Major R—— was precipitated headlong over the embankment, and in his downward flight probably saw more than one soaring comet. He struck head-first in a muddy run, and a sorrier-looking officer of the U.S.A. was never before seen in the Black Hills as he emerged from his bath, than the major. His ridiculous appearance went so far as to stay the general torrent of blasphemy and turn it into a channel of boisterous laughter.
No delay was made in putting things ship-shape again, and ere morning dawned Deadwood beheld the returned soldiers and wrecked stage with its sullen passengers within its precincts.
Dick and his men rode rapidly down the canyon, the two prisoners bringing up the rear under the escort of two masked guards.
These guards were brothers and Spanish-Mexicans at that.
The elder Filmore, a keen student of character, was not long in making out these Spaniards’ true character, nor did their greedy glances toward his and his son’s diamonds escape him.
“We want to get free!” he at last whispered, when none of those ahead were glancing back. “You will each receive a cool five hundred apiece if you will set us at liberty.”
The two road-agents exchanged glances.
“It’s a bargain!” returned one. “Stop your horses, and let the others go on!”
The main party were at this juncture riding swiftly down a steep grade.
The four horses were quietly reined in, and when the others were out of hearing, their noses were turned back up the canyon in the direction of Deadwood.
“This will be an unhealthy job for us!” said one of the brothers, “should we ever meet Dick again.”
“Fear him not!” replied Alexander Filmore, with an oath. “If he ever crosses your path shoot him down like a dog, and I’ll give you a thousand dollars for the work. The sooner he dies the better I’ll be suited.”
He spoke in a tone of strongest hate—deepest rancor.
AT THE “MET.”
A few nights subsequent to the events related in our last chapter, it becomes our duty to again visit the notorious “Metropolitan” saloon of Deadwood, to see what is going on there.
As usual everything around the place and in it is literally “red hot.” The bars are constantly crowded, the gaming-tables are never empty, and the floor is so full of surging humanity that the dance, formerly a chief attraction, has necessarily been suspended.
The influx of “pilgrims” into the Black Hills for the last few days has been something more than wonderful, every stage coming in overcharged with feverish passengers, and from two to a dozen trains arriving daily.
Of course Deadwood receives a larger share of all this immigration—nothing is more natural, for the young metropolis of the hills is the miner’s rendezvous, being in the center of the best yielding locates.