Diamond Dick's drag-net, or, The killers of Kootenai

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Diamond Dick's drag-net, or, The killers of Kootenai

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Diamond Dick's drag-net, or, The killers of Kootenai
Series Title:
Diamond Dick, Jr.
Lawson, W. B.
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New York
Street & Smith
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1 online resource (31 p.) 26 cm.: ;


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Adventure stories. ( lcsh )
Dime novels. ( lcsh )
Western stories. ( lcsh )
serial ( sobekcm )

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University of South Florida
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University of South Florida
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All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
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030810584 ( ALEPH )
15930698 ( OCLC )
D21-00001 ( USFLDC DOI )
d21.1 ( USFLDC Handle )

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University of South Florida
Diamond Dick Jr.

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uaued Wutdy-1/y SUI>&crtptum, 12.MJ per year. ./l.>lttred a& 6eco>lUTH No. 130. Price Five Cents DIAnono. D BY w. B.lAW59N. "TWENTY YARDS FURTHER AND WE ARE SAVED-SAVED '1'0 Llll"lt AND VENGEANCJC. '1


. / Diamond Dick, Jr. THE BOYS' BEST WEEKL\'. hov.d IVUk!y-By &ub&eriptton $2. f>O ,,.,.year. .Enteo ngr .. & ln tM year 1899, in tM 0./11 ot the Librarian of O>no en, Wa.Mnoton, D. a No. 130. NEW ) ORK, April 8, 18<)<). Price Five Cents. Diamond Dick's Drag=Net OR, THE KILLERS Of KOOTENAI By W. B. LAWSON CHAPTER I. AN OLD EXPRESS PACKAGE. The afternoon of a lowering September day, in the north Idaho .mountain wilder ness, of a year or two ago, and the interior of a train of cars flying southwestward over that section or branch of the North Pacific Railroad, connecting with Spokane Falls from the East." In a seat"to herself sat a sweet-faced, lady like little girl, to whonvthe conductor and ,brakeman invariably gave an encouraging smile in passing, and who was also an ob ject of smiling curiosity on the part of her dozen or more fello passengers in the car, all of them of -the sterner sex. "Coeur d'Alene Junction!" was presently announced, as the tr' ain came to a stop, only to quickly pull out again, with the addition of one way passenger. This passenger was a rosy-cheeked, sandy haired countryman, with a very honest, cheerful expression of countenance, and something suggestive of the poorer class of gra_zier or miner in his coarse attire, and rather movements. "Fine day, miss," he said, taking the unoccupied seat alongside the solitary little traveler-she was not more than twelve, though with the easy self-possession of maturer years, so com monly met in American children. "Hope you hain't no objection ter my sharin' this hyar seat with you?" And he eyed her with

. DIAMOND DICK, JR.-THE BOYS' BEST WEEKLl. than before; and then, with the ginger-bread -"gunger-gog" he called it-as a peace of fering between them, in a very short time the most agreeable relations were established. "This hyer gunger-gog ain't so bad, er?" asked the man. "It is very excellent, sir," replied the little girl, "I'm so glad you gave me some!" "Air ye? Wall, now, that's nice. Goin' fur, may I venture to ask, miss?" "To Canyon City, sir." "Rullo! Why, so be I! Come from fur away?" "From New York, sir." "Hu! Wall, now, you air a trav'ler, an' no mistake, miss! Suthin' in ther school teachin' or sight-seein' line, mebbe?" This qqizzingly, seeing that she was still but a child. "No, sir, not quite," with a twinkle of merriment behind her seriousness. "I'm an express package." Her companion stared, but then began to understand-it being no unheard-of thing to thus dispatch children over great distances by express-and thereupon he burst into such a roaring, hearty laugh that the little girl laughed too, while the conductor sized tip the stranger very favorably and nodded encouragingly to his little charge as he passed down t:he aisle. "But you mustn't think, sir," the little girl went on quite earnestly, "that I'm nothing more than an express patkage. Oh, dear, no! I am quite a young lady And every body treats me kindly, especially the conduc tors as I am passed from one to another." "So'll I, by the holy mackerel!" cried her companion, slapping his kne e s, and produc ing another slab of ginger-cake. "Have an other hunk 'irh me, do! Thet's ther tark. An' I'll purtect ye, too-stan' by ye agin anything, jumpin' or creepin', 'ith ha'r or feathers, road agent or grizzly-'s long ez I kin strike a lick or pull trigger. Thefs me, my leetle Country Claybank from A to Izzard, an' every day in ther week, Sundays included an' hollerdays not barred out. Haw, haw, haw!" "Oh, dear, what a funny n a me ," cried the little girl, laughing merrily, though with her mouth half-full of the hospitable gingerI bread, while many of the other passengers turned t'o survey her hulking companion smilingly. "And is that really your name?" "You bet, my dear! Hain't it a good 'un now?" "R-a-t-h-e-r," a little doubtfully. "Mine is Kitty Fanshaw," with a sudden burst of re ciprocal affability. "An' my mamma's sending me away out here to keep me safe from my wicked uncle; and my poor papa's dead more'n a whole year; and oh, how my rna cried when she hugged and kissed me good-by; and so did I," with a quivering lip; "and my Aunt Fanny's to meet me at Canyon City; and I'm to be a very good little girl, and do just what she says." ...._ "Hullo!'' cried -. Country Claybank, no less surprised than gratified at this un reserved largeness of confidence in return for his bolder account of himself. "Wall, I'll be gol durned! Rev another hunk? No.'' "Oh, no, thank Mr. Claybank, though you're very kind," quite composedly once more. "But, asid e from my being already quite stuffed, you see, we'll soon be at my destination now, I think.'' "Thet's so, my dear, the very next station. An' so," yet more interestedly, "Captain Fanny Fanshaw, of Esmeralda Ranch, is ,your auntie, eh ?" "Auntie Fanny is, sir, but I didn't know she was a captain. But her place is the Es meralda Ranch, sure enough; and-oh, dear!" There was a shock, a series of hard jolts, and th en, as the train came to a stop, two men suddenly rose .{:om a middle seat, faced in different directions, so as to command the/ entire length of the car, and produced cocked revolvers. "Hands up!" roared one of them, with an oath. "Gentlemen, we're about to go through this train like a dose of salts. Out with your money and valuables, and be mightly lively about it!" "A hold;,up, by crimminy!" gasped Mr. Country Claybank, obeying the command with no less alacrity than his fellow-passengers-with the single exception of the little girl, who sat still, very white and terrified. "An' I'll bet my head it's a job Qf ther Killers of Kootenai!"


, [.1 DLUIOND DIOK, JR.-THE BOYS' BEST WEEKLY. a "Right you air Hayseed!" replied one of the robbe rs, with a grim laugh. "Hold on, an' don' t be impashernt; I'll reach you in half a minute." 'Ine pair were already spry ly at their work, relieving the astounded passengers of their valuables right and left; while a number of shots and fierce shoutt ,.outside and forward told of their confedera es being sim ilarly employed-doubtless chiefly with the express messenger, after having first de railed the engine. At this juncture two or three more armed men entered the car at the forward end, a loud voice calling out from behind them: "No harm to the little girl, if she is in there. She is my prize!" "Oh, dear! oh, dear!" wailed little Miss Kitty, clasping her hands; "maybe it's my wicked uncle." "Don't be--be alarmed, dearie!" gasped out Claybank. "Didn't-didn't I sly ez how I'd purtect yer ?" A roar of laughter arose from the robbers, in which even their victims for the most part joined, so oddly did the words contrast with the manner of the hulking ginger-bread giver who had so recently vaunted his cham pionship of the little one's friendless condi tion. Indeed, he seemed the very embodiment of craven, convulsive fear, standing upright in the aisle, his knees knocking together, his hands high in the air, and yet waving jerkingly to and fro about his great heavJ slouch-hat, as if desirous of doffing that also out of respect to the train robbers if only the gesture might not be considered as against orders. "Ha! ha! ha laughed the villain near est to him. "Now's your chance, country; shell out, me bold defender of beauty in distress!" "But-may-may I lower my hands fur to do it, Mr. Man?" shiveringly beseeched the countryman, his paws still oscillating and flapping on high. "No," gruffly. "Keep 'em up while I go through yer. But in the first place, let thet little gel step out o' ther seat She's the one our leader's lookin' so sharp fur, I fancy, and--" He went down with a bullet in his brain, while in each of the countryman's hands there wa s a derringer pi stol-conjureld up out of his hat-band by some lightning-like hocuspocusing with those strange l y fluttering ges ticulations over his head-and this was fol lowed by the emptying of the companion pis tol with no less success, the next nearest desperado wheeling, with a startled oath, just in time to catch the second bullet squarely in the cen.ter of the forehead. "All with revolvers follow my lead!" thundered a commanding voice that it was difficult to recognize as the same which had piped out so pitiably from the same source but a moment before "Quick!" There were more shots, the car was filled with powder-smoke, and the late paralyzed countryman was seen springing nimbly through the car dealing out death-shots right and left with the revolvers snatched from the fallen men. Just such a leader or organizer is all that is wanted to counteract the stupefying sur prise which alone renders these western holdups and train-robberies possible, as prose cuted for the most part upon men not de ficient in courage vastly outn1;1mbering their despoilers, often in the proportion of twenty to one. Eight or ten of the passengers, revolver in hand, were speedily at the brave rustic's back, and the five or six immediate desp e ra does having been summarily surpris e d in -their turn, and shot to death in l e s s time than it has taken to describe it, the y ru s h e d after him outside the train, to take part in tl1e chief fracas going on forward With another plaintive little "Oh, d e ar! Oh, dear!" the frightened child, by this tim e all but terrified out of. her wits was l e ft al most the sole occupant of the car for several seconds when two men-evid ntly robbers, and hunted ones at that-rushed in from e ither end with hoarse bre a things and bloodshot eyes. "Hyar she is!" shouted one snatching up the child, heedless of her struggles and screams. "See' the coast's clear, Jim. We kin share .. in ther reward ther captain ex pects 'f onl y--" "Dastardly Killers!" roared a voice fol-.


DIAMOND DICK, JR.-'fl:lE BOYS' BEST WEEKLY. lowing a leaping step into the car behind them; "the murderous doom that ye design for so many others is upon you!" the poor express messenger was killed, sir, b.efore the robbers were driven off? Then a shot, and the outlaw who had been addressed as Jim fell, just in the act of turning, with Country Claybank s bullet in his heart. "He an' two other train men, but thet was against at least a dozen o' ther Kill ers wiped out. "Why do you call them the Killers, sir? Who are the Killers?" "Let be, let be thet's a good leetle g el! 'fohe remaining outlaw dropped the child, grasping his shooter, but at the same in stant, as if suddenly appalled by the countryman's ch

I I DIAMOND DICK, JR.-THE BOYS' BEST WEEKLY. I "What else?" in a lower and more confi dential tone. "Nothin' mum," scratching his head. "An' why shed thar be ; mum?" "Because," with a musical laugh "such black eyes as yours are never naturally mated with a sandy beard and florid skin. Shall I expect you at the Esmeralda ?OOn ?" with a parting gesture in disregard of his rather chagrined or discomfited look He made an assenting sign. Then a last wave of the imperious hand, a parting lry, half of gratitude, half of protest from her little charge, and she was up and away through the gathering dusk, escort and all, with a clattering of hoofs and a jingling of spurs Mr. Country Claybank seemed to have so little stomach for the tempest of admiration that was being fq,rced him from all sides that he lost no time in ridding himself of it as best he might, and hurrying off to the hotel. ......___-"Who is he?" was the question on a hundred tongues, but rio one seemed able to answer it; and it was presently as a total stranger iri the town thaugh the ruling hero of the hour, that our rustic at last found himself discussing a fairly good dinner amid the seclusion that he seemed chiefly to desire. A waiter, however ventured presently to intrude upon his gastronomical privacy say ing, with the poofoundest respectfulness:. "Cud ye corndescend ter see the editor o' ther City Hewgag, sir?'' "No," replied Mr. Claybank, somewhat gruffly. "But you may say thet I'll drop inter his orfi.ce in an hour." CHAPTER II. CANYON CITY. True to his promise, Mr. Claybank was presently closeted with Mr. Jefferson Davis Blazer, in the official den of the Hewgag, as the journalistic mouth-pi e ce of the booming community of Canyon City was express ively if not alto_gether euphoniously desig nated. Some conversation as to the se ns ation of the hour had already passed between him and his visitor. "Here's the quandary I'm in, my dear sir," observed Mr. Blazer at length. "Just be fore the news of this affair arrived, I was about winding up with this editorial for tomorrow's Hewgag, giving these infernal Killers of Kootenai particular Tophethandlin' 'em without gloves, you know recommending their summary extermination by bullet, knife, rope, and all that sort of thingand now I can't. See?" Naw, I don't 'see? was Mr. Claybank's surprised reply : "What's to hinder your shoo tin' off the print-stuff? Jest ther ripe occasion fur it, I shed say." "Can't be done, I'm afraid," he said. "Whole thing knocked into a cocked hat!" "But why?" "In the first place, the Blue Cut outrage. which was so gallantly frustrated chiefly b y yourself, was evidently the work of the Kill ers, and Mountain Lion Mike-Mike Bradshaw-their leader." "Yes, yes; dang it all! but what of thet!-'' "And lastly, this hold-up, or attempted hold-up, like its predecessors, is bound to be succeeded by twenty or thirty of the Killers riding through and terrorizing Canyon City -doubtless to-morrow-as a sample of what they might do in the way of revenge, if they chose to And with this proposed article of mine in fresh print against 'em, how long would it be before this little newspaper prop erty of mine-all I have in the world-would be burned down over my-head; with perhaps myself and assistant yonder, riddled or gib beted as a dessert for the infernal banquet. Understand?" :' Bull-yokes an' kickin' steers! no, I don't, by a thunderin', sight!" cried the other. "An' what air the men o' this hyar town doin while these galoots air ridin' over 'em roughshod an' cloven-hoofed lhusaway?" "Indoors, for the most part," coolly, "anrl thanking their stars if they escape with un perforated skins." Mr. Claybank seemed to r e flect deepl y f o moments with his eyes on a vast m eshv that was lying, like a great fish ing seine, or giant's hammock, huddled u p


DIAMOND DICK, JR.-THE BOYS' BEST WEEKL'i. among a lot of lumber in one corner of the dusty;, shabby office. "Suppose you had a leader, Mr. Editorone of the right sort, I mean; could a score or so of fearless, honest men be depended on to back him in an attempt to oppose such an outrage as you apprehend on the part of these murderous ruffians for to-morrow?" Mr. Blazer started in his seat so interest edly as not to remark the inadvertently cul tivaf\ed change in his visitor's manner of speech, which wa-s, moreover, sufficiently im pressive in itself. "Yes!" he cried, with sudden eagerness. "Anything to break the infernal, humiliating terrorism to which we have been so long subjected. But, good Lord! where is such a leader to be found?" "In me," quietly. The journalist hesitated, scratching his carroty head with the blunt tip of his idle quill. "Look here, Mr. Claybank," said he; "you acted like a thousand of brrcks in this Blue Cut affair. There's no denying that. But, you see, in spite of the mighty good man you have to-day shown yourself to be, you're still a stranger among us, and-erno offense intended, on my honor-er--" "Say loutish an' countrified-a leetle hay seedy," complimented the other, smilingly, and with perfectly restored good-::1ature. "Thet's about your meaning, eh?" "Well, frankly, yes." "My appearance's sorter agio me?" "That's it." "How," with a low and peculiar laugh; "would this do for a change, then?" And, with a few lig'htning-like manipula tions of his person, the vtsitor suddenly stood up so transformed as to cause the tdi tor of the Hewgag to spring to his feet with an exclamation of absolute amazement. "Can it be possible?" cried the latter, with both wonder and delight "Diamond Dick!" 'f

DIAMOND DICK, JR.-THE BOYS' BEST WEEKLY. an thar's fishers of men. Ain't thet ther 1 Screptur tork?" "Something of the sort, I believe. But what are you driving at?" "But it would serve to drag-net men on occasion eh? an' if properly worked? Tell me thet first "Yes-yes; almost a regiment of 'em, for that matter." "An' these Killers, when paintin' the town, prob'bly cavort and whoop right up an' down stre et in front of this h yar orfise, I suppose?" "Should say th ey did." "Got any long, stout poles handy what could suddenly be let down from the o this hyar buildin'-suthin' ter fasten this h ya r drag-net to f'r instance?" "Rallo! Yes, I reckon so. But look here, wouldn t this be a rather risky p i ece of business?" "Leave thet ter me. Beginnin' ter twig my meanin' though, ain't yez?" Yes yes; perhaps so but--" "Come hyar, Mr. Editor!" and Mr. Claybank forthwith drew Mr. Blazer into a corner, where for a long time they engaged in low and earnest conversation. At length a regular convention for speedy and organized action was made between them, after which the editor gave his attention to the work of getting out tlie Hewgag, while the pretended countryman set out to return to his hotel the Coeur d' Alene Saloon Hotel, but a distance away. But as he emerged from the printing-office shanty, there were shots and pistol flashes off in the direction of the hotel, together with shouts, curses, and the usual concomitants of a far-Western street affray. The sham countryman bent his head his coal-black eyes fixed penetratingly upon the spot indicated with a glance that seemed to make nothing of the intervening star-lighted room, his nostrils quivering at the powder smell with the fierce instincts of the born gladiator that he was. "HandJSome Harry in danger?" he muttered between his teeth. Come, now!" And he was at once hounding toward the scene of disturbance. CHAPTER II. A FEW PRELIMINARIES. One man, pretty well half-seas over, being assailed by a dozen or more ruffians, for the most part as drunk as he, as many more law-abiding lookers-on clustered about the hotel entrance, and either too timid or too indifferent to interfere-revolvers flashing and bullets flying at random, but as yet without any serious injury on either side thanks, most likely to the influence of Mr. John Barleycorn-such wa s the situation as Mr. Country Claybank bounded forward to par therein. He had, however, been recognized by sev eral of the non-combatants as the hero of the Blue Cut affair. One of t hese, a small, black-whisk e red rather nervous looking man, succeeded in momentarily intercepting him. "For the Lord's sake, don t interfere, Mr. Clay bank!" this man exclaimed. "You're too good a man to be done up b y that gang. They're Kill e rs, every mother's son of 'em, though pretending to be honest miners and cowboys, like the rest of us!" "Hu!" with a contemptuous snort. "An' who air you?" "Justice of the Peace and Town Marshal Codger, sir!" yet more hurriedly. "But you see these Killers are so numerous and thoroughly organized--" "Sho! A purty peace-maker an' town marshal you! Out o' ther way!" And with a last eager bound, and no vis ible weapons but his brawny fists the rescuer was among the single man's cowardly assailants like an animated c yclone. A shouldering, irresistibfe rush, a prodigy of pugilistic lightning work, flying out here there, and everywhere apparently with ubiquitous and sledge-hammer effect, four men down in a heap two others, each gripped by the throat, with their faces being beaten an

& DIAMOND DICK, JR. THE BOYS' BES'f WEEKLY. revolver thrust half-way down his gullet, and the fracas was at an end, with the unprostrated Killers in panic-stricken, if but temporary, rout, the rest of them, crest fallen and bewildered, skulking, crawling, and slinking out of sight, apparently only too thankful, for the nonce, in escaping with whole and partly recovered weapons. "What!" exclaimed the rescued man Diamond Dick's old-time side partner, happy-go-lucky Handsome Harry, the erstwhile "Sarpint of Siskiyou County,'1 and no mistake-coming :forward with outstretched hand, to say nothing of a slightly bleeding and somewhat battered head-piece, "you hyar, Di--" A swift gesture caused him to check him self. "But I mout hev knowed it from your perticklar style, old man." And he silently wrung his deliverer's hand. "Thet's all right," was the cool response. "You're not badly done up?" "No; a few smashes, though they mout hev been wus. Y e see, these hyar Killers, seemin' disposed to run the hull town in thar own way--" "Stow that, and let's Iicker up. Come, friends," with a gesture that included the by no means reluctant hangers-on, who forth with followed rescued and rescuer into the saloon, with renewed cheers for "Bully Hayseed, ther King-Pin of Blue Cut!" as our countryman had come to be designated among them. "Where is Bertie?" demanded the dis guised adventurer of his rescued satellite, at the first convenient opportunity. "He should have preceded me hither from the Nez Per cez Agency by several days." "He's around somewheres," was the re ply. "Should he" turned up afore now." "Has he been to the Esmeralda Ranch, do you know, according to my instructions?" "Yes; and was to have gone there again to-day." "Good! He'll be likely to show up in season. Read over this list." And a paper was thrust into Handsome Harry's hands, his companion, meantime, scrutinizing the roystering crowds surround-ing him with analytical and discriminating glances. "Humph!" continued the latter, medita tively. "Sterling material here, though sadly run to waste, and only wanting organization and iron leadership to however;' and he turned ro Harry, who had spelled through the list of names by the im perfect light of a smoking kerosene lamp depending from the ceiling, and was eyeing him inquiringly. "You have read the names?" "You bet, old man!" was the response. "How'd you git 'em?" "With Editor Blazer's assistance." "Good little man, that Blazer." "How about the men named-are they here present now?" "Every galoot of 'em," slowly, while looking over the crowd. "Good men?" "Solid an' true. But you haven't got Codger's name among 'em." "What! That fluttering, nervous, black whiskered little diatribe of a town marshal?" "Old man, don't make no mistake. T he little cuss is simply outer place-as a leader, worthless-as a well-led follower, something better." "Good! Am glad to stand corrected. There are such men. Now, circulate among these chaps at once, with a view to organizing under my leadership on the spot, though you needn't reveal my identity quite yet. Don't care to travel on the old reputation on the start. In the meantime, I shall interview our landlord and his daughter, with the design of having our propoSJ!d meeting a secret." "All right." So, while Handsome Harry was carrying out his instructions before the bar, with the wherewithal supplied for keeping the jigwater circulating, as a general promoter of facilitation and good feeling, Mr. Country Claybank, still something of a stranger in town, though a more popular hero than ever, was cultivating diplomatic relations behind, or, rather, at one corner of it, with Brummagem Hob and handsome Polly as his not unwilling auditors. Suddenly, a fresh fusilade, together with


. I DIAMOND DICK, JR.THE BOYS' BEST WEEKLY. 9 the rush of hurrying feet ; g a ve i ndications of ye t an other street disturbance in front of the bac chanalian r eso rt. "Bertie!" sudde nly exclaimed Handsome Harry, making a mad break for the entrance, gun in hand. His disguised principal was after him in an instant, similarly provided against con tingencies B t before eit-her of them could reach the broad entrance doors, they were burst open, and Diamond Dick's son, the boy Bertie, burst, back foremost, into the saloon, bleeding from a bullet-furrow across one of his ears, but a shooter in each hand, and shooting back into the night while maintaining his retreat. The next instant, with a low peculiar cry -perh

10 DIAMOND DIOK, JR.-THE BOYS' BEST WEEKLY. or speculators, it would have been difficult ro say which-and, moreover, at this juncture caught something like a warning giance from Polly Brixto.n, who was even then engaged in opening the wine that had been ordered. He was occupying solely a small table at some distance from the bar, which was being noisily thronged by his new-made adherents, together with Handsome Harry and Bertie. "With pleasure, friend," he responded, seemingly with his rough good humor unchanged. "But I'll have ter ask ye ter fetch the stuff over hyar, ez tJn so petered out 'ith bein' on my feet so long thet I kin hardly stir another peg." Both men brightened up wonderfully, as if this might have been what they had se cretly most desired, and Polly brought the wine and glasses on a salver forthwith. The latter, four in number (one being for Polly herself on invitation), were carefully examined by the men who had first spoken, as if to make certain of their cleanliness, and then filled by him. 'Dhe new leader accepted the glass handed to him, and held it up critically to the light, "All ready?" he asked, pleasantly, and disregardful of a certain agony of wa_!]ling that was by this time in Polly's pretty eyes. "Quite so, Mlr. Clay'bank," responded the man, gayly. "And here's to your health and long life." "Wait!" with sudden sternness, and the production of a cocked revolver. "We'll drink, yes; but you'll change glasses with me first!" CHAPTER IV. THE KILLERS SURPRISED. The man thus unexpectedly addressed and menaced turned pale, trembling vio lently, while ills companion maintained hardly any better countenance. "Now," while raising high his glass, but still with the other irrevocably "covered," "we w,_ill drink to a toast of my proposing. And, look you, friend, if one drop of your wine fails to go down your throat, a bullet is the penalty." A crowd was already collected around the group, and there was a hush of death, though few understood the significance of what was going on. "Ready for the toast?" "Y -e-e-e-s !" stammered the wretch, now in a pitiable condition, though still main taining the equilibrium of his glass in his fear-palsied hand. "Here it is then: Confusion and death to the Killers of Kootenai. Drink!" All four did so, unharmed, with the single exception of the suspected villian, who emptied his glass, indeed, but only to fall to the floor in writhing convulsions. In a few seconds he was a dead man, as sufficiently evincing the fatal nature of the secretly aciministered poison that had been intended fnr the organizer of the Order of Fifty "Now you!" thundered Claybank, and the villian's confederate was dragged to his knees, with the avenging clutch upon his throat. "Confess everything, on your life!" "Mercy! mercy!" gasped the scoundrel. "But really there-there is no-nothing to confess." "Out with it, and I give you the chance of your life against mine. Otherwise, you die like a dog. Confess! You and that villian are in secret league with the Killers of Kootenai." "Yes, yes; it is true. We are Mountain Lion Mike's secret agents. Papers in my chum's pockets will show all. Now give me the chance you promised." Claybank contemptuously released him, and then turned coolly to the proprietor. "You, sir," said he, shall measure the distance and give the word, if you please." "Exchange glasses!" was the epeated order, this time with the revolver <;overing bim. "Quick!" with a metallic ring of re morseless peremptoriness. "Time and place?" demanded Brixton, SOII"aA:ching his bullet-head. "Now and hyar, on ther spot, 'f you have no objections, landlord." "What distance?" he queried. "Over a or a flip-up fur it," The fellow paled yet more, but silently obeyed. ----.


DIAMOND DICK, JR.-THE BOYS' BEST WEEKLY. 11 smilingly responded rosy -che e ked sandy whiskere

11 DIAMOND DICK, JR.-THE BOYS' BEST WEEKLY. puzzled by the queer banner on exhibition at the Hewgag office. "Hyar comes the rest of our fellers !" shouted one of those surrounding the new marshal. "Come on, boys We'll meet 'em thar, an find out what the pesky fish-net means. Fetch along this duffer with ye. But this duffer at this moment backed his horse from among them, giving utter ance to a shrill whistle, and straightway, as itby magic, a dozen or more armed, resolute lo oking horsemen rode out and joined him from area-ways at either side of the street in which they had up to this moment remained concealed The pretended cowboys, finding them selves outnumbered, drew back, looking not a little astonished, for this sort of demonstra tion in the heretofore overawed community was wholly unexpected "Cowboys or Killers?" was the laconic query suddenly thundered out upon them by Mr. Claybank, now revolver in hand, and at the head of his serried followers "Which air ye?" This! ... yelled the leading raider, bringing his revolver to a dead aim, whereupon he was instantly shot out of his saddle by Bertie, who was the next horseman at Claybank's side. "It's a plan-a trap!" roared another of the town-painters Quick, let us join forces with our other gang up yonder!" And, firing a few random and ineffectual shots, they galloped off at a break-neck pace up the street. The detachment of the Fifty followed them leisurely, leaving the dead ruffian lying as he had fallen, while his riderless pony went dash ing away over the open country. The pretended cowboys, on joini11g forces in front of the newspaper office, numbered over thirty in all. This fact seemed to inspire them with fresh confidence and recklessness, and they at once began discharging their revolvers into the of fice windows, while two or three dismounted, in an attempt to smash in the door. "They've got onto Editor Blazer's hot-shot newspaper tork at. last, I reckon ," observed Mr. Clay bank pleasantly "For'ard's still -the word, men, but don't furgit former instruc tions." Midway to the newspaper office, however a halt was ordered for the reception of a mes senger from the raiders who was seen to sep arate himself from his fellows, and ride out alone, with a white rag fluttering from the point of his brandished revolver. "You uns is evidently laborin' under a mistake," called out the herald, coming to a halt a few yards away. "We 'uns is jest h<. in' alittle fun 'ith thet newspaper galoot fur aboosin' honest men in ter-day's issue of his pesky sheet. See? Cowboys or Killers? was the only re sponse, again thundered out from the leader of the Fifty, though with less than half his force at his back. "Which?" "Oh, sh6!" in answer. "We 'uns, yer see only meanin' ter paint ther town red a bit, an' hevin' a leetle--" Cowboys or Killers? Which?" Killers. all the time, an' every day in the month, blast ye !" the messenger, 1 JS ing his temper at last. Gof durn yo're infer nal slab-sided hay-seed picter! 'F ye don't whistle a diff'rent tune, ax.' thet mighty st. Jdent--" He was interrupted by a snap-shot from Bertie, that tore away the flag of truce from his pistol I11Uzzle. Then, as he turned to fly in temporary panic, the knot of vigilantes were after him with such thundering ab'ruptness that his en tire gang, though outnumbering their assail ants three to one, went flying up the long thoroughfare in more or less confusion. "Halt!" cried Claybank, at last, as the raid ers were seen to rally their forces, besides re ceiving a considerable addition to their num ber. "Thet will do fur the present." Then, as the raiders came charging back in their turn, it was about face with the vigi lantes, and away they sped on the retreat, the enemy filling the air with their random shots and victorious cries But while the fugitives were rushing past the Hewgag office, and ducking their heads under the fish-net banner, the latter trembled on the drop, so that Claybank, who hap pened to be the last man under, and carrying his heavy sombrero in his hand, to take the


/ / DIAMOND DICK, JR.-THE BOYS' BEST WEEKLY. wind on his perspiring forehead, was in some way caught by the hooks connecting the net with its lower pole or spar. In a jiffy his wig, false whiskers, and long. close-buttoned duster-coat were vigorously whisked away from his person, and presto! what a change! It was no longer as Country Claybank, but as the dreaded Diamond Dick, the pictur esque hero of numberless border adventures and hair-breadth escapes-handsome, pale, black mustached, black-ringleted, eagle-eyed, and bediamoned from neck to knee, who smilingly followed his astounded command from under the banner that had thus been the cause of his unmasking. He waved his hand in response to their wondering shout, and then, stripping from his sombrero its disguising scarf returned it to his head, as in keeping with the rest of his romantic costume, blazing, too, with its aig rette of glittering gems at the band-loop. "Unmasked in spite of myself, boys!" he cried gayly. "Well, you shall see if I cannot lead you equally well in my true person." A roar of enthusiasm was his response, but there was now no time for the indulgence of wondering gratification, for the Killers were thundering down upon them from the head of the road en masse. A few of the foremost, who had chanced to witness and understand the transforma tion alluded to, wavered a little, but only with the effect of slightly confusing the charging mass when just on the point of passing under the banner. Then the latter was suddenly dropped a matter of two or three feet, from an invisible agency, and the result was such as had doubtless never before been witnessed in far West mining town, or anywhere else, for that matter. Fully one-half of the astounded raiders were suddenly swept out of their saddles, and scooped up, like so many human fish, kick ing, gasping, and struggling, high in the bel ly of the stout net, while their riderless broncos galloped frantically hither and thither, and the unnetted but scarcely less demoral ized ruffians were at once met by a countercharge on the part of the handful of vigi!antes, such as sent them, panic-stricken and decimated, back up the street. Better than this, the remainder of the Fifty, fully thirty-five strong, now suddenly ap peared in their rear, and in less time than it takes to describe it, scarcely a ruffian was left alive to carry back the story of the disaster to Mountain Lion Mike Diamond Dick's drag-net had been tested, and was an unquestionable success. CHAPTER V. HO FOR ESMERADDA! Nine Killers were found to have been scooped up by the net, and in twenty min utes after they were released from the mesh.es they were dangling by the neck, high in the air, from as many gibbet-boughs in the out-kirts of the town. In addition to this riddance, sixteen of their fellow-ruffians had been shot dead in the streets, making thus summa rily disposed of in all, while perhaps four or five had succeeded in making their escape. Polly Brixton signal ed Diamond Dick that she wished a private word. "A messenger from Hesmerhalder, sir, as hall just ridden hinto the staofe-yard by the back way," she said. "I doubt not but 'ee wants to see you in strict private." Diamond Dick thanked her, receiving a flattering glint from the young woman's bonny blue eyes in return, and was moving away, when she modestly touched his arm. "What is it, Miss Brixton ?" "If I might be so bold as to hask, sir," she said, casting down her eyes, "might it be that yoti will presently go to Hesmerhalder, by reason of this 'ere messenger?" "It is likely," was the reply. "In fact, it is more than likely." "Well, sir," hesitating, "I want to hask a favor, if you'll honly not go for to think me too bold." "Anything to serve you, my dear young lady. What is it?" "This, sir," raising her eyes with a sudden indignant flash. "In case you should get 'old o' that howdacious villain, Mountain Lion Mike--"


14 DIAMOND DICK, JR.-THE BOYS' BEST WEEKLY. I sincerely hope for just such luck," seeing that she again hesitated "And what then?" I want to hask you jus t to keep 'im for my father to 'ammer cried the young wom an, most energetically. "To 'ammer, repeated the other, perplex edly. "Yes, yes; to 'ammer the hugly 'ead hoff of im, dontcher know?" Ah, yes; I understand "You see, the dirty loafer once tried to kerry me hoff," continued Polly, still furious ly me, an' that hafter purtendin' to make honest love to me, and--W e ll, Mr. Diamond Dick," with contrasting urbanity "my daddy, you houghter know, was the cham pion welter-weight pug o' Birmingham and Smithfield market, afore comin' to this bloomin' country, and if I sure of 'is gettin' the chance to 'ammer, 'ammer;'" 'ammer the 'ead hoff o' the howdacious 'ound real good and 'ard, I'd feel a little better sat isfield. That's it." Diamond Dick smilingly promised to pre serve the outlaw chief for the prospective ordeal, if opportunity and Judge Lynch would permit, and then hurried away to the stable yard. An under-sized but hardy-looking ranchero, bearing the marks of recent long and hard riding, advanced to meet him, as he en tered the corral, saying: "Sir, I'm Broncho Bob, and I've a message from Captain Fanny. Perhaps you have heard of me before?" "Certainly, from my son Bertie," replied Diamond Dick, grasping the extended hand. "Take a seat here, until your message is de livered after which I can entertain you more hospitably. What is it?" "I'm to tell you in the first place," said the young man, accepting the improvised seat offered "thet ther leetle gal, as Captain Fanny was expectin' of from the States, has arrove." "Ah, yes; I had something to do with lit tle Miss Kitty's advent in our community here, as perhaps you know "Yes, sir, from Miss Polly ; but Captain Fanny don't as yet," with a broad grin. "And it's surprised she'll be, I can promise you, sir, to learn that Mr. Country Oaybank, ther king-pin o' ther Blue Cut scrimmage, an' Mr. Diamond Dick, ther all-round champion sport o' these hyar territories, is one and ther same duck." "Likely enough. But her present message is doubtless for me in my own person, since I am here in accordance with certain letters received by me from the lady when I was at the Nez Perces A gency." "Right you are, captain." "What other word does she send me, then?" "That Mountain Lion Mike is gatherin' a big gang o' ther Killers somewheres near his fastness in the Bitter Roots, seven miles east o' Esmeralder, 'ith ther avowed intention o' scoopin' in ther kid from ther States, he hez to burn up ther hull ranch ter git her, thet--" "Ah, indeed, but go on, pray Something else eh?" "Thet the gal s un' cle, Mr. Carbury, is ith Mountain Mike an' the Killers now, 'ith slathers o' money an' whisky fur ter see ther thing through--" f'Oho!" "And thet mebbe you oughter be on hand fer ther scrimmage as is in prospect 'ith ther least possible delay. Thet's 'bout all thar is inter it, captain." "And quite eno _ugh, in all conscience," with an easy laugh. "But look here, my man, perhaps you may have heard of what has chanced hereabouts to-qay." "I should say so! Twenty-six of 'em rubbed out at one swoop! By Jimminy! But then, you see, Captain Fanny can know nothing of this as yet!" "True; though she will probably have the facts before night." "Sartain, Captain; when I take 'em back to her." "You return at once, then?" "Before nightfall, that's my orders." "Will not Miss Fanshaw feel less appre hensive then, when she learns of this serious diminution of force that the Killers have sus tained?" "Easier, mayhap, captain but not alto 'gether safe by a thunderin' sight," was the response


DIAMOND DICK, JR.--THE BOYS' BES'l' WEEKLY. 15 "Has Mountain Lion Mike so many Kill ers left, then?" "Why, captain, ther foot-hills o' ther Bitter Roots jest swarms with 'em, an' desperadoes is a-flockin' to him every day from ther North Pacific Railroad line clean up ter ther Dominion boundary. Ther loss of this hyar gang wiped out by you fellers ter-day won't be felt an y more than a tincupful out of a barrel. I'd bet my head thet he kin muster ninety or a hundred Killers, new and old, any day in ther week!" "Humph!" "Besides thet, you must know ther dispo sition o' ther brute-savage ez a grizzly, wily ez a fox, wise ez a rattler. He'll be thet hoppin' mad fur revenge, when he hears o' oilow you've hanged, peppered and drag-netted these chaps ter-day, that all ther powers o' hell won't be able to hold him in." "Ah, indeed ; quite likely." "Besides, think o' thet Blue Cut hold-up thet you chiseled him out of so slick, to hoot. .. "I have thought of it brusquely. "Still as I understand it, Miss Fanshaw's ranch is in a fair state of defense?" "Yes, fairish. A tough, old-fashioned hacienda-like adobe buildin', suthin' on ther castellated style, I suppose you'd call it." "How many men could she muster from off her estate, in such an emergency as she seems to apprehend?" 0 "'Bout twenty, all told, 'thout countin' in the peon an' women house-servants." "Is that all?" "Yes, thar's as many more, but they'd hev to be out 'ith the droves an' sheep-flocks, you know." "Would a rein.forcemen of twenty-five men from here put the ranch in perfect se curity?" "You bet! and a gin all odds that cud be brought agin it I'm thinkin'." Good! what is the distance to Esmer-alda?'' "A matter o' seventeen miles." "Good road?'' "Bad-in t:her mountings; better beyond Mormon Top." "Where is that?" "Ten miles away." "We shall start with you in the cool of this evening." Broncho Bob started to his feet with a broad grin and a happy brow "Won't Captain Fan be happy?" he exclaimed. "No more anxious wortitin' over the kid-no more sleepless watchin' an' fear in' -in spite of her brave heart. Gh, but it'll do me good to see ther shadders skip away from her sweet face." "You seem honestly fond of your em ployer." "Thar ain't a man at Esmeralder but wud die fur her, an' deem hisself lucky in gittin' ther chance," was the simple rejoinder. Three hours later on, Diamond Dick, at the head of twenty-five picked men from among his sworn fifty-the remainder being left for home defense-and with Bronco Bob as guide, galloped out of Canyon City, and the watch-word for the time being was "Ho for Esmeralda!" CHAPTER VI. INTERCEPTED. A lovely moonlight night. The relief party for Esmeralda from Canyon City had come to a temporary halt, on the picturesque declevity known in the Kootenai district as Mormon Top. The vast estate of Esmeralda, beautifully diversified, lay below like a charming vision in the moonlight-an Eden of soft peace amid the sav .agery of the surrounding mountain walls. Far away on the valley's outermost rim, and just under the first upspring of the Bitter Root out spurs, or foot-hills, was 1 dimly outlined vision of white in the silvery shimmer and shine that was the main ranch or ha cienda building with its attendant huts, outbuildings and corrals. 1 "Thar she is!" cried Bronco Bob, pointing away with his hand, and specifying one after another the various attractions of the spot, for the benefit of such of the party as were now gazing upon the lovely picture for the first time; "the purtiest, valuablest, toniest ranch in all Idaho! God bless Esmeralda, an'


16 DIAMOND DICK, JR.-THE BOYS' BEST W.EEKLY. God bless ther beautiful woman as owns and runs it!" Suddenly he started, however, bending forward eagerly, while shading his eyes from the downpour of the flooding moonlight. Distant shots were heard, and presently, far away, on a comparatively level plain, about midway between the bottom of the slope and the remote ranch buildiqgs, a small group of horsemen were seen flying before a much larger force, that was in hot pursuit, firing as they rode. "Captain Fan herself, by crimminy !" cried the cowboy; "an' havin a close call from a big gang, most likely ther Killers themselves! I kin see ther flutter qf her long rid in' -skirt. Whoop! Diamond Dick, no time to be lost 'f we're to take a hand in this racket!" "Forward!" was the stern command. The cavalcade moved off at as brisk a pace as the steep down-trail would admit, and, reaching the bottom of the crest, at once set out in a long, hard, hand-gallop in the di rection indicated, the shouts sounding nearer and nearer as they covered the ground. At last a knoll was crested whence the chase could be observed comparatively close at hand. The fugitives, consisting of Miss Fanshaw and four attendants, were still riding as for dear life, but apparently without any of them having been wounded as yet, though their pursuers, twenty or thirty in number, seemed to be fast gaining on them, and were pressing on with fierce, exultant shouts. Bronco Bob had already spurred forward in advance, waving his lariat as a signal for relief being at hand. 1 "Open ranks!" was the command. The vigilantes spread apart, and the hunted woman came dashing in among them, with her fotlowers, making a graceful gesture of acknowledgment as she did so. Close ranks!" came the fresh order. "Forward-charge!" Then the entire relief party went thundering down the slight rise, firing as they sped, the opposing horsemen seeming to waver, after which they drew up across the trail, and awaited the onset. Miss Fanshaw had in the meantime spoken a few words explanatory of the situation. Anxious at the delay of her messenger' s return, and there being no signs of an attack from the robber fastness to the east, she had set out with her escort in the hope of meeting him. -Within less than a mile out from t.he ranch, however, the pursuing iorce had unexpectedly disclosed itself, and then had ensued the chase that had just been witnessed. Now, almost at the first shock of collision, the robbers gave way, and in a few moments were seen scattering off through the timberclumps in every direction, with at least seven of thei_r saddles emptied, so far as could be observed from the position occupied by Captain Fanny and her body-guard, and the vic tor in hot though brief pursuit. "Whoop!" excitedly shouted Bronco Bob, who had remained at his young mistress' side by special command "Thar they skip! But what else could yer expect with Diamond Dick in the lead?" "Yep!" observed one nL.the escort; "but Mountain Lion Mike hisself wa'n't 'ith thet troop o' Killers, er they wouldn't hev scat tered out in thet mean kiote way!" "Mebbe it's a trap," suggested another. "Them Killers is ekal ter anything, Mountain Lion Mike or no Mountain Lion Mike, you hear me! Leastways, ma'am," he touched his hat to Captain Fanny respectful ly, "we mout ez well be on our guard while ther relief gang's so fur away." "Be quiet, all0of you!" Captain Fanny peremptorily interposed. She was surveying the wind-up of the distant skirmish through a night-glass with absorbing interest, while sitting like a statue on her magnificent steed "Ha!" "Yes, ma'am," responded the last speaker; "but ez I was a-sayin' 'f it mout be a ruse of ther Killers fur ter git your own person inter thar hooks, why--" "Ridiculous, Mustang Mat, ridiculous!" said the proprietress of contemptuously, and she threw a swift glance around her. in the vivid moonlight. They were on a 'sljght rise of open ground, with clumps of trees here and there, and, save for the distant shots, the solitude seemed absolutely unbroken. "We are perfectly safe here." She was again adjusting the field-glass to


., DIAMOND DICK, JR.-THE BOYS' BEST WEEKLY. 17 her eyes when crack! rang a report from near at hand, and Bronco Bob uttered an exclamation of pain. "I told yer so!" shouted Mustang Mat, whipping out his shooter, as did likewise his companions. "By Jupiter! and hyar they come. Oose in, boys!" A score of horsemen had suddenly spurred out of the clump from which the shot had preceded, and were already sweeping down upon the little group with waving revolvers and fierce shouts. Miss Fanshaw had also drawn her revolver-she was reckoned as good a shot as any man on her estate-and, though pale, was resolute and stern, her beautiful features showing like marble in the moonlight. "Stand back-don't close round me!" she commanded. "There, that is better," as her five attendants obediently fell in line facing the foe, with herself in the center. "Bronco, can you still shoot?" "Like a platoon, Captain Fanny," was the cheerful response of the wounded guide, re volver on half-cock. "'Twas me left shoulder ez was plugged." "Here they come!" she continued. "Now wait for. the whites of their eyes, and be ready for the word." It was a gallant stand that the lady of Esmeralda and her five cowboys were making against more than quadruple their number; at this juncture, and when about a hundred yards away, the charging. column sud denly came to a halt, spreading out like a fan as it did so. "Miss Fanshaw!" called a clear, ringing voice from somewhere behind the hostile horsemen; "on my honor as a gentleman, no harm is intended y"ou, if you surrender quiet ly. But if you provoke us to violence by un necessary resistance, the responsibility will rest with yourself." Captain Fanny had started upon hearing and recognizing the voice-the voice of Kitty's uncle, whom she had known personally years before-her fine eyes flashing furiously. "What, George Carberry!" she said, "is it you?" "Yes." "You to taJ!k of the honor of a gentle man!" almiOSt in a scream, and with indescribable scorn. Then, in quieter command to her men, ''forward, break-neck. firing as you She led the audacious attempt b>;_ giving free rain to her superb brute, firing as she did so, ahd then her hardy escort were with her in a mad gallop, and with a midway volley, that at once emptied two saddles from among the astounded Killers, who were taken com pletely by surprise. However, it was a piece of desper:ation that seemed likely to cost the doers dearly. A roar of execration rose from the Killers, and, opening out their line, they began to wheel around the charging few, yelling for ven geance, but without firing, probably for fear of wounding the lady, whom they seemed bent ort taking uninjured. "Kill em all-all but the lady!" shouted the same voice, though without disclosing himself. "I want her for hostage." Captain Fanny and her men had meantime come to a halt, facing their circling foe as best they might, and about giving up all hope of escaping death or capture. But at this juncture there was a clarion like shout from a neighboring thicket, and a single horseman was seen galloping to the rescue at a tremendous pace, and yet firing as he came with a deadliness of marksmanship that seemed little less than miraculous. Saddle after saddle was emptied, and though the Killers at once devoted their entire attention to him alone, both with their revol ers and their Winchesters, the man seemed to bear a charmed life. On and on he came careering toward them with the re morselessness of doom, and at every crack of his unerring revolver-which was no sooner emptied than another snatched from his belt with lightning-like rapidity-either a horseman pitched, with a death-cry off. his plunging broncho, or a horse and his rider together went down in a heap as the winged death-bolt chanced to catch the former fatal ly in his maddened rear. "Whoop!" yelled Bronco Bob, also opening fire, together with his comrades, upon the scattering and demoralized Killers; "it's Diamond Dick! Cheer up, Captain Fanny. We're all hunk now." But she scarcely seemed to hear him. Her


' .......... 18 DIAlfOND DICK, JR. -THE BOYS' BEST Wl!.EKLY own revolver hung listless in her hand, and, statuesque amid the flying shots, she sat her horse beautifully and marble-pale in the moonlight, her whole being absorb e d i n watching the approach of the rescuing hors eman. ..... But a tragic episode was already ended, the eight or ten Killers-all that were left of the original score or more-being in full flightpanic-stricken at the onset of a single man. "Fanny Fanshaw, farewell for the present," again rang out that voice from among the Killers at parting! "But, if you think to es cape my designs upoq the child, beware! These affairs are but diversions. What is doing at Esmeralda while you are away? Ha, ha, ha!" She could merely distinguish a tall, masked horseman as the probable utterer of these shouted words, and then he, with the others, had galloped away. "Coward!" Miss Fanshaw be tween her clenched teeth. But then Diamond Dick came up to the group at an easy canter, and she extended her hand to him with a beautiful smile "Just in tile nick of time, it seems," said Diamond Dick, with the smile that so rarely relieved the melancholy of his colorless face. "But come, Miss Fanshaw. The Killers will doubtless take care of their own dead men in good season," with a gesture that included the slain robbers scattered here and there, "and my party is awaiting us a mile fa-rther CaptainYanny simply inclined her head in acquiescence Her eyes had already sufficient ly expressed her thanks, and the group gal loped away in the direction of Esmeralda. "A good thing that you all got off as easily as you did," observed Diamond Dick. "But the!\ these Killers are mighty small account on the shoot, so far as I have observed." "It would have been different," said Miss Fanshaw, "if Mountain Lion Mike had been personally in their lead. It is stranget with a troubled look, "the amount of individual magnetism which that master-villain exer cises over his follow ers. The least dangerous and desperate among' them be come pedect demons of bravery when led personally by him. How," turning her bee fully upon Di-amond Dick, who was riding at her side, "did you fare with chasing down my late pursu-ers, aft e r th ey broke and scattered?" "Badly, s in ce th ey w e re better mour.ted than we," w a s the reply. I think we must have killed half a dozen of them at the first charge, but our s ubse quent pursuit did little more than increase their panic It was after we had reformed and were resting that I heard the distant shots, and surmised that you an, d your little escort were being at tacked." "And so you rode, unhesitatingly and single-handed back to our rescue." "Believe me, ma'am, it was nothing," ear nestly. "These Killers amount to so little, you see." "No matter, sir," quietly "I felt that you were cotriing." "That is strange." "Why?" "Becau. se I felt that I ought to come. In fact, so strong was the inner prompting that I should have done so, even if I had not heard a shot." Her thoughtful face lighted up with one of her bright smiles. "And you are, also, the Mr. Country Claybank, to whom my little niece Kitty, and others owe so much?" said she. "Bronco has told me all." "It seems so, ma'am," was the quiet. response. And then they came up with the re lief party, who were already in the saddle again after their brief rest, and who, as one man, greeted their approach with a ringing cheer. "Ah!" suddenly exclaimed Captain Fanny, with an abrupt impatience for a temporary halt; "Come, Diamond Dick. No more dallying. What! there are still miles between and Esmeralda, and the parting words of that villain, Carbury, now recur to me with tenfold force." "Certainly," replied the leader, giving the comma!J.d forthwith which set the entire party in rapid motion. "You are sure, he con tinued, while again galloping in the advance at the young lady's side, "that it was Kitty's villainous uncle himself that called out to you from among the Killers?'' ....


DIAMOND DICK, JR.-THE BOYS' BEST WEEKLY. "Sure! As if I could doubt it? Do I not know that wretch of old!" Then they galloped on, a suspicious lurid ness brightening in the sky ahead as they rode, and at the next rise of ground overlooking the ranch tracts be y ond, an exclamatwu of mingled grief and fury burst from he-r lips. "Ah, that villain's parting threat, it was no idle bluster!" she cried. "Behold-Esmeralda in flames!" "Not quite so bad as that, ma'am, re sponded Diamond Dick, as consolingly as he might, his cooler vision taking in the situation more discriminatingly notwithstanding his unfamiliarity with the locality "An outer corral or two is in a blaze, to be sure, but the main ranch building is as yet intact "No matter," wildly. "See those Killers still at work in the red light, doubtless with Mountain Lion Mike himself at their head, and poor little Kitty may be already in their hands! On, on, on!" No need of this injunction, however, as the cavalcade was already thundering to the res cue at the top of their speed. CHAPTER VII. with tremendous force, and it seemed evident even at the distance from which the on-rushing relief party viewed the scene, that the barricade must speedily succumb, if the a<:saults should be continued without interruption And all this sufficiently obvious in the fierce light ohhe conflagration with the re lief party still two miles or more away, though pressing their jaded steeds to the ut most. "H6 rry, hurry, hurry!" almost screamed Captain Fann her solicitude for her little niece's safety completely overmastering her accustomed composure in danger for the time being, as she lashed her steed into long, frenzied leaps in the advance. Good Heaven, if we should be too late. If my dead br()ther's little heiress should be in that cruel scoundrel's clutch before we get there!" "Patience, ma'am. See they have already sighted our approach, and evidently don't like it. Who is that tall horseman, who seems to be everywhere at once, and regardless of the bullets? Can that be--" "Yes, yes-Mountain Lion Mike himself! Hurry, hurry!" "But he alone is masked." "He has always been whenever I have seen him. Ha!" The words closed with almost a shriek, her MOUNTAIN LION MIKE. exhausted horse at that instant going down As they drew nearer to -the ranch it proved under her, while simultaneously the ranch eri, that Diamond Dick had been right as to the trance was seen to give way before the batter situation there. ing-ram, while a dozen or more of the Kill. It was only one of the thatch-roofed outer ers rushed into the building with an exultant corrals that was as yet in a blaze. But then a shout. vigorous attack was being made by a large But the relief party were now within less body of the Killers upon the main building, than half a mile of the exciting scene. which was being defended by a dozen or "Courage!" exclaimed the deep voice of more c;owboys and ranch-servants barricaded Diamond Dick. within; the shots flying thick and fast be-He reined in his steed just long enough to tween the assailants, chiefly and the stretch out his hand. Captain Fanny, who had besieged, while a number of the former could disengaged herself from her fallen horse with he seen, in the fierce light, advancing on foot consummate address, seized it and then with at the double-quick with an improvised bata leap she was gathered up before him, and tei-ing ram for the purpose of smashing in the thundering onset was Rept up, with the stoutly barred main entrance. scarcely the interruption of a dozen seconds. Those who would occasionally fall away "Ah, too late, too late!" almost sobbed from the heavy log, under the well-directed Captain Fanny. "The cHild-my little niece shots from within the building, would have -Mountain Lion Mike has got her!" their places quickly filled by others. Twice It was true. As the exultant Killers began already had the huge ram struck the portals to scatter, as if dreading to meet the charge ...


.. DIAMOND DICK, JR.-THE BOYS' BEST WEEKLY. of the new-comers, the bravos who had rushed into the building came hurrying out o f it one of them with the l i ttle girl, kicking and screaming, in his arms, whom he at once placed in the hands of the tall masked lead er Then th e relief party were on the spot, though with their animals completel y blown, and, the Killers making a temporary stand, the bullets b egan to fly thick and fast from revolvers and Winchesters in the still lf.trid light of the burning stockade. "Madam-Miss Fanshaw !" exclaimed Diamond Dick, still holding her before him on his horse, while the latter dashed on into the midst of the fray, "promise to remain here-to go in yonder out of danger, and I swear to you to restore the child to your arms. Have I your promise?" "Yes, yes!" she cried eagerly. "Butah--" The words dosed with yet another despairing cry, as Diamond Dick's overtaxed horse also at this instant went floundering to his knees. "Ah, but now how will you do it_?" she wailed. "Wait and see!" was the stern response, and the next instant she saw him springing through the contending horsemen on foot, like a meteor. "Bertie! Handsome Harry!" "Ay, a.y, dad!" responded the boy, spurring after him "Hyar I be!" "Count on me, old pard!" roared Handsome Harry, likewise urging his jaded steed after agile figure of his beloved chief. "Arter you, ol' man, like a thousand o gold bricks!" But Diamond Dick had already shot out of the saddle a robber whose particularly fine fresh-looking horse had taken the fancy of his eagle-eye, and the next instant was on the creature's back with a swift bound, and riding straight at Mountain Lion Mike through the press shooting his passage clear right and left, with a revolver in each hand, while guiding his animal's course solely by the pressure of his strong knees "Drop the child, Mike!" he thundered, at the same time sending a bullet point-blank at the masked leader's breast, though unac countably enough, without any effect. "Drop the girl, or your life is mine!" Waving the still screaming child triumphantly on high, Mike spurred away to lead off the retreat of his Killers, who were now in full organized flight toward the distant Bitter Root Mountains to the east, anything like an effective pursuit being out of the question, on the part of the relief party, by reason of their blown and jaded mounts. At the last moment Bertie, having exhausted both his revolvers, sprang from the sct< die, snatched a Winchester from the hands of a freshly slain Killer, and, taking swift aim, irrespeelive of peril to the child, fired Mountain Lion Mike uttered a howl of pain and rage, as his lifted arm fell helpless to his side, and before he could recover himself, Kitty was free and unhurt upon the ground, running back in the direction of her For a moment he wheeled his horse, in hesitation, pouring forth a torrent of curses; but the relief band was already close upon him en masse and he had to content himself with rejoining his fugitive men. As has been intimated, no organized pursuit could be attempted. ln a few minutes the well-mounted fugitives had disap peared, leaving ten or twelve of their number, all told, dead or wounded to the death on the ground adjacent to the ranch build ings. Presently they all drew to one side to admit of the entrance of two or three men, and' to all appearances unwillingly enough, who were bearing among them a helpless man, seeming to be desperately wounded, on a rude improvised stretcher. The latter, a singularly handsome young fellow, blonde, beardless, curly-haired, and. with blue eyes like a woman's, though now haggard and white, and with his huntingshirt stained with blood where a bullet had'> probably torn its way through his lithe, letic frame, turned a wan, half-conscious look on the group of three as he was being carried out of the moonlight into the com para-. tively gloomy interior. "Why," comrpented Diamond Dick, in a lowered tone, and no little surprise, "that[


.. DIAMOND DICK, JR.-THE BO'l'S' BES f WEEKLY. il fellow is one of the accursed Kill e rs of Kootenai "And one of the worst, in spite of his looks," replied the lady of Esmeralda calm l y, besides being one of Mountain Lion Mike s most trusted lieutenants-Antelope Andy by name." "And you have him brought in here to be cared for? "Why not? The man ts apparently wounded to the death. And she called peremptoril y back to the litter-bearers: "Take that man in the big room behind the court, where you will find old Malatta caring for the other wounded "Who is Malatta, if I may be permit t e d to ask ma'am?" curiousl y inquired Diawhich had reached him at Canyon City, and he could not avoid giving the mistress of Esmeralda a swift look that at once attracted her attention. "Why do you look at me thus?" she sud denly demanded with a tinge of imperious ness "What do you mean by it, sir?" "I shall not tell you,'' coolly. "That is, I do not think I shall." "But you must-I insist! Ah, do you think my woman s intuition blind? You have heard certain suspicions whispered against me, back yonder in Canyon City. Do not deny it, Diamond Dick!" CHAPTER VIII. mond Dick, who had fallen into a thoughtful THE WOUNDED OUT'LA W, ANTELOPE ANDY. mood. "Malatta, replied Captain Fanny, "is an Well, ma' am, it is true replied Diamond old Shoshone medicine woman, who has long Dick, slowly, and not without embarrassmade herself very useful to my ranch estabment. "But then the suspicions were not lishment." exactly against you." Then she held out her hand, with a smile "What were they? demanded Miss Fan-of singular gentleness saying : shaw, with renewed peremptoriness, though Good-nigh! my friend. One of my sershe seemed struggling to soften her tone. v:> ts will presently show you to your quar"Tell me at once, and without evasion, and to-morrow, when all this danger please." and excitement shall be a thing of the past, "I never practice evasion, ma'am," was the we can discuss our business at leisure And coldly haughty reply in the meantime, do not think me quite a Ah, of course you do not. Forgive me, fool for my magnanimity to any fallen foes." Diamond Dick, and do tell me just what you I couldn't think you that, ma'am,'' rehave heard." joined Diamond Dick, earnestly, after raising "Only this, then, ma'am," was the now corthe extended hand to his lips with dial response ; "that you have so long en an air of old-time chivalry. "I can only quesjoyed comparative immunity from these Killtion your judgment in the matter." ers of Kootenai, that--" "Don't be too sure of that, either There "Yes, yes," seeing that he again hesitated. may be a method in my madness, as you "That there might have been some mys-might term it, that is not apparent on the terious connection between you and their in surface It is my little heiress here, not myfamous leader in past years." self, who has prompted to-night's outrages The color swiftly rushed into the lady's on the part of the Killers here, and even that lovely face and then vanished, leaving it was at the instigation of that villain, George marble-pale as before. Carbury, and his money. But apart from "With the villain Mountain Lion Mike that, if J were individually to fall into their you mean?" she said, slowly. hands at this moment, it would be but for a "Of course, ma'am. Whom else?" short time, and they would treat me with no "Do you believe this, Diamond Dick?" great disrespect. I am sure of this she then asked, with sudden eagerness These words suddenly recalled to Diamond "No, ma'am, not foc an iustant,'' was the Dick a not altogether disagreeable rumor prompt and hearty response you think


DIAMOND DICK, JB.-TBE BOYS' BEST WEEKLY. I'd even .have mentioned it if you hadn't f o rced me to?" "Thank you; I am glad to hear you speak thus. And, once more bidding him goodnight, she abruptly withdrew with her little niece. Though it was well on to m tdnight when Diamond Dick retired to the apartment as signed to him, he was up and stirring soon after daybreak, when he chanc e d upon the cowboy, Mustang Mat, who was about to ride out over the e state, in accordance with p ; evious instructions. I'll go with you, if you ve no obj e ctions, and can give me a good mount," suggested Diamond Dick, in the amiabl e wa y in which he so readily made new friends when he chose. "Objections!" cried the ranchman. "Brand me fer a maverick, sir 'f I won t on' y feel e z p roud ez a speckled race-ho ss at ther chance!" And in a few minutes duly armed and mounted, they were riding off side by side in the fresh-springing daV(In-light. In the course of the ride Diamond Dick could not but be surpris ed at the vast extent and evident wealth of the isolated es tate, with its sleek herds, and at the same time to wonder at the attractivene ss of the ranch not having frequentiy been r a id e d by the dreaded Killers of Kootenai, usually '>O indiscriminate and remorseless in their depredations, and with their chief mountain fa 'it ness in the Bitter Roots so comparatively near at hand. On expressing himself to this e ffect to his companion, the latter looked up with a laugh, and with a significant shrug of his broad shoulders "Ther Killers said Mustang Mat, "don't never hurt Esmeralder. That is, after a scowling pause "they never did afore ther leetle kid came to us from the States, 'r was knowed ter be on her way to ther ranch." "That seems odd when the estate is so rich and so convenient to their haunts." "Not so all-fired odd ez you' d suppose, was the half-grunted response. Captain Fan h e z been mighty good to s e veral of 'em in di stress-makes no difference to her who the cuss is, so long ez he's sick or .wounded,'' moodily-" an I reckon they preciate it 'r did afore ther kid came Look at thet An terlope Andy now," with a sudden burst of indignation, "what she's already set old Ma-latta to coddlin' an' wet-nussin' along o' thet bullet-hole in his infernal hide-the more the better fer him 'd say I an' every other man o n the tract. As treacherous, murderous a Killer hound ez skips unhanged-bad ez Mountain Liorr'\.Mike hisself-an' yet-but sho !" with a muttered oath; "what's ther use o' talkin'? 'Tain't fer me 'r any one else ter critercise Cap'n Fan; an' besides," gloomily, "torkin' o' Mountain Lion Mike, thar may be even suthin' else behind it." This caused Diamond Dick to prick up his ears, so to speak, though he strove to keep his natural curiosity from becoming too apparent. "What do you mean?" he remarked, with assumed carelessness "Surely Miss Fanshaw couldn't have any secret friendliness for Mountain Lion Mike himself? "I didn't say so, did I?" with a quick, suspicious glance. And as, after this, the man grew taciturn and moody, r eplying only in surl y monosyllables to everything that was said in the way of interrogation, Diamond Dick wisely confined his speculations on the subject to his own thoughts. Diamond Dick had the honor of breakfasting finely that morning with Miss Fanny and her little niece, alone, after which he accompani e d the lady on an extensive ride over various parts of her estate, under a strong escort. "We will talk of our particular business at leisure later on, she said, quite gayly, in the co.urse o f th e ride. "In the meantime, it is agreeable enough for me to know that but little damage was done by last night's at tack. Not one of my men was killed, few wounded, and none seriously, and the stock ade that was burnt was an old one of little account." "Yes," observed Diamond Dick, "every thing considered it seems to me that you got off cheaply enough, ma'am. "Perhaps I need not have sent for you and your party, notwithstanding the inestim able service that you performed," and s he looked at him with her dazzling smile "Do vou think that, Diamond Dick?" "On the contrary, he composedly replied, '"' think so directly the opposite that I have already sent to Canyon City for the rest of the Fifty to join me h;;e as soon as they can leave the town under 1i' secure home guard, as one might say." "What! Do you apprehend that the Killers will attack Esmeralda again, and soon?" I apprehend that there's nothing like being prepared for anything, and that I shall carrv the war into the enemy's country, with an to clean out the entire gang, root and branch, at the very first opportunity. "What!" with a swift look of anxiety, that aroused his vague suspicions uncomfortably; "you will venture upon that?" "Of course I will," sternly. "But would it be altogether necessary?" Before he could answer her horse-the cavalcade was proceeding over a level stretch ..


DIAMOND DICK, JR.-THE BOYS' BES'r WEEKLY. at a smart trot-she set foot deep into a prairie-dog hole, stumbling crashing to his knees, while the limb was heard to break with a sharp snap. In spite of her superb horsemanship, Captain Fanny would have gone flying over the animal's head, had not Diamond Dick saved her by a fortunate grasp upon the left arm. His clutch at her arm had torn off the entire sleeve of her perfectly fitting green habit, which he still held in his grasp, and his eyes were now devouring the ivory-white, beauti fullyrounded member thus summarily bared to view with a pained, startled look, though it might well have passed for the famous lost arm of the Venus di Medici itself. "What is the matter, sir?" sharply exclaimed the mistress of Esmeralda, coloring angrily. "Give me that sleeve, if you please. Did you never see a woman''S bare arm before, pray?" "Excuse me, ma'am!" shouted Diamond Dick, while obediently 'holding out the sleeve and pointing at a violet-colored, clover-shaped mark, distinctly outlined on the delicate white skin near the shoulder; "I -I was looking at that!" "Ah, my birth-mark?" with thoroughly restored composure, or even indifference; and, hastily snatching the sleeve, she drew it over her arm and began to pin it in place with feminine deftness "Tell me," he exclaimed, with a sudden sternness that startled her; "is your n a me really Fanshaw? And were you an own sister to that child's father?" "No," wonderingly, and not a little resent fully; "his half-sister. And it is a step-father's name that I bear. But look you, sir," proudly coloring again, "if you would presume upon our brief acquaintance, and the personal obligations you have placed me under to---" "Peace, peace," interrupting her impatiently. "Your own father s name was, then--" "What I choose to remember it to have been, sir!" with angry hauteur. "How dare you ad!fress me as to the past, which is my own experience?" "For this reason!" He bared his own left arm, magnificently muscular, yet white and shapely as a duchess', unfastening and rolling up the hunting-shirt sleeve with nervous haste, and disclosing a ma-rk thereon almost the exact counterpart oi her own. See!" "What is this?" cried Captain Fanny, gaz ing with clasped hands and parted lips. "What does it mean?" "Nothing-at prest!nt He hastily restored his sleeve, transferred her saddle to the spare animal, assisted her to mount, shot the injured brute through the head, galloped on at her side, without vouchsafing another word, notwithstanding that she cast more than.one inquisitive, even half timid, glance at his stern, preoccupied face. The matter of business that was discussed between Miss Fanshaw and Diamond Dick a little later on-and to the total ignoring on both sides of the little episode just relatedmay be disposed of in a few words. The Lady of Esmeralda being in daily ex-pectation of her little niece's arrival from the States, and of the possible hostility of the powerful Killers of Kootenai thereupon, through the machinations of the wicked uncle-who was evidently bent on securing the little heiress' destruction, which would place hiJQ in possession as the next testamentary heir to the wealthy estate left by her father, who had been his, George Carbury's, half-brother-had communicated with Diamond Dick, then at the Nez Perces Agency, for the purpose of securing his general protective and detective services. He had responded agreeably, terms had been satisfactorily arranged, and, after sending on his son Bertie as his avant courier in the affair, here he was at last at Esmeralda, under the strangely dramatic, tragic, and adventurous circumstances that have been de scribed. This was the state eli the case in a nutshell. "Now, if you please, Miss Fanshaw," said Diamond Dick, at last, "pray let me understand two or three points in this business that are not quite clear to me as yet ." "Whatever you choose to ask, my friend," was the amiable reply. "And you can ad dress me as Captain Fanny, if you choosepretty much every one else does." "Thank you-though I may not so choose, or at least, not always. Well, then, Kitty's father?" "Dead less than two years. Ah, and y ou wonder why he sh01:tld have left a testamentary provision so perilous to his only child? Yes? Well, he didn't. It was through his father's (Kitty's grandfather's) will that this disposition of the property was enforced upon him he and Carbury having had the same mother by different fathers. I, being likewise related to Kitty 's father as his half sister was a child by previous marriage of yet another wife of Grandpapa Fanshaw's, my mother bein-g his third and last. But enough of this, so far c.:; l an1 concerned, anti I hope I have $'ilffi.ciently explained the complica tiern." "It will do," he said, briefly, "though it is considerable of a muddle." "That is true," calmly. "What else is it that you would like to know?" "Kitty's mother?"


.. DIAMOND DICK, JR.-THE BOYS BEST WEEKLY. "Ah, and you think it strange that she should not have found it easier to shield the child against her unscrupulous enemy In the populous, well-policed East than out here in the wild and woolly West? Well, in the first place, she is a hopeless invalid; in the next place, she could have had no idea of George Carbury having at odd times affiliated with the mountain outlaws of this very sec tion, and, thirdly, she has an unbounded and perhaps highly exaggerated faith in me. There you are, sir." "You have contracted for my services in the complication, ma'am," observed Diamond Dick, rising from his seat with a satis fied nod. "Let me ask if you are content with them as thus far demonstrated?" "What a question! Of course I am, Diamond Dick, and a thousandfold more than I can express." "Thank you, ma'am. I then furthermore engage to either completely extirpate these Killers of Kootenai, root and branch, or to drive them, broken and scattered, out of this Territory, so that they will never venture to return." He looked at her fully and steadily as he spoke. "This, as I understand it, is what you wish?" "Yes," without betraying a flutter under his searching, soul-reading gaze. "Oh, yes, to be sure! Of course there can be no peace nor stability until they are-disposed of." "Very good, ma'am. Then I shall and complete command and responstbthty in the work before me. You will please bear this in mind?" She colored, biting her lip, but for all, bending her head in haughty acquiescence. And that moment one of her women servants entered the room and whispered something. look upon both myself, whom he seems to admire, and upon the noble brute that he so loved, before the last shadows darken over him, you understand?" "Yes, ma'am," bluntly; "and I wouldn't grant it. I'd be suspicious of any Killer while a breath of life remain ed in his body." "But I propose to see him first, to make sure of this. Will you accompany me?" "Oh, yes, ma'am, of course!" And they forthwith quitted the room to gether. She gave some orders in accordancewith the dying man's request, and then they were in the apartment where he already lay, to all appearances a pitiable wreck at his last gasp, on the litter on which he was to be borne away. "How is this, Malatta?" said Captain Fanny, turning to the old medicine woman, who, with others, was standing about the litter; "you haven't even dressed this man's wound." She pointed to the rent and blood-stained hunting-shirt still covering the man's injured chest, apparently as when he had first been carried into the ranch. 1'He wouldn't have it, chieftainess," gruntingly replied the old squaw, in her Shoshone dialect. "Said 'twas no use. Ugh! guess he was right. But then robber white men mighty tough." And she shook her head dubiously. CHAPTER IX. AN OUTLAW'S RUSE-DIAMOND DICK'S UNLOOKED-FOR PERIL. "Wait-do not go just yet, Diamond Antelope Andy here made a: feeble bpt Dick," said Miss Fanshaw, after dismissing emphatic gesture of impatience, and he gave the woman. "I you would accompany the lady an imploring look out of his hag-me on a rather painful errand." gard eyes. "Certainly, ma'am; anything in the world. "Right, right-no. use!" ,?e m.at;taged to What is it?" say, in a hoarse whtsper. Medtcme for a "You remember the wounded outlaw, An-man with a big hole in his ribs? Bah! past telope Andy?" surgery. Tell me, tell me, Captain Fanny,. "Certainly." you'll grant my last request?" "Here is a dying message from him. A "Yes, yes," replied Miss Fanshaw, more few months ago he ventured, almost singlesympathetically than she liked it -to appear handed upon a drunken raid down this way. before her men, for the young outlaw had At the head of a few of my men, I drove him been undeniably handsome, howsoever off and captured his horse, Black Chief, un-wrecked and emaciated he now appeared, anq as swift and valuable a brute men will have their own thoughts in such a as there is in all Idaho. Andy now begs that connection. "Don't tcy to speak any more." I shall be present, with the animal "And you-you will, indeed, stand by me equipped, when he is borne out on the prame at the last?" persisted the moribund. ':You to die, beside his open and freshly dug grave, -you will have Black Chief, my noble horse, in obedience to bis dying caprice. He would there, too?" His dim eyes lighted up. "He ./


DIAMOND DICK, JR.-THE BOYS' BEST WEEKLY. was mine once, you know, ther-ther splen did brute!" y es, yes; I have given the orders. It shalJ be done." 'An' the leetle gel Captain Fanny-let her be thar, too. Promise me, promise!" "Don't do it!" growled Diamond Dick, in an undertone, still suspicious, even while he gazed on the wasted wretch b e fore him.'"You can never be sure of an}'thing with this sort." She gave him a half-resentful look. "You mean my little nie ce, Kitty?" s : e aid turning to the sufferer with no little gentleness. Yes, yes!" was the gasped response. "Oh, f I'd on' y knowed thet Mountain Lion Mike meant ter kerry her off -but thet's over an' done now You-you see, Cap' n Fanny," pantingly, "I hed a leetle sister jess like. thet young one once, and-and--" 'Say no more; it shall be so. Hal look at him, Malatta I Dead or a faint?" "A faint," was the old squaw s reply, after a brief examination; and then, without fur ther preliminaries, the litter was taken up and its occupant carried into the open air, the attendants and onlookers following. Before going with the rest, however, Diamond Dick exchanged a few words with Broncho Bob, Mustang Mat, Bertie, and Handsome Harry, who had been among those present at the strange scene. The consequence was that, when all were gathered about the new-made grave on the open prairie, with the prostrate man stretched beside it, there was standing, addled and bridled, not far away, Rocket, a powerful iron-gray stallion, generally acknowledged as the best horse at Esmeralda, with the single exception of Black Chief, which was impa tiently pawing the turf at the edge of the grave, convenient for the dying man to feast his eyes thereon, Captain Fanny herself holding him by the bits, with the wondering little kitty at her side. Antelope Andy had man_llged to come out of his faint with the cOQl sunset blowing over him. He half-turned on his side apparently with a very painful effort, and looked into the deep open grave that was designed to soon cover away his mortal remains, with something like a sigh of satisfaction. "It'll be comf'table comf'table, I reckon!" he muttered, jerkingly. And then his hol low, f .aded eyes lighted up with gx:eat enthusiasm, as they rested devouringly upon the magnificent steed. "Ah, ther big black ther ange1 of a hoss I" he exclaimed. "No critter his ekal-not one, not one! Cap'n-Cap' n Fanny." "Yes; what is it, Antelope?" "Please order this crowd back a bit. I-I wanter say suthin' pertic'lar, suthin' fer-fer the good o yoursel a n ther kid. See?" She did as he requested, the onlookers, who were chiefly at his side of the grave, falling back some doz e n paces at a motion of her hand. what is it now, Antelope Andy?" Miss Fanshaw inquired. '"This!" in a clear, ringing shout. And then he was across the grave and in the saddle with a tremendous bound. ''Don't furgit ther tnck, Cap'n Fan!" In an instant he had snatched Kitty up in his arms, torn the bridle rein from Miss Fanshaw' s astounded grasp, and was off over the prairie like the wind Even before a pistol tould be snatched out of a belt so paralyzing was the sudden surprise-and hardly a man had thought to bring a rifle alonghe was out of range, and speeding away toward the Bitter Roots like a meteor. "Just as I feared! thundered Diamond Dick, the first to recover his presence of mind. ''Trust a Killer when you trust a rattlesnake! Quick, Bronco Bob, the stal lion! And then shouting out a dozen instructions for his followers and with the ra pidity and snap out of a well charged gun, he sprang upon Rocket' s back, and was off in pursuit. Captain Fanny had reeled back, pale, faint, and humiliated; and not another man attempted to take up the immediate pursuit, for their leader's parting commands had ex pressly forbidden it, while not unmindful of future contingencies As for Diamond Dick, he kept steadily on, urging his iron-gray to the utmost that he could safely do, ana this was a superb pace, to enable him to hold his own with the treacherous fugitive, who, with all his cunning had only managed to gain a start of less than a mile. "Curse the dare-devil villain!" muttered Diamond Dick, though with more of im patience than anger, for the bold cunning of the ruse that had been worked so persever ingly and successfully had in some measure excited his admiration. Bertie had hurriedly thrust a Winchester rifle into his hands at the moment of his taking horse. Once he raised the weapon to his shoulder as he rode, and sighted a long range shot that, with his accustomed skill, could scarcely have failed to pink the fleeing horseman in the centre of the back under ordinary circum stances But when about to pulJ trigger, little Kitty's head appeared looking back over her abductor's shoulder, while stretching out her hands imploringlX; and uncertain


I DIAMOND DICK, JR.-THE BOYS' BEST WEEKLY. of even his iron nerve for incurring the nec essary risk, he lowered the rifle with a mut-tered oath. And so the mad chase continued until the rugged and wooded foot-spurs of the Bitter Roots were plainly discernible less than three miles ahead. "Oh !" muttered Diamond Dick, "we are getting along, getting along, and far from home at that." Then his attention was momentarily distracted by a large herd of antelope that went bounding away over the grassy sea within '"'easy rifle shot. Then, again continuing his steadfast gaze ah e ad an exultant exclamation burst from his lips. Black Chief was seen to stumble, almost going to his knees-perhaps from stepping in a prairie-dog hole, and before his rider could get him into anything like his former thundering pace, upward of a third of his advance start had been sacrificed. "I've got him! said Diamond Dick to himself. His own noble brute was letting himself out with unabated speed and energy beneath him, and with a perfect rh ythm of powerful motion. "Ha! Yes by Jupiter! there's a perceptible limp in Black Chief s running now! If I'm n6t pOiitively gaining on him, may I be shot! Good bo y brave Rocket!" And he patted his horse's nec k enc o uragingly. I If he could only have divined that he was being pla y ed with-that both stumble and limp were by design on the part of the in telligent, perfectly trained fugitive stallion, at the instance of his shrewd master! But, then, who could have dreamed of such a thing? Not even Diamond Dick at that exciting juncture, we max be sure And on, on they sped, pursuer and pursued, deceived and deceiver, with the first grove clumps now be ginning to thicken around them in the slowly fading sunset light. At. last the fugitive disappeared into a thinly scattered grove at the base of the ne-aT est foot-hill, and Diamond Dick was after him like a shot, Jess than fifty rods behind The latter for a moment lost sight of his man in the comparative obscurity of the wood and then caught a glimpse of him, spurring his horse at a broad leap across a circumscribed open and grassy little glade. W ondering why the fugitive should have put his horse to a jump just there, but supposing it to have been a mere freak of horse manship, Diamond Dick urged his animal directly on at the same swift pacing gait that he had been for some time pursuing. Then there was a crash-the open, grassy space had nothing more titan the treacherous cover for a prepared pitfalland Diamond Dick was at the bottom of a deep, narrow ravine, with his horse franticallv floundering under him. "Ha, ha, hal" mockingly laughed the voice of the cunning outlaw. "How d'ye like ther racket so fur ez you've gone Diamond Dick? But look out fur more te; come. Ta I A ta. an ntelope Andy's respects ter Cap'n Fanny-when you see her agin, which'll be never never more, this side of the grave. Ha, ha, ha !" Then,. with an added plaintiff cry from poor,. httle Kttty, there was a continuance of the hoof-beats through the wood, until they and the voice died away together. Diamond Dick was still endeavoring to ex tricate himself from his maddened, but apparen_ tly not greatly injured horse-, when suddenly a numerous band of mounted Kill ers made their appearance, looking gloatingly down on him from the edge, of the ravine. More than half their number hurried1y dismounted and precipitated themselves into the pit. In a few minutes, Diamond Dick was overpowered, bound hand and foot, and taken out, while his noble horse, Rocket, before he could be prevented, bounded away on being relieved of his rider, and disappeared with a wild sort of equine scream, down along the bed of the slowly widening ravine. "It is Diamond Dick himself!" exclaimed the leader of the little band. "Fetch him along to the fastness. Holy smoke! Mountain Lion Mike will fairly jump out of his skin for joy ,When he learns of this hyar cap ture." Diamorid Dick was accordingJy bound securely upon a spare horse and led off up into the mountains, without further ado. He had been not a little stunned and confused by the suddenness of his unexpected fall into the ravine, so that any sort of re sistance had been out of the question; and now there was nothing left for it but to bear his misfortune as philosophically as he might. Night came doWn over the wooded steeps heavy and dark; but the outlaws seemed to pursue their way by the tortuous and difficult trails by a sort of instinct. By moonrise, or perhaps ten o'clock, the fastness was reached; a wild, natu'i"ally forti fied glen, apparently in the very heart of the mountains, and here, for the time being, at least, he received better treatment he might have expected. The Killers, it is true, ca:me crowding angrily and menacingly around him in great numbers; but, beyond frowns and curses, they exercised no little forbearance toward him, evidently under previous instructions to that effect And he was presently placed


DIAMOND DICK, JR.-THE l30YS' BEST WEEKLY. under strong guard in a large old cabin, containing no other occupant, where he was temporarily relieved of his bonds, and fur 'nished with good, freshly cooked food and pure water, of which he was in great need. The interior of his rude prison-house was fitfully illuminated by light from the numerous campfires blazing around It, and flashmg in through the open door, before which the \ outlaws on guarr!, armed to the teeth, and watchful as lynxes, passed and repassed in cessantly. Shortly after his incarceration here, the prisoner was visited by Mountain Lion Mike, the masked chieftain of the Killers of Koo tenai. "Diamond Dick," said this master villain, with folded arms, and in an unexpected moderation of tone, though there was the percep tible ring of exultant cruelty behind it, "you are my prisoner, and though I have not yet determined upon the means, I shall most as suredly put you to death, and in short order, as you would undoubtedly do in my case, were our positions reversed." ''Undoubtedly--or turn you over to the tender mercies of Polly Brixton's prize-fighting parent," was the prompt reply. "By the way, Mike Bradshaw, do you always go w :ked?" "When it suits me, and in the presence of certain parties, yes," with equal coolness and imperturbability. "Captain Fanny, of Esmeraida, among others, doubtless?" The outlaw started, but recovered his composure at once, if indeed he had lost it, and made a dismissive gesture. "So you are the _renowned Diam?cnd Dick?" he observed, with a cold sneer; an educated man, and, therefore, doubtless, a mystery, underneath the fro?tier ruffianism with which you incessantly mix, doubtless for your own purposes?" "Perhaps the same as yourself-barnng the crime in which you seem to glory." Mountain Lion Mike glared through his mask, and for the first time gave utterance to a diabolical chuckle. "If you only knew what was in store for you!" he hissed out. For answer, Diamond Dick threw himself wearily upon the heap of pine boughs, from which he had risen, and was soon fast asleep. CHAPTER X. THE SEA OF FIRE. At about daybreak, Diamond Dick was rudely awakened, bound afresh upon a horse, and hurried away from the camp by a small band of Killers, with the masked leader him self at their head. The course was back and d-own through the mountains, and, as near as he could guess, by a somewhat different route from that by which he had been carried up into them. Now, however, in broad daylight, and not being hoodwinked, he was enabled to make use of his eyes to the best advantage, and he did not neglect the opportunity. At last they reached and rode out upon the grand, grassy plain, or pampas strip. Here, at a chosen spot, the prisoner was taken from his horse, and lashed securely high up against one of the outcropping bowlder-rocks, from which he had an unobstructed view over the vast grassy sea to the north. "That will do," said Mountain Lion Mike, when these preparations were l : omplete. "Come away, anp be infernal quick ahout it!" And the band rode away, without another word. The prisoner had maintained a proud taciturnity as to what his fate was to be; but what could all this mean? His doubts were soon dispelled. A long, rolling line of smoke presently ap peared along the northern horizon of the grassy sea, and the wind was blowing direct ly in his face. The smoke-line quickly became a line of fire an interminably advancing wave of whic., was rushing down upon him with the remorselessness of doom itself. The prairie was on fire. The sea of grass was becoming a sea of flame, and it was in tended that he should be engulfed amid the scorching waves. Horror for the moment possessed the hap less captive, to the exclusion of every other thought. He strained at his bonds with superhuman strength, but ill: vain. The billow was almost upon him. Its parchmg breath was in his hair; its lurid brilliancy scorched his eyes; troops of terrified wild animals of every descripfion-deer, antelope, elk, a few buffaloes, wild mustangs, panthers, bears wild cats, even serpents, for the most part past him in tricable panic, intent only upon that awful pursuing wave, that consummg destroyer. He alone was its hopelessly doomed victim-helpless, bound hand and foot, in its remorseless path. The heat and glare were unendurable. In another minute the billows oi' flame would sweep over him. He closed his eyes-suffered and waitt'd. Then what was that? A shrill feminine shout of enc curagement, and the trampling: of hoofs! Yes; and directly behind the rock


-DIAMOND DICK, JR.-THE BOYS' BEST WEEKLY. upon which he was bound, like another Prometheus, facing the vultures and harpies of the offended deities, save that in this in stance the harpies were the innumerable flame-winged demons of devouring heat, the vultures the lurid-eyed, fire-breathed myriads of shrieking flame. Then a swift vision of the lovely mistress of Esmeralda bending over him from her seat upon a powerful, snorting horse, the sweep of a knife, severing his bonds, and, half-run ning, half-borne along by clinging to the horse's mane, he was swept around behind the rock, on and away with breathless speed before the flame-crests of the on-rolling fiery sea. "Courage, Diamond Dick, and hang on!" cried his lovely preserver. "Twenty rods further on, and we are saved-saved to life and to vengeance!" "Think but of yourself, my friend," was the hoarse-panted reply. "To life and ven geance! There is an eternity of new strength, new hope, in mere word s !" Then a few more bounds, with the breath of the fire-wave in hot pursuit, and, leaping down a steep, ragged slope, they were com paratively safe in the slanting bottom of the zigzag ravine. It was already crowded, it is true, with a motley throng of panic-stricken wild beasts, game and reptiles, seeking shelter there. But the human new-comers hurriedly and with perfect impunity, crashed and trampled their way through them down the deep de scent to the bottom, presently coming to a pause at least a dozen feet lower than the prairie, just as the fire-billow leaped the wide space over their heads with a flash a roar, a scorching blast, and the danger was at an end. At this juncture there was a whinnying cry, and Roc.ket, the noble iron-gray, came pawing up the incli11e, from the direction of the font-hills, fully caprisoned as when he e scaped on the previous evening after falling with his master into the prepared pitfall. "Ther stallion-ther splendid roan!" cried the fof'mer, unconsciously relapsing into his frontier idiosm in his excitement, and forth with springing upon the animal's back. "Why, by Jupiter! this hyar must be thtr same gulch that trapped us both back yonder in ther foot-hills." "Very likely," replied Captain Fanny; "and where your relief party is already awaiting us; only a little deeper into the mountains at the canon opening of this very ralt'ine. Come, they are anxiously awaiting us for I an nounced your predicament to them, after discovering with the aid of my field-glass. And th<"re's yet better news in store for you, Diamond Dick." As she spoke, she led the way at a brisk pace down the gulch, a brief pause only being made somewhat further on for the pur-. pose of slaking their thirst at an ice-cold rivulet of water that trickled down the rockv side of what had now deepened and broad .. ened into a canon of respectable size. "I can't imagine anything better'n what I you tell me, ma'am!" exclaimed Diamond Dick. "What can it be?" "That reserve force of your Order of the Fifty, left by you at Canyon City, with exTown Marshal Codger in command." Yes yes." "They arrived at Esmeralda last night, and are now, under an Indian's guide, familiar with the trails, on their way to attack the Killers in their fastness, perhaps by the same trail pursued by your captors with you last night." Splendid! You mea1_1 it, Captain Fan?" "Indeed, yes. They were still threading 'their way down the canon. And there is more yet for you, my friend." "What is it?" "Your own special party are prepared to cut off the most probable line of the Killers' retreat, should they be routed, and probably up by the same trail that you were fetched along down, by Mountain Lion Mike and his band, this morning. Moreover, there are cer tain visitors from Canyon City with our own party, whom you may not be displeased to see." Here a turn brought them out into the canon opening, where their friends, who were in anxious waiting for their appearance, set up a tremendous shout of greeting. Bertie was the first to rush up and seize his father's hand; Handsome Harry followed and then came Mr. Jeff Davis Blazer, of the "Hewgang," honest Hob Brixton, of the Coeur d'Alene Hotel, and handsome Pollythe latter closely companioned by Bronco Bob, whose broad grin of satisfaction argued well for a good understanding having been established between the pair-who were almost equally enthusiastic in their greeting: after which there was another rousing cheer of congratulation from all hands. But these amenities consumed but a few minutes, and then Diamond Dick, having > been provided with fresh weapons, was once again the stern leader and disciplinarian "To horse, every man of you!" he cried, in his clear, commanding tones. "No time is to be lost, if we are to intercept the Killers by the trail Captain Fanny has told me of, and which, fortunately, I am familiar with. having traversed it only this morning, with


1 I DIAMOND DICK, JR.-THE BOYS' BEST WEEKLY. my eyes open. That's the talk!" as the 29 cavalcade put itself in motion; "and forward's the .word!" Wirujing out of the canon, in less than haH an hour they reached the foot of the required trail; and then, climbing it to a certain chosen spot, they formed an ambuscade about midway to the robber fastness and waited. In a short time a sudden din of shots and cries, from far away up in the mountains, told of .the attack being made upon the outlaw camp. The latter must have been completely sur prised and panic-stricken, for, twentJ'minutes later the Killers, to the number of thirty or forty, on horse and on foot, came hurrying down the trail, by which they doubtless felt sure of escaping out over the burnt-over llanos to some other fastness that they knew of to the north or west. They were instantly met by a deadly fire from the ambuscaded, and, as they broke and fled in every direction, the majority of the posse were speedily up and after them in hot pursuit. But both Diamond Dick and Captain Fanny were chiefly concerned at the moment for the safety of the child Kitty. They were accordingly spurring straight up fle trail, followed by two or three others, when, at a difficult turn, they were so fortunate as to meet Mountain Lion Mike him self-'111asked; of course-who was thundering down upon them, mounted on a white mustang. He was closely followed by George Carbt :y and Antelope Andy, likewise well mounted, the former with the little girl in his arms. Furious at the recollection of his wrongs, and with scarcely an instant's thought, Diamond Dick, who was a little in advance of his companion, threw his Winchester to his shoulder and fired two shots in such rapid succession that they seemed to have hardly more than one report. Both counted. Mountain Lion Mike's horse, slightly rearing cit the critical instant, plunged forward, shot through the brain, and throwing his masked rider so heavily that he lay stunned and insensible in the trail. Carbury, with a single cry, rolled out of the saddle, dead with a bullet in his heart, while Kitty, uninjured, rushed with a glad burst of tears into the arms that her aunt stretched down over the saddle-bow for her reception. While Antelope Andy, leaping from his broncho without a word, dashed off to one side through the underbrush, and made his escape. CHAPTER XI. CONCLUSION. Diamond Dick and Captain Fanny bad quickly dismounted, whereupon the former had summarily removed the mask from the insensible outlaw leader's face-thereby re vealing not uncomely, and even eminently handsome features, but so written over with stormy passion and crime as to be grim and forbidding, even in unco nsciousness. On beholding them, the Mistress of Esmeralda started back in much agitation. "Had you never seen him before?" sternlv demanded Diamond Dick, regarding he r with a fixed and searching look. "Not for a long time-no t for years," she stammered, though slowly struggling back to her self-possession. "Oh, my God!" But to Polly Brixton, at least, who now came hurrying upon the scene, with her father and several others, the features of the insensible outlaw were positively no stranger. "That same villainous 'ound as hinsulted me!" she cried, her black eyes snapping ven omously. 'Ere, pop, bring 'im around with a dash o' cold water, an' then 'ammer, 'ammer, 'ammer the 'ole hupholstery hout o' 'im as you know how! I want to see you do it!" "No, it won't do; stand back, if you please. Miss Brixton!" sternly interposed Diamond Dick, who had exchanged a few whispered words with Captain Fanny. "I understand, then," turning to the latter, "that you will hold yourself responsible for this man being given up to justice on demand?" "I will," replied Miss Fanshaw, in a scarce ly audible voice, and, some of her own men coming up at this moment, the outlaw leader was forthwith restored to consciousness, se curely bound, and given over to their cus tody, much to Polly Brixton's disgust, though her worthy father seemed to take a much more philosophical view of it. The ambuscaders now came straggling in from the pursuit, and were presently joined by the attacking party from further up into the mountains, under Codger's command. The victory over the Killers of Kootenai was fairly complete, with the destruction of perhaps half their and th_e_ remainder scattered as pamc-stncken fugttlves to the four winds. Though this was not as satisfactory as the extermination of the entire band would have been, it was still very credit able on the part of the Order of the Fifty, es pecially as it was supremely unlikely that they would ever muster agam as an organ-


30 DIAMOND DICK, JR.-THE BOYS' BEST WEEKLY. ized body, at least in that section, and the c-ommunity would thus be enabled to breathe freely once more. But as to this last, there is a partingepi sode, the brief relation of which must bring our present story to a close, though there may be more to come, in the way of finally explaining what is not yet fully clear, at some future day. On the evening of that same day at Esmeralda, Diamond Dick strode away from a small cabin, in which Mountain Lion Mike had been confined under a stmng guard, and, making his way through crowds of m _ut tering, frowning, and more or less infuriated men, sought the presence of Captain Fanny, whot::J. he found alone in one of her favorite rooms. She looked up with misgiving, for his face was sterner than she had ever seen it before, and yet with somethi,ng else in its frowning lineaments which she could not divine. "I have been on a visit to Mountain Lion Mike's prison," he said, abruptly, even harshly. Miss Fanshaw paled visi:bly, but only slightly inclined her head. "I didn't intend to burn him to death, though the villain might well have merited such a sentence by the code of lex taiionis," he continued, in the same tone. "No--I merely meant to hand him over to our men, to be hanged like a dog." She still made no answer, not even by a nod, and her eyes were fastened upon his with something imploring in them. "I found the prison," he went on, "but not the prisoner. He had escaped. Miss Fan shaw," with sudden suppressed fury, "this was y;ur doing-by your design! I have investigated the whole matter-how the guards were ordered away by you-how the horse was furnished-everything! Deny it, if you can!" I cannot-! dare not!" she cried, spring ing up and rushing to him with clasped hands. "It is true, true, true-! Oh, my friend -Diamond Dick!" with an agony of appeal, "forgive me! That man-that man--" Well?" impatiently. Her head sank upon her breast, which was rising and falling as if with a storm of sup pressed sobs. "Was my husband, in the old and happier da y s! faintly; "andI-I still love him," half-sobbingly ; "for, strive as I will, I cannot y et wholly tear him from my heart!" A slight, but very slight, softening came into Diamond Dick's hard face. Much that had been inexplicable in this beautiful woman's strange character was becoming clear-er now. \ "A villain, crime-staij!ed to the core!" he exclaimed. "A who will reorganize his accursed band at the first opportunity!" "No, no, no!" vehemently. "He swore to me that he would not, swore it by our former love, and-and--" "And you believed him?" / "Yes, yes; but I know that he will keep his oath-I know it-feel it!" "Pshaw! Listen to the hoots and groans of that mob of men outside--brave wolves, cheated of their just prey!" "I care naught for them-a word from my lips, a wave of my white hand, will suffice to ,.. make my peace with them. But, oh, my friend!" wildly, and again clasping her hands, "it is your forgivenness, yours alone, that I crave. Say that you give it to m e, only say it, Diamond Dick!" He drew a long breath. Why should he not grant her the forgiveness she begged? His mission to Esmeralda was triumphantly ended and achieved, apart from all cons;dera-tion of the single master-desperado who had been permitted to escape living from his clutch. However, as another thought sud denly crossed his brain, his unforgiving stern ness returned to him, at least temporarily. "On one condition I will," he said at last. "Name it!" eagerly. "Explain to me, with your past history, that clover mark on your shoulder, such as I might bear in mind." "Alas!" wringing her hands, "I cannotmust not." "Hal" "Give me time, then!" imploringly. "Then at some other t ime, some future--" "Time!" angrily. "Woman, whatever may be the secret that links us in the past, your past has not been stainless then-not such as you would dare recount it to me?" "Indeed, indeed, you wrong me!" wildly; "and yet-and yet-oh, my friend if you but knew all! My life, it may have been as wayward and wandering as your own, but never, never guilt-stained, on my honor! Oh, do not, do not press me further, now!" Here there was a rushing of steps in the adjoining passage, and little Kitty, hurrying into the room, ran first to her aunt, and then to Diamond Dick. "Oh !" cried the child, "the men are so furious out of doors. And all because that big robber has escaped, instead of being hanged by them. I have told them they ought to be ashamed of themselves, for enough robbers have been killed already, and it is wicked to kill so many. Come and tell them (so yourself, aunt. And you too, Diamond Dick!" hugging at one of his knotted hands. "Comei-Ain't my wicked uncle killed,


DIAMOND DICK, JR-THE llOYS' BEST WEEKLY. 81 and am I not safe at last? What more can they want? Come, and make them go away!" Diamond Dick's face suddenly relaxed and, clasping the child to his breast, he ex tended h1s hand to Miss Fanshaw, who eager ly grasped it. "Good!" he said, in an altered voice "The child is right. Diamond Dick's drag-net will not be likely soon to be forgotten by those rascals; and who knows what revelation the future may have in store for us? Come, Cap tain Fanny; let us take Kitty's advice and de vise means to appease the wrath of those i-n patient and disappointed fellows in the cor rals. We ought to manage it between us, and after that it shall be our aim for new life and new adventures in new scenes. Come!" "God bless you, Diamond Dick!" ex claimed the Lady of Esmeralda, fervently. And they did manage it, too, though it proved a somewhat more difficult matter than they anticipated; and the Killers of Kootenai were never again the terror of the Bitter Root Mountains; and such was (The End.) The next num her of the Diamond Dick, Jr., will contain "Diamond Dick, Jr., and the Bar-20 Brand; or, The Shindy at by W. B. Law5on. APPLAUSE. I have been reading your Diamond Dick, Jr: Weekly since x&.J6, in the old library when Ker non Kate was with Bertie, up to the present number, and I must say that Bertie is all and the old Serpent is out of sight. Wishmg them all a long life, I remain their constant reader, JoHN PRIOR, Clarksburg, W. Va. We are pleased to have such pleasant words from an old friend. Thank you. Seeing from the Diamond Dick, Jr., Weekly that you wish the criticisms of your readers, we take great pleasure in stating that we think the above weekly the best of its kind ever pub lished. We greatly admire Bertie and Hand some Harry. Unltke the gentleman whose_letter you pub lished last week, we think that to have Bertie wear his hair short and put aside his unique at tire would spoil everything. Eight Boys of Tallahassee (per G. R. B.), 'i'"allahassee, Fla. We agree with you that Bertie's attire is the best adapt.ed to his present surroundings. Thanks for your words of praise. As you wanted your readers to write you what they think of the Diamond Dick, Jr., books, I send in this letter. I have read many different kinds of booka, but never have I found any equal to these Diamond Dick, Jr. I have read it only about six months, but that is as long as I need to up my mind that it is the best story book the market carries to-day. I mean to read them right and I would invite all boys that like good readmg to get Diamond Dick, Jr., by all means. W. E. BRADBURY, East Hebron, Me. We are glad that your experience with the Diam

filgb Pritts Jlrt On Uatatlon------.... THE MEDRL LIBRARY. Jl monty Saving trtumpb. Oliver Odcs Books for ttn tnts. Ther e i s a line of classics for youth-the books your fathers read-the books you want to read-the books the boys and girls will read and like as long as the English language endmes. They have done more to shape the mind of American boys for the last fifty years than any others We refer to the writings of Oliver Optic, Horatio Alger, EdwardS. j;_ lis, J G. Holland, Lieut Lounsberry, Harry Castlemon, etc These names are familiar wher ever the A merican flag floats. Unfortuna t ely, they have hereto tore been procurable only in expensive binding at from $1.00 to $1.50 each The average boy has not got $1.50 to throw away Ten cents is nea rer his price. We have made the ten cent book the leader with the elder readers Now we are going to do the same for the boys, and give them their favorites in a form in every respec t equal to our well-known Eag l e and Magnet Libraries, at the uniform price of ten cents. Thousands of boys have asked us to issue this line Thou sands more are ready to buy it on sight. There is no line ike it in the world. We can justly call it the Medal series, as every book will be a priz e winn e r It will contllin no s t ory that the boys have no t approved as a "standard.'' They have b ought the m by thou sa n ds a t $1.00 an d u p wards, and now t hey can get them for TEN CENTS A COPY. MEDJ\L LIBRJ\RY No 1-The Boat Club, Ol i ver Optic, No 2-Cadet Kid Carey, Lie u t. Lion e l Lounsberry No, 3 -All Aboard, Oliver Optic. No. 4-Lieutenant Carey s Luck Lieut. Lionel Lounsberry. O thers Equally Oood to Follow Order them at once If you cannot get them send to us. R emember these are 12mo boaks, printed from new plates, with elegant covers, and are the" real thing," and only TEN CENTS A COPY STREET & SMITH, Publishers PHOTOGRAPHY. M auy people lmaglue Lhal a phoLOgrnph e l''s camera lea dlmcult madllne to l.JandJe, and that the work Is dirty and disagreeable. All thts1s a mistake. Photography is a clean, light, aud p1easa n l. acconJ p11shment, witlliu tbe reach of all. 'l'he co.m era will prove a trleud, reporter, and helper. \VIth a very Inexpensi v e camera any boy or girl can now learn not only to take good pl ctnres, hut pictures that there is everywhere a demand for at remunerative prices. A complete guide t o this rasctnatlng art, tantltled AMATEUR :MANUA L o.ar PHO'.roaRAJ nv. wm on receipt or ten cents. Address MANUAL LIBRARY 25 Rose St., N.Y. WUE5TLING. History tells us that wresUing was the flrst form of athlellc pastime. Without doubt llglves strength and firmuess, c ombined wllh qulcknesll uod pliability, to the limbs, vigor to the body, coolness and discrimination to the head and elasticity t o the temp e r the whole forming an energetic combination o r tbe greatest p ower to be found lu man. The book Is entitled PROFESSOR !L O LDOON'S WBl

Diamond Dick, Jr. S T O RIE S O F THE MOST F ASCINA T I N G WES T ERN ROMANCE IN WHICH THIS H ERO IS THE LEADING CHARACTER CAN ONLY B E F OUND I N THE DIAMOND DICK, JR A WEEKLY L IBRARY. $-.Jf. 32 Pages. Colored Cover. 32 Pages. Back numbers a lways i n s t oc k Pri ce, p o st=paid, Five cents each 86-Diamond Dick, Jr. 's Dangerous Bet; Way to Save a Friend. or, One 109-Diamond Dick 's Death Trail. 110-Diamond Dick, Jr,'s Featherweight Friend; or, A Large Weight in a Smull Package. 87-Diamond Dick, Jr. as Station Agent; or, Fun and Fight at F l ush City s8.....:..Diamond Dick, Jr.'s Or1lers; or, Handsome Barry in an Up To Date Hold Up. 89Diamond Dick, Jr.'s Roll Call; or, A Piece Not iu the Programme. 90-Diamond Dic"k, Jr.'s Puzzling Purchase; or, .A Bundle of Rags Well Lined. 91-Diamond Dick, Jr.'s Matchless Mate; or, Two of a Kind Against a Full House. 92-Diamond Dick, Jt. 's Front Seat; or, First Come First Served. 93-Diamond Dick, Jr.'s Dynamite Blast; or, A Hole In the Wall At Bnzzard Pass 94-Diamond Dick J r., Saves the Twins; or, A Verdict That Did Not Go. 95-Diamond Dick, Jr. 's Chalk Mark; or, Tough Nut Jack's Disappearance. 96-Diamnnd Dick, Jr., 'l'raps a '!'rapper; or, .A Ten derfoot's Tale of the Right Man. 97-Diamond Dick, Jr.'s Wide-Awake Whistle; or. Down Brakes on a New Ttack. 98-Handsome Barry's Hot Horse Play; or, A Ii.m1 in with the Bad Man From Ginton. 99-Diamond Dick, Jr.'s Mysterious .Ally; or, In Double Harness for a Big Deal. 100-A Freeze Out For A Life; or, Diamond Dick Jr.'s Rescue in the Nick of Time. 101-Diamond Dick, Jr.'s .Aerial Tussle; or, .A Des perate Chance to Save a Life. 102-Diamond Dick, Jr 's Diamond Dtrk; or, Meeting a Greaser On His Own Ground. 103-Diamond Dick, Jr. Draws A Prize and Sells it For a Pbotegraph. 104-))ashing Dtamonl. Dick; or, The Tigers ot Tombstone. 105-Diamond Dick, JJ.". Calls a Hand; or, Reading tbe Signs for a N"oted Outlaw. 1 06-Diamond Dick, Jr.'s Private Mark; or, Jerky Jut:rttee at Jericho Junction. 107-Diamond Dic!(, ... Jr.'s Pat Pointer; or, .An At tempt at a Game of Bluff l OS-Diamond Dick, Jr.'s Vigilant Vigil; or, One Eye Open in Pedro's Tavern. Ill-Diamond JJick, Jr 's Silken Knot; or, A Tan gle 'hat Worked Out Well. 112-Diamond Dick, Jr.'s Photographic Find; o r, A Flash Light Clue to a Fortune 113-Diamond Dick's Claim; or, 'l'he Gold Bug of 'Frisco. 114-Diamond Dick, Jr.'s Footh ill Favorite; or, Keno Karl in Hungry Hollow. 115-Diamond Dick, Jr.'s Hurricane Bustle; or, A Rough Diamond Deep Cut. 116-Diamond Dick, Jr.'s :-;ack of Sand; or, Turning the Tables on the Mining Wolves 117-'l'he :3hade of Diamond Dick; or The Ghost of the Mine. 118-Diamortd Dick, Jr.'s Kid Glove Game; or, A Tenderfoot Crook in the Wrong Deal. 119-Diamond Dick, Jr.'s Pen Stroke; or, A New Way to Pa v Old Scores. 120-Diamon


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