Here the red-skins again gained, for the road was not good and in many places very dangerous.
But once over the ridge, and just as the Indians were near enough to fill the back of the coach with arrows, Billy made his team jump ahead once more, and at breakneck speed they rushed down the steep road, the vehicle swaying wildly, and the passengers within not knowing whether they would be dashed to pieces, or scalped by the Indians, or which death would be the most to be desired.
But Billy, in spite of his lightning driving, managed his team well, and after a fierce run of half an hour rolled up to the door of the station in a style that made the agent and the lookers on stare.
But he saved the box and the lives of the passengers, and several days after was transferred from the Pony Rider line to stage driving on the Overland, a position he seemed to like.
A Clever disguise.
While riding Pony Express the road on Buffalo Billy’s run became infested with road-agents, who were wont to halt every rider they could catch, and also rob the stages.
The chief of these outlaws was noted as a man of gallantry, for he never robbed a woman, no matter what the value of her personal effects might be.
Ladies with valuable diamonds in their ears, and rings that were worth a small fortune, were always spared by this man, who became known by his forbearance to the fair sex as the “Cavalier.”
Poor men were also exempt from being robbed by the Cavalier; that is if he really thought a man was poor and not “playing possum,” to get off from paying the toll demanded.
In halting a stage the driver was never robbed, but Government and the Company’s moneys were always taken, and well-to-do travelers had to pay liberally.
Pony Express Riders were never robbed of their pocket money, but the mail was invariably searched for money.
Once only had Buffalo Billy been halted by the Cavalier, though the other riders had frequently been brought to a halt and made to pony up.
That once Billy had shown fight, had tried to run by, and his horse had been shot; but he slightly wounded the Cavalier in the arm, and for it he was told if he ever attempted resistance again he would be promptly killed.
This did not trouble the young Rider in the least, but he made up his mind that he would not be caught; and after that the road-agents found it impossible to bring him to a halt, and his mails always went through in perfect safety.
At last it became rumored that Buffalo Billy had been removed to another part of the road, and that as no riders could be found to take his long night rides, a daughter of one of the stock-tenders had volunteered for it, and the company, knowing her ability as a rider, accepted her services until another could be found.