Evidently his approach is heard, for instantly out of the “Metropolitan” there swarms a crowd of miners, gamblers and bummers to see “what the row is.”
“Is there a man among you, gentlemen, who bears the name of Hugh Vansevere?” asks the rider, who from his midnight dress we may judge is no other than Deadwood Dick.
“That is my handle, pilgrim!” and a tall, rough-looking customer of the Minnesotian order steps forward. “What mought yer lay be ag’in me?”
“A sure lay!” hisses the masked road-agent, sternly. “You are advertising for one Deadwood Dick, and he has come to pay you his respects!”
The next instant there is a flash, a pistol report, a fall and a groan, the clattering of iron-shod hoofs; and then, ere anyone scarcely dreams of it, Deadwood Dick is gone!
The “Cattymount”—A quarrel and its results.
The “Metropolitan” saloon in Deadwood, one week subsequent to the events last narrated, was the scene of a larger “jamboree” than for many weeks before.
It was Saturday night, and up from the mines of Gold Run, Bobtail, Poor Man’s Pocket, and Spearfish, and down from the Deadwood in miniature, Crook City, poured a swarm of rugged, grisly gold-diggers, the blear-eyed, used-up-looking “pilgrim,” and the inevitable wary sharp, ever on the alert for a new buck to fleece.
The “Metropolitan” was then, as now, the headquarters of the Black Hills metropolis for arriving trains and stages, and as a natural consequence received a goodly share of the public patronage.
A well-stocked bar of liquors in Deadwood was non est yet the saloon in question boasted the best to be had. Every bar has its clerk at a pair of tiny scales, and he is ever kept more than busy weighing out the shining dust that the toiling miner has obtained by the sweat of his brow. And if the deft-fingered clerk cannot put six ounces of dust in his own pouch of a night, it clearly shows that he is not long in the business.
The saloon is full to overflowing—full of brawny rough, and grisly men; full of ribald songs and maudlin curses; full of foul atmospheres, impregnated with the fumes of vile whisky, and worse tobacco, and full of sights and scenes, exciting and repulsive.
As we enter and work our way toward the center of the apartment, our attention is attracted by a coarse, brutal “tough,” evidently just fresh in from the diggings; who, mounted on the summit of an empty whisky cask, is exhorting in rough language, and in the tones of a bellowing bull, to an audience of admiring miners assembled at his feet, which, by the way, are not of the most diminutive pattern imaginable. We will listen:
“Feller coots and liquidarians, behold before ye a real descendant uv Cain and Abel. Ye’ll reckolect, ef ye’ve ever bin ter camp-meetin’, that Abel got knocked out o’ time by his cuzzin Cain, an becawse Abel war misproperly named, and warn’t able when the crysis arriv ter defen’ himsel’ in an able manner.