Fred and Otto came forward, and stood looking down upon the outlaws, who were in the agonies of death.
“It was our lives or theirs,” said Fred coolly, for he had been long enough in Montana to become used to scenes of bloodshed.
“Yes,” answered Otto. “I think these two men are the notorious Dixon brothers who are credited with a large number of murders. The country will be well rid of them.”
Roderick turned his glazing eyes upon the tall miner. “I wish I had killed you,” he muttered.
“No doubt you do. It wouldn’t have been your first murder.”
“Don’t kill me, massa!” pleaded Caesar in tones of piteous entreaty.
“I don’t know,” answered Fred. “That depends on yourself. If you obey us strictly we will spare you.”
“Try me, massa!”
“You black hound!” said Roderick hoarsely. “If I were not disabled I’d kill you myself.”
Here was a new danger for poor Caesar, for he knew Roderick’s fierce temper.
“Don’t let him kill me!” he exclaimed, affrighted.
“He shall do you no harm. Will you obey me?”
“Tell me what you want, massa.”
“Is the boy these men captured inside?”
“Open the cave, then. We want him.”
“Don’t do it,” said Roderick, but Caesar saw at a glance that his old master, of whom he stood in wholesome fear, was unable to harm him, and he proceeded to unlock the door.
“Go and call the boy!” said Fred.
Caesar disappeared within the cavern, and soon emerged with Rodney following him.
“Are you unhurt?” asked Fred anxiously.
“Yes, and overjoyed to see you. How came you here?”
“We followed the nigger from Oreville.”
What happened afterwards Rodney did not need to inquire, for the two outstretched figures, stiffening in death, revealed it to him.
“They are the Dixon brothers, are they not?” asked Fred, turning to Caesar.
“Then we are entitled to a thousand dollars each for their capture. I have never before shed blood, but I don’t regret ending the career of these scoundrels.”
Half an hour later the two outlaws were dead and Rodney and his friends were on their way back to Oreville.
THE RODNEY MINE.
Rodney was received by Jefferson Pettigrew with open arms.
“Welcome home, boy!” he said. “I was very much worried about you.”
“I was rather uneasy about myself,” returned Rodney.
“Well, it’s all over, and all’s well that ends well. You are free and there has been no money paid out. Fred and Otto have done a good thing in ridding the world of the notorious Dixon brothers. They will be well paid, for I understand there is a standing reward of one thousand dollars for each of them dead or alive. I don’t know but you ought to have a share of this, for it was through you that the outlaws were trapped.”