Buffalo Bill's mascot, or, The mystery of Death Valley

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Buffalo Bill's mascot, or, The mystery of Death Valley

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Buffalo Bill's mascot, or, The mystery of Death Valley
Series Title:
Buffalo Bill stories
Buffalo Bill
Place of Publication:
New York
Street & Smith
Publication Date:
Physical Description:
1 online resource (32 p.) 28 cm.: ;


Subjects / Keywords:
Dime novels. ( rbgenr )
Western stories. ( lcsh )
Buffalo Bill -- Fiction -- 1846-1917 ( lcsh )
serial ( sobekcm )


Original Version:
Volume 1, Number 56

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Source Institution:
University of South Florida
Holding Location:
University of South Florida
Rights Management:
The University of South Florida Libraries believes that the Item is in the Public Domain under the laws of the United States, but a determination was not made as to its copyright status under the copyright laws of other countries. The Item may not be in the Public Domain under the laws of other countries.
Resource Identifier:
020823157 ( ALEPH )
223329045 ( OCLC )
B14-00056 ( USFLDC DOI )
b14.56 ( USFLDC Handle )

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l A VVEEKLY PU6LIC.ATION DEVOTED TO'BORD E-R HIS.TORY Week:y By Subscrip tion $2so per year. E n t ered as Sec on d Class Matter at New Post Office by STREET & SMITH, 238 W1tuam s;. ,;: Y: No. 56. Price, Five Cents. BUFFALO BILL TURNED IN IIIS SADDLE AND SENT A DOZEN SHOTS FROM HIS WINCHESTER RATTLING BACK UP THE IIILL .AT THE SAVAGES.


'f rt n (f [?LA\l1@ ill 0110; ) A WEEKLY. PlJBLICATION DEVOTED TO BORDER HI STORY Issued By S"bscription $2.50 per year. E11tered as Second Class .Matter af f!M N. Y. Post Office by STREET & SMITH, 238 W11liam St., N. Y. Entered accordingto Act of Ccng-ress i:i the year IQOa, in tlte Of/ice of llze Librarian of Congress, Washington. D. C. No. 56. NEW YORK, June 7, 1902. Price Five Cents. BUff !LO BILL'S MASCOT: >, r I The Mystery of Death Valley. By the author of "BUFF ALO BILL.,. CHAPTER I. 'tHE VALLEY or DEATH. Just as the sun was sinking below the mountain horizon in Arizona, a horseman haltecl upon a ridge, which he had ascended from a trackless, barren plain, where neither bush, grass, tree nor stream was visible, and gazed upon the sce n e there spread out before him. "Is this one of those mirages of this wild laud, of which I hav..:: heard so much, or is it in reality a scene of beauty, a fertile valley?" muttered the horseman as he sat upon his horse and gazed upon a beautiful valley spread out before him. Beyoncl, far beyond, was a range of lofty mountains, anu upon either side of him were the ridges of hills which formed the vale. A river ran winding through the valley, with trees fringing its banks, and here and there were pretty bits of scenery to tempt the ete of one who loved nature. "A far hette r place in which to spend tbe night, old horse, than what we Iiad auticipated having, after our long and dreary ri

THE BUFFJ\LO_BILL STORIESo the evil spirits that may hauut this spot of beauty before us, do we not? ''Come, old pard, it is getti11g dark, so we must hunt a cah1p for the night." So saying, the 11orsemat1 rode ove_r the ridge, and making his own trail started down into the valley toward the river. He was splendidly mounted upo11 a large, long-bodied, clea11-li111bed bay, whose every look indicated great speed and endurance1 and his trappings showed that was out upon an extended scout, as he carried a roll of blankets, a bag of provisions, a!ld saddle pockets well filled. 'f lie rider was a man of nutjestic appearance, for he was as erect in bearing as an Iudian, had a slen der, wiry form, broad shoulders, and rode like 011e whose life had been passed in the saddle. A buckskin hunting shirt, leggings stuck in the tops of high cavalry boots, and a broad-brimmed .sombrero of terra-cotta lme completed his costume, which was striking and pict11resque. He had a lariat hanging upon one side of his saddle horn, a repeating rifle upon the othei-, and a belt encircled his waist in which there were two large revolvers and a bowie knife. lf the general appearance of the man was striking, his face wa s more so, for his featmes were clear-cut, formed i1: a refined and expressive mold, his eyes l arge, full of feeling and fire, and a mustache. imperial gave him a military look, which his beariug and seat in the carried out. His was a face to see and never forget. It was Buffalo Bill. the scont, gnide and Indian fighter, and he was venturing alone, with night npon him, into the weird land known as the \'alley of Death. Buffalo Bill was well eq11ipped with his outfit for c

THE BUFF ALO BILL STORIES. 3 Then be gathered some dry wood and soon had a bright fire burning. He had no fear of Indians there, and so felt secure, for the redskins would not move abroad at night, even if they were in the valley and saw the fire. Filling his coffee pot with water from the river, he got out bis haversack of provisions and began to coek his supper. This, when ready, he ate with the relish of one in the perfect vigor of manhood, afterward spreadillg his blankets among the cedars, throwing on more wood to brighten up the surroundings, that he might see about him. 1 In gathering more wood, Buffalo Bill strolled some distance from the fire, but where the rays of its light penetrated, and as he turned with his arms foll to retrace. his way to camp, he suddenly stoppe d short. .rrhe wood fell from his arms, a11d au exclamation of amazement broke from his lips. And no wonder, for he had suddenly come face to face with an object that was enough to unnerve any one. There before him, not a few feet away, su spende d from a large limb hung a human form. But brave scout was only au instant in regaining his wonted calm mien, and, stepping quickly forward, lie placed his hand upon the face of tbe hanging man, for his fe e t nearly reached the gronncl, while from his lips fairly rnng the words: "Great God! the body is still warm!" CHAP'l1ER II. THE UNKNOWN Buffalo Bill had often seen other men hanging in the timber, and he had known of many wild deeds of lawless bands and Vigilantes Yet this was a case tha t startled him, for it \Vas coming upon a mau hange d to a tree, in a valley said to hold no inhabitant, where only wilq beasts roame d at will. When his hand rested upon the face of t)ie man he felt that the fles h was yet warm, that death, if he was dead, had been most recent. He forgot own dan,ger, from those who 'had doue tbe deed, in his anxiety about the uuknowu mau, and quickly he drew his knife, severed the rope and bore the form to lii s camp. He then took the noos e from the neck, and saw that it had not closely encircled it, that there was a space uuder the chin which had prevented g11ick strangulation. The hands were tied behind the back, and the feet also were bound, but they were quickly releas ed. Then the scout placed his ear over the heart of the man, and felt that there was the slightest, faintes t pulsation observable. He got water from the stream and bathed the face and neck, and violently rubbed the ches t and hands, while he forced a little whisky and water into the lips. Thus he worked hard upon tlie man to bring him back from across the death line, back in to life. It was some time before he felt t .hat he would b e rewarded, but drawing off the boots he placed his feet close to the blazing logs, and having heated water in the co!Iee pot he wet towels with it, and bo u nd them about the wrists, over the pulse, and laid them over tile heart, while he continued to bathe the red and swollen neck. At la s t the pendulum of life began its backward aud forward swings, at first slowl y it 1 s true, and witl1 an irregular movement, yet showiug that the struggle to live was exerting itself. Steadily came the heart beats afte r a w h il e the puls e s stopped their fluttering and became more regular, and a tinge of color c ame into the pallid face. At las t, after hours of w ork, the lips parted with gas p s as the breath filled the lungs, then came tli e quivering of the muscles, a trembl!ng of the eyelids and the 11ext moment the g a ze of the man met that of Buffalo Bill. There was a choking sensation, a s the man strove to speak, and the n came the words in a low, hoarse whisper: "l\Iy God! why did you not let m e die? "Must I endure all this agony again?" "My good friend, you are not now with thos e who made you suffer. "I found you hanging to a tree, and as your flesh was yet warm, I worked on you for bo11rs to bring you back to life." "Ah! you are not one of those demons wli o sought my life, and--" He paused and the scout said, geutly: "Ko, I am a scout from Fort Defiance, and com i11g into this valley to camp I found you here."


' 1"Ht BUFFALO BILL STORIES. "Go! Go at once, for if you stay here you will his hair long, falling half-way to his down his meet your death. back. "Go, I say!" The face, however, was a striking one, the eyes 'rhe man spoke excitedly, yet he did not move, as being large, expressive, and with a look in them that might have been expected. was strangely fascinating, though unreadable. His whole form seemed lifeless, paralyzed. The teeth were even, white, and the nose straight ''I have brought you back to life and I shall and well formed. remain and care for you until yotl' are able to leave It. was hard to guess the age of the sufferer, for with me. though he hardly looked to be thirty, yet there were "If danger comes I shali meet it as best I can," gray hairs upon his temples, and he had the appear-was the reply of Buffalo Bill. ance of one more settled than had he lived only a ''No, you must depart from here and at once, for s core and half of years. you do not know what your fate will b e if yon His expression was strange)y stern, save whe11 he remam. spoke, and then eyes and face lighted up to a "You have brought me back to life, yet it would rem arkable extent. h a ve been better had you left me to die, for see, I am Having seen that the map was nearly help)eS$, the helpless; my whole form s eems paralyzed." scout felt that something must be done to aid him, "That feeling is but temporary, the blood will and he saicj: soon circulate freel y aud you will be all right "Do you know t!iis valley?" agaiu." "I do." "You think so ? eagerly asked the sufferer. "Could you suggest a plac.e where we might fjnd a "Ido. s afe retreat for several days?', "Heaven grant that your words may be true, "Yes." for once again strong myself, there is work that "Then I will aid you into my sacldle i:llJ

. l'HE BUFFALO BILL STORIES. 5 his companion from the saddle and laid him upon his blankets near the fire. "Yes, no one will come here, and firelight cannot be seen by night, nor the smoke by day, for it all goes into the dark holes you see in that cliff. "Then, too, there are graves here by the score atld not even a white man of this valley will come here." "There are 'vhite men in this wlley, then?" quickly said the scout. The unk11ow11 did not reply, and the scout did not press the matter, but kept up considerable thinking over what he had heard. The horse was hiriatecl out to feed, wood w a s gathered, and the scout soon had a cheery camp of it. He divided his blankets with his suffering com rade, and then they turned in for the couple of hours which yet remained of the night. The sun was up when Buffalo Bill awake. His companion was sleeping soundly, so he did not disturb him, and after leading his horse to water, gathered a quantity of woocl, getti1lg the largest logs he could find, for he had decided what course he would pursue. if the unknown was not much better when he awoke. Whenat last the stranger did awake, Buffalo Bill found that he was able to use his hands and arms, but he yet seemed paralyzed froip his waist down, He gave him a hard rnbbi11g, then breakfast, and said : "See here, pard, I have come to a resolve about you." "Yes." "I have food enough to last you a few days, and what I will also need for myself, and I will build you a large fire of logs, put provisions within your reach, and start ible, though I do believe that a surgeon could soon bring you around "I can go to Fort Defiance and return within four days, and I know the surgeon, or his assistant, wlll return with me, and I can bring an <1mbulance al011g also to carry you back." "No, I will not go, and no army man must come into this valley. "You know it is fatal to all who come here." "I have heard so, but I arn very trJ11c11 alive yctt, and you seem to have lived here." "And was hanged, bqt saved by you. "No, not a soul must come here, tlOt

1 u.C BUFF l\LO BlLL STORIES. "You doubt me? "No, for I know you." "Who am I?" "Buffalo Bill." "How do yon know that?,, "Well I have seen you before." "I do not recall having met you before." "Perhaps not, yet we have met, or at least I have seen you before, and I know you to be Buffalo Bill, Chief of Military Scouts at Defiance. "I know you to be one to trust, if I dared do so, with life and all else. "But I must remain unknown to yon, and, just as soon as I am able, you must leave me, going quickly away from here and never returning to this Valley of Death again.', "Such an injunction simply increases my desire to know more of the weird valley." "Upon your life, you must not. "Be content with what you d? know, that it is a weird place, that it has its mysteries, its graves with histories, yes, you see yonder the mounds that mark the resting-place of half a hundred people whose real fate is unnkown. ', '"Do you know what their fate was?" "It matters not if I do, or do not, for they are dead, their story is told now only by those mounds,,, and he pointed up the canyon to where the eyes of the scout were resting upon a number of graves, not one of which was marked. The scout arose and walked slowly toward the graves. 'They were overgrown with grass, showing th a t they had not been recently made, and Buffalo Bill counted just forty-nine of them. There was in the very center a space left vacant, as though by design, and it was large enough for another grave. Here was driven a stake, which the scout bent over and looked at with interest, for upon it were just forty-nine notches, cut into it with a knife. "How strange," muttered Buffalo Bill as he stood there gazing at the stake, placed in the vacant spot in the center of the graves. "Well, my duty is plain, and that is to go to Defiance and get aid for this poor fellow, or he will die yet in this valley, where the mystery deepens to me every minute. "Yes, I will arrange to s lip quietly away tu-night, leaving a note telling him I felt it my duty to go, and placing food enough to last him within his reach. "Yes, I go to-night, that is certain." With this determination formed, the scout walked about the canyon, taking it all in carefully, changed his horse to another spot further away, and began his preparations to quietly steal away from his unknown comrade when night should come on. Buffalo Bill was anxious to make his arrangements for going in a way that would not attract the atten tion of his strange companion to what he intended doing. Conning the mattercarefully over, he felt that it was his duty to go for aid, as it was impossible for him to move the man from the camp with him so helpless. He could not hold himself in the saddle, even, and the scout would not be able to ride a long distance holding him there, for the double dufy ,...on his horse would soon break him down. He gave his companion a good supper, and, while preparing it, divided his provisions, placing the largest quantity to one side for the use of the sufferer. He managed to slip Ot)t one blauket also, and had placed his horse some distance away, so that his going would not be heard by the stranger. By the twilight he wrote a few lines on a slip of paper a11d wrapped it on a stick which he intended to place where the unknown would see it upon awakenipg in the morning. He made another effort to find out something about his strange companion, why he was in Death Valley, and what had brought him to that part of the coun try, as also who had been his foes. But all questions proved in vain, as the unknown still insisted upon remaining a mystery to the scout. When they had retired for the night, and the scout felt that his companion was sleeping sonndly, he noiselessly out frow under the blankets, placed the provisions within reach of the otl:er1s hand and a revolver as well, with some ammunition, in case any wild beasts, discovering his cri!Jpled conditjon, might seek to attack him. He then piled up near him a number of logs, which could be thrown upon the fire to keep it burn ing, and which had been liberally supplied with wood by the scont, though the weather was not cold. Then, with a glance of farewell at the mysterious man whom he had befriended, Buffalo Bill crept


THE BUFFALO BILL STORIES. ii silently awa y out iMo the cfarkne ss beyond the firelight. He tarried with hitn a small bag of provisions and a blanket, and soon reached his saddle and bridle which he todk along with him to where his horse was staked out. He had written upon the slip of paper a s follows: "I feel that it is my duty, tJ11known Pard, to seek ai warn you of danger.'' "What danger?" "Dea t)1. "fodeed, and at whose hands?" "Nevet mind, but say that you will obey ti1e." St1ppose I do not?" "Then yoti ride to your death." "If I do?" "'Phen you shall be saved from death." "I se e no other alternative than to obey. "Yon are wise. "But I gjiall dema nd a pledge of you." '"What is it?" "Yon must promise not to approach nearer to me tha n you now are, and when I leave you, that yo11 will not attempt to follow m y trail." ''If l refuse?'' 1.1 must leave you tu your fate, for my life is at stake if I am known to befriend you." ":\Jay y on not be leading me into an au1bush if I follow you? "Why sh611ld I, when you are at m y mercy now? "At your mercy?' "Yes for I could s encl a bnllet tHrough your heart now, if I wished.'


" THE BUf'f' .i\LO BILL STORIES. "Well, I'll accept your terms." ''Then follow me; but remem bet, do not come close to me." "I shall not forget," answered the scout. Then, ont of the 0thicket glided a form upon which the eyes of the scout were riveted at once, as he tried to penetrate the darkness. The voice had beeri in a hoarse whisper, and had struck Buffalo Bill as one that was boyish. But, as the form left the timber, branching short off from. the trail which Buffalo Bill had been following, he saw that the one who had warned him was a woman. She was on foot, liad short skirts, a slouch hat, aud h e r l ong hair fell about her like a veil, while sh e glided, rather thau walked along. .... She led the way across the valley, after leaving the timber, aud walked rapidly, ever and anon half turning to raise her hand and call out: "Not too near, remember." The scant checked his horse, as he seemed inclined to go n earer to his stra.r.ge guide, and finding that tiJe animal still pressed forwar d he dismounted and Jed him along. Then he kept at the required distance, thoug h he was mos t anxious indeed to get a closer look at the one who was befriending him. He was more than ever surprised to find a woman there in that Valley of Death, a weird place which he had belie\'ed to hold no inhabitants save wild beasts, nnless there was a band of redskins secretly dwelling there. "Surely this Valley, of Death is panning out mos t m ysteriously," muttere d the scout as he walke d along in the footsteps of his guide. "First I fi11d a man hanged h ere, and that lie will tell me n othing about himself, and nex t I run 11poll a most remarkable adventure in meeting a girl guide here. ''I d u 11o t u11dersta11d it al-all, but I mus t befLr e I give up the trail." _'\fter walking a distance o f a mile, the guide suddenly halted in a little thicket, and a m oment after Buffal o Bill saw her c ome out o n h orseback. "I left my h o rse here, and n e w we can push a l o n g rapidly; but you must still keep your distance," she said, as she started off at a galiop, Buffalo Bill fol lowin2 her. CHAPTER IV. THE STRANGE GUIDE. At the pace which the Girl Guide was keeping up, conversation was out of the question, and s o the scout said n othing to her, but still kept bis h orse at the steady gallop which she had set. Thus several miles were passed over, and ascending a ridge that was thickly wooded, Buffalo Bill beheld beyond the barren plains stretching far out for mnny a long mile before him. Here the guide halted and said : "I have saved you a d ozen miles by'bringing y o u this w;:iy, for if you will head for that black peak yonder, a volcanic m ountain, you will find yourself on the trail by which yon came h ere wheu the clay dawns.'' "How do yon know the trail by which I came here?" and as Buffalo Bill spoke he started to nearer to the guide, when she quickly waved him back witli the words: "Be careful, for you are coming too near!" "Pardon me; I shall not offend again." "To answer your question, I will say that you could have reached Death Valley only by one trail, unless you know the one l just led y ou over, and yo l will return tlie way yon came." "Suppose I say that I prefer to remain and inve stigate the mysteries of this valley?" "Brave a man a s yon are you wonlcl not dare do that." "Why not'" "Yon love life and your certain death would fol low.'' "I would take the chances to know what the mys-tery here i s '' "Don't clu it for you c o uld 11ot find out." Do you dwell here?" "Where else could I dwe ll?" "True; hnt I wonld like to know who and what you are that you can live where you say it would be certain d eath to me to remain?" "I am what I am and I can say no more other than t o utge yon to depart at once and neve r c ome here again.'' "Suppose I say 1 wi 11 come again?" "Then yon 'yill find your grave here in Death's Valley, for another time I cannot save you." "From what have you saved me now?" "From certain death as I told yott."


THE BU ff ALO BILL STORIES. ''Then others than you kuow of my being here?'' After a moment of hesitation the reply was: "Others thau I know that you came into the valley and your departure was expected very soon so that there are those who are now lying in ambush for you. "I can tell you no more, so now go on your way." "One question more?" "Well?" "How do you know who I am?" / "You do not deny that you are Buffalo Bill?" ''Ob, no.'' "I know you as I have seen you before." "When and wl1ere ?" "It matters not when or. where, but I have seeu you and another saw yon enter the valley and hence an ambush was prepared for you when you went .out, for, as I said, you won Id have to return the way you came in.,, "Au ambush to kill me?" "Yes, for it is a law that one who ventures into this Valley of Death mnst die. "But 'now yon m11st go on yonr way and delay no longer.,, Buffalo Bill hesitated, for he was nndecidecl whether to speak of his unknown companion or uot. His strange guide had not ref erred to him in any way, and yet, being a womau, she would hardly be cruel toward him did she learn of his presence there, after, having saved him from an ambush into which he had be e n riding when siie brought him to a halt. But it flashed across the mind of the scout that he wonkl -do well to say 11otlii11g of compa11io11 he had left behind in I he canyon, but to h as ten on to 1.he fort ancl return as soon as possible to bi s aid. 'the more be sa v and knew of the Death Vallev tlie more anxious he was to solve the mystery hanging oyer it. That there were, contrary to. his former belief, dweHers there lie was now as s nred. But who and what were they' They not redskins, for Indians would not have hanged the man he had re s cued did they wish to pnt him to death. \Vho they were their victim eveu would not tell the scout, and herein was a riddle to solve. They were white men beyond all doubt, but wliat had brought them to the Death Valley, and why did they live in that faraway spot and allow no one else to enter there, was what the scout could uot under-s tand, and his strange guide would offer no explana tion, which added to the complication In the darkness Buffalo Bill could tell llothing about his strange guide, especially as she kept him fully thirty feet distant from her. Her voice was low and musical, and he felt sure that she was a young girl. She had leaped into her saddle, when s he mounted with the ease of an athlete, and had led him over a trackless country unerringly, for no trail co11lc1 he discover. Now she pointed to a dark mass towering against the starlit sky, and miles away, and told him to gQ toit and he would strike the trail by which he had come to Death Valley. He recognized the mountain as a volcanic peak which he had passe

10 THE BUFF ALO Bl LL STORIES. saddle aucl was off in a gallop, leaving the scout s t anding b y his hors e and looking after her. "Were it not that I had to go to the fort for aid for that poor fellow, I would rema_in here and take her trail at dawn," muttered the scout. ''I was almost tempted to tell her of that mysterious man, whos e life I had saved; but it is be s t perhaps that I did n ot. ''Well, I must get on my way now as rapidly as pos sible, and this cut off of twenty miles which she said .she saved me, will more than make up for the time I h a v e lost; in fact, from her account, I w ould have b e en killed from ambus h had I goue the way I came in.' The scout now slowl y desc ended the rqcky and dan gerous tra. il to the plains below, aud then mounting rode on at a canter, his guide h eing the volcanic peak mil.es ahe.acl. His horse was fresh and pushed on at a swift cante r, and gradually the range behind him grew dim in the distauce, while the volc a no ahead loomed up larger and larger. J u s t before dawn he reached the bas e of the volcano and recognized the surroundings a s h e h a d passe d there on his way to the Death Valley. He bad campe d the r e, and seeking til e s am e spot, where there was a pool of water in a wa sh, a11cl a patch of gras s he staked out his hors e and ro.lling himself in bis blankets la y clown to catch a couple o f hours o f res t and sle e p. D eprived of his sl eep b y his care of the un!rnown he felt the need of it greatly, and a t once sank into a deeper slumber than it was his wont, when in danger. But there on the barren plain b e lo o k e d for uo peril from Indian or white man, s o felt safe, knowing that h e would awake with the coming of dawn, so well had he trained himself to do s o in his wild life upon the fron tier. But the scout had not dreame d tha t his approach to the volcanic mounta in h a d be e n see n for o thers w e r e the re ahead of him. Tirey saw him stake his horse out upon the little grass plot near the pool and then lie clown to sl.eep. In their hiding-place they watched him until they felt sure that h e was sound a s leep and then a form crept noisele ssly toward him. Another followed, and another, until fiv e dark forms were visible, all stealing cautious l y t oward the sleeping scout. "Me11, come witll 111e for there i s r e d work to be done .. The speaker was a heavily-bearded, long-haired man who rode. into a .camp in Death Valley where half a dozen men were lounging about, their horses staked out near. The one who rode into camp showed tbat he had. ri

THE BU ff' ALO BILL STORIES. 11 ''I see it will be a good thing to see him die, just for revenge, killing him as you like best." "Just so, Nat. ''But who do you think the man is?'' All looked up with interest, but not one spoke, simply waiting to be told, as though they expected to hear the uame of some one who was well known to them. As though realizing that he had a surprise in store for his men, the leader said: ''Well, pards, the man who bas dared venture into this vall ey, and whom we are to capture alive as he comes out, i s none other than--" The leader pansed, and the m e n were all anxiety to have him continue, but said nothing, as they seemed to feel that he enjoyed holding them in suspense. Then he remarked: ''The man is Buffalo Bill, chief of scouts at Fort De fiance." Tl!e words fell like a thunderbolt among the listeners, for not one of them had expected to bear the name their leader uttered. Buffalo Bill?" came in a chorus as each man uttered the name. ''Yes." "He has come into th is valley?" "Yes, Nat." "Cap, that looks bad." "We can capture him." ''Ob, yes, or kill him; but then he is too big a man not to be missed, and if he don't turn up, they'll send a regiment to look for him, while there is one, who, if harm falls upon bim, will hunt down those who have done the deed." ''Who is tl1at Nat?" 'Frank Powell, the Surgeon Scout." "Yes, they are firm pards, and the Surgeon Scout is a dangerous man. ''But Buffalo Bill has come here and he must suffer the consequences.'' ''I only wish that he bad not come." ''So do I." ''Better let him go. back unharmed." ''And guide a regiment here? Oh, no! for be has not come here without niaking some discovery. be has come, and he must suffer the consequences "Come, we will ambush him at Volcano Peak when he comes out," and the men rode on to the place of ambush. CHAPTER V. THR CAPTURR. Buffalo Bill was awakened from his sound slumber by a command thatcould not but startle even his iron nerve, for he heard the words: ''Buffalo Bill, you are my prisoner!'' The sGout's eyes opened upon a scene that was terrify ing, and the first glance was sufficient to show him that the slightest resistance meant instaut death, for he saw fiye forms staudiug within a few feet of him. "v\ell, pards, you have got me covered," he said, without the slightest show of excitement, and sitting up h e coolly glanf:ed about him. ''Yes, so don't be a fool and throw your life away. ''Hand over your guns, Buffalo Bill!" "If you want them take them, for I'll not band them to you.'' "Nat, take the guns," ordered the leader, and the man addressed stepped forward and took the scout's rifle and belt ofanus. ''Have you gotten everything, Nat?" ''I guess so.'' "He's tric;ky, so search him." This Nat did, though with evidently a dread that the search might end disastrously for him. He, however, found no other weapons and then with a lariat secured the scout's hands fi'rmly behind him. ''As I am slightly interested, may I ask whose prisoner I am?" inquired the scout. "You. may ask, bnt I shall not answer." ''What is your pleasure with me?" "That you will find out in good time." '"'All ri ght, I am not impatient,'' was the remark of the scout. When he was secured beyond resistance or escape, the leader sent two men after their horses, while a third went to saddle the animal of Buffalo Bill and bring him up. In a few moments all were ready, and then the leader said: '"I shall tie you to your saddle, Buffalo Bill, for well I know what you are capable of, and more, I shall als9 blindfold you ''Why, when I am so wholly at your mercy?'' ''Well, I have known of your escaping death scores of times, when to get away seemed out of the question, and though I am sure you cannot escape us now, I shall be on the safe side and blindfold you, so you will uot know where you are being taken." ''I have nothing to say, for you are the doctor," \T.'as Buffalo Bill's cool re sp onse, and at once a heavy :;;ilk scarf was fastened securely about his eyes.


12 THE BUFF ALO BILL Then he was aided to mount his horse, his feet were fastened to the stirrups, while the leader held the bridlerein in his hand to prevent the animal dashing suddenly away. The party now started upon their way, and the scout relapsed into silence. But his brain was busy, and every step the horses made was counted, while mt!ntal note was made of the trail were following. "We are going back the way I came," mused Buffalo Bill, as they began to ascend the slope to the range overlooking the valley. Hardly bad be come to this conclusion when the leader, who rode by his side, asked: ''How was it that we found you at Volcano Peak, Buffalo Bill?'' "Because I happened to be there, I suppose." "Yes, that is one reason; but you have been in Death Valley." ''Havel?'' "You have, and you did not come out where you went in." ''Didn't I?" ''No, and with any one else I would feel that you bad a guide out the way you left the valley. "And why not with me?" ''Well, you have a way of going pretty much where you please and might find a way where others would not. "But tell me, did any man guide you out?" ''No, I saw no man to guide me." "You just stumbled upon the other way out?" ''I leave m y horse to do the work of guide when I am at a loss,'' 'said the scout, evasively. The leader now rode ahead and the party ascended the range in single file a circumstance that convinced the scout that they were going back into the valley by way of the trail be had followed in coming out. Of course, he could see nothing, blindfolded as he was, but he could judge of the country and distance, and was confident that be passed over the rauge and along the very trail b y which the mysterious Girl Guide had led him. Once over the range they rode aloug upon a differeut soil from that beyond, and after several miles had been passed over, going at a canter, they came to a halt, when a voice called out: "Ho, Talbot, that is Buffalo Bill yo u have prisoner there?" "Yes, chief, he came into the valley scouting, and we bagged him on his way out at Volcano Peak," answered the leader of the scout's captors, while the man spokeu to as chief said iu a determined tone: "Then he has sentenced himself to death." The man who had met the party which had the scout a prisoner as they rode up and came to a halt, was tall, elegantly formed and dressed in a _costume that was picturesque and striking, for be wore gray corduroy pants stuck in top boots, a velvet jacket of dark blue and embroidered in silver thread, a yellow sash about his waist and a broad sombrero, the latter looped up on one side with a gold star and with a chain encircling the crown instead of a cord. His hair was long aud bis face was bearded, but hidden beneath a mask of red silk. He was armed, and bad the air of a man wbo was dan gerous, if a foe In Yain had Buffalo Bill endeavored to follow the nature of the country as they passed over it, for the ride had been a rapid one, there had been a number of turns., and several times they had dismounted. While nothing was said to convince him of the fact, he was sure that the trail his captors were taking him by was a very dangerous one to take, and they had halted he knew that considerable of an a scent had been made. He hoped he would now be freed from the blindfold, for he was anxious to behold the man who had so readily recognized him, and who had been addressed as chief. There was a certaiu tone in the voice which be felt he had heard before. Calling this man chief told him that the leader of the party who had captured him was simply an under officer, though addressed as" captain" by his men. It was a surprise, and a startling one, to Buffalo Bill, to discover that the dread Valley of Death had dwellers in it, who were indeed to be feared. Who were they, and why were they there? Who was the man that had been badged, and whom he had left in the little canyon? Then, too, who was his Girl Guide? These questions the scout could not answer. Not a word had overheard to tell him who the men were, or where they were taking him. He could only wait and hope, but he did uot like the chief's \Yords that in Yenturing into Death Valley he had sealed his doom. The day had dawned ere the party reached their haltingpla ce, aud the sun was streaming down into the valley, but all was darkness to the blindfolded scout. He was freed from the bonds ahout his feet and ordered to dismouut. This he did, and he was led away a hundred yards or more, his haudsstill bound_ behind liim, his eyes st'ill blinded.


ifHE BUFFALO BILL STORIES. 1 3 It seemed to him when he halted that he was in a caYern, for tbe air was chill and damp, yet be could not tell. He heard tbe rattling of chains, and then his arms were freed, while instant' ly about his wrists were clasped manacles and be was once more secured beyond resistance or escape. "Will you not take this bandage from my eyes r" be asked. Yes, there is no harm in doing so now," was the reply of the man known as Nat. He removed the scarf, and a thrill of horror ran through the scout as he felt that he could not s ee. "Great God! am I blind?" h e s aid eagerly. Tbe man by his side laughed and replied: ''You might as well be, in here, for no light comes into this place. ' ''Ah! I am in a ca\'e ?" Yes but you will find the grave darker and colder." 'It is your intention to put to death, then?" "Yes, the chief and onr captain are argl1ing the mat-ter now." "What is their charge against me?" ''Curios ity. "How do you mean?' "You were too curious about the Death Valley." ''It seems I had reason to be curious.'' "Well, your curiosity will co s t you yom life that i s all.'' "Maybe." ''There is no douht, but a certainty." "When am I to start on the long trail?' "Well, that I don t know, but I gues s very soon. Here comes some one now.'' Footsteps were heard approaching, and then a v01ce called out: ''Ho, Nat!" '' E:ere. '' "The prisoner is there? ''Yes, all secure." "Buffalo Bill I am he.re to tell y ou, from the chief. that you are to die at sunrise to-morrow, for it has been so decided. 'I tell 'u, that you may spend your ti me in prayer." "Do you mean to murder me?" ''Yes, you are doomed. ''Why?'' ''Because you came into the Valley of Death, for any one who ventures here must die. ''Come, Nnt, leave the prisoner with bis own though ts, ' and the two me11 walked a way lea viug Buffalo Bill in irons and alone in the midnight gloom of the cavern. That Buffalo Bill felt his situatiou in all its keen hopelessness, the reader can well understand. He was heavily ironed, and feeling, he found that the iron chains were fast about huge rocks, and the mana cles upon his wri s ts were heavy and too strong to break, even had he the means at hand for breaking them. He tried to slip his hands through, but tfiey were just too small for that. For thespace of a few feet he could move about, and' he felt rocks above a.nd on either side of him, for there was not a ray of light that penetrated the darkness of the cavern Beneath his feet was a bear robe and upon it was a blanket and pillow of grass with a canJ;een of water also. Such were the comforts the place afforded. He sat down upon the bear robe and felt about him. His hand touched something that caused him to start; but only for an instant, for he bad au iron nerve. Then he grasped the object and drew it toward him "It is a body," he said, in a low tone, and his band swept over the face and h e a d The flesh w a s icy cold to the touch, and the scout thrust the form from him, while he muttered grimly: ' I am not afone in this death hole at least. ''Some poor victim, I suppose, and his death leads me to feel that it was no idle threat made that I should die Who is there?" He felt that some one was near him and be was right, for the answe n came: "Dou' t get skeert, pa rd for we bas come ter move a body as might not be pleasant comp'ny fer yer. ''He died last night here, and y ou is in the irons h e had on." "Poor fellow,_be has all of my sympathy." ''Better keep it for yerselt, pard; have. yer found tber deader?" ''Yes, be lies here by my side.'' "Well, you is a game one; but I guess you'll be glad for us to take him away." ' No, for he was compauy for me. ' ''Waal, you is game and no mistake. ''Come, Jack, let s git the stiff out o' tbe r way, for I doesn't lik e this old rock tomb myself." I Buffalo Bill heard the men come nearer and felt them drag the body away from its resting-place by bis side. Then lie said: ''Who was he?'' ''He were a man as come into Death Valley. ' "And he was killed for that reason?" "Yas, he were put here to die, an' you_ see he did iL" ' I feel that he did, for I can see nothing in this black hole.'' "You i s to go the same way."


14 l'HE BUfft\LO BILL STORIES. "To be killed?" ''Yes.'' "Do you kill every man who comes into Death Vallt:y?" "Yes." "Why?" "It's a way the chief has of getting rid of them as is too curious.'' ''Have many lost their lives through curiosity?" quietly asked Buffalo Bill. "Waal, I guess so." ''How many?'' "You'll make thirteen that I knows of." ' Yas, you was an unlucky number, pa rd," the other man said. ''It seems that the twelve before me, from your accounts, were also 11nlucky numbers." "That's so." ''Why did you not bring a lantern with you?" ''It's unhealthy." "\Vhat do you mean?" "Waal, it's ag'in orders of the chief, and I don't want ter see what's in here." ''What is here?" '' Waal, all them as is put to death is buried here, and we is ter dig a grave now for this one. "I guesses yer'll a dozen ghosts to-night." ''i am not afraid of ghosts." ''Nor anything else I has heerd of, from all accounts, about yer, Buffalo Bill." 'Well, I should like to see about me, and know jnst what kind of a place I am iu." "You'll feel better for uot seeing," was the answer as the two men moved away in the beariug their ghastly burden with them. They had been gone but a few minutes when Buffalo Bill heard the sound of dull blows, and he recognized them as the strokes of a pick-ax, and knew that they were burying the unfortunate man who had died there in the cavern. The sound was kept up for some time, and then a deathlike silence followed. Having lost much sleep of late, aud feeling tired, with notlJing to do, and unable to think of any plan for the scout schooled his nerves to quietness and lay down upon the robe to get what rest he could. It was only a few minutes before be was fast asleep, and he slept for a long while and then was awakened by a touch upon bis arm. He quickly grasped a hand and held it with firm grip, while a low voice said: "I am not here to harm you, but to help you." "Ab! I know that voice," said Buffalo Bill in response to the cautiously uttered words of tlJe one whose baud he had grasped. ''Who am I?" ''One who proved a mascot to me, when I was in danger before." "Yes, and who did not know that the ambush was at Volcano Peak, instead of on the range." ''That was not your faulL '' "Yet I failed to aid your escape, and I am here now to befriend y9u." ''That is pleasant news for me.'' ' I will save you, if you are williug to agree to cer tain terms.'' 'What are they?'' ''I cannot tell you other than that you must take a solemn oath not to return to this valley, or betray what you know of it now." 'If I refuse?" "If you refuse, Buffalo Bill, you will die as surely as the sun rises to-morrow morning,'' was the impressive respouse. ''Then, to save lTI)'. life I must vow to keep silence and so allow a band of cutthroats to still dwell in this valley unmolested?" "Yes." "Why will you not aid me to escape withotit iuy tak-ing such a cowardly oath?" ''Because I cannot." '' \Vhy?'' ''I come to you from another.'' '' \Vho ?'' "I cannot make that known to you." ''Man or woman?" "I will not tell." "That one demands the oath of me?" ''Yes." ''Why?'' ''Well, to allow yon to escape that one has to commit a wrong, and to allow you to be put to death would also be a si11. ''I. cannot aid you unknown to that one, so I ask yon to take the oath that you may not be pnt to death." ''They will hardly dare to put me out of the way, des-perate as they seem." J "Do not treasure that hope, Buffalo Bill, for you dd not know the incentive they have to take your life ''Yes, you will surely die." ''Well, I suppose I can do nothing else than take the oath. ' You are wise.'' "It looks cowardly though to do so." "Oh, no, for you would only throw your life away not to do so, and if you escape you will simply have to


THE BUFF ALO BILL STORIES. keep. siie1it al.lout Death '':i.lle}, and what you ki10w of it." '' allow the red deeds done here to go 011 !" ''They had better go on than you die and do no good, for after your deatli hey will be continued j11st the same.'' I ''You are right there, I believe." "'Then be wise and make me a promise that yon will do .as I ask." "If I do I am to qe allowed to escape?" '' Jf you do yon shall go free from this Death Dimgeon t." "What is the oath yon wish 111e to take?" ''Another will ask it of you, not I." ''When?. 0 Very soon, but do not be surprised at anything that may occur or you may bear, and when asked for your oath d9 not answer quickly. .'..'I can say no more. ' .. Without a >iound, the speaker glided away from til e side of the scout, who muttered to himself: '.'Well, if I escape out of this that woman will inde e d be my mascot. ''It does look cowardly in me to take an oath not to hunt down these villains, and yet life is dear to me, and one else rnay ferret them out. "I only wish Frank Powell had taken this trail with me, for then he would have been the man to hunt them down. "I don't suppose my oath will prevent my giving the Surgeon Scout a hint that there is game to hnnt iu Death Valley. ''Well, it's my oath not to betray the fiends, or my life, and take it I am sure now that they will. ''Yes, I have seen enough, since I came into this Valley of Death to show tbat those who rule here are merc-il ess, for the unknown \\ : hom they hanged, the tm fo:rtunate \ 'ictim who died here, are witnesses of their cruelty. ''Ah! I hear some one coming, and it cannot be my mascot, for I could not hear her step.'' The scout listened, and there came to his ears the sound of a step. Th_ e footfalls were slow aud measured, as though the cine comirig was his way in the darkness, and there was also heard the sound of a stick striking the rocks. to gt)ide the walker forward. Nearer and nearer came the footsteps, and then, in a low, deep voice came the words: ''Speak, that I may know where you are in the blackness.'' .'; am here witqin a few feet of you," answered the scout. ''Good! I feared to fall into the Bottomless Pits are near, ''\' ou are Buffalo Bill?" I am." ' I have come to acc ept your term s of escape, your oath, for I will trust you," and the man now stood near to the scout, who still remained seated upon the robe. CHAPTER VI. THE OATH. ''I know you Buffalo Bill," said the one who had come into the Death Dungeon, as he stood by the scout. 'You certaiJ'!lY have the advantage of me, was the reply. "Yes, and will keep it, for in this Egyptian darkness you do not know me. ' ''That meant that in the sunlight I would?" ' Yes.' ''\Veil, whoever yon are what is your motive i'n sparing my life where others hme been shown no mercy?" "How do you know this?" ''.A dead man lay here a few minutes ago.'' ''Ah, y es. ' "And I believe there are a dozen grav es in the en trance to this black hole. "Were you not blindfolded as you came in?" quickly asked the man. ''Oh, yes, but I know that the graves are there, and I ask wh y do you show me mercy when you haYe been mercile s s to others?" ''I have reasons for it which you cannot know. ' 'Are you the man whom I beard addressed as chief? "Suppose that I am?'' "You are not." "Why do you think so?" 'If you were chief you would make no secret of set-ting me free." "A good argument, truly. ''No, I am not chief." ''And we have met before?'' ''I did not say so.' "You said that yon knew me." "Who does not?" ''You implied that you were personally known to n1e." "We will not discuss that." "What is it your pleasure to di scuss?" "Your escape." "Tb at pleases me.,. "To rern .ainhere is your doom. ''I ha\e b e en told s o ' ' You do not c a r e t o die like a rat in a hole, so "I sent


1 3 THE BUff ALO BILL STORIES. one to ask you to take an oath not to speak of yonr coming to Death Valley, or to betray what yon have seen here--" seen? ''I should have to possess the eyes of au owl to see anything here." ''You saw before you were captured." "What did I see?" "You discovered that the valley was in habited." ''Yes, :ram not blind, or was not then. ''What I am now I cannot tell until I get a glimpse of the sunlight without." '_'Well, you are to take oath never to return here again, nor to betray your having been here, or any dis coveries you have made.'' ''If I refuse I am to die?'' ''You are." "If I accept you will aid me to escape?" ''Through another, yes.'' 'Who is that?" "One who begged for your life, she whom you told just uow you would give your solemn oath not to betray us." ''Will you take my oath?'' "Yes." "An oath uuder compulsion is uot binding in law." ''It may not be iu law, but it is with a man such as you are." "Thauk you." ''I know, if you give your solemn pledge.not to be-tray us, you will keep it." "And you demand this?" "I do." ''\Vheu?" ''Now, for I have brought a Bible with me, you are to place your hands, manacled as they are, upon it, am! repeat after me the words of the oath which I dernand of you.'' ''In return for which I am to go free?'' "Yes." / ''All right, I can see my way to do nothing else, and I certainly must admit that you have me at your mercy.'' ''I certainly have. ''Now k11eel." 'l'he scout did so. ''Hold out your hands until yo11 feel this open Bible that I hold, and place them upon it." Buffalo Bill was about to obey when he felt some one step to his side. Not a sonnd was made, hut his bands were grasped and held up, while the chains were shaken purposely. He felt that other hands tban his had rested UJjH)ll. tl:re open Bible w heu the holder of it said.\ "There, that is right. ''Now to the oath." "Yes, the oath." Buffalo Bill started, for he'had not uttered the wo;r::ds, which came in a deep voice from lips within two feet of him. ''Repeat after me." ''I will," and it was again the voice near him that uttered the words. ''I do solemnly vow--" "I do solemnly vow--" came in the hoarse voice of the unknown. ''Not to betray my coming to this ,valley--" ''Not to betray my corning to this valley--'' were the words repeated as before. ''Or to make known aught that I have discovered here.'' These words were also repeated as before. ''I solemnly vow not to return here again, so help me High Heaven!" These words followed as had the others. ''Amen!" "Amen!" came the response. ''Good! you have saved your life, Buffalo Bill, I will send one here to guide you to freedom; but God help you, if you break your oath." ''So be it," said Buffalo Bill for the mysterious utterer of the oath a moment before had already glided a way from bis side. Buffalo Bill spoke agai,n to the one wbo had demanded the oath of him, but he made no reply and the scout heard him shuffling away in the darkness. He yas more than amazed at what had happened, for be had not been the one to take the oath upon his life depended. That the one who had administered it thought that the scout had uttered the words, there was no doubt whatever. He had no thought that any other than the scout and himself were present in the dungeon. Buffalo Bill had not suspected the presence near sf any other until he felt the touch of a hand upon his arm. Who that other was be could but guess. He had felt that th. e hands that thrust his own back from the Bible were small, and when the voice repeated the oath it was disgl1ised, and but for the fact that no one was thought to be there it might haye betrayed the fact that it was a woman's tones disguised. That he had ti.at made the vow, though supposed to have done so, was a source of great relief to the scout. That the one who had made the vow to pre-


THE BU Ff J\LO BILL STORIES. 17 vent his utteriug it, implied that she wished him free to do as he pleased. This would mean that she wanted the baud to be tracked down, wished him to return to the Death Valley and unearth the dark mystery hanging over it. The scout lay back upon the robe with a feeling of almost contentment. He felt that in his mascot, be she who she might, he had a firm friend in camp, and he was willing to leave hislife in her hands. Of course, the added mysteries of the Death Valley impressed him more and more. In the weird retreat there was l certainly a band of law less men, held there for some purpose bey6ud the understanding of the scout. Among these men was a woman, and she had proven his friend. Theil there was another friendly to him-the one who llad demanded the oath of him, under promise of setting him free if he took it. At the head of this outlaw band was a chief, who took the lives of meu at will whom he feared or wished out of his way. These things the scout pondered over deeply while awaiting for the next act in the strange drama in which he was au actor. It seemed that he.waited a !ong time, but then, with the extreme darkness aboufhim, be had no way to judge the time. He was hungry and most uncomfortable, bound as be was, and in total darkness, yet he would bear anything to make his escape. At last he felt that some one was 11ear him. He had beard no sound, but instiuct told him that be wns not alone. That he was right in his surmise was proven a mo-ment after, when a low voice said: "I have come for you." "You are indeed my friend." "No, I am simply doing what I deem my duty toward yon, Buffalo Bill." ''We will not quarrel about the motive, I assure you, that prompts you to be so kind.'' "I am going to set you free." ''Thank you.'' "But you must do as I tell yoir." "What would you have me do?" "I am going to trust you." ''Yon are very kind.'' ''I am going to let your hands be hee, but you must be blindfolded until I see :11.t to let you remove the band-age from your eyes.'' . ' .So be it." ''You must not, under auy circumstances, raise your hauds to remove this handage until I give you permis sion." ''I will obey you." ''Now let me unlock those irons." She felt for the iron manacles, and soon had unlocked them. Then she took a scarf from about her neck, and with it securely bandaged the scout's eyes, so that he could not have seen a ray of light when gazing at the sun. ''Now, give me your hand." The scout did so, and she led him along throngh the cavern, following its windings with a slow but sure tread. At last they came out into the open air. It was a starlight night, and the Girl Guide still led the scout aioug, holding him by the band, and following a trail that was dangerous for even a pedestrian to travel. She at last reached a valley, and then spoke for the first time: "Your horse is here, and your belt of arms .hang upou the saddlehorn. ''You must still remain blindfolded, however, for I will lead your horse as I have you." 'I will do as you tell me,' was the reply. The scout was now led up to his horse, which was saddled and bridled, and bis belt of arms and rifle did indeed hang upon the saddleborn. At the request of the guide, he mounted, while she, taking the rein of the horse, led the way on down the valley, walking at a brisk pace. Buffalo Bill rode along in silence for a couple of miles, or more, his horse led by the girl. He knew that it vvas night by the feeling of the at mosphere, and something told him that he had traveled over a perilous trail. But, though his arms were free be did not once raise his bauds to remove the bandage from bis eyes, great as was the temptation to do so. He had given bis promise to his rescuer and be would 11ot break it. So on be went, the guide leading his horse, until at last she came to a halt and said: ''We part here, for you can find your way alone DO\V. ,, "Not blindfolded?" ''Ob, no. ''Dismount and I will take the bandage off your eyes.,, He obeyed and a moment after be could see But the long time he had been in.total darkness and


18 THE BU ff /\LO BILL STORIES. the bliudfoiding, caused his eyes to feel strangely at first and blink even when turned upon the stars. "I had half feared that I was blind, and I am glad to see that I am all right,'' he said. "You will be all right soou. "Now do you know yonder rock?" ''Yes, if I mistake not, you led me by it on my way out before." "Yes, and after passing it give your horse his head, for he has been over the trail with you and will follow it. "But leave Volcano Peak far to your right, as you may find foes there." ''I will do so, for I am in no humor for a fight yet.'' "No, aud your escape must not be known until to morrow night, when you are to be for to be executed." "Ah! I see. ''I had forgotten that I was to be killed to-morrow.'' ''As surely as you had remained a prisoner you would have been." "I do not doubt it, and I feel that I owe you my life." ''I am glad that you do,'' was the low response. ''And let me tell you that I shall hope to sol)]e day be able to prove my appreciation of it." ''Never mind about that now." "Tell me one thing." "Well?" "Will not your release of me get you into trouble?" ''No." ''Why not?'' "I will not be known as your rescuer." ''But some one will be?" "Perhaps, though I have tried to cover up the tracks of rescue so as to have it appear that you slipped your hands through the irons; found your way out of the cave and to your horse, for your saddle and weapons were near the corral.'' ''Should it be discovered that some one did aid my escape? ''Then some one will be shot, that is all." "Little loss if it be one of the band." 'Perhaps yes. ''But now I have a fayor to ask of you." "Well?" "Will you grant it?;' ''How ciin I refuse?'' \ ''You did not take an oath not to return, here?" ''No, some one took it for me." "Of course I did; but I did so for a purpose." ''And that purpose?'' "That you might not be prevented from coming here and ferreting out the mystery of Death Valley." ''I shall do so, for I am not bound by the oath." ''But the promise?'' "\Vell." ''Is that you will not come for sjx months.'' The scout was silent, for he wished to oblige his rescuer, but yet recalled the man lying helpless up the canyon, and for whom be was to return. ''I do not see bow I can promise that,'' be at last said. "Why "Well, I have my reasons, and I cannot tell you what they are." He was in a quandary, for kind as the girl bad been to him she might not be friend of the man he had foun\'.l hanged. He dared not tell her that he had one in biding, for he could not guess the result. She might know of his hanging, and might not. The strange conduct of the man in making nothiug known to him, caused him to fear that the discaver) that he was not dead would at once be the means of putting him to death at the hands of the band who had before sought his life The girl might be trusted, and might uot. At last he said, having decided what be \\'ould do: "Yes, I'll make the promise not to return for six months, once I have left the valley." ' Thauk you-good-night,'' and without another word she glided away back on the tbey had come. CHAPTER VII. A J\1YSTERI9us DISAPPEARANCE. Buffalo Bill called after the retreating girl, but she waved her hand only, making no reply. He would not follow her, knowing that it was her wish that he should not. Yet he wankd to know more that she alone could tell him. Turning to his horse, when she had disappeared, lie found a haversack full of provisions strapped to the sad dle, and a couple of blankets also. His guide had certainly rel\1embered his wants. For some minutes after she had disappeared Buffalo Bill stood in deep thought. At iast he said to himself: "Well, I could not but make her the promise, after all she did for me, and six months is not very long to wait, with other duties devolving upon me, especially as in that time I can organize a band of men to come here with me and search out every mystei;y in this valley. ''I am certain of one thing, however, and that is that no one else will dare come here in the me'1ntime, so tbe secret will keep for me to discover.


l'HE BUFFALO BILL STORIES. 19 ''As I have given my promise, the only thing I can do now is to take that unknown pard of mine away with me to-night. ''It is not yet midnight, and the canyon is only half a :mile from here, so I will go after him. "He can ride and I walk, for I must strap him on in some way, and we'll get to a hiding-place by dawn, and remain all day, when we can push on by night again. ''It will be slow and tedious work to take him with me, but I can do nothing else that I can see, for my pledge bars me from coming back for him. ''I did not dare tell her that be was there, goocJ. as she see med for what he is to h er I could not guess.'' Having made up his mi ml to the course he would pur sue, the scout mounted and rode on the trail to the stream, and at the cro ssing turned up the little brook toward the canyou. He soon came in sight of the canyon and cautiously approached, after staking out his horse. As he neared the end he saw the glimmer of the firelight and was not long in n:acbing it. But an exclamation of surprise burst from his lips as he sa w that the unknown was gone? Was be deceiving him in claimiug to be unable to walk? Had he deceived him merely to have the scout leave him? Buffalo Bill stood for some time trying to answer the questions he asked himself. He at last gave it up as useless and began to search about the fire for traces of the missing man. He threw more wood on the fire and made brigl.Jt blaze. 'rhen he saw that it had been many hours since the fire had been replenished with wood. This meant that the unknown bad been gone for some time. The blankets bad been rolled up, the provisions taken, and certain it was that the man bad been either able to depart unaided, or he had been assisted. If the former, tllen be surely had deceived Buffalo Bill in pretending to be helpless. If the latter, then he had been found by his foes, and tb!t would mean bis death. .Buffalo Bill's search revealed nothing more than that the unknown was gone. At last, after thinking the matte r over from every standpoint. Buffalo Bill decided what he would do. "As I have not yet left the valley my promise can still hold lil:OOd, I guess. ''At any rate, the msyterious going from here of a man I deemed utterly helpless, alters my plans, for I sabll remain to-night and to-morrow. ''Up the canyon, beyond the graves I saw there, is good water, and grass is plenty, and I'll make my camp there. ''I can stand at bay in the head of that canyon against a score of men, so sheltered would I be among the rocks, and I can retreat, if I have to, by climbing the cliffs, if I have to leave my horse, and I am just as good on my feet as any man who might follow me. "Yes, as I have been supplied generously with pro visions by my mascot, I'll remain here several days and see what further discoveries I can make." With this the scout went after his horse and led him to the head of the canyon, where he staked him out on a plot of luscious grass. He unsaddled him then, and selecting a campingplace, built a fire among the rocks. Going to the other fire an eighth of a mile down the canyon, be pulled the logs away, leaving them to go ont. Then be went back to his camp and cooked supper, of which he stood greatly in need, not having had anything to eat for thirty-six hours. With his hunger satiated be wrapped himself in his blankets and was soon fast asleep. The sun peering over the mountains aroused him and he was quickly astir. Having changed his horse's grazing ground and led him to water, he prepared his breakfast, and was then ready for his day's work, for he intended to spend the daylight in seeing what discoveries be could make. Buffalo Bill first climbed to the top of the cliff, and sheltered by a clump of bushes, took a survey of the valley. There it lay before him, stretching away for many miles in the sunlight, green, beautiful in scenery, inviting, with its streams, timber mottes, hills, small vales and canyons, all peaceful as though not bearing tile name of being fatal to all who it. A small band of elk was feeding a mile away, and half a dozen coyotes were loping along the trail toward the little river. An eagle was soaring aloft, and not a human being was visible far or wide. 'l'be scout had his field-glass with him, and closely searched every knoll, motte and meadow, only to see wild animals roaming about as though in no dread of their mortal enemy, man. Then he descended to the canyon, saw that his horse was well staked where grass was plenty, put a log on his fire, and moved down toward the former camp. He saw where the blankets had been, and his eyes fell upon a slip of paper fastened to a stick. It was tht one he had left for the unknown, but i1ow there was other writing upon it a pencil.


20 l'HE BU ff ALO BILL STORIES. The scout read it aloud as follows: ''Make no search for me, for it will be fatal to you and yours. ' Leave this valley at once, and await until time: solves mysteries here. ''Do not come here again unless you are called upon to do so by Tmi: UNKNOWN." Buffalo Bill read and re read these lines. They were in a bold band, and though not addressed to him be knew that he w a s the one for whom the advice was intended. He could not decipher from what he had read whether the man had gone of his own accord or been taken away. He looked about for trails but found none, save those made by himself in moving about. He walked on dqwn the canyon, but could find no tracks of hoof s s ave thos e m a d e by his own horse, and these were faint. From the can y on be followed the stre am down toward the little ri v er. He had his rifl e with him and two r e volvers for, h e having given o ne of bi s pistol s to the Unknow n, b e bad taken the on e carried in bis s a ddle holster to pla ce in hi s belt. If be s aw an y one he could hide, being on foot and he searched well ahead and in e very direction before he made a move. Reaching the ford, he halted there. Closely be examined the tracks and he s aw that sinc e he bad passed across the ri ver, wild a nimal s had gone there to drink, thus obliterating bi s o w n and all othe r trails For over an hour Buffalo Bill remained in hiding a t the ford hoping s ome one of the lawle s s b a nd would come along. Had one done so, the scout would then a nd there have tried conclusions with him. He wa s jus t about to leave bis hidingplace at the ford, when suddenly be saw a herd of antelope, feeding half a mile away in the valley go flying away as from sight of s ome danger. :{nstantly the scout was on the qui vizoe, and th e glance of bi s e y e s s oon revealed a horseman ride into sight. He was coming lei s llr e l y along directly upon the trail leading to the ford. "He is m y game," mutte red Buffalo Bill a nd be got his weapon s ready for u s e He was lying amid a group of rocks overgrown with bushes, and not two hundred feet from the ford. On came the hors eman and Buffalo Bill had made up his mind to bring him to bay by a demand to surrender. As he drew nearer the scout saw that he was a tall man gorgeously dres s ed and wearing a mask. But, just as he was pretiaring to challenge him, he for tunately -glanced behind him, and following bis look, Buffalo Bill saw half a dozen horsemen coming up the valley toward him. This sight was a great disappointment to :Buffalo Bill for he knew that be dared not risk a fight with desperate men, no matter how well fortified be might be, and having the advantage of au ambush; They came on at a gallop after the one in advance who did not seem to be disturbed in the least by their com ing, which showed that they were his friends, not foes. The leader halted in the streaw to water his horse, and s oon after the others came up. "Did you find any tract:: of him?" asked the first horseman, quickly "No, sir, he bas not yet left the vailey," was the answer "Then let every canyon and thicket in it be searched for hi s e s cape may mean death to u s all. ''Yes chief," was the an s wer and what followed the sc ou t did not distinctly hear, but he felt that he wa s the obj ec t of their c onv e rs a tion and h e kne w hi s dange r full well. If the y attempted to carry out their order to search every thicke t, they would doubtless begin with the on e in which he was hiding, and that would mean a battle to the death, for he would not surrender to any odds, knowing that he would be put to death did be do so trus tin g to those men for mercy. Buffalo Bill's face stern and d etermined, a s h e c rouched the re among the rock s, hi s rifle r eady and his r evolv e rs loo s eued in hi s b e lt. He s aw the men halting at the for d heard their con ver sation, a nd knew tha t he was tb e one they were hunting At la s t the chief said distinctly: ' Are you sure that e ach of the five passes are g uarded?'' ' Ye s, chief. " H e had not pas s e d any of them?". "No, chief, there wa s uo s ign of a trail." "Might b e n o t have left h is hors e a nd gone on foot?" ''He would hardly do that with a de sert to cros s and no provi s ions with him." ''True, the n h e i s still in this v a ll e y. " Yes, chi ef, s o m e where. "Theu find him, and divide here in three parties o f two e ach for I will continue on to the retreat." The scout gav e a sigh of relief at this, for if be h a d but two men to d eal with and be in ambush, he could readily render a good account of him s elf. The chief held some further conver sation with his men an d then rode on aloue ov e r tlle trail, whic h Buffalo


l'HE BUFFALO BILL STORIES. 21 Bill knew must take him up to his retreat in tbe valley, wherever that was, for having been blindfolded in going there he could not be sure where it was. The chief riding on, the men also separated, going in three different directions by twos. To the regret of the scout, two of the men went on up the little brook, toward his camp. Tbat meant that they were going to the canyon and would find his horse. The scout at once decided to follow them, as soon as they were ont of sight, and try conclusions then and there with them, for it would not do for him to lose his horse and camp outfit. If he did, this would almost c ompel a surrender on bis part, for hunger would drive him to it, and on foot, without food; he could never cross the barren plains aoo reach tbe fort. Bnt two of tlie men remained so loug at the ford that the others got out of sight and would reach the canyon, and he knew that it would be madness for him to meet them on the open plain, whe n a shot would bring the others to their aid. At last the two at the ford moved away, goiug toward the other side of the range, aud the third party bad been told by the chief to make the rounds of the passes and order the men there to keep a bright lookout for the escaped prisoner. There was nothiug for the scout then to do but endeavor to reach the upper part of the valley where the nature of the ground be could see would afford him a more secure hiding-place. ''I am in for it, that is certain, a11d about my only chance will be to go into hiding and try and recaptnre my horse as they come along with him. "If they do not come this way, the11 I cau only lay for s0me fellow who has a good horse and take him. "I'll follow the trail of the chief 11ow, and see where it wiH lead me, for I might as well fight it out in one place as another.'' So saying, the scout left his hidi11g-place and started 011 np the yal!ey, following the tracks of the chief's home. He walked rapidly, being anxious to get 011t of sight, as the valley was open for a couple of miles. At last he reachecf undulating ground, and where there was timber scattered ]Jere a11d there. The tran led on, however, toward the hills, and Buffalo Bill was glad to see that his advantages for hiding, or standing at bay, were growing better and better as lie went along. At last, as he turned a point of rocks, he came to a sudt.len halt, for a horse and rider 'iYere before him. He gave a sigh of relief as be saw that it was his mascot. She'had evidently seen him some distance off, for she said, quietly: I was waiting for you." "Waiting for me?" ''Yes, for I saw you when you came out of the timber yonder.'' "Well?" ''I was going i11 search for you." "Then you knew that I had not left the valley?" "Yes." "I did not break my promise, for I had not lett." ''Tr ie, b11t why did yoti not leave?" "I sougbt a hiding-place 'in the yon for t11e time being, intending to leave later on." "Why do so?" ''I will tell you frankly that I had a compa u i o n awaiting me.'' She started at this and said quickly: "You had a companion in this valley?" "I did." '' \Vhere ?'' "Up in the canyon a couple of miles to tbe right of the ford." ''Where is he now?" ''I do not know.'' ''Yott left him there when I led yott out of the valley?" "Yes." ''Why?" "Becattse he was hurt, and could not go with me. "I intended to return for him." "And where is he now?" ''Gone.'' '' \Vhere ?'' ''I do not know. ''. I went to get him and carry him away at all ha1.ards, but found him gone. ''I remained in the canyon all night, and began a search for him this morning. "I had reached the ford whe n I met the chief and six men, and I went into hiding." '' Buffalc Bill, are you telling me the truth?" asked the girl, in an impressive manner. CH,-\PTER VIII. THE SCOL'T EXPLAINS. Buffalo Bill met the eyes of the girl squarely now, lilt her question, and answered: "I am telling yoll the truth. ''I went to the canyon for my frieud, and I found liim go11e.


22 THE BUff'ALO BILL STORIES. "Not having left the valley, I determined to make a search of it, so came' down to the ford, when I saw, that masked man and six others. "He sent them off to search for me, telling two to go the rounds of the passes and have a close watch kept. "Two went up the canyon, so have, of course, found my horse and outfit. ''I came on here, and t!iat is all that I have to tell you.'' "Y9u are a bold man, Buffalo Bill, to remain in this valley after what has. happened. ''Few men would have gone in search of a comrade under *he circumstances.' "lt would have been cowardly to have deserted h"irn." "Why did you not tell me that he was there?" ''I did not know how you would consider it, or if you would have protected him as you had me.'' ''There would not have been the secret motive, perhaps, but I would not have wished your friend to be sacrificed." ''I now wish that I had told yon.'' "You are sure that he is not in the canyon?" "Yes." "Might he not have found a better hiding-place?" ''No." "Was his horse gone?" "He had no horse." The girl looked at Buffalo Bill curiously, and he at her. He saw her now in the glare of day, and beheld a young and really beautiful girl, for ;;he was certainly not over twenty. Her form was slender, yet well formed, willowy, and showed strength and endurance. She was clad in a riding habit of buckskin, embroidered and beaded, and wore a sombrero that sat jauntily upon her head. She had a face to attract attention anywhere, and especially when such a fine face was seen out in Death Valley, and the scout gazed upon it with interest and admiration commingled. He saw that she possessed courage stamped upon every feature, and it was a countenance to trust thoroughly. What such a woman could be doing there, was what puzzled Buffalo Bill e ven more than the other mysteries of Death Valley. "Well, Buffalo Bill, I am sorry you have lost your friend, and I shall make it my business to find out what has become of him. "But now to save you is the first thing to do, for never in your life were you in greater danger tllan you are now." "I appreciate that I am in very close quarters; but I never say die as long as I see a chance of getting out of a scrape.'' "Do you see your way out now?" asked the girl, with a faint smile. ''Well, no, but I am looking for a way out." "There is but one way for you to extricate yourself." ''And that wa y is--'' "To trust to me." "I certainly cannot go far wrong in doing that, after my past exp'erience of your skill, courage and kindness." ''It is fortunate now for you tllat you left your horse behind you, for now you have no trail, and I can save you "Do you see that cliff yonder?" ''I do." "Go there and hide among the rocks, climbing up so me thirty feet. ''There remain in hiding until I come here to-night for you, and I will bring you a horse, provisi'ons and blankets, and will guide you once more out of danger, after which I shall expect you to keep your promise." ''I will do so." ''Now go to your and without another word the strange girl rode on her way in the direction from whence the scout had come. Buffalo Bill found the cliff easy to climb, and be was not long in discovering a place among the rocks where he could hide securely, and tliere was some sage brush growing, through which he could peer at the trail ancl be securely himself. He settled himself comfortably there and waited, tak ing the opportunity to eat his dinner, which he bad brought with him. He had been in hiding about an hour when he beard the sound of hoofs, and soon there came into sight around the point of rocks the two men who had gone to the canyon in search of him. They were not alone, h01vever, for the mystt:rious Girl Guide was with them, and one of the men wa s leading his own splendid horse which they bad found there. ''Right now would I take all chances and drop those two fello1Vs,' thus securing my again, if it were not that my mascot is with them. "No, I must not go back upon her, muttered tti'e scout, while, as though dreading that he might be tempted to fire upon them, the girl, after coming around the rocks, rode quickly to the side of the men which would shield them from a bullet in that direction. The scout iw1s therefore forced to see his horse go by, in the charge of two n1en whom be knew to be outlaws,


THE BUFF ALO BILL STORIES. 23 and h.i!l out.fit as well, leaving .him dismounted, without food or be

24 THE BU ff ALO BILL ''And how in the name of Old Nick did yotl escape?" suddenly asked the mau. "Oh, I got away easily enough. "You should see that a man's bands are not small enough to slip through irons before you put them on." "Well, you are clever, but your Patron Saint guided you out -of that cavern, as a false step would have sent you to perdition, you bet." "Well, I did not take the false step." "You were in luck." ''As I am now in catching you.'' "It won't do you any good." "You think so." "I know it." "That depends upol} how much yon value your life." "I don't understand you." ''I'll be explicit enough so that .YOU ean," ''. All right.'' ''You are my prisoner." "Sure." "I bav. e your horse here, and I see that you have a haversack of provisions on your saddle." "Yes." "We can eat sparingly, so it will last us to the fort." ''.To the fort?" ''Yes, for we can take tnrn about riding and get tliere in three days.'' '"We won't get there." ''Why?" "You won't get out of this \' alley with me." ('Are you sure?" "I am." "Why not?" ''Well, where you haYe to pass out is guarded." ''Your passes are not guarded uy more than two m e11 at each, and I can play the part of Captain Talbot to get up within range, I guess, and drop the guards on duty. ''rhen I'll bring you up and the horses of the guards .will aid us, see?" "Yes, I see," disconsolately said the man. "Now there is a chance for you to save your life." ''How?'' ''Go with me to the fort with the determination to make a clean breast of it about this valley, and yon shall go free.'' "I WQn't do it." ''Then you will go to the fort and be hanged.'' "I cannot betray my pards." "You cannot or will not?" ''Both." ''Why?'' .. "Well, I can't explain why, ):ll1t it use to beg me, or to threaten, for I'll hang before I betray my -:cott1:. rades. '' The scout saw that the man meant what he said. He said that there was some deep reason, unknown to him why be would not save his life by betraying his companions, but be hoped that be might be induced to change his mind, and so said: ''Well, you shall have the chance of refusing at the fort, or ac cepting. "If the former you will surely hang, and we will cap ture your band without your aid. ''If the latter, then you will be a free man.'' ''It will be the latter, for I cannot betray my com rades, if I hang for not doing so.'' ''All right, you shall have the chance of changing your mind. "Now I must gag you." ''Gag me?'' cried the man. ''Yes, for some of your comrades may come this way, and hearin_g the hoof falls you could call them." I won't call out if you-_,, ' I cannot trust you,'' and the scout, with his scarf and the handle of bis bowie knife securely gagged his prisoner so that he could utter no cry to call for aid should any one pass. Bt1 ffalo Bill had macle up his mind to make a break for liberty as soon as it was dark, and not risk the coming back of the Girl Guide who had befriended him. He would carry his prisoner with him, advance npou the guard, and take his chances in a fight for life with them. Then, with t heir horses, and what provisions they mus t ha \e at the p as 3 with the m h e would b e able to get aJong over the des.::rt and make rapicl progre ss in his.fli ght his prisoner. With a ni ght' s start he could d e fy pursuit, and if he could not bring his pri soner to terms, and his promise held him from coming back to VeatlJ Valley under s l x months, the knew oue whom he could trnst as himself, and who would guide a troop of cavalry to the retreat or the outlaws and thus solv e the mystery of the dreaded place. That one \Yas his pard upou many a red trail, hiscomrade-i11-arms and good friend, Frauk Powell the Surgeon Scout. So the scout made up his mind to calmly the coming o f ni ght, when he could act. Another thing was in his favor he felt, aud that was his knowledge of l\YO of the passes, the one where he had entered the valley and the one which the G irl Guide pad showu him when he made his escape before He could, knowing where they were, leave _his horse and prisoner, creep up ou foot and get within easy range


THE BUfF ALO BILL STORIES. 25 of the guards and thus di s cover bow many there were and what be would have to contend with. The hours passed slowly by to both prisoner and cap tor, the former being anxious and showing it, though tbe scout was in equal danger with him. Toward sunse t .again tbe sound of hoofs was beard, but not far en ough off for the scout to prepare another surprise from ambush, though be knew but one horse was approaching. Lying quiet and peering out through a piece of sage brush he had put up before him on the rock, he saw come into sight none other than the chief himself. "If I bad only suspected who it was I would have bad him," muttered Buffalo Bill, greatly chagrined at having to allow the chief to go by his retreat. As before, the chief was masked, and be rode al011g with the pose and ease of a perfect horseman. Arriving in front of the scout's position, be urged his horse into a canter and soon disappeared from sight. ''That man was your chief, Talbot. ''I only wish I bad suspected who he was, for you would have bad company," said the scout. Gagged as he was, the prisoner could not reply but his face s howeQ how be regretted that his chief bad not suspected his unfortunate position and attempted bi s rescue. Having a belief that no one would be following the chief, the scout le ft his prisoner and s allied forth to look up and down the trail. He obtained a view down tbe valley of a couple of miles and saw no one in sight. As night was casting its shadows now he walked rapidly to a place where he could command a view in the opposite direction, in which he knew lay tbe retreat of the mysterions men who dwelt in Death Valley. He got into a position where he could see for half a mile or more but was only able to cast a huniecl glance before shut out b y darkness coming on. That glance, however, showed him that a hor seman wa.s approaching. Was it the chief returni11g ? Was it the Girl Guide? Was it one of the baud, for be had seen but one? Whoever it was, he decided he would hold him up, and at 011ce took position be h ind the larger bowlder, where be had stood when 'I'albot came alo ng. l3uffalo Bill had not lon g to wait, for he heard the hoof strokes c oming nearer, and in a short while the outline of a hor se and rider appeared close at hand. Just as the horseman came withi11 twenty f e et of t he rock, the scout stepped out, rifle ready, and cried: "Halt! Hands up!" "So you are holdiug me up, are you, Buffalo Bill?" The shadow of the trees there had prevented the scout from seeil!g who it was but be recognized the voice at once and said: "Ob, no, not intentionally; but I was acting in self defense, not being sure of your return." "I promised you I would come." "True, and I trusted you, yet I did not know what might occur to prevent, and so have :;icted for myself. " You recognize the horse I am riding?" "Yes, my own." "And your saddle and bridle and outfit as well." "Yon have brought my horse, then, for me?" "Yes; so you are free to go your way, only I will have to guide you by a pass where there is no guard." ''I am at your service miss but--" The scout paused, for there came across his mind that he must tell the young girl of his capture of Talbot. With her acting as his guide, he could not of course take the prisonawith him, and he now feared that to do so might get the g irl into trouble, a thing be was anxious to avoid, after all lier kindness to him. So he hes itated in what he was going to say, seeing which she asked: "But what, Buffalo Bill?" 'How many passes are there?'' ''Five that are guarded, and yet only one that is really the entrance to the valley and known as such. "You know the valley is surrounded by cliffs, and ouly here and there are there breaks in them, and these are unknown to all save those who dwell here; but, knowing your skill as a scout and plainsman, the chief has guarded the five passes which it might be possible for you to find your way through, and left but one unguarded. "That one is known to but three persons, and I am one of tlle trio." "And you will guide me that way?" "Ye s, for it is the only wa y out." ''_How many me11 guard th e other passes, for I would just as s oon take the chances of breaking through them as not.'' "You w o uld be mad to do so, for there are five men now at each pass. You know the chief is aware of your prowess so arrauged to prevent any mistake, any escape on your part, f.or h e knows how 11111cb depends upon it." "Well, my kind frieud, I have a confession to make to you." Yes? and the g irl seemed startled at the words of the scout. "Ye's, I have a prisoner over yonder on the clfff." ''A prisoner?'' of the chief's men!"


26 THE BlJff /\LO BILL S TORIES. ''Who?'' she eagerly asked. "The men called him Captain Talbot." ''Ah! when and how did you capture him?" ''I ambushed him here at this rock, held him up, so have lllY prisoner and his hor se safe. "Had yon not appeared as you did, I intended to start with him for the fort to-night." The girl seemecf fretted at what she heard. She was silent for a moment, and then said, s eriously: ''It would ha Ye been your death had you made the at-tempt, for there is but one way yon can get out of this valley, Buffalo Bill and that is through my guidance. ''You mt1st set that man free, or I will riot do one thing to help you." CHAPTER IX THE AGREEl\IENT. Buffalo Bill gazetl up into the face of the girl as she spoke, and saw determination staf11ped upon every feature. Still he did not wish to give up his aclyautage gained in bis prisoner, and so said: ''Why m11st I give tip oue who is a means of safety to me?" "See here, Buffalo Bill, I have tried to act for your goo _d, aud to prove it I kept you from taking the oath demanded of you in the cavern, and I have come now to save your life. '.'But there are others to be taken i11to cousideration, and I must act for them as well as for yon. "I have asked yon to promise not to come back here within six months.'' "And I have agreed to it." ''True, for in that time you may be able to render good service, and I can accomplish c ertain aims I ha e in view, but which I cannot make known to you. "I an 1 acting in what I do for you, to save ) ;our life and the lives of others." ''You have shown that.'' '' Nmv you tell me you ha\ c as prisoner the m ost des -perate man iu this valley.'' ''How many are here?' "That I will not tell yon." ''As you please." "With Talbot your prisoner, I frankly tell yon that you shall not leave this valley and I mean it.' The scout laughed, but said: 1'I owe it to you, of course, to b e governed by you in thia; but how am I to release the man, and he not know that I am befriended by you?'' She was thotightful for an instant and then said: "Let me tell you just how you can do ''Had we best not go to one side, for fear of some one passing here?" ''No, for not a man of the outfit will ride through this valley at night." ''Indeed!. yet why?'' "I cannot explain their superstitious dread of the valley, but certain it is the chief, if not compelled to do so, will not pass through this valley at night." "That is strange; but are we safe here?" "Yes." ''And l11Y prisoner?'' "You remain here for some little time, and then re turn to him. "Briug him here, then, and '-- him miderstand tbat you have secured your own hors ... nd will not take the cbances of taking him out with you. "Let him know that you are aware of a way of leaving the valley, and say that he must remain here bound until his comrades come along to-morrow to release him." "Then I am to leave here?" ''You are. ' "I could just as well take him along with me." "Never with my consent." "Then I yield to you." "I am glad to have you say so, for I do not wish to regret having served you, through any act of yours, Buffalo Bill.'' ''I am r eady now to obey your commands." ' Well here is your horse, and your haversack is full, and your canteen also, so that you will not suffer. ''Your horse aml all were put in the corral, the men 11ot. expecting you to a gain get possession of him, so I went after him early and so secured him. 'When you brihg your prisoner here, he will see that yon have your horse and supp os e that you weut after him. ''It will be a terti bl e uight for Talbot to spend here alone, for he, too, dreads the darkness in this valley; but I guess h e will surviYe it. ''Now let me ay that when you leave your man here, mount your horse and come on up the trail until I join you.'' ''I will do so.'' "I will wait for you a quarter 9f a mile from here, and put you on the trail to get out of the Yalley l)y the secret pass I spoke of.'' ''You are very kind." 'No, I am only just. -But there is one thing you mus t snhmit to." "What i s that? ''When I meet you up the trail I shall blindfold you,


THE BU Ff i\.LO BILL STORIES. 27 and only when you are out of the valley wjll I remove the bandage from your eyes. "You agree to this, do you not?" ''Yes.'' '-'I will see that no harm befalls you as before. "Now I will walk on down the trail, and you leave your horse here and go after your prisoner." "Will I bayr.been gone long enough for him to feel that I have had time to go where they had put my horse?'' "Yes, it is far from here,' and the girl walked away, while Buffalo Bill having bitched bis horse to a tree near by went toward the cliffs where be ha

28 THE .BUfFJ\LO BILL STORIES. ''Now catch hold of my hand, aud you lead your horse.'' The scout did as directed, and, lantern in hand, the girl led t he way through a long cavern that was as keen as a t u nnel. The scout's instinct told him that he was passiug through a cave, but be made no remark, simply following his guide, holding the hand she had placed behind her. Five, ten, fifteen minutes passed and the cavern seemed to have no encl. But at last there came a 1breath of fresh, pure air, and the fair guide halted in a11 openiug that overlooked a small stream. The rocks were so piled up h e re that the.entrance to the cavern co u ld not have been seen fifty feet away. ''Mount here," she said, and Buffalo Bill obeyed, still keeping silence. ''I will have to mount behind you she said. ''Certainly; can I aid you?" ''No,'' aud she leaped lightly to a seat bebiud bis saddle. Now ride straiglit forward for a few steps and then give your horse his rein." This Buffalo Bill did and a hundred yards fur ther on the animal came out of the stream upon a gravel plaiu, which left no trace of a hoof track. The girl urged the horse forward for several hundred yards, aud then she leaped lightly to the ground, while she said: "We part here." ''Am I still to remain blindfolded?'' In answer, she removed the bandage from his eyes and said: "No, you are free now to see what you can, and to go your way at will. Yonder lies the fort, and I would advise that yon push right on, for you may be fol lowed." ''I will do so ''Remember your promise about not coming here for six months." ''I will not forget it, nor will I forget you, and all you have done for me." The girl made no reply, and so the scout added: You have heard nothing of my companion whom I left in the canyon, and who so mysteriously disap peared?" .''Nothing.' "Ht! must have been killed, then?" ''No, or I should have heard of it. "Good-by, Buffalo Bill," and she extended her hand. The scout grasped it warmly, and she said: ''Now go, for I will remain here unt il I see you dis a ppear in the distance.'' ''Some day we will meet again, and then it will be my chance to aid you." She was s i l ent, and Buffalo Bill raised his sombrero and rode away, for he felt that she was anxious to get rid o f him. Dutil his form grew misty in the distance the girl re mained standing where be had left her. Then she retraced her' way to the stream ;.rnd without a moment's hesitation walked straight into the flowing waters, which arose to her waist as she cross e d to the other shore where she ente red the cavern through w hich she had led Buffalo Bill to safety and freedom. CHAPTER X. THE SACRIFICE. Back through the cavern went the mysterious girl who, though she wo uld not betray those am ong whom she dwelt, yet would not a llow the Ii fe of Buffalo Bill to be forfeited She came out of the cave where the canvas protected it from view walked rapidly dawn .the canyon and turning to the right soon came to a corral in which were a number of horses. One of these she s elected and springing upon the ani mal's ba r e back rode back to the trail' where she had left il to go to the canyon yhere she was guiding Buffalo Bill. The uature of the ground just there was such that a trail could be traced by day light, where elsewh ere it could not in the cour s e she had followed in guiding the sc o ut. She seemed to be n s particular in leaving a trail, w11en she turned off, as she had in the selectiqn of a hotse from the corral, for she had secll r ed one that was shod. Up a winding path she went for half a mile or more, and at last came out upon a ridge whic h formed a natural wall ou the west of Death Vnll e y. Along this she rod e fo1 some distance, and entering a heavy growth of timbel', ht\l ted on the brink of a precipice. It wi1s a cliff split in twain, aucl through it dashed a foaming t.orl'ent several hllnd1"ecl feet b elow. 'l'he roar wa s terrific as the waters surged along through the rocky chas m, and the sprny arose like smoke above the brink of the cliff. Acro s s this chasm, whic h wa s some sixty or seventy feet in width, was a narrow bridge auchored on either side with ropes to steady it. A flimsy rail on either side formed the only protection toward going off, and it was not over folll' feet in width. from her hors e, the girl secured him so that be could not stray away, and then "alked out upon the bridge. In the cente r the Hooring 11ad been torn up fol the space of ten feet, but the poles that formed it, a flash of her lantern revealed, were upon the othe r side, ready for use again when needed. Having noted this fac t, she retui"ne4 to her ho1se, and, patting him gently upon the neck, said in a Yoice full of-feeling: "It is a pity to sacrifice you, good horse, but the dumb brnte must sen e the human being at all and Buffalo Bill must be thought dead. "It must be believed that he escape d this wa5 and, not knowing that the flooring of this pine bridge was up, rode into the opening, and, with his horse, went dowp to death "Yollr trail, poor fellow, will be mistaken for that of the scout's horse, and that is what I wi s h! for no one must be suspected in this matter, _for thnt woulo meA.n death to the Ol}e ,upon whom suspicion fell." She then blindfolded her horse with her scarf, him upon the bridge. Going 'behind him then she urg ed him on, and the animal cautionsly advnncell, t h e bridge swaying beneath his weight and motion t o what would be an alarming e xtent to one not accustomed to take big chances. Drh-ing the horse onwarcl the girl guide i:mildenly sprang backward and ran for the solid bauk, for the blindfolded animal hnd made the step to fiud nothing but space beneath his hoof, had plunged forward, made a desperate effort to recover himself, and then went headlong through the opening while a loud snort rang out on the night air. Standing upon the bank the girl covered her eyes with her hands to shut out the dread scene, and then there came to her


l'HE BUFFALO BILL STORIES. 29 cars a cry almost human in its pathetic tone, followed by a loud &plash as the horse struck the surging waters and was whirled away by the fierce current. It was several moments before the girl could collect her nerves and get control of again. But she shook off the feeling upon her and retreated down the steeE hill and up the valley. A few hours after, just as the sttn arose above the mountain tops, she was dashing down the valley upon her morning ride which she always took before bteakfast. But this morning she had more of a purpose in view than her ride, for she was dashing down the valley to the spot where the scout had left the bound and gagged outlaw, for to be tbe first one to find him had been )ler desire, when she went to her retreat after the plot to let 1t be thought that Bu-:l'alo Bill had ridden through the opening in the bridge across the chasm. CHAPTER XI. THE DISCOVERY. Talbot had certainly passed a most wretched night of it. He was euperst.itious, and so, afraid to be alone the1e in the valley, which he had aide<\ in giving a very dreadful name. He was bound in his saddle and &agged, so that he was bodily uncomfortable as well as sttft:ermg in mind. When, after what seemed to him a lifetime of horror, the dawn broke he felt happy, his face lighting up with hope when he saw the sun peering over the mountain. Some one must soon come along that way, he felt sure,' and relieve him from his sad plight. He was right in his surmise, for some one did soon appear. It was the mysterious woman who roamed the valley seem ingly at will. She played her part well, for going down the valley at a gallop, she quickly drew rein when she saw Talbot. 'fhen she 1econnoitered before she advanced, but, appar ently at last recognizing him, she rode forward and leaping fronyher hors e called out, with well-feigned surprise: "Why, Talbot, what does this mean?" The man could only shake bis head in reply. "You, bound and gagged? "Have the men done this?" As she spoke she untied the gag and took it from his mouth, when he gave a deep sigh of relief. She then hastily gave him a drink from his canteen, and began to untie his feet and hands. It was not long before he was free, but it was quite a while before he could speak, as his throat and tongue were swollen from the gag. When at last he could speak his voice)vas husky, and his first utterance was an oath. This seemed to cause him to feel better, and he was ready and willing to answer anct said: "I believe I'd have dtt,:d, Queen, if you had not come along as you did." "Ob, no, not so bad as that, for you were not hurt. "But tell me what it means." "It means that I was held up by Buffalo Bill." "By Buffalo Bill?" "Sure." "But he is a fugitive somewhere in the Yalley." ''He has left the valley by the bridge trait, for he held me up last night and left me tied while he went to the corral and got his horse and outfit which the men had found in Grave yard Canyon." "And he has gone?" "He started up the trail, and if he has not escaped, then he is hiding somewhere in the valley." "I will ride at once and give the alarm at the retreat," and the girl leaped lightly into her saddle. "No hurry now, for if he's out, then we cannot catch him, and if he is in the valley then we must catch him, that is all." "He's a dangerous man, Talbot." "I should think he was dangerous, and if he's gone, then we will hear from him before very long, I am certain," and the man also mounted his horse and rode back with the girl up the valley. They had not gone very far when Talbot, who was an excellent trailer, halted and "!aid: "See there "Yes. "He has turned off by the bl'idge trail." "There are tracks." "Yes, at)d we will ride up now to the bridge and see if the trail can be found upon the other side." They rode up the hill together, and at last came to the bridge across the chasm. Talbot sprang from his horse, examined the tracks an instant, and then ran eagerly upon the bridge to the gap in it. A quick glance be gave, at;id then from his lips broke a wild, exultant ye11, while he waved his sombrero around and around his head. "What is it, Talbot?" cried the girl, also dismounting and joining him where he sto6d upon the bridge, his face the very picture of joy. His answer came in tones that could not be mistaken in their joyousness: "The bridge gap was open and Buffalo Bill rode to his doom l See his horse went down here, carrying bis rider to perdition. "Hurrah! hut'rah !" and the man shouted loudly in his fiendish delight at the supposed death of his implacable foe. CHAPTER XII. CONCLUSION. While Talbot was rejoicing over the belief that Buffalo Bill had ridden to his doom, through the gap in the swinging the scout was pressing along on his way to the fort, leaving far behind him the dangerous and mysterious Death Valley. When left by the Girl Guide to go his way alone, he had continued on at a slow pace, now and then glancfng back to see if his mascot was out of sight. At last he said with considerable earnestness: "Well! I am at last safe out of that really fatal valley, and I owe it to that young girl that I am now alive. "What a Death Valley it really is, and who are the mys terious dwellers there? "Outlaws, of course, yet what keeps t .hem thete, for whom have they to prey upon in that faraway region? "I feel that there is some deep mystery underlying all this that it is hard to fathom. "But fathomed it must be, and though I promised the girl I would not return for six months, I did not say that no one else would. "She stated her time, and meant to have matters so at the end of six months that there would be no.mystery there then to hunt down. "That man who thought I repeated the oath after him, the girl, the chief, and the band of outlaws all have some strong reason for sojourning there, and what it is shall be known, though I am unable to go on the hunt for it. "But I know who will, and that is Frank Powell, the Sur geon Scout. ''He is about the best man I know to follow a blind trail, and I'll just draw him a map of the valley, give him all the in formation I can, and he can dash in there at dawn some morn ing with a ttoop of cavalry, and wipe out the outlaws and have their secret. "Come, old horse, you have had a good rest, so now push for the fort with all the speed yo can make it in." He urged his horse into a canter, and over the barren plain kept the gait up for hour after hour. It was after many an hour's travel that Buffalo Bill finally reached a country in which he knew he was safe. But at length his long journey was over, and he could lay himself clown to sleep in peace. Buffalo Bill has had many startling adventures and made many warm friends, but he has never forgotten the "Mascot," who saved his life in Death Valley. THE END. Next week's issue ( No. 57) will cootain "Buffalo Bill and the Surgeon Scout; or, The Brave Dumb Messenger." Read it, boys, if you want to know how the mystery of Death Valley was finally solved.


Steady now, boys! The new contest has made a splendid start. Now is the tfme to do your best work. Send in as many stories as you like. There must, of course, be a separate coupon witll each story. Remember that the neatness, legibility and general appearance of your contribution will count when the judges award the prizes. If you don't know all about this contest look on page 32. The Great Jacksonville Fire. (By A. Monroe, Ackerman, Florida.) I live in Jacksonville, Fla. and most likely you beard of tbe great fire we had here about a year ago. Well it at 12 : 30 noou, and by 8 : 30 p. m. bad consumed 148 blocks and the lo s s was $15,000,0 0 0. I bad a very exciting adventure in the fire. I was at school when it started, and the fire was a mile and a half from my house so I thought that I w ould go and help my aunt, so I went up there and helpe d her and when the house in back of her was afire I s aw a little girl on the upstairs porch so I ran and got her down and carried her to her grandmother' s hous e. Then I tried to get back to my house. I cross e d a little creek and was on my way back when I looked around and saw that all behiud me was on fire, so I looked and found 111yself surrounded by fire. I saw one place to escape and that was the creek. I can t swjm. I wa s running for the cre e k when I s aw a cracker box, and I stopped and looked iu it and I saw a mother rabbit with nine little young rabbits. I picked it up and ran with it for the creek, and then threw it in an

THE BUFF ALO BILL STORIES. .. 31 I sap orchard, aud had a shed where they boiled the sap. Berten the sap and we started for the shed. When we arrived there a lad by the name of William Scott was there with a repeating rifle which was a new one. Sylvester wanted to examine it, but \Viii told him it 'IVould go off if be fooled with it. But as he insisted, be gave it to him, but told him he must be careful and not touch the little catch which he showed him. I was standing in front of him as be took the gun. I saw it was pointed directly toward me. I stepped back and as I did so there was a flash, a report; a:nd the bullet just grazed my head. had accidentally touched the catch and it had gone off. He was as white as a sheet, for he thought he had killed me. After staying a while at the shed i returned home none the worse for my adventure. On the Ice. (By Geo. C\isick, Ill.) It was a cold winter day, and I was longing to be on the ice. I went to my friend's house, who lived near the graveyard. I proposed th:it we shou1d slide 011 the lake situated near the graveyard, and which had no bottom. Away we went and were soon on the ice. Near the north end of the Jake about fifty feet from shore there was a cracking sound-the ice was beginning to break. \re were awestruck and did not know what to do. My brother, who was 011 shore, called to us and told u s to nm ashore, which we did. I Would not go on the ice for a while after that. I\ Narrow Escape from Drowning. ( By Paul Lowry Stern, Pa.) One day a friend and myself went down to the river which fa very wide at this place, and got dur old boat au d rowed out to the sixth pier. All at once we heard but we .did not think anything about it. So we tied our boat and started to fish. In a short time it began -t'o rain, the white caps coming down the river and the waves growing larger s howed us our danger, and before we knew it we could not get back to shore. There-was also danger of goiug over the dam, which a short below us. We waited quite a while 'finding the storm was going to keep up we started fo'r shore, and after some hard pulling we got tliere. 'i'be men on the bridge were watching mi and tllouglit we surely be drowned. I tell you I was glad t6 get home to iuy mother, and haven't been in a boat since. /\dventure with a Locomotive. (By L-e Roy White, Texas' ) --One summer as some friends _at1d I \Vete walking down tlie Texas and Pacific Railway track about two miles from my home, we came to a trestle antl started over. As we neared the middle heard the whistle of a train atound the curve ttot 300 yards away. The other boys ran for tlie ebd, but another boy and I were not as fortunate as they were. As we were about half way to the end, we stumbled over each other and. fell betweeh the ties. The trairt was nearly upon us in a twinkling, but I managed to push myself and the boy off as tbe train shot past. Saved by a Chimney. ( By John Hurley, Massachusetts.) One morning (April 3, 1902) a startling announce-111ent was seen in one of the morning papers stating that a figure all in white was seen on a roof on Sprfogfield street, at 12 o'clock in the night. The next night a number of otlier boys and myself went to see the ghost. It was just beginning to rain when we went up 011 the slanting rbof of a house and sat talking. All of a sudde11 I slipped, a cry of horror came from my companions. I gave one look behfr1d me and fainted. When I awoke I was in my bed at home. I had got caught in between the roof and chimney and was takefi down by the help of some ladders and men After that there bas been no more ghosts on Springfield street. Tumbling Down a Mountain. ( By Raymond Garrison, N .' Y. ) dbe day near Christmas six boys, including myself, went up in the motintain for birch, but we didn't find any. Then one of the boys said be knew wbete there wa!l some oh top of the mbuntain, so the two largest boys said they would stay down while we went up ob top and got some birch. Well, we started for the top. The mountain was icy that day, and wbeu we got near the top the littlest fel low slipped, and I being the nearest to hitn made a grab for him, but just then my foot slipped and I fell. We both went tumbling headfirst down the mountain. When we got to the bottom the two fellows came running out. The other fellow didn't get hurt much, but they bad to carry me home and I had five cuts irl my head. The doctor pbt eighteen stitches therein. That' s all I wanted. I\ Sea Yarn. ( By John Madden, Mass.) About Thanksghfing it'i 1S99 I went out for a trip in the schooner Slyvester Wnalen. \Ve got our Bait at the wharf and sailed to the fishing grounds. When we got there it was foggy and dark. The next morning it cleared up add We made two sets that day. The next afterno1m we made another set. In all, we had about 50,000 pdl111ds of mixed fish. That uight it was as clear as a whistle. All the men were baiting up for the next day. There were three of us on dec k. All of a s Udderi we hearcl the watch yell, ''Hard up L''


32 THE BU ff J\LO BILL STORIES. and the man at the wheel put it "hard down," and a big four-master came crashing into 11s and almost cut us in two. I gave a yell down the forehold to men_ who were baiting, because it was too cold to bait on _deck. ''All hands on deck and save your lives.'' The y all beard the bump, but thought we ran into a log. They all came on d eck and I was standing near the foremast when it came down. It just grazed my head and tangled me all up iu the t rigging. Two men were killed and all hands were safe on the four-master. The fishing schooner, Harry L. Beldon, came along and took me off. I\ Peculiar Snake. ( B y Herbert Cross, Illinois.) Just on the boundary line of Illinois and Indiana I was walking down a bill. All of a sudden I h tard a hissing s ou u d behind me. I look ed a rou11d and s a w a snake just biting the end of hi s tail. In the twinkle of the eye the snake was e r ect and iu hoop form I did not know what to do nor where to run. At length the snake came r o llit;g along af te r me. I had a bel t under nty coat with a 38-calibe r rev o l ver in a bolster that was attached to the belt. The first thought was of the gun. My companions nickname d me, ''Dead Shot.''. I took out the gun and without waiting to l e t the snake get the of me I s hot, but before I knew it t h e snake hit my toe, but did not injure me. Anyway, I fell down and the snake came cr awling over me toward my face. I reached out for my gun and fired four t i me s The shots now took effect, so I dropped my gun and seized _the snake and threw him off of me and got up. The snake came on like a hoop o nc e more. I looked at my gun, I had one more pill in it. The snake was twenty feet away. I fired. It cut the h oop I rau ove r t o see where I bit it. I hit it squar e Letween the eyes. In the Woods. ( By Leon Zeglio N. Y.) One day when I was in school some of the boy s s ug gested. that we go in the woods so off we started. I was in the lead and was just going through some grass when I heard it rustle and a big snake jumped in front of me I jumped aside in time to sav e myself. As the snake jumped I ran through the woods and arrived at school all out of breath. One of the big boys killed the snake. It was about one inch in diameter and about two and a half feet long, and it was a copperhead. I wouldn't have been writing this if he bad bitten me. I keep a aood lookout when I go in the woods now. rsmPtC0mPlET E I FISHING TACKLE I ASSORTMENTS I I See What They Are Like. IF YOU WIN ONE of tliese famous fishing tackle assort-ments you will have everything you could possibly 0 need in the way of fishing tackle. You will have such a complete assortment that you will be able to MAKE ; MONEY retailrng hooks, lines and sinkers to your comi rades who have not been fortunate enough to win prizes. You may become a dealer in fishing tackle if yo u win one of these prizes, for you will have a complete assortment of over I NINE HUNDRED KOOKS o f All Kind s 'f! ONE HUNDRED LINES, Besides SINKERS and TROLLING HOOKS. I of the J one which has just closed---one of the most successful coni tests ever inaugurated. Every boy in the country bas had 1 some THRILi.INC ADVENTURES. You have had one I your1self-perhapbs yotu \yere hheld upt by robb1 ers, ohr near y run over y a ram; per aps 1 was a c ose s ave tn I a burning building, in scaling a precipice, in I or swimming; whatever it was, WRI T E IT UP. Do it m less than 500 words, and mail it to us \Yith the accompany ing coupon. All entries must be in before September 1. The contest i B e Awarded to the Seven I Boys Sending in the Bes t Stories. i L ook 011 the back cover of No. 52 for p hotograph :;md I description of one of the prizes. tl To Become a C ontestant for These Prizes cut out the Anec dote Contest Coupon printed herewith, fill it out properly. and "end it to BUFFALO BILL care of Street & l;nuth, 238 William Street, New York City, together wit)l your auec<.lote Ko anecdote 1 I i f + Title of Anecdote. . . ....... . . . c : ........................................ :


$500.00 IN GOLD TO BE GIVEN AWAY TO Readers of" Boys of America" Only R.,eaa_ers of BOYS OF ./JM E R._IC.ll can win this money. . . This M o n ey Will be Pai d t o the Boy s Who Send Us t he B e st Opi ni ons of the that Appea r in this Paper. Now, boys, you will not have to go to the Klondike to strike a gold mine. You all know that BOYS oi; AMERICA (sixteen boys' publication) is worth its weight in gold, and we are just going to give you some of its weight in the precious yellow metal itself. Nothing is quite so good as pure gold, boys, it's the standard money of the world, and that is what we are going to give away in lumps of $20.00 to every \\inning contestant. Twenty:five cash prizes of $20.00 each absolutely given away. READ THESE DIRECTIONS CAREFULLY: Commencing with No. 31, out April 17th, and ending with No. 43 (inclusive) out July 3d next, there will be published in BOYS OF AMERICA a s.:ries of rattling, up-to-date stories, written by some of the best-known l.._ writers in the country. Send Us Your Opinion of' .Any One o f these S tories. The 2g Boys wlw Send in tl1e Best I s there any e a sier way to win f"i v e hundred gold d a llars? . . lJ' 1 ittcn Opinions Will W i n tile Gold You can write about any story that appears in BoYs OF AMERICA between these numbers, No. 31 and No. 43. You can send in as many opinions as you like, but only one opinion of each story. T!te coupon pr.inted on page I5 must be sent wit!t tlie opinion. Any reader of BOYS OF AMERICA can compete for this golden prize. Do not write more than 300 .words about any one story. Each of the T wenty-five Winners W ill Rec e ive $20.00 i n Solid Gold This offer is a golden opportunity for you. We are going to give away this money in solid gold, Uncle Sam's best coin The names of the boys who receive it will be published in BOYS OF AMERICA .Address all lette1s to How easy i t is to write an. Opinion._ It ;ust as easy to win $20.00. Why should this gold not go to you ? Send i n your opi n ion at once! . . BOYS OP AMERlCA Care of STREET 238 William Street, New York


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