Instantly however Billy returned the shot, and the revolver of Hugh Hall fell from his hand, for his arm was broken; but he picked it up quickly and leveled it with his left, and two shots came together.
Billy’s hat was turned half round on his head, showing how true was the aim of his foe, while his bullet found a target in the body of Hugh Hall.
With a groan he sunk upon the ground, and springing to his side, Billy found him gasping fearfully for breath.
“I am sorry, Hugh Hall, but you made me do it,” he said sorrowfully.
But the man did not reply, and running to the horse feeding near, he sprung into the saddle and dashed away like the wind.
Straight to farmer Vennor’s he went and told him all, and mounting in hot haste they rode back to the grove of cottonwoods.
Hugh Hall still lay where he had fallen; but he was dead, greatly to Billy’s sorrow, who had hoped he would not die.
Then, while farmer Vennor remained by the body, Billy went for the nearest neighbors, and ere nightfall Hugh Hall was buried, and his two allies in crime were captured in Leavenworth, and given warning to leave Kansas forever, which they were glad to do, for they had not expected such mercy at the hands of the enraged farmers.
But before they left they confessed that Billy’s story was a true one, and told where the wife of Hugh Hall could be found, and once again did the boy become a hero, even in the eyes of the bravest men, and the settlers gave him the name of Boss Boy Billy, while Nannie Vennor, now a mother of grown sons, each Christmas time sends him a little souvenir, to show him that she has not forgotten her boy lover who fought his first duel to save her from a villain.
Shooting for A prize.
While Mr. Cody was an Indian trader at Salt Creek Valley in Kansas, Billy laid the foundation for his knowledge of the red-skin character, and which served him so well in after years and won him a name as scout and hunter that no one else has ever surpassed.
For days at a time Billy would be in the Indian villages, and often he would go with the warriors on their buffalo and game hunts, and now and then would join a friendly band in a war trail against hostiles.
Another favorite resort of Billy’s was Fort Leavenworth, where his handsome face, fearlessness and manly nature made him a great favorite with both officers and men.
On one occasion while at the fort a large Government herd of horses, lately brought up from Texas, where they had been captured wild on the prairies, stampeded, and could not be retaken.
Once or twice Billy had come into the fort with a pony of the fugitive herd which he had captured, and the quartermaster said to him:
“Billy, if that herd remains much longer free, they will be harder to take than real wild horses, so go to work and I’ll give you a reward of ten dollars for every one you bring in, for the Government authorizes me to make that offer.”