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The Cabin Taken.
His heart beating with new happi ness, yet conscious of the stern duty •till confronting him, Keith Joined the others, giving them, In a whisper, a hurried account of Hope's release from the cabin, and of what she had to report. "It's old Jvian Sanchez In the front room, boys," he added soberly, "and there Is ten thpusand dollars reward out for him, dead or alive." Joe of the "Bar X" drew In hU breath sharply. "It'll sure be dead then," he mut tered, "that cue* will never be got no other way." They went at It in the grim silent manner of the West, wasting little time, feeling no mercy. One by one the unconscious sleepers were aroused, each waking to find a steel barrel pressing against his forehead, and to bear a stern voice say ominously, V**Not a move, Johnny yes, that's a Sun now get up quietly, and step out here." Resistance was useless, and -the five, rendered weaponless, were herded back toward the corral. They '/all belonged to Hawley's outfit one, a black-whiskered surly brute Brlstoe remembered having seen in Sheridan. There was no time to deal with them then, and a "Bar X" man was placed on guard, with orders to shoot at the slightest suspicious movement. The Indian, then, would be guarding the front of the house, and Sanches sleeping inside. Well, the former oould be left alone his chance of ee .oape would be small enough with Fair tain and Neb on the opposite bank. Old Sanchez was the villain they .•wanted—dead or alive. With this in view, and anxious to make a quick job of it, the three entered the back mom, and, revolvers In hand, groped their way across to the connecting door. As Hope had described, this had been securely fastened by a stout wooden bar. Brlstoe forced it from •rthe sockets, not without some slight -noise, and Keith, crouching down at one 6ide, lifted the latch. 1 "Keep down low, boys," he cau tioned, "where he can't hit you." With one quick push he flung the door wide open, and a red flash lit the room. There were two sharp reports, the bullets crashing Into the wall be hind them, the sudden blaze of flame revealing the front door open, and with it the black outline of a man's figure. Two of the men fired In in stant response, leaping recklessly for ward, but were as quickly left behind In the darkness, the outer door slammed in their faces. Outside there was a snarl of rage, another •shot, a fierce curse In Spanish then Keith flung the door wide open, and ^leaped down the step. As he did so he did so he struck a body and fell forward, his revolver knocked from his hand. Rising to his knees, the dim light of the stars revealed a man already half across the stream. Sud denly two sparks of flre leaped forth from the blackness of the opposite bank the man flung up his hand, stag gered, then went stumbling up the stream, knee deep in water. He made a dozen yards, reeling as though drunk, and fell forward, face down across a spit of sand. Keith stared out at the black, motionless shape, felt along the ground for his lost gun, and arose to his feet. Brlstoe had turned over the dead body at the pfefoot of the steps, and was peering i«|*a«lown Into the upturned face. piki "It's the Indian," he said grimly, .r "Sanchez must 'a' mistook him fer i-i.iiene of us, and shot the poor devil." stps And Sanchez himself Is out yonder iW-On that sand-pit," and Keith pointed lfe?tetben lifted his voice to make it carry fc across the stream. "Come on over. Doctor, you and Neb. We've got the gang. Bring that body out there Ip^along with you." Hr' The "liar X" man waded out to ftwAv help, and the three together laid the idead Mexican outlaw on the bank, be feSfeislde the Indian he had shot down in ibis effort to escape. Keith stood for a moment bending low to look curl lously Into the dead face—wrinkled, scarred, still featuring cruelty, the ithln lips drawn back in a snarl. What 'scenes of horror those eyes had gazed lupon during fifty years of crime a \yy (CoDvriEbt, Iwbat suffering of men, women, chil dren what deeds of rapine what ex amples of merciless hate. Juan Sanchez!—the very sound of the name made the blood run cold. "Dead or alive!" Well, they had him at last— dead and the plainsman shuddered, as he turned away. Taking Fairbaln with him and has tily reviewing late occurrences to him, .Keith crossed over to the corral, real izing that their work—his work—was inot wholly done until Hawley had ibeen located. With this quest in mind I he strode straight to the black-beard icd emit whe had guarded More from F&lEY KIDNEY FILLS Ton EASKAOHi KI9NEYS AND BLAOPeq BLAOPCf} .sl -M IX or THE PLAINS amdalu appish 7*AutH0R0r"MY LADY Or DIE SOUTML" WHEM WILDERNESS WAS KING." CTCETC ILLUSTRATIONS Bv DEARB#ON MELVILL C. lfcClure & Co., 'Sheridan. "What is sharply. CHAPTER XXXV. name? your asked The man looked uj scowling. isSl: "Hatchett," he answered gruffly. "Well, Hatchett, I am going to ask you a question or two, and advise you 7 Rising to His Knees, he Saw a Man Already Half Across the Stream. to reply Just about as straight as you know how. I am in no mood to-night for any foolishness. Where is 'Black Bart* Hawley?" "How in hell should I know?" "You do know, just the same. Per haps not to an inch, or a mile, but you know near enough where he is, and where he has been since you left Sheridan." "If I do, I'm damned if I'll tell you." "No? Well now, Hatchett, listen to me," and Keith's voice had in it the click of a steel trap. "You'll either answer, and answer straight, or we'll hang you to that cottonwood In about five minutes. If you want a chance for your miserable life you answer me. We have our way of treating your kind out in this country. Sit up, you brute! Now where did Hawley go aft er he left you?" "To Fort Larned." "After those fresh horses?" sfc "Yes." "He didn't bring them to you I know that. Where has he been since?" "Topeky and Leavenworth," "How do you know?" "He writ me a note the boss herder brought." "Hand it over." Keith took the dirty slip of paper the man reluctantly extMcted from his belt, and Fairbaln lit matches while he ran his eyes hastily over the lines. As he ended he crushed the paper between his fingers, and walked away to the end of the corral. He wanted to be alone, to think, to decide definitely upon what he ought bo do. Hawley, according to the schedule just read, must have left Larned alone early the day before this night he would be camped at the water-hole with daybreak he expected to resume his lonely journey across the desert to the Salt Fork. For years Keith had lived a primitive life, and In some ways his thought had grown primi tive. His code of honor was that of t.he border, tinged bv that of the South Before the war. The antagonism exist ing between him and this gambler was persona], private, deadly—not an af 'air for any others—outsiders—to med dle with. He could wait here, and permit Hawley to be made captive could watch him ride unsuspectingly Into the power of these armed men, md then turn him over to the law to be dealt with. The very thought nause ated him. That would be a coward's act, leaving a stain never to be eradi cated. No. he must meet this as became a man, and now. now before Hone so much as dreamed of his pur- To Cleanse Rusty Hail Wounds Always Get It to the Bottom HANPORD'S Balsam ofMyrrh For Galls, Wire Cuts, Lameness, Strains, Bunches, Thrush, Old Sores, Nail Wounds, Foot Rot Fistula, Bleeding, Etc. Etc. Made Since 1848. AsJuSt°.dy Price SOc and $1.00 ••n 5 OR VP. TE All DeaS8fS(i-s^ |i,sdE5vCo' pose—aye! and "betore he spoRe an other word of love to Hope. He wheeled about fully decided on his course, his duty, and met Fairbaln face to face. "Jack," the latter said earnestly, "I read the note over your shoulder, and of course I know what you mean to do. A Southern gentleman could not choose otherwise. But I've come here to beg you to let me have the chance." "You?" surprised and curious. "What greater claim on that fellow's life have you than I?" The pudgy hands of the doctor grasped the plainsman's shoulders. "It's for Christie," he explained brokenly. "She was the one he tried to run away with. You—you know how I feel." "Sure, I know," shaking the other off, yet not roughly. "But It happen ed to be Miss Walte he took, and so this is my job, Fairbaln. Besides, I've eot another senrp to sptf.le With him He wasted little time upon prepara tions—a few brief words of instruo tlon to Brlstoe a request to the doc- tor not to leave Hope alone the ex- and bridled him, and went into the cabin. She had a light burning, and been a lucky bunch. But I have had a great deal to look after. Now 1 shall be obliged to ride ahead as far as the water-hole, and let you come oa with the others a little later, after you get breakfast. You can spare me a few hours, can't ytu?" His tone was full of good humor, and hiB CHAPTER XXXVI. The Duel In the Desert. Keith rode straight forward into the sandy desolation, spurring his horse into a swift trot. After one glance baokward as they clambered up the steep bank, a glance which revealed Hope's slender form tn the cabin door, his eyes never turned again that way. He had a man's stern work to do out yonder, and his purpose could not be swerved, his firmness of hand and keenness of eye affected, by any thought of her. His lips compressed, his fingers gripping the rein, be drove all regretful memory from his mind, unUl every nerve within him throbbed In unison with his present purpose. He was right he knew he was right. It was not hate, not even revenge, which had set him forth, leaving love behind, but honor—the honor of the South, and of tha frontier, of his an cestry and his training—honor that drove him now to meet Hawley face to face, man to man. to settle the feud between them for all time. And he rode smiling, gladly, as to a tryst, now that he was at last alone, free In the desert. from out Its sheath, tested it, and slipped in a fresh cartridge, return ing the weapon more lightly to Its place, the flap of the holster turned back and held opqn by his leg. The sun beat upon him like a ball of tire, the hot sand flinging the blaze back into his face. He pushed back the upper part of his shirt and drank a swallow of tepid water from a can teen strapped behind the saddle. His eyes ached with the glare, until he saw fantastic red and yellow shapes dancing dizzily before him. The weariness of the long night, pressed upon his eye-balls he felt the strain of the past hours, the lack of food, the need of rest. His head nodded, and he brought himself to life again with a jerk and a muttered word, star ing out into the dim formless dis tance. Lord, if there was only some thing moving something he could concentrate his attention upon some thing to rest the straining eyes! The hours passed, the sun rising higher in the blazing blue of the sky: the horse, wearied by the constant pull of the sand, had long since slowed down to a walk the last, dim blur of the cottonwoods along the Fork had disappeared and the rider swayed in the saddle, the dead lifelessness of sky and desert dulling his brain. Yat he had not forgotten his errand—rous ing constantly from lethargy to sweep his shaded eyes about the rounded horizon, keenly marking the slightest shadow across the sands, taking ad vantage of every drift to give him wider viewpoint, rising In his stirrups to scan the leagues of desolation same, his eyes peering acrobs the ahead. Twice he drew his revolver ^aek of his animal. Hut there was nothing, absolutely nothing—just that seemingly endless stretch of sand, circled ^y the blazing sky, the wind sweeping Its surlacc soundless and hot, as though from the lilts of hell no stir, 110 motion, no movement of anything animate or In animate to break the awful monotony. Death! it was death everywhere! his 1 I aclflng eyes rested otr'noSnig XJxk what was typical of death. Even the heat waves seemed fantastic, gro tesque, assuming spectral forms, as Chough ghosts beckoned and danced in the haze, luring him on to become one of themselves. Keith was not a dreamer, nor one to yield easily to such brain fancies, but the mad deliri um of loneliness gripped him, and he had to struggle back to sanity, beat ing his hands upon his breast to stir anew the sluggish circulation of his blood, and talking to the horse In strange feverishness. With every step of advance the brooding silence seemed more pro found, more deathlike. He got to marking the sand ridges, the slight va riations giving play to the brain. Way off to the left was the mirage of a lake, apparently so real that he had to battle with himself to keep from turning aside. He dropped forward in the saddle, his head hanging low, so blinded by the incessant sun glare '*»A cxuilri no !or.sr«»r bear th^ n* that horrible ocean of sand. .It was noon now—noon, and he had been rid- in8 trading of a promise from the two brought his blurred eyes again to the "Bar X" men to return to Lamed horizon. Where could he be, the man with the prisoners. Then he roped ^e the best horse in the corral, saddled steadily seven hours. The thought 8°ught tu(le? now lips smiling, yet somehow she felt her heart sink, an inexplicable fear finding expression in her eyes. "But—but why do you need to go? Couldn't some of the others?" "There Is a reason which I will ex plain later," he said, more gravely. "Surely you can trust me, Hope, and feel that I am only doing what It seems absolutely necessary for me to do?" He bent down and kissed her. "It will be only for a few hours, and no cause for worry. Oood-bye now, until we meet to-night at the water hole." The east was gray with coming day light as he rode splashing across the stream and up the opposite bank. She watched him, rubbing the blinding mist from her eyes, until horse and man became a mere dark speck, final ly fading away completely into the dull plain of the desert. dawn. met him at the door. route, south to the Fork? The possl "I thought you would never come. in the heart of this soli- Surely he should be here by he had left the water-hole at Could he have gone the longer blUty ot such a but they told me you were unhurt." him like a hot iron, driving the dull "Not a scratch, little girl we have thilJ£ nes3 from seared through his brain, the lethargy from his limbs. God! no! Fate could never play such a scurvy trick as that! The man must have been delayed had failed to leave camp early—some where ahead, yonder where the blue haze marked the union of sand and sky, he was surely coming, riding half dead, and drooping in the saddle. Again Keith rose in his stirrups, rubbing the mist out of his eyes that he might see clearer, and stared ahead. What was that away out yon der? a shadow? a spot dancing before his tortured vision? or a moving, liv ing something which he actually saw? He could not tell, he' could not be sure, yet he straightened up expect antly, shading his eyes, and never losing sight of the object. It moved, grew larger, darker, more real—yet bow it crawled, crawled, crawled to ward him. It seemed as if the vague, shapeless thing wouM never take form, never stand out revealed against the sky so he could determine the truth. He had forgotten all else—the silent desert, the blazing sun, the burning wind—all his soul concen trated on that speck yonder. Sudden ly it disappeared—a swale In the sand probably—and, when It rose into view again, he uttered a cry of joy—it was a horse and rider! Little by little they drew nearer one another, two black specks in that vast ocean of sand, the only moving, living things under the brazen circle C)f the sky. Keith was ready now, his eyes bright, the cocked revolver gripped hard in his hand. The space oetween them narrowed, and Hawley saw him, caught a glimpse of the face under the broad hat brim, the burn ing eyes surveying him. With an oath lie stopped his horse, dragging at his sun, surprised, dazed, yet instantly undersrandlng. Keith also halted, and across the intervening desert the eyes of the two men met in grim defiance. 1'he latter wet his dry lips, and spoke shortly: "I reckon you know what this means, Hawley. and why I am here. We're Southerners both of us. and we settle our own personal affairs. You've got to fight me now, man to man." The gambler glanced about him, and down at his horse. If he thought of flight it was useless. His lip curled with contempt. "Damn your talking, Keith," he re turned Bavagely. "Lei's have it over with," and spurred his horse. The gun of the other came up. "Walt!" and Hawley paused, drag ging at his rein. "One of us most like ly is going to die here perhaps both. But if either survives he'll need a horse to get out of this alive. Dis mount I'll do the same step away so the horses are out of range, and then we'll fight It out.—is that square?" Without a word, his eyes gleaming with cunning hatred, the gambler swung down from his saddle onto the sand, hlB horse Interposed between him and the other. Keith did the "Now," he said count three drive steadily, "when 1 vour horse aside. The Coughs of Children They may net cough today, bat what about tomorrow? Better be prepared tor it when it comes. Ask your doctor about keeping Ayer's Cherry Pectoral in the house. Then when the hard cold or cough first appears you have a doctor's medicine at hand. This cough medicine is especially good for children. No anodynes. No alcohol. M.inv a child is called du!l end stupid whcii the whole trouble is due to a lazy hvt-r. We firmly believe your own doc tor will tell vou that an occasional dose of Avcr's Pills, sugar-coaicd, will co such children a great de:ii of pood. Ask him. Made D.V Ji- the J. O. AVER CO.. Lowell. II I toJ&r/ and'"l€t go—are you'ready?" lr "Damn you—yes!" "Then look out—one! two! three!" The plainsman struck his horse with the quirt in his left hand and sprang swiftly aside so as to clear the flank of the animal, hi3 shooting arm flung out There was a flash of flame cross Hawley's saddle, a sharp re port, and Keith reeled backward, dropping to 10s knees, one hand clutch ing at the sand. Again Hawley fired, but the horse, startled by the double report, leaped aside, and the ball went wild. Keith wheeled about, steadying himself with his outstretched hand, and let drive, pressing the trigger, un til, through the haze over his eyes, he saw Hawley go stumbling down, shoot ing wildly as he fell. The man never moved, and Keith endeavored to get up, his gun still held ready, the smoke circling about them. He had been shot treacherously, as a cowardly cur might shoot,' and he could not clear his mind of the thought that this last act hid treachery also. But he could not raise himself, could not stand red and black shadows danced before his eyes he believed he saw the arm of the other move. Like a snake he crept forward, holding himself up with one hand, his head dizzily reeling,\ut his gun held steadily on that black, shapeless object lying on the sand. Then the revolver hand began to quiver, to shake, to make odd circles he couldn't see it was all black, all nothingness. Suddenly he went down face first into the sand. They both lay motionless, the thirs ty sand drinking in their life blood, Hawley huddled upon his left side, his hat still shading the glazing eyes, Keith lying flat, his face in the crook of an arm whose hand still gripped a revolver. There was a grim smile on his lips, as If, as he pitched forward, he knew that, after he had been shot to death, he had gotten his man. The riderless horses gazed at the two fig ures. and drifted away, slowly, fear fully, still held In mute subjection to their dead masters by dangling reins. The sun blazed down from directly overhead, the heat wave., rising and falling, the dead, desolate desert stretching to the sky. An hour, two passed. The horses were now a hun varda nBum to nos«" was changeless. Then Into the far northern sky there rose a black speck, growing larger and larger oth ens came from the east and west, beat ing the air with widely outspread wings, great beaks stretched forward. Out from their nests of foulness the desert scavengers were coming fer their spoil CHAPTER XXXVII. At the Water-Hole. Up from the far, dim southwest they rode slowly, silently, wearied still by the exertions of the past night, and burned by the fierce rays of the desert sun. No wind sufficient force had blown since Keith passed that way, and they could easily follow the hoof prints of his horse across the sand waste. Brlstoe was ahead, hat brim drawn low, scanning the horizon line unceasingly. Somewhere out in the midst of that mystery was hidden tragedy, and he dreaded the knowl edge of its truth. Behind him Fair bain and Hope rode together, their lips long since grown silent, the man ever glancing uneasily aside at her, the girl drooping slightly In the saddle, with pale face and heavy eyes. Five prisoners, lashed together, the bind ing rope fastened to the pommels ot the two 'Bar X" men's saddles, were bunched together, and behind all came Neb, his black face glistening In the heat. Suddenly Brlstoe drew rein, and rose to the full length In the stirrups, shading his eyes from the sun's glare, as he stared ahead. Two motionless black spects were visible—yet were they motionless? or was It the heat waves which seemed to yield them movement? He drove In his spurs, driving his startled horse to the summit of a low sand ridge, and again halted, gazing intently forward He was not mistaken—they were horses. Knowing Instantly what It meant— those riderless animals drifting dere lict In the heart ot the desert—his throat dry with rear, the scout wheeled, and spurred back to his party, quickly resolving on a course of action. Hawley and Keith had met both had fallen, either dead or wounded. A moment's delay now might cost a life he would need Fair bain, but he must keep the girl back, if possible. But could he? She straightened up in the saddle as he came spurring toward them her eyes wide open, one hand clutching at her throat. "Doctor," he called as soon as he was near enough, his horse circling, "thar is somethin' showln' out yon der I'd like ter take a look at, an' I reckon you better go 'long. The nig ger kin com' up ahead yere with Miss Walte." She struck her horse, and he plunged forward, bringing her face to face with Bristoe. "What Is it? Tell me, what Is it?" "Nothln' but a loose hoss, Miss." "A horse! here on the desert'" looking about, her eyes dark with hor ror. "But how could that- be? Could —could It be Captain Keith's?" Brlstoe cast an appealing glance n! Fairbaln, mopping his face vigorously, not knowing what to say. and the oth er attempted to turn the tide. "Not likely—not likely at all—nc reason why It should be—probably Just a stray horse—you stay back here, Miss Hope—Hen and I will find out, and let you know." "No, I'm going," she cried, stifling a sob In her ihroaL "It would kill me to wait here .Sha. as off before either 1 3 raise hand 'of volte lh protest, snor they could only urge their horses 1»| effort to overtake her, the three nfe!- The Eyes of the Two Met In Defiance. clng forward fetlock deep in sand. Mounted upon a swifter animal Fair baln forged ahead he could see the two horses now plainly, their heads 1 uplifted, their reins dangling. With out perceiving more he knew already' what was waiting there on the sand,' and swore fiercely, spurring his horse' mercilessly, forgetful of all else, even the girl, in his intense desire to reach' and touch the bodies. He had begged! to do this himself, to be privlli*sed: to seek this man Hawley, to kill him— but now he was the physician, with no other thought except a hope to save.* Before his horse had even stopped he flung himself from the saddle, ran forward and dropped on his knees be side Keith, bending his ear to the chest, grasping the wrist in his fin-, gers. As the others approached, he glanced up, no conception now of" aught save his own professional work.: "Water, Brlstoe," he exclaimed sharply. "Dash some brandy in It. Quick now. There, that's it hold his head up—higher. Yes, you do it, Miss Hnn«- "jn take thin, inl Ms teeth open—well, he got a swallow anyhow. Hold him just as he Is—eaa you stand it? I've got to find wher* be was hit." "Yes—yes," she answered, "don't— don't mind me." He tore open the woolen shirt, soaked with blood already hardening, felt within with skilled fingers, his e^es keen, his lips muttering uncon sciously. "Quarter of an inch—quarter of as Inch too high—scraped the lung Lord, if I can only get it out—got tv do it now—can't wait—here, Brlstoe, that leather case on my saddle—run* damn you—we'll save him yet, girl there, drop his head In your lap—yes, cry if you want to—only hold still— open the case, will you—down ho% where I can reach it—now water—all our canteens—Hope, tear me off strip of your under-sklrt—what am I going to do?—extract the ball—got to do it—blood poison in this sun." She ripped her skirt, handing It to him without a word then dropped her white face In her hands, bending^ with closed eyes, over the whiter face resting on her lap, her lips trembling with the one prayer, "Oh, God! Oh, God!" How long he was at it, or what he did, she scarcely knew—she heard the splash of water caught the flash of the sun on the probe felt tho half conscious shudder of the wound ed man, whose head was In her lap, the deft, quick movements of Falr» bain, and then— "That's it—I've got it—missed the lung by a hair—damn me I'm proud ot thai job—you're a good girl." She looked at him, scarce able to see. her eyes blinded with tears. "WiU—will he live? Oh, tell me!" "Live' Why shouldn't, he?—nothing but a hole to close up—nature'll do that, with a bit 01 nursing—here, now don't oil keel over—give mp the rest of that skirt." He bandaged the wound, then glanced about suddenly. "How's the other fellow?" "Dead," returned Brlstoe, "shot through the heart." "Thought to—have seen Keith shoot before—I wonder how the cusa ever managed to get him." 7 As he arose to his teet, his red faco glistening with perspiration, and be gan strapping his leather case, tho others ri "n and Brlstoe, explaining the situation, set the men to making preparations tor pushing on to tho water-hole. Blankets were swung bo» tween ponies, and thr bodies of th« dead and wounded (tervoulted therein, firm hands on tho brk1 es Hope rodo close beside Keitb., struggling to keep back the tears, as she watched hint lying motionless, unconscious, scarce ly breathing. So, under the early glow of the desert stars, they came to tho water-hole, and halted. The wounded man opened his eyes, and looked about him unable to com prehend. At first all was dark, silent then he saw the stars overhead, and a breath of air fanned the near-by fire, the ruddy glow of flame flashing across his face. He heard voices faintly, and thus, little by little, con sciousness asserted itself and memory struggled back into his bewildered brain. The desert—the lonely leagues of sand—his fingers gripped as if they felt the stock of a gun—yet that was all over—he was not there—but he w-as somewhere—and alive, alive, it hurt him to move, to br.eatlie even, and after one effort to turn over, h® lay cerfectiv still,, staring uu Into th© (Continued 011 jingo 7) 4 SI 1 1 N