Full as many of one side as the other have fallen, and lay strewn about under foot, unthought of, uncared for in the excitement of the desperate moment. Gallons of blood have made the floor slippery and reeking, so that it is difficult to retain one’s footing.
At the head of the ruffians the Diamond brothers[C] still hold sway, fighting like madmen in their endeavors to win a victory. They cannot do less, for to back off in this critical moment means sure death to the weakening party.
But hark! what are these sounds?
The thunder of hoofs is heard outside; the rattle of musketry and sabers, and the next instant a company of soldiery, headed by Major R——, ride straight up into the saloon, firing right and left.
“Come!” cried Calamity Jane, grasping Harris by the arm, and pulling him toward a side door, “it’s time for us to slope now. It’s every man for himself.”
And only under her guidance was Ned able to escape, and save being tailed and captured with the rest.
* * * * *
About noon of the succeeding day, two persons on horseback were coming along the north gulch leading into Deadwood, at an easy canter. They were the fearless Scarlet Boy, or as he is better known, Fearless Frank, and his lovely protege, Miss Terry. They had been for a morning ride over to a neighboring claim, and were just returning.
Since their arrival in Deadwood the youth had devoted a part of his time in a search for Alice’s father, but all to no avail. None of the citizens of Deadwood or its surroundings had ever heard of such a person as Captain Walter Terry.
The young couple had become fast friends from their association, and Alice was improving in looks every day she stayed in the mountains.
“I feel hungry,” observed Frank, as they rode along. “This life in the hills gives me a keen appetite. How is it with you, lady?”
“The same as with you, I guess. But look! Yonder comes a horseman toward us!”
It was even so. A horseman was galloping up the gulch—no other than our young friend, Ned Harris.
As the two parties approach, the faces of each of the youths grow deadly pale; there comes into their eyes an ominous glitter; their hands each clasp the butt of a revolver, and they gradually draw rein.
That they are enemies of old—that the fire of rancor burns in their hearts, and that this meeting is unexpected, is plain to see.
Now, that they have met, probably for the first time in months or years, it remains not to be doubted but a settlement must come between them—that their hate must result in satisfaction, whether in blood or not.
THE DUEL AND ITS RESULT.
Belligerent were the glances exchanged between the two, as they sat there facing each other, each with a hand closed over the butt of a pistol; each as motionless as a carved statue.