Title: Prairie Prince, the Boy Outlaw; or, Trailed to His Doom

Periodical: Saturday Evening Post

Date: Oct. 16 to Nov. 13, 1875

Author: William F. Cody

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Prairie Prince, the Boy Outlaw; or, Trailed to His Doom



Alone upon the prairie! With solitude, silence, and boundless expanse everywhere, and no fellow-being to call upon for aid.

A pitiable sight, indeed; for the one thus alone upon the almost limitless plain is not an Indian warrior whose moccasined feet can track its vastness from end to end; nor is it the hardy scout upon the redskin's trail, or a bold hunter of the Southwest, for these could face the awful solitude of the plain, and know whither to guide their steps for succor, food and rest.

But the human being thus alone upon [?]

A maiden upon whose sunny head but fifteen summer suns have shone.

A child-woman, for her form is budding into beautiful womanhood, while the innocent look of girlhood yet lingers upon her face, a face almost perfect in its beauty, notwithstanding it is pale and careworn, and the eyes are wildly staring across the miles and miles of prairie, undotted by a single object to raise hope or fear in her heart.

She is attired in a dark-blue riding habit, and wears upon her head a light gray felt hat, looped up at the side and half encircled with a heavy black plume, while in her hand she carries a riding-whip.

Her skirt is tattered and torn, and her face pinched with suffering and fatigue, while ever and anon she glances furtively towards the declining sun, already touching the western horizon, and with the approach of night the shadow deepens upon her face.

Though attired for the saddle, nowhere visible in the vast surroundings is her horse, and her delicate kid boots are worn as if by a long and rough tramp.

Presently the sun sinks behind the western horizon, and as twilight deepens, darkness comes on apace and shuts the poor girl in with a circle of gloom.

"Oh, God! have mercy, have mercy on me!"

The cry came from the inmost depths of the maiden's heart, and dropping upon her knees she covered her face with her hands, as if to shut out from her sight the desolation surrounding her.

"Must I pass another night alone upon this prairie, with no one near to call upon for aid? Oh, God! what will become of me? Last night I had poor Lightfoot, whose fleet feet would bear me from danger; but he lies dead miles away from here, and I am alone, alone, alone! Hark! is not that the distant howl of a wolf? Yes! and listen! his bark is answered by his mate; already they scent their human prey, and—Oh, heaven! have mercy on poor me!"

With a moan of anguish, the young girl fell forward upon her face, lost in a deep swoon, for at last her brave heart had quailed, and her strong nature yielded beneath the pressure upon it.

An hour passed away, and still the young girl lay motionless upon the prairie sward, unmindful of the louder howling of wolves, each moment drawing nearer their prey, or the silvery lustre of the eastern sky, growing brighter and brigher as the moon nears the horizon to launch forth upon the blue sea of heaven's dome.

Closer and closer creep the whining wolves, their eyes expectant and keen nostrils drinking in the scent of a human feast for their gleaming jaws, whle ever and anon they crouch down in the prairie grass and bay the moon that comes to light up their carnival of blood.

Still motionless, as if the spark of life had gone out, is the fairy form, and nearer and nearer creep the bloodhounds of the prairie, switching their bushy tails with eager anxiety to spring upon their helpless victim.

A moment more and the ravenous brutes would have been fighting and snarling over the delicate form of the young girl, as they tore her limb from limb, when there came a loud cry near at hand, and a human voice was heard shouting:

"Off, you howling hounds, and give ma look at the feast you are about to attack."

Instantly, with angry growls of disappointment, the wolves skulked away, as a horseman rode up, and, dismounting, bent over the prostrate form.

"Gracious goodness! it is a woman! Who can have killed her, and what is she doing here?" he queried, with great surprise, and then added, as he knelt beside her: "Perhaps she is not dead."

Placing his hand upon her pulse, he cried out with joy:

"No, she lives! thank the stars, I came when I did! Aha! my friends, you overreached yourselves that time, as your howls guided me here, for I knew there was some deviltry going on when you kicked up such a row," and he shook his hand at the pack of wolves, which were patiently crouched upon their hauches, awaiting with anxiety the result of the instrusion of their human foe.

Rising quickly, he took from his saddle pocket a small flask of brandy and a canteen of water, and after placing the former to the lips of the young girl, he bathed her face and hands with the contents of the latter, until after a few moments the large eyes were opened, the lips murmured some unintelligible words, and with a struggle the maiden sat up and gazed wildly into the face of her preserver.

"Well, miss, don't be frightened, for you are no longer in danger, and I am a friend," kindly said the stranger, and the maiden said, softly:

"I am not frightened, now that you are here," and again her eyes eagerly scanned the face before her, and she felt no longer any fear, for it was a face to inspire confidence and repsect, although it was beardless, and indicated an age under eighteen years.

Truly was it a youth, a mere lad, that had so timely arrived upon the scene; but yet one of most striking appearance in face and form.

He was tall in stature, well formed, with broad, square shoulders, small waist, and limbs of which an Apollo might well have been proud, while his every movement was graceful and denoted agility, strength and muscular endurance.

His face was handsome in the extreme, beardless, most youthful-looking, and yet with an expression of daring and determination strangely at variance with his age, which could not have been more than eighteen, though at times it looked older, and at times younger.

The moonlight showed that he had black eyes, shaded by long lashes, and strangely piercing, while his hair was dark brown, waving, and worn long, resting upon his shoulders.

He was dressed in a suit of buckskin, from his moccasined feet to his bead-worked cap, ornamented with a scarlet feather in front, the tail of a fox behind, and with just visor enough to shade his eyes from the sunlight.

In a buckskin belt around his waist he carried two large-sized silver-mounted revolvers and a bowie knife, and across his back was slung a repeating rifle.

By his side, patiently awaiting the movements of his younger master, stood his steed, an iron-gray mustang stallion, that had once been the king of the plains when the leader of his equine followers, but whose bird-like speed and iron endurance had been conquered by the youth, who had caught him, a whild musteno, upon the Southwestern prairies.

The steed wore a horse-hair bridle, and a thorough Mexican saddle, with its silver-mounted horn, and spangles of precious metal.

The necessary equipments for a ranger and hunter, consisting of blanket, provision haversack, ammunition pouch and canteen, hung to the saddle, while another revolver was lashed on one side of the horn, with a small hatchet opposite, and a long horsehair lasso, all proving that the youth was thoroughly equipped for offense, defence, and self-support upon the boundless plains.

With an earnest glance, by the aid of the moonlight, the young girl saw all that I have described, and she felt that she no longer need dread evil in the presence of one whom she was confident could protect her from ordinary danger.

"I am glad to see you are better, miss. I feared at first that you were dead," said the youth, coloring beneath the gaze bent upon him.

"It is strange I am not, after all I have gone through; and were this yonder wolves would have torn me in pieces, had it not been for you," and the maiden shuddered at the thought.

"I was a lucky fellow, miss, to get here in time; but if you are able to travel, I will let you mount behind me, and I'll carry you to your friends, for they cannot be far away."

"I know not where they are, for I was lost on the prairie, and oh, I have had such a fright."

"I don't wonder at it, miss; but you doubtless belong to some wagon train on the Santa Fe trail, and it cannot be far away," replied the youth, wondering why the young girl was there alone.

"I know not where they are, for last evening I left the train in company with our guide, for I would often go with him for a ride, and did not fear danger. But danger came upon us when least expected, for the guide approached a party of white men whom he believed rangers, and they ruthlessly shot him down and made me prisoner. At night I made a dash for my liberty, and my swift horse carried me rapidly away from them, and in the darkness I managed to elude pursuit, and then set about finding the train. But all around me was a blank, and I knew not which way to turn, and in despair dashed hither and thither until my poor horse could carry me no longer, and, staggering, fell to the earth and shortly after died. It was sunrise then, and all day long I wandered over the prairie, without food or shelter, until night came on, and in utter despair at my loneliness I swooned away, and thus you found me."

"Indeed you have had a terrible trial, miss; but now all is over, and we'll soon look the train up. Which way was it bound?"

"It was going westward, sir, out to Sentinel outpost, which fort my father commands. Father had come East, where I was at school, and was carrying me out to his frontier post with him."

"You are then the daughter of Major Dudley Racine, the commander of Sentinel outpost?" asked the youth, in a voice that had considerable sadnes in it.

"Yes, sir, do you know my father?"

"Only by reputation; but come, we must be off, and rest assured I know the prairie well enough to place you under your father's protection ere daylight;" and after giving the miaden a lunch from his haversack, and another swallow of brandy from his flask, he raised her lightly to a seat behind his saddle, and mounting, set forth upon his search for the train, the iron-gray mustang carrying his double burden without the slightest sign of impatience or exertion.



When the run rose the following morning, the Santa Fe trail was crossed, and a search proved to the young horseman that the train had not yet passed along, so he determined to encamp in a small piece of timber, and allow his fair companion and steed to rest, while he prepared as good a breakfast as his limited provisions would allow. Greatly fatigued by her hard ride, the maiden soon sunk to sleep, while the iron-gray began to breakfast upon the rich grass around.

Inured to hardships of all kinds, the youth felt little fatigue, and set to work preparing a meal, which in half an hour's time was ready, consisting of jerked buffalo meat, broiled on the coals, a pot of coffee and some crackers, a feast when one is hungry, and such the maiden was, for she greatly enjoyed the repast.

Though kind and attentive to his young companion, the manner of the youth had greatly changed since she had told him who she was, as though there was some cause for dislike towards her father which he in vain tried to conceal.

After a hearty meal, the maiden again dropped off to sleep, and the youth took a circuit of the timber to reconnoitre.

In a short time he returned in haste, and waking his companion, quickly placed her upon his horse, and mounting himself, he dashed from the timber, saying, quietly:

"We came very near being caught napping, miss, for a band of Injuns are coming this way."

"Then there is danger that we may be captured?" replied the maiden, in alarm.

"No, no, not as long as Greyhound, as I call my horse, holds out; and though with a double load, I fear few horses on the border; but we must ride for it. See, the reds have already reached the timber, and have discovered us."

It was true; a band of fully a hundred Comanche Indians were in view, coming on in full chase of the heavily loaded mustang, their yells sounding fearfully in the ears of the maiden, unaccustomed as she was to border life.

Urging Greyhound forward, the youth turned in his saddle, and after a long look behind him, said, quietly:

"This is the band of one of the most savage Comanche chiefs, old Keneta, and he has several horses in his tribe that can overhaul Greyhound, loaded down as he is, and after several days' hard ride; but without my weight there is no fear, miss. You see the trail I am following; stick close to it, and in a few hours you will reach your father's camp."

"And what do you intend to do?"

"I'll tell you. Were we both to remain on Greyhound we would be taken, for you see old Keneta is already gaining on us; but with your weight only he will leave the whole band behind; so I will let you go on alone, and I can escape down yonder canyon."

"I will not escape at the risk of your life," firmly said the maiden.

"Now you are talking nonsense, miss, for if the Injuns catch me, under I go, and if they get you, you'd have to become some chief's squaw, that's all; so you see I am talking for the good of both, and you must do as I say: make for the camp, and I will join you before many hours."

"I will obey you, sir, for you know best; but I cannot see how you can escape," replied the young girl.

"Don't let that trouble you, for I'll come out all right."

And the youth brought Greyhound to a halt, sprang to the ground, aided the young girl into the saddle, arranging the stirrup for her foot, and, with a cry to his horse, the gallant animal bounded away at almost double his former speed.

Waving adieu to brave boy, the young girl turned in the saddle as she dashed away, and saw him, after running the distance of a hundred yards, halt and appear to wait the coming of the savage Indians, who, with yells, divided into two parties, one band following on rapidly after her, and the other rushing down upon the youth.

Though anxious about her own safety, the maiden could not but let her eyes linger upon the tall form of the brave boy who stood, his rifle ready, and his whole manner that of a stag at bay.

Presently the weapon went quickly to his shoulder, and rapidly she saw the flashes from the muzzle, and marked the fall of several horsemen and steeds, and then the band of warriors were upon him, and she saw no more.

Almost overcome by the thought that the brave youth had sacrificed himself to save her, the young girl grew faint, and nearly fell from her saddle, but by a violent effort she recovered herself, and once more glancing along the trail which Greyhound was following closely, she beheld in her front, some two miles distant, another party of horsemen, and believing them to be Indians, she gave up all for lost.

A closer look, however, showed their blue uniforms, and, drawing nearer, with a cry of joy she recognized her father at their head.

Observing, also, that there was a chance of escape for the maiden, the Indians pressed on hard in pursuit, but the gallant gray kept them well behind, and in a short while carried his precious charge into the midst of the troopers, when a tall, martial-looking officer, wearing the rank of a major of cavalry, enfolded the maiden to his heart, while he said:

"Thank heaven, Daisy, I have you once again safe in my arms, for I had almost given up all hope. But where is Wild Dan, the scout?"

"He is dead, sir. But I cannot tell you more now, for yonder band is only one-half of the Indians in pursuit, the others being hidden by the timber," cried Daisy.

"Say you so, child, then we must at once beat a retreat; and I am glad we have not far to go."

And Major Racine and his dozen troopers wheeled to the right about, and away the whole party dashed, just as the Comanches who were in pursuit of the maiden were joined by those who had divided to hunt down the youth.

As if expecting an easy victory, they rushed on after the flying squadron, but, after an hour's hard run, the river came in sight, and upon its banks was encamped the wagon train, awaiting there the return of the several squads sent out in search of the missing guide and his fair young companion.



Seeing that Daisy needed rest after her severe ride, her father escorted her to her tent and left her, while he set forth with half of his command to give battle to the Comanche band.

But the wary Keneta evaded a battle in which he could only gain hard knocks, and at nightfall Major Racine returned unsuccessful, and upon going to his quarters, with surprise found his daughter in conversation with a young stranger, who was just in the act of riding away upon the very steed that had so gallantly borne the maiden from the power of the Indians in the morning.

"Ah, father! I am so glad you have come, for I wished you to meet the brave youth who saved my life."

And Daisy turned to the horseman, who was none other than the noble boy whom the reader last saw almost ridden down by the Comanche warriors.

After affectionately greeting his daughter, the major turned towards the youth, who quietly sat on his horse, his eyes fastened upon the officer's face.

With a start, an exclamation as if of surprise, and a face that turned deadly pale, Major Racine started back, crying, in a hoarse voice:

"Boy, in heaven's name, who are you?"

"I am a frontier boy, sir, a roamer of the plains," quietly responded the youth.

"You have a name, sir, so why evade my question," sternly replied Major Racine.

"I am called by several names, sir, according to circumstances."

"Boy, do you dare trifle with me!" cried the officer in a rage, laying his hand upon the bridle rein of the iron-gray.

"I do not fear you, Major Racine, and I do no desire a quarrel with you, as I sought your camp merely to get my horse, which I loaned to your daughter, whom I was so fortunate as to save from a fate too terrible to contemplate."

"Father, this young man speaks truly, and I see not why you should insult him because he cares not to make his name known."

And Daisy spoke both reproachfully and with spirit in her tones.

"Daisy, I have nothing against the boy, excepting that I am anxious to know his name, as I think we have met before, and under circumstances of a peculiar nature. His service to you I appreciate, and if he will come into my tent I will give him an ample reward for—"

"Major Racine, I need not your gold, sir, and if I was starving I would not accept a favor from you," almost savagely returned the youth.

"Boy, you are determined to beard me, and, — What is it you say, sergeant?"

And Major Racine turned to an orderly who had approached.

"I was saying, sir, that I knew the young man—that is, I know him by a name he has won along the frontier."

"And what is that name?"

"The Prairie Prince, sir."

"No! Can this be that daring boy whose wonderful deeds have gone along the whole border, and have gained him the name of the Prairie Prince?"

And Major Racine gazed with a strange interest into the boys's face, while the soldiers crowded around and bent upon him looks of admiration and respect.

Quietly, and with a proud smile upon his lip, the youth sat his horse, his clear, piercing eyes meeting the gaze of the military commander, who, after a pause, said, slowly:

"You are, then, the boy who is known as the Prairie Prince?"

"I am, sir."

"Why did you not tell me so, when I asked you?"

"I had my reasons for not doing so. And now I will bid you good-morning."

Raising his cap to Daisy, and with a salute generally to the crowd, the Prairie Prince wheeled his mustang, and the next moment was flying across the prairie with wonderful speed, leaving the assembled soldiers gazing admiringly after him.

"Father, who is this Prairie Prince?" asked Daisy, still gazing after the flying youth.

"He is a strange young character, child, who for the last few years has been gaining a reputation as the best scout and Indian fighter on the prairies, boy though he is. He lives far to the northward, it is said, but nothing certain is known of him, and though I have often heard of his gallant deeds, I never before met him, and now feel confident that what I saw in his face is only an accidental resemblance to one who— But, never mind, Daisy, he has gone now, and for his service to you I will always think kindly of him."

"One would think he had injured, instead of served you, in returning me in safety, from the manner in which you treated him," said Daisy, with more spirit than her father had ever seen her display before.

"Child, I will brook none of this manner from you. Go to your tent and prepare for the march, and then I will hear from you how it was you were led into danger."

And Major Racine walked away, evidently in ill-humor with himself and the rest of the world.

As for Daisy, she was hurt to the heart by her father's treatment of the brave lad who had saved her life, and could not account for it in any way, no matter how much she worried her brain with conjectures as to the cause.

That he was as handsome a youth as she ever saw, her eyes had shown her, and that the Prairie Prince well deserved the title he had won from the scouts on the plain she well knew, as his courage and nobleness she had seen well tested when he relinquished his horse to her, and on foot, single handed, faced half a hundred Indians.

How he had escaped from his precarious situation he had told her with a laugh, for, after firing his rifle at his foes, he had darted down one of the canyons that split the plain, and thus protected from the pursuit of horsemen, he had rapidly made his way to the river bank, some half a dozen miles distant, knowning that the Comanches, who are poor warriors on foot, would not, dismounted, follow him far.

Heading down the river bank he had continued on until he came to the spot where the trail ran near the stream, and there, as he had expected, he found the train encamped, and with delight beheld the safe arrival of Greyhound and his fair charge.

Daisy had listened most attentively to the youth's story, and was thinking how delighted her father would be to meet the lad, when all of a sudden her hopes were dashed earthward by the arrival of Major Racine, and his unexpected harsh treatment of one who had saved his lovely daughter from a terrible fate.



In a fertile valley of the Southwest, and near the boundary lines of Colorado and New Mexico, there dwelt, some tewenty years ago, at the time of the opening of this story, a frontiersman and his little family, consisting of his only child, a son of eighteen, and two negro servants, old Hiram and his wife, Maum Nancy.

When his son was but seven years of age, Gerold Gilmore had appeared in the valley, accompanied by his servants, household effects, and cattle, and after locating his land, set about building a substantial log cabin, aided by the hardy pioneers who had preceeded him to that far western country.

Gerold Gilmore, his neighbors soon discovered, was no ordinary man, for that he was wel educated, and had moved much in wordly society, was evident; and they wondered greatly at his making a home in those western wilds.

But yet they dare not question him as to his motives, for though ever kind and social, there was something in his manner that forbade idle questioning, and both old Hiram and Maum Nancy remaining dumb to all inquiries, the good settlers were forced to remain in ignorance of the past life of their new friend, though they wondered often why, in his quiet moods, Gerold Gilmore always appeared so sad, as if dreaming of bitter bygone memories.

In that frontier cabin home, the boy, Ivan Gilmore, passed his early years, and a bright, intelligent lad, knowing no such word as fear, he soon became the admiration of all for miles around, for, single handed, he had taken his first redskin scalp when not twelve years of age, and in an expedition into the Indian country to punish a Comanche tribe for a raid upon the settlement, young Gilmore had proven himself equal to any man of the party for pluck and endurance.

A fearless rider, he had hunted down and lassoed many a wild mustang, and a crack shot with both pistol and rifle, he at seventeen years of age, fringed his saddle with the scalps of hostile Indians, who had learned to dread his very name, and long for his capture.

Also Ivan was a thorough plainsman; could follow a blind trail, so to speak, and knew prairie, hill-land and desert as well as the most expert scout of maturer years, and this knowledge, with his daring and accomplishments, had gained him the name of the Prairie Prince, a name of which, boy like, the youth was very proud.

Though Gerold Gilmore would have been glad to have seen his son win a name in the marts of civilization, and become an honor to his country, he could not but feel proud of the reputation he had won as a frontiersman, and was content to bury his hopes that had once filled his bosom regarding Ivan leading a more exalted and brilliant career.

Situated upon the banks of a clear and deep river, commodions, comfortable and substantial, the cabin home was all that could be desired in a border home, and the little household seemed quite content to spend their days there in peace.

While Mr. Gilmore and old Hiram attended to the farming duties—and the farm was a most prosperous one—Maum Nancy looked after the household affairs, and Ivan was the hunter and fisherman and liberally supplied the table with game of all kinds, and the best fish to be found in the lowland and upland streams.

Thus quietly, if not happily, the days glided along in the far frontier home, and if there was a "skeleton in the closet," it was never brought out by Gerold Gilmore to make those around him miserable.

It was when Ivan was in his eighteenth year that he had left home on the trail of an Indian who had, after having been befriended and cared for for some days at the Gilmore home, decamped at night, carrying with him a goodly supply of things he had stolen, and mounted upon one of the best horses on the farm.

Enraged at the treachery of the redskin, whom he had found sick upon the prairie and carried home with him, Ivan had mounted Greyound, as soon as the theft had been discovered, and started in pursuit, following the well-known tracks of his horse towards the Indian country, for the thief was a Cheyenne, and was making for the tribe of his people, doubtless delighted at the spoils he had succeeded in carrying off.

Although the Cheyenne had stolen a splendid animal from the Gilmores, he had an untiring rival on his trail in Greyhound, who was as flet as the wind, and possessed an iron endurance.

But the Indian pressed on for several days in hot haste, and with a start of a night ahead of Ivan, the youth found it hard to overtake him.

Upon the evening of the fourth day the Cheyenne fell in with two of his tribe, who had also been on a raiding expedition, and were laden down with plunder, an leading half a dozen horses.

Feeling that there was safety in numbers, the Indians halted more frequently for rest, and continued their flight at a much slower pace than before, for they began to feel that they were beyond all pursuit by the whites.

But they had an untiring enemy behind them, and, boy though he was, a fearless and determined one, and the distance he had gone from home never had any terrors for him, but made him the more determined to push on and carry back the scalp of his red foe, so that he could not be laughed at in the settlement.

It was upon the fifth night following the day of his departure from home that Ivan had come so unexpectedly upon the form of Daisy Racine lying fainting upon the ground, and with his human nature aroused to sympathy, he had at once given up his own affairs to place the maiden in safety.

How he did so the reader has seen, and the unkind reception of Major Racine is also known.

With bitterness at his heart, the gallant boy, whose daring deeds and skill in prairie craft had deservedly won for him the name of the Prince of the Prairies, left the encampment of the train, and once more sought the trail of the thieving Cheyenne, unmindful of the swarms of Comanches he knew to be in the vicinity.

Again taking up the trail where he had left it, he continued on the following day, notwithstanding he saw that the Cheyenne had been joined by others, and with a determination to follow it to the bitter end, he urged Greyhound forward with greater speed.


[This story was commenced last week. Back numbers can be had of all Newsdealers throughout the United States.]



Without other adventure, Major Racine and his train arrived in the neighborhood of sentinel outpost, and the fair Daisy, as they camped the last evening of their march only a few miles distant from the fort, congratulated herself upon the termination of her long trip.

As the sun gilded the western horizon, there suddenly rode into the camp a horseman of more than ordinary appearance.

Though apparently not over forty-five, his hair and long beard were rapidly frosting, causing one to think he had passed three score of years; but his form was robust, erect and agile, and his face showed no signs of age, though there dwelt upon it an expression of commingled sadness and suffering, as though he carried a sorrowful heart beneath his hard breast.

The horseman was well mounted on a dark bay, was dressed in a suit of gray homespun, slouch hat and top boots, and was well armed with rifle, pistols and knife.

Riding up to the tent, where Major Racine sat upon a camp stool talking to Daisy, he said, in a cheery voice:

"Good day, comrade; can I claim shelter in your camp until morning?"

The officer sprang to his feet as he heard the voice, turned his quick gaze upon the speaker, and staggered backward as though about to fall.

"Great God! have I sought shelter in the camp of Dudley Racine?" cried the horseman, his eyes burning like coals, and his whole frame trembling.

"You! you here to haunt me?"

"I deemed you dead, dead, dead," almost shrieked the major, his eyes still riveted upon the stranger.

"No, Dudley Racine, I yet live, and after long years you and I have again met—"

"Ho! the guard! Sergeant, send me a file of twelve men! Hold, sir! shoot him down, men, if he attempt to escape," cried Major Racine, in great excitement, his manner alarming the whole camp.

"Coward! do you think I would fly from you? No, no, no! at last we have met—met and—"

"Ho! sergeant, drag yonder traitor from his horse, and bind and gag him immediately, for he is a deserter from the army, and already has been tried and sentenced to be shot."

"You like in your false throat, Dudley Racine."

"Gag him, I say," yelled the major, and in a moment more Gerold Gilmore was being bound and gagged upon the ground.

"Father, what has he done that you should threat him thus?" said the soft voice of Daisy Racine, while tears dimmed her beautiful eyes.

"Silence, Daisy; go to your tent, and mind you, I will not have this continual meddling into my affairs," and her father spoke in angry tones, and the maiden turned silently away. "Sergeant, this man is a deserter, as I said, and this might, eye, this hour, he shall die. Yonder tree will serve as a scaffold, so have a rope passed over the lower limb, and rig a noose in one end, and be and be quick about it."

The sergeant saw that his commander was in earnest, and believing the horseman some man who had once deserted from the army, he set abot obeying orders, although he could not but think that the major had some private cause also for wishing to carry out the sentence of death which he said had been passed upon him.

Calmly, but with an expression of anguish upon his face, Gerold Gilmore lay bound hand and foot upon the ground, and within his mouth was thrust a wooden gag, that prevented all power of utterance.

Soon all arrangements for the execution were made, and the prisoner's feet being unbound, he walked firmly towards the tree, around which had gathered the entire number of the train.

Apparently having made up his mind that he wants to die, and that no mercy for him dwelt in the heart of Major Racine, Gerold Gilmore walked on bravely, his dark eyes glaring boldly into every face, and no sign of fear visible upon his countenance.

Soon the large tree was reached—the larger one of a clump growing upon the banks of a small stream, and through which wound the trail across the prairie.

"Gerold, your unlucky star brought you across my path, and now you must die, for were I to carry you to the outpost, some accident might aid you to escape."

Being gagged, of course the man could make no reply, and Major Racine continued:

"You know, that as a deserter you were sentenced to die, and that when a prisoner, just before the day appointed for your execution, you escaped by taking the life of your sentinel, and that I, your officer, came near being cashiered for allowing you to get away. Now you must die for the double offence of desertion and murder, and in the absence of other authorities, I command that you be hung by the neck until you are dead."

While Major Racine spoke, the emotion of the prisoner was intense; his face became perfectly livid, and every vein swelled out almost to bursting, while his strong frame quivered and trembled fearfully.

At first the soldiers, teamsters and scouts believed the fear of death caused this terrible emotion, but they soon discovered the words of the major awakened some internal emotion in the heart of the condemned man, which was more fearful than the dread of dying.

In vain did Gerold Gilmore strive to speak, and his face grew red with the efforts he made to thrust the wooden gag from his mouth, and the blood spurted from his wrists as he cut them in the endeavor to tear them from bondage.

"In hell's name, why do you wait? Hoist him up, sir!" cried the major, whose face was deadly pale, and his brow black and forbidding.

In an instant the noose was slipped over the neck of the doomed man by the tall sergeant, who coolly obeyed the orders of his commander, and the other end of the line was grasped by a corporal and ten private soldiers, who at a command from their superior, marched off from the tree, gradually tightening the rope, then drawing slowly and steadily, until Gerold Gilmore was raised from his feet into mid air, his body swinging violently to and fro in the mad efforts he made to free himself, his eyes almost bursting from his head, and a stream of blood flowing from his gagged mouth.

"Hold him here, men, until he is dead; then make the rope fast around the trunk of the tree, and I'll leave him hanging there until the buzzards have picked his bones."

Quietly the men obeyed, but, accustomed as they were to bloody scenes and death, they could not but feel that their chief had some secret cause for his hatred to the doomed man; but that they little cared for, and simly obeyed orders with an indifference that was disgusting, when it was their hands that held a fellow being dying in mid air, and one who had never harmed them, or in fact one whom they had never seen before.

Swiftly darkness settled upon the prairie and the woodland, as if anxious to enfold the cloak of night around the horrid spectacle, and swaying in the evening breeze was the dead body of Gerold Gilmore, his white hair and beard waving gently, and his protruding eyes turning their sightless gaze upon the distant camp, where, within the white walls of his tent, sat Dudley Racine, his face buried in his hands, as if to shut out from his very mind the deed he had that night committed.

Through the long night Major Racine sat in deep and painful thought, until ere the east grew gray, he called forth his orders in stentorian tones to get ready for the march to the outpost; and as the risin sun cast a ray of light upon the cold face of Gerold Gilmore, the train moved away from the spot where had occurred the fatal meeting between the dead man and his executioner.



After having once more struck the trail of the Cheyenne Indian who had robbed him, as a return for the kindness shown him, Prairie Prince moved on rapidly, Greyhound keeping up hour after hour the steady gait that carried him nightly along over the prairie.

Since his leaving the camp of Major Racine, the face of the youth had become very stern, and his mind seemed constantly preoccupied, as if with painful thoughts.

But yet he seemed instinctively to follow the trail before him, and his discovery that the Cheyenne had been joined by friends, and that he was in a hostile country, seemed to have no fears for him, at least there was no sign of dread in his handsome face.

The third night after leaving the military camp, and just after dark, as he approached a small motte where he intended to halt for the night, he suddenly drew rein, for his quick eye had detected the glimmer of a distant light.

"Aha! Greyhound, we have trailed them to their lair at last. Now, old fellow, you must let your feet fall like velvet, and when we get near the timber, I am going to put you on your good behavior, by leaving you lying down on the prairie, while I creep on and take a view."

Thus speaking to his intelligent horse, Prairie Prince rode cautiously forward, the light before him gradually growing brighter, until he arrived within a few hundred feet of the timber.

Dismounting quietly, he spoke to his steed in a low tone, and immediately the faithful animal lay down upon the prairie, after which the youth grasped his rifle, ready for use, and crept cautiously forward until he approached the very edge of the wood, which was a small matter of perhaps two acres in size.

"Aha! my fine fellow; there you are, and you have two more of your stripe with you," muttered Prairie Prince, joyously, as he beheld before him the fugitive Cheyenne and his companions encamped for the night, and busily engaged in cooking their evening meal before a small fire, while their horses grazed near by, and their packs of plunder lay upon the ground at the foot of a large tree.

Undaunted by the numbers against him, Prairie Prince at once set to work to mature his plans, and, after a few moments of deep thought, seemed to arrive upon a conclusion as to his course.

Loosening his pistols and knife ready for use, and with his knife held at a "ready" before him, he then most cautiously approached the party, and never halted until he was within fifty yards of his enemy.

"Those other two Injuns I have nothing against, and yet they are caught in bad company and must suffer for it. But you, my thieving and ungrateful redskin, your minutes are numbered, for if my good rifle does not fail me, I'll start you on a trip to the happy hunting grounds in short order."

While a dangerous foe was thus near them, the three Cheyennes seemed wholly unmindful of danger, for only a few hours longer travel would bring them into their own country, and they believed neither redskin enemy nor paleface dare follow them thus near the home of their people.

So confident were they, that they had not yet stationed one of their number as a sentinel, and it was with a terrible shock of fear that the sharp crack of a rifle broke the stillness of the night, and the ungrateful Cheyenne sunk bleeding to the ground.

In consternation the two remaining Indians sprang to cover, and then endeavored to mount their horses, but another sharp report, and one more Cheyenne had bitten the dust.

With a yell of terror, and a scared war-cry commingling, the remaining warrior threw himself across the steed stolen from Ivan Gilmore, and endeavored to make his escape.

But a shrill whistle rang out through the timber, and, with a loud neigh, the animal became dumb to the urging of his red rider, turned, and galloped towards the elevation from whence the call had come.

Unable to check the speed of his steed, the Cheyenne brave sprang to the ground and attempted to escape by his own exertions; but too late the resolve, for their echoed through the timber the war-cry of the Prairie Prince, who suddenly confronted the flying Indian.

Thus brought to bay, and beholding but one enemy before him, the warrior gave his answering cry of defiance, and rushed upon his paleface foe with uplifted tomahawk.

And nothing loth to meet him was the gallant youth, for he again uttered his prolonged and thrilling warwhoop, well known upon the plains, and rushed towards the brave, firing his revolver once, twice, thrice, as he sped on.

Prairie Prince was a crack shot, and each time his aim was true, and with a death shriek of agony and hatred, his remaining foe fell dead at his feet, just as Greyhound and the steed stolen by the Cheyenne, who had both been trained to come at the whistle call of their young master, dashed up to the spot.

Patting the two animals affectionately, and talking kindly to them for a moment, Prairie Prince then bent over and removed the scalp of his victim, after which he started in search of his two other red trophies, the two horses following him around with the gentleness and affection of a hound.

"And you are caught at last, you red thief!" and Prairie Prince, as he bent over the third Indian he had come to, but the first one had had slain. "Well, you nearly reached your own country—and if I do not get away from here pretty lively I may have my scalp raised," he added, rather hastily.

And quickly securing his trio of scalps to his saddle, he soon packed the Indian horses with the stolen plunder, and in half an hour after was rapidly crossing the prairie upon his return to the valley settlement, perfectly delighted at the success of his daring undertaking, and conning over in his thoughts how pleased his father would be at the bold deed of his son—for a word of approval from his beloved parent was more to the Prairie Prince than all the praise of the settlers and scouts on the border.



Pushing his tired animals to their utmost, Prairie Prince traveled swiftly homeward, ever on the alert to watch the approach of an enemy who might wrest from him his dearly earned prize.

Feeling assured that his trail would be crossed and at once followed by some roving band, the youth gave his steeds little rest, and well for him was it that they were of iron endurance, for otherwise they would have broken down under the strain upon them.

Once or twice Prairie Prince discovered a distant band of Comanche braves, but making his cavalcade lie down in the grass, he thus escaped notice, and after the danger was over he would again press on with renewed vigor, until one of the Indian horses broke down, and his pack of stolen plunder was at once transferred to the backs of the other animals.

At length, after days of hard travel, the brave youth and his equine followers approached a small motte to encamp for the remainder of the night, for it was then getting on towards the small hours.

Joyously congratulating himself that his greatest dangers were passed, and that another night and day would see him in his humble cabin-home in the valley, the youth rode on at the head of his line of pack steeds, and was hastening to get into camp in the motte ere the rain fell, for the heavens were black with storm-clouds, and the wind swept howling across the prairie, and sighed mournfully through the timber.

Darker and darker grew the night until Prairie Prince could scarcely see his hand before him in the gloom.

Suddenly Greyhound halted, and snorted loudly.

"On! on! old boy, for I don't think you smell an Injun here, as we are most too near the outpost for danger," urged the youth.

But still the horse refused to go, and convinced that there was some lurking evil ahead, Prairie Prince dismounted, brought his rifle round for use, left his frightened animal standing in the trail, and cautiously advanced on foot.

Slowly he moved forward, his ears and eyes strained to hear or see any sound right before him.

Presently a sickenin odor was wafted to him on the wind, and, apparently relieved, he muttered:

"it is some dead Injun. Why Greyhound, you are getting fastidious, old fellow."

Returning to his steed he again mounted him and urged him forward.

But with loud snorts the animal refused to advance, until in anger his master punished him with whip and spur.

Then, in a frenzy of pain and fright, the animal sprang forward, and the next moment Prairie Prince was dashed violently against a heavy object that nearly unseated him from his saddle.

With an iron hand he reined Greyhound back, put forth his head, and it touched the cold face of the dead.

A cry of horror escaped from the youth as he gave the horse the rein and let him bound forward, and for a moment he was unnerved, but quickly recovered himself, he muttered:

"Poor old horse! No wonder you feared to go forward. But, come, we will soon find a camp, and then I'll see about yonder dead man, for he is no Indian, for I distinctly felt he beard, and he was not hung by redskins either, for that is not their style."

Apparently once more himself, Prairie Prince dismounted, and seeking the shelter of a thick group of trees, he soon had his horses unsaddled and staked out, a fair shelter erected for himself and baggage, and a small fire burning.

Then he seized a torch and moved forward quickly towards the spot where he had received such a shock.

Soon he approached a large tree, and weirdly swinging to and fro was the form of a human being.

The flickering light of the burning brand cast fantastic shadows all around, and the wind howled mournfully through the trees, while the air was filled with the sickening odor of decaying flesh.

But Prairie Prince knew no fear, and, nerved to his work, he lay down the burning piece of wood, and stepping to the trunk of the tree, untied the rope around it, and gently lowered the hanging body.

Soon it rested upon the ground, the torchlight fell full upon the blackened face and tall form, and with a cry of mortal agony, Ivan Gilmore, the Prairie Prince, tottered forward and fell as though dead across the decomposing form of his father, the only one in the wide world whom he really loved.

In spite of the swollen and blackened face, the wide-opened, gag-filled mouth, and starting, staring eyes, the youth recognized the form of his father, and the shock of that startling and sudden recognition set the blood rushing in torrents to his head and heart, until, with that terrible cry, consciousness fled from him, and he fell prone upon the ground, where he lay like one whose lamp of life had given out with that shriek of despairing agony.



For nearly an hour the Prairie Prince lay in a deep swoon, across the dead form of his father, and even his strong nature found it hard to rally beneath the terrible shock that had so suddenly prostrated him, at a time when his ambition was soaring on golden wing, and his thoughts were joyous in thinking how proudly he would be greeted by his loving parent.

At length the storm-clouds burst forth in torrents, and a deluge of water fell upon the prairie, until this cold rain falling upon the youth revived him, and brought him again to consciousness.

With weary manner he arose to his feet in the darkness, for the fire-brand had gone out, and all was darkness around him, except the glimmer of his camp-fire a few hundred feet distant.

All around him was gloom, and it was some moments ere he seemed to fully recall the sad blow that had struck him down in grief. Then it flashed upon him in all its terrible truth, and a bitter groan of agony escaped his lips.

Around him the winds howled mournfully through the trees, the thunder rolled forth a deep base to the dirge, and the rain pattered down dismally upon the prairie sward, and into the dead, upturned face of Gerold Gilmore.

Long stood the youth in mournful silence, and then, as if having made up his mind as to his course, he raised the form of his father in his strong arms, and bore it toward the distant camp-fire.

Depositing his sacred body near the fire, he threw on some wood, and soon had a blazing pile, which brightly illuminated the face of the dead.

As his eyes fell upon the terrible sight, he dropped upon his knees before the body, and raising both hands towards heaven, he cried, in a voice wrung with deepest feeling of hatred and agony,

"So help me, God! I mean to avenge this crime against you, my dearly-loved father. Some vile creatures have done this awful deed, and I swear that night and day will I devote to tracking them to their doom, and every hand who aided in this accursed murder shall have its pulses stilled by my taking his life. No Indian has done the deed, but those whose faces are like my own! but, were they bound to me by kindred ties, they should die for this deed their hands have wrought! Yes, sleeping and waking, my dreams and thoughts shall be of revenge, and never will I rest until those who murdered you, my poor father, have fallen before my deadly hatred! Yes, I swear it, by all that is holy, and by the body of you, my only friend and father!"

Bending low down, the lonely and sorrowing youth pressed his lips to the forehead, and then, appearing more calm, arose and set to work with his hatchet and knife, to dig a grave.

An hour's work, and a shallow grave was dug, but one sufficiently large to contain the body, and into this Prairie Prince consigned the mortal remains of his father, unmindful of the pouring rain that beat unmercifully down upon him.

At length a mound was made above the body, and the youth said an humble prayer as he knelt beside it. Arising to his feet, his face was suddenly lightened up by a ray of moonlight that arose through the clouds, and glancing around him he observed that the storm was breaking away.

Sadly and swiftly, and with no thought of his own fatigue, he saddled his horses, and with one long glance upon the new-made grave, rode swiftly away, followed by his pack-horse.

Neither halting for rest or food, he pressed on until at length the valley was before him, and wan and pale he drew rein before his cabin home.

Old Hiram and Nancy came forward to meet him with joy upon their faces, and the settlers crowded around him; but, unheeding their words, he told them of his sad discovery, and learned how his father had started forth in search of him.

"It was to save me from harm, he left his home and in my behalf he lost his life! O, God, this is terrible!" cried the almost heart-broken youth, and rushing into the cabin he threw himself upon his bed in a perfect agony of grief.

Weeks passed away ere Prairie Prince arose from that couch, for his overworked brain and form gave way, and a severe fever set in, and long he raved in delirium, in which he would repeat over and over again the oath he had made beside the dead body of his father.

After long suffering he once more regained his health, but his joyous manner had gone, and he seemed ever brooding over his loss. Through his illness old Hiram, Nancy and the neighbors had nursed him almost tenderly, and when he recovered they did all in their power to cheer him; but day after day he spent his time in rifle and pistol practice, and in training Greyhound and the steed the Cheyenne had stolen, to greater perfection.

At length, after having carefully rubbed up his arms, tilled his pouch with ammunition and his haversack with provisions, he bade his old family servants to have a care over the cabin and farm, and, unheeding their remonstrances, mounted Greyhound and rode away from the valley, none knowing whither he was going, but all confidence that he had made up his mind to seek out those who had so cruelly slain his father.

That he would visit upon the murderers a terrible vengence, all in the valley felt assured, and one and all prayed that no evil might befall the brave and noble youth.


[This serial was commenced in No. 12 Vol. 55. Back numbers can be obtained from all newsdealers throughout the United States, or direct from this office.]



After leaving the settlement, Prairie Prince directed his steps towards the spot where a month before he had consigned his father to his grave.

Arriving after nightfall, he set about arranging for his temporary encampment, determined, ere he started upon his work to revenge, to pass the night by the humble resting place of him who had been so cruelly murdered.

Having removed his saddle from Greyhound, and staked him out to feed upon the luxuriant grass, the youth was preparing to build a fire beneath the large tree which shaded the resting=place of Gerold Gilmore, when a distant shot, followed by a loud war-cry came to his ears.

Instantly he resaddled his steed, and concealed beneath the shadow of the tree, he awaited in anxious expectancy the coming of those whose shot and cry he had heard.

Soon the rapid fall of hoofs was heard approaching, and then in sight across the prairie was dimly visible a dark object coming swiftly towards the motte, and behind him, some two hundred yards, were half a dozen horsemen, madly urging their horses in hot pursuit of the fugitive, who, though on foot, was running at a pace the pursuing animals found it difficult to surpass.

Slowly, however, they gained upon the runner, who the next moment dashed for safety beneath the tree which sheltered Prairie Prince.

Panting loudly with his exertion, and his mind occupied with his pursuers, the fugitive did not see the young horseman, and set to work to defend himself with his bow and arrows, when he was startled by a shart report, a flash, and in surprise saw the leading horseman fall to the ground.

"Hold, Black Wolf; I am your friend," cried the youth, as the man, an Indian chief, turned upon him.

"The Black Wolf is pursued by the white warriors from the fort; but the Boy Chief is his friend," returned the Indian, and as he spoke another shot from the unerring rifle of the youth caused another horseman to bite the dust, and the remainder of the number to quickly draw rein, and ride back out of range.

"Ha! say you so, Black Wolf? Then my rifle is turned against my own people, and I regret it; but you once saved my father's life, chief, and I will protect you. Why is it the white warriors are on your track? I thought the Black Wolf was a friend of the pale faces."

"Black Wolf is a mighty chief; like the leaves of the forest his people once were, but like the leaves when the cold is on them his warriors have passed away; but he loved the pale faces, and was a hunter for the fort; but Black Wolf has a daughter, a maiden as beautiful as the stars, and the cruel white chief at the fort would have made the Great Spirit angry by forcing the young Indian maiden to become his squaw; but the Star Eyes fled from the evil chief, and upon Black Wolf the vengence of the evil-hearted man fell, until he had to protect himself and strike the white chief to the ground, and then the Wolf fled for his life, and the white hounds were put on his trail."

The Indian had spoken proudly, and Prairie Prince knew that he spoke the truth, and determined to protect him from his foes; for the Black Wolf had ever been most friendly to the whites, and had on several occasions warned the settlement against the approach of a band of Comanches, a people whom the Indian chief hated with his whole heart, for he was the remnant of a once mighty tribe whom the Comanches had nearly destroyed.

Prairie Prince knew well his story how the lonely chief, accompanied by his beautiful daughter, had followed the fortunes of the whites on the frontier, and particularly did he remember that Black Wolf had on one occasion saved the life of Gerold Gilmore, when returning from a search after missing stock the settler had been set upon by a few renegades and severely wounded.

This one act particularly now endeared the chief to him, and he determined to save him from his pursuers, who were now drawn up in the shelter of some close-growing timber just out of rifle range.

"What is the Black Wolf to do?" asked Prairie Prince, after a while.

"The Black Wolf is hunted down now like a mad dog; he will hide away from the pale faces and Star Eyes will cheer his lonely life."

"Where is the Star Eyes?"

"The maiden has gone to her home in the prairie canyons; it is there that the chief will meet his daughter."

"Then come, chief, mount behind me and we will away swiftly, for Greyhound will carry both with ease. It is said you know the cancyons better than any man on the frontier, and I wish to find me a safe retreat, for from this day I am on the warpath."

"Has the Boy Chief raised the tomahawk against his own people?"

"I have raised the tomahawk against those who murdered my father, chief, and I'll not rest until I hang their scalps to my belt. Black Wolf, do you know who killed my father?"

"Let the Boy Chief come now to the canyon with the Black Wolf, and there he shall know."

"Mount behind me, then; but tell me, did the people of the fort have ought to do with it?"

"The white chief at the fort and his warriors took the life of the Boy Chief's father."

"Great God! is this true? Dudley Racine, if you have done this deed, you shall die by my and, for I have sworn it;" and Prairie Prince spoke with terrible ernestness.

Turning Greyhound quietly the youth rode silently away, the Indian mounted behind him, and in a short time the noble steed was cantering swiftly across the prairie, little caring for his double load, and the youth congratulating himself upon having a strong ally in the Indian chief, whom he knew to be as true as steel, and one of the best scouts and hunters on the frontier.

War and pestilence had wiped his people out from the face of the earth, and friendly with the whites, Black Wolf had pitched his solitary wigwam almost beneath the shadow of the fort, and with his daughter, the lovely Star Eyes, had there lived for years, feared by his foes, and respected by the pale faces.

From one end of the frontier to the other the fame of the Indian chief had gone forth as a great warrior, a skilled scout, and dangerous enemy; and as noted as was her father's prowess, was the beauty of Star Eyes, at whose shrine many brave men, both paleface and redskin, bent in adoration.



Far beyond the bounds of safety, on that wild frontier where the scene of this story is laid, was situated Sentinel Outpost, or Ft. Sentinel, as many called it.

Located upon the banks of a large stream, and with scattering timber and rich prairie land surrounding, it was a favored spot for a stronghold, situated as it was upon a slight eminence that commanded a sweep for miles around.

The enclosure of the fort contained some five acres, well stockaded with logs ten feet in hight, with every now and then a log citadel, a square tower twenty feet high, on which was mounted a field piece of artillery, which commanded the advance to the stockade.

Upon the land side there were five of these towers, each containing a small howitzer, and upon the river front one citadel, so placed as to control the banks from either end of the enclosure resting upon the water.

The river front was open, excepting a low wall of logs, for the stream was broad and the banks precipitous.

Outside of the walls of the fort were the farms of the outpost, well cultivated, while the prairie for miles around was dotted with horses and cattle, and along that river bank here and there was the cabin home of some settler who preferred to dwell under the shadow of military protection.

Within the stockade, and fronting the river, were a dozen log houses, the barracks of the soldiers, scouts and hunters, while sheltered by a small motte stood a large cabin, surrounded by a rude piazza, overgrown with vines, and a small yard, in which grew a number of beautiful flowers.

The grounds around this large cabin extended to the river bank, on which stood a small summer-house of rustic work.

The cabin was divided into four large rooms, two of which were bedchambers, one a sitting-room, and the other used for kitchen and dining-room.

All of the chambers were well-furnished, considering the distance from civilization, and in fact many comforts were visible upon every side.

This cabin was the home of Major Dudley Racine, and there he had dwelt in loneliness, until the beautiful Daisy came West to preside over his household.

Ever kind to his daughter, Daisy had soon learned to love her border life, and considered no pleasure greater than that of sitting at the head of her father's table, making his coffee for him, and acting as mistress of the domain.

At first she feared she would not like border life; but ere long her mind changed on that point, for she enjoyed the morning drill of the cavalry battalion under her father's command, the evening parade, the music of the band, the presence of the strange looking hunters, trappers and scouts, the appearance of the wild looking Indians who frequented the fort, the society of the settlers' daughters and wives, and above all the attention of the half-dozen young and dashing officers in the Outpost, who considered it a part of their military duty to be most polite to the lovely daugher of their commander. With every comfort around her, a spirited mare to ride over the rolling prairies, escorted by some handsome beau, a boat in which to row upon the river, and her household duties and music books to occupy her time, Daisy Racine's life glided happily along.

One of the maiden's most constant friends was Star Eyes, the daugher of the chief Black Wolf, for night and morning the beautiful Indian girl visited the fort, from her wigwam a mile above the outpost, and always brought with her some slight token of her regard for Daisy, either in specimens of her handiwork, wild flowers, berries, or birds and feathers.

It was no wonder, then, that the city-born maiden soon learned to love the Indian girl, who was faultless, both in face and form, and upon whose head not sixteen years had fallen.

With a degree of taste rarely seen in an Indian maiden, Star Eyes was wont to attire herself, every portion of her gorgeous buckskin skirt and leggings beautifully wrought with beads and feathers, while upon her head she wore a jockey-shaped cap, ornamented with flowers.

One glance at the dusky belle of the forest was sufficient to turn the beads and touch the hearts of all the frontier beaux, and not only was many an Indian brave, and handsome scout her lover, but also she held ardent admirers among the officers of the fort, until the coming of Daisy, when the open attention of the youthful warriors and expectant commanders was transferred to her, as in duty bound.

But from their first meeting Daisy and Star Eyes were friends, and these circumstances soon put an end to the flirtations of the young officers with the red skin maid.

At length the beauty of Star Eyes attracted the attention of the stern commander of the outpost, and she at once numbered among her wooers Dudley Racine.

But the stern major was shy in his visits to the wigwam of Black Wolf, and his attentions to Star Eyes were not such as to cause her to feel complimented by the favor of the commandant, and she instinctively avoided him.

At length, one afternoon Major Racine sought the home of the Black Wolf, a fairy like dell where his comfortable wigwam was hidden away just on the banks of the river.

Star Eyes was at home and alone, and the major's eyes glittered as he entered the wigwam and said:

"The White Chief has come to visit the beautiful Star Eyes."

"The great chief is welcome in the wigwam of the Black Wolf," quickly responded the maiden.

"Star Eyes, I could dwell here forever with you alone, and yet it cannot be. Still, my pretty girl, you must not turn away from my love, but permit me to often come and visit you, and no squaw of the Comanches will be richer than the daughter of Black Wolf."

"The great chief has come to the guest-home of the Black Wolf to insult the poor Indian girl! He enters like a snake to poison the life of Star Eyes. Let him leave at once, for Star Eyes would not strike the father of the prairie flower, for the Daisy is the friend of Star Eyes."

Grandly beautiful looked the Indian maiden in her just indignation, and, unable to control himself, Major Racine sprang forward, crying:

"I will have at least one kiss."

But, as he stretched forth his arms to seize the girl, a wild yell resounded in his ears, and he was seized by strong arms and hurled across the wigwam.

Maddened by this unexpected attack, the major arose and rushed upon his foe, who was none other than Black Wolf.

Boldly the warrior met him, and the next moment the two men were engaged in a desperate encounter.

Both were powerful in build, agile, and full of courage, but the Indian was more rapid in his movements than his white antagonist, and Major Racine did not feel confident of the result, so placing his fingers to his mouth, gave one long, shrill whistle.

Instantly after shouts were heard, and the clatter of hoofs approaching, and feeling that it was death to remain, Black Wolf writhed himself loose from the grasp of his foe, uttered his wild warwhoop, and bounded into the dark waters of the river, just as half a dozen troopers dashed up and discharged their weapons at the swimming warrior.

But the Black Wolf pressed boldly on, and soon was out of range of their fire.

Turning to address the Indian girl, and with his face livid with rage, the commandant beheld her standing unflinchingly before him, a proud smile upon her lips.

"Girl, you shall rue this day! Your devil of a father has escaped, but my troopers shall hunt him down, and you shall see him die. Sergeant," and Major Racine turned to the same non-commissioned officer who had been so forward in obeying his orders in hanging Gerold Gilmore. "Sergeant, shut this kennel up, and bear this maiden back to the fort as a prisoner. Confine her in the upper room of the centre citadel, and mind you, let no one see her, or communicate with her; bring her into the stockade after dark, and throw a blanket over her to prevent its being discovered who she is. Men, you understand me?"

"Yes, sir." And the sergeant and his four companions touched their hats politely.

Mounting his horse, the major then rode away, leaving the sergeant and his men to follow after dark, with the beautiful Star Eyes a prisoner.

Arriving at the outpost, Dudley Racine at once dispatched half a dozen parties to search for the Black Wolf, with orders to bring him back dead or alive, and it was one of these squads that was in hot pursuit of the brave Indian when the Prairie Prince met him, and checked the chase most summarily.



It was the second evening after the capture of Star Eyes, and the flight of Black Wolf, that a horseman cautiously approached the wigwam of the chief, glancing furtively around him on every side.

Excepting the trill of birds and occasional howl of a hungry wolf, no sounds broke the stillness, and all nature seemed asleep.

Slowly the sun was sinking in the west, and a flood of golden and crimson glory painted the clouds hovering above the horizon, and reflected a ruddy glow upon the otherwise pale face of the horseman.

Slowly riding up to the wigwam, he dismounted and pushed open the wooden door, which the chief had made in his abode, which was really more of a skin-covered cabin than wigwam.

All was quiet within, and the horseman entered and strode across the cabin towards the second apartment, when suddenly half a dozen soldiers rushed upon him, led on by the huge sergeant before spoken of.

Instantly springing back the horseman leveled his revolver and fired, and the sergeant fell dead, but ere he could cover another with his weapon, the troopers threw themselves bodily upon him and he was borne to the earth, and notwithstanding a brave resistance, was soon bound by hand and foot.

"Aha, my fledgling, we've got you, and it's yersilf will have to dance at the end of a rope for slaying the sergeant, for he's as dead as the hauley Moses," said an Irish corporal, who seemed rather pleased at the promptness of promotion by the death of his superior.

"Why did you rush on me then?" said the prisoner, who was none other than the Prairie Prince.

"Faith, we've always had a fine opinion of yez, my lad, but yer see, a scout saw yez drop down two of our men who was chasin' the big Ingin, Black Wolf, and our troopers had orders to take you whenever we found yez; but yer see we was a lying out here to catch the Wolf, and yer ill-luck fetched you right into our clutches."

"And my good luck will soon get me out of them, and then look uot for the rifle of the Prairie Prince. Quick, conduct me to your chief, and let me know my fate."

Awed by the commanding manner and tone of the youth, the corporal obeyed, silently, and led the way from the wigwam.

A quick glance around, and a smile crossed the face of Prairie Prince when he discovered that Greyhound was nowhere visible.

"Hawkins, you and three of the men remain in the shanty, while I go on with the prisoner to the fort and let the major know about the death of the sergeant. Burt, you and Sims come with me."

A walk of half an hour and the stockade was in sight, and soon after the small party halted in front of the cabin of Dudley Racine.

Upon the piazza sat the commandant and Daisy, both apparently enjoying the beautiful sunset.

As the corporal and hs prisoner drew up in front of the cabin, the face of Daisy Racine turned deadly pale, while the eyes of her father glittered with a look of malignant pleasure.

"Ha! corporal, you have a prisoner, and it is that boy called Prairie Prince; the one who shot down two troopers the other night."

"It is the gallant youth who saved me from an awful fate, father," indignantly responded Daisy.

"Girl, hold your tongue. Corporal, where did you capture him."

"At the hut of the Black Wolf, sir; he came in spying around, and we rushed upon him, but the devil's cub sint the poor sergeant to his last home—"

"What! is Sergeant Howard dead?" cried Dudley Racine, springing to his feet.

"Dead as the devil, her honor; yer seen, sir, we run in on the boy, and he shot down the sergeant, and attempted to run, but I bounced him, and we soon had him down and tied, although he fought like a tiger, sir."

"Another murder added to your list, young man! do you know that you must die for your crimes?" savagely said Major Racine.

"I know that you are capable of any enormity, Dudley Racine! but I do not believe a just God will let me die until he has made me the instrument of bringing you to punishment."

"Silence, sir! My memory was correct; you are none other than the son of—but, never mind—to-morrow's sun shall fall on your grave! Sergeant!"

"Sir; yer honor."

"You will fill the place of Sergeant Howard, holding his rank. Remove the prisoner at once to the lock up, and, mind you, if he escapes, you will have to suffer for it—and send my adjutant to me."

"Yes, sir, and its mesilf thanks yer honor for yer kindness," said the over-joyed and newly promoted sergeant.

"See that you deserve it, now be off, and after putting the prisoner in the lock up, send a detachment for the body of Sergeant Howard."

Quickly the sergeant marched his prisoner away, but not until a look of hope and encouragement had passed from Daisy Racine to the brave boy. As the party moved off, Major Racine said angrily.

"Daisy, I do not wish to again tell you that my actions must not be interfered in. Yonder boy, it is true, saved your life! but it is an ordinary occurrence on the border to save life, and he deserves no credit for it, and he does deserve the severest punishment for having taken the life of two troopers the other day, and but now shot down one of the best men in my command."

"He merely protected himself, sir, in shooting the sergeant, and doubtless he had more good reason regarding his firing upon the troopers."

"Girl, do you hear me? go to your room and let me hear no more of this."

Daisy arose and walked quietly away, just as the adjutant, a dashing handsome young officer approached, and upon whose face a shadow fell, when he observed the departure of the maiden.

"Adjutant Denver, I sent for you, to have you order out a squad for the execution of a prisoner at sun-rise in the morning."

"Indeed, major, and who is the prisoner?"

"The boy who is known as the Prairie Prince, and who three nights ago killed two of my troopers."

"So a scout reported, sir! but you will of course order a court martial to try him?"

"No, sir; I am judge and jury in this affair, Adjutant Denver. That boy is a dangerous fellow, and only half an hour ago shot down Sergeant Howard. He is now a prisoner, and to morrow, at sunrise, shall be shot, so order a squad for the execution, and see that every preparation is made."

"It is my duty to obey orders, Major Racine; but it appears like accepting a great responsibility to order a youth shot without a trial."

"Adjutant Denver, I wish no advice, sir, in this manner. I am the best judge of my actions, and you will be good enough to obey orders."

Leo Denver politely saluted, and without another word turned and walked away from head quarters, determined to obey his orders, but at the same time sorrowing for the young and galant boy whose end was to be so soon, and wondering how the frontiersmen would take this bold stand of his commandant, for already had there been considerable talk about the strange manner in which Gerold Gilmore had been dealt with.



Night settled upon the outpost, and darkness filled the cell wherein were confined Prairie Prince and Star Eyes, for by a strange coincidence the youth had been placed in the same log prison as the Indian maiden.

At once between the two had sprung up an acquaintance, for once before Prairie Prince had seen the maiden, and knew her as the daughter of the Black Wolf.

In the Comanche tongue they conversed together, and Star Eyes learned from him her father had escaped, and then that the youth had returned to the wigwam, by the river, to communicate with the Indian maiden, and let her know that her father was near by, for the chief did not know that his daughter was a prisoner.

Fearing an ambush, the youth had urged Black Wolf to let him first enter the cabin, for he did not know that a scout concealed in the motte, had seen him shoot down the two troopers who were pursuing the chief.

His unexpected capture, his shooting the sergeant, and his expected fate, all was made known to Star Eyes, who, in turn, told him of her captivity, and that hardly any one in the fort was aware of her presence there.

"The great chief has an evil heart; but the Daisy is as pure as the prairie flower," said Star Eyes quietly.

"Yes, Daisy Racine is a noble girl! but evenher fair presence shall not save her father from my vengence if I ever escape from here; and escape I must—nay, we must, for the Star Eyes will go with me to her father, and in the canyons towards the rising sun, we will seek a retreat where no warrior or scout can trace us."

"The Prairie Prince speaks well, and he is a great chief, but the walls of the white man's fort are strong, and the night before death is short," quietly responded the Indian maiden.

"Hark! a step ascends the tower. Who is there?" said Prairie Prince, as the door of his prison rom slowly opened, and a tall form appeared indistinctly visible.

"I am a friend. I come from Daisy, the one whom the soldiers call the 'Angel of the fort,'" said the stern voice of a man.

"What would you with me, and how can I serve Miss Racine, and yourself also, by just getting out of this box as soon as possible, and I am commissioned to show you the way," replied the man.

"As gladly as I would go, I will not leve my fellow prisoner," firmly said Prairie Prince.

"What! is there another in here?"

"Yes, Star Eyes, the daughter of Black Wolf."

"Ha! I knew that her father had incurred the commandant's anger, but I knew not the Indian girl was a prisoner. Well, I'll return and report to the Angel, and she'll instruct me what to do, for I was only told to release you."

An hour passed away, and the outpost was as silent as the grave, for the night was creeping rapidly on, and Prairie Prince began to fear that all hope was gone, when the key was heard in the lock once more, and a slender form entered.

Even in that uncertain light both Prairie Prince and Star Eyes recognized Daisy Racine, who said, softly:

"My poor friends! how sadly has my cruel father treated you. Prairie Prince, why you are here is known, but why is it, Star Eyes, that I find you a prisoner?"

"The great chief has hunted my father like a hound on the tiger's track. He hates the daughter of Black Wolf, and for three days she has been a prisoner."

"This is shameful! But this night shall you go free; and my brave friend, you once saved me from a terrible doom, and I have come to release you. Ere this you should have been free, but not knowing that Star Eyes was also a prisoner, the messenger whom I sent knew not what to do, and returned to me for orders. Now all is arranged, and at the river bank is a boat awaiting you, so follow me."

Daisy Racine spoke firmly, and Prairie Prince saw that she was determined to save them at every hazard.

Throwing the overcoat of a trooper around him, and wich was handed to him by Daisy, the three stepped from the small log-tower chamber, and quickly descended to the yard below, where stood the same tall form that had first visited the prison.

"We are ready now. It is best to boldly cross the parade ground and make at once for the river," said Daisy, softly.

"it is best, Miss Racine; I will lead," replied the man, who appeared to be a private soldier; and as the party moved on, the eyes of Prairie Prince and Star Eyes fell upon the prostrate form of the sentinel lying near the wall, but whether only bound or dead, they did not know.

Boldly across the deserted grounds they walked, passing the headquarters cabin, and then reaching the river bank, where, beneath the shelter of a huge tree, a small canoe was tied.

"Now you are free. Keep well in the shadow of the bank until you get out of range of the tower, and let me urge that you at once find Black Wolf, and seek safety in flight from this part of the country, for my father is terrible in his anger, and will certainly hunt you down."

"Miss Racine, I owe you my life, and the service I rendered you is now more than repaid. To thank you is useless, after what you have done for me; but I would know, ere we depart, will not our escape bring down your father's anger upon you and this brave soldier here?"

"No; my father knows nothing of my part in your escape, and this gentleman is disguised so that the sentinel whom he seized, bound and gagged, could not recognize him. Go, and go at once, and leave the country."

"Never will I leave until I have fulfilled an oath I have made. Your goodness appeals to me for mercy, but mercy shall not be shown to those who have so cruelly wronged me. Farewell."

Springing into the canoe as he spoke in terrible bitterness, the youth was quickly followed by Star Eyes, after she had warmly embraced Daisy, and with a few powerful strokes with his paddle, the light craft sped rapidly away from the spot, and was soon lost to the view of Daisy and her companion.



Though most cautious in his movements, and endeavoring to keep under the shadow of the bank, the canoe caught the quick eye of the sentinel on the river tower, and instantly his voice rang out sternly with—

"Halt! in that boat, or I fire!"

Finding that he was discovered, Prairie Prince urged his boat forward with tremendous velocity, and instantly the flash of the sentry's musket and the ringing report followed.

But the bullet, though well aimed, hit the canoe, and not its occupants, and ere the sentry could again fire the fugitives were out of range. Anxiously they heard the "long roll" sounding the alarm, and the shrill notes of the bugle calling to "boots and saddles," and quickly Star Eyes seized a paddle and bent her strength to aid in the flight.

Gradually the sounds of alarm and excitement in the post died away behind them, but with untiring energy the fugitives plied their paddles, and the light canoe fairly flew down the river.

Thus an hour passed, and the fort had been left fully ten miles behind, when Prairie Prince turned in towards the right bank of the river, and landed beneath the shelter of a small copse of trees.

Hardly had he sprung ashore when a tall form suddenly arose before him. Instandly the hand of Prairie Prince was upon his revolver, for his arms had been restored to him by Daisy, but suddenly the voice of Star Eyes was heard crying:

"Hold! it is the Black Wolf."

It was true, for as Prairie Prince leveled his weapon the Indian chief stepped forward and grasped his hand, and the next moment bestowed a warm greeting upon Star Eyes.

"The pale faces held not their prisoners long; but come, their hunters are abroad, for Black Wolf has heard their distant cries."

"Yes, they are doubtless following us in boats and on horseback; but we will yet elude them.

"The Greyhound and the mustangs of the Black Wolf, the brave boy chief must seek the home of the red man and his daughter, in the canyons towards the rising sun."

"I will go with you with pleasure, chief: now let me set this canoe adrift," and the youth gave it a shove which sent it far out into the stream, when it was seized by the rapid current and borne swiftly along.

"Ha! yonder comes a boat from the fort in hot pursuit. Star Eyes I would send a shot after them, but in the darkness might hit the man who aided our escape," said Prairie Prince.

"Come, the mounted warriors are yonder," said Black Wolf, and he pointed to the other shore, upon which were assembled a dozen or more horsemen, dimly visible in the darkness.

At the same moment the horseman discerned the party in the boat, and a voice shouted:

"Ho! Denver, have you seen naught of the fugitives?"

It was the voice of the commandant himself, and his presence at the head of a squadron told the fugitives how anxious he was to capture them.

"No, major; they had a good start; shall we press on?" replied the adjutant, from the boat.

"Yes; for by the God above, I will have that youth if it takes every man of my command to take him!" savagely shouted back the commandant.

"Would you find the Prairie Prince, Major Dudley Racine, you will find him forever upon your trail and the track of those who had a hand in the cruel murder of Gerold Gilmore. One of those who aided in that base crime has already fallen, and the entire thirteen are doomed, and boy outlaw though he be, the Prairie Prince will trail you to your doom."

Had a voice from heaven broken upon the night air, it would not have created a more profound sensation than did the ringing tones of the youth, and it was fully a minute after he ceased speaking ere a word was said.

Then the stern voice of Major Racine was heard commanding,

"Run ahead, Denver, and shoot him down. Into the river, men, and we'll yet have him in our power."

The adjutant obeyed, but not with surprising alacrity, and Major Racine and his troopers plunged their horses into the water and struck boldly out for the other shore.

After a hard swim they arrived upon the other bank, and as Major Racine rode up the steep hillside, he was joined by Leo Denver, who intently pointed far out upon the prairie, to where three dark forms were visible, rapidly speeding away.

"Curses on them, they are mounted, and there are three of them. By Heaven! it is the Black Wolf, I'll wager my soul, and he it was who aided their escape. Come, men, after them."

Driving the spurs into his horse, the commandant bounded away in pursuit, followed by the half dozen troopers who had already reached the bank.

But the horses of the troopers had already had a hard gallop and fatiguing swim, while those of the fugitives were fresh, and ere very long they had wholly drawn out of sight of their pursuers, and with reluctance, Major Racine ordered a halt, and slowly retraced their way back to the fort, swearing that with the daylight, he would put every scout and hunter in his command upon the trail of those whom he would now give his right arm to have in his power, for with the Prairie Prince at large, and aided by the famous Black Wolf, he felt that neither his own, nor the lives of his men, were safe.




[This serial was commenced in No. 12, Vol. 55. Back numbers can be obtained from all newdealers throughout the United States, or direct from this office.]

When Prairie Prince and his Indian companions fled away from the river bank, the youth directed his steps towards his valley home, and after a rapid ride arrived in the vicinity of the settlement.

Here he left the chief and his daughter, concealed in a motte, while he continued on alone to the valley, where he was warmly welcomed by old Hiram and Nancy, who began to fear that he was dead.

"Hiram, I will be absent from home a long time; perhaps I may never return, for I have a duty to perform which I have sworn to accomplish. Now I wish to take with me a goodly supply of provisions, ammunition, clothing, blankets, and another rifle and a brace of revolvers."

"You ain't agwine to crute a regiment, is yer, Massa Iban?" asked Hiram, in surprise.

"No, Hiram; but I am going to make myself safe and comfortable in a retreat where I may have to spend some time. My bay horse I will also take with me, and you can pack on him the things I wish to carry with me."

With the aid of Hiram and his good old wife, all the preparations were soon made, and bidding farewell to his devoted friends, Ivan Gilmore, the Prairie Prince, left his home and set forth upon his undertaking, to avenge himself on those who had taken his father's life.

Again joining the chief and his daughter, the three started in an easterly direction, and after half a day's travel, came to where the country was broken with deep ravines, and where towering hills of ruck were visible all around.

As if thoroughly acquainted with every foot of ground, Black Wolf led the way until they came to a narrow shelf that wound upward and around the base of a huge rocky hill.

It was a desperate looking pathway along which to ride, for the shelf was not more than four feet wide, and a slip of the hoof would send horse and rider hundreds of feet below.

Yet the chief hesitated not an instant, and Star Eyes and Prairie Prince quietly followed, the pack horse bringing up the rear.

After having traversed the distance of an eighth of a mile, steadily climbing upward all the way, a turn in the shelf brought them to a spot where the youth and maiden believed all lost, for the rocky path suddenly narrowed before until it ended against the side of the cliff.

Prairie Prince at first thought the chief had been mistaken and had taken the wrong path, and he shuddered when he thought of the fate that awaited his good Greyhound, for to turn on that narrow shelf was impossible.

As for himself, he knew that he could dismount and retrace his way, but the doom of the horses was sealed.

Glancing into the face of Star Eyes he observed there a look of perfect confidence in her father, and turning towards the silent chief, he saw no sign of trepidation, but rather a quiet smile of satisfaction on his mouth.

"Boy chief think Black Wolf caught in trap; he see," quietly said the chief, and moving on still nearer the narrowing edge, he now turned short off the left and disappeared from sight.

Star Eyes quickly followed, and the next moment Prairie Prince learned the secret, and entered the narrow fissure in the rock, which was not visible three feet distant.

The led horse followed, and the party found themselves in a narrow gorge, and still following the lead of the chief, well was the surprise of Prairie Prince to come suddenly but into a small but fertile valley, a very fairy spot there in that mountain of rock.

Prairie Prince had heard of such freaks of nature, a garden spot in the midst of a desert, and within the heart of a mountain of rock, but never before had he realized the truth of the report.

But there he was, after passing through the rocks, in a valley of perhaps a dozen acres, with luxuriant grass all around, and plenty of timber growing upon either side of a small stream which glided through the centre of the oasis, and disappeared from sight by flowing into a cave under the mountain.

Heartily did Black Wolf enjoy the surprised pleasure with which his two companions gazed around them, and then he said:

"We stop here, build cabin, live much safe; horse stay here, eat plenty grass, have much water."

"You are right, chief; we and our animals can be safe and comfortable here, but is there no other way of getting into the valley."

"Bird come here, but man come as we come."

"Good! we can stop that rocky gateway up, and our horses will be snug and safe. Now let us set to work and build a cabin."

The chief was willing, and at once the two went to work, Star Eyes devoting her time to the culinary duties.

With their hatchets Prairie Prince and Black Wolf soon cut down some long poles, with which they closed up the rocky entrance, to prevent the horses from straying out, and then by nightfall they had received timber enough to erect them a comfortable cabin against the side of the cliff, and beneath the shelter of a huge tree.

Several days thus passed away, and then the fugitives found themselves most comfortable in their new home, and as a tramp of a few hours would furnish them with game in plenty, and the stream was well stocked with fine fish, they felt no fear of starving, and were assured that come what might, they could defend their stronghold against a hundred men, even if they could be tracked to their retreat, which was exptremely doubtful, as the valley had only been found by Black Wolf through his following a wounded elk thither.

The revolvers that Prairie Prince had brought with him from home, he had presented to the chief, and to Star Eyes he had given the extra rifle, it being a small one his father had purchased for him when he was a mere lad, and a fair division of blankets and clothing being made, the three found themselves far from being uncomfortable, and dreaded not the future.



It was a lovely afternoon of a pleasant day, some two weeks after the escape of Prairie Prince and Star Eyes, and enjoying the beauty of the evening by a row upon the river, were Daisy Racine and the adjutant, Leo Denver.

Of late the beautiful maiden had seemed to look most kindly upon the handsome young officer, and it was the rumor in the fort that Leo Denver would one day lay successful siege to the fair fortress of Daisy's heart.

As the boat floated idly upon the waters, kept from drifting down stream by an occasional movement of the paddle in the hand of the young officer, it was evident that a love scene was being enacted, for the faces of both told the tale.

At the time they are presented to the reader, the adjutant was speaking, and his tone was soft but earnest.

"Daisy, you will not even give me a ray of hope, and I think it unkind of you. I would do anything for you."

"I know you would, Lieutenant Denver, for you proved your love for me, and your willingness to serve me, when two weeks since you disguised yourself as a common soldier, overcame the guard, and released Star Eyes and the Prairie Prince from captivity."

"With your aid, fair Daisy, for you planned."

"True; but I sought you out to assist me because I knew you could be trusted, and because—because—"

"Becuase you loved me, Daisy?"

"No; I will not say that, but because I heard your words to my father regarding his unkind condemnation of the young land without a trial."

"Aha me! Well, thank God, we were successful! But it liked to have been a mishap, and I had just dragged off my soldier suit, when your father rushed to my door and bade me give chase in the boat."

"And, do you know, it worries my father day and night to discover who was the powerful private soldier who bound and gagged the guard."

"Once or twice I thought he had a suspicion—"

"Not he; yet he has told me frankly that he believed I had a hand in it, but my demure countenance under suspicion deceived him. Where do you think the Prairie Prince is, lieutenant?"

"Aha me! I wish I could awaken an interest for me in your heart that you feel for this dashing boy," sighed the adjutant.

"That is not answering my qustion, sir."

"True. I think he has let well enough alone and emigrated from these parts."

"There you mistake him, for he vowed to be avenged, you say, and I feel that he will keep his oath. How many were there engaged in the hanging of that deserter?"

"Your father gave the order, you know, and then there was Sergeant Howard, who fell by the hand of Prairie Prince, Sergeant Carter, and ten troopers."

"Thirteen! An unlucky number, it is said. And my father was the one who ordered the execution? Adjutant Denver, I feel that that youth will keep his oath, and then God have mercy upon my poor father."

"It is a desperate thing, Miss Daisy, to attempt to slay thirteen men. The youth has pluck, I admit, but I think you need have no fears regarding the major's life."

"What can be the motive of the youth in avenging the death of the deserter?"

"It is said in the fort, Miss Daisy, that the boy's name is Ivan Gilmore; the man hung was named Gerold Gilmore, and may have been the father of the Prairie Prince."

"No wonder he is revengeful, then. What a pity his father should have deserted. Ah! yonder is papa now, so let us row ashore and join him," said Daisy, pointing to the small summer-house on the bank, where stood Dudley Racine, idly gazing out upon the river.

A few moments more, and the adjutant and his fair companion stood beside the commandant, whose brow was dark and stern.

"Denver, one of the scouts reports that the Prairie Prince is again in this neighborhood."

"Indeed, sir. When was he seen, and where?" and the adjutant glanced towards Daisy, who turned suddenly pale.

"Last night he was seen at the grave of the deserter, Gilmore, whom I had hung some time ago, and it is my intention to send out a squadron in search of him to-night."

"What officer will you have go on this scout, sir?"

"Lieutenant Barton can go with, say twenty men, and order him to bring him back dead or alive, for I have outlawed him along the frontier, and warned the settlers against harboring him. Ah! yonder comes Sergeant Carter now."

As Major Racine spoke, the newly made sergeant approached, and saluting, said:

"An Injun scout has come in, sir, and says as how the Prairie Prince is near by, sir, and he's a-looking out for some scalps."

"He'll look in vain when— Ha! in the name of God what means this?"

The sudden exclamation of the major was called forth by a terribly startling incident, for, even as he was speaking, there came a distant crack of a rifle, the whirr of a bullet, and Sergeant Carter, wildly cutching the air, staggered forward, gave one shriek of despair, and fell dead at Daisy's feet.

Instantly the outpost was a scene of stirring excitement, and every eye was turned upon the other bank of the river, where, calmly sitting upon his horse, was visible a horseman gazing coolly upon the stir of his death-shot had excited.

"The Boy Outlaw!"

"The Prairie Prince!"

"The Boy Avenger!"

Such were the cries that burst from the crowd of soldiers, trappers, scouts, and hunters, and a dozen rifles were leveled at him, aimed and fired, but without apparent effect.

"Hawkins, up into the river tower and give him a shot from the howitzer," yelled the major, almost beside himself with rage.

A cheer greeted the order of the commandant, the corporal bounded forward to obey, and the next moment was seen ramming a charge home in the howitzer.

Then all was as quiet as the grave as Hawkins sighted his gun at the Prairie Prince, who still sat at his horse with seeming indifference to his danger.

A steady aim, and the match was applied, and the deep boom of the gun echoed rumblingly along the river banks, while the whizzing shell sped onward and burst with a loud report just over the head of the darting youth.

Greyhound squatted low at this unexpected greeting, and for a moment it was believed he was hit hard, but instantly checking him, he Prairie Prince quickly raised his rifle, and, ere any one knew the object of his aim, there came a puff of smoke, a yell of terror, and Corporal Hawkins, who had sprung upon the log balustrade to note the effect of his shot, toppled over and fell with a heavy thud to the ground.

One loud, defiant yell came from the daring youth outlaw as he wheeled his horse and dashed away across the rolling prairie.

"After him, and a thousand dollars to the man who brings me his scalp!" cried Dudley Racine, and in his voice there was a tremor of dread.

But already had the boy outlaw began to keep his oath, and three of Gerold Gilmore's murderers were dead.



Among the parties started in pursuit of the Prairie Prince, after his double death-shot into the outpost, was a squadron placed under the command of Adjutant Denver, for the young officer was noted as a thorough plainsman, and in his courage and skill Major Racine had the utmost confidence.

Determined to endeavor to frighten the young outlaw out of the country, though not desirous of taking him prisoner, Leo Denver pressed on in hot haste on the trail of the youth, until darkness settled upon the prairie, and he sought a small copse of timber in which to encamp for the night.

Soon the troopers and scouts of the squadron had encamped, and the young lieutenant strolled forth for a walk around the motte, little dreaming of any danger so near his men.

At length he reached a point some distance from his men, and was about to retrace his steps, when a whirr sounded in his eyars, a slight blow was felt, and a coil settled around his shoulders and pinned his arms to his side ere he could offer the slightest resistance.

The next moment a tall form bounded from the shelter of the timber, and quickly removed the revolver and sash of the adjutant, at the same time saying:

"Black Wolf will not harm the white brave, but he must be quiet."

Wholly in the power of the Indian, adjutant Denver accepted his fate quietly, and was bound firmly hand and foot.

After having thus secured his prisoner, the chief disappeared in the gloom of the timber, and half an hour passed ere he returned, and when he arrived he was mounted and led the steed of the officer.

"Let white brave get on horse and come."

"And whither, Black Wolf?" said Leo Denver, speaking for the first time.

"Come see. Me like white brother; me no hurt him if he keep still."

With a sigh, the adjutant signified his readiness to obey, and the chief, having unbound his feet and hands, he mounted his horse, and the two set off together across the prairie, and in the course of time arrived in the neighborhood of the secret retreat.

Here the chief again bound the adjutant, and tied his red silk sash around his head, so as to thoroughlly blindfold him.

Then, taking the rein of Leo's steed, he led them forward, and after two hours' ride, the leiutenant little dreaming of the terrible gauntlet of death he was running, the two turned into the narrow gorge, and when the sash was removed from his eyes, the surprised officer found himself in the beautiful valley where was the home of the three fugitives.

Before him stood Star Eyes, who, upon catching his gaze, stepped forward and said:

"White brave is a great warrior, and is the friend of Star Eyes."

"Yes, Star Eyes, I have ever been the friend of both yourself and the Black Wolf; but why am I thus treated by my friends?"

"The Prairie Prince will tell you; he come soon."

"I fear not, poor fellow, for a hundred men are on his trail."

"He come; scout no take Prairie Prince," confidently asserted Black Wolf, and as he spoke the clatter of hoofs was heard, and up dashed the Boy Outlaw, his horse covered with foam, and his face flushed with excitement.

"Ha! Black Wolf, you have succeeded sooner than I anticipated. Pardon me, sir, but I sent my Indian ally here, to make prisoner an officer from the fort, and, if I mistake not, you were the gentleman I saw with Miss Racine in a boat on the river last night?"

"I was out rowing with Miss Racine last evening, shortly before your wonderful shots which slew two of our best men."

"Lieutenant, I do not easily forget a face or form, and in you I recognize one to whom I owe my life. I refer to the night of the departure of myself and Star Eyes."

"You have indeed a keen eye, Prairie Prince, and you are a daring and remarkable youth; would that you were in your country's service, and not engaged in tracking men to death," and the officer spoke warmly.

"Lieutenant, I felt no hatred in my heart a few short months ago; but since then one whom I loved more dearly than life was ruthlessly strung up to a tree and hung, under the pretence that he was a deserter from the army, when never in his life had he worn a soldier's uniform. That man thus hung by Dudley Racine was my father, Gerold Gilmore, and to avenge his death I have sworn to trail to his doom every man whose hand held the rope that hung him, and the one who ordered his execution; bt the chief sinner shall be reserved for the last, for it will cause him to tremble with dread as each one of the doomed band falls by my hand."

The Prairie Prince had wrought himself into a most excited state, and for a few moments he paced to and fro, his mouth firm and eyes flashing. After a while he again halted in front of the lieutenant, and said:

"That all the mercy in my heart is not gone I will now prove, and it was to make a proposition to your commander that I put Black Wolf on the trail of an officer of the fort, and I am glad that you were the one to fall into his hands. It cuts me to the heart to shoot a man down from an ambush, and I am willing to compromise with Dudley Racine, and beg you to bear to him my challenge. If he will meet me in single combat, either with rifle, pistol or knife, let him appoint his day and rendezvous, and I will be there. Should I fall by his hand, I will have fallen in a good cause. If I slay him, I pledge myself to at once leave the frontier and no longer follow the trail of death. Tell him that the son of Gerold Gilmore defies him to meet him in single combat. If he refuses, let him beware; for day and night I will be on the trail of the doomed band, and I will not rest until the thirteen have been tracked to their doom."

"My young friend, I deeply feel for you in the sorrows that you have known, and your challenge to my commander shall be faithfully borne to him," and the lieutenant spoke with deep feeling.

"I think you, sir; were it not for the beautiful girl, whose life I once saved, I would show Dudley Racine no mercy, but shoot him down like a dog; yet on her account I would show mercy, and hence I offer him a chance for his life against mine. Now, lieutenant, with your promise not to attempt to leave here without my permission, I will relieve you of your bonds, and as long as you will remain we will all be glad to make you most welcome."

Giving his promise to the Boy Outlaw, Leo Denver at once found himself free, and signified his intention of passing a day and night in the valley, for the beauty of Star Eyes again held him captive, as it had before Daisy Racine became the Angel of the fort, as the troopers called her.

Again under the influence of Star Eyes, Leo almost forgot Daisy, especially when he recalled the fact that she would give him no hope of gaining her love, and was, as he firmly believed, half in love with the handsome outlaw youth.

Thus it was that on the third day after his arrival Leo Denver left the stronghold with a sigh, and yet in a happy frame of mind, for the lovely Star Eyes had promised one day to become his bride, and he had determined in his mind to become a settler and build a cabin home for his beautiful bride, for Indian maid through she was, Star Eyes was well educated, and her intercourse with the wives and daughters of the officers had given her the easy grace and manners of a city born lady.

In leaving the stronghold Black Wolf had again blindfolded his prisoner, who submitted to it with a good grace, and both Prairie Prince and the chief conducted him within a short distance of the fort, and there left him, after appointing a rendezvous for the meeting of Major Racine and the youth whom he had branded with the name of outlaw.



Wondering at his strange adventure, and with Star Eyes playing the heroine in his every thought, Adjutant Leo Denver rode slowly on towards the fort, to at last surprise all by his sudden appearance in their midst, for every one had given him up as lost, believing he had fallen beneath the rifle of the Boy Outlaw, who was now feared as though he was the devil himself.

Cheer after cheer greeted the popular young officer, but impressed with the mission he had to perform, he rode on, and soon dismounted at the door of his commander.

Dudley Racine welcomed his adjutant warmly, and invited him to a seat upon the piazza, at the same time bidding him give an account of himself, and saying that Daisy had been most anxious regarding his safety.

At the name of Daisy, Leo Denver turned scarlet, but it was at the thought that another held a claim upon him; a dark-skinned child of the forest, whom he really loved with his whole heart.

After a short hesitation the young officer made known the adventure that had befallen him, recounting his capture, his being carried bound and blindfolded to the secret home of the fugitives, and the challenge given him by the Boy Outlaw to bear to his commander.

Dudley Racine turned deadly pale, and for once his truly brave heart quailed, for he felt that a deadly foe was upon his track, one who he, better than any one else, knew had just cause for revenge.

A long time he sat in silence, in painful communion with his thoughts, and at last he said:

"Denver, I will not meet that outlaw, boy though he is. But he shall yet be taken, and then a terrible punishment shall be his," said Dudley Racine paced to and fro in an excitement he in vain tried to subdue.

"Then I must return and make your answer known, for so I promised."

"No, there is no need of it," and then, as a sudden gleam of joy shot in his eyes, he continued: "It will take you some time, will it not?"

"Half a day, sir."

"Ah! then the rendezvous appointed is near here?"

"Yes, sir; at the motte where Gilmore was hung."

"Very well, you can go and make your report, and tell him that he need expect no mercy if he falls in my hands."

"He knows that full well, Major Racine."

"It is well he does. When do you start, Denver?"

"I will meet him at sunset to-night."

"Very well; you shall have an escort, for it is not safe for you to go alone."

"Thank you, major; but it is hardly necessary."

"I prefer it; I would feel better satisfied to know that you were not in danger, so I will detail ten or a dozen troopers to accompany you."

Leo Denver bowed his thanks and left the cabin, wondering in his mind what deep mystery lay hidden regarding the hatred existing between Major Racine and the Boy Outlaw, for that there was a mystery he felt assured.

After the departure of the adjutant, Dudley Racine sent for Sergeant Sims, the man who had been appointed to the place of those who had been slain by the Prairie Prince.

"Sims, you are aware that a young devil is on the trail of myself, and every man who held the rope that hung Gerold Gilmore, the deserter?"

"Yes, sir; and the men are very blue about it, for we do not know what moment we may have to go," replied the sergeant, anxiously.

"It is to stop this secret massacre that I have sent for you, and I wish your aid; do you think the doomed band would be willing to unite together in a plan for the capture of the Boy Outlaw?"

"Indeed they would, sir."

"Good! then after dark, you come here, and during the day see each one of the men whom the youth has doomed to death, and bid them meet you here at nine o'clock. Let them come one by one, and, mind you, not a word of my plans must be breathed outside."

"All right, sir," and the sergeant disappeared to again return to his commandant's quarters at the appointed hour.

Dudley Racine sat in his easy chair, and as each soldier arrived he motioned them to a seat upon a settee.

When all were present, the major said:

"Comrades, I have a plan by which you can rid yourselves of the young devil who has sworn away your lives, and then you will no longer live in constant dread. To-morrow afternoon you will have an opportunity of meeting this Boy Outlaw, and I desire to know if you are willing to throw yourselves upon him and make him prisoner?"

"Indeed we are, sir," answered several voices, and the major continued, after a long pause:

"Adjutant Denver starts to-morrow morning to have a meeting with this youth, and after he has held his conference I wish you to rush forward and seize upon him; but until the end of his conversation with the lieutenant I desire that not one of you show the slightest sign of hostility; nay, more, your officer must in no way suspect your design. Are you willing to obey my orders in this?"

Every voice replied in the affirmative, and Dudley Racine went on:

"I do not wish you to kill the boy, unless you cannot take him otherwise, and then shoot him down. Now, remember, you will be detailed to-morrow to accompany the adjutant, and he must in no way suspect your designs; now help yourselves there to a glass of whisky, there, corporal, on the sideboard, and return to your quarters."

The men thanked their commander and departed, congratulating themselves upon the near approach to the end of their further dread regarding their lives.

Dudley Racine sat long in silence after their departure, his eyes glittering with malicious joy. At length he arose and paced the room, muttering half aloud:

"With his death the end has come, and I will be the lord and master. Well, after long years of waiting, I see the future brightening, and to-morrow will make me—no, I must not breathe it even here."

So saying he threw himself, dressed as he was, upon his bed, and was soon sleeping soundly.


[This serial was commenced in No. 12 Vol. 55. Back numbers can always be obtained.]



To keep his promise made the adjutant, and meet him at the appointed rendezvous, the Prairie Prince left the secret retreat at an early hour, bidding Black Wolf to come and seek him if he did not return by the following morning.

"Me go, too," said the chief, quietly.

"No, my friend; I told the lieutenant I was to come alone, and he was to act as the friend of both Racine and myself."

So saying, the outlawed youth mounted his horse and departed from the valley, slowly wending his way in the direction of the appointed rendezvous.

It was long before sunset ere he reached the motte, and with his father's death still unavenged, he felt restless and paced to and fro near the grave, his eyes bent sadly upon the humble mound.

At length the trees cast long shadows across the prairie, and the day was far spent, but still they came not, and the youth began to grow nervous.

"No, he would hardly do that—ah! yonder comes a party now, and, as I live, the adjutant and major are not alone. Can Leo Denver have deceived me? No, he would not do that; ah, I have it, he has brought an escort. Anyhow I will trust him; and if they mean treachery, boy though I am, they will find it no easy undertaking to capture me alive."

Saddling Greyhound, and having all in readiness for flight or fight, Prairie Prince then looked to his arms, and quietly awaited the coming troop, every nerve like iron, and his face cold, stern, and determined.

At length the troopers arrived, and at their head was Leo Denver, but nowhere visible was Dudley Racine.

"Does he refuse to meet me?" cried the youth, as the adjutant sprang to the ground.

"He certainly does, and —"

"Coward! he dreads to meet a mere boy."

"He says he will not meet you, and he is determined to take you; and I well know, my young friend, that he will place his whole command upon your trail, and I advise you, while yet you are free, to leave—"

"Lieutenant Denver, you do not know me, sir. I will not leave this country until I have kept my oath. For the sake of Daisy Racine I desired to quickly end this deadly feud, by meeting the chief criminal and giving him a chance for his life. He has refused me, and now must accept the result. But, adjutant, I thought you were to come alone?"

"So I intended, but Major Racine would have it that I should bring an escort."

"Then I must be on my guard if he ordered it. It may be an accident, sir, but in yonder escort you have every man, excepting the chief, who hung my father, for when I was a prisoner in the fort I bribed the guard to point me out the men, and every face is indelibly stamped upon my mind."

"It is accident then, for I myself did not know all the men, as I was not with the train when the execution took place."

"I believe you, lieutenant. Now we must part, and I give yonder fellows one hour's start, and then they will find me on their trail," and Prairie Prince spoke in terrible earnest.

The lieutenant sighed, bade the youth to remember him to Star Eyes and the Black Wolf, offered his hand in farewell, and turned to depart.

Hardly had his foot touched the stirrup, when the silent troopers, who were some thirty yards from where the meeting had taken place, gave a loud cheer and spurred suddenly forward, led on by Sergeant Sinus.

"Halt! halt! I say, you devils!" yelled the surprised officer, drawing his sword and spurring after his men.

But unheeding the command, the troopers dashed on with wild yells.

Yet they had brought a lion to bay, for instantly the repeating rifle of the Prairie Prince flashed forth, once, twice, thrice, and as many troopers rolled on the prairie, while suddenly from the rear of the youth, and coming from the thick growth of timber, pealed forth a quick, light report, and then the sharp report of a heavy rifle, and the terrible warwhoop of Black Wolf was heard, mingled with the shrill cry of a woman.

Both shots had gone true to their mark, and the Prairie Prince gave answer in his well know warcry, and throwing aside his rifle drew a revolver in each hand.

But the terrified troopers were no longer rushing on their prey, for five of their number were down, and their lieutenant was in the midst of the remaining four beating them back with his sword, until in dismay the remainder turned and fled over the prairie just as darkness came on.

Then a shrill call pierced the motte, and with a loud neigh Greyhound dashed to his young master's side. Instantly the Prairie Prince was in the saddle and in hot pursuit of the flying foe, while Leo Denver rode up to where Black Wolf and Star Eyes stood, and from them received a pleasant greeting, for well they knew he had no hand in the treachery of his followers, and it was because he expected that Major Racine might play the youth false, that the chief and his daughter quietly left the valley, and riding more rapidly than did Prairie Prince, arrived first at the motte and secreted themselves there to be of service should their fears be realized.

After a short conversation with his Indian friends, Leo Denver bade them farewell and turned towards the fort, determined in his own mind to let Major Racine know how shameful he considered his treachery, and half glad that the gallant youth had dealt so severely with the treacherous band.



Midnight had passed, and yet in lonely solitude Dudley Racine sat in his room, every sound causing him to start suddenly with fear and hope.

At length there came a firm tread upon the piazza, and opening the door the commandant saw before him Leo Denver, and a glance into his face showed he had ill-tidings for him.

"Well, Denver, you are back again?"

"Yes; and a most treacherous and disastrous affair my mission turned out to be," bluntly replied the adjutant.

"What mean you?"

"Major Racine, what I have to say may not please you—"

"Hold! let us retire from here to the summer-house on the river bank, for our voices may keep Daisy awake," interrupted Major Racine, trembling in spite of himself.

Silently the adjutant acquiesced, and soon after the two were in the summer-house, some fifty yards distant from the house.

"Now I will hear what you have to say, adjutant."

"It will not please you, sir, for I dislike treachery, even with a foe, and, there is an old saying of honor among thieves, which you seem to have forgotten."

"Leo Denver, do you know to whom you speak?" cried Dudley Racine, his face turning livid in the moonlight.

"I speak to a man who made me a tool in his treacherous undertaking to obtain possession of a gallant boy."

"He is then a prisoner," joyously cried the Major.

"Not by any means! you merely aided him in keeping his oath."

"I do not understand."

"I will explain! you sent Corporal Sims and eight men out with me as an escort, and those were the men who aided in the hanging of Gilmore. My part of the re-union was to meet Prairie Prince, and tell him you declined to accept his challenge, and that I did, and was about to depart, when my escort raised a yell and dashed upon the youth. But he was too quick for them, for ere they had half covered the space towards him, his rifle tumbled three from their saddles, and—"

"Great God!"

"Why! you have not heard the worst of it, I assure you. Then two more rifles were fired from an ambush, where unknown to the youth, Black Wolf and Star Eyes were concealed, and their aim was also deadly."

"God in Heaven, did you capture none of the fugitives?" yelled the Major in a fury.

"Mine was a re-union of peace, not treachery, sir! but to continue, the troopers could not stand the racket, especially as I was pummeling them with the flat of my sword, and they cleared out, with the Prairie Prince at their heels. I followed more slowly, and every now and then I came to a dead body."

"Good God!"

"And at the outer stockade, I found the last of the band lying groaning in the road. He was severely wounded, and was the only one who had escaped alive. I bore the sergeant to the hospital."

"It was Sergeant Sims, then?"

"Yes; I placed him in the hands of the surgeon, who, after examining his wounds, says he cannot live until morning."

"My God! I am then the last of the doomed band, and my hour is certain to come now."

Springing to his feet, the Major paced excitedly up and down the flooring of the little summer house, the adjutant watching him with strange intent. At length Leo Denver said:

"Major, I desire further conversation with you upon this matter, and—"

"Not to-night, adjutant! not to-night. To-morrow, I will be at your service; but to-night I cannot hear more. Good night, sir, and come to met in the morning."

The lieutenant arose, bowed, and departed, while Dudley Racine reentered his house, and sought his lonely room. Long he sat there in painful meditation, his face hid in his hands. At length he raised his head, and the change that had come over him was startling, for his eyes were sunken, his face livid, and his lips tremulous with emotion. After a while, he muttered, and his voice was strangely hoarse and hollow.

"The end has come at last! and I, Dudley Racine, have not the courage to live on in this deadly fear. No! death is preferable, and I will become my own destroyer. But first let me tell her all—no, I must write it, for I cannot face her and speak."

Turning to his desk, the miserable man seized a pen, ink and paper, and began to write. Long he was thus occupied, and having written, sealed, and addressed several letters, he arose and slowly paced the room, his face growing colder, harder, and each moment more determined. For an hour he walked thus, and then approaching a small cupboard took from it a phial, labelled "laudanum." Emptying the contents into a glass, he extinguished the light, walked towards his bed, and dashed the contents off with a bitter curse and prayer commingled. Throwing himself upon the bed his whole frame shook with an agony of fear and pain, until the angel of death called away his guilty soul from its earthly crime-stained casket, and Dudley Racine had been driven to meet his doom.



The sun arose in brilliant beauty, the morning after the return of Adjutant Denver, from his ill starred trip, and a courier arriving with dispatches, the lieutenant took them to the head quarters of his chief. Upon the piazza engaged in sewing, sat Daisy, who greeted the lieutenant with a pleasant smile, saying:

"Papa is not yet up, adjutant, for it was late before he retired, and I would not have him called."

"I have dispatches brought by a courier, Miss Daisy, so I will go right in."

And into the commandant's room he walked to start back with a cry of horror, that brought Daisy in terror to his side. There lay Major Racine dead, and indeed a frightful picture of death, for his face was almost black, his eyes wide open, and his hands clinched tight together.

"Oh, God! have mercy upon me! my poor! poor father!" cried Daisy, and she would have fallen had not Leo Denver caught her in his strong arms and borne her gently into the room. Then calling her servant, and also summoning aid, he re-entered the room of death, and took up the letters lying upon the desk. One was addressed to himself, one to a banking house in New York City, another to Daisy, and the fourth to "Ivan Gilmore—the Prairie Prince."

Tearing open the letter addressed to himself, in the presence of the horrified officers who soon hastily gathered in the room, he read aloud, as follows:

"Sentinel Outpost, Oct. 10, 18—.

"To Adjutant Leo Denver.

"Sir:—Of late adversity has pressed hard upon me, and the future hold forth only dread and misery, so I end my own life, to seek rest and oblivion in the grave.

"Let me be buried in the cemetery, and my sword and pistols please keep for yourself.

"My other effects you will turn over to my daughter Daisy, whom I desire to return to her former home in New York, and I am going to request that you act as her guardian and escort until she is safe in the house of those to whom I direct her; her future movements will be determined by the letter I write her.

"The letter addressed to Messrs. Felix, Scott & Co., Bankers, New York, will obtain for you what funds you lay out.

"Feeling assured that you will grant the dying request of your old commander in arms, I remain for the last time,

"Yours, etc.,

"Dudley Racine,

"Commandant Sentinel Outpost."

Having read his letter to his brother officers, Leo placed the other three in his pocket, and seeking Daisy gave her the one addressed to her. The poor girl had recovered consciousness, and though deeply sorrowing, was comparatively calm. Handing her the letter, and bidding her, also, read the one written to him, he was about to withdraw when the maiden said:

"Lieutenant, don't leave me, but wait and see what my father has written."

Breaking the seal, Daisy read:

"My poor little girl, when your eyes fall on these lines your father will have ceased to live; but grieve not too deeply for me, as I am too vile to be loved by the pure and innocent. Driven to despair, I commit the act that ends my desperate life, feeling that I will not leave you desolate, for the letter addressed to Ivan Gilmore, the Prairie Prince, and which I wish you to give him, will make known to you a deep mystery and crime in my life. More I cannot now say, for my minutes are numbered. Trust in Adjutant Denver, for he is a noble man, and will be a friend to you. And now, Daisy, my darling child, forgive your sinful father, and sometimes pray for him. This is my dying wish. Farewell, Daisy.

"Your Father."

Long hours did poor Daisy sit and mourn after reading her father's letter, but, as the afternoon wore on, she became more calm, and feeling that she must act for herself, she attended to different duties, and won renewed admiration from the young officers by her brave demeanor.

The following morning, with grand military pomp, the body of the commandant was consigned to the grave, and Daisy returned to her lonely cabin feeling wholly deserted.

But, conquering her feelings, she set about her preparations for departure, and sent for Adjutant Denver.

"Lieutenant, I have determined to leave here just as soon as you can arrange to accompany me; but first it is my intention to seek out the Prairie Prince and deliver to him this letter from my father. You know where he can be found, I believe?"

"I know the locality, Miss Daisy, and doubtless can find him."

"Good; I will accompany you, and will encamp with the escort you carry, until you have found him. Can you start to-morrow morning?"

"Easily; I will be in readiness with a squadron of troopers as a protection."

"I thank you."

And Daisy, who seemed no longer a young girl, turned to her duties of preparation.

The following afternoon a small cavalcade halted in the hills, not many miles from the secret retreat, and Leo Denver and Daisy Racine rode on alone in search of the Prairie Prince.

Hardly had they ridden a mile, when they discovered a horseman standing on the side of the hill ahead of them.

It was the Boy Outlaw.

A glad cry escaped Daisy's lips, and, recognizing them, Prairie Prince rode onward, and the next moment he was at the side of the maiden, who cried:

"Oh! I am so glad to see you, for we came to seek you."

"Indeed! Why do you seek me, Miss Racine, when you know my oath to slay your father will be kept?"

"No, no, no! my poor father is dead!"

"Dead! Major Racine dead!"

"Yes, Major Racine committed suicide."

"Ha! I did trail him to his doom. Ah, I beg pardon, Miss Racine, and, lieutenant, I interrupted you."

"I was saying that Major Racine poisoned himself, and before he did so wrote several letters, one of which was addressed to me, another to his daughter, a third to his New York bankers, and the fourth to you."

"To me, Adjutant Denver!"

"Yes, and Miss Daisy has brought it to you."

The Prairie Prince was lost in deep silence for a moment, and then said, slowly:

"With the death of Major Racine my oath is canceled, so I need no longer hide like a hunted hound. Come, Miss Racine—come, adjutant, accompany me to my valley retreat, and there I will read my letter."

Leading the way the Prairie Prince rode on, and to the terror of his companions conducted them along the danger- pathway to his retreat, where, to the great surprise of Black Wolf and Star Eyes, they shortly arrived.



Leaving Star Eyes and Black Wolf to welcome his guests, Prairie Prince took from Daisy the letter addressed to him, and, seeking a secluded part of the valley, sat down to its perusal, for its bulk proved it was a lengthy epistle.

Like the others it was dated at Sentinel Outpost, october 10th, 18—, and then began as follows:

"Whether Gerold Gilmore made you acquainted with the secret of his past life I know not, yet judge that he did, from the persistent hatred with which you have dogged my footsteps.

"Still, I have a confession to make, and in doing so hope that it may serve, in a measure, to atone for the crimes of my life, and the cruel treatment I bestowed upon your father.

"I am now forty-five years of age, and was born in England two years after the birth of Gerold Gilmore, who was my brother.

"Our father was a nobleman, an English lord, whose fortune having been impoverished by speculation, until he held nothing but his homestead and its surrounding acres, he determined to emigrate to America, which he did, bringing with him my brother Gerold and myself, for we were all the family he had, mother dying in giving me birth.

"Arriving in this country, my father set to work, and being prosperous, was in a few years in easy circumstances.

"Having become attached to his adopted home and land, he was not in a hurry to return to England, and brought us up in ignorance of our rank, and obtained for us commissions in the service of the United States, Gerold entering the navy as a midshipman, and I going to West Point as a cadet.

"Returning home on leave of absence, when in my twenty-fifth year, I found Gerold also there, but not alone, for he had brought home with him a beautiful bride, a Cuban whom he had married in Havana.

"From the moment I saw Gerold's bride I loved her, and then the devil in my being became pre-eminent, and I told her of my love and was cast off with scorn.

"Again I returned to service, and on the frontier passed a year, when once more I found myself at home, called to the bedside of my dying father.

"Gerold was absent on a cruise, but his wife was there, more beautiful than ever, and together we watched beside my dying parent until he breathed his last, unable in his delirium to give us his blessing.

"After the funeral I took charge of the private papers of my father, and then, with surprise and delight, discovered that by the death of my father my brother Gerold became Lord Gilmore.

"But the secret I kept carefully hidden, and leaving Nita, my brother's wife, in the mansion, I set out for England, having obtained renewed leave of absence.

"My desire was to claim the title and estates, maintaining that my father was dead, and I the next heir, but I could not prove the death of Gerold, and driven wild by ambition, for the long neglected estates had increased to an enormous value, I started forth to look up proofs of Gerold's death, and in my mind determined to slay him.

"I followed him around for a long time before I could find him, and then discovered that he was in New York with his wife, having resigned from the navy.

"He welcomed me warmly, and with pride exhibited his boy, you, Ivan Gilmore.

"To gain my end (the death of your father) I was compelled to be cautious, and hating your mother for her scorn of me, I plotted and planned until I sowed in Gerold's mind the seeds of suspicion against his wife, and that was my revenge against her.

"In despair at the doubt of her husband your mother took her own life, leaving a dying confession in which she swore to her innocence, and placed the whole plot where it belonged, on me, and adding that she would rather die that she might prove herself unsullied, than live and be deemed untrue.

"Upon reading his wife's confession, and grieved at her loss, Gerold sought me out and I wounded him severely, and believed that I had killed him.

"Yet to shield me he said he had been attacked by robbers, and summoning me to his bedside bade me forever leave his presence.

"I left New York, after turning into cash all the property my father had left me, and roaming through foreign lands, married in Prussia a lady of great beauty and refinement.

"Daisy is the daughter of that lady, who, poor woman, died of a broken heart from my cruel treatment of her, for I never loved her.

"I buried her in Spain, where she died, and returning to the United States brought Daisy with me, placing her in the care of some friends in New York.

A thorough search for my brother resulted in the opinion that he was dead, as that was the rumor, and nowhere could I obtain that slightest trace of him.

"Then I again sought England and endeavored to claim my title and estates, but after long delay was compelled to relinquish the idea yet awhile, or until it was proved my brother was dead by a long time of advertising for him in different parts of the world.

"Having run through with my money, I again sought service in the army, and an Indian war coming on, I was appointed a captain of a frontier post.

"Afterwards I was promoted, and ordered to Fort Sentinel, and since then you know my career.

"Now you know why I hung your father, and why I longed for your life, for I yet lived in hopes of being Lord Dudley Racine, for when my brother left New York, after his wife's death, he dropped his last name, calling himself simply Gerold Gilmore.

"Now, that I am on the brink of the grave, I am willing to confess that fear of you has driven me to suicide, and hence you are avenged.

"To attempt some reparation in my dying hour I write this letter, that by it, and the papers in my private desk, you may prove yourself Lord Ivan Racine.

"In my banker's hands in New York I have a few thousand dollars, which you may need, and which I am assured Daisy will never want, as you will, after gaining your estates and title, keep her from poverty and distress, as she is your own cousin.

"Now, Ivan Racine, I dare not ask your forgiveness, but yet I would beg that you do not curse the memory of

"Your unworthy uncle

"Dudley Racine."

Three times did Ivan, the Prairie Prince, carefully read over the letter in his hands, and then slowly rising, with heart and brain filled with conflicting emotions, he went to the cabin, and calling Daisy and Leo Denvers, slowly and distinctly again perused the epistle, to their great surprise, and certainly the joy of both of them.

Through deep was the sorrow that Daisy felt for her father's crime-stained life, she could not but feel that at last rest had come and that she knew all, and to Ivan she turned with perfect confidence of a sister.

After a consultation upon the matter, it was decided that Daisy should return to the fort with Adjutant Denver, and after procuring her traps should come on to the settlement, where was the home of the Prairie Prince, who, with Black Wolf and Star Eyes, should at once go to the valley and prepare for their arrival.

Having come to this arrangement, the adjutant and his fair companion started upon their return to Sentinel Outpost, after having partaken of a hearty meal prepared by the dainty fingers of Star Eyes.

Shortly after their departure, the Prairie Prince and his two friends set off for the settlement, where they arrived in good time, and were delightedly welcomed back by the worthy Hiram and Nancy.

Two days after, the adjutant and Daisy arrived, and it was a comparatively happy party that gathered around the well-spread board, upon which Nancy had exerted her greatest culinary skill.



After a reasonable rest at his cabin-home, Ivan, as I must now call the Prairie Prince and Boy Outlaw, determined to set out for New York, taking advantage of a train that was going eastward.

Ere the departure of himself and Daisy, however, there was a wedding in the settlement, and the contracting parties were none other than Captain (for he had lately been promoted) Leo Denver and Miss Star Eyes Black Wolf, who had followed the example of Pocahontas and married her paleface "captain in the army."

The bridal present from Ivan consisted of the cabin and farm, with all of its appurtenances, and happy indeed was the young couple in their new walk in life

Black Wolf, the distinguished father-in-law, exhibited his pleasure by getting gloriously drunk by joining his darker-hued companion, Hiram, in drinking toasts to the "President of the United States, and all others in authority;" but Nancy quickly sobered her worser half off, and the chief started for a hunt on the prairies to cool his heated brow.

After a pleasant trip across the plains, and a railroad run eastward, Ivan and Daisy arrived safely in New York, and after viewing the sights in the great metropolis, the maiden being the guest of her friends with whom she had lived when in the city receiving her education, the cousins took steamer for Liverpool, and in due course of time arrived in the native land of their forefathers.

Upon their arrival in London, Ivan sought out Messrs. Keene & Dunn, the lawyers who had acted for his uncle, and into their hands placed all the proofs and papers bearing upon his claim to the title and estates of the late Lord Racine, his grandfather; and after experiencing the law's delay for a few months, came in possession as the legitimate and honored heir to the vast property and noble title.

Placing Daisy under the care of an elderly lady relative, who was glad to own kinship with the handsome young lord, Ivan removed to his baronial home and at once set his home in order for the greatest event of his life, which was being united in the holy bonds of matrimony to his lovely cousin Daisy Racine, who become at once the reigning belle of London, and after much sorrow and suffering found joy in the devoted love of her noble husband, once known as Prairie Prince, the Boy Outlaw.

Title: Prairie Prince, the Boy Outlaw; or, Trailed to His Doom

Periodical: Saturday Evening Post

Date: Oct. 16 to Nov. 13, 1875

Author: Cody, William Frederick, 1846-1917

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