Brimstone Bill's booty, or, Mariposa Marsh at Dead Man's Gulch

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Brimstone Bill's booty, or, Mariposa Marsh at Dead Man's Gulch

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Brimstone Bill's booty, or, Mariposa Marsh at Dead Man's Gulch
Series Title:
Beadle’s Boy’s Library of Sport, Story and Adventure
Badger, Jos. E. ( Joseph Edward ), 1848-1909
Place of Publication:
New York
M.J. Ivers & Co.
Publication Date:
Physical Description:
1 online resource (30 pages)


Subjects / Keywords:
Dime novels -- Periodicals ( lcsh )
Sports stories -- Fiction ( lcsh )
Adventure stories ( lcsh )
serial ( sobekcm )


Original Version:
Volume 1, Number 12

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Source Institution:
University of South Florida
Holding Location:
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:
B35-00011 ( USFLDC DOI )
b35.11 ( USFLDC Handle )
032726051 ( ALEPH )
879650815 ( OCLC )

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Cop. \ rtght, 1891, by B, l e & Arta111s "Rn1ered at PoAt Offic e, Nvw York, N.Y .. ::is secon d matter. Ma r 26, 1899 .. No. 12. Publ iAht! d E1f'ry Wf'f'k M. J. IVERS & c o .. c.James !=;ulllvan Proprietor, I 319 tearl Srreer N e w York. Price 5 Cen t s. $2.50 a Year. Vol. I RIMSTONE BILL'S BOOTY. BY JOSEPH E. BADGER, JR.


' Copyright, 189l, by Beatl l e & Adams. Entered at Post Office, New York, N.Y., as second class matter. Mur. 26, 1899. No. 12. Pnbllshe d Etery Wee k. JU. J. IVERS & C O., Publishers, {James Snllivan, Proprietor,) ,_ 379 l'en. 1 1 S neet, New York. / Price 5 Genis. $2.50 a Ye

, Mariposa :Marsh. Brim.stone Bill's Booty; OR, Mariposa Marsh at Dead Man's Gulch. ,.___ BY JOS. E. BADGER, JR., A.UT!IOR OF "THE PRAIRIE RANCH," ETC., ETC. CHAPTER I. THE TREASURESEEKERS IN COUNCIL. "WHAT ,Jo you tbink of it, Bowen? Can you crack tLe shell and get at tbe k P rnel1" Captain Cbarles Cooper, of tlje Colonial Mounted P o lice Service, asked th!ls command, instead of obey. _Not that there "'as any lack of respect du a sufie rior; the strictest martinet could not find fault wita tone ) r manner; hut somehow this im pression struck those who saw bim for t!:ie first titne. I will do my best, your honor. It is a dou ble cryptograpb, but it has been my experient, respectful rep!y; "and when its meaning is once made clear, even I will forget that such a thing ever existed." Carefully placing the paper in his pocket, he saluted, turned on bis heel and strode out of the office. Captain Charley Cooper sunk back in his chair with a breath tbat was almost a sigh. "If Bowen can't do it, we're up a stump!" Thar's more dust in tbe 1and then ever Spring Steel an' his kind< ever stole an' cach ed," bluntly uttered one of tbe four persons still re with the police official. "B11t not to be picked up every day in the week:-t>ld mate! Just think of it! There was ove r forty tbouand pounds' worth in a single h a:il! And goodness knows how many more Jots the busy rascal stowed away with the first I Muld fail to solve the cryptograph, you would go into an apopleptic fit or turn madman outright!" "Tbe lad bas truth on his side, old pard," berly spoke the gray-haired man. "You're conntin' too much on what may never come to psss. You didn't use to be so crazy fer gold-" Because I had such a chance as this I" "Yit you don't want to fergit that it ain't nothin' more than a chaince, at the best," gravely. "As the lad says, Bowen may fail. Even ef be cracks the nut, as you calls it, thar's yit one other rock in our way. Ef the boss man here won't sell out to me, they won't none o' us take a step furder 'long the tr'lril. An' more'n that, ef I make the a,t all, it's got to be did afore I l'arn anythin 'bout the way Bowen makes out witb that dockyment." "You don't mean that, Mariposa1" "I jest do, mate. I ain't eetchin' so p'izenly fer to. turn from a moderate sart'inty to ll. 'stronary onsart'inty. I reckon we kin make our pile.quicker workin' in tbe straight diggin's then we kin chasin' wild geese like t.bis treasure you've gone clean looney over. Still, as fur as we hev giv' our words, so fur we'll stick. An' I reckon I'm doin' the talkin' fer the younkers as well as my own self." Who were these persons, and what was the point they were discussing so earnestly1 Let us take a brief glance backward and see. Lured from the mines of California by the marvelous tales wbicb spread over the known world of the great fbrtunes mada in a dav hy luckv persons in the aewly-

I youthful Amefic'iio of Irish de ent, left their native land for the Antipodes. Fitting out in Melbourne, aided not a little by Charles Cooper, now a captain of the mounted police, but formerly a chum of Mariposa Marsh's in Calitornia, they took passage on a bullolk-dray for Ballarat. One w'-..ile sit ting &rounrl their-camp-fire loud cnes ;;rem the bush alarmed them, and investigation proved that busbrangers had waylaid JudgBj Henry Bra

Mariposa. Marsh. heir to the wonderful "magic stone" bv means ot which that genius claimed to be able to di;; cover treasures in the bowels of the earth, by simply placing the stone in the crown of a htit, then shuttiug out all light by bending his face over it. Marsh exhibited tbe stone, too which w a s no les3 tbtto a fra.g.n ent wbich he picked up while on bis way to th.e Government House. N othing else was ne e d e d to prove him an iliot, ari d the offi c ial deem e d it no sin to s ell him to search for the golden treasure of Spriog Stee( and to have all he should dis cover, in consideration of the 8Um ot one bun drert pono d s, which was promptly paid over. Maripos a M'.!.rsb found some little difficulty in inducing t '1e offi cial to give him the preci s e kind of a r l' ceipt which he desir e d, but at.length he succeed E d, and hastened back to his friends, to report b is perfect mccess. His last doubt was dispersed, so far as keeping bis sh1re of the treasure, should it ilver be bro u ght to light by him and bis friends. He had tolrl no open lies; he bad said be knew nothing of ; be w,hereabouts of the treasure, aud having paid honest money for the be was detera:iniid to m a ke the most of it. F o r he bad now more reason than ever b e fore to wish for wealth. If Bo" e a c o uld onJ'y succeed in un rltldling tha t secret writing I CHAPTER II. THE HISTORY OF DEAD MAN'S GULCH. CAPTAIN COOPER was most delightfully sur prised at t '1e nsu!t, especially when bo read the written docum e nt, which he s a w w o.1.1l:l enable the m to bold whatever treasure toey might fiod. "He'll n ever dara give us any trouble, after this," be e xdaimerl, exultantly. "By puolfsb ing these p n pers we could ruin his prospe ::ts for life! Old rua te, you are a diamond of the very first water.', "Or else n p'izen fool, which bes paid out five hundred d ollars o' good gold f e r a shadder," grunted M riposa Marsh. "Ef that paper o' ben-t ,racks i> a fraud-" "But it isn't," cried Cooper, his eyes glowing, bis entire c onatenance that of one almost beside himself with triumph and ardor. "That dirty, crumpled scrap which you laughed at the id e a of my saving, is worth nearly fifty thousand pounds-or a 9u1rter of a million of dollars in our money! fit sounds better and larger, put that way, don tit!" ;Then your guess was right. It contains the 3ecret of the gold-esc ort robbery?" aske d Mari P'>S' M '\rsb, also betraying bis deep interest in tbe matter. "EX'\C y," C o op e r, a little more comp r"edly. "l wouldn't say anything abo:i t it untll you returned, bnt the m'ln to whom I intrusted that pape r yesterday, an hour ago brouq;ht me the result of bis labors. "That p'lpe r in cipher, when fully transla'erl, give s a brief but cl Par description or the spot where all th 1 t gold, besides the fruit of s everal heRvy robbe ries of later date, bidden." So saying, the captain sprt1ad out the important papers on the table, aruon11; them the time worn and soiled scrap which Spring Steel had carried about on bis person for so long, and all gathered aroqnd to feast their eyes on this fore taste of the wealth to whic h they alone pos ses sed any legal claim from that time hence f ort.h. Tbere is no neerl to produce the translation h l' r e since its contents will appear in the proper pla c e "We will start from here to night, to avoid att r acting attention, said Captain Coope1 wben the curiosity of Mariposa Marsh and his youu;;.friends had been fully sati, fied. "I have s ecured three good companions, inclu'1ing Bowen, for we will be going into the very beart of the bush. and it is more than po s sihle that we may have some tough fighting to do before we see the end of the trip. For that reason I thought it best to \ncrease our force. Tbe tre asure, we succeed in it, will be divided into six shares, the thre e men taking one share, and each of us tile same amount." "How about the poor devils who first ownell. the mouey1 asked Frank, bis countenance sud d enly growing s o b e r and thoughtful, as he look e d tbe police-officer full in the eye. "The y took Governm1mt reO, then?" asked Harold. "Once. And though there is little of the suoerstitiou3 about me, I could most heartily wish that Spring Steel bad selected some other pl

Mariposa Marsh. bad. made a wonderfully rich find some place back in the heart of the bills. "Of course there was a great rmb in that direction. Tber.e always is when such a report becomes public, but in this case there was much more truth than there generally is in such tales. "Tbe lucky prospectors were making their band over fist, averaging from ten to a dozen ounces of dust to the band, pe'r day. But the gold deposit. w.11s limited in extent, and only a few claims located on either side of the original discovery ever paid more than expanses, and as tbe winter season came on, the majority of the diggers abandoned tbe Guieb in digust. "Tney were tbe lucky ones, too, as matters turn I'd out! "Winter set in surldenly, almost witlfout warning, and with unusual severity. Tbe first storm was one of sleet and bail? the wind blowing a heavy gale, driving tbe diggers into their shanties, which were p oorly supplied for the terrible siege wbicb followed. "The hurricane soon blew out, but tbe sleet and hail tu into snow, nnd this snow fell for three days and nights in blinding sheets. And when tt endeu there was full twenty-five feet depth of snow in the Guieb, most of which had drifted down from the peaks and crags above on either side. "Not one in ten of the luckless diggers escaped alive from that death-trap. The rest froze and starved to death, for the great mass of snow did not disappear until tbe following spring, when there was laid bare an awesome sight. I know, for I was one of tbe first on!!'s on the spot, as soon as the Gulch could be reached and entered, in the spring. "Forty-seveu bodies-or bodies and skeletons, for there was more than one instance of cannibalism among the starving wretches-we buried, them into deserted shafts, fer the ground was still froz e n too hard to admit of our digging regular graves for such a large number. "Before we left, that place was named Dead Man's Gulch. "The GovPrnment took charge of the g.old we found there, and, I believe, divided it amoog the families of the luckless wretches who met their deatp in the lonely Gui Pretty soon strange, unearthly stories be gan to be told of the Gulch by men wbo had ventured there in hopes of finding gold, and ere long the place was pretty generally believed to be haunted by the uneasy spirits of the men who bad died there. Diggers were beaten and half-frightened to death, if not entirely out of their senses, while two of tbe more resolute fel lows were slain outright. Tbose who found them swore thAt they conld still ee the prints of long, bor.y fingers around their throats, as tbougb grisly skeletons bad thus sought to punish the impious disturbers of their bones. opinion said they died by the pow er of ghnsts; 1 was among the few who laid the whole affair at the door of a gaug of unscrupulous bnsbrangers. "After carefully weighing tbe whole matwr, I felt sure that some lawless gang made their head quarters there, playing these di&bolical tricks for the purpose of keeping tho coast clear of unwelcome intruders. I repeatedly said as much, but in those days I was only a private on the force, and my opinion had little weight with those in autbo.tity. "Now this bit of and Certain Cooper tappeJ bis breast w1tb one forefinger where tbe shape of the well-fllled nota-bo l k could be traced by bis companions, "confirms my old opioioo, since it declares that Spring Stee l se lected one of those deserted shafts in which to conceal the treasure be took from the gold-es cort, with run directions how to fiLd tbe parti cular shaft." 'Not to interrupt you," said Frauk FrPeman, taking advantage of the gallant captain's pt1us ing to catch his breath, "but w culdn't it be wise if you were to destroy that sarre d ccument, now tbat we are familiar with its c mtents!" "Wby so!" hastily inquired the "Well, though you ere a careful and a :pru dent man, it is barely possible tba" you might lnse tbe paper and its key, where others might find it or-" "A 'sly nipper mought rob the tbief-ketcher," laughed Mariposa Marsh, a little m a liciously. "Stranger things tban that have been hesrd of," soberly added Frank. "or course l do not mean to advise you against your own judgment. I .simply happened to think that ouch a mischance might haJ!pen If you were unwilling to trust to :rour memory wholly, why not let Bowen make a copy of the directi01 sin a secret writing of own invention! Tten, if neced sary, he could give you a translatJO P after reacbin11: the 15round where our work is to be clone.; Captam Cooper appeared a trifi vexed that bis prudence should be called into q nes tion, even tbus indirectly, and evaded gi a de finite answer, returning to bis theory concerning the happenings at Dead Man's "I have no doubt tba,t Spring Sply o t provisions, with other .sundrie s such as might be needPd; then, in the middle of the night, the little band ot treasura-seekers rode silentlr out of the city, heading fQI' the far-away J)ea4 Man's Gulch,


8 Jlla.riposa Ma.rah CHAPTER III. AN ENTHUSIASTIC GREENHORN. To the b est of their belief, they bad left the city of Melbourne far behind them without arousing any suspicion of tbs purpose they really )lad in view. Even '1f their midnight d ep!lrture had been notica d by aay person in p-inicular, the-chances were greatly in favor of the movement b eing connected wholly with police matters. And as time passed on without their being ov.irtaken by any one from the city, this belief j!.'re w into a certainty, and the spirits of Captain Cooper were raised in due proportion. F o r tbe first thre e days there was no incident worthy o f special n o t e but the fourth day was fate d to prove an exception. At a rougb e stimate, tbey were about fifty miles from D ead Man's Gulch, but this was the m easurement across country, not by the route n e c e ssary t o be followed by the horsemen. Con si dering the many detours they would be forc e d to make, with the crooks and curves of the winding trail, that distance would be almost cl o uhl e d And even whe n the trail was at its best it was anything but smooth riding. "We'd make a heap better time by leavin' tbe critters b ehind an' trampin' it on shanks' m1r'," grumbled Mariposa Marsh, severely feel ing the eff ects of hi s unaccustomed exercise, and the chafing bi s b ody was baing subjected to by no m eans improve d the sweetness of bis temper. W e'd git ttiar a 'nough sight sooner." But we can't g e t along the animals on the return trip. At the least calculation tl wre will be over half a ton of gold, and though we could lug it over the hills on our shoulders if we were hardly pressed, I can't say I am really spoiling for tbe job." "Durned ef I b'he ve t'fi&r's a. single ounce o' dust tbar! It's all a put-up job on the part o' Spring Steel to make fo o ls 01 us-to git even with them as should aib him out!" grumbled the v eteran. Coop e r only smil e d. He knew from past ex p > rien c e what Maripos a together with .Mat, Frank and H a rold, was enduring. At meridian tbe four c o n scripts were only too to halt for dinner, though the q11estion o f food formed \the l e p art o f their anxiety, and t h e seaso n ed interchanged m any a sly wink as they noticed with what care their allie s selected the softest seats possible anrt gently eased their chafed bodies to the ground. Tnus far the ride had been uneventful. mark ed only by the querulous grumbling of the sad dle -chafe d veteran. hut the afternoon travel was fated to be diJf arent. Our friends were busily engaged in discussiug dinnar,-when a stranger made his appearance, and appl\rently unnoticing the suspicion expresse d in the keen, frowning of the pHty, he eagerly drew near, a broad grin upon his hr>me lr. face. "You ain't got no mcftoe grub then you want fer your O'Vn s elves, I don' r eckonr was bis salutation as be plumped down alongside of them, brushing the sweat from his face and hungrily eying the provisions. I ketched sight o' you this mornin', as l was 'bout to eat grub, an' started after ye in sech a 'tarnal h;irry, that I left my stock o' prowlsion 1>9hind. I couldn't go fer 'em, or I'd 'a' Jost ye, sure!" you have been following us! May I aslc for what reason(_' demanded Captain Cooper, politely enough, so far as words were concerned, but with an ugly light in bis eyes. "For sure! But it's mighty hungry work talkiu' on a empty stomickl" grinned the stranger. "You wouldn't mind sellin' a feller critte r a squar' meal, r don't reckonlrt l reek0tt


.. I Marlpoa Marsh. , ijlll do any say it here, seein' as we're alone, an' no outsiders. ''Tell ye jest how it come about: Most folks to bum', whar I come from, 'peared to think I didn't hev no more s e nse then the law 'fows, bnt_ then, ye know, a prophet don t count fer much 'mongst bis own folks, a;n' m ebbe I ain'fi quite as big a fool as I look to be! 'Tanyrate, I've manidged to git this fur in the New World, righte end up'ards. "Course l come here to git rich, as everybody else, but I made up my mind that I wouldn't rJl s h in with my sbet, like a blame' fool. -slf }:etched an' waited fer the good cbaince w h I knowed must come, sooner or 111.ter. "I made the 'q aintance of a p'lice-feller, the one I sorter told ye 'bout. Smart man, tool Knowed Ballarat, B.indigo, an' all tbem places was overcrowded. Tben the tax f e r minin'tbat's like p izen to a free-born American! I swore I'd never pay it, but strike out into tbe kentry an' find a gold-mine all to my own lone some self! "When I said this, my fri'nd tRlked sorter myster' us, an' said be bed a ricti l e ad picked out which be..;J.owed to work up as soon as be could git discharged from the force. I proEsed we go in pardners onto it, but be wouldn't gree to that. Tben I watched my cbaince an' ,got him drunk. He showed me the plan be bad drawed up-here it is,'' banding over a piece of dirty, tobaccasure. But if the latter snppo!'ition was the correct one, what could this man hope to gain by thus openly showing his band1 Would be not rather seek to :;py upon them, himself unobserved! Would be be likely to thus place himself in their po wet I l "If you have been watching us as close'ly as you say, you must have noticed t hat we have left the trail we were fol1owing,-1lor vinced that we have been misled by a false nport. And then, we n ever dreamed of lookH:g for busb rangers in Dead Man's soo n think of looking for th e m in Ballarat!" uttered Cooper, a little puzzled jnst-wbat to say. "But Ballarat don't lay in this d'rect. ion, while Dea d Man's Gulch do86 !" nodded the stranger; positival _y. Cooper fiushed hotly, as the fellow laughed knowingly. "Suppose we don't wish to be followed? What If I arrest you as a spy in tbe employ of the bnsbrangers we are seekiog1 There 1s noth ing to binder my doing it." "Nothm' 'cept it be that I ain't n o spy nur no bushranger, an' that you be a gen t l eman,'' was the prompt, self assured response, as the stran-ger bis eating. "But I tell yon that we bitVE' already found the bus hrangP-rs and dispersed them. You say you are bound for Dead Man's Gulch; then you don't. want to follow us." "Not on less you're boun' thar, t oo. Ef you pledge me your word o' honor tha t yon ain't goin' to the Gulch, then I'll ax you r pardin' an' cut my lucky. Kin I say fairer!" Cooper bit bis lips at the fellow's persistence, but, though powerfully tempted t o do so, be would not pledge bis word of honor to a lie. "Now see here,'' he exclaimed impatiently. "Tbat friend of yours bas playEd you for a fool. There was a time when the Guieb was worth visi-ling, and a good deal of go ld was dug there; but that day is past. I ple dge yon my honor that the diggings were strippe d clean, years ago. You can't rnrn your sa l t tbere." "I know,'' responded the green! or.', wi&IJ a cunning twinkle in bis little eves "He told me all tbat-'bout the snow an1 all such. Biit that was five year ago an' more. T be gold bes bed plenty o' chaince to grow thick a g'in in that len'tb o' time. ]'II resk it, anyway I All bands stared at the in open moutbed amazement as be gave this truly ex traordinary reason for persisting. Could it be possible that be was such a fool! There was nothing in bis face to contradict the supposition. He was undoubtedly in earnest. In despair, Captain Cooper arose and gave the word for preparing the cattle for the road. He could not reason with a man. who believed gold grew as rapidly as potatoes! But at tbe same time, be resolved to shake tbe , greenhorn off for good and all, if there was any virtue in hard riding. A guarded word conveyed the intention to his mates, and mounting-, they rode away from the noon camp, closely followed by the green horn with bis pack and tools. Had the trail which they were forced to fol low the broken, rugged hiU, been in anything like decent condition, this would not have been a very difficult task. But under the circumstances, the gaunt, long-winded green horn kept at their heels without any a ppear ance of distress, or even of feeling bis powers of locomotion seriously tasked. i'or bour after hour theil' relative poeliiona


.. Mariposa Marsh. remained the same, despite the fact of the horses being urged forward with almost reek .less speed, but tbe natur'3 of the ground greatly the footman, and so far from being shaken off, proved that be had plenty of spare breath, talking and1aughing with the various members of the party, telling many a wonderful anecdote of his own wisdom and cunning. -' At length Oaptain Cooper abandoned the hopeless scheme, and allowed the suffering horses to pick their way at a more moderate pace. Despite the persistence of the greenhorn, the police officer began to think he was more fool than knave, more legs than brain. Still, be had no desire to have \us company into Dead Man's Gulch. Even if nothing worse should come of it, bis idle tongue would almost certainly let out the secret of the discovery o! Spring Steel's golden treasure, and despite tbe written permit, Cooper preferred keeping all such knowledge to himself. MediJ;ating thus, wben they went into camp that nigbt, be bad e. long talk with Mariposa Marsh, choosing bis time when the greenhorn was busied eating and conversing with tbe policemen and tbe three lads, all of whom looked upon the fellow es a crack-brained enthusiast. Mariposa Marsh was more suspicious by nature, and bluntly declared his belief that the greenhorn was playing a cunning part, either !n the interest of bushrangers, who were sup pos e d t.o have their bead-quarters at or ne,ar Dead Man's Gulch, or else be bad gotten wind in some manner of Spring Steel's hidden tre a sure. "Mebbe the dirty cuss thinks ef be sticks to us cluss enough, "'e'll be obleedged for to J e t him into the game as a pardner-he's got brass enough in bis face for itl" the veteran growled, with a of utter disgust. "Well, w,, will take birn no nearer the Gulch than be is a t this moment,'' decided Captain Cooper. '' In the morning we will take the back trail, and follow it stead ii y un ti! he is shaken cff for good and all. Then we will make and strike the Gulch from the other "Better putt a bullet through bis skull, an' be done with it!" growled Mariposa Marsh. Sanguinary advice, and probably far from being intended to be followed to tbe letter, but before many mo(e hours passed over their beads, Cooper was sorry be bad not acted upon it l Frank, Mat and Harold, with the three police men bad enjoyed tbe ride hugely, and still drew no small fund of amusement trom the enthu siastic greenhorn. The latter accepted all their remarks as gospel trntb, and seemed blissfully ignorant that they were making bim a laugh ine: stock. Supper was soon 1isposecl of, and then pipes were lighted, but the day's ride bad been a severe one, and all were j

Mariposa Marsh. "Hold I don't be a 'tarnal fool I" cried Mari posa MaFSb, still more sharply. "The p'izen imp afn't alone in tbis business. Let 'em get us scattered once in the dark, an' wuss 'II come of it then a bloody nose! We cain't do nothin' afore daylight." "Before that time he'll be miles away, aud in full possession of onr secret!" "That cein't be helped now," was the dry re sponse as tbe veteran 'scattered the blazing brush, a.nd thus subdued the glow that other wise might prove dangerous. "We couldn't ketch the feller onless we bed tbe nose of a houo' an' the legs of a deer. We mought pass him by 'ithin arm'slengtb in this dark, an' neverknow that be was laugbin' at us. Besides, ef be an' his mates mischief, they could easy scoop us in, once we was separated, an' run no resks wu'th mentionin' themselves in doin' of us up fer good an' all." The veteran's reasoning went straight to the mark, and even the irate captain began to realize the folly of attempting any pursuit for the present, under existing circumstances. There was no longer any doubt in bis /mind about the stranger's being far more knave than fool. His story, bis actions, bad all been parts of a cunning plot to gain possession of the clew to the bidden treasure, and bis really admirable acting bad been crowned with perfect success. The night bad proven especially favorable for bis purpose, end as it had been decided im prudent to kePp the camp-fire burning brightly, lest some curious or inimical eyes should catch sight of the glow, no blame could be attached to the sentinel, for that worthy, B:>wen, took care to roundly sweattbat be bad been awqke and on the alert all the time. Considering the in tense darkness, this might very well have been the case, without bis discovering the movements of the adroit thief, and so Captain Cooper could only nurse bis battered nose and curse at random. Those were long hours that intervened before the break of day, and to more than one little party it seemed as though the night would never come to an end. But at length thA gray light dawued in the East, and Mariposa Marsh made a hasty scout of their immediate vicinity, while the rest quickly prepared breakfast. He w1.1s forced to return without any news of importance to impart, having failed in that dim, uncertain light to discover any trail or traces of an enemy harboring near. Food and drink were hurriedly gulped down, and then, as soon as the light was strong enough to render. the movement practicable, they mounted their horses and set forth along the difficult and winding trail. .._ Maripos" Msrsb was not exactly satisfied witb_..fbis course, but Captain Cooper was the actua1 leader of the party, and be would not spare the time for a tborough examination of the ground surrounding the camp. Already the enemy bad gained several hours' start of them, and only bard, steady riding could possibly make up for this. "You're the boss, an' of course what you say, the rest o' us is boun' to agree to, an' r.o '!terry out ef so be we kin1 observed the veteran as they rode rapidly along. But the course you take ain't the one I'd foller, though I may be wrong." Cooper only grunted in reply. He was in a particularly sour buruor this morning. Not only bad be been completely outwitted by one whom be bad looked upon as a veritable fool, but be bad lost the clew to the enormous treasure which be bad so long looked u;ion as bis own. Not but what lie knew the contents bv heart, or felt any doubts as to bis ability to the way direct to the treasure bidden by Spri11gteel. He bad no fears on that score; but the golden secret was now in the posse65ion of one othe r man-it might ere this be the common property .of a score or more besides I Nor bad t!J.e heavy stroke dealt him by tbs audacious robber tended to sweeten his temper, and from time to time be ruefully caressed bis battered nose, now discolored and swollen to most uncomfortable dimensions. "By the Lord that made me!" be uttere_d, as bis horse stumbled while be was in the act of tenderly rubbing bis olfactory organ, causing him to bump it painfully. If t:ver I lay bands on that long-legged scoundrel, I'll murder birn by inches!" "'Fust ketch your bar','" quoted Mariposa Marsh, with a smile on that side of bis face furthest from the sufferer. "I wouldn't mind takin' a finger in that pie myself! But that time may be furder ofl' then we hev any idee of." "We can make the Guieb by tomorrow noon, if we ride steadily to-day and all night." "The trail's got to be better then this, afore we kin do much nightridin'." It is better. We will pass over the worst of it to-day." "Ef they don't take a notion to ambush us on the road, when they see we're boun' to overhaul 'em. Though tbar ain't much danger o' our doin' that, ef the bull kit is as good on the tramp as our sweet scented greenliornl" mut tered Mariposa. There may be no others. He may have been playing a lone band," suggested Captain Cooper. "That's jest what we should 'a' found out at the fust jump. The time wculdn't 'a' bin lost, fer then we'd 'a' knowed jest what was afore us. Now we're playin' it blindfold. They mav be only one or two, on then ag'in they may b6 enough to chaw us up at a single mouthful without stretchin' tbar jaws over much. It's a p'izen awkward way o' goin' to work." "Well, it can't be helped now," said Cooper, impatiently. "All we have to do is to make wbat baste we can, or they'll carry ofl' the gold before we get there." "Not if we ride night and day!'' asked Frank Freeman. -"They will be most likely to take a short cut over the bills. Tbere is one, I believe, but when I found out that it was considered imprac ticable for horses, I made no further inquiries about By tbat route, if they take it, they will surely get to tbe Guieb first." "We'd sbbw our good by doin' tbe same thing I" muttered Mariposa adding as be &bitted uneasily in bis saddle: "Durn boeses,


Mall'iposa ,lllarsh. anyway, over sech p'izen nasty trails like this! I'd tur::i 'emJoose an' take to shanks mar'!" Captain Coop e r voucbsafed no response to this remark, evidentl.v considering tbat quPstion already decided. The aid of tbe animals would be useful in carrying away the goid, in ease they did not find themselves forestalled by tbe enemy. They rode steadily on, with only a brief pause for dinner and to rest their animals, selecting for this purpose a valley through which flowed a clear stream of fairly cold water, the banks of which were well provided with grass. They were following the old road made during tbe rush to the newly discovered diggings in Dead Man's Guieb, 11.od thus far had come across no traces of the enemy. Nor did this surprise them. The road had been selected for the passage of loaded wagons, and from tbe numerous insurmountable obstacles which barred the way, this was very crooked, at times almost Joubling back upon itself in a ma'trner particularly vexa tious to one in a burn to reach tbe l'nd. Beyond a doubt "Greenboro" and bis confed erates bad taken advantage of tbe more direct foot -trail across tbe bills, and were now far in advance. "Still, we may be able to make up for lost time by traveling all night," said Captain Cooper, who was beginning to recover his usua) spirits as he drew nearer to their goal, and the painf11l swelling in bis nose subsided. With ill-concealed reluctance Mariposa Marsh and the three boys once m ore climbed into their saddles, the brief resting spell only making their suff erings the more acute. Still, tbey were "gritty," and made but few moans, keeping paet! with the "saddle-wise" police captain and bis men, nor even indirectly suggesting a halt. At nightfall they pansed for supper, and gav11 both animals and m e n t wo good hours' reEt, a breathing-spell whicb was fully appreciated by all couceroed. Without any further pause, they rode on until nearly daydawn, making fair progress, for, as Cooper 'had predictqd, tbe road improved materially as they neare d the goal. "The worst is passed," said Cooper, as tbey ate their morning's meal. "We have only about ten miles further to travel. We bave made much better t,ime than I expected, and I shouldn't be surprised if we got thefe first, after all!" "Then I've rid my last step fer to-day I" declared Mariposa Mars h, with a grimace of dis gust toward the saddle that bad cbafe:I bim' so unmercifully. "Somebody must go abead as a scout, an' that somebody 'II be me! We don't want to run our beads ioto a p'izen trap, after comin' this fur in good order." "It may ba just as, well, but I don't think there is any danger, even if the enemy have go there ahead of us. We have gained a whole day on tbe road, at least, counting the ordinary rate of traveling over snch broken ground, and they will not be expecting us before night, any way. Still, they may have a lookout posted to give them warning." As tbe end of their journey was so near, but little time was allQwed the horses for rest, and with Mapposa Marsh loping along in the lead, travel was resumed. When two-thircts of the distance was covered, the cattle were suffered to fall into a walk, while Mariposa Marsh increased bis in order to tboroughly inspect the ground ahead of \,hem, and to discover, if possible, whether the enemy had posted f!ny lookout, in case they bad already reached Dead Mau's Gulch. There was op longer any necessity for ex treme haste. If tbe enemy bad won the race, only great care and circumspection could do aught to rectify the mistake. If they were still on the road, then it wonld be au easy matter to intercept them. Knowing this, Mariposa Marsh obtained from Captain Cooper a pretty accurate idea of the ground before him, then advised the party to halt und.w cover until he could fully reconnoi t e r the trail to, as well as tbe Guieb itself. "I kin give you tbe signal from the ridge up yender. Ef I make a sign so, that means you're to ride right up, fer the coast 'II be cl'ar; but ef I give ye this sign, then the p'izan imps is ahead o' us, an' you must cache the critters, creepin' up slow an' easy to tbe p'int wbar I'll meet ye." These arrangements bad been tboroughly understood and agr!'ed to by all, before Mari posa Marsh struck out ahead on bis reconnoitering expedition, so that there was little likeli hood of mistakes occurring. All had been pro vided for beforehand. Marirosa Marsh was too old and experienced a scout to leave all to chance where so much was at stake. He was too wise to stick to the beaten trail which, as the only route at all practicable for borsemen, be knew would be selected for an ambusb by the enemy, in cas0' tbey we.-e determinea to fight for. the treasure. Or if a. loo)r out was posted, bis attention would be mainly directed toward that point. Instead, be took tb the bill, dodging and glid ing around and among the scattered bowlders, keeping well coverect yet making rapid pro gress, his eyes keenly SCJlnning every f!pot which looked favorable for an ambush or loca tion tor a spy. Nor was it long before the prudence of bis course was made manifest. Mariposa Marsh caught sight of a roughly dressed man seated in a comfortabie position only a few rods below tbe crest of the ridge, smoking a pipe and apparently keeping watch upon tbe winding trail below Beyond a doubt this fellow was one of conferlerates, watch in!!' for the party they had so cleverly out witterl and outpacerl. "Ef it was only tbe p'izen critter himself'" muttered Mariposa Marsh, cresting his bead like a-serpent and keenly surveying tbe ground between }limself and the lookout. How I would en]'y cr11apin' up abind him an' givin' him a gentle squeeze o' the thraople bar.d enough to put him asleep ontel old Gabriel toots bis born!" From the careless inertness of the fellow. Mariposa Marsh knew that as yet he suspected notbing, thanks to the precautions taken, and as be became satisfied that the man was the only lookout posted, at least in that vicinity, his reSO' was promptly


I Mariposa Maraia. 11 "The boys caln't come no furder without leis tdghtin' 'em, an' t ben he'd send the news over the ridge in a hlJ.rry. I could pick him oil' from here easy as slippin' up on ice, but that \"ould tell the p'izen imps trouble was brewin'. No; tbar's only the one way to wanjdga it. He be 'sposed of, an' I've got to play Injun-steal DI> ahind the critter." With Marsh, to resolve was to exe cute; and having already settled upon the route wbicb would afford him the best cover, be sunk fiat upon his stomach and began bis delicate and dangernus task, without a thought of the peril he thus incurred The lookout was utterly unsuspic1ous of an enemy being so near him, and this fact aided tbe veteran not a little1 since the whole attention of the outlaw was directed toward the trail which wound through the. valley below. Thus it was that Mariposa Marsh gained the rear of his destined victim, bis progress being as silent and sure as that of the serpent whose mo tions he admirably imitated. Silently arising he calculated bis distance, then leaped forward, dashing the astounde1 outlaw heavily against the rock behind which he bad been sitting, both hands clasped firm ly around bis tbro11.t, all outcry most effectually. Mariposa Marsh was l:iound to make sure work of it, and without the faintest degree of compunction, be knocked the head of bis cap tive against tbe bowlder t wice or thrice in swift succession, until all struggles ceased and the luckless wretch lay a limp and DE( rveless weight upon bis hands. Mariposa Marsh slc.wly relaxed his deadly grip, ready to renew t t suffocating pressure at tbe faintest sigll of c1 on the part of bis victim, but be ba(1 doitetis work even better than be ,suspected. 'I'bat last, fierce thrust against the bow Ider bad fractured the skull of the unfortunate wretch, and it was a eerpse that the veteran released. "I didn't mean to !9-11 him outright," muttered tbe scout balf-regretfully, as he realized the truth. "But it only saved him from the baiter -Cap would 'a' strung him up, sure as a gun, ef only to make that nose o' his feel better I The rap I gave him wouldn't 'a' killed a kitten, an' a man with seoh 6 soft bead didn't ort to live. anyway!" The veteran did not feel very remorseful as he turned away from the dead man and gained a position f,rom whence be could look down into the Gulch, The enemy had fairly entered the lists, striking the first blow, and if they bad not emoted the consequences, only themselves were to blame. One klllln glance Mariposa Marsh cast down into the Gulch, then drew back a few yarcjs, t 1ruing toward tbe spot where bis friends were lying under cover. making the signal agreed upon as denoting the preseuce of the enemy in the Gulch before them. He waifed only long enough to make sure that his signals were observed and understood, which was made evi dent by the appearance of bis friends, on foot, leaving their horses under cover behind them, then retraced his steps to the ridge-crest. Sitting down in :,a position, Marippsa. Marsh gazed I upon the scene before him. The Gulch was a wild, dreary-looking place, fit scene for the terrible tragedy which had been enacted within its confines a few years before. The sides of Dead Man's Gulch were rocky and precipitous, only one practicable trail lean ing down its sides-that near which Mariposa Marsh now crouched: though the little oblong valley in which the wonderfully rich deposits of gold had been found, could be reached by longer routes, from either end of the Guieb. But these features did not occupy the attention of Mariposa Marsh wore than an instant. Gathered ar6und one of the ruined sllaf:s be saw a party of men, nine in nuinber, and proroi, nent among them be recognized the tall, geunt figure of Gre-enborn-lackh1g a better name. An old windlass bad been rigged up across the mouth of the shaft, and even as Mariposa Marsh looked, be saw Greenhorn grasp the rope,. while bis mate lowered him down the pit. Beyond all reasonable doubt, that was the shaft in which the golden treasure of Spring Steel lay hidden I With breathless interest Mariposa Marsh watched the eight n:en who clustered closely around the shaft, their beads all bent down ward, as though tbe sooner to learn the truth, be it for good or evil. "Ef the ground would only give way, an' they all tum'le down the shaft an' break every p'izen neck among them, it'd be a blessin' to all homst besides savin' us a pesky lot o' trouble!" muttered the veteran as be watched their actions. Ten minutes>.. passed-it seemed nearer an hour to the watcher-and then be knew that Greenhorn bad indeed diwovered the golden treasure of Spring Steel, for the 1ejQ'bt men around the mouth of the sbHft arose fin their crouching postures, flinging aloft eir bat tered old ,bats as they made the gulch re-ecbo with their-wild yells of exultation I A sound behind Mariposa Marsh at this juncture, warntd blm of the approach of'" bis mates, and glancing around, he saw that th11y bad qverbeard and understood the mean ing of those loud cries. Fearing for their self control, hti hastily joined tbew. "They're tbar, nine of 'm, with our Green horn at the bead. I settled one, over yender." nodding to where the dead lookout lay beside the bowlder. "They've found the gold I'm pntty sure; jedging from the noise they make, liut it's down a shaft, an' they've g0t to git It out yit. We'll Jet 'em do it, sense that'll save us so much trouble." Mariposa Marsh saw that his mates were <'ool and <'Omposed enough, but that there w11s an ugly fire in the eye of tbe police <'Bptain which be did not like, for he believeJ that it boded serious trouble. Observing all necessary caution, the party crept forw/lrd and looked down into the Guieb. Greenhorn bad just been hauled up by of the windlass, and the intervening distance was so short that they could see he held a couple of buckskin bags in bis bands, and appeared to be talking earnestly as the oth$' men crowded around him,


-,Ma.riposa. Marsh'. "Ef they would only git into a fight an; chaw each other up l" muttered Mariposa Marsh, wistfully. But in this faint hope he was doomed to be The man they had nicknamed Greenhorn, evidently held his comrades well In hand, and where an irresolute leader would cer tainly have fallen into difficulties, he succeeded. Two men grasped the rope and were lowered down the shaft by their comrades, V17hi!e one other speedily divested himself of his trow sers, tossing them down the pit, presenting a ridiculous spectacle as he strode around in high boots and short shirt-flaps! Frank, Mat and Harold were puzzled to ac count for this queer proceeding, but Marii:>0sa Marsh, who appeared to bit upon the truth by instinct, speedily satisfied their curiosity. "They're goin' to make use o' the britches as a bag to haul up the gold in. Tbe critters is in a hurry to clean out the cache afore we kin come up an' ketch 'em at it." "Ws'll never have a better chance, either," said Captain who certainly was not doing justice to his well-earned reputation for shrewdness and cool daring in this adventure, simply because ha was under the spell of the gold demon. There are only seven to our eight, now, for the two men down the shaft don't count, since they can't-very well get out unless we let them. We C'.l.n charge in upon them and frighten them off-or if they show fight, we can easily whip them!" Something of this kind Mariposa Marsh had expected ever since he saw that ugl."" light in the eyes of bis old mate, and knowing how little reasoning would avail, be had busied bis bruin in the endeavor to make the most of their advantage. "We'I do better to wait on tel lriver o' night," he responded, "but I know what you be when you onee git your mind sot onto a thing-it's do or bu'st with you, then! "By takin' our time an' usin' some trouble, I reckon we kin git down into the Gulch without sbowin' ourselves. The p'izen critters won't keep a overly sharp lookout, fer they'll 'pend mostly on that dead man to give 'em warnin' in time. An' once at the bottom, we kin git the drop onto 'em, an' they'll knuckle onder, then." Mariposa Marsh was not nearly as confident as his words would seem to indfoate, but bis plan appeared to o.Jrer a better chance of suc cess than that propu se d by Captain Cooper. No time was lost in putting it into exec ution, though their progress was naturally slow enough, since they felt the necessity of keeping their ad va nce well covered, and before they gained the bottom of tbe slope, the enemy/bad drawn up their first lot of gold. The bottoms of the trowser-legs had heen firmly tied, tben filled with sacks of gold-dust! The rope was bitched around this novel bag, then raised by means of the winrllass. Wil

Mariposa. Marsh. 1a upon the brain of the cunning Greenhorn, w)lo was Etill gazng at the body of his fallen foe, as though expecting it to rise up and resume its headlong charge. The trigger was pressed, tbe hammer fell, and the leaden missile sped upon--its fatal ernnd. Tbe range was only a moderate pistol-shot, the weapon was a good and reliable one, while you might have searched far and wide without fi:!ding a better marksman thil'.n Mariposa Marsh. even a groan or a gasp, Greenhorn ff II backward, stone dead ere his shoulders touched the grnund, blood and brains oozing through the livid hele between and just above his eyes. This shot seemed to break tbe spell which bad fallen upon both parties, and wild, angry yells caused the Gulch to ring again as the opposing bands sprung into action. The three policemen, Bowen leading, arose from cover and rushed forward, burning to still more bitterly avenge the fall of their chief, discharging their carbines, then drawing revolvers and blazing away at every step they -made. These shots were as promptly answered by a rattling, irregular vollev from the weapons of the enemy, but J.ittle "damage was done by those first discharges. Both parties were-great ly excited, and one of them in r_apid motion, leaping from side to side, now here, now there, in order to avoid stumbling over the bowlders and other obstacles which lay so thickly in their path, tlms rendering their own aim-taking an impo. 5sibility, and at the same time giving the enemy a flving, never stationary target. Frank, Mat and Harold, as brflve and quite as excitable as the policemen, arose from their coverts at the eame moment, and only for the sharp, peremptory voice of Mariposa Marsh, they would bave joined in that headlong charge. "Down! down, ye bot-beaded critters! Down onder kiver an' make use o' your rifles! Take turns in firin', an don't throw away a shot. Ha! didn't I tell ye sol1' Tbis exclamation was drawn from the lips of the veteran by the fall of one of the policemen, who went down in a heap, with a bullet through his throat. A fierce cheer was out short and cl-anged to a horrible, sickening gurgle as be plunged headlong to the blood-sprinkled rocks. "Take kiver, ye two bot-beaded fools!" screamed Mariposa Marsh. tqo a'{ld excited to pic!k or cboo e bis words. "Take kiver, an' the p'izen imps is our meat, surii.J" Even as he spoke, bis hastily reloaded rifle was discharged again with an aim as steady pnd true as th0ugh the veteran was firing at an inanimate target instead of Jiving 11.esb and blood. Living-but not after that sharp, spite ful report, Instead, a mass of lifeless clay upon the heap of gold--one more victim claimed by Sp.ring Steel's golden treasure! The warning cry of Mariposa Marsh was obeyed 'filore pro:nptly than be expected, and more extensively than he had any intention should be the case, for not only did the two policemen seek cover, bu_t-so did the surviving outlaws as. well, their progress quickened by three mgre rifle-shots in swift succession. None of their number fell, but two were plainly wounded, though not so seriously as to disable them. "You lads was a little too iilow on trigger," said Mariposa Marsh, with a -Jow, chuckling laugh tbat sounded strangely enough to tleir ears under the desperate circumstances. "By good rights we should 'a' bin six to four, witn the odds in our favor, an' twoo them four in a trap an' so out o' the fight, 'steatl o' six to seven the way things now stan'. You hed plenty o' time to each one pick your man an' make hiHJ cold llleat afore he broke fer kiver. But y o n waited a wee bit too long, an' sent your lead after a fl yin' tqrget." "It looked like murder, and they are wbH: e men like ourselves!" muttered Frank, a litt;le unsteadily. "White outside, mebbe, but black enough onder the bide," coolly retorted the veteran, lying on bis back behind the bowlder and relaading his rifle with swift dexterity. "Tho scum so' ofl'-scourin's o' creation. Didn't they steal the papu! Didn't they shoot down my old mate! An' be, th9ugb mebbe a little stuck up in bis 'pinions, ao' somewhat bot-beaded, was wu'tb more'n ten thousan' sech p'izen var mints as them!" Possibly Frank thought there were two sides to the question; but 1f so, be did not say II-' much, for he could not help seeing bow danger ously in earnest their old friend was, and bow deeply hfl ff]t the fall of his old-time partner. He turned bis bead and stole a glance et the gure of Captain Cooper; bnt averted bis gaze with a little ,shudder as be saw tbe side of the turned toward him, covered witb blood. But a short minute ago so fuJJ of life, and now" The man who killed him did not live long enough to boast of bis crime!'' sternly utt.ered Mariposa Marsh, noting the shuddering glance. "I only wish he'd come to life ag'in! I'm sorry I killed him so quick!" be added, scowlirg toward the spot wh ere Greenhorn lay in death., "L\lck!" mutterer! keen-Pyed Mat Marley. "The p'lace b'ys are makin' a move av some sort sure!" Mariposa Marsh peered around the corner of his bowlder with en angry frowl'.l; but this quickly died away as he saw that Bowen, keep. ing carefully covered from view of the enemy, was working bis way toward their position, evidently for the purpose of consultation. But the outlaws were also upon the alert, and thl1 movement did not escape their observation. Maciposa Marsh caught sight of a red shirt as ts owner endeavot"ed to secure a shot at the crawling policeman. It was but the glimpse of an arm; but that was sufficient.. His rifle ex ploded on the instant, and a wild yell, followed by a most ferocious cursing on the part of the wounded man, told that bis lead bad not gone Ef tbar was only a dozen or two more o' the awkward brutes, we'd l'arn 'em a little o' the niceties o' rifle sbootin'," said the veteran with a self-satisfied laugh. "'Twas only a glimp' o' tbe red shirt I got, but I knowed tliere was enough flesh to bury a bullet in, an' I reckon I tickled.


ttie funny-bone on the p'izen critter's elbow a bit. The lead wasn't wasted, ter it'll show 'ein we're on the lookout, ready to take advantage o' any ehaince they offer us." "There are only five, while trll eix," 9Qld Bowen, as be gained their ooTer. "We can drive them out by a steady obarge. And we must avenge the poor captain." "You tried your ban' at a stiddy charge only a bit an' what was the outcome! 0011 good man killed fer us, an' never a skin ci;acked on t'other side!'' said Mariposa, sharply. "We did the best we could, and stand ready to tr.v it all over again,'' was the calm reply. "Yest I ain't denyin' but what you've got the &and. know you would charge a riijrnent with fixed bayonets, ef so be you was told bf. your s'perior officer; but that wouldn't make 1t any the less a fool piece o' business." "There is no question of a r2giment now," impatiently responded Bowen. We are stronger than are, for some of their gang are wounded while we.are untouched. We can overcome tbem by a stout rush now, but if we wait until dark, they mav escape us, only to ga.tlJer an overwhelming force of bushrangers, and bring them down upon our backs before we ce.n get out of the Gulch with the gold." ;. I don't say you're wrong 'bout bein' able to Itek the imps, fer I know we kin do it ef we should be fools enough to try your plan. But what w0uld it cost1 That's a p'int you Seem to fergit." "Therd's a certain degree of risk, no doubt, but that can't be helped-" A sartain degree-right enough I" grunted Mariposa. Marsh. "Jest let me s!Jow it to you in the correct an' then you'll see jest how sa.rtain the.resk is. "Over yender, onder good k1ver, lay five men, all well armed, an none on 'em so bad hurt but what they kin draw a bead or ban'le a knife fit to kill. Afore we kin bounce 'am out o' kiver, we've got to cross over some fifty yards, right in the teeth o' thar weepons. Thar blood is up. They see gold eoougb afore 'em to make the wu'st coward fight like a ao' they on't give it up without a toue:b fight, nuther. "Now you've got the flggers putt d0wn afore ye, a(ld 'em up. What's the result? How many o' us would be rubbild out afore tbe fight was over1" "If you are afraid, I and my mate yonder will lead the way and draw their fire before you break cover." "An' I'd lick you out o' your boots fer them words ef we didn't bev our ban's full as it is,'' coolly retorted Mariposa Marsh, but with aR underlying current of earnestness in bis words tbat told he was not jesting. "You an' your mate ain't onder my orders. in course, an' kin git yourselves rubbed out as soon as you duru please, but you needn t count nutber me nur these lads in on any sech foolhardy doin's. "Mind ye, this ain't sayin' we don't mean to clean out them imps over yenrler, fer we're boun' to do that very little job, but we'll do it lo our own style. Ef you want to j'ine ill, all Ef not, lay low an' see us do the work. It you can think ot any better plan than the one I proposed, we are ready to do our shar.e.11 "Good enongb I But we don't want no more 'ailon-eend chargin', It don't pay," said Mari posa Marsh, all traces of ill -humor vanishmg as though by magic. "Besides, we kin manidge it easier, an' I reckon you'll say the same when I tell you my idee. The youngsters here '11 scatter out a little. Your mate kin stay wbar be is. They'll keep ready to knock over any an' all 01 ther critters tbat you ' drive out o' kiver. "You'll take that side, tellin' your mate what's in the windt then keep on qnder kiver as best you kin ont<11 you git whar you kin rake the p'izen imps sideways. I'll do the same on this side, an' atween us, I reckon we kin make 'em squeal enough sence they cain't keep kivered from us all," concluded tbe veteran. This plan was so simple and at the same time promisrng such good results, that the others wondered at their not thinking of it It was almost certain to prove successful, and if the two pioneers were careful and prudent, taking full advantage of the plentiful cover, there would be comparatively little danger attending the feat. 11ime was rapidly fleeting, and knowing that whatever they meant to do must be accomplish ed before nightfall, Mariposa Marsh and Bowe""J started on their van tu re. In obedience to tbe directions they he.d re ceived, Fra11k and Harold cautiously change d their location in order to cover as much ground as possible, leaving Mat Marley bebin'.i the bowlder which bad sheltered Mariposa MarslJ. Considerable time bad been consumed by the discussion, and in arranging the parts which each one of the company must play, but after these details were fairly understood, the bold was pressed unto its completion as rap idly as possible. Despite tbe care which Mariposa Marsh and Bowen took to keep their advance unknown to the enemy bv improving every bit of cover which presented itself, it soon became evident that their progress was not unobserved, from tbe growing restlessness of the outlaws. That they realiz e d their danger, was no less pl! from the efforts they made to dispose of their darinit foemen, dividing their force and disc!Jali?.'ing their weapons at every glimpse of t he two fi'lnkers, hoping to pick one .?r both of them off before tbev could reach their goal. But Mariposa Marsh had played the same game more tban once, and whenever it became necessary for him to expose his p e rson in stenl ing from one point of cover to bis movements were so swift that a better marks man than was among the outlaws would have found it impossible to bury a bullet beneath hi2 skin while in transit. Bowen, too, proved to be a far more apt pupil than Mariposa Mar;_sh bad dared hope, from the reckless darinir which be bad alrea'.ly shown, and bearing bis instructior; ever in mind, be 1tlso foiled the' intentions of the enemy, though more than once his clothes were cut by the hurried shots, and once his skin was by a bullet. Bui this only actell on him as a spur upon a willing horse, making him all the mor'l determined to sncceed. -1 Frank, Mat and!, t;hougb fu1ly rjlliolved


Ma.rlposa. Marsh. to do their dtlty t;o the best o! their ability, even while they felt a strong repugnance to draw a bead upon men of the same color e.nd race as tbemselves, were so deeply interested in watching the m o v e m ents of the two flankers, that they missed several chances to make their marks on an en e my. This f elloihad clearly forgotten the ro ition of the Ja\)s, else believed tbey were al engag erl in thA fla king process, for he openly exposed bis person tol heir aim while endeavoring to secure a shot at Mariposa Marsh. His ,front and rear were well protected by rocks, but his left sirle was now fully uncovered. 1 1 Mat Marley was the first one of the trio to ob serv e this and he thrust forward the muzzle of his rifle, resolved to kill the outlaw, though his b o yish heart turned sick within him as be realize.J the stern n e cessity But he was spared the compulsory staining of bands with human blo o d. -A sharp rAport rung out, and the outlaw tum bled over dead, a bullet in bis heartl A wondering cry broke from the lips of the lad a s be turned and noted a small cloud of smoke arisingfrom a clump of bushes near the spot where Captain Cooper had fallen. Nor Wl\S his amazement less ened when be r e alized that the body of their frie nd no longer occupied the spot where they bad last observed it! But be bad ao time for puzzling his brain over the marvel, just then, for matters bad plainly reached a crisis, and the next few m o m ents must decide the ownership of the golden treasure of Spring Steel. The bushrangers realiz e d bow critical their situation was growing, and knew tba1. in a few minutes more they would be exposed to a cros s fire against which they could ofl'er no efl'e ctual defense. As a last, frail hope they b egan to retreat toward the further wall of the Gulch, wh ere surrounding them would be an impos s i bilit ,y; but this was an extremely delicate ma neuver, in the face of men as wary and skillful as Mariposa. Und e r similar circumstances, it is much more easy to advance upon an enemy than it is retreat from them, and so the outlaws found it n o w. Despite their utmost precautions they could not help momentarily exposing them selves as they left their c over, and their foemen wpre not slow to improve the opportunity thus ofl'e red. The never-failing rifl e of Mariposa Marsh ex plod e d, and one of the bil:sbrangers spun around in short circles, as en a pivot, tearing at the r ocky soil witb bis fingers aIIP biting it with his mouth. Like an echo came the report of the piece carried by Bowen, and the death of his mate was avenged, as f!lr as one life could 'Pay for another. This left only two men unaccounted for, be sides those still down the shaft, and tbey, both wounded, arose and ootook themselves to precipitate flight, running like terrifie goats down tne Guieb that had proven so fafal tc their comrades and their hopes. Neither Frank, Mat I!t!i. Harold atteml\ted to check this flight by a shot from their rifle!'. They wer e well satisfied tQ be thus easily rid of the t;errifled wretches, looking no further ahead than the present, but not so Mariposa M.arsh "and the policemen. They fired at the fleeing forms, but without suc c ess. Tb e t wo raseals appeared to bear charmed Jives, and sooo disappeared down the Gulch, followed by curs es both hot and furious "We'll hear from em yit, an' that in a way we won't likel growled M a riooea Marsh, scow ling at the three Inds. "Ye b e d loaded rifl eswby in thunder didn't ye-Glory to Mose s Mariposa Marsh started back as though be bad unexpectedly encountered a ghost, and lit tie wonder, for Captain Cooper, whom all believed dead, arose from the bushes and ad vanced toward tbem, walking a little unstead ily, but for ali that, very unlike a corp se. His face was covered with bl ood, balfdried.and mingled with dirt, and altog e tber b e presented a most disagreeable spectacl e to be so warmly wel c omed by bis ov erjoyed friends. "Bowen, keep :rn eye on the sbaft," were bis first words. "1 saw one of those ras cals stick up bis h e ad just now Th e y will be trying a pot-shot at us, if we don't mind. "Then ye ain' t dea d? You -didn't hev the bull pe >ky head shot ofl' o' ye! spluttered Mari posa Marsh graseing the captain's band and al mo s t dancing for joy. "No, I was not touched, though it wasn't his fault,'' with a gla1 ce toward the spot wh e re tbe body lay. "I stubbed my toe anrl tell headl on g before I could rnv1; I f elt bis lead tear tbrougb my hair es I fell and nn doubtedly that trip saved my life. I s truc k my head and face upon a rock, and I suppo se sboC'k knccked me senseless, for the next I re member was seeing y o u crawliirg over yonder, and a big fellow trying to draw a tead on you. Right or "'rang, I Ji!kked up my rifle and let him have the contents under bis armpit." 'Twas a lucky shot fer it;. showed the imps we bed foul an' led e m to try a chang e o base. But it's a p iz e n pity them two crit ters got cl'arl Ef they should chance acrost any o' the Lushrangers which the sound o' burnin' p owder h e s putt afoot, then we'll bev tro uble with them yit! Let alone the nat'ral Joagin' fer revenge, thar's the gold-" "Let us once get out of this natural trap, and I don't care how soon they follow us," sai i Cooper, meaning all be utterE d, too. "And out of here we must be befor e dark!"' "Mebbe tbat's easier said than done," grunted Mariposa Marsh, nodding toward the shaft. "Of course we ain't a -gcin' witru ; mt the gold we come after, au' the biggest part o' that ain't bin brung up out o' ther hole, yit. They'sonly two men down tbar. an' they cain't git out onte l we're ready to let 'em; but ef we've got them they've got the gold!" Captain Cooper made no reply to this speech, but advancerl toward the shaft mouth. The action was a b old and foolhardy one, fully in keeping with his nature, for a report was beard, and a bullet tore its way through the clothes b e tween the offic er's side anu arm, in a direct line with bis heart. Despite this narrow escape from death, the captain neverflinched, but flung forward bis arm, at the end of which swung a ready cocked


Marlposa Marsh. revolver, and sent a bullet into the curl of smoke. But bis shot was an instant t09 lai;e, for a. howl of angry fear, accompanied by a rushing, plunging sound, told tbat the treacherous foothold of the outlaw had given way and precipitated him down to the bottom of the pit. The captain was still advancing, whoo Mari pos!l Marsh le11ped forward a.nd checked him with an iron gi-.sp that would not be denied, his weather-bee.ten countenance glowing with sur.reme disgust. Of all the bull-beaded, onmanageable crit ters, you're the wu'st I ever see! 'Have yourself, now, or durned ef I don't climb a11 over your back an' lick you 'tel you cain't see!" "We've got to get tbem out, a.nd tbe shortest way's the best." "Gittin' a bullet through the box wbar your brains bed ort to be, won't do it, tbough I" re torted Mariposa Marsh, sourly. 11 Leave the critters to me. an' I'll fix 'em." With!l!!>. waiting for the desired permission, Mariposa Marsh called aloud to the bushrangers: You two fellers is all they is left o' your gang, an' onless you knock under in Jess'n two m\naits, we'll massacres you, sure's sbootin' I Speak up-you!" "You may kill us, but we'll make some o' you mighty sick fu'stl" came a boarse, muffled voice from out of the mouth of tbe old shaft a moment lat er. 11 We'll do wuss then kill you-we'll roast yon 'alive!" retorted. Mariposa Marsh. "Ef you pass out your weapons au' do as you're t:.ild, we'll give you your lives. Think it Over wbile the boys kin'le a fire. It'll come in play ef you don't give up. Ba about it, lads!" "Do your worst, and be--!" growled the outlaw. 11-You mean to kill us anyhow, and we may as well die fighting as with our bands tied." Start a fire, boys, while I keep a watch over the bole," added Mariposa Marsh in a tone that convinced hh coml'ades be was making. no idle threat. 11 True as the sun is shinin' down on our beaus, I'll roast the obstinate critters alive, onless they knock under!" Bowen and his mate quickly collected material for a fire, and as soon as the sticks were fairly aglow, Mariposa Marsh bade them fling several in to the sb1ft. Until this vas done, the outlaws appeared to think bim jesting, hut now, seeing how worse than useless such a contest would be, they callerl aloud for mercy. "Throw up your weapons then, an' crawl out vourselves." This was done, and when they were fairly disarmed, be said: "Take them britches an' go down ag'in. Finish sendin' up the gold, an' when we leave tbis place, we'll let you go free witb your lives -which is better tarms then yon desarvE<." In s ilence the cowed outlaws obeyed, though one was somewhat sbiff and bruised from the effects of bis awkward tumble down the old abaft. 11 Now tben," added Mariposa Marsh, turning t-0 the two policemen, you go an' fetch up tbe bQr-. I reckon we'll be all ready to start on the back-trail by the time you kin git back with the critters." As Captain Cooper nodded his acquiescence, the policemen obeyed this order at CHAPTER VI. A DESPERATE EXPEDIENT, MARIPOSA MARSH urged bis two slaves of the shaft to ardent work, and knowing that their lives in all probability bung upon bis good humor, they labored as diligently as though all the gold they packed into the novel bag" was for their own u se and benefit. In less than ten minutes they gave the signal to hoist away, anrl as the wi.lldlass turntid briskly raround, another portion of Spring Steel's treasure came to sight. The trowsers were emptied cf their precious c.argo, and the rope once more loweres of Bowen and his mate were se .en rap1dly crossing the ridge, but tbey were re turning empty-banded as they went! Where were the horses? More trouMe a-brewin' I" Mariposa Marsh, in a tone of ineffable disgust, as soon as it became clear that Bowen and bis comrade were indeed returning without the animals for which they bad been dispatched. Somethin' or somebody hes run off the bosscritters I Not that I'd keer much,'' he Added, with a sudden lighting up of bis countenance, "ef I only knowed that durned, sore-staroed saddle '

Mariposa Maish. iT and the significant screed was boldly directed to Captain Charles Cooper, of the CoJonial Mounted Police. With a half-laugh at the impudence of Ghe fellow, Cooper read this audacious missive to his wondering mates, then mechanically turned toward Maliposa Marsh for bis opinion. 1 "Do you know anytbin' 'bout sech a critter?" "Nothing more than that there is such a busbranger, who travels under that sweet scented cognomen. He is reputed to be rather more devil then man, and more crimes and atrocities are laid at his door, than of any other outlaw, unless it may have been Spring Steel, whom be claims as an old mate. I know tbat there are three private rewards offered for bis apprehension, dead or a1ive, besides the regular government plice." "It may be ginuine, then, or it may be only a trick of some common boss-thief to skeer us off from follerin' after our critters," muttered Mariposa Marsh, thoughtfully rubbing the tip of bis nose. "Only for the gold, I would take tbe trail at once and answer his precious note in person!" said Cooper, bis lips compressed, bis bands working nervously and the dangerous fire deep ening in bis eyes. "One thing is sart'in," added Mariposa Marsh, apparently not hearir.g the observation of bis old friend. We caia't tote all this gold to Melbourne, nur even to Ballarat, on our backs. I won't make a 'tarnal jassack o' myself fer no body I Tb at much is settled, sure I" "Nor will I leave the gold behind," as firmly but more quietly added Captain Cooper. "Not fer good an' all, in course not," quickly uttered i>he veteran. "I don't give up a thing so {lllSY when I once set about kerryin' of it out. But we've got to cachet be gold ag'in, in some snug spot, ontel we kin git back them critters." "That sounds more like it," said Cooper, bis contracted brows relaxing. "I was afraid you meant to beat a retreat and let both gold and horses go. I might have known you better." "I don't say that it wouldn't be the wisest plan, but the best o' us is little better tben fools at odd spells, an' it's my trun now, I s'pose. But we'll see the job through, now we're started in it, an' try the metal o' this brimstone critter. "Yer's my plan, which af anyo' ye kin better it, all right: "We'll -pick out a deep bole in the crick, yender, an sink the gold-bags into it,. tyin"em together an' markin' the place so we kin find an' draw 'em out easy when the right time comes. Thar's enough britches an' shirts layin' 'round loose to make the bags-" "What of the two men down the shaft!" in terpo!

18;' agree t1iat that course is the best one to follow, I'll do my share of the fighting, but as soon as the road is fairly opened for you, I'll return here and defend my rights." "Whatever else we do, we must all hang together," said Mariposa Marsh, decisively. "It may be that -we're makin' a fuss over nothin', but the didoes o' that p'12en imp up yender, makes me feel monstrous dubersome. Looks like he knowed he an' his mates bed the dead-open-an'-shet onto us!" "Well, what is to be done first! Abandon the treasure I won't-that is said and sworn totf' "Nm: we won't 'bandon you, though I'm peskily 'feared that this gold 'll cost ye more in the eend then ten times tba amount '11 ever be able to pay back. But we 'listed fer the bad as well as the good, an' must take things all they come. "Fu'st thing-you three boys want to keep a cluss lookout, an' let us know the fu'st you see o' any more inemies. Next, le's git up them two fellers down the hole." Captain Cooper bent over the mouth of the sbart and bailed the two bnshrangers. "We're 'most ready," promptly responded the fellow who bad all along acted as spokes man. Thar's only a few more bags to pack up, an' then we'll be done." "Tell 'em to leave the gold wbar it is, an' both hang on to the rope, while we draw 'em up," muttered Mariposa Marsh as Cooper turned an inquiring glance toward him. Tnis order was transmitted to the men below, and was promptly obeyed, though not without soml' little curiosity on the part of the outlaws, as the expression upon their faces plainly be trayed as they were drawn up to the surface. "Take a half-hitch 'round thar arms, an' ef they try to play any tricks, tickle 'em with lour knives, hilt deep," said Mariposa Marsh m a tone that none could doubt was perfectly sincere. "The rest o' ye keep a cluss lookout, an' call me if l'm needed in a hurry." While speaking, the veteran lowered the rope down the shaft to its full extmt, then gras:p e d the cord with hands an:l knees, allowing him self to slip steadily down the pit. The meaning of all this was an enigma to Mariposa's comrades, but he possessed their full confHence, and they knew that be was working for the common good. S t ill their curiosity did not prevent them from obeying his orders and keeping a close lookout in every direction, and their blood flowed more quickly as they sight of the spy on the hilltop making various slow but emphatic gestures, apparently signaling to bis mates. That this was the fact, was only too speedily made manifest by the appearance of Se'{eral hman beings at each end of the oblong valley, as well as upon thti hill where the trail crossed lt. How strong these forces were, could only be surmised, for the enemy kept themselves covered as completely as possible, while slowly but surely drawing toward a common center which, almost as a matter of cou\"se, was the shaft beside which our friends were now stationed. The two captive busbraogers were not the last to remark this new phase of a1fairs, and that they confidently believed 'they would reap the benefit of any chanJl:l was plain enough. "Don't you think it!' said Bowen in au omi nous mutter as he read their hopes in their brightening faces. "If an army of your kidney were to come into this Guieb for tbe express purpose, they would rescue only your dead bodies. The first shots that are fired, kills you!" Matters were growing critical enough, and in obedience to the instructions be had received, Cooper called agerly listening to his words. But I'm willin' to pledge you my word o' honor that I kin see my way cl'ar through the scrape, p'izen nasty though 1t looks at the fu'st glance. Promise to kerry out my orders without hesitation or axin' any questions fer tbe present, an' all will go well yit. You hev my worrl o' honor to that etrec' 1" "Tell us what to do and we'll do It if three boys can," simply said Frank Freeman, and that he spoke for all was clear from t be manner in which Mat and Harold ranged along side. "Go take t hem blankets and soak 'em as full o' crick water as they'll bold," said Maripos!>. Marsh. The prompt obedience of tbe three Jails was not without its influence over Captain Cooper, who bad been too long used to commanding to find unquestioning obediance easy, but be, too, bad great faith in bis old mate, aud announced hie readiness to trust him without words or ex planation. Of course, this submission included that of the two policemen, who were in duty bound to follow wherever their chief led. and Mariposa Mar. sh immediately set them to work.


I ... 19 ( Mariposa Marsh.' "You," indicating Bowen," take one o' them your fate, old mate!" he muttered in an earnest critters an' go down the shaft. Stop at the tone as he grasped the doubled rope and swung place wbar tbev tuck the gold out of.i_ an' be himself over the opening. ready to stow away tbeklust as we lo-r it." There wns no real necessity for this warnillg. His instructions were promptly obeyed, and Mariposa Marsh knew that he bad aheady done as the three lads now returned with the blanhis share of the work-all that a single man kets thoroughly saturated, Mariposa Marsh could d(l-and though brave even to tbe verge gave them their orders, thus being himself left of recklessness when there was anything to be .at liberty to keep the enemy from stea1ing up gained by such a course, be was not a man to too close for safety, which be did by one or two run any unnecessary risk through pure bravado, well -directe d shots which, though doing little or to throw away his life while a chance for injury, since the outlaws kept closely covered, preserving it remained. served bis purpose by warning them of what So, slinging his rifle over bis shoulders by the the slightest exposure might result in. strap attached, be grasped the rope as soon as Meanwhile Cooper, .Tames, the second police the captain bad des ce nded sufficiently far to man, and the three lads, aided by Bowen below, permit him, and in ten seconds more was on the quickly lower!J

ao Mariposa. Marsh. \, at this delay, whlch he feared l)oded ill for the success of his desperate expe dient. Where he bad expected an immediatEI rush, and perhaps a volley of bulleta and bowlders down the mouth of the shaft, all was silence and seeming peace. Still be did not give utterance to his fears, but as soon as bis feet were firmly planted on the level, he rapidly drew down the rope by pulling on one end, coiling it up as he did so for future use, since that was an important feature in his plan of escape. At first all was dark to those below, so much so that they could not distinguish the forms of their closest neighbors, unless these stood upon the very verge of the shaft, or of the l'lvel, to be more accurate. Even then, features could not be 4istinguished until several minutes bad elap3ed, and, consequently, nearly all were afraid to move, lest they should be precipitate'.! into some unseen pit, or down the lower shaft. The exceptions were Bowen and the prisoners, the former because his eyes had grown !l'.lmewhat accustomed to the gloom, the latter because they had formed a pretty aocurate idea of the nature and shape of the place which tbey now occupied, by their labors and researches while collecting and packing up the treasure desposited there by Spring Steel. This knowledge may be briefly expressed, beiag necessary to a full understanding of what is to follow. Tbe shaft proper was nearly, if not quite, one hundred feet in depth, being much wider at the bottom than the top, and tolerably well braced and shored up by the timbers that had only partially prevented it from caving in. This falling away from the sides in spots, made the opening irregular in shape, affording more than one snug hiding-place in its sides, which fact, proba bly, was the reason the notorious bnshranger selected this particular shaft for the temporary "bank" in which to lorlge his preciom deposits. Still, it was not one of these natural openings which Spring Steel h'ld selected for his cache, but a purely artificial cutting or chamber, the entrance to which was very nearly seven feet square, and now qnite double that in depth. The edges of this chamber, though only partiaUy shored or braced, had crumbled but very little, until the rear was reached. Tbera the earth bad caved from the roof and sides, run ning in an abrupt slope toward if not quite up to the roof. But eyesight availed little so far from the-shaft, down which the only light came, and this could be judged only by feeling. What that cb11mber, if chamber it really was, had been constructed for, only one among the party could have told, while the rest, in their natural anxiety, did not give the matter even a thought. D e spite his uneasiness, Mariposa Marsh did not lose any time; but as soon as be had the rope fairly coiled up, be urged his friends to work, setting the example himself. "Drag the bundles o' gold back here-stow 'em close to the walls on the side, whRr the dirt begins to raise UJ?. Lively, now! 'Twon't be long afore we begm to hear from them p'izen imps up tbar, an' we've got heaps to do yit, afore we're ready.'' "If you wQuldn't be so a!ose-mouthed; but would tell mt what the scheme is you have in your mind, or even give us an idea of its we could work to mncb better advantage," ut tered Cooper, who3e curiosity was as ardent as that popularly ascribed to the fair sex. "Time eiaougb to talk when f git the idee fa'rly mapped out in my own mind," replied Maripos!l Marsh, shortly, even then finding a peculiar pleasure in baffling bis old friend. "Git these bundles out o' the way in the fust place. Then we want to onfold an' fasten two o' them blankets toli"ether, with the other one lappin' over the j'imil' place, so no smoke kin come through while we're flnishin' the job. That d:Jne, we'll see,'' "You think they will try to smoke or roast us out!" "I don't only think so, but I lcnow it," deci sively responded the veteran. "The little we left burnin' up yender will be sure to putt the idee into thar heads, even ef it wasn't thar already. They'll take that as the e11Siest way o' gettm' sbet on us, an' so it would be, ef so be we was fools en6ugh to set still here an' let 'em hev things all tbarown way-which tbiscbioken, fer one, don't 'low to do." Scarcely had Mariposa Marsh uttered thli1 sentence when the enemy above struck the first blow. Until now they had been kept from approaching the mouth of .. tbe shaft by the doubts and suspicions already alluded to, but when con vinced by the spy that these fears were abso lutely without foundaJ;ion, they crowded around the opening, though still keeping a few yards away, lest a rille-shot come from the depths below. Then the spy picked up a heavy fragment of rock, and cast it into the pit, yelling aloud in ferocious exultation as a piercing scream of horrible agony and despair came to their ears from the gloomy depths below I CHAPTER VII. THE DISCOVERY MA.DE BY MARll'OSA MARSH. THAT wild, unearthly scream, extortt>d by agony the most intense, caused the blood or those pent up in the narrow chamber below t.o fairly run cold, for they knew that it pro claimed the death or maiming of one of their numbel'! But which one! Who was the hapless victim! Such were the questions asked by one .and all as they gli.nced hul'riedly around-asked, but only mentally, for they dreaded the answer which might be given to the spoken words. Mariposa Marsh was the first to solve the mystery, thanks to bis position furthest from the erlge of the shaft, thus 11:iving him A fairer >iew of bis companions, and there was great re lief in his voice when he saw that Frank. Harold and Mat were near him, then discovered the truth, crying: "It was one o' them two critters we fetched 'down witb us-lucky 'tain't no wuss!" Such was indeed the fact. The larger one of the two outlaws was no longer in the chamhE>r, and as all the rest .could be accounted for, being safe and uninjured, there was no reasonable


... Mariposa Marsh. bat that be was the sufferer, or that that unval."tl:l,Y shriek had come from his lips as be fell a victim to the first blow dealt by his friends above. "' He was the man whom Captain Cooper had forced to descend the shaft at the muzzle of his pistol, and was apparently a f..r more stubborn, reckless fellow than bis mate, since he it was who so narrowly mis sed shooting tfie police offi cer wh e n the latter drew near the shaft, after tbe'deathof Greenhorn and defeat of bis band. It s eems that he was res olved to make his es cape from captivity, at all risks, and doubtless fancied he saw_ a go o d opp ortunity when bis captors were a11 busied in stowing away the treas ure, and preparing the blankets unde r di rection

Mariposa. Marsh. old mate, ef you only fall to an' lend us a band." Tb ere was a confidence in the ton e s of the veteran that convinced Captain Coop e r of his truth, and without any further obje etion s beset to w ork with tbe others. Nimbly as they bestirred themselves, it seem ed a s though they were to be too late after all, for blazing brands began to rattle down tbe shaft, together with woolen clotbs, evidently garments stripped from the bodies of dead outlaws and an off e n sive smoke was drawn into tbe chamber, around the edges of the blanket screen Coop e r fairly snorted w ith di s gust, as h e n o t e d this, and quit work for a moment. But it was only for an instant. Then be learn ed tbe truth, and divin e d the secret which had led MariQOsa Mars h to act so strangely. Tbe smoke rushed into the chambe r rapidly, yet the atmos ph ere dirl not gro-w unbearable, as one would naturally suppos0., and between thes e two facts b e made the di s c o very. Unles s there was a strong draught, the smoke w o uld not enter in sucll'. profusion; 01' if it did enter, the chamber would spe edily b e come so full tha t breathing would be impos s ible. "You've hit it, gri nned Maripo sa Marsh, but work lively, or tbem imps up yende r may diskiver the smok e comin' out o' the other cbimbly-an' the n we wottla be gone up!" A little ashame d of the p etulance and dis trus t b e had e xbibiL e d, Captain Coo p e r f e ll to work with redoubled en ergy,. and a s tbEl earth was quite moist, enabling them to build it up in an almos t p erpe ndicular wall, ten minutesJater saw all of the crevice s clos e d so oocur e ly, that ilot a particle of smoke could ent&r the cham ber . "You kin take 1 a little easier, now.'' said Marsh, wh e n he a s certainPd tbis fact. "Still w e want to d o uble wh a t we 'v/e done, fer them blankets mou gbt com e an' we would b e wns s off afore." Wbil e we're at w o rk, supno s e y o u t e ll us how a ll this i s to end said Frank Freeman, brus hin g the drops of SV1Ceat from bis h eated brow. "l, for one, am g etting both hu._ngry and thirsty, and as we have neitll e1 fo o d nor drink with m-" "You shell h e v plen t y o' both afore more h ours.' interpo s e d Maripo s a Marsh, s e at ing him self and lighting hi s pip e "Afor e midnig ht, or yon kin eat an' drink me!" laughing. "Do n t knock of! work beca' se l do. l cain't tall an' do dirt-daubin' all to onc e t. '!'bat wall mmt be made a beap thicker afore we kin cail ourselves safe. You do the work an' I'll play bo s s." There was a general laugh at this cool propo sition, but no one thonght of raising any obj ec tion. The veteran had already done l:!is share, as all were agre ed. "One or two o' you boys climb up tbar an' tbrow d o wn the dirt from nigh the top. It 'II sitve work fn tb& e e nd. The rest kin t ote it over an' stren'tbe n tbe w a ll." Mat and Harold hast e n e d to obey this order, probably be caus e the y saw that a little harm l e ss diversion piight be minirled with the labor, but this idea was quickly driven out of their minds, and both lads uttered wondering crie11. "There's a hole up here big enough for & man to crawl in!" exclaimed Harold. "An' big a-p1'.nty fer him to crawl cl,ean through, too," laughed Mariposa Mnrsh, openl,r enjoying the surprise and vivid curiosity of his comrades. "You fellers didn't surely think I was so big a fool as to run my bead into a bole like tbis, onless I see a way o' gittin' out ag'in, right eend up'ards!" There was no responso made to this innocent b .it o' sarcasm, for not one present but what bad been guilty of the very thing which Mariposa Marsh affected to believ& was impossible. They could see now how ridiculoua were the doubts they bad entertained, for np m 'an of the veteran's cle n r wit and long experience would sought refuge in a shaft without kLOwing how he was going to leave it. Mariposa Marsh was well enough satisfi e d with the situation to refrain from pressin g bis bis advantage too hard, and aft"er a quizzicar grin toward Captain Cooper, he resumed: "lt all 'long o' the habit I've got o' keepin' my eyes open an' makin' a mental note o' everytbin' that passes around me. Only fer that, I reckon we'd be up yender 'mong the rocks, mighty har.i pressed by Brimstone Bnt an' his imps. "You know we tried fire onto the two crit ters they sent down here to colloot the gold. You ain't fergot, nuther, how quick we brang 'em to tarms; bnt thar was one other p'int I no tic e d, which none o'tbe rest to see, an' that was that hardly a smiteh o' smoke kam back up the shaft, -"Now I knowed we'd made smoke enough to fill tbe hole chuck-full, an' that it bed yot to g I looked around an' see it gral> we diskivered sig11 o' the inemy. "It was to make a:l things sure that I went down the bole fnst, an' I might not 'a' noticed the fact atany cthr time, or ef I bedn"t s e en tbe smoke actin' so, roinnit I sot foot in this chamber I felt a stiddy -iraught of air that told me whar to lo o k fer thL' (i:'lssage-the same the lads found j0st now. "Course I the matto-;-, an' man idged to worm. my way clean th1','1Jgh to the other shaft, though I found one o:" two places whar I hed to sqneedge out 'most thin as a sas sidge afore I could make tba.riffie We'll b ev to do som&-dirt-scratchin' afor& we kin tote the gold through, I reckon." But suppose they notice th& smoke same as yon did!" That's the one weak p'int in n:iJ 'ran1'e ments," frankly admitted the veteran. Bat it'd be too much to expect everyth!n' in our favor. That don't often hapwn in real life, an' we've got to run the ch:linces. I don't r e ckon, though, that thar's much danger. We clos e d up the bole au' cut off the draught so quick "You kin guess why I ke:p' so Close:-IllO'IJt\led


Mariposa Ma.rah. 28 ontel we bed the passage fa'rly blocked up. Thar was a cbaince of one o' our pris'ners glvin' us the slip, an' ef I y our questions, they'd 'a' blowed the bull tbing see f His audie nce did see, and realized the fact of his having pursued the wi sest course; and Captain Cooper made ample amends for bis petulant sus p icions by the warm grasp which be gave the band of the veteran. On e o' you kin take charge o' the pris'neror, bette r still," added Mariposa Mars h, rising and knoekinr,: the ash e s from bis pipe bowl. "Tie bis ban s abind him, an' put a st.opper in his mouth. 'Twon't do to run any onnec essary resk s an' a sinfle yelp from his throat mought ruin e v erytbin when the time comes fer down riiznt, s o ber work." Despite the protests of the outlaw, these orders were promptly exe cuted. "Now, the n, while you. fell e rs finish buildin t!Mt mud wall, I'll take a crawl through the bole an' see what the pros p e cts is," added Mari posa Mars h, l e a ying bis rifle behind, but taking along bis side-arms, in case of an emergency aris ing. The veteran proceeded like one who knew be bad an abundance of tiu;e to s pare; and care fully guarded against making any sqund that could alarm the most watchful enemy. As be drew near to the other extremity of the tunnel, his anxiety was r e doubled, and for a few mo m e nts-bis heart throbbed suffocatingly, growing sick witbin him, for ho bel[e ved that all had been di s covered by the enemy! In case the connection between the two shafts was di sc overed, or eve n suspected, be knew that their fate was indubitably s ealed; that only death awaited them, either swift and speedy by the we<1poos of the bu sbrangers, or slow and terrible through starvation. U od e r tbe exist ing circumstances, half a doz e n men, divided betwee u the two shafts and working aboveground, could easily overmaster ten times their number below. These fears were perfectly natural, f or Mari po s a Marsh saw that the light of day no longer shimmered down the shaft, and be believed the bushrangers bad d e tected the rising smoke and covered the opening over, the more surely to their 'Uct ims. S t ill be continued his advance, &nd as he g a ined the end of ..the tunnel, an involuntary murmur of thankfulne ss escaped bis lips, for bis fears were not realized-the shaft was still open, though only a faint light came down the aperture. The explanation was gfmple enough. Far more time bad elapsed since their descent into the bow e ls of the earth than Mariposa. Marsh had realized, and the shades of were already settling over the V&Jley-witbout. Still, there was time enough and to spare, for not until the night bad fairly set in could be ven ture to complete tbe difficult and delicate task he bad set for hims e lf. D enying himself bis pipe, lest the scent of the grate ful weed should be detected by s,me keen n o sed enemy above 1,tround, he settled down in a c omfortable position near the edge of the w bich, like the other one, far below the level o! the tunnel, and with bis gaze riveted keenly upon the opening above, sought to a s c ertain whether or no the enemy bad plac e d a g uard over tbe entrancn Many min utes were passed thus without bis hearing or seeing anything suspicious, when bis attention was attracted by a sound in the narrow paSS11ge behind him. It was too dark for eyesight to avail aught when looking away from the shaft, but the vete ran was nothing alarmed, for be knew tbatnoni. save a friend could thus draw near from that direction, and this belief was quickly confirmed by the appearance of Harold Freeman, bearing a m e ssage from Cooper. "He aidn't know what to make of your stop ping away so long," began Harold. speaking in & l o w, guarded whisper. "He said tell you that th e wall was built up some f eet in thickness, and that is more than is needed for safety. He wants to kndw what is to be done next." "The road ycm come is got to be cl' a red out so the bags o' gold kin be toted through. CW back an' tell him be kin set to work, but not to rush it too fast. Thar's gobs o' ef he'll only think so An' mind: ef I ain't here when be gits the bole cleaned out big enough, tell him be mustn't come, or let any o' tbe party come, within twenty-foot o' this shaft. Nur be mustn't let bis lantern burn, out here Now mind!'' Harold lccurately repeated tbe instructions received, then vanished amid the gloom. After a few minutes' waiting1 Mariposa Marsh arose, satisfied that it was now dark enougll, outside for his purpose, and immediate ly set about bis preparations for his adventure. These were simple enough consisting in remov ing bis heavy boots and laying aside all surplus articles, only retaining one loaded revolver and a knife. The sides of the shaft were tolPrably well lined with timbers, and nearly covered over with trailing vines which at the same time increased the facilities of ascent and the dan since they might at any time betray the reliance placed upon their strength and stability. But Mariposa Marsh bad fairly weighed the -risks be must run, and did-not falter now. Trusting bis weight upon the vines only after cautious but thoro ugh tests, and then only in .mch places where be could not tces, but they all came from one direction, and were thus far most encouraging. Still he did not relax bis prudence, and paused for several minutes with his head on a level with the openin{!: before venturing to wholly emerge from the shaft. This be was enabled to do without danger of discovery, since the vine clad bushes bad partially overgrown the mouth of the shaft, exti.nding for several 7ards around on every side, forming the best o cover, even under the light of the noonday sun.


Mariposa Marsh. By this time Mariposa Marsh was fully satis fied that the enemy had not the faintest sus picion that the two shafts were connected by e.n open tunnel, else a strong guard would have been placed around them both, even if the firecure was not brought into play. Hence he hesi tated no longer about cautiously worming bis way through the bushes and bowlders until he secured a position from whence he could peer out upon the enemy. Not more than forty yards of space divided him from the bushrangers, and as a large fire was burning brightly, not far from the mouth of the other shaft, \le oould study their faces anrl _general appearance witbont any difficulty, at bis l eisure. "Thirteen men-an' I don't reckon thar's any more," muttered Mariposa Marsh, afte1 a careful examination of the bushrangei,;s, who were gathered arc;und the fire, eatin[ their supper of kangaro_g meat and "damper.' "Nearly double o:Jr force, but I don't reckon tbar's too many, ef we manidge things i;igbt. An' manidge it we will, too!" The ruddy firalight brought out all the wo.rst features of the baker's doze n of rascals, if anything intensifying their ferocity> and criminal passions. All were heavily armed, stout, desperate men, who knew that t!Yey fought with a baiter around their necks, "'1ich halter would assuredly perform its office were any of them taken alive. Such m e n are always dan$erous, because they see no hope abead. Mariposa Marsh bad scarcely finished his estimate of them, when be was startle d to bear the neigh of a horse at no great distance from the campfire, and tbOugh the fact seemed too good to be true, be believrd that their stolen animals-bad been brought into the Gulch, no dou\Jt for the purpo se of bearing a way the golden treas ure of Spring S te el, Keeping in the densest cover and making good use of the shadows as well, Mariposa Marsh crept around the bivouac and soon gafoed a p oint from wbenee be could count the animals as they croppe d the nutritious grass beside the creek. Not a little to his delight he saw that none were missing, all eight being tethere d close at hand, apparently none the worse for their un- lawful trip h company with the busbra,ngers. "Tbat's settled, then, i>ven ef tbar were any doubt afore!" muttered Mariposa Marsh beneath his breath as he turned to retrace his steps. "Tbe p'izen fools don't 'spect nothin', or they'd be les s kllerless, an' bev a guard set on the crit ters." He found Captain Cooper and all the rest awaiting him when he descended and gained the tunnel. Cl!APTER VIII. A WAY OUT OF THE LABYRINTH. "WHAT next?" demanded the officer in a guarded whisper. "The passage is opened, and we've brought all tb e gold here. What is the next move? Wbat did you tlnd-" u One qu e stion at a time, an' they'll last longer," retorted Mariposa Marsh, who appeared to find apeculiar pleasure in curbing the natural impetuosity of his old partner. "In the fus't place, wbar's the ropo whicli> ., come down on?'' Frank handed him the coil, without a word. "Now then, I want a stout yit actyve man," re sumed the veteran, knotting one end of the rope around.J:ris waist as be spoke. "You, Bowen, 'II j1st about fill the bill, pervided il'.:ou kin bring yourse!{ to take orders from anybody cept Cap." "Do exactly as he bids you, Bowen," said Cooper stiffly. "Then take off your boots an' make ready to f o l !er me up the shaft," promptly added the veteran. While Bowen was silently obeying the instruction s given him by Mar iposa Marsh, that worthy, seei n g that the captain and others would require at least a partial explanatioll' in order to act i ntelligent l y and m concert, c6ndescen-ded to speak mo r e p l ainly. "l'm up yender to make a m01e thoroug h scout an fix things in my mind so thar won't bA n o diffikilty when the time comes fer sober work. I'll take up this rope an' make one eend fast to the tim hers above, or to a rock-anyway, fasten i t so it won't give with the weight o' the biggest man in the comp'ny: To save time, Bowen'll go 'long with me, fur as tbe mouth o' the shaft, an' when tbar, 'll haul up tbe gold as you fellers tie 'em t-0 the other eend o' the rope. They won't JlOne o' .vou do no talkia', an' Bowen 'll be 'tick'larly keerful, sense ef them p'izen critters up yender wind o' what's goin'on afore wE! git all ready fer to give em ge-lory to t"e ram! why, we'll git knocked on the h e ad, sure s spootin'l" "Then why rtin the risk of any further delay?" de marn;ied Ca'l:itaiu Cooper. "Why not all 1iands go UP. as soon as the rope is llxe

Ma.riposa Marsh. human being could have so long endured that inMuch, of course, depended upon the first blow, tense heat, even if the suffocating smoke bad not and it was to render this as certain as possible that been beforehand with the flames. Between the two, Mariposa Marsh was running the risk of a second assuredly the bold but incredibly foolish treasure-scout. The discovery made during bis first ven seekers had met their deaths-thus the bushrangers ture, of .the horses having been brought t-0 the reasoned. rendered the projected surprise more difficult Their carele!.1! attiitudes, together with a.few dis-than it would otherwise have been, for obvious rea connected words reached the ear of the vetsons. Their aid was essential in transportiug the eran, told him all this as plain as words, and while gold to a place of safety, but unless the ambuscade assuring him that their surprise would be quite could be placed between thP animals and the camp compiete, ere they given time to make necesfire, it was almost certain that some if not all of the sary arrangements. they also aroused a fresh and horses would be into service by the terror hitherto unthougbtof source of peril in his mind. stricken survivors as they tied from the spot of "Thar's no 'pendin' on the i>


28 :Mariposa. Marsh. afl'ord to wait that long. In the morning we'll drown the fire out. Luckily the creek is bandy, and the job won't be a verr. heavy one." "It's a job thats 'peared easy enough ever sence you tuck hold of It," observed another fellow, whose general appearance, together with bis bandaged wqunds, induced Mariposa Marsh -to believe that he was one of the two men belonging to Greenhorn's gang who bad managed to from the Gulch \Vith life. "But I'm monstrous sorry we didn't ketch 'em alt alive! It d 'a' made my hurts feel easier, an' my dead mates wouldn't 'a' slept any the less sound ef I could 'a' the chaince to tortur' 'em a f e w hours or so, fu st!" "Your boss made an infernal botch of the whole '1Job," bluntly retorted Brimstone Bill. unheeding the gross flattery of the wounded outlaw. "He was never intended to be anything highe r than a sneak thief or a spy. In those lines he was nearly perfect, but when he tried bis hand atra higher cut of busi ness. he played the ass in a lion's skin. "It is just as well for you Joe Damper and Hark from-thetombs, that he did make a botch of the affair, since we were on tlle l ookout, an eye on each one of you. "You had a spy in their camp, little thinking that at the same time your every motion was clos ely watched by my m e n, and that not a word was spoken among you but what it was brought to me before the breath had time to cQol on your lips l We saw Captain Coop e r and his men closing in around you, after knockmg your single lookout on the bead,' and there was a time when wecould have crushed the police at a single blow; but we suffered them to pass by, for reasons of our own. And yet, there IS no particular reason why I should not be frank with you. "My r easons for acting as I did are easily stated. In the first pla,ce it is againstJTiy..principles to pay a double price for any article which I may cbance to covet, or to do work with my own hand when there are others ready to undertake the job at their own risk and expense1 y e t giving or suffering m6to r, little short of death or an earthquake could tm:n him aside before the task he set himself was fairly accomplished. And now, the moment he reached the decision recorded above he cast asii'e all doubts concerning the prudence of Captain Cooper, and bent all his powers of both body and mind to solving the question which had a.risen. This presented no particular difficulties to one so skillful at creeping and crawling, when once he had gotten out of line wi t h the fire, and keeping well covered by the natural protuberances, Mariposa Marsh did not require many minutes to ascertain the welcome fact that n9 guard had been placed over the horses by the busbrangers. Thin was especially fortunat

Marlpoaa Marsh. Sf tnjun file, an' movin' ae keerful as though you was walkin' on thin ice over a bottomless pit o' bilin aulpbur an' brimstone-see?" A beautiful and appropriate simile-go on!" murmured Captain Cooper, with a faint smile. "I never bed the pleasure o' meetin' the Simmy Lee you speak of, so I cain't say whether he was beautiful or I don't keer a continental," equably retorted mariposa Marsh. "Them as bain't got no vein o' poetry runnin' through tbar compersition, shouldn't make no remarks when one that chainces to be a little better favored by natur, sorter slings on the style, in a graceful ma1A1er, like. But this ain't busilj.ess. "I've picked out a lovely spot fer to spring our andbusb from, 'bout bafP-way between the hosscritters an' the fire whar the men-imps hes hunker ed down fer the night. We kin git 1har easyenogb,' any 'spicion, ef we take keer in s e t tin' our huffs down; an' then we kin knock over the bigr:est hafe o' the miscreants afore they know that the trump o' doom is crackin'. Then we,ll out 'v ol vers an' break kiver, each man whoopin' an'J"ellin' like be was a hull_tribe o' drunken InJuns on a t'ar an' bound fer to play cirkls S ee?" "No doubt you have devised the best plan under existmg circumstanceM, and the sooner we set about bringing it to a fini s h the better, observed Captain Cooper, then adding for tbe benefit of the three youngsters: "r..emember wbat I t o ld you about Brimstone Bill and his gang of murdering cut-throats. Their Jives have been justly forfeited by a thousand brutal and it is no more sin to shoot them clown wit))out warning than it would be to slay a wolf whose jaws were bmied iu the throat of an lnnQCent and belpless lamu!" "'Pears l ike poetry is ketchm'," commented Mari posa Marsh, with an oily chuckle. "We understand what is expecte, an sarcumstnnces hev already 'clded that shoulnl" muttel1'lc11the veteran1 nodding viciously to ward en(lnlies. "That is the last pipe ;rou 'II ever smoke-fer wliaryou're goln' 'bacco don't grow, or et it did, It'd scorch up afore you could crowd Into a pipe-bowll" with a grin at bis grim conceit. Ten. minutes sufficed for allot the pttrty to 11.Bcend tbe shaft by means of the rope, and then, satisfied that ever,ything was in readiness, J\lP.riposa Marsh touched Cooper by way of warning. and crouching low down, led the way the route he had marked out so carefuJly in his memory, moving slowly in order to insune perfect silence Thanks to the precautions be had taken dnring his two scouts, this was no difficult matter, even f, r those who were now passing over the ground for tLa first time. Though all the way was under cover, mnde doubly emciPDt by the intense darkness, th!l trail WaS a fairly open one, and as each one of the party re alized the of the l))eril they wculd incur in cam tbe of the bushrangers wer e awakened, they exercised the utmost caution, and not a sound betrayed their pro"ress. Ten minutes of this steatt'i'iy advance brought Mariposa Marsh to the spot which be had chosen for his ambuscade, and pausing at the nearest end, he siimed for Cooper to halt. "This is your position" he uttered la a guarded whisper. "You'll spot tiwt big fellC'r wioh the black baircl an' blue shirt. Wait fer the word, then make sure o' your meat I" The captain maJe no response other than by kneeling clown and pushing the muzzle of his rifle forward, keepinl? his eyes fixed on the hush ranger indicated as Lis special target. Jn a like manner lllariposa Marsh posted each one of the party, giving each bis mark, thus making sure that two bullets should not he waste d upon tlle same enemy. All this consumed some little tirr e, but as the bushrangers seemed fairly settled down for tbe night, this mattered but llttle. Above all else, it was essential that there sliould be no mistake about the first blow, s.ince victory or defeat depended upon its thofougbness. But when Mariposa M'arsh had assumed his own position, he was quite at ease, and felt not tbe doubt of the result. His plans ilad been so carefull,y formed, and the preliminaries so admira bly C'arned out, that there was hardly any proba bility of their failure. As yet not a weapon had been cocked, fllllupon that still night a sound would surely tell the bushrangers tnat trouble was brewing. But this fact did not trouble Mariposa Marsh. He knew that every one CJf his comrades were "xperts with their firearms, and would find no difficulty in cock ing their weaRQns and covering their men with one and the same motion, so quicl

:Ma.rlpo11a. Marsh. Give the p'lzen Imps the same kind o' qua.rter they thought to rve us-down with 'em!" His pisto was quite as busy as his tongue, and punctuated every sentence, while the others were none the less earnest in their onset, their blood fairly boiling. The massacre-for indeed it was no better, since not one of the bush rangers was given time to draw a weapon or fire a shot-was over almost as soon as begun. Only three of the thirteen stout men rose to their feet, and these were shot down before they could pass the circle of firelight in their vain attempt to flee. Never was a surprise more complete, or more thoroughly improved I Tbeir short-lived fury over, the three boys stood gazing upon the bloody scene in which they had played such a prominent part, their cheeks growing pale, their h9arts twrning sick within their bosoms, their better natures strongly revolting. "'Twas only an act of common justice," said Mariposa Marsh, observing-their emotions and drawing near them leaving Captain Cooper and hls men to make sure that none of the bushrangers had or could make their escape. "You mustn't look on them as human creatures, for they had forfeited all claims on humanity b.v numberless crimes and deeds of ruthless atrocity. Not one among them but what had committed murder, and even worse. Yon re member the report we heard of that family-the Havens? This man, Brimstone Bill,_ and his gang committed that dastardly crime. Think of what those poor women endured before death came to their relief, and then remember that this you have helped to ave>;ers, coolly aotting them down in his note-book as the basis of an official report. Bowen and his mate were dragging forward the slain, on" by one, for identification, then callously pitching them down the still glowin .e; shaft, as the lilostspeedy method of getting ri'.i ofun eyesore. "Even if we had fail >d in Ol!r sear::b for tho_ treasure of Spring: Steel," said Captain Coop0r, arising and carefully stowing: away 11is note-book as a paiuful gurgle in the throat oft.he dying bushranger told him that no further informotion could be gleaned from tbQe lips, "this would not ttave been a bad night's work, pecuniarily speaking. One JY)Unds for tne death of each hush ranger, beside over three thousand po1inds of spe cil>.l rewards which I can sum up from memory! It will make a glorious report, and not only that, hut it will furnish an admirable excuse for our tlon. No one will have any thoughts or suspicion el. the greatest stroke we have made," "Of course it all comes In the way, , your trade said Mariposa Marsh, speaking a little more co1dl1 than was his way when addressing his mate, "but fer all that1 I'd rather made my livin' some other way. Heaa-money is poor gold to my notion.' "Intercourse with those lads has somewhat un settled your stomach, old friend," said Cooper, with a laugh. "But come: we will not quarrel about an empty idea. To tell you the trutn, I am not in love with the life myself, and if we once get our treasure safe andsound,I mean to resign my com Il)ission. I will go ou.t in a blaze of glory, anywayl No other officer can boast of a!f go6d a sbowmg in a single season. Three gangs of bushr&ngers, iucluding SpringBteel and Brimstone Bill!" "Don't crow too loucl afore youtr"e clean out o' fhe woocls," dryly uttered the veteran. "That report ain't handed in yit, mebbe it never 'II be. These pesl..-y hills an' hollers seem to be chuck-full o' the p'izen bushrangers au' sich-like varmints, an' we may be called upon to flax out a couple aozen or two more afore all's done. Thar's no dead-sure thing 'bout it." lf" doubt we could do it, with you to lay the plani for us," added Cooper, with a cordial hugh, but all the same, I prefer resting on the laurels already won. Enough is enough, but too much Is a plenty, as I've heard you say." "An' truer words was never spoken then them But we're ta.lkin' when we should be at work. We want to git that gold packed up an' skin out o' afore any more two-legged wolves smell out the rlch bait!" True enough. Let us once get fairly outside, where wti will have plenty of room to maneuver in, and I don't care how many of your wolves come of mediCaptain Cooper appeared to be iu an unusually loquac!ous mood, and lest he should go on away the precious moments that had far better be spent in work, Mariposa Marsh turned aide to seek out the boys, who were busUy engaged in preparing animals f.or the road. Cooper understood this silence,and bade his two followers bring forth the packaj?es containme; thegol1-en treasure of Spring Steel, while he searched for stout canvas sacks which ne had provided for the purpose of carryiug back the gold, m case the information contained in the s ecret cipher should prove corroct. These were readily discovered wilere they had b?eu dropped when the treasure-seekers began fileir advance on the band under command of Greenorn3_1l_nd into the,m were stowed the smaller sacks and dust. burine;an this tlme not one of the party had given thought to the pri"oner whom they had left bell'ld in the tun'le-1; but at this juncture Mariposa arsb remembered his' existence, and bidding the youngsters stand ready to the fellow, he took t .he dark-lantern au':\ once more descended the shaft. Here a truly sartlini:: surprise awaited him. for tbe ou'law was not to he seen by the mouth of t'le tu:Jnel lay.: thP thongnfirmPd. This WM an a:lditional r eas'>n tor their making an possible haste in leaving the dangerous precincts of !>Pad l\lan's G 1 1lch, not that the one man by himself was to be dreaded, bnt there was a probabilit, y 6r his falling in with another gang of busll whose cupidi(y would be 11et on fire by the tale li0 could tell of the marvelos treasure, and Mariposa Mar!lh cared for no more fighting on that score if it could possihl;y bo &voide<;l, BA_pidl( .-.


eans at their command. "Ile was a Roman Catholic, and I '-ill take care to have masses said f o r the r e p oo of bi3 soul," uttered Captain Cooper, himself a Protestant, as far as be dabbloJ in r eiigio u at all. "Could he have spoken be would have made no ohjection, for be was ever a generous, accommodating f e llow. A ny way 'JUr first duty is owing to the livimz, and since that rascal has given us lhe we will be in dnngPr untJJ we leave this df;lllthtrap many miles us. 11 lf all parties were not fully satisfied with this r<>asoning, at J ea!;t they did not rc.ise any audibl" objections, since such would plainly Ile u se l ess. The deP.d was clone, nor could it be altered, even h a d they so The sacks of gold were firmly secured b e hind the snddle of f'acb horse, a double quantity b e ing placed on the extra animal, of which Bowen took charge. Then, P.ach mall leading his own allotted beast, tl1e l!We band slowly wound their way up the steep slope, !eaving the Gulch, which now doublydeserv1 d the grim appellation it had received y es.ts before, bel...::;.i them with feelings which contained anything but l\Inri .posa Marsh instinctively assume d the lend nor did Captain Cooper, fnr a wonder, ftel the faint est trace of jealousy at his doing so. For (the time bei 1:: he would not have grumbled at having his rank superseded by an infantiu-nrmsl Ever since entering the force, like the ATCat majority of those who served in the l:tnd of l?Old, he hr:d constantly dreamed of one day making)1is for tune at a single strokP., and uot without ample pre cedent. But little of tne many treasures found by those whose busin<'ss it wM to bunt down and ex terminate the bnshrar.Piers, was ever accounted for to the until univers::I custom gradual ly grew to be recognized as an if not n regu lar, ls.iv TbljS the doughty captain f Pit no con Ecientious scruples against appropriating lhe tr<'as ure cliscovered to his own a nd p a rtnPrs' use, even while he k-ne w that if-such a. discovPry was openly blazoned abroad, the iron hand of the Government would descend upon it, despite his imaginary righ1s as tinder, or the p ec nl.iar document held by Mariposa Marsh. Upon this point, his brain was Tery busy during that night's ride, but wh e n the new clay had fairly dawned and tb"y came to a halt. for the double pur pose of breathing their animals and breaking their own fast, upon the scanty supply of provisions brought from Dead !\Ian's Guieb, be had matured a plan by which he hoped all trouble might be avert ed, and to which be readily Mal'ir-osa Marsh's cons ent. Spring Steel's treasure was to be passed cf'f as the result of an ext.raordinar'Jy rich find" made by Mariposa Marsh and his young allies. Doubts of the truth of this stntement m!!(ht, and probably would, be ei.tertained, but no objections could h'> of sufficient toi:ce to prevail against shelr unltea Lest the smaller In which the gold was <>OD tained should betray the real facts, it wa. resolveu to spend a clay, when fnirly away from the Gulch, in partially cming the !Jic!e C::f the J ed hor8e \\Lich should b e butchered for that purpose, ma!Lng baf.(s of the hide, in 1 0 which tbe gold "howd be pncked, carefully bw-\ting the original This plan was duly carried ou ,a11d it may be stated here that perfect success attended che cun ning ru5e. Wbatever may have been thought, l'O doubts w ere openly expressed even wh e n Caplain C oo p e r shortly afterward tendered bis resigoat1on o nd r etired for ever from p u blic life as an officer of the Colonia l !l:ountro Police Service. From the !JOUI' when they left Den' !\Ian's Gulch fail'ly behind them. all w en t w e ll with our frici.cl8, they not encountering a peril or meeting wirh an ad venture worthy especial note during tl:c l c,ng jour-ney to the city of Melbourne. Once there, their first m o ve wps to d e i:osit golden treasure of Spring Steel in the \:muk, to tie credit of Tobias Marshall, Esquire." after w blc h C'ooper made out his report and tacked on tn it bis resi gnation, while the othe1s w e re palrouizinf.( the barcyer and tailor, all meeting for supper at tLe hotel. And then. when bune:er was appeased, Mariposa l\Iar"h electrified them by sayin17: "Gentlemen I want vQu all to accompany me while I go to claim my cliiughter, Mi s Jllay Brady I" CH.APTER X SE'.I'I'UNG .ALL A(;'COUl'.'TS. WHAT cousumed a Jong time in telling and ex plaining, may be condensed into a very f e w rarngrnpbs, without d etriment to I he interest o the story. Tobias lllarshall, for that was : is rightful nPme, wns an American of b1ri h. e<"ucn1ion a.n positive 1>vil in her It was the old, old story. A foo:h h ,,if<', p:aying with fire; I\ jealous, bot-tempered l>usbcnc! sus pected far more than the truth; an idl e man of fashion who sought the ruin of what migbt have been a happy 1 1 ome. l\1r. lllurEhall was a fnther. the il' one child being namM llfayrfro111 tl e month in whi..:IJ it was born, and was barely a year old when the catastro phe OCCUI red. The jealous husband rerroacl :ecl his wife for Ler flirting propensities, she retortecl1 and th end wa.. that sne, womanlike, d eals. red tnat she would no longer live with such a tyrant, but would leave him and return home to her mother. This threat hrul b ee u made so often trnt it had lost its origuml terrors, and 1r!r. nlm hall left the city on important busine ss. bei11g-abFent a weeir or more, returning to find that hi s wife had taken their chi l d and for England. This a lone would have bee n bad enough, but an overofficious friend ilastened to tell him that the man of fashion who bacl danced attendance on J\lrs. lllarshall long anit closely, was o a passenger. and had been seen in close converse with the lady as the vessel departed. Or course lllarshall followed them. He overtook them in London, watched his chance, found them together, surprised and accused them, then ended by tossing the fellow out f\f the second-floor window, breaking his neck on the paving below. Cursing his wife, he fled and baffled pursuit, giving himself up from that time to the rougnest. wildest life he could find, only learning the truth when he encountered his daughter, May, in the I:rady, whom he recognized as 'he eot&ing upon perilous r.,,'.


Mariposa Marsh. golden treasure of Spring lilt.eel, Tobias Marshall mnde himself and his claims known to Judge Brady who gave quite as gr&at a surprise as he himself b;;'.d received. He that himself and wife were on the Va!!sel tbac Mrs. Marshall had so rljl'hly embarked in; that sbe was not atte nded by the would be sed .. icer though bis voyage was doubtless under taken with a view to compromise her, and thus pave the way to ultimat.e success. Jud of a father; that Captain Coopar wasas1Jleased as tile best of; hem, for bis long-cherished cfream had be come a reality, and he was already planning a trip across the ocean with them all-for Brady and his wife declared that they could n o t altogelber l ose their daug'lterBut wlfy continue? Enough that F1ank Freeman, when he attained his majority, also gained a true and l o ving wile, while May was often heard to declare that neve r was there another husband to equal tho one she found in the far-away bush of Austialia l THE END. DIME DIALOGUES Mm SPEAKERS FOR SCHOOL EXHIBITIONS AND HOME ENTERTAINMEN'l'S. Nos. 1to38 inclusive, 15 to 25 popular dialogues and dramas in each bk. Each vol-nme 100 pages 12mo. S1rnakers, Nos. 1 to 25 inclusive. Each speaker JOO pages 12mo, contain iug from 50 to.q5 pixes. YOUNG PEOPLE'S SEHIE,S. Dime Book of Winter Sports. Dime Book of SumnB1 Athletic Sports, Dime Gents' w riter. Dime Book of Dreams. Dime Fortune Telier. Dime Ladles' Letter Writer. Dime Lovers' Ca.'>ket. Dime Ball-Ro o m Companion. Dime Book of 100 Games. Dime Chess-fnstructor. Dime Book of flrautv. above bo'!:s arP sold bv nwsdealerP everywhere, or will be sent, post-pald, to any ad 1:'"'of price, ten cents each. BE.l.lli.B ,;.P.AJIS, Ptiblishenr,' 98 William st., N. Y, Half Dime Singer' s Library 1 WHOA, Emu.l nnd 59 other Songs. CUFF and 57 other Songs. 8 THE G..usseor.o' RAT and 62 other Songs. 4 JOHNNY MORGAN and 60 other Songs. 5 I'LL STRI.KE You WITH A FEATHER and 62 others. 6 GEORGE THE CaARMER and 56 other Songs. 7 THE BELLE OF ROCKAWAY and 52 other Songs. 8 YouNG FELLAH, You'RE Too FRESH and 60 i,theis Srrv YOUNG GmL and 65 other Songs. 10 I'M THE GovEIL'IOR's ONLY SoN and 58 other Songu. 11 MY FAN and 65 other Songs. 12 Co=' Trow' TUE RYE and 55 other Soni:-s. 13 Tm: ROLLICKING IRISHMAN and 59 other Sbngs. 14 OLD Doo TRAY and 62 other Songs_ 15 WHOA. CHARLIE and 59 other Songs. 16 ill THIS WHEAT BY AND Bv and 6.2 other Songs. 17 NA.K::v LEE and 58 other Songs. 18 I'M THE IloY THAT'S Bomm TO BLAZE and 57 other.J. 19 Tm: TwQ ORPHANS and 59 other Songs. 20 WHAT ARE THE WILD WAVES SAYING, SISTER! and 59 other Songs. 21 INDIGNANT POLLY Woo and 59 'Other Songs. 22 'l'HE OLD ARM-CHlUR and 58 other <>oogs. 23 Ot1 CONEY lsLAND BEACH and 58 other Songs 24 OLn SIMON, TBE RoT-CORN MAN and 60 others. 25 I'M IN LOVE and 56 other Songs. 2:; PARADE OF THE Gu}. RDS and 56 other Songs, .EAVE, Ho! and 60 other ('longs. 28 'TWILL NEVER no TO Gm IT UP So and 60 others. 2\1 BWE BONNETS OVER THE BORDER and 54 othen;, 30 THE MERRY LAUGHING MAN and 56 otherSongs, 31 SWEET Foao1<:T-HE-NOT and 55 other Songs. 32 LEETLE BABY llIINE and 53 other Songs. 33 De BAN-TO ill DE INSTRUl!EN'.r FOR ME and 53 othera, 34 TAFFY nud 50 other Songs. 35 JusT TO PLEASE THE Boys and 52 other Songs. 36 SKATING ON ONE IN ,}HE Gll'l.'TER and 52 others. KoLORED KRANKS and 59 ()tber Songs. 83 NIL DESPEHANDUM a11d 53 other Songs. 39 THE GIRL I LEFT BEarnn l\IE and 50 other ::;...r,"'9 40 'TIS BUT A LITTLE F FLOWE& and 50 others \1 PRETTY WBILIIELMIN.\ and 60 other Songs. 42 D.1.scn<'ll:htlll Street. ...


BUFFALO BILL Novels in the DIME LIBRARY Ill Deaih Trailer, the Chief o! Scouts: or, Ll!e and Lovern a Frontier Fort. By Buffalo Bill. ""Gold Bullet Sport; or, the Knigbts o! the Over land. By Buffalo Bill 92 Buffalo Bill, the Buckskin Kingl or, the Amazon ot tbe West. By Major Dangerneld Burr. U7 Buffalo Bill'a Strange Pard; or, Dashing Dandy, the Hotspur of the Hills. By Maj. D. Burr. 158 The Doomed Dozen; or, Buffalo .Bill, Ohlef of Scouts. Bv Dr. Frank Powell. f .' i W1ld Bill, the Pistol Dead-Shot. A Romance of Buffalo Bill's Old Pard. By Col. P. >15 Wild Bill's Trump Card; or, The lndlan Htllress. By Col. Prentiss Ingraham. 189 Wild Bill's Gold Trail; or, The Desperat.e Dozen, By Col. Prentiss Iniiraham. 2411 The Pilgrim Sharp; or, The Soldier's Sweetheart, By Buffalo Bill, Government Scout and Gulde. 804 rexas Jack. the Prairie Rttler; or, 'l'he Queen ,, the Wild Riders. By Bulfalo Bill. '19 Wlld Bill, the Whlrlwin<>n Ing Up a Lost Trall. By Col P. lnl?l"aham. 710 Ruffalo Bill Baffled; ort The Desperado's Defiance. By Col. P. ngraham. 'T!G Bulfao Bill's Scout Shadowers; or. Emerald Ed :>f Devll 's Acre. By Col. P lnl?raham. f22 JJulfalo Bill on the War-Path. By Col. Ingraham 727 Hut!'alo Bill's Body-1tuard By Col. P. Ingraham, 781 Buffalo Bill's Beagles. By Col. P. Ingraham. 786 Buffalo Bill and His Merry Men. By Col, P. Ingraham. 1811 Buffo.lo Bill's Blind. Ry Col. P. Ingraham. Buffalo Bill's Flush Hand; or, Texas Jack's Bravos. By Col. P. Ingraham. ?50 lrulfalo Bill's Big I'our. By Col. P. Ingraham. 757 Bulfalo Bill's Double; or, The Desperado Detec tlve. By Col. Prentiss Ingraham. 761 Buflalo Rill's Macot; oi:, Death Valley Victim No 13. Bv CJI. Prentiss mgraham. Bulfalo .Bill's Dozen; or, SilkRlbhon Sam. By 794 Bull'alo Bill's Wlnnlng Hand. By Col. Tngr .. ham, 80u Wlld Bill, the lJead-C Pnter ::!ho or, Rio l.lrllJHle Ralph the Cowboy Chief. lly Buffalo Bill. 80'1 WH 1 Bill the Wild West Duelf,t; or, Tbe Girl Mascot of Moonlight Mine. By BuJl:a :o Bill. 812 Bull'alo Bill's Death-Knell; or, TLe Red Raud R'dPrs of the RockiPs By Col P lnl!'ra ham 816 lmflalo Blu's Red 'frall_i or, The .Road-Rider Renegade's .is;v Col P. Ingraham. 820 White Beaver's Still Hunt; < r, Tbe Miner Marauder's Death-Track. By Bufl'alo Bill. 822 Buflalo Bill's Best Bower; or, Mont0 Ingraham. 869 Buflalo Bl l's Road-Agen1 'Ro n ad np; or'l'he Mys terious Masked Man in Black. By Tograharn. 874 Buffalo Bill's Buckskin B:aves: or. Tbe Card Q,1en's Ls: Game By C J.P. Ingraham. 882 The Th re' Bilis: B'lif .to Bill, "'ild Rill and Ban.llble. By C ol. Prni$8 Ingraham. 900 Buffalo Bill's Rougb or, Txas Jack'e By Ct I. l'. Ingrubam. '1104 Buffalo Bill's Tanl?I d Trail; or, Gentleman, the Man of Many Masks. By Ingraham, 909 B'lif>ilo Bill's LeaguP; or. Red ButtorJly. Bs Col. Prenti Ingraham. 915 B .tt;lo Bili and the Surgeon Scout; or Go wan go, tbe R dskin Rider. By C v l. P. Ingraham. 921 Bufl'alo Bill's Quandory; or, Vdvet Bill's Vow, Bv Col. Prentiss (neraharn. 927 Bulfalo Bil 's B uff; or, Dusky Dick, tbe Sport. By Col. P. Ingraham. 936 Buffalo Bill' Black Pard; or, Tbe Gold Boo.m ot the Big Horn. By Col. P. IngrahoLm. 943 Buffalo Bill's Block Game. By Colonel P. Ingraham. 950 Buffalo Bill at Bay. By 'colonel Prentiss Ingraham. 956 Buffalo Bill's Volunteer Vlgtlantes. By Col. Intrraham. 900 Bul'ralo Bill's Blue Belt Brigade. By Colonel Prentiss Ingraham. ll64 Buffalo Biii's Invlnclbles. By Col. Prentiss Ingra;ham. 969 Texas Jack. the Lasso King; or, Th*. 8' l'lol.: Preatll+ ...........




DeadWiiOd Dicks e library e s l!:xtl'acu from the New York Eveuluir !Sun LATEST AND .B.E8'1'. HANDSOME TRI-COLORED COVERS. 32 Pages. Issued Every Wednesday. Buy One and You Will Buy the Rest I TWO JCE1'IAICKA.Dl.E 11:noES. 111 only one aenae ot the word can It be regarded as a oovel atatemeut when the fact ts here recorded that lite rature haA given many heroes to the world. tt.nd perhaps mc;>._re than oue reader will have to think a m omeut over thla remark llefore the 1ubtle dellcacy of tu geutal wit 1trlke1 home. But lt ts moat eBBeotlally a half dime novel statement Ghat will he news to many when It la added that llteraNre, tr traced from the dimly dl&tant days when Adam waa a mere child dowu to the present day, would show but few heroes that In the eyes of boyhood .would be even judged worthy of comparison with the two greatest beroe1 known to American literature, o r to promptly reveal tbem. Dead woo Death J I Deadw ood Dick's Eagles; or, The Pards of Flood Bar 18 Buckhorn Bill; or. The Red Rifle Team 14 G o ld Rifle, the Sharpshooter 16 Deadw ood Dick on Deck: or. Calamity Jane II Corduroy Charlie the Boy Bravo 17 Rosebud Rob; or. Nugget Ned, the Knight of the (Julch 18 ldy l, the Gir l Miner; or, Rosebud Rob on Hand 19 Photograph Phil; o r Rosebud Rob's Reappearance IO Watch-Eye. the Shadow h Deadwoo d Dick's Device; or, The Sign of the Double Cross Canada Chet. the Counterfeiter Chief a D eadwood Dick iu Leadville; or, A Strange Stroke tor Liberty M Deadwood Dick as Detective 15 Gilt-Edge Dick 18 Bonanza B ill. the Mao-Tracker; or, The Secret Twelve 17 Chip, the Girl Sport 118 Jack Hoyle's Lead; or, The Road to Fortune Boss Bob. King of Bootblacks llO Deadwood Dick's Double; or, The Ghost of Gorgon's Gulch 11 B londe Bill: or. Deadwood Dick's Home Ba.e Solid Sam, the Boy Road-Agent S.3 Ton y Fox, the Ferret: or, Boss Bob's Boss Job 34 A Game or Gold: or. Deadwood Dick s Big Strike s.; Deadwood Dick or Deadwood: or, T he Picked Party 36 New York Nell. the Roy-Gi rl 37 Nobb.v Nick of Nevada; o r, The Scamps o! the Sierraa 38 Wild Frank, the Buckskin Bravo 39 Deadwood Dick's Doom; or, Calamity Jane's Lase Adventure 40 Doadwood Dick's Dream; or, The Rivals of the Road 41 Deadwood :Qlck's Ward; or, The Black Hills Jezebel 42 The Arab Detective; or, Sooo z e r the Boy Sharp 43 The Ventriloquist Detective A Romance ot Rogues 44 DPtective Josh Grim; or, The Young Gladiator's Game 45 The Frontier Detective; or, Sierra Sam's Scheme 46 The Jim town Sport: o r Gypsy Jack in C o lorado 47 The Miner Sport; or, Sugar-Coated Sam' s Claim 48 Dick Drew, the Miner's Son; or, Apollo Bill, the Roarl-Agent 49 Sierra Sam. the Detective liO Sirra Sam's Double; or, The Three Female Detect. 51 Sierra Sam's Sentence; or, Little Luck at Rough Ranch 52 The Girl Sport: or, Jumbo Jo .. s Diguise 53 Denver T>oll's DPvice: or, 'l'he Detective Queen 54 Denver Doll as Detective 55 DenvPr Doll's Partner; o r Big Buckskin the Sport li6 Denver Doll's Mint'; or. Little Bill's Big L oss 57 Deadwood Dick Trapred 58 B1wk Hawk, Detect;. .. o r, The Messenger Boy' F ortune 59 DPadtrnod Dirk's Disguise; or, Wild Walt, the Spor& 60 Dnmb D ick's Pard: or. Eliza Jane, the Gold Miner 61 Deadwonct 62 Spottf'r Fritz: or, The ::)tore-Detective's Decoy 63 The Detective Roud-Ageot; or, The Miners of Sassa fras C:iry 64 Colorado Charlie's Detective D ush; or, The Cattle Kings M. J. IVERS & CO .. Pnblishers (James Sullivan, Proprietor), :Ji9 Street. NEW YORK.


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