Deadwood Dick's Doom; or, Calamity Jane's Last Adventure

CHAPTER X.
A THWARTED DESIGN.

POOR Mrs. Morris again burst into tears on learning her daughter's fate from the Unknown's lips.

"Oh! what shall I do -- what can I do toward rescuing my poor child?" she cried, nearly frantic with her loss.

"You can do literally nothing, my dear madam, at present," the Unknown answered. "It will require a strong, shrewd man to pick the culprit's trail and discover his hidingplace."

"But, it may not have been this Dwarf you speak of, who has done this terrible work. Might not Carrol Carner have discovered this place, and carried off poor Myrtle, after killing Nick?"

"I judge not. Come? I will show you the way back to the town."

"What! not without my making an attempt to discover my poor lost child?"

"Humph! you'd have poor success, as I before intimated. The best thing for you is to return to town and get accommodations at the tavern. All that can be done toward finding and rescuing your daughter I will attend to in person, with as much interest as though she were my own child."

"Oh! thank you, Sir, thank you! You are a good and noble man!"

The Unknown laughed, darkly.

"Far from that, I am afraid," he said, with a grim smile. "Still I am not so bad a man as I might be, you see. Come! let us go."

They accordingly left the solitary camp and walked back to Death Notch, through the moonlight.

The Unknown accompanied Mrs. Morris nearly to the tavern and then took leave of her, promising that he would devote his earnest efforts to the recovery of her daughter.

Mrs. Morris then returned to the hotel, and to her room which she had engaged earlier in the evening.

It was a severe blow, this second disappearance of Myrtle, to the poor mother, whose expectancy had been so wrought up by the words of the Unknown, concerning her safety.

The following day was a gloomy one. The sky was black with ominous banks of clouds, and a steady unceasing rain poured down, from early dawn till dark.

Yet within the cabin of the old chief, Red Hatchet, a cheery fire burned upon the hearth, and the chief and his daughter sat before it, the former seeking solace from his pipe, and the latter engaged on some fancy bead-work.

"It is a wild day," the chief grunted gloom; "such a day it was that Red Hatchet was driven from his town, and nearly all his braves slaughtered. The thought causes the blood to boil in Red Hatchet's veins, and his spirit thirsts for revenge upon the pale-face usurpers, more than ever before!"

"Then why does not Red Hatchet go forward and claim his property? Was it not deeded to him by the Government, in exchange for lands in the Colorado valley, which the Government wanted, because of their golden value?"

"True! who speaks?" and the old warrior turned about in surprise, for it was not Siska, who had spoken.

A young Indian, in full paint and regalia of a war-chief, stood upon the threshold -- a strong, stalwart brave of straight build, and great muscular beauty, but whose every feature and style of dress proclaimed him to be of a different race of red-men than Red Hatchet, who was of a tribe fast becoming extinct -- the Pawnees.

The stranger was further from the south and his features indicated him to be an Apache.

"Who is the brave whose face is covered with war-paint?" Red Hatchet repeated, rising to his feet.

"Dancing Plume is no common brave but a great chief of the Apache nation," was the haughty reply. "He comes from the and lands of Arizona into the north, with his band of braves, to seek a home in the land of game and gold, and also a wife for his wigwam. He hears of the wrongs that the pale-faces have inflicted upon Red Hatchet, and comes to offer consolation."

"The Apache and the Pawnees have ever been enemies; why does Dancing Plume then come and seek conciliation with Red Hatchet?"

"Because Red Hatchet is alone and unprotected, because his spirit cries for revenge upon the pale-face -- usurpers of his rights, and Dancing Plume can avenge the Pawnee's wrongs. His warriors are all young, brave and strong; they would call it but a play-spell, to clear away the pale-faces."

"Your words sound well, but Red Hatchet is not blind. The Apache had an object in thus coming to the aid of a foe of his race."

"Which Dancing Plume does not deny. Red Hatchet has a pretty daughter, whose beauty and goodness, is known widely. Dancing Plume needs a princess for his wigwam. Red Hatchet is getting old and needs some one to hunt his game. Dancing Plume would take the Pawnee maiden as his wife, win back the town of Sequoy and with Red Hatchet dwell there in peace and prosperity."

Red Hatchet was silent few moments; then he turned to Siska.

"What does my child say to the proposition of the Apache chief?" he asked, his eyes gleaming at the satisfaction afforded him by the younger chief's prospectus.

"Siska has nothing to say. It was Red Hatchet who gave her to the Dwarf; it is for him to say whether he will break his treaty with the Dwarf, and give Siska to Dancing Plume," was the reply.

"Ah! Then another claims the Pawnee maiden." the Apache said.

"A pale-face Dwarf, to whom Red Hatchet promised Siska, if he would carry out Red Hatchet's vengeance, as Dancing Plume has offered to do," the old chief explained.

"Show him to me and it shall be a struggle for the victory!" was the young chief's demand. "If Dancing Plume falls, his braves shall win back the town and present it to Red Hatchet. Shall it be as the Apache has proposed? Let the Pawnee speak!"

"Red Hatchet agrees, but Dancing Plume must settle the difference with his rival!"

"Wagh! Dancing Plume courts battle! Why should he fear a pale-face dog, when from boyhood he has led at the head of his tribe! The tomahawk shall be dug up; Dancing Plume will go for his braves, and ere another sunrise after the morrow, the war-whoop of the Apache shall echo through these valleys and mountains. Dancing Plume has said it, and he never lies!"

Then, kissing his hand to Siska, he turned and left the cabin, with a firm, stately stride.

A bad outlook was there for the town of Death Notch-a worse fate was promised those who had driven the Pawnees from their village, which an unscrupulous Indian agent had illegally assigned to them!

Carrol Carner prided himself on being a villain, and he had often said it, that the man who could conceive more efficient and novel schemes of rascality than he, was hard to find.

The following day -- the same that witnessed Dancing Plume's visit to Red Hatchet -- in the hight of the storm, the Mormon left the town, carrying with him in a bundle a few articles which he calculated he would need.

No one paid any attention to his departure except Calamity Jane, and she concluded that he had decided to quit the place before any trouble occurred.

About the middle of the afternoon a stranger rode into the settlement, through the pouring rain, on the back of a scrawny looking mule, and dismounting in front of the Poker House entered the bar-room.

He was a medium sized man with bushy red beard and hair, and decidedly seedy-looking.

He'd not recently visited a clothier, evidently, for his lower limbs were clad in dirty, patched overalls, thrust into the tops of a stogy pair of boots. The trowsers were in turn met by a greasy red shirt, open at the throat, with accompaniment of a beltful of revolvers at the waist, and a slouch hat crammed down onto the head, until it almost hid from view the eyes.

And dripping with the rain through which he had come, this sandy- complexioned gent walked into the bar-room and up to the bar, and gasped out "whisky," in a wheezy tone, as if he had not lubricated his internal machinery very recently.

Nor did he begin to stop at a mere glass, for no sooner had Poker Jack set the bottle upon the counter, than he grabbed it up and allowed the contents to gurgle down his throat!

When he had drained it to the last drop, he returned the empty bottle to the astonished bartender with a grateful sigh, at the same time planking a ten-dollar piece upon the bar.

"Stranger, thet war powerful bad ile -- that arn't a hornet nor even a wassup in et, ter give et life," he said, in the same wheezy voice, "But when a teller's machinery ain't iled et won't run, an' so I had to submit to the inevitable!"

"Well, I should allow et didn't cost you much of an effort," Jack grinned, "fer ye did it right gracefully, and et'll cost ye jest V."

"Take ther saw-buck, pard-take et freely, fer I should hev given twenty ef thar hed only been jest one good hornets' nest in et."

Then wiping his mouth, he turned gravely to survey the crowd which the pouring rain had driven into the house.

It was a motley assemblage of rough-shod humanity, evil, sinister, and not pleasant to contemplate.

For several moments he surveyed them, as if making an inventory of their different natures then he mounted a table, cleared his throat, an struck an attitude, as if about to deliver a stump oration.

"Gents-pilgrims-galoots in general, I wan ter ask ye, do I luk like a cuss who would tell a lie?" he began, in oratorical tones. "Do I luk ary a bit less than a second George Washington?"

A silence among the crowd was his answer. They had not yet got an inkling of what be we driving at, and preferred to keep mum.

"Brethren," the brick-bearded bullwhacker continued, after a pause, "et doeth me dolorous to note thet ye hev yet received no inspiration from the honest reflection of my countenance. But sech is fate. Bear et in mind ever hence, beauties benign, thet a man who kin juggle down a quarto' Death Notch petroleum wi'out ary a bumblebee in et, is an honest man. More over, feller-citizens, never look adversely upon one o' yer sex because he is han'sum. Et aire a phenomena pecooliar tew the male race o' whites. I was once jest as humbly as ary galoot present but alas I've hed trouble, b'yees -- dire trouble and my benign and saintly resignation ter ther inevitable hes added luster and glorious angelic beauty to my physiognomy, despite all efforts of mine to the contrary. But I'm no saint, pilgrims; not a golden ha'r ner ther sprout uv a wing is thar about me. No sir-ee! I'm a warrior, I am on ther war-path, yearnin' fer gore! Shell I tell you why, my disciples? Ay! I will, tho' et shall wring tears from this heart o' min as large as watermelons.

"Ter begin wi', picter yerself a pleasant home of a well-ter-do merchant -- who never took over seven drinks a day in which war a wife and sunny-haired child. Ther devil comes inter thet house, in ther figger of a man. His oily tongue tempts the wife; she attempts ter flee with her tempter, but her child clings ter her skirts an' begs her not ter go. In a passion the woman smites her own flesh an' blood to the floor, an flies with ther devil. The child is found by ther fond father, in a dying condishun, an' with her departin' breath, he sw'ars for vengeance. Years pass, but at last it draweth near. Pards, hyar before ye stands thet merchant; do ye wonder be yearns fer bug-juice ter satiate his thirst revenge?"

"Go'r a'mightly, no!" declared Shakespeare.

"B'ilin' full cl'ar ter my larynx would I be, ef I'd been thru sech trouble."

"On course ye would, an' ef I war ter assert ter ye thet, after years of search I've trailed my faithless wife hyar ter this very house, you'd be willin' ter lend a helpin' hand ter boost her up ter a limb o' ther furst convenient tree, wouldn't ye?"

"Ef evyer fabled monster
Did perch upon er roost -
Then we're ther very pilgrims
W'at'll lend our hands-to boost!"

quoth the poet, with a caper. "For lordy's sake man, ef thar's ary show fer a neck-tie party', issue yer invitations to us, ter oncet."

"Then know that ther murderess is in this hyar house, in the guise of a Mrs. Morris, an' I her desarted husband seek revenge," the stranger cried, fiercely. "Hurrah! give her the rope wi'out parley."

"Don't!" a voice cried, "don't dare to disturb that innocent woman. Se! this man is an impostor!" and while speaking, Calamity Jane bounded forward from the hall where she had been listening, and tore a false beard from the "honest" man's face.

And there, exposed to the gaze of those he had cleverly deceived stood Carrol Carner, the Mormon!

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