As they were being hitched up Buffalo Billy smiled grimly, and said:
“I’ll show those gents that we know how to drive in this country,” and those who knew him could see the twinkle of deviltry in his eyes.
At last, the Englishmen, having dined, took their seats, Billy gave the order to let the animals go, and they started off at a rapid pace.
But Billy reined them down until they reached the top of the hill, and then, with a wild yell, that suddenly silenced the grumbling of the Englishmen, he let the six horses bound forward, while with utter recklessness he threw the reins upon their backs.
Frightened, maddened by the lash he laid upon them, they went down the mountain at a terrific speed, the coach swaying wildly to and fro, and the Englishmen nearly frightened out of their wits.
Glancing out of the windows and up at Billy they called to him to stop for the sake of Heaven.
But he only laughed, and tearing the large lamps from the coach threw them at the leaders, the blows, and the jingling of glass frightening them fearfully.
“For God’s sake stop, driver!”
“He is mad!”
“We’ll all be killed!”
Such was the chorus of cries that came from the coach, and in reply was heard the calm response:
“Don’t get excited, gents; but sit still and see how we stage it in the Rocky Mountains.”
Then, to add still greater terror to the flying team and the frightened passengers, Billy drew his revolver from his belt and began to fire it in the air.
As the station came in sight, the man on duty saw the mad speed of the horses and threw open the stable doors, and in they dashed dragging the stage after them, and tearing off the top, but not hurting Billy, who had crouched down low in the boot.
The passengers were not so lucky, however, for the sudden shook of halt sent them forward, in a heap and the arm of one of them was broken, while the others were more or less bruised.
A canvas top was tacked on, the coach was run out, and a fresh team hitched up, and Billy sung out:
“All aboard, gents!”
But he went on with an empty coach, for the Englishmen preferred to wait over for another driver, and one of them was heard to remark that he would rather go in a hearse than in a stage with such a madman holding the reins.
But far and wide Billy’s mad ride was laughed at, and he received no reprimand from the company, though he richly deserved it.
Winning A reward.
Driving over the trail through the Rocky Mountains, the drivers were constantly annoyed by road-agents, whose daring robberies made it most dangerous for a coach to pass over the line.
If the driver did not obey their stern command: “Halt! up with your hands!” he was certain to be killed, and the passenger within who offered the slightest resistance to being robbed, was sure to have his life end just there.