Buffalo Bill’s Spy Trailer. Or The Stranger in Camp - Prentiss Ingraham - ebook

Buffalo Bill’s Spy Trailer. Or The Stranger in Camp ebook

Prentiss Ingraham

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By the author of the celebrated „Buffalo Bill” stories. Colonel Prentiss Ingraham was a Colonel in the Confederate Army, a professional military officer throughout the 1860s and a fiction writer. As well as writing under his own name, he published under pseudonyms including Dr. Noel Dunbar, Dangerfield Burr, Major Henry B. Stoddard, Colonel Leon Lafitte, Frank Powell, Harry Dennies Perry, Midshipman Tom W. Hall, and Lieut. Preston Graham. „Buffalo Bill’s Spy Trailer: The Stranger in Camp” was first published in 1908. In it, a legendary figure of the Wild West who was canny enough to capitalize off of his own notoriety, William Cody was a renowned soldier and hunter. This action-packed tale parlays some of the historical facts surrounding Buffalo Bill’s life into a larger-than-life, thrill-a-minute Western.

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Liczba stron: 265

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Contents

CHAPTER I. THE HERMIT OF THE GRAND CAÑON

CHAPTER II. THE MINER'S SECRET

CHAPTER III. THE GRAVE AT THE DESERTED CAMP

CHAPTER IV. A VOW OF VENGEANCE

CHAPTER V. MASKED AND MERCILESS

CHAPTER VI. THE DUMB MESSENGER

CHAPTER VII. DEATH AND MADNESS

CHAPTER VIII. A STRANGE BURIAL

CHAPTER IX. THE COURIER

CHAPTER X. DOCTOR DICK'S DRIVE

CHAPTER XI. RUNNING THE GANTLET

CHAPTER XII. A MAN'S NERVE

CHAPTER XIII. A VOLUNTEER

CHAPTER XIV. THE WAY IT WAS DONE

CHAPTER XV. A MYSTERIOUS DISAPPEARANCE

CHAPTER XVI. TAKING CHANCES

CHAPTER XVII. A SECRET KEPT

CHAPTER XVIII. A MYSTERIOUS SOUND

CHAPTER XIX. A FAIR PASSENGER

CHAPTER XX. MASKED FOES

CHAPTER XXI. THE SACRIFICE

CHAPTER XXII. THE RANSOM

CHAPTER XXIII. THE OUTLAWS' CAPTIVE

CHAPTER XXIV. THE TWO FUGITIVES

CHAPTER XXV. THE OUTLAW LOVER

CHAPTER XXVI. THE SECRET OUT

CHAPTER XXVII. THE DEPARTURE

CHAPTER XXVIII. THE LONE TRAIL

CHAPTER XXIX. TO WELCOME THE FAIR GUEST

CHAPTER XXX. AT THE RENDEZVOUS

CHAPTER XXXI. DOCTOR DICK TELLS THE NEWS

CHAPTER XXXII. THE MINERS' WELCOME

CHAPTER XXXIII. THE COUNCIL

CHAPTER XXXIV. A METAMORPHOSIS

CHAPTER XXXV. THE DRIVER'S LETTER

CHAPTER XXXVI. THE SCOUT ON THE WATCH

CHAPTER XXXVII. THE MINER'S MISSION

CHAPTER XXXVIII. A LEAF FROM THE PAST

CHAPTER XXXIX. THE OUTLAW'S CONFESSION

CHAPTER XL. TEARING OFF THE MASK

CHAPTER I

THE HERMIT OF THE GRAND CAÑON

A horseman drew rein one morning, upon the brink of the Grand Cañon of the Colorado, a mighty abyss, too vast for the eye to take in its grand immensity; a mighty mountain rent asunder and forming a chasm which is a valley of grandeur and beauty, through which flows the Colorado Grande. Ranges of mountains tower to cloudland on all sides with cliffs of scarlet, blue, violet, yes, all hues of the rainbow; crystal streams flowing merrily along; verdant meadows, vales and hills, with massive forests everywhere–such was the sight that met the admiring gaze of the horseman as he sat there in his saddle, his horse looking down into the cañon.

It was a spot avoided by Indians as the abiding-place of evil spirits; a scene shunned by white men, a mighty retreat where a fugitive, it would seem, would be forever safe, no matter what the crime that had driven him to seek a refuge there.

Adown from where the horseman had halted, was the bare trace of a trail, winding around the edge of an overhanging rock by a shelf that was not a yard in width and which only a man could tread whose head was cool and heart fearless.

Wrapt in admiration of the scene, the mist-clouds floating lazily upward from the cañon, the silver ribbon far away that revealed the winding river, and the songs of birds coming from a hundred leafy retreats on the hillsides, the horseman gave a deep sigh, as though memories most sad were awakened in his breast by the scene, and then dismounting began to unwrap a lariat from his saddle-horn.

He was dressed as a miner, wore a slouch-hat, was of commanding presence, and his darkly bronzed face, heavily bearded, was full of determination, intelligence, and expression.

Two led horses, carrying heavy packs, were behind the animal he rode, and attaching the lariats to their bits he took one end and led the way down the most perilous and picturesque trail along the shelf running around the jutting point of rocks.

When he drew near the narrowest point, he took off the saddle and packs, and one at a time led the horses downward and around the hazardous rocks.

A false step, a movement of fright in one of the animals, would send him downward to the depths more than a mile below.

But the trembling animals seemed to have perfect confidence in their master, and after a long while he got them by the point of greatest peril.

Going back and forward he carried the packs and saddles, and replacing them upon the animals began once more the descent of the only trail leading down into the Grand Cañon, from that side.

The way was rugged, most dangerous in places, and several times his horses barely escaped a fall over the precipice, the coolness and strong arm of the man alone saving them from death, and his stores from destruction.

It was nearly sunset when he at last reached the bottom of the stupendous rift, and only the tops of the cliffs were tinged with the golden light, the valley being in densest shadow.

Going on along the cañon at a brisk pace, as though anxious to reach some camping-place before nightfall, after a ride of several miles he came in sight of a wooded cañon, entering the one he was then in, and with heights towering toward heaven so far that all below seemed as black as night.

But a stream wound out of the cañon, to mingle its clear waters with the grand Colorado River a mile away, and massive trees grew near at hand, sheltering a cabin that stood upon the sloping hill at the base of a cliff that arose thousands of feet above it.

When within a few hundred yards of the lone cabin, suddenly there was a crashing, grinding sound, a terrific roar, a rumbling, and the earth seemed shaken violently as the whole face of the mighty cliff came crushing down into the valley, sending up showers of splintered rocks and clouds of dust that were blinding and appalling!

Back from the scene of danger fled the frightened horses, the rider showing no desire to check their flight until a spot of safety was reached.

Then, half a mile from the fallen cliff, he paused, his face white, his whole form quivering, while his horses stood trembling with terror.

“My God! the cliff has fallen upon my home, and my unfortunate comrade lies buried beneath a mountain of rocks. We mined too far beneath the cliff, thus causing a cave-in.

“A few minutes more and I would also have shared poor Langley’s fate; but a strange destiny it is that protects me from death–a strange one indeed! He is gone, and I alone am now the Hermit of the Grand Cañon, a Crœsus in wealth of gold, yet a fugitive from my fellow men. What a fate is mine, and how will it all end, I wonder?”

Thus musing the hermit-miner sat upon his own horse listening to the echoes rumbling through the Grand Cañon, growing fainter and fainter, like a retreating army fighting off its pursuing foes.

An hour passed before the unnerved man felt able to seek a camp for the night, so great had been the shock of the falling cliff, and the fate he had felt had overtaken his comrade.

At last he rode on up the cañon once more, determined to seek a spot he knew well where he could camp, a couple of miles above his destroyed home.

He passed the pile of rocks, heaped far up the cliff from which they had fallen, looking upon them as the sepulcher of his companion.

“Poor Lucas Langley! He, too, had his sorrows, and his secrets, which drove him, like me, to seek a retreat far from mankind, and become a hunted man. Alas! what has the future in store for me?”

With a sigh he rode on up the valley, his way now guided by the moonlight alone, and at last turned into another cañon, for the Grand Cañon has hundreds of others branching off from it, some of them penetrating for miles back into the mountains.

He had gone up this cañon for a few hundred yards, and was just about to halt, and go into camp upon the banks of a small stream, when his eyes caught sight of a light ahead.

“Ah! what does that mean?” he ejaculated in surprise.

Hardly had he spoken when from up the cañon came the deep voice of a dog barking, his scent telling him of a human presence near.

“Ah! Savage is not dead then, and, after all, Lucas Langley may have escaped.”

The horseman rode quickly on toward the light. The barking of the dog continued, but it was not a note of warning but of welcome, and as the horseman drew rein by a camp-fire a huge brute sprang up and greeted him with every manifestation of delight, while a man came forward from the shadows of the trees and cried:

“Thank Heaven you are back again, Pard Seldon, for I had begun to fear for your safety.”

“And I was sure that I would never meet you again in life, Lucas, for I believed you at the bottom of that mountain of rocks that fell from the cliff and crushed out our little home,” and the hands of the two men met in a warm grasp.

“It would have been so but for a warning I had, when working in the mine. I saw that the cliff was splitting and settling, and running out I discovered that it must fall, and before very long.

“I at once got the two mules out of the cañon above, packed all our traps upon them, and hastened away to a spot of safety. Then I returned and got all else I could find, gathered up our gold, and came here and made our camp.

“To-night the cliff fell, but not expecting you to arrive by night, I was to be on the watch for you in the morning; but thank Heaven you are safe and home again.”

“And I am happy to find you safe, Lucas. I was within an eighth of a mile of the cliff when it fell, and I shall never forget the sight, the sound, the appalling dread for a few moments, as I fled to a spot of safety, my horses bearing me along like the wind in their mad terror.”

“It was appalling, and I have not dared leave my camp since, far as I am from it, for it resounded through the cañons like a mighty battle with heavy guns. But come, comrade, and we will have supper and talk over all that has happened.”

The horses were staked out up the cañon, where grass and water were plentiful, and then the two men sat down to supper, though neither seemed to have much of an appetite after what had occurred.

But Savage, the huge, vicious-looking dog, felt no bad results from his fright of a few hours before, and ate heartily.

When their pipes were lighted the man who had lately arrived said:

“Well, Lucas, I brought back provisions and other things to last us a year, and I care not to go again from this cañon until I carry a fortune in gold with me.”

“Yes, here we are safe, and I feel that something has happened to cause you to say what you do, pard.”

“And I will tell you what it is,” impressively returned the one who had spoken of himself as the Hermit of the Grand Cañon.

“Yes,” he added slowly. “I will tell you a secret, comrade.”

CHAPTER II

THE MINER’S SECRET

“Pard, after what has happened, the falling of the cliff, and our narrow escape from death, I feel little like sleep, tired as I am, so, as I said, I will tell you a secret,” continued Andrew Seldon, speaking in a way that showed his thoughts were roaming in the past.

“You will have a good listener, pard,” was the answer.

“Yes, I feel that I will, and you having told me that you were a fugitive from the law, that your life had its curse upon it, I will tell you of mine, at least enough of it to prove to you that I also dare not show my face among my fellow men.

“You know me as Andrew Seldon, and I have with me proof that I could show to convince one that such is my name; but, in reality, Andrew Seldon is dead, and I am simply playing his part in life, for I am not unlike him in appearance, and, as I said, I have the proofs that enable me to impersonate him.

“My real name is Wallace Weston, whom circumstances beyond my control made a murderer and fugitive, and here I am. I entered the army as a private cavalry soldier, and worked my way up to sergeant, with the hope of getting a commission some day.

“But one day another regiment came to the frontier post where I was stationed, and a member of it was the man to whom I owed all my sorrow and misfortune in life. Well, the recognition was mutual, a quarrel followed, and he–his name was Manton Mayhew–fell by my hand, and he, too, was a sergeant.

“I said nothing in my defense, for I would not reopen the story of the past for curious eyes to gaze upon, and accepted my fate, my sentence being to be shot to death. On one occasion, in an Indian fight, I had saved the life of the scout Buffalo Bill––”

“Ah, yes, I know of him,” said the listener earnestly.

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