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   Chapter 6 SOLOMON SHOWS HIS NERVE.

Frank Merriwell's Bravery By Burt L. Standish Characters: 10383

Updated: 2017-12-06 00:02


The jail at Elreno was a wooden building, hastily constructed in the feverish days of the early boom, with many weak points and few strong ones.

Not for long were prisoners confined there, as "justice" in the new Territory moved swiftly, and an arrest was quickly followed by a trial.

Hank Kildare and the guard moved swiftly with their prisoner, avoiding the most public streets, and taking the boy to the jail by a roundabout way.

It was well they did so, for, although the mob had dispersed, at the request of Miss Dawson, the street along which it was believed the sheriff would take Black Harry was thronged with citizens eager to get a square look at the boy outlaw, who had become famous within ten days.

It is possible that Frank might have been taken along that street without trouble, but it is much more likely that the sight of him would have aroused the mob once more, and brought about another attempt at lynching.

In fact, Bill Buckhorn, the man from 'Rapahoe, had gathered an interested knot of tough-looking citizens about him, and he was dilating on the "double derned foolishness" of wasting time over a person like Black Harry by taking him to jail and giving him a trial.

"Over in 'Rapahoe we hang 'em first an' try 'em arterward," boastingly declared the man in leather breeches. "We find that thar is ther simplest way o' doin' business. Ef we makes a mistake, an' gits ther wrong galoot, nobody ever kicks up much o' a row over it, fer we're naterally lively over thar, an' we must hev somethin' ter 'muse us 'bout so often.

"Now, ef we hed ketched this yere Black Harry-wa'al, say! Great cats! Does any critter hyar suspect thar'd been any monkey business with thet thar young gent? Wa'al, thar wouldn't-none whatever. Ef we couldn't found a tree handy, we'd hanged him ter ther corner o' a buildin', ur any old thing high enough ter keep his feet up off ther dirt.

"Hyar in Elreno, ye'll take ther varmint ter jail, an' it's ten ter one he'll break out afore twenty-four hours, arter which he'll thumb his nasal protuberance at yer, an' go cayvortin' 'round after ther same old style, seekin' whomsoever he kin sock a bullet inter. Then you'll hate yerself, an' wish ye'd tooken my advice ter hang ther whelp, sheriff or no sheriff. You hear me chirp!"

There were others who thought the same, and it was hinted that Hank Kildare might not be able to take his prisoner to the jail, after all.

Burchel Jones, the private detective, was in the crowd, and he hustled about, loudly proclaiming that he was the man who captured Black Harry. Bill Buckhorn heard him, stopped him, looked him over searchingly.

"Look hyar!" cried the man from 'Rapahoe. "Is it a straight trail ye're layin' fer us?"

"What do you mean by that?" asked the man with the foxy face, in a puzzled way.

"Dern a tenderfoot thet can't understand plain United States!" snorted Buckhorn. "Ther same is most disgustin', so says I! Ye've got ter talk like a Sunday-school sharp, ur else ther onery critters don't hitch ter yer meanin'. Wat I wants ter know, tenderfoot, is ef yer tells ther truth w'en yer says yer roped Black Harry."

Jones stiffened up, assuming an air of injured dignity.

"The truth! Why, I can't tell anything but the truth! It's an insult to hint that I tell anything but the truth!"

"W'at relation be you ter George?"

"George who?"

"Washington."

"Sir, this attempt at frivolity is unseemly! Why should it seem remarkable for me to capture Black Harry?"

"Ef a galoot with his reputation let an onery tenderfoot like you rope him, it brings him down in my estimation complete!"

"I took him by surprise. I clapped a loaded revolver to his head, and he could do nothing but put up his hands."

"Wa'al, you might ram a loaded cannon up ag'in my head, an' then I'd shoot yer six times afore you could pull ther trigger," boasted Buckhorn. "Black Harry ain't got no license ter live arter this, an' I thinks it's ther duty o' ther citizens o' this yere town ter git tergether an' put him out o' his misery."

"That ith wight," drawled a voice that seemed to give the man from 'Rapahoe an electric shock. "The w'etch ith verwy dangerwous, and I weally hope you will hang him wight away, don't yer know. It ith dweadful to think that the cwecher might get away and stop a twain that I wath on, and wob me of awl my money-it ith thimply dweadful!"

"Great cats!" howled Buckhorn, staring in amazement at the speaker. "Is thar ary galoot hyar kin name thet critter?"

"Uf anypody vill name id, I vill gif id do 'em!" cried a nasal voice, and Solomon Rosenbum, with his pack, newly bound up, was seen on the edge of the crowd, having just arrived.

"My name, thir, ith Cholly Gwayson De Smythe," haughtily declared the dude. "I do not apweciate youah inthulting manner, thir. I demand an apology, thir!"

"Apology!" howled Buckhorn, looking savage. "Of me?"

"Ye-ye-yeth, thir," faltered Cholly, shivering.

"Wa'al, I'll be derned!"

"Do you apologize, thir?"

"Ter a thing like you? No!"

"Then I'll-I'll--"

"What?"

"Thee you lataw, thir."

And the dude took to his heels, breaking from the crowd and

running for dear life, literally tearing up the dust of the street in his frantic effort to get away in a hurry.

"Haw!" snorted Bill Buckhorn. "See ther varmint go! I reckon I'll hurry him up jest a little!"

Then the man from 'Rapahoe jerked out a big revolver, and sent three or four bullets whistling past Cholly's ears, nearly frightening the poor fellow out of his clothes.

Buckhorn supplied the revolver with fresh cartridges, at the same time observing:

"Over in 'Rapahoe such a derned freak as thet thar would be a reg'ler snap fer ther boys. They'd hev more fun with him then a funeral. Somehow, this yere place seems dead slow, an' it makes me long ter go back whar thar is a little sport now an' then."

"Vell," said the Jew, with apparent honesty, "v'y don'd you go pack? Maype uf you sdop a vile, you don'd pe aple to do dat."

"Haw? What do you mean, Moses?"

"My name vas nod Moses."

"Wa'al, it oughter be, an' so I'll call yeh thet."

"All righd, Mouth; led her go."

"Wat's thet?" shouted Buckhorn, surprised. "Whatever did you call me jest then, I want ter know."

"Mouth."

"Mouth!"

"Dat vas righd."

"Thet ain't my name."

"Vell, id oughter peen; your mouth vas der piggest bart uf you."

Buckhorn literally staggered. He looked as if he doubted his ears had heard correctly, and then, noting that the crowd was beginning to laugh, he leaped into the air, cracking his heels together, and roaring:

"Whoop! Thet settles you, Moses! You'll hev a chance ter attend your own funeral ter-morre!"

The Jew quietly put down his pack, spat on his hands, and said:

"Shust come und see me, mine friendt, und I vill profe dat your mouth vas der piggest bart uf you."

"I ain't goin' ter touch yer with my hands," declared the man from 'Rapahoe, once more producing the long-barreled revolver; "but I'll shoot yer so full o' holes thet ye'll serve fer a milk-skimmer! Git down on yer marrerbones an' pray!"

"Look here, mine friendt," calmly said the Jew, as the crowd began to scatter to get out of the way of stray bullets, "uf you shood ad me, id vill profe dat you vas a plowhardt und a cowart. Uf you shood ad me, der beople uf dis blace vill haf a goot excuse to holdt a lynchings."

"Wa'al, I'm good fer this hull derned county! This town is too slow ter skeer me any ter mention. Git down!"

"Uf I don'd do dat?"

"I'll shoot yer legs out from under yer clean up ter ther knees!"

"Vell, then, I subbose I vill haf to-do this!" Solomon had seemed on the point of kneeling, but, instead of doing so, he ducked, leaped in swiftly beneath the leveled revolver, caught Buckhorn by the wrist, and wrenched the weapon from his hand, flinging it aside with the remark:

"I don'd vant to peen shot alretty, und, if you try dat again, you vill ged hurt pad, vid der accent on der pad!"

Buckhorn seemed to be stupefied, and then, uttering another roar, he lunged at the Jew, trying to grapple Solomon with his hands.

"I'll squeeze ther life out of yer!" snarled the ruffian.

"Oxcuse me uf I don'd lofe you vell enough to led you done that," said the Jew, nimbly skipping aside. "Your nose shows you vas a greadt trinker; shust dry my electric punch."

Crack! The knuckles of the Jew struck under the ear of the man from 'Rapahoe. It was a beautiful blow, and Buckhorn was knocked over in a twinkling, striking heavily on his shoulder in the dust of the street.

The fall seemed to stun the man in leather breeches, but he soon sat up, and then, seeing Solomon waiting for him to rise, he asked:

"Whar is it?"

"Vere vas vat?"

"Ther club you struck me with."

"Righd here," said the Jew, holding up his clinched hand.

"Haw! Ye don't mean ter say you didn't hit me with a club, or something like a hunk o' quartz?"

"Dat vas der ding vat I hit you vid, mine friendt. Shust ged up, und I vill profe id py hitting you again."

"Say!"

"Vell?"

"I don't allow thet I'm as well as I might be, an' I ain't spoiling' fer trouble none whatever. I'm onter you. You're a perfessional pugilist in disguise. If you'll let me git up, I'll go right away and let you alone."

"Vell, ged up."

"You won't hit me when I do so?"

"Nod if you don'd tried some funny pusiness."

Buckhorn struggled to his feet, keeping a suspicious eye on Solomon all the while. He then picked up his revolver, but made no offer to use it, for the Jew was watching every movement, and he noted that Solomon had one hand in his pocket.

"A critter thet knows tricks like he does, might be able ter shoot 'thout drawin'," muttered the man from 'Rapahoe. "I don't allow it'd be healthy ter try a snap shot at him."

A roar of laughter broke from the spectators, as they saw the ruffian put the revolver back into its holster, and turn away, like a whipped puppy.

"Hayar, you mighty chief from 'Rapahoe," shouted a voice, "do yer find this yar town so dead slow as yer did? Don't yer 'low yer'd best go back ter 'Rapahoe, an' stay thar? Next time, we'll set ther dude tenderfoot on yer, an' he'll everlastin'ly chaw yer up!"

"How low hev ther mighty fallen!" murmured Buckhorn, as he continued to walk away.

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