Adventures of Buffalo Bill from Boyhood to Manhood
A MAD RIDE.
BACK to his home in Kansas went Buffalo Billy, to cheer the heart of
his mother and sisters by his presence, and win their admiration by his
rapid growth into a handsome, manly youth.
To please those who so dearly loved him he again attended school
for a couple of months; but with the first wagon-train bound west he
went as hunter, and arriving in the vicinity of the Overland again
sought service as a stagedriver, and was gladly accepted and welcomed
He had been driving but a short time after his return, when he
carried east on one trip a coach load of English tourists, whose baggage
loaded down the stage.
Although he was driving at the average regulation speed, to make
time at each station, the Englishmen were growling all the time at the
slow pace they were going and urging Billy to push ahead.
Billy said nothing, other than that he was driving according to
orders, and which was, by the way, by no means a slow gait, and then
listened to their growling in silence, while they were anathematizing
everything in America, as is often the case with foreigners who come to
Billy heard their remarks about the "bloody 'eathen in
Hamerica," "the greatness of hall things hin Hingland," "slow horses,"
"bad drivers," and all such talk, and drove calmly on into Horsehoe.
There the horses were changed, and the six hitched to the coach
were wild Pony Express animals that had been only partially broken in as
a stage team which Billy delighted in driving.
As they were being hitched up Buffalo Billy smiled grimly, and
"I'll show those gents that we know how to drive in this
country," and those who knew him could see the twinkle of deviltry in
At last, the Englishmen, having dined, took their seats Billy
gave the order to let the animals go, and they started off at a rapid
But Billy reined them down until they reached the top of the
hill, and then, with a wild yell, that suddenly silenced the grumbling
of the Englishmen, he let the six horses bound forward, while with utter
recklessness he threw the reins upon their backs.
Frightened, maddened by the lash he laid upon them, they went
down the mountain at a terrific speed, the coach swaying wildly to and
fro, and the Englishmen nearly frightened out of their wits.
Glancing out of the windows and up at Billy they called to him to
stop for the sake of Heaven.
But he only laughed, and tearing the large lamps from the coach
threw them the leaders, the blows, and the jingling of glass frightening
"For God's sake stop, driver!"
"He is mad!"
"We'll all be killed!"
Such was the chorus of cries that came from the coach, and in
reply was heard the calm response:
"Don't get excited, gents; but sit still and see how we stage it
in the Rocky Mountains."
Then, to add still greater terror to the flying team and the
frightened passengers, Billy drew his revolver from his belt and began
to fire it in the air.
As the station came in sight the man on duty saw the mad speed of
the horses and throw open the stable doors, and in they dashed dragging
the stage after them, and tearing off the top, but not hurting Billy,
who had crouched down low in the boot.
The passengers were not so lucky, however, for the sudden shock
of halt sent them forward in a heap and the arm of one of them was
broken, while the others were more or less bruised.
A canvas top was tacked on, the coach was run out, and a fresh
team hitched up, and Billy sung out:
"All aboard, gents!"
But he went on with an empty coach, for the Englishmen preferred
to wait over for another driver, and one of them was heard to remark
that he would rather go in a hearse than in a stage with such a madman
holding the reins.
But far and wide Billy's mad ride was laughed at, and he received
no reprimand from the company, though he richly deserved it.