Two weeks later, at a country store in the Chickasaw Nation, there was a horse race of considerable importance. The country side were gathered to witness it. The owners of the horses had made large wagers on the race. Outsiders wagered money and livestock to a large amount. There were a number of strangers present, which was nothing unusual. As the race was being run and every eye was centred on the outcome, a stranger present put a six-shooter to a very interested spectator’s ear, and informed him that he was a prisoner. Another stranger did the same thing to another spectator. They also snapped handcuffs on both of them. One of these spectators had a peg-leg. They were escorted to a waiting rig, and when they alighted from it were on the line of a railroad forty miles distant. One of these strangers was a United States marshal, who for the past month had been very anxious to meet these same gentlemen.
Once safe from the rescue of friends of these robbers, the marshal regaled his guest with the story of the chase, which had now terminated. He was even able to give Eldridge a good part of his history. But when he attempted to draw him out as to the whereabouts of the other two, Peg was sullenly ignorant of anything. They were never captured, having separated before reaching the haunt of Mr. Eldridge. Eldridge was tried in a Federal court in Colorado and convicted of train robbery. He went over the road for a term of years far beyond the lease of his natural life. He, with the companion captured at the same time, was taken by an officer of the court to Detroit for confinement. When within an hour’s ride of the prison—his living grave—he raised his ironed hands, and twisting from a blue flannel shirt which he wore a large pearl button, said to the officer in charge:—
“Will you please take this button back and give it, with my compliments, to that human bloodhound, and say to him that I’m sorry that I didn’t anticipate meeting him? If I had, it would have saved you this trip with me. He might have got me, but I wouldn’t have needed a trial when he did.”
IN THE HANDS OF HIS FRIENDS
There was a painting at the World’s Fair at Chicago named “The Reply,” in which the lines of two contending armies were distinctly outlined. One of these armies had demanded the surrender of the other. The reply was being written by a little fellow, surrounded by grim veterans of war. He was not even a soldier. But in this little fellow’s countenance shone a supreme contempt for the enemy’s demand. His patriotism beamed out as plainly as did that of the officer dictating to him. Physically he was debarred from being a soldier; still there was a place where he could be useful.