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THE nUHTiINQTON FHEE PRESS AND TIMES: TIIITKSDAY, STOI'TlfllBKR 7, lgfl.
fc A . ti : LS-&U
H K1- SSJV' SV
(CDPMlclit, A. G.
Tho Santa Te trail was far too ex-
posed to bo safely trailed alone and
in urouu u..n, .u rvumi connm- K from the east. Tho stage to Snn"i
trod It better to put sufficient spaco Fe rattlpd paati ,hc fo,lr mnlc!, trrt.
I), tweon himself and those whom ho tlB gwlttly, a squad of troopers r'd
folt. cont dejit were still Watching his )n? ,,, bcllnd. was lnprt.,v n
movements from across the river. iluptlg shadow sweeping swiftly
How much they might already sUspi- , t. cmlld porc,,ve ie (llm ..
clon his discoveries he possessed no 1 i,. nf HHver nd CUunl. th nirtin,.
means of knowing, yet conscious of
tlelr own guilt, they might easily feel .
safer If he were also put out c" tho
way IIo had no anticipation of open
attack, but in" t guard against treat h
fry. As ho rode, his eyes never left
those far-away sand dunes, although
ho perceived no movement, no black
dot even which ho could conceive to
be a posslblo enemy. Now that ho
possessed ample time for thought, tho
fltuatlon became more puzzling. This
tragedy which he had accidentally
stumb'od upon must have had a causa
ether t'ian blind chance. It was tho
culmination of a plot, with some rea
con behind moro Important than ordl- ,
nary robbery Apparently the wagons ,
contaii ed nothing of value, merely tho
clothini?, provisions, and ordinary
utensil i of an emigrant party. Nor
had the victims' pockets been care
fully searched. Only tho mules nnd
been taken by the raiders, and they
would be small booty for such a
The trail, continually skirting tho !
t.tl. ....,1 U..H4HrV .in.nn n,T.m. !
from the river, turned sharply into a
narrow ravine. There was a consid
erable break in the rocky barrier
here, loading back for perhaps a hun
dred yards, and tlw plainsman turned
his horso tint way. dismounting when
out of sight amon.c the boulders. Ho
could rest here until night with littla
danger of discovery. He lay down on
the rocl.s, pillowing liiii head on thi
6addle, but his biain was too nctlro
A Bullet Chugged Into the Crcund
. mcd gray heard. Keith knew the lot
to permit sleeping. Klnallv ho drow ! uf. and waited, loaning against t! o
the letters from out his pocket, and j door- 0110 1)al on '! liip
began examining them, They yield- i "Hullo, Hob," he said genially:
ed verv llttlo information, those tak- 1 "they miiBt havo routed you out prot
on f am tho older man having no en- ty early today."
velopeo to show to whom they had ; "They shore did, Jack," was the rf
been addressed. The single document f-ponso. He came up the Ftops some
found In the pocket of the other waa what heavily, his crmpanion stopping
a memorandum of account at tha j below. "The boys ralf-e hell all night,
Pioneer Sloro nt Topeka, charged to
John Sibley, and marked paid. This
then must have been the younger i
man name, as the letters to tho ofh- '
or began occasionally "Dear Will."
Thoy were missives such as a wlfo
might write to a husband long ah- ,
pent, yet upon a mission of deep In
terest to both. Keith couU' not fully
determine what this mission might ho,
as the persons evidently undumtood
each othr fr'o thoroughly that mero
n'luslon took tho place of detail.
Twice tho name Phyllis was mention
ed nnd onco n "Fred" was aim re
fen ed to, but in neither Instano
c'early enough to reveal the roUUcr,
uhlp, altho'-gh the latte,- appeared to
be pleaded for Certain references
r usod the belief that these lei ters had
leer, mailed from some small Mis-
j"rl to'.Tii. but r.o name wan men
t' ued They were Invariably signed ,
" lary " Two only other paper Keith
ill'icovp'ed wan a brief itinerary of th
Tsnta F-. trai' extending as far west
as tho llaton Mountains, giving tho ;
tsunl camping spots nnd places v.-hern
water was accessible. Ho slipped tho
papers back Into hia pocket with a
dlrttnrt feeling of disappointment,
nnd lay back staring up at the I'ttlo
'trip of blue sky. Tho silence was
I rofound, even his h-re standing mo
tionless, anil finally he foil asleep
Tho sun bad disappeared, and rvt-n
the gray of twilight was fading out of
tie skv, when Ke'.th returned again
o con?cousneHs, "aroufed by his
horse rnll'ng on tflo soft turf IIo
awoko thoroughly refreshed, and
-prnr to get awar oa his long nlght'n
ride, A cold lunch, hastily eaten, for
a Tiro vciuld baro beon 'JtngeronH, !
-.nd he baddlcd up and was off, trot- i
f ig oo of tut narrow ravine and Into 1
tho broad trail, which cnuhi bo fob ;
: wed without dlBiJiny undrr the dull i
r.l ui of tho r.tars. Murto aud rider
ffo boon at their b.t, the animal
i v'ni,iu',- iiu'irscoil Into tho long, enny
lop-v ff yiitrin travel, tho froBh air
t -nii'g the man's face as bo leaned
JorwarJ Once thoy halted to drink
from a narrow stream, and then push-
n.l ft t JU 1. .
ii imi iiv ii cinvi uuur, uirougn ino I
C. mrtel night. Keith had llttlo fear i
f Ind .m niiders in th.U darkness,
no ' e'.ery stride of til liorre broupht
Ililm c.oer to the uottlmints nnd
THttK TET FS
aale Of THE PLAINS
.Author 0. ' My Lady Or The South:
WHL - M Wlt:)ERME50VA6KlN0. Lrt.CTC
Iilustratiou Dv D'TAnrxfnrtMr.i.VM.L
McClillg & Co.. MO.)
further removed from danger. Yet
1 eyes nnd ears wcro alert to every
shadow nnd sound. Once, it inuit
havo been nftor midnight, ho drow Ida
pony sharply bae'e Into n rock shndo.v
nt the llolso of c0methlnE npproui-b
fiV,aylnB ln their raddles, hoard tho
fiWnyinB m ineir ra'iaics, Heard
pomuns of hoofs, tho creak of ax
atld thon U!0 appnrItion dlr.-.ppen
Into tho black void. Ho had not call-
od out what was the use? Those pco
plo would never pause to hunt dowu
prairie outlaws, and tholr guard was
sufficient to prevent attack. They ac
knowledged but one duty to get the
rmdl lhrr-r.:;h on tlue.
The dust of their passing still in the
air, Keith rode on, the nolso dying
away ln his rear. As the bourn pav
ed, his horie wearied and had to be
spurred Into the swifter stride, but
tho man seemed til clef.-. The sun
an hour i,gh when thoy climbed the
ionR hill, and lopod into .irs,on citv,
T)iP cantonmont was to the rlcU, but
Keith, having no report to make, rod
directly ahead down the one lo-:"
street to a livery corral, leaving ht-i
horse there, and sought the nearest
Kxhausted by a night of high piny
I nnd deep drinking, the border touu
was sleeping off Its debauch, saloon;'
, nlmost deserted. To Keith, whore for
mer acquaintance with tho place had
been entirely after nightfall, the vlfv
of It now was almost a shock t! e
miserable shacks, tho gaudy Gr.looi
fronts, the littered streets, the dingy,
unpalntcd hotel, the dirty (lap of can
vas, the unoccupied road, the dll
prairie sweeping away to tho horizon,
, nil composed a hideous picture be
i nenlh tho sun glare. lie could scarcc
, Iy find a man to attend his horre,
at tho restaurant a drowsy Clilnr.man
had to he shaken awake, ami fright
ened Into serving him. He sat down
to tho miserable- m' al oppressed with
disgust never before had his life
seemed so mean, useless, utterly wli'.
Ho possessed the appetite of tV
open, of the normal man In perf
physical health, and he ate heartih
: his eyes wandering out of the on--i
window down tho long, dismal strr
' A drunken man lay in front of ih"
I "lied Light" saloon sleeping mull
i turbed; two cur dogs were snarllnr at
' each other Just beyond over a bi-ie;
a movers' wr.gon was slowly com In T
In across tho open through a cloud r '
; yellow dust. That was all within
i radius of vision. For the iirft time In
yrarr. the East called him V o old
life of cleanliness and re3pectr.b'II'.y
He swore to himself as he tossed t'v
Chinaman pay for his breakfast. a:vl
ttrode out onto tho steps. Two nun
were coming up tho street togetln -i
from the opposite direction one Ion"
I dark-skinned, with black goatee, the
other heavily sot with closely trim-
an' then como tor me ter straighten
It out In the mawnln". When did vo
"An hour ago; had to wake the
'chink' up to get any chuck. Town
"T.-.ln't over lively al this time o"
day," permitting his blue eyes to wnn
der up tho silent street, but instantly
bringing them back to Keith's faco,
' but I reckon It'll wa.':o up later on."
Ho stood squarely on both feet, and
ons hand rested on the butt of n re
volver. Keith no'Joe1 this, wonder
"1 reckon yr know, Jack, ns how I
ginrally git what I goes after," said
tr.o slow, drawling voice, "an' that I
diaw 'bout as quick as any o" the
hoys. Thoy tiill mo ;o'ro a gun-tight-er,
but It won't do ye no ooi! tor
make a play yero, fe- ono o' us Is suro
to glt yor do yer Fabe?"
"(Jet me?" Keith's voice and faco
"Are You Goln' to Raise a Row, or
Come Along Quietly?"
expressed astonishment, hut not a
miihclo of his body moved, "What do
you mean, Bob aro you follows aftor
"Dure thing; got tho warrant here."
r ,f mi t
and ho tapped h- i i t of lifs shirt
with Ills loft hand.
Tlio color mount rd Into tho chocks
of tho other, his 1 dm grew sot nnd
white, nnd his gray eyes darkened.
"Let It nil out, Marshal," lib Biild
sternly, "you've got mo loped and
tied, Now what's tho charge?"
Nelthor mnn moved, but tho ono be-
low swung about to as to face them,
one hand thrust out of sight bonoath
tho tall of his long coat.
iMako him throw up
Ikib." ho said shni)ly
"Oh, I reckon thar nln't goln' tor
b no trouble," returned tho marshal
genially, yet. with no relaxation of at
tention. "Keith 1 nows me. an' ex
pects a fair ileal :'i!l. muybo I bet-
tur ask yer to ur. i.
A moment Kel!'
plainly puzzled 1
"lnlrnvorbig to i
n i: en his
yer belt, Jack."
.".ncd to hesitate,
" Mtuatiou und
' :-ie v.-ay of en
:ltrd. and ho
"Sure, ! know you're square. Ttleks,"
ho cnld, coolly. "And now I've unllni-
hered, kindly Inform mo what this is
"I reckon ycr don't know."
"No more than an unhorn babe
have been here b 't au hour."
"That's It: If yer had been longer
thar wouldn't he no trouble. Vo're
wanted for klllln' a couple o' men out
nt Cimmaron Crossln' early yesterday
Keith stnred nt him too completely
astounded for tie instant to even
speak. Then he gamed.
"For Ood's bake. Hicks, do you bo
lie vo that?"
"I'm damned If I know," returned
tho marshal, douhtfrlly. "Don't fcoiu
liko yo'd do It, but the evidence is
Btralght 'nough, an' thar ain't nothln'
for mo tor do but take ye ln. I ain't
no Jedge an' Jury."
"No, but you ought to have ordinary
sense, an' you've known me for threo
"Sure I have, Jack, but If yen've
gone wrong, you won't be the flr.it
good man I've seen do it. Anyhow, the
evidence Is dead agin you, an' I'd ar
lest my own grand-dad if thoy gUe
me a warrant agin him."
"What evidence is there?"
"Five men swear they raw ye haul
in' the bodies about, and lootln' the
Then Keith understood, his heart
heating rapidly, his teeth flenched to
keep back an outburst of passion. So
that was their i.'ame. was It? somo
act of his had awakened tl cowardly
suspir-tons of those watching him
ncros3 tho river. They were afraid
that ho knew them as white men.
And they had found n way to rufely
muzzle him. They !nu?t have rh'den
hard over thot:o nnd dunes to havo
reached Carson City and sworn out
this warrant. It was a good trick,
likely enough to hang him, if the fel
lows only stuck to their story. All
this Hashed through his brain, yet
somehow he could not clearly compre
hend the full meaning his mind con
fused and dazed by this Midden real
ization of danger. His cyea wandered
from the steady size of tho marshal,
who hud half drawn bis gun fearing
resistance, to the man at tho bottom
of tho stops. Suddenly it dawned
upon him whore ho had scon that
dark-skinned face, with tho blnck goa
tee, before at tho faro table of tho
"Red Light." He gripped his hands
together, Instant'.- connecting that
sneering, sinister f: co with tho plot.
"Who swore out that warrant?"
"I did, If you need to know," a sar
castic smile revi!nS a gleam of
white teeth, "on the affidavit of others,
friends of mine."
"Why aro you?"
"I'm mostly called 'Black Bart.' "
That was It; ho had the name now
"Black Bart." He straightened up
so quickly, his eyes bk.zing, that
tho marshal jerked his gun clear.
"See here, Jack," shortly, "aro yer
goln' to raise a row, or como along
As though the words had aroused,
him from a bad droim, Keith turned
to front tho stern, bearded face.
"Thoro'll he no row, Bob," lie said,
quietly. "I'll go with yoti."
An Old Acquaintance.
Tho Carson City look-up was an Im
provised affair, although a decidedly
popular resort. It was originally a
two-room cabin with gable to tho
street, the front apartment nt ono
time n low groggory, the keener sleep
ing In tho roar room. Whether sud
don death, or financial r versed, had
been the cnuse, the community had in
some manner become possessed of tho
property, and hail nt once dedicated
it to tho commonweal. For tho pur
pore thus selected It was rather well
adapted, being strongly built, easily
guarded, and on the outskirts of tho
town. With iron grating over the
windows, the back door heavily spiked,
and tho front secured bv iron bars,
any prisoner once locked within could
probably be found whon wanted. On
tho occasion of Keith's arrival, the.
portion abutting upon tho street was
occupied by a rather miscellaneous
assembly tho drunk and disorderly
elements conspicuous who were
awaiting their several calls to appear
heforo a local justice and mnko an
swer for various misdeeds. Some were
pacing tho floor, others sat moodily
on benches ranged against the wall,
while a few wore still peacefully slum
bering upon tho tloor. It was a frowsy,
dlsroputablo crowd, evincing but mild
curiosity at tho arrival of a now pris
oner. Keith had barely time to glance
about, recognizing no faiilllnrlty of
faco amid tho mass peering nt him, as
l o was hustled bri'ddy forward and
thrust Into tho rear room, tho heavy
door closing behind him with tho snap
of a spring lock.
Ho was alone, with only tho faint
est murmur of voices coming to him
through tho thick partition. It was a
room somo twelve feet square, open
to tho roof, with hare walls, and con
taining no furniture except a rudo
bench. Still dazed by tho suddonness
of his arrest, ho nnnk down upon tho
sent, leaned his head on his hands,
and endenvored to think. It was dif
ficult to get tho facts marshalled Into
any order or to comprehend clonrly
tho situation, yet llttlo by llttlo his
brain grnspod the main details, ana
ho nwoko to a full realization of his
condition, of tho forces ho must war
ngalnst. Tho actual murderers of
, thono two men on tho trail had hud
; 'heir BiisplclonB nroused by his ac
!ilonH; they bullovod ho giieBtied eomo-
thing of their foul deed, and had de
termined to clear themselves by
charging tho crlmo directly ngalnst
him. It wag n shrowd trick, nnd If
thoy only duck to their story, ought
in alir-nf.ml Tin l..t ,.l.lnllre. Oth
or than his own word, and tho marshal
hn. ,,. ' ... nnrU,t
had already taken from his pockets
tho papers belonging to tho nin
man. IIo had not found tho locket
bidden under his shirt, yet a mom
thorough search would doubtless ro
veal that also.
Even should tho case como to trlal.j
how would It bo posslblo for him to
establish Innocence, aud would It
ever como to trial? Keith knew tho
character of tho frontier, and of Car
son City. The inclination of Its citi
zens ln such cases was to net first,
and reilcct later. The law had hut
slender hold, being resected onlj
when backed by the Mrong hand, and
primitive Instincts were alwnys ln tho
ascendoncy, requiring merely a leader
to break forth ln open violence. And
In this caso would there bo any lacic
of leadership? Llko a (lash his mind
reverted to "Illack Bart " Thero was
tho man capable of Inciting a mob. If,
for borne unknown reai"n, ho had suf
ficient interest to aww out the war
rant and assist in thfi w.'-st, bo would
havo equal causo to i-rvo thoso fol
lows behind him In oth'T ways. Nat
urally, they would dread a trial, with.
Its possibility of exposure, and eagerly
grasp any opportunity for wiping tho
slate clean. Their real security from
discovery undoubt-db lay In his
"Oh, De Good Lawd, Dat Am Massa
Valte an' John Sibley."
death, and with the "lied Light"
ciowd behind thtm they would ex
perience no trouble In getting a fol
lowing desperate enough for any pur
pose. The longer Keith thought the les3
he doubted the result. It was not then
a problem of defence, but of escape,
for ho belloved now that no oppor
tunity to defend himself would ever
bo allowed. The arrest was moroly
part of tho plot Intended to leave him
holploss in the hands of tho mob. In
this Hicks was ln uo way blamablo
he had merely perfcrmeu his sworn
duty, aud would still die. If need he,
in defence of his prisoner. Ho was
no tool, but only an Instrument thoy
hud found menus of using.
Keith was essentially a man of ac
tion, a fighter by instinct, and so long
accustomed to dangir that the excite
ment of It merely put now lire Into his
veins. Now that ho understood exact
ly what threatened, all numbing feel
ing of hesitancy and doubt vanished,
aud ho became Instantly alive. Ho
would not He thero in that hole wait
ing for tho formation of a mob; nor
would ho trust ln the ability of tho
mars-hal to defend him
Ho had some friends without not
many, for he was but an occasional
visitor at Carson who wuuhl rally to
Hick's assistance, but there would not
be enough on the side of law and or
der to overcome the "Red Light" out
fit, if once thoy scented blood. If ho
wr.s to bo saved from ihelr clutches,
he must save himr.olf: It his Inno
cence was over established It would
bo by his own exertions ami ho could
accomplish this only out yonder, frco
under tho arch of sky.
He lifted his head, every nerve tin
gling with dosperato determination.
Tho low growl of voices waa audible
through tho parti' Ion, but there waa
no other sound. Carson City was still
resting, and thore would ho no crowd
nor excitement until much later. Not
until nightfall would nny attack bo at
tempted; ho had six or Hgl-t hours yet
In which to perfect his plans. Ho
ran his eyes about the room searching
for somo spot of weakness. It was
dark back of tho bench, nnd he turned
In that direction. Leaning over, ho
looked down on tho figure of a mnn
curled up, sound asleep on tho floor.
Tho fellow's limbs twltehf d ns If ln a
dream, othorwlse ho might havo deem
ed him doad, as his face was burled
ln his armn. A moment Keith hosl
tated; then ho reached down and
shook tho sleeper, until ho aroused
sufficiently to look up. It was tho
face of a conl-black negro. An In
stant the follow stared nt the man
towering over him, his thick lips part
ed, his eyes full of sudden terror.
Then ho sat up, with hai'd3 held be-
foro him as though warding off a
"Fo" do Uvwd's sako," ho managed
to nrtlculnto flnnlly, "am dls sho' yo',
Keith, to whom all colored people
wore much alike, laughed at tho ex
pression on the nesro's face.
"I reckon yer guessed tho nnrao, all
right, boy. Were you the cook of
tho Diamond L?"
"No, sah, I nebber cooked uo dl'onds.
I'fo ol' Neb, sah." i
"Yes, sah, I'so do boy dat llbbed
wld ol' Missus Cnton durln' do wall. I 1
ain't seen yo', Massn Jack, sonco do !
day wo burled yo' daddy, ol' Massa '
Keith. But I Ittinu'n.l vn' dn liorrv '
mlnut.i I woko up. Sho' yo' 'merabtni
It came to Keith nor- in sudden
rush of memory tim drizzling rain
in the llttlo com. i,, .i. rw nolsh
ho hUudlni: abuiit. a narrow frluu
r i ?$WM
of slavea back of them, tl" lowering
of tho cofTln, and rho hollow sound of
onrth falling on tho box; and Neb, hlfl
Aunt Caton's bouso servant, a black
imp of good humor, who beggod bo
hard to bo takon back with him to tho
war. Why, tho boy had held his stir
rup tho noxt morning when ha rodo
away. Tho suddon ruch of recollec
tion seemed to brldgo tho years, and
that black face bocamo familiar, a
memory of home.
"Of course, I remember, Neb," he
exclaimed, eagerly, "but that's all
years ago and I nover oxpected to seo
you again. What brought you West
nnd got you Into this hole?"
Tho negro hitched up onto tho
bench, tho whites of his oyos consplc
uous as ho stared uneasily about ho
had a short, squatty Iteuro, with ex-
cesslvely broad shoulders, and a face
of intense good humor.
"I rock'n dat ora conslder'ble oh a
story, Massa Jack, do circumlocution
oh which would take a heap ob tlmo
tollln'," ho began soberly. "But It
hntmonod 'bout dls way. Whon do
Vnnkecs come enoopln' long de East
Sho' I reck'n maybe It des a yeah aft
er dat tlmo when we done burled de
nl' Co'nol doy burned MIbbus Caton's
house clnh to de groun', do ol' Missus
as ln Richmond den, an' do few nig
gers left Jest nntchally took to do
woods. I wont Into Richmond huntln'
do ol' Missus, but, IUwd, Massa Jack,
I uebber faun' nuthln' ob her In dnt
crowd. Den on' ofllcer man done got
mo an' put me dlggln' ln do trenches.
Ff dat's what wah am, I sho' don'
want no mo' wah. Den after dat I Jest
nntchally drifted. I reckon I llbbcd
'bout elorywhar yo' ehher heard ob,
i'o' dar want no uso ob mo goln' back
to do Kast .Sho". Somebody said dat
do West am de right place fo' a nig
ger, an' so I deno headed weBt."
Ho dropped his faco ln his blnck
'.mds, and was silent for somo min
iitcs, but Keith said nothing, and fin
ally the thick voice continued:
"I toll you', Mnssa Jack, it was
mighty lonely fo' Neb dem days. I
didn't know whnr any ob yo' all was,
an' It wan't no fun fo' dls nigger beln'
"rco dat away. I got out ter Indepen
dence, Missouri, an" was roustaboutln'
- n de ribber, when a couplo ob men
erne along what wanted a cook to
"nbbol wld 'em. I took do Job, an'
dat's what fetched me here ter Carson
"But what caused your arrest?"
"A conjunction ob circumstances,
' Massa Jack; yes, sail, a conjunction
ob clrcums'ances. I got playln' pokah
ober ln dat 'Red Llsht,' an' I was dcln'
1 (Inc. I reckon I'd cleaned up rao'n
1 a hundred dollars when I got sleepy,
an' started fo' camp, I'd most got
dar Won a bunch ob low whlto trash
Vmpcd me. It made mo mad, It did
a fact, an' I reckon I carved somo
b 'cm up befo' I got away. Hnny
I'ow, do marshal quo down, took mo
"'it ob do tent, an' fetched mo here,
-.n' I ben hero ebbcr nonce. I wan't
'iln' ter let no low down whlto trash
;lt all dat mency."
"What became of tho men you were
"I reckon dey wont on, sah. Dov
had 'portent business, an' wouldn't
likely wait 'round hero Jest ter help
a nlgser. Ain't ennybody ben here ter
roe me, nohow, an' I 'spocts I'se cradi-Oc-'c-d
from doy mem'ry I "spects I
The Ons Way.
Keith said nothing for somo mc--.onts,
staring up at the light stealing
!n through tho window grating, hit
vilnd onco again active. Tho eyes of
i''o black man had tho patient look
( '. a dog as they watched; evidently
had cast aside all responsibility,
now that this other had come. Fiua',
.y Keith spoke slowly:
"Wo aro in much tho same position,
Veb, and the fate of ono Is liable to
bo tho fato of both. This Is my storv"
rnd briefly as possible, he ran over
the circumstances which had brought
'dm there, putting tho situation clear
enough for the negro's understand
ing, without wasting any tlmo upon
detail. Neb followed his recital with
bulging eyes, nnd an occasional excla
mation. At the end he burst forth:
"Yo' say dar was two ob dem white
nun murdered one an ol' man wld a
i;ruy beard, an' do odder 'bout thirty?
Am dat It, Massa Jack, an' doy had fo'
span ob mules, an' a runnln' hoss?"
"An' how far out was it?"
"About sixty miles."
"Oh, de good Lawd!" and the negro
tlrcw up his hands dramatically. "Dat
"Wt'nly am my outfit! Dnt am Mnssa
NValte nn' John Sibley."
"You mean tho same men with
whom you came hero from Indepen
dence?" Neb nodded, overcome by tho dls
"every. ' But what caused them to run such
: risk?" Keith insisted. "Didn't thoy
know the Indluns woro on tho wnr
"Sho; I heard 'em talkln' 'bout dat.
'i.t Massa Wnlte was Jest boun' fob
'n glt movln. He dldnt 'pear to bo
I'rald'ob no Injuns; reck'ned dey'd
uebber stop hlra, dnt ho knowed eb-V-ry
chief on do plains. I reok'n dat
ho did, too,"
"But what was ho so anxious to get
"I dunno, Massa, I done heerd 'em
alls somo 'bout dey plans, an' "bout
"omo gal dey wanted ter fin", but I
1 didn't glt no right sense to It. De
Cln'ral, ho was a might still man."
"Tho General? Whom do you mean?
"John Sibley dono called hlra dat."
Thon Keith remembered Just a
dim, misty thread at first, changing
slowly Into a elenr recollection. He
was riding with despatches from Long
street to Stonewall Jackson, and had
been shot through tho side. The
first of Jackson's troops he reached
wns a brigade of North Carolinians,
commnndod by General Walte Gen
eral Willis Walto. Ho had fallen from
his horso at the outposts, waa brought
helpless to tho Goneral's tent, and an
other sent on with the papers. And
Mrs. Wnlto had dressed and bandaged
his wound. That waa whero be had
seen that woman's faco before, with
Its haunting familiarity. Ho drew tho
locket frow beneath his shirt, and
gazod at tho countcnauco revealed,
with now Intelligence. There could bo
ao. dDiilJtlt Wttfl the fcoof Ijer who
'had cared for him co tenderly In that
tont at Manassas before tho fever
jc&mo and ho had lost consciousness.
lAnd that, then, was Willis Walto ly
ling ln that shallow gravo near tho
idmraaron Crossing, and for whoso
Idoath he had been arrested. 'Twas a
strong world, and a small one. What
a miserable ending to a Ufa Hko hls-
a dlvhlon commander of the Army of
Northorn Virginia, a Lloutennnt-Oov-
ornor of his stato. What strange
combination of circumstances could
'ever fiavo brought such a man to this
placo, and sent him forth across those
Indian-scouted plains? Surely nothing
;ordlnary. And why should thoso bor
der desperadoes havo followed,
through sixty miles of desolation, to
.strlko him down? It was not robbery,
IW- In the ordinary sense What
(then? And how waa "Black Dart" In-
Svolved? Why should ho bo sufficient-
Jly interested to swear out a warrant,
,and then osslst In his arnrat? Thero
must be something to all this not ap-
'paront upon tho surface some object,
.somo purpose shrouded ln mystery.
No mero quarrel, no ordlnnry feud, no
accident of meeting, no theory of com
monplace robbery, would account for
tbo deed, or for tho desperate efforts
now being made to conceal it.
Somo way, theso questions, thus
surging upon him, became a call to
live, to fight, to unravel their mystery.
Tbo memory of that sweet-faced wom
an who had bent above him when tho
fever began Its mastery, appealed to
him now with tho opportunity of serv
ice. Ho might be able to clear this,
bring to her tho truth, save her from
despair, and hand over to Justice the
murderers of her husband. It was up
to him alone to accomplish this no
ono else knew what he know, suspect
ed what ho suspected. And there was
but ono way through escnpe. To re
main there in wenk surrender to fato
could havo hut ono ending, and that
swift and sudden. IIo had no doubt
'as to "Black Hart's" purpose, or of his
ability to uso the "Red Light" outfit
as deslrod. The wholo plan was clear
ly evident, and there would he no de
lay ln oxocutlon all they were wait
ing for was night, and a lax guard. Ho
glanced about at the walls of tho
room, his eyes grown hard, his teeth
"Nob," he said shortly, "I guess that
was your outfit all right, but they
woro not killed by Indians. They
wcro run down by a gang from this
town the same fellows who have put
you nnd me ln here. I don't know
what they were after that's to be
found out lator, but the fight you put
up at the camp spoiled their game for
once, and led to your arrest. They
Ifallod to get what wns wanted ln
'Carson, nnd so they trailed the party
'to the Cimmaron Crossing. Then I
got on their track, and fearing the re
on tholr tracK, and rearing tne re-
, they've landed mo also. Now
"11 get rid of. us both as best they
Those fellows won't want any
trial that would bo liable to give the
wholo trick away but they have got
to put us where we won't talk. Thero
;ls an easy way to do this, and that Is
by a lynching bee. Do you get my
The whites of the negro's eyes wcro
,vory much in evidence, his hands grip
iplng at the bench on which ho sat.
"Fo" do Lawd, yes, Massa Jack, I
,sho does. I corroborates de wholo
"Then you are willing to take a
.chnnco with mo?"
"Wlllln'! Why, Massa Jack, I'so
overjoyed; I ain't gwino leave yer no
mo'. I'se sho' gwine ter he yo' nigger.
What yo' gwlne tor do?"
Keith ran his eyes over the walls,
carefully noting every peculiarity.
"We'll remnln here quietly just as
long as It Is daylight, Neb." he replied
finally, "but we'll try ewry bosrd and
every log to discover so;.v way out.
Just the moment It grows dark enough
to slip away without being seen we'vo
got to hit tho prairie. Once south of
tho Arkansas we're snfe. hut net until
then. Havo you mado any effort to
The negro came over to him, and
"I was layln' on a board what I'd
worked loose at ono end," ho whis
pered hoarsely, "back oh de bench,
but I couldn't jerk It out wld'out
something tor pry it up wld."
"Where is It?"
"Right yore, Massa Jack."
It was a heavy twelvo-lnch plank,
part of tho flooring, and tho second
from the side-wall. Keith managed
to get a grip next to the black lingers,
and the two pressed it up far enough
for the white man to run ono nrm
through the opening up to his shoul
der nnd grope about below.
"There's a two-foot space there," ho
reported, as they let tho board settle
nllently down Into position. "Tho back
part of this building must he set up on
piles. I reckon we could pry that
plank up with the bench, Neb, but it's
liable to mako considerable racket.
.Lot'3 hunt about first for some other
Thoy crept across the floor, testing
each separate board, but without dis
covering a place where they could ex
ert a leverage Tho thick planks wero
tightly spiked down. Nor did tho
walls offer any better encouragement.
Keith lifted himself to the grated
window, getting a gllmpso of the
world without, but finding tho Iron Im
movable, tho screws solidly Imbedded
In tho outside wood. He dropped to
tho floor, feeling baffled and illBCour-
"It will have to bo the plank back
of tho bench, Nob," ho announced
briefly, wiping tho perspiration from
his faco. "Get down thero, and work
it as loose as you can without making
any nolso, whllo I keep my oar to tho
door and listen for any Interruption."
They took turns nt this labor, dis
covering a loose nail which gave nn
opening purchase at the crack, thus
enabling tho Insertion of a small wood-
en block, and Insuring 6pace for a
good finger grip whon tho right time
came. A sleepy Mexican brought In
tholr dinner, nnd set It down on tho visible, prairie and sky blending to
beuch without a word, but on his re- ' gethor Into spectral dimness, with no
turn with supper, the marshal accom
panied him, and remained while they
ate, talking to Keith, and staring
about tho room, fortunately, tho sin
gle window was to the west, tho last
rays of the sun itruck the opposito
wall, leaving tho cpneo behind the
bench ln deep shadow. Whatever
might bo tho plans of "Black Bart"
and its crqnlw,Kelth was soon con-
vlnccd thev were unknown to Hlck.
who had ovldently been deceived Into
thinking that thin lust arrest had
created no excitement.
"Thnt's why wo picked ycr up Ed
oorly," ho explained, genially. "Hart
said If wo got to yer aforo the boys
woko up they'd nevor hear nuthln'
ooui it, an' so thar wouldn't bo no
row. Ho didn't even think thnr'd l o
onny nood o' koopln' a special guard
ter-nlght, but I reckon I won't tako
no such chance as that, an' I'll havo
couplo o' deputies prowlln' 'round fr
luck. Whon Carson does walto up,
He left them tobacco and pipes, and
went awny evidently convinced that
ho had performed his full duty. Tl
two prisoners, pudlng smoke-rings Ir.'o
tho air, hoard the heavy clang of "o
Iron bar falling Into place across U i
door, and sat looking Into one anoth
er's faces through the deepening twi
light. In the mind of both black a I
whlto reposed tho same thought Tha
negro was first to break the sllencr
" 'Pears ter mo, Ma.ssa Jack, 1 1 1
dls yore Bart pusson am mighty an..
Ions tor hah no suspicions raised '
"Anybody but Hicks would o
that." acknowledged the other " i
rings of Binoko circling his head. t
ho hasn't nny brains. It vn. j '
nervo that got him the job. Well, t
Is ono time that 'Bart pusson' Is gi ;
to find an empty coop. We'll get ,
Neb, just ns soon as It gets d .:
enough. Hicks isn't likely to put
lit h extra guard for an hour yet, ar I
tho 'Rod Light' bunch won't bo lit r
business much before midnight, lty
that tlmo we'll be ln tho sand h''I .,
heading south, able to give thet.j a
run for their money we'll hati
horses, too, If wo can find them."
The negro's eyes shone white.
"Fo' do Lawd's sake, Massa," hi
protested, "dat'd .ho' bo a hangln' joj
If ebber dey rotciied us."
Keith laughed, knocking out tra
ashes from his pipe.
"With an hour's start that will i
the least of my troubles," ho ba M
It was dark enough for their
pose In half an hour, tho onl :,
of remaining color being the ft .
of tho negro's pipe, e ven theo.r
I lA?MwfJ-i ,LM.,.i'
"Land's Sak, You Doan Mean
Steal Dem Hosscs?"
the Iron grating being blotted from
sight. Keith, staring in that direction,
failed to perceive any distant gllmi'. r
of star, and decided the night must 3
cloudy, und that time for action J
come. Guided by Neb's pipe uol,
ho touched tho boy on the shoulder
"Knock out your ashes, and shu'a
abovt lively with your feet, while I
pry up the board "
In spite of his slenderness, Keith
possessed unusual strength, yet no
ertlon on his part served to start U a
loosened plank sufficiently for their
purpose. Ripping a strip from 'ho
bench he managed to pry tho hoio
somewhat larger, arranging the bench
itself so as to afford tho ncces ary
leverage, but even then his er ro
weight failed to either start t o
spikes, or crack the plank. Some al
torcr.tien began in tho other room, tho
sound of angry voices and shiiiflli3
foot being plainly audible. It was c!r r
to Keith that they must take tj
chance of a noise, and no better tlmo
than this could be chosen.
"Hcie, Nob, tako hold with me. and
bear down put your whole weight on
Tho two flung therrj'elves upon tho
end of the bench, leaping up and down
so as to add weight to power. Some
thing had to give, either the sf"'it
wood of their Improvised lever or e su
the holding of the plank. For an si
ttant It seemed likely to be the for
mer; then, with a shrill screech, t' e
long spikes yielded and the buar.l
cuddenly gave. With shoulders In
rertod beneath, tho two men heaved
it still higher, ramming the bench he
low so as to leave tho opening clear
This was now sufficiently amplo for
the patsago of a man's body, an I
Keith, lowering himself, discovered
tho earth to bo fully four feet below
Tho negro instantly joined him, and
thev began creeping about In the' dark
ness, seeking some way out. A rud lv
laid foundation of limestone along ob
structed their patch to tho open air.
This had been laid in mortar, but of
Inferior quality, so that little dllllcu'ty
was experienced ln detaching surf
clent to obtain hand hold. Working
, Ellcntly, not knowing what watchers
I might bu ulroady stationed without,
, they succeeded In loosening enough of
, the rock to allow them to crawl
i through, lying breathless In tho open,
, Accustomed as they wcro to the
darkness, they could yet seo little,
Thoy wero upon tho opposite sldo
i fr0m tho town, with no gleam of lights
sound audible but tho continued quar
rel In tho frout room of the Jail. KeltU
crept alons to the end of tho bulldlntr
from whero ho could perceive the
lights of tho town twinkling dimly
through tho intonso blackness. Evi
dently tho regular evening saturnalia
had not yet begun, although thero win
already semblance of llftt about th4
numerous salooiiB, and an occasional
, i r i ..