The three outlaws were not only captured, but, being recognized as old offenders, were swung up to a tree, while Billy and Davie became indeed boy heroes, and the former especially was voted the lion of the log cabin school, for had he not “killed his man?”
Billy’s first duel.
Near where Billy’s father settled in Kansas, dwelt a farmer who had a son and daughter, the former being fourteen, and the latter eighteen.
As is often the case with boys, Billy fell in love with Nannie Vennor, which was the young lady’s name, although she at eighteen was just seven years older than he was.
But she had been over to call on the Cody girls with her brother, and a deep attachment at once sprung up between the boys, and Billy became the devoted slave of Nannie, making her a horse-hair bridle for her pony, gathering her wild flowers whenever he went over to the Vennor farm, and in fact being as devoted in his attentions as a young man of twenty-one could have been.
But Nannie had another lover, in fact a score of them from among the neighboring young settlers, but one in particular who bid fair to be Billy’s most dangerous rival. This one was a dashing young fellow from Leavenworth, with a handsome face and fine form, and who always had plenty of money.
Folks said he was very dissipated, was a gambler, and his name had been connected several times with some very serious affairs that had occurred in the town.
But then he had a winning manner, sung well, and Nannie’s beaux had to all admit that he was every inch the man, and one they cared not to anger.
From the first Billy Cody hated him, and did not pretend to hide the fact; but it seemed the boy’s intuitive reading of human nature, as much as his jealousy on account of Nannie Vennor.
One day Billy was seated by the side of a small stream fishing.
The bank was behind him, rising some eight feet, and he had ensconced himself upon a log that had been drifting down the stream in a freshet, and lodged there.
Back from him, bordering the little creek ran the trail to the nearest town, and along this rode two persons.
The quick ear of the boy heard hoof-falls, and glancing quickly over the bank he saw three horsemen approaching, and one of these he recognized as Hugh Hall his rival.
Just back of Billy was a grove of cottonwood trees, and here the men halted for a short rest in the shade, and all they said distinctly reached the boy’s ears.
“I tell you, pards,” said Hugh Hall, “I cannot longer delay then, so if old Vennor refuses to let me have Nannie I’ll just take her.”
“The best way, Hugh; but what about the wife that’s now on your trail?” asked one.
“What care I for her, after I have run off with Nannie?”
“But she’ll blow on you to old man Vennor.”