The Baldwin Library
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SIX YOUNG HUNTERS
THE ADVENTURES OF THE
W. GORDON PARKER
WITH ILLUSTRATIONS BY THE AUTHOR
LEE AND SHEPARD PUBLISHERS
COPYRIGHT, 1898, BY LEE AND SHEPARD
All Rights Reserved
Six YOUNG HUNTERS
J. S. Cushing & Co. Berwick & Smith
Norwood Maes. U.S.A.
DEER LODGE .
AN ACQUAINTANCE .
AN UNEXPECTED ENEMY
WITH THE GREYHOUNDS.
THE OUTLAWS' RETREAT
THE HOLD-UP .
AN EXCURSION .
THE BEAR HUNT
STARTLING NEWS .
FIREFLY IS TAKEN
THE OUTLAWS FOILED .
WALTER A CAPTIVE .
HARRY ON THE TRAIL .
HANK DOBSON. .
THE LAST OF THE OUTLAWS .
THE DEER CHASE .
SELECTING PONIES AT UNCLE JOHN'S
TASSO, SAXONY, AND THE RABBIT
DISCUSSING PRINCE ROYAL
HARRY HEARS THE WILDCAT
INITIAL T. .
FEEDING UPON A JACK-RABBIT
A MORNING'S COURSING .
Josi CABRILLO .
INITIAL H .
VON AND THE QUAIL .
THE BEAR APPEARS
PRINCE ROYAL .
HANK DOBSON. .
HEAD OF INDIAN
INITIAL T .
HARRY GOES OVER THE CLIFF
THE FIRST STAG KILLED
SIX YOUNG HUNTERS
Away to the forest when autumn's a-dying,
To follow the music of vanishing hounds.
Clap spurs to your hunter -hark !- list to their crying !
They're racing in vain with the deer's lightning.bounds.
THE home of the Greyhound Club, Deer Lodge,
is situated in one of the wildest and least fre-
quented parts of'the Indian Territory, or more prop-
erly the portion owned and held by the Osage arid
SIX YOUNG HUNTERS
other Indian tribes, on the banks of Grouse creek.
It is a model place for young sportsmen to enjoy a
month's hunting and fishing, for deer and wolves are
plentiful in the surrounding country, and black bass
swarm in the stream. The house stands upon grass-
land overlooking the winding water below, at the
edge of a grove of gigantic oaks and cottonwoods.
Built entirely of logs, it presents a strikingly attractive
picture to the boy lover of the rod and gun, especially
during the hunting season, when the wide veranda
is alive with young sportsmen, who usually return
about twilight. Some are on horseback, some in
canoes which they tie to the jetty at the base of the
cliff, and some afoot. Those who return with the
tired greyhounds usually carry a deer or two across
their saddles, while those who return with the setters
have game-bags overflowing with quails, ducks, or
prairie-chickens. Then, while old Tony, the negro
servant, prepares supper, the boys gradually gather
upon the veranda and discuss the day's sport to their
hearts' content; for they are trusty, fun-loving lads,
these members of the Greyhound Club, who have
left honest and faithful records at school, and who
consequently enjoy their well-earned vacation to the
fullest extent. They had all met the previous autumn
at a famous New England academy, and soon became
fast friends. Each one loved a good horse and gun
as much as any boy can, and cared little for the set
of fellows who frequented the billiard rooms in town
and played cards. It was natural, therefore, that
they should drift apart from the crowd led by Sin-
clair and others of his type, and form a club of their
One stormy Saturday night in March, it chanced
that five of the present Greyhound Club had gath-
ered in Walter Hillman's room, and were seated
about the cheerful hearth, telling stories of mountain
and field and sea, or listening to the moaning of the
wind and to the ceaseless driving of the sleet against
the window panes. They were Harry and Arthur
Martin, and their old friend, Jack Trehearne, all
residing in the city of New York; Paul Marshall,
a Southern boy, and last, but not least, the genial
host, whose supply of pop-corn and apples seemed
"What a glorious night this would be in the
woods, after a day's shooting," said Walter,-patting
his favorite setter, which held possession of a bear-
skin rug. "I'll admit it's always jolly to be about
a cheerful blaze with a company of good fellows, but
somehow it never seems quite like the camp-fire."
"And I quite agree with you," continued Arthur
in reply. "I hate to think of spending the coming
summer in the same old way; most of us have had
enough of base-ball and tennis. Why can't we form
a sort of club and rough it through vacation ? It
SIX YOUNG HUNTERS
would put us in superb condition to begin training
for the foot-ball team in the fall."
"An excellent idea, Arthur! was Walter's quick
exclamation. "And now this gives me a good op-
portunity of unfolding a little scheme that has been
occupying my mind a great deal of late. In the first
place, I believe I know the very spot for such a
camp; that is, if it isn't too far to go. My father, as
some of you have heard me say, handles large num-
bers of cattle, which he usually buys in Texas and
ships to the Indian Territory to pasture and fatten
for the market. He leases these pastures from the
Indians, who are always very friendly. I have been
hunting there several times with some of father's
cowboys, and the country is alive with large and
small game. These two bear-skin rugs and that
deer's head," he continued, pointing to the articles
in question, "are reminders of last summer's outing.
There are numerous well-wooded creeks that would
be just suitable for a sportsman's club. What do
What would any boy reply to such a proposition?
Of course they were enthusiastic over the idea at
once, and asked Walter numberless questions. Harry
wanted to know what the biggest game was, and how
it was hunted, while the more thoughtful Paul didn't
see how they could build a comfortable lodge and do
any hunting the same summer.
"We have sufficient time if we commence at once,"
was Walter's wise response. "To begin with, we must
all get the consent of our parents as soon as possible,
which is the main point. I will write to-night to
Uncle John, tell him our plans, and I can promise
you he will do everything in his power to help us."
"Understood," said Harry, cheerfully. Now tell
us about the game."
"Well, Harry," replied Walter, with an amused
twinkle in his eye, "you will need every gun and
rod in your collection, which is saying a good deal.
There is any quantity of work there for fly-rods,
setters, and spaniels; and there are jack-rabbits,
wolves, and deer for the greyhounds. That is the
sport of sports, I tell you, and the greyhound, in my
opinion, is the king of dogs. After you have taken
a gallop with a couple of them, and have started and
caught a fleet-footed jack-rabbit, you will agree with
me; and as for the excitement of a deer chase, -
well, just wait until you see for yourselves, for it makes
me feel like leaving school to think of it!" with
which conclusion Walter arose and paced the room
That settled the matter. The boys talked and
formed plans long into the night, and then crept
noiselessly off to their respective dormitories to dream
uninterruptedly of bear hunts or deer coursing in a
comparatively unknown, unfrequented country.
SIX YOUNG HUNTERS
Walter sat up a long hour after his friends had left,
and wrote a letter to his bachelor uncle that must
have won him then and there; for he proved himself
true to the boys, and it was mainly due to Walter's
kind uncle's interest that the Greyhound Club was
firmly organized, as many objections were raised by
the boys' parents, all of which were finally overcome
by Uncle John. Then nothing was heard from him
for a month or more, and it is needless to say that the
boys in consequence wore gloomy faces to recitations.
One day, however, after a long wait, Walter received
a letter which caused him to desert his algebra, tip
over an ink-bottle, and rush out to join his friends.
This is what he read to them:-
PAWHUSKA, April 25th.
MY DEAR WALTER : Perhaps you have been wondering
why you have not heard from me of late in regard to the
hunting trip you and your friends expect to make here this
summer. Well, to tell the truth, I have taken matters in my
own hands, and have had a camp erected upon one of the
bluffs at Grouse creek, very near the spot where you and
Pietro shot your second bear last year. I shall not say much
about it, but might state that there is ample room for a dozen
of your friends, with as many horses.
If any of the boys own canoes, tell them to be sure to
bring them, as they will come in handy for chasing crippled
ducks and for bass fishing.
I suppose you have already told them of the sport to be
had here with greyhounds, and that in order to enjoy it fully,
each should own at least one, which would also help to make
a pack. It would be well to get them now, as the grey-
hound, as a rule, is a peculiar dog, and makes friends slowly.
Get the best dogs obtainable, as the deer are fleet as the
wind. Pietro has been instructed to watch and select twenty
of the best ponies at the ranch, so that your friends may
have something from which to choose.
It would seem to me advisable to have Tony do the cook-
ing, as you won't care to bother with it after a long ride on a
hot day. Speaking of riding, reminds me to say that I have
been galloping Leveller for you. He's in grand shape, and
follows the hounds beautifully.
Let me know of anything you wish done or left undone, and
be sure and write me when you start. In the mean time,
remember me to the boys.
P.S. I have furnished the camp only, as I suppose you
and your friends will bring a few of the trophies you have at
your rooms and at home, and arrange things to suit your-
Sselves. Pietro says the herdsmen who have just arrived re-
port a loss of a half-dozen young steers by a panther. Here's
a pretty piece of news, and a commission for your friends if
he holds out until summer.
This was. a joyful and welcome surprise. If Uncle
John could have heard some of the expressions of
delight that were uttered by the boys on this occa-
sion, he would have felt even then fully repaid for
SIX YOUNG HUNTERS
his time and trouble spent in the erection of the
lodge. The sincere letters of thanks he received
from them in reply amused him greatly, for he had
been a boy himself, and knew boys well.
Soon after the receipt of Uncle John's letter,
Harry and Arthur received a pair of greyhounds
from New York; then Jack and Paul became the
proud possessors of one each; and finally Eugene
Marshall,. Paul's cousin, who completed the club of
six, bought another. That was why the students at
the academy began to speak of Harry Martin and his
followers as the "Greyhound Club," and the hunting
trip was the sole topic of conversation, even after the
base-ball season opened. Many a manly good fellow's
application for membership was received, considered,
and rejected, as the six chums had decided the club
complete among themselves.
When school finally closed for the long summer
, vacation, the boys took the first available train west,
and were met at the little station by Uncle John, with
whom they spent a couple of very enjoyable days at
Pietro had quartered a score of spirited ponies in
the corral, and the boys were kept busy roping, sad-.
dling, and endeavoring to settle upon their mounts.
As Jack had shipped Blue Rocket from New York,
he and Walter were at liberty to assist their friends
in a choice, which occupied an entire day. The four
DEER LODGE '9
broncos were finally selected, however, the great
covered wagons packed to their utmost capacity,
and as Tony shuffled out with the last frying-pan
and dipper, Uncle John cracked his whip, the boys
called a last good-by, and the journey to the lodge
SELECTING PONIES AT UNCLE JOHN'S.
The lads went into ecstasies over the beautiful
little camp, and insisted upon thanking Uncle John
again and again, pressing him to stay and enjoy the
game they promised to kill for him. But he had
important business back at the ranch, he said, and
returned at daybreak the following morning.
Our story opens on the second day after the arrival
of the club at the lodge. They had followed out
Uncle John's advice of the previous morning to the
very letter, and had spent the day in short walks, in
SIX YOUNG HUNTERS
resting, and in making things comfortable. It was a
pleasure to look about and arrange their new home;
to see the ponies well quartered under Pietro's un-
tiring care, and the canoes safely floated and fastened
to the jetty.
The boys slept soundly that night, but before the
sun had fairly shown himself above the towering
crags across the creek the next morning, they were
dressed and out upon the veranda. It would be
difficult to recognize in the group any one of the
neatly dressed students we met in Walter's room at
the academy. Harry had donned a complete suit of
black velvet, the gold-corded trousers cut after the
flaring Mexican fashion. A gaudy scarlet sash was
tied about his waist, at the end of which little silver
bells jingled in harmony with his spurs at every step
he took. A great broad-brimmed sombrero com-
pleted the boy's wildly picturesque attire, which was
a fair sample of what the others wore while at the
"A capital morning for a rabbit chase, fellows!"
called Walter from the stable, as he tightened Level-
ler's saddle-band, and then mounted the impatient
animal and galloped out to his friends. "Pietro
says there's one down there by those jack-oaks, and
that he noticed him every morning while they were
building the lodge."
By the time Walter had finished, Harry was also
mounted upon his frisky little pony, and as the grey-
hounds were already racing in circles about the
grounds, the other boys concluded to see the fun
from the veranda. They were all extremely anxious
to see how Harry's handsome broncho would run
with Leveller, and to see their favorite dogs extended
for the first time in a race. Walter whistled continu-
ally until they all came up, and then he and Harry
turned their horses and cantered away for the tall
grass by the jack-oaks.
What a pleasure it was to be astride a restive
animal on such a glorious morning, with school-books
carefully packed away until autumn, and examina-
tions creditably passed! Was there a boy among
that fun-loving throng who regretted his hours of
hard work during the school term ? Decidedly there
was not. It had been trying to stand before a dismal,
dusty blackboard in the autumn twilight and solve
countless original geometrical propositions, with the
foot-ball team plunging about the campus below,
cheered by the school. And it had been hard to refuse
a tempting invitation to a secret spread, and devote
one's self to Cicero, well knowing that in doing so one
was denying one's self some of Chap's delicious pump-
kin pies and cheese. Now that their hard work was
finished, however, and they were about to begin an
uninterrupted summer's hunt, they looked back at
it all with the keenest pleasure.
SIX YOUNG HUNTERS
Now, Harry," cautioned Walter, as they rode
along together, "you must be careful and not ride
too hard after a rabbit jumps up, for fear of riding
down the dogs. They are inexperienced, and are
liable to run under the horses. Back, Tasso!" he
concluded, with a cut of his whip at his favorite
courser, which showed a disposition to keep too far
in advance of the pack that trotted along behind the
"But surely they can outrun us ?"
"Of course they can, but they sometimes get in the
way all the same. Take the dogs as they are upon
your right, for an illustration. If we should 'jump'
a rabbit in advance of us and on my left, we would
naturally have the start of the pack, which would
cut right across our course. Then, too, a rabbit
often turns at right angles many times at the be-
ginning as well as at the end of, a race, so it is well
to be cautious. Steady, now! Hunt 'em up, Tasso! "
With these explanations, the boys slowly entered
the grass by the oaks before mentioned. All eyes
were turned upon them from the lodge as Walter
gradually separated from Harry and cautiously moved
forward. At intervals the graceful greyhounds would
stop and look about them, trembling in every limb.
The first rays of the rising sun shone bright and clear
on Leveller's chestnut coat, flooding the grass-land
and valley in a softened golden light.
The dogs and riders had advanced to the centre of
the tallest grass, when a rustling was heard just ahead,
soon after followed by an immense jack-rabbit rising
to view, his great ears laid close to his back, and run-
ning like the wind.
With wonderful speed the pack followed, Tasso in
the lead, with Harry's Diamond and Eugene's Sax-
ony close together. The rabbit was running in dead
earnest, his lightning stride quickening at every jump:
Straight for the prairie in front of the lodge he flew,
followed by the sweeping pack. Saxony had gained
upon Tasso, who was close to the hare at the first turn-
ing. With open jaws and gleaming teeth the gallant
greyhound made his drive to kill, but the now fairly
flying hare was too quick for him, and was running
at a tangent before Tasso and Saxony, followed by
Rambler, Diana, Diamond, and Boomerang, could re-
cover. Again they came up like a whirlwind, only to
be thrown off again by the "jack's sudden wrenching
and twisting. With their master's shouts ringing
in their ears, the coursers wore down upon the hare
for the third time, as they flew by the lodge on the
return. At the jack-oaks the hounds came up with
apparently the same lightning stride, steadied them-
selves, following each turn with wonderful agility.
They gained until their third effort to kill was unsuc-
cessful, and as they swept by the onlookers for the
third time, with Tasso gradually lessening the inter-
SIX YOUNG HUNTERS
evening distance by great sweeping strides, a hoarse
roar went up from the boys, louder and louder, chang-
ing every second: Hie on, Saxony! Stop him,
Tasso, stop him "Turn him, Diamond! "Tasso
has him! "Rambler's gaining! "Tasso will get
him! "Tasso wins !"
As the shout rose, Walter
brought Leveller even with
his favorite, for Harry had
TASSO, SAXONY, AND THE RABBIT.
lost ground rapidly from the start, and then they
ran side by side; with one crowning effort, Tasso's
grand stride quickened, and in another second ended
Three cheers for the Greyhound Club, arid a dozen
for Uncle John shouted Eugene from the veanda, .
waving his sombrero above his head; and thfee
times three for Tasso, who kills the .first quarry at
Deer Lodge! The cheers were given With a will
as the boys rushed down the incline, earnestly discuss-
ing the merits of the different dogs and expressing a
wish to continue the sport. But Walter was afraid to
work them too much at first, he said, so the merry
company returned to Tony's inviting breakfast of hot
coffee, corn-bread, broiled quail, and bacon. While
they are enjoying the meal with appetites that orily
the fresh morning air of the prairie can give, let us
look about and see what has been done to make the
neatly constructed house a model home for young
As the stranger enters through the hospitable doors,
he finds himself in a large, comfortable looking room.
There is an immense fireplace at one end, built entirely
of stone, the mantel and chimney finished in rustic
woodwork. A magnificent deer's head looks down
from above, at the right and left of which are hung a
couple of Tracy's studies of field dogs. About the
room are hung well mounted elk horns, :deer, and
antelope heads in profusion. Upon the elk and deer
horns the boys have placed their entire collection of
guns, including numberless large and small gauge
rifles and hammerless shot-guns.
16 SIX YOUNG HUNTERS
Directly opposite the hearth, at the other end of
the room, stands a large table, composed entirely of
twisted oak branches and planking. 'It is heaped
high with spurs, revolvers, riding whips, cartridges,
and fly-rods; game-bags and bridles, hunting knives
and stirrups. The floor is covered with comfortable
rugs, bear and panther skins; fencing foils, masks,
and gloves are crossed within easy reach, while a
medley of hunting pictures by prominent artists
papers the roughly-hewn walls irregularly.
A spacious door leads to the dining-room and
kitchen, where old Tony rules undisturbed. Stairs
lead to the bunks on the second story, which is
divided into rooms for the members of the club,
Tony, and Pietro.
HARRY was not at all pleased with the running
of his pony in the rabbit race before breakfast.
He had selected him from the many horses Uncle
John had kept at the ranch for the purpose of giving
the boys a chance to please themselves; and while
the other boys were discussing the race and comment-
ing enthusiastically upon Leveller's wonderful speed,
Harry silently devoured his share of the tempting
viands Tony placed before our heroes. He realized
that he must have a faster horse in order to follow the
pack with Walter, who was sure to be in at every
death. He further realized that the club was ex-
tremely anxious to see more of the sport so success-
fully opened with a young and inexperienced pack,
and that as soon as the dogs had become sufficiently
hardened, deer coursing would be in order.
Afer breakfast, Arthur and Eugene placed the
well- led lunch basket Tony had given them in one
of the canoes, and paddled down the stream, deter-
mined to capture a string of the bass Uncle John had
SIX YOUNG .HUNTERS
talked so much about. Walter, Jack, and Paul took
the setters and started for the prairie, which left
Harry alone, as he had declined to join either party.
He went into the house and selected a book, which he,
endeavored to read in the shade of one of the large
oaks; but his mind was not in it, and the book was
soon returned to the case. Tony could be heard hum-
ming familiar songs as he busied himself with the
breakfast dishes, while Pietro's voice was now and
then heard as he spoke to the different ponies during
the operation of grooming. The greyhounds were
sleeping soundly in the sunshine, tired from their
exertions of the early morning. For want of some-
thing better to do, Harry walked out to the neat little
stable in the rear of the lodge. He always enjoyed
seeing the double row of comfortable stalls, the spa-
cious saddle room and paddock, and Pietro hard at
work polishing bits and bridles.
"The boys aren't riding much to-day, Pietro," said
Harry by way of greeting; "but we'll get enough
before we leave, I dare say."
"Very likely, Master Harry. I suppose the trip
from the ranch quite used them up. Well, the hosses
have felt it too, though Master Walter's hoss seems
fit for anything. That's a high-headed fellow, that
pony of yourn."
"High-headed enough!" returned the boy, with
ill-concealed disgusti "but looks don't cover the
ground. That was a pretty poor showing he made
against the chestnut, you'll admit, and there's no
denying he was doing his best."
"I was watching you," said Pietro, lighting his pipe
and leaning against the feed bins, "and he was in
earnest all the way. Btt the fact is, there isn't one
amongst 'em that can gallop with Master Walter's
hoss. Now, didn't the hounds do well at the first
pop out of the box, took to it like ducks to the
water! You'll have a ride you won't forget, when
you head a deer away from the jack-oaks for the
prairie, Master Harry." Pietro concluded by puffing
at his pipe in silence, while Harry saddled his pony
and rode down the prairie within a stone's throw of
the timber that grew along the stream. Pietro, he
told himself, was right. None of the saddlers the
boys had chosen could make Leveller extend himself,
and he regretted deeply that he had not purchased a
well-bred animal before leaving New York. He was
aware of the well-known staying qualities the ponies
possessed, and rightly supposed they would stand a
season's hunt in that country better than a larger
horse. If the other fellows liked them, he argued,
they were welcome to a whole drove, but he would
commission Uncle John to send him a horse as fast
and as handsome as Walter's. He knew that such
a purchase would nearly exhaust the savings for
which he had denied himself so much the previous
SIX YOUNG HUNTERS
winter, but nevertheless was determined to have the
Thus occupied, Harry turned and guided his pony
down the rocky path that led to the creek. He
admired the judgment the little animal displayed in
the descent, and the willingness with which he forded
the stream. As the day became quite warm, Harry
allowed the pony to choose his own gait, which was
a quick, nervous walk. Following one of the numer-
ous deer trails that led from the water, he entered
a sheltered spot that appeared to be crossed and
recrossed by many well-worn paths. On three sides
the great stone crags completely shut it off from the
outside world, while on the remaining side, where
.horse and rider had entered, the trees grew so thick
that it was difficult to ride through at all.
As Harry rode forward, a gray wolf jumped up
not sixty feet off, stopping at the rocks to get a better
view of this strange intruder. Then a hawk rose
slowly, finally disappearing over the ledge. Harry
longed for his rifle, which he had forgotten in the
all-absorbing thought of obtaining a better horse.
The wolf turned and showed his teeth, an action
unappreciated by the boy, who was honestly glad
when he was out of sight.
Dismounting, Harry led his pony through the
timber until he reached a spring that came from the
rocks-above. He slung the bridle-rein over his arm,
and kneeling down, began to drink. The water was
clear and refreshing, and when he was at last ready
to rise, he was conscious of the approach of a stran-
ger from above. Looking up, the boy was oddly
impressed with the fellow's appearance. He was
roughly clad in a suit of ornamented buckskin, which
bore the marks of long and faithful service. A
leather belt was fastened about his waist, upon which
a dozen cartridges of large gauge were held in the
usual manner. He carried a repeating rifle, which
he handled skilfully, without giving one the impres-
sion that he held a gun at all. His black sombrero
looked well over the heavy black eyebrows and hair.
While of medium size and height, Harry could see at
a glance .that the fellow was superbly developed for
so young a man. He advanced without hesitation,
on the opposite bank, placing his gun against a
cottonwood with an assuring smile. Harry noticed
as he did so that his teeth were very white, and that
there were marks of refinement in his dark face.
"A little surprised to see me, I take it," the
stranger began, evidently comprehending the boy's
questioning glance, "and I can't very much hold it
"Well, one doesn't expect to meet many in a place
like this," replied Harry, crossing. the stream, and
fastening his horse to a sapling. "Have you killed
SIX Y1oUNG HUNTERS
"Not yet. To be honest, I kind of watched for
some of you fellows to sort o' stray away from that
there camp, as I wanted to talk a little trade with
"Trade!" exclaimed Harry, wondering what kind
of trade a young man with a rifle could be engaged
in, and if he should have to walk back to camp.
"We are not down here on business; and even if
we were, what would prevent your coming up to
the lodge ?"
"I calculated that it would sound a bit fishy," re-
turned the stranger, pressing his thumb against the
tobacco he had placed in the bowl of his pipe,
"'specially to you .chaps that have not become
acquainted with the laws that such fellows as me
have to live up to."
Oh! I know that no one is supposed to hunt here
without a government permit," replied. Harry, re-
calling some of Uncle John's words; "but no one
would disturb you if you behaved yourselves."
"That's just it, if we behaved ourselves, which we
didn't," earnestly continued the fellow, puffing vig-
orously at his pipe. You see it all happened some-
thing like this: There were about eight of us
fellows camping and hunting around here, summer
and winter. All the boys liked a good horse and
usually had one; so when the Indian police came
and hunted us down on purpose to take our nags,
the boys kind o' resented the intrusion and pumped
them full of lead."
"Killed them!" exclaimed Harry, casting a fur-
tive glance at the stranger's rifle. "What happened
"Nothin', until Colonel Hillman rented the ranges.
Then he posted up a notice on a good many trails,
saying that the boys could come and work for him
if they wanted to; that it was better to brace up
and work and make men. They couldn't quite get
over the Indian police, though, and stayed among
the hills. It was pretty cold, and much easier to
shoot a steer than anything else, so we had beef a
good deal that winter. The colonel naturally got
mad, and posted up signs right over the others
orderin' us out of the country. Most of the boys
have pulled up stakes and I want to go, too. That's
why I hung 'round, trustin' to meet some of you
chaps and sell my horse."
"How did you know we were coming?" asked
Harry, reflecting upon what he had just heard, and
wondering why Uncle John had not told the club
all about it.
"It was easy to guess when we saw them building'
that there fancy log-house with the wide shelter,"
returned the other. "And I told myself there was
a market right here same as up north, and waited."
You were right in supposing that we should like to
24 SIX YOUNG HUNTERS
be well mounted," said Harry, secretly admiring the fel-
low's reasoning. What kind of a horse have you ?"
"Just the right one to follow them long-legged
hounds. He's ,a 'crackerjack,' I tell you. Would
you like to see him?"
Harry replied that he certainly should, and fol-
lowed his new acquaintance through the woods in
silence. After five minutes' rapid walking, they
struck a trail that led down to Grouse creek, and
which they followed for a long mile. Emerging into
a little clearing on the bank of the stream, the young
fellow halted, unbuckling his belt and leaning his
rifle against a fallen tree.
"Now, you had better wait here a bit," he said,
"as it's rough going the rest of the way. You can
shoot a squirrel or two if you're hungry, though I'll
fetch the horse before long."
With these words he disappeared into the woods,
leaving Harry seated upon the log, deeply puzzled
over this last move.
"I suppose it's only natural, though," he finally
concluded; "for he thinks I might say I saw him,
and would guide Uncle John's men to his camp. But
I won't mention it, if I like the looks of his horse,
and I'll tell him so."
With many such comforting reflections, Harry
shouldered the rifle and started down the bank of
the stream in search of a squirrel. Spying one
among the topmost branches of a tall tree, he took
careful aim and fired. The squirrel dropped from
limb to limb, finally striking the ground. He picked
it up, gathering on his return an armful of wood for
the camp-fire, which he heaped upon a mass of dead
leaves. Seated upon the log, it was but the work of
a moment to skin and clean the animal, and he was
on the point of lighting the fire when he was inter-
rupted by a splashing in the stream, followed by a
I think it must have been about here the rifle was
fired," Harry heard his brother say, "for it was very
It was probably at the lodge," Eugene replied,
"for I'm sure the other fellows didn't take a rifle
Harry had just time to conceal himself among the
bushes, which he knew would shelter his pony. In
a few seconds the canoe appeared, Arthur seated
in the bow with a light rifle across his knees. A
couple of split bamboo rods protruded over the bow,
and a fine string of bass could be seen in the stern.
"If the other fellows have done as well, it will pay
to be back for supper," thought Harry, gazing in
astonishment at one or two of the fish they had
captured. "I won't show myself, for then they
might smell a mouse; and if I don't get the-horse,
no one need know anything about it."
SIX VOTNI HTXhTERS
Harry watched the canoe until it disappeared
around a bend in the creek, and then returned and
touched a match to the dead leaves. While he was
pleasantly employed in broiling the squirrel, his
thoughts unwillingly reverted to his new acquaint-
ance, and he told himself that the fellow was in all
probability an outlaw. The thought was not a very
pleasant one, and he tried to forget it; but it was no
use, and while trying to decide what was best to be
done, he heard the distinct clatter of flying hoofs,
soon followed by the reappearance of his new ac-
quaintance mounted upon a horse that went straight
to the boy's heart. Harry was inclined to think he
had never before seen such a graceful animal. He
was jet black, with a regular white blaze, running the
full length of his head, while his near forefoot and
off hindfoot were white.
"He's a perfect beauty!" exclaimed Harry, with
admiration, as the stranger dismounted. And is he
as good as he looks?"
Every bit and better. Try him and see," was the
Harry threw his leg over the saddle and galloped
about the clearing. The horse moved with perfect
freedom and grace, and it was hard for the boy to
realize that such a prize had come so unexpectedly
within his reach.
"Well, he's all and more than you said he was,"
said Harry, stopping before the young fellow, who
had seated himself upon a log. "What do you ask
"A good deal more than you'll be willing to pay,
pardner, so I'll just slice the difference and make it
two hundred even."
"Two hundred dollars! Isn't that a very high
price to ask for a horse so far from a large city ? "
Not considering' quality, it isn't. Do you think
you'll take him?"
." Well no; not at that price. But I'll give you
a hundred for him to-morrow morning, as that's every
cent I have, and I'll agree not to say a word at the
camp about you."
Call it a bargain, friend, and now I'll be able to
leave this country without getting' mixed up in any-
thing else. If you'll agree to fetch me that hundred
to-morrow morning you can take the horse along
"Hadn't you better wait till you get the money ?"
"No,' it's all right. A man must be scandalous
mean to throw a fellow down for a hundred; and
besides, I want to show you chaps what kind of a
feller I am. I might be coming down this way again,
and have another nag for sale."
Harry was greatly elated to think he would be
able to ride the handsome black into camp that very
afternoon, and tried to imagine the surprise of his
SIX YOUNG HUNTERS
friends upon seeing him for the first time so un-
expectedly mounted. It was agreed that the stranger
was to ride Harry's pony back, and that he was to
return to that spot the following day about ten or
eleven o'clock to receive the money. The saddles
and bridles were then changed, and Harry, after
shaking hands with the man, mounted and galloped
up the prairie towards the lodge.
As he neared the jack-oaks that crowned the ridge
in front of the camp, the lad dismounted and
cautiously moved forward until he could obtain an
unobstructed view of what was happening upon the
veranda. The boys were seated upon the railing and
steps, evidently discussing the day's outing, for
while Eugene held up his string of bass, Jack was
seen to point towards a fine lot of birds that lay
upon the grass.
Now's my time," thought Harry, "and I'll give
them something else to think about."
Throwing his leg across the saddle, he touched the
handsome creature with his spur, and the next instant
the restive black was galloping over the grass-land in
graceful, sweeping strides, to the utter amazement of
the crowd upon the veranda.
"It's Harry! cried Arthur, rising to his feet and
gazing after the rider in open-mouthed astonishment.
"Yes, and he's on a beauty," chimed in Paul.
"Or he's painted Blue Rocket black," added Wal-
ter. Then, as. the horse turned and started back for
the ridge, the boys called after their chum in chorus:
"Hi there, Harry Martin! Bring up your galloper
and let's have a look at him."
Horse and rider were soon among them, and Harry
saw at once that his friends were very favorably im-
pressed with his new mount.
"Now that's what I call tough luck," said Eugene,
in disgust. "Arthur and I go out and whip the
stream all the morning for a string of bass, while you
three go and hunt hard for your prairie-chickens;
but Harry declines to do either, and while we are
gone, takes an aimless ride with his Texas broncho
and returns upon a racer."
"If he is a racer," suggested Paul, with a knowing
look at Walter. "I believe the chestnut can beat
All they could say, however, would not induce
Harry to tell them how he had come into the posses-
sion of the horse. The boys followed him out to the
stable, where they had a good opportunity of compar-
ing the three horses. Pietro seemed very much sur-
prised, but failed to advance any opinion regarding
the black, and asked no questions before the boys.
Harry remained behind long enough to make his new
favorite comfortable, and while he was placing fresh
bedding in the box-stall, the hostler stood by and
looked the horse over with the eye of an expert.
SIX YOUNG HUNTERS
"A clever galloper for these parts, Master Harry,"
he finally said. "Might I ask where you got him?"
Certainly. About two or three miles below, of a
young fellow clad in buckskin. He was really a very
good-looking chap, Pietro, and I gathered from what
he said that he and his friends killed some of Uncle
John's steers last winter, and consequently got into
trouble," replied Harry, who wished to do the fellow
all possible justice.
"Got into trouble," exclaimed Pietro, in deep dis-
gust, I should say they did. They cut throats, stole
cattle, and shot the Indian police. They ain't a band
of mere 'dodgers,' Master Harry, I can tell you."
"'Dodgers,'" repeated Harry, "what do you
"Them that dodges the main trails for one cause
or another, and rides the ridges, are dubbed 'dodgers'
down here; and they are a shiftless lot. But these
fellows who are led by this young Cabrillo, are as free
with rifle and rum alike, and no good ever came of
dealing' with 'em."
"Are they as bad as that?"
"Yes, Master Harry, you can't paint 'em too black.
Why, Tony'll tell you that one of 'em came gaspin'
up to the 'chuck' wagon one day, a-beggin' for water,
which he got. He could just toddle off after it, he
was so weak on his pins'; but when he did, he had
Tony's only six-shooter under his shirt."
DISCUSSING PRINCE ROYAL.
c -lal --
"What did Tony do?" asked the boy, amused at
the outlaw's method of procuring a pistol.
"Oh! he just said he hoped he'd have sense enough
to strap it about him next time, and that he wouldn't
be looking' into his own six-shooter before the round-
"I didn't suppose they were so bold," said Harry,
his cheeks blanching at the thought of how his morn-
ing's ride might have ended. "Why do you suppose
they hang around here year after year?"
"'Cause it's the likeliest spot for 'em. All the
states is settled up, and they've got to hang on to
this or go to the penitentiary."
"Didn't you ever hunt them down ?"
"We tried it a number of times, but they'd get
into the mountains before we could draw on 'em.
We followed the trails two or three nights at a time,
but it weren't no use. It was just about as Larraby
said, when they shot him in the arm from the brush:
'It's darned hard to think you're a target for a band
of night-riders, boys, for the sake of a bunch of steers
and a nag or two, and I'll tell the colonel so.' "
"I wonder why Colonel Hillman didn't tell us all
about it," said Harry, who by this time was beginning
to wish he had never seen the man of the ornamented
buckskin suit. "Master Walter must know of them."
"Idon't believe he does," replied the hostler, "for
the colonel told me to be sure and not mention the
SIX YOUNG HUNTERS
outlaws to any of the boys, for fear it would worry
'em. 'I believe they've left,' says he before leaving ,
'for the "punchers haven't missed a steer for a fort-
night. And above all, mind you, Pietro, don't cross
them while the boys are at the lodge.' "
"Do you think this fellow is really Cabrillo ?"
"He'll come pretty near it, if he isn't. That ain't
no cow pony, Master Harry, but a bred horse from
the states," continued the hostler, in confident tones,
running his right hand down the black's unblemished
forelegs; "and he's a racer from flagfall to finish, or
I never saw one. Now here's this Blue Rocket horse
of Master Jack's; he's a good one, but built a little
more on the timber-toppin' order, a likely one to
follow the foxes. The chestnut'll come nearest to
your saddle-girth, Master Harry, but he'll never get
his nose to the front."
"I'm glad you think he's so fast," replied the boy,
patting the black's glossy neck; "and I hope I'll be
able to keep him without any trouble."
"Well, I don't know; it depends upon the men.
I don't reckon they ever came by a galloper honest,
but he's probably as much theirs as any one's, now."
"You think he's a stolen horse, then ?" asked
Harry, listening to all that the herdsman said with
the closest attention. "If he is, they must have
brought him a long way, for they don't raise thorough-
breds this side of Kentucky."
"They didn't fetch him so far, neither. You see it
was about like this when the 'strip' was opened, -
that's Oklahoma, you know. The land had all been
surveyed and laid off in quarter-sections by the gov-
ernment, and was to be run for at a certain hour on
a certain day, which was to be settled on in Washing-
ton. All the towns along the state line were 'chock'
full for months before the run, and boomers kept
busy training' the best kind of nags to make the gallop
with. ,They lined up in hundreds for miles on the
day of the opening just facin' the soldiers, and when
the gun sounded they had a race I'll never forget.
The best nags went out in front, and generally got
good claims; but when night come the Cabrillo gang
jumped in from the mountains, stole the fastest
hosses, and robbed or shot" the poor fellows a-restin'
by their stakes, who couldn't follow 'em and keep
their claims too."
This was too much for Harry, who related the
events of the morning just as they had taken place,
not omitting to mention that he had agreed to pay
the hundred dollars on the morrow. "I think it
much better to leave the horse in his stall, don't
you ?" he ended by saying, as the hostler shook his
head dubiously, eying the black the while.
"No, Master Harry, I don't. Take the money
and the hoss with you, and if they want both, let 'em
have both, for they'll get 'em anyway. Those are
SIX YOUNG HUNTERS
about the colonel's wishes, I reckon, and you'd best
remember the good will of a dog's better than the
"But I can't afford to do that," protested the boy,
earnestly, whittling a bit of pine wood impatiently;
"you know that a hundred dollars is a great deal of
money to give up without a fight."
"Of course it is. But when it comes to dealing'
with outlaws and the like, a hundred dollars is a low
price for their good will; besides, the man may have
told you the truth, and is counting' on pullin' stakes.
If that's so, then you'll have the horse to ride all
summer, and nothing' to worry about. It wouldn't be
any fun to gallop around in sight of camp, known'
as you would that a scoundrel was hidin' out to rob
you and take -your nag." Pietro's words sounded
sensible and right, and Harry made no reply as he
joined his friends with a heavy heart.
"It's tough luck," he told himself, recalling some
of his hunts for meadow-larks about New York,
which were occasionally ended by a lot of rowdies
relieving him of his target rifle and game-bag. "I
thought we'd be free from those fellows down here,
and that they lived only for the messenger boys of
the great cities, who delight in 'The Adventures of
the Dalton Gang,' or 'Wild Jim, the Boy Scout.'"
"Supper, Mars' Paul," said Tony, appearing at
the dining-room door in time to interrupt a lively
fencing bout between Jack and Eugene. "I's got
some of dem quails and chickens a-piping hot for the
young gentl'men, and I can't hab dem wait, 'deed I
The foils were recrossed upon the walls, the masks
and gloves thrown upon the table, and the club
gathered about the inviting supper with many a
light-hearted laugh. The windows were thrown wide
open, admitting the fresh southerly breeze, laden
with the songs of meadow-larks and mocking-birds.
The whole valley lay half in sunshine, half in shadow,
which soon merged into a happy flood of purple
light, cooling the air and freshening the sun-warmed
prairie, over which droves of cattle were seen to
make their way to the lines of stunted jack-oaks and
cottonwoods that marked the position of a half-dozen
"To-morrow we'll have a run with the dogs?"
said Walter, glancing questioningly about at his
chums, who seemed almost too busy to answer.
"Of course we will," replied Arthur, watching his
brother closely, "for I am very anxious to see how
the new member of the cavalry will behave, and hope
to see both a horse and a rabbit race."
"Good!" cried Eugene. "I believe my gray is
going to give a good account of himself; and so does
Pietro, who says that he was at one time one of the
fastest horses among the Osages."
SIX YOUNG HUNTERS
"We ought to start in time to get up a coyote or a
wolf," continued Walter. A great many are hiding
during the day in that strip of woods that forms the
second ridge from the jack-oaks, and it is my opinion
that we can start one before sunrise."
"Then let's call it settled," exclaimed Jack. "I
can hardly wait," he continued, as he pictured there
in the twilight the galloping horses and the sweeping
pack, and almost heard the wild shouts of his friends
as time after time the flying hare would turn and
gain a fresh start.
"Well, fellows, don't lose any sleep worrying over
the speed of your mounts," said Walter, with a smile.
"You know the unexpected always happens, and the
sleepiest-looking broncho may be the first in at the
How about the dogs ?" asked Paul.
"The same is true of them," replied Walter. I
never saw a lot of green hounds do so well before in
my life. It's true they ran over the hare a number
of times and failed to pick it up, but that's to be
expected at the start."
The boys discussed the day's shooting and fishing
a while longer, then gradually gathered upon the
veranda with their banjos and guitars, singing songs
of college life or the hunting field until they were
hoarse. Sombreros, leather belts, and revolvers lay
discarded upon the porch or in the lodge, and in
AN ACQUAINTANCE '
place of the heavy hunting and riding boots the boys
wore light, comfortable moccasins.
As the moon and stars gradually appeared, the
whole valley looked dense and black by contrast, save
where the light silvered the quiet stream. Far away
to the westward the rolling prairie resembled a sum-
mer sea, sailed by occasional lines of jack-oaks and
cottonwoods, whose scrawny arms looked like a dis-
mantled mast and crosstrees against the horizon. As
the shadows grew deeper, the boys compared the wild
region with the vicinity of Shelter Island, where they
had spent many pleasant vacations, or with the Maine
"It's not pleasant to think that these few hundred
miles are practically all that remains for the Indians,"
said Walter, with a sigh, "and that they will soon be
extinct. Father says that not twenty years ago the
country about here was alive with deer, antelopes,
and bears; that the cowboys used to start their ponies
at the herds of antelopes for the fun of seeing them
run, and that a man could count a hundred deer a
day. The Indians and outlaws have slaughtered
Don't you suppose they'll ever become a civilized
race?" the boys asked.
"No more so than they are now. They've 'been
unable to resist the temptations of whiskey and an
idle life, and have rapidly decreased. It always hurts
SIX YOUNG HUNTERS
me to see an Indian chief trade his deerskin mocca-
sins, leggings, and finery for a pint of bad whiskey,
for I know he'll never make another pair; and tailor-
made trousers and a derby hat look as much out of
place on an Indian as a wig would on a soup
"Don't they ever get out nowadays and have -the
good old hunts one reads about ?" asked Arthur.
"They get as far as the war-paint on a quarterly-
payment day, and are happily unconscious of the
rest," Walter quickly.replied.
I do hope they'll remain unconscious of the exist-
ence of Deer Lodge," said Eugene; "and above all,
I hope they'll not visit it while in a bad state of
mind, or while recovering from too deep a flir-
tation with the flowing bowl," at which the boys
laughed heartily. They chatted for some time of the
Indians and their much-regretted though inevitable
downfall, and then climbed the stairs and tumbled
into bed, little guessing what thrilling events were to
take place in:and about the camp before many days
had passed. .
AN UNEXPECTED ENEMY
" DON'T half a quarter like the idea," said Pie-
1 tro to Harry the following day, as the lad
saddled and bridled the black to his satisfaction,
"and I reckon I'd ought to go 'long. But it
wouldn't make no difference, and you'd best do as
As the boy turned and cantered off, the hostler
repeated his advice of the previous afternoon.
Harry had slept little that night, as Pietro's view
of the situation had had anything but a soothing
effect upon him. He had tossed about on his pil-
low, picturing the coming interview with the bandit
in a dozen different ways. Once or twice he had
stepped from the bushes and had confronted him
with a fine brace of pistols, every move indicating
that he was no stranger to such business. Then,
again, he would demand the money and horse, fol-
lowing the demand by flourishing a bright dagger;
and before morning, Harry honestly wished he had
never made the acquaintance of Jos6 Cabrillo.
Now that he was fairly astride the black, how-
SIX YOUNG HUNTERS
ever, he knew that it would have taken a good
deal to have made him part with either the green-
backs or the horse. The obnoxious scenes of the
night had vanished with the rising sun, and he was
prepared to meet the man and stand his ground.
He made sure that his pistols were secure in their
holsters, and that the magazine of his rifle was
filled. "If Cabrillo seems surprised at my being
so well armed," he soliloquized, "I shall say that
I came prepared to take a shot at the gray wolf
I saw yesterday."
As the boy rode on down the bank, he could
now and then hear the cries of his friends as they
followed the flying pack, and he resolved that the
next time they started for the ranges he would be
with them. They had awakened him before day-
break, but as he had decided not to join them in
their morning's coursing, all their entreaties had
Harry had not waited long in the clearing be-
fore the man appeared upon the pony, smiling
pleasantly as he dismounted.
"On time, I see," said Harry, casting his eye
over the horse and rider; "and now we'll soon
With this remark he whipped out the greenbacks
he had taken from his trunk at the lodge, and
handed them to the man, who counted them in a
AN UNEXPECTED ENEMY
twinkling, finally ending by saying: "That's right,
an even hundred. Now, that's the way I like to do
business. The boys said at the camp I'd never see
a cent of the 'dough,' but I knowed I would, and I
have." He laughed heartily at this, slapping his
pocket and sending great, triumphant clouds of
smoke upward. This put Harry perfectly at his
ease, for he had feared that the outlaw would prove
unreasonable in his demands, and he fully realized
that one sure, sharp move at such close quarters
would place him at the robber's mercy. But Jose
had other plans, and for that day, at least, the lad
was not to be molested; for while the man smoked,
he examined the boy's rifle and belt, expressing un-
bounded admiration at the neat leather holsters which
held the pistols and hunting knife, together with a
supply of cartridges.
"Yes," said Harry, thinking it best to explain the
appearance of so many weapons of defence, "I
strapped these about me, hoping to see the wolf I
met yesterday in a glade just above."
"A gray feller ?"
"He was gray and very large, I tell you."
"Then you'll need powder and lead, that's a fact,
for they'll stand a deal of hitting."
They talked a while longer; then Harry mounted
and was about to leave with the horses, when he
turned and asked the black's name.
SIX YOUNG HUNTERS
"Oh, I forgot !" replied the outlaw. "It's Prince -
Prince Royal; yes, that's it, Prince Royal, though I
dubbed him Tom when I got him."
"Prince Royal! thought Harry as he rode along,
"a very appropriate name indeed. And now, Prince,
if you'll ford the stream right here, I'll tie you in the
shade of that little oak, and we'll try a shot at our
friend of yesterday."
Horse, pony, and rider were soon across, and while
the boy fastened the animals to a friendly limb, he
inwardly reproached himself for the injustice he had
done his strange acquaintance in thinking of him as
an outlaw and a robber. The man might be a bit
wild, perhaps, but he had certainly done just as he
had agreed to do, and the lad in consequence was in
excellent spirits as he unslung his rifle and started
through the woods.
With a quick, noiseless step he moved upon the
isolated glade he had entered the day before, deter-
mined if possible to get a fair shot. Owing to a
gentle westerly wind, he thought it best not to
approach through the timber, and began to climb the
steep ledge that bordered the clearing upon the north.
Some of the rocks were loose, affording poor footing,
and before he had climbed half way to the summit, he
was obliged to sink upon his hands and knees, push-
ing his rifle before him. With the greatest caution
the ascent was completed and the rifle cocked. It
AN UNEXPECTED ENEMY
was not at all unlikely, he thought, that the wolf
would be in the glade watching the many trails that
led to the spring where he had met the man the day
before. The water there was cool, and in all proba-
bility it was frequently visited in warm weather by
many animals, which would naturally pass through
the timber in order to reach it; for he had chosen the
best possible ascent on that side, and had rested
several times before reaching the top.
As Harry lay there panting like a man on a moun-
tain side, he was startled by a wild scream, and look-
ing over the ledge, was greatly surprised at not seeing
a living thing of any description. As the screech
died away, the disturbed cries of mocking-birds and
bluejays rent the air, and then all was silence again.
It was almost impossible to locate the scream of the
wildcat, for such the animal undoubtedly was, so
Harry arose and looked about him, in the hope of
provoking another cry. He was unsuccessful in this,
but what he saw in the winding creek far below
proved of untold value to one of his friends in par-
ticular, as well as to the other members of the Grey-
hound Club, individually and collectively, and
thoroughly confirmed, in his mind, the. hostler's
opinion of Jos6 Cabrillo.
As Harry stood up to get a better view of the
glade and to determine the position of the wildcat, he
gradually turned to the right, towards the woods, and
SIX YOUNG HUNTERS
then unconsciously his eyes followed the stream until
they caught sight of a distant horseman riding in the
bed of the creek. To the average young sportsman,
even in a country as little inhabited as that about
Deer Lodge, the appearance of a horseman riding in
the bed of a stream would have made no impression
whatever. One who did not stop to think would
naturally suppose that the man wished to avoid the
timber and brush, which from Harry's position looked
almost impenetrable. But the lad knew that in any
unfrequented country, along the banks of every large
stream, there are always trails large enough to serve
as bridle-paths. Then, too, his eyes told him that
the man was not riding a pony, and he recognized the
unmistakable black sombrero Cabrillo wore.
"He's covering up his trail, I'm certain," said
Harry, "and he's got another fine horse." As he
finished the soliloquy, he was surprised to see the
man dismount in midstream, taking the lariat from
the saddle-horn as he did so. While the distance
was too great to make each movement plain to the
eager watcher, nevertheless Harry made out that the
robber had fastened one end of the rope to a heavy
limb, and with the other had returned to the middle
of the stream, which seemed to be more shallow than
nearer the bank, where the bandit had sunk to his
waist. Winding the lariat about his right arm a
couple of times, the outlaw pulled back until the
AN UNEXPECTED ENEMY
limb was seen to move, and then, to Harry's great
surprise, the horse moved forward and disappeared
of his own accord; and the limb, as the man
slackened the rope, swung back into position.
"A very clever bit of work, Mr. Jos6 Cabrillo!"
said Harry to himself, "and just in the right spot;
a thickly-wooded bank, and a sharp turn or two in
the stream, is just the place for such a blind."
Now that the lad had discovered the outlaws' re-
treat, for he was certain their camp could not be far
off, and was probably among the towering crags to
the left of the creek, he was not so sure that the
purchase of Prince Royal had been judicious. Then,
on the other hand, he remembered that Cabrillo had
told him that they were forced to hide from the
Indian marshals, and he finally decided not to men-
tion what he had seen. While it was not pleasant to
think that a band of outlaws was camping not four
miles from the lodge, it was less pleasant to look
forward to hostilities, and he knew it would be use-
less to attempt to "beard the lion in his den." So
he wisely concluded, as the outlaw crept under the
trees out of sight, to forget him and his followers
Harry worked his way down into the open, follow-
ing a path that led under the trees to the right. It
was quite dark there, and it would have been diffi-
cult to have bagged half a dozen of the many
SIX YOUNG HUNTERS
squirrels that chattered among the branches. But
Harry was not looking for squirrels just then, and,
although he saw tracks that must have been made by
the wildcat, he saw nothing of the animal. After a
fruitless hunt of the crags at the south side, he re-
turned for his horse and pony. He mounted Prince
Royal and led the pony as before, at a good brisk
pace, hoping to reach the lodge in time for the mid-
day meal. In order to reach the west bank, it was
necessary to again ford the creek, and Harry accord-
ingly turned the horses at a suitable place.
Great oak trees had become intertwined on the
opposite side, through which occasional trails were
seen to make their way. Towards one of these, that
led gradually from the water's edge, Harry guided
Prince Royal. The lad felt very well pleased over
the incidents of the morning, and while endeavoring
to forget the bad impression he had formed of
Cabrillo, a fierce, a wildly penetrating screech sent
the cold chills coursing through him. He realized at
once that the wildcat was not a great way off, and
that his rifle was slung across his back. His first
move, therefore, was to place a trembling hand upon
his pistol. The woods were black and forbidding,
and the closeness of the wild grapevine and other
foliage to the trail made them seem even more so.
It was certainly a bad spot for so unexpected an en-
counter, and the boy hastily determined to take no
HARRY HEARS -THE WILDCAT.
AN UNEXPECTED ENEMY
part in it, if possible. The cry had come from above
and close in the rear, and while the lad was moving
off, it was repeated once, twice, with terrible fierce-
ness, followed by the unmistakable sound of the
animal running on a branch. It was very faint, but
its meaning was thoroughly and instantly compre-
hended by Prince Royal, who reared and plunged
under the light rein in a well-nigh uncontrollable
manner, for Harry had drawn his pistol with his
right hand; and, to make matters worse, when the
cry sounded nearer and fiercer, horse and pony
started to shy off the trail to the left. The next
instant there came another wild scream, followed by
a dark object plunging through the air, and a violent
whipping about of the steeds; the low, irregular
oak branches caught the boy about the waist and
hurled him to the ground. At the same moment the
wildcat landed with terrible force upon the pony,
which was nearest, and opened a two-foot gash with
one stroke of its claw. Prince Royal had become
entangled in a network of low branches and wild
grapevine, and his frantic plunges only made his
position worse. The groans of the poor pony were
agonizing to hear, for the wildcat had sunk its claws
into his coat for a foothold. After striking the limb,
Harry dropped the revolver in his violent fall. As
he struck the ground, he reached and grasped it,
whipping out his knife with his left hand. Once,
SIX YOUNG HUNTERS
twice, thrice, he fired at the animal's head; at the
third shot, the animal crouched as if to spring, and
the lad instinctively dropped the smoking pistol and
took the knife in his right hand, as the wildcat
sprang at him with a cry of pain. The lad, realizing
his great peril, struck at the beast savagely again
and again, using the weapon more as a broadsword
than as a dagger. Twice the swift, sure blade drew
blood before the claws reached him, but when they
did he felt the warm blood spurt from his left arm.
Then they went down together, and over and over
they rolled until they struck the water with a loud
splash and churned it into foam. Harry knew that
he had wounded the animal with his pistol and knife,
and it was hard to realize that so much activity and
life still remained in that small body. With wonder-
fully swift movements, the beast endeavored to reach
him with his hind feet, but the boy was too quick,
and slashed to right and left until a good opportunity
presented itself; then the streaming blade was once
more raised and driven home with telling force.
As the wildcat ceased its death struggle and lay
upon the water, Harry waded to the shore, where
he lay panting and trembling. He fully realized
that he had come out of a very serious affair with
a couple of slight wounds, as he chose to regard
them, and that he had been the hero of a thrilling
encounter. He felt faint from the loss of blood, and
AN UNEXPECTED ENEMY
from the excitement of the battle, and it was with
difficulty that he finally managed to disentangle the
horses and sling the wildcat in front of him on Prince
Royal. He knew that it was best to return to the
lodge at once, for the pony needed attention, and
Prince Royal had cut himself among the branches;
so much so, in fact, that the lad was compelled to
inwardly acknowledge that he limped perceptibly.
The boy would never have given a second thought
to his own wounds if his attention had not been
drawn to them by the trickling of blood down his
left arm, and then he halted only long enough to
wind his sash about it. Prince Royal and the pony
were both very excitable and nervous, and it was no
easy task for the lad to keep his seat; for at each
rustling in the branches, or the running of a squirrel
from limb to limb, they would rear and plunge wildly.
Harry felt highly elated over his victory, and de-
cided to mount the animal in the crouching attitude
he had taken upon the pony's back, and to present
it to the club.
As for Pietro, he had worried ever since Harry's
departure, and had sat in the stable door and smoked,
watching the ridge constantly. As the lad came in
sight, the hostler's keen eyes detected the wildcat,
and when he saw the boy's tattered garments and
bloody face, and the badly mutilated and dripping
animal, his astonishment was unbounded.
SIX YOUNG HUNTERS
"Well, if you ain't gone and knifed a panther-
cat!" he exclaimed, calling to Tony to come out and
have a look at the beast. Of course, Harry had to
relate the events of the morning as he remembered
them, after which the hostler and cook expressed
themselves as very proud of the young hunter, and
as a penalty for it all, ordered him to his bunk, while
Tony went to prepare an over-tempting morsel for
our hero. Harry was quite willing to accept the
sentence, for the fight, coupled with the broken
dreams of the bandit the previous night, had left him
worn out. He bathed his face and arms in cool
water, while Tony and Pietro bandaged the wounds,
which were more serious than the lad at first sup-
posed. They then left him, after he had swallowed
Tony's lunch, for a good rest. Here we shall leave
him for the present, and return to the other mem-
bers of the club, who had started for the prairie long
before sunrise, followed by the entire pack.
WITH THE GREYHOUNDS
HOU G H the boys had been
S unsuccessful in their efforts to
prevail upon Harry to accom-
pany them with his new mount,
Arthur had managed to coax
Diamond away from his master,
thus completing the pack. As
the ponies cantered along in
the damp wind that blew up
from the gray stream below,
SArthur repeated the reasons
Z his brother had given him for
not joining the members in
their morning gallop, ending by saying:-
"It's easy to see he's agreed to pay for his horse
to-day, fellows; and I sincerely hope the man is all
right. I advised him not to ride his purchase back,
but Pietro seems to think it's better to lose the horse
now and have it over with."
It would be a pity to have to part with him, and it
would spoil Harry's summer," remarked Paul.
SIX- YOUNG HUNTERS
"Oh, he'll come out of it with flying colors! con-
tinued Eugene, cheerfully. "Do you remember our
last foot-ball game with Brookdale, with three minutes
to play and seventy yards to make? Well, it's my
opinion that any fellow who can move as Harry
moved on that occasion is able to defend himself any-
where; and, furthermore, I think Pietro feels that
Colonel Hillman has selected him from the many
herdsmen as best suited to keep an eye on us this
summer, and is consequently in a position to view
everything seriously." We have seen that Eugene's
opinions of Harry were just, for if he had not pos-
sessed wonderful strength and activity, he would
probably have been worsted in his morning's en-
Eugene's speech had the desired effect, for the
boys were soon galloping at a merry pace, occasion-
ally testing their mounts in a dash of a furlong or
two. The gray mustang owned by Eugene seemed
to be the fastest of the ponies, and Osage Chief, as
the lad called him, was certainly improving under
Pietro's attention and his master's light seat. In
fact, Osage Chief and Walter's chestnut ran neck-
and-neck for a quarter mile, which naturally put
Eugene in the best of spirits.
The other boys, however, were not so fortunate with
their mounts. Paul's Rex did well at the start, but
could not run with Osage Chief after the first furlong.
WITH THE GREYHOUNDS
"They're not used to these short, quick dashes,"
said Walter, riding up to Arthur and Paul, "and will
do better later on. The rancheros have used them
to head an occasional steer, but, with this exception,
they have had no speeding whatever."
Arthur and Paul were confident that their broncos
would develop into long-distance nags, anyway, and
were satisfied with their respective choices. Jack's
Blue Rocket was as fleet as he was graceful, and
everything pointed to a grand season's coursing.
"Since you fellows have named your favorites, I
suppose I should name mine," said Arthur. "What
would you suggest?"
"Oh, I don't know!" replied Jack, glancing about
at his friends. "His coat is a good deal like Tasso's,
and they call him a blue greyhound. It is also spotted,
so I should suggest Domino."
"Excellent! exclaimed the club in chorus.
"Then Domino it is; though I don't suppose he'll
move much like the famous racer."
"He may," was Jack's encouraging reply; "you
must remember we haven't had a race yet."
"Very true; but we'll soon have one," cried
Walter, riding to a hilltop and turning his field-
glasses upon a distant bit of woodland.
"What is it ?" asked the boys.
"A coyote; no, it's a fox, fellows, see for your-
selves," replied Walter in great glee, gathering the
SIX YOUNG HUNTERS
reins firmly in his left hand. The glasses were
passed around in turn, and the boys all agreed that
the animal was a fox feeding upon a jack-rabbit.
FEEDING UPON A JACK-RABBIT.
Foxes were scarce in that country, the boys had
heard, and they were consequently very anxious to
bring it to bag.
"He'll lead us a dance, with that start," said
WITH THE GREYHOUNDS
Arthur, watching the dogs as they ran about in their
"We must be careful, now," cautioned Walter,
placing the glasses back into the leather case. He's
just at the edge of the timber, which we shall probably
have to drive to start him. Keep your eyes and ears
wide open, fellows, for a fox that can catch a jack-
rabbit that has been incessantly chased by coyotes is
worth working for."
"Wouldn't it be well to surround the timber?"
"A capital idea! Eugene, you, Arthur, and Jack
call your dogs and ride in a semicircle to the other
side; Paul and I will keep ahead with Tasso and
Rambler. We can't possibly miss him." So the club
separated and advanced; and, as the fox turned with
surprising swiftness and started down the prairie, a
shout of suppressed excitation broke from the boys.
As the cry rose, Rambler led Tasso and the pack
over the first rise. There was a dull clatter of flying
hoofs as the horses closed, a series of loud shouts and
encouraging words from the lads, the horses settled
down to a clean, swift galloping, and the chase began
in earnest. The great strides of the long-limbed dogs
soon lessened the fox's start, and it was clearly evi-
dent that the coursers had been well selected and were
Tasso, to the boys' great surprise, was unable to
SIX YOUNG HUNTERS
retain the lead in the run down the prairie, his pre-
vious experience in turning. a rabbit being of little
assistance in a straight race. The fleet Saxony soon
went to the front, followed closely by Diana, Rambler,
and Boomerang; then the lead fell to Diamond,
whose running after the first half mile was superb.
On and on they swept, stride for stride, until a rapidly
moving line of six greyhounds and the fox shone
clear against the sky. And now the fox, closely
pushed, began to change his tactics and double on his
trail. He would run along a ridge quite near the
summit, and then, with a tremendous leap, would
disappear and start back with redoubled speed on the
other side. Time and time again the dogs were
thrown off, until Tasso left the pack and ran the
summit of the ridges, encouraged by Walter's loud
shouts. This seemed to annoy the fox beyond meas-
ure, for he soon started off on a level stretch, and was
finally overtaken by the dogs.
During the chase, the lads had a good opportunity
of displaying their horsemanship, which was very
creditable. They all rode boldly and freely, with
light hands and firm seats; between the wild cries
sent after the vanishing pack, they had occasionally
glanced about at each other. Osage Chief ran under
a tight rein in the lead, followed closely by Leveller
and Domino, whose bursts of speed were astonishing.
They ran pretty well bunched until the last half mile,
WITH THE OREYHOUNDS
when Jack sent Blue Rocket to the front, and was
first in at the death.
S"You are no more surprised than I, fellows! said
Jack to his friends, as they dismounted to rest the
horses and tighten the girths. "I wouldn't have
believed it of my horse. We were all running freely,
with something to spare, when he seemed to fairly fly
out from the bunch, and the next second was running
far in the lead."
"Which proves what I said before the race,"
Walter replied. "They all did well, and will do
better with more riding." Walter then handed the
fox's tail to Jack, who of course was
entitled to it by being first in at the _
kill, and the boys mounted and con-
tinued the coursing.
Rabbit after rabbit was "jumped "
and caught after a furious chase, usu-
ally lasting three or four minutes;
and when the fifth "jack" was killed /'
after a beautiful run of nearly two
miles, the boys declared themselves
satisfied with the morning's sport,
and decided to return to camp. They
had ridden probably six miles from
the lodge, Walter said, but as the A MORNING'S
willows bordering Grouse creek were
not two miles off, the thirsty horses were headed for
SIX YOUNG HUNTERS
the stream. With many a light-hearted laugh, the
boys allowed their impatient mounts to canter along,
and they had arrived within a quarter mile of the
willows, when Walter pulled up his horse so sud-
denly that he nearly slid out of his saddle as the
animal stood on his hind legs.
"What's the matter ?" asked the boys, drawing
"Hush! not so loud!." said Walter, laying his
finger upon his lips; "see there As he said this,
he pointed toward the group of willows, and the boys
instantly saw what had attracted their friend's atten-
tion. It was the figure of a man creeping along
under cover of the willows, as if stalking game. He
was too distant to be seen plainly, but the boys made
out that he wore a black shirt and hat, and that he
was interested in something at the other side of the
willows; and, judging from his movements, was push-
ing a gun or some heavy article in advance of him.
"He's probably trailing a deer," said Paul, after
he had taken a careful look.
"I don't believe he's hunting," replied Walter,
confidently, "for deer don't frequent the vicinity of
Skilled as most of the boys were in woodcraft,
they were forced to confess that they had not de-
tected the thin line of faint smoke that arose from
the willows, and were willing to admit that Walter's
WITH THE GREYHOUNDS
view of the situation was the correct one, that the
man was not deer-stalking, and was endeavoring to
creep upon the camper unobserved. So earnest was
he in his occupation, that he never turned his head
to right nor left, but kept bobbing up and down as
he paused long enough to take a good view of the
"Who do you suppose he is, and what is he
about ?" asked Eugene, excitedly.
"I may be wrong, boys," Walter replied, "but I
am of the opinion that that man has something un-
pleasant to say to the person or persons by the
camp-fire, and I should not be surprised to find we
are intimately acquainted with the camper."
"Then you think it's Harry?" inquired Arthur,
now thoroughly aroused. "Perhaps that's the man
he's agreed to pay the money to. Come on, fellows!"
he said, placing his foot into the stirrup.
"No, no!" hastily interposed Walter. "That's
only a theory. Too many of us are sure to be seen.
Let the others remain here out of sight with the
horses and dogs, Arthur, and you and I will creep
up and see for ourselves."
This arrangement was thoroughly satisfactory, and
after Eugene had tied the dogs with a thong he had
taken from his saddle, Arthur and Walter started
for the willows, moving rapidly and keeping to the
SIX YOUNG HUNTERS
The man had by this time come within fifty feet
of the stripe of smoke, and it was evident that he
was to go no further, for he lay behind a fallen log
with the barrel of his rifle protruding over it. The
boys moved swiftly through the tall grass and between
the rocks behind him, and then crept cautiously for-
ward and secreted themselves behind some friendly
bowlders not twenty yards off, in sight of their
friends, who watched them anxiously.
The willows and bushes grew too thick to make
objects on the other side very plain, though at odd
moments the boys caught a glimpse of a figure in
buckskin, who seemed to be busying himself about
the fire. They saw that it was not Harry, and con-
sequently felt greatly relieved. They were none the
less interested in the.movements of both men, how-
ever, and were beginning to grow impatient, when
one of the most memorable conversations to which
they had ever listened was opened by the man behind
the log emitting three short,. sharp, clear whistles,
like the call of a quail.
The man at the fire evidently understood, for,
instead of appearing at an opening in the trees with
his gun, he came and stood in sight; whistling four
times in reply.
"Well, who is it?" he growled, crouching and
endeavoring to see through the shrubbery. Come
out; or are you a coward?"
WITH THE GREYHOUNDS
"That's it, Wild Face, a coward, him that you
knifed a month since, -come for the price of the
black, that you sold to that there 'tenderfoot' this
"Jim, by the powers! I'm glad to -see you again,
"Not'by no means, you ain't. That was my nag
you sold, and I want the price, and no more of this
business, cap'n. I'm done!"
"I heard you was," continued the other, quite
unconcerned, coming nearer; I heard you was
a-punchin' cattle, and had quit us, and was leading'
a dog's life."
Dog's life!" repeated the man Cabrillo had
called Jim, "dog's life, indeed! Yer a-follerin' a
dog's life, Wild Face, and I want no more of it.
I've larnt the lockstep, have worn stripes, and
have seed a sight o' times, since I lost this head-
light!" he concluded, holding his left hand up to his
Then followed a volley of oaths by the chief, who
had become greatly infuriated over Jim's last speech.
" And who's to blame, you fool ?" he managed to gasp
at last. Put down that gun and come and have a
talk. How could I handle a lot of chicken-hearted
loafers, I'd like to know? Give it up, Jim, and come
along of us. There won't be no engine-ridin', nor
rail-pullin', Jim, and you can lay to that."
SIX YOUNG HUNTERS
How many of the boys has gone ? "
"Only Snaky and Micky, and they'll be back
How are you goin' to live? Safe crackin' ?"
"Not much, Jim. Stick to me, and you'll not
regret it, Jim. We'll have fast hosses to ride, and
pickles and fishes that come in little tin boxes, to eat,
and these here scatter guns that don't have no trigger
to get caught in the brush, to shoot with."
"Has these city chaps all those things, cap'n? "
said the other, rising to his feet and waiting for his
chief to come up. "I didn't like the job afore you
spoke, but now I'll shake."
"And forget the old score, Jim ?"
"Yes, forget the old score; though I still lay to
it, that you shouldn't have knifed me, mate."
They stood up together, Cabrillo young, straight,
and dark, while the man called Jim was round-shoul-
dered, and was minus his left eye. The boys watched
them intently as they shook hands, and when the out-
laws had disappeared through the trees toward the
fire, they scrambled to their feet and ran to their
friends, who were naturally utterly at a loss to ac-
count for the strange actions of the two men. They
were not to remain long in the dark, however, for
Walter and Arthur had soon related all they had
heard, and it is needless to say their words created
WITH THE GREYHOUNDS
"There goes our summer vacation, higher than a
kite!" indignantly exclaimed Eugene, mounting Osage
Chief. I felt it would lead to that last night when
I saw Harry on the black."
"And they mean to enjoy all our canned goods,
too, do they ?" said Paul, with a determined look in
his eyes. "We'll see about that!"
"And are even counting on owning our shot-guns
and horses." added Jack. "I never heard of any-
thing more preposterous!"
"Don't borrow trouble, fellows," said Walter, who
naturally felt the presence of the bandits more than
his friends. "These fellows are undoubtedly a set of
desperate men, who would rather steal than work,
and they have been given the credit of a number of
train robberies. But I am certain, when they find
out that we are able to defend ourselves, that they will
not trouble us."
"Well, I'm glad Harry is back safe and sound,"
said Arthur, "for this man seemed to know that this
fellow Cabrillo had received the money for his horse."
The boys then galloped along in silence until they
were within fifty feet of the lodge, when Pietro burst
out upon the veranda, dragging the wildcat after
"See here, my hearties!" cried the ranchero,
"how's this for a morning's hunt? What have you
got, you say, Master Walter? A fox and a half-
sik YdOUNG HlNTXEIR
dozen 'jacks'? Not so bad, but I believe Master
Harry's the flower of the flock to-day! "
"You don't mean to say that he shot that this
morning ?" asked Arthur, gazing in astonishment at
the blood-stained animal. "Was he hurt?"
"Yes, he did shoot it, single handed; and he seems
as cool about it as though it happened back there
where he lives every day. He was scratched consid-
erable, so Tony and I got him to turn in."
The boys were off their horses in an instant, and
were soon hearing the story from Harry's lips as we
have attempted to describe it in the previous chapter.
They listened attentively, now and then uttering an
exclamation of surprise and admiration at their
friend's coolness and courage.
"Didn't it make your blood run cold when you
heard the first cry ?" asked Paul, nervously.
"Yes, I suppose it did; but then there.wasn't time
to think of that, and I don't believe I could ever
move so fast again," replied Harry, modestly, leaning
upon his elbow. "It was a fortunate escape, as I
could not get at my rifle, so quickly did the animal
move. But what is on your minds that makes you
look so white ?"
Then Walter related all that took place between
the bandits, to which Pietro listened closely. When
Walter had finished, the hostler said in a husky
voice: "Now, Master Walter, I believe this country,
WITH THE GREYHOUNDS 65
large as it is, is too small for you and your friends,
and I'm goin' to tell your uncle so. It's no use
trying' to beat those villains at their own game, and
they're the meanest lot I ever heard of."
The boys would not hear of Pietro sending word to
Uncle John, and forced him to promise that he would
not, which he did reluctantly, saying that he knew
that there would be trouble. The boys finally agreed
that they would not leave the lodge separately, and
would not, for some time at least, camp on the prai-
rie over night. This seemed to satisfy the herds-
man, for he admired the stand the lads had taken,
and realized that they were quite able to look after
themselves. Pietro soon after returned to the tired
horses, while the lads did full justice to a hearty
That afternoon was spent in a general cleaning up
of pistols and rifles, for the boys instinctively felt
that trouble was brewing, and were determined to
stand their ground, in case of an attack. They
looked everything over affectionately, for their pos-
sessions had grown dearer since they had learned that
the outlaws were determined to steal them. After
supper, the time was spent in paddling up and down
stream a short distance from camp, or in a shot or
two over the setters, which had been confined in the
stable all day, and were consequently very willing
participants in the sport.
66 SIX YOUNG HUNTERS
As it grew dark; the canoes were once more
fastened to the jetty, a brace of quails was left in
the kitchen, and a very tired lot of boys tumbled into
their respective bunks.
While they are sleeping soundly after their long
ride, or dreaming, perhaps, of thrilling encounters
with Jos6 Cabrillo's band of outlaws, let us see what
took place between that worthy and his comrade,
after they had shaken hands, and had returned to
THE OUTLAWS' RETREAT
" W ELL, well, cap'n, I see you're the same old
Sdandy!" ejaculated Jim, as he glanced at
the chief's saddle and rifle, which lay upon the grass
close to the camp-fire. "And you've got a good un
to ride, too," he concluded, as he caught sight of a
handsome bright bay that had the free run of a
"Yes, Jim, I manage to look pretty well, even if
business has been dropping' off," replied the chief,
lighting a yellow-covered cigarette in the flame;
"and it's all due to that gang of cowards we had
with us last winter, -not including' you, Jim, not by
"Then, what for did you try to end my jig, after it
was fiddled?" demanded Jim, turning the brace of
squirrels upon the coals, and looking at Cabrillo as if
he had half a mind not to forget the old score. "I
stuck to the engine under orders, and you know
"I know it, Jim, and I'm sorry. I've lived rough,
SIX YOUNG HUNTERS
and when things don't go to suit me, I raise Cain.
When I got back, and heard that those pups had
missed the express car, I could have killed "em all,"
replied Cabrillo, scowling fiercely at the fire.
"Well, they did die, two on 'em, in their tracks,"
Jim said slowly, "and they wasn't bad fellers,
Let's forget it, Jim. They weren't made for this
"'Tain't no rheans likely I'll forget, cap'n,"
answered the other, rolling up his ragged sleeve
and displaying a livid streak across his arm. "I
reckon this'll remind me."
"Let it, then," growled the chief, not deigning to
look up; "and remember, the next time we come to
splitting the night's work, don't have nothing to say! "
"How did you know I sold your nag this morning' ? "
asked, the other, with an amused grin. Did Micky
tell you? "
"Yes, 'twas Micky. He said you was wearing'
shiny black boots and silver spurs, and had a keg
under lock and key all the while, and that he was
goin' to quit before he swung for it."
"He did, did he?" shouted the enraged bandit,
jumping up and stamping upon his sombrero. And
why wouldn't I ? I know the business from night-
ridin' to rail-pullin', and I want to look like a gentle-
THE OUTLAWS' RETREAT
man, and quit some day with roll enough to ride in a
carriage, and spend ten thousand a year."
Jim had heard the same story many times before.
"What's the next move ?" he asked.
"Why, to strip that there shooting' camp from top
to bottom, and get hold of some of those pistols, and
all we can tote away. The young fellers is likely
looking' enough, and must have a bit of money
"Yes, and Micky said they had a whole string of
hounds, that were keener than so many razors."
"Well, what of it? We're not dealing' with
marshals and soldiers, but with a bunch of school,
boys. I really believe, Jim, you've lost your nerve,
since that last hold-up," replied the chief, punching .
his comrade in the ribs. "Jim, you and I have seen
some hard knocks, but I'll allow we can't pull out for
a bunch of striplings;" and he laughed heartily.
This seemed to be quite enough for the one-eyed
man, who declared himself perfectly willing to begin
operations at once.
"We'll go back and see the boys," said the chief,
saddling his horse, "and have a chat and smoke,"
The two men then mounted, and the horse started
up the stream.
If the members of the Greyhound Club could have
heard the foregoing conversation, it is doubtful if
they would have remained another day at Deer
SIX YOUNG HUNTERS
Lodge. The men were undoubtedly a wild and reck-
less set, and would not hesitate for an instant to end
a life. They had evidently been foiled in a train
robbery a month or two previous, much to the chief's
disappointment, and had been forced to remain in
,The chief struck the bay with his spurs, and they
rode at a brisk gallop until they turned into a trail
that led to a ford.. They again turned at right angles,
this tiitte following the bed of the stream, until they
had reached the spot where Harry had seen Cabrillo
dismount that same morning.
.Jim was knee-deep at once, winding a lariat about
a limb as. the chief had done in the morning. Horse
.and rider then disappeared, and, when Jim had
wound the lasso about his waist and followed, there
was scarcely a broken twig left behind to mark the
This time, as the path to the summit of the tower-
ing cliff was steep and rough, Jim did not mount,
but followed his chief up the bed of .a sparkling
spring. Great bowlders seemed to jut out into the
brook at every twentyfeet, around which the bay
moved cleverly. A.heavy.growth of oak trees almost
hid the blue sky, and the patches of. sunlight that
penetrated the thickly leaved branches were few and
far between.. After a long climb, during which the:
spring had narrowed .to a tiny silver thread that
THE OUTLAWS' RETREAT
gushed out from a mass of rocks, Cabrillo dismounted
and gave a short, clear whistle, unfastening his
saddle-girth as he did so. A great oak door, built
into the rocks, was opened almost, at once by a
heavily bearded man, who seemed a little surprised
at seeing Jim with the chief.
Cabrillo had selected a natural fortress for his re-
treat. A wall of granite, ten or twelve feet high,
completely shut it off from the outside world, except
where the door had been built in, and where a few
rocks had been rolled into a crevice or two. More-
over, it was on the highest point of a very high cliff,
and a splendid view of the rolling prairie could be
had for miles around. Great oaks and elms inter-
twined their branches above, casting a welcome shade
at all hours.
Cabrillo, as we have seen, had an eye for the com-
forts and luxuries of life, and was not content to live
as most of his band would have been willing to. He
had erected a substantial log-house against the stone
barricade, roomy enough for a dozen bunks and a
As the chief entered, three or four men, who had
been sleeping on their blankets in the shade, rose to
a sitting posture, greeting their chief with a lazy
"Howdy, cap'n ?" or exchanging nods with Jim.
Cabrillo's horse, being free of his bridle, neighed
shrilly as he trotted to a corral at the further end of
SIX YOUNG HUNTERS
the enclosure, where other fleet, clean-limbed animals
Saddles and bridles lay in profusion about on the
grass, and there. were rifles, and belts holding pistols
and knives, all ready to be caught up at a moment's
notice. A great piece of meat hung from a limb
close by, while six or eight steaks sputtered on the
coals of a blazing camp-fire. The black-bearded
man, after he had drawn an iron bar across the door,,
returned to the fire and turned the steaks a few times,
after which he placed them upon a hewn log one after
the other. The men needed no invitation to fall to,
for before the last steak had reached the log which
served as a table, they had whipped out their knives
and were eating heartily. They looked the wild,
reckless men they were, who, either from choice or
the force of circumstances, had led roving, dishonest
lives from boyhood.
The interior of their retreat was not unlike Deer
Lodge. A spacious hearth had been built into one
end, around which a couple of stools stood. There
were windows, too, but they were heavily barred, and
had shutters which were three inches thick.
Instead of the pleasing scenes of sporting life that
lined the walls of the boys' camp, there were wooden
pins in irregular rows, upon which were hung som-
breros, Mexican trousers, and buckskin suits. The
names of the members of the gang had been burned
THE OUTLAWS' RETREAT 73
above each peg, and there were other decorations
such as a man might make with a hot iron for idle-
ness or occupation. The first wooden nail held a
Mexican waist trimmed with gold lace, a gaudy red
sash, and a pair of well-worn buckskin trousers.
Over this the words "Cabrillo, his peg were burned
clearly, and then, a little further down, "Jos6, Wild
Face," with a sketch of the chief's dark face, not
bad, you would say, but considerably out of drawing.
Above the remaining pegs were the words Snaky,"
"Jim," "Dobson, he Bit the dust," and there was
nothing hanging from this pin; "Tarcedo," "Fire-
fly," "Micky," and "Redwood" completed the list.
Upon a rough table in the centre of the room were
a bottle of ink, a quill pen, and a bundle of papers.
The papers bore undisputed evidence of the many
raids Cabrillo's men had been engaged in. They had
been laid aside as useless property, evidently, for
there were diagrams of roads and cross-ways upon
countless letters, magazines, etc., that had never
arrived at their respective destinations. A mail-bag,
marked U. S. Mail," had been slashed with a sharp
knife, and lay, emptied of its contents, upon the
earth floor. A pleasant odor of pine needles came
from the bunks, which had been built into the retreat,
six on either side.
"'Tain't much longer you'll have to stand such
grub, boys, and you can lay to it," said Cabrillo,
SIX YOUNG HUNTERS
lighting a cigarette as he sat watching his men with
his back against a tree; "for we'll put enough by
from that there fancy log-house to bring us to next
fall. And then, when the right night comes, we'll
have another go at the express, say I, and then I'm
"What'll we do then, captain, -starve?" asked
"Starve, if you like, you fools!" answered the
chief, derisively. "There isn't one among you with
money enough to get a rig of store clothes, not one.
You've risked swinging, and you've worked hard,
these three past years, and what for? It's many
a time I told you the same tale, when I counted you
out hundreds, men, hundreds, after a night's ride.
But it wasn't no use. To town for a good time, and
back in your shirts, a-beggin' a brace of pistols. But
they're closing' in on us, and I'm done. Micky got
out as slick as a hound's teeth this morning when I
was gone up stream, but it won't happen again. I
want none of you leaving' and blowin' the whole go,
and I won't have it!" he concluded, sending a great
gray column of smoke among the branches. "I've
done the straight thing with you, and have never
held out more than a gallon of whiskey, by reason of
earnin' it. And, bein' as there's a drop still in the
keg, I propose we have it out."
This put the men in good spirits, and they very
THE OUTLAWS' RETREAT
soon forgot their chief's words. He had told them
that he was through with them all so often before,
especially when the raids had not panned out to his
expectations, that the story was no new one. Young
as Cabrillo was, he possessed the strength of mind
to head that notorious band successfully, and his
name is to this day spoken of with awe in that unfre-
quented region where lawlessness is prevalent.
Redwood caught the key Cabrillo tossed him, and
disappeared into the retreat, reappearing at once with
a small brown keg and tin dipper. The men drank
eagerly all that was allowed them, and then filled
their pipes and waited for the chief to begin, for they
knew from experience that the extra allowance of
whiskey would be followed by plans for another raid
"Now, men," began Cabrillo, after he had lighted
his second cigarette, "although Micky did give us
the go-by this morning I forgot to say that Snaky
did not, an' that he's out on business in your inter-
ests. Jim, here, wants no part in the job, but I'll
allow he'll join us, won't you, Jim ?"
Jim made no reply.
"Where'll it be? asked the man called Firefly.
"At the second tank from the Border City, the
other side of the river, like this," the chief replied,
sketching with a twig, upon the beaten earth, a dia-
gram of the trails that led to the railroad, and mark-
SIX YOUNG HUNTERS
ing with a cross the position of the water tank
" Snaky wears a black beard and a red tie, and rides
in the first car," he concluded, puffing nervously at
his cigarette, I see it's cloudin' up, and we'll not
have a better night six months from now."
"Be you goin' to quit us then?" asked Tarcedo,
with a grim smile, stroking his great black beard.
"Don't know, Dody," answered the other; "it
depends upon yourselves. If you can show me
a good, clean, profitable job, and a steady hand, I'll
linger with you a while longer. If you don't, back
to the states I go, and an end of it! I can't see how
we missed the halter that last go, for the life of me!
You can thank the driving' rain and the black night
for.it. But, to-night we'll make an even half-dozen
gentlemen; six is bunch enough for any train, say I,
and not too many when it comes to splittin' the dust.
And-will you tell me you're for layin' to, here, like
a blessed canal-boat, and let those express cars go by
us with their fortunes, night after night? Not you!
As sure as day breaks to-morrow, we'll be here, the
whole band, breaking' open those yellow packages,
with their red seals and greenbacks, the kind that
Holton and Perkins used to fetch and count out
before me, when I was just a youngster at the game.
He was the dandy, was Holton, and feared nothing' on
two or four legs."
CabrilJo ran on until he knew he had produced the
THE OUTLAWS' RETREAT
desired effect upon his band, and then, taking the
keg of whiskey, arose and entered the retreat. He
placed the keg under lock and key, after which he
examined each letter and paper that lay upon the table
and floor. These he threw upon the hearth, one after
the other, and lighted them, placing the mail-bag in a
box that contained other pieces of leather, from which
the outlaws made their bridles and holsters, and
mended their saddles.
When he appeared again before his men, he ear-
ried his rifle and pistols, which he started to clean in
a most thorough manner, and they followed his exam-
ple with their weapons. Thus the afternoon wore
away. Towards evening the chief climbed the bowl-
ders that surrounded the retreat
"If they build any more of those fancy log-houses
with the wide shelters," he called down to his men,
"we won't be able to camp around here. They're
paddlin' up and down Grouse in one of those cloth
dug-outs, and like as not they'll find our trail before
the summer's gone. We'll give 'em a scare ina week
or two that'll fix 'em.".
The fact was, the boys were already scared, and
scared badly. They had spent that very afternoon
in cleaning and repairing their pistols, and were that
very moment, with Cabrillo's keen eyes upon them,
discussing the probable outcome of an encounter with
the fearless bandit and his tribe.
78 SIX YOUNG HUNTERS
They little guessed that a series of thrilling events
would result in their capturing Jose Cabrillo and his
entire band, and in the restoration of a large sum of
money and other valuables to the rightful owners.
The outlaw saw nothing else to interest him, evi-
dently, for, after watching for a while longer, he de-
scended, without a remark,'as the shades of night
began to envelop the landscape.
Tarcedo, or Dody, as he was called, soon had the'
fire rekindled, and a dozen steaks were soon after
broiling on the coals. After supper, each man fed
and watered his horse at the spring, and then ex-
amined his bridle, saddle, and rifle for the last time.
The wind blew up cold and damp from the south, and
the sky became overcast. The men stood patiently
awaiting the word to saddle, which was finally given
"Steady, now!" exclaimed Cabrillo, as he glanced
at his band in the light of the camp-fire, and let's
have no noise. Jim, are you steady ?"
"Ay, ay, cap'n!" answered the man, as he
mounted with his comrades.
"Then we're off. Firefly, give me your bridle and
throw the bar back."
The great oak door swung open, Cabrillo's horse
stepped out into the trail, and the rest followed.
There was scarcely a sound. The horses seemed to
know the path perfectly, though the night was very
THE OUTLAWS' RETREAT
dark. When the band reached the foot of the cliff
and had entered the stream, they moved slowly and
carefully, watching the banks for a possible camp-fire.
The main trail was finally struck after innumerable
crossings and turns, and pipes were lighted.
They rode through the damp air half the night,
finally entering a dense growth of jack-oaks that
bordered the banks of a river. Here they dis-
mounted and fastened their horses. The wind in-
creased in violence and the clouds grew blacker.
This was followed by a clap of thunder that fairly
shook the earth, and the rain came down in tor-
rents. Now and then a flash of lightning brightened
the sky and lit up the ruddy-indigo surface of the
sweeping river, and then the night seemed even
more forbidding by contrast.
The right kind of a night for this black business,"
said Jim, as the men started through the trees. I
hope we'll come out with whole pelts."
"Shut up, you fool!" cried Cabrillo, with a vol-
ley of terrible oaths, "and let me hear no more such
talk, or you'll regret it. I want no coyotes in this
"That's no go, now, Jim," replied Redwood.
"Hold the cap'n up. No one can't see to hit a
The outlaws worked their way out from among
the trees, and stepped upon the track. Here they
SIX YOUNG HUNTERS
halted, and Cabrillo gave his final orders, vowing
fearful vengeance on those who failed to obey to
the very letter. They took up the march again in
silence, crossing the great dark bridge.
"Get under the tank out of the blow," said the
chief, as they came up to the water tower, "for it
may be an hour or so before she sounds."
The men gathered under the dripping tank and
lighted their pipes. Cabrillo climbed the ladder and
stood watching the rails. The wind and rain lashed
him unmercifully, but he clung to his post with a
faithfulness that merited a better cause. It was
fortunate for him that he did so, for, as he glanced
across the river where the horses were picketed, his
keen eyes told him that a man had left the track,
and was making his way towards the oaks. The
person carried a lantern, which he held above his
head, and Cabrillo knew the man had heard the
He looked once more in the direction of Border
City, and then descended quickly, and ordered Fire-
fly to stand guard.
Come with me, Redwood; there's a track-walker
goin' to examine the nags," he said, "and we'd
better get him out of the way."
They crossed the bridge again, and then sepa-
rated. The light kept bobbing about the trees, and
it was no trouble to creep upon it unobserved.
THE OUTLAWS' RETREAT
"I say, my man, what can we do for you?"
called Cabrillo from the darkness.
"Oh, nothing! I thought somebody's horses
had-" he replied, and that was all he said. He
fell like a log as Redwood's sure blow struck him,
and the next moment they left him securely bound
"We'll have no more interruptions, I hope," said
the chief, endeavoring to light a cigarette, "for
there she comes."
Faint and far off as the whistle was, Cabrillo
heard it, and lost no time in recrossing the bridge.
Redwood, Tarcedo, and Jim took their positions
among the bushes, car lengths apart, Firefly re-
maining at the tank with Cabrillo.
The low rumble of the train grew more distinct,
and was followed by a series of piercing whistles
that sounded high above the wind and rain. Then
the great glaring headlight appeared far down the
track, and the rails glittered and sparkled as the
yellow shine fell upon them. The pale yellow glare
grew nearer, the lights in the car windows defined
themselves clearly, and the magnificent steel en-
gine, puffing and blowing, came to a stand at the
tower. The next instant a fusillade of shots filled
the air, followed by the wild screams of the passen-
"Hands up!" cried Cabrillo and Firefly, boarding
82 SIX YOUNG HUNTERS
the engine from opposite sides. The command was
instantly obeyed, and the outlaws had possession of
TOM CLARK was the engineer of the Dallas
express, which left Border City at nine each
evening.. He stood by his favorite, oil-can in hand,
watching the throng upon the platform, or exchang-
ing greetings with his many friends. There was an
air of bustle and commotion, about the station that
night that was very pleasing to the tried old engineer.
If he had knownthat Jos6 Cabrillo and his notorious
band were even then starting upon their forty-mile
ride on purpose to hold up his train, it is safe to say
he would not have enjoyed the scene of activity be-
fore him; but he knew nothing of Jos6's plans, and
was content to watch and compare the different types
he knew so well. The many loungers stood as usual
with their backs to the rail, as poor and as ragged as
they were six months before. He recognized the
shouts of the cabmen, and the stentorian tones of
the hotel men, each of whom proclaimed .that his
hostelry was the only first-class house in Border City:
There were many among the crowd,.though, .that
SIX YOUNG HUNTERS
Tom did not recognize: the Indian with the gaudy
red blanket, for instance, .or the desperate-looking
man wearing the heavy black beard and red scarf,
who looked at everything about the train so furtively.
The engineer glanced through the windows of the
dining-room and saw there were a goodly number of
passengers for Dallas, which, in addition to those who
thronged the lunch counter, would make a full train.
He watched the sloping street until his eyes rested
upon a little figure in white, and then he smiled
"Did you think I wasn't coming, father?" asked
the little girl, when she had come up. "Mother
was bound you'd have a good dinner, and didn't
Well, that was very kind of her. We are a little
ahead of time," he replied, holding up a silver watch
to the light. "What did you bring me ?"
"Oh, lots of nice things! roast chicken and pie,
and something else you like."
"That's a good girl," he said, kissing her. "Now,
run home, for it's going to storm."
As the girl tripped happily off, he climbed into the
engine and placed the steaming pail upon the seat
beside him. The fireman, Josh Larkin, heaped coal
upon the hungry fire, or polished a rod here and
there with an oily cloth.
"We're'in for a storm to-night, or I'm no prophet,"
he began, lighting his corn-cob pipe, "and I believe
we'll have trouble, too. There are more odd-looking
ducks behind us to-night than I ever saw before, -
fellers with white suits and red leather shoes, and
women with diamonds enough to blind a man."
"Josh, you can't stand a blow and rain any more,
nohow," replied the engineer. "And as for hold-ups
and the like, I've been in a dozen, and have never
"No, but you've been ropedto your own engine,
and have seen your fireman killed, which amounts to
the same thing."
"Well, there's no cause to worry. The marshals
have rounded up those 'dodgers' by this time, I'll
Not by a good deal they haven't. Those fellers
shoot like pizen, and the marshals don't want no part
in the play. Then, the crew is grumpy to-night,
Tom. They're afraid of those night-riders, I know."
Don't you believe they are," the other replied, pla-
cing his hand upon the throttle through force of habit.
"Sanders is as good a man as ever handled a train,
The conversation continued in this strain for more
than ten minutes, when it was interrupted by the
appearance of the conductor himself.
"Evenin', Sanders," said the engineer, between his
mouthfuls of chicken, "we were just discussion' you.
SIX YOUNG HUNTERS
Josh, here, thinks we're in for a blow, along with
"Good for you, Josh! I'm feeling a bit that way
myself, to-night; but I guess it's not worth worrying
about. Those things don't come when you expect
'em. We'll have the blow, though, sure," he con-
tinued, taking a good look at the threatening sky.
And with this he swung his lantern from his arm
and walked down the platform, calling, "All aboard,
The crowd gradually began to thin. The fat lawyer
who is always late had just time to purchase his ticket
and light a cigar, and the train pulled out.
As the yellow and white lights of the city grew dim
and then disappeared altogether, the cars moved over
the ties faster and faster. Engineer and fireman sat
upon opposite sides of the engine, eagerly watching
the shining tracks, or endeavoring to peer into the
black night. The glow from the great fire fell upon
the floor of the cab and glittered upon the coals
that had fallen from Larkin's shovel. Over bridges
and through endless fields of corn the train swept on,
until the broad plain of Oklahoma lay on either hand.
Then Tom threw open the throttle still wider, and
the train fairly flew through space. It had com-
menced to rain hard, and the men were compelled to
close the glass windows at the front of the engine.
The occasional flashes of lightning lit up the iron
horse, and showed for an instant every detail of the
wonderful machinery.' Tom and his fireman had
evidently not forgotten their conversation at Border
City, or the storm had put them in bad spirits, for
they did not speak during the ride, but sat silent
and morose, staring out into the darkness.
Among the passengers, though, things were very
different. Dick Tracy, the train-boy, had sold more
that day than ever before, and, as he confided to the
baggage master, he thought some of the passengers
must have "money to burn."
"They're the 'larkiest' lot I ever saw," he ex-
plained, placing his goods and a handful of change
upon a trunk, "and I don't understand it There's
a feller in there that wears a piece of glass in his
right eye, and has a man to bring him chicken sand-
wiches, and cut the magazines I sell him."
Those who had been fortunate enough to secure
berths in the Pullman, retired soon after the train left
Border City. The other passengers settled them-
selves as comfortably as possible, in the reclining
chairs, and endeavored to lose themselves in sleep;
but it was no use, for the rain beat against the win-
dow-panes incessantly, and the loud claps of thunder
sounded like the roar of a hundred cannons.
There were a few women and children in the for-
ward cars, but the greater number were either well-
to-do ranchers, returning from the great Kansas City
SIX YOUNG HUNTERS
markets, or young men from the great cities of the
East, some tourists, some in search of fame and fort-
une in the Southwest.
"This must be the famous Oklahoma country,
the home of Holton and his crowd," said a gentle-
manly looking youth, lighting a cigarette and offer-
ing the case to Conductor Sanders, as they took
chairs in the smoking booth. "Did they really send
him to prison? "
"Yes," replied the other, "but it did no good.
There were other men ready to take his place, and
"You mean this young Cabrillo one reads of in
the dailies ?"
"The very man. He's as bad as any, and uses
you much worse. Now, this is the kind of night he
likes, no moon, and lots of water to cover the trail,
for they generally ride back to the hills in the creek
bottoms, which are sometimes dry. But why don't
you turn in?"
"I believe I will. What are we stopping for?"
Water. There's a tank on this side of the river,"
replied the conductor, as the train began to slow up.
The two arose and walked from the smoking booth
to the dimly lighted chair car. The passengers had
arranged themselves as comfortably as the circum-
stances would allow. The ranchers from Texas had
thrown off their coats and shoes, and lay snoring,