r h o r se s wh i c h they had l e f t a little way L ehind, and dashed a t a furi o u s ,pace u p the gulc h They were met by Frank J arnes, whi le th ey h eard a popping of weapons from the m i ners a good d i s t ance in t h e ir r ea r. "vVhat i s th e s hoo tin g for?" d emande d Frank; pulling hi s hors e u p so as to brin g th e m to a halt. "Dot blame foo l cus s h e s hu s t let elem bullet g o fore he tink growl ed Dutchy, wit h a savage g lance at Swan s on ' T h e mine r come up the gulch be he r e pretty qu i ck. Dutch y l e t e m come-what he care?" thund e r ed t h e Swedi s h giant, with h i s usua l ill -nature toward the Ge rm an '' \Veil we m a k e our stand here. T h ey mu sn't get out of t h e g u lc h till the scoop i s m ade at t he camp," \\'as t he ste rn o r de r of Frank J ames "You h a f t o h o l t dot foo l cu ss, o r h e run up de r side der rock, a in' d i t m uttered D utchy. Swa n so n rumbl e d so mething bac k b u t t h e w ords coulc l not be dis t i ngui shed. T h e r e w as no mo r e ti m e f o r them t o bicke r for at t hat moment the for emos t of tlie min e r s in sight. "Drop h im, and t h e n we will call a h a lt t o the othe r s ," was t he qu iet o rder o f Frank J ames. lt w a s Swa n s on s \ V i n c heste r that di d t he work. I t h ad barel y sen t i ts mes sage h en Talcott was s e e n t o approach, h i s face \\'h i te as a s heet, while h e breathed a s ,if each bre a t h m i g h t h ave bee n h i s l ast. "For God 's s ak e don't k ill t h o se men!" h e gasp ed. Fran k turned on h im \ Y it h a s u s pici o us star e "Arni w h y not ?" he clemancl ecl. "She i s u p yonderI sa bel Carleton! "So! B u t what o f that ? I s sh e a n y thing to u s?." "Sh e i s-or \Yas-everything t o m e

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THE JESSE JAMES STORIES. "That's pretty!" sneered Frank James. "If she is everything to you, why not go up and defend her? You wop' t have anybody worse than my brother to beat in the scrimmage, and maybe you'll come out of it!" Taln. He set about carrying it into execution. He learned that by making a short detour there was a way b y which one might get into the gulch a[ a point just abov e where the outlaw guards were posted. The way v v as s t eep and dangerous, but Hamwhich was in realit y the detective's name-counted no co s t that should favor the de sign which he had traveled s o far and run s o many risks to bring about. In ten mil'mtes he w a s overlooking the gulch, and s o near to Talcott that he might almos t have reached. clown a nd touched him with his Vvinchester. At that moment there came a signal from the upper encl of the gulch. "It is the rec all from Jesse!" announced Frank in a low tone. "Now we are to ride up to the camp, and with the boodle which he has by this time got secure, m a ke a ru s h a way from the camp by the way of the oppos ite en t r a nce. Now, to hold back pursuit, gi v e a volley at the rocks, making the lead patter as clo se a s yon can to the men beyond the bend. And as w e retreat, keep the lead pushing them back, bangity-b ang All mounted, for Talcott's horse had followed him as he ran down the gulch. The n the volle y was fired-then spurs were given to the horses-and up the gulch they flew. It w a s th e n tha t Lias Ham, with an oath, jumped do w n from his perch and let fly a shot after Talcott. The hors e vvas hit, and went l a me falling quickly to the rear. The others of the Banded Brotherhood clashed ahead. T alcott wheeled in his saddle and fired without fairly giving the man behind him a look. The s h o t did not take effect. The horse stumbled, and Talcott flung himself from the saddle a sen s e of bitter regret for the loss of his noble horse surging up within him. Then h e found himself face to face with Lias Ham. The latter le a peel upon him like a tiger. "Talcott-alias Herman Averill, forger and de-faulter from C onnecticut-you are my prisoner!" Such were the words of Lias Ham, the detective. "Ah !-your prisoner, am I? You, whose life I saved from the noose only a few hours ago!" uttered Talcott-as we may continue to call the man of mystery-even now that the brief speech of the detective has solved that mystery. Then the men met, a revolver blazing at short range in the h a nd of each. Neither \Vas much hurt by the discharge.

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THE JESSE JAMES STORIES. 25 The struggle became a fierce one of another sort. They were but a short distance from the entrance to the gulch. Talcott was desperate, but it soon became clear th a t he was no match for his as s ailant. He would soon have be e n overpowered, and the thought that, after more than a year of flight and hiding from justice, he might at last be taken back and tried for his crimes-be made again to face the family and friends whom he had brought to shamewas more than the proud-spirited man could bear. He had a knife, and finding that he could not make the blade find the life-springs of his adversary, he would have turned it against himself. But at that juncture a horseman came clashing down the gulch at a furious pace. It was Jesse James. At a glance he saw how the battle stood between Talcott and the detective. He pulled up his horse, took a quick but accurate aim with his Winches ter, and fired. Talcott felt a hot flood gash out on to his arm, and the form of Lias Ham dropped in a lifeles s heap at his feet. A second later the bandit king had Talcott by the arm and was half lifting him to the back of his own horse. "Quick, man!" said Jesse Jam e s "'vVe have got to make a break for it now, or whip the whole crew of gulch miners in a fight." Up the narrow way they sped, soon coming out where their comrades awaite, d them. As they passed the cabin of Isabel Carleton, Tal cott held his face so that no glimpse of it could be obtained by her, if she were on the lookout. At the othe r end of the camp another horse \\"as procured for Talcott, and they were soon well on their way from the miners' camp. The amount in g old obtained was quite large, bnt not quite up to the expectations of Jesse Jam es. But as there were other similar camps in the vicinity which he intended to visit with his new crew of men-the Banded Brotherhood-it promised to be his most successful season, in its way As they rode away from the camp, Talcott revealed to Jesse Jam es the secret of his life All that has not been disclosed already in the latter part of this narrative, is the fact that Isabel Carleton was his betrothed wife at the time he had fled from his native New England town a defaulter and e mbez zler to the amount of one hundred thousand dollars. The story of his flight and the struggle of life and conscience, through which he sank to the leve l of a common outlaw, is one which cannot be told here. But it may be said that his career as a member of the Banded Brotherhood of the James boys was not ended. Atthe end of the raid on the gulch miners, Talcott returned to his own retreat, and found his stolen treasure still safe. Jesse Jam es did not ask him how much he h ad, nor did he require him to share with the other members of the gang. The king of bandits seemed to have taken a strange liking to the bitter, "man o f tery." For that reason, and probably no other, he favored Talcott in many ways. The miners in the gulch organized a pursuit of the outlaws as soon as possible, and a powerful party undertook to run to earth the small but select Banded Brotherhood. It v1;as a vain attempt, and there was not even an encounter between them at the time. Indeed, Jesse James Jid not have men enough to put up a fight against a strong party, and he was too prudent to attempt it The Brotherhood, however, was to become stronger, a great struggle was ahead of them. "Talcott," said Jesse James, \Vhen they were safe in their rendezvous, and no one else was near to hear his words, "I can't make it out; but, somehow, you have a hold on me different from that of other men. Perhaps the re is a strea k in you as ugly as that in tne. "Perha ps echoed Talco tt. Then he thought of I s abel Carl eton, and he wondered if she had not come out to that wild region in quest of him. Had he been where he could have heard the murmured prayers o f the beaut iful inmate of the cabin at the entrance to the .gulch that night, his question would have been answered. THE E ND. Next week's issue (No. 46) will contain J esse James' Railroad; or, The Outlaw Brotherhood at Bay," a dandy story, boys Look out for it.

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Still they come, boy s More letters! T his con test has started in a-humming. Every one of you knows bow to box. Your stories show that. Keep it up. The1e's a chance for everybody. It looks as if we were going to succeed' in what we s e t o u t to do to mak e this the biggest contest yet Look ove r on page 30 if you don't knew all a bout t h e contes t and the p1'iZeS we offer already. Thre e Live! y Rounds. (By Frank For d, Mass. ) The r e f e r e e called the m e n to the c enter of the ring They were introdnce d, an d they square d off f o r actio n ROUND I. 'l'hey t a p pe d eac h o t h e r li ghtly A. l ed ri ght for the jaw, but f ell s hort. B. threw his ri ght to t he head a n d l e ft to the body. A l e d l ef t twice to the b o d y. They got into clo se qtiarters and mixe d it u p, se n ding halfarm jolts to the head and b o d y W he n the round cl o se d they w ere sparrin g ROUND 2 A. sent right to the h ead. B. ell right to the body. B. threi,v a h a r d l e ft t o the jaw and ri g lit to the h ea d, and A. w ent down. He got u p o n the count of s i x He \ vas groggy a n d B. sent l e ft t o the j a w a nd ri g h t t o the wind. A. tried to d e f e n d h i m se lf, b ut wa s to o weak. A. w en t d ow n w i t h a right sw ing to the 11ose aml w a s saved by t11e goug. ROUND 3. B oth 1i1e11 c a m e up fr es h B put it a ll o v e r A for a few s econds. Then A s e n t a h ard r i ght t o the mouth and dre w first b l ood. B. fo r ce d A to t he ro pes a n d se n t h a rd ri ghts a nd l ef ts t o t h e body a nd h e ad an d t hen se n t a h a rd right to the point o f the jaw A fell but was up in five sec on ds o uly t o go dow n and out w i t h a hard l e ft t o the s o l a r pl exus H e wa s counted out a nd the refe r ee d ecl a red B. the wiune r. A Tough Fight. ( By F. J e r ger, Ohio.) At about halfpast three on e a ft ernom1, E lwoo d Rutte r brough t his boxing g l oves out i n the yard w h e r e w e were sitting. E lw o od's brother, Lud e and Ch arles Bro w n were pretty good boxe r s so w e d eci d ed t o have a boxing con t es t. The y both argee d t o go it five round s. We formed a ring aud Lude aud Charles stepped into the ring. Ch a rl es began s id e -st e p pin g and succe e ded in giving Lude a ri ght-hander o n the jaw. After thi s onset Lude was m o re ca r e ful. H e feinted with his l eft, aud Charle s, throwi n g u p his h ands to w a rd off the b l ow, received a stunui11g bl ow 011 the c hi n, which s ent him reeling into his O\\'ll co rn e r. This e11de d the fir s t round, which w a s of co u rse, i n Lude s fav or. A ft e r they h ad both taken a slight r es t, the y again m arcli ed to the ce llte r o f the ring Iu this round the fighting wa s h ot aucl fas t. They we r e s oon in a mix-up, and the ref e r e e h a d t o inte rf e r e and separate them. Lnde feinte d with h i s ri ght, and followed tllis u p with a l e ft j ab at Charle s fac e C h arles cl e verl y c!nc k e d, and in r eturn plante d his ri ght on L u de s c h est, bringin g him to the floor. The r eferee s t:nt ed t o count him ont when the bell rau g, s h ow in g t hat t he ro u n d wa s up. This w as a for tnna t e thi n g for Lude for he did not get up for quite a while a f t e r ward. This round w a s in Charle s favor. The h o no r s we r e no w e v en. Two ronnds had 11ow b ee n fou g h t, and it was a p uzzl e wh o w o uld win. After a s h o rt r es t the y a g ain s t ep p e d into the ring. Lude is a little n ervous a s he enters the ring. They both s i de -s t ep, an d Charle s rus h e s at Lucie, who sends him ba c k again with a t erri bl e b low ou the nos e which brings bl o od. He then tries to follow this up by rushing at Ch a rle s who h e thought was off his gnard; but he i s mista k e n. Charles sudden l y s te p p e d to one side and let Lude rush p ast him. T h e n with a ste p as quick as that of a cat h e plante d his r ight b ehind Luci e's ear. Lud e rolled o ver and o ver aud then lay still. The r e f e r e e then counted him out amid the cheers of all tbe fello w s. Charle s was the hero o f the clay.

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THE JESSE Jf\MES STORIES. 27 Knocked Out in the Seventh. ( B y Henry Hofmeis ter, Ind. ) "Going t o se e the fight, J iru ? "Wha t fight, G eorge?" '.!Oh! Then you didn't h ea r tha t 'Kid' Steve n s a n d Harry Ca mpbe ll are going to fight a t Williams' barn to n ight.'' "The d icken s you sa y W h y Cam p bell w ill g e t all he is looking for. Stevens i s at least twenty pounds heavier than he i s." ''I haven't an ything to do with that, and, s a y, Jimmy, I am g oiu g to fight Mike' Louis in one o f the prelimina ries.'' "Oh, y ou ll lick him su re. G ood -by, Georg e, said Jimmy Loyd, a s they separate d. ''Good-by Jimmie, replied George Marshall. Williams' barn was on the outskirts of B altimo r e When the time for the fight arrive d, the b a rn wa s p acked with excited men and boys. As Jimmy Loy d predicted, George Marshall defeated ''Mike'' Louis, knocking him out in the sixth round. The main event, between ''Kid'' Ste veu s and Harry Campbell, was to b e a ten -round affair. Suita ble officials we r e cho s en a nd the r e fere e call e d both bo y s together and spoke to the m for a few mom ents. Both boys lo o k e d at e ach other critically. "Kid" Stevens w e i g he d 128 pounds, while Harry Cam p b ell tipped the sca l es at 114 p oun ds The b e ll rang, and both boys commenced to circle around each othe r. Stevens led for the he a d. Campbell s p ran g a w a y Stev en s follow e d him a nd landed a heavy body punch. Campbell came back with a stinger on the jaw. S t evens laude d three stingers on the body in quick succ es sion, and ther. s ma shed C a mbp e ll on e on the jaw Ste ven s rushe d Ca m p be ll to the rope s a nd w as putti11g it all o ve r him whe n the b e ll rang. Stevens had the bette r of the second round C a mpbell was groggy wben he returned to h i s corner. Stevens rus h e d Campbe ll and l anded on the jaw, C a mpbell sma shed Stevens one b e twe e n the ey e s. Stevens caught Campbell a h o t one on the jaw. C a mp b e ll stag g e red, and then Stevens floor e d h i m with another o n e on the j a w. The crowd ro a r e d. Campbell s tagger e d to his fee t and Stevens cam e back at him with a s t a ggere r over the h eart. Campbell fell but the bell sa v e d him from a knockout. Rounds four aud five w e r e both S t eve ns', Cam p bell b eing floor e d thre e times bnt e a ch tim e h e g ot u p and g amely conti .nue d to fight. Campbell did better work in the s i xth round. He brought the crowd to their f eet b y flooring Stev e ns with a right hook on the jaw. Round Se v en.-Steven s rush e d a n d s w un g for the hea d. C a mpb e ll duck ed a nd put o ne to the j aw S t evens floo r e d C ampbe ll with a so lar p lexu s blow. Cam p b e ll g o t u p and close d S t e v en s right ey e Stev ens, mad with fury, rushed Campbell to the rope s, Campbell whipped a hot one to the kidne y s and followed it up with a s ta ggerer on the jaw. Stevens rushed again. Campbell sent a crashing b low to the jaw. Ste vens wob b led. Campbell, se e in g his advantage, rushed in and after a rapid excha n g e of b lows sent a terrifi c blow to the jaw. Stevens re e l e d an d whirle d a rou n d and f e ll with a thud. The crowd roared as the r e f e ree counted Stevens out. Half an hour later Williams' barn was deserted. Rothschild vs. Black. ( By Harry Crandall, N. Y.) I will tell you of a fight between two boys by the name s of M ilton Roths child and Eugene Black. It was to have be e n a five-round go, but did not go the limit. First Round. Milton led for the face. Eugene side s tepped a n d land e d ri ght to wind. They both sparred. Milton made a feint with left and landed right to head. Eugene ducks a left swing and uppercuts to jaw, both sparring at end of round. Second Round.-Eugene forces fighting. Milton blocks a terrific r ight and lands a left to Eugene's ear. Eugene is da z ed by the blow, and Milton lands a right to rib s. They b oth spar. Eugene very groggy at the e n d of rou n d. Thi rd Round.-Milto n rnshes Eugene and lands a beauty right on Eugene' s n ose, which draws the blood. E u g ene tries to c ounter to ribs, but it is blocked, and Milton feint s with left and just for a minute Eugene leave s his stomach ung uarded and Milton hits him a fearful s win g which dou b le s him up. E u g ene is too weak to continue, and we a w arded the fight to Milton. J\ Tough Match. (By Arthur Rehn, Illinois.) It happe ned one Saturday afternoon that in a neighbor' s yard we were bu s ily practicing the art of boxing. Other bo y s s oon came around and wished to try it. The y were giv en turns, until at last two larger bo y s step pe d up. Their h a nds bad evidently felt the gloves befor e They s to od ey in g each other, lookiug for some point to pl ant their fir s t strik e. The first blow s w e r e aimed for the eyes, the hit was av oid e d a nd a n uppercut c a m e in return, causing the other boy's tongue t o bl e ed. This la i d him out for a fe w mo m ent s Then he tried to re s tore his authority. The hit w a s quickly d isp atched b y a left punch in the ribs. Then the b lo ws flew thick and fas t, until after a few m i n utes o ne boy rece i v e d a blow in the che s t. This d e pri v ed him of his wind, laid him out and proved his a ssa il ant to be the bet ter man

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TALES Of rllJNTING /\ND TRAPPING. MOOSE HUNTING IN THE MAINE WOODS. Bv LIEUTENAN'r PRESTON H. UBERROTH, u. s. R. M. Of all the nu!llerous specie s of l a rge gam e to be found in the wilderness of N o rthe rn IV.Taine, there i s non e whose purstiit affords g rand e r sport to the expert rifleman than the e lk, or moo se (Ake s J1falclti s ) His h abitat being the re g ion of de11se fore s ts an d po ssessing keen eyesight, fine se nse of smell, togethe r with his intense fear of his natural euemy, man render him on e of the mos t diffi cult animals to approac h, and he who would get within easy r .ifle range o f the m oose mu s t, in deed, be a skillful bunter, unl ess h e is fortunate e n o u g h to have the peculiar co udition of the weathe r and country through which he is passing greatl y in his favor. The mo ose i s the l a r ges t of the gen us and a t t he fore shoulder is muc h hig h e r than the average h o r se 'l'he head measures two f ee t in len gth, aud, due to the e nlargement of the no se and no s trils. is clumsily shaped. Its eyes are sma ll and de eply se t in the h ea d the ears long and hairy, an d from the n ec k depend s a heavy mane, the throat b e in g cover ed with lon g, c oarse h ai r. Its body i s '\Yell-rounded, short and compac t, with a tail not more tha n four i n ch es lon g. Its l egs are lon g, btit firm and cleanly cut, and, fro m its la rge, overhanging lip, was once believed to h ave walked b ackward while grazing. Its m ovements are h e av y and awkward, and wh en running it proce e d s in a shambling trot, tos sing its head from side to sid e with no s e w e ll tip aud horns thrown horizonta lly back, straddling its hind le g s i n order to avo id striking the for e he e l s and trippi n g. It is a s olitary creature, and ge nerally keeps out of sight and harm during the daytim e. Its se n s e of be ariug is v ery acute, and it i s the most s hy and wa ry of all the deer species and owin g to this fact the art of moose-hunting is consid e r e d t11e g re atest of t he hunter's acquirements. During my autumn rambl e s iu the Maine woods I have becom e convinced that tbe moo s e is increasing in number, wholly dti e to the stringent game law s that prohibit its wholesale slaughter at all s ea sous of the year. On a sandy, pine-girt beach where the cool, crystal-like water of the Kenne bec winds its way about the foot of Squaw Mountain on its long journey from Moosehead Lake to the sea, we erect our tempora ry camp on a certain day late in the fall, a nd being tire d and h a lf-famished, our appetites whetted by the outof-do o r life of our wild and Indian-like e x ist e nce, we at once s e t to work to kindle our fir e and prepa re our frugal repast with the grea t es t possible dispatch. Our p arty con s ists of four white m e n and two Indian guides. 'l'hc latter are fine, manly-looking fellows, of c he e rful di spos itions, retiring habits, and a s we gather about the wa rm and gl o wing campfire, their brown, swarthy fac es lighte d up by its g lare, I cannot recall when I ever saw s o much la11ghter and bright, smiling eyes before. We Jiaye with u s two frail, birch-bark canoes belong ing to onr guides, and are of the kind exclusively em ployed by the moo s e hunters, who inhabit the shores of the lakes and ri ve rs tha t skirt this vast, unbounded and trailless wilderness 'l'h ey are little crafts and so light in weight that one i s able to raise it with one hand, but is s t rong and roomy enou g h to carry four average men on an expedition of from five to six weeks It is a chill y, fro s t -laden night, and after a hearty st1pp e r on swee t venison steaks and a savory fiy of speckled trollt, we one by one roll ourselves in our heavy blanke t and hug the fire clo se ly as we lie down to catch a few hours' sleep. During the afternoon we -had a light fall of snow, which has covered the ground and tipped the sp ruce s and birch e s and neighboring mountain tops with its white, fleecy mantle. Before midnight the heaYy gray cloud s had broken away, and the pale moon 11ow pee r e d through the rifts of flying scud. One of the India ns, who had been keeping watch 'l'Vhile w e slept, aroused our party, and, after reluctan'tly ri sing to our f e et aud donning our hunter's garb, we grasp onr rifl es and are ready to take to our cano es nntil daybreak Jack, my guide, soon has the boat launched, a nd, t aking my s e at ami d ships, my piece lying across my l a p we shove off and are soon paddling along near the edge of tbe r iver's bank into the stillness of the night. The secon d part y la ys its course down stream, vhile the third takes to the wood s, wh e re .in the black n e s s of the fore s t the two bunters so01i disappear from view. For more than an hour we glide quietly along, uo sound meeting the ear but the gentle dipping of the paddle a s tern and the occasional cracking of dry branches a s little avalanches of snow come pouring down through the leafless bough s of the trees Now, as we dart around swe eping curves and past

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THE JESSE JAMES STORIES. 29 dark "lagoons," we surprise a stray duck or deer that has come down to drink, but, at catching sight of us, both are off before I have time to raise my piece. Great stately trees overhang the banks, under whose sweeping boughs my guide turns the prow of the canoe, and now and then, as a clearing is passed, I catch glimpses of the quartering moon which, like the "twilight gray .has in her sober livery all things clad." The wind dies away, the dark clouds pass over, and, one by one, the stars come out, until, at last the blue canopy above is studded with myriads of scintillating lights. Now the becomes more sluggish, and tbe water grows darker and deeper as we pass through forest pools bedecked with lily-pods tun;ed crimson by the crisp autumn wind. Trunks of fallen spruce and cedar extend out to us from either shore, their branches c overed with decaying moss and driftwood. The opening grows higher and closer as we advance, the current increases in velocity, until we fiud ourselves skimming along over a rippling brook, which by degrees, develops into a seething rapids wherein the water grows shoaler, until at last our boat grates the bottom and is suddenly stopped by a mass of fallen cedars forming a plaited and interlocked barrier directly across the stream. Jack jumps out, I quickly follow him, aud, after toiling some time shoving away the debris, and lifting and hauling the boat over it, we succeed in reaching deeper water where our canoe again floats. Our difficulty over, we continue on for more than a mile, skirting the banks of this labyrinth of our primeval forest, then gliding swiftly on over more pebbly bars, through rapids and cataracts with an almost eyrie swiftness, the boat swirls round the broad crescent of a dark pool, and soon glides into the smooth waters of a lake environed by dense timber hills, overtopped by snow-cr.ested mountains which stand out majestically in bold relief against the clear blue sky beyond. ''There might be a moose in that bogau on the right," whispers Jack, raising his paddle from the water and permitting the canoe to proceed noiselessly toward the bank. I grasp my gun,. the bow of the boat grounds upon the shore, while the Indian draws out his birchbark horn, and by a succession of sounds resembling the grunts of the cow-moose, calls the beast, if one happens to be withiu range of the signal, down to the water's edge. A JDOre propitious night for hunting the moose rarely occurs, for there is a dead calm on the lake, and nothing will prevent our call being heard in all directions at a distance of at least two miles; then, again, there is little cianger of the animal scenting, or winding us, and refus ing to be allured from the cover of the forest. We sit in silence, no sound but the occasional gruuts of the born and the chattering of a squirrel overhead disturb the profound stillness. By and by, my guide thinks he hears an answer to bis call. I listen, but detect nothing. The experienced ear of my man Friday, however, is not easily deceived and suddenly a low bark comes from the silent wilderness. At each sound of the animal, a similar one is made on the horn, until at last it is evident that our much-coveted prize is drawing nearer, for so distinctly does its bark reach my ears that I raise my gun as if to shoot. In a low whisper, however, my guide tells me that the moose is still a good distance off. After a time the cry seems to die away, and then grow as loud as before, as if the animal had grown suspicious and is wandering away only to turn again and retrace his steps at the low, enticing sound of the iron. 'l'his frequently happens, for in his blind roaming he will lose the direction, or upon winding you, will turn back and keep under cover, much to the suspense and anxiety of the impatient hunter. In anoth,er moment the sound from the forest is heard again, this time so loud and clear as to be almost upon us. He has at last got track of the birch-bark cow-moose, and is coming toward us in hot haste. "Here he is!" whispers the Indian, and bounding through the underbrush, crashing and breaking the dry branches of the trees with his great heavy antlers, a shambling black mass plunges into the moonlight and stands in all its glory before me. There is time but for one single impulse, and that is-shoot. Instantly I bring my gun to my shoulder and empty its contents into the monarch of the forest. The baffled beast, as quick as a flash, turns to retreat, and, without a moment's hesitation, we leap out upon the bank and are after him. A few stealthy steps and we reach the edge of the w o od. \Ve pause to peer within, but nothing resembling a moose is to be seen anywhere. We pass from the moonlit waters of the Jake into the deep gloom of the woods. The trees stand close together, their low, rotte n branches making it exceedingly difficult to make rapid progress. I scramble on, eager to get one more shot at the animal. Jack is close behind me. Through opeuings in the trees above, the moonlight pours in upon the snow, enabling me to discern crimson spots in the moose's track, and satisfying me that my shot did not fail of its mark. It is necessary that we should make our advance with the utmost caution, for the rustling of a withered leaf or the crackling of a decayed twig is sufficient to alarm the watchful animal. The moose when tracked has a peculiar habit of turning from its path and taking up its repose at some point near its retreat; in order that it may hear the slightest noise made by those in pursuit.

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ao We press on in silence for some time, when a crashBfnf i ng flontost 1.\1 ow Dunn, ng ing near by causes Jack to exclaim: U JU lJ ge i1J 11 I\ U a M M ''Here he comes! he's makin' for the lake. Look out!" Peeriug ahead, I see the wounde d moose his eyes glaring in the moonbeam that falls across his p ath. With head down, his large branching horns extending forward, the hair on his neck bristling like the mane of a lion, and giving him a wild appearance, the incensed beast comes charging down upon u s, l e a ving no doubt whatever in my mind that he is coming and that I must look out for myself. The moose makes one dash for the Indian, who, being unarmed, scrambles up the neares t pine, just in time to clear the long antlers which fly by him. In an instant the enraged animal turns and be gins stripping the bark from the tree by striking it with his horns and forefeet. From behind a fallen trunk, I take in the situation at a glance. In the excite m ent of-the moment, all thoughts of danger and o f r etrea t leave me. I swing my gun to my face as the brute becomes aware of my presence and makes one d esperate plunge in my direction. I glance along the shining b a rrel with my fin ger on the trigger . I fire. The immense black mass falls with a heavy thud in the snow at my feet, pierced throug h the heart. "Bravo!" shouts Jack, as h e com es sliding down the trunk of the tree in which he had t aken r e fu g e. "Ain' t he a stunner? Never saw th' like s o him afore," and he g ives way to his joy over my victory in many saying s expressive of wonderment and surprise common to the vernacular of the backwoodsman. Upon examination, I find that my first shot penetrated the m o o se's left fore shoulde r, the torture driving him desperate with rag e and causing him to turn upon us. We at once set to work stripping the skin from the body, removing the head and le gs, and cuttiug the r emainder up into such parts as will p ermit our return with it to the canoe After winding the hug e pi e c e s with stout withes, and having at la st s u cceeded in stow in g the m in the bow, vve shove off and are soon paddling over the lake with the prow of the b oat turn ed toward the hunter's camp, greatl y ela t e d with the ni ght's suc ce ss. Day is breaking, and in the trees above t1s can a lready be heard the bird's swe e t s on g as it is borne away on the chill, fro s t y morning air, heral ding the dawn of this crisp autumn day. SEVENTEEN PRIZES FIFTEEN SPALDING BOXING GLOVES SETS OF The two boys w h o write 1.he best stories will each receive a Spalding Punching B : t g, made of finest selected Napa tan leather. The workmanship is the' same as in the Fitzsimmons special bag. Donl>lc stitched, welted seams, re-in forced one-piece top. Best quality P a r a rubber bladder. A n extremely durable and lively bag. and carefnlly select e d before packing. Each bag complete in box with bladder, rubber cord for floor and rope fo r ceilin g attachment. The fottr next best storie s will win fol' their writers sets of Spalding regulations oz. boxi n g g love s TWO PAIRS OF CLOVES TO EACH SET. Made after t h e Corbett pattern of soft craven tan leather, well-padded, with elastic wrist bands. There will be eleven prizes in the third class. Eleven sets of two pair of Spalding boxing gloves. Regular pattern, made of light-c olored soft tanne d leather, wcll-p&cldcd, elastic wt:istbands. These bags and gloves are The Best that can be obtained anywhere. They are wel/ worth trying far. HOW TO CET THEM Think of any exciting boxing bout you have witnessed or participated in. Sit down a n d w rite as good a description o f it a s you know how. M ake it lively. Throw in all the upper cuts and half a r m jolts, and do i t in fiv e hundred word s or less. Every bor w h o has ever seen a contest has a chance to captu r e one of the prizes. The contest may be between boys or men, beginners o r well-known an1ateurs. If you should not win a prize yon stand a good chance of seeing your story ancl n ame in pri n t, anyway. It is mid-day when we arrive at the camp, and find tha t the other c.anoe has returned, hav in g met with luck equaily as g oo d a s our own. Our moo se wei ghs ei ght hundred pounds, his antlers forty pounds and mea sures six feet from tip to tip. 1 To become a Contestant you must cut out the Boxing Contest Coupon on t his page, fill i t out properly, and sent it t o JESS E JAME S WEEKLY, 238 William S treet, New York City, togeth e r with your articl e. No contril>ution without t his coupon will be considered. Come along, boys, and make things hum. Night again falls upon the moose faunters' camp, and fresh fuel is h ea ped upo n the fires, the great lo g s g low anew, the flames crackle, and the flying embers l eap on hig h throug h the big, black chimney On rude couches of birch and s pruce, with our fee t to the fire's ruddy glare, we fall asle e p to dreams of chattering squirre ls savage bears and terrified moo s e, with broad antlers of gigantic size, leaping out upo n us from behind ev e ry tree. THIS CONTEST CLOSES MAY 1, 1902. COUPON. JESSE JJ\MES WEEKLY BOXING CONTEST Date ............................................ .. f\'sme ....... ..................................... ............ City or Town ............ ,,, ..... ,.,., ................ --.. State... ........ --------.---.. ...... ---.........

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JESSE JAMES STORIES. (LARGE SIZEo) T h e B e s t Stories Publis h e d o f the Famo u s W estern O u tlaw. 7-Jess e James, Rube Burrows & Co. 8-J esse James' Daring Deed; or, The Raid on the P i ne Ridge Jail. 9-Jesse James at the Throttle; or, The Hold-Up flt Dead Man's D i tch ro-Jesse James' Double; or, The Man from Missouri. II-Jess e James Among the Moonshiners; or, The Train Robbers' Trail in Kentucky. 12 -Jess e James' Close Call; or, The Outla w's Last Rally in Southern wyoming. 13-Jesse James in Chicago; or, The Bandit King's Bold Play. 14-J es s e James in New Orleans; or, The Man in th e Black Domino. I 5-J ess e Jam e s' Si g nal Code; or, The Outl aw Gang's Desperate Strategy. 1 6-Jesse James on the Mi s si ssippi; or, The Duel at Midnight. l 7-Jesse Jam es' Cave; or, The Secret of the Dead. 18-The James Boys in St. Louis; or, The Mysterie3 of a Great City. 19-Jess e James a t Bay; or, The Train Robbers Trail. 20Jesse Jam es in Disg uise; or, The Mis souri Outla w as a Showman. 21-Jesse James' Feud with the Elkins Gang; or, The Bandit's Revenge. 22J esse Jam es' Chase Through Tennessee; or, Tracked by Bloodhou11cls. 23-J esse James In Deaclwood; or, The Ghost of Sh2d ow Gulch. 24-J esse Jam es' Deal in Dead Valley; or, At Odds of Fifty to One. 25-Jesse James on the Trail for Revenge; or, The Outla w 's O a th. 2 6-Jess e James' Kidnaping Plot; or, The Massa cre a t Weldo n's. 27-Jesse James Among the Mormo _ns; or, Condemned to Death by the Saints. 28-Jesse James' Capture and Escape; or, Outwitting th e P a nc a ke Diggings Posse. 29-Jess e James Hunt to Death; or, The Fate of the Outla w Vas qu ez. 30-Jess e James E s cape From Ch e yen ne; or, In League with the 'Wyoming Regulators. 31-Jesse James' Rich Prize; or, The Battle at the O l d S to ne House. 32-J esse Jam es and His Ally P o lk \i\T ells ; or, A n E r r a nd o f Life or Death. 33-J esse Jam es in New York. ; or, T h e Missing M illion a ire. 34-Jesse James' Deal in Sacr
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15 Solid Gold atches GIVEN A AY C'i'2P"WMM** m:&!iSf1' N o t Gold Not Gold Filled Watches Plated Watches BUT ABSOLUTELY 449 Solid Gold Watches &WWW JQ!W#M%1 WARRANTE D UNITED STATES A S SAY. FULL PARTICULAR IN NUMBER BOYS OF HOW TO '14/R ITE A LETTER I SHELDON' S 20rn CENTURY LETTEH WHITER The bes t guide t o co rrect modern ietter writing p u blished! In this is t reated, a n d i n nume r able samp l es of cor r ec t l y writ t en l ette rs a r e given, s h owing how a y o ung m a n m ay address a banker or :i teacher, a frie nd or a s tr anger a brid eg room or a widowe r et c ., etc A FEW OF TliE NI ANY SUBJECTS: of a Letter -Postcripts-Stamps -Social LettersFamily L etters-A F:.>.ther's Letter to an Erring Son-A Brother's Warnin g to a Sister-The Sister's Reply -Letters of I n t r dnction-Letters of Condolence Letters of Co ngratuiation-Love Letters-Wedding Announcements-Ceremon y and Reception-Form Suitable for I n v itations-Marriage Announce men t -Valentines-General fovitations-Acceptances a n d Regrecs-Notes of Ceremon y and Com pliment-Business Letters-Ap p lication in A nswer to Advertisement-Miscell a n eo u s L e tters, etc., etc For sale b y 111/ newsd /alers. if onlcred by mall, add four cents for postage. STREET & SMITi-f, 238 William St., N Y. C lty. 209J

PAGE 34

' 'et, CONTENTS The Physical Man. """The Muscles Muscle Building. The Lungs and the Science of Breathing. Indoor Exercises and Home nasties. Eating and Drinking for Health. Diet Cures and Anti-Drug Reme dtes. The Value of Baths and Massage. How to Dress for Health and Beauty. Walking and Running. Swimming and Bicycling. Physical Health Culture (ILLUSTR.ATED) A Popular Manual of Bodily Exercises and Home Oym nasties. for Male and Female. BY PROP. POURMEN AJI Newsdealers, 10 cents U sent by mail, 3 cents additional for postage. Smith PUBLISHERS 238 William Street New York THE book is regulation stze, pro fusely illustrated by full page photo-engravings, showing the different exercises by m ale and fe male models posed e s pecially for this work. Exercises and home gymnastics will do more for beauty of face, form and good health than all the medicine ever invented. Read list of contents.


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