Buckhorn Bill; or, The Red Rifle Team

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Buckhorn Bill; or, The Red Rifle Team

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Buckhorn Bill; or, The Red Rifle Team
Series Title:
The Deadwood Dick Library
Wheeler, Edward L. (Edward Lytton) 1854 or 5-1885
Place of Publication:
Cleveland, Ohio
Arthur Westbrook Co.
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1 online resource (31 p.) 20 cm.: ;


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

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University of South Florida
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University of South Florida
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The University of South Florida Libraries believes that the Item is in the Public Domain under the laws of the United States, but a determination was not made as to its copyright status under the copyright laws of other countries. The Item may not be in the Public Domain under the laws of other countries.
Resource Identifier:
026002297 ( ALEPH )
07323678 ( OCLC )
D22-00016 ( USFLDC DOI )
d22.16 ( USFLDC Handle )

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Copyright 1Bi9-1885, by Bead I & Art ams. Ente r e d at Post omce, N e w York, N Y ., as second c lass m a rter M a r 1 5 1899 No. 13 THE ARTHUR WESTBROOK C O Cleveland O h i o Vol. I BUCKHORN BILL. ; or,_lhe Red Rifle ream. BY EDWARD WHEELER. AtlTUgR Oil' D EAD WOOD DIOK., ._ llAGGERS," ETO , STO B UCKH OR!i BILL.


Copyright 1878-1884, b y Beadle & Adams. Entered at Post O m ce, New York. N Y ., as econ d c lass mat.ter. Mar. 15.11!9t, Nb.13 THE ARTHUR WESTBROOK CO, Cleveland, Ohi o Vol.I BUCKHORN BILL; or, The Red Rifle Team@ BY EDWARD L. WHEELER, A lJTHO R OF DICK,,, ''DOUBLE DAGGERS.'' ETC . """'O.


Btickhom Bill. BUCKHORN BILL; OR, THE RED RIFLE TEAM A Tale of the Dakota Moonshiners. BY EDWARD L. WHEELER, AVTBO:& 01' "DEADWOOD DICK," "DOUBLE DAGGERS," "BUJ'J'ALO BEN/' 11BOB WOOLl',11 "WILD IVAN" "DEATHFAOE," "THE PHANTOM MINERl'I oLD AVALANCHE,'' ''JIK BLUDSOlil, J&.,' ETC., ETC., ETO. CHAPTER I. A TEBBIBLB NIGHT'S WOBX, .. Go on, Chub I" spokes clear ringing voice, which was that of one of two persons, who were crossing the moonlight's glory upon a wild rolling expanse of prairie not half a hundred miles north of old Fort Ale:z:ander, in Dakota. "Go on, you beast:, or I'll wallop ye till ye can't stand alone. Durnedest lazy lllo1s--wish the old folks would sell him." "Shall we reach home before Jong, Bill f" queried a aweet girlish voice, that of fae other rider, Bl 1he urged her horse up alo'lgside that of the boy. "I hope rou are not going wrong." "Pooh no," replied the youth, with a laugh of "ye ked take old Chub 'way down into Kansas, an' no fear but what she'd find her way aek to dad's ranch." These two night ridera were respectively aged llhtean and fourteen-the first a boy the other a rtrl. Evidently they were brother and sister. The boy wae w e ll developed, with a form of atrlk lag grace and outline, each muscle and nene larp and hard; life from infancy on the frontier h11d Imparted to him God's greatest gifts, streneth, health, and a promising approach to fine manhood. His face was ruddy and smooth, hia ayea brown and sparkling, and his hair short and of a d,...k lme. He was attired in buckskin trowaera, with a waist-coat of some coarse cloth belted around him, and a slouch hat over his brown, short curls. He was armed with a handsome repeating rifle, thia was all. No display of beltarms made he; he WU eTldently content with his own trusty piece. His horse was a wiry little old beast of pan mu. tang blood a fast traveler when necessity danalld eel, but habitually lazy and stubborn. The youth's companion was a very pretty llt&le !Picture of girlish beauty and Innocence. She waa 11111aller than her comp.nlon, budding info fulnesa of form, with a sweet, 'lhy face framed In a half wreath of sunny, golden curls, and eyes of blue which at once bespoke the gentleness and purity of her young heart. She was plainly attired in ealico, and unarmed, and with her straw hat off, and the breeze tossing her wealth of hair about, alle looked like a fairy as she galloped gracefully along, mounted upon a staunch, wellbottomed little India n pony. The two in countenance greatly re1&mbled each > ether. They were the children of a ranchman n&med Jlnrnham, who, with others, had started a colony about sixtyftve miles above Alexander several yeara prior to our story. This colony had been immensely successful, for not only had it brought thrift and enterprise into an unettled region1 but had scattered settlers for many miles arounn through an ex lensive tract of rich grazing country. Gradually elTilizatlon had come in until Burnham's colony 1 was widely known, and Philip Bnrnham wBI a man ef great popularity. ) Leaving his ranch under. the charge of his wife and young son, he had engaged in speculation on 1 tande, and it was not uncommon for him to be al>LMnt from home for weeka at a time. It was for the purpose of learp.lng his whereabouts th&t youne Bill and his sister had. made the long, terrible trip to Fort Alexander, and were now returning toward home, and an anxious wifemother, with no intelligence from the father, who had not been heard from since his departure, a month pr The newe at Alexander was discouraging. He had not been seen there. "Tell ye the old man's puckachee4 to git rid of us, and we might as well crawl and let him shift upon his own responserbilitles,' Bill had said, and they had started and got thu far on their journey. It was a beauteous night In the beginning of Ao_. gust, with a gentle breeze whispering through the tall, rustling grass and the moon pouring down: h&I' whole voluminous giU of mellow radiance upoD mother earth. A way, miles to the east, like a silver thread in the gold, ran the waters of Rubicon creek. in a zig zag course; to the we1t a dark line deline.., ted the existence of a belt of timber; far to the nor'ii lay Burnham'e colony, and beyond that atW >ll.e Iron track of the Northern Pacific railroad, H it pointed toward the sun. Over all hung a peculiar haze, rendering obiects at a distance ind! .. tinct, despite the glorious effulgence of the moon. "Go 'long, Chub; ye ain' t got more nor 8 dozen miles to eo, yet, afore yer nostrils will smell o' ne.,,.. mown hay, an' ken berry yer nose inter a fod dertrough. Aa fer myself, I reckon I'd like ter make ther acquaintance UT a good oquar' meal. tool" "A doHn miles, yet, Bill f It seems to me that X eould nner ride that distance, I am so tired," 1ighed the girl, as she gazed ahead over the rollinc expanse of prairie sea. "You're tired, are ye, M:aolfn t Well, l!ds, cheer up an' we'll aoon dt hum, In good shape. Reckon ma'am will be mlglit7 tickled ter see us, 'spite the that we haTen't any new from dad." But, wily oouldn't we 1leep on the prairie, Bill, and thrn go en In the morning f" '"Oa 1e why, I don't keer about hevln' ther buz. zar4a roost onte my carca11. Buzarda aire un common Jean and hunrry this yea!', wi' more storap O&J>aoity th11 enr before. 'Bf des, 'tain't any too 1afe for ordinary mortals ter be caught asleep ln' on the yere perarles, now'days." "Why, Blllf" "Dunno why, ala hut 'taln't safe. Heerd an' 014 ehap aayln', up at Buld punle a Methodist preecher. Guhe know'd sum more'n he told, too-leastways, et ap,peared ao ter me. An' I've picked up a few p lnts along back, w'at war interestin' ." "Do you think there' going to be trouble wltll the Sioux, Bill I" "No, not unles these devils o' white cuaaes retll 'em roused. Don't reckon they dare do much ao nigh ther fort, though old Red Nose is full aa men a skunk as old Bettin' Bull. No, 'taln't Injun lhar ain't agoin' ter be much of an open commo tion; but there' agoln' on, every day, w'at we don't know about.' "What, Bill f" M\olln asked. But the youth did not reply. His head waa drOt>ped, upon hla breast, and his whole attention was engrossed In some perplexing thoughi. Thus they galloped along through the haze of the beautiful night, the thud I thud I of the horses' feet beating a strange tattoo upon the turf. All nature seemed lulled Into a sweet, am!llng lumber, its breath only coming in faint little puffs; not the chirp of an Insect or the note of a bird was heard; a strange, drowsing oilence pervaded earti. and atmosphere, such as you no doubt have often observed on a quiet Sabbath day ln the country-


the peaceful country where on the Lord's Day. rest and peace are for ah. so unlike what you find in our big cities, with their restless turmoil. Steadily thti two night-riders k ept on; as if catchinl!' a far-a way scent of their home pastures, the well-w orn steeds now needed no urging, but pushed ahead with a manifest eagPrness. By and by tbey dashed over the crest of a prairie "illow, and down into a little valley or seam, with which the face of nature was furrowe d over and over again. Heedlessly they rode down into the little valley; then there came aL awakening. Without warning their horses w ere seized by the bits and thrmyn back on their haunches. !\Pd a dozen pairs of tout h ands gave A.Ssistance in-pulling tha tl>'O astonished travelers from their saddle The moonlight seemed to 11:low down with double intensity, just then, and Little Bill was able to survey his captors, while they were occupied in binding lti hands ,,nd feet .. There were at twentyfive of them, all burlv,' muscular lellows1 with long beards and masks cov eriug their faces rrom the tip o( tbe nose to the r oo t of the hair, giving to them a weird aspect. Tb y were dre0sed in painted bucksk'.n of a crimson hue, Sud wore plumed slouch bats. The leader was a tall, portly mau, 'Ju t closely di s guised, so that no one h aving seen him before in another guise would ha"e been able to r ecognize ltim now. / Yet something made Littl e Bill be1ieve that he had seen him before-where or when, he had not thti slie:btest i oea. The t wo captives' hands were bouud, and then they were repl!tccd and bound upon their bor>cS. A consultation wns then held, afte r which the leader advanced. surveyin g the youth savagely, through the eye holes in the mask. HYou're Phil Burnham's son. ain't ye?"1 was the hoa<-se, gro"-ling demand, and the speaker stopped a few paces off Reckon I am." Little Bill r eplied, without flinch fn?,. \Yha t rlifference does it make to you 1" A great deal, you youne: cuss." was the reply; then the man turned to hi s followers : "Mount. boys, and let's be off. The captain will be b1ilin' ef we don't h11rry np wi' the brats.,, A general mount was accotdingly and the cavalcade set off in a clirection slightly nor'westerly to the com-se l3ill had been followine:. First. however, precaution had been taken to gag and bl indfold the captive s, and thus they were neither able to see or speak, during what seemed an interminable rich. When they were taken from the horses at l ost, and their eyes uncoverf'd. they themselves among san1e crowcl of maAked ruffians, only deep down in I.he wood-tam;led depths of a dark ra'\'ine, which Bill nevPr rememhercd having S <'f'D, wide as was his with the COU!'!trv. T b e frl"non was Rinki n g westward \Yith rlimini sberl power of light. which showed the observant youth morning was not far off. Very little of the moonlight penetrated to the gulch bottom through the overha:iging tree-tops, so that.the captors had lighted a flro, a nd into the re flection of this the two prison,...rswC're l ed. A man stood in tbe light "f this fire. whom Bill at once concluded was the captain of the g-an g. And he was not wrung in bis supposition, as was plain, when the man spoke. He was a short, person, attired in buck skin, and inasked like hi s cmnpa.nion<::. Little more cou ld be said oE his app0arance, on o f bis face being partly conceale d. He advanced c loser and p eered s e a rchingly down into Little Bill's face with eyes that seemed 001 fir e "Are you sure y o u 're Phil Burnho.m's boy2" he questione d doubtinr,ly. "11es, I am," was the reply of Bill, as b e began to bristle with wrath. "That's the second time I've sed so, to-night, though tain't none o' yer bi:t:aess whose son I am. I s/Ji11e all tber same.,. None of your sass. boy this is no time for parley. I'll t e ll you why we bave brought you here. and you can judge by our looks if we are men to be tri fled with. We are what is khown as the Press Gang. Maybe you have heard of us-maybe you have not. We press m e n into' the Eervice of the Government, to fight down the Indians. To deserb means deatb." .. "Git out I" Little Bill exclaimed, contell'ptuously, as the paused a moment. seemingly to note the effect of llis words. "Don't try to stuff that kind of taffy down m e. I know better. Shall I fotyfl:raff ye? Yes, fer I kin do it.. true ter nature. You re a gang o' ruffians, kl'own as the Press Qang, and a set of human flt nds. You pounce upou men and force them to swear a horrible oath of alligiance to your band, or you kill them. Tom Ternerl rtfused, and he was found dead Y our victims ar e made to work, Eomewhere. wh e re ever your den is, but what they work at, the Lord only knows. Guess yon didn't know this much of your secret h a d l ea ked out. did you? Didn't folks are begi11nin' ter keep a shmp eye? Yes. I've heerd o' tber PressGang, an' An' no one rlon't allow that a man o' yer clan fights ag'in' th er red devils." The ca,itain listened to the boy' speech. at ten tive ly. but with a dark sccwl in under hiR Jllask. ''You ore 1aboring under a deluRion, '1 Pe returned with a turn on the heel. Dut. y o u cannot fcol ns. Y o u I ; now what we want of you, I dare say Y our fathe r, Phil Burnham, lo been one o f us. for o-rer a year, and we trusted him. But now we find that he has deserted and betrayed ns. For a wontb we l'nve been searching for him. but. without ave'\. We have seen you go to Fort Ale>'ander-y011 n t4( t ell n s where Phil Ilurnham is biding. trat "e ":'!? f.nd him and put him to dea h. Speak! wherp. 'he? "I do not know I" Bill replied. firmly. "/, went to Fort Alexander to find if be was there fie bas not b een home for a month. My sister w ill tell you that." Bah! !' 1 b'lieve you. soone r than h e r Women are nil liars from infrncy, up. \\ e know ynnr dad has ilot been home, for a watch has been kept uron your cabin, and only last night we paid your mother a visit and hung her up to a ronvenioot limb, heeause 8he refus, d to divulge tile secret. We ,r;u know the wht reabcuts of the traitor, so you bar l better s h e ll ont." "I don't. J -nnw w 1wr e my fatberis; neither did my poor mothPrl,, rrplicd Fill, tears standing in his eyes as he tboue:ht of hi near, kind motllPr. and the horrhle lm owled .e-e that these human wolves had murdered her. l\Iaolin sobbed and pite ousl.v. "Don't I ell me that, ycu young whelp I" the cap tain of the Press-Gang c::krl, fl1'rcely. 0 You do know-vou communicr!te

'"Four! cried the ruffian; "quick1 boy, 'tis your 1ast to save your sister's life.' "Would to God I could, but I do uot know dad's hirlin_g-place I" tbe boJ replied in a hoarse voice. H Fever' There was tl:ie sharp report and poor :M.aolin sunk back lifeless in the arms of her guards. But the soene was not yet ended. With a wild, ringing yell a ho"seman dasherl strl\le;ht down through the gorge where the ruffians were standing. Bill was torn from the grasp of his guardR, and in a moment more the horseman and his rescued prize were gone out of sight, far down the ravine. CHAPTER IL TW(' YEARS LA.TE8'-'l'H11i BUCKHORN. Two years I Such is the lapse of time which occur. ere w e again renew acquaintance with the cha racters introduced in our firSt chapter. Two years that had brought change s In Northern Dakota. Emigration had flooded in. here and there, to adorn and beautify. and although the t erritory was yet comparatively a wild e rness. the rE' were many pleasant where the colonists had locat ed, and built homes that were by no means rude. In two years Burnham's colony l.ad becom e wide ly extended, with a gain of wealth and thrift e ery where, and although ignored by the m ap-makers, was a tract of s attled country of no mean import a nee. Upon a fc.rtile and prairie ocean the colony was situated, where timber and water were at hand, in quantities. It boasted of a thrifty trading-post, ru.med Squat terville, where commerce was carried on with the Indians, but or this more anon. All around the Post for miles rolled the grand majetic of emerald, with human habitations scattered here and the re, and fertile ranches under tillage and growth. In mid-prairie with the scorching rays of the August sun pourlng down upon his h ead and shoulders, crouched a youth of manly face and fl11ure low In the prairie grass, which waved and rustled noisily in the breeze that blew aridly down from the north. He wd of? in undulatinz \:aves as far as eye could reach. dotterl h e r e and the r e '' it'.1 a moue of timber. or silvered with the sinuosity of a winding streamlet. A few buffal o grazed peacefully a1vav to the north west, and a h erd of antelope were just visibl e on t'le cap of a distant billow; but nntme drowsed on; as if naught but eternal rest anrl wE>re hers,; Jt was not the buffa lo, neith e r was 1t deer. whic h Bill was watching, and which had c a used him to drop into the grass. There was little to b e f eare d from and the young rov e r evi d ntly di1ecte d but littl e thought or attention upon them. His eyes and whol e mind were concentrated elsewhere. From where he crouche d. the land billowed sh::1rp ly off on the western side into a prairie ravine o r vall e y of considernble depth but vPr y n a rrow, which was one of those furrows in the face of nature we sir ofte n and uue'Xpectedly chance u po n iu the w estern prairies. It ran for some miles in eithe r direction, and you would n<'t. have suspecte d its existence un til you stn!Ilbled, a it w e re, into it. l eisurelv throug h its bottom in a westerly direct ion. were two hor s amen, both of them Indians, an1 of the Sioux: natio n, as wa a apparent to the young watche r at a The y w o r e war-paint upon their face s, and 1t was evident that they were out on a raid after horses or food "It Is R e d Nose and L ong Death!" muttered Bill, a dark cowl coming over his face, at some bitreP recollection. "Whe r e can the y b e going, alone and unaccom panied by their warriors? there's sum devil tr.v afoot, or else I've lo8t my r ec koning. They're fol!ro-.ving this hidden ravine and avoiding the prai ri e .'' Whil e he spoke. the two chie fs reined In their horses, and gazed directly up toward where h e was crouching. H e quickly droppe d tint, but was too late. They had caught a glimpse of the swaying grass. and nu nounced their discovery by a couple of inqu ring grunts. Lving flat. Buckhorn B ; ll carefully l a id his rifle aside and drev his revolvers. while h e the issue. He had no doubt but that the savazes would come up to investii::-ate, and he W'1S prepare d to do the country a favor by aropping the red butchers, one by one. But to bis great surprise, they came not. This cau se d him to make a. c:i.reful r e connoissance, ancl be made the dis co v e r y that they gone! Whicber or how, he knew not. On horseback, sure ly f o r their horses w ere gone, but he had not h eard the m move. "Well, this is another link in the chain of myster. v. which I am devoting my life to break and unr,w:ll" the youth mutter e d and rubbin'.\' t'Je sweat from his face, with his hand. "Phew! the emiles of that sun up yonde r are getting rather too warm for this business, and I onine I'd better striko for shade. Don't suppose there's any enemies around." T o satisfy himself on this subject, before exposing himself, he raise d liis s l o uch h a t a litt l e way above the top of the grass on the muzzle of his rille. Ping! the r e was a Rhar.,, Rniteful report o! a r i ll , and a bullet cut away the handsome plume like a knife. "Too bnd l" Bill picking up the f eather. and r epinning it to hfs hat. "'Ruthe r they'd 'a' punched a hole in my hat, c:i 'se how Jessie Latimer give it to me to remember her by. Guess


BilL t.o that shot, thet it ain't healthy for one to show o n e's self." For several minutes Buckhorn Bill sat, and listen ed. He could hear no one approaching: silence brooded ove r the great plains. "'Spect that wasn't an Injun, nohow, for 'twar too straight a shot f e r one o' ther r e d rascallions. Would just like to kno w what kind of an indervidual bed the r cheek ter spit death at me. Can it he that any of the accursed Press-Gang of Captain Oc>ffin are laying fer me? Ha! the devils ought to know by this time that it is death to fool around me! I've perforated at least a dozen of 'em through the r top story, and still B ill Burnham's score ain't full-a score ag'in' e m what '11 last as long as this Captain Coffin ad his Press-Gan g exists. "l\Inybe it is til e r fools, ag'in, thinkin' they've got me as snug as a bug in a rug." The young Scourge laughed in hls grim, peculiar w ay, as he restored his revolvers to bis bel t and took up his handsome rifl e For the past two years. since be had l os t bis b e loved molhe r and siste r by these border outlaws, Bill Burnham b a 1 known no permanent -home ex cept the fores and prairie; bad lived for nothing except vengeance upon his e n em ies-the destroyers of bis once happy home. For the Burnham ranch he had put into other hands well knowing that his wild spirit would never henr confinement to stockraising or agricultural pursuits. H e was well knoMi to Captain Coffin and his gang, having prov e n l'im self a remorseless foe to the m. Time a'1d a g ain had they trappe d after him, and planne d for his capture, but he bad ever with him the wit and power -to CSCUJ?e 'Ibat it was the Press-Gang who were now besieg ing him. he was not positive, yet h e bad hut littl e doubt of it, for the reason that he had cat1'e to be lieve them in the vicinity. It was to learn the truth of the report that be bad ridden down from Squat terville. 'Tain't Red Nose nor Long Death b e muttered, and tharforp it's the Pres s-Gang. Wonder if-" B e did not finish the s e n tence. A rustling in the grass but a little ways off, anested bis attention, and h e again b ent forward in a crouching attitude, listening i n t ently. Evidently some one was crawling through the grass, whic h all ove r the prairie.._hac\ grown b < It high, and was as dry as powder. who it was Buck horn was UP able to tell, but he h elcl himself in rel'.di ness to grePt cilher frienItensils-mostly spiders at my pericranium. H ello!" The speaker bad crept along so rapidl y in concert motion with his tongue, that before he was aware of it he had broue:ht his countenance in contact with the pistol s of Buckhorn Bill. Hello I .the young Scourge echoed, a l so evident ly ''Ol d E lephant, as sure's I'm a livin' k oo a. "Yes, thet's tb.er iden ti cal figurative deskription uv yer 'umble servant, ye gS.:l oot,"' returned the other. "I thort et war a Press-Gang-ite." "So did I," replied Bill, with a laugh. "Didn't expect to find you down in these 'ere p arts. no more'n I'd have expected old Sittin' Eull. What you after, Elephant?" "After? Waal, I'm originally in these rarts as a missionary, to save lnjun souls, an' civilize the hea then, but, at present my l eisure moments are devo tetl t e r ther iEqui sitive business." Old Elephant outwardly was a cur iosity even on the bo der. He was of about the aveiage hight of men, h1-1 t very fat. Every part of his body was obese. His facE' remind, cl one of the countenance of a full moon. Judging from appearances, be must havl weighed in the '!eigbborbood of two bunntrated h ere as if by tmanimous and built their little frame shanties, and the Government probably thought their trespasRing, 1ts l ong as the country was so sparsely settled, of littl e or no ac cnunt. The enterprise of a steam sawmill had been start ed, for timber was p lenty, and thereby a means of l'asy building had been provided; consequentlv the plac e bad become a village of a score of dwelli ngs.


6 B u ckhorn Bill:of stores, a blockbous e, and the All around the Post as It w ns more frequently called, were many thrifty ranches and fine farm houses for riches were there scattered among the colonists, and they, took pride in adoruing and beautifying their h omes. But with these we m a y have little to do. l]nder the shadow, almost. of the great steam saw mill, whose busy hu1u could be heard night and day, was built a modern two-story cottage of muc h more pretentious finish than its ne. 'he eyes and eyebrows of brown and the hair of chestnut bade harmonize d well with the fac e ; the lip3 of cherry's ripest lJue, the haui:h ty little chin-all combined to make up the pretty Pearl of the Prairies. Thi' grave lo o k on the face of the woman in the doorway, could bnt vanish b ef:i r e the rogui s h smile of the girl-th9 ixteen year ol l woman who was the girl, an1 pri l e o f the SquatterviUians. "WelL Pearl!" the tones were not angry, hut chidin(r_u have you come at last?" 7 Ye s, Aunty. dPar; don't you see I have-don't you see?" and the little white hand patted "Aunty" und e r the c uiu. "O,h I've ha.d jus\ the most glorious rid e you can 1ma gme-and such h osts of flowers as I f ound; and I saw an Indian. t oo, Aunty. m-ikine: for me, a.nd you b i t I skedW the truth, ana you cannot blame me. I a m well satisfied without questioning you, that Bill is not my father. Every instinct in my nature r e bels against 'him ai; a parent; anu besides. I have o her grounds on whlcla to base my knowledge. But, for you, dear Aunty, I


Buckhorn Bill. '1 would to-night bid this place good-by, forever, and go out into the world, where I could make a name for myself. You know the names of my father. and mother, ,\uuty, and where they li ve do you not? Oh I tell me, truthfully." "No, as God is my judge, l do not, child. I know nothing of th< m-whcther they are alive or dead." "Does Bill r:urdelle "Probably; but, if so, l::ehas nevercommunlcat d such int e llig e nce to me. He is fie rce, vindictive, os you know, and I hav ure a little proud, eTen to think tha. Bill Burdelle was h e r father, for, though rough and brutal hy natur< h e was a popuJ u and influ ential man throughout tl1e colony, where b e batl dealings with whites and r ,cls. H e was a trader by occupation. exchangin g guns, an:!muni tion, provision, clothing and whisky for furs and Indian work; it was a circulated joke in Squatterville. that for e"ery gallon of whisky be sold, b e drank two himse lf. He was a m a n of contradictory trah s of char acter; villainous nnd unscrupulous in many things; honest, upright and fair in other s ; a man whose career b!!d made him equally f eared and respected. His coming b orne to the was always dreaiould ever be any neare r to each oth<>r than fri ends. T don't think that Buckhorn Bill will ever marrv. at least, not until be has completed what h e ca)ls'his score of vengeance. And tb11t will be a long time. for i t w ill not be an easy tak for him to battle olf tbe mysre rious Captain Coffin and his men." "I know. Bt ha h e neve r to you of lov e or hinted at such a thing? "No! of course not. The idea of two babies like us talking of Jove anlng him d ispose o f the lands Upon the strange d1Pap pearance of Burnl>am, two years before, Fowler bad found himself placed wholly in control of the proprrty-as manager for tbe only btir, who was our Buckhorn Bill. H e bar! built him a home and land office adjacent to the Burnham farm -bousP (whic h was a mntter of threP miles from Squattc rvill e, and leased out to a family of Ohioaus), nnd h ere carried on the business and lived the lif e of a bachelor. He was seldom visited by the young heir of all theprop ert.v, and so had things pretty much to his own liking. He wa.s not a handsome man. for his form was rathe r too stout, and his smootbly-sbaven face too fat. Yet he was quite popular, and often l'as con sult

8 Buckhorn BilL He evidently was not in the best of humor, for he goaded his jaded animal on mercilessly, whil e he occasionally swore roundly as he peered around him into the qmckening gloom. "The d ev il take the f e llows, and the storm, too I" he growled as h e dre w rein upon a loftier billow than h e Ii.ad yet attained. "If I get soaked by this r a in, I ll lick a certain rascal until he can't sit a sad die. I don't see where on earth the camp can be." He blew his nose, vigorously and was about to start on again, whe n a low, pecUllar laugh arrested bis move m ents. "Hello I who the d euce was that I heard laugh Ing?" ha exclaimed, looking sharply around, with a start. "Hello there-who are you?" There came no answer except the dismal moan of the wind over the prairie. The wind was blowinz strongBr, too, and the thunde r was l o ud e r in its hoarse mutterings. The storm would soon burst forth. Confound i t 1 am getting as nervous as an old cat, and imag'ine I hear things when I don't. Go abng. you beast. and we'll try and find some place to she lter ourselves." The horse struck into a feeble trot, and they de scended the swell to tbe more lev e l prairie. Sudden ly tbe animal shi e d, and nearly dumped the Judo;e out o f the saddle; but he saw the cause of the affright, and saved himself. A blood-red rocket had shot up into the gloom of the night, an 1 after icion." "Hang the suspicion!' g ro w ler! thejudgA. mtl.king for one of the t ent.s. "-' fast as h e cnul r l wa.ddle "Don't think I'm fool enoue:h rirl e all the way home through 11. soakingr ain" d o yon, awl Rpoil my hat and best suit? No. I Mon y's money, an' a man has to be snving-.11 Accordingly, the .messeng e r was left to cuter the


Buckhorn Bill. 9 I ._ ;; smaller tent, and soon bis loud snoring proclaimed that he was wrapped in oblivion. "Now, then!" said Captain N e d Stockton. with a satisfil'd smile, what do you think of it 1 Didn't I tell you our coming was not for nothing? The Red Rifle Team bas struck a field where both ingenuity, craft and good shooting" ill be brought into play. This old codgerwho bas so opportunely stumbled down among us, believes us to b e the ccursPd Press Gang, and that I am the inhuman Captain Coffin. Here we have in our possession dispatches from tho president of this wbisky gang-perhafs the most gigantic one upon thtl Western hordlcy distillery is located." "Had not bette r wait till we are alone?" asked Hal Everette, glancing suspiciously toward the tent. "Nol" Captain Ned rcpli d. quickly; "we must open it now. o as to suspicion. Go see if the old traitor is really asleep." Ou e of the Team accordingly ca,,tiously approach ed and peeped in:o the tent. YeE, the wPrtby tor unworthy) judge was lying prostrate-Morph c ustzed hevond a doubt. U""Jon learning this. Stockton tore open the wrapper," and sp.-ead the mernage out upon Ids kn!'e. As Fowle r had said, it was written in ciph er-in an in congruous mass of "ben-trac"8." (On this page is a cor,y of it, as it came into the possession of the R ed R1fie Team.) "There is your secret cipher," said Ned Stockton, with a chuckle "If any o' you've bad education enough to read hierog lyphics, go ahead and tell us what she says." "Dang it, I don't believe any one can read them scrawls," r eplied Dick Reade. "Nor I d o n t believe there's any sense in the matter.'' "There is undoubtedly a meaning which would be readily understoorl by this Captain Ccffin." said st.ockton, cloedy scrutinizing tile document, while he ran his fingers through his straight, Indian-like hair. "There is knowledge in them scrawls that we must acquire. Le t me see: the first is a letter C. I notice that l etters may be found all the way through. Bum, yesC-a-p-t. and ..p. period. That means Captain. C-of-fi-n-Coffin. Hal O apluin O

10 Buckhorn Bill. men, whom he ha guns!" said Buckhorn BiU, decisively. "Tber s other lurkers around, besides us. I'm going to see what's up." "Ain't goin' ter stick yer head up fer a target, aire ye?" No. I ain't so fond o' gettin' perforated. I've got somethini; here that gets away with that-adex terously-c ontrivec\ invention of mirrors. by which J can, by lying i n the grass and holding it up abova the grass on top of a ramrod, see far over tbe prai. rii:-. On producing it fro m bis haversack, it to be a number of small mirrors. fitted by into the square shape of a box. It had a hollow depth in one side, and on tbe right of this was a small hole. in which to insert tbe ramrod. Buckskin Bill reviewed it a few moments, with pride; tben dropping back upon the grass, be raised 1t upon the ramrod of bis gun into the air, at arm's length. He gave bnt a swift glance into tbe...hollow, then 'Passed it to Old Elephant You see! there's a dozen heads lookin' out o' the g-rass 1 guess we've got a clmnce f e r rifie-prac tic'>." While the fat scout was gazing in wonder int.o the ingenious contrivance, Buckhorn carefully raised his rifle, so that it laid along the grass-tops, without exposing himself, and then remembering the loca tion where he had last seen a pirate's head, h e al lowec\ the weapon to point, and fired. An answering yell came back, and an exclama tion from Old Elephant: Gentle z ephyrs from purgatory I" he ejaculate(!, wonderingly-" that war one o' the r purtiest shots on record. Never SC'O'd anything ter beat i t nor their lik e s uv tbis glass. Et a.ire an eighth wopder uv the wo1 cl, au' no mistake. However dia ye.Know wbar thet blasted pirate war, boy!" was only Bill renli 2 d, with a smil.,.. 41 Dhl I pretty near make a stiff, thrn, eh?" "Yes-great zephyrs, yes. Knocked a f e ll e r inter an etarnal picnic, a-whoopin'. Reckon be tuort thc t a cyclone he

11 trood time a-waitin ', 'ca 'se let him in." dOOrkpPIJP.r 1 r OTI t,np ?'IP.rt for. d!inger. his eagl e-eyes SCRtl> \ fJlue .tif-;J..Uf ltS S1dmgs-bu whole mind im uuea in tlie work ot '3::;caping. u Then we are not f riendless ana atone among these human Let'a have the glass, and l will take a squint. The valuabie little contrivance was accordingly and ltbe Boy Scourge (for by this name be was weu known upon the plains of northern Dakota) scanned their surroundings with a quick g lanee. Whil e he was looking he saw a rifle-barre l and muzzle lying along on top of the waving ocean of then beard a yell of anguish, and saw a prairie pirate fall back lifeless, ,"Ha I another of those mysterious death-shots without a report I By Jovel this is eve n beyond my power of comprehension I" Bill exclaimed, lowering bis glass. "What do you think of it, Elephant?" "I reckon thet thar's only one way ter it, Bucky," the fat scout replied, griml y. "Thet durned ole critter the Burnhamites caU D eath-Shadow is abroad again, Et's bin reported that he war dead, ye know, but I reckon h e's flopped back into exis tenc e." "I've heard much of the strange being, but never have seen him, Raid Buckhorn Lill, tbcughtfully. "But he bas heretofohl used a rifle that bark <1." "Yas, I reckon you're 0. K. thar; but n:abbe he's cnt ther tongue out o' the r anymal." l'etween them the two scouts kept a close sur veillance upoQ the prairie, and more than once they caught a glimpse of the g l iscening rifle-bar rel m the dying sunlight, and each time the death yell of a pirate was sure to follow, The roughs now kept their persons RO closely concealed that no opportuity was afforded Buck horn Bill to practice bis guess-work hots with any degree of success, and he therefore desisted. The sun was by this time kissing the western horizon before plunging ils bead into a bank of thunde r-clouds which were rolling up to greet it; down in the deep valley at the right of the two scouts, the shadows of n'ght were already in density. A breeze wa> springing up, which was a relief after the sco rching smiles of the sun upon a land which needed rain more than aught else. "I guess I've done about all in my catalogue thet be done fer to-ss, cunning and revengeful as be who answered to the name of lluokbom Bill. Now and then. Le he,ard voices close by; then b e w ould pause Wltil Certain of b i s ground before going further, As he c rept on, the clouds rolled up blacker and blacker from the west and spread out like giant wings over the face of the sk-y. It also grew rapidly darker on the prairie, until things at a distance were not:distinguisbable. several in. his the young Scourge falling mto a trap set Ly the maneuvering but, each time some strange intuition warned him or the danger in time fer him to escape it. And at last he concl uded that he was out of the cordon that bad been woven around him "Now, then, let the imps guard theprairiP-tbey'll find one parcel of their gmemissir.g," he muttered. "Hope ttiey won't get bold of Old Elephant. thou?h. Wouldn' t like ter ave him a111rnlized yet awhile.' Rising to his feet. be hunied along briskly in a. western direction. In the course of half ao hour be descended a prairie slope. and passing through a belt of scrubby timber, mixed here and there with old dead pioes which the lightning bad blasted, be came out upon the low sandy shore of a little sheet of water, known as Loon Lake, from the fact tbat a. species of birrls of this name bad been found swim ming upon its wa1.ers Buckhorn Bill s1if1Tted back with an eirclamatbn of surprise as be saw the water lying before bim. Wide as was his acquaintance with this country, he had never yet stumbled upon this lake, although be bad heard of it frequently, .Another thing surprised him, too. A slight girlish figure was stancling at the water's edge, not a dozen yards from where the young Scourge bad hal ted. CHAPTER VI. THE NYMPH OP THE LAKF.-FRIENDS )IEET-A. CLEVER DECOY. BUCKHORN BILL was not a little surprised at seeing the girl. Least expected of all, was the finding o f h e r h ere, wber e .t:umnn habitations w ere not-where came in the summer months, t() "I wonder who she isf"ne muttered, standing back among the shadows, and watching her. "Graceful and pretty of build, and I reckon she's pretty of face, ef a fe1ler could i:et a gl:mpse of it. About sixteen or seventeen. Poor ll!aohn would have been today, bad she Jived.'' .A d ee p regretful sigh escaped thelipsof the Young S courge1 and Ms face was shadowed by an expres s ion as aark as the n ight around him. He had never forgotten the great wrong; tbe murder of his little sister was ever engraven fo1 cibly upo n his memory; -he could nol lose sight of it. For several moments he Etood unde r the trees, at a loss what to do. Tho girl was standing in the rnnd, \vitb the waves o f the lak'l lapping the shore at her feet, apparently in a deep reverie, as she gaz d out over the water wh ich w r.s shrouded in darkness, too deep for penetration by the human eye. As Bill bad oberved, she was vncrful cf form beinl' rounC:ly contoured and dev1 lor:ed. and of medmn rtaturP. Her face, which tb e J:>oy Scourge was unable to srrutinizr, it being av< rte<\ ws finely chiseled and pretty, lusciously tin.>ed witn the roses of p erfect health. Her mouth was small and sweet l y expressive; h e r eyes brown, and her hair, worn waving down to her was of tL o same hue She was attired in a light calico dreS!which reached .Softly the young Scourge crept along, his knife, and u po n her h ear! a ribboned straw bat. IE'

Buckhorn :Bil!. "I wender what sh"'s doing over here, anyhow I" fet.ched her here I" answered Bill, in some confuslon. Buckhorn Bill muttered, his curiosity growing "Do you know her!" stronger every moment. rt kinder :appeara to me "No, but thet ain't a.-sayin' I wouldn't like to. Bin th e t et ain't natteral f e r a gal ter be alone out hyar, puzzlin' my topography fer half an h our ter find out so fur in the wilderness, unless there's something what she's up t o, but I can't." back of it. Don't think I've seen her anywhere, "Nor I. Reckon she's waitin' f e r somebody, er either, I've forgotten about it. Must have else she's crazy, or somethin' of the kind. I was come across the lake, judgin' by tbat boat. Wonder jest a-goin' ter speak to her, a hit a go, when you ef she lives over there, or what? That's the question came up." before be debate court. I kuow ye was an' that's the reason I spoke, fer "Kinder like ter know wliat 8he's up to, an' who I didn't want ye t o poke y e r handsome phiz in whaI' she is; but, jest as like's not she'd feel insulted ef I I'd made calcul:;verthe ence to stand in i d leness. He would go forward sands of the lake -sh ore. So stealcby was his tread and speak to this strange nymph of the lake-shore, that he was b e s ide the lake-nymph, ere she discov:and learn, if possibl e, her business out here a lone. ered his approach or presence. H o was about to steal forward on his errand, when When she did, she n either screamed nor starteil to be detected the sound of a footstep in his r ear, and run away, but stood still in her tracks, and gazed at wheeled about, quicklfhim, coolly. "Don't b a a larmed,' said a pleasant voice. "Guess This took him so much aback, that it was several r ain't no painte r ner grizzl y, as i s goin' to mount. moments ere h e could c-omllland his power of Y ou're a purty fell e r, ain't standin' he-er e t thet gal, yonder, like as ef you're love-sick!' He expected nothing else than'that she would be "Well, whose hnsiness i s it? Buckhorn demand-frightened, hut here she stood wi t h as much corned. peering arounJ. trying to outline the speaker. posure as might have been exhibited by an old Who are you, and what arP you doin' a prowlin' hunter, inured to peril and surprises. around h f re like a r ed varmint? G o t a notion t e r "Well?" she said, interrogatively, looking up into put a lead telegra n after y >tt, on the strength o f my his face, studying l y "What do you want? susnicion tbet you'r e a pirate" "I want to know who you are, and what you a r e Humph I on your ear. ch?" replied the other, doing h e r e a lone on this lake-sho1 e, such a night a 8 good-u1turedly. "A wasp stuugo ye, thar, or sum this?" Bill replied, sheepishly, after some hesitation. heathen bin fingerin!l f e r y e r scalp. Needn't plug He was becoming aware that ne was infringing upon yer pills at me-Iain t no pirate. 1\Iv name's Turtle that which was none of his buiness. Tom Fraila.v, trappe r and b'ar-ketcber, at yer s er"Humph I" and the lips of the girl curled just a vice. Y nu're Buc!!; then his head perplexedly.


Buckh orn Bill. 13 How was this thing prow.essing? Tbis st.range girl seemed to know considerable about uim and his affairs; and be could bnt wonder at her child like familiarity in talking to Wm, a stranger. u Guess I ain't very deep in luv, yet," he said with a grimace. "With tbe r exception o my poor dead mother an' $ister, I never hev bed a very exalted female line-begging your pardon, "You aro excusable of courst-"," was the reply, and theu she begai: to edge toward the boat. "You aiu 't going?" Bill demanded. '\Yes, Imust .11 "But what did you come herE' for?" "I cannot tell you. I'd advise you as-as a f .iend -to leave this vi cinitv nt once.'' "Youdon'tsayl Why?" "Because there is danger I" "Bahl Danger and I are old pards. We've learned each other's grip by heart. "You are incorrigible. You should take my advice "Well, we'll see about that, by and by. Going to tell me your name, ain't ye, bfore ye vamoose?,, u 'Vhat for?" "Ohl because I want to remember you by some name I kerrr a register up bayr in my topograph ical construction, whar I put down ther name an' sum total uv every one I meet." Well, the n my name is Mehetible .Ann Macca day, wit'! a lithe ripple of roguish laughte r. "Git cut I I know better. Pretty birds must necessariJy havf' ap1Jropria t e names." "Well, then, Mol y Miner." "Which i s a decided improvement on the other. You won t t e ll me what brought you here?" "No!" "When will you rome sgainY" u1 don't know-maybe never." "Yes1 you will, or I shall come and hunt you up." "Don t dare to attempt it, I beg of you! You are tn the midst of g reat peril, whlch will only be in creased should you come iu search of me. Good by. 11 "Good-by!" Buckhorn replied, with rather a sensation tugging in the neighborhood of bis young heart. as he saw the nymph step into 1be red-painted ski!X. and flt the oars into the row-locks. In a moment more she had pulled out onto the lake. and was lost from view. When she was gone, Bill crept back into the tim ber, where Turtle Tom was awaiting him. '.l'he rain was beginnin!!' to spatte r down faster, whlla the thunder growled and pounded within the irat.ei.: of heaven. Now, too, the lightning occasion up the scene for "EL's goin' ter be a regular old antediluvian starml" observed Turtle Tom, crawling in unde r the sheltei of a hu(\'e cottonwood, whose foliage grew close dr-wn to the ground. r don't opine we kin get a much b etter place than this, eb, Bucey?" "No I we'll stay beer till the 'torm ls over, and see what turns up. Se<>!" as a flash of lightning lit the heaven and earth- :here goes the girl, now. How big is this lake Tom?" "Three miles wide by six long. I believe. Thar's never bin rnuch notice taken of itkbeC!mse et pos no peculiarities like some la es. The Injuns sum times come here and camp on a island about a mile out from here. Its outlet is the SkQPk creek." it deep?" "Yes-is Raid to have no bottom, in some places. This forest Rnrrounds it on all sides." Con versa I ion was now laborious, for a great raoket wa occasioned by b oth the fallin g rain and b"oming thunder: while tl' e heavens were incessantly tired by the blindh,i>: r. lres of li?htniuJ?. rain poured down in great tout being r rhey too had accepted of the shelter ot r rn t ent. hf"'CBUSf3 tl1e rain was fallmg 'if wili only keep bis ant cf our pie. It wi'I only take o ld t<'owter four o


1 4 Buckhor n Bill. five dayc &t the longest to ride to Alexander and back, and we may as well stay here till he returns." I tell you what my ijeer Is," said Dick Reade. I calculate this black-handed galoot is one of the Press-Gang, an' seein' Fowler's mistake, without bein' able to apprise him, he's snatched away the docu ment so that we shouldn't find out the secret it con tained.,, "l hope it ain't that. But, there's no tellin'. Hello!" This latter exclamation was occasioned by some thing that fell at the fee t of Captain Ned-a sharp, long arrow, which had been shot through the tent siding bys m e one from the outside. The tail of the arrow, half.way up t o t11e head, was covered with wrapped string, beneath which could bo seen a bit of white paper. "'It's a message from some unseen friend I" cried Dick Reade. who had picked it uo. "Let's see what mystery is to be unraveled by this strange communication." With the point of his dirk he rippe d off the cord, and unwound the pape r from the arrow stem. "Hat there are two pap.ers, 1 1 he cried-' one is the pape r of that secret cipher, returaed, and the other i s a message iu p e ncil. Let me see what the contents are." "Inclosed you will find the message which wns stolen from you by the black hand. I wished t' know what was up among the whisky gang, and by aid of a powerful l e ns discovered. If you wish to know, pr.?ss a hot flat-iron over the back surface, and writing will come to view. It is written with milk, and the scrawl s on the other side are simpl ,r to puzzle any one, Olltside of the Whisky Ring. mto w'hose hands their m essage m?. y fall. Your pro posed attempt to break up the Whisky Ring is praise worthy, and l wish you success. H DEATH SHADOW.,, ,,, "Death Shadow!" echoed Captain N e d, in sur p r ise. 'Who's he?" We have that yet to learn; he's some out, Jandish o ld frontiersman, wit h a wrong to avenge, who has adopted that dromntic 110 n plume Now, bolV are we to get the writing out of this cipher mess 1ge? We've no fl:it-iron." "We'll h rwe to wash ofl' a stone, and heat it, for a substitute," sai c l Hal Everette. And you don't want to tell anything of our getting posses sion of this message a:;ain to old Fowler; let the olcl tub-of fat go back to Fort Alexander, and maybe h 'II return with news that will be more b e nefi c i a l to u s. 'Yes, you1re right," S3..id Stockton. Keep th m'ltte.r a secret from tho old traitor an' wu'll u s e bim while we can. and thPn hang him up as an ex ample for others of his ilk to profit by. Th e n ext thing is a stone." rrhe work or improvi sing a bot flat-iron out of a cold muddy stone was not one of ease,J>Ut after repeated expo.rim en ts, they succeeded in g3ttiag o n e hot. After this was rubbed off, the cipUer-me!l was drawn ovPr it times, which had tho effect of brin ging t o light t'1e sec r e t lin es which had been trace 1 in milk. '.\ 'hen all had b een brought out, Dick Reade read the aloud: "Fo&T At.EXANDER, August 8, 18i-. "CAPTAIN' COFFL'i:-DEA...'l. Sm:-I write to know if vou have any more moon

Buckhorn Bill. gers' camp, and entertained as a gue st, while every was shown him because of his old ag&. What was his mission none but Stockton knew. CHAPTER VIII. w young Stockton's lnqlliry, "and I am an ex-major, retired from active service in the army. I am, and have been in trouble, for many years, and hearing of you .. nd )'.Our profici ency as a detective1 I have come to see if you can do anything tor me. "Exactly I" Stockton replied, 1aying aside his charts, and taking his note-book and pencil. "Some-A HOT-BED OF E EMIES-A l!YSTERY OF THE LAKEthing in the moonshine linP, eh?" THE CAPTURED MESSAGE. "Oh I no; not that. My trouble is of a different THE situation of the Boy Scourge was not only ona nature. You, in your trips through the country of unpleasautness. but of deadly peril. For, in that might be able to find what I want. If you will listen flash of Jightnmg he .aw not only that he wa. cut otr l will tell you my trouble." from retreat to the shore, but beheld also the wild Captain N e d did listen, and in short-exultant txpressioa on the horde of fierce faces hand, whicn ne thorougt1ly understood, h e cluoniand heard the y e lls of the enemy echo and resound cled the story which the major related to him. It through the lake forests. was one of much importance and one in which he He only tau w e ll lu1ew that only quick actior. became instantly interested-a story of a foul wrong could save him from dcatb, and tltat it mst which bad been done the officer, years before, ere fight till the last breath was gone. time had silvered his l ocks. "The devils worked their trick very smart!" he When he had finished, h e wiped away tear s which muttere d, as he stood for a m oment undecide d how had gathered in his eyes during the relation of the to act. I don't reckon the gal had anything to de> story, and said: -wideaththit1 tWho1 .u8hghT,ofmer1 s1ahde cwoamreto,?,1.ghoonc1lete. r flraeuckfoenr mwye "Now, young man, do yon not think you may b e .. ti able to assist me? Your knowledge of the West and two coul d just about made it intf'l'estin' f r these western men, among whom you mingle, is becoming reptiles. Hope et won't lightn;ng any more, neitter, greater ev<'ry day, and you travel over a large scope for tbey ked perfomte me like a piece o' card of territory. Maybe you might run across the two board." objects of my lif e unexpectedly; will you the n as The boats con ta' the ruffians w ere i;ist me?" creeping steadily .enrer anu nea rer. the muffled "lllost assuredly, Stockton r e plied. "If I strike paddles irakiug no noise that would betray their exa trail likely to prove snccessfnl so far as you are act wh e reabouts. coocernecl, I will follow it np." Nor could Bill see them, so d e nse was the black" God bless yon for the words," the major had said, nes s of the night. Th e r ai n wa again pouring j'l'vn and after pressing upon Stockton a purse of money,. in torrents, and the thunder crashing with r e6e wed b e took his departure. force. That was the last the young detective saw of him, Rael h e n o t been cut off from land, the Boy Scourge until to-day, whe n shortly after the d eparture of would n o t have been puzzled how to act; but, as it old Judg' Fowl e r foe Fort Alexander, this s elfsame was, he was undecided. H e had two chances of gct Majo r Sterling rod P into the camp. ting out-one by lard in the lake a 1 he major smiled. mile from"shore, but to try to find it in this t'.'tyginn be' .. darkness would be equally as preposterous as for a ,, mariner to attenwt to navigate the seas without a said t o be wLit e at the age of twenty-three. On compass his 11inery-first hirthclay his hair was black an

1'5 The boats were past now, and he 'IVail alone in the waters of a lake of which he knew nothing. "Thank God I'm out of that scr!lpe," h e muttered, whopping over on his back and allowing the water lo float him al >ng until h e was rested. "Whew I I wish old Jupiter Pluvius wouldn't shed such mighty bio: tears down into my face, though. Wonder if 1 uom,.terializcd the spirits of them two chaps w'at yelled. I hope so, and am sorry l could not manag.e to p'l.v 'em a ll my respects in better shape. Hope Tom ain't got into them cusses' hands, but it's more'n lik ely h e has. Durn 'em, I can't h e lp let tin' 'em know I'm alive and kickin', yet ef it is dangerous!" And. detaching from his b elt the buckhorn we have b efore mentioned, h e pl!tced the small end to bi s lips, and blew a pure\ m e llow blast. which echoed and re-echoed over aka and prairie for many minutes afterward, with wonderful tenacity of sound. "There I that's what tell! where Buckhorn Bill Is, an' that he's all right side up with care. mal hear the cusses s1v'ur an' yowlt ov e r the dis cov ery th'.\t I'm a human eel w'at's wiggled through their fingers. GuQss it will be advisable f e r me ter exert my mermaid proclivities now, in order to es cape." Restoring the horn, which was 003 of his own in v e n t ion. to bis belt, he rolle r again, and swam rapidly on out into the lak3. It now began to li ghten, incessant ly, and in such vivid glares that the lake was lit up every otker mo ment, as light as day. "Great m ot h e r o; Moses l I never see secb light nin' b efore, Bill muttere d, a&-h e swam on through the waves "Yes. an' by Christmas, them Imps are puttin' after m e! Goodenough-serves m e right l I orter kPet rp.y trap shet, and I'd been all right. But, thet s a virtual impossibility, sum times. I've got to talk off w'at I'm inflated with, or bu'st." The Press-Gang had ioJeed turned their boats about, and the oarsmen were pulling with a will, while a number of tbemwere occupyin.o: standing positions, wit 1 rifles in their hands, apparently prepar:.tory for use "I reckon the galoots mean shute now," the 'Young Scourge muttered, occasionally glanced back. "Tney've their optics froz e onter me, too, or else they wouldn't come so Straight. Dang the lightningCrimioyl" He visibly and gre"N pale as there came a frig ,tful crash of thunder, that seemed to jar "ve n the waters of the lake. Then the flashes of lightning once more ceased to come. "Jovel there's su'Ilthin' wonderful about this. hanged if there ain't!" nm muttered. go.zing toward the inky h eavens in awed surprise, "Tber old g ent up there seems t o know and do what I want. M eb be he's got kind of a liking after me, after all;_ and I kno-v I think of His gr0atness too little. ts:it et sha'n't b e so after this. rm all hunky now, ef I hold out iQ strength.,, Turning out of the course he had been pursuing, h e swam to,vard the righ\ or northern end of the lake __,,wam as rapidly as he could, for h e knew his RaFety depended upon getting out of tho track of the boats in tim e. Teo minutes of hard stroking; then h e paused and listened. H e beard loud, angry voices west of him, and conclude d that the outlaws were still pullini; on in the vaiu hope of finding him -for it was a vam hope. "Gu.ass the salamanders aire gettin' considerably riley," the Buckhorn observed, with a smile of triumph. "Hello! they've lit a lantern off yonder. Wish I had mv rifle, an' sum thin' besides water to stand on, and I'd make some punctuations in their life parch ment. Wonder where I am, anyhow, or how fur it is to thet island Tom Frailey spoke about? 'Twixt that an' mainland, the distance must be abGut equal, I willh sum wellodillposed botch of lonmanity would come along with a boat, tor I'm gettln' all-11.red tir e d." Knowing his endurance Wl'.>Uld n o t last much longer without rest, he turned over on his back, and floated about at the will of the waves for some time, keep ing watch on the movements of the outlaws, whom h e knew to be where h e saw the light. B<1t at last he was startled by hearing the dip of a padrll e and turning quickly ove r on bis faL"e he pro peller! nnrl kept himself upon the surface with one hand, while, with !he other. he drew a revolver. A boat wa< cominq d;rectly toward htm. Did it con taiu friends or e nemi es? Tlwn he h eard a little laugh, and ' Well, sir! arei you lter e?" lt was the girl's voic e that spoke: "Great Jupiter! who are you t" Bill demande.d, wonderingly. "Molly Miner, at your service!" and the boat float e d nearer. "Climb in, and I will r ow ;rou to shore. I wonder you escapOO the 1 "Ohl that's easy enough. when you once know how," Buckhorn Bill r eplied, with a !'l.ugh. as he clambered into the skiff. "nut I dido'texpect to be granted the p!Qasure of meeting you so soon, again. What do you know abou; them fancy roosters over the re?" "I may know a great d eal, or a very little, but I cannot t 11 y o u nnythine;." "Bet a coppe r you belong to ,em, and know wbar th eir r o ost i.::;!" "I won t b e t. I!Pre ; lend me a hand, and we'll pull for the shore. The soone r you are on land the better it will be." "Yas-for them chaps, yonder. But hold on. Just let m e toot my born ter ] Pt 'em knOW J'm all right. No doubt they're very anxious concerning my welfare!" "Nol you mustn't," said Molly, quickly, putting up her han l. "Why not? Not one toot?" Because it would show Y,Our enemies just where to look for you; moreover, 1t would be certain death to me if it were known that I had anything to do with getting you ashore. Come I will you help me now, or will .vou let me do it all alone?" "Not much, you sba'n'tl Excuse me, fer I war thinkin' o' tootln' my horn, a.n' not ct escaping." Instead of one, h e S!'ized both of the oars, and pulled swiftly through the water>. Not a word more was spoken nntil the boat grounded upon the sandy shore; then Bill sorun,,; out, and said, while be ex tended his hand, frankly: "I thank you very much, Miss Miner. and some day I hope to reward you for your s.irvices to me, to-night." H e then, after clasping her hand a moment lo his, was about to striue away, but she c allej him back. "St" p !"she cried. with h e r childish imperiousness. I want y o u y et, before you g You must promise m e ome,l1io-;-, and faithfully keep th' pronusA." "The you say! whatisitl-d'yewantmeter m&rry y e or y e g oin' t a r get me into some trap?" "Neithe r. 1 want you to promise to forev e r leave tllis lak eshore and nevP r come near it again." What. Clear out, and never cum back again? Not much, 1 won't-no t e v e n for you. An' I reckon thar ain't many t!liugs I wouldn't do fer you." "Very w e ll. I'll n o t ask you agoain, Stay, and take the consequences that mus t follow." Witho it another word she pulled back onto the connected with them ar' Press-Gang pukes!" Buckhorn Bill mut!;ered. st'lring after h e r, "an' she ain't purtickler d esirous thf't I shed a'!'ltat.e rheir peace o' mind. But the danged skunks hev already bed seeral pieces uv my mind,, w'at stuck by 'em. L e t me see; I'm on tbe main shore now, and there

11111111 ............................ .......... 17 an y Olle tn this yere "Vicinity at present, onless they're scroochin around among these manzinta bushes. Reckon I'd better reconnoiter." Making :lS lit.ti e noise as possible. he skfrmished aroun

18 Buckhorn Bill. all g athered on the lake-shore, beneath the cotton wood Gregg being the last one to come. "'Tain't no use to prolong the search, I !l'uess," he said, with a broad oath. "The young aev!l has liid, an' we might look a lifetime wi'out findin' him. Pile U, man ther oars, an' let' s git, afore et comes light." 'Goin' ter leave a. watch?,, "Nol fer ef a man war to stay hayr, he'd only turn inte r a. macadamized stiff ther rniunit\thet Bucknorn spied him. We've lost two men by him, ter-night, a.n' we won't risk any more, you bet. Pile in. all hands." The three ,boats were filled, and pushed out into the Jake a.nd the boat Dea.th had come in, was also appropriated. Then the outlaws rower! away through the waters and the fadine: night. "Now, ef etwarn't fer fetchin' 'em back, I'd jest luv ter give a blast on my buckhorn." the Boy Scourge muttered, with a grin, in anticipation of the pleasure it would give him. "But, I guess I'll let 'em go, this time." .... Concluding to remain where be was until daylight, he improved the time by taking a nan, rude and primitive as were bis accommodations. He a.woke with the morning sunshine streaminginto bis hce tbrougb t .he bnnches; birds were joy on sly around him; and evcryt.hing was fresh and fr1e:rant from the previous nie:bt's storm. Ever careful and wary, Buckhorn Bill crept through the diff erent parts of the tree, and.took ob servations to mn.ke sure that no enemies w0re lne: n ear, ere he d escended to the ground. From the cottonwood he commanded a fine view of the lake, which Jay calm and placid in the early morning sun li ht. 1le was at the northern end of it; the opposite t ermination h e was unable to see with the naked eye. But he could see each s!de, for a Jong wa y down, a.nd also th i sland which Turtle Tom had spoken of. I t consisted of four or five acres, or maybe six, of high Ian l which rolled up and back from the wate r's edgP, and was completely cov e rer} with n dense thicket of b'1lsam trees, a.U of which had at taine 1 a'l unusual bight. Upon the sm'f1ce of the lake and upon the is and. there were no signs of human beings-all was quie t and peaceful as on a Sabhath morning, a.nd nature seemed in on"' or her loveli Pst moods. HI euetJS all's ri --:-ht, II the Young Scourge said, whe n .10 ha l completed liJs observations. "Don't judg-e any of the d e vils around, or I should see .some signs of life. T. wish I had my trusty rifl e and I'd be all right." He descen led, and spPnt some moments Jving on the ground and stretching out bis limbs, whicll ha.cl been cram p c d during his stay in the tree. He next stole cautiously along the lake-shor e toward the p oint on the side of the lake where he hart left Turtle Tom on the previous Ile did not exp0c' to find him there now, but ne hoped to regain his trusty rifle. On reaching the point he found the weapon, sure enougb. Rt!tnding behind a tree, but careful search failed t0 discover Turtle Tom. Eith r he had bee n captured by the Press-Gang, or had left the vicinity of the lake m:iking a. breakfast on fish from the lake, r oa3ted owr a. sm'lkeless fire, Buckhorn Bill spen : the of the day in resting, in a secluded nook which he discovered in the woods; for h e had determined when night came a.gain to know more coucerniilo: the mystery which enshrouded Jake. "I b'li Ye that :here's a nest of the d e vils on that island," h "aicl. thouo:htfully, as he gazed around into the solitude of the woods, au' ef there is, I'm going ter find 'em out, ef J can. Purtv soon the Gov ernment will smell a rat, a.nd be olferin' a r e ward fer those pilgarlics, and who's a b etter right ter it than sum feller a.bout my figure? To be sure, I needn't be hard up, fer Burnllam Ranch and Burn ham colony orter he fetchin' in a. good round sum of money every year; but let that slide.-et'll stand offset ag'in' my old a.ge. R eckon I orter keep alive on my wits an' what I kin kill in the shape of game." His mind made up, he wa.s not Jong m forming a. plan of operations. The b es t point of access to the island was near where he was lounc:ing, the distance heing only about a mile. At other points the distance varied, from one and a. ha.If miles to two or even three. The dayJ'assed slowly. but h" was much in need of rest, an when the shadows of night crept over the land and water, be was r freshed greatly, and prepared for work. He waitE>d until the da.rkness wa.s as deep a.s it wonld be-for a moo n would rise late in the evPning -and the n set to work on his projected plan of visi ting the island. He ha.d no boat, and to swim a mile was not a. pa.rt of his wish or int:mtion. He was not however, in finding a mode of transportation. A tew rods up the lake-shore he found a. log which hal been cut by some woodman's or s urveyor1s ax and by usil1j? pries h e soon hart it afloat. Next, with his sheath knifr, he improvised a. rucle paddle; then, straddling the log. he set out upon his voyage. The light log moved easily, and hA W!IS enabled to make satisfa.ctor.r headway. But his posit!On was undesirable, for the reason that he was exposed to the bullets of the enemy, should he he fired upon. -But it was :vet some d istance e r e buUets would or cou Id reach him from the isl:ind. Ov e rhei::rl the stars were in the blue vault ot heaven, which made a dim, uncertain Hgbt below, on the earl h and water. '"I reckon I'll patent this boat," Bill chucklcu. "Ef she git a r o llin'-fit, I r eckon I'1n nll dori. Hi!llo H e chanced to g'ance back toward the main land, whe n, what wns his great surprise t'> see a boat put off from shore, evidently in pursuit of him. There was but one p"rsou visibl e at the oars, but this dtcl not signify that there might not be more crouching in the b'.)ttom of the craft. '"Humph I I rrckon we're goin' ter have kinder of a regatter hayr," the Scour;:e mutte" d as be pulled steadily along, at the same time a c l ose watch upon the craft in the rear. "Yas, tbar she come", lickety scoot. "Am I goin' ter let that galoot overhaul me, an' got this start? Ohl n o ; n ) t ef co1u-t's opin ion aren't complicated. T!iat chap e i the1 .. s a whisky spy, which hes bin l a.yin' f e r n1e, n r el

Buckhorn BilL 1 9 bosses, or I'll put a red pepper inter your Phrenologi kal Journal quicker'n Hell Gate war ruptured. What d1ye want?" "I'll soon show ye!" growled the fellow, pulling on toward the Scourge. "Ruther reckon yer little race is run my lad. Put down your shootin'-irons." N"'ry !" Bill r e plied, grimly, and the next momP11t he fired at the approaching ruffian. and curling; his dress was buckskin, which was old and groosy. As if to prove that be was a tborough horcterman.be carried conspicuously displayed m his belt a long unsheathed knife, and a heavy pair of "32 revo1vers But before he harl time to note the effect of tbu shot, a laso dropped suddenly over him, was drawn taut, and he was jerked hood-foremost over into the water. He had foes behind, it seemed, as well as in front. Royal Ralph was apparently not over thirty years of age, with a villainous lookingface6tbe prominent fPatures of which a long nose, ead-like black: eyes a pointed black mustache, and a low beetling forehead with shaggy brows; and a form of m edium hight, well fattened by the excessive use of whisky, and the negligence or labor of any sort. Re was attired in buckskin, witb more pretensions to taste than was observed by Whisky Bill, and wore CHAPTER :x_ simply a revolver in bis belt. As soon as tbP two s eated at the table, .a. VILLAINOUS IULPH WINS BUT Whisky Bill turned to Mrs. lPrescott: "You can go out, Margaret," he said, WE must now return to the little settlement of "We don't keer fer yer company at present. Squatterville, and to the cottage home of the trader, "I care not what you care for Bill Burdelle," was Whisky Bill Burdell e the bouekeeper's firm reply. / 1 was in this room At the close of our third chapter, itwillberemem before you came. and I sball not leave it." bered, we left 111rs. Prescott and Pearl in a state of "What! do you dare-" anxiety and alarm, as they saw Burdelle approach"Yes, I dare to defy you, Bill, and you know It ing the cottage, accompanied by the rowdy loafer, well enough. If I were to---" ROynl Ralph. There I there of that, you old she-cat!" "Yes, c,Jlild. run up-stairs. quick," Mrs. Prescott he growled, savagely. saidh" and bide in the chimney-closet, for I would "Stan mere, we will proceed to business. You say not ave that Royal Ralph see you again. Th e very I owe you five thousa11d dollars, which I lost at gamOld Nick, himself, is in the fellow, I do l'eli 2 v e If bling, while I was c'runk?" Burd e lle asks for you, I'll tell him you've stepped .. Bxactly," the rowdy repli ed lighting a cigar. out." "You played bi g and lost, an' gave me a paper "But, dear, supposing Burdelle should catch you marl.gage on yer house an' prairie land f e r the trying to deceive He.would mui;der you.,, amount." 1 Do not fear for me1 child." .the housekeep er re "".'here is this mortirnge?,, plied in h e r quiet way. "Bill Burde Ile knows he "Oh! 1 've got it safely put away, where I can soon dare not offer m e violence. even though be curses at get at 't me, and threaten s I hold a secret of his, the be"In yer pocket, no doubt." trayal of which would hang him to a limb in short "Thet don't matter, Are ye reddy ter redeem order. Go, now, for coming in and will see it?" you." "Wal, WP.'11 see about thet. You sed ef I'd give Snatching a hurried kiss, Pearl ran '!p-stairs; but ye the gal ter do with as ye pleased, yuu'd give me pause d at ihe top, a startle d ex:pressw::i upon her back the mortgage, eh?" features. "I sed I'd give you back the mortgage,J'roviding "I'..oyal Ralph means me harm," she whispered to you made me the gal's g-uardiRn, an' tol me how herself', hPr beautiful eyes dilating with horror, you cum by her-who were her parents." "and he is getting Bill BurdeUP to help llim. Oh I I cum by her natteral e nough. when she war my God h elp me, if I have to fight villains as terrible as firnt wile's only cbilcl, an' I her father." and his companion enter ed the little sittta;g.I tin

so Bv.ckhorn grlmly. "Break the nose otf'm that p'izen, and let's get that part of the transaction done." "I'll stump ye to put down a quart apiece!" the trader said, uncorking that bottle and producing an other from the ddeboard. Et'll make our >16rve s stP.adier for the bizness before us." And he laughed as if the proposal was liberaland it was, in one sense. "You can if you choose," Royal Ralph replied, with a cunning smU0 "but a pmt will do for me. Being of smaller stature, my capacity is not a.-; large as yours. 11 "011 that's nothing!" the trader remarked, with a guff. iw. I once know'd a little feller named La down six gallons of the raw stuJl' The bottle was broken and in a short time its con tents w ere gone. Then Whisky Bill produced a d:ce box and dice, five in number. 1'You can throw first,'' he said, '' an' tber game's ter be three bosses. Royal Ralph shook the dice and dextrously rolled them out upon the tabl e. Four aces Jay revealed, and one tray. In the second flop he made the tray an ace "Five ace s is hard to beat, my covey I" he said, with a grin. Whisky Bill did not reply, but threw four trays and an ace; taking up the ace he made it five trays. "First horse for me," the rowdy said, coolly. "Go ahead." ...A.gain they shook; result: five aces for Whisky Bill; three aces and two deuces for Stanmere; sec ond horse awarded Whisky Bill. The third horse was won by Stanmere, for be threw five aces at the first flop, to Wnisky Bill's .deuces! "There!" he cried, triumphantly, "didn't I win the gal fair?" "Yes, perfectly fair," Whisky Bill growled, an grily, "and Sbd's yours to do with as you please. Of her connecti0ll8 I'll tell you nothing." "All right; give me the gal an' l e t her history fiO to the devil I" tbe ruffian rowdy cried, eagerly. Where Is she? H ere's your old mortgage-take it an' five me the ga.l." reckou she's up-stairs thar," answered Burdelle, with a glance tow the stairway; ''least wise I've seen the old woman, beer, cast anxious glances thet way. Ye can go UJ?an' see fer yerself." With an expression of devilish jubilance upon his evil face, Royal Ralph rose to his feet, but Mrs. Prescott also arose. and confronted him. Stop, you villain I You shall not go up there. Fly! fly I Pearl, for your life!" she screamed; but tbe next instant she was felled to the lloor by a heavy blow. and Royal Ralph sprung up the stainvay. Whisky Bill followed at his leisure, and found the villain in a terrible rage, as be rushed furiously around u She's gon t t Rhe's gone l" he roared, swearing "she's not here, and you know where she is Buroelle." "I reckon l ;:eu tell you," the trade r replied, grimly, through an open window, far out upon the pr:tirie beyond the settlement, where a horsewoman dasbin!\' rapidly along. "That's yer bird, ef I ai,.'t out o reckoning. She's heard yer plot wi' me, .a' hes took ter boss. Er you catch her, you'll hev tH git up before breakfast, fer thar ein't them around beer as can catch her. u "But I'll catch her, though I" Royal Ralph cried, and leaping through th window to the ground, he bounded away. Springing upon a horse wllich stood before t!Je village store he the spurs into the animal's flanks, and dashed away in pursuit. When he gained the prairie, he saw that Pearl was fully two miles away. and also that darkness and an oncoming Sto!'YJ were brooding. But bis steed was apparently fI"eSh, and he had strong hopes of ovc.rtkinjl' th" "1111'&,.,.y, And Pear.I She was urging Pet, h e r Indian pony, to the ve toi;> of his speed in her endeavors to escape. She saw Royal Ralph coming in pursuit the mo ment he left the settlement, and knew that it must be a desperate race-knew that it was to be a race for life and liberty with her. But, although she had the ajvamage of distauce over her pursuer, sh saw that Pet was not good for a llreat deal more work. She had ridde n him w ell that afternoon, an kne w that if his strength lasted against the fresh ness of Royal R alph's horse it would be a miracle. On-on, she dashed over the prairie, using both spurs to urge the faithful p ony, g lancing back o ocasional y only to perceive that the pursuer was lessening the intervening distance. An hour passed, and darkness f e ll silently ov the prairie, and the last glimr.se Pearl caught of h e foe was startling and horrifying to her. He was now scarcely a mile away. "Ob! God help me," the Fairy of Squattervill muttered, as she peered back the deepening gloom. I am an outcast and fugitive on the face of the earth, even sold from my home Where shall I go-what can I do to evade this monster who now claims me &S his ward?" There was no answer to her question. but the ha breathing and thud of Pet's hoofs upon the turf. At last a thought struck her; she would turn i another direction, and in the dense darkness Roy Ralph woulJ miss her. She therefore turned Pet' bead to the w estward, and urged him on, desperately determined to escape if possible. On-on; the storm overhead threatene d to bre at every moment; then. she galloped fearlessl.v dow into a prairie valley, where a camp-fire was blazin brightly Scarcely before she knew it, her pony was seize by the bit, and hurried forward into the c"mp, where a score or more of rough, villainous-looking men were lounging, all of whom were attired ia crimson suits, and armed to tbe teeth. "Hello, Armstrong, what hev ye got there?" val R'.tlp'1 galloped boldly down int<' th& camp. What diu it mean? CHAPTE:t XL CAPTAIN COFFIN .A....';0 M \J a S r:::!.. ME ... '-.. tEVIEW ING 'fTIE '"' .\. .C:. ... NONE seeme l mor 0 l nt t'1A aune:.r..?.nce of Royal Ralph, than the portly c'.:tie f p( the Whisky


Buckhorn Bill. 21 Ring, Captain Coffin. He started percep tibly at the advent of the villain, and a low, muttered execration escaped bis lips. Royal Ralph rode boldly forward, and raised his bat. with a smile, to poor Pearl, who was trembling and very pale. "Good-evening, fair lady," he said. a peculiar glitter in his evil eyes. I hope you are not any the worse for the little race we bad. Really, Jam quite ashamed of the poor racing qualifications o f my animal, and until I saw this fire-light down here, I quite despaired of finding you. You're mounted still, I perceive-perhaps you and your companion were coming in search cf me; eh?" "Ohl no;" and Pearl cast the villain a withering glance, we were not going to hunt for wolves. You needn't have chased me, Ralph Stanmere, for I will not go with you." "Ah! my beauty, but you must; I shall insist upon It, for you know I won you fairly from Whisky Bill! and you are mine. If you are fatigued, we wil somewhere in thls neighborhood until mornNo! I will not camp with y0?1, anywhere. You have no claim upon me, and I will not go \vith you "But I swea r you shall!" he cried, fiercely, gnaw ing at his mustache. "I'll have you if I have to fight Satan and all his imps." He plunged the spurs mto the bleeding flanks of 'bis animal, and rode nearer to PeaII, but the who was to be her conductor, quickly intercepted )lim. "Hold, Harvey Bouton!" cried a stern, deep voice, and Royal Ralph started in alarm-'' hold, where you are, for you come to the wrong place to enforce your villainous designs. Whisky Bill's daughter is under my protection, and you cannot have her. Do you comprehend?" It was Captain Coffin who spoke. and he stood at Royal Ralph's side, with revolver in bis grasp. "Who are you?" the ro\vdy demanded, boldly. "I won this girl fairly and shall have her." No, I thirik not.. Dwe!lyn, you ride ahead with the young lady. and take her to the place I directed. Be careful. and fulfill your trust faithfully, and you shall be rewarded. It this yo1mg braggadocio at tempts to follow you, I'll attend to bis case In the usual style." And the click! .click! of the captain's revolver Illustrated what that style was. With a bow, Dwellyn led the way out of the camp, and, dad to escape Royal Ralph, whom she was satisfied was an unprincipled knave, Pearl followed, on the back of her pony. Of course she kmnv not bing as to where she was being taken, but she felt that she could not fare worse than if she had snfferecl herself to go with Royal Ralph. As for him, he could only vent bis ill-feelings in 09.ths. for, covered by the steady aim of Captain Coffin's revolv e r, he clared not move in pursuit. HYou S"e that might. is power, Bouton," thi:, Whisky Chi e f observed dryly, as be held the young ruffian in abeyance. "You said you'd have the girl, yet you are allow ing her to slip nic ely through your fingers. You see, I recognized you the minute you rode into camp, and I conclud e d to baffle you." "Who are you?" Royal Ralph growled, bis curiosity getting the better of bis anger. "No one around these parts knows me by that name-' "Except me," Coffin finished, with a grim smile. "Come, you may as well dismount and accept the hospitalities of my camp." "Curse you, no. I'll follow the girl!" was the re ply, and the next moment the ruffian bad dextrously nll_t of the saddle into the grass. Cof fin fired, but was not quick enough, for Royal Ralph had, with the agility of a snake, crawled away from t h e ca)llp -:-... "Quick I quick!" roared the Whisky Chief turiousty, "af t.el' the accursed vill;i n and bring him back, dead or. alive. F i ve hund red dollars to those who capture him I" Instantly there was a yelling response, and the camp was deserted, while a score of eager outlaws thrashed about over the prairie in search of the es caped rutl'lan. But, vain was their search. At the end of an hour they all returned to empty for not a t race of Royal Ralph ad been With wonderful craft and cunninl?, be bad suc ceeded in eluding them, and even now was striding away over the prairie, jubilant over his "It's too bad!" Captain Coffin gr<>wled, 'but it can't be he. lped. I supporn. Howevoc. In ep yer eves open, and I will reward the one who will shoot the scoundrel on eight." The day o f Major Sterling's arrival at the camp or the Red Rifle Team was a pleasant one on fl1e broad prairies, although the sun emitted a breath of ex treme beat, for there wa a freshening bre.ze blow ing, and everything pertaining to natu1 e seemed enjoying the tranquillity of the-day. After Captain Ned bad seen that a reusing mea l oi fresh venison was prepared, Major Ster ing sat1>fibd bis appetite; and, thanking all for the kind ttentio n bestowed upon him, IJe stretched bimsel1 out for a nap, in the s1'ade of the willow moue, close to the camp. He sl ept pes.cefully until about sunset, and then m ou11ted his horse w1tb tbe expressed intention e>f taking a little l!allop over tbe praiiie for exe1cise. "l'd ndvise you not to venture too fer from cam;:rnajor," said Stockton, es the old gentleman was about to rid<" away. There's a gang of outlaws in neighborhood, belonging to a gigantic whisky ring, who do not hesitate at the ccmmission of any crime." -" Ay, ay I am not unaware of that. my boy: but I am arme d, and do not expect any danger. How ever. I will keep watch." You had best; and return, too, before the Ehadows of night fall over the p,rairies, for 'tis then that these vultures prey about. Whereupon the major smiled understandingly and rode away. He was a !borough equehian. and a gallop to him was always invigorating, while to many it is fatiguing and depressing. His animal, too, "as a fine one ard easy tc ride, and the major rode gayly along over the prairi" un til be was far beyond sight of Stockton's camp. Then when in a deep, natural ravine, which would ,seem to have been plowed by some mighty thundP.I bolt, he recognized the fact that night was settfwg swiftly over the earth. "Well, well I it i s strange that my thoughts should have been so preoccupied as not to notice where i was going." be muttered, razing around him into the gathering gloom. "Probably I shall have diffi culty in finding my way back to camp. Ugh! this is a 1onesorne den, and I wonder my horse ever ven tured down here." "Things which are invisib l e sometimes lead one on to the brink of death." m id a cool, mocking voice; and lo oking behind him with a startled ex clamation, the ma.jor saw a horse and rider, not hr. If a dozen yards away, come to a bai t The man was bnrly, dresse d in crimson buckskin. and armed. and l\Iajor Sterling instantly conjectured that he was one of the whisky outlaws of whom Stockton had warned him. He was considerably startled, but too old a soldier to l ose bis self-composure. Turning bis horse around so that he faced the s tranger, he moved his hand toward bis belt, butaclick! click! in the direc tion of the masked outlaw, warned him to jesist. "You'd better not pull your p ill-box!" the same coo l voice spoke 11 fer 'tain't at all necessary to arouse the ecboes ot the n i g h t w ith any loud rep.rts Old friends need n o t quarrel nor need they come to sel1ous b lo ws.


: H Buckhorn BilL Major Sterling scanned the man ahead of him as closelv as the darkness would permit as he answered: I do not know what you nor can I assign any motive for your meeting me here. If you want money, I'll permit you to take all you'll find upon myrerson." do not want money, David Sterling-that is the least of all my wants. I came here, because it is the first time I '1ave allowed myself to see or meet you in fourteen years I" The major started up in his stirrups, his face grown ashen white in a single moment. "My God I can it he you-Lewis Sterling?" he gasped, hoarsely, while again his band sought the region of bis belt. "Yes, I am Lew Sterling, vourbelovedbrother, or Captain Coffin, Chief of the Press-Gang!" the outlaw replied, with a stra.ng a chuckle. "There I there I Don't meddle with your weapons, I say, for I've got the drop on you, tin e Just be quiet and manifest your docility and we'll get on all right." "Nol it will never be all right, between vou and me, deviJlthat you are I" the white-haired officer re plied, tlerc_;Jy. My hatred for you is too deep for expression, and will b e everlasting, even though birth bas made you a brother of mine." "Ahl those are hard words, David. What wrong have I ev e r done that you should thus hate me, the nearest of your kin now living? I remember nothtngl" "What! Remember nothing?" thi> major fairly yei,led, a terrible passion rising in his heart and words-" dare you sar, base hell-hound, that you remember nothing of wrong you have done mef Bah I I see your drift-you would mock at mv misery, because of the atrociousness of your past villainy. Mm, I have followed you all these rour teen years, for r e venge. At last we have met-met, and here W9 must fight.,, "O!il well, if it's tl5ht you're after, I reckon lean accommodate you." said, grimly. "'But. first, I want you to rehearse the drama, to see if your memory is just and accurate. Time\ you know, makes great changes, both in body, mind and me mory.'' "Yes, but do you think I could ever forget! Nev e r! Why rehearse the story?-'tis only one of great bit terness to me. You remember it all-how, in our young manhood, w e twin brothers, fell in Jove with th,.same belle of our nativavillage; how youat first w are the favored one. until by your constant inebria t ion and you fell from grace, and I took your place in the aftections or C lara Stanford. She found that I had at least tbe promise or manhood in me, and took M a hnsb-in 1 and protector. On e short year were we m '.>rri'd; then after the birth of our twin babe, the R i bellion br3ke out, and my patriotic spirit restless until my dear wire he enthused, anJ haie me l eave her and the chi! dren and go an l tight for the country of my birt 1 I kissed them go;)d-by-forever, as it turne d out, and enlisted in the regular arm of the Union. "I was absent a matte r of two years. and then r e turned home on a furlo 1o;h. That was fourteen years ago t)J.is month. Ah I God, what a home I fnund-desolate, and wifeless and childless! My Clara, the y told me, was dead-had been murdered I and was now four months under the sod. Of m v childre n nothing was known, except that the'' hart dis>:ippeared at the time of my wife's death. murder and abduction had been perpetrn.te our life. So he peaceful, for I do not wish your blood upon my hands, because I have dipped them deep enough in crime already." "Tell me where are my children?" Major Sterling said, watching the outlawed brother narrowly; "tell me where, and deliver them up to me. Then, and only then, will I let the dead past bury the past. "Tell you!" the Whisky Captain sneered malig nantly; "no !-not if l were to die this coming mo m ent. Through them it is my purpose to strike you a deeper blow. I have them in my pCMSSession yet both grown up to beauteous womanhood. They would make society belles if you could introduce them to the East. But you cannot haT e that plea sure, for I have a horrible fate in store for each. Pearl, the prettiest, shall marry one of the most re pulsive and brutal wretches I can single ont on the whole b order, and Molly sha.ll become the squaw of old Red Nos e, the Sioux warrior-a chief with worse qualiti"s than Crazy Horse and Sitting Bull combined." "You demon I" the major gasped, writhing in his saddle. "W 1uld that God might strike you dead where you "Bnt He won't, Brother David, for I and He are on friendly terms. Now, then, I want to advise you to forever abandon the hope of getting pos session of your children, or injuring me, for 1t is an imossibilit.y. Go back to your eastern home In your coming dotage, and die in the Lord. Should I ev e r happen out that way, I'll have a fence-rail erected at your head as a token of my memory and esteem. But, whatever you do, he careful that you fall not in with me again, nor with my men, for rour life shall pay the forfe it . The girls !'OU shal n ev se if I nave to cut t.beir throats and bury them in the bottom of Loon Lake. Adieu, DavidP' And sJZdclenly wheeling bis the Whislry Chief dashed into the timber which flanked one side of the ravine, and was gone. Major Sterling pulled his revolver and fired, hut without as a wild, exultant yell proclaime d. Captain Comn had escaped, unharme d. Witb an expression of undaunte d th3 major rode up out of the ravine. and gallo e a rapidly toward the camp of the Red Rifl e Team. CHAPTER XII, A FISH THAT BROKE THE LINE-AVENGING THE P.A.ST -BUT CAUGHT AT LAST. WHEN Buckhorn Bill found that it was impossible to save himself from being jerked over into the water, he caught his breath, and was prepared for the bath. Over he was 'yanked by tbe Jasso, and down h e went into the wate r out of sight. But, ever t'f'ady of wit and quick of actiorr be was not idle, even while under the water. He knew that the enemy now had a lasting hold upon him, and that uuless he broke it, his fate was sealed. So many had he eluded the wt>isk.v ruffians. he believed they would instantly put him to death, as soon as he was surely in their po,v e r. Fortunatel.v, the rope had drawn tight about his bo r ly, just above bis e lbows, IPavin!\' the lower part of his arms free : and as h e sunk b eneath the cool wav e s, h e quicklv dart.Pd hiq riirht hltnd to bis belt, and drew his knife. Seepingit arnund as far as he coqld reach. be was succsful in finding the con:l A blow severed it, and he sunk deeper, and knew that he was oncP more free I He began rapidly to rise toward tl ie surface, but made desperate efforts at swimming; and when he did come up, it was some distance rrom w:b.ere he went down.


B uckhorn Bill. 28 -----------------,-------------But he was not yet out of danger-indeed, a horri ble discovery stared him in the face I From every direction men were swimming-toward him-human sharks, b!Y the dozens-he could distinguisn them, and als. ; saw the boats of thP. whisk:y -ring floating idly about, here and there. Despairing of ever catching the dreaded Scourge by boat, the rufll11ns had taken to water, and forming a complete circle around him, bad him nicely caged. Buckhorn Bill perceived this at a glance, ancl for once was forced to admit to himself that the chances for life were slim. He had never been in quite so close a trap, and it. was a puzzle to him to know bow he was t o gPt out. He 'iad yet his knife, and one revolver in his bosom pouch, but was powerless to use them, for it required tbe use of both bands to i

24 Buckhorn Bill. longer a mystery," Buckhorn Bill muttered, excited ly. It i locatea upon this isolated island, and this barge Is used to transport the whisky ashore. Hurra I I'm now glad I escaped death to meet imprisonment; h e re, for It has been a revelation." H e watched for awhile until he grew tired; then descended from his perch, and replaced the chair and table. If the Tarmints would only've l eft me my shoot. in '-irons and knife, l'd make et sultry for 'em yet," he mutte r ed, '' butlhain't got so much as a weapon. I wonder how I shall manage it, for I'm bound not to give in as Jong's there's any hope. He sat down again, and knitted his brows, thought fully, his plain, good-natured face growing hand some. uncon sc iousl y In his eager devotion to the studying of the probl e m of what course was b es t to pursue. The night wore on slowly, and it seemed as if it re gretted exchanging places with morning, so earnest ly did it hang on. But at last tbe light came in through the barre d windows, and Buckhorn Bill kne w that dawn was breaking. He r aised his head, a l ook of resolve upon his face. "Some of the gang'll be coming, soon," h e mut tered, "and it's my only chance to escape death, though I don't know If I can make a successful !Ie however made preparations; it was, as he had s:tid, his only chance for prolonged lif e. Picking open the wound upon his forehead. he allowed the blood to ooze out and down upon his cheek. Then he laid himself down upon the couch, in a position similar to that in which h e had found himself lyin g when he r egained hls consciousness. Then h e waited. It was bi s hope that some of the outlaws would come soon, and then, on seeing that he was ins e nsible, would leave the door open, or mayhap give him a chance to grab a weapon anu fight for his life and lib erty. Nor w s lie disappointe d in their coming. An hour of waiting and suspense dragged by; then there was a tramp of heavy-booted feet, the door was un locked partly opened, and a shaggy head thrust into Come in, pals1 said the owner of the hPad, the next moment. The boy's a 'stiff,' I guess-lay in' jest w'ar we put him.,, Rather ste:1 lthil y the leader, Captain Gregg, three other ruffians crept into the r oom; but they locked the door behind them and stood aloof, with drawn revolvers. ' Y as. h e 's deader'n a Gregg observed, illy-concealia g a shudder. "I know'd et, when we ftltched him in." "\Vhat'll ye do wi' him?-toss him Inter the lake!" "No I not yet-not till the r chief returns." "Goin' to leave hitn bee r then?" 0Yas ; mig-ht as well. Don't reckon smell, till Coffin returns." The villa.ins then turned and left the room, and Buckhorn heard the door lock behind him, whi c h told him he was not to escape, yet. H e lai::l for some time, r evolvin)I' different plans over in hi3 mind, but s ettling on none, definit e l y At last h e arose and first drank of, and then washed in a bucke t of fresh water which he found at the head of his cot. Ho was just fiuiahing and dry ing his face, when he heard a key grate in the lock, and saw the door of his prison cautiously open. CHAPTER XIII. TURTLB TOM AND ELEPHANT TOM. THERE had bee n an inactive witness to the c!Lptnre of Buckhorn Bill, by the ;i>ressGang, upon the lak e that night, who was no less a person than Turtle Tom, whom, it will b e remembered Bill left on the eastern shore of the lake, on the night he was first decoyed by the outlaws. The young trapper had been forced to leave the neighborhood, because of the presence of so many foes, and bad Rcouted about in the adjacent woods until the following night, when he had e m erged upon the northern shore, just In time to witness the sceIW in which Buckhorn fell from the log upon being wounded, and was gobbled up and borne a.way to the island by the human sharks who had surrounded him. Efforts had also been made by the outlaws to cap ture the mysterious avenger, old D eath Shadow, but in his boat he had quickly put them at distance, and disappeared far down the lake. After seeing the outlaws disappear upon the Bal sam Island, Turtle Tom turned sorrowfully away from the shore back into the forest ais l es. where the moonllght occasionally made lon g bars o f li ght. "It's too bad that should go under," he muttered, "!or he's about as square sort of fellow as there is along the border; but J d on't see how I'm to go to his r escue a lonE>, I've had my experlr so! Don't remember the secon i one that has seen me since a year ago. I've b ee n serving out a n appren tices h i p at making barrels a. id bungs and whisky," with a wave of his hand t< ward tbe island, and a hitt e r lau glll. ''What I you hain't bin on11 o' ther victims o' Cap Coffin 's bev ye, 1i,omas?" I have, unfortunately; and only escap e d a f e w days ago, though I've been try in' faithfully ever since l was Corce d into the r toils But of this enongb, until some other time. You saw the devils getBuckho,-o Bill?" Lordy, y e s I an' et r'iled rny blood so the t et boil ed up an' e'ena'most slopoed over. R eckon e l my gun k e d bev spit h e r compliments the t fur, J should hev disregarded ther I 1olv commandments, an' made a few more human t iffs. Poor Billiaml he was tber pure quill, cl'ar t;brough 'n' through, war Bill." "A flue f e llow and one to be p itied, forit is a hard rub t o l ose one's parents, EleJ>ltant; I know it by e xperience. To be sure mine warn't fu'st-class that is, warn' t educated up to the top-notch nor hi g h-ton e d, like sum, but the y car goo d, all the same, a 1' ro'tny a red nigger's bif; t))e dust in payter their s laughter. But, Elephant, you b e li eve that Bill's d ead?" "Dunno, T'omas; kinde r a(lpea11" 1 to me thet be drapped in thn natters fashi on. "I know; but I don't think h<' was more than stunne d, or else the Press-Gang wouldn't have touched him." "Yas-mebbe ye're right there." "And in the case that he's aU"' ,. "''Ult ge te his rescue. ,.


Buckhorn Bill. "Exactly. We ken't let ther lad be cha wed up by them onmannerly galoots. Ef ve've bin on the Island, l reckon ye know how the land lays." "Yes. We cannot go alon-must have a larger force." and then Tom related much of what Is known to thtt reader, and plans were discussed and formed. So that long the shadows of night came on the scouts and whisky-hunters were m 1oute for Loon Lake. __ "Then, I've jist a prime ijeer, scooped up frum ther depths uv my kernoodleum. Thar's a party o' Buckhorn Bill gazed at the opened door in greai chaps camped out back here on the prairie, what's astonishment, and saw a small girlish figure J!,'l!de bin sent down beer by the Goveynerment, ter bunt into tbe room-then sprung forward, joyfully, with down these illicit their leader's the the exclamation: young detective, Captain .r

26 Buckhorn Bill. work out your escape. Tonight a cargo of whisky will be loaded, and, then, when tile train arrins, ihe boat will put oul for the eastern shore. Be watchful and hopeful, and I'll try to get you out. Goodby.' "Good-by1 and may God bless you," the young Scourge aaul, fervently, as sbe turned away, per !laps to conceal the sad impression that grew upon ber face, as sbe thought tbal it might be impoBBible for her to help him esoape. In a moment she had left the prison, and Bill leard lhe key grate once more In the lock. OHAPTER XIV. & llKIOJ!.ANT 'l'&AIN-LOADINQ THJll .U.QTWO HANDS

Buckhop 1 BllL "It' s a hard-looking ganir," said St<>ckton. "If we take them so easily, I'll be surprised." "You' d b e tter attack the m a t nii;ht," Tom r e J2lied, befor e it's tim" for t h e b a rge to coJUe ash o r e By the time y o u v e kill e d o r take n them, y o u 'll h a v e your hand in f o r the others. StocJ.."to n then t ou k bis leav e and the young trap per waite d but a few m o m e nts, e r e h e advance d boldly into the camp His c oming crea.tcs a long with m e. "All rigbt-go 'Iona-wi' y e. Jo<:", { o u crss, an' Rta y 1i\I the barge comes over. Ef see yn-b l ac!r b azz oo o n this"Shore that time, I ll s1dn ye. Joe, who was a ren s ibl e f e llow, p1ofitrd by the r u d e train-mast e r's advi ce. a nd in compan y w ith Turt l e T o m was seen huny iug bock tl>l'Oug-h the f o r est to\\'arrl t h e c amp o f th<' R e d Ri fle Team. A s s oo n as the y arrived t h e r e the a s t o ni s h ed da.rky was s eize d and b ouwl b and and f oo t, and the muz zl e o f a r e volver h e ld n ; mi nst hi s fO!ehead with the t o r e::t that if y e y e ll e d, b e wou l d get the c ontcn:s o f the weap o n. "Now. then, y o u black rascal I" said C aptain N e d assu m ingas an aspect a s w hat's y o ur name?" H Joseph S now, ::ir !' was th e r eply "Snow, e h ? W e ll tha t i s a m tberbad j<'k e, Imnt s a y o n t h e m ow. Now. d"> you I'm g o ing to do w i t h you, if you d o n t answe r all I a sk YOU?,, "'No, b;rl '' "\\'ell I'm (;Oin' t e r make a black a nl!'0l o f )"O U if you don't 1nin d you r--et the same. if v o u lie t o me. Now, t h e n nrsv.-e r anh f ellows, with lante rn s slung a t tberr hi 1 s Among-t h P m : th e t w o leading-s pirit s WC!0 c:i,-, ta.i n s C offin n d G r egg, but the y di d not parti cipate 111 th o l a h 0r, P xce.gt it s sJpervisio n. A f ttr h-i11g a yl.JiJe, B n ck H 01n .. .=-ill aro s P P nd pl:tcetl the tabl e and c h air b efore the eastern window"


98 "I ain't a-goin' ter play stiff until it is necessary," he saiil to Pearl. with a cool laugh. "I don't reckon those f ellows will invade until they're through with their work." So he mounted upon his pereh to look from the 'Window. It was interesting to watch the strange, weird scene ; to see with what skill the heavy bar l'els were handled. Some seventy or eighty barre!. of this illicit whisky were brought down and loaded upon bhe barge; then the lights were put ont, and the majority of the men tramped back into the bal sam W)ods of the island. Two remaine d upon tile barl!e, Gregg and Captain Coffin. They appeared to be engaged in animated conversation upun some topic, bnt from ilis position Bill was not able to catch the drift of it. I wish they'd go along off the barge, so's I could finish tbat job," he muttered. "Ain't afraid, are ye. Mi'3sPearl?" ''No!" was the answe r in a fearle s s tonP-' not when I've got a to d efend myself with. Are those m e n an gonP ?11 All bnt Coffin and another galoot. They're out here talkiu' .vet." "Do you think they'll come in here?" "Probably they will. I was just wishin' they woul<.I. so that I could go on with my carpenter work.'1 B11t the two outlaws did not appear to b e of a re tiring disposition, for they chatted on, undisturbed ly. "I have an id e a, Mi.::;s Pearl,'' Buckhorn said, awhile later. Pray excuse me for my seeming but, rlo you wear whit1 petticoat..r: f'' "Why, y esl" the astonished girl replied, her cheeks crimson in g. "Why?'' u if you've got a couple you can conve niently do without. I waut to borrow them. Here's my plau, in a nutshell, as they say. I've just been tucky to discover a piece of chalk in my pocket. With it I'll whiten my facP, and bJ'. aid of your skirts transform myself into a creditable -ghost," Pearl sa'v that it was not worth while to l e t mock modesty interfere, where there was any show <>f escaping from their desperate dilemma; while !:Sill turned his attention to matters outside she di vested h erself of her underskirts, and then Bill ()ame down. and she handed them to him, with a :flushed face and drooping eyes. Arranging one sk.lrt about his waist, so that it fell to his feet, he shirred the other about his neck. This made him a full flowing r o be. And then when bis face was whi rened with chalk, and a l"rge white ban<.lkerchief tied down over his head, he presented trul.Y a frightful appearance. "The re; will I make a good ghost?" he demanded, turning to P ea rl. "Yes, capital," sb,e replie d with a smile. "D" yon expect to frighten those men with that appear ance!'' I'm g-oing to try-it," Bill r e plied, whitening his banrls. Both of I b e liev e to be cowards at beart, and if f can scare them, so much the better, for they'll most likely vamose, and we can fini s h our "job, yonder. you may be wrong, and they may shoot .{Ou.' "0:1: I'll watch out f r that. I'll keen an eye on em when they come iu, an \ if they pull a 'pusoy,' .t'H drop etn both, on short notice. Pearl. at Bill's lay prone upon the fioord in ? no;itbn apt to cause one to think she ha and fallen. Then the young Scourge took a po>Itlon toward the rear end of the prison, first hav his hat and jacket upon the cot, so as to look as if he still lay there. lt was fully an hour er.e anylhfag was beard of the two o ntlaws; then a kev grate d in the lock, and the door of the apartment swung partly open-wide enough to admit the head and masked face of C.1p fain Oofth:i. He gave a glance around. The candle was tlickeP. ing fitfully on the tnule; Pearl lay upon the floor apparently in a dead swoon; at Lhe further end of the stood a tall, white-draped thing, with a face as white as alabaster, and one finger of the right hand was pointing directly at the door. Coffin took this all in; then jerked the door shut with a frightful oath, followed by a wild sepulchral laug h from the inside. "Ten thousau, 1 devil s!" he gaspe d, turning to Gregg-" I saw a ghost-th et boy's ghost!" "Get out I" the other whisky captain replied, in credulously. "But I did I" asserted Coffin, shivering from head to foot, strong, rou g h man he WC.f.L "Never see'

.DUCK.nOrD .DUL Tom bad succeeded in gaininir tbf' island and reporting to Captain Coffin without having bis disguise detected; and seeini:; Molly, be had enlisted her in his service, and together they had captured the tools which bad r<'h ase d the two prisoners. '' Anrl now we must. get away for Stockton's camp!'' th1 .. young t rapper sairl, for we want to be ther'" before the bare;e start, which will be about three hours b efore daybreak. Jl.fter Turtle Tom bad left thii camp of the Red Rifle Team, on !red, "for wc mustn't Jet our g-ame escape when thc r 0 's so ma!ly legal functionaries in Yankton starving for the want of a fee. Good luck ha"' been ours fO f'l.r; mavbe we c1n g e t s ome of th e m from the i s la.nd. '1 ,\.JI of the prisoners were securely bounLI, and chucked into one cf tile hcavY. whis:

3 0 Buckhorn Bill. An', It WHls out tbet this Cap. Coffin, who is ther major' brother, war the abductor of the gals, in their childhood, sum fift.eeu or less years don' t jest remember the time. Now, et looks hkely to m e that tne gals are hls'n. "Undoubtedly they are, and if so, Turtle Tom's solid fer one of 'em, seein's he's penetrated the biz ness and been the meaus of restoriu' them to their parent I" asente priso n e r. "I ltave no pity for the wretch who murdered m.v wif P and stole away my children. Let the law aud God deal with him. for I will not lay a hand upo n him." "Ha I ha!" snee red C o ffin, "but if I a m not freed you will n ever get those children, and I swear it I" "But there is just whe r e you make a mistake I said Turtle Tom, triumphantly, "for I have Mr. Sterling's two d a ughters in my possesion now-the two girls who have been known as Pearl Prescott and J\1ollv Miner. nnd they are the childre n you once sold to Whisky Bill for a pair of rifles I" "Then, G o d be praise d that I am at last to be r estore d to my cbi>dren I" cle von t l y said the major. A c onsultation was h e ld upo n the barge, and it was universa llv d e cid e d that 1t was the best plan to t qke Coffin with the r est. of the captured outJgws, to Sqtntt<>r villP, and put tt. e m nnrler guard, and then r etur n to the Jak e to b es iege the remaining distillers on l3allJl'l I s laD"l. The llead ruffians were, by Stockton's orders om;ed in the forest>. and the illicit whisky emptied Into the lake The n, with Coffin in char$'e, t.he R t tte Team and Bllckhorn returned to the or tbe team,


B uckhorn Bill. 81" ""oile Turtle Tom r emained In tbe ''1cinlty of t h e bar;re to keep watch and learn what he coulcl. At the camp tber' was a joyous meeting. between ).!ajor Sterling and bis two twin daughter--for he bad no doubt. after a "lance, that they indeed were his daughters. Lewis Sterling. the Captain Cv f!ln of our did not deny but that the y were the children b e bad solen away, when h e saw that it was no longer possible to deny their identity We might dwell at l e ngth on the gladsome r eunion' bnt choose simply t, record it, On the second day after the capture of Captain Coffin, Captain Ned Stockton and his so-called Rif!d T ean1. took th eir iiris o n e rs, sixteen in number from the cymp on the lake-shore, and s e t out in the now usele'Ss whisky train of wagons, for Squatte rviUe. Mejor Sterling 'l'as not desirous or longer staying iu the wild erness, and so, with two charming dauJ$h ters, of whom he was so proud, he accompamed the train to Burnham's colony, where h e declared it his inte n tion to p ermanently locate, on one of the choic e r a n c hes, several _of wbi::!ll be owned. Buckhorn Bill, Turi le Tom an 1 Old El<>pbant were left at the lake s hore, to keep an eye out for the r e maining outlaws Balsam Island. But though they kept a vigil ant watch tl:l e lake and island no stir of animated lif e was seen. The greatest quiet prevailrd, lik e on a Sabbath day Even the otrds were Jess musical than usual, and in the forest upQn the shore, a strange bush and silence prevailed. I'U bet my ri ghts to ther ext Presiitenc;r that tbar am't a cussed outlaw on that island I" said Tom Frailey, as the three met at the barge. "Thar ain't so much as one o' the suckers sneez ed over tbar, I t ell ye." "But. they may be tbar, though," r eplie d Buck horn BilJ "although I am inclined t e r ther b e li e f that tbev've give n us the slip. It would be a bitter pill for Stockton." "Oh. I don't know. I don't believe he set much store on them wha,t's l eft over the r e H e's already got a fat figure out o f the sixteen b e has got." but it would do me good to see him g e t This converRation took place in the afternoon o f the day Cleparture. A ti.Pree ra:m and wmd-storm was brewing, gather Ing every mmnte preparatory to a final outburst They took shelter in one of the rnde cabrns of 'the barge. Soon the storm came t 'aring down from the sky, and through the woods with unprecedented fary. The rain f e ll in torrents, and the wind h owled and shriPkeJ lik e an infuriated demon in chains Great tr<>.es broken off or torn up by the roots, and l1mh s, sticks a nd even stones were blown through the air with a terrible force. Jn than five minutes the l a k e had rise n as many inches. ami. suddenly swept off into the storm" U this Is a leetle tber wu 'st quandarical deeflkilty 1 war ever in!" grunted Old Elepba t, staring at l11s two compamons wnh a startled expression of t e r be anuther Antediluv;, "Guess not," Buckhorn Bill replied. "Et'll soon blow over, and w e 'll be all right." Jt. did soon blo'v over, but wlv.>n the setting sun ll(ralll !lroke from the clouds, the barge was beached high upon the shore of Balsam Island I As soon as night came on, the three s e t forth through the dense b alsam forest, to learn if any of tbe outlaws yet were on tbe island. Not a hundred yards had they advanced when In a little rocky glade, they came upon one of the m'ost sights they had ever been fated to meet it was a human skeleton, bereft of all tlesb and shin, bound t? a young That the man had been lately k,lJ Pd, was evidenced by an occasional .\)iece of fiesb which was found in the neighborhood. HP had l'lrst been murdered, and then tbe tlesh had h!lt n c)eaved from his boquentbil ; g all the Burnham wellltb and to 1 uckl 01 Bill; but in a m1tshell the mmn facts brought t o light by the The of fatherless, m c tl erl 1 ss Bill was ter rible. and will be lastir. g, but he is Letter abl e to stan,\ 1t than tbcngb the affiktion } ad been visited up n hi tu at an eail!er period vf his lif e. Captain Ntd Stc.ckton alld bis Rifle Team came back to tbelake, only to be n.et by-Iluckhorn Bil nnd bis two companions1 wi .th the news tbo t tt. e late storm and JigLtning baa totally desti:ayed the Bal sam I slau 1 distillery, 3nd tl 1at the outlaws had all escaped. A week's srnrcb for them ensued but they were never beard from ai,ain. The captured whisky omlPws all received trials at Yankton, and Jong sentences, except Cap Coffin who was one night taken from jail by a party ol unknown men, and strung up. The service" men lnown to have been in the Eower of the outlaws, have never been fonnd or That they were put out of the way The president of the whisky ring was captured, and turne d cut to be a noted speculator of the West. H e, witb Judge Fowler, received trials, and Jong sentences Not three months ago old Major Sterling died, and on his death bed, before the wdcome meRstnger came to guide him across the dark rive r he joined the bands of Pearl Sterling and Captain Stockton, and piquant Molly and Tom Frailey, to g ether, and invoked upon them his dying'blessinga even as the clergyman pronounced them man an wife. Long may they Jive I Among tnose present were Buckhorn Bill and Old Elephant. Of this youth of whom we have been writing and reading, dear reader, let us say a closing word. We have not chosen a wholly t'iotitiouil character in him, to portray-for t .be hero. as the author as proven him to be, is William Bu.rnham, at Pl'ei

BEADLE'S FRONTIER SERIES llo. Per Copy. '. 1 T11e Shawnee' s Foe. 50 Harry Hardl!lkull. Madman of. the Oeonto. 2. The Young Mountaineer. 51. 3. 'Vlld Jim. 62 Slim Jim. 4 Hawk-Eye, the Hunter. ) 63. 5 The Boy Gulde. 1 54 Tiger Eye, The Red Star of the Seminoles. 6. 'Vat' Tiger of the Modoc T) 7. The R e d Modoes. 55. Trappe r Joe 8. Iron Han1I. 66. The Indian Queen' R e v enge. 9. Shadow Bill, tbe S cout. 10. Wnpavknneta, or the Rangers of the Oneida. 11. Da y Crockett' s Boy Hunter. 1!. T h e Forest Avenger. 1 3 Old Jack's Frontier C a bin. 14. On the Deep. 1 6 Sharp Snout. 1 6. The Mountain Demon, 1 7 'Vlld Tom of Wyoming. : 1 8 The Brave Boy Hunter of Kentneky. :19. The Fearle11s Ranger. 20. The Haunted Trapper. 21 Madman of the Colorado. 22 The Panther Demon. 23. Slnshawny, the Fearle1111. 24 Pine Tree Jack. 2 6. Indian Jim. 1 26. Navajo Nick. 27. The Tuscarora's Vow-. 28. Deadwood Dick, Jr. 29. A New York Boy Among the Indians. 30 Deadwood Dick's Big Deni. 31. Hank, the Gulde. 32. Deadwood Dick's Dozen. 33. Squntty Dick. 34. The Hunter's Secret. 35 The Woman Trapper. 3 6. The Chief of the :&Dami. 37 Gunpowder Jim. 3 8 Mad Anthony's Captain. 39. The Ranger Doy's Career. 40 Old Nick of the Swamp. 41 The Shadow Seout. 4 2 Lontern-Jawed Bob. 43 The :i'llosked Hunter. 44. nrhnstone Jake. 4 5. The Iris h Hunter. 4 6 Dnv e Bunker. 47. The Sha"nee Witch. 4 8 D l g Bra.-e. 49. S pider-Legs. 5 7 Engle-Eyed Z eke. 6 8 Senr-C beek, the Wild Half-Breed. 69. Red Men of. the Woods. 60. Tuscaloosa Snm. 61. The Dully of. the Wooda. 62 The Trappe r Bride. 63. Red Rattlesnake, The Pawnee 6 4 The Scout of Tippecanoe 65 Old Kit, The Scout. 6 6 The Boy Scouts. 67 Hiding Tom. 6 8 Roving Dick, Hunter. 6 9 Hickory Jack. 70. :&Ind :&like. 71. Snake-Eye. 7 2 Big-Hearted Joe. 73 The Blazing Arrow. 74. The Hunter Seont11. 7 6 The S<'out of. Long Jaland. 76. Turkey-Foot. 7 7 The Deatb Rangers. 7 8 Bullet Head. 79. The Indian Spirit. S O The Twin Trappers. 8 1. Lightfoot the Scout. 82, Grim Dick. 83. The Wooden-Legged SY 8 4. The Silent Trapper. 85. Ugly Ike. 8 6 Fire Cloud. 87. Hank J1u1per. 88. The Scout of. the Sciota. 89. Black Samson. 90. Dilly Bowlegs. 91. The Bloody Footprint. 92. Marksman tile Hunter. 9 3 The Demon (;miser. 94. Hunters and Redskins. 9 5. Pantl1er Jack. 96 Old Zeke. 9 7 The Panthet' Paleface. 9 8. Tbe Scout of tbe St. Lawrence. 99. Bloody Brook. 100. Long Bob of Ii:entueky. BEADLE'S FRONTIER SERIES are in print and for sale by all Newsdealers; or will be sent postpRid to any address: Single copies, 15c. lRTHUR WESTBROOK CO. CLEVELAND, OHIO


Deadw00d Dick e Library HANDSOME TRl-COlORED COVERS I 82 P ages. Buy O ne and You Will Buy the Restl Por Sample Cover See 8tbe1 llde. DEADWOOD DICK LIBRARY. 1 -Oeadwood Dick, the Prince of the Road :l" The Double Daggers; or, Deartwood Dick's Defiance 8 The Buffalo Demon; or. The Border Vultures 4 Buffalo Ben, Prince ot the Pistol II Wild Ivan, the Boy Claude Duval 8 Death-Face, the Detective 'i The Phantom Min er; or, Deadwood Dick's Bonanza 8 Old Avalanche, the Great Annihilator; or, Wild Edna, the Girl Brigand 9 Bob Woolf, the Border Ruffian 10 Omaha Oil, the Masked Terror; or, Deadwood Dick In Dan1?er 11 Jim Bludsoe, Jr. the. Boy Phenix; or, Through to Death 12 Deadwood Dick's Eagles; or, The Parda of Flood Bar lS Buckhorn Bill; or, The Red Rifle Team 14 G old Rifle, the Sharpshooter 15 Deadwood Dick ou Deck; or, Calamity Jane 16 Corduroy Charlie, the Boy Bravo 17 Rosebud Rob; or, Nugget Ned, the Knight ot the (Jnl c h JS Jdyl, the Girl Miner; or, Rosebud Rob on Hand 19 Pho t ograph Phil; or, Hosehud Rob's Heappearance Watch-Ere the Shadow 21 Deadwood Dick' s Device; or, The Sign of the Doubl e Cross 22 Canada Chet, the Counterreiter Chief 23 Deadwood Dick in Leadville; or, A Strange Stroke for Liberty 24 Deadwood Dick as Detective 25 Gilt-Ed1?ed Dick 26 Bonanza Bill. the Man-Tracker; or, The Secret Twelve 27 C11ip, the Girl Sport 28 Jack Hoyle's LPad; or, The Road to Fortune 29 Boss Bob, thR King of Bootblacks 30 Deaclwood Dick's Double; or, The Ghost ot Gorgon's Gulch 31 Blonde Bill; or, Deadwood Dick's Home Base 32 S o lid Sam, the Boy Road-Agent 83 Tony Fox, the Ferret: 9r, Bos Bob's Boss Job 34 A Game of Gold; or. Deadwood Dick s Big Sttike 85 D eadwood Dick of Deadwood: or, The Picked Party 86 New York Nell. the Hoy-Girl Detective 87 Nobby Nick of Nevada; or, The Scamps of the Sierras 88 Wild Frank, the Buckskin Bravo 89 Deadwoo d Dick's Doom; or, Calamity Jane's Last Adventure 40 D eadwood Dick's Dream; or, The Rivals or thP Road 41 Deadwood Dick's Ward; or, The Black Hills Jezebel 42 The Arab Detective; or, Snoozer. the Boy Slittrp 48 The Ventriloquist Detective. A RomancP ot Hogues 44 Detective Josh Grim; or, The Yoong Gladiator's Game 45 'rhe Frontier Detective; or, Sierra Sam's Scheme 46 The Jimtown Sport; or, G.vpsy JacK in Colorado 47 The Sport; or, Sugar-Coated Sam s Claim 48 Di c k Drew, the Miner's Son; or, Apollo Bill, the Roacl-Agent 49 Sierra Sam, the Detective 50 Sierra Sam's Double; or, The Three Female Detect> iv es 51 Sierra Sam's Sentence; or, Little Luck at Rough Ranch 52 The Girl Sport: or, Jumbo Joe's Dis1mise 53 Denver Doll's Device; or, 'l'he Detective Queen 54 Denver Doll as D etective 55 Denver Doll's Partner; or, Big Tiuckskin th!' Sport 56 Denver Doll's Mine; or, Little Bili's Big L oss 57 Deadwood Dick Trapped 58 Buc k Hawk, Detective; or, The 111essengPr Boy's Fortune 59 Deadwoo d Dick's Disguise; or, Wild Walt. the Sport 60 Dumb Dick's Pard; or. Eliza Jane, the Gold Miner 61 Deadwoocl Dick' l\1ision 62 SpottPr Fritz; or, The :>to re-Detective's Decoy 68 The Detective Road-Agent; or, The Miners of Sa"88 fras City 64 Col orado Charlie's Detective Dash; or, The Cattle Kingii


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