Billy Button, the young clown and bareback rider

Billy Button, the young clown and bareback rider

Material Information

Billy Button, the young clown and bareback rider
Series Title:
Pluck and luck
Bertrew, Berton
Place of Publication:
New York, New York
Frank Tousey
Publication Date:
Physical Description:
29 pages ; 28 cm


Subjects / Keywords:
Dime novels ( lcsh )
Adventure stories ( lcsh )
Sea stories ( lcsh )
Treasure troves -- Fiction ( lcsh )
serial ( sobekcm )

Record Information

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:
033085362 ( ALEPH )
897226274 ( OCLC )
P28-00013 ( USFLDC DOI )
p28.13 ( USFLDC Handle )

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, Tssu ed Jreel:ly-By Subscriptio n $2.50 p e r year Enltrtd as Second Class !rlall c r at the New York Pool O![rr.-, N orcmbe r 7, 1898, h .11 Fra111: Tou sey. No. 298. NEW YORK, l'EBRUAUY 17, 11)04. Price 5 Cents.


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This book explains them ild unlucky Jays, and "Napoleon's Oraculum," the boo k of fate. all, examples in electricity, hydraulics, magnetism, optics No. 28. :EIOW TO TELL FORTUNES.-Everyone is desirous of pneumatics, mechanics, etc. The most instructive book published I mo.wing what his future life will bring forth, wheth e r happiness or No. HOW TO AN ENGINEER-Containing fu ll .misery, wealth or poverty. You can tell by a glance at this little mstructions how to proceed m order to become a locomotive en book. Buy one aud be convinced. Tell your own fortune. Tell gineer; also directions for building a model locomotive togetbe 1 t he fortune of your friends. with a full description of everything an engineer should know. No. 76. HOW TO 'l'ELL FORTUNES BY THE HAND.-No. 57. HOW '1'0 MAKE MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS.-Full ("_,ontaining rules for telling fortunes by the aid of lines of the band, directions how to make a Banjo, Violin, Zi t her, Allolinn Harp, XylQ... >Or the secret of palmistry. Also the secret of t e lling future events phone and other musical instruments; together with a brief de lily aid of moles, marks, scars, etc. Illustrated. By A. Anderson. scription of -nearly every musical instrument u se d in ancient o r modern times Profuse ly illustrated. By Algernon S. :F'itzgerald ATHLETIC. for twenty years bandmaster of the Royal Bengal Marines. No. 6. HOW TO BECOME AN ATHLETE.-Giving full inNo. 59 HOW TO MAKE A MAGIC LANTERN.-Containint etruction for the use of dumb bells, Indian clubs, parallel bars, a description of the lantern, together with its history and invention h orizontal bars and various other methods of developing a good, Also full directions for its use and for painting slides. Handsomely tiealthy muscle; contai ni ng over sixty illustration s Every Qoy can illustrated. By J obn Allen. b e come stron g an.I healthy by following the instructions contained No. 71.. HO'V .TO DO in t his little book. comp'Iete mstruct1ons for performmg over sixty Mechanical Tricks No. 10. HOW TO BOX.-The art of self-def e nse made easy. By A. Anderson. Fully illustrated. >Containing over thirty illustr ations of guards blO'lys, nnd the di'n'erLETTER WRITING. oent positions of a good box e r. Every boy should obtain one of -these useful and instructive books, as it will teach you how to bo:x;. No. 11. HOW TO WRITE LOVE-LETTERS.-A most oomwithout an instructor. plete little book, containing full directions for writing love-lettera, No. 25. HOW TO BECOME A GYMNAST.-Containing full and when to u se them, g iving specimen letters for youn_g and old. instructions for all kinds of gymnastic spo rts and athletic exercises No. 12. HOW TO WRITE LETTERS TO LADIES.-Gi'rinc 'l!lmbracing thirty-five illustrations. By Professor W. Macdonald. complete instructions for writing letters to ladies on all subjects; A bandy and useful book. also letters o( introduction, no tl's and requests. No. 34. HOW ro FENCE.-Containing full instruction for No. 24. HOW TO WRITE LET'rERS TO GENTLEMBN fencing and the use of the broadswo:-J ; also instruction Jri archery. Containing full directions for writing to gentlemen on all Described with twenty-one practical illustrations, giving the best also giving sample letters for instruction. p(Jeitions in fencing. A complete book. No. 53.'HOW TO WRITE LE'I'TERS.-A wonderful C book, telling you bow to write to your sweetheart, your TRI KS Wl'!H CARDS. . mother, sister, brother, employer; and, in fact, everybody -.No. HOW TO DO body .you wish to write to. young man and evecy uplanabons of the general pnnc1ples of sleight-of-hand applicable lady m the land s'hould have this book. to card tricks; of card. ordinf!-ry cards, and not requi ring I No. 74. HOW TO WRITE LETTERS CORRECTLY. of tricks mvolvmg sle1gh t-of-hand, or the use of taining full instructions for writing letters on alm<>11t any 1ubject qpec1ally prepared cards. By Professor Haffner. Illus trated. also rules for punctuation and composition, with specimen Jetterii'.

PLUCJ< LUCJ<. Complete Stories of Adventure. lasuetl Weekl11-B11 SubscripUon $2 50 per 11ear. Flnterea as Second Olass Matter at the New York, N. Y Poat OttfOe, Bovember 7, 1898. l!Jnterea according to .ii.ct of OongrCBfb in the y ear in the otrice of the Librarian of Oongress, Washington, D. O., b11 Frank :t' ousey, 24 Unton Square, New Yorlf. N o 298. NEW YORK, FEBRUARY 17, 1904. Price 5 Cents . BILLY BUTTON, The Young Clown and Bareback Rider. A STOBY OF THE CIBCUS. By Berton Bertrew. CHAPTE R I BEELZEBUB. "Play it easy, young fellow!" The sp eaker was a tall, wellbuilt man, dressed in a plain suit of Scotch tweed. As he uttered the words, he replaced the cigar he had been smoking between his lips. A half dozen men, standing beside him, uttered a laugh as a tattered boy who was standing on his head in an ex temporized ring, took a sudden tumble and fetched up with a; fiop upon all-fours looking with dazed amazement at the speak ers. Some ten boys were playing circus in an open lot, the site of the present Bible House, New York, with a number of their comrades as audience, and during their sports the audience had been augmented by the sp eaker and his compani o ns. As the boy who certainly could not have been more than ten years old, partially arose to his feet, a number of his com rades made for the adjoining fenc e facing Fourth avenue and scaled it in an instant; while the remainder sat or stood unde cided what to do in the face of the sudden emergency. "Well, what you got to say about it!" asked the boy, getting up. "bidn't I play it easy, hey?" How much has transpired since then? The b oys playing in the open lot were a number of youths fresh from school, which had just been let out-it being halfpast three or thereabouts-and the lookers-on were W. F. Wal l'et, the clown, and Sam Lathrop, who was not engaged in the aft6rnoon show at the circus. At the time ,mentioned the Bible House was simply thought about, not being built, and the si11e of the Cooper Institute was a tumble-down set of rookeries, termed Rotten R ow. "Yo tt did it pretty well, young fellow laughed Wallet, in response to Sam Lathrop's spirited joke, "but you can't stand on your head." "I can stand on my ear, though," responded the boy. "Get 'out!" "I will!" And in an instant th e ragged, barefooted specimen of hu manity fiung himself down upon the sawdust sweepings from the main ring of the circus, and poking his left elbow into the earth, supported his body with his right hand as he ele vated himself in a graceful poise and lowering his ear into the sawdust spun around with the rapidity of a teetotum. "How's that?" he asked, as the of his youthful ad mirers greeted the feat three times three. "That beats the deck!" shouted WaUet, holding his sides with laughter. Another laugh followed the rejoinder. "Open yer 'Wallet,'" roared Sam Lathrop chucking a silver "Had you there, Wallet," sa1d one of the men, giving the quarter to the boy. first speaker a rib-tickler; "smart as a steel trap, and apt on "Pass around the hat for this ere young acrobat." And in the ketch!" a moment the jolly clown pulled off his felt for the stamps "Bet your life," laughed Wallet; "he's a smiler. What's your The result was a five. name, bub?" And never was a boy more proud than was this young raga"Beelzebub, for what I know-what's yourn?" muftin as he pocketed the rhino. A r oar followed the sally. "Wh ere do you li v e?" asked Sam, as he handed the money "Put u p or shut up!" said another of the party. to the boy. "I'll put up the win e said tlie first speaker. I "Down yonder," was the reply, as th e lad pointed toward "I'll hold the stakes said another. I Rotten Row. "I sleeps there, and I hangs around for grub." Meanwhile the boys remained gazing with stupid amazement "Grub, hey?" at the men. "Yum!" The scene opens in the year 1850. "Who taught you to tumble?"


\ BILLY BUTTON. "Tumble! See'd you and t'other fellers!" "Hit you to rights that time., Sam!" laughed Wallet. "Bet your lif'e," replied Lathrop. "Better scoop him in," said Wallet; he'll make a faker!" "Goldarned if he won't!" ejaculated the clown, as if an idea had struck home. "Say, ga n you read?" "Som'ot!" "Well, take this, and call on me to-morrow." As he spoke, Sam Lathrop took a card, aud hastily penciled a few words upon it, and then_ he handeq it to the bey. "Thankee, sir," said he, pulling the tuft of his shaggy hair, and ,the next moment the circus men had passed through the dressing-tent, and the "play c ircus actors" were left alone. CHAPTER IL HOW THEY DlU 1 1' "You're a b11ick Beel! said one of the boy audience, as s oon as the others had departed. "Build on it," answered the youngster. Say fellows, let's go around to Shandy's and have half Spanishes all around."' Half $panishes, by the way, were, at that period, very cheap cigars-two for a cent. The propo sal was greeted with a shout, and the next moment there was a motley crew of boys climbing the Fourth avenue fence of the open bounded by Fourth avenue, Ninth street, Astor Place, and Third avenue, that would have puzzled the most active of our present <1>olice force to get away with; put in. those days the boys didn't bother the M. P.'s worth a cent. Oh, no!" Jane opened th e cellar door, and, passing a few steps, closed it behind her. "Mr. Ed, stte said, cautiously. For a moment there was no reply. Mr. Ed," she said again, presently. "Who's that?" 'Yas the reply, in a smothered voice. "Only me-Jane." "Is that so?" "Yes." "You're a beauty. Is mother gone?" "Yes." "I'm glad of it. I'm as hungry as a hedgehog." "Well, dinner is ready. Come up and get it. "What have you got?" "Roast beef and apple "Blast the beef! Got plenty of dumplings?" "Yes." Well bring us half a dozen. Are they big? "Yes ; you couldn't eat three if you tried." "I don't want to. Beelzebub s here, and he's hungry as the deuce!" "Poor fello 'w!" ejaculated Jane. All.d then s he told him what his mother had said on depart ing. "That knocks the coal out of my pipe," said Ed, dej ecte dly. "Fetch the dumplings, Jane," put in a cheery voice "and give a fellow a show. Maybe i'Il put up a job yet." And the next moment two boys came clambering down from the top of a wodpile, on which they had been hidqen. One of them was Beelzebub, and the other was Ed, the tender object of Bridget's commiseration. "You'd better come up," said Jane, kindly.' * * * * "I'm jiggered if I do!'! replied Beelzebub, making a wry "Say, Jane! face. "Bridget hates me, and I want to see what we're going "Yes, 'em," replied a trim-looking specimen of a chamberto do about the show. The boys will be along in half an qour maid, as she poked her head through the open door of the base, or so, and 'twon't do to disappoint em." ment. "But ttiey can't come through the hall no more, said Jane. "Don't let those boys be tracking through the ba:;;ement this "The missus won't 'low it." afternoon," replied a stately-looking woman who was st.anding Ed uttefed a melancholy howl. upon the front stoop of a brick house on Ninth street, near "The jig's up,'I he said. Fourth 9'venue. "I won't have it. Bridget complains tb,at she "Nary a time," snapped Beelzebub. "Fotch along the dump-has altogether too much washing to do, and the boys are raislings, and give the fellers a show." ing old hob with their circus business in the cellar. I don't And rushing up to Jane. he gave her a playful dig in the min_d their amusing themselves to keep them off the streets, ribs, accompanied by a kiss that caused the merry girl to gig but I won't have a crowd of tatterdemalions racing through gle again. the hall. Where is Eddy?" She pushed him away quickly, and \}arted upstairs, present" Well, tell him, when h e comes in, what I say, and tell him smothered in butter and molasses ,, I'm sure I don't mum!" was the truthful reply. 1 ly reappearing with a huge dish of steaming apple dumplings that he can play as much as likes, but I won't have the Both boys uttered a cry of delight, and pitching in with a riff-raff piling through the halls-that's all." will the savory food was speedily disposed of. And with a shake of ber skirts the. stately matron "There," sald Beel laying his hands on his stomach, with swept away. / a satisti'ed sigh, "there's my grace, and now for the circus." "What's she says?" the cook, as Jane re"But we can't have it," ejaculated Ed, sadly. "Mother says turned to the kitchen after her mistress had gone !j,way. so." o .. < Jane repeated the messag e "She didn't say you cou ldn't have it, did Jane?'1 asked "Them's my sentiments intirely," reiterated Bridget, as she Beel, curiously. flourished a skimmer that she held in her hands. "It's a born '' replied Jane, lady she is, an' divil a brush 1'11 put on the dirty floor if it's "She said Uie. boys might amuse themselves if. we'd keep the dirtied again by the gang. I wonder where Ed and the byes tatter-de-mans from rumpussin' the halls, didn' t she, he.y?1 are, I don' know? Her'S's the: dumplings gittin' cold, and "Yes,'' replied Jane, to the leading qU'estion, "she said that." they'll be as dead as a stone." Where were Ed and the boys? Let us take a trip down the cellar and see. The cellars of houses are, as a rule, rather dark s pots and this cellar in particular was not an exception'. / There was an iron grating at the back that l'et in some ljght, "Well, we'II do it." How?" asked Ed, d9ubtfully. "Let 'em through the coal-hole!" CHA,PTER III. but the remainder of the apartment resembled an Egyptian crncus WI'.l'JI VENGEANCE. tomb. "You're a trump, Beel," said Ed his eyes brightening at the Shortly after the demonstrative remarks made by Bridget, remark. "W e'II have the show anyhow.''


BILLY BUTTON. 3 "You bet!" replied Beelzebub. flip-flop and came down wrong end up upon the sawdust. "Did "Don't you forget it, either!" you see my agility? he a s ked as he leaped to his feet in an Jane laughed heartily as she ran upstairs with the dinner instant. dishes I call it a faux paw, repli e d DeLacy. Then the boys fell to work. "Wall, wasn' t I on four paws what y e r talkin' bout How do you think it is?" asked Beel. "Just so, replied the ringmas ter, smiling. You are apt "Nearly two I gu'ess, replied Ed. this afternoon Uncle Sam. "Well, we ve got to dust lively hey? said Beel. Uncle Sam's apt ter be," replied Beel "but what can I do Ho'w are w e going to do about the doorke e p e r ?" inquired for yer?" Ed. "The fellers can't come through the hall no more.1 Please ask Master Edwards to step forward ," r etorted the "I'll 'tend to that," replied his companion "Let' s get the ringmaster. together. "Trot him out!" shouted Beel. As he spoke the basement door-bell rang, and presently half "What' s that?" asked DeLa c y cutting at him with his whip. a dozen boys, varying from ten to fourte en clattering "What yer bout? replied Beel l eaping away to avoid the down the cellar stairs. whip of the ringmaster and a kick from the untamed steed at In a few words they were informed of what had transpired, add then one was appointed as doorkeeper. He had to shinny up the coal-hole, but the active use of a broom cleaned away the grimy dust, and then things were per fectly ship-shape. Meanwhile the others had raked the sawdust-ring which was prepared in th e rear of the cellar, and put it in proper order for the performance Then the performers lit up the candles upon the hoop chan deliers on either side of the ring, and retired to the dr'essing room, which was fronted by a red da.ltlask table-cloth, hung diagonally across the rear of the cellar. By this time a number of boys, some well dress ed, and oth ers of the ragged type, came sliding down the run of the cellar. It was jolly fun to all, for boys will b e boys throughout all time ; and doubtless these boys enjoyed thems elves the more by reason of the odd means the y had to adopt to attend the show. Notwithstanding the price paid they were glad to take a slide to get in. Said price was ten marbles, bne china-ally or thirty pins. The audience seated, the entrance was closed an!l the door keeper came down to a ct as policeman and then the show com menceq The first act on the 1>rogramme was a grand entree act by the full company. In doing this act the boys used the basket-horses apper taining to carnival times and Christmas festivals that can be found at any first-class toy store. The act was done in tip-top .style, and from the round of applause that greeted the conclusion it evidently pleased the one and the same time. I don't like this; there s too many snappin' turtles 'round! Master Edwards! And into the rin' leaped Ed, dressed in another set of ex temporized tights which fitted closer than a glove. A shout of applause and the clapping of hands greeted his appearance. Give him a hand," shouted the ringmaster to the clown give him a hand. "Can't spare it1 rejoined B'eel. I want both myself." And tossing himself on his hands, he walked around the ring feet up. "Snap." The whip told home "Ouch!" ejaculated Beel, resuming his equilibrium. "That's darn mean! "Why so?" "Back-biting!" retorted he, scratching th'e injured part. "But I forgive you. What can I do for you?" The latter to Ed, who was standing quietly by the untamed steed. "Give me a hand, please," replied Ed, laying his hand on the horse s back. "You don t know what yer talkin' 'bout repli'ed Beel, grin ning. "Why not? demanded the ringmaster, sharply. "He's holdin out his foot-can' t yer see? rejoined Beel. "Just so," answered DeLacy nodding. "Well, give him a lift, then. Be elzebub seized hold of the extended foot and gave Ed a lift. Up he went and' the next instant he was standing on the pad as the manufactured horse went trotting around the ring. spectators immensely. "I'll be blowed if them ain't my shirts, surer tl; great Then came the principal act by Master Edwards," so Ed guns!" termed himself on the bill, which was done with a brush, and posted on the rear of the cellar. In this act one of the stoutes t boys of the party, covered with cloth, with padded s addle and horse's head attached, acted the part of horse To do this he bent his body forward holding two stout sticks in his hands as forelegs and thus gave a rather fair representation of a horse. CHAPTER IV. SHIRTS ARE S HIRTS. Ed was the rider. Every e y e turne d in th e direction of the sp eaker. Beelzebub the clown. H e was a tall, st:out man, dressed in a semi sailor c ostume And Percival DeLacy, another of. the lads, the ringmaster. "Oh, crac ky! e jaculated Ed, leaping from the back of the In came the Arab steed, led by a keeper who appeared to untamed steed and diving into the dressing room. have his hands full in managing the fiery animal. 1 "By jinks, the jig' s up!" blurted DeLa c y making for the "Step this way, Uncl'e Sam!" said DeLacy snapping his whip coal-hole. Look out for yoursel v es, fell e rs! It' s Ed s sailor with the utmost vigor. I brother, and h e and Beel have got on his shirts for tights." And as he did so Beelzebub leaped into the ring. In a moment t he trappings of the horse were cast asid e and He was dressed in a suit of extemporized tights that might the representativ e of that noble animal follow e d D eLac y with have done credit to the ablest joker in existence. I the utmost celerity, and one of the liveliest skedaddles on rec-White and blue stripes, and his face powdered and painted ord ensued in the most comical manner. I Nearly everybody es c aped. And the states come also! he shouted, as he turned a But Beelz ebub and Ed were not among the number. Unfor-


BILLY BUTTON. fortunately their garb precluded the possibility of a street "And so you're going to work, are you?" demanded she, prespromenade, and before they could dress the big brother had ently. them both captives. "Yes, to-morrow." "Where did you get those shirts, young fellows?" he de"Well, I'm glad of it," she retorted, savagely, as she arose manded, sharply, half-smiling and half in earnest. "Speak out, on the bed, with her eyes glaring with maniacal fury. "I'm and no bones about it!" glad of it, you beggar's brat!" "Beel put up the job," replied Ed. "It wasn't my fault." "What do you mean, mother?" demanded the boy, in utter "Stole 'em, eh?" demanded the sailor, sternly. surprise, as he darted from the stool upon which he had been "No, we only borrowed em. I'd scorn to steal, poor as I seated. am-I'd die first! And he gave a defiant look af the sailor as he spoke. "How did it happen, Ed?" asked his brother. "Tell me the truth, like a man!" Ed hung his head, undecided what to do. "Don't show the white feather, Ed," said Beel. "You didn't mean to do no wrong-and you hain't." "You see, sir," he continued addressing Ed's brother, "t'oth er day we was up by ther fire in the kitchen dryin' ourselves after the rain, and the/girls was ironin' thes e ere shirts. I seed them hangin' on the clothes hoss and sez I to Ed: 'Them 'ud make bully tights, they would.' "'How?' sez he. 'Just strip,' sez I 'an' pull the arms over your legs, and put the other shirt right side up, then use a handkercher for trunks, and you're made up in a jiffy." "And that's the way you did it, hey?" replied the sailor, laughing heartily. "Well, I'm blamed if you ain't a cure. I'll let you go this time for your ingenuity, but don't you let me ketch you snaking my shirts again for tights, or I'll lock you both up, now mind; strip lively and bring those shirts up to Bridget to wash, and this is the ending of your circus, mind it, Master Ed!" But it wasn't, as the sequel will prove. * * * "Mother." The speaker was Beelzebub. He had just returned home, if the term could be applied to his wretched apartment in Rotten Row. "What do you want?" replied a maudlin voice, as the speaker partially arose from a straw bed upon a cot in one corner of the room. "I'm home," answered Beel, pleasantly "and Mr. Lathrop's promis ed to get me into the circus. Ain't it bully?" "Um," muttered the woman. Got any spuds?" "Why, I gave you four dollars day afore yesterday," said Beel. "Ain't gone is it?" "Yes, every blame cent." "What yer done with it?" "Gin!" shouted the woman waving a bottle unsteadily in her hand. Gin! and that's gon'e, too, and I want more-must have it," and she fell heavily back upon the bed as she spoke. "Oh, mother, groaned the boy, "why can't you stop?" I can't, and I don't want to, either," she shouted, angrily. "Get me another bottle, or it'll be the worB'e for ye. Get it, I say! And she held out the bottle as she spo\te with savage exas peration. He stood looking at her for a moment or two before he m<>ved. "It's too bad," he muttered to himself, "but I suppose it's got ter be did-it's the only way to quiet her, poor mother." And with a sad, dejected look, he took the bottle and de scended the stairs. He returned presently, a'.nd handed the liquid death to the woman. She took a long drink, and uttered a pleased sigh. "It's life to me," she murmured. "Life-life-and I love it." The boy made no reply. Poor fellow, he was disgusted with his mother. "I mean what I say," she replied, with an oath. "I mean what I say, curse you! "Mother!" he replied, darting away to avoid the blow aimed at his head, as the half-filled bottle shattered into a fragments agai,nst the wall, "what is the matter?" "Don't call me mother!" shouted the crazed woman, as the foam of madness frothed from her lips. I am no mother of yours-nor are you kith of mine." The boy stood gazing at her in dazed amazement. "It's the Gospel truth!" she shouted, with a shriek of demo niac laughter which rang through the room like a wail, "and I'll swear it w!.th my dying breath." "Mother-mother!" groaned the boy, falling on his knees, and attempting to grasp the desperate woman. "Are you mad?" ";No!" she shouted. "I have told at last-and make the most you can of it," and, before the boy could reply or attempt to prevent her, she darted to th'e window and head first to the street below. CHAPTER V. A iBLOW FOR A BLOW. An inquest followed, and the jury decided that the woman had committed self-destruetion while under the influence of alcoholism. Thus the matter rested. It was the day following the funeral. The audience were coming .out of the circus. And as theY did so a man in citizen dress approached the ticket taker. "I want to see the proprietor," he said, displaying a police-man's badge. "What's the row-anything up? ". replied t'1e latter. "Nothing important," said the officer with a peculiar leer. "You'll find him in the dressing-tent," answered the doorkeeper pointing through the side door. "Get around to the rear-you know the way." "Yes," observed the offic er, as he disappeared through the canvas flap of the tent. He made his way to the rear and entered the dress1ng tent. Nearly all the company were dress ed except those engaged in the closing act. Wallet and Sam Lathrop were standing near the exit of the tent. "I want to see Will Westlake said the officer. "What do you want with him?" asked Lathrop, who knew the officer by sight. "I want him on charge of stealing a set of diamond ear rings from Mrs. William Hanlon, of Ninth street." "Don't believe a word of it," replied Lathrop, indignantly. "It's a put-up job." "Nary a time," answered the detective. "I've got the thing dea<;l. to rights. "It's a lie!" shouted Sam. "Poor boy, he only burled his mother yesterday." "She wasn't his mother," replied the officer, sharply, "and you're altogether too sharp with your chin, Sam!" "Why?"


BIL'.L Y BUTTON. "You called me a liar just now!" "So I did, and I repeat it, if you say that Will Westlake is a thief." "That's actionable," shouted the irate officer, angrily, "anci I'll take you in! "Better not, laughed the clown; "whe r e's your warrant?" "Here!" snapp ed the officer, rolling up h is sleeves. "It's N. G.," retorted Sam. The policeman went for him. Sam put up, and with a stout left-hander sent him to ground in a second. But the officer was gi:me; he leaped to his feet and made for Sam again. I warn you," said Sam good-humoredly, "that you are the aggressor. Gentlemen, I call you to witness this assault; I am defending himself." And again the pollceman went down with the blood pouring in torrents from his nose. A shout of derisive greeted his discomfiture. "Enough!" said he, arising to his feet and wiping away the blood. "I don't want you now Sam Lathrop, but I'll g e.t square, see if I don't." "All right, I'm your man! retorted Sam, "you know where I live." And he tapped his arms playfully as he spoke. "Put up or llhut up!" "I want Beelzebub! shouted the officer. "Go and find him!" retorted sa;m with a sneer, walked away. But the officer didn't do it, for after making a careful search, no traces of Will w estlake were to be found. CHAPTER VI. BILLY BUTTON. with one of his sid e-splitting m e lodi e s ," announced the ring master, retiring amid a ren-ewe d c lapping of hands. As he did so there bounded into the ring a e'di tion of a pocket clown that might have done credit to even Gabriel Ravel or George L. Fox himself. He was but a little over four fe e t high, but his stout legs well set off by his striped stockings, d e noted extreme muscular development as did the broad prominent chest and squarebuilt shoulders. "Here we are again, as the blind man said when he took a tumbl'e, shouted Billy Button, suiting the action to the word with a series of brilliant flip-flaps ending up with a square summersault from heel to heel. How's that for high, low, jack, and a game?" And as the applause subsided wh i ch gree ted the feat he fell to, with a round, mellow voic'e upon one of the sprightly airs of those days, each verse ending with the c horus: "You may call me a quiz you may call me a guy, But I doesn't like things as looks queer to te eye, But if you likes these, why it's nothing to me But thes e are some hings that I don t like to s ee The song concluded amid rounds of applause, and several minor acts followed. A slight pau se ensued and then came the grand principal bareba c k act of the by Master William Button, Boy Clown and Champion Bareback Rider of the Universe. A magnificent specimen of horseflesh was led into the ring by an attendant. His snow-white coat glowed like silver, and his mane and tail were long and fl.owing ; the latter nearly reached the ground. "This grand specimen of the be s t blood of the Arabian desert was sent directly to Ma ster Button by the Sultan of Moro cco as a mark of his high estimation of the d&ring hardihood of the intrepid young rider, said the ringmaster as he entered the ring. Eight long years have passed since the opening of this tale. "That' s so, said Sam Lathrop, following close behind him. Much that has transpired since then must be left to the de"I was there and seed it m yself." velopment of our story as it rolls on with the course.._:of time. "Nonsense ," replied Nathan . You n e v e r were in Morocco It is nearly two o'clock on the afternon of a warm August in your life. day, in the year 1858. "Y es, I was," replied the c lown stoutly. Upon an open lot in the vl.cinity of Jim Remsen's hotel, Ja" When?" maica, Long Island is pitched the spacious caravan of Sands' When I was about so old r e pli e d Sam r e aching to his and Nathan's mammoth circus and menageri e combined knees and waving hi s hand to and f ro as he. winked at the The grand parade and wire ascension has ended, and the audience. "In Moroc c o shoes ; moth e r pu t m e in e m. Didn't brass band_ insid e is tooting away in full blast as the eager they squ e ak though?" throng crowd and jostle each other hither and thither in their And, as the audi'ence shou te d with d elight, the veteran anxiety to obtain the best seats in the show. clown leaped merrily away to avo i d the s wishing lash. Everyone knows that circus day is the greatest day out in a "Please ask Master Button to step this way? said Mr Natown, and this day in particular was no exception to than, suavely the rule. "I don't care a button if I do," replied Sam "Master ButNearly half an hour pass ed away. ton wi'il please s tep this way." The seats in the circus pavllion were crowded from ring This time he was dressed in a fi eshc olored suit of tights front to the flaps of the canvas. and ruby trunks glittering with spangles, which set off his The band struck up a lively gallop and in came the sturdy little form to perfection. Hi s curly hair was bound cavalcade of the Knights of the Golden Fleece," as it was set back from a well-shaped forehead b y a ruby satin ribbon down in th e bill of the day. upon whi c h glistened a shining sta r a n d as he bowed and The children crowed and clapped their chubby hands with kissed his hands to the B:PPlauding auditors, the h eart of hearty expressions of'delight and the grown folks settled back many a country beauty beat witp ardent e motion. into their seats with satisfied sighs as the show began. Billy had been in Jamaica before, and had made himself A vigorous burst of applause greeted th e disappearance of an especial favorite among the ladies. the last knight beneath the red curtains of the dressing-tent "Foot it, young fellow! said Sam elevating our h ero to and then the audience craned forth their necks, and bent the bare back of the restless horse who stood pawing the eagerly forward to greet the appearance of "Billy Button, the sawdust ring with his forefeet as he champed his bit as if Boy Clown as he was prominently announced to be upon 'the eager to 'be away over the course flaming posters and streamers that decorated the barns and "Let go!" shouted Billy, as the attendant loosened his fences for miles around. grasp on the reins, and away flew the magnificent animal like "Billy Button, the only boy clown in existence, will oblige an arrow.


6 BILLY BUTTON. Around and around the ring he sp ed. At one instant our h e ro was lying forward on the horse's neck with legs outspre ad upon his loins and haunch" while he kissed his hands playfully to the right and left, to the delighted s pectators. ward move when Billy threw himself flat on his back, and .grasping the loins and flank with his legs and arms, he broke and prevented a fall 'that might possibly have cost him bis life. ( And thus he took the second hurdle. And then h e would throw himself hastily around amid In an instant two ring attendants darted to the horse's head many a sharp sc ream from the timid lady admirers, and ly-and brought him to a standstill. ing ba c k do w n ward upon the bare haunch, would cast his Are you qurt, Bill?" inquired Lathrop, hastening to his legs upward in the air with a shout that increased the mad side. career of frantic stee d as if he d heard the deadly war whoop of a Comanche Indian. Then he'd l e ap lightly to his feet and with one foot between the ears of the horse the other stre tched as far backwards as the length of his limbs p ermitted, he'd c heer the horse on ward with p e rsuasive voice. "No," replied Billy with a smile, as he panted to regain his breath. "But it was a tiretty rough shake up, notwith standing. Thought I was a goner." "You bet. Take it easy the next turn." "You bet, was the cheerful rejoinder. Meanwhile the audience had also taken breath, and the whole tent resounded with applause. And both horse and rider Btilrt ed again. It was termed: A Bre akneck, Bareback Hurdle Act," that Billy was riding, and he seemed doing it in dead earnest, for many of the auditors expected to see him break his neck every instant, so recklessly was he carrying out the Away they went! act. Again the first hurdle was successfully passed, and again But finally the first portion of the intrepid performance was they were approaching the s econd. accomplished, and the horse came to a stop as Billy patted "Go it, young feller!" shouted an excited voice from the his neck, and wip ed the perspiration from his forehead audience. "Go it; I'll bet on you every time." "Shut up, you cussed fool!" rejoined another. "What can I do for you now? inquired the clown, as he came up to the horse's side at the command of the ring master. Say, who's that eyeing you so closely yonder? he demanded, aside, as he pretended to be examining the horse's bridle. "Where? demanded Billy, looking around among the sea of heads. "That black-muzzled looking chap standing by the ring pole," replied the clown. "By jumps! answered Billy; "that's Starbuck Hanlon, the sea lubber we snaked the shirts from to use as tights, and there's himself. What can they be doing here?" "Blowed if I know," replied Sam, snappishly. "No good, I'll be bound, hang the whole kit and caboodle of 'em! Just then the music struck up and the attendants having entered and adjusted the hurdles, Billy dashed away to complete the hazardous act. CHAPTER VII. N EARL Y A 'fUM BLE. On sp ed the flying horse with wide-distended nostrils, with eyes flash ing fire his quivering fianks one mass of foaming lather. Both hurdles were l e aped with a will by both horse and man, time and again and then came the crowning effort, where Billy Button w as to stand e r ect upon the back of the flying ste ed as he careere d the ring at full sp e ed, leaping each hurdle in turn without falling or missing his position. The first hurdle was reac hed and leap ed without a miss by both horse and rider, amid the breathless attention of the spectators. Then cam e the se c ond The horse was approa ching it rapidly when one of his fore feet slipped and stumbling forward, he came down upon both knees touching e a c h in rapid succ ession, but quickly recover ing his position he bound e d the hurdle at a leap. So sudden w a s the in s t antaneous pause that Billy was nearly throw n from the horse. He had no rein s at the time "Who do you call a fool?" "You!" Plug! The blow struck home. And just as the horse was preparing to leap the hurdle, a half-inebriated country boy, staggered by the force of the ruffianly blow, tumbled backward directl'y beneath his feet. Billy Button saw the boy's danger in a minute. He whistled to his steed, and planted his foot firmly on its flank; the horse turned and toward the center of the ring, as Billy flung himselt forward, clasping his legs firmly around the animal' s neck, and then stooping down caught up the prostrate form before the hind feet had time to reach "it. The deed of heroism was performed in an instant. Not a hand save that of Bllly Button had been stretched forth to save the poor lad from instantaneous death Even the circus employees, usually accustom ed to act on the spur of a moment, were held spellbound by the sudden emer gency. But as soon as the noble horse came to a halt, as he did immediately at the; command of his young owner, such a heartfelt burst of applause as shook that canvas had scarcely, if ever been heard within the bounds of a cfrcus before. Strong men leaped into the ring to release the half-dazed boy from the hands of our hero. Ladies screamed and fainted. For a few moments a scene of the wildest confusion ensu ed. And during the interval the ruffianly assailant had managed to make his escape. Once more Billy brought his horse to place to complete the act. But th e audience would not permit him to do so. "No-no!" was the shout on every hand. And with blushing features our hero retired, amid a burst of applause. CHAPTER VIII. THE STORY OF THE IRON CHEST. He was standing w ith nothineto guard him upon the The afternoon performance had concluded and Billy was barebacked horse. walking leisurely toward the hotel when someone tapp ed But scar c ely h ad the ani mal plunged forward with a downhim upon the shoulder.


.BILLY BUTTON. '1 He turned quickly and found himself face to face with his old playfellow, Ed Hanlon, of our boys' circus reminii:>eence. "Halloo, Bill, old boy; put it there for old rocks' sake. I haven't seen :ioou for a dog's age." "Well, these are dog days, but I never say die! replied Billy, with a hearty grip in return to the grasp of his old ChtJm. "Where have you been all the time?" inquired Ed, eagerly, as he drew up alongside of Billy, and walked along. "It's a long story, but I'll tell it to you when we're out of earsl1ot, if you've a mind to listen," replied Billy, for the reader will doubtless by this time recognize in Bitly Button the reckless, devil-may-care Beelzebub of the prologue. "Come along this way upon the hill, and we'll take a flop down on -the grass and I'll spin the yarn." "Bully for you, Beel, you're a trump," replied Ed, giving him a ,hearty slap on the back. "Let's have a couple of cigars and then we'll trot along." "No half Spanish t,his time," laughed Billy, good-naturedly, as they entered a shop and invested in a couple of Principes; and then they passed up Fulton street to Union Hall, a'nd went upon the hill, taking a seat under one of the oaks and watcli ing the rosy sunset as old Sol sought his col}ch in the west. "Let's see," asked Billy, dreamily, as he p ed a clol.ld of smoke from his nostrils, "how old are you now, Ed?" "Going on twenty, cu_JJy. I was just on twelve when Star tumbled to the shirt racket and busted the sbow," answered Ed, smiling at the old-time memory. "Just so," resumed. Billy, nodding his head. "Those were high-daddy times, wasn't they, Ed?" "Just hefty." "Bet your lif.e," continued Billy. "I was just about ten, and ten and eight make eighteen." "Did when I went to school," said Ed. "Well, I never had much scholerin', 'cept what I picked up," continued Billy. "But I've got some experience by hard knocks. Say, did your mother ever find her diamonds?" "No." "B"elieve I stole 'em yet, I suppose?" "Yes," replied Ed, hesitatingly. "Do you?" "No, I never did-'pon my life!" "Thank you. I'd swear it on a stack of Bibles. never turned up?" ,, So they "No; mother kind of gave the thing up after they tried you, and couldn't make a case against you. I grress she's let it drop altogether." "Well, I'm glad of it. It might hurt my character. But some folks don't consider t:tiat a circus chap's got any of that commodity about him." "Is that so?" "Yes, and you know it, too," replied Billy. "But that's got nothing to do with my story, so I'll spit it out. "You know the day or so after mother died," anq the boy shuddei:ed as he remembered the terrible SceJ:leS which could nevetbe obliterated from his memory, "Detective Janton got on my trail and commenced to run me down? "Well, the skunk's been on my track more or less ever since; but he can't get the drop on me worth Q. cent. He came to the show after th:e afternoon performance, and old Sam gave him a dressing fer playing too much chin-music." "I wonder where that phrase came from?" said Ed, musing ly. "Don't know," replied Billy, "unless it came from old Bobby William's playing on his cheeks this fashion." And drawing in his cheeks with a peculiarly com,ical smirk of the mouth, Billy rattled off an air on h,is cheeks and chin in a fashion that might have done credit to the best xylophQne nlayer in existence. laughed heartily at the performance. "You beat the deck, Beel, he sald . "I always did," replied our hero in a dry, humorous manner that seemed strongly like old Cal'e Weeks, at that time the prominent caterer of Jamaica. And well the writer remembers the choice viands which the old man served up with the assistance of his genial, fat-fea tured, and robust-framed good wife. "Well," continued Billy, resuming his story, "the next day I was snapped up and brought before Judge Talmadge, but he c.ouldn't find nothing agin me, an' i;o he dismiss ed the. case. But Janton, the blamed fool, stuck to me like a leech. I believe he'd draw blood from a turnip if he got a chance. But Sam Lathrop, God bless the old man! stuck to me like a brick through thick and thin. He put me in training with J. North, who taught me to ride, and I thin!!: he made quite a success of the job." "I should think so,'' interrupted Ed, "from the brave act you did this afternoon." "Yum-yum!" replied Billy. "And I'm mighty glad I saved that boy. It's a wonder that Selim didn't smash him to smithereens with his hoofs. There's no one can go nigh him o.ut of the ring except me and the groom." "Is he so fiery!" asked Ed. "Fiery? He's a per1fect demon in harness anq no Jnistake. Well, as soon as I'd discharged by the judge, I went back to the old rookery in Rotten Row to get moth:er's traps togeth er, and there I got a tumble that I'm afraid I'll never be able to get over." "Why, I never heard that you were hurt," said Ed, anxious ly. "I didn't mean it in that way, Ed," repli'ed Billy. "You see, mother had a small iron-bound chest that she always kept carefully locked, and never woulU let anyone look into under any circumstances. When the coroner came to view moth'er after she was brought up from the street, he sealed everything up and locked the door. Well, when all was over, and Judge T almadge had let me go, I went to the coroner, and he let me have the key so that I could get th-a chest and what-. ever else remained. I went to the old room, and, Lord bless you, Ed! how gloomy and lonely it looked in its squalid misery. I sat down and had a hearty cry, for notwithstanding I that mother had never been much of a mother to me, and treated me more than a dog than a human, nature would out, and I loved her notwithstanding the hard knocks she gave me; and I shall believe that was my mother, no mat ter if she did deny it th:e very moment before she died." "Is that so?" asked Ed, in evident surprise. "Yes. Didn't you never hear that before?" "I can't rememlJer that I ever did." "Well, it's so." And in a few words Billy describ'ed the terrible scene in the garret of the old rookery, and repeated the dying words. "Well?" said Ed, evidently greatly interested. "Well, when I went to look for the chest after I'd had my cry out it was clean gone, anu nothing was left to tell where it was gone except a piece of a man's coat-tail which I found clinging to the ric,kety window-blind on the outside of the window, which was wide open, as it had always been since mother died." "This Is very strange," said Ed. "Just so; so Sam thought, as well as myself, and so did some of the other boys to whom I told the story; and they all allowed that some scamp must ha,ve entered the room over the roof and stolen the chest to obtain some papers or valuables which it evidently contained." "Maybe they concerned you, Beel!" ejaculated Ed. "Possibly," retorted our hero. "But be that as it may, I


8 BUTTON. neither the chest nor the thi'ef have ever been found, and I am beginning to despair of ever discovering either." "Quite a romance." "Yes," replied Billy. "Well, that's all I've got to tell you. Here is the piece of the coat," and as he spoke he took a piece of rough checked cheviot goods from his pocket. It had evidently been torn by catching on a nail or some other ob ject while the thief was escaping "from the apartment of the d'ead woman. Both boys examined it closely. "That is the only clew I hold to discover the rascal who stole mother's box," said Billy, earnestly, "and I'm afraid it's a pretty tough case to ferret out. But if I ever manage to get on his track I'll run him down, or my nickname of Beelzebub stands for no good!" "And I'll help you, my boy," said Ed, grasping our hero's hand with a vim. "I'll be of age in a year, and if money will help, you shall not want it! "Thank you, Ed, thank you," replied Billy, returning the friendly grasp. "I'm making a pretty good thing as it is, but if I re9uire your aid, I shan't fail to call on you." "Don't, and you'll find I won't go back on you if you do." "Well, that's all," said Billy, wrapping up the piece of cloth in its covering of oiled silk and it to his pocket. "Now I must go down to Remsen's and get some supper before I go back to the tent. Both boys arose as he spoke, and sal!ntered leisurely away toward the village. The lengthening shadows were creeping on apace, and twi light was gathering around them. As they diSaJ>peared, the head of a man partially arose from behind a clump of alder bushes close beside where they had tteen sitting. The features of the man wore a troubled look, and his wicked eyes glittered with an evil expression as he glowered savagely after the boys. "I must have that piece of cloth at all hazards," he hissed. through his set teeth, as he shook his fist after them. "It may be the means of playing the very devil with my plans if I don't. Look out for yourself, Master Will Westlake, you haven't got rid of Janton, the detective, yet!" And creeping from his place of concealment, he followed the boys with all the caution of a sleuth-hound. He had scarcely disappeared when another h ead popped up from an adjoining clump of bushes. It was that of a boy of some eighteen years of age. The features were bloated and swollen, and his eyes de noted that he had recently; awakened from a drunken sleep. "So!" said the boy, half to himself. "You black-muzzled son-of-a-gun you've got somethin' against Billy Button, have you'l You're on his track, are you? Maybe he'll be glad to know it. I guess not. Well, he shall-he saved my life this afternoon, and I'll see if I can't do him a slight service in re turn. Cussed if I don't believe you're the miserable skunk who gave me that plug in the snoot." And with these words the young fellow crept out from the bushes, and followed the trail of the detective. Who was this boy? He was David Wright, whom Billy Button had saved from th'e heels of Selim. CHAPTER IX. A NEW SORT OF ANGEL. Having finished supper at Jim Remsen's which was first class, Billy and Ed started toward the circus. It was nearly half-past seven, and as they were passing one of the houses, a few rods below Remsen's, Ed stopped and ut tered a

BILLY BUTTON. 9 our hero had caught her stoutly beneath the arms, and with a lithe, upward leap, broke the momentum of her fall. And the next moment the breathless father, whose heart was almost bursting from his bosom, was <:lasping his dar ling safe and uninjured within his arms. "It was just jolly, wasn't it, papa? And he caught me real nice, didn't he?" "My poor darling!" muttered the fath er, clasping her closer at the question, "it was God's mercy that sent the boy to your rescue." "He was an angel!" reiterated the reUeved mother, who reach 'ed them just in time to overhear the last words. '"But where is he gone?" "The boy ,.that caught me?" asked the child. "Yes," replied both parents in a breath, to look for the rescuer of their child. 'Why, he just turned head over heels over that fence, same as he did before he caught me," replied the child, laughing merrily at the antics of our hero. The father hastened to the gate and over, and turn ing the corner of the street leading toward the circus, he saw Ed and Billy disappearing on a dead run. CHAPTER X. BILLY BUTTON'S RIDE TO BRENTFORD. O.wlng to the de1ay att\ndant on the gallant rescue of the child, it was nearly time for the show to commence when the two boys reached the tent. "Come around behind?" asked Billy, as they did so. not; rather se e you from front," answered Ed. "But I'll see you after it's over. What time d'ye pull up stakes?" "About halfpast eleven," said Billy. "Pell's serenaders take the big tent for an hour or so after we're done, and then the ring and tent hands get to work and make short work of it. But I must get in-there goes the first music, and I'm on just after the en tree." "Well, so long!" "All right, old man, I'll keep my eyes peeled," answer ed Billy, as he hastened away to dress. The performanc e passed off without the slightest drag or interruption, and concluded with the famous trick act of "Billy Button's Ride to Brentford." This act was ridden without announcement. The old white horse was led into the ring. He was a sedate-looking old plug, and from his plain, quiet app earance did not appear to have a bit of go in him. "I say, mister," said Sam Lathrop, eying the horse carefully, "putty good horse that, eh? "The best in the world, sir," answered the ringmaster. "Made the best time on record, two sixtynine." "Two hours and sixty minutes a mile, I guess," replied the clown. "What's that?" "Good time ter smile, I guess," put in Sam. "I never smile, sir!" said Nathan, angrily. "I thought so, when Jim Remsen asked you to pony up for them drinks you hung up the last time we were here-but if that animal's all sound, safe, and steady in his gait, I don't mind trying a mount myself." As he spoke Sam started leisurely toward the horse. But scarcely had he gone ten steps when a short, squat specimen of a dusty-looking old country farmer staggered over the edge of the ring, and making a few useless efforts to sus tain his equilibrium, reeled, and fell directly ben eath the old horse's fore and hind legs. Kick. Out went one of the hind legs, and the howl that followed proved that the hoof had told home on a tender portion of the old man's anatomy. "Great snakes!" roared the injured party, as Sam seized him by the feet, and drew him face downward toward the center of the ring. "What in the land sakes do yer mean treating an old man in that manner for?" "Treating ye to a touch of free soil, responded Sam, good humoredly. "Don't you know better'n ter go poking your miserable carkis 'tween a horse's legs in that fashion? Yer worse than a blind mule driv er, tacklin' the hindquarters of a religious mule." And the two friends separated until later in the evening. "Say, Beel, come herEt," S!\id Sam Lathrop, as Billy passed "Well, I 'clare to gracious it is a horse," replied the old map., getting on his feet with an effort, and wiping the sawdust and earth from his face and eyes with a ragged dirtylooking "You look as red handkerchief. "Busted if I didn't think it was a saw Any one sick, horse covered with a buffalo robe." through the flaps of the dressing tent. ."I want to speak to you. "What's up, Sam?" asked Billy, anxiously. glum as ohe of the funny mules on half fodder. or dead?" "Never saw a saw hose kick before, did you?" asked Sam. "No, but I feel concernedly bothered, nevertheless; you "Can't say I ever did," replied the old ma,n, adjusting an old know who that was that 1 pointed out this afternoon?" pair of hooped spectacles upon his nose, as he commenced And the old clown tqok a capacious chew of tobacco as he eyeing the old horse with a curious expression of cautious asked the question. investigation. "Yes; I told you it was Starbuck Hanlon, Sam; I saw his "Well, you felt it behind, didn't yer?" brother Ed afterwards, and we had a long confab about old replied the injured party, rubbing himS'elf, reflectimes." tively. "Is that so? Well, he ain't the only one I'm consarned "Jes' so," laughed Sam. "Well what made you come dQwn abo11t. There's another nigger in the fence, and I'm afeared h ere, old Mathuselem ?" there a some devilment afoot." "That ain't my name," said the old man, innocently, turn" What?" asked Billy, somewhat surprised. ing toward the speaker. "My name is-my name is Billy "Janton's 'round again," answered Sam, "and he and StarButton. I'm a tailor." bucl\ have been buzzing closer'n bugs in a rug for the last "I don't care a button if it is, answered Sam. "Tip us hour, although they didn't 'pear to know that th ey were your flipper, and if there's ap.ything I can do for you call spotted. They've been around to 'Squire Snediker's, and I had on me when you want it, and you will want, every tiltle." to leave them t?-ere to tend to biz; but I left someone on their And grasping the outstretched hand as he spoke, like a tracks, bet your boots." viS'e, he wrung it again and again as the old man danced and Billy uttered a troubled whistle. writhed with agony, pleading piteously to be released. "That's bad," he said. "I wonder what's ther lay now?" Finally Sam gave the hand a hasty jerk, and letting go his "Can't imagine, replied Sam "But we must keep our off hold, old Billy Button went staggering forward on another eye skinned for odd tricks-look sharp." I voyage of discovery, and plunged nose downward, plowing up ..


10 BILLY BUTTON. the sawdust in a manner that brought down the hom;e with hilarious roars of continuous laughter. "Columbus, landing in America," sho_uted the clown, point il).g to the prostrate figure. "Mark how he stoops to kiss the sacred soil. And then, as the laughter subsidE'.d, he said again: "CoID'e here, old man, and I'll pick you up! By this time old Billy's mad was up, and he was up also, going for Sam with his cane like a good fellow, but the clown evaded him with equal celerity, and finally the old fel low had to stop to breathe. "I say,'.' said he, as soon as he could speak, I don't want no more fooling do you mind? I come down here to get a hors-e, and I mean to do it." Well, that's all right," replied Sam. "Will you take it now or wait until you get it?" Hold up," said the ringmaster, interrupting at this point, "enough of this. I trust you will pardon our friend's eccen tricities; it .is only a harmless way he has of displaying his pl easantries." "Well, he's got a cussed rough way of displaying 'em," re plied the old man, dusting off his clothes with his dilapidated wipe "But if you're the owner of this ; ere stable, and have got a quiet, gentle, docile animal, who don't go too fast, and is warranted not to bite kick, crib, bolt, shy, or run away, I don't mind if I hire him." "Well," replied Nathans, "your demands ate somewhat ex orbitant, but I don't mind accommodating a gent like you. What do you say to that for a specimen of horseflesh? An swer all your requirements? "He kicks, don't he? demanded Billy, somewhat 'dubiously. "Nary a kfck," replied Sam, winking at the audience, with a quizzical grin which brought down the house. No,". answered the ringmaster. "I can certify that he will answer your purpose to a charm." "You don't say?" asked Billy. "Well, what do you want for him for one day? "Let's se-e," replied Nathans, thoughtfully. "Well, you'll have to deposit fifty dollars, to be ,...forfeited in case of in jury; in case you return him before six p. m. to-morrow, in good condition, I'll return you forty dollars. I don't want to be hard on you, you know." "Ain't that pretty steep?" inquired Billy scratching his head. No, sir; cheap as dirt." "Well, I don't mind if I do; couldn't knock off a fiver, eh?" a red," answered Nathans. "Well," sighed the old man, and withdrawing a moth-eaten specimen of a leather pocketbook from an inner pocket, and unwinding a piece of red tape nearly ten yards long from it, he selected the money and handed it to the ringmaster. "Step this way and I'll give you a lift," said Sam beckon ing to the old man. On reaching the horse, the cl own placed Billy's hands on the pommel of the saddle, and bidding him hold on tight, seized him by the leg, and tossed him completely over the horse, where he came down in a heap on all fours, to the intense delight of the roaring spectators. "Where on earth are ye?" demanded Sam, examining the h'orse's back with well-feignE'.d surprise, as he looked up in search of the fallen tailor. "He;e!" ejaculated Billy, with a groan, as he regai ned his feet with a desperate effort. "Why didn't you bold on?" demanded Sam. "Try it again," and once more he essayed to mount the old man. This time he succeeded to a charm but Billy was seated with his face to the tail. "Galang!" Sam hit the horse a sharp blow on the haunch, and be started with a jump. Billy was quite unprepared for the sudden start, and as the horse sprang forward, he plunged forward in the opposite direction, catching hold of the horse's tail in his headlong descent The sudden jerk and impetus of the horse, connected with the stout hold that Billy retained on the tail, caused him to turn a complete summersault, landing him plump on his back amid the sawdust, where he went thumping and bump ing about in tow of the horse in an excessively comical manner. "Whoa-whoa!" he cried as the horse tore around the ring again and again to the intense delight of spectators, until he was finally brought to a stop by two of the a'tt.endants, and then Billy was again assisted to mount in the proper manner. 11 thought you said he wouldn't run away?" he asked of .jhe ringmaster, as soon as he had gained breath. "Neither he would, if you hadn't got on the wrong side before." "Never was on before," retorted Button. "Never rode a horse before in my life." "Well, you rode him behind, then," laughed Sam. owed if I ever see such a queer guy in all my born days." "Say, I want to understand som ething about this, fellers,,. said Billy, amtiously. "What do you call these things?" point ing to 'the horse's ears. "His ears." "Blowed if I didn't think they was to steer by. "What's this!" taking hold of the tail. "The horse's tail." "Umph! thought it was the rudder. How does she go, any way?" "Why, you put your feet in here," said Sam, placing Button's shoes in the stirrups, "and take the reins in your hands thus," suiting the action to the word, and explaining the method of driving, "and awa.y you go!" Another slap started the horse a sharp gait, and away went the old man, ex.b.lbiting the most curious antics itn aglnable. Now he was lying forward, grasping the horse's neck for dear life, then he was down on one side clinging to the pom mel of the saddle to prevent a fall; tlfen shifting with a lurch, his knees were clutching the sMdle, while his hands grasped the bridle as he madly dashed on shouting to be saved from death. Then he would tumble back to the horse's haunca, when in a second the saddle girths snapped and the saddle fell to the ground, whence it was conveyed by an attendant, leaving the miserable tailor to the merciless caprices of a maddened bare backed horse. By this time many in the audience, numerous ladies and children, and not a few stout-hearted men, began to mani fest symptoms of alarm, for the old man seemed to be growing weaker and more feeble every instant. He was crying loudly at the top of his voice for them to stop the horse, when suddenly the unfeeling clown seized the whip from the ringmaster's hand and snapped it briskly at the horS"e's heels, the animal bounding away like the wind. Hisses of shame and cries of terror ensued, but as the sounds increased, the old man leaped lightly to his feet and began tearing off clothes; off came his shoes, and w!lre thrown into the center of the ring, being caught by an attend ant; hat, coat, spectacles, and wig followed, and then, with a sudden movement of his hands, a lightning change was effect ed, and the poor old form of Billy Button, the tailor of Brentford, appeared as Billy Button, the Boy Champion Bareback Rider, in his charming impersonation of "The Genius of Amer ica Protecting the Rights of Freemen!"


, BILLY BUTTON. 11 Cheer after cheer resounded throughout the tent as the rapid change took place, and as our hero leaped lightly from his horse and bowed to the audience, every person present seemed vying with their neighbor as to whom should give B1lly Button the highest honors. CHAPTER XI. A SHABP TRICK. Billy had scarcely bowed his thanks in retur.n to the re peated applause of the delighted auditors, and retired to the dressing-tent to remove his dress for his everyday clothes, when one of the grooms came to him and said that a boy at th e entrance wished to see him. "What's the name?" asked Billy. "Said you wouldn't know it, but you'd know him, and be mighty glad to see him." "Tell him to come in," said Billy. "I'll be dressed in a minute," and he went into one of the dressing-tents for -that purpose. Presentiy he returned dressed in his everyday garb. "Well, what do you want, young fellow? he asked, ap proaching the boy who was awaiting him near the rear of the wagon. "Halloo! ain't you the chap that I pulled from be neath my horse's feet this afternoon?" "Yes sir; and you saved my life, though th e folks round here say it don't 'mount to much nohow." "Why so?" 1 "Well, you see, I drink so that they hate me like pizen," re plied the young fellow, half ashamed to make the admission "Funny that, for Jamaica," said Billy, dryly. "Why don't you brace up?" "Don't b'elieve I could "Never tried, did you?" "I d-on't believe I did." "Well, you better, before you say can't;, that's a word only fit for hypocrites, and such like kidney. What do you do for a living?" "I job around the stables, and do chores whenever I can get them." "Take it out in rum, hey?" The young man hung his head abashed. "Well, how would you like to make a man of yourself?" demanded Billy, eyeing him sharply, "How?" replied the boy eagerly, looking up. "Join the show." ) "They wouldn't have me. I tried." "Never mind that," answered Billy, reassuringly. "Put hand there that you'll shut off drink, and I'll give you a show-and, mind you, .it'll b'e your own fault if you take a tumble again." "God bless you, sir," replied the boy, grasping Billy's hand with emotion, as the tears started from his eyes. "You've put new life into me!" "That's all right; don't make a noodle of yourself; be a man, and let the world see it. Now what do you want of me?" "I want to thank you for saving my life this afternoon replied the boy. "I was too drunk to do so then; and again I wanted to tell you something that concerns you desperately. "Wbat's that?" "There's two chaps from York'. who're hunting you up. One of 'em a detective, I imagine." "Oh, if that's all, I know it," replied Bill, nonchalantly lighting a cigar. "Well, that ain't all," responded the other. "They''lfe got out a warrant for you, and they mean to serve it to-night." Billy whistled. "How do you know this?" he asked. "Well, I know a thing. or two, notwithstandin' what say," replied the boy, "and while you and your city friend was talkin' up on Union Hall Street on the hill, I was sleepJn' ofr my booze. I chanced to wake up just as you got up, and I knowed you, notwithstanding your everyday dress. Well, I see this detective, whose name is Janton, by the way, watchin' you, although he didn't see me. Well, after you got up to go, I heard him say something about getting a piece of cloth from you, and that he was on your track, and then I smelt a mouse; so I just took him in tow, and followed hi'11 up until I saw him talking with another city chap, whom he called Star." I 'Billy nodded his head comprehensively. "Well after a long talk, they agreed that they must get a warrant and snap you up; and then they went down to Judge Snediker's, where they had to waft until he returned from York, and then they got the warrant, for I heard them say so as they came out. They said it was better to wait to serve it until after the performance, so as not to kick up a row, and meanwhile they went to look up th e constable to take you in." "This is a pretty. kettle of fish! ejaculated our hero Where are they now?" Waiting outside till yo-q come out." "The devil! Say Sam," hailed B1Ily to the clown, who at this moment entered the tent, "Jan ton's got a warrant and is waiting outside to serve it." "I know it," growled Lathrop, "and they'll do it unless you can get into Kings County before they snap you "They might get another one there, and I can t get there without being spotted, ether. "If you could only get to East New York," muttered Sam, thoughtfully. "Well, what then?" "Why, s eUm's there by this time with the groom, and you could start with him for the Houston street ferry and if you could only get over to Lent's he'd stow you away where the devil wouldn't find you." "That's so!" "I tell you he's inside and I will see him." The voice was that of Janton, the detective. He was endeavoring to shove himself into the tent. "What shall we do?" demanded Billy s omewhat nervously. "We'll have to fight it out, I rec k on "Nary a time," replied the boy, w ho had been standing quietly beside them taking it all in. You can get to East New York and no mistake. "How?" demanded both Sam and Bill in a breath. "Come this way." Stooping down, the speaker lifted up the flap of the tent and leaped through, followed by Sam and Billy. The boy pointed toward the railroad And the three ran rapidly in that direction. On reaching it the boy pointed to a hand-car. "That'll go nearly fast as a train," he said. "So it will! shouted Sam, e latedly "Shove her on the main track. No up trains to-night, are there?" "Nary a train except the milk, at four to-morrow morn ing." "Bully By this time the hand-car was on the main track, and leap ing on board Billy and his companion seized the handles The crank turned, and she commenced to move. Gradually the motion lncreaS'ed and in another minute the old clown stood alone waving his adieu as the two boys spun away like a locomotive.


' 12 BILLY BtJT'l'O.N: l CHAPTER XII. HAD THE D EADWOOD ON THEM." As the two boys accompanied by Sam Lathrop, dove under the flaps of the dressing -tent, Janton endeavored to force him self in at the rear entranc e followed by Starbuck Hanlon an.d the village constable. 'But I tell you he ain't there," reiterated the night watch man pu s hing Janton back with a warning shove. "He went out the front waY, scarcely ten minutes ago." "It's a lie!" replied Janton, angrily, pushing stoutly ahead. "I saw him over there just now. "That's a fighting word, cully!" replied the watch'man who was a burly specimen of a bac kwood s man hailing from the State of Maine, standing six feet two in his stockings and the man planted a blow full at the face of the detective Janton parried it, and taking in his man at a glance, saw that he meant fight. "Take it easy Brock," said he hauling in his horns some what. We've got a warrant for Billy Westlake and there's no us e in your getting into trouble about it." "I don't 19ean to ; but I won't take a lie notwithstandin'. I'm a ring-tail-roar e r and I neve r funked in my born days. But if you've got what yer s ay l e t s see the papers. "That's your tic k et, said the constable flourishing the war rant before the watchman's fac e. Don't be a fool ; and let the law take its course. " I ain't much of a schollard replied Hank Brockwa y, eyeing \ he document suspiciously "but if you say it's all right, I suppose it is. Go in but I tell you I saw him goin' out, and that's the long and short of it." He gave way and Janton and his party rushed in the direction of the dressing wagon. Seen Billy Button?" h e d e mand e d, eagerly of one of th e sky, and from the fitful gusts of wind that resulted, the trees, and the sultry nature of the air, it was evident that a heavy thunperstorm was rapidly approaching. It took scarcely a minute for the pursuers to reach the track, and as they did so they 9eard a dashing, rattling sound approaching, aBd had scarcely time to leap from between the rails before a hand-car came dashing by with such a fearful velocity that, had they remained where they were another instant, they would certainly have been ground to pieces on the spot. "I wonder what' s up?" asked the constable. "I haven't heard of any accident down the track that would require trackmen to fix." But no one paused to think up an answer, for once again they were all running up the track. On reaching the depot they met a man coming down the platform bearing a red lantern. "s een a party of three, .running up the track lately, Con olly?" asked the constable, pausing for a second to make the inquiry. "Nary a one What's up? asked the other. "Hain't got time to explain; saw them comin' this way, though, not three minutes since. What's up down the track that you had to send down a hand-car just now?" "Hain't sent no hand-car," was the reply of th e baggage master and night watchman whose name was Conolly. "Why, I seen a hand-car go by the Jamaica Bay road only a minute since; come cussed near gettin' run over by it, too," explained the constable. "Blame th em pesky boys," said the baggage-master. "They are always meddlin' with them hand-cars. Some of 'em 'II get run over and killed to death one of these days. There's no use tryin' to watch em. And the men are as carel'ess, too for, notwithstandin that I tell them to lock up the cars, they. never do it. grooms who chanced to be passing 1 The man was a green hand and not being posted, "What' s up constable? demanded Janton, from up track. r .11lied "Anything the matter?" "No, replied the other. "Com e back if you hain't seen at once : I "Yes, he just went und e r the edge of the tent. " I thought so ," the dete c tive,-and "i n an instant he was following suit, followed by his companions "You fool!" shouted Brock darting toward the astonished groom and dealing him a blow alongs i de the head that c aused a thousand stars to dance b efore his e yes, "you're a blamed pretty f a ker, y ou are, to gi v e a pal away that fash ion. Get out, y ou snooze r and if t his night' s work don't cost you a sit, w h y my nam e a in t Hank Brock from Maine, and I ain t a ringt ail-roar e r a nd n e v e r was-I'll report yer to morrow sure as yer born. 11 The b e wilder e d man sp r ang a si de to escape the second l'.llow, and manage d to h eat a retreat, w hile the enraged watchman returned to his post at the door and reprimed his c apa c ious mouth with about a thumb's length of pigtail to bacco. Meanwhile on reaching the outside of the t ent, the de tecti v e stood f or a moment, gazing has tily around as if unde cided whi c h direction to take i n pursuit of the fugitives and then as if to aid him in his search the moon burst momentarily out through a rift of dark threatening clouds, and dis played a party of three, turning up the railroad track toward the d e pot. "That' s them! he s houted eagerly, pointing toward the dis appearing men. Come along, and the next instant himself and followers were running in the same direction as fast as they could l e g it. But ere they reached the trac k the moon disappea,red again, and J ll was buried in gloom. It had be en clouding up during the night, and heav y drifts of clouds obscured 'the .. anything of the game-Where's Harris, Conolly?" The lat ter to the baggage-master. "In the office, I guess." The constable leaped upon the platform at the reply, and began hammering on the depot door. "What's the matter?" demanded Janton, who had by this time returned, followed by Starbuck. Nothing, that our game has slipped _our grip," Teplied th e constable "and I'm going to try and head them off at East New York "How so? asked the puzzled detective. "By telegraph. The circus shows there tomorrow," replied the constable, still hammering away on the door. "Westlake's got the deadwood on us?" "How?" "Gone on to East New York on that hand-car, that's all!" CHAPTER XIII. GETTING A SHOOK. Janton brought his hand down on his hip witli a savage slap as he uttered a surprised whistl'e. "Is that so?" he asked. "Yes and no mistake about it," answered the constable. "But here comes Harris, and if the operator at East New York's in, we'll have Billy Button yet, notwithstanding all his sharpness."


BILLY BUTTON. 13 "Who's there?" asked a voice from the inside of the depot, as they ceased speaking. "Only me, Harris, replied the constable. "Open the door. I want to send a message to East New York." "All right." The sound of drawing of bolts and turning of a key fol lowed, and then the door was opened by the ticket agent, who also acted as telegraph operator at that time. "Anything up ," he asked as he re-locked the door, and went into the office to make the call. "Hain't time to answer," replied the constable, as he lis tened anxiously to the ticking of the telegraphic instrument that Harris was manipulating. Presently it stopped and a brief interval of silence ensued antl then there came a ticking sound in reply. "It's all right, said Harris, "he's in. What do you want to &e"\d ? TH.e constable held a hurried conversation with Janton, antl then he turned to Harris again. "Send word to Justice HJl,milton," said the constable, "to arrest, and hold till my arrival, three parties who have stolen a hand-car from this station and started for East New York Will come immediately." "Three what? asked the astonished operator. "Never mind. Do as I say. "What names?" demanded Harris. "One is named William Westlake; he s the one we want. I don' t know the names of the other parties." "You must be more explicit," replied Harris, "otherwise no attention will be paid to the message. Hamilton knows his biz. "Tell him that Westlak e belongs to Sands & Nathans' C i r cus, which opens at East New York to-morrow afternoon. He is known as Billy Button, th e Boy Clown and Bareback Rider; we have a warrant for his arrest on a charge of stealing a pair of diamond ear-rings from Mrs Sarah Hanlon, of No. -"Write it out," said Harris, who seemed completely in a fog. "I can't make head nor tail of it." Janton uttered a smothered curse and seizing a paper and pencil, wrote the message. "That's it, said he, handing it to Harris. "Now send it as quick as the devil will let you; we've lost altogeth'er too much time already. Harris fell to work with a will; but he had scarcely half completed the message when the instrument failed to work. "The circuit is cut off, I fear," he said, turning to the offi cers. "I can do no more." "Try it again," said. the detective, earnestly. "I don't believe it will be of any use said Harris. "There is a heavy thunder storm raging below ; I can tell it by the working of the ires, and it is extremely dangerous to work under such circumstances. I believe East New York has shut off the circuit. "Try it again, said Starbuck Hanlon Harris placed his hand upon th'e instrument. But scarce had he done so when he uttered a howl of pain, and reeled across the office as if he had been shot. "My God!" he cried. "It is a wonder that I was not killed. I never experienced such a shock in all my life! And he wrung his hands with anguish as he spoke / "I feel as if I had been stricken by a thunderbolt! "Try it again! ejaculated Janton and Hanlon in a breath. "I'll see you hanged first! shouted Harris. I'm half killed already, and if you want to telegraph do it yourB'elf. Starbuck and his companions raged and fumed, swore and entreated, but Harris positively refused to make another attempt and for a brief interval the conspir.ators stood stupid Jy facing each other, earrrestly considering the next best move to take. "I'd give a hundred dollars to catch that young scamp!" shouted Hanlon, passionately, and I've got the money to do it! He produced a plethoric pocketbook as he spoke. Conolly s eyes glistened greedily at the sight. "Tip us a fiver and it's done he said. "How? demanded Hanlon, eyeing him suspiciously. "There's an engine fired up that's to go down at twelve," replied the baggage-master, "and' I cal c ulate if you were to give the engineer half of what you named he'd be off in a jiffy. It' s the Moses Maynard, and she s r i d 'tween Jamaica and Bedford time and again in nine minutes without a stop, and eight cars behind h e r." Done!' ejaculate

14 BILLY BUTTON. "What?" asked Dave but half comprehending the remark. f lurid fire darted from striking the next pole to that "If they should telegraph," shouted our hero-, lugubriously, from which the -wire had been severed, splintering it thor-"we might be snapped up before we reach East New York." \ oughly in two, and carrying it to the earth with a detonating "That's so by gum! ejaculated Dave, letting go his hold of crash. the handle of the crank. I It was this stroke that caused Harris to exclaim that he The sudd e n mov e m ent brought Billy over with a turn, and had been stricken by a thunderbolt. he too, was forced to releas e his hold. The handle struck Dave in the breast as it spun around, and knocked him into the corner of the car, gasping for breath, "l'

BILLY BUTTON. quandary, he could not help laughing at his comrade's dismay. "Yes, sir-ee," replied Dave, with a sigh; "rrear took all the "Bad news travels fast, and ies time enough to grunt when breath out of me; but come along. Ain't got no time to lose in it fully reaches us. I suppose we'll have to skip the gutter." case they're us up; 1got to move lively.'' "What?" He turned toward the side of the embankment as he spoke. "Dr. op the machine, abandon the hand-car, and do the best to "Halloo! what's up now?" asked Billy looking anxiously up reach East New York without being snapped up. If the track toward Cypress Hills station, as the shrill whistle I can only get on the back of Selim once, I'll defy all tlie cops of the locomotive rang out clearly and distinc tly on the air.-in New York or Brooklyn to lay hands on me. Dave turned and looked in the same direction "ls that so?" inquired Dave, brightening up somewhat, but "I'm sure I can't tell," he replied, and as he spoke an an the rrext instant his voice fell again. "But maybe they'll be swering whistle came sounding toward them in return. looking for you at the hotel in East New York, too? '1By gumps! ejaculated Dave "there's a train comin' down, "That's so," replied Billy, thoughtfully. "I never thought of too. I can see the headlight, and from the way the bulgines that." talked just now they were pretty near a collision." Dave uttered a cry of delight. "I've got it," he said, waving his cap in the air. "Stop the car and let's get out. I know a place where you can hide safe as a bug in a rug, until to-morrow night; meanwhile you can give me a letter to some of your friends in the circus, and I can take it to them-no one will suspect me, and if they snap me up th'ey'll have to let me go again. Meanwhile your frlends'll know where you are and look out that you get away till the present tr. ouble blows over." "That's bully," replied our hero, putting on "the brakes of the hand-car, "you're a perfect trump, Dave; and in case you are snapped, I'll see that you get off scot free, and don't you forget it, either.'' "That's a go," said Dave, wringing Billy's hand as the car came to a standstill, now come; let's dust lively. The en gine is nearly on us. We must get before we are seen.'' Sure enough the headlight of the approaching locomotive was beginning to dance along the rails, and illuminate the hand-car with its rays, and the rumble of the wheels were plainly discernible ''But what are we going to do about the hand-car? demand ed Billy, anxiously. "Let it alone; it'll take care of itself, won't it?" asl<.ed Dave. "What do we care?" "We ought to get it off the track," said Billy "it might destroy life." "That's so," replied Dave ; "but I don't see how we can do it. It took three of us nip and tuck to put it on, and it's twice as heavy now from the rain." "I can't help it, I'm going to try," said Billy, determinedly, as he started for the fence and detached a rail. The spot where the hand-car had rested was directly over the site of the present culvert of the Brooklyn water-works which runs b,eneath the Cypress Hills and th e high embankment rendered it an extremely dangerous place for a railroad collision. This our hero had recognized at glance and explained as hastily to his comrade who now se emed equally anxious to prevent the impending catastrophe. In a .moment the two boys had placed the stout oaken rail beneath the hand-car, and exerting their utmost strength, succeed ed in tossing it off the track, whence it went bounding over the embankment to the field beneath. It was a brave and manly act, in which they both risked their lives, for scarcely had they completed the task and leap ed aside before a locomotive to which a passenger car was attached came sweeping by like the wind CHAPTER )\VI. "Blazes!" retorted Billy; "you don't say?" "Yes, I do," replied Dave; "but come along. It won't do to stand here; things are getting hot. And he seized Billy by the hand as he made the remark, and hurried him briskly down the embankment. They passed sideways the slippery sand, which gave way and crumbled beneath their feet as they made their way to the field below; and on reaching the foot of the bank he \urned sharply to the right and ran toward East New York. But he had "not passed far before he paused in front of a pile of railroad ties, which had accidently been tossed over the side of the embankment and ranged in tiers at the foot. By t)lis time the force of the storm had passed over, and the rain was subsiding. "Promise me you won't give away what you are about to see," said Dave Wright, pausing and turning inquiringly to ward our hero. "I protnise," repli'ed Billy, decidedly "Honor bright?" "You may trust me," answered Billy, proudly. "I'm n<> slouch, and the word of a circus man is as good as his bond." "Shake." Dave uttered the word, and as he felt the solid grip of Billy Button upon his outstretched hand, he had not the slightest doubt that he would keep 1\is word. "That's enough," he resumed. "I hadn't the slightest doubt of you in the first place, but I wanted your word, for the o d chap that I'm going to introduce to you is one of the que er est old codgers in existence, and if things wasn't as desperate as they are, I shouldn t take you to his den by no manner oi means." And without further parley Dave led the way behind the plle of railroad ties. "Hist!" h e said anxiously, as he stopped and looked cau tiously around. Did you hear anything?" "No," said Billy, in turn following his lead "I heard noth ing-only It's getting amazing chilly, I imagine." Maybe he was somewhat nervous, possibly it was only the preliminary symptoms of an approaching cold that caused him to shiver as he spoke but he did so nevertheless, and that pretty decisively I guess you're right," said Dave I guess it was my im agination-I'm a little shook up myself ." stooped down and knocking sharply on one of the logs, uttered a low whistle. He waited a few moments but as there came no reply he repeated the operation. Another pause ensued, and then Dave arose with an ex clamation of disappointm ent. A STRANGE ADVENTURE. "I'm afraid the old man ain't here after all ," he said. "It's "That was a mighty close shave, Dave," said Billy as he too bad." saw the train sweeping away like a whirlwind in the dis "What's too bad, and what do you want around here this tance time of night?"


16 BILI.1Y BUTTON. The interruption and question came so suddenly that it quitEl ed out his hand for that purpose, there came a sudden shock took the boys by surprise. as if the engine had struck some heavy object which caused it But Dave quickly recovered hims elf, a .nd turned to bound and jump, tossing the fireman against Janton and the the newcomer. constable, carrying all three to the floor where they lay in "Blamed if I didn't think you was out, Jethro, but Vm a dazed lump, while Starbuck barely avoided a fall by stoutly mighty glad you're back, because I want to ask a great favor." clutching hold of the other side of the cab. "Oh, it's you, is it, Dave?" asked the other. "And you "Hit something heavy that time," said the engineer, as he ain't alone either, unl'ess my eyes deceive me in the darkleaned of the cab window and looked back; and, at the ness." same moment, there came a brilliant fl.ash of lightning, accom "You're right," answered Dave. "Come this way and I'll tell panied by a simultaneous peal of thunder. you all." "One of the telegraph poles struck by lightning," he conHe drew his companion aside and for a brief interval both tinued. "Must have fallen cross track. Wonder we weren't <:0uversed in low tones, and then Daves friend said, aloud: knocked edgeways." "Well, if you say it's all right, I'll take your word for it, "That accounts for the electric shock that knocked Harris but mind you, I hold you personally responsible that he keeps out of time," said Jan ton, as he arose to his feet. a still tongue in his "That's so," said the constable, as he and the fireman fol-.. I'd stake my life on it," replied Dave, heartily. lowed Janton's example. "But it's mighty queer we ain't &'i!en Come this way, then," replied tlre other. anything of that hand-car yet. He stooped down as he spoke,' pulling aside a couple of the "Never you mind," put in the engineer, reassuringly. "We'll railroad ties which appeared firmly secured at the lower overhaul her presently, see if we don't . Halloo! what train's portion of the pile. his coming this way?" But they gave way readily at his touch, and revealed a tloorThe exclamation was caused by the approaching headlight ing of boards, which the rain had rendered extremely damp. of the locomotive that had so nearly run down the hand-But by another move he managed to lift up a trap-door and car. motioned for Dave to descend. All hands crowded to the front windows of the cab and lookDave seized Billy's hand and drew him carefully after him. ed eagerly out, and sure enough, there was the locomotive "Look out you don't fall," he said, steadying him in the coming toward them as she whistled down brakes and com descent. "It ain't very fur down, but you might come down menced to shorten speed. too soon, notwithstandin'." The Maynard responded, and presently b 'oth locomotives came Billy realized that they were descending a rough pair of to a stand within but a few yards of each other. extemporized steps leading into the bowels of the earth, and "What engine's that?" demanded a voice from the front as they did so he could hear their strange companion closing platform of the up train, as it came to a halt. the trap behind them. "The Maynard, responded the engineer. Billy thought it was one of the most strange and mysteri"Thought you wasn't to come down till midnight? Tried ous adventures of }lis life, and had he not felt assured that to telegraph at East New York, but the circuit was shut off." he was wide awake, he would have been sure that he was "Who are you?" dreaming. "President of the road." Finally they reached the foot of the stairs, and then Billy "Blazes!" ejaculated the engineer of the Maynard, who heard the snapping of a match, and the next instant the rays began to fear that his fee would through his fingers. of a bull's-eye lantern were illuminating the apartment. "Lay low, boys," he said to tlre detective and his comrades: "and maybe we can pull through." CHAPTER XVII. "All right," replied Janton. "Get us safe through, and RATHER PUT BACK. With a shrill whistle the "Moses Maynard" swept out of the Jamaica depot, and as she swept onward, increased her speed until she was spinning over the rails at the rate of sixty miles an hour. your money's au secure." "Yes; but I niay lose my position for running before time That's Mr. Morris, president of the road, and you see we've only one track in flt running order now." "That's all right," replied Janton. "You needn : t give neither us nor yourself away-just ask the engineer of the other train A satisfied smile lit the faces of Jan ton and his companions, if he's seen anything of a hand-car below here." as the fireman opened the blazing furnac e to apply more fuel. "I will," replied the engineer, leaping from the cab and "That'll bounce 'er," said the stoker with a grin, as he disapp-eari:dg in the darkness of the other train. closed the door. "Now we're off, and don't you forget it." Presently he returned and stated that the engineer of the "It's just jolly," said Starbuck Hanlon, "and if we overhaul up train had seen nothing of the hand-car nor its inm'ates, and our game I'll stand a basket of wine, or anything else at that before they could go further they must go back to th'e your pleasure. Let her out! switch at Union Course and lay off until the other trains "She's doing her level best," replied the engineer, "and I passed. darn't test her more." "That's bad!" ejaculated Hanlon, with an oath. Away sped the iron monster, scattering fiery hail behind "I know it," replied the engineer. "But I can't help it. I've her amid the falling rain, while the fireman sat on the box made things right with the old man about starting befo,re looking anxiously ahead in the black darkness, in search of I time, but I can't do no more until he's under way again." any. of danger that might itself. I And seizing the lever, he reversed the engine, which began Five mmutes passed, and the machme was jumpmg and backing toward Union Course ; where it ran out on th e turnl'eaping along the track in a manner that caused every person track until the uptrain passed. in the cab to hold tightly on to preven,t a sudden tumble. "She's doing lrer prettiest," said the fireman, as his eyes danced with elation. "There's Union Course just ahead, and CHAPTER XVIII. we'll make every picket in the old fence rattle as we spin by. 1 THE HER:M'IT OF CYPRESS HILLS. Gosh blame it, how it rains. I'm clean wet to the skin." I It was a strange ground-mole of an apartment in whch He arose to close the window as he spoke, but as he stretch_ Billy Button found himself standing, as the rays of the bulls'-


BILLY BUTTON. lfi eye fell fully upon it, and displayed its contents distinctly mit's den, Dave, both you and your companion. Let's see what to his gaze. did you say his name was? As his eyes became accustomed to the sudden transition from light to darkness he saw that the room was composed of railroad ties upended, with transverse beams, stoutly braced, and ingeniously constructed to prevent the caving in of the earth overhead. It was scarcely six feet high, and barely per mitted the tall figure of its strange occupant to stand in a stooping posture. There was a small mud fireplace arranged in one corn er, in which stood a few cooking utensils, a rude couch, covered with several warm gray blankets; a wooden table and several nail kegs, used as stools, served as the scanty furniture, and the floor was strewn with cedar boughs, which served somewhat to protect the feet from the cold of the clayey floor. But the most singular object in the room was the owner himself. He was a man of apparently fifty years, might have oeen more; in fact, it would be impossible to determine his exact age, for the heavy, unkempt hair and grizzly beard nearly covered and concealed his wrinkled and grimy features. His eyes, which were a dark hazel and deeply set beneath a shaggy pair of eyebrows, bore a wild, scintillating expression that spoke of a mind ill at ease, if not positively bordering on insanity. He was dressed in a wellworn suit of linseywoolsey stuff which was patched and darned until it presented somewhat the appearance of a dessicated map of the world after it has been fully placed together. -His garments were dripping wet; and as he tossed his Kossuth hat upon th e table, our hero saw that his brow was high and broad, while the nose was aquiline, and the nostrils full and clearly defined. But Billy had scarcely time to notice more, for as the strange man's eyes fell upon our hero's face, they lit su. ddenly up with a wild maniacal glare, and he started backward, with his left hand pressed closely over his heart, grasping the table with his right to prevent himself from falling to the floor. powers!" he groaned, as he trembled visibly, and cold drops of perspiration sprang out on his forehead, and his eyes moved uneasily to and fro with a frightened ex pression. "That face-that face! must it forever haunt me like a hideous nightmare-sleeping or waking it is always before me, sometimes as vivid and distinct as the noonday sun, at others like a dreamy vision. Ah, at those moments she must have forgotten, amid the glories of the bright future, the heinolis wrong I did her. God forgive me! God forgive! How bitterly have I suffered for it! Will it, can it ever be atoned?" And with a deep, shivering sigh th'e miserable man sank down upon his knees by his wretched bed, and buried his face amid the blankets in his trembling hands. The two boys regarded him with looks of amazed com miseration. "I wonder what alls him?'" whispered Billy. "Is he queer?" He tapped his forehead significantly as he asked the question, and Dave replied by a nod of acknowledgment. "A little off now and then," he whispered. "But I never see him so before He's subj'ect to these sort of fits every once in a while but he gets over 'em again. Folks says they're 'liptic"-(probably Dave meant epileptic)-"and when he comes to he's stupid for a while. He's comin' round now. Watch him, but don't say nuthin'." Sure enough, the occupant of the cave was recovering, for he arose to his feet and passed his hands wearily across his forehead as if ehdeavoring to collect his thoughts. "Oh, I remember," he said finally, as a sad smile played around his eyes and mouth. "You',re quite welcome to the her. "Billy Button Jethro. Billy, this is Mr. Jethro Baxter." "Yes the folks call me the Hermit of Cypress Hills, now and then," said Baxter smiling again. You are quite welcome, Mr, Button." "That ain't my handle, Mr. Baxter repli'ed Billy, with equal humor, "no more than yours is the Hermit. My name is William Westlake, although they call me Billy Button on the bills." "William Westlake!" ejaculated Baxter as the strange look came into his eyes once more. "That was her name too. Where do you hail from, boy?" As he asked the question Baxter seized our hero's hand so closely as to cause him to wince with pain. "Say, play it light, Mr. Baxter," said Billy, endeavoring to withdraw his hand from the grasp of his entertainer. "My hand ain't quartz, and I don't want it pulverized if it isyou're a little too stiff on the shake." "Yes-yes," replied the man. "Pray pardon me. I did not mean to hurt you, but simply desired to ask who you were and where you were born." "Now you've got me," replied Billy. "I could not answer those questions definitely if I was under oath. "But your mother's, father's name? demanded the hermit, eagerly. "I never h eard my father's name?" replied Billy "I guess mother didn't take much stock in him, no more than he did in me, for I never saw him, nor did I ever hear mother mention his name that I can remember Her name was Mary Westlake, and that is all that I know about it. "Ah-ah! gasped the hermit, rubbing his hands elatedly. "Light dawns-it is not so dark as I thought-there may be hope for me yet. Does your mother still live, boy?" "No; she died some nine years ago." The old man grasped his breast again and came near hav ing another spasm, but by a strong effort he overcame his emotion and proceeded to question our hero further. "Your comrade has informed me that you are in trouble," he said "and at his request I promised to harbor you here a day or so. Would it be too much to ask that you repose confidence in me, and tell m e the nature of your trouble? Perchance I can be of more assistance to you than you imagine." Billy paused awnoment and then resolved to humor the old man, so he toTd him his story as briefly as possible. A strange look hovered over the hermit' s features while he was doing so, and when Billy had finished he remained seated 'for some time as if in deep thought. "Thank you," he said, at length. You have rendered me !lli'eat service; far greater than you can imagine my son ; and in turn I will see to it that you escape your pursuers and manage to reach New York It will not be safe under the circumstances for you to go to East New York to-night. It is more than probable that this detective and his party were pursuing you on the down train, which must now put back to Union Course in -0rder to let the other one pass. If you go to East New York you will undoubtedly be arrested therefore it will b'e better for Dave to wait here until tomorrow, and quietly inform your circus friends where you have gone, and meantime you must accompany me to the city." "That's what I intended doing, had I remained re plied Billy. "Or if I could have reach ed East New York in advance I could have easily evaded this sleuth-hound and no thanks to him, either." "It is too late," replied the hermit. "There goes the train now," and as he spoke the rattling sound of the passing engine was heard, and the rude hul: trembled from the concussion ..


BILLY l A few moments passed, and then Baxter bade our hero follow, and shaking hands with Dave, Billy went out into the d1rluie111 with his mysterious guide. CHAPTER XIX. THE CITY OF THE DEAD. A few paces below the hut of Jethro Baxter there was a cut. through the railroad embankment to afford egress for the farmers, and through this cut Jethro led Billy, and made in the direction of the Jamaica plank road "You ain't afraid of ghosts are you Westlake?" asked the hermit, with a grim chuckle. 'Don't know replied Billy Never saw on e, so I can't BUTTON. I CHAPTER XX. IN THE GRAVEYARD. As the momentary flash of livid light passed away, leaving Billy Button in total gloom again, it seemed to him as if he could still see the yawning grave depicted at his feet, illuminated by a weird blaze of sulphurous flame. What terrible disaster pad befallen his mysterious guide? Was it a dream, after all that held him enthralled amid its terrible fascination, or had the days of enchantment and diablerie returned to earth again as of yore, and was Jethro Baxter a ghoul or vampire who had enticed him alone at this dreary hour of midnight to the abode of death to feed upon his vitals or suck his blood to renew a hideous lease of life? say." It is scarcely to be wondered at that some such appalling and "I' hope you never will, lad,'' said the hermit. blood-curdling thoughts through the startled boy's I know a man in New York who says that he will give mind as he stood there dreading to move amid the drear darktwenty dollars for a genuine bottled-up ghost and he hasn't ness that seemed to chill and freeze his bones to the very had an applicant for the money, and yet there are persons-marrow. Circus people, and theatricals, too for that mat. many of them, I .fear-who have haunted hearts. ter, are as a class extremely superstitious, and although Billy Jethro uttered a sad sigh as he passed moodily on. had firmly and stoutly assured Jethro on their way to the "Why did you ask that question?" demanded Billy, who cemetery that he had no f ear of ghosts, it may be correctly pitied the lonely man from the bottom of his heart. I asserted that just at this instant he was about as well scared "Oh, nothing-nothing, said the other, only that I was as anyone-even had they been much older than himself, about leading you through Evergreen Cemetery; it is a dreary could have been under the circumstances. He lfad heard, durspot at night, and many would not dare venture to cross it." ing his sojourn amid the Knights of the Spangles, many a "If you have no fear repli'ed Billy, courageously "I'm sure hair-breadth and blood-curdling story, and the greater portion that I have not, so set your mind at rest." of his reading had b'een devoted to the Dick Turpin, Claude "You are a lad of pluck, sa id Jethro. Duval, and Tower of London style of literature; consequently "I think that I need it, after all that I have passed through, for the once Billy found his knees growing weak, and trem s .aid B11ly, proudly. We are accustomed to banish fear in bling violently beneath him. the circus. A lad who funks has no place in the ring." "This is terrible," said. Billy to himself. I wish I was well "That's true; and he ain't considered worth much in the out of it. I'm beginning to funk. about the stomach. I wonworld, either." der what's going to turn up next?" "Don't amount to shucks said Billy. A low, hollow groan followed, as if in answer to the half-For a time neither spoke as they tramped swiftly onward. formed question, and Billy felt the cold chills running up and They crossed the road, and passing up the hill to the northdown his back, as hair began to bristle in the most startwest, entered the cemetery through a broken space in the ling manner. palings. He looked anxiously about liim to discover where the sound The storm was over, and the lonely abode of the dead was came and as he did so he darted backward with a startled rendered more lonely still by the d ense gloom that surrounded cry. them like a funeral pall save when a momentary flash of "Merciful Powers! what'.s that?" he dem.jinded, as his eyes lightning revealed the ghost-like trees an

BILLY BUTTON. 19 Again the low wailing groan came ftoating to his ears, and "Why?" asked Billy at the same instant the pale blue c ircle c ommenced flitting "Make a hundred or t wo like e nough in the latter case uneasily f rom side to side, lowering and lowering itself until -former don t amount to over tw enty-five dollars if they it rested just a t the b 'ead of the yawning grave at his foot. make that." By this time all of Billy's courage had sunk to the toes "I'd like to see em do i t ," s aid Billy wi s tfully of bis boots and held him firmly anchored to the spot; other" Get the money?" snapped Baxter. wise he would undoubtedly have run away as fast as his legs "No-the dirt'r brutes See 'e m dig up the body. Wonder could have carried him. how they do it without disturbing the grave? In fact he made a desperate effort to do so but his limbs Come along and you shall see," r e pli e d the old man. "I' ve thoroughly refused to obey his impulse and as he stood there had my eyes on these ghouls for some time, and I ma:iwobe able gazing despairingly at the unearthly-looking light, he saw a to show em up yet. But the time hasn' t come-it hasn't ghastly-looking head, with unkempt hair, and beard dripcome yet. ping with muddy water, slowly emerging from the grave The And with the same strange expression in his eyes that our eyes were wild and bloodshot and a .strange, unearthly glare hero had noticed at hi s introduction but which of course, he in theiP expression while the livid pallor of the deathly face could not at present see owing to the intense darkness, Jethro was render'ed doubly more hideous by a deep cut across the led Billy away over the dripping graves foreh ead, from which the blood was trickling in a sluggish "Be very careful," said the old ma,n, in a low warning stream. whlsp l\r. "Follow me closely and avoid making the slightest It was too much for Billy s endurance. noise. These fellows have eyes like owls and the ears of a He uttered a hideous yell and falling on his knees buried rat, and they'd just as lieve kill a man as they would take a bis face in his bands to shut out the horrible apparition. drink of whisky." "Where am I?" came the low utteranc e of a voic e The two passed cautiously on. I remember now ; I must have had another turn-I'll die in Occasionally the strange, pale-blue light played around their on e of these fits yet; I know too well I will. path in an undulating way, and every'time It did s o the old Billy recognized the voice in an instant. man dodged suddenly down behind a tombstone or hid in the It was that of Jethro Baxter. favorable shadows of on e of the umbrageous trees. "Oh, is it you? he demanded leaping to his feet now thor-Bllly followed him c losely taking Ure same precautions, until oughly ashamed of his fears although he had not yet recov-they finally approlj-ched a more pretentious portion of the ered from his trepidation. cemetery where the tombs reared up in pretentious dimen "Yes I am s ubje ct tq falling fits a s they term them-epil epsy-and I must have fallen into a grave. Give me a hand to get ou t I ain' t thoroughly recovered yet." Billy gav e him a hand and assisted him from the grave. ' Did it hurt you much?" he asked, anxiously. "What-the fall? " Yes; your bead is cut." The old man passed his hand dr'eamily across his forehead and wiped away blood with bis sleeve. "It' s only a scratch," he said. "I'm used to it. I ve had many a rough tumble in my time. As he spoke a flash of light fluttered across his face. "What was .that?" he demanded looking suddenly around. "That' s just what I wanted to know," answered Billy anx ious]y. "I saw It just after you took the tumble, and I thought it was a grave light." Nonsense ; those are. simply gaseous exhalations from the decaying bodies. This is more practical, and pertaining to the living. "What do you mean?" asked Billy not oomprehending Bax ter's meaning. I mean that it is the' lantern of body-snatchers!" replied Baxter, bitt\lrly. CHAPTER XXI. THE BODY-SNATCHERS. "A body-snatcher?" ejaculated Billy, in dismay. "They're pretty rough customers them chaps, ain't they? "Yes as rough aa they make em replied Baxter. "Most lawless men are, and these harpies are the most reckless of the lot. "Digging someone up n 'ow, eh? demanded Billy "Shouldn't wonder." .. s en him to the doctors afterwards?" "Possibly-and again it may be an especial order, replied 11arter. "It's a big haul if it is." sions the plots wer'e fenced in w ith stately palings, and the sweet fragrance of flowers perfume d the air. Close to this spot the old man paused. "You must be extreiJely careful now," he said pointing with his finger. "The wretches are working yonder and a splendid night they have of it for the job You can see them moving around now. Looking in the indicated direction Billy saw that he spoke the truth, for four men were has tily passing in and out within one of the burial plots Th ey were dressed in dark rubber -suits. Two carried Jong-handled sharp-pointed spades an-other a pickax and a lon't rubber bag, while another, who apparently was bossing the job carried the blue-glass dark lantern, which had been the cause of such a terrible fright to Billy Button. "Come this way," said Baxter, taking Billy by the arm, and drawing him behind an adjoining tomb around which he passed until they had gained a se cure po sition from they could see to better advantage. "This is the one said the leader of the resurrectionists,I. bending down and directing the rays of his bull s-eye lantern at the head of a n ew-made mound; commence here. The grave was neatly sodded but as yet no stone had been set up. One of the men bearing a spade, moved back one pace from the indicated spot and comm enced carefully removing the sods from the solid sward of the plot pl Acing them upon a large piece of rubber cloth that had been spread for that purpose upon the grass-plot When the sods bad been removed within a spac e of about two feet wide the two diggers fell a ctively to work and toss ed up the gravelly soil upon anothe r pi e ce of rubber cloth placed on the other side to rec eive the earth. Down-down, they dug, in a slanting direction until they had reached a d epth of nearly s i x feet wh e n the spade of one struck against an object that emitted a hollow sound. "That is the head of the coffin," whisper e d Baxter, in a voice that caused Billy's heart to l e ap with terror. Watch closely. ..


20 BILLY Billy did so, with his eyes fairly bulging from his head. Then th e man bearing the pick-ax, who hitherto had had no reason to exert himself, passed down some implements that our hero could not comprehend the use of, and a hollow, rip ping sound ensued. They are ripping out the of the coffin," whispered Jethro, earnestly. Watch!" Presently one of the men emerged froni the opening pf the pit. He a long, slim rope, and tossed it down to his com rade. The two watch ers heard a rending, scraping sound within the pit, followed by a heavy thud, and then the other man leaped from the opening, gasping for breath. A fetid, sickening stench floated from the pit, and a palQo blue glare arose from the mouth of it as the three men seized the rope, and commenced pulling stoutly upon it. And as they pulled lustily away, a limp, shrouded form was drawn to the top, and speedily consigned to the rubber bag. "That's the way they do it, whispered Baxter to Billy. "Now watch how easily they cover their tracks." Meanwhile, the rubber bag had been carefully secured at the opening, and laid to one side, men fell to work to fill in the opening at the head of the grave. This was speedily accomplished, the earth being thrown back from t)le rubber cloth on the right of the pit. Then they commenced to readjust the sods, which required more cate. This took some time, and they had nearly completed the task when in arranging the last sods, one of the laborers struck something with his spade. I wonder what that is," said the man, turning up the earth w ith his shovel. "It sounds li!e metal." He tossed over the earth as he spoke, and stooping down : held something up in his hands. The leader approached and turned the rays Of his lantern fully upon it. The laborer held it up to the light. It was an iron cheS't. As the rays of the lantern illuminated the chest our hero uttered a gasp of surprise, and stallied forward as if to inter rupt the d e secraters of the grave. What do you mean?" demanded Baxter, pulling him hastily backward. Would you spoil all, and have our throats cut?" "I tell you that is my mother' s iron chest," shouted Billy, endeavoring to get away from th e retaining hand But before the words had fully passed his Ups Jethro placed his il.a:niis over his mouth, and forced him back upon the grass. Be careful!" hissed the old man in his ear "They are des perate men, and will not be stayed in their purpose. If it is as you say we ll watch them to the bitter end I know every man in the party, and can lay my hand upon them whenever I like. But this is no time proceed to extremes; keep quiet -trust me-I know what I am doing, and all will be well in the end." CHAPTER XXII. FOUND AMID THE TOMBS. As Jethro Baxter finished speaking, the four resurrection ists had finished examining the iron chest. "It ain t s o heavy after all ," said the finder. "Neither Is the stiff and I guess we can get along with both together. What d y e say, pard ?" The que s tion was addressed to the leader of th'e gang. B ette r l ea ve i t h er e till the next time we come, responded the latter. "It's getting late, and we aln' t got any time to lose." "I'm cursed if I do," responded the finder with an oath. "I'd rather walk to York and carry it than run the risk of losin' it." "Well let's get the stiff to the wagon," said the lead er, per suasively. "And you can return and get it; put it where you found it, and restore sod; there's no danger of anyone com ing after it such a blasted night as to-night." "That's so," replied the finder, restoring the .chest to its hiding-place, with, a peculiar smile pervading his evil fea tures. "But if you lose anything, pll.rd, don't blame me." "Certainly ; hurry up!" replied the leader. "Come, lively." The two workmen replaced the sods carefully and trampled !them down, and then the man with the lantern exami5,ed the ground in every point. "That job's well done," he said, as he' arOS'e from the sur Tey and replaced the slide. "Now come along." Two of the resurrectionists lifted up the sack containing the body and moved away whil'e the leader rolled up the rubber cloths and followed with the other, carrying the pickax and shovels. As soon as they were gone, Baxter seized our hero's hand earnestly. "We must have that chest!" he said. "Certainly," replied Billy, returning the grasp. "And now is our time Baxter nodded, and the next moment they were crawling amid the darkness toward the top of the grave. "This is the spot," said Baxter, feeling carefully around. "My eyes are keen as a ferret's!" He removed the sod as he spoke, and digging downward with his hands held up the iron chest. "Have you ,got it?" asked Billy eagerly. "Yes," responded Baxter, he laid down the chest and replaced the sod; "and nobody would imagine that it had been removed. Thank Heaven, it is all right at last! He seized the chest and arose to move away. "Hold up!" said Billy, retaining him by the arm. "Whose grave is this?" "It is bodiless," replied Baxter, wildly. "Did you not see them remove it?" "Yes; but I want to know whose it was?" demanded Billy, sternly. "Whose was it before they took the body? "You ask too much," shouted Baxter, clutching the chest d es perately. "There is no stone, boy, and we have waited altogether too long as it is." "I will know!" replied Billy, with equal determination. "Come, I say whispered Baxter, hoarsely. "They will be back presently and we shall lose all." "No!" replied Billy, stooping down near a monument that reared aloft in the center of tlie plot. "I'll know more before I move a step." He lit a match as he spoke. The pale blue light brightened into a flare, and holding it toward the shining shaft, he read the name of: "JAMES RATHBONE." And the light went out. He heard the sound of approaching footsteps. He felt his hand stoutly seized by that of his companion, and again he was beng hurried away OTer the slimy, slippery graves. CHAPTER XXIII. MADEMOISELLE WILHELMINA DE BOUTO'.NNU. It was nearly one o'clock on the afternoon subsequent to the events detailed in the last chapter that an extremely ragged


BILLY BUTTON. 21 looking specimen of humanity approached a tall, lithe-looking man who was standing on the stoop of Henry Lubb's Hotel, in East New York Said tall man was calmly smoking, as the aforesaid put in his appearance. "Say, mister, said th'e boy, for he appeared no more I want to see yer." Well, see me," said the other, withdrawing bis cigar, with a quizzical smile. "It won't cost you nothing. What can I do for you? "I want to see yer in private," r.eplied the other, sheep ishly, but looking cautiously around as h'e made the remark. "I was told ter do so, and I'd come before, but I couldn't help it." "Come this way, my lad," said the man, strolling leisurely toward the shed at the end of the building, and on reaching it he said again: "What can I do for you?" "Billy Button sent me to you," replied the boy, removing a green patch from one eye, beneath his ragged hat, and re placing it instantaneously. "Don't you know me?" "I should say so," laughed Sam Lathrop, for the tall man was none other than the festive clown. "But the devil him self wouldn't have known you, Dave, under that make-up; you're a perfect fakir, and no mistake. I didn't think it was in you. What's up, and where is Billy?" "I'm sure I don't know," replied Dave Wright, for the ragged urchin was Billy's staunch friend and admirer. "He left me up the road last night, after we left you, at a place I can't mention for the life of me just now, but it's all square, notwithstandin', and desired me to tell you he'd gone on to Lent's." "Oh, is that so? replied Sam : "I was afraid that he'd been snapped. Well, it's all right if he's there; he's in good hands. But I'm afraid that the show'll miss him. Tell me all; fts all right." Dave did so, as far as he knew, in a few words. "It's too bad," remarked Sam as Dave concluded. "But I suppose we '"can't help it, and will have to put up with it. Come in and take a drink." "Can't,'' replied Dave, manfully. "Promised Billy I would n't, and I mean to stick to my word "That's right,'' replied Sam, laughing. "Stick to your biz; Billy's a teetotaler and I don't see why you shouldn't be if you make your mark as he did. But I'd like to see him step ping out in the ring this afternoon, all the same." "So you shall,'' replied a genial voice, and, turning around, Sam Lathrop saw a jovial-looking little lady, mounted on a sprightly black horse, smiling down upon him. She was attended by an elderly man riding a dusty-looking specimen of ch'eStnut colored horseflesh. :Qave jumped up as if he had been shot, and looked curi ously up at the smiling little maiden. I was looking for Mr. Samuel Lathrop, the jester,'' said the pleasant-faced young woman, demurely, and I was informed that you were he. Am I right?" "Yes, at your service, miss. What can I do for you? Please excuse me." The latter to Dave. Sam turned away to accompany the lady and her companioo, and, as he did so, Dave stood scratching his head in the most incomprehensible manrrer. "Blame take iU" said he, :finally, as he turned away, "dern it, ef I didn't think that was Billy Button himself!" And upon the same afternoon when it was announced to the disappointed audience that owing to the sudd en and severe indisposition of Master Billy Button, it would be necessary to substitute the new and charming French equestrienne M lle De Boutonner, in his place many in th e audience would have expressed the same opinion had not that fair lady made her appearance in all the tloating drapery of a sylvan l>ylph. And once again Starbuck Hanlon and his canine companions were out and uninjured CHAPTER XXIV. NOT M UCH OF A CLEW AFTER ALL. As soon as Jethro had pulled Billy some hundred yards away from the spot where they had found the iron chest, he paused a moment in his flight, and gave Button a pretty hearty shaking up. "You infernal young scamp he shout'ed, angrily, "why can't you hold your tongue? You came near spoiling all, and getting our throats cut in the bargain. "Yes ,'' replied Billy shaking himself loose, "maybe I did, but I wanted to get that chest, and would have done so if you hadn't stopped me ; but I don't se'e what right you'ye got to be shaking a fellow aroun d this fashion, no matter what I did." "You'd like to take a hack at the old man, eh?" replied Jethro, grimly, as he placed his arms akimbo, and regarding Billy with a quiet, pleased expression, which of course, th'e boy couldn't see in the dense gloom. I like your grit, youngster, and I wouldn't mind giving you a chance to shake me if you could old as I am, notwith standing all I've done for you tonight, and mayhap saving your life-but we hain't got time just at present, nohow." "Excuse me, Mr. Baxter pray forgive me,'' replied Billy, cooling down considerably, as he realized what a fool he was making of himself by defying his best friend. "But I'm some what touchy when I'm a bit riled I ain't much used to being crossed, and I was all-fired mad when I see that wretch with poor mother's chest in his p e stiferous old hands. "I don't blame you a bit, my lad but it's sometimes best to be cautious when you're stirring up muck, you know. "That's so,'' replied Billy and he was about as mucky as th ey make 'em I reckon. I wonder whether the scamp didn't put it there himself? He seemed to tumble to it pretty read ily." "I guess not, answered Baxter, thoughtfully. "He seemed rather surprised at finding it. " Well ; mayb'e he didn't,'' replied Button. Only the thought struck me and I put the question, that's all." I don't believe he d id but if he did he'll be somewhat con founded when he finds it missing, and the old man uttered a pleased chuckle as th e thought presented itself. "That' s so too,'' said Billy laughing in turn. l f3ut we've gpt i t safe enough now, and we'll know the whole mystery soon enough." Yes ," said Baxter, somewhat sadly "And I hope it may prove satisfactory to you lad. But come along; we'll soon be on the Cypress Hills road and I know a placei a bit down where we can make the examina t ion without fear of discov ery,'' and starting again he moved quickly on closely follow ed by his companion. The y passed through the dark c e metery threading their wa y continuously amid the drenched graves and :finally crawl ing through another opening in the palings found themselves upon an open road. Baxter cautioned Billy to keep close to the fence and crept c arefully along for some quarter of a mile further, Wh'en they came to a small tavern from which a light shone out, shed ding its .bright rays across the dark, muddy road. Just then the sound of approaching wheels was heard.


BILLY BUTTON. "Hush!" whispered Baxter, drawing Billy close to the fence, and stooping down both hid themselves behind a small clump of bush es fronting the path of light. Presently a long, narrow, black wagon drove up and paused in front of the low tavern. Four men sprang from the vehicle and fastened the horse to the hitchingpost. They ascended the tavern stoop, and knocked at the door, which was speedily opened, and they passed in. "That's them," whispered Baxter. "Who?" "Tire resurrectionists." How do you know?" asked Billy. "Didn't I tell you I knew them in the cemetery," returned Baxter, "and I'll make lt hot for 'em yet." Billy uttered a surprised whistle. "Hush!" muttered Baxter, warningly, placing his fingers over his lips. "Don't move, for your Ufe. I'm going over to see what they' ve got." And before Billy could make a reply the strange old man crept cautiously across the way on tip-toe. As he n eared the wagon the horse stamped uneasily, and craned his neck around toward the intrud'er while there came a threatening growl from the interior of the wagon-box, as a wicked-looking dog poked his nose above the dashboard, in a threatening attitude. But Baxter appeared to pay but little attention to either warning, for he approached the horse's head and passed his hand caressingly over his nose who replied with a low, pleased whinny of d elight. Baxter then passed to the wagon and held his hand out to-ward the dog. The animal snarled and displayed his fangs defiantly at first, but presently, as Baxter drew closer he stretched forth his nose snlftlng at the extended hand, and then, with a half whine, turned around and lay down in the wagon. This operation completed, Baxter climbed up upon one of the wheels, and leaning over the box appeared to be examining something within. This took him several minutes, when he got down and recrossed the road where he knelt carefully down by Billy door. Baxter then drew out the chest, and as he did so a look of surprise came over his face. "The chest is open," he said, with considerable concern, as he opened the lid. The two gazed into it with a puzzled expression. The iron chest was perfectly empty. CHAPTER X:XV. BUT lT AMOUNTS TO SOMETHING. Poor Billy was so utterly dumfounded at the result Jr the discovery that for a few moments he remained completely speechless. And Baxter seemed to be in an equally dazed condition. For he, too, never uttered a word. But at length Billy shook himself together and broke the spell. "It's too bad," he said. "It seems as if I am constantly doomed to disappointment." "You'll find that is the case with us all my young friend, I am afraid," repled Baxter, thoughtfully, "and the more thor oughly the longer you live. But that has little to do with the case in point; the question now is, where are the documents that were contained in this iron chest? He struck the chest stoutly with his fist as he spoke As he did so there came a sharp, clicking sound, which was followed by something that resembled the winding of a watch, or sudden running down of the weights of a clock when the spring preaks. Baxter started back as if he had been stricken with a sudden blow. Billy's jaw dropped, and he moved his chair backward from the table, leaping to his feet. Baxter picked the box up and as he turned it over there came another clicking sourid, and at the same instant several papers fell out upon the table. Billy's eyes filled with a look of glad surprise as he saw them, and he bent anxiously forward, with outstretched hands, to seize them. again. "Hold!" said Baxter, sternly. "I have a better right to He bad scarcely done so when one of the men came out these papers than you." from the tavern door. "By what right?" demanded Billy. He was speedily followed by th e others. "Because I know what they are, a,nd who placed them "We better be getting along lively, boys, said the first there." one, whose voice Billy recognized as that of the 1eader of the resurrectionists ; "the storm is over and the moon will be out again in less than fifteen minutes bright as day." ' You bet," replied the other. "But I'd like to know where that chest went to I would." "Oh, nonsense ," said the other. "You hid it somewhere for yourself, unless you missed it in the darkness. You was long enough about it, anyway "I don't care If I did, and I didn't, said the man. "But, any way I'm coming back to look It up to-morrow if It takes all night." "Bette r not," said the other, sneering "Why not? "Mayb"e it's Captain Kidd s treasure, and It' s sunk to Davy Jones' looker along with Its devilish owner. Get in. "Nonsense replied the other, but he trembled nervously as he stepped into the wagon, where he was followed by the others and It was driven rapidly away. As soon as it was out of sight Baxter and Billy went over to the tavern and entering, adjourned to a private room after ordering and being served with drinks, and locked the "You shall not have them!" shouted the manly boy, deci sively. "They are mine. They belonged to my dead mother and I claim them, as her child as my just right." "You have no right to them as yet," respond ed the strange man, with equal decision. "Why?" "Because she was not your mother." Billy sank back into his chair, his heart telling him that Baxter spoke the truth. Baxter went oyer the papers carefully, and then came over and put his hand on Billy's shoulder "Brace up my boy. Trust me a little further and I'll prove myself worthy of your trust. There, drink up your coffee. 'Twill serve to strengthen your nerves, and then we must be off for the city And, forcing Billy to drink the coffee, cold as it was, the old man disposed of his own drink, and drew his comrade from the room. * * * * It was nearly half-past four, and fully daylight, on the morning of the events detailed in the opening portion of


BILLY BUTTON. this chapter, that a closely-covered buggy drove rapidly up Houston street, New York from the ferry. On reaching Avenue A it turned uptown and finally paused in front of a saloon n ear Seventh street. Then a man got out and looked anxiously up and down the street. To all appearances it was completely deserted. The man went up to the saloon and rang a bell at the side door Presently a small wicket in the door opened, and a pair of eyes looked out. "Oh, it's you, is it, Stubs?" demanded the ma;i, opening the door. "I thought you couldn't work the plant, or had been s napped. Is it all right?" "Yes; I've got an amazin' sick woman out here, who wants to rest a bit. Give us a lift to get her in." "All right!" was the answer, and, leaving the door open, the man proceeded toward the buggy A man inside the buggy handed out what appeared to be a heavilyc lqaked and closely-veiled female from the buggy. The others took her in their arms and carried her carefully into the house, and then the man in the buggy leaped out and commenced scattering something from a bottl'e over 'the pavement in every direction. A powerful pungent odor arose and as it subsided the man reappeared from the house, and entering the buggy both m en drove rapidly away. As they did so, a couple of horsemen came galloping around the corner of Sixth street, and rode hastily up the avenue. "That's them again, and that's the house," said one, pointing toward the disappearing vehicle. "It's just as I tliought-l've tracked them to their den at last! The speaker was Jethro Baxter, and the words were ad dressed to Billy Button. CHAPTER XXVI. A NARROW ESCAPE. A week had passed since the announcement of the sudden indisposition of Billy Button. The billboards of the Old Bowery, that reminiscent Drury of America and numerous other conspicuous positions of in te1est in New York were pasted with flaming posters an nouncing the presence in that city of Sands & Nathan's world renowned circus Among the new faces announced to appear was that of Madern,oiselle Wilhelmina De Boutonner, whose name appeared in the largest display type. But to the unqualified surprise of theatergoers no mention was made of J3illy Button. Manf questions were put to the ticket-sellers and attaches, but the universal answer was that Billy was too ill to ap pear, and that the earliest announcement would be made of his convalescence "What do you mean by this untimely intrusion?" demand ed the ringmaster, stepping briskly forward. "I hold a warrant for the arrest of this individual ," replied the man firmly. "Do not attempt to interrupt me in the service. I "Maybe you better take her," said Sam Lathrop, smiling. The officer turned suddenly and saw that Mademoi s elle had disappeared. He uttered an oath, and sprang upon the stage, making for the prompt side. As he did so Sam uttered a shrlll whistle and turned a flip-fiap al.mid th e roars of the astonish e d spe ctators. At the same instant the deputy s uddenly disappeared He had gone down a fall -trap. Roars of applause followed the a ct not set down upon the programme, and the audience aro!le enmasse Meanwhile the astonished officer wa s v ainly end e avoring to make his way upstairs, amid the ine xtricable mazes of the props and other theatrical paraphernalia ben eath the stage. Of course no one ofl'ered to assist him a n d when he rea c hed the stage his prey was gone. Du .ring the interval a lively scene was transpiring at the rear of the theater. Mademoiselle had scarcely waited to don her street costume having simply thrown on a riding-skirt and a h e avy c loak. In this apparel she hastened to the stage door As she emerged, two men sprang in front of her. ,"I want you Billy Button! said one, stretching forth his hand. Quick as lightning, the woman planted a left-hand e r in his face, and he went down on the sidewalk like a felled ox Two men accompanied the lady who in turn, tackled the other officer and sent him backward into the gutter, when they bundled their charge into a carriage, whi c h wa s rapidly driven away At the same instant a man l e aped from an alleyway on the other side of the street, and leveled a r evolver at t h e driv e r of the carriage. But just as he was pulling the trigger a young man seized his arm and sent the bull e t whizzing in the air. "What would you do, brother?" demanded the newcom e r "I tell you Billy Westlake is innocent of the charge!" "You lie! shouted the other, with a savag e oat h a s h e dashed the pistol full in his brother' s face, a nd started after the carriage on a dead run. The weapon struck full on the templ'e and the wounded boy fell to the pav ement with the blooq pouring from a ghastly wound. The cro w d gathered around, bustling and jostling each other to see the wounded boy The assailant wa s Starbuck Hanlon-the wounded youth his brother Edward. CHAPTER XXVII. NOT MUCH IF HE K NEW IT. Meanwhile the show went on as usual. It was a lovely afternoon, and Mad emoiselle was doing her wonderful principal act. Starbuck Hanlon was considerable of an athlete, and he De Boutonner managed to keep the carriage in sight until he came up to a butcher' s wagon The theater rang from pit to dome with unbounded applause. The fair equestrienne foaped lightly into the arms of the clown at the end of th e performance, and was a):>out bounding from the ring when a man sprang from the stage box directly in front of her. "I want you! he said, determinedly as he reached for(h his hand to interrupt her progress. I' She drew proudly back and waved him off with h er hand. He jumped on the wagon and promising the driver five dollars to catch the can'iage they went full-tilt after i t, gradually pulling up until th ey w e r e abreast of it. "Pull up your horses! he s houted vigorously to th e driver, "or I'll have you arrested!" Mayb e you will, retorte d th e driv e r good -nature dly a s he placed his thumb to his no se with a knowing wink. Be t t e r wait until you get a cop!


2-1 BILLY BUTTON. By this time both parties were nearing Broome street, and, just then, a runabout wagon turned the corner. It contained two polic'e officers. One of them was the captain of the precinct, and Hanlon was acquainted with him. "Head off that carriage, cap!" shouted he pointing to the vehicle alongside. The driver saw that the jig was up, and brought his horses to a stop. "What's up, Hanlon?" demanded th e captain, driving le.J surely up. "There's a thief in that carriage retorted Hanlon, and I want to have him taken in. The captain uttered a surprised whistle, and leaped out of the wagon and made for the door of th-a carriage, which he opened. "Come out of that lively!" he shouted. "There's no use showing :fight-;for I'm bound to take you in dead or aliYe." "Not much, at this time," whispered the driver, beneath his breath with a pleased chuckle "Come out!" shouted the captain again. There came no reply. ''I'll swear I saw him hurl a pistol at him, and I saw the young fellow fall. He was just going to fire at me, and the man threw up his arm, discharging the pistol in' the air." "If that's so I'll have to take you in," replied the captain, springing to the curb and making toward Hanlon. "The man's lying," retorted the other, edging back to seek a chance to escape. But his dark fac e turned a heavy lead color as he spoke. "You'll have to along," said the captain, sternly. Hanlon made no resistance; he saw it would be useless to do so; and grasping him by the shoulder, the captain led him away to the station-house, having first ordered the hackman to follow in order to mak e his charge. CHAPTER XXVIII. A NOVEL SPRINGBOARD. The reader will have realized by this time that what Star buck Hanlon said was true, that Billy Button and Mlle. de The captain's face dropped a1i1d he the carriage, Hanlon looking over his time. peered curiously into Boutonner were one and the same. shoulder at the same Thus, when Billy, dressed in the ring costume of the charm. They saw a pile of disarranged female garments litteringo the carriage floor. They saw that the carriage door on the opposite side was also open. Of Billy Button not a trace remained. The carriage was perfectly empty. The captain was nonplussed, and turned to Hanlon for an explanation of the female toggery. "Why," said Hanlon, "that's what he had on when he escaped from the circus. He was disguised as a lady circus rider. MademoiseUe De Boutonner and Billy Button are one and the same." ing French equestrienne, leaped into the carriage while the sheriff's officers were endeavoring to effect his arrest, and the door was closed upon him, he speedily doffed his stage dress, and assumed the garments of his proper sex. A full suit had been placed in the carriage for that purpose when he bad been hustled in and whirled away. It would have been extremely dangerous for a person even of Billy's superior agility to have attempted a leap from the carriage while it was dashing away at such a mad rate. And, besides this, he had seen Starbuck Hanlon pursuing him, through the rear window, and knew full well that, if he succeeded in effecting the leap safely, he would be put speedily under arrest, and therefore he remained a passive spectator "Where did this Mademoiselle De Boutonner reside? de-of the furious pursuit until the butcher's cart drew up 1 manded the captain, turning suddenly to the driver. alongsid e in Allen street, and Hanlon commanded the driver "Up in a private boarding-house in Fourth street," replied to stop. the man "Several others of the company put up there, too." By this time Billy considered that matters were getting ex"Well," said the captain, turning to Hanlon, "I don't see tremely hot, and when he saw the light wagon attempt to in what we can do about it . If it's as you say, the bird has tercept the coach, he thought that he was a gone coon. flown!" -But, as the driver reined in his horses, and the captain drove "Better hold the hackman," retorted Hanlon, snappishly. "He knows more about it than he let's on, rll be bound." "Sorry I accommodate you," replied the captain dryly, who was beginning to feel ashamed of himself at being foiled. in such an outrageous manner. "Come, clear out of this, every man jack of you!" he shouted, turning to the crowd, and motioning for them to disperse "What are you doing here stopping up the public streets this fashion. Get lively, or I'll arrest the whole of you!" "So you can't arrest the driver?" inqured Hanlon, as his face fell with a dark, moody expression. "No, sir-ee!" replied the captain, turning toward his wagon. "Thank you cap!" replied the hackman. "Is that all?" "Yes; get along home with you." "No one going to be arrested, hey!" retorted th-a driver. "No! shouted the captain, clambering into his wagon. "Well, I'm sorry for that," drawled the man. "But if you'll take my word for it, cap, you'll arrest that blackmuzzled man who wanted you to pull m-e in." "Why?" demanded the officer, eyeing him sharply. Because he just murdered a young chap down back of the Bowery Theater, and I see him do it!" "What's that! Will you swear to this?" up to speak to Hanlon; the stout-hearted boy, with the rapidity of thought, pushed open the coach door and dashed into the street. He darted into the first d oorway that presented itself, and rushed through th e passage-way to the rear yard. The fence was extremely high; in fact, nearly nine feet, and Billy, being barely four feet six, saw in a second that he could not scale it. It would never do to re:r;nain wh ere he was, and while he was looking around actively considering the best mode of escape, a burly-looking Dutchman came into the yard to carry away half a dozen empty lager beer kegs that lay scattered around. One of these lay close to the fence. Not noticing that anyone else was in the yard but himself, Hans stooped down to pick up the keg. His broad back and stalwart shoulders proved a perfect god-send to Billy. Quick as the thought struck him the nimble lad made a run and a jump, and landing plump upon the stout haunch of the stooping man as if it had been a springboard, he took a tlying upward leap, gaining a staunch grasp upon the fence. Billy scrambled to the top in an instant, and as he threw himself lightly over he could see the surprised beer-jerker picking himself up and rubbing his bruised body vigorously,


.. .... '. "-llb. BILLY BU'rTON. as he gazed around to see from whence the unexpected blow had come. But, laughing heartly as he was, Billy never paused to reveal his identity as he dropped hastily to the yard bey"ond. Fortunately it was quite deserted, and Button ran hastily into the street. He pulled his slouch hat closely down over his eyes, and walked quickly back to Grand street. An empty coach happened to be passing, and hailing the driver be leaped in, bidding the man to drive uptown and he would tell him when to stop. As the driver complied, Billy pulled down the side blinds and lay leisurely back upon the rear cushions. PteS"ently the coach paused a moment, and looking out of the back window, to his nqualitled surprise Billy saw the captain of the precinct conveying Starbuck Hanlon to the sta tion-house, followed by a dense crowd of all the ragamuffins and idlers of the neighborhood. Billy did not trouble himself much as to the cause of the arrest, but finding a package of good cigars in the pocket of the coat that he wore, he lay back and commenced to smoke with a expression on his features, as the coach moved on and rolled leisurely uptown. When they reached H!Juston street and the Bowery, Billy tapped on the front window, and ordered the driver to stop. The c oach came to the curb at once, and getting out, Billy paid the driver a liberal fare and passed hastily down to the vicinity of Second avenue. He then passed into an English ale-house. Over the door was an old-fashioned, dingy sign, upon which appeared the simple announcement: "LENT'S." Baxter told me to coi:ne here and I'd find you. He's had me doing a little on a special lay of his own, 1.1pon which I've helped him now and again before." "Body snatchers?" suggested Billy, pointing down expressively. "That's the racket," retorted Wright. In as brief a manner as possible Billy told Dave as much of what had transpired since their last interview in the den of the Hermit of Cypress Hills as he deemed essential under the circumstances. Just as he finished the narrative the door opened, and Sam Lathrop stepped into the room. "Didn't snap you up, hey, after all?" he said to Billy, and then, seeing Dave, he gave him a hearty grip of the hand. "How did you manage it?" he asked, as he took a seat by the others, and lit 111. cigar. Billy told him, and then Sam told him what had transpired. "Poor Ed," replied Billy. "Is he badly hurt?" "He's got a pretty sore head, but he'll weather it, I reckon." "Where is he?" "They took him home in a carriage, but he was pretty badly shaken up." "Did he come to?" asked Billy. "Yes, we took him into the waiting-room, and the doctor brought him around." "Did he say anything about me?" "Yes. He told me something, and that's the main cause that brought me up." "What was it?" asked Billy, eagerly. "He was too weak to explain," replied Sam, "but h'e told me to tell you that you need have no further fear about the diamonds; and that in case they wanted you to appear at "Halloo!" said the proprietor, the only person present but court at once." Billy, who was mopping off a table at one side of tlre bar-room, "Is that so? It's the best news I've heard in a month. Billy and removing a couple of empty tobies and ale glasses. "Safe Button is himself again." back? I was afraid you'd be lagged. There's someone down-"That's so, replied Sam. "They have billed and announced stairs for you. Better lay low a couple of days." you in the papers for to-morrow afternoon, and I'll bet you get "You bet," repli'ed Billy, passing behind the bar into a an ovation." rear room, which was also empty. Billy went to a ortion ot he wainscotting, and touching a secret spring, a concealed door flew open, and closing it be hind him, he commenced descending a winding stairway. CHAPTER XXIX. THINGS BEGIN TO BRIGHTEN UP On reaching the foot of the stairs, Billy found another. door, through which he passed, and found himself in a large sub terranean apartment, which was comfortably but plainly fur nished. At a table, over which hung a swinging-lamp similar to those suspended in the center of a ship's cabin, sat a young man looking over a paper and smoking a cigar. As Billy entered the youth looked up, and sprang toward him with outstretched hand. "I'm mighty glad to see you again, Billy," he said. "It 'pears as if it was a month ago since we parted." "So it does," replied Billy. "And yet it's scarcely a week ago. Got any news, Dave?" "Nothing wonderful," replied Dave Wright, ,\only they was lookin' for you high and low for a couple of days while the show was in East New York." "Didn't find me, though," smiled Billy, with a qui.eziool ex pression crossing his comical mug-. "No, and I never knew where you were till yesterday, wllen "Bully boy!" shouted Billy, tossing up his hat. And he was joined heartly in the sentiment by his two companions. "I'm glad of it, too," said a deep voice, and turning toward the speaker the trio saw that he was Jethro Baxter. "Halloo! is that you?" asked Billy, shaking hm by the hand. I "Yes," replied Baxter, as a che erful light blazed in his eyes, "and I have prime news." ,...., "What is it?" asked Billy. "I haven't time to explain now," said Baxter, "but I will do so as we go along. I want you to come with me at .once."") "Where?" asked Billy. "You'll find that out also ln due time," said Baxter, !'but I want both you and Dave to come with me. I've got those heartless harpies dead to rights, and I'll have them safe and sourid under lock and key before dawn to-morrow, or never trust Jethro Baxter's word again!" CHAPTER XXX. PLAYING ITALIAN. On quitting Lent's after supper, somewhere in the neighbor hood of nine o'clock, Jethro Baxter led Billy and Dave down Houston street to the vicinity of Allen street, where they en tered a second-hand clothing establishment. The proprietor, a sharp-visaged Hebrew, was apparently a.waiting ther coming, for, as Jethro entered the shop, he called


16 BILLY BUTTON. a boy, .J.:b.o was watching the second-hand habiliments hanging up outsiiie into the shop, and l eaving him in charge ; led the way to a rear room the atmosphere of which was perceptibly impregnated with the odor of garlic and red-herrings, not to speak of a powerful smell of strong schnapps. "Try a glass of something nische, mine frients? he said producing a bottle and glasses. "It vill varm your hearts pefore we proceed to pizness." I don't care if I do, Abraham," replied Jethro, good humor edly as he helped himself to a stiff glass of spirits, and drank it at a gulp. "I want something to brace me up. My young friends never drink-they are te etotalers-but if you have a cigar or two handy I have no dpubt they will oblige." "Chertinly-chertinly," replied Abraham taking a private nip, and then producing a box of choice _to which Dave Billy did full justice by appropriating half a dozen each and then the old-clothes dealer turned to Jethro again. "Well, what can I do for you tonight, sir?" he asked, rub bing his hands together complacently, while awaiting an answer. Give me three stout blue ftann eI shirts, and heavy panta loons to match; stout woolen socks and brogans; slouch hats and red cotton handkerchiefs," said Baxter, consulting a Ust that he took from a side-pocket. "Yesh!" said the Jew, producing a short stepladder and placing it against one of the boxed-off compartments of the stant or two, and then, apparently satisfi:ed that they were not watched, led the way down to Avenue A. On reaching that thoroughfare, he turned north, and walk ing briskly up till he came to the saloon where himself and Billy had seen the body-snatchers convey their burden, he opened the door and passed in, followed closely by his com panions. Baxter passed to on e of the tables, and taking a seat, ordered a lager for himself and two sodas for Billy and Dave. As the order was served, the s .treet door opened suddenly and a tall man, with a slouched hat pull'ed closely down over his eyes, entered the saloon. CHAPTER xxxr. "I AM A UNITED STATES DETECTIVE." "That's your man," whispered Baxter, as the str.-iger en tered the saloon and stepped up to the bar. "Watch him closely, and whe.q. I give the word, remember your instruc tions follow me, and carry them fully out." His companions nodded, but made no reply, while the man, after making a few inquiries of the barkeeper, took a seat room "Goin' a-masqueradin ', I suppose? in the corner. / "You may suppose anything you like," replied Baxter, Ten minutes or more passed, and then two rough-looking grimly. "But if anyone asks you, tell 'em you don't know." customers came in, and looking cautiously around, joined "You're a funny man ," snickered the salesman, getting down the man in the corner. with th'e articles and placing them on a long bench at the end They conversed a few moments with the stranger, and then of 'the room, "but you ought to know me too well, Miester they came over and called Baxter to one side. Paxter, to know that I wouldn't gief you avay." Presently Baxter returned to Billy and Daye . "I know that well enough replied Baxt e r, as he motioned "I don't want you to break your word, boys," he said, for Billy and Dave to don the garments, which they did in in a whisper, "but you've got to take a drink this time, or less time than it would take to describe the operation. "I know at least pretend to .do so. It's a desperate game W'e are that, and for a very good reason Abraham; because if you playing and ft requires desp erate measures. did I'd make Houston street-in fact, New York itself-so "I can stand one drink, whispered Billy, In return; "can cussed hot that you could not stay here a week without being you, Dave, and not let the Uquo craze you?" railroaded to Sing Sing or Auburn." Dave pressed his hand reassuringly, but made no reply "Hoit hart, Miester Paxter," interrupted Abraham, as his as they responded to Baxter's private signal and rising, went f eatures turiied a sickly green; "don't talk so lout, don't talk over to the bar, where the thre e other men were filling their s o lout. Mien frient, walls have ears, and there ish no telling glasses from a bottle set out by the barkeeper. who may pe listening, you know." ., "What wiil you take, lads?" asked the stranger, turning "That' s so said Baxter who by this time had finished to Jethro's companions. dressing. "I was only indulging in a pleasant j'est; it's a way I have now and then, when I feel in especial good humor, as I do to-night. Now, I want false beards to match our hair, and the commodities to make up." The Jew i mmediatel y produced the requisite articles, and sele cting se veral pigments from the dressing-case Baxter pro ceeded to make up himself and comrad es in the most skillful and artistic manner. H e darken e d his gray locks and whiskers to a deep bhick, and d ye d his s kin to an olive tint, until he presented the per fee t personifi c ation of an Italian. Billy and D a v e were made up in a s .imilar style, and when they had donned their beards th eir mo .st intimate friends would hav e pa sse d them readily in the street without imag ining their id entity in the slightest degree. Now that's all well enough so far, said Baxter as he exa mined himself with perfect satisfaction in the glass. "Now, Abraham, give us a brac e of loaded revolvers each, and an extra charge or so, and take good c are of our duds until we return, and I'll bid you good-ev ening until you see me later." The weapons were procured and, placing them c arefully in their hip-po c k e t s the trio left the store B ax t e r looked cas ually up and down the street for an in"My friends 'no speaka English," repli'ed Baxter, hastily speaking in broken English, "dey are but lately landed, and no used to firewater of dees countree. Have you any light wine?" "Certainly, responded th'e man, placing a bottle of Ger man wine on the counter, with three glasses. "Mea lika de whisky," said Baxter, laughing, as he filled his glass; "they no strong heada-maybe gettee better by'm-by The three men laughed, and lifting their glasses, hob nobbed with Baxter and his companions. "It's all the better, boys," said the stranger, in a half aside whisper to his chums; "these dumb-headed macaronis will prove all the better for their silent proclivities." The men laughed again, and lighting th e cigars which the stranger had also ordered the whole party left the saloon They passed slowly up Avenue A until they reached Four teenth street, th e stranger and his companions taking the l e ad while Baxter, Billy and Dave brought up the rear. But on reaching this point a man joined the leader and a hurri'ed conversation ensued. For a moment the man with the slouched hat appeared considerably put out.


BILLY BUTTON 27 He stamped his feet angrily, and bit his }ip, uttering something very much like an oath, and then he turned hastily toward Baxter. "I'm afraid that we can't do it to-night," he whispered. "I fear that we are watched." "I hava come prepared," replied Baxter, quickly; "and mya men expecta dere money." "I'll see that they are paid to-morrow," said the other; "I have not sufficient cash about me to do so now "I can't help dat," replied Baxter; "I promised paya to-nigh ta, and they will holda mea to my word! The stranger stamped his feet with an oath. "Well, come along," he said, angrily, "and I'll get you your money." He started hastily up Fourteenth street as he spoke, fol lowed closely by Baxter and his companions. After crossing Third avenue, and passing half way up the block, the stranger led the way up the steps of a large brick building. It was the University of Medicine of New York. He opened the door, and ascending a fiight of stairs, knocked at a door. It was speedily opened, and the six men were admitted into the apartment. A short, stout-built man, wearing a pair of green spectacles, was seated writing at a table covered with books and pa pers . "I want fifty dollars!" demanded the man with the slouch hat; approaching the writer. "Got anything for me?" was the reply. "No; the cops are on the lay, and it wouldn't be safe." "I don't see how I can pay the money in that case, said the other, looking up. "I can, and I must have it," replied the l eader. "I'll make it all right to-morrow night. I've a couple of new hands, and they want their money." "Oh, is that it?" asked Spectacles. "In that case I guess I can stretch a point. But you know we have to be extrem'ell,' careful." I "Just so!" The writer arose, and passing to a safe took out five ten dollar gold pieces, and handed them to the man with the slouched hat. "Is that right?" demand ed the latter, handing the specie to Baxter. Jethro counted it, and placed it in his pocket. ''It's all right," he said, resuming his natural tone of voice. "Now I want to know what you did with that body you took from the plot of James Rathbone, in Evergreen cemetery, a week ago to-night?" "Why do you ask?" he demanded. ';Because I want the body!" repli'ed Baxter, sternly. "By what right?" inquired the man, bristling up as his myrmidons closed up behind him. "By the right of the laws of the land!" shouted Baxter, drawing a brace of revolvers, and leveling them at the head of his antagonist. "I am a United States detective and I know what I am asking!" CHAPTER XXXII. "IT IS NOT THE ONE." The baffied harpy stood boldly up: but his eyes fa}tered beneath the barrel of the revolver. His comrades had drawn their own weapons almost as soon as Baxter, and as the old man mad e the thrilling an nouncement one of the latter pulled trigger. At the same moment two shots rang through the apartment, and one of the resurrectionists fell to the floor with his life's blood fiowing from his bosom. Billy Button had b e en too quick for him, and a death telling bullet had found his heart. He was dead almost be fore his hand pulled the .trigger that sent the bullet toward Baxter. "Hold up your hands!" shouted Baxter, determinedly. "The first man who fires a shot dies on the spot, and his blood be on his own head. I have been watching you, you hell hounds, for the past four years and I have got you down just where I want you. Surrender, and I will give you quarter; if not, every man of you dies on the spot! The resurrectionists were in a trap, and surre ndered without a wora. "Will you tell me where the body is now? demanded Bax ter sternly. "Yes," replied the leader ol the resurrectionists bowing his head,'.and dropping his hands to his side. "C ome with me and I will show you." "Thanks," replied Baxter. "That is all I want." The leader turned to lead the way, and his companions were about to follow him, when Baxter waved them back "Stay where you are until we return," he said, sharply, and then he turned and took a hasty survey of the room. It was an interior, and had no visible mode of egress with the exception of the door / This he closed and locked behind him as he passed out, hiav ing Dave Wright as guard, with orders to shoot down the first man who attempted to escape; and then, accompanied by Billy, he passed upstairs, with the leader in advance, car efully covered with a revolver. The man passed leisurely up anothe.flight of stairs, and opening a small door, ascended another winding stairway. They were now in total darkness, but Baxter took a candle from his pocket, and lighting it with a match displayed a small room with several barrels ranged together, and a number of wash basins standing upon a shelf .at one side. The leader led them into another room directly adjoining and bade them light up a gas jet. Jethro did so. As the light blazed forth it revealed a long apartment with a stove in the center, and a row of marble-topped tables ranged on either hand. This was the dissecting room at the college On one of the tables was a nude female form, hacked and cut by the surgeons, but the face and neck were still intac t. Jethro strode forward and looked at the ghastly object. "It is not the one I was looking for!" he said. I was mis taken, after all." At the same instant a rumbling, creaking sound came from the adjoining room, followed by a whizzing noi se, and turning, both Baxter and Billy realized that the captain of the resur rectionists had disapp eared. "Curse my infernal stupidity," shouted Baxter stamping the fioor with insane fury. "That wretch has escaped after all." He ran from the room, followed by Billy as he spoke, and pointed to a dark closet in the adjoining apartment, where a windlass was arranged, with a rop e attached that was swaying unsteadily to and fro. "That is the way he mad'e his escape," he said quickly He has gone down the fall by which they hoist the bodies up to the dissecting room. By this time he ii! in the street and be yond our reach. What a cursed fool I was! On reaching the room wh ere they had left Dave on guard


' 28 BILLY BUTTON. over the imprisoned resurrectionists, Baxter unlocked the door and called for the men to come forth The men walked quickly out, and were marched by Baxter to the nearest police station, where, upon displaying his badge and stating his case, they were sent down to the lock-up. This matter having been disposed of, and a stretcher dis patched for the dead man Baxter and his friends returned to the second-hand clothing shop in Houston street and re moved their disguises. "Which way are you off to now?" asked Billy, as they came out on the sidewalk in their proper rig. I guess we better go around to the Red House on the Bowery," said Baxter. "I'm as hungry as a wolf!" They turned up Baxter street toward the Bowery and strolled leisurely along. Just as they were passing Dent's a man in citizen's dress came hastily across the street and tapped Billy upon the "What do you want?" demanded Button, drawing back and placing himself on guard. "Non e of that, now said the man hastily. "I'm prepared for your tricks, my young buck. You can't play sharp on me!" "What do you want?" demanded Billy, again. "I have a warrant for your arrest, William Westlake, alias Billy Button, alias Mademoiselle De Boutonner, and I'm going to take you in! CHAPTER XXXIII. ON TRIAL. It was the morning following the arrest of Blly Button. The courtroom of the special sessions in the New York Tombs was 'crowded, as the morning papers had announced that the Boy Clown, Billy Button had been arreste d and would be tried on the charge of stealing a pair of diamond earrings from Mrs. Wm. Hanlon, of No. -Ninth street. The judge was sitting at his desk, and as he rapped with his gavel to silence the spe ctators and call the court to order, the prisoner was brought in and took his seat by the side of his counsel Billy's face was wreath'ed with smiles notwithstanding his unpleasant situation, and h e nodded pleasantly to a number of frien.ds most of thelll members of the company, whom he recognized among the spectators. The witness called for the pros ecution was Mrs Wm Hanlon the plaintiff, who displayed a still handsome face, as she removed her veil to give her evidence, which was rendered in an 'extremely low tone of voice. "It was some eight years ago she said, in substance "that I had occasion to quit my residence on Ninth street, on private business which I do not deem it necessary to explain. My son Edward, with several schoolmates, after th'eir return from s chool, had been in l!he habit of holding an exhibition. "At first I had deemed these exhibitions harmless, consider ing it a favorable mode of keeping Edward from gadding the streets with the rough boys of the neighborhood. But the servants began to complain that the numerous boys who formed th'e audience of these performances were soiling the basement hall with their muddy feet, and causing altogether too much work; and I had noticed at the same time that Ed ward had formed the acquaintance of a little ragamuffi.n..._ named William Westlake with whom he had becom'e the best of friends, and introduced him into the house to play the part clown. "This troubled me considerably, because the boy had an ex tremely bad name, and l feared that h e would contaminate the morals of my son, and thus it was that as I left the house on this special occasion, I gave orders to the servant not to ad mit any of the boys, and to prevent the performance, in case Edward and his companions attempted to carry it o n. "The instructions were fully carried out on the servant's part, but, notwithstanding a close watch, the boys managed to smuggle the audience into the cellar through the slide leading from the coal-hole, and the circus took plac e. "Inadvertently, on leaving the house, I had left my bedroom door unlocked, and forgotten also to secure a valuable pair of solitaire diamond earrings which lay upon my dressing table. When I returned to the house after transacting the busi ness, my oldest son, Starbuck, who will bear me out in this testimony, met at the door and informed me that the boys had held their show, as they termed it, and that he had been the means of breaking it up, greatly to the dissatis faction of his brother Edward. "I commended him highly for the act, and retired to my room to dress for supper, when I discovered at once that my diamonds were missing. "I questioned the servants, and everyone in the house close ly, and finally elicited the fact from Starbuck that he had seen the boy, Westlake close to my door a few moments after my departure. "This, however, Edward stoutly d'enied, as did Westlake on his subsequent examination before Judge Talmadge; both claiming that they had never left the cellar up to the time of their discovery by Starbuck. But, notwithstanding this, the diamonds have n ever yet been found, although I have placed the case in the hands of some of the most skilled detectives in the city. Westlake was subsequently arrested, but, as we were unable to mak'e a case against him, he was permitted to depart without further examination." Mrs. sat down, and Starbuck was called. Hanlon finished his testimony by describing the appearance of Edward and Billy in the ring in the c ellar, dressed in his silk undershirts and blue striped rowing shirts, which they had-that is, Edward had, as he subsequently admitted-ap propriated from his, Starbuck's wardrobe to use as tights, the arms being drawn tautly over their legs for that purpose. as th e witness was about to step briskly down from the witness-box, after his testimony, the counsel for the defem1e caused him to pause, and asked abruptly: "Why did you not make that statement concerning the seeing of Westlake coming from Mrs. Hanlon's room on th'e ex amination before Judge Talmadge?" "I did," replied Hanlon, evident taken aback. "I ask your honor to remember this," said the lawyer. "That's all; you can step down and out!" The witness did so, and took his seat near his m o th'er, with whom he continued for some time in a low whispering con versation. The next witness called was Bridget Mulrooney. CHAPTER XXXIV. THE PIEOE OF CHECKED CLO.TH. The witness, who had been a cook in Mrs. Hanlon's house, seemed slightly flustered but proceeded with her testimony in a straig)!tforward manner. She stated that on the afternoon in question, having finished cooking the dlnner and washing the dishes, she had gone up


!BILLY BUTTON. 29 stairs to her room; that, while passing the door c>f Mrs. Han Ion's apartment, she had seen the boy Westlake coming out. On seeing her, he hastily placed something in his pocket. At the time she did not think anything of the matter, as it had been a common thing for both himself and Master Edward to pass freely to and fro through the house; but that, after hearing of the robbery, she came to the conclusion that West lake was the guilty party. "Why did you not come forward at the examination and make this statement?" demanded the prisoner's counsel, as she finished her testimony. "Because I was deadly afeared, replied the witness. "I didn't want to go to court; I was afeared of my life." "That will do," said the lawyer. And as the witness stepped down a murmur of dissatisfac tion ran through the room but it was speedily quieted by tlie officers of th e court. And here the case, on the side of the prosecution, rested. A brief interval elapsed and the first witness for the de fense was called. A hushed murmur ran through the court as Edward Hanlon, with bandaged brow and pallid face, took the stand. woman, after a close examination. "I recognize them at once by the peculiarity of the setting." "They must have been placed there by that cursed monkey!" blurted Starbuck Hanlon, dashing his fist savagely down upon the table. "Maybe th'e mpnkey stole this also said Billy s lawyer, sar castically, holding up a rough piece of che cked c h eviot cloth. "It's rather singular, however, that he should have been able to steal either this or the diamonds, consid ering that he was chained fast to the bureau." Again there was a marked sensation in the courtroom. Starbuck Hanlon rose slowly to his feet like a man in a dream, and stood regarding the tattered remnant with a blank look of dumfounded amazement. Meanwhile the lawyer quietly took another piece of cloth of the same pattern from his pocket : and spread it out befo'e him upon the green baize covering of the tabl e at his side. The two pieces exactly, and fitted to a nicety. They were evidently from the same piece of cloth, and the last piece was that which Billy had so long and anxiously car Tied ctmcealed about his person. Starbuck se emed to awake from his dream with a sudden start. He made a careful statement of the events that had trans-pired on the eventful afternoon. He fully d enied that either With a sudden bound he started for the courtroom door. himself or any of the boys had quitted the cellar, and then But the lawyer was too quick for him; he sprang hastily continued his testimony, in substance as follows: "At the time that we held our boys' circus," he said, "my brother Starbuck had a pet monkey of the most mischievous proclivities. In fact, he was such a pest that Starbuck had to keep him chained in his room. I well remember that at the time there was a small hole in the wall between my mother's and my brother's room, jt back of the bureau, beside which the monkey was chained, but nothing was thought of the matter. before him and intercepted his progress "I demand the arrest of this man, your honor! he shouted appealing to the judge. "I proclaim that he is a thief, a perjurer, and a resurrectionist!" A scene of the wildest confusion ensued The judge motioned for an officer to arrest Starbuck. The desperate man struggl'ed violently, but, finally was mas tered and secured. CHAPTER XXXV. UNITED AT LAST, "Little was thought of the matter at the time, continued the witness, resuming his testimony, "and possibly would not now had I not made a strange discovery a day or two since, whil'e we were making repairs in our house on Ninth street. I had been appointed by my mother to superintend these When quiet had been restored and the e x cite d spectators repairs in person. It had been mv mother's intention for some r had resumed their seats, Billy s l awye r c all e d J ethro B axte r time past to enlarge her bedroom by tearing down the parti to the stand. tion between that room and the one formerly occupied by my A hushed murmur ran through the c ourtr'oom a s t h e olil brother. For a couple of weeks back my mother has been detective entered the witness-box and w a s s worn paying a visit to some of h 'er friends in Jamaica, Long As he took the stand he slowly remov e d the iro n-gray b eard Island and during this interval I d etermined to have the job and wig from his head and features, and s t ood r evea l e d in-complet e d, and surprise her on her return. 1 called in some stead of a man of sixty or over as he had prev iously apJ,le ateci. masons and carpenters for that purpose, and while complet to be-in reality not more than forty-four or for ty-five ing th e operation I made a most singular an_d opportune dis covery." "My 'name is Jethro Baxter, said the witness the oath, "and I am at pr esent a United States' d et ec tive. "And what was that?" asked Billy's lawyer, with a quizzical But this has not always been my prof e ssion. r was form e rl y smile pervading his features. a man of leisure, and had abundant means until I b eggare d "I found these," said Edward, holding up something that myself through gambling and riotous living. It is now some sparkled and glistened radiantly in the sight of the whole twenty-five years since I became a c quainted with Mis s Jessie courtroom. Rathbone, the sister of James Rathbone of Jamaica, Long Every eye was turned earnestly in the direction of the lsland. I had known her but a short time when I fell desper speaker, as he held the shining articles toward the presiding ately in love and asked her hand in marriage, but she had judge. heard of my fast life and refused m e at once. Driven to "What are they?" inquired the puzzled magistrate. desperation at the refusal I took to drinking worse than ever "My mother's missing diamonds," said th'e young witness, and went thoroughly to the dogs. Two years passed and with the utmost nonchalance. during that interval Jessie married a man by the name of There was a marked sensation in court that it took the ut Wesl'ey Hubert. The result of the marriage was a mal e child. most efforts of the officers to suppress. The infant grew until it was a year old, and was the light and The judge took the articles from the witness and examining life of its JYtrents' hearts. them carefully, requested Mrs. Hanlon to come up to the desk. "About this time I first became acquainted with Starbuck She complied at once, and the judge asked her to examine Hanlon. He was a young man around town and lavish e d the diamonds. money with a free hand. One night, while on a drinking "They are my diamond earrings," replied the surprised bout, Hanlon and I compared notes, and discove r e d that w e


lO BILLY BUTTON. had b oth paid attentions to Miss Rathbone, with similar re-"This act occurred while 1 was on a voyage 'to China, and suits. We sYtnpathized maudlinly with each other over our before my return the matter had been quite forgotten in the wine, and during the evening Hanlon ventilated a plot which, other transpiring events of the day. notwithstanding all its fiendish malignity he found in me "It is quite evident," said Baxter in conclusion, "that a ready and willing hand to carry out A week later I entered Hanlon stole that chest in the first instance, hoping to find the room of Mrs Hubert while she lay asleep and removing either mon ey or some such papers as it contained, but owing the sleeping child from its mother's arms, bore it away ; and to the intricate and carefully constructed machinery of the placed it in charge of Mrs. Mal' y Westlake an old flame of secret compartment of the lid, wa s baffied in his search. How min e, in whoih, for a fair consideration I found a willing it came to be in the cemetery I have as yet been unable to accomplice to carry out my r e venge. Shortly after this I discover and perhaps I never shall, unless my former con found my ready money dwindling to a low ebb and on menfederate consents to make a clean breast ot it. tioning the subject to Hanlon he ofrered me a fair sum, and This I think, is about all I have to say with tlre exception procured me a situation as supercargo on a ChineB'e packet that some weeks since I received intelligence that Mrs. Hubert running to Canton, with which I made several voyages, but had died in the asylum and been buried in the private plot of little bettering my condition as I spent my money as freely as her brother. ThUI information l'ed me to infer that the body it came. taken by the resurrectionists on the night of the discovery of "Returning to New York after n;tY S'eCond voyage, I was un-the chest was that of Mrs Hubert; but I have since found able to discover Mrs. Westlake She left her residence but that the corpse was one of Mr. Rathbone s servants, whom he neither the tenants of the rooms nor the landlord could tell had privately buri'ed in his own plot This was good news, me where she had gone. I consulted Starbuck Hanlon, and but I received much more satisfactory information this morn he also denied all knowledge of her whereabouts, wbich I ing. Mrs. Hu):>ert is not dead-she is not even insane. She has subsequently discovered to be a lie for it was through his recovered her reason and is safe and sound at the residence instrumentality that she had been spirited away, when taking of her brother, James Rathbone, at Jamaica. of her insatiate passion for drink, he had plied her "No," shouted a manly voice at the door. "She is here to with liquor until she sank to the lowest depths of debased claim her son! womanhood. Every eye turned in the direction o.f the speaker. "As I have stated, I made a number of voyages on the China He was a tall, manly-looking man, and clinging to his arm merchantman at the end of each searching everywh ere for was a lady dressed ip. deep black and closely veiled. Mrs. Westlake but w ithout avail As they came slowly down the courtroom Billy Button arose "While thus engaged after one of my return trips, a to his feet, seizing the back of a chair to support himself. strange desire impressed me to make inquiries concerning Mr. His face was deadly pale, and his kn ees trembled violently. and Mrs. Hubert I did so, and the ascertained information In a second the two who had b'0Jn so long separated were was so terrible that it nearly drove me out of my mind. It clasped in a loving embrace was the means of leaving me affiicted with that terribl'e mal-It was a touching spectacle, which those who witnessed it ady, epilepsy I discovered that, after losing her child, Mrs. will remember as long as they live. Hubert had been seized with a brain fever, which resulted in There was not a dry eye in the whole ro om; even those hard total dementia, in consequence of which her husband was hearted, cast-iron-bound individuals the members of the press obliged to confine her in a private asylum for the insane. stopped taking notes to use their handkerchiefs. Th e wretched man searched far and near using every Let us drop the curtain on tb:e tableau. means in his power to discover his child, until finally driven The drama is ended. to desperation, he blew out h i s brains with a revolver. This Starbuck Hanlon received his just deserts, and is S'erving a intelligence quite unnerved m e and threw me into a severe long term in Sing Sing. sickness, on recovering from which I was on the point of giv-Jethro Baxter still lives but he has given up business. ing myself up as a child-stealer, thus endeavoring to render He is a frequent visitor at tb:e residence of Mr : Rathbone all the reparation I could for my crime But on consideration When Billy found his mother he found a jolly little playmate I thought better of it, and quitting the ship, I devoted all also my attention to finding Mrs. Westlake Somehow I became i He calls her Rosebud, but her real name is Maria It was possessed of the idea that Starbuck Hanlon was at the bottom formerly Maria Rathbone but it is now of the matter, and I watched him like a hawk shadowing him There are several little Huberts running around the Hu wherever he went both night itnd day ilut he was bert mansion, but the youngest, who is the only son is caned too sharp :for me, and baffied me at every point. I discovered by his mother "BILLY BUTTON." however, that he had lost nearly all his means by gambling and in order to reimburse his purse he had taken to the ne farious trade of body snatching which, if properly attended to, is quite a money making speculation. About this time I secured an appointment from the government as a secret officer to hunt up theS'e harpies, and in order to watch them more closely I pitched my quarters in a cave on the Long Island railroad near Cypress Hills which is the nearest point to nearly all the cemeteries of Kings County and Queens County. As stated I made but little headway in discovering traces of Mrs. Westlake, and it is not strange that this proved the case because she was dead and buried, as I subsequently discovered from the prison e r at the bar. It is not necessary to go into details a s they do not concern the case in point but Mrs Westlake had committed suicid e whil e in a flt of delirium tremens by throwing herself from the window of her dwelllnr. THE END. Read "AN ENGINEER AT 16 ; or, THE PRINCE OF -THE LIGHTNING EXPRESS," by James C. Merritt, which will be the next number (299) of "Pluck and Luc k." SPECIAL NOTICE: All back number s of thi s weekly are always in print. If you cannot obtain them from any newsdealer, s end the pric e in or pos tage stamps by mail to FRANK TOUSEY, PUBLISHER, 24 UNION SQUARE NEW YORK and you will receive the copies you order by return mail.


WILDWEST WEEKLY A plagazine Containing Stoiries, Sketebes, ete., of testetrn Ilif e. A.N'" C>:L.:O SCC>U'T. 32 PAGES. PBICE 5 CE!lTS. as PAGES. EACH NUMBER IN A HANDSOME COLORED All of these exciting s tories are founded on facts. Young Wild W is a hero whom the author was acquainted. His daring deeds and thrilling adventures have never been surpassed. They form the base of the most das hing stories ever published Read the following numbers of this most interesting magazine and be convinced: LA.TEST ISSUES : 45 Young Wild West and the BuHlau Duke; or, A Lively 'l'lme on 12 Young Wild West a11d tbe Tenderfoot; or, A New Yorker In the Mountain and Plain. West. 46 Young Wild West on the Bio Gral)de; or, Trapping Mexican 13 Young Wild West' s Trjumph; or, Winning Against Great Odds. ColneM. 14 Young Wild West's Strategy; or, '.1.'he Comanche Chief's Laat Raid . 47 Young Wild West and Sitting Bull; or, Saving a Troop of Cavalry. 15 Young Wild West's Grit: or, The Ghost of Gauntlet Gulch. 48 Wild West and the Texas Trailers; or, Bop!Dg ID tbe Bone 16 Young Wild West's Big Day; or, The Double Wedding at Weston. Tb eves. 17 Young Wild west's Great Scheme: or, 'l'be Building of a Railroad. 49 Wild West' s Whirlwind Riders; or, Cbaalng tbe Border 18 the Train Robbers; or. The Bunt tor the 50 You;g West and the Danites; or, Arletta'11 Great PeiU. 19 Young Wild West on His Mettle; or, Four Against Twenty. 51 in tbe Shadow of Death; or, Saved b;r & Red 20 Young Wild w st'e Ranch; or, 'l'he Renegades of Riley's Run. 52 Young Wild West and tbe Arizona Boomers; or, 'l'be Bad Men 21 Young Wild West on tbe Trail ; or, Outwitting t.he Redskins. of Bullet Bar. 22 Young Wild West' s Bargain; or, A Red Man With a White aeart. 53 Young Wild West After the Claim-Jumpers; or, !I'&mllll a 'l'ougb 23 Young Wild West' s Vacation; or, A Lively Time at Roarinc Town. 24 West On Hie Muscle ; or, With Nature'11 54 and the Prairie Pearl; or, The Myster1, of No Weajl_ons. 55 Young Wild West on a Crooked Trail; QI", Lost on the Alkali 25 Young Wild West's Mistake; or, Losing a Hundred Thousand DE;lert. 26 Young Wild West In Deadwood ; or, The Terror of Top. 56 Young Wild West and the Broken Bowle; or, The Outlaws of 27 Wild Weat's Close Call; or, The Raiders of Raw Hide Yellow Fork. 28 West Trapped; or, The Net That Would Not Hold 57 Running Fight; or, Trapping the Reels and Him. 58 Young Wild West and His Dead Shot Band; or, tbe Smuulers 29 Young Wild West' s Election; or, A Mayor at Twenty. of the Canadian Border. 30 Young Wild West and the Cattle Thieves; or, Breaklne Up a "Bad 59 Young Wild West' s Blind Ride ; or, Tbe Treasure Trove of the. Gang." Yellowstone 31 Young Wild West's Mascot; or, The Dog That Wllnted a MaJter. 60 Young Wild West and the Vigilantes; or, Tbl11nlng Out a l{ard 32 Young Wild West' s Challenge; or, A Combination Hard to Beat. Crowd 83 Young Wild West and the Ranch Queen ; or, Rounding Up the Cat-tle Ropers. 34 Young Wild West' s Pony Express ; or, Getting the Mall Through on Time. 35 Young Wild West on 'the Big Divide; or, The Raid of the Rene gades. 36 Young Wild West' s M!liion In Gold ; or, The Boss Boy of Boulder. 37 Young Wild West Running the or, The Pawnee Chief'!' Last Shot. / 38 Young Wild West and the Cowboys; or, A Bot Time on tbe Prairie. 39 Young Wiid West' s Rough Riders; or, The Rose Bud of the Rockies. 40 Young Wild West's Dash tor Life; or, A Ride that Saved a Town. 41 Young Wild W est' s Big Pan Out; or, The Battle for a Silver Mine. 42 Young Wild West and the Charmed Arrow; or, The White Liiy of the Kiowas. 43 Young 0Wild West's Great Round Up ; or, Corranng t h e Ranch Raiders. 44 Young Wild West' Rlfte Rangers; or, Trailing a Bandit King. 61 Young Wild West on a Crimson Trail; or, Arletta Amon 1 the Apaches 62 Young Wild West and "Gilt Edge Gil"; o.r, Touching u p the Sharpers. 63 Young Wild West' s Re c kless Riders; or, After the Train Wreck ers. 64 Young Wild West at Keno Gulch ; or, The Game That Was Never Played. 65 Young Wild West and the Man from tbe East; or, The Luck tbatFound the Los t Lode. 66 Young Wild West in the Grand Canyon; or; A Finish Fight With out laws. Q 7 Young Wild West a n d the "Wyoming Wolves"; or, Arietta'e W onderful Nerve. 68 Young Wild West's Dangerous Deal; or, The Plot to Flood& Silver Mine. 69 Young Wild West and the Purple Plumes; or, Ohe)"enne Charlie' Close C&ll. 70 Young Wild West at Camp"; or, Sp0illng T.yncbinit!Jet FOR SALE BY ALL l'fEWSDEA.LERS, OB. WILL :BE SENT TO ANY ADDRESS ON RECEIPT OF PRIC:& 5 CENTS PER copy, BY ', { I t .! .l"\\ FRANK TOUSEY. Publisher. 24 Union Square. New York.i IF YOU WANT ANY BACK NUMBERS o f our Librar ie1 and canno t procure them from newsd e alers, t h ey can b e o 'btai ned from this of!ice direct. Cut out and ftll i n t h e foll owing Or der Blank and send it to us with t he price o f the boo k s y ou want and we will send them to you b y re-turn mail P O STAGE S TAMPS TAKEN THE S AME AS M O NEY. FRANK TOUSEY, Publisher, 24 Square, New York. ................... 190 DEAR Sm-Enclosed find ...... cents for which please send me: .... copies of WORK AND WIN, Nos ................ ................................................ " WILD WEST WEEKLY, NOS. . ................ .. -............................ " FRANK READE WEEKLY, Nos ........................................................... " PLUCK AND LUCK, Nos .............................................................. " SECRET SERVICE, Nos ................................................................ " THE LIBERTY BOYS OF '76, Nos .................................................... " Ten-Cen t Han d Boo ks N o s ......... .................................................... Nnme ................. Street and No ...... .............. Town .......... State ...................


THE STAGE. \ No: 3LH9W T9.BECOM. E A fbu!'N '41 THE BOYS OF NEW YOl:tK END'MEN'S JOK-E teen 1llustrations;gmng the positions to 0 . d h a good speaker, reader and elocutiomst. Also contammg gems frem a great variety of.the Jokes use t e all the popular authors of prose and poetry, arranged. in the< moe m e n. No amateur mmstrels 1s complete without I simple and concise manner possible. this wonderful little book. No 49. HOW TO DEBATE.-Giving rules for conducting d No. 4;?. THE I?OYS OF NEW YORK STUMP SPEAKER.bates, outlines for debates, questions for discussion, :;i.nd the b .. f, Cont11i!J-111g a varied of stump Negro, Dutch sources for procuring information on the questions given. and Irish. Also end men's Jokes. Just the th111g for home amuse1 ment and amateur sho ws. SOCIETY No. 45 THE BOYS OF NEW YORK MINSTREL GUIDE . AND JOKE BOOK.-Something new and very instructive. Every No. 3. TO arts. and wiles fhrtatloo a bo should obtain this book as it contains full instructions for orfully by this httle book .. Besides the var1_ous ?1eth.oda ofi an amateur minst{el troupe. ha.ndkerch1ef., fan, glove, parasol, wmdow. and hat flirtation, con 1 No. &. M:ULDOON'S JOKES.-This is one of the most original a .full list of the languag e and sentiment of flowers, which I" j k L-k er publ'shed and it is brimful of wit and humor. It 111.terest mg to everybody, both old and young. You cannot be happ;, o e lJ'JO .1 i without one a large collection of .songs, conundr'!ms, .etc .. of No. 4. HOW TO DANCE is the title of a new and handsom .Lerrence Muldoon the great humori s t and pra.ctic!11 Joker of little book just i ss u e d by Frank Tousey. It contains full instruc the <;Jay. Elver! boy .who can enJOY a good substantial Joke should t ions in the art of dan<'ing etiquette in the ballroom and at partie.. obtam a copy i mm ediately. h d d f 11 d' f 11' ff Jl I No. 79 HOW TO BECOME AN ACTOR.-Containing comress, an u irect1ons or ca mg o m a popn ar sqnaN. 11letc .instructions. how to ma ke up for va'.ious characters on the No. HOW TO MAKE LOVE.-A complete guide to lovti > togi;ther wi t h the duties of the Manager, Prompter, courtship and marriage, giving sensible advice, rules and etiqnett4,J Scenic Artist and Property Man. By a piomrnent St!1g.e Manager. to be observed with many curious and interesting things not gen -N?. 80. GUS WILLIAMS' JOK!Jl the late rally known : Ht iokeR, anecdotes and funny. stories _of this world-renowned and No. 17. HOW TO DRESS.-Containing full instruction In Her popular Gerl!la.n comedian Sixty-four pages; handsome art of dres s ing and appearing well at home and abroad, givinr tbia: derful book, containing useful and practical information lo tl:>t.,' treatment of ordinary diseases and ailments commo n to eve ,,, family Abounding in u se ful and effective recipes for general co m plaints. No. 55 HOW TO COLLECT STAMPS AND COINS.-Coim taining valuable information r egarding the collect ing and arranrilltJ' of stamps and coins. Handsom e l y illustrated. No. 58. BOW TO BE A DETECTIVE.-By Old King Bradl.' t h e worl d-known detective. In which he lays down some valuable and sensible rul es for beginners, and a lso relates some adventut!& pile d and written by Lu Senarens, author of "How to o West Point Military Cadet." -PRICE 10 CEN'J'8 EACH, OR 3 FOR 25 CENTS. Address FRANK TOUSEY, Publisher, 24 Union Square, New York.


.A. l.'1" :0 CONTAINS SORTS OF STORIES. EVERY STORY COMPLE' l'E. 32 PAGES. BEAUTIFULLY COLORED COVERS. PRICE 5 CENTS. LATEST ISSUES: 262 For Sa l e by A ll Newsdeale r s, or w ill be Sen t t o An y Address on Receipt 0 P r ice, 5 C e n ts per Copy, by !'RANK TOUSEY, Publisher, 24 Union Square, New York IF YOU WANT ANY BA.CK NUMBERS of our Libraries and cannot pro cure the m from n e wsd e al e rs, the y can be obtained from this office di r ect. Cut out and fil l in the follo wi ng Ord e r Blank and send it to u s with the price of the b o ok s you want and we will se nd t h e m to y ou by ret urn m a il. POS'l'AGE S TAMP S TAKlijN 'l'HE SAME AS MONEY . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . FR.ANK T O USEY, Pub l i sher 24 Union Square, New Y o rk. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 190 DEAR SmE n c losed find ..... cen ts for whic h please send me: ... copies 0 WOR.K AN D WIN, No s . . .... .... . . .... ....... ..................................... '' W ILD WES T W EEK L Y, N o s . .... ...... . ...... . .................. . ............ . . " FRANK REA D E WEE K LY, Nos ....... . . .......... .......... .......... . . ........... " PT,UOK AN D LUC K. N o s .... . ...... ....... .................... ...... .............. " S E C R E T SERVICE, NOS ....... . . ...... . ............ .................. ......... " 'I'H E LIBERTY ROY S OF 7 6 Nos ................... .. ..... ......... ................ . " T e n -Cen t Hand B ooks, No s ....... .... .... ...... .................................... Name ..... . .... .... ..... . .... Street a nd No ........... ... ..... Town ..... . . S t ate . .............


Flli\:NK 1lEi\:DE WEEKi y Mi\:Gi\:ZINE. Containing Stories of Adventures on Land, Sea, and in the El""Y' ''N"C>N" A.1v.l:El.'' EA.CB BUllBEB IN 4. HANDSOMELY ILLUMINATED COVBB. A 32PAGE BOOK FOB FIVE CENTS. All our reaClers know Frank Reade, Jr., the greatest inventor of the age, and his two fun-loving eliums, Barney and Pomp The stories published in this magazine contain a true account ()f the wonderful and ex

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