“I’m at your service,” Frank quickly replied. Excitement was one of his passions; adventure was another.
“Are you well heeled?”
“I reckon. Always make it a point to be prepared for wild beasts and the like, you know.”
“A good idea. Well, if you are ready, we’ll slide. I don’t want them toughs to get the drop on Dick if I can help it.”
“Who are they?”
“Yes; they that took the road-agent”
“I don’t know ’m. Guess they’re tender-foots—some former enemies of his, without doubt. They propose to quiz a secret about some girl out of him, and then knife him. We’ll have to hurry or they’ll get their work in ahead of us.”
They left the mouth of the mine, and skurried down into the valley, through the dense shroud of gloom.
Calamity Jane led the way; she was both fleet of foot and cautious.
Let us look down on the foot-hill camp, and the two Fillmores who are stationed on either side of their prisoner.
The younger presses the muzzle of his revolver against Deadwood Dick’s heart; the elder holds a long gleaming knife upheld in his right hand.
“One!” he counts, savagely.
“Two!”—after a momentary pause. Another lapse of time, and then—
“Hold! gentlemen; that will do!” cries a clear ringing voice; and Calamity Jane and McKenzie, stepping out of the darkness, with four gleaming “sixes” in hand, confirm the pleasant assertion!
THE ROAD-AGENT’S MERCY—CONCLUSION.
Nevertheless, the gleaming blade of Alexander Filmore descended, and was buried in the fleshy part of Deadwood Dick’s neck, making a wound, painful but not necessarily dangerous.
“You vile varmint,” cried Calamity Jane, pulling the hammer of one of her revolvers back to full cock; “you cursed fool; don’t you know that that only seals yer own miserable fate?”
She took deliberate aim, but Dick interrupted her.
“Don’t shoot, Jennie!” he gasped, the blood spurting from his wound; “this ain’t none o’ your funeral. Give three shrill whistles for my men, and they’ll take care o’ these hounds until I’m able to attend to ’em. Take me to the cab—”
He could not finish the sentence; a sickening stream of blood gushed from his mouth, and he fell back upon the ground insensible.
Fearless Frank gave the three shrill whistles, while Calamity Jane covered the two cowering wretches with her revolvers.
The distress signal was answered by a yell, and in a few seconds five road-agents came bounding up.
“Seize these two cusses, and guard ’em well!” Calamity said, grimly. “They are a precious pair, and in a few days, no doubt, you’ll have the pleasure of attending their funerals. Your captain is wounded, but not dangerously, I hope. We will take him to the cabin, where there are light and skillful hands to dress his wounds. When he wants you, we will let you know. Be sure and guard these knaves well, now.”